Politics and legislation

Obama Admin Cites ‘Int’l Permission,’ Not Congress, As ‘Legal Basis’ For Action In Syria

Uploaded by SenatorSessions on Mar 7, 2012

WASHINGTON, March 7—Under question from Sen. Sessions at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey indicated that “international permission,” rather than Congressional approval, provided a ‘legal basis’ for military action by the United States.

FBI director: Have to check whether targeted killing rule is outside US only

FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday said he would have to go back and check with the Department of Justice whether Attorney General Eric Holder’s “three criteria” for the targeted killing of Americans also applied to Americans inside the U.S.

Pressed by House lawmakers about a recent speech in which Holder described the legal justification for assassination, Mueller, who was attending a hearing on his agency’s budget, did not say without qualification that the three criteria could not be applied inside the U.S.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/07/mueller-have-to-check-with-holder-whether-targeted-killing-rule-is-outside-us/#ixzz1ofCPdMO8

Second House panel clears bill to repeal Medicare board

A second House committee agreed by voice vote Thursday to repeal a key cost-cutting board in President Obama’s healthcare law.

The Ways and Means Committee voted to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a 15-member panel tasked with cutting Medicare payments. The Energy and Commerce Committee passed the same repeal bill earlier this week.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/214935-ways-and-means-clears-bill-to-ax-health-laws-cost-cutting-board

Judge Bars Voter ID in Wisconsin
Sandra Khalifa, News Analysis:

“Voter ID laws have been sweeping the country state by state in the last year, deliberately barring many progressive-voting citizens from access to the polls. Although it’s less likely to commit voter fraud than be struck by lightning, conservatives in state government have been using voter fraud as an excuse to disfranchise people without specific photo identification. The people affected range from students, seniors, low-income communities, the disabled, transgender individuals, and communities of color.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/judge-bars-voter-id-wisconsin-1331218357

Student Loan Forgiveness Act Introduced in Congress
Sandra Khalifa, Video Report:

“Yesterday Representative Hansen Clarke (D-MI) released HR4170, the Student Loan Forgiveness Act. The bill aims to stimulate the economy and protect those struggling with their student loan payments. Clark announced, ‘It’s time for Congress to stand for the rights of student loan borrowers. It’s time to forgive these student loan debts.’ The bill provides that if a student loan borrower makes payments equal to 10% of their discretionary income for a period of 10 yrs, the balance of their federal student loan debt will be forgiven.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/student-loan-forgiveness-act-introduced-congress-1331318490

China to elect lawmakers on equal ratio of rural, urban representation

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) — China will elect deputies to its top legislature next year based on the same population ratio in rural and urban areas, if a draft decision on lawmaker election tabled for deliberation on Thursday is approved.

For the first time, the quota of 2,000 deputies to the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) will be given to urban and rural residents based on the same population ratio.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-03/08/c_131454226.htm

Economy

Huge Spike in Repeat Foreclosures

Thousands of foreclosures that were stuck in process due to delays over the so-called “Robo-signing” paperwork scandal are working their way through a revamped banking system and heading toward final bank repossession.

Foreclosure starts surged 28 percent in January from December, according to a new report from Lender Processing Services. More than 230,000 loans began the foreclosure process in January.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/46641784

Claims for jobless aid up; low 4-week average also rise

WASHINGTON (AP) – Slightly more people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. But the overall level stayed low enough to suggest the job market is strengthening.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications increased by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000.

The four-week average, which smooths week-to-week fluctuations, remained at roughly 355,000. That’s essentially unchanged from last week’s level, which was the lowest in four years.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-03-08/unemployment-benefits-claims-0303/53410434/1

Consumer borrowing nearly at pre-recession levels

WASHINGTON – Americans stepped up borrowing in January to buy more cars and attend school.

Consumer borrowing rose by $17.8 billion in January, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. That followed similar gains in December and November.

The gains for those three months were the largest in a decade and helped consumer borrowing climb to a seasonally adjusted $2.5 trillion. That nearly matches the pre-recession borrowing level.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-03-07/january-consumer-borrowing/53401334/1

Why Job Growth Might Mean High Unemployment

Payroll processing firm ADP reported Wednesday that private employment grew by 216,000 last month, a bump of 43,000 jobs over January’s figure. ADP’s numbers suggest improvement in even the economy’s weakest areas: construction has sustained five consecutive months of job growth, and there have also been seven consecutive months of growth in financial services. Both of those industries sustained heavy job losses as a result of the housing and financial crises. Manufacturing, which had seen more than a decade of decline before the recession, also added 21,000 jobs.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-job-growth-might-mean-160233717.html;_ylt=An.BIhHr4C91JO.0FOl4_zyiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTRiY2hwMm9sBG1pdANGUCBDb21tZW50YXJ5IGFuZCBBbmFseXNpcwRwa2cDNDI5OGI5NTEtZTZjZi0zMzViLTg4MWQtYjY4YjRmNDU4NTA4BHBvcwM0BHNlYwNNZWRpYVNlY3Rpb25MaXN0BHZlcgM3MTFjYjFiMC02ODZmLTExZTEtYWQzZC0yZWIzMTlmNDQ0NTc-;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Switzerland Wants Its Gold Back From The New York Fed

Earlier today, we reported that Germans are increasingly concerned that their gold, at over 3,400 tons a majority of which is likely stored in the vault 80 feet below street level of 33 Liberty (recently purchased by the Fed with freshly printed money at far higher than prevailing commercial real estate rates for the Downtown NY area), may be in jeopardy,and will likely soon formally inquire just how much of said gold is really held by the Fed. As it turns out, Germany is not alone: as part of the “Rettet Unser Schweizer Gold”, or the “Gold Initiative”: A Swiss Initiative to Secure the Swiss National Bank’s Gold Reserves initiative, launched recently by four members of the Swiss parliament, the Swiss people should have a right to vote on 3 simple things: i) keeping the Swiss gold physically in Switzerland; ii) forbidding the SNB from selling any more of its gold reserves, and iii) the SNB has to hold at least 20% of its assets in gold.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/switzerland-wants-its-gold-back-new-york-fed

Critical Mass: The Mispricing of Derivatives Risk & How the Financial World Ends

CURATOR: JOHN ROLLS. Jim Sinclair does a good job of explaining the difference between the notional and real value of derivatives, and how that real value comes to bear on the financial system in the event of a default. You can read this…

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1870/061/NL/

Obama touts jobs report as evidence of manufacturing success

By Jonathan Easley

President Obama tied Friday’s positive jobs report to his administration’s success in rebuilding the manufacturing industry during a visit to a Rolls-Royce plant in Virginia.

“Manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s,” the president said. “We just had another good month last month in terms of adding manufacturing jobs, and this facility is part of the evidence of what’s going on.”

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/215235-obama-touts-jobs-report-as-evidence-of-his-manufacturing-agenda

IT’S OFFICIAL: ISDA TRIGGERS GREEK CREDIT EVENT IN UNANIMOUS DECISION

It’s for real this time.

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association determined today that Greece’s bond swap has triggered a credit event.

That will lead to payouts of credit default swaps—essentially, insurance contracts on holdings of Greek bonds under Greek law—that investors purchased to hedge against the risk of holding Greek sovereign debt.

http://www.businessinsider.com/its-official-isda-triggers-greek-cds-2012-3#ixzz1ogPxivz7

Greek Debt Swap Sees 95.7% Participation With Clauses

March 9 (Bloomberg) — The Greek government said it reached its target in the biggest sovereign restructuring in history, with a 95.7 percent participation rate among investors after it received approval to activate collective action clauses.

Bondholders tendered 152 billion euros of Greek-law bonds, or 85.8 percent, after the government offered to swap their holdings for new securities under the debt exchange. Twenty billion euros of foreign-law bonds were also tendered, according to an emailed statement from the Greek Finance Ministry.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/03/08/bloomberg_articlesM0LT3D6S972801-M0LV0.DTL#ixzz1ogRa9zJh

Wars and Rumors of War

Libya’s Big-Oil PM Rolls Over for Western Masters

Libya’s Prime Minister, and British Petroleum, Total, and Shell-funded Petroleum Institute chairman Abdurrahim el-Keib, flatly denied allegations by Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin that Libya was directly funding, training, and arming militants in Syria. El-Keib’s denial stands in direct contradiction of reports like the London Telegraph’s “Leading Libyan Islamist met Syrian Army Opposition Group,” where it was revealed that “the new Libyan authorities had offered money and weapons to the growing insurgency against Bashar al-Assad.”

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Libya%27s_Big-Oil_PM_Rolls_Over_for_Western_Masters/18359/0/38/38/Y/M.html

62 dead in Syria as diplomatic efforts continue

(CNN) — At least 62 people were killed Thursday in Syria as former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan cautioned against outside military intervention, saying it could worsen an already precarious situation.

But, Annan told the Arab League summit in Cairo, “the violence and killings must stop immediately.”

Annan, the joint special envoy to Syria for the United Nations and the Arab League, began a visit to the region in Cairo on Wednesday. The U.N. said he will visit Damascus on Saturday “to seek an urgent end to all violence and human rights violations and to initiate efforts to promote a peaceful solution.”

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/08/world/meast/syria-unrest/index.html?eref=igoogledmn_topstories

US State Department Hands Terror-Cult US Base in Iraq

In an unbelievable act of high treason and overt criminality, the US State Department, headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has finalized arrangements to move the US State Department-listed foreign terror organization, Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), into the former US military base “Camp Liberty’ in Iraq.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/US_State_Department_Hands_Terror-Cult_US_Base_in_Iraq/18358/0/38/38/Y/M.html

US offered Israel advanced weaponry in exchange for delaying Iran attack: report

WASHINGTON — The US offered to give Israel advanced weaponry — including bunker-busting bombs and refueling planes — in exchange for Israel’s agreement not to attack Iranian nuclear sites, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Thursday.

President Obama reportedly made the offer during Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week.

Under the proposed deal, Israel would not attack Iran until 2013, after US elections in November this year. The newspaper cited unnamed Western diplomatic and intelligence sources.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/attack_offered_israel_advanced_weaponry_vJzadL8Qw5XoQ7akSRO9yK

Netanyahu: Strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities possible within months

An attack on Iran could take place within a matter of months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a series of television interviews on Thursday. “We’re not standing with a stopwatch in hand,” he said. “It’s not a matter of days or weeks, but also not of years. The result must be removal of the threat of nuclear weapons in Iran’s hands.” Netanyahu gave separate interviews to all three Israeli television stations, the first he has given since his return from Washington earlier this week.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-strike-on-iran-s-nuclear-facilities-possible-within-months-1.417417

Israel asks U.S. for arms that could aid Iran strike

Israel has asked the United States for advanced “bunker-buster” bombs and refueling planes that could improve its ability to attack Iran’s underground nuclear sites, an Israeli official said on Thursday. “Such a request was made” around the time of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week, the official said, confirming media reports. But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the issue, played down as “unrealistic” Israeli reports that the United States would condition supplying the hardware on Israel promising not to attack Iran this year.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46673712/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/#.T1qM67QycdQ

Panetta: U.S. Has Potential Military Plans for Iran

The Pentagon is preparing an array of military options for striking Iran if hard-hitting diplomatic and economic sanctions fail to persuade Tehran to drop its nuclear ambitions, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told National Journal in an interview on Thursday. Panetta said such planning had been under way “for a long time,” a reflection of the Obama administration’s mounting concern over Iran’s [alleged] continued progress towards a nuclear weapon. Panetta said in the interview that a unilateral Israeli strike against Iran would be less effective than one conducted by the U.S., which has a significantly larger air force and an array of advanced weapons more powerful than any possessed by Israel.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/nationalsecurity/panetta-u-s-has-potential-military-plans-for-iran-20120308

Obama asks Pentagon for military plans on Syria: Gen. Dempsey

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey says President Barack Obama has requested from the Pentagon military options against the Syrian government. According to a Wednesday report by The New York Times, Dempsey declared in a US Senate committee hearing in Washington that the Department of Defense was preparing military alternatives with regards to the existing situation in Syria for Obama’s review. The top American military chief made the remarks during a Wednesday hearing of US Senate’s Armed Services Committee. Dempsey added that potential measures considered by the American military ranged from “aerial surveillance of the Syrian military, the establishment of a no-fly zone, naval monitoring and humanitarian [sic] airlifts.”

http://presstv.com/detail/230546.html

CNN attempts to counter scandal over “Syria Danny” propaganda

Anderson Cooper attempted, and miserably failed, to mitigate the damage from the discovery that one of the poster boys for foreign intervention in Syria was manufacturing complete propaganda for Western consumption.

The video below is the original video exposing “Danny” as a vicious propagandist actively working against the interests of the Syrian people.

This is just more exploitation of the good intentions of people around the world for nefarious ends.

http://EndtheLie.com/2012/03/07/cnn-attempts-to-counter-scandal-over-syria-danny-propaganda/#ixzz1ofxXGwnU

Deal or No Deal? U.S. Denies Obama-Netanyahu ‘Package Deal’

White House denies the reports that Obama offered Netanyahu missiles if Israel agreed not to attack Iran during 2012.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/153582#.T1rSx7QyegZ

Environmental

Fukushima Disaster Anniversary Finds U.S. Nuclear Regulation Debate Still Raging
Corbin Hiar, News Report:

“One year ago on Sunday, an earthquake off the coast of Japan and the resulting tsunami triggered a month-long partial meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. In the days leading up to the anniversary of the crisis, advocates and opponents of nuclear power are squaring off in a fight over the lessons U.S. regulators should learn from the disaster.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/fukushima-disaster-anniversary-finds-us-nuclear-regulation-debate-still-raging-1331219767

Misc

Daniel Ellsberg Arrested Protesting the ‘American Nuclear Doomsday Machine’
Jane Ayers, News Analysis:

“In the wee hours of Saturday, February 25th, nuclear expert (and Pentagon Papers whistleblower) Daniel Ellsberg, along with David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), Cindy Sheehan, Fr. Louis Vitale, four members of CodePink, and six other concerned citizens, were all arrested for trespassing on military property while conducting an act of civil disobedience at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/daniel-ellsberg-arrested-protesting-american-nuclear-doomsday-machine-1331224456

US assassination drone crashes in Somalia’s Hobyo seaport

Another US assassination drone has crashed in Mudug region near Somalia’s seaport city of Hobyo, Press TV reports. A Somali official speaking on condition of anonymity said that the US spy drone had flown from the nearby USS Taylor warship. Recently, the US is using a new kind of drone, called a kamikaze drone, in Somalia. It functions both as a missile and an intelligence-gathering reconnaissance aircraft.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/230501.html

Afghanistan, U.S. to sign prison transfer deal: officials –Agreement will be the framework for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan beyond 2014

The United States and Afghanistan are expected to sign a deal on the transfer of U.S.-run detention centers to Afghan authorities on Friday, two Afghan officials said, improving the prospects of a strategic partnership allowing long-term U.S. involvement in the country. The Foreign Ministry later said Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak and Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, would sign an MOU. The Strategic Partnership Agreement, which Washington and Kabul have been discussing for over a year, will be the framework for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when the last foreign combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/09/us-afghanistan-usa-prisoners-idUSBRE8280BU20120309

U.S. firm linked to civilian deaths hired to train Canadian soldiers –Military has had relationship with Blackwater/Xe for years – documents

An American mercenary firm whose employees have been implicated in the killing of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan was paid nearly $2.4 million to train Canadian soldiers last year. Documents tabled in the House of Commons show Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater, was providing select troops specialized training in precision shooting and defensive driving at the company’s North Carolina facilities. Other soldiers were trained in bodyguard and close-quarter combat skills.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/firm+linked+civilian+deaths+hired+train+Canadian+soldiers/6266933/story.html

Navy Submariner( MoD Official) Accused Of Leaking Secrets

A Ministry of Defence official is due to appear in court today charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act, Scotland Yard has said. Edward Devenney, 29, is accused of communicating information which could be deemed to be useful to an enemy of the state. He was arrested by officers in Plymouth on Tuesday morning before being charged last night, the Metropolitan Police said. A Met spokesman said a number of searches had been completed in connection with the arrest.

http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16184600

Obama to Simulate Cyber Attack on New York Power to Lobby Senate

The Obama regime will simulate a cyber attack crippling New York City’s electric supply during a summer heat wave to drum up support for cybersecurity legislation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency and Justice Department are among agencies in Washington involved today in a Senate briefing on the New York scenario, said Vincent Morris, a spokesman for Senator Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism adviser, are taking part.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-07/at-t-joins-comcast-favoring-incentives-over-cybersecurity-rules.html

White Powder Mailed to New England Schools, Including 3 In Connecticut

FBI investigating incidents 08 Mar 2012 Schools throughout New England, including three in Connecticut, have been targeted by someone mailing envelopes containing white powder. The envelopes arrived at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Enfield on Monday, and at Anna Reynolds School in Newington and Island Avenue School in Madison on Wednesday. In each case, the envelopes disrupted the school day and prompted responses by police and firefighters.

http://www.courant.com/community/newington/hc-madison-school-powder-0308-20120307,0,7211112.story

Cyber Space

LulzSec’s Sabu: ‘ask me about the CIA’

When the Guardian spoke to the hacker last year, he was keen to discuss claims he worked for the authorities By James Ball

[Sabu] asked me to join him in an off-the-record internet chat – a conversation that happened seven weeks after Sabu, now unmasked as Hector Xavier Monsegur, had already been picked up by the FBI. Given the latest revelations about Sabu’s activities, that he worked as an informer from after his arrest on 7 June until just a few days ago, I think it is appropriate to publish a few extracts from our conversation. Sabu – and we cannot even be sure that our correspondent was the real Monsegur and not a US agent – was not representing himself accurately to the newspaper. If anything, he was testing the Guardian out, openly flirting with the notion that he worked for the CIA – and then inviting me to knock him down.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/mar/07/lulzsec-sabu-informer

Elite hacker arrested in NY cooperated from Day 1

In his Twitter postings, the elite computer hacker known as “Sabu” urged followers to resist the U.S. government and its agents. But court papers made public Thursday reveal that Hector Xavier Monsegur put up no such fight when FBI agents first knocked on his door on June 7. From almost that first moment, he began talking, naming names and helping investigators pick apart the international community of Internet saboteurs [heroes]. He was arrested at 10:15 p.m. By the next day, federal prosecutors had told a judge that Monsegur had given them detailed information on other hackers suspected of breaking into the computer systems at several big corporations.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j0Mbvu9DeKoYrZTzliPdqz9HbCZg

Irish police free student accused of breaking into top cybercop’s email, US-UK security call –FBI affidavits

Student is Internet infiltrator responsible for recording and posting online Jan. 17 trans-Atlantic conference call between American and British anti-hacking detectives 07 Mar 2012 An Irish computer hacker accused of breaking into the email account of Ireland’s top cybersecurity cop, then using its contents to eavesdrop on American and British anti-hacking detectives, was released without charges Wednesday. Irish police said they were preparing a new evidence file for state prosecutors to use against Donncha O Cearbhaill. He’s been arrested and released once before over alleged hacking attacks in Ireland last year.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/hackers-hit-spanish-firm-panda-security-claiming-revenge-for-fbi-arrests/2012/03/07/gIQA415hwR_story.html

Monsanto

Monsanto’s Blatant Corruption and Disregard for Health (video)

CONTRIBUTOR: ACTIVISTPOST. It is well known that Monsanto’s GMO crops provide a very real threat to both public health and the environment as a whole, but the depth of Monsanto’s corruption is often a less covered topic. It has been…

It is well known that Monsanto’s GMO crops provide a very real threat to both public health and the environment as a whole, but the depth of Monsanto’s corruption is often a less covered topic. It has been revealed by WikiLeaks that Monsanto not only has key figureheads stationed in powerful government positions inside the United States, but also has many — if not all — U.S. diplomats on their payroll.

Monsanto’s Corruption Exposed (2/4)

Monsanto’s Corruption Exposed (3/4)

Monsanto’s Corruption Exposed (4/4)