Friday, February 13, 2015
NEWS FOR 2/12/2015 THURSDAY FEBRUARY 12TH 2015
U.S. GOVERNMENT COMPLETELY CORRUPTED__________
Republicans in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee have stalled the nomination of U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as President Barack Obama’s Attorney General, and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)—a member of the committee—says it’s because of her role in not bringing criminal charges in a white collar crime scandal.
In December 2012, ABC News’s Brian Ross, Matthew Mosk and Carlos Boettcher reported that HSBC Bank “will avoid a potentially crippling criminal prosecution for its role in moving cash for known terror groups, Mexican drug cartels, and rogue governments such as Iran” because Justice Department officials instead agreed to assess a $2 billion settlement against the bank.
Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, is quoted in that article as saying HSBC didn’t act on”numerous red flags and warnings about the money laundering risks.”
HSBC, she said, “routinely did business with entities on the U.S. sanctions list” adding that the bank engaged in “evading U.S. prohibitions on such transactions by disguising the source of the funds so the payments would go through.”
Nonetheless, nobody went to prison or even faced a criminal trial in the money laundering case, due to Lynch’s and others’ efforts. HSBC got off by making a payment to the government.
(Breitbart, feb 12th)
Court Rules Details of DHS Cellphone Service Kill Switch Can Remain Secret
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington DC has ruled that the Department of Homeland Security’s procedure for shutting down cell phone service during a declared emergency can remain secret.
The lawsuit was brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) after the DHS failed to release its criteria for network shutdowns following an incident in 2011 when government officials in San Francisco disabled cell phone service during a peaceful protest. The demonstration was against the police killing of Charles Hill, a homeless man shot dead by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (“BART”) officer.
A federal judge initially ruled in EPIC’s favor but the DHS won the case on appeal. However, the federal agency may still have to disclose some portions of the protocol.
All that is known about the DHS procedure for the cellphone service kill switch is its name – SOP 303 – which “provides detailed procedures for the [NCC] to coordinate requests for the disruption of cellular service,” including kill switches for, “commercial and private wireless networks during national crises.”
EPIC’s FOIA request and subsequent lawsuit attempted to uncover the full text of Standard Operating Procedure 303 and the pre-determined “series of questions” that determine whether or not a shutdown is necessary.
After the DHS initially claimed that the agency was “unable to locate or identify any responsive records” in relation to SOP 303, a district court ruled that the feds had improperly withheld the information and ordered its release. The DHS subsequently filed an appeal challenging the lower court’s decision.
EPIC filed a response to the DHS’ appeal, identifying the issue as, “Whether the Department of Homeland Security’s policy for coordinating the ‘disruption’ of wireless communications networks during a peaceful protest is exempt from disclosure under Exemptions 7(E) or 7(F) of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) (2012).”
The DHS won the appeal on the dubious basis that revealing the information about the cellular kill switch, “could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.”
The White House currently asserts that it has the legal authority to control private communications during times of national crises, while the Federal Communications Commission is also preparing to implement policies that will enable the shutdown of communications for the “purpose of ensuring public safety”.
A July 2012 executive order also hands the Department of Homeland Security the power to seize private facilities in order to limit civilian communications.
(Infowars, feb 12th)
FBI Says All Public Records Requests For Stingray Documents Must Be Routed Through It
The FBI definitely does not want the nation’s law enforcement agencies to talk about their Stingray devices. Manufacturer Harris Corporation has aided and abetted this secrecy — first by misleading the FCC on the intended use of the devices (emergencies only) and then by claiming the FCC required law enforcement to sign non-disclosure agreements with the FBI, something the FCC has denied.
Other federal law enforcement agencies have also helped keep documentation on Stingray usage out of the public’s hands. Last year, the US Marshals stepped in to physically remove documents from the Sarasota (FL) police department to prevent them from being turned over to the ACLU in response to a FOIA request. The US Marshals Service has also ordered local law enforcement agencies to lie about their use of Stingray devices — not just in terms of FOIA requests but while presenting evidence in court.
Ars Technica has come across another document involving the FBI, Harris Corp. and lying. Originally obtained and published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the memo (written by the FBI) states that any open records requests for Stingray-related documents must be routed through the FBI first [pdf link]:
In the event that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension receives a request pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (5 USC 552) or an equivalent state or local law, the civil or criminal discovery process, or other judicial, legislative, or administrative process, to disclose information concerning the Harris Corporation [REDACTED] the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will immediately notify the FBI of any such request telephonically and in writing in order to allow sufficient time for the FBI to seek to prevent disclosure through appropriate channels.
As Cyrus Farivar points out, similar memos have very likely been sent out to other local law enforcement agencies. There’s a lot more in the very restrictive agreement, most of it blacked out. The letter from the FBI opens by making the dubious claim that releasing this information would render the agency unable to “protect the public from terrorism and other criminal activities.” This is the normal language of secrecy and it has very little to do with the public’s protection and everything to do with withholding responsive documents. The capabilities and technology behind Stingray devices are already public knowledge. Criminals and terrorists are already aware that cell phones, while useful, are also little pocket narcs that generate tons of data easily obtained with little more than a subpoena — or actively obtained with these devices. The “method and means” can’t be further compromised. All the FBI is doing is burying information about legally-dubious devices in common usage.
(tech dirt, feb 12th)
Last week Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, published an op-ed piece for Wired which laid out his strategy to “ensure net neutrality” by treating the Internet as a public utility and applying the same types of regulations that are used for phone and electric companies. Many groups favor the move because of the promise of reining in irresponsible Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Net neutrality promises to protect Internet users by barring ISPs from limiting use of the Internet or charging extra fees for streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.
There is a real problem, to be sure. ISPs have used a method called “choking” to limit the speeds of streaming services and downloads. By identifying the addresses of the services that use large amounts of bandwidth and slowing down the connections to those services, they have made them practically unusable.
Users have complained and the ISPs have ignored their complaints. Since many ISPs offer their own streaming services or cable or satellite television services, they view these services as competing with them and cutting into their revenues. So, they make it difficult to use those services.
It is bad business and it inconveniences Internet users. But is government regulation the answer to the problem? Constitutionalists have noted that in this case the antidote is worse than the poison: granting government the ability to regulate the Internet will grant government control of the Internet.
(new american, feb 12th)
Obama amnesty creates loophole for illegal immigrants to vote in elections
President Obama’s temporary deportation amnesty will make it easier for illegal immigrants to improperly register and vote in elections, state elections officials testified to Congress on Thursday, saying that the driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers they will be granted create a major voting loophole.
While stressing that it remains illegal for noncitizens to vote, secretaries of state from Ohio and Kansas said they won’t have the tools to sniff out illegal immigrants who register anyway, ignoring stiff penalties to fill out the registration forms that are easily available at shopping malls, motor vehicle bureaus and in curbside registration drives.
(washington times, feb 12th)
IRS apologizes for seizing bank accounts of small businesses
ssured by Congress, the IRS said Wednesday it is changing its policies and apologizing for seizing banks accounts from otherwise law-abiding business owners simply because they structured bank transactions to avoid federal reporting requirements.
Their alleged crime: routinely making bank deposits of less than $10,000. That allowed the business owners to avoid reporting requirements designed to catch drug dealers and money launderers.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress that the IRS is changing policies to prevent the seizures, as long as the money came from legal means.
"To anyone who is not treated fairly under the code, I apologize," Koskinen told the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. "Taxpayers have to be comfortable that they will be treated fairly."
By law, bank transactions above $10,000 must be reported to the IRS. It's a felony, called "structuring," to manage transactions to avoid the reporting requirement, even if the money is legally earned.
In some cases, the IRS seized and held bank accounts for years without bringing charges.
(AP, feb 11th)
Thursday on Fox New Channel’s “America’s Newsroom,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) explained in November the Treasury Inspector General reported that it had recovered almost 80,000 missing emails from the seized IRS disaster recovery tapes. Upon investigation it was found approximately 80 percent are duplicates, which leaves roughly 16,000 recovered, unique Lois Lerner emails.
The Wisconsin senator promised “a number of committees,” working together will spend the next couple of month “sorting through” the emails to “piece together this plot.”
Johnson said, “This administration has been completely opaque. But that’s one question. Who was communicating with Lois Lerner? What emails were exchanged with the White House or Treasury department? That’s what we are trying to get to the bottom of.”
He added, “I smell a rat. I smell a number of rats, and that’s what we are going to get to the bottom of.”
(breitbart, feb 12th)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Thursday that lawmakers should "scrap" the tax code.
Paul was responding to a question during a Facebook question-and-answer session in which he was asked if Congress should abolish the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
"The IRS is too big, too powerful, and we absolutely should scrap the code," Paul, a prospective 2016 presidential candidate, answered. "Look for my tax plan later this spring."
Paul was touting his "Audit the Fed" proposal, which has 30 co-sponsors and would allow the comptroller general to audit the Federal Reserve. Fed officials oppose the policy, saying that it'd politicize monetary policy.
"Congress is always 10 years behind the American people," Paul wrote during the Facebook chat. "Support for Audit the Fed has grown steadily over the least few years, especially since the bank bailouts."
He later wrote that "transparency is never a bad thing. We should know what they are doing. If they are doing thing that are harmful, we should know that and address them."
Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen is scheduled to testify before Congress on Feb. 24 and 25.
(the hill, feb 12th)
Boston’s Record-Shattering Snow Turns Neighbor Against Neighbor
In Boston, the never-ending snow is turning neighbor against neighbor.
More than 5,600 complaints over snow removal have been filed in the city about people who have not done their due diligence when it comes to shoveling. There are complaints about neighbors, businesses and even the city for leaving roads and sidewalks snow-covered.
“I think everybody should do their part,” said one Boston resident who lives on a street with many unshoveled areas. “As you can see, it’s like a ski resort.”
As the city tries to tackle the six feet of snow that fell in a little more than two weeks, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has encouraged people to report snow removal offenders online through “Citizens Connect.” Many have included photos in their anonymous complaints.
So far, Boston has issued over 2,000 citations for failing to remove snow. Fines for not clearing snow start at $50.
(CBS boston, feb 11th)
FBI and Justice Department can’t find their drone privacy reports
Two hours after publication and in the wake of three FOIA requests, the Justice Department declined to clarify whether the FBI has analyzed potential privacy risks posed by its drones. “The questions you raised are best addressed through FOIA,” wrote Peter Carr, a Justice Department public affairs specialist, in reply to an email asking if the FBI had filed drone privacy impact assessments, “and it is my understanding that you sought similar information already through our FOIA office.”
The Justice Department’s privacy office thus dodged a yes-or-no matter — has the FBI has completed the legally mandated privacy analysis process? — by referring to previous, unclear FOIA responses. “Should you seek further information, please submit another request,” suggested Mr. Carr in conclusion.
A version of this article appears on Motherboard
Six months ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation refused to release its plans to tackle privacy risks posed by drone surveillance. Now the agency claims it can’t track them down at all. So does the one Justice Department office responsible for making sure such reports get filed in the first place.
(muckrock, feb 12th)
Chinese-American Lily Tang Williams says she is scared of America’s Common Core education system because it reminds her of the Communist education she received as a young girl growing up under Mao Tse-tung’s regime in China.
In a video posted to YouTube, Williams points out the many similarities between her education and the one her 15-year-old daughter is currently receiving in a Colorado public school. Similarities like the national standards and guidelines Chinese teachers were expected to implement, lest they lose their jobs. Or the Chinese parents who have no choice, or rights, in what their children learn, and no privacy whatsoever. Williams described even having to hand over her private diaries for teacher review.
“In our diary,” Willaims says, “we’re supposed to do self-criticism and we’re supposed to report on others who have politically incorrect speeches…including friends, sometimes your family. It is a very sick system.”
Williams said the communist government used a household registration system and kept a personnel file on each citizen and student. The file contained information about her family, where she lived, a current picture, political class, grades, behavior, awards, and punishments. Also included were teachers’ opinions and recommendations. These files remained classified under government control from first grade through college. Williams said the files would even be referenced when applying for jobs.
Even though she escaped to America, Williams says she is still “haunted” by this file that still exists on her in China. “It’s really worrisome that Common Core is collecting children’s data in this country and really scaring me that [it's] going to be shared with government agencies, with employers, with private corporations,” says Williams. She adds, “The government, then, has all the control on every child in this country.”
To those who want America’s education to be like China’s because the children in that country test so high, Williams warns:
They are trained to be test-takers, not to be critical thinkers. Chinese children are very miserable, they don’t have much life. They don’t have time for extracurricular [activities] like arts, athletics, and community service.
High school kids are even more miserable because the pressure to perform — the pressure to pass college exams, which is once a year nationalized exam for three days. And if you screw up one time, it’s like your life is done. You have to come back next year to retake the exam. That’s the only way you can go to college.
Even though politics is a part of Chinese education, it eliminates its own history, like Mao’s mass starvation or Tiananmen Square, so the children don’t know what really happened in history.
“So, why do we want to be like China?” Williams asks. “Do not think test scores matter [like] it’s everything,” she adds, “That kind of system actually suppresses free minds. It kills innovation, it kills the joys of learning.” Williams goes on to say teachers become test-givers and children become robots.
“They are taught to conform, to follow,” Williams says of students. “They are not going to challenge authority when they grow up.”
Williams concludes with this question: “Is that what we want for America?”
She then addresses President Obama, Bill Gates, and Jeb Bush directly: “You’re pushing for Common Core. Can you convince me to go through this again, in this country?”
“If we really want this country to remain to be land of the free, home of the brave,” Williams says, “then we need to stop Common Core.”
(truth revolt, feb 12th)
IMF Announces $17.5bn Bailout Deal for Ukraine
The International Monetary Fund has granted Ukraine a new $17.5 billion bailout deal to help support economic reforms.
With the help from other lenders, including Europe and the US, the deal could climb to around $40 billion over the next four years.
Ukraine has so far received $4.6 billion as part of a $17 billion aid package from the IMF agreed on last year, but the programme ran into trouble as the war ravaging the country’s eastern region weighed on its economic prospects.
Facing bankruptcy, Ukraine last month asked the IMF to replace its programme with a new one to restore confidence in its finances.
(Indepedent, feb 12th)
Congress Ramps Up $1 Billion in Lethal Aid to Ukraine “To End the Conflict”
Up until now, on the record at least, all aid military and otherwise that the US has sent to Ukraine has been more in the vein of non-aggression.
Lethal aid is a line that has not been crossed yet, and for good reason. By all accounts, if the US were to lethally arm the Ukrainian government that it put into power over there, it would send a clear signal to Russia that America wants a full-blown war.
In fact, just days ago, Obama said that lethal weapons weren’t ruled out, and top Russian MP and close friend of Putin, Alexi Pushkov, warned the European Parliament that if the United States supplied lethal weapons to the Ukrainian government, it would not only undermine the whole European security system but would result in ‘all out war.’
Now that’s exactly what new legislation introduced in the US House aims to do, to the tune of one billion dollars.
“The Secretary of Defense is authorized, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance, including training equipment, lethal weapons of a defensive nature, logistics support, supplies and services, and sustainment to the military and national security forces of Ukraine, through September 30, 2017,” Tuesday’s legislation read. “To carry out the provisions of this act there are authorized to be appropriated $1,000,000,000. Amounts authorized to be appropriated under this subsection are authorized to remain available until September 30, 2017.”
The bill, introduced by Representatives Adam Smith and Mac Thornberry, both members of the House Armed Services Committee, aims to secure Ukraine’s “sovereign territory against foreign aggressors,” and defend Ukrainians from attacks by “Russian-backed separatists,” according to the legislation. Additionally, the bill calls for having a negotiated settlement to “end the conflict” in Ukraine.
It seems the west is hell-bent on war.
(shtfplan, feb 12th)
Rand Paul says that Hillary Clinton deserves a lot of blame for ISIS
Clinton’s intervention in Libya and the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi created space for ISIS jihadists
“The disaster that is Libya is now a breeding ground for terrorists and is a breeding ground for armaments. So I really do blame Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya for creating a lot of the chaos that is spreading throughout the Middle East,” he said.
(Rare, feb 12th)
UN Finds Credible Ties Between ISIS And Israeli Defense Forces
In a new report from the UN, it is revealed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were maintaining regular contact with members of the so-called Islamic State since May of 2013. Initial reports from the IDF stated that this was only for medical care for civilians, but that story fell apart when the UN observers identified direct contact between IDF forces and ISIS soldiers, including giving medical care to ISIS fighters. Observations even included the transfer of two crates from the IDF to ISIS forces, the contents of which have not been confirmed at this time. Further the UN report identified what the Syrians label a crossing point of forces between Israel and ISIS, a point of concern brought before the UN Security Council. This report from the UN strengthens the claims by the Syrian regime that Israel is heavily involved in operations within the nation.
This is part of a continuing pattern of Israeli support for the Islamic State. It was only two months ago that Israel attacked Syrian forces in opposition to ISIS forces. Israeli attacks even killed an Iranian military adviser for the Syrian military just two weeks ago. The U.S.’s financing of ISIS, part of the effort against Syrian president Assad, is well documented, as well. That the efforts to undermine the Assad regime were in turn strengthening the same terrorist group which recently set a Jordanian pilot on fire to set an example is conveniently ignored by the higher up military command.
When the United States began operations against ISIS, Israeli high command seemed reluctant to give any support and called the move a mistake. The support of ISIS fits in with Israeli concerns in the region, namely that of Syria and Iran, and U.S. opposition to ISIS has put the United States in the awkward position of once again arming the enemies we will be fighting tomorrow.
(Infowars, feb 12th)
Obama, Congress Exploit the Death of Kayla Mueller to Push for War in Syria and Iraq
(Infowars, feb 12th)
The Obama administration designed the language of its unconstitutional AUMF to be vague, Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, admitted on Wednesday.
Earnest said the proposal was left undefined “because we believe it’s important that there aren’t overly burdensome constraints that are placed on the commander in chief.”
Critics interpret this to mean the executive branch of the government wants to expand the reach of the imperial presidency and allow it to wage war against ill-defined enemies anywhere in the world.
Additionally, the administration believes the deliberately ambiguous AUMF, or Authorization for the Use of Military Force, will bring lawmakers together in a bipartisan coalition calling for a war against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq without restraint, including the use of ground troops.
(Infowars, feb 12th)
UN warns Yemen ‘collapsing’ as Qaeda seizes army camp
"Yemen is collapsing before our eyes"
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Thursday that Yemen was falling apart and called for action to avert chaos, as Al-Qaeda fighters overran an army camp and seized heavy weaponry.
The UN chief was reporting to the 15-member council after talks with Gulf officials that he said concentrated on “preventing civil war in Yemen”.
“Let me be clear: Yemen is collapsing before our eyes. We cannot stand by and watch,” Ban told the council.
Long on the front line of the war against Al-Qaeda, Yemen has descended into chaos since Shiite militiamen, known as Huthis, seized Sanaa in September and ousted the government last week.
The United States, Britain and France have rushed to close their embassies over security fears, with US staff destroying top-secret documents and sensitive equipment before pulling out Wednesday.
The Netherlands followed suit Thursday, closing its Sanaa mission temporarily due to security concerns, the government said.
The Huthis said Western powers had no reason to shut their embassies.
(AFP, feb 12th)
CLINT EASTWOOD FINALLY SPEAKS ABOUT AMERICAN SNIPER CRITICISM!!!!
Clint Eastwood: To a Point, Moore, Maher Right in ‘Sniper’ Criticism
Said he opposed both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
Clint Eastwood surprised many people recently by saying he agreed with critics who have attacked his Oscar-nominated film “American Sniper.”
Since the film was released last month, it has been attacked by film director Michael Moore, who called military snipers “cowards.”
Comedian Bill Maher questioned whether the subject of the film — the late U.S. military sniper Chris Kyle — was a “hero or not” and called him a “psychopath patriot,” The Daily Beast reports.
As he was leaving a West Hollywood restaurant Monday night, Eastwood was asked by TMZ what he thought about the recent criticism by Moore and Maher.
“They were right,” he said.
“Did Clint Eastwood Just Agree with ‘American Sniper’ Critics?” a Daily Caller headline asked.
The answer appears to be that he does — to a point.
Mediaite reported, for example, that Eastwood has defended the film by stating that “the biggest antiwar statement any film” can make is to show “the fact of what [war] does to the family and the people who have to go back into civilian life like Chris Kyle did.”
In an interview published last month, Eastwood described his philosophy as “more dove than hawk: a pragmatic libertarian rather than a red-meat Republican,” the Toronto Star reported.
(Newsmax, feb 12th)
Protesters clashed with police in this anti-government stronghold Thursday amid a storm of tear gas, rocks and rubber bullets as Venezuelans staged dueling marches on the anniversary of last year's bloody protest movement.While demonstrations were mostly calm elsewhere in the socialist South American country, an anti-government march turned violent in this restive city near the border with Colombia, which was an epicenter of the 2014 movement.
Embattled President Nicolas Maduro, meanwhile, said his administration foiled a coup attempt that was supposed to take place Thursday and he alleged it had U.S. backing. He said five air force officers, including a general, were detained for plotting to use a military jet to bomb the presidential palace. He provided no evidence or other details.
(daily mail, feb 12th)
U.S. AND WORLD ECONOMY______________
First Time Ever: Federal Tax Revenues Top $1 Trillion Thru January; Gov't Still Runs $194B Deficit
(cns news, feb 11th)
Sweden cuts rates below zero as global currency wars spread
Morgan Stanley warns that the world is revisiting the “ghosts of the 1930s” as one country after another tries to steal a march on others by devaluing first
(telegraph, feb 12th)
Central Banks Are Boosting Their Gold Reserves
Governments added 477.2 metric tons to their reserves, the second-biggest increase in 50 years and 17 percent more than a year earlier, the World Gold Council said in a report Thursday. Based on the average price of gold in 2014, central banks probably paid about $19.4 billion. A Boeing 787-9 has a $257.1 million retail price, according to the company’s website.
Central banks have added to gold reserves for the past five years, a reversal from two decades of selling since the late 1980s. Purchases will be at least 400 tons this year, according to estimates from the London-based council, which represents 17 gold producers. Total demand for gold fell last year as Chinese consumers bought less jewelry, bars and coins.
(bloomberg, feb 12th)
U.S. consumer spending barely rose in January as households cut back on purchases of a range of goods, suggesting the economy started the first quarter on a softer note.
Sluggish spending came despite cheap gasoline and a buoyant labor market, leaving economists to speculate that consumers were using the extra income to pay down debt and boost savings.
“There is a risk of a temporary soft patch for the economy as it is somewhat surprising the consumer has stopped spending their savings from gasoline prices,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.
(Reuters, feb 12th)
UKIP leader Nigel Farage: If the Greeks stand firm, the free world will applaud them
(Infowars, feb 12th)
The man at the centre of the SwissLeaks tax scandal in Britain is a soft-spoken Church of England clergyman who turned HSBC into Europe's biggest bank, and was once seen as a model of ethics in finance.
HSBC's former chief executive and chairman, Stephen Green, used to be courted for his advice by politicians of all stripes and by the Anglican hierarchy, but now he finds himself widely shunned.
The ex-banking titan was pursued down a London street by a BBC journalist this week following the revelations, refusing to answer questions.
"I'm not prepared to make any comments about HSBC business past or present," the 66-year-old Green said before walking off, clutching his briefcase.
Growing pressure may force him to change his mind.
Green has been asked to testify before a British parliamentary committee which is investigating who knew what, when about alleged tax-dodging strategies on accounts containing tens of billions of pounds.
The fall from grace has been particularly astonishing for a man praised for steering HSBC through the global financial crisis without the bailouts using taxpayer money that other banks resorted to.
(AFP, feb 12th)
Cop Shoots Child For Standing Next To Another Child Holding A Toy Gun
A police officer in LA shot a 15-year-old kid who was part of a group of kids playing with a toy gun in an ally, the LA Times reports.
The child who was shot wasn’t even holding the toy, according to the report, and was just in the vicinity.
The police report notes that officers encountered the group and drew their own firearms, ordering the boy to drop the weapon. When he didn’t drop it, one of the officers opened fire, striking the boy closest to him.
The boy was rushed to hospital and released following treatment.
“It’s certainly an unfortunate situation,” said police department spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith. “But because of people bringing replica weapons out like that, it certainly could have been a terrible tragedy.”
Smith added that “No animus” was involved in the incident, meaning no hostility or ill intent, and no arrests were made.
The child who was holding the toy could, however, face charges for “brandishing a replica weapon in the presence of a police officer.”
(Infowars, feb 12th)
Indian Man Visits Family In Alabama, Cops Paralyze Him For Walking Around Neighborhood
A 57-year-old Indian man visiting his family in Alabama has been left paralyzed after police bodyslammed him to the ground in an exchange that occurred when the man went for a stroll around the block.
Sureshbhai Patel, a farmer from a small town in India, was visiting his son, three years a US citizen, to help look after his 17-month-old grandson. When he decided to take a look around the neighborhood, someone called the cops and reported Mr Patel, who has been approved as a permanent resident of the United States, as a ‘suspicious’ person.
The officers arrived on the scene and, upon discovering Mr Patel couldn’t speak English very well, began to pat him down. Patel is said to have repeatedly told them he couldn’t speak English, and pointed to his son’s house, also repeating his son’s phone number, but to no avail.
One of the officers grabbed him by the arm, twisted it behind his back and slammed him to the ground, face first.
The resulting injury left Patel bleeding and temporarily paralyzed. He was later hospitalized and had to undergo surgery to fuse two vertebrae due to swelling in his spine. Patel has regained some motion in his arms and left leg, but his right leg remains paralyzed, according to the report. Patel, who previously had no health issues, now faces lengthy therapy in order to fully recover.
“He was just walking on the sidewalk as he does all the time,” said his son, Chirag Patel, who is taking a masters degree in electrical engineering at the University of Alabama.”They put him to the ground. This is a good neighborhood. I didn’t expect anything to happen,” the younger Patel added.
An incident report written by the officers in question notes a “communication barrier” led to the escalation. “The subject began putting his hands in his pockets,” reads the police statement. “Officers attempted to pat the subject down and he attempted to pull away. The subject was forced to the ground, which resulted in injury.” it reads.
Video and audio of the incident was captured but remains in the hands of the police department pending investigation.
The Patel family’s attorney, Hank Sherrod, stated “This is broad daylight, walking down the street — there is nothing suspicious about Mr. Patel other than he has brown skin.”
Chirag Patel told reporters that he came to the US to make his ambitions a reality, but has since begun to question whether he chose the right path. “It is a dream for me because I came from a very poor family and I worked so hard here,” said Patel, adding “I’m totally devastated that I might have made a big mistake.”
The family intends to sue. The officer who caused the injury has been suspended.
The sad incident serves to once again highlight how police, when faced with someone who cannot effectively communicate, default to the use of excessive force, rather than attempting to rationally defuse the situation.
(Infowars, feb 12th)
Video: Family Calls 911 to Report Stabbing, Cops Show Up Assault Victim & Arrest Family
"Instead of being helped or making sure nothing else happens to him, he was thrown on the hood of a white car as if he was the suspect"
(free thought project, feb 12th)
Courtney Silvera, age 10, was eating cereal at 7 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2013, when the police knocked on the door. They were looking for his mother's ex-boyfriend, who had possibly violated an order of protection. His grandmother, who is suffering from brain and lung cancer, answered the door but had difficulty understanding the cops' reason for being there, New York's Daily News reports. So Courtney grabbed his mom's cellphone and began recording the conversation.
One cop didn't like that, so he kicked the boy in the shin, breaking his leg, according to a complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court and seen by the Daily News.
(the root, feb 5th)
CBS affiliate KIRO reports that two people from two separate counties, King and Snohomish, contracted the mumps post-MMR vaccination, blaming the two-person “outbreak” on mumps cases leaking out of the University of Idaho.
The Snohomish County man had received one vaccine, while the King County woman had “received both recommended doses.”
The mumps virus is a particularly nasty, incurable disease that causes headaches, fever and facial swelling.
The cases clearly illustrate how vaccine protection is questionable, yet physicians continue to defend the safety of MMR jabs.
“No vaccine is perfect,” Harborview Medical Center Dr. John Lynch told KIRO. “It doesn’t protect everyone who gets it.”
For victims of adverse MMR events, however, the vaccine is nowhere near perfect.
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) admits the MMR vaccine, which contains live measles, mumps and rubella virus strands, “may cause a very mild case of the disease they were designed to prevent.”
Though muddled in legalese, the MMR vaccine insert specifically lists “death” as one of its associated adverse reactions, saying that “Death from various, and in some cases unknown, causes has been reported rarely following vaccination with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines…”
Other MMR vaccine risks and side effects, according to WebMD, include a fever (which affects 1 in 5 children), seizures (which occur in 1 out of 3,000) and encephalitis, or brain inflammation, (which – like some deadly lottery – reportedly affects 1 in a million). To put that number in perspective, the IAC says “hundreds of millions” of MMR doses have been distributed.
(Infowars, feb 12th)
Senator Barbara Boxer (D) and Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), have proposed federal legislation that would for the first time impose Federal, as opposed to State, vaccine mandates to attend an educational program. The legislators’ bill entitled A Head Start on Vaccinations Act would require all children enrolled in Head Start to get all of the vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) according to the CDC’s timetable. There would be no exemptions for religious or personnel beliefs.
(activist post, feb 12th)
PinnacleHealth System is using eight robots in situations where time or distance prevent the needed doctor from being in the room.
The robots are equipped with things including powerful cameras which can provide a full view of the patient, or zoom in close enough to even test the reflex of the patient's pupil. They can transmit video and sound to a doctor located elsewhere, and enable the doctor to speak to the patient and attending caregivers, who also can see the doctor.
Dr. Christian Caicedo said such robots are the "future of medicine." Falling under the heading of telemedicine, they will become increasingly necessary as things such as the aging of the baby boomers and more people with health insurance stretch the supply of doctors.
PinnacleHealth has a robot stationed at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital in Huntingdon County, which is an affiliate of PinnacleHealth, and which is located in a rural area where a specialist such as a neurologist for a stroke patient might not be immediately available. In such cases, the specialist can use the robot to examine and access the patient, and do things such as order medication and tests.
PinnacleHealth is also using robots within its Harrisburg-area facilities in non-urgent instances such as when a specific doctor's expertise is required, but the doctor's physical presence is not. Caicedo, an emergency room doctor and medical director of West Shore Hospital, said a robot can allow a doctor to see several patients when, because of time and distance, the doctor could otherwise see only one.
(Penn Live, feb 11th)
Hospitals cut costs with 'creepy' robots
Hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area are using robots called Tugs to take over many of the everyday tasks involved in tending to patients. The bots are programmed to deliver food and drugs, pick up waste and laundry, and to travel the halls without crashing into people, according to an article in Wired—though it's clear the story's writer doesn't get a warm, fuzzy feeling from them.
(CNBC, feb 12th)
Scientists from two U.S. Pacific Northwest laboratories plan to conduct tests of unusual precipitation that fell across the region over the weekend in hopes of pinpointing the origins of so-called “milky rain” that has mystified residents, officials said on Wednesday.
Officials at both the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Benton Clean Air Agency, both in Washington state, said they had collected samples of the rain, which left a powdery residue on cars across a wide swath of the two states.
(Reuters, feb 12th)
Does a Real Anti-Aging Pill Already Exist?
Inside Novartis’s push to produce the first legitimate anti-aging drug
(bloomberg, feb 12th)
You'd think drug and medical device makers would know how to spell the names of their own products. But when companies submitted data to the federal government last year on their payments to doctors, some got the product names wrong. Forest Laboratories misspelled its depression drug, Fetzima, as "Fetziima" 953 times — in more than one-third of all the reports on the drug. Medical device company Amedica Corp. sometimes called its Preference screw system "Preferance."
Amid much anticipation and after a lengthy delay, the government in September unveiled its Open Payments database, saying it would bring transparency to relationships between physicians and the drug and medical device industries. But this openness has been clouded by numerous errors that detract from its usefulness.
The database mistakes surfaced as we developed an app, rolled out this month with The Upshot, to identify the drugs and medical devices that were most heavily promoted to doctors in the last five months of 2013, the period covered by the data. We found that many of the drugs with the highest spending weren't cures or even medical breakthroughs, but rather "me-too" drugs that were little different than other drugs on the market.
As we tried to get accurate tallies of all payments associated with each drug and device, we encountered widespread problems with companies' submissions. We also learned that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which administers the Open Payments database, doesn't double-check what companies submit.
(pro publica, jan 23rd)
MAINSTREAM MEDIA (NEWS, TV, MOVIES, ETC)_____
New York Times media columnist David Carr dies at age 58
Just hours before his death he had moderated a "Times Talks" conversation with Edward Snowden, director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald about the documentary "Citizenfour," which chronicles Snowden's leak of National Security Agency documents. Carr, engaged as always, drew them out with pointed questions and wry observations to speak candidly about the film.
The Times' publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., said Carr had "formidable talent" and was "one of the most gifted journalists who has ever worked at The New York Times." He called him "an indispensable guide to modern media."
Executive Editor Dean Baquet also heaped praise on Carr and said he was special.
"He was the finest media reporter of his generation, a remarkable and funny man who was one of the leaders of our newsroom," Baquet told Carr's colleagues in an email. "He was our biggest champion, and his unending passion for journalism and for truth will be missed by his family at The Times, by his readers around the world, and by people who love journalism."
(AP, feb 12th)
The First Hollywood Movie to Kill Obama
In the film’s climax, the colluding one-percenters get theirs when the good guys activate brain implants that cause their noggins to burst in dazzling explosions. The over-the-top sequence conjures Kim Jong Un’s lyrical, Katy Perry-themed death in The Interview in more than a few ways. And yes, even Barack goes boom.
Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman soften the blow a bit by not identifying Obama by name and only showing him from behind, although the reference is clear.
“The White House and Obama-ish president—there's no other symbol about a global power than the White House. If I used 10 Downing Street, most people would go, ‘What's that little black door? Where is that? Who is that?’” Vaughn told IGN. “So I needed to show … when you hear Valentine saying, ‘Politicians are shit,’ you pull back and go, ‘Oh, fuck! He's in the White House! This guy's powerful.’”
Kingsman, which has no overt anti-Obama agenda, also takes aim at ultraconservative America by setting a brutal, madcap massacre scene within a church filled with hate-spewing fundamentalist Christians.
(daily beast, feb 12th)
Relativity Media is partnering up with Fifty Shades of Grey producer Dana Brunetti to create a drama based on former Navy SEALs-turned CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both who were killed on Sep. 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya.
Woods and Doherty rescued 30 Americans after terrorists ambushed a U.S. Diplomatic Compound, claiming the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith.
Woods and Doherty were later killed defending a separate compound about a mile away.
Now Relativity plans to work closely with the men’s inheritors to tell the accurate story of how two soldiers bravely came together and sacrificed their lives in service to their fellow Americans, reports Deadline.
(breitbart, feb 12th)
Justin Bieber’s Church Signs With Major Hollywood Agency
Religion has gone Hollywood.
William Morris Endeavor Entertainment signed the Hillsong church Wednesday to its roster of celebrities and talent, the first time a major Hollywood talent agency has signed a house of worship as a client.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, WME will help the megachurch, which boasts celebrity attendees and a social media following in the tens of millions, land film and digital entertainment opportunities. The agency will also reportedly help the church expand its TV viewership from an already impressive 10 million global viewers.
The move appears to be a perfect fit for Hillsong and its glossy celebrity clientele. Justin Bieber “broke down” after attending a sermon at Hillsong’s New York City outpost in September 2013, while his on/off girlfriend Selena Gomez is reportedly a regular at the Los Angeles location. Athletes Kevin Durant and Jeremy Lin and actress Vanessa Hudgens have also attended services.
The church, which has 12 locations across the globe, is known for mixing concerts with its sermons. The church band, Hillsong United, has sold over 16 million albums worldwide with songs like the #1 Billboard Christian Songs hit, “Oceans.”
(breitbart, feb 12th)
WTF NEWS!!! SHOCKING, UNBELIEVABLE, ETC._____
Global security futurist Marc Goodman warns that smart meters may one day be able to detect what television programs people are watching, another example of how the ‘Internet of Things’ threatens to jeopardize privacy.
Goodman, who has previously worked as an advisor to the FBI, the US Secret Service and Interpol, told Singularity Hub’s Jason Dorrier that the widespread implementation of the ‘Internet of Things’ could lead to “catastrophic consequences,” such as cars being remotely hacked and made to crash.
“Twenty years ago nobody worried about their car being hacked,” said Goodman. “Today, a typical car uses over 250 microchips that can be hacked remotely. Somebody can remotely deploy your airbag or slam on the brakes as you’re going down the highway.”
The futurist also warned that the arrival of the ‘smart home’ would lead to a cornucopia of new surveillance opportunities, echoing former CIA director David Petraeus, who hailed the “Internet of things” as a transformational boon for “clandestine tradecraft” in a 2012 Wired Magazine interview.
Smart meters, for example, are now being installed around the world. Every single device you plug into an electric socket has its own signature. When you plug in your Samsung television or Hamilton blender, the outlet knows what is being plugged into it. And from that you can derive even further intelligence.
There are startups now that are looking at the fluctuations in energy usage to deduce what pixels are highlighted on your television, and by knowing what pixels are highlighted on the TV, they can reverse engineer, based upon the electricity that you use, what television programs you’re watching.
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) cautions that the rollout of smart meters will allow “massive collection of personal data” by utility companies and governments, tracking what “households do within the privacy of their own homes, whether they are away on holiday or at work, if someone uses a specific medical device or a baby monitor, or how they spend their free time”.
The idea of the government or hackers vacuuming up information via people’s televisions has been a hot topic this week, with Samsung being forced to respond to revelations that its Smart TVs are sending private conversations to a third party Internet server.
After the mainstream media picked up the story three months later, Samsung was forced to admit that words heard by the device’s microphone were being “sent to a server” run by a third party, although the company said the communications were encrypted.
(Infowars, feb 12th)
What happens to your Facebook profile when you die has long been an important, if controversial, issue. Now, the social network will let you designate a 'legacy contact' to take care of your profile when you die.
The Wall Street Journal reports will finally allow a person of your choosing to manage certain aspects of a user's account posthumously. In the past, Facebook's policy has been to freeze your account upon death—allowing it to serve, it claimed, as a memorial. But in reality it was probably a neat solution to the worrying privacy implications of allowing someone else access to the profile. Understandably, the policy upset and angered some people who'd lost loved ones.
Now, a designated Facebook legacy contact will be able to manage an account so that it can be turned into a more appropriate memorial. They'll be able to write a post that's displayed at the top of the profile, change profile images on the page, and, err, even respond to new friend requests on behalf of the deceased. That last one does, admittedly, sound a little weird, but not to worry. Prior permission will also allow them to download an archive of posts and photos (but not private messages).
The legacy contact won't be able to edit what the deceased already posted, what friends continue to post on the page, or remove tagged images. Nor will they be able to delete the account.
(gizmodo, feb 12th)
In a first for the Army, Chelsea Manning, the convicted national-security secrets leaker, has been approved for hormone therapy for transition to a woman at the Army's Fort Leavenworth prison, according to a memo obtained Thursday by USA TODAY.
Manning remains a soldier as well as an inmate.
"After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate Manning's treatment plan," Col. Erica Nelson, the commandant of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas, wrote in a Feb. 5 memo.
Formerly named Bradley Manning, the soldier was convicted of sending classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence and is eligible for parole in about seven years.
At Manning's trial, her attorneys argued she had been disillusioned by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and believed the release of the documents, including diplomatic cables and military reports, should be seen by the public.
Manning sued the federal government for access to the treatment. The Army referred questions about Manning to the Department of Justice, which has been handling the case. Nicole Navas, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment, saying the government's position is detailed in court filings.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Manning in the case, did not have an immediate comment on the Army's memo.
Manning had asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman. Transgender individuals are not allowed to serve in the U.S. military and the Defense Department does not provide such treatment. The Department of Veterans Affairs, however, does provide the treatment for veterans.
The Army's decision means it is simply fulfilling its obligation to provide Manning with medical care, said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group based in Washington. Manning has been diagnosed with a medical condition, and failing to treat it would be "cruel and unusual punishment," she said.
(USA today, feb 12th)
Transgender actress Laverne Cox, best known for her recurring role in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, is slated to co-star in a new transgender-themed CBS legal drama, titled Doubt.
The actress will reportedly play a transgender Ivy League-educated attorney who goes to bat for her clients and doesn’t take “no” for an answer.
Cox’s new character has also been described as being as “competitive as she is compassionate. Fierce, funny and the fact that she’s experienced injustice first hand makes her fight all the harder for her clients.”
According to Entertainment Weekly, the role was created specifically for a transgender character. CBS is apparently trying to strike gold, as Nielsen revealed shows with diverse leads are ranked at the top of television ratings.
Cox, who has also appeared on The View, was the first openly transgender person to receive a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award in the acting category.
The push for diversity in the entertainment industry has apparently impacted pilot season, too, as it has been confirmed that a reboot of the 1989 John Candy film Uncle Buck will feature an all-black cast.
(breitbart, feb 12th)