April 2012 -

Apr 12

Coca-Cola Caught With High Levels Of Chlorine In China’s Soda Supply

(Agence France-Presse)  Coca-Cola has been ordered to temporarily halt production at a bottling plant in northern China, after media reports of chlorine in its products, according to a government statement.

Shanxi province ordered an investigation after reports that a batch of drinks contained water with chlorine, the province’s quality bureau said in a statement at the weekend.

“An on-site inspection, product testing, consultation of records, interviewing workers and other methods confirmed media reports about the situation were fact,” it said.

But a spokesperson for Coca-Cola said Monday that the production suspension, which was temporary, was unrelated to food safety orchlorine levels, and arose from other issues found by the government inspection.

“The chlorine levels are well below the WHO (World Health Organization), EU, North American and China standards for drinking water,” she said.

Chlorine is commonly used in water treatment to kill bacteria, but high levels can be hazardous to human health.

In a statement, Coca-Cola said it was moving to address the issues related to quality and production but gave no details.

“The quality and production issues being addressed at our bottling plant in Shanxi, China, are isolated to that one location, and the company is moving quickly to resolve them,” said the statement provided to AFP.

“At no time did these issues affect the safety of our products in the market.”

A receptionist at Coca-Cola Shanxi Beverages Co. on Monday confirmed to AFP that the plant had already stopped production.

 The contamination occurred in February when water with small amounts of chlorine accidentally flowed into water used for drinks during maintenance work, the official Xinhua news agency said late Sunday.

An anonymous company whistle-blower told local media that nine batches of products were contaminated, it said.

China has experienced several scares over food safety in recent years, many blamed on lax supervision or producers deliberately cutting corners and deceiving consumers in search of profits.

China is one of Coca-Cola’s most important growth markets, accounting for around seven percent of its global volume last year, according to the US company.

Coca-Cola has said it plans to invest more than $4 billion in China over the next three years starting from 2012.

The company has more than 40 bottling plants in China, where it cooperates with Chinese food giant COFCO and Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific.


Apr 12

Chicago To Welcome Militarized May Day?

(Yana Kunichoff)  If there is going to be a dress rehearsal for the coming NATO summit in Chicago, May Day is it. The first major mobilization of the 99 percent the month of the summit will take place on Tuesday, May 1. It will also, coincidentally or not, be the first day that police in “battle” dress hit the streets to prepare for the summit.

Operation Red Zone, a security perimeter around McCormick Place where the summits will be held and a “vast” area in downtown Chicago where federal and local government offices are located, according to the Sun-Times, will be patrolled by federal law enforcement carrying “non-lethal” guns beginning Tuesday.

The placement of the “red zone” may overlap with the planned route of the May Day march, which will go from Union Park, on Chicago’s near southwest side, to Federal Plaza downtown.

The police force will be “highly visible,” according to Cleophas Bradley, deputy regional director with the Federal Protective Service, “but we will not be preventing anyone from entering the red zone.”

“This is the city showing us their cards,” said Crystal Vance-Guerra, an organizer with Occupy el Barrio, which operates in Chicago’s immigrant neighborhood of Pilsen. “This is how they are going to play it.”

Groups including labor unions, immigrant rights groups and Occupiers are marching under the slogan:

We are Workers. We are Students. We are Documented. We are Undocumented. We are Occupiers.

They are Detaining Us. They are Shutting Down our Clinics. They are Closing our Schools. They are Taking our Wealth. They are Busting our Unions.

Come May 1st, we are on the March! Join Us!

Andy Manos, with Occupy Chicago, told Truthout that organizers hope to have as large and peaceful of a march as possible, despite the expected police presence.

“May Day is the day to celebrate working class consciousness, to demand greater control over the means of production,” said Manos, and they want all members of the working class to be able to participate equally.

May Day, international workers’ day, has an illustrious history in Chicago. It was started in the windy city by immigrants agitating for the eight-hour day against work conditions in which workers with minimal protections worked ten or 11 hours straight.

Then in 2006, half a million immigrants flooded into the streets of Chicago as part of a work strike and economic boycott to protest anti-immigrant legislation that was being considered by Congress.

“The immigrant rights movement of 2006 actually brought back May Day in the United States as a day for workers to express their concerns and their needs within the larger society,” said Democracy Now! journalist Juan Gonzalez in a 2011 interview. “In that sense they had an important impact, as immigrant workers have always had in the United States, in pushing the labor movement forward.”

“The fact that this day is being met with the beginnings of a force that is going to be used in NATO,” said Vance-Guerra, shows an extension of the “extreme militarization of the border, and the huge fear that was created and enforced after the 2006 marches.”

What followed the years since the 2006 marches has been an increase in the militarization of immigration enforcement coupled with an increasing crackdown on immigrants. Programs like Secure Communities and E-Verify used technology to track undocumented immigrants and deport even those who did not have a criminal record, while immigration detention centers became increasingly punitive with the rise of companies like the Corrections Corporation of America.

The lack of immigration legislation on the national front- the much-vaunted DREAM Act died an untimely death in the Senate in December 2010 - and a record number of deportations under President Obama was coupled with a spike in state-level punitive immigration legislation.

Some of the technology and force deployment used in the immigration crackdown will be making their way to Chicago for the NATO summit, reports show.

State troopers are used on the border with Mexico to bolster the presence of the Border Patrol; Chicago is expected to see about 500 state troopers and 600 National Guardsmendeployed for the summit.

The Illinois State Crime Commission also said that it is looking for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to be hired for extra security, Truthout has reported. The US Customs and Border Protection also runs a Veterans Outreach Program, for which they “actively recruit eligible veterans.”

The money pumped into high-tech border protection – including dronesBlackhawk helicopters  and surveillance cameras - lines up eerily with leaked reports of aerial surveillance devicessnipersBlackhawks and sound cannons that the city of Chicago is expected to bring for NATO.

Whether a militarized May Day will dissuade people, or bring more out onto the streets for NATO, is unknown, said Eric Ruder, an organizer with CANG8.

But “if it is militarized, things will become more concrete for a lot of people,” said Ruder. “And it’s “not entirely clear that intimidation and restrictions work,” by keeping people out of the street as the city hopes they will.

The wild card in this year’s May Day is Occupy.

“The first May Day with Occupy brings all of these issues to the fore in a way that it hasn’t been for a long time,” said Manos, with Occupy Chicago. “We are not planning large arrestful direct actions, because of the kind of intensity of Rahm Emanuel’s crackdown that is going to happen during NATO.”

But the space that Occupy opened has allowed labor rank-and-filers to come together with Occupy activists. Manos expects this to bring out a wide layer of people of May Day, regardless of how big the crowd is.

“Occupy allows people to sit in the same room,” said Manos, a member of the Occupy Chicago Labor Working Group. “The greatest thing about the work that I do is the ability to create coalitions and solidarity, and help radicalize the actions.”

“When you look at who have been the major players in the May Day Committee, we have several rank-and-filers. Not just organizers organizing, but rank-and-filers as well,” stressed Manos.

In Occupy Chicago, some people expect “that Rahm will see it [May Day] as an opportunity to try out for the next few weeks.”

The largest Occupy mobilization of 2012 so far, the April 7th Chicago Spring, which brought out between 500 and 700 participants, had a more aggressive police presence than usual, said Ruder.

“At the beginning of April 7 there were police helicopters,” said Ruder, “which struck me as sort of an aggressive move.”

Vance-Guerra, who works regularly with immigrant communities, says that activist concern should be not only on what will happen on May Day or during the NATO summit, but how this will change “the whole strategy of how to deal with protesters and organizers and marches.”

Already the “Shut Up and Sit Down” ordinance changes passed by Emanuel in January, originally sold as only for the NATO summit until the mayor admitted under pressure that they were permanent, have changed the landscape of dissent in Chicago.

“I don’t think we are going to have the number of 2006, but I think we are going to see some growth from last year. The focus of the May Day organizing group and all of those who are participating is to be as open as we can be,” said Vance-Guerra.

“If it’s a day for the 99 percent, we all need to be there. As power and wealth become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer, and the response against organizing become more and more militarized, we need to see really clearly the connections between all of our struggles.”


Apr 12

Official List Of Words Feds Monitor On Social Networking Sites

(Alexander Higgins)  The Feds have been forced to release their social network monitoring manual, which contains the list of words the government watches on social media and news sites.
Earlier the Huffington Post reported on the Feds have been forced to give up their list of words they monitor on Facebook, Twitter, and comments being posted on news articles so I compiled that list below.
Homeland Security Manual Lists Government Key Words For Monitoring Social Media, News
Ever complain on Facebook that you were feeling “sick?” Told your friends to “watch” a certain TV show? Left a comment on a media website about government “pork?”

If you did any of those things, or tweeted about your recent vacation in “Mexico” or a shopping trip to “Target,” the Department of Homeland Security may have noticed.

In the latest revelation of how the federal government is monitoring social media and online news outlets, the Electronic Privacy Information Center has posted online a 2011 Department of Homeland Security manual that includes hundreds of key words (such as those above) and search terms used to detect possible terrorism, unfolding natural disasters and public health threats. The center, a privacy watchdog group, filed a Freedom of Information Act request and then sued to obtain the release of the documents.

The 39-page “Analyst’s Desktop Binder” used by the department’s National Operations Center includes no-brainer words like “”attack,” “epidemic” and “Al Qaeda” (with various spellings). But the list also includes words that can be interpreted as either menacing or innocent depending on the context, such as “exercise,” “drill,” “wave,” “initiative,” “relief” and “organization.”

These terms and others are “broad, vague and ambiguous” and include “vast amounts of First Amendment protected speech that is entirely unrelated to the Department of Homeland Security mission to protect the public against terrorism and disasters,” stated the Electronic Privacy Information Center in letter to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

The manual was released by the center a week after Homeland Security officials were grilled at a House hearing over other documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that revealed analysts were scrutinizing online comments that “reflect adversely” on the federal government. Mary Ellen Callahan, the chief privacy officer for the Department of Homeland Security, and Richard Chavez, director for the National Operations Center, testified that the released documents were outdated and that social media was monitored strictly to provide situational awareness and not to police disparaging opinions about the federal government. On Friday, Homeland Security officials stuck by that testimony.

A senior Homeland Security official who spoke to The Huffington Post on Friday on condition of anonymity said the testimony of agency officials last week remains “accurate” and the manual “is a starting point, not the endgame” in maintaining situational awareness of natural and man-made threats. The official denied Electronic Privacy Information Center’s charge that the government is monitoring dissent. The manual’s instruction that analysts should identify “media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities” was not aimed at silencing criticism but at spotting and addressing problems, she added.


Source: The Huffington Post

The Official List – Using these words online will put you in the crosshairs of Big Brother’s multi-billion dollar spy machine

Domestic Security

Domestic security
Law enforcement
Disaster assistance
Disaster management
DNDO (Domestic Nuclear
Detection Office)
National preparedness
Dirty bomb
Domestic nuclear detection
Emergency management
Emergency response
First responder
Homeland security
Maritime domain awareness
National preparedness
Shots fired
Explosion (explosive)
Disaster medical assistance
team (DMAT)
Organized crime
National security
State of emergency
Bomb (squad or threat)
Emergency Landing
Pipe bomb

HAZMAT & Nuclear

Chemical spill
Suspicious package/device
National laboratory
Nuclear facility
Nuclear threat
Biological infection (or
Chemical burn
Hazardous material incident
Industrial spill
Powder (white)
Blister agent
Chemical agent
Nerve agent
North Korea

Health Concern + H1N1

Food Poisoning
Foot and Mouth (FMD)
Small Pox
Human to human
Human to Animal
Center for Disease Control
Drug Administration (FDA)
Public Health
Agro Terror
Tuberculosis (TB)
Norvo Virus
Water/air borne
Pork World Health Organization
(WHO) (and components)
Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
E. Coli

Infrastructure Security

Infrastructure security
CIKR (Critical Infrastructure
& Key Resources)
Computer infrastructure
Critical infrastructure
National infrastructure
Airplane (and derivatives)
Chemical fire
Port Authority
NBIC (National
Biosurveillance Integration
Transportation security
Body scanner
Failure or outage
Black out
Brown out
Service disruption
Power lines

Southwest Border Violence

Drug cartel
U.S. Consulate
El Paso
Fort Hancock
San Diego
Ciudad Juarez
Mara salvatrucha
MS13 or MS-13
Drug war
Mexican army
Cartel de Golfo
Gulf Cartel
La Familia
Nuevo Leon
Narco banners (Spanish
Los Zetas
Meth Lab
Drug trade
Illegal immigrants
Smuggling (smugglers)
Barrio Azteca
Artistic Assassins
New Federation


Al Qaeda (all spellings)
Environmental terrorist
Eco terrorism
Conventional weapon
Weapons grade
Dirty bomb
Chemical weapon
Biological weapon
Ammonium nitrate
Improvised explosive device
IED (Improvised Explosive
Abu Sayyaf
FARC (Armed Revolutionary
Forces Colombia)
IRA (Irish Republican Army)
ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna)
Basque Separatists
Tamil Tigers
PLF (Palestine Liberation
PLO (Palestine Liberation
Car bomb
Weapons cache
Suicide bomber
Suicide attack
Suspicious substance
AQAP (AL Qaeda Arabian
AQIM (Al Qaeda in the
Islamic Maghreb)
TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban
Home grown


Extreme weather
Forest fire
Brush fire
Tsunami Warning Center
Mud slide or Mudslide
Power outage
Brown out
Emergency Broadcast System

Cyber Security

Cyber security
DDOS (dedicated denial of
Denial of service
Cyber Command
Cain and abel
Brute forcing
Mysql injection
Cyber attack
Cyber terror
Social media

Read the Deparment of Homeland Security Media Monitoring Desktop Reference

Analyst Desktop Binder_REDACTED


Watch: Congressional Hearing Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of social media


Video of Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), chairing a hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence about the Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of social media.


Apr 12

May Day-Occupy Plans Global Disruption

(Henry Goldman)  Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, whose anti-greed message spread worldwide during an eight-week encampment in Lower Manhattan last year, plan marches across the globe tomorrow calling attention to what they say are abuses of power and wealth.

Organizers say they hope the coordinated events will mark a spring resurgence of the movement after a quiet winter. Calls for a general strike with no work, no school, no banking and no shopping have sprung up on websites in Toronto, BarcelonaLondonKuala Lumpur andSydney, among hundreds of cities in North America, Europe and Asia.

In New York, Occupy Wall Street will join scores of labor organizations observing May 1, traditionally recognized as International Workers’ Day. They plan marches from Union Square to Lower Manhattan and a “pop-up occupation” of Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue, across the street from Bank of America’s Corp.’s 55-story tower.

“We call upon people to refrain from shopping, walk out of class, take the day off of work and other creative forms of resistance disrupting the status quo,” organizers said in an April 26 e-mail.

Occupy groups across the U.S. have protested economic disparity, decrying high foreclosure and unemployment rates that hurt average Americans while bankers and financial executives received bonuses and taxpayer-funded bailouts. In the past six months, similar groups, using social media and other tools, have sprung up in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Pooling Resources

The Occupy movement in New York has relied on demonstrations and marches around the city since Nov. 15, when police ousted hundreds of protesters from their headquarters in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street, where they had camped since Sept. 17.

Banks have pooled resources and cooperated to gather intelligence after learning of plans to picket 99 institutions and companies, followed by what organizers have described as an 8 p.m. “radical after-party” in an undetermined Financial District location.

“If the banks anticipate outrage from everyday citizens, it’s revealing of their own guilt,” said Shane Patrick, a member of the Occupy Wall Street press team. “If they hadn’t been participating in maneuvers that sent the economy into the ditch, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.”

Police Prepared

New York police can handle picketers, according to Paul Browne, the department’s chief spokesman.

“We’re experienced at accommodating lawful protests and responding appropriately to anyone who engages in unlawful activity, and we’re prepared to do both,” he said in an interview.

About 2,100 Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York have been arrested since the demonstrations began, said Bill Dobbs, a member of the group’s media-relations team.

Organizers describe the May Day events as a coming together of the Occupy movement, with activists also calling for more open immigration laws, expanded labor rights and cheaper financing for higher education. Financial institutions remain a primary target of the protests.

“Four years after the financial crisis, not a single of the too-big-to-fail banks is smaller; in fact, they all continue to grow in size and risk,” the group’s press office said in an April 26 e-mail.

Planning Since January

Five banks – JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. (C)Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) together held $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, compared with 43 percent in 2006, according to central bankers at the Federal Reserve.

Occupy Wall Street began planning for May Day in January, meeting in churches and union halls with a decision-making system that avoids a single leader. Instead, participants rely on group “break-out” sessions in which clusters discuss such tasks as crowd-building, logistics and communications.

About 150 attended an April 25 meeting at the Greenwich Village headquarters of the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union, making last-minute preparations for how to deploy legal and medical help; site selection for picketing; purchasing, production and distribution of protest signs; and how to talk to reporters.

The meeting convened inside the union hall basement, where attendees arranged chairs in a circle as three facilitators asked each of the assembled to identify themselves by first name and gender — he, she or they. Most appeared under age 30, though gray-haired baby boomers also participated. One of the older attendees pulled a ski mask over his head to protest the presence of a photographer from Tokyo.

Raging Musicians

Tomorrow, beginning at 8 a.m. in Bryant Parkscheduled events include teach-ins, art performances and a staging area for “direct action and civil disobedience,” such as bank blockades.

Tom Morello of the Grammy Award-winning rock band Rage Against the Machine along with 1,000 other guitar-playing musicians will accompany a march to Union Square at 2 p.m., according to the maydaynyc.org website. That will be followed by a “unity rally” at Union Square at 4 p.m.; a march from there to Wall Street at 5:30 p.m.; and a walk to a staging area for “evening actions,” which organizers at the April 25 meeting said would be the so-called after-party.

Golden Gate Bridge

Occupy-related events are planned in 115 cities throughout the U.S., from college towns such as Amherst, Massachusetts, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia.

In San Francisco, demonstrators intend to hold a rally at the toll plaza of the Golden Gate Bridge from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time that “will result in the shutdown,” according to their website.

Across the bay in Oakland, protesters said they intend morning marches on banks and the Chamber of Commerce, followed by an afternoon rally and a march downtown.

“We’re looking forward to vigorously asserting our constitutional right to protest and giving a loud outcry about Wall Street and greed,” Dobbs said. “We’re hoping this will make a splash. We hope it will bring a lot of more people into the Occupy movement.”


Apr 12

Stephen King Warns Of A Kingsian Apocalyptic Scenario

(Stephen King)  Chris Christie may be fat, but he ain’t Santa Claus. In fact, he seems unable to decide if he is New Jersey’s governor or its caporegime, and it may be a comment on the coarsening of American discourse that his brash rudeness is often taken for charm.

In February, while discussing New Jersey’s newly amended income-tax law, which allows the rich to pay less (proportionally) than the middle class, Christie was asked about Warren Buffett’s observation that he paid less federal income taxes than his personal secretary, and that wasn’t fair. “He should just write a check and shut up,” Christie responded, with his typical verve. “I’m tired of hearing about it. If he wants to give the government more money, he’s got the ability to write a check—go ahead and write it.”

Heard it all before. At a rally in Florida (to support collective bargaining and to express the socialist view that firing teachers with experience was sort of a bad idea), I pointed out that I was paying taxes of roughly 28 percent on my income. My question was, “How come I’m not paying 50?” The governor of New Jersey did not respond to this radical idea, possibly being too busy at the all-you-can-eat cheese buffet at Applebee’s in Jersey City, but plenty of other people of the Christie persuasion did. Cut a check and shut up, they said. If you want to pay more, pay more, they said.Tired of hearing about it, they said.

Tough shit for you guys, because I’m not tired of talking about it. I’ve known rich people, and why not, since I’m one of them? The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar.

It’s true that some rich folks put at least some of their tax savings into charitable contributions. My wife and I give away roughly $4 million a year to libraries, local fire departments that need updated lifesaving equipment (jaws of life are always a popular request), schools, and a scattering of organizations that underwrite the arts. Warren Buffett does the same; so does Bill Gates; so does Steven Spielberg; so do the Koch brothers; so did the late Steve Jobs. All fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.

What charitable 1-percenters can’t do is assume responsibility—America’s national responsibilities: the care of its sick and its poor, the education of its young, the repair of its failing infrastructure, the repayment of its staggering war debts. Charity from the rich can’t fix global warming or lower the price of gasoline by one single red penny. That kind of salvation does not come from Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Ballmer saying, “Okay, I’ll write a $2 million bonus check to the IRS.” That annoying responsibility stuff comes from three words that are anathema to the Tea Partiers: United American citizenry.




And hey, why don’t we get real about this? Most rich folks paying 28 percent taxes do not give out another 28 percent of their income to charity. Most rich folks like to keep their dough.

They don’t strip their bank accounts and investment portfolios, they keep them and then pass them on to their children, their children’s children. And what they do give away is—like the monies my wife and I donate—totally at their own discretion. That’s the rich-guy philosophy in a nutshell: Don’t tell us how to use our money; we’ll tell you.

The Koch brothers are right-wing creepazoids, but they’re giving right-wing creepazoids. Here’s an example: 68 million fine American dollars to Deerfield Academy. Which is great for Deerfield Academy. But it won’t do squat for cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, where food fish are now showing up with black lesions.

It won’t pay for stronger regulations to keep BP (or some other bunch of dipshit oil drillers) from doing it again. It won’t repair the levees surrounding New Orleans. It won’t improve education in Mississippi or Alabama. But what the hell—them li’l crackers ain’t never going to go to Deerfield Academy anyway. F–k em if they can’t take a joke.

Here’s another crock of fresh bullshit delivered by the right wing of the Republican Party (which has become, so far as I can see, the only wing of the Republican Party): the richer rich people get, the more jobs they create. Really? I have a total payroll of about 60 people, most of them working for the two radio stations I own in Bangor, Maine.

If I hit the movie jackpot—as I have, from time to time—and own a piece of a film that grosses $200 million, what am I going to do with it? Buy another radio station? I don’t think so, since I’m losing my shirt on the ones I own already. But suppose I did, and hired on an additional dozen folks. Good for them. Whoopee-ding for the rest of the economy.

Tired of hearing about it, they said. Tough shit for you guys, because I’m not tired of talking about it. I’ve known rich people, and why not, since I’m one ofthem?

At the risk of repeating myself, here’s what rich folks do when they get richer:they invest. A lot of those investments are overseas, thanks to the anti-American business policies of the last four administrations. Don’t think so? Check the tag on that T-shirt or gimme cap you’re wearing.

If it says MADE IN AMERICA, I’ll…well, I won’t say I’ll eat your shorts, because some of that stuff ismade here, but not much of it. And what does get made here doesn’t get made by America’s small cadre of pluted bloatocrats; it’s made, for the most part, in barely-gittin’-by factories in the Deep South, where the only unions people believe in are those solemnized at the altar of the local church (as long as they’re from different sexes, that is).

The U.S. senators and representatives who refuse even to consider raising taxes on the rich—they squall like scalded babies (usually on Fox News) every time the subject comes up—are not, by and large, superrich themselves, although many are millionaires and all have had the equivalent of Obamacare for years.

They simply idolize the rich. Don’t ask me why; I don’t get it either, since most rich people are as boring as old dead dogshit. The Mitch McConnells and John Boehners and Eric Cantors just can’t seem to help themselves. These guys and their right-wing supporters regard deep pockets like Christy Walton and Sheldon Adelson the way the little girls regard Justin Bieber…which is to say, with wide eyes, slack jaws, and the drool of adoration dripping from their chins.

I’ve gotten the same reaction myself, even though I’m only “baby rich” compared to some of these guys, who float serenely over the lives of the struggling middle class like blimps made of thousand-dollar bills.

In America, the rich are hallowed. Even Warren Buffett, who has largely been drummed out of the club for his radical ideas about putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to patriotism, made the front pages when he announced that he had stage 1 prostate cancer. Stage 1, for God’s sake! A hundred clinics can fix him up, and he can put the bill on his American Express black card! But the press made it sound like the pope’s balls had just dropped off and shattered! Because it was cancer? No! Because it was Warren Buffett, he of Berkshire-Hathaway!

I guess some of this mad right-wing love comes from the idea that in America, anyone can become a Rich Guy if he just works hard and saves his pennies.Mitt Romney has said, in effect, “I’m rich and I don’t apologize for it.” Nobody wants you to, Mitt. What some of us want—those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money—is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America.

That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden.

Not fair? It’s un-f–king-American, is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that—sorry, kiddies—you’re on your own.

That those who have received much must be obligated to pay—not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Gov. Christie’s words, but to pay—in the same proportion. That’s called stepping up and not whining about it. That’s called patriotism, a word the Tea Partiers love to throw around as long as it doesn’t cost their beloved rich folks any money.

This has to happen if America is to remain strong and true to its ideals. It’s a practical necessity and a moral imperative. Last year, during the Occupy movement, the conservatives who oppose tax equality saw the first real ripples of discontent. Their response was either Marie Antoinette (“Let them eat cake”) or Ebeneezer Scrooge (“Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”). Short-sighted, gentlemen. Very short-sighted. If this situation isn’t fairly addressed, last year’s protests will just be the beginning. Scrooge changed his tune after the ghosts visited him. Marie Antoinette, on the other hand, lost her head.

Think about it.

Apr 12

Milwaukee Red Cross Told To Prep For Chicago Evacuation During NATO Summit

(CBS)   Is there a secret plan to evacuate some residents of Chicago in the event of major trouble during the NATO summit next month? CBS 2 has uncovered some evidence that there is. It comes from the Milwaukee area branch of the American Red Cross.

CBS 2 News has obtained a copy of a Red Cross e-mail sent to volunteers in the Milwaukee area.

It said the NATO summit “may create unrest or another national security incident. The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago.”

According to a chapter spokesperson, the evacuation plan is not theirs alone.

“Our direction has come from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service,” she said.

Officials at Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communication said the directive did not come from them.

The U.S. Secret Service did not return calls for comment.

Some downtown residents told CBS 2’s Mike Parker that the news has them on edge.

Brad Klein said it is “very unnerving. I feel a little bit unsafe, just a bit more than a little bit. It doesn’t make me feel like I want to be in the city during the NATO conference.”

An executive with the Service Employees International Union, who trains members in preparation for the summit, thinks such a plan might be “over the top.”

SEIU Local 1 training director Tom Dobry said, “This could be a lot like Y2K – a lot of hype and buildup. People will say, ‘that was it?’ Not a big deal.”


Apr 12

The Top 10 Events Leading To Humanity’s Demise

(Activist Post)  Misdirected environmentalism continues to paint humanity as the enemy of itself simply through the natural exhalation of carbon dioxide.  However, there are many other more demonstrable ways indicating that humanity is not heading toward a flourishing, healthy future.

While we believe in the inherent goodness of the vast majority of people, as well as the unlimited potential of each and every individual to bring light into a dark world, we also can’t ignore some very disturbing facts.

We previously have pointed to earth changes as being valid existential threats, while pointing out that some man-made activities such as fracking and HAARP certainly could further exacerbate some of them.

However, any one of the following human creations may send us into an irrevocable tailspin that could wipe us out before any asteroid or mega volcano arrives.  We can also speculate about whether any or all of the below are the work of elite eugenicists, as some of them have indicated such intentions openly.  Regardless, the fact remains that unless we can elevate our mindset to how we can more properly utilize our technological evolution instead of permit developments that threaten our survival whether mistaken or intended, we will continue careening down a very destructive current path.

10. Vaccines – At first it might not seem like vaccines could actually cause the extinction of our entire species, but there are some troubling indicators. The link between vaccines and autism is such that rates have risen to 1 in every 88 children in the U.S. having the disorder, up 2,700 percent in the past 20 years.  Children under the age of 3 are being exposed to 30+ vaccines before their immune systems have even developed. Vaccine horror stories appear across all age groups, as the mounting effects of mercuryaluminum, adjuvants and other hidden surprises build within an ever-greater number of human beings.  The result is neurological disorders, birth defects, and death.  Instead of reversing vaccination policies, despite a mountain of evidence and public outcry, the pharmaceutical industry in tandem with admitted eugenicist, Bill Gates, seeks only to increase the exposure.  In the Third World, villages have been held up literally at gun point, whereas in the First World U.S. the gun is regulatory as children are being given vaccines without their parents’ consent (including outright sterilization in Australia), religious exemptions are under attack, anddoor-to-door vaccine armies are on the move.  Some would still suggest that vaccines can ultimately be avoided based on location and creative resistance. Bill Gates and company have a solution for that as well — a flying vaccine solution — mosquitoes. They already have been released.

9. Chemical additives – The range and volume of chemical additives in our food, air and water is staggering.  Substances like high-fructose corn syrup which contains mercury; sodium fluoride (literally a hazardous waste linked to the #1 cause of death); Aspartame; the excitotoxin monosodium glutamate; BPA; aluminum and other geoengineering fallout, as well as a mountain of chemicals within personal care and cleaning products are leading to everything from increased cancers and debilitating syndromes to sterility. While many of these chemicals can be eradicated through education and better consumer choice, the ubiquitous nature of the poisoning (and sometimes secret nature) is nearly overwhelming . . . and cumulative.

8. Genetic Engineering – GM seeds themselves do not represent life, but actual death, as they are programmed to be “terminator seeds.”  This terminator capability now extends across the spectrum as GMOs interact with human genetics. The interaction already has been linked to weight gain, organ failure, and the negative effects of higher levels of plant estrogens coming from the use of glyphosate found in air, rain and rivers in the United States.  Sterility by the third generation has been shown in a Russian study of GMO-soy-fed hamsters. And this is only the tip of the iceberg in genetic modification, as Dr. Moreau-type experimentation of human/animal hybrids all over the world threatens to completely de-humanize our species. Genetic engineering has so many variables, and has been so thoroughly untested over the long term, that we can only conclude that it holds the potential for extreme lethality.

7. War – War has been a recurring theme for as long as man has been around, and an unfortunate means of wiping out certain populations. With the advent of nuclear weapons, we are theoretically always just one stroke away from total annihilation. War also has been an insidious instrument for slow-kill weapons such as depleted uranium which already has entered the jet stream, affecting people far removed from any actual battlefield. The sad fact is that the weapons and methods of war have only become more widespread and more violent as our history has unfolded. A side effect is that the governments who wage war and impose the control mechanisms to maintain and justify their actions of political repression and genocide have become the #1 cause of unnatural death — the current toll is well over 262 million people. These are the same power-mad people who have enough nuclear warheads at their disposal to destroy the planet many times over.

6. Robotic Replacements – Mankind’s acumen for technological advancement has created new weapons and systems of war which previously only had been imagined in works of science fiction.  Well, that science fiction story is now part of the daily news cycle.  Machine warfare has arrived with drone bombings taking place around the globe.  Beyond simple remote-controlled war,autonomous systems have been developed that are capable of unilateral decision making based on computerized threat assessments.  And they can self-replicate.  What role is there for human beings once robotic systems have either gone awry through malfunction … or have “decided” that humanity is the real threat after all.

5. Runaway Nanotech – The ability to self-replicate takes on even more potentially disastrous consequences in the area of nanotech.  There has been a full commitment given by the U.S. government to fund all areas of nanotech including surveillance and security, which has given birth to micro drones that mimic the insect world, as well as “smart dust” in agriculture and beyond. Nanoparticles have already entered our food, appliances and clothing – again without proper long-term testing, oversight, or consumer knowledge.  Since nanoparticles have been proven to have caused brain damage in aquatic species, and nanotech has the capability to rewire the brain and permit “smart” devices to rewire themselves, we have to wonder what happens when this technology goes rogue.

4. Super Virus – Inexplicably, scientists have reconstructed the genetic code of The Black Plague. This is just one possibility among a host of bioweapons (including mosquitoes) within labs around the planet that could unleash a civilization-ending super virus. Currently, there are over 1360 BSL-3′s (biosafety labs) in the US, and while the CDC insists there are only 6 BSL-4′s, the actual number appears far higher (Source). The BSLs are coded by their containment levels. BSL-4′s handle the most dangerous bugs known to man; those for which there is no known cure. The BSL-3′s deal with slightly less deadly germs, such as anthrax and plague. According to a report tendered by Edward Hammond, director of the now defunct Sunshine Project, there is no one providing oversight as to the type of research going on in these labs (Source). In tandem with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and all manner of fortified diseases, without proper controls — and a whole lot of luck — this could end life as we know it.

3. Bee Colony Collapse – Anything that centrally affects the global food chain has the ability to cascade across all species, rapidly collapsing the dominoes until it reaches the species sitting at the top.  Also known as Colony Collapse Disorder, an increasing body of evidence points to the effects of pesticides as a main culprit leading to bees evacuating their colonies, while genetic engineering also has raised concern among experts such as Jeffrey Smith. In fact, Monsanto has been implicated, and perhaps as a hedge Monsanto has bought one of the leading bee research firms.  However, buying “experts” to deny what is happening is not going to change reality.  The excellent report below summarizes where we stand: 76% of all food production and 84% of plant species rely on bees for pollination to nourish the “food circle of life.”  And it turns out there is a smoking gun:

2. Oil Spills – We have just reached the two-year anniversary of the BP oil disaster and all evidence points to a worsening situation: mutated fish, and a wide range of effects across the ecosystem of the Gulf.  We would do well to remember that although this oil spill is the worst, therehave been others around the world, and there surely will be more.  The global interdependence of the food supply will lead to widespread contamination across the planet.  How much can the environment take of corporate greed that sees true safety measures as being a threat to their bottom line, rather than a threat to all of humanity?

1. Fukushima – This appears to be our most pressing threat, since it is not only far from over, but reactor 4, which has been weakened to a point of near collapse, contains over 1500 fuel rods, any one of which could kill billions if its plutonium is released.  Independent experts are telling us that this will most assuredly lead to a near-extinction event for humanity.  Meanwhile, the amount of radiation that already has been released — on top of what is in our environment due to weapons of war and other reactor leaks – is beginning to lead to physical signs across North America.   Alaskan wildlife is showing signs of radiation poisoning, despite official denial; human cancer rates are spiking, and plant mutations are being recorded in Michigan.  After governments have largely downplayed the situation by ignoring readings and raising radiation safety limits for food, a few are beginning to raise their voices in earnest to tell the world of a coming mass extinction event.  To keep up with the latest about the unfolding Fukushima nightmare, please click here and here.

This is no time to be timid. The above scenarios are grim, but it is imperative that we face these very real threats and learn as much as we can so that we can avert disaster.  Unfortunately, these human-created possibilities are too easily open for denial and self-delusion due to their largely hidden and silent nature, whereas a volcano, meteor, or pole shift cannot be actively ignored.  The good news is that we can minimize or even reverse each and every one of these manufactured threats simply by becoming educated and sharing with others a message of courage, ingenuity and hope that is innate within our species.


Apr 12

U.S.D.A. Owns The Word “Organic”

(Thomas Dishaw) Usually the news I read doesn’t surprise me. I read about 100 articles per day ranging from economics, politics,health  and corruption. So not a lot of things get by me. But this story did and it blew my mind.  The U.S.D.A. owns the word “organic” Let me say that again, the U.S.D.A. owns the word “organic” . This is the same U.S.D.A. that wanted to feed your kids “pink slime” in the school lunch program. But quickly backed away after public outcry.

There also instrumental in helping their little brother Monsanto  by approving G.M.O. crops before they are legitimately evaluate for public consumption.  With trust of government and their agencies at an all time low, I surely don’t trust them with the word organic. Some things are sacred , and the U.S.D.A. owning the word is part of their plan to destroying the meaning.

Over time organic will lose its value ,eventually being  defined as something that was grown naturally. What I mean by naturally is,something grown by a tree, plant or a vine. In the not so distant future labs will be growing our foods. The family farm will be extinct and the government will have control of the food supply.

Corporation Grow will have major food hubs in every state. They won’t need sunlight,soil or clean air this will all be done in under the roof  of  huge grow domes that mass produce chemically designed food that will be cost efficient for the corporations.

We need to make sure this future scenario doesn’t take place. All of us need to step up our fight in protecting  the word organic and fight for G.M.O. labeling. If we don’t, we will see something that was so healthy become destroyed in less than a generation.

Apr 12

Police Departments Wait Anxiously To Fly Drones Over U.S. Cities

(Brian Bennett)  Police departments across the country have bought inexpensive small drone aircraft with cameras to help track drug dealers, find missing children and locate wandering Alzheimer’s patients, but federal rules designed to protect the nation’s airspace have kept them grounded. That is about to change in a dramatic way.

Under a law President Obama signed in February, the Federal Aviation Administration must write rules by May 14 on how it will license police, fire department and other public safety agencies eager to fly lightweight drones at low altitudes.

The FAA also is supposed to develop plans by this year to integrate drones operated by individuals or corporations into U.S. airspace by 2015.

The bottom line: Thousands of remotely piloted aircraft of various shapes, sizes and speeds — at least some carrying high-resolution cameras and sophisticated sensors — may soon be buzzing overhead.

FAA officials have long worried that ground-based pilots of drone aircraft can’t always see or avoid commercial and other aircraft. And civil liberties groups warn that Americans could face unprecedented surveillance from above in violation of privacy rights.

But members of Congress, backed by drone manufacturers, inserted language in the FAA reauthorization bill that requires the agency to move swiftly to license drones. The new rules are supposed to help determine who can fly a drone — and how high and far — without posing a threat.

Advocates say the unmanned planes could be deployed for uses as diverse as dusting crops, selling real estate, giving real-time traffic reports and helping with disaster relief. Some can stay aloft at a fraction of the cost of helicopters and manned aircraft.

Next month’s set of FAA rules will apply only to police and other first-responder drones smaller than 4.4 pounds that are flown in daylight below 400 feet, and that stay within a pilot’s line of sight. They resemble large model planes.


“We want [police] to be able to use the aircraft sooner because there is a public interest,” said Ben Gielow, government relations manager for the Assn. for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, an industry organization that helped draft some of the language in the new law.
Critics say the FAA is moving too quickly to secure privacy and safety.

“I think it is a very quick timeline,” said Jennifer Lynch, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based advocacy group that has sued to compel the FAA to release more information about its plans.

“Rushing to push through applications to fly drones doesn’t seem like a good idea,” she said.

At least a dozen police departments have asked the FAA for permission to fly drones.

Police in Gadsden, Ala., used a $150,000 federal grant two years ago to buy a lightweight drone called a WASP III to help in drug investigations. But officers have yet to fly the drone, said Capt. Regina May, a department spokeswoman.

“We’re going to be keeping an eye on what happens” on May 14, she said.


Apr 12

How To Hide From Face-Detection Technology

(John D. Sutter)  If you take Adam Harvey’s advice, here’s what you might wanna wear to a party this weekend: A funny hat, asymmetrical glasses, a tuft of hair that dangles off your nose bridge and, most likely, a black-and-white triangle taped to your cheekbone. Optional: Cubic makeup patterns all around your eyes.

All of these otherworldly fashion accessories – which could leave a person looking kind of like an opulent villain from “The Hunger Games” - have a singular goal: to stop your face from being detected by cameras and computers. Called CV Dazzle (short for “computer vision dazzle;” more on the name later), Harvey’s project is a provocative and largely theoretical response to the rise of surveillance cameras on street corners and face-detecting technology that’s been incorporated into social networking sites like Facebook and Flickr.

If you employ these techniques, Harvey, 30, hopes computers won’t even know you have a face:

I don’t want to be unrealistic about it. It’s a pretty conceptual project but it seems to touch on a subject that people are still trying to figure out, which is how to adapt to living in surveillance societies, where not only are you being watched by government surveillance but by citizen surveillance and social-media-type surveillance.

The face appendages aim to trick face detection software by obscuring computer-readable parts of your face. According to Harvey, the key part of the face that computers can read is the “nose bridge,” or the area between the eyes. If you can obscure that, you have a good chance of tricking computers into thinking you don’t have a face, he said. Another technique is to create an “anit-face,” which is less terrifying than it sounds since it just means inverting your face’s color scheme. So the black-and-white triangles on the cheeks aim to achieve this effect.

Face detection prevention fashion.

Or, you could just sport a popped collar or a hoodie. More from Harvey:

One idea I’m working on is a double flip-up collar. It’s not much different from a hoodie except that you can fold it down and it’s a new style. The hoodie works great, but of course it’s kind of suspicious.

Asymmetry also fools computers, he said, since software first looks for symmetry in a face.

Harvey developed this concept as a grad-student project at New York University starting in 2010. He hopes to soon put out a fashion guide to avoiding face detection and wants to work with fashion designers to create accessories that trick peeping cameras. He’s also working on a computer program that would allow people to draw their own anti-detection fashion, then test it virtually to see if it actually works before they go wandering out of the house with bangs hanging over their noses.

Oh, and the name: “Dazzle” refers to a particular type of camouflage that was used by ships in World War I. The cubist-style pattern on the boats wasn’t meant to blend into the surroundings, exactly, but it did have a confusing effect, he said. “Zebras use dazzle camouflage,” he said. “If they’re all running around it’s increasingly difficult to se how many there are. That’s the advantage to them.”


Harvey said he’s not completely against face detection in all cases, but he thinks the technology “oscillates between cool and freaky.” The public thinking on privacy, has “really turned upside down,” he said. “Anything you do in favor of privacy can raise a lot of suspicion now.”
He doesn’t take things so seriously that he actually wears this stuff to parties, however. He’s actually never tried that himself, he said, but is trying to come up with a hat that will look cool and still could conceal his identity – at least from the computers.