Author Archives: richardbrenneman

Chart of the day: How much do Americans earn?


From the U.S. Census Bureau, a look at how much Americans earn, and how much those earnings differ by age, gender, and education for those who year 12 months a year:

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Will Pirates soon take the helm in Iceland?


That’s a real possibility, after conservatives failed to form a government coalition to head the parliament in the nation with the world’s oldest parliament.

And that could mean the next prime minister could be Birgitta Jónsdóttir [previously], cofounder of Iceland’s Pirate Party [Píratapartýið], and a woman who calls herself a poetician.

Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Prate Party co-founder and, possibly, the next Prime Minister of Iceland.

Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Prate Party co-founder and, possibly, the next Prime Minister of Iceland.

From RT:

The Pirate Party in Iceland, who won seats in parliament earlier this year, have been asked to try to assemble a government coalition, after two other parties with more seats failed to do so.

The radical Pirate Party, headed by Birgitta Jonsdottir, was asked to form a government with other parties by the country’s president, Gudni Johannesson, AP reported Friday, citing the president’s office.

The two parties who came first and second in the parliamentary election in late October, the Independence Party and the Left-Greens, respectively, had already held talks to assemble a coalition, but to no avail. No party won an outright majority in the election.

Prime Minister Sigmurdur Ingi Johannsson of the Progressive Party takes part in a debate ahead of parliamentary elections in Iceland, October 28, 2016. © Geirix Iceland PM resigns as Pirate Party makes election gains

The Pirate Party, founded four years ago by a group of internet activists and hackers, came third in the election, having won 10 out of 63 seats in the nation’s parliament. They will now have to negotiate with four other parties, both centrists and left-wingers.

According to Jonsdottir, the main issues on the agenda for the island nation are health care reforms and fishing rights, which have become sticking points for the lawmakers trying to form a coalition. The country has also suffered from troubles in its economy, after its banks collapsed during the 2008 global financial crisis.

Headline of the day: Family Feud, plutocratic edition


From the London Daily Mail:

Rockefellers at war: Famous family feud after some descendants speak out against ExxonMobil – the company to which they owe their fortune – for downplaying climate change truth

  • Some members of the Rockefeller family are speaking out against ExxonMobil, which grew from ancestor John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil 
  • The descendants had funded research, showing that ExxonMobil knew more about global warming earlier than they let on 
  • They now want the company to apologize for its past 
  • Not all in the family agree with this contingent however 
  • ‘I don’t think denouncing a family legacy is the best way to go about doing this,’ Ariana Rockefeller said

DroughtWatch: Another week and no changes


California continues to struggle in its fourth year of an epic drought. With no changes from last week, 87.97 percent of Cailfornia remains in official drought conditions.

From the United States Drought Monitor:

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Israeli shapes a U.S. law enabling campus purges


How would Americans like it if, say, North Korea dictated a law barring criticism of that country on U.S. campuses.

We imagine lots of folks would get righteously upset.

But an Israeli propagandist and former Deputy Prime Minister has done just that.

From the Intercept:

After Donald Trump’s election emboldened white supremacists and inspired a wave of anti-Semitic hate incidents across the country, the Senate on Thursday took action by passing a bill aimed at limiting the free-speech rights of college students who express support for Palestinians.

By unanimous consent, the Senate quietly passed the so-called Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, only two days after it was introduced by Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Tim Scott, R-S.C.

A draft of the bill obtained by The Intercept encourages the Department of Education to use the State Department’s broad, widely criticized definition of anti-Semitism when investigating schools. That definition, from a 2010 memo, includes as examples of anti-Semitism “delegitimizing” Israel, “demonizing” Israel, “applying double standards” to Israel, and “focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations.”

Critics have pointed out that those are political — not racist — positions, shared by a significant number of Jews, and qualify as protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

According to the draft, the bill does not adopt the definition as a formal legal standard, it only directs the State Department to “take into consideration” the definition when investigating schools for anti-Semitic discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Now why do we say that the law is the creation of an Israeli propagandist?

That’s because those key words — demonizing, delegitimizing, demonizing — are the formula created by Israeli political propagandist, Natan Sharansky, a former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs and a good friend of Sheldon Adelson, the zealous Ziocon and Las Vegas casino magnate, and newspaper publisher who poured $25 million into a Trump-supporting PAC and sits on Trump’s inauguration committee.

Sharanksy,’s formulation is a brilliant semantic coup, employing words of such vagueness that they can be applied to virtually any critic of Israeli policies.

We know that, because they have been applied to us, repeatedly, first when reporting on the actions of a campaign launched against the Berkeley Daily Planet, a paper that came under fire from a motley crew of militant Ziocons angry because the paper published letters critical of Israeli government policies toward its Palestinian population.

Hillary Clinton lead the way

Attesting to the brilliance of Sharansky’s word-spinning is the fact that it was adopted as the adoption of that very definition of antisemitism by the State Department under Hillary Clinton.

Surely it’s legitimate to criticize the actions of a government which clearly applies double standards by seizing land and homes of non-Jewish citizens while not taking the same actions toward the property of its Jewish citizens.

Similarly, one could question’s Israel’s legitimacy, given that the state was created as the result of an accord between by the British and French governments without the consent of those who lived their, the majority of them not Jewish.

As for demonizing, what word could be more vague?

Disabled Greeks oppose new austerity regime


We should give austerity a new name: Call it the Reverse Robin Hood Doctrine.

Austerity is the regime imposed on the world’s debt-ridden poor nations to qualify them for loans to pay the corporations and banksters of the world’s richest nations.

To make those payments, the debt-plagued countries are forced to slash programs designed to help the nation’s afflicted, poor, sick, and otherwise afflicted.

The latest crisis, the Great Recession, brought Greece to its knees, and the government sought loans from the Troika, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission.

Needless to say, austerity was imposed, forcing drastic cuts in the national healthcare system, the selloff of public assets [including power companies, transit systems, ports, and much more], as well as drastic cuts in public pensions and paychecks, as well as reduced social benefits payments imposed on those who could least afford the loss.

The austerity regime prompted voter to elect a government which promised them an end to austerity, but Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has knuckled under, and new rounds of deprivation are underway.

Some of those most deeply impacted are now expressing their outrage.

From Kathimerini:

Disabled people and patients with chronic illnesses from around Greece protested in central Athens Friday against austerity measures as the government races to clinch a new deal with bailout lenders.

Protesters in wheelchairs carried black balloons while deaf demonstrators wore white gloves as they used sign language to join chants of anti-government slogans.

Disabled groups are seeking exemptions from budget austerity measures imposed under the country’s international bailout agreements.

Unemployment among people with disabilities was more than double the national jobless rate of 23 percent with poverty levels also sharply higher, according to Yannis Vardakastanis, head of the National Confederation of Disabled People of Greece.

“We want to live in dignity,” Vardakastanis, who is blind, told the AP. “It’s the obligation of the government and European institutions to stop us from being further isolated, impoverished and discriminated against.”

Greece is currently finalizing a new package of economic measures that would make home foreclosures and business firings easier. The measures are required in exchange for new bailout loan payouts and talks on debt relief measures.

Shame on the Troika, and shame on Tsipras.

esnl exclusive: Lost footage of Trump’s early years


Through our long, arduous hours pent hunched over our computer, we have managed to discover long-lost footage of the early year’s of President Pussygrabber’s early years.

Yep, we discovered that before he became the self-proclaimed billionaire entrepreneur, Littlefingers worked as a corporate pitchman, playing the role of Joe Isuzu to hustle for Japan’s Isuzu Motors, back in the days when they sold cars in the U.S. market, an effort since abandoned.

Here are some of his finest works, via Richard Arnold:

Joe Isuzu


Okay, so it’s not really the Trumpster, but you gotta admit the character played by actor David Leisure [a name that really suits him] really, really comes off a lot like the man made president even though he lost the popular vote by a large margin, then made up Joe Isuzu-worthy lie about the reasons why, a lie so idiotic it drew this reaction from CNN’s Alysin Camerota:

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