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News February 2012

My News
Wednesday February 29, 2012
International News

European Banks Flock to Second Round of Cheap Loan
New York Times | JACK EWING | 02/29/12

FRANKFURT -- In a closely watched display of its firepower, the European Central Bank on Wednesday issued to euro zone banks another massive round of the cheap, three-year loans that have helped avert a banking crisis but have not yet revived lending to business and households. Banks borrowed 529.5 billion, or $713 billion, compared to 489 billion in December. The E.C.B. said that 800 banks took out loans, compared to 523 in December, as many smaller lenders took advantage of the central bank's broader collateral rules. The E.C.B. wanted to encourage borrowing by community banks that are likely to lend the money in turn to businesses and consumers. Read more

North Korea Nuclear Activity SUSPENDED In Exchange For Food
Huffington Post | MATTHEW PENNINGTON | 02/29/12

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States says North Korea has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and agree to a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also said Wednesday the North has agreed to alllow International Atomic Energy Inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment and confirm disablement of its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. Read more

Domestic News

As Bank Profits Plunge, Wall Street Bonuses Fall Modestly
New York Times | KEVIN ROOSE | 02/29/12

While Wall Street's profits were battered and beaten last year, workers' bonuses were merely bruised. The total payouts to finance industry employees in New York are forecast to drop only 14 percent during this bonus season, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli. By comparison, profits plunged, falling 51 percent. Read more

Midwest Tornadoes 2012: Twisters Tear Across Missouri, Kansas
Huffington Post | JIM SALTER | 02/29/12

Read more

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Wednesday, February 29 [12:29]
peak-oil-reportDN | WikiLeaks: "Private Spies" Stratfor Helped Dow Chemical Monitor Bhopal Activists, Yes Men (02/28/12) [8:56]
George Friedman on Email Theft and the Wikileaks Release (02/27/12) [3:04]
peak-oil-reportThe Yes Men Fix The World [1:35:40]
Peak Oil
peak-oil-report
Peak Oil Report (4-28-11) [12:23]

peak-oil-reportHow important is Oil? Excerpt from Chris Martenson's "CRASH COURSE" [7:01]
For Chris Martenson's full short course go here (bottom of page)

Tuesday February 28, 2012
International News

Greek Debt Crisis Drives Heavy Losses For Europe's Banks
Huffington Post | Steve Slater - Reuter | 02/23/12

LONDON/PARIS, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Greece's debt problems drove a slew of heavy losses across the European banking sector on Thursday, and bosses warned the euro zone crisis would continue to threaten earnings. From France to Germany, Britain to Belgium, some of the region's biggest banks lined up to reveal billions of euros lost through writedowns on Greek loans. "We are in the worst economic crisis since 1929," Credit Agricole chief executive Jean-Paul Chifflet said. Read more

Israel Won't Warn U.S. Before Strike On Iran: AP Source
Huffington Post | KIMBERLY DOZIER | 02/27/12

WASHINGTON -- Israeli officials say they won't warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.

Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel's potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the Israelis for months to persuade them that an attack would be only a temporary setback to Iran's nuclear program. Read more

Wadah Khanfar: Iran Strike Would Be A 'Disaster' For Fragile Arab Spring
Huffington Post | Joshua Hersh | 02/24/12

"What will happen is a disaster," Khanfar said. "An attack against Iran at this moment in time is first of all going to create new priorities, new alliances, new fears in the region and new complexities. No one can expect what the result will be."

Khanfar, who traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss the ongoing transformations in the Arab world and his new project, the Sharq Forum, said he worried the fragile Arab Spring could become an unintended casualty of a war because the new, unstable political alignments could find themselves drifting back to old patterns should foreign intervention came into play, especially if Israel became involved. Read more

Domestic News
Gas prices... Diane Rehm

Warren Buffett: High Corporate Taxes Are An American 'Myth'
Huffington Post | Bonnie Kavoussi | 02/27/12

Corporations, like the rich, aren't paying their fair share in taxes, billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC on Monday.

Even while enjoying record profits, corporations last year paid just 12.1 percentof those earnings in taxes, their lowest tax rate since 1972, according to the Congressional Budget Office. At least thirty of the country's most profitable companies had a negative tax rate between 2008 and 2010.

Buffett, for one, says it's time to take notice. "It's a myth that American corporations are paying 35 percent or anything like it," Buffett said, referring to the top marginal corporate tax rate. "Corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness." Read more

General Electric Tax Rate 2.3 Percent Over Decade, Report Finds
Magazine | Author | date

A new analysis of the mega-corporation's tax filings shows that 2.3 percent of GE's pre-tax profits have gone to the federal government since 2002. That bears repeating: GE has paid an average tax rate of just 2.3 percent over the past decade, according to an analysis by the non-profit advocacy group Center for Tax Justice. Read more
Citizens for Tax Justice

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Tuesday, February 28 [13:05]
Kabul Report: Deadly Protests Over US Koran Burning May Be Turning Point For US Occupation (02/28/12) [18:27]
Aljazeera | Wadah Khanfar: Iran Strike Would Be A 'Disaster' For Fragile Arab Spring (02/24/12) [1:28]
Wadah Khanfar: A historic moment in the Arab world (TED) (03/03/11) [17:43]
TRNN | Why Are GOP Candidates Competing to be the Greatest Friend of Israel? (02/26/12) [7:27]
Domestic News
TRNN | Michael Hudson, A Planned Economy for the 1% (02/26/12) [10:51]
Warren Buffett: High Corporate Taxes Are An American 'Myth' (02/27/112) [24:57]
Special Interest
TRNN | US Spent Nuclear Fuel Largest Concentration Of Radioactivity On Planet (03/27/11) [10:43]

Dell Says 'Not Really A PC Company' Anymore
Reuters | Poornima Gupta | 02/27/12

Dell, the world's No. 3 personal computer maker, is shifting emphasis from the public market to businesses. Dell's storage and networking revenue grew 10 percent last year, while sales of its desktop PCs fell 4 percent. Sales at Hewlett Packard's, the No. 1 PC seller, declined 15 percent in its fiscal first quarter. ... Read more


Monday February 27, 2012

Monsanto's GMO Corn Approved Despite 45,000 Public Comments in Opposition
Natural Society | Mike Barrett | 01/10/12

The decision to give the green light to Monsanto regarding their GE corn didn't seem too difficult for the Obama Administration, despite receiving nearly 45,000 public comments voicing opposition and only 23 comments in favor since comments opened. Read more

WikiLeaked: US to Start 'Trade Wars' with Nations Opposed to Monsanto, GMO Crops
Natural Society | Anthony Gucciardi | 01/03/12

The United States is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) crops with military-style trade wars, according to information obtained and released by the organization WikiLeaks. Nations like France, which have moved to ban one of Monsanto's GM corn varieties, were requested to be 'penalized' by the United States for opposing Monsanto and genetically modified foods. The information reveals just how deep Monsanto's roots have penetrated key positions within the United States government, with the cables reporting that many U.S. diplomats work directly for Monsanto. Read more

Colony Collapse Disorder [CCD]: In two states in the US where GM seeds were extensively used, 70% to 90% of bee colonies disappeared. A German study found transgenes in the gut lining of baby bees and scientists believe GMOs may be responsible for colony collapse. Albert Einstein had warned, "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live."

The Attack on our Seeds
Magazine | Author | 01/04/12

... Genetic engineering [GE] technology allows patenting of seeds; it has no other purpose. Natural seeds are taken and their genes spliced by one of several methods. The altered genetic trait in a natural seed is then patented. These seeds neither increase yield nor enhance nutritive content of foods; nor do they increase yield by reducing crop losses due to pest attacks or helping plants withstand vagaries of weather. But patented seeds ensure huge profits for multinational corporations. ... Read more

Taliban Bombs Hit New High -- 1,500 in November 2010 Alone
Wire Magazine | Spencer Ackerman | 12/08/10

According to new figures provided to Danger Room by the Pentagon's task force known as JIEDDO (Joint IED Defeat Organization) that works to defeat improvised explosive devices, the Taliban and its allies built 1,507 homemade bombs in November 2010, an all-time high. That's nearly 100 more than the 1,415 they made the previous month -- the reigning IED record in Afghanistan. Read more

$19 Billion Later, Pentagon's Best Bomb-Detector Is a Dog
Wired Magazine | Spencer Ackerman | 10/21/10

Drones, metal detectors, chemical sniffers, and super spycams -- despite a slew of bomb-finding gagdets, the American military only locates about 50 percent of the improvised explosives planted in Afghanistan and Iraq. But that number jumps to 80 percent when U.S. and Afghan patrols take dogs along for a sniff-heavy walk. "Dogs are the best detectors," Lieutenant General Michael Oates, the commander of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, told a conference yesterday, National Defense reports. That's not the greatest admission for a well-funded organization -- nearly $19 billion since 2004, according to a congressional committee -- tasked with solving one of the military's wickedest problems. Read more

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Monday, February 27 [10:43]
I thought I had already posted this highres pictures of Fukushima, but I could't find them. So I thought I would post them again. Anyway, I can remember the movie "China Syndrome" with Jane Fonda, Kirt Douglas, and Jack Lemon who freak-out over a small spill of coolant from one of the cooling pumps. I wonder what there reaction would be over Fukushima? Fukushima
Download 5MB
GMO - Genetic Modified Organism
TYT | Frankenfish Coming! (09/22/10) [6:43]
IED - Improvised explosive device

I saw these statistics spread across a much longer article. I thought the numbers were startling, so I decided to pull the numbers out and see if I could make more sense of them.

On average, a "victim-operated" bomb -- one set to explode when its target or a civilian inadvertently sets it off-- cost a mere $265. (That seems remarkably high for bombs that can be as simple as a bunch of fertilizer chemicals, wires and a pressure plate made out of two blocks of wood, but that's what JIEDDO says.) Those types of bombs accounted for 57.9 percent of homemade bomb incidents in 2009. The next most plentiful category of bomb, those set off with command wires leading from the device, also cost $265 on average in 2009, accounting for another 23.8 percent of attacks.

As the bombs get more difficult to construct or operate, the costs rise. Bombs activated with a remote detonator like a cellphone cost a mere $345 and accounted for a surprisingly small -- 12.6 percent -- of attacks, perhaps owing to the U.S.' hard-won ability to jam the detonator signal. (One would imagine the major cost component is the cellphone.) For insurgents to turn a car into a bomb or convince someone to kill himself during a detonation -- or both -- the cost shoots up into the thousands: $10,032 for a suicide bomber; $15,320 for a car bomb; nearly 19 grand to drive a car bomb. All together, those relatively expensive attack methods accounted for fewer than six percent of bomb attacks in 2009.

JIEDDO (Joint IED Defeat Organization) says it has preliminary reporting indicating that suicide bombers cost $30,000 as of January.

It's also worth mentioning that the number of IEDs in Afghanistan has mushroomed: from 1,952 in 2006 to 5,616 in 2009. All told, since the Afghanistan war began, homemade bombs have killed 719 U.S. troops and wounded 7,448.


JIEDDO_2010_Annual_Report (.PDF)
GAO report found. (.PDF)
JIEDDO Website
JIEDDO Information Resources
JKnIFE website (CAC access only)

Weekend February 25-26, 2012
International News
I was looking for a 60Minutes video on American banks and I came up with 2 60Minutes videos on Austrailia, one on fracking, and another on Multi-Culturalism. Both videos had information I hadn't heard before so I thought I would include them here.

Below is a 60Minutes video of what is happening in Australia. They are creating as many fracking wells and liquidifcation plants as fast as they can. There is a great demand for natural gas in Japan since most of their nuclear power plants, are still shut down. We are going to destroy all our planet's fresh water aquifers with Keystone type pipelines and fracking wells if we aren't careful. Then we'll all be up the proverbial creek.
60 Minutes Australia | Fracking - The Coal Seam Gas Land Grab
For more on this topic go here: http://occupybanksters.com/environment/energy/
Multi-Culturalism. Working? Not Working? 60 Minutes Australia | EDL Tommy Robinson On Islamic Extremism (03/20/11) [13:44]
FDIC | Procecuting Wall Street
60 Minutes | Your Bank Has Failed | Scott Pelley and "60 Minutes" were given extraordinary access, as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation moves in to take over a failed bank in Chicago. (03/08/09) [13:20]
60 Minutes | Prosecuting Wall Street Part 1 (12/06/11) [14:28], Part 2 (12/06/11) [12:43]
China's Housing Bubble
House Prices Plunge in Chinese Ghost Town (12/05/11) [2:27]
Jim Chanos: China Debt is Worse than Europe Debt (09/21/11) [15:07]
China is the biggest Bubble in History (02/12/10) [10:43]
Old History, 2007 Financial Crisis
60Minutes | Harry Markopolos blew the whistle to the Securities and Exchange Commission about Bernard Madoff as early as 2000. Why were his warnings ignored? () [13:51]
60Minutes | Fed Chairman Bernanke On The Economy (12/05/10) [15:00]
Ben Bernanke's Bad Analogy to Save The Banks (03/17/09) [6:30]
Oil Prices | Supply and Demand? | Speculation? | Cony Capitalism?
TYT | Romney focuses on Keystone instead of oil speculators, because he's "wholly-owned" by the Koch brothers (02/24/12) [3:02]
TYT | Don't drill for more oil to lower gas prices, drill the oil speculators (02/24/12) [2:24]
TYT | Who benefits from a war with Iran? (02/22/12) [3:02]
TYT | Koch Brothers Screw You To Get Rich [3:30]
Politics | National Debt | Fraud Prosecutions
TYT | Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson says Wall Street established Obama (02/24/12) [3:06]
TYT | Cenk and Matt Taibbi on Obama administration's fear of fraud prosecutions
A nonpartisan group US Budget Watch combed through the GOP candidates' plans to reduce the deficit. Cenk compares the numbers to show that three of the four plans would increase the national debt by billions of dollars by 2021. Their real purpose? It is to help the very, very rich.
TYT | GOP candidates promise to reduce the deficit but their economic plans expose their lies (02/24/12) [3:50]
Occupy Movement
TYT | Jesse LaGreca on Occupy Congress and how lobbying politicians is a radical act (02/02/12) [3:54]
Other, to weird to comment on!
TYT | Rick Santorum actually "thinks he knows what Satan's up to".


Friday February 24, 2012
International News

Greek Debt Crisis Drives Heavy Losses For Europe's Banks
HP | Steve Slater - Reuters | 02/23/12

LONDON/PARIS, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Greece's debt problems drove a slew of heavy losses across the European banking sector on Thursday, and bosses warned the euro zone crisis would continue to threaten earnings. From France to Germany, Britain to Belgium, some of the region's biggest banks lined up to reveal billions of euros lost through writedowns on Greek loans. "We are in the worst economic crisis since 1929," Credit Agricole chief executive Jean-Paul Chifflet said. Read more

Where Greece Leads, America Follows
HP | Mitch Feierstein | 02/23/12

... In the end, you can support a certain amount of debt, but every country reaches a point where too much is too much. We've reached that point. If you believe Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff, we're already so crashingly bust that there only remains the question of how best to manage our impending bankruptcy. ... Read more

Modern Day Slavery
This is an interesting article on slavery on the high seas. It seems that nomatter what you buy, there is always an unfortunate soul at the other end. Why can't everyone in the supply chain have an equitable piece of the pie?

South Pacific Slaves Put Squid on U.S. Tables
Bloomberg | Benjamin Skinner | 02/23/12

On March 25, 2011, Yusril became a slave. That afternoon he went to the East Jakarta offices of Indah Megah Sari (IMS), an agency that hires crews to work on foreign fishing vessels. He was offered a job on the Melilla 203, a South Korea-flagged ship that trawls in the waters off New Zealand. Read more

Could Fukushima Daiichi Be Ground Zero for the Next Big One?
WSJ | Yoree Koh | 02/15/12

The heft from last year's powerful March 11 earthquake shocked a sleeping fault line close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant back to life, according to a new scientific study. And based on their findings, the scientists who conducted the study warn the battered nuclear power plant should brace itself for another big one. Read more
http://www.solid-earth.net/3/43/2012/se-3-43-2012.pdf

Big Tokyo Quake Forecast by 2016
WSJ | Yoree Koh | 01/23/12

For a country still on edge nearly a year after the giant March 11 Tohoku earthquake, Japanese scientists Monday issued a jarring forecast: Tokyo will likely face its own large temblor within the next four years. Researchers at Tokyo University's Earthquake Research Institute said there's a 70% probability the long-feared "big one" will hit the southern Kanto region, which includes Tokyo's neon-lit jungle, by 2016. It's an ominous consequence of last year's game-changing magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the most powerful recorded to hit Japan. Read more

Domestic News
Think Energy SPECULATION, Think KOCH BROTHERS!!

Obama Fights Back Against Idea He's Reason For High Gas Prices
Huffington Post | Jeff Mason - Reuters | 02/23/12

WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - As Republican presidential candidates toss barbs at Barack Obama over expensive gasoline, the U.S. president and his team are going on the offensive with a strategy to divert blame and prepare voters for higher costs. Read more

IBM, AT&T Unfairly Getting Small-Business Contracts
Huffington Post | Marcus Baram | 02/23/12

Some of the world's biggest companies are benefiting from a program meant to help America's small businesses, according to a new study. Lockheed Martin, IBM and AT&T all have snatched up federal government contracts meant for small businesses, according to a study from the American Small Business League. Read more

Romney's Economic Closet
Magazine | PAUL KRUGMAN | 02/23/12

Speaking in Michigan, Mr. Romney was asked about deficit reduction, and he absent-mindedly said something completely reasonable: "If you just cut, if all you're thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you'll slow down the economy." A-ha. So he believes that cutting government spending hurts growth, other things equal. Read more

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Friday, February 24 [14:27]
PBS NewsHour | Thursday, February 23, 2012
Fukushima
There's more trouble at Fukushima. Nuclear safety experts are accusing the Japanese government of lying after 230 tons of radioactive waste was found in a tunnel underneath the crippled nuclear plant - just a few days after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said the crisis is over.
Tom Hartmann | More Trouble at Fukushima (01/01/12) [7:36]
http://www.radiation.org/reading/pubs/HS42_1F.pdf
Japan Crisis Transforms Natural-Gas Market (02/13/12) [4:08]
PBS Frontline | After Fallout of Fukushima, 'Frontline' Explores Nuclear Energy's Future () [4:56]
PBS Frontline | Neuclear Aftershocks (01/17/12) [53:41]
Koch Brothers
TYT: Koch Brothers Screw You To Get Rich [3:30]
Koch Brothers Exposed [2:14]
Special Interest
Lost Civilizations
I have been following Graham Hancock for years now. I have different sections and pages on my different sites with his videos and lectures. I just ran across these videos and I like how he uses Google Earth to tie the different sites together.
The Andean anomaly - Part 1 () [23:36], Part 2 () [38:23]
Part two of anomalies around lake Titicaca features Aramu Muru, Sillustani, Tiwanaku, Puma punku and the Island of the sun. Note: I like part 2 better.
Music - I have always liked Playing-for-Change.
Playing for Change | War/No More Trouble

Thursday February 23, 2012
Main News

FDIC Lawsuits Yielded Big Penalties, But Bankers Don't Pay Up
Huffington Post | Reuters | 02/23/12

Last year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sued two former senior executives of the defunct bank for alleged negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, hoping to recover nearly $200 million in losses that it tied directly to those executives' decisions. The two men denied wrongdoing and settled for $40 million. But they didn't pay a dime. Read more

Behold The Greek Debt Slavery "To Do" Checklist Permitting It To Bail Out Europe's Insolvent Banks
Zero Hedge | Author | 02/23/12

Yesterday, in our daily list of shocking discoveries of just how far forward Greece is willing to bend over, we realized that not only will Greece not receive a penny (or is that a drachma?) from Europe, but it itself will have to fund the European bank bailout via a Greek-funded Escrow account. In today's 'insult to rape' chronicles, we discover that before Greece is even given permission to bail out Europe's banks, its creditors first demand that the province of Bavaria Sachs, formerly known as Greece, satisfy a checklist of 38 specific conditions, which the now fully colonized nation will have to complete before the end of the month (so in about 5 days), before it is permitted to transfer taxpayer cash to French, German, Italian and Spanish banks. How anyone, even the world's most degraded debt slave, is willing to subject themselves to such humiliation is simply inconceivable. Read more

An old Article
An old article but it is well written and explains in easy terms what happened between the FED, Treasury, AIG, Goldman Sachs during the financial crisis.

Secret Banking Cabal Emerges From AIG Shadows: David Reilly
Bloomberg | David Reilly | 01/28/10

The idea of secret banking cabals that control the country and global economy are a given among conspiracy theorists who stockpile ammo, bottled water and peanut butter. After this week's congressional hearing into the bailout of American International Group Inc., you have to wonder if those folks are crazy after all. Read more














New Articles
New articles... wish I knew what it all means.

BofA Halts Routing New Mortgages to Fannie Mae
Bloomberg | Hugh Son | 02/23/12
Read more

JPMorgan Places $72 Billion Bet on Global Homeowners
Bloomberg | Jody Shenn | 02/23/12
Read more

AIG Posts $19.8 Billion Profit on Tax Benefit, AIA Stake Gain; Shares Rise
Bloomberg | Noah Buhayar | 02/23/12
Read more

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Thursday, February 23 (02/23/12) [11:13]
European Parliament, Strasbourg | Speaker Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) | Globalist Troika Driving Greece Towards Violent Revolution (02/15/12) [1:54]
FOX | Farage: Entire Italian cabinet made up of unelected puppets of German-dominated EU [6:36]
TRNN | Dr. Heiner Flassbeck, Director, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD | On the Brink: Fiscal Austerity Threatens a Global Recession (02/22/12) [17:04]
Stephen Cobert | House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi believes that super PACs threaten American democracy and that Citizens United should be overturned. (02/22/12) [8:13]
This is an older video, but I just ran across it and I think Cenk does a great job describing the Washington/Wall Street relationship. TYT | Exposed: Fed Bailout of Big Banks Dwarfs TARP (What Occupy Wall Street is About) (11/28/11) [11:45]
Every time I go looking for new videos to substantiate a point I want to make, I find new (old) videos on other, but just as important, topics. By posting these videos I might look/sound nieve, but for me it is "Why have I never heard of this".
60 Minutes | Option Arms & Alt A Mortgages, Huge Crash Coming (12/15/08) [9:45]
An older videos on the Occupy Wall Street movement.
TYT | Occupy Wall Street What the corporate media do not want you to see! (10/03/11) [8:43]

Wednesday February 22, 2012
International News

Does AIPAC want war?
Aljazeera | Robert Naiman | 02/19/12

... But a new Senate effort to move the goalposts of US policy to declare it "unacceptable" for Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability - not a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one - gives AIPAC the opportunity to make a choice which all can observe. If the Lieberman resolution becomes an ask for AIPAC lobbyists at the March AIPAC policy conference, then the world will know: AIPAC is lobbying Congress for war with Iran. ... Read more

War with Iran: Focusing on the end-game
Aljazeera | Robert Grenier | 02/20/12

The war between Israel and Iran is already underway, even if the methods employed on both sides are subterranean. ... Read more

Domestic News

Michigan Polls Narrow: Will Mitt Romney Overtake Rick Santorum?
Huffington Post | Author | date

Read more

Obama Administration To Propose Cutting Corporate Tax Rate From 35 Percent To 28 Percent
Huffington Post | JIM KUHNHENN | 02/22/12

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is proposing to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent and wants an even lower effective rate for manufacturers, a senior administration official says, as the White House lays down an election-year marker in the debate over tax policy. Read more

The pipeline of 'poison'
Aljazeera | Dahr Jamail | 10/17/11

The aftermath of a tar sands oil spill in Michigan has left a community with sickness, anger, and loss of livelihood. Read more

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Wednesday, February 22 [9:28]
DN | As Greece Erupts, BBC's Paul Mason on the New Global Revolutions Over Austerity, Inequality (02/22/12) [20:16]
Is Israel fuelling fear not facts over Iran?
Aljazeera | Inside Story | Is Israel fuelling fear not facts over Iran? (02/22/12) [25:13]
GOP Candidate - Mitt Romney
Rachel Maddow | Michael Moore shares his "two Michigans" theory and his views on Mitt Romney (02/20/12) [2:20]
Is Congress about to put you out of work?

TYT | Congressmen Battle Over Koch Brothers Keystone Pipeline Subpoena (01/30/12) [5:25]
Special Interest
Does Goldman Sachs rule the world? [3:44]
Chicken Nuggets
What Are Chicken Nuggets Made Of? (10/06/10) [4:24]
Chicken Nugget Production Line (05/10/10) [2:23]

Why I dont eat at kfc anymore (01/15/09) [4:26]

Tuesday February 21, 2012
The Campaign Trail

Super PACs Overtaking Campaign Fundraising
Huffington Post | JACK GILLUM | 02/21/12

WASHINGTON -- An unmistakable dynamic is playing out in the money game among Republican presidential candidates: New "super" political action committees are growing more powerful than the campaigns they support. Read more

Russ Feingold: 'It's A Threat To Our Country' To Elect One Of The GOP Presidential Candidates
Huffington Post | Amanda Terkel | 02/21/12

In an interview about the book, "While America Sleeps," Feingold lamented the GOP presidential candidates' lack of discussion and knowledge of foreign policy. "To me, the gap between President Obama and these people [the GOP candidates] is so enormous that it's a threat to our country to elect people who take such a silly view of the rest of the world," he told The Huffington Post.

Feingold goes hard after the concept of American exceptionalism in the book. The term is popular among the GOP presidential candidates, with everything from God to the U.S. space program being touted as an example of this exceptionalism. Read more

Obama May Ditch Most US Nukes
Mother Jones | Adam Weinstein | 02/17/12

... According to a report this week from the Associated Press, President Obama is considering three proposals by the Pentagon to cut the number of deployed nukes. The biggest proposal would reduce America's active stockpile to just 300 to 400 warheads - fewer than the country has had since the earliest days of the Cold War. Since the dawn of the nuclear age, the US has reportedly built close to 70,000 atomic bombs. The recent New START treaty with Russia requires both countries to cut their deployed warheads to 1,550, so these new reduction plans would be dramatic, indeed. ... Read more

What Ever Happened to Climate Change?

The Inside Story on Climate Scientists Under Siege
Mother Jones | Suzanne Goldenberg | 02/17/12

... But now comes the unauthorized release of documents showing how a libertarian think tank, the Heartland Institute, which has in the past been supported by Exxon, spent millions on lavish conferences attacking scientists and concocting projects to counter science teaching for kindergarteners.

Mann's story of what he calls the climate wars, the fight by powerful entrenched interests to undermine and twist the science meant to guide government policy, starts to seem pretty much on the money. He's telling it in a book out on March 6, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches From the Front Lines. ... Read more

Internal Heartland Institute Email Blasts "Lamestream Media" for Climate Leak
Mother Jones | Kate Sheppard | 02/16/12

It's been an interesting few days in the climate denial world. On Tuesday, DeSmogBlog and Think Progress posted what they described as internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a fossil-fuel-funded right-wing think tank that spends much of its time denying climate change. The posted documents include plans for disseminating climate change disinformation to kids and to provide funding for science deniers. Heartland responded on Wednesday, claiming that some of the documents are real, but others are a "total fake," and still others are being reviewed. The group wrote in a press release ... Read more

Secret papers turn up heat on global-warming deniers
Salom | NINA BURLEIGH | 02/17/12

With Al Gore way down in Antarctica inspecting melting glaciers, and America's unusually mild winter providing a respite from seasons of freakish droughts, floods, Nome-style whiteouts and the hurricane that ravaged Vermont, the issue of man-caused global warming has been out of sight and mind.

But virtually all scientists continue to believe that most indicators suggest the world as we know it is slowly ending, and that humans are to blame. Nature - oceans, deserts, crops, animals and insects - is in the process of being transformed by rising temperatures due to the fuel we burn to stay warm or cool, and to power factories, cars and jets. In the academies, the argument now is only between experts who predict "bad" and those who predict 'catastrophe." ... Read more

Climate scientist admits swiping documents
Salom | NINA BURLEIGH | 02/21/12

Read more

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Tuesday, February 21 [10:41]
Washington Political Rants on Iran
RT | Invincible Me: Israel drums up for Iran strike (02/20/12) [3:48]
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Dir Clapper & General Burgess About Iran! (02/16/12) [1:59]
U.S. and Russian Nukes Still on Hair-Trigger Alert (05/23/11) [5:37]
U.S. Senate backs Military Force to stop Iran World War III about to start (02/18/12) [7:33]
CBS | Iran kicked out of SWIFT will bring Iran to knees (02/18/12) [2:21]
RT | CIA Agent Explains How Al-Qaeda Doesn't Exist (01/10/12) [11:24]
TED | Noam Chomsky - The Global Shift in Power in Politics (12/28/10) [15:17]
Banks and Mortgages
TYT: Mortgage Settlement Is Great - For Big Banks (02/19/12) [7:11]
RT | Matt Taibbi: 'Nothing stops big banks from ripping off people again' (05/29/11) [12:48]

Monday February 20, 2012
International

Does AIPAC want war?
OpEdNews.com | Robert Naiman | 02/19/12

For all it has done to promote confrontation between the United States and Iran, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has worked to avoid the public perception that AIPAC is openly promoting war. Read more

The Israel Lobby
CNI | John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt | 03/23/06

For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides. Read more

Koch Brothers Again

David Koch intends to cure cancer in his lifetime and remake American politics
Palm Beach Post | STACEY SINGER | 02/18/12

PALM BEACH -- David Koch has become the face of conservative America's obsession with weakening organized labor, and for that, he believes, there have been death threats - 100 credible threats last year alone, he says.

They describe a clandestinely built political machine that disdains government regulation and taxes, obfuscates the science on global warming, and now pulls the strings of decision-makers at every level, from Florida Tea Party members to Wisconsin state senators - even U.S. Supreme Court justices. Read more

Banks Got Bailed Out Again!!!!
Greedy Banks Took His Home, He Is Fighting Back!
Arturo was encouraged by JPMorgan Chase & Co. to deliberately fall behind on his payments in order to modify his loan. A loan owned by Freddie Mac. Thinking the bank had his best intentions in mind, Arturo followed their instructions. Instead, JPMorgan greedily foreclosed on him, evicting Arturo and his family. Since then, Arturo has decided to fight back and re-occupy his home, even as he faces the possibility of arrest!
DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Monday, February 20 [10:03]
TRNN: Israel and US Strategic Interests (05/27/11) [8:16]
Netanyahu Addresses Adoring Congress (05/25/11) [15:06]
TYT: Breakdown of Netanyahu's Appearance in US Congress (05/24/11) [10:56]
I'm Voting Republican (2008) [3:28]
I'm Voting Democrat (2008) [3:45]
Koch Brothers Again
Robert Greenwald on The Ed Schultz Show: Koch Brothers and Cancer in Arkansas (10/13/11) [7:20]
TYT: Koch Brothers Screw You To Get Rich [3:30]
Koch Brothers Exposed [2:14]
Banks Got Bailed Out Again!!!!
Greedy Banks Took His Home, He Is Fighting Back! (02/09/12) [5:02]
Entertainment
World's Largest Rope Swing (02/15/12) [2:55]
Behind The Scenes - World's Largest Rope Swin (02/15/12) [4:36]

Weekend February 18-19, 2012

Another March to War?
RollingStones | Matt Taibbi | 02/17/12

As a journalist, there's a buzz you can detect once the normal restraints in your business have been loosened, a smell of fresh chum in the waters, urging us down the road to war. Many years removed from the Iraq disaster, that smell is back, this time with Iran. You can just feel it: many of the same newspapers and TV stations we saw leading the charge in the Bush years have gone back to the attic and are dusting off their war pom-poms. CNN's house blockhead, the Goldman-trained ex-finance professional Erin Burnett, came out with a doozie of a broadcast yesterday, a Rumsfeldian jeremiad against the Iranian threat would have fit beautifully in the Saddam's-sending-drones-at-New-York halcyon days of late 2002. Read more

CNN: Erin Burnett: Worst of the worst
Salon | Glenn Greenwald | 02/17/12

I'll just note that she begins her remarks by announcing that "no one buys Iran's claim that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes," and to prove her point, she immediately introduces footage of yesterday's Congressional testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper which, she said, "drove that message home." Except the clip then showed Clapper saying this: "Iran's technical advances . . . strengthen our assessment that Iran is more than capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon if its political leaders, specifically the Supreme Leader himself, choose to do so.
Read more

Meet the Men Behind Romney
Originally in Forbes | Author | 02/10/12

Last Tuesday's FEC filings showed that more than 98% of Mitt Romney's Super-PAC donations came from contributions of $25,000 or over - an astronomical amount, especially compared to decidedly populist President Obama, who, in 2008, raked in an overwhelming majority of his campaign cash from donations under $25. Even compared to Newt Gingrich's Vegas-fueled Super-PAC, Romney's number is staggering. Read more

Billionaire Romney donor uses threats to silence critics
Salon | Glenn Greenwald | 02/17/12

Frank VanderSloot is an Idaho billionaire and the CEO of Melaleuca, Inc., a controversial billion-dollar-a-year company which peddles dietary supplements and cleaning products. Currently, he is the national finance co-chair of the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, and his company has become one of the largest donors ($1 million) to the ostensibly "independent" pro-Romney SuperPAC, Restore Our Future. Read more

Nuclear Truckers: Warheads on 18 Wheels
Mother Jones | Adam Weinstein | 02/15/12

... As you weave through interstate traffic, you're unlikely to notice another plain-looking Peterbilt tractor-trailer rolling along in the right-hand lane. The government plates and array of antennas jutting from the cab's roof would hardly register. You'd have no idea that inside the cab an armed federal agent operates a host of electronic countermeasures to keep outsiders from accessing his heavily armored cargo: a nuclear warhead with enough destructive power to level downtown San Francisco.

That's the way the Office of Secure Transportation wants it. At a cost of $250 million a year, nearly 600 couriers employed by this secretive agency within the US Department of Energy use some of the nation's busiest roads to move America's radioactive material wherever it needs to go - from a variety of labs, reactors and military bases, to the nation's Pantex bomb-assembly plant in Amarillo, Texas, to the Savannah River facility. Most of the shipments are bombs or weapon components; some are radioactive metals for research or fuel for Navy ships and submarines. The shipments are on the move about once a week. ... Read more

CNN: Is Iran Planning An Attack In America? Congressman Peter King (02/16/12) [7:39]
Rep. King Discusses Possible Attack on US by Iran (02/02/12) [5:07]
Rep. King Calls for Iranian Officials to be Kicked Out of United States (10/27/11) [5:34]
TYT: Former CIA Agent Pushes War With Iran (02/17/12) [10:42]
Debate About Iran Strategy Heats Up in Israel (01/13/12) [10:14]
Vandersloot's Romney SuperPac Report
Nuclear Truckers: Warheads on 18 Wheels
Just For Your Information
This is an older chart (2008), but I thought I would include it because I was astounded by the amount of money we still spend on nuclear weapons. If only we could spend this money to feed all the starving people around the world.

Nuclear Weapons Spending Topped $52 Billion Last Year
Mother Jones | Bruce Falconer | 01/12/08

According to a new report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (brought to my attention by Steven Aftergood), spending on US nuclear weapons infrastructure and related programs surpassed $52 billion in 2008. "That's a floor, not a ceiling," said study co-author Stephen Schwartz, who noted that the figure does not include costs associated with classified nuclear weapons or intelligence-related programs. Read more


Friday February 17, 2012
Washington

Call Out Eric Cantor for Watering Down the STOCK Act
thepetitionsite.com | 02/14/12

Target: Eric Cantor and House Republicans, Sponsored by: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Republicans caved to pressure from right-wing special interest groups, going behind closed doors to water down the STOCK Act, a bill banning insider trading for Members of Congress. Read more

Iran Nuclear Coverage Echoes Iraq War Media Frenzy
Huffington Post | Michael Calderone | 02/17/12

NEW YORK -- Military strikes expected! Weapons inspectors called in! A murky al Qaeda connection! And Cheney says time's up for Ira... Wait. Haven't we seen this movie before? Read more

Other Stories

Paul Krugman In Playboy Interview: 'People Should Be In Jail' Because Of Financial Crisis
Huffington Post | Paul Krugman | 02/17/12
Whole interviews can be found here
Read more

Blankfein out as Goldman Sachs CEO by summer?
Huffington Post | Katie Benner | 02/17/12
Read more

German President Christian Wulff Resigns Following Financial Scandal
Huffington Post | Geir Moulson | 02/17/12
Read more

Michele Bachmann: Welfare Recipients Getting Lap Dances A Bigger Issue Than Unemployment Benefits
Huffington Post | Ariel Edwards-Levy | 02/17/12
Read more

Bioterrorism Funding Withers As Death Germs Thrive In Labs, Nature
Huffington Post | Lynne Peeples | 02/10/12
Read more

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Friday, February 17 [10:25]
Representative Louise Slaughter works to ban congressional insider trading and wants the STOCK Act to retain a provision ensuring political intelligence gatherer transparency. (02/15/12) [6:18]
Stockblockers - Political Intelligence, A whole industry of parasites rides on the backs of Congresspeople, gathering non-public information and selling it to hedge funds. (02/15/12) [4:23]

Thursday February 16, 2012
International

Can Obama avert war with Iran?
Aljazeera | Gareth Porter | 02/14/12

Washington, DC - President Barack Obama has finally begun in recent months to signal to Israel that the United States would not get involved in a war started by Binyamin Netanyahu without US approval. If it is pursued firmly and consistently through 2012, the approach stands a very good chance of averting war altogether. If Obama falters, however, the temptation for Netanyahu to launch an attack on Iran, indulging in what one close Israeli observer calls his "messianism" toward the issue of Iran. Read more

Article says Israel may attack Iran in April
Aljazeera | Nicole Johnston | 02/03/12

The Washington Post claims that US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta believes there is a growing possibility that Israel will attack Iran as early as April. An opinion article published on Thursday says the strike is likely to happen either in April, May, or June. Read more

Iran presses ahead with dollar attack
The Telgraph | Garry White | 02/12/12

Last week, the Tehran Times noted that the Iranian oil bourse will start trading oil in currencies other than the dollar from March 20. This long-planned move is part of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's vision of economic war with the west. Read more

Homeland Security

Radical U.S. Muslims Little Threat, Study Says
New York Times | SCOTT SHANE | 02/07/12

WASHINGTON -- A feared wave of homegrown terrorism by radicalized Muslim Americans has not materialized, with plots and arrests dropping sharply over the two years since an unusual peak in 2009, according to a new study by a North Carolina research group. The study, to be released on Wednesday, found that 20 Muslim Americans were charged in violent plots or attacks in 2011, down from 26 in 2010 and a spike of 47 in 2009. Read more

Same Old Washington

Nothing is 'settled': Fighting fraud with a fraud
Aljazeera | Danny Schechter the News Dissector | 02/14/12

...So far so good - but, as in all big news-making deals, the devil is in the details. In this case, as Amy Goodman reported, "While the deal is being described as a $25bn settlement, the banks will only have to pay out a total of $5bn in cash between them." ...

... We've now set a price for forgeries and fabricating documents. It's $2,000 per loan. This is a rounding error compared to the chain of title problem these systematic practices were designed to circumvent. The cost is also trivial in comparison to the average loan, which is roughly $180,000, so the settlement represents about 1 per cent of loan balances. It is less than the price of the title insurance that banks failed to get when they transferred the loans to the trust. Read more

Capitol Assets: Some legislators send millions to groups connected to their relatives
The Washington Post | Scott Higham | 02/07/12

Some members of Congress send tax dollars to companies, colleges and community groups where their spouses, children and parents work as salaried employees, lobbyists or board members, according to an examination of federal disclosure forms and local public records by The Washington Post. Read more

The campaign against whistleblowers in Washington
Aljazeera | Peter Van Buren | 02/13/12

Under Obama, six whistleblowers have been charged under the World War I-era Espionage Act. Read more

Fukushima | Great Pictures | But New Concerns

What a comeback! Eleven months after the tsunami ravaged Japan, a series of pictures reveals the incredible progress being made to clear up the devastation
Mail Online | David Baker | 02/13/12

When Japan was hit by both an earthquake and tsunami in quick succession in March last year, the images of devastation gripped the world. And now after 11 months of tireless rebuilding, these pictures reveal the amazing progress made since those tragic events. Read more

Press Release: Fukushima at increased earthquake risk
European Geosciences Union

Seismic risk at the Fukushima nuclear plant increased after the magnitude 9 earthquake that hit Japan last March, scientists report. The new study, which uses data from over 6,000 earthquakes, shows the 11 March tremor caused a seismic fault close to the nuclear plant to reactivate. The results are now published in Solid Earth, an open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). Read more

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Thursday, February 16 [7:24]
Jeremy Scahill: U.S. Has Ignited Islamist Uprising in Impoverished, Divided Yemen (02/16/12) [24:29]
TYT: Radical U.S. Muslims Little Threat - Study (02/12/12) [3:06]
TYT: Corrupt Congress Pays Spouses, Relatives - Report (02/09/12) [9:43]
TYT: Washington Focused on Spending Cuts or Jobs? (02/08/12) [8:25]
TYT: Unemployment Drops to 8.5%, seems to be solid news (02/08/12) [4:46]
TYT: Koch Brothers, Billionaires Pledge 100 Million To Beat Obama (02/07/12) [3:18]
TYT: Banks Fight Volcker Rule (02/14/12) [4:31]
Banking Made Easy
Shadow banking: still big, still dangerous (07/21/10) [5:17]
'Casino' banks targeted in Volcker rule () [6:01]
Entertainment
Flight of the Dragon (09/20/10) [5:52]
You can skip the first minute, but watch the part on base-jumping it is great.
Fly Like a DRAGON! Happy Chinese New Year 2012 [4:11]

Wednesday February 15, 2012
International

The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn't Want You to Read
RollingStone | MICHAEL HASTINGS | 02/10/12

Earlier this week, the New York Times' Scott Shane published a bombshell piece about Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis, a 17-year Army veteran recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. According to the Times, the 48-year-old Davis had written an 84-page unclassified report, as well as a classified report, offering his assessment of the decade-long war. That assessment is essentially that the war has been a disaster and the military's top brass has not leveled with the American public about just how badly it's been going. "How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?" Davis boldly asks in an article summarizing his views in The Armed Forces Journal. Read more

We've decided to publish it in full; it's well worth reading for yourself.
The Usual, Stealing in Washington

Call Out Eric Cantor for Watering Down the STOCK Act
thepetitionsite.com | 02/14/12

Target: Eric Cantor and House Republicans, Sponsored by: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Republicans caved to pressure from right-wing special interest groups, going behind closed doors to water down the STOCK Act, a bill banning insider trading for Members of Congress. Read more

How Much Do We Spend on the Nonworking Poor?
Mother Jones | Kevin Drum | 02/13/12

The Republican primary field has recently decided to revive the Welfare Queen trope, perhaps in hopes that a bit of that old Reagan magic will rub off on them. The argument, as usual, is that there's a vast stream of federal money going to people who are sitting on their asses eating Cheetos instead of going out and earning a living instead. These people are being bred into dependence on Uncle Sam's tit and having their work ethics destroyed.

So the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities decided to add up the numbers and figure out how much money the federal government spends on the nonworking poor. The answer: about 10 percent of all federal welfare spending. If you work the numbers from the bottom up you get about 5-6 percent. Obviously, we are not squandering our money on the poor. Now let see what we spend on tax loop-holes for the rich... Read more

The downward mobility of the US middle class
Aljazeera | Robert Reich | 02/13/12

More and more people in the US are living in poverty - yet Mitt Romney's policies would further shred the safety net.

... Romney's budget proposals would shred safety nets even further. According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, his plan would throw ten million low-income people off the benefit rolls for food stamps or cut benefits by thousands of dollars a year, or some combination thereof. "These cuts would primarily affect very low-income families with children, seniors and people with disabilities," the report concludes. ...

... At the same time, Romney's tax plan would boost the incomes of the most wealthy citizens in the US, who are already taking home an almost unprecedented share of the nation's total income. Romney wants to permanently extend George W Bush's tax cuts, reduce corporate income tax rates, and eliminate the estate tax. These tax cuts would increase the incomes of people earning more than a million dollars a year by an average of $295,874 annually, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. ... Read more

Greece In Pictures: Greeks protest austerity cuts
Aljazeera | Staff | 02/12/12

Riots engulfed central Athens and at least 10 buildings went up in flames in mass protests as lawmakers prepared for a historic parliamentary vote on harsh austerity measures demanded to keep the country solvent and within the eurozone. Read more

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Wednesday, February 15 [11:01]
Army Whistleblower Lt. Col. Daniel Davis Says Pentagon is Deceiving Public on Afghan War (02/15/12) [15:04]
Dylan Ratigan
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream "Get the Dough out of Politics campaign (02/13/12) [6:56]
Investigation in to Sen. Spencer Bachus and Insider Trading in Congress. (02/13/12) [8:26]
Stephen Colbert
Activist Bill McKibben talks about the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline and calls on Colbert Nation to sign his petition opposing its construction. (02/13/12) [4:43]
Say No to the Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline [3:11]
Jon Steward
The Vagina Ideologues, The contraception debate gets heated as Rick Santorum and Catholic Church leaders object to the Obama administration's birth control health plan requirement. (02/13/12) [6:31]
Ali Soufan, Former FBI special agent Ali Soufan examines Iran's possible use of non-state entities for making power plays in the Middle East. (02/13/12) [6:53]

Tuesday February 14, 2012
The New Economy

Conference Board Economists: U.S. Economy Transitioning To A New Normal
HP | Bonnie Kavoussi | 02/13/12

"The economy that we had before the recession is gone," said Kenneth Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board. "It's not coming back." The U.S. economy is transitioning to a new normal in which businesses invest less and consumers spend less than before the recession, Goldstein told The Huffington Post in an interview last week. As a result, he said, economic growth and job growth will be slower than before. Read more

Wall Street: Bulls Jinxing The Market
HP | Mark Gongloff | 02/13/12

You can't swing a dead cat these days without hitting somebody or something touting how the stock market is going to the moon. That makes Wall Street traders nervous. Over the weekend, Barron's ran a cover story called "Enter the Bull," with a big cover graphic reading "Dow 15,000." Read more

Is This What is Instore For the World

Greek Protests Continue As Lawmakers Pass Severe Austerity Measures
HP | AP | 02/12/12

ATHENS, Greece -- Greek lawmakers on Monday approved harsh new austerity measures demanded by bailout creditors to save the debt-crippled nation from bankruptcy, after riots in Athens and other cities left stores looted and burned and more than 120 people hurt.

The historic vote paves the way for Greece's European partners and the International Monetary Fund to release $170 billion (euro130 billion) in new rescue loans, without which Greece would default on its mountain of debt next month and likely leave the eurozone -- a scenario that would further roil global markets. Read more

So What Do You Think Is Happening in Afghanistan

Settling Down in Afghanistan
Mother Jones | Nick Turse | 02/13/12

In late December, the lot was just a big blank: a few burgundy metal shipping containers sitting in an expanse of crushed eggshell-colored gravel inside a razor-wire-topped fence. The American military in Afghanistan doesn't want to talk about it, but one day soon, it will be a new hub for the American drone war in the Greater Middle East. Read more

U.S. Plans Shift to Elite Units as It Winds Down in Afghanistan
New York Times | THOM SHANKER | 02/04/12

WASHINGTON -- The United States' plan to wind down its combat role in Afghanistan a year earlier than expected relies on shifting responsibility to Special Operations forces that hunt insurgent leaders and train local troops, according to senior Pentagon officials and military officers. These forces could remain in the country well after the NATO mission ends in late 2014. Read more

DemocracyNow Daily News
Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Tuesday, February 14 [12:15]
Greece
"Real Despair" Sweeps Through Greece as Severe EU-IMF Austerity Measures Cripple Nation (02/14/12) [9:22]
Say No to the Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline
Say No to the Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline [3:11]
Robert Redford: THANK YOU President Obama [1:18]

24 Hours to Stop the Pipeline - Be the Solution
HP | Robert Redford | 02/13/12

Every once in a while an opportunity comes along for all of us to be the solution. This is one of those times. We're collecting a half million messages to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in the next 24 hours.

This dirty, dangerous tar sands pipeline is not in the national interest. It's that simple. And the United States Senate, officials of both parties, need to hear that message loud and clear and fast because some of them are threatening to push a bill as soon as Tuesday, to approve it. Go to www.stoptar.org and send a message. Read more

A girl who soared, but longed to belong (Elizabeth Warren)
The Boston Globe | Noah Bierman | 02/12/12

OKLAHOMA CITY - The father and daughter had an unspoken arrangement. Her classmates would not see the car. He would drop her off a block away from Northwest Classen High School, so they wouldn't notice that things had "gone down."

For a teenage Elizabeth Warren, then known as Liz Herring, the old off-white Studebaker was the most tangible sign that her family was struggling to maintain the trappings of middle-class life that marked Oklahoma City in the early 1960s. Read more


Monday February 13, 2012

National Debt Ceiling Debacle
I don't think most people realize what the National Debt Ceiling Debacle is all about. And I wish I had the writing skills to be able to explain it adequately. Not too long ago it was going up by 10s of billions of dollars, since I have been posting it on this blog it has been going up by 100s of billions, just recently it jumped up by over a tillion dollars (see below). I believe we have gone into unmarked territory.

Congress Debt Ceiling Debacle May Repeat Before Presidential Election
Huffington Post | Ryan Grim | 02/13/12

...In what one top congressional aide calls a "nightmare scenario," the federal government could wind up hitting the debt ceiling at the height of the presidential campaign. The Treasury Department is now contemplating the prospect of invoking "extraordinary measures" to keep the government funded through November.

Barring a major economic shock -- a financial meltdown in Europe, for instance -- the emergency measures should be enough to get the federal government past the election. But even under a rosy scenario, the next Congress will be forced to raise the debt ceiling as one of its first orders of business in 2013, if the lame duck outgoing body doesn't do it. And if the Treasury does have to invoke "extraordinary measures" before the election, it's easy to imagine a re-run of last year's political circus, magnified many times over. ... Read more

Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Monday, February 13 [11:32]
Apple Faces Outcry over Labor Practices at Chinese Factories (02/10/12) [23:32]
Dylan Ratigan on RT
Dylan Ratigan discusses the Greedy Bastards mentality and the people who have given up on creating value for others and rigged the game for their own profit.
Is the interest of our financial system aligned with the interest with investment in America? Part 1 (02/02/12) [10:06], Part 2 [10:58]
Dylan Ratigan
Dylan talks about the Republican Candidates appealing to the reptilian part of our brain, as if the American public is stupid and can't handle the real problems facing our country.
Dylan Ratigan: Our current presidential candidates are Like samurais exiting a cave 30 years after the war (02/10/12) [5:18]

Weekend February 11-12, 2012

After Mortgage Settlement, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Face Renewed Pressure On Principal Reduction
HP | Ben Hallman | 02/13/12

Top law enforcement officials in several states are signaling they will pressure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to correct what is widely seen as one of the biggest deficiencies of the $25 billion mortgage settlement announced on Thursday: It simply doesn't help that many homeowners.

Borrowers whose loans are backed by the government-controlled mortgage giants -- nearly half of all outstanding mortgages in the United States -- are not eligible for payouts under the deal. State officials who negotiated the deal say they could not convince Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the loan giants, to join onto the settlement because they are steadfastly opposed to principal reductions -- loan write-downs for borrowers whose homes are at risk of foreclosure. Read more



When The Bankers Plotted To Overthrow FDR
NPR | Sally Denton | 02/12/12

It was a dangerous time in America: The economy was staggering, unemployment was rampant and a banking crisis threatened the entire monetary system. The newly elected president pursued an ambitious legislative program aimed at easing some of the troubles. But he faced vitriolic opposition from both sides of the political spectrum Read more

Jon Steward
Jon Steward's guest wonders if all people who take government money should all pee in a cup.
Jon Steward: Poor Pee-Ple Aasif Mandvi heads to Florida to find out why Luis Lebron, a Navy veteran and public assistance recipient, won't submit to welfare drug testing. (02/02/12) [6:13]
Jon Steward: Money Talks - The Haves & the Soon-to-Haves, John Hodgman explains that the haves are creating an exclusive world of luxury and privilege for the soon-to-haves to have -- soon. (02/02/12) [4:40]
Stephen Colbert
If you thought Citizen's United was bad for our country, you don't have to worry any more. The figures are in. 22 people are going to decide our next election. Stephen Cobert: America's Biggest Super PAC Donors, Super PACs haven't led to billionaires secretly buying democracy, they've led to billionaires publicly buying it. (02/02/12) [3:59]
Stephen Cobert: CNN's Christiane Amanpour examines the likelihood of America and Israel going to war with Iran and weighs in on Iran's nuclear program. (02/02/12) [6:26]

Friday February 10, 2012

When did "Cost of doing Business" trump "Quality of Life, Liberty and Freedom"?
Last night I read Matt Taibbi's Blog article "Why the $25 Billion Dollar Foreclosure Deal May Not Be So Hot After All" (see below) and then I went back and read some of his source material. I also reviewed a couple of clips of the Dylan Ratigan Show (see right column). Boy, there are some great articles and video being produced concerning the scam that is being perpetrated on the American people. There is so much misery being dished out by Wall Street on main stream Americans, and yet their main concern is to keep the REALLY bad, underlying toxic financial instruments, hidden until the 5 year Statue of Limitation has run out. For Wall Street a $25 billion dollar fine is just the "Cost of doing Business".

Why the Foreclosure Deal May Not Be So Hot After All
Rolling Stone | Matt Taibbi | 02/09/12

So they settled the case in a way that reads in headlines like it's a bite out of the banks, but in fact is barely even that. There will be little in the way of real compensation for stuggling homeowners, and there are serious issues in the area of the deal's enforceability. In fact, about the only part of the deal we can be absolutely sure will be honored in full is the liability waiver for the robosigning offenses. Read more

The Top 12 Reasons Why You Should Hate the Mortgage Settlement
Huffington Post | Yves Smith | 02/09/12

The total for the top five servicers is now touted as $26 billion (annoyingly, the FT is calling it "nearly $40 billion"), but of that, roughly $17 billion is credits for principal modifications, which as we pointed out earlier, can and almost assuredly will come largely from mortgages owned by investors. $3 billion is for refis, and only $5 billion will be in the form of hard cash payments, including $1500 to $2000 per borrower foreclosed on between September 2008 and December 2011. ... Read more

Why Wall Street Should Stop Whining
Rolling Stone | Matt Taibbi | 02/08/12

The article argues that Barack Obama killed everything that was joyful about the banking industry through his suffocating Dodd-Frank reform bill, which forced banks to strip themselves of "the pistons that powered their profits: leverage and proprietary trading."

Having to say goodbye to excess borrowing and casino gambling, the argument goes, has cut into banking profits, leading to extreme decisions like Morgan Stanley's recent dictum capping cash bonuses at $125,000. In response to that, Sherman quotes an unnamed banker:

"After tax, that's like, what, $75,000?" an investment banker at a rival firm said as he contemplated Morgan Stanley's decision. He ran the numbers, modeling the implications. "I'm not married and I take the subway and I watch what I spend very carefully. But my girlfriend likes to eat good food. It all adds up really quick. A taxi here, another taxi there. I just bought an apartment, so now I have a big old mortgage bill." Read more

The End of Wall Street As They Knew It
New York Magazine | Author | 02/01/12

... "We used to rely on the public making dumb investing decisions," one well-known Manhattan hedge-fund manager told me. "but with the advent of the public leaving the market, it's just hedge funds trading against hedge funds. At the end of the day, it's a zero-sum game." Based on these numbers -- too many funds with fewer dollars chasing too few trades -- many have predicted a hedge-fund shakeout, and it seems to have started. Over 1,000 funds have closed in the past year and a half. ... Read more

Bill Black & Dylan Ratigan, There Is A Bank Fraud Everywhere And BERNANKE Is Leading The Cover-Up,"
The Daily Bail | Author | Archive

Who is Guilty?
Let us deal with the "borrower fraud" argument first because it is the area containing the most erroneous assumptions. There was fraud at every step in the home finance food chain: the appraisers were paid to overvalue real estate; mortgage brokers were paid to induce borrowers to accept loan terms they could not possibly afford; loan applications overstated the borrowers' incomes; speculators lied when they claimed that six different homes were their principal dwelling; mortgage securitizers made false reps and warranties about the quality of the packaged loans; credit ratings agencies were overpaid to overrate the securities sold on to investors; and investment banks stuffed collateralized debt obligations with toxic securities that were handpicked by hedge fund managers to ensure they would self destruct. That homeowners would default on the nonprime mortgages was a foregone conclusion throughout the industry -- indeed, it was the desired outcome. This was something the lending side knew, but which few on the borrowing side could have realized. Read more

Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Friday, February 10 [12:08]
To view the Dylan Radigan videos: 1)click on the image/link, 2) in the dialogbox click on the Launch button, 3) in the video window scroll down 1/2 inch and all the way to the right. Sorry for the inconvenience.
This is an older video, but very relevant concerning NO ONE has been convicted, of any wrong doing concerning the screwing of the American people by the Financial Industry.
Dylan Ratigan: Bill Black - Financial crisis probe, prosecution failure - Fire Summers, Geithner, Holder (09/30/10) [3:18]
$25 Billion Settlement
MSNBC Nightly News: $25 Billion Settlement Reached by Local & Fed Governement (02/09/12) [3:04]
Dylan Ratigan: Us vs Them, $25 Billion Settlement Reached is ridiculous (02/09/12) [13:18]
White Collar Crime
Dylan Ratigan: Bill Black Talks About the Ramped Increase in White Collar Chrime (02/07/12) [5:14]
Dylan Ratigan: Bill Black, Bank of America admits errors in documents (10/25/10) [12:48]
Get Money Out Of Washington
Dylan Ratigan: Nick Pennimen, GetMoneyOut.org & UnitedRepublic.org, New Blog "Republic Report" to Break Up Corruption in Washington (02/04/12) [6:07]
Election Reform
Dylan Ratigan: Need to Get Money Out of Politics, Electorial Reform (02/09/12) [2:54]
Dylan Ratigan: Discuss How To Make Election Work for Americans (02/09/12) [9:43]
Energy
Dylan Ratigan: We Need to Reverse GREEDY Bastards Behaviour on Energy Lobbying (02/08/12) [5:02]
Dylan Ratigan: Introduce Integrity in the Energy Market to Help Support Sustainable Energy Sources (02/08/12) [11:14]
From the Archives
A short film by Lagan Sebert and Harry Hanbury of the American News Project featuring Ron Paul, Wlliam Greider, Dennis Kucinich, Darrell Issa and Alan Grayson. Film produced in July 2009.
The Fed Under Fire: The Federal Reserve Is The Black Hole In American Democracy (07/01/09) [7:59]

Thursday, February 09, 2012

What Happened to all the Snow?
NASA | Author | 01/19/12

Jan. 19, 2012: Winter seems to have been on hold this year in some parts of the United States. Snowfall has been scarce so far in places that were overwhelmed with the white stuff by the same time last year.

Here's a prime example. "The Mammoth Mountain ski resort in the Sierras of California got more than 200 inches of snow last December," says NASA climatologist Bill Patzert of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "This December they got less than 10 inches." Read more

Junkyard Gives Up Secret Accounts of Massacre in Iraq
New York Times | MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT | 12/14/11

BAGHDAD - One by one, the Marines sat down, swore to tell the truth and began to give secret interviews discussing one of the most horrific episodes of America's time in Iraq: the 2005 massacre by Marines of Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha.

"I mean, whether it's a result of our action or other action, you know, discovering 20 bodies, throats slit, 20 bodies, you know, beheaded, 20 bodies here, 20 bodies there," Col. Thomas Cariker, a commander in Anbar Province at the time, told investigators as he described the chaos of Iraq. ... Read more

The Military Industrial Complex at 50
Let's Try Democracy | David Swanson | 12/20/11

This book is the most comprehensive collection available explaining what the military industrial complex (MIC) is, where it comes from, what damage it does, what further destruction it threatens, and what can be done and is being done to chart a different course. Read more

Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Thursday, February 9 [12:08]
us-iraq-embassy1ScienceCasts: What Happened to all the Snow? (01/19/12) [3:17]
us-iraq-embassy1Snowstorm Aftermath - Part II - Cordova, Alaska - January 9 & 10, 2012 (01/11/12) [9:47]
Nasa Warns Of Super Solar Storm 2012 - 2013 [4:54]
NASA Warns Public of Once In A Lifetime Solar Storm Coming!
us-iraq-embassy1World's Smallest Horse - Graham Norton Show - BBC Two

Wednesday February 08, 2012

Will Israel attack Iran?
Aljazeerz | Inside Story | 02/05/12

Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, has warned that Israel could attack Iran, possibly as early as April. His comments to a US newspaper come as Western fears grow over Iran's continuing nuclear programme.

Iran maintains its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes, and although the US and the European Union imposed tighter sanctions on Iran in recent weeks, it remains defiant, warning the West it will retaliate against any oil embargo. Read more

U.S. Planning to Slash Iraq Embassy Staff by Half
New York Times | TIM ARANGO | 02/07/12

...The expansive diplomatic operation and the $750 million embassy building, the largest of its kind in the world, were billed as necessary to nurture a postwar Iraq on its shaky path to democracy and establish normal relations between two countries linked by blood and mutual suspicion. But the Americans have been frustrated by what they see as Iraqi obstructionism and are now largely confined to the embassy because of security concerns, unable to interact enough with ordinary Iraqis to justify the $6 billion annual price tag. ... Read more

U.S. evaluating size of Baghdad embassy, officials say
Washington Post | Karen DeYoung | 02/07/12

The United States in Iraq, population 16,000, is a country within a country. It has a $6 billion budget, its own airline and three hospitals, and imports virtually all of its food. Its central fortress, otherwise known as the Baghdad embassy compound, is nearly as large as Vatican City. Read more

In pictures: Europe's frozen landscape
Aljazeera | Author | 020412

From Moscow to Rome, Europe has seen record-breaking low temperatures for the past week. The cold snap has killed more than 200 people, hitting the homeless and elderly particularly hard. The continent's energy consumption has come under strain, as Russia curtails its gas deliveries to compensate its rising domestic need for heating. Read more

Mindful Eating as Food for Thought
New York Times | JEFF GORDINIER | 02/07/12

TRY this: place a forkful of food in your mouth. It doesn't matter what the food is, but make it something you love -- let's say it's that first nibble from three hot, fragrant, perfectly cooked ravioli. Now comes the hard part. Put the fork down. This could be a lot more challenging than you imagine, because that first bite was very good and another immediately beckons. You're hungry. Read more

Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Wednesday, February 8 [11:02]
us-iraq-embassy1Enormous, Expensive U.S. Embassy in Baghdad [2:08]
Also See: Military | Imperialism-Empire menu
Note: I didn't choose this Attack Ad for any particular reason... it just went with the Aljazeera article.
However, it is amazing we will prosecute and jail a person who fraudulently sign a $192.00 Social Security check, but we won't prosecute someone who makes $12,000,000.00 off a similar transaction (Medicare).
Winning Our Future | Blood Money | Romney Fraud (01/27/12) [7:42]
Technology
I found this video intriguing, but kind of sad. It looks like we will be talking to our walls more than using our own brains. Watch and share "A Day Made of Glass 2," Corning's expanded vision for the future of glass technologies. This video continues the story of how highly engineered glass, with companion technologies, will help shape our world.
A Day Made of Glass 2: Same Day. Expanded Corning Vision. (02/03/12) [5:59]
A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked. The Story Behind Corning's Vision. (02/03/12) [11:25]

Tuesday February 07, 2012

Imperialism, despotism, and democracy in Syria
Aljazeera | Joseph Massad | 02/06/12

New York, NY - In the context of the US invasion of the Gulf in 1991, British academic Fred Halliday announced his new right-wing affiliations in the British newspaper the New Statesman by declaring: "If I have to choose between imperialism and fascism, I choose imperialism." It never occurred to Halliday that he could have opposed both and supported home-grown democratic struggles instead. This was indeed a watershed moment for Arab, American, and European anti-imperialist leftists who would become turncoats, moving from a principled opposition to imperialism to a principled and financially more rewarding support of it. Read more

Timeline of Syria unrest
Ajazeera | Author | 02/07/12

It has been almost a year now that Syria has been in turmoil. What initially started out as protests for reforms has escalated over time into an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's one-party rule, dragging the country into chaos and a period of uncertainty (Note: timeline toward bottom of page). Read more

Ten months of Syrian uprising in pictures
Aljazeera | Author | 01/31/12

See more

Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Tuesday, February 7 [14:25]
Russia's Lavrov holds talks with Assad (02/07/12) [1:52]
Syria Conflict Escalates as Regional and World Powers Debate Assad's Future Part 1 (02/07/12) [10:34], Part 2 [17:13]
Wesley Clark ( US 4 Star General ) US will attack 7 countries (Iraq, Syria , Lebanon , Libya, Samolia , Sudan and Iran ) in 5 years. (10/03/07) [8:14]
The United States government had already decided before September 11, 2001 to start wars of conquest. U.S. General Wesley Clark (Ret.), explains that the United States government planned to invade 7 countries that had never attacked them nor threatened to attack them: Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Iran. "We got a good military and we can take down governments" ~ Clark says

Monday February 06, 2012

Koch Brothers Meet Again to Prep for "Mother of All Wars"
MotherJones | Gavin Aronsen | 02/03/12

Last week, the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers held their latest get-together with wealthy conservative political donors. At these meetings, held twice a year under a veil of secrecy, Republican all-stars discuss election strategy and vet potential presidential candidates like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Last September, Mother Jones obtained exclusive audio recordings from a Koch seminar held outside Vail, Colorado, where Charles Koch had declared that the 2012 election would be "the mother of all wars" and thanked dozens of million-dollar donors who'd pledged to the cause. Read more



San Onofre: 100s of troubled tubes, gas leak
Orange County Register | PAT BRENNAN | 02/02/12

The second reactor, known as Unit 2, has more than 800 tubes that showed wear and thinning, although they are only two years old, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And plant officials confirmed earlier this week that sensors showed a tiny amount of radioactive gas may have leaked out of a building next to the Unit 3 reactor before it was shut down late Tuesday. Edison workers are now trying to assess the extent and nature of the leak in one of Unit 3's steam-generator tubes. All four of the plant's steam generators and their tubes are about two years old, installed after being delivered to the West Coast by the Japanese manufacturer of the generators, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Some 9,700 tubes carry water from the reactor and through each generator. Read more

Problems plague cleanup at Hanford nuclear waste site
USA Today | Peter Eisler | 01/18/12

Seven decades after scientists came here during World War II to create plutonium for the first atomic bomb, a new generation is struggling with an even more daunting task: cleaning up the radioactive mess. The U.S. government is building a treatment plant to stabilize and contain 56 million gallons of waste left from a half-century of nuclear weapons production. The radioactive sludge is so dangerous that a few hours of exposure could be fatal. A major leak could contaminate water supplies serving millions across the Northwest. The cleanup is the most complex and costly environmental restoration ever attempted. And the project is not going well. Read more

Police converge on Occupy site in Washington
USA Today | AP | 02/05/12

More than 100 police officers - some on horseback, others in yellow hazardous materials suits - arrived at the square two blocks from the White House at 6 a.m. Saturday after warning the protesters on Monday that camping in the federal space is illegal....

The police said the tents must be cleared of anything that indicated camping, including bedding, pillows and cooking equipment. On Saturday, police cordoned sections of the park with metal crowd-control barricades as teams of officers moved from quadrant to quadrant inspecting each tent. By noon, the southeast quadrant had been swept clean. Read more

Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Monday, February 6 [16:12]
TYT: Busted! Rep. Leaves ALEC (Koch Brothers) Wording In Corporate Tax Resolution (02/05/12) [2:51]
TYT: Fed Whistleblower Exposes Bernanke & Geithner (01/26/10) [5:28]
Hanford Washington, USA (1943 - now)
We all know about Chernobyl and Fukushima, but do you know we have a FAILED cleanup right here in the United States? 54 million gallons of EXTREMELY toxic sludge is leaking into the ground water and is heading toward the Columbia River!!! This is Current!!! This is Now!!! Gerry Pollet & Ross Pearson - Enough Plutonium at Hanford to Make 70 Nuclear Weapons (08/07/11) [22:34]
Tom Carpenter - The Hanford Nuclear Reservation [16:06]
Hanford - Lethal and Leaking Part 1 (12/09/07) [7:00], Part 2 [7:00]
Note: For further information on Hanford, USA (1943-), Chernobyl, Russia (1986-), Fukushima, Japan (2011-) go here
Event - Public Hearing on Plutonium & Chemical Waste at Hanford - 07/21/11 [2:05:45]

The bug society: Scientists excavate underground ant city that 'rivals the Great Wall of China' with a labyrinth of highways
UK Mail | Julian Gavaghan | 02/02/12

A sophisticated underground ant city once populated by millions of insects has been discovered by a team of scientists. The abandoned megalopolis, which features vast subterranean highways, paths and gardens, was found buried beneath the earth in Brazil. It is thought to have housed one of the biggest ant colonies in the world. But no one is sure when the leafcutter species left and what caused their demise. Read more

This was an interesting article, so I thought I would include the video here
Giant Ant Hill Excavated (12/24/10) [3:16]
Interesting
Octopus [0:55]
Octopus Walks on Land at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve [3:26]

Weekend February 04-05, 2012

Koch Brothers, Allies Pledge $100 Million At Private Meeting To Beat Obama
HP | Author | 02/03/12

WASHINGTON -- At a private three-day retreat in California last weekend, conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch and about 250 to 300 other individuals pledged approximately $100 million to defeat President Obama in the 2012 elections. A source who was in the room when the pledges were made told The Huffington Post that, specifically, Charles Koch pledged $40 million and David pledged $20 million. Read more

House Democrats Seek To Subpoena Koch Industries Over Keystone XL
HP | Licia Graves | 01/25/12

...In a letter to subcommittee chairman Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) asking for the subpeonas, Waxman and eight other House Democrats called for a day of hearings featuring Koch Industry executives. They cited, as evidence for their suspicion, a Koch subsidiary's assertion during a Canadian proceeding that the company has a "direct and substantial interest" in the pipeline.

"Last year news organizations reported that one company, Koch Industries, would be one of the big winners if this pipeline were constructed," Waxman said at the hearing. "We asked Koch whether this was true and were told they have no interest whatsoever in the pipeline. But then we learned that they told the Canadian government that they have a direct and substantial interest. Something does not add up." Read more

Exclusive Audio: Inside the Koch Brothers' Secret Seminar
Mother Jones | Brad Friedman | 09/06/11

"We have Saddam Hussein," declared billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, apparently referring to President Barack Obama as he welcomed hundreds of wealthy guests to the latest of the secret fundraising and strategy seminars he and his brother host twice a year. The 2012 elections, he warned, will be "the mother of all wars." Read more

Eric Schneiderman Sues BofA, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase Over Electronic Mortgage Fraud
HP | Loren Berlin | 02/03/12

Three big banks were hit on Friday with yet another lawsuit related to wrongful foreclosures. Democratic New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit against Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo for deceptive and fraudulent use of a private database used to register mortgages, according to a Friday press release from his office.

Schneiderman has been outspoken in urging the Obama administration to hold the nation's largest financial institutions accountable for their role in the foreclosure crisis, notably hesitating to join a larger nationwide case against the country's five largest banks for mortgage fraud. States now have until Monday, according to the Iowa attorney general's office, to decide to join that deal. Read more

Bradley Manning Case: Army Officer Orders Court-Martial For Manning In WikiLeaks Case
Huffington Post | DAVID DISHNEAU | 02/03/12

HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- An Army officer ordered a court-martial Friday for a low-ranking intelligence analyst charged in the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. Military District of Washington commander Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington referred all charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning to a general court-martial, the Army said in a statement. The referral means Manning will stand trial for allegedly giving more than 700,000 secret U.S. documents and classified combat video to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks for publication. Read more

Greenwald: Koch Brothers Exposed (06/22/11) [3:47]
AlJazeera: The Koch Brothers Overview [24:46]
See article here
Keith Olbermann: Matt Taibbi, Koch-Topus (10/25/10) [6:59]
TYT: Koch Brothers Caught On Tape - Obama & Osama Compared (09/07/11) [5:30]

The Koch Brothers, can the tycoon duo's fortune could put the radical right into the White House.
Aljazeera | Author | 11/01/11

Charles and David Koch are each worth about $25bn, which makes them the fourth richest Americans. When you combine their fortunes, they are the third wealthiest people in the world. Radical libertarians who use their money to oppose government and virtually all regulation as interference with the free market, the Kochs are in a class of their own as players on the American political stage. Their web of influence in the US stretches from state capitals to the halls of congress in Washington DC. The Koch brothers fueled the conservative Tea Party movement that vigorously opposes Barack Obama, the US president. Read more

The US: Waking up to class politics, The protests in Wisconsin harken back to the old days of labour and class struggle in the US.
Ajazeera | Ari Paul | 03/14/11

A popular item is going around in emails and Facebook pages among the people who are in solidarity with the workers protesting against anti-labour legislation in Wisconsin: A CEO, a union worker and a Tea Partier (a member of the emerging right-wing political movement) are at a table with 12 cookies. The CEO takes 11 and says to the Tea Partier: "Keep an eye on that union guy, he wants your cookie." Read more

Tea Party terminators, According to author, Democrats need to realise you can't use reason to fight insanity.
Aljazeera | Cliff Schecter | 08/11/11

Substitute "Tea Party" for "Terminator" and "U.S. Government" for "you," and with the exception of "fear" (which I'd argue is what drives them), this pretty much sums up the story of the 60-odd birdbrain Birchers who have rebranded themselves Tea Partiers and brought more crazy than Kanye West to the House of Representatives. Read more


Friday February 03, 2012

STOCK Act To Bar Lawmaker Insider Trading Passes Senate
Huffington Post | Michael McAuliff | 02/02/12

WASHINGTON -- Insider trading by members of Congress, their top staff and executive branch officials would be banned by legislation that passed the Senate on Thursday.

Although insider trading is illegal for anyone, some had argued that the STOCK Act, which passed 96 to 3, was needed to close loopholes that let lawmakers and lobbyists profit from "political intelligence." Read more

S.E.C. Is Avoiding Tough Sanctions for Large Banks
NEw York Times | EDWARD WYATT | 02/03/12

WASHINGTON -- Even as the Securities and Exchange Commission has stepped up its investigations of Wall Street in the last decade, the agency has repeatedly allowed the biggest firms to avoid punishments specifically meant to apply to fraud cases. By granting exemptions to laws and regulations that act as a deterrent to securities fraud, the S.E.C. has let financial giants like JPMorganChase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America continue to have advantages reserved for the most dependable companies, making it easier for them to raise money from investors, for example, and to avoid liability from lawsuits if their financial forecasts turn out to be wrong. Read more

MF Global's Regulator Says Oversight Was 'Flawless' ????
Huffington Post | Marcus Baram | 02/03/12

When Matthew S. Heinz, an analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., asked CME Group chairman Terry Duffy and CEO Craig Steven Donohue a standard question about whether they had learned any lessons from the MF Global debacle, the executives got defensive.

Duffy claimed that CME's self-regulation "worked flawlessly," adding that "we did the right things and the answers for the Congress, where others we're seeing they don't know what happened to the money." Read more

Kiss The Foreclosure Settlement Goodbye: Bank of America, Wells And JP Morgan Are Sued Over Use Of MERS
Zero Hedge | Author | 02/03/12

"The banks created the MERS system as an end-run around the property recording system, to facilitate the rapid securitization and sale of mortgages. Once the mortgages went sour, these same banks brought foreclosure proceedings en masse based on deceptive and fraudulent court submissions, seeking to take homes away from people with little regard for basic legal requirements or the rule of law," said Attorney General Schneiderman. Read more

Israel Puts Global Facilities On High Alert Following Warning Of Rising Iran Strike Threat
Zero Hedge | Author | 02/30/12

While the world rejoices in the aftermath of the enjoyable diversion in which a fake market surges on fake, politically-motivated data, which incidentally refutes the warning voiced last week by the Fed Chairman who has a far better grasp of the economy than the BLS, warned last week, the confluence of real events continues to indicate that something is brewing in the middle east. Only this time it is not the US adding another aircraft carrier to the three already situated by the Straits of Hormuz. This time the smoke and fire come from Israel. ABC reports that "Israeli facilities in North America -- and around the world -- are on high alert, according to an internal security document obtained by ABC News that predicted the threat from Iran against Jewish targets will increase. Read more

Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Friday, February 3 [13:04]
Jon Steward: Jonathan Macey Extended Interview, Professor of Corporate Law at Yale Part 1 (01/31/12) [9:29], Part 2 [5:20], Part 3 [8:15]
Jon Steward: Mitt Romney touts his experience at Bain Capital as a strength, but not the experience with leveraged buyouts. (01/31/12) [5:01]
Jon Steward: Jason Jones and John Oliver weigh in on Mitt Romney's conflation of the very rich and the very poor as constituencies requiring no attention. (02/01/12) [6:13]
Jon Steward: Mitt Romney takes Florida by a landslide, and Newt Gingrich appears to have confused getting his ass kicked with winning the general election. (02/01/12) [6:41]

Rent-A-Center CEO: New Consumer Bureau Won't Have Authority Over Us
Huffington Post | Alice Hines | 02/03/12

Ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl, many cash-strapped football fans will head to Rent-A-Center, America's largest "rent-to-own" retailer, to look for TVs. The store is advertising a LG 60-inch-wide high-definition TV -- on which you can watch Rent-A-Center's own pregame show with Troy Aikman -- for what seems like a very low price of $29.99 a week, with no down payment or credit check.

The fine print of the ad reveals the catch: If you want to keep the TV, those $30 payments will continue for 104 weeks, adding up to a total price of $3,118.96. That's double the $1,559.48 you would pay if you bought the TV outright, without paying in installments. On Amazon.com, the same TV costs $999.99.

Consumer advocates say that the high interest rates that Rent-a-Center effectively charges are no different from the sky-high terms offered by payday lenders. Now, some are looking to Richard Cordray, recently installed at the helm of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to rein in the retailer. But on Tuesday, Rent-A-Center CEO Mark Speese didn't seem concerned about the prospect of regulation. "Nothing has really changed at this point," Speese told his company's investors during Tuesday's conference call with analysts. "[Richard Cordray] doesn't have any authority still." Read more


Thursday February 02, 2012

Clueless
Mitt Romney: 'I'm Not Concerned About The Very Poor'

Huffington Post | Author | 02/01/12

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said on Wednesday that he's "not concerned about the very poor," citing the social safety net in place for that segment of the populace and adding that he's focused on the middle class.

"I'm in this race because I care about Americans. I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it,"... Read more

Arab League calls for UN action on Syria
Aljazeera | Author | 02/01/12

The Arab League has urged the UN Security Council to adopt a clear resolution to support the league's efforts in ending the 11-month-old conflict in Syria, but said it opposed foreign military intervention to achieve the objective.

Nabil Elaraby, the regional bloc's secretary-general, and Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, the prime minister of Qatar, appeared on Tuesday before the 15-nation council in New York to present a plan of action, and challenge Russian and Chinese opposition to the measure. Read more

In Advance Of Third Aircraft Carrier Approaching Iran, US Nuclear Sub And Destroyer Enter Red Sea
RT | Author | 01/31/12

While a few days ago we reported that the US was set to place a third aircraft carrier, ostensibly the USS Enterprise, in the Arabian Gulf in the indefinite future, it appears that the US is wasting little time in making preparations for this latest military escalation against Iran. Read more

TPetrodollar pumping US policy on Iran, backfire looms
RT | Author | 02/01/12

Economic sanctions, spearheaded by the US and, less willingly, the EU could have a disastrous effect on both of their respective economies. If Iran cannot sell their oil to Europe, there are plenty of customers waiting in the wings, and if they come bearing not petrodollars, but gold and sovereign currencies, then all the better for Iran. These sanctions, if enforced, will in effect place a serious dent in the power of the petrodollar. Read more

Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Thursday, February 2 [8:27]
DN: Exploring Romney's Shifting Stances From "Moderate" Governor to GOP Frontrunner (02/10/12) [18:10]
TRNN: Newt Gingrich, Israel and the American Elections (02/01/12) [12:29]
Aljazeera: Security council divided over Syria measure (01/31/12) [2:16]
TRNN: A Short History of Modern Syria (02/01/12) [11:44]

Wednesday February 01, 2012

Jon Stewart On Florida Primary: 'No More Mr. Nice Mormon'
Huffington Post | Katla McGlynn | 01/31/12

On Monday night's "Daily Show," Stewart presented an analogy for the Gingrich vs. Romney face-off that harkens back to the early 90s: the Mortal Kombat video games. Based on the barbs that have been traded so far in 2012, we'd say it's a pretty accurate description. Read more

Apple's Ethical Blindness Selects for Criminal Suppliers in Fraud-Friendly Nations
Huffington Post | Bill Black | 01/31/12

The New York Times is presenting a series of important articles by Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher on Apple's overwhelming reliance on foreign suppliers. The first article ("How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work": January 21, 2012) was driven by this anecdote... Read more

How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work
New York Times | CHARLES DUHIGG | 01/21/12

When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley's top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president. But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke, President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States Read more

Democracy Now! National and Global News Headlines for Wednesday, February 1 [10:47]
Jon Steward: On Florida Primary: 'No More Mr. Nice Mormon'
Dylan Ratigan has created a new acronym for GREEDY behavior... BOUGHT. See the graphic below for what Bought stands for, and then see the individual interviews.
Dylan Ratigan: "Greedy Bastards" Behavior is Damaging the American Economy. (01/30/12) [8:21]
Dylan Ratigan: Dan Froomkin, Understanding the Cost and Effect of Oil Companies. (01/30/12) []

02.01.2012. 12:14

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