Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Facebook UnlikeSo many people ask me to “like” them on Facebook. When I am asked this I cringe… I just “don’t do Facebook.”

I know many feel it’s a great social platform and they use it to communicate their businesses and social networking causes… After all, statistics show that Facebook is the largest online social networking site.

I used to use Facebook, at least for a couple of years, but I bailed out, haven’t looked back and I really don’t regret it.

The reason why I don’t like Facebook (and subsequently dumped it) was due to a multitude of reasons…

One: People, close to you, get carried away, there’s too much drama and color. They tell everything – what they ate, what their kid did in the toilet, where they are going, they engage in colorful online disagreements, etc. I really don’t care to know what they are doing all the time or want to be part of the negativity in their lives. I know some people love that stuff – I don’t.

Two: I enjoyed, initially, hooking up with people that I hadn’t seen in ages, like people from high school; it was kinda cool. Then, I started to realize after a time, I really wasn’t friends with them in school – I didn’t really know them then and I don’t really know them now – it was all so false. Seemed people were grappling for NUMBERS – how many people followed them. So, I guess, the second thing I didn’t like was all the falseness and there seemed an abundance of it – from everyone!

Three: I began to realize how much PERSONAL information was being pumped into Facebook and I read stories and articles about how government agencies (and other undesirables) were using Facebook as a data mining site. That didn’t sit well with me and I certainly didn’t want to be part of the party. That actually sealed my decision to abort…

But, maybe it was also due to age…

I’m not afraid to admit it!small facesmall face

Some more Facebook statistics shows that the average Facebook user is between the ages of 35-44 years of age and I left 44 in the dust some time ago…

Anyways, nowadays, when I tell people I “don’t do Facebook” it’s like a social faux pas…

People act shocked or dismayed; they plead with me to reconsider; they delete me on other social platforms. Over Facebook! Get REAL!!

I’ve lost friends, both virtual and real, because I “don’t do Facebook.” I find that totally unbelievable…

But I really don’t care. I don’t like Facebook and even though I politely tell them so, they don’t know how to graciously accept it.

So I ask, as apparently I do not know how…

How does one politely tell someone that you “don’t do Facebook“?

And, even more so, how does one do so, so that the other person does not go off in a huff, personally offended as it is, just because you don’t?

It’s a mystery to me but, obviously, people take their Facebook very seriously…

Seductive Facebook

Read Full Post »

I think it is important that we continue to draw attention to Wikileaks and the fact that U.S. and Icelandic governments have been spying on their activities.

Why should we continue to draw attention to them? Because Wikileaks, a non-profit organization, provides the world with documents, videos, and other releases of information that demonstrate and show us the corrupt activities occurring around the world everyday by the very officials we are supposed to trust.

These same officials have incited violence and created terrorism where those things did not exist before. They intimidate and terrorize the poor to pilfer their resources, and hire mercenary armies to kill and maim the innocent. They use weapons of mass destruction. These “officials” are the true scum of the earth and they serve in the military, hold political office, and work in commercial businesses.

I will continue to support Wikileaks and I hope that you will too. The information that their group makes available to the world is important and helps in the crusade against injustice, at the very least.

So as Vice-Presiden Biden would say, “This is a big fucking deal” so jump off the apathy wagon and listen up. It’s time to spread the word about Wikileaks and let the world know that there are a couple of countries who are acting like big fat godfathers by sending their fucking “hit men” out to harass and threaten them.

EDITORIAL:U.S. must stop spying on WikiLeaks

Fri Mar 26 08:44:46 UTC 2010

Over the last few years, WikiLeaks has been the subject of hostile acts by security organizations. In the developing world, these range from the appalling assassination of two related human rights lawyers in Nairobi last March (an armed attack on my compound there in 2007 is still unattributed) to an unsuccessful mass attack by Chinese computers on our servers in Stockholm, after we published photos of murders in Tibet. In the West this has ranged from the overt, the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, threatening to prosecute us unless we removed a report on CIA activity in Kosovo, to the covert, to an ambush by a “James Bond” character in a Luxembourg car park, an event that ended with a mere “we think it would be in your interest to…”.

Developing world violence aside, we’ve become used to the level of security service interest in us and have established procedures to ignore that interest.

But the increase in surveillance activities this last month, in a time when we are barely publishing due to fundraising, are excessive. Some of the new interest is related to a film exposing a U.S. massacre we will release at the U.S. National Press Club on April 5.

The spying includes attempted covert following, photographing, filming and the overt detention & questioning of a WikiLeaks’ volunteer in Iceland on Monday night.

I, and others were in Iceland to advise Icelandic parliamentarians on the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a new package of laws designed to protect investigative journalists and internet services from spying and censorship. As such, the spying has an extra poignancy.

The possible triggers:

  • our ongoing work on a classified film revealing civilian casualties occurring under the command of the U.S, general, David Petraeus.
  • our release of a classified 32 page US intelligence report on how to fatally marginalize WikiLeaks (expose our sources, destroy our reputation for integrity, hack us).
  • our release of a classified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik reporting on contact between the U.S. and the U.K. over billions of euros in claimed loan guarantees.
  • pending releases related to the collapse of the Icelandic banks and Icelandic “oligarchs”.

We have discovered half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik both by native English speakers and Icelanders. On the occasions where these individuals were approached, they ran away. One had marked police equipment and the license plates for another suspicious vehicle track back to the Icelandic private VIP bodyguard firm Terr. What does that mean? We don’t know. But as you will see, other events are clear.

U.S. sources told Icelandic state media’s deputy head of news, that the State Department was aggressively investigating a leak from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik. I was seen at a private U.S Embassy party at the Ambassador’s residence, late last year and it is known I had contact with Embassy staff, after.

On Thursday March 18, 2010, I took the 2.15 PM flight out of Reykjavik to Copenhagen–on the way to speak at the SKUP investigative journalism conference in Norway. After receiving a tip, we obtained airline records for the flight concerned. Two individuals, recorded as brandishing diplomatic credentials checked in for my flight at 12:03 and 12:06 under the name of “US State Department”. The two are not recorded as having any luggage.

Iceland doesn’t have a separate security service. It folds its intelligence function into its police forces, leading to an uneasy overlap of policing and intelligence functions and values.

On Monday 22, March, at approximately 8.30pm, a WikiLeaks volunteer, a minor, was detained by Icelandic police on a wholly insignificant matter. Police then took the opportunity to hold the youth over night, without charge–a highly unusual act in Iceland. The next day, during the course of interrogation, the volunteer was shown covert photos of me outside the Reykjavik restaurant “Icelandic Fish & Chips”, where a WikiLeaks production meeting took place on Wednesday March 17–the day before individuals operating under the name of the U.S. State Department boarded my flight to Copenhagen.

Our production meeting used a discreet, closed, backroom, because we were working on the analysis of a classified U.S. military video showing civilian kills by U.S. pilots. During the interrogation, a specific reference was made by police to the video—which could not have been understood from that day’s exterior surveillance alone. Another specific reference was made to “important”, but unnamed Icelandic figures. References were also made to the names of two senior journalists at the production meeting.

Who are the Icelandic security services loyal to in their values? The new government of April 2009, the old pro-Iraq war government of the Independence party, or perhaps to their personal relationships with peers from another country who have them on a permanent intelligence information drip?

Only a few years ago, Icelandic airspace was used for CIA rendition flights. Why did the CIA think that this was acceptable? In a classified U.S. profile on the former Icelandic Ambassador to the United States, obtained by WikiLeaks, the Ambassador is praised for helping to quell publicity of the CIA’s activities.

Often when a bold new government arises, bureaucratic institutions remain loyal to the old regime and it can take time to change the guard. Former regime loyalists must be discovered, dissuaded and removed. But for the security services, that first vital step, discovery, is awry. Congenitally scared of the light, such services hide their activities; if it is not known what security services are doing, then it is surely impossible to know who they are doing it for.

Our plans to release the video on April 5 proceed.

We have asked relevant authorities in the Unites States and Iceland to explain. If these countries are to be treated as legitimate states, they need to start obeying the rule of law. Now.

—Julian Assange (editor@wikileaks.org)

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

By Anthony Fenton

VANCOUVER, Canada, Feb 19, 2010 (IPS) – Critics are concerned that private military contractors are positioning themselves at the centre of an emerging “shock doctrine” for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Next month, a prominent umbrella organisation for private military and logistic corporations, the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), is co-organising a “Haiti summit” which aims to bring together “leading officials” for “private consultations with attending contractors and investors” in Miami, Florida.

HAITI: Private Contractors ‘Like Vultures Coming to Grab the Loot’ – IPS ipsnews.net

Posted using ShareThis

Read Full Post »

Joe Stack’s original website:

http://www.embeddedart.com

This website has been taken offline due to the sensitive nature of the events that transpired in Texas this morning and in compliance with a request from the FBI.

Regards,
T35 Hosting – http://www.T35.com

Joe Stack’s last message copied from Freethought and Rationalism Discussion Board

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

How did I get here?

My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.

In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer… and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.

For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here.

SEC. 1706. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN TECHNICAL PERSONNEL.

(a) IN GENERAL – Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. – This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. – The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.

Note:

· “another person” is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.

· “taxpayer” is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.

· “individual”, “employee”, or “worker” is you.

Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.

Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.

By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.

When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to Bill Ross, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, Ross knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

2/18/10

(Damn Joe, right during tax season! Now they’ll delay all our returns!

On the serious side, I certainly agree with a lot that Joe states in his message. Americans do need to wake up as things will only prove to get worse and worse.. It will take something writhing in ugliness on one’s doorstep before people start to realize that the “conspiracy theorists” were right about a lot of things all along.

It’s too bad Joe felt that there was no way out other than by flying a plane into the building. It’s sad – for everyone involved. RIP)

Read Full Post »

As U.S. military troops swarmed in large numbers into Haiti after the January 12, 2010 earthquake one had to wonder if more was going on..

Supplies and medicines sat on runways and were slow to get to the needy Haitian people and several countries accused the U.S. military of holding up the planes.

Good ole’ George W. Bush and his pal Bill Clinton joined together, staring at us from U.S. television screens asking for all Americans to please send monies to help the Haitian people.

How fascinating that there seemed to be more interest in the Haitian crisis than the Katrina catastrophe that occurred on “Homeland” soil. Does the American political elite really care that much about the Haitian people??

I doubt it. Human compassion isn’t their style – just the pretense of it.

Looks to me like Haiti is about to become a part of the American Empire.

Well, read and find out what F. William Engdahl says in his article The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti. Engdahl (among others) offers his opinion as to why the U.S. is so interested in Haiti:

The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti

by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, January 30, 2010

President becomes UN Special Envoy to earthquake-stricken Haiti.

A born-again neo-conservative US business wheeler-dealer preacher claims Haitians are condemned for making a literal ‘pact with the Devil.’

Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Bolivian, French and Swiss rescue organizations accuse the US military of refusing landing rights to planes bearing necessary medicines and urgently needed potable water to the millions of Haitians stricken, injured and homeless.

Behind the smoke, rubble and unending drama of human tragedy in the hapless Caribbean country, a drama is in full play for control of what geophysicists believe may be one of the world’s richest zones for hydrocarbons-oil and gas outside the Middle East, possibly orders of magnitude greater than that of nearby Venezuela.

Haiti, and the larger island of Hispaniola of which it is a part, has the geological fate that it straddles one of the world’s most active geological zones, where the deepwater plates of three huge structures relentlessly rub against one another—the intersection of the North American, South American and Caribbean tectonic plates. Below the ocean and the waters of the Caribbean, these plates consist of an oceanic crust some 3 to 6 miles thick, floating atop an adjacent mantle. Haiti also lies at the edge of the region known as the Bermuda Triangle, a vast area in the Caribbean subject to bizarre and unexplained disturbances.

This vast mass of underwater plates are in constant motion, rubbing against each other along lines analogous to cracks in a broken porcelain vase that has been reglued. The earth’s tectonic plates typically move at a rate 50 to 100 mm annually in relation to one another, and are the origin of earthquakes and of volcanoes. The regions of convergence of such plates are also areas where vast volumes of oil and gas can be pushed upwards from the Earth’s mantle. The geophysics surrounding the convergence of the three plates that run more or less directly beneath Port-au-Prince make the region prone to earthquakes such as the one that struck Haiti with devastating ferocity on January 12.

A relevant Texas geological project

Leaving aside the relevant question of how well in advance the Pentagon and US scientists knew the quake was about to occur, and what Pentagon plans were being laid before January 12, another issue emerges around the events in Haiti that might help explain the bizarre behavior to date of the major ‘rescue’ players—the United States, France and Canada. Aside from being prone to violent earthquakes, Haiti also happens to lie in a zone that, due to the unusual geographical intersection of its three tectonic plates, might well be straddling one of the world’s largest unexplored zones of oil and gas, as well as of valuable rare strategic minerals.

The vast oil reserves of the Persian Gulf and of the region from the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden are at a similar convergence zone of large tectonic plates, as are such oil-rich zones as Indonesia and the waters off the coast of California. In short, in terms of the physics of the earth, precisely such intersections of tectonic masses as run directly beneath Haiti have a remarkable tendency to be the sites of vast treasures of minerals, as well as oil and gas, throughout the world.

Notably, in 2005, a year after the Bush-Cheney Administration de facto deposed the democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Baptiste Aristide, a team of geologists from the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas began an ambitious and thorough two-phase mapping of all geological data of the Caribbean Basins. The project is due to be completed in 2011. Directed by Dr. Paul Mann, it is called “Caribbean Basins, Tectonics and Hydrocarbons.” It is all about determining as precisely as possible the relation between tectonic plates in the Caribbean and the potential for hydrocarbons—oil and gas.

Notably, the sponsors of the multi-million dollar research project under Mann are the world’s largest oil companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, the Anglo-Dutch Shell and BHP Billiton.[1] Curiously enough, the project is the first comprehensive geological mapping of a region that, one would have thought, would have been a priority decades ago for the US oil majors. Given the immense, existing oil production off Mexico, Louisiana, and the entire Caribbean, as well as its proximity to the United States – not to mention the US focus on its own energy security – it is surprising that the region had not been mapped earlier. Now it emerges that major oil companies were at least generally aware of the huge oil potential of the region long ago, but apparently decided to keep it quiet.

Rest of article, Cuba’s Super-giant find, here. (Map of mineral and oil reserves on Haiti with article)

Read more at Marguerite Laurent’s website, particularly article Oil in Haiti – Economic Reasons for the UN/US occupation.

Haiti Has Larger Oil Reserves than Venezuela

Read Full Post »

From AntiWar Radio

Scott Horton Interviews Ray McGovern

Scott Horton, January 14, 2010
Courtesty of The NewInternationalist http://www.newint.org/issue167/keynote.htm

Courtesy of New Internationalist

Ray McGovern, a retired CIA senior analyst, discusses a number of subjects to include: the ignorance of the American people; how American Imperialism is behind acts of terrorism and not that terrorists are “jealous” of our democracy; how journalists no longer report ‘real’ news; the terrorist organization that makes up the state of Israel and how the American Imperialist government is firmly in bed with their terrorist actions; the alteration of true history to suit the elitists; the skewing of “intelligence” reports; the use of the word “homeland” and its Nazi connections; how oil, resources, money, and power rules; and much more.

Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, has published a number of articles in the Consortium News and Antiwar.com.

Those in the know are already familiar with all these themes but it is always interesting to listen to new perspective.

MP3 interview here.

Read Full Post »

This is a section of sky from Tianshui, Gansu province videotaped May 12, 2008 approx. 30 minutes prior to the Sichuan earthquake. What is interesting, other than the colorful, glowing formations, is the rapidly moving black drones. The drones can barely be seen – I suggest you continually start and pause the video to try to capture the drones – they are clearly there and moving throughout the sky.

Questions that come to mind:

  1. Is this HAARP-related activity, as some speculate?
  2. What exactly is the drones purpose in all this? Is it the pretty clouds or the earthquake activity? Or is their purpose to keep humans calm in the face of impending calamity?
  3. Is this related to Operation Blue Beam? This could certainly fit into the space show category as specified in part 2…
  4. Sinister thought: Is there a possibility that this area of China requires “clearing out” and elimination of its human population – is their land valuable, e.g. are there valuable deposits of minerals that the rich and powerful desire? If so, continued “earthquakes” and calamities in this region may increase or become the norm.

Well, so…

What do you think?

What are the “pretty clouds” doing there just prior to the earthquake? What are the drones doing? What is their purpose?

Read Full Post »

This is big news and it could mean very bad things for us “little people.” Credit cards rates will skyrocket, along with other bank interest rates such as your mortgage. What’s next? With all the shootings and cries of “terrorism” it could be martial law. This bears watching and following in the news…

From Huffington Post

Ryan Grim

First Posted: 11- 5-09 05:59 PM   |   Updated: 11- 6-09 05:38 PM

bankAmid the ongoing financial regulation overhaul, the banking industry is hoping to pull off a quiet power grab that has eluded its grasp since the Great Depression, by stripping the independence of the board that sets financial accounting standards.

The move could effectively let banks set their own accounting standards in rough economic times.

Astonishingly, at a time when the public is crying out for greater regulation to limit excessive risk-taking by financial institutions, the banks are trying to get Congress to agree that the next time there’s a big downturn, they should have the ability to alter their accounting standards — essentially, fudge the numbers — so that the public and investors won’t be able to tell how insolvent they really are. By ignoring their declining asset values, they can avoid the standard requirement of raising more capital.

The mechanism is contained in an amendment set to be introduced in mid-November by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) that would move final authority over the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) from the Securities and Exchange Commission to a new body, a so-called “oversight” board, that would include the officials charged with managing systemic risks to the financial markets.

These regulators would have the authority to override FASB’s accounting guidelines by taking into account economic conditions.

The move is so radical that it has split corporate America. The bankers and members of Congress who support it have earned themselves an unlikely enemy: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A typical business or investor, after all, prefers honest, independent accounting, because they buy and sell real things based on real value.

Story continues below

//

“Washington isn’t thinking straight,” said Josh Rosner, managing director of Graham, Fischer & Co, a New York-based financial analyst who advises regulators and institutional investors. “Financial statements are for the benefit of investors.”

Indeed, allowing banks to alter accounting standards when they run into trouble is incentive to take more risk and, in essence, institutionalizes fraud. The regulators would now be under enormous political pressure — and sometimes under direct orders — to allow banks to remain in business long after they’ve become insolvent, in the hopes that things will turn around and they’ll grow again.

And rather than stabilize the system, removing accounting independence destabilizes it in the long run, as investors and other banks have little confidence in the veracity of financial statements.

Perlmutter told the Huffington Post that under his proposal, the FASB “would stay with the SEC, but in instances where an accounting procedure or a way it’s being implemented poses a threat to the financial system by exaggerating what’s going on — is pro-cyclical to a point that it, too, threatens the system — then the financial regulator, the systemic regulator, could look in to it.

“For virtually every situation you can think of, there’s no change, but [there would be a change] in the event that there’s a threat to the system, like the dysfunctional market we had from October through March, and that the accounting procedures just didn’t fit for a system where there was no market,” Perlmutter said.

Leslie Oliver, a spokeswoman for Perlmutter, said backers of the amendment haven’t been surprised at the opposition from certain sectors of corporate America.

“That’s understandable for a company that has tangible assets,” she said. Perlmutter said he has yet to hear directly from the Chamber.

That the banking industry finds itself in opposition to large sectors of the business community is evidence that a historic power struggle for control of the economy is underway.

The issue is stirring up the House Financial Services Committee. “It’s caused a great deal of controversy,” said committee chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Frank has yet to take a position, he said, waiting until Perlmutter finishes meeting with members of the committee. “I told him I would wait until he finishes his conversations,” Frank told HuffPost.

FASB is fighting to keep its independence. “The amendment that’s being considered represents a shift that threatens to fundamentally challenge the objectives of financial accounting and politicize the process and harm financial system,” said FASB spokesman Neal McGarity. “The mission of bank regulators is to ensure the safety and soundness of the banking system. We have a different mandate. That’s why this is of considerable concern.”

A powerful subcommittee chairman already opposes it. “I’m for keeping the independent FASB and I see no reason to change it,” Rep. Paul Kanjorski told HuffPost.

The Chamber joined with investors and auditors in opposing the Perlmutter amendment.

From a letter sent to top committee members by representatives of the Center For Audit Quality; the Chamber of Commerce; and the Council of Institutional Investors:

“By placing the FASB under the jurisdiction of a structure charged with managing systemic risks to the financial markets, accounting rules will be viewed though the narrow lens of a few large companies from specific industries, rather than considerate of the applicability of financial reporting policies to over 15,000 public companies. Such a narrow focus can skew standards such that it makes understanding of transactions that businesses engage in on a daily basis more difficult and undermine the confidence of investors. We believe that the SEC has been and continues to be best suited to provide the oversight of the FASB for such a broad and diverse economy.”

The American Bankers Association stands on the other side. “A Systemic Risk Oversight Council could not possibly do its job if does not have oversight authority over accounting rulemaking,” top bank lobbyist Ed Yingling testified before the committee on October 29. “This is a major deficiency in the draft legislation. Accounting policies are increasingly and profoundly influencing financial policy and the basic structure of our financial system. Thus, accounting standards must now be part of any systemic risk calculation. To do anything less creates the potential to undermine any action taken to address a systemic risk. The Financial Accounting Standards Board should continue to function as it does today, but it should no longer report only to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC’s view is simply too narrow. Accounting policies contributed to the crisis, as has now been well documented, and yet the SEC is not charged with considering systemic and structural effects.”

Yingling said the ABA “strongly supported” the approach taken by Perlmutter. “We thank Representatives Perlmutter and [Frank] Lucas [R-Okla.] for their foresight and leadership on this critical issue.”

While the big banks would be pleased by the change, Frank said, the major push has come from community banks. Perlmutter said that his amendment was one of the community bankers’ highest priorities.

Community banks are a popular and powerful political force in Congress. They didn’t heavily trade the exotic products that nearly brought down the global economy; they received little in the way of bailout money; they don’t give multi-billion-dollar bonuses; they tend to take more responsibility for loans that they issue; and they’re generally respected members of the local community.

“Many members of the committee are supportive of community banks,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), one of the most progressive members of the committee and a subcommittee chair. “The big banks have been such an outrageous, scandalous story about how they operate and what they have done that we tend to want to support the community banks in whatever they ask us to do.”

Waters told HuffPost she supports Perlmutter’s amendment.

And winning the support of community bankers is in essence a necessary condition for Democrats who want to pass reform legislation through the Financial Services Committee. The Perlmutter amendment could be a way to win community banks over to the idea of a systemic regulator, a priority of the administration.

But working to loosen accounting rules could come back to hurt the Democratic Party: When the system goes down again, voters will want to know why.

When HuffPost asked Frank if Wall Street was pushing Perlmutter’s measure, he responded emphatically.

“You have this caricature in your heads. You literally don’t understand the way the world works,” he said. “It’s the community banks, the credit unions, who are driving this…Seriously, the community banks have the political clout here. Not the Wall Street banks.”

Frank said the ABA was likely pushing for the amendment to win favor with community banks in its rivalry with the Independent Community Bankers of America.

Perlmutter agreed. “It’s the community banks I’ve been working with. I’m not hearing it from the Wall Street guys,” he said.

While the ABA has traditionally been associated with large Wall Street banks, it also represents small banks and is attempting to expand its membership by signing up more community bankers.

It works well for the big banks when their interests are aligned with the little ones, as is the case here. When their interests are not aligned, the little banks often win. Community banks, for instance, won an exemption from examinations — though not the rules — related to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

The ICBA wants to use its clout and the distrust of the big banks to move Perlmutter’s amendment even further in their direction. “We’re not buying and selling all the time. We hold a lot of things for the long term…. So we’d like to build in some additional sensitivity to community banks so would like to make that more explicit,” Steve Verdier, an ICBA senior vice president, told HuffPost. “We’re going to get in touch with [Perlmutter] to see if there are more things that can be done to tweak it in our direction.”

Much of the debate around the amendment comes down to what is called the mark-to-market accounting requirement. Banks — both big and small — have long sought to avoid marking their assets down to market prices when those market prices are too low. Marking down the assets requires the bank to take a loss on its books, which then requires it to raise more capital by selling off assets at low prices. Banks claimed that in the fall, the market had frozen and that they couldn’t sell assets. Another way of putting it is that the market price was lower than they wanted to accept.

Regardless, forced selling at low prices creates a downward spiral that banks and the GOP blame for the financial crisis last fall. The GOP called for a study of the effect of mark-to-market accounting on the economic collapse as part of the bailout. That report found the accounting practice did not cause the collapse. Either way, the banks hope to avoid that cycle when the commercial real estate market collapses and they find themselves with bad loans again.

“It’s about easing the pressure to reduce the value of their assets in community banks, so they don’t have to raise more capital,” Frank said.

Asking accountants to change standards based on economic conditions could very well make their heads explode, however. It’s not their job, they say, to keep the system from collapsing. It’s their job to give honest numbers. If a company is bankrupt, it’s bankrupt.

“Accounting standards are not policy,” remarked one person involved in the fight.

But they have become policy. In the spring, Kanjorski’s subcommittee hauled the head of FASB in for a hearing and demanded the number-crunchers change their mark-to-market standards within three weeks or Congress would do it for them. FASB’s head pushed back during the hearing, saying that banks who called him asking for such a change were usually bankrupt fairly quickly.

“They practically dragged him into the hallway and beat him to death,” said Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), a committee member skeptical of the Perlmutter amendment.

Three weeks later, they eased their accounting rules. But it wasn’t simple for the banks. Even with the intense congressional pressure, the change only sneaked by by a single vote and created tension on a board accustomed to a freedom from politics. The Perlmutter amendment would make such a battle unnecessary for the banks.

“There are a lot of banks that are in a lot of trouble and have a lot of exposure to commercial real estate,” Miller said. “You can’t fix that with accounting.”

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) fought a lonely battle last spring to stave off the loosening of the accounting rules and opposes this more dramatic shift, as well. Banks may have good reason to want to overstate the value of their assets, he said, and it may work for a time. But an economy can’t be run indefinitely on imaginary numbers. “I enjoy reading fiction, but not in financial statements,” he said.

UPDATE: HuffPost obtained a copy of the amendment language that is circulating among lobbyists. Perlmutter’s spokeswoman confirmed its authenticity.

The amendment would empower the council overseeing FASB to “recommend to the SEC, either publicly or privately to take such action as is necessary, including but not limited to suspension, modification or elimination of such accounting principles, standards or procedures as they may apply to the stability of the financial system or the safety and soundness of financial companies, as a whole, for such duration as is reasonable and appropriate.”

If the SEC doesn’t follow the “recommendation,” according to section (c) of the amendment, the council can order it to do so.

In other words, for the sake of financial stability, bank regulators could secretly order the “elimination” of accounting standards.

SEC. 1103. PRUDENTIAL OVERSIGHT OF ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES AND STANDARDS THAT POSE SYSTEMIC RISKS.(a) IN GENERAL.–In the event that any member of the Council believes that an accounting principle, standard or procedure threatens the stability of the United States financial system or companies, as a whole, then the Council shall investigate and by a majority vote, determine whether any corrective action, emergency or otherwise, is necessary to prevent or mitigate any adverse effects from such principle, standard or procedure. In the event that the Council determines that corrective action is necessary then, the Council shall recommend to the SEC, either publicly or privately to take such action as is necessary, including but not limited to suspension, modification or elimination of such accounting principles, standards or procedures as they may apply to the stability of the financial system or the safety and soundness of financial companies, as a whole, for such duration as is reasonable and appropriate.

(b) ADOPTION OF COUNCIL RECOMMENDATIONS BY SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION.–the Securities and Exchange Commission shall ensure that the prudential standards recommended by the Council are implemented within 60 days of the Council’s recommendation or within such other time period specified by the Council.

(c) FAILURE TO ADOPT STANDARDS.–If the Securities and Exchange Commission fails to ensure that the prudential standards recommended by the Council are implemented within the time period specified in paragraph (b), the Council is authorized to direct that any recommendations issued pursuant to paragraph (a) be implemented for the purposes of generally accepted accounting principles.”

UPDATE II: The SEC and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants both oppose the amendment, as well. “Accounting should be about accounting, and not about anything else,” writes SEC chair Mary Schapiro in a letter to Frank sent Thursday.

From a letter from the AICPA:

It is our understanding that Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) is considering language to amend the Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009, which would undermine the independent accounting standard process as currently carried out by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) strongly opposes this amendment and any attempt that would serve to undermine the independence of accounting standard setting. The purpose of public company financial reporting is to provide investors with clear, objective, and transparent financial information. This helps investors make informed investment decisions. Any attempt to divert financial reporting from its primary investor-focused objectives to other policy objectives with regard to financial institutions damages investor protections.

Read Full Post »

Our country really takes care of its soldiers (tongue-in-cheek). There have been other and similar stories like this – this one just caught my eye this evening and I’m tired of seeing them. So many “mysterious” deaths. Drug mix-ups, overdoses/overmedication, lack of proper care and attention, transmission of infectious diseases, such as AIDS, due to improper sterilization techniques… The place is a dive and a disgrace. Why anyone would want to serve in the U.S. military these days baffles me…

From San Antonio Express-News Online Edition

Web Posted: 06/10/2009 7:35 CDT

Injured soldier found dead on post

By Scott Huddleston – Express-News

BAMC200Another soldier recovering from war injuries died this week in his barracks at Fort Sam Houston, the Army said today.

Spc. Franklin D. Barnett Jr., 29, was found dead in his room Sunday afternoon, according to a release from Brooke Army Medical Center. Barnett, who was hurt in Afghanistan, had been assigned to C Company of the Warrior Transition Battalion since Oct. 15.

Barnett’s death, at least the third in less than three months involving members of the battalion, is under investigation.

Barnett, a native of Covington, Kent., served as a combat engineer and was assigned to the Louisiana National Guard’s 927th Engineering Company, officials said. He received a Purple Heart on Oct. 10.

A casualty affairs officer at Fort Polk, La. said Barnett’s parents live in Deville, La. Barnett also had a wife, he said.

Earlier this year, Spc. Craig Reginald Hamilton and Warrant Officer 1 Judson Erick Mount, also members of the warrior transition battalion, died on post. Army officials have not released details in either death, citing ongoing investigations.

Hamilton, 35, of Milford, N.H., had been injured at Fort Sill, Okla. He died at Fort Sam on March 27.

Mount, a 37-year-old former San Antonian, was badly wounded in a car bomb blast near a market in Iraq. He died April 7.

At least one of the 11 reported deaths that have occurred in Fort Sam’s warrior transition unit, created in late 2007, was linked to overmedication. The Jan. 22, 2008 death of Sgt. Robert Nichols, 31, of San Antonio, was ruled a result of an accidental “mixed-drug intoxication.”

Toxicology tests revealed at least 11 different drugs in Nichols’ system that he’d been prescribed for post-traumatic stress and brain injury. In response to the case, medical officials raised concerns about mixing painkillers, sleep-inducing drugs and antidepressants while treating war wounds.

The Army has initiated new measures to better control the distribution of drugs to injured troops.

11/6/09 Recent related story: After Fort Hood: Count All the Dead

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »