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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Friday, November 30, 2007

    What this blog has been reading

    http://www.politicospublishing.co.uk/images/475/1842751956.jpg

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    What this blog has been reading

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    What this blog has been reading

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    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Wal-Mart Pet Toys Will Kill Your Pet

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    US withdraws subpoena seeking identity of 24,000 Amazon customers

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    Rove investigator accused of wiping data from office computer

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    Karl Rove Tries to Rewrite Iraq War History

    According to Karl Rove (on Charlie Rose), the Bush Administration did not want Congress to vote on the Iraq War resolution in the fall of 2002, because they thought it should not be done within the context of an election. Rove, you see, did not think the war vote should be "political".

    Moreover, according to Rove, that "premature vote" led to many of the problems that cropped up in the Iraq War. Had Congress not pushed, he says, Bush could have spent more time assembling a coalition, and provided more time to the inspectors.

    Maybe Rove has a selective memory. This was the first few paragraphs of a press release by the White House on September 24, 2002. The title of the release "President Urges Congress to Pass Iraq Resolution Promptly":

    Thanks for coming. We just had a very productive Cabinet meeting. We realize there's little time left in -- before the Senate and the House goes home, but we're optimistic a lot can get done before now and then. Congress must act now to pass a resolution which will hold Saddam Hussein to account for a decade of defiance.

    It's time to get a homeland security bill done, one which will allow this President and this administration, and future Presidents -- give us the tools necessary to protect the homeland. And we're working as hard as we can with Phil Gramm and Zell Miller to get this bill moving. It's a good bill. It's a bill that both Republicans and Democrats can and should support.

    My message, of course, is that, to the senators up here that are more interested in special interests, you better pay attention to the overall interests of protecting the American people.

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    coalition of the defeated

    Some of the strongest supporters of President Bush were the leaders of Spain, Britain, Italy, and Australia, who contributed tens of thousands of combat troops to the war. As the war unfolded, each leader lost popularity at home and was eventually voted out of office. Currently, their successors either have or are in the process of withdrawing their nations’ troops from Iraq.

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    Some Blackwater Mercenary Murderers Hopped up on Steroids

    [...]

    Filed this week in U.S. District Court in Washington, the civil complaint also accuses North Carolina-based Blackwater of failing to give drug tests to its guards in Baghdad — even though an estimated one in four of them was using steroids or other "judgment altering substances."


    [...]

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    A Swarm of Swindlers

    [...]

    They knew that the woman who owned the house was old and sick and that her two aging daughters were struggling with illness and poverty as well. That was all to the good as far as the lenders were concerned. The predator’s mission is to home in on the vulnerable.

    “The people that wanted to put through the loan called me about a hundred times,” said Rosa Dailey, who is 65 and going blind and needs an oxygen tank at times to help her breathe. “I kept telling them no, because I didn’t think we could afford it. But they kept saying how it was to our advantage. So I finally said: ‘All right, let’s see what we can do.’ ”

    That was the beginning of a tragic spiral, with one unaffordable loan following another. As Ms. Dailey put it: “I feel like they led me down a dark alley.”

    Ms. Dailey told me her story in the freezing living room of the house on Merrill Avenue, which no longer has a working furnace and is growing shabbier by the day. It’s all she has left. Her mother and her older sister are dead now. Her only income is about $1,300 a month from Social Security — less than the monthly note on the house, which is in foreclosure proceedings.

    One aspect of the so-called mortgage crisis that hasn’t been adequately explored is the extent to which predatory lenders have committed fraud against vulnerable homeowners. They have pushed overpriced loans and outlandish fees on hapless victims who didn’t understand — and could not possibly have met — the terms of the contracts they signed.

    In some cases, corporate con artists have deliberately targeted and seized the equity of financially strapped and unsophisticated owners. In some cases, homes have been stolen outright.

    This is an issue crying out for a thorough federal investigation.

    [...]

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    Swindling the Elderly

    I’ve been visiting some of the people who have been most affected by the subprime mortgage debacle. It’s a largely bewildered, frightened group that includes people like Dorothy Levey, a 79-year-old widow who sits alone inside the small house she has lived in for 41 years, afraid to answer the telephone or the door.

    She has every reason to be worried. The monthly note on her house in the city of Markham, just outside Chicago, is approximately 100 percent of her meager monthly income. Broke and behind in her payments, Ms. Levey expects a foreclosure notice to show up any day, followed by a visit from “the sheriff, or whoever they send to tell you to get out of your own home.”

    [...]

    After faithfully making mortgage payments for decades, Ms. Levey and her husband, Dan, were persuaded to take out a new loan, ostensibly for debt consolidation, in 2002. It was like plunging into quicksand. Dan was seriously ill at the time and he died two years later.

    To this day Ms. Levey does not understand what she and her husband of more than half a century had agreed to. The terms might as well have been written in Sanskrit.

    But she kept trying to meet her obligation. She exhausted her savings. She lost her car. She stopped buying clothes and cut back on food. But there was no way to keep up with the payments.

    “I had to go to the state and tell them I was hungry,” she said.

    [...]

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    Mayors see major hit to economy

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    The home building industry will suffer disproportionately, with new home construction sinking to its lowest level since 1993, the organization predicts.

    And, with home equity levels in steep decline, growth in consumer spending will be curtailed - the mayors expect it to increase by just 2 percent.

    Municipalities will start to feel the pinch with a decline in the property tax growth rate. Some places could even experience an outright decline in collections. The housing decline will also affect state coffers, as transfer taxes plummet along with home sales volumes.

    [...]

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    Stephen King: Waterboard Jenna Bush, Have Her Decide If It's Torture

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    Report: Foreclosures to hit metro areas

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    "The wave of foreclosures that has rippled across the U.S. has already battered some of our largest financial institutions, created ghost towns of once vibrant neighborhoods — and it's not over yet," the report said.

    The biggest losses in economic activity are projected for some of the nation's largest metropolitan areas. New York is expected to lose $10.4 billion in economic activity in 2008, followed by Los Angeles at $8.3 billion, Dallas and Washington at $4 billion each, and Chicago at $3.9 billion.

    [...]

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    facts about Israel

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    Gaza residents stage demonstration against Annapolis

    Gaza rally, in protest of Annapolis Summit/ photo by IMEMC staff

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    Gaza Children are at Risk .. The Anemia Disease Spreads as a Result of the Siege

    [...]
    In this regard, Dr. Ra'aft Hassouna, from the UNICEF, said that the symptom of malnutrition appeared on schoolchildren in several forms, including anemia, which has spread among school children by 22%, particularly from the age of 5 to 12 years. Also, the lack of iron and vitamin "A", which leads to anemia, and the lack of vitamin D appear with 4.1%, and the lack of iodine appears by 10% among schoolchildren.

    [...]

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    Bush Fulfills His Grandfather's Dream

    It's remarkably common for a grandson to take up his grandfather's major project. This occurred to me when I read recently of Thor Heyerdahl's grandson taking up his mission to cross the Pacific on a raft. But what really struck me was the BBC story aired on July 23rd documenting President George W. Bush's grandfather's involvement in a 1933 plot to overthrow the U.S. government and install a fascist dictatorship. I knew the story, but had not considered the possibility that the grandson was trying to accomplish what his grandfather had failed to achieve.

    Prescott Sheldon Bush (1895 to 1972) attended Yale University and joined the secret society known as Skull and Bones. Prescott is widely reported to have stolen the skull of Native American leader Geronimo. As far as I know, this has not actually been confirmed. In fact, Prescott seems to have had a habit of making things up. He sent letters home from World War I claiming he'd received medals for heroism. After the letters were printed in newspapers, he had to retract his claims.

    If this does not yet sound like the life of a George W. Bush ancestor, try this on for size: Prescott Bush's early business efforts tended to fail. He married the daughter of a very rich man named George Herbert Walker (the guy with the compound at Kennebunkport , Maine , that now belongs to the Bush family, and the origin of Dubya's middle initial). Walker installed Prescott Bush as an executive in Thyssen and Flick. From then on, Prescott 's business dealings went better, and he entered politics.

    Now, the name Thyssen comes from a German named Fritz Thyssen, major financial backer of the rise of Adolph Hitler. Thyssen was referred to in the New York Herald-Tribune as "Hitler's Angel." During the 1930s and early 1940s, and even as late as 1951, Prescott Bush was involved in business dealings with Thyssen, and was inevitably aware of both Thyssen's political activities and the fact that the companies involved were financially benefiting the nation of Germany. In addition, the companies Prescott Bush profited from included one engaged in mining operations in Poland using slave labor from Auschwitz . Two former slave laborers have sued the U.S. government and the heirs of Prescott Bush for $40 billion.
    [...]

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    Monday, November 12, 2007

    Cheney's Christmas Shopping List

    Jackboot Polish

    Nipple Clips for George

    Iran

    Syria

    No Bid Contracts

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    Impeach Now

    Though I would argue the time for impeachment began in November 2000, and should have gotten underway with impeachment of far right, agenda pursuing, legislating from the bench, political appointee SCOTUS members, yeah, those who stood firm against their oft stated "philosophy" of States Rights (states rights = political doublespeak for kkk love), overruled the voters of Florida and appointed election loser Hitler-in-short-pants to office.

    But now is good too. Let's go! IMPEACH NOW! We have a right to KNOW. We have a right to live free from this Bush created police state.

    My GOD! The man is a relentless criminal who has done irreparable harm to the United States already. Does no one in Washington, other than members of the black political caucus, love their country?

    I must send a letter to Mr Durbin expressing my desire for impeachment proceedings. Though I won't bother with Obama who is as about as progressive as John Bolton and would never jeopardize his political future by standing up to these creeps.

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    Chinese subcontractors blamed for trojan horses

    The Investigation Bureau said the tainted portable hard drives automatically upload any information saved on the computer to Beijing Web sites without the user's knowledge .

    While investigating a Chinese subcontractor involved in the manufacturing process, Seagate found that a small number of drives were infected with the viruses. The company said the products from the problem factory had been scanned and all viruses had been eliminated, adding that all inventory would also be treated before the product was returned to stores.

    Seagate did not disclose the stage in the manufacturing process where the Chinese subcontractor installed the Trojan horse.

    Seagate recommended that all customers who had purchased the product install protective anti-virus software.

    To this end, Seagate said that Kaspersky Labs would offer all Seagate customers a 60-day fully functional version of the Kaspersky Lab Anti-Virus 7.0 software for download and installation.

    In September, the British online information technology magazine The Register published information saying that Kaspersky Labs had found a pre-installed virus named Virus.Win32.AutoRun.ah on Maxtor 3200 external hard drives sold in the Netherlands.

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    maybe if Hershey used actual chocolate instead of that crap they pass off

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    Pastor charged with child molestation dies before trial

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    Televangelists' church made $69 million in 2006; figure released in response to investigation

    [...]

    The Rev. Creflo Dollar disclosed the World Changers Church International's financial information to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but said the money he spends is his own.

    Dollar said his income comes from personal investments, including businesses and real estate ventures. But the church gave him a Rolls Royce, which he mainly uses for special occasions, he said.

    "Without a doubt, my life is not average," he said. "But I'd like to say, just because it is excessive doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong."


    [...]

    Besides Dollar, the letters were sent to faith healer Benny Hinn, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Texas, David and Joyce Meyer of Missouri, Randy and Paula White of Florida and Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia.


    [...]

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    MSNBC Refers to Right Wing attack on French Pension System as Reform

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    Wildlife Biologist Dies From Possible Plague

    7 year old Eric York, is believed to have died from the plague contracted while performing a necropsy on a mountain lion who tested positive for the disease. He was found dead at his home on Nov. 2, and had taken time off due to feeling sick.

    Those people who have come in close contact with York have been given preventative antibiotics and none have reported feeling sick.

    Symptoms of pneumonic plague include: high fever, chills, nausea, chest pain, cough, headache, and blood in the saliva.

    The disease is primarily a disease of animals, but humans can contract it if they are bitten by rodent fleas.

    The cougar, which had died from the plague, was believed to have remained in back-country areas where park visitors wouldn't normally go, officials said.

    [...]

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    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    The E.coli Loophole or the Poison Food Supply

    [...]
    The "E. coli loophole" affects millions of pounds of beef each year that tests positive for the presence of E. coli O157:H7, a particularly virulent strain of the bacterium.
    The agency allows companies to put this E. coli-positive meat in a special category—"cook only." Cooking the meat, the USDA and producers say, destroys the bacteria and makes it safe to eat as precooked hamburgers, meat loaf, crumbled taco meat and other products.

    But some USDA inspectors say the "cook only" practice means that higher-than-appropriate levels of E. coli are tolerated in packing plants, raising the chance that clean meat will become contaminated. They say the "cook only" practice is part of the reason for this year's sudden rise in incidents of E. coli contamination.

    "All the product that is E. coli positive, they put a 'cooking only' tag on it," said one inspector, who like other federal inspectors interviewed asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing their jobs. "They [companies] will test, and everything that's positive, they slap that label on.
    [...]

    This is the kind of shit that happens when the right wing has decades to chip away at the federal government and destroy all the regulatory agencies as part of a package of socialism for corporations.

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    Bush Administration Official Tells Americans to Forget about Privacy

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    top three U.S. banks have agreed on the structure of a backup fund of at least $75 billion to stabilize credit markets

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    Bill Cinton's Right Wing Pals.

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    The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red-faced

    [...]

    American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

    By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.

    According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.

    The Americans had no idea China's fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication, or that it posed such a threat.

    One Nato figure said the effect was "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik" - a reference to the Soviet Union's first orbiting satellite in 1957 which marked the start of the space age.

    The incident, which took place in the ocean between southern Japan and Taiwan, is a major embarrassment for the Pentagon.

    [...]

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    Oil Spill Spreads in San Francisco Bay

    Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco and other state leaders have expressed concern about the time it took to deliver accurate information about the extent of the spill.

    Several state and federal investigations are under way to determine how the ship, the Cosco Busan, hit the Bay Bridge, whether the response was adequate and whether charges should be filed.

    The bulk of the criticism has fallen on the Coast Guard, which is leading the cleanup along with the California Department of Fish and Game. The Coast Guard conceded Friday that “mistakes were made,” although agency officials said the errors were in communication, rather than disaster response.

    “The response went well. We rolled immediately,” said Captain William Uberti of the Coast Guard. “That’s why we got 8,000 gallons collected in the first day.”

    Captain Uberti said the Coast Guard and other response agencies were focused on cleanup within an hour of the accident but had failed to provide city officials with updates, in part to ensure that the numbers about the extent of the spill were accurate.

    The O’Brien’s Group, the American emergency response management company overseeing the cleanup for Hanjin Shipping, the South Korean company operating the ship, said the commander of the vessel took quick action and followed federally approved disaster response protocols. The ship was under the temporary command of a San Francisco Bay pilot, Capt. John Cota, at the time of the accident.

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    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    With gas over $3, Useless Congress remains Silent

    [...]
    Pump prices are again above $3, yet the outcry from Congress is barely a whimper by comparison — even after this week’s warning from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that oil near $100 a barrel is a serious economic threat.

    The change in tone since Nov. 9, 2005 — when Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., castigated oil executives for reaping multimillion-dollar bonuses while “working people struggle” — reflects an altered landscape in terms of energy economics and politics, analysts said.
    [...]

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    US to purchase $700m worth of arms from Israel

    [...]
    The purchase of weapons from Israel is not part of Israel's annual defense aid from the United States, which amounts to $2.4 billion and is expected to grow in 2009 to an annual average of $ 3 billion for the following 10 years
    [...]

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    Venezuela's Chavez calls for energy alliance

    [...]
    "I propose to you that we unite, that we join together in mechanisms of cooperation with countries that don't have oil and who cannot afford to pay $100 per barrel," said Chavez, who has used Venezuela's oil wealth to spread his influence in the region. Oil prices reached record highs of more than $98 per barrel this week.

    Leaders -- most of them leftist -- from Latin America, Portugal, Spain and Andorra are in Santiago for a three-day Ibero-American summit where energy has been high on the unofficial agenda.

    Many Latin American economies have expanded rapidly in recent years and energy supplies have been stretched by booming consumer demand and factory output in countries such as Chile and Argentina.
    [...]

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    Oil consumers are paying $4 billion to $5 billion more for crude oil every day than they did just five years ago

    [...]
    The consequences are evident in minds and mortar: anger at Chinese motor-fuel pumps and inflated confidence in the Kremlin; new weapons in Chad and new petrochemical plants in Saudi Arabia; no-driving campaigns in South Korea and bigger sales for Toyota hybrid cars; a fiscal burden in Senegal and a bonanza in Brazil. In Burma, recent demonstrations were triggered by a government decision to raise fuel prices.
    In the United States, the rising bill for imported petroleum lowers already anemic consumer savings rates, adds to inflation, worsens the trade deficit, undermines the dollar and makes it more difficult for the Federal Reserve to balance its competing goals of fighting inflation and sustaining growth.

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    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    A letter from Russ Feingold

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    U.S. Aid to Dictator Musharraf is Largely Untraceable Cash Transfers

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    Bush Administration Screws the Troops Again

    trained by extended tours in Iraq, growing numbers of military reservists say the government is providing little help to soldiers who are denied their old jobs when they return home, Defense Department data shows.

    The Pentagon survey of reservists in 2005-2006, obtained by The Associated Press, details increasing discontent among returning troops in protecting their legal rights after taking leave from work to fight for their country.

    It found that 44 percent of the reservists polled said they were dissatisfied with how the Labor Department handled their complaint of employment discrimination based on their military status, up from 27 percent from 2004.

    Nearly one-third, or 29 percent, said they had difficulty getting the information they needed from government agencies charged with protecting their rights, while 77 percent reported they didn't even bother trying to get assistance in part because they didn't think it would make a difference.

    [...]

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    The Corporate Run Fascist American Police State Tells you waht to do at home

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    Giuliani Pal Kerik to be Indicted

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    ATT gave feds access to all Web, phone traffic, ex-tech says

    [...]

    Klein, 62, said he may be the only person in a position to discuss firsthand knowledge of an important aspect of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance. He is retired, so he isn't worried about losing his job. He carried no security clearance, and the documents in his possession were not classified, he said. He has no qualms about "turning in," as he put it, the company where he worked for 22 years until he retired in 2004.

    "If they've done something massively illegal and unconstitutional — well, they should suffer the consequences," Klein said.

    In an interview this week, he alleged that the NSA set up a system that vacuumed up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the help of AT&T and without obtaining a court order. Contrary to the government's depiction of its surveillance program as aimed at overseas terrorists, Klein said, much of the data sent through AT&T to the NSA was purely domestic. Klein said he thinks the NSA was analyzing the records for usage patterns and for content.


    [...]

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    Bush Escalating Military Tensions With Russia

    [...]
    Officials in Russia also suggested Russia would stop observing the treaty because of the Bush administration’s decision to abrogate another, the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, and move ahead with a missile-defense system in Central Europe. Russian officials have threatened to direct their missiles toward Europe if the United States proceeds with the system. The vote to suspend the conventional forces treaty must be approved by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir V. Putin. Both are expected to do so.
    [...]

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    Voters have Failing Economy on the Brain

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    More Dirty Tricks from the Lawless Moron we call president

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    Rep. Jan Schakowsky Trying to Stop Blackwater War Profiteers

    [...]

    AMY GOODMAN: How do you respond to those politicians who have said, to the private security firms, what many call “mercenary” firms, have said are -- these are highly trained people, often former Navy Seals, etc., that provide the kind of security that the US military cannot provide?

    REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY: Well, that’s a pretty serious condemnation of the US military, if we now have to rely on these private companies, some of which are actually skimming the most-trained people out of our military, offering them salaries that can’t be matched by the military. And that’s, by the way, creating a big morale problem among our uniformed servicemen and women who are also risking their lives and yet being paid a fraction of what these guards are being paid.

    But, absolutely, we can have people of equal quality. But you know what? They also have people who worked under the Pinochet government when there were death squads, who formerly worked for Milosevic, or people who were graduates of the School of the Americas or pro-apartheid fighters from South Africa. These are often the people that populate these private military companies.

    They're not all cowboys, but, you know, in fact, the four Blackwater employees who were killed in Fallujah were very skilled people. They should never have been sent on a mission by Blackwater that was doomed to failure from the beginning. And their killing in Fallujah changed the entire direction of the war in Iraq, helped promote and spark the insurgency there, created the battle of Fallujah, where twenty-seven Marines were killed. They are changing the mission. They’re changing it for the worse and endangering our troops, who, all of them, I think, should be out of Iraq. But these private companies are making it worse.

    [...]

    Go To Link for Live Stream

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    How Blackwater Sniper Fire Felled 3 Iraqi Guards on Feb 7

    BAGHDAD -- Last Feb. 7, a sniper employed by Blackwater USA, the private security company, opened fire from the roof of the Iraqi Justice Ministry. The bullet tore through the head of a 23-year-old guard for the state-funded Iraqi Media Network, who was standing on a balcony across an open traffic circle. Another guard rushed to his colleague's side and was fatally shot in the neck. A third guard was found dead more than an hour later on the same balcony.

    Eight people who responded to the shootings -- including media network and Justice Ministry guards and an Iraqi army commander -- and five network officials in the compound said none of the slain guards had fired on the Justice Ministry, where a U.S. diplomat was in a meeting. An Iraqi police report described the shootings as "an act of terrorism" and said Blackwater "caused the incident." The media network concluded that the guards were killed "without any provocation."


    Discussion Policy
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    [...]

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    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Blackwater and all other mercenary firms should be put out of business immediately

    Blackwater lawsuitBlackwater thugs preparing to kill innocent human beings for big tax payer money

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    Bush Brother’s Firm Faces Inquiry Over Purchases

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    House set to pass more trade pacts free from laborright, human rights and environmental regulations

    President Bush speaks during the White House Forum on International Trade and Investment at the Eisenhower Office Building Nov. 6, 2007 in Washington, DC. Bush called on congress to pass free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, Peru and South Korea.I'm a fucking monkey!

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    Right Wing Corportist Barack Obama says we must protectct mining industry

    [...]

    The legislation, passed 244-166, would impose 4 percent royalty fees on existing mines operating on federal land. New mines would be charged

    8 percent.

    Mines currently pay very little to use federal land under the 1872 Mining Law.

    The position, while popular with rural Nevada voters who depend on jobs provided by the mining industry, could alienate environmental activists, political observers said. Both are important constituencies in the Jan. 19 Nevada Caucus.

    [...]

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    U.S. official: Pakistan's Military Dictator Musharraf 'indispensable' ally

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    Republican Former S.D. legislator convicted of rape

    [...]

    Klaudt also is scheduled to stand trial next week for rape and other offenses in Corson County, where he lives.

    [...]

    The two former foster daughters testified that Klaudt touched their breasts and genitals while conducting what he said were examinations to determine whether they were healthy enough to donate their eggs. The examinations occurred in Klaudt's motel suite in Pierre during the 2005 and 2006 sessions of the South Dakota Legislature, and one of the young women was a page during one of those sessions.

    The first woman, now 19, testified last week that Klaudt performed as many as 10 tests on her, but only three occurred in Pierre in his motel suite. She said she went along with the exams because she believed the egg donation scheme was real and she hoped to make thousands of dollars.

    The second woman, now 20, said she initially wanted Klaudt to examine her because she wanted to make money donating eggs and wanted to find out whether she was fertile. She said that when he examined her in the Pierre motel room in early 2006, she asked him to stop a genital examination three times but that he did not stop.

    [...]

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    Sex trial of Republican state Rep. Bob Allen begins

    State Rep. Bob Allen peered over a stall in a public park restroom to show his interest in soliciting sex from an undercover police officer, a prosecutor said in opening arguments in the lawmaker's trial Wednesday.

    Allen sat emotionlessly as prosecutor Pat Whitaker described how the lawmaker eventually followed the male officer into the same stall, where Allen said the restroom was too public of a place. The lawmaker suggested ''across the bridge,'' saying ''it's quiet over there,'' and then agreed to pay $20 for oral sex, Whitaker said.

    ''You're not a cop, are you?'' Allen asked the officer, according to Whitaker.

    [...]

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    Dollar hits 26-year low against pound

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    UN labels private security forces as mercenaries

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    State Department wants ANOTHER 1.5 billion dollars for private mercenary companies who are destroying the military

    [...]

    The bid to boost security spending by one-third in 2008 comes as the department confronts mounting criticism over problems with construction of a massive new embassy in Baghdad, heavy-handed tactics by private security guards and a plan to force U.S. diplomats to serve in Iraq.

    Lawmakers who control the flow of money are questioning the department's appetite for more. Over $500 million of the proposed 2008 spending would go to three private security firms, including Blackwater Worldwide, which has been denounced since a Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad left 17 Iraqis dead.

    [...]

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    conservative governance: US debt tops $9 trillion for first time

    At the end of September, U.S. President George W. Bush signed a measure to increase the debt limit ceiling to $9.815 trillion from $8.965 trillion, allowing the government to keep issuing debt.

    The increase in the debt limit is the fifth since Bush took office in January 2001. The U.S. debt stood at about $5.6 trillion at the start of his presidency.

    In approving the debt limit increase, Congressional lawmakers said the $850 billion increase should be large enough to allow the government to continue borrowing into 2009, well beyond next year's presidential and congressional elections.

    [...]

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    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    US jets armed with tactical nuclear weapons carried out an attack on a nuclear site under construction in Syria

    The September 6 raid over Syria was carried out by the US Air Force, the Al-Jazeera Web site reported Friday. The Web site quoted Israeli and Arab sources as saying that two strategic US jets armed with tactical nuclear weapons carried out an attack on a nuclear site under construction.

    The sources were quoted as saying that Israeli F-15 and F-16 jets provided cover for the US planes.

    The sources added that each US plane carried one tactical nuclear weapon and that the site was hit by one bomb and was totally destroyed.
    [...]

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    Phony War on Terror Used to Generate Billions for Bush Friends in "Security" Business

    [...]

    In 2005, Congress passed legislation mandating Real ID to standardize information that must be included on licenses, including a digital photograph, a signature, and machine-readable features such as a bar code.

    Under the law, states also must verify applicants' citizenship status, check identity documents such as birth certificates, and cross-check information with other states and with Social Security, immigration, and State Department databases.

    The new licenses must include features to thwart forgery and fraud, and drivers born after 1935 will have to present birth certificates or passports to obtain them.

    Supporters pointed out that all but one of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers acquired, legitimately or by fraud, IDs that allowed them to board planes, rent cars, and move through the country.

    Congress approved $40 million in grants to states to cover some of the expenses this year. By comparison, the National Governors Association wants $1 billion next year as a down payment for states' start-up costs.

    [...]

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    Bush Government Insists it should have access to phone, e-mail and financial records without a judge's approval

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    Another Office Holding Republican Child Molestor arrested

    [...]
    Mayor Jeff Krull, 66, was charged with six counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and one count of showing lewd and lascivious material to a minor, police Chief Steve Allen said.

    Authorities said the alleged victims visited the mayor's home to use his computer. It's believed there were at least three victims, but Allen said an investigation could reveal more.

    The mayor was taken to a hospital after his arrest because he complained of chest discomfort. Once released, he will be transported to Lake County jail on $65,000 bond, Allen said.


    [...]

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    Panel Wants Government regulatory Agency gutted by Right Wing To Be Restored so as to Protect the Public

    The Food and Drug Administration would be empowered to order mandatory recalls of products deemed a risk to consumers under recommendations from an advisory commission created in response to concerns about recalls of dangerous toothpaste, dog food and toys.

    Bush was to receive the recommendations Tuesday from the panel, which was established in July to study import safety. It was led by Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

    The panel also will urge increasing the presence of U.S. inspectors from Customs, the Border Patrol, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other agencies in countries that are major exporters to the United States, an administration official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the recommendations had not been released publicly.

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    Soaring Cost Of Crude Oil Could Push Gasoline Prices Even Higher

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    Too Little Too Late. Hillary Clinton calls for 55 mpg by 2030

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    Monday, November 05, 2007

    CIA documents reveal that the remote possibility of alien invasion elicited greater fear than a Soviet nuclear attack

    The image “http://www.geocities.com/melissa_smallwood/extraterrestrial-pose01.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

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    2nd cargill beef recall in a month. E.coli in your meat means feces in your meat.

    Of course the recall is voluntary. The government has no authority to have contaminated products recalled.
    Thank you right wing. Your
    corporate profits and payola are more important than all our lives.

    http://media.canada.com/gallery/spaghetti/ground-beef-3.jpg

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    Israeli air raids kill Palestinians


    The factory workers were changing into their uniforms when the Israeli shell exploded [AFP]

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    Postal Service Says Killing Small Periodicals Is a "Win-Win"

    Defying the founding fathers, Bush appointees at the USPS have decided to strangle the free press.

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    U.S. Plan Envisioned Nuking Iran, Syria, Libya

    Despite years of denials, a secret planning document issued by the U.S. military's nuclear-weapons command in 2003 ordered preparations for nuclear strikes on countries seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including Iran, Saddam Hussein-era Iraq, Libya and Syria.
    [...]

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    House Judiciary Committee Files Contempt of Congress Report with House Clerk

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    This Blog Supports Labor Unions

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    politically motivated prosecutions

    [...]

    Congressional Democrats have spotlighted former Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht's prosecution on charges of theft, mail fraud and wire fraud as part of a broad investigation into White House interference with Justice Department activities. After months of questioning whether the Bush administration fired nine U.S. attorneys who were not ''loyal Bushies,'' Democrats said the cases provide strong evidence that some government lawyers may have done the White House's bidding.

    In a motion submitted late Friday, attorneys for Wecht asked U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab to rule on whether Republican U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan targeted Wecht because he is a Democrat.

    [...]

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    Alvaro Colom elected Guatemala's president

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    Under a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program, cities in Ohio may buy unsold foreclosed homes for $1 each

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    PetroChina is world's top company

    PetroChina saw its shares nearly triple from 16.7 yuan to end at 43.96 yuan, giving PetroChina a market value of just below $1 trillion (£480.6bn).

    This is almost the twice the $488bn value of oil producer Exxon Mobil.

    But some analysts said the PetroChina's Shanghai share price stemmed from speculation and was too high.

    State-owned PetroChina already has shares traded in Hong Kong and its flotation on China's mainland stock exchange in the country's largest domestic share sale represented just 2% of the total number of shares it has listed.

    [...]

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    No email privacy rights under Constitution, US gov claims

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    Sunday, November 04, 2007

    The corruption in Outsourcing and Privatization is Rampant

    [...]
    CareFlite's contract was one of many cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts the government handed out after the hurricanes. Unlike fixed-price contracts, which pay a set amount, cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts are essentially open-ended, allowing contractors to bill for all their costs. CareFlite's contract is capped at $21 million.
    [...]

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    Beyond the Bar Code: The Local Food Revolution

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    Food-Related Illness and Death in the United States

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    Massive Increase in USA Food Poisoning Since 1994

    [...]

    According to a report published at the end of 1999 [3], foodborne
    diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325 000
    hospitalisations and 5 000 deaths in the United States each year.
    Known foodborne pathogens account for 14 million of the illnesses, 60
    000 hospitalisations and 1 800 deaths. In other words, unknown agents
    account for approximately 81% of food borne illnesses and
    hospitalisations and 64% of deaths. Three pathogens, Salmonella,
    Listeria and Toxoplasma kill 1500 each year, more than 75% of those
    killed by known pathogens, while Campylobacter, Salmonella and
    Shigella top the list in known causes of foodborne illnesses.

    To see foodborne illnesses in perspective, total illnesses from known
    pathogens are estimated at 38.6 million, and that includes 5.2 million
    (13%) due to bacteria, 2.5 million (7%) due to parasites and 30.9
    million (80%) due to viruses. The breakdown for foodborne illnesses in
    terms of known etiological agents is similar, with the highest
    proportion due to viruses.

    The figures on foodborne illnesses are more than double those produced
    in 1994 [4], which were between 6.5 to 33 million illnesses per year.
    In terms of incidence, the increase is from 25 to 130 cases per 1 000
    inhabitants in 1994 to 278 per 1 000 in 1999. Is the huge increase
    over the past five years real? Or is it simply a case of improved
    surveillance and reporting.

    For comparison, a Swedish study was undertaken in the Municipality of
    Uppsala of 186 000 inhabitants, based on enhanced surveillance and
    retrospective interviews in 1998-1999 [5]. A total of 268 incidents
    were recorded, and 515 cases documented. This gives an incidence of 28
    illnesses per thousand, which falls within the low end of the US
    estimate in1994. But that means the incidence of foodborne diseases in
    the US in 1999 is nearly ten times that of Sweden, as well as up to
    ten times higher than in 1994.

    [...]

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    In pictures: Tutankhamun revealed

    Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass looks at King Tutankhamun's body

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    Bush Administration Blocked Waterboarding Critic

    A senior Justice Department official, charged with reworking the administration's legal position on torture in 2004 became so concerned about the controversial interrogation technique of waterboarding that he decided to experience it firsthand, sources told ABC News.

    Daniel Levin, then acting assistant attorney general, went to a military base near Washington and underwent the procedure to inform his analysis of different interrogation techniques.

    After the experience, Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn't die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning.

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    Horrifying News! More Bushes Running for office

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    More Good News: Kentucky Snapping Turtle Lookalike and Senator McConnell Below 50% in Re-election Bid

    [...]
    Against two potential Democratic challengers, a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds McConnell falling just below the 50% level of voter support. Generally, any incumbent who polls below 50% is considered potentially vulnerable.
    [...]

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    The Bank of the South: An Alternative to IMF and World Bank Dominance

    [...]

    n fact, for 63 hellish years, both these institutions achieved mirror opposite results on everything the above comment states. From inception, their mission was to integrate developing nations into the Global North-dominated world economy and use debt repayment as the way to transfer wealth from poor countries to powerful bankers in rich ones.

    The scheme is called debt slavery because new loans are needed to service old ones, indebtedness rises, and borrowing terms stipulate harsh one-way “structural adjustment” provisions that include:

    – privatizations of state enterprises;

    – government deregulation;

    – deep cuts in social spending;

    – wage freezes or cuts;

    – unrestricted free market access for foreign corporations;

    – corporate-friendly tax cuts;

    – crackdowns on trade unionists; and

    – savage repression for non-believers under a system incompatible with social democracy.

    Everywhere the scheme is the same: huge public wealth transfers to elitist private hands, exploding public debt, an ever-widening disparity between the super-rich and desperate poor, and an aggressive nationalism to justify huge spending on security for aggressive surveillance, mass incarceration plus repression and torture for social control.

    An Alternative to Debt Slavery - The Bank of the South

    Last December, Hugo Chavez announced his idea for a Banco del Sur, or Bank of the South, as part of his crusade against the institutions of international capital he calls “tools of Washington.” The bank will be officially launched at a presidential November 3 summit in Caracas, where it’s to be headquartered, with seven founding member-states - Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Ecuador.

    [...]

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    Hugo Chavez: A people's alternative to Structural Adjustment

    [...]

    Budhoo was the first person to break the IMF's code of silence regarding internal affairs by exposing extensive statistical fraud carried out by the fund in Trinidad and Tobago during 1985-1987.

    The IMF and World Bank are separate institutions with distinct roles. While the bank makes loans for development projects, the IMF lends to governments to ease deficits and make their economies appear stable to the international market. The World Bank was created in April 1944 as a lending institution composed of member governments to help rebuild post-war economies. The IMF was created to restructure and organize the market systems of member nations by promoting international economic cooperation and trade, and by encouraging stable currencies.

    The bank introduced Structural Adjustment Programs in 1980 to increase export production in debtor nations to provide cash for debt-service payment. Under "structural adjustment," developing countries typically are required to devalue their currency; dramatically cut spending on social services, medical care and education; eliminate barriers to foreign multinationals and trade; privatize national assets; deregulate business; decrease wages; restrict credit and raise interest rates.

    Due to the radical reorganization of national economies, people in "SAPed" countries often pay for their governments' loans with extreme poverty, hunger and disease. Using figures provided by UNICEF and UNDP, the editors of the IMF-World Bank Watchdog estimated that more than six million children under the age of five have died each year since 1982 in Africa, Asia and Latin America as a result of IMF / World Bank policies.

    SAPs often carry heavy ecological costs as well. The forced privatization of nationalized industries and public or communal lands often opens Third World countries to opportunistic multinational corporations resulting in degraded (or destroyed) and polluted environments. Placing the emphasis on exports rather than local needs in a time of falling world commodity prices results in exploitation and depletion of oil, minerals, forests and other natural resources.

    Even though debtor countries paid more than $1.3 trillion to the IMF between 1982 and 1990, they were still 61 percent more in the hole in the 1990s than they were in 1982. According to the 1988 UNICEF annual report, debt and interest payments by Southern countries totaled more than three times the amount of aid received from the World Bank and IMF.

    " Under structural adjustment, the IMF and the World Bank do not merely supervise individual sectors of the economy as in the past... they now manage each country entirely," said an official of the Institute for African Alternatives. "They have to approve annual national budgets. . . monetary, trade and fiscal policies . . . before countries can negotiate with other foreign lending agencies." During his years at the World Bank and IMF, Budhoo learned that core staff members are "successors of colonial civil servants." Pointedly observing that South Africa is administered by the European Department, not the African department, Budhoo concludes that "our staff is the logical consequence... of the prevailing 1944 international ethos of 'superior man' and 'inferior man,' and the white man and his system to be saved and nurtured, and the black / brown colonized man to be overlooked and cast aside...."

    IMF staff receive six-figure salaries along with generous perks, including subsidies for travel and foreign work, and housing and education for family members. A staffer on assignment in the South often receives more basic pay than a head of-state. Newly recruited staff are often wined and dined, offered fat consultancy fees and lucrative, tax-free salaries to lure them into compliance with the IMF against what may be their better judgment. The promise of becoming a member of the "new nobility of Earth" can be overpowering.

    [...]

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    Go Hugo! Supporters of Venezuela's Chavez and his reforms stage massive march

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    US unlikely to halt Pakistan aid’

    or six years, the United States has staunchly supported President General Pervez Musharraf, choosing to back a military leader seen as a strong ally in the “war on terror” rather than push the general more forcefully for democratic reforms, the Los Angeles Times said in a news analysis on Sunday.

    But the risks associated with that strategy have become increasingly apparent in recent months, as Al Qaeda and the Taliban have gained strength in the NWFP despite billions of dollars in military aid to Musharraf’s government since the September 11 attacks.

    That funding is Washington’s main source of leverage over Musharraf. But officials said that it would be risky for the US to withhold such aid to pressure Musharraf to reverse the emergency powers he decreed on Saturday, acknowledging that the US is dependent on Pakistan and can’t afford to alienate its leadership.
    [...]

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    Rice: US Will Review Aid to Pakistan

    The image “http://www.fugly.com/media/IMAGES/Funny/condi_whitey.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

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    How about a little structutal adjustment for pakistan administered by their boy Musharraf

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    Hundreds rounded up in Pakistan, elections under threat

    [...]

    Defying international condemnation, military ruler Musharraf on Saturday suspended the constitution, sacked the chief justice and imposed strict media curbs in the nuclear-armed nation of 160 million people.

    Musharraf accused the judiciary and Islamic militants of destabilising the country, saying he had acted to stop Pakistan from committing "suicide" and appealing for understanding from his Western allies.

    Troops and police poured into Islamabad and surrounded the Supreme Court, which had been due within days to rule on the legality of Musharraf's victory in an October 6 presidential election.

    [...]

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    U.S. Stands in the Way of International Pipeline Deal

    Last year, a senior U.S. state department official, Steven Mann, stated that the United States is unequivocally against the deal. "The U.S. government supports multiple pipelines from the Caspian region but remains absolutely opposed to pipelines involving Iran." Washington fears that the deal will be a blow to its efforts to isolate Iran. Since the deal involves Pakistan and India, two countries that are friendly with Washington, the Bush administration has been trying to pressure both to back off the deal.
    [...]

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    Why the US is backing the new Pakistani police state. Cheney doesn't want this pipeline

    Oct 30: Pakistan and Iran have reflected their commitment to the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project as they move forward today to give the deal a final touch. On Sunday, Iranian Oil Minister's Special Envoy for the pipeline talks Hojjatollah Ghanimifard said final touches to the contract would be given this week.

    Irrespective of the fact whether India remains in or out of the project, Pakistan is of the opinion that the deal is the need of Pakistan and it stands committed to it.

    This is to be mentioned that the project was negotiated by all the three countries but subsequent to the Indo-US civil nuclear deal India has not shown any interest in the project and did not participate in the rounds of talks going on between Pakistan and Iran on the project despite invitation from Tehran and Pakistan for holding talks on the same.

    Pakistan has indicated clearly that it is ready to go ahead with the project even if India keeps itself away from the project.
    [...]

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    Saturday, November 03, 2007

    Stop Right Wing Extremist Lunatic Erik Prince Before his Merceanries are at Your Door

    [....]
    he operation, Total Intelligence Solutions, has assembled a roster of former spooks -- high-ranking figures from agencies such as the CIA and defense intelligence -- that mirrors the slate of former military officials who run Blackwater. Its chairman is Cofer Black, the former head of counterterrorism at CIA known for his leading role in many of the agency's more controversial programs, including the rendition and interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects and the detention of some of them in secret prisons overseas.

    Its chief executive is Robert Richer, a former CIA associate deputy director of operations who was heavily involved in running the agency's role in the Iraq war.

    Total Intelligence Solutions is one of a growing number of companies that offer intelligence services such as risk analysis to companies and governments. Because of its roster and its ties to owner Erik Prince, the multimillionaire former Navy SEAL, the company's thrust into this world highlights the blurring of lines between government, industry and activities formerly reserved for agents operating in the shadows.

    [...]

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    Citigroup Chief Is Set to Exit Amid Losses

    [...]

    Mr. Prince will leave with vested stock holdings valued at $94 million on top of the roughly $53.1 million in pay he took home in the last four years, according to James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm, and Equilar, a data provider. Included is a pension worth $1.74 million and another one million stock options, which have no current market value because of the stock’s sharp decline. They have a potential estimated value of about $4 million based on current estimated values — and possibly more if the stock rises. Severance would have to be negotiated; Mr. Prince has no employment contract.

    Mr. Prince would become the second chief executive to lose his job in the wake of the subprime mortgage problems. Earlier this week, the chairman and chief executive of Merrill Lynch, E. Stanley O’Neal, was forced to retire after the brokerage firm reported an $8.4 billion write-down, the largest in its history, and an unauthorized overture to merge with rival Wachovia, that angered board members.

    [...]

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    Bush ally Suspends Constitution and Fires Chief Justice in Pakistan

    [...]

    The move appeared to be an effort by General Musharraf to reassert his fading power in the face of growing opposition from the country’s Supreme Court, political parties and hard-line Islamists. Pakistan’s Supreme Court had been expected to rule within days on the legality of General Musharraf’s re-election last month as the country’s president.

    The emergency act, which analysts and opposition leaders said was more a declaration of martial law, also boldly defied the Bush administration, which had repeatedly urged General Musharraf to avoid such a path and instead move toward democracy. Washington has generously backed the general, sending him more than $10 billion in aid since 2001, mostly for the military. Now the administration finds itself in the bind of having to publicly castigate the man it has described as one of its closest allies in fighting terrorism.

    [...]

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    National Health Service Worekrs Fight Back against long ago hatched Thatcherite Plot

    [...]
    Doctors, midwives, nurses, cleaners and technicians were among the thousands who marched through the capital as part of the I Love the NHS campaign, which concluded in Trafalgar Square.
    [...]
    "Staff working in the health service are proud of the jobs they do and are totally committed to improving patient care and the services in the hospitals in which they work," he said.

    "But recent recruitment freezes and redundancies are leaving health employees with bigger workloads and unpaid overtime is increasingly becoming the norm."

    Addressing demonstrators today, TUC president David Prentice said that health workers would not allow the NHS to be "sold off to private companies on the altar of profit".

    And in a video message, mayor of London Ken Livingstone revealed that he regarded the NHS as the "single most important social advance of my lifetime"

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    Graham Drops Opposition To Mukasey, Rewarded With ‘High-Roller Fundraiser’ With Bush

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    Cargill Recalls 1 Million Pounds of Beef

    Cargill Inc. said Saturday it is recalling more than 1 million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the second time in less than a month it has voluntarily recalled beef that may have been tainted.

    No illnesses have been reported, said John Keating, president of Cargill Regional Beef.

    The agribusiness giant produced the beef between Oct. 8 and Oct. 11 at a plant in Wyalusing, Pa. and distributed it to retailers across the country. They include Giant, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Wegmans and Weis.

    Cargill learned the meat may be contaminated after the Agriculture Department found a problem with a sample of the beef produced on Oct. 8, the company said. The bacteria is E. coli O157:H7.

    A spokeswoman for Cargill said 10 states are included in the recall — Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

    [...]

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    Friday, November 02, 2007

    This is the King Of State Sponsored Media. He looks like he Stinks. Take a bath Rupert

    http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200605/r86446_254448.jpg

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    Right Wing Extremist FCC out to consolidate Corporate media control and up the propoganda even more

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    Right Wing Evangelical Incest Festival Getting Underway. And you thought they were all gay!

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    Time to waterboard Schumer and Feinstein

    [...]
    The decision by Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California followed chairman Patrick Leahy's announcement that he would vote against Mukasey because the former federal judge has refused to define waterboarding as torture.
    [...]

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    Audience members disrupt VP Dick Cheney's Dallas speech

    [...]

    Mr. Cheney arrived in Dallas on Thursday and attended a fundraiser for Sen. John Cornyn and the National Republican Senatorial Committee at the home of Dan and Gail Cook. Beforehand, Mr. Cheney and his wife, Lynne Cheney, went shopping at Highland Park Village.

    Mr. Cheney said he was enjoying his stay in Dallas, where he lived for five years while serving as CEO of Halliburton.

    [...]

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    If you believe that Iraq is like France, and former Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi is a latter-day Charles de Gaulle, you should be writing fantasy novels

    [...]
    Let's start with Mistake Number One: an embrace of transformational theory over obvious reality. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had a theory about a new lean, mean, swiftly moving military. Generals who warned that postwar stability would require more troops were dismissed out of hand.

    Former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz had a theory that postwar Iraq would resemble "post-liberation France." If you believe that Iraq is like France, and former Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi is a latter-day Charles de Gaulle, you should be writing fantasy novels, not overseeing military operations.

    Wolfowitz is gone, but Rumsfeld remains. Do we know if reality trumps dreams in today's Department of Defense?

    Mistake Number Two: the failure to establish order in Baghdad after taking the city. When massive looting followed the U.S. entry, Rumsfeld dismissed it as the untidiness of freedom. Every Iraqi I knew was on the phone asking me why the Americans didn't institute a curfew.

    In several visits to Iraq during the last three years, I've been told by Iraqi officials that the unchecked looting gave the green light to would-be insurgents and Arab terrorists by indicating that Americans couldn't control Baghdad. Much early looting was organized by Baathists to create havoc, in hopes they would be welcomed back to power. That's still their strategy; Iraq is still suffering from this mistake.

    Mistake Number Three: abolishing the entire Iraqi army without severance or pensions. I was at the Baghdad news conference where occupation czar Paul Bremer announced this move and my jaw dropped - tens of thousands of Iraqi officers with guns who had followed American orders not to fight were suddenly jobless. Many told me in interviews that they were furious; I'm sure some joined the insurgents.

    I recently asked Bremer why he waited weeks to offer pensions, by which time many of these officers were beyond reconciliation. He said the Pentagon first had to check how many officers would be collecting benefits. Can bureaucratic pettiness be responsible for giving the insurgency such a leg up? Bremer made his move with full concurrence of the Pentagon civilian leadership.

    Mistake Number Four: a misconceived plan for training Iraqi security forces. U.S. officials focused on police training for the first year because, as they told me, the police are the first line of defense in a "normal" country. But Iraq was hardly normal; it needed an army to fight the insurgency. Yet we didn't start serious training of an Iraqi army until June 2004.

    Mistake Number Five: no Sunni strategy. Back in fall 2003, many Sunni tribal leaders were waiting to be wooed by U.S. officials. But there was no coherent Pentagon strategy to win hearts and minds (Rumsfeld was seriously uninterested in nation-building). Sunni leaders in restive Anbar province were often alienated by raids on their homes, dismissive treatment, and arrests of women. U.S. officials are now trying to persuade these same Sunni leaders to turn against the insurgents - but now it is a far more difficult sell.

    Mistake Number Six: a strange belief that once Saddam fell, Iraq would morph into a democracy. Wolfowitz confused Iraq with France; other U.S. officials made a comparison with Eastern Europe. None recognized that Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds would vote almost exclusively for their own religious and ethnic parties and have great difficulty sharing power. And Iraqi security forces were bound to split along the same lines as the people of Iraq.

    Mistake Number Seven: a failure to understand that Iran would be a key power broker in Iraq, because a majority of Iraqis belonged to the same Shiite sect of Islam as Iranians, and needed Tehran as an ally against the Sunnis. The President couldn't call for Iran regime change and not expect Tehran to make trouble for America in Iraq.
    [...]

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    Rice to face subpoena in espionage case

    U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice listens to an American journalist's question during a news conference with her Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan, not pictured, after talks with Babacan and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Friday, Nov. 2, 2007. Rice Friday said that Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq were a 'common threat' to the U.S., Iraq and Turkey, and she pledged an intensified effort by Washington to help confront the guerrillas.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

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    Dunlavey: Guantanamo mission came straight from Bush, Rumsfeld

    When military investigators questioned Erie County Judge Michael E. Dunlavey about reported prisoner abuse during his tenure at the Guantanamo Bay camp for suspected terrorists, Dunlavey told them he got his "marching orders" from President Bush, according to a new book about U.S. policies regarding torture.

    The book, "Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond," relies on government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act to trace the development of what the authors claim was prisoner abuse and torture that emerged in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    The book uses Dunlavey's words to place him, a retired two-star general in the U.S. Army Reserve, at the advent of the development of what have become disputed interrogation policies.
    [...]

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    Missing in action: a postwar plan in Iraq

    “Stuff happens.” Two words that should live in infamy.

    They are Donald Rumsfeld's words, uttered by the then-secretary of Defense at a 2003 news conference about the violence and looting that was sweeping post-invasion Iraq. This is the same man who once said, “Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war,” so “stuff happens” is no surprise.
    Rumsfeld gets plenty of face time in Charles Ferguson's “No End in Sight,” the Sundance Film Festival documentary award winner that opened in theaters locally only two months ago and this week makes its debut on DVD.

    Sober and sobering, “No End in Sight” takes not only Rumsfeld to task, but also the entire Iraq War team in the Bush administration, quarterbacked from the Oval Office with a backfield of Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and Rumsfeld himself.

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    Rumsfeld kept bogey of terror alive to rally Americans for war

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    Rumsfeld wrote that oil wealth had left Muslims detached from the "reality of the work and investment that leads to wealth for the rest of the world

    Donald Rumsfeld, the guy who neglected to plan the right wing war of aggression in Iraq because he was too busy privatizing the armed services ( Blackwater, Triple Canopy, Halliburton, Custer Battles, etc), chief member of Washington's very own Republican master race and devout worshipper of crackpot economic theorist and fascist fuck Milton Friedman makes sweeping slanderous generalizations about Arabs. Rumsfeld

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    Mexican floods strand 300,000; more rain ahead

    [...]

    An estimated 900,000 people had their homes flooded, damaged or cut off, and as of Thursday 300,000 still had not been rescued, Tabasco Gov. Andres Granier said. Police, soldiers and military workers were still trying to reach them.

    It was becoming difficult to find a safe place to put refugees. Officials improvised, turning parking garages and any other dry structure into temporary shelters. Dozens of Mexico's hospitals and medical centers were also flooded, complicating treatment of the sick. Video Watch residents swim through flooded streets »

    Health officials warned that flooding could trigger epidemics of cholera, although none were yet reported.

    [...]

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    General Mills Recalls Frozen Pizza For E-Coli. Food Supply is Unsafe

    SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 1, 2007 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- General Mills (NYSE:GIS) Inc. said Thursday its Totino's and Jeno's brands are voluntarily recalling frozen pizzas with pepperoni toppings because of possible contamination of the pepperoni with E. coli O157:H7.

    The potential problem was uncovered by state and federal authorities investigating 21 occurrences of E. coli-related illnesses in 10 states, General Mills said. About half of those who became ill were hospitalized. The earliest reported case occurred on July 20 and the latest case reported occurred on Oct. 10.

    Nine of the 21 people reported having eaten Totino's or Jeno's pizza with pepperoni topping at some point before getting sick, the company said.

    The recall affects roughly 414,000 cases of pizza products currently in stores and all similar pizza products in consumers' freezers, General Mills said.

    The frozen pizza products were produced in the company's Wellston, Ohio, plant and distributed nationwide.

    Since July 1 of this year, General Mills said Totino's and Jeno's have distributed more than 120 million pizzas nationwide.

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    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Found on Huffington Post

    collapse Talcott (See profile | I'm a fan of Talcott)

    "nothing is free except the hookers..."

    ..and the blow.

    You can't forget the blow(esp. considering his dad's drug connections)

    To the tune of the Beverely Hillbillies.

    Come and listen to my story 'bout a boy named Bush.
    His IQ was zero and his head was up his tush.
    He drank like a fish while he drove all about.
    But that didn't matter 'cuz his daddy bailed him out.
    DUI, that is.
    Criminal record.
    Cover-up.
    Well, the first thing you know little Georgie goes to Yale.
    He can't spell his name but they never let him fail.
    He spends all his time hangin' out with student folk.
    And that's when he learns how to snort a line of coke.
    Blow, that is.
    White gold.
    Nose candy.
    The next thing you know there's a war in Vietnam.
    Kin folks say, "George, stay at home with Mom."
    Let the common people get maimed and scarred.
    We'll buy you a spot in the Texas Air Guard.
    Cushy, that is.
    Country clubs.
    Nose candy.
    Twenty years later George gets a little bored.
    He trades in the booze, says that Jesus is his Lord.
    He said, "Now the White House is the place I wanna be."
    So he called his daddy's friends and they called the GOP.
    Gun owners, that is.
    Falwell.
    Jesse Helms.
    Come November 7, the election ran late.
    Kin folks said "Jeb, give the boy your state!"
    "Don't let those colored folks get into the polls."
    So they put up barricades so they couldn't punch their holes.
    Chads, that is.
    Duval County.
    Miami-Dade.
    Before the votes were counted five Supremes stepped in.
    Told all the voters "Hey, we want George to win."
    "Stop counting votes!" was their solemn invocation.
    And that's how George finally got his coronation.
    Rigged, that is.
    Illegitimate.
    No moral authority.
    Y'all come vote now.
    Ya hear?

    Thinking fondly of French Revolutionaries

    Historic replicas (1:6 scale) of the two main types of French guillotines: Model 1792, left, and Model 1872 (state as of 1907), right

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    Hunger: A major and Growing Problem in the USA

    [...]

    Nearly one in five said they or someone in their family had received food from a charity organization in the past year. In past month, 13 percent said they or someone in their family had gone to bed hungry.

    While 63 percent blame the economy for the problem, ethanol was also named as a major cause. The survey found that 47 percent oppose government subsidies for ethanol production because they believe it will spur higher food prices.

    [...]

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    47 million Americans lack health insurance:

    The number of Americans lacking health insurance rose by nearly 8.6 million to 47 million from 2000 to 2006, with children and workers from every income level losing coverage, a new report said on Thursday.


    The increase was "driven primarily by the continued erosion in employer-provided health insurance," said the report by the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute.
    [...]

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    Army wants more private contractors to avoid accountability for Bush war of Choice

    [...]

    An Army contracting fraud scandal has generated more than 80 criminal investigations. However, higher numbers, better quality and more clout within the Army's contracting ranks are expected to reduce opportunities for fraud, waste and abuse as tens of billions of dollars continue to be spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the officials said.

    The panel chaired by former Pentagon acquisition chief Jacques Gansler also recommends giving the Defense Contract Management Agency several hundred more personnel to exercise greater oversight of contracts awarded overseas.

    Established in August by Army Secretary Pete Geren, the Gansler panel was given a broad mandate to examine how the military branch acquires the gear and services it needs each year to operate.

    Since 2001, provisional offices have spring up in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Qatar and other locations to buy items such as bottled water, laundry services, barracks, food, transportation, and warehouse services.

    But in certain places, such as Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, there were too few qualified people, too little oversight, high staff turnover, and poor record-keeping. In the midst of those shortcomings came a huge flow of dollars for the war, creating an environment ripe for misconduct and inefficiency.

    A separate Army task force was assigned to examine a random sampling of the 6,000 contracts worth nearly $2.8 billion issued since 2003 by the Kuwait office in a search for rigged awards and sloppy work. That review is to be completed by the end of the year.

    [...]

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    Micron to ship jobs to India

    [...]

    Micron isn't the only local company outsourcing IT jobs to India. SuperValu, which bought Albertsons in June 2006, announced Tuesday that it was laying off 180 IT workers — including an unspecified number in Boise — and sending the work to India.

    Micron workers cannot speak publicly without risking the loss of any severance packages, but several who have contacted the Statesman say the plans were unveiled earlier this month.

    Most jobs will either be outsourced to India or contracted to a third party, workers say. Most of the employees affected say they will have their jobs phased out between January and August.

    [...]

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    Nigeria Oil

    [...]

    OPEC member Nigeria is the world's eighth (8th) biggest exporter of crude oil, but it is unable to meet domestic (inside the country) demand for refined products (finished oil products) because sabotage, mismanagement and corruption have crippled (slowed down and broken) its refineries. Its sweet, low-sulfur crude is the largest single (one) source of petroleum for Philadelphia refineries in the USA. Nigerian crude makes up more than 40% of the feedstock (base ingredient) at Sunoco's refineries in Philadelphia and Marcus Hook. The Sunoco refineries buy one of every ten barrels that Nigeria produces. Attacks on the oil industry by militants (or freedom fighters, one mans freedom fighter is another mans militant) in the southern Niger Delta, which have shut down more than 500,000 barrels per day of crude production, have compounded (added to) the problem recently. Both Warri and Kaduna refineries are supplied by one crude oil pipeline that was bombed by militants (freedom fighters) in a series of attacks on February 18,2006.

    Forced to Import

    Even at full capacity (maximum output), Nigerian refineries supply less than half the country's fuel needs, forcing it to import costly fuel from refineries in Europe. From 1,500 wells in the Niger delta, Nigeria sent $9 billion worth of crude oil last year to refineries in the US. In the marshes, sweltering (hot and humid) swamps of mangrove and palm of the Niger Delta, young men armed with fast boats, old weapons and an ancient warrior tradition (custom) have taken on the government of Africa's most populous nation. Angered by decades of exploitation (being used by other people like slaves), the rebels (or freedom fighters) have launched a war of sabotage. They have kidnapped foreign workers, commandeered (taken control of by force) oil installations and blocked pipelines in an attempt (try) to force the oil companies and the government to return more of Nigeria 's wealth to its source (return money back to the countries people). The uprising has reduced Nigeria's 2-million-barrels-per-day production by as much as a third (1/3).

    Nigeria is among the poorest third of African countries - its per capita income (average yearly income) has fallen from a high of nearly $1,000 in the 1970s to $260 a year, about half that of the average African nation. Delta villages are largely (mostly) without schools, clinics, electricity or roads. Most residents drink directly from the Niger River, which also serves as their toilet. Because more money can be made by importing fuel and selling it on the black market, Nigeria's four refineries have fallen into disrepair. It is practically (almost) impossible to find a gallon of gas (petrol) in a region that rests atop (sits on top of) 22 billion barrels of oil. Natural gas reserves are well over 100 trillion ft? (2,800 km?), the gas reserves are three times (3X) as substantial (large) as the crude oil reserves.


    [...]

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    At least two people have been killed in a clash between the Nigerian navy and patriots in the oil-rich Niger Delta, security sources say.

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    Turkey Getting US Intelligence on PKK

    [...]

    "We are assisting the Turks in their efforts to combat the PKK by supplying them with intelligence, lots of intelligence," Defense Department press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

    He said 10 members of the PKK — which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization — are in a U.S. "most-wanted" database. That means American forces have had standing orders for some time to pick them up if they are found.

    [...]

    Bush administration officials escalate the violence in the middle east so they can drive the price of oil up for their oil industry pals.

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