Tag Archive: U.S. State Department


Environmental

 

Two years later: the oil is still here and so are we

Published on Apr 11, 2012 by

Two years ago the BP drilling disaster began, killing 11 workers and threatening an ecosystem and the unique communities which rely upon it. Musicians, GRN supporters and community members are reminding you that BP’s oil is still affecting the people and places of the Gulf. Despite this fact, neither BP nor DC have taken adequate steps to protect or restore this precious natural resource.

Take action today at http://healthygulf.org

Shot at and around Voodoo Experience 2011 by Greenhouse Collective. See their work at http://www.youtube.com/user/GreenHouseNOLA

Thanks to Portugal. the Man, Dr. John, Ani Difranco, Scott Fujita, Fishbone, Blind Pilot, Bonerama, Honey Island Swamp Band, Zack Smith, Fleur De Tease, Stanton Moore, Sheepdogs, Danny Phillips, John Taylor, Rosina Phillippe, John Michael Rouchel, Helen Gillet, Clint Maedgen, and all who took part.

 

 

The Folly of Big Agriculture:

Why Nature Always Wins

Large-scale industrial agriculture depends on engineering the land to ensure the absence of natural diversity. But as the recent emergence of herbicide-tolerant weeds on U.S. farms has shown, nature ultimately finds a way to subvert uniformity and assert itself.

 

by verlyn klinkenborg

 

In its short, shameless history, big agriculture has had only one big idea: uniformity. The obvious example is corn. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that American farmers — big farmers — will plant 94 million acres of corn this year. That’s the equivalent of planting corn on every inch of Montana. To do that you’d have to make sure that every inch of Montana fell within corn-growing parameters. That would mean leveling the high spots, irrigating the dry spots, draining the wet spots, fertilizing the infertile spots, and so on. Corn is usually grown where the terrain is less rigorous than it is in Montana. But even in Iowa that has meant leveling, irrigating, draining, fertilizing, and, of course, spraying.

You can argue whether uniformity is the result of efficiency or vice versa. But let’s suppose that efficiency is merely the economic expression of uniformity. The point is this: When you see a Midwestern cornfield, you know you’re looking at nature with one idea superimposed upon it. This is far less confusing, less tangled in variation than the nature you find even in the roadside ditches beside a cornfield or in a last scrap of native prairie growing

Rather than change the earth to suit a crop, a reasonable agriculture would diversify crops to suit the earth.

in a graveyard or along an abandoned railroad right-of-way. Nature is puzzling. Corn is stupefying.

Humans have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the big idea behind nature is. It’s hard to tell, because we live at nature’s pace and within the orb of human abstraction. We barely notice the large-scale differences from year to year, much less the minute ones. But if we could speed up time a little and become a lot more perceptive, we would see that nature’s big idea is to try out life wherever and however it can be tried, which means everywhere and anyhow. The result — over time and at this instant — is diversity, complexity, particularity, and inventiveness to an extent our minds are almost unfitted to conceive.

A reasonable agriculture would do its best to emulate nature. Rather than change the earth to suit a crop — which is what we do with corn and soybeans and a handful of other agricultural commodities — it would diversify its crops to suit the earth. This is not going to happen in big agriculture, because big agriculture is irrational. It’s where we expose — at unimaginable expense — our failure to grasp how nature works. It’s where uniformity is always defeated eventually by diversity and where big agriculture’s ideas of diversity are revealed to be as uniform as ever.

To a uniform crop like corn, farmers have been encouraged to apply a uniform herbicide to kill weeds. Modern corn is genetically engineered to not be killed by the herbicide in ubiquitous use. Mostly, that herbicide has been glyphosate, marketed under the Monsanto trade name Roundup. Farmers have sprayed and over-sprayed billions of gallons of Roundup thanks to an

To broad leaf weeds, Roundup is not the apocalypse. It is simply a modest, temporal challenge.

economic and moral premise: corn good, weeds bad. And yet you can’t help noticing that it has done nothing to stop the endless inventiveness of nature.

To broad leaf weeds and soil microorganisms, Roundup is not the apocalypse. It is simply a modest, temporal challenge, which is why, 15 years after genetically-engineered, Roundup-tolerant crops were widely introduced, it’s no longer working against spontaneous new generations of Roundup-tolerant weeds, especially in cotton fields. This is because research, in nature’s laboratory, never stops. It explores every possibility. It never lacks funding. It is never demoralized by failed experiments. It cannot be lobbied…..

 

 

Read Full Article Here

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Cyber Space

 

ACTA: The State of Play in the US

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen surprising and significant developments with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in both the US and the EU. As we’ve noted before, ACTA is a plurilateral agreement designed to broaden and extend existing intellectual property enforcement laws to the Internet. In both process and in substance, it is a deeply undemocratic initiative that has bypassed checks and balances of existing international IP norm-setting bodies, without any meaningful input from national parliaments, policymakers, or their citizens.

This is the first in a series of posts detailing the current state of play. Today, we’re reviewing recent U.S. developments and what we and others are doing to highlight the illegitimacy of this controversial agreement. In February, EFF submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. State Department, seeking a copy of the “Circular 175” memorandum for ACTA, and the accompanying Memorandum of Law – key documents regarding the constitutionality of ACTA.  The State Department is due to respond tomorrow.

The U.S. Trade Ambassador, Ronald Kirk, signed ACTA in October 2011 at a much-heralded ceremony in Tokyo. However, that does not necessarily mean that ACTA is a done deal in the U.S. Whether ACTA is now binding on the U.S. government, and whether Congress should have any role in reviewing ACTA, continue to be much-debated questions. Several U.S. Congressional representatives have recently taken action to highlight the unusually secretive process used to negotiate ACTA as compared to other IP agreements, and the particular efforts that were taken to evade normal Congressional review of the agreement.

Since 2008, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) has repeatedly stated that ACTA was negotiated as a “sole executive agreement” under the President’s power to conclude agreements regarding matters delegated to the President under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, and therefore does not need to be put before Congress for review and approval. That view has been criticized by leading U.S. Constitutional Law professors on several occasions (see here, here, and here, and our views).

As Senator Ron Wyden pointed out in his letter to the President last October, the question is not whether ACTA would or would not require changes to U.S. law (which is far from clear), but rather, whether the U.S. Executive Branch (of which the USTR is a part) has constitutional authority to negotiate and enter into an agreement dealing with issues  within the powers delegated exclusively to Congress under the Constitution, like the power to make new IP laws:

 “The statement by the USTR confuses the issue by conflating two separate stages of the process required for binding the U.S. to international agreements: entry and implementation. It may be possible for the U.S. to implement ACTA or any other trade agreement, once validly entered, without legislation if the agreement requires no change in U.S. law. But, regardless of whether the agreement requires changes in U.S. law, a point that is contested with respect to ACTA, the executive branch lacks constitutional authority to enter a binding international agreement covering issues delegated by the Constitution to Congress’ authority, absent congressional approval.”

This is more than just an academic question. If ACTA were characterized as a treaty, it would need approval of two-thirds of the Senate before it could be ratified. As Congressional Representative Darrell Issa stated on March 6, when he posted the text of ACTA on his KeepTheWebOpen platform for public comment, the decision to negotiate ACTA as a sole executive agreement can be seen as a power grab by the U.S. executive branch, to bypass Congress’ constitutional power over international commerce and intellectual property law.

Not satisfied with the response he received last year, in January, Senator Wyden asked the  State Department for its analysis of why the USTR’s negotiation of ACTA complies with US constitutional law. The Legal Advisor to the State Department, Howard Koh, responded to Senator Wyden on March 6. His letter implied that Congress had authorized the Executive to negotiate ACTA in response to the 2008 Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act. …

Read Full Article

 

 

Phone hacking scandal comes to U.S. as lawyer vows to take on Rupert Murdoch – but who were the celebrity targets?

Three lawsuits set to be filed on behalf of unidentified clients, but they are suspected to be David Beckham, a friend of Jude Law’s, and Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell

Three civil lawsuits are to be filed in the U.S. over alleged phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the first time the scandal has reached the American courts.

Though the individuals at the center of the lawsuits have not been named, there is speculation that they are Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell, football star David Beckham, and someone who is friends with or works with the actor Jude Law.

Mark Lewis, the lawyer for the unnamed trio, did give hints which seem to match up with the suggested names.

Mr Lewis said that one of the alleged victims was connected to Princess Diana and the Royal household whilst a second is linked to the England football team. The third is described as a ‘Hollywood case’ as the person was in touch with a well-known celebrity which made him a target….

Read Full Article Here

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Survival / Sustainability

 

Prepper List : 10 Things To Do Now!

 

by M.D. Creekmore

 

No matter how much I beg, some of you, no doubt haven’t done anything to prepare (you know who you are). I don’t know what else to do. All I can do is give you the information, it’s up to you to act. No one can do it for you.

No doubt some of you are intimidated by my repeated suggestions of storing and using whole grains. If it doesn’t come from the supermarket shelf it’s strange and unfamiliar and you want no part of it. Fair enough.

But you still need to prepare. Here are ten things that you can do right now  that will make you better prepared than probably 90% of the population.

And everything is available at your local shopping center – so it’s easy. You can do all ten steps at once or divide each into a separate week and shopping trip. But you need to get it done as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that this is only a starting point and isn’t presented here as a completed list…..

 

Read Full Article and  See  List  Here

 

 

Top 14 Survival Downloads You Should Have

 

by M.D. Creekmore

 

Here are fourteen free PDF downloads that you might find useful – If you know of others please share with us in the comments below…

  1. It’s the End of the World As We Know It – and I Feel Fine – My free e-book covering, food storage, water, weapons etc. I put this together a few years ago and it received some great reviews, but I will admit it is in need of editing and reformatting. The book was a quick first draft without a lot of thought given to  spelling or grammar. Any volunteer editors?
  2. FM 21-76 US Army Survival Manual – How to find water, food, shelter, build a fire, first aid, navigation and other survival skills necessary to survive on your own in the wild. A must for any survival library.
  3. FM 4-25-11 First Aid – While I suggest everyone take a dedicated first-aid class under qualified instructors, this manual by the U.S. Army is a good start for anyone wanting to learn life saving first aid skills…..

 

See Complete  List Here

 

 

Seeds: How many do you need?

Bloody Butcher Corn-BLOG

Bloody Butcher Corn

As you are planning your garden, what to grow would be the first thing that comes to mind.  Then, of course, the area you have available, which leads to making a garden map.  With the map done, you know how much space you have for each crop.  Next is figuring out how many seeds you need.  If you are just starting out in gardening, the number of seeds in a packet are probably more than you need for the year.  However, as your garden grows and you are more interested in really growing a substantial part of your diet, exactly what to expect from a seed packet is important.

You probably already know that not every seed you have is going to germinate.  There is a minimum legal germination rate that the seed companies have to abide by.  Their seeds can be over that rate, but not under.  You can find the minimum legal germination rate in the Master Charts of How To Grow More Vegetables (HTGMV) by John Jeavons.  If you buy from reputable sources, most often the seeds are well over that rate.  In fact, some companies label the packages with the tested germination rate and when they tested it.  On the other hand, I have heard of companies combining old seed with their new batch, getting rid of the old seed and lowering the germination rate.   All they are concerned about is making sure it meets the minimum legal rate.  Being aware of what the minimum rate is helps you plan.  You might be using seed leftover from a previous year or seed that you have saved yourself.  Since seed loses viability over time, you might want to test the germination rate.  Information on how to do that is available many places, including my video Develop a Sustainable Vegetable Garden Plan.

 

Read Full Article Here

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Activism

Explosive: Monsanto ‘Knowingly Poisoned Workers’ Causing Devastating Birth Defects

Anthony Gucciardi
NaturalSociety

In a developing news piece just unleashed by a courthouse news wire, Monsanto is being brought to court by dozens of  Argentinean tobacco farmers who say that the biotech giant knowingly poisoned them with herbicides and pesticides and subsequently caused ”devastating birth defects” in their children. The farmers are now suing not only Monsanto on behalf of their children, but many big tobacco giants as well. The birth defects that the farmers say occurred as a result are many, and include cerebral palsy, down syndrome, psycho motor retardation, missing fingers, and blindness.

The farmers come from small family-owned farms in Misiones Province and sell their tobacco to many United States distributors. The family farmers say that major tobacco companies like the Philip Morris company asked them to use Monsanto’s herbicides and pesticides, assuring them that the products were safe. Through asserting that the toxic chemicals were safe, the farmers state in their claim that the tobacco companies ”wrongfully caused the parental and infant plaintiffs to be exposed to those chemicals and substances which they both knew, or should have known, would cause the infant offspring of the parental plaintiffs to be born with devastating birth defects.”

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

Politics and Legislation

 

We Take Care of Our Own: Eric Holder and the End of Rights

Historians of the future, if they are not imprisoned for saying so, will trace the end of America’s democratic experiment to the fearful days immediately after 9/11, what Bruce Springsteen called the days of the empty sky, when frightened, small men named Bush and Cheney made the first decisions to abandon the Constitution in the name of freedom and created a new version of the security state with the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, secret prisons and sanctioned torture by the U.S. government. They proceeded carefully, making sure that lawyers in their employ sanctioned each dark act, much as kings in old Europe used the church to justify their own actions.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-van-buren/anwar-al-awlaki-killing_b_1322528.html

 

Politicians Won’t Return Ponzi Payoffs

Michael Winship, Moyers & Co.:

“On Tuesday, Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford was convicted in a Houston federal court on 13 out of 14 criminal counts of fraud…. But what most of this week’s stories failed to mention was the large amount of his clients’ cash that was spent on campaign contributions, greasing the corrupt nexus of money and politics for personal gain. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to candidates,  Barack Obama, John McCain, John Boehner and Harry Reid; including Ponzi Payoffs; as well as national fundraising committees for the Republican and Democratic parties.”

http://www.truth-out.org/politicians-wont-return-ponzi-payoffs/1331400527

 

Confusion Surrounds Federal Review of Southern Leg of Keystone XL

Lisa Song, InsideClimate News:

“TransCanada’s decision last week to build the southern half of the rejected Keystone XL has raised a tricky question about who will regulate the project review … The process could be stickier at the federal level. The U.S. State Department was the lead agency on the original Keystone XL because it crossed an international boundary. But so far, no agency has stepped forward to take responsibility for the Gulf Coast Project.”

http://www.truth-out.org/confusion-surrounds-federal-review-southern-leg-keystone-xl/1331398833

 

A Field of Hawks

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post Writers Group:

“Unless Ron Paul somehow wins the nomination, it looks as if a vote for the Republican presidential candidate this fall will be a vote for war with Iran. No other conclusion can be drawn from parsing the candidates’ public remarks. Paul, of course, is basically an isolationist who believes it is none of our business if Iran wants to build nuclear weapons…. But Paul has about as much chance of winning the GOP nomination as I do.”

http://www.truth-out.org/field-hawks/1331398935

 

No Apocalypse Yet
Will Putin do what the oligarchs fear?

By ISRAEL SHAMIR

If he wants to survive politically, he will have to implement the national agenda, confront the oligarchs, curb the creative class, provide support to those who supported him.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30776.htm

 

Obama Signs Anti-protest Trespass Bill

By RT

US President Barack Obama signed his name to H.R. 347 on Thursday, officially making it a federal offense to cause a disturbance at certain political events – essentially criminalizing protest in the States.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30774.htm

 

‘War on Terror is War on Liberty’
Farage demands that the UK break treaty with US

By Nigel Farage: EU MP

“No British court has ever been allowed to examine the evidence against Mr Tappin and I believe this Treaty, signed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, needs to be amended and the British government needs to stand up for its own people.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30764.htm

 

Economy

Not So Fast On That Whole Economic Recovery Thing

Not so fast. Those that are publicly declaring that an economic recovery has arrived are ignoring a whole host of numbers that indicate that the U.S. economy is in absolutely horrendous shape. The truth is that the health of an economy should not be measured by how well the stock market is doing. Rather, the truth health of an economy should be evaluated by looking at numbers for things like jobs, housing, poverty and debt. Some of the latest economic statistics indicate that unemployment is getting a little bit worse, that the housing market continues to deteriorate, that poverty in America continues to soar and that our debt problem is worse than ever.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/not-so-fast-on-that-whole-economic-recovery-thing

 

TEXT-Moody’s: Greek sovereign credit rating remains at C

Moody’s Investors Service says that it considers Greece

to have defaulted per Moody’s default definitions further to the conclusion of an exchange of EUR177 billion of Greece’s debt that is governed by Greek law for bonds issued by the Greek government, GDP-linked securities, European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) notes. Foreign-law bonds are eligible for the same offer, and Moody’s expects a similar debt exchange to proceed with these bondholders, as well as the holders of state-owned enterprise debt that has been guaranteed by the state, in the coming weeks. The respective securities will enter our default statistics at the tender expiration date, which is was Thursday 8 March for the Greek law bonds and is currently expected to be 23 March for foreign law bonds. Greece’s government bond rating remains unchanged at C, the lowest rating on Moody’s rating scale.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/09/idUSWNA217120120309

 

Security: UK ‘must plan for euro collapse’

Ministers should draw up plans to deal with a break-up of the eurozone “as a matter of urgency”, a committee of MPs and peers has warned.

The joint committee on the government’s National Security Strategy (NSS) said the full or partial collapse of the single currency was “plausible”.

It said political unrest and a rise in economic migrant numbers could result.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17295461

 

Wall Street up on jobs data, brushes off Greek default

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks advanced on Friday as investors brushed off the technical default by Greece and focused instead on another strong monthly jobs report.

Trading was choppy in late afternoon trade after the International Swaps and Derivatives Association said Greece has triggered an insurance payment on credit default contracts.

Investors took the Greek news largely in stride because the event was widely expected. Still, it is a declaration of default following the biggest sovereign debt-restructuring deal in history, and the specter of trouble in other euro-zone countries remains.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/stock-futures-edge-lower-focus-092318186.html;_ylt=Ar1tpMPx1ZCXLOapElzdCaqiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTNyMnNyMmVwBG1pdANGUCBUb3AgU3RvcnkgTGVmdARwa2cDNGYxODJlZGQtM2NlOC0zZDJlLThlY2MtMTUxYWU5NzcwZTQ4BHBvcwMxBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzI3OTQ0YjMwLTZhMzAtMTFlMS1hZmZmLTEzMTljMGYwZTE4NA–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

 

Bernanke Is Giving Us the Recovery He Wants, Not the Recovery We Need

With the latest round of monetary stimulus, the Federal Reserve is boldly going where it has already been. Big, big news from the Federal Reserve. They are considering doing something they are already doing, but calling it something else.

This “new” operation, carried out under the rather gross-sounding moniker of “sterilized quantitative easing,” is just another way to reduce long-term interest rates. The specifics aren’t terribly important — although if you want all the gory details about bond-buying and reverse repos, check out Jon Hilsenrath — but the result should be identical to the so-called “Operation Twist” the Fed did last fall.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/bernanke-giving-us-recovery-wants-170846352.html;_ylt=AnYAn2zURi8MrFLRZ_Hep_SiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTRiOGw4a3B0BG1pdANGUCBDb21tZW50YXJ5IGFuZCBBbmFseXNpcwRwa2cDMmQ2YTVlYjMtZGYwYy0zZGU0LWFmNjktMjFkN2EwODU4NTBiBHBvcwMzBHNlYwNNZWRpYVNlY3Rpb25MaXN0BHZlcgNmNmIyODFiMC02OTQxLTExZTEtYmZmYy01NTAxNmVjYTk3MGQ-;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

 

UPDATE 6-Oil up on jobs data even as dollar rallies

By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) – Oil prices rose a third straight day on Friday as data showing rising U.S. employment countered any pressure from a stronger dollar and faded euphoria after Greece’s debt swap deal.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 227,000 in February, above expectations and marking the third straight month that gains topped 200,000, though the unemployment rate held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/6-oil-jobs-data-even-170225610.html;_ylt=ArtF491iXjMK0Eqas1EzJrWiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTN0bGRlZWpmBG1pdANOZXdzIFRvcGljIDIEcGtnAzBlMGE5M2UyLTAwMDEtMzJmMy05M2ExLTA1NDk4MDM2ZDllMwRwb3MDMgRzZWMDTWVkaWFTZWN0aW9uTGlzdAR2ZXIDZTA2MzljYTAtNmEwOS0xMWUxLWFlZmYtYjcyZGRjMWIwZDU2;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

 

PRECIOUS-Gold turns higher on US jobs data, oil gains

By Frank Tang and Amanda Cooper

NEW YORK/LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) – Gold rose above
$1,700 an ounce in heavy trade on Friday, reversing early sharp losses as the metal took heart from gains in crude oil and U.S. equities’ after an encouraging U.S. nonfarm payrolls report.
Bullion, which has taken to following riskier assets, rose in the face of a dollar rally and fading hopes of further U.S. monetary stimulus after U.S. employment grew strongly for a third straight month.
Also lifting the metal was Greece’s averting an immediate default after its bond swap offer to private creditors. Technical buying also helped after prices rebounded off its key 200-day moving average.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/precious-gold-turns-higher-us-165030879.html;_ylt=AmeSDy3YM97ycn01LvBnaVaiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTN0OTRtMzFzBG1pdANOZXdzIFRvcGljIDIEcGtnA2EzYTkxNGFlLTdjMGMtM2ZmOS04ZDE2LTJjYmQ4ZWQwMzI2YgRwb3MDMwRzZWMDTWVkaWFTZWN0aW9uTGlzdAR2ZXIDYTczNjQ0YTAtNmExMy0xMWUxLWI5ZmYtYjAxMDViZmYwZjJj;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

 

Public-Sector Banks: From Black Sheep to Global Leaders

Once the black sheep of high finance, government owned banks can reassure depositors about the safety of their savings and can help maintain a focus on productive investment in a world in which effective financial regulation remains more of an aspiration than a reality.

http://www.truth-out.org/public-sector-banks-black-sheep-global-leaders/1331147316

 

Welcome to the One Percent Recovery

Mike Konczal, New Deal 2.0:

“As the one percent reap 93 percent of the income gains from the recovery, we’re rapidly returning to pre-New Deal levels of inequality … It’s important to remember that a series of choices were made during the New Deal to react to runaway inequality, including changes to progressive taxation, financial regulation, monetary policy, labor unionization, and the provisioning of public goods and guaranteed social insurance. A battle will be fought over the next decade on all these fronts.”

http://www.truth-out.org/welcome-1-percent-recovery/1331396893

 

Jeffrey Sachs’ Reform Candidacy for World Bank President

Staff, Center for Economic and Policy Research:

“Economist and health expert Jeffrey Sachs’ reported candidacy for World Bank president is welcome news for the two-and-a-half billion people around the world living in poverty, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today. ‘If Sachs were to get the job, he would be the first World Bank president with this kind of experience and knowledge of economic development … All of the others have been bankers, politicians, or political appointees.'”

http://www.truth-out.org/mark-weisbrot-jeffrey-sachs-reform-candidacy-world-bank-president/1331311919

 

China posts Feb. trade deficit

For the first time in a year, China recorded a trade deficit of 31.48 billion U.S. dollars in February, as import growth far outpaced exports.

Exports rose 18.4 percent from a year earlier to 114.47 billion U.S. dollars in February, while imports were up 39.6 percent to 145.96 billion U.S. dollars, customs data showed Saturday.

The fast trade expansion was fueled by the lower comparative base for last February, when the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday cut working days from the month and skewed trade data, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said. The week-long holiday fell in January this year.

After seasonal adjustments, the annual growth of exports slowed to 4 percent in February while that of imports was cut down to 9.4 percent.

http://www.china.org.cn/business/2012-03/10/content_24859840.htm

Life in America on Two Dollars a Day
Or Why American Poverty Will Soon Match That of the Third World

By CanSpeccy

The latest poverty statistics that show the number of American families with an income of less than two dollars per person per day more than doubled between 1996 and 201.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30765.htm

 

China to export yuan to BRICS:

China is reportedly to begin extending loans in yuan to BRICS countries in another step towards internationalizing the national currency and diversifying from the US dollar.

http://rt.com/business/news/china-us-dollar-currency-129/

 

Iceland calls its former PM to account for financial crash:

Geir Haarde, whose trial began this week, could face up to two years in jail if convicted over country’s 2008 economic collapse

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/09/iceland-former-pm-financial-crash

 

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Set to Default on $5.27 Million GO Bond Payments:

The city, carrying a debt load of more than five times its general-fund budget, will miss $5.27 million in bond payments due March 15 on $51.5 million of bonds issued in 1997.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-09/harrisburg-pennsylvania-set-to-default-on-5-27-million-go-bond-payments.html

 

Wars and Rumors of War

 

The Kazakhstan Massacre: Killing Hope to Benefit US Geopolitical Interests

Steve Horn and Allen Ruff, Truthout: “December 16, 2011, should have been, at minimum, a fairly bright day for the people of Kazakhstan marking the country’s Independence Day and 20th birthday. But rather than being a moment of celebration, it became a day of brutal repression and death, a bloody scene in the regional center of Zhanaozen paralleling those that occurred at the hands of US-supported dictatorial regimes during the uprisings now commonly referred to as the Arab Spring.”

http://www.truth-out.org/kazakhstan-massacre-killing-hope-benefit-us-geopolitical-interests/1331142602

 

Russia says 15,000 foreign “terrorists” in Syria

(Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is battling al Qaeda-backed “terrorists” including at least 15,000 foreign fighters who will seize towns across Syria if government troops withdraw, a Russian diplomat said on Thursday.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/08/us-syria-russia-idUSBRE82714E20120308

 

After a Decade, Afghan Forces Don’t Trust Americans

Jon Stephenson and Ali Safi, McClatchy Newspapers:

“Afghan soldiers and police say the recent burning of Qurans by U.S. personnel has seriously undermined their trust in their American counterparts, suggesting that the decade-long campaign to win hearts and minds has not only failed but also threatens the Obama administration’s exit strategy. ‘We are tired of the Americans here,’ said Mohammad Aziz, 20, a Kabul police officer. ‘We don’t want them to stay because they keep insulting our religion.'”

http://www.truth-out.org/after-decade-afghan-forces-dont-trust-americans/1331392048

 

Fresh barrage of Gaza rockets strike Israel’s south

Iron Dome intercepts a number of rockets over Be’er Sheva on Saturday morning; 12 Palestinians reportedly killed in IAF strikes in Gaza since Friday.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/fresh-barrage-of-gaza-rockets-strike-israel-s-south-1.417622

 

Obama has partially left his delusions about Iran: Leader

TEHRAN – Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says that U.S. President Barack Obama has partially left his delusions about Iran.

The Leader made the remarks during a meeting with the members of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran on Thursday.

“Two days ago, we heard that the U.S. president said, ‘We do not think of war against Iran.’ Well, this is good. This is a logical remark. This is an exit from delusion. In addition, he said, ‘We will bring the Iranian people to their knees through sanctions.’ This is a delusion. The exit from delusion in the first part is good, but remaining in delusion in the second part will harm them. When one’s calculations are based on delusion, it is obvious that the planning he makes based on those calculations will end in failure,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated.

http://www.tehrantimes.com/politics/96228-obama-has-partially-left-his-delusions-about-iran-leader

 

The Bloody Road to Damascus
The Triple Alliance’s War on a Sovereign State

By James Petras

There is clear and overwhelming evidence that the uprising to overthrow President Assad of Syria is a violent, power grab led by foreign-supported fighters.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30769.htm

 

10 Myths about Iran Driving the Insane Push for War
And Why They’re Dead Wrong

By Jasmin Ramsey

Israeli officials and GOP candidates spout nonsense about Iran. Here’s the truth.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30772.htm

 

Weapons Financed By US Kill Unarmed Palestinians and U.S. Citizens.

By David Elkins

“U.S. weapons provided to Israel at taxpayer expense make the U.S. complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians living under Israel’s 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip”

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30767.htm

 

Kofi Annan’s calls for talks spark anger:

Syrian opposition activists have angrily rejected calls by Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, for dialogue with the government.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17312040

 

Assad Tells Kofi Annan He’s Open To ‘Honest Effort To Find Solution’:

 

Assad warned the envoy that dialogue was unlikely to succeed while “armed terrorist groups” remained.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/10/syria-crisis-assad-annan-kofi-homs-idlib-_n_1336534.html?ref=uk

 

Russia threatens to veto U.S. resolution on Syria:

Russia will not support a new U.S.-drafted resolution on Syria because it fails to urge both the government and the rebels to halt violence, said a top Russian diplomat.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2978397.ece

 

No military solution in Syria: EU ministers:

As Qatar called in Cairo for the dispatch of Arab and international peacekeeping troops to Syria, Juppe joined his counterparts in saying that for the EU “military action is not on the agenda.”

http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/syria-politics.fml

 

US officials: Loyal army, inner circle back Assad:

Despite the Obama administration’s predictions that the Syrian government’s days are numbered, recent U.S. intelligence reports suggest President Bashar Assad commands a formidable army that is unlikely to turn on him, an inner circle that has stayed loyal and an elite class that still supports his rule.

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_20145482/us-officials-syrian-regime-holding-under-fire

 

Controversy surrounds CNN footage from Syrian activist:

Video footage broadcast by CNN purporting to depict Syrian government violence was staged by the journalist reporting on camera, recent reports have claimed.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/controversy-surrounds-cnn-footage-from-syrian-activist-.aspx?pageID=238&nid=15628&NewsCatID=359

 

If Iran attacked it will launch 11,000 missiles at Israel, US: envoy:

Tehran’s ambassador to Lebanon says Iran has prepared itself to launch about 11,000 missiles at Israel and U.S. bases in the region if they do a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Lebanese media reported.

http://www.mehrnews.com/en/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1556104

 

Environmental

 

The Problem With the Environment Is Not Too Many People

Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout:

“We’ve all heard the claim repeatedly: humans pollute, so if we just reduce the number of people – both the number being born and the number immigrating from point A to point B – the despoiling will cease and Eden will be restored. If only it could be so simple…. ‘Too Many People?’ is a clear and convincing challenge to the idea of population control as political necessity.”

http://www.truth-out.org/problem-environment-not-too-many-people/1331163575

 

Fracking Likely Caused Series of Ohio Quakes, Officials Say

Michael Muskal and Neela Banerjee , News Report:

Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources issued new regulations for transporting and disposing of brine wastewater, a fracking byproduct, making for the nation’s toughest disposal regulations, state officials said. Though the quake damage was minor – the largest was a 4.0 magnitude – environmental groups questioned whether the state’s safety rules were strong enough to protect the area from disasters they attributed to hydraulic fracturing.

http://www.nationofchange.org/fracking-likely-caused-series-ohio-quakes-officials-say-1331394148

 

Misc

 

New York Times CEO Robinson’s Exit Compensation Package Tops $23 Million

Janet Robinson, the New York Times Co. chief executive officer who was pushed out in December, received an exit package, including stock options and retirement benefits, of $23.7 million.

Robinson gets pension and supplemental retirement income valued at $11.4 million, performance awards of $5.39 million, restricted stock units worth $1.07 million and stock options worth $694,164, according to the company’s proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today. She will also earn $4.5 million in consulting fees for this year.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-09/new-york-times-s-robinson-s-exit-package-tops-23-million.html

 

NSA whistle-blower: Obama “worse than Bush”

Thomas Drake on life inside the National Security Agency and the price of truth telling

Thomas Drake, the whistle-blower whom the Obama administration tried and failed to prosecute for leaking information about waste, fraud and abuse at the National Security Agency, now works at an Apple store in Maryland. In an interview with Salon, Drake laughed about the time he confronted Attorney General Eric Holder at his store while Holder perused the gadgetry on display with his security detail around him. When Drake started asking Holder questions about his case, America’s chief law enforcement officer turned and fled the store.

http://www.salon.com/2012/03/07/nsa_whistle_blower_obama_worse_than_bush/singleton/

 

Mass pro-democracy protest rocks Bahrain

(Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Bahrainis demonstrated on Friday to demand democratic reforms, stepping up pressure on the U.S.-allied government with the biggest protest yet in a year of unrest.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/09/us-bahrain-protest-idUSBRE8280TI20120309

 

Three Ways to Beat Corporate Giants

Jim Shultz, Op-Ed:

From insurance companies lording over our health care to global conglomerates taking control of our water, corporate giants wield more and more influence over our lives and our environment. So how do we fight back? How do we take on corporate power and actually win? The Democracy Center recently published a new citizen’s resource that looks up close at the strategies that people and communities are using worldwide to successfully tackle corporate giants.

http://www.nationofchange.org/three-ways-beat-corporate-giants-1331390970

 

Don’t Look Away from Bahrain’s Revolution

By Ala’a Shehabi

Over the past year, as cameras turned away, the Bahraini regime carried out some of the worst atrocities in its history.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30773.htm

 

Bahraini forces kill 21-year-old protester in capital Manama:

Activists say the protester, named Fadhel Mirza, was killed on Saturday when regime forces attacked a group of demonstrators struggling to reach Pearl Square.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/230916.html

 

CyberSpace

 

Stratfor: Blood On Their Hands
And it gets worse.

By Khadija Sharife

With their emails, Stratfor appears to advocate for a world where polluters and murderers, circumvent accountability by obtaining information to pre-empt – and in the process destroy – their opposition.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30777.htm

 

The Crime of Truth:
Obama’s Persecution of the Peacemaker

By Chris Floyd

Bradley Manning will spend the rest of his life in a federal prison for the unforgiveable crime of telling the truth to people who don’t want to hear it.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30771.htm

 

The Dirty War on WikiLeaks

By John Pilger

Media smears suggest Swedish complicity in a Washington-driven push to punish Julian Assange.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30770.htm