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I changed the Twitter block for Hong Kong

Tags are now: #OccupyCentral #HongKong #OccupyAdmiralty #OccupyCentral. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Forsythia blossoms in September

Just one or two. And it was 80°F, which was very nice.

Schneider 2x Tele. It was extremely hard to get the iPad to focus on this, and I was far enough away. The bud simply wouldn't "pop" into focus. I wasn't sure if the problem was that the branch was in almost constant motion, and was probably vibrating quietly even when I though it was at rest. You see why plants evolved windborne forms of reproduction; the air is almost never still! Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Concrete material benefits

Green candidate Jason Levin crashes legacy party meeting to which he was not invited

Portland Tribune:

When Jason Levin crashed a meeting of the two major-party candidates for governor with the Pamplin Media Group/EO Media Group on Monday, it wasn’t the first time that the Pacific Green Party nominee had drawn attention to himself.

But Levin says that compared with the well-heeled campaigns of Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber and Republican Rep. Dennis Richardson, he has to resort to such guerrilla tactics.

You bet. More like this, please. Read below the fold...

In the garden: More and more poppies

These are all from a shady area. They flowered late, and are out of the wind, though the poppies in the front garden are all gone, now. The sun is sinking, to the left.

Schneider 2x Tele.

And more. I can't help myself! Read below the fold...

In the garden: Plant behavior

Moat thigmotropism:

Schneider 2x tele. I see the idea here, in terms of the focal plane, or whatever they call it, but I still don't like the idea. I think if was DaVinci who thought distance was a function of haze; I'd rather think that way than in and out of focus. Still, the lens expresses what it can express and can't do anything else; it's only glass, after all. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Hong Kong awesome:

How Treasury flexians are manipulating the news flow on the Middle East

The Intercept has two great stories on our famously free press. Here's the first, by Glenn Greenwald, with the Flexian parts excerpted:

The Camstoll Group was formed on November 26, 2012. Its key figures are all former senior Treasury Department officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations whose responsibilities included managing the U.S. government’s relationships with Persian Gulf regimes and Israel, as well as managing policies relating to funding of designated terrorist groups. Most have backgrounds as neoconservative activists. Two of the Camstoll principals, prior to their Treasury jobs, worked with one of the country’s most extremist neocon anti-Muslim activists, Steve Emerson.

Camstoll’s founder, CEO and sole owner, Matthew Epstein, was a Treasury Department official from 2003 through 2010, a run that included a position as the department’s Financial Attaché to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. ...

Prior to his Treasury appointment by the Bush administration, Epstein was a neoconservative activist, writing articles for National Review and working with Emerson’s aggressively anti-Muslim Investigative Project (Epstein’s published resume omits his work with Emerson). His pre-Treasury work for Emerson’s group, obsessed with The Muslim Threat Within, presaged Peter King’s 2011 anti-Muslim witch hunts. ...

Camstoll’s Managing Director, Howard Mendelsohn, was Acting Assistant Secretary of Treasury, where he also had ample policy responsibilities involving the Emirates; a 2010 WikiLeaks cable details how he “met with senior officials from the UAE’s State Security Department (SSD) and Dubai’s General Department of State Security (GDSS)” to coordinate disruption of Taliban financing. Another Managing Director, Benjamin Schmidt, worked with Epstein at Emerson’s Investigative Project before his own appointment to Treasury; a 2009 diplomatic cable shows him working with Israel on controlling financing to Palestinians. A Camstoll director, Benjamin Davis, was the Treasury Department’s Financial Attaché in Jerusalem.

On December 2, 2012 – less than a week after Camstoll was incorporated – it entered into a lucrative, open-ended consulting contract with an entity wholly owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Outlook Energy Investments, LLC (its Emir, the President of UAE, is pictured above). A week later, Camstoll registered as a foreign agent working on behalf of the Emirate. The consultancy agreement calls for Camstoll to be paid a monthly fee of $400,000, wired each month into a Camstoll account. Two weeks after it was formed, Camstoll was paid by the Emirates entity a retainer fee of $4.3 million, and then another $3.2 million in 2013.

Awesome!

In other words, a senior Treasury official responsible for U.S. policy toward the Emirates leaves the U.S. government and forms a new lobbying company, which is then instantly paid millions of dollars by the very same country for which he was responsible, all to use his influence, access and contacts for its advantage. The UAE spends more than any other country in the world to influence U.S. policy and shape domestic debate, and it pays former high-level government officials who worked with it – such as Epstein and his company – to carry out its agenda within the U.S.

Gosh. It seems that Israel and AIPAC et al. may not be the exception, but the rule. Read below the fold...

Yahoo sucks

At least I'm getting a fancy screen now instead of "error 14" or just a spinning cursor. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Change and decay

Winter is coming. As the hymn goes:

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see:
O thou who changest not, abide with me!

This sounds like I'm depressed, but I'm not. I don't think I've ever been quite so aware of the seasonal cycle as this year; perhaps it's because I encountered change and decay as a subject to be encountered visually, as rich color and, thanks to my gardening style, layers of complexity and entanglement. Thanks to my new camera lenses! (And it is a cycle; "thou who changest not" is, IMNSHO, a nonsense. Everything changes, nothing is still. Try photographing a flower and you'll see it's in constant motion, even when there seems to be no breeze.)

But first, the enemy! If you want to see the desire for that which "changest not," look here:

Read below the fold...

Pelosi: 'Civilization As We Know It Would Be In Jeopardy' If The GOP Wins The Senate

Wowsers. Pelosi really has passed her sell-by date. But not to worry. Read below the fold...

Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff throws single payer under the bus because ObamaCare

Rule #1: Democrats will always betray you. True for fracking, true on on health care. Denver Post:

During Tuesday night’s Denver Post debate in the 6th Congressional District, Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff backtracked from his support four years ago for a single-payer health care system. At the time, the Affordable Care Act had just been passed by Congress, and Romanoff was running to the left of Sen. Michael Bennett as he challenged him unsuccessfully in the party primary.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s campaign seized Wednesday on what it called Romanoff’s “180-degree reversal,” suggesting his more moderate position this year was a “white wash” of his record. Romanoff said his position favoring a government-paid system changed because the health care reform law is now in place, and he doesn’t think it should be scrapped.

A couple of implications: Read below the fold...

The global overclass and its playbook for world domination (the actual playbook)

[I'm stickying this because it's an important post. It's everything that would work against the 12-point platform. --lambert]

Golem XIV has two awesome posts that you should read carefully in their entirety: Part one, and part two. I'm just going to pull out the list of plays in part 2.

But first, a note on language: Golem uses "overclass." I think that's preferable to "the 1%." "Overclass" clearly states who's over and who's under; who rules and who's ruled; who exploits and who is exploited, unlike "the 1%," which, although appealing rhetorically, is a mere statistical distribution, and not all that accurate, really: it's the 0.01% that are the real malefactors of great wealth. "The 1%" confuses, say, a wealthy Hollywood entertainment lawyer with Paul Singer or Carlos Slim. That's not to say both aren't on the same side, but they play different roles in civil society, and actually may have differing interests. "You gotta know the territory," as they say in The Music Man.

Herewith, the plays in the playbook and Golem's comment: Read below the fold...

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