Friday, December 21, 2012

Jon Hammar, Marine jailed in Mexico, to be released from prison today


Jon Hammar, the U.S. Marine who has been in a Mexican prison since August on a dubious weapon charge is being released today, his father confirmed to

Jon Hammar Sr. said during a flight layover in Houston that he was on his way to get his son, after he and his wife Olivia received a call Thursday night from their attorney, Eddie Varon-Levy telling them their son was going to be released.

"I haven't seen it in writing yet but Eddie has confirmed it with the court that Jon is being released today," Hammar Sr. said. "The U.S. consulate said they would pick Jon up at the prison and accompany him to the border crossing."

Public fury over New Delhi gang rape sparks protest across India

Women participate in a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with a rape victim at India Gate in New DelhiThe gang-rape of a young woman in New Delhi has sparked public outrage across India, bringing thousands of people onto city streets in protest against authorities' failure to ensure women's safety. Sexual violence against women often goes unremarked and unreported in India, but on Friday hundreds of students and activists blockaded roads in New Delhi and marched to the president's palace, breaking through police barricades despite water-canon fire to demand the culprits' execution. ...

North Korea Says It Has Detained an American Citizen

The Associated Press

North Korea Says It Has Detained an American Citizen
New York Times
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Friday that it had charged an American citizen detained there with committing “hostile acts against the republic,” a crime punishable by years in prison, at a time when the United States is pushing for new ...
North Korea charges detained American with crime against stateAsahi Shimbun
NKorea says it has detained a US citizenHuffington Post
North Korea says it has arrested American citizenKTVQ Billings News

all 653 news articles »

We've Lost Syria - Huffington Post (blog)

We've Lost Syria - Huffington Post (blog):

The Voice of Russia

We've Lost Syria
Huffington Post (blog)
Since the Friends of Syria meeting last week, a conclave of countries convening in Marrakech, there's been a sad clarity to the state of U.S. policy in the Middle East. It's clear that we've already lost Syria. The U.S. played the wrong game in global ...
Russia won't try to persuade Syria's Assad to quit: LavrovReuters
Russian Speakers Become Prey in Syrian ConflictNew York Times
Syria refugee exodus verging on catastropheThe Voice of Russia
The Hindu -Al-Manar TV -Zee News
all 53 news articles »

Mich. student arrested after online teacher threat

Mich. student arrested after online teacher threat: WATERLOO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 16-year-old student in southern Michigan was arrested Friday after authorities said he threatened a teacher in an online posting, the latest clampdown on unruly students in the wake of last week's Connecticut school massacre.

Cops: Teen said he'd shoot Pa. school, guns found

Cops: Teen said he'd shoot Pa. school, guns found: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two handguns have been seized from the bedroom of a teen who threatened a shooting at his suburban Philadelphia high school a week after a mass killing at a Connecticut elementary school, police said Friday.

Eat, Drink, and Be Wary: How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Eat, Drink, and Be Wary: How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain: How to avoid the traps of holiday weight gain

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap a Vast Database of Citizens

We are watching our freedoms disappear before our own eyes. And no one seems to be able to stop it. Aren't the Republicans the party of freedom? And what about the left? Aren't they always ranting on about civil liberties and the threat from law enforcement? This President has not only adopted the Bush playbook but has surpassed his predecessor in attacking fundamental freedoms:

Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.

Not everyone was on board. "This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public," Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.

A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.

Through Freedom of Information Act requests and interviews with officials at numerous agencies, The Wall Street Journal has reconstructed the clash over the counterterrorism program within the administration of President Barack Obama. The debate was a confrontation between some who viewed it as a matter of efficiency—how long to keep data, for instance, or where it should be stored—and others who saw it as granting authority for unprecedented government surveillance of U.S. citizens.

The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans "reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information" may be.

Poll: Both Parties to Blame if Fiscal Cliff Talks Fail

Obama Administration Essentially Admits That Some Banks Are Too Big To Jail

We are going to find out what we should have learned in Obama's first term, he is an tool of big business. The failure to criminally prosecute any banker for the massive fraud of that bank is...criminal. More and more we are learning that Occupy Wall Street was right. The government rescued the banks for their criminality rather than prosecute them. The truth can no longer be covered-up:

One of the great things about being too big to fail is that you're also too big to jail, apparently.

So saith the Obama administration, via the New York Times, in its front-page story on Tuesday about HSBC's settlement with the government over money-laundering charges. Though the British banking giant had to pay a wrist-stinging $1.9 billion, the settlement helped it avoid formal criminal charges. The NYT quotes anonymous government officials who say they were skittish about indicting HSBC because formal charges would amount to a "death penalty" for the bank, potentially roiling the financial system.

This is at least three very specific flavors of bullshit.

Right-to-Work Laws Harm the Middle Class


States should not pass so-called "right-to-work" laws because they are a body blow to the middle class and undermine a state's economy. Unions are essential for building a strong middle class, yet right-to-work laws weaken unions by making them provide services without being paid for them—forcing certain workers to pay the costs of union representation for all workers.

And by harming the middle class, these laws hurt the economy because a strong middle class leads to additional business investment, greater entrepreneurship, more growth-enhancing public policy, and higher levels of trust that facilitate business transactions.

The evidence that 'right-to-work' laws harm the middle class is crystal clear... 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Study Shows a Pattern of Risky Loans by F.H.A.

Source: NY Times:

A new and extensive analysis of 2.4 million loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration in recent years shows a pattern of risky lending that could generate $20 billion in losses and harm thousands of the nation’s most vulnerable borrowers. By ignoring risks in loans it insured in 2009 and 2010, the study concludes, the F.H.A. is imperiling both borrowers and taxpayers who stand behind the agency.

The analysis emerged less than a month after the F.H.A.’s auditor submitted a troubling report on the financial soundness of its insurance fund. In mid-November, the auditor estimated that the fund, which backs $1.1 trillion in mortgages, has a value of negative $13.5 billion. In other words, if it were to stop insuring loans today, the F.H.A. fund could not cover the losses anticipated on loans it has already insured.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Another Mass Shooting in a Pro-Gun State

Will we ever learn. How many Americans have to die before we realize that allowing just about anyone to get a gun is suicidal. And when will we learn that the NRA owns the Congress and White House. And they don't give a damn about the lives of their fellow citizens. They want  to sell guns. And it doesn't matter who buys them:

Police say the man who opened fire in a suburban Portland shopping mall apparently killed himself after fatally shooting two people and wounding a third.

Clackamas County sheriff's Lt. James Rhodes says law enforcement who flooded the Clackamas Town Center in response to the afternoon shooting didn't fire any shots.

Witnesses described a scene of chaos and disbelief as a gunman wearing some sort of camouflage outfit and a white mask shot an initial burst of fire and then more rounds near the mall's food court.

Many shoppers fled and others hid in the backrooms of stores.

HSBC to pay $1.9B to settle money-laundering case

This leads to the obvious question: If corporations are people why isn't anyone going to jail?

HSBC avoided a legal battle that could further savage its reputation and undermine confidence in the global banking system by agreeing Tuesday to pay $1.9 billion to settle a U.S. money-laundering probe.

Europe's largest bank by market value will pay the biggest penalty ever imposed on a bank after facing accusations it transferred funds through the U.S. from Mexican drug cartels and on behalf of nations such as Iran that are under international sanctions.

Corporate Profits Hit Record High While Worker Wages Hit Record Low


A constant conservative charge against President Obama is that he is inherently anti-business. However, businesses keep defying the storyline by making larger and larger profits, rebounding nicely out of the Great Recession.

In the third quarter of this year, “corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago.” Corporations are currently making more as a percentage of the economy than they ever have since such records were kept. But at the same time, wages as a percentage of the economy are at an all-time low, as this chart shows. (The red line is corporate profits; the blue line is private sector wages.):

CBO: Economic Recovery not Guaranteed

There is nothing to suggest that the economy will get better in the foreseeable future. We have a government and economy that is dysfunctional. Corporations are simply hording money and not investing in the economy. Workers are working longer hours for less pay. Assuming they have a job. This means no consumption. Which is essential to economic growth. Disaster only looms ahead:

One effect of the Great Recession was to massively widen the gap between the amount of wealth the economy could be producing and what it actually was producing. GDP production dropped almost $1 trillion from its pre-recession trend line, and between 2008 and 2011 the United States lost around $3.6 trillion.

CBO’s “current law” baseline, which assumes the nation goes over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” does not show a return to potential GDP until 2018. However, as the Economic Policy Institute noted yesterday, CBO’s predictions over the last three years have repeatedly pushed back the date of the recovery, suggesting there’s no guarantee it actually happens...

Video: Law prohibiting union agreements to pass in Michigan

Republican lawmakers in Michigan are pushing to pass a right-to-work law, which could have an impact in union-heavy states across the U.S. Elaine Quijano reports.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Man killed execution-style in Midtown Manhattan


Police are looking for a gunman who shot and killed a man in broad daylight in midtown Manhattan, CBS New York affiliate WCBS reports.

Authorities says a 31-year-old man was shot execution-style in the head just before 2.p.m. on 58th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue, just outside Central Park and close to the busy shopping center of Columbus Center.

As the man walked down the street, the gunman walked up behind him, pulled a silver pistol, and fired a single shot into the back of his head in front of 202 W. 58th St. The gunman then got into a gray Lincoln MKV that was waiting for him and drove off, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported.

"It was one shot, we all flinched. We all looked down the block. We didn't see nobody running from the scene. It was like the guy never existed," a witness told WCBS correspondent Dick Brennan. "Whoever did it got away clean."

Aurora Movie Theater Shooting: Suspect's Lawyers To Subpoena Fox News Reporter Jana Winter


Attorneys for the Colorado movie theater shooting suspect plan to subpoena a Fox News journalist who was the first to report that James Holmes sent his psychiatrist a notebook full of violent descriptions.

The attorneys made the statement toward the end of a court hearing Monday after nine different law enforcement officials denied being the ones to tell reporter Jana Winter about the notebook. The defense argues the disclosure was a violation of a gag order in the case and is seeking sanctions against the leaker.

Antonin Scalia Defends Legal Writings Some View As Offensive, Anti-Gay


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday found himself defending his legal writings that some find offensive and anti-gay.

Report: US influence as superpower could ebb as Asian economies surpass Europe, North America

Latest AP News
The United States could see its standing as a superpower eroded and Asian economies will outstrip those of North America and Europe combined by 2030, according to the best guess of the U.S. intelligence community in its latest forecast.

"The spectacular rise of Asian economies is dramatically altering ... U.S. influence," said Christopher Kojm, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, as it released the report Global Trends 2030 on Monday.

Boy, 7, shot to death at Pa. gun store

Another example of what the profusion of guns in our society is doing to us:

 A man's handgun went off while he was holding it as he got into his truck in the parking lot of a western Pennsylvania gun store Saturday, and the shot killed his 7-year-old son, authorities said.

Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, of Sharpsville, was getting into the truck when the 9 mm handgun discharged, wounding Craig Allen Loughrey in the chest, according to state police. The boy died at the scene at Twigs Reloading Den in East Lackawannock Township, 60 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Investigators said Loughrey told them he didn't realize there was a bullet still in the chamber. "This happens all too often where people think the gun was empty," Lt. Eric Hermick told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Obamacare Architect Also Lobbied for Big Pharma

This report from the The Young Turks shows how totally corrupt Washington is. Liz Fowler is a top lobbyists for the pharmaceutical companies. She is also an "author" of Obamacare. While she was pushing the healthcare plan she also worked on behalf of the companies who stood to profit from it. And they did. She was essentially a double-agent for the healthcare industry. And it happened with the knowledge and support of her employers the Obama White House and Senator Max Baucus.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hillary Clinton Prepares for 2016 by Supporting the Keystone Pipeline

The left continues to support Clinton and Obama. And all they've done is spit in the eye of the environmental movement. Let's remember that Hillary works for Obama. Support for the pipeline would not happen unless the President gave his blessing:

But the rumor is that Clinton’s State Department is nonetheless about to recommend approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which the top climate scientists in the nation have unanimously called a terrible idea. As far as I know, though, Clinton’s subordinates haven’t reached out to ask them why. For more than a year now, it’s been one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets that Clinton wants the pipeline approved. And why not? Its builder, TransCanada, hired her old deputy campaign manager as its chief lobbyist and gave lobbying contracts to several of her big bundlers. Leaked emails show embassy officials rooting on the project; it’s classic D.C. insiderism. (And, weirdly, her rumored successor is just as involved—Susan Rice has millions in stock in TransCanada and other Canadian energy companies.)

And in one sense it doesn’t make much difference. Everyone in the capital’s also known that the Keystone decision, in the end, will come down to President Obama, who will weigh State’s findings and then rule whether the pipeline is in the national interest. When that happens, we’ll find out if he’s a more modern politician than Hillary, or if he’s still fighting yesterday’s wars too.

Transcript: 'Meet The Press' (12-9-12)

Full transcript. Excerpt below:

MR. DAVID GREGORY: This morning on MEET THE PRESS, time running out to avoid the fiscal cliff. Is a deal closer than most think?

In public, the lines are drawn. But behind the scenes, the give and take over taxes and entitlement cuts point toward a deal by Christmas. What is standing in the way? This morning, the debate is right here. The house speaker’s top lieutenant, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and top White House ally, the assistant Senate majority leader, Dick Durbin. McCarthy and Durbin square off.

Then, what is the political endgame for both Republicans and Democrats? Who wins and who loses as this fight drags on?

Plus, the future of the Republican Party is a hot topic as both sides start plotting the 2016 campaign. Our political roundtable features two former Capitol Hill insiders: Newt Gingrich and Lawrence O’Donnell, plus three journalists on the story.

Transcript: 'State of the Union with Candy Crowley' (12-9-12)

• Interview with Tom Cole, Marsha Blackburn; Interview with Christine Lagarde

Transcript: "Fareed Zakaria GPS' (12-9-12)

Full transcript. Excerpt below:

We have a very important show for you today. First up, with Washington at an impasse, an exclusive conversation with one of America's greatest deal-makers, James Baker, the former Secretary of State, former Secretary of the Treasury, former White House Chief of Staff, on how to stay off the fiscal cliff and on what his party should learn from the last election.

Next, when the U.S. aimed high in the 1960s, we sent a man to the moon. With a similar effort, we can now cure cancer. That's what the head of the largest cancer center in the world, Houston's MD Anderson, says. You'll want to hear why we are close to success and yet so far.

And America has lost its number one standing in lots of areas from competitiveness to education. The new number one, in most cases, a Scandinavian country. What is the secret sauce? We'll dig into it.

But, first, here's my take. As we debate whether the two parties can ever come together and get things done, here is something President Obama could do, probably by himself, that would be a signal accomplishment of his presidency: End the war on terror.

For the first time since 9/11, an administration official has sketched a possible endpoint. Jeh Johnson, the outgoing general counsel for the Pentagon, said in a speech to the Oxford Union last week that, "As the battle against al-Qaeda continues, there will come a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al- Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured, such that al- Qaeda as we know it, has been effectively destroyed."

At that point, he said, "our efforts should no longer be considered an armed conflict." You might not realize it, but we're still living in a state of war. This is the longest period that the United States has lived in such a situation, longer than the Civil War, World War I, World War II.

It grants the president and the federal government extraordinary authorities effectively suspends civil liberties for anyone the government deems an enemy and it also keeps us at a permanent war footing in all kinds of ways. Ending this situation should be something that would appeal to both left and right.

James Madison, the author of the Constitution, was clear on this topic. "Of all the enemies to public liberty," he wrote, "war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From there proceed debts and taxes. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

If you want to know why we're in such a deep budgetary hole, keep in mind that we have spent about $2 trillion on foreign wars in the last decade. In addition, we have had the largest expansion of the federal government since World War II.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Video: Damascus Comes Under Ground, Air Attacks

Don't Waste Your Money on Tonight's Boxing Pay-Per-View Event

I've essentially stopped watching boxing. And I don't mind saying I was once a big fight fan. And I was willing to pay to watch a big fight. Then I began to notice a pattern. Year after year for decades there were less and less good fights on the card. And the main event almost always ended in some controversy. Gone are the days when you could watch 3 great fights on the same card--for free. Tragically others have not followed my example. They continue to pay for an inferior product. It's almost as if we were hypnotized into paying for a fight. As if we did not have free will. Nothing will change until you exercise the power of the pocketbook. Refuse to ripped-off. Don't pay for boxing tonight.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Commentary: An irrational vote against U.N. disability treaty

Commentary: An irrational vote against U.N. disability treaty | McClatchy
Opposition from Republican senators this week foiled an opportunity for the United States to lead the world in advocating for people with disabilities.

The Senate needed 66 votes to ratify a U.N. treaty that calls upon countries to ensure disabled citizens receive the same rights and freedoms as their able-bodied peers. Despite a visit in the Senate chamber from an ailing former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, it received only 61 votes.

The treaty, already ratified by 126 countries, calls on nations to live up to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

As GOP Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran said in May, "Each person has the inherent right to life and should have the opportunity to pursue happiness, participate in society, and be treated equally before the law."

Wealthy Special Interests Funding Obama Inauguration

Obama inauguration raises $40M+ -
The center points out that “The government places no limits on these contributions, but Obama capped money for his inauguration at $50,000 per person – still, more than 10 times what individuals could give to his campaign.” The largest total contributions came from individuals in finance, law, entertainment, “business services” and real estate. Donors who topped out at $50,000 “reportedly got tickets to the official ceremony, the parade and inaugural balls.”

Victim of Radio DJ Prank Commits Suicide

Story About Radio DJ’s Pranking Kate Middleton’s Hospital Has a Tragic Ending: Duped Receptionist Reportedly Commits Suicide

Kate Middleton and Prince William leave the King Edward VII hospital where she has been treated for extreme morning sickness.

The story about the Australian radio DJ’s who successfully pranked Kate Middleton’s hospital and got a nurse to divulge private information on air while posing as the king and queen of England has taken a tragic turn: the receptionist who took the call and put the radio hosts through had died in an apparent suicide.

Presidential election hit $2B mark amid last-minute donations

Presidential election hit $2B mark amid last-minute donations
- This might suggest, to those willing to reason on the left, that both parties are beholden to big moneyed interests. In fact, it can be argued that the Democrats are the greatest beneficiaries of Citizen United. When is the last time you heard a Dem bring up the subject?

Rand Paul Mistakenly Claims Coal Is Kentucky's Biggest Industry In Ashley Judd Criticism

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticizedactress, activist and potential Democratic candidate Ashley Judd Wednesday, calling her "way damn too liberal" for Kentucky because of her opposition to mountaintop removal mining.

"She hates our biggest industry, which is coal," Paul said. "I say, good luck bringing the 'I hate coal' message to Kentucky."

But Paul's criticism wasn't totally correct --coal mining is actually the 13th biggest industry in the Bluegrass State.

Did FOXNews Offer to Run Petraeus' Presidential Campaign?

Why isn't this a major scandal like the sex scandal we've heard plenty about:

Developed country wages show no growth in 2012: ILO

Of course not. Global capitalism has won out. And they are about exploiting labor by keeping wages as low as possible:

source: Yahoo/Reuters
 Average salaries in developed countries are expected to have risen by no more than inflation this year, the International Labour Organization said on Friday.

Developed country wages failed to keep up with inflation in both 2008 and 2011, but remained about 5 percent above the 2000 level in real terms, the ILO said in its Global Wage Report, published every two years.

"So far as we can tell for 2012 at this stage the trend seems to be for zero percent growth -- flatlining," ILO Director General Guy Ryder told a news conference in Geneva.

The report said governments in the euro zone and countries with big deficits should avoid squeezing labor with a "race to the bottom" in wages.

Ryder said governments should adopt policies that encourage companies to invest their cash piles and encourage banks to lend to small businesses.

Minimum wage policies, which were used until 2009 as social protection to help the most vulnerable workers, were now rising only in line with inflation or even fell in real terms, the ILO said.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Economic Uncertainty is Near its All-Time High

Michigan GOP Passes 'Right To Work' Legislation

The war on labor is heating up. And if you want war you got it. And that applies to Obama as well. He is nothing but a facilitator:

Following the Michigan House's lead, the state Senate passed a right-to-work measure on Thursday evening -- just hours after Gov. Rick Snyder and top GOP Republicans announced the bills.
Despite impassioned debate from Senate Democrats, the measure passed with a 22-16 vote. According to the Associated Press, four Republican state Senators joined all 12 of their Democratic counterparts in opposition to the right-to-work bill. It passed the Michigan House by a vote of 58-52 earlier in the evening. During the House vote, Democrats walked off the floor in protest after at least eight protesters were arrested, crowds were pepper-sprayed and the Capitol building locked down.

Video: Sallie Mae and ALEC micchecked by students

"If you're sick of Sallie Mae, then join the campaign to make Sallie Mae pay. Sign to get updates about how to take action:"

The Unemployment Rates Goes Back up Again

This could be disastrous for the economy. The belief that things are getting better is being undermined. And so is the whole argument for re-electing Obama. Things have to change dramatically or the whole economy could unravel. And when is the last time anyone talked about a jobs program?:

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, was 7.8% for the month of November, up significantly from 7.0% for October. Gallup's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.3%, nearly a one-point increase over October's rate.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Anger at New York Post cover photo of subway passenger seconds from death

This rag has to be shut down once and for all:

The New York Post has provoked a storm of outrage from readers and commentators over a cover on Tuesday that shows a haunting image of a man who has been pushed onto the path of a subway train, seconds from death.

The chilling photograph, one of at least two of the incident by freelancer R Umar Abbasi, shows Ki Suk Han standing upright on the tracks, his left arm or possibly both arms on the platform, trying to scramble to safety as a Q train bears down on him.

Moments later, Han, 58, was killed by the subway train. His attacker, who was seen in a video taken by a passer-by, escaped. A suspect is now in police custody. Paul Browne, the New York police department spokesman said detectives were questioning the suspect on Tuesday afternoon.

US Bank Earnings Rise 6.6 Percent, Most in 6 Years

So why is it that we can't get a loan to buy or refinance a house. And why can't we find a job at decent wages? It's like a near bank collapse never happened 5 years ago. Americans haven't had a 5% increase. I guess if Romney got elected it be 7% rather than just 6.6 percent:

U.S. banks earned more from July through September than in any other quarter over the past six years. The increase is further evidence that the industry is strengthening four years after the 2008 financial crisis.

[...]the increase in consumer lending was "relatively modest" and regulators would like to see more of it, FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said.

The Daily Show Video: The Men Who Stall on Votes

The ridiculous filibustering rules in the U.S. Senate:

Mayor Bloomberg Failed to Talk Hillary Clinton Into Taking His Job

Bloomberg is so arrogant that he thinks that he can pass along his office to the person of his choice. It was that same arrogance that led him to overturn term limits in New York City so that he could become Mayor for a third term. He spent over $100 million to buy the office. Despite that barely won re-election the last time around. Obviously the Mayor has very little regard for people of this city. After all, he's a billionaire who made his fortune on Wall St. as a media mogul. He is part of the 1% and thus considers himself superior to the people:

Politicos have been wringing their hands for months now, waiting to hear what Hillary Clinton will do after her stint as Secretary of State ends next month. Now we know one thing she won't do: Run for mayor of New York City. The New York Times's Michael Barbaro dropped a scoop on Monday night revealing that "Bloomberg encouraged Mrs. Clinton to consider entering the 2013 mayor's race" in a private phone call. Barbaro says that he confirmed the news with three unnamed sources and added, "She would, the mayor suggested, be a perfect fit." Hillary disagreed.

Well, this is just silly. Hillary Clinton doesn't even live in New York City! (Not that she couldn't move there and establish residency just like she did when she decided to be a New York Senator.) And wasn't she supposed to make a big surprise announcement sometime in the next couple of years, revealing that she does, in fact, want to run for president again in 2016? Well, the last we heard she was definitely not running for president or any other political office. A few months ago, she told a crowd in India, "I feel it's time for me to get off the high wire." Plus, she has a lot of HGTV to catch up on.

Monday, December 3, 2012

L.A.-Long Beach harbors strike enters second week

L.A.-Long Beach harbors strike enters second week - CBS News

Union members counter that the issue involves management's desire to outsource jobs to places such as Taiwan and China, where shippers can pay lower wages for work that can be done on computer.

"It's important to us to keep those jobs here in the United States. We're fighting against corporate greed," Merrilees said.

Costas Gun Control Commentary Gets Notice

It was a courageous stance on the part of Costas. And he was right:

Bob Costas' "Sunday Night Football" halftime commentary supporting gun control sparked a Fox News Channel debate Monday on whether NBC should fire him and a Twitter storm involving Ted Nugent, Rosie O'Donnell, Herman Cain and many more.

The NBC sportscaster, who frequently delivers commentary at halftime of the weekly NFL showcase, addressed the weekend's murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher.

Costas said that the shooting has invoked the "mindless sports cliche" that "something like this really puts it all in perspective."

[...]If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

Belcher shot and killed Perkins, the mother of his 3-month-old daughter, on Saturday morning, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide in the parking lot of the team's practice facility.

Allowing High-Income Tax Cuts to Expire Would Reduce Deficits by $950 Billion over 10 Years

Source: C-SPAN

Sunday, December 2, 2012

'60 Minutes' Video: North Korean prisoner escaped after 23 brutal years

Incredible story:

60 Minutes Video: Solar-powered plane aims to fly around the world

Solar power works and will be the future. This flight will prove it:

Transcript: 'Meet The Press' (12-2-12)

Full transcript. Excerpt below:

GREGORY: Mister Secretary, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS. Thanks for having us at the

Treasury Department.

MR. TIMOTHY GEITHNER (Treasure Secretary): Good to see you.

GREGORY: You-- you’re the president’s lead negotiator to avert the fiscal cliff. You have been Capitol Hill. You presented the president’s offer. And it immediately was not received well. It was called by Republican leaders unserious. They’ve accused that president and you of wasting precious time here to avert the fiscal cliff. Was this the intended effect, the president’s first offer?

MR. GEITHNER: That's like the normal political theater of this place. You know, what we’re trying to do is to make it more likely, we come together on a good agreement for the American people. It extends tax cuts for the middle class, brings our long-term deficits down. Tough spending savings is-- is part of that, and-- and invest in things that matter to the American economy, like infrastructure, things to help get Americans back to work. And-- and we think we can do that. We have a good chance of do it now and it’s very important we do that. And I think we’re going to get there, David.

GREGORY: Do you think we’ll get a deal by the end of the year?

MR. GEITHNER: I do. I do because the only thing standing in the way of that would be a-- a-- a refusal by Republicans to accept that rates are going to go-- have to go up on the wealthiest Americans. And I-- I don’t really see them doing that.

Transcript: 'Fareed Zakaria GPS' (12-2-12)

Full Transcript. Excerpt below:

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the Global Public Square. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.

We will take you around the world today starting with Egypt. The nation has erupted. We'll explain what the power struggle between the president and the courts means for the rest of the Arab world and the world at large.

Then, China's new leaders, we know their names, but just who are they and what can we expect from them. Is Xi Jinping China's Gorbachev or will he take a hard line?

Finally, the Black Swan; it was a best-seller that some say predicted the economic crisis. Its author, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, on his fascinating new book.

Also, the next phase of Europe's crisis, which nations might find themselves split apart? I'll explain.

But, first, here's my take. Yasser Arafat's body has been exhumed for investigation, bringing back memories of the unpredictable Palestinian leader and the Middle East in which he operated.

The news broke at a time when a conventional wisdom began to take hold that the Middle East today is much more dangerous, unstable, violent and anti-American than before. So let's take a look at the facts.

In the 1980s, the newly empowered, radical Islamic Republic of Iran unsettled the region with its promise to spread its revolution elsewhere. Lebanon was in the midst of a bloody civil war that engulfed not only itself but also the Palestinians and Israel.

Iran and Iraq fought a gruesome war with over 1 million casualties. Hezbollah attacked U.S. armed forces directly, forcing a humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon. A CIA station chief was tortured and killed, and U.S. secrets and interests compromised. And that was just in one decade.

Transcript: CNN's 'State of the Union' (12-2-12)

CANDY CROWLEY, HOST:  Let me ask you, the reaction to your going up on the Hill and saying, hey, this is basically the White House position, has been Mitch McConnell saying, I - I think it was just demeaning for them to ask the Treasury secretary to come up here and give a proposal like this.

And by this, we have people saying it's a sham, it's, uh, you know, ridiculous.  It's a non-starter.

When you went up there, you didn't think Republicans were going to go, good idea?

TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY:  You know, what we're trying to do is get these guys to come together, reach an agreement that's good for the country and good for the economy.

CROWLEY:  And by these guys, you mean you - you all...

GEITHNER:  The Republicans...

CROWLEY:  - and the Republicans.

GEITHNER:  - and Democrats together.

CROWLEY:  And the White House?

GEITHNER:  That's what we're trying to do.

And what we did is put forward a very comprehensive, very carefully designed mix of savings and tax rates to help us put us back on a path to stabilizing our debt, fixing our debt and living within our means.

We've been very detailed about how to do that, both from the spending side and the revenue side.  And we think this is a good plan for the country.  And it - and it does the most important thing, Candy, which is that it gives 98 percent of Americans the certainty they) their taxes aren't going to go up.  And it gives us the chance to make sure we're protecting Medicare for future generations and it gives us the ability to lock in a set of carefully designed reforms that put us back on a path to fiscal balance.

So it's a it's a very good plan and we think it's a good basis for these conversations.

Video: Rockaway, Queens Residents Still Suffering 1 month after Hurricane Sandy

Source: Occupy The Polls:

 Urgent Call to Action and Bloomberg’s Stealth Visit to an #OccupySandy relief distribution hub in the Rockaways --

New York City’s billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, stepped out of a helicopter midday Thursday in St. Camillus’ parking lot, ironically an Occupy Sandy relief distribution hub in the Rockaways, Queens. The visit had been kept under wraps and not listed on his official schedule.

Cold, mold loom as hazards in Sandy disaster zones

Cold, mold loom as hazards in Sandy disaster zones -
City officials estimate at least 12,000 New Yorkers are trying to survive in unheated, flood-damaged homes, despite warnings that dropping temperatures could pose a health risk. Many families have returned to coastal homes contaminated with mold or filled with construction dust.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Number Of Americans Without Income And On Food Stamps Increasing

And we still have a President elected by the poor who can't even the utter the word "poverty:"

A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows the number of poorest Americans continues to grow and county assistance experts say it's growing at an alarming rate.

[...]"These are families that are trying to survive on basically a hand full of food stamps alone but have no cash whatsoever which means they have no money to pay for rent. They have no money to pay for diapers, to pay for soaps, to pay for toilet paper or transportation. I think people don't necessarily understand that food stamps are only intended to provide 75 percent of the food that you need."

Frech adds, "cash assistance programs don't cover as many people as they used to. They're time limited now, a lot more families have been sanctioned. There are fewer programs out there for people who don't have children. The consequence in cutting back on our safety net programs has resulted in this."

Explosions, shooting heard at U.S. base in Afghanistan

The idea that we will be able to stay in Afghanistan until 2014 and be able to hold off the Taliban is foolish. And the politicians and Generals who think that we can have no business governing this great nation. Either that or they are lying to us:

Two explosions and shooting were heard at a U.S. base in the Afghan city of Islamabad on Sunday, a Reuters witness said.

The Taliban said they carried out an attack on the compound and inflicted casualties. NATO officials were not immediately available for comment.

Walmart Workers Reflect Economy's Future

We are well on our way to becoming a third world country. And that's exactly what the corporatocrats want:

A half-century ago, America's largest private-sector employer was General Motors, where full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of around $50 in today's dollars, including health and pension benefits.

Today, America's largest employer is Walmart, where the average sales associate earns $8.81 an hour. A third of Walmart's employees work less than 28 hours per week and don't qualify for benefits.

There are many reasons for the difference - including globalization and technological changes that have shrunk employment in American manufacturing while enlarging it in sectors involving personal services, such as retail.

But one reason, closely related to this seismic shift, is the decline of labor unions in the United States. In the 1950s, more than a third of private-sector workers belonged to a union. Today, fewer than 7 percent do. As a result, the typical American worker no longer has the bargaining clout to get a sizable share of corporate profits.

At the peak of its power and influence in the 1950s, the United Auto Workers could claim a significant portion of GM's earnings for its members.

Walmart's employees, by contrast, have no union to represent them. So they've had no means of getting much of the corporation's earnings.

Walmart earned $16 billion last year (it just reported a 9 percent increase in earnings in the third quarter of 2012, to $3.6 billion), much of which went to Walmart's shareholders - including the family of its founder, Sam Walton.

The wealth of the Walton family now exceeds the wealth of the bottom 40 percent of American families combined, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

Bankrupt Hostess Brand Workers Laid Off, Executives Get Bonuses

Why do we put up with this. Working people in America are not allowed minimum increases in pay. And if they protest their employers fire them, move abroad, or file for bankruptcy. The CEOs who mismanage a company are given massive bonuses. Don't take it anymore:

Friday, November 30, 2012

GOP Consultant Accuses Karl Rove Of Lying About Claim He Made No Money At Super PAC


Former George W. Bush political advisor and head of the pro-Republican Super PAC American Crossroads, Karl Rove, has claimed in the past that he drew virtually no salary in his position as chief fundraiser for the candidates his group supported. Rick Tyler, Republican consultant and political adviser to former Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin – a vocal opponent of former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the Republican primaries – does not believe it. In an appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews on Friday, Tyler charged that Rove made a significant amount of money for his work with Crossroads and has not disclosed his financial gains.

Video: Angry Staten Islanders Lash Out at a Townhall Meeting

The government's response to the devastation in Staten Island after Hurricane Sandy is not good enough. And that is why the people of Staten Island lashed at a townhall meeting. This video really shows the terrible frustration of our fellow citizens. The lesson here: We can't trust the government (i.e., the Democrats and Republicans) to help us when we are in need:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

How The Big Oil Lobby Secretly Funded 2012 Election Attack Ads

How The Big Oil Lobby Secretly Funded 2012 Election Attack Ads | ThinkProgress

When Big Oil’s lobby, the American Petroleum Institute, ramped up its election-year spending, API President Jack Gerard said “This is not about political party.”

But in addition to its misleading multi-million dollar public campaign, API also funneled at least half a million dollars through groups that ran attack ads against Democratic candidates.

That’s according to disclosures reported by Lee Fang at The Nation, which show that API used membership dues to finance several dark money groups...

Parents Concerned About Potential Mold At Queens School Despite DOE Denial

Parents Concerned About Potential Mold At Queens School Despite DOE Denial -
- Can't trust the government. Mold is big problem in schools.

Warehouse worker lawsuit targets Walmart

Warehouse worker lawsuit targets Walmart | The Center for Public Integrity

Record Low U.S. Birth Rate Parallels Japan

Record Low U.S. Birth Rate Parallels Japan

- People are to busy and tired to have kids. Also, individuals are putting off marriage until later in life. Not good for family life.

Russian parliament to consider federal anti-gay law

Russian parliament to consider federal anti-gay law | World news |

Former lawmakers exit Congress, head to K Street

The revolving door in Washington is alive and well. Politicians know that they can cash in simply by being a member of Congress. It's why nothing ever gets done they are too busy running after the cash. Washington is all about the money chase. The people be damned:

It’s that time of year again in Washington, when congressmen who once ran for office calling for change inside the Beltway are heading straight to K Street.

Retiring Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) will join Duke Energy early next year as senior vice president of federal affairs. Rep. Jason Altmire, a Pennsylvania Democrat who lost his primary, is joining insurer Florida Blue as a government affairs executive. Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.), who resigned July 31, will form a public affairs firm, Republic Consulting, with lobbyist Hunter Bates.

So much for closing the revolving door.

Blind China activist's nephew gets three years in jail

Blind China activist's nephew gets three years in jail - Yahoo! News

 Chen Guangfu had filed a lawsuit against local police and officials for unlawfully barging into his house but it was rejected.

He said about 20 men led by a local official went to his home and beat his wife and son. Around this time his son took a kitchen knife and slashed three officials.

Chen Guangcheng's escape from house arrest in April and subsequent refuge in the U.S. embassy was deeply embarrassing for China, and led to a serious diplomatic tussle between the two superpowers.

Chen had accused Shandong officials in 2005 of forcing women to have late-term abortions and sterilizations to comply with China's strict family-planning policies.

After four years in jail on what he and his supporters say were trumped-up charges designed to end his activism, Chen was released in 2010 and put under house arrest in Shandong.

Strauss-Kahn, NY maid settle assault case for '$6 million'

Strauss-Kahn, NY maid settle assault case for '$6 million' - FRANCE - FRANCE 24

- Will the press apologize to this woman for smearing her reputation? We know the answer. Then again it's typical in high profile cases. An accuser, if she is a woman, is victimized a second time.

Report: Wright, Mets agree to $138M, 8-year deal

Report: Wright, Mets agree to $138M, 8-year deal | CNS News

- This is an obscene amount of money for a player. But it has become standard practice. This is the reason you can't take the family to the ballgame without spending a fortune. Free agency in professional sports is out of control. Disclaimer: I'm a Mets fan.

Shooting of Florida 17-year-old at gas station draws comparisons to Trayvon Martin case

We can thank the NRA for this. If you have a gun gotta be able to use it, one way or the other. And why not use it against a "minority."

The fatal shooting of a Florida teenager who was listening to loud music in a car a week ago has drawn comparisons to the Trayvon Martin case, but the differences are significant.

Unlike the Martin case, there were several witnesses to this shooting and there was no scuffle before 17-year-old Jordan Davis was shot to death. And notably, the man accused of firing into the car was arrested a day later.

Michael David Dunn is charged with murder and attempted murder in the Nov. 23 shooting at a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station. The 45-year-old Dunn parked beside the sport utility vehicle occupied by Davis and three other young men and told them to turn the music down, police said. Dunn exchanged words with Davis, who was in the back seat, and started firing. He later told police he felt threatened. His attorney has said Dunn saw a gun and shot in self-defense, perhaps laying the ground work for a case under Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Russian court bans 'extremist' Pussy Riot video from websites

We are watching Russia descend into a despotic regime reminiscent of the old Soviet system. And it seems no one can stop it. Although, some are courageous enough to try. Of course, the political cowards in the West will standby and allow it to happen. The implications are very dangerous for world peace:

A Russian court ruled Thursday that video footage of the Pussy Riot punk group protesting against President Vladimir Putin in a church was "extremist" and should be removed from websites.

The demonstration last February offended many Russian Orthodox Christians. But Putin has been criticized by U.S. and European leaders over what they saw as disproportionate jail sentences imposed on three Pussy Riot members.

Their trial was also seen by Putin's critics as part of a clampdown on dissent.

Walmart's poor labor record

Walmart's poor labor record - SFGate

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fast-food workers protest for a living wage in New York City

This is only the beginning. We are no longer going to accept being given poor pay with no benefits. First there was the Walmart boycott now this. We ain't going to take it any longer. And we demand a raise in the minimum wage. Are you listening Obama?

Workers from a number of fast food chains around New York City held walkouts and demonstrations calling for a living wage Thursday morning.

According to The Atlantic, the protests, part of the Fast Food Forward campaign, were organized by groups like New York Communities for Change (NYCC), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and community organizations in a push to get them to form a union.

The impetus for the campaign, said NYCC organizing director Jonathan Westin, was his group’s discovering that most employees at companies like Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken couldn’t cover basic necessities like transit fare or food, or even to be able to make their rent making the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, forcing them to rely on public assistance.
Video streaming by Ustream

Senate backs quicker withdrawal from Afghanistan

How ironic is this. It's President Obama that wants to keep troops in Afghanistan for a longer time than the "war mongering" Republicans. And this who the anti-war left continues to support. What these fools don't understand is that those troops in Afghanistan a mere pawns. There aren't enough American soldiers in Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from coming to power. This means our troops are there just to die before they are taken out. The U.S. government is not committed to winning. So why are we there for 1 more year?:

Reflecting a war-weary nation, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday for an accelerated withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan after more than a decade of fighting.

The strong bipartisan vote of 62-33 sends a clear message to President Barack Obama and the military as they engage in high-stakes talks about the pace of drawing down the 66,000 U.S. troops there, with a White House announcement expected within weeks.

Although the vote was on a nonbinding amendment to a defense policy bill, its significance could not be discounted amid the current discussions.

Thirteen Republicans, including Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the top GOP lawmaker on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, backed the measure.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., its chief sponsor, argued that al-Qaida is stronger in other parts of the world and that nation-building in Afghanistan has gone off track. His measure endorsed Obama's timetable to withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014 but pressed for a quicker pace, without specifying how that would be achieved.

"It is time to end this war, end the longest war in United States history," Merkley said during Senate debate.

UN vote recognizes state of Palestine; US objects

The lap dogs of the pro-Israel in Congress of course will oppose Palestinian statehood in any form. That's if they know whats good for them. No one remain in Congress very long if they dare challenge the most powerful lobby in Washington:

The United Nations voted overwhelmingly Thursday to recognize a Palestinian state, a victory decades in the making for the Palestinians after years of occupation and war. It was a sharp rebuke for Israel and the United States.

A Palestinian flag was quickly unfurled on the floor of the General Assembly, behind the Palestinian delegation, as the final vote was cast.

In an extraordinary lineup of international support, more than two-thirds of the world body's 193 member states approved the resolution upgrading the Palestinians to a nonmember observer state. It passed 138-9, with 41 abstentions.

The historic vote came 65 years to the day after the U.N. General Assembly voted in 1947 to divide Palestine into two states, one for Jews and one for Arabs. Israel became a state but the Palestinians rejected the partition plan, and decades of tension and violence have followed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Video: Small town bank puts people before profits


CATTARAUGUS, N.Y. - We've been telling you a lot this week about trouble at the biggest bank in America. Now we thought we'd tell you about one of the smallest. It has just one office and no drive-up window. Its assets are about $14 million and its profits are barely enough to mention. But as CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds reports, it's never been about making money -- it's about lending it.

Gallup Poll: 71% Believe the Economy is "Poor"

Friday, May 11, 2012

Salon: Obama Using the Karl Rove 2004 Playbook

Like his predecessors, Obama will do anything and everything to get re-elected. Many of his followers will go along because they've been brainwashed into believing the 'ends-justifies-the-means' because he is the 'lesser-of-two-evils' argument. And as a result we will get more of the failed policies that have been destroying this country for decades:
Barack Obama’s presidency was born from nothing so much as his repudiation of George W. Bush’s administration — its policies and politics, its style and tone. One of Obama’s most effective 2008 stump speech refrains was his promise to end the era of “Scooter Libby justice, ‘Brownie’ incompetence and Karl Rove politics.”

But the political dynamics for winning a second presidential term often differ markedly from winning the first. So don’t be surprised by many eerie parallels between Obama’s 2012 reelection bid and Bush’s 2004 campaign. The president may not rely upon “Karl Rove politics” in the strictest sense, and nobody would confuse David Axelrod with Rove. But Obama’s reelection route and rhetoric may bear more than a few Rovian hallmarks.
Full article

The 'GlobalMay manifesto' of the Occupy movement


We are living in a world controlled by forces incapable of giving freedom and dignity to the world's population. A world where we are told "there is no alternative" to the loss of rights gained through the long, hard struggles of our ancestors, and where success is defined in opposition to the most fundamental values of humanity, such as solidarity and mutual support. Moreover, anything that does not promote competitiveness, selfishness and greed is seen as dysfunctional.

But we have not remained silent! From Tunisia to Tahrir Square, Madrid to Reykjavik, New York to Brussels, people are rising up to denounce the status quo. Our effort states "enough!", and has begun to push changes forward, worldwide.

This is why we are uniting once again to make our voices heard all over the world this 12 May.

We condemn the current distribution of economic resources whereby only a tiny minority escape poverty and insecurity, and future generations are condemned to a poisoned legacy thanks to the environmental crimes of the rich and powerful. "Democratic" political systems, where they exist, have been emptied of meaning, put to the service of those few interested in increasing the power of corporations and financial institutions.

The current crisis is not a natural accident; it was caused by the greed of those who would bring the world down, with the help of an economics that is no longer about management of the common good, but has become an ideology at the service of financial power.

We have awakened, and not just to complain! We aim to pinpoint the true causes of the crisis, and to propose alternatives.
[...]1. The economy must be put to the service of people's welfare, and to support and serve the environment, not private profit. We want a system where labour is appreciated by its social utility, not its financial or commercial profit. Therefore, we demand:

• Free and universal access to health, education from primary school through higher education and housing for all human beings. We reject outright the privatisation of public services management, and the use of these essential services for private profit. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Poll Shows Americans' Pessimism On Economy Growing


A gloomy outlook on the economy extends across party lines, a new Associated Press-GfK poll has found, and handling the nation's economy remains President Barack Obama's biggest challenge in his bid for a second term.

Almost two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of gas prices, a new high. That shift comes despite a steady decline in gas prices in recent weeks.

The public tilts negative on the president's handling of the overall economy, and just 22 percent say the economy improved in the past month.

Muslim Baby Ordered off Plane, Suspected of Being a Terrorist

al Qaeda might have young members. But 18 months old? This case another example of the stupidity of the TSA and the no-fly list. It's outrageous. I hope this family sues:

EIghteen-month-old Riyanna has been called a lot of things: cute, adorable and now ... a suspected terrorist.

She was called that on Tuesday night at the Ft Lauderdale Airport. She and her parents had just boarded a JetBlue flight when an airline employee approached them and asked them to get off the plane, saying representatives from the Transportation Security Agency wanted to speak to them.

ALSO: Man buys candy bar, then steals cash from register

"And I said, 'For what?'" Riyanna's mother told only WPBF 25 News on Wednesday. "And he said, 'Well, it's not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as no fly.' I said, 'Excuse me?'"

Riyanna's father was flabbergasted.

"It's absurd," he said. "It made no sense. Why would an 18-month-old child be on a no-fly list?"

Riyanna's parents, who asked not to be identified, said they think they know the answer to that question. They believe they were profiled because they are both of Middle Eastern descent. Riyanna's mother wears a hijab, a traditional head scarf. That's why they have asked to remain anonymous. They said they're concerned about repurcussions. That said, they are both Americans, born and raised in New Jersey, just like their daughter.
 Full article

U.S. trade gap widens to $51.8 billion in March

The beat goes on. Trade deficits have existed for decades in the U.S. It is what is destroying American jobs and weakens the economy. It is why we don't make anything anymore. But it is also great for corporations that take advantage of cheap labor abroad:

The U.S. trade deficit widened sharply in March as imports snapped back, reversing course after having fallen the prior month, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The nation’s deficit expanded 14.1% in March to $51.8 billion from a revised $45.4 billion in February, government data showed.
We know exactly what the trade deficits cost in jobs:
Nearly 2.8 million U.S. jobs eliminated or displaced since 2001 due to growing U.S.-China trade deficit, EPI analysis finds

The U.S.-China trade deficit has eliminated or displaced nearly 2.8 million U.S. jobs since 2001, a new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) briefing paper finds.  Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 2.8 million jobs between 2001 and 2010 by Robert Scott, EPI’s Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research, finds that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico suffered jobs lost or displaced as a result of the growing U.S.-China trade deficit.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Occupy Wall Street May Day Protesters May Have Been Unlawfully Arrested


The police captain, bullhorn in hand, paid no mind to the heckler gesturing and yelling in front of him. His stern command was clear: the young man, and with him the crowd of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators assembled at the plaza on the southern tip of Manhattan, would all have to move. And fast.

They were, the captain told them, breaking the law by standing in a New York City park after closing time. They would be given a little time to vacate the premises, but after that, "anyone who does not disperse will be subject to arrest under park rules."

That was the scene last Tuesday at the public space known as the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza, where about a thousand demonstrators had descended following a day of street protest called by the loosely organized movement against social and economic injustice known as Occupy Wall Street. It was the end of May Day, and the protesters -- who had flooded the park and conducted an improptu forum earlier -- were now surrounded by hundreds of NYPD officers, who had followed the Occupy march from Union Square.

The captain's threat wasn't hollow. Within minutes, 12 people who had refused police orders to evacuate had been arrested and were being marched, in plastic handcuffs, to a blue-and-white NYPD paddy wagon. They were charged with "remaining in a New York City Park after closing without permission," a crime for which late-night joggers, amorous couples and mischievous teenagers are more commonly cited.

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The officer's authority to issue that threat, however, is less certain. As it turns out, protesters were not standing in a New York City park at all when they were told to disperse.

Over 1,300 Tubes Damaged at Calif. Nuclear Plant

Here's an example of problem that is being essentially ignored by press until a disaster happens. The politicians don't particularly want this to be a concern because it would harm the profits of their corporate masters:

 More than 1,300 tubes that carry radioactive water inside the San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California are so damaged that they will be taken out of service, the utility that runs the plant said Tuesday.

The figures released by Southern California Edison are the latest disclosure in a probe of equipment problems that have kept the coastal plant sidelined for more than three months.

At issue has been the integrity of tubing that snakes through the plant's four steam generators, which were installed in a multimillion-dollar makeover in 2009 and 2010.

Video: Paul Krugman: We are in a Depression

The famous economist appeared on C-SPAN and described what he believes is the problem with this weak economy:

Prisoner gets 41% against Obama in WV Primary

How appropriate. They're all crooks anyway:

President Obama is so unpopular with some West Virginia Democrats that they voted for a prisoner in yesterday's primary.

A prisoner in Texas, no less.

Keith Judd, who is serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Texas for making threats, actually got 41% of the vote against Obama in the West Virginia Democratic primary.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

DHS: Hackers Mounting Organized Cyber Attack on US Gas Pipelines

Source: ABCNews:

For the past six months, an unidentified group of hackers has been mounting an ongoing, coordinated cyber attack on the control systems of U.S. gas pipelines, prompting the Department of Homeland Security to issue alerts.

According to U.S. officials, it's unclear if a foreign power is trying to map the gas systems or if hackers are attempting to harm the pipelines. A previous attack on the oil and gas sector seemed to originate in China.

Occupy Bank of America Protest Foreshadows Democratic Convention


Dozens of good-government groups, Occupy Wall Street contingents, environmental activists, struggling homeowners and institutional investors are descending on Charlotte, N.C., to protest Wednesday's Bank of America shareholders' meeting. Occupiers characterize the event as a test run for activism targeting September's Democratic National Convention, and expect thousands of protesters for a full day of marches and theatrics criticizing what they say are the Charlotte-based bank's consumer abuses and political power.

[...]In fact, the arrests have already begun. On Monday, three activists were taken into police custody for carrying a banner criticizing the bank, according to organizers who discussed the matter on a Tuesday call with reporters. The city of Charlotte has authorized a broad array of unconventional police powers for the bank shareholders' meeting on Wednesday. The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the preemptive crackdown for permitting the arrest of anyone carrying a backpack, purse or briefcase with the intent to conceal anything on a long list of prohibited items, ranging from weapons to markers to bicycle helmets. Those same police powers will be in effect for September's DNC Convention.