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July to Dec 2010

LaRouche:  "At Year's End, It's End of the World for Thousands of U.S. Municipalities" [12/31/10] "Thousands of U.S. municipalities and local entities providing basic functions (hospital systems, school districts, and other special purposes) are announcing drastic measures to go into effect Jan. 1; others are just drifting into non-payment of unpayable obligations, and meantime, shutting down essential services. In funding terms, each of the U.S.'s 2,700 counties, 15,000 school districts, and thousands of incorporated cities, has a figure-to-hand, of the amounts required to keep vital services in operation, pending restoration of the economic base. Federal advances to support this can be made rapidly, as Lyndon LaRouche has outlined.  [...]"    

"Dark Ages: 2010 Uprisings just a start, Revolt 2011 coming" [12/31/10] [3:51]  "For Europe, it was a year when the cash ran out in some countries. But one thing that wasn't in short supply was the number of angry protestors. As governments severely cut back on budgets, hundreds of thousands of people lashed out in response. [...]"  

Legal Case "Privacy point of email case" [12/31/10] "A Michigan prosecutor defended her decision yesterday to file charges against a man accused of hacking into his estranged wife's email after suspecting she was having an affair, saying the case is about invasion of privacy. Oakland County prosecutor Jessica Cooper said charging Leon Walker with criminal computer misuse was appropriate because he broke state law. Judges have twice denied requests to dismiss the charges, she said. Walker, 33, is fighting the charge, which carries up to five years in prison, and his trial is scheduled to begin on February 11. Walker's now ex-wife, Clara, realised her computer had been hacked when personal emails showed up in child custody pleadings involving her first husband. The Walkers were going through a contentious divorce at the time. They have a 3-year-old daughter. Leon Walker, her third husband, has said he suspected his wife was having an affair with her second husband. "My email password was a secret and not kept around the house for anybody to find," Clara Walker wrote in an email yesterday. "When I learned that he was sneaking around and invading my privacy, I felt violated. Anybody in my position would go to the police. Obviously he was fishing in my emails for something to use against me in court." [...]"  

Commentary: "2011: The Seeds Of Revolution Will Be Sown -- Gerald Celente" [12/30/10] "After the tumultuous years of the Great Recession, a battered people may wish that 2011 will bring a return to kinder, gentler times. But that is not what we are predicting: [...]" 

"‘Unexpected’ Home Price Decline is a Serious Reason to Worry About Economy" [12/30/10] [5:14] "Video Interview with Robert Shiller and the Wall Street Journal: [...]"  NoteHow could it have ever been 'unexpected' when there was a housing price 'bubble' which over-valued properties at least 33%? This guy must be an idiot. 

"For-Profit College Slump Converging With Student Life-Debtors" [12/30/10] "Ronnie Franklin borrowed to pay his tuition at a for-profit college that advertised its success in preparing graduates for better jobs. That decision haunts him. Frustrated that his degree didn’t lead to work in electronics, Franklin -- now a $12-an-hour housepainter -- decided to go to a community college this year. He can’t qualify for a federal grant that would have paid the cost because he defaulted on $20,000 of his earlier U.S. student loans. Debt from a for-profit college education also shadows Christina Bergschneider and Michael DiGiacomo. Landlords rejected Bergschneider’s apartment applications more than 20 times because of her unpaid student loans. DiGiacomo, who works in a copy shop, forfeits 15 percent of his after-tax income when the U.S. Education Department garnishees his paycheck to collect on $30,000 in federal loans for two different for-profits.  [...]"    

Trends"Number of Multifamily Households at Record as People Try to Avoid Becoming Homeless" [12/29/10] " ... Census Bureau data released in September showed that the number of multifamily households jumped 11.7 percent from 2008 to 2010, reaching 15.5 million, or 13.2 percent of all households. It is the highest proportion since at least 1968, accounting for 54 million people.  Even that figure, however, is undoubtedly an undercount of the phenomenon social service providers call “doubling up,” which has ballooned in the recession and anemic recovery. The census’ multifamily household figures, for example, do not include such situations as when a single brother and a single sister move in together, or when a childless adult goes to live with his or her parents. For many, the arrangements represent their last best option, the only way to stave off entering a homeless shelter or sleeping in their cars. In fact, nearly half of the people in shelters in 2009 who had not previously been homeless had been staying with family members or friends, according to a recent report, making clear that the arrangements are frequently a final way station on the way to homelessness.  [...]" 

Legal Case"In a Final Insult to Homebuyers, California Loads the Dice for Banks" [12/29/10] "A California law that threatens attorneys with a $10,000 fine and up to year in jail if they charge clients in advance for negotiating mortgage loan modifications prohibits most borrowers from hiring a lawyer to represent them against the powerful banks, a homebuyer claims in Federal Court. He adds: "The State of California imposes no similar restriction on the ability of a bank to hire a team of attorneys." [...]"    

"Magazine For N.J. Law Enforcement Contains Ads For Anabolic Steroid Providers" [12/29/10] "Police officers in New Jersey don’t have to look very hard to find a source of anabolic steroids. It’s all right there in the pages of a magazine written just for law enforcement. scrutiny has come from lawmakers in both houses of the Legislature and from state Attorney General Paula Dow, who impaneled a task force to investigate the extent of steroid use in law enforcement and the role of doctors who liberally prescribe the drugs. The committee also will examine the possibility of adding anabolic steroids to the list of substances for which law enforcement officers are randomly tested. Separately, several police departments have launched internal investigations based on The Star-Ledger reports. The newspaper found at least 248 officers and firefighters from 53 agencies obtained anabolic steroids and other hormones through a Jersey City doctor, Joseph Colao, who often faked diagnoses and illegally sold growth hormone on the side. Colao has since died, but The Star-Ledger found many of his patients continued their treatments with other anti-aging doctors. [...]"   Related:  "Police Use of Illegal Steroids a Big Problem" [12/27/10] "The badge and a steroid-filled syringe -- it's not the typical image most have for the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs. But as more within law enforcement get nabbed in steroid investigations nationwide, observers say that usage levels among police officers could rival the seediest patches of the pro sports landscape. [...]"  

Commentary:  "14 Of The Most Ridiculous Things That Americans Are Being Arrested For" [12/28/10] "Doesn't it seem like almost everything is becoming a crime in America now? Americans are being arrested and charged with crimes for doing things like leaving dog poop on the ground, opening up Christmas presents early, not recycling properly, farting in class and having brown lawns. But is it healthy for our society for the police to be involved in such silly things? Every single day the United States inches closer to becoming a totalitarian society. While there are some that would welcome this shift, the truth is that throughout history the societies that have experienced the greatest economic prosperity have all had at least a certain level of freedom. Business thrives when people feel free to live and work. When a government tightens the grip too much many people just start shutting down. Just look at places like North Korea. Even though the rest of the world is sending them huge amounts of food starvation is still quite common in that totalitarian regime. That is why it is so disturbing that it seems like almost everything has become a crime in America now. As we continue to criminalize relatively normal behavior our slide toward becoming a totalitarian state will only accelerate. [...]"   Related: "10 Rules for Dealing with Police" Part 1 [12/28/10] [8:00]  NoteClip starts when the lecture starts, at 1:26.  Part 2 [9:34]| Part 3 [9:36]| Part 4 [9:25]. See  Flex Your Rights Youtube page for more related videos.

Concepts and Practices"Students protest collective punishment at New York City high school" [12/28/10] "Students left their classrooms at Murry Bergtraum High School in New York City earlier this month in reaction to a school-wide suspension of bathroom privileges and other repressive measures. [...]"  

"Critics of UK cuts warn that National Health Service “could collapse” [12/28/10] "Senior figures in the UK’s National Health Service have warned that the government proposals to reform health care could lead it to “implode” or face a “train crash”. [...]"   

Concepts and Practices: "Drug decriminalization pays off in Portugal as US weighs its options" [12/27/10] "These days, Casal Ventoso is an ordinary blue-collar community — mothers push baby strollers, men smoke outside cafes, buses chug up and down the cobbled main street.  Ten years ago, the Lisbon neighborhood was a hellhole, a "drug supermarket" where some 5,000 users lined up every day to buy heroin and sneaked into a hillside honeycomb of derelict housing to shoot up. In dark, stinking corners, addicts — some with maggots squirming under track marks — staggered between the occasional corpse, scavenging used, bloody needles.  At that time, Portugal, like the junkies of Casal Ventoso, had hit rock bottom: An estimated 100,000 people — an astonishing 1 percent of the population — were addicted to illegal drugs. So, like anyone with little to lose, the Portuguese took a risky leap: They decriminalized the use of all drugs in a groundbreaking law in 2000.  Now, the United States, which has waged a 40-year, $1 trillion war on drugs, is looking for answers in tiny Portugal, which is reaping the benefits of what once looked like a dangerous gamble. White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske visited Portugal in September to learn about its drug reforms, and other countries — including Norway, Denmark, Australia and Peru — have taken interest, too. "The disasters that were predicted by critics didn't happen," said University of Kent professor Alex Stevens, who has studied Portugal's program. "The answer was simple: Provide treatment. Other European countries treat drugs as a public health problem, too, but Portugal stands out as the only one that has written that approach into law. The result: More people tried drugs, but fewer ended up addicted." [...]"    

Commentary: "Feds Sneaking Around Congress to Regulate Firearms" [12/27/10] "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, or ATF, has a long history of excess and overreaching … and they’re at it again.   Using exaggerated reports of gun smuggling from the U.S. into Mexico as their justification, the agency has filed for an emergency regulation requiring gun dealers to keep track of their customers and file special reports to ATF whenever a customer purchases more than one semi-automatic rifle within any 5-day period. Such special reporting is already required for multiple sales of handguns and has proven to be thoroughly useless as a law enforcement tool.  ATF’s requested regulation – which is unconstitutional, violates a statutory prohibition against firearms registration schemes and was obviously filed as an “emergency” simply as a means of bypassing Congress – would be “temporary,” meaning that it would have to be renewed in four or five months, and is said to only apply to gun dealers in states bordering Mexico, though the regulation, as submitted, seems to be missing that specific limitation.  At this point the proposed regulation is awaiting approval from the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Political observers will recall that OIRA is headed by President Obama’s old friend Cass Sunstein, who famously advocated for the abolition of all hunting and for the extension of legal rights – including the right to have a court-appointed attorney – to animals.  While Mr. Sunstein is an attorney and college professor specializing, in part, in constitutional law, his record shows that his Constitution does not include the Second Amendment. It is expected that Sunstein’s office will approve ATF’s Emergency Regulation by the first week of January unless there is immediate and vehement objection from members of Congress and the public. [...]"  Note:   Sunstein is a piece of work, all right.

"City of Houston Shuts Down Two Radioactive Water Wells" [12/27/10] "A radioactive water well that is controlled by the City of Houston, and that serves residents of Jersey Village, is no longer being used, according to the communications director for Houston Mayor Annise Parker. On Monday, a KHOU-TV investigation revealed Jersey Village water well #3 was one of 10 water wells identified by recent federal tests as having tested high for a particularly damaging form of radiation called alpha radiation.  KHOU filed a public information request to obtain these maps from the city. They are maps that officials showed KHOU briefly during a meeting at City Hall, prior to our reporting on radiation in Houston’s water supply. While we requested copies of those maps, so we could examine them closer and share them with you, city officials are now actively fighting our attempts to get these maps. They claim that “terrorists” could use them to harm you." [...]"  Note: The idea that citizens cannot know if their water is radiated " due to the threat of terrorism" is absolutely criminal.  It's also irrational and without merit as an argument.

 Trends"The Death Penalty On the Wane" [12/27/10] "... Executions have fallen by half since 1999. The number of new death sentences is about one-third what it was at the 1996 peak. Even in Texas, long the leading practitioner, death sentences are off by 80 percent. Several states that retain capital punishment have not administered a single lethal injection in the past five years. The exoneration of 138 death row inmates has weakened public support for the ultimate sanction. In a recent Gallup poll, 64 percent of Americans endorsed it, down from 80 percent in 1994, while opposition has nearly doubled. [...]"  

"Crops absorb pharmaceuticals from sewage sludge spread on farmlands" [12/27/10] "Agricultural crops can absorb pharmaceuticals found in the water used to irrigate them or the sewage sludge used to fertilize them, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Toledo-Ohio and published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Modern treatment methods for water and sewage do nothing to remove these biologically active chemicals. [...]"   

Trends: "Payday Lending Booms as Credit Cards Become Less Available" [12/26/10] "Payday lenders like Advance America are pushing hard to lure away customers from traditional banks. The effort is getting a boost from the industry's loan crunch, especially for borrowers with blemished credit, and toughened regulation of fees and interest rates charged by the nation's 7,760 banks and savings institutions.  Those curbs aren't a problem for payday lenders, a hodgepodge of publicly traded companies and mom-and-pop locations largely regulated by states. In Florida, such companies can charge interest rates as high as 391%, compared with a limit of 39% on most loans made by banks. Emboldened by their competitive advantages and the banking industry's retrenchment, payday lenders are aggressively pitching debit cards and online bill payment. Some companies are opening payday-loan branches next door to banks and designed to look like them, even hiring former bank-branch managers. [...]"   

"16 U.S. Cities That Could Face Bankruptcy in 2011" [12/25/10]  "San Diego, Ca.; New York, NY; San Jose, Ca.; Cincinnati, Oh. ; Honolulu, Hi.; San Francisco, Ca. ; Los Angeles, Ca.; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Il.; Newark, NJ; Detroit, Mi; Reading, Pa; Joliet, Il; Camden, NJ; Hamtramck, Mi; Central Falls, RI; and Paterson, N.J."

"Rahm Emanuel Cleared To Run For Chicago Mayor" [12/25/10] "Chicago Elections Commission Dismissed Residency Challenges Against Former White House Chief of Staff The Chicago Election Commissioners today unanimously ruled to strike down residency challenges against Rahm Emanuel, approving his name to appear on the 2011 ballot as a candidate for mayor. While the three-member board’s decision is likely to be taken to the courts,  [...]"  Note: Only when a city turns to shit can something resonant with that become 'mayor' ..... 'mayor' of nothing ... an empty 'triumph' for a twisted buffoon.

 Trends "Unemployed Morticians, Only in a Dark Age " [12/25/10] "With U.S. life expectancy dropping for the first time in 15 years, you would think that morticians would be some of the few Americans to have job security. Well, that's not the case. Unemployment has claimed even our nation's final service sector. A Los Angeles area woman, who now works as a pet groomer, reported that her career as a mortician was cut short because work was slow!  She explained that people are not using morticians, instead leaving their relatives as identified, but unclaimed, at the Los Angeles Coroners office, because they simply cannot afford to pay for mortuary services. Normally, the category of identified, but unclaimed bodies was reserved for the homeless, indigents, or the mentally ill. But now, she claimed, this is happening to everyone. People are leaving their parents, their wives, even their children, because they cannot pay the transportation and interment preparation fees. This is creating a huge back-up at the coroners', where bodies are literally piled from the floor to the ceiling. The bodies are stored, and then they're cremated and the remains moved to another storage area where they wait to be claimed, but no one is claiming them. Mass graves, anyone?  [...]"  

"The Student Loan Debt Bubble And The Great College Education Scam: 16 Shocking Facts" [12/25/10] "As you read this, there are over 18 million students enrolled at the nearly 5,000 colleges and universities currently in operation across the United States. Many of these institutions of higher learning are now charging $20,000, $30,000 or even $40,000 a year for tuition and fees. That does not even count living expenses.  [...]"   

"Vermont drafts food sovereignty resolution to protect health, food freedom" [12/24/10] "In response to the recent passage of "food safety" bills S. 510 and corresponding H.R. 2751, the Vermont Coalition for Food Sovereignty has drafted its own resolution called "The Vermont Resolution for Food Sovereignty." Crafted to declare and protect the food and health freedom rights of all Vermont citizens, the resolution is essentially a warning to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it does not have jurisdiction over the food choices of the People of Vermont.  The resolution declares that food freedom is a "fundamental prerequisite to life," and that individuals have every right to save seeds, grow what they wish, and buy and sell the fruits of their labor without interference from an over-zealous, tyrannical government. And if any federal official tries to infringe on these rights, the People "shall resist any and all" of them. Additionally, the resolution declares that, on the basis of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the People of Vermont completely reject any and all "Federal decrees, statutes, regulations or corporate practices that threaten our basic human right to save seed, grow, process, consume and exchange food and farm products within the State of Vermont." The recently-passed "Food Safety Modernization Act" essentially hands over control of the nation's food supply to the FDA. The legislation gives the agency free reign to mandate food recalls at will and require even small producers to jump through burdensome regulatory hoops in order to buy and sell their goods. The entire scheme has nothing to do with food safety and everything to do with giving the FDA more control over the food supply. The Vermont Coalition for Food Sovereignty is encouraging concerned citizens to review the resolution and encourage their local and state politicians to co-sponsor it, both in Vermont and in other states.  [...]" 

  Concepts and Practices: "Family Escalates Fight Against Air Force Academy for Allowing On-Campus Proselytizing" [12/23/10] "New evidence has surfaced that the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) may have endorsed on-campus proselytizing by fundamentalist and evangelical organizations, particularly the 'cadets for christ' ministry. The Baas family, whose daughter Lauren was converted after entering the school to become a pilot, has been fighting with watchdog group Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) for the USAFA to address the accusations against the academy and 'cadets for christ'. The Baas family has alleged that the ministry, which was given free rein by the USAFA to operate on campus, convinced Lauren to abandon her career aspirations and focus solely on an arranged, subservient marriage. [...]"  NoteThis social phenomenon in the military really took off when George W. Bush got into office in the 1990's ...  Related:  "US Army: Atheists Unfit To Serve" "The US Army distributes a mandatory survey called an SFT, which stands for “Soldier Fitness Tracker”. The purpose of this survey is to measure an individual soldier’s competency in four areas, Emotional, Social, Family and Spiritual. Justin is an atheist, as well as a highly dedicated soldier, but according to the SFT, he is “unfit” to serve specifically because he is a 'non-believer'. [...]"  

"Bombs explode at Rome embassies" [12/23/10] "Italian police are on alert after package bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome. [...]"    

"UK austerity measures to throw 1 million into poverty" [12/23/10] "The British Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government’s austerity measures will throw almost 1 million more people into poverty over the next three years, including hundreds of thousands of children. [...]"   

"Bill Maher to Oprah: Enough With the Materialism" [12/23/10] "Bill Maher has a special Christmas message for Oprah Winfrey: Tell your “worshiping flock to sit down and stop losing your shit over material stuff.” In a video on his website, the Real Time host called Oprah’s annual “Favorite Things” episode “one of the most deeply disturbing things I’ve ever seen on television,” Mediaite reports. Maher then showed clips of Winfrey’s audience losing it over all their free gifts, interspersed with clips of swooning religious zealots.  “This is our real religion: greed. People pretend to go nuts for Jesus, but … those people at Oprah really are coming in their pants over getting 3D television sets,” Maher says. “This is why everything in America gets sucked down a hole. Because what people really value is acquiring crap. Oprah’s show purports to be a lot about spirituality … I don’t really know what spirituality means, but I know if you’re weeping over a sweater you don’t either.”  [...]"  

"Student loans leave crushing debt burden" [12/22/10]  The Price of Admission  [5:40]  The cost of a college education is rising faster than the cost of medical care and as much as three times as fast as consumer prices in general. But that's just the beginning of the price of admission. This is the story of a debt crisis few are talking about. Americans now owe more on their student loans than they do on their credit cards — a debt fast approaching $1 trillion with no end in sight.

"Federal court blocks Obama Administration attempt to spy on cell phones without a warrant" [12/22/10] "The Obama Administration’s effort to obtain your location from cell phone towers without a warrant was rebuffed Wednesday by a federal court. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the Justice Department cannot obtain information about which cell phone towers mobile phones communicate with without a warrant. The decision was first reported by Wired’s David Kravets, and has received almost no coverage in the press. The Obama Administration is seeking to reverse an earlier ruling giving judges the authority to require a warrant for the government to obtain cell phone tracking data. In October, Obama Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer filed a brief seeking the power to obtain cell phone location data without a warrant, arguing that it was essentially communication made in a public place. Referencing a 1979 case, Smith vs. Maryland, the Assistant Attorney General wrote that because telephone callers cannot expect privacy in the numbers they dial, they can’t expect privacy in the locations of towers their cell phones interact with. [...]"    Related:  Internet "Warrant needed to snoop on your emails, court finally rules" [12/15/10] "After many years of legal uncertainty, a federal appeals court has finally declared that emails have the same Fourth Amendment protections as regular mail and telephone calls.  "Given the fundamental similarities between email and traditional forms of communication, it would defy common sense to afford emails lesser Fourth Amendment protection," the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF).  If the ruling is not overturned by the Supreme Court, it will put an end to the practice of law enforcement agents using court orders, rather than warrants, to gain access to emails. Court orders require a much lower standard than warrants. Kevin Bankston of the digital rights group EFF told Wired.com he expects Internet service providers will comply with the ruling, meaning they will start requesting warrants when law enforcement requests access to emails. Privacy advocates say law enforcement has been using a loophole in the 1986 Stored Communications Act to get emails without a warrant. Under that law, information stored on servers is subject only to a court order. [...] Today's decision is the only federal appellate decision currently on the books that squarely rules on this critically important privacy issue, an issue made all the more important by the fact that current federal law ... allows the government to secretly obtain emails without a warrant in many situations," the EFF said in a statement. [...]"

"The Tunnel People Of Las Vegas: How 1,000 Live In Flooded Labyrinth Under Sin City's Shimmering Strip" [12/22/10] "Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar. But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip’s dark underbelly. Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care - their 400sq ft 'bungalow' boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf. [...]"    

"Draft of Federal Report Finds Radiation Widespread in Houston Water" [12/22/10] "A draft of a soon-to-be-released federal report shows radiation in Houston’s drinking water is much more widespread than city leaders previously disclosed to the public. KHOU-TV has learned that the United States Geological Survey, which is a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, met with Houston officials in September to present the preliminary findings of a report they do not plan to publicly release until next month. Those findings, as summarized in a chart created by the USGS and presented to Houston officials, reveal radiation is present in some amount in nearly every Houston groundwater well the USGS tested this spring. [...]"   

"Home Insurers Not Liable for Toxic Drywall Claims" [12/22/10] "Insurance companies do not have to pay homeowners' claims related to toxic Chinese drywall, a federal judge has ruled. [...]"  NoteThen the point of having insurance is ..? 

"Family homelessness up 9 percent" [12/22/10] "Shelters for the homeless have become so crowded in many U.S. cities that they have been turning people away, a report released Tuesday said. The U.S. Conference of Mayors issued its Annual Hunger and Homelessness Report on Homeless Persons Memorial Day. The National Coalition for the Homeless reports there were at least 2,600 deaths in 2009 among people living on the streets. The report examined homelessness in 27 cities. It found a jump of 9 percent in those cities in the number of homeless families while homelessness among single people was up 2.5 percent. [...]"   

"U.S. Population Growth Slowed Over Past Decades" [12/22/10] "As of April 1, 2010, the U.S. resident population was 308,745,538. 

Concepts and Practices: "The Immorality of Estate Tax" [12/22/10] [5:52]  "Author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach argues the estate tax is immoral [...]"  

"Power Foreclosure Testimony: Sandra Hines Tells House of Reps What Many Feel"  [12/21/10] [7:56]   "Sandra Hines- the voice of foreclosed America. Sandra is a Detroit resident who lost her home that was in her family for 37 years to foreclosure. [...]"    

"60 Minutes : State Budgets Day of Reckoning; Illinois the Deadbeat State" [12/21/10] [13:51]   "60 Minutes has an excellent piece on state and local government finances. The day of reckoning is here. Analyst Meredith Whitney predicts major problems within the next 12 months. [...]"   

"Senate OKs food safety bill" [12/20/10] "Food-safety 'reform' legislation, thought to be all but dead this session, was resurrected in the U.S. Senate Sunday night, passed and sent to the House. [...]"  Related: "Food safety bill heads to House after constitutional snafu fixed" | MSM: "Sweeping food safety bill may die" [12/18/10] "A sweeping food safety bill that passed the House and Senate earlier this year before stalling because of a legislative technicality now will likely die because Republicans object to giving it quick approval in the waning days of the congressional session, Senate leadership aides on both sides of the aisle said Friday. [...]"  "Feds order farmer to destroy his own wheat crops: Wickard vs. Filburn"

Trends"Homeless committing crimes just to get arrested and jailed" [12/20/10]   NoteAmazing number of stories.

"Senate: Gays Can Serve Openly in Military" [12/19/10] "The repeal will lift a psychological burden from gays in the military. "Don't ask, don't tell" was enacted in 1993 to allow gay citizens to serve in the military as long as they kept their sexuality a secret. In return, military officials are not to ask service members to reveal their sexual orientations. Even so, at least 13,425 military personnel have been discharged under the policy [...]"   

"There Are Now Enough Vacant Properties In China To House Over Half Of America" [12/19/10] "Recent statistics show that there are about 64 million apartments and houses that have remained empty during the past six months, according to Chinese media reports. On the assumption that each flat serves as a home to a typical Chinese family of three (parents and one child), the vacant properties could accommodate 200 million people, which account for more than 15% of the country’s 1.3 billion population. But instead, they remain empty. This is in part because many Chinese believe that a home is not a real home unless you own the flat. And so people prefer buying to renting, and as a result, the rental yield is relatively low. [...]"    

USA: "Federal Government Cuts Off Recession Relief Money To States" [12/18/10] "Despite soaring unemployment and the 19 million Americans currently living in "deep poverty," federal funds for the Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) program have entirely dried up for the first time since 1996, leaving states with an average of 15 percent less federal funding for the coming year to help an ever-increasing number of needy families. TANF, the federal program that replaced welfare under the Clinton Administration, provides a lifeline for families and workers who have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits. [...]"   

"Most Driven Into Debt by Medical Bills Have Health Insurance" [12/18/10]   "...Of those who filed for bankruptcy in 2007, nearly 80 percent had health insurance. ... As an interesting historical sidenote, the Nixon administration helped to launch the whole HMO concept. Specifically, as Michael Moore told Democracy Now last month:  [My researcher] found this Watergate tape—has nothing to do with Watergate, it’s one of the Nixon tapes—at the Archives, National Archives, where Nixon and Ehrlichman are discussing whether or not to support this HMO concept. And Ehrlichman says to Nixon, "You’re going to love this, because this is private enterprise. This isn’t like some freebie thing." Nixon goes, "Oh, I like that. Tell me about it." And then Ehrlichman says, "Well, this is how it’s going to work, these HMOs. They’re going to make more money by providing less care. The less care they give them, the patients, the more money the company makes." Nixon goes, "Ooh, not bad!" And it’s all there on tape. [...]"  :  

"Extreme weather sparks global commodities rally" [12/18/10] "Around the globe, the weather has turned extreme, driving up prices for commodities running the gamut from sugar and wheat to heating oil and orange juice. Australia, for instance, is suffering from both extremes -- with drought in the west and deluges in the east. Heavy snow in Europe and sub-freezing temperatures in the United States are likewise fuelling the weather rally in commodities. [...]"  

"Cheers! Red Wine, Cranberries Are Good for Your Teeth" [12/18/10] "The compounds prevent bad bacteria from binding to our teeth.  [...]"  

"More than a million Europeans sign petition to stop GMO approvals" [12/18/10] "The European Union (EU) has typically been far slower than the U.S. to approve the plantings and use of genetically-modified organisms (GMO). But even the few crops that it has sanctioned have been met with opposition from many concerned Europeans. According to a recent Reuters report, a group of European campaigners has presented a petition to the European Commission with over a million signatures opposing the approval of any more GM crops. Back in March, the commission approved the GM "Amflora" potato for planting, which was its first GM approval in 12 years. But concerned citizens have been gathering signatures to oppose its approval and any future approvals on the basis that GMOs have not been proven safe for consumption or for the environment. [...]"     Related: "Corporations/Governments Conspired to Jack Up Food Prices to Promote GM Crops, and Deliberately Starved 250 Million People" [12/15/10] "In a January 2008 meeting, US and Spain trade officials strategized how to increase acceptance of genetically modified foods in Europe, including inflating food prices on the commodities market, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.  During the meeting, Secretary of State for International Trade, Pedro Mejia, and Secretary General Alfredo Bonet “noted that commodity price hikes might spur greater liberalization on biotech imports.” It seems Wall Street traders got the word. By June 2008, food prices had spiked so severely that “The Economist announced that the real price of food had reached its highest level since 1845, the year the magazine first calculated the number,” reports Fred Kaufman in The Food Bubble: How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it. The unprecedented high in food prices in 2008 caused an additional 250 million people to go hungry, pushing the global number to over a billion. 2008 is also the first year “since such statistics have been kept, that the proportion of the world’s population without enough to eat ratcheted upward,” said Kaufman. All to boost acceptance of GM foods, and done via a trading scheme on which Wall Street speculators profited enormously. Mass food riots in several nations ensued, as did an investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, resulting in a finding that, yes, unrestricted speculation in food commodities caused soaring prices. Food commodity speculation was enabled in 2000 by the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Deregulation handyman Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) introduced the bill, coauthored by financial industry lobbyists and cosponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the chairman of the Agriculture Committee. [...]" 

MSM: "Gaping Holes in Airline Security: Loaded Gun Slips Past TSA Screeners" ABC News[12/17/10] "... Experts tell ABC News that every year since the September 11 terror attacks, federal agencies have conducted random, covert "red team tests," where undercover agents try to see just how much they can get past security checks at major U.S. airports. And while the Department of Homeland Security closely guards the results as classified, those that have leaked in media reports have been shocking. See: "Battle for Control of Society" link above, at the top of this panel, for the rest of the synopsis and related stories.  

"Washington subway police to begin random bag checks" [12/17/10] "Officers will start random bag inspections on the sprawling Washington subway system, the Washington Metro Transit Police said on Thursday, a week after a man was arrested for making bomb threats to the rail system. Metrorail police officers plan to randomly select bags before passengers enter subway stations and they will swab them or have an explosives-sniffing dog check the bags, according to the Metro police. There is "no specific or credible threat to the system at this time," Metro said in a statement. Passengers who refuse to have their bags inspected will be denied entry into the subway system. [...]"    Related:  "Critics Slam Metro Bag Searches As More Useless "Security Theater"  "Metro plans to begin random searches of its riders’ bags in the coming days, the transit agency said Thursday, revisiting a plan first announced two years ago. David Alpert, who serves on the agency’s Riders’ Advisory Council and writes the Greater Greater Washington blog, called it “security theater” that wastes money without stopping terrorists. He said such resources could be better spent having more officers and dogs patrol the system. “Riders are already frustrated with Metro right now,” Alpert said. “Doing something that’s just going to frustrate riders is absolutely the wrong approach.” Metro announced two years ago that it would conduct searches but never did any after riders and their advocates complained. [...]" 

"Trendy French Straights Have Co-Opted Civil Unions" [12/17/10] "Last year 95 percent of France’s civil unions (known as pactes civil de solidarité) were signed by heterosexual couples, according to the New York Times. Apparently the French—and not just the gays for whom the process was conceived—have taken to the more relaxed unions that still offer many of the financial benefits of marriage. When France created its system of civil unions in 1999, it was heralded as a revolution in gay rights, a relationship almost like marriage, but not quite. No one, though, anticipated how many couples would make use of the new law. Nor was it predicted that by 2009, the overwhelming majority of civil unions would be between straight couples. It remains unclear whether the idea of a civil union, called a pacte civil de solidarité, or PACS, has responded to a shift in social attitudes or caused one. But it has proved remarkably well suited to France and its particularities about marriage, divorce, religion and taxes — and it can be dissolved with just a registered letter. [...]"   

"Puerto Rico Student Strike Intensifies, Public Education and Civil Rights at Stake" [12/17/10] "Coincident with massive, at times explosive, student protests in Rome and London, University of Puerto Rico has again become a flashpoint with a student strike beginning Tuesday that turned the main campus into a militarized zone of police, riot squads, and SWAT teams, complete with low-flying helicopters and snipers. What began as a conflict over a steep student fee hike is now seen as a larger struggle to preserve public education against privatization. Resistance to the imposed $800 student fee has triggered repressive state measures: police have occupied the main campus for the first time in 31 years and Monday the local Supreme Court, recently stacked by the pro-Statehood political party in power, outlawed student strikes and campus protests. More than 500 students defied the ruling by demonstrating on campus Tuesday, brandishing the slogan "They fear us because we don't fear them" ("Nos tienen miedo porque no tenemos miedo"). This current strike revisits accords to negotiate the $800 fee, which in June ended a two-month shut down of 10 of 11 UPR campuses, as UPR faces a $240 million budget shortfall precipitated by the state not honoring its own debt to the institution. [...]"  Note:  Since PR is part of the US, and a place where they 'test' social control mechanisms, expect some interesting things.

"Testing scandal exposes corporate-backed “school reform” in New York" [12/17/10] "New York City’s billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that 6,100 teachers will be laid off in 2012. This comes on top of the elimination of 4,000 teacher positions over the last two years. [...]"  Note How about getting someone to hypnotize Bloomberg so he forgets who he is, and let him wander the streets of New York at night in the winter. 

"Now, American-made drywall poses risks to health and property, lawsuits claim" [12/17/10] "Two years after thousands of Americans learned that defective Chinese drywall had contaminated their houses, a new group of homeowners say they are experiencing similar problems—but their homes are built with drywall made in the United States. Ninety-seven homeowners in four states have joined lawsuits against U.S. drywall manufacturers in the past year,  [...]"   

"Greece Riots, Europe Freezes, Christmas Time Staged Terror, and the Mossad" [12/16/10] [4:17]   "Greece riots over IMF austerity measures… again. Having trouble finding a job in these tough economic times? Israel can help. A Long Beach man has been shot by police for carrying a sprinkler! The Mossad is looking for new recruits, are you up to the task? Europe is set to once again be blanketed by snow and freezing temperatures. Iraqi officials are now claiming that AL Qaeda is planning suicide attacks during the Christmas Holidays in the United States and Europe. [...]"   

"Martial Law: UK Police Chief Mulls Banning Protests" [12/16/10] "Despite police being behind provocations that enraged demonstrators, Metropolitan commissioner considers using Public Order Act to kill free speech. UK police chief Sir Paul Stephenson is considering whether to ask the British government to ban protest marches altogether in response to last week’s student riots, a move that would place Britain under a de facto state of martial law. [...]"  

UK"Investors told forget savings accounts, think of shares" [12/16/10] "Britain's 38 million savers have been urged to invest their money in the stock market after being warned that for many of them it is now a "waste of time" putting their cash into a savings account. [...]"  Note: Bullshit advice, since nowadays, stock markets are a losing proposition. With a savings account, at least you retain the resources you have instead of giving them to the market.

"Detroit residents speak on utility shutoffs" [12/16/10] [5:05]  "Thousands of people who either lost their utility service or are in danger of doing so attended a "Customer Assistance Day" sponsored by DTE Energy in downtown Detroit. Several spoke to the WSWS. [...]"  

"Study shows post-9/11 security zones blight landscape" [12/16/10] "A decade after the 9/11 attacks, significant parts of America's most prominent downtowns remain largely sealed off as `security zones,' but a newly published study by University of Colorado Denver professor Jeremy Németh says this has led to blighted landscapes, limited public access and a need for a new approach to urban planning.  "Our most open, public cities are becoming police states," said Németh, assistant professor of planning and design whose study was recently published in Environment and Planning A. "While a certain amount of security is necessary after terror attacks, no amount of anti-terror architecture would have stopped the 9/11 attacks, or the Madrid or London subway bombings. And by limiting access and closing off space, we limit the potential for more `eyes on the street' to catch possible acts in the process." But given the reality of continued terror threats like the recent plots to bomb downtown Portland, Ore. and New York City, Németh says `security zones' must now be considered a new type of land use similar to parks, open space and sidewalks. [...]" 

Commentary: "16 Nightmarish Economic Trends To Watch Carefully In 2011" By Michael T. Snyder [12/16/10] "If you only watch the “economic pundits” on television, it can be very confusing to figure out exactly what is happening with the U.S. economy. One pundit will pull out a couple statistics that got a little bit better over the past month and claim that we have entered a time of solid recovery. Another pundit will pull out a couple statistics that got a little worse over the past month and claim that we are headed for trouble. So what is the truth? Well, if you really want to get a clear idea of what is really going on you have to look at the long-term trends. There are some economic trends which just keep getting worse year after year after year, and it is those trends that tell the real story of the decline of our economic system.  As you examine the long-term trends, you quickly come to realize that the U.S. is trapped in an endless spiral of debt, the middle class is being wiped out, the U.S. dollar is being destroyed and America is rapidly becoming a post-industrial wasteland. Posted below are 16 nightmarish economic trends to watch carefully in 2011. It is becoming exceedingly apparent that unless something is done rapidly we are heading for an economic collapse of unprecedented magnitude…. [...]"  

"Los Angeles Unified School District attempting to push mandatory fingerprinting on students" [12/16/10] "The Los Angeles Unified School District is attempting to push mandatory fingerprinting on students. In order to receive their lunches, students will be required to submit to the compulsory biometric identification system put in place by the district. This comes only a few short months after it was revealed that a city in mexico was being equipped with expensive biometric systems, such as iris scanners and thumb scanners. The program is currently in the test phase. Superintendent Ramon Cortines claims that it can create jobs, make schools safer, and help students who are struggling economically from feeling embarrassed when using their free lunch tickets.  Falsely making it an issue of equality:  Instead of debating as to whether or not the mandatory fingerprinting is intrusive and Orwellian, the debate will be over whether or not mandatory fingerprinting will help establish equality in schools. Superintendent Ramon Cortines has already made the claim that fingerprinting the children will help less fortunate students. He claims that students who cannot afford lunch, and therefore have to use a special ticket, will no longer have to do so. This will apparently prevent them from feeling “embarrassed” when in line for their lunch. The issue is not about equality. Installing mandatory biometric stations in schools serves only to prepare them for a lifetime of living on the control grid. To prepare young children for frequent unlawful searches and seizures will soften them up to these injustices in their adulthood. The only equality here is the assurance that all of the students will be equally violated of their rights. [...]" Related: "Europe tells Britain to justify itself over fingerprinting children in schools"   "The European Commission has demanded Britain justifies the widespread and routine fingerprinting of children in schools because of “significant concerns” that the policy breaks EU privacy laws.  "European Commission Warning Issued Over Mass Fingerprinting Of School Children"  "The European Commission has warned that children in British schools are being mandated to submit their biometric information and being issued with “unique pupil numbers” with no oversight whatsoever. The Commission has asked the British government to justify the practice of taking children’s fingerprints, which has become commonplace in schools all over the country. The overriding concern, says the Commission, is that parents are not being allowed legal redress, and that the process violates European privacy laws. [...]"   "Los Angeles public schools open doors to ‘corporate brand identity’" 

"Majority of teens live in 'rejection' families" [12/16/10] "More than half of American teens have grown up with parents who "rejected each other," which bodes ill for the nation's future leadership, productivity, wealth and well-being, says a new national report on American families.  Only 45 percent of teens, aged 15-17, have grown up from birth with their married, biological parents, says the new U.S. Index of Belonging and Rejection, released Wednesday by the Family Research Council (FRC).  These intact families are in the "belonging" category. The other 55 percent of teens experienced some form of parental rejection in their young lives. They "have seen their mother and father walk away from each other," explained Patrick Fagan, director of the FRC's Marriage and Religion Research Institute. This has meant most U.S. teens have grown up with a single parent and/or other adults, such as parental lovers, stepparents, other relatives, or foster or adoptive parents. When a child's father and a mother reject each other, either by never marrying or by divorcing, it "seems to be a private act, but it has very public consequences," said Mr. Fagan. The nation's families affect "human, social and moral capital," which directly affects the financial, and thus indirectly the military and foreign-policy strength of the United States, he said, adding, "a nation is only as strong as its citizens." [...]"  

"Disabled Protester Schools BBC Anchor Who Defends Abusive Police" [12/15/10] [8:12] "You don't need to know too much background to get the full horror of what this BBCNews host is doing to a young man with cerebral palsy, who is unable to operate his wheelchair independently, simply because he dared to turn up at a recent student protest in London : The blood-chillingly unemphatic journalist actually asks a severely disabled man if he was hurling chunks of concrete at police, and asks him again even after Jody says he can't operate his wheelchair without the help of his brother.  Note the way interference or the host manage to cut off Jody every time he starts making valid, vital points about the police brutality inflicted on him and hundreds of other students in the streets of London, some students beaten by police, and charged with horses, were as young as 12 years old. [...]"  Note:  "This MUST SEE clip is a microcosm of the whole struggle between the matrix of control and the fight for human liberty. This chap at the BBC is so blatantly defending the establishment's abusive police state against a physically helpless chap -- albeit one with very dangerous ideas of a people's revolution over corrupt criminal governments, of which the BBC anchor is so obviously a shill."    Related: "Riots Replace Protests" 4 Video clips included. 

"Greece Riots Against IMF Austerity Measures…Again" [12/15/10] [3:22]  "Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police across central Athens on Wednesday, smashing cars and hurling gasoline bombs during a nationwide labour protest against the government’s latest austerity measures. The former Minister for Development Kostis Hatzidakis was attacked by protesters outside a luxury hotel. He was escorted, bleeding from the scene as his attackers yelled “thieves” at him. [...]"   Related "Athens Anarchy" [3:24]  "Petrol bombs on the streets of Athens" "Greek police clash with protesters in the capital Athens as unions stage a general strike against government austerity measures. [...]" 

Legal Case"Brutality at a Private Prison" [12/15/10] "Guards at a privately run prison in Arizona stripped, beat and kicked inmates and threatened to kill them, banged their heads on tables while they were handcuffed, and "the warden himself" joined in threatening their families, 18 inmates say in state court. Then the Corrections Corporation of America and its employees, who run the prison, "deliberately destroyed and failed to preserve evidence of their wrongdoing, including videotapes," and "deliberately falsified reports," according to the complaint. [...]"   

Commentary: "The Bitter Bite of Winter, Food Shortages Coming?" [12/15/10] "Almost six months ago an Italian physicist was showing satellite photos of a diminishing Gulf current because of the oil disaster and now below you will see a video interview of an actual Earl of Sterling talking extensively about its collapse. This does not explain the early and bitter record-breaking weather in the United States but it is disastrous news for parts of Europe and actually perhaps the whole world, which is already in the middle of dramatic climate change—and now this. Oregon-based Mountain House, a division of Oregon Freeze Dry, Inc., has confirmed reports of shortages in their freeze-dried food product line. Mountain House Sales Division Manager Melanie Cornutt said it is true that larger distributors and dealers are receiving limited stocks of inventory, and that Mountain House is unable to provide freeze-dried foods in #10 cans to smaller distributors due to significant global demand. A #10 can is generally purchased for larger camping groups or for emergency food storage, as it holds approximately six pounds, or 13 cups, of food with approximately 10-25 servings per can. [...]"  Note:   Video clip included. 

"California's Parent Trigger" [12/15/10] "On a recent afternoon in Compton, Mary Najera of Boyle Heights is making a sale in the peach-colored dining room of a tidy home. But she isn't selling cosmetics or Tupperware. She's pitching to a young mother a radical new tool of school reform in California — the Parent Trigger. "If we get 51 percent of the parents to sign a petition and favor a transformation," Najera tells the mother, Carolina, in Spanish, "you can create a change." [...]"  

Commentary: "Think tank: Chances dimming for Patriot Act reform" [12/14/10] "The USA PATRIOT Act is up for renewal in February, but civil libertarians wanting major changes shouldn't get their hopes up just yet, says a libertarian think tank. In a letter (.pdf) to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) last week, Attorney General Eric Holder promised to implement oversight policies designed to curb abuses of the Patriot Act.  Leahy praised Holder's decision to adopt provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act, a bill which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in October 2009 but never passed by the full Senate.  "We must remain vigilant to ensure that law enforcement has the necessary tools to protect our national security, without compromising the personal privacy of Americans," Leahy said in a statement. "I still believe that these important oversight and accountability provisions should be enacted in law, but I appreciate that by implementing key measures in the bill, the Department of Justice has embraced the need for oversight and transparency." Writing for the libertarian CATO institute, Julian Sanchez reminded his readers that the new policies weren't all good news. [...]" 

"Justice Department Prepares for Ominous Expansion of "Anti-Terrorism" Law Targeting Activists" [12/12/10] "In late September, the FBI carried out a series of raids of homes and antiwar offices of public activists in Minneapolis and Chicago. Following the raids, the Obama Justice Department subpoenaed 14 activists to a grand jury in Chicago and also subpoenaed the files of several antiwar and community organizations. In carrying out these repressive actions, the Justice Department was taking its lead from the Supreme Court's 6-3 opinion last June in Holder v. the Humanitarian Law Project, which decided that nonviolent First Amendment speech and advocacy "coordinated with" or "under the direction of" a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as "terrorist" was a crime.  [...] The Court distinguishes what it refers to as "independent advocacy," which it finds is not prohibited by the statute, from "advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization," which is, for the first time, found to be a crime under the statute. The exact line demarcating where independent advocacy becomes impermissible coordination is left open and vague. Seizing on this overbroad definition of "material support," the US government is now moving in on political groups and activists who are clearly exercising fundamental First Amendment rights by vocally opposing the government's branding of foreign liberation movements as terrorist and supporting their struggles against US-backed repressive regimes and illegal occupations. [...]"  

Commentary: "24 Signs That All Of America Is Becoming Just Like Detroit - A Rotting, Post-Industrial, Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland" [12/12/10] "For years, people have been laughing at the horrific economic decline of Detroit. Well, guess what? The same thing that happened to Detroit is now happening to dozens of other communities across the United States. From coast to coast there are formerly great manufacturing cities that have turned into rotting, post-industrial war zones. In particular, in America's "rust belt" you can drive through town after town after town that resemble little more than post-apocalyptic wastelands. In many U.S. cities, the "real" rate of unemployment is over 30 percent. There are some communities that will start depressing you almost the moment you drive into them. It is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of those communities.  Meanwhile, the economic downturn has been incredibly hard on the finances of state and local governments across the United States. Unlike the federal government, state and local governments cannot use the Federal Reserve to play games with their exploding debt burdens. Facing horrific budget deficits, many communities have begun adopting "austerity measures" in an attempt to slow the flow of red ink. All over the nation, deep budget cuts are slashing police departments, fire departments and other basic social services, but it seems like no matter what many of these communities try the debt just keeps growing. So when you combine economic hopelessness with drastic budget cuts, what you get are hordes of communities from coast to coast that are becoming just like Detroit. In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 44 schools have been permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house for one dollar in the worst areas. Many Americans thought that it was funny to make fun of Detroit, but little did they know that what happened there would soon start happening everywhere. The following are 24 signs that all of America is becoming a rotting, post-industrial, post-apocalyptic wasteland just like Detroit.... [...]"   

Trends: "Number Of Adult Americans Living With Their Parents Has Exploded " [12/11/10] "Empty nest parents, be warned: the number of adults aged 25 to 34 who are living with their parents has exploded, according to this rather shocking chart put together by economist Tom Lawler and posted on Calculated Risk.  Earlier this year, a study published in the journal Transitions to Adulthood titled "What's Going on with Young People Today? The Long and Twisting Path to Adulthood" concluded that the economic downturn has caused an entire generation to delay adulthood. As Science Daily summarized the study: "In 1969, only about 10 percent of men in their early thirties had wages that were below poverty level. By 2004, the share had more than doubled. Overall, the share of young adults in 2005 living in poverty was higher than the national average." Calculated Risk is slightly more sunny about the below chart: If the job market picks up, the adults living with their parents may transform into a new class of home buyers. Check out the chart and visit Calculated Risk for more information.  [...]"   

"U.S. May Have `Problem' Meeting Surging Global Demand for Wheat, UN Says" [12/11/10] "The U.S., the world’s largest wheat shipper, may not have the logistical capacity to meet rising global demand after rains cut the quality of the harvest in Canada and Australia, the United Nations said. As much as 8 million metric tons of Australia’s wheat harvest may be downgraded because of excessive rains and Canada’s output suffered from wet weather, pushing importers to seek alternative suppliers, said Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist at the UN Food & Agriculture Organization, citing government estimates. “Right now, the only country that would have such supply to compensate for the downgrade of Australia and also Canada would be the U.S.,” Abbassian said in an interview. “The problem is that the capacity in the U.S. for terminals to absorb enough milling wheat for shipment, it’s just not there.” Increased demand from the U.S. may lead to supply bottlenecks, delaying deliveries and intensifying competition among importers, said Park Yang Jin, business manager at Seoul- based Daehan Flour Mills Co., South Korea’s largest milling wheat importer. This would help sustain a rally in Chicago futures, he said. The U.S. accounts for 27 percent of global wheat trade. [...]"  

Commentary: "Secret GOP plan: Push states to declare bankruptcy and smash unions" [12/11/10] "Congressional Republicans appear to be quietly but methodically executing a plan that would a) avoid a federal bailout of spendthrift states and b) cripple public employee unions by pushing cash-strapped states such as California and Illinois to declare bankruptcy. This may be the biggest political battle in Washington, my Capitol Hill sources tell me, of 2011. That’s why the most intriguing aspect of President Barack Obama’s tax deal with Republicans is what the compromise fails to include — a provision to continue the Build America Bonds program. BABs now account for more than 20 percent of new debt sold by states and local governments thanks to a federal rebate equal to 35 percent of interest costs on the bonds. The subsidy program ends on Dec. 31. ... In short, the lack of a BAB program would make it harder for states to borrow to cover a $140 billion budgetary shortfall next year, as estimated by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The long-term numbers are even scarier. Estimates of states’ unfunded liabilities to pay for retiree benefits range from $750 billion to more than $3 trillion. [...]"   

"For-Profit Colleges Rake in Millions From Post-9/11 G.I. Bill" [12/11/10] "For-profit universities collected about $640 million from the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill in its first year, according to a new U.S. Senate committee report. The boost to for-profits came at a time when the sector was subject to criticism for poor results and for leaving many students with unmanageable debts. By aggressively recruiting members of the military, the schools have tapped a rich new source of government cash, in addition to the billions they've already absorbed from the federal Pell Grant program, according to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, whose committee has been investigating alleged abuses at for-profit colleges. ProPublica has posted a list from the Department of Veterans Affairs of the 500 schools that received the most Post-9/11 G.I. Bill funds. (For the list of all schools, contact Sharona Coutts at Sharona.Coutts@propublica.org.) Recent government reports have highlighted problems at for-profit colleges, including recruiters lying to prospective students about the cost of courses, whether credits would transfer and future job prospects. The schools are under fire from the Department of Education for poor graduation rates. "The for-profit colleges are rife with misleading recruitment practices, they are expensive to attend, they have huge profits, and have atrocious withdrawal rates," Harkin said. "This raises serious questions about the share of military benefits that go to schools that have very poor outcomes." A spokesman for the industry said that any problems should be addressed "thoroughly and completely" but took issue with the report's conclusion. "The rapid growth of service members, veterans and their families in higher education is a very positive development that should be celebrated, not denigrated," said Harris Miller, president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities.  [...]"  Note Sounds like fraud in the inducement, to me.

"Unemployed, Out Of Benefits: 'If Anything Happens, I'm Really Screwed'" [12/10/10] "Karen Good said she lost her job at a nonprofit in Florida almost exactly two years ago and just last month finished her 99th week of unemployment benefits.  Job search: hopeless.   "I'm strong and healthy but nobody wants to hire somebody my age," said Good, who will be 62 in two weeks. She said she's applied for plenty of low-paying jobs without any luck. "I applied to demonstrate products at Costco -- $8.50 an hour. I was in there four hours, had to take all these tests, I never heard back from them."  In August about 6,500 people showed up at a job fair for 300 openings at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Fla., according to the Orlando Sentinel. Good lives in nearby Altamonte Springs. Good said she's at the beginning of a three-month gap with no income before she can start receiving early Social Security payments worth $1,113 a month in February. (The jobs crisis has pushed many unemployed into early retirement.) "If anything happens I'm really screwed," she said. "Thank God my car is running. Thank God I'm healthy. I have no medical insurance. I live on what I have. I don't buy clothes. I shop at thrift stores all the time." She said she keeps herself sane by volunteering at a pet pantry. Food stamps, after all, don't cover food for dogs and cats. Helping other people, she said, reminds her that "we're all in this together." [...]"   

"U.S. Homes to Lose $1.7 Trillion in Value This Year" [12/10/10] "According to analysis released Thursday by the research firm Zillow, U.S. homes are expected to lose more than $1.7 trillion in value this year. Since the market peaked in June 2006, the company says homeowners have been stripped of $9 trillion in equity. To put things into perspective, Zillow cites a report by the Congressional Research Service, which says from 2001 to the end of September 2010, the war in Iraq has cost the United States $750.8 billion. That means the value lost in residential property values since mid-2006 exceeds the cost of 12 Iraq wars. The depreciation of residential property values this year is 63 percent more than the $1 trillion lost in all of 2009, according to Zillow. The bulk of the total value lost during 2010 came in the second half of the year. From January to June, the housing market lost $680 billion, but from June to December, Zillow projects residential home value losses will top $1 trillion. Less than one-fourth of the 129 markets tracked by Zillow showed gains in total home values during 2010. Among those were the Boston metropolitan statistical area (MSA), which saw a $10.8 billion increase in its residential property values, and the San Diego metro area, where home values rose $10.2 billion.  [...]"  Note: It was trumped-up value that shouldn't have existed in the first place. 

"Saudi princes allegedly engaged in sex and alcohol parties" [12/09/10] "Leaked diplomatic cables from Wikileaks have alleged drunken sex parties are being held by Saudi princes. The parties involving alcohol and prostitutes have been thriving according to cables written by US diplomats.  Wikileaks has uncovered the memos from US missions in Saudi Arabia in which princes are described as living in "a world of sex, drugs and alcohol." According to the leaked despatches, officials from the Jeddah consulate detailed an underground party in which alcohol and prostitutes were readily available.  The party, attended by many Saudi men and women mostly in their twenties and thirties, was allegedly organised by a member of Saudi royalty; an official religious individual. Leaked information gave the address of the party as a a heavily secured villa, with some of the funding for the function being supplied by a US energy drink company. Alcohol and illicit sex is strictly prohibited under Saudi law.  [...]"    Related:  "Elite Saudi youth party with cocaine, hookers as morality enforced on poor, cable shows"  "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the world's most conservative societies, with capital punishment dealt out regularly for violations of religious moral codes. Saudi citizens have been killed by the state for things such as adultry, disobedience and political dissidence. But these rules apparently do not apply to the children of wealthy Saudi elites, according to a US State Department communication published by secrets outlet WikiLeaks.  Instead of adhering to a strict behavioral code as most other Saudis do, the elite youths are fond of parties featuring staples of many high-dollar Western blowouts, like copious amounts of alcohol, cocaine and hashish, along with a few "working girls" to boot.  The document shows how, behind closed doors and away from the country's religious police, the rich stage elaborate parties and casually violate the very laws their government regularly, and many times brutally, upholds. The revelation exposes a stunning duality in Saudi society that could provoke greater civil dissent as to how the nation is governed, at a time  when many media critics have accused WikiLeaks of solely aiming to humiliate the US government with a cache of sensitive documents it lost control of. [...]" 

Trends"Food stamps: Another half million sign up" [12/09/10] "The latest data released by the Department of Agriculture shows that in September, an additional 521,428 new recipients were added to the food stamps program, an increase of 15.42% on a year-over-year basis, while household participation increased 18.27%. Individual participation as a ratio of the overall civilian non-institutional population has increased 14.45% over the same period. These results confirm that participation is continuing it's explosive climb, likely as a result of the jump in total unemployment, driving the nominal benefit costs up an lofty 16.30% on a year-over-year basis to $5,741,336,112 for the month. [...]"   

Canada: "Mass Violation Of Civil Liberties” At Toronto’s G20 Summit" [12/09/10] [2:00]  Related: "G20 law gave cops 'wartime' power, ombudsman says" [12/08/10] "The G20 summit regulation that expanded police search powers entrapped legitimate protesters and "likely" violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Ontario’s ombudsman said Tuesday. "I'm convinced the regulation was unnecessary and probably illegal," Andre Marin told a news conference. "Here in 2010 is the province of Ontario conferring wartime powers on police officers in peacetime." He said the provincial government has indicated it will act on his main recommendation: revising or repealing the Public Works Protection Act, which dates back to the late 1930s. [...]"   

Trends"Tax Appeals Swamp U.S. Cities, Towns as Property Prices Plunge" [12/08/10] "A fiscal flood that threatens to swamp local government budgets across the U.S. overflows from file cabinets in the office of Patty Halm, chair of the Michigan Tax Tribunal.  The backlog of cases from taxpayers seeking to lower property-tax bills of more than $100,000 shot up to 14,236 this year from an annual average of about 6,000 during the past decade. The backlog of smaller claims was at 28,558 at the end of September, eight times higher than a decade ago, according to records at the tribunal, a Lansing-based administrative court. From Los Angeles to Atlantic City, the New Jersey gambling resort that had its credit rating lowered three levels by Moody’s Investors Service last month, property owners are filing protests to lower their taxes after real-estate values plunged. The disputes over billions in taxes come as municipalities are already cutting services such as police protection and may depress revenue further as communities try to recover from the longest recession since the 1930s. In Michigan, Governor-elect Rick Snyder has warned that hundreds of towns face financial crises. “We’re just getting swamped,” said Halm, 54, who was appointed in 2003. “We’re constantly buying new file cabinets to hold all the cases. We even have six surplus file cabinets in the courtroom.” [...]"     

"Walk Away: The Rise and Fall of the Home-Ownership Myth" [12/08/10] "Millions have walked away from their mortgages. Those who have swear that they will never again be tricked by the great housing myth that this one asset is guaranteed to go up and up forever. The new source of value is not something attached to the biggest thing we own but rather in the most fundamental unit of all: ourselves, and what we can do. This change represents a dramatic change not just for one generation but for an entire ethos that has defined what it means to be an American for about a century. [...]The idea that "a man's house is his castle" is attributed to American Revolutionary James Otis from 1761, and his idea was that government should never be permitted to breach its walls. It is a good thought, in context, one that sums up a dogged attachment to the right of private property. In the 20th century, however, government got behind the idea that every citizen should be provided a castle of his or her own. This is the essence of the good life, we were told, the very core of our material aspirations. The home is the most valuable possession we could ever have. It is the best investment, even better than gold. Government would make us all owners, one way or another, even if it meant violating rights to make it happen. This became an article of faith, a central tenet of the American civic religion, and one that led to additional spin-off doctrines. We should fill our valuable homes with vast amounts of furniture, large pieces especially, things that suggest permanence and roots. If there was any doubt as to where to put our money, an answer was always ready: put it into the mortgage, where it will surely pay the highest return. [...]"  

"The War on Cameras" [12/08/10] ".... As citizens increase their scrutiny of law enforcement officials through technologies such as cell phones, miniature cameras, and devices that wirelessly connect to video-sharing sites such as YouTube and LiveLeak, the cops are increasingly fighting back with force and even jail time—and not just in Illinois. Police across the country are using decades-old wiretapping statutes that did not anticipate iPhones or Droids, combined with broadly written laws against obstructing or interfering with law enforcement, to arrest people who point microphones or video cameras at them. Even in the wake of gross injustices, state legislatures have largely neglected the issue. Meanwhile, technology is enabling the kind of widely distributed citizen documentation that until recently only spy novelists dreamed of. The result is a legal mess of outdated, loosely interpreted statutes and piecemeal court opinions that leave both cops and citizens unsure of when recording becomes a crime. [...]" 

Legal Case"Court to look at huge sex bias suit vs. Wal-Mart" [12/07/10] "The Supreme Court said Monday it will consider whether to keep alive the largest employment discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history, a case that claims Wal-Mart pays women less than men and promotes women less frequently. The justices stepped into a dispute that could involve billions of dollars in back pay for 500,000 to 1.5 million women who work or once worked at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest private employer. But the case also could affect other class-action lawsuits, in which people with similar interests increase their leverage by joining together in a single claim." [...]"  

"Census Estimates U.S. Population at 306M to 313M" [12/07/10] " The government provided new estimates Monday showing the U.S. population grew to somewhere between roughly 306 million and 313 million over the last decade, acknowledging uncertainty due to rapid shifts in immigration. Hispanics accounted for all the growth in the youth population in the last decade. In 2000, Hispanics made up 17 percent of the U.S. population under age 20. They now represent somewhere between 22 and 25 percent of that age group. There were roughly 40.9 million to 41.7 million blacks in the U.S., based on a tabulation that includes Hispanic blacks. That would put the share of blacks at roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population. Without Hispanics, the number of young people in the U.S. would have declined between 2000 and 2010. Based on the estimates, the non-Hispanic youth population declined somewhere between 1.25 million and 2.9 million. [...]  After state numbers are released later this month, the Census Bureau will begin to release population and race breakdowns for more local areas in February, triggering a process in which states gaining or losing House seats will redraw political boundaries. Current projections by Election Data Services indicate that a dozen congressional seats affecting 18 states would change hands. They include four seats for Texas, two for Florida and one each for Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. New York and Ohio are projected to lose two seats apiece, while eight states would lose single seats - Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. "    

"Mounting Debts by States Stoke Fears of Crisis" [12/06/10] "Several US states and cities are sitting on fiscal time bombs that could send the country careening into a domestic version of the EU debt crisis, financial experts warn. Pushed to the brink by the downturn, state and local governments are riding trillions of dollars’ worth of debt—much of it off the books—that could swamp them within a few years, the New York Times is reporting. Drastic cuts to public services and benefits have pushed states to use accounting tricks to stay afloat, but many are running out of options. While municipal bankruptcies are rare, the risk is rising and may force the federal government to step in at some point. “I don’t like to play the scared rabbit, but I just don’t see where the end of this is,” says one expert.[...]"   

"Laid off cops, a shattered economy, an $83 million deficit. Fear returns to the tragic city that is Newark" [12/05/10] "The wisest man in Newark — and I’m certain I can call him that without garnering significant argument in any corner of the city — is a gentleman named Clement Price. He’s a history professor at Rutgers-Newark, a longtime city resident, and a universally respected public voice whose speech and thought are not predisposed to undue hysteria. And right now he’s as worried as he has been in a generation. “It looks like an absolute disaster about to happen here in Newark, and the mayor is neither providing leadership nor showing us any way out,” Price said this week, as Newark laid off 13% of its police force in response to a budget crisis. “Right now I would characterize Newark as a city having what seems to be a civic meltdown.” [...]"  

"Snowbound UK: Now Food and Fuel is Running Out" [12/03/10] "was running out of food last night as the big freeze paralysed the transport network. Fuel supplies were also at risk after a surge in demand for gas and petrol drained reserves to critically low levels. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, the Government’s snow supremo, was urged to get a grip on the crisis as heavy snowfalls and plunging temperatures grounded flights and halted delivery lorries. Staple foods were fast disappearing from supermarket shelves as shoppers who managed to brave the bad weather sought to stock up on essentials such as bread and milk. Sainsbury’s said it had increased its stocks of long-life UHT milk, which has seen a 20 per cent rise in demand from families fearing a prolonged cold spell. A spokeswoman said it was also baking extra bread but admitted it had “great difficulty” ensuring supplies got through to some regions. The severe weather has also led to petrol shortages. Some rural forecourts were out of fuel yesterday with others expected to run dry by the weekend. [...]"  Note: They were stuck in the delusionary dream of 'global warming' and were not prepared. 

Legal Case"2 More Judges Sue Arpaio, Alleging Defamation and Abuse of Process" [12/03/10] "Two more Superior Court judges have sued Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio for defamation, and a deputy county manager and a county administrator added complaints of their own, all alleging that Arpaio targeted them for baseless criminal investigations to retaliate for the judges' court rulings and the county employees work on budget cuts. Four Superior Court judges or retired judges have sued Arpaio this week; the new plaintiffs claim that Arpaio's actions "constitute the rankest misuse of power against those innocent and powerless citizens that our system of government is supposed to protect." [...]"    

"Explosive November Food Inflation Forces Chinese Authorities To Act" [12/03/10] "Chinese food prices, for a basket of 18 key vegetables, rose by 62.4% year-over-year in the first ten days of November according to Xinhua. The government is scrambling to prevent a repeat of such inflation into next year, and stricter price controls plus more accountability at the city level are on the way: [...]"  

"Fed Trying to Make It Harder for Homeowners to Fight Mortgage Fraud by Gutting Truth In Lending Laws" [12/02/10] "As reported by the Washington Post, the Fed turned a blind eye for years and allowed massive fraud in the mortgage market.  After Alan Greenspan changed his mind and admitted that financial players commit fraud unless laws are enforced (see this and this), many hoped that the Fed would start cracking down on fraud a little bit. Unfortunately, the Bernanke Fed is continuing to try to sweep fraud under the rug. As just one example, the Fed has been consistently trying to downplay the significance of mortgage fraud, claiming it's not widespread and that nothing much really has to be done about it. Now, the Fed is proposing a change to the Truth in Lending laws which would make it harder for homeowners to fight mortgage fraud. [...]"    Related: "Fed wants to strip a key protection for homeowners" "As Americans continue to lose their homes in record numbers, the Federal Reserve is considering making it much harder for homeowners to stop foreclosures and escape predatory home loans with onerous terms. The Fed's proposal to amend a 42-year-old provision of the federal Truth in Lending Act has angered labor, civil rights and consumer advocacy groups along with a slew of foreclosure defense attorneys. They're not only asking the Fed to withdraw the proposal, they also want any future changes to the law to be handled by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which begins its work next year. In a letter to the Fed's Board of Governors, dozens of groups that oppose the measure, including the National Consumer Law Center, the NAACP and the Service Employees International Union, say the proposal is bad medicine at the wrong time. "At the depths of the worst foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression, we are surprised that the Fed has proposed rules that would eviscerate the primary protection homeowners currently have to escape abusive loans and avoid foreclosure: the extended right of rescission." [...]"   

"Price of Rice May Triple in 18 Months as Supplies Tighten" [12/02/10] "Rice, the staple food of more than three billion people, may as much as triple in 18 months as flooding in exporters including Thailand tightens supplies and demand climbs, according to Duxton Asset Management Pte. “Rice will blow out the stocks,” said Ed Peter, chief executive officer, who co-founded the company last year with Managing Director Desmond Sheehy. Both worked at Deutsche Asset Management and the Deutsche Bank AG unit owns 19.9 percent of Duxton, while Peter, Sheehy and staff own the rest. Duxton, based in Singapore, invests in farmland, Asian stocks and wine. Peter’s forecast, in an interview on Nov. 29, would put rice at more than the peak during the 2008 food crisis, which triggered social unrest in poorer states. Wheat and corn also surged that year, while record oil prices boosted fertilizer costs. Kiattisak Kanlayasirivat at Novel Commodities SA, which trades rice, said farmers can replant quickly as floods recede. [...]"   

"Anti-Drug Chief Ivanov: Russia Faces "Dope Apocalypse" [12/02/10] "Addressing a conference in Khanty-Mansiysk, western Siberia, Russian Federal Narcotics Control Service chief Victor Ivanov yesterday characterized the drug addiction and death situation in the country as "an apocalypse." Ivanov said he had reached this conclusion after reviewing the latest statistics on deaths from narcotics use. [...]"  

"House May Block Food Safety Bill Over Senate Error" [12/02/10] "A food safety bill that has burned up precious days of the Senate’s lame-duck session appears headed back to the chamber because Democrats violated a constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in the House. [...]"  See "Patriot Act for Food: A close look at bizarre propaganda for S.510" on [11/29/10] below.

"Government backs off street signs plan" [12/02/10] "The U.S. Department of Transportation said it is abandoning plans to force thousands of cities to replace street signs. [...]"  

LaRouche "Unemployment In America" [12/02/10]  Video clip [6:07] "Unemployment benefits for millions of Americans have just expired, creating a situation where statistical forecasting and trend analysis is about as useful as a car without any wheels. But the problem is not an economic one, our country has gone batty. [...]" Related: "US Congress allows extended jobless benefits to expire" [12/01/10] "Just hours after Obama pledged to work more closely with Republicans in slashing social spending, the US Congress let unemployment benefits expire for hundreds of thousands of laid off workers. [...]" "2 million lose jobless benefits as holidays arrive" 

Trends"Camden, New Jersey layoff plan targets a quarter of city's workforce" [12/01/10] "Camden will lay off nearly half of its police officers and a third of its firefighters, while eliminating positions in every other city office, according to a layoff plan approved Tuesday by the state.  The 383 layoffs represent about a quarter of the city's workforce and touch all corners of city government - from 15 courtroom positions to 20 police dispatchers to all four animal-control officers.  The elimination of 180 positions from a 373-member force means more bad news for a poor, violent city that has seen 37 homicides this year. A national survey recently named Camden the second-most dangerous in the United States, although police officials have pointed to some recent reductions in crime. [...]"    

Trends"More than 8 million drop out of credit card use" [12/01/10] "More than 8 million consumers stopped using credit cards over the past year. The decline stems from a combination of consumer choices and bank actions. An analysis by credit reporting agency TransUnion found that use of general purpose credit cards bearing MasterCard or Visa logos, or issued by Discover or American Express, fell more than 11 percent in the third quarter, compared with the July to September period last year.  [...]" 

UK: "Prowling gangs target motorists as they leave engines running to defrost their cars" [12/01/10] "Drivers are being warned of gangs of 'frost-jackers' on the prowl as temperatures plummet. Three cars were stolen across Greater Manchester in just 20 minutes yesterday as owners left the engines running to defrost them. [...]"    

"Pentagon review: Troops basically fine with gay people" [12/01/10] "The majority of America's service members don't think repealing "don't ask, don't tell" would be that big of a deal, really. The vast majority of their families are fine with it, too. Defense Secretary Robert Gates "strongly urges" the Senate to hurry up and repeal "don't ask, don't tell" before the end of the year, so the military can get around to implementing the end of the ban. The full report is available at the Defense Department's website, in case you want to go through and try to guess which bits McCain will cherry-pick when he announces that it makes a compelling case for the ban to remain in place. [...]"     

"DHS Whistleblower: They're Training Local Police to Suspend Rights' [12/01/10] "Film maker William Lewis had the chance to sit down with former police officer turned whistle-blower Travis Maddox for an interview contained the newly released film Enemy of the State: Camp FEMA Part 2. During the interview, Maddox shares what became his concerns about the extensive training given to the local police department by the Department of Homeland Security in case of a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack. .... CBS released a 3-month study in late October 2009 showing that state-by-state, the odds of people actually testing positive for the Swine Flu were very slim. Franchi says, "That means that the National State of Emergency called by President Obama was, in fact, based on false data." [...]"

 Trends"Tempers Flare At Kentucky Unemployment Office As Benefits Expire For Thousands" [11/30/10] "Tempers flared at an unemployment office in Louisville, Ky. as the end nears for federally-funded extended jobless benefits. WLKY reported that "at least two people were escorted out" of the office. With the threat of benefits expiring for 100,000 Kentuckians, WLKY reported, "tempers are flaring."  It's the type of scene that contributed to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development's decision to add armed guards to each of its 36 field offices where workers can file unemployment claims (previously only some of the offices had armed security).  "There's obviously increasing stress, especially among the long-term unemployed, and also the upcoming expiration of these federal extensions will add additional stress," department spokesman Marc Lotter told HuffPost earlier this month. (The decision to hire armed guards prompted Fox News to ask, "Are America's unemployed getting dangerous?") Two federal programs, Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits, which together provide up to 73 weeks of aid on top of 26 weeks of state benefits, expire this week because Congress has not renewed them. The National Employment Law Project estimates that 800,000 people (including Kentuckians) will be dropped from EB within a week, and an additional 1.2 million people will be ineligible for further "tiers" of EUC by the end of December. [...]"  Related: "Food Banks Bracing For End Of Extended Unemployment Benefits"  "Food banks across the country are watching for the end of federally- funded extended unemployment insurance. "We are bracing for it," said Vicki Escarra, CEO of Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity, in an interview with HuffPost. Escarra said that Feeding America's 200 member food banks across the country feed nearly six million people every week. "I can assure you, if these unemployment insurance benefits are not reinstated we'll see these numbers go way up," Escarra said.  [...]" "Unemployment Extension: Dem Senator Says Standoff Could Last Weeks"  "A Democratic senator said Tuesday that the congressional standoff over renewing extended unemployment benefits could last several weeks in a repeat of a summer debacle that interrupted benefits for 2.5 million people.  Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) said on a conference call with reporters that he hoped the Senate would approve a year-long reauthorization by "unanimous consent" on Tuesday afternoon. "I hope that our Republican friends won't object to this request and we can get this passed today," he said. "We'll see what happens. I'm just very happy that at least we have a vote today to move it forward." [...]"    

"PHOTOS: Ridiculously Small Homes, The Latest Downturn Trend" [11/30/10] "As Americans downsize in the aftermath of a colossal real estate bust, at least one tiny corner of the housing market appears to be thriving. To save money or simplify their lives, a small but growing number of Americans are buying or building homes that could fit inside many people's living rooms, according to entrepreneurs in the small house industry [...]"  

"Some insurers switch to cheaper drugs" [11/30/10] "Health insurers change as much as 70 percent of medication prescriptions, resulting in adverse reactions among some patients, a U.S. survey indicates. A survey by the Global Healthy Living Foundation, a non-profit patient advocacy group, found some patients with chronic conditions who responded well to a particular drug relapsed after being switched to a cheaper drug.  "This disturbing finding is not a simple case of switching a brand-name drug for a generic one, a common and generally accepted practice used for many illnesses, and one GHLF supports," Louis Tharp, executive director of the GHLP, says in a statement. "We found that health insurance companies throughout the U.S. switch one brand-name drug for another simply because the switched drug is cheaper -- if the drugs are identical, physicians generally have no objection, the survey found, but national medical groups have said most drugs are not identical and switching can cause adverse reactions and poor recovery rates."  Tharp says his group is working with other advocacy groups, state insurance commissioners, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state attorneys general to see what action can be taken to stop the practice. [...]"  

"US states prepare unprecedented cuts to social spending" [11/30/10] "The staggering defeat suffered by the Democrats was of their own making. Two years ago, as well as in the 2006 midterm elections, the Democratic Party won lopsided victories based on the overwhelming popular anger toward the George W. Bush administration, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, attacks on democratic rights and the living standards of the broad masses. Though Democrats controlled the White House, the Senate and House by sizable majorities, as well as a majority of state house and legislatures, these policies were not only continued, but deepened. The result was mass abstention among the Democrats’ “base” of working class, minority and youthful voters, and even a shift to the Republicans among some.  Now the legislatures and governors return in January with a supposed “mandate” to carry out even more right-wing policies, whether Republican or Democrat. The result will be the deepest cuts in spending ever enacted at the state level, which will considerably deepen the social misery in the US.  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the projected combined deficit for all states for the 2012 fiscal year is approximately $140 billion, an increase from the current fiscal year’s combined deficit of $125 billion. Last year’s shortfall represented roughly 19 percent of the total combined state budgets. The primary cause of the deficits has been falling tax revenues, attributable to job losses, combined with increased demand for social services. These trends will continue. [...]"   

"Rising tide of unemployed graduates try to market skills" [11/30/10] "Graduates are finding out that a college degree is no longer the ticket to the American Dream and that they must quickly learn how to promote themselves in the competitive job market. [...]"   

"Raising retirement age would hurt the poor, GAO says" [11/30/10] "Raising the retirement age for Social Security would disproportionately hurt low-income workers and minorities, and increase disability claims by older people unable to work, government auditors told Congress.  The projected spike in disability claims could harm Social Security's finances because disability benefits typically are higher than early-retirement payments, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded. The report, to be released Friday, provides fodder for those opposed to raising the eligibility age for benefits, as proposed by the leaders of President Obama's deficit commission. "There's more to consider than simply how much money the program would save by raising the retirement age," said Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The report shows an unequal effect on certain groups, he said Thursday, and many "would have little choice but to turn to the broken disability program." Under present law, people can start drawing reduced, early-retirement benefits from Social Security at 62. Full benefits are available at 66, a threshold gradually increasing to 67 for people who were born in 1960 or later. The deficit commission's leaders, Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, last week proposed a gradual increase in the full retirement age, to 69 in about 2075. The early-retirement age would go to 64 the same year. [...]"  

"Two women sue police over alleged beating by West Deer, Indiana Township police" [11/30/10] "Two West Deer women claim they were beaten by a West Deer police officer in August 2009, according to a federal lawsuit filed Friday. Cheryl Albinger, 44, of Reaghard Drive alleges she and her daughter, then 17-year-old Pamela Albinger, were attacked “without justification” by West Deer part-time police Officer Jesse Haschak. The Albingers further allege several West Deer and Indiana Township officers observed the attack and did not intervene. “They suffered severe lacerations, abrasions and other injuries,” said Scott Westcott, the Albingers’ attorney. “They were punched, beaten and dragged across the roadway.” In addition to Haschak, the lawsuit names the townships, West Deer police Chief Jonathan Lape and Officers Dean Krakowiak, Tom Hart and Mike Shurina; Indiana Chief Robert Wilson and Officer Michael Dortenzo as defendants. The suit claims the townships, Lape and Wilson did not properly train the policemen. [...]"     

UK: "EU Forces Ireland to Cut Minimum Wage" [11/29/10] "The government was forced into cutting the minimum wage by the European Commission, according to the leader of the Green Party . The rate is to be cut by one euro an hour under the four year €15bn austerity plan published by the government. [...]"  

US Politics"Backlash Feared As Some In GOP Push Social Issues" [11/29/10] "Although fixing the economy is the top priority, Republicans who won greater control of state governments in this month's election are considering how to pursue action on a range of social issues, including abortion, gun rights and even divorce laws. Incoming GOP governors and legislative leaders across the nation insist they intend to focus initially on fiscal measures to spur the economy, cut spending and address state budget problems. [...]"  

Commentary: "Patriot Act for Food: A close look at bizarre propaganda for S.510" [11/29/10] "Need a good laugh? Check out the bizarre reasoning offered in support of the Patriot Act for Food (S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act), which the U.S. Senate will vote on shortly (likely Monday). From a need to stop food smuggling, to the law is too old, to the terrorists are gonna get us, elites sure are shy on brains when it comes to credible propaganda. They must be drinking fluoridated water and smoking Monsanto marijuana, or hoping you are.  A couple weeks ago, we reported that Senator Bob Casey informed his Pennsylvania constituents that S.510 will stop food smuggling in the United States. Never heard of the problem? That might be because the “biggest food smuggling case in the history of the U.S.” amounted to $40 million worth of commercial grade honey over a five-year period. Food smuggling is clearly not a problem – nor is it a fiscally sound reason for giving the Food and Drug Administration an extra $1.6 billion. Admittedly, no one is accusing U.S. elites of being fiscally sound – just look at our rising unemployment, hunger, and home foreclosure rates. Clearly, food smuggling is just bizarre bunk that lazy propagandists invented out of thin air. Next, the well-regarded Christian Science Monitor listed as the “strongest argument for the bill” – get this – because the law in place is too old. Nothing about whether or not the old law is effective, nothing about the tens of thousands of deaths the FDA causes each year by the drugs it allows on the market. No – that very agency needs more power, more money, more authority over what’s on your table, according to S.510 supporters. Here’s some more penetrating analysis by CSM: [...]"  Related:  "Foodmakers backing $1.4 billion food-safety bill"  "More than a dozen companies that lobbied Congress on a sweeping food-safety bill had recalled their food products in the past two years, including for food-borne illnesses lawmakers are targeting. But many of those companies, such as agribusiness giant Cargill, which recalled 8,500 pounds of ground beef in August, and Campbell Soup Company, which pulled 15 million pounds of SpaghettiO's with Meatballs off shelves in June, support the tougher regulations proposed in the measure, headed toward a vote today in the Senate. Consumer advocate groups credit the companies and others in the industry with helping to make the $1.4 billion measure one of the few bills moving quickly through Congress during the year-end, "lame duck" session that began Nov. 15.  "At the end of the day, it represents a compromise all parties are happy to see move forward, " said Ami Gadhia, policy counsel with Consumers Union, which also backs the food-safety bill. [...]"  

Commentary: "Willing Enablers of Tyranny" [11/28/10] "In his book Obedience to Authority, Stanley Milgram describes how people can be persuaded to perpetrate heinous acts on their fellow man by adopting an “agentic state,” that is, they transfer the blame or guilt for their actions to some other figure; in his example, a man in a white lab coat prompting the subject to shock the victim with an electrical current in the name of science. This is not a new discovery to anybody that has heard about people being thrown to the lions, sent to gulags, or herded into boxcars and sent to the East. He has just shown this to be the case with a clinical study. What seems strange is that the reverse of this syndrome seems to be the case as well. [...] In the case of agents in a totalitarian system, they have the excuse that they themselves might be killed or tortured if they don’t do as they are told. So far, in our system, it hasn’t come to that; they are acting of their own volition and are therefore wholly culpable. Any tyrant has to rely on those below him to carry out his orders. He doesn’t have enough hands to accomplish his evil designs, so he has to have many little helpers.[...] "  Note:  With job offers on pizza boxes, they're sure to get 'quality' people. Related: See the "Battle for Control of Society" link at the top of this panel for related stories.

"Game Over" Charlie McGrath [11/28/10] [4:52] Note:  Financial industry stats and what's coming.

"Jan. 1: traditional Medicare reimbursements are set to shrink by 25 percent" [11/27/10] "Some local doctors, once again faced with a large cut in what the government pays them for treating Medicare patients, are telling senior patients they must switch by year's end to better-paying private Medicare Advantage plans. Paul Williams, 72, was one of about 6,000 patients who recently received a letter from Highline Medical Group, a consortium of 35 doctors in eight clinics in the South Puget Sound area, telling them to switch plans by Jan. 1, when traditional Medicare reimbursements are set to shrink by 25 percent. [...]"  

"Iceland elects 'ordinary folk' to draft constitution" [11/26/10] "The sparsely-populated volcanic island is holding an unusual election Saturday to select ordinary citizens to cobble together a new charter, an exercise in direct democracy born out of the outrage and soul-searching that followed the nation's economic meltdown. [...]" 

"Global poverty doubled since 1970s: UN" [11/26/10] "The number of very poor countries has doubled in the last 30 to 40 years, while the number of people living in extreme poverty has also grown two-fold, a UN think-tank warned Thursday. [...]"   

"As Rome Burns Idiots Shop"  [11/26/10] [2:00] "As Rome burns the morons line up like sheep to be the first to buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have.[...]"   

"Poll: America headed in wrong direction" [11/26/10] "Sixty-six percent of U.S. voters think the country is headed in the wrong direction while 28 percent approve of its course, a national opinion poll indicated. Forty-seven percent of black voters believe the country is headed in the right direction. The national telephone survey of 3,500 " likely voters" was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research LLC for Rasmussen Nov. 15-21. The survey's margin of error is 1 percentage point. [...]"  Note: You can see just how isolated these people are from their own culture. Anyone who believes things are 'all right' has a severe disconnect from reality.

"Fears over cold winter push up power price" [11/25/10] "Electricity prices are rising sharply, due to a combination of the cold weather and low water levels in hydropower dams. Both Norway and Sweden are affected, reports news agency TT.   On the Norwegian electricity trading exchange Nordpol prices are already up by 40 per cent since last Friday. Prices on this exchange directly effect the bills for customers who have a floating-price deal with a power company.  When asked whether we are headed towards last winter's situation - with extremely high electricity prices - Sigge Eriksson at power company Vattenfall says "I don't really know what to think. I'm a little scared myself." he adds that it is hard to tell right now whether this is just an overreaction by the market. Vattenfall's reservoirs are still at a low level, and all that is falling is snow, rather than rain - and Sigge eriksson says that there will be an even bigger lack of water in the coming weeks. Consumers can take comfort from the fact that, unlike last winter, many nuclear power stations are running, or about to start up. Prices on this exchange directly effect the bills for customers who have a floating-price deal with a power company. [...]"   

"After holiday, lawmakers have two days to make unemployment deal" [11/25/10] Emergency unemployment benefits are likely to lapse shortly after Congress returns from recess next week, affecting upward of 2 million people by the end of the year. Lawmakers have until Nov. 30 to extend the current six-month extension of the benefits, but it’s unclear if they can reach an agreement in time for the unemployed workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state unemployment insurance. [...]"   

"Why Russians backed anti-police rage" [11/25/10] "Six young Russians became so angry about police brutality in their area that they took up arms to fight back. Lucy Ash asks what motivated the group and why so many ordinary Russians supported their extreme actions.  Vladimir Savchenko takes me into his son Roman's bedroom to show me his school photographs and collection of toys neatly arranged on a shelf.  "He won lots of prizes in athletics," says Mr Savchenko, fingering a clutch of medals hanging on the wall. "But he liked kick-boxing best."  The 17-year-old is now behind bars awaiting trial. He is the youngest of the six men who declared war against law enforcement officials this year. The group, which called itself the "Primorsky Partisans", became notorious across Russia.  In a video, made while they were hiding in the forest, the young men wear army fatigues and hold guns. Stripped to the waist, Alexander Kovtun, the group's leader, directly addresses the police:  "This is not some spontaneous act," he says. "No. We planned it and did it on purpose, to kill you gangsters, because you are the real criminals. You provide cover for drug-trafficking, prostitution and the theft of wood from our forests." The young men come from the remote village of Kirovsky in Russia's Primorye, or Maritime, region near the Chinese border. It is seven time zones east of Moscow.  I went there to meet their families and to try to discover why the youths took the law into their own hands. [...]"  

UK"Councils 'to lose 140,000 jobs'" [11/25/10] "Coalition spending cuts will lead to the loss of around 140,000 council jobs in the next year, local authority leaders have warned. The Local Government Association originally predicted 100,000 posts would go in England and Wales as a result of October's Spending Review. But it has revised this view after studying the impact of town hall budget cuts planned for this year. [...]"  Note: Pretentious, nosey, power-hungry pricks. Good.

"2,000 students storm Italian Senate" [11/25/10] "More than 2,000 students stormed the Italian Senate, protesting education cuts and calling on the education minister to resign, police in Rome said [...]"  

"Gloom, anger, fear spread across Europe as key economies teeter on the edge of collapse" [11/25/10] "Anger and fear about Europe's seemingly unstoppable debt crisis coursed through the continent Wednesday. Striking workers shut down much of Portugal, Ireland proposed its deepest budget cuts in history and seething Italian and British students clashed with police over education cuts. Amid it all, analysts were deeply skeptical about the future — saying even the desperate efforts of governments, the European Union and the International Monetary might not be enough to prevent countries from defaulting or banks from going under. The Irish Stock Exchange saw a bloodbath in bank stocks as investors pushed the panic button and bond traders were betting that it would only be a matter of time before Portugal and possibly Spain would be the next countries begging for outside help. In Lisbon, strikers all but closed the airport, stranding passengers who couldn't get in or out of the country. [...]" 

"London streets in flames again as 25,000 go on rampage in new student fees riot" [11/25/10] "Police officers were seriously injured today as angry demonstrators protesting against the hike in tuition fees again brought chaos to the streets. Around 10,000 students and protesters flooded London for a new demonstration just a fortnight after anarchists unleashed mayhem at the Tory Party headquarters. More than 25,000 students in total are believed to have taken part in protests across the country today. Scotland Yard, determined not to be caught on the hop a second time, ensured hundreds of officers were on duty and quickly reinforced numbers as flashpoints developed. [...]"  Note: Well, even if they had a university education, there are NO JOBS, so rioting about something that is operationally moot is only something dim-witted people would do.

"Corporate America has best quarter in US history as real unemployment rate soars" [11/24/10] "Even amid the most turbulent economic conditions since the Great Depression, US corporate profits are at an all time high, according to a Tuesday report [PDF link] by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. At the same time, America's poor and middle classes are under siege, with a mostly stagnant job market that has shown only marginal signs of improvement. In spite of meager growth in some sectors, the real unemployment rate remains high, at approximately 1 in 5 Americans. Yet for seven fiscal quarters running -- since President Obama's election -- American corporate profits have shown strong growth. According to a New York Times analysis, Q3 2010 saw the largest corporate profits in recorded US history, at $1.66 trillion. [...]"  

"Germany gets rid of national service" [11/23/10]  "Germany has decided to suspend its system of military conscription. Up to now, all young German men have been required to serve, unless they were medically unfit or conscientious objectors. The German military will now switch to an all-volunteer military service from July next year, when the army will be cut from 250,000 to about 185,000 soldiers. [...]" 

"Pentagon, Military Actively War Gaming ‘Large Scale Economic Breakdown’ and ‘Civil Unrest’" [11/23/10] "The majority of Americans believe that recent government intervention into financial markets, the economy and corporate insolvency has reversed the economic downturn which was described by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson as being “on the brink” in 2008. The stimulus, bailouts and unrelenting quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve have thus far been perceived as having averted the further erosion of the U.S. real estate and equities markets. And though the Federal Reserve and economic analysts have recently readjusted their economic growth forecasts downward for the next six months, Americans no longer have to worry about, as Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) said on the house floor in October of 2008, the sky falling, multi-thousand point drops in stock markets and martial law in America. The recovery - if our government, the Federal Reserve and mainstream media are to be believed - is on the road to recovery - albeit slowly and with some more pain ahead. If we’ve “prevented economic collapse” and “avoided the depression many feared,” according to President Obama, inquiring minds are asking why the Pentagon and US Military are actively and aggressively engaged in planning responsive action to large scale economic breakdown and civil unrest scenarios: [...]"   

Commentary: "TSA now needs false flag security incident to convince Americans to accept obscene pat-downs" [11/22/10] "With the grassroots backlash over the TSA's obscene pat-downs growing by the day, it's becoming fairly obvious that the only way the U.S. government is going to get the public to accept these Fourth Amendment violations is if there is another "terrorist incident" that's stopped by the TSA and its naked body scanners. So far, the TSA is molesting children, teens and grannies without being able to demonstrate that this gross violation of Americans' Fourth Amendment rights is having any effect whatsoever on improving air travel safety. But if there's anything to be learned from 9/11, it's that the sheeple are always willing to give up their rights if they can be scared into doing so.  [...]"  See the new BIG NEWS page above, "Battle for Control of Society", at the top of this panel for related stories . 

NZ: "Grey crime wave puts pressure on courts, jails" [11/22/10] "Arrests of pensioners are soaring as an influx of elderly inmates creates new problems for prisons. It is being dubbed the "grey crime wave" or the rise of the "Saga lout". The prison system, already... [...]"  

"March of the Euro police: The shocking powers of prosecution the EU has" [11/22/10] "The full extent of the police and criminal prosecution powers that the European Union has over British citizens can be revealed today. A Mail on Sunday investigation has uncovered an alarming array of new EU controls over justice and home affairs for which no one has voted, and most are unknown to the public. These include: * Europol, the £60 million-a-year European criminal intelligence agency, whose officers have diplomatic immunity. * An 800-strong paramilitary police force called the European Gendarmerie Force. * The European Arrest Warrant, which now allows British citizens to be seized in the UK and sent without appeal to foreign jails for months or years without bail while awaiting trial. [...]"  

Trends: "Calif. cities move to license industrial marijuana growing operations" [11/21/10] "As numerous cities get set to levy voter-approved taxes on medical marijuana retailers, some municipalities in Northern California are already moving aggressively toward creating government-sanctioned marijuana farms to help supply them.  Cities hope to rake in even more tax revenue from medical marijuana cultivation, which has remained in the shadows although it has been legal in the state since 1996. On Monday, Oakland will begin the application process for four permits to run industrial-scale marijuana farms within city limits. In Berkeley, a successful ballot measure to allow medical pot cultivation in industrial zones has would-be growers scrambling to score scarce real estate. Farther north, the Sonoma County wine country town of Sebastopol passed an ordinance Tuesday allowing for the creation of two large gardens for medical marijuana dispensaries, and two more "collective" gardens where patients could grow their own. [...] The City Council over the summer authorized four permits for large-scale growing. The permits would not set limits on the amount of pot that could be grown, but growers would have to implement environmental protections, security, labor standards, transparent finances and inventory tracking. Permit holders would have to pay an annual $211,000 fee as well as a special higher tax rate levied on marijuana businesses by the city. About 300 individuals and groups have expressed interest in obtaining cultivation or dispensary permits, city records show.[...] "  

  Canada: "US Steel locks out Hamilton, Ontario workers" [11/21/10] "US Steel’s wholesale attack on its Hamilton workers’ retirement plan is part of an employer offensive that has seen companies across Canada gut pension plans that were won through decades of struggle. [...]"   

Commentary: "America In Decline: A Society In Denial" [11/20/10] "During the 1950s and 1960s, the United States was the richest and most envied country in the world. It was also unrivaled as the world's manufacturing powerhouse. Americans proudly regarded their country is a model, and many people around the world agreed. Today, the US is still the world's largest economy and pre-eminent military power, and it's still a country of great resources and wealth. But things have changed tremendously over the past half century. [...]"  

"Tent Cities, Homelessness And Soul-Crushing Despair: The Legacy Of Decades Of Government Debt And Mismanagement Of The Economy" [11/20/10] " For decades, our politicians have been deeply addicted to government debt, they have stood idly by as millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas and they have passed countless business-crushing regulations and they never thought that it would catch up with us. Well, it has. America has been living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world, and now that bubble is starting to pop. There has never been such an extended period of unemployment in the United States since the Great Depression, and millions of Americans are losing their homes. Homelessness is skyrocketing, tent cities are popping up everywhere and countless numbers of American families are experiencing the soul-crushing despair that comes from desperately trying to hang on for month after month after month. Now, because of the horrific hole that our politicians have dug for us, we are faced with some heartbreaking choices. For example, right now the U.S. Congress is deciding whether or not to extend long-term unemployment benefits for the nation’s jobless. Extending those benefits through the end of February would add another $12.5 billion to the U.S. national debt. But not doing it would cut off the only lifeline that many Americans have just in time for the holidays. The extension of jobless benefits that was passed last summer expires on December 1st. If these long-term benefits are not renewed, approximately 2 million unemployed Americans will lose their checks. [...]"   

Commentary:  "Economic and Social Crisis in America: FDR Wasn't FDR ... Until His Hand Was Forced By Civil Disobedience" [11/20/10] "Progressives are disappointed that - contrary to the hype - Obama is no FDR. But FDR himself wasn't who we think of as FDR until he was forced by protests, strikes and other forms of civil disobedience. As historian Howard Zinn wrote in March 2008: In 1934, early in the Roosevelt Presidency, strikes broke out all over the country, including a general strike in Minneapolis, a general strike in San Francisco, hundreds of thousands on strike in the textile mills of the South. Unemployed councils formed all over the country. Desperate people were taking action on their own, defying the police to put back the furniture of evicted tenants, and creating self-help organizations with hundreds of thousands of members. Without a national crisis—economic destitution and rebellion—it is not likely the Roosevelt Administration would have instituted the bold reforms that it did. [...] The obstacles are a kind of resignation that things will go on as before. That's always the obstacle to change. The obstacle to change is not that people don't want change. People want change. But most of the time, people feel impotent. However, at certain points in history, the energy level of people, the indignation level of people rises. And at that point it becomes possible for people to organize and to agitate and to educate one another, and to create an atmosphere in which the government must do something. I'm thinking of the 1930s; I'm thinking of Franklin D. Roosevelt coming into office not really a crusader. the whole left-versus-right thing is just a distraction trick. It's really the American people versus the giant bankers, captains of the military-industrial complex, and handful of others who are benefiting by shafting the average American."   

Exposé "NYC subway signal inspections falsified, shocking investigation finds" [11/20/10] "It’s a disaster waiting to happen.  NYC Transit supervisors falsified thousands of vital signal inspections across the subway system for years, leaving straphangers at risk for deadly collisions like the one that killed nine people in Washington, D.C., The Post has learned. Across every line in every borough, a cabal of managers in the signal department forced maintainers to fib on the inspections by threatening them with punishment like loss of overtime, according to a sweeping investigation by the MTA Inspector General. At least one high-level chief, Tracy Bowdwin — the MTA’s highest earning signal department supervisor at $165,000-a-year — was demoted in the fallout, and managers are still being questioned, transit sources said.  [...]"  

"Audit finds fault with courthouse security" [11/20/10] "An audit of government efforts to protect more than 400 federal courthouses in 12 judicial districts nationwide says there are weaknesses not only among the court security officers assigned to keep guns, contraband and other prohibited items out but in the oversight of the courts' security programs and systems. In a report, the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General was critical of efforts by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) to oversee the protection of federal courthouses in six judicial districts, noting that the chief judges in three districts expressed concerns about the physical security of their courthouses. [...]"  

"Campaign Contributions Senators Alleged to Have Received to Support S-510" [11/20/10] "The following is a list of U.S Senators and the Bribes (I mean campaign contributions) that these Senators received from Special Interest Groups to either support or opposed S.510 - The FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act. I have listed the names of the Senators, the Party and State, and the amount of Special Interest Bribes (I mean campaign contributions) that they received: Name of Senator - Party & State - Bribe For S.510 or Bribe Against S.510 [...]"     Related: "Senate bill S 510 vote imminent – procedural vote passes 74-25" [11/19/10] [Who voted Y or N, so far)    Related: "Senate Bill 510: The Declaration Of Dependence" [11/18/10] "The Senate Bill 510, or as its curiously referred to, the “Food Safety Modernization Act” is scheduled to see a vote as early as today (Wednesday November the 17th). However the bill is not as harmless as it may seem based on its name alone. If given the green light this bill will effectively and exclusively place the right to grow, trade, transport and share food firmly in the grasp of the Federal Government. In very real terms the passage of this bill amounts to the signing of the Declaration of Dependence.  [...]"  Note Video clip  [4:00] "Senate Votes Cloture On S 510 – Must Now Be Voted On In 60 Days"   "By a vote of 74 to 25, at noon today, the U.S. Senate voted for cloture on S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, which means it must now be voted on in the full Senate within 60 days. All amendments to the controversial food control bill must be completed by that time. One of S-510′s supporters, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, opposed cloture because modifications to the bill do not reflect its original intent, he said on C-SPAN. Chambliss fully supports giving the FDA more power over the US food supply, but is unhappy with the Manager’s Amendment submitted in August. He objects to the small farm exclusion on the grounds that the $500,000 annual gross revenue limit is an arbitrary number that is too quickly reached by small farms. He called for numerous amendments to the bill as it appears today.  [...]"   

"Unemployment Extension Defeated In House" [11/19/10] "The House of Representatives on Thursday voted down a measure that would have reauthorized extended unemployment insurance for another three months, leaving no clear path forward to prevent the benefits from lapsing as scheduled on Nov. 30. Without a reauthorization, the Labor Department estimates that two million long-term unemployed will prematurely stop receiving benefits before the end of the year. "I think it's a sad moment," said Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) after the vote. "It appalls me that the Republicans keep pitching and pitching and pitching the tax cuts for the rich and won't join in a bill to help people keep their homes and not have to live in their cars." The bill was brought to the floor under a "suspension of the rules," meaning it required approval from two-thirds of the House. It failed 258 to 154, with mostly Democratic support. Twenty-one Republicans voted in favor and 11 Democrats voted nay. [...]"  NoteUnconscionable ... 258 idiots deserve to be hung on the capitol steps. "No More Mr Nice Govt"  Charles McGrath   [3:40]  

Legal Case"City Can't Blame Parents for Children's Crimes" [11/19/10] "A "parental responsibility ordinance" in Davenport, Iowa, violates the constitutional rights of parents by assuming their children's crimes stem from bad parenting, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled. The Iowa Supreme Court noted that the occurrence of a juvenile crime does not necessarily mean a parent was negligent.  "Long ago, we realized that things happen absent a person's negligence," Justice David Wiggins wrote. "For this reason, we do not permit a fact finder to presume a person's negligence merely because some incident occurred." He added, "Accordingly, we hold the provisions of the ordinance creating the presumption are arbitrary and irrational and violate the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution." The state high court severed the unconstitutional portion from the rest of the ordinance and sent the case back to the lower court. [...]"   

"Pennsylvania high court outlaws 'ban on public comment' at City Council meetings" [11/19/10] "Let the people speak! So ruled the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday, outlawing City Council's ban on public comments at regular Council meetings. The court ruled, 4-3, that Council was in violation of the state's 1993 Sunshine Act, which requires "a reasonable opportunity" for residents and taxpayers at meetings "to comment on matters of concern, official action or deliberation which are or may be before the board or council prior to taking official action." [...]"   

"US High School readers below '90 level" [11/19/10] "The National Assessment of Educational Progress, called the Nation's Report Card, tested 52,000 students in reading and 49,000 in math across 1,670 school districts in 2009. Students scored an average of 288 out of 500 points in reading comprehension, two points above the 2005 score but still below the 1992 average of 292. Thirty-eight percent of 12th-grade students were classified as at or above the "proficient" level, while 74 percent were considered at or above "basic." [...]"  

Legal Case"Vicious Scam Targets Old-Timers, AZ AG Says" [11/19/10] "An Arizona man and his Tempe-based companies use "scare tactics" on old people to sell them a $400 "service" that they don't need and couldn't use if they did, plus a monthly "service charge," for which they get "nothing," the Arizona attorney general says. The state seeks damages and an injunction against Nathan Mooers, EMT Medical, and Life Secure U.S.A. [...]" 

"Nearly 40% say marriage is becoming obsolete" [11/19/10] "US Census data reflect a declining percentage of married adults: 54% in 2010, down from 57% in 2000 and 72% in 1960. At the same time, the median age at first marriage increased in 2010 to its highest ever — 28.2 for men and 26.1 for women, according to Census. That's up from 26.8 and 25.1 in 2000. Among those ages 25-34, the percentage of those who are married fell below unmarried for the first time in more than a century. [...]"  

"6 Million Benefit-Paying Jobs Vanish in One Year" [11/19/10] "Based on population growth, and even factoring in the number of retirees, the US should have gained about 1 million jobs. Analysis of weekly unemployment data and covered employees shows that 5,977,844 benefit-paying jobs have been lost in the last year. [...] More than 8 million benefit-paying jobs have vanished since the 2008 peak. "  

"13 Colleges That Leave Students In Massive Debt" [11/19/10] "According to a recent report from the Project on Student Debt, the average 2009 college graduate with $24,000 in debt -- an increase of six percent from the prior year. Using Peterson's data, the report also researched which colleges leave the students in most debt. Some schools, like the Cleveland Institute of Art, average more than $60,000 worth of debt per student. See the 13 schools that leave students in the most debt below.  [...]"   

"One family's plunge from the middle class into poverty" [11/19/10] "Chrissanda Walker's bourbon-glazed chicken is just out of the oven. The bread pudding is finished. The collard greens worry her, though; she doesn't want to overcook them. Walker looks at the clock. It's 10 a.m. She's been on her feet since 6. Walker used to make $100,000 a year as a nursing home executive until she lost her job a year and a half ago. Unable to find a new one, she shed her business suits and high heels and put on an apron and soft-soled shoes. This year, she and her daughter are living on $11,000: her unemployment benefits plus whatever she can earn selling home-cooked dinners for $10 apiece. [...]" 

"New York City slashes budget, cuts thousands of jobs" [11/19/10] "The city plans to lay off 6,201 employees over the next 18 months, Mayor Bloomberg disclosed today as he released an updated four-year financial plan." [...]"   

"Chinese woman given 1 year hard labor for Tweet deemed to 'disturb social order' " [11/19/10] "A Chinese woman has been sentenced to a year in a labor camp after she re-tweeted a Twitter post that mocked anti-Japanese protesters, according to human rights groups. A court on Monday convicted Cheng Jianping, 46, of "disturbing social order" after she added a few words to a message written by her fiancé, Hua Chunhui, Amnesty International said Wednesday. Activist group Chinese Human Rights Defenders on Thursday that confirmed Cheng, whose Twitter username is "wangyi09", had been jailed in the central province of Henan. AFP calls to the provincial court were not answered. On October 17, Cheng added the phrase "Angry youth, charge!" before re-tweeting Hua's message that mocked Chinese anti-Japanese protesters who had smashed Japanese products over a maritime dispute between the two countries, Amnesty said. [...]"  Note Sequentialization run amok.

"Woman Sues Debt Collectors Over Alleged Facebook Harassment" [11/19/10] "A Florida woman who fell behind on her car payments is suing the company she claims has been using Facebook to contact her family members in a campaign to embarrass and intimidate her into paying the debt. When Melanie Beacham of St. Petersburg had to take a medical leave of absence from her job this summer, she alerted the company, Mark One Financial, that she would likely fall behind on her monthly $362 car payments, her attorney told The Huffington Post. Two months later, the attorney said, Mark One representatives began calling Beacham up to 20 times a day and contacting her cousin and sister on Facebook. The plaintiff's court filings allege that on July 30, a Mark One representative using the pseudonym "Jeff Happenstance" sent a message to Beacham's cousin asking him to have Beacham call a phone number that leads to a debt collection agent at Mark One. Beacham said the company also contacted her sister, who lives in Georgia. [...]"    Related:  "Debt collectors using Facebook to stalk and humilate" [11/18/10] "It’s not just friends that are noticing your status updates on Facebook. Debt collectors are now combing through social networks to learn about the lives of those who owe them money in order to embarrass them into paying up.  [...]"   

Legal Case: "Lorillard Tobacco Smoking Hot Over 'Newprot' Synthetic Marijuana" [11/19/10] "Four companies that sell "synthetic marijuana substitute" cigarettes under the "Newprot" label violate the famous "Newport" trademark and trade dress, Lorillard Tobacco claims. The smokes the defendants sell as "potpourri herbal blends" or "herbal incense" are known on the street as Spice or K2. They are sprayed with drugs that mimic THC, an active ingredient in marijuana, according to the federal complaint. [...]"    

"The 25 Countries That Will Be Screwed By A World Food Crisis" [11/18/10] "Japanese investment bank Nomura produced a research report detailing the countries that would be crushed in a food crisis. We've got the top 25 countries in danger here and the list, including a major financial center, may surprise you. [...]"   Related: "Food prices may rise by up to 20% in 2011, warns UN"  "The UN today warned that food prices could rise by 10%-20% next year after poor harvests and an expected rundown of global reserves. More than 70 African and Asian countries will be the worst hit, said the Food and Agricultural Organisation in its monthly report. In its gloomiest forecast  since the 2007/08 food crisis, which saw food riots in more than 25 countries and 100 million extra hungry people, the report's authors urged states to prepare for hardship. "Countries must remain vigilant against supply shocks," the report warned. "Consumers may have little choice but to pay higher prices for their food. The size of next year's harvest becomes increasingly critical. For stocks to be replenished and prices to return to more normal levels, large production expansions are needed in 2011." Prices of wheat, maize and many other foods traded internationally have risen by up to 40% in just a few months. Sugar, butter and cassava prices are at 30-year highs, and meat and fish are both significantly more expensive than last year. [...]"  

"UK Authorities close down anti-police blog" [11/18/10] "Scotland Yard has forced the closure of an anti-police blog which was being used to disseminate advice to protesters pictured at the student fees demonstration. The website Fitwatch was suspended after the its hosting company received contact from C011, the Metropolitan's public order branch, stating that the blog was "being used to undertake criminal activities". The move appears to have taken place after a blog posted on the website gave guidance to students who feared they might be arrested for their involvement in the occupation of the Millbank office complex, which  houses the Tory party headquarters. A largely peaceful march against the proposed increase in tuition fees turned violent on Wednesday when a  minority of the 50,000 students targeted Millbank. Around 200 entered the building and some accessed the roof. During a period of rioting, windows  and furniture were smashed and, in the most serious act of violence, a fire extinguisher was thrown towards police from the roof. The Fitwatch blogpost, which last night had reappeared on several other websites, recommended that students "get rid" of clothes they wore at the  demonstration and change their appearance. "Perhaps now is a good time for a makeover," said the post. "Get a haircut and colour, grow a beard,  wear glasses. It isn't a guarantee, but may help throw them off the scent." Hours later, the Met's "e-crime unit" informed Fitwatch's website  hosting service – JustHost.com – that the blog was being used to attempt to pervert the course of justice by providing guidance to "offenders". [...]"   

"Searching Your Laptop" [11/17/10] "Federal courts have long agreed that federal agents guarding the borders do not need a warrant or probable cause to search a traveler’s belongings. That exception to the Fourth Amendment needs updating and tightening to reflect the realities of the digital age. The government has a sovereign right and responsibility to secure the borders. The recent discovery of two powerful package bombs being shipped to the United States is a reminder of the many dangers out there. There is also a big difference between government agents scanning items for explosives or looking through a suitcase full of clothing, and searching through the hard drive of a laptop computer containing work papers, financial records, e-mail messages and Web site visits.  [...] The American Civil Liberties Union has now filed a lawsuit challenging the policy on behalf of press photographers, criminal defense attorneys and a doctoral student in Islamic studies whose laptop was searched and confiscated this spring. Congress should not wait for resolution of the case. It should approve legislation along the lines of the Travelers’ Privacy Protection Act proposed two years ago in the Senate. It would have confined border laptop searches involving American citizens and residents to situations where agents have a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity and require a higher standard of probable cause and a warrant or court order when a laptop is held for more than 24 hours. The measure also set strict limits on disclosure and sharing of information from devices seized at the border and requires the Department of Homeland Security to report regularly to Congress and the public on its search policies and practices. The Senate bill’s leading sponsor, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, was defeated in this month’s election. His three Democratic co-sponsors — Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Maria Cantwell of Washington — should press the issue in the new Senate. The challenge, as ever, is to strike a balance that grants sufficient leeway to protect the nation’s borders without allowing the intimate details of people’s lives and work to be searched, seized and copied on a whim. [...] "  

  US Politics: "Medicare for All Co-Sponsors Returned to Congress by Big Margins" [11/17/10] "Of the 88 co-sponsors of HR 676, the Medicare for All bill in the 103rd Congress, 81 ran for another term in Congress. One ran for Governor of Hawaii. 79 of the 81 were re-elected to Congress by large margins. The candidate for Governor also won. Hawaii and Vermont now have Governors who support single payer health care. The Blue Dog Democrats, like Jason Altmire, who worked in committee to water down the healthcare bill and block the public option lost over half of their seats. 28 of 54 Blue Dogs were defeated. 4th CD Congressman Altmire who worked in committee to gut the health care bill and then voted against it was re-elected by a margin of less than 2%. All of the Democrats who voted against extending unemployment benefits for victims of the recession caused by the criminal bankers were defeated. Of the 69 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) 66 were re-elected to Congress [...]"  

"Looming Medicare cuts "catastrophic" for seniors" [11/16/10] "Looming cuts in Medicare payments to doctors could cause a “catastrophic” drop in health care services to seniors unless Congress approves a 13-month, $15.4 billion temporary fix this month, the president of the American Medical Association said Monday in San Diego. The pay cut scheduled to take effect Dec. 1 would reduce Medicare physician payments by 23 percent for the rest of the year and an additional 1.9 percent beginning in January. If the cuts are implemented, some doctors may be forced to limit the number of Medicare patients they see or face going out of business, said AMA President Dr. Cecil Wilson. [...]"   Related:  ProPublica: "1 in 7 Hospitalized Medicare Beneficiaries Harmed by Care"  "One out of every seven hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries experiences an “adverse event,” which means the patient is harmed as a result of medical care. That’s according to a study released today by the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general. The “adverse events” contribute to an estimated 15,000 patient deaths each month and add at least $4.4 billion to the government’s annual Medicare expenses, the report projected. These findings were based on a nationally representative random sample taken from the nearly 1 million Medicare beneficiaries discharged from hospitals in October 2008. The report’s findings were “consistent with previous studies” but “nonetheless disturbing,” Carolyn Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, said in a written response to the report. [...]"    

"Clothing Costs Rise on `Terrifying' Cotton Prices" [11/16/10] "Gap Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and other U.S. retailers may have to pay Chinese suppliers as much as 30 percent more for clothes as surging cotton prices boost costs. “It’s a little terrifying to deal with cotton suppliers now,” said Vicky Wu, a sales manager at Suzhou Unitedtex Enterprise Ltd., a closely held, Jiangsu province-based clothes maker that counts Gap and J.C. Penney among its clients. Cotton futures in China have surged more than 70 percent this year and were at a record earlier as the global economy emerged from recession, allowing people to spend more on clothes. Production of the fiber in China, the world’s biggest user and importer, is forecast to lag behind demand for a 12th year, cutting its stockpile to the smallest since 1995, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  [...]" 

"Overseas student numbers in US surge" [11/16/10] "A record 690,923 international students are studying at colleges and universities in the United States, with a greater influx of students from China, the US State Department said Monday. [...]"  

"Border Patrol Agents Accused of Vile Behavior in Arizona Raid" [11/16/10] "More than 50 heavily armed federal agents burst into a home of sleeping women and children, hurling "ear-piercing insults;" they descended from helicopters, taunted the undressed women with sexual remarks, sexually accosted one, "utterly destroyed" the home and stole items from it before leaving hours later - without making an arrest, the four women and their nine children and grandchildren claim in Federal Court. One woman "was taken to a car, where a border patrolman sexually accosted her," the complaint states. [...]"   

"USA: 13% of households struggling with hunger" [11/16/10] "Some 17.4 million US households struggled to get enough food to eat last year because money was tight, the US Department of Agriculture said Monday. In more than a third of those households -- around one in eight US homes -- at least one person did not get enough to eat at some time during the year and normal eating patterns were disrupted. Hardest hit by hunger were urban households with children headed by single parents and African American and Hispanic households, the USDA said in a report. While the number of hungry people was deemed too high for the affluent United States, the report found that it had held steady from the previous year, thanks in large part to government-funded food assistance programs. The number of people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- formerly called food stamps -- rose by about 5.3 million people a month in 2009 compared to the previous year, the report said. [...]" 

‘Fusion Centers’ Gather Terrorism Intelligence – and much more [11/16/10] "...The centers, which have received $426 million in federal funding since 2004, were designed as an early warning system against the next attack. Lately, amid the recent uptick in homegrown plots, the Homeland Security Department has been touting fusion centers as a means of thwarting domestic terrorism. But it turns out that homegrown terrorism pales in frequency and fatalities compared with typical street crime, so many of the centers have begun collecting and distributing criminal intelligence, even of the most mundane kind. [...]"   

 Trends"Poll: Most British would allow euthanasia" [11/16/10] " Two-thirds of Britons endorse legalizing euthanasia, and most say those who help others commit suicide should not be prosecuted, a survey issued Monday found. [...]"  

MD: "Police officers arrested in Prince George county corruption crackdown" [11/16/10] "The shadow of corruption over Prince George's County government widened Monday with indictments against three county police officers and others on charges of trafficking bootleg cigarettes, alcohol and cocaine, just days after County Executive Jack B. Johnson's arrest on charges of trying to conceal tens thousands of dollars payoffs from a developer.  The latest round of charges accuse Amrik Singh Melhi, 51, who owns several liquor stores in the area, of paying police officers to help ship untaxed alcohol and cigarettes in Maryland and Virginia. Among those charged in that case were Prince George's Police Sergeant Richard Delabrer and Corporal Chong Chin Kim, officials said.  The indictment seeks the forfeiture of $3.5 million, 25 properties, 13 vehicles and money from 84 bank accounts that authorities say they traced to the crimes.  In a separate indictment made public Monday, authorties charged Prince George's police officer Sinisa Simic of cocaine trafficking.  On Friday, Mr. Johnson was charged with witness tampering and destruction of evidence in an long-running federal investigation into bribes paid by real estate developers to county officials. Mr. Johnson, who has said he's innocent of the charges, were released pending trial, with Mr. Johnson under electronic monitoring. There's no indication that the cases involving the police officers and Mr. Johnson are related, but the latest indictments come just days after U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein in Maryland said following Mr. Johnson's arrest to expect more charges. [...]" 

"Social worker who raped teen in courthouse to face prison after all" [11/16/10] "New Yorkers were outraged to discover last month that a 15-year-old girl who was raped by a social worker inside a courthouse got a stiffer sentence for lying to police than the social worker got for rape.  Now, a Manhattan judge says she plans to reject the plea deal struck between prosecutors and Tony "Tyson" Simmons, a juvenile counselor who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three underage girls. Tyson's guilty plea had garnered him 10 years of probation and no prison time. That angered "Ashley," a 20-year-old New Yorker who was 15 when Simmons raped her in a Manhattan courthouse basement as she awaited trial for lying to police about an assault against her. Ashley was sentenced to 12 months in prison. "I got 12 months for a falsified police report and he got probation for raping me and the others," Ashley told the New York Daily News. "It's just ridiculous." An editorial in the Daily News called it "a travesty gross enough to make a blind statue cry." New York Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen appears to agree. The judge on Monday rejected the plea deal, telling Simmons she will sentence him to three years in prison if he formally accepts the deal, which includes an admission of guilt. [...]"   

UK: Britain to introduce "Happiness Index" [11/15/10] "Britain will introduce a "happiness index" to gauge its population's psychological and environmental wellbeing, a government source told the Guardian newspaper Monday. Prime Minister David Cameron will ask the Office of National Statistics to prepare methods which will measure the "general wellbeing" despite reservations about the timing. "The aim is to produce a fresh set of data ... to be published at a frequency to be decided that assesses the psychological and physical wellbeing of people around the UK," the source told the paper. "That's objective measurements of, for instance, how much recycling gets done around the UK, alongside more subjective measures of psychology and attitudes." [...]"  Note:  Gee, do you think there's any resentment out there with the British public? Plenty of it, I would say.

"Oklahoma to use animal drugs to execute humans" [11/15/10] "Faced with a national shortage of a key drug used for lethal injections, Oklahoma now hopes to turn to an anesthetic used to put down animals and is awaiting a court ruling on the issue. For months now, several US states have struggled to find supplies of sodium thiopental -- [...]"   

Concepts and Practices: "There Is No Generalized 'Right' to Bodily and Physical Health"  [11/14/10]  "The proposition that one does not have an unqualified ownership in his or her person is not new. In his dissent in the 1905 case, Lochner v. New York, Justice Harlan voted to uphold a state statute regulating the hours that people could work in bakeries. Long hours, he reasoned, “may endanger the health and shorten the lives of the workmen, thereby diminishing their physical and mental capacity to serve the state. . .” [italics added].  Because the state is defined as an entity that enjoys a monopoly on the use of violence within a given territory, the idea that individuals have any rightful claim to immunity from such violence would, of necessity, be a limitation on such monopoly power. This is what underlies the current debate over TSA powers to photograph and grope the most personal parts of our bodies: to forcefully remind us of our subservience to the state, which is entitled to do to us anything it chooses. One saw this same principle carried out in Nazi concentration camps, in which prisoners (particularly women) were stripped naked — and, in many cases, shorn of their hair — as leering German officers performed their own versions of “body-scanning.” It was such dehumanizing practices, concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl informs us, that were the most difficult to bear. Like the military practice of shaving the heads of new recruits, the state must strip people of any sense of individuality and personality if it is to maintain its monopolistic power over them. THIS, not the bogeyman of the “terrorist,” is the purpose behind the very existence — as well as the current practices — of the TSA. As the Nazis and Soviets made known to the world, totalitarian power is achieved only by forcefully subduing individual claims to self-ownership! On the brighter side of all this, the state’s denial of our self-ownership also undercuts the raison d’etre of modern political systems. If, as we were indoctrinated in schools, governments were created by a “social contract” designed to protect our lives, the state’s claim to its existence evaporates. If we have no claims of self-ownership to protect, there is a “failure of consideration” (as we lawyers like to say) that makes any purported “contract” a nullity! [...]" 

UK"British Police Commissioner Voices "Need" to Randomly Test Drivers for Impairment" [11/14/10] "All drivers face random drink and drug tests under new powers being requested by the police. [...]" 

Concepts and Practices: "Face crime" [11/14/10] "The 120 men and women were attending the International First Responder-Military Symposium, held at Hilbert College, a small “Franciscan tradition” place of learning. Not that St. Francis would have been interested in a military symposium, but if he’d been able to attend, he’d have heard all about a new technology that will help identify and track “terrorists.” A lot of very disparate people have been tagged with that term of late. But this new tech may well be the final icing on the cake. It’s a computer program that trawls phone conversations, emails, and social networking sites looking for any signs of resentment of the government. [...]"  Note Brutalize and terrorize an entire population with post Neo-Con thuggery for a decade, and then act surprised when people resent it? How would they know the resentment they 'detect' isn't resentment of something else entirely? They don't. It's a fraudulent , faulty premise. The people who think they're in charge are the ones who are sociopaths, at the very least.  Related:  "Spy cameras spreading rapidly in NYC"  "New York City is almost halfway to its goal of installing 3,000 surveillance cameras, police say. The Police Department announced the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative five years ago as a proposed web of cameras, license-plate readers and radiation detectors.  [...]"   

Trends"Penny-pinching consumers cutting cable, cell service" [11/14/10] "Generic brands, brown-bag lunches, and fewer trips to the beauty salon are three of the top ways U.S. consumers are looking to save money, according to a recent survey. Look a little further down the list, though, and you'll find that more and more Americans are also cutting back on their cable TV and cell phone service. A recent Harris Interactive survey found that a good 22 percent of consumers either scaled back their cable service or canceled it completely in the last six months, and an additional 21 percent gave the idea serious thought. [...]   Related: "American shoppers: thrift is back in style" Video clip [2:21]  

"Bill would send $250 to S.S. recipients" [11/14/10] "A one-time $250 payment to Social Security recipients is on the agenda for the U.S. House of Representatives' lame-duck session, a Democrat says. [...]"  

"More States May Drop Out of Medicaid Program, Throwing Millions on Scrapheap" [11/14/10] "Two days ago, we reported that South Carolina is planning to drop its Medicaid program, cutting off nearly a million of its citizens from access to medical care. Today's New York Times reports that Texas and up to a dozen other states, are considering dropping out of the federal Medicaid program. [...] The bottom line: These cuts are intended to do what they will do: reduce "consumption" of health care by killing people."  

UK"Workfare to be imposed in Britain" [11/14/10] "Britain is being subjected to a savage programme of social engineering, designed to create an economy where millions work for much less than the present £5.93 an hour minimum wage. [...]" 

"Growing signs of renewed debt crisis in Europe" [11/14/10] "The rapidly developing European economic crisis is coupled by the deliberate attempt to force the working class to pay the price for the bailout of the banks. [...]"  Related:  "After the elections, New York Democrats step up attacks on state workers"  "Following his election as governor of the state of New York, Democrat Andrew Cuomo has wasted no time in making clear that he plans to make the working class pay for the economic crisis. [...]"  

UKBig Brother society is bigger than ever: New technology is ‘undermining privacy by stealth’ [11/13/10] "The march of Britain’s ‘Surveillance Society’ was exposed last night in a devastating report. Experts warned that a raft of new technologies were intruding ever further into private lives. And legal protections were struggling to keep up with the ‘Big Brother’ onslaught, the Surveillance Studies Network said. The academics praised the Coalition for ditching ID cards and some state databases but they identified a string of threats including: [...]"   

"Democrat vows to repeal 1099 filing rule from healthcare law" [11/13/10] "A leading Senate Democrat vowed Friday to introduce legislation killing a part of the new healthcare reform law that imposes new tax-filing requirements on small businesses. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee and a leading architect of the reform law, said a provision requiring businesses to report more purchases to the IRS will impose undue paperwork burdens on companies amid an economic downturn when they can least afford it. [...]"  

"Texas officials covered up dangerously radioactive tap water for years" [11/12/10] "Texas officials charged with protecting the environment and public health have for years made arbitrary subtractions to the measured levels of radiation delivered by water utilities across the state, according to a series of investigative reports out of Houston.  [...]"  

Legal Case"Life sentence for scare death" [11/12/10] "A bank robbery suspect whom authorities accused of scaring an elderly woman to death after hiding in her home has been sentenced to life in prison.  Larry Whitfield, 22, and another man tried to rob a Gastonia, North Carolina, credit union in September 2009.  Whitfield forced his way into the home of Mary Parnell, 79, to elude police. Police say Whitfield forced Parnell to sit in a chair and soon left the house.  An autopsy report said Parnell died of a heart attack brought on by "stress during home invasion". [...]"  Note Now that this precedent has been established, when the government chooses to psychologically terrorize the population as a means to an end, they are liable for the death of those who succumb due to the applied stress. Also, POLICE are now liable for causing stress related deaths when they invade the wrong house, etc ....

PA: "Ex-cop gets 2 to 4 years for forced sex with inmate" [11/12/10] "A former Philadelphia police officer who admitted forcing a female prisoner into a sex act was sentenced this morning to two to four years in prison. [...]"  NoteWhere he'll ponder how much it was worth the experience.

PA:  Game warden slain; was probing poaching   "A Pennsylvania Game Commission officer investigating possible poaching was shot and killed late last night in what the commission says was the first slaying of an officer on duty in almost a century. . [...]"  

"EPA Proposes Ethanol Blend Warning Labels" [11/12/10] "Gas stations may sell gasoline with up to 15 percent ethanol content as long as the pumps distributing the gas have warning labels that clearly indicate the "E-15" fuel should only be used in vehicles of model year 2007 or newer, according to regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The labels would tell consumers what the maximum amount of ethanol allowed in a fuel mixture is, what vehicles the fuel is approved for use in, a warning of the potential damage that might occur from using the fuel mixture and a warning that using the fuel in vehicles not approved by the EPA is prohibited. The agency is seeking public comments on the proposed rules and will hold public hearing for those wishing to testify on the proposed rules. [...]"   

 UKAgents Provocateurs Turn Tuition Protest Into Violent Melee Kurt Nimmo [11/12/10]  Video clip  [2:25]   "Once again, dispatched agents provocateurs have turned a peaceful protest into a property- destroying circus sideshow. “It was supposed to be a day of peaceful protest, with students exercising their democratic right to demonstrate against soaring university fees,” reports the Daily Mail. “But anarchists hijacked the event, setting off the most violent scenes of student unrest seen in Britain for decades. Militants from far-Left groups whipped up a mix of middle-class students and younger college and school pupils into a frenzy.”  Back in the day, anarchists would have criticized the very idea of state-run universities and would have denounced the act of stealing money from one segment of society to pay the tuition of another. Now balaclava-clad anarchists are the vanguard of those resentful of the fact the free lunch is over and the state cannot afford to continue this educational boondoggle. So called anarchists apparently no longer support the philosophy that the authority of the state has no place in conduct of human relations, including education. Anarchism today translates into mindless property destruction by dim-witted hooligans. It is used as justification by the state to attack “democratic” protesters and minimize their minor disagreements with the government and its institutions. [...]"    

UK 'Stoning tweet' councilor arrest [11/11/10] "A Conservative Birmingham City councillor has been arrested over allegations he called on Twitter for a female writer to be stoned to death.  Erdington councillor Gareth Compton made the remark about Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on his Twitter page. Police said he had been arrested under the Communications Act 2003 and bailed. He has since apologised. Ms Alibhai-Brown said she found his attitude "loathsome" and that a "flippant apology" was not enough. She had appeared on Radio 5 Live's breakfast show on Wednesday discussing human rights in China. Afterwards, Mr Compton allegedly tweeted: "Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really." Later, he wrote on Twitter that he had not called for the stoning of anybody.  He said: "I made an ill-conceived attempt at humour in response to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on Radio 5. I [apologise] for any offence caused, it was wholly unintentional." The Conservative Party has said his membership has been suspended indefinitely pending further investigation. [...]"  Note Stupid smartass sequential. It is also true that again we observe that social networks are used as a platform to allow the naive to reveal things about themselves, their thoughts, opinions and their life, while at the same time system can uses that information to prosecute them. Sure, it filters out and catches the 'fruitcakes' and the really stupid people, from one perspective, but it also serves as a vehicle for the general criminalization of any behavior or thought at a whim, in the most developed sense. Since the format of any venue in a galaxy game is largely sequential in nature, all this is not unexpected, since it fits their predispositions. Related:  "Karl Rove: Jokes about beheading reporters are funny" "Karl Rove says a reporter who was the victim of a beheading joke should lighten up. The Washington Post's Dana Milbank called out Bill O'Reilly Wednesday for asking if sharia law would allow for his head to be cut off. [...]"  Note: Rove is such a buffoon. 

Concepts and Practices: "New Mexico Massive Deficit: Over 400 State Workers Given Raises" [11/11/10] "While 20,000 state employees have lost two percent of their salaries to five furlough days this year, KOB Eyewitness News 4 has learned that temporary raises are being doled out to hundreds of select state employees.  State officials say these temporary raises have only been given to employees who are taking on more responsibility as a result of the states hiring freeze or are so valuable that losing them would be disastrous to the state. But critics say the pay increases are loopholes to reward a select few.  One source who was wished to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation told KOB certain individuals were receiving 15 percent pay increases during the time when the state was on a salary and hiring freeze. “We have no money to pay these employees, that’s why we’re on furloughs,” said the SPO employee. Despite the freeze, KOB uncovered over 400 temporary salary increases. The state personnel director, Sandra Perez, says by law the state is allowed to give out several types of raises in times of a salary freeze. Temporary salary increases, or TSI’s, are given to state employees who take on additional duties. Temporary Retention Differentials, or TRD’s, are given to keep employees from leaving their jobs for higher paying positions elsewhere. A review of over a thousand pages of requests for salary increases turned up hundreds of TSI’s and TRD’s in at least 29 state agencies. [...] Some of the raises appeared to be clearly justified. At the Department of Public Safety, one officer received a temporary 10 percent salary increase after he assumed the duties of a superior who had been placed on active military duty. But in the same department our investigation found Cabinet Secretary John Denko’s assistant also received a 10 percent raise listing some of her additional duties as “renewing subscriptions for the Albuquerque Journal and New Mexican newspapers,” and “work with Telecommunications Officer for cell phone and Blackberry upgrades for the Cabinet Secretary.”"   

"Huge Anti-Austerity Protest In London" [11/11/10] "Right now, people are on the streets of London protesting increases in tuition fees. The protests have likely expanded to include individuals beyond students, but all against the coalition government's austerity policies. Protesters have invaded the Conservative Party's headquarters, destroying the entrance of the facility. It is estimated more that 50,000 have showed up. MI5 has closed the public entrance to its offices, concerned about protesters approaching it. [...]"   

German people in unprecedented rebellion against government [11/11/10] " Like the Roman legions vanquished in the Teutoburger Wald in Lower Saxony in 9 AD, the 17,000 police officers that marched into the woods around the nuclear storage facility in Gorleben in northern Germany on Sunday morning looked invincible. Police personnel from France, Croatia and Poland had joined in the biggest security operation ever mounted against protestors against the a train carrying nuclear waste to a depot in an isolated part of Lower Saxony’s countryside. Helicopters, water canons and police vehicles, including an armoured surveillance truck, accompanied an endless column of anti-riot police mounted on horses and also marching down the railway tracks into the dense woods. Tens of thousands of anti riot police clattered along the tracks, their helmets and visors gleaming in the morning sun, and wearing body armour, leg guards and carrying batons.  But by Sunday night, those same police officers were begging the protestors for a respite. Trapped in black, icy woods without supplies or reinforcements able to reach them because of blockades by a mobile fleet of farmer’s tractors, the exhausted and hungry police officers requested negotiations with the protestors. A water cannon truck was blocked by tractors, and yet the police still had to clear 5000 people lying on the railway track at Harlingen in pitch darkness. The largest ever police operation had descended into chaos and confusion in the autumn woods of Lower Saxony, defeated by the courage and determination of peaceful protestors who marched for miles through woods to find places to lie down on the tracks and to scoop out gravel to delay the progress of the “the train from hell.” [...]"  Related:  German people in unprecedented rebellion against government: 1000 injured in protests in nuclear protests: police at breaking point  

"Study: Zero Child Abuse in Lesbian Households" [11/11/10] "Someone call Focus on the Family: A newly published set of findings from a long-running study out of UCLA shows a child abuse rate of zero percent in dual-mommy households. A pool of 78 teenage children with lesbian parents was studied.  [...]"  

"Few Big Fish Land in Immigration Dragnet" [11/11/10] " Putting local police on the "front lines" of immigration enforcement is distracting federal agencies from their objectives by turning over people with no criminal history, or those who have committed minor or non-violent crimes, and setting them on a course toward unnecessary deportation. This is one of main findings in a study by the Immigration Policy Center, the policy arm of the American Immigration Council, presented in a new report, "ICE's Enforcement Priorities and the Factors that Undermine Them", by Dr. Michele Waslin, IPC senior policy analyst.   [...]" Related:  ProPublica: "As Deportations Increase, So Have Officials’ Attempts to Deport the Wrong People"   "As deportations have increased under the Obama administration, immigration judges have also increasingly denied requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport people who were legitimately entitled to stay in the country, according to new data obtained by Syracuse University’s Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse. From July to September of this year, for instance, almost a third of all deportation cases brought by ICE were rejected by immigration judges—up from 12 months earlier, when the rate was one out of every four. According to TRAC, judges have rejected removal orders for more than a quarter of a million individuals in the past five years. [...]"  

Commentary: "Here Comes the Sledgehammer" [11/11/10] "In Austerity Will Hit America Like An Eight Pound Sledgehammer we quoted Charlie McGrath describing what would happen once austerity measures in the USA became the new normal. The fiscal commission established by the White House has released a report that, if implemented, will have dire consequences for millions of Americans who depend on government sponsored personal bailout plans to keep them afloat. According to the Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal, the new plan would do serious damage to an already ailing economy and beaten down average Joe: …taken as a whole, the plan authored by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson would have devastating effects on the government and its ability to help the most vulnerable in our society, and it would put the squeeze on the middle class, veterans, the elderly and the sick - all in the name of an abstract goal that ultimately only a bond-trader could love. (Huffpost)  Among the proposed austerity measures, the commission recommendations would: Increase the Social Security retirement age and limit yearly cost-of-living increases to the rate of inflation rather than of wage growth, Eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child tax credit for millions of families that currently depend on it to keep them out of poverty, Add co-pays to veteran health care benefits, forcing military personnel to not only deal with an already rationed health care system, but to partially pay their own way, Cut $100 billion in annual defense spending,  [...]"  

New Orleans. The Incarceration Capital of the US.  [11/10/10] "... Louisiana's incarceration rate is by far the highest in the world - more than ten times higher than most European countries, and twenty times higher than Japan. Pre-Katrina, OPP had 7,200 beds. In a city with a population of about 465,000, this came to about one bed for every sixty-five city residents. Neighboring Jefferson Parish has 100,000 more people than Orleans Parish, and has only 900 beds. Caddo Parish - in the northeast of the state - has more violent crime, but still imprisons far less people. If OPP had the same number of beds as the national average of one for every 388 residents, the jail's capacity would shrink to about 850. [...]"   

Legal CaseWoman Can Sue Officer Over Surprise Tasering [11/10/10] "A Utah police officer may have used excessive force when he Tasered without warning a woman who "posed no immediate threat," causing her to fall and sustain a brain injury, the 10th Circuit ruled, rejecting the officer's claim that his actions did not clearly violate the Constitution." 

 Legal Case: Justices Hear Debate on Evidence in Habeas Cases [11/10/10] "The Supreme Court on Tuesday considered whether a federal court can overturn a state criminal conviction when the prisoner failed to bring all the evidence before the state court. [...]"   

 Trends"Freeloading New York City Government Workers Costing $1 Billion" [11/09/10] "New York City's government workers are freeloading on the taxpayers to the tune of nearly $1 billion a year by contributing little or nothing toward their health-insurance coverage, according to a bombshell study released yesterday. The city's health-care giveaway -- amid the worst economic downturn in half a century -- is out of whack with even New York state government policy, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government analysis. State government workers and retirees must pay 10 percent of the cost of individual premiums and 25 percent of premiums for family health coverage.  If city workers were required to pay what state workers do, Big Apple taxpayers would realize $923 million in savings annually, the report said. And other local governments around the state, combined, would save $838 million a year, if their workers shared in the cost of their health insurance. Meanwhile, the researchers said cash-strapped Albany, which must close a projected $9 billion deficit next year, can no longer afford to subsidize escalating public-employee health costs. "It's hard to justify the disparity," said Rockefeller fellow Carol O'Cleireacain, a former city budget director and labor union economist. Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch, who requested the study, said: "Continuing business as usual is not sustainable." The study recommends approval of a state law requiring that all local government workers -- teachers, firefighters and police -- contribute the same amount that state workers pay toward their health premiums. Labor leader Harry Nespoli shot back: "This is nothing but a ploy to set back the unions." Nespoli, chairman of the city Municipal Labor Council and head of the sanitation workers union, said many city workers are scraping to get by. "They want us to pay more. It's a difficult thing to do. When taxes go up, we get taxed," he said. Gov.-Elect Andrew Cuomo, in a campaign policy statement, backed the concept of requiring government workers to kick in more dough for their health coverage. Mayor Bloomberg praised the study. [...]"  Note: Another side of this is that the 'policy' of "the state always being more important than the people" always prevails, in many ways. New York allowed these contracts to be legalized in the first place, and now, although what they says is the case, they're coming back at taking a second look. Again ... we're going to see conflict with all these unions ... many of whom also are inevitably connected to organized crime.

Trends"Report Suggests Alcohol Consumption On the Rise as Depression Deepens" [11/09/10] ".....The high unemployment rate and continued fear that the US economy will fall back into recession, or that the recession never ended and a depression has taken hold of the country, may contribute to increased alcohol consumption. A recent study published in the British Journal of Addiction found that unemployed men are exposed to greater risks from drinking alcohol. “Unemployed males were particularly likely to binge drink and to report adverse effects from consuming alcohol,” said the report. [...] With official real unemployment hovering near the 10% 23% mark, and millions of Americans reaching the 99 week limit on emergency benefits over the course of the next few months, the liquor industry seems likely to benefit as one of the few recession-proof businesses capable of withstanding decreased consumer spending in the broader economy."  NoteThis would normally be expected to happen.

"The Real U.S. Unemployment Rate Is 22%+" [11/09/10] "The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers. The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment. [...]"  

Alex Jones"ATMs Crash Across the Country After "Bank Holiday" Warnings" [11/08/10] "Following rumors of a “bank holiday” that could limit or prevent altogether cash withdrawals later this week, Twitter and other Internet forums were raging yesterday about numerous ATMs across the country that crashed in the early hours of Sunday morning, preventing customers from performing basic transactions. It’s unknown whether the crashes were partly a result of a surge of people trying to withdraw their money in preparation for any feared bank shutdown, or if mere technical glitches were to blame. The fact that the problem affected numerous different banks in different parts of the U.S. would seem to indicate the former. [...]"  Note: Impulsive idiots create their own shortage. November 11 is a federal holiday, when the banks are normally closed and the post office isn't open ... stupid people ... "oh, there's going to be a bank holiday beginning Nov 11th!"  Sigh. Stupid people! Related: "Is There a Secret Operation by the Fed to Limit the Amount of Cash Americans Can Hold?"  "ZeroHedge is running this story as a potential shortage of ATM cash, but I read it as much bigger than that. It appears, the government is clamping down on the amount of cash in the system. Here's ZH: [...]"  

UK: Officer branded dead girl 'scum' [11/08/10] "Two police officers are facing disciplinary action over their conduct after a Newcastle teenager was killed by a speeding patrol car. Hayley Adamson, 16, died after being hit by the car driven by Pc John Dougal in May 2008. He was later jailed. Minutes after the fatal crash a dog handler sent to the scene was overheard referring to Hayley as a "scumbag".  Northumbria Police said she and another officer, who behaved inappropriately during Dougal's trial, faced action. The Northumbria force expressed "shock and horror" at the behaviour of the officers and said an apology had been made to the teenager's family. Dougal was driving his patrol car at more than 90mph when Hayley was struck in Denton Road, Scotswood, on 19 May 2008. At his subsequent trial it emerged he was following at night what he wrongly thought was a stolen car at 94mph in a 30mph zone without flashing lights or sirens. He was convicted of causing the death of the teenager by dangerous driving and jailed for three years. [...]"  

ProPublica: Despite Warnings From States, Federal Regulators Failed to Act on Foreclosure Problems [11/08/10] "While they may be conducting their own investigations, federal prosecutors and national bank regulators for the most part aren’t the ones leading the investigation into the foreclosure mess. At least that's the perception—one that's reinforced when Elizabeth Warren, Obama's head of consumer financial protection, says her money is on a 50-state investigation by the states' attorneys general. The New York Times’ Joe Nocera, for instance, has said that the the handful of federal investigations into the subject are “not going to amount to a hill of beans."  Why such low expectations for the feds? A piece in the Washington Post today may shed some light (emphasis added):  As foreclosures began to mount across the country three years ago, a group of state bank regulators suspected that some borrowers might be losing their homes unnecessarily. So the state officials asked the biggest national banks for details about their foreclosure operations. When two banks - J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo - declined to cooperate, the state officials asked the banks' federal regulator for help, according to a letter they sent. But the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees national banks, denied the states' request, saying the firms should answer only to inquiries from federal officials. In a response to state officials, John Dugan, comptroller at the time, wrote that his agency was already planning to collect foreclosure information and that any additional monitoring risked "confusing matters." But even as it closed the door on state oversight, the OCC chose itself not to scrutinize the foreclosure operations of the largest national banks, forgoing any examination of their procedures and paperwork.Instead, the agency relied on the banks' in-house assessments. These provided no hint of the problems to come until they had tripped the nation's housing market, agency officials later acknowledged. In other words, state bank regulators—unable to get cooperation from the banks—warned federal regulators of problems with the banks’ foreclosure operations, and they were told to let the feds handle it. [...]"  

Video: Holiday air travelers should brace for sticker shock [11/08/10] "Airlines are pushing up fares and earning their biggest profits in three years. Travel experts say consumers shouldn’t be surprised at airfares for the upcoming holidays. NBC’s Ron Mott reports. (Nightly News) [...]"  Note:  Security is a nightmare, too.

Mass action shields soldier's funeral [11/08/10] "A small Missouri town turned out to keep Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church from protesting a soldier's funeral. [...]" 

France: "One million march in eighth national protest against Sarkozy’s pension law " [11/08/10] "...The age of retirement will now be extended from 60 to 62, and the age when pension rights can be claimed without major financial penalties from 65 to 67. This represents a significant loss in the quality of life of the working class and the expectations of the youth, who fear an extended working life of job insecurity ending in an old age of poverty. [...]"  Note: And Boehner, who should go back to the planet he came from, wants to extend it to 70 in the US solely to fund wars (see below). Boehner is clearly and transparently a mentally disturbed sociopath drunk on power. 

US PoliticsJohn Boehner: "In Order To Pay For The Wars, We Need To Raise The Social Security Retirement Age To 70" [11/07/10] "House Minority Leader John Boehner, the Ohio Republican with his eye on Speaker Nancy Pelosi's gavel, said the tide is 'turning the GOP's way'. "The American people have written off the Democrats," Boehner said Monday in an interview with Tribune-Review editors and reporters. "They're willing to look at us again." .....  Boehner had praise, however, for Obama's troop surge in Afghanistan and stepped-up drone attacks in Pakistan. He declined to list any benchmarks he has for measuring progress in the nine-year war, at a time of increasing violence and Obama's replacement of Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus. Boehner said he'd favor increasing the Social Security retirement age to 70 for people who have at least 20 years until retirement, tying cost-of-living increases to the consumer price index rather than wage inflation, and limiting payments to those who need them. Asked about funding the war in Afghanistan, given his dire view of the government's financial condition, he replied: "How can we afford not to? The number one responsibility of the federal government ... is to provide security to the American people. As difficult as it is and as expensive as it is, we don't have a choice." "We need to look at the American people and explain to them that we're broke," Boehner said. "If you have substantial non-Social Security income while you're retired, why are we paying you at a time when we're broke? We just need to be honest with people." [...]"  Note: The biggest bunch of disingenuous delusional bullshit ever proffered to the American people. We just saw what a similar move did in France. Boehner is a sociopath and a rabid sequential who, like the rest of the 'leadership', doesn't even belong in a 'decent society', much less in a position of influence. Boehner is absolutely delusional and a very dangerous individual. Related:  GOP seeks cuts to pay for renewed jobless benefits   "Newly empowered Republicans want spending cuts of $5 billion to $6 billion a month as a condition for extending emergency unemployment benefits that are scheduled to expire next month for millions of Americans. Up to 2 million people could lose the benefits - which average $310 a week nationwide - during the holiday season if the still Democratic-controlled Congress doesn't act in the post-election lame-duck session. The expiration could affect as many as 5 million by the end of February." Meanwhile, however, "Boehner doesn't agree to House pay cuts"  [...]" Boehner doesn't agree to House paycuts   "Taxpayer groups are urging future speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to lead by example and cut House salaries as a symbolic gesture of cutting spending. To groups expecting Republicans who ran on the smaller-government-by-cutting-spending program it's a kind of 'put up or shut up' prospect." Meanwhile, however, "GOP seeks cuts to pay for renewed jobless benefits" [...]"   

U-turn on Smoking Ban as Holland Allows Lighting Up in 2000 Bars and Pubs [11/07/10] "Smokers in the Netherlands will now be able to light-up again in over 2000 of the country's small owner-operated bars or pubs. The partial over-turning of the blanket ban, which was introduced in 2008, is a huge victory for for smokers' rights campaigners who had argued that the blanket ban was driving small bar owners out of business. An incoming coalition government in the country has allowed the partial lifting of the ban for pubs which are less than 743.5 sq ft in size and which are staffed solely by the owner. It is a major victory for anti-ban campaigners and the first relaxing of the controversial ban anywhere in Europe. [...]"  

Lawsuit Filed Against PA Debt Collection Company Using Fake Sheriffs, Judges and Courtroom To Scare Debtors [11/07/10]   Note I have observed that it's also Pennsylvania that  hosts an Israeli 'security' company based in Tel Aviv that conducts surveillance on citizen activity (fabricates 'threat' information using legitimate activity cast as 'problematic' using US DHS definitions), contracting to Pennsylvania Homeland Security offices, and submitting all that fabricated 'threat data'.  It's almost like Pennsylvania is a 'test bed' for dark, underhanded activities that circulate around control and Israeli influence in the US. Related:  PA: Debt Collectors Accused Of Fake Courtroom, Judge [11/01/10]

Israeli government documents show deliberate policy to keep Gazans at near-starvation levels [11/07/10] "Documents whose existence were denied by the Israeli government for over a year have been released after a legal battle led by Israeli human rights group Gisha. The documents reveal a deliberate policy by the Israeli government in which the dietary needs for the population of Gaza are chillingly calculated, and the amounts of food let in by the Israeli government measured to remain just enough to keep the population alive at a near-starvation level. This documents the statement made by a number of Israeli officials that they are "putting the people of Gaza on a diet". In 2007, when Israel began its full siege on Gaza, Dov Weisglass, adviser to then Prime-Minister Ehud Olmert, stated clearly, "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." The documents now released contain equations used by the Israeli government to calculate the exact amounts of food, fuel and other necessities needed to do exactly that. [...]"  Note Uruknet takes a few moments to load.

152 arrested in protests after ex-cop jailed for 24 months in killing  [11/07/10] "A white former policeman who shot an unarmed black man to death on an Oakland, California, train platform was sentenced Friday to two years in prison, the state's minimum penalty  [...]"  Note He'll be out in seven months.

UK: Proposal: Long-term jobless would be 'made to work'  [11/07/10] "Benefit claimants could be forced to do compulsory manual labour under government proposals being put forward by Iain Duncan Smith, it has emerged. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is set to outline plans for four-week placements doing jobs like gardening and litter clearing. Under the plan, claimants thought to need 'experience of the habits and routines of working life' could be put on the month long, 30-hour a week placements. Anyone refusing to take part or failing to turn up on time to work could have their £65 Jobseekers' Allowance stopped for at least three months. The Work Activity scheme is said to be designed to flush out claimants who have opted for a life on benefits or are doing undeclared jobs on the side. [...]"  The unemployed in Britain will be ordered to do compulsory fulltime work in the community or be stripped of their benefits under controversial United States-style plans to slash jobless numbers. 

Private Security Continues to Invade American Towns [11/07/10] "APS is a private investigations and security contractor functioning in only two states, as of yet – South Carolina and Arizona. Its staff is drawn from former law enforcement and military personnel and its services range from property and nightclub security to community patrol. The latter, which is stated clearly on the APS website, is particularly concerning due to the fact that, while there may be a place for private security firms, “community patrol” is a local police duty. Interestingly enough, APS patrol cars are similar to Horry County and Myrtle Beach city police cars and have been seen in the area before. Whether or not these vehicles were patrolling is unknown. However, a presence has clearly been established.  Nevertheless, without the benefit of local advertising, one might have been lulled into thinking that the new cars patrolling their neighborhoods with “Advanced Protection Services” painted on the side were merely the result of the creation of another specialized task force designed to harass the citizenry and waste taxpayer money. Unfortunately, while this would be bad enough, it appears that South Carolina has now been invaded by a miniature version of Blackwater Xe. This is a clear indication of the rise of the trend in private security firms engaging in work that was once done by local police who are allegedly accountable to the people.  ......  Last year, it was discovered that a private security company, American Police Force, had entered the small town of Hardin, Montana and had assumed the duties of patrolling the town and enforcing laws. APF had originally been contracted to provide security at a detention center near Hardin. However, not long after, residents were answering to them as if they were real law enforcement personnel. APF “officers” were soon driving around in police patrol vehicles, harassing citizens, and acting as if they were truly the authority in Hardin. Only after the independent media, such as Alex Jones’ Infowars, exposed APF did the mercenaries leave Hardin.  Private security forces, DynCorp specifically, were also used in the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. The use of private security forces in war theatres such as Iraq and Afghanistan is bad enough, but their use against the American people is unconscionable. Unfortunately, this is a trend that is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds every year. While one can argue that there is a place for private security companies, there is no argument to be made for their assuming duties designated to local police forces. It is important for everyone to remember that private security forces, whether contracted out by the government, businesses, or acting alone, have no jurisdiction. They are not police officers and should not be treated as such. [...]"  Note:  See October 2009 archives in the News and Developments panel for background stories: Hardin, Montana May be Staging Area for United Nations Civilian Police [10/08/09] Video [1:26] ; APF Leader Exposed As Career Criminal As Hardin Patrols Labeled Unconstitutional  [10/05/09] "; Exposed: American Police Force Is A Blackwater Front Group  [10/04/09] ; 'American Police Force' Spokeswoman Breaks Down During Press Conference [10/04/09]; Video Clip  | Investigation Could Sink American Police Force [10/3/09] ; Hardin, Montana town officials hornswoggled by 'American Police Force' [10/2/09] . There are a number of related activities that were going on. See News and Developments archive Oct 2009.

UK"Airports cash in on terror checks: £5 charge to jump queues 'they keep long'" [11/06/10] "Airports are cashing in on the queues at their security gates by charging passengers to use fast-track priority lanes.  At least eight have introduced the system and are charging travellers up to £5 to beat the queues. A whistleblower security guard at Luton Airport, which adopted the system last year, claimed there is a deliberate policy to let the queues grow to encourage people to pay for the express lane. [...]"  Note: Extorting the public to make a profit ...  

The American student loan racket [11/06/10] "Today’s young adults face a lifetime of diminished expectations, if not outright poverty. A majority of those attending college find themselves caught in the vise of a scissors crisis―low wage jobs and astonishing levels of student loan debt. This financial strain is leading to rising incidences of depression, broken marriages, the postponement or abandonment of child-bearing, and even decisions to permanently leave the country. The majority of the parents of college students, after decades of stagnating wages, had only one asset, home equity―a resource that has either vanished or become a punishing debt load under the impact of the housing meltdown. Now the younger generation has mortgaged its future in the form of student loan debt. The two pillars of the much-touted “American Dream”―home ownership and a college education―have become the means by which the financial aristocracy is plundering both the present and future resources of the working class. The problem is escalating. In June of this year, US student loan debt exceeded credit card debt for the first time. Now totaling nearly $850 billion, student loan debt is growing at the rate of $90 billion a year.  Student debt is not just consumer debt. It is the most onerous kind of consumer debt because student borrowers do not receive standard consumer protections. Their loans are undischargable in bankruptcy, usurious penalties are legal, and there is no statute of limitations. The Obama administration “reform” measure for student loans, which took effect July 1, will do nothing to address the banks’ stranglehold over the younger generation. Its key provision is the elimination of the government subsidy to private companies for loan originations. This will have the effect of saving a projected $68 billion―not for students, but for the federal government―by favoring direct loans over the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program. The role of private lenders in servicing, i.e. profiting from the loans, is unchanged. [...]" 

Study: Long-Term Unemployment Has Disastrous Effects On Health, Life Expectancy [11/06/10]"With 17 percent of the American workforce either unemployed or underemployed, experts predict that the scarring consequences of the recession -- not just on the bank accounts, but on the health and longevity of the jobless -- will be far-reaching and severe. Dr. Elise Gould, director of health policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, said in a forum on health and unemployment Friday afternoon that research shows that losing one's job can have a "powerful and negative impact" on the health of the jobless, leading to feelings of failure, depression, anxiety, notably increasing the risks of strokes, heart attacks and catastrophic illnesses, and potentially leading to premature mortality. "After wage losses, the most direct impact of unemployment is loss of health insurance coverage for those who had it in the first place," she said. "But this is only tip of the iceberg when we think about people's health. It's clear that many Americans are still hurting and will be hurting for a very long time." According to a research study conducted by William T. Gallo, professor of health policy and management at CUNY, the six- and ten-year risk of heart attack or stroke in people between 51 and 61 years old who have lost their jobs is more than double that of the employed. Gallo also noticed some stress-related changes in the health behavior of older jobless people: there was less physical activity and an increase in daily cigarette consumption among long-term unemployed smokers, an increased risk of a smoking relapse, and some increased drinking and weight gain, which increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Gallo said that even the risk or fear of losing one's job was just a strong a predictor as the actual job loss on an older person's overall health because of internal psychological factors. [...]" 

Trends: Wholesale food prices soar as commodity costs rise [11/06/10] "Soaring wheat and other commodity costs on world markets have pushed up UK wholesale food prices at the fastest rate in two years, official figures showed this morning. Prices of food produced in the UK were 9.8% higher last month than a year ago, the biggest annual increase since October 2008, the Office for National Statistics reported. Imported food prices climbed 4.5% on the year, the fastest rate since October 2009. Food prices are likely to be pushed even higher in coming months, with refined sugar surging to a record peak of $783.90 a tonne today. Consumers are now starting to pay more for bread and meat as a result of sharp increases in the price of wheat and corn following poor harvests, the British Retail Consortium reported this week. Vegetable oil and margarine showed double-digit price hikes, while fruit showed its biggest price increases since April 2009. This helped push up food prices overall at 4.4%, the BRC said, the fastest rate in more than a year. [...]"   

  Concepts and Practices: AT&T pushes Supreme Court to demolish right to join class action lawsuits [11/05/10] "A case that has quietly made its way up to the Supreme Court's docket threatens to unhinge one of America's key consumer protections: the class action lawsuit. Telecommunications provider AT&T is pursuing an argument in front of the nation's highest court that would permit companies which require service or employment contracts to explicitly forbid signatories from joining class action lawsuits. If they succeed, any company which requires contracts could implement the prohibition on lawsuits, effectively shielding the grandest abuses of corporate America from judicial reprisal if customers or workers were to band together. Instead, AT&T seeks to force signatories into an arbitration process through a preselected, privately owned firm.  [...]" 

Trends: Number of People Living on New York Streets Soars [11/05/10] "The Bloomberg administration said Friday that the number of people living on New York’s streets and subways soared 34 percent in a year, signaling a setback in one of the city’s most intractable problems. The city’s annual tally indicated an additional 783 homeless people on the streets and in the subway system, for a total of 3,111, up from 2,328 last year. That is in addition to almost 38,000 people living in shelters, which is near the city’s high. There were more homeless people found on the streets in every borough. The largest increase was in Brooklyn, where an additional 228 people were counted, more than double the total in January 2009. Manhattan had a 47 percent increase, or 368 more homeless people. In Staten Island, there was an increase of 45 percent, or 54 people; in Queens, a 14 percent increase, or 14 people; and in the Bronx, 6 percent, or 10 people. [...]  Last year, city officials said that the count revealed a 30 percent drop in the street homeless population since 2008, an announcement that was made at an elaborate news conference attended by volunteers, formerly homeless people and Linda I. Gibbs, the deputy mayor for health and human services, who spoke briefly. "  Note: Either last years news conference bespoke a lie, and they figured no one would check, or the levels have simply risen, which is no surprise. There is NO way that the city could do anything, short of picking them all up, that would result in a 30 percent drop, anyway.

RT America: "Adderall Nation" [11/05/10] [3:00] "American television channels are obsessed with shows about drug addicts and interventions. Even advertising in the US focuses on how there's a prescription pill for almost any problem you could think of. Some wonder if the culture is creating an environment that makes it acceptable to be hooked on pills. Studies show that 10 to 15% of American college kids are taking a pill called adderall to help them study. Even some students are starting to wonder if they're capable of being productive without the help of medication. [...]"  

Commentary: "The Normalization of Pathology in America" [11/05/10] "The moral rot at the center of American life results from a normalization of pathologies--sociopathic and psychopathic states and behaviors are now "normal" or incentivized. Moral behavior is institutionally punished. My entry on the moral rot which has taken hold in all socio-economic levels of America drew a number of insightful responses: Runaway Feedback Loops, Wealth Concentration and Gaming-The-System (October 13, 2010). While the American/Western worldview holds that we are autonomous individuals exercising free will at every moment, in reality we are all heavily programmed by our socio-economic class conditions. What is so striking about present-day America is the way in which the narcissistic, no-moral-compass social pathologies of entitlement, denial and fabrication of "truth"/reality has been "normalized" (accepted as normal behavior and thinking) in all social classes. [...]"  

UK: Peer predicts 'carnage' over housing benefit changes [11/05/10] "Opening a House of Lords debate on 4 November 2010, Labour's Baroness Hollis of Heigham, chair of the Broadland Housing Association, criticised many aspects of the government's plans including the decision to link housing benefit to the consumer price index.  She said that from 1997 to 2007 CPI had risen by 20% while rents had risen by 70%.  "Mortgage lending the lowest in 10 years, housebuilding and the construction industry in crisis, private rents rising as the sector gets swamped, housing benefit cut to 30%, then 20%, then 10% of private rents, social housing as we know it ending, all the dominoes falling over as misery cascades down the tenures," she said. "And what really matters? Thousands and thousands of families in just a few months facing debt, stress, eviction and homelessness. "Weeping children, desperate mothers, defeated fathers. How dare we do this? It is carnage, carnage of our own people and we should be ashamed."  [...]"     

"Law restricting where sex offenders can live is unconstitutional, L.A. judge rules" [11/05/10] "Saying sex offenders are being forced to choose between prison and homelessness, a Los Angeles judge issued an opinion this week blocking enforcement of provisions a state law restricting how close those offenders can live from parks or schools. [...]"  

New TSA pat-down procedure expands nationwide [11/05/10] "If you plan to travel by air during the upcoming holiday season be ready to undergo a new, more thorough pat-down search procedure at the airport. The manual pat-down procedure will be used on passengers who refuse to be screened using the 317 new full-body image scanners deployed at 65 airports nationwide. The new technique may also be used on passengers who evoke suspicion when undergoing other traditional screening procedures, including walk-through metal detectors. [...]"   Related: Commentary: "Might Is Right"  – Paul Craig Roberts  "In my last column, Who Has The Crystal Ball, I questioned the existence of “the liberal media,” and I remarked that it would be interesting to know the manufacturer of the full body scanners and the company’s relationship to the US and Israeli governments. Conservative readers wrote to me saying that, as I had not mentioned National Public Radio, I had hidden “the liberal media” under the table. Another reader, well informed on the subject, told me about the full body scanner company and its relationship to the US and Israeli governments. Let’s begin with the latter.  The full body scanners are manufactured by Rapiscan Systems, a firm represented by the Chertoff Group. The Chertoff Group is Michael Chertoff, a dual Israeli/US citizen appointed Secretary of Homeland Security in 2005 by Puppet President George W. Bush. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) used Obama’s economic stimulus, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to purchase 150 Rapiscan machines. Much larger purchases are in the works.  Chertoff has been a federal judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and a federal prosecutor who convicted and destroyed the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, apparently illegally as the conviction was overturned by the US Supreme Court. But, of course, the firm and the careers of its employees were already destroyed by Chertoff.  Chertoff was also appointed Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice by George W. Bush. Chertoff supervised the 9/11 investigation or non-investigation.  Chertoff is also the co-author of the USA PATRIOT Act, a piece of fascist legislation that destroys American civil liberties. Today Chertoff is using his government credentials to push full body scanners into American airports. A rights group, FlyersRights.org, has criticized Chertoff for abusing “the trust the public has placed in him as a former public servant to privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners.”  Chertoff’s mother, Livia, was an El Al Airlines hostess and according to some a Mossad agent  

Airport security reaches new levels of absurdity  Salon Salon [11/05/10] "Belts, it has been determined, can interfere with the images procured by the new full-body scanners being deployed at checkpoints around the country. And so, from now on, passengers need to remove them. Now, although we can debate the body scanners from an effectiveness point of view, or from a privacy-rights point of view, separately, this at least makes sense. Fair enough, except for one thing. As I looked around me, I noticed that there weren't any body scanners anywhere at the checkpoint. "But sir," I said, motioning to the left and right, "there are no scanners here." "I know," he replied. "I know. But to keep things consistent, across the board, everybody has to do it." [...] Somebody, somewhere, needs to shake us from this stupor of blind policy and blind obedience. I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't some test -- a test of just how stupid Americans are. If TSA said that from now on we had to hop on one foot while humming "god bless america," would we do that too? That'd be ludicrous, certainly, but how much more ludicrous is it, really, than asking people to remove their belts for purposes of walking through a nonexistent body scanner?"     Note:  Wait until the "Minister of Silly Walks" [4:03]determines "TSA" policy. Then you'll really get some action!  

Book Review: "The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation: Repression Beyond Exploitation" [11/05/10] "... Shir Hever, a radical Israeli economist, recently wrote an article, which posed the question: ‘Why does Israel continue to occupy the Palestinians?’ That is also one of the major questions addressed in his new book, an ambitious work on the political economy of the occupation. [...]"   

"Water Security – Water Refuges" [11/05/10] "Until recently the super elite of this planet considered money the most precious commodity to control but they have been
changing their minds and buying up as many water sources as possible. When asked to rank the most important service, 95 percent of U.S. voters put water in first place followed by electricity, heat, Internet, cell phone, landline phone, cable TV, and cooling systems, respectively. Everyone instinctively understands the importance of water but collectively we have been ignoring the warning signs indicating that a huge percentage of humanity is not going to be staying with us much longer as food and water shortages impact us like dual sledge hammers. All of our projections of vastly increased populations are going to run into the brick wall of water scarcity and terrible water quality. The depletion of global water resources is more rapid, severe, and complex than anyone anticipated. In many areas of the world like the United States and China, where people have enjoyed enough water to build their industrial civilizations, those water resources are running lower every year. The unshakable thirst for water is now colliding with the reality of shrinking supplies. Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population growth in the last century with many areas in actual danger of running out or becoming seriously and chronically short of water. [...]"  Related: "10 U.S. Cities That Are Running Out Of Water" [11/01/10];

Commentary: "What They Never Told You About Personal Debt " Igor Milevskiy [11/04/10] "Being the founder of a Liberty Oriented Debt Repudiation & Asset Protection Company I had the privilege of listening to and helping hundreds of men & women all across the 50 states who were suffering with debt burdens, many of them very moral and honest human beings with families, plans and dreams that can now begin to be fulfilled.  I’ve also spoken to people who have been “legally” deceived and robbed by banks, settlement companies, bankruptcy attorneys, consolidation and modification companies, counseling and collection agencies, and even their honest but ignorant financial advisors; Many of these people lost most of their material possessions to the banking system, some are now living in motels with barely enough money to eat or to buy new clothes, others are not as fortunate.  Throughout such conversations I always thought to myself that if only these people knew the deception they are in and did something sooner while they still had options, chances, time and money… if only they knew what I know and repudiated their debt, protected their assets, and had the right information, their situation would be vastly different today.  The information and proof I was able to collect and will share with you shows how the banking system is quickly becoming brazen and is using the courts and Marshals to take away from Americans their income and possessions by entering sham default judgments, often with no more proof than copies of statements, name, address, and social security number of the alleged debtor. [...]"   

Concepts and Practices: "Creation of Debt as a Basis for Growth" [11/04/10] "The UK, Europe, the US and Canada are different degrees of welfare states. By way of regulation, government controls via taxation. The states and their inhabitants send taxes to Washington, which takes its cut and sends funds back to the states with strings attached. You either do what we want you to do, or we cut off your funds. The states and the people are subject to extortion with government using their funds to do so. By using regulations, welfare and extortion, the federal government creates dependency.  Another phenomenon that has developed is a second dependency. People in society, not just in the US, but also in many countries, are dependent on their grandparents and parents and as years progress that situation will worsen. Earning power to maintain a previous lifestyle is no longer available with the staggering tax burden. Including income and VAT taxes in Europe, taxation averages 70%. The ability and opportunity to become successful and wealthy is more limited in today’s societies. [...]"  

Commentary: "Dissatisfied Mind: Flickers of Hope in a Deadly Political Cycle" [11/03/10] "I found myself unexpectedly heartened by American election returns, at least in one respect. For they have shown, once again, that the American people feel an abiding, angry – if deeply inchoate – dissatisfaction with the nation’s unjust, corrupt and dysfunctional political system. They know that something is profoundly wrong with the system, and so they keep voting one faction out and putting the other faction in, hoping to see some kind of change.  History gives this proof: in almost every national election for the past two decades, we have seen a change in control of either one or both houses of Congress or the White House. This has happened in 1992, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, and now again in 2010. The pattern is very clear. And it is not because Americans “prefer divided government,” as the dim chewers of Beltway cud like to tell us; it’s because they can’t get anyone in the system to address their concerns.  Yet with every turnover in factional control, we see a rush of earnest, serious analysis telling us how the results represent a vast sea change in America’s politics, culture, society, soul, etc. But somehow, two years later, these momentously meaningful tidal waves ripple into nothing on the empty shore. And again, that’s because they don’t actually signify anything beyond the by-now perennial unease and dissatisfaction.  What is less heartening, of course, is the fact that the American electorate never quite grasps the obvious, glaring, brutal fact that neither of these factions is ever going to change the system one iota if they can help it; they are the system, they are its servants, its enablers, its enactors. [...]"   

19 Million Americans Live On $100 A Week [11/03/10] "More than 19 million Americans, or just over 6% of the population, live on less than $5,400 a year, or close to $100 a week, an analysis of 2009 Census data reveals. $5,400 is half the official poverty rate, a value which the financial news website Insider Monkey, which compiled these figures, dubs "extreme poverty". In what should be a national disgrace, the "state" with the worst extreme poverty rate (EPR) was the nation's capital, with over 10% of the District of Columbia's citizens living in extreme poverty. All of the "top ten" had rates in excess of 7%. Here are the 10 states with the highest extreme poverty rates: [...]"  

 Analysis"How the 2010 election results will affect health care and health freedom" [11/03/10] "In what appears to be a broad backlash against Obama-era policies, U.S. voters swept Republicans into office in record numbers in last night's election. As of this writing, Republicans had clearly taken the House but failed to win a majority in the Senate. This effectively ends the Democratic super-majority alignment among the House, Senate and White House. So what will this mean for health-conscious consumers and medical patients? Will this result in any improvements on the health freedom front? A clue is found in the behavior of Big Pharma and health insurance companies. Even before the election was over, they were already focusing new efforts on lobbying Republicans, according to the Wall Street Journal. In two states -- Colorado and Arizona -- voters weighed in on ballot measures designed to effectively block federal mandates that will force citizens to buy health insurance   [...]"   

 TrendsLayoffs Cascading Into Mom and Pop Shops [11/02/10] [12:54]  "CBS’s 60 Minutes interviews a variety of Americans, from different walks of life, all struggling to make ends meet. No one knew it then [2007] but these were the opening days of the Great Recession. Now, layoffs that started with corporations are cascading into mom and pop shops. As corporations began laying off workers in 2007 and 2008, a negative feedback loop began and those who were laid off spent less on consumer goods. As people bought fewer goods, more businesses had to lay off workers. Eventually, many of the businesses have to close their doors, and even the owners join the unemployment rolls. The bankruptcy rate for small businesses have tripled since the recession began. This leads to even further pain, as businesses are no longer paying rent on commercial properties, leading to defaults and layoffs at real estate management companies. One could go on and on about how the feedback loop strengthens, and even accelerates over time. Today, as more people lose their jobs, and millions start falling off of emergency unemployment benefits, the downward spiral will continue. For many, there is no end in sight to the misery. For others who still have jobs today, the pain is yet to come, because eventually millions more will be let go. It’s simple math. And it can’t be stopped. [...]"   

Sarkozy, Foreign Embassies Among "Intended Targets" Of Greece Parcel Bombs  [11/02/10] "Greek authorities on Monday arrested four people over a suspected plot to despatch parcel bombs to French President Nikolas Sarkozy and three foreign embassies in the capital Athens, according to reports.  The arrests follow the incident when a parcel addressed to the Mexican embassy in Athens exploded inside the office of a courier company injuring a female staffer. According to police, one of the four people held is a suspected member of a little-known anarchist group "Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei," which has been blamed for the arson attacks on the offices and residences of Greek politicians in the past. The package addressed to Sarkozy was recovered from two suspected left extremists with two other parcels addressed to the Belgian and Dutch embassies in the city also found on their person.  Meanwhile, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said in the capital Amsterdam that they had been briefed on the matter by Greek authorities "and remain in close contact with them." In January "Fire Nuclei" was responsible for carrying out another attack by planting a miniature IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in a bin near the Greek parliament. Several "Nuclei" members were arrested by police in a series of nationwide raids carried out in its wake. Greece has been experiencing a wave of attacks against government and police targets, attributed to far-left groups, [...]"    

Brazilians to be forced to use RFID chips and GPS trackers in their cars [11/02/10] "Brazil‘s government, behind the facade of open democracy, continues to advance its way as one of the most authoritarian police states in the world. Brazilian population will be forced very soon to have in their cars identification chips (RFID), as well as GPS locators and blockers.  [...]"    

Ugandan paper that published list of gay men ordered to shut down [11/02/10] "A Ugandan newspaper that published names and pictures of what it said were homosexuals in Uganda and called on authorities to hang them has been ordered to cease publishing, a gay rights leader said Monday. Frank Mugisha, chairman of the Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMU), said his group had petitioned the high court to order Rolling Stone to stop work because it was exposing innocent people to discrimination, ridicule, intimidation and possible violence. "I feel enormous relief and happiness because we have received justice at long last. Rolling Stone won't be on the streets anymore," Mugisha said. Uganda's penal code outlaws homosexuality, which it broadly describes as having sex against the order of nature. [...]"    Related: "Death penalty for gays will be law soon, Ugandan lawmaker says" [10/29/10] "The Ugandan cabinet member who introduced a bill last year that would see gays executed in some circumstances says the bill will become law. David Bahati, Uganda's minister for ethics, told CNN he believes the bill will become law "soon."  [...]"  Note: Disgusting concept of 'ethics' these warped freaks have. "Minister of Ethics" ... that they NEED one is telling .. Apparently, they're blind to what actually goes on in nature too. 

PA: Debt Collectors Accused Of Fake Courtroom, Judge [11/01/10] "A sign in the front of a building on West 39th Street tells visitors that it's the Unicredit Debt Resolution Center in Erie.  Once debtors got inside, they were fooled into believing they were in a courtroom with a judge, but the whole thing was a fake, according to a lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania attorney general. Team 4's Jim Parsons reported that Unicredit America is accused in the lawsuit of deceiving, misleading and coercing hundreds of consumers into paying off their debts.  Inside the building is a pair of locked oak doors with brass handles resembling a courtroom entrance. The company is accused in the lawsuit of building a mock courtroom complete with a judge's bench and witness stand. Unicredit President Mike Covatto declined to comment on Friday. "Can I look at your fake courtroom?" Parsons asked. "First of all, that's an allegation that supposedly someone said, so talk to the attorneys," Covatto said. "You guys have a nice day. That's all I got to say." The Attorney General's Office told Team 4 that Unicredit lured debtors to the building by sending employees who appeared to be sheriff's deputies to their homes, implying that they would be taken into custody if they failed to appear at the phony court hearings. "It really galls me that someone would stoop that low," Erie County Sheriff Robert Merski said. "This certainly seems to be a scam, and it upsets me that they are trying to play on the integrity of this office, the office of sheriff. We've been here since the beginning of the United States." The lawsuit accuses Unicredit of intimidating debtors into revealing their bank account numbers, even turning over the titles to their cars once they got them inside the building. The Attorney General's Office is asking a judge to freeze the company's assets and order it to cease operations. [...]"    Video clip included.

10 U.S. Cities That Are Running Out Of Water [11/01/10] "Some parts of the United States have begun to run low on water. That is probably not much of a surprise to people who live in the arid parts of America that have had water shortages for decades or even centuries. No one who has been to the Badlands in South Dakota would expect to be able to grow crops there. The water problem is worse than most people realize, particularly in several large cities which are occasionally low on water now and almost certainly face shortfalls in a few years. This is particularly true if the change in global weather patterns substantially alters rainfall amounts in some areas of the US. 24/7 Wall St. looked at an October, 2010 report on water risk by environmental research and sustainability group, Ceres. We also considered a comprehensive July, 2010 report from the National Resources Defense Council which mapped areas at high risk of water shortage conflict. 24/7 Wall St also did its own analysis of water supply and consumption in America’s largest cities, and focused on the thirty largest metropolitan areas. One goal was to identify potential conflicts in regions which might have disputed rights over large supplies of water and the battles that could arise from these disputes. And, 24/7 Wall St. examined geographic areas which have already been plagued by drought and water shortages off and on. The analysis allowed us to choose ten cities which are likely to face severe shortages in the relatively near-term future. Some of these are likely to be obvious to the reader. The area around Los Angeles was once too dry to sustain the population of a huge city. But, infrastructure was built that allowed water to be pumped in from east of the region. Las Vegas had similar problems. It was part of a great desert until Lake Meade was created by the Hoover dam built on the Colorado river. [...]"  

Leaked trade agreements and S 510: Corporations plan to end normal farming [11/01/10] "Canada’s National Farmers Union wants the Canada-EU trade deal scrapped. US farmers face the same assault by agribusiness and the biotech industry under S 510. Epoch Times noted: “Under provisions in CETA [Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement], using saved seed could result in a farmer’s land, equipment, and crops being seized for alleged infringement of intellectual property rights attached to plant varieties owned by corporations such as Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, and Bayer.  “It includes the freezing of bank accounts too, so you couldn’t even defend yourself in court. And this is for alleged infringement,” says NFU president Terry Boehm. … “These are the most draconian measures possible and they would literally create a culture of fear in the farm population where, I think, that ultimately farmers would end up buying seeds every year for every acre just to avoid prosecution or the threat of prosecution.” [...]"   

Trends: UK Graduate jobless rate rises again [11/01/10] "The unemployment rate among 2009's graduates is 8.9% - the highest level for 17 years, a higher education study says. [...]"  Student debt bubble about to explode  [7:48] 

 

The foreplay search: Outrage at new airport security check so invasive it will 'become a moral issue' [10/30/10] "One shell-shocked female passenger who was subjected to the measures after her underwire bra set off metal detecting scanners in Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday said the experience left her in tears. Rosemary Fitzpatrick, who works for news channel CNN, said a female screener ran her hands around her breasts, over her stomach, buttocks and her inner thighs, and briefly touched her crotch. 'I felt helpless, I felt violated, and I felt humiliated,' said Fitzpatrick. [...]"  Note: Anyone out there who thinks this is justified would have to be a sick, twisted sequential. 

$1 billion paid to dead people, Senate panel finds [10/29/10] "The federal government has paid out more than $1 billion in checks to dead people over a decade, according to a new report by the top Republican on the Senate's investigative panel. All told, the government has paid out funds to some 250,000 dead people, said Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on investigations. "Washington paid for dead people’s prescriptions and wheelchairs, subsidized their farms, helped pay their rent, and even chipped in for their heating and air conditioning bills," Mr. Coburn's report said. Among the payments to dead people were $18 million in stimulus funds from Social Security, $92 million in Medicare claims paid for treatments prescribed by dead doctors and $8.2 million for medical supplies prescribed for dead patients. [...]"  

Where are the Jobs? The Parallels between Today and the Great Depression  Reason TV [10/29/10] [6:40]  "The Great Recession officially ended way back in June of 2009, so why are so many Americans still out of work? It's not because politicians were twiddling their thumbs. Indeed, from from bailouts to "Cash for Clunkers" to the massive stimulus plan, government has busied itself with trying to fix the economy. And, according to President Obama, this "bold, persistent, experimentation" has brought our country back from the brink. Obama borrows that phrase from President Franklin Rooselvelt, and today's president has a lot in common with the original bold, persistent, experimenter. Like Obama, FDR was a charismatic Democrat who replaced an unpopular Republican during a time of crisis. And like Obama, FDR championed a slew of policies designed to get America back to work.  [...]"  

"The Food Crisis of 2011" [10/29/10] "Every month, JPMorgan Chase dispatches a researcher to several supermarkets in Virginia. The task is to comparison shop for 31 items. In July, the firm’s personal shopper came back with a stunning report: Wal-Mart had raised its prices 5.8% during the previous month. More significantly, its prices were approaching the levels of competing stores run by Kroger and Safeway. The “low-price leader” still holds its title, but by a noticeably slimmer margin. Within this tale lie several lessons you can put to work to make money. And it’s best to get started soon, because if you think your grocery bill is already high, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In fact, we could be just one supply shock away from a full-blown food crisis that would make the price spikes of 2008 look like a happy memory. [...]"  

UKTerrorism Act: No terror arrests made after 100,000 stop-and-searches [10/28/10] "A total of 101,248 stops and searches were made under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in 2009/10, but only one in every 200 led to an arrest and none of these were terror-related, the figures released by the Home Office showed. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, ordered a review of the controversial stop and search powers earlier this year, saying she wanted to correct ''mistakes'' made by the Labour government which, she said, was allowed to ''ride roughshod'' over civil liberties. [...]"   

Police buying Taser Cams for stun gun accountability [10/28/10] "More than 2,400 law enforcement agencies across the U.S. have bought 45,000 of the $400 video camera attachments that Taser International started selling in 2006, says Steve Tuttle, spokesman for the Scottsdale, Ariz., company. Sales have been brisk in the past six months, he says, as agencies look to provide accountability for the department, he said. The Taser Cam is activated as soon as the officer unholsters the Taser and turns off the safety, Tuttle says. There is no way to deactivate the camera without disabling the gun, he says. The use of stun guns has been controversial for years, especially in cases where the subject died after being shocked, says Curt Goering, chief operating officer for Amnesty International. Goering says there are 440 people he knows of who have died after being shocked with such devices since the human rights organization started accumulating those statistics in 2001. The organization has asked for a moratorium on stun gun use until medical effects can be studied further, he says. [...] Nearly 13,000 of the agencies that have Tasers have not yet bought the cameras, Tuttle says. That number includes the Houston Police Department, which is one of the largest purchasers of the stun guns. Houston was one of the first departments to try the cameras, says Kirk Munden, executive assistant chief for field operations. After two trial runs, the department took a pass. "The primary reason we didn't buy them was the expense," Munden says. It would have cost $2 million to equip all 4,000 officers with the cameras, he says."    

Media and Culture: "Wholesome Post-Apocalyptic Predictive Programming For The Entire Family" [10/28/10] "Discovery Channel's apocalyptic reality TV show, The Colony, enters its second season with what might be the most dire sign yet for where our civilization is headed. It is the latest in a long-standing history of predictive programming from Hollywood. Pandemics, Aliens, and Asteroids -- Oh My! It appears that the corporate-government-media has recently become the number one propagator of conspiracy theories. That is, of course, as long as the fear campaign pushes the right buttons for the agenda. [...]  The Colony is an "experiment" where people are forced to live in a world minus even the most basic necessities, while being harassed by their fellow suffering man. In Season Two, colonists begin the ordeal with a 72-hour quarantine, followed by a government agency airlift to a "way station" that is the site of their rebuilding of society. They are given enough supplies for one week, and basically told to have a nice day. "  Related: "Predictive Programming in Movies"   "Predictive programming is a subtle form of psychological conditioning provided by the media to acquaint the public with planned societal changes to be implemented by our leaders. If and when these changes are put through, the public will already be familiarized with them and will accept them as 'natural progressions', as Alan Watt calls it; thus lessening any possible public resistance and commotion. [...]" | Alan Watt - Predictive Programming Theory and Practice  6 Video clips   Note:  "Hollywood is the magician's wand which has been used to cast a spell on the unsuspecting public. Things or ideas which would otherwise be seen as bizarre, vulgar, undesirable or impossible are inserted into films in the realm of fantasy. When the viewer watches these films, his/her mind is left open to suggestion and the conditioning process begins. These same movies which are designed to program the average person, can give the discerning viewer a better understanding of the workings and the plan of the world agenda. -- Alan Watt"

McGrath: ‘Austerity Will Hit America Like An Eight Pound Sledgehammer’ [10/28/10] "Charlie McGrath of Wide Awake News warns that things are going to change after the election - for the worse. While the movement across America to stop an out of control Congress in its tracks will likely lead to Republican victories and control of at least the House, the idea that this will somehow change the economic outlook for the better is conjecture. [...]" "Economic Collapse is the Plan"  Charlie McGrath [10/28/10] [6:17]  Related:  New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy  "One out of every 34 Americans who earned wages in 2008 earned absolutely nothing -- not one cent -- in 2009. It is the latest, and in this case quite dramatic, evidence that our economic policies in Washington are undermining the nation as a whole.We have created a tax system that changes continually as politicians manipulate it to extract campaign donations. We have enabled ''free trade'' that is nothing of the sort, but rather tax-subsidized mechanisms that encourage American manufacturers to close their domestic factories, fire workers, and then use cheap labor in China for products they send right back to the United States. This has created enormous downward pressure on wages, and not just for factory workers. Combined with government policies that have reduced the share of private-sector workers in unions by more than two-thirds -- while our competitors in Canada, Europe, and Japan continue to have highly unionized workforces -- the net effect has been disastrous for the vast majority of American workers. And of course, less money earned from labor translates into less money to finance the United States of America. [...]"   

Poll: Many Americans fret rent, mortgage [10/28/10] "A poll released Wednesday said more than half of Americans have concerns about making their rent or mortgage. Analysts said the anxiety found in the new Washington Post poll can be traced to the economy and the seemingly thin ice many folks consider their jobs to be skating on. The poll found 53 percent of Americans were either "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about their ability to keep up on their current housing payments. That compared to 37 percent in 2008. The number of people with such worries is higher among those with household incomes below $30,000 and is particularly evident among African-Americans. The Post said 75 percent of African- Americans polled were concerned, including 55 percent who said they were very concerned. [...]"    

"Inside Job" is an Inside Job: A Misleading View of the Economic Crisis [10/28/10] "Charles Ferguson’s new documentary about the current financial crisis, Inside Job, has gotten rave reviews from TIME, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe among others. The Globe’s reviewer virtually guaranteed the film would lead to riots in the streets. As you can imagine, my expectations were high for this movie, if tinged a bit by cynicism about its Establishment reviewers. Unfortunately my cynicism was well-founded. Inside Job is an entertaining but misleading view of the economic crisis. True, watching the Chair of Harvard's Economics Department and the Dean of Columbia Business School make fools of themselves on camera is worth the price of admission. But the documentary minimizes the extent of the looting of America and the world by the bankers, insurers, and their government enablers. It parades some very guilty and inviting targets across the screen but fails to look deeper into the forces behind the crisis. It obscures the role of the Federal Reserve. It presents some of the perps and other Establishment figures as reliable commentators. Finally the movie offers laughably inadequate solutions to the banking disaster. Minimizes the extent of the looting: [...]"  

States can't ask voters for citizenship proof [10/28/10] "A state can't require people to submit proof of citizenship when they register to vote, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in overturning a key provision of a 2004 Arizona initiative. Federal law already requires voters to swear that they are U.S. citizens and meet age and residency criteria, and a state can't impose additional rules, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in a 2-1 ruling. [...]"  

U.S. Wheat Crop in Worse Shape Than Year Ago on Dry Weather [10/27/10] "The U.S. winter-wheat crop is in worse condition than last year at this time as dry weather slows plant development. The country’s corn and soybean harvests are nearing completion. About 47 percent of the winter wheat was rated good or excellent as of yesterday, down from 62 percent a year ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in its first report on crop conditions. About 88 percent of the crop was planted in 18 states, mostly in the Midwest and Great Plains, compared with 80 percent a week earlier and 77 percent a year earlier. A government vegetative health index shows increasing stress on crops from Colorado to Ohio, said Joel Widenor, the director of agricultural services at the Commodity Weather Group LLC. About a quarter of the area planted with hard-red winter- wheat and possibly half of the soft-red wheat area in the Midwest has been too dry for seed germination and crop development . [...]" 

 OverviewDebtors' prisons on the rise in the US [10/27/10] "Both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Brennan Center for Justice released reports in early October on a disturbing trend in the American justice system: the abuse of jail sentences and probation to collect more money in fines for cash-strapped courts. The ACLU report, “In For a Penny: The Rise of America’s New Debtor’s Prisons,” focuses on interviews and personal stories in the five states they predicted to be the worst offenders (Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, and Washington). The Brennan Center report, “Criminal Justice Debt: A Barrier to Reentry,” covers ten states in addition to the five in the ACLU report (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama and Missouri) and provides more detailed statistics on a wider array of abuses. In each of the 15 states examined (covering 60 percent of all state criminal filings), courts placed special “user fees” on defendants to generate revenue.  These fees differ from other legal financial obligations because their sole, express purpose is to put money into the state’s budget instead of punishing the criminal or giving the victim restitution. [...] "   See also earlier materials, including: "The Return of Debtor’s Prison" and "Cash-Strapped States Resurrect “Debtors’ Prisons” [10/08/10];

Latin leaders Countries Where The Cartels Are oppose pot legalization vote [10/27/10] "Three Latin American presidents are urging California voters to reject the legalization of marijuana in next week's balloting. [...]"  Note: Factions of the US government in league with cartels make billions from this ... they don't want to lose money.  

Food Prices Expected to Rise Sharply  [10/26/10] "In this era of massive liquidity, everything is up, except for food prices—specifically processed food (made from many of the same commodities and other ingredients whose prices have risen). According to the USDA, that is going to change. In its most recent CPI report for food, the USDA reported that prices are expected to rise in 2011. For all food, prices are expected to rise two to three percent, which is double the levels of 2010. Meat prices are expected to rise up to 3.5 percent, and dairy 5.5 percent.  [...]"  Related: "6 great ways to save almost $3,000 in food per year" [10/26/10]  Resource: See Eating Well magazine. 

Concepts and Practices: "Permits Waived for Small U.S. Park Demonstrations" [10/26/10] "The National Park Service has waived the need for a permit for small demonstrations in park free speech areas, in response to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the agency's demonstration rules were unconstitutional. [...]"  Note: Free speech areas? ... a legacy from the G.W. Bush administration. 

Commentary: "Martial Law, Economic Meltdown, and Executive Orders" [10/26/10] "We have all watched in predicted horror as the financial infrastructure of America has been disassembled in a predetermined fashion by the likes of Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve and other Globalists. There are a variety of reasons why this is happening, none of which we have the power to change or alter in time to save us. Therefore, I will focus on what is to come and how we might handle it in order to survive it. With the Federal Reserve actually suggesting that inflation might be the cure to the weak economy, massive unemployment numbers and a crashing dollar, one has to stop and ponder. The chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, was a child prodigy, scored a near perfect SAT score, focused his studies around the Great Depression and is a statistical genius. So why is he so willing to abuse the Dollar and essentially sign the death warrant for America? For several years, many prominent people have been predicting this exact scenario. Gerald Celente, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff and others including the Web Bots Project, have detailed how this orchestrated financial implosion will occur. Many of these “predictions” or trends analysis are from late 2009 or early 2010. Most, if not all, are eerily starting to come true [...]"  

Commentary: "Credit Checks Keeping The Jobless Out Of Work" [10/26/10] " ... While the credit check has always been a routine part of the job application process, experts are wondering whether it's still a fair screening tool in the wake of a recession that has left 15 million Americans unemployed and unable to keep up with their bills. In a meeting of the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission last week to discuss the use of credit history as a discriminatory barrier to employment, a panel of legal experts and social scientists explained how the screening practice may be harmful and unfair to American workers. "A simple reason to oppose the use of credit history for job applications is the sheer, profound absurdity of the practice," said Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. "Using credit history creates a grotesque conundrum. Simply put, a worker who loses her job is likely to fall behind on paying her bills due to lack of income. With the increasing use of credit reports, this worker now finds herself shut out of the job market because she's behind on her bills. This phenomenon has created concerns that the unemployed and debt-ridden could form a luckless class." [...]"  NoteMore 'catch-22' bullshit plaguing US society. 

"More Democracy, More Incarceration" [10/26/10] "Last year the U.S. prison population declined for the first time in a generation. That's good news, but it doesn't begin to offset the damage done by a 30-year incarceration binge that has made America far and away the democratic world's leader in putting people behind bars.  The numbers are staggering. In 1970 one in 400 American adults was behind bars or on parole. As of 2008, the number was one in 100. Add in probation, and it's one in 31. The number of people behind bars for drug crimes has soared from 40,000 in 1980 to about half a million today. States today spend one of every 15 general fund dollars on maintaining their prisons. According to the King's College World Prison Population List (PDF), the U.S. is home to 5 percent of the world's population but nearly a fourth of its prisoners. Judging by these official numbers, America's incarceration rate leads the developed world by a large margin, although it's doubtful that authoritarian regimes such as China's are providing accurate data, especially about political prisoners. But among liberal democracies, the competition isn't even close: As of 2008, the U.S. incarceration rate was 756 per 100,000 people, compared to 288 for Latvia, 153 for England and Wales, 96 for France, and 63 for Denmark. [...]"   

Report: Gene Giants Stockpile Patents on “Climate-Ready” Crops in Bid to Become "Biomassters" [10/26/10] PDF "Under the guise of developing “climate-ready” crops, the world’s largest seed and agrochemical corporations are filing hundreds of sweeping, multi-genome patents in a bid to control the world’s plant biomass, according to a report released by ETC Group today. A handful of multinational corporations are pressuring governments to allow what could become the broadest and most dangerous patent claims in history, warns the group at the United Nations’ Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan (18-29 October 2010). “The Gene Giants are stockpiling patents that threaten to put a choke-hold on the world’s biomass and our future food supply,” warns Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group.  [...]"  Note:  All this will be for nothing ... civilization will not be around much longer for all their plans to manifest. Related:  UN says lack of crop diversity threatens food supply  

Is Unemployment as Bad as During the Great Depression? [10/25/10] "A CBS 60 Minutes Segment  [13:15] notes that our current situation tops the Great Depression in one respect: never had we had a recession this deep with a recovery this flat. 60 Minutes points out that unemployment has been at 9.5% or above for 14 months: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy notes in Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford, 1999) that - during Herbert Hoover's presidency, more than 13 million Americans lost their jobs. Of those, 62% found themselves out of work for longer than a year; 44% longer than two years; 24% longer than three years; and 11% longer than four years. Blytic calculates that the current average duration of unemployment is some 32 weeks, the median duration is around 2o weeks, and there are approximately 6 million people unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. [...]"  Related: Commentary: California’s Best and Brightest Face Homelessness and Poverty  " I don’t know why CBS insists on calling what’s happening economically in this country the “Great Recession.” It’s the Greatest Depression. It is quickly shaping up to be worse than the first Great Depression. At least CBS admits unemployment is not a measly 9.5 percent like the government claims. It puts it at 17%. Actually it is closer to 23% and will soon eclipse the unemployment rate during the first engineered depression.  Most people realize Obama’s “Summer of Recovery” was a cruel joke. There will not be a recovery. The plan is to turn the U.S. into yet another third-world slave labor gulag. It will take some time to wreck what was once the most productive and prosperous nation in the world. In the meantime, people need to start educating themselves. Turning off CBS and the rest of the corporate media would be an auspicious first step. I can’t help but think all the intelligent people in the video below are spinning their wheels as they are systematically being pauperized and converted into the latest class of serfs by the banksters. I wonder how many of them will vote for Democrats, Republicans, and the trademarked Tea Party next month. Doing so will seal their fate. The political class in this country works for the international bankers and its transnational corporations. And that includes Tea Party Sarah and the RINO neocons masquerading as our “independent” saviors. The 99ers are about to have their homes stolen and their meager unemployment checks cut. They will be out in the street. Basically the only choice they have is to get rid of the government now selling them and their children out to a global elite that specializes in converting the planet into a slave labor plantation. Most of the world works for less than two or three dollars a day. The 99ers are about to join them if they don’t get educated fast and stop playing by the rules. It’s a rigged game. The only other choice is to be a slave. [...]" 

California to get another $900M from feds " for rail" [10/25/10] "California to get an additional $900M from feds for high-speed rail in key race battleground Federal lawmakers say the state of California is getting another $902 million in federal funding to advance the design and construction of a high-speed rail system initially running from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  [...]"  Note: High-speed rail in the future is apparently more important than the people who are hurting now ... stupid sequentials.

 TrendsRetired and broke: Why retirees are declaring bankruptcy [10/25/10] "For more and more seniors, retirement doesn’t mean a debt-free life of leisure. An increasing number of Americans aged 65 and older are declaring bankruptcy, according to a recent study by John Pottow, professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School.  Those aged 65 and older represented seven percent of bankruptcy filers in 2007, a mind-boggling jump from 1991. They are the “fastest-growing age demographic,” according to Pottow’s study. What’s the culprit for so much debt? Credit cards. Two-thirds of Americans who filed for bankruptcy said credit cards were the key reason for their financial problems, according to Pottow’s research.  Besides having more credit card debt compared with younger bankruptcy filers, 44.8 percent of those aged 65 and older also had more plastic in their wallets. “They’re using credit cards as a maladaptive coping mechanism,” Pottow says.  Stephanie Osterland, a supervisor in the bankruptcy department at GreenPath debt solutions, sees an increasing number of seniors living beyond their means. Says Osterland: “They’re just trying to live off of a fixed income, and that’s usually Social Security. Maybe they have a small pension. We find they’ve used credit cards to supplement that income and expenses or they just end up getting into a lot of medical debt.” [...]"   

Marseille close to standstill as worst strikes in 15 years cause French chaos [10/25/10] "France's worst period of strikes and civil disobedience for 15 years has brought the city of Marseille almost to a standstill. [...]"   

Concepts and Practices: De-cloaking of government-sponsored "fairness" and the intellectual proponents of outcomes-based "equality" [10/25/10] "The original definition of rights as espoused by the founders was meant to protect “We the People” from all others by providing basic freedoms that could not be infringed upon. These rights provided a basic framework upon which individuals could determine their own destinies. However, they did not provide for or ensure that the outcomes of one’s aspirations, laborers, or laziness would be equal or protected. As Thomas Jefferson puts it:   "We in America entertain] a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow-citizens resulting not from birth but from our actions and their sense of them" .  Despite this historical precedent, over the last two centuries those who have differing philosophies about rights, including beliefs about equitable outcomes, have sought to provide a justification for such a fatal change in the basic definition of rights. Using images of the downtrodden, victims of medical happenstance, and depictions of greed, they have been successful at galvanizing emotional sympathy for their cause at the expense of intellectual honesty. Thus, as a result of their efforts, they have methodically removed generally applied rational basic rights/protections in favor of emotionally-acquired guaranteed entitlements for the “disadvantaged.” In addition, the definition of rights has been transformed from one that protects the people from others, into the right of government to force its will on the people. This, supposedly in the name of the general welfare. Subsequently, the new definition of rights has been adopted by many countries who now incorporate the equitable distribution of outcome model as the basis for palliating the general public and justifying the creation of socialist systems. Thankfully, it was not long after these countries incorporated socialism that its flaws became apparent and the rapid disintegration of some of these systems ensued. As a result of this logical turn of fate, the word ‘fair’ has subsequently received bad press. In response to the de-cloaking of government-sponsored fairness, the intellectual proponents of outcomes based equality have masked their ideology under other terms. One of the most prevalent of these that is used with increasing frequency is the term ‘distributive justice.’ The former philosophers of fairness, now renamed the philosophers of distributive justice, are concerned with the same issues, namely, how to equitably distribute “limited” resources coercively among the members of society. Some of these philosophers also propose that equitable distribution will not only create more fairness, but engineer a more stable society. They believe [...]"   

Ministers plan huge sell-off of Britain's forests [10/24/10] "Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, is expected to announce plans within days to dispose of about half of the 748,000 hectares of woodland overseen by the Forestry Commission by 2020. The controversial decision will pave the way for a huge expansion in the number of Center Parcs-style holiday villages, golf courses, adventure sites and commercial logging operations throughout Britain as land is sold to private companies. Legislation which currently governs the treatment of "ancient forests" such as the Forest of Dean and Sherwood Forest is likely to be changed giving private firms the right to cut down trees. [...]"  

Lawsuit Alleges that MERS Owes California a Potential $60-120 Billion in Unpaid Land-Recording Fees [10/24/10] "In creating MERS, these institutions actually changed the land-title system that this country - for much of its history - has relied upon to determine legal ownership status of land titleholders. Not only did the lenders sidestep (read that to mean avoid) paying billions of dollars in fees to local governments, they paid themselves from the fees that MERS collected. [...]"   

Iran restricts social sciences seen as 'Western' [10/24/10] "Iran has imposed new restrictions on 12 university social sciences deemed to be based on Western schools of thought and therefore incompatible with Islamic teachings, state radio reported Sunday. The list includes law, philosophy, management, psychology, political science and the two subjects that appear to cause the most concern among Iran's conservative leadership — women's studies and human rights. "The content of the current courses in the 12 subjects is not in harmony with religious fundamentals and they are based on Western schools of thought," senior education official Abolfazl Hassani told state radio. Hassani said the restrictions prevent universities from opening new departments in these subjects. The government will also revise the content of current programs by up to 70 percent over the next few years, he said. The decision is seen as a response to concerns expressed last year by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said the subjects could lead to religious doubts. Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters in Iran, urged officials to take altering the curriculum into "serious consideration. Since Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, he has pushed a revival of the fundamentalist goals pursued in the 1980s under the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, father of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran." [...]"  Note 

Commentary: California Is Broke – 19 Reasons Why It May Be Time For Everyone To Leave The State Of California For Good [10/24/10] "Back in the 1960s and 1970s, there was a seemingly endless parade of pop songs about how great life was in California, and millions of young Americans dreamed of moving to the land of sandy beaches and golden sunshine. But now all of that has changed. Today, millions of Californians are dreaming about leaving the state for good. The truth is that California is broke. The economy of the state is in shambles. The official unemployment rate has been sitting above 12 percent for an extended period of time, and poverty is everywhere. For many Californians today, there are very few reasons to stay in the state but a whole lot of reasons to leave: falling housing prices, rising crime, budget cuts, rampant illegal immigration, horrific traffic, some of the most brutal tax rates in the nation, increasing gang violence and the ever present threat of wildfires, mudslides and natural disasters. The truth is that it is easy to understand why there are now more Americans moving out of California each year than there are Americans moving into the state. California has become a complete and total disaster zone in more ways than one, and an increasing number of Californians are deciding that enough is enough and they are getting out for good. Sadly, the state of California is facing such a wide array of social, economic, and political problems that it is hard to even document them all. It is really one huge gigantic mess at this point. Just consider the following facts about what life is like in the state of California today…. [...]"     

"Fundamentalists Use `Personhood' Proposal To Invade America's Bedrooms" [10/24/10] "The amendment would declare that, for legal purposes, personhood is defined as the "beginning of the biological development of that human being." Such a sweeping definition of personhood would not only ban all abortions (even in cases of rape, incest and threats to the mother's life), it would also make certain forms of birth control, stem-cell research and even some fertility treatments illegal. Is it time to cue the classic Monty Python song "Every Sperm is Sacred" yet? But Personhood USA's drive is no laughing matter. The group actually managed to get this monstrosity on the ballot in Colorado, where it will face a vote next month. A 2008 attempt to pass it was a spectacular failure, with voters trouncing the proposal at the ballot box 73 percent to 27 percent, but things could be different this year: Colorado faces hard-fought U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races and an influx of "Tea Party" conservatives, which could affect the outcome. Personhood USA was founded by two fundamentalist pastors, Cal Zastrow and Keith Mason, who call themselves "missionaries to pre-born children." [...]"  Note: These infantile control freaks are dumb as a stone sequentials. The ultimate 'body-id' loop hingepoint.

Cops busted breaking into cars in West Palm Beach [10/24/10] "Cops getting in trouble in South Florida isn’t really a newsflash, but it’s not often they are caught breaking into cars. Two West Palm Beach police officers have some explaining to do after they were caught early Thursday inside a Jupiter parking garage trying to steal, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The two officers, Christopher Clark and Timothy Pike, face felony criminal mischief charges, but those charges could be upped to attempted burglary after an investigation. Jupiter police encountered the two cops-turned-car thieves as they were attempting to break into two cars in the garage. It wasn’t until after they were arrested that the men revealed they were officers of the law. The police report said the men were not in uniform and well out of their jurisdiction. Clark and Pike have been placed on administrative leave by the West Palm Beach Police Department pending the outcome of the investigation. [...]" 

LaRouche: Saturday Evening Report [10/23/10] Video clip [20:22]  "Obamawatch, Space, Cosmic Rays [...]" 

Canada"The Williams Case: How a psychopath is made"  [10/23/10] " ... Though never officially diagnosed as a psychopath, Mr. Williams appears to fit the profile. The way he toyed with his victims like playthings, unable to offer mercy: “Have a heart,” one pleaded, as he unflinchingly duct-taped her nose to suffocate her. The singular attention with which he catalogued photos and video of his crimes. The fleeting shows of remorse. (He feels “disappointed,” he tells police in his confession, about what he's done.) All the while, he wore the mask of sanity, in place for so long and so well, that he tortured and killed, and then went to work to discuss whether the military should buy a new aircraft transport. That's also the measure of a cunning psychopath: He's often the last guy you'd ever suspect. However, Mr. Williams is a curiosity in some respects – for his apparent late start into heinous crime, the quiet worry he expressed, upon realizing he was caught, for his wife (and her shiny new floor that might be scratched in a police search of their Ottawa home), even his ability to hide himself in an environment that required taking orders without protest. Read what you will into his tearful statement of regret at his court sentencing on Thursday.  [...]"   

LaRouche: Saturday Morning European Report [10/23/10] Video clip [2:54]  "Yesterday after weeks of debate, the French Senate decided to pass the pension bill to raise the retirement age of the French population. Although the issue at hand in France is the raising of the retirement age, the population is not responding to any mere issue; the inalienable rights of man are being violated and despite any differences the population is responding to that through a union. [...]"  

"Ugandan Paper Stirs Witch Hunt For Gays" [10/23/10] "In an horrific witch hunt, violent assaults have followed the publication of a local Ugandan newspaper that printed an article entitled “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak”. The news outlet, oddly enough called “Rolling Stone”, has said it will continue to publish the names of gay individuals. For context, any gay sexual act is already illegal in Uganda, and a proposed draconian “Anti-homosexuality Bill” has sparked international outcry. Also the paper that found it newsworthy to print the names of thought-to-be-gay individuals? It has been in publication for a whopping two months. So watch out as we begin a new series of our own: “Top Newspapers in Uganda that Publish Rubbish and are Likely Overcompensating for its Editor’s Own Toilsome Battle With Sexuality”.  [...]"  NoteMore minionesque societies that are really better off returning to the nature spirit. Like- attracts- like is all over nature ... all around them, so why should minions be 'surprised' ... 

"The First 11 State Pensions That Will Run Out Of Money" [10/23/10] "Here's a shocker: The most immediate state pension crises aren't in New York or California. They're in Middle America. Illinois is just 8 years away from exhausting its pension fund and creating a yearly $14 billion hole, according to data from Kellogg professor Joshua Rauh [PDF]. That's a projected 32 percent of the state's revenue going to fill a pension hole. Every year. Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Colorado are among the next pension funds to fall. The rest of the union is just around the corner. [...]"     

UKPM David Cameron: 42,000 Defence Jobs To Go [10/23/10] "David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has disclosed that 42,000 defence jobs in Britain will go as part of 8 per cent budget cuts in the strategic defence review. Recent veterans of the war in Afghanistan are understood to be at risk of redundancy, as 7,000 jobs go in the Army; 5,000 in the Royal Navy;  [...]"    

Government job cuts ravage California [10/23/10] "Weighed down by a struggling economy, government agencies in California shed 37,300 workers last month — more jobs than were lost in the private sector — as cities and counties made their biggest payroll cutbacks since at least 1990. [...]"   

Chinese poor locked up at night  [10/23/10] [1:59]  "Gated villages in China have always been symbols of affluence; spaces where the rich protected themselves from criminals and other undesirables. But now the poor in Beijing are being locked inside their neighbourhoods at night, between 11pm and dawn. Chinese officials call the project "sealed management" and claim the measure helps reduce crime. Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan reports from Beijing. [...]" 

1.2 Million Will Lose Job Benefits By Christmas [10/23/10] "If Congress fails to reauthorize extended unemployment benefits by the end of November, it will spoil the holidays for 1.2 million people, according to the National Employment Law Project. “The program deadline falls in the midst of the holiday season, when unemployed families do their best to put food on the table and hold on to their family traditions,” said NELP in a release. “It’s also a time when the economy, especially the retail sector, is counting on consumer spending — supported in part by unemployment benefits — to maintain the recovery.” According to the government, there are 14.8 million people unemployed in the United States as of October 2010. That is the official figure. Unofficially, it likely exceeds 30 million without work. At some point, these people (and those who join the unemployment rolls going forward) will lose their jobless benefits as well. They can kick the can down the road, but eventually entitlements and emergency economic programs will have to come to an end - be it through forced cuts and expirations, or debasement of the US dollar. And then what? Then, the system really comes unhinged. [...]"   

"Despite Official Measures, Bride Kidnapping Endemic In Chechnya" [10/22/10] "Dagmara burst into tears when her son told her that he had kidnapped a teenage girl to force her to marry him. It was in August of 1999, shortly before the start of the second Chechen war, when her son... [...]"  Note There's a no-return policy, too.

Overview: "75 Ways That The Government And The Financial Elite Will Be Sucking Even More Of The Life Blood Out Of The American People In 2011" [10/22/10] "The American people are experiencing financial death by a thousand cuts and most of them don’t even realize it. The U.S. government, state governments, local governments and the financial elite are draining us financially in dozens upon dozens of different ways, and yet we have become so programmed to accept it that it just seems normal to us. 2011 is rapidly approaching, and a whole slate of federal taxes is scheduled to go up, state taxes are being increased from coast to coast, local governments are finding new and creative ways to stick it to us and the financial elite are becoming more predatory than ever. Meanwhile, the incomes of many average Americans are actually going down. According to the Census Bureau’s annual survey of income and poverty in the United States, of the 52 largest metro areas in the nation, only the city of San Antonio did not see a decline in median household income during 2009. Tens of millions of Americans are flat broke and they are getting pissed off. According to a new poll conducted by CNBC, 92 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is either “fair” or “poor”. The American people desperately want someone to fix the economy, but instead our “leaders” are trying to come up with new and creative ways to drain even more money out of us. In no particular order, the following are 75 ways that the U.S. government, state governments, local governments and the financial elite will be sucking even more of the life blood out of the American people in 2011…. [...]"      Note Sequential predispositions for control run amok.

China forces woman into abortion at 8 months for breaching one-child policy [10/22/10] "An eight-months pregnant woman was dragged from her home and forced to have an abortion because she had broken China’s one-child-per-family law. Twelve government officials entered Xiao Aiying’s house where they hit and kicked her in the stomach, before taking her kicking and screaming to hospital. There, the 36-year-old was restrained as doctors injected her with a drug to kill the unborn baby. [...]"     News Video clip  [2:09]  Note: Barbaric sequentials and minions. You would never see this in a dynamic containing only simultaneous incarnations.   Related:  "Forced Abortion: Dream Of The Scientific Elite" "Today’s harrowing story about a pregnant woman in China who was brutally beaten and abducted by state goons before being forcibly injected with a drug to kill her unborn baby serves as a stark reminder that the current White House science czar, John P. Holdren, advocated the creation of a “planetary regime” that would carry out similar draconian measures in America as part of the eugenicist zeal to reduce world population.  [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: Court rules teachers don’t have free speech rights in curriculum [10/22/10] "A teacher's in-class curriculum in primary and secondary schools is not protected by the First Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday. "Only the school board has ultimate responsibility for what goes on in the classroom, legitimately giving it a say over what teachers may (or may not) teach in the classroom,"  [...] The decision came in a case where an Ohio teacher, Shelley Evans-Marshall, did not have her contract renewed after numerous parents complained about reading selections she assigned to her high school English classes. Evans-Marshall, who taught English to 9th and 11th grade students and a creative writing course to 11th and 12th grade students, distributed a list of banned books to students in her 9th grade class. The students were required to form groups, pick a book from the list, examine the reasons the book has been banned, and lead an in-class debate about the book. Two groups in Evans-Marshall's class chose Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman, a children's book about a girl with two lesbian parents. Some of the parents of the students in Evans-Marshall's class complained about Heather Has Two Mommies and Evans-Marshall was told by the principal to have the students choose another book. She complied with the principal's request, noting her students had "actually experienced censorship in preparing to debate censorship."[...]"  

"Economists Say US Must Prepare for "Savage Austerity" [10/22/10] [6:59]  "Howard Davies, chairman of the London School of Economics, and Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup Inc., talk about the potential impact of additional quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve on the U.S. economy. Davies and Buiter say "Savage Austerity" coming to America as they talk with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Television's "Surveillance Midday." (Source: Bloomberg) [...]"     

"Massive Make-a-Wish Phone Scam Stealing Millions From American Elderly" [10/22/10] "ABC News tracks down the fugitives indicted in the high-tech swindle. [...]" 

Read: The Depositions That Sparked the Foreclosure Scandal [10/22/10] "Over the past month, we’ve seen lots of evidence that banks and others have taken shortcuts with paperwork to push foreclosures through. Bank employees have acknowledged that they’ve signed thousands of foreclosure documents each month without much first-hand knowledge of what they contained. Other players in the foreclosure process, including law firms known as “foreclosure mills,” have taken similar shortcuts. The revelations have prompted a joint investigation by the attorneys general in all 50 states and no fewer than five federal investigations into the mortgage lenders’ handling of foreclosures. Much of the evidence that sparked the furor has come from a number of court depositions by employees or former employees at banks and foreclosure mills. We’ve gathered the most interesting of those documents in one place and highlighted the best parts: [...]"   

Report"The haves, the have-nots and the dreamless dead" [10/22/10] "In 2007, when the world was on the brink of financial crisis, U.S. income inequality hit its highest mark since 1928, just before the Great Depression. Coincidence? Maybe not. Economists are only beginning to study the parallels between the 1920s and the most recent decade to try to understand why both periods ended in financial disaster. Their early findings suggest inequality may not directly cause crises, but it can be a contributing factor. This raises a host of social, economic and political questions. Should public policy aim to reduce inequality, and if so by what means? Does concentrated wealth at the top of the income spectrum generate asset bubbles, or vice versa? Could raising taxes or interest rates ward off financial meltdowns? Americans are generally not bothered by inequality because they believe with hard work, they, too, can strike it rich. Government policies aimed at spreading the wealth rarely get much support. (Remember 2008, when then-candidate Barack Obama's campaign-trail comment about redistributing the wealth catapulted "Joe the Plumber" into media stardom?) "It is usually only left-leaning rich people that care about inequality in the U.S.," said Carol Graham, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank who studies the economics of happiness. [...]"  

Social Politics: Violent Anarchists Help French Authorities Crush Pension Protests [10/21/10] "Violent anarchists in France who have spent the last week pointlessly smashing shop windows and setting fire to cars have “shot the protest movement in the foot” by demonizing legitimate union demonstrators and allowing the government to crackdown with paramilitary forces, according to a leading French labor expert.  [...]"  Note As before, the violent anarchists always, transparently, work for the system, police, government in order to induce just this 'safety valve' scenario. Video clip  [2:18] 

Alex Jones InterviewsMax Keiser: "Sitting on The Doorstep of Global Conflict"  [10/21/10] 3 Video clips 

"NYC Rape Exoneree Gets $18.5M for 20 Yrs in Jail" [10/21/10] "A jury has awarded $18.5 million to a New York City man who was exonerated four years ago after spending more than two decades in prison. Alan Newton was cleared by DNA evidence in 2006. He had been sentenced in 1985 to up to 40 years in prison after being convicted of raping a woman in an abandoned building. In awarding the money Tuesday, the federal jury in Manhattan ruled the city had violated Newton's constitutional rights. It also found two police officers had failed to produce Newton's evidence when requested. According to the New York Times, a rape kit from the case was found in a Police Department warehouse in 2005 - about a decade after Mr. Newton and his lawyers had requested it - and subsequent testing showed that DNA collected from the victim did not match. The city says it will appeal. Newton told The New York Times it's something he'd been fighting for since he was freed in 2006.  [...]"    

4 Convicted of 'Attempting to Blow Up 2 Synagogues' [10/21/10] "Four men were convicted on Monday on charges of planting what they believed were bombs outside synagogues in the Bronx and plotting to fire missiles at military planes. Defense lawyers said the case crossed the line into entrapment. They said the informer, on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, dangled offers of money and lured impoverished men with no ties to international terrorism into a plot they could never have dreamed up on their own. In the end, the entrapment defense failed, as it has in every other terrorism trial since Sept. 11, 2001. About 2:30 p.m. on Monday, the jury forewoman stood and began reading the verdicts with a wavering voice. “Guilty,” she said, 30 times, as the girlfriend of one of the defendants sobbed in the gallery. The four men — Onta Williams, Laguerre Payen, James Cromitie and David Williams IV — will be sentenced on March 24. Each could face life in prison. Mr. Cromitie and David Williams were convicted on all eight counts of the indictment. Onta Williams and Mr. Payen, who met the informer late in the investigation, were found not guilty on one of the counts: attempting to kill officers and employees of the US.  [...]"  Related: Four men railroaded in plot to bomb synagogues  " “Accused of planting bombs outside synagogues in the Bronx and plotting to fire missiles at military planes, they were convicted on Monday, in a case that was widely seen as an important test of the entrapment defense. In just eight weeks, a jury of six women and five men deliberated in Federal District Court in Manhattan to find them guilty, a multiple Ox-Bow Incident. Of course, the prosecutors counted on recorded conversations between the informer, Shahed Hussain, and the defendants. The four defendants were reported as Onta Williams, Laguerre Payen, James Cromitie and David Williams IV and they face up to life in prison. Mr. Williams and Mr. Payen were found not guilty of one charge, attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States. Well, that’s a relief. On the other hand, Mr. Cromitie was featured in most of the records, the first to meet the fink Hussain, and the most talkative. Cromitie, “filled with bravado,” made anti-Semitic statements and spoke of violent acts, though he had doubts about his “intentions,” which should have proved Cromitie and the other men were “reluctant participants”. The focus on Hussain as a “liar and manipulator” who “coaxed impoverished men toward a violence they were not predisposed to was the key requirement for an entrapment defense, though in all of the 9/11 terrorism cases that’s never worked. Once suckered in, the suckers don’t get out. [...]"   

More ethanol in fuel risky [10/21/10] "Here's the simple reality -- not all biofuels are created equal. Some reduce pollution, but some, like corn-based ethanol in particular, do more harm than good. When all direct and indirect impacts are factored in, corn ethanol production causes more global warming pollution than the oil it is meant to replace, contaminates our waterways and raises the price of food and feed in our stores. Burning ethanol can cause toxic air pollution from vehicle tailpipes, especially at levels as high as this new blend -- called E15 -- and especially when used in older cars. Because ethanol burns hotter than gasoline, it causes catalytic converters to break down faster.  [...]"   Related:  EPA approves more ethanol in gas [10/13/10] "The Environmental Protection Agency has approved blending higher concentrations of ethanol into gasoline for newer vehicles, allowing the corn-based fuel to be up to 15 percent... [...]"  Note:  The EPA ruling will mean more messed up car engine performance and ruined engines... the EPA is corrupt and people are ill-advised to do anything it suggests in this regard.

EU to Back Sale of Meat And Milk From Cloned Animals [10/20/10] "The sale of meat and milk from the offspring of cloned farm animals is set to be backed by EU Commissioners despite mass consumer opposition. A huge majority of the public is against clone animal farming, according to studies in Britain and across Europe. Concerns surround the ethics of the process, the welfare of the animals and a lack of research on food safety. However, a leaked report to be discussed by the EU’s College of Commissioners today comes out in favour of food from the offspring of clones. Alarmingly, it appears this food would not have to be labelled, leaving families completely in the dark about what they are putting in their mouths.  Specifically, the report proposes a temporary five-year ban on the sale of meat and milk from clones, but there would be no ban on food from their offspring. If this policy is adopted, European farms could be populated by cloned super- size animals used as breeding stock for cows, pigs and sheep that are reared for food. Clones themselves can suffer a range of painful conditions, including malformed organs and gigantism. Many die in the womb or soon after birth. But the Commission and the Government take the view that meat and milk from the offspring of a clone is effectively normal and therefore no ban or labeling is required. The Daily Mail revealed in the summer that more than 100 cattle – pedigree Holstein milking cows – which are the offspring of clones are being raised on British farms. We also revealed how meat from two clone-offspring bulls and one veal calf had been sold in butcher shops in Scotland, North-East England, London and Belgium. The Food Standards Agency has made clear it believes it is illegal to sell meat and milk from these sources without first getting its approval.  Food and farming minister Caroline Spelman supports the move to force meat and milk from clone offspring into supermarkets. The idea that the European Commission and the Government are putting the interest of high-tech clone farmers over the concerns of consumers and animal welfare has angered critics. The attitude has echoes of the BSE crisis and the way biotech firms tried to force GM food into the national diet. A 2008 EU study found consumers across Europe are unhappy at this new era of ‘Frankenstein food’ farming. [...]"   

UK "Spending Review" to Cut 500,000 Govt. Jobs [10/20/10] "Chancellor George Osborne is setting out details of the biggest programme of public spending cuts attempted by a UK government since the Second World War.  Unveiling his Spending Review in the Commons, Mr Osborne is expected to cut the budgets of Whitehall departments by an average of 25% - or £83bn in total. He vowed "fairness" would underpin the cuts, telling MPs "those with the most should pay the most". He also insisted economic growth and reform were at the heart of his plans. He began his statement by saying: "Today is the day when Britain steps back from the brink, when we confront the bills from a decade of debt." He told MPs: "It is a hard road, but it leads to a better future." Up to 500,000 public sector jobs could go by 2014-15, according to the Office for Budgetary Responsibility. [...]"  Related:  UK loses global ambition with job & budget slashing   [4:31]  "The UK government has announced its largest cuts in public spending since World War Two. The new austerity plans will have the budget slashed by 83 BLN pounds and cut of around half a million public sector jobs. " [...]"  

UK"Council tax, rebellion, and a day in court" [10/20/10] "Before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion, John Hurst is no free-loader. He is a highly responsible and patriotic citizen, a former police officer with an impressive record. His decision not to pay is based on thorough research indicating that councils have no legal right whatsoever to levy such a tax on its citizens. Believing this to be true, John would have therefore committed an offence by actually paying the tax, as the majority of us already have. Given that ignorance of the law is no defence, it places the overwhelming majority of hitherto respectable British citizens in an invidious situation and the courts in an even worse one. [...]"   

UKBritish court sentences Saudi prince to 20 years in jail [10/20/10] "In this CCTV handout image issued by the London Metropolitan Police, Saudi Arabian Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Saud, in white jacket, attacks his servant, Bandar Abdulaziz, in a hotel elevator... [...]"  

Video: Disdain for politicians palpable in 'middle America' [10/20/10] Video clip  "In a campaign filled with partisan squabbling and finger-pointing, many voters are questioning whether politicians realize just how worried the American public is about the future of the country. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports. (Nightly News) [...]"  

Interview: "What You Can’t Say on Campus: Greg Lukianoff on Free Expression in Higher Education" [10/19/10] [8:29] "If you think that, like the Macarena, campus speech codes were mocked into obscurity during the 1990s, think again. Approximately 71 percent of American campuses still impose highly restrictive "red light speech codes" on college students, notes Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Recently Reason.tv's Ted Balaker sat down with Lukianoff to discuss the sorry state of free expression in higher education, why you can't call Harvard men sissies, and how a student got expelled for criticizing a university president on Facebook."

Rail Strike Shuts Down Belgium, Severely Disrupts International Travel [10/18/10] "A 24-hour strike has shut down rail service in Belgium and severely disrupted travel in northwestern Europe. Disruptions are expected to last until Tuesday morning. Brussels is at a standstill A 24-hour strike by one of Belgium’s main rail unions has forced the cancellation of nearly all high-speed rail service [...]"  

France to Run Out of Fuel in Days as Strikes Escalate [10/18/10] "Petrol pumps could run dry in France by Wednesday, experts warned yesterday, as the stand-off over pension reforms reached crisis point. Airlines advised pilots to refuel abroad and UFIP, the country’s oil industry association, said that if strikes continued at all 12 of France’s refineries, then national shortages would follow. Christine Lagarde, France’s finance minister, said 230 of the country’s 13,000 stations were out of fuel and Total, the French oil company, said 350 to 400 petrol stations were suffering disrupted supplies. Shortages looked set to worsen as lorry drivers pledged to halt road transport of fuel to filling stations from last night. “We have found the means to cope with the worst moments of the crisis so far, but we cannot hold out forever,” warned Jean-Louis Schilansky, UFIP’s president. Striking workers continued to block the Fos-Lavera fuel terminal near Marseille, where 61 ships and 47 petrol tankers are unable to offload. [...]"   Related:  France Strike: Hundreds of Flights Cancelled, Airlines Told to Carry Enough Fuel For Return Journey 

Germans Selling 100 Watt Incandescent Light Bulbs as Mini Heaters, “Heatballs” [10/18/10] "A German entrepreneur is bypassing a European Union ban on light bulbs of more than 60 watts by marketing his own brand as mini heaters.  Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law have come up with a legal way of importing and distributing 75 and 100 watt light bulbs — by producing them in China, importing them as “small heating devices” and selling them as “heatballs.”  To improve energy efficiency, the EU has banned the sale of bulbs of over 60 watts — to the annoyance of the mechanical engineer from the western city of Essen.  Rotthaeuser studied EU legislation and realized that because the inefficient old bulbs produce more warmth than light — he calculated heat makes up 95 percent of their output, and light just 5 percent — they could be sold legally as heaters. On their website (heatball.de/), the two engineers describe the heatballs as “action art” and as “resistance against legislation which is implemented without recourse to democratic and parliamentary processes.” Costing 1.69 euros each ($2.38), the heatballs are going down well — the first batch of 4,000 sold out in three days.  Rotthaeuser has pledged to donate 30 cents of every heatball sold to saving the rainforest, which the 49-year-old sees as a better way of protecting the environment than investing in energy-saving lamps, which contain toxic mercury. [...]"   

The US Economy: Who Got Stimulated? (Chart)  [10/18/10]   

ExposéNew York’s Finest Police Cover-Up [10/18/10] "The Village Voice has learned that New York City’s Police Department has spent nearly two years covering up an ugly, alcohol-fueled street brawl in which 10 rookie cops beat up a taxi driver outside a trendy Upper East Side bar. The NYPD has allowed the rookies’ boss—a captain who witnessed the fight but didn’t act to stop it and left the scene without speaking to investigators—to escape scrutiny.  None of the rookies were charged criminally with the December 2008 assault. Instead, it was the cab-driver victim who was arrested, records show. Meanwhile, the captain,William Pla, was subsequently promoted to commanding officer of the 23th Precinct in East Harlem. And Sergeant Anthony Acosta, the man who waded into the melee and broke up the assault—a highly decorated sergeant who has made more than 1,000 arrests in his 20-year career—was slapped with administrative charges and chained to a desk without his gun or his shield for almost two years. “I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how this happened,” Acosta tells the Voice. “I did everything right. I feel like the lesson is, you know what, mind your business, stay in your house, don’t get involved. I’m not one of those conspiracy people, but how the hell did I end up in this position?” The cover-up and punishment of the officer who tried to break up the fight is another glaring example of how internal justice is meted out in Ray Kelly‘s NYPD. In the “NYPD Tapes,” published earlier this year, the Voiceshowed how another whistleblower who has tried to bring NYPD injustice to light, Adrian Schoolcraft, was punished by being forcibly put into a hospital mental ward. This new case also offers lessons about the byzantine world of One Police Plaza, where miscreants are promoted and do-gooders are punished by an arcane, plodding bureaucracy that operates almost entirely outside of public scrutiny. The Voice sent a detailed e-mail to the police department press office. There was no response. In conversation, Sergeant Anthony Acosta, 44, is so professional that he insists on addressing civilians with the word “sir,” even when he’s off-duty. He is a stocky man, [...]"  Related: Police Misconduct Costs NYC Taxpayers Nearly $1B to Settle Claims [10/17/10] "The increasing militarization of police has had profound social ramifications across the United States, as citizens increasingly feel threatened by those sworn to protect them. Beyond the social fallout, a recent Associated Press investigation skims the surface of the financial impact of police excesses over the previous decade.  In typical Associated Press misdirection, a video accompanies the article, which literally has nothing to do with what is written around it. The original title of the article is ambiguous, "AP Investigation: Nearly $1B in NYC Police Payouts." If one were only to watch the video, one would assume that the $1B somehow has been paid out in counterterrorism operations, as the video focuses on a "dirty bomb" patrol boat protecting the UN building. Strange. However, the article itself does possess a few kernels of truth. According to the AP investigation into the NYPD: [...]"  

Trends: Poverty In Suburbs Increasing Rapidly During Economic Downturn [10/17/10] "The American suburb is no longer a refuge from poverty in cities.  A pair of analyses by the nonprofit Brookings Institution paints a bleak economic picture for the 100 largest metropolitan areas over the past decade and in coming years, and finds that suburbs now are home to one-third of the nation's poor, and rising. The study of census data finds that since 2000, the number of poor people in the suburbs jumped by 37.4 percent to 13.7 million. The growth rate of suburban poverty is more than double that of cities and higher than the national rate of 26.5 percent. At the same time, social service providers are spread thin in many suburban areas, according to a detailed Brookings survey of groups in representative metropolitan areas of Chicago, Los Angeles and the District of Columbia. That has forced providers to turn away many poor people due to scarce aid that typically goes to cities first. "Millions of Americans at all income levels moved to the suburbs looking for better schools, better jobs, affordable housing, and a sense of security, but in recent years, as incomes have fallen, people had a harder and harder time making ends meet," said Scott Allard, a University of Chicago professor who co-wrote one of the reports. "As a result, Americans who never imagined becoming poor are now asking for assistance, and many are not getting the help they need." After the recession began in 2007, the suburbs continued to post larger increases in the number of poor – adding 1.8 million, compared with 1.4 million in the cities. The findings come weeks before the Nov. 2 congressional elections in which  [...]"  Related: Press TV talks to Paul Sheldon Foote on US Economy [3:00]   

Wall Street, White House blame homeowners in foreclosure crisis [10/17/10] "In spite of overwhelming evidence that banks systematically broke laws to speed up the foreclosure process for millions of Americans, Wall Street financiers are blaming homeowners for the spreading crisis. [...]"    Related: CNBC predicts Congress will retroactively legalize foreclosure fraud [10/17/10] "Congress will pass a bill to "forgive" banks the potentially criminal errors made in foreclosure proceedings, a senior CNBC editor predicts.....Carney predicts that the lame-duck session of Congress following this November's elections will pass the law. "Every member of Congress ... who has been voted out of office will cast a vote for the bill. And the President will sign it." [...]"  Note: Isn't that illegal and unethical to create a new law to undo a crime in the past that broke the law? And people will just take this in stride ... See also: " 50 States Investigate Mortgage-Services Industry" [10/13/10] ; " Banks Suing Based on Counterfeit Court Summons in Foreclosure Lawsuits" [09/30/10]; " Bank of America forecloses on a man who has no mortgage" [09/23/10]; " Ally Financial legal issue with foreclosures may affect other mortgage companies" [09/23/10]; " Grayson Calls Illegal Foreclosures "Largest Seizure of Private Property Ever Attempted by Banks and Government" [09/21/10]; and earlier stories, on this Society and Living panel.

Exposé"How Countrywide Covered the Cracks" [10/17/10] "ON June 27, 2006, Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, was about to close its books on a record-breaking six-month run. The housing market was on fire and Countrywide’s earnings were soaring. Despite all the euphoria inside the company, some executives noticed that Angelo R. Mozilo, the company’s brash and imperious chief executive, seemed subdued.  At a town hall meeting that day with 110 of the company’s highest-ranking executives in Calabasas, Calif., Mr. Mozilo sat alone on a stage, fielding questions and offering rosy predictions about his company’s prospects. But then he struck a sober note in response to a question from one of his colleagues. The questioner wanted to know what, if anything, worried Mr. Mozilo, according to a participant. “I wake up every day frightened that something is going to happen to Countrywide,” Mr. Mozilo said. [...]"  

Commentary: Europe’s right rises again: 13 percent of Germans want a ‘Fuhrer’ [10/17/10] "Thirteen percent of Germans would welcome the arrival of a new "Fuhrer," a new study suggests in what may be the most striking example yet of the rise of right-wing extremism in Europe today. According to the Christian Science Monitor, more than a third of Germans feel the country is "overrun by foreigners,"  [...]"  Related:  "Merkel: Multicultural society has failed" [10/16/10] "Attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany have "utterly failed", Chancellor Angela Merkel says. [...]"  Note: Because it's incompatible with German regimentation, which demands control and homogenous society. Duh.  Hitler's hold over Germans goes on display [10/17/10] "It's hell in there," said Sandra Iwanowski on the ticket counter to Germany's first comprehensive Hitler exhibition since the war. "I can't remember such a crowd." [...]"  Note: Oh oh! 

Trends85% of College Grads Move Back Into Their Parents’ Home [10/16/10] "Getting a degree used to be a stepping stone to limitless career opportunities. Now it's more of a hiatus from living under your parents' roof.  Stubbornly high unemployment -- nearly 15% for those ages 20-24 -- has made finding a job nearly impossible. And without a job, there's nowhere for these young adults to go but back to their old bedrooms, curfews and chore charts. Meet the boomerangers. ... "This recession has hit young adults particularly hard," according to Rich Morin, senior editor at the Pew Research Center in DC. So hard that a whopping 85% of college seniors planned to move back home with their parents after graduation last May, according to a poll by Twentysomething Inc., a marketing and research firm based in Philadelphia. That rate has steadily risen from 67% in 2006. [...]"  Related: Broke and Jobless: 85% of College Grads Moving Home NoteDon't forget in debt over student loans.

140,000 U.S. soldiers diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after Iraq, Afghan tours [10/16/10] "Some 140,000 U.S. soldiers dispatched to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) between 2001 and October last year, according to a U.S. Department of Defense study. The total makes up about 7 percent of all U.S. servicemen and women dispatched to the two countries. [...]"  Note: The other 93% are 'damaged' in other ways .... millions of people ... how about all the Depleted Uranium See also the following articles: "Democracy and depleted uranium" [04/23/10] (Biological Dynamics panel); "GI’s Brains Fried by Military Dispensed Nose Candy" [10/09/10] (News and Developments)

Commentary: "How to Tell if Your Fruits and Veggies  are Genetically Modified, Organic or Conventional" [10/16/10] "Reading the labels is the easiest way to determine if your food is safe to eat. Produce labels will contain a series of numbers. These numbers will tell you everything you need to know when it comes to identifying whether or not it is organic. If the number on the label begins with a 4, it is conventional produce. This produce has most likely been sprayed with pesticides. Genetically modified produce will start with the number 8, and it often is identified with a string of numbers consisting of 5 digits. Organic produce will be labeled with 5 digits also but will begin with the number 9. Always check the label twice, as it is sometimes hard to tell at first glance. [...]"  

U.S. violent crime down to 1973 levels [10/16/10] "The U.S. violent crime rate fell 39 percent and the property crime rate fell by 29 percent from 2000 to 2009, Bureau of Justice Statistics officials say. [...]"   

 CA: Prop. 19: Former Police Chief Strikes Back At U.S. Attorney General [10/16/10] "Former San Jose Chief of Police Joseph McNamara said Friday that "Californians are not going to let politicians in Washington, DC tell them how to vote." McNamara's statement, released by "Yes on 19," comes in response to Attorney General Eric Holder's comments that the DOJ will "vigorously enforce" federal drug laws even if Proposition 19 passes in California on November 2. "As we saw with the repeal of alcohol prohibition, it takes action from the states to push the federal government to change its policies," said McNamara. "Passing Proposition 19 in California will undoubtedly kick start a national conversation about changing our country's obviously failed marijuana prohibition policies," he added. "If the federal government wants to keep fighting the nation's failed 'war on marijuana' while we're in the midst of a sagging economic recovery and two wars, it just proves that the establishment politicians' priorities are wrongly focused on maintaining the status quo." [...]"  

 Trends: Gerald Celente Forecasts Mass Protests In 2011,2012 [10/16/10] "As European governments implement austerity measures across much of the region, mass protests are beginning to spread. Riot police have been deployed in Greece and in France, where groups are protesting because the government increased the retirement age by two years recently, may soon see some of their largest industries affected, including the airlines which have indicated that their fuel supplies lines have been cut by protesters. It’s clear that Europe’s economy is in trouble, and that austerity measures need to be implemented, as the entire EU has essentially become one large welfare state, much like the United States. And what is happening in Europe will come to the shores of the U.S., says trend forecaster Gerald Celente of the Trends Research Institute: Video clip  [7:43] " [...] This is our forecast. People are going to wait for the elections in November. They think they’re going to have some other change you can believe in. It won’t happen. When the economic winter sets in, then you’re going to start seeing people protesting more and more. No, this is just the beginning. The United States is slow on the draw when it comes to protesting. But get ready for it. We see it happening in 2011 and 2012. Just like Europe’s overbloated social systems, the United States will have to start cutting costs - it will be a matter of financial survival for the nation. Unfortunately, we’re so indebted at this point, that austerity measures will likely fall short of anything meaningful and the eventual outcome - the only way for us to cover our debts - is going to be either total default or total destruction of the U.S. dollar.  [...]"  

Camden police allegedly planted evidence [10/16/10] "Two Camden, N.J., police officers have been charged with stealing cash and drugs from dealers and planting them on others during arrests. [...]"  

Police Officer Richard Chrisman Indicted by Maricopa Grand Jury in Shooting Death of Unarmed Man [10/16/10] "Officer Richard Chrisman was indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury on a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of an unarmed man -- Frank Rodriguez -- on October 5, 2010. According to the Arizona Republic, Chrisman was also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and cruelty to animals. [...]"  Related: AZ: "Psycho Cop Shoots, Kills Unarmed Man and Dog" [10/13/10]  [6:43] "the cop is alleged to have said ... "we don't need no warrant, motherfucker (holds gun to mans head) [...]"  "Video Shows Officer Playing 'Prank' On Homeless Woman"  "More information on the past behavior of a Phoenix police officer charged with second-degree murder reveals a video of him playing what he called a "prank" on a homeless woman. In 2005, Phoenix police Officer Richard Chrisman and his partner were field training fellow officers when a surveillance video caught them pulling the "prank" on a homeless woman who was mentally ill. The video at first shows Chrisman as he twirls his police baton in front of the woman, eventually leaning toward her. [...]"  Note: This guy must have 'been' a former Nazi stormtrooper in Germany in World War II, the way he acts ...

Commentary: "Why Germany Has It So Good -- and Why America Is Going Down the Drain" [10/16/10] "Germans have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, and nursing care. Why the US pales in comparison. While the bad news of the Euro crisis makes headlines in the US, we hear next to nothing about a quiet revolution in Europe. The European Union, 27 member nations with a half billion people, has become the largest, wealthiest trading bloc in the world, producing nearly a third of the world's economy -- nearly as large as the US and China combined. Europe has more Fortune 500 companies than either the US, China or Japan. European nations spend far less than the United States for universal healthcare rated by the World Health Organization as the best in the world, even as U.S. health care is ranked 37th. Europe leads in confronting global climate change with renewable energy technologies, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process. Europe is twice as energy efficient as the US and their ecological "footprint" (the amount of the earth's capacity that a population consumes) is about half that of the United States for the same standard of living. [...]"  

New FDA regulations to destroy small organic farms [10/16/10] "A proposed law to bring farms more directly under FDA supervision could be the death of small organic farms, natural food advocates have warned.  “How do we trust that the FDA is going to know about things that the San Francisco Bay Area has been very progressive on — the field to fork, fresh, grow local, buy local — all of that?” said Rep. Sam Farr. “The organic people are feeling that the regulations the FDA may promulgate will be so safety oriented, it’ll put them out of business.”  Spurred by recent outbreaks of foodborne illness across the country, Congress has moved to give the FDA direct control over the production, storage, transport, inspection and recall of food products. A bill to that effect has already passed the House of Representatives, while another version is currently before the Senate.  Yet small farmers object that even the more lenient Senate version would be an undue burden on their operations. They are backed up by a recent study from the University of California-Davis, which concluded that new food safety rules consistently impose higher per-acre costs on small farmers.  The farmers also argue that food contamination has not come from diverse, small-scale farms, but from big monoculture fields, from animal agriculture and from newer products such as pre-bagged vegetables, in which crops from a variety of farms are mixed, bagged and shipped over long distances.  “[The legislation] does not take on the industrial animal industry and the abuses going on,” said California organic farmer Tom Willey. “The really dangerous organisms we’re dealing with out here, and trying to protect our produce and other foodstuffs from, are coming out the rear end of domestic animals.”  The first food poisoning outbreak in what would originally become a nationwide problem has been attributed to a strain of E. coli that first appeared in hamburger meat in the 1980s, and had spread to spinach by 2006. [...]"  

Fuel pipeline to Paris cut as protests escalate [10/15/10] "French refinery workers cut off a fuel pipeline to Paris on Friday as protesters piled on pressure to derail President Nicolas Sarkozy's unpopular pension reform. Police broke up blockades at fuel depots in southern France but protesters blocked a terminal at Paris's Orly airport and truckers were set to join the fray as momentum built for a day of street rallies on Saturday. A nationwide strike is planned on Tuesday, a day before the Senate is due to vote on a bill to make people work longer for their pensions. The protests have become the biggest challenge facing the centre-right president, who is struggling with rock-bottom popularity ratings as he tries to appease financial markets by stemming a ballooning pension shortfall.  [...]" 

 UKFuel poverty doubles in five years [10/14/10] "With the average British fuel bill climbing to well over £1,000 a year – for many pensioners the largest bill they have to pay all year – a worryingly large number of people are struggling to keep their homes warm. A household is defined as being fuel poor if it has to spend 10 per cent or more of its income on paying to keep the home adequately warm.  In 2003 the number of households hit a low of two million, but it climbed to four million in 2007 and then 4.5 million in 2008, the figures for which were published today by the Department of Energy & Climate Change.  This figure suggests that one in six households were fuel poor during 2008, a year which saw energy bills shoot up by 45 per cent.  DECC pointed out that since then the figure was likely to have fallen to 4.1 million, thanks to energy companies trimming their bills. However, this is still twice the level it was in 2003. The figures were released just a day after the Treasury laid out plans to cut the emergency cold weather payments from £25 to £8.50. Senior Whitehall sources said that it was not “affordable” to keep the £25 level of payment that was introduced last year by Gordon Brown. [...]"    Related:  University tuition fees to more than double in UK  "Recommendations by Lord Browne on the funding of UK universities have been described as the “most radical shake-up” of higher education since the late 1960s. [...]"  Note: Since a university degree clearly doesn't guarantee anything ... people just won't bother.

Analysis: "USA: There Will Be No Law Enforcement if the Shit Hits The Fan" [10/14/10] "Recently a writer was predicting the way the police will respond and in this area I would like to add what I know and what I predict. A retired trooper friend and I have polled both active officers at the state, city and parish (county) level. I have worked with Houston PD, Texas DPS, Baton Rouge PD and New Orleans PD. The results of the questions all reveal the same thing. Very, very few active officers even think about TEOTWAWKI [The End of the World as We Know It]. Not only is it not on their radar there are no contingency plans should it become a problem. On the retired side preparedness or awareness is at best 50/50. I think that many Americans will be surprised with the answer many serving officers gave when asked what they will do. Almost to a person they respond they will go home and protect their families or G.O.O.D. [Get Out Of Dodge] As far as protecting anyone else? Forget it. There are no contingencies to bring families in to the department or is there room. [...]"  Related: "Government Moves Toward Martial Law: Officers Being Disarmed Nationwide" "Steve Quayle has been asking local law enforcement officers around the country to contact him if they have experienced anything out of the ordinary. According to several contacts from police, the US Marshal’s office, the coast guard, and/or those with people close to such organizations, there may be a push to disarm local law enforcement officers and emergency first responders, the reasons for which we can only speculate at this point.  The following are among the reports received at Steve Quayle’s web site: [...] According to these law enforcement sources, something abnormal is occurring. One report suggests that, if Martial Law becomes reality, the federal government would likely disarm local law enforcement as they are not trusted to perform their duties as directed from Washington. The source believes that in the event of a Martial Law scenario, local law enforcement would be more of a threat than they would help."  | Flashback: "Economic Collapse Leading to Privatized Police and Corporate Mercenaries" " ... governments are being forced into more cutbacks just as police units are introducing the idea of charging victims for their security services. In other words, as local and state economies worsen by design, we can expect to see more cutbacks and more "billing" for public security. Some experts have predicted "IMF riots" to take place in America if the economic collapse continues. [...] As America continues to implode, it appears that security will go to the highest bidder, leaving average citizens to fend for themselves.[...]" "Government Trains Troops To Run American Cities" [10/14/10] "Local government officials are training active duty military soldiers to run communities, re-igniting fears that troops will be used to deal with civil unrest in the event of a total economic collapse or other national emergency in a newly militarized America. “The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division met with City Manager Mary Corriveau, Mayor Jeff Graham and other City officials gaining insight about city infrastructure,” reports ABC 50. “Government 101 is a new program that Fort Drum has established to learn from local officials about what it takes to run a community efficiently.” [...]"  "U.S. Troops To Deal With Rioting Americans" 

TrendsCalifornia to Sell 24 Government Buildings for $2.3 Billion [10/14/10] "About $1 billion of the sale will be used to pay off bonds on the buildings, leaving more than $1.2 billion to go into the state’s general fund. “After an extensive review of more than 300 bids that were received, I have determined that this offer presents the best value for the state,” Diedrich said in a statement. The Republican governor said California had received solid offers to sell the 24 buildings on 11 parcels and then rent that space back for 20 years at market rates. It’s unclear how the current deal will work out for taxpayers over the long run, but there have been concerns. The Associated Press reported earlier this year that the deal would end up costing the state $5.2 billion in rent over 20 years, perhaps saddling taxpayers with costs beyond whatever the state would net from the sale. Three of the properties already are paid off, while four others were expected to be paid off in the next five years. The nonpartisan legislative analyst’s office also warned that selling the properties then renting back the space could cost the state an additional $1.5 billion, based on a 35-year projection. [...]"  Note: There is no time for this to play out. 

TrendsFeds Use Facebook Narcissism to Reveal Marriage Fraud [10/14/10] "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is now using social networking sites such as Facebook to suss out people they believe to be involved in fake marriages for citizenship.  [...]"   

Analysis1 in 7 denied coverage over pre-existing conditions [10/14/10] "The nation’s four largest for-profit health insurers denied coverage to more than 651,000 people over a three-year period, citing pre-existing conditions, according to an analysis of insurer data detailed in a Congressional investigation. Between Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group, and WellPoint, that averages out to a denial of coverage for one out of every seven applicants, [.. [...]"   

Trends: Wal-Mart to speed up U.S. store building [10/13/10] "Wal-Mart Stores Inc expects improved sales in its existing U.S. units in the fourth quarter and will increase building in the country next year, focusing on somewhat smaller stores ... [...]"  

3.5 Million On The Streets And Rising As French Strikes Escalate [10/13/10] "Even as everyone in America seems to have anywhere between 2 and 4 opinions on Fraudclosure now that the topic is firmly planted in the MSM newsflow, things in Europe are not looking any better, even though most people there shun McMansions for their grandmothers’ houses. Enter France, where an ongoing national strike (into its fourth day) was just extended by another 24 hours, and 3,500,000 people seem to have no interest in returning to work with any sense of urgency. Apparently the severity and penetration of the strike is much greater than (under)reported on US media, as seen by the following email from Goldman’s Natacha Valla to clients, which explains why things may soon turn much worse. A crucial (fourth) general strike is unfolding in France today against the pensions reform. I got many emails inquiring on how things looked like on the ground down here. In short: [...]"  

Federal Judge Orders End to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ [10/13/10] "U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips’ permanent worldwide injunction— praised by gay rights organizations— orders the military “immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced” under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The judge, a Clinton appointee based in the Central District of California, previously ruled that the policy regarding gays serving in the military violated service members’ Fifth Amendment rights to due process and freedom of speech, but had delayed issuing the injunction. The military was sued by Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler would say only that the department is “reviewing the ruling.” The department has 60 days to appeal, but is not required to do so. [...]"  

 IsraelPolice charge driver over Facebook speeding clip [10/13/10] "Israeli traffic cops are apparently now patrolling the web, with a man facing charges after being caught speeding ... on Facebook. The 23-year-old man was charged with speeding and reckless endangerment after police came across a video posted on Facebook of him driving at 260 kph (160 mph) along Israel's coastal highway, Ynet news website  [...]"   

MSM: "In US, 1 in 5 Teens Have Serious Mental Disorder" [10/13/10] " ... Anxiety disorders, such as panic disorders and social phobia, were the most common conditions (31.9 percent of teens had such a disorder), followed by behavior disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD (19.1 percent), mood disorders, such as major depressive disorder, (14.3 percent) and substance use disorders (11.4 percent). Approximately 40 percent of participants with one class of disorder also meet criteria for another class of disorder at some point in their lives, the researchers said. The overall prevalence of disorders with severe impairment and/or distress, marked by interference with daily life, was 22.2 percent, just higher than one in five teens. More research is needed to determine the risk factors for mental disorders in adolescence, and to see whether these disorders will continue on to adulthood, the researchers say. The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.  [...]"  Note: Idiots have always 'run' society with little intelligence and rare examples of forethought. Instead of a 'vibrant' society, they ignore ALL components of the infrastructure of the society .. physical, mental and emotional ... they have NO idea what they're doing, and never did, and are unbelievably incompetent ... when you put normal people into a dysfunctional society with no prospects for a 'future', that constitutes gross criminal negligence. That's what it really is. All THEY can do is comment on the results of their own policies as this 'temporary society' degrades further.

50 States Investigate Mortgage-Services Industry [10/13/10] "The attorneys general of all 50 states today announced an investigation into whether sloppiness or deceit caused the latest episode of the national foreclosure drama, further threatening the recovery of the U.S. housing market.  [...]"   Video clip [1:44]included. 

French Pass Law To Strip Foreign-Born Criminals Of Nationality [10/13/10] "French lawmakers passed a controversial new bill that will strip criminals born in other countries of their French nationality if convicted of carrying out a violent crime against police officers.  [...]"   

Paladino: Gay remarks poor choice of words [10/13/10] "Republican New York gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino said Tuesday his "poor choice of words" about gays was a mistake and he asked for forgiveness. [...]"  Related: NY Governor Candidate Millionaire Carl Paladino Panders to Hasidic Jews About 'Gays Being Dysfunctional' [10/11/10] "Carl Paladino slammed the gay lifestyle today as "not valid" and "dysfunctional" before a small Hasidic group. "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual," the Republican gubernatorial candidate told a small Hasidic group at K’hal Adas Kasho synagogue in Williamsburg today. "That's not how god created us, and that's not the example that we should be showing our children." Paladino, who has made his opposition to the gay marriage and "the homosexual agenda" clear, went much further yesterday, to say children "would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family" than being gay." [...]"  Note: Idiot. I would suggest that Paladino is dysfunctional.

 Commentary: Incarceration’s Impact on Society [10/13/10] "While the costs of housing prisoners — $50 billion annually for state correctional costs alone — should be enough to cause us to rethink our way of doing things, the overall societal and human costs should be even more convincing.  The study shows that “One in 87 working-aged white men is in prison or jail, compared with 1 in 36 Hispanic men and 1 in 12 African-American men. More young (20-34) African-American men without a high school diploma or GED are currently behind bars (37 percent) than employed (26 percent).” Perhaps most disturbing is the 2.7 million American children who have a parent behind bars, a massive increase from 25 years ago when 1 in 125 kids had an incarcerated parent compared to 1 in 28 today. And, “two-thirds of these children’s parents were incarcerated for non-violent offenses,” the report says. [...]"  

Liu Wei, Armless Pianist, Wins 'China's Got Talent [10/12/10]  [7:06]  "A musician who lost both arms in a childhood accident and plays the piano with his toes has won "China's Got Talent," performing his version of James Blunt's wistful love song "You're Beautiful" to a packed audience at the Shanghai Stadium. [...]"    

‘Dying Communities See Salvation in New Prisons’ [10/12/10] "Mike Secinore is pinning his hopes on prison. Fresh with a criminal justice degree from the local community college, the 20-year-old Berlin native plans to apply for a corrections officer job at the federal prison expected to open in the city next summer. There aren’t many options in this northern region of New Hampshire, where major employers have closed their doors in recent years and further unemployment woes beckon if the last surviving paper mill shuts down this week, letting 240 workers go. “I’m really wanting to have a career, not just a job,” said Secinore, who recently lost a counter position at an auto parts store. He worked there for five years, coping with a wage freeze and a cut in hours. “I really need something where I’m going to make money.” Although rural communities have successfully lobbied for — and built — prisons for years, not many studies have been done on their economic impact. Some studies indicate slight economic gains for some prison towns, according to a Congressional Research Service report in April. Others that have become prison anchors might have not grown as fast as those without prisons. Florence, Colo., where a federal prison complex went up in 1994, was once a major oil producer and gold-smelting center and now has some new businesses. New federal prisons have recently started hiring in West Virginia, which has seen a decline in coal jobs, and in an impoverished farming community in California. Others are being built in Mississippi and Alabama. The population of Berlin, once above 22,000 during the 1920s when the paper industry was at its peak, is down to under 10,000 as mills shut down and people leave in search of new opportunities, including many of Secinore’s peers. The population is aging; the median age in the county is 44. For some, like Secinore, there is hope the prison could take away some of the sting, providing jobs and business opportunities. It’s expected to employ about 330 workers, with 60 percent — about 200 — coming from New Hampshire; the rest would be brought in from other federal prisons. [...]"   Related: Flashback: "Never In The Civilized World Have So Many Been Locked Up For So Little"    "To be profitable, private prison firms must ensure that prisons are not only built but also filled. Industry experts say a 90-95 per cent capacity rate is needed to guarantee the hefty rates of return needed to lure investors. Prudential Securities issued a wildly bullish report on CCA a few years ago but cautioned, “It takes time to bring inmate population levels up to where they cover costs. Low occupancy is a drag on profits.” Still, said the report, company earnings would be strong if CCA succeeded in ramp(ing) up population levels in its new facilities at an acceptable rate”. “(There is a) basic philosophical problem when you begin turning over administration of prisons to people who have an interest in keeping people locked up” notes Jenni Gainsborough of the ACLU’s National Prison Project. [...]"  Note This article originally appeared in CounterPunch, a Washington DC-based political newsletter.

"The New Credit-Card Tricks" [10/12/10] "Banks and credit card issuers wasted no time in taking to think up new billing practices that is calculated and met to trip up consumers just months after government legislation banned certain billing practices meant to protect us. The head of the new Bureau of Consumers Financial Protection has the challenging task of keeping ahead of the credit-card industry and for every step the Bureau makes the credit-card industry finds a way to maneuver around the new laws. Jessica Silver-Greenburg goes over these new tricks the credit card industry as enacted that now affect us... [...]"   

Massive fraud at California Guard, officials allege [10/12/10] "From 1986 until her retirement last year, Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe's job with the California Army National Guard was to give away money – the federally subsidized student-loan repayments and cash bonuses the Guard is supposed to use to tempt new recruits and entice Guard members to sign on for another stint. Excluding $43 million in payments recently halted by Jaffe's replacements as improper, Clark estimated $100 million was misspent. He called it "war profiteering." [...]"  

ACLU puts faces on violations of civil liberties [10/12/10] " ... Surrounded on all sides by police in riot gear, Casey Brander did the first thing she could think of when she felt endangered: She picked up her cell phone and called 911.  Ms. Brander, an art student at Carnegie Mellon, was wandering with her roommate toward Schenley Plaza in Oakland, where she had heard there might be a G-20-related party or concert. Instead, after walking onto the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning, she became part of a large group of people surrounded by police and arrested last September. It was about 16 hours later by the time she was released the next day and eventually all charges were dropped. [...]" 

Australasian police to review Tasers [10/11/10] "Australian and New Zealand police are taking part in a forum on Australia's Sunshine Coast today into the use of Tasers and similar weapons.  Tasers were controversially introduced to New Zealand frontline police in March an earlier trial. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has called on the Government to "relinquish" Tasers or, if they remain, to ensure they are only used when greater or lethal force is justified. [...]" 

"The Coming Middle-Class Anarchy" [10/11/10] "Brian and Ilsa—the nice upper-middle-class retired couple, who always follow the rules, and never ever break the law—who don’t even cheat on their golf scores—even when they’re playing alone (“Because if you cheat at golf, you’re only cheating yourself”)—have decided to give their bank the middle finger. They have essentially said, "Fuck it". [...]" 

Natural gas pipeline crisis plans kept from public [10/11/10] "Govt lacks copies of emergency response plans developed by natural gas pipeline operators.  The emergency plans for companies operating natural gas pipelines like the one that exploded in San Bruno, Calif., killing eight people and destroying a neighborhood, are effectively off-limits to the public and industry watchdogs because the federal pipeline safety agency doesn't keep copies in its offices. The policy of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration means companies can keep their emergency plans hidden from people who might live near natural gas transmission lines. Because the government doesn't have copies of the plans, the public can't use the nation's open records law to request them. State, city and county officials in California said they do not have copies of the San Bruno pipeline disaster plan, either. The federal pipeline safety agency doesn't ask natural gas pipeline operators for the plans because it isn't required to do so, agency spokesman Julia P. Valentine said. [...]"  

"Raids on Activists May Indicate FBI Abuse of Power" [10/10/10] "On the heels of a series of FBI raids on anti-war activists, an FBI whistleblower and constitutional rights groups are calling out the agency for overstepping its bounds, fearing that its increased powers could infringe on First Amendment rights and silence dissent.  Agents searched the homes of anti-war activists in Chicago, Minneapolis, Michigan and Durham, North Carolina in the last two weeks of September, along with the offices of the Minnesota Anti-War Committee, confiscating computers, cell phones, large amounts of paper and financial records, according to the activists and their attorneys. “The FBI raids seem to reflect the latest actions by a recidivist agency that has lost sight of its mission to protect public safety,” Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the People’s Campaign for the Constitution told Truthout. According to the subpoenas, the activists, who were involved in labor causes, the anti-war movement and the Arab American Action Network, are being investigated for contact they may have had with members of Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).  The spokesman for the FBI in Minneapolis said, “the warrants are seeking evidence in support of an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism.” All the individuals involved in the raids denied their connections to terrorist organizations, and said any meetings or contact they may have had with the groups were perfectly legal. Jess Sundin, of the Minnesota Anti-War Committee, noted that when she met FARC rebels in Colombia in 2000, the Colombian government was holding peace talks with the rebels at a public forum, where she met them. Sundin said she has had no contact with FARC since. The FBI has come under attack recently from a string of reports and investigations that showcase an unfair targeting of activists. Just days before the raids of activists in the Midwest and North Carolina,  [...]"  Note Uruknet is in the Middle East, and it may take a few moments to tap in.

Analysis"The US Economy is Faltering. An Inflationary Depression is in Progress" – Bob Chapman [10/10/10] "In spite of the disinformation, misdirection and outright propaganda the economy is faltering without the addition of stimulus and quantitative easing. The benefits of inventory accumulation over the past 17 months, which accounted for 60% of the strength in the economy is at an end. We either get more stimulus either governmental or from the privately owned Fed or growth is going to continue to drop. [...] Incidentally, while the depression scam was being done in the US in the 1930s, these elitists were trying to put in power a fascist government in America, similar to that in Germany. These are the same people who were instrumental in financing the Third Reich. This is what history is all about, a repetition of the machinations of power and subjection. We now have an economy where families shop when welfare or food stamps arrive, as consumers spend less. We wonder what will happen when the welfare stops? Empty bellies make for revolutionary times, as monetary policy gets easier and easier. Remember, there is a limit to how long rates can fall. Personal disposable income rose 0.5%, but 70% of that was a huge retroactive emergency payment of jobless insurance checks, which boasted income 1.6%, or by $35 billion. Thus, consumer spending would have been up 0.1%, not 0.4%. That is a big difference that government and Wall Street conveniently overlooked. This means there is no recovery in sight. It is very disconcerting when government accounts for 20% of disposable income. "   

Microsoft Stops Covering All Healthcare Costs For Employees [10/10/10] "Soaring healthcare costs are causing Microsoft to scale back its generous employee healthcare program. The company told its employees today that they would have to start paying for some of their healthcare benefits in 2013, TechFlash reports. Microsoft is one of the few companies that covered 100% of its employees healthcare. [...]"  

Canada -- No right to lawyer during police interrogation: Supreme Court [10/10/10] "A deeply divided Supreme Court of Canada refused Friday to import U.S. "Miranda rights" to Canada, ruling that it would frustrate criminal investigations and slow down the justice system to impose a constitutional guarantee for suspects to have lawyers present during police interrogations. By a 5-4 margin, the nine-member bench said that the right to counsel entails a phone call and consultation after arrest, but it does not extend to having lawyers in police interview rooms. "We are not persuaded that the Miranda rule should be transplanted in Canadian soil," Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice Louise Charron wrote for the majority. "While the police must be respectful of an individual's Charter rights, a rule that would require the police to automatically retreat upon a detainee stating that he or she has nothing to say would not strike the proper balance between the public interest in the investigation of crimes and the suspect's interest in being left alone." [...]"   

Latest USDA report stuns grain futures markets [10/10/10] "The latest news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is the equivalent of a blockbuster record to commodity futures brokers and traders - and it's corn, wheat and soybean futures that are soaring up the charts. [...]"   

27 Signs That The Standard Of Living For America’s Middle Class Is Dropping Like A Rock [10/09/10] "If you still have a job and you can put food on the table and you still have a warm house to come home to, then you should consider yourself to be very fortunate. The truth is that every single month hundreds of thousands more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty. The statistics that you are about to read are incredibly sobering. Household incomes are down from coast to coast. Enrollment in government anti-poverty programs sets new records month after month after month. Home ownership is down, personal bankruptcies are way up and there are not nearly enough jobs to go around. Meanwhile, the price of basics such as food and health care continue to skyrocket. Don’t be fooled by a rising stock market or by record bonuses on Wall Street. The U.S. economy is not getting better. After World War II, the great American economic machine built the largest and most vigorous middle class in the history of the world, but now America’s middle class is disintegrating at a blinding pace. Most of those who write about the plight of the American middle class believe that things can be turned around and that the middle class will eventually be stronger than it ever has been. But unfortunately, that is just not the case. As a society, we have lived far, far beyond our means for decades. Now the bills are coming due and none of our leaders seem to know what to do. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is being rapidly assimilated into the emerging one world economy.  [...]"    

The Return of Debtor’s Prison [10/08/10] "According to Michael Klozotsky, managing editor of the trade publication insideARM.com, debt collectors contact consumers approximately four billion times a year. With so many contacts, there are bound to be complaints. In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 88,190 consumer complaints about third-party debt collectors. More than 2,500 of these involved collectors who used threats of violence, or actual violence, while plying their trade. Another 11,505 involved false threats of arrest or property seizure. Approximately zero involved one of the more egregious aspects of debt collection: the way the industry outsources collection efforts to the civil court system, using taxpayer money and government force to strong-arm nickels from low-level deadbeats.[...]"  Related: Cash-Strapped States Resurrect “Debtors’ Prisons” "Two reports published by NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reveal a rising trend of patently unconstitutional practices in cash-strapped states, where a growing number of impoverished people are jailed for being unable to pay their legal fees – including charges for use of public defenders, a guaranteed right in the United States. The resurgence of these draconian “debtors’ prisons” has been documented in at least 13 of the 15 states with the largest prison populations in the country, including California, Arizona, Michigan and Alabama.  “Incarcerating people simply because they cannot afford to pay their legal debts is not only unconstitutional but also has a devastating impact upon men and women whose only crime is that they are poor,” said ACLU senior staff attorney Eric Balaban.  Many states view the fees as a method for helping to alleviate budget deficits. In New Orleans, Louisiana, legal fines comprise almost two-thirds of criminal courts’ operating budgets. But the ACLU found in its report, “In for a Penny: The Rise of America’s New Debtors’ Prisons,” that jailing individuals for failing to pay legal fees actually places the financial burden on the state, wasting taxpayer money and resources to keep those individuals in jail or on public welfare as they struggle to pay their overwhelming debts. Moreover, [...]"  

Government Seizes Newborn Baby Over Political Beliefs Of Parents [10/08/10] "A newborn baby was ripped from its mother’s arms by officials from the New Hampshire Division of Family Child Services accompanied by police last night after authorities cited the parents’ association with the Oath Keepers organization as one of the primary reasons for the snatch, heralding a shocking new level of persecution where Americans’ political beliefs are now being used by the state to kidnap children. [...]"  Video clip  [7:03] 

Stun-gun guidelines relaxed for NJ police [10/08/10] "New Jersey law enforcement officers will have far more latitude to use stun guns after a policy change announced Thursday that brings the state closer to guidelines followed by police departments nationally. The policy continues to restrict the use of the guns to situations in which officers try to prevent suspects from causing death or serious injury to themselves or others, state officials said. But the new policy eliminates earlier rules - approved last year by then-Attorney General Anne Milgram - that discouraged stun-gun use as an alternative to deadly force in rapidly unfolding crises. [...]"   

Legal Advice Isn't a Liability Shield for Police [10/07/10] "A Pennsylvania police officer's reliance on legal advice when he arrested a man for videotaping a traffic stop does not automatically shield him from Fourth Amendment liability, the 3rd Circuit ruled. [...]" 

Suburbs take hit as US poverty climbs in downturn [10/07/10] "A pair of analyses by the nonprofit Brookings Institution paints a bleak economic picture for the 100 largest metropolitan areas over the past decade and in coming years, and finds that suburbs now are home to one-third of the nation's poor, and rising. The study of census data finds that since 2000, the number of poor people in the suburbs jumped by 37.4 percent to 13.7 million. The growth rate of suburban poverty is more than double that of cities and higher than the national rate of 26.5 percent. [...]"   

"Frightening Charts Show Record Low Revenue, Worst-Ever Austerity Measures For US Cities" [10/07/10] "Municipal pain is at its worst level on record, according to annual report from the National League of Cities. Revenue is 3.2% lower than last year, which was already at record lows. It may get worse next year as property taxes decline to reflect fallen property values. Cutbacks in government spending are also at record levels. The fiscal bloodshed you hear about in Los Angeles and New York -- not to mention state governments -- is probably taking place in your home town. [...]" 

"Is It OK To Shoot If A Bank Employee Breaks Into Your Home Illegally?" [10/07/10] "As Attorneys General across the country (e.g. Ohio, Texas, Delaware) take action against mega-banks that may have or are currently foreclosing on tens of thousands of homeowners without the appropriate mortgage notes and legal proceedings, it is important to ask whether or not a homeowner is legally within their rights to shoot a perpetrator if they come barging through the door in the middle of the night to execute a foreclosure. Karl Denninger of Market Ticker recommends that you buy a gun. He quotes Florida home protection statutes that clearly define when a homeowner can use deadly force to protect his or her home, namely in the event that the “person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle.” According to Denninger:   That’s pretty clear.  So when Mr. Bank Thug unlawfully comes into your home, is not a law enforcement officer who has properly identified himself, and unlawfully breaks down the door, you are, from my reading of this statute, within your rights to shoot him to stop that unlawful entry, as you have the presumption under Florida Law that his intention is to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence. I ain’t a lawyer but this statutory language does not leave much to interpretation. Therefore, in Florida (and some other states) if Mr. RoboBank decides to come try to steal possession of your home without the nuisance of lawful process (and if you’re not actually in foreclosure he cannot acquire lawful process) it certainly appears that you have every right under the law to stop him, up to and including the use of deadly force. Most states have similar homeowners protection laws and give you, the homeowner, the right to defend yourself if you feel threatened. (Make sure you understand the laws in your state before using a firearm) [...]"  Related:  "Congressman Grayson: “Breaking and Entering Does Not Become Legal Just Because a Big Bank Does It. The Rule of Law Must Apply Equally to Everyone"  

"McDonald's, 29 other firms get health care coverage waivers" [10/07/10] "Nearly a million workers won't get a consumer protection in the U.S. health reform law meant to cap insurance costs because the government exempted their employers. Thirty companies and organizations, including McDonald's (MCD) and Jack in the Box (JACK), won't be required to raise the minimum annual benefit included in low-cost health plans, which are often used to cover part-time or low-wage employees. The Department of Health and Human Services, which provided a list of exemptions, said it granted waivers in late September so workers with such plans wouldn't lose coverage from employers who might choose instead to drop health insurance altogether. [...]" Note:  Sounds like 30 companies that need to lose their incorporation license because of social negligence. They're social parasites who treat employees like slaves. Who needs 'foods' that have to contain 'anti-foaming' agents?

FTC warns marketers on 'green' claims [10/07/10] "Proposed changes to so-called Green Guides prevents marketers in the United States from making misleading environmental claims, the FTC declared. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said U.S. businesses are exploiting "green" marketing claims to capture the attention of consumers. [...] "Very few products, if any, have all the attributes consumers seem to perceive from such claims, making these claims nearly impossible to substantiate," the FTC cautioned. The proposals don't address the use of the terms "sustainable," natural," or "organic" because of FTC jurisdiction or possible duplication."  Note Here we have a comment that refers to the 'alleged' deference by the system to what the public has been led to 'believe' .... claims by various facets of the establishment, absent the propaganda, are equally impossible to substantiate.

Supreme Court to review order to slash California’s prison population [10/07/10] "On June 14, 2010, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s challenge of a court order requiring the state to reduce its prison population by 46,000 inmates. California argues that the panel of federal court judges exceeded its powers relative to the state government by mandating a reduction in inmates. Behind this legal issue lies an important aspect of the crisis of US capitalism—the decades-long attack on constitutional protections and the movement to draconian criminal sentencing, which have led to overcrowding of prisons to a point that is economically unsustainable. The court’s decision in Schwarzenegger v. Plata could have a significant impact on the ruling class’s ability to manage the economic and political costs of its bloated system of domestic repression. [...] Since 2006, the Supreme Court has been dominated by a right-wing bloc of five justices, including Anthony Kennedy, all deeply hostile to due process protections. It seems likely that the case was accepted for full hearing because of the right-wing bloc’s interest in the matter, and with good reason. Economic conditions have highlighted the national crisis of the “criminal justice” system. The most important aspect of the crisis is the bipartisan, decades-long attack on the basic rights of citizens, allowing law enforcement officials and prosecutors unprecedented powers to legally bully, harass, arrest and incarcerate citizens with impunity. The same process has diminished due process rights to a shadow of their former strength, in many cases reducing the entire courtroom procedure to a farce. Even the jury trial—the greatest of all due process rights—has been converted into a dangerous gamble for defendants by virtue of draconian increases in sentencing for most felony offenses, violent or not. The rotten fruits of this can be seen in the slow death of “Miranda rights” and Fourth Amendment privacy protections—originally intended to rein in overly aggressive police work—by a thousand cuts over a single generation, and the admission of police hearsay and prejudicial character evidence in a variety of contested hearings where it was once prohibited. For more than a decade, many states have enacted statutes making “street terrorism” a crime, exposing minority youth to lengthy prison terms for mere association. All of this and more have facilitated the conviction of thousands of non-violent citizens. After conviction for even the most trivial of offenses, these citizens are subjected to lengthy prison terms via a panoply of harsh sentencing laws and enhancements. This has begotten a national maze of expensive and overcrowded prisons. [...] "  

Judge sends lawyer to jail for refusing to say "pledge of allegiance" [10/07/10] ""I don't have to say it because I'm an American," says the lawyer. The judge -- here he is -- disagreed and threw him in the slammer. (Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal) Simply put, the attorney said he and the judge have a "different point of view" about things, like loyalty oaths and the pledge. David Hudson Jr., a scholar at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, said forcing Lampley to repeat the pledge is clearly a violation of his free-speech rights.[...]"   

UKCensus to create 43,000 new jobs provides temporary job relief for 43,000 [10/07/10] "Recruitment for temporary jobs begins for the 2011 census across the United Kingdom. [...]"  Note: These 'jobs' can't be logically counted as a 'gain' for the 'system', because they're not permanent. 

Low-Income Criminal Defendants Face Mounting Fees, Even for Public Defenders [10/07/10] "Cash-strapped states are increasingly imposing a number of fees on poor criminal defendants, including fees for a public defender, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan policy and law institute affiliated with New York University’s Law School. The report (PDF) found that of the 15 states with the largest prison populations, 13 allow low-income defendants to be charged fees for exercising their right to counsel. Some states even mandate these fees, meaning the court can’t waive the fee for even the poorest of defendants. In two states — Florida and Ohio — individuals must pay defender fees even if they are acquitted or charges are dropped. While these fees are used to boost revenue to the criminal justice system, their imposition raises “serious constitutional questions,” according to the report, which noted that the fees “often discourage individuals from exercising their constitutional right to an attorney — leading to wrongful convictions, over- incarceration, and significant burdens on the operation of courts.” These defender fees can come in several ways: [...]"   

U.S. jobs continue to flow overseas [10/07/10] "Though some American firms are bringing overseas work back home, evidence is growing that companies are moving more jobs than ever to China and other countries — a trend that could exacerbate efforts to bring down the nation's stubbornly high unemployment rate. [...]"     

U.S. Cities Expect Finances to Worsen as Property Taxes Slide [10/07/10] "U.S. cities expect their financial strains to worsen as the slide in real estate prices that began four years ago cuts deeper into property-tax collections, according to a survey by the National League of Cities. Eighty percent of city finance officers expect to have more difficulty balancing their budgets in the 2011 fiscal year, which began in June for most municipalities, than during the prior period, according to the survey. While housing prices have begun to stabilize, property taxes are expected to drop as home prices are reassessed to account for earlier declines. “They’re in the eye of the storm right now,” said Christopher Hoene, the director of research for the association, a Washington group that lobbies for local governments. The city officials’ expectations show how the economy’s emergence from the recession is leaving lingering financial difficulties for communities. Confronted with budget deficits, public officials have raised fees, cut spending for police and firefighters, and frozen employee pay to make up for the gaps.  [...]"     Related:  Debt-hit cities turn to struggling states

Judge Rules Man Within Rights to Record Traffic Stop [10/07/10] "In a decision that could make it easier for citizens to record police officers in Maryland, a Harford County judge ruled Monday that state police and prosecutors were wrong to arrest and charge a man for taping his own traffic stop and posting it on the Internet. Circuit Court Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr.‘s ruling helps clarify the state’s wire tap law and makes it clear that police officers enjoy little expectation of privacy as they perform their duties. “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public,” Plitt wrote. “When we exercise that power in a public forum, we should not expect our activity to be shielded from public scrutiny.” Plitt threw out four counts of the grand jury indictment against Anthony Graber dealing with the recordings he made with a helmet-mounted camera and posted to YouTube after he was stopped by a trooper in an unmarked car on an Interstate 95 off-ramp in March. [...]" 

In Some States, Incarcerated Kids Get Drugged to Alter Behavior, Despite Risks [10/07/10] "Most states, when surveyed, either could not or would not demonstrate that they were even monitoring the use of these drugs on incarcerated juveniles, Youth Today reported. Of the 34 states that provided no answers when queried, 16 refused to answer.
A piece in The New York Times over the weekend provided additional context on the subject [4]. Over the years, drug companies have aggressively marketed second-generation anti-psychotics — known as “atypicals” — to be safer than the first-generation drugs. While some side effects appear to be less severe, the atypicals have a range of other side effects, and the safety claims regarding these second-generation drugs have been “greatly exaggerated,” Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of Columbia University’s psychiatry department, told the Times. [...]"   

Cleveland Show: " 911 was an Inside Job" [10/07/10] "On the October 3 2010 episode of The Cleveland Show, lead character Cleveland Brown clearly states on national, international television that 911 was an Inside Job. The truth is coming out. [...] 

UN report: 22 nations face protracted food crises [10/07/10] "UN report says 166 million people in 22 nations face protracted food crises U.N. food agencies said Wednesday that 166 million people in 22 countries suffer chronic hunger or difficulty finding enough to eat as a result of what they called protracted food crises. Wars, natural disasters and poor government institutions have contributed to a continuous state of undernourishment in some 22 nations, including Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, the Food and Agriculture Operation and the World Food Program said in a new report. [...]"   

The Price Of Food Is Beginning To Rise Substantially In The United States And All Over The World [10/06/10] " ... Today when I went to the supermarket I was absolutely startled by some of the price increases that I witnessed. On some of the items that I most commonly purchase, prices were up 20 or 30 percent. So just what in the world is going on here? Well, it turns out that there was a lot of bad weather around the world this year, so many harvests were worse than projected. In addition, the growing population of the world has an increasingly voracious appetite for food. When supply gets tighter as demand continues to go up that means that prices are going to increase. On a recent article on our sister site entitled “Rampant Inflation In 2011? The Monetary Base Is Exploding, Commodity Prices Are Skyrocketing And The Fed Wants To Print Lots More Money” a reader named Erica left a comment describing the food prices that she is seeing in her area. [...] These price increases are not a coincidence. This is happening all over the United States. Food inflation is here and it is not going away any time soon. In fact, food inflation is hitting consumers hard all over the globe this fall….[...] "  Related: Costco Is Now In The Apocalypse Provisioning Business  "One of the more amusing implications of Bernanke’s relentless desire to destroy the world is that he is causing a surge in profit margins for retailers like costco which are now actively engaged in provisioning for the upcoming monetary policy-induced apocalypse. And here is the deal of the day, courtesy of producer shelf reliance (“your premier source for food storage and emergency preparedness planning”) $799 buys you a 1-year food supply for 1 person or 5,011 total servings. [...]"  

On the Oct 3 Rally in D.C. - 250,000 Americans Protested against 'Obama's policies' [10/06/10] "An estimated quarter of a million people have staged a rally at The Lincoln Memorial in Washington against US President Barack Obama's policies. Some 250,000 protesters from all over the US attended the rally, themed 'Jobs, Justice and Education,' to mobilize those who support the Democrats to turn out and vote in the mid-term elections and demonstrate against the billions of dollars being spent on war instead of jobs. With over 400 groups participating in the march and rally, it was a diverse crowd of democratic-leaning organizations demanding that the government improve public education, do more to protect civil and human rights, and end the spending on war.  [...]"   

Police face charges for using Taser 13 times on Aboriginal man [10/06/10] "Civil liberties groups and police watchdogs in Australia have called for an urgent review of the use of Taser stun guns following the death of a man in Sydney and the release of a video showing an Aboriginal prisoner screaming in agony after being repeatedly "zapped" at a Perth police station.  The footage of the Aboriginal man being shot 13 times was described as "outrageous" by Western Australia's attorney-general, Christian Porter, who suggested criminal charges should be brought against officers involved. On the opposite side of the country, the New South Wales Police commissioner, Andrew Scipione, defended the "Tasering" of a Sydney man who died yesterday following a confrontation with police. He said the man, alleged to have carried out a sexual assault on a woman in her home, had been brandishing two large knives and might have killed one or more of the officers. However, grave doubts are being expressed about increasingly frequent use of the stun guns, which deliver a 50,000-volt electric shock, disrupting muscular control. Around the world, seven people have died in the past two years after being blasted with Tasers – four of them in Australia. In Western Australia, the use of Tasers against Aboriginal people, in particular, has doubled since 2008, according to the state police watchdog, the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC). Among the cases highlighted by Aboriginal legal bodies is that of a heavily pregnant 18-year-old woman who was allegedly Tasered up to eight times as police were arresting her boyfriend. [...]"   Video clip  [1:11] 

UK: Scots domestic abuse legal loophole closed [10/06/10] "A new offence of engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour came into effect just after midnight. It was introduced after a court ruling in July 2009 meant that the common law offence of breach of the peace was no longer appropriate in such abuse cases. The 2009 ruling had required breach of the peace cases to have a "public" element. The case meant many domestic abuse crimes could go unpunished because they were committed behind closed doors. [...]"  

UKNew website lets citizen spies snoop on thousands of CCTV cameras – and get cash rewards for spotting ‘crimes’ [10/05/10] "A controversial new website which allows citizen spies to plug into the nation’s CCTV cameras and snoop on shoppers from home has sparked major privacy fears. Internet Eyes will pay keen-eyed viewers up to £1,000 to scour thousands of CCTV cameras across Britain looking for law-breakers. The private Devon-based company, which launched on Monday, will stream live footage from shops, businesses and town centres to subscribers’ home computers across Europe. The video vigilantes who catch the most criminals each month will be rewarded with cash prizes. But civil liberties campaigners say the idea is ‘distasteful’ and encourages private citizens to spy on one another. Internet Eyes provides a subscription service for businesses and shops. [...]"   

"Study: Treating youths as adults not good" [10/05/10] "A law that automatically puts juveniles into the adult court system isn't working and should be changed, an advocacy group in Baltimore said. [...]"  Note:  Sequentials treat children like adults, because sequential children ARE adult mind in child's bodies. Simultaneous parents are complaining.

Arrestees Can Sue Chicago for Keeping Their Cash [10/05/10] "The 7th Circuit revived a class action accusing Chicago of violating arrestees' due-process rights by seizing millions of dollars of their cash each year and making it difficult for them to reclaim it. [...]"  

No joke as Brazil clown elected [10/04/10] "A Brazilian clown is elected to Congress with more votes than any other candidate, while ex-footballer Romario is also chosen to represent Rio de Janeiro. [...]"  

U.S. pays as Prudential invests troop benefits [10/04/10] "When Prudential Financial invests the death benefits owed to survivors of U.S. troops killed in battle, the money comes from a source with deep pockets: the federal government. After a service member dies in combat - including the more than 4,000 who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan - the Department of Veterans Affairs sends Prudential (not the family) the full amount of each family's life insurance coverage, usually $400,000. The government has paid Prudential $1.7 billion for these benefits since 2003, when the war in Iraq began, according to information provided by the VA. [...]"   Note: Despicable acts.

More States Allowing Guns in Bars and Restaurants [10/04/10] "Tennessee is one of four states, along with Arizona, Georgia and Virginia, that recently enacted laws explicitly allowing loaded guns in bars. (Eighteen other states allow weapons in restaurants that serve alcohol.) The new measures in Tennessee and the three other states come after two landmark Supreme Court rulings that citizens have an individual right — not just in connection with a well-regulated militia — to keep a loaded handgun for home defense. Experts say these laws represent the latest wave in the country’s gun debate, as the gun lobby seeks, state by state, to expand the realm of guns in everyday life.  [...]"   

UK: Officials wrongly issuing parking tickets [10/04/10] "Millions of parking tickets are illegally issued in Britain every year, often as a way of increasing revenue, an official said. [...]"   

UK: Majority of men are working 60-hour weeks [10/04/10] "Those who work in HR are the busiest, with 70 per cent taking work home every week. Those working in science and creative media are the second and third busiest. [...]"  

Looking to head off FCC probe, Verizon will refund $90 million to subscribers [10/04/10] "After meeting with Federal Communications Commission officials, Verizon Wireless officials told reporters the company will refund subscribers up to $90 million for improper charges over accidental Web access and data usage. Verizon's refunds will go out to some 15 million subscribers in $2 and $6 increments throughout October and November. [...]" 

Documentary"The Disappearing Male" [10/03/10]  Video clip [44:18 ] "The Disappearing Male takes a close and disturbing look at what many doctors and researchers now suspect are responsible for many of these problems: a class of common chemicals that are ubiquitous in our world. Found in everything from shampoo, sunglasses, meat and dairy products, carpet, cosmetics and baby bottles, they are called “hormone mimicking” or “endocrine disrupting” chemicals and they may be starting to damage the most basic building blocks of human development.  [...]"  

Commentary: "Texas, Banned Books and The Redaction of Knowledge" [10/03/10] "As Banned Books Week comes to a close, the Texas Board of Education has taken another step to under-educate students. [...]  I’ve been a fan of the written word since all the way back to – well, when I first learned how to read. In grade school I used to sit during quiet time and peruse the dictionary. In high school whenever a teacher would assign a book for me to read, I would read it and any other book even closely related to the subject of the book I was assigned to read - without asking for extra credit. This is why I can appreciate this being Banned Books Week (September 25−October 2, 2010). This event, which ends this Saturday is sponsored by American Library Association (ALA) among others and is described on ALA’s site as, “…an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.” The campaign was founded in 1982 by prominent First Amendment and library activist Judith Krug and brings to the public’s attention books that have been banned or challenged for whatever reason and highlights persecuted individuals. In doing so, this week also reminds us of the power of the ideas that are contained within and spread by books. The ALA site has an Office for Intellectual Freedom which records efforts by others to remove, challenge or ban books from libraries and classrooms. The ALA points out a list of classic literature that has been challenged at the time these classics were released up until the present. Such classics include [...] "    

More Companies Abandon the Sinking Ship, California [10/03/10] "Here is a partial list of the large and medium-sized companies that have either moved parts of their business or have left the “land of milk and honey” for brighter prospects altogether: [...]"   

California Governor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill [10/03/10] " ... Under the bill signed today, SB 1449, by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), pot possession will be treated like a traffic ticket. The fine will remain at $100, and there will be no arrest record.  In a signing statement, Schwarzenegger said he opposed decriminalization for personal use—and threw in a gratuitous jab at Proposition 19, the tax and regulate marijuana legalization initiative—but that the state couldn't afford the status quo. "I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name," said Schwarzenegger. "The only difference is that because it is a misdemeanor, a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial and a defense attorney. In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket." "Gov. Schwarzenegger deserves credit for sparing the state's taxpayers the cost of prosecuting minor pot offenders," said California NORML director Dale Gieringer. "Californians increasingly recognize that the war on marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources." The law goes into effect January 1. Even if Prop 19 passes in November, it leaves in place misdemeanor charges for smoking in public or in the presence of minors. Those misdemeanors would become infractions under the new law.  [...]"    

Commentary: Welcome to the Black Market Harris Kupperman [10/03/10] "A few years back, on a trip to some Third World nation, I remember asking a successful businessman why more small businesses are not public. His response was sublime. “I keep two sets of books – one for the government and a real one for myself. I am not showing anyone the real books. If I have shareholders, what will I show them? I will never get fair value for my business if I show them the fake numbers.” Welcome to the black market. Let’s face it, no one enjoys paying taxes. In many countries, you have a bifurcation. Large companies can use their clout with the government to get special exemptions from various taxes and regulations. As long as the campaign contribution is smaller than the tax, most companies pay it. Smaller companies are less fortunate. They cannot afford protection and so they chose to operate more in the shadows. They do not report certain income and they over-report expenses. In some countries, this is so prevalent that it has become an “accepted” practice. In many countries, avoiding taxes and stupid regulations is just part of doing business. How can you blame them? The danger is that this limits the ability of these companies to access the capital markets for debt and particularly for equity funding. Without growth capital, there is no growth in your economy. Even worse, many of these companies take their unreported profits and deposit them in overseas banks out of the reach of the taxing authority – which further stymies growth. No country wants to create a black market – it forms naturally out of desperation because of bad governance. Businessmen rarely want to do business in the shadows as there are hidden costs to this sort of business – however, sometimes they have no choice. Large companies can pay for lobbyist to protect them. Smaller companies are stuck. They can follow asinine rules, or they can ignore the rules. What do you think they will do? Currently in America, it’s better to be honest, but there is a tipping point. I'm scared that we are nearing that point in time, along with the consequences from it. The more I travel, the more amazed I am at [...]"   

Russia's Central Bank Imposes Ban on Currency Exchange Offices [10/03/10] "A ban on currency exchange offices introduced by Russia's Central Bank has come into force on Friday, reported Russian media. The Prime-Tass news agency reported that currency exchange offices could be reformed into larger departments providing a broader number of services as well. But they can not use the title "currency exchange office" anyway. [...]"  

UKPayments glitch disrupts shoppers [10/03/10] "Thousands of shoppers throughout the UK were unable to pay by credit or debit cards for a period because of a computer problem. [...]"  Related: More than 7,000 complaints lodged against banks every day "More than 7,000 complaints are lodged against banks in Britain every day, according to a damning report by the Financial Services Authority, Britain's financial regulator. [...]" 

TX: Students Forced To Wear Radio Frequency IDs At Multiple Schools [10/03/10] "Students in Santa Fe, Texas have to wear ID badges to class, complete with a built-in tracking device. The Smart Badge program started this school year, and is getting mixed reviews from parents and students. Patrick Mann is a senior and said he feels like he’s in prison. “Normally, the one people you would track are say prisoners or somebody that’s done something very wrong,” Mann said. All students at Santa Fe Junior High and Santa Fe High School have to wear the radio frequency IDs. The sensors are in the ceiling on campus, but Mann said they keep tabs of you off campus too. One parent said she just doesn’t like the school tracking her son’s every move. Letters were sent home about the new badges and an update was printed in the district’s newsletter. [...]"    Related:   Background Checks Required to Visit Your Kids at School [10/02/10] "Over 3,700 schools in Texas and 7,000 nationwide have implemented a system requiring parents visiting their children to undergo a background check upon arrival to the school. This check is carried out by a company called Raptor.  While the mission of protecting children from sex offenders has a broad appeal, domestic dispute charges include a broad range of situations including issues as minor as loud arguments among siblings. A definition of domestic dispute from USLegal.com describes the term as including non-crimes:  A domestic dispute is generally any quarrel, which may or may not include violence, within a family or between members of the same household. Definitions are governed by local laws, which vary, and may also cover including any child or an adult or fully emancipated minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant or person with whom a suspect has had a child or has or has had a dating or engagement relationship. It may or may not include criminal behavior. Local laws should be consulted for specific requirements in your area. According to Raptor, their background check includes arrest records, which doesn’t indicate conviction or acquittal indicating that the notion of being innocent until proven guilty does not apply here. Below are the records included in a Raptor background check: [...]"    

Concepts and Practices: UK: Coalition Enacts Harriet's PC Equality Law Which Means Anyone Can Sue For Anything That Offends Them [10/02/10] "Draconian new equality laws could spell the end of the office joke. Ministers yesterday announced that the vast bulk of Labour’s controversial Equality Act would be implemented immediately, despite concerns about its impact on business and office life. The legislation, championed by Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman, introduces a bewildering range of rights which allow staff to sue for almost any perceived offence they receive in the workplace. It creates the controversial legal concept of ‘third party harassment’, under which workers will be able to sue over jokes and banter they find offensive – even if the comments are aimed at someone else and they weren’t there at the time the comments were made. They can sue if they feel the comments ‘violate their dignity’ or create an ‘intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment’. A one-off incident is enough to sue – there is no need for the ‘victim’ to have warned the perpetrator that their comments are unwelcome. They could even have a case against their employer if a customer or contractor says something they find offensive. One critic suggested employers could have to outlaw office banter to prevent offending anyone. And business leaders warned that the equality laws could derail Britain’s economic recovery, with fears that employers will face a tidal wave of trivial discrimination claims. [...]"  Note: You've got to see this article .... geeze ... well, we spoke about this was coming, in M5.  

Concepts and Practices: China’s 'Mandatory Vacation', With a Catch [10/02/10] "Who doesn’t love a weeklong obligatory vacation? In China, where an estimated 200 million people on Friday began elbowing their way onto trains, buses and highways for the National Day holiday, the answer is not so simple. Beyond the frustration of overloaded transportation and jam-packed tourist attractions, there is the problem of figuring out what has become a decidedly confusing rubric of work and vacation days. According to a government-mandated holiday schedule that took effect in 2008, workers were given three consecutive days off last week for the Mid-Autumn Festival, but they were required to make up two of those by working the Saturday and Sunday on either end of the holiday. This give-and-take arrangement is then repeated for the National Day holiday, with employees enjoying seven straight days off — Friday through Oct. 7 — except only three of those are official free days. (The four “gifted days” will be made up over the weekends before and after.) If you have trouble with the math, you are in good company.  [...]"  Note:  More wonderful living in a sequentialized society where one size fits all and everyone is compelled to act as a group. The article is an interesting read ... it gets more complex than mentioned above.

Global unemployment to trigger further social unrest, UN agency forecasts [10/02/10] "International Labour Organisation (ILO) notes that social unrest has already been reported in at least 25 countries [...]The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has warned of growing social unrest because it fears global employment will not now recover until '2015'.[...]"  Note In other words, never.

Pa. Homeland Security Head Resigns Amid Controversy Over Tracking of Activists [10/02/10] "The Pennsylvania Homeland Security director who hired an anti-terrorism contractor to monitor threats to state infrastructure resigned today, just weeks after confidential intelligence bulletins produced by the contractor showed surveillance of gas drilling opponents and an array of activist groups and protestors. "Jim is a good man who made a very significant mistake in judgment," Gov. Ed Rendell said as he announced Powers' resignation, in comments reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Rendell said the choice to step down was made by Powers. [...]"  Related:  Pa. homeland security chief to testify that tracking activists was 'error in judgment' [09/27/10] "The state's homeland security director says "an error in judgment" led him to hire a Philadelphia-based terrorism intelligence firm to monitor activists statewide, including antiwar protesters, environmentalists, and other groups with no history of violence. In written testimony he is set to deliver Monday at a Senate hearing, James F. Powers Jr. says his office paid for the intelligence bulletins because other state and federal agencies weren't providing information about local activity that he thought was critical to protect nearly 4,000 sites in the commonwealth. "I sincerely apologize to any individual or group, regardless of their views or affiliation, who felt their constitutional rights infringed upon because they were listed in the bulletin," Powers says in his testimony, a copy of which was obtained by The Inquirer. "That was never the intention." [...]"   Note: See related stories and background on 9/17 and 9/18.

Rate board denies Postal Service price increase plea [10/01/10] "The independent panel that oversees the U.S. Postal Service has denied the agency's request to increase the cost of mailing a letter by 2 cents — to 46 cents. The Postal Regulatory Commission announced its decision rejecting the requested price increase at a news conference Thursday. In July, the Postal Service proposed raising first-class postage from 44 cents to 46 cents as part of a strategy for dealing with a worsening financial crisis. The Postal Service lost $3.8 billion last year, and the agency has been seeking other rate increases as well, including higher fees for periodicals, post cards and parcels. [...]"  U.S. Postal Service close to going broke 

Spain: Ten million workers take part in general strike [10/01/10] "Nearly 70 percent of Spanish workers—10 million—took part in Wednesday’s general strike. In some sectors, such as mining, metal, auto manufacture, electronic, fishing and other industries, participation was nearly 100 percent. The movement also encompassed many self-employed workers and small businesses. [...]"   

FAO sounds off on impending beef crisis [10/01/10] "Food and Agriculture Organization officials attending a meat congress in Buenos Aires warned the world faced a developing crisis in beef production as global human population would soon outstrip the numbers that current or future supplies from livestock farming could feed. [...]" 

Australian Law Confiscates “Unexplained Wealth” [09/30/10] "Memo to criminals and everyone else: keep those receipts. Last week the state’s “unexplained wealth” law came into effect, to the outrage of civil libertarians and the horror of crooks and their accountants. Until now the state could confiscate your assets only if it could prove they had been obtained criminally. This led to horse-trading as authorities demanded a certain amount of assets and crooks agreed to hand over a proportion if there was no further action. But now the onus of proof has been reversed and cops will be pouncing on real estate, cash, flash cars and bikes, jewellery, spa baths and anything else that catches their eye. [...]"   

U.S. marriage rate continues to decline [09/30/10] "The rate of married U.S. adults ages 25-34 dropped by 10 percent in the last 10 years, a non-profit organization calculated using U.S. Census data. [...]" 

Western Australia Wheat Deteriorating Rapidly, Says Farmers [09/30/10] "Wheat crops in Western Australia, the nation’s largest growing-state last season, may receive some rain this week amid forecasts for declining production, a farmers’ group said. “It will certainly be the last roll of the dice for a lot of people,” Mike Norton president of the Western Australian Farmers Federation, said today by phone. “In the last fortnight to three weeks the situation has deteriorated rapidly.” [...]" 

Banks Suing Based on Counterfeit Court Summons in Foreclosure Lawsuits [09/30/10] "Apparently what’s happening is that private process servicer companies may not be serving people with summons, and are simply counterfeiting the documents so they can keep the fees without doing the work. That means that you could theoretically be foreclosed on without ever knowing there was even a foreclosure case against you. This judge got wise to it. [...]"  

Austerity on Fire: Video of street battles in Spain as protests heat up [09/30/10] [1:56]  "Airlines cancelled flights, picketers blocked trucks from delivering produce and police clashed with protesters as Spanish workers staged a general strike on Wednesday to protest against austerity measures imposed by a government struggling to slash its budget deficit and overcome recession. [...]" 

One in 28 US kids has a parent in prison: study [09/30/10] "The study (PDF) from the Pew Research Center's Economic Mobility Project, released Tuesday, reports that the US prison population has more than quadrupled since 1980, from 500,000 to 2.3 million, making the US's incarceration rate the highest in the world, beating former champions like Russia and South Africa. This means more than one in 100 Americans is in prison, and the cost of prisons to states now exceeds $50 billion per year, or one in every 15 state dollars spent -- a figure the study describes as "staggering." According to the authors, one in every 28 children in the US has a parent behind bars -- up from one in 125 just 25 years ago. This is significant, the study argues, because children of incarcerated parents are much likelier to struggle in life. A family with an incarcerated parent on average earns 22 percent less the year after the incarceration than it did the year before, the study finds. And children with parents in prison are significantly likelier to be expelled from school than others; 23 percent of students with jailed parents are expelled, compared to 4 percent for the general population. [...]"  

Workers rally across Europe to protest against cuts [09/29/10] "The cities of Europe are braced for protests, gridlock and mayhem today as hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets across the continent to demonstrate against assaults on national budgets, public services, and jobs.  In a test of the residual power of trade unions in an era of casino capitalism and cash-strapped government, workers and union members are expected to stage protests in at least a dozen cities across the EU, climaxing this afternoon in a mass rally in Brussels near the EU's headquarters. About 100,000 people from more than two dozen countries are expected to take part in the biggest protest seen in Brussels in a decade.  Two days before the Spanish government unveils a budget that will slash public spending, unions in Spain are mobilised for the country's first general strike in eight years. Further large protests are predicted in Poland, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Romania and Serbia. "This is a crucial day for Europe," said John Monks, general secretary of the European Trades Union Confederation which has organised the Brussels protest. "Our governments, virtually all of them, are about to embark on solid cuts in public expenditures. They're doing this at a time where the economy is very close to recession, and almost certainly you'll see the economy go back into recession as the effect of these cuts take place." The financial crash two years ago and the hundreds of billions spent to bail out the banks and shore up international capitalism rebounded with a vengeance this year on public purses across Europe, generating a sovereign debt crises in Greece and fears for collapse in Ireland, Spain and Portugal.  The remedy, in Britain and across a Europe that is emerging sluggishly from the worst recession since the 1930s, is generally to take an axe to public spending.  Later today, the European commission is to unveil its latest proposals to rein in public spending across the EU and impose sanctions, fines and political penalties for countries that fail to keep their budget deficits and national debt levels below agreed ceilings, leading to further austerity measures. [...]"   Related: A Mood of Austerity and Anxiety in Europe [09/28/10] "Anastassios Haros never used to be angry or afraid. These days, that’s almost all he feels after Greece became the epicenter of a European debt crisis that continues to unnerve financial markets and is now manifesting itself in government cutbacks, personal hardships and labor unrest. “The politicians are to blame, not the people,” said Mr. Haros, 65, whose family in Athens has cut back to “absolute basics” amid a government austerity plan that he said should be paid for by the banks and speculators who fueled the crisis, not by ordinary citizens who were largely bystanders to the financial market’s follies. In a series of interviews conducted across Europe with business owners, union chiefs, young entrepreneurs, workers and retirees, Mr. Haros’s concerns were widely echoed. Many are outraged to be footing the bill for what they see as the reckless gambles of wealthy bankers that have threatened jobs and the economy, and made it harder for an entire generation of young people to achieve the standards of living that their parents once enjoyed.  [...]"  European economy falters as divisions mount  "Recent figures from leading economic institutes point to a pronounced decline in economic activity in the 16 European countries that constitute the euro zone. [...]"  'Euro teetering on the edge, austerity measures inevitable' [2:50]  "People in countries across Europe are protesting in anger at a swathe of cuts to jobs, wages and pensions. There's a general strike in Spain while tens of thousands are gathered in Brussels to voice their opposition to the austerity measures that have gripped the EU. RT talks to David Campbell Bannerman, a member of the European Parliament from the UK Independence Party. [...]" 

Canadian brothel ban overturned [09/29/10] "Laws in Canada banning brothels, soliciting and pimping are unconstitutional, an Ontario judge rules, in a case which could set a national precedent. Pimping, soliciting and running brothels have been decriminalised in Canada's Ontario province after judges overturned a ban on the practices.
The Ontario Superior Court upheld a challenge brought by three prostitutes who argued that the ban forced them to risk their safety on the streets. One of the prostitutes described the ruling as emancipation for sex workers. The national government is considering appealing against the ruling, amid fears other provinces could follow.
The ruling will go into effect in 30 days if the government does not appeal. In a 131-page ruling, Judge Susan Himel found national laws banning brothels, solicitation of clients and managing sex workers violated a provision of the constitution guaranteeing "the right to life, liberty and security". She called on the Canadian parliament to regulate the sex trade rather than ban such practices.[...]"  

FL: Jurors award $100,000 to innocent woman held overnight at jail [09/29/10] "  A jury Tuesday awarded $100,000 to a Winter Park woman who accused the Seminole County Sheriff's Office of keeping her locked up overnight, even though employees knew she was innocent. Jurors deliberated about two hours before ruling in favor of Kimberly Shields Hesketh, 32. A Southwest Florida car thief had stolen Hesketh's identity and violated probation, prompting Charlotte County authorities to issue a warrant for her arrest. It named Hesketh and used her date of birth and Social Security number. Hesketh was arrested and taken to the Seminole County Jail on April 24, 2002. Within two hours, according to evidence, jail employees realized she wasn't the person wanted by Charlotte County, but they didn't free her. They held her overnight, subjected her to a strip search and took her to a judge after lunch the following day, encouraging him to set her free.(Orlando Sentinel) [...]"    

"Top 10 Anti-Gay Activists 'Caught' Being Gay" [09/29/10] "In light of prominent anti-gay activist Pastor Eddie Long recently being caught having sexual relations with men, and proving once again that conservative voters have little to no Gaydar, here's a list of 10 conservative anti-gay activists who turned out to be gay themselves. NOTE: This list is now 14 items long and will continue to grow as new anti-gay activists come out of the closet, albeit against their will (most of the time.) [...]"   Note A simple matter of psychological undoing by projection ... protesting against your own nature in an effort to deflect imaginary or potential criticism.

PA State Police: Intelligence Bulletins Were ‘Unsubstantiated,’ Work of ‘Amateurs’ [09/29/10] "As early as January, the head of the Pennsylvania State Police’s intelligence unit warned the state’s Office of Homeland Security that its intelligence bulletins — compiled for the state by an anti-terrorism contractor — contained inaccurate and useless information about threats to state infrastructure, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.  “I likened it to reading the National Enquirer. Every so often they have something right, but most of the time it's unsubstantiated gossip,” George Bivens, director of the state police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, testified in a Pennsylvania Senate hearing Monday. The state’s Office of Homeland Security, the governor’s office, and the contractor—the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response—have all faced scrutiny after one such bulletin was leaked and reported by ProPublica and other news outlets. In the bulletin, opponents to natural gas drilling were labeled “environmental extremists” and described as a growing threat to the state’s energy sector. A number of other events organized by anti-war groups, gas drilling opponents, and animal activists were also listed in the bulletin. Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, said he was “deeply embarrassed” that groups “exercising their constitutional right to free speech and to protest” were described as threats under a contract that was entered into without his knowledge. He said the state would not renew the contract, and his office has since released the content of all the bulletins. [...]"  Related:  Pa. homeland security chief to testify that tracking activists was 'error in judgment' [09/27/10]  See also stories on 9/17/10 and 9/18/10, below.

Charges dismissed against Md. man who taped traffic stop [09/28/10] "A Harford County Circuit Court judge Monday dismissed wiretapping charges against Anthony Graber, a motorcyclist who was jailed briefly after he taped a Maryland state trooper who stopped him for speeding on I-95. Graber used a camera mounted on his helmet, then posted the video on YouTube.  In April, a few weeks after the traffic stop, Harford County state’s attorney Joseph I. Cassilly charged Graber, a staff sergeant in the Maryland Air National Guard and a computer systems engineer, with violating the state’s wiretapping law. That law dates back to the 1970s and was originally intended to protect citizens from government intrusions into their privacy. If convicted on all charges, Graber faced up to 16 years in prison. Judge Emory A. Pitt Jr. had to decide whether police performing their duties have an expectation of privacy in public space. Pitt ruled that police can have no such expectation in their public, on-the-job communications. Pitt wrote: “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation. ‘Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes’ (“Who watches the watchmen?”).” [...]"    

American Society [09/28/10] [3:19] "George Carlin on democracy and freedom of choice in the US. [...]"   

CA: Gas company's leak rate increasing [09/28/10] "The company whose pipeline exploded and killed seven people has reported six times more gas leaks than similar sized companies, The Los Angeles Times said. [...]"  Note:  The neglected infrastructure begins to threaten the population. 

Reason.tv: Timothy Sandefur on The Right to Earn a Living [09/28/10]   Video clip [8:17]  "The rational basis test was basically concocted out of thin air by the Progressive movement, gradually, but applied to American law with no constitutional basis. That's why you have cases like [the eminent-domain case] Kelo or these licensing restrictions that prohibit people from earning an honest living."  So says Pacific Legal Foundation attorney and author, Timothy Sandefur, who sat down with Reason.tv to discuss his book The Right to Earn a Living. The "rational basis" review grew out of a 1938 Supreme Court case and essentially argues that as long as a government action can be "rationally tied" to a "legitimate" government interest, anything goes. Sandefur discusses the "four big Progressive ideas" that came about during the New Deal-era Supreme Court in the 1930's. They include: 1) Rather than being inherent, rights are permissions given to individuals by the state; 2) Government exists to "improve" society, not to protect individual rights; 3) A reading of judicial restraint that means when government violates your rights, the courts should do nothing about it; and 4) Belief in a "living Constitution," that will be radically reinterpreted in various contexts.  [...]"   

"Surprising Hike in Suicide Rates Found Among Baby Boomers" [09/28/10] "Suicide rates among middle-age people are going up, according to a new study. The trend seems to be driven by the entrance of the Baby Boom generation into middle age, when chronic diseases rear their ugly heads. The study, published in the journal Public Health Reports, reveals middle-age suicides to be at odds with the overall U.S. suicide rate, which has been declining. People ages 40 to 59 have long had a moderate suicide rate, according to sociologist Ellen Idler of Emory University in Atlanta, who co-authored the research paper. “The findings are disturbing, because they’re a reversal of a long-standing trend,” Idler said in a statement. The post-1999 increase in middle-age suicide has been particularly dramatic for those who are unmarried and less educated, the analysis showed. Suicide rates in men aged 40 to 49 who had some college but no degree went up 16.3 percent between 2000 and 2005, while the suicide rate in men aged 50 to 59 went up 29.6 percent. Women showed a similar pattern, with about a 30 percent increase in the suicide rate for women with some college but no degree in both age groups. Men and women with a high school degree or less also became more likely to commit suicide. Rates in men with a high school diploma went up 11.7 percent in the 40 to 49 age group and 27 percent in the 50 to 59 age group. Women in those groups saw their suicide rates increase by 15 and 17 percent, respectively. Middle-age participants with a college degree appeared largely protected from the trend. The baby boomers also experienced higher suicide rates during their adolescence and young adulthood, doubling the rate for those age groups at the time. Their suicide rate then declined slightly and stabilized, before beginning to increase again in midlife. “You might think that the higher rates in adolescence would lead to lower rates later because the most suicide prone people would be gone, but that doesn’t appear to be the case,” Idler said. Studies show that knowing someone who committed suicide is a risk factor for people who later kill themselves.  [...]"   Related:  Six dead in apparent murder-suicide  "Police in Riviera Beach, Fla., said the deaths of six people, four of them children, appeared to be a murder-suicide. [...]"   

"When Zombies Buy Gold" [09/28/10] "Last week it looked like the feds' efforts to reflate the US economy might be working. Gold was hitting one new high after another. Stocks were going up too. The Dow rose nearly 200 points on Friday. Gold hit $1,300...but couldn't close at that level. When trading came to an end gold was $2 short of the $1,300 mark. What's up? It's hard to know. If gold is going up, analysts reasoned, it must mean something. What? The obvious explanation is that inflation is coming. So the advisors told their clients to buy gold. The economy must be improving they said. The recession ended more than a year ago. The recovery hasn't been as strong as anyone wanted. But there must be a recovery underway...and it must mean that inflation and gold will go up. [...] The passengers on the plane act like zombies...watching other zombies on TV...listening to music...reading airport novels.... Then, on the screen in front of us, there's a fellow selling...gold! He's the second one we've seen. "Should you own gold," is the caption on the screen. A man named Scott Carter is advising customers to buy the yellow metal. Apparently, his company has been in the business for 50 years... Hmmm... This is something new. The last time we saw gold on TV was an ad for a fellow who was BUYING gold. "Got gold? You can get CASH" was last year's ad. The advertiser told viewers that they should take advantage of high gold prices to get rid of their unwanted jewelry...exchanging it for cold, hard cash."     

Bill Would Cut Taxes For Firms That Bring Jobs Back To United States [09/27/10] "We have got to stop providing tax breaks to large companies that are throwing American workers out on the street and moving to China and other low-wage countries,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a lead sponsor of the tax measure. “If corporate America wants the American people to purchase their products they have got to begin reinvesting in America and start putting our people to work building those products.” [...]"   Note: It will be interesting to see whether this goes anywhere ... Nope:  Republicans block vote on outsource bill [09/28/10] "Republican senators refused Tuesday to allow a floor vote on a Democratic plan to use tax incentives to encourage companies to employ U.S. workers. [...]"  Note:  They all should be arrested and replaced with normal people.

Concepts and Practices: State & City Crack Down on Street Gang [09/27/10] "Illinois and the City of Elgin sued 70 alleged members of the Latin Kings gang to bar them from "standing, sitting, walking, driving, gathering, meeting, or appearing anywhere in public view with any other gang member". The state claims the gang has committed violent felonies for more than a decade, including shooting and killing its own members and others, for reasons as petty as "wearing his hat to the right." [...]"  Note:  This sounds like a case that the ACLU would take.

$93,000 cancer drug: "How much is a life worth"? [09/27/10] "Cancer patients, brace yourselves. Many new drug treatments cost nearly $100,000 a year, sparking fresh debate about how much a few months more of life is worth.  The latest is Provenge, a first-of-a-kind therapy approved in April. It costs $93,000 and adds four months' survival, on average, for men with incurable prostate tumors. Bob Svensson is honest about why he got it: insurance paid. "I would not spend that money," because the benefit doesn't seem worth it, says Svensson, 80, a former corporate finance officer from Bedford, Mass. His supplemental Medicare plan is paying while the government decides whether basic Medicare will cover Provenge and for whom. The tab for taxpayers could be huge — prostate is the most common cancer in American men. Most of those who have it will be eligible for Medicare, and Provenge will be an option for many late-stage cases. A meeting to consider Medicare coverage is set for Nov. 17. [...]"  

US Infrastructure Report Card [09/27/10]   Note: Why the USA was screwed as a society, deliberately, as no plans were made to adequately maintain the national infrastructure created between the 1930's and the 1960's. 

19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind [09/26/10] "The United States is rapidly becoming the very first "post-industrial" nation on the globe. All great economic empires eventually become fat and lazy and squander the great wealth that their forefathers have left them, but the pace at which America is accomplishing this is absolutely amazing. It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution. It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from automobiles to televisions to airplanes. It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II.  But now we are witnessing the deindustrialization of America. Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone. Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period. The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little. Do you know what our biggest export is today? Waste paper. Yes, trash is the number one thing that we ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money on whatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us. The United States has become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now just a shadow of what it once was. Once upon a time America could literally outproduce the rest of the world combined. Today that is no longer true, but Americans sure do consume more than anyone else in the world. If the deindustrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of a future are we going to be leaving to our children? Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things. So if the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a staggering pace how in the world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to be a great nation? We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable. Every single month America does into more debt and every single month America gets poorer. So what happens when the debt bubble pops?   The deindustrialization of the United States should be a top concern for every man, woman and child in the country. But sadly, most Americans do not have any idea what is going on around them. For people like that, take this article and print it out and hand it to them. Perhaps what they will read below will shock them badly enough to awaken them from their slumber.  The following are 19 facts about the deindustrialization of America that will blow your mind.... [...]" 

Trends Video: Debt-fearing Americans go back to cash [09/26/10] "With credit card rates still sky high, consumer borrowing is down for the 23rd month in a row. NBC's Kristen Welker reports. (Nightly News) [...]"  

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery? [09/26/10] "There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens." The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.  What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?  "The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners' work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself," says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being "an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps."  The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. "This multimillion- dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors." [...]"  Related: U.S. prisons a growth sector, rivaling auto industry  "The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population but a quarter of its of its prisoners, according to a new report on the economic impact of the corrections industry released to lawmakers Tuesday by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Few facets of the national economy are untouched by the burgeoning prison industry, the report concludes. The corrections sector directly employs 770,000 people, a number that is expected to grow by up to 16 percent by 2016, the report states — despite modest declines in U.S. prison populations since 2008. Prisons also fuel a multi-billion dollar contract services industry that employs tens of thousands more to build prisons and provide inmates with health care, education, and food, according to the report. In contrast, the entire U.S. automobile industry employs about 880,000 workers, the report states. Most new prisons built nationwide between 2000 and 2005 are run by private companies. Corporation-owned prisons now house 16 percent of federal prisoners, the report states. Because the U.S. Census counts inmates as residents of the counties in which they are incarcerated, prisons can dramatically distort the distribution of federal programs for which funding formulas include population, the report notes. CRS reports are prepared as primers for U.S. senators and representatives, but are not intended for public release. But the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy and Open CRS routinely obtain and post them on the web. [...]"   

Capital Crimes: The Political Economy of Crime in America [09/26/10] "... Unfortunately, there is one problem with the notion that our law-and-order crusade is winning the war on crime. It isn't true. The crusade was a dismal failure for many years. Violent-crime rates jumped 89 percent between 1972 and 1991, and victimization rates showed little improvement between 1973 and 1991. Even with recent declines in crime, the one trillion dollars spent by law-enforcement agencies in the last thirty-five years only managed to reduce the 1998 homicide rates to the what they were in 1967, when Nixon traveled around the country claiming that “America has become among the most lawless and violent [nations] in the history of free people.” These dismal statistics exclude many of the world's deadliest crimes. While U.S. drug use has declined, levels of addiction remain high and the global drug market continues to expand. Back in 1970, when Nixon declared war on heroin, the entire world produced about one thousand tons of opium a year. By 1973, Nixon was declaring that “we have turned the corner [in the war against drugs],” but opium production continued to increase. Today, global opium production is four times higher than it was in the early 1970s, and United Nations (U.N.) officials estimate that the global drug trade tops three hundred billion dollars. [...]"    

California has paid scores of criminals to be healthcare aids, resulting in rape, assault and theft  [09/26/10] "Scores of people convicted of crimes such as rape, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon are permitted to care for some of California's most vulnerable residents as part of the government's home health aide program. Data provided by state officials show that at least 210 workers and applicants flagged by investigators as unsuitable to work in the program are nonetheless scheduled to resume or begin employment. State and county investigators have not reported many whose backgrounds include violent crimes because the rules of the program, as interpreted by a judge earlier this year, permit felons to work as home care aides. Thousands of current workers have had no background checks. [...]"   

'Dramatically Poisonous' Economy Heading to 'Catastrophic' Collapse, Says Acclaimed Economist [09/25/10] "Acclaimed economist Manfred Max-Neef, author of the award-winning book From the Outside Looking in: Experiences in 'Barefoot Economics' recently appeared in a must-see interview on Democracy Now where he says a second, more catastrophic crisis is unavoidable because our economic model is "dramatically poisonous." Max-Neef explains that "Greed is the dominant value today in the world and as long as that persists, we're done!" But he doesn't just mean done economically, he means done as a species.  Going beyond facts and figures to describe economics, his philosophy is based on a macro-world view, where he accounts for the biosphere, human creativity, security and happiness, and life in all of its manifestations. He reveals that the majority of economists have great knowledge, more than ever before, but they lack understanding. The two differ as, "knowledge is a function of science, whereas understanding is holistic," explained Max-Neef. Using the metaphor of love to simplify: we may read and accumulate great knowledge about love, but we can never fully understand it until we fall in love and experience it. His philosophy of humanizing economics, or "Barefoot Economics," stems from spending years living in and studying the culture of poverty to better understand the economics of it. He concludes that the poverty culture has entirely different principles than our modern culture, where they must depend on enormous creativity, cooperation and solidarity of people. In poverty, "you cannot be an idiot if you want to survive," he quipped. He emphatically assures Amy Goodman in the interview that the "next crisis is coming, and it will be twice as much as this one (referring to financial collapse of 2008)." Only for this one, "there will not be enough money anymore -- so that will be it!" Even more frightening are his views that the ecosystem may be beyond critical tipping points. He says, "Some important scientists believe that it is definite, we are finished . . . I have not reached that point, but I believe we are close."  Max-Neef claims the biggest problem is that economists see the biosphere as a subset of the economy, not the other way around, where "economists don't realize that if the bees disappear, so will he disappear." In other words, the notion that infinite growth can persist in a finite biosphere is dead wrong. And we may already have reached a point of no return. When asked what he thinks needs to change, he replied: "Oh, almost everything! We act systematically against the evidences we have." He believes the economy will "catastrophically" self-correct and a new model must emerge with principles to humanize the economy in balance with the biosphere. His five principles and values to develop a humanized economy are as follows: [...]"  Note:  Video clip  [9:57]

UKQueen Elizabeth slammed after applying for poverty heating grant [09/25/10] "Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was roundly criticized Friday after it was revealed she tried to use an anti-poverty grant to cover the rising cost of heating her palaces. A senior royal aide wrote to the... [...]"  

Judge orders lesbian reinstated to Air Force [09/25/10] "Air Force for being gay should be given her job back as soon as possible in the latest legal setback to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. [...]"  

NJ eyes state takeover of Atlantic City finances [09/25/10] "The state is considering taking over AC finances to help the fiscally struggling resort get back on its feet.  [...]"  

IMF fears 'social explosion' from world jobs crisis [09/25/10] "America and Europe face the worst jobs crisis since the 1930s and risk "an explosion of social unrest" unless they tread carefully, the International Monetary Fund has warned. "The labour market is in dire straits. The Great Recession has left behind a waste land of unemployment," said Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF's chief, at an Oslo jobs summit with the International Labour Federation (ILO). [...]"  Note It's not a question of 'if', but 'when'. They're planning on it, because it will seemingly justify an authoritarian response.

UN warned of major new food crisis at emergency meeting in Rome [09/25/10] "The world may be on the brink of a major new food crisis caused by environmental disasters and rampant market speculators, the UN was warned today at an emergency meeting on food price inflation. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) meeting in Rome today was called last month after a heatwave and wildfires in Russia led to a draconian wheat export ban and food riots broke out in Mozambique, killing 13 people. But UN experts heard that pension and hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds and large banks who speculate on commodity markets may also be responsible for inflation in food prices being seen across all continents. In a new paper released this week, Olivier De Schutter, the UN’s special rapporteur on food, says that the increases in price and the volatility of food commodities can only be explained by the emergence of a “speculative bubble” which he traces back to the early noughties. [...]"   

UK: "Antisocial behaviour by boys blamed on brain malfunction" [09/25/10] "Malfunctioning brains should be blamed for antisocial behaviour such as drug abuse, breaking laws, and reckless attitude in boys, a new study has revealed. [...]"  Note: A study by whom, a clown, right?  Stupid sequentials.  British society is a FAILURE, run by control freaks and fools.

UK: Family charged over 'child cages' [09/25/10] "Five family members have been charged with child cruelty after allegedly keeping two young children in makeshift cages at their home. The grandfather, grandmother and three aunts were arrested in Glasgow after it was reported that a nine-year-old girl they cared for failed to return home from school.
The Crown Office confirmed that four women and a man had appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court charged with cruel and unnatural treatment. They made no plea or declaration and were granted bail. [...]"    Note: Scottish society is seemingly populated by a lot of people that were raised by wolves, as well. To wit: Frozen canal driver in court  A motorist has admitted driving for more than a mile along a frozen canal before crashing through the ice in what police described as an act of "utter madness". " [...]" 

Cuba to let people work for themselves [09/25/10] "Cubans will be allowed to work for themselves in 178 activities in the private sector and even hire employees, according to guidelines published Friday as the communist government ... [...]"  Note Video included. Related: Cuba details brave new world of private enterprise (while the USA finishes destroying what it has) "Cuba details new world of private enterprise, including accountants and business loans Cuba's communist leaders began laying out the details of their drive to create more free enterprise on the island on Friday, mapping out a brave new world of bosses and employees, personal accountants and a dizzying number of small-time businesses.  [...]"  

UK Three-year-olds being labeled bigots by teachers as 250,000 children accused of racism [09/24/10] "Teachers are being forced to report children as young as three to the authorities for using alleged ‘racist’ language, it was claimed last night.  Munira Mirza, a senior advisor to London Mayor Boris Johnson, said schools were being made to spy on nursery age youngsters by the Race Relations Act 2000. More than a quarter of a million children have been accused of racism since it became law, she said. Writing in Prospect magazine, she said: ‘The more we seek to measure racism, the more it seems to grow.  ‘Teachers are now required to report incidents of racist abuse among children as young as three to local authorities, resulting in a massive increase of cases and reinforcing the perception that we need an army of experts to manage race relations from cradle to grave.  [...]"  Note: Insanity.

More unmarrieds are living together amid tough times [09/24/10] "The federal government doesn't know all the ways people are pinching pennies during the "Great Recession," but it thinks it has found at least one: More unmarried couples are living together.  Between 2009 and 2010, the number of opposite-sex couples cohabiting jumped 13 percent, from 6.7 million to 7.5 million after having declined the previous year, though only by a statistically insignificant 2 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a 19-page paper released Thursday. Census analyst Rose M. Kreider noted that while the number of cohabiting couples has generally been on the rise for some time, "most shifts in family composition happen relatively slowly" and that a 13 percent increase in a single year is surprisingly large. She said the bureau tried to find answers for this unusual change, and seemed to find them in dollars and cents. As the recession and high unemployment lingered on, it's a logical story line that many of these 868,000 newly cohabiting couples made the decision to save money by moving in together, Ms. Kreider said. [...]"     

Major insurers to drop child policies ahead of coverage mandate [09/23/10] "Just days away from the implementation of new rules that will prevent insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, numerous major insurers have opted to end the sale of child-only policies. Anthem Blue Cross and associate WellPoint, Aetna Inc., Cigna Inc., CoventryOne and others have been making under-the-radar announcements about their child health offerings in recent days, drawing sharp criticism from Democrats and progressive activists who championed the president's health care reform agenda. Health insurers had argued that the mandate against pre-existing condition denials would allow parents to buy insurance only after their children get sick and not before. Because of their objection, the Obama administration added a provision in the health reform legislation that allows policy issuers to establish limited enrollment periods and other restrictions. [...]"   

Woman is evicted with her 30,000 pounds of belongings [09/23/10] "It was such a scene that the Washington Post decided to turn it into a photo gallery! [...]" 

"5 Reasons to Ignore Collection Agencies, The Henchmen of the Banking Mafia" [09/23/10] "I wrote an article a while back titled 5 Reasons Not to Pay Your Credit Cards. Understandably, many e-mails came in asking, "But what happens if I don't pay?" Just as the Mafia has their collections department, so do the banks. A Mafia enforcer might employ a pipe to the knee, threats to your family, or other nefarious means of collecting the debts for the boss. Much the same, collections agencies use guilt, the credit rating system, threats of legal action, and many tools of harassment and deceit from their bag of tricks.  If you are one of the many who have fallen into the hands of the enforcement division of the banking cartel, there is good news: they are not the true Mafia. There is not much they can do to you or your family that their boss the credit card companies haven't already done. The best suggestion is to ignore them until you plan a proper strategy to defend yourself. Here are 5 reasons to ignore collection agencies: [...]"  

Bank of America forecloses on a man who has no mortgage [09/23/10] "Jason Grodensky, a Fort Lauderdale man who bought his house with cash last December was surprised to discover that Bank of America had foreclosed on him, though he has no mortgage. Florida's foreclosure mills being what they are, the checks and balances against erroneous foreclosure have eroded to the point where banks can seize and sell homes they have no interest in. [...]"   

Ally Financial legal issue with foreclosures may affect other mortgage companies [09/23/10] "Some of the nation's largest mortgage companies used a single document processor who said he signed off on foreclosures without having read the paperwork - an admission that may open the door for homeowners across the country to challenge foreclosure proceedings.  The legal predicament compelled Ally Financial, the nation's fourth-largest home lender, to halt evictions of homeowners in 23 states this week. Now it appears hundreds of other companies, including mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, may also be affected because they use Ally to service their loans. As head of Ally's foreclosure document processing team, 41-year-old Jeffrey Stephan was required to review cases to make sure the proceedings were legally justified and the information was accurate. He was also required to sign the documents in the presence of a notary. In a sworn deposition, he testified that he did neither.  [...]"   Related: See GMAC Halts All Foreclosures In 23 States On Heels Of Florida Judge Finding JPM Committed Court Fraud In Mortgage Misappropriation  [09/21/10] and also Grayson Calls Illegal Foreclosures "Largest Seizure of Private Property Ever Attempted by Banks and Government" [09/21/10]

25 sue city, police over G-20 arrests [09/23/10] "Some of the more than 100 people arrested during Oakland demonstrations a year ago this week say police pepper-sprayed them for no reason, denied them medical treatment and sexually harassed them. "When I was getting frisked on the lawn, an officer told me I was going to be his girlfriend," said Casey Brander, now a senior at Carnegie Mellon University. She claims she spent 20 hours under arrest following protests against the Group of 20 economic summit, part of the time in a dark room in the Allegheny County Jail where she didn't know the time of day. "Officers were calling us 'hot' and calling us derogatory names," she said Tuesday. "It was just a really draining experience. I was pretty traumatized by it." Twenty-five of those arrested, from college students to a photographer, sued the city, its police department and police officers in federal court yesterday, saying they were unfairly arrested and their civil rights violated. [...]"  Related:  Ontario to review law used during G20   "A former attorney general will review the law used against protesters during the Group of 20 summit in Toronto, the Ontario government announced Wednesday. [...]"   

Commentary: U.S. Could Be Alone as Europe Turns Inward [09/23/10] "The relationship between Western Europe and the colonies that became the United States was complicated from the beginning. The situation reversed, it is now Europe that tires of America’s imperial wars.  [...]"    

Court Strikes Down Gay Adoption Ban in Florida [09/23/10] "A Florida law barring gay people from adopting is unconstitutional, a Florida appeals court ruled Wednesday. The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami upheld the trial court's conclusion that "there is no rational basis for the statute." [...]" 

 Commentary: Economic Collapse Leading to Privatized Police and Corporate Mercenaries? [09/22/10] ".... As America continues to implode, it appears that security will go to the highest bidder, leaving average citizens to fend for themselves. Perhaps we should have seen it coming with the start of the privatization boom of security and intelligence gathering since the War on Terror was declared, which resulted in a massive "Top Secret" Surveillance-Industrial Complex. The ramifications of this privatization are only now becoming clear, as it was reported that an Israeli-owned organization was in charge of tracking, tracing, and databasing peaceful American activists on behalf of the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania. It's already obvious that property taxes are no longer sufficient to pay the security bills.  [...]"    

 UK: "Richard Dawkins lays the smack down on the Pope" [09/22/10] [8:56] Note:  Richard Dawkins really does stick it to the Pope on this one.

Bell, California Officials Arrested, Charged with Misappropriation in Salary Scandal [09/22/10] "Eight current and former Bell city leaders - including the mayor and three sitting council members - were arrested Tuesday morning and accused of misappropriating $5.5 million of city money to pay their own salaries, which officials say are among the highest of elected officials in the country. "This is corruption on steroids," Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said at a news conference. [...]"  

Study: Our 'inner voice' gives good advice [09/22/10] "Talking to yourself could be a good thing, particularly when it comes to exercising self-control, Canadian researchers say. Research at the University of Toronto Scarborough suggests using your inner voice plays an important role in controlling impulsive behavior. "We give ourselves messages all the time with the intent of controlling ourselves -- whether that's telling ourselves to keep running when we're tired, to stop eating even though we want one more slice of cake, or to refrain from blowing up on someone in an argument," Alexa Tullett, Ph.D. candidate and lead author on the study, said. "We wanted to find out whether talking to ourselves in this 'inner voice' actually helps." Participants in a study were told to push or not push a button depending on a symbol flashed on a screen. Since there were more "press" than "don't press" trials, button-pushing became an impulsive response. In order to block their "inner voice," participants were told to repeat one word over and over as they performed the test. This prevented them from talking to themselves while taking the test. [...]"   

Beer Industry Battling California Pot Initiative [09/22/10] "The California Beer & Beverage Distributors is spending money in the state to oppose a marijuana legalization proposition on the ballot in November, according to records filed with the California Secretary of State. The beer sellers are the first competitors of marijuana to officially enter the debate; backers of the initiative are closely watching liquor and wine dealers and the pharmaceutical industry to see if they enter the debate in the remaining weeks. The opposition to pot among beer makers, however, is not unanimous among the CBBD's membership. Sierra Nevada and Stone Brewing Co., microbrews that began in California but have become popular national brands, both lashed out at the CBBD after news of the distributor's donation was reported on Celebstoner.com, a popular website focusing on marijuana-related news, and Alternet.com.  [...]"   

The Class of New Unemployables [09/22/10] "Should older Americans who lost their job in the Great Recession give up the search and wait it out until retirement? That's the underlying question in a New York Times story today about older, unemployed Americans who're finding it nearly impossible to break back into the workforce. They're shipping out resumes and cover letters to no avail; some blame age discrimination, others rusty job skills. One academic called them the "class of new unemployables." As the Times' Motoko Rich points out, 2.2 million of the 15 million unemployed Americans are over 55; half have been jobless for six months or more; and the 7.3 percent unemployment rate for that group is at an all-time high. The Times goes on to report: [...]"   

Gun Ownership Rises to All-Time High, Violent Crime Falls to 35-Year Low [09/22/10] "Coinciding with a surge in gun purchases that began shortly before the 2008 elections, violent crime decreased six percent between 2008 and 2009, including an eight percent decrease in murder and a nine percent decrease in robbery.1 Since 1991, when violent crime peaked, it has decreased 43 percent to a 35-year low. Murder has fallen 49 percent to a 45-year low.2 At the same time, the number of guns that Americans own has risen by about 90 million. Predictions by gun control supporters, that increasing the number of guns, particularly handguns and so-called “assault weapons,” would cause crime to increase, have been proven profoundly lacking in clairvoyance.  [...]"   

The Illusion of Pension Savings [09/22/10] "Earlier this year, Illinois said it had found a way to save billions of dollars. It would slash the pensions of workers it had not yet hired. The real-world savings would not materialize for decades, of course, but thanks to an actuarial trick, the state could start counting the savings this year and use it to help balance its budget. Actuaries, including some who serve on the profession’s governing boards, got wind of what Illinois was doing and began to look more closely. Many thought Illinois was using an unorthodox maneuver to starve its pension fund of billions of dollars, while papering over a widening gap between what it owed and how much it had. Alarmed, they began looking for a way to discourage Illinois’s method before other states could adopt it. They are too late. The maneuver, and techniques that have similar effects, are already in use in Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio, Arkansas and a number of other places, allowing those states to harvest savings today by imposing cuts on workers in the future. [...]"   

Battling bedbugs becomes big business [09/22/10] Video clip "The growing problem of bed bugs means big profits for those who say they know how to get rid of them. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports. (Nightly News) [...]"   

GMAC Halts All Foreclosures In 23 States On Heels Of Florida Judge Finding JPM Committed Court Fraud In Mortgage Misappropriation  [09/21/10] "As we pointed out last week, a certain judge in Florida set quite a precedent when he found that JPM, as servicer for a Fannie mortgage, had committed court fraud by foreclosing while not in possession of the actual mortgage. We then concluded that "The implications for the REO and foreclosures track for banks could be  dire as a result of this ruling, as this could severely impact the ongoing attempt by banks to hide as much excess inventory in their books  in the quietest way possible." Not a week has passed since, and we are already proven right. Today, Bloomberg discloses that GMAC Mortgage, a unit of the affectionately renamed Ally Bank, has halted all foreclosures in 23 states, including Florida, Connecticut and New York ... From Bloomberg MSM:   GMAC Mortgage may “need to take corrective action in connection with some foreclosures” in the affected states, according to a two-page memo dated Sept. 17 and obtained by Bloomberg News. Ally Financial spokesman James Olecki confirmed the contents of the memo. Brokers were told to stop evictions, cash-for-key transactions and lockouts, regardless of occupant type, with immediate effect, according to the document, addressed to GMAC preferred agents. The company will also suspend sales of properties on which it has already foreclosed. The letter tells brokers to notify buyers that the company will extend the closing date on all sales by 30 days. Buyers will be able to cancel their agreement to purchase and get their deposit back, according to the letter.  Expect panic out of the banking crime syndicate once this story hits the MSM. [...]"  Related:  Proof There’s Something Wrong With The Mortgage Paper Trail [09/21/10] "In 'Foreclosure Loophole: It’s A Paper Shuffle and You Can Beat It' we opined that if you are currently going through the foreclosure process you should consider retaining an attorney to check the mortgage records listed in the electronic systems used by banks to transfer notes from one firm to another. Because there were so many institutions involved in the mortgage scams, from brokers to banks to securities firms, it is possible that your mortgage note is no longer owned by a single company. In some cases, notes may have gotten lost in the system, and though you may have been paying your monthly payment to a particular company, they may very well have no rights to those payments. Today we learn that one of the larger mortgage brokers has suspended all foreclosure action in 23 states: [...]" | "Foreclosure Loophole: It’s A Paper Shuffle and You Can Beat It" [09/20/10] "If you’ve received a foreclosure notice from MERS, or even other so-called lenders who claim to own your mortgage note, we urge you to explore your options. With the millions of home loans out there and the [digital] paper shuffle that ensued when mortgage notes were moved from one financial entity to another, it’s very possible that if you’ve received a foreclosure notice, that the institution sending you the notice doesn’t actually own your original note.  [...]"  Note Video included on page. See below for more. 

Grayson Calls Illegal Foreclosures "Largest Seizure of Private Property Ever Attempted by Banks and Government" [09/21/10] LINK FIXED "The key story from this morning was the Bloomberg report that GMAC Bank had halted foreclosures in 23 states, following disturbing news from last week that rekindled the latent debate over whether servicer banks do in fact own deeds to mortgages on which they foreclose on, and whether the entire foreclosure process is in fact fraudulent (one judge found it to be so, creating a massive headache precedent for the banker community). Enter Alan Grayson who in a letter just released to a Florida Supreme Court Justice says:"If the reports I am hearing are true, the illegal foreclosures taking place represent the largest seizure of private property ever attempted by banks and government entities." Grayson, best known for his endless skewering of Ben Bernanke and his henchmen during congressional hearings, has just sent a letter to Justice Canady of the Florida Supreme Court, demanding a halt to all illegal foreclosure activity. GMAC may have dodged the bullet, but the stink that Grayson is about to dig up may end up killing a massive, and illegal, funding loophole for the entire banking industry. Grayson's letter is as follows: ... [...]"   

Unemployment rose in 27 states last month [09/21/10]  "California, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado shed jobs in August and their unemployment rates rose. At the same time, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New Jersey added jobs and reported lower unemployment rates.  [...]"    

Israeli Company Targeted 2nd Amendment Activists [09/21/10] "Last week it was reported that Tea Party activists had made the Pennsylvania terror threat list generated by an Israeli company. Now we learn that Second Amendment as well as anti-tax activists were also snooped by the state with the assistance of the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe said he was meeting with House Republican lawyers to determine what can be done about the state and an Israeli company teaming up to snoop on constitutuioanlly protected dissent. “Did they tap anyone’s phone?” Metcalfe asked. “Have I been investigated since the rally?”  After the September 11, 2001, attacks, the FBI discovered an espionage ring that had penetrated the wiretapping system of U.S. law enforcement. The espionage operation reportedly included employees of two companies, Comverse Infosys and Amdocs. Comverse Infosys and Amdocs are based in Israel.  According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Rendell administration does not intend to remove security bulletins from its website.  Michael Perelman, a former York police commander, heads up the shadowy Institute of Terrorism Research and Response with Aaron Richman, a former Israeli police captain. Over the weekend Perelman asked the Rendell administration to remove the bulletins from its website. Perelman told state officials the information could be used by terrorists. [...]"  Related:  Rendell: "Deeply embarrassed" over spying on peaceful groups  " .... A 2008 Jewish News of Greater Phoenix article promoted on the firm's website says: "ITRR, which has offices in Jerusalem and Philadelphia (and UK) , was founded in 2004 by co-directors Michael Perelman and Aaron Richman "to provide counterterrorism training, education and security expertise in dealing with terror threats such as weapons of mass destruction and suicide bombings to corporate and government entities." Seminars are conducted either in Israel or in the United States. In addition to offering training primarily to American first responders, ITRR also provides clients with international intelligence information." A further article on the firm's website, dated September 2008, states that all of the intelligence information the firm collects in the United States is sent for analysis to Israel. "All of the information ITRR's staff creates is sent to its monitoring center in Jerusalem, where it is analyzed and verified with other local sources." See this on the firm's "actionable intelligence" products, which seem to be at issue in Pennsylvania's homeland security contracts. "Actionable Intelligence enables security professionals to plan for and monitor future events that may be a threat to assets and/or personnel," the firm states. "Intelligence is gathered by multi-language and Arab native-language who have previously served in security and armed forces positions in the war on international and domestic terror."  ITRR co-founder Aaron Richman is an Israeli security consultant who previously was an Israeli police commander in Jerusalem, his bio says. Co- founder Mike Perelman's bio says he graduated from Iowa Wesleyan University in 1971 and then lists nothing for 35 years until his work for ITRR began in 2004. Between former Rep. Curt Weldon and the late Jack Murtha and former governor and first Department of Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, Pennsylvania seems uniquely active as a homeland security contractor cash cow. [...]"  Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell  is also Jewish, so there is reason for complicity and cooperation in that state, when everything is viewed in context.  See related background stories below on [09/18/10] and [09/17/10]

"Strong Link Between Poverty And Incarceration In The United States" [09/21/10] "Many of those who have lost their jobs and homes in the United States due to the lingering economic recession are ending up in jail, according to a new study released by an independent think tank Thursday. There is a strong link between poverty and incarceration in the United states, according to the report, "Money Well Spent: How positive social investments will reduce incarceration rates", by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI). The report's findings on the relationship between poverty and the justice system suggests that more and more people from poor and low-income communities are being arrested and jailed, even though nationwide, crime rates have fallen. [...]"  

 Commentary: "Third World America" [09/21/10] "...These cuts in infrastructure and education are more than just a temporary belt-tightening in response to a recession. They threaten long-term damage to American’s economic foundation—a foundation that has long been eroding. When the eight-lane Interstate 35 bridge collapsed in Minneapolis in 2009, killing 13 people and injuring 145, the American Society of Civil Engineers warned that the infrastructure deficit of aging postwar highways and bridges amounted to US$1.6 trillion. More than a quarter of America’s bridges were rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Steam pipes have exploded in New York City and the levees failed in New Orleans. [...]"   

Illinois' Pension Fund Death Spiral Revisited: "10 Years Of Money Left" [09/20/10] "... Bloomberg's Jon Erlichman settles the debate, by focusing on the Illinois State Board of Investment in a special video report, where he confirms that absent state funding "the $9.6 billion fund, in less than 10 years, could have no money left. If they get no state funding and they just have to rely on employee contributions, there you go, you could go from $10 billion to zero in less than ten years." There you go indeed. Our condolences to Illinois pensioners - you now have about 10 years of natural asset coverage, absent your pension funds becoming the latest government-sponsored ponzi scheme. [...]"  

Retirement plans hit a 'double whammy' [09/20/10] "A recent survey found that retirement planning in the United States has gone through a dramatic shift in the past three years. In 2007, 52 percent of respondents to a Gallup financial survey indicated their 401(k) plans would finance a significant portion of their retirement. Thirty percent of respondents indicated their home equity would provide for at least a portion of their retirement. Those percentages have dropped to 45 percent and 20 percent, respectively, The Washington Post reported Monday. John Reutemann Jr., founder and chief executive officer of Research Financial Strategies Inc., said U.S. workers have been "hit with a double whammy" -- watching the value of their stock portfolios or pension plans fall while home prices have also declined.  "Sometimes I feel we're running a financial emergency room," he told the Post. [...]"  

Flashback: The Economic Elite Have Engineered an Extraordinary Coup, Threatening the Very Existence of the Middle Class [09/20/10] "The economic elite have robbed us all. The amount of suffering in the United States of America is literally a crime against humanity.  We all have very strong differences of opinion on many issues. However, like our founding fathers before us, we must put aside our differences and unite to fight a common enemy. It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99 percent of the U.S. population no longer has political representation. The U.S. economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us. Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for 99 percent of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep...and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the U.S. middle class.[...] "  

American workers switch from cocaine to prescription opiates as drug of choice [09/20/10] "When most people hear reports about illicit drug use at work, they probably assume they are talking about things like marijuana and cocaine. But a new report shows that most of today's workers and job applicants have ditched the street drugs and now take prescription pain pills instead -- and these pills are causing more accident-related injuries and deaths than ever.  It used to be that drug users hit the streets to get their drug of choice. But today, getting high is as easy as hitting up your local pharmacy. According to a new report by Quest Diagnostics Inc., a Madison, Wisc.-based diagnostic testing company, prescription opiate use among American workers and job applicants has increased by 40 percent since 2005, and is only continuing to rise. Prescription opiates like hydrocodone, oxycodone and hydromorphone, are among the most commonly abused opiate drugs, and they can be relatively easy to obtain. But these drugs are very similar in nature to cocaine and can cause the same problems, including severe injuries that require emergency hospitalization, and even death. [...]"   

Israeli spy agency hired by Pennsylvania wants posts removed from the net [09/20/10] ITRR "Mr. Perelman's memo, sent to Pennsylvania Homeland Security Director James Powers Jr., urges Mr. Powers to pull the PA Intelligence Bulletin issues off the Internet "until they can be carefully reviewed and redacted of all information that provides intelligence to those who would do harm to American citizens, the Commonwealth, and its people." [...]"  NoteA crock o' shit. The Israelis should leave the US and spare everyone their bullshit.

  Quakers, anti-war rallies on terror alert list [09/20/10] "Taxpayer-funded bulletins listed meetings of Tea Partiers, Quakers and Pittsburgh anti-war activists as potential security threats. A year’s worth of bulletins released Friday by the governor’s office shows the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (an Israeli company conducting surveillance on America and making up reports to feed the national security apparatus) warned state Homeland Security officials about events as far away as the Sinai and as easy to predict as looking at a calendar. The reports ignited controversy earlier this week when opponents of Marcellus gas drilling learned that gas companies had received the “Pennsylvania Intelligence Bulletin” listing their planned participation in public hearings as part of a warning about potential terrorist threats to public infrastructure. [...]"   Note Of course, it's all bullshit being fed into the system by the Israeli ITRR company ... to help give DHS and the fusion centers something to justify their pathetic existence. See "PA: Pennsylvania Homeland Security Employed Israeli Company to Suppress American Political Dissent [09/17/10]" below for related material. Related: Taxpayers Funding Israeli Database Of American Citizens  "Did you know that attending a meeting to organize a bake sale for new band uniforms can put you on a terrorist watch list? You don’t have to join a peace group or protest oil drilling to be considered dangerous. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hired ITRR, the Instititute of Terrorism Research and Response, a Jerusalem based company owned by the Mossad and tied directly to the Israeli Ministry of Defense to track “dissidents” and “activists.” In the process, they managed to find the most dangerous terrorist organization of all, the governor’s own non-profit organization, one supporting school funding initiatives. From ITTR’s website: [...]" 

"The Amish are multiplying – so are their problems" [09/20/10] "Whatever they think of modern-day conveniences such as electricity and power steering (hard with a horse and buggy) the American Amish might want to consider the services of a public relations firm. Someone needs to counter the awful stories appearing in recent weeks that have featured rape, incest and the gassing of dogs, lots of them. The landslide of bad news – "A Crisis in Amish Country" was a New York Times headline this month – coincides with something else unexpected about members of a sect descended from Anabaptists who fled Europe to the US, mostly to Pennsylvania, in the early 18th century. In population terms, at least, the Amish are booming. And as their numbers swell – growing at a rate of 5 per cent a year – they are also beginning to migrate westwards. According to a new study, the Amish, many of whom still eschew English and speak Pennsylvania Dutch (actually a German dialect), are quickly moving beyond their traditional rural bases in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. The survey, completed by researchers at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, says they are now settled in significant numbers in 28 US states. There are now just over 250,000 American Amish [...]"  

Flashback: Cop Chokes Photographer And Says " I can do whatever I want" [09/20/10]  [2:35]  Note:  A lot of related 'abuse of authority' video links on the page.

"Big Pharma Scores Big Win: Medicinal Herbs Will Disappear in EU" [09/20/10] "Big Pharma has almost reached the finish line of its decades-long battle to wipe out all competition. As of 1 April 2011—less than eight months from now—virtually all medicinal herbs will become illegal in the European Union. The approach in the United States is a bit different, but it’s having the same devastating effect. The people have become nothing more than sinks for whatever swill Big Pharma and Agribusiness choose to send our way, and we have no option but to pay whatever rates they want. [...]"  

FDA won’t allow food to be labeled free of genetic modification: report [09/19/10] "'Extra labeling only confuses the consumer,' biotech spokesman says That the Food and Drug Administration is opposed to labeling foods that are genetically modified is no surprise anymore, but a report in the Washington Post indicates the FDA won't even allow food producers to label their foods as being free of genetic modification.  [...]"   Related: Integrity and the Problem of Finding Fault in a socially entrenched process: GMO "Biologist Arpad Pusztai had more than 300 articles and 12 books to his credit and was the world’s top expert in his field. But when he accidentally discovered that genetically modified (GM) foods are dangerous, he became the biotech industry’s bad-boy poster child, setting an example for other scientists thinking about blowing the whistle. In the early 1990s, Dr. Pusztai was awarded a $3 million grant by the UK government to design the system for safety testing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). His team included more than 20 scientists working at three facilities, including the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, the top nutritional research lab in the UK, and his employer for the previous 35 years. The results of Pusztai’s work were supposed to become the required testing protocols for all of Europe. But when he fed supposedly harmless GM potatoes to rats, things didn’t go as planned. Within just 10 days, the animals developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partially atrophied livers, and damaged immune systems. Moreover, the cause was almost certainly side effects from the process of genetic engineering itself. In other words, the GM foods on the market, which are created from the same process, might have similar affects on humans. [...]"  

TrendsMove is on to halt inflated Illinois state pensions [09/19/10] "State Sen. Terry Link compares it to winning the lottery.  Local government executives get fat bonuses and retire. Their pensions also are inflated by the bonus amounts, and so their retirement checks get fatter, to the point that they make more from extra pension payments than the actual bonuses.  "These boosts are making people lottery winners, and they don't even have to buy a ticket," said Link, D-Waukegan.  Your tax increase is to "bailout" these sorts of pensions. [...]"  

Reid Castigates GOP For Food Safety Obstruction In Face Of Big Egg Recall [09/19/10] "enate Majority Leader Harry Reid is blasting the GOP for blocking a vote on legislation to improve the nation's food supply, even after the recent recall of 228 million eggs. Reid says that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and other Senate Republicans are filibustering the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510), designed to better protect consumers from falling prey to tainted food. [...]"  NoteThe bill is a nightmare control scenario. No great loss. 

 TrendsChicago gang members sued for 'harming' city [09/19/10] "The lawsuit by Kane County State's Attorney John Barsanti seeks unspecified monetary damages from 70 alleged Latin Kings members and seeks to bar them from associating with each other. The lawsuit alleges gang members "have threatened injury or caused injury to the people of the state of Illinois and the city of Elgin" and cost the city extra money in police salaries and other expenses.  If a judge bars associations of the named defendants, Elgin police officers who see two or more of them together in violation of the court order would be empowered to detain and search them, Barsanti's office said.  Police usually lack that authority because gang members are usually legally free to associate with other gang members unless they're barred through the criminal courts as a condition of bond, probation or parole, the Chicago Tribune said. If police searching an alleged named gang member find drugs or weapons, they can arrest the person and charge him or her with one or more felonies.  The lawsuit, filed under the 1993 Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act, is an example of "another tool, another weapon," that authorities have and that "we're not afraid to use," said attorney and former gang prosecutor Patrick Crimmins, who is overseeing the lawsuit for Barsanti.  The alleged gang members were served with summonses to appear in civil court in Geneva, Ill., the county seat, Oct. 4 to 7.  If they don't appear, they could be cited with contempt of court or charged with a misdemeanor, the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., reported.  Crimmins said he hoped a result of the lawsuit is that the county jail will become filled "with gang members jailed for contempt," the Chicago Tribune reported. [...]"  Note: So, politicians who harm the country should be liable to be sued, as well. Let's see where this goes.

US students start to question degree costs [09/19/10] "Going to college has been (programmed into society as) a "rite of passage" (and the key to a great financial future) for generations of Americans, more so than the rest of the world where mass "higher education" is a more recent phenomenon. In the US, getting into college, especially the right "school" is the key step on the route to career success. A college degree has been a reliable meal ticket. No-one seriously questions whether it is worth the cost. That is, until now. [...]"  Note: The only "guarantee" of a great job and a good source of resources, ultimately, is whether it is in your incarnational path or not (see your astrological chart for hints) , and whether you have adhered your path and encountered the factors involved , and made use of them, producing such a result. 

 UKMotorists are urged to inform on each other [09/19/10] "Police are asking motorists to spy on each other for examples of poor driving in an alarming new extension of the 'Big Brother' state.  Drivers are told to be on the look out for inconsiderate driving or anybody making 'excessive noise' with their car. Detailed reports - which critics warn could easily be malicious accusations against neighbours - are submitted to the police, who log extensive details on a huge computer database. The details are also checked against DVLA databases and the Police National Computer. Anybody who is reported twice in 12 months faces police action - despite never being caught breaking the law.  [...]"   

Spain: Motoring couples driven to quick rage [09/19/10] "Most couples can barely make it out of the Lincoln Tunnel before all hell breaks loose. A new study has found that the average couple can last only 22 minutes into a road trip before they get into an argument. The Seat car company from Spain surveyed 3,000 people and found that short fuses and long car trips do not mix. "Many journeys can be stressful if you get caught up in traffic or can't find your way. But it seems much of the stress is caused by our own partner when we are behind the wheel," said a Seat spokesman. The most common cause of automotive acrimony is disputes over directions, with 44 percent of those surveys saying they argued over which way to go.  [...]"     

Income Poverty: One in Three Americans Lacks the Income Needed to “Make Ends Meet” [09/18/10] "Today the Census Bureau released a report on trends in income, including median income, income inequality and income poverty, and health insurance coverage between 2008 and 2009. As expected given the increase in unemployment—which grew from 7.4 percent in December 2008 to 10 percent in December 2009—the report shows a substantial deterioration in Americans’ economic security between 2008 and 2009. The Census figures show that in 2009 one out of every three Americans had incomes that fell below the amount (roughly $45,000 for a family of four) that most Americans and various budget estimates show is needed to “make ends meet” at a basic level. Also, of particular note, the report shows substantial increases in the poverty rate and the rate of people without health insurance, as well as declines in median income for various demographic groups. [...]"    

Canada Considers Universal Coverage for Drug Costs [09/18/10] "Americans who think that Canadian universal health care is a socialist conspiracy will surely cringe at the news: Canada could soon adopt universal pharmacare—publicly funded drug coverage for all its citizens. More and more national organizations are applying pressure on the government, the latest being the Canadian Health Coalition, which has sent a letter to the prime minister "urging him to stop stalling and start working with territorial and provincial governments to bring in (such a program)." The letter follows the release of a report, The Economic Case for Universal Pharmacare, which underlines that pharmacare would not only offer coverage to all Canadians, but could also save up to $10.7 billion annually. The idea has been endorsed by doctors, researchers, and economists.  [...]"     

Documentary: "Streets of Plenty" [09/18/10] 7 Video clips, Auto-Play [63:00]  "An unprecedented look into the underworld of Vancouver’s downtown east-side ghetto. This 65 minute documentary follows one man’s 30 day experiment of joining the thousands of homeless, ill, and addicted, who survive the streets of Vancouver’s cold, wet December.  He starts off with nothing but a pair of underwear. Where he ends up is a place he never knew existed, even though its a place he passed by every day. He has no money, no friends, no family, and most importantly, no home. He must navigate the institutions, policies and services alongside the thousands of people that call Vancouver’s streets home. This is the perfect film for anyone who wants to see first hand what life is like on Vancouver’s streets, but doesn’t want to risk murder from gang violence, contracting a fatal or chronic disease, or a life-long addiction to crack or heroin. Official Selection 2009 Queens International Film Festival and Official Selection 2010 Oxford FIlm Festival. [...]"    

Massachusetts infrastructure in dangerous state of decay [09/18/10] "Massachusetts is experiencing the consequences of decades of deferred maintenance of infrastructure—for roadways, bridges, dams and public transportation, as well as water and natural gas delivery. [...]"  Note: This is true for most states in the USA. 

California's poverty rate continues to climb [09/18/10] "Gather them together and California's poor would outnumber the population of Colorado — and their ranks are growing fast. Since the start of the recession, 1.1 million additional Californians have fallen into poverty, including 300,000 children, according to new census figures released Wednesday. About 5.6 million Californians live below the poverty line, which is about $22,000 for a family of four. The state's poverty rate grew from 12.7 percent during 2007 to 14.6 percent during 2008 and finally to 15.3 percent during 2009, the figures show. Nationally, the poverty rate increased from 13.2 percent during 2008 to 14.3 percent during 2009, the highest it has been since 1994. In addition, 20 percent of Californians didn't have health insurance last year, up from 18.6 percent during 2008. The census figures, which come out each summer and provide a bench mark for income and poverty in America, are estimates based on a nationwide survey of 78,000 households. Beneath the big numbers are myriad small stories of pain and hardship. [...]"    

"The Face of Poverty: The poor return to the forest and build tent cities" [09/18/10] [7:12]  "RT's Anastasia Churkina re-visits Tent City - a homeless camp tucked away in the woods of New Jersey, where over 40 people have been forced to live, with nowhere else to go. [...]"  Related: Census: 1 in 7 Americans lives in poverty  "The ranks of the working-age poor climbed to the highest level since the 1960s as the recession threw millions of people out of work last year, leaving one in seven Americans in poverty. The overall poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million people, the Census Bureau said Thursday in its annual report on the economic well-being of U.S. households. [...]"  Bad To Worse: The US Face of Poverty  3:37]  "with the number of Americans facing poverty at a 50-year high, millions are still fighting for survival. RT's Lauren Lyster reports. [...]"  

Detroit Becomes Movietown [09/18/10] "Hollywood has a new favorite location. The Motor City is luring films and TV shows with tax breaks and red-carpet treatment.  [...]"  

TrendsPreparedness goes mainstream with growing movement of "preppers" [09/18/10] "A movement of people calling themselves the "preppers" is becoming increasingly visible on the Internet as fears over food and energy insecurity and other forms of social instability feed a growing desire to prepare for the worst. "No one can predict the future, but our economy sure isn't what it used to be," said Stephen Bedford, whose wife runs the web site The Survival Mom. "We can't afford to live like it's still 2005." Other prepper web sites include blogs, podcasts such as DoctorPrepper and PrepperPodcast, and even a web television portal called Prepper TV. YouTube videos abound claiming to teach viewers how to build their own fallout shelters or earthquake-proof their food stores, or instructing them which firearms to purchase to prepare for catastrophe. Forums discussing these and other topics have also popped up across the Web. [...]"    

TX: Dallas officer fired after beating captured on dashcam video [09/18/10] "Dallas police file charges against 3 officers and fire 1 after dashboard cams record beating Three Dallas police officers, including one who was fired, will face criminal charges for their alleged roles in the beating of a suspect, which was caught on video by dashboard cameras,  [...]"   

TrendsPolice Lay-offs Trigger Protests [09/18/10] "Police lay-offs have triggered protests in at least two cities this past week. In Port St. Lucie, FL, where 24 police officers and 3 civilian employees of the police department are to be laid off on Sept. 24, the police union has put up a billboard saying: "Welcome to Port St. Lucie! We have a garden and a civic center. But 25% less cops to protect your kids. [...]" 

UK: British village life 'dying out' [09/18/10] "Village life in Britain is "dying out" because rural pubs are closing at a record rate, a report from the National Housing Federation says. [...]"  

UK: Exams system 'is almost corrupt' [09/18/10] "A former government adviser claims in a new book that England's exam system is "diseased, almost corrupt". [...]"    

Alex JonesUnannounced Psych Warfare 'Drills' at Schools and Businesses Designed to Condition People [09/18/10] [9:34] NoteThis has been going on for more than 14 years, now. It's to give the impression that there are 'terrorists out there' so that Homeland Security can fulfill it's trumped-up mandate while the government itself terrorizes the population.

Commentary: "Fraudulent Criminalization of Marijuana in America" [09/18/10] "For almost 40 years, the United States has waged a war on its own citizens who have used marijuana as a part of a drug culture originally encouraged by the government. The war was commenced despite the government’s own findings that marijuana posed less of a risk to American society than alcohol, and that the greatest harm that would result from criminalization would be the injury caused to those arrested for possession and use.  [...]"  Related: Nixon's Vengeful War on Marijuana  "Since its origins almost four decades ago, the “war on drugs” has been more a political assault – particularly on the 1960s “counter-culture” – than rational government policy. President Nixon saw it as a way to hit back against pot-smoking Vietnam protesters, and presidents since have feared being smeared as “soft on drugs.” In this guest essay, former police officer and prosecutor William John Cox examines the origins of this costly “war” and the hypocrisy that has pervaded it: In 1971, President Richard Nixon appointed Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond P. Shafer to chair a national commission to report on the effects of marijuana and other drugs and recommend appropriate drug policies. Though Shafer was a former prosecutor and was known as a "law and order" governor, he did not give Nixon the alarmist findings that the President wanted." [...]"  

Ratzinger says religion 'marginalised' [09/18/10] "The pope has warned that religion - and christianity in particular - is "being marginalised" around the world. His comments came in his keynote speech to UK MPs, [...]"  Note: Dumb as a stone. 

"For NJ's chronically homeless, a sort of freedom" [09/18/10] "Dino is lanky and redheaded; Alisha's got a great tan. Young, friendly, and articulate, they're junkies from the suburbs, living on the street in Camden. It's their lifestyle and, to some degree, the... [...]"    

Nearly 300 U.S. pilots have attempted suicide [09/17/10] "The news follows a serious incident at Boston's Logan International Airport in May when a distraught JetBlue pilot threatened to “harm himself in spectacular fashion” an hour before takeoff.  The Herald's Jessica Heslam's review of FAA medical records for 2008, 2009 and 2010, found that 2,700 pilots have been treated for alcohol abuse, and that nearly half of these have been diagnosed as alcoholics. A similar number, 1,377 pilots, were found to be abusing drugs, while another ninety four were diagnosed as being drug-dependent. [...]"   

Government peering at you with X-rays on highway [09/18/10] "American Science and Engineering, Inc., Billerica, Mass., is being awarded a $61,277,418 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a maximum ordering quantity of 52 Z-Backscatter X-Ray Systems and associated manuals, spares and field support. The initial delivery order of $38,695,288 is for 32 of the 52 Backscatter Systems available on the contract. Work will be performed in Billerica, Mass., and work is expected to be complete by August 2006. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is a sole source award to American Science and Engineering, Inc., the sole manufacturer of the Z-Backscatter X-Ray System. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-05-D-5168). [...]"   

PA: Rendell's office releases content of all bulletins on planned protests [09/18/10] "One bulletin from Harrisburg warned that a protest over use of carriage horses in Philadelphia could turn into "a fertile recruiting or meeting ground" for militant animal-rights activists. ...The bulletins, issued to police, public officials, and commercial interests three times a week since October, were prepared by a private contractor that the state Office of Homeland Security hired last year for $103,000 without competitive bidding. Much of their content - such as announcements of protest events - was readily available through Internet searches.  The contractor the state hired, the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, lists offices in Philadelphia, Washington, and Jerusalem. The state Homeland Security Office in turn disseminated the information to a yet-undisclosed list of police, elected officials, and others in the private sector, Rendell spokesman Gary Tuma said. Rendell said Tuesday that the contract would be terminated next month when it comes up [...]"  Note These so-called 'bulletins' are from the Israeli company who is putting Americans under surveillance, generating bogus information to support DHS programs ... indirectly terrorizing innocent members of the public. 

PA: State's homeland security chief goes in hiding [09/18/10] "The former Special Forces colonel who has headed the state Office of Homeland Security for four years and who now finds himself at the center of a firestorm over an anti-terrorism contract is missing in action. James F. Powers Jr. has basically gone underground since Tuesday, when Gov. Ed Rendell denounced a $103,000 no-bid contract that Mr. Powers had given to the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, which has offices in Philadelphia and Israel. [...]"  RelatedSee below.

PA: Pennsylvania Homeland Security Employed Israeli Company to Suppress American Political Dissent [09/17/10] [5:48]  "On the Alex Jones Show yesterday, investigative journalist Wayne Madsen discussed the involvement of a shadowy Israeli company in an effort by Pennsylvania’s Homeland Security to spy on activists exercising their First Amendment. On Wednesday, Infowars.com reported that Pennsylvania paid a Philadelphia-based nonprofit $125,000 to compile a list of activists as part of the state Homeland Security’s federally mandated mission to protect public infrastructure. Madsen, citing a story published on late Wednesday by the Philadelphia Citypaper, revealed that the “non-profit” operates not only out of Philadelphia, but Israel as well. Research conducted by Citypaper journalist Isaiah Thompson shows that the company, the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), in fact does not operate under non-profit status, as reported yesterday by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Although the group claims nonprofit status on its website and is listed as a nonprofit corporation by the Pennsylvania Department of State, a search  yielded no indication that the organization enjoys tax-exempt status. An email seeking clarification of the group’s nonprofit status was not returned,” writes Thompson  The ITRR, however, does more than scour the internet and news services and repackage information for its clients. Pennsylvania Homeland Security director James F. Powers Jr. told the Philadelphia Inquirer in July that ITRR operatives posed in chat rooms as people opposed to last year’s G-20 summit in Pittsburgh and compromised the Pittsburgh Organizing Group, an anarchist organization. “We got the information to the Pittsburgh Police, and they were able to cut them off at the pass,” Powers told Inquirer columnist Daniel Rubin.[...]"  Related: Ex-police devised 'terror list' in Pennsylvania "An obscure York nonprofit with ties to Philadelphia University and Jerusalem is behind the state Homeland Security agency's monitoring of protesters, environmentalists and gays, documents show.  The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response is headed by Michael Perelman, who formerly worked for the York City Police Department, and Aaron Richman, a former police captain in the Israeli capital, according to filings with the Pennsylvania Department of State. Gov. Ed Rendell apologized Tuesday after the disclosure that the state Office of Homeland Security paid the institute $125,000 for weekly reports the agency used to put Marcellus shale hearings and a gay and lesbian festival on terror watch lists for law enforcement. "We are appalled at what we have learned so far about these reports," said Witold Walczak, legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. "It all smacks of J. Edgar Hoover. Saying that no harm was done is simplistic. Just raising questions about a group or a person can cause harm. Dissent does not equal danger." [...]"|Pennsylvania Homeland Security Puts Anti-tax Protesters On List of Terror Threats [09/15/10] "The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Pennsylvania’s Democrat governor Ed Renell is “deeply embarrassed” by the disclosure that state Homeland Security officials have designated anti-tax protesters and other folks exercising their First Amendment right to petition the government as a threat to the state’s infrastructure. “I am appalled by the information that was disseminated,” Rendell said. “Let me make this as clear as I can make it: Protesting is not a threat against infrastructure. Protesting is a right.”  Pennsylvania paid a Philadelphia-based nonprofit $125,000 to compile the list as part of the state Homeland Security’s federally mandated mission to protect public infrastructure. Homeland Security officials distributed the list in a security bulletin to government and law enforcement officials, universities and gas drilling companies, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The company, which also has offices in Washington and Jerusalem, provides “actionable intelligence briefings” and “threat and hazard monitoring,” among other services, according to its website.  “I thought we were in America, and to me that’s almost like communism,” Barbara Pribila of the Lincoln Place Action Group, a Pittsburgh neighborhood group opposed to shale gas drilling, told the newspaper. “I thought this was a free country and I was allowed to have my own opinion. Now what, you’re going to watch me and every move I make? That’s not right.” [...]"  ‘Appalled’ Pa. gov. shuts down reports on protests   "Information about an anti-BP candlelight vigil, a gay and lesbian festival and other peaceful gatherings became the subject of anti-terrorism bulletins being distributed by Pennsylvania's homeland security office, an apologetic Gov. Ed Rendell admitted. [...]" | Pennsylvania’s capital city staggers towards bankruptcy [09/15/10] "Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, this week narrowly avoided defaulting on $3.3 million dollars in bond payments due on September 15, but the likelihood of bankruptcy remains. [...]"  Note: So, ITRR is a bullshit Israeli Mossad operation that plays into and encourages terrorism of the American public through DHS components.

Land of the Free, Home of the Broke?  [09/17/10]  [4:32]  "Government reports one in seven Americans now live below the poverty line. [...]"  

Trends: Foreclosures Rose in August 2010; Repossessions Set Record [09/16/10] "US foreclosure activity rose in August from the previous month, and banks and lenders took ownership from homeowners at a record pace, according to a new report released Thursday.  Bank repossessions, often the final step in the foreclosure process after a home fails to sell at auction, increased about 2 percent from the month before to 95,364, a record high. At the same the number of properties that received default notices—the first step in the foreclosure process—decreased 1 percent from a month ago and fell 30 percent from a year ago, a sign that lenders are focusing on their backlog of foreclosure inventory before tackling new distressed loans [...]"     

French Assembly approves pension reform [09/16/10] "The French National Assembly voted Wednesday to raise the retirement age to 62 and make other changes in the country's pension system. [...]"   

CA: Over a dozen to be charged in LA protests over police killing [09/15/10] "Mass protests over the killing of an immigrant laborer in LA’s Westlake district combine outrage over police brutality with anger over a growing social crisis. [...]"  

 UKID card compensation move fails [09/15/10] "Labour has failed in an eleventh-hour attempt to get compensation for people who bought ID cards as MPs approved legislation to scrap them. Shadow ministers wanted people who own cards to be refunded, saying they had bought them in "good faith". However, they were defeated in the Commons on the issue as MPs passed a bill which will scrap the cards and the National Identity Register. The legislation must be approved by the House of Lords before becoming law. The coalition government pledged to scrap ID cards, introduced on a voluntary basis by Labour, within 100 days of taking office in May. The cards, which cost £30 to buy, will be invalidated within a month of the Identity Documents Bill becoming law. The bill passed its third reading without a vote on Wednesday. Before the election, the Conservatives warned people thinking of applying for a card that they would not be able to use it under a future Tory administration. [...]"     

UKBritain: Under New Plan, Government Would Deduct Taxes Directly from Workers’ Gross Pay and Issue Pay Checks [09/15/10] "HM Revenue and Customs could take direct control of every worker’s monthly pay cheque under plans to overhaul the error-prone income tax system.  Instead of employers deducting income tax then paying gross salaries to employees, the gross monthly payment would go to an HMRC-run tax “calculator”, which would then pass the net salary to the worker. The reform would mean the end of traditional monthly payslips, because employers would no longer be able to tell workers how much tax they had paid each month. The tax authorities are consulting accountants, lawyers and businesses on the plans to reform the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) system. The potential shake-up has emerged after HMRC confirmed that inaccurate data means millions of people will be made to pay back underpaid tax, and millions more will get rebates. PAYE is based on tax codes that estimate each taxpayer’s annual income, but accountants say the system is increasingly failing to reflect the reality of modern work, where people frequently change jobs and benefits. [...]To make PAYE more accurate, Treasury ministers have suggested that employers should provide HMRC with monthly updates on workers’ salary payments and other financial details.  Such “real time information” could then be used as the basis of a new “centralised deductions” system that would give HMRC an unprecedented role in workers’ monthly salary payments.  Under the centralised deductions system, employers would pay workers’ monthly salary into a central calculator run by HMRC.  There, income tax deductions would be made automatically and the net salary then passed on to the worker by HMRC. Instead of a payslip detailing pay and deductions, workers would only find out how much income tax they had paid by asking HMRC."    

UKPortugal legalizes drugs. Crime/Usage falls [09/15/10] Video clip [3:13] ""The apocalypse never happened" as some predicted when the country of Portugal decriminalized all illegal drugs eight years ago. The country did not become a " haven for drug use", and drug abuse & drug crime actually fell [...]"   

TrendsPublic Sector Workers Are the New Privileged Elite Class [09/15/10] "Outrageous public pay, pensions, and inherent corruption are enraging private sector America. We really are two Americas, but not those captured in the stereotypical populist class warfare speeches that dramatize the gulf between the rich and the poor. Instead there is a new division in America that affronts a sense of fairness. That division is between the workers in the private sector and the workers in the public sectors. No guesses which is the more protected. A new study by the Mayo Research Institute, based in Louisiana, demonstrates that there is a striking differential in the impact of the recession. In 2009, the study found, "private-sector workers were nearly three times more likely to be jobless than public-sector workers."  Political tension is bound to grow when private sector jobs disappear faster but at the same time private sector compensation is being squeezed much more than that of the public sector. The rate of compensation for a generation of public service employees has gone up much faster than the personal income of the people who pay for these workers. The gap has widened dramatically between private sector workers at all levels of remuneration as compared to employees in federal, state, and local governments. Once there was a time when government work offered lower salaries than comparable jobs in the private sector, a difference for which the public sector compensated by providing more security and somewhat better benefits. No longer. These days, government employees are better off in almost every area: pay, benefits, time off, and security, on top of working fewer hours. They can thrive even in a down economy. It is tantamount to a wealth transfer from the citizens to the people who serve in government. Millions of public workers have become a kind of privileged new class—a new elite, who live better than their private sector counterparts. Public servants have become the public's masters. No wonder the public is upset. [...]"  NoteNotice that Cuba, trying to improve it's economy, is laying off 1 million public sector workers ... 500,000 in the next six months ... but it is also providing avenues for these people to re-integrate into their system. The US and the UK don't do that. They ruin peoples lives in order to declare a profit ... insane ... even a dog doesn't shit in it's own bed ....

US company that sickened thousands knew eggs contained Salmonella [09/15/10] "In a letter to the company's owner, the House Energy and Commerce Committee said its investigators had obtained records showing Wright County Egg received 426 positive results for salmonella between 2008 and 2010. The company recalled 380 million eggs in August after its products were linked to hundreds of illnesses.  The committee said the positive results found over the last two years included 73 samples that were potentially positive for Salmonella Enteritidis, the strain responsible for the recent outbreak. The owner of Wright County Egg, Austin "Jack" DeCoster, is scheduled to testify before the panel next week. A company spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In the letter to DeCoster, committee chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and investigations subcommittee chairman Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said they were concerned that DeCoster did not inform them of the positive results when the panel asked him to provide documents in August. One of the questions the panel asked DeCoster was to show dates and results of all positive findings after microbiological testing. "When you testify before the committee, we ask that you come prepared to explain why your facilities tested potentially positive for Salmonella Enteritidis contamination on so many occasions, what steps you took to address the contamination identified in these test results, and whether you shared these results with FDA or other federal or state food safety officials," Waxman and Stupak wrote. [...]"  

MSM: Profitable Evil: Veterans Agency Made Secret Deal with Prudential Over Soldiers' Death Benefits [09/15/10] "The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to inform 6 million soldiers and their families of an agreement enabling Prudential Financial Inc. to withhold lump-sum payments of life insurance benefits for survivors of fallen service members, according to records made public through a Freedom of Information request. The amendment to Prudential’s contract is the first document to show how VA officials sanctioned a payment practice that has spurred investigations by lawmakers and regulators. Since 1999, Prudential has used so-called retained-asset accounts, which allow the company to withhold lump sum payments due to survivors and earn investment income on the money for itself. The Sept. 1, 2009, amendment to Prudential’s contract with the VA ratified another unpublicized deal that had been struck between the insurer and the government 10 years earlier -- one that was never put into writing, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue. This verbal agreement in 1999 provoked concern among top insurance officials of the agency, the documents released in the FOIA request show. [...] 

Herbal Supplements Face New Scrutiny by Feds [09/15/10] "Elderberry extract and acai to boost the immune system. Black cohosh to lessen the discomforts of menopause. Soy capsules to prevent bone loss and prostate cancer.  Many botanical supplements—made from the seeds, bark, leaves, flowers and stems of a wide range of plants—have been widely used as folk remedies for centuries. Americans have been consuming growing quantities of the supplements in hopes of warding off disease and easing symptoms of various conditions. But there is scant scientific evidence to support their health benefits.  Now, the federal government is stepping up research into the safety and effectiveness of a wide range of over-the-counter supplements, including plant oils, garlic, soy, elderberry, licorice, black cohosh, St. John's wort and the Asian herb dong quai. The aim is to better understand how compounds in the plants affect health and to help consumers make more informed choices about supplements, which can interact with prescription drugs, cause side effects or lead to new health risks. Sales of botanical supplements in the U.S. topped $5 billion last year, up 17% from five years earlier, according to the non-profit American Botanical Council. [...]"  Related: Commentary: "The US Is Adopting Codex Alimentarius" [09/14/10] "I am saddened to say that on June 10th, 2010, Obama signed Executive Order #13544 which mandates that the US is adopting Codex Alimentarius. This legislation, *originating from the United Nations*, in effect, begins a worldwide campaign for massive hunger and starvation.  Now, with a stroke of a pen, and quietly behind the scenes when everyone was focused on the Gulf Oil Spill, he effectively launched Codex Alimentarius in the US, which is intended to bring ALL vitamin and mineral supplements and natural health remedies and technologies to an end. The CDC and the HHS *can now make illegal*, all alternative health remedies and technologies. This bill renders all alternative health remedies "unscientific" and not provable by the FDA. This legislation is a huge step in population control, giving the pharmaceuticals full control over the health of all individuals, which is what the global socialists have wanted for years. [...]"   

The reality of Australia’s “two-speed” economy [09/15/10] "Despite the Labor government’s claims of a wondrous boom, workers see no evidence of “world-beating economic prosperity”. The release of a new round of positive GDP figures in August was the cue for Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan, to announce that finance ministers in the US, Europe and Japan would “kill for figures like these”. The Australian economy grew by 1.2 percent in the June quarter, that is, at an annualised rate of nearly 5 percent. Not only could the country “not have hoped for a better of set of national accounts”, but, Swan claimed, speaking at a function organised by economic “think- tank” The Sydney Institute, the figures vindicated the market-oriented, low-debt policies of successive Labor and Liberal governments. “We are in the 19th year of continuous economic growth. No other advanced economy can talk about that. It sets up a very solid foundation for the future.” Like a tree rotting from the inside, however, knock gently on the June GDP figures and you will hear a hollow sound. Numbers released simultaneously with the national accounts show that the mining industry, which accounts for just 7 percent of the economy, accounted for 40 percent of pre-tax profits in the June quarter. Excluding mining, pre-tax profits fell by 8 percent. New housing sales fell by 7 percent. Wholesaling profits fell 17.5 percent. At the same time, Australian manufacturing is experiencing negligible growth, [...]"  

German armed forces “reform” reflects growth of militarism [09/15/10] "The German defence ministry’s proposed restructuring of the military represents the greatest change in the army since the founding of the German Federal Republic. [...]"  

Fashion Police: France Votes to Ban the Burqa [09/15/10] "The French Senate voted 246-1 Tuesday to make it illegal for women to wear garments that cover their entire faces. The law, if greenlighted by a constitutional body, will affect only a few thousand people, but its implications for religious freedom and women’s rights have attracted international interest. [...]"    

IMF fears 'social explosion' from world jobs crisis [09/15/10] "America and Europe face the worst jobs crisis since the 1930s and risk "an explosion of social unrest" unless they tread carefully, the International Monetary Fund has warned. "The labour market is in dire straits. The Great Recession has left behind a waste land of unemployment," said Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF's chief, at an Oslo jobs summit with the International Labour Federation (ILO). He said a double-dip recession remains unlikely but stressed that the world has not yet escaped a deeper social crisis. He called it a grave error to think the West was safe again after teetering so close to the abyss last year. "We are not safe," he said. [...]"   

TrendsMore Police Officers Lose Their Jobs in Akron and Other Cities [09/15/10] "Mayor Don Plusquelic, the mayor of Akron, Ohio, made good on a threat, over the Sept. 11-12 weekend, to layoff dozens of police officers, if the union did not agree to sizeable concessions. Forty police officers were officially laid off Sunday night, after the union rejected the city's latest offer. [...]"   

Six in Ten Canadians Live Pay to Pay [09/15/10] "The recession may be officially over, but six in 10 Canadians are still surviving from paycheque to paycheque, a national survey showed Monday.  Fifty-nine per cent of Canadian workers say they would be in financial trouble if their paycheque was delayed by just a week – the same proportion as last year when the economy was still mired in a downturn, according to a poll of 2,766 people by the Canadian Payroll Association. The survey comes as the OECD today warned that record high debt levels have left many Canadians vulnerable “to any future adverse shocks.” Also Monday, a Statistics Canada report showed household net worth fell 0.6 per cent in the second quarter, largely due to falling stock markets. Liabilities of households increased, meantime, led by mortgages and consumer credit. [...]"  

Historical Research: The Underground History of American Public Education: Chapter 11 - The Crunch [09/15/10] "The Struggle For Homogeneity: In 1882, an Atlantic Monthly writer predicted a coming struggle for preservation of the American social order. European immigrants were polarizing the country, upsetting the "homogeneity on which free government must rest." That idea of a necessary homogeneity made it certain that all lanes out of the 1880s led to orthodoxy on a national scale. There was to be an official American highway, its roadbed built from police manuals and schoolteacher training texts. Citizens would now be graded against the official standard, up to the highest mark, "100 percent American."  In the thirty years between 1890 and 1920, the original idea of America as a cosmopolitan association of peoples, each with its own integrity, gave way to urgent calls for national unity. Even before WWI added its own shrill hysterics to the national project of regimentation, new social agencies were in full cry on every front, aggressively taking the battle of Americanization to millions of bewildered immigrants and their children.  The elite-managed "birth-control" movement, which culminated one hundred years later in the legalization of abortion, became visible and active during this period, annually distributing millions of pieces of literature aimed at controlling lower-class breeding instincts, an urgent priority on the national elitist agenda. Malthus, Darwin, Galton, and Pearson became secular saints at the Lawrence and Sheffield Scientific Schools at Harvard and Yale. Judge Ben Lindsey of the Denver Children’s Court, flogging easy access to pornography as an indirect form of sterilization for underclass men, was a different tile in the same mosaic, as was institutional adoption. The planned parenthood movement, in our day swollen to billion-dollar corporate status, was one side of a coin whose obverse was the prospering abortion, birth control, and adoption industries. In those crucial years, a sudden host of licensing acts closed down employment in a wide range of lucrative work – rationing the right to practice trades much as kings and queens of England had done. Work was distributed to favored groups and individuals who were willing to satisfy screening commissions that they met qualifications often unrelated to the actual work. Licensing suddenly became an important factor in economic life, just as it had been in royal England. This professionalization movement endowed favored colleges and institutes, text publishers, testing agencies, clothing manufacturers, and other allies with virtual sinecures. [...]"  John Taylor Gatto   

"To get back to 5 percent unemployment we would need to add 285,000 jobs per month for 5 consecutive years" [09/14/10] "The biggest problem facing many working and middle class families is the structural changes in our employment base. By this point in any “recovery” the private sector would be adding a tremendous amount of jobs. Yet there really is very little recovery for the typical American. The stock market is performing “well” for the moment but it is back to levels from a decade ago. Without a job however, there is little consolation that stock values are soaring on thin trading by a few large banks. Without a recovery in jobs there really is no economic recovery. Of course much of the media has a hard time even understanding how tough times are for most Americans. To put this into perspective, we would need to add 285,000 jobs per month for 5 consecutive years just to get to a healthy unemployment rate of 5 percent. The last time the private sector added that many jobs in one month was back in March of 2006 at the height of the housing bubble. [...]"  

US Poverty Approaches 1960s Levels [09/14/10] "The number of people in the US who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama's watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty. Census figures for 2009, the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat's presidency, are to be released in the coming week, and demographers expect grim findings.  [...]"  

"Going Out with a Bang: Americans Using Credit Cards They Can’t Pay Back" [09/14/10] [4:49]  "US consumers, already getting hit hard with permanent job losses that are never coming back, wage decreases, and depreciating real estate prices, understand that with their current debt load, most will never be able to pay back the money they owe. So, instead of defaulting on their debt with available credit remaining on their cards, they’ve decided to max out those cards before they stop paying. This author has personally witnessed two separate instances of just this phenomenon. A close friend and Citibank credit card holder recently saw a rate increase from roughly 10% to 29.99% on their existing balance. Already running on a tight budget, his payment increased from a monthly $150 per month to over $400 per month. Our friend, rather than simply stopping his payments because he was no longer able to afford them, promptly took his Citibank card to a local outdoor goods store, purchased several thousand dollars worth of guns, ammunition, and camping gear. He never made another payment. That’s a $20,000 delinquency on Citibank’s books - and that debt will never be collected. We can talk about the ethics and morality of this move, but that is irrelevant at this point. Tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans are doing exactly the same thing with credit cards and home loans. [...]"   

Detroit Begs for $11 Million Fed Grant to Its Fire Department, After Obama Refused Aid to 2,000 Cities [09/14/10] "Last year, the Obama Administration turned down more than 2,000 distressed municipalities, for Federal grant money to keep their fire and rescue services up to strength. Among them was the City of Detroit, which suffered raging fires Sept. 7, destroying 71 homes and causing extensive damage. Firefighters fought 85 blazes in four hours. [...]"    

Gay Saudi Diplomat Seeks Asylum in US [09/14/10] "A Saudi Arabian diplomat is seeking political asylum after being outed as gay in his home country, the Daily Mail reports. Ali Ahmad Asseri, the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in LA, said that his government had yanked his diplomatic passport and his job in order to force him to return, where he faces stiff punishment for being gay—as well as being close friends with a Jewish woman. "My life is in a great danger here and if I go back to Saudi Arabia, they will kill me openly in broad daylight," says Asseri. And just to make sure every bridge was burned, Asseri knocked his country's "backwardness," and "militant imams" who have "defaced the tolerance of Islam." The US government has not commented on Asseri's case. [...]"  

"Waking up with a different accent" [09/13/10] Video clip [3:48]"There are thought to be only 60 cases of Foreign Accent Syndrome in the world. People who have it start speaking with an entirely different accent. Kay Russell, from Bishops Cleeve near Cheltenham, suffers from the extremely rare neurological disorder. After a serious migraine, she woke up with what sounds like a French accent. Doctors believe it is triggered following a stroke or head injury, when tiny areas of the brain linked with language, pitch and speech patterns are damaged. Graham Satchell reports. Related: What is foreign accent syndrome? "A man from Yorkshire claims to have started speaking in a broad Irish accent after waking up from a brain operation. Why?" He's never even visited Ireland, but when Chris Gregory came round from brain surgery he reportedly started speaking like a native. Mr Gregory had spent three days on a life-support machine after surgery. When he came round he sang a stirring rendition of Danny Boy from his hospital bed, much to the surprise of staff and his family. His strange behaviour is thought to be the result of a very rare condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS). People who have it start speaking in an entirely different accent. In some cases they speak fluently in a language they hardly know. [...]" 

Cuba to cut a million public jobs [09/13/10] "Cuba announces plans to lay off more than a million public sector workers, with half of the jobs going within the next six months, as part of plans to revive its economy. [...]"  Note Most Cubans rely on their government for just about everything, including a job, but President Raul Castro intends to change that. Cuban officials announced Monday that roughly 10 percent of the state-employed work force is getting a pink slip. The government hopes economic reforms will allow for enough private sector activity to absorb the newly jobless, but in a country that employs 95 percent of its workers, skepticism abounds. To soften the blow, the statement — which appeared in state newspapers and was read on television and radio — said the government would increase private-sector job opportunities, including allowing more Cubans to become self-employed. They also will be able to form cooperatives run by employees rather than government administrators, and increasingly lease state land, businesses and infrastructure.

N.J. Cops too Close to Mob, Ex-Cop Says [09/13/10] "A former state investigator claims members of the Organized Crime Unit in the New Jersey Department of Criminal Justice were involved with Mafiosos, behavior that included "visits to each other's homes, vacationing together [and] family dinners." And he claims that state cops illegally seized money from suspects and dropped a criminal investigation because the subject was a "prominent political figure." [...]"    

UKBritish economy in 'great danger', trade unions warn [09/12/10] "The government's programme of drastic spending cuts is putting the British economy in "great danger", the Trades Union Congress has warned ahead of its annual conference opening in Manchester on Monday. The cuts will affect economic activity, undermine confidence and could lead to higher unemployment which is "stuck" at around two and a half million, with young people particularly badly hit, the TUC's general council said in a statement. In next month's comprehensive spending review the Government will start to withdraw 32 billion pounds from the economy in tax rises and spending cuts from April 2011, on top of the 8.9 billion already taken out during the current financial year, the TUC leaders said. "There is therefore scant prospect that the private sector will now create the new jobs needed," they added. "Falling confidence suggests a stagnant labour market and at best a jobless recovery. But the prospect of further deep public spending cuts makes even this look like an optimistic scenario, as both public sector staff and employees in the many companies that depend on the public sector for orders lose their jobs. [...]"   

"Nine Years After 9/11, Only 1% See "Terrorism" as Top U.S. Problem" [09/12/10] "... The dramatic jump in perceptions of terrorism as the most important problem between September and October 2001, however, serves as a reminder of the potential for terrorism to reclaim its prominence as a concern should there be new terrorist incidents in the future. [...] Note Governments and their minions have always been the chief source of 'terror' in societies .... not individuals or small groups.

China rethinks controversial one-child policy [09/12/10] "China's one-child policy, probably the most audacious exercise in social engineering the world has ever seen, could be up for review, as Beijing policymakers worry about the effects of a population ageing fast, with insufficient numbers of youngsters to support them. There is speculation that a gradual rollback of the policy – first imposed 31 years ago – will start next year with pilot schemes in the five provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Zhejiang and Jiangsu. An official at the Population and Family Planning Committee, who did not wish to be named, acknowledged that a change in the rules was being discussed, but added: "There has been no news about any change in policy from the inner circle of government. Any possible change would cause a huge reaction, so the government would take very careful consideration before making any official announcement about this policy." [...]"    

Number of Families in Shelters Rises [09/12/10] "For a few hours at the mall here this month, Nick Griffith, his wife, Lacey Lennon, and their two young children got to feel like a regular family again. Never mind that they were just killing time away from the homeless shelter where they are staying, or that they had to take two city buses to get to the shopping center because they pawned one car earlier this year and had another repossessed, or that the debit card Ms. Lennon inserted into the A.T.M. was courtesy of the state’s welfare program.  They ate lunch at the food court, browsed for clothes and just strolled, blending in with everyone else out on a scorching hot summer day. “It’s exactly why we come here,” Ms. Lennon said. “It reminds us of our old life.”  For millions who have lost jobs or faced eviction in the economic downturn, homelessness is perhaps the darkest fear of all. In the end, though, for all the devastation wrought by the recession, a vast majority of people who have faced the possibility have somehow managed to avoid it. Nevertheless, from 2007 through 2009, the number of families in homeless shelters — households with at least one adult and one minor child — leapt to 170,000 from 131,000, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  [...]"   

UK: Police given earthquake training for 'extremely unlikely crisis' [09/11/10] "Hundreds of police officers undertook a three-day course on how to deal with powerful earthquakes even though Britain has never experienced any such event. Britain endures its fair share of elemental hardships: floods, storms, and even the occasional tornado. It is not, however, known for its high risk of catastrophic earthquakes. [...]"   

NYSecret Tape Has Police Pressing Ticket Quotas [09/11/10] "No matter how often the Police Department denies the existence of quotas, many New Yorkers will swear that officers are sometimes forced to write a certain number of tickets in a certain amount of time.  Now, in a secret recording made in a police station in Brooklyn, there is persuasive evidence of the existence of quotas. The hour-long recording, which a lawyer provided this week to The New York Times, was made by a police supervisor during a meeting in April of supervisors from the 81st Precinct. The recording makes clear that precinct leaders were focused on raising the number of summonses issued — even as the Police Department had already begun an inquiry into whether crime statistics in that precinct were being manipulated. [...]"  Note That would confirm the police as a predatory body of people, liable for the abuse of power.

TrendsLight bulb factory closes; End of era for U.S. means more jobs overseas [09/11/10] "The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s. [...]" 

Trends: Random Pat-Downs Turn PATCO Into Police State [09/11/10] "Commuters who ride PATCO trains between southern New Jersey and Philadelphia should expect random searches of their clothing, pockets, bags and vehicles on their morning trip to work.  Twelve Transportation Security Administration screeners, armed with an explosive-sniffing K-9, checked 663 commuter bags randomly selected from the morning rush at the Lindenwold station Tuesday….. “We can conduct any kind of search we want,” said McClintock. “We could ask TSA to bring wands or X-ray machines like they have in airports, though we don’t think that’s appropriate for PATCO riders at this time. [...]"   Related:  ACLU petitions for oversight of Newark police "ACLU seeks federal oversight of Newark Police Dept., cites misconduct, use of excessive force The American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday that the police department of New Jersey's largest city has so many serious problems — rampant misconduct, lax internal oversight and too many cases of officers using excessive force during arrests — that the  [...]"   

Canada: Traffic calming? City scares drivers with ’3D girl’ that runs into road [09/11/10] "For the past week, drivers on 22nd Street in the ritzy suburb of West Vancouver, British Columbia, have come across an alarming sight: A small girl running out into the road to chase a ball. As their hearts leap to their throats and their feet move to the brake pedal, the drivers realize it's an illusion -- a "3D" image drawn on the pavement to get drivers to slow down. The "3D girl" isn't really 3D -- it's a cartoon drawn on the pavement in a distorted fashion so as to appear three-dimensional, the culmination of a pilot project from the British Columbia Automobile Association, an affiliate of the AAA, and the city of West Vancouver.  It's an innovative idea that some critics say could cause accidents.The "3D girl" isn't really 3D -- it's a cartoon drawn on the pavement in a distorted fashion so as to appear three-dimensional, the culmination of a pilot project from the British Columbia Automobile Association, an affiliate of the AAA, and the city of West Vancouver. It's an innovative idea that some critics say could cause accidents. "I think it's awful. I think it's dangerous," Sam Schwartz, a former traffic commissioner in New York City, told ABC News. "I think drivers are always scanning and suddenly they see this image up, they may very well panic. BCLocalNews reports that the pilot project has received criticism online, with one commenter calling it a “creepy optical illusion” and a “terrifying experience.”  But some residents of the Western Canadian city applaud the move to fight what they say is a chronic speeding problem in the 20mph speed zone outside Ecole Pauline Johnson, an elementary school.  “Every day there are hundreds of people dropping off their kids and going down this road at high speeds,” neighborhood resident Kirsten Pendreigh told the Toronto Star. BCAA spokesman David Dunne defended the project, saying the illusion "reminds us to shift our attitudes, and drive as though you’d expect a child to run into traffic." West Vancouver’s manager of roads told the Vancouver Sun that the project may be expanded to other locations if it's shown  to calm traffic. “Certainly it had a drastic effect,” Brent Dozzi said. “It’s in your face, but motorists react strongly.”" [...]"  Note:  The city government is liable for any accidents caused by a reaction to this image. Very poor judgment. 

Chavez, Venezuela Introduce "Good Life" Food Rationing Card [09/11/10] "Presented by President Hugo Chávez as an instrument to make shopping for groceries easier, the ``Good Life Card'' is making various segments of the population wary because they see it as a furtive attempt to introduce a rationing card similar to the one in Cuba.  The measure could easily become a mechanism to control the population, according to civil society groups. ``We see that in short-term this could become a rationing card probably similar to the one used in Cuba,'' Roberto León Parilli, president of the National Association of Users and Consumers, told El Nuevo Herald. ``It would use more advanced technological means [than those used in Cuba], but when they tell you where to buy and what the limits of what you can buy are, they are conditioning your purchases.'' Chávez said Tuesday that the card could be used to buy groceries at the government chain of markets and supplies. [...]"   

Feds Say Ex-Agent's Wife Got Paid for Nothing [09/11/10] "A former immigration official was arrested Friday morning on charges that he helped his wife collect a $582,000 salary from the government for doing nothing. [...]"  See "Who Is Going to Jail" link at the top of this page for related type of stories.

Majority of Union Members Now Work for Government [09/11/10] "It is the most important hill that folks interested in good government have yet to conquer and that is the elimination of government employee unions. The Heritage Foundation reports the sad and disgusting news that the majority of union members now work for government, an intolerable situation to say the least. [...]"  Note  Commentary

"Schooling: The Hidden Agenda" [09/11/10] "I suspect that not everyone in this audience knows who I am or why I’ve been invited to speak to you today. After all, I’ve never written a book or even an article about homeschooling or unschooling. I’ve been called a number of things: a futurist, a planetary philosopher, an anthropologist from Mars. Recently I was introduced to an audience as a cultural critic, and I think this probably says it best. As you’ll see, in my talk to you today, I will be trying to place schooling and unschooling in the larger context of our cultural history and that of our species as well. For those of you who are unfamiliar with my work, I should begin by explaining what I mean by “our culture”. Rather than burden you with a definition, I’ll give you a simple test that you can use wherever you go in the world. If the food in that part of the world is under lock and key, and the people who live there have to work to get it, then you’re among people of our culture. If you happen to be in a jungle in the interior of Brazil or New Guinea, however, you’ll find that the food is not under lock and key. It’s simply out there for the taking, and anyone who wants some can just go and get it. The people who live in these areas, often called aboriginals, stone-age peoples, or tribal peoples clearly belong to a culture radically different from our own.  I first began to focus my attention on the peculiarities of our own culture in the early 1960s, when I went to work for what was then a cutting-edge publisher of educational materials, Science Research Associates. I was in my mid-twenties and as thoroughly acculturated as any senator, bus driver, movie star, or medical doctor. My fundamental acceptances about the universe and humanity’s place in it were rock-solid and thoroughly conventional. " Note: A talk given at the Houston Un-schoolers Group Family Learning Conference [...]"   

Weary of drug war, Mexico debates legalization [09/11/10] "A debate about legalizing marijuana and possibly other drugs — once a taboo suggestion — is percolating in Mexico, a nation exhausted by runaway violence and a deadly drug war. The debate is only likely to grow more animated if Californians approve an initiative on Nov. 2 to legalize marijuana for recreational use in their state. Mexicans are keeping a close eye on the vote, seeing it as a bellwether. [...]"  

Gangs shut down El Salvador transportation [09/11/10] "Public transport in El Salvador has been severely disrupted by a strike enforced by street gangs angry about a new law making gang membership a crime. [...]"  

UK: 40,000 police jobs 'threatened' [09/11/10] "As many as 40,000 front-line police jobs may be at risk across England and Wales if funding cuts of 25% go ahead, the Police Federation says. [...]"   

Deputies detonate toy pony outside school [09/11/10] "Authorities in Florida said a stuffed toy pony outside of an elementary school was detonated by deputies after it was deemed suspicious. [...]"  

Syrian drought 'really bad' [09/11/10] "Lingering drought in parts of Syria is having an impact on food security and leaving millions of people in a state of extreme poverty, the United Nations said. [...]"  Note: Too bad they didn't invest in a water desalination plant, years ago. Short-sighted and dumb as a stone. Minions, largely.

UK"Facebook Addicts: Insecure Narcissists" [09/09/10] "Use Facebook a lot? Well then you're probably narcissistic, insecure, or both, according to a new study. Researchers had 100 young adults take tests designed to measure their narcissism levels, and asked them about their Facebook habits—and found a correlation: Those who scored higher on the test checked the site more often than those who did not. But the study also found that those lacking self-esteem checked their page more often than "normal," too. The two seemingly contradictory traits are actually thought to be related, the Daily Mail reports. Interestingly, the study also found that men tend to brag via written posts, while women do so through pictures. [...]" 

Abuse Under Color of Authority: North Carolina Sheriffs want "lists of patients using painkillers" [09/09/10] "Sheriffs in North Carolina want access to state computer records identifying anyone with prescriptions for powerful painkillers and other controlled substances. The state sheriff's association pushed the idea Tuesday, saying the move would " help them make drug arrests" and " curb a growing problem of prescription drug abuse." [...]"  Related: Nightstick Empire  "“Law enforcement” in North Carolina is demanding the names of all patients on prescription pain medications, to harass and possibly cage them. There are many terrible parts of the drug war, but the targeting of sick people in great pain has to be among the worst. Already, good doctors worry about prescribing powerful painkillers, for fear of being destroyed by the FDA, the DEA, and the rest of the criminal alphabet. Of course, everyone in government, not just in North Carolina, lusts for control over others. But stamping their jackboot on the face of a cancer patient in torment must give them a special thrill. [...]"    Note: I don't expect this to fly ... Michigan may be first to drug test roadside  "Pending legislation would make Michigan the first U.S. state to do roadside saliva tests for illegal drug use just as police do breath tests for alcohol. [...]"

Fires burn throughout Detroit [09/09/10] "Dozens of houses burned down in Detroit Tuesday as fires blazed through all parts of the city, overwhelming the local fire department. [...]"  Related:  Detroit fires expose criminality of DTE and Bing administration  "D’Artagnan Collier, the SEP’s candidate for Michigan state legislature, issued the following statement on the fires that swept through Detroit’s neighborhoods Tuesday evening. [...]"    

Trends: Global shortage of medical isotopes a concern [09/09/10] "A global shortage of radioactive isotopes used in medical scans and treatments could jeopardize patient care and drive up healthcare costs, scientists say. [...]"  

TrendsUS Consumers cut back on credit card use again [09/09/10] "Consumer borrowing fell again in July as households cut back on their credit card use for a 23rd consecutive month, adding more drag on an economy struggling to mount a sustained rebound. [...]"   

TrendsUK Shoppers turning to card payments [09/09/10] "The number of cash machines in the UK has fallen and withdrawals have dropped as shoppers turn to cards, figures show. [...]"  

Concepts and PracticesCell Phone location data is a privacy intrusion, rules NY Judge [09/08/10] "A few weeks ago, we wrote about United States v. Maynard, a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit requiring the government to obtain a warrant when it uses a GPS tracking device to monitor someone’s movements. Last Friday, Judge James Orenstein in the Eastern District of New York recognized that Maynard‘s reasoning also applies when the government tries to retrace a person’s whereabouts using historical cell phone location information stored by cell phone carriers. Judge Orenstein rejected each possible factual difference between GPS vehicle tracking and historical cell phone tracking, and concluded that cell phone tracking is just as intrusive to Americans’ reasonable expectations of privacy in the details of their everyday lives as GPS tracking. We believe that Judge Orenstein got it exactly right. In coming to the decision, the court’s opinion noted: a growing recognition, at least in some courts, that technology has progressed to the point where a person who wishes to partake in the social, cultural, and political affairs of our society has no realistic choice but to expose to others, if not to the public as a whole, a broad range of conduct and communications that would previously have been deemed unquestionably private. Concluding that “[t]he Fourth Amendment cannot properly be read to impose on our populace the dilemma of either ceding to the state any meaningful claim to personal privacy or effectively withdrawing from a technologically maturing society,” the court denied the government’s application for almost two months’ worth of historical cell phone location information that it had sought to access just by showing that it was “relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation” — a standard far short of a warrant required by the Fourth Amendment. [...]"  Note:  the article continues. Worth reading.

 Poland: Workers Fired for not Wanting to Work for Free  [09/08/10] "ZEFAM stands for Zielona Gora Furniture Factory. Workers there had not received salaries for months. Some had not been paid for four months and nobody was receiving overtime payments. On August 19, the workers asked about this. The manager went to consult with the director of the firm, Marek Cierpka. Then he told the workers to "go home". They didn't want to, but the manager shut down the production hall. After some time of not knowing what to do, the workers went home. The next day, the manager was waiting for them at the gates of the factory with disciplinary dismissals. Most people refused to take them, but they were sent by post to 27 workers. In the dismissals it was written that they were being dismissed for leaving their work place without permission or justification. In Poland, all records of work are kept in your "work book". If you were fired, it stays on your record and basically creates a problem for you for years, if not the rest of your life. [...] 

Mafia Cash in on Lucrative EU Wind Farm Handouts – Especially in Sicily [09/08/10] "An ill wind is blowing over Italy’s green revolution, as the Mafia seek to capitalise on generous grants for renewable energy. hey rise up high above the sun-scorched countryside, looking out over hilltop villages, palm trees, neatly-tended vineyards and olive groves. But for all their promises of a clean, green future, Italy’s windfarms have now acquired a somewhat dirtier whiff – as the latest industry to be infiltrated by the country’s mobsters. [...]"  

2.5 million stage protests in France [09/08/10] "Protesters, estimated at 1.12 million to 3 million strong, turned out across France Tuesday to oppose the Sarkozy administration's pension reform plans. [...]" 

Mexico to 'ban payment in cash' [09/08/10] "Mexico says it is planning to tighten the noose around big-ticket cash purchases to curtail the flow of smuggled dollars and fight money laundering. President Felipe Calderon put forward the sweeping new measures Thursday to crack down on billions of dollars of the illicit money gained by the drug cartels and spent by them for more profit. “This illicit money is vital for the criminal. That is what they seek, this money. It is also vital to finance their activities,” said Calderon, The Washington Post reported on Thursday. If approved by the legislature, the legislation would not allow anyone to buy real estate in cash. Neither would it permit anyone to spend more than MXN 100,000 (USD 7,700) in cash on vehicles, boats, airplanes and luxury goods. [...]" 

IA: "Government Demands Poor Donate Bodies to Medical School" [09/08/10] "The bodies of poor and indigent people for whom Des Moines County would be required to pick up the bill for burial or cremation will soon be offered up to medical schools to use for educational purposes before being laid to rest at public expense. During a recent review of state law while helping update the county’s general assistance manual, Senior Assistant County Attorney Amy Beavers turned up an old law, previously unenforced by the county, requiring bodies being buried with taxpayers’ dollars must be offered for use by medical science. Once the college or medical school has finished with the body, it will be properly buried or cremated. [...]"   

Flashback: Netherlands to Close Prisons: Not Enough Criminals [09/08/10] 2009 "The Dutch justice ministry has announced it will close eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. During the 1990s the Netherlands faced a shortage of prison cells, but a decline in crime has since led to overcapacity in the prison system. The country now has capacity for 14,000 prisoners but only 12,000 detainees. Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak announced on Tuesday that eight prisons will be closed, resulting in the loss of 1,200 jobs. Natural redundancy and other measures should prevent any forced lay-offs, the minister said. The overcapacity is a result of the declining crime rate, which the ministry's research department expects to continue for some time. Belgian prisoners Some reprieve might come from a deal with Belgium, which is facing overpopulation in its prisons. The two countries are working out an agreement to house Belgian prisoners in Dutch prisons. Some five-hundred Belgian prisoners could be transferred to the Tilburg prison by 2010. The Netherlands would get 30 million euros in the deal, and it will allow the closing of the prisons in Rotterdam and Veenhuizen to be postponed until 2012. [...]"   

Commentary: "So Broke We Can't Pay Attention" LINK FIXED [09/08/10] "You spent the whole day yesterday worrying about today, and now that it's here, was it worth it? It's a scary feeling not being able to pay your bills. It can be so stressful that it consumes the entirety of our thoughts and emotions. We may fight with our spouses, or prematurely snap at our children over meaningless nonsense because we are constantly on edge over finances.  Day after day, week after week, month after month we live stressed to the max. If we're able to break our funk trance for a moment and look back, we just may realize that all of the agonizing was not worth it as, somehow, we made it to today in one piece. An excellent article this week on the Economic Collapse Blog decisively proved that is impossible for a family of four to survive in America on a middle-class income of $50,000 per year. Since more than half of the U.S. population makes less than that amount, and another 35% of American families make less than $100,000 per year; we can only assume that the overwhelming majority of the population lives with chronic financial-stress syndrome -- which Big Pharma will happily treat for us. This 85% of the population has little time or energy to think of much else. In other words, we're so broke we can't pay attention to the world around us -- which is what the system was designed to do. The system keeps us running on the rat wheel, terrified it will stop, or that our employers will kick us off.  We become so primal about defending our position, our sustenance, that we ignore our basic humanity. Who has time to think about such things like other people's problems? The system turns us against our neighbors in an ultra-competitive dog-eat-dog economy. And if that doesn't work they'll use religion, race, or politics to divide us. Scratch that; they use it all, all the time.  The public is kept in a constant state of dense negative energy, where we inevitably contaminate those around us with bad vibes, who then pass them on to their peers and so on. [...]"  

11th Circuit to Reconsider Homeless Feeding Permits [09/08/10] "The full 11th Circuit agreed to reconsider a challenge to Orlando's requirement that charities and churches get permits to feed the homeless in downtown city parks. [...]"  

Commentary: Chris Hedges: ‘They Kill Alex’ [09/08/10] "Military recruiters, who often have offices in high schools, prey on young men like Alex, who was first approached when he was 16. They cater to their insecurities, their dreams and their economic deprivation. They promise them what the larger society denies them. Those of Latino descent and from divorced families, as Alex was, are especially vulnerable. Alex’s brother Brian was approached by the military, which suggested that if he enlisted he could receive $60,000 in signing bonuses and more than $27,000 in payments for higher education. The proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, is designed to give undocumented young people a chance at citizenship provided they attend college—not usually an option for poor, often poorly educated and undocumented Latino youths who are prohibited from receiving Pell grants—for at least two years, or enlist and serve in the military. The military helped author the pending act and is lobbying for it...And once they are recruited, these young men and women are trained to be killers, sent to wars that should never be fought and returned back to their families often traumatized and broken and sometimes dead. [...]"   

UK tax blunder rebellion: Experts urge 1.4m NOT to pay for taxman's mistake [09/07/10] "Around 1.4million Britons are being urged to stage an unprecedented revolt over plans to claw back up to £3.8billion in under-paid tax.   It follows the botched introduction of a new computer system by the taxman which has left millions of bills in chaos. The first batch of 45,000 letters demanding cash to be repaid will start to arrive on Tuesday - with the rest sent out over the next four months. But accountants said recipients should act swiftly to use a little-known loophole which forces HM Revenue and Customs to abandon 'out of the blue' demands and effectively write off the money. They also insisted many of those affected are entitled to argue that they or their employer have done nothing wrong and should not be penalised for someone else's blunder. The advice has been issued after last week's admission by HMRC - highlighted by the Daily Mail on Saturday - that it has claimed too little, or too much, tax from 5.7million individuals. [...]"  

Half of Union Members Live in 6 States [09/07/10] "Half of all union members in the U.S. live in just six states: California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Do you really want to be a long term creditor to these states after seeing what unions did the auto industry? [...]"   Related: Attitude toward unions key factor in campaigns  "In a year in which California unemployment hovers at 12 percent and the state confronts the worst recession in generations, Art Pulaski is wondering: How did his people - working people - become the bad guys of the 2010 election? "Working people are the heart and soul of this country," Pulaski, chief officer of the powerful California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, said Monday at a Labor Day picnic with 800 union members on Oakland's waterfront. [...]"  Unions gear up to push agenda at the polls [Detroit]

UN: "No food crisis looms despite Russia wheat ban" [09/07/10] "A U.N. agency says no global food crisis is looming despite the Russian wheat shortfall. But it is cautioning that food markets will remain volatile for years.  A drought in Russia that prompted the country to restrict wheat exports has helped drive up food prices globally to their highest level in two years. But the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization stressed in a statement Tuesday that the elements for a food crisis, like the one whose high prices sparked violence in some countries in 2007-2008, do not appear to be there. Despite the drop in Russian wheat production, this year's cereal harvest was the third highest on record and grain stocks are high. [...]"  Note "Doublespeak in action -- there is no food crisis according to the overlords at the U.N. despite riots in Mozambique; the ban by Russia; in-depth studies that already show sizable food inflation; and the U.N. itself citing that "markets will remain volatile for years." This statement is akin to all Orwellian DoubleThink (shortage is abundance now) that comes from the mouths of those who are encouraging apathy when we should be doing our best to prepare. -- Activist Post"

Economic fault lines deepen in Europe [09/07/10] "Economic growth rates remain minimal for most European countries and are negative for many others. This will inevitably generate political and social tensions. [...]"   

Concepts and Practices: NY lawsuit seeks to halt suspicion-less searches [09/07/10] "NY lawsuit seeks to halt searches of international travelers' electronics without cause. Civil rights lawyers sued the government Tuesday to stop authorities from snooping in the laptops, cell phones and cameras of international travelers without probable cause. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn against the Department of Homeland Security as well as U.S. customs and immigration authorities. The government did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The lawsuit says more than 6,500 people have had their electronic devices searched as they crossed U.S. borders since October 2008. Nearly half of those searched were U.S. citizens. In May, a graduate student in Islamic Studies at McGill University in Montreal was detained for several hours as his electronic devices were searched, the suit says. The encounter badly frightened the student, according to the suit. "   

UKWarning on fixed term parliaments [09/07/10] "The government's fixed-term parliaments bill could be vulnerable to legal challenge, the Commons' top official warns. [...]"  Note: They don't want 'term limits' in the UK either ... they want to make sure they're annoying forever. 

CA: Los Angeles County’s Monthly Welfare Tab For 'Illegal Aliens': $52 Million  [09/07/10] "As the mainstream media focuses on a study that reveals a sharp decline in the nation’s illegal immigrant population, monthly welfare payments to children of undocumented aliens increased to $52 million in one U.S. county alone.[...]" 

TrendsPension rallies hit French cities [09/07/10] "More than one million protesters join rallies across France and a national strike causes major disruption, amid rising anger over pension reforms. [...]"  

UK Tube strike brings major delays [09/07/10] "Millions of Londoners have been attempting to travel home amid a major Tube strike affecting nearly all its lines. [...]"   

Commentary: "Have you had a dream about the end of the world?" [09/06/10] Note: "end of world" page at the Dream Registry. Latest entries are at bottom.

TrendsAs Americans Celebrate Labor Day 2010, U.S. Factories Are Closing In Droves [09/06/10] "2010 comes in the midst of a stunning wave of U.S. factory closings that stretches from coast to coast. Once upon a time America was the greatest manufacturing machine that the world has ever seen, but now it seems as though the only jobs available for working class Americans involve phrases such as “Welcome to Wal-Mart” and “Would you like fries with that?” Even though the population of the United States has exploded over the last several decades, the number of Americans employed in the manufacturing sector today is smaller than it was in 1950. America has become a voracious economic black hole that ”consumes” as much as possible and yet actually produces very little. The United States is becoming deindustrialized at a blinding pace, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for blue collar American workers to find jobs that will actually enable them to support their families. The sad truth is that American workers don’t have a whole lot to actually celebrate this Labor Day. 14 million U.S. workers are “officially unemployed” and tens of millions of others have been forced to take part-time or temporary jobs that they are overqualified for just so they can survive. Unfortunately, this is not just a temporary situation for American workers. As millions of good jobs continue to get outsourced and offshored, Labor Day celebrations in coming years will be even more depressing. The following are just some examples of the recent factory closings that have been sweeping the nation.. [...]"

Concepts and Practices: "Government Extortion from Accident Victims" Bill Anderson [09/06/10] "The New York Times reports that police and fire departments are charging victims for responses. Before we call this “fee for service,” however, let us examine the following incident:  ABOUT a year ago Cary Feldman was surprised to find himself sprawled on the pavement in an intersection in Chicago Heights, Ill., having been knocked off his motor scooter by the car behind him. Five months later he got another surprise: a bill from the fire department for responding to the scene of the accident.   “I had no idea what the fire truck was there for,” said Mr. Feldman, of nearby Matteson. “It came, it looked and it left. I was not hurt badly. I had scratches and bruises. I did not go to the hospital.”   Nowhere does it say that Mr. Feldman called these agencies; they just showed up on their own, and then successfully extorted money from him later.  So, someone is forced to pay for services he did not need nor order. I believe this is what the ancients once called fraud and extortion. Murray Rothbard was right: we don’t need to “frame” government according to a mathematical “rent-seeking” model; government is much better understood as a form of organized crime. [...] New York Times reports: "There appears to be no group that tracks the jurisdictions charging such fees or the number of bills sent. But police or fire departments are charging in at least 26 states, said Robert Passmore, senior director for personal lines at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. The group has lobbied against the fees, saying they amount to double taxation. It also says on its Web site, “The role of police and fire departments should be to serve and protect, not serve and collect.”  But Regina Moore, the president of Cost Recovery, a billing company in Dayton, Ohio, that tries to collect the fees for municipal departments, said property taxes paid for fire crews to be “on ready standby” and for police to “protect property and citizens from crime.” She argued that “traffic crash response is outside the scope of the primary function of both law enforcement and fire services.” [...] "  

Badge-Toting Pyschotic Shoots Up Home, Gets Off Scot-Free [09/06/10] "This guy … just tried to run my husband over!” exclaimed Arkansas resident Cindy Nelson in a frantic 911 call on July 21. “Oh, my God — he’s shooting at us! Oh, my God!”  A few minutes later, Fred Ensminger — the deranged assailant — placed a 911 call of his own. “This is Diamondhead 1106…. I have been shot and I need medical at my front gate ASAP.” Ensminger, as we will see anon, is a recidivist criminal, but he is no run- of- the- mill psychotic. He is employed by the Police Department of Diamondhead Arkansas, a gated community located south of Hot Springs. A few minutes before Cindy Nelson told a 911 dispatcher that a “guy with a badge” was trying to murder her husband, she had passed Ensminger’s pickup truck, which was parked by the side of the road. As Nelson started to go around the truck, Ensminger pulled out in front of her. According to an eyewitness, Ensminger “stopped suddenly,” causing Nelson to slam on her brakes to avoid a collision. According to the witness, Ensminger climbed out of his pickup truck and began to harangue Nelson. She reacted by pulling around him and proceeding down the road. An infuriated Ensminger followed in close pursuit. With Ensinger’s pickup truck looming in her rear-view,  [...]"   

"Confessions of a Wal-Mart Hit Man"  [09/06/10]  Video clip [10:52]  Note:  Extended Bonus Scenes From Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, a Robert Greenwald Film

TrendsAnalysis: Taser-related deaths in US accelerating [09/06/10] "The rate of deaths in Taser-related incidents is rising as police forces increasingly adapt the conducted energy weapons, a Raw Story analysis finds. A 2008 report (PDF) from Amnesty International found 351 Taser-related deaths in the US between June, 2001 and August, 2008, a rate of just slightly above four deaths per month.  [...]"  

EU austerity policies risk civil war in Greece, warns top German economist [09/06/10] "“The policy of forced 'internal devaluation', deflation, and depression could risk driving Greece to the edge of a civil war. It is impossible to cut wages and prices by 30pc without major riots,” he said, speaking at the elite European House Ambrosetti forum at Lake Como.  “Greece would have been bankrupt without the rescue measures. All the alternatives are terrible but the least terrible is for the country to get out of the eurozone, even if this kills the Greek banks,” he said. Dr Sinn said Greece is an entirely different case from Spain and Portugal, which still have manageable public debts and can bring their public finances back into line with higher taxes. [...]" 

Police Caught by Their Own Dash Cam Framing Citizens For Another Cop's Crimes  [09/05/10] [2:11] " 21 years of DUI convictions by two officers now have to be reversed by the courts and millions of tax dollars now lays in waste. A cop's dashboard camera is supposed to catch criminals in the act. For four Hollywood cops, the dash cam may have foiled their plans to frame a motorist.  The four police officers -- three of them longtime veterans of the force -- were caught on one of the cop's dash cameras plotting to place the blame for a February traffic accident on a woman one of them had hit with their patrol car. The disturbing video shows the woman, Alexandra Torrensvilas, handcuffed in the back of the squad car as the officers get their stories straight on what they are going to say happened.  Officer Joel Francisco, 36, an 11-year veteran, crashed into the back of Torrensvilas' vehicle at a light on February 17 at midnight. The cop radioed to other officers who converged on the scene and hatched a way to bail Francisco out.  Officer Dewey Pressley, 42, arrives and questions Torrensvilas, who tells him that she has been drinking. The 21-year veteran officer seizes the opportunity and arrests her for DUI. But the plot thickens from there.  The cops begin to brainstorm believable excuses for the accident. [...] Throughout the tape, the cops acknowledged what they are doing is illegal, but when you are the law, there is nothing wrong with bending it for a fellow cop, one says. "I don't lie and make things up ever because it's wrong, but if I need to bend it a little bit to protect a cop, I'll do it," Pressley tells Francisco after reassuring him no one will ever find out. "She's freaking hammered anyway. [...] "  Note:  Worth reading. There's more to this story.

"Legal sparring over prayer still unsettled" [09/05/10] "An attorney predicted the long-running legal battle over the National Day of Prayer in the United States will probably end up at U.S. Supreme Court. [...]"   Note:  It will never fly.

TrendsCompanies Shift Health Costs to Employees [09/05/10] "Employers foisted a lot more health insurance costs onto their employees this year than last, even though premiums only inched upwards, according to an annual survey. Though premiums for businesses rose just 3% this year—their lowest increase in a decade—the cost the average employee was paying jumped 14%, the Wall Street Journal reports. “It’s the first time I can remember when employers have coped with costs by shifting it all to workers,” said the head of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which issued the survey.  [...]"  

FDA says toss Estrella Family cheeses [09/05/10] "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Saturday warned people Estrella Family Creamery cheeses may be tainted with illness-causing Listeria monocytogenes. [...]"    

SatireReport: 10 Million Killed Annually By Stepping Out Of Comfort Zones  [09/05/10] "A new report published this week by the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that more than 10 million Americans are violently killed each year while attempting to break away from their regular everyday routines and try something new. "We found that getting out of your comfort zone and facing your fears resulted in premature death nearly 78 percent of the time," HHS researcher Madeline Hersh said. "People always ask themselves, 'What's the worst that can happen?' Well, according to our research, anything from being bitten by a poisonous snake to dying in a hot-air balloon crash can happen." The report found that the safest individuals were those who surrendered to the soul-crushing monotony of habit and then convinced themselves that they had things pretty good. [...]"   

Commentary: US Pushing Drugged, Vaccinated, Chlorinated Chickens on the World [09/04/10] "After over half a billion eggs were recalled from two factory hen layer operations in Iowa,[1] New York lawmakers proposed mandating vaccines against salmonella. [2] Mainstream media then blasted this message across the world. As the world’s largest producer of poultry [3] and second largest exporter [4], the US continues to hammer Russia about its embargo of chlorinated chickens.[5] Home to the biggest pharmaceutical and chemical companies in the world, the US is fond of throwing drugs and chemicals at a problem instead of addressing the filth of factory farms. [...]"    

Missouri Police Taser Boy With Broken Back 19 Times  [09/04/10] [2:53]  "A boy is walking along a highway, and concerned motorists call the police, afraid he may be struck by a car. When the police arrive on the scene, the boy has apparently fallen off an overpass and broken his back on the ground below. The injured boy was supposedly saying "kill cops", and was "not complying", so he needed to be "subdued", 19 times, with 50,000 volts of electricity.  [...]"  Related:  14 yr old girl Tasered in the Head NM [2:53]  

 Commentary: "Waking Up in the 1930s" [09/03/10] "In the year 2010, America once again embraced the bread line. That distant, faded, iconic black-and-white image of the Great Depression has re-emerged across the nation, waiting to be updated fully into HD color. Just as we seldom see pictures of American war dead returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, we seldom see newscasts of the struggling, jobless masses lining up for handouts. But they are lining up, and the scene is not one we are inured to, that of the disheveled homeless, the permanent underclass being ladled turkey dinners by apron-clad celebrities at Skid Row kitchens at holiday time. Rather, neatly dressed, solidly middle class, once working folk fill these bread lines as they become reconciled to a stark new reality. At the same time, this generation of jobless and the underemployed has yet to embrace what is shaping up to be nothing but the 1930s redux, and their voices murmur inconsistent notes of doubt, disillusionment and hope.  They listen daily to banal statistics—consumer indices, home prices, housing starts, unemployment insurance claims—intoned by newscasters batting the cycle of adjectives for up and down, and they hope for no sound reason that these same talking heads that propelled them to invest in stocks and homes that would only appreciate will imminently announce a combination of factors that will dispel this economic morass. It’s as if those contentious, post-ironic Shepard Fairey “Hope” stickers that remain plastered across the nation continue to radiate hypnotic beams convincing the viewer that prosperity is just around the corner. And so here are some voices of that doubt, disillusion and hope, culled from a region especially hurting: the megalopolis of Los Angeles. [...]"  

 Commentary: "The Breakdown of Capitalism and the Fight for Socialism in the United States" [09/03/10]  "The Economic Crisis and its Social Impact [...]"  

UK: Probe as police crash seized car [09/03/10] "Two police officers are suspended from driving duties after crashing a car they had seized from a suspected drink-driver. [...]"  

Commentary: "College Students are Debt Slaves and Jobless" [4:02]  [09/03/10]   Related: America's 'Student Loan Debt' Ticks Past $848 Billion  Note: All based on the fraudulent implied promise of a better life ... for students and parents too unaware and naive to realize what's obvious to the astute observer. This 'debt' will never be paid back.  

Fears grow over global food supply [09/03/10] "Russia announced a 12-month extension of its grain export ban on Thursday, raising fears about a return to the food shortages and riots of 2007-08 which spread through developing countries dependent on imports. The announcement by Vladimir Putin came as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation called an emergency meeting to discuss the wheat shortage, and riots in Mozambique left seven dead. The unrest in Maputo, in which 280 people were also injured, followed the government’s decision to raise bread prices by 30 per cent. Police opened fire on demonstrators after thousands turned out to protest against the price hikes, burning tyres and looting food warehouses. Although agricultural officials and traders insist that wheat and other crop supplies are more abundant than in 2007-08, officials fear the deadly Mozambique riots could be replicated. The 2007-08 food shortages, the most severe in 30 years, set off riots in countries from Bangladesh to Mexico, and helped to trigger the collapse of governments in Haiti and Madagascar. [...]"   

 Concepts and Practices: Gun Confiscation in Response to Emergencies [09/03/10] "On September 1, North Carolina’s governor, Bev Perdue, declared a state of emergency by executive order as Hurricane Earl approaches. Blogger John Jacob notes a possible sinister side to North Carolina’s declared state of emergency — citizens will not be allowed to carry weapons. In other words, the governor has in effect suspended the Second Amendment at a time when crime will almost certainly increase. Section 3 of the executive order, notes the No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money blog, delegates Perdue power under Article 36A of Chapter 14 of the NC General Statues to the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety “to such further action as is necessary to promote and secure the safety of populace in North Carolina.” NC Gen. Statues Section 14-288-7 bans transportation stipulates:  [...] In February, North Carolina outlawed carrying weapons in public during a snow emergency. North Carolina, however, is not alone — Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act outlaws possession of firearms during a government declared emergency and Colorado also considered enacting similar legislation. Georgia followed suit."   

UKPriest jailed for abusing sisters [09/03/10] "A Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing three young sisters is jailed for four years. [...]" 

Man sues Marin sheriff after being Tased 3 times at home [09/03/10] "The deputy tells McFarland he is going to take him to the hospital because he may be suicidal. "We want to take you to the hospital for an evaluation, you said if you had a gun, you'd shoot yourself in the head," the deputy can be heard saying. McFarland says it was just hyperbole. He was tired and in pain. The deputy orders him numerous times to get up or else. "Stand up, put your hands behind your back or you're going to be Tased," the deputy says. "There's got to be a problem in terms of training and on supervising deputy sheriffs in the county; it's hard to imagine something so shocking could happen," McFarland's attorney John Scott said. McFarland says he never had any suicidal thoughts. In fact, he considers himself lucky to be alive. "I'm a survivor of pancreatic cancer; one of 4 percent in this country," McFarland said. Scott says his client was arrested, jailed and charged with resisting arrest. A judge later dismissed the charge. Scott says the deputies had no search warrant or legal reason to enter McFarland's home and even if they thought he was drunk and suicidal, Scott says the Tasing was excessive force.  [...]"  Related: Bay Area officers face stun gun lawsuits   "Two lawsuits involving law enforcement use of stun guns were filed in the San Francisco Bay Area this week. [...]"  Seattle Police TASER Man To Death For Refusing To Leave Apartment [09/03/10] Video clip [3:49]

Buying the Lie: "Cash is Dead" [09/03/10] "In her essay, Powerful Reasons to Use Cash, alternative financial consultant, Susan Boskey, details some of the benefits to be reaped from daring to fight the predatory banking system by using cash:   "When we use cash we can: # Deprive the banks the opportunity to make money from charging us interest. # Deprive the banks from using our deposits. # Deprive the banks of service and overdraft charges. # Ask for 5% vendor discounts for paying with cash. # Send an effective message of dissent and dissatisfaction. # End the taboo about talking about our finances and network with others to gain new strategies. # Use it as an opportunity to get more educated about money and wealth. # Learn fiscal self-discipline. # Stop a fantasy-mindset about money.  # Gain greater peace of mind. # Stop going into debt. # Pay as we go.  # Learn to live within our means." [...]"   

Canada: Vancouver bans smoking in public outdoors [09/03/10] "A new smoking law in Vancouver, Canada, bans lighting up in 244 parks and various other outdoor public places, records show. [...]"   

Concepts and Practices: "The Ruling Class: Scenes from the class struggle on the American Right" [09/03/10] "Few essays attracted as much attention from right-wing readers this summer as "America's Ruling Class—and the Perils of Revolution," an extended argument that an incestuous social set "rules uneasily over the majority of Americans." Written by Angelo Codevilla of the Claremont Institute and first published in The American Spectator, this very long article has now been expanded into a very brief book, called The Ruling Class. If you're interested in the state of the American right, it's an instructive document—a book that strives mightily to marry conservative cultural complaints to the libertarian case against an intrusive central government.  The book argues that most of America can be split into two categories, a ruling class and a country class. The ruling class is everyone, "whether in government power directly or as officers in companies," whose "careers and fortunes depend on government." The second category consists of civil society: all those businesses, families, and community groups that don't subsist on subsidies and privileges. [...]"  Audio MP3 version included on page, so you can listen.

Concepts and Practices: NY Warned of 'Electoral Chaos' in Transition to Electronic Voting [09/02/10] "In a hearing before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli warned that the transition from lever-pull to electronic voting machines will cause "electoral chaos" in the primaries, and that all it will take to "fix" an election is a flash drive that anyone can buy at Staples. Ciampoli said a person with a flash drive would need "approximately 5 minutes of access" to fix an election. [...]"   

US: Financial Depression Spreads Among Seniors [09/02/10] " .... Among the hardest hit now are more than 2-million people age 55 and over, half of whom have been looking for work for six months or longer. For them, the Great Recession is a no-fooling, deepening Depression. [...]"  Note: From a larger observational perspective, this also means that in the US, there are almost 300 million people who won't help 2 million people out, but just leaves them like this. This happens because society is in a 'pre-sequential' state ... still un-coalesced in terms of a centrally managed system one would see on some sequential planet somewhere. This 'state' contributes to the intensity of the experience here.

PA: Harrisburg tense, on edge of bankruptcy [09/02/10] "Tension is mounting in Harrisburg, Pa., concerning the city's potential fall into bankruptcy, observers said. [...]"  

UK: Tube strikes on as talks collapse [09/02/10] "Thousands of Tube workers will strike next week as talks between London Underground bosses and two unions break down. [...]"  

"Australia: Garment company returns to 'profit' after axing jobs" [09/02/10] "Pacific Brands management paid tribute to the trade unions last week when it announced a 'profit' based on the closure of 11 plants in 12 months, and the destruction of hundreds of jobs. [...]"  Note: A perfect example of a parasitic corporation doing something that corporations were never originally intended to do -- harm the public. Once they dumped that idea and corporations became 'individuals' ... it had already gone too far ... 

 TrendsOne million US public school students homeless [09/02/10] "A report released in July reveals that homelessness among public school students in the US increased by 40 percent from the 2006-2007 school year to 956,914 in 2008-2009. [...]"  

UK"School gender views 'start early'" [09/01/10] "Girls (ARE LED TO) believe they are cleverer, better behaved and try harder than boys from as early as the age of four, research suggests. [...]"  

 MN: "Kids swap DNA for fairground rides" [09/01/10] "Researchers' efforts to collect samples at a fair raise ethical questions. [...]"  NoteSequential obsessions continue ... the DNA was stolen from the 'innocent' ... with an eye toward manipulation in the future ...

UKBritain being "overrun" by street signs [09/01/10] "The British government has declared war on the profusion of unnecessary road traffic signs, railings and advertising boards, saying they blight towns' English character. When busy Kensington High Street in central London was stripped of excess road furniture, for example, it helped reduce accidents by 47 percent. The Department for Transport is reviewing traffic signs policy and new advice on how to reduce clutter will be published later this year. [...]"  Note So this predisposition of theirs is virtually doubling the number of accidents. Bossy, unsightly and ever-increasing in number, sequential control street signs in Britain ruin the quaint English atmosphere and need to come down, according to some city officials. Street sign manufacturing companies and control addicts won't be pleased. Sequentialization does not go hand in hand with retaining the quaint flavor of ye old merry England, and some people are taking notice. 

Philippines kicks off Xmas season [09/01/10] "Revelers in the Philippines have begun the world's longest Xmas season with the arrival of holiday decorations and other festive displays. [...]"  Note Didn't they just finish last years season a couple of months ago? They have no real lives, it would appear, just ones in which 3,500 pair of shoes would 'fix everything'.

Midwest survey suggests major recession fears [09/01/10] "More than a third of supply managers in nine Midwest and Plains states surveyed for a regional business index expect a recession in 2011.  As part of the Mid-America report released Wednesday, supply managers were asked their expectations for 2011, and 35 percent said a recession was likely or very likely. The August overall economic index dipped to 55.8 from 60.8 in July. The report uses a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Any score above 50 suggests economic growth in the next three to six months, while a score below 50 suggests a contracting economy. The report is overseen by Creighton University economist Ernie Goss. States in the survey are Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota. [...]"   

UK: Standard Life set to cut 500 jobs [09/01/10] "Edinburgh-based insurance and pensions giant Standard Life is to cut up to 500 jobs over the next 15 months. [...]"  Note:  Well, they're 'non-standard' lives now ...

 TrendsGlobal Youth Unemployment Reaches Record Levels [09/01/10] "The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has issued a report documenting the severe impact of the global economic crisis on employment prospects for the world's youth. The report, "Global Employment Trends for Youth", presents detailed statistics on the growing number of 15-to-24-year-olds who find themselves out of work. The most striking findings are those showing the rapid rise of youth unemployment from the eruption of the financial crisis in 2008 onwards. At the end of 2009, according to the report's introduction, global youth unemployment stood at 81 million. This was an increase of 7.8 million, or nearly 10 percent, from the end of 2007. In percentage terms, global youth unemployment rose from 11.9 percent to 13 percent during this period, an increase described as "sharper than ever before". [...]"  Related:  USA: Unemployment Rate for 16 to 24 Year Olds Pushing 50%   "The share of young people aged 16 to 24 who were employed this summer fell to 48.9 percent -- the lowest rate on record since 1948. Meanwhile, the raw number of youth who held jobs in July 2010 actually rose by 1.8 million from July 2009 to 18.6 million... [...]"  

Summer movie receipts lag behind 2009 [09/01/10] "With the summer movie season officially ending Labor Day, overall receipts in U.S. box offices lagged behind the same period last year, a review indicated. [...]"  Note:  The 'movie' of peoples lives has become more important.

People happiest/saddest from relationships [09/01/10] "Individual achievements like schooling or career may take most of one's effort but our best and worst experiences involve others, U.S. researchers say. [...]"    

U.S. Auto Sales May Hit 28-Year Low as Discounts Flop [09/01/10] "U.S. auto sales in August probably were the slowest for the month in 28 years as model-year closeout deals failed to entice consumers concerned the economy is worsening and they may lose their jobs.  [...]"   

Germany Bans Cultivation of GM Corn [09/01/10] "Germany has banned the cultivation of GM corn, claiming that MON 810 is dangerous for the environment. But that argument might not stand up in court and Berlin could face fines totalling millions of euros if American multinational Monsanto decides to challenge the prohibition on its seed. The sowing season may be just around the corner, but this year German farmers will not be planting gentically modified crops: German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner announced Tuesday she was banning the cultivation of GM corn in Germany. [...]"     

Davidowitz Says `Worst to Come' for U.S. Retail Sales [09/01/10] "Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., talks with Bloomberg's Mark Crumpton about the outlook for U.S. retail sales. Davidowitz also discusses discount and luxury retailers, and speculation that Saks Inc. may receive a takeover offer from a private-equity group.  [...]" 

Border Sweeps in North Reach Miles Into U.S. [08/31/10] "The Lake Shore Limited runs between Chicago and New York City without crossing the Canadian border. But when it stops at Amtrak stations in western New York State, armed Border Patrol agents routinely board the train, question passengers about their citizenship and take away noncitizens... [...]"  Related: US arrests 370 immigrants in Midwest raids 

California Senate rejects open-carry gun ban [08/31/10] "The California Senate rejected a bill Monday that would have made it illegal to carry unloaded guns in public, but lawmakers will give the vote one more try.  Monday's 20-16 vote fell one short of the majority needed, but the Senate will reconsider the measure Tuesday. The bill, AB1934, was introduced after a series of demonstrations by gun-rights organizations during which they encouraged participants to openly carry unloaded weapons. California law lets gun owners carry a rifle or handgun in a holster if it is not loaded. The legislation would make it a misdemeanor to openly carry a handgun in any public place. Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of Concord, who carried the bill in the Senate, said people often call police when they see weapons in public, not knowing whether they are loaded. [...]"   

Homelessness Up 50% in New York City [08/31/10] "If you think you've been seeing more people sleep on city streets, statistics back up the perception. The homeless population living on New York City streets has gone up 50 percent in the past year, according to city statistics. The New York City Department of Homeless Services conducts a yearly survey of the streets of the city to count the number of homeless who are not in shelters. The HOPE survey was conducted in January 2010. The number of homeless in the borough of Manhattan was up 47 percent in the past year, according to the count. The 2010 count had 1,145 people living in the streets. That is up 368 from 2009. Brooklyn had the biggest increase of any borough. It saw a homeless increase of more than 100 percent in 2010. [...]"  

TrendsCash-Poor Governments Ditching Public Hospitals [08/31/10] "Faced with mounting debt and looming costs from the new federal health-care law, many local governments are leaving the hospital business, shedding public facilities that can be the caregiver of last resort. [...]" 

 Trends: UK: College graduates warned of record "70 applicants for every job" [08/30/10] "The class of 2010 have been told to consider flipping burgers or stacking shelves when they leave university as leading firms in investment banking, law and IT are due to cut graduate jobs this year. [...]"  

Record number in government anti-poverty programs [08/30/10] "Government anti-poverty programs that have grown to meet the needs of recession victims now serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand.  More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, the federal-state program aimed principally at the poor, a survey of state data by USA TODAY shows. That's up at least 17% since the recession began in December 2007. "Virtually every Medicaid director in the country would say that their current enrollment is the highest on record," says Vernon Smith of Health Management Associates, which surveys states for Kaiser Family Foundation. The program has grown even before the new health care law adds about 16 million people, beginning in 2014. That has strained doctors. "Private physicians are already indicating that they're at their limit," says Dan Hawkins of the National Association of Community Health Centers. [...]"    

Colorado Cops To Use Biometric Iris Scanners [08/30/10] [2:32]  "Colorado Police are now using Biometric Iris Scanners. As the police state continues to evolve, we will see biometric Iris Scanners in EVERY state, monitoring our every move. [...]"  

Commentary: "If You Think Your State is Broke Now, Just Wait Until The Public-Sector Pension Bomb Detonates" [08/30/10] "Unless you've been pulling a Rip Van Winkle for the past few years, you know that your state is more busted than Larry Craig in an airport toilet. The only possible exception is the state of Denial, and it closed its borders to new arrivals sometime in late 2008.  One of the main drivers of this sorry state of affairs is the massive disparity between public-sector and private-sector compensation, especially when it comes to benefits such as pensions. Various studies have found anywhere between a 70 percent and a 34 percent differential in total compensation, with public-sector employees getting not just more pay and benefits but near-absolute job security and early retirement. Consider California: [...]"  

Education secretary: 'Schools have been lying to students' [08/29/10] "School systems across the country have been misleading students and parents into thinking they are ready for college, the Secretary of Education said Sunday. Arne Duncan told ABC's Christiane Amanpour that the Obama administration's Race to the Top program had reversed the trend of schools lowering standards.  [...]"  NoteThat's beside the point ... students are also being misled that 'college will help them succeed in life'. That's a 1946-1970 social pattern which dropped off and was no longer valid years ago. 

 Cities slap fees on storm runoff [08/29/10] "New environmental regulations are prompting cities to impose fees on property owners for the cost of managing storm water runoff, the leading cause of water pollution in most of the nation.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started issuing a series of limits on storm water pollution that will require local governments to spend large amounts of money on water quality and soon start slowly reshaping America's roads, housing developments and even the traditional lawn. The EPA for the first time is placing specific limits on how much storm water pollution can flow into the nation's streams, rivers, lakes and bays. Federal courts have ruled that the Clean Water Act requires more stringent regulations. [...]" 

U.S. schools grooming students for the surveillance state [08/29/10] "he increasing use of student surveillance and intrusion of school districts into students’ extra-curricular conduct should alarm us all. Whether it is a district surveilling students in their bedrooms via webcam, conducting random drug or locker searches, strip-searching students, lowering the standard for searching students to “reasonable suspicion” from “probable cause,” disciplining students for conduct outside of school hours, searching their cellphones and text messages, or allegedly forcing them to undergo pregnancy testing, student privacy is under increasing threat.  The other day I mentioned a Connecticut school district that wanted to require students to carry an ID card with an RFID chip so that they could track their location. The surveillance capability included locating the student if they were off school premises and in town. Today, I came across another news story from earlier this month that also involves tracking students. KTVU in California reported that the Contra Costa County School District began introducing a tracking system for preschool students that would alert staff when a student leaves school premises. In order to accomplish that, students will reportedly be required to wear a jersey that contains the RFID tag that uses Wi-Fi to send signals to sensors located throughout the school. [...]  Related:  California students get tracking devices [08/29/10] "California officials are outfitting preschoolers in Contra Costa County with tracking devices they say will save staff time and money. The system was introduced Tuesday. When at the school, students will wear a jersey that has a small radio frequency tag. The tag will send signals to sensors that help track children's whereabouts, attendance and even whether they've eaten or not. [...]"   

China's Looming Real-Estate Bubble [08/28/10] "Despite the global downturn, China's economic growth rate remains above 10 percent. But there is mounting evidence that Beijing has misallocated vast amounts of capital, touching off a real-estate crisis that could yet drag the world's second-largest economy down to earth. [...]  The problem is that government money is going to build homes not for occupancy but for ownership. Speculation, if you will. Andy Xie, a Shanghai-based economist formerly with Morgan Stanley, believes almost 25 percent to 30 percent of private commercial and housing stock in China is vacant. Entire cities, such as Ordos in inner-Mongolia, erected literally from scratch, stand empty. "Chinese treat homes like gold bars buying multiple units as a store of value," notes Chovanec. Chinese avoid the stock market because it is still volatile and risky, and banks and bonds offer a low yield. Hence, Chinese are content to buy homes and let them sit because, thanks to the absence of property taxes, holding costs are negligible. Having never experienced a housing slump since China privatized its housing market in the 1990s, they believe that home prices only rise. This can't last, but backers of China's stimulus believe there won't be any serious economic downside when the bubble bursts. Homeowners won't be thrown on the street because Chinese buy their first homes outright through their savings—not loans.  [...] "   

UKThe Moneyless Man: One Man's Experiment in Living Without Money [08/28/10] "For most of us it seems that money makes the world go round. But not for Mark Boyle, who has turned his life into a radical experiment and pledged to live without cash, credit cards, loans or any other form of finance. The British economics graduate was inspired by Gandhi's call to be the change you want to see in the world. After six years working as the manager of an organic food company in Bristol, UK, he decided to strike out in a bold new direction. "I was sitting around with a friend one night in 2007 discussing the world's problems, and we were trying to work out which one to dedicate our lives to helping solve," he told CNN. "Then it hit me, at the root of it all was money, which creates a kind of disconnection between us and our actions, whether that's through sweatshops, industrial agriculture, or war, and so I decided to see if it was possible to do without." Mark sold his houseboat and set about preparing himself for his new life. He posted an advert on Freecycle asking for a tent, a yurt, a caravan or any other type of shelter and was immediately rewarded by his first taste of human kindness. [...]" 

Commentary: America's Mental Illness Epidemic: It Turns Out That the Drugs Are the Problem [08/28/10] "Tens of millions of innocent, unsuspecting Americans, who are mired deeply in the mental "health" system, have actually been made crazy by the use of or the withdrawal from commonly-prescribed, brain-altering, brain-disabling, indeed brain-damaging psychiatric drugs that have been, for many decades, cavalierly handed out like candy -- often in untested and therefore unapproved combinations of drugs -- to trusting and unaware patients by equally unaware but well-intentioned physicians who have been under the mesmerizing influence of slick and obscenely profitable psychopharmaceutical drug companies, a.k.a. BigPharma. That is the conclusion of two books by investigative journalist and health science writer Robert Whitaker. His first book, entitled Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill noted that there has been a 600 percent increase (since Thorazine was introduced in the US in the mid-1950s) in the total and permanent disabilities of millions of psychiatric drug-takers. This uniquely First World mental ill health epidemic has resulted in the life-long taxpayer-supported disabilities of rapidly increasing numbers of psychiatric patients who are now unable to be happy, productive, taxpaying members of society. Whitaker has done a powerful, albeit unwelcome job of presenting previously hidden, but very convincing evidence to support his thesis, that it is the drugs and not the diagnosis that is causing the epidemic of mental illness disability.  [...]"  

Supporters of LaRouche, Critics of Obama, assaulted and arrested by police at Alaska State Fair [08/28/10] "This first day of the 2010 Alaska State Fair starts with sunny skies and a brutal assault by security personnel on a LaRouche supporter.  At about 5pm Alaska Time, Thursday, August 26, 2010, security personnel approach Sidney Hill, a lone man peacefully displaying an impeach Obama sign near Pioneer Plaza on the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer. Minutes later, a crowd assembles, additional security forces arrive, and they physically assault the man holding the sign. He’s taken to the ground with force and detained. An unidentified Alaska State Trooper arrives to physically disperse the crowd, and at several points during the conflict, crowd members yell in support of the demonstrator’s right to speak his message. The demonstrator’s personal firearm is confiscated by fair security, and he is held captive until Palmer police arrive to escort the man away in cuffs. Sidney Hill was in jail awaiting a pre-trial at 1:00 pm on August 27, 2010 at the Palmer Courthouse. He has been charged with Assault 4-Cause Fear Of Injury, Disorderly Conduct-Challenge To Fight, and Criminal Trespass 2- Upon Premises. However, according to the Valley Frontiersman newspaper, “Assistant District Attorney Trina Sears said her office decided not to prosecute Hill on the assault charge [...]"  NoteVideo clips and links to other related stories are included.

"Social-media use nearly doubles among people 50 and over" [08/28/10] "The phenomenal growth of Facebook, Twitter and other social sites has come in part because of a surge in adoption by older members, with a national poll released Friday saying that the share of Americans over 50 using social networks nearly doubled in the last year. [...]"  NoteIn a larger sense, More hapless naive people preparing their own dossiers in an environment set forth by corporations and others .... because of abject loneliness and bitter disappointment that the 'social reality' presented as 'valid and viable' to the culture turned out to be exactly the opposite. Without the larger context of existence ... they are not left with much.

Why nobody wants to buy a house [08/28/10] "... Nobody wants to buy a house because in order to buy a house you have to have some bit of confidence in the future. And today there isn't much confidence in anything that has to do with the economy ... the only thing that will turn this mess around is jobs. Until this economy can put people back to work -- and put them back to work gainfully, full-time, using their skills and not merely temping in some capacity way beneath their experience -- it won't be able to instill any confidence that buying a house is a good idea. [...]"    

'Television: Unplug the Signal - The Truth Will Not be Televised" [08/27/10] "A flow of information is constantly streaming from the television set; a bombardment of words and pictures. The speed at which this information is communicated makes it easy for the signal to take control, switching the viewer's brain to stand-by as information is absorbed without analysis or question. Today the television's constant signal shapes the conclusions of the masses and produces the collective norm. The signal prescribes what is news and what is truth through the words of so-called experts and authorities, gelding the consciousness and independent thoughts of those subjected to it. Through television, the masses can be made to accept the most monstrous distortions of reality. The signal is a chill wind of continuous oppression over the minds of the masses. It controls the management of society and culture, creating uniformity across all subjects.  The fuel for this vehicle of mass deception is a technique known as perception management where an array of psychological techniques are used to alter the truth, leading the viewer to a desired conclusion. Some call this spin or propaganda while others know it as lying. According to Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minister for Adolph Hitler, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it... It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." Most of what can be found on the nightly news is nothing but advertisements selling more government and a false reality that benefits only those in control. Television is the dictator of information; newspaper and radio are the whisper campaign of the television's message. It is expected that Americans will consistently prescribe to the doctrine of the television. It is subtly communicated that one should stay within the collective and never challenge the message, for doing so may be considered an aggression towards culture. The message is, "Be a good consumer; always obey authority; you know nothing; listen only to experts; be content and never question or express new ideas." This signal is being broadcast across millions of screens, indoctrinating the unconscious minds of those who choose this as their only reality. Self-censorship occurs when these individuals become so deeply indoctrinated that they are afraid to discuss any information outside the paradigm of television-created culture; they police their thoughts to ensure they won't conflict with this culture. Sadly, many people's reality today does not allow any outside information to process, instead it is written off as conspiracy or blatant lies. Our consciousness has been destroyed so much that fiction has become reality. An entire lifestyle of poisonous foods, pharmaceuticals, and fluoridated water are accepted as safe and sold to us at the cost of our health and well being. Those of the establishment are using the incredibly powerful weapon of mass psychology as a method of controlling the minds of the masses and altering the behavior of individuals. Edward Bernays,[...]"  Video clip  [2:57] 

Congressman Takes On Invasive Vans That Peer Into Homes [08/27/10] "Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz is speaking out against vans that carry scanning technology inside them that allows people to see through the walls of cars, trucks, and even into homes.  “These vans essentially can look through the walls of your home, look through the walls of a vehicle or a container and they can tell what’s inside. They can see through people’s clothes and give you some great detail about people’s bodies, much like they do at the airport. That’s pretty scary,” Chaffetz tells KSL Newsradio. Chaffetz says there are a few legitimate uses for the vans during a hostage situation or on the border to inspect trucks coming into the country, but he says other uses of the technology are an invasion of privacy that must be limited. “To think that a van can drive down the street and literally look through the walls of a home and see who is inside and what they are doing. It was cute and funny when we thought about it in the context of Superman but when you realize they have already sold 500 of these vans, I’ve got real concerns about how and where we are using these,” says Chaffetz. The congressman says he’s already working on legislation aimed at limiting what circumstances these Z Backscatter Vans, or ZBV’s as they are called, could be used for. [...]"   Related: Trends: Full-Body Scan Technology Deployed In Street-Roving Vans   "As the privacy controversy around full-body security scans begins to simmer, it’s worth noting that courthouses and airport security checkpoints aren’t the only places where backscatter x-ray vision is being deployed. The same technology, capable of seeing through clothes and walls, has also been rolling out on U.S. streets. [...]"   Video clip  [2:52] 

TrendsPublic Protests Expand as GMOs and Biotech Wreak Havoc on Food Supply [08/27/10] "In the U.S., people spend proportionately the least amount of their earnings on food. However, the incidence of food-borne disease (FBD) there is the highest in the world. The closest example of another country in this regard is its northern neighbour and largest trading partner – Canada. The main source of food borne disease during the last 50 years traces to the misuse and abuse of the following five materials in food production: hormones, antibiotics, rendered slaughterhouse wastes, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and pesticides. The first three of these materials are banned in food production throughout the European Union. Yet the American and Canadian regulatory authorities insist that these substances pose no “significant” risk to public health. EU countries have also not approved GMO crops, and some Scandinavian members are undertaking to ban agricultural pesticides. The greatest threat to the security and sovereignty of any nation stems from the ongoing imposition of GMOs with their false claims of raising more abundant and nutritious food. The worst case in this instance is Iraq, where wheat was first cultivated 14,000 years ago. Modern farmers in Iraq are no longer permitted to save any wheat seeds for next year’s sowing – except for the American GMO variety. Similar bans which favour only the GMO seeds are underway in other countries, including India. This applies to Indian crops such as Bt-cotton and Bt-Brinjal (eggplant, one of India’s most important vegetables), without the necessary regulatory assessment of their harmful effects on public health. [...]"   

"10 Practical Steps To Ease The Effect Of The Coming Economic Collapse" [08/27/10] " ....So what can we each individually do to somewhat insulate ourselves from the economic problems that are coming? [...]"  Note: Some of these assume that functional social mechanisms that are now used to modify your situation are still in place, and that the general dynamic is more laid back. Probably not all good assumptions.

As Inmate Sexual Abuse Continues, Feds Stall On New Rules [08/27/10] "Inmates continue to experience sexual victimization in shocking numbers inside America's prisons and jails, even as Attorney General Eric Holder defies a congressional deadline to develop and enact national standards to address the problem. A new study released Thursday by the Department o

SPLC Propaganda: "Anti-Latino Hate Crimes Seen From Baltimore to Arizona" [08/27/10] "These incidents and others appear to be part of a general trend that has been in the making for several years. Anti-Latino crimes increased in each of the four years from 2003 through 2007, before dropping back slightly in 2008, according to FBI national hate crime statistics (2009 figures have not yet been compiled). In recent months, politicians and others have made statements that demonize Latinos and likely contribute to the atmosphere of violence. Two of the most outrageous recent examples: Texas Republican Congressmen Louie Gohmert and Debbie Riddle both claimed that pregnant terrorists plan to sneak into America to give birth to future terrorists who will automatically become U.S. citizens and eventually “help destroy our way of life,” as Gohmert put it. Both representatives claimed that former FBI officials divulged the terrorist baby threat to them. CNN asked Tom Fuentes, who served as the FBI’s assistant director in the office of international operations from 2004 to 2008 about the claims by Gohmert and Riddle. “There was never a credible report — or any report, for that matter … to indicate that there was such a plan for these terror babies to be born,” he said. [...]"  Note:  Louie Gohmert and Debbie Riddle are both idiots and control freaks, and so is the "Southern Poverty Law Center", who OPENLY specializes in using hate, used to socially terrorize and divide US society by the administration.

"Top 7 Insane Homeowners Association Rules" [08/26/10] "The astonishingly restrictive ways of homeowners associations (HOAs) came under scrutiny this month when a Sussex Square, Virginia, HOA demanded that a 90-year-old World War II vet remove an unapproved flag pole from his front yard. After receiving support from members of Congress, and even the Obama administration, Medal of Honor recipient Van T. Barfoot, who once single-handedly took on three Nazi tanks, triumphed in his quest to fly Old Glory. Other homeowners haven't been as lucky in their battles against their own HOAs' "fascist" rules. Here are seven of the most controversial commandments: [...]"  NoteMore ways for people to give up their lives to the whims of control freaks, in order to get some 'benefit' as defined by the same control freaks.

Trends: Faced With Backlog, Feds Dismiss Deportation Cases Against Non-Criminal Immigrants [08/26/10] "About a month ago, Homeland Security began reviewing and moving to dismiss deportation cases against suspected illegal immigrants without serious criminal records, [...]"  

 TrendsBudget cuts force police to curtail calls for lesser crimes  [08/25/10] "Budget cuts are forcing police around the country to stop responding to fraud, burglary and theft calls as officers focus limited resources on violent crime.  Cutbacks in such places as Oakland, Tulsa and Norton, Mass., have forced police to tell residents to file their own reports — online or in writing — for break-ins and other lesser crimes.  "If you come home to find your house burglarized and you call, we're not coming,'' said Oakland Police spokeswoman Holly Joshi. The city laid off 80 officers from its force of 687 last month, and the department can't respond to burglary, vandalism or identity theft. "It's amazing. It's a big change for us.''  Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation's largest police union, said cutbacks are preventing many police agencies from responding to property crimes. "The chiefs are putting the best face on this they can," Pasco said. "But think of this: That next property crime could involve a junkie who killed someone the night before." In Tulsa, which lost 110 officers to layoffs and retirements, the 739-officer department isn't sending cops to the scenes of larceny, fraud or car theft.  Tulsa police spokesman Jason Willingham says some residents have said they won't bother to report those crimes anymore. "They think nothing is going to be done, so why mess with it," he said.  In the Boston suburb of Norton, police told residents there may be delays or no response at all to some calls, including vandalism. The department posted the new policy on its website.  "We wanted to let people know about this," Norton Police Chief Brian Clark said. "We didn't want people to be surprised."  Bernard Melekian, director of the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, said the actions are a reflection of the hard economic times across the country. [...]"   

Uranium detected in New Mexico water wells [08/25/10] "Water wells in several New Mexico communities show uranium levels three to six times higher than federal recommended levels for drinking water, officials said. [...]"   

Motor vehicle crashes cost $99B a year [08/25/10] "Every 10 seconds, someone is treated in a U.S. hospital for a vehicle crash injury and 40,000 die each year from these injuries, health officials say. [...]"   

AfricaFloods compound Niger's food crisis [08/25/10] "Recent floods have brought a fresh round of problems for Niger, a country already struggling to grown crops because of severe drought. [...]"  

Trends: The Renting Alternative Will Undermine The Housing Market For Years [08/25/10] "here is a far-reaching change occurring now which threatens housing markets around the country. A survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the National Apartment Association in May 2010 found that 76% of those surveyed now believe that renting is a better option than buying in the current real estate market, up from 71% in 2008. Especially sobering was the fact that 78% of those surveyed were homeowners. [...]"    

Lawyers 'Mad at Law Schools' Over Lack of Jobs [08/24/10] "As with most other professions, recent law school grads have met with a harsh employment market ... and some of them are mad at law schools for "misrepresenting" the wealth-producing, exciting, and glamorous careers they were expecting and don't have.  [...]"  Note  (Students Forgot To Check Job Market Before Becoming Lawyers) So, they psychologically project responsibility onto the law school, instead of admitting they were dumb and short-sighted, and have no 'future' at all.

Germany to roll out ID cards with embedded RFID [08/24/10] "The production of the RFID chips, an integral element of the new generation of German identity cards, has started after the government gave a 10 year contract to the chipmaker NXP in the Netherlands. Citizens will receive the mandatory new ID cards from the first of November. The new ID card will contain all personal data on the security chip that can be accessed over a wireless connection. The new card allows German authorities to identify people with speed and accuracy, the government said. These authorities include the police, customs and tax authorities and of course the local registration and passport granting authorities. German companies like Infineon and the Dutch NXP, which operates a large scale development and manufacturing base in Hamburg, Germany are global leaders in making RFID security chips. The new electronic ID card, which will gradually replace the old mandatory German ID cards, is one of the largest scale roll-outs of RFID cards with extended official and identification functionality.  [...]"  

Food Alert: Nationwide meat recall announced [08/24/10] "Zemco Industries in Buffalo, New York, has recalled approximately 380,000 pounds of deli meat that may be contaminated with bacteria that can cause a potentially fatal disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday. The products were distributed to Wal-Marts nationwide, according to the USDA's website. The meats may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, which was discovered in a retail sample collected by inspectors in Georgia. The USDA has received no reports of illnesses associated with the meats. "Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease," according to the USDA. "Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. However, listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea.  [...]"   

NY Gov Candidate: "Turn Prisons into Welfare Dorms" [08/24/10] "Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they could work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in “personal hygiene.” Republican candidate for New York governor Carl Paladino visits the Altamont Fair in Altamont, N.Y., on Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. Paladino greeted fairgoers during a one-hour visit. Paladino, a wealthy Buffalo real estate developer popular with many tea party activists, isn’t saying the state should jail poor people: The program would be voluntary. But the suggestion that poor families would be better off in remote institutions, rather than among friends and family in their own neighborhoods, struck some anti-poverty activists as insulting. [...]"   

TrendsU.S. Middle Class Vanishing [08/24/10] "The American middle class is on the verge of disappearing, while the United States, itself, is in danger of becoming a third world country, a leading German newspaper says.  According to an article appearing in the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, the negative consequences of the global financial crisis include a widened social class rift and the elimination of the middle class in the US.  The article states that many Americans are beginning to realize that the American Dream has now become a nightmare as people are having to face the bitter reality of a shrinking job market along with decades of stagnating wages and dramatic increases in inequality. More than a year after the official end of the recession, the overall unemployment rate remains consistently above 9.5 percent. But this is just the official figure. When adjusted to include the people who have already given up looking for work -- or are barely surviving on the few hundred dollars they earn with a part-time job and having to use their savings to supplement their income -- the real unemployment figure jumps to more than 17 percent. In its current annual report, the US Department of Agriculture notes that "food insecurity" is on the rise, and that 50 million Americans were unable to buy enough food to remain healthy at some point last year. One out of every eight American adults and one out of four children now survive on government food stamps. These are unbelievable numbers for the world's richest nation Last week, leading online columnist Arianna Huffington issued the almost apocalyptic warning that “America is in danger of becoming a Third World country.” [...]"  

TrendsThe Next Global Crisis: Hungry Millions On The Move [08/24/10] "Floods in Pakistan, droughts in Russia, rising grain prices. According to award-winning Australian science writer Julian Cribb, these are warning signs of an impending disaster that will dwarf the financial crisis. In his new book "The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do To Avoid It", he warns that looming scarcities of water, land, nutrients, oil and fish will leave us unable to feed ourselves within 50 years. [...]"  Note:  I suspect we'll be out of here way before it gets too bad in this way. 

UKPay day loans in Britain increase by 400 percent [08/24/10] "A report by the Consumer Focus watchdog group states that the number of people using costly “pay day loans” has quadrupled in the last four years in Britain.  [...]"    

InterviewPublic School: Turning Children Over to Strangers and State-Controlled Awareness  John Taylor Gatto [08/24/10] Video [34:08] "John Taylor Gatto is an American retired school teacher of 29 years 8 months and author of several books on education. He is an activist critical of compulsory schooling and the hegemonic nature of discourse on education and the education professions. He is a learned eloquent critic of the present school system all over the world. In this interview he exposes the hidden agenda that makes most of us hate school. I have written a book, "Sluta skolan!", on my own experiences and views and I have come to the same conclusions as Mr Gatto has. He exposes the dark and terrifying machinery behind the scenes.[...]"  [2003]       Turn down volume before viewing 

Lyme disease spreading in Massachusetts [08/24/10] "Tick-borne Lyme disease is being reported in areas of Massachusetts where cases were considered rare 10 years ago, health officials said. [...]"  

NV: Poverty Causing 5 Suicides A Week In Just One Town [08/24/10] "Hansen also said there are 50 delivered eviction notices in Pahrump each day. “Yes, we need jobs here. However, we are averaging five suicides a week. I don’t care about corporations — I care about the people we save.” [...]"  Note:  When the system turns on the people, some people won't turn on the system, but 'sacrifice' themselves to preserve it.

Man Mistaken for Muslim Harassed at NY Anti-Mosque Rally [08/24/10] [4:58]  "A man walks through the crowd at the Ground Zero protest and is mistaken as a Muslim. The crowd turns on him and confronts him. The man in the blue hard hat calls him a coward and tries to fight him. The tall man who I think was one of the organizers tried to get between the two men. Later I caught up with the man who's name is Kenny. He is a Union carpenter who works at Ground Zero. We discussed what a scary moment that was for him. I told him that I hoped it did not ruin his day. [...]"  Note "What a sad joke humanity can be, believing a reality based on lies for gullible morons. Just wait and see what a collapse of the dollar or increased unemployment will do to this bonehead mob. "    Turn down the volume before viewing

"Huge wall WILL protect New Orleans" (But they'll allow the city to be devastated, again, this year) [08/24/10] "The city of New Orleans is well on its way to getting the protection system that Congress ordered after Hurricane Katrina, engineers say. [...]"  Note: $15 billion project is a boon for contractors. It's slated to be complete by next year's storm season in July-Aug 2011. Another too-little-too-late, poorly planned project.

Housing Fades as a Means to Build Wealth, Analysts Say [08/24/10] "Housing will eventually recover from its great swoon. But many real estate experts now believe that home ownership will never again yield rewards like those enjoyed in the second half of the 20th century, when houses not only provided shelter but also a plump nest egg. The wealth generated by housing in those decades, particularly on the coasts, did more than assure the owners a comfortable retirement. It powered the economy, paying for the education of children and grandchildren, keeping the cruise ships and golf courses full and the restaurants humming. More than likely, that era is gone for good. “There is no iron law that real estate must appreciate,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist for the real estate site Zillow. “All those theories advanced during the boom about why housing is special — that more people are choosing to spend more on housing, that more people are moving to the coasts, that we were running out of usable land — didn’t hold up.”  [...]"  Note At least for the "home owner", another sly concept.

Food Alert: A ‘habitual offender’ unleashes nearly half a billion salmonella-tainted eggs [08/24/10] "The Occupational Safety and Health Administration last month fined Mr. DeCoster $3.6 million for violations in the workplace and at workers' housing. Federal investigators said they found workers, many of whom are immigrants from Latin America, handling manure and dead chickens with their bare hands, and living amid rats and cockroaches in the company's trailer park. Robert B. Reich, the then-Labor Secretary, denounced DeCoster Egg Farms as "an agricultural sweatshop,'' where "the workers are treated like animals," the Times reported. DeCoster's reputation hasn't improved since. By the mid-'90s, Decoster had already set up shop in Iowa. He opened Wright County Eggs in 1996, and also jumped into the state's then fast-growing hog-production market. His vast hog factories in Iowa quickly ran afoul of authorities. In 1999, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled against DeCoster Farms in its appeal of a $59,000 fine for "variety of water pollution and animal waste control violations at six separate hog facilities in Wright, Hamilton, and Hardin counties in north central Iowa." The complaint had originated in 1996, and DeCoster had dragged out the process with a series of appeals. By 2000, he was back in trouble again. The Iowa Attorney General declared him the state's very first "habitual offender" of water-quality laws, slapping him with a $150,000 fine. [...]"  Related: FDA commissioner says agency "needs more authority" NoteWe saw that coming ... FDA uses massive egg recall to push for egg pasteurization "Amid the massive egg recall currently underway over potential salmonella poisoning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working hard to push its pasteurization agenda. The agency recently made an announcement recommending that all grocery stores and restaurants begin stocking pasteurized eggs instead of raw ones. In typical FDA fashion, the agency has decided to ignore the actual cause of illness and contamination -- filthy, industrialized food production systems -- and instead call for all eggs to be cooked before being sold to consumers.  Other recent outbreak scares include both spinach and tomato recalls, after which the FDA made similar recommendations urging produce irradiation as the solution. But this philosophy fails to address the real problem with the current food system. [...]"  228 Million Eggs Recalled Following Salmonella Outbreak "An Iowa egg producer is recalling 228 million eggs after being linked to an outbreak of salmonella poisoning. .... The eggs were distributed around the country and packaged under the names Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph's, Boomsma's, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemp. [...]"   

California May Jail Parents if Children Miss Too Much School [08/23/10] "Talk about parental responsibility. The California Senate just passed a bill that could send parents to jail for up to a year if their kids -- from kindergarten through eighth grade -- miss too much school. Senate Bill 1317 is actually a public safety measure, according to State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), because children who don’t attend school regularly or drop out early are more likely to turn to crime. "Three-quarters of our state inmate population are high school dropouts," Leno was quoted as saying by the Fresno Bee. According to the Associated Press, parents whose kids miss too much school could be subject to up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine, though judges could put the punishment on hold to give parents a chance to get their kids to class. The Fresno Bee reported that the bill would apply to parents or guardians of children age 6 or older in kindergarten through eighth grade.  [...]"  

Raytheon’s Directed Energy Pain Weapon Mounted from Ceiling in California Prison [08/23/10] "A high-tech ray gun built for the military that fires an invisible heat beam capable of causing unbearable pain will be tested on unruly inmates in the sheriff's detention facility in Castaic, officials said Friday at an unveiling event. The "Assault Intervention System" (AIS) developed by the Raytheon Co., could give the Sheriff's Department "another tool" to quell disturbances at a 65-inmate dormitory at the Pitchess Detention Center's North County Correctional Facility, said Cmdr. Bob Osborne, head of the technology exploration branch of the sheriff's Department of Homeland Security Division. The 600-pound, 7-foot-tall device won't replace traditional methods such as tear gas, rubber bullets and batons, Osborne said. "We're looking to see if we can exploit this science for the benefit of the Corrections Department," he said. AIS fires a directed beam of invisible "millimeter waves" that cause an unbearable burning sensation by penetrating 1/64 of an inch into the skin, where pain receptors are located, said Mike Booen, Raytheon's vice president of advanced security and directed energy systems. The beam, which is about the diameter of a compact disc, causes an instant and intolerable burning sensation when it touches skin, but the sensation stops instantly when the device is turned off or the target moves out of the beam.  Video clip  [0:27] Democracy Now clip [...]"  Related: Documentary: Torture Inc. America's Brutal Prisons  [10:01]  "Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted With Cattle Prods, Burned By Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq? They are just some of the victims of wholesale torture taking place inside the U.S. prison system that we uncovered during a four-month investigation for the UK's Channel 4 originally aired in 2005.  [...]"  Note:  Part 2 [10:02]| Part 3 [10:00]| Part 4 [10:00]| Part 5 [10:00]   These devices doesn't need to be 'tested' on anyone ... it was 'tested' by military contractors who created them ... that's just a 'linguistic segue' to the use of these devices to harass people without getting close to them.  

CA: Fingerprint check-in tried at 24 Hour Fitness [08/23/10] "...Corporate America has taken notice, as have privacy advocates, who say consumers ought to tread cautiously into a largely unregulated field. [...]"   

Isotope shortage evokes medical concerns [08/23/10] "U.S. doctors say they are concerned about a shortage of imported radioactive material used to diagnose heart conditions and other problems. [...]"   Related: TrendsHospitals Grapple With Drug Shortages [08/19/10] "Hospitals in Indianapolis and across the country are dealing with critical shortages of key medications. The Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortage list includes 41 hospital-based medications, including dextrose 50 percent injections, used to raised a patient’s blood sugar; calcium chloride, used in code blue emergencies; and epinephrine, a common medication used to treat allergic reactions…… “It seems like every other month you see another drug shortage and supply running out,” said clinical pharmacist Bob Adler. “It’s interesting and kind of challenging for health care workers.” [...]"  Note: Is the government buying up all the main medical supplies? 

KS: How to Prolong a Recession: Tax Driveways [08/23/10] "Last night, the city of Mission passed a new tax on driveways. Yes, driveways. Home owners will pay $72 each year for having a driveway. [...]"  Note: Well, an after-the-fact tax like this is uncalled for, and will not fly if challenged. 

Soaring Teen Unemployment Could Have Lifetime Effects [08/23/10] "Thanks to dismal employment prospects and modern stress, teenagers today have reason to angst. [...]"  

US: 2011 Tax Increases – A Summary – [08/23/10] "In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2011: [...]"   Related:  McConnell: "Extend Bush-era tax cuts" 

UK "No Evidence Needed" -- Surge in Britons exported for trial [08/23/10] "In total 1,032 people – almost three a day – were detained and extradited by British police on the orders of European prosecutors in the 12 months to April, up from 683 in 2008-09. The Home Office expects a further 70 per cent rise, to 1,700 cases, next year. The increase will fuel growing political concern about the "unfair" and "disproportionate" nature of the warrants, which British courts have little power to challenge. It comes as the case of Christopher Tappin, a suburban golf club captain accused of arms smuggling, sparked separate controversy about "unbalanced" extradition arrangements with the US. David Blunkett, the former home secretary who introduced the European warrants, admitted he had been "insufficiently sensitive" about how they could be "overused". David Davis, his former Tory shadow, last night called for a "review and reform" of the extradition system. The number of European Arrest Warrant detentions in Britain has risen 43-fold since 2004, when there were only 24 across the year. Many of those detained are accused of relatively minor crimes such as possessing cannabis or leaving petrol stations without paying. They can spend long periods in jail – here and abroad – for crimes which might not even have been prosecuted in Britain. They can also be seized for offences which are not crimes in Britain. Foreign prosecutors do not have to present evidence to the British courts, just demand the person be "surrendered". [...]"  

 Trends401(k) Hardship Withdrawals Spike [08/22/10] "Hardship withdrawals from 401(k) retirement saving plans rose to the highest level in 10 years during the second quarter, Fidelity Investments said on Friday, in the latest sign of a dismal economy. [...]" 

Philadelphia Begins Charging Blogs $300 Per Year [08/22/10] "For the past three years, Marilyn Bess has operated MS Philly Organic, a small, low-traffic blog that features occasional posts about green living, out of her Manayunk home. Between her blog and infrequent contributions to ehow.com, over the last few years she says she’s made about $50. To Bess, her website is a hobby. To the city of Philadelphia, it’s a potential moneymaker, and the city wants its cut.  In May, the city sent Bess a letter demanding that she pay $300, the price of a business privilege license. “The real kick in the pants is that I don’t even have a full-time job, so for the city to tell me to pony up $300 for a business privilege license, pay wage tax, business privilege tax, net profits tax on a handful of money is outrageous,” Bess says. [...]"  Note: The extortion story of the day. It's time a class action suit got into motion to quash this concept ... people will simply move out of Philadelphia ... taxing free speech is abhorrent.

Young Afghan couple stoned to death [08/22/10] "Two young people who eloped against their families' wishes were stoned to death in Afghanistan by hundreds of men, relatives said. [...]"  Note: To be killed by ignorant fools, because of love ... it's this kind of stuff ... that underscores just how twisted the game truly is ... cultures are as they are .. but still. I can only hope that the planetary spirit will soon have had enough ... and leave ... and this local planetary game will be concluded.

TrendsProfessional investors move into flipping foreclosed homes [08/22/10] "Squeezing out amateurs, private equity funds and wealthy individuals are buying distressed properties at public auctions, refurbishing them and selling them for quick profits. [...]"  Note: Social parasites, at this point.

Concepts and Practices: "How to Be a Hobo" [08/21/10] "In a 1937 issue of Esquiremagazine, an anonymous writer penned an article called “The Bum Handbook.” Unlike most bums, he had chosen his vagabond lifestyle. And he was tired of seeing the sub-par job most other bums were doing. This was during the Great Depression, and many men found themselves homeless, lost, and ignorant of the art of bumliness. The author had being a hobo down to a science and claimed to enjoy 3 meals a day and a comfortable place to sleep each night. While he didn’t desire to return to regular society, he knew that most fellow hobos did, and so he offered these tips in hopes they could maintain confidence and a respectable look and thus find their way back to steady work. Although much has changed since the 1930′s, if you by chance find yourself a hobo during this Great Recession or desire to become a bum by choice, perhaps you can learn some tips from hobos of old. Enjoy these excerpts from the article and this fun peek into the past. [...]"  Note A whimsical piece.

Indianapolis GM workers face abysmal working conditions [08/21/10] "The Indianapolis General Motors stamping plant, where workers are being told to accept a 50 percent wage cut, is a run down and hazardous workplace, where sweltering heat, overwork, and the constant threat of injury are all part of the job [...]"  Related:   Ford's most advanced assembly plant operates in rural Brazil  "The Detroit News has a video from August of 2007 showing an advanced Ford car plant. The video ends with comments about the UAW's hostility to this kind of plant being built in the U.S. [...]" 

 TrendsNumber of U.S. restaurants declines [08/21/10] "The number of restaurants operating in the United States has fallen for the first time in a decade as cash-starved diners stay home in droves, a report says. [...]"    

A License to Steal by Scott Horton [08/21/10] "In “The Forfeiture Racket,” an essay in the February issue of Reason, Radley Balko took a close look at the use of civil asset forfeiture cases. He starts with the story of a college student pulled over by traffic cops, searched, and found to have $17,500 in cash. The student was not charged with any offense, but the police thought his possession of the money was suspicious, and they decided to keep it, invoking vague asset forfeiture rights. In fact the money was part of some $50,000 that the young man had received in an automobile accident settlement, but it took him more than a year and several trips to court to get his money back. The case provides a perfect demonstration of the abusive civil asset forfeiture laws now used aggressively by police around the country. The asset forfeiture rules work hard to reverse presumptions of innocence and burdens of proof—effectively forcing citizens to prove that their money really is their money and establishing what amounts to a presumption in favor of the government’s right to take it. Viewed critically, it furnishes a legal aura to what is really no more than theft, by the government, of private property. [...]"   

Troops: "Refusing to attend Christian concert got us into trouble" [08/21/10] "The Army said Friday it was investigating a claim that dozens of soldiers who refused to attend a Christian band's concert at a Virginia military base were banished to their barracks and told to clean them up. Fort Eustis spokesman Rick Haverinen told The Associated Press he couldn't comment on the specifics of the investigation. [...] 

Pakistan floods: disaster of epic proportions raises the spectre of systemic collapse [08/21/10] "Given the initial reports about crop and other losses, it now appears that Pakistan’s economy may contract in the next twelve months and total output, property and other losses would exceed $10 billion and Pakistan could borrow as much as $8bn in new loans in the next six months. This would be another mistake. Pakistan’s lenders must start considering debt cancellation as a form of assistance because it might be a more effective and sustainable solution. Adding the debt burden is unlikely to prevent another default or restructuring in the next couple of years. The US and the European Union should also eliminate all tariffs on imports from Pakistan to help its hard-hit and critical textile exports. [...]"   Related: Pakistan Disintegrating: 30 Years of War Destroyed Ability to Deal With Flood Disaster [08/17/10] "Even as Pakistan is deluged by the most destructive floods in its recorded history, the nation has been rendered incapable of dealing with the disaster by three decades of British imperial warfare. Pakistan, with 170 million people and lying in one of the most strategic regions of the world, is in chaos. [...]"  Related: Pakistan floods affect 20 million people as disaster worsens Pakistan after the floods: “The situation is explosive” | 1/3 of Country is Submerged  2 Video clips included | Satellite tracks Pakistan floods

TrendsPoll: TVs, land line phones less popular [08/20/10] "Many Americans are abandoning televisions and land line telephones, once fixtures in every household, considering them unnecessary, a U.S. poll indicates. [...]"  

Trends Dipping into dwindling nest eggs [08/20/10] Video clip "A record number of Americans without jobs and with nowhere else to turn are trying to ease their burden by withdrawing from their retirement funds--and they're paying dearly for it. NBC's John Yang reports. (Nightly News) [...]"  

Concepts and Practices: Sons to be caned for incest [08/20/10] "A Malaysian carpenter convicted with two of his sons of raping his disabled daughter escaped caning but was sentenced to 100 years in jail, authorities say. [...]"  

Saudi judge considers paralysis punishment [08/19/10] "Saudi judge asks hospital if it can damage convict's spine as punishment for paralyzing man A Saudi judge has asked several hospitals in the country whether they could damage a man's spinal cord as punishment after he was convicted of attacking another man with a cleaver and paralyzing him, the brother of the victim said  [...]  

Social ControlFacebook to Launch ‘Places’ [08/19/10] "Facebook’s 500 million-plus users will soon be able to track friends’ whereabouts across the United States, as the world’s largest Internet social network adds technology to increasingly tie its virtual world to everyday life. The new “Places” feature—which begins rolling out on Wednesday to some users and goes nationwide within weeks—is touted as a tool to help users share where they are, figure out who is in the vicinity, and check out happenings and services within the same locale. The addition of so-called location services to Facebook—a move that industry observers have speculated about for months—opens new revenue opportunities for the company, but also presents it with delicate privacy challenges. [...]"  Note Nothing like luring 500 million people to compile their own dossiers, hook up with twitter, and now reveal their whereabouts to each other, as social networks, created largely for the benefit of the intelligence and law enforcement communities, who depend on the naive nature of the bulk of the population. 

Trends: US Retailers to Be Using New Rules: Say You Pay Less If You Pay With Cash  [08/19/10] [1:15]  

US says it is not illegal for schools to spy on students at home [08/19/10] "It looks like prosecutors are not going to get involved in the bizarre case of the school which switched on laptops to spy on students while they were in their own bedrooms. US Attorney Zane David Memeger told USA Today, investigators had found no evidence of criminal intent by Lower Merion School District employees who activated tracking software that took thousands of webcam and screenshot images on school-provided laptops. A student and his family sued the district in February, claiming officials invaded his privacy by activating the software and the civil case is ongoing. The school has admitted that it captured 56,000 screen shots and webcam images mostly so it could find missing student laptops. But in the case of this student the school appears to have been using the laptops to investigate home drug use. [...]"   

Junk food-addicted rats chose to starve themselves rather than eat healthy food [08/19/10] "A diet including unlimited amounts of junk food can cause rats to become so addicted to the unhealthy diet that they will starve themselves rather than go back to eating healthy food, researchers have discovered. [...]"  

NY:12-year-old girl busted for selling crack [08/19/10] "A 12-year-old girl was charged with felony drug sales after being arrested for peddling crack cocaine and marijuana on a New York City street, police said. [...]"  

 Commentary: Greek Bonds Slump As Austerity Backfires, Country Enters "Death Spiral", And The Violent End Game Approaches [08/18/10] "Those patiently following the Greek Bond-Bund spread to its inevitable conclusion have been fully aware that the plan that Europe is betting its entire future on, is patently flawed: namely that austerity, by its definition does not, and will not work. In fact, instead of bringing stability, austerity will slowly but surely eat away at the economy of whatever country it is instituted in - in some cases slowly, in others, like Greece, very rapidly. Indeed, the Greek spread has now risen to levels last seen during the early May near-revolution in Athens, at well over 800 bps. And for the specific consequences of austerity, Germany's Spiegel has done a terrific summary of what it defines as a "death spiral" for the Mediterranean country: "Stores are closing, tax revenues are falling and unemployment has hit an unbelievable 70 percent in some places. Frustrated workers are threatening to strike back. A mixture of fear, hopelessness and anger is brewing in Greek society." Spiegel quotes a atypical Greek: ""If you take away my family's bread, I'll take you down -- the government needs to know that. And don't call us anarchists if that happens! We're heads of our families and we're desperate." All those who think violent strikes in the PIIGS are a thing of the past, we have news for you. The (pseudo) vacation season is over, and millions of workers are coming back. They may not have money, but they have lots of free time, lots of unemployment, and even more pent up anger. Things are about to get very heated once again, first in Greece, and soon after, everywhere else.  [...]"   

Federal Civilian Government is Lucrative "Industry"; Sixth Highest Paying Industry [08/18/10] "The Bureau of Economic Analysis latest release of industry compensation levels shows that the average federal worker ranks up at the top along with employees in the finance and energy industries.  The BEA presents compensation data for 72 industries that span the U.S. economy. Figure 1 shows the 20 industries with the highest levels of average compensation, which includes wages and benefits. It also shows the average for all U.S. private industries and the average for the industry with the lowest compensation. (The names of the industries have been simplified in some cases).  Federal civilian workers have the sixth highest average compensation of the 72 industries: [...]"   

KS: Grieving Man Can Sue Police Over His Arrest [08/17/10] " A grieving man who cussed out a police officer and paid a late-night visit to another officer's home can sue police and a county attorney for allegedly arresting and strip-searching him without probable cause, the 10th Circuit ruled. The federal appeals court in Denver rejected a motion to dismiss the civil rights claims of Daniel Stearns, who was arrested for disorderly conduct in the wake of traffic-stop argument during which Stearns said to an officer, "You're probably the mother fucker that shot my dad." Stearns was in Winfield, Kansas, in 2006 to attend the funeral of his father, who had been shot by local police while committing a crime. [...]"   

TX: La Villa Mayor Charged with Prostitution, Official Oppression [08/17/10] "Officials arrested La Villa Mayor Hector Elizondo on Monday morning as part of an ongoing investigation. Elizondo was arraigned on two counts of official oppression and two counts of prostitution by Judge Placido Rodriguez. Though the charging documents allege Elizondo solicited a prostitute, the official charge is prostitution. In a criminal complaint, a woman said Elizondo had supplied her with $10 worth of crack cocaine in exchange for sexual favors. Another said he paid her $30 dollars for oral sex several times over the past year, according to the complaint. The woman also said Elizondo would threaten to have her arrested if she didn't do what he asked of her. [...]"    

 TrendsHomeless and hungry at college [08/17/10] "With official unemployment holding steady at 9.5 percent (real unemployment is much higher), and with the state budget cuts producing yet more tuition increases, a growing phenomenon is sweeping the nation: homeless and hungry college students. [...]"  

Netherlands consider national police [08/17/10] "Mayors and police are at odds in the Netherlands over a proposal to nationalize police. [...]"  Note Gestapo.

Austerity measures intensify social crisis in Romania [08/17/10] "The latest austerity measures introduced by the Romanian government will invariably intensify the social crisis in a country already ranked as one of the poorest in Europe. [...]"  Note:  'Austerity measures intensify social crisis' is what the 'playbook' is all about.

Former felons feel boxed in by crime question [08/16/10] "Former felons and their advocates are becoming increasingly assertive in the national debate about crime, claiming that they are being discriminated against not just in matters of voting but also employment and housing.  A movement called "Ban the Box" is urging lawmakers in the District of Columbia and elsewhere to limit or bar the "have you ever been convicted of a crime" question so that ex-felons' applications for jobs, housing and the like aren't rejected out of hand. They point out that "the box" makes it difficult for even well-intentioned ex-criminals to re-establish and integrate themselves into the social mainstream.  "If you can't get a job, you can't get a home, and if you can't either, you can't break the dependency. They can't care for themselves or their families," said Rhozier "Roach" Brown, who was released from prison in 1976 after President Ford commuted his life sentence for murder. The debate stretches from the halls of Congress to state and local legislatures, and the discussion follows two common threads. [...]"   

Border Patrol sees spike in suicides [08/16/10] "Suicides including these have set off alarm bells throughout the agency responsible for policing the nation's borders. After nearly four years without a single suicide in their ranks, border agents are killing themselves in greater numbers. Records obtained by The Associated Press show that at least 15 agents have taken their own lives since February 2008 — the largest spike in suicides the agency has seen in at least 20 years. [...]"  

Budgets Tight, School Supply List Goes Beyond Glue Sticks [08/16/10] "When Emily Cooper headed off to first grade in Moody, Ala., last week, she was prepared with all the stuff on her elementary school’s must-bring list: two double rolls of paper towels, three packages of Clorox wipes, three boxes of baby wipes, two boxes of garbage bags, liquid soap, Kleenex and Ziplocs. “The first time I saw it, my mouth hit the floor,” Emily’s mother, Kristin Cooper, said of the list, which also included perennials like glue sticks, scissors and crayons. Schools across the country are beginning the new school year with shrinking budgets and outsize demands for basic supplies. And while many parents are wincing at picking up the bill, retailers are rushing to cash in by expanding the back-to-school category like never before. Now some back-to-school aisles are almost becoming janitorial-supply destinations as multipacks of paper towels, cleaning spray and hand sanitizer are crammed alongside pens, notepads and backpacks. [...]" 

10 Signs The U.S. is Becoming a Third World Country [08/16/10] "The United States by every measure is hanging on by a thread to its First World status. Saddled by debt, engaged in wars on multiple fronts with a rising police state at home, declining economic productivity, and wild currency fluctuations all threaten America's future. The general designations of the ranking system for world status date back to the 1950s, and have included countries at various stages of economic development. Since the Cold War, the definition has come to be synonymous with repressive countries where a wealthy class of ruling elites segment society into the haves and have-nots, many times capitalizing on the conditions that follow an economic crisis or war. While much of the world is still mired in poverty, the reduced cost of innovative tools such as computing and connectivity ironically puts traditional Third World countries at the forefront of a new lean-and-mean economy that is based on ideas of empowerment for the disenfranchised. For better or worse, the world is leveling due to Globalism. However, America and other over-leveraged countries face this re-balancing of the globe at a time when they have dwindling resources. We can speculate about who and what is to blame for America's fantastic fall, but for the purposes of this article we shall focus on the obvious signs that the United States is beginning to resemble a Third World country. [...]"  

Reckless Europe beats reckless America at property bubbles [08/16/10] "Once and for all, let us nail the lie that the global credit crisis was basically a US sub-prime property bubble that went wrong, and that Europe was merely an innocent bystander hit by shrapnel. [...]"    

Jobless millions signal death of the American dream for many [08/15/10] "Just how badly the great recession has struck this fragile New Jersey city, which is currently the poorest in America, was recently spelled out to Gaines. In happier times – whatever that might mean for a city as destitute as Camden – local businesses on Haddon Avenue could at least rely on a bit of trade from those who made their money on the street. Young men bought flashy clothes and got sharp haircuts and always paid in cash. But no longer. The economy is now so bad in Camden that even the criminals are struggling and going short. "Even the guys who got money from illegal means really don't want to spend it," Gaines said. [...]"   

Grain price rise may fuel Mideast, Europe unrest [08/15/10] "Rising grain prices from Russia's drought and fires will pressure populations already hit by the financial crisis and could stoke unrest -- particularly in the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. Wheat prices have risen by nearly 70 percent since June after Russia suffered its worst drought in 130 years and are at their highest since 2008, when the last major food price rally sparked protests and riots in a string of emerging nations. Analysts warn that if prices stay high then the threat of street violence will increase -- at least up to a point. "We could see some street riots but I wouldn't expect any governments to fall," said Jonathan Wood, global issues analyst for consultancy Control Risks. "On one level, we have much less of a problem than in 2008 because we have better food stocks. On the other hand, because of the financial crisis many countries are not in such a good position financially to deal with it." Particularly in emerging markets where food makes up a higher proportion of household purchases, the price rise could filter through in inflation, rate hikes and wider deficits. The Middle East and North Africa, particularly Egypt, are regarded as particularly vulnerable, as are emerging and southern European countries where discontent has already been fuelled by harsh cuts in public spending, benefits and pay . "Grain imports are particularly sensitive in the Middle East and North Africa -- bread is such a crucial staple of the diet," said Metsa Rahimi, analyst at security consultant Janusian. "Eastern Europe is also an obvious area of risk." [...]"  

Analysis: Extreme weather plagues farming, talks flounder [08/15/10] "Global wheat markets reeling from Russian droughts, thousands of cattle killed by heat in Kansas, and countless crop acres wiped out by floods in Pakistan are glimpses of what can be expected as the world struggles to battle climate change.  But as concerns mount over extreme weather hitting global food systems this year, governments are no closer to forging a pact to fight climate change. When temperatures rise as a result of smokestack and tailpipe emissions, droughts, heat waves, and floods become more frequent and more intense. The temperatures create "more and more hot extremes and worse unprecedented extremes and that's what we're seeing," said Neville Nicholls, a climate scientist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. As the number of extreme weather events mount, they will likely create havoc in agricultural markets and could lead to food riots in poor countries like those in 2007 and 2008 when prices hit records on rabid market speculation. [...]"   

Social Security Keeps 20 Million Americans Out Of Poverty, Report Finds [08/14/10] "As Social Security approaches its 75th anniversary on Saturday, the program is playing an especially vital role in reducing poverty across America during the worst economic crisis since the Great Recession. If benefits were to be significantly cut, 19.8 million more Americans would be thrust in poverty, according to a recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In addition to supporting the elderly, Social Security is currently keeping more than 1 million children and more than 5 million adults below the age of 65 above the poverty line. [...]"  

"Senate Bill S510 Makes it illegal to Grow, Share, Trade or Sell Homegrown Food" [08/14/10] "S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, may be the most dangerous bill in the history of the US. It is to our food what the bailout was to our economy, only we can live without money. “If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.” ~Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistleblower It is similar to what India faced with imposition of the salt tax during British rule, only S 510 extends control over all food in the US, violating the fundamental human right to food. Monsanto says it has no interest in the bill and would not benefit from it, but Monsanto’s Michael Taylor who gave us rBGH and unregulated genetically modified (GM) organisms, appears to have designed it and is waiting as an appointed Food Czar to the FDA (a position unapproved by Congress) to administer the agency it would create — without judicial review — if it passes. S 510 would give Monsanto unlimited power over all US seed, food supplements, food and farming.' [...]"  

"Wheat is the new gold in time of plenty for America's breadbasket" [08/14/10] "Wildfires, floods, crippling droughts, and even a threatened plague of locusts have wrecked crops and ruined harvests around the world, raising fears of global food inflation shortage and food riots. But as they hose off the dust and chaff caked on their exhausted combine harvesters, farmers in America's plain states are adjusting to something possibly wonderful: a combination of unusually good wheat yields and suddenly soaring prices – thanks to disastrous circumstances elsewhere – has put them at the centre of a gold rush. "It feels like Christmas in August," admitted Darrell Hanavan, of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee, noting that the harvest just completed in his state seems to have been the most bountiful for 25 years. More importantly, the dollar value for the crop is almost sure to set a record.  [...]"    

 Commentary: Canada Has Regained All Jobs Lost in 2008-09 vs. U.S. Still Down By -8m [08/14/10] "How did Canada survive the global slowdown with fewer job losses than the U.S. (-2.3% reduction in employment vs. almost -6% in the U.S.), and how did Canada recover from the recession so much faster that the U.S.? Well, it sure wasn't because Canada raised taxes, like the U.S. is now considering during a fragile recovery. In fact, Canada has actually been aggressively cutting both taxes and government spending, with impressive results in economic performance. Here's more from the WSJ article "Canada, Land of Smaller Government":  "Canadian taxes have also come down at the federal and provincial level. They were reduced with the stated goal of improving incentives for work effort, savings, investment and entrepreneurship. Tellingly, the last three Canadian elections have all had key debates on tax relief—not whether there should be tax cuts but rather what type of tax cuts. Beginning in 2001 under a Liberal government, even the politically sensitive federal corporate income tax rate has been reduced. It is now 18%, down from 28%, and the plan is to reduce it to 15% in 2012. The U.S. federal rate is 35%." And what about government spending? Accoding to Jason, "If present trends continue, within two or three years Canada will have a smaller government as a share of its economy than the U.S." Jason concludes that "Americans can learn much by looking north," and maybe the lesson from Canada is that tax cuts along with cuts in government spending are the keys to both improved economic performance and greater fiscal responsibility.  [...]"  Note: Interesting series of comments after the article. 

Concepts and PracticesCA town overpaid officials with $3 million in illegal property taxes [08/14/10] "The tiny blue-collar city that granted huge salaries to its top officials may have to repay nearly $3 million in illegal property taxes, a state official said Friday.  An audit showed that the Los Angeles suburb exceeded a state cap when it raised its property tax rate in 2007 to pay for pension obligations, California Controller John Chiang said. Chiang sent a letter Friday to the Los Angeles County auditor-controller, instructing the agency to reduce the tax rate. The drop would mean a $250-a-year reduction on the tax bill for a $275,000 home, Chiang's office said. The county apportions the property taxes collected by local governments. [...] The audit was prompted by revelations that the city of about 40,000 — which is one of the poorest communities in the county — was paying its chief administrative officer more than $1.5 million a year in salary and benefits. In addition, the police chief made more than his counterpart in Los Angeles, and the mayor and three City Council members were earning about $100,000 a year for part-time work. Carrillo's predecessor, Robert Rizzo, the police chief and another top official recently resigned and the council members voted to slash their pay by 90 percent. [...] "  

Commentary: Just 15,000 families win 'The American Dream' [08/14/10] "Most Americans do not know it. When they hear it, many people do not believe it. Since the early 1980s, in the U.S., most income gains have gone to the top one per cent of income earners. From 2002-07, two-thirds of new income went to one per cent of Americans. Going back further to measure the period from 1993 to 2008 and comparing, one-half of new income had gone to one per cent of Americans -- with 99 per cent of U.S. residents getting the same increase in income as the top one per cent (defined as those earning over $308,000 in 2008). Indeed, most new income has gone to the top one per cent within the one per cent (0.1 per cent, or about 150,000 families). Within that top 0.1 percent, the top one per cent (0.01 percent) of the U.S. population now gets one dollar for every US$17 earned by the entire population. So 15,000 families are the real beneficiaries of American capitalism. These statistical trends were first revealed by two economic researchers in 2003. Since then no one has been able to refute the work done by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. Worse still, economists have been unable to explain why the rich got so much richer. Sociologists fare no better. Lane Kenworthy, a leading researcher, suggests that sociologists tend to focus on how the income is attained, not on why the structure of income has become so skewed to the benefit of so few [...]"   

TrendsYouth Unemployment Hits Record High [08/13/10] "Global youth unemployment has hit a record high following the financial crisis and is likely to get worse later this year, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said Thursday. The report from the ILO says 81 million out of 630 million 15-24 year olds where unemployed at the end of 2009, some 7.8 million more than at the end of 2007. Thursday marks the first day of the UN International Youth Year; the ILO warned these trends will have "significant consequences for young people as upcoming cohorts of new entrants join the ranks of the already unemployed." The world risks a crisis legacy of a "lost generation" of young people who dropped out of the job market, the organization added in its report. The report also points out that the unemployment rates of youth have proven to be more sensitive to the crisis than the rates of adults and that the recovery of the job market for young men and women is likely to lag behind that of adults. [...]" 

Russian Wheat Export Ban Hits Egypt Hard [08/13/10] [2:27]  "Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said this year’s wheat harvest will be off more than a third, down to 60 million tons. Last year, the world’s third largest grain exporter harvested 97 million tons of wheat and exported 21.4 million tons. We are talking about many millions of tons that could have fed many millions of people so we can anticipate many millions going hungry next winter in the north. A lot of people are going to miss a lot of bread.  The world faces an inflationary time bomb as shortages of food threaten to push prices to fresh all-time highs. A variety of freakish weather conditions across the world has sent the price of staples including wheat, pork, rice, orange juice, coffee, cocoa and tea to new highs in recent weeks. Sometime in the very near future there will be a panic and those with any kind of wealth will bid the prices of food through the roof with China high on the list of those with resources to outbid everyone else. Free markets will collapse as countries with food declare, as Russia is doing now, bans on exports. When it comes to food and our bellies it’s every man and country for him/itself. [...]"  

Trends: "The Recession Hasn’t Hurt Everyone Equally" [08/13/10] "There’s very little commentary that I think needs to be added to this chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: [...]"  

TrendsPublic Pension check may not be in the mail [08/12/10] "Illinois public employees who think the state constitution guarantees that they'll get all their pension benefits may have another think coming.  Politicians' and public labor unions' assurances aside, there's another, not-well-publicized school of thought that says if the pension funds go bust, the state has no obligation to step in to pay the benefits. This runs contrary to the popular view that the Illinois Constitution, on its face, guarantees that all public employee pension benefits will be fully paid. This belief is based on Article 13, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution: "Membership in any pension or retirement system of the state, any unit of local government or school district … shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired." Sounds solid, doesn't it? It's not, according to a legal opinion from the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin, [...]" 

Lake Mead near rationing levels [08/12/10] "Water levels in Lake Mead, the country's largest reservoir, are at a 54-year low, sparking rationing fears in Arizona and Nevada. [...]"   

Man held over US serial stabbings [08/12/10] "Atlanta police arrest a man as he tries to board a flight to Israel, after about 20 stabbings leave five people dead in three states. [...]"  Related: Reports ID Serial Stabber As Elias Abuelazam   "The man is an Israeli citizen who is in the U.S. legally, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the ongoing investigation. The Israeli consulate in Atlanta was in touch with the U.S. government to get information about the case, spokeswoman Amanda Flaks said. [...]"    

UKMet officers face assault charges [08/12/10] "Four policemen face prosecution for actual bodily harm on a terror suspect in London in December 2003. [...]"   

A flawed system? U.S. boasts highest incarceration rates in the world [08/12/10] "The United States of America currently incarcerates the highest percentage of its own citizens when compared to any other country in the world. With it's harsh drug laws, minimum sentencing guidelines and repeated imprisonment of non-violent offenders, the country has literally thrown the shackles on millions of individuals. In fact, the great superpower has more than 2 million of it's citizens imprisoned at this very moment. (some suggest numbers closer to 2.5 million) Below, are several graphs and charts from the Center for Economic Policy Research depicting the most recent data obtained concerning incarceration levels in the United States. [...]" 

Freed Man Can Sue Police Over Withheld Evidence [08/12/10] "An Ohio man who spent seven years in prison for two rapes and a murder he didn't commit can sue police for allegedly withholding exculpatory evidence. [...]"   

Police Can't Use GPS Without a Warrant [08/12/10] "Police use of global positioning surveillance, or GPS, without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment, the D.C. Circuit ruled in its decision to overturn a criminal conviction. [...]"  

Trends Handout Hysteria Spreads [08/12/10] "According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution riot police were dispatched to East Point, Georgia as 30,000 people gathered to apply for federal Section 8 housing benefits. A quick look at the scene in East Point: Video clip  [0:29] Over the last year we’ve seen similar crowds, though not as large, gather across the country in cities like Detroit, where thousands stood in line for food vouchers and federal assistance.  This morning, we learned that over 2 million New York food stamp recipients will be adversely affected because of new legislation that will divert so