* WAR ZONE IN CANADA – POLICE SHOOTING EXPLOSIVES AT STUDENTS’ HEADS
In a scene resembling a war zone, Montreal police fire explosives, tear gas canisters and other weapons directly at the heads of student protestors.
By Alexander Higgins
* POLICE BRUTALITY – ZUCCOTTI PARK MARCH 17 #OWS
NYC, March 17: the NYPD violently cleared Zuccotti Park, ending celebrations of Occupy’s six month anniversary.
* AFGHAN MASSACRE: REPORTS IN U.S. AND OVERSEAS MEDIA VASTLY DIFFERENT
By Gregory Patin, Examiner
In the early morning hours of March 11 in the volatile Panjwai district of Kandahar Province, 16 Afghan civilians, 9 of them children, were shot or stabbed to death by at least one American soldier. Some of the bodies were burned. While both U.S. media and overseas media reports agree on that, the reports vary widely concerning information beyond those basic facts.
U.S. Media Reports
Every major U.S. network, cable and print media outlet report that the killings were done by a single U.S. soldier who left a small combat outpost and walked into two nearby villages. After a six-day blackout of public information about the shooter, he was identified as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales of the 3rd Stryker Brigade based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. A surveillance video was produced that shows Bales surrendering to guards at the base in Afghanistan. No need to quote sources or post links – all of the above is common knowledge to anyone following the story in the U.S. The reports echo President Obama’s statement on March 12: “It appeared you had a lone gunman who acted on his own.”
The Pajhwok Afghan News reported on March 15 that:
A parliamentary probe team…spent two days in the province, interviewing the bereaved families, tribal elders, survivors and collecting evidences (sic) at the site in Panjwai district. [Lawmaker] Hamizai Lali told Pajhwok Afghan News their investigation showed there were 15 to 20 American soldiers, who executed the brutal killings. “We closely examined the site of the incident, talked to the families who lost their beloved ones, the injured people and tribal elders,” he said.
He added the attack lasted one hour involving two groups of American soldiers in the middle of the night on Sunday. “The villages are one and a half kilometre from the American military base. We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups.”
The parliamentary probe report was picked up by many foreign media outlets, including IRIB in Iran, Russia Today, DeMorgen.be in Belgium, Mondoweiss in Israel and Reuters UK edition. DeMorgen.be quoted Karzai saying “According to our people, the act is not performed by a single man and it was a conscious and deliberate act.”
Tabish Qayyum, an editor for a Pakistani publication called The Fortress, writes on the PakNationalists blog:
According to live accounts and eyewitnesses, multiple weapon sounds were heard, including pistols and machine gun bursts simultaneously. The houses attacked are at least two miles apart. It is not possible for a single gunman to kill and burn people in one house and then run several kilometers to do the same thing again without being resisted and overpowered. […]
* ANOTHER ONE PERCENT – DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS WHO HAVE JOINED ALEC
It’s basically a right-wing Republican organization working diligently to take away the rights of ordinary working people to implement the one-percent agenda. But there are a few reactionary Democrats who have been involved as well– maybe 1%. The only congressional Democrats with ALEC ties I could find are Joe Manchin (WV), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA), Ed Perlmutter (CO), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA), and Kurt Shrader (Blue Dog-OR). And there are no Democratic governors toiling along with Jan Brewer (AZ), Terry Branstad (IA), John Kasich (OH), Bob McDonnell (VA) and Scott Walker (WI) to implement the ALEC agenda. The only Democrats on the ALEC board of directors are state Senator Steve Faris (AR) and ex-Rep. Dolores Mertz (IA).
Most states don’t have any Democrats from their state legislatures in ALEC. Basically they’re Republican political clubs. Many states will have one or two Democrats in a toiletful of Republicans. Like Wyoming, for example. There are 24 state reps and 11 senators who are ALEC members. Only one, state Sen. John Hastert, is a Democrat. And then there are a few states– Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas– with a half dozen or more Democrats have joined up. Interestingly, one Kentucky state Rep. Robert Damron, was a member and then quit last year saying he no longer attends ALEC meetings because ALEC has “become, in the last few years, so partisan… The last meeting I went to, they spent all their time bashing Democrats. I don’t particularly care for an organization that’s so partisan.” On the other hand, Gov. Rick Perry (who’s gotten between two and three million dollars from ALEC) was a member back when he was a Democratic state rep. And there’s extreme right former state Sen. Mike Oliverio, who the DCCC has been trying to elect to Congress, who was not just a member of ALEC– the only one in the West Virginia legislature– but also West Virginia’s state chairman! […]
* PAUL RYAN’S BUDGET INCLUDES $3 TRILLION GIVEAWAY TO CORPORATIONS, THE RICH
By Travis Waldron, Think Progress
The budget unveiled by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) this morning includes substantial changes to the American tax code, both for corporations and individuals. Ryan’s tax plan shrinks the number of income tax brackets from six to two, with marginal tax rates set at 10 percent and 25 percent. He repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), slices the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent, and repeals all of the health care taxes contained in the Affordable Care Act. It also repeals the repatriation tax on profits corporations earn overseas then bring back to the United States.
In all, those tax breaks amount to a $3 trillion giveaway to the richest Americans and corporations, according to the Tax Policy Center. Repealing the repatriation tax would add roughly $130 billion to that.
This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Ryan insisted that the plan would generate the same amount of revenue as the government currently receives. In true Ryan form, though, he wouldn’t say how: […]
* UNAFFORDABLE CO-PAYS AND DEDUCTIBLES, DEATH BY A MILLION CUTS FOR INSURED AMERICANS
By nyceve, Daily Kos
If we had a functioning healthcare system, sick people would be able to access care and healthy people would not fear the financial consequences of illness.
We’re told by politicians from both political parties that we Americans need to take personal responsibility and buy private, for-profit health insurance. We need to buy this junk insurance when we’re healthy and pray we never need to use it.
Pray indeed.A cancer diagnosis even for someone with insurance, is a battle for your life, and a battle to avoid bankruptcy. Because skyrocketing copays and deductibles put so much of the financial burden on the shoulders of patients, sick people are having to decide treatment plans based on cost, not what may be most medically efficacious.
We live in a country where healthcare is a privilege of the affluent, and for those who still have employer provided coverage. But employer coverage, long the backbone of the U.S. healthcare system, is unraveling at a frightening pace.
Paul Krugman has a link this morning to an explosive report on the declining number of Americans with employer health coverage. […]
* DARRELL ISSA HOLDS ANOTHER ALL-MALE PANEL IN BROOKLYN, THIS TIME ON FORECLOSURES’ GETS MIC-CHECKED
By Sarah Jaffe, Alterned
Immediately after the gavel, activists mic-checked Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) at a Congressional hearing in Brooklyn, one of the communities hardest hit by housing crisis. Mimi Pierre-Johnson from New York Communities for Change speaks here.
* BRINGING JUSTICE TO FELON BANKERS, IN SEVEN EASY STEPS
New evidence points to illegal behavior. Prosecution is the only way to keep that behavior from continuing.
By Bruce Judson, National Memo
It’s now a near certainty that Wall Street executives committed felonies.
The recently released audits of robo-mortgage activities by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) details shocking behavior at the five banks constituting the Federal Housing Administration’s largest mortgage servicers. At Wells Fargo, management quashed a midlevel manager’s study of the foreclosure process as negative results began to emerge, and it gave an individual whose last job had been in a pizza restaurant the title of “vice-president of loan documentation” to facilitate robo-mortgage signing. Bank of America evaluated employees on the volume of foreclosure affidavits produced. JP Morgan Chase gave individuals titles such as “vice-president of Chase Home” where “the titles were given by Chase for the sole purpose of allowing individuals to sign documents and came with no other duties or authority.” Citigroup and Ally similarly engaged in seemingly illegal practices.
Under federal law, the knowing filing of a false affidavit with the court is a felony offense of perjury, punishable by a prison term of up to five years. An individual violates laws against perjury whether he or she personally appears in court and swears to a false statement or provides the court with a false affidavit. Individual states have their own perjury laws, which were undoubtedly violated as well. The HUD report also suggests that individual banks may be guilty of obstruction of justice and the criminal violation of the False Claims Act for filing insurance claims without following HUD requirements.
Since the start of the financial crisis, federal and state officials have been struggling to change Wall Street behavior. To date, every effort has failed miserably, and the weak enforcement provisions of the robo-mortgage settlement are unlikely to meaningfully change this dynamic. Government officials have also relied, with a very few exceptions, entirely on civil enforcement when criminal laws appear to have been egregiously violated. […]
* HOW GOLDMAN SACHS HELPED MASK GREECE’S DEBT
* EXECUTIVES FROM CHEVRON, TRANSOCEAN HELD IN BRAZIL
By Common Dreams Staff
Brazil has barred 17 executives from Chevron and Transocean from leaving the country while an investigation over charges for an oil spill is underway.
A Brazilian federal judge has required the executives to submit their passports to police within 24 hours.
Chevron is facing a lawsuit over an oil spill in November off Brazil’s Atlantic coast. And yesterday Brazil said it spotted oil near same offshore field. […]
* MICHAEL BLOOMBERG STRIKE AGAIN: NEW YORK CITY BANS FOOD DONATIONS TO THE HOMELESS
Source: CBS News
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s food police have struck again!
Outlawed are food donations to homeless shelters because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
Glenn Richter arrived at a West Side synagogue on Monday to collect surplus bagels — fresh nutritious bagels — to donate to the poor. However, under a new edict from Bloomberg’s food police he can no longer donate the food to city homeless shelters.
It’s the “no bagels for you” edict. […]