Tag Archive: Politics and Legislation


Politics and Legislation

World Bank Nominee Tied to Monsanto Shareholder Bill Gates, Soros

By Tim McCoy
BlacklistedNews.com

Obama has nominated Dartmouth University president Jim Yong Kim, M.D. to head the United Nations World Bank. Most people think that UN agencies benefit poor people, but this is far from the truth.

The UN World Bank claims to fight poverty in developing nations by financing infrastructure projects. But the UN World Bank is really a tool used to acquire Third World natural resources through conditions on loans that are extremely difficult to repay. The raw resources are then privatized by insider multi-national corporations. The World Bank actually creates more poverty.

The nomination of Jim Yong Kim indicates that the World Bank may shift away from focusing on infrastructure and will instead turn toward providing healthcare in Third World countries. Jim Yong Kim’s areas of interest include vaccines for tuberculosis as well as drugs for HIV and AIDS……

Read Full Article Here

http://www.blacklistednews.com/World_Bank_Nominee_Tied_to_Monsanto_Shareholder_Bill_Gates%2C_Soros_/18683/0/0/0/Y/M.html

Barack Obama: I Have A “Moral Obligation” To Neuter America

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     The Author’s title not mine.  Used here because aside from the title it has some valid points

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Barack Obama actually plans to do it. He actually plans to neuter America by unilaterally dismantling most of the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal. In fact, Barack Obama says that the United States has a “moral obligation” to disarm as we lead the way to “a world without nuclear weapons”. Sadly, a “world without nuclear weapons” is a fantasy that will not be possible any time soon. Nuclear weapons technology is getting into more hands with each passing year, and geopolitical tensions are rising all over the globe. If the United States did not have nuclear weapons, anyone with just a handful of nukes would constitute a massive threat to our national security. An overwhelming strategic nuclear arsenal helps keep us safe because every other nation on the planet knows that it would be national suicide to attack us. If you take that overwhelming strategic nuclear arsenal away, the entire calculation changes.

Many out there claim that even if the U.S. only has a few hundred nuclear warheads that it will be more than enough to be an effective deterrent.

Sadly, that simply is not true.

If an enemy knows that we only have a few hundred warheads, and if they know exactly where those warheads are located for verification purposes, then a first strike which would take out the vast majority of our operational warheads becomes very plausible.

That is why what Obama wants to do is so incredibly dangerous. If he reduces our strategic nuclear arsenal down to almost nothing, the odds of a nuclear first strike against the United States someday go up dramatically.

The following is what Fox News reported that Obama said during a speech in South Korea the other day….

“American leadership has been essential to progress in a second area — taking concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons,” Obama said yesterday during a speech in Korea. “I believe the United States has a unique responsibility to act — indeed, we have a moral obligation.”……….

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/barack-obama-it-is-a-moral-obligation-to-neuter-america

House approves 90-day highway bill, dares Senate to reject it

By Pete Kasperowicz

The House on Thursday morning approved a 90-day extension of federal highway programs over the objections of angry Democrats, a move that dares Senate Democrats to reject the bill just days before federal authorization expires.

The House approved its bill, H.R. 4281, in a 266-158 vote that saw 37 Democrats join all but 10 Republicans in passing it — a fair amount of bipartisanship given the bitter partisan debate heard in the House throughout much of the week.

With the House vote, the Senate must now decide whether to accept the bill, insist on changes, or continue to push for House passage of the Senate-approved two-year extension. That last option, however, appears to be more difficult, as the House plans to go out of session at the end of Thursday.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/219025-house-approves-90-day-highway-bill-dares-senate-to-reject-it

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Economy

Bernanke Claims That The Fed Has Averted A Second Great Depression By Bailing Out The Too Big To Fail Banks

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke claims that the Federal Reserve averted a second Great Depression by bailing out the big Wall Street banks during the last financial crisis, and he says that if a similar financial crisis comes along that the correct “policy response” will be to do the exact same thing again. This was the theme of the lecture that Bernanke delivered to students at George Washington University on Tuesday. In previous lectures Bernanke has defended the existence of the Fed and detailed the history of Fed activities, but on Tuesday he addressed things that have happened since he has been at the helm of the Fed. And according to Bernanke, he has been doing a great job. Bernanke told the students that the “threat of a second Great Depression was very real” and that the Federal Reserve did exactly what needed to be done to fix the financial system. Unfortunately, the truth is that all Bernanke did was kick the can a bit farther down the road. You can’t fix a debt problem with more debt, and the debt bubble we are living in today is far larger than it was in 2008. Will Bernanke still be trying to portray himself as a hero when this house of cards finally falls apart?……

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/bernanke-claims-that-the-fed-has-averted-a-second-great-depression-by-bailing-out-the-too-big-to-fail-banks

Senate again blocks Dem bid to nix ‘Big Oil’ tax breaks

By Ben Geman and Andrew Restuccia

The Senate on Thursday thwarted Democratic plans to strip billions of dollars in tax breaks from the largest oil companies, a vote that represented the latest skirmish in the election-year war over gasoline prices.

Lawmakers voted 51-47 to block Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) bill. Sixty votes were needed to advance the measure.

The vote occurred shortly after President Obama – seeking to cast Republicans as allies of big oil companies – used a Rose Garden speech to urge lawmakers to back the plan.

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/219015-draft-draft-senate-again-blocks-dems-bid-to-nix-big-oil-tax-breaks

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Wars and Rumors of War

Arabic broadcaster Al-Jazeera backs down over showing disturbing footage filmed by Toulouse gunman after pleas from Sarkozy

Memory stick with video montage was sent to Arabic TV office the day before Mohammed Merah was shot dead
Le Parisien newspaper had also seen footage sent by man who murdered seven people in three separate attacks

By Peter Allen

Arabic TV network Al-Jazeera has said it will not air disturbing footage of the Toulouse shootings after the video was sent to its office in Paris.

It appeared to have been recorded during Mohammed Merah’s deadly attacks on soldiers and a Jewish school earlier this month.

The station’s decision not to broadcast the video, which was sent on a USB memory stick along with a letter, came after French president Nicolas Sarkozy and family of the victims had asked for it not to be shown.

The video has been edited into a ‘montage’ accompanied by an Islamic war songs, and was sent in a package post-dated March 21 – the day before 23-year-old Merah was killed by French special forces in his home city.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120909/Disturbing-video-footage-filmed-Toulouse-gunman-killed-victims-emerges.html#ixzz1qY0bLTDY

Rand Paul blocks Iran sanctions bill

Invokes The Constitution In Iran Sanctions Debate

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Environmental

Well from hell: Gas rig abandoned in North Sea after massive leak

Huge clouds of natural gas have forced the evacuation of several oil rigs in the area amid fears of an explosion

A desperate battle to plug an enormous gas leak in the North Sea is being waged tonight.

Huge clouds of natural gas have forced the evacuation of several oil rigs in the area amid fears of an explosion.

And workers warned there was a “clear and present danger” of a major gas blast.

A two-mile exclusion zone for shipping and three miles for aircraft have already been set up around Total’s Elgin platform, which has been leaking since Sunday.

Specialist engineers from Texas who tackled the devastating BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 have been flown in by the company to help stop the leak.

Safety boss David Hainsworth said: “We are mobilising experts from Houston and France to help us deal with this.”

But the Elgin platform – 150 miles off the coast of Aberdeen – has been dubbed “the well from hell” because of the particularly high pressure of the gas.

Wullie Wallace, of union Unite, said: “The incident cannot be underestimated in its seriousness. There is still a clear and present danger to our members.”……

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gas-rig-abandoned-in-north-sea-774258

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Radiation

1 of Japan’s damaged reactors has high radiation, no water, renewing doubts about stability

By Associated Press,

TOKYO — One of Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool it, according to an internal examination Tuesday that renews doubts about the plant’s stability.

A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor’s containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago. The probe done in January failed to find the water surface and provided only images showing steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by exposure to radiation, heat and humidity.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/new-probe-at-japans-crippled-nuke-plant-finds-fatally-high-radiation-little-water-in-reactor/2012/03/27/gIQA83d0dS_story.html

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Articles of Interest

John Pilger – The New rulers of The World

Suit: NYPD conducting illegal stops in private buildings

By Andrew Jones

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a lawsuit against the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Wednesday, alleging that in addition to stopping primarily black and Latino residents in public spaces as part of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, officers are illegally searching people in private buildings.

According to a press release, the NYCLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of residents whose buildings are apart of “Operation Clean Halls,” an agreement by the NYPD and a landlord that grants officers permission to patrol inside a building at any time.

NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman cited how minorities have been largely affected by the NYPD’s program…..

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/28/suit-nypd-conducting-illegal-stops-in-private-buildings/

Politics and Legislation

 

Groups Attempt to Influence Supreme Court on

 

Eric Lichtblau, The New York Times News Service:

“Justice Clarence Thomas likens all the outside political pressure that the Supreme Court is facing over its review of the Obama administration’s sweeping health care law to the distraction faced by a free-throw shooter confronted with fans waving wildly behind the basket…. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has helped lead opposition to the health care law, has been hosting moot court sessions to prepare lawyers involved in the case.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8084-groups-attempt-to-influence-supreme-court-on-health-care

 

Cash-for-access scandal leaves David Cameron’s UK government reeling

 

By msnbc.com and news services

LONDON — The government of British Prime Minister David Cameron was reeling on Monday after a video emerged showing his Conservative Party’s top fundraiser claiming to offer access to senior politicians in exchange for large donations.

In a sting operation, The Sunday Times (the newspaper operates behind a paywall) secretly videotaped fundraiser Peter Cruddas discussing donations. The film showed him telling undercover reporters: “200 grand ($317,000), 250 is premier league … it’ll be awesome for your business.”…..

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/26/10863431-cash-for-access-scandal-leaves-david-camerons-uk-government-reeling

 

 

Economy

 

Loan Forgiveness Good for the Economy, and Maybe Fannie and Freddie Mac Too

 

By Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica:

“New analyses by mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have added an explosive new dimension to one of the most politically charged debates about the housing crisis: Whether to reduce the amount of money beleaguered homeowners owe on their mortgages. Their conclusion: Such loan forgiveness wouldn’t just help keep hundreds of thousands of families in their homes, it would also save Freddie and Fannie money. That, in turn, would help taxpayers, who bailed out the companies at a cost of more than $150 billion and are still on the hook for future losses.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8085-loan-forgiveness-good-for-the-economy-and-maybe-for-fannie-and-freddie-mac-too

Wall Street gold rush in foreclosed homes

Investors seeking higher yields are drawn to foreclosures because the rental market is red hot. But the heated competition for foreclosed homes is reminiscent of the frothy expectations that seem to accompany each new Wall Street investing craze.

http://profit.ndtv.com/News/Article/wall-street-gold-rush-in-foreclosed-homes-300450

 

Feds say Wells Fargo won’t turn over documents

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Federal securities regulators are asking a federal court to order Wells Fargo & Co. to turn over documents in an investigation of the bank’s sale of $60 billion in mortgage-backed securities.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement Friday that Wells Fargo agreed to produce the documents under subpoenas dating to September of 2011, but the bank has failed to hand over much of the requested material.

The agency has asked U.S. District Court in San Francisco to order the nation’s largest mortgage lender to turn over the paperwork. The SEC is investigating possible fraud in the bank’s sale of securities that were made up of multiple mortgage loans between September 2006 and early 2008.

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-03/D9TN1VM00.htm

 

Big Banks Continue to Suck at the Government Teat With Never-Ending Stealth Bailouts

 

WashingtonsBlog

Open-Ended Bailouts Are Continuing

We’ve previously documented the fact that bailouts of the big banks are continued in stealth mode up to the present day.

True, the banks claim they’ve repaid the Tarp bailout funds … but nearly half of the banks “repaid” such bailout funds by borrowing from other government bailout funds (and the rest could only repay money by fudging their accounting and using stealth bailouts which are are a little harder to detect).

Indeed, the government has decided on perpetual bailouts for the too big to fail banks.

Some of the ongoing stealth bailouts include:….

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/03/big-banks-continue-to-suck-at-the-government-teat-with-never-ending-stealth-bailouts.html

 

 

Wars and Rumors of War

 

The Dangerous Mess in Syria Grows Murkier

 

By Eric Margolis

March 25, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Syria’s murky, multi-level conflict continues to grow worse. So does public confusion here in the west as the US, British and some European media keep depicting Syria’s civil war as a simple passion play pitting the evil Asad regime in Damascus against mostly unarmed democratic protestors.

We saw this same one-dimensional, deceptive reporting recently in Libya that was designed to support foreign intervention. It’s as incomplete today about Syria as it was in Libya which, by the way, is turning into a dangerous mess.

My assessment based on reliable primary sources in Washington, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon:

Support for the Asad family’s Ba’ath regime, now in power for 41 years, is clearly slipping. But important sections of the armed forces, the 17 intelligence and security agencies, the powerful Alawai minority, most Syrian Christians, tribal elements and much of the commercial middle and upper class still back the Asad’s. In spite of intense western efforts to overthrow him, Bashar Asad, a mild-mannered former eye specialist, is still hanging on….

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30908.htm

 

Robert Bales – Lone Nut or Scapegoat?
What are the Americans hiding?

 

By Justin Raimondo

March 25, 2012 “Antiwar” – The murder of 17 Afghan civilians – most of them children – by staff sergeant Robert Bales may be far worse than we think at present. The semi-official story, as related by our compliant news media, is that a formerly model soldier went bananas under the pressure of war-related injuries, financial problems at home, and the all-purpose PTSD explanation for military misbehavior, whereupon he decided – at 3 am in the morning, after drinking with his army buddies – to walk the couple of miles to an Afghan village, shoot 16 people sleeping in their beds, pile the bodies atop a funeral pyre and set the whole thing alight.

How did he get out of the base at 3 am unchallenged and without anyone’s knowledge? How did he manage to do so much damage alone? These questions automatically register in the minimally critical mind – unless, of course, you’re an American reporter, who is quite used to accepting what our government tells us without question. On the other hand, without clear evidence of another – darker – scenario, all one can do is engage in problematic speculation. That problem has been solved, however, because evidence of an alternative explanation is now coming to light which throws the whole “lone nut” theory into question.

A few days before Bales went postal, there was a bomb attack on a US convoy in which a friend of Bales’s lost a leg: Bales’s lawyer has been detailing his client’s anger at this incident, implying it precipitated the murder spree. There are indications, however, that this is not the whole story. One local resident relates how the Americans paid a visit to the village where the killings took place and threatened residents with retaliation:….

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30906.htm

 

Robots Kill, But the Blood Is on Our Hands

 

By David Swanson

March 25, 2012 “Information Clearing House” —In her spare time, between non-stop peace activism and leading international exchanges, Medea Benjamin has somehow managed to write the best book yet on the most inhuman form of war yet. The book is called Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.

Even if you’ve been reading everything you could about drones, attending peace conferences, and protesting in the lobbies of drone companies like General Atomics, you will learn a great deal from this book. In fact, I’m willing to bet that even if you “pilot” drones from a desk for a living, you will learn a great deal from this book. And if you have not been paying attention to drones, then you really need to read this book.

Many Americans first heard about “unmanned aerial vehicles” as weapons when Colin Powell told the United Nations in 2003 that Iraq might use them to attack the United States. This turned out to be a projection as well as a lie. It was, of course, the United States that used drones, among other weapons, to attack Iraq for nine years, and the U.S. drones are still in the skies of Iraq today, as well in the skies of many other countries.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30912.htm

 

US Plans No Charges Over Deadly November Strike in Pakistan

 

The United States military has decided that no service members will face disciplinary charges for their involvement in a NATO airstrike in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, an accident that plunged relations between the two countries to new depths and has greatly complicated the allied mission in Afghanistan.

An American investigation in December found fault with both American and Pakistani troops for the deadly exchange of fire, but noted that the Pakistanis fired first from two border posts that were not on coalition maps, and that they kept firing even after the Americans tried to warn them that they were shooting at allied troops. Pakistan has rejected these conclusions and ascribed most of the blame to the American forces.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8087-us-plans-no-charges-over-deadly-november-strike-in-pakistan

 

UK Mercenaries tackle Somalia

 

March 25, 2012

Why send in conventional military units when you can deploy mercenaries into Africa to carry out special operations, commit atrocities and confiscate natural resources all off the books….

http://www.phantomreport.com/uk-mercenaries-tackle-somalia

 

U.S. pays Afghans $50K per shooting death

March 25, 2012

The United States has paid $50,000 in compensation for each Afghan killed in the shooting spree attributed to a U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official and a community elder said Sunday…..

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57404080/u.s-pays-afghans-$50k-per-shooting-death/

 

Report: Israeli soldiers scour Iran for nukes

 

Israel using permanent base in northern Iraq to launch intelligence missions in Iran in search of nuclear evidence, Western intelligence sources say.

Israel is using a permanent base in Iraqi Kurdistan to launch cross-border intelligence missions in an attempt to find “smoking gun” evidence that Iran is building a nuclear warhead, the Sunday Times reported Sunday.

According to Western intelligence sources, Israel has used sensitive equipment during its covert operations to monitor the radioactivity and magnitude of explosives tests. It was also reported that Israeli special forces used Black Hawk helicopters to carry commandos disguised as members of the Iranian military and using Iranian military vehicles……

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4207265,00.html

 

Leader of Mali military coup trained in U.S.

 

March 25, 2012

The leader of a military coup in the West African country of Mali received military training in the United States on “several” occasions, a U.S. defense official said Friday.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/leader-of-mali-military-coup-trained-in-us/2012/03/23/gIQAS7Q6WS_story.html?wprss=rss_national-security

 

Japan wants missile shield against N.Korean rockets

 

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 23, 2012

North Korea has announced it will launch a rocket next month, which will put a satellite into orbit. But the U.S. and its allies see the plans as counter to international diplomatic efforts to deal with the reclusive state’s nuclear programme – and are worried the technology could be used to develop long range missiles in the future. It could also potentially violate UN Security Council resolutions, and threatens last month’s deal between North Korea and the Washington. Under this, Pyonyang was to freeze its uranium weapons program and its long-range missile activities – in return for American food aid. Japan’s has responded by deploying its own missile defense system to shoot down any rocket threatening its territory. For more on this, RT talks to Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford, from London.

 

 

Drug lords targeted by Fast and Furious were FBI informants

 

March 25, 2012

When the ATF made alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta its primary target in the ill-fated Fast and Furious investigation, it hoped he would lead the agency to two associates who were Mexican drug cartel members. The ATF even questioned and released him knowing that he was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-fast-furious-20120322,0,3334424.story

 

Attacking Iran will spell Israel’s end: Cleric

 

A senior Iranian cleric says the Israeli threats of a military strike on Iran are mere “psychological warfare” as Tel Aviv fully understands any such venture would lead to its “total annihilation”.

“There has been some talk in the media for some time of a military move [against Iran] by the Zionist regime [of Israel] in particular; these menacing murmurs are nothing but psychological warfare,” Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami said on Monday.

Last year during a period, foreign media created hype about a war [against Tehran] and anyone who paid attention to these media felt the US would attack Iran the following day,” he said.

The senior Iranian cleric, who is a member of the presiding board of the Assembly of Experts, said Israeli officials know that a military offensive against Iran would mean the complete annihilation of the Zionist regime

“We are not aggressors but our response to aggressors will be devastatingly crushing.”

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/233265.html

 

Iran nukes: How would the world know?

 

By Pam Benson

American officials are adamant. The U.S. will respond – possibly with military force – if Iran crosses a red line and decides to actually make nuclear weapons.

But will the U.S. know with an degree of certainty that a line has been crossed?

The decision itself to push ahead really comes down to one person, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Clapper told a Senate hearing recently that any decision would be based on “the supreme leader’s world view and the extent to which he thinks that would benefit the state of Iran or, conversely, not benefit.”

Clapper was referring to Ayatollah Ali Khameini, the supreme leader of Iran.

“It’s Khameini, period, full stop, end of sentence,” agreed Kenneth Pollack, an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution.

But trying to read one person’s mind is no easy thing, observed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently, noting how Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was misread by U.S. intelligence.

“People sometimes say and do things that are at variance with what one might expect,” the secretary of state said. “It’s still quite bewildering to me why Saddam Hussein wanted everyone to believe that he had chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons of mass destruction when apparently he did not…..

http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/26/iran-nukes-how-would-the-world-know/

 

South Korea warns it may shoot down North Korean rocket

 

Fears over suspected missile test overshadow international nuclear security summit in Seoul

South Korea has warned it might shoot down a North Korean rocket if it passes over its territory, as worries about what Washington calls a long-range missile test overshadowed an international nuclear security summit.

“We are studying measures such as tracking and shooting down [parts] of a North Korean missile in case they stray out of their normal trajectory” and violate South Korean territory, said Yoon Won-shik, a spokesman at the South’s defence ministry.

He called the launch “a very reckless, provocative act” that undermines peace on the Korean peninsula.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/26/south-korea-shoot-down-north-korea-rocket?newsfeed=true

 

 

Articles of Interest

 

Incarceration Nation

 

By Fareed Zakaria

March 25, 2012 “TIME.com” — Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today,” writes the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik. “Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America – more than 6 million – than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.”

Is this hyperbole? Here are the facts. The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. That’s not just many more than in most other developed countries but seven to 10 times as many. Japan has 63 per 100,000, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97, and ­Britain – with a rate among the ­highest – has 153.

This wide gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world is relatively recent. In 1980 the U.S.’s prison population was about 150 per 100,000 adults. It has more than quadrupled since then. So something has happened in the past 30 years to push millions of Americans into prison.

That something, of course, is the war on drugs. Drug convictions went from 15 inmates per 100,000 adults in 1980 to 148 in 1996, an almost tenfold increase. More than half of America’s federal inmates today are in prison on drug convictions. In 2009 alone, 1.66 million Americans were arrested on drug charges, more than were arrested on assault or larceny charges. And 4 of 5 of those arrests were simply for possession.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30910.htm

 

Hill Poll: Voters expect personal views to decide health case

 

By Sam Baker

Half of likely voters want the Supreme Court to overturn President Obama’s healthcare law, according to The Hill’s latest poll.

Just 42 percent said the court should uphold the law, with 50 percent saying it should be struck down.

A majority of both men and women want the law voided. By a 52-percent-to-39-percent margin women are more opposed to it than men, who oppose it 48 percent to 45 percent, a difference that matches the poll’s 3-point margin of error.

http://thehill.com/polls/218005-hill-poll-voters-expect-justices-personal-beliefs-to-decide-health-case

 

IRS takes heat from both GOP, Dems over Tea Party groups’ tax-exempt status

 

By Bernie Becker

The Revenue Service is taking heat from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for its oversight of certain groups engaging in political activity, in particular Tea Party organizations seeking tax-exempt status.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/217987-irs-takes-heat-from-gop-dems-over-tea-party-groups-tax-exempt-status

 

Japan tsunami ‘Ghost Ship’ haunts Canada coast

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

 

R2P: Imperial Conquest by Another Name

 

Uploaded by GlobalResearchTV

As the world recovers from one humanitarian peace bombing in Libya, and braces for another possible intervention in Syria, many are now asking how it is that the so-called liberal left have become cheerleaders for the very wars of aggression they once pretended to deride. As long-time investigate reporter Pepe Escobar explains, an obscure international doctrine called Responsibility To Protect or R2P has been the main tool for shaping this new paradigm for the continuation of NATO’s imperial power grabs around the world.

 

Politics and Legislation

‘Stability’ Trumps Democracy in Egypt

 

Charles Davis and Medea Benjamin, Op-Ed:

If one only pays attention to what politicians say, ignoring what they do, this may come as a surprise. President Barack Obama, after all, has voiced support for the Arab Spring. He gave a speech in Cairo full of lofty words about the people of the region’s legitimate democratic aspirations. So why would his administration lavish a regime that cracks down on pro-democracy forces with money for weapons?

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/medea-benjamin/us-egypt-aid_b_1376226.html

 

 

The Dumbest ‘Bipartisan’ Move Since Repealing Glass-Steagall

 

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Op-Ed:

The hype that led Washington honchos to name this tragic bill the “JOBS Act” is the same brand of patented b.s. that inspired lawmakers to call Gramm-Leach-Bliley, the law that overturned Glass-Steagall, the “Financial Services Modernization Act.” That act of “modernization” actually turned the clock back – from 1999 all the way back to 1929, stripping away some of the common-sense measures that prevented the formation of too-big-to-fail banks that could gamble with their customers’ money or bring the economy to the brink of ruin – which they promptly did, less than a decade later.

http://www.nationofchange.org/dumbest-bipartisan-move-repealing-glass-steagall-1332569940

 

 

Economy

 

Ten years of Obamacare would cost 1.76 trillon dollars – far more than originally claimed

 

By Ethan A. Huff,

(NaturalNews) According to new spending projections issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the costs associated with implementing Obamacare over the next ten years are more than double what the Obama Administration claimed when first pushing for its passage. Through 2022, the gross spending requirements for the federal government to fully implement this progressive form of universal healthcare in the U.S. are an astounding $1.76 trillion dollars, also written as $1,760,000,000,000.

“The ACA’s (Affordable Care Act) provisions related to insurance coverage are now projected to have a net cost of $1,252 billion over the 2012-2022 period,” says the CBO report. “[T]hat amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,762 billion, offset in part by $510 billion in receipts and other budgetary effects (primarily revenues from penalties and other sources)” (http://cbo.gov/publication/43080)…..

http://www.naturalnews.com/035324_Obamacare_health_care_costs.html#ixzz1q9qukB7F

Cairo fuel shortage causes long lines at gas stations

 

The New Straits Times reports that the reason for the fuel shortage isn’t clear:

Petroleum Minister Abdullah Ghorab flatly dismissed talk of a shortage, saying fuel supplies exceed demand. He said the crisis stems from “mistrust between the government and the citizens,” according to the state-run MENA news agency.

Another Petroleum ministry official, Hani Dahi, was also quoted by MENA as saying that there is “a rise in the illegal use of fuel” and calling for tighter security measures to prevent black market dealers selling subsidised fuel at higher prices……

http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/23/10831029-cairo-fuel-shortage-causes-long-lines-at-gas-stations

Tax breaks exceed $1 trillion

 

By John D. McKinnon

A congressional report detailing the value of major tax breaks shows they amount to more than $1 trillion a year—roughly the size of the annual federal budget deficit—and benefit wide swaths of the population.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303812904577299923495453562.html

AT&T points finger at federal regulators for layoffs at T-Mobile

 

By Brendan Sasso

AT&T blamed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Friday for thousands of layoffs at T-Mobile, saying the jobs would have been saved if the agency had approved the merger of the two companies last year.

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/217857-atat-blames-fcc-for-t-mobile-layoffs

 

Why Leaving Goldman Sachs Breaks the Rules of the Game

 

Elizabeth Doty , Op-Ed:

Most professionals who hold this second worldview believe that, in the long run, the greatest financial rewards go to whoever creates the most value. Unfortunately, when regulations are distorted or monopoly power comes into play, businesses can be rewarded for actions that do not add value for customers or other stakeholders. For example, by convincing regulators to drastically reduce banking oversight, Goldman and other banks helped create incentives for banks to take irresponsible risks, for which society ultimately bore the cost.

http://www.nationofchange.org/why-leaving-goldman-sachs-breaks-rules-game-1332571268

Why Seniors Could Pay $5,900 More for Health Care Under the Republican Budget

 

Topher Spiro, News Report:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the Republican budget and estimated its effect on average Medicare spending per beneficiary. Under current law, or CBO’s “baseline scenario,” CBO projects that average spending will rise from $5,500 today to $8,600 in 2030 and to $17,000 in 2050. (CBO converted all dollar figures to 2011 dollars to remove the effects of inflation and ensure appropriate comparisons over time.) These numbers reflect the projected trend in health care costs over time.

http://www.nationofchange.org/why-seniors-could-pay-5900-more-health-care-under-republican-budget-1332597060

Wall Street Confidence Trick: The Interest Rate Swaps That are Bankrupting Local Governments

 

Ellen Brown, Op-Ed:

Interest rate swaps are less often in the news than credit default swaps, but they are far more important in terms of revenue, composing fully 82% of the derivatives trade. In February, JP Morgan Chase revealed that it had cleared $1.4 billion in revenue on trading interest rate swaps in 2011, making them one of the bank’s biggest sources of profit.

http://www.nationofchange.org/wall-street-confidence-trick-interest-rate-swaps-are-bankrupting-local-governments-1332571419

MF’s Corzine Ordered Funds Moved to JP Morgan, Memo Says

 

Jon S. Corzine, MF Global Holding Ltd. (MFGLQ)’s chief executive officer, gave “direct instructions” to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in a brokerage account with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), according to a memo written by congressional investigators.

Edith O’Brien, a treasurer for the firm, said in an e-mail quoted in the memo that the transfer was “Per JC’s direct instructions,” according to a copy of the memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The e-mail, dated Oct. 28, was sent three days before the company collapsed, the memo says. The memo does not indicate whether that phrase was the full text of the e-mail or an excerpt.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-23/mf-global-s-corzine-ordered-funds-moved-to-jpmorgan-memo-says.html

 

 

Wars and Rumors of War

 

Terrorists blow up gas pipeline in Syria: State media

 

Syrian state media say terrorists have blown up a section of a pipeline carrying gas through the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.

The attack was carried out on Saturday, state media said.

This is not the first time a Syrian gas pipeline comes under attack by armed groups over the past year.

In January, Syrian state media also said terrorists attacked an oil pipeline near Quriye area in Deir al-Zour.

An armed terrorist group also blew up a section of a gas pipeline in the central province of Homs near the Lebanese border in January, state media said…….

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/233067.html

US: Journalist fired after calling Israeli occupation ‘brutal’

 

A veteran American journalist has been fired after referring to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land as “brutal.”

Sunni Khalid, managing news editor at WYPR-FM in Baltimore, was dropped by the public radio station on Thursday after more than nine years on the job.

He had been on probation following criticism of comments he made on Facebook about Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine.

“I, for one, have had enough of this pandering before the Israeli regime,” he wrote.

“The war-mongering toward Iran has, once again, distracted the world from Israel’s brutal military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.”…..

http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/news/news.php?article=21971

 

Activism

Anatomy of an Occupation: Did the Planners of Occupy Wall Street Really Have a Plan?

 

Nathan Schneider, Video Report:

When Occupy Wall Street and the ensuing Occupy movement captured the world’s attention in the fall of 2011, the world wasn’t exactly sure what hit it. Through a series of up-close portraits of the movement in both planning and execution, this webinar will explore how it has succeeded as well as what its challenges will be in the coming months. Drawing from his experience covering the Occupy movement since the early planning stages, Nathan Schneider will focus on the role of strategizing.

http://www.nationofchange.org/anatomy-occupation-did-planners-occupy-wall-street-really-have-plan-1332599972

 

Misc

Afghan case puts military mental health care under microscope

 

By Carlo Munoz

The recent killing of 17 Afghan civilians at the hands of a U.S. soldier has reignited concerns on whether the Pentagon is doing enough to care for its newest generation of combat veterans.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/217923-bales-afghanistan-shooting-case-puts-military-mental-health-care-under-the-microscope

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/217923-bales-afghanistan-shooting-case-puts-military-mental-health-care-under-the-microscope

Documents: White House was all-hands-on-deck as Solyndra collapse neared

 

By Ben Geman and Andrew Restuccia

Several key White House offices were involved with the Obama administration’s messaging plans and other preparations as the collapse of the taxpayer-backed solar company Solyndra was imminent, newly released documents show.

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/217915-white-house-was-all-hands-on-deck-as-solyndra-collapse-loomed

 

Hunter: Marine should not be punished for anti-Obama Facebook posts

 

By Jeremy Herb

A Marine who said he would not follow an unlawful order from President Obama should not be dismissed, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said Friday.

Hunter, a Marine reservist who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Marine Sgt. Gary Stein should not be punished for posting his opinions on Facebook.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/marine-corps/217901-hunter-marine-should-not-be-punished-for-facebook-posts

 

U.S.: Bales went on 2 shooting sprees

 

(AP) WASHINGTON – American officials say U.S. investigators now believe the U.S. soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians split the slaughter into two episodes – returning to his base after the first attack and later slipping away to kill again.

This scenario seems to support the U.S. government’s assertion — contested by some Afghans — that the killings were done by one person, since they would have been perpetrated over a longer period of time than assumed when Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was detained March 11.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57403946/u.s.-bales-went-on-2-shooting-sprees/

Politics and Legislation

Mayor’s office buys 8,513 more face shields for NATO summit

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is buying 8,513 more face shields for Chicago Police officers at a cost of $757,657 — and demanding delivery in time for the May 20-21 NATO summit — to give every officer on the street a shield that fits over a gas mask and prevents them from being blinded by liquids thrown by protesters.

The supplemental purchase from Colorado-based Super Seer Corp. brings to $954,118 the amount of money spent to purchase 11,570 face shields twice as thick as the old ones with a larger surface and air-tight seal to keep liquids out.

The new contract was piggybacked onto an existing Fairfax County, Va. award with a third-distributor to expedite delivery. It makes it clear the Chicago Police Department is not scaling back its protest preparations even though President Barack Obama has shifted the G-8 summit from Chicago to Camp David.

“It’s an urgent thing. They want ’em by May 15th. Their intent is to outfit all of the officers Chicago Police have with the new face shield for the NATO summit,” said Super Seer President Steve Smith, who is hiring a dozen employees to “ramp up” production.

http://www.suntimes.com/11443023-418/mayors-office-buys-8513-more-face-shields-for-nato-summit.html

An Administration Gone Rogue

By Rep. Ron Paul

March 23, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Have certain parts of the Constitution become irrelevant, as a former Republican leader once told me at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing? At the time, I was told that demanding a Congressional declaration of war before invading Iraq, as Article I Section 8 of the Constitution requires, was unnecessary and anachronistic. Congress and the president then proceeded without a Constitutional declaration and the disastrous Iraq invasion was the result.

Last week, Obama administration officials made it clear that even the fig leaf of Congressional participation provided by the 2003 “authorization” to use force in Iraq was to be ignored as well. In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated clearly and repeatedly that the administration felt it was legally justified to use military force against Syria solely with “international permission”. Such “international permission” could come by way of the United Nations, NATO, or some other international body. Secretary Panetta then told Senator Sessions that depending on the situation, the administration would consider informing Congress of its decision and might even seek authorization after the fact.

While Senator Sessions expressed surprise at the casual audacity of Panetta in making this statement, in reality his was just a bluntly stated explanation of what has been, de facto, the case for many years. When President Obama committed the US military to a pre-emptive war against Libya last year, for example, Congress was kept completely out of the process. Likewise, military action in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and so on, proceed without a Congressional declaration. In fact, we haven’t had a proper, constitutional declaration of war since 1942, yet the US military has been engaged in Korea, Lebanon, Iraq, Bosnia, Liberia, Haiti, and Libya with only UN resolutions as the authority. Congress’s only role has been authorizing funds, which it always does without question, because one must “support the troops”.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30894.htm

‘Big Government’ Isn’t the Problem, Big Money Is

By Robert Reich

March 23, 2012 “The Nation” — Conservatives love to rail against “big government.” But the surge of cynicism engulfing the nation isn’t about government’s size. It flows from a growing perception that government doesn’t work for average people but for big business, Wall Street and the very rich—who, in effect, have bought it. In a recent Pew poll, 77 percent of respondents said too much power is in the hands of a few rich people and corporations.

That view is understandable. Wall Street got bailed out by taxpayers, but one out of every three homeowners with a mortgage is underwater, caught in the tsunami caused by the Street’s excesses. The bailout wasn’t conditioned on the banks helping these homeowners, and subsequent help has been meager. The recent settlement of claims against the banks is tiny compared with how much homeowners have lost. Millions of people are losing their homes or simply walking away from mortgage payments they can no longer afford.

Homeowners can’t use bankruptcy to reorganize their mortgage loans because the banks have engineered laws to prohibit this. Banks have also made it extremely difficult for young people to use bankruptcy to reorganize their student loans. Yet corporations routinely use bankruptcy to renege on contracts. American Airlines, which is in bankruptcy, plans to fire 13,000 people—
16 percent of its workforce—while cutting back health benefits for current employees. It also intended to terminate its underfunded pension plans, until the government agency charged with picking up the tab screamed so loudly that American backed off and proposed to freeze the plans.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30903.htm

Paul Ryan’s Focus on Dignity

By Greg Kaufmann

March 24, 2012 “The Nation” –“Promoting the natural rights and the inherent dignity of the individual must be the central focus of all government.”

That’s what Congressman Paul Ryan wrote earlier this month in an exclusive commentary for Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. This week, he revealed exactly where his laser-like focus on dignity would lead this nation. He released his budget proposal, as clear a statement of one’s principles and priorities as there is in politics.

Here are the results, and they’re not pretty. Nation readers with young children should probably ask them to leave the room before reading onward.

Mr. Ryan’s focus on dignity… means a cut in food stamps of $133 billion over ten years, even though 76 percent of participating households include a child, senior or disabled person, nearly half of all recipients are children and 40 percent of single mothers use food stamps to help feed their families. It translates to as many as 2.2 trillion meals lost for low-income people, more kids at risk of being underweight or developmentally delayed, worse educational outcomes and more stressed-out parents.

The congressman would also block-grant the program so it would no longer be able to respond to rising need during times like these—in 2010 alone food stamps kept 3.9 million people out of poverty. If you liked the cash assistance for poor families (TANF) block grant—which resulted in a free-fall from 68 of every 100 poor families receiving help to 27 of every 100—then you will absolutely love the Don’t Worry Ryan Will Feed You block grant.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30904.htm

French President Sarkozy Sees Opportunity for Censorship, Seizes It

In the wake of a horrific rampage, in which Mohamed Merah (now dead after a 32-hour standoff with police) reportedly murdered three French soldiers, three young Jewish schoolchildren, and a rabbi, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has begun calling for criminal penalties for citizens who visit web sites that advocate for terror or hate. “From now on, any person who habitually consults Web sites that advocate terrorism or that call for hatred and violence will be criminally punished,” Sarkozy was reported as saying.

Apart from the obvious flaws in Sarkozy’s plan–users, can, of course, use anonymizing tools to view the material or simply access it from a variety of locations to avoid appearing as “habitual” viewers–there are numerous other reasons to be concerned about criminalizing access to information.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/03/french-president-sarkozy-sees-opportunity-censorship-seizes-it

Economy

Greece is Now Irrelevant. Watch Spain and Germany

Submitted by Phoenix Capital Research

Earlier this month, Spain began “rocking” the EU boat by telling the EU it wasn’t going to meet the new EU fiscal requirements.

Spain’s sovereign thunderclap and the end of Merkel’s Europe

As many readers will already have seen, Premier Mariano Rajoy has refused point blank to comply with the austerity demands of the European Commission and the European Council (hijacked by Merkozy).

Taking what he called a “sovereign decision”, he simply announced that he intends to ignore the EU deficit target of 4.4pc of GDP for this year, setting his own target of 5.8pc instead (down from 8.5pc in 2011)……

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-12-21/greece-now-irrelevant-watch-spain-and-germany

Bank of America Getting Into the Landlord Business

Bank of America, the nation’s second-largest lender, is launching a pilot program this week that will offer a limited number of customers behind on their mortgages to transition from owner to renter.

The bank, which was saddled with thousands of delinquent loans when it took over mortgage giant Countrywide, says that beginning this week “in targeted hard-hit markets,” it will offer a limited number of mortgage customers who are facing foreclosure an opportunity to remain in their homes, and transition to tenant status. The program is called “Mortgage to Lease.”

“This pilot will help determine whether conversion from homeownership to rental is something our customers, the community and investors will support,” said Ron Sturzenegger, Legacy Asset Servicing executive at Bank of America in a statement. “This program may have the potential to further round out the broad set of solutions we offer our customers in need of assistance.”…….

http://www.cnbc.com/id/46829774

Wars and Rumors of War

JOSEPH KONY, AMERICA’S PRETEXT TO INVADE AFRICA: US Marines Dispatched to Five African Countries

by Michel Chossudovsky

The hidden agenda in Uganda, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa is the conquest of oil and strategic mineral resources. Going after Joseph Kony and protecting Ugandan children is a cynical smokescreen, a pretext for a “humanitarian intervention” in a region where US sponsored “civil wars” (Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia) have in the course of the last 20 years resulted in more than eight million deaths:

“Through AFRICOM, the United States is seeking a foothold in the incredibly resource rich central African block in a further maneuver to aggregate regional hegemony over China. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s largest regions without an effectively functioning government. It contains vast deposits of diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, magnesium, and tin while producing over $1 billion in gold each year. It is entirely feasible that the US can considerably increase its presence in the DRC under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony.” (Nile Bowie, Merchandising and Branding Support for US Military Intervention in Central Africa, Global research, March 14, 2012)

In a recent decision, the Pentagon confirms the sending in of Marine Special Forces to train Ugandan troops in the fight not only against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) but also against Al Shabab in Somalia. Joseph Kony is being used as a pretext for outright military intervention in five African countries.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29800

New Samsung TVs Have Built-In HD Camera, Microphones, Face and Speech Recognition

Here’s a bit of context that most people won’t consider when purchasing these quasi telescreens:

Avi Rubin – All Your Devices Can Be Hacked:

http://cryptogon.com/?p=28177

Massive EU Weapons Sales to Saudi Arabia Contribute to Fuelling International Aggression and Terrorism in the Middle East

By Julie Lévesque

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, the European Union is the most important weapons exporter to Saudi Arabia. Of all EU member states, France comes first with Euro2168.6 million of exports in 2010. Italy is in second place with Euro435.3 million, before Great Britain, with Euro328.8 million.

By arming the Saudi kingdom, the member states of the European Union are breaking prevailing EU rules regulating the exports of weapons, notes Der Spiegel. The magazine quotes the relevant section of the legislation on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament titled Security-related export controls II – Military equipment, which states:…….

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Massive_EU_Weapons_Sales_to_Saudi_Arabia_Contribute_to_Fuelling_International_Aggression_and_Terrorism_in_the_Middle_East/18580/0/0/0/Y/M.html

Former Mossad chief: Israel will know before Iran begins producing nuclear weapons

Nuclear talks between Iran, Western powers to begin next month; officials in Jerusalem estimate Israel will allow at least three months for discussions, until oil embargo on Iran comes into full effect in July.
By Barak Ravid, Natasha Mozgovaya and Haim Handwerker

Discussions between Iran and the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program will begin on April 13, senior U.S. and EU officials informed Israel on Tuesday. The talks are likely to take place in Geneva.

Officials in Jerusalem estimate that Israel will allow at least three months for discussions, until the oil embargo on Iran comes into full effect in the beginning of July……

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/former-mossad-chief-israel-will-know-before-iran-begins-producing-nuclear-weapons-1.419978

Japan Prepares to Intercept Possibly Errant N. Korean Missile

The Japanese parliament has approved a resolution condemning North Korea’s planned missile launch, and the country is also preparing contingencies should the missile veer off course and pose a threat to Japan.

Speaking in Tokyo Friday, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said the Japanese military will be prepared for any eventuality.

Tanaka says he is ordering officials to prepare deployment of PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles and Aegis destroyers carrying a state-of-the-art anti-missile system that could attempt to shoot down the rocket…..

http://www.voanews.com/tibetan-english/news/Japan-Prepares-to-Intercept-Possibly-Errant-N-Korean-Missile-143976466.html

Palestinian on Hunger Strike “in Mortal Danger”

Uploaded by TheRealNews on Mar 23, 2012

Hanaa Shalabi, a Palestinian prisoner under Administrative Detention without charge or trial enters 36th day of her hunger strike
====
After more than a month on hunger strike, Hanaa Shalabi is in “immediate

mortal danger” and at “risk of coma” according to a Physicians for Human Rights doctor. Shalabi’s strike came at the heels of another high profile campaign by Khader Adnan who survived a 66 day hunger strike before the Israeli authorities decided to release him. Both were arrested under Administrative Detention, a military order that allows Israeli authorities to arrest anyone and hold them indefinitely, without charge or trial. The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky met with the families of the two prisoners and spoke to lawyers Shawan Jabarin for Al Haq and Sahar Francis of Addameer about the mass imprisonment of Palestinians

Inside Story – A coup underway in the West African state of Mali

Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Mar 23, 2012

Rebel soldiers in the West African state of Mali claim to control the country, ousted the president and suspended the constitution. How powerful are they and can the government sustain its grip on power? Guests: Akli Sh’kka, Baz Lecocq, Adam Thiam.

Terror Management: ‘US losing last credibility in Syria’

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 23, 2012

The EU continues to pursue its strategy of pressure on the Syrian regime to force it out of power. Foreign ministers have agreed to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on the British-born wife of the country’s leader. Asma al-Assad is among 12 officials or family members to be added to a number of figures, including the president, who are already subject to sanctions.

Washington has also threatened to tighten the screws on the Syrian government and isolate it even more if President Assad doesn’t comply with the UN statement appealing for a ceasefire. With violence still raging in the country, the opposition has dismissed international calls on both sides to implement Kofi Annan’s peace plan – as not meeting the needs of the people.

Government consultant Christoph Hoerstel, who’s recently returned from Syria, says he’s deeply concerned that the sanctions may have been a response to recently leaked emails between the Assad family.

Worrisome Security Council Presidential Statement on Syria

By Stephen Lendman

March 23, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — After months of internal wrangling, Security Council members unanimously endorsed efforts to end Syrian violence. Or did they? More on that below.

Presidential statements are non-binding. However, with vague language, they risk potential slippery slope trouble. More on that below as well.

Media reports called unanimity a setback for Assad. The statement’s also characterized as “Western.”

Hillary Clinton called it “a positive step. The council has now spoken with one voice.” She also said Washington is working with Syria’s opposition “to strengthen its preparation to participate in the Syrian-led transition process that the Council has endorsed.” By any other name, she means regime change.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30898.htm

Israel and US Disagree on Timetable for Iran Attack

By Associated Press

March 24, 2012 “Washington Post” — JERUSALEM — Israel and the U.S. disagree on what would be a realistic timetable for stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Israel’s defense minister said Thursday, but he stopped short of threatening unilateral Israeli action.

Ehud Barak reiterated concerns that Iran is trying to make its suspected nuclear weapons program immune from attack before taking a decision on assembling atomic bombs, and said Israel “cannot afford” to wait in such a situation.

However, Barak told Israel Radio that the Jewish state could hold off for several more months to allow sanctions and negotiations to work. During this period, it would become clear “if the Iranians intend or don’t intend to stop their nuclear weapons program.”

In the interview, Barak argued that superior U.S. military capabilities and Washington’s position as a world power account for its different stance toward perceived Iranian nuclear threats. The U.S. has urged Israel to give sanctions time to work.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30905.htm

Special Report – Intel Shows Iran Not Nuclear “Threat”

By Reuters

March 23, 2012 “Reuters” – The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.

Those conclusions, drawn from extensive interviews with current and former U.S. and European officials with access to intelligence on Iran, contrast starkly with the heated debate surrounding a possible Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.

“They’re keeping the soup warm but they are not cooking it,” a U.S. administration official said.

Reuters has learned that in late 2006 or early 2007, U.S. intelligence intercepted telephone and email communications in which Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a leading figure in Iran’s nuclear program, and other scientists complained that the weaponization program had been stopped.

That led to a bombshell conclusion in a controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate: American spy agencies had “high confidence” that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003.

Current and former U.S. officials say they are confident that Iran has no secret uranium-enrichment site outside the purview of U.N. nuclear inspections.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30900.htm

Nuclear Watchdog Chief Accused of Pro-western Bias Over Iran

Former officials warn of parallels between IAEA approach to Iran and mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction

By Julian Borger

March 23, 2012 “The Guardian” – -The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog at the heart of the growing Iranian crisis, has been accused by several former senior officials of pro-western bias, over-reliance on unverified intelligence and of sidelining sceptics.

Yukiya Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, took command of the IAEA in July 2009. Since then, the west’s confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme has deepened and threats of military action by Israel and the US have become more frequent.

At the same time, the IAEA’s reports on Iranian behaviour have become steadily more critical. In November, it published an unprecedented volume of intelligence pointing towards past Iranian work on developing a nuclear weapon, deeming it credible.

However, some former IAEA officials are saying that the agency has gone too far. Robert Kelley, a former US weapons scientists who ran the IAEA action team on Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion, said there were worrying parallels between the west’s mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction then and the IAEA’s assessment of Iran now.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30899.htm

Kurd militants threaten Turkey if it enters Syria

By Jon Hemming

ANKARA

(Reuters) – Turkish Kurd militants threatened on Thursday to turn all Kurdish populated areas into a “war zone” if Turkish troops entered Syria, a sign the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has allies in Syria may be taking sides in the conflict there.

A renewed alliance between Damascus and the PKK would anger Turkey and could prompt it to take an even stronger line against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over his brutal repression of anti-government protesters.

PKK field commander Murat Karayilan said Turkey was preparing the ground for an intervention in Syria.

“The Turkish state is planning an intervention against our people,” the Europe-based Firat news agency, close to the militants, quoted him as saying.

“Let me state clearly, if the Turkish state intervenes against our people in western Kurdistan, all of Kurdistan will turn into a war zone,” he said.

Western Kurdistan is the term Kurdish nationalists use to describe Kurdish areas of northeast Syria, while by Kurdistan they mean the Kurdish areas of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said last week that setting up a “safe zone” or a “buffer zone” along the border with Syria to protect civilians from Assad’s forces was among the options being considered should the stream of refugees turn into a flood.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/22/us-syria-turkey-kurds-idUSBRE82L0UH20120322

Environmental

Monsanto ‘Biotechnology Book for Kids’ Caught Brainwashing Children

By Anthony Gucciardi
BlacklistedNews.com

Facing direct opposition from the public, biotechnology giants like Monsanto and Dow are now making a disturbing attempt to brainwash developing minds into accepting their genetically modified foods using blatant lies and propaganda.

In a last ditch effort to potentially sway public opinion, the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) has launched the “Biotechnology Basics Activity Book” for kids.

With the intent to be used by ‘agriculture and science teachers’, the activity book spreads absurd lies about GMO crops — even going as far as to say that they ‘improve our health’ and ‘help the environment’.

The book can be seen on the organization’s website, and makes it extremely apparent that it is full of misinformation and propaganda that completely ignores scientific research surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In fact, let’s examine some claims made by this book that serves as an ‘educational’ tool to be used by teachers.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Monsanto_%E2%80%98Biotechnology_Book_for_Kids%E2%80%99_Caught_Brainwashing_Children_/18585/0/0/0/Y/M.html

Cyber Space

Trapped In The Grid: How Net-Centric Devices And Appliances Provide Voluminous Information To Intelligence Agencies And Their Business Partners

“The patent discusses the technology to analyze the background noise during your phone call and serve up ads for you based on the environmental conditions Google picks up on. Yeah, that’s creepy.” –Google wants to serve you ads based on the background noise of your phone calls…..

In addition to this patent including the background noises of phone calls, it also talks about the backgrounds of photos and videos you’ve taken as well. So if you took a picture in the snow, you might be shown ads for snow shovels.”–Google wants to serve you ads based on the background noise of your phone calls……

Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices “change our notions of secrecy” and prompt a rethink of “our notions of identity and secrecy.” All of which is true — if convenient for a CIA director.”–CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher…….

http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/4827

Inside the Ring: Beijing coup rumors

U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring China’s Internet say that from March 14 to Wednesday bloggers circulated alarming reports of tanks ent
ering Beijing and shots being fired in the city as part of what is said to have been a high-level political battle among party leaders – and even a possible military coup.

The Internet discussions included photos posted online of tanks and other military vehicles moving around Beijing.

The reports followed the ouster last week of senior Politburo member and Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, who was linked to corruption, but who is said to remain close to China’s increasingly nationalistic military.

Chinese microblogging sites Sina Weibo, QQ Weibo, and the bulletin board of the search engine Baidu all reported “abnormalities” in Beijing on the night of March 19.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/21/inside-the-ring-436080940/

Activism

Activist Outrage Causes Major Supermarkets to Drop ‘Pink Slime’ Meat

Activist Post

We have been reporting on the staggering amount of “pink slime” used in the U.S. food industry over the last few months. Pink slime is a meat filler made from “ammoniated boneless lean beef trimmings or similar products, which are considered unfit for human consumption until ammonia has been added.”

In early March, it was reported by ABC that a shocking 70% of ground beef at supermarkets contained this pink slime. Since this disgusting food additive has been exposed, natural health activists rallied to demand its removal from McDonald’s and school lunches. Now major grocery chains are falling to the pressure of activism.

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/activist-outrage-causes-major.html

Radiation

Escobar on Fukushima email leak: ‘Deleting data a cover-up’

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 23, 2012

It’s emerged that at the height of Japan’s nuclear crisis last March, the authorities in Fukushima concealed radiation data vital to safely evacuate people from that area. Japan has a computer system designed to predict the spread of radioactive releases. But local media reports say the prefecture’s government deleted the e-mails detailing it. RT talks to Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar.

Psy – Ops

Scientists Warn of Ethical Battle Concerning Military Mind Control

Advances in neuroscience are closer than ever to becoming a reality, but scientists are warning the military – along with their peers – that with great power comes great responsibility
A future of brain-controlled tanks, automated attack drones and mind-reading interrogation techniques may arrive sooner than later, but advances in neuroscience that will usher in a new era of combat come with tough ethical implications for both the military and scientists responsible for the technology, according to one of the country’s leading bioethicists.

“Everybody agrees that conflict will be changed as new technologies are coming on,” says Jonathan Moreno, author of Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century. “But nobody knows where that technology is going.”

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/03/20/scientists-warn-of-ethical-battle-concerning-military-mind-control

French Terror Attack: All the Hallmarks of an Intelligence Psy-op and False Flag

by Kurt Nimmo

Mohammed Merah, the suspect in the killing of seven people outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, fits the pattern of an al-Qaeda intelligence asset. According to the BBC, he was on the radar of French authorities because of visits he made to Afghanistan and the “militant stronghold” of Waziristan in Pakistan.
More specifically, Merah was handled by France’s DCRI intelligence service “for years,” according to Claude Gueant, the interior minister.

Merah, a French citizen of Algerian origin, was arrested on December 19, 2007, and was sentenced to three years in jail for planting bombs in the southern province of Kandahar in Afghanistan.
In April of 2011, the United States admitted it has operated secret military prisons in Afghanistan where suspected terrorists are held and interrogated without charges.

The notorious Bagram airbase detention center is operated by the Joint Special Operations Command and the DIA’s Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC)………

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29899

Politics and Legislation

NSA denies eavesdropping on Americans

A recent article regarding the National Security Agency’s new secret eavesdropping facility in Bluffdale, Utah has caught the attention of members of the House.

The article which was published last week by Wired explains how the NSA “will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks.”

The article goes on to explain how the “Utah Data Center” which is a project surrounded by “immense secrecy is the final piece of a complex puzzle assembled in the past decade.”

The heavily fortified $2 billion building is said to have the capabilities “to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks,” the article added.

EndtheLie.com

http://EndtheLie.com/2012/03/22/nsa-denies-eavesdropping-on-americans/#ixzz1puDZLP5a

Marine charged for criticizing Obama

On Wednesday Marine Sgt. Gary Stein was notified by the Marine Corps that he was in violation of the Pentagon’s policy for blatantly condemning President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Stein’s actions could now lead to his dismissal and a possible downgrade in ranking.

The Marine who is based in Camp Pendleton, California, created a Facebook page called “Armed Forces Tea Party,” which currently has approximately 19,000 likes and has photos showcasing slogans such as “NObama” and “One Nation, under Obama, with poverty and unemployment for all,” has been under the microscope since 2010.

Stein was first warned by his superiors two years ago after he launched the social media page on Facebook critiquing Obama care. Stein offered to remove the page while he revised the rules at the bidding of his superiors.

According to Stein, after the revision of the rules he determined he was not in violation.

http://rt.com/usa/news/marine-stein-page-president-219/

GOP leadership rankled by resolution calling for attorney general’s head

By Jordy Yager

More than 100 Republicans in the House are clamoring for Eric Holder’s head, but GOP leaders are reluctant to vote on a measure suggesting the ouster of the U.S. attorney general.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/217475-house-gop-leadership-rankled-by-calls-for-attorney-generals-head

McCaskill deals serious blow to BRAC

By Jeremy Herb

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Wednesday that she will not let new rounds of base closures pass her subcommittee this year, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the Pentagon’s plans for the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in its 2013 budget.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/217421-sen-mccaskill-deals-serious-blow-to-bracs-chances

Courtly battle in healthcare case

By Jess Bravin

The fight over President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul has featured nearly three years of name-calling and shouting matches. But don’t expect to hear supporters accused of creating “death panels,” or opponents of preferring the uninsured to “die quickly,” when the issue lands at the Supreme Court next week.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303812904577291420805600542.html?mod=ITP_pageone_1

House approves the repeal of cost-cutting healthcare board

By Pete Kasperowicz

The House on Thursday afternoon approved legislation that would repeal a government board tasked with finding Medicare savings, and institute medical tort reform across the country.

Members approved H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, by a 223-181 vote in which only seven Democrats supported the bill and 10 Republican opposed.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/217583-house-passes-health-board-repeal-medical-tort-reform-bill

Senate passes bill on insider trading, sends measure to Obama

By Alexander Bolton

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation barring lawmakers from using insider information for personal profit, sending the bill to the White House.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act already approved by the House passed the upper chamber easily by a vote of 96-3.

The Senate action circumvents a thorny amendment sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) requiring political intelligence operatives to regularly report their activity. The Senate adopted the Grassley proposal by a vote of 60-39 in February, but the GOP-controlled House opposed the Grassley’s language and did not include it in its version.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/217639-senate-passes-insider-trading-bill-sending-measure-to-obama

On the News With Thom Hartmann:Obama Announces Fast-Track Approval of Keystone Pipeline Segment, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Only five banks control more than half of all the industry’s assets, President Obama announced the fast-track approval of the southern leg for the existing Keystone pipeline today in Oklahoma, Democrats try to curb influence of SuperPACs, and more.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8046-on-the-news-with-thom-hartmann

Economy

Nigel Farage on the Euro

Uploaded by MightyDemocracy on Mar 13, 2012

Nigel Farage commenting on Barroso’s message that the signing of the European Fiscal Compact treaty signifies the “irreversibility of the euro.” 13/03/2012
Van Rompuy re-‘elected’ as president of Europe: http://mightydemocracy.blogspot.com/2011/11/emperor-of-europe-and-future-of-n…

Spain’s Economy, Front and Center

Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.:

“I’ve always viewed Spain, not Greece, as the quintessential euro crisis country. With Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government balking – rightly – at further austerity, the focus is now where it arguably should have been all along. And with Spain now front and center, the essential wrongness of the whole European policy focus becomes totally apparent. Spain did not get into this crisis by being fiscally irresponsible; see the little comparison on the chart on this page.”

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8034-spains-economy-front-and-center

Wars and Rumors of War

After Bales’ Arrest, Military Tried to Delete Him From Web

David Goldstein and Matthew Schofield, McClatchy Newspapers:

“Besides waiting nearly a week before identifying the Army staff sergeant who’s accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers, the US military scrubbed its websites of references to his combat service. Gone were photographs of the suspect, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, as well as a recounting in his base’s newspaper of a 2007 battle in Iraq involving his unit that quoted him extensively. But not really.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8038-after-bales-arrest-military-tried-to-delete-him-from-web

Bahrain Medics Show Trial: This Is Not Syria, Therefore No Western Outcry

by Finian Cunningham

Bahrain’s disgraceful show trial of medical staff is set to continue, with news this week that 20 doctors and nurses are to be retried in a civilian court on trumped-up charges of subversion against the US-backed regime.

The medics were already sentenced by a military tribunal (a military tribunal!) to up to 15 years in prison after months of being held in illegal detention, denied legal counsel and subjected to torture.

Moving their case to a civilian court is presumably meant to signal a concession by the regime. But what it illustrates is that the Al Khalifa royal rulers of Bahrain are unreconstructed despots who are implacably set against accepting any kind of democratic reform.

The persecution of the majority Shia population – 70 per cent of the island – by an unelected Sunni elite is business as usual as epitomized by the vindictive targeting of medics whose only “crime” was that they treated hundreds of people injured in the state’s brutal crackdown against the pro-democracy movement.

Recently, Washington has been doing its PR best to present the monarchy in the Persian Gulf kingdom as being belatedly open to reform – this after a year of unrelenting repression against a largely peaceful pro-democracy uprising.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29903

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

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.”

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/blackwater-veteran-took-part-gaddafi-killing-asked-us-help-syrian-opposition

Environmental

About That Dimock Fracking Study: Result Summaries Show Methane and Hazardous Chemicals

Christine Shearer, Truthout:

“Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3 issued a statement last week that its preliminary tests of water samples near drilling and fracking sites in the Pennsylvania town of Dimock showed no health concerns, the group Water Defense and ‘Gasland’ director Josh Fox went to Dimock to look at the EPA summaries themselves, which they say do report high levels of explosive methane, heavy metals and hazardous chemicals.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8021-about-that-dimock-fracking-study-results-did-show-methane-and-hazardous-chemicals

Whistle Blowers

Bradley Manning Prosecution Incurably Infected by Government Misconduct

Kevin Zeese, Bradley Manning Support Network:

“Last week I spent two days in court for a pretrial motions hearing in the court martial of Bradley Manning, the private accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks that showed widespread unethical and illegal behavior by the Department of Defense and State Department. Manning has suffered the fate the Queen put on Alice when she was in Wonderland, ‘Sentence first – verdict afterwards.’ By the time his court martial is actually held he will have been incarcerated for more than two years, one of those years was spent in solitary confinement. But, that is only one of many obvious injustices Manning is being subjected to.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8039-bradley-manning-prosecution-incurably-infected-by-government-misconduct

Activism

What happened to our government? (opinion)

(NaturalNews) When I was a little kid growing up in Newark and going to Bergen Street elementary school, I remember a teacher reading something to us in class one day. It went something like this:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

These words are from our Declaration of Independence, and unfortunately, not from our Constitution. And from these principles, we Americans, lay claim to a rather unique and somewhat revolutionary legacy. That being that every person can lay claim to his or her own sovereignty just by being born, and that these rights don’t come from any government or person.

One of the basic principles on which our country was founded is that individuals have all these rights. Unfortunately, we give away some of them to our government. This is done voluntarily as it is not the law.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035302_government_liberty_happiness.html#ixzz1puM7vMRm

Misc

Obama threatens rare earth trade war against China – but why?

By Jonathan Benson, March 22 2012

(NaturalNews) In the spirit of election season political posturing, the Obama White House has announced that it is filing a trade lawsuit against China for restricting exports on rare earth metals and other materials used in the production of touchscreen mobile phones, military weapons, laptop computers, and various other high-tech devices. The poster child administration of meaningless political rhetoric, Obama and Co. has taken a convenient interest in China’s misdealings with the U.S. and…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035313_Obama_trade_war_China.html

The Invisible Poverty of “The Other America” of the 1960s Is Far More Visible

Peter Dreier, Truthout:

“Fifty years ago (in March 1962) Michael Harrington wrote a book, ‘The Other America: Poverty in the United States’ – a haunting tour of deprivation in an affluent society – that inspired Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to wage a war on poverty. This slim, 186-page volume became a best-seller and became required reading for social scientists, elected officials, college students, members of study groups sponsored by churches and synagogues, reporters and intellectuals, the new wave of community organizers and the student activists who traveled to the South to join the civil rights crusade.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8040-michael-harrington-and-deprivation-in-an-affluent-society

Politics and Legislation

Republicans shift from McCain on war

By Jeremy Herb and Carlo Munoz

Many Republicans are hesitant to align with Sen. John McCain’s aggressive stances on Afghanistan and Syria.

Facing a public that’s become increasingly war weary after a decade of conflict, most Republicans have not backed McCain’s call for action in Syria.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/216525-republicans-shift-away-from-mccain-on-war-policy-in-afghanistan-syria

Schumer bill would create ‘passenger advocates’ to help with TSA disputes

By Pete Kasperowicz

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Friday that they would soon introduce legislation to create “passenger advocates” to help people who may be “inappropriately treated” by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/216539-schumer-bill-would-create-airport-passenger-advocates-to-help-with-tsa-disputes

Obama Executive Order: Peacetime Martial Law!

CONTRIBUTOR: Chris Kitze. Hattip: A BIN reader.

This article may be freely reproduced in its entirety provided a link is provided back to the original BIN story. This Executive Order was posted on the WhiteHouse.gov web site on Friday, March 16, 2012, under the name National Defense Resources Preparedness. In a nutshell, it’s the…

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1906/406/Obama_Executive_Order:_Peacetime_Martial_Law.html

RFID Chip Implants – Hidden Secret In Obamacare – Coming 3/23/13

CONTRIBUTOR: John Rolls.

Polidics.com Reporting News the Main Media Refuses to Touch… by Mr. Carrington – May 26, 2011 On Sunday March 21, 2010 the Senate Healthcare bill HR3200 was passed and signed into law the following Tuesday. Like I said before, there are a legion of horrible and just plain evil aspects to this bill…

http://polidics.com/news/another-hidden-secret-in-obamacare-rfid-chip-implants.html

Economy

Spanish town plans to pay debts by growing marijuana

RASQUERA, Spain (Reuters) – A small town in northeastern Spain, believes it has found a novel way to pay of its debt: cultivating cannabis.

Tucked in the hills of one of Spain’s most picturesque regions, the Catalonian village of Rasquera has agreed to rent out land to grow marijuana, an enterprise the local authorities say will allow them to pay off their 1.3 million euro (1 million pound) debt in two years.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/spanish-town-wants-grow-cannabis-pay-off-debt-131654270.html

Dems see ‘ammunition’ against Wall Street in Goldman resignation

By Peter Schroeder

Democrats have co-opted a fiery resignation letter from a Goldman Sachs employee to argue for rigid rules on the financial sector.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/banking-financial-institutions/216545–dems-see-ammunition-against-wall-street-in-goldman-resignation-

Prediction: Crisis From Food Prices And Social Unrest In 2013

CONTRIBUTOR: BARRACUDA.

Via www.economonitor.com

The people at NECSI sent me the following interesting blurb on the relationship between the rise in food prices and social unrest:

necsi.edu/research/social/foodvideos.html.

These videos illustrate the correlation between increasing costs of food and worldwide food riots, especially from 2000 until the present day. Both prices and riots peaked in 2008 and 2011 after a brief drop in 2009. This month, NECSI is publishing the results of its food prices update, in which the institute extends its food price model to January 2012, entering no modifications to the model and continuing to use its dynamics.

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1907/053/Prediction:_Crisis_From_Food_Prices_And_Social_Unrest_In_2013.html

Defiant North Korea says rocket launch to go ahead

(Reuters) – North Korea on Sunday rejected criticism of its planned long-range missile launch which threatens to upset its only major benefactor, China, and put relations with the United States back in the freezer just as they seemed to be starting to thaw.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/18/us-korea-north-missile-idUSBRE82H02U20120318

Wars and Rumors of War

Report: US sent detainees to Afghan prisons known for torture despite moratorium

A report released Saturday by two rights groups says the U.S. sent some detainees to Afghan prisons where torture was found despite an announced moratorium on such moves. The report by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the New York-based Open Society Institute suggests that Afghanistan’s international allies are still failing to ensure that people captured on the battlefield are treated humanely despite a massive reform program in recent months.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/report-us-sent-detainees-afghan-prisons-known-torture-185849142.html

Syrian Rebels are Foreign-backed Terrorists

Latest terrorist attack in Damascus illustrates illegitimacy of both Syria’s rebels & the UN/NATO backing them.

By Tony Cartalucci

A twin terrorist bombing in the Syrian capital of Damascus, allegedly targeting government buildings, ripped through a Christian neighborhood killing an estimated 27, mostly civilians. A third bomb exploded, killing only the driver of the car it was placed in, in what was apparently an attempted triple suicide bombing. CBS News reports (1) that after other similar attacks, U.S. officials suggest Al Qaeda terrorists “may be” amongst the Syrian rebels.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Syrian_Rebels_are_Foreign-backed_Terrorists/18499/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Panetta Confirms US Involvement in Potential Israeli War on Iran ‘Obviously’ the US Would Take Action

Confirming what has always been the implicit way in which the US is going to get sucked into its next major war, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta confirmed that the US would definitely involve itself in a war on Iran if Israel decided to launch one.

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/03/16/panetta-confirms-us-involvement-in-potential-israeli-war-on-iran/

Banking group pressured to cut Iran ties

By Kevin Bogardus

Lawmakers will push forward with legislation targeting a worldwide banking cooperative despite its decision to stop doing business with some Iranian banks.

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/216547-banking-group-pressured-to-cut-iran-ties

Tensions over Syria could slow legislation to normalize Russia, U.S. trade relations

By Vicki Needham

Rising tensions between the United States and Russia over the violence in Syria could slow legislation to expand trade relations between the two nations.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/1005-trade/216549-tensions-over-syria-could-slow-legislation-to-normalize-russia-us-trade-relations

Gulf widens between US and a more volatile Karzai

By Rod Nordland, Alissa J. Rubin and Matthew Rosenberg

Ever since the Koran-burning episode on Feb. 20, the relationship between the United States and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has lurched from one crisis to another.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/world/asia/gulf-widens-between-us-and-an-increasingly-hostile-karzai.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

Lieberman: War with Iran a global nightmare

During official visit to China, foreign minister says ‘united international front’ can convince Tehran to abandon nuclear ambitions

“If, god forbid, a war with breaks out with Iran, it will be a nightmare. Everyone will be involved, including the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia,” Avigdor Lieberman told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily during an official visit to China.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4204402,00.html

Environmental

Honeybee die-offs linked to insecticide, study says

A newly published study draws a stronger link between mass die-offs of honeybees and an insecticide widely used on corn. The study sheds more light on the worrisome phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Bees play a critical role in the pollination of crops, and thus a threat to bee colonies can potentially affect entire ecosystems. The latest study, conducted by Italian researchers at the University of Padova and published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, focuses on a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/17/10735129-honeybee-die-offs-linked-to-insecticide-study-says

Activism

Scores Arrested as the Police Clear Zuccotti Park

Scores of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on Saturday night as police officers swept Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and closed it. Dozens of demonstrators sat down and locked arms as officers moved in about 11:30 p.m. The operation occurred after hundreds of people had gathered in the financial district to observe the founding of Occupy Wall Street six months ago… At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/arrests-made-as-protesters-mark-occupy-wall-streets-six-month-anniversary/

Occupy protest anniversary ends with police sweep

Protesters chanted and cheered down Wall Street to mark six months of the Occupy movement, ending the day with a police confrontation and numerous arrests at the park where the demonstrations against economic inequality began. Police declared Zuccotti Park closed Saturday night, and more than 100 officers swept through the excited crowd. At least one person was injured during the sweep, police said.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-03-17/occupy-wall-street/53595282/1

Cyber Space

UK teenager arrested for anti-war Facebook post

A British teenager has been arrested and is expected to appear in a UK court after he posted about the injustice of the occupation of Afghanistan on his Facebook page. Following the deaths of six UK soldiers in Afghanistan earlier this month, Azhar Ahmed from Ravensthorpe left his comment on the social networking site in order to indicate the hypocrisy of praising the UK soldiers, while thousands of Afghan civilians killed at the hand of Western troops who have occupied the country for over ten years claiming to protect the civilians.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/232192.html

 

State department seeking to turn social media users into global government spies

By J. D. Heyes,
(NaturalNews) In an ongoing effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in these unstable times, a top State Department official has proposed using social media as a way to keep track of the world’s most destructive devices. Rose Gottemoeller, acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, sees the concept as just another way to keep atomic bombs out of the hands of terrorists and under the control of responsible governments and regimes. As such, Gottmoeller says she wants ordinary…

 

 

Misc

Government takes 92-year-old woman’s money after believing she died

A 92-year-old woman from Port Angeles, Washington revealed Friday afternoon that she had lost thousands of dollars due to her bank and the government believing she was dead, according to KOMO-TV.?

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Govt-mistakenly-declares-woman-dead-takes-her-money-142949255.html?tab=video&c=y

Exposed: Lobbyist Who Helped Kill California Pot Legalization Ballot Measure is Getting Rich Off Drug War

Ethan A. Huff, News Report:

After the Obama Administration enacted its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Lovell reportedly got busy sending notices to police agencies alerting them about “important opportunities” to generate more federal grants. These opportunities included $2.2 million in funding for implementing a “Marijuana Suppression Program,” and more than $7.5 million for a “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” program.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035277_John_Lovell_California_marijuana_legalization.html

http://www.nationofchange.org/exposed-lobbyist-who-helped-kill-california-pot-legalization-ballot-measure-getting-rich-drug-war-13

Federal Regulator is Using Seriously Flawed Study to Deny Homeowners Mortgage Aid

Pat Garofalo, News Report:

Goodman cited several problems with the study, including that it did not factor in bank incentives from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and underestimated the number of homeowners severely underwater by not using city level housing data. She said that it the study was done correctly, “it will be clear that forgiveness is the better solution for the bulk of the two-thirds of their book of business without mortgage insurance.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/federal-regulator-using-seriously-flawed-study-deny-homeowners-mortgage-aid-1332086225

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to run for Australian Senate

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is planning to run for election to the Australian Senate. Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, is on bail awaiting a British court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations. He strongly denies the claims, saying they are politically motivated and linked to the activities of WikiLeaks, which has published thousands of confidential documents on the internet. The whistle-blowing website said it appeared that Mr Assange’s current legal situation did not rule him out of running for Australia’s upper house.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/9150013/WikiLeaks-founder-Julian-Assange-to-run-for-Australian-Senate.html

Is America preparing for an unprecedented crisis reminiscent of WWII?

by The Extinction Protocol

March 19, 2012 – WASHINGTON – The following excerpt is from a Executive Order signed by U.S. President Obama on March 16, 2012. The Executive Order coordinates and mobilizes all national resources, technological and industrial, under Federal auspicies in the event of a national emergency. This sounds like a major preparatory step before a crisis eerily reminiscent of WWII. An excerpt from the document reads: “The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency. The domestic industrial and technological base is the foundation for national defense preparedness. The authorities provided in the Act shall be used to strengthen this base and to ensure it is capable of responding to the national defense needs of the United States. Each resource department shall act, as necessary and appropriate, upon requests for special priorities assistance, as defined by section 801(l) of this order, in a time frame consistent with the urgency of the need at hand. This is to help foster cooperation between the defense and commercial sectors for research and development and for acquisition of materials, services, components, and equipment to enhance industrial base efficiency and responsiveness.  In situations where there are competing program requirements for limited resources, the resource department shall consult with the Secretary who made the required determination under section 202 of this order. Such Secretary shall coordinate with and identify for the resource department which program requirements to prioritize on the basis of operational urgency. In situations involving more than one Secretary making such a required determination under section 202 of this order, the Secretaries shall coordinate with and identify for the resource department which program requirements should receive priority on the basis of operational urgency.” –The White House

http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/is-america-preparing-for-an-unprecedented-crisis-reminiscent-of-wwii/