Category: Elitist Privilege


File:VH-3D Marine One over Washington DC May 2005.jpg

Official U.S. Marine Corps photo 050521-N-0295M-097 [1] from the USMC website [2]

A U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King helicopter, assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 (HMX-1), in flight over Washington D.C. on 21 May 2005.

By  :  PH2(AW) Daniel J. McLain

Wikimedia.org

 

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Monday, 12 May 2014 09:47

$1.2 Billion for New White House Helicopters Just the Beginning

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It didn’t take long for critics to scoff at the costs of the latest effort to upgrade the fleet of presidential helicopters announced by the Defense Department on Wednesday, May 7. They say the $1.2-billion contract awarded to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation will be just the beginning.

There are at least two reasons to be skeptical: the open-ended nature of the White House requirements, and recent history.

The Department of Defense outlined its requirements, stating that Marine Helicopter Squadron One, which currently operates 19 presidential helicopters, must provide “safe and timely transportation for the President and Vice President of the United States, heads of state and others as directed by the White House Military Office.”

In addition, each aircraft must be equipped with various self-defense features such as bulletproof glass and body panels, as well as specialized communications equipment that allows the president to maintain “critical command functions” while airborne. Each helicopter must be large enough to carry up to 14 passengers and several thousand pounds of baggage while being small enough to operate from the White House lawn.

Each must have a minimum range of 300 miles and carry a full complement of defensive countermeasures to thwart heat-seeking and radar-directed missiles and also be hardened against an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), either from an enemy or from the sun. It must be able to send and receive encrypted communications and hold secure teleconferences while in flight.

And each must have air-conditioning and a toilet.

Under the contract Sikorsky promises to deliver two prototypes by 2016, with another 21 fully operational aircraft six years later.

Several questions arise. First, why so many? After all, there’s just one president and one vice president. According to Helimart.com, anytime the president flies somewhere by helicopter, four other helicopters are alongside him. They fly in varying formations to keep the president’s aircraft as disguised as possible. This is often referred to as the presidential “shell game.” In addition, with a helicopter’s range of just 300 miles, a longer trip must “cache” additional aircraft along the route.

 

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Wall Street On Parade

Suspicious Deaths of Bankers Are Now Classified as “Trade Secrets” by Federal Regulator

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 28, 2014

It doesn’t get any more Orwellian than this: Wall Street mega banks crash the U.S. financial system in 2008. Hundreds of thousands of financial industry workers lose their jobs. Then, beginning late last year, a rash of suspicious deaths start to occur among current and former bank employees.  Next we learn that four of the Wall Street mega banks likely hold over $680 billion face amount of life insurance on their workers, payable to the banks, not the families. We ask their Federal regulator for the details of this life insurance under a Freedom of Information Act request and we’re told the information constitutes “trade secrets.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the life expectancy of a 25 year old male with a Bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2006 was 81 years of age. But in the past five months, five highly educated JPMorgan male employees in their 30s and one former employee aged 28, have died under suspicious circumstances, including three of whom allegedly leaped off buildings – a statistical rarity even during the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

There is one other major obstacle to brushing away these deaths as random occurrences – they are not happening at JPMorgan’s closest peer bank – Citigroup. Both JPMorgan and Citigroup are global financial institutions with both commercial banking and investment banking operations. Their employee counts are similar – 260,000 employees for JPMorgan versus 251,000 for Citigroup.

Both JPMorgan and Citigroup also own massive amounts of bank-owned life insurance (BOLI), a controversial practice that pays the corporation when a current or former employee dies. (In the case of former employees, the banks conduct regular “death sweeps” of public records using former employees’ Social Security numbers to learn if a former employee has died and then submits a request for payment of the death benefit to the insurance company.)

Wall Street On Parade carefully researched public death announcements over the past 12 months which named the decedent as a current or former employee of Citigroup or its commercial banking unit, Citibank. We found no data suggesting Citigroup was experiencing the same rash of deaths of young men in their 30s as JPMorgan Chase. Nor did we discover any press reports of leaps from buildings among Citigroup’s workers.

Given the above set of facts, on March 21 of this year, we wrote to the regulator of national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act (See OCC Response to Wall Street On Parade’s Request for Banker Death Information):

The number of deaths from 2008 through March 21, 2014 on which JPMorgan Chase collected death benefits; the total face amount of BOLI life insurance in force at JPMorgan; the total number of former and current employees of JPMorgan Chase who are insured under these policies; any peer studies showing the same data comparing JPMorgan Chase with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup.

The OCC responded politely by letter dated April 18, after first calling a few days earlier to inform us that we would be getting nothing under the sunshine law request. (On Wall Street, sunshine routinely means dark curtain.) The OCC letter advised that documents relevant to our request were being withheld on the basis that they are “privileged or contains trade secrets, or commercial or financial information, furnished in confidence, that relates to the business, personal, or financial affairs of any person,” or  relate to “a record contained in or related to an examination.”

The ironic reality is that the documents do not pertain to the personal financial affairs of individuals who have a privacy right. Individuals are not going to receive the proceeds of this life insurance for the most part. In many cases, they do not even know that multi-million dollar policies that pay upon their death have been taken out by their employer or former employer. Equally important, JPMorgan is a publicly traded company whose shareholders have a right under securities laws to understand the quality of its earnings – are those earnings coming from traditional banking and investment banking operations or is this ghoulish practice of profiting from the death of workers now a major contributor to profits on Wall Street?

As it turns out, one aspect of the information cavalierly denied to us by the OCC is publicly available to those willing to hunt for it. On March 24 of this year, we reported that JPMorgan Chase held $10.4 billion in BOLI assets at its insured depository bank as of December 31, 2013.

We reached out to BOLI expert, Michael D. Myers, to understand what JPMorgan’s $10.4 billion in BOLI assets at its commercial bank might represent in terms of face amount of life insurance on its workers. Myers said: “Without knowing the length of the investment or its rate of return, it is difficult to estimate the face amount of the insurance coverage.  However, a cash value of $10.4 billion could easily translate into more than $100 billion in actual insurance coverage and possibly two or three times that amount” said Myers, a partner in the Houston, Texas law firm McClanahan Myers Espey, L.L.P.

 

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Insurance policies pertaining to bankers’ suicides classified as containing ‘trade secrets’

Published time: April 29, 2014 19:09

AFP Photo / John Moore

AFP Photo / John Moore

After a recent rash of mysterious apparent suicides shook the financial world, researchers are scrambling to find answers about what really is the reason behind these multiple deaths. Some observers have now come to a rather shocking conclusion.

Wall Street on Parade bloggers Pam and Russ Martens wrote this week that something seems awry regarding the bank-owned life insurance (BOLI) policies held by JPMorgan Chase. Traditional life insurance policies ensure that the loved ones of the deceased are compensated fairly in the event of a death, but banks are investing billions in policies that let them receive untaxed payment with the passing of each employee. While it’s not unusual for major banks to take out policies that compensate companies in the event of an employee death, the Martens wrote, attempts to find out more about that practice have been peculiarly hard and have raised a red flag among bloggers like those at Wall Street on Parade.

Four of the biggest banks on Wall Street combined hold over $680 billion in BOLI policies, the bloggers reported, but JPMorgan held around $17.9 billion in BOLI assets at the end of last year to Citigroup’s comparably meager $8.8 billion.

Both banks are global financial institutions with commercial and investment banking operations, the Martens wrote, and each employs close to a quarter-of-a-million employees. Nevertheless, they say that JPMorgan has experienced a far greater rate of suicide among employees in recent months, particularly in the midst of a series of news reports documenting unusual leaps off buildings and other bizarre deaths that have taken the lives of JPMorgan staffers.

 

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Hmmmm,  alert the presses and  let  everyone  know  that in spite of the  facts that  :

Oil spills are  never  properly  cleaned up and the  side effects of  the  chemicals  and  toxins  left  behind linger  for  years.

Energy Companies  responsible  for the  spills are  never  truly  held  accountable  for  all the  damage  done  due to carelessness and  cost  cutting to fatten their  bottom line

Sea life , Coral Reefs, and  the  food chain  in  oil spill damaged  areas face  death at  every turn.  While the  culprits shrug their  shoulders and  say   “Oh Well”

Coastlines are negatively impacted.  Damaging  not  only the  ecology but the livelihood  of  those  who depend  on  a clean and healthy ocean to sustain themselves  and  their families.

The  Energy Companies walk away  after THEY feel they  have  done  enough when in  reality  they  fall  woefully  short  and the   corrupt  government taking   corporate  kickbacks   allows  them to  get  away  with  their  crimes  with a slap on the  wrist.

 

In spite of all this  destruction ……..Oil Spills create  jobs.

 

Would that  also be the case  for oil spills caused  by,

oh let’s say, pipeline leaks and  train derailments in populated  areas where  not only  people  are affected, but  their  ground water  and lands are  poisoned with chemicals and toxic oil that  can never  truly be completely removed?

Yes indeed, that  certainly  is worth  the  jobs   created  alright……NOT!!

 

~Desert Rose~

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Kinder Morgan: Oil Spills’ Economic Effects Are Both Good And Bad

The Huffington Post Canada  |  Posted: 05/01/2014 1:41 pm EDT  |  Updated: 05/01/2014 1:59 pm EDT

 

kinder morgan

There is at least something of a bright side to oil spills, pipeline company Kinder Morgan says.

In a recent submission to the National Energy Board, the company says marine oil spills “can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies” thanks to the economic activity generated by cleanup operations.

“Spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers,” the company says.

The comments appear in a 15,000-page application to the NEB to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries oil from Alberta to Port Metro Vancouver.

Environmentalists fear an increase in oil shipments through West Coast waters would increase the risk of oil tanker accidents.

Kinder Morgan’s submission doesn’t ignore the negatives; it points out that oil spills are devastating to fishing and tourism industries, and notes the negative impacts on human health, damage to property and harm done to “cultural resources.”

But it cites a 1990 research paper looking at the economic impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill to argue there are positive elements as well.

 

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It’s in the cards; spread of possible oil spill tracked by ‘drift card’ study

  • Apr 1, 2014 at 12:00PM updated at 2:33PM

Jennifer of Victoria and a friend show off a drift card that she found on Vancouver Island.  - Contributed photo/Friends of San Juans

Jennifer of Victoria and a friend show off a drift card that she found on Vancouver Island.

— image credit: Contributed photo/Friends of San Juans

Journal staff report

Conservation groups from Washington and British Columbia commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill by launching 650 ‘drift cards’ along Salish Sea oil tanker routes.

The event, organized by Friends of the San Juans in Washington state and by Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Georgia Strait Alliance in Canada, is part of a study mapping the path that an oil spill might take in the Salish Sea.

The cards were dropped at two locations: off Turn Point, Stuart Island, where Haro Strait intersects with Boundary Pass, and near Bird Rocks in Rosario Strait. They carry a simple message: This Could Be Oil.

This research responds to a sharp increase in fossil fuel export projects proposed in British Columbia and Washington state. The proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal at Cherry Point north of Bellingham and Kinder Morgan’s increase in tar-sands shipping from Vancouver, and other projects, would add an additional 2,620 ship transits per year to the waters of the Salish Sea, making the region one of North America’s busiest fossil fuel shipping corridors.Drift card

“The increased risk of a major oil spill in the Salish Sea is real,” said Stephanie Buffum, executive director of Friends of the San Juans. “Anyone with a cultural, environmental or economic interest in our region should get engaged with Coast Guard rulemaking; familiarize themselves with effects of cargo traveling through our waters; and ask decision makers to ensure diluted bitumen (oil sand) is classified as a petroleum product that is taxed to fund oil spill clean-up efforts.”

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Here are some of  those  job opportunities Kinder Morgan was referring to  :

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BP pipeline sprays ‘oily mist’ over 33 acres of Alaskan tundra

Published time: May 01, 2014 03:15

Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett

Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett

Alaska state officials confirmed Wednesday that an oily mist sprung from a compromised oil pipeline and sprayed into the wind without stopping for at least two hours, covering 33 acres of the frozen snow field in the oil well’s vicinity.

The discovery was at the BP-owned Prudhoe oil field on Alaska’s North Slope, the northernmost region of the state where a number of profitable oil fields sit beneath the tundra. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) revealed that BP officials found the mist during a routine inspection on Monday.

Initial reports said that 27 acres had been covered, although that figure was updated later on Wednesday. The cause is still under investigation, according to the Associated Press, but officials know that the mist was made up of a mixture of gas, crude oil, and water. They also reported that while the noxious mist was distributed over such a wide area by 30 mph winds, no wildlife was impacted.

BP spokeswoman Dawn Patience said the company is “still assessing repairs” and will soon know what, if any, long-term effects the spill could have.

The Prudhoe Bay region, like elsewhere in the North Slope, is home to a great number of migratory birds and caribou, as well as other animals, such as a massive porcupine herd. Clean-up efforts are expected to be complete before birds pass through the region again in the coming weeks.

The company was at fault in at least two oil spills in the same region since 2006. That year, an estimated 267,000 gallons of oil seeped through a quarter-inch sized hole in a corroded BP pipeline. That accident went unnoticed for five days, until an oil worker smelled the aroma of crude when driving through the area, according to Think Progress.

 

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Lynchburg, Virginia Train Derailment Sparks Fire, Fills Air With Plumes Of Black Smoke

Posted: 04/30/2014 2:57 pm EDT Updated: 04/30/2014 5:59 pm EDT

 

LYNCHBURG TRAIN

A CSX train derailed near downtown Lynchburg, Virginia around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, prompting evacuations and calls to avoid part of the city as flames and a plume of black smoke rose into the air. There are no immediate reports of injuries.

The City Of Lynchburg announced that the train was carrying crude oil and three or four of its 13 to 14 cars were breached.

“There is some spillage in the river of crude oil,” Lynchburg city spokeswoman LuAnn Hunt told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Richmond primarily draws its water from the James River, downstream from Lynchburg. Another official said the city is making plans to tap an “alternative water supply.”

The train’s tankers may be from a class of rail cars deemed an “unacceptable public risk” by a member of the National Transportation Safety Board in February. These black, pill-shaped cars, known as DOT-111s, have been involved in recent notable oil train derailments in North Dakota and Quebec.

“We are very clear that this issue needs to be acted on very quickly,” National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman told reporters last week. The Transportation Department is currently working on stricter standards for rail tank cars used to transport hazardous materials. “They aren’t moving fast enough,” Hersman said.

 

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Explosive Virginia Train Carried Fracked Bakken Oil, Headed to Potential Export Facility

Posted: 05/01/2014 1:50 pm EDT Updated: 05/01/2014 2:59 pm EDT

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Platts confirmed CSX Corporation’s train that exploded in Lynchburg, Virginia was carrying sweet crude obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin. CSX CEO Michael Ward has also confirmed this to Bloomberg.

Photo Credit: Erin Ferrell – ABC 13 News | Twitter

“Trade sources said the train was carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota and was headed to Plains All American’s terminal in Yorktown,” Platts explained. “The Yorktown facility can unload 130,000 b/d of crude and is located on the site of Plains oil product terminal.”

In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a Safety Alert concluding Bakken crude is more flammable than heavier oils. Hence the term “bomb trains.”

At least 50,000 gallons of the oil headed to Yorktown is now missing, according to ABC 13 in Lynchburg. Some of it has spilled into the James River, as previously reported on DeSmogBlog.

A map available on CSX’s website displaying the routes for its crude-by-rail trains offers a clear indication of where the train was headed.


Map Credit: CSX Corporation

Formerly a refinery owned by Standard Oil and then BP/Amoco, Plains All American has turned the Yorktown refinery into a mega holding facility.

Yorktown may become a key future site for crude oil exports if the ban on exports of oil produced domestically in the U.S. is lifted. 

Yorktown: Future Oil Export Mecca?

In February, Plains CEO Greg Armstrong said on the company’s quarter four earnings call that Yorktown is ideally situated geographically to become an oil export mecca if the ban is lifted.

When asked by an analyst from Bank of America about the ongoing debate over lifting the crude oil export ban, Armstrong discussed how Plains could stand to profit from exports.

 

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Holding BP Accountable: Environmental Justice Struggle Continues in Gulf Region After 2010 Spill

 

 

Published on Oct 1, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – The oil giant BP is back in court for the April 2010 accident that caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, killing 11 workers and leaking almost five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, the second phase of the trial began with lawyers accusing the oil company of lying about how much oil was leaking, failing to prepare for how to handle the disaster, and for not capping the leak quick enough. We’re joined in New Orleans by Monique Harden, co-director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights and an attorney who specializes in environmental justice concerns in New Orleans. In the aftermath of the BP spill, Harden’s organization exposed how the oil giant had contracted with a claims processing company that promoted its record of reducing lost dollar pay-outs for injuries and damage caused by its client companies. We are also joined by John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority — East, which has brought a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies for destruction of the Gulf coastline, making the area more at risk from flooding and storm surges.

Democracy Now!, is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,200+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch it live 8-9am ET at http://www.democracynow.org.

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Deepwater Disaster BP Oil Spill Documentary

Published on Feb 24, 2014

BP oil spill redirects here. For the 2006 oil spill involving BP, see Prudhoe Bay oil spill. For other uses, see The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also refe.

BBC Stephen Fry And The Great American Oil Spill BBC Documentary on BP Oil Spill Disaster. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil sp.

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TAGS: Gulf Of Mexico (Body Of Water) Disaster (Quotation Subject) Oil Spill (Disaster Type) Beach Flip Ocean May Cry Thomas Engine Storm Start Back Front Tra.

Full documenary Channel.Please subscrible our channel to watch more videos. Deepwater Disaster BP Oil Spill Documentary . All our videos for just education.

Please Enjoy. Subscribe & Like too. Thanks. Cheers! Stephen Fry loves Louisiana. Four months after the BP oil spill, dubbed the worst ecological disaster in .

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, also called the BP Oil Spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill or the Macondo blowout. I dont Own the Video Footage or Images..

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On the three year memorial of the BP Oil Spill disaster I wanted to share with you one very important fact. BP has been lying to you! Due to decades of abuse.

Visit to find out how you can help! On April 20, 2010, the largest environmental disaster in US history began when the Deepwater Horizo.

A documentary that examines the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. News Feeds on the issue ht.

BP Oil Spill Timeline.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil spill, the BP oil disaster, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the Macondo blowout) began on 2.

Please read the description! What really happened with the cover-up of the Deep Water Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. Josh and Rebecca Tickell interv.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the BP oil disaster or the Macondo blowout) is an oil sp.

This video covers many environmental results of the BP Oil Spill, which originated from a rig explosion on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, placing an e.

Footage about the greatest oil disaster of all times (2010 Gulf) Watch at our Planet like it would be your Child! dont close your eyes! do your part!

 

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The 14,000 Oil Spills Nobody is Talking About | Brainwash Update

 

Published on Feb 11, 2014

Abby Martin goes over updates to the chemical spill in West Virginia and the coal-ash spill in North Carolina, exposing the human and environmental impact as well as the lack of accountability that accompanies tens of thousands of similar ecological catastrophes that occur in the US every year due to the US’ addiction to fossil fuel.

 

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Senators Seek To Force Approval Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted: 05/01/2014 4:10 pm EDT Updated: 05/01/2014 4:59 pm EDT

 

HEIDI HEITKAMP

WASHINGTON –- Senate supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline say they think they have enough votes to pass a bill that would force the approval of the controversial project. A group of 56 senators — all 45 Republicans plus 11 Democrats –- introduced legislation on Thursday that would bypass the Obama administration and grant approval for the pipeline.

Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) introduced the bill on Thursday. Democrats Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Walsh (D-Mont.), and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) are cosponsoring it.

Because it crosses an international border, the decision on the pipeline falls under the authority of the State Department. The State Department announced another delay on a decision last month in response to a court decision that invalidated the pipeline’s proposed route through Nebraska, saying that it would wait to decide until there is more clarity on where the pipeline will ultimately run. The legislation would grant approval to “any subsequent revision to the pipeline route” in Nebraska, without requiring further environmental analysis.

“We continue to hear delay, delay, delay from the Administration about the Keystone XL pipeline. I’m beyond sick of it,” Heitkamp said in a statement Thursday. “We have strong bipartisan support in the Senate for this project –- and I’m proud to have recruited support from 10 other Democrats last month. Now, all of those Democrats also signed onto this bill that we crafted to fully approve the construction of the Keystone pipeline. If the Administration isn’t going to make a decision on this project after more than five years, then we’ll make it for them. End of story.”

 

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:00

Lawmakers Unveil Plan to Liberate Western Lands and Evict Feds

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With the now-infamous federal abuses against the Bundy ranching family and its supporters in Nevada helping to awaken a sleeping giant, liberty-minded elected officials from Western states are coming together with citizens to take action in defense of the Constitution and the West. Their mission: to wrest control over the vast expanses of land and wealth in the region that are unconstitutionally claimed by the Washington, D.C.-based political and bureaucratic classes. Now, a new alliance of lawmakers and citizens has a concrete plan to make those goals a reality.

As The New American reported this week, more than 50 elected officials from nine Western states met on April 18 at the Utah Capitol for the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands. Among them were state House speakers, state senators, a U.S. senator, county commissioners, and more. The goal, multiple organizers and attendees explained, is to strip the federal government of the almost 50 percent of land in Western states that it claims to “own” in defiance of the U.S. Constitution and various agreements.

One of the lawmakers who participated, Washington State Rep. Matt Shea, a liberty-minded Republican who also stood with the Bundy family, says that lawmakers from Western states are determined to protect the Constitution and their constituents. “Legislators from across the West are saying enough is enough,” Rep. Shea told The New American after the summit in Salt Lake City. “We are banding together to fight federal overreach wherever it rears its ugly head, not just talk about it.”

To do that, last week, another alliance of lawmakers, citizens, businessman, ranchers, sheriffs, officials, and more came together and created the Coalition of Western States United Against Tyranny, or COWS for short. Already, the network has seen phenomenal growth, with more than 25 lawmakers joining up by April 22, Rep. Shea explained. “COWS has grown massively in just one week and legislators from all over the West are jumping on board,” he said, adding that he was “absolutely” optimistic about their prospects for success.

COWS advocates a five-step process to evict the self-styled federal landlords from the Western United States, Rep. Shea explained. In the short term, county governments should draw up management plans for the land in coordination with state and federal agencies. Already, federal law requires that U.S. bureaucracies work with local officials, though in practice, that rarely happens. At the same time, states should also introduce and pass legislation to prohibit any net loss of private land to government.

In the longer term, federally (mis)managed lands should be transferred over to state authorities, “because government closest to the people is best,” Rep. Shea continued. “The federal government cannot possibly know how best to manage land in the thousands of different locales like the people of those areas could,” the popular Republican lawmaker explained, echoing the sentiments of countless other policymakers and activists who say the federal government needs to be stripped of its vast, unconstitutional land holdings.

“Clearly,” Shea says, “the people of Western states would do a better job managing those lands.” In fact, among the most common complaints on the issue in the West is the fact that the feds have done a terrible job maintaining the land they purport to own — especially when compared with the areas managed by state and local governments, or even private citizens. The COWS lawmakers said an excellent, proven process for transferring federally managed lands into state control has been laid out by the American Lands Council and others.

Then there is the issue of keeping promises. As the Western territories were officially becoming states, like in the East, the federal government agreed to eventually transfer those lands. However, as with so many other promises made by the D.C.-based political class, so far, it has not been fulfilled. “The enabling acts of the Western States make it clear the federal government was meant to be a steward only until such time that the states could manage,” Rep. Shea explained.

 

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Saudi Arabia fears democracy in Iraq: Expert

Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:33AM GMT

Transcripts of interview with Sa’ad al-Muttalibi

 

Press TV has interviewed Sa’ad al-Muttalibi, State of Law Coalition from Baghdad, to discuss comments made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki over Saudi Arabia meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq and Syria.

What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: We see that Prime Minister [Nouri] Maliki has pointed the finger specifically at Saudi Arabia. Now our guest in Washington [Mr. Richard Weitz] says it’s basically countries supporting those closest in perspective but not necessarily destabilizing the country. I want your thoughts on who do you think or which entity or country do you think is destabilizing or trying to destabilize Iraq?

Muttalibi: We have to admit there is a proxy war going on in Iraq on behalf of regional powers. Now as the guest in the States mentioned not only is Saudi Arabia interfering in the Iraqi picture but as a destabilizing force and a power that is linked to ISIL and to al-Qaeda, we have definite proof of such interference.

Al-Qaeda is not fighting a proxy-war against neighboring Iran or Turkey or Kuwait or Syria, but they are actually striving to bring down the political regime and democracy in Iraq.

So, there are two agendas here. There is an interference from neighboring countries. But the agenda or the reason why there is a regional interference in Iraq and a proxy war going on — fueled by the push from the United States into creating this theory of this axis of evil where Syria and Iran are a part of those — then Saudi Arabia is manipulating on the picture and trying to get in, pushing for a seat as a leading Arab country or Islamic country to decide how things run in the region.

But for particularly Iraq as a destabilizing force — as Christopher Hill, ex-Ambassador to Baghdad, very clearly mentioned and as Jeffrey Feltman also – Undersecretary – was very correct in saying that there were and there are evidence of very serious Saudi meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq and aiming at destabilizing the political regime here.

So the political picture is complicated to say the least, but that does deny or does not say that Saudi Arabia is not part of a regional important force in trying to destabilize the state of Iraq.

Press TV: Let me just expand on what you said. I want to get clarity on what you just said. Are you saying that it is the United States that is the main entity behind this destabilization in your country?

Muttalibi: Yes, definitely. It’s a side product.

What America did by claiming the theory of the axis of evil and pushing Arab states that are closely linked to the United States into creating an enemy of Iran, unfortunately Saudi Arabia misunderstood this picture and considered Iraq as part of the overall Middle Eastern picture that Iraq is a close ally of Iran, therefore Saudi Arabia by hitting at Iran are by the way attacking Iraq to destabilize Iraq on the thought that Iraq and Iran are closely linked. Therefore, by hitting the Iraqi regime or the Iraqi political system, they think they are hitting Iran at the same time.

Press TV: In general, who do you think benefits from an unstable Iraq? –Because usually in a situation, obviously, countries around a country tend to want their neighbors to be stable. You pointed the finger at the United States and Saudi Arabia. Would the Saudis not be afraid of this type of violence actually backfiring and entering into its own soil?

Muttalibi: Finally and eventually yes. Saudi Arabia will suffer from the commodity that they exported to us and to Syria. Unfortunately it takes a wise man to understand that a stable country, a stable neighbor contributes to the stability of its own country.

But we have to remember that Saudi Arabia does not have a democratic system so they don’t really understand or care about what the people say. They have a king and they have a monarchy, a non-democratic system where the royal family decides whatever they want and a jurisprudence of clerics and religious institutions backs the monarchy. They don’t really have the same democratic system where they have to answer to their own people.

Press TV: Your take, Mr. Al-Muttalibi, because we saw when the revolution took place in Egypt, we saw immediately Saudi Arabia and Qatar definitely going against what the people wanted initially. Do you think that these types of regimes fear an Arab success model of representative government?

Muttalibi: It’s natural that democracy is contagious.

Democracy is not only contagious but it does not respect sovereign borders. It’s very natural for a regime such as Saudi Arabia to fear from any success story in particular from an important regional country like Iraq, with its natural resources and its ability to be a bridge between the West and the East, and a close ally to the Arab world at the same time holding an excellent relationship with Iran and Turkey at the same time.

Iraq, you have to remember, historically is the crossroads of all civilizations. Whatever happens in Iraq definitely passes a very strong footprint in the region.

Everybody knows that democracy is contagious. Saudi Arabia will naturally feel a bit worried.

Reading the literature of Saudi Arabia in the past few months or monitoring their media we see very clearly that they highlight all the atrocities that happen in Iraq and never once mentioned a positive aspect of Iraqi life.

So, the way they present to the people that the experiment in Iraq is the biggest failure in the Middle East and democracy in Iraq is such a failure that nobody should try and copy that example. This is their internal media and internal literature that they feed to their own people, which naturally shows that there is a fear of that.

Press TV: Your take on what’s happening in the al-Anbar province. We know that Takfiri insurgents have actually taken over parts of that province. I want to know the significance of that. Are they trying to send a message to the Iraqi people and do you think with the elections — first of all, will they be able to hold elections in that province, and the significance of this election, if it is successful, will it be a boost for security forces to get more of a stronghold or control over that region and others?

Muttalibi: We believe here in Iraq, and it’s not only me, I’m speaking on behalf of thousands and hundreds of people that I’ve actually seen and spoken to during this campaign, they talk very openly of the necessity of moving away from consensual democracy into majority democracy, and a government that should be formed on the basis of majority blocks within the government parliament, away from consensual agreement. Since the consensual agreement that was been imposed on Iraq, it definitely proved it is not working within our framework and our social structure.

Therefore, we consider this election to be a milestone election, the election that will decide the fate of the state of Iraq, the shape of Iraq. Will Iraq continue to be a federal state or centralized, decentralized? What kind of a federal state, is it confederation or federation? All these questions would be answered at this election.

Also, the upcoming elections and the political map that will be produced will be in charge of setting right the security forces and legislating laws that will allow our security forces to act more responsibly and more actively within the country.

Fallujah, what’s happening there is a big media thing. But nothing’s really been affected here in Baghdad. There is a try by al-Qaeda to move away attention from Fallujah and Anwar province into Baghdad, trying to draw attention away from Fallujah. But the war in Fallujah is between al-Qaeda, ISIS and the local tribesmen who are fighting al-Qaeda.

The Iraqi army until now is not involved in any battles with al-Qaeda or ISIS, therefore we can see how important the upcoming election is and how important the political map that it will produce.

Press TV: Your take on the same question, what will it take to reestablish security in your country?

Muttalibi: Yes, there are two issues here we have to take into consideration, the local political map from one side, and the regional events. As your guest very clearly said, what’s happening in Syria is a major factor in security in Iraq, and also the political map with the unfortunate presence of certain political entities that created a fertile ground for regional interference. That means there will always be a political group that will invite regional interference in particular from Syria and from extremist elements from Syria.

GMA/HSN

 

Watch Video Here

 

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By MICHELLE RINDELS

Associated Press

— A Nevada rancher who became a conservative folk hero for standing up to the government in a fight over grazing rights lost some of his staunch defenders after wondering aloud whether blacks might have had it better under slavery.

Republican politicians from around the country who have rallied to Cliven Bundy’s defense in recent weeks denounced the comments and distanced themselves from the rancher, including potential 2016 presidential contender U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada.

Democrats were quick to pounce on the comments and label Bundy a racist.

Bundy has gone from a little-known rancher and melon farmer in rural Nevada to a national political star since he resisted the federal government’s attempts to round up his cattle from federal land because he hadn’t paid grazing fees for two decades. His supporters, especially those on the right, have praised him for standing up to what they believe is a heavy-handed federal government, and several armed militia members traveled to his ranch to back Bundy.

His comments were first published in The New York Times on Wednesday, but he did little to tamp down the controversy as he sought to address the public outrage on Thursday.

Bundy was quoted in a Times story referring to black people as “the Negro” and recalling a time decades ago when he drove past homes in North Las Vegas and saw black people who “didn’t have nothing to do.” He said he wondered if they were “better off as slaves” than “under government subsidy.”

Read More Here

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CNN Opinion

On race, Cliven Bundy isn’t the problem

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
updated 2:14 PM EDT, Fri April 25, 2014

Rancher Cliven Bundy, right, leaves the podium with bodyguards after a news conference near his ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, on Thursday, April 24. Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management have been locked in a dispute for a couple of decades over grazing rights on public lands. Rancher Cliven Bundy, right, leaves the podium with bodyguards after a news conference near his ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, on Thursday, April 24. Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management have been locked in a dispute for a couple of decades over grazing rights on public lands.

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Editor’s note: LZ Granderson is a CNN contributor, a senior writer for ESPN and lecturer at Northwestern University. Commentary by the former Hechinger Institute fellow has been recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Follow him on Twitter @locs_n_laughs. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) — Bashing Cliven Bundy for his remarks regarding race is like Lebron James dunking on a 5-foot rim: Pointless. But we’re going to do it anyway because it’s fun. He said a lot of stupid things, and there are few things more entertaining than well-executed memes and a hashtag in front of stupidity.

The problem is Bundy is not the face of racism.

Not today’s version.

But we’ll place that yoke on his shoulders anyway because it’s easy. Some conservatives will quickly pedal away from the Bundys and the Ted Nugents of the world, insisting that they are not like those rodeo clowns. They don’t have a racist bone in their body because they would never make such outlandish statements. But then they turn around and marvel at how “well-spoken” or “articulate” a black person is and think nothing of it.

Politicians of all stripes will publicly denounce the offensive things that Bundy said but continue to construct policies that caters to his sensibilities. Today, racism isn’t a crazy old white man with a dead calf on his shoulders proclaiming he’s “unracist.” No, it’s elected officials like Paul Ryan saying inner-city men are “not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work” and then feigning shock that people see a racist element to his statements.

Read More Here

 

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Civilian Militia Remains at Bundy Ranch After Standoff Ends

 

PHOTO: Justin Giles of Wasilla, Alaska stands guard on a bridge over the Virgin River during a rally in support of Cliven Bundy near Bunkerville, Nev. Friday, April 18, 2014.

A group of armed militia and protesters, some sporting nametags reading “domestic terrorist,” remain camped out on a cattle ranch in Nevada, where they have been purportedly defending the property since a tense showdown ended with the federal government last week.

A 20-year struggle between rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over decades of alleged illegal cattle grazing on public land ended last Sunday, with the government backing down from a controversial week-long cattle round-up.

 

PHOTO: Flanked by armed supporters, rancher Cliven Bundy speaks at a protest camp near Bunkerville, Nev. Friday, April 18, 2014.

Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher/AP Photo
Flanked by armed supporters, rancher Cliven Bundy speaks at a protest camp near Bunkerville, Nev. Friday, April 18, 2014.

 

The BLM defused the standoff, citing safety concerns for its employees and the protesters, some of whom were on horseback and others who were set up in sniper positions on the Interstate 15 overpass pointing military-style rifles at federal agents. Among the citizen army were dozens of women and children under the overpass who could have been caught in the line of any possible gunfire.

But many people who say they support Bundy said they felt the battle was far from over, as evidenced by some responses ABC News received on social media, after the BLM first announced on April 12 that it was withdrawing from the area and releasing the 380 cattle already collected as part of the round-up on an area of land half the size of Delaware state.

 

 

The government maintains that Bundy owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid trespass fees and penalties after letting his herd of some 900 cattle graze on federal land near the town of Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, for the last 20 years.

Agency officials also told The Associated Press that the roundup contract was $900,000.

The BLM said it would now move to resolve the matter “administratively and judicially,” although the government has unsuccessfully gone head to head with Bundy in Court since 1993, after it established the area as a protected habitat for the endangered desert tortoise and slashed Bundy’s cattle allotment.

 

Read More Here

 

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KLAS segment on militia at Bundy’s Ranch 4/18/2014 

Part 1

Published on Apr 20, 2014

KLAS segment on the militia at Bundy’s Ranch 4/18/2014, part 1 of 2.

     

     

    Part 2

     

    Published on Apr 20, 2014

    KLAS segment on the militia at Bundy’s Ranch 4/18/2014, part 2 of 2.

     

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    File:WaldemarOtto1.jpg

    by Waldemar Otto, 1986

    Author  :  Wikimedia.org user  25asd

    Techdirt

    Revolving Door: MPAA Hires Chief USTR Negotiator Behind ACTA And TPP’s IP Chapter

    by Mike Masnick

    from the a-big-pat-on-the-back dept

    For the past five years or so, the USTR’s chief intellectual property negotiator has been Stan McCoy. McCoy has long positioned himself as an intellectual property maximalist, repeating talking points from lobbyists regularly, while condescending to anyone who questions the legitimacy of those claims. McCoy famously was the chief negotiator behind the US’s disastrous (and mostly failed) attempt to push ACTA through, as well as the lead on the TPP’s intellectual property chapter — a chapter so bad it may help sink the TPP agreement. In fact, previous reports have noted that McCoy’s bullying and aggression in trying to push through the TPP were angering others in the negotiations. McCoy also has a long history of mocking public interest advocates, while praising maximalists for similar tactics. From a report a few years ago concerning a hearing that McCoy chaired:

    The burden of proof was very obviously on the public interest, civil society groups. Stan McCoy of the USTR, who was presiding over the hearing, joked about the two-phonebook-sized submission by the International Intellectual Property Alliance. (Lol?) Sadly, there is no independent verification of these industry reports and there were no tough questions for industry regarding their testimony. Several times, McCoy interrupted civil society groups’ testimony to chide them on speaking too generally about IP policy, but refrained when industry witnesses did the same.

    Given all that, it should be no surprise at all that McCoy, the failed strategist behind ACTA and the TPP’s IP provisions… has received his reward and pat on the back from the industry: a shiny new job at the MPAA. As Tim Lee notes in that link, this is just the latest in the never-ending revolving door between maximalist lobbying groups and the USTR:

    Last year I wrote that at least a dozen former senior USTR officials have moved to industry groups that favor stronger protections. McCoy’s hire makes it a baker’s dozen. Previous hires include including Greg Frazier, who (according to his LinkedIn page) spent 8 years as the executive vice president of the Motion Picture Association of America after a stint at USTR. Other former USTR officials took jobs at drug and medical device companies.

     

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    Nomi Prins Author of “All the Presidents Bankers“ on Upcoming Collapse

    Nomi PrinsBy Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com

    Best-selling author Nomi Prins warns, “Never before have the Government and the Fed collaborated so extensively by propping up the banking system to the detriment of the population.”  Prins lays out a long history of the relationships between U.S. Presidents and bankers that date back to Teddy Roosevelt and JP Morgan.   On her new book titled “All the Presidents’ Bankers,” Prins contends, “That connection with Teddy Roosevelt was a very powerful established entity between two people that has allowed all this stuff that has happened in the last hundred years to really happen.  The friendships, the social ties, the idea that the bankers could sort themselves out with Treasury Department help if it needed to.  Of course, it’s epic now.  All of that was solidified then.  Banks being hands-off with respect to the oval office was all solidified then.  We’ve only been consolidating that message throughout the century since.”   

    Fast forward to JFK and the bankers of the day, and Prins points out the banks in the early 1960’s didn’t want a gold standard to restrict them.  It is dollar debasement history as Prins explains, “If bankers have a peg, if they have to put gold or any type of asset behind it or have any restriction, they don’t like it.  So at the time, they weren’t working on trying to demolish the regulations that happened from the 1930’s to separate bank speculation from depositors, but they saw something else, and that was getting off gold.  They really worked to push JFK off of gold.  JFK was a little less friendly with the bankers.  JFK, when he did invite bankers to the White House, he would have very short meetings.  It was like hello, goodbye and thank you.  Where LBJ, who came after JFK, was very friendly to the bankers and opened the White House to the bankers.”  

     

    Read More Here

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    BLM Selling Out America-Fabian Calvo

    Fabian Calvo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com   (Early Sunday Release)

    Real estate expert Fabian Calvo thinks the recent standoff between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy is about much more than grazing rights.  Even though this standoff is over, we find out It’s really about sweetheart deals for federal land.  Calvo says, “The hair on the back of my neck stood up when I was doing research for this and speaking to some of my contacts on Wall Street.  The BLM is part of the Department of the Interior, and look at what they have been doing?  Through the BLM, the Department of the Interior has been confiscating land and going after land, for example, in the high desert in California and all over the place.  What I am hearing is they are categorizing this land for future collateralization or to sell off.  In the Weimar (Germany) hyperinflation, after the hyperinflation, what did they back their currency with?  They backed it with mortgages and they backed it with land.  This is a total possibility here in America, but here’s the part that is more sinister and crazy.  The Department of the Interior and BLM have been providing sweetheart deals for Chinese investors.  I have a laundry list of deals that have been approved just in the last year.  Whether it’s Smithfield, a giant hog producer in America, and all of the farm land, overnight, the Chinese became the number one employer in a ton of cities across the U.S., but it doesn’t stop there.  Chinese investors are getting approval for solar fields.  There are battery companies they have taken over, and the list goes on and on.  The USDA gave the Chinese approval to import their chickens.  Why is this happening?  It is an end of the road situation.  It is just like where America was with England when we were exercising leverage over them around WWII because we were the largest creditor nation.  Now, we are the largest debtor nation, and we owe all this money to the Chinese.  In order to not have them dump our debt, we’re basically allowing them, through the Department of the Interior who is stealing rancher land and killing their cattle, they are selling out America.” 

     

    Read More Here

     

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    Fabian Calvo: BLM and Deals for Chinese Investors, Imploding Dollar and Housing Market Crash

     

    Published on Apr 13, 2014

    Fabian Calvo from TheNoteHouse.us says, “Real investors are scared to death of the imploding U.S. dollar. . . . Not everybody is a gold investor, and real estate is a tangible hard asset that can be rented out. I think home prices could go up until we have another full blown collapse. I think the collapse of the housing market will be coupled with the stock market collapse, the bond market collapse and the dollar collapse. Everything will blow at once.”

    As far as the recent crisis between the federal government and the Bundy ranch in Nevada, Calvo says, “I think this Bundy ranch situation could be the Lexington and Concord of the Second American Revolution. Through the BLM, the Department of the Interior has been confiscating land and going after land . . . The Department of Interior and BLM has been providing sweetheart deals for Chinese investors.”

    Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Fabian Calvo from TheNoteHouse.us.

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