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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.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    Giant hyenas, sabretoothed cats, giraffes and zebras lived side by side in Europe 1.8 million years ago.

    Map (BBC)

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    Another Gay Republican Hypocrite WA State Rep. Richard Curtis

    A state legislator who yesterday insisted he was “not gay” was being blackmailed by a young man he had engaged in “sexual activities” with after the two met at a Spokane Valley adult bookstore last week, court documents filed today allege.

    State Rep. Richard Curtis, a Republican from the Vancouver, Wash., area, met Cody Castagna at Hollywood Erotic Boutique on East Sprague Avenue at 12:45 a.m. Friday before the two went to Curtis’ room at the Davenport Tower in downtown Spokane, the documents say. Castagna told investigators Curtis agreed to pay him $1,000 for sex, the documents allege.

    No criminal charges have been filed in the case. Castagna, 26, has been questioned by police but not arrested.

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    Bush Synchophant Karen Hughes Resigns With Legacy Of Unambitious, Misguided State Department Projects

    hughesmor.jpg

    In remarks today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice heaped praise upon Hughes and the “remarkable job” she’s done. “If I could put on one sheet all of the things that Karen has achieved, I would do so, but it would take me a quite long time to talk about her achievements,” said Rice.

    But it’s actually unclear exactly what Hughes accomplished. As the AP notes:

    Polls show no improvement in the world’s view of the U.S. since Hughes took over. A Pew Research Center survey earlier said the unpopular Iraq war is a persistent drag on the U.S. image and has helped push favorable opinion of the United States in Muslim Indonesia, for instance, from 75 percent in 2000 to 30 percent last year.

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    The Ever Odious Right Wing Harold Ford Threatens Actual Progressives

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    warren buffet, 3rd richest man n the world complains he is taxed a lower rate than his office help.

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    Oil hits 94.53 dollars per barrel, not quite as high as Bush and other Robber Barons want it

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    No Charges in Katrina Bridge Blockade in Racist Cracker South

    [...]

    Several hundred people claimed police from suburban Gretna blocked them as they tried to flee New Orleans on Sept. 1, three days after the storm hit.

    Many of the evacuees, who had been stranded at the New Orleans convention center without food and water, said they were told to cross the bridge to be evacuated from the city, only to be forced to turn around upon reaching the other side.


    [...]

    The case raised widespread allegations of racism and spurred two marches across the bridge by national civil rights organizations in the months after the hurricane.

    [...]

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    NASA Administrator feared data would upset travelers, hurt airline profits

    Abandoning its secrecy claims, NASA promised Congress on Wednesday it will reveal results of an unprecedented federal aviation survey which found that aircraft near collisions, runway interference and other safety problems occur far more often than previously recognized.

    Provoking broad criticism, NASA had said previously it was withholding the information because it feared it would upset air travelers and hurt airline profits. NASA cited those reasons in refusing to turn over the survey data to The Associated Press, which sought the information over 14 months under the Freedom of Information Act.

    “I regret any impression that NASA was or would in any way try to put commercial interests ahead of public safety,” NASA’s administrator, Michael Griffin, testified during an oversight hearing.
    [...]

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    How anti-union Tyson Treats its workers. No wonder they want to exploit Illegal immigrant labor

    [...]

    A generation ago, meatpacking workers earned some of the highest wages of any industrial workers in the United States. Working in a slaughterhouse was a hard, dirty job, but it provided a stable middle-class income. Today meatpacking is one of the lowest-paid industrial jobs, with one of the highest turnover rates. It is also the nation's most dangerous job, measured by the rate of serious injury. During the 1970s IBP was largely responsible for changing the industry's labor policies, breaking unions, slashing wages and recruiting an immigrant work force. In a very tough business, IBP gained the reputation of being by far the toughest. In 1974 IBP was convicted for collaborating with organized-crime figures in New York City to bribe meat wholesalers and union leaders. Any meatpacking company that hoped to compete with IBP had to cut wages and benefits, too. Over the past twenty-five years some wages in the meatpacking industry, adjusted for inflation, have declined by more than 50 percent.

    When Tyson Foods bought IBP in 2001, many workers feared that the company would try to make wages in the beef industry similar to those in the poultry industry, where the pay is even lower. Those fears now seem to be justified. Tyson Foods is the largest meatpacking company the world has ever seen, supplying supermarkets and fast-food chains with beef, chicken and pork. The company's size and scale give it a tremendous advantage when trying to break a local union. In February 2003 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers at the Tyson plant in Jefferson, Wisconsin, went on strike to prevent cutbacks in wages, benefits and vacation time. Tyson promptly hired replacement workers and kept the plant running. After eleven months on the picket line, UFCW members voted to end the strike--but Tyson wouldn't rehire most of them. The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that the scabs can be considered permanent replacements, paving the way for Tyson to get the UFCW out of the plant completely. Workers at the Tyson plant in Cherokee, Iowa, now face similar demands for wage and benefit cuts. At a Tyson slaughterhouse in Brooks, Canada, sixty "team members" (Tyson's term for its employees) were recently fired after a protest against poor working conditions. The plant has no union, and "team members" are expected to work six days a week

    [...]

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    Tyson, the Toxic Chicken People, Have already ceased gassing their meat

    [...]
    Springdale-based Tyson Foods, Inc., stopped using the process in August, but not for safety reasons, said Gary Mickelson, a company spokesman.

    Tyson Foods had used carbon monoxide in "a very small percentage" of beef packaging, he said.

    "We decided to discontinue this practice because of a lack of consumer demand for this type of packaging, not because of any food safety concern," Mickelson said. "We believe the technology, which is approved by the USDA and FDA, is safe for the consume and we continue to explore other ways to safely use it."

    Richard Roop, senior vice president for science and regulatory affairs at Tyson, testified at Tuesday's hearing about the company's efforts to prevent bacterial outbreaks in beef, but did not discuss the packaging process.

    He left that to executives of companies like Cargill and Hormel Foods, who provided about a dozen samples of the packaging to lawmakers.

    Consumers will not buy beef unless it has a distinct red color, which is why food producers began using carbon monoxide in the first place, experts said.

    Oxygen causes beef to lose its color. It also accelerates spoilage and can affect taste, said Joe Sebranek, a food science professor at Iowa State University.
    [...]

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    The Corporate Candidate

    http://img.timeinc.net/time/time100/2007/images/hillary_clinton.jpg

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    Chemicals Flow Unchecked From China to Drug Market

    In January, Honor International Pharmtech was accused of shipping counterfeit drugs into the United States. Even so, the Chinese chemical company — whose motto is “Thinking Much of Honor” — was openly marketing its products in October to thousands of buyers here at the world’s biggest trade show for pharmaceutical ingredients.

    Other Chinese chemical companies made the journey to the annual show as well, including one manufacturer recently accused by American authorities of supplying steroids to illegal underground labs and another whose representative was arrested at the 2006 trade show for patent violations. Also attending were two exporters owned by China’s government that had sold poison mislabeled as a drug ingredient, which killed nearly 200 people and injured countless others in Haiti and in Panama.

    Yet another chemical company, Orient Pacific International, reserved an exhibition booth in Milan, but its owner, Kevin Xu, could not attend. He was in a Houston jail on charges of selling counterfeit medicine for schizophrenia, prostate cancer, blood clots and Alzheimer’s disease, among other maladies.

    [...]

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    Right Wing Driven Economic Crisis in America Raises Number of Low Income Students in Southern Public Schools to 54%

    [...]
    The percentage in the 15-state Southern region rose slightly from previous years and is the nation's highest, ahead of the West at 47 percent and the Midwest and Northeast at 36 percent each, according to the Southern Education Foundation's report issued Tuesday.

    he report defines low-income students as those who qualify for free or reduced-cost public school meals and looks at the percentage they represent of total enrollment.

    The findings highlight a steady increase in low-income student enrollment in Southern public schools since 1989, when the figure was 34 percent.

    It reached 50 percent in 2004 and has continued to rise, a phenomenon researchers contribute to demographic changes, the economy and the South's history as a region with higher poverty rates.

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    Why People Loathe Government: A fine example in Iowa

    The Iowa Department of Revenue is taxing jack-o'-lanterns this Halloween. The new department policy was implemented after officials decided that pumpkins are used primarily for Halloween decorations, not food, and should be taxed, said Renee Mulvey, the department's spokeswoman.http://www.west-of-house.net/hilltop/wp-content/pumpkin2.jpg

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    argill Meat Solutions has been fined $22,000 or operating a scale that failed to meet accuracy tolerances established by the National Institute of Sta

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    Cargill, Hormel defend use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging

    The committee did invite a company that has helped lead the charge against the use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging, Kalsec Inc. of Kalamazoo, Mich., which makes extracts that slow the browning of meat. Two years ago, the company filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration seeking a ban on the use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging.

    Peterson told the committee that Kalsec declined the invitation.

    "It's unfortunate that for whatever reason they didn't want to be here," he said.

    "Our problem is with the FDA," responded Kalsec's vice president, Donald Berdahl. "We didn't think this (hearing) was a good forum for raising that concern." The company has acknowledged it has a business interest in protesting the practice.

    Since 2002, the FDA has given the go-ahead to use carbon monoxide under a process known as "generally recognized as safe."

    FDA spokesman Michael Herndon said in an e-mail that the agency has not made a final decision on the merits of Kalsec's petition.
    [...]
    Several supermarket chains, such as Safeway, Giant Food and Stop & Shop, agreed to stop selling meats packaged in carbon monoxide after the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote letters expressing concern about the practice and seeking information. Those letters were signed by John Dingell, the committee chairman, and Bart Stupak, who chairs the committee's oversight and investigations subcommittee. Both are Democrats from Michigan, home to Kalsec.

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    Monday, October 29, 2007

    State Department promised Blackwater USA bodyguards immunity from prosecution in its investigation of last month's Murder of 17 Iraqi civilia

    [...]

    As a result, it will likely be months before the United States can — if ever — bring criminal charges in the case that has infuriated the Iraqi government.

    "Once you give immunity, you can't take it away," said a senior law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.

    A State Department spokesman did not have an immediate comment Monday. Both Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd and FBI spokesman Rich Kolko declined comment.

    FBI agents were returning to Washington late Monday from Baghdad, where they have been trying to collect evidence in the Sept. 16 embassy convoy shooting without using statements from Blackwater employees who were given immunity.

    Three senior law enforcement officials said all the Blackwater bodyguards involved — both in the vehicle convoy and in at least two helicopters above — were given the legal protections as investigators from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security sought to find out what happened. The bureau is an arm of the State Department.


    [...]

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    Prescription Drugs From China. Lead toys and dead pets aren't enough.

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    Hillary for Sale to Health Care Conglomerates

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    The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether Exxon Mobil Corp. should pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages to victims of the huge Exxon Valdez oi

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    Right Wing Court held in Pocket of big oil will hear oil company demands for NO ACCOUNTABILITY

    The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether Exxon Mobil Corp. should pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages to victims of the huge Exxon Valdez oil spill that fouled more than 1,200 miles of Alaskan coastline in 1989.

    The high court stepped into the long-running battle over the damages that Exxon Mobil owes from the supertanker accident in Prince William Sound that was the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef, cracking its hull and spilling 11 million gallons of oil.

    Hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine animals died as a result.

    [...]

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    Egypt to Build Nuclear Plants

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    Guatemala 1953-1954

    [...]

    In March 1953, the CIA approached disgruntled right-wing officers in the Guatemala army and arranged to send them arms. United Fruit donated $64,000 in cash. The following month, uprisings broke out in several towns but were quickly put down by loyal troops. The rebels were put on trial and revealed the fruit company's role in the plot, but not the ClA's.

    The Eisenhower administration resolved to do the job right the next time around. With cynical glee, almost an entire year was spent in painstaking, step-by-step preparation for the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. Of the major CIA undertakings, few have been as well documented as has the coup in Guatemala. With the release of many formerly classified government papers, the following story has emerged:

    Headquarters for the operation were established in Opa Locka, Florida, on the out skirts of Miami. The Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza lent/leased his country out as a site for an airstrip and for hundreds of men-Guatemalan exiles and US and Central American mercenaries-to receive training in the use of weapons and radio broadcasting, as well as in the fine arts of sabotage and demolition. Thirty airplanes were assigned for use in the "Liberation", stationed in Nicaragua, Honduras and the Canal Zone, to be flown by American pilots. The Canal Zone was set aside as a weapons depot from which arms were gradually distributed to the rebels who were to assemble in Honduras under the command of Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas before crossing into Guatemala. Soviet-marked weapons were also gathered for the purpose of planting them inside Guatemala before the invasion to reinforce US charges of Russian intervention. And, as important as arms, it turned out, hidden radio transmitters were placed in and around the perimeter of Guatemala, including one in the US Embassy.

    An attempt was made to blow up the trains carrying the Czech weapons from portside to Guatemala City; however, a torrential downpour rendered the detonators useless, where upon the CIA paramilitary squad opened fire on one train, killing a Guatemalan soldier and wounding three others; but the convoy of trains made it safely to its destination.

    After the Czech ship had arrived in Guatemala, Eisenhower ordered the stopping of "suspicious foreign-flag vessels on the high seas off Guatemala to examine cargo". The State Department's legal adviser wrote a brief which concluded in no uncertain terms that "Such action would constitute a violation of international law." No matter. At least two foreign vessels were stopped and searched, one French and one Dutch. It was because of such actions by the British that the United States had fought the War of 181.

    The Guatemalan military came in for special attention. The US ostentatiously signed mutual security treaties with Honduras and Nicaragua, both countries hostile to Arbenz, and dispatched large shipments of arms to them in the hope that this would signal a clear enough threat to the Guatemalan military to persuade it to withdraw its support of Arbenz. Additionally, the US Navy dispatched two submarines from Key West, saying only that they were going "south". Several days later, the Air Force, amid considerable fanfare, sent three B-36 bombers on a "courtesy call" to Nicaragua.

    The CIA also made a close study of the records of members of the Guatemalan officer corps and offered bribes to some of them. One of the Agency's clandestine radio stations broadcast appeals aimed at military men, as well as others, to join the liberation movement. The station reported that Arbenz was secretly planning to disband or disarm the armed forces and replace it with a people's militia. CIA planes dropped leaflets over Guatemala carrying the same message.

    Eventually, at Ambassador Peurifoy's urging, a group of high-ranking officers called on Arbenz to ask that he dismiss all communists who held posts in his administration. The president assured them that the communists did not represent a danger, that they did not run the government, and that it would be undemocratic to dismiss them. At a second meeting, the officers also demanded that Arbenz reject the creation of the "people's militia'.

    Arbenz himself was offered a bribe by the CIA, whether to abdicate his office or something less is not clear. A large sum of money was deposited in a Swiss bank for him, but he, or a subordinate, rejected the offer.


    [...]

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    Leftist pulls ahead in Guatemala election poll

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    Edwards’ attack on Peru deal shifts debate

    The Democratic presidential field tilted to the left over the weekend as John Edwards came out against the US free trade agreement with Peru.
    Not so hard since the 2 front runners tilt right

    Mr Edwards is the first leading contender for the nomination to oppose the pact with the Latin American nation, now making its way through Congress.
    The move increases the pressure on Hillary Clinton to vote against the agreement when it reaches the Senate floor next month.

    Billy Clinton signed NAFTA, one of the biggest mistakes he made. But he was pandering to the right and securing his own power, not worrying about American Workers.

    Mrs Clinton is the clear frontrunner nationally but Mr Edwards has focused his campaign for the White House on claiming an early victory in Iowa, where he has made gains with a message of economic populism.

    Mrs Clinton has responded by becoming steadily more strident in her criticism of US trade policy, denouncing a pending trade deal with South Korea.

    The vote on the Peru agreement will be a key test of the New York senator’s desire to distance herself from her husband’s legacy, which includes passing the North American Free Trade Agreement, now unpopular with the party’s grassroots.

    “This is where the rubber hits the road and we find out how far Hillary thinks she needs to go on trade to court the Democratic base. Peru is about to go to a Senate vote so she can’t duck the issue,” said Lori Wallach, a critic of the deal at Global Trade Watch.

    Mrs Clinton’s main rival, Barack Obama, recently came out in favour of the Peru deal, while Joe Biden announced his opposition.

    Mr Edwards said he also intended to “oppose the Colombia, Panama and South Korea trade agreements in their present forms”.

    His opposition to the Peru deal will be a setback for congressional Democrats who are trying to build a strong majority behind the agreement on Capitol Hill.

    The candidate said a ­historic bipartisan agreement between George W. Bush, the president, and Democrats to include tougher labour and environmental standards in the Peru pact fell short.

    “Despite strong efforts by many Democrats in Congress, labour organisations and fair trade advocates to embed international labour standards into the agreement, what resulted were references to general principles and not specific standards,” he said.

    “In short, this agreement does not meet my standard of putting American workers and communities first, ahead of the interests of the big multinational corporations, which for too long have rigged our trade policies for themselves,” he added.

    [...]

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    Racist Nutbag Tancredo will not seek relection. Wants to be in Senate

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    Katrina aid goes toward luxury condos

    [...]
    he GO Zone contains a variety of tax breaks designed to stimulate construction in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. It offers tax-free bonds to developers to finance big commercial projects like shopping centers or hotels. It also allows real estate investors who buy condos or other properties in the GO Zone to take accelerated depreciation on their purchases when they file their taxes.

    The GO Zone was drawn to include the Tuscaloosa area even though it is about 200 miles from the coast and got only heavy rain and scattered wind damage from Katrina.

    The condo deals are perfectly legal, and the tax breaks do not take money away from Katrina victims closer to the coast because the depreciation is wide open, with no limits per state.

    But the tax breaks are galling to some community leaders, especially when red tape and disorganization have stymied the rebuilding in some of the devastated coastal areas.

    "The GO Zone extends so damn far, but the people who need it the most can't take advantage of it," said John Harral, a lawyer in hard-hit Gulfport, Miss.

    "It is a joke," said Tuscaloosa developer Stan Pate, who has nevertheless used GO Zone tax breaks on projects that include a new hotel and a restaurant. "It was supposed to be about getting people ... to put housing in New Orleans, Louisiana, or Biloxi, Mississippi. It was not about condos in Tuscaloosa."

    Locals say Tuscaloosa was included in the GO Zone through the efforts of Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, who is from Tuscaloosa, graduated from Alabama and sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee. But Shelby aides said Tuscaloosa made the cut because it was classified as a disaster area by the government after Katrina, not because of the senator's influence.

    [...]

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    The hidden menace of mobile phones; Brain Cancer

    [...]

    The study – which contradicts official pronouncements that there is no danger of getting the disease – found that people who have had the phones for a decade or more are twice as likely to get a malignant tumour on the side of the brain where they hold the handset.

    The scientists who conducted the research say using a mobile for just an hour every working day during that period is enough to increase the risk – and that the international standard used to protect users from the radiation emitted is "not safe" and "needs to be revised".

    They conclude that "caution is needed in the use of mobile phones" and believe children, who are especially vulnerable, should be discouraged from using them at all.

    The study, published in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed journal Occupational Environmental Medicine, is important because it pulls together research on people who have used the phones for long enough to contract the disease.

    [....]

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    Rep. Jones introduces bill to limit president's war powers

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    Erinys: British Mercenary Scum

    [...]
    The British private company, Erinys, has made more than $150 million in Iraq and has contracts to protect the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to the lawsuit filed by the father of Army Spc. Christopher T. Monroe.

    Monroe, 19, of Kendallville, Ind., died in October 2005 in Basra, Iraq, after his unit recovered a disabled vehicle and stopped to help an Iraqi citizen who'd been in a car accident, the lawsuit states.

    Monroe's father, Perry Monroe II of Texas, filed the lawsuit in federal district court in Houston on Wednesday.
    [...]

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    Bush has a long history of approving torture and abuse

    Cartoonist Garry Trudeau '70 said he thinks a little-known fact about President George W. Bush '68's past -- that his first mention in The New York Times occurred in 1967 when, as former president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter at Yale, Bush defended the fraternity's practice of branding its pledges with a red-hot coat hanger -- deserves more national attention.

    On Sunday, Trudeau's cartoon "Doonesbury" featured fictional character Mark Slackmeyer explaining the President's position against current anti-torture legislation by revisiting a series of 1967 Yale Daily News articles that exposed DKE's rush activities, which at the time included brandings and alleged beatings. Soon after these stories were published, the University's Inter-Fraternity Council fined the fraternity for performing "physically and mentally degrading acts," and the Times published an article in which Bush defended the brandings, comparing them to cigarette burns.

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    Farm Subsidies funded by taxpayers handed to millionaires of agribusiness while family farms wither away and America becomes net food importer

    [...]

    Among those taking farm bill checks: Cargill family member Whitney Macmillan Jr. and money manager Noel Rahn, a wealthy businessman who helped bring the NHL back to Minnesota.

    The flow of federal largesse comes thanks to rules that allow landowners -- including some 2,000 in the metro area -- to collect subsidies without farming the land themselves, a legal and increasingly common practice as farm ownership has consolidated over the past few decades.

    This week, Congress will take the final steps toward passage of the farm bill, ending months of debate over subsidy payments. A modest reform plan was introduced by the Senate Agriculture Committee last week as it sent a five-year, $280 billion package to the Senate floor. But if past history is any guide, it seems unlikely the new bill will differ much from the old.

    [...]

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    Giant Food Recalls Cake Decoration

    Supermarket operator Giant Food Inc. on Thursday recalled some Football bobble heads used as cake decorations because of the possible presence of lead paint.

    The recall follows the voluntary recall by the manufacturer DecoPac Inc.

    They are three inches tall and have a green base. They were sold since Jan. 2006.

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    E.coli: A common bacteria that can make you very sick

    Eating contaminated meat (specifically beef) with the bacterium Escherichia coli (E.coli) could cause symptoms, such as bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and even death.http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/everyday/agriculture/images/e_coli.jpg

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    Why is the United States a Net food Importer?

    Canadian beef likely cause of US e.coli cases: USDA

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    U.S. Financial Aid To Israel: 91 billion and counting

    U.S. Financial Aid To Israel: Figures, Facts, and Impact


    Summary

    Benefits to Israel of U.S. Aid
    Since 1949 (As of November 1, 1997)


    Foreign Aid Grants and Loans
    $74,157,600,000

    Other U.S. Aid (12.2% of Foreign Aid)
    $9,047,227,200

    Interest to Israel from Advanced Payments
    $1,650,000,000

    Grand Total
    $84,854,827,200

    Total Benefits per Israeli
    $14,630

    Cost to U.S. Taxpayers of U.S.
    Aid to Israel


    Grand Total
    $84,854,827,200

    Interest Costs Borne by U.S.
    $49,936,680,000

    Total Cost to U.S. Taxpayers
    $134,791,507,200

    Total Taxpayer Cost per Israeli
    $23,240

    Special Reports:

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    Federal Aid To Texas Storm And Flood Victims Tops $77 Million

    More than $77 million in federal assistance has been paid to victims of storms and flooding from June 16 through Aug. 3 in parts of Texas, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says.

    Residents affected by the summer storms in Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam and Williamson Counties may be eligible for assistance.

    FEMA has approved more than $20 million in disaster housing assistance for rent and essential repairs.

    Another $4.7 million has been approved for such things as medical and dental care, transportation expenses and household items and clothing, FEMA said.

    FEMA has approved more than $27.2 million in assistance to state agencies and local governments for debris removal and repair of such infrastructure as bridges and roadways.

    The US Small Business Administration, meanwhile, has approved 540 applications totaling more than $25 million in disaster loan assistance, FEMA said.

    To date, 16,316 individuals and families have registered for assistance FEMA said.

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    Storm readiness shortfalls kept secret by Michael Chertoff and other Bush Administration Stooges

    [...]
    citing national security concerns, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has refused to turn over "gap analyses" conducted on 18 coastal states, from Maine to Texas, that are susceptible to hurricanes. FEMA officials say that because the reviews discuss "critical infrastructure," they are not available to the public under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
    [...]

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    CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up

    [...]

    The Pentagon officials who were responsible for Barlow's downfall would all be out of government by 1993, when Bill Clinton came into the White House. In opposition they began pursuing an aggressive political agenda, canvassing for war in Iraq rather than restraining nuclear-armed Pakistan. Their number now included Congressman Donald Rumsfeld, a former Republican defence secretary, and several others who would go on to take key positions under George Bush, including Richard Armitage, Richard Perle and John Bolton.

    Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz headed the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which concluded in July 1998 that the chief threat - far greater than the CIA and other intelligence agencies had so far reported - was posed by Iran, Iraq and North Korea: the future Axis of Evil powers. Pakistan was not on the list, even though just two months earlier it had put an end to the dissembling by detonating five nuclear blasts in the deserts of Balochistan.

    It was also difficult not to conclude that Islamist terrorism was escalating and that its epicentre was Pakistan. The camps that had once been used to train the US-backed mujahideen had, since the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, morphed into training facilities for fighters pitted against the west. Many were filled by jihadis and were funded with cash from the Pakistan military.

    It was made clear to the new president, Bill Clinton, that US policy on Pakistan had failed. The US had provided Islamabad with a nuclear bomb and had no leverage to stop the country's leaders from using it. When he was contacted by lawyers for Barlow, Clinton was shocked both by the treatment Barlow had received, and the implications for US policy on Pakistan. He signed off $1m in compensation. But Barlow never received it as the deal had to be ratified by Congress and, falling foul of procedural hurdles, it was kicked into the Court of Federal Claims to be reviewed as Clinton left office.

    When the George Bush came to power, his administration quashed the case. CIA director George Tenet and Michael Hayden, director of the National Security Agency, asserted "state secrets privilege" over Barlow's entire legal claim. With no evidence to offer, the claim collapsed. Destroyed and penniless, the former CIA golden boy spent his last savings on a second-hand silver Avion trailer, packed up his life and drove off to Bear Canyon campground in Bozeman, Montana, where he still lives today.

    Even with Barlow out of the picture, there were still analysts in Washington - and in the Bush administration - who were wary of Pakistan. They warned that al-Qaida had a natural affinity with Pakistan, geographically and religiously, and that its affiliates were seeking nuclear weapons. Some elements of the Pakistan military were sympathetic and in place to help. But those arguing that Pakistan posed the highest risk were isolated. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were in the ascendant, and they returned to the old agenda, lobbying for a war in Iraq and, in a repeat of 1981 and the Reagan years, signed up Pakistan as the key ally in the war against terror.

    Contrary advice was not welcome. And Bush's team set about dismantling the government agency that was giving the most trouble - the State Department's Nonproliferation Bureau. Norm Wulf, who recently retired as deputy assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, told us: "They met in secret, deciding who to employ, displacing career civil servants with more than 30 years on the job in favour of young, like-thinking people, rightwingers who would toe the administration line." And the administration line was to do away with any evidence that pointed to Pakistan as a threat to global stability, refocusing all attention on Iraq.

    The same tactics used to disgrace Barlow and discredit his evidence were used again in 2003, this time against Joseph Wilson, a former US ambassador whom the Bush administration had sent to Africa with a mission to substantiate the story that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material to manufacture WMD. When Wilson refused to comply, he found himself the subject of a smear campaign, while his wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA agent. Libby would subsequently be jailed for leaking Plame's identity (although released on a presidential pardon). Plame and Wilson's careers and marriage would survive. Barlow and his wife, Cindy's, would not - and no one would be held to account. Until now.

    When the Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress in 2006, Barlow's indefatigable lawyers sensed an opportunity, lodging a compensation claim on Capitol Hill that is to be heard later this month. This time, with supporters of the Iraq war in retreat and with Pakistan, too, having lost many friends in Washington, Barlow hopes he will receive what he is due. "But this final hearing cannot indict any of those who hounded me, or misshaped the intelligence product," he says. "And it is too late to contain the flow of doomsday technology that Pakistan unleashed on the world."

    [...]

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    War, Terror, Catastrophe: Profiting From 'Disaster Capitalism'

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    Guantanamo military lawyer breaks ranks to condemn 'unconscionable' detention

    [...]

    Combatant Status Review Tribunals were held for 558 detainees at the Guantanamo in 2004 and 2005. All but 38 detainees were determined to be "enemy combatants" who could be held indefinitely without charges. Detainees were not represented by a lawyer and had no access to evidence. The only witnesses they could call were other so-called "enemy combatants".

    The army major has said that in the rare circumstances in which it was decided that the detainees were no longer enemy combatants, senior commanders ordered another panel to reverse the decision. The major also described "acrimony" during a "heated conference" call from Admiral McGarragh, who reports to the Secretary of the US Navy, when a the panel refused to describe several Uighur detainees as enemy combatants. Senior military commanders wanted to know why some panels considering the same evidence would come to different findings on the Uighurs, members of a Muslim minority in China.

    When the whistleblower suggested over the phone that inconsistent results were "good for the system ... and would show that the system was working correctly", Admiral McGarragh, he said, had no response. The latest criticism emerged when lawyers investigating the case of a Sudanese hospital administrator, Adel Hamad, who has been held for five years, came across a "stunning" sworn statement from a member of the military panel. The officer they interviewed was so frightened of retaliation from the military that they would not allow their name to be used in the statement, nor to reveal whether the person was a man or woman.

    Two other military lawyers have also gone public. In June, Army Lt-Col Stephen Abraham, a 26-year veteran in US military intelligence, became the first insider to publicly fault the proceedings. In May last year, Lt-Com Matthew Diaz was sentenced to six months in prison and dismissed from the military after he sent the names of all 551 men at the prison to a human rights group.


    [...]

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    Rice taps Clinton, Carter for Middle East advice

    Codyloma Rice Demonstrating Size of Bush's BrainU.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testifies at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 25, 2007. REUTERS/Jim Young

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    Israel Sleeping Around. Doing China on the Side

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    Militants behead 13 hostages in nuclear armed Pakistan as curfew imposed in northern and Bush Blusters about Iran

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    ElBaradei: Military Strike On Iran ‘Would Lead Absolutely To Disaster’ (Disaster is Bush Administrations Favorite Outcome)

    [...]

    ElBaradei poured water over Vice President Cheney’s confident declaration last week that “Iran is pursuing technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons. The world knows this.” While ElBaradei did not rule out Iran having an “intent” to obtain nuclear weapons, he explained that there is no evidence that Iran is currently pursuing such a program right now:

    I have not received any information that there is a concrete, active nuclear weapon program going on right now. … We have information that there have been maybe some studies about possible weaponization. But we are looking into these alleged studies with Iran right now. … But have we seen having the nuclear material that can be readily used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No. So there is a concern, but there is also time to clarify these concerns.

    ElBaradei also urged the U.S. to halt its fiery rhetoric and directly engage Iran in talks: “The earlier we go into negotiation, the earlier we follow the North Korean model, the better for everybody.”

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    German FM warns against military measures against Iran

    [...]
    "Military adventures are no contribution to a solution," Steimeier told a meeting of his Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Hamburg, German news agency DPA reported.

    "The daily ranting about it only makes a solution more difficult," he said.
    [...]

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    Fox Panel: Dems Are ‘Terribly Weak’ If They Don’t Threaten ‘Devastating Military Strike’ Against Iran

    Earlier this week, the Bush administration ratcheted up its rhetoric towards Iran, imposing unilateral sanctions that are considered the “broadest set of punitive measures imposed on Tehran since 1979.” The White House also requested $88 million to equip B-2 “stealth” bombers with a new 30,000-pound bunker buster, which is being seen by members of Congress as a “sign of plans for an attack on Iran.”

    On Fox News Sunday today, Fox’s Brit Hume and the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol enthusiasticly endorsed the new pro-war posturing, calling it “useful for Iran to believe that this administration will stop at nothing to keep it from getting a nuclear weapon.”

    Hume claimed that it “make[s] sense” to threaten Iran with “a devastating military strike,” adding that Iran probably wants Democrats to be “in charge” because they look “terribly weak” in criticizing the “alleged saber rattling”:

    Doesn’t it make sense that you want Iran to believe that if you keep this up, they might be the subject of a devastating military strike of the kind that only the United States of America can mount. I would think so. And it seems to me when you have Democrats running around, wringing their hands about alleged saber rattling that it makes them look terribly weak, and in the end if you’re the head of Iran, you think, “well, we want those people in charge.”

    Discussing the bunker buster, Kristol said it was “ludicrous” and “ridiculous” for the administration to explain why it wants the new bomb because “there might be others that we want to bomb, not just in Iran.” Watch it:


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    FOX News Sunday: Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran

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    Sunday, October 28, 2007

    http://sherpaguides.com/georgia/flint_river/wildnotes/graphics/alligator_snapping_turtle.jpghttp://frontier.cincinnati.com/blogs/gov2/uploaded_images/mcconnell-753483.jpg

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    Kentucky's Very Own Snapping Turtle Look alike Senator Mitch McConnel, big Bush Ally, Gives Payback with taxpayer dollars

    McConnell reportedly earmarked $25M

    Font size:
    WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reportedly tucked $25 million in earmarked funds for British defense contractor BAE Systems into an appropriations bill.

    McConnell, the Senate minority leader, inserted the money for three BAE systems into the bill that passed the Senate Oct. 3, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

    BAE has a facility in the Lexington area and has also acquired United Defense Industries. BAE has given McConnell $53,000 in campaign contributions, while UDI donated $500,000 to his foundation.

    The Justice Department is investigating allegations that BAE bribed Prince Bandar bin Sultan, head of the Saudi National Security Council. Prime Minister Tony Blair halted a British investigation into the matter, saying it might harm relations with Saudi Arabia.


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    Gap running children's Sweat Shops in Third World. Free Trade ya know

    [...]
    'I was bought from my parents' village in [the northern state of] Bihar and taken to New Delhi by train,' he says. 'The men came looking for us in July. They had loudspeakers in the back of a car and told my parents that, if they sent me to work in the city, they won't have to work in the farms. My father was paid a fee for me and I was brought down with 40 other children. The journey took 30 hours and we weren't fed. I've been told I have to work off the fee the owner paid for me so I can go home, but I am working for free. I am a shaagird [a pupil]. The supervisor has told me because I am learning I don't get paid. It has been like this for four months.'
    [...]

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    FEMA, destroyed by Bush Administration in its effort to privatize all government, holds fake press conference

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    White House edited climate change statement: AP

    he White House significantly edited testimony prepared for a Senate hearing on the impact of climate change on health, deleting key portions citing diseases that could flourish in a warmer climate, documents obtained by The Associated Press showed Wednesday.

    The White House on Wednesday denied that it had "watered down" the congressional testimony that Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, had given the day before to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

    [...]

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    Global Warming May Cause Widespread Water Shortages, Studies Say

    [...]

    In addition to the western United States and Canada, hard-hit regions include parts of Europe, South America west of the Andes, and much of central Asia from northern India across to China and Russia.

    About one-sixth of the world's population—more than a billion people—inhabit these areas. The regions at risk also account for about a quarter of the world's economic output.

    "What are those people going to do?" Barnett asked. "Just sit there and be thirsty and watch their crops die?"


    [...]

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    US battles epic drought, little relief in sight

    Photo

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    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    UK deal with what America Ignores to our detriment: Flown-in organic food rule change

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    A Thousand Words

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    White House severely edited congressional testimony given Tuesday by the director of the Centers for Disease Control

    The White House severely edited congressional testimony given Tuesday by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the impact of climate change on health, removing specific scientific references to potential health risks, according to two sources familiar with the documents.Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Julie Gerberding testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this June file photo. The White House severely edited congressional testimony given Tuesday by Gerberding on the impact of climate change on health, removing specific scientific references to potential health risks, according to two sources familiar with the documents.  (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, FILE)

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    Poll shows global opposition to Iran - and U.S.

    [...]

    "The poll results show that the public does not yearn for a world order where U.S. hegemony is simply replaced by the rivalry of other military powers such as Russia and China," the ECFR said in a news release announcing the poll's findings.

    "There seems to be increasing support for countries whose rise is not connected in the global imagination with military might," it said, noting India, South Africa and Brazil all received positive overall approval ratings.


    [...]

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    Speaking of GOP, Rudy's Dirty Money

    [...]
    Giuliani has accepted more money from the energy industry--$477,208 through the first half of 2007--than any other presidential candidate. These ties likely won't hurt him with GOP primary voters, who welcomed Bush and Cheney with open arms. But it could arouse the suspicions of moderate and independent voters in a general election, many of whom don't look forward to the idea of Halliburton clones dictating policy in the next White House.
    [...]

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    Feds who let black peopel die in New Orleans jump up to help wealthy whites in California

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    4 States To Sue For Tougher Emission Rules

    [...]
    The lawsuit is to be filed in federal court in Washington on Tuesday. It comes 22 months after California first asked the EPA to let the states impose tougher regulations on emissions of greenhouse gases from cars, pickups and SUV's.

    "Unfortunately, the Bush administration has really had their head in the sand," California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. said Monday. "In this case, there has been an unreasonable delay."

    California wants to implement a 2002 state law that would require automakers to begin making vehicles that emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions by model year 2009. It would cut emissions by about a quarter by the year 2030. But the law can only take effect if the EPA grants the state a waiver under the Clean Air Act.
    [...]

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    Half a million flee Southern California fires, 1,300 homes burn

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    Honda To Hit Accelerator on Hybrid Production

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    US Makes sure Iran in China's Pocket. Iran to buy from China 24 fighter jets based on Israeli technology

    [...]
    During the 1980s, Israel Aircraft Industries, along with U.S. firms, developed a multi-role aircraft that was considered the most advanced of its type at the time.

    Following the development of a prototype, the Reagan administration stopped funding for the project, bringing about the cancellation of the joint project.

    Israel then began selling some of the systems it had developed to various countries, including China.

    Experts point out that even with these aircraft, Iran's air force is no match for Israel's or even Saudi Arabia's.

    Some analysts expressed criticism at what they called Israel's "short sighted" and lax export policies.

    This is not the first time Israeli components were part of weapons systems aimed at Israel. Some reports claimed that China sold Saudi Arabia long-range missiles containing Israeli know-how.
    [...]

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    homo republikkkonus viagras erectus war mogerus.

    http://www.playboy.com/blog/upload/2007/04/Cheney.jpg

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    Iran seen to need 3-8 yrs to produce bomb

    [...]

    Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told France's Le Monde newspaper there was plenty of time for diplomacy, sanctions, dialogue and incentives to bear fruit.

    Vice President Dick Cheney said on Sunday the world would not stand by and let Iran develop a nuclear weapon, and Washington has not ruled out an attack. Iran says its nuclear plans are peaceful and denies it wants to make an atomic bomb.


    [...]

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    Turkey Attacks Kurdish PKK Militants Inside Iraq, Masses more troops to Continue

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    Senate Reverses Bush's Budget Cuts

    [...]

    By a 75-19 vote, the Senate gave bipartisan approval to a huge health and education spending bill that will likely be the first of the fiscal 2008 spending bills Democrats will ship to the White House to start a veto battle involving the budget for almost every domestic agency.

    It promises to be a protracted battle, and Bush has a decided advantage, but Democrats have seized on the massive health and education measure as the best measure with which to challenge Bush and his GOP allies in Congress. The measure totals over $600 billion and reverses a raft of cuts sought by Bush to health research, special education and funding for grants to community groups that help the poor, among others.

    The confrontation with Bush over domestic programs — many of which are also popular with Republicans, as demonstrated by the margin of passage — will come on the heels of the bruising veto battle over a children's health insurance bill. Programs funded by the health and education bill affect schoolchildren, workers, the poor and disabled, the unemployed and those with special needs or drug and alcohol problems, among others.

    [...]

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    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Did ConAgra Pay off Inspector?

    FDA Failed to Follow Up on 2004 Peanut Butter Contamination

    Inspector visited ConAgra plant but agency dropped the ball
    At least four deaths blamed on subsequent Salmonella outbreak

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    Carbon sinks' lose ability to soak up emissions

    A dramatic decline in the ability of the Earth to soak up man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, and a corresponding acceleration in the rate of increase of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, have been detected for the first time by scientists.

    The discovery that more carbon dioxide from human activities is lingering in the air rather being absorbed by the world's forests and oceans has alarmed scientists who believe that it signals a potentially dangerous turn of events for the global climate.

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    CA Wildfires Force Mass Evacuation

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    Bush Loses More Billions in Iraq,, still wants more money for private contractor friends who aren't doing the job



    A $1.2bn (£590m) contract for training Iraqi police was so badly managed that auditors do not know how the money was spent, the US state department says.

    The programme was run by a private US company, DynCorp. It insists there has been no intentional fraud.

    Auditors have stopped trying to audit the programme because all the documents are in disarray and the government is trying to retrieve some of the money.

    [...]

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    Monday, October 22, 2007

    TLC

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    Californians flee as fires rage

    At least one person has died and thousands of homes are at risk in seven counties where fires have scorched some 200,000 acres (81,000 hectares).

    About 1,500 National Guardsmen have been brought in to help fire-fighters. Fires in Malibu (21 October 2007)

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    Apple Profit Jumps 67% on Macs, IPods; Shares Gain

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    Bush asks for $46 billion more for wars

    President Bush makes a statement about the Iraq War Supplemental, Monday, Oct. 22, 2007, in the Roosevelt Room in the White House in Washington.  (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

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    Ecuador wants military base in Miami

    Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa said Washington must let him open a military base in Miami if the United States wants to keep using an air base on Ecuador's Pacific coast.

    Correa has refused to renew Washington's lease on the Manta air base, set to expire in 2009. U.S. officials say it is vital for counter-narcotics surveillance operations on Pacific drug-running routes.

    "We'll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorean base," Correa said in an interview during a trip to Italy.

    "If there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States."

    [...]

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    speaking of free trade, Child Labor Persists in India Despite New Laws

    [...]

    At the bottom of the heap are boys like a rag-picker, who earns money by rummaging through garbage heaps. There are no laws keeping children from picking trash. He claims to earn an average of $15 a week by picking through trash 12 hours a day. He has seven siblings, three of them in school. His father works in a park and his mother at a flour mill.

    [...]


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    Republicans to Democrats HOW DARE YOU HELP WORKERS?

    The White House has "serious concerns" about a Democratic proposal that would extend federal retraining assistance to more workers who have lost their jobs because of trade, the U.S. Labor Department said on Monday.

    "We have serious concerns with provisions in the draft legislation Chairman (Charles) Rangel has released," a spokeswoman for the Labor Department said. "We look forward to continuing a dialogue with Congress on these issues."

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    panel recommended to the State Department that the U.S. government impose unified control over private security guards working for the U.S. in Iraq

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    Bank of the South, championed by Venezuela, begins to take form

    Seven South American countries are expected to inaugurate the new bank at a ceremony on Nov. 3 in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, where it will be based. At a meeting here last week the countries - Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela - agreed to create an institution with up to $7 billion in initial capital, paving the way for the bank to begin operating as early as 2008.

    An eighth country, Colombia, said last week that it wanted to be included as well. Its president, Álvaro Uribe, said that his country would join as long as the new bank was an "expression of solidarity and brotherhood," and not a rejection of the international lending institutions.

    The Bank of the South will be designed to promote investment in infrastructure and could help stimulate greater regional trade and integration. Chávez sees it as an alternative financing institution to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund, all of which have significant Washington involvement.

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    US defense secretary: Turkey won't invade Iraq

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    top Israeli and Palestinian diplomats stationed in Poland visited the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp

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    The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know

    [...]
    The diplomatic effort in the United Nations will fail when it becomes clear that Russia's and China's geopolitical ambitions will not accommodate the inconvenience of energy sanctions against Iran. Without any meaningful incentive from the U.S. to be friendly, Iran will keep meddling in Iraq and installing nuclear centrifuges. This will trigger a response from the hard-liners in the White House, who feel that it is their moral duty to deal with Iran before the Democrats take over American foreign policy. "If you get all those elements coming together, say in the first half of '08," says Leverett, "what is this president going to do? I think there is a serious risk he would decide to order an attack on the Iranian nuclear installations and probably a wider target zone."

    This would result in a dramatic increase in attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, attacks by proxy forces like Hezbollah, and an unknown reaction from the wobbly states of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where millions admire Iran's resistance to the Great Satan. "As disastrous as Iraq has been," says Mann, "an attack on Iran could engulf America in a war with the entire Muslim world."

    [...]

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    Harkin calls for commission on food safety

    n announcing the Senate Agriculture Committee's markup of the Farm Bill this past week, the committee chairman, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he will mandate a presidential commission on food safety as part of the bill.

    According to Harkin, the commission was created in the 2002 Farm Bill, but was never constituted or allowed to meet.

    Harkin's call for a food safety commission comes on the heels of a recent rash of recalls of meat due to E. coli contamination.

    Harkin said the recent spike in recalls involving meat products should serve as a warning about this nation's meat and poultry food safety system and the oversight of domestic processing.

    [...]

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    US Department of Agriculture monitors meat safety under a system that allows meat processors to design their own food safety plans

    [...]
    The current system lacks coordination, uniformity and authority. It is understaffed and focused too much on fixing problems instead of preventing them.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture monitors meat safety under a system that allows meat processors to design their own food safety plans. Many in the meat industry have strict guidelines and test meat for pathogens at various stages in the butchering process, but there is no federal requirement for such tests, according to the American Meat Institute.

    USDA inspectors are monitoring compliance with these company-written plans, but the USDA cannot mandate changes in the plans, says Patty Lovera, assistant director of the Washington-based food-safety group, Food and Water Watch.

    USDA inspectors are thinly spread. One inspector was assigned to the Topps Meat Co., which claimed to produce more hamburger patties than any other U.S. plant until it went out of business earlier this month. As you probably remember, Topps folded after the recall of about 22 million pounds of its meat.

    The recall was not ordered by the USDA. The federal regulatory agency doesn't have the authority to order a recall. The company announced the recall 18 days after initial tests showed contamination with the potentially deadly E.coli bacteria.

    The federal inspector assigned to Topps didn't find the E.coli contamination. That discovery was made after dozens of people became ill and the pathogen was traced to Topps.

    [...]

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    ConAgra's Poion Peanut Butter Plant Reopens after 6 Months

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    U.S. moves immigration inmates without notice

    LOS ANGELES, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. Immigration officials were under fire Sunday for moving detainees from a California immigration detention center to other states without warning.

    The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency did not release the number of detainees moved, nor did it release their whereabouts, the Los Angeles Times reported.

    The American Civil Liberties Union said more than 100 detainees were moved Saturday from the Terminal Island facility to various facilities in the southern United States.
    Their attorneys -- caught by surprise -- were stymied in their efforts to find their clients.

    ACLU attorney Ahilan Arulanantham called the move "a serious injustice by the government" and predicted many trial delays will result.

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    Inch by Inch, Great Lakes Shrink, and Cargo Carriers Face Losses


    Road salt is unloaded in Oswego. The ship it came in on carried three-quarters of a full load because lake levels have dropped.

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    If Owls Were As wise as their Legend Says this one woudl Debeak the Chimp

    bushowl3.jpg

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    Marines Under Investigation for Gang Rape iN Japan

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    Teens prosecuted for racy photos

    [...]

    On March 25, 2004, Amber and Jeremy took digital photos of themselves naked and engaged in unspecified "sexual behavior." The two sent the photos from a computer at Amber's house to Jeremy's personal e-mail address. Neither teen showed the photographs to anyone else.

    Court records don't say exactly what happened next--perhaps the parents wanted to end the relationship and raised the alarm--but somehow Florida police learned about the photos.

    Amber and Jeremy were arrested. Each was charged with producing, directing or promoting a photograph featuring the sexual conduct of a child. Based on the contents of his e-mail account, Jeremy was charged with an extra count of possession of child pornography.

    [...]

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    French Police investigate Right Wing Sarkozy's background as Mossad agent

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    Rumsfeld, the Blackwater Mercenary Friend

    http://www.foxnews.com/images/216222/6_21_080306_rumsfeld.jpg

    Rumsfeld’s revenge.

    A story in tomorrow’s Washington Post reports that early in 2004, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld became angry that the Pentagon was losing control over reconstruction efforts in Iraq. In return, he refused to provide military security for diplomats, forcing the State Department to rush to Blackwater:

    The next year, as the United States prepared to return sovereignty to the Iraqis and the State Department began planning an embassy in Baghdad, Rumsfeld lost a bid to retain control over the full U.S. effort, including billions of dollars in reconstruction funds. A new executive order, signed in January 2004, gave State authority over all but military operations. Rumsfeld’s revenge, at least in the view of many State officials, was to withdraw all but minimal assistance for diplomatic security.

    “It was the view of Donald Rumsfeld and [then-Deputy Defense Secretary] Paul Wolfowitz that this wasn’t their problem,” said a former senior State Department official. Meetings to negotiate an official memorandum of understanding between State and Defense during the spring of 2004 broke up in shouting matches over issues such as their respective levels of patriotism and whether the military would provide mortuary services for slain diplomats. […]

    State chose the most expedient solution: Take over the Pentagon’s personal security contract with Blackwater and extend it for a year.

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    Why Did Cheney Target Plame?

    1. Plame worked for a CIA unit tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction and the A.Q. Khan network, which sold nuclear secrets and materials to "rogue" nations.

    2. Cheney knew all about Khan in 1989 and did nothing to stop him.

    3. Cheney's company, Haliburton, received a hefty fine in 1995 for selling dual-use nuclear equipment to Libya, then considered the most roguish of rogue nations. This scam would have brought Haliburton into close contact with the Khan network.

    4. A Khan associate named B.S.A. Tahir, based in Dubai, was helping to supply centrifuge equipment to Libya. (Dubai front companies are used to ship American goods to "forbidden" countries.) Tahir works for a business concern called the Scomi Group. Scomi links up with Haliburton via a German concern called Cognis. The exact nature of these linkages are complex. (If you really must know all the details, go here and re-read the middle section until your eyes explode.)

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    Right Wing Butt Boy Pushing New Media Rules Against the Public Interests

    The head of the Federal Communications Commission has circulated an ambitious plan to relax the decades-old media ownership rules, including repealing a rule that forbids a company to own both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city.

    Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the commission, wants to repeal the rule in the next two months — a plan that, if successful, would be a big victory for some executives of media conglomerates.

    [...]

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    Clarence Thomas, appointed to supreme court through affirmative action says his law degree worth 15 cents because of affirmative action.

    Of course, his capacity for reason is worth a lot less than 15 cents. About .98 of a cent I'd say. That's why he follows the lead psychotic right wing extremist Justice Antonin Scalia. Clarence can't think for himself.Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas testifies before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government regarding the Supreme Court's 2008 fiscal budget request on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., in this  March 8, 2007 file photo. The conservative justice says he was repeatedly turned down in job interviews at law firms when he graduated from Yale in 1974 in the years after affirmative action had taken hold at universities. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

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    Privatization Of America's Roads Not in Public Interest.

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    Halliburton Sunday said third-quarter net profit rose 19 percent, helped by a tax benefit and new international contracts

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    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    U.S. military murders more iraqi children in the name of Bush Crime Family's illegal and unjust war of aggression

    [...]

    The bodies of the toddlers, one in a nappy, lay on blankets in the morgue of Imam Ali hospital in Sadr City where doctors tended to wounded men, some elderly, and boys.

    In a house where one of the children lived, a man pointed to bloodstained mattresses and blood-splattered pillows, choking back tears as he held up a photo of one of the dead.

    Hundreds of local residents, wailing and chanting "There is no God but Allah," carried wooden coffins through the streets.


    [...]

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    America vetoes G7's dollar alert

    [...]

    US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson vetoed French, Italian and German proposals to use the final statement from the Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers meeting to warn of the problems that are facing Europe due to the falling dollar.

    The US currency plunged to a record low against the euro of $1.4319 on Friday, amid market turmoil and falls in share prices around the world. In New York the Dow Jones dropped 370 points, while in London the FTSE 100 closed down 1.2 per cent over the week.

    The dollar's weakness, fuelled by fears about a potential recession in America, is making life extremely tough for European exporters. European ministers had hoped to register the G7's official concern about this at the meetings in Washington this weekend, but were vetoed by the US and other members of the G7.

    [...]

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    Indian immigrants' son new La. governor

    [...]

    Political analysts said Jindal built up support as a sort of "buyer's remorse" from people who voted for Blanco last time and had second thoughts about that decision. Blanco was widely criticized for the state's response to Hurricane Katrina and she announced months ago that she would not seek re-election.

    "I think the Jindal camp, almost explicitly, (wanted) to cast it this way: If you were able to revote, who would you vote for?" said Pearson Cross, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette political scientist.

    Jindal has held a strong lead in the polls since the field of candidates became settled nearly two months ago.

    But the two multimillionaires in the race — Boasso, a state senator from St. Bernard Parish, and Georges, a New Orleans-area businessman — poured millions of their own dollars into their campaigns to try to prevent Jindal's victory.

    Campbell, a public service commissioner from Bossier Parish, had less money but ran on a singular plan: scrapping the state income tax on businesses and individuals and levying a new tax on oil and gas processed in Louisiana.

    The race was one of the highest-spending in Louisiana history. Jindal alone raised $11 million, and Georges poured about $10 million of his personal wealth into his campaign war chest while Boasso plugged in nearly $5 million of his own cash.

    In India, Jindal's family members were proud, and were going to celebrate with the traditional Punjabi folk dance called bhangra.

    [...]

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    New Orleans coroner ordered to release reports on deaths

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    Bush outed CIA Spy whop worked on Iranian Nukes

    n 2003 Ms Plame was an unknown undercover CIA operative until her husband, the former ambassador Joseph Wilson, was sent to Niger to erify intelligence that Iraq had acquired nuclear materials through Niger.

    The claims, based on British intelligence, would find their way into Mr Bush's 2004 State of the Union address as part of his justification for going to war against Iraq, despite Mr Wilson's report that the allegations were probably inaccurate.

    Soon after, Mr Wilson told The New York Times that the White House and the CIA knew the claims were false, and not long after that several journalists were told that Mr Wilson's wife was a CIA agent.

    The sting in the tail was the allegation that Ms Plame had suggested her husband be given the research job in Niger.

    The revelations that she was a spy were devastating to Ms Plame's prospects in the CIA. She was a covert operative, who since 22 had been sent on intelligence-gathering jobs in embassies and in the private sector.

    The details of her assignments are still classified, and large parts of her memoir have been cut out as a result of litigation by the CIA to curb details of her spying career.

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    Iraq whistleblower Dr Kelly WAS murdered to silence him, says MP

    [...]

    • No fingerprints were found on the gardening knife allegedly used by the scientist to cut one of his wrists;

    • Only one other person in the whole of the British Isles committed suicide in the same way as the scientist allegedly did in 2003;

    • There was an astonishing lack of blood at the scene despite death being officially recorded as due to a severed artery;

    • The level of painkillers found in Dr Kelly's stomach was "less than a third" of a normal fatal overdose.

    The Lewes MP also suggests that the knife and packs of painkillers found beside Dr Kelly's body were taken from his home in Southmoor, Oxfordshire, during a police search after his death and later planted at the scene.

    He tells in his book how he was contacted by "informants" during his "journey into the unknown".

    [...]

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    Friday, October 19, 2007

    a salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 200 people in 35 states

    The following brands and all varieties of frozen pot pie products, including chicken, turkey and beef, are subject to the recall:
    · Banquet
    · Kroger (sold at King Soopers and City Market)
    · Great Value (sold at Wal-Mart nationally)
    · Albertson's
    · Food Lion
    · Hill Country Fare
    · Kirkwood
    · Meijer
    · Western Family
    Recalled frozen pot pies include all varieties in 7-ounce single serving packages bearing an establishment number "P-9" or "Est. 1059" printed on the side of the package.

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    a salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 200 people in 35 states

    The following brands and all varieties of frozen pot pie products, including chicken, turkey and beef, are subject to the recall:
    · Banquet
    · Kroger (sold at King Soopers and City Market)
    · Great Value (sold at Wal-Mart nationally)
    · Albertson's
    · Food Lion
    · Hill Country Fare
    · Kirkwood
    · Meijer
    · Western Family
    Recalled frozen pot pies include all varieties in 7-ounce single serving packages bearing an establishment number "P-9" or "Est. 1059" printed on the side of the package.

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    repulsive Corporatist Pigs Who Poison America with Impunity day in and Out suggest you just cook your tainted food better

    [...]
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a health alert about the problem and ConAgra voluntarily stopped production of the pies. So far, so good. But here's the punchline: "No recall is planned as the company maintains that its pies are safe if cooked properly."
    So in case anyone missed it, even if you buy a salmonella-tainted product, all you have to do is cook it long enough and everything will be fine.
    These words seem to me less than reassuring since they come from a company that only last year was forced to stop production and recall its peanut butter after 600 were sickened by salmonella contamination. Maybe those 600 "bellyachers" should have just cooked their peanut butter? Is it too much to ask that ConAgra just make uncontaminated food in the first place?
    [...]

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    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    U.S. food imports set to top more than $2 trillion this year

    No, it isn't the consumer who is to blame for this disaster as these industry shills claim. It is cheap labor and lack of standards in other countries. The usual corporatist horse shit.

    Boy does the barn need cleaning.

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    The food inspectors are not doing their job

    U.S. regulators issued 72 letters in the first eight months of the year warning food suppliers of safety violations, the fewest in a decade, even after tainted spinach and peanut butter sickened hundreds of Americans.

    The number of Food and Drug Administration warnings was a quarter of the comparable 2001 total, public records analyzed by Bloomberg showed. The agency cut its food inspection staff 28 percent from four years ago and visited fewer of the 329,000 facilities in the U.S. and abroad for which it is responsible.

    In the past 13 months, there have been nationwide recalls of spinach contaminated with E.coli and peanut butter tainted with salmonella. The FDA issued warnings that seafood from China may contain cancer-causing additives. Reduced FDA oversight increases the danger that unsafe food will reach consumers, causing illness or death, former regulators say.

    ``The potential for greater risk is there,'' Mark McClellan, who was FDA commissioner under President George W. Bush from 2002 to 2004, said in an interview. ``Limited resources are stretching the agency too far'' after managers diverted staff to drugs and medical devices.

    [...]

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    See How the heartless bastards at Con Agra waited to recall their salmonella tainted crap?

    [...]

    The move came on the same day that a Minnesota mother, angry that Banquet pot pies believed to have sickened her daughter and dozens more could still be found in stores, filed a lawsuit against ConAgra.

    ConAgra, based in Omaha, Neb., had maintained that better cooking directions were the remedy for a salmonella outbreak now tied to 165 cases in 31 states, including Oregon.

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    UPDATE 2-US food companies discount probe of Iraq deals

    Con Agra claims poisoning regular run of the mil Americans is quite enough for them. But we'll see. Certainly no one at any agribusiness conglomerate has a shred of credibility.
    [...]

    The Wall Street Journal said the Justice Department and the Defense Department were examining whether the companies charged excessively high prices to the Army's primary food contractor in the war zone, a Kuwaiti firm called Agility (AGLT.KW: Quote, Profile, Research).

    Agility's dealings are the subject of "a very large and active investigation into criminal and civil fraud involving hundreds of millions of dollars," Justice Department lawyer Brian Mizoguchi told a judge in Federal Claims Court in Washington on June 12, the Journal reported.

    ConAgra Foods Inc (CAG.N: Quote, Profile, Research), a leading packaged-food vendor, said it had been assured by the Defense Department that its role in the investigation "is limited to that of a witness."

    [...]

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    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Consumer Prices Up Sharply in September

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    Food Companies, Including Poison Pot Pie and Peanut Butter People ConAgra, Face U.S. Probe Over Iraq Deals

    WASHINGTON -- Prominent American food companies are under scrutiny in a federal probe of possible fraud and corruption in the military's food-supply operations for the Iraq war.

    Investigators from the Justice Department and the Defense Department are looking into deals that Perdue Farms Inc., Sara Lee Corp., ConAgra Foods Inc. and other U.S. companies made to supply the military, according to people involved in the inquiry. The companies made the deals with the help of former U.S. military procurement officials they hired as consultants or executives.

    The inquiry is focused on whether the food companies set excessively high prices when they sold their goods to the Army's primary food contractor for the war zone, a Kuwaiti firm called Public Warehousing Co. A related question is whether Public Warehousing improperly pocketed for itself refunds it received from these suppliers. Public Warehousing bought vast amounts of meat, vegetables and bakery items from the food companies, and delivered them to U.S. troops.

    Public Warehousing's dealings are the subject of "a very large and active investigation into criminal and civil fraud involving amounts in the hundreds of millions of dollars," Justice Department lawyer Brian Mizoguchi told a judge in Federal Claims Court in Washington, D.C., on June 12. Public Warehousing, which receives more than $1 billion annually to feed troops in Iraq and Kuwait, denies wrongdoing.

    Federal investigators are also examining the role Army officials played in picking the food companies that are Public Warehousing's suppliers. Once a "prime vendor" is chosen by the Pentagon to deliver the food -- in this case, Public Warehousing -- that vendor receives guidance from the Army on what should be on the menu. Sometimes the Army demands specific brands of food from specific manufacturers. The prime vendor must then negotiate prices for these menu items with these manufacturers.

    Profit Margins

    In general, many military contracts pay suppliers the cost of the goods they distribute plus a profit margin. In such cases, it is a challenge to ensure that the supplier seeks the lowest price from the maker of the goods. Unless adequate safeguards are in place, the supplier and the maker have an incentive to inflate the cost and share the extra profits among themselves.

    Federal law prohibits government contractors from obtaining money through false or fraudulent pretenses.

    [...]

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    For a better Understanding of Blackwater and serious issues around it read Jeremy Scahill's Excellent Book

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    Hillary Clinton's Top Strategists Ties To Blackwater Slammed by John Edwards

    [...]
    n addition to his role as a top campaign consultant to the Clinton campaign, Mark Penn is the worldwide president and CEO of Burson-Marsteller. The firm's lobbying subsidiary BKSH helped Blackwater's top executive, Erik Prince, prepare for his congressional testimony this week.
    [...]

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    Blackwater Mercenaries Not Subject to Uniform Military Code of Jusitce

    BAGHDAD: If a private in the United States military fires on civilians, a clear body of law and a set of procedures exist for the military to use in investigating each incident and deciding if the evidence is sufficient to bring charges.

    But when private security contractors do the same, it is exceedingly unlikely that they will be called to account. A patchwork of laws that are largely untested, and practical obstacles to building cases in war zones, have all but insulated contractors from accountability.

    Those gaps were brought into sharp relief after Sept. 16, when Blackwater guards under contract to the State Department opened fire on unarmed civilians and killed 17 Iraqis, according to the Iraqi government.

    Even if the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is now looking into the shooting for the department, determine that a crime was committed, there are formidable obstacles to mounting a case, according to interviews with former prosecutors, lawyers and experts in military and civilian law as it is applied overseas.

    Roughly 100,000 American contractors are working in Iraq, but there has yet to be a prosecution for a single incident of violence, according to Scott Horton, a specialist in the law of armed conflict who teaches at Columbia University.

    [...]

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    Right Wing Extremist and GOP Cash Cow Erik Prince Demands his Blackwater Thugs Not be Subject to Laws in Iraq or America

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    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    The People vs. the Profiteers

    Americans working in Iraq for Halliburton spin-off KBR have been outraged by the massive fraud they saw there. Dozens are suing the giant military contractor, on the taxpayers' behalf. Whose side is the Justice Department on?

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    Jail inmate who died in Taser incident identified

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    Another Taser Death Cops Claim is Mysterious. Taser is Deadly Force and should be treated as such

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    Good Riddance Psycho Witch.

    http://radio.weblogs.com/0107064/MyImages/kay-hutchinson.jpg

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    Verizon Says It Turned Over Data Without Court Orders

    [...]
    From January 2005 to September 2007, Verizon provided data to federal authorities on an emergency basis 720 times, it said in the letter. The records included Internet protocol addresses as well as phone data. In that period, Verizon turned over information a total of 94,000 times to federal authorities armed with a subpoena or court order, the letter said. The information was used for a range of criminal investigations, including kidnapping and child-predator cases and counter-terrorism investigations.
    [...]
    And, no doubt, political dissenters.

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    Phone Utilities Won’t Give Details to Congress About Illegal Eavesdropping

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    Monday, October 15, 2007

    U.S. maternal death rate higher than Europe's: report

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    Two White Men stacked

    Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of New Orleans in Louisiana.http://blog.mideastanalysis.org/wp-content/condoleezza-rice-7.JPG

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    Air Force's No. 2 weapons buyer found dead

    [...]

    Charles Riechers, principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition, was working on the Air Force's highest priority weapons programs, including a $40 billion aerial refueling tanker that is due to be awarded late this year or early next, and a $15 billion combat search and rescue helicopter.

    His death comes against the backdrop of heightened concerns about Air Force weapons programs, but the service said it was not expected to affect any contract awards.

    "While Mr. Riechers was an integral part of these programs, the Air Force does not foresee any delays to these acquisition program schedules," said spokeswoman Jennifer Bentley.


    [...]

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    Ought oh. Same Wealthy Pigs who supported Chimperor and Bill Clinton want Hilliary for pres. Not good news for America

    [...]
    For hedge-fund managers, maxing out to multiple candidates is a cheap hedge. And plenty of well-known business leaders are sticking with Republicans. Ebay CEO Meg Whitman was the finance co-chair for Mitt Romney's exploratory committee.

    But it's not just the ultra-rich who are abandoning Republicans. CNN's exit poll last fall showed that voters in the East making between $150,000 and $200,000 favored Democratic candidates by a 63-37 majority. Since 2004, the percentage of professionals identifying themselves as Republicans fell from 44 percent to 37 percent, according to a September Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. The same survey found 59 percent of Republican voters agreed with the statement that free trade has been a negative for the country.

    Things have clearly changed. But you wouldn't know it from the campaigns—on either side. In last week's Republican economic debate, the leading candidates sang loudly from the GOP hymnal: hailing income inequality as a wonderful product of the free market, and blaming economic woes on lawyers and Democrats.

    With the exception of John Edwards, the Democratic candidates and their congressional allies have been loath to embrace measures that would alienate their new friends. The trial balloon floated earlier this month to enact a war income surtax, which would weigh heavily on high earners, was swiftly shot down. Closing the loophole that allows private-equity and hedge-fund managers to pay low long-term capital-gains taxes on the compensation they get for managing other people's money would be a popular way to pay for Democratic priorities. But last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told private-equity lobbyists that Congress would move no such legislation this year.

    [...]

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    White House Is Leaning on Interim Appointments

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    Iraqis want Mercenaries Out

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    New Zealand Arrests Maori Environmental Activists as Terrorists

    [...]

    Among those arrested was the heavily tattooed Tame Iti, New Zealand's most prominent Maori rights campaigner.

    Iti was most recently in the headlines last month when he went to Fiji to offer support to coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama.

    Prime Minister Clark said she was briefed on the planned police raids last week, but she would not comment on whether she was personally at risk.

    [...]

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    More E Coli

    [...]

    Palm Harbor, Fla. (PRWEB) October 15, 2007 -- Anyone who has suffered recent severe fevers and diarrhea should be aware that one of the largest recalls of potentially contaminated beef in the past decade is currently under way nationally, Attorney Jeffrey Hensley warned today.

    Anyone who believes they have become ill as a result of E. coli contamination should consult an attorney, he said.

    Nearly 30 people from 27 states have become ill, some seriously, after eating ground beef that had been contaminated with the E.coli bacteria, according to the USDA. Federal food inspectors say the meat originated in a beef processing plant in Elizabeth, N.J.

    Topps Meat, which owns the plant, has recalled 21.7 million pounds of frozen hamburger patties from across the country. People became ill after eating the Topps Meat products in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, Maine and Indiana, the USDA said.

    "Those who get sick from E. coli contamination can suffer permanent kidney failure and can even die," Hensley said. "The danger now is that even though a recall is under way, contaminated meat can still be sitting in peoples' freezers."


    [...]

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