You are browsing the archive for 2015 January 30.

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Everything You Wanted to Know About the Rise of Anilingus (But Were Afraid to Ask)

January 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

We’re entering an age of more sexual openness with regards to butts.

With anilingus currently in so many editorial spreads and on the tip of so many tongues, it bears noting that Mozart wrote a song about eating ass. Titled “Leck mich im Arsch,” which literally translates to “Lick me in the ass,” it’s the sort of song that might be referred to as a “bawdy ode” or a “ribald verse,” and consists almost solely of the repeated request that we all get real familiar with the business end of Mozart’s anus. The music is by lesser-known Czech composer Wenzel Trnka von Krzowitz, but the lyrics are pure Mozart: “Lick my ass nicely / lick it nice and clean,” the canon jauntily proposes. “Come on, just try it / And lick, lick, lick!” Nearly 300 years before Desi buried three-quarters of his face in Marnie’s ass on this season’s premiere of ”Girls,” Mozart was already foreshadowing our cultural embrace of anilingus, aka rimming, ass munching, salad tossing, and to bring things fully up-to-date, “eating cake.”

What took us so long? After hardly being spoken of publicly for the last few centuries—or the decade and a half since Charlotte confessed to performing it on “Sex and the City”—anilingus has finally became a featured player in pop culture. The most quoted lyric from Nicki Minaj’s hit “Anaconda” is about a dude who “tossed [her] salad like his name Romaine.” In an episode of “Broad City,” Ilana nonchalantly mentions that “anal is on the menu.” Trey Songz echoes the sentiment on the track “Cake,” a song all about eating “cake.” The precious moment between two unidentified Detroit Lion fans who decided a public parking lot was the perfect venue for ass eating was captured in a photo that went viral. And porn star Asa Akira declared in an interview that, “Culturally, ass is the new pussy.”

That says an awful lot, culturally, about what kind of ass play is and isn’t viewed as fully okay. Set aside, briefly, the pervasive hangups about butts that are seemingly separate from, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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“They Can Do Whatever the F*** They Want”: Inside the FBI’s Disturbing Quest For Domestic Terrorists

January 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Lindsay Abrams, Salon

The case of Eric McDavid has broader implications of how the feds go after suspected terrorists.

In 2007, then 26-year-old Eric McDavid was sentenced to over 19 years in prison on charges of conspiring to commit environmental terrorism. Nine years into his sentence, on Jan. 8, 2015, he walked free, it having emerged that federal authorities withheld information pertinent to his case.

Just as improbable-seeming as McDavid’s release, 10 years ahead of schedule, are the circumstances that he and his lawyers say led to his conviction in the first place: His romantic feelings for a pink-haired, 18-year-old activist, “Anna,” who spent months encouraging him and two others to join her in committing acts of eco-terrorism — and who also happened to be a paid FBI informant.

To understand how this all could have happened, you have to go back a decade, to when the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and other environmental and animal rights extremist groups were considered the nation’s No. 1 domestic terror threat. (These days, the honor is held by the sovereign citizen movement.) According to the FBI, McDavid was the ringleader of an ELF plot to blow up California’s Nimbus Dam and other targets. According to McDavid, all the incriminating things he was caught saying on tape amounted to mere talk — and it was all instigated by Anna.

Anna told the jury in the McDavid case that she was recruited by the FBI in 2003 after infiltrating a group of anti-free trade activists for a college paper. She met Zach Jenson, one of McDavid’s co-defendants, at a G-8 summit, and, through him, connected with McDavid and Lauren Weiner, his other co-defendant. (Both Jenson and Weiner pleaded guilty and testified against McDavid in exchange for lesser sentences.) Anna spent extensive time and money bringing the trio together, at one point assembling them at a cabin, wired for surveillance, that had been paid for by the FBI. Once there, it was she who gave the group a book of (fake) recipes for firebombs, also provided by the FBI. The group did experiment with building a bomb, but …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Social Security Isn't Going Away — But It Is Going to Get Worse

January 30, 2015 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Seventy-five years ago, Ida Mae Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont received the first American Social Security check. Ida, who lived to be 100, ultimately collected $22,888 in benefits. Because she had paid only $24.75 in Social Security taxes, the national retirement program turned out to be a very good deal for her.

Unfortunately, it’s not such a good deal for today’s young workers. Thirty year olds now will be lucky to receive a 1.5 percent return on what they pay into the system, far below what they could earn from investing that money privately. In fact, many will die before they get back what they paid in, let alone collect any extra return.

To pay all the benefits promised in the future, Social Security would have to increase the payroll tax by as much as half, or slash benefits by 23 percent.”

That’s because Social Security operates very much like a pyramid scheme. When you pay your Social Security taxes, none of that money is saved for your retirement or invested. Instead, every cent you pay in is used to provide the benefits to those who are already collecting. When you finally retire, your benefits will come from the taxes paid by the next generation of workers — your children and grandchildren.

Like any pyramid scheme, Social Security was able to deliver a windfall to early recipients like Ida Mae, who received their benefits when there were lots of workers and only a few retirees. Today, however, Americans are living longer and not having as many babies, meaning there are more retirees and fewer workers to support them. In 1950, there were 16.5 workers supporting every retiree. Today, there are 2.8. And by the time today’s young workers retire, there will be just over two.

Does that mean Social Security won’t be there when they’re ready to collect? No. As long as there are people paying into the program, retirees will be able to take benefits out. Unlike a pyramid scheme, Social Security cannot go broke as long as the government can make future generations pay taxes.

But if fewer young workers are there to support each retiree, one of two things will have to happen: Either those young workers will have to pay more (tax increases) or retirees will have to get less (benefit cuts).

To pay all the benefits promised in the future, Social Security would have to increase the payroll tax …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Truth About Union Organizing: It's Much Better Than You Think

January 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Paul Booth, The American Prospect

The labor movement has been growing while shrinking. Growing through organizing.

The union movement is 3.5 million members smaller than 40 years ago, and the forces that brought that about are as energetically engaged and powerful as they have ever been.

From that undeniable fact, it has been wrongly concluded:

  • Union organizing is impossible, futile, or a thing of the past
  • The labor movement is dead, or dying
  • The best hope for workers is through something different from trade unions and collective bargaining.

These conclusions are very disconcerting to this organizer. I am upset that there’s so little acknowledgement of the millions of workers who have risked much to try to unionize.  Thousands are doing it today. 

And so little acknowledgement of those who have done it and succeeded. They number a million and a half.

How do I know that?  I know it from my own experience; it’s the work with which I have been immersed for those 40 years. And I know it by virtue of simple arithmetic. The 3.5 million members by which labor has shrunk is net. I simply added the net shrinkage of union membership, industry by industry, as shown in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ admittedly imprecise annual surveys of union membership. Those lines add up to 5 million; 5 million minus 3.5 yields a million and a half workers who organized unions at the same time others were driven out of them.

The labor movement has been growing while shrinking. Growing through organizing.

In those years, workers were driven out of unions, not by choice, but by:

  • offshoring of what were union jobs;
  • deunionization of major industries;
  • the rise of relentlessly anti-union companies to industry dominance;
  • the thwarting of the promise of the labor law by the general adoption of the union-busting playbook by employers;
  • and the spread of casualization, irregular part-time and temporary work, and all the forms by which the employer-employee legal nexus has been undermined. 

But, in the face of all that, workers continued to organize, and unions continued to support them.  Workers took risks, and unions did too.

For the first 20 of those 40 years, public workers …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Loretta Lynch Schooled the Wing Nuts: How the Right Failed to Wound Obama's AG Nominee

January 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Heather Digby Parton, Salon

But, really nice try guys!

By all accounts Loretta Lynch, president Obama’s choice to replace Eric Holder as attorney general, was very impressive in the first day of hearings. In fact, she was so impressive that even the right-wing bloggers at Powerline called her the Ernie Banks of nominees, which, judging from their eulogy for the real Ernie Banks, is very good indeed. But then they also said the committee was throwing softballs, so the metaphors got a little confusing.  It was a very good day for Loretta Lynch, much to their chagrin. She was appropriately confident, dignified and boring and thus made for a dull affair that was unlikely to derail her nomination.

The second day of hearings, in which both Republicans and Democrats on the committee invited both people to testify, was a little bit more lively. We knew it would be when the committee announced their guests. The Democrats offered a group of former colleagues and law professors. The Republicans offered a couple of conservative law professors to denounce President Obama’s usurpation of democracy — and some far-right-wing activists to complain about being victimized.

The first person to testify was someone who had never met or had any knowledge of Loretta Lynch. This was former reporter and current right-wing icon Sharyl Attkisson who told a harrowing story of harassment, including her questionable allegation that the government bugged her computer, obviously shocking the likes of Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch to the depth of their souls. It’s one thing for the government to relentlessly pursue reporters like James Risen who report serious and important stories. They wholeheartedly support the Justice Department in such cases. Attkisson, however, resigned from CBS News because she felt the entire network was biased in favor of the Obama administration and refused to allow her to pursue the scandals she just knew were there. (These were scandals like Benghazi and Fast and Furious — scandals that have been investigated approximately 756 times under every committee in the Congress and have turned up zilch.) Somehow they’ve managed to morph …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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CNN Op-Ed: How feds can legally steal your money

January 30, 2015 in Politics & Elections

There are many reasons why the Internal Revenue Service is perhaps the least-loved agency in America — a tax code so complex that it seems like you need an advanced degree to understand it, the dreaded audit process and revelations that certain groups have been targeted based on their political beliefs.
And now, a growing awareness of instances where the IRS seized the money or property of law-abiding citizens without due process is adding to the agency’s menacing reputation. According to the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that investigates civil forfeiture practices, these seizures carried out by the IRS hadincreased from 114 in 2005 to 639 in 2012.

Sounds unbelievable, but believe it

Read the entire CNN op-ed HERE.

…read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Michael Moore: Yes, Clint Eastwood Threatened to Kill Me

January 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

Filmmaker Moore also has a few choice words for those who threaten critics of “American Sniper.”

“American Sniper” director Clint Eastwood is known not only as an accomplished actor and director but also as a political loose cannon. His monologue that involved talking to an empty chair at the 2012 Republican convention went viral, and forever ingrained him in the minds of Americans as a hardcore, if slightly unhinged, Republican.

It has long been reported that Eastwood jokingly threatened to kill left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore during a 2005 National Board of Review dinner. In a Facebook status written Thursday night, Moore, who is a critic of Eastwood's latest film, and of the whole idea that snipers like Chris Kyle are courageous, confirmed what happened that night:

A lot of people are asking me if this is true as this “rumor” about Clint Eastwood confronting  me in 2005 has now re-surfaced and floated around the internet in the past few days. So I thought I should say a few words…

Ten years ago this past week, Clint Eastwood stood in front of the National Board of Review awards dinner and announced to me and to the crowd that he would “kill” me if I ever came to his house with my camera for an interview.

“I'll kill you,” he declared.

The crowd laughed nervously. As for me, having just experienced a half-dozen assaults in the previous year from crazies upset at 'Fahrenheit 9/11' and my anti-war Oscar speech, plus the attempt by a right wing extremist to blow up my house (he was caught in time and went to prison), I was a bit stunned to hear Eastwood, out of the blue, make such a violent statement. But I instantly decided he was just trying to be funny, so I laughed the same nervous laugh  everyone else did. Clint, though, didn't seem to like all that laughter.

“I mean it,” he barked, and the audience grew more quiet. “I'll shoot you.”

There was a smattering of approving applause, but most just turned around to see what my reaction …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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More Tax-and-Spend on the Way

January 30, 2015 in Economics

President Obama’s budget proposal, to be released Monday, presents an opportunity to tackle the long-term fiscal crisis facing the nation. Unfortunately, the White House seems positioned to waste the opportunity. The responsible thing to do, says Cato scholar Nicole Kaeding, would be to propose a plan to tackle our looming entitlement catastrophe and cut spending. “The nation’s long-term fiscal situation needs a solution,” argues Kaeding, “and the White House is releasing an unserious plan that shirks the very real responsibility to address our troubled entitlement programs.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Mitt Romney Says He Won't Run for President Again

January 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Tom McCarthy, The Guardian

Romney tells supporters he's clearing the way for “our next generation of Republican leaders,” like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush.

Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney told supporters on Friday that he was not making a third run at the White House, putting an end to weeks of what appeared to be possible preparation for such a bid.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney said in a statement to supporters. 

The statement was released just before a conference call with close advisers and donors. Audio of Romney reading the statement was broadcast at the top of the call.

With 22 months to go until the election, one of the biggest questions of the cycle has been answered: will he do it again? Romney’s decision to stay on the sidelines created space for other candidates, and positioned Romney as one of the Republican party’s top arbiters of who will fill that space.

Romney was to have dinner on Friday with New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the New York Times reported. He met with former Florida governor Jeb Bush in Utah last week. 

Romney said he was not preparing to run because a member of “our next generation of Republican leaders” would have a better chance at winning.

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case,” Romney said in the statement.

Romney said if he had decided to run he would have had a shot at winning. “I am convinced that with the help of the people on this call, we could win the nomination,” he said. “Our finance calls made it clear that we would have enough funding to be more than …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Why CodePink Calls Kissinger the Real 'Low-life Scum'

January 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Medea Benjamin, AlterNet

Senator John McCain called activists “scum.” Clearly he's forgetting the despicable crimes Kissinger oversaw.

A very angry Senator John McCain denounced CodePink activists as “low-life scum” for holding up signs reading “Arrest Kissinger for War Crimes” and dangling handcuffs next to Henry Kissinger’s head during a Senate hearing on January 29. McCain called the demonstration “disgraceful, outrageous and despicable,” accused the protesters of “physically intimidating” Kissinger and apologized profusely to his friend for this “deeply troubling incident.”

But if Senator McCain was really concerned about physical intimidation, perhaps he should have conjured up the memory of the gentle Chilean singer/songwriter Victor Jara. After Kissinger facilitated the September 11, 1973 coup against Salvador Allende that brought the ruthless Augusto Pinochet to power, Victor Jara and 5,000 others were rounded up in Chile’s National Stadium. Jara’s hands were smashed and his nails torn off; the sadistic guards then ordered him to play his guitar. Jara was later found dumped on the street, his dead body riddled with gunshot wounds and signs of torture.

Despite warnings by senior US officials that thousands of Chileans were being tortured and slaughtered, then Secretary of State Kissinger told Pinochet, “You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende.”

Rather than calling peaceful protesters “despicable,” perhaps Senator McCain should have used that term to describe Kissinger’s role in the brutal 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which took place just hours after Kissinger and President Ford visited Indonesia. They had given the Indonesian strongman the US green light—and the weapons—for an invasion that led to a 25-year occupation in which over 100,000 soldiers and civilians were killed or starved to death. The UN's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR) stated that U.S. “political and military support were fundamental to the Indonesian invasion and occupation” of East Timor.

If McCain could stomach it, he could have read the report by the UN Commission on Human Rights describing the horrific consequences of that invasion. It includes gang rape of female detainees following periods of prolonged …read more

Source: ALTERNET