Tale of the Dead Ass

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American Shakedown

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Police won't charge you, but they'll grab your money

from CBC.CA

On its official website, the Canadian government informs its citizens that "there is no limit to the amount of money that you may legally take into or out of the United States." Nonetheless, it adds, banking in the U.S. can be difficult for non-residents, so Canadians shouldn't carry large amounts of cash.

That last bit is excellent advice, but for an entirely different reason than the one Ottawa cites.

There's a shakedown going on in the U.S., and the perps are in uniform.

Across America, law enforcement officers -- from federal agents to state troopers right down to sheriffs in one-street backwaters -- are operating a vast, co-ordinated scheme to grab as much of the public's cash as they can; "hand over fist," to use the words of one police trainer.

Roadside seizure

It usually starts on the road somewhere. An officer pulls you over for some minor infraction -- changing lanes without proper signalling, following the car ahead too closely, straddling lanes. The offence is irrelevant.

Then the police officer wants to chat, asking questions about where you're going, or where you came from, and why. He'll peer into your car, then perhaps ask permission to search it, citing the need for vigilance against terrorist weaponry or drugs.

What he's really looking for, though, is money.

And if you were foolish (or intimidated) enough to have consented to the search, and you're carrying any significant amount of cash, you are now likely to lose it.

The officer will probably produce a waiver, saying that if you just sign over the money then the whole matter will just disappear, and you'll be able to go on your way.

Refuse to sign it, and he may take the cash anyway, proclaiming it the probable proceeds of drugs or some other crime.

Either way, you almost certainly won't be charged with anything; the objective is to take your money, not burden the system.

You'll have the right to seek its return in court, but of course that will mean big lawyer's fees, and legally documenting exactly where the money came from. You will need to prove you are not a drug dealer or a terrorist.

It might take a year or two. And several trips back to the jurisdiction where you were pulled over. Sorry.

In places like Tijuana, police don't make any pretense about this sort of thing. Here in the U.S., though, it's dressed up in terms like "interdiction and forfeiture," or "the equitable sharing program."

Authorities claim it's legal, but some prosecutors and judges have called it what it is: abuse.

In any case, it's a nasty American reality.

Irma and Me

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Apparently coming straight at me in Winter Haven
EEEK
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Siphoning heat from the Yellowstone Caldera could lower the risk of a deadly eruption while generating electricity.

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Humans have witnessed many cataclysmic volcanic eruptions, from the one that destroyed Pompeii in 79 A.D. to the extraordinary Krakatoa eruption of 1883. But around the world right now there are about 20 so-called "supervolcanoes" that could outdo them all.

One of these monster volcanoes lurks beneath Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone Caldera is an enormous craterlike depression measuring 30 miles by 45 miles and filled with molten material (magma). If it were to blast its innards out in a super-eruption, it's no exaggeration to say that the human race could be imperiled.

But scientists at NASA have sketched the rough outlines of a plan that they say would not only spare us from a deadly super-eruption but also turn the Yellowstone supervolcano into a source of electric power. In a write-up of the plan first shared with the BBC, the team argues that we could siphon heat from the caldera until it becomes too cool to erupt -- and convert the geothermal energy into electricity.

"The primary objective...is to gradually defang Yellowstone as a threat to humanity," says Dr. Brian Wilcox, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

That's a noble goal, but could the team's provocative ideas really work? "It's pie in the sky right now," says Dr. Charles Connor, a volcanologist at the University of South Florida in Tampa, "but it's a great trajectory to think about."
Chilling out

A supervolcano eruption can spew out hundreds of cubic miles of magma. Fortunately, such outbursts are rare. The last super-eruption happened about 74,000 years ago -- long before civilization's rise. Geologic evidence suggests that Yellowstone's supervolcano mounts a massive eruption once every 600,000 to 800,000 years. The most recent occurred about 640,000 years ago.

Those facts may be reassuring, but experts say they're no excuse for complacency.

"Even though it's unlikely to happen in anybody's given lifetime, it will eventually happen," Wilcox says of a supervolcano eruption. "One of these things is going to blow, and it's going to be devastating."

In a Yellowstone super-eruption, everything within 60 miles could be incinerated. Wyoming and surrounding states could be blanketed with three feet of volcanic ash, and some ash would likely spread over most of North America. The dust and gases released by the eruption would blot out enough sunlight to wipe out crops and plunge the world into a "volcanic winter" that could last for a decade or more. The ensuing famine could kill untold millions.

But Wilcox and his colleagues say we could lower the risk by drilling into the hot rock near Yellowstone's magma chamber, starting several miles outside the park.

Water would be pumped through the borehole into the hot rock and then return to the surface at a temperature of more than 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot water could be used to drive turbines to generate electric power. Then the water, now cooled, could be pumped back underground to steal away more heat.

Great care would need to be taken to make sure the drilling process didn't inadvertently trigger an eruption. Going slowly and approaching the magma chamber from the sides and beneath would be the safest approach, according to Wilcox. And he says it would all be surprisingly feasible.

Some scenes from Irma destruction

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Half of Steely Dan Gone

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Walter Becker, Guitarist Who Co-Founded Steely Dan, Dead at Age 67

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Walter Becker, co-founder of the influential jazz-rock band Steely Dan, died on Sunday at age 67, according to his website, which did not disclose the cause of death.

Becker, who played lead guitar, formed Steely Dan with Donald Fagen, its keyboardist and lead vocalist. In its heyday in the 1970s, the band scored hits with "Reelin' in the Years," "Do It Again," "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Deacon Blues."

Walter Becker, co-founder of the influential jazz-rock band Steely Dan, died on Sunday at age 67, according to his website, which did not disclose the cause of death.

Becker, who played lead guitar, formed Steely Dan with Donald Fagen, its keyboardist and lead vocalist. In its heyday in the 1970s, the band scored hits with "Reelin' in the Years," "Do It Again," "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Deacon Blues."
Image: Walter Becker performs with Steely Dan in concert at the Beacon Theatre, New York, Oct. 28, 2016.
Walter Becker performs with Steely Dan in concert at the Beacon Theatre, New York, Oct. 28, 2016. Gregory Pace/BEI/Shutterstock / AP

Becker and Fagen became friends as students at Bard College in New York in the late 1960s. After working as touring musicians they moved to Los Angeles, releasing the first Steely Dan album in 1972: "Can't Buy a Thrill." The band took their name from a fanciful dildo that appears in the beat novelist William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch."

The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 2001, where their official biography describes their 1970s albums as "wry, nuanced and hyper-literate" that are "highly regarded by connoisseurs of pop hooks, jazz harmony and desiccating wit."

After a long hiatus, the band reunited in the late 1990s to record its first studio album in 20 years, according to the Steely Dan website. That album, "Two Against Nature," would go on to win Album of the Year in 2000 at the Grammy Awards.

Becker missed concerts earlier in the year as he recovered from an unspecified medical procedure, Fagen told Billboard.

Is Impeachment Enough?

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How about eradication?

It's Time: Congress Needs to Open a Formal Impeachment Inquiry

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By Jan Cheong, Benjamin Wittes

Last Tuesday, the New York Times published a foggy story noting that Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell "has mused about whether Mr. Trump will be in a position to lead the Republican Party into next year's elections and beyond."

The time for musing has passed. It's now time to begin a serious conversation about the impeachment and removal of President Trump by opening a formal impeachment inquiry.

The evidence of criminality on Trump's part is little clearer today than it was a day, a week, or a month ago. But no conscientious member of the House of Representatives can at this stage fail to share McConnell's doubts about Trump's fundamental fitness for office. As the Trump presidency enters its eighth month, those members of Congress who are serious about their oaths to "support and defend the Constitution" must confront a question. It's not, in the first instance, whether the President should be removed from office, or even whether he should be impeached. It is merely this: whether given everything Trump has done, said, tweeted and indeed been since his inauguration, the House has a duty, as a body, to think about its obligations under the impeachment clauses of the Constitution--that is, whether the House needs to authorize the Judiciary Committee to open a formal inquiry into possible impeachment.

It's not a hard question. Indeed, merely to ask it plainly is also to answer it.

A Cold Civil War?

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Hat tip To Mr Baker

'The civil war lies on us like a sleeping dragon': America's deadly divide - and why it has returned

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I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1781. The American revolution still raged, many of his own slaves had escaped, his beloved Virginia teetered on social and political chaos. Jefferson, who had crafted the Declaration of Independence for this fledgling nation at war with the world's strongest empire, felt deeply worried about whether his new country could survive with slavery, much less the war against Britain. Slavery was a system, said Jefferson, "daily exercised in tyranny," with slaveholders practicing "unremitting despotism", and the slaves a "degrading submission".

The founder was hopeless and hopeful. He admitted that slaveholding rendered his own class depraved "despots" and destroyed the "amor patriae" of their bondsmen. But his fear was universal. "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?" This advocate of the natural rights tradition, and confounding contradictory genius, ended his rumination with the vague entreaty that his countrymen "be contented to hope" that a "mollifying" of the conditions of slaves and a new "spirit" from the revolution would in the "order of events" save his country.

Danger cannot come from abroad ... If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher
Abraham Lincoln in 1838

For that republic to survive it took far more than hope and a faith in progress. Indeed, it did not survive; in roughly four score years it tore itself asunder over the issue of racial slavery, as well as over fateful contradictions in its constitution. The American disunion of 1861-65, the emancipation of 4 million slaves, and the reimagining of the second republic that resulted form the pivot of American history. The civil war sits like the giant sleeping dragon of American history ever ready to rise up when we do not expect it and strike us with unbearable fire. It has happened here - existential civil war, fought with unspeakable death and suffering for fundamentally different visions of the future.

Republics are ever unsteady and at risk, as our first and second founders well understood. Americans love to believe their history is blessed and exceptional, the story of a people with creeds born of the Enlightenment that will govern the worst of human nature and inspire our "better angels" to hold us together. Sometimes they do. But this most diverse nation in the world is still an experiment, and we are once again in a political condition that has made us ask if we are on the verge of some kind of new civil conflict.

In one of his earliest speeches, the Young Men's Lyceum address, in 1838, Abraham Lincoln worried about politicians' unbridled ambition, about mob violence, and about the "perpetuation of our political institutions". The abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy had just been murdered by a mob the previous year in Illinois. Lincoln saw an "ill omen" across the land due to the slavery question. He felt a deep sense of responsibility inherited from the "fathers" of the revolution. How to preserve and renew "the edifice of liberty and equal rights", he declared, provided the challenge of his generation. "At what point shall we expect the approach of danger?" Lincoln asked. "By what means shall we fortify against it?" His worries made him turn inward. "Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined ... could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years." Lincoln did not fear foreign enemies. If "danger" would "ever reach us", he said, "it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

Those words were prescient in Lincoln's own century. But they have a frightful clarity even today. Where are we now? Are Americans on the verge of some kind of social disintegration, political breakup, or collective nervous breakdown, as the writer Paul Starobin has recently asked? Starobin has written a new book, Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860, and the Mania for War, in which he revisits the old thesis that the secession moment represented a "crisis of fear" that led tragically to disunion and war. Psychologically and verbally, in the comment sections on the internet, and in talkshow television, we are a society, as Starobin shows, already engaged in a war of words. And it has been thus for a long time. Americans are expressing their hatreds, their deepest prejudices, and their fierce ideologies. It remains to be seen whether we have a deep enough well of tolerance and faith in free speech to endure this "catharsis" we seem to seek.

Trump's Wall Funding

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Best idea yet !!

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Tina Fey on Charlottesville Crushes It

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Still Relevant

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A Bit of Soul Searching

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"People pontificate, "Suicide is selfishness." Career churchmen like Pater go a step further and call it a cowardly assault on the living. Oafs argue this specious line for varying reason: to evade fingers of blame, to impress one's audience with one's mental fiber, to vent anger, or just because one lacks the necessary suffering to sympathize. Cowardice is nothing to do with it - suicide takes considerable courage. Japanese have the right idea. No, what's selfish is to demand another to endure an intolerable existence, just to spare families, friends, and enemies a bit of soul-searching."

Let Prisoners Learn While They Serve

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Criminal justice officials across the country are struggling to break the recidivism cycle in which prisoners are released only to land right back behind bars. These prisoners are among the most poorly educated people in the country, and that fact holds the key to a solution. Decades of research has shown that inmates who participate in prison education programs -- even if they fail to earn degrees -- are far more likely to stay out of prison once they are freed.

That prison education programs are highly cost effective is confirmed by a 2013 RAND Corporation study that covered 30 years of prison education research. Among other things, the study found that every dollar spent on prison education translated into savings of $4 to $5 on imprisonment costs down the line.

Other studies suggest that prisons with education programs have fewer violent incidents, making it easier for officials to keep order, and that the children of people who complete college are more likely to do so themselves, disrupting the typical pattern of poverty and incarceration.

Findings like these have persuaded corrections officials in both Democratic and Republican states to embrace education as a cost-effective way of cutting recidivism. But Republican legislators in New York -- which spends about $60,000 per inmate per year -- remain mired in know-nothingism and argue that spending public money on inmates insults taxpayers. They have steadfastly resisted Gov. Andrew Cuomo's common-sense proposal for making a modest investment in prison education programs that have already proved highly successful on a small scale in New York's prisons.

The goal of the program is to expand the number of inmates taking college courses to about 3,500 across much of the system from 1,000. The curriculum will be broad, covering science, math, philosophy, the social sciences and art. Among the schools that will participate are Cornell University, New York University, Mercy College and Bard College, which has run a highly regarded program since 2001. The recidivism rate is 4 percent for inmates who participate in the program and a mere 2 percent for those who earn degrees in prison, compared with about 40 percent for the New York State prison system as a whole.

Prison education programs were largely dismantled during the "tough on crime" 1990s, when Congress stripped inmates of the right to get the federal Pell grants that were used to pay tuition. The decision bankrupted many prison education programs across the country and left private donors and foundations to foot the bill for those that survived.
Continue reading the main story

Despite limited and unreliable funding, these programs have more than proved their value. New York lawmakers who continue to block funding for them are putting ideology ahead of the public interest.

1950's TV Show Predicts Trump

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This so stupid it bleeds

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Richard Sherman on Colin Kaepernick

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Richard Sherman gets to the heart of the Colin Kaepernick situation

While fans may hate Colin Kaepernick because he didn't stand for the national anthem in 2016, the NFL has shunned him for a fundamentally different reason. Indeed, plenty of other players didn't stand for the anthem during the 2016 season, and most of them remain gainfully employed.

They remain gainfully employed because none of them became the name and face of the movement. Kaepernick did, and he's the one paying for it with his career.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has become the highest-profile player to recognize this hiding-in-plain-sight reality, in comments to Jarrett Bell of USA Today.

"What is it about?" Sherman said. "It's not about football or color. It's about, 'Boy, stay in your place.'"

Bingo.

"Not a lot of guys are willing to step out there," Sherman added. "So the guys not speaking up for him are doing him a disservice. There should be a lot more guys saying something. Most guys are like, 'I don't want my job to end up the same way.'"

Sherman told Bell that Kaepernick would have been a great fit in Seattle, but the Seahawks decided not to sign him. At least the Seahawks didn't engage in an awkward, clumsy, slow-motion crowdsourcing exercise aimed at determining whether fans and sponsors would revolt before deciding whether to offer him a job.

"For you to say you have to check with sponsors and fans because this guy took a knee and made a statement?" Sherman said regarding the Ravens' apparently ongoing deliberations. "Now if you told me this guy threw eight pick-sixes last year and played like a bum, had no talent, that's one thing. But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett or whoever is playing for the Jets right now -- whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible -- have jobs. You're telling me fans would rather you lose and put a worse player out there because a guy took a stand? That's where it's so troublesome to me. . . .

"Blake Bortles has shown you enough to where you don't think Kaep would be a solid fit? Kaep has won games."

Yes he has. He has nearly won a championship. But team personnel throughout the league have been feeding "football only" nonsense to willing members of the media who pass it along happily to the public because they either don't like what Kaepernick did or they hope to curry favor with their sources.

For months, the "football only" narrative had prevailed. Baltimore's decision to be somewhat transparent unwittingly has exposed what's really happening.

The owners want players to realize that they don't own the fields, the stadiums, the uniforms, the logos. The teams possess and power the platform, and they choose to let the players occupy it. They're not going to let players occupy it who step out of line in a way that both triggers criticism from the public and prompts other players to follow suit.

That was Kaepernick's biggest sin, in the eyes of the vast majority of the league: He did something that caused other players to become aware of their rights, and to act on them.

Everything else that's been said about Kaepernick is excuse-making and window dressing, no different from the Commissioner dealing with CTE concerns by essentially saying "yeah, but pro football players live longer than those of you who don't bash your brains into broth." Some of us see through it. Some of us don't. Plenty of us don't really want to.

The 'grandfather paradox' has long been one of the most popular thought experiments in physics: you travel back in time and murder your grandfather before he's ever born. If you've killed your grandfather, you've prevented your own existence, but if you never existed, how could you have committed the murder in the first place? Some physicists have avoided the question by arguing that backwards time travel simply isn't consistent with the laws of physics, or by asserting a 'many worlds' interpretation of the Universe. But could the concept of quantum superposition remove what seems so paradoxical from this tale of time travel and murder once and for all?





The Death of a F*****g Salesman

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We did not elect Donald Trump; we elected the character he plays on television.

.....If that sounds preposterous, remind yourself who the president of the United States of America is. Trump is the political version of a pickup artist, and Republicans -- and America -- went to bed with him convinced that he was something other than what he is. Trump inherited his fortune but describes himself as though he were a self-made man.

He has had a middling career in real estate and a poor one as a hotelier and casino operator but convinced people he is a titan of industry. He has never managed a large, complex corporate enterprise, but he did play an executive on a reality show. He presents himself as a confident ladies' man but is so insecure that he invented an imaginary friend to lie to the New York press about his love life and is now married to a woman who is open and blasé about the fact that she married him for his money. He fixates on certain words ("negotiator") and certain classes of words (mainly adjectives and adverbs, "bigly," "major," "world-class," "top," and superlatives), but he isn't much of a negotiator, manager, or leader.

He cannot negotiate a health-care deal among members of a party desperate for one, can't manage his own factionalized and leak-ridden White House, and cannot lead a political movement that aspires to anything greater than the service of his own pathetic vanity. He wants to be John Wayne, but what he is is "Woody Allen without the humor." Peggy Noonan, to whom we owe that observation, has his number: He is soft, weak, whimpering, and petulant. He isn't smart enough to do the job and isn't man enough to own up to the fact. For all his gold-plated toilets, he is at heart that middling junior salesman watching Glengarry Glen Ross and thinking to himself: "That's the man I want to be." How many times do you imagine he has stood in front of a mirror trying to project like Alec Baldwin? Unfortunately for the president, it's Baldwin who does the good imitation of Trump, not the other way around.


Major Conservative Fail

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How John McCain saved Senate Republicans from themselves

WASHINGTON -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., warned his colleagues that he would vote against the Senate health care legislation if it didn't improve.

"We've tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration, then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them it's better than nothing, asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition," he said on Tuesday after voting to proceed on the legislation. "I don't think that is going to work in the end."

And it didn't.

After 1:00 am ET last night, McCain cast the deciding vote against the so-called "Skinny Repeal" legislation, joining two other GOP colleagues (Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski) and all Democrats to defeat the measure. And in the process, McCain saved the U.S. Senate and the Republican Party from themselves.

Was Skinny Repeal good policy? Just ask Republicans, including those who ultimately voted for it. "The skinny bill as policy is a disaster," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. "The skinny bill as a replacement for Obamacare is a fraud."

Was it good process? Last night's vote took place after midnight. It happened only about two hours after the Congressional Budget Office released its comprehensive score of Skinny Repeal. And there were no hearings and committee work on the measure.

Was it going to become law? Remember, Senate Republicans were supporting Skinny Repeal just to keep the process alive, and many were begging the House NOT to pass it, so they could work on something else in conference committee. But House Speaker Paul Ryan couldn't guarantee that the House wouldn't ultimately pass Skinny Repeal.

Was it good politics? Had Skinny Repeal (or something close to it) become law, it would increase premiums and the number of uninsured Americans, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And Republicans would have to own those changes -- on top of the poor poll numbers for the GOP health-care effort.

And did it really repeal Obamacare? No. All it did was knock out one leg from the Affordable Care Act table (by repealing the individual and employer mandates), but much of the rest of it still remained.

In the end, there are probably a good dozen Republican senators who are relieved this morning that McCain took one for the team. After all, McCain had the stature and personal story (his recent cancer diagnosis) to cast a "no" vote when others couldn't. And don't forget: McCain is standing on higher ground today due to his previous vote to proceed on debate. He gave the legislation a chance to improve, but it didn't.

Best? Light years beyond....

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No one can produce better show biz entertainment on such a scale as Americans.
Can you imagine the work and talent that went into this production.

Attack of the Republican Decepticons

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Paul Krugman

Does anyone remember the "reformicons"? A couple of years back there was much talk about a new generation of Republicans who would, it was claimed, move their party off its cruel and mindless agenda of tax cuts for the rich and pain for the poor, bringing back the intellectual seriousness that supposedly used to characterize the conservative movement.

But the rise of the reformicons never happened. What we got instead was the (further) rise of the decepticons -- not the evil robots from the movies, but conservatives who keep scaling new heights of dishonesty in their attempt to sell their reverse-Robin Hood agenda.

Consider, in particular, Republican leaders' strategy on health care. At this point, everything they say involves either demonstrably dishonest claims about Obamacare or wild misrepresentations of their proposed replacement, which would -- surprise -- cut taxes for the rich while inflicting harsh punishment on the poor and working class, including millions of Trump supporters. In fact, there's so much deception that I can't cover it all. But here are a few low points.

Despite encountering some significant problems, the Affordable Care Act has, as promised, extended health insurance to millions of Americans who wouldn't have had it otherwise, at a fairly modest cost. In states that have implemented the act as it was intended, expanding Medicaid, the percentage of nonelderly residents without insurance has fallen by more than half since 2010.

And these numbers translate into dramatic positive impacts on real lives. A few days ago the Indiana G.O.P. asked residents to share their "Obamacare horror stories"; what it got instead were thousands of testimonials from people whom the A.C.A. has saved from financial ruin or even death.

How do Republicans argue against this success? You can get a good overview by looking at the Twitter feed of Tom Price, President Trump's secretary of health and human services -- a feed that is, in its own way, almost as horrifying as that of the tweeter in chief. Price points repeatedly to two misleading numbers.

First, he points to the fact that fewer people than expected have signed up on the exchanges -- Obamacare's insurance marketplaces -- and portrays this as a sign of dire failure. But a lot of this shortfall is the result of good news: Fewer employers than predicted chose to drop coverage and shift their workers onto exchange plans. So exchange enrollment has come in below forecast, but it mostly consists of people who wouldn't otherwise have been insured -- and as I said, there have been large gains in overall coverage.

Second, he points to the 28 million U.S. residents who remain uninsured as if this were some huge, unanticipated failure. But nobody expected Obamacare to cover everyone; indeed, the Congressional Budget Office always projected that more than 20 million people would, for various reasons, be left out. And you have to wonder how Price can look himself in the mirror after condemning the A.C.A. for missing some people when his own party's plans would vastly increase the number of uninsured.

Which brings us to Republicans' efforts to obscure the nature of their own plans.


Probably as handy book for people who haven't figured these maxims yet. Attachments are a complex study.

How to Fall in Love with Anyone

The Book

Most of us look at falling in love as something that happens to us -- a phenomenon that we have no control over, curated solely by destiny itself. We're presented with a person by way of chance, the right timing, a set up or good fortune. From there we date, fall in love, get married and live happily ever after; knowing intrinsically that this person is the right one.

But why do we believe this so readily, almost with blind faith?

___________________________________________________________

I'd say it's the modelling of family and culture unquestioned. But that's just me.

Carlin On Crime

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29 years later and what George said then is now even more glaringly true.



Bad Idea #6,488

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If any of these asshats gets shot by neighborhood denizens, a stand your ground claim of "i feared for my life" excuse would be perfectly rational.


White Gun Nuts Plan To March Through Black Neighborhood Carrying Assault Rifles

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The Houston chapter of Open Carry Texas, a gun rights advocacy group, postponed an event that was scheduled for this past Sunday where their members were going to walk through the streets of the Fifth Ward in Houston openly carrying assault rifles. The event, which has not been canceled but merely moved to another date, was ostensibly also going to be a canned food drive organized with a local church. The Fifth Ward is a predominantly black neighborhood and the event was originally scheduled to take place shortly after the celebration of Juneteenth.

Per event organizers, the march has been moved to another date because one of the main organizers, C.J. Grisham, was unable to attend this past Sunday, as he was scheduled to appear somewhere else where open carry enthusiasts were appearing in public with guns. Per Grisham, the neighborhood march is meant to be a community outreach attempt by Open Carry as well as a charitable affair. If you are to ask the group, Open Carry's purpose in doing this isn't to antagonize and intimidate, but merely to 'educate' others and let them know that they all have the right to carry around scary-looking assault weapons everywhere they go. Texas' laws now make it perfectly legal to openly carry long assault rifles, such as an AR-15.

Joe Deshotel at Burnt Orange Report, upon learning of the original event, checked with the local church that the event's organizers stated they had coordinated with to do the canned food drive portion of the march. As one would suspect, the church had no idea what was going on and confirmed that they had not discussed any such drive with Open Carry Texas. It appears that the group was caught in a lie, as they were merely trying to create the illusion that this event was something more than just a bunch of nut jobs marching through a neighborhood carrying guns.

Deshotel also highlighted past incidents from some of the group's members. He provided pictures and Facebook posts from some of the members showing quasi-racist behavior. One member took a picture of himself outside the office of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who represents the ward, eating a piece of fried chicken. The Congresswoman is African American. Another person was shown holding a sign that stated that the Congresswoman supported slavery because she's for gun control. One Open Carry member posted to Facebook that most blacks are thugs and that going to prison is no different than living at home and leeching off of the government, only the address has changed.

Mr Fish @TED

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Public support for 'single payer' health coverage grows

By Jocelyn Kiley

A majority of Americans say it is the federal government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a "single payer" approach to health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

Currently, 60% say the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, while 39% say this is not the government's responsibility. These views are unchanged from January, but the share saying health coverage is a government responsibility remains at its highest level in nearly a decade.

Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more now say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government, rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs. Overall, 33% of the public now favors such a "single payer" approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014. Democrats - especially liberal Democrats - are much more supportive of this approach than they were even at the start of this year.

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Even among those who say the federal government is not responsible for ensuring Americans have health care coverage, there is little public appetite for government withdrawing entirely from involvement in health care coverage. Among the public, 33% say that health care coverage is not the government's responsibility, but that programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be continued; just 5% of Americans say the government should not be involved at all in providing health insurance.

The issue of the government's responsibility in ensuring health coverage remains deeply divisive politically, according to the new survey, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults. More than eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (85%) say that this responsibility falls to the federal government, while about two-thirds of Republicans and Republican leaners (68%) say it does not.

Still, most Republicans (57%) say the government "should continue programs like Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and the very poor." Just 9% of Republicans say the government should not be involved in providing health insurance at all.

Trumps' Lies

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trumplies.jpgMany Americans have become accustomed to President Trump's lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.

By DAVID LEONHARDT and STUART A.
THOMPSON

JUMP TO STORY

JAN. 21 "I wasn't a fan of Iraq. I didn't want to go into Iraq." (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)
JAN. 21 "A reporter for Time magazine -- and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine." (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.)
JAN. 23 "Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote." (There's no evidence of illegal voting.)
JAN. 25 "Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive." (Official aerial photos show Obama's 2009 inauguration was much more heavily attended.)
JAN. 25 "Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter fraud.)" (The report never mentioned voter fraud.)
JAN. 25 "You had millions of people that now aren't insured anymore." (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the Urban Institute.)
JAN. 25 "So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can't have that." (There were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.)
JAN. 26 "We've taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn't vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don't know anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You can't." (Vetting lasts up to two years.)
JAN. 26 "I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time. It wasn't like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the plane's going to be better." (Most of the cuts were already planned.)
JAN. 28 "The coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost has been so false and angry that the Times actually apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers." (It never apologized.)
JAN. 29 "The Cuban-Americans, I got 84 percent of that vote." (There is no support for this.)
JAN. 30 "Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage." (At least 746 people were detained and processed, and the Delta outage happened two days later.)
FEB. 3 "Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" (There is no evidence of paid protesters.)
FEB. 4 "After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS @nytimes is still lost!" (It never apologized.)
FEB. 5 "We had 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers and all we did was vet those people very, very carefully." (About 60,000 people were affected.)
FEB. 6 "I have already saved more than $700 million when I got involved in the negotiation on the F-35." (Much of the price drop was projected before Trump took office.)
FEB. 6 "It's gotten to a point where it is not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it." (Terrorism has been reported on, often in detail.)
FEB. 6 "The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!" (It didn't apologize.)
FEB. 6 "And the previous administration allowed it to happen because we shouldn't have been in Iraq, but we shouldn't have gotten out the way we got out. It created a vacuum, ISIS was formed." (The group's origins date to 2004.)
FEB. 7 "And yet the murder rate in our country is the highest it's been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years." (It was higher in the 1980s and '90s.)
FEB. 7 "I saved more than $600 million. I got involved in negotiation on a fighter jet, the F-35." (The Defense Department projected this price drop before Trump took office.)
FEB. 9 "Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave 'service' in Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!" (It was part of Cuomo's first question.)
FEB. 9 Sen. Richard Blumenthal "now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?" (The Gorsuch comments were later corroborated.)
FEB. 10 "I don't know about it. I haven't seen it. What report is that?" (Trump knew about Flynn's actions for weeks.)
FEB. 12 "Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!" (The media did cover it.)
FEB. 16 "We got 306 because people came out and voted like they've never seen before so that's the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan." (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all won bigger margins in the Electoral College.)
FEB. 16 "That's the other thing that was wrong with the travel ban. You had Delta with a massive problem with their computer system at the airports." (Delta's problems happened two days later.)
FEB. 16 "Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives." (The jobs are a result of its investment plans announced in October 2016.)
FEB. 16 "When WikiLeaks, which I had nothing to do with, comes out and happens to give, they're not giving classified information." (Not always. They have released classified information in the past.)
FEB. 16 "We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision." (The rollout was chaotic.)
FEB. 16 "They're giving stuff -- what was said at an office about Hillary cheating on the debates. Which, by the way, nobody mentions. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates." (It was widely covered.)
FEB. 18 "And there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing." (Refugees receive multiple background checks, taking up to two years.)
FEB. 18 "You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?" (Trump implied there was a terror attack in Sweden, but there was no such attack.)
FEB. 24 "By the way, you folks are in here -- this place is packed, there are lines that go back six blocks." (There was no evidence of long lines.)
FEB. 24 "ICE came and endorsed me." (Only its union did.)
FEB. 24 "Obamacare covers very few people -- and remember, deduct from the number all of the people that had great health care that they loved that was taken away from them -- it was taken away from them." (Obamacare increased coverage by a net of about 20 million.)
FEB. 27 "Since Obamacare went into effect, nearly half of the insurers are stopped and have stopped from participating in the Obamacare exchanges." (Many fewer pulled out.)
FEB. 27 "On one plane, on a small order of one plane, I saved $725 million. And I would say I devoted about, if I added it up, all those calls, probably about an hour. So I think that might be my highest and best use." (Much of the price cut was already projected.)
FEB. 28 "And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that." (NATO countries agreed to meet defense spending requirements in 2014.)
FEB. 28 "The E.P.A.'s regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands." (There's no evidence that the Waters of the United States rule caused severe job losses.)
FEB. 28 "We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials." (They can't lobby their former agency but can still become lobbyists.)
MARCH 3 "It is so pathetic that the Dems have still not approved my full Cabinet." (Paperwork for the last two candidates was still not submitted to the Senate.)
MARCH 4 "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" (There's no evidence of a wiretap.)
MARCH 4 "How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!" (There's no evidence of a wiretap.)
MARCH 7 "122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!" (113 of them were released by President George W. Bush.)
MARCH 13 "I saved a lot of money on those jets, didn't I? Did I do a good job? More than $725 million on them." (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)
MARCH 13 "First of all, it covers very few people." (About 20 million people gained insurance under Obamacare.)
MARCH 15 "On the airplanes, I saved $725 million. Probably took me a half an hour if you added up all of the times." (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)
MARCH 17 "I was in Tennessee -- I was just telling the folks -- and half of the state has no insurance company, and the other half is going to lose the insurance company." (There's at least one insurer in every Tennessee county.)
MARCH 20 "With just one negotiation on one set of airplanes, I saved the taxpayers of our country over $700 million." (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)
MARCH 21 "To save taxpayer dollars, I've already begun negotiating better contracts for the federal government -- saving over $700 million on just one set of airplanes of which there are many sets." (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)
MARCH 22 "I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems." (Riots in Sweden broke out two days later and there were no deaths.)
MARCH 22 "NATO, obsolete, because it doesn't cover terrorism. They fixed that." (It has fought terrorism since the 1980s.)
MARCH 22 "Well, now, if you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong -- in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly and/or illegally. And they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people." (There's no evidence of widespread voter fraud.)
MARCH 29 "Remember when the failing @nytimes apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong. Now worse!" (It didn't apologize.)
MARCH 31 "We have a lot of plants going up now in Michigan that were never going to be there if I -- if I didn't win this election, those plants would never even think about going back. They were gone." (These investments were already planned.)
APRIL 2 "And I was totally opposed to the war in the Middle East which I think finally has been proven, people tried very hard to say I wasn't but you've seen that it is now improving." (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)
APRIL 2 "Now, my last tweet -- you know, the one that you are talking about, perhaps -- was the one about being, in quotes, wiretapped, meaning surveilled. Guess what, it is turning out to be true." (There is still no evidence.)
APRIL 5 "You have many states coming up where they're going to have no insurance company. O.K.? It's already happened in Tennessee. It's happening in Kentucky. Tennessee only has half coverage. Half the state is gone. They left." (Every marketplace region in Tennessee had at least one insurer.)
APRIL 6 "If you look at the kind of cost-cutting we've been able to achieve with the military and at the same time ordering vast amounts of equipment -- saved hundreds of millions of dollars on airplanes, and really billions, because if you take that out over a period of years it's many billions of dollars -- I think we've had a tremendous success." (Much of the price cuts were already projected.)
APRIL 11 "I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn't know Steve." (He knew Steve Bannon since 2011.)
APRIL 12 "You can't do it faster, because they're obstructing. They're obstructionists. So I have people -- hundreds of people that we're trying to get through. I mean you have -- you see the backlog. We can't get them through." (At this point, he had not nominated anyone for hundreds of positions.)
APRIL 12 "The New York Times said the word wiretapped in the headline of the first edition. Then they took it out of there fast when they realized." (There were separate headlines for print and web, but neither were altered.)
APRIL 12 "The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism." (NATO has been engaged in counterterrorism efforts since the 1980s.)
APRIL 12 "Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they've been fighting it for many months and so many more people died." (The campaign was expected to take months.)
APRIL 16 "Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!" (There's no evidence of paid protesters.)APRIL 18 "The fake media goes, 'Donald Trump changed his stance on China.' I haven't changed my stance." (He did.)
APRIL 21 "On 90 planes I saved $725 million. It's actually a little bit more than that, but it's $725 million." (Much of the price cuts were already projected.)
APRIL 21 "When WikiLeaks came out ... never heard of WikiLeaks, never heard of it." (He criticized it as early as 2010.)
APRIL 27 "I want to help our miners while the Democrats are blocking their healthcare." (The bill to extend health benefits for certain coal miners was introduced by a Democrat and was co-sponsored by mostly Democrats.)
APRIL 28 "The trade deficit with Mexico is close to $70 billion, even with Canada it's $17 billion trade deficit with Canada." (The U.S. had an $8.1 billion trade surplus, not deficit, with Canada in 2016.)
APRIL 28 "She's running against someone who's going to raise your taxes to the sky, destroy your health care, and he's for open borders -- lots of crime." (Those are not Jon Ossoff's positions.)
APRIL 28 "The F-35 fighter jet program -- it was way over budget. I've saved $725 million plus, just by getting involved in the negotiation." (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)
APRIL 29 "They're incompetent, dishonest people who after an election had to apologize because they covered it, us, me, but all of us, they covered it so badly that they felt they were forced to apologize because their predictions were so bad." (The Times did not apologize.)
APRIL 29 "As you know, I've been a big critic of China, and I've been talking about currency manipulation for a long time. But I have to tell you that during the election, number one, they stopped." (China stopped years ago.)
APRIL 29 "I've already saved more than $725 million on a simple order of F-35 planes. I got involved in the negotiation." (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)
APRIL 29 "We're also getting NATO countries to finally step up and contribute their fair share. They've begun to increase their contributions by billions of dollars, but we are not going to be satisfied until everyone pays what they owe." (The deal was struck in 2014.)
APRIL 29 "When they talk about currency manipulation, and I did say I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early in my tenure. And then I get there. Number one, they -- as soon as I got elected, they stopped." (China stopped in 2014.)
APRIL 29 "I was negotiating to reduce the price of the big fighter jet contract, the F-35, which was totally out of control. I will save billions and billions and billions of dollars." (Most of the cuts were planned before Trump.)
APRIL 29 "I think our side's been proven very strongly. And everybody's talking about it." (There's still no evidence Trump's phones were tapped.)
MAY 1 "Well, we are protecting pre-existing conditions. And it'll be every good -- bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare." (The bill weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.)
MAY 1 "The F-35 fighter jet -- I saved -- I got involved in the negotiation. It's 2,500 jets. I negotiated for 90 planes, lot 10. I got $725 million off the price." (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)
MAY 1 "First of all, since I started running, they haven't increased their -- you know, they have not manipulated their currency. I think that was out of respect to me and the campaign." (China stopped years ago.)
MAY 2 "I love buying those planes at a reduced price. I have been really -- I have cut billions -- I have to tell you this, and they can check, right, Martha? I have cut billions and billions of dollars off plane contracts sitting here." (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)
MAY 4 "Number two, they're actually not a currency [manipulator]. You know, since I've been talking about currency manipulation with respect to them and other countries, they stopped." (China stopped years ago.)
MAY 4 "We're the highest-taxed nation in the world." (We're not.)
MAY 4 "Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters." (Polls show most Americans do care.)
MAY 8 "You know we've gotten billions of dollars more in NATO than we're getting. All because of me." (The deal was struck in 2014.)
MAY 8 "But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high -- highest rating. The highest rating he's ever had." (Colbert's "Late Show" debut had nearly two million more viewers.)
MAY 8 "Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows -- there is 'no evidence' of collusion w/ Russia and Trump." (Clapper only said he wasn't aware of an investigation.)
MAY 12 "Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election." (The F.B.I. was investigating before the election.)
MAY 12 "When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?" (Clapper said he wouldn't have been told of an investigation into collusion.)
MAY 13 "I'm cutting the price of airplanes with Lockheed." (The cost cuts were planned before he became president.)
MAY 26 "Just arrived in Italy for the G7. Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs." (He's referencing an arms deal that's not enacted and other apparent deals that weren't announced on the trip.)
JUNE 1 "China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can't build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020." (The agreement doesn't allow or disallow building coal plants.)
JUNE 1 "I've just returned from a trip overseas where we concluded nearly $350 billion of military and economic development for the United States, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs." (Trump's figures are inflated and premature.)
JUNE 4 "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'" (The mayor was specifically talking about the enlarged police presence on the streets.)
JUNE 5 "The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C." (Trump signed this version of the travel ban, not the Justice Department.)
JUNE 21 "They all say it's 'nonbinding.' Like hell it's nonbinding." (The Paris climate agreement is nonbinding -- and Trump said so in his speech announcing the withdrawal.)
JUNE 21 "Right now, we are one of the highest-taxed nations in the world." (We're not.)


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Ten Companies Own All the Junk Food

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Just when you think there's no end to the diversity of junk food lining supermarket aisles, an insanely detailed infographic comes along to set us all straight. Out of the hundreds of products at our disposal, only ten major corporations manufacture the bulk of what we toss in our shopping carts.

So whether you're looking to stock up on anything from orange soda to latte-flavored potato chips, Mondelez, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo, P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Danone, General Mills, Unilever own just about everything you could hope to buy. It seems that six degrees of separation theory has been proven after all, if only because we all drink Diet Coke every now and then.

In order to visually elucidate that point, Oxfam International created a comprehensive infographic that reveals the extensive reach of the "Big 10" food and beverage companies. Unlikely ties between brands we largely don't associate with one another show how easy it is to be misinformed about the American food system. For example, PepsiCo produces Quaker granola bars, and Nestlé makes Kit Kat bars but also frozen California Pizza Kitchen pies. To the surprise of many, Pineapple Fanta isn't sourced straight from the mythical Fanta Islands, but canned right alongside Barq's root beer at the Coca-Cola factory.

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Go Figure

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What I Miss Most

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