Politics and Legislation
GOP Promises of Lower Gas Costs Belied by Dwindling Supply of World’s Oil
Amy Goodman, Video Report:
“Looking at rising fuel costs, one of the major issues raised by the Republican contenders in the 2012 presidential campaign. Since the beginning of the year, the average of price of a gallon of regular gasoline has jumped 16 percent to more than $3.80. Earlier this week, President Obama partially blamed his Republican rivals, saying one reason for the increase is rumors of war with Iran.”
Donors to conservative super PAC masked by nonprofit
Super PACs are the perceived demons of the 2012 campaign. But a shadowy sideshow that’s gone largely unnoticed is the set of nonprofits affiliated with them, which often provide money to the cash cows — and they don’t have to publicly disclose their donors. Case in point: FreedomWorks for America.
The New York Times: Delegate system gives small states outsize clout at convention
By Michael Cooper
Both Democrats and Republicans have long used formulas that award a state’s delegates based not just on population, but also on party loyalty in previous elections.
France’s Upcoming Election Means Euro Devaluation—and a Pop In Gold
On May 6, France is holding its second round of Presidential elections, where the Socialist François Hollande is fully expected to win.
I’m pretty sure two things will happen immediately following the election: The first is, Carla Bruni will leave Nicolas Sarkozy (because everyone knows that a professional courtesan never stays when the going gets tough for her patron).
10 reasons Wall Street will hit bottom, crash
Commentary: Gambling-addicted banks need a Betty Ford Center
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, Wall Street will crash. Has to. They’re gambling addicts. Dodged the bullet in 2008. But learned nothing. Now killing reforms. Teamed up with the Super Rich, CEOs, lobbyists, and crony politicians. It’s only a matter of time.
Yes, they’ll crash, again. No matter how anemic the recovery. No matter how much more debt they pile on taxpayers. No matter who’s president. Crash.
The Betty Ford Center, Rancho Mirage, Calif.
How do I know Wall Street will hit bottom? First off, most American know somebody who’s trapped in addictive behavior. I got a front-row seat years ago as a professional helping a few hundred addicts, alcoholics and gamblers getting help from the Betty Ford Center and others like it.
The Truth About Gas Prices
Bill Scher, Op-Ed:
Conservatives are betting that a President Obama can’t succeed in talking straight about gas prices the way Candidate Obama did. First, they are exaggerating the price spike itself, saying that under Obama’s presidency, prices have jumped from $1.83 to $3.70 per gallon. That is technically true, but remember, in the summer of 2008 gas was over $4 a gallon. Prices briefly plummeted below $2 per gallon right before Obama’s inauguration because there was this little cataclysmic global economic meltdown that shattered consumer demand.
Four large US banks fail stress tests
Citigroup was one of four large US banks that flunked stress tests aimed at seeing how they would hold up in a new economic crisis, Federal Reserve data showed Tuesday.
Three others — Ally, Suntrust and MetLife — also failed the tests, while 15 other large bank holding companies passed the exercise, the Fed said.
Oil price spike on Iran is beyond control: OPEC
KUWAIT (Reuters) – Top exporter Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf producers say surging oil markets are beyond their control and prices could spike higher unless tensions between the West and Iran subside.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri are expected to focus on high oil prices in their addresses to the International Energy Forum gathering of oil ministers and executives on Wednesday, several OPEC sources said.
Wars and Rumors of War
What A War With Iran Really Means: Proceed
By Barry Rubin
It is quite right to be worried and hesitant about entering a war with Iran. War, as recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan show, is a dangerous, bloody, often dirty mess in which things go wrong, civilians are killed inadvertently, your own side loses people, and goals are not necessarily achieved.
Sometimes war is necessary. That was clearly true in Afghanistan in 2001 but less clear regarding Iraq in 2003. What are the goals? How are they to be gained? In what way can a war be brought to an end? How is victory defined? These are all serious issues.
IDF official: Army ready for ground op in Gaza
The current round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian terror groups could prompt Israel to launch a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, a senior IDF official said Monday.
Russia says it won’t stop selling weapons to Syria
MOSCOW: Russia has no intention of curtailing military cooperation with Syria despite calls from the West to stop arming President Bashar Assad’s regime, a senior Russian government official said Tuesday.
Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Russia will abide by existing contracts to deliver weapons to Syria despite Assad’s yearlong crackdown on the opposition, during which the UN says over 7,500 people have been killed.
Israel sends air force into Gaza
Gaza has been pounded for a second day by Israel’s air strength. In the worst bombing raid in the region for almost a year at least 15 militants have been killed on the Gaza side. Israel has said the air strikes are in retaliation to the firing of more than 100 rockets from the Palestinian side.
US terror drones kill 30 in southern Somalia
At least 30 people have been killed and a dozen injured in an attack by US assassination drones in southern Somalia, Press TV reports. The unmanned aircraft fired several missiles at al-Shabab positions in the Dayniile district of south Mogadishu on Tuesday. Sheik Ibrahim Jaabar, a senior al-Shabab official, confirmed the attack, saying the aerial strike caused major damage to the group’s positions.
Hague to be sued for aiding US drone attacks in Pakistan
A rights group and a law firm are set to take legal action against British Foreign Secretary William Hague over his alleged the contribution of intelligence in assisting US assassination drone strikes in Pakistan. The London-based charity Reprieve and the law firm Leigh Day & Co. confirmed on Monday that they will issue formal proceedings at the High Court on behalf of Noor Khan, a Pakistani man whose father was killed by a US strike. The law firm says it has credible evidence that Hague oversaw a policy of passing British intelligence to American forces planning attacks in Pakistan. Lawyers claim that civilian staff at Britain’s electronic listening agency (GCHQ) could be liable as “secondary parties to murder” as they provided “locational intelligence” to the CIA in directing its drone attacks.
Our New ‘Tough Oil’ World
Michael T. Klare, Op-Ed:
“Oil prices are now higher than they have ever been—except for a few frenzied moments before the global economic meltdown of 2008. Many immediate factors are contributing to this surge, including Iran’s threats to block oil shipping in the Persian Gulf, fears of a new Middle Eastern war and turmoil in energy-rich Nigeria. Some of these pressures could ease in the months ahead, providing temporary relief at the gas pump. But the principal cause of higher prices—a fundamental shift in the structure of the oil industry—cannot be reversed, and so oil prices are destined to remain high for a long time to come.”
Senate Rejects Plan to Open Arctic Refuge to Drilling
Sean Cockerham, News Report:
“The Senate on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a sweeping measure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other protected areas to oil drilling, as well as to approve construction of the Keystone pipeline project. Tuesday’s vote was the first time in four years that the Senate has voted on a measure including ANWR drilling, and it failed miserably. The proposal needed 60 votes to pass; it only received 41 votes in favor, with 57 senators against.”
Why Pennsylvania’s Act 13 May Be the Nation’s Worst Corporate Giveaway
Suvendrini Kakuchi, News Report:
“It’s absolutely crushing of local self-government,” said Ben Price, project director for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which has helped a handful of local communities-including the city of Pittsburgh-adopt community rights ordinances that elevate the rights of nature and people to block the drilling. “The state has surrendered over 2,000 municipalities to the industry. It’s a complete capitulation of the rights of the people and their right to self-government. They are handing it over to the industry to let them govern us. It is the corporate state. That is how we look at it.”
The shape of things to come
Miami FL (SPX)
When oil started gushing into the Gulf of Mexico in late April 2010, friends asked George Haller whether he was tracking its movement. That’s because the McGill engineering professor has been working for years on ways to better understand patterns in the seemingly chaotic motion of oceans and air. Meanwhile, colleagues of Josefina Olascoaga in Miami were asking the geophysicist a similar questio ..
Toxic acid release again draws federal investigators
Again drawn by a leak of toxic hydrofluoric acid, federal investigators are back at a Texas oil refinery they examined three years ago. A Center investigation last year found that 50 refineries use the acid despite the availability of safer alternatives.
Think Locally, Occupy Globally: Our Fight Is The World’s – And Vice Versa
Richard (RJ) Eskow, Op-Ed:
We’ve known for a long time that local protest movements carry an international message. The people here in South Africa gave hope and inspiration to the entire world during their own struggle for political freedom. Then, as now, genuine change seemed like an impossible dream. The apartheid regime had enormous wealth and was backed by some of the world’s most powerful corporate interests. The greatest governments in the world, including our own, were more than willing to ignore the regime’s worst human rights abuses in order to benefit from its trade.
Google’s New ‘Spy’ Policy
Robert Jain, News Report:
Teenager arrested for comments made on Facebook page
A teenager has been arrested for allegedly making comments on Facebook about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan last week.
According to Sky News, Azhar Ahmed of Ravensthorpe (19) posted comments on his profile page, criticizing the level of attention British soldiers who died in a bomb blast received, compared to that received by Afghan civilians killed in the war.
US wins the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer over UK-based website
Sheffield – A 23-year old UK student is to be extradited to the USA to face trial for operating a UK-based website linking to copyright materials.
Vatican confirms second Anonymous hack
A Vatican spokesman on Tuesday downplayed the impact of the hack on the Vatican Radio database, saying the hackers had gained access to an old server “shortly after 2pm” on Monday. Anonymous claimed to have hacked Vatican Radio in protest against the Vatican Radio… in a Pastebin post on Monday. AnonOps Communications, a recognised mouthpiece of the hacktivist collective, published a link to the Pastebin post on Tuesday. Comments on the post called for alleged LulzSec members arrested last week by the FBI and international law enforcement to be freed.
Rense & Dr Blaylock – Radiation What We CAN Do
Uploaded by JRense on Apr 24, 2011
World famous Dr Russell Blaylock gives real advise on how we can protect ourselves from radiation, and a sober assessment of how our governments go for “covering up” the reality.
Speaking Truth About Power
Jim Hightower, Op-Ed:
A willingness to speak truth to power is an essential civic virtue for the well-being of a democratic-republic. Davis became a whistleblower, daring even to call out Gen. David Petraeus, the former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who now heads the CIA. Last year, Petraeus had told Congress that the Afghan Taliban’s momentum had been “arrested,” that our progress there was “significant,” and that the mission was “on the right azimuth,” to succeed.
Fed To Take Propaganda To The Schoolroom: Will Teach Grade 8-12 Students About Constitutionality Of… The Fed
Back in September we noted a peculiar RFP by the Fed which sought to become a secret ‘big brother’ to the social media world, and to “monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria.” The Fed’s desired product should be able to “determine the sentiment of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document”… “The solution must be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube. It should also be able to aggregate data from various media outlets such as: CNN, WSJ, Factiva etc.” Most importantly, the “Listening Platform” should be able to “Handle crisis situations, Continuously monitor conversations, and Identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers.”
FBI Urges Coffee Shops To Report Cash-Paying Customers To Authorities
Use of paper money is a terrorist trait — if you don’t want to be considered suspect, the government commands you to use corporate-issued debit and credit cards, rather than its own currency. Via Boing Boing:
According to a set of guidelines sent out by the FBI as part of its Communities Against Terror program, ordinary citizens need to be on the lookout for suspicious characters who follow patterns of behavior of a covert operative.
Classified documents contradict FBI on post-9/11 probe of Saudis, ex-senator says
By Anthony Summers and Dan Christensen
Special to msnbc.com
Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired Congress’ Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has seen two classified FBI documents that he says are at odds with the bureau’s public statements that there was no connection between the hijackers and Saudis then living in Sarasota, Fla.
“There are significant inconsistencies between the public statements of the FBI in September and what I read in the classified documents,” Graham said.
Broken Promises: Pensions All Over America Are Being Savagely Cut Or Are Vanishing Completely
How would you feel if you worked for a state or local government for 20 or 30 years only to have your pension slashed dramatically or taken away entirely? Well, this exact scenario is playing out from coast to coast and in the years ahead millions of elderly Americans are going to be affected by broken promises and vanishing pensions.
Bringing Down the Empire: Challenging the Institutions of Domination
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo
We have come to the point in our history of our species where an increasing amount of people are asking questions, seeking answers, taking action, and waking up to the realities of our world, to the systems, ideas, institutions and individuals who have dominated, oppressed, controlled, and ensnared humanity in their grip of absolute control. As the resistance to these ideas, institutions, and individuals grows and continues toward taking action – locally, nationally, regionally, and globally – it is now more important than ever for the discussion and understanding of our system to grow in accord. Action must be taken, and is being taken, but information must inform action. Without a more comprehensive, global and expansive understanding of our world, those who resist this system will become increasingly divided, more easily co-opted, and have their efforts often undermined.