Saturday, December 10, 2011

In Bags at J.F.K., Handlers Found Niche for Crime

Published: December 9, 2011

It was not so much the crime that was surprising, but who was behind it.
When federal investigators announced they had broken up a cocaine-trafficking ring, the crime boss was not a member of a Mexican cartel or the Mafia.

The ringleader was Victor Bourne, a low-wage baggage handler for American Airlines at Kennedy International Airport. And his associates in the enterprise were other airline employees: baggage handlers and crew chiefs who delivered contraband while they delivered luggage to the baggage-claim area.

Flying a Boeing 767? Piece of Cake.

Posted on December 9, 2011


Morgan Reynolds

John Lear, retired pilot, recently sent me this pic of the Boeing 757 cockpit (identical to the 767). While admiring the complexity of flying this machine, I sent the photo to my dear wife Pat via email and asked her to check for new emails.


“Just humor me.”

Then she saw the photo and I asked, “Do you think you could fly it?”

“No, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Well ok, where is the key and ignition for it?” LOL.

P.S. In the photo John has outlined in yellow the cockpit ACARS messaging screens and keyboards.

P.P.S. I just spoke to John and he said, “Doesn’t look complicated to me!” LOL.

The Absurd Zombie Lie About the Economy Right-Wingers Desperately Cling To -- And Why It's Totally Wrong

Home loans didn't bring on the recession; gimmicky financial instruments bloated to 100 times their value are what caused all this pain.
December 4, 2011
Wall Street turned a few million home-loans into what Warren Buffet called "economic weapons of mass destruction," cratered the global economy and then, when the bubble burst, turned around and insisted on a massive bailout courtesy of the American tax-payer.

That rightly infuriated most Americans, but it has nonetheless become something of an article of faith among conservatives that Wall Street bears little blame for the Great Recession. The dominant narrative on the right today is that "big government" is ultimately responsible for the crash. In the words of one of Andrew Breitbart's bloggers, Democratic lawmakers like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd “brought down the banking industry by forcing banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them.”

That such a ludicrous claim could gain such wide traction is a testament to the intellectual debasement of modern conservative discourse. No bank was ever “forced” – or coerced or incentivized by the government in any way – to make a bad loan.

Battlefield America: Is Gitmo in Your Future?

A retired top CIA analyst ponders if he could be arrested and held under the Senate's new military detention policy.
December 4, 2011

Ambiguous but alarming new wording, which is tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and was just passed by the Senate, is reminiscent of the “extraordinary measures” introduced by the Nazis after they took power in 1933.

And the relative lack of reaction so far calls to mind the oddly calm indifference with which most Germans watched the erosion of the rights that had been guaranteed by their own Constitution. As one German writer observed, “With sheepish submissiveness we watched it unfold, as if from a box at the theater.”

The writer was Sebastian Haffner (real name Raimond Pretzel), a young German lawyer worried at what he saw in 1933 in Berlin, but helpless to stop it since, as he put it, the German people “collectively and limply collapsed, yielded and capitulated.”

“The result of this millionfold nervous breakdown,” wrote Haffner at the time, “is the unified nation, ready for anything, that is today the nightmare of the rest of the world.” Not a happy analogy.

Romney: Scientists can figure out global warming 50 years from now

By Muriel Kane
Friday, December 9, 2011
When asked about his views on climate change at a campaign event, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney replied that the earth might be getting warmer, but that his top priority as president would be to increase energy production in the United States.

“I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know the answer to these things,” he told the questioner. “I think the earth is getting warmer. May be wrong. I think we probably contribute something to it, but I don’t know if we contribute a little or a lot. And therefore, when I come to the policies I’d put in place, I do not support cap and trade policies, which raise the cost of energy.”


Stewart: Indefinite detention bill ‘one-way ticket to Gitmo’

By David Ferguson
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Last night’s The Daily Show featured a two-part examination of the new bill passed by the Senate that allows the government to detain American citizens without a trial for indefinite amounts of time.

Watch segment one, embedded via Comedy Central, below:

Part Two:

Hmmm... "A terrorist is someone who has more than 7 days of food in his/her house!" Goooooollllyy Mr. President!

Jon Stewart celebrates ‘miracle’ of GOP candidates fighting over ‘who loves Jews more’

By David Ferguson
Friday, December 9, 2011

Every four years, says John Stewart, a holiday “miracle” takes place. The Republican candidates for president line up to speak to the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum, an event where conservative Jews gather to witness the spectacle of several “incredibly religious Christian presidential candidates fighting over who loves Jews more.”

At this year’s event, Rick Santorum’s opening salvo was to declare that he and his wife (meaning: his wife) picked out a tile in Jerusalem to hang by their kitchen sink. Rick Perry bragged of his multiple visits to Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Michele Bachmann scored high for joining a kibbutz straight out of high school, and Mitt Romney mangled a Seinfeld quote.

Watch the video, embedded via Comedy Central, below:

Pastor’s viral rant: Gingrich is ‘the GOP’s Kim Kardashian’

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, December 9, 2011

In perhaps one of the most breathless condemnations of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to come from America’s right in years, Pastor Cary Gordon of Sioux City, Iowa has published a video that labels the presidential candidate as “the GOP’s Kim Kardashian.”

Kardashian, the daughter of an attorney for athlete O.J. Simpson, who got her own reality show after appearing in a self-made pornographic video, recently split from husband and basketball player Kris Humphries after a short-lived, tumultuous relationship.

That’s the crux of Pastor Cary’s analogy: he suggests Gingrich is a morality-free, untrustworthy man who has traded in his marriages “like used cars.” READ MORE

This video was published to YouTube on Dec. 7, 2011.

Ron Paul: Bush administration reacted with ‘glee’ after 9/11

By David Edwards
Friday, December 9, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said Thursday that President George W. Bush’s administration was actually happy after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011.

Speaking to about 1,000 students on the Iowa State Campus in Ames, Iowa, Paul explained that the Bush administration was eager to capitalize on the attacks.

“Think of what happened after 9/11, the minute before there was any assessment, there was glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq, and so the war drums beat,” Paul told the crowd, according to Politico. “That’s exactly what they’re doing now with Iran.”

“I think extremists have taken over,” the Texas Republican said, referring to neoconservatives in the government. “They’re the ones that run the foreign policy and that convinced us as a country to go along with all these wars.”

Former Bush-era White House spokesman Ari Fleischer quickly took to Twitter to respond. “The man is nuts,” he wrote.

Watch this video from CBS News, recorded Dec. 8, 2011.

We Can’t Help but Notice: What’s Up with Michele Bachmann’s Hair?

The GOP contender is trying a sleeker hairstyle--but does it make her look more presidential?

Anne Greene ON Nov 17, 2011 at 4:05PM

She might not be staying ahead in the polls, but when it comes to campaigning, Michele Bachmann’s hair has been getting down to business.

In recent days, including the last GOP debate in South Carolina, the presidential hopeful appears to have traded her voluminous coif for a slicked-back, and frankly pretty serious, hairstyle.

Bachmann’s fellow Republican contenders have been called out over the past few weeks for committing various gaffes, with Herman Cain experiencing brain-freeze over which side of the Libyan uprising he’s on and Rick Perry forgetting one of the three federal agencies he vows to eliminate if elected. READ MORE

Rich People DON'T Create Jobs: 6 Myths That Have to Be Killed for Our Economy to Live

These zombie talking points aren't just wrong; they're dangerous. If we're ever going to revive the economy, we've got to tackle them head on.
December 2, 2011

The following article first appeared in Mother Jones. For more great content from Mother Jones, sign up for free email updates here.

In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's character is forced to relive a single day over and over and over—waking up to the same song every morning, meeting the same people, having the same conversations—until, after thousands of repetitions, he finally realizes what a shmo he's been his entire life. With that epiphany, the calendar starts to flip forward again. His life reboots, and he once again gets to hear new songs, meet new people, and have entirely new conversations.

When it comes to the economy, we're stuck in our own version of Groundhog Day—and this one doesn't seem to be coming to an end. America is in a deep and persistent slump, and unemployment is mired at more than 9 percent. Yet when you turn on the TV, all you hear are the same manufactured sound bites delivered in the same apocalyptic tones from the same pack of talking heads—over and over and over. Groundhog Day has turned into the eighth circle of hell.

Unfortunately, these zombie talking points aren't just wrong; they're dangerous. If we're ever going to revive the economy, we've got to tackle them head on. Here are six of the worst. READ MORE

What Does Scaling Back Government Really Mean for You and Me?

We need to look hard at the long-term data and effects of these so-called tax-saving measures on the quality of life throughout this country.
December 9, 2011

Cutting taxes in the guise of putting more money back in the pockets of the 99 percent is a 100 percent wrong approach to our economic woes. It depletes the revenue we need to maintain public services and vital infrastructure that Americans expect and, in many cases, require to sustain our daily lives. Sure, we should trim the fat. But hacking at the muscle decimates the economy and quality of life for all of us.

For over 40 years, the Republicans have used the rhetoric of lowering taxes as a rallying cry to gain power at every level of government. What has their success meant? Today, the 1 percent has a disproportionate share of the wealth in this country, and the United States is falling behind in key areas, from education to technology to health care. READ MORE

Why Are Cops Losing Their Jobs for Questioning the Drug War?

Police and Border Patrol officers around the country are being punished for criticizing the devastating war on drugs and supporting drug decriminalization.
December 6, 2011

With so much bloodshed, hundreds of thousands incarcerated, and millions of families torn apart, one would have to be blind not to question the failed war on drugs. Given their close proximity to the devastation it has wrought, it’s only natural that the police and Border Patrol officers tasked with executing the drug war for the last four decades would have the strongest views. Yet, around the country, some have been fired for criticizing the drug war as well as supporting drug decriminalization.

On April 13, 2009, 26-year-old Bryan Gonzalez was patrolling the U.S.–Mexican border near Deming, New Mexico, when he pulled up next to fellow agent Shawn Montoya for a break. The two began a casual discussion about the drug-related violence in Mexico, at which point Gonzalez shared his belief that drug legalization would end both the drug war and the cartel violence. When Montoya asked why Mexicans cross the border and steal jobs, Gonzalez responded that Mexicans came to the United States due to a lack of available jobs in Mexico.

Erin Brockovich Is in 'Hot Water'

Erin Brockovich's new fictional thriller 'Hot Water' is for sale online and in bookstores near you. (Photo: Getty Images)

Erin Brockovich fights environmental crimes in a new fictional thriller.

Erin Brockovich is one of the world's most well-known activists. An award-winning movie has been made about her life, she's one of the experts featured in the new documentary Last Call at the Oasis, and for the past 19 years she has tirelessly advocated for communities suffering from contaminated drinking water.

As if that weren't time-consuming enough, Erin has recently written the fictional thriller Hot Water. The novel tells the story of AJ Palladino, a feisty environmental activist who is asked to stand behind a newly built nuclear power plant. The plant creates medical isotopes that could potentially save millions of lives, but has had a few unexplained and dangerous accidents. Although the book is fiction, the contamination breaches are modeled after real-life contamination events. READ MORE

The Rise of the New Confederacy: How America-Hating Right-Wingers Took Over the GOP

The rhetoric of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Rick Perry about the “real America” is not imagined: They and those who oppose them live in different Americas.
December 8, 2011

What is America, and what is an American? If anything binds us together across space and time, it is our ideals and the stories we tell about our pursuit of them. From the beginning, we set ourselves against Europe’s hierarchies. We exalted democratic government, equality of opportunity and individual freedom. We conceived of our experiment as “the last best hope of earth,” in Lincoln’s words.

But ideals don’t live in a vacuum; they take root in the soil of institutions. Beginning with our first experiments in self-government, the dissonance between our ideals and our institutional practices–especially the tolerance and extension of slavery–created tensions that finally tore us apart.

Eliot Spitzer: How to Turn the President's Nice Words into Action

How will the president turn his newfound devotion to progressive era principles into actions? And what will OWS do next?
December 9, 2011

On Tuesday, in Osawatomie, Kan., President Obama gave a glorious and powerful speech that was a testament to the enduring appeal of one of our greatest political figures: Theodore Roosevelt. The president harnessed the economic principles of the Progressive Era and applied them to the economic realities of today. He made an argument for a dynamic government that invests based upon principles of equity and opportunity for all; a government that fosters a genuine robust capitalism based on principles of true competition and market integrity. The difference between the president’s vision of government and that of his potential Republican presidential opponents is vast. The difference between the president’s speech and his own governance over the past three years is, unfortunately, only marginally smaller.

The president has tried to wear the mantle of several presidents recently: Truman, for his attacks on a do-nothing congress; Eisenhower for his careful centrism; Clinton, for his willingness to invoke executive authority when the legislative branch failed. Yet it is Theodore Roosevelt whom President Obama should stick with, Theodore Roosevelt whose passion and principles of true reform have the most relevance today. READ MORE

6 Shocking Revelations About Wall Street's "Secret Government"

Top officials willfully concealed the true extent of the 2008-'09 bailouts from Congress and the public.
November 30, 2011

We now have concrete evidence that Wall Street and Washington are running a secret government far removed from the democratic process. Through a freedom of information request by Bloomberg News, the public now has access to over 29,000 pages of Fed documents and 21,000 additional Fed transactions that were deliberately hidden, and for good reason. (See here and here.)

These documents show how top government officials willfully concealed from Congress and the public the true extent of the 2008-'09 bailouts that enriched the few and enhanced the interests of giant Wall Streets firms. Here’s what we now know: READ MORE

Rebbe to followers: Burn your iPhones

Leader of Dushinsky Hasidic dynasty threatens to expel members caught with 'non-kosher' cellular phones, computer with Internet connection

Ari Galahar
Published: 05.27.11, 07:57 / Israel Jewish Scene

The leader of the Dushinsky Hasidic dynasty is threatening to expel any community members caught with a "non-kosher" cellular phone or a computer with Internet connection, including iPhones.

The Rebbe not only called for a boycott of electronic devices which do not meet strict Orthodox rules, but also demanded that they be burned.

Friday, December 9, 2011

GOP Propaganda Guru Scared to Death of Occupy -- 10 Ways He's Trying to Spin the Movement

For decades, Frank Luntz has been fooling low-information voters into supporting unpopular policies. He's scared of OWS because the movement exposes his lies.
December 3, 2011

Frank Luntz has been helping to distort the language of Republicans for decades. His specialty is developing dishonest phrases to replace accurate descriptions of social and political issues when the accurate descriptions produce negative impressions of conservatives and their unpopular agenda.

Luntz created the term “death tax” as a substitute for “estate tax,” reasoning that it would be easier to steer low-information voters away from a tax on dying than a tax on people who own estates. He also supplied the term “government-run” to replace “public option” during the health care debate after determining that focus groups responded less favorably to the label that implied falsely that government would get between you and your doctor.

Report: Israel Occupation Forces, Bahraini Guards Used To Train American Cops Against Domestic Disturbances

By Susie Madrak

Max Blumenthal has an explosive story about the influence of Israel counter-terrorism tactics on American police training -- and the way they handled the Occupy movement. Very disturbing stuff:

New York – In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations. READ MORE

Massachusetts AG Files Suit Against Big Banks

Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley announced this week that she's suing the big banks for mortgage fraud. Be still, my heart!

So you can see a noose tightening around the necks of the banks, who would like nothing better than to strike a deal where AGs release them from liability in return for a nominal fee. Not all the AGs are willing to take that step, as detailed above. And now, Coakley, who has been very good on this issue, is out with perhaps the most wide-ranging lawsuit against the big banks over foreclosure fraud. Recall that some favorable court rulings in Massachusetts, including the Ibanez case, have ruled that banks don’t have standing to foreclose in cases where they improperly assigned mortgages. That is part of the case law in Massachusetts, making it a fertile environment in which to pursue this case.

According to the Boston Globe MERS is also named in the lawsuit:

#OccupyYourHomes: Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Speak Out

#OCCUPYOURHOMES #DECEMBER6TH #D6- "Homeowners Speak Out" - Mimi Pierre Johnson & Jean Sassine from Rhodes Pictures on Vimeo.

#OCCUPYOURHOMES #DECEMBER6TH #D6- "Homeowners Speak Out" - Mimi Pierre Johnson & Jean Sassine from Rhodes Pictures on Vimeo.

Occupy Our Homes is a great group that has formed in response to the Occupy Wall Street movement, and is answering the need to help keep people in their homes rather than lose them to foreclosure.

This video gives voice to two homeowners that have been struggling with their banks to prevent foreclosure for years. What used to be a lonely venture now has the support of millions as the members of the 99 percent come together in solidarity. READ MORE

The Rosenbaum Kidney Trafficking Gang

Rosenbaum targeted Eastern Europeans like Renat Abdullin, here showing his kidney surgery scar on the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine, 06/1211. (photo: Diana Markosian/Bloomberg)

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, CounterPunch
Scheper-Hughes begins: "On October 27, 2011 Levy Itzhak Rosenbaum, 60, a portly, sometimes risque, 'self-described' kidney matchmaker, pleaded guilty in a Trenton, NJ federal courtroom to three counts of acquiring, brokering and transferring for 'valuable consideration' organs from the bodies of poor Israelis trafficked into the US to service the transplant needs of New Jersey residents, and an additional count of conspiring to do the same."

Georgia Separates Kids From Their Undocumented Parents

Marie Diamond, ThinkProgress
Diamond reports: "A recent study by the Applied Research Center revealed that at least 5,100 children are languishing in America's foster care system because their immigrant parents were detained or deported. But the report also found that even when undocumented parents are not detained or deported, they face bias in the child welfare system as a result of cultural and language discrimination."

The Craigslist Killings: A Motif for Modern America

Richard Beasley in court on drug charges in Akron, Ohio. He and 16-year-old Brogan Rafferty are suspects in the 'Craigslist killings,' 12/01/11. (photo: Tony Dejak/AP)

Paul Harris, Guardian UK
Harris writes: "After all, in an era where millions are unemployed and where those lucky enough to have work live in constant fear of losing it, what more grim symbol of contemporary evil could there be than a killer luring their victims with a job advert?"

Fox's Eric Bolling Doesn't Want To Break Up Families, But ...

December 08, 2011 3:26 pm ET — 23 Comments

Claiming he does not "want to break up families," Fox host Eric Bolling again voiced support for mass deportation -- even endorsing the idea of going into public schools to round up undocumented immigrants. In fact, experts warn that deportations result in broken families, often those of American children, and ultimately impact children's safety and well-being.

Fox Still Pushing Discredited Keystone XL Pipeline Jobs Claims

December 08, 2011 1:54 pm ET

Fox anchor Martha MacCallum is clinging to the discredited claim that the Keystone XL pipeline would create at least 20,000 jobs. In fact, even the pipeline owner acknowledges that the total jobs created by the pipeline would be far fewer, and an independent report has found that the project could actually destroy more jobs than it creates through higher fuel costs and environmental damage.

Poly Prep football players warned freshmen of coach Phil Foglietta's sex abuse, school threatened discipline against reports: lawsuit

Part 2 of the explosive Poly Prep sex abuse scandal

BY Michael O'keeffe

Wednesday, December 7 2011, 2:10 AM

John Tracy for New York Daily News

Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn is now in the shadow of a massive sex abuse scandal. A lawsuit is brought against the school for allegedly failing to act when Phil Foglietta (below) was reported to have abused many students.

Poly Prep Country Day School football players warned their teammates. Juniors and seniors told the freshmen: Don’t get into the green Impala with Phil Foglietta, the football coach at the elite private school in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. Don’t go to the empty visitors’ locker room with him. Don’t let him take you to the squash courts.

But not everybody got the message.

Rational Irrationality

December 8, 2011
A “New Newt”?
Posted by John Cassidy

Now that Newt Gingrich is the designated frontrunner in the Republican primaries, politicians and pundits alike are rushing to find a rationalization for the turnaround in his fortunes, even though the explanation is starting them in the face: setting aside Ron Paul, who remains a live contender, the other conservative candidates turned out to be an inflexible extremist (Michele Bachmann), a village dolt (Rick Perry), and a snake-oil salesman (Cain).

Obama Speech Reax: Turning Point or Hot Air?

was to rally the center-left troops, he largely succeeded.

The Times editorial page said the speech felt an awfully long time in coming, but it was the most potent blow the president has struck against the economic theory at the core of every Republican presidential candidacy and dear to the party’s leaders in Congress. The notion that the market will take care of all problems if taxes are kept low and regulations are minimized… READ MORE

Thursday, December 8, 2011

13 Reasons Why Newt Will Never Be the GOP Nominee

Newt graced the cover of Mother Jones in 1989 and 1995.

Newt Gingrich is flying high. The former speaker of the House has rocketed to the top of the Republican polls, taking a 30-point lead in Florida and giving one-time GOP front-runner Mitt Romney a run for his money in New Hampshire. What's more, the competition around him seems to be collapsing. Herman Cain is history; Romney has slowly but steadily lost support nationwide; Rick Perry is still making fun of himself for a gaffe everyone else stopped talking about last month; Michele Bachmann fell in a crowded primary forest and never made a sound. Gingrich, for one, is ready to declare victory. As he told ABC's Jake Tapper on Thursday, "I'm going to be the nominee."

He calls the ad his single biggest regret in life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Open Message To Police & Military

Pilots For Truth (P4T) a 9-11 investigation team of pilots and airline professionals have release these videos. There's much more to be learned about 9-11 from real airline pilots, so enjoy browsing the site.

Maryland Verdict: GOP Guilty In Voter Suppression, Fraud

A. Dwight Pettit, left, the attorney for former governor Robert Ehrlich aide Paul Schurick, right, speaks to reporters Schurick's arraignment. (Amy Davis - BALTIMORE SUN)

A Maryland jury on Tuesday convicted Paul E. Schurick, the 2010 campaign manager for Republican ex-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., of four counts of election law violations stemming from an Election Day decision to make thousands of recorded telephone calls into African-American homes telling likely voters that the Democratic candidate was on his way to winning -- implying there was no need for them to vote. The gambit came after exit polls showed Ehrlich losing.

The election law violations concerned trying to influence votes through fraud, failing to identify the source of the call, and conspiring to commit those crimes. The charges and convictions are rare in the arcane world of election law; usually last-minute dirty tricks are not caught or prosecuted. The Maryland convictions could send a message to Wisconsin, where an AlterNet investigation reported on Monday about similar deceptive messaging from Republican opponents of a statewide recall petition drive to unseat Gov. Scott Walker. Read more

Occupy Updates: Police Brutally Rip Tent Costume off Aussie Occupier, BofA Memo Reveals Fear of Protesters, More

--- One of the more disturbing videos of extreme police action now going viral is from Occupy Melbourne, where a group of protesters, "tent monsters" wore their tents so they wouldn't be dismantled.

This didn't stop the police for violently ripping the ten off a young woman's back, leaving her unclothed, and not even checking to see if she was okay. An ethics probe has been launched. Watch below.

--Meanwhile here in the US, today's Occupy Our Homes action has a lot of people scared. Here's what the Bank of America memo sent out to "field agents" said: "i) Your safety is our primary concern, so do not engage with the protesters; ii) While in neighborhoods, please take notice of vacant BAC Field Services managed homes and ensure they are secured; iii) Remind all parties of the bank’s media policy and report any media incidents." As the blogger "Tyler Durden" who flagged this memo noted, Read more

In Texas Welfare Office, Mother Denied Food Stamps Shoots Her Two Kids Before Killing Herself

The sad state of our economy appears to have taken at least one more life. On Monday, a Texas welfare office became the scene of an ugly suicide, where a mother shot her two children before successfully killing herself, officials told the Huffington Post. Her kids, aged 10 and 12, were in critical condition Tuesday.

The 38-year-old woman, who had recently move to Zanesville, Ohio, first applied for -- and was denied -- food stamps in July. Texas Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman told the Huffington Post the office denied the woman food stamps because she did not turn in enough information, but she did not know what that information entailed.

According to the Huffington Post,

Hillary Clinton to UN: "Gay Rights Are Human Rights, And Human Rights Are Gay Rights," LGBT Rights Will Guide Foreign Policy

Recognizing that America’s own record on LGBT equality is “far from perfect,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on nations around the world to recognize that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights,” during a speech in Geneva, Switzerland this afternoon. Clinton’s address builds on a memorandum President Obama issued earlier today directing all agencies to “promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.” Read more

California and Nevada Attorney Generals Announce Joint Investigation into Foreclosure Fraud

Attorney Generals Kamala D. Harris of California and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada announced a joint investigation into foreclosure fraud on Tuesday. Though necessary nation-wide, the action is particularly salient geographically, as California and Nevada are the two states hit hardest by the housing crisis. In 2010, Nevada had the country's highest foreclosure rate at 9.4%, while California, with the second highest rate, had the largest number of total foreclosures: 569,000 filings.

The Sick Social Darwinism Driving Modern Republicans

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As a country, we've rejected the notion that each of us is on his or her own in a competitive contest for survival. Republicans want to bring Social Darwinism back.
December 6, 2011

What kind of society, exactly, do modern Republicans want? I’ve been listening to Republican candidates in an effort to discern an overall philosophy, a broadly-shared vision, an ideal picture of America.

They say they want a smaller government but that can’t be it. Most seek a larger national defense and more muscular homeland security. Almost all want to widen the government’s powers of search and surveillance inside the United States – eradicating possible terrorists, expunging undocumented immigrants, “securing” the nation’s borders. They want stiffer criminal sentences, including broader application of the death penalty. Many also want government to intrude on the most intimate aspects of private life.

Rove v. Trump: The Unlikely War for the Soul of the GOP

Bush's architect attempts to wrest back control of the party from a man simply out to make a buck.
December 6, 2011
Newsmax, a nutritional supplement sales organization and expensive email list with a right-wing news website attached, is hosting a Republican presidential debate, “moderated” by fictional television clown tycoon Donald Trump, set to air on a television channel you probably don’t actually know you have that spends most of the broadcast day airing paid programming. Historical fiction author Newt Gingrich — a disgraced serial adulterer with a still-unexplained $500,000 credit line at Tiffany and Co. who is also for some reason the current frontrunner for the party’s nomination — could not be happier. For some crazy reason, Republican campaign strategist Karl Rove is not particularly thrilled with all of this.

Using Debt to Crush Democracy: How Financiers Are Waging Warfare Against Nations

Recent debt protests from Iceland to Greece and Spain suggest that creditors are shifting their support away from democracies and crushing national self-determination.
December 6, 2011
This article appeared in the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung on December 5, 2011.

Book V of Aristotle’s Politics describes the eternal transition of oligarchies making themselves into hereditary aristocracies – which end up being overthrown by tyrants or develop internal rivalries as some families decide to “take the multitude into their camp” and usher in democracy, within which an oligarchy emerges once again, followed by aristocracy, democracy, and so on throughout history. READ MORE

10 Fun Facts About the Top 1 Percent

They're highly educated, skew Republican, and look up at the top tenth of the top 1 percent with envy.
December 7, 2011
As the Occupy Movement has spread like wildfire, we've heard a lot about the top 1 percent of American households and how the “other 99 percent” want a fair share of the fruits of our economic output.

In 2009, there were about 1.4 million households in the top 1 percent. But just who are they? What do they do? Where do they live?

We tried to answer some of those questions with ten fun facts about the top 1 percent.

The Next Frontier for Occupy: Protesters Take Over Vacant Homes, Rally to Protect Those Facing Eviction and Foreclosure

Occupiers rallied with homeowners facing foreclosure or eviction, interrupted housing auctions, protested at banks, and took over vacant properties to move homeless families in.
December 6, 2011
On Tuesday occupiers all over the country took part in a day of action to do what politicians and the courts have repeatedly failed to: hold banks accountable for creating the housing crisis and then making it massively worse by rushing through millions of shady and illegal foreclosures.

In at least 20 cities, occupiers rallied with homeowners facing foreclosure or eviction, interrupted housing auctions, protested at banks, and took over vacant, unused properties to move homeless families in. READ MORE

Conservative Frank Luntz Has Set a Trap for Progressives -- Here's How to Outsmart Him and Boost the Occupy Movement

Protesters at "Occupy Wall Street" camp, Liberty Square
Photo Credit: Sarah Jaffe

Progressives' basic morality needs to be talked about over and over again, in every corner of the country.
December 6, 2011
Progressives had some fun last week with Frank Luntz, who told the Republican Governors' Association that he was scared to death of the Occupy movement and recommended language to combat what the movement had achieved. But the progressive critics mostly just laughed, said his language wouldn't work, and assumed that if Luntz was scared, everything was hunky-dory. Just keep on saying the words Luntz doesn't like: capitalism, tax the rich, etc.

It's a trap. READ MORE

Seven Diseases Big Pharma Hopes You Get in 2012

Supply-driven marketing not only turns the nation into pill-popping hypochondriacs, it distracts from Pharma's drought of real drugs for real medical problems.
December 6, 2011

It used to be joked that a consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is. These days, the opportunist is Big Pharma, which raises your insurance premiums and taxes while providing you "low-priced" drugs that you paid for.

How did Pharma get a good third of the United States taking antidepressants, statins, and Purple Pills, albeit at low prices? By selling the diseases of depression, high cholesterol, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Supply-driven marketing, also known as "Have Drug — Need Disease and Patients," not only turns the nation into pill-popping hypochondriacs, it distracts from Pharma's drought of real drugs for real medical problems.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011



( 12/06/11 - More information has surfaced which conclusively demonstrates the aircraft reportedly used on 9/11, were airborne well after their alleged crashes. This article supplements our last, "ACARS CONFIRMED - 9/11 AIRCRAFT AIRBORNE LONG AFTER CRASH" in which the ACARS system is explained as well as how to determine if a message were received by the aircraft, along with how ground stations are selected through Flight Tracking Protocol based on messages routed to United 175, N612UA. We now have further evidence which places United 93, N591UA, in the vicinity of Champaign, IL, 500+ miles away from the alleged crash site in Shanksville, PA. This information is further corroborated by a (now former) United Airlines Manager of Flight Dispatch Michael J. Winter. read more...

House Republicans Push Bill to Ban Abortions Based on the Race or Sex of the Fetus

By Tanya Somanader on Dec 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm

For House Republicans, this year has been the year of outlandish answers to non-existent problems. And tomorrow, they will offer the magnum opus of their 2011 campaign against a woman’s right to choose: the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA). The bill seeks to somehow protect the “civil rights” of fetuses by banning physicians from performing abortions based on the fetus’s race or sex. While the woman would be exempt from prosecution, physicians who perform the procedure can be sued for damages. READ MORE

Ex-Countrywide Exec Blows the Lid Off the Systemic Fraud at the Company

Eileen Foster, a former senior executive at Countrywide Financial, told CBS's "60 Minutes" Steve Kroft that mortgage fraud was a way of business.

"From what I saw, the types of things I saw, it was — it appeared systemic. It, it wasn't just one individual or two or three individuals, it was branches of individuals, it was regions of individuals," she told Kroft.

Foster, an ex-senior vice president at the mortgage lender tasked with monitoring and investigating possible fraud, said she found evidence of widespread mortgage fraud during an investigation in Boston.

At the Iowa Caucuses on January 3, the Republicans Will Eat a Big Bowl of Stupid


Mark Karlin, Editor of BuzzFlash on Truthout

In less than a month, the Iowa caucuses will take place on January 3, 2012.

After the joy of the holiday season, the celebration of a new year, one thing will be certain. On that day, the GOP faithful in Iowa will eat a big bowl of stupid.

As Paul Krugman points out in his December 5 column:

The larger point, however, is that whoever finally gets the Republican nomination will be a deeply flawed candidate. And these flaws won't be an accident, the result of bad luck regarding who chose to make a run this time around; the fact that the party is committed to demonstrably false beliefs means that only fakers or the befuddled can get through the selection process.

Romney Staff Spent Nearly $100,000 to Hide Records

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mitt Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret, Reuters has learned.

The move during the final weeks of Romney's administration was legal but unusual for a departing governor, Massachusetts officials say.

The effort to purge the records was made a few months before Romney launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He is again competing for the party's nomination, this time to challenge Barack Obama for the presidency in 2012.

Carriers Admit to Installing Hidden App

osh Levy, Save the Internet: "The cellphone spying saga is heating up. On Friday, Rep. Ed Markey joined Sen. Al Franken in demanding answers from Carrier IQ, the company that has worked with mobile carriers to install a hidden application that has the ability to secretly track nearly everything users do - including the keys they press, the numbers they dial and the websites they visit - on more than 140 million cellphones. Researcher Trevor Eckhart uncovered the secret app."

License to Profit: Legalized Corruption in the US Congress

Dave Johnson, Truthout: "Are members of Congress corrupt? Perhaps we should define the term. There is the terrible, 'legal' corruption of pay-for-play campaign contributions, with wealthy donors and big corporations paying to get tax cuts, subsidies, special laws and 'access.' This is part of why our government is responsive to the agenda of the 1 percent and their corporations only."

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Los Angeles City Council to Vote on Corporate Personhood Today, and More

Unions and Immigrants Join Occupy Movements

David Bacon, Truthout: "When Occupy Seattle called its tent camp 'Planton Seattle,' camp organizers were laying a local claim to a set of tactics used for decades by social movements in Mexico, Central America and the Philippines."
Read the Article

Families Join the Occupy Movement as the 99 Percent Takes On the Housing Crisis

A nine-year-old demonstrates with a picture of a home that Fannie Mae foreclosed on in Boston, October 10, 2011. (Photo: Lauren Metter, Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "On Tuesday, the Occupy Our Homes national day of action against foreclosure saw home occupations, civil disobedience actions and community events in more than 20 cities, reflecting a shift in focus from tent cities to local neighborhoods." Read the Article

Noam Chomsky | Marching Off the Cliff

Noam Chomsky, Truthout: "It's no secret that the US government is lagging on climate issues.... To gain perspective on what's happening in the world, it's sometimes useful to adopt the stance of intelligent extraterrestrial observers viewing the strange doings on Earth. They would be watching in wonder as the richest and most powerful country in world history now leads the lemmings cheerfully off the cliff." Read the Article

FOCUS: Pentagon Offers US Police Full Military Hardware

Robert Johnson, Business Insider Intro: "The US military has some of the most advanced killing equipment in the world that allows it to invade almost wherever it likes at will. We produce so much military equipment that inventories of military robots, M-16 assault rifles, helicopters, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers eventually start to pile up and it turns out a lot of these weapons are going straight to American police forces to be used against US citizens." READ MORE

Two black holes most massive ever found, astronomers say

Stars move in the central regions of an elliptical galaxy that has a supermassive black hole, according to an artist's concept.

Black holes: They're the most destructive monsters in the universe. We already knew they can be powerfully massive. Now scientists say they've found the most massive ones yet, as reported in the journal Nature.

How big?

The mass of each is about 10 billion times the mass of our sun. The previous black hole record holder, first measured in 1977, has a mass of about 6 billion suns.

And for each black hole, the "event horizon" – basically areas from which nothing can escape their gravity – is about five times the distance between our sun and Pluto.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Economy Killing Patriot Act?

By Jamie This is something I never thought of, the stronger hand of our government, at the behest of the Patriot Act, actually hurting us on the tech front. It turns out that is exactly what is happening: Cloud computing is a gold mine for the U.S. tech industry, but American firms are encountering resistance from an unexpected enemy overseas: the PATRIOT Act. The Sept. 11-era law was supposed to help the intelligence community gather data on suspected terrorists. But competitors overseas are using it as a way to discourage foreign countries from signing on with U.S. cloud computing providers like Google and Microsoft: Put your data on a U.S.-based cloud, they warn, and you may just put it in the hands of the U.S. government. READ MORE