Tag Archive: CBO


Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Economic News  : Healthcare – Legislation – Taxation – Fiscal irresponsibility

There’s A Basic Flaw At The Heart Of Obamacare

 

Remember the big flap about the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Healthcare Act (AKA – Obamacare – ACA)? The issue that made the headlines was that the Supremes ruled that ACA was legal, provided that the penalty for not having health insurance was collected as a tax.

This is a big deal as the penalty ($700 a year per person) was supposed to be the discipline that forced people to go out and buy their own insurance. One either acquires health insurance, or they pay a price.

The CBO took a look at this last week (link). The results surprised me. The reality is that few people will end up paying the penalties. So the basic premises of ACA is actually a fraud.

CBO estimated that there will be 30Mn uninsured in 2016 when ACA goes into effect. Of that 30Mn, the following groups will be excluded from paying the penalty:

1)   Undocumented workers.

Really? But that is 10Mn people; a third of the problem!

2)   Religious Beliefs

Huh! What religion is that? If it gets you out of paying taxes, I want to join!

3)   Native Americans

Okay, after all, it is their land.

4)   Individuals and families with low incomes.

I can live with this. But isn’t this where we are today? Poor people don’t have health insurance today, and they don’t have to pay any fines. In 2016 they will still have no insurance, and they won’t have to pay any fines. What has been accomplished?

5)   Anyone who does not file federal income taxes.

This is directed to those with income of less than $10k per year (same as #4), but there are an awful lot of people who don’t file taxes who are making much more than the minimum amounts. Most waiters and bartenders would fall into this group.

6)   Individuals who can’t afford the cost of health insurance.

The annual cost of health insurance must be less than 8% of an individual’s income for the penalties to apply. What is this new insurance policy going to cost? If the answer is $250 per month (too low in my opinion) it means that anyone with an income less than $37,500 is excluded. If the cost of that Ins. policy is $500 a month(a more reasonable estimate), then anyone who has annual income of less than $75,000 would be excluded.

With these carve outs the number of individuals who would be subject to the penalty falls to 6Mn (80% drop). But it gets worse:

Among the uninsured individuals subject to the penalty tax, many are expected to voluntarily report on their tax returns that they are uninsured and pay the amount owed. However, other individuals will try to avoid payments.

Oh boy! How many of the remaining 6Mn will “voluntarily” pay the penalty, and how many will seek to “avoid” it? At least half will avoid it. There is not much risk of getting hit by the IRS if one’s income is < $75,000. The IRS does not have the manpower to chase after those who “avoided” the penalty. The CBO recognizes that the actual amount of fees collected is subject to:

the ability of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to administer and collect the penalty.

The only people who are going to end up paying are those who have something to fear from an audit.

Households with income that exceeds $60k are estimated to constitute aboutone-third of people paying penalties and to account for about two-thirds of the receipts from those penalties.

The CBO reckons that Uncle Sam will collect about $8Bn a year in fees. This money will be used to offset some of the costs of the uninsured. The Penalty is also the “stick” of ACA that forces people to get insurance by one means or another. I see it differently:

–       Post the introduction of ACA there will still be 30Mn people without insurance. These people will still get sick or injured; they will continue to be a drag on everyone else.

–       The fees/taxes that are supposed to provide discipline and revenue for ACA will accomplish very little. I will be amazed if the penalties total more than $2Bn a year (peanuts). There will still be 30Mn people without insurance, and they will get sick (not peanuts).

–       The Administration and Congress have cooked up a deal that got amended by the Supremes that will result in a great new opportunity for people to cheat on their taxes. Millions will take advantage.

–       ACA is a wealth redistribution program. ACA will create more TAKERS; the PAYERS will foot the bill.

++

Mitt probably lost any chance he had with the election with is words about the “other” 47%. But the fact is the country is divided between Takers and Payers. The CBO head, Doug Elmendorf had this to say about the dilemma the country faces:

image

Formidable? I would say impossible.

Four years from today the Taker – Payer ratio will exceed 50%. The argument then will be the same as it is today. In order to pay for the cost of government, taxes will have to be much higher than the historical norm. But the necessary higher taxes will drag on the economy, and growth will be far less than potential. Sub-par growth means high unemployment and low tax receipts. The vicious debt spiral will continue.

Where does this lead us? Elmendorf’s thoughts:

image

The conclusion is that we are headed into a crisis, and when it happens we will not have the resources available to fight that crisis off. What kind of plan is that?

no graffiti

quinn.anya at www.flickr.com

plan

anarchosyn at www.flickr.com

 

 

Politics and Legislation

The Hill: Obama shifts healthcare defense

By Sam Baker

The Obama administration has shifted its legal arguments as it prepares to defend the president’s healthcare law before the Supreme Court.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/216361-obama-shifts-healthcare-defense

The Hill: Republican bill would enroll seniors in same health plans as lawmakers

By Julian Pecquet

A group of Senate Republicans has introduced legislation that would end traditional Medicare and sign seniors up for the same private healthcare plans received by members of Congress.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/medicare/216303-gop-medicare-bill-would-enroll-seniors-into-lawmakers-plans

Washington elites queue up to see nine justices on hot seat

By Janet Adamy and Jess Bravin

The hottest ticket in the capital is for a spot inside the Supreme Court to watch three days of arguments challenging the 2010 health-care law that begin here a week from Monday.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303863404577283631472580966.html?mod=ITP_AHED

Tape A Cop, Face A Felony Charge

Well, now the news is that in Chicago the police will continue to
enforce, arrest, and prosecute citizens under this law as long as
it remains on the books.

Coming to Chicago in May is an upcoming NATO summit and it is
expected to bring with it huge numbers felonious camera carrying
members of the public, and you can bet the police will have their
own cameras trained on them.

Supreme Court rules out television cameras for healthcare arguments

By Sam Baker

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected calls to allow television cameras into its chambers during arguments over President Obama’s healthcare law.??

The court said it would release same-day audio recordings of the arguments, scheduled for March 26-28. It cited the “extraordinary public interest” in the case, which could lead to President Obama’s signature domestic achievement being struck down in the midst of the campaign season.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/legal-challenges/216447-supreme-court-no-cameras-in-healthcare-case

GOP Super PAC Men Seek to Overturn Donation Limits

Michael Beckel, News Report:

McCutcheon is a 44-year-old general contractor in Alabama. He’s the owner, founder and president of Coalmont Electrical Development. He’s a member of the Republican Party who admits he may have a bit of a libertarian streak. And he’s also the treasurer of a super PAC called the “Conservative Action Fund.” That’s a group that spent more than $43,000 opposing House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Alabama, although it has mostly targeted Democrats with its attacks.

http://www.nationofchange.org/gop-super-pac-men-seek-overturn-donation-limits-1331907498

Democratic Senators Issue Strong Warning About Use of the Patriot Act

For more than two years, a handful of Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee have warned that the government is secretly interpreting its surveillance powers under the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming if the public – or even others in Congress – knew about it. On Thursday, two of those senators – Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado – went further. They said a top-secret intelligence operation that is based on that secret legal theory is not as crucial to national security as executive branch officials have maintained. The senators, who also said that Americans would be “stunned” to know what the government thought the Patriot Act allowed it to do, made their remarks in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. after a Justice Department official last month told a judge that disclosing anything about the program “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/us/politics/democratic-senators-warn-about-use-of-patriot-act.html?_r=1

Economy

UK could lose coveted AAA rating, warns Fitch

Britain’s hopes of retaining its prized triple-A credit rating were dealt a blow last night after Fitch said the country was more likely than not to be downgraded.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9144551/UK-could-lose-coveted-AAA-rating-warns-Fitch.html

The Global Economy is Now More Vulnerable to Oil Prices than Ever

This paper examines the impact of oil price changes on global economic growth. Unlike some recent studies, this paper finds that oil price rises have had significant negative impacts on world economic growth. A time-series analysis of the data from 1971 to 2010 finds that an increase in real oil price by 10 dollars is associated with a reduction of world economic growth rate by between 0.4 and 1% in the following year. As oil prices approach historical highs, the global economy may be vulnerable to another oil price shock.

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/The-Global-Economy-is-Now-More-Vulnerable-to-Oil-Prices-than-Ever.html

Gold “Vulnerable” as U.S. Treasury Bond Market Sell-Off Worsens

The WHOLESALE-MARKET gold price twice rose within a few cents of $1650 per ounce in London Thursday morning, adding 0.9% from yesterday’s fresh 8-week low as industrial commodities ticked lower again.

The price of silver bullion rallied 2.3% to $32.40 per ounce, but remained over 5% down for the week so far, being “very much influenced” by the gold price according to one Swiss precious-metals dealer.

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article33621.html

Europe’s Economic Crisis: Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Belgium Following Greece

It isn’t over until it is over. Of course, we are referring to Europe and its version of 1984. We find it profound that the bankers, politicians and bureaucrats of Europe can do what they have done with a straight face. Investor had a haircut shoved down their throats and the ECB, the European Central Bank and the IMF were exempt.

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article33614.html

Retail sales suggest consumers shrugging off gas prices

Dave Prokupek doesn’t like the high price of gasoline either. But business is good enough at Smashburger that the chain where Prokupek is CEO opened its 150th restaurant Wednesday, and plans to open up to 75 this year, even though eating out is theoretically the first thing gas-strapped consumers would trim.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-03-14/gas-prices-consumer-spending/53536216/1

S&P 500 ends best week since December with quiet day

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 closed out its best week in three months with a slim gain on Friday as investors continued to propel equities near four-year highs.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/p-ends-over-1-400-024934926.html;_ylt=ApQL0mCH094ssRZYbqrtjyiiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQzcjhzN29wBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIEp1bWJvdHJvbiBMaXRlBHBrZwM4NmU2MDcwOC1mNmVhLTNkMDUtYWUzZC0yMjI0OWUzZjI0MjIEcG9zAzEEc2VjA2p1bWJvdHJvbgR2ZXIDZTc4ODAwZDAtNmYxMi0xMWUxLTk2NmItNzIxM2Q2ZDI2ZmJl;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Jobless claims fall, manufacturing holds up

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Economic growth showed signs of becoming more self-sustaining as the number of Americans claiming new jobless benefits fell back to a four-year low last week and manufacturing activity in the Northeast picked up this month.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/jobless-claims-fall-manufacturing-holds-025406890.html;_ylt=AvsoQHMJwEqo4vsQWGfhQHqiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0NWxhc2xjBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIFRvcCBTdG9yeSBSaWdodARwa2cDYTFkNjVjNjktNjY3Ny0zY2RmLTg4MzQtYjdkODNjY2NkZTQ0BHBvcwMxBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzk4YWNmOGMwLTZmMTMtMTFlMS1iNWZmLWZmOTYwOTBjZDY4OA&#8211;;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Secret “Occult Economy” Coming Out of the Shadows?

During December 2011 and January 2012, I wrote two articles dealing with the announcement of two different lawsuits being filed in U.S. District Courts regarding astronomical amounts of money in the forms of U.S. Bonds, Federal Reserve Notes, foreign government-issued bonds, and other financial instruments.

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/secret-occult-economy-coming-out-of.html

Appropriators warn legislative agencies of further funding cuts

By Debbie Siegelbaum

Members of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on The Legislative Branch are warning congressional agencies that the current atmosphere of economic austerity will likely not abate any time soon.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/216321-senate-appropriators-warn-legislative-agencies-of-further-funding-cuts

CBO finds Obama budget adds $3.5T to deficits

By Erik Wasson

President Obama’s 2013 budget would add $3.5 trillion to annual deficits through 2022, according to a new estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

It also would raise the deficit next year by $365 billion, according to the non-partisan office.

The CBO estimate is in sharp contrast to the White House claims last month that the Obama budget would reduce deficits by $3.2 trillion over the next decade.?

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/216397-obama-budget-adds-35-trillion-in-deficits-cbo-finds

Fourth straight monthly fall in FDI

Foreign direct investment (FDI) shrank in February from a year earlier, the fourth straight fall, while investment from Europe witnessed a sharp decline, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Experts were not optimistic about the inflow of foreign investment into China as the European debt crisis continues and domestic economic growth slows down.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-03/16/content_14847086.htm

The View From Muppetland

Veena Trehan, Op-Ed:

Banks relentless search for profits has racked up immense “collateral damage”. Investment banks have injured individuals and institutions of every stripe. Institutions include the country Greece whose books Goldman cooked; Jefferson County, Alabama, and many European cities devastated by risky derivatives; colleges like the University of Virginia and Harvard who have held cut-rate sales on private equity; and pension funds and others who sued for fraudulent trades.

http://www.nationofchange.org/view-muppetland-1331903343

Four Whistleblowers Who Sounded the Alarm on Banks’ Mortgage Shenanigans

Cora Currier, News Analysis:

“Buried in the sweeping mortgage settlement with banks, for which final documents were filed this week, are five whistleblower cases that shed light on the litany of foreclosure abuses by the banks. According to one suit, Bank of America allegedly passed bad loans on to the Federal Housing Administration. According to another, the bank allegedly denied qualified homeowners access to HAMP, the government’s loan modification program.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/four-whistleblowers-who-sounded-alarm-banks-mortgage-shenanigans-1331912410

Wars and Rumors of War

Azerbaijan arrests 22 of their own citizens for allegedly being Iranian spies

The Azerbaijani government has announced the arrest of 22 of their own citizens who they claim are Iranian spies.

The tensions between Iran and neighboring Azerbaijan have only increased over recent months and this latest announcement is, without a doubt, not going to make anything less heated.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Azerbaijan_arrests_22_of_their_own_citizens_for_allegedly_being_Iranian_spies/18467/0/38/38/Y/M.html

GOP senator dismisses ‘CliffsNotes’ explanation for killing citizens abroad

By Jordy Yager

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Thursday demanded that the White House hand over documents that detail the administration’s legal case for killing U.S. citizens abroad who are believed to be terrorist threats.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/216263-gop-senator-dismisses-holders-cliffs-notes-explanation-for-killing-citizens-abroad

Obama: Window for diplomacy in Iran shrinking

US President says administration will do “everything we can” for diplomatic solution, but urges Tehran to negotiate.

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=261878

U.K’s Cameron: No justification for Israeli attack on Iran

In interview to NBC’s Brian Williams, British Prime Minister says Iran could maintain a civilian nuclear project if it did away with the military aspects of its program.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/u-k-s-cameron-no-justification-for-israeli-attack-on-iran-1.419068

US admits Israel is arming and training terrorist groups to create terrorism

Uploaded by 91177info on Feb 9, 2012

So much for this War on Terror! It is actually War OF Terror. This is proof THEY are creating terror directly and indirectly. This was shown live on US television !!

Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.
The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have  U.S. Embassy in Tehran since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

Currency Wars: Iran’s banks to be blocked from global banking system

Swift, the body that handles global banking transactions, says it will cut Iran’s banks out of the system on Saturday to enforce sanctions.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17390456

78 Percent of Americans Oppose Invading Syria

Strong Opposition Also Seen to Arming Rebels

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/03/15/78-percent-of-americans-oppose-invading-syria/

Environmental

Proposed UN Environmental Constitution For The World Would Establish An Incredibly Repressive System Of Global Governance

Most people have no idea that the United Nations has been drafting an environmental constitution for the world that is intended to supersede all existing national laws. This document has a working title of “Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development” and you can read the entire thing right here. Work on this proposed world environmental constitution has been going on since 1995, and the fourth edition was issued to UN member states on September 22nd, 2010. This document is intended to become a permanent binding treaty and it would establish an incredibly repressive system of global governance.

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/proposed-un-environmental-constitution-for-the-world-would-establish-an-incredibly-repressive-system-of-global-governance

Activism

Occupy-Monsanto to Wear Bio-Hazmat Suits as They Protest a Genetically Modified Congress

News Report: The GCU will arrive at the metro station wearing bio-hazmat suits to assess whether Members of Congress and their staff have been victims of genetic crimes. The GCU will hold a banner that reads, “Congress is Genetically Modified,” as they circulate on Capitol Hill sidewalks. This day of action is part of a larger international call to ‘Occupy Monsanto’ taking place all over the globe including Spain, Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and at least 28 cities throughout the US.

http://www.nationofchange.org/occupy-monsanto-wear-bio-hazmat-suits-they-protest-genetically-modified-congress-1331912438

The American Spring: A Time for Occupy to Blossom

Kevin Zeese, News Report:

The weekend of March 31st and April 1st includes a two day “Bail Out America” direct action training organized by the Backbone Campaign which will provide information on strategies and tactics and developing creative actions that advance the causes of Occupy.

http://www.nationofchange.org/american-spring-time-occupy-blossom-1331906460

Cyber Space

House Dems demand meeting with Apple over privacy policy for iPhone, iPad apps

By Brendan Sasso

Two prominent House Democrats demanded a briefing with Apple over its privacy policies for mobile device applications in a letter to CEO Tim Cook on Thursday.

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/216299-house-democrats-demand-meeting-with-apple-over-privacy

LulzSec-linked STRATFOR hacker appears in court

The Chicago-based hacker who took credit for a devastating computer attack on intelligence company Stratfor made his first appearance in a New York federal courtroom, after his March 5 arrest. Hammond, 27, faces federal charges of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, computer hacking and access device fraud… Hammond chuckled when his attorney, Liz Fink, asked a prosecutor if today was the Ides of March and said, “Et tu Brutus?” a possible reference to the betrayal Hammond might have felt at learning he and other hackers were undone by LulzSec leader-turned government informant [traitor] Hector Xavier Monsegur, known online as “Sabu.” Monsegur’s FBI handler was present but declined to comment after the proceeding.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/15/lulzsec-linked-hacker-who-threatened-to-burn-white-house-appears-in-court/

Radiation

4 more steam tubes fail in tests at troubled San Onofre nuclear plant’s Unit 3 reactor

Four more tubes that carry radioactive water at a Southern California nuclear power plant failed pressure tests, prompting new safety concerns, officials disclosed Friday. The four tubes in a massive steam generator failed Thursday in the Unit 3 reactor at the San Onofre coastal plant in northern San Diego County, Southern California Edison said. Three other tubes failed earlier tests, the company said Wednesday, bringing the total to seven.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/4-more-steam-tubes-fail-in-tests-at-troubled-southern-calif-nuclear-plant-unit-3-reactor/2012/03/16/gIQAhcoHGS_story.html

Heavy tube wear a mystery at Calif. nuclear

Forty-five days after a radioactive water leak prompted a Southern California utility to shut down a nuclear reactor, investigators Friday sought to pinpoint why tubing in the plant eroded at an alarming rate while the prospect of an extended repair job raised questions about summertime power supply. Tests on massive steam generators at the troubled Unit 3 reactor at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which was shut down as a precaution after the leak on Jan. 31, revealed seven alloy tubes that carry radioactive water are in danger of rupturing under high pressure. Traces of radiation escaped during the January leak.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/16/2697689/4-more-tubes-fail-in-tests-at.html

UK nuclear sites at risk of flooding, report shows

As many as 12 of Britain’s 19 civil nuclear sites are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion because of climate change global warming, according to an unpublished government analysis obtained by the Guardian. Nine of the sites have been assessed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as being vulnerable now, while others are in danger from rising sea levels and storms in the future. The sites include all of the eight proposed for new nuclear power stations around the coast, as well as numerous radioactive waste stores, operating reactors and defunct nuclear facilities.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/07/uk-nuclear-risk-flooding

Misc

The Obama Flag: Who Decided That It Was Okay To Replace The Stars On The American Flag With The Face Of Barack Obama?

Democrat Party headquarters in Lake County, Florida has been flying an American flag with a face of Barack Obama on it. Yes, you read that correctly. The “Obama flag” features a huge picture of the face of Barack Obama in the area where the stars are usually located. To many Americans today, the American flag may be “just a piece of cloth”, but when I was young I was taught that one must never desecrate the American flag. The American flag is our highest national symbol. Millions of Americans have fought and died defending freedom and liberty under that banner. To see a photo of Barack Obama plastered on it is an absolute disgrace. Sadly, there are lots of these flags floating around. In fact, you can buy them online for $12.95. Down in Florida, the chairwoman of the Lake County Democratic Party took down the “Obama flag” after a group of veterans protested, but she also said that she is not promising that she will not put it back up and that she is going to consult an attorney about all of this.

Needless to say, a lot of veterans had steam coming out of their ears when they heard about the Obama flag. Korean war veteran Don Van Beck said that he was absolutely furious when he saw what they had done to the American flag….

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-obama-flag-who-decided-that-it-was-okay-to-replace-the-stars-on-the-american-flag-with-the-face-of-barack-obama

GRIME WAVE

It’s a dirty job: Police nationwide take on soaring Tide detergent theft

Law enforcement officials across the country are puzzled over a crime wave targeting an unlikely item: Tide laundry detergent.

Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it. And retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid.

http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/03/12/031212-news-tide-theft-1-4/

McCain sees another Solyndra in Navy biofuels spending

By Carlo Munoz

The Navy’s push to develop biofuels to run its fleet of planes and warships could devolve into a “Solyndra situation” for the Pentagon, a top Republican senator said today.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/army/216261-mccain-warns-navy-biofuels-plan-could-become-another-solyndra

Department of Agriculture to offer beef without ‘pink slime’ to schools

By Mike Lillis

Facing increasing pressure over its embrace of “pink slime,” the Obama administration announced Thursday that it will offer schools ground beef absent the controversial product.

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/216299-house-democrats-demand-meeting-with-apple-over-privacy

Norway Military Plane Lost During Exercise
C-130 presumed crashed; 5 missing

AP) – A Norwegian military transport plane with five people on board went missing today during an exercise and was feared to have crashed in northern Sweden, officials said. The C-130 was heading from Evenes in northern Norway to the Swedish city of Kiruna where it was supposed to pick up personnel. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane when it was about 50 miles west of Kiruna, a Norwegian military spokesman said.

http://www.newser.com/story/141930/norway-military-plane-lost-during-exercise.html

Lawyer wants WikiLeaks case dropped

A lawyer for an army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of pages of classified information has asked a military judge to dismiss the charges, arguing the government bungled the handover of documents to the defence. The request came during a pre-trial hearing for Private Bradley Manning at a military courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland. Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, asked that charges against his client be dismissed because the government has “hopelessly” messed up the document turnover in the nearly two years Manning has been held.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/lawyer-wants-wikileaks-case-dropped-20120316-1vaky.html

State Dept. moves to fire author of book critical of Iraq reconstruction effort

Peter Van Buren, a foreign service officer who wrote an unflattering book about his year leading two reconstruction [sic] teams in Iraq, was stripped of his security clearance, banned from State Department headquarters for a time and transferred to a telework job that consists of copying Internet addresses into a file. Now the State Department is moving to fire him based on eight charges, ranging from linking on his blog to documents on the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks to disclosing classified information. Van Buren called the termination notice he received Friday the coup de grace in a series of blows he received since his book, “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People” was published last fall.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/state-dept-moves-to-fire-peter-van-buren-author-of-book-critical-of-iraq-reconstruction-effort/2012/01/31/gIQAiXNSCS_blog.html

CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher

More and more personal and household devices are connecting to the internet, from your television to your car navigation systems to your light switches. CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through them. Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an “Internet of Things” – that is, wired devices – at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus enthused, “particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.” All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/petraeus-tv-remote/

HAZMAT situation: ‘Non-emergency significant event’ declared at Los Alamos –DP Road open after HAZMAT situation on Los Alamos property

With sirens blaring, emergency management vehicles raced down DP Road Wednesday, responding to a Hazmat situation at Enclosure 12 in TA-21. For two hours, DP Road was closed as the LANL Hazmat team, Los Alamos Fire and Police Department and FEMA assessed the situation. Most of DP Road was reopened around 1:45 p.m. as LAPD decreased its perimeter. Capt. Randy Foster said the initial call came into dispatch at 11:53 a.m. The road was closed east of 272 DP Road until the all-clear from the LANL Hazmat teams came in Wednesday evening. The situation has been categorized as a “non-emergency significant event” by the laboratory… Police said a voluntary evacuation was taking place on DP Road. Police said for those who are working on DP Road to remain inside if they chose to stay. Businesses along DP Road still were waiting for an all-clear signal as of 7:30 p.m. An automated 911 call was received at the Los Alamos Monitor at 1:05 p.m. advising all people on DP Road to shelter in place until the all-clear signal is sounded.

http://www.legitgov.org/HAZMAT-situation-Non-emergency-significant-event-declared-Los-Alamos

Whistleblower details unreported mercury spill at Hill AFB

A whistleblower’s claim that a 2007 spill of more than 60 pounds of mercury was not properly reported or cleaned up at this military base, where more than 24,000 military personnel and civilians work and live, has prompted a federal criminal investigation. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has backed that claim, concluding after an investigation in September and October that the base violated permits because it failed to report the spill and cleanup, improperly stored the cleaned-up material, improperly labeled storage containers that were also not in good condition and failed to inspect containers storing the hazardous waste.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=19583627http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=19583627&title=whistleblower-details-unreported-mercury-spill-at-hill-afb

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)

The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1

‘Media – West proxy to fuel Syria conflict’

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 14, 2012

Syria’s turmoil has been laid bare on our TV screens for more than a year, but some networks are being accused of affecting rather than reflecting the conflict. Maria Finoshina reports now, on how there’s more to the coverage on the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera TV channel, than meets the eye.

Food Safety

The Hill: Dem presses USDA to ban ‘pink slime’ in school lunches

By Mike Lillis

A Maine Democrat is pressing the Obama administration to ban “pink slime” in school cafeterias.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/216109-dem-presses-usda-to-ban-pink-slime-in-school-lunches

Catering Service Focus of Ottawa Outbreak Probe

By Dan Flynn

Three of 16 children with laboratory-confirmed Salmonella infections are being treated in Ottawa hospitals in an outbreak that has also sickened four adults.Health officials in Canada’s capital city investigating the outbreak have focused on a catering company called The Lunch…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/catering-service-may-be-link-in-ottawa-salmonella-outbreak/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120314

FDA Warning Letters:

By News Desk

From U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning letters posted March 13, 2012:Staples, Incorporated of Framingham, MA warned that an October/November 2011 inspection of the company’s Stockton, CA facility documented serious violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulation for foods,…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/fda-warning-letters/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120314

CDC: Outbreaks Linked to Imported Foods Increasing

By Helena Bottemiller

Foodborne illness outbreaks linked to imported food appeared to rise between 2009 and 2010, according to a new analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday.CDC reported that half of the foods implicated in outbreaks were imported…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/cdc-outbreaks-linked-to-imported-foods-increasing-2/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120314

Health

One US state is gagging doctors who want to tell you about the fracking chemicals in your blood

Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed and where the U.S. coal, oil and nuclear industries began, has adopted what may be the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the country, giving gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning laws, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts from drilling fluids on patients.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/154459/fracking_democracy:_why_pennsylvania%27s_act_13_may_be_the_nation%27s_worst_corporate_giveaway_

Antibiotic May Reduce Time Patients Carry E. Coli

By Gretchen Goetz

Antibiotics are not usually recommended for treating E. coli infections; however one of these drugs showed promising results when given to victims of last year’s massive European outbreak linked to sprouts. Azithromycin, administered to patients to prevent the spread of meningitis,…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/antibiotic-may-reduce-time-patients-carry-e-coli/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120314

Gastroenteritis Deaths Have Doubled

By Mary Rothschild

Most people erroneously call it “stomach flu” and think of it as an unpleasant nuisance, but the vomiting and diarrhea caused by inflammation of the stomach and intestines — gastroenteritis – can be lethal, and appears to be growing deadlier.The..

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/gastroenteritis-is-deadly/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120314

O104:H4 Genome Sequencing Used to Kill the Bug

By Dan Flynn

The deadly pathogen known as E. coli O104:H4, which devastated northern Europe last year, can itself be killed, San Francisco-based AvidBiotics Corporation announced Wednesday.Dean Scholl, who leads a team of scientists from AvidBiotics and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/team-uses-o104h4-genome-sequencing-to-kill-it/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120314

CBO: Health law could cause as many as 20 million to lose employer coverage

By Julian Pecquet

As many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-provided coverage because of President Obama’s healthcare reform law, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a new report Thursday.

The figure represents the worst-case scenario, CBO says, and the law could just as well increase employer coverage by 3 million people in 2019.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/216223-cbo-millions-of-americans-could-lose-their-employer-coverage

Monsanto’s Roundup is Killing Human Kidney Cells

Anthony Gucciardi, News Report:

“Monsanto’s ‘biopesticide’ known as Bt is not only developing mutated insects and requiring excessive pesticide use, but new findings show that it is also killing human kidney cells — even in low doses. Amazingly, Monsanto’s superweed-breeding Roundup also has the same effect. Scientists have demonstrated in new research that the Bt pesticide, in addition to Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, exhibit direct toxicity to human cells.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/monsanto-s-roundup-killing-human-kidney-cells-1331826999

Plan to Cut Benefits for Injured Federal Workers Stirs Concern

Jim Morris, News Analysis:

“The measure, championed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is included in a postal reform bill that may come up for a vote this month. Collins said it would stamp out abuses while saving money. Officials with federal employees’ unions say the legislation would unfairly punish victims of workplace violence and other traumatic injuries — and their families. Under the proposal, compensation would be capped at 50 percent of pre-injury pay for FECA recipients at age 65.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/plan-cut-benefits-injured-federal-workers-stirs-concern-1331824363

Holistic Health

Honey, I killed the superbug

by: John Stapleton

Australian researchers have been astonished to discover a cure-all right under their noses — a honey sold in health food shops as a natural medicine. Far from being an obscure health food with dubious healing qualities…

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/honey-i-killed-the-superbug/story-fna7dq6e-1225737035676

FDA petition to label GMOs nears one million signatures – sign it today!

By Jonathan Benson,

(NaturalNews) Only a few more weeks remain before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stops accepting public comments about a petition filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) seeking the FDA’s compliance with requiring mandatory labeling of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). And with more than 850,000 comments already submitted, according to Just Label It!, truth in labeling advocates everywhere are hopeful that the petition will reach its target of at least 1,000,000 signatures by…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035223_GMO_labeling_petition.html

Gluten attacks the brain and damages the nervous system

By Sarka-Jonae Miller,

(NaturalNews) Some people are literally stumbling through life thinking they are a klutz when really gluten is to blame. Before gastrointestinal symptoms like upset stomach appear, neurological damage may already be done, according to the Center for Peripheral Neuropathy. The Gluten Free Society calls gluten a “potential neurotoxin.” Gluten damage may cause everything from unexplained dizziness to numbness in the hands and feet. Gluten ataxiaApproximately 10 percent of people with Celiac disease…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035224_gluten_nervous_system_brain_damage.html

World renowned heart surgeon renounces mainstream heart health practice

By Paul Fassa,

(NaturalNews) It is very encouraging to see a mainstream medicine insider with impressive credentials come out and confirm what some of us outsiders have known for a while. Dr. Dwight Lundell has been a heart specialist MD and surgeon for 25 years, having performed 5,000 open heart surgeries. He was Chief Surgeon at the Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, AZ, and he ran a successful private practice. This is how he begins his personal testimony: “We physicians with all our training, knowledge and…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035226_heart_surgeon_statin_drugs_health.html

Bye-bye allergy head – Six tips for easy breathing this allergy season

By Kelly Pepper, D.C.,

(NaturalNews) Spring – what a beautiful time of the year, unless this means suffering with hay fever, itchy eyes, itchy skin, runny nose or asthma. Fortunately there are some simple, natural strategies to use instead of antihistamines or steroids (which actually worsen the underlying problems that are causing the allergies). 1. Boost the immune systemWhen we talk about allergies, boosting the immune system is integral to relief. Eliminate things that can weaken the immune system such as high sugar…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035227_allergy_season_breathing_remedies.html

FDA admits mercury in cosmetic products is extremely toxic – so how is it safe in dental fillings, vaccines?

By Ethan A. Huff,

(NaturalNews) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an updated warning about skin care products that may contain mercury, including many anti-aging, smoothing, skin-lightening, and beauty lotions and creams sold at ethnic beauty shops and online. Some of the tainted personal care products, most of which are imported, have been found to contain mercury levels far higher than acceptable limits, including one product that reportedly contained 131,000 times the acceptable limit of mercury…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035229_cosmetic_products_mercury_toxicity.html

New Jersey children nearly poisoned to death with pharmacy fluoride pills

By Ethan A. Huff,

(NaturalNews) More than a dozen families in New Jersey were shocked to learn recently that some of the supposed fluoride pills they had received from a CVS/pharmacy in Chatham were actually tamoxifen pills, a chemotherapy drug used to treat breast cancer. ABC News reports that an unknown error resulted in some of these families administering this chemotherapy medication to their children rather than the fluoride pills, a monumental error that could have life-threatening consequences. The Chatham…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035230_fluoride_pills_poison_children.html

Nutrition Alert for Patriots – urgent infographic released by NaturalNews

By Mike Adams,

(NaturalNews) We’ve just published a new infographic with an urgent health message for patriots — and by “patriots” I mean anyone who believes in America as a nation of free people… Constitutional America, with its Bill of Rights intact and respected. This infographic reveals a recipe for greatly improved health, vitality and longevity by following a few simple guidelines. It covers toxic foods and products to avoid, nutritional sources that boost courage and energy, and even tips on surviving…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035231_Nutrition_patriots_infographic.html

Whey protein and lactose intolerance

By Derrell Jones,

(NaturalNews) Many people are interested in shedding fat and building lean muscle essentially sculpting their bodies into works of art or maybe looking for a slimmed down version of their current selves. The benefits of being a little leaner these days help with many conditions such has diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular health and cholesterol to name a few. After all, sculpting lean muscle is the surest way to sustained, long term weight loss with the added benefit of increased health. One of the…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035233_whey_protein_lactose_intolerance_powder.html

Vitamin D found to shrink fibroid tumors

By Jonathan Benson,

(NaturalNews) Each year, roughly 200,000 women undergo a surgical procedure that involves the removal of their uteruses due to the growth of non-cancerous tumors known as uterine fibroids, which commonly develop in and around the walls of the uterus. But a new study published online in the journal Biology of Reproduction has found that vitamin D may effectively reduce the size of existing uterine fibroids, and may even help prevent them from forming in the first place. For their study, Sunil K…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035234_vitamin_D_fibroids_tumors.html

Agriculture

California Farming Communities Threatened by Nitrate Pollution

By James Andrews

A quarter-million residents of California’s Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley may be drinking water contaminated with nitrate from fertilizer and animal manure, according to a study released Tuesday by a researchers at the University of California, Davis. As a result,…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/california-farming-communities-threatened-by-nitrate-pollution/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120314

How the FBI MonitoredOrganic Farmers’ Market Under the Guise of Combating Terrorism:

The FBI conducted a three-year investigation, of activists for no apparent reason aside from the fact that they were anarchists, or protested the war in Iraq, or were “militant feminists.” Here’s the file.

http://gawker.com/5892639/how-the-fbi-monitored-crusty-punks-anarchist-hangouts-and-an-organic-farmers-market-under-the-guise-of-combating-terrorism

Pet Health

Three Main Brands Tied to Illnesses from Chicken Dog Treats

By Mary Rothschild

Nestle Purina PetCare Co.’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats or tenders, and the Del Monte Corp.’s Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats were the brand names most often cited by pet owners and veterinarians in complaints to the…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/three-brands-tied-to-illnesses-from-chicken-jerky-dog-treats/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120314