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No Agenda Episode 500 - Codeword Austin

By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 12:41 PM.

Codeword Austin

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By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 12:41 PM.


Art By: Thoren

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By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 12:41 PM.

Codeword Austin

Executive Producer: Sir Baronet A.J. Rystad

Executive Producer: Adam Smith

Executive Producer: Anonymous

Executive Producer: Sir Ralf

Executive Producer: Mark Abbott

Executive Producer: Sir Moiz Kahn

Executive Producer: Viscount Michael Miller

Executive Producer: Grand Duke Steven Pelsmaekers

Executive Producer: Bashir Osman

Executive Producer: Sir Gerard Boers

Executive Producer: Paxton Sanders

Executive Producer: Coby Hung

Executive Producer: Sir Dr. Sharkey

Executive Producer: Sir David Foley

Executive Producer: Christopher Roche

Executive Producer: Kevin Chamberlin

Executive Producer: Baroness Francine von Stealthmode

Executive Producer: Sir David Killian

Executive Producer: Sir Alfred Long The Good

Executive Producer: Massimo Cattaneo

Executive Producer: Sir Greg Filer

Executive Producer: Kirk Anne

Executive Producers: Schmitty

Executive Producer: Sir Geir

Executive Producer: Sir Melancon

Executive Producer: Mark Wilson

Executive Producers: Ethan Katz, David Mertens

Associate Executive Producers: Sam Menner, Sir GQ, Sanford Staab

Special 31313 Executive Producers : David McGee, Sir Hank from Queens, Blake Israel, Jacob Scherer, Dame Monica Lansing, Sir Matthew Greensmith, Gordon Jones, Allen Smith, Joshua Rieker, Daniel Grebb, Sir Keith Edwards, Sir Robert Goshko, John Noonan, Justin Jones, Baron Dean Bertram, Amy Pousson, Sir Gerlad Gionet, Sir Anonymous, Michael Randall, Willy Theunissen, Piotr Ciszewski, Sir Robert Rock, Richard Gardiner, Sir Brad Dougherty, Paul Robberson, Dame Joni, Grand Duke Sir Pelsmaekers, Joseph Monti, Layla Hansel, Brandon Savoie, Sir Astrom, Richard Gardiner, Sir Brad Dougherty, Paul Robberson, Sir Russell Williams, Kent Orourke, Kevin Thomas, Philip Meason. Dave in Pittsburgh, Sir Rick, Daniel Miller, Remko van Dijk, Anonymous

Members of the 500 Club: Adam Smith, Anonymous, Sir Ralf, Mark Abbott, Sir Moiz Khan, Viscount Michael Miller, Sir Beergeek, Grand Duke Steven Pelsmaekers, Bashir Osman

New Titles: Sir Michael Miller as Viscount. Sir Rystad as Baronet.

Become a member of the 501 Club, support the show here

Art By: Thoren

ShowNotes Archive of links and Assets (clips etc)

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Torrents of each episode via BitLove


NK Nukes ATx


Disney family's Harlem Globetrotters flagrant in North Korea

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 05:59

The Walt Disney Company insists it played no role in bringing the Harlem Globetrotters to North Korea.

But the Roy E. Disney family, relatives of the famous Walt, did. Its Shamrock Holdings owns 80 percent of America's favorite basketball acrobats, who entertained the rogue regime's dictator Kim Jong-un earlier in March.

Dennis Rodman grabbed most of the headlines for the trip sponsored by Vice magazine as part of an upcoming HBO show. The NBA bad boy is known for breaking the rules, as is the pop culture journal, named after, according to Webster's Dictionary, ''moral depravity or corruption.''

The red-white-and-blue Globetrotters, who describe themselves as family friendly, have a better reputation, however, having appeared at Disney World, on Disney XD, even ESPN, another Walt Disney Company cable channel, since the Disneys bought a majority stake in the team in 2005 through Shamrock.

''The Globetrotters do not perform as part of any Disney productions,'' Scott Johnson, the Globetrotters' Director of Public Relations, told TheDC.

Both privately held companies, Walt Disney and Shamrock would not reveal to TheDC whether the Disney family still owns a share of their namesake entertainment conglomerate, after recently owning a percentage and having influence on the the board.

Even so, the family name is recognizable to children all over the world, and in a statement before departing for a country the United Nations call a gross violator of human rights, the Globetrotters claimed to be going to North Korea to ''bring smiles to kids.''

However, in none of the propaganda photos of the game between mixed teams of Globetrotters and North Korean players do kids appear. Nor could Johnson produce any photos in which they do.

Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of Human Rights in North Korea, wasn't surprised kids were absent from the festivities. ''How many have TV's?'' he asked. ''How many have electricity? How many even care about a basketball game when they're starving?''

Scarlatoiu told TheDC the game was a publicity stunt for Kim, as the new ''Outstanding Leader,'' as his subjects know him, assembles a cult of personality around himself.

Part of that includes the People's Pleasure Ground, the so-called Hermit Kingdom's homage to the Magic Kingdom, which Kim debuted in 2012. In state-sanctioned photos of the North Korean theme park, it's also difficult to find any kids.

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Korean Central News Agency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Archived Version

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 05:47

As the sole news agency of North Korea, KCNA daily reports news for all the North Korean news organizations including newspapers, radio and television broadcasts via Korean Central Television and the Korean Central Broadcasting System within the country.[1] In December 1996, KCNA began publishing its news articles on the Internet with its web server located in Japan. Since October 2010, stories have been published on a new site, controlled from Pyongyang, and output has been significantly increased to include world stories with no specific link to North Korea[2] as well as news from countries that have strong DPRK ties.

In addition to Korean, KCNA releases news articles in English, Russian, and Spanish. Access to its website, along with other North Korean news sites, has been blocked by South Korea since 2004 and can be accessed only through the government's authorization.[3][4] As well as serving as a news agency, it is also alleged to conduct clandestine intelligence collection.[5]

KCNA has press exchange agreements with around 46 foreign news agencies including Itar-Tass and Xinhua News Agency[1] and South Korea'sYonhap News Agency[6] with correspondents and bureaux in six countries, including Russia and China.[7] In 2004, the agency had employed 2,000 people.[8]

According to its website, KCNA "speaks for the Workers' Party of Korea and the DPRK government". The agency has been described as the "official organ."[9] In June 1964 on one of his first official activities, Kim Jong-il visited KCNA headquarters and said the agency should "propogate the revolutionary ideology of the Leader (Kim Il-sung) widely throughout the world."[10] However, the agency is also said to offer a unique insight into the North Korean "mentality."[11][12]

A talk given to officials at KCNA on June 12, 1964, outlines the function of the news agency:

In order to become a powerful ideological weapon of our Party, the Korean Central News Agency must provide a news service in accordance with the idea and intention of the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung, establish Juche firmly in its work and fully embody the Party spirit, the working-class spirit and the spirit of serving the people. It must pay serious attention to each word, to each dot of the writings it releases because they express the standpoint of our Party and the Government of our Republic.Under the principle and guideline on the work of ideological propaganda and agitation put by the country's ruling party, the Workers' Party of Korea, the agency generally reports only good news about the country that is intended to encourage its people and project a positive image abroad.[14] Nonetheless, it has on occasion acknowledged food shortages in the country.[15][16] The Ryongchon disaster was also reported in April 2004, after a delay of two days.[17][18]

Gettig Ready For April Month of...

Presidential Proclamation -- National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White Press Office Feed

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:56

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2013


- - - - - - -



In the last 20 years, our Nation has made meaningful progress toward addressing sexual assault. Where victims were once left without recourse, laws have opened a path to safety and justice; where a culture of fear once kept violence hidden, survivors are more empowered to speak out and get help. But even today, too many women, men, and children suffer alone or in silence, burdened by shame or unsure anyone will listen. This month, we recommit to changing that tragic reality by stopping sexual assault before it starts and ensuring victims get the support they need.

Sexual violence is an affront to human dignity and a crime no matter where it occurs. While rape and sexual assault affect all communities, those at the greatest risk are children, teens, and young women. Nearly one in five women will be a victim of sexual assault during college. For some groups, the rates of violence are even higher -- Native American women are more than twice as likely to experience sexual assault as the general population. Moreover, we know rape and sexual assault are consistently underreported, and that the physical and emotional trauma they leave behind can last for years.

With Vice President Joe Biden's leadership, we have made preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors a top priority. Earlier this month, I was proud to sign the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which renews and strengthens the law that first made it possible for our country to address sexual assault in a comprehensive way. The Act preserves critical services like rape crisis centers, upholds protections for immigrant victims, gives State and tribal law enforcement better tools to investigate cases of rape, and breaks down barriers that keep lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender victims from getting help. It also expands funding for sexual assault nurse examiner programs and sexual assault response teams, helping States deliver justice for survivors and hold offenders accountable.

Just as we keep fighting sexual assault in our neighborhoods, we must also recommit to ending it in our military -- because no one serving our country should be at risk of assault by a fellow service member. Where this crime does take place, it cannot be tolerated; victims must have access to support, and offenders must face the consequencesof their actions. Members of our Armed Forces and their families can learn more about the resources available to them at 1-877-995-5247 and

All Americans can play a role in changing the culture that enables sexual violence. Each of us can take action by lifting up survivors we know and breaking the silence surrounding rape and sexual assault. To get involved, visit

Together, our Nation is moving forward in the fight against sexual assault. This month, let us keep working to prevent violence in every corner of America, and let us rededicate ourselves to giving survivors the bright future they deserve.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2013 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. I urge all Americans to support survivors of sexual assault and work together to prevent these crimes in their communities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

Presidential Proclamation -- National Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White Press Office Feed

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:55

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2013


- - - - - - -



America is a country where all of us should be able to pursue our own measure of happiness and live free from fear. But for the millions of children who have experienced abuse or neglect, it is a promise that goes tragically unfulfilled. National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to make their struggle our own and reaffirm a simple truth: that no matter the challenges we face, caring for our children must always be our first task.

Realizing that truth in our society means ensuring children know they are never alone -- that they always have a place to go and there are always people on their side. Parents and caregivers play an essential part in giving their children that stability. But we also know that keeping our children safe is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors and the broader community. All of us bear a responsibility to look after them, whether by lifting children toward their full potential or lending a hand to a family in need.

Our Government shares in that obligation, which is why my Administration has made addressing child abuse a priority. Since I took office, we have advocated for responsible parenting and invested in programs that can give our sons and daughters a strong start in life. I was also proud to sign measures into law that equip State and local governments with the tools to take on abuse, like the CAPTA Reauthorization Act and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

Together, we are making important progress in stopping child abuse and neglect. But we cannot let up -- not when children are still growing up looking for a lifeline, and not when more than half a million young people are robbed of their basic right to safety every year. So this month, let us stand up for them and make their voices heard. To learn more about ending child abuse and how to get involved, visit

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2013 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities that help prevent child abuse and provide for children's physical, emotional, and developmental needs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

Presidential Proclamation -- National Financial Capability Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White Press Office Feed

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:55

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2013


- - - - - - -



All Americans deserve the chance to turn their hard work into a decent living for their families and a bright future for their children. Seizing that opportunity takes more than drive and initiative -- it also requires smart financial planning. During National Financial Capability Month, we recommit to empowering individuals and families with the knowledge and tools they need to get ahead in today's economy.

My Administration is dedicated to helping people make sound decisions in the marketplace. Last year, we partnered with businesses and community leaders to roll out new public and private commitments to increasing financial literacy. We released a new financial capability toolkit to help schools and employers as they launch their own initiatives. And with our College Scorecard and Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, we are working to give families clear, transparent information on college costs so they can make good choices when they invest in higher education. Together, we can prepare young people to tackle financial challenges -- from learning how to budget responsibly to saving for college, starting a business, or opening a retirement account.

Financial capability also means helping people avoid scams and demand fair treatment when they take out a mortgage, use a credit card, or apply for a student loan. My Administration continues to encourage responsibility at all levels of our financial system by cracking down on deceptive practices and ensuring that consumers are informed of their rights.

We also know that too many families are living paycheck-to-paycheck, unable to take advantage of tools that would help them plan for a middle class life. That is why we must build ladders of opportunity for everyone willing to climb them -- from a fair minimum wage that lifts working Americans out of poverty to high-quality preschool and early education that gets every child on the right track early. These reforms would encourage the kind of broad-based economic growth that gives everyone a better chance to secure their financial future.

Our history shows that there is no economic engine more powerful than a thriving middle class. Reigniting that engine means giving ordinary citizens the tools to find prosperity, including strong financial capability. To learn more about managing money and navigating the 21st-century marketplace, visit and, or call 1-888-MyMoney.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2013 as National Financial Capability Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

Presidential Proclamation -- National Donate Life Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White Press Office Feed

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:55

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2013


- - - - - - -



Today, more than 115,000 men, women, and children are on the waiting list for an organ transplant. To help them get the care they need, millions of Americans choose to be organ and tissue donors -- a decision that reflects not only profound generosity, but also our commitment to one another. During National Donate Life Month, we renew the call for organ and tissue donation.

Most people can be donors, and the need is great. I encourage Americans of every background to learn the facts about organ and tissue donation, consider signing up for their State's registry, and talk to family and friends about their decision. Information and resources about how to get involved are available at

Together, we can respond to the donor shortage that keeps thousands of patients from getting life-saving care. Let us mark this month by rededicating ourselves to that task, standing with donors and their families, and igniting hope for those in need.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2013 as National Donate Life Month. I call upon health care professionals, volunteers, educators, government agencies, faith-based and community groups, and private organizations to join forces to boost the number of organ and tissue donors throughout our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

Presidential Proclamation -- National Cancer Control Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White Press Office Feed

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:55

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2013


- - - - - - -



For more than a decade, Americans have watched the overall cancer death rate drop lower and lower with each passing year. As a Nation, we have measured that progress not just in the lives we have saved, but also in the moments we have shared -- patients lifted up by the promise of remission, parents blessed with the chance to watch their children grow up, young people confident that a diagnosis cannot put a limit on their dreams. But even with the gains we have made, we know there is more work to do when more than half a million Americans lose their lives to cancer every year. This month, we rededicate ourselves to securing better outcomes, reducing new cases, and advancing cancer research.

To beat this disease, we must continue our efforts to prevent it. Each of us can reduce our risk of developing cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake and sun exposure, and living tobacco-free. For help quitting smoking, visit Additional resources on what cancer is and how to prevent it are available at

Detecting cancer early gives patients the best chance for successful treatment. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurers are required to cover recommended cancer screenings and other preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient -- a provision that has already helped nearly 71 million people. To build on those gains and stop cancer before it takes hold, I encourage all Americans to see their health care providers for regular screenings and check-ups.

Expanding on today's progress also means investing in tomorrow's breakthroughs. My Administration is committed to supporting the kind of medical research that has unlocked decades of new therapies and promising interventions. Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will also give cancer patients better access to those treatments by preventing insurance companies from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition or putting annual dollar limits on most benefits.

Together, our Nation is moving forward in the fight against cancer. As we recommit to improving prevention, detection, and treatment, let us honor the memory of the courageous men and women we have lost to the disease, and let us stand with all those facing it today.

The Congress of the United States, by joint resolution approved March 28, 1938 (52 Stat. 148; 36 U.S.C. 103), as amended, has requested the President to issue an annual proclamation declaring April as "Cancer Control Month."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim April 2013 as National Cancer Control Month. I encourage citizens, government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other interested groups to join in activities that will increase awareness of what Americans can do to prevent and control cancer.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

Presidential Proclamation -- Cesar Chavez Day

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White Press Office Feed

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 13:43

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2013


- - - - - - -



Every year, Americans all across our country pause on March 31 to remember a man who made justice his life's calling. Growing up the son of migrant farm workers who lost everything in the Great Depression, Cesar Chavez knew hard work and hardship from an early age. He labored long hours for little pay, taking odd jobs to help his family get by and forgoing a formal education to follow the crop cycles. But where others might have given up or given in, Cesar Chavez never lost hope in the power of opportunity. He lived each day by a belief as old as America itself -- the idea that with courage and determination, any of us can reach beyond our circumstances and leave our children something better.

More than anything, we remember Cesar Chavez for lending voice to the voiceless. When no one seemed to care about the invisible farm workers who picked our Nation's food, beset by poverty and cheated by growers, a courageous man dedicated to dignity stood up and spoke out. Alongside Dolores Huerta and fellow organizers, he rallied a generation of workers around "La Causa," marching and fasting and boycotting for fair pay and protections on the job. They fought through decades of setbacks and fierce resistance. But through every trial, Cesar Chavez refused to curb his ambitions or scale back his hope. Step by step, march by march, he helped lead a community of farm workers to make the change they sought.

Cesar Chavez's legacy lives on at Nuestra Se±ora Reina de la Paz, his home and workplace, which I was proud to designate a National Monument last October. It also lives on in those who remember his central teaching: that when workers are treated fairly and humanely, our country grows more just, opportunity becomes more equal, and all of us do better. Because even with the strides we have made, we know there is more left to do when working men and women toil in poverty without adequate protections or simple respect. We know there is more to do when our broken immigration system forces workers into a shadow economy where companies can ignore labor laws and undermine businesses following the rules. Fixing those problems means securing what Cesar Chavez fought for at La Paz. It means taking on injustice, making sure hard work is rewarded, and bringing more Americans into a rising middle class.

In 1966, when Cesar Chavez was struggling to bring attention to his cause, he received a telegram from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "As brothers in the fight for equality, I extend the hand of fellowship and goodwill," he wrote. "We are with you in spirit and in determination that our dreams for a better tomorrow will be realized." It is a story that reminds us how here in America, we are bound together not by the colors of our skin or the languages we speak, but by the values we share and the brighter future we seek for our children. So today, as we honor a man who risked everything to stand up for what he believed in, let us reflect on our common cause and recommit to moving forward together -- as one Nation and one people.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2013, as Cesar Chavez Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor Cesar Chavez's enduring legacy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

500 From Molly Wood

Hello, Adam!

I just wanted to say congratulations on the 500th episode to you and John!

You are awesome, and I'm looking forward to the next 500! I've attached

this naked picture of myself for the occasion.

Oh, darn, I guess I must have forgotten the attachment. Well, it's the

thought that counts.

Love you!




Depositor Haircuts: The New Normal

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Archived Version

Source: Activist Post

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 10:58

Stephen LendmanActivist PostOn March 29, Cyprus Mail said banks opened Thursday. They did so amid calm.

Long lines queued. People waited patiently. A feared stampede didn't materialize. Whether it's the calm before the storm remains to be seen.

Looting Cypriot bank accounts reflects the new normal. It set a precedent. It did so for Europe. More on that below.

Wall Street banks operate the same way. So did MF Global.

Grand theft reflects official policy. Money is made the old-fashioned way. It's stolen. Nothing's done to stop it. Corrupt politicians and regulators permit it. They do so for benefits they derive.

Scamming investors is commonplace. Goldman Sachs derisively calls them "muppets."

MF Global's CEO Jon Corzine formerly headed Goldman Sachs. He looted customer accounts. He did so brazenly. He used client money to speculate. More went for internal purposes. Much went to cover debt obligations and losses. Top firm executives made millions. They did so at customers' expense.

Financial reform accomplished nothing. Grand theft is institutionalized. Europe's no different from America. Anything goes is policy.Banks deposits were considered safe. No longer. Eurocrats changed things. Euro Group head Jeroen Dijsselbloem explained.

Expect more wealth extracted from depositors. Cyprus established a template. Bank accounts in other troubled economies aren't safe.

"If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be 'Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that," he asked? "What can you do to recapitalize yourself?' "

"If the bank can't do it, then we'll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders. We'll ask them to contribute in recapitalizing the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders."

"The consequences may be that it's the end of story, and that is an approach that I think, now that we are out of the heat of the crisis, we should take."

In late February, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure suggested raiding depositor accounts for bail-ins, saying:

"There needs to be an appropriate burden-sharing'....because we need to achieve debt sustainability."

At the time, he suggested not doing it across the board. Whether he meant it isn't clear.

He added that he doesn't "pre-judge any instruments because the vocabulary matters, and there are many ways to achieve burden-sharing."

It bears repeating. Grand theft is official policy. Even bank accounts aren't safe.

Market analyst Marc Faber believes "governments one day (will) take away 20 - 30% of (his) wealth." There's no place to hide.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble proposed a 40% haircut on all deposits. So does IMF head Christine Lagarde.

Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said large uninsured Laiki Bank depositors could lose up to 80% of their money. Other European depositors race similar risks. So do people elsewhere.

Some may lose everything. It's the new normal. Personal savings are up for grabs. Bank bailouts will be borne on the backs of ordinary people.

Think it can't happen here? Think again. There's no place to hide. Ellen Brown explained. Banks legally own depositor funds, she said.

"Our money becomes the bank's, and we become unsecured creditors holding IOUs or promises to pay."

Banks once repaid depositors on demand. A joint December 10, 2012 FDIC-Bank of England (BOE) paper changed things. Plans to loot customer accounts were made earlier.

The Bank for International Settlements originated them. It's the privately owned central bank for central bankers. Major ones have final say.

Looting depositor accounts is policy. Cyprus isn't a one-off. Guaranteed insured deposits don't matter. They're up for grabs like all others. It'll be done clever ways or outright.

Brown said the FCIC-BOE plan involves converting deposits (IOU promises to pay) into bank equity. They get our money. We get bank stock.

Ready cash on demand is gone. Whether it's ever returned, who knows. Take the money and run looks more than ever like policy. Depositors anywhere may be hung out to dry.

Even gold and silver in safety deposit boxes aren't safe. Not in America. Homeland Security told banks in writing. It may inspect their contents on demand.

Under Patriot Act provisions, it may seize them with no warrant. It can do so anywhere. Banco de Mattress isn't safe.

Investor Jim Rogers said "run for the hills now. I'm doing it." Cyprus is no one-off.

"I want to make sure that I don't get trapped," he said. "Think of all the poor souls that just thought they had a simple bank account."

"Now they find out that they are making a 'contribution' to the stability of Cyprus. The gall of these politicians."

"If you're going to listen to government, you're going to go bankrupt very quickly."

"I, for one, am making sure I don't have too much money in any one specific bank account anywhere in the world, because now there is a precedent,"

"The IMF has said 'sure, loot the bank accounts. The EU has said 'loot the bank accounts, so you can be sure that other countries when problems come, are going to say, 'Well, it's condoned by the EU. It's condoned by the IMF. So let's do it too.' "

The Daily Bell asked "What Is The REAL Euro End Game? It is time to apply the free-market to bank depositors."

Strategy involves shifting responsibility from taxpayers to depositors. Things ahead won't be the same. Eurocrats' policy is wrongheaded. They're deepening crisis conditions, not alleviating them.

They believe achieving "full-on political union" depends on it. Their well-documented comments reflect it.

"'....Cyprus shock and subsequent statements are not only deliberate, but have contributed to spreading uncertainty throughout Europe."

"Now people no longer trust their banks, contributing to their destabilization."

"If you have a bank crisis, the last thing you want to do is further destabilize trust and confidence in the system. But Brussels Eurocrats have done just that."

"Don't think it was a mistake. If one accepts that line of thinking, the ramifications are serious and deep from a sociopolitical, political and investment standpoint."

The Economic Collapse Blog said global elites plan to loot bank accounts. Don't be surprised when they steal yours.

"They are already very clearly telling you that they are going to do it." Your money is theirs. It's up for grabs on demand.

People put money in banks for safety. Removing it "jeopardize(s) the entire system." Cyprus is a tip of a giant iceberg. Major global banks are highly leveraged. Many are insolvent.

When their bets pay off, they win. When they don't, we pay. Wealth confiscation is now policy. Commerzbank chief economist Joerg Kraemer urges a "tax rate of 15 percent on (Italian) financial assets."

It's "probably enough to push (government) debt below the critical level of 100 percent of gross domestic product," he said.

New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English proposed across the board depositor "haircut(s)" in case of major bank failures.

Britain's Daily Mail headlined "One of the nastiest and most immoral political acts in modern times," saying:

"People who rob old ladies in the street, or hold up security vans, are branded as thieves."

"Yet when Germany presides over a heist of billions of pounds from private savers' Cyprus bank accounts, to 'save the euro' for the hundredth time, this is claimed as high statesmanship."

"It is nothing of the sort'....It has struck fear into the hearts of hundreds of millions of European citizens, because it establishes a dire precedent.

If Eurocrats can loot Cyprus, why not anywhere.

"This is the most brutal display since 2008 of how far the euro-committed nations are willing to go to save the tottering single currency."

"It shows that the zone's crisis will run and run to the grievous disadvantage" of most everyone.

"Surely the euro cannot long survive by such anti-democratic means. It certainly does not deserve to."

Graham Summers says "Europe is out of options and out of money." It's "totally and completely bust."

It's banks are highly leveraged. They can't raise capital "because no one in their right mind wants to invest in them'...."

"European nations are bankrupt because AGAIN no one in their right mind wants to buy their bonds UNLESS they believe they can dump their investments on the ECB at a later date. Who is the greater fool there?''

Europe isn't fixed because enough capital isn't there to do it. "Europe and its alleged backstops are out of money. This includes Germany, the ECB, and the mega-bailout funds such as the ESM (European Stability Mechanism)."

The ECB is "chock full of garbage debts." It's insolvent. It can print money, "but once the BIG collateral call hits, (it's) useless because (what's needed) would implode the system."

"What could go wrong?" Virtually anything. "It's only a matter of time before (crisis conditions reach) hyperdrive, and we have an event even worse than 2008."

Zero Hedge says Russia's "next in line to restrict cash transactions. (They're) taking a page from the Europeans' book."

Russia Beyond the Headlines said "Russia to ban cash transactions over $10,000." It plans to "slash the amount of cash in domestic trade."

It may do so by 2015. It's "expected to boost" bank reserves "and put a damper on (its) shadow economy. However, the middle class will most likely end up having to pay the price for the scheme."According to Zero Hedge, leaders realize that "limits of fiscal and monetary policy have been reached."

They're "now changing rules, limiting freedom, and (instituting) outright confiscation (as) the only way to maintain a status quo."

Doing so reflects predatory capitalism's failure. It's a house of cards. It's heading perhaps for eventual collapse. At risk is whether it takes humanity with it when it does.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


The Canadian Government Offers "Bail-In" Regime, Prepares For The Confiscation Of Bank Deposits To Bail Out Banks

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Zero Hedge

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 10:57

Continuing my series of banks ready to "Cyprus" their depositors, I offer this reader contribution from Don from Canada 2013-03-29 23:11:

As part of the 2013 budget in Canada, the Minister of Finance tabled the Economic Action Plan 2013 which included the newest buzzword 'bail-in'.

Source: 145''The [Canadian] Government proposes to implement a ''bail-in'' regime for systemically important banks. This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital. This will reduce risks for taxpayers. The Government will consult stakeholders on how best to implement a bail-in regime in Canada. Implementation timelines will allow for a smooth transition for affected institutions, investors and other market participants. Systemically important banks will continue to be subject to existing risk management requirements, including enhanced supervision and recovery and resolution plans.This risk management framework will limit the unfair advantage that could be gained by Canada's systemically important banks through the mistaken belief by investors and other market participants that these institutions are 'too big to fail'.''

A depositor is an unsecured creditor to a bank. The Canadian government presents its position to be one of shielding the taxpayer from the need to pay for bailing out a failing bank. As a taxpayer that is comforting. However as a depositor, the phrase ''rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital'' concerns me. My deposit is the bank's liability. Could depositors' funds fall under the definition of 'certain bank liabilities'? I searched the entire 442 page document and I cannot find where the term 'certain bank liabilities' is defined.The prudent approach I believe would be to assume that under certain conditions, certain bank liabilities will include depositors' funds; at least those funds in excess of CAD 100,000 which is our so-called insured amount.Even if it has noble intentions now, under a credit and derivatives collapse scenario, it is conceivable that the Canadian government could be coerced or bullied by external agents into grabbing depositors' funds just like what is happening in Cyprus.I find the newest 'bail-in' term being used since the Cyprus debacle quite amusing. It reminds me of the 'sit-in' and 'love-in' terms of the peace/hippie generation.We all seem to be floating on the bathwater of fiat currency liquidity. The tub is being drained at the opposite end from where we are floating. The EU is circling the drain. The central banks are feverishly trying to replenish the tub with thimbles full of water, but it appears inevitable that some will go down the drain, whilst others will be left high and dry. The central bankers only have thimbles, not a drain stopper.


Now, tell me if this looks even remotely familiar... from an article publsihed in the Financial Times on February 10, 2013 which clearly, accurately and timely foretold the events to unfold over the following 45 days or so :A radical new option for the financial rescue of Cyprus would force losses on uninsured depositors in Cypriot banks, as well as investors in the country's sovereign bonds, according to a confidential memorandum prepared ahead of Monday's meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

The proposal for a ''bail-in'' of investors and depositors, and drastic shrinking of the Cypriot banking sector, is one of three options put forward as alternatives to a full-scale bailout. The ministers are trying to agree a rescue plan by March, to follow the presidential elections in Cyprus later this month.

By ''bailing in'' uninsured bank depositors, it would also involve more foreign investors, especially from Russia, some of whom have used Cyprus as a tax haven in recent years. That would answer criticism from Berlin in particular, where politicians are calling for more drastic action to stop the island being used for money laundering and tax evasion.

Labelled ''strictly confidential'' and distributed to eurozone officials last week, the memo says the radical version of the plan '' including a ''haircut'' of 50 per cent on sovereign bonds '' would shrink the Cypriot financial sector, now nearly eight times larger than the island's economy, by about one-third by 2015.

Senior EU officials who have seen the document cautioned that imposing losses on bank depositors and a sovereign debt restructuring remain unlikely. Underlining the dissuasive language in the memo, they said that bailing in depositors was never considered in previous eurozone bailouts because of concern that it could lead to bank runs in other financially fragile countries.

But the authors warn such drastic action could restart contagion in eurozone financial markets...

In what appears to be drastically worse than many had hoped (and expected), uninsured depositor in Cyprus' largest bank stand to get no actual cash back from their initial deposit as the plan (expected to be announced tomorrow) is:

22.5% of the previous cash deposit gone forever (pure haircut)40% of the previous cash deposit will receive interest (but will never be repaid),and the remaining 37.5% of the previous cash deposit will be swapped into equity into the bank (a completely worthless bank that is of course.)So, theoretically this is 62.5% haircut but once everyone decides to 'sell' their shares to reconstitute some cash then we would imagine it will be far greater. Furthermore, at what valuation will the 37.5% equity be allocated (we suspect a rather aggressive mark-up to 'market' clearing levels).

Critically though, there is no cash. None. If you had EUR150,000 in the bank last week (net of insured deposits which may well be impaired before all is said and done) you now have EUR0,000 to draw on! But will earn interest on EUR60,000 (though we do not know at what rate); and own EUR56,250 worth of Bank of Cyprus shares (the same bank that will experience the slow-burn leak of capital controlled outflows).

In the post "EU Bank Depositors: Your Mattress Is Starting To Look Awfully Attractive - Bank Risk, Reward & Compensation", I offered a way to calculate what return you should expect to receive to take on the risk of a potential 40% haircut. The second tab offers what recent Cyprus bank rates were. Do you see a disparity??? To bring things up to date, up the haircut to 63% and you will find that no bank in the world will compensate you for the risk you assume in banking there. Banco Posturepedico shares: Strong BUY!!!!

Now that you see its just Cyprus - the perceived uber-conservative Canadian banks are prepping to Cyprus their depositors as well.

Oh, it gets worse. I will start posting a list of definitive bank names that I have apparently caught in some amazingly duplicitous and misleading capital schemes, at least as it appears to me and my staff. I know I wouldn't have MY money in them, particularly after reading the info above. The first bank name and a description of their actions are avialable to all paying subscribers right now in the right hand downloads column and in the commercial bank research section of my site. I will release a new bank expected to be "Cyprus'd" every 48 hours to subscribers until I run out of definitive candidates. Yes it pays to be a BoomBustBlog member (click here to subscribe). This Easter weekend, I will also release a PSA (public service announcement) to give a heads up to non-paying subscribers and readers who are too comfortable with their current banking arrangement.

As a reminder for those who wish to ignore my banking calls as a frivolous episode of Chicken Little, BoomBustBlog is the place that was the first to reveal:

The collapse of Bear Stearns in January 2008 (2 months before Bear Stearns fell, while trading in the $100s and still had buy ratings and investment grade AA or better from the ratings agencies): Is this the Breaking of the Bear? The warning of Lehman Brothers before anyone had a clue!!! (February through May 2008): Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise? Thursday, February 21st, 2008 | Web chatter on Lehman Brothers Sunday, March 16th, 2008 (It would appear that Lehman's hedges are paying off for them. The have the most CMBS and RMBS as a percent of tangible equity on the street following BSC. The collapse of the regional banks (32 of them, actually) in May 2008: As I see it, these 32 banks and thrifts are in deep doo-doo! as well as the fall of Countrywide and Washington MutualThe collapse of the monoline insurers, Ambac and MBIA in late 2007 & 2008: A Super Scary Halloween Tale of 104 Basis Points Pt I & II, by Reggie Middleton, Welcome to the World of Dr. FrankenFinance! and Ambac is Effectively Insolvent & Will See More than $8 Billion of Losses with Just a $2.26 BillionThe ENTIRE Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis (potentially soon to be the Global Sovereign Debt Crisis) starting in January of 2009 and explicit detail as of January 2010: The Pan-European Sovereign Debt CrisisIreland austerity and the disguised sink hole of debt and non-performing assets that is the Irish banking system: I Suggest Those That Dislike Hearing ''I Told You So'' Divest from Western and Southern European Debt, It'll Get Worse Before It Get's Better!image015.png

Ready! Set! Bank Run!!!

Cyprus contagion raw

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Follow the Pipes

Israel Starts Tamar Gas Production - Bloomberg

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 31 Mar 2013 08:27

Israel started gas production at the Tamar offshore field in an effort to put the country on the road to energy independence and save a projected 1 billion shekels ($274 million) a month, according to the government.

The gas was expected to reach Israel's port city of Ashdod by afternoon today, the Energy and Water Ministry said.

The field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, estimated to hold 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, is being developed by a group that includes Noble Energy Inc. (NBL), Delek Drilling-LP, Avner Oil Exploration LLP (AVNRL) and Isramco Negev 2 LP. (ISRAL) Along with Noble, Israeli energy exploration companies have discovered enough gas under the Mediterranean over the past three years to supply the country for 150 years.

''We are talking about billions of dollars coming to the state from tax revenues from Tamar gas over a 20-year period,'' Gilad Alper, a senior analyst at Excellence Nessuah Brokerage Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said in a phone interview. ''It will also reduce energy costs as we will replace expensive imports with a cheap domestic supply of natural gas. The start of the flow is a big positive for the economy.''

The Tamar and Dalit fields could supply Israel with gas for two decades. The larger Leviathan field is estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic feet of gas, Noble said in a statement March 6.

''This is an important day for the Israeli economy,'' Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today in an e-mailed statement. ''We are taking an important step toward energy independence.''

'International Player'The three fields provide Israel with reserves more than 14 times larger than Germany's total proven gas reserves, which the BP Statistical Review of World Energy published in June 2012 lists at 2.2 trillion cubic feet. Russia holds the biggest gas reserves, followed by Iran, according to BP Plc. (BP/)

''This is the beginning of a new era,'' said Isaac Tshuva, controlling shareholder of Delek Group Ltd. (DLEKG), which owns stakes in Tamar via its Delek Drilling and Avner units. ''The Israeli economy will be able to exploit the advantages of natural gas environmentally, geopolitically, socially and economically, and turn Israel into an important international player.''

Qatar, the Persian Gulf emirate with the world's third- largest reserves of gas, said on March 10 it found a deposit with 2.5 trillion cubic feet of the fuel, its first discovery since locating the world's biggest gas field 42 years ago. The North Field, shared with neighboring Iran, provides Qatar with 900 trillion cubic feet of reserves.

GDP BoostThe flow from Tamar is expected to contribute about 1 percent to Israel's gross domestic product, the Bank of Israel said in a March 24 report, forecasting that the economy will grow 3.8 percent in 2013, including the contribution from gas.

The Bank of Israel also said the flow from the Tamar field will improve the nation's current-account balance by as much as $3 billion this year. For every $1 billion improvement in the balance, the exchange rate should appreciate about 1 percent, the bank has estimated.

In February, Russia's OAO Gazprom (GAZP), the world's biggest natural gas producer, signed an agreement for the exclusive rights to export liquefied natural gas produced from the Tamar floating LNG plant. Noble Energy forecast Israeli demand for gas to grow at a compounded rate of 15 percent in 2012-2017. The Leviathan field is expected to supply the domestic markets in 2016, Noble said in December.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shoshanna Solomon in Tel Aviv at; Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at; Riad Hamade at

With natural gas discoveries, Israel faces geopolitical tangle on its way to self-sufficiency - The Washington Post

The gas discoveries have helped to warm historically chilly ties with Cyprus, which has traditionally sided with the Palestinians and has looked on warily as Israel built military and trade relations with rival Turkey.

Israel's ties with Ankara deteriorated dramatically over the past three years since an Israeli naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla killed nine Turkish activists. The cooperation with Cyprus has further angered Turkey, which has claimed some of Cyprus' offshore supplies as its own.

Russia's Surprise Military Exercises Alarm Black Sea Neighbors |

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 15:11

Russian Ministry of Defense

Russia's Black Sea Fleet taking part in military exercises this week.

Russia's surprise, large-scale military exercises on the Black Sea are raising alarm among some of its neighbors. Russian President Vladimir Putin sprung the exercises on his military at 4 am Thursday and showed up in person, along with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, to observe the exercises on Friday. The exercises involve around 30 warships, 7,000 servicemembers and various armored vehicles and artillery.

But the Black Sea is a complex geopolitical environment: Russia's Black Sea Fleet is based in Sevastopol, in on-again-off-again ally Ukraine. NATO members Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania also have naval forces on the sea, as of course does Russia's foe Georgia. So the international response to the exercise wasn't entirely positive. As RT put it, "The Russian naval drills came as a surprise not only to the Russian armed forces, but also for neighboring countries' militaries as well, which were forced to rub sleep from their eyes and rush to their duties as up to 30 Russian battleships left port."

Russian officials pointed out that there is nothing to prevent them from conducting these sorts of surprise drills. ''According to international practice, exercises involving up to 7,000 people do not require us to inform our partners in advance,'' said Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Nevertheless, the response from Tbilisi -- which suffered the wrath of the fleet during the 2008 war over South Ossetia -- was as negative as one would predict. The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement expressing its "grave concern":

Russia's action runs contrary to the interests of stability and predictability in the European neighborhood. Georgia is alarmed by the unexpected, provocative activity of the Russian troops, as well as by the potential use of the facilities, weaponry and/or personnel of the occupation forces of the Russian Federation within Georgia's internationally recognized borders in Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali region, Georgia.

Still, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania added that "Georgia does not feel a direct threat from these exercises." (It's worth recalling that just a week ago, Russia's foreign ministry objected to U.S.-Georgian military exercises, in which 400 U.S. marines participated.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine -- whose port of Sevastopol is the home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet -- didn't object, but some members of parliament did. And while Turkey didn't respond publicly, Turkish naval blog Bosphorus Naval News noticed that a Turkish submarine was heading to the Black Sea through the Bosphorus, noting that his "educated guess" was that is on its way to keep an eye on Russia's exercise.

There didn't seem to be any official response from NATO, either, but Kommersant talked to a NATO-member diplomat who wasn't happy about the surprise exercise. The diplomat noted that while technically Russia wasn't required to notify anyone, the surprise nature of the exercise still suggested bad faith:

The news of the unplanned, large-scale military exercise around the Black Sea was received abroad with some perplexity. A high-ranking diplomatic source in one NATO-member country told Kommersant that "Even if Russia isn't required formally to give any advance warning, still, partners don't act like this... NATO members always try to inform Moscow in advance about preparations for exercises, as we have agreed to strengthen mutual trust and transparency."

The surprise nature of the exercise is what alarmed neighbors, but that may have to do more with concerns about Russia's military readiness than with sending a message to potential foes. Recall that last month Russia conducted surprise military drills and many units' response was found wanting. Reports RT:

Spontaneous training missions such as this are apparently set to become routine in the Russian military. "If we recall the speech of the President at the Collegium of the Ministry of Defense some time ago, you remember his words that the similar practice of unannounced inspections will actively continue,'' Peskov explained.

And of course, Russia's Black Sea resort town of Sochi will host next year's winter Olympics. So security for that, as much as anything related to Georgia or NATO, was likely on Putin's mind when he chose that venue.

Shut Up Slave!

Quebec kid experiments

ITM Adam,

I thought you might enjoy this

little bit of "rebranding" that came to my attention here in Gitmo

NationåÊ"Notwithstanding Clause". Bill 30 starts off with a whopper:

1.åÊ Article 20 of the Civil Code of QuÌ©bec is amended by replacing ‰¥þsubmit

to an experiment‰¥ÿ by ‰¥þparticipate in research‰¥ÿ.

Hey kids! Wanna participate in some research? The

research ethics committee has determined it has the potential to produce


capable of conferring benefit to other persons in the same age category! LGY!


Bill n¼30 : An Act to amend the Civil Code and other legislative provisions with respect to research - National Assembly of Québec

Make second homes very expensive, says Sir Andrew Motion

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Archived Version

Source: The Guardian World News

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 06:55

Sir Andrew Motion has spoken out about 'inert dormitory communities' in the countryside. Photograph: Karen Robinson For The Observer

Taxes should be increased to make owning a second home difficult for all but the very wealthy, according to the head of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Sir Andrew Motion, the former poet laureate, said that second home owners were sucking the life out of villages and causing a national housing shortage.

"I think there's a question about whether second homes mean you have inert dormitory communities in the countryside through most of the week, very often lived in by people who scoot down in their cars, see their smart friends, don't join in the life of the community and don't feed into it," he told the Times.

"They're townies in the countryside. They make sure they're back in London to catch the 10 o'clock news on Sunday night. That means rural communities are gutted."

Around 165,000 people have second homes in the UK and in some parts of Devon and Cornwall they account for almost half of all properties. Many argue that second home owners and the services they require provide vital employment in rural areas and maintain property values for all.

Motion said that England's countryside was culturally more important than Shakespeare and should be preserved from new building and second homes. "I would increase taxes on second homes to make it very expensive," he said.

Previously, second home owners only had to pay a fraction of council tax on their second home. Next month, most will have to pay the full amount on both their properties.

Andrew George, MP for St Ives in Cornwall, wants councils to be given the right to regulate outsiders buying property in much the same as they currently manage planning permission and use of premises.

We don't spy on Americans, just anti-government Americans '-- RT USA

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: BadChad's ThoughtPile

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 17:09

Law enforcement intelligence-processing fusion centers have long come under attack for spying on Americans. The Arkansas director wanted to clarify the truth: centers only spies on some Americans '' those who appear to be a threat to the government.

In trying to clear up the 'misconceptions' about the conduct of fusion centers, Arkansas State Fusion Center Director Richard Davis simply confirmed Americans' fears: the center does in fact spy on Americans '' but only on those who are suspected to be 'anti-government'.

''The misconceptions are that we are conducting spying operations on US citizens, which is of course not a fact. That is absolutely not what we do,'' he told the NWA Homepage, which supports KNWA-TV and Fox 24.

After claiming that his office 'absolutely' does not spy on Americans, he proceeded to explain that this does not apply to those who could be interpreted as a 'threat' to national security. Davis said his office places its focus on international plots, ''domestic terrorism and certain groups that are anti-government. We want to kind of take a look at that and receive that information.''

But the First Amendment allows for the freedom of speech and opinion, making it lawfully acceptable for Americans to express their grievances against the US government. The number of anti-government groups even hit a record high in 2012, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Many of these groups are 'hate groups' that express disdain for minorities. But unless they become violent, these groups are legally allowed to exist.

''We are seeing the fourth straight year of really explosive growth on the part of anti-government patriot groups and militias,'' Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC, told Mother Jones. ''That's 913 percent in growth. We've never seen that kind of growth in any group we cover.''

And with a record-high number of anti-government groups, fusion centers may be spying on more Americans than ever before '' or at least, have the self-proclaimed right to do so.

''I do what I do because of what happened on 9/11,'' Davis said. ''There's this urge and this feeling inside that you want to do something, and this is a perfect opportunity for me.''

But Davis' argument is flawed: in order to determine whether or not someone is considered a threat to national security, fusion centers would first have to spy on Americans to weed out the suspected individuals, and then proceed to spy on the 'anti-government' individuals further.

Across the US, fusion centers have reported on individuals who conducted 'crimes' like putting political stickers in public bathrooms or participating in movements against the death penalty. In October, the bipartisan Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations finished a two-year investigation on fusion centers, only to find that the centers had directly violated constitutionally protected civil liberties.

''In reality, the Subcommittee investigation found that the fusion centers often produced irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence reporting to DHS, and many produced no intelligence reporting whatsoever,'' the report stated.

And the privacy violations could soon become worse: RT previously reported that the FBI's proposed facial recognition project could provide fusion centers with more personal data to work with. With at least 72 fusion centers across the US and technology that could further infringe upon privacy rights, government agencies will be able to more efficiently collect data on Americans solely for exercising their freedom of speech.

Fracking chemicals to stay 'trade secrets' '-- RT USA

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: BadChad's ThoughtPile

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 15:34

A district judge in Wyoming has shot down a group of environmentalists who tried to gather information about the long-term effects of fracking, ruling that they do not have the right to know what ingredients are used in hydraulic fracturing fluids.

The coalition of environmental groups expressed deep concern over the damage that could be inflicted upon the environment if unidentified chemicals are used underground. In order to more properly assess the risks of hydraulic fracturing fluids used by the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, these groups argued that the public has the right to know what is going on in their backyards.

Fracking procedures use specially formulated chemicals that act as lubricants to keep the machinery running. Fracking involves pumping water, sand and underground fluids to split open rocks that contain oil and gas. The chemical lubricants maintain the orderly flow of sand. Environmentalists are concerned that these chemicals could pollute the land and water, which would be especially detrimental to landowners located near fracking sites.

After four environmental groups jointly filed a lawsuit demanding to know the ingredients used at these sites, Natrona County District Judge Catherine Wilking ruled that withholding the information is a 'reasonable' thing to do. She said the ingredients are 'trade secrets' that Wyoming's open records law does not apply to.

"This decision recognizes the importance of a state-based approach to regulating hydraulic fracturing '-- one that balances this important method for producing energy with environmental protection," said Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission spokesman Renny MacKay in a statement published by the Associated Press.

MacKay spoke on behalf of Wisconsin Gov. Matt Mead, who chairs the commission while also governing the state '' putting him in a controversial position when the people he represents oppose the actions of the business he is involved with.

The governor praised the judge for ruling against the environmentalists, who sued the commission that he heads. Now, the groups, including the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks and OMB Watch, are contemplating filing an appeal to the decision.

"We continue to believe we have strong claims, and we're still concerned the Wyoming oil and gas commission is withholding this information from the public," Shannon Anderson, an attorney for the resource council, told AP.

"However the court feels these competing concerns are best addressed through legislative action, or further rule promulgation and are not properly within the court's purview," Wilking wrote.

Attorneys representing the oilfield services company claim that public disclosure would also allow compositing companies to reverse-engineer fracking fluids. But legal documents from a similar case that took place in Arkansas in 2011 describe the difficulty in doing so, claiming that ''those who might use reverse-engineering would not be able to re-create and ascertain the exact composition and ratio of all compounds in this complex polymer structure without significant assistance and disclosure from the [commission].''

Judge Wilking wrote in court documents that she understands the concerns from both sides, but that the environmentalists were unable to prove that the commission violated state law, which allows for trade secrets to be kept private.

The dilemma is one that has been going on for years as oil and gas conservation commissions throughout the US continue to argue that their ingredients are considered 'trade secrets.'

''It's a major loophole,'' Mike Freeman, attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice, told the Denver Post after the state of Colorado was debating whether or not to require full disclosure of fracking fluids in 2011.

''You'd want to know if they're putting an herb or a poison down an oil well near your house,'' he said. But because of state laws that allow commissions to declare the fluids a 'trade secret', they can too often evade telling environmentalists anything about what they do.

Obama Nation

FEMA's guide to reporting suspicious activity openly encourages Americans to spy on each other.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 31 Mar 2013 07:50

Suspicious Activity Defined: (Where everyone in the US could be a terrorist, does this sound familiar? Regimes like Nazi Germany or the USSR encouraged the public to spy on its citizens.)The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative defines suspicious activity as ''observed behavior reasonably indicative of pre-operational planning related to terrorism or other criminal activity.'' IACP's primary research found that most individuals rely on a combination of factors when determining if an activity, behavior, or object is suspicious and merits reporting to the authorities. These factors are:

' Concern about the potential for harm to the community. (How could a person holding a camera harm the community?)' Belief that the information may be useful to law enforcement. (A person's beliefs are enough to label someone suspicious?)' Personal observation of activities. (CITIZENS SPYING on one another)' Personal instinct. (If a cop or citizen has a feeling you're suspicious, that's good enough?)' The agreement of others nearby that something isn't right. (Paranoia 101, if your spouse or friends have a feeling, you're a suspicious person, that's good enough.)

-Suspicious activities in and of themselves may not always be criminal, but when combined with other activities may be precursors to a larger criminal or terrorist plot. This can include asking questions beyond mere curiosity about a building's operations, security, or infrastructure such that a reasonable person would consider the activity suspicious. Suspicious objects may include bags, suitcases, packages, cars, and other objects that are left unattended or seem out of place in the surroundings. (The list is purposefully vague and meant to imply anyone, anywhere could be suspicious)

-Suspicious activity, behaviors, or objects may occur or be observed in areas around critical infrastructure. This includes transportation systems, power and electrical plants, hospitals, banking institutions, and other facilities that are considered essential for the functioning of society and economy. Increasingly, terrorists around the world are focusing on ''soft targets'' '' locations with less political significance but typically with large amounts of people. These may include hotels, tourist attractions, and outdoor markets. Suspicious activity can occur anywhere '' in residential neighborhood, rural areas, or larger metropolitan areas. (Could this include taking pictures of buildings, trains etc.? Don't believe it, then checkout Photography Is Not A Crime)

-Share the DHS ''If You See Something, Say Something'' video with community members for an overview of suspicious behaviors. (Let's have a community meeting & encourage paranoia, sorry I mean spying on our fellow Americans)

- Caution people to keep a safe distance from, and never approach, a person that appears to be engaged in suspicious activity. If safe to do so, the observer should consider the entire situation and take note of additional observations before calling authorities. Terrorism planning involves the intent to commit a criminal act and it is the responsibility of law enforcement officials to determine if a report of suspicious activity builds enough cause for investigation. Individuals should not hesitate to report suspicious activity. (Call the police & report what you feel is suspicious, don't worry trust your feelings. Want to get rid of your annoying neighbor? Just report their activity as suspicious & they'll be put on a terrorist watch list)

-Consider any large dams, military bases, or bridges in your community. Your local emergency management office can tell you more about critical infrastructure concerns. By including information about local concerns into messaging, agencies can help residents better understand these issues and larger terrorist threats. Consider reaching out specifically to residents near local critical infrastructure to encourage them to partner in awareness efforts. (Taking pictures of bridges, dams etc. could label you as a terrorist)

-Encourage business owners and managers to train employees. Front line employees such as maids, clerks, receptionists, and parking attendants often have the most interaction with the public and are among the first to be aware of suspicious activity. It is important to familiarize them with the types of industry-specific suspicious activities, behaviors, or objects that they may encounter. (Encourage employees to spy on citizens & treat them with suspicion? Where does this end? Do we throw away the Constitution?)

The Two Sides of America's ''Economic Recovery'': Stock Markets and Food Stamps at Record Highs

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Global Research

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 14:54

News this past week focused attention on two economic indices in the US: record numbers of people on food stamps and a new high for the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index. Their juxtaposition speaks to the reality of the economic ''recovery,'' whose most basic feature is a widening of the social divide in America.

An article in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, which reported that food stamp usage in the US has increased by 70 percent since 2008, received scant attention. But the figures it presented are shocking. A record 47.8 million people were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as of December 2012.

The biggest driver of the explosive increase in SNAP is poverty. Almost 50 million Americans were living in poverty in 2011, according the US Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which factors in expenses for food, clothing, shelter, utilities, health care and other essentials.

In 2010, about 87 percent of food stamp recipients were at or below the poverty line, which is set at the ridiculously low level of about $25,000 for a family of three. Only 3.5 percent of recipients had household incomes over 130 percent of the poverty line. Half of current SNAP recipients are children, and half of these children'--some 10 million'--live in extreme poverty, meaning family income is less than half the official poverty level.

One in six Americans receives food stamps. Last year's average monthly benefit was a paltry $133 per person.

For families struggling to put food on the table'--even with the aid of SNAP benefits'--the much vaunted economic recovery has nothing to do with their reality. The past five years have seen not only a huge increase in the SNAP rolls, but also a dramatic increase in the ranks of the working poor. Three out of four households receiving SNAP benefits include at least one person who is working.

On the other side of the class divide, stock market analysts and the media celebrated the continuing surge in share prices. The S&P 500'--the stock market index of 500 large US companies'--capped a four-year rally Thursday, recouping all of its losses from the 2008 global financial crisis.

The S&P 500, which rose to 1,569.19, has rocketed 10 percent in the first three months of the year, becoming the last major US market gauge to hit a new high. The Dow Jones Industrial average has already eclipsed its previous high from late 2007. The Los Angeles Times commented on the S&P breakthrough: ''The milestone underscored investors' enthusiasm over the increasingly buoyant economy.''

The vast majority of Americans are not the beneficiaries of this ''buoyant economy.'' Rather, growing numbers of people have been thrown deeper into poverty and social distress. Long-term unemployment has become entrenched. Working families are saddled with growing debt and struggle to pay for housing and other basic necessities, let alone put aside anything for retirement.

The increasing chasm between ordinary Americans and the elite that is celebrating stock market records is not the outcome merely of impersonal economic processes. The growth of social inequality since the 2008 financial crash is the product of definite policies pursued first under Bush and then under the Obama administration. The political establishment has pursued a bipartisan policy of class warfare against the working class while bailing out Wall Street and assisting its continued plundering of social resources.

The US Federal Reserve is pumping $85 billion a month in virtually free money into the financial system, fueling the stock market boom. This is more money in a month than the $76.6 billion the federal government spent all of last year to provide SNAP benefits to 47.8 million impoverished Americans.

Despite the explosive growth of the food stamp rolls and the obvious need for more funding for SNAP, even the minimal expansion of the program under the Obama administration's 2009 stimulus bill is set to expire on October 31, cutting food stamp benefits by about $8 per month per recipient.

The repeated refrain from Washington is that there is ''no money'' for schools, housing, health care and other vital social needs. Big business politicians'--fixated on reducing budgets and pursuing new wars'--are calling for even more austerity. Earlier this week, President Obama signed a bill making permanent this fiscal year's $85 billion in sequester cuts, which will slash billions of dollars from programs benefiting the poor.

The budget proposals of the Democrats and Republicans call for deep cuts to social programs. Both parties are eyeing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid'--programs that were won through mass social struggles of the working class'--for not only sweeping funding cuts, but ultimately for destruction through privatization and other means.

Having precipitated the financial crash through a combination of speculation and fraud, the financial oligarchy is now demanding that its losses be repaid many times over through the impoverishment of the broad mass of working people.

The working class requires a program and perspective to confront this social counterrevolution. The capitalist system must be overthrown and replaced with socialism. The wealth of the financial aristocracy must be expropriated and utilized to address the pressing social needs of the population: decent-paying jobs, education, housing, health care, pensions. The corporations and banks must be nationalized and placed under the democratic control of the working class.

The implementation of this program depends upon the building of a new leadership to arm the coming mass struggles of the working class with a socialist program and strategy for workers' power. The Socialist Equality Party fights for this revolutionary perspective.

Kate Randall

TeD Elite$

Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake, a fresh take

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Archived Version

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 08:47

NewsWe've been reviewing the response this past weekend to our decision to move two TEDx talks off the TEDx YouTube channel and over here onto the main TED Blog. We'd like to recap here what happened and suggest a way forward.

UPDATE: To discuss the talks, view them here:

The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talkThe debate about Graham Hancock's talk

Four years ago, TED began an experiment in which we granted free licenses to people who wanted to organize their own local events in which ideas could be exchanged, with talks captured on film and uploaded to YouTube. These events use the brand name TEDx, where x stands for ''self-organized.'' Organizers pledge to work within a set of rules, but then they have freedom to run the event themselves. Speakers are invited without our pre-approval. Requests to hold TEDx events poured in from all over the world, and to date, more than 5,000 have been held, with around 8 more every day. There's been TEDxBoston, TEDxAmsterdam, TEDxBaghdad, TEDxKabul, TEDxSoweto, and so forth, a thrilling explosion of idea sharing that has spawned more than 25,000 recorded talks on YouTube (uploaded there by the organizers themselves, without our prescreening). We have selected more than 200 TEDx talks to appear on ourmain homepage, where they have attracted millions of views. This growth is made possible by our deliberately open approach.

The obvious question is ''how do you ensure the quality of these events''?

Our approach is to empower organizers to achieve greatness, by providing detailed guidelines '' and guidance '' on what works and what doesn't. And we're constantly amazed at how good most of these events are. But we also count on the community to help when things go wrong. Occasionally a TEDx event will include a speaker who causes controversy or upset. When that happens, someone in the community will flag the talk, and we have to decide how to respond.

One option would be to have an ''anything goes'' policy. We could just say that these events are the responsibility of the local organizer and wash our hands of it. The problem with that stance is that we would soon find the TEDx brand and platform being hijacked by those with dangerous or fringe ideas. And eventually credible speakers would not want to be associated with it. TED's mission is not ''any old idea'' but ''ideas worth spreading.'' We've taken a deliberately broad interpretation of that phrase, but it still has to mean something.

The hardest line to draw is science versus pseudoscience. TED is committed to science. But we think of it as a process, not as a locked-in body of truth. The scientific method is a means of advancing understanding. Of asking for evidence. Of testing ideas to see which stack up and which should be abandoned. Over time that process has led to a rich understanding of the world, but one that is constantly being refined and upgraded. There's a sense in which all scientific truth is provisional, and open to revision if new facts arise. And that is why it's often hard to make a judgement on what is a valuable contribution to science, and what is misleading, or worthless.

Some speakers use the language of science to promote views that are simply incompatible with all reasonable understanding of the world. Giving them a platform is counterproductive. But there are also instances where scientific assumptions get turned upside down. How do we separate between these two? We have done two things as a tentative answer to this question:

- we've issued a set of guidelines to TEDx organizers.

- and we've appointed a board of scientific advisers. They are (deliberately) anonymous, for obvious reasons, but they are respected working scientists, and writers about science, from a range of fields, with no brief other than to help us make these judgements. If a talk gets flagged they will advise on whether we should act or not.

When Sheldrake and Hancock's talks were flagged, the majority of the board recommended we remove them from circulation, pointing out questionable suggestions and arguments in both talks. But there was a counter view that removing talks that had already been posted would lead to accusations of censorship. It's also the case that both speakers explicitly take on mainstream scientific opinion. This gives them a stronger reason to be listened to than those who simply use scientific sounding language to make nonsensical claims. So we decided we would not remove the talks from the web altogether, but simply transfer them to our own site where they could be framed in a way which included the critique of our board, but still allow for an open conversation about them.

What happened next was unfortunate. We wrote to the TEDx organizer indicating our intention and asking her to take the talks off Youtube so that we could repost. She informed the speakers of what was coming, but somehow the part about the talks staying online got lost in translation. Graham Hancock put out an immediate alert that he was about to be ''censored'', his army of passionate supporters deluged us with outraged messages, and we then felt compelled to accelerate our blog post and used language that in retrospect was clumsy. We suggested that we were flagging the talks because of ''factual errors'' but some of the specific examples we gave were less than convincing. Instead of the thoughtful conversation we had hoped for, we stirred up angry responses from the speakers and their supporters.

We would like to try again.

We plan to repost both talks in individual posts on our blog tomorrow, Tuesday; note a couple of areas where scientists or the community have raised questions or concerns about the talks; and invite a reasoned discussion from the community. And there will be a simple rule regarding responses. Reason only. No insults, no intemperate language. From either side. Comments that violate this will be removed. The goal here is to have an open conversation about:

- the line between science and pseudoscience

- how far TED and TEDx should go in giving exposure to unorthodox ideas

We will use the reasoned comments in this conversation to help frame both our guidelines going forward, and our process for managing talks that are called into question.

Both Sheldrake and Hancock are compelling speakers, and some of the questions they raise are absolutely worth raising. For example, most thoughtful scientists and philosophers of science will agree it's true that science has not moved very far yet in solving the riddle of consciousness. But the specific answers to that riddle proposed by Sheldrake and Hancock are so radical and far-removed from mainstream scientific thinking that we think it's right for us to give these talks a clear health warning and to ask further questions of the speakers. TED and TEDx are brands that are trusted in schools and in homes. We don't want to hear from a parent whose kid went off to South America to drink ayahuasca because TED said it was OK. But we do think a calmer, reasoned conversation around these talks would be interesting, if only to help us define how far you can push an idea before it is no longer ''worth spreading.''

TED, knowledge, and power | MindFutures

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Archived Version

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 08:41

I wrote this oped article (below) shortly after TED made the decision to remove two talks by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock from its main site and YouTube. I sent it to many newspapers, but unfortunately nobody responded. Still, the good news is that I can share it with you here (feel free to share it wherever you like). I also made further comment about the TED saga here.

Summary:The TED organisation's decision to take down two videos by radical thinkers Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock raises genuine questions about the way knowledge is now created and distributed. Length, 1000 words.

Zen Buddhist Shunryu Suzuki observed that ''In the mind of the novice there are many possibilities, but in the mind of the expert there is but one.'' Suzuki may well have repeated these words if he'd been alive over the past few days, even as a quiet storm brewed on a very modern forum: the internet. The online drama has involved the TED organisation's decision to take down two videos by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock from YouTube and the main TED site. Sheldrake's talk was about ''the science delusion'', and questioned ten fundamental assumptions which underpin modern scientific thought. These included the presumption that consciousness resides only in the brain, whether the universal laws such as the speed of light are constants, and whether the total amount of matter and energy in the universe always stays the same. Hancock's talk ''The war on consciousness'' delved into the uses of drugs in raising human consciousness.

TED's decision emerged after strong criticism of the talks by committed skeptics Jerry Coyne and PZ Meyer (It is unclear whether other vested interests lie behind them). They protested that the talks were unscientific. TED opened the debate to the public, and there were hundreds of mostly supportive comments posted for Sheldrake and Hancock. However, the videos soon disappeared from YouTube and TED's main video section, and were placed in an obscure location. TED commented that the decision was made ''after due diligence, including a survey of published scientific research and recommendations from our Science Board and our community''. The speakers had ''crossed the line into pseudoscience''. Both talks, TED claimed, ''contained serious factual errors that undermine TED's commitment to good science''. Only a few days had passed since the issue had gone public.

Sheldrake wrote to TED asking why he wasn't consulted. Hancock went very public and commented on the TED site itself. He alleged that TED had made several blatant errors describing the content of his talk. Accusing the organisation of defaming him, he demanded the organisation address his concerns.

Public support for the two rogue philosophers has continued to be overwhelming, with nearly a thousand comments posted on the TED site. They almost universally condemn the move. On a similar discussion produced 173 mostly supportive comments. A comment by a poster named Samual Bielski typified the reaction: ''Shame, shame, shame (on TED). You have lost all credibility with me and I'm sure to many others.''

Sheldrake is a former Cambridge academic with a PhD in plant physiology. He first came to prominence in the 1980's when the editor of Nature called Sheldrake's A New Science of Life ''a good book for burning.'' Sheldrake has always been radical. He has conducted experiments into human and animal telepathy. He once tested the popular idea that you ''just know'' who is calling before you answer the phone. Sheldrake's research found that people can ''guess'' who is calling forty-five per cent of the time, when there are four different callers. This is massively above chance.

The great irony in this saga is that it only adds weight to the argument put forward by Sheldrake that establishment science has become the new Church, ready to silence those with new ideas that challenge the entrenched scientific materialism of so many public, educational and scientific institutions. Notably, Sheldrake and Hancock's talks were given at a London TEDx event in January entitled: ''Visions for Transition: Challenging existing paradigms and redefining values for a changing world.'' The implications are disturbing. If one cannot legitimately ask open questions about the way science is conducted, or about discrepancies in data, then science is no longer open inquiry. It is a set of unquestionable dogmas founded in an unconscious paradigm. Tellingly, this was the central point in Sheldrake's talk that has been removed.

The truth is that many of those in the scientific community making truth claims about Sheldrake's domains of expertise are poorly informed. On his website, Sheldrake mentions an incident where he agreed to meet with skeptic Richard Dawkins, as part of the latter's television series, The Enemies of Reason. Sheldrake came prepared to discuss the scientific evidence for the existence of telepathy, including his own, having conducted several peer-reviewed experiments. But according to Sheldrake, Dawkins refused to address the science, saying that this was not the purpose of the program. Sheldrake states that Dawkins simply had not read the literature on the topic. Ironically, Dawkins is the former Emeritus Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford.

What is the reason for this aversion to open discussion of such matters in many scientific communities? The answer, in part, is paradigm blindness. Science has increasingly ignored intuitive ways of knowing over the last few centuries. Thomas Kuhn noted in the 1960s that paradigms not only restrict conclusions; they also delimit the kinds of questions deemed acceptable. And there is nothing which will kill open debate faster than silencing those who wish to ask questions.

Then there is the serious issue of science and academia's ties to government and big business. Science, as practiced today, is not so much open as constrained by the organisations and markets which feed it. The relationship is uncomfortably symbiotic. The corporations and government funding bodies have the money, while the universities have the prestige. With the current TED issue, what is happening with vested power groups behind the scenes is simply not transparent.

Perhaps it is time for science to loosen its materialistic shackles and begin to see the cosmos afresh. The mechanistic universe is what I call a ''used future''. It is merely an unconscious repetition of a past that has already outlived its usefulness.

I discuss many such ideas in Futures Studies, and I generally get a very open reception. Then again, scientific conservatives and skeptics don't tend to enrol in Foresight classes or attend Futures Studies conferences. They don't like talking about the future '' it's too uncertain, and you can't control it.


Fudge = Intellectual Phase Locking


Press Release: Announcements from President Clinton's Agricultural Investment Trip to Haiti

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Archived Version

Source: bertb news feed

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 03:35

Clinton Foundation Announces More than $700,000 in Grants to Haitian Agricultural Sector

President Clinton leads Agricultural Investment Delegation to Haiti

Announcements include various grants geared towards improving agricultural practices throughout the country

New York, NY'-- Today, the Clinton Foundation announced over $700,000 in targeted grants in support of agriculture, energy and the environment. These commitments will create new jobs, diversify products, develop new technologies and programs, and provide outreach and training.

"A strong agriculture sector is important for food security, national health as well as economic growth and job creation," said President Bill Clinton. "By strengthening Haiti's agricultural sector, we can support the tremendous potential to increase job creation and international exports. That is why my Foundation is working to promote programs at the nexus of agriculture, energy and the environment, and build partnerships with social businesses that are developing sustainable solutions to some of Haiti's key issues."

Over the course of the last two days, President Bill Clinton also traveled to the Artibonite, North and Central Plateau regions of Haiti, and visited several projects and sites in the Port-au-Prince area along with an Agricultural Investment delegation of key executives and investors, highlighting Haiti's agricultural sector. This was President Clinton's fourth targeted investor trip to Haiti.

The various grant announcements included:

A $40 million investment by Heineken to upgrade and expand their Haitian brewery, which includes investment in regional programs that will help build the capability of smallholder farmers. The announcement comes after Heineken made a $15 million Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment, in collaboration with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance, to locally source 20 percent of all raw materials for brewed products and 40 percent of their packaging materials. By 2018, the commitment is expected to bolster Haiti's packaging industry and improve the livelihood of 18,000 farmers by sourcing their sorghum for the packaging of Heineken products. A $150,000 grant to the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA). The grant will support the SFA's efforts at growth, operations, and sustainability in Gonaives. The funds will be used towards planting thousands of trees and to maintain the 150,000 trees and improve nursery operations by the SFA in the Gonaives area. The Clinton Foundation will also provide $150,000 to La Colombe and the Leslois Shaw Foundation, to develop a Coffee Academy in Thiotte. The academy will be a coffee farm with an academy attached with community services, training, and courses related to coffee farming. It will also undertake outreach and agricultural extension services for the surrounding area to improve quantity and quality of coffee yields. A $100,000 grant to the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) in collaboration with the North Coast Development to install a one-hectare solar market garden (SMG), a solar'Æassisted agricultural development concept first developed in West Africa by SELF and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi'ÆArid Tropics (ICRISAT). The SMG will enable farmers to grow high-value and high nutrition crops during dry seasons. The Clinton Foundation will also provide a grant to Mission of Hope to develop a SMG, through installing a solar drip irrigation system as part of a wider solar program with Mission of Hope. The Clinton Foundation will extend $57,000 in grant funds to the North Coast Development (NCD) Sisal Nursery Expansion project. The project will support farmers' efforts to expand the sisal nursery, train area farmers in sisal growing techniques, provide initial resources for area farmers to increase staff, and purchase equipment. The project aims to reach an annual production of 1 million sisal bulbs, and will sell the sisal fiber to SisalCo, which will compost and reuse the waste produced. Fuego del Sol (FdS), in collaboration with the World Food Program (WFP), Haiti National Office, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Haiti Communitere (HC), will receive $100,000 in funding from the Clinton Foundation to produce fuel briquettes for eco-stoves that the WFP places in area schools. The project will provide 20 jobs to the most vulnerable and earthquake affected citizens of Haiti, selected by the IOM. The Foundation's grant will enable the project to triple its production of briquettes, and to undertake price setting and efficiency tests for their production process. Finally, Zanmi Agricole and the Centre de Formation Fritz Lafontant will receive Clinton Foundation funds to support their efforts in developing a seed bank, which will support efforts to increase agricultural production in Haiti. Other announcements made during the trip included:

The launch of the Haiti Forest social initiative in collaboration with the Yunus Social Business GmbH (''YSB'') and Virgin Unite. The project will aim to solve social and environmental issues in Haiti by bringing sustainable, productive, and socially responsible forests to the country. Ten thousand hectares of land is being committed by the Ministry of Environment to develop the new, Haiti Forest initiative in the Artibonite and northern part of the country. The Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), in partnership with the Bureau de Nutrition et Development, has agreed to establish a second site for SFA in Massaide, in the Central Plateau. The new site will be a collaboration with a women's led farming cooperative, Femmes Agricole de Maissade, which will increase female employment and financial security. President Clinton also visited the Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante (PIH/ZL) Nourimanba production facility in the Central Plateau, where they will produce a peanut-based therapeutic food used to combat malnutrition. Completed in March, the facility was constructed in partnership with Abbott and the Abbott Fund. Nourimanba is distributed through PIH/ZL's network of health facilities throughout rural Haiti.

About the Clinton Foundation in Haiti

The Clinton Foundation has been actively engaged in Haiti since 2009, focusing on private sector investment and job creation in order to create long-term, sustainable economic development. After the devastating earthquake in 2010, President Clinton formed the Clinton Foundation Haiti Fund and raised $16.4 million from individual donors for immediate earthquake relief efforts. Since 2010, the Clinton Foundation has raised a total of $34 million in Haiti, including relief funds as well as projects focused on restoring Haiti's communities, sustainable development, and capacity building. The Clinton Foundation has now refocused its efforts in Haiti from emergency planning, putting emphasis on private sector investment and job creation as well as capacity building and education. In 2012, the Clinton Foundation concentrated on the four priority sectors of energy, tourism, agriculture, and apparel/manufacturing, working to bring new investors, develop and support local organizations and business and improve Haiti's business environment to facilitate economic growth.

About the Clinton Foundation

Building on a lifetime of public service, President Bill Clinton established the Clinton Foundation with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private citizens to turn good intentions into measurable results. Since 2001, President Clinton's vision and leadership have resulted in nearly 5 million people benefiting from lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment; more than 15,000 U.S. schools building healthier learning environments; more than 51,000 micro-entrepreneurs, small business owners, and smallholder farmers improving their livelihoods and communities; and more than 248 million tons of CO2 being reduced in cities around the world. And President Clinton has redefined the way we think about giving and philanthropy through his Clinton Global Initiative, whose members have made more than 2,300 commitments that are improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. For more information, visit, read our blog at, and follow us on Twitter @ClintonTweet and Facebook at


Eric Harroun: U.S. Army veteran is ARRESTED on charges of 'conspiring with al Qaeda and plotting to use a weapon of mass destruction'

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Archived Version

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 21:39

By Hayley Peterson

PUBLISHED: 14:31 EST, 28 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:27 EST, 28 March 2013

U.S. Army veteran Eric Harroun of Phoenix has been charged with conspiring with an al Qaeda group to wage war against the Syrian regime.

Harroun, 30, was charged Thursday in federal court in northern Virginia with plotting to use a rocket-propelled grenade - considered a weapon of mass destruction - outside the U.S., an offense which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, according to the Justice Department.

MailOnline has previously reported that Harroun has been engaged in military action in Syria, fighting alongside rebel forces against the Syrian government.

Scroll down for video

Eric Harroun (right), a 30-year-old U.S. Army veteran from Phoenix, has joined al Qaeda alias Jabhat al-Nusra after months of fighting with Syrian rebels

The FBI began investigating Harroun after videos and photos were posted online of him fighting in Syria, posing with weapons and boasting of killing members of the Syrian regime. In one post, he claims credit for downing a Syrian helicopter.

Prosecutors say Harroun has also been fighting with the al-Nusrah Front, which is commonly known as al Qaeda in Iraq. According to the State Department, al-Nusrah has claimed responsibility for roughly 600 terrorist attacks in Syria.

Harroun returned to the U.S. on Wednesday after several interviews with FBI investigators in Turkey, where they grilled him about his dealings with al-Nusrah, according to a nine-page criminal complaint.

When he arrived at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, he agreed to be interviewed for a fourth time by the FBI. During the interview, he stated that he had fought with al-Nusrah as part of an 'RPG' - or rocket-propelled grenade - team.

Harroun said that as part of the team, he carried three rockets in a backpack along with an AK-47 rifle. He also confirmed to investigators that he had successful hits on Syrian targets.

In earlier interviews with the FBI in Instanbul, he explained how he ended up with al-Nusrah.

Harroun explained during a March 12 interview that he and members of the Free Syrian Army had engaged in a joint attack with the al-Nusrah Front on a Syrian encampment and he was separated during battle from the Syrian rebel fighters

Eric Harroun, who is known among Syrian rebels and loyalists as 'The American,' joined the U.S. Army in 2000 and he was dishcharged with full disability pay for an injury in 2003 without ever having seen battle

Rebel fighting: In his time working for the U.S. army, Harroun never actually served in battle but earned his disability check because he was hit in a car crash on a base

As a result, he ended up jumping into the back of an al-Nusrah truck, which transported him to the terrorist group's encampment.

He said he was initially treated like a prisoner there but after a short time, the al-Nusrah soldiers 'accepted him and returned his weapons.'

'Once his weapons were returned, he was told that the al-Nusrah Front brigade was going to mount another attack,' an FBI investigator wrote. 'Harroun participated in that attack and was assigned to a five-man fire team.

'Two members of Harroun's five-man team were shot, and Harroun assisted and saved the life of one of them. After the attack, Harroun was accepted as a member of the group because he had proven himself in battle.'

Asked about a comment he made online that 'the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist,' Harroun said he equated Zionism to Nazism and Fascism.

In another interview on March 18, Harroun told investigators that he had been fighting with the al-Nusrah Front for approximately 25 days and he estimated that he had engaged in seven to 10 battles with them.

'Hero:' Harroun revels in his 'hero' status and brags on Facebook and in YouTube vidoes of his bloody exploits in the Middle East

Religion: Harroun (right) describes himself as a Sunni Muslim on Facebook and writes about his hatred of Israel and Zionists

MailOnline exchanged emails with Harroun earlier this month after an amateur video carrying the logo of a pro-Syrian government group was posted online claiming that Harroun had been killed.

But Harroun told MailOnline from his personal email account that 'Syrian Media must be smoking something, because I am alive and well chilling in Istanbul having a martini at the moment.'

The 30-year-old veteran joined the U.S. Army in 2000 and he was discharged with full disability pay for an injury in 2003 without ever having seen battle, according to his father.

He was injured while riding in a pickup truck that hit a tree and he now has a steel plate in his head, his father, Darryl Harroun, told Fox.

'Now he has mood swings and what-not,' he said. 'He was already suffering from depression before that, and the accident just kind of multiplied it,' the elder Mr Harroun said he frequently talks to his son by phone.

Eric's life has changed dramatically from the days when he worked at Artisan Mortgage company in Phoenix, Arizona from 2006 to 2008 where he described his job as finalizing 'applications for home loans or second mortgages,and a lot of other boring paperwork.'

Domestic life: Before going overseas, Harroun lived in this Phoenix, Arizona apartment building

Previous life: He worked at Artisan Mortgage Company from 2006 to 2008 finalizing second mortgages 'and alot of other boring paperwork'

Proud: Now he posts pictures as he holds machine guns and dressed in army fatigues while in Syria

Harroun revels in his 'hero' status and brags on Facebook and in YouTube videos of his bloody exploits in the Middle East.

His Facebook page is littered with photos of himself brandishing handguns, rifles, mortars and other weaponry.

'He says they treat him like a hero.'-Eric's father Darryl Harroun says

In a photo of himself holding a mortar in one hand and a rifle in the other that he posted on Facebook, he writes, 'Lol Army of Darkness, This is my BOOM STICK. Lol.'

A lit cigarette hangs out of his mouth in the image and in a similar photo featuring a sniper rifle, where he writes, 'Ready to tear Bashar Al-Assads [sic] Army and the Shabehah apart!!'

He describes himself as a Sunni Muslim on Facebook and writes about his hatred of Israel and Zionists. Under his 'Favorite Quotations' section of his profile he writes, 'The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.'

The Syrian rebel group Amr ibn al-'Aas Brigade told Fox that 'The American' was working with them until last month - about the time he reportedly joined Al-Nusra

In a YouTube video uploaded in mid-January, Harroun warns Assad that his days are 'numbered.'

'Bashar Assad, your days are numbered,' he says in the video, where he is surrounded by several rebel fighters.

'You are going down in flames. You should just quit now, while you can, and leave. You are going to die, no matter what. Where you go we will find you and kill you. Do you understand?'

At another point, he changed his Facebook status to read that he was 'LMAO at Bashar Al-Assads Speech today!!!!!'

The Syrian rebel group Amr ibn al-'Aas Brigade told Fox that 'The American' - referring to Harroun - was working with them until last month - about the time he reportedly joined al-Nusra.

US Army veteran Eric Harroun joins al Qaeda-linked group after...

Agenda 21

Think Climate Change - Think Money - very, very big money - read this spreadsheet! - Michael Smith News

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Archived Version

Sun, 31 Mar 2013 08:56

I have just read and researched each link, line by line at the Federal Government's climate change website, under its heading the A-Z of Government Programs and Initiatives.

The litany of bureaucracy, waste, extravagance and unspeakable amounts of money just racing out the door defy logical explanation.

I tracked the reading by putting together a simple spreadsheet with each initiative or program taking up one line - just those few minutes of reading and writing about each activity has left me lamenting the wanton, sheer, utter waste of most of that money. Many of the initiatives then have dozens or hundreds of individual grants and sub-programs - I've not gone down to that level in this spreadsheet. Some of the programs pre-date this government - it's gob-smacking.

How could so much money be spent on so spurious an hypothesis - ie that Western industrial activity is dangerously warming the world and only "action on climate change" (a euphemism for "spending on climate change") by Western governments can stop it? Developing-world emissions are different, it's Western emissions that are doing the damage under the UN sanctioned blueprints for "action".

See if you can find a few minutes to go through the spreadsheet and click on a few links.

Finally - if Swan, Combet, Garrett, Gillard, Wong, Conroy et al were singularly incapable of adequately administering programs involving tangible, viewable outcomes like school halls, pink batts or fibre-optic cable roll-out - how on earth could they devise and oversee governance systems properly to acquit billions spent on chasing down green-house gases?

Download Climate change money

(Christine Milne - I want that $10 billion - for Greens programs)

This is a direct quote from Christine Milne from the ABC's Q and A program on Monday, 4 March, 2013 - go to the Climate Extremes and Carbon Tax link on the right hand side of the transcript page, it's about 44.45 min in.

CHRISTINE MILNE: It is essential that we not only reduce our emissions but we actually go much faster and that's the benefit of having a market-based mechanism that we have put in place, and the problem with direct action is that if it ever achieved 5%, which I don't believe it will since 60% of it is soil carbon and there is no methodology for that as it stands, but it can't be scaled up. So Tony Abbott doesn't take climate change seriously. He doesn't take the science seriously. If you did then you would be scared by what's happening and you would be moving to go faster, not try and slow it down. And the Greens in the Senate will stand there and not repeal the clean energy package because I want that 10 billion to go into renewable energy around Australia and into energy efficiency. And as for the jobs, let me tell you, China is moving on this with some of their pilot emissions systems larger than the whole of what Australia is proposing. The US is moving in some States. We are now moving globally to a treaty in 2015 and Australia will be trading the possibilities that are there in the low carbon, zero carbon economy. That's where the new technology, where the excitement is, not in old coal-fired technology.

BEST OF THE WEB: Scientist predicts Earth is heading for another Ice Age - next year!

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Source: ZapLog - externe links

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 21:14

As Arctic Britain prepares to shiver for at least another month, a leading scientist today predicted the world was heading for another Ice Age.A leading scientist predicted the world was heading for another Ice Age

Incredibly, British Summer Time officially starts tomorrow but millions of brassed off Brits pining for warmth will have to endure freezing temperatures and biting winds until May.The misery will continue with daytime temperatures struggling to reach a bracing 5C (41F). The only ray of sunshine, forecasters said, is that it will stay dry.

As if the outlook wasn't bleak enough already, meteorologists believe the shivering start to 2013 has been the coldest in more than 200 years.

More worryingly, the combination of sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow experienced across much of the country recently could be the prelude to a new Ice Age that will begin next year and last for 200 years.

Russian scientist Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov, of the St Petersburg Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, painted the Doomsday scenario saying the recent inclement weather simply proved we were heading towards a frozen planet.

Dr Abdussamatov believes Earth was on an "unavoidable advance towards a deep temperature drop". The last big freeze, known as the Little Ice Age, was between 1650 and 1850.

Today he said: "The last global decrease of temperature (the most cold phase of the Little Ice Age) was observed in Europe, North America and Greenland.

"All channels in the Netherlands were frozen, glaciers were on the advance in Greenland and people were forced to leave their settlements, inhabited for several centuries.

"The Thames river in London and Seine in Paris were frozen over every year. Humanity has always been prospering during the warm periods and suffering during the cold ones. The climate has never been and will never be stable."

The miserable weather since the turn of the year has been blamed on two episodes of high pressure.

A poorly positioned jet stream means ice cold temperatures and the continuing risk of snow showers across the north and east.

Almost all of the UK can expect a continuation of night frost, which will turn severe at times.

April is forecast to be a drier than average month in the north and east, slightly wetter to the south and west but it is expected to be one of the oldest on record.

Forecaster Jonathan Powell, of Vantage Weather Services, said: "My goodness haven't we suffered over the winter, but if people are after sunshine in the next month my advice would be to head for the airport.

"It is going to remain dry at least, but we will all need to remember to pull on an extra layer of clothing before stepping outside.

"May could well be our saving grace because at the moment it's looking a lot better but I am sorry to say after that we are heading down the same route as last year."

Numbing temperatures of -11C (12F) last night broke the previous coldest Easter with some describing the past few months as "Britain's lost spring".

(C) (C) Daily ExpressMillions of brassed off Brits are pining for warmth

As the clocks go forward the Met Office forecast record lows to of -11C in north Wales, northern England and Scotland.Met Office forecaster Steven Keates said: ""Nights will stay cold with -10C possible and -11C not out of the question from north Wales northwards to Scotland.

"The weather is exceptional, unusually cold and unusually prolonged - with little change next week.

"Snow showers are certainly an increasing risk in the second half of the week, especially in the south.

"They are expected to fall more widely than flurries this week, with a slight covering in places - but nothing like the heavy snow last weekend."

British tourism is braced to suffer heavy losses calculated at "tens of millions of pounds" with as many as two million scrapping pre-planned domestic Easter breaks because of the chill.

A fed-up Brighton tourism spokesman said: "We had 100,000 visitors last Easter - but bad weather will hit tourism numbers. We do have indoor attractions however."

Carbon Tax

Are They Nuts!? IMF Proposes $1.40 a Gallon Gas Tax on US Drivers

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Sat, 30 Mar 2013 15:34

March 30th, 2013

(Fox) '' The national average for a gallon of gasoline is currently at $3.65. On top of that sky-high price, the International Monetary Fund has now proposed that the U.S. should impose a tax of $1.40 per gallon in order to pay for social programs around the world and help the environment.

Neil Cavuto discussed this proposal with FBN's Charles Payne, who said sometimes you hear things and you just have to ask, ''Are you nuts!?''

Tags: cavuto, charles payne, gas tax, US driversThis entry was posted on Saturday, March 30th, 2013 at 2:17 pm and is filed under Dictatorship, Education/Mind Control, Energy, Fascism, Film/Video, NWO, Politics/Corrupt. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

IMF paper suggests U.S. should adopt $1.33-a-gallon gas tax

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Fri, 29 Mar 2013 09:35

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Mac & Cheese Life

Food Fraud Hits New Low: Dog Meat In British Curry

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Sun, 31 Mar 2013 01:17

Michael KriegerLiberty Blitzkrieg blog

The food fraud story has now progressed from somewhat humorous with the undersized Subway footlong subs, to the highly disturbing with the revelations of horse meat and fake tuna, to the really creepy with the now potential emergence of dog meat in UK lamb curry. No you can't print lamb folks, which is exactly why many humans are now eating worse than their pets in the Western world.

A mystery meat, which has defied the best efforts of scientists to identify it, has been found in a lamb curry as part of an investigation into food fraud.

The discovery raises new questions about just what is going into the nation's takeaways and processed foods.

The meat in a Beef in Black Bean Sauce dish turned out to contain high levels of chicken material including blood, while a burger contained no beef at all, other than blood and heart.

However, most alarming of all was a curry. A spokesman for the programme said: 'Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse, the results came in for an Indian Lamb Curry.

'It did contain meat, but that meat was not lamb, not pork, nor was it chicken or beef. Not horse, and not goat either.

All of the many tests to date by the lab used by the programme have failed to identify exactly which animal was the source of the meat.

The revelation raises many grim possibilities. There is evidence from Spain, for example, of meat from dog carcasses being processed for use in pet food.

At the same time, a meat cutting plant in Wales has been accused of supplying horsemeat from an abattoir in Yorkshire to companies making kebabs and burgers for hundreds of independent take-aways.

Don't worry mate, your savior George Osborne will simply create a housing bubble and you'll be so distracted that dirt will soon taste good. Cheers!

Full article here.


The ''Rebuild America Partnership'': The President's Plan to Encourage Private Investment in America's Infrastructure

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Source: White Press Office Feed

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 13:51

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2013

Investing in infrastructure not only makes our roads, bridges, and ports safer and gives our businesses and workers the tools to compete successfully in the global economy, it also creates thousands of good American jobs that cannot be outsourced. Since the President took office four years ago, America has begun the hard work of rebuilding our infrastructure: American workers have improved over 350,000 miles of U.S. roads and more than 6,000 miles of rail, and they have repaired or replaced over 20,000 bridges. But there's more to do, and taxpayers shouldn't have to shoulder the entire burden themselves.

We know that America works best when it's calling upon the resources and ingenuity of our vibrant private sector. That's why the President's plan calls for a Rebuild America Partnership to help attract the private capital that can go toward building the infrastructure our workers and businesses need most.

By acting on the President's plan, together we can build an infrastructure that's second-to-none and prove that there is no better place to do business and create jobs than right here in the United States of America.

' Partnering with the Private Sector to Create Jobs and Invest in the Projects We Need Most: The President is continuing to call for Congress to enact a National Infrastructure Bank capitalized with $10 billion, in order to leverage private and public capital and to invest in a broad range of infrastructure projects of national and regional significance, without earmarks or political influence.

' Giving State and Local Governments Flexible New Tools to Invest in Infrastructure: The President's new America Fast Forward Bonds program will build upon the successful example of the Build America Bonds program, broadening its use to include the types of projects that can be financed with qualified private activity bonds while also making the combined program more flexible. In addition, the Administration is proposing changes to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) aimed at enhancing the attractiveness of investment in U.S. infrastructure and real estate to a broader universe of private investors.

' Building the Transportation Network Our Businesses and Workers Need to Succeed: In addition to the sound implementation of TIFIA's recent eight-fold expansion, the Administration is also proposing $4 billion in new competitive funding for the innovative TIGER and TIFIA programs.

The President's Plan to Attract Private Infrastructure InvestmentThrough a ''Rebuild America Partnership''

Despite progress over the last four years, too many construction workers remain out of work and too many of our nation's infrastructure needs remain unmet. The President's new ''Rebuild America Partnership'' will bring together an array of new and existing policies all aimed at enhancing the role of private capital in U.S. infrastructure investment as a vital additive to the traditional roles of Federal, State, and local governments, making American workers and businesses more competitive and putting more Americans back on the job:

' Partnering with the Private Sector to Create Jobs and Invest in the Projects We Need Most. To leverage private and public capital for infrastructure projects showing the greatest merit, the President is continuing to call for the investment of $10 billion to create and capitalize an independent National Infrastructure Bank (NIB), based on a model that has won bipartisan support from the Senate in the past. Each dollar of Federal funding can leverage up to $20 in total infrastructure investment, mainly from partners in the private sector and State and local government. The National Infrastructure Bank's key provisions would include:

o Independent, Non-Partisan Operations Led by Infrastructure and Financial Experts: While the NIB would be a government-owned entity, it would operate independently and would have a bipartisan board composed of individuals who possess significant expertise in the financing, development, or operation of infrastructure projects.

o Broad Eligibility for Infrastructure and Unbiased Project Selection: Eligible projects would include transportation infrastructure, water infrastructure, and energy infrastructure. In general, projects would have to be at least $100 million in size and be of national or regional significance. Projects would need to have a clear public benefit, meet rigorous economic, technical, and environmental standards, and be backed by a dedicated revenue stream. Geographic, sector, and size considerations would also be taken into account.

o Addressing Market Gaps for Infrastructure Financing: The NIB would issue loans and loan guarantees to eligible projects at interest rates approximately equivalent to Treasury securities of similar maturities. Loans could extend to 35 years, giving the NIB the ability to be a ''patient'' partner side-by-side with State, local, and private co-investors. To maximize leverage from Federal investments, the NIB would finance no more than 50 percent of the total costs of any project.

' Giving State and Local Governments Flexible New Tools to Invest in Infrastructure. Recovery Act funding for ''Build America Bonds'' (BABs) helped to support more than $181 billion for new public infrastructure. The President's new America Fast Forward (AFF) Bonds program will build upon the successful example of the BABs program, broadening its use to include the types of projects that can be financed with qualified private activity bonds (PABs) while also while also making the combined program more flexible. In addition, the Administration is proposing changes to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) aimed at enhancing the attractiveness of investment in U.S. infrastructure and real estate to a broader universe of private investors. Taken together, these proposals represent $7 billion in tax reforms to support infrastructure investment among state and local governments as well as their private sector partners.

o America Fast Forward Bonds: The Recovery Act created the BABs program as an optional new lower cost borrowing incentive for State and local governments on taxable bonds issued in 2009 and 2010 to finance new investments in governmental capital projects. The program's innovative design ensured that States, localities, and their private sector partners receive the best bang-for-the-buck when they finance their investments in new infrastructure. It also enabled them to attract new sources of capital to infrastructure investment '-- including from public pension funds that do not receive a tax benefit from traditional tax-exempt debt '-- and brought down interest costs by about 80 basis points on 30-year bonds. Under the original BABs program, the Treasury Department makes direct subsidy payments to State and local governmental issuers in a subsidy amount equal to 35 percent of the coupon interest on the bonds.

The Administration proposes to create a new permanent AFF Bonds program, which would be an optional alternative to traditional tax-exempt bonds. Like BABs, AFF Bonds would be conventional taxable bonds issued by State and local governments in which the Federal government makes direct payments to State and local governmental issuers in a subsidy amount equal to 28 percent of the coupon interest on the bonds. The 28-percent subsidy rate is approximately revenue neutral in comparison to the Federal revenue cost from traditional tax-exempt bonds.

The Administration proposes to include as an eligible use for America Fast Forward Bonds issuance for the types of projects and programs that can be financed with qualified PABs, subject to applicable State bond volume caps for the PABs category.

o Reformed Project Limitations for Qualified Private Activity Bonds: The Administration proposes modifying certain restrictions in the qualified PABs program, in order to encourage greater take-up and infrastructure construction:­¤ Increase the national limitation for qualified highway or surface freight transfer facility bonds to $19 billion from $15 billion.­¤ Eliminate the volume cap for qualified PABs issued for water infrastructure, in an effort to help address what the EPA has estimated is a roughly $600 billion need for capital investment in wastewater and stormwater as well as drinking water infrastructure over the next 20 years.­¤ Increase from 25 percent to 35 percent the limitation on the use of proceeds for land acquisition, in order to enable greater PABs usage in areas with high land costs.­¤ Permit private ownership of qualified PAB-supported airports, docks and wharves, and mass commuting facilities, putting these infrastructure categories on an equal footing under the qualified PABs program with other infrastructure types.

o FIRPTA: Infrastructure assets can be attractive investments for long-term investors such as pension funds that value the long-term, predictable, and stable nature of the cash flows associated with infrastructure. Under current law, gains of foreign investors from the disposition of U.S. real property interests are generally subject to U.S. tax under FIRPTA, and foreign investors including large foreign pension funds regularly cite FIRPTA as an impediment to their investment in U.S. infrastructure and real estate assets. With U.S. pension funds generally exempt from U.S. tax upon the disposition of U.S. real property investments, the Administration proposes to put foreign pension funds on an approximately equal footing: exempting their gains from the disposition of U.S. real property interests, including infrastructure and real estate assets, from U.S. tax under FIRPTA.

' Building the Transportation Network Our Businesses and Workers Need to Succeed. The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program '-- which provides direct loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit to regionally or nationally significant transportation projects '-- received an eight-fold increase in funding to $1 billion in the recent surface transportation reauthorization. Over the past 13 years, TIFIA has entered into 27 loan agreements worth $10.4 billion, resulting in more than $41 billion in total project investment. The program, which is especially important to mayors and local leaders, highlights the important role that infrastructure financing can play in catalyzing private investment, and its expansion was a significant step towards more innovative infrastructure financing.

In addition to the sound implementation of TIFIA's recent expansion, the Administration is also proposing $4 billion in new competitive funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) and TIFIA programs in 2014. This additional investment would make new grant and loan funding available for States and localities across the country, giving them both a new source of financing and the flexibility to design projects and financing packages to meet their needs.


Reward for dead California fugitive policeman shrinks

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Sat, 30 Mar 2013 20:57

Reward for dead California fugitive policeman shrinksTop News

Reward for dead California fugitive policeman shrinks

Sat, Mar 30 12:54 PM EDT

(Reuters) - A second group has pulled its money from a pooled $1.2 million reward offered during a manhunt for a renegade former California policeman who died in a fiery standoff, a Los Angeles television station said.

The Peace Officers Research Association of California withdrew the $50,000 it pledged for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Christopher Dorner, KNBC said.

An official for the association, which represents 64,000 police union members, told the television station on Friday that the conditions for the reward had not been met because Dorner was not arrested.

On Monday, the city of Riverside, California, pulled its $100,000 contribution to the reward pool for similar reasons. It said its offer was contingent on Dorner's capture.

Dorner had been fired from the Los Angeles Police Department and was accused of killing four people in a vendetta against police. He shot and killed himself in a burning cabin in the mountains above Los Angeles during a standoff with police on February 12.

Dozens of groups and municipalities pledged money for the reward during the intense nine-day manhunt, and a payout announcement is expected in mid-April.

At least three people have submitted claims for the reward. Karen and Jim Reynolds called police after Dorner tied them up in their Big Bear Lake condominium and fled in their SUV shortly before his death.

Dorner crashed their SUV and carjacked a pickup truck from another man, Rick Heltebrake, who also called authorities, and has submitted a reward claim.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton; editing by Jackie Frank)

Reward for dead California fugitive policeman shrinksTop News

Reward for dead California fugitive policeman shrinks

Sat, Mar 30 12:54 PM EDT

(Reuters) - A second group has pulled its money from a pooled $1.2 million reward offered during a manhunt for a renegade former California policeman who died in a fiery standoff, a Los Angeles television station said.

The Peace Officers Research Association of California withdrew the $50,000 it pledged for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Christopher Dorner, KNBC said.

An official for the association, which represents 64,000 police union members, told the television station on Friday that the conditions for the reward had not been met because Dorner was not arrested.

On Monday, the city of Riverside, California, pulled its $100,000 contribution to the reward pool for similar reasons. It said its offer was contingent on Dorner's capture.

Dorner had been fired from the Los Angeles Police Department and was accused of killing four people in a vendetta against police. He shot and killed himself in a burning cabin in the mountains above Los Angeles during a standoff with police on February 12.

Dozens of groups and municipalities pledged money for the reward during the intense nine-day manhunt, and a payout announcement is expected in mid-April.

At least three people have submitted claims for the reward. Karen and Jim Reynolds called police after Dorner tied them up in their Big Bear Lake condominium and fled in their SUV shortly before his death.

Dorner crashed their SUV and carjacked a pickup truck from another man, Rick Heltebrake, who also called authorities, and has submitted a reward claim.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton; editing by Jackie Frank)

Drone Nation


Popular people ''less likely'' to survive pandemic - Education -

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Sat, 30 Mar 2013 15:05

THE more popular a person is the more likely they are to get diseases and illnesses.

Speaking at the Surviving the Next Pandemic event, at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, Dr Deirdre Hollingsworth, an epidemiologist at Warwick University, will explain how the risk of surviving the next pandemic, or even catching flu, depends on the numbers and types of contacts a person has.

Busy and popular people who come into contact with more groups of people are far more at risk than those with less friends or working at home.

Dr Hollingsworth, who was part of a team which advised the World Health Organisation on the likely extent and severity of the 2009 swine flu outbreak, said: ''Your risk of acquiring an infectious disease depends on the numbers of contacts and the types of contacts you have.

''For example, catching flu needs different types of contacts. If you were on a train with someone very close, breathing the air for lot of the time, you'd have a bigger chance of contracting it than if you were working at home. While there is a good chance of transmitting it to your household, if you talk to a lot of people during the day you're exposed to a lot more contacts.''

''But in some ways being popular might benefit your health because being exposed to so many germs has helped you develop immunity.

She said the same process could apply to a number of illnesses ranging from colds and sore throats to those which many people in the UK have been vaccinated against - tuberculosis, mumps, whooping cough, meningitis and diphtheria.

Dr Hollingsworth, will explain why more use should be made of scientific modelling to work out who should get access to vaccines.

''We have to prioritise and try to understand what type of disease we are dealing with. If you catch flu you are likely to infect one or two other people so we'd need to vaccinate 50 per cent of the population.

''If there is a disease where 80 per cent of the population are vaccinated the chances of you spreading it on are low - so we need to find out what the threshold level,'' she added.


The Surviving the Next Pandemic is sponsored by the Edinburgh-based International Centre for Mathematical Sciences ICMS) which runs the Maths for Planet Earth international project which uses maths to help tackle human problems.

Professor Keith Ball, scientific director of the ICMS, said mathematical modelling provided an efficient use of resources.

''You might think it would be more natural to vaccinate those most at risk - the old, babies, the sick.

''But resources are limited and we want to stop disease spreading quickly so we target those who provide links between lots of groups. So it makes sense to target those who form ''hubs'' between groups of people. If we stop the disease passing through these hubs, then we stop the disease.

Professor Ball said that the definition of a ''popular'' person in the work sense would be someone like a teacher, who formed a ''hub'' for many others.

''If the teacher doesn't get the illness or disease they can't pass it on.

''But there may be other people who do not have many connections but who are connected themselves to the teacher. This is why a subtle approach is needed to identify the links.

''We can use mathematical modelling to identify the typical number of connections of a range of people from office workers, chief executives to children. When this is explained I think the public get a far better understanding that it is no the elite - the government, chief executives or wealthy people - who are getting special treatment just because of who they are.''

Dr Martin Donaghy, medical director of Health Protection Scotland, the Scottish Government agency which co-ordinates measures to protect people from infectious and environmental hazards, said a range of factors were examined for vaccination programmes.

''Mathematics is absolutely key. But we also have to have an understanding of the disease and how it spreads and its impact on health which will influence the decision making factors.

''To get the mathematics right we need input from a whole range of professionals. To run such a model we need data of observations to monitor and research what is going on.

''Such modelling is detailed and complex. We do a little bit ourselves but mainly work with our partners in England. The findings then go the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and then to health departments who then decide what to do.''

''Nowadays a lot of the decisions on new vaccines and the extent to which we use old ones is based on ''cost effectiveness'' and quality of the years of life added.''

' Surviving the Next Pandemic - event at Edinburgh International Science Festival - Tuesday 2 April, 8pm National Museum of Scotland Auditorium. Tickets £8/£6.


Kate Bolduan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Fri, 29 Mar 2013 04:27

Katherine Jean "Kate" Bolduan[1][2][3] (born 1983) is a congressional correspondent for CNN[4] based in Washington, D.C. Bolduan provides feature stories and breaking news reports as well as custom live reports. Previously, she served as a general assignment correspondent for the network.

A native of Goshen, Indiana,[5] she is the third child of Dr. Jeffrey and Nadine Bolduan, both of whom are medical professionals.[6] She has worked at House & Garden magazine, Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News, NBC News and MSNBC. From April 2006 through August 2007, Bolduan worked at WTVD-TV in Raleigh, N.C.,[7] where she served as a reporter with an emphasis on breaking news and live coverage.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the George Washington University in 2005[7] with a bachelor's degree in journalism.[4] During her time at the university she was also a student-athlete[8] and a talented stage actress.[9] She is married to Carlyle Group principal Michael David Gershenson, and both are based in Washington D.C.[10][11] The couple are recent converts to the Jewish faith, having joined the Washington Hebrew Congregation sometime in November 2009.[12]

PersondataNameBolduan, KateAlternative namesShort descriptionDate of birth1983Place of birthDate of deathPlace of death

Michael D. Gershenson | The Carlyle Group

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Fri, 29 Mar 2013 04:28

Fund Segment:

Real AssetsMichael D. Gershenson is a Principal focused on U.S. real estate opportunities. He is responsible for all aspects of real estate investments, with a geographic focus on Texas and Boston, as well as a product focus on retail and industrial properties. Mr. Gershenson is based in Washington, DC.

Since joining Carlyle in 2002, Mr. Gershenson has been involved with the execution of over 40 transactions with an all-in capitalization exceeding $2 billion and the asset management of Carlyle's portfolio of retail and industrial assets.

Prior to joining Carlyle, Mr. Gershenson was with Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown's mergers, acquisitions and corporate advisory group in New York where he specialized in real estate transactions.

Mr. Gershenson received a B.S.B.A. from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.


Sandy Hook Mom Describes Seeing Police Officer Carrying Blood Child

Chicago Police Swarm Mag Mile 'Wilding' Scene, Make Several Arrests

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Sun, 31 Mar 2013 01:14

An individual is arrested Saturday night near the Magnificent Mile after hundreds of young people caused disturbances. (CBS)

(CBS) '-- Chicago police made several arrests Saturday evening following another ''wilding'' scene instigated by young people along the Magnificent Mile.

Photographers shot chaotic video of police officers and vehicles swarming Michigan Avenue near Huron and detaining several young people around 7:30 p.m. Some of the disturbance leaked onto Chicago Avenue near State Street on a relatively warm night with temperatures in the 50s.

Chicago Police News Affairs confirmed officers arrested ''a number of offenders'' and said charges were pending. Details weren't available.

But community activist Andrew Holmes, who happened to be shopping with a relative in the upscale retail district, described a scene in which hundreds of young people misbehaved, with some of them harassing and attacking people on the street.

''They assaulted a Chicago police officer who was on a mounted horse. And all of a sudden, they assaulted the citizens walking the streets '' just normal citizens shopping, enjoying the weather,'' Holmes told CBS 2's Chris Martinez. ''I caution those parents if their child has been arrested '... You need to think about your child. Just don't say the Chicago police picked on your child, when we watched all the assault going on, especially by teen women.''

Chicago's Michigan Avenue and nearby retail strips were beset by numerous wilding, or ''youth mob,'' episodes the past two summers.

The phenomenon continues in Chicago and its suburbs. In February, a disturbance broke out at Ford City Mall after a meet-and-greet appearance by the boy band Mindless Behavior. A mall official blamed groups of ''older youths'' and said it had nothing to do with the event.

B-2 Bomber Run To South Korea Done For The First Time Ever Not Meant As Provocation

NBC News: ONE Misstep Could Ignite A Powder keg On The Korean Peninsula

Time Editor Compares Obama to Nelson Mandela

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Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 16:48

MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them -- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.

MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 325 South Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For information about the MRC, please visit

Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO-North Korean war map targets Texas

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Fri, 29 Mar 2013 17:30

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VIDEO-Target...Austin, Texas (1960) - YouTube

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Fri, 29 Mar 2013 16:15

VIDEO-Pat Robertson Claims Homeland Security Is Stocking Ammo To 'Attack Us' | Crooks and Liars

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Fri, 29 Mar 2013 16:30

Pat Robertson, Pope of the Televangelists, is joining with the crackpot theories of Alex Jones that warns Americans the feds are out to get us, just like he did during his Clinton 'black helicopter' days.

Robertson: Long trains full of armored vehicles, personnel carriers with armor, what are they for, the army going into battle against the enemy? They're used by Homeland Security against us,'' Robertson ominously warned. ''Imagine what Homeland Security is doing is just awful and we're going to talk about how much ammunition they're stockpiling: who are they going to shoot, us?

David Edwards:

The same theories have also been picked up in recent weeks by the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.

And on Thursday, Robertson weighed in on the side of the conspiracy theorists, calling it ''like something out of science fiction: long trains of full or armored vehicles, personnel carriers with armor.''

And then of course we have to debunk these fictitious reports since it is possible that it could enter the mainstream.

The conspiracy about secretive ammo stockpiling is completely unfounded.

According to the Associated Press, the ammunition is used in trainings for ''tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officers'' and for the use of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.As Media Matters pointed out, DHS does own light armored vehicles for emergencies and raids on drug cartels, and the recent purchases of such vehicles were actually for the U.S. Marine Corps.

In fact, the conspiracy theory is so baseless that even the NRA has debunked it.

So now we have the religious right joining forces with Alex Jones and the militiamen of America to propagate lies so bad that Joel Surnow wouldn't even touch it. Oh, damn. I hope I haven't given him an idea for a new "24" movie.

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Fri, 29 Mar 2013 11:35

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