May 232012
 

 

* MAY 20, 1012 U.S. ANTI-WAR VETERANS TOSS WAR MEDALS IN CHICAGO 

Source: youtube

Dozens of U.S. anti-war veterans from the Afghan and Iraqi wars tossed their war medals away Sunday to protest against the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), with some of them pleading forgiveness from the Iraqi and Afghan people.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCuklmvYjNE&feature=player_embedded

VIDEO @ http://www.democracynow.org/2012/5/21/no_nato_no_war_us_veterans

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* NOT NATO’s KIND OF TOWN 

By Curtis Black, StopNATO

Mayor Emanuel is congratulating himself for a successful NATO summit – successful mainly because no disasters occurred, though the only real threats seem to have been those manufactured by police.

No doubt the black bloc is also congratulating itself that day-after front pages carried pictures of scuffles with police, rather than veterans returning their medals with members of Afghans For Peace looking on, certainly the most moving and meaningful drama of the weekend.

What would a real accounting of the summit’s costs and benefits look like? […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/not-natos-kind-of-town/

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* CHICAGO SPENT OVER $63 MILLION DEFENDING POLICE MISCONDUCT STUDY

By Megan Cottrell, Chicago Now

“Pinstripe patronage” is what the People’s Law Office is calling it.

The Chicago law firm that’s known for bringing cases of police brutality, false arrest and wrongful convictions wanted to find out just how much the city was paying to outside firms to defend police officers accused of misconduct.

After obtaining records with a Freedom of Information Act Request, they calculated a total: $63.38 million paid to just 11 firms since 2003. […]

READ @ http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-muckrakers/2012/05/chicago-spent-over-63-million-defending-police-misconduct-study/

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* NATO: BIG MONEY, BIG INTERESTS AND GLOBAL DOMINATION

By John Robles, StopNATO

$37 million for public relations for a two-day event, and that is just the amount that has been made public. When this amount of money is being spent one has to ask oneself some serious questions. This amount of money is not spent for public relations when you have something positive to say or sell and in this case that completely applies.

What they are in fact trying to sell to the American public is an organization that is, no matter how you package it, a war machine.

It is not one that can be called a very successful one either, nor is it one that is needed or particularly wanted by the American people. If the over-taxed American people realized that of the almost 50% of their salaries that they are paying in taxes, a large part of it, and the over 65 years of debt that is being passed along to their children, is also being spent not only to fund all of the American war machines and US military adventures all over the world, but it is also being used to provide approximately 79% of the funding for an organization that should have been disbanded over 20 years ago and one that it not even really wanted by the people it is supposed to be protecting in Europe… […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/nato-big-money-big-interests-and-global-domination/

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* “DOES ANYBODY DESERVE THIS?” 

Source: youtube 

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvIepnZ7Pi8&feature=player_embedded

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* CHICAGO POLICE FACE ACCUSATIONS OF ENTRAPMENT, BRUTALITY IN CRACKDOWN ON NATO PROTESTERS

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

DemocracyNow.org – Dozens of anti-NATO protesters have been arrested in Chicago over the past several days including five men who were jailed on domestic terrorism charges. Three of the men were accused of plotting to attack President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and other targets. Their lawyers say they were entrapped by government informants. The Chicago police have also been criticized by activist groups for using violent force to break up protests and accused of targeting independent media activists who have been streaming the protests live over the Internet. On Saturday night three helping to live stream video of the protests were detained at gunpoint.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPkfkC4LLb0

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* DID CHICAGO POLICE MASTERMIND ALLEGED NATO TERROR PLOT?

Source: RT

After a weekend of violent altercations in Chicago, Illinois between police officers and demonstrators protesting the NATO Summit, many questions remain unanswered over a string of alleged terrorist plots foiled by law enforcement.

At least 11 men were arrested in three separate incidents in the days before this weekend’s conference of world leaders in the Windy City. As events wind down on Monday, however, half of those originally detained have been released with no charges pressed and little explanation from investigators. Of those that remain behind bars, all have been linked to two alleged police informants, “Mo” and “Gloves,” that are believed to have worked undercover with law enforcement to infiltrate the Chicago activism community.

The attorney representing three men arrested on terrorist-related charges on Wednesday says that the alleged crimes in question were perpetrated by Chicago police officers and reeks of entrapment. Those close to individuals apprehended this week on separate but similar charges also say that the alleged crimes in those cases are full of holes and seem equally suspicious. […]

READ @ http://rt.com/usa/news/chicago-police-nato-men-802/

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* SIEGE OF CHICAGO: ANTI -NATO MARCH BATON CHARGED

Source: RT

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5e0veJt_Ws&feature=player_embedded

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* CHICAGO POLICE PUMMEL NATO PROTESTERS WITH BATONS

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7NG1K6xXTU&feature=related

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* VEHICLE-MOUNTED ACTIVE DENIAL SYSTEM ( V-MADS)

Source: youtube

The Active Denial System (ADS) is a non-lethal, directed-energy weapon developed by the U.S. military. It is a strong millimeter-wave transmitter primarily used for crowd control (the “goodbye effect”). Some ADS systems such as HPEM ADS are also used to disable vehicles. Informally, the weapon is also called pain ray. Raytheon is currently marketing a reduced-range version of this technology. The ADS was being considered for deployment in the Iraq War.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmuyLIrSjxI&feature=player_embedded

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* OVER 99% OF FEDERAL RESERVE BANK ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS ARE RESOLVED WITHOUT ADMISSION OF GUILT

By Matt Stoller, Naked Capitalism

In a hearing last week titled “Examining the Settlement Practices of U.S. Financial Regulators”, various regulators tried to justify their practice of settling with financial firms and not requiring them to admit wrongdoing. In that hearing, Federal Reserve General Counsel Scott Alvarez, stated that only seven of the roughly one thousand enforcement actions taken in the last decade were resolved without consent.

The vast majority of the Federa Reserve’s formal enforcement actions are resolved upon consent, which is fully consistent with the goal of resolving supervisory concerns with bank management quickly and firmly. In crafting enforcement actions that are entered by consent, the Federal Reserve typically sets out summary recitations of the relevant facts in “Whereas” clause provisions; however, like our fellow banking regulators, it has not been our practice to require formal admissions to the misconduct addressed in our enforcement orders given the remedial nature of our enforcement program. Requiring admission of fact and legal conclusions as a condition of entering into a consent action is likely to have a deleterious effect on our supervisory efforts by causing more institutions and individuals to challenge the requested relief in contested administrative proceedings, which typically takes years to reach final resolution, and which could delay implemenattion of necessary corrective action.

In other words, the Federal Reserve will only punish banks who break the rules if those banks consent to punishment.  This attitude is pervasive among all regulators.  Here’s the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates among other banks JP Morgan Chase. […]

READ @ http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/05/over-99-of-enforcement-actions-by-federal-reserve-are-resolved-without-admission-of-guilt.html

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* TEN POINTS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE QUEBEC STUDENT MOVEMENT

By Andrew Gavin Marshall, Media Co Op

The student strikes in Quebec, which began in February and have lasted for three months, involving roughly 175,000 students in the mostly French-speaking Canadian province, have been subjected to a massive provincial and national media propaganda campaign to demonize and dismiss the students and their struggle. The following is a list of ten points that everyone should know about the student movement in Quebec to help place their struggle in its proper global context.

1) The issue is debt, not tuition

2) Striking students in Quebec are setting an example for youth across the continent

3)The student strike was organized through democratic means and with democratic aims

4) This is not an exclusively Quebecois phenomenon

5) Government officials and the media have been openly calling for violence and “fascist” tactics to be used against the students

6) Excessive state violence has been used against the students

7) The government supports organized crime and opposes organized students

8) Canada’s elites punish the people and oppose the students

9) The student strike is being subjected to a massive and highly successful propaganda campaign to discredit, dismiss, and demonize the students

10) The student movement is part of a much larger emerging global movement of resistance against austerity, neoliberalism, and corrupt power […]

READ @ http://montreal.mediacoop.ca/story/ten-points-everyone-should-know-about-quebec-student-movement/10896

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* AMERICAN SPRING: THE DOCUMENTARY

Source: RT

Even the cold early spring of 2012 could not deter Occupy Wall Street (OWS) activists in New York city. People from different backgrounds continue to come out onto the streets. The agenda driving all the protesters remains the same: income inequality, corruption among banks and multinational corporations, foreclosures, climate change, police brutality and above all, the need to get together and talk in person — not just via mobile phones. It is all about the courage of ordinary men and women to tell the truth to those who hold power.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5F9nTlCpTc&fb_source=message

May 212012
 

Published on May 21, 2012 by , youtube

Chicago police pushing back peaceful protesters with billy clubs, edited together from a number of videos. On the front line in the beginning, pretty close to the front towards the end. This video demonstrates the police maneuvering protesters from the intersection of Cermak and Michigan back west to State, and ends with the CPD sending 10 or so white vans after the marchers who continued south on State as they attempted to head for McCormick Place. For CPD billy-clubbing, set your dial to 5:09 (right up close), and 18:15.

Pretty chaotic at 7:45. Protesters picking up the barricade at 9:2810:35 injured demonstrator coming through the crowd. 15:26 police pushing. 16:48 a little more violent police pushing. Really nasty push 17:3618:35 man yelling badge number of cop hitting him in back with baton. 18:56 I think a cop hitting a guy in lower portion of frame, but hard to tell.

VIDEOhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KArveRc0W8U&#t=4m50s

Apr 292012
 

 

* NATO INVADES CHICAGO: WHERE IS RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT?

NATO Invades Chicago: But Where is the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) for Citizens in this War-Zone City?

By Ross Ruthenberg, StopNATO

The city of Chicago will be invaded by a NATO conference next month, costing US taxpayers up to $100 million for the provision of facilities and security for 50 delegations comprising some 100 dignitaries and thousands of advisors.

But instead of providing ring-of-steel security for the NATO bureaucrats in attendance, what the hard-pressed citizens of Chicago would appreciate more is a little application of the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine that NATO powers are so keen on bestowing on other parts of the world wracked by violence.

Chicago’s notoriety as a violent city has gone into overdrive in recent years with an epidemic in fatal shootings. Last year, nearly 2,300 people were shot in the Windy City, resulting in 441 homicides, including men, women and children. In the first three months of this year, some 656 were shot, with 145 homicides. At that rate, the victims of gun crime will amount to over 2,600 shootings and 580 homicides by the end of this year alone.

With this level of violence, the people of Chicago do not feel safe in their own city, and the state and federal authorities are conspicuously inadequate in their duty to protect citizens. […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/nato-invades-chicago-where-is-responsibility-to-protect/

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* STATE DEPARTMENT REVEALS 21st CENTURY NATO’s  GLOBAL PRIORITIES

By Richard Rozoff, StopNATO

The State Department’s top Eurasia hand addressed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’s Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia on April 26 to present Washington’s perspective on and expectations of next month’s summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In a presentation titled “The Chicago Summit and U.S. Policy,” the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Tina Kaidanow, laid out what the military alliance’s main powerhouse and financial backer demands of its 27 allies and in so doing indicated many of the top geopolitical objectives of her department and the U.S. government as a whole for the upcoming years.

Commenting on the fact that the May 20-21 gathering of over fifty heads of state from nations supplying troops for the longest war in her nation’s history, that in Afghanistan, will occur in Chicago, only the second NATO summit in the U.S. and “the first ever outside of Washington,” Kaidanow reiterated the main purpose of the world’s only military bloc:

“Our hosting of the Summit is a tangible symbol of the importance of NATO to the United States, as well as an opportunity to underscore to the American people the continued value of the Alliance to the security challenges we face today…NATO is vital to U.S. security. More than ever, the Alliance is the mechanism through which the U.S. confronts diverse and difficult threats to our security…Our experiences in the Cold War, in the Balkans, and now in Afghanistan prove that our core interests are better protected by working together than by seeking to respond to threats alone as individual nations.” […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/state-department-reveals-21st-century-natos-global-priorities/

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* LOCAL NATO HOSTS RED-FACED OVER ‘RED ZONE’ MILITARIZATION PLAN

By Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times

The head of Chicago’s NATO Host Committee said Thursday she was blindsided by the federal government’s decision to create a militarized “Red Zone” in the Loop to protect federal buildings in the run-up to the May 20-21 summit at McCormick Place.

The image of federal agents on downtown streets far from McCormick Place — in battle gear, weapons slung — three weeks before the summit is certain to have a chilling effect on those who live and work in the Loop. It also calls into question Host Committee Executive Director Lori Healey’s oft-repeated message that Chicago will remain “open for business” during the summit.

On Thursday, Healey found herself in the difficult position of having to convince the public that a scary headline that blindsided even her is not an indication that the feds are bracing for weeks of trouble. […]

READ @ http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/12151651-418/local-nato-summit-planners-red-faced-over-red-zone-militarization-plan.html

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* NATO SECURITY PERIMETER: CHICAGO SUMMIT PROTESTERS REPORTEDLY LEAK SECRET SERVICE’S PLAN 

Source: HuffPo

Activists preparing to protest the NATO summit in Chicago next month leaked what they claim is the Secret Service’s security perimeter for the event on Tuesday.

Andy Thayer, spokesman for the Coalition Against NATO/G8 protest group, said, according to NBC Chicago, that the Secret Service told activists that their security boundaries around McCormick Place would extend west from Lake Michigan to the Dan Ryan Expressway. The northern boundary, Thayer claimed, is fluid, varying between 21st Street and West Roosevelt depending on summit activities and the southern boundary is I-55.

Secret Service told ABC Chicago that they met Tuesday with protest groups, but would not confirm whether the security perimeter protesters detailed was accurate or disclose any additional details.

Because of the security perimeter, protesters’ May 20 protest march, beginning at Grant Park’s Petrillo Music Shell, is now slated to end at the intersection of Cermak Road and Michigan Avenue, a block west of where initially outlined in the route the city and protesters agreed to, CBS Chicago reports. That plan was, of course, contingent upon Secret Service’s plan.

Protesters are not pleased that their demonstration will no longer be within sight and sound of the summit site.

We’ll be blocks away,” Thayer told Reuters. […]

READ and VIDEO @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/nato-security-perimeter-c_n_1451811.html

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* ARE CAMERAS THE NEW GUNS?

By Wendy McElroy, Freeman

In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states (Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland), it is now illegal to record an on-duty police officer even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.

The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested.   Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where “no expectation of privacy exists” (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

Massachusetts attorney June Jensen represented Simon Glik who was arrested for such a recording. She explained, “[T]he statute has been misconstrued by Boston police. You could go to the Boston Common and snap pictures and record if you want.”  Legal scholar and professor Jonathan Turley agrees, “The police are basing this claim on a ridiculous reading of the two-party consent surveillance law — requiring all parties to consent to being taped. I have written in the area of surveillance law and can say that this is utter nonsense.” […]

READ @ http://www.thefreemanonline.org/headline/are-cameras-the-new-guns/

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* THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR, IN THE ORIGINAL GERMAN

By David Swanson, War Is A Crime 

[…] Now, history does not actually repeat itself. It’s far too complex and unpredictable. But a few facts leap out at us today:

We are at war with the world without end for the sake of war itself.

We have given power over from the Congress to the President.

We have allowed the Supreme Court to give power over the President to financial and weapons interests.

We have developed a central corporatist and militarist communications system.

Our government operates in great secrecy, censoring and prosecuting whistleblowers.

Our military conducts criminal trials that people strain themselves not to laugh at or condemn, thereby training themselves in a new kind of behavior.

Our president claims the power to imprison, torture, or murder.

Our society has labeled a class of people “illegals” and subjected them to a secondary and abusive status.

Our police have been militarized, nationalized, and empowered to strip-search us or assault us with tasers.

A soldier was just dismissed for speaking unacceptably of the President.

Our government and large corporate partners spy on everything we say on a telephone or near a cell phone, and everything we do or type on the internet.

Our government kills people all over the world with drones and is now putting drones in our own skies.

And we’ve advanced from lying about wars to joking about the lies about the wars to not even bothering with the lies or any legal pretense whatsoever.

Have we killed as many people as Hitler did? No, not in the same manner. But by sins of both commission (Iraqis bombed and shot, for example) and omission (children starving and suffering from preventable illness, for example) of course we have. And we have the potential to quite easily kill many more.

I can still write this.

I can still post this on marginal websites unseen by the masses.

I can still say these things openly on the street.

But reporters are being preemptively detained. Peace activists’ homes are being raided. And the number two excuse I get from people for their inaction (after futility, which is always number one) is fear (which is not always high on the list — it had to be put there). […]

READ @ http://warisacrime.org/content/global-war-terror-original-german

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* CRUSHING CUTS: COPS LASH OUT AS SPANISH RALLY

Source: RT

Spain has plunged into what the government calls a ‘crisis of huge proportions’, with its jobless rate rising towards a record one in four. Boasting the highest unemployment in Europe, the country’s deficit and the deteriorating economic situation are only likely to be met with a backlash from angry Spaniards. But as Jacob Greaves reports, the more public frustration grows, the harsher the authorities’ response becomes.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN6Pg6RqcnI&feature=player_embedded

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* 6 KINDS OF PILLS BIG PHARMA TRIES TO GET YOU HOOKED ON FOR LIFE

By Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet

Why has Big Pharma failed to produce new antibiotics for deadly infections like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci), C. Difficile and Acinetobacter baumannii even as they leap from hospital to community settings? Because there is no money in it.

Pharma executives “have shown less interest in medicines like antibiotics that actually cure disease than in those that only treat symptoms,” writes Melody Petersen, author of Our Daily Meds. “Most blockbusters are pills for conditions such as anxiety, high cholesterol or constipation that must be taken daily, often for months or years. They are designed for rich Americans who can afford to buy them.” Nor are medicines for tropical diseases like malaria, which kills a child every 30 seconds, a priority, notes Petersen. They also lack ka-ching.

Since direct-to-consumer drug advertising debuted in the late 1990s, the number of people on prescription drugs — especially prescription drugs for life — has ballooned. Between 2001 to 2007 the percentage of adults and children on one or more prescriptions for chronic conditions rose by more than 12 million, reports the Associated Press and 25 percent of US children now take a medication for a chronic condition. Seven percent of kids take two or more daily drugs. Who says advertising doesn’t work?

Of the top-selling drugs in 2011, led by Lipitor, Nexium, Plavix, Advair Diskus, Abilify, Seroquel, Singulair and Crestor, none is taken occasionally, or “as needed” and the treatment goal is never to get off the drug, like an antibiotic. Why would Pharma deal itself out of the game? […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/155170

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* CLINTON AND COLBERT AT TIME 100

TIME’S 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE

APRIL 24, 2012

SPEAKER:  STEPHEN COLBERT

[…] Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the TIME 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall:  President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch.

Give it up everybody.  David Koch.

Little known fact — David, nice to see you again, sir.

Little known fact, David’s brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential.  Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million.  That’s kind of cheap, Dave.

Sure, he’s all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave’s always in the men’s room.  I’m sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.

I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am — thank you, thank you — and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC.  And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there’s no way for you to ever know whether that’s a joke. […]

READ @ http://thepage.time.com/2012/04/25/clinton-and-colbert-at-the-time-100/

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* ANONYMOUS VS CISPA: ‘BILL FIGHTS IMAGINARY THREAT’

Source: RT

Outcry from Internet users, over the controversial cyber security act ‘CISPA’, is set to spill onto the streets. The hacker group Anonymous is hitting back in response to the bill by launching what it calls ‘Operation Defense Phase two’. CISPA, having passed the US House of Representatives on Friday, is now a step closer to becoming law. It’s now heading to the Senate, as the White House continues to threaten a veto of the bill. The act could allow Internet companies to legally share sensitive user information with the American government – a move critics say infringes on privacy and civil liberties. Journalist David Seaman explains how this bill puts everyone at risk. Luke Samuel, from Online Magazine “Spiked” thinks the CISPA bill is one of the latest attempts by the US government to limit the first amendment rights of its citizens.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi5sxub2VEM&feature=player_embedded

Apr 272012
 

 

* EVEN THE TROOPS ARE WAKING UP

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-CpCUOygqU&feature=player_embedded

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* PARTNERS ACROSS THE GLOBE: NATO CONSOLIDATES WORLDWIDE MILITARY FORCE

By Richard Rozoff, StopNATO

[…] In short, NATO’s 21st century global expeditionary force and its top commanders. An international military coalition never authorized by the United Nations or discussed at any conference or other fora except at NATO Headquarters and at the bloc’s summits.

On the second day of the Military Committee conference in Brussels, NATO’s Allied Command Operations reported on a training course underway at the Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters in Brunssum, the Netherlands where staff officers from NATO’s Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnerships are being instructed to “work as augmentees in a Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJF HQ) environment. […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/partners-across-the-globe-nato-consolidates-worldwide-military-force/

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* THE NSA IS WATCHING

By Amy Goodman, Truthdig

Three targeted Americans: A career government intelligence official, a filmmaker and a hacker. None of these U.S. citizens was charged with a crime, but they have been tracked, surveilled, detained – sometimes at gunpoint – and interrogated, with no access to a lawyer. Each remains resolute in standing up to the increasing government crackdown on dissent

The intelligence official: William Binney worked for almost 40 years at the secretive National Security Agency (NSA), the U.S. spy agency that dwarfs the CIA. As technical director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, Binney told me, he was tasked to “see how we could solve collection, analysis and reporting on military and geopolitical issues all around the world, every country in the world.” Throughout the 1990s, the NSA developed a massive eavesdropping system code-named ThinThread, which, Binney says, maintained crucial protections on the privacy of U.S. citizens demanded by the U.S. Constitution. He recalled, “After 9/11, all the wraps came off for NSA,” as massive domestic spying became the norm. He resigned on Oct. 31, 2001.

Along with several other NSA officials, Binney reported his concerns to Congress and to the Department of Defense. Then, in 2007, as then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was being questioned on Capitol Hill about the very domestic spying to which Binney objected, a dozen FBI agents charged into his house, guns drawn. They forced aside his son and found Binney, a diabetic amputee, in the shower. They pointed their guns at his head, then led him to his back porch and interrogated him. […]

READ @ http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/294-159/11144-the-nsa-is-watching-you

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* INSANITY: CISPA JUST GOT WAY WORSE, AND THEN PASSED ON A RUSHED VOTE

By Leigh Beadon, TechDirt

Up until this afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be tomorrow. Then, abruptly, it was moved up today—and the House voted in favor of its passage with a vote of 248-168. But that’s not even the worst part.

The vote followed the debate on amendments, several of which were passed. Among them was an absolutely terrible change (pdf and embedded below—scroll to amendment #6) to the definition of what the government can do with shared information, put forth by Rep. Quayle. Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government’s power, even though it in fact expands it by adding more items to the list of acceptable purposes for which shared information can be used. Even more astonishingly, it passed with a near-unanimous vote. The CISPA that was just approved by the House is much worse than the CISPA being discussed as recently as this morning.

Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for “cybersecurity” or “national security” purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA. […]

READ @ http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120426/14505718671/insanity-cispa-just-got-way-worse-then-passed-rushed-vote.shtml

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* FEDERAL AGENTS TO BEGIN PROTECTING THE ‘RED ZONE’ FOR NATO NEXT WEEK.

By Natasha Korecki, Chicago Sun-Times

Starting next week, expect to see a showing of federal law enforcement in “battle” gear, weapons slung, in a highly visible effort to protect a perimeter that encompasses the federally operated buildings in the Loop.

Law enforcement has dubbed their efforts “Operation Red Zone.” It’s headed by the Federal Protective Service, which is working with state, federal and local law enforcement in anticipation of the NATO Summit in Chicago on May 20 and 21.

Even though the actual meetings for the summit will happen at McCormick Place, federal law enforcement is aiming to protect a vast area in the Loop where thousands of federal employees and dozens of government offices are located.

Included in the zone is the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, the Kluczynski Building, the RH Metcalfe Building and the Metropolitan Correctional Center. It also includes the so-called “State Street cluster” — other federally owned buildings on State Street. The perimeter runs from Harrison Street to the south, Adams Street to the north, State Street to the east and Franklin to the west. […]

READ @ http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/12136227-418/federal-agents-to-begin-protecting-red-zone-for-nato-next-week.html

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* THE GREAT AMERICAN SOCIAL SECURITY LIE

By Rick Ungar, Forbes

[…] We are consistently led to believe that it is the ‘aging workforce’ that rests at the heart of Social Security’s funding problems. Tune in to any of the media reports covering the numbers just out and this is what you are going to see and hear.

The claim, while legitimately representing a small piece of the problem, fails to explain the lion’s share of the crisis we will experience in the Social Security Trust —and by lion’s share I mean a full 60 percent of the entitlement’s funding shortages.

The ‘aging workforce’ narrative serves to encourage and support the critics who claim that our problem is too many retirees lining up to collect their entitlements only to find that the government has failed to properly manage the Social Security trust fund—leaving the next generation of beneficiaries to be shortchanged 25 years down the line. As a result, the privatization pushers argue that Americans would be far better off looking out for their own retirement accounts so that government mismanagement will not come between hard-working citizens and their retirement money.

This is the Great American Social Security Lie. […]

READ @ http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2012/04/24/the-great-american-social-security-lie/

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* AMERICAN TAXPAYER LIABILITIES JUST WENT UP AGAIN – WHY ISN’T CONGRESS PAYING ATTENTION?

By Simon Johnson, Baseline Scenario

Most Americans paid no attention this weekend when the International Monetary Fund announced it was well on its way to roughly doubling the money that it can lend to troubled countries – what the organization calls a $430 billion increase in the “global firewall.”

The United States declined to participate in this round of fund-raising, so the I.M.F. has instead sought commitments from Europe, Japan, India and other larger emerging markets.

At first glance, this might seem like a free pass for the United States. The additional I.M.F. lending capacity is available to euro-zone countries that now face pressure, such as Spain or Italy, so it might seem that global financial stability is increased without any cost to the American taxpayer.

But such an interpretation mistakes what is really happening – and actually represents a much broader problem with our budgetary thinking. The I.M.F. represents a contingent liability to taxpayer sin the United States – much as the Federal National Mortgage Association (known as Fannie Mae) and Freddie Mac (formerly the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) have in the past — and as too-big-to-fail mega-banks do now. […]

READ @ http://baselinescenario.com/2012/04/26/american-taxpayer-liabilities-just-went-up-again-why-isnt-congress-paying-attention/#more-10094

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* GULF COAST WATERS CLOSED TO SHRIMPING

“We’re continuing to pull up oil in our nets. People who live here know better than to swim in or eat what comes out of our waters.”

By Joieau, Daily Kos

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources acted this week to close waters along the Gulf Coast to shrimping due to [EDIT: amidst] widespread reports from scientists and fishermen of deformed seafood and drastic fall-offs in populations two years after the BP oil spill. [‘Official’ reason is now reported to be smaller than average shrimp.]

All waters in the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay, and some areas of Bon Secour, Wolf Bay and Little Lagoon were closed to shrimpers. Reports of grossly deformed seafood all along the Gulf from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle have been logged with increasing urgency, but Alabama is the first state to actually close waters to the seafood industry.

And it’s not just the shrimp. Commercial fishermen are reporting red snapper and grouper riddled with deep lesions and covered with strange black streaks. Highly underdeveloped blue crabs are being pulled up in traps without eyes and claws…

Commercial fishers Tracy Kuhns and Mike Roberts from Barataria, LA reported to Al Jazeera when showing samples of eyeless shrimp…

“At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these. Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets.”

READ @ http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/26/1086617/-Gulf-Coast-Waters-Closed-to-Shrimping

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* #12M THE DAY THE WORLD WILL UNITE!

Source: youtube

WAKE UP!

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fOu6jt5VXEU

Apr 242012
 

 

* THE GLOBALIZATION OF HOLLOW POLITICS

By Chris Hedges, OpEdNews

[…] The extremists, of course, are already in power. They have been in power for several years. They write our legislation. They pick the candidates and fund their campaigns. They dominate the courts. They effectively gut regulations and environmental controls. They suck down billions in government subsidies. They pay no taxes. They determine our energy policy. They loot the U.S. treasury. They rigidly control public debate and information. They wage useless and costly imperial wars for profit. They are behind the stripping away of our most cherished civil liberties. They are implementing government programs to gouge out any money left in the carcass of America. And they know that Romney or Barack Obama, along with the Democratic and the Republican parties, will not stop them.

The abrasive Nicolas Sarkozy is France’s oilier version of Bush. Sarkozy, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has done the dirty work for bankers. He and Merkel have shoved draconian austerity measures down the throats of Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy. The governments of all these countries, not surprisingly, have been deposed by an enraged electorate. And if the new governments in these distressed European states continue to be ineffectual — which is inevitable given the sacrifices demanded by the banks — the instability will get worse.

Politicians such as Obama — and, I fear, Holland — who carry out corporate agendas while speaking in the language of populism become enemies of liberal democracies. Labor unions, environmentalists, anti-war activists and civil libertarians, blinded by the images and lies disseminated by public relations offices, stop watching what these politicians do. They mute their criticism to give these politicians, whose rhetoric is rarely matched by reality, a chance. The result accelerates our disempowerment. It is also, more ominously, a discrediting of traditional liberal democratic values. The longer the liberal class does not vigorously denounce expanded oil drilling, our corporate health insurance bill and the National Defense Authorization Act, simply because these initiatives have been pushed through by the Democrats, the more marginal the left becomes. If Bush had carried these policies, “liberal” pundits would have thundered with feigned outrage. The hypocrisy of the American left is too blatant to ignore. And it has effectively left us disempowered as a political force. […]

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=149307

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* 500 TROOPERS MAY HELP HANDLE NATO PROTESTERS

By Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times

As many as 500 troopers from the Illinois State Police will assist the Chicago Police Department in handling thousands of protesters expected to descend on Chicago during the May 20-21 NATO summit, City Hall sources said Friday.

The 500-trooper contingent would represent nearly 40 percent of the statewide total, raising questions about how the State Police would be able to juggle their other responsibilities to patrol state expressways and tollways and perform other emergency functions. […]

READ @ http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/12033252-418/as-many-as-500-troopers-from-the-illinois-state-police-will-assist-the-chicago-police.html

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* SPVM SHOOTS DEMONSTRATOR POINT BLANK

Source: youtube

SPVM Shoots demonstrator point blank with CS canister gun at the montreal congress center.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0Gm4_cix8w&amp

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* MONTREAL STUDENT PROTESTS TURN VIOLENT

Source: Canadian Press

Unusually violent clashes with police, projectiles thrown at highway vehicles, an apparently hacked government website, and a joke by Premier Jean Charest about it all that some thought in bad taste.

At a moment when Quebecers thought the mood couldn’t be more venomous between student protesters and the government, events degenerated once again Friday.

Protesters, primarily those raging over planned hikes to college and university tuition, showed up at Montreal’s convention centre, where hundreds of business people were gathered to hear Charest vaunt his “North Plan,” a major mining and natural resource development strategy in the province’s north.

They pounded on the centre’s multicoloured windows and picketed the entrances. Then about 150 found their way inside and Charest’s speech was delayed.

Shortly after noon, police declared the demonstration illegal and moved to disperse those inside and outside the centre. […]

READ @ http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1165275–charest-speech-erupts-into-rowdy-protest-in-montreal

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* IT TOOK THE BANK OF GREECE ONLY THREE WEEKS TO REVISE ITS 2012 GDP FORECAST EVEN LOWER

By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge

If there is anyone shocked by today’s announcement by the Bank of Greece that the country is once again slashing its full year economic forecast by 10%, aside from the IMF of course, please raise your hand. As a reminder, the IMF, whose projections were the basis for the recently released second bailout, and which assume a flat GDP in 2013, somehow has visibility through 2020. Which is more than can be said for the Bank of Greece: its latest forecast of 4.5% GDP decline was made three weeks ago. THREE WEEKS. And it already is being revised. In other news, we look forward to updating the deposit flight out of Greek banks when the most recent monthly update is released shortly, confirming that the local economy continues to be, simply said, dead. A few more such comparable downward revisions, and the Third Greek bailout (Of European Banks), which is due any second now, may be jeopardized (as it will be more difficult to sell to Germans why they are once again bailing out French banks). […]

[…] And some more bad news: more wage cuts are coming. Yes, soon our Onionesque forecast of negative wages will come true…

Apart from reiterating its call for further layoffs in the public sector, the Bank of Greece also said that wages should be cut further in order to boost competitiveness. It added that Greece is still missing structural reforms that could boost productivity, services and the business environment generally. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/it-took-bank-greece-only-three-weeks-revise-it-2012-gdp-forecast-even-lower

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* GREEK TOWN DEVELOPS BARTERING SYSTEM

Source: youtube

Greek town develops bartering system without euro. As Greece wonders whether its debt crisis will eventually spell its exit from the euro, one town in the centre of the country, Volos, has formed an alternative local currency. It works through a bartering system or exchange of goods.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTMXhSSOBSk

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* GREEKS TO PAY 25% INCREASE IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT, ELECTRICITY AND WATER

Source: keeptalkinggreece

That’s the country of economic miracles full of paradoxes. While the incomes decrease and wages undergo more and more cuts of 20-30%, prices keep going higher and higher. As if the 40% hikes in heating oil were not enough, prices for public transport and utilities are expected to rise at 25%. Greek media report that public transport tickets will be up, the same will happen with electricity and water consumption.

Tickets for one public transport mean (bus, trolley and tram) will increase from €1.20 to €1.50, while tickets for the metro and combined for all transport means will reach €1.75 -from €1.40 today. Increases of 25% will also affect the fares for trains and Proastiakos.

Electricity bills for households and small enterprises are expected to rise with the arrival of 2013, while water bills will see hikes within 2012.

According to the Greek media, the administrations of the state-run enterprises are on ‘reorganization tour’ as dictated in the second loan agreement between Greece and its lenders: The plans include these 25% hikes, further decreases in wages and operating costs. And getting ready for privatizations. […]

READ @ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/04/24/greeks-to-pay-25-increases-in-public-transport-electricity-and-water/

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* QATAR ‘ROYAL’ BUYS GREEK ISLAND 

By Claire Valdini

A member of Qatar’s royal family has purchased a Greek island for €5m, according to a local report.

The 1,236-acre island, named Oxia, was initially advertised by owners the Greek-Australian Stamoulis family for €6.9m ($9.1m), Greek daily Ekathimerini reported, citing unnamed sources.

The island’s new owners are expected to develop part of the island, it added.

The island is located in the Ionian Sea, near Ithaca, and is protected by the Natura 2000 ecological network, the newspaper said.

Greece’s government has been under pressure to privatise the country’s islands in the wake of its sovereign debt crisis.

The sale follows a week after Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund announced it had signed an agreement to acquire Smeralda Holding, owner of luxury hotel resorts on Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. […]

READ @ http://m.arabianbusiness.com/qatar-royal-buys-greek-island-report-454838.html

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* WORLD BANK OVERSEEING GLOBAL LAND GRAB

By Carey L. Biron, IPS

[…] According to activists and farmers speaking ahead of the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty here in Washington, part of the blame also needs to be placed on the Bank’s own technical assistance, past and present. The issue formed a core message during more than 250 protests worldwide on Apr. 17, marked as the International Day of Peasant Struggle.

‘Decades of World Bank policies have created the basis for what is happening today,’ Giulia Franchi, a campaigner with the Italian Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale, said on Monday.

Franchi and others express particular frustration with a Bank-led initiative known as the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that Respects Rights, Livelihoods and Resources (commonly referred to as RAI), which came into existence in January 2010.

The RAI, Franchi says, constitutes ‘an attempt to support transnational corporations to acquire land worldwide. While it looks like it’s standing with local communities, there is no way that the expropriation of people’s lands can be considered responsible.’ […]

READ @ http://www.globalissues.org/news/2012/04/23/13444

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* CZECH REPUBLIC: UNION DEMO IN PRAGUE

By Django, Libcom.org

[…] The official demands of the protest were an end to the austerity measures (at least in their current form, the dissolution of the government and new elections. Recent corruption scandals have also led to demands to “clean up” politics. The demand for elections may materialise, as the coalition teeters on the brink of collapse following the disintegration of the Public Affairs party. The Social Democrats would stand to benefit, followed by the Communist Party who currently are standing second in opinion polls.

However, the composition of attendees, and the numbers (double what was expected by the organisers) show a current of anger over an erosion of day-to-day living standards. AFP quoted a pensioner, Jana Sizlingova on her reasons for attending: “I’m upset with corruption, non-transparent procurement, the health system, the social system — simply, there’s nothing good about this government,”

The protest numbers among the largest since those which brought down the Stalinist government in conjunction with a general strike in 1989. Until a similar protest last year, large-scale demonstrations of this kind have been rare in the Czech Republic.

Below are photos I took on the demonstration today, which began in the historically working class district of Žižkov and culminated in a rally in the packed out Wenceslas square (so packed, in fact, that I was caught in a nasty crush on one side of the square). Police presence was low (perhaps because they’d underestimated numbers in the same way as the organisers), and the demonstration was incredibly noisy but not especially boisterous. […]

READ and PHOTOS @ http://libcom.org/blog/stop-vládě-union-demo-prague-21042012

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* DUTCH GOVERNMENT COLLAPSES IN RE-EMERGENCE OF EUROPE’S FAR RIGHT

The Dutch government has collapsed as the Prime Minister handed in his resignation following this weekends news of the rejection of austerity measures needed to save the Euro.

By Alexander Higgens

As I reported on Saturday, the Dutch government was facing collapse after politicians rejected EU mandated austerity measures needed to secure an EU bailout to keep the Euro alive and fight of the contagion that has now officially led to a depression in Greece and has Spain teetering on the brink of collapse.

Making the bloodbath worse are news headlines that the Chinese manufacturing has contracted for 6th straight month in a row.

Combine that with news coming out of France that has the Global banking cartel shaking in fear – The candidate who won the first round of the French elections and is expected to win by a landslide in the upcoming run-off against Sarkozy plans on rejecting EU austerity measures while promising to “rip up France’s agreement to the European fiscal pact.”

That is truly disturbing news since the entire Eurozone is being kept afloat on the backs of German and French taxpayers. […]

READ and CHARTS @ http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2012/04/23/collapses-dutch-government-eu-stock-markets-125911/

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* FORMER ICELANDIC PM CONVICTED FOR NEGLIGENCE OVER FINANCIAL COLLAPSE 

By Joshua Keating, Foreign Policy

In 2009, Iceland’s Geir Haarde became the first European leader to lose power as a result of the financial crisis. (Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte seems to be the latest.) He is now also the first country leader in the world convicted of negligence because of the crash, though he was cleared of three other charges and will face no jail time. Haarde’s prosecution has unsurprisingly been controversial:

Mr Haarde pleaded not guilty and called the accusations “political vendetta” that would set a “terrible precedent”. “Nobody predicted that there would be a financial collapse in Iceland” in 2008, he said.

Criticism of the trial has been widespread throughout Iceland. Many questioned why the centre-left controlled parliament chose to put only Mr Haarde on trial while rejecting charges against Social Democratic ministers who were serving in government at the same time.

Others have criticised that fact that the trial was not televised and complained that much of the political elite of Iceland chose to support Mr Haarde with their testimony.

READ @ http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/23/former_icelandic_pm_convicted_for_negligence_over_financial_collapse

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* HOW AMERICA WENT ROGUE: WHAT WE ALL NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OUR GOVERNMENT’S SHADOW WARS

By Juan Cole, AlterNet

[…] Although the Iraqis managed to compel the withdrawal of US troops by the end of last year, Washington is nevertheless seeking to remain influential through shadow power. The US embassy in Baghdad has 16,000 employees, most of them civilian contractors. They include 2,000 diplomats and several hundred intelligence operatives. By contrast, the entire US Foreign Service corps comprises fewer than 14,000. The Obama administration has decided to slash the number of contractors, planning for an embassy force of “only” 8,000. This monument to shadow power clearly is not intended merely to represent US interests in Iraq but rather to shape that country and to serve as a command center for the eastern reaches of the greater Middle East. The US shadow warriors will, for instance, attempt to block “the influence of Iran,” according to the Washington Post. Since Iraq’s Shiite political parties, which dominate Parliament and the cabinet, are often close to Iran, that charge would inescapably involve meddling in internal Iraqi politics.

Nor can we be sure that the CIA will engage only in espionage or influence-peddling in Iraq. The American shadow government routinely kidnaps people it considers dangerous and has sent them to black sites for torture, often by third-party governments to keep American hands clean. As usual with the shadow government, private corporations have been enlisted to help in these “rendition” programs, which are pursued outside the framework of national and international law and in defiance of the sensibilities of our allies. How the United States might behave in Iraq can be extrapolated from its recent behavior in other allied countries. In November 2009 an Italian court convicted in absentia twenty-three people, most of them CIA field officers who had kidnapped an alleged Al Qaeda recruiter, Abu Omar, on a Milan street in the middle of the day and sent him to Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt for “interrogation.” Obama has explicitly continued this practice as a “counterterrorism tool,” though he says torture has been halted. Iraq is likely to continue to be an arena of such veiled struggles. […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/155000

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* SUGAR DADDIES

The old, white, rich men who are buying this election 

By Frank Rich, NYTimes

If you want to appreciate what Barack Obama is up against in 2012, forget about the front man who is his nominal opponent and look instead at the Republican billionaires buying the ammunition for the battles ahead. A representative example is Harold Simmons, an 80-year-old Texan who dumped some $15 million into the campaign before primary season had ended. Reminiscing about 2008, when he bankrolled an ad blitz to tar the Democrats with the former radical Bill Ayers, Simmons told The Wall Street Journal, “If we had run more ads, we could have killed Obama.” It is not a mistake he intends to make a second time. The $15 million Simmons had spent by late February dwarfs the $2.8 million he allotted to the Ayers takedown and the $3 million he contributed to the Swift Boat Veterans demolition of John Kerry four years before that. Imagine the cash that will flow now that the GOP sideshows are over and the president is firmly in Simmons’s crosshairs.

His use of the verb killed was meant in jest, of course, much as Foster Friess ($1.8 million in known contributions, and counting) was joking when he suggested that “gals” could practice birth control by putting Bayer aspirin between their knees. America’s billionaires are such cards! And we had better get used to their foibles and funny bones. Whatever else happens in 2012, it will go down as the Year of the Sugar Daddy. Inflamed by Obama-hatred, awash in self-pity, and empowered by myriad indulgent court and Federal Election Commission rulings, an outsize posse of superrich white men will spend whatever it takes to have its way with the body politic and, if victorious, with the country itself. Given the advanced age of most of this cohort, 2012 may be seen as the election in which the geezer empire struck back.

This isn’t quite what was supposed to happen. When the Supreme Court handed down its five-to-four Citizens United decision in 2010, pre-vetting Mitt Romney’s credo that “corporations are people,” apocalyptic Democrats, including Obama, predicted that the election would become a wholly owned subsidiary of the likes of Chevron and General Electric. But publicly traded, risk-averse corporations still care more about profits than partisanship. They tend to cover their bets by giving to both parties. And they are fearful of alienating customers and investors. Witness, most recently, the advertisers who fled Rush Limbaugh, or the far bigger brands (­McDonald’s and Wendy’s, Coke and Pepsi) that severed ties with the conservative lobbying mill responsible for pushing state “stand your ground” laws like the one used to justify the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. While corporations and unions remain serious players in the campaign of 2012, their dollars don’t match those of the sugar daddies, who can and do give as much as they want to the newfangled super-PACs. […]

READ @ http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/72-72/11085-sugar-daddies