Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - Jan 27, 2024

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Pablo Picasso

The violence will not stop soon enough to prevent additional lives to be lost and a culture damaged. The International Criminal Court ruling South Africa has Standing to file the case is hopeful. It is a big step towards a multipolar world. Now we will see if the United Nations is still a viable organization to expand peace around the world.

A few other issues found interesting.


The homeless problem keeps growing here locally and is mixed with a high percentage of substance abusers. Oregon is seriously looking at recriminalizing some drug use.

For decades I provided housing and RV parking options to acquaintances and family members who had housing issues. In 2020 Oregon implemented major changes to rental laws. I stopped letting anyone stay on my property or in my home. It became too easy to create landlord/tenant legal restrictions on getting them to leave if the situation became uncomfortable.

Tent camps and canines clog deer migration corridors in Central Oregon
The Bend Bulletin Jan 4, 2024

“This area here is crucial winter range. As you can see, it’s lined with RVs and dogs,” Hayes added. “A lot of these camps have pit bulls for protection and they chase the deer and kill them.”
After legalization of possession of most every previously illegal drug, including methamphetamines, the camps sprung up in and around every major city in Oregon. And when the campers are pushed outside city limits, they fill in the Forest Service and BLM lands, which just happens to be crucial deer habitat. And the deer are the big losers.
After touring the camps along both sides of Highway 97 between Bend and La Pine, it was easier to connect the dots.

The camps extend north to Redmond. They are found all the way down through Chemult to Beaver Marsh and Chiloquin. (note: about 127 miles)


Chinese gang nailed in huge WalMart gift cards scam Asiatimes Jan 21, 2024

Federal prosecutors would give it a simple name: “The Walmart scheme.”

America’s largest retailer has long been a facilitator of fraud on a mass scale, a ProPublica investigation has found. For roughly a decade, Walmart has resisted tougher enforcement while breaking promises to regulators and skimping on employee training, according to more than 50 interviews, internal documents supplied by former industry executives, court filings and other public records.

Scammers dupe a victim, as they did with Browne, and then they exploit Walmart’s lax systems to get paid quickly and easily. That’s been true whether the fraudsters use Walmart gift cards or instruct customers to send funds by electronic money transfer. The company, in the latter instance, is supposed to be on the lookout for fraud and asking questions: Do you know the person you’re sending money to? Is the money transfer related to a telemarketing offer?
That has helped fuel a boom in financial chicanery. Americans, many of them elderly, were swindled out of $27 billion between 2013 and 2022, according to the FTC.

Walmart has a financial incentive to avoid cracking down. It makes money each time a Walmart gift card is used and earns a fee when another brand of card is bought. And it receives one commission when a person sends a money transfer and a second when the recipient picks it up. The company’s financial services business generates hundreds of millions in annual profits. (Its filings do not provide specific figures for gift cards and money transfers.)
In China, gift card trading is a lucrative business. Gamers crave American Google Play, Apple and Steam gift cards because they can use them to purchase credits for games without needing a US credit card. Gift card trading can create “small gold mines” that generate “long-term, stable profits,” according to a post on a Chinese message board.

The lightning-fast model Chen used to launder the money extracted from Browne was typical of such scams. Chen made his profit by purchasing Walmart gift card numbers at a discount from contacts in China. A $100 Walmart gift card obtained from a victim might cost him only $70. He could then use that Walmart card to buy a $100 Apple card, then resell the Apple card at close to its face value, pocketing the difference.
The money transfer industry was, and is, massive, running into the hundreds of billions of dollars globally. It was also awash in swindles. Scammers had long loved money transfers for the same reason customers did: They made it easy to move cash rapidly across the world. Plus, they were hard to trace.
Gift card fraud is increasingly taking a different form: balance theft. A scammer grabs Walmart gift cards and takes them to a private spot, such as a bathroom stall. The criminal peels off the protective tape covering the PIN and photographs it and the card’s serial number. They reapply security tape and put the cards back on display, hoping a customer will pick one up.

As soon as a customer activates a card and loads money onto it, the crook (who uses the PIN and serial number to monitor the card’s balance on Walmart’s website) spends the money. When people go to use the card, they discover it has a balance of zero.

Walmart could thwart balance theft by wrapping its gift cards in secure packaging, as other retailers do, and by keeping them in a secure location.

Why Walmart Pays Its Truck Drivers 6 Figures Zerohedge Jan 23, 2024

The uber-retailer says truck drivers can make up to $110,000 in their first year at the company. That’s twice the nationwide median pay of a truck driver, and certainly above the $17.50 an hour that the average Walmart associate earns. Home time, paid vacation and good health insurance are also guaranteed for Walmart company drivers. These offerings are elusive in the trucking world.

It’s not out of the goodness of Walmart’s corporate heart that it pays truck drivers a truckload. Rather, truckers are key to Walmart’s retail dominance — and they have been from the start. Without a highly engaged trucking workforce, it’s not likely that the company would have flourished in the way it has. The Fortune 1 company prioritized supply chain long before it became a buzzword.
Walmart is now changing its truck driver hiring policies. Until 2022, the company required 30 months of driver experience before one could be considered for the company driver role. That year, the company began piloting a program that allowed Walmart associates to go to a 12-week driver training program and become fleet drivers. Walmart expanded the program nationwide. (Outside applicants still need 30 months of training, and not every associate who applies is admitted to the program.)

“We started the Associate-to-Driver program because we wanted to tap into our own talent pool of incredible associates and give them opportunity to develop their career,” the Walmart spokesperson said in a written statement. “It’s been a great opportunity for our associates to continue to grow their careers without having to leave the company.”
Another Texas-based truck driver, who joined Walmart seven years ago, said he fears it’s a sign that Walmart is approaching trucking in the same way as large for-hire fleets, which see typical turnover rates around 94%.


Pepe Escobar articles this past week.
I am still learning from his writings and will continue to include where to find the articles.

Pepe Escobar: Five Variables Defining Our Future Sputnik Globe

If we combine all these variants – stalemate; BRICS; the Lone Emperor; de-dollarization; garden and jungle – in search of the most probable scenario ahead, it’s easy to see that the only “way out” for a cornered Empire is, what else, the default modus operandi: Forever Wars.
And that brings us to the current American aircraft carrier in West Asia, totally out of control yet always supported by the Hegemon, aiming for a multi-front war against the whole Axis of Resistance: Palestine, Hezbollah, Syria, Iraqi militias, Ansarullah in Yemen, and Iran.
In a sense we’re back to the immediate post-9/11, when what the neocons really wanted was not Afghanistan, but the invasion of Iraq: not only to control the oil (which in the end they didn’t) but, in Michael Hudson’s analysis, “to essentially create America’s foreign legion in the form of ISIS and al-Qaeda in Iraq.” Now, “America has two armies that it’s using to fight in the Near East, the ISIS/al-Qaeda foreign legion (Arabic-speaking foreign legion) and the Israelis.”

How Yemen’s 'asabiyya' is reshaping geopolitics The Cradle Jan 25, 2024

With a simple, clear strategy, the Houthis perfectly understood that the deeper they draw the strategy-deprived Americans into the West Asian geopolitical swamp, in a sort of “undeclared war” mode, the more they’re able to inflict serious pain on the global economy, which the Global South will blame on the Hegemon.

Today, Red Sea shipping traffic has plunged in half, compared to the summer of 2023; supply chains are wobbly; ships carrying food are forced to circumnavigate Africa (and risk delivering cargo after its expiry date); predictably, inflation across the vast EU agricultural sphere (worth €70 billion) is rising fast.

Yet, never underestimate a cornered Empire.

Western-based insurance giants perfectly understood the rules of Ansarallah's limited blockade: Russian and Chinese ships, for instance, have free passage in the Red Sea. Global insurers have only refused to cover US, UK, and Israeli ships — exactly as the Yemenis intended.

So the US, predictably, changed the narrative into a big, fat lie: ‘Ansarallah is attacking the whole global economy.’
. The goal of the new, reframed American deceit is to elbow the Global South into ditching its support for Ansarallah's strategy.

Pay attention to this crucial US sleight of hand: Because, from now on, in a new perverse twist of Operation Genocide Protection, it is Washington that will be blockading the Red Sea for the entire world. Washington itself, mind you, will be spared: US shipping depends on Pacific trade routes, not West Asian ones.


In his own words
Who is Judge Napolitano? (46:36 min)

A fresh viewpoint frome someone who has not retired from a government job.
Aaron Maté : Biden Boxed In. (25:22 min)

The livestream videos this week by Judge Napolitano channel ongoing discussions regarding current events in Israel/Hamas/Gaza, Ukraine/Russia conflict and International Court of Justice. The interviews are generally posted on Monday through Friday if would like to view them in a more timely manner. The link opens in the LIVE column, occasionally an interview only appears in VIDEOS section.


What is on your mind today?

11 users have voted.


Lookout's picture

Raining here so no trade day.

Moderately good news on the ICJ ruling. It will be interesting to see how it will play out and if anything substantive comes out of it (ie will the genocide stop?)

Thanks for Pepe's articles always interesting. I heard an interview with him where he says something to the effect of: Don't mess with the Houthis (Ansar allah) they are bad ass MFers. Of course we ignored the advice. Yesterday a UK tanker was hit and caught on fire in the Red Sea for example.

Who are the Houthis?...analysts say the Shia group should not be seen as an Iranian proxy. It has its own base, its own interests – and its own ambitions.

Some one said Ansar allah were Yemeni royals. I can't find the quote and don't know if it is true. As usual we blunder in without understanding... We think might makes right, but the poorest people in the ME are kicking our ass...again.

I keep thinking of the tar baby.
The more we war, the deeper we become trapped in our own stupidity.

Hope all is well on the homestead. Thanks for the OT.

10 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

TheOtherMaven's picture

it changes the rules to allow a veto override - that is, a sizable majority (65%? 75%?) of member nations can vote to override a Big Five veto.

Right now, one Big Five veto is enough to stymie any proposal whatsoever.

10 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

One would hope a more sensible, balanced approach could prevail.
90% + of the time a spoken agreement works for me. I do not care
much for contracts as there are too many 'legal' loopholes.

Good luck and thanks for the OT!

7 users have voted.

@QMS to stay a few weeks in your garage or workshop at your home can make you a landlord, force you to go through a months long eviction law suit. Meanwhile, any utility provided, typically water, electric, and sewer, must be kept in service. The minute the tenants know you want them gone, they turn on the faucets, all lights, all heaters or a/cs, and begin to destroy door locks, etc... If you cut off any service, you can be arrested. If they have pets, they will stop cleaning up pee and poop, often destroy rugs.
An oral agreement is considered a valid contract, since the few weeks of occupancy having occurred shows there had to be an agreement of some sort.
I recently represented a man who evicted some "friends". The light bill went from $150 per month to $850. He couldn't pay it. When the lights were turned off by the utility company, cops swarmed him.
Most landlords are wealthy individuals who are looking for tax deductions.

8 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

on a Different note
Quixote Studios with Warner Bros Studios
are shooting a movie w/Leonardo and Sean Penn
helicopter shots and just fucking
shit up locally

hope I get a run in with Penn
that blood drinking satanist
I’ll curse his ass out for All
to see and hear

people locally have lost
their fucking Minds
over this ‘happening’
So EXcited and So PRoud

just another propaganda film
to snooker the masses(snoooore)

had rain have rain And
more Rain on the way
still no rain shovels for sale
go figure

hope things are as well as
could be expected with ya’all

why am I in this bucket
and where’s it going. . .


8 users have voted.

Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

Explain Bldg #7. . . still waiting. . .

If you’ve ever wondered whether you would have complied in 1930’s Germany,
Now you know. . .
sign at protest march

snoopydawg's picture


Sick fck's with no possible redemption.

7 users have voted.

Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

immediately respond as directed.

They follow marching orders as a response to the IJC ruling rather than condemning Israel for its genocidal actions.


Several key donor countries to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Saturday they would halt their funding, following accusations by Israel that several UNRWA staff were involved in Hamas's October 7 attack.

UNRWA responded saying it had fired several staff over Israel's accusations, promising a thorough investigation into the claims, which were not specified, while Israel vowed to stop the agency's work in Gaza after the war.

Here are what the countries that have suspended funding have said about the allegations:

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Saturday that while UNRWA provides "vital, life saving work", Brisbane would "temporarily pause disbursement of recent funding".

"We welcome UNRWA's immediate response, including terminating contracts and launching an investigation," she said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

Canada's International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen on Friday announced that Ottawa had "temporarily paused any additional funding to UNRWA while it undertakes a thorough investigation into these allegations".

Finland, which had a four-year agreement to provide five million euros ($5.4 million) annually to UNRWA, suspended its payments and called for an "an independent and thorough investigation", in a statement from its foreign ministry.

"We must make sure that not a single euro of Finland's money goes to Hamas or other terrorists," it said.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said it was joining the ranks of those suspending funding, adding, "We are committed to providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population while protecting Israel's security."

Switzerland, which has made annual contributions of around 20 million Swiss francs ($23 million) to UNRWA, said Saturday no decision would be taken on the 2024 payment until the accusations were clarified.

"Switzerland has zero tolerance for all forms of support for terrorism, and for calls to hatred or incitement to violence," it added.

Dutch Minister for Trade and Development Geoffrey van Leeuwen announced a freeze in funding for UNRWA while the investigation is ongoing, saying the government was "extremely shocked".

"The accusation is that the attack was committed on October 7 with UN money, with our money," he told public broadcaster NOS on Saturday.

The British government said it was "appalled by the allegations" made by Israel and would be "temporarily pausing any future funding" while the Foreign Office reviewed the claims.

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


the UN people took part in the attacks. And now it’s not only Israel that is starving Gazans, but Biden and his poodles.

I saw someone suggest that maybe this action will get China and Russia to run Israel’s blockade and get some food into Gaza. Yeah I’m not holding my breath. This should have been done long ago. And what happened to those 1,000 ships coming from Turkey?

As for the Texas border debacle, nothing is going to stop the flow of immigrants into America. 4 presidents are funding people to come here including Biden. Until we see businesses that hire them being charged for it then this is just another sideshow to distract us from various other bad things. McConnell says that republicans aren’t going to pass any type of border security because Trump wants to use the open border to run on. The fix is in. Immigrants will be allowed to join the military and other forces after it has cleared the military of any people who wouldn’t crack down on Americans. They should be considered a mercenary force. My 2 cents.

6 users have voted.

Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

@humphrey stop considering the Global West as the enlightened and civilized bunch.
I am amazed at the ways Israel can commit genocide. Very creative way to starve the Palestinians to death. All it took was one unproven allegation, and the ICJ ruling is nullified.

7 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

@on the cusp

6 users have voted.

crossing but the problem is that Israeli inspections are hindering the process.

Edited for a better video:

5 users have voted.

8 users have voted.

the ICJ ruling,

5 users have voted.

@humphrey @humphrey

Edited to add another cartoon:

6 users have voted.

The video giving the Judge time to give his bio was particularly interesting. I would have loved to have had him for a Constitutional Law prof. I would have likely argued with him occasionally, so we both lucked out.
My hopes of going to a zydeco show tomorrow got dashed. The bayous are low lands, and those country roads we travel are likely flooded out. There will be future dates. We can wait.
I met a lawyer who worked at the Hague. I wonder if she is seeing how irrelevant Israel and the US have rendered the institution. The irony of Beebee being one step ahead of prison cannot be missed.
What a damn world!
Thanks for the OT, friend! Always a good one.

5 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

snoopydawg's picture


From this article.


The comments are full of shitlibs who are so ‘misinformed' about the I/P issue just as badly as they are about Ukraine and Russia. But it’s not just shitlibs. I see many conservatives saying the same things on my local blog. No wonder congress keeps screwing us. Both sides know that their base will believe anything they tell them.

99% of the replies are in support of his actions. He is just as pro Israel as Biden is. I’ll not say what I’m thinking about him. But he got a 2nd chance at life and yet he doesn’t give a shit how many Palestinians don’t. I’ll just hope that karma is thinking up something for him.

4 users have voted.

Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

snoopydawg's picture


Blinken is getting hammered on this tweet. Basically he’s a fcking hypocrite, but there isn’t a mirror big enough for him to see it.


I understand the logic of lesser-evil voting. I just don’t understand the logic of designating a president who backs a literal genocide and engages in nuclear brinkmanship a “lesser evil”.


Young people spent 2020 protesting against racism and injustice and spent 2022 being told that it’s bad for an occupying force to drop bombs on people, but when Israel started a racist and unjust bombing campaign in 2023 older generations were still somehow surprised to see young people stand against it.

6 users have voted.

Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.