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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Friday, August 31, 2007

    Jailed in New Orleans Two Weeks Before Katrina, Fmr. Corrections Officer Held for Four Months Without Charge

    [....]

    RODERICK DEAN: I was on the first floor of the jail's medical unit, tier -- Templeman I, cell one, I think, A-1, B-1. I don't know the numbers. But anyway, I was on front and center.

    And on that particular day, the morning, Sunday, I think it was August the 28th, 2005, we woke up early that day. And I was lying in the bed on the third -- the lowest bed of three-stacked-high bed bunks. And the two guys above me woke up that morning on Sunday and felt the concrete wall beside the bunk and noticed that the wall was wet with sweat, sweating like. And, you know, they proceeded to tell us in the cell, “Hey, my walls are sweating,” at which point I felt the wall beside my bunk, which was still completely dry. However, at that point, I reached down to the foot of my bed and grabbed my blanket. Well, my blanket was completely soaked with water.

    Shortly thereafter, sometime early on in the day, Sunday, the electricity went out. Power failed. The TVs went off. And no circulation, no air-conditioning in the room, the air became stagnant. The toilets in the bathroom, about six stalls, were full of excrement, and they were not working. They backed up and stopped working. The cell quickly became hot, steamy.

    And shortly thereafter, water entered the cell. It first entered the cell from a corner in the room, and it just quickly raced across the floor. And it was a manurish brown-colored water. It quickly rose. And after it reached the depth of the toilets, the toilets actually floated out into the cell. The water continued to rise at that time.

    Because I take a variety -- I had been given an intravenous injection of pig interferon on Friday before the hurricane, which causes flu-like symptoms, which basically leaves me bedridden or wheelchair-bound for three or four days after that injection, so that was the condition, physical condition, that I was in at the time of the hurricane. I was seated in my wheelchair that day.

    Well, the water quickly rose and covered my wheelchair. It also covered my lower bunk of the three stacked beds. As the day bore on and progressed, we had no electricity. And upon the approach of darkness, the cell was completely pitch black. You were unable to --

    AMY GOODMAN: And the water was now…?

    RODERICK DEAN: The water was above -- the water was above the first bed. My bed was completely submerged. I had climbed to an empty bunk on the third bunk.

    AMY GOODMAN: Where were the guards?

    RODERICK DEAN: There were no guards visible in sight. The last time I saw the guards was around -- well, they came at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. And we got our last meal in OPP, which was grits, around 6:00.

    [...]

    Quite Moving. Worth video streaming.

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    GM companies refuse to supply seed for trials

    [...]

    Mr Chance confirmed that the South East Premium Wheat Growers Association (SEPWA), which he approved to conduct the trials, has hit a brick wall in its attempts to source GM seed from Monsanto and Bayer, the companies who own the plant breeding rights to the controversial technology.

    Network of Concerned Farmers WA spokesperson, Julie Newman, claimed the lack of seed availability was an admission from GM crop supporters that the Esperance trials would reveal GM canola offered nothing better than the varieties already used by WA growers.

    "At last those pushing GM crops have admitted that GM canola cannot out-perform the canola we already grow," Ms Newman said.

    "And the GM companies are obviously afraid that the truth would be revealed with independence performance trials.

    "It is obvious that those pushing GM crops would prefer that farmers rely on misleading hype because farmers would not be supporting GM crops if they knew the facts."

    Ms Newman said the GM companies' reluctance to provide seed for the trials would now raise serious doubts from those farmers and farming groups who were hoping that the SEPWA trials would provide clear and independent evidence that GM performed better than conventional varieties.

    [...]

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    Fox News Reporters Fired For Being Too Tough on Monsanto Milk

    In 1997, the investigative reporting duo of Steve Wilson and Jane Akre cracked a story about Monsanto's conspiracy to push bovine growth hormone while ignoring the potential risks to its "end users." Unfortunately, they worked for Fox News. The channel was extremely reticent, to say the least, to run the story after coming under pressure by Monsanto.

    The piece could stand to lose the creepy music and overly dramatic reenactments of "scary corporate bigwigs" but its a story that bears repeating.

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    Verizon's Cancels Service Because You Called South Korea

    And so I thought this was my indoctrination into the Bush Administration’s new surveillance Protect America Act — the one that allows the tapping without warrants of telephone calls and e-mail routed through the U.S. Must admit I was nervous. I didn’t think that explaining to a South Korean media consultant, new media policies and advertising applications in the televisual realm in the U.S., was a breach of intelligence vital to the security of my fellow Americans.


    By post, Thursday Aug. 23, an officious letter, dated Aug. 17, from Verizon arrives:

    “Account Number: xxxxxxx (to protect my identity) Service Number: (left blank)


    Dear Verizon customer


    In an effort to protect customers, Verizon investigates and quickly attempts to notify customers of any unusual usage on their Verizon accounts. This usage may include invoiced or unbilled long distance charges. We have noticed unusual usage on your account, but have been unable to contact you by phone to verify the validity of the charges.


    Your service has been interrupted as a security measure….”


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    Verizon: A socially toxic and irresponsible, Outsourcing telecom Conglomerate wrapped in James Earl Jones Voice

    [...]

    Shubert's lawyer, Ivann Mazell, made an impassioned argument that the government was trying to overuse the state secrets privilege, which Mazell said must be balanced against Americans' constitutional rights.

    "According to the government's arguments, there is nothing to stop the exec from putting a bug in every bedroom," Mazell said. "They believe there is a national security exemption to Fourth amendment. The court is here to set a limit on unchecked executive power."

    Verizon lawyer Henry Weissmann argued that the privacy rules that largely bar phone companies from turning over records to the government were unconstitutional.

    "Communicating information to the government would be speech. Providing information to law enforcement would be petitioning," Weissmann said. "The plaintiff say there was too much speech, that too many records were provided."

    [...]

    The majority of the more than 50 anti-spying suits consolidated in Walker's courtroom are now on hold until the appeals court rules, but Verizon and the government moved to dismiss their case on the grounds that the earlier ruling did not apply to their case.

    Judge Walker closed the two-and-a-half hour hearing without ruling, saying only to the lawyers that "I probably won’t see you all until we get some guidance from the Ninth Circuit."



    Like other right wing scum their argument amounts to an unfounded claim that they are exempt from laws.


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    Verizon: A socially toxic and irresponsible, Outsourcing telecom Conglomerate wrapped in James Earl Jones Voice

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    Wednesday, August 29, 2007

    Excellent rap

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    Drug Warning Labels Should Include FDA Ties to Big Pharma

    They're just dropping like Chinese imports -- prescription drugs that turn out to be deadly after FDA approval.

    Not just Vioxx -- recently found to cause kidney problems on top of the heart attacks for which it was pulled -- but its seven deadly sisters named by the FDA's Dr. David Graham before Congress in 2004: Crestor, Meridia, Serevent, Lotronex, Arava, Accutane and Bextra.

    After a post-Vioxx damage control campaign -- "FDA has confidence in the safety and efficacy of Crestor" read AstraZeneca ads which the FDA pulled -- it wasn't that confident. The cholesterol drug Crestor was found in the heart journal Circulation to be eight times more likely to cause rhabdomyolysis, kidney failure or spillage of protein in the urine than other cholesterol drugs.

    Thirty users of Meridia, Abbott Laboratories' weight-loss drug, died of cardiovascular problems from 1997 to 2003 and 224 other experienced nonfatal strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular ailments according to FDA reports.

    And Accutane manufacturer Hoffman-La Roche Inc. goes to trial this October in Madison County, Illinois -- where the first Vioxx trial occurred -- to defend charges that its acne drug caused Jason Peipert's inflammatory bowel disease, which ruined the young soccer star's career.

    Then there's Sanofi-Aventis' notorious antibiotic Ketek -- blamed in the death of four and liver injury or failure of 37 since 2004 -- whose primary clinical trials doctor, Anne Kirkman Campbell, is in federal prison in Lexington, KY for forging data for money. (Test subjects included her entire staff and members of her family.)

    Another doctor upon whose clinical data Ketek was approved conducted trials while his medical license was on probation and was arrested for cocaine and gun possession soon after.

    And consider the atypical anti-psychotics whose marketing was also "atypical," with 29 percent of AstraZeneca's Seroquel sales coming from off-label Alzheimer use, even though studies say it worsens the condition. Or Eli Lilly settling 29,000 lawsuits from inadequate warnings about Zyprexa's diabetes, weight gain and pancreas infection side effects.

    Finally there's GlaxoSmithKline's Avandia, prescribed for 1 million Americans for type 2 diabetes and now known to increase the risk of heart attack by 43 percent and cardiovascular death by 64 percent.

    Avandia is more expensive and dangerous than older drugs and NOT more effective, said Dr. Graham to a joint panel of experts convened to consider the drug in July -- a charge he could also level against the other suspect drugs and Big Pharma itself.

    But instead of pulling the purloined drugs, the FDA just adds warnings and subtracts uses.

    Ketek is no longer recommended for sinus infections; just community acquired pneumonia.

    Meridia is only recommended for people who have to lose 30 pounds or more who don't have poorly controlled hypertension, a history of heart disease, stroke or severe liver or kidney disease.

    And Accutane users are clearly warned about suicidal behavior, birth defects and inflammatory bowel disease risks to the drug on the label.

    Because pulling the drugs not only affects sales, company image and stock price, it feeds lawsuits. ("The drug was so unsafe they PULLED IT FROM THE MARKET.")

    Besides, thanks to fast-tracking and six-month approvals, no one knows if a drug is dangerous anyway until a critical mass of human guinea pigs takes/tests it. Only about 3,000 people are tested in clinical trials that are conducted premarket, and what if the drug harms one in every 3,001? Do you really think lethal tests on beagles and other mammals keep you safe? Talk about dying in vain.

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    Pot Growers Are New Target in "War on Terror"

    The image “http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/marijuana-mar-com-1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

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    Bush Wants $50 Billion More for Iraq War

    President Bush plans to ask Congress next month for up to $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, a White House official said yesterday, a move that appears to reflect increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces.

    The request -- which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- is expected to be announced after congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S. officials in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and the effect of the new strategy the U.S. military has pursued this year.

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    U.S. soldiers arrested members of an Iranian government delegation Tuesday at a hotel in Baghdad

    The Iranians, who work for Tehran's power ministry, were in the capital at the invitation of Iraqi government officials to sign an electricity supply contract, the news agency said.

    The U.S. military said it detained some "Iranian citizens with Iranian passports" and their Iraqi escorts, who carried Iraqi Department of Energy badges, at a checkpoint in the Abu Nuwas market in eastern Baghdad's Rusafa district.

    The Iranians and Iraqis were detained when "a group of individuals in several vehicles" stopped at the checkpoint, and "several occupants were observed to have weapons," the military said.

    Soldiers searched the vehicles and confiscated the weapons because the Iraqis did not have government-issued cards permitting them to carry weapons, the U.S. military statement said.

    When asked about the discrepancy regarding the location of the incident, the military said it had no clarification.

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    Murderous Thug GW Bush Prepares Massive attack on IRAN

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    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    U.S. and World Population Clocks - POPClocks


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    Lockheed Martin earns billions training thousands to guard Saudi oil

    [...]

    The United States has also overseen an effort to modernize the Saudi Arabian National Guard, comprised of 75,000 people. The Bush administration also intends to sell at least $20 billion in weapons to Riyad.

    [...]


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    Monsanto: The Pus Filled Milk Company

    Federal regulators have turned down a request from Monsanto Co. to take action against dairy companies that advertise milk as free of synthetic hormones.

    The Federal Trade Commission said last week that the ads it reviewed did not make any misleading claims about the safety of recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBST, a hormone that boosts milk production in cows.

    St. Louis based-Monsanto, which markets the hormone under the brand name Posilac, had asked the FTC to investigate more than a half dozen companies that advertise milk products.

    The company claims the ads mislead consumers into thinking that milk from cows not treated with rBST are healthier or safer than dairy products from cows treated with the hormone.

    The hormone is banned in Canada and Europe, mainly due to concerns that it leaves cows more prone to illness. But the Food and Drug Administration and the company insist the hormone is safe and the FDA approved rBST to boost production in dairy cows in 1993.

    Still, many dairy farmers concerned about possible safety risks refuse to use the product and a growing number of retailers, including grocery chains Safeway and Kroger Co., have switched to milk free of synthetic hormones.

    The national milk brand Borden, for example, advertises that ``we work exclusively with farmers that supply 100 percent of our milk from cows that haven't been treated with artificial hormones. So, who do you trust when it comes to your family's milk?''

    [...]

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    Monsanto wants to patent pigs

    [...]
    In what critics call a dangerous power grab, the Monsanto Company is seeking wide-ranging control over swine reproduction methods in the form of patents which, if granted, would give the corporation economic rights over any offspring produced using those techniques.Documents obtained by Christoph Then, a Germany-based researcher for Greenpeace, show Monsanto's attempts to secure broad intellectual property protection for swine herds.
    [...]

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    Monsanto paid lobbyist $120,000 in 2007

    Agricultural products maker Monsanto Co. paid Ogilvy Government Relations $120,000 to lobby the federal government in the first half of 2007, according to a disclosure form.

    The firm lobbied on legislation dealing with patent reform, the farm bill, endangered species and other matters, according to the form posted online Aug. 7 by the Senate's public records office.

    Julie Dammann, former chief of staff for Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., is among those registered to lobby on behalf of Monsanto.

    Under a federal law enacted in 1995, lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches. They must register with Congress within 45 days of being hired or engaging in lobbying.

    Monsanto is based in St. Louis.

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    Even in ultra right wing Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo Joins Effort To Protect Kentucky Farmers against Monsanto

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    Top Swiss banker attacks US lending standards as 'unbelievable'

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    2008 candidates' reaction to Gonzales resignation

    [...]

    * FORMER NEW YORK CITY REPUBLICAN MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI: "Judge Gonzales served his nation honorably and I wish him well in the next phase of his career."

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    illustrates links between candidates and donors

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    Hmmm..I wonder how many nuclear weapons we have per person?

    The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world, a report released on Tuesday said.
    ADVERTISEMENT

    U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms, according to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies.

    About 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States, it said.

    "There is roughly one firearm for every seven people worldwide. Without the United States, though, this drops to about one firearm per 10 people," it said.
    [...]
    "Firearms are very unevenly distributed around the world. The image we have of certain regions such as Africa or Latin America being awash with weapons -- these images are certainly misleading," Small Arms Survey director Keith Krause said.
    [...]
    Only about 12 percent of civilian weapons are thought to be registered with authorities.

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    Complete 9/11 Timeline

    They let it happen.
    But they also made it happen through decades of insane foreign policy. Detailed knowledge of information on the 9/11 timeline site makes it completely clear the Bush Administration knew what was coming on 9/11 and did absolutely nothing to stop it.

    But what infuriates me even more than that, with all this information available, is how many Americans believe we are actually fighting a war against terrorism or that Israel is under attack by Arab terrorists and must defend itself or that those A-Rabs have been killing each other for hundreds of years because they are violent, tribal, incorrigible thugs (compared, I suppose, to civilized peace loving Christian Westerners-Bleech!) and so on.

    What could terminal satyriasis sufferer Bill O'Reilly possibly say if CNN actually reported information available on 9/11 time line or guerrilla news network or even Daily Kos? What could anyone say if that information were widely available through mainstream sources?

    Bush and his flying monkeys would be in prison.

    It frightens and depresses me that most Americans appear completely unable to think critically but that many of the average people who bother to think view CNN as liberal media, or at least as reliable, and Fox as "conservative" and so we continue on 6 years after the fact with little if any discussion of real threats, like our corporate run government which is the biggest threat America faces.

    I watched about 90 minutes total of Christiane Amanpour's 6 hour special on religious extremism and felt extremely frustrated by all the missed opportunities and mischaracterizations. Amanpour is the best of what CNN offers, but the best of CNN just isn't good enough and the worst of it - like Wolf Blitzer and Lou Dobbs - is downright crap

    I wonder what the twentieth century would have been like if Hitler had had media such as ours at his disposal?
    24 hours a day of lies, sensationalism and speculation passed off as independent, unbiased journalism...

    There's all that verifiable information, right there on the Internet, though that may not last many more years, yet there is no mechanism for it getting to millions and millions of people who are casual consumers of news. And that is what most people are - casual consumers of news.

    The media conglomerates need to broken up. It is not possible for democracy to exist inside this media system.

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    Mitt Romney has much in common with animal abuser and killer Michael Vick

    [...]
    Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack.
    [...]

    Now that's the kind of judgement we need working the oval office. NOT!http://migop.blogs.com/blog/images/romney.jpg

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    Monday, August 27, 2007

    Link to GOP Hypocrisy Archieve

    by no means complete

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    what's on the GOP's Mind? Apparently this...

    http://zing.waybig.com/reviews/VarsityMen/Summary/varsitymen-slide-show.jpg

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    GOP Senator Larry Craig Arrested for lewd conduct in men's bathroom or is any republican male heterosexual?

    U.S. Senator Larry Craig pleaded guilty this month to misdemeanor disorderly conduct after being arrested at the Minneapolis airport.

    A Hennepin County court docket shows that the Idaho Republican pleaded guilty to the disorderly conduct charge August eighth, with the court dismissing a charge of gross misdemeanor interference to privacy.

    The docket shows that Craig paid $575 in fines and fees. He was put on unsupervised probation for a year. A sentence of 10 days in the county workhouse was stayed.

    The case was first reported by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper. Roll Call says on its Web site that Craig was arrested June eleventh by a plainclothes officer investigating complaints of lewd conduct in a men's restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

    US Senator Larry Craig

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    posting to Be Good Tanyas

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    Lawless Little Al, world class joke of an attorney general, resigns

    http://www.villagevoice.com/blogs/bushbeat/archive/images/bush-gonzales.jpg

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    Sunday, August 26, 2007

    Mississippi Prison Privatization

    A private prison on U.S. 84 is the first big project to come to Adams County in years, but it won’t be the last, the governor says.

    Gov. Haley Barbour’s message at Thursday’s groundbreaking for the future site of Corrections Corporation of America’s new facility was one of hope.

    [...]

    Barbour also presented Adams County Supervisors President Darryl Grennell with official approval of a $3.9 million federal grant toward the sewer and water infrastructure, which will be provided for the facility.

    [...]

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    government sanctioned mugging

    "Mere possession of approximately $23,700 does not establish probable cause for a search or seizure," the lawsuit said.

    It said Prieto pulled into the weigh station about 10:30 a.m. Aug. 8 and was let go about 4 p.m.

    DEA agents told Prieto he would receive a notice of federal proceedings to permanently forfeit the money within 30 days and that to get it back, he'd have to prove it was his and did not come from illegal drug sales.

    They told him the process probably would take a year, the ACLU said.

    The ACLU's New Mexico executive director, Peter Simonson, said Prieto needs his money now to pay bills and maintain his truck. The lawsuit said Prieto does not like banks and customarily carries his savings as cash.

    "The government took Mr. Prieto's money as surely as if he had been robbed on a street corner at night," Simonson said. "In fact, being robbed might have been better. At least then the police would have treated him as the victim of a crime instead of as a perpetrator."

    The DEA did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

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    Iraq corruption whistleblowers face penalties

    One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

    Or worse.

    For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

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    Schwarzenegger Cuts California homeless program

    Budget signed
    among the cuts: $1.3 million to track hospital efforts to eliminate infections, which kill more than 7,000 Californians a year; $30 million for state parks; and $6 million to compel drug manufacturers to discount medicines for lower-income people.

    Schwarzenegger ordered state health officials to find more than $6 million in other parts of the budget to keep the drug program alive, but the cuts will delay the website the state was going to set up to tell consumers which discounts were available.

    He also struck a $17.4-million plan to protect seniors.
    [...]
    But in justifying it, Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said local governments should step in instead. "We believe if these programs are a priority to counties, they have resources available to them to provide funding," he said.

    Counties across the state, however, are facing the slow erosion of their traditional mental health budgets; state Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who created the just-eliminated program in 1999, called the cut "unconscionable."

    He noted that despite the allegedly strapped conditions of the state, legislators managed to preserve a tax break for some purchasers of yachts, planes and recreational vehicles -- a measure that could cost the state as much as $45 million.

    "A $45-million tax break for yacht owners stays in the budget," Steinberg said. "And a nationally recognized, incredibly effective program to end homelessness for those living with mental illness gets thrown under the bus."

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    Saturday, August 25, 2007

    BANKING CRISIS

    [...]

    Since late July, both of the two "bookends" of Sir Alan Greenspan's last and greatest debt bubble have been collapsing in on it: the U.S. mortgage-securities bubble, on which the banks of Europe and Asia were feeding, and which had already grown to 49% of all bank assets in the United States; and the now-unwinding "yen carry trade," which was feeding some $500 billion annually in "free money," by some estimates, into that and related financial bubbles. That cheap-yen carry trade shrank as the yen rose steadily against the dollar during August, and more rapidly against the euro and, especially, the British pound sterling.

    By the second half of August, financial news services were also reporting that the $1 trillion-plus asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) market was in crisis, and thus the credit-market meltdown was starting to hit the savings of the general public directly. Some 40 million Americans, for example, invest savings in "money-market funds"; and those funds commonly invest in ABC paper because it is supposed to be both very safe—keeping the constant $1 value of every share in those money-market funds—and very liquid, allowing people to write checks on those funds.

    Now, the ABC paper market is apparently anything but safe, and anything but liquid, with one big British bank, HBOS, attempting to organize a rescue Aug. 21 of its ABPC fund which could neither roll over, nor redeem, $30 billion of the stuff. The entire Canadian ABCP market froze up in the week of Aug. 13, and when temporarily bailed out, some of that "immediately liquid" commercial paper involuntarily became eight-year loans! One Canadian economist told EIR that the money-market funds—worth about $3 trillion total—have $100 billion invested in ABC paper, and another $100 billion in the mortgage derivatives called collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) which are laying low hedge funds and banks around the world.

    The failures of major hedge funds, and banks, is now a matter of time. By early Fall, in the judgment of Lyndon LaRouche, the financial system will be unable to continue functioning, without bankruptcy reorganization carried out by governments to save their people's jobs, homes, and savings, and to invest in restoring their productivity.

    [...]

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    Dollar Falls on Reduced Concern Housing Will Slow Global Growth

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    Poisonious Plastic packaging is everywhere

    In mice and rats there is evidence that low doses of bisphenol A can cause structural damage to the brain, hyperactivity, abnormal sexual behavior, increased fat formation, early puberty and disrupted reproductive cycles.

    Vom Saal looked at 115 published studies concerning low-doses of bisphenol A. Overall, 94 of them reported significant effects in rats and mice, while 21 did not.

    Eleven of the studies were funded by chemical companies. None of those 11 found harmful effects of the chemical, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is detected in 95% of all people tested.

    But more than 90% of the studies conducted by independent scientists not associated with the chemical industry found adverse consequences, says vom Saal. He called the disparity between the industry and government or university conclusions "stunning."

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    John Locke

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    THE SOCIAL CONTRACT

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    more on the nightmare that is the global economy

    Of course there is no longer a social contract between the rulers and the ruled in the United States either, or in any country where corporate globalizers run government.

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    Climate, biofuel new challenge to poverty alleviation

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    Global warming to decimate China's harvests

    The year 2030 is a key date because that is when the nation's population is expected to peak at 1.5 billion people, up from just over 1.3 billion today, requiring an extra 100 million tons of food to feed them. "Global warming may cause the grain harvest to fall by five to 10 percent, that is by 30-50 million tons, by 2030," the China Daily quoted Zheng as saying.

    "Warmer weather will shorten the growth period of some grains and their seeds won't have enough time to ripen." Farmland has been shrinking rapidly in recent years due to China's historic urbanisation process, and Zheng's estimate of an extra 10 million hectares is nearly double what is available today.

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    Private Fire Fighters for The Wealthy. The rest of you can burn

    A private fire crew dispatched by a national insurance company that caters to wealthy clients is guarding 22 high-end homes threatened by the Castle Rock Fire, a blaze that has forced the evacuation of hundreds of million-dollar homes west of Ketchum.

    The crew will protect only homes insured by AIG Private Client Group, an insurance company that offers "loss-prevention services" to its wealthiest customers. A truck and two-man crew sent by AIG from Montana arrived in Ketchum about 2 p.m. Wednesday to start dousing properties with Phos-Chek, the same fire retardant dropped from U.S. Forest Service aircraft.

    "We're not going out there to fight the fire," said Dorothy Sarna, vice president and national director of risk-management services and loss prevention for the New York-based company. "We're out there to protect our clients."

    Veteran fire managers now working the Castle Rock fire say they've never heard of a private fire crew protecting individual homes in the midst of a wildfire, said Dave Olson, a spokesman for the Forest Service.

    The private crew has been granted access to areas closed to residents, but not all officials with public fire agencies were thrilled by the sight of the truck scooting through a smoky web of government fire crews.

    "That sounds ridiculous to me," said Kim Rogers, a Ketchum Police Department spokesman, "especially since we haven't lost any structures. I mean, this is a Forest Service fire, not a private fire."

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    What Really Happened on 9/11?

    [...]

    But – here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It's not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled? Why did flight 93's debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I'm not talking about the crazed "research" of David Icke's Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster – which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone directory.

    I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin towers – whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480C – would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.) What about the third tower – the so-called World Trade Centre Building 7 (or the Salmon Brothers Building) – which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in its own footprint at 5.20pm on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the ground when no aircraft had hit it? The American National Institute of Standards and Technology was instructed to analyse the cause of the destruction of all three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7. Two prominent American professors of mechanical engineering – very definitely not in the "raver" bracket – are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final report on the grounds that it could be "fraudulent or deceptive".

    Journalistically, there were many odd things about 9/11. Initial reports of reporters that they heard "explosions" in the towers – which could well have been the beams cracking – are easy to dismiss. Less so the report that the body of a female air crew member was found in a Manhattan street with her hands bound. OK, so let's claim that was just hearsay reporting at the time, just as the CIA's list of Arab suicide-hijackers, which included three men who were – and still are – very much alive and living in the Middle East, was an initial intelligence error.

    But what about the weird letter allegedly written by Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian hijacker-murderer with the spooky face, whose "Islamic" advice to his gruesome comrades – released by the CIA – mystified every Muslim friend I know in the Middle East? Atta mentioned his family – which no Muslim, however ill-taught, would be likely to include in such a prayer. He reminds his comrades-in-murder to say the first Muslim prayer of the day and then goes on to quote from it. But no Muslim would need such a reminder – let alone expect the text of the "Fajr" prayer to be included in Atta's letter.

    Let me repeat. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Spare me the ravers. Spare me the plots. But like everyone else, I would like to know the full story of 9/11, not least because it was the trigger for the whole lunatic, meretricious "war on terror" which has led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan and in much of the Middle East. Bush's happily departed adviser Karl Rove once said that "we're an empire now – we create our own reality". True? At least tell us. It would stop people kicking over chairs.


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    Republican Child Molester and Former Congressman Mark Foley Likely to Face No charges Just Like REpublican Traitor Libby Faces no prison Time

    But as of now, the end of Foley's political career may be the most severe consequence the former congressman faces for the revelations that stunned his longtime supporters and prompted his immediate resignation, just weeks before the 2006 election. The Fort Pierce Republican represented parts of St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties.

    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said this week the investigation should be completed within the next several days.

    Sources close to the investigation told Scripps to date there has been no criminal finding against Foley. Once the investigation is completed, it will be turned over to prosecutors in Pensacola. Pensacola has jurisdiction in the case because that is where Foley was when one of the explicit messages was sent.

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    Friday, August 24, 2007

    Let Them Eat Cake

    Bad weather in key grain growing areas such as Canada and parts of Europe has limited supplies as demand has risen, sparking fears of a supply shortfall.

    Surging prices are also expected to have widespread fallout for consumers.

    While it will mean higher bread prices, it could also trigger an increase in meat and dairy prices as farmers battle to pass on rising feed costs.

    Global wheat stockpiles will slip to their lowest levels in 26 years as a result, official US figures predicted earlier this month.

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    Astronomers Locate Cosmic Birth Canal. God is a Woman

    [...]
    "We already knew there was something different about this spot in the sky," Rudnick said. The region had been dubbed the "WMAP Cold Spot," because it stood out in a map of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation made by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotopy Probe (WMAP) satellite, launched by NASA in 2001. The CMB, faint radio waves that are the remnant radiation from the Big Bang, is the earliest "baby picture" available of the Universe. Irregularities in the CMB show structures that existed only a few hundred thousand years after the Big Bang.
    [...]http://www.sciencemusings.com/blog/uploaded_images/CatNew-701949.jpg

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    Nepotism: Ari's Brother Profiting from Iraq Carnage

    Ari's ugly brother Michael

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    Right Wing Pig Ted Nugent Gone off Deep End of Racism and Misogyny. Get him off my TV and radio

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    Ari Fleischer with Creepy Joe Scarborough (click how do we protect America)

    Ari Fleischer is a man without conscience, reason, understanding, loyalty to America or much scalp hair.

    http://archive.salon.com/news/feature/2005/03/14/fleischer/story.jpg

    Hearing him compare the American invasion and occupation of Iraq to America's involvement in Germany in WWII would make me laugh if it didn't make me so sick.

    It isn't Iraq who is conducting, like Germany did, wars of aggression. It is George Bush and his pals at Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, etc., it is George Bush who is conducting a war of aggression against Iraq and a class war against Americans.

    It is George Bush and his fascist pack of advisers and handlers who lied, distorted and obfuscated facts in order to gain public support for an American war of aggression in Iraq, a war that has raised the threat of terrorism world wide and ratcheted up the quite justified hatred of America by people all over the planet. It is George Bush who has killed a million Iraqis and transformed another 4 million into refugees all the while doing exactly nothing about the real threat of terrorism against Americans. And it is men like Ari Fleischer who make it possible for sociopaths like George Bush to prevail.

    Shameless liar Ari Fleischer, former white house propagandist, is one of the fascist brat pack who went before the cameras day after day to mislead the public into believing Iraq was in any way involved in 9/11.

    And then there's Fleisher blaming Jimmy Carter for the existence of an Islamic government in Iran.

    What kind of delusion producing drug is this guy on?
    Maybe that young wife of his, 16 years younger than he is, has worn him out so badly he can't think clearly and can't distinguish fantasy from reality.
    Though he seemed to have some grasp on reality back when he quit his job as white house spokes boy to avoid prosecution after his participation in the public disclosure of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity, but his tenuous grasp must've been shaken off by The Chimperor giving dirty liar Scooter Libby a get of jail free card. (I suppose the whole cadre of Bush felons can reasonably expect to be pardoned now, after that complete gang rape of justice on behalf of Libby.)

    The corporatist TV interviewers fail to ask Ari if he thinks the decades long British thieving of Iran's oil resources, leaving the people in poverty while British Petroleum in its various incarnations got richer, or if the CIA overthrow of democratically elected Iranian president Mohammed Mossadegh in order to install pro western dictator and traitor to his own people Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, back in 1953 when the ripped off, impoverished Iranians dared to suggest they control their own oil resources has anything to do with Islamic Iran.

    Nor do they ask him about more recently when the neokkkon Bush squad raved on about the axis of evil as Iran verged on elections. Those of us who think, think that probably played a role in bringing Gilligan look alike Ahmadinejad to power. Of course that's what Bush and his pals want. Excuses to go to war. Reasons to keep the middle east unstable and the oil under western control. Ways to reroute American tax dollars into their military corporations for their own personal gain at the expense o their country.

    Yeah, there are many reason there is Islamic fundamentalism in Iran and none of them have anything to do with Jimmy Carter. Neocon scum may have finally grasped the importance of smearing Carter since he is the last president to even attempt to address the real issues of America's fossil fuel dependence, and pissed off the oil companies by urge Americans to conserve.

    And why is a whiny, disingenuous prick like Joe Scarborough even still on the air at MSNBC? It is time for that creep to be fired

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    Thursday, August 23, 2007

    NPR Touts Pro-Nuke 'Environmentalists'- Network's own nuclear links undisclosed

    An August 15 NPR Morning Edition segment touted the benefits of nuclear power, suggesting it was gaining popularity with many environmentalists who once opposed it.

    The segment was an interview with Fortune magazine editor David Whitford, who has written a series of articles about the debate over nuclear power. The piece was introduced by NPR anchor John Ydstie, who asserted that "with fossil fuel carbon emissions in the environmental bull's-eye, nuclear power is starting to shake off its bad reputation." Whitford elaborated on the claim that nuclear power's image is improving: "There are many environmentalists now who began their careers opposed to nuclear power who are now reconsidering nuclear power in the face of global warming."

    But Whitford cited just one such environmentalist, Stewart Brand, describing him simply as the creator of the 60s and 70's publication, the Whole Earth Catalogue, and calling him "sort of the original off-the-grid environmentalist." In fact, Brand is currently a businessman, a co-founder and leader of the corporate consulting group Global Business Network (GBN). GBN numbers, among the 192 clients named on its website, more than a dozen corporations and governmental agencies involved in the production or promotion of nuclear energy: General Electric, Bechtel, Duke Power, Siemens-Westinghouse, Fluor, Electric Power Research Institute, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, Électricité de France, Iberdrola, Vattenfall, Sydkraft (now E.ON Sweden) and Sandia National Labratories. Some of these, including GE, Bechtel, Duke Power and Westinghouse, are receiving government subsidies to develop the next generation of nuclear power plants, according to a Department of Energy report. Brand's financial links with the industry went unmentioned in the NPR segment.

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    Austria says U.S. missile shield a 'provocation'

    Austria’s defense minister said a planned U.S. missile shield defense system in eastern Europe was a “provocation,” and called on Washington to abandon the project, according to a news report published Thursday.

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    No Wonder Pat Robertson has issued Death Threat against Hugo Chavez

    Venezuelan women improve their role with the process of change led by President Hugo Chavez, including the constitutional reform and the creation of a new party, deputy Gabriela Ramirez stated Thursday.

    In statements to Prensa Latina, Ramirez, president of the parliamentary commission of Family, Women and Youth, said the country's socialist project will increase women's presence in the national administration.

    "We are going to deepen women role as leaders in Venezuelan society," the National Assembly deputy stated.

    Ramirez said that women participate significantly in communal councils, with 60 percent or more.

    The Venezuelan deputy said "women are holding powerful positions from the socialist forces, on equal terms."

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    Fossils belong to new great ape

    The 10 million-year-old fossils belong to an animal that has been named Chororapithecus abyssinicus by an Ethiopian-Japanese team.

    This new species could be a direct ancestor of living African great apes, say the researchers.

    The finds from the Afar rift, in eastern Ethiopia, raise questions on current theories of human evolution.
    Chororapithecus abyssinicus teeth  Image: Gen Suwa

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    Chimpy McBush rewrites the history of Viet Nam

    Chimpy, that flip flopper, must have disagreed with himself back when he was a young monkey during the actual Amerikkkan attack on Viet Nam.
    When it was time for Chimpy (and his other Neokkkon pals) to fight in Viet Nam he joined, with his daddy's help, the national guard to avoid doing exactly that.

    And when it was time to do his guard duty he went AWOL and busied himself snorting coke, slurping bourbon, conquering virgins and working on right wing extremist political campaigns right here in the US.

    His inexpert analysis of history in which he compares Japan at the end of world war II to Viet Nam in the 1970s not only exposes his complete incapacity for critical thinking, but is yet one more strong indication that this unelected pretender, this cheating, lying, anti-democratic class warrior, this bird brained war monger is stupid enough to lead what is left of America into an attack on Iran.

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    Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    Got Milk? Then Bomb Iran.

    http://images.salon.com/news/feature/2006/07/28/bolton/story.jpg

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    On The Road Turns Fifty

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    Bush Administration Mining Deregulation Program and Stickler recess appointment killed people in Crandall Canyon


    Robert Murray insists that his company did not change the mining plan at Crandall Canyon after purchasing a joint interest in the mine last August.
    But documents obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune clearly contradict Murray's assertion, and show that Murray's company sought and received approval from federal regulators to make a significant, and, experts say, risky change to the mining strategy.
    Records of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) show that, after Murray acquired a 50 percent ownership in the mine on Aug. 9, 2006, his company repeatedly petitioned the agency to allow coal to be extracted from the north and south barriers - thick walls of coal that run on both sides
    [...]

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    California voters are sending an outspoken critic of President Bush to Congress

    [...]

    Assemblywoman Laura Richardson took 67 percent of the vote in Tuesday's special election in the heavily Democratic 37th Congressional District, which includes Long Beach, Carson and Compton.

    Republican John Kanaley, a police officer and Iraq war veteran, was second with 25 percent of the vote, followed by Green Party member Daniel Brezenoff and Libertarian Herb Peters, according to unofficial returns.

    Turnout was only 8.6 percent, according to election officials. With all precincts reporting, Richardson, a Democrat, had 14,105 votes to Kanaley's 5,309.

    [...]

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    The Unreliable Food Supply

    The apple-blackberry sauce sold widely in Seattle supermarkets, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture organic seal on the label, says it comes from Chino, Calif. It also says "Product of Canada."

    So how do you know where it's from? You don't.

    Dried banana chips are labeled as being from Sumner. But banana trees don't grow in Sumner. Peanut butter from Canada? There are no peanut farms in that country.

    Congress passed a law in 2002 saying that consumers were to be told where the food they buy comes from. But five years later, shoppers who try to determine the origin of meat, poultry, fruit, vegetables and frozen or canned food in most of America's grocery stores often enter an Oz-like land of obfuscations, omission or outright lies.

    [...]

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    Agricultural Civilization Dying Where it Began



    [...]
    The Delta was already in danger, threatened by the side effects of southern Egypt's Aswan Dam. Though the dam, completed in 1970, generates much-needed electricity and controls Nile River flooding, it also keeps nutrient sediment from replenishing the eroding Delta.

    Add climate change to the mix, and the Delta faces new uncertainties that could have a potentially more devastating effect on Egypt.

    Scientists generally predict that the Mediterranean, and the world's other seas, will rise between one foot and 3.3 feet by the end of the century, flooding coastal areas along the Delta.

    Already, the Mediterranean has been creeping upward about .08 inches annually for the last decade, flooding parts of Egypt's shoreline, el-Raey said.

    By 2100, the rising waters could wipe out the sandy beaches that attract thousands of tourists. Also at risk would be the buried treasures archaeologists are still uncovering in ancient Alexandria, once the second most important city in the Roman Empire.

    But those losses would pale to the impact of the worst-case scenario that some scientists are predicting - global warming unexpectedly and rapidly breaking up the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.

    If this happens, seas could rise by about 16 feet, causing mass devastation to the region, according to a World Bank study released this year.

    Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Penn State University, said the sheets are collapsing at slow rate, but much faster than scientists thought a decade ago. A complete collapse could take "at least centuries," said Alley, an expert on ice melt.

    But even minimal sea rise in the next century would have serious consequences for Egypt, experts warn.

    A rise of 3.3 feet would flood a quarter of the Delta, forcing about 10.5 percent of Egypt's population from their homes, according to the World Bank. The impact would be all the more staggering if Egypt's population, as expected, doubles to about 160 million by the middle of the century. The Delta is already densely packed with about 4,000 people per square mile.

    Also hit would be Egypt's food supply. Nearly half of Egypt's crops, including wheat, bananas and rice, are grown in the Delta.

    Areas not under water would also be affected, with salt water from the Mediterranean contaminating the fresh ground water from the Nile River used for irrigation.
    [...]

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    Oil Companies Fixed Gas Prices in Violation of Trust Laws to drive prices artificially high

    [...]
    Like the previous case, the plaintiffs in this case say chairmen of the three oil companies met privately nearly every month starting in March 1996 for the "purpose of forming and organizing a combination." The lawsuit alleges executives destroyed documents from the meetings, and a now-defunct joint venture violated U.S. antitrust laws and caused artificially high wholesale gas prices in nearly every state from 1999 to 2001.
    [...]

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    Monday, August 20, 2007

    Bush's Brain

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    Americans may need passports to board domestic flights or to picnic in a national park next year

    http://journalism_jobs.tripod.com/images/chertoff.jpg

    Colorado and New Hampshire lawmakers are not alone. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation say the IDs and supporting databases -- which Chertoff said would eventually be federally interconnected -- will infringe on privacy.

    EFF says on its Web site that the information in the databases will lay the groundwork for "a wide range of surveillance activities" by government and businesses that "will be able to easily read your private information" because of the bar code required on each card.

    The databases will provide a one-stop shop for identity thieves, adds the ACLU on its Web site, and the U.S. "surveillance society" and private sector will have access to the system "for the routine tracking, monitoring and regulation of individuals' movements and activities."

    The civil liberties watchdog dubs the IDs "internal passports" and claims it wouldn't be long before office buildings, gas stations, toll booths, subways and buses begin accessing the system.

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    Ronald Reagan's Diary

    Direct quote from the just published REAGAN DIARIES.

    The entry is dated May 17, 1986.

    'A moment I've been dreading. George brought his ne're-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida. The one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.'

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    USDA Cracking Down on “Organic” Factory Farms

    Earlier this spring the 10,000-cow Vander Eyk factory dairy in Pixley, California lost its organic certification after an investigation revealed numerous violations of federal organic rules. The industrial-scale operation had been publicly spotlighted by The Cornucopia Institute for organic management irregularities. The Vander Eyk dairy had been selling its milk to Stremicks (Heritage-Foods) and Dean Foods (Horizon).

    Based on documents recently received by Cornucopia through an earlier FOIA request, the Vander Eck dairy lost their ability to market organic milk not only because they lacked pasture for their cattle but also because they violated requirements for careful record-keeping to assure that all cows milked were eligible for organic certification and all the feed they consumed was actually organically grown.

    “It now appears that our concerns about the giant industrial dairy cutting corners by confining cattle in a ‘factory-farm’ setting was just the tip of the iceberg,” said Will Fantle, Cornucopia’s research director. “The foundation of the organic certification process is the maintenance of a comprehensive farm audit trail which can be reviewed by independent certification inspectors and the USDA. The fact that Vander Eyk could not produce the documents requested by his certifier, and that he did not appeal the enforcement action, is just damning.”

    The controversy about the growing number of factory-farms producing organic milk has come to a head this year as the number of farmers transitioning to organic dairy production has dramatically increased causing a surplus of organic milk for the first time. That surplus, largely attributed to the mega-farms, is now driving down prices to family farmers around the country endangering their livelihoods. It’s also become a tragedy for some family farmers around the country who have gone through the arduous and expensive three-year transition to organic management but now have nowhere to ship their milk.

    “With at least 15 of these giant dairies operating, mostly in the arid west, they have succeeded in jeopardizing the livelihood of the 1500 or so ethical dairy farm families who are doing this right,” said Merrill Clark, an organic livestock producer from Cassopolis, Michigan and former member of the USDA’s expert advisory panel, the National Organic Standards Board.

    “The good news for consumers is that in our survey of organic dairy brands, a full 90% of namebrand products received very high ratings in our scorecard that critiqued the environmental and animal husbandry practices used in sourcing the organic milk for the dairy products,” the Cornucopia’s Kastel said. “With a small amount of research, consumers who care about maintaining the integrity of organics can easily find organic dairy products they can believe in.”

    Aurora is owned by some of the same conventional factory-farm operators that founded the Horizon Organic brand and then later sold it to Dean Foods. Aurora’s largest equity stake is controlled by CharlesBank of Boston, which invests capital for the Harvard endowment fund.


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    The George W Bush Economy

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    Joni Mitchell

    I don't understand why Europeans and South Americans can take more sophistication. Why is it that Americans need to hear their happiness major and their tragedy minor, and as jazzy as they can handle is a seventh chord? Are they not experiencing complex emotions?
    http://mog.com/pictures/wikipedia/16422/JoniMitchellPaintingWords-1.jpg

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    Sociopath and professional closet case KKkarl Rove diverted federal tax payer funds to support party of crazy or GOP

    The image “http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/usa/karl-rove/rove2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

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    America's Mercenary Army

    When years from now historians and government officials reexamine precedents set by the U.S. experience in Iraq, many "firsts" are likely to pop up.

    One still playing out is the extraordinarily wide use of private contractors. A Congressional Research Service report published last month titled "Private Security Contractors in Iraq: Background, Legal Status, and Other Issues," puts it this way: "Iraq appears to be the first case where the U.S. government has used private contractors extensively for protecting persons and property in potentially hostile or hostile situations where host country security forces are absent or deficient."

    Only estimates are available for the total employment by contractors in Iraq that perform "functions once carried by the U.S. military," according to the study. Testimony at an April 2007 congressional hearing gave the impressive figure of 127,000 as the number working in Iraq under Defense Department contracts. Breakdowns don't exist, but one Pentagon official said less than 20 percent were American.

    [...]

    But the expanded contractor use has evoked new attention to a 1995 criticism of the practice. According to the study, a Defense Department Commission on Roles and Missions found then that depending on contractors was detrimental and that it kept the Pentagon "from building and maintaining capacity needed for strategic or other important missions."

    An advertisement last week on IntelligenceCareers.com illustrates part of the problem. It seeks an "Intelligence Analyst" to work in Iraq for a Dayton, Ohio-based outfit called MacAulay-Brown, or MacB, which in turn is a subcontractor to the giant Lockheed Martin information technology group. The client is Counterintelligence Field Activity, the Defense Department's newest intelligence arm, which is responsible for coordinating force protection for the military services inside the United States and abroad.

    [...]

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    Hundreds of Saudi camels die from mystery ailment

    A camel is pictured at al-Shaybah desert, 900km (559 miles) from the Saudi capital of Riyadh July 28, 2007. Hundreds of camels have died in Saudi Arabia this week from a mystery ailment. (Yousef Duobisi/Reuters)

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    Dopey America: Pain medicine use has nearly doubled between 1997 and 2005

    The amount of five major painkillers sold at retail establishments rose 90 percent between 1997 and 2005, according to an Associated Press analysis of statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    More than 200,000 pounds of codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and meperidine were purchased at retail stores during the most recent year represented in the data. That total is enough to give more than 300 milligrams of painkillers to every person in the country.

    Oxycodone, the chemical used in OxyContin, is responsible for most of the increase. Oxycodone use jumped nearly six-fold between 1997 and 2005. The drug gained notoriety as "hillbilly heroin," often bought and sold illegally in Appalachia. But its highest rates of sale now occur in places such as suburban St. Louis, Columbus, Ohio, and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

    The world of pain extends beyond big cities and involves more than oxycodone.

    In Appalachia, retail sales of hydrocodone—sold mostly as Vicodin—are the highest in the nation. Nine of the 10 areas with the highest per-capita sales are in mostly rural parts of West Virginia, Kentucky or Tennessee.

    [...]

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    Right wing media curtails Coverage of Illegal occupation in Iraq

    [...]

    Taken together, the war's three major story lines -- the U.S. policy debate, events in Iraq and their impact on the U.S. homefront -- slipped roughly a third, to 15 percent of an index of total news coverage, down from 22 percent in the first three months of the year.

    The study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism examined 18,010 stories that appeared between April 1 and June 29. Its "News Coverage Index" encompasses 48 outlets, including newspapers, radio, online, cable and network television.

    [...]

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    13 die as floodwaters inundate Midwest

    Image: Flooding in Minnesota

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    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Major Find at Sagalassos

    [image]

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    Guatemala

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    Gunmen in Guatemala have shot dead a politician in another attack apparently linked to next month's presidential, parliamentary and local elections

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    Australia holds the world's last great savanna as Planet is Destroyed

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    Ex-House Speaker and full time lard ass Hastert to retire: source

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    Bush Regime Spreads Poverty at home and abroad

    About 8 million Iraqis — nearly a third of the population — need immediate emergency aid because of the humanitarian crisis caused by the war, relief agencies said Monday.

    Those Iraqis are in urgent need of water, sanitation, food and shelter, said the report by Oxfam and the NGO Coordination Committee network in Iraq.

    The report said 15 percent of Iraqis cannot regularly afford to eat, and 70 percent are without adequate water supplies, up from 50 percent in 2003. It also said 28 percent of children are malnourished, compared with 19 percent before the 2003 invasion.

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    Finding Bolivar's Heir

    The report offers a never-before-seen interview with Chavez, insight into Chavez’s relationship with the U.S. as well as Chavez’s plans for Venezuela, perspectives from opposition party members and raw footage from the slums of Caracas.

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    Venezuela to create oil services company, 'our own Halliburton'

    [...]
    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez aims to make the nation's oil industry self-sufficient as he advances what he's labeled his "Bolivarian Revolution." That's a nationalist movement named after South American independence hero Simon Bolivar.
    [...]

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    The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

    [...]

    "Post-conflict" countries now receive 20-25 percent of the World Bank's total lending, up from 16 percent in 1998--itself an 800 percent increase since 1980, according to a Congressional Research Service study. Rapid response to wars and natural disasters has traditionally been the domain of United Nations agencies, which worked with NGOs to provide emergency aid, build temporary housing and the like. But now reconstruction work has been revealed as a tremendously lucrative industry, too important to be left to the do-gooders at the UN. So today it is the World Bank, already devoted to the principle of poverty-alleviation through profit-making, that leads the charge.

    And there is no doubt that there are profits to be made in the reconstruction business. There are massive engineering and supplies contracts ($10 billion to Halliburton in Iraq and Afghanistan alone); "democracy building" has exploded into a $2 billion industry; and times have never been better for public-sector consultants--the private firms that advise governments on selling off their assets, often running government services themselves as subcontractors. (Bearing Point, the favored of these firms in the United States, reported that the revenues for its "public services" division "had quadrupled in just five years," and the profits are huge: $342 million in 2002--a profit margin of 35 percent.)

    But shattered countries are attractive to the World Bank for another reason: They take orders well. After a cataclysmic event, governments will usually do whatever it takes to get aid dollars--even if it means racking up huge debts and agreeing to sweeping policy reforms. And with the local population struggling to find shelter and food, political organizing against privatization can seem like an unimaginable luxury.

    Even better from the bank's perspective, many war-ravaged countries are in states of "limited sovereignty": They are considered too unstable and unskilled to manage the aid money pouring in, so it is often put in a trust fund managed by the World Bank. This is the case in East Timor, where the bank doles out money to the government as long as it shows it is spending responsibly. Apparently, this means slashing public-sector jobs (Timor's government is half the size it was under Indonesian occupation) but lavishing aid money on foreign consultants the bank insists the government hire (researcher Ben Moxham writes, "In one government department, a single international consultant earns in one month the same as his twenty Timorese colleagues earn together in an entire year").

    In Afghanistan, where the World Bank also administers the country's aid through a trust fund, it has already managed to privatize healthcare by refusing to give funds to the Ministry of Health to build hospitals. Instead it funnels money directly to NGOs, which are running their own private health clinics on three-year contracts. It has also mandated "an increased role for the private sector" in the water system, telecommunications, oil, gas and mining and directed the government to "withdraw" from the electricity sector and leave it to "foreign private investors." These profound transformations of Afghan society were never debated or reported on, because few outside the bank know they took place: The changes were buried deep in a "technical annex" attached to a grant providing "emergency" aid to Afghanistan's war-torn infrastructure--two years before the country had an elected government.

    It has been much the same story in Haiti, following the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In exchange for a $61 million loan, the bank is requiring "public-private partnership and governance in the education and health sectors," according to bank documents--i.e., private companies running schools and hospitals. Roger Noriega, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, has made it clear that the Bush Administration shares these goals. "We will also encourage the government of Haiti to move forward, at the appropriate time, with restructuring and privatization of some public sector enterprises," he told the American Enterprise Institute on April 14, 2004.

    These are extraordinarily controversial plans in a country with a powerful socialist base, and the bank admits that this is precisely why it is pushing them now, with Haiti under what approaches military rule. "The Transitional Government provide[s] a window of opportunity for implementing economic governance reforms...that may be hard for a future government to undo," the bank notes in its Economic Governance Reform Operation Project agreement. For Haitians, this is a particularly bitter irony: Many blame multilateral institutions, including the World Bank, for deepening the political crisis that led to Aristide's ouster by withholding hundreds of millions in promised loans. At the time, the Inter-American Development Bank, under pressure from the State Department, claimed Haiti was insufficiently democratic to receive the money, pointing to minor irregularities in a legislative election. But now that Aristide is out, the World Bank is openly celebrating the perks of operating in a democracy-free zone.

    The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have been imposing shock therapy on countries in various states of shock for at least three decades, most notably after Latin America's military coups and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet many observers say that today's disaster capitalism really hit its stride with Hurricane Mitch. For a week in October 1998, Mitch parked itself over Central America, swallowing villages whole and killing more than 9,000. Already impoverished countries were desperate for reconstruction aid--and it came, but with strings attached. In the two months after Mitch struck, with the country still knee-deep in rubble, corpses and mud, the Honduran congress initiated what the Financial Times called "speed sell-offs after the storm." It passed laws allowing the privatization of airports, seaports and highways and fast-tracked plans to privatize the state telephone company, the national electric company and parts of the water sector. It overturned land-reform laws and made it easier for foreigners to buy and sell property. It was much the same in neighboring countries: In the same two months, Guatemala announced plans to sell off its phone system, and Nicaragua did likewise, along with its electric company and its petroleum sector.

    All of the privatization plans were pushed aggressively by the usual suspects. According to the Wall Street Journal, "the World Bank and International Monetary Fund had thrown their weight behind the [telecom] sale, making it a condition for release of roughly $47 million in aid annually over three years and linking it to about $4.4 billion in foreign-debt relief for Nicaragua."

    [...]

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    Mitt Romney's Net Worth

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reported that he is worth as much as $247 million, which may make him the wealthiest of the 2008 contenders.
    Romney, 60, founder of the Boston-based venture capital firm Bain Capital LLC, today disclosed his assets to the Federal Election Commission. The former Massachusetts governor reported that most of his wealth is in a blind trust and a retirement account. When the assets of his wife, Ann, are included, the Romneys have holdings of between $190 million and $250 million, according to national campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg.
    The financial disclosure documents show that Romney, who has already loaned his campaign $8.9 million, has the resources to continue funneling funds into a presidential race that may become the most expensive in U.S. history.
    http://www.businessinnovationinsider.com/Mitt%20Romney.jpg

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    Prices for key foods are rising sharply

    Food prices on the rise

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    An Economy Devasted by Years of Conservative Plundering

    mneys worWal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Tuesday reported lower-than-expected second-quarter profit and said sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose only 1.9 percent.

    "It's no secret that many customers are running out of money toward the end of the month, said Lee Scott, chief executive of the world's largest retailer.

    The company, which has more than 127 million customers in the United States alone every week, also said shoppers were spending more on lower-margin items like food and eschewing higher-margin goods such as apparel.

    While economists tend to discount the impact of rising food prices in monthly inflation reports -- because food tends to be a volatile component -- consumers still feel the impact of widespread food price increases in their wallets.

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    Some of the Kinds of Pornography the Right says is okay

    http://img.citypages.com/imagebank/articles/26_1294/26_1294a13694_m13.jpghttp://cryptome.quintessenz.at/mirror/katdead-01/pict22.jpghttp://cryptome.quintessenz.at/mirror/katdead-01/pict45.jpghttp://static.flickr.com/28/42496726_bd779a62db.jpghttp://www.unbossed.com/media/1/20050903-X003010020050902e19200001.jpg

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    paid by the government to watch porn all day

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    Bush administration spent about $1.6 billion on propaganda which doesn't include what they get for free on Fokkks news

    http://www.bibl.u-szeged.hu/bibl/mil/ww2/who/pics/goebbels.jpg

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    Christian Camp

    [...]

    Friday morning, Nueces County authorities arrested both the camp director and one camp employee in San Antonio. His name is Charles Eugene Flowers. According to a Web site for the Christian boot camp, or CBC, he spent 12 years in the Air Force before he started the boot camp up in 1995.

    All the while, Flowers also served as the youth pastor of Faith Outreach International Church in San Antonio.

    Flowers and Stephanie Bassitt were being booked into the Nueces County Jail, facing charges of aggravated assault.

    "I don't want to be arrested, like the next man doesn't want to be arrested," Pastor Flowers said. "But, there's a purpose in everything. So we're just going to march that purpose on out."

    Those were the words of Flowers, just minutes before Nueces County detectives took him into custody Friday morning in San Antonio.

    Flowers is accused of causing injuries to a 15-year-old girl, who attended his Christian Boot Camp in Banquete last month.

    According to his arrest affidavit, Flowers, along with Bassitt, were leading a group run at the camp, when the alleged victim fell behind.

    Investigators said Flowers and Bassitt tied the victim up to the back of a van and dragged her down a dirt path - accusations Flowers said he would not address.

    [...]

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    Separated at Birth


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    Kkkarl Rove, Effeminate Prickberry Dough Boy who Hates Gays for Money Resigns

    It's easy to win if you play by no rules, respect no one and fear no law because your pal, the unitary executive has presidential pardon powers, and if you don't care about the outcome in your country, or the world, of your politics of deceit and division, if you are willing to open covert CIA officers to exposure to aid in justifying a war of choice staged for greed, if elections with integrity don't matter to you and human rights are as meaningless to you as are the civil rights and liberties of Americans, winning is a snap
    Rove is not brilliant, but stupid and ruthless.

    Prison is too cushy for a shit wad like Rove. What he really needs are hot tar and turkey feather and 10 years in Guantanamo.

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    poverty in America (or this great cuntry of ourn)

    The changing face of poverty
    Millions of Americans live in poverty, more families are suffering and hunger is seen growing. (more)

    Hard at work but can't buy food
    While the ranks of the working poor grow in number, should employers step up to stop the trend? (more)

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    Poverty in America

    Yes, poverty is a reality in America, just as it is for millions of other human beings on the planet. According to the US Census Bureau, 35.9 million people live below the poverty line in America (http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/002484.html), including 12.9 million children.

    This is despite abundance of food resources. Almost 100 billion pounds of food is wasted in America each year. 700 million hungry human beings in different parts of the world would have gladly accepted this food.

    Here are some statistics on the nature of poverty and the waste of food and money in America.

    -In 2004, requests for emergency food assistance increased by an average of 14 percent during the year, according to a 27-city study by the United States Conference of Mayors.

    -Also in this study, it was noted that on average, 20 percent of requests for emergency food assistance have gone unmet in 2004.

    -According to the Bread for the World Institute (http://www.bread.org/hungerbasics/domestic.html) 3.5 percent of U.S. households experience hunger. Some people in these households frequently skip meals or eat too little, sometimes going without food for a whole day. 9.6 million people, including 3 million children, live in these homes.

    -America's Second Harvest (http://www.secondharvest.org/), the nation's largest network of food banks, reports that 23.3 million people turned to the agencies they serve in 2001, an increase of over 2 million since 1997. Forty percent were from working families.

    33 million Americans continue to live in households that did not have an adequate supply of food. Nearly one-third of these households contain adults or children who went hungry at some point in 2000.

    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, March 2002, "Household Food Security in the United States, 2000"

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    2007 federal povert guidelines

    Current Guidelines

    2007 HHS Poverty Guidelines

    Size of
    Family Unit

    48 Contiguous
    States and D.C.

    Alaska

    Hawaii

    1

    $10,210

    $12,770

    $11,750

    2

    13,690

    17,120

    15,750

    3

    17,170

    21,470

    19,750

    4

    20,650

    25,820

    23,750

    5

    24,130

    30,170

    27,750

    6

    27,610

    34,520

    31,750

    7

    31,090

    38,870

    35,750

    8

    34,570

    43,220

    39,750

    For each additional
    person, add


    3,480


    4,350


    4,000

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    Half of America's Large Numbr of Poor Don't get Food Stamps

    [...]

    The study found that a significant number of counties, 13.2 percent, had below-average percentages of low-income people participating in the program, even though they had above-average poverty rates.

    The authors cited many reasons for the disparities, including the stigma of government benefits, eligibility rules and lack of information about the benefits.

    Under the food-stamp program, a family is eligible for aid if its income is 130 percent of the poverty level.

    Nearly all of the states followed a national trend of increasing the number and percentage of low-income people participating in the food-stamp program in recent years. The study said that much of the increase was the result of changes in eligibility rules that took effect in 2002. And since 2004, all states are now using electronic benefits transfer systems, which allow food-stamp beneficiaries to appear to be using debit cards.

    [...]

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    Friday, August 10, 2007

    More on China's Holding US economy over boiling oil with Bush help

    "This administration, in order to fund a war that shouldn't be being fought and tax cuts that weren't needed for the wealthy — we're now in debt almost a trillion dollars — a trillion dollars to China. We better end that war, cut those taxes, reduce the deficit and make sure that they no longer own the mortgage on our home."

    His comment drew this response from leading Democratic candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton: "I want to say 'Amen!' to Joe Biden, because he's 100 percent right."

    The reality is that China is probably going to slow down its investment in U.S. bonds anyway. This is not so much because they don't like us, as it is because they are becoming savvy about where and how to spend their huge nest egg.

    Low-interest U.S. bonds? According to an article in USA Today, some Chinese bankers say it would be better to start buying into businesses (U.S., European, Asian), where you get a better return and have long-term growth. Think the Japanese in the 1980s buying U.S. skyscrapers (Rockefeller Center) and golf courses (Pebble Beach).

    Back to the nuclear option — oddly enough, many voices in the U.S., especially in the U.S. Senate, are pressing China to re-value its currency up against the dollar, making Chinese goods more expensive and U.S. goods cheaper for the Chinese to buy.

    The Chinese are resisting. Their cheap currency helps them sell their goods. And that is where the nuclear (currency) option comes in… the U.S. is being warned to stop meddling in China's internal affairs.
    [...]

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    It's (pant) not just (pant) a chase movie (whew!)

    "Bourne Ultimatum"

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    Fuck off Harold Ford, neoliberal Clinton wannabe

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    Army to Expand Recruiting Incentives

    WASHINGTON - Need a down-payment for your home? Need money to start a business? The Army wants to help - if you're willing to join up. Despite spending nearly $1 billion last year on recruiting bonuses and ads, Army leaders say an even bolder approach is needed to fill wartime ranks.

    [...]


    Among the changes that have helped attract more recruits:

    - Increasing to $20,000 the bonus for troops who join by Sept. 30 and leave for boot camp within a month.

    - Raising the enlistment age to 42.

    - Allowing recruits to come in with non-offensive tattoos on their hands and neck.

    - Offering a $2,000 bonus to Army Soldiers who refer a new recruit.

    - Enlisting recruits who don't meet weight standards and must trim down their first year.

    - Advertising that targets potential recruits' parents.

    - Increasing the number of recruits with general education diplomas rather than regular high school diplomas.

    - Creating a more pleasant boot camp environment.

    - Sending "gung-ho" Soldiers fresh from boot camp or war zones back to their hometowns to visit old friends and schoolmates to promote the Army.

    - Increasing to more than 15 percent the number of Army and Army Reserve troops given waivers for medical and moral reasons or for positive drug and alcohol screen tests.

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    Joe Biden: Consider Criminal Charges Against Administration

    Joe Biden recently sat down with Newsweek to discuss his presidential campaign and his thoughts on 35 years in the Senate. When asked about impeachment, Biden said he's against the idea because impeachment proceedings would paralyze Congress and take the nation's focus off other, more important matters. But he has a pretty stunning Plan B.

    The alternative, and it's taken me time to think through, I think we should be acquiring and accumulating all the data that is appropriate for possibly bringing criminal charges against members of this administration at a later date.
    [...]

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