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The DuPont and Dow Chemical Merger: Bad Deal for People and the Planet

Groups are calling on the Department of Justice to reject the deal to protect food supply

"Just a handful of large chemical companies including Dow and DuPont already control most of the seed supply used to grow crops like corn and soybeans, as well as the herbicides that genetically engineered seeds are designed to be grown with," said Wenonah Hauter of Food & Water Watch. (Photo: Desmanthus4food/Wikimedia/cc)

“Just a handful of large chemical companies including Dow and DuPont already control most of the seed supply used to grow crops like corn and soybeans, as well as the herbicides that genetically engineered seeds are designed to be grown with,” said Wenonah Hauter of Food & Water Watch. (Photo: Desmanthus4food/Wikimedia/cc)

 

Watchdog groups are sounding the alarm after two of the oldest and largest corporations in the United States—DuPont and Dow Chemical—announced Friday plans to merge into a $130 billion giant, thereby establishing the world’s biggest seed and pesticide conglomerate.

The new behemoth, named DowDuPont, would then be split into “three independent, publicly traded companies through tax-free spin-offs,” according to a joint corporate statement marking one of the the largest deals of 2015.

These companies would focus on agriculture, material science, and “technology and innovation-driven Specialty Products company,” the statement continues. Together, they would form the second-largest chemical company world-wide.

The merger, if it goes through, is expected to slash numerous jobs.

And it would expand the influence of two Big Ag players, with the combined venture retaining control over “17 percent of global pesticide sales and about 40 percent of America’s corn-seed and soybean markets,” according to the calculations of Washington Post analysts.

Rights groups warn that this large share would be very bad for people and the planet—and called on the Department of Justice to block the merger.

“The Department of Justice needs to block this merger to prevent the further corporate control of the basic building blocks of the food supply.”
—Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch

“Just a handful of large chemical companies including Dow and DuPont already control most of the seed supply used to grow crops like corn and soybeans, as well as the herbicides that genetically engineered seeds are designed to be grown with,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of advocacy organization Food & Water Watch, in a statement released Friday.

“Any merger that consolidates this market into fewer hands will give farmers fewer choices and put them at even more economic disadvantage,” Hauter continued. “And it will make it harder for agriculture to get off the GMO-chemical treadmill that just keeps increasing in speed. The Department of Justice needs to block this merger to prevent the further corporate control of the basic building blocks of the food supply.”

According to the New York Times, “Despite the eventual breakup, the deal would undergo rigorous antitrust scrutiny for all three companies, particularly the agricultural chemicals company.”

Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute, confirmed Friday that “any merger on the agricultural inputs side of DuPont and Dow will get antitrust scrutiny.”

Nonetheless, watchdog groups warn that the merger announcement is a bad sign, in an industry that has already undergone dramatic consolidation.

“Some of the markets for biotech and seeds are highly concentrated, which has been driven by Monsanto having made so many acquisitions in the past. If you put a new merger in the this mix, it’s going to raise concerns about leaving only two or maybe three firms,” Moss explained. “Farmers could be squeezed even more and consumers could pay higher prices.”

Robert Reich, University of California at Berkeley professor and former Secretary of Labor, took to social media to warn that the merger would result in greater political power for the corporation, as well as “higher prices for you for food and a variety of other products.”

“Crop prices continue to drop, so the only way these giant companies can increase earnings is by increasing their market power to raise prices (Monsanto is also on the prowl to buy a Big Ag or chemical company),” Reich continued. “That means more of your paycheck will be going to them, directly or indirectly.”

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A ‘promise’ Obama made years ago

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by Christina Sarich
Posted on October 28, 2015

In a huge legal win, a federal judge in San Francisco has issued a landmark ruling that could serve to halt the DEA’s overly liberal interpretation of laws that have allowed them power to conduct search and destroy missions for medical marijuana.

In possibly the first-ever federal decision of its kind, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, slapped more than the DEA’s wrists. His decision stated that the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment clearly prevents the Justice Department from spending taxpayer money to hunt and chase marijuana users in states that have established medical marijuana programs.

The federal ruling comes from a case involving the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana founder, Lynette Shaw, who was forced to close down her medical marijuana dispensary in 2011 after the Justice Department served her with a federal injunction.

LieDetector-AndersonBy John Vibes

69-year-old Douglas G. Williams of Norman, Oklahoma was sentenced to two years in prison this week for running a website that pointed out the flaws in lie detector tests. Williams is a former detective for the Oklahoma City Police Department and throughout the course of his career he administered thousands of polygraph tests for his own police department, as well as other agencies like the FBI and the Secret Service. Through his experience, Williams learned that a polygraph is not a valid way of truly figuring out whether or not someone is lying. In 1979, he invented “the sting technique,” which polygraph experts now refer to as “countermeasures.”

He wrote the first manual teaching people how to pass a polygraph test, which was initially published in 1979 and, according to him, was one of the very first e-books available on the Internet.

 The U.S. Department Of Justice issued a press release this week stating that they planted federal agents to pose as customers and entrap Williams in schemes to help the agents cheat on polygraph tests.

According to the press release:

According to admissions made in connection with his plea, Williams owned and operated Polygraph.com, an Internet-based business through which he trained people how to conceal misconduct and other disqualifying information when submitting to polygraph examinations in connection with federal employment suitability assessments, background investigations, internal agency investigations and other proceedings.  In particular, Williams admitted that he trained an individual posing as a federal law enforcement officer to lie and conceal involvement in criminal activity from an internal agency investigation.  Williams also admitted to training a second individual, posing as an applicant seeking federal employment, to lie and conceal crimes in a pre-employment polygraph examination.  Williams also admitted to instructing the individuals to deny receiving his polygraph training.

 

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By September 25, 2015

Eisenhower-2Jake Anderson, Anti Media
Waking Times

For decades, extreme ideologies on both the left and the right have clashed over the conspiratorial concept of a shadowy secret government pulling the strings on the world’s heads of state and captains of industry.

The phrase New World Order is largely derided as a sophomoric conspiracy theory entertained by minds that lack the sophistication necessary to understand the nuances of geopolitics. But it turns out the core idea — one of deep and overarching collusion between Wall Street and government with a globalist agenda — is operational in what a number of insiders call the “Deep State.”

In the past couple of years, the term has gained traction across a wide swath of ideologies. Former Republican congressional aide Mike Lofgren says it is the nexus of Wall Street and the national security state — a relationship where elected and unelected figures join forces to consolidate power and serve vested interests. Calling it “the big story of our time,”Lofgren says the deep state represents the failure of our visible constitutional government and the cross-fertilization of corporatism with the globalist war on terror.

“It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street,” he explained.

Even parts of the judiciary, namely the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, belong to the deep state.

How does the deep state operate?

A complex web of revolving doors between the military-industrial-complex, Wall Street,  and Silicon Valley consolidates the interests of defense contracts, banksters, military actions, and both foreign and domestic surveillance intelligence.

According to Mike Lofgren and many other insiders, this is not a conspiracy theory. The deep state hides in plain sight and goes far beyond the military-industrial complex President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about in his farewell speech over fifty years ago.

 

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Protesters descend on Albuquerque City Hall to decry deadly shootings

Published time: April 08, 2014 03:59

Downtown Albuquerque (Photo from wikipedia.org)

Downtown Albuquerque (Photo from wikipedia.org)

Protesters filled Albuquerque City Hall on Monday evening, forcing the city council to clear its legislative agenda and turn the podium over to citizens furious with police over a spiking number of fatal shootings.

City Council President Ken Sanchez told the Albuquerque Journal that more police officers would be assigned to make sure the meeting was peaceful, and that the meeting would be adjourned if tempers flared, but said the council is mulling legislation that would create more oversight over the department.

We need to make some dramatic changes,” he said. “We’re confronting a crisis situation at this time.”

Tension have been building between police and the public for years. Wynema and Michael Gonzagowski told Cindy Carcamo of the Los Angeles Times that, upon moving to Albuquerque, friends warned them to avoid the police. They did not take those warnings seriously until they watched police fatally shoot their neighbor, Alfred Lionel Redwine on March 25.

I’ve never been scared of crops, but out here, the cops terrify me,” said Michael, age 39. “They treat you like you’re out looking to cause trouble every time they talk to you.”

Chief Eden said in a press conference that Redwine brandished a weapon and shot at police during a standoff at a public housing complex, forcing the officers to return fire. Wynemda Gonzagowski disagreed, telling the Times that Redwine had surrendered to police with his arms out when he was hit.

They didn’t warn him, they didn’t tell him to freeze and get on the ground or to put his hand behind his hand,” she said.

 

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POLITICO

Justice Department to challenge North Carolina voter ID law

Eric Holder is pictured. | AP Photo

The justices’ 5-4 ruling outraged civil rights advocates. | AP Photo

The Justice Department will file suit against North Carolina on Monday, charging that the Tar Heel State’s new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls violates the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against African Americans, according to a person familiar with the planned litigation.

Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce the lawsuit at 11 a.m. Monday at Justice Department headquarters, flanked by the three U.S. Attorneys from North Carolina.

The suit, set to be filed in Greensboro, N.C., will ask that the state be barred from enforcing the new voter ID law, the source said. However, the case will also go further, demanding that the entire state of North Carolina be placed under a requirement to have all changes to voting laws, procedures and polling places “precleared” by either the Justice Department or a federal court, the source added.

Until this year, 40 North Carolina counties were under such a requirement. However, in June, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the formula Congress used to subject parts or all of 15 states to preclearance in recent decades.

The justices’ 5-4 ruling outraged civil rights advocates, but did not disturb a rarely-used “bail in” provision in the law that allows judges to put states or localities under the preclearance requirement. Civil rights groups and the Justice Department have since seized on that provision to try to recreate part of the regime that existed prior to the Supreme Court decision.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed the voter ID measure into law last last month.

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MSNBC

The battle for voting rights is just the beginning, says Holder


US Attorney General Eric Holder arrives to address the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference during a public policy forum on voting rights in Washington on September 20, 2013. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty)

This story has been updated and a correction appended. 

Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday that the Justice Department will continue its efforts to protect voting rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision which gutted the Voting Rights Act earlier this summer.

During remarks to the Congressional Black Caucus, Holder explained that the lawsuits filed to stop Texas’s discriminatory redistricting and voter ID laws are “just the beginning.”

“Thanks to the hard work of our Civil Rights Division, we are continuing to refine and re-focus current enforcement efforts across the country,” he said. “And while the suits we’ve filed in Texas mark the first voting rights enforcement actions the Justice Department has taken since the Supreme Court ruling, they will not be the last.”

So far, the Justice Department has filed lawsuits to block redistricting and voter ID laws in Texas, along with pushing to see the state returned to preclearance under a different provision of the Voting Rights Act that remains intact after the Supreme Court ruling.

Earlier this week, the NAACP and Mexican American Legislative Caucus filed a lawsuit joining the DOJ in its attempt to block the voter ID law.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott called the Justice Department’s efforts a “scheme” to win Texas for Democrats.

Read More Here

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Southern States Are Moving to Tighten Voting Rules

 

Emboldened by the Supreme Court decision that struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act, a growing number of Republican-led states are moving aggressively to tighten voting rules. Lawsuits by the Obama administration and voting rights activists say those efforts disproportionately affect minorities.

At least five Southern states, no longer required to ask Washington’s permission before changing election procedures, are adopting strict voter identification laws or toughening existing requirements.

Texas officials are battling the U.S. Justice Department to put in place a voter ID law that a federal court has ruled was discriminatory. In North Carolina, the GOP-controlled Legislature scaled back early voting and ended a pre-registration program for high school students nearing voting age.

Nowhere is the debate more heated than in Florida, where the chaotic recount in the disputed 2000 presidential race took place.

Florida election officials are set to resume an effort to remove noncitizens from the state’s voting rolls. A purge last year ended in embarrassment after hundreds of American citizens, most of whom were black or Hispanic, were asked to prove their citizenship or risk losing their right to vote.

Republican leaders across the South say the new measures are needed to prevent voter fraud, even though such crimes are rare. Democrats and civil rights groups say the changes are political attacks aimed at minorities and students — voting groups that tend to lean toward Democrats — in states with legacies of poll taxes and literacy tests.

In North Carolina, for example, a state board of elections survey found that more than 600,000 registered voters did not have a state-issued ID, a requirement to vote under the state’s new law. Many of those voters are young, black, poor or elderly.

“We’re in the middle of the biggest wave of voter suppression since the Voting Rights Act was enacted,” said Katherine Culliton-González, director of voter protection for the Advancement Project, a Washington-based civil rights group that has undertaken legal challenges in several states.

For five decades, states and localities with a history of discrimination had to submit all election laws, from new congressional district maps to precinct locations and voting hours, to federal lawyers for approval. That practice ended in June when the Supreme Court struck down the provision in the Voting Rights Act as outdated.

Voting rights groups said recent actions by Southern states highlight the need for Congress to retool the rejected sections of the landmark 1965 law that were credited with ensuring ballot access to millions of blacks, American Indians and other minorities.

The administration is using the remaining parts of the law to bring court cases.

Read More Here

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by PETE YOST and GENE JOHNSON / Associated Press

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Updated today at 5:15 PM

WASHINGTON — Despite 75 years of federal marijuana prohibition, the Justice Department said Thursday that states can let people use the drug, license people to grow it and even allow adults to stroll into stores and buy it — as long as the weed is kept away from kids, the black market and federal property.

In a sweeping new policy statement prompted by pot legalization votes in Washington and Colorado last fall, the department gave the green light to states to adopt tight regulatory schemes to oversee the medical and recreational marijuana industries burgeoning across the country.

The action, welcomed by supporters of legalization, could set the stage for more states to legalize marijuana. Alaska is scheduled to vote on the question next year, and a few other states plan similar votes in 2016.

The policy change embraces what Justice Department officials called a “trust but verify” approach between the federal government and states that enact recreational drug use.

Document: Read guidance from the Justice Department about Washington’s pot law

In a memo to all 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices around the country, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the federal government expects that states and local governments authorizing “marijuana-related conduct” will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that address the threat those state laws could pose to public health and safety.

“If state enforcement efforts are not sufficiently robust … the federal government may seek to challenge the regulatory structure itself,” the memo stated.

The U.S. attorney in Colorado, John Walsh, said he will continue to focus on whether Colorado’s system has the resources and tools necessary to protect key federal public safety interests.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the state is working to improve education and prevention efforts directed at young people and on enforcement tools to prevent access to marijuana by those under age 21. Colorado also is determined to keep marijuana businesses from being fronts for criminal enterprises or other illegal activity, he said, and the state is committed to preventing the export of marijuana while also enhancing efforts to keep state roads safe from impaired drivers.

Under the policy, the federal government’s top investigative priorities range from preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors to preventing sales revenue from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels and preventing the diversion of marijuana outside of states where it is legal under state law.

Read More Here

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How These 6 People — And You — Have Already Been Screwed By Obama’s War On State Weed Laws

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 08/29/2013 3:11 pm EDT  |  Updated: 08/29/2013 7:45 pm EDT

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Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Thursday that two states will be allowed to go forward with legalizing recreational marijuana use, a major move that could reshape the federal government’s policy on pot. Colorado and Washington state forced Holder’s hand when they made all marijuana use legal in November referendums — while 20 other states have some sort of medical marijuana laws on the books — but every single joint is still illegal under federal law.

Many marijuana reform advocates are hopeful, but they’ve had their hopes dashed before.

Before he was elected, President Barack Obama said he would stop federal raids on growers operating under state medical marijuana laws. Marijuana reform advocates were further cheered by a 2009 DOJ memo that said the government wouldn’t use its considerable law enforcement and prosecutorial resources to target those who complied with state law.

Despite the friendly words and the welcome memo, the raids rolled on. The Drug Enforcement Agency and prosecutors claimed they were targeting medical marijuana growers and dispensary owners operating in violation of state laws. But because a Supreme Court ruling bars marijuana users from using the defense that they are following state laws, that side never gets heard in court. And even if some dispensary owners were breaking the law, advocates argue, prison is far too high a price to pay for a consensual crime.

All along the way, every year since Obama was inaugurated in 2009, the casualties of the war on weed have kept piling up: Growers, patients and you, the American taxpayer.

Jerry Duval

gerald

Jerry Duval was a registered Michigan marijuana patient who lost his family farm and whose son went to prison after refusing to testify against his father in the wake of a federal raid in 2011. But that wasn’t all: Suffering from juvenile diabetes, glaucoma and neuropathy, he was the recipient of both a kidney and a pancreas transplant. In 2012 a federal judge recommended he be sent to a special medical prison, a recommendation the feds initially ignored. Eventually, after months of stress for Duval and his family, the feds caved. Now he is serving out a 10-year sentence at the same medical prison where the accused Boston bomber is being held, for a term he estimates will eventually cost the feds $1.2 million.

Aaron Sandusky

aaron sandusky

(Photo via YouTube)

Aaron Sandusky of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was sentenced earlier this year to 10 years in federal prison for his medical marijuana dispensaries.

While medical marijuana is legal in California, federal prosecutors painted Sandusky’s business as a “criminal enterprise” that exploited “his customers’ good-faith search for pain relief.”

Prior to his arrest, Sandusky had received a letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office warning that his stores violated federal law. Sandusky responded by closing two of them, but the following month, federal agents raided his remaining dispensary. They seized marijuana plants and $11,500 in cash, effectively wiping out Sandusky’s business.

Richard Flor

richard flor

Richard Flor was Montana’s first registered medical marijuana caregiver. In March 2011, he was providing medical marijuana to 300 patients in accordance with state laws. That’s when the feds swooped in, arrested him, his wife, his son, and everyone else involved in running Montana Cannabis.

Flor was given five years in federal prison — five years that turned out to be a death sentence. Afflicted with dementia and depression, the 68-year-old’s lawyer asked federal U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell to release his client from a private prison while they appealed his sentence.

“He is in extreme pain and still is not being given round-the-clock care as is required for someone with his medical and mental conditions,” his lawyer wrote. “It is anticipated he will not long survive general population incarceration.”

Flor’s lawyer was right. Flor died in a Las Vegas just weeks after the judge denied the request.

“I was sorry to learn of the passing of Mr. Flor,” Lovell wrote in a statement afterward. “Judicial ethics prohibit further response.”

Read More Here

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Bloomberg

Legal Pot Sellers Say Armored-Car Companies Halt Service

Steve DeAngelo says his staff may need to carry cash in personal vehicles to pay Harborside Health Center’s bills after his armored car provider told his co-founder that a federal agency ordered it to stop serving cannabis businesses.

“The only way we have to pay our bills is transporting cash from point A to point B,” said DeAngelo, executive director of the medicinal marijuana collective based in Oakland, California, with 128,000 patients.

Federal laws bar banks from offering accounts to pot shops, forcing medical marijuana firms to pay their sales taxes and other bills in cash. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

“This includes 15 percent of our $30 million-a-year gross that goes to the cities of San Jose and Oakland and the state of California for our taxes,” he said. “This is a huge threat to the safety of my patients and staff, and beyond that it’s a huge threat to the general public.”

DeAngelo isn’t alone. Several large marijuana dispensaries in California and Colorado received similar notices from their armored vehicle services, said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Washington-based National Cannabis Industry Association.

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on the matter, Ellen Canale, a spokeswoman, said by e-mail in response to repeated requests. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration referred questions to the Justice Department, its parent agency.

The end of armored-car service to some marijuana dispensaries underscores ongoing tension between federal law, under which cannabis remains illegal, and laws in 20 states and the District of Columbia that legalized medical marijuana consumption, plus measures in Colorado and Washington that allow those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot.

Federal Response

Attorney General Eric Holder hasn’t provided a federal response to the laws in Washington and Colorado that will also allow retail sales of pot next year.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws on Sept. 10, Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, announced Aug. 26.

Federal laws bar banks from offering accounts to pot shops, forcing medical marijuana firms to pay their sales taxes and other bills in cash. Cannabis businesses also are unable to obtain credit cards.

DeAngelo’s car service, Dunbar Armored Inc., didn’t return calls and messages for comment.

Fox, of the cannabis trade group, said that other medical marijuana dispensaries affected by the issue didn’t want to come forward because of security concerns.

Read More Here

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People Killed By The War On Drugs

Kathryn Johnston

In November 2006, a narcotics team from the

Atlanta Police Department apprehended a man with a known drug history. They planted marijuana on him, then threatened to arrest him unless he gave them information about where they could find a supply of illegal drugs. He gave them the address of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston. Instead of finding an informant to make a controlled buy from the address, the officer instead lied on the search warrant, inventing an informant and describing a drug buy that never happened.
Ashley Villarreal

Ashley Villarreal, 14, was shot and killed by DEA agents in 2003 in San Antonio.

Ashley was attempting to show off her driving skills to family friend David Robles by taking a drive around the block. But at the time, the DEA was investigating Ashley’s father, Joey Villarreal, for drug trafficking. As Ashley pulled out of the driveway of the home where Joey Villarreal’s mother and Ashley lived, the federal agents were in the process of staking out the house.

Later explaining that they had mistaken Robles for Ashley’s father, the agents boxed in the vehicle the girl was driving. They claimed she then continued driving toward them, at which point they opened fire, shooting her in the back of the head. Robles and several witnesses said the agents never identified themselves, and that Ashley posed no threat, given that her vehicle was already boxed in. The police found no drugs or weapons in the vehicle, or in the house, nor did they find any evidence that Ashley’s father had been using the house for drug trafficking.

Nevertheless, the agents were cleared of any wrongdoing. Joey Villarreal was later arrested, convicted of drug charges, and sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Source: Pete Brady, “The Murder of Ashley,” Cannabis Culture, October 8, 2003.

Johnathan Ayers

In September 2009, Johnathan Ayers, a 28-year-old Baptist pastor from Lavonia, Ga., was gunned down by a North Georgia narcotics task force in the parking lot of a gas station. Police would later acknowledge he was not using or trafficking in illicit drugs. Instead, Ayers had been ministering to Johanna Barrett, the actual target of the investigation.

According to an interview Barrett gave to a North Georgia newspaper shortly after Ayers’ death, on the day he died the pastor had seen her walking near a gas station on her way back to an extended-stay motel where she lived with her boyfriend. Ayers had known Barrett for a number of years, and offered her a ride back to the motel. He also gave her the money in his pocket, $23, to help pay her rent.

The police were trailing Barrett at the time. But instead of apprehending her at the motel, they instead followed Ayers, who they saw hand Ayers cash.

They followed Ayers to a nearby gas station where he withdrew some money from an ATM. Shortly after he got back into his car, a black Escalade pulled up behind him. Three officers, all undercover, rushed Ayers’ vehicle and pointed their guns at him. The pastor panicked and attempted to escape. As he backed out, Ayers’ car grazed one police officer. Officer Billy Shane Harrison then opened fire, shooting Ayers in the stomach. Ayers drove for another thousand yards before crashing his car. He died at the hospital. His last words to his family and medical staff were that he thought he was being robbed. The police found no illicit drugs in his car.

A grand jury later declined to indict Harrison for any crime. District Attorney Brian Rickman praised the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for going to “very extraordinary lengths” to conduct a fair investigation. But a civil suit suggested otherwise. The complaint alleged that Harrison wasn’t authorized to arrest him. On the day Ayerswas killed, Harrison had yet to take the firearms training classes required for his certification as a police officer. In fact, Harrison had no training at all in the use of lethal force.

Harrison’s lack of training was later confirmed by local TV station WSB-TV and, after the fact, by the GBI. Harrison was suspended. The civil suit also alleged prior disciplinary problems with Harrison and another officer involved in her husband’s death, including alleged drug use.

Sources: Rob Moore, “Case File: Ayers Feared a Robbery,” The Northeast Georgian, December 29, 2009; Steve Huff, “Did a Good Dead Lead Pastor Jonathan Ayers to his Death?” September 10, 2009; Jessica Waters, “GBI Findings Outlined,” The Toccoa Record, December 28, 2009; Denise Matthews, “Grand Jury Declares Ayers Shooting Justified,” Franklin County Citizen, December 24, 2009; Charlie Bauder, “District Attorney Defends Investigation of Preacher’s Death,” Anderson Independent-Mail, December 22, 2009; Estate of Jonathan Ayers v. Officer Billy Shane Harrison, et al., complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, March 15, 2010; “Arrest Made in Pastor Death Case,” Actions News 2, WSB-TV Atlanta, June 18, 2010; Rob Moore, “NCIS Officer on Leave Pending Probe,” The Toccoa Record, March 29, 2010; Jessica Waters, “Ayers Federal Civil Case Updated,” The Toccoa Record, January 6, 2011.

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Raids on Legal Dispensaries

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PBSNewsHour PBSNewsHour

Published on Jul 26, 2013

Who’s to blame for the disaster caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion? The battle over liability continues to play out in court. Bloomberg Businessweek’s Paul Barrett sits down with Hari Sreenivasan to discuss contractor Halliburton’s guilty plea for destroying evidence.

 

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Gulf oil spill: Halliburton to plead guilty to destroying evidence

Contractor to plead guilty over deleted computer simulations testing methods used to cement Deepwater Horizon well

Halliburton has admitted ordering employees to delete computer simulations

Halliburton has admitted ordering employees to delete computer simulations about cementing of the Deepwater Horizon oil well. Photograph: Richard Carson/Reuters

Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the US department of justice said on Thursday.

The government said Halliburton’s guilty plea was the third by a company over the spill and would require the world’s second-largest oilfield services company to pay a maximum US$200,000 statutory fine.

Halliburton also agreed to three years’ probation and to continue co-operating with the criminal probe into the 20 April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Court approval of the deal is required. Houston-based Halliburton also made a separate, voluntary $55m payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the justice department said.

Read More Here
 

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Politics and Legislation

Secret justice plan crumbles: Clegg says he’ll block it, report by MPs and peers damns it and now ministers are close to a U-turn

By James Chapman, Political Editor

Plans for a huge extension of ‘secret justice’ are close to ruin after Nick Clegg warned the Prime Minister he cannot support them as they stand… The Daily Mail has led criticism of Government plans to allow so-called ‘closed material procedures’, in which cases are conducted behind closed doors, in any civil or inquest hearing. Defendants or claimants will not be allowed to be present, know or challenge the case against them and must be represented by a security-cleared special advocate rather than their own lawyer. The procedure is currently used in tiny numbers of immigration and deportation hearings, but the Green Paper proposes giving ministers sweeping powers to order closed hearings whenever they feel the public interest is threatened.

Read Full Article Here

DOJ must explain Obama healthcare remarks

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Justice Department to write a letter describing the administration’s position on the judiciary’s power to overturn laws. A judge on the three-judge 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the department to provide a letter of “at least three pages, single-spaced, no less,” detailing the department’s understanding of the judiciary’s power to overturn unconstitutional laws by noon CDT Thursday, a United Press International review of an audio recording of the oral arguments indicated. Judge Jerry Smith, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, ordered the department Tuesday to make sure the letter specifically address comments President Barack Obama made Monday that he was “confident” the Supreme Court would not “take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step” of overturning the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Read Full Article Here

As justices weigh healthcare decision, lawmakers bolster high court security

By Debbie Siegelbaum

As Congress continues to look for ways to cut costs to lower the national deficit, one place where lawmakers are refusing to scrimp is security for the Supreme Court.

Congressional appropriators ponied up nearly $1 million in fiscal 2012 to hire 12 new Supreme Court police officers after justices reported receiving a significant number of threats.

Security for the high court has been back in the news as the justices deliberate whether President Obama’s healthcare law is constitutional. Supporters and critics of the healthcare overhaul held protests in front of the Supreme Court last week.

In April 2010, Justice Clarence Thomas told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the court required greater security due to the “volume” of threats it receives, claiming that its security personnel ideally wanted 24 new officers.

Thomas said he recognized the ongoing fiscal constraints the government was operating under, however, and sought funding for 12 officers.

But the funds Thomas requested for new officers were not allocated in fiscal 2011, according to Court Public Information Officer Kathleen Arberg. During fiscal 2012 budget hearings the following year, Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy reiterated the need for additional court security.

“We have eight acres of grounds which have to be protected, and a number of our officers now have to spend time learning about cybersecurity threats and so forth,” Kennedy told lawmakers in April 2011.

“We need — actually, our people said we needed 25, and the chief justice and the staff went over it — and we can live with the 12 [additional officers],” he added. “We do consider the 12 urgent.”

Read Full Article Here

First DC lobbying firm to sign with Libyan rebels is rewarded with new contract

By Kevin Bogardus

The first Washington firm to sign up with the Libyan rebels during the successful revolution against Moammar Gadhafi will no longer be working for free.

The Harbour Group has signed a new $15,000-per-month contract with the Embassy of Libya, according to documents the firm has filed with the Justice Department. The agreement is set to run from March 1 to the end of the year.

Richard Mintz, managing director of the public-relations firm, told The Hill that he and others at the firm are eager to help Libya transition toward democracy.

“We are proud to have played a modest role in helping the Libyan opposition to replace 40 years of dictatorial rule. Now we look forward to supporting free Libyans in their democratic transition,” Mintz said.

Harbour Group first signed with the Libyan National Transitional Council in April of 2011.

The firm worked on a pro-bono basis for the council over the past year. It helped organize visits to Washington for council leaders and contacted think tanks and media on the council’s behalf.

The firm helped support Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib’s trip to Washington last month, where he met with President Obama, and is also working on having U.S. business delegations visit Libya.

The new contract supersedes the agreement the Harbour Group signed last year with the council.

“The Harbour Group is pleased to have been able to volunteer its services to the Libyan National Transitional Council and the Embassy of Libya for the last year in its historic efforts to establish democracy in Libya and to build new and important bridges to the United States. We welcome the opportunity to respond to your request to present this scope of services and budget to support the Embassy of Libya’s public diplomacy and communications efforts in 2012,” the contract says.

Read Full Article Here

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Economy

Republicans See No Rush to Fill $4.6 Trillion Blank in Tax Plan

By Richard Rubin

U.S. House Republicans just passed a budget that would require eliminating $4.6 trillion in tax breaks over the next decade. They’re in no rush to show which benefits they would cut.

Republicans cite political wariness during an election campaign, slim prospects for an agreement with President Barack Obama and a lack of consensus within their own party for their reluctance to say before November whether they would drop popular items such as the home mortgage interest deduction to make up for lower tax rates.
Republicans See No Rush to Fill $4.6 Trillion Blank in Tax Plan

A House Budget Committee member holds a copy of the House fiscal year 2013 budget during a news conference in Washington. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

“The president and the Senate would love for us to do that, because they would release every special interest group they could get onto us and say, ‘Go sic ‘em,’” said Representative James Lankford, a freshman Republican from Oklahoma on the Budget Committee. Lawmakers need to “let Americans start talking about what does that really mean, which deductions are appropriate and what’s not appropriate.”

When House Republicans return from a two-week recess in mid-April, they will begin planning sessions on details of their tax overhaul. Because prospects for a tax rewrite are dim before the election, they also will discuss dozens of tax breaks that ended in December and begin crafting a strategy for extending the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts that expire at the end of this year.

The budget that passed the House 228-191 on March 29 with no Democratic support would replace the six individual tax brackets — and the 35 percent top rate — with two brackets at 10 percent and 25 percent. The alternative minimum tax would be repealed. The corporate tax rate would drop to 25 percent from 35 percent.

Read Full Article Here

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Wars and Rumors of War

US Mercenary “Took Part” in Gaddafi Killing; Sent to Assist Syrian opposition

By: Yazan al-Saadi

US government officials requested that an American private security firm contact Syrian opposition figures in Turkey to see “how they can help in regime change,” the CEO of one of these firms told Stratfor in a company email obtained by WikiLeaks and Al-Akhbar.

James F. Smith, former director of Blackwater, is currently the Chief Executive of SCG International, a private security firm with experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. In what appears to be his first email to Stratfor, Smith stated that his “background is CIA” and his company is comprised of “former DOD [Department of Defense], CIA and former law enforcement personnel.”

“We provide services for those same groups in the form of training, security and information collection,” he explained to Stratfor. (doc-id 5441475)

In a 13 December 2011 email to Stratfor’s VP for counter-terrorism Fred Burton, which Burton shared with Stratfor’s briefers, Smith claimed that “[he] and Walid Phares were getting air cover from Congresswoman [Sue] Myrick to engage Syrian opposition in Turkey (non-MB and non-Qatari) on a fact finding mission for Congress.”

Walid Phares, named by the source as part of the “fact finding team,” is a Lebanese-American citizen and currently co-chairs Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Middle East advisory group.

In a profile of Walid Phares published in Salon, As’ad AbuKhalil details Phares’ history with right-wing militias during the Lebanese civil war.

Sue Myrick, who allegedly was providing “air cover” for the “fact finding team”, is a Republican Congresswoman from North Carolina who has a track record of extremist pro-zionist and anti-Islamic views.

These include leading the charge against Dubai Ports World’s attempt to buy major American ports in 2006 – labeling the Islamic Society of North America as a group of “radical jihadists” – and demanding that former President Jimmy Carter’s citizenship be revoked for daring to meet with Hamas leaders in 2008.

Currently, Myrick is a member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a congressional committee charged with overseeing the American intelligence community, and is also involved with the Department of Defense and the US military.

In his email, the “true mission” for the “fact finding” team, Smith told Burton, was how “they can help in regime change.”……..

Read Full Article Here

The US is arming the Gulf. Against whom?

Volkhonsky Boris

On Saturday, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on her visit to Saudi Arabia, attended the first Strategic Cooperation Forum between the U.S. and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The six countries comprising the GCC are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

The most important outcome of the session on Saturday was the decision to establish a common missile defense shield against Iran.

Now, the issue is really worth looking deeper into.

At first sight, establishing a missile defense shield in the Gulf area seems at least a little bit more logical than establishing a similar shield in Poland, Czech Republic, Romania or elsewhere in Eastern Europe. That is, if the shield is really targeted at a possible threat coming from Iran.

On the other hand, a decision to launch such kind of a shield at this particular moment, when it is Iran’s turn to be scared of a possible attack – be it from the U.S. or from Israel – breaks the above logic. But the logic is restored when we look at the problem from another angle.

In fact, for any unbiased outside observer it became clear a long time ago that the real purpose of the whole U.S. activity around Iran is not aimed at diverting any kind of threat, either nuclear or missile. The real purpose is regime change. And this explains both the U.S.’ desire to overthrow Iran’s last remaining ally – the Assad regime in Syria, and the close relationship with the Gulf monarchies.

Against the background of the U.S. crackdown on Assad, Ms. Hillary’s references to democracy at the Saturday’s Forum seem ridiculous. She expressed “regret” about the UAE’s March 28 raid on the offices of several foreign pro-democracy groups, including a U.S. organization, the National Democratic Institute.

Also, if we remember the events of spring 2011 in Bahrain, when the ruling Sunni regime launched a bloody crackdown of Shiite protesters, the case went almost unnoticed in the U.S. The reason was that Bahrain serves as one of the most important bases for the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Definitely, other Gulf monarchies can hardly be called exemplary democracies. But it’s OK with the U.S. when it comes to protecting them against Iran.

The question is who is to benefit? On the one hand, it gives the U.S. new opportunities for selling their weapons to the stalwarts of democracy in the Gulf region. But, on the other hand, one cannot get rid of the impression that the whole wave of the so called “revolutions” in the Middle East initiated in Tunisia in December 2010 and having Iran as its ultimate aim serves the interests of only one geopolitical player in the region – that is Saudi Arabia with its satellites.

Read Full Article Here

Taliban claim downing American chopper in east Afghanistan

The Taliban say they have shot down an American helicopter in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Ghazni, Press TV reports. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed on Monday that at least 14 US soldiers were killed after the chopper was downed in Andar district on Sunday. He said that the militants targeted the helicopter with an “82mm rocket.”

Read Full Article Here

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Articles of Interest

ICC rejects Palestinian bid to investigate Israeli war crimes during ‘Cast Lead’ Gaza operation

International Criminal Court in The Hague says reason for decision is that Palestine is currently recognized by the United Nations as an ‘observer,’ not a ‘Non-member State’.

By Barak Ravid

The International Criminal Court prosecutor announced Tuesday that he has rejected a bid by the Palestinian Authority to have the war crimes tribunal investigate Israeli conduct during ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in Gaza.

The reason for his decision was that under the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, only internationally recognized states can join the court.

In an official statement released Tuesday afternoon, the ICC said that “the current status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of “observer”, not as a “Non‐member State”,” and that only “relevant bodies at the United Nations” or the group of states that make up the court could determine whether Palestinians can sign up to the Rome Statute.

“[T]he Office has assessed that it is for the relevant bodies at the United Nations or the Assembly of States Parties to make the legal determination whether Palestine qualifies as a State for the purpose of acceding to the Rome Statute and thereby enabling the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court,” the statement said. “The Rome Statute provides no authority for the Office of the Prosecutor to adopt a method to define the term “State””.

Read Full Article Here

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Politics and Legislation

 

Obama Impeachment Bill Now In Congress

CURATOR: BARRACUDA.

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., R-N.C., has introduced a resolution declaring that should the president use offensive military force without authorization of an act of Congress, “it is the sense of Congress” that such an act would…

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1880/374/NL/Obama_Impeachment_Bill_Now_In_Congress.html

 

Supreme Court Likely to Endorse Obama’s War on Whistle-Blowers

Chris Hedges, Truthdig Op-Ed:

“Obama, who serves the interests of the surveillance and security state with even more fervor than did George W. Bush, has used the Espionage Act to charge suspected leakers six times since he took office. The latest to be charged by the Obama administration under the act is John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer accused of disclosing classified information to journalists about the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, an al-Qaida suspect.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/supreme-court-likely-endorse-obama-s-war-whistle-blowers-1331646554

 

Though 69 Percent Of Americans Want Super PAC Ban, Super PACs Dominate GOP Race

Josh Israel, News Report:

“Independent expenditure-only “super PAC” committees have accounted for a stunning 91 percent of the television campaign advertising over the past month in Alabama and Mississippi — the two states holding their Republican primaries today. But while the more than $75 million already spent nationally by these groups has undoubtedly altered the dynamics of the presidential race, it has also annoyed the vast majority of Americans.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/though-69-percent-americans-want-super-pac-ban-super-pacs-dominate-gop-race-1331653397

 

The Hill: Justice blocks Texas voter ID law

By Justin Sink

The Justice Department on Monday blocked a new Texas law that requires government-issued photo identification at the polls, further inflaming an intense and racially charged election-year debate over voting requirements.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/215617-justice-blocks-texas-voter-id-law

 

The Hill: Dems targeted over support for healthcare law’s ‘rationing board


By Julian Pecquet

The conservative seniors’ lobby 60 Plus launched a $3.5 million ad campaign on Monday targeting five vulnerable Senate Democrats over their support for the healthcare reform law’s cost-control board.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/politics-elections/215557-vulnerable-democrats-targeted-over-support-for-healthcare-rationing-board

 

Economy

 

SEC charges five with insider trading from AA tip

(Reuters) – Securities regulators charged two Ameriprise Financial advisers and three others with insider-trading, saying they made $1.8 million in illicit profits based on confidential merger information one of the advisers learned through an Alcoholics Anonymous relationship.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Timothy McGee, one of the advisers, was tipped about a pending merger of insurer Philadelphia Consolidated Holding Corp and Tokio Marine Holdings.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sec-charges-five-insider-trading-211538137.html;_ylt=Aq62i05wUbMSbhRRDjEpo_eiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0b2h1Zzc4BG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIFRvcCBTdG9yeSBSaWdodARwa2cDZjM5ZGQ0NjctNjcxOC0zY2E3LTgxYWMtZmMxYTA5ZDY4NWFmBHBvcwM2BHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzdhNjY1YjIwLTZkNWQtMTFlMS1iNTlmLWY5NGIxOGVlOTc4MA–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3.

 

The Audacity of Bonuses at MF Global

Nomi Prins, Op-Ed:

“Today, our regulatory bodies are incapable, or simply don’t want to be bothered with, tracing money and returning it to the public customers to whom it belongs. The inability to independently examine MF Global’s books, without its executive involved, reveals the sorry state of our financial system. In this post-Glass-Steagall-repeal world, the mixing of customer money and speculative betting – whether at a super-market bank or broker-dealer, whether involving subprime loans packages or European Sovereign debt, poses too dangerous a level of complexity.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/audacity-bonuses-mf-global-1331647564

 

Germany Fails To Meet Its Own Austerity Goals

As she travels from one European Union summit to the next, Angela Merkel’s constant mantra in recent months has been austerity, austerity, austerity. But apparently the German chancellor hasn’t been quite as strict when it comes to her own country’s budget.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,820828,00.html

 

Energy Secretary Chu disavows 2008 remark that he wants higher gas prices

By Andrew Restuccia

Energy Secretary Steven Chu disavowed Tuesday his 2008 comments about increasing gas prices to European levels, remarks that Republicans have pounced on in recent weeks.

“I no longer share that view,” Chu said during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, adding that he wants to lower gas prices.

Chu said higher gas prices could slow the economic recovery.

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/215751-energy-secretary-chu-disavows-2008-gas-price-remarks

Oil prices fall as China data sparks fresh demand worries

London (AFP)

World oil prices dropped on Monday as investors fretted over the strength of worldwide energy demand following weak Chinese economic data. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April, shed $1.06 to $106.34 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for April was down 65 cents at $125.33 in late afternoon deals. “Crude oil fell sharply…

http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Oil_prices_fall_as_China_data_sparks_fresh_demand_worries_999.html

Oil price volatility in focus at world energy forum

Kuwait City (AFP)

The world’s largest energy forum began meetings on Monday over oil price fluctuations and safeguarding supplies amid heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme and a softening in global growth. Oil ministers and delegates from the 88-member International Energy Forum (IEF) are holding their biennial three-day gathering in the Gulf emirate of Kuwait to discuss the role of the forum…

http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Oil_price_volatility_in_focus_at_world_energy_forum_999.html

Consumers line up to buy Chinese-Venezuelan cars

Caracas (AFP)

Just weeks after the opening of four Chery dealerships in Venezuela, dozens of people are lining up every day to buy the first Chinese cars being sold in the Latin American nation. Unlike competing Japanese and American cars, import preferences granted by the Venezuelan government mean the Chinese cars are cheaper, which has attracted a steady stream of interested customers. “I came to b …

http://www.spacemart.com/reports/Consumers_line_up_to_buy_Chinese-Venezuelan_cars_999.html

 

Haynesville Shale Continues to Favour Louisiana over East Texas

London, UK (SPX)

Gas production from the US Haynesville Shale continues to favour the state of Louisiana over East Texas, with the former set to become a major gas producing state while pipeline development in East Texas continues to slow, a new report by business intelligence expert GlobalData has found. The new report found that several major gas companies are funding extensive infrastructure development …

http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Haynesville_Shale_Continues_to_Favour_Louisiana_over_East_Texas_999.html

Oil and Gas is One of the Fastest Growing Segments of the Energy Sector in China

Kolkata, India (SPX)

Netscribes has announced the launch of its report, Oil and Gas Market in China 2012. The Oil and Gas sector in China is expected to witness tremendous growth owing to the robust growth of the economy of China. The report begins with a detailed overview of the global oil and gas market that includes detailed coverage of global production, consumption and reserves for both oil and gas. This …

http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Oil_and_Gas_is_One_of_the_Fastest_Growing_Segments_of_the_Energy_Sector_in_China_999.html

 

Warning of ‘real’ anger at banks

Press Association,

Sir Mervyn told The Times that Britain’s banks are in denial about public anger over their behaviour.

And he hit out at them for insisting everyone needed to live with “market disciplines” until the financial crisis hit when they asked for bail outs.

“Market discipline can’t apply to everyone except banks,” he told the newspaper, adding people’s anger was “very real and wholly understandable”.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/feedarticle/10139179

 

Greek debt swap could be short-lived reprieve

(Reuters) – Greece’s deep recession and unpredictable elections threaten to turn the biggest debt restructuring in history into yet another short-lived reprieve, although the existential threat posed to the euro zone is not what it was.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/11/uk-greece-idUKBRE8270FF20120311

 

Alert From European Investment Banker

Mach 12, 2012

Steve,

I am someone who has worked for one of the largest investment banks in the world RBS and I can tell you that the contagion of debt has run its course. We are already prepped for a Greek default this month especially since the recent downgrade by Fitch.

http://stevequayle.com/News.alert/12_Money/120312.Euro.banker.html

 

Collapse Coming–Not Recovery

By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com (Revised)

The way the latest unemployment numbers were reported by the mainstream media (MSM), you would think the Great Recession was over and the United States was solidly on the road to recovery. The Associated Press reported the numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) with a story that said, “The United States added 227,000 jobs in February, the latest display of the breadth and strength of the economic recovery. The country has put together the most impressive three months of job growth since before the Great Recession. The unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent. It was the first time in six months it didn’t fall, and that was because a half-million Americans started looking for work.”….

http://usawatchdog.com/collapse-coming-not-recovery/

 

Handicapping the Collapse

Scattered diverse and almost uniformly unfavorable and dangerous events are unfolding, as the global economy and financial structure undergoes the equivalent of endless earthquakes and bombardment of solar emissions. Reporting is difficult, since information is distorted toward the sunny side. Events are moving fast, as quickly as the danger level is rising. As conditions worsen, the hype and spin has risen almost out of control. The political machine, tied at the hip to the banking apparatus, has ramped up the growth story even as the strain on the information spin has become more visible and subject to heavy criticism…..

http://news.goldseek.com/GoldenJackass/1331326800.php

 

 

Wars and Rumors of War

 

‘MKO conducts assassinations for Mossad for funding’

An American political commentator says that the primary source of income for the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) comes from assassinations it performs against Iranian nationals at the behest of Israel’s spy agency Mossad.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/231280.html

 

Yet another reason to leave: US soldier allegedly kills Afghan women and children

According to Afghan officials who visited the scene of the murders, some 16 people, nearly all of which were women and children, have been killed by a lone American soldier.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Yet_another_reason_to_leave%3A_US_soldier_allegedly_kills_Afghan_women_and_children/18427/0/38/38/Y/M.html

 

Secret SAS squadron sent to spy in Africa

A SECRET squadron of Australian SAS soldiers has been operating at large in Africa, performing work normally done by spies, in an unannounced and possibly dangerous expansion of Australia’s foreign military engagement. The deployment of the SAS’s 4 Squadron – the existence of which has never been publicly confirmed – has put the special forces unit at the outer reaches of Australian and international law. A SECRET squadron of Australian SAS soldiers has been operating at large in Africa, performing work normally done by spies, in an unannounced and possibly dangerous expansion of Australia’s foreign military engagement.

http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/4622

 

Scientists Warn EPA Over Monsanto’s GMO Crop Failures, Dangers

By Anthony Gucciardi
BlacklistedNews

A group of scientists is calling for major federal action in order to deal with the threat posed by Monsanto’s GMO crops, now petitioning the EPA to address the issue head on. The group of 22 academic corn experts are drawing attention to the immense failure of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, which is developing mutated and resistant insects as a result of its widespread usage.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Scientists_Warn_EPA_Over_Monsanto%E2%80%99s_GMO_Crop_Failures%2C_Dangers_/18421/0/0/0/Y/M.html

 

Aircraft Carrier Enterprise Sets Off On Final Journey – Direction Iran

Today at noon Eastern, the storied aircraft carrier Enterprise, aka CVN-65, left its home port of Naval Station Norfolk one final time for its final voyage with a heading: Arabian Sea, aka Iran. There in a week it will join CVN 72 Lincoln and CVN 70 Vinson, as well as LHD 8 Makin Island, all of which are supporting any potential escalation of “hostilities” in the Persian Gulf region. As a reminder, back in January we learned that the Enterprise’s final voyage will be in proximity to Iran, and in the meantime, the aircraft carrier held extended drills off the Florida coast to attack a “faux theocracy” consisting of fundamentalist “Shahida” states. Why the Arabian Sea in about 7-10 days will be home to not two but three aircraft carriers and a big deck amphibious warfare ship is very much an open question, although we may have some thoughts.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/aircraft-carrier-enterprise-sets-final-journey-direction-iran

 

With Iran, Threat Inflation Is the Threat

William Astore, Op-Ed:

“If a nuclear-armed Iran is indeed the greatest threat we as a nation face, that is indeed good news. Even better: Our latest intelligence estimate suggests that Iran still doesn’t have a nuclear weapon, nor is it clear whether its leaders have decided to build one. Iran also lacks a delivery system capable of striking the United States. Even if Iran decided to build a bomb and succeeded, any Iranian leader would be foolhardy in the extreme to threaten the United States, which still has thousands of nuclear warheads of its own — and plenty of delivery systems.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/iran-threat-inflation-threat-1331651695

 

Obama: US ‘heartbroken’ over Afghan civilians killed in attack

By Amie Parnes

President Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. is “heartbroken” over the Afghan civilians killed by a U.S. soldier and takes the deaths as “seriously” as if the victims were our own.

Obama spoke as violence in Afghanistan began to escalate two days after a U.S. soldier killed more than a dozen Afghan civilians in an apparent rogue attack.

“The United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered,” Obama said during brief remarks in the Rose Garden. “We are heartbroken over the loss of innocent life.”

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/215729-obama-us-heartbroken-over-afghan-civilians-killed-in-attack

 

The Hill: Report: Panetta says death penalty possible in Afghanistan shootings

By Jeremy Herb

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday that the death penalty is a possibility for the Army soldier who killed at least 16 Afghans Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/215635-report-panetta-says-death-penalty-possible-in-afghan-shootings

 

Environmental

 

Feds Let BP Off Probation Despite Pending Safety Violations

Abrahm Lustgarten, News Report:

“BP’s refining subsidiary was released today from criminal probation related to a 2005 explosion in Texas City that killed 15 workers. The company has addressed the most serious safety deficiencies exposed by the accident and satisfied the terms of a felony plea agreement to settle charges that it failed to protect workers from known risks, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman said.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/feds-let-bp-probation-despite-pending-safety-violations-1331650012

 

CyberSpace

 

Court Declares Newspaper Excerpt on Online Forum is a Non-Infringing Fair Use

Late Friday, the federal district court in Nevada issued a declaratory judgment that makes is harder for copyright holders to file lawsuits over excerpts of material and burden online forums and their users with nuisance lawsuits.

The judgment – part of the nuisance lawsuit avalanche started by copyright troll Righthaven – found that Democratic Underground did not infringe the copyright in a Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper article when a user of the online political forum posted a five-sentence excerpt, with a link back to the newspaper’s website.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/03/court-declares-newspaper-excerpt-online-forum-non-infringing-fair-use

 

Green

 

US wind generation increases by 27 percent

Washington (IANS)

Wind generation in the US increased by 27 percent in 2011 as compared with 2010, continuing a trend of rapid growth, the government said Monday. Tax credits and grants for electricity from certain renewable sources have encouraged capacity additions and increased generation from wind and other renewable sources, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Monday. Wind energy is the largest source of non-hydroelectric renewable electricity in the US, contributing 61 percent of the nea …

http://www.winddaily.com/reports/US_wind_generation_increases_by_27_percent_999.html

 

China solar giant faces glare of US trade row

by Staff Writers
Wuxi, China (AFP)

In the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi, home to the world’s biggest maker of solar panels, labour is so cheap that workers carry out jobs by hand while machines designed to perform the same tasks sit idle.

The low cost of labour, coupled with the massive scale of production at its 14,000-person plant, have enabled China’s Suntech to become the global industry leader in just a decade.

http://www.solardaily.com/reports/China_solar_giant_faces_glare_of_US_trade_row_999.html

 

Nuclear

 

Activists tap court to block Japan reactor restart

by Staff Writers Tokyo (AFP)

A group of Japanese citizens filed a lawsuit Monday to prevent the restart of a nuclear power plant, a day after the first anniversary of the tsunami that sparked the Fukushima atomic disaster.

The group of 259 citizens filed the suit in Osaka District Court seeking an injunction that would block the reopening of utility Kansai Electric’s nuclear power plants Oi Unit 3 and 4 in central Fukui prefecture.

http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/Activists_tap_court_to_block_Japan_reactor_restart_999.html

 

Kolkata protest against PM comment on Kudankulam project

by Staff Writers Kolkata, India (IANS)

A group of Kolkata residents Monday held a 12-hour fast against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comments on agitations centred around the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu and wrote to him demanding the scrapping of the project.

The prime minister, in an interview to Science magazine in February, reportedly blamed NGOs from the US and Scandinavia for fuelling protests against the nuclear plant.

http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/Kolkata_protest_against_PM_comment_on_Kudankulam_project_999.html

 

Fukushima prefecture aims for green power

by Staff Writers Tokyo (UPI)

As Japan marked the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the country’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the governor of Fukushima prefecture called for terminating nuclear power and promoting renewable energy.

“We will call for all nuclear power stations in the prefecture to be shut down so that an accident like this never happens again,” Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said Sunday of the worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.

http://www.solardaily.com/reports/Fukushima_prefecture_aims_for_green_power_999.html

 

Responding to the Radiation Threat

by Lynn Yarris for Berkeley News
Berkeley CA (SPX)

Mass contamination from major radiation exposure events, such as the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, require prompt treatment in the form of a pill, such as the treatment being developed at Berkeley Lab. File image courtesy AFP.

The New York Times recently reported that in the darkest moments of the triple meltdown last year of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese officials considered the evacuation of the nearly 36 million residents of the Tokyo metropolitan area.

http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/Responding_to_the_Radiation_Threat_999.html

 

Misc

 

NYPD officer thrown in psych ward by superiors after revealing systemic corruption

Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer

Adrian Schoolcraft of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) 81st precinct in Brooklyn noticed some disturbing trends within the department and in response to his brave move to step forward, his superiors had him thrown in a psychiatric ward.

Schoolcraft realized that there was a pattern of the victims of crimes being caught up in bureaucratic hurdles which he thinks were deliberately put in place in order to make it harder to report serious crimes.

He then did his job and reported multiple incidents to investigators in 2009.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/NYPD_officer_thrown_in_psych_ward_by_superiors_after_revealing_systemic_corruption_/18420/0/0/0/Y/M.html

 

DOJ Asks Court To Keep Secret Any Partnership Between Google, NSA

The Justice Department is defending the government’s refusal to discuss—or even acknowledge the existence of—any cooperative research and development agreement between Google and the National Security Agency.

http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2012/03/doj-asks-court-to-keep-secret-any-partnership-between-google-nsa.html

 

DARPA’s Director Will Soon Be a Google Executive

You probably don’t know Regina Dugan’s name, but for the past three years, she’s been director of DARPA, the military’s R&D lab. In a few weeks, she’ll be moving into an executive position at Google, becoming one of the most senior military officials to cross over to the private sector.

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2012/03/darpas-director-will-soon-be-google-executive/49799/

 

Portable chargers, boosters to ease green car charging woes

Geneva (AFP)

Chevrolet Europe’s president Susan Doherty drives to work every day in an electric car, and thanks to a recharging station at work, she never worries about running out of power. For most other people, however, it remains a challenge to find electric charging stations to refuel. As a result sales of electric cars have lagged, with most consumers going for hybrid options that at least offe …

http://www.spacemart.com/reports/Portable_chargers_boosters_to_ease_green_car_charging_woes_999.html