Search & Filter Tips: Typing an exact match of Tag/Keywords into the Search bar will automatically
add the filter. Also, when looking for an exact headline, try "wrapping it with double-quotes."
Removing double-quotes and all words with any special characters might help too.
Boehner seeks to divert funds for gay marriage fight House Speaker John Boehner said he intends to divert funding from the Justice Department to the U.S. House so Congress can defend the federal law that bars recognition of same-sex marriage.
The Ohio Republican disclosed this in a letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who is strongly opposed to Congress going to court to defend the 1996 law. An estimate on court costs was not given.
Pelosi shot back, saying Boehner has not answered her central question about the costs to mounting a defense to the law. "The House of Representatives need not enter into this lengthy and costly litigation," she responded.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Obama administration would no longer defend the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a Clinton-era law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The law also says that states cannot be forced to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. (USA Today)
U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition: report The State Department has secretly funded Syrian opposition groups, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, The Washington Post reported on Monday.
The cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million since 2006 to a group of Syrian exiles to operate a London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, and finance activities inside Syria, the Post said.
Barada TV began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria that began last month as part of a long-standing campaign to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad the Post said.
The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush after political ties with Damascus were frozen in 2005, the newspaper said.
The financial backing has continued under President Barack Obama, even as his administration sought to rebuild relations with Assad, the Post said. In January, the White House posted an ambassador to Damascus for the first time in six years. (Reuters)
America's two-class tax system: Records bear out that corporations and the wealthy live by a different set of U.S. rules from everyone else. Eric Cantor, who has represented a section of Richmond, Va., in Congress since 2001 and now is the House majority leader, appears to want to craft a permanent U.S. tax system that caters exclusively to those at the top. So does Michele Bachmann, the Republican representative from Minnesota, a onetime tax lawyer who hopes to make a run for the White House. Likewise, Tim Pawlenty, the former two-term Republican governor of Minnesota, who also sees himself sitting in the Oval Office. Needless to say, none state their proposals like that. But that's the way their numbers and provisions add up.
Like others in Congress and the media, Cantor, Bachmann, and Pawlenty insist that American businesses are paying too much in corporate income tax. They claim the onerous tax burden is killing jobs and forcing companies to move abroad. To reverse the nation's fortunes, they say, all Washington need do is slash the corporate tax rate, thereby reducing the amount of taxes these businesses are forced to pay. What's scary is a growing number of citizens believe them.
That means a forecast made years ago by William J. Casey, a wily Republican from another era who liked to dabble in the intelligence world's black arts inside and outside the country, and who helped craft the election of Ronald Reagan, is coming true. After taking office, President Reagan installed Casey as head of the CIA in 1981. After his first staff meeting at the agency, Casey was quoted as saying:
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."
One of the more egregious falsehoods being peddled by the corporate tax cutters is that companies doing business in the United States are taxed at an exorbitant rate. Not so. Though the United States has one of the highest statutory rates on the books at 35 percent, the only fair way to measure what companies actually pay is their effective rate - what they ultimately pay after deductions, credits, and assorted write-offs. By that yardstick, companies in the United States consistently pay taxes at rates lower than corporations in Japan and many nations in Europe. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
CIA officer: US depended on tyrannies The United State’s intervention in Libya has been called a humanitarian effort by officials, but the true intentions of the American government can be not-so-easily explained by examining the country’s actions overseas.
“The best thing for the United States is to back away and let the cards fall where they may,” says Michael Scheuer. "If Israel disappears, if Palestine disappears…who cares?" A former intelligence officer with the CIA who, like many, insists that the US’ intervention in Libya isn’t doing any good for anyone. Despite America’s insistence that their involvement in the Middle East is for the better of the citizen’s of Libya, the United States is only accentuating its reputation as the bad guy, says Scheuer.
“We’re just trying to fool the Muslim world…but the Muslim world is much smarter than that,” says Scheuer, who has written extensively on Islam and America’s relation with Muslim countries. Scheuer says that the United States is known for attacking countries that have oil and that their involvement in Libya is being enacted to serve America, not the Middle East. This, the author says, only confirms what Osama Bin Laden has always inferred about America. (Russia Today)
Emails expose BP's attempts to control research into impact of Gulf oil spill Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials discussing how to influence the work of scientists - BP officials tried to take control of a $500m fund pledged by the oil company for independent research into the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, it has emerged.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials openly discussing how to influence the work of scientists supported by the fund, which was created by the oil company in May last year.
Russell Putt, a BP environmental expert, wrote in an email to colleagues on 24 June 2010: "Can we 'direct' GRI [Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative] funding to a specific study (as we now see the governor's offices trying to do)? What influence do we have over the vessels/equipment driving the studies vs the questions?".
The email was obtained by Greenpeace and shared with the Guardian.
The documents are expected to reinforce fears voiced by scientists that BP has too much leverage over studies into the impact of last year's oil disaster.
Those concerns go far beyond academic interest into the impact of the spill. BP faces billions in fines and penalties, and possible criminal charges arising from the disaster. Its total liability will depend in part on a final account produced by scientists on how much oil entered the gulf from its blown-out well, and the damage done to marine life and coastal areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The oil company disputes the government estimate that 4.1m barrels of oil entered the gulf. (The Guardian)
'Exploding UFOs and alien landings' in secret FBI files Secret FBI files have been released detailing how US officials saw a UFO explode over Utah – and aliens land near Roswell in New Mexico. - A declassified document from 1949 tells how three men, on patrols miles apart, each reported seeing a UFO break up over mountains north of Salt Lake City.
The 1950 memo that recounts the discovery of flying saucers and aliens in New Mexico
The 1950 memo that recounts the discovery of flying saucers and aliens in New Mexico
Their extraordinary accounts were sent to Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI, in a memo titled "Flying Discs".
The file said that a policeman, a highway patrolman and an army guard all "saw a silver coloured object high up approaching the mountains at Sardine Canyon" that "appeared to explode in a rash of fire."
"Several residents [reported] seeing what appeared to be two aerial explosions, followed by falling object," it said. (London Telegraph)
Obama's Off Base Maddow:
A Democratic President kicks his base in the teeth on something as fundamental as civil liberties—he puts the nail in the coffin of a civil liberties promise he made on his first full day in office—and he does it on the first day of his re-election effort. And Beltway reaction to that is... huh, good move. That's the difference between Republican politics and Democratic politics. The Republicans may not love their base, but they fear them and play to them. The Democratic Party institutional structures of D.C., and the Beltway press in particular, not only hate the Democratic base—they think it's good politics for Democratic politicians to kick that base publicly whenever possible. Only the base itself will ever change that.
One thing is for certain: right now, the Democratic Party is absolutely correct in its assessment that kicking its base is good politics. Why is that? Because they know that they have inculcated their base with sufficient levels of fear and hatred of the GOP, so that no matter how often the Party kicks its base, no matter how often Party leaders break their promises and betray their ostensible values, the base will loyally and dutifully support the Party and its leaders (at least in presidential elections; there is a good case that the Democrats got crushed in 2010 in large part because their base was so unenthusiastic).
In light of that fact, ask yourself this: if you were a Democratic Party official, wouldn't you also ignore—and, when desirable, step on—the people who you know will support you no matter what you do to them? (The Stranger)
Proposed SFPD crackdown on clubs gets a hearing A draconian proposal by the San Francisco Police Department to require all visitors to nightclubs in the city to scan their identity cards into a database and go through metal detectors while being filmed by security cameras will be held tomorrow night (Tues/12) by the Entertainment Commission, but an expanding coalition of opponents are rallying against it.
As we reported in December, club owners and nightlife defenders (including the California Music and Culture Association) overwhelmingly oppose the plan, which the American Civil Liberties Union says raises constitutional invasion of privacy issues. In addition, a new coalition of young people called Save the Rave – which turned out hundreds of people for a recent commission hearing on a proposed crackdown on dance parties – is also organizing against the new restrictions. (San Francisco Bay Guardian)
Radiation Detected In Drinking Water In 13 More US Cities, Cesium-137 In Vermont Milk • Unusual Reading At Chatanooga Nuclear Plant
• Milk Contamination At EPA Maximum
• Highest Levels Yet In Boise Rainwater
Radiation from Japan has been detected in drinking water in 13 more American cities, and cesium-137 has been found in American milk—in Montpelier, Vermont—for the first time since the Japan nuclear disaster began, according to data released by the Environmental Protection Agency late Friday.
Milk samples from Phoenix and Los Angeles contained iodine-131 at levels roughly equal to the maximum contaminant level permitted by EPA, the data shows. The Phoenix sample contained 3.2 picoCuries per liter of iodine-131. The Los Angeles sample contained 2.9. The EPA maximum contaminant level is 3.0, but this is a conservative standard designed to minimize exposure over a lifetime, so EPA does not consider these levels to pose a health threat.
The cesium-137 found in milk in Vermont is the first cesium detected in milk since the Fukushima-Daichi nuclear accident occurred last month. The sample contained 1.9 picoCuries per liter of cesium-137, which falls under the same 3.0 standard.
Radioactive isotopes accumulate in milk after they spread through the atmosphere, fall to earth in rain or dust, and settle on vegetation, where they are ingested by grazing cattle. Iodine-131 is known to accumulate in the thyroid gland, where it can cause cancer and other thyroid diseases. Cesium-137 accumulates in the body’s soft tissues, where it increases risk of cancer, according to EPA. (Forbes)
Bruce Fein: Articles of Impeachment for tyrant Obama III.
USURPATION OF THE WAR POWER OVER LIBYA
47. President Barack Obama’s military attacks against Libya constitute acts of war.
48. Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-4) had the following exchange with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates during a March 31, 2011 House Armed Services Committee Hearing on the legality of the present military operation in Libya:
Congressman Forbes: Mr. Secretary, if tomorrow a foreign nation intentionally, for whatever reason, launched a Tomahawk missile into New York City, would that be considered an act of war against the United States?
Secretary Gates: Probably so.
Congressman Forbes: Then I would assume the same laws would apply if we launched a Tomahawk missile at another nation—is that also true?
Secretary Gates: You’re getting into constitutional law here and I am no expert on it.
Congressman Forbes: Mr. Secretary, you’re the Secretary of Defense. You ought to be an expert on what’s an act of war or not. If it’s an act of war to launch a Tomahawk missile on New York City would it not also be an act of war to launch a Tomahawk missile by us at another nation?
Secretary Gates: Presumably.
49. Since the passage of United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 on March 19, 2011, the United States has detonated over 200 tomahawk land attack cruise missiles and 455 precision-guided bombs on Libyan soil.
50. Libya posed no actual or imminent threat to the United States when President Obama unleashed Operation Odyssey Dawn.
51. On March 27, 2011, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that Libya never posed an “actual or imminent threat to the United States.” He further stated that Libya has never constituted a “vital interest” to the United States.
52. United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 directs an indefinite United States military quagmire in Libya, authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians, which clearly contemplates removal by force of the murderous regime of Col. Muammar Qadhafi.
53. In a Letter From the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate sent March 21, 2011, President Barack Obama informed Members of Congress that “U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime’s air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi’s armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas. We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.”
54. In his March 21, 2011 letter, President Barack Obama further informed Members of Congress that he opted to take unilateral military action “…in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster.”
55. President Barack Obama has usurped congressional authority to decide on war or peace with Libya, and has declared he will persist in additional usurpations of the congressional power to commence war whenever he decrees it would advance his idea of the national interest. On March 28, 2011, he declared to Congress and the American people: “I have made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests” (emphasis added).
56. President Obama’s humanitarian justification for war in Libya establishes a threshold that would justify his initiation of warfare in scores of nations around the globe, including Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Myanmar, China, Belarus, Zimbabwe, Cuba, and Russia.
57. In Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928), Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote on behalf of a majority of the United States Supreme Court:
Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.
58. President Barack Obama has signed an order, euphemistically named a “Presidential Finding,” authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, further entangling the United States in the Libyan conflict, despite earlier promises of restraint. Truth is invariably the first casualty of war.
59. In response to questions by Members of Congress during a classified briefing on March 30, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that the President needs no Congressional authorization for his attack on the Libyan nation, and will ignore any Congressional attempt by resolution or otherwise to constrain or halt United States participation in the Libyan war.
60. On March 30, 2011, by persistent silence or otherwise, Secretary Clinton rebuffed congressional inquiries into President Obama’s view of the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. She failed to cite a single judicial decision in support of President Obama’s recent actions, relying instead on the undisclosed legal opinions of White House attorneys.
61. President Barack Obama, in flagrant violation of his constitutional oath to execute his office as President of the United States and preserve and protect the United States Constitution, has usurped the exclusive authority of Congress to authorize the initiation of war, in that on March 19, 2011 President Obama initiated an offensive military attack against the Republic of Libya without congressional authorization. In so doing, President Obama has arrested the rule of law, and saluted a vandalizing of the Constitution that will occasion ruination of the Republic, the crippling of individual liberty, and a Leviathan government unless the President is impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the Senate.
In all of this, President Barack Obama has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. (Prison Planet)
America and EU Agree: Raise Radiation Levels for Food On March 28, 2011, I wrote an article entitled EPA to Help Mainstream Media Obscure The Truth About Radiation Exposure to Americans, in which I discussed the changes to the PAGs (Protective Action Guides) being proposed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) that would raise the acceptable levels of radiation allowed in the environment, food, and even the general public themselves in the event of a nuclear emergency.
Interestingly enough, an article was published on April 3, 2011, by Alexander Higgins citing Kopp Online and Xander News, stating that a similar rule change was occurring in the European Union.
PAGs are policies and guidelines established by the EPA that guide the agency’s response in the event of a radioactive emergency. Specifically, PAGs deal with how the EPA should enforce laws such as the Clean Air and Water Act in relation to the disaster. Although PAGs had already been established by the EPA in 1992, the agency now plans to amend these guidelines to much higher levels of acceptable radiation.
No congressional approval is legally needed to makes such changes, because the EPA is a regulatory agency that sets “policy” and, although these types of agencies can be directed by congress or the president, they often form their own policies. All that is required when agencies such as the EPA wish to change their policy is that they first publish the proposed changes in the Federal Register for a designated period of “public comment.”
However, since public opinion is worth virtually nothing, once a proposed change is published in the Federal Register, it is well on its way to becoming new policy. This is unfortunate considering the fact that, according to PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the new standards would result in a “nearly 1000-fold increase for exposure to strontium-90, a 3000 to 100,000-fold hike for exposure to iodine-131; and an almost 25,000 rise for exposure to radioactive nickel-63” in drinking water. (Activist Post)
How The 'Pox' Epidemic Changed Vaccination Rules Historian Michael Willrich was planning to write a book about civil liberties in the aftermath of Sept. 11 when he stumbled across an article from The New York Times archives. It was about a 1901 smallpox vaccination raid in New York — when 250 men arrived at a Little Italy tenement house in the middle of the night and set about vaccinating everyone they could find.
"There were scenes of policemen holding down men in their night robes while vaccinators began their work on their arms," Willrich tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Inspectors were going room to room looking for children with smallpox. And when they found them, they were literally tearing babes from their mothers' arms to take them to the city pesthouse [which housed smallpox victims.]"
The vaccination raid was not an isolated incident. As the smallpox epidemic swept across the country, New York and Boston policemen conducted several raids and health officials across the country ordered mandatory vaccinations in schools, factories and on railroads. In Pox: An American History, Willrich details how the smallpox epidemic of 1898-1904 had far-reaching implications for public health officials — as well as Americans concerned about their own civil liberties. (National Public Radio)
San Francisco Rainwater: Radiation 181 Times Above US Drinking Water Standard Radiation from Japan rained on Berkeley, California, during recent storms at levels that exceeded drinking water standards by 181 times. A rooftop water monitoring program managed by the University of California at Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering detected substantial spikes in rain-borne iodine-131 during those torrential downpours. The levels exceeded federal drinking water thresholds, known as Maximum Contaminant Levels -- or MCLs -- by as much as 181 times or 18,100%. Iodine-131 is one of the most cancer-causing toxic radioactive isotopes spewed when nuclear power plants are in meltdown. It is being ingested by cows, which have begun passing it through into their milk and radioactivity has been detected. [Multiple Sources]
Specific Scientific Data
The iodine-131 level in the rainwater sample taken on the roof of Etcheverry Hall on the campus of UC Berkeley on March 23rd, 2011, from 9:06-18:00hrs Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) states radioactivity levels at 20.1 Becquerels per Litre (Bq/L) = 543 PicoCuries per Litre (pCi/L). The federal maximum level of iodine-131 allowed in drinking water is 3 pCi/L or 0.111 Becquerels per Litre. The sample exceeded the federal guidelines for drinking water by 181 times. The UC Berkeley researchers also discovered trace levels of iodine-131 and other radioactive isotopes, believed to have originated in Fukushima, in commercially available milk and in a local stream within California. [UC Berkeley] (Business Insider)
How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored - On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.
During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.
The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller's cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts. Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme. Of special significance was that the period concerned began in 2004, which coincided with the first escalation of violence along the US-Mexico border that ignited the current drugs war.
Criminal proceedings were brought against Wachovia, though not against any individual, but the case never came to court. In March 2010, Wachovia settled the biggest action brought under the US bank secrecy act, through the US district court in Miami. Now that the year's "deferred prosecution" has expired, the bank is in effect in the clear. It paid federal authorities $110m in forfeiture, for allowing transactions later proved to be connected to drug smuggling, and incurred a $50m fine for failing to monitor cash used to ship 22 tons of cocaine. (London Guardian)
Japan: Same Type of Concrete Pumping Trucks Used at Chernobyl Are En-route to Fukushima Via: MSNBC:
Some of the world’s largest cement pumps were en route to Japan’s stricken nuclear plant on Thursday, initially to help douse areas with water but eventually for cement work — including the possibility of entombing the site as was done in Chernobyl.
Operated via remote control, one of the truck-mounted pumps was already at the Fukushima Dai-ichi site and being used to spray water. Four more will be flown in from Germany and the United States, according to the German-manufacturer Putzmeister. The biggest of the five has an arm that extends well over 200 feet.
“Initially, they will probably pump water,” Putzmeister stated. “Later they will be used for any necessary concreting work.”
A construction company in Augusta, Ga., was among those redirecting the pumps to Japan. Its owner said he believes building a concrete sarcophagus will follow.
“Our understanding is they are preparing to go to next phase and it will require a lot of concrete,” Jerry Ashmore told the Augusta Chronicle. (Cryptogon)
Al-Qaida leaders welcome Arab uprisings, says cleric Anwar al-Awlaki uses online magazine to explain why Middle East revolts are not a setback for al-Qaida - Anwar al-Awlaki's article appeared in online magazine Inspire and appears to have been written before the fall of Hosni Mubarak two months ago. Photograph: AP
Senior al-Qaida leaders have welcomed the uprisings in the Arab world in their first comprehensive statement on recent events, published in an internet magazine earlier this week.
Anwar al-Awlaki – the radical preacher who grew up in America but is now a fugitive in Yemen – used a lengthy article in an English-language magazine called Inspire to explain why the revolts sweeping the Middle East were not a setback for al-Qaida.
"Our mujahideen brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and the rest of the Muslim world will get a chance to breathe again after three decades of suffocation," Awlaki wrote in an article entitled The Tsunami of Change. (London Guardian)
Why is the Federal Reserve Propping Up the Bank of Libya? Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has for months been leading the charge to expose the sweetheart deals the Federal Reserve has worked out for multinational banks and corporations at the same time that working Americans, small businesses, local governments and schools boards struggle to stay afloat financially.
Sanders has tried to make the point that it is simply absurd for the Fed to bail out foreign firms and bad banks and to provide them with low-interest loans at the same time that they are reaping massive profits – and at the same time that federal, state and local governments are supposedly broke. (The Nation)
C.I.A. Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet the beleaguered rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, according to American officials.
While President Obama has insisted that no American military ground troops participate in the Libyan campaign, small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi’s military, the officials said.
In addition to the C.I.A. presence, composed of an unknown number of Americans who had worked at the spy agency’s station in Tripoli and others who arrived more recently, current and former British officials said that dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya. The British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tank columns, artillery pieces and missile installations, the officials said.
American officials hope that similar information gathered by American intelligence officers — including the location of Colonel Qaddafi’s munitions depots and the clusters of government troops inside towns — might help weaken Libya’s military enough to encourage defections within its ranks.
In addition, the American spies are meeting with rebels to try to fill in gaps in understanding who their leaders are and the allegiances of the groups opposed to Colonel Qaddafi, said United States government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the activities. American officials cautioned, though, that the Western operatives were not directing the actions of rebel forces. (New York Times)
Privacy Groups Cheer FTC's Action Over Google Buzz Privacy advocates cheered on Wednesday in response to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's crackdown on Google over privacy violations it called deceptive and potentially illegal resulting from the bungled launch of the Buzz social networking and microblogging service.
The only thing that tempered the joy of privacy watchdogs over the slap from the FTC was a desire for a stiffer punishment for Google.
Google deserves what the complaint settlement doles out and more, after trampling roughshod over the privacy of millions of Gmail users with the launch of Buzz in February 2010, according to watchdog groups.
At the time, the outcry was instantaneous, as horrified Gmail users realized that they had been opted into Buzz by default, which meant that sensitive information, such as the people they interacted with the most on Gmail, was shared with other users without their consent. (PC World)
Why Fukushima Isn’t Like Chernobyl Despite media hype about the radiation dangers, the Fukushima nuclear crisis won't end like Chernobyl, Alexander Sich tells The Diplomat.
Is the kind of massive radiation release that occurred with Chernobyl possible at the Fukushima plant?
No, it can’t have that kind of massive release. It simply can’t do that. The question is to what extent the zirconium alloy, which clads the fuel pellets, is damaged in the core, and how much of the fuel has failed. And I don’t necessarily mean melted, I mean failed. There’s been an ambiguous use of the word ‘melting’ applied to the core. But when people talk about meltdown, they should be very specific about what they mean by the word. (The Diplomat)
EPA to Help Mainstream Media Obscure The Truth About Radiation Exposure to Americans As Americans focus on March Madness and Dancing With the Stars instead of the radioactive plume spreading all across the country, the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is attempting to make the mainstream media cover up of the Fukushima cloud a bit easier.
The agency now notorious for its infamous claim that the air was safe to breathe after 9/11 is now seeking to raise the PAGs (Protective Action Guides) to levels vastly higher than those at which they are currently set allowing for more radioactive contamination of the environment and the general public in the event of a radioactive disaster.
PAGs are policies established by the EPA that guide the agency in enforcing the various environmental laws such as the Clean Air and Water Act in the invent of a radioactive emergency such as a nuclear/dirty bomb or factory meltdown like that occurring in Japan.
The EPA had already established PAGs in this area in 1992. They can be found here. However, the agency now plans to amend and revise these standards this year.
Because regulatory agencies form their own policies (although they can be directed by either the President or the Congress), there is no requirement to seek Congressional approval for these changes. All that is required is that the agency place the proposed changes in the Federal Register for public comment before it finalizes its draft into legal policy.
According to PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the new standards would drastically raise the levels of radiation allowed in food, water, air, and the general environment. PEER, a national organization of local, state, and federal employees who had access to internal EPA emails, claims that the new standards will result in a “nearly 1000-fold increase for exposure to strontium-90, a 3000 to 100,000-fold hike for exposure to iodine-131; and an almost 25,000 rise for exposure to radioactive nickel-63” in drinking water. This information, as well as the emails themselves were published by Collapsenet on March 24. (Activist Post)
SF claims Census firm link with Abu Ghraib Sinn Féin has expressed serious concern over what it says are links between a company contracted by the Central Statistics Office to work on the 2011 Census and prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. (RTE)
Fukushima Reactor No. 3 suffers likely core breach, now leaking water at 10,000 times normal radiation levels The Fukushima situation took a turn for the worse today as two nuclear repair workers stepped into some water at Reactor No. 3 and suffered severe radiation burns requiring immediate hospitalization. The water, it turns out, measures 10,000 times normal radiation levels, and it appears to be leaking from the core of Reactor No. 3.
If confirmed, this can only mean one thing: A containment breach that now risks the spewing of enormous quantities of radiation into the environment, easily dwarfing the releases from Chernobyl in 1986.
Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan had some somber words for the world press, saying "The situation today at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant is still very grave and serious. We must remain vigilant. We are not in a position where we can be optimistic. We must treat every development with the utmost care." (http://apnews.myway.com/article/201...)
"Even if there has been encouraging news such as getting some power back to the site, the installation remains in an extremely precarious and very serious situation that has not yet been stabilized" said Thomas Houdre from France's nuclear safety agency (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print...). (Natural News)
Scientist: Japan earthquake, nuke “accident” are tectonic nuclear warfare; by Alfred Lambremont Webre Independent scientist Leuren Moret, whose 2004 landmark article in the Japan Times unmasked lies and distortions by government and company officials that led to the construction of nuclear power plants in seismically dangerous areas, has declared in an exclusive 65-minute video interview with Alfred Lambremont Webre that the “Japan earthquake and “accidents” at the Fukushima’s 6 nuclear power plant units starting March 11, 2011 are in fact deliberate acts of tectonic nuclear warfare, carried out against the populations ecology of Japan and the nations of the Northern Hemisphere, including the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
In her May 23, 2004 Japan Times article, Japan's deadly game of nuclear roulette, Ms. Leuren predicted, “It is not a question of whether or not a nuclear disaster will occur in Japan; it is a question of when it will occur. Like the former Soviet Union after Chernobyl, Japan will become a country suffering from radiation sickness destroying future generations, and widespread contamination of agricultural areas will ensure a public-health disaster. Its economy may never recover.”
Japan earthquake triggered by HAARP-aerosol/chemtrails plasma weapon, to cause nuclear radiation mega leaks
Now, in an exclusive interview released March 20, 2011, independent scientist has set out the multiple reasons why the Japan earthquake was most plausibly conditioned and triggered by a HAARP-aerosol/chemtrails plasma weapon, to cause Chernobyl-like nuclear radiation mega leaks that, according to a report by the Swedish government, will be distributed over the entire Northern hemisphere of the planet.
Among the various aspects of the Japan earthquake discussed by Ms. Moret that fit the profile of a HAARP-triggered earthquake system are:
• The earthquake intensity and characteristics; the deliberate confusion by the U.S. around the scale of the earthquake;
• The foreshadowing sale of Japan Westinghouse (controlled by Rockefeller interests) in 2006 to Hitachi and other interests;
• The use of the Stuxnet virus in the Fukushima plant to cause the malfunctions of the cooling pumps and valves, thereby creating the dangerous radiation releases;
• The creation of HAARP-related vortex clouds over the San Francisco, CA Bay Area on March 18, 2011 to trigger a heavy rain out of the radiation from the first Fukushima plant explosion onto the population, food and ecology of the Bay area.
Cruel and unusual treatment of WikiLeaks suspect Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has been imprisoned in the Quantico Marine Corps Brig for nine months, suspected of giving highly classified State Department cables to the website WikiLeaks. He has not been tried, yet is kept in solitary confinement in a windowless room 23 hours a day and forced to sleep naked without pillows or blankets.
Human rights groups have condemned his treatment, and even State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley spoke out against it. Crowley has resigned, allegedly under pressure from the Obama administration. Defense officials say Manning is stripped of his clothes nightly to prevent him from committing suicide, yet his civilian lawyer says his client is at no risk.
The problem with the argument that Manning is being kept in long-term solitary confinement to prevent his suicide is that long-term solitary confinement causes suicide.
One of the most stunning statistics in criminology today is that, on average, 50% of U.S. prisoner suicides happen among the 2% to 8% of prisoners who are in solitary confinement, also known as segregation. When I tour prisons as I prepare for expert testimony in class-action lawsuits, many prisoners living in isolation tell me they despair of ever being released from solitary. - Manning is a pretrial detainee. The Constitution requires that innocence be assumed until guilt is proved, and that the defendant in criminal proceedings be provided with the wherewithal to participate in his legal defense.
The Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution bars cruel and unusual punishment, and repeatedly, U.S. courts have found that overly harsh conditions of isolation and the denial of mental health treatment to a needy prisoner are Eighth Amendment violations. In international circles, for example, according to the U.N. Convention Against Torture (the United States is a signatory), the same violations of human rights are termed torture.
Clearly, Manning's treatment violates these constitutional guarantees and international prohibitions against torture. Why? Have we permitted our government, under the cloak of security precautions, to set up a secret gulag where conditions known to cause severe psychiatric damage prevail? As a concerned psychiatrist, I strenuously object to this callousness about conditions of confinement that predictably cause such severe harm. (CNN)
U.S. military blocks websites to help Japan recovery efforts The U.S. military has blocked access to a range of popular commercial websites in order to free up bandwidth for use in Japan recovery efforts, according to an e-mail obtained by CNN and confirmed by a spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command.
The sites -- including YouTube, ESPN, Amazon, eBay and MTV -- were chosen not because of the content but because their popularity among users of military computers account for significant bandwidth, according to Strategic Command spokesman Rodney Ellison. (CNN)
Japan Earthquake Shortened Days, Increased Earth's Wobble The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan last Friday was powerful enough to shorten Earth's day by 1.8 microseconds and throw an extra 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) into the planet's wobble, scientists say.
That doesn't mean shockwaves from the event somehow knocked Earth off its north-south axis, around which the planet revolves.
Instead the quake shifted what's called Earth's figure axis, an imaginary line around which the world's mass is balanced, about 33 feet (10 meters) from the north-south axis.
Earth naturally wobbles slightly as it spins, because shifting surface mass such as melting glaciers and moving ocean currents can throw the planet off balance. (National Geographic)
Surgeon General: Buying Iodine a "Precaution" The fear that a nuclear cloud could float from the shores of Japan to the shores of California has some people making a run on iodine tablets. Pharmacists across California report being flooded with requests.
State and county officials spent much of Tuesday trying to keep people calm by saying that getting the pills wasn't necessary, but then the United States Surgeon General supported the idea as a worthy "precaution."
U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is in the Bay Area touring a peninsula hospital. NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo asked her about the run on tablets and Dr. Benjamin said although she wasn't aware of people stocking up, she did not think that would be an overreaction. She said it was right to be prepared. (NBC)
Nuclear power perspective There is no question that the events in Japan are ongoing and serious. That said, I believe a lot of people are being misled by much of the news coverage. Take a look at these headlines from the Christian Science Monitor and from Channel News Asia, respectively,
Japan's radiation leak: Shades of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl?
US experts fear 'Chernobyl-like' crisis for Japan
"Three Mile Island" and "Chernobyl" sounds scary, right?
Let me ask a couple of questions? How many were killed by the Three Mile Island incident?
Answer? None. None of the plant workers were killed and no one in the surrounding area. (Meteorological Musings)
9.0 Japan earthquake shifted Earth on its axis Scientists in Pasadena say data from the temblor will show how Earth is deformed during massive earthquakes at sites where one plate is sliding under the other, including the U.S. Pacific Northwest. - Friday's earthquake off the eastern coast of Japan was upgraded to a magnitude 9.0 by the Japan Meteorological Agency, the Kyodo News agency reported Sunday.
The agency's scientists probably had access to new data, said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough. "If they've upgraded, I expect USGS might follow suit," she said, adding that it was not unusual for magnitudes to move up or down by 0.1, because large earthquakes can be tricky to measure.
"It's not surgical precision," she said.
Other details are emerging. The quake probably shifted the position of Earth's axis about 6.5 inches, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, in an e-mail.
The temblor also should have caused Earth to rotate somewhat faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds, he said.
Down the road, data from the quake will provide an unusually precise view of how Earth is deformed during massive earthquakes at sites where one plate is sliding under another, including the U.S. Pacific Northwest, scientists said. (Los Angeles Times)
Scientists: Japan Fallout Won't Rival Chernobyl's Even if the Japanese nuclear plant damaged in the earthquake goes into full meltdown, it is unlikely to cause environmental fallout anything on the scale seen after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, scientists said.
"As long as there's no meltdown of the fuel rods, you're in good shape," said Kirby Kemper, a nuclear physicist at Florida State University. But if pressure from gases in the nuclear core builds up, "a crack could appear in the containment vessel and release radiation," he said.
Thousands of evacuees from areas around Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant were scanned for radiation exposure, though the Japanese government insists radiation levels are low. Video courtesy of Reuters
Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (9501.TO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, situated about 150 miles north of Tokyo, was shaken by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake Friday. A tsunami and aftershocks also hit the area. (Wall Street Journal)
'Tightening noose' on Gadhafi, weighing more steps Pledging a relentless drive to kick Moammar Gadhafi out of power, President Barack Obama said Friday the U.S. and the world community are "slowly tightening the noose" on the leader of Libya and will keep up the pressure. But he would not commit to intervening at any cost, warning of potential perils in military action.
"It's going to require some judgment calls, and those are difficult ones," Obama said from the White House as Gadhafi's violent counteroffensive against rebels gained strength.
By choosing tough and even grisly language when questioned about Gadhafi at a news conference, Obama sought to show the United States would not simply stand by. Beyond the rhetoric, it was not clear which next steps Obama might be willing to take, but he said he was considering all options, including military efforts with NATO partners.
On Friday, Gadhafi's regime showed growing confidence after retaking a strategic near Tripoli. Government forces also captured a key oil town in the east and fought to dislodge rebels who took refuge among towering storage containers of crude oil and gas in nearby facilities. (Associated Press)
Does climate change mean more tsunamis? Update: The intent of this piece isn’t to attribute today’s tragedy to climate change. Apologies to those whom I misled with the headline. It was meant literally, as in: Tsunamis are inundations of shorelines and therefore have impacts that resemble storm surges, which are one of the most immediate threats of a warmer planet. In addition, climate change may cause tsunamis directly, so it’s possible we’ll someday see more images like this as a result.
Update 2: Changed the headline (it originally read “Today’s tsunami: This is what climate change looks like”) and updated the text to reflect the discussion of the science and the framing in the comments. Thanks to Tom Yulsman for holding my feet to the fire on this.
* * *
So far, today’s tsunami has mainly affected Japan—there are reports of up to 300 dead in the coastal city of Sendai—but future tsunamis could strike the U.S. and virtually any other coastal area of the world with equal or greater force, say scientists. In a little-heeded warning issued at a 2009 conference on the subject, experts outlined a range of mechanisms by which climate change could already be causing more earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity, albeit of a scale and nature quite different from Friday’s tragedy.
A 2009 paper by Bill McGuire, professor at University College London, says “observations suggest that the ongoing rise in global average temperatures may already be eliciting a hazardous response from the geosphere.”
It’s important to note that this response has nothing to do with Friday’s tsunami, which is a ‘subduction zone earthquake,’ whereas the tsunamis discussed by scientists cited here would be the product of catastrophic events—collapse of methane hydrate deposits at the bottom of the ocean on the continental shelf, for example—for which a tsunami would be but one of many negative impacts. (Grist)
Oil Plunges as Japan's Refiners Shut Plants After Earthquake Oil fell below $100 a barrel in New York for the first time in more than a week after Japan’s strongest earthquake in at least a century forced refiners to shut several processing plants.
U.S. crude futures were headed for their first weekly decline in a month following the temblor in the world’s third- largest oil user. A fire at Cosmo Oil Co.’s refinery in Chiba, outside Tokyo, is spreading, a Fire Department spokesman said. JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. closed refineries in Sendai, Kashima and Negishi. In London, Brent crude was set for its first weekly decline in seven.
“The earthquake is having a psychological impact on the market in triggering a rise in risk aversion,” said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “The effect is also physical, in that oil demand from Japan could temporarily be lower.”
Crude for April delivery tumbled as much as $3.69, or 3.6 percent, to $99.01 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $100.38 at 1:02 p.m. London time. Prices this week are down 3.9 percent, the first weekly drop in a month.
Brent oil for April settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange dropped as much as $3.18, or 2.8 percent, to $112.25 a barrel. It was trading at $113.19 at 1:01 p.m. local time. The contract has lost 2.4 percent this week. (Bloomberg)
Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting for a Loughner Trial "How could he plead 'not guilty' when they tackled him with a gun in his hand after shooting a judge?" said a Twitter message, Wednesday afternoon, in reaction to news that Tucson shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner had pleaded "not guilty" to federal murder and attempted murder charges.
Yes, it's true. So far, at least, Loughner, 22, is not ready to legally (or publicly) admit what 99.99 percent of us reckon to be true. And he may never be. Apprehended at the scene of the crime, with his alleged deeds recorded on security videotape, and with living witnesses, including the universally beloved Rep. Giffords, ready to testify against him, Loughner's federal case is really just about two questions. Was he legally insane at the time of the crimes? And is he legally competent now to stand trial for them?
He was smiling when he entered court said the news reports from Tucson Wednesday during Loughner's arraignment. He was smirking throughout the hearing. That's all that many people will remember, if they remember anything, about he details of Wednesday's hearing. But there were far more important things that occurred inside U.S. District Judge Larry Burns "away" courtroom (Judge Burns, like Loughner's lead defense counsel Judith Clarke, lives and works in San Diego, which is where this trial may end up). (The Atlantic)
Red flag: Biggest bond fund dumps U.S. Treasuries Last fall Jason Thomas, writing in National Affairs, explained the danger of our increasing debt:
The government borrows in a currency that it prints, and it is difficult to conceive of a situation in which it would be more advantageous for the United States to renounce obligations than to print whatever amount of dollars would be necessary to meet them. The real problem is that bond-market investors are not oblivious to this flexibility. When it appears likely that a country will print money to inflate away unsustainable debt burdens, interest rates rise to incorporate an inflation risk premium -- thus increasing the burden on the government and on private borrowers. The danger, then, is that excessive borrowing will bring investors' hunger for Treasury securities to an end, causing a spike in interest rates that could crush the American economy and send it into a debt spiral we would find very difficult to escape.
Treasury securities have continued to sell, as Thomas explained, because of "the weakness of other countries' fiscal positions, and the power of inertia and familiarity." But that can change. Thomas warned:
The Treasury market's status as a safe haven is not an immutable feature of economic life: It is a function of institutional credibility that took generations to build, but that would take just a fraction of that time to destroy. Were Treasury securities to lose their status as the global reserve asset of choice to gold, other commodities, or a different currency, the consequences for the American economy would be disastrous. Unlikely as such a scenario might seem at the moment, today's fiscal policies unquestionably increase the probability of its coming to pass. (Washington Post)
Libya army transport deal frozen after US approval In the months before Libyans revolted and President Barack Obama told leader Moammar Gadhafi to go, the U.S. government was moving to do business with his regime on an increasing scale by quietly approving a $77 million dollar deal to deliver at least 50 refurbished armored troop carriers to the dictator's military.
Congress balked, concerned the deal would improve Libyan army mobility and questioning the Obama administration's support for the agreement, which would have benefited British defense company BAE. The congressional concerns effectively stalled the deal until the turmoil in the country scuttled the sale. Earlier last week, after all military exports to the Gadhafi regime were suspended, the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls informed Capitol Hill that the deal had been returned without action — effectively off the table, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the deal's sensitive details.
State Department spokesman Mark C. Toner said the proposed license was suspended along with the rest of "what limited defense trade we had with Libya."
The Gadhafi regime's desire to upgrade its troop carriers was so intense that a Libyan official told U.S. diplomats in Tripoli in 2009 that the dictator's sons, Khamis and Saif, both were demanding swift action. Khamis, a commander whose army brigade reportedly attacked the opposition-held town of Zawiya with armored units and pickup trucks, expressed a "personal interest" in modernizing the armored transports, according to a December 2009 diplomatic message disclosed by WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website. (Associated Press)
Taking the fat out of the fat bin Laden confession video For millions of people seeking the truth about September 11,2001, the videotape released by the Department of Defense on December 13, 2001 in which Osama bin Laden confesses to prior knowledge of 9/11 has been a powerful talking point when making the case that the government is covering up what actually happened on that notorious day.
Many in the global movement to discover the truth about 9/ 11 have referred to this video as the fat bin Laden video, including yours truly. When we see frames from the video such as in Figure 1, any person with eyes can look and see that the bin Laden in
the video appears much fatter than any other known image of Osama.
However, when one or even a few frames are taken from a 35-minute segment of video, and those selected frames exploit t he least recognizable images of bin Laden while hundreds of other frames resemble him more closely, it is a misrepresentation of the truth. Clearly,the center frame above is one of those frames in the video that least resembles Osama bin Laden - yet has been picked and published as if the entire video reveals bin Laden in this distorted image, when it does not. - While reading some of the coverage and investigation done by Maher Osseiran on the bin Laden confession tape, and his assertion that the tape is likely actually a tape of bin Laden himself, it occurred to me that since the tape was recorded in the Pakistan region, it was likely recorded in PAL video format. In the United States, we use the NTSC format. The difference is primarily that the standard PAL format has the same spatial resolution horizontally, but vertically it has a higher spatial resolution (720 x 576 for PAL – 720 x 480 for NTSC) than doe NTSC. Many PAL and NTSC converters simply eliminate the extra horizontal lines from the PAL format in order to conform to the NTSC format. This results in an image that appears to be ‘squashed’ along the vertical axis...making people and objects look fatter after the conversion. (Muckraker Report)
Hillary Clinton: US Losing Information War to Alternative Media The US is losing the global information war, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared while appearing before a congressional committee to ask for extra funds to spread US propaganda through new media.
Clinton said existing private channels are not good enough to handle the job, naming as rivals Al Jazeera, China's CCTV and RT -- which she watches, she added.
Clinton was defending her department's budget in front of the House's Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.
Clinton said the US should step up its propaganda effort and get back "in the game" of doing "what we do best." (Russia Today)
Documents Reveal TSA Research Proposal To Body-Scan Pedestrians, Train Passengers
Updated with the TSA’s response below, which denies implementing airport-style scans in mass transit. - Giving Transportation Security Administration agents a peek under your clothes may soon be a practice that goes well beyond airport checkpoints. Newly uncovered documents show that as early as 2006, the Department of Homeland Security has been planning pilot programs to deploy mobile scanning units that can be set up at public events and in train stations, along with mobile x-ray vans capable of scanning pedestrians on city streets.
The non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) on Wednesday published documents it obtained from the Department of Homeland Security showing that from 2006 to 2008 the agency planned a study of of new anti-terrorism technologies that EPIC believes raise serious privacy concerns. The projects range from what the DHS describes as “a walk through x-ray screening system that could be deployed at entrances to special events or other points of interest” to “covert inspection of moving subjects” employing the same backscatter imaging technology currently used in American airports. (Forbes)
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle Update: Congressional Majority Votes for Continued Military Waste As Peregrin Wood noted in January, House Republicans refused to include cuts to the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle from their version of the federal budget, even though he EFV fails to meet its production standards after a generation of expensive development. It turns out that during the month of February, a bipartisan majority comprised mostly but not completely of Republicans actively voted down an attempt to cut the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle from the budget. Speaking on the floor of the House, Representative Ron Kind described his amendment to scrap two weapons systems the military says it does not need or want:
…my amendment is pretty straightforward and simple. It would eliminate two weapons programs that the Defense Department, Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the bipartisan fiscal commissions all say are not necessary, they are not needed, they don’t go to improve military readiness, and they are redundant. It’s the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle as well as the Surface Launch Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile System, the SLAMRAAM for short…. if we’re going to be serious about true deficit reduction, the defense aspect of the Federal budget also has to be on the table. (Irregular Times)
Why the Dollar's Reign Is Near an End For decades the dollar has served as the world's main reserve currency, but, argues Barry Eichengreen, it will soon have to share that role. Here's why--and what it will mean for international markets and companies. - The single most astonishing fact about foreign exchange is not the high volume of transactions, as incredible as that growth has been. Nor is it the volatility of currency rates, as wild as the markets are these days.
Instead, it's the extent to which the market remains dollar-centric.
Consider this: When a South Korean wine wholesaler wants to import Chilean cabernet, the Korean importer buys U.S. dollars, not pesos, with which to pay the Chilean exporter. Indeed, the dollar is virtually the exclusive vehicle for foreign-exchange transactions between Chile and Korea, despite the fact that less than 20% of the merchandise trade of both countries is with the U.S.
Chile and Korea are hardly an anomaly: Fully 85% of foreign-exchange transactions world-wide are trades of other currencies for dollars. What's more, what is true of foreign-exchange transactions is true of other international business. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries sets the price of oil in dollars. The dollar is the currency of denomination of half of all international debt securities. More than 60% of the foreign reserves of central banks and governments are in dollars. (Wall Street Journal)
John Hunter on the World Peace Game John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x5' plywood board -- and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches -- spontaneous, and always surprising -- go further than classroom lectures can. (Ted Talks)
You Can Have Sex With Them; Just Don't Photograph Them: A former cop's 15-year prison sentence illustrates the absurdity of federal child porn laws. In the spring and summer of 2006, Eric Rinehart, at the time a 34-year-old police officer in the small town of Middletown, Indiana, began consensual sexual relationships with two young women, ages 16 and 17. One of the women had contacted Rinehart through his MySpace page. He had known the other one, the daughter of a man who was involved in training police officers, for most of her life. Rinehart was going through a divorce at the time. The relationships came to the attention of local authorities, and then federal authorities, when one of the girls mentioned it to a guidance counselor.
Whatever you might think of Rinehart's judgment or ethics, his relationships with the girls weren't illegal. The age of consent in Indiana is 16. That is also the age of consent in federal territories. Rinehart got into legal trouble because one of the girls mentioned to him that she had posed for sexually provocative photos for a previous boyfriend and offered to do the same for Rinehart. Rinehart lent her his camera, which she returned with the promised photos. Rinehart and both girls then took additional photos and at least one video, which he downloaded to his computer. (Reason)
Can geoengineering put the freeze on global warming? Scientists call it "geoengineering," but in plain speak, it means things like this: blasting tons of sulfate particles into the sky to reflect sunlight away from Earth; filling the ocean with iron filings to grow plankton that will suck up carbon; even dimming sunlight with space shades.
Each brings its own set of risks, but in a world fretting about the consequences of global warming, are these ideas whose time has come?
With 2010 tying as the world's warmest year on record and efforts to slow greenhouse gas emissions looking stymied, calls are rising for research into engineering our way out of global warming — everything from launching solar shade spacecraft to genetically engineering green deserts. An international consortium of 12 universities and research institutes on Tuesday, for example, announced plans to pioneer large-scale "ocean fertilization" experiments aimed at using the sea to pull more greenhouse gases out of the sky. (USA Today)
Darpa's Cheetah-Bot Designed to Chase Human Prey Perhaps you thought the four-legged BigDog robot wasn’t eerily lifelike enough. That’ll change soon. BigDog’s makers are working on a new quadruped that moves faster than any human and is agile enough to “chase and evade.”
Boston Dynamics, maker of the Army’s BigDog robotic mule, announced today that Darpa has awarded it a contract to build a much faster and more fearsome animal-like robot, Cheetah.
As the name implies, Cheetah is designed to be a four-legged robot with a flexible spine and articulated head (and potentially a tail) that runs faster than the fastest human. In addition to raw speed, Cheetah’s makers promise that it will have the agility to make tight turns so that it can “zigzag to chase and evade” and be able to stop on a dime.
Cheetah builds off work on the company’s previous four legged animal bot, BigDog. It was built as a kind of unmanned pack mule, designed to carry equipment for troops on the battlefield. The robotic donkey could carry 300 lbs. over 13 miles on flat ground, take a swift kick and keep on moving. It’s creepy, lifelike movement can be seen on a number of videos online, climbing over hills and snow and hiking alongside soldiers, using GPS coordinates as its waypoints. (Wired)
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically
authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of criminal justice, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and
social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material
as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,
the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own
that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
A bibliography for the alternative media. This site is a completely free research tool used to collect and organize as much important documentation as possible,
largely mainstream sources referenced by alternative media and interesting films.
Please collaborate by suggesting related document links here...