Friday, December 30, 2011

Ron Paul precinct captain arrested as part of occupy demonstration


Source: CNN Political Ticker

"Many of the occupy demonstrators claimed sympathy, if not outright support for the ideology of Ron Paul, which made this protest especially uncomfortable for both the occupiers and the campaign. One of the arrested protester’s named Clark Davidson claimed to be a Ron Paul precinct captain as he was led away in handcuffs. “I don’t believe with Ron Paul on every single issue…"

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at CNN Political Ticker

Thursday, December 29, 2011

4 Simple Steps to Grow a Hundred Pounds of Potatoes in a Barrel

Source: greenUPGRADER

Container gardening isn't only for savvy urban gardeners and folks with limited space to grow, it can also be for folks who want to maximize their yields in a controlled environment. Not only does growing potatoes in a barrel reduce the amount of weeding and exposure to pests and fungi, you don't even have to risk shovel-damage to the tender potatoes by digging them out of the ground when they're done, just tip the container over!

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at greenUPGRADER.

US not ready for all-out conflict with Iran

Source: Russia Today

In the wake of Iran and the US threatening each other with navy might in the Persian Gulf, investigative writer Edwin Black says full military conflict would cripple the oil-dependent US –as well as the rest of the world.

After the International Atomic Energy Agency published a report on the Iranian nuclear program in November, Washington came up with fresh proposals to impose an embargo on Iranian oil. Iran responded with threats to block the Strait of Hormuz, the gateway for the Gulf countries’ crude exports to the rest of the world. With the two countries now showing off their naval capacities on either side of the strait, investigative writer Edwin Black tells RT that in embargos and sanctions Washington is seeking an alternative to a military strike.

America is indeed concerned that Iran may be on the fast track of developing nuclear weapons. But, Black says, the US government is unprepared for this conflict as this would mean Gulf oil supplies would be choked off.

“They do not have a plan for an oil interruption. There is a 57-day supply of unrefined oil that can be stretched to about a hundred days,” he told RT.

Iran would not limit itself to merely blocking the Strait of Hormuz, remarks Black. In the event of an all-out conflict, Tehran could target Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, such as the desulphurization plant at Ab Tak, which processes 70 per cent of Saudi oil, and the Ras Tanura terminal, a major oil port and oil operations center for Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company. “If that is done, the world will be crippled,” he pointed out.

Saudi Arabia, which has declared it will increase oil exports if Iran shuts the Strait of Hormuz, would not fill in the black hole of the world’s oil demands, observes Edwin Black. The main oil transport routes include the same strait, which would cease to be available. Other transport options do not have enough capacity.

“There is a backdoor pipeline in Yanbo which has a capacity of about 1-5 million barrels per day, but this cannot make up for the 70 million barrels a day. And the Yanbo pipeline can be bombed as easily as Ras Tanura,” says Black. “The outlook is indeed grim,” he concludes.

Most of the world is petrol addicted with maybe Brazil only enjoying the option of using alternative sources of energy. But with the US determination not to let Iran have nuclear weapons, some kind of military conflict looks inevitable.

'Iran and US playing lose-lose game' Shirin Shafaie, from the School of Oriental and African Studies and Campaign against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran, says the crisis around Iran’s nuclear program requires an urgent diplomatic solution of mutual concessions.

“This is a lose-lose situation,” Shafaie told RT. “Everybody is going to lose in that –except some military industrial complexes in the West.

But if there is a diplomatic solution, we have a very good nuclear deal between Iran, Turkey and Brazil, which could be revived. On this deal, Iran could have most of its uranium, which is required for fuel rods, enriched abroad. President Obama supported the deal in his letter to the leaders of Brazil and Turkey in 2010.”

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read and watch more of this story  at Russia Today

Saudi buys nearly $30bn in US warplanes - Middle East

Source: Al Jazeera English

The United States said it had signed a $29.4bn deal to provide F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia in a move likely to be seen as part of efforts to counter Iran. The deal will supply 84 new Boeing F-15SA aircraft and modernise 70 existing planes and include munitions, spare parts, training and maintenance contracts, Josh Earnest, White House deputy spokesman, said.

"This agreement reinforces the strong and enduring relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and demonstrates the US commitment to a strong Saudi defense capability as a key component to regional security," Earnest said.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Al Jazeera English

Inside the mind of the octopus

Did you know that an octopus tastes with its suckers, sees with its skin, and its severed arms can wander about, each with a mind of its own? There are researchers still working diligently to understand what it’s like to be an octopus, how they think, and why they do the strange things they do.

Source: Orion Magazine

A typical human brain has about 100 billion neurons. The common octopus has about 130 million of them in its brain. Three-fifths of an octopus’s neurons are not in the brain; they’re in its arms. “It is as if each arm has a mind of its own,” says Peter Godfrey-Smith, a diver, professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and an admirer of octopuses. For example, researchers who cut off an octopus’s arm (which the octopus can regrow) discovered that not only does the arm crawl away on its own, but if the arm meets a food item, it seizes it—and tries to pass it to where the mouth would be if the arm were still connected to its body. “Meeting an octopus,” writes Godfrey-Smith, “is like meeting an intelligent alien.”

So what does it feel like to be an octopus? Godfrey-Smith has given this a great deal of thought, especially when he meets octopuses and their relatives, giant cuttlefish, on dives in his native Australia. “They come forward and look at you. They reach out to touch you with their arms,” he said. “It’s remarkable how little is known about them . . . but I could see it turning out that we have to change the way we think of the nature of the mind itself to take into account minds with less of a centralized self.”

JENNIFER MATHER SPENT MOST of her time in Bermuda floating facedown on the surface of the water at the edge of the sea. Breathing through a snorkel, she was watching Octopus vulgaris—the common octopus. Although indeed common (they are found in tropical and temperate waters worldwide), at the time of her study in the mid-1980s, “nobody knew what they were doing.”
In a relay with other students from six-thirty in the morning till six-thirty at night, Mather worked to find out.

Sometimes she’d see an octopus hunting. A hunting expedition could take five minutes or three hours. The octopus would capture something, inject it with venom, and carry it home to eat. “Home,” Mather found, is where octopuses spend most of their time. A home, or den, which an octopus may occupy only a few days before switching to a new one, is a place where the shell-less octopus can safely hide: a hole in a rock, a discarded shell, or a cubbyhole in a sunken ship. One species, the Pacific red octopus, particularly likes to den in stubby, brown, glass beer bottles.

One octopus Mather was watching had just returned home and was cleaning the front of the den with its arms. Then, suddenly, it left the den, crawled a meter away, picked up oneparticular rock and placed the rock in front of the den. Two minutes later, the octopus ventured forth to select a second rock. Then it chose a third. Attaching suckers to all the rocks, the octopus carried the load home, slid through the den opening, and carefully arranged the three objects in front. Then it went to sleep. What the octopus was thinking seemed obvious: “Three rocks are enough. Good night!”

The scene has stayed with Mather. The octopus “must have had some concept,” she said, “of what it wanted to make itself feel safe enough to go to sleep.” And the octopus knew how to get what it wanted: by employing foresight, planning—and perhaps even tool use.

Mather is the lead author of Octopus: The Ocean’s Intelligent Invertebrate, which includes observations of octopuses who dismantle Lego sets and open screw-top jars. Coauthor Roland Anderson reports that octopuses even learned to open the childproof caps on Extra Strength Tylenol pill bottles—a feat that eludes many humans with university degrees.

So why is the octopus so intelligent? What is its mind for? Mather thinks she has the answer. She believes the event driving the octopus toward intelligence was the loss of the ancestral shell. Losing the shell freed the octopus for mobility. Now they didn’t need to wait for food to find them; they could hunt like tigers. And while most octopuses love crab best, they hunt and eat dozens of other species—each of which demands a different hunting strategy. Each animal you hunt may demand a different skill set: Will you camouflage yourself for a stalk-and-ambush attack? Shoot through the sea for a fast chase? Or crawl out of the water to capture escaping prey?

Losing the protective shell was a trade-off. Just about anything big enough to eat an octopus will do so. Each species of predator also demands a different evasion strategy—from flashing warning coloration if your attacker is vulnerable to venom, to changing color and shape to camouflage, to fortifying the door to your home with rocks.

Such intelligence is not always evident in the laboratory. “In the lab, you give the animals this situation, and they react,” points out Mather. But in the wild, “the octopus is actively discovering his environment, not waiting for it to hit him. The animal makes the decision to go out and get information, figures out how to get the information, gathers it, uses it, stores it. This has a great deal to do with consciousness.”

“I think consciousness comes in different flavors,” agrees Mather. “Some may have consciousness in a way we may not be able to imagine.”

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Orion Magazine.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Playing with fire: Obama's threat to China - Opinion

Source: Al Jazeera English

In line with its new strategy, the Obama administration has undertaken a number of moves intended to bolster US power in Asia, and so put China on the defensive. These include a decision to deploy an initial 250 US Marines -someday to be upped to 2,500 -to an Australian air base in Darwin on that country's north coast, and the adoption on November 18 of "the Manila Declaration", a pledge of closer US military ties with the Philippines.

At the same time, the White House announced the sale of 24 F-16 fighter jets to Indonesia and a visit by Hillary Clinton to isolated Burma, long a Chinese ally -the first there by a secretary of state in 56 years. Clinton has also spoken of increased diplomatic and military ties with Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -all countries surrounding China or overlooking key trade routes that China relies on for importing raw materials and exporting manufactured goods. As portrayed by administration officials, such moves are intended to maximise America's advantages in the diplomatic and military realm at a time when China dominates the economic realm regionally.

In a recent article in Foreign Policy magazine, Clinton revealingly suggested that an economically weakened United States can no longer hope to prevail in multiple regions simultaneously. It must choose its battlefields carefully and deploy its limited assets -most of them of a military nature -to maximum advantage. Given Asia's strategic centrality to global power, this means concentrating resources there.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Al Jazeera English.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Secret bill to be voted on today would allow the military to sweep up us citizens at home or abroad

Business Insider

Termed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and drafted behind closed doors by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) the NDAA would:

1) Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States;

(2) Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and

(3) Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Obama in Australia to boost military links

Source: Al Jazeera English

Thursday, Barack Obama is flying to the city of Darwin where he is expected to announce plans for thousands of US maritime forces to train and do more joint exercises with the Australian military on the country's northern coast. That agreement will not include any permanent US basing, but an Obama administration official told the Reuters news agency it was a stepping stone to a more stable presence in Australia, which offers closer access to the South China Sea than US bases in Japan and South Korea.

The visit is being seen as a push by Washington to stand up for its interests and allies in the Asia-Pacific region as a counterbalance to China. Al Jazeera's Andrerw Thomas reporting from Canberra said: "Washington increasingly sees Australia as a strategic ally, economically and militarily."

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Al Jazeera English.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Socializing losses: Trilateral takeover of Europe?

Source: Russia Today

The sovereign debt crisis tightening its grip on Europe has claimed the scalps of two prime ministers –those of Greece and Italy. Looking at the men poised to replace them, one cannot but ask –is this another turn of the screw for ordinary people?

Greece and Italy hold huge swathes of public debt they are unable to service unless they get massive European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund support, as a prelude to refinancing by international banks.

Greece has already replaced its prime minister after he dared to say he would put a further round of harsh austerity measures to a referendum vote. The country’s new PM is Lucas Papademos, former vice president of the ECB and of Greece’s own Central Bank, and a member of David Rockefeller’s (JPMorgan Chase/Exxon) powerful Trilateral Commission.

As for Italy, a likely replacement for Silvio Berlusconi is the former European Commissioner Mario Monti, who happens to be European chairman of the Trilateral Commission.

Whenever we hear of “sovereign debt crises” –whether in Mexico 1997, Brazil 1999, in my native Argentina in 2001/2, or today in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and (soon to come) the UK, France, or the US –what it really means is that governments cannot collect enough tax revenues from their people to pay interest and capital on debt that is mostly in the hands of private banking institutions.

Cutting through the Orwellian Newspeak* of the media, this means that the people of Greece, Italy, and Argentina must pay for the mistakes of bankers and corrupt governments, suffering higher taxes, unemployment, lower wages and pensions, and a deterioration in public healthcare, education, and infrastructure.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read More at Russia Today

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Ron Paul was winning CNBC's GOP debate poll, so they took it down

The mainstream media seems unwilling to accept that Ron Paul could win a poll, so they conclude that somebody is "gaming" the poll. This exact same scenario happened on a Fox News web poll after one of their debates, and Fox News didn't even explain why their poll was removed.

Source: CNBC

We had a poll up from our Republican Presidential Debate asking readers who they thought won. One candidate was leading by such a margin that it became obvious the polling wasn't so much a reading of our audience, but of the Internet prowess of this particular candidate's political organization.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read More at CNBC.
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EU is showing its true nature as a dictatorship

Source: Russia Today

This is a time of upheaval for the EU, with both the Greek and Italian PMs giving up their posts. The Paris Institute's John Laughland says that this undemocratic transfer of power is not going to save he euro. Laughland told RT that the people who have assumed power in Greece and are shortly to take the helm in Italy have never been elected.

“These are men who have made their entire careers through garnering important appointments in places like the European Commission or European Central Bank. They have no democratic mandate at all,” he argues. “What is so frightening about what is happening now, as the European Union and the euro enter their death agonies, is the way in which the European Union is showing its true nature as a dictatorship.”

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at ‘EU is showing its true nature as a dictatorship’ — RT
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Al Qaeda plants its flag in Libya

Source: Vice

It was here at the courthouse in Benghazi where the first spark of the Libyan revolution ignited. It’s the symbolic seat of the revolution; post-Gaddafi Libya’s equivalent of Egypt’s Tahrir Square. And it was here, in the tumultuous months of civil war, that the ragtag rebel forces established their provisional government and primitive, yet effective, media center from which to tell foreign journalists about their “fight for freedom.”

But according to multiple eyewitnesses—myself included—one can now see both the Libyan rebel flag and the flag of al Qaeda fluttering atop Benghazi’s courthouse.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Vice

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New euro 'empire' plot by Brussels

Can you imagine a United States of Europe with a single Treasury? The International Monitary Fund has privately refused to continue funding the Greek bail-out, and a single Treasury plan emerged in Brussels yesterday as Europe’s finance ministers tried to find a way out of the crisis engulfing the eurozone. A full-scale rescue plan could cost about £1.75 trillion so they have to be creative to prevent financial collapse across Europe.

Source: The Telegraph

European Union chiefs are drawing up plans for a single “Treasury” to oversee tax and spending across the 17 eurozone nations. The proposal, put forward by Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, would be the clearest sign yet of a new “United States of Europe” —with Britain left on the sidelines.

The plan comes as European governments desperately trying to save the euro from collapse last night faced a new bombshell, with sources at the International Monetary Fund saying it would not pay for a second Greek bail-out.

The single Treasury plan emerged in Brussels yesterday as Europe’s finance ministers tried to find a way out of the crisis engulfing the eurozone. A full-scale rescue plan could cost about £1.75 trillion.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The Telegraph
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Friday, October 21, 2011

BofA Said to Split Regulators Over Moving Merrill Derivatives to Bank Unit

Source: Bloomberg

Bank of America Corp. (BAC), hit by a credit downgrade last month, has moved derivatives from its Merrill Lynch unit to a subsidiary flush with insured deposits, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. disagree over the transfers, which are being requested by counterparties, said the people, who asked to remain anonymous because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The Fed has signaled that it favors moving the derivatives to give relief to the bank holding company, while the FDIC, which would have to pay off depositors in the event of a bank failure, is objecting, said the people. The bank doesn’t believe regulatory approval is needed, said people with knowledge of its position.

In 2009, the Fed granted Section 23A exemptions to the banking arms of Ally Financial Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc, Fifth Third Bancorp, ING Groep NV, General Electric Co., Northern Trust Corp., CIT Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., among others, according to letters posted on the Fed’s website. The central bank terminated exemptions last year for retail-banking units of JPMorgan, Citigroup, Barclays Plc, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and Deutsche Bank AG. The Fed also ended an exemption for Bank of America in March 2010 and in September of that year approved a new one.

Section 23A “is among the most important tools that U.S. bank regulators have to protect the safety and soundness of U.S. banks,” Scott Alvarez, the Fed’s general counsel, told Congress in March 2008.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Bloomberg.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Electric DeLorean Coming in 2013

Source: Fox News

The DeLorean Motor Company of Humble, Texas has announced plans to build an all-electric version of the iconic, stainless steel gull-wing sports car made famous in the “Back to the Future” films of the 1980’s. Flux Power of Escondido, California is responsible for developing the 32 kWh battery pack that is expected to be used in the production car. The final weight of the electric DeLorean should be only about 200 pounds more than the original gas powered version. The prototype has a 200 hp electric motor, and accelerating from 0-60 mph takes less than eight seconds. the final production model is expected to have a real-world range of 100 miles between charges. You might be able to buy one for $90,000 as soon as 2013.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Source: Fox News.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The ‘Terrorist’ Who Couldn’t Think Straight

Source: Original Articles

Would Iran recruit a used car salesman with a memory problem to conduct assassinations in the US?

This is a question you have to ask yourself when evaluating the alleged Iranian "terrorist" plot supposedly uncovered by Attorney General Eric Holder the other day. The arrest of Mansour Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old Iranian immigrant who came to this country as a college student, was the occasion for a trumpet blast of anti-Iranian propaganda and belligerent declarations by US officials, who vowed to "hold Iran accountable" for purportedly mounting a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador, bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, and strike at the Jewish community in Argentina.

The alleged plot was supposed to have been carried out by a member of the Zetas drug cartel, who was to be paid up to $1.5 million to implement the plan. US officials, even while acknowledging the "B-movie" aspect of the story, reportedly "fanned out" to convince our allies the plot was real and –with Congress already demanding new sanctions on Iran –that the economic vise be tightened. Not only are the more hysterical neocons calling for military action against Iran –no surprise there —but the headlines had the normally staid and relatively reserved Steve Clemons, a prominent Obama shill, babbling that "this is a serious situation" and "the U.S. has reached a point where it must take action," and Sen. Carl Levin calling the plot "an act of war."

Less than 24 hours after Holder’s press conference, the whole fantasy began to unravel under closer scrutiny. Gary Sick, of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, averred that the alleged plot "departs from all known Iranian policies and procedures," and went on to write:

"It is difficult to believe that they would rely on a non-Islamic criminal gang to carry out this most sensitive of all possible missions. In this instance, they allegedly relied on at least one amateur and a Mexican criminal drug gang that is known to be riddled with both Mexican and U.S. intelligence agents. "Whatever else may be Iran’s failings, they are not noted for utter disregard of the most basic intelligence tradecraft, e.g. discussing an ultra-covert operation on an open international line between Iran and the U.S. Yet that is what happened here."

Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East analyst with the Congressional Research Office, concurs:

"There is simply no precedent —or even reasonable rationale —for Iran working any plot, no matter where located, through a non-Muslim proxy such as Mexican drug gangs. No one high up in the Quds, the I.R.G.C. command, the Supreme National Security Committee, or anywhere else in the Iranian chain of command would possibly trust that such a plot could be kept secret or carried out properly by the Mexican drug people. They absolutely would not trust such a thing to them, given Iran’s undoubted assumption that the Mexicans are penetrated by the D.E.A. and F.B.I. and A.T.F., etc —and indeed this plot was revealed by just such a U.S. informant….

"Are we to believe that this Texas car seller was a Quds sleeper agent for many years resident in the U.S.? Ridiculous. They (the Iranian command system) never ever use such has-beens or loosely connected people for sensitive plots such as this."

This is a Suspicious News Brief.
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

China threatens US with trade war over currency bill

Source: Russia Today

Anger is erupting out of Beijing this week after lawmakers in Washington are aiming to force Chinese currency to rise to put both nations on level ground with trading. China responded that the legislation would just be Washington’s way of putting the rest of the world’s economies at risk.

Before Congress this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that China's “deliberate actions to devalue its currency gives its good an unfair competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

Speaking to RT, investor Jim Rogers added that the repercussions of a trade war could be catastrophic. “If it turns into a trade war, it is the most momentous thing of 2011,” said Rogers. “Trade wars always lead to wars. Nobody wins trade wars, except general who end up fighting the physical wars when they happen. This is very dangerous.”

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Russia Today
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

FBI faces entrapment questions over Rezwan Ferdaus bomb plot arrest

The Guardian

Rezwan Ferdaus, a 26-year-old US citizen and physics graduate who lived at home with his parents in Ashland, near Boston, was the target of an FBI sting in which he bought a miniature aircraft that he planned to outfit as a flying bomb.

Some legal organisations and Muslim groups have questioned whether Ferdaus, whose activities were carried out with two undercover FBI agents posing as terrorists, would have been able to carry out such a sophisticated plot if left to his own devices. In numerous previous cases in the US, the FBI has been accused of over-zealousness in its investigations and of entrapping people into terror plots who might otherwise not have carried out an attack.

"There is a big, big difference between a plot initiated by the FBI and a plot initiated by a suspect, and it seems this might have been initiated by the FBI," said Ibrahim Hooper, The Council on American-Islamic Relations' director of communications.

The prosecution case also reveals how Ferdaus ordered the plane and rented a storage facility in which to keep it and then took delivery from the FBI agents of 25 pounds of C-4 explosives, three grenades and six AK-47 rifles.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The Guardian.
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

US Activists Take On Wall Street

Source: Al Jazeera

There are protests scheduled in many cities around the US and some cities internationally. See Occupy Together for more information on this movement and how you can get involved.
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US stands behind method of Awlaki killing

Source: Al Jazeera English

United States President Barack Obama has called the killing of Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki a "major blow to al-Qaeda's most active operational affiliate" but offered no apologies for the unprecedented manner in which he was killed.

"We will be determined, we will be deliberate, we will be relentless, we will be resolute in our commitment to destroy terrorist networks that aim to kill Americans," Obama told reporters in Washington.

But the controversial killing by armed drones on Friday steers the Obama administration into uncharted waters regarding the targeting and killing of US citizens deemed enemies of the state.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Al Jazeera English.
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

 Bernanke admits jobs problem is a national crisis - and the FED can't do much

 Bernanke admits jobs problem is a national crisis - and the FED can't do much — RT 

Speaking from Cleveland, Ohio this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke fielded questions from a crowd and opened up on the critical situation that is continuing to impact millions of Americans. "This unemployment situation we have, the jobs situation, is really a national crisis," Bernanke said from the InterContinental Hotel. "We've had now close to 10 percent unemployment for a number of years. Of the people who are unemployed, about 45 percent have been unemployed for six months or more.” And while Bernanke acknowledged that the Fed has attempted to do what they can to correct the problem, he also said that only so much can be done on his side to switch things up. "Monetary policy can do a lot but it's not a panacea. It can't solve all of the problems," Bernanke said on Wednesday.

This is a Suspicious News Brief.

The Invention Of Money

For those of you like me who don't really understand economics, this episode of This American Life from January might be the best 30 minutes of your life. It explains in simple terms how central banking works and how the Fed "went to crazytown" to try to avoid financial meltdown in 2007 and 2008. If your time is limited, click here to jump to Act II and listen to the rare and candid interview with members of the Fed who bought $1.25 Trillion in toxic assets.

Source: Public Radio International - This American Life
Ira Glass speaks with several members of the Planet Money team, who all found themselves—in the course of their reporting—independently asking the same stoner-ish question: What is money? Ira and Planet Money producer Jacob Goldstein discuss a pre-industrial society on the island of Yap that used giant stones as currency. The book that Jacob read about Yap is called The Island of Stone Money. (10 minutes)

A trip to a country where the fiction that is money completely fell apart. And in this same country, through a truly incredible piece of policy making, the government tricked a 150,000,000 people into believing their money had value again. Chana Joffe-Walt reports. (16 minutes)

Though the name of the Federal Reserve includes the word "federal," it's not actually part of the government. It's an independent institution tasked with something very simple, but very huge: Creating money out of thin air. And during this last financial crisis, the leaders of the Fed did things that they would never have considered doing in the past. Alex Blumberg and David Kestenbaum report on what the Fed usually does, and how, since 2008, it's taken a trip to what amounts to Fed Crazytown. (26 minutes)

This is a Suspicious News Brief. You can find the original story at Public Radio International - This American Life.

Five Banks Account For 96% Of The $250 Trillion In Outstanding US Derivative Exposure

Source: ZeroHedge

The latest quarterly report from the Office Of the Currency Comptroller is out and as usual it presents in a crisp, clear and very much glaringformat the fact that the top 4 banks in the US now account for a massively disproportionate amount of the derivative risk in the financial system. Specifically, of the $250 trillion in gross notional amount of derivative contracts outstanding (consisting of Interest Rate, FX, Equity Contracts, Commodity and CDS) among the Top 25 commercial banks (a number that swells to $333 trillion when looking at the Top 25 Bank Holding Companies, a mere 5 banks account for 95.9% of all derivative exposure. The top 5 banks:

  • JP Morgan Chase with $78.1 trillion in exposure
  • Citi with $56 trillion
  • Bank of America with $53 trillion
  • Goldman with $48 trillion
  • HSBC with $3.9 trillion

As historically has been the case, the bulk of consolidated exposure is in Interest Rate swaps ($204.6 trillion), followed by FX ($26.5TR), CDS ($15.2 trillion), and Equity and Commodity with $1.6 and $1.4 trillion, respectively.

And that's your definition of Too Big To Fail right there: the biggest banks are not only getting bigger, but their risk exposure is now at a new all time high and up $5.3 trillion from Q1 as they have to risk ever more in the derivatives market to generate that incremental penny of return.

If any of the top four banks fails, the repercussions would be disastrous. And no, Frank Dodd's bank "resolution" provision would do absolutely nothing to prevent an epic systemic collapse.

Is Morgan Stanley Sitting On An FX Derivative Time Bomb?

While virtually every single bank has a preponderance of its derivative exposure in the form of plain vanilla interest rate swaps (on average accounting for more than 80% of total), Morgan Stanley, and specifically its Utah-basedcommercial bank Morgan Stanley Bank NA, has almost exclusively all of its exposure tied in with the far riskier FX contracts, or 98.3% of the total $1.793 trillion. For a bank with no deposit buffer, and which has massive exposure to European banks regardless of how hard management and various other banks scramble to defend Morgan Stanley, the fact that it has such an abnormal amount of exposure to the ridiculously volatile FX space should perhaps raise some further eyebrows...

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at ZeroHedge.
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Wall Street cop faces probe over pepper spray

Source: Russia Today

As protesters cry foul over the NYPD's violent acts perpetrated at Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, the cop that infamously sprayed down a group of women in Manhattan last week with mace will become the subject of an internal investigation. In the days since NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna released pepper spray on a group of female demonstrators rallying against big banks last Saturday, at least two videos of the incident have surfaced to the Internet.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Russia Today.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

GM's OnStar now spying on your car for profit even after you unsubscribe?

Source: Autoblog

If you're the owner of a fairly new General Motors product, you may want to take a close look at the most recent OnStar terms and conditions. As it turns out, the company has altered the parameters under which it can legally collect GPS data on your vehicle. Originally, the terms and conditions stated that OnStar could only collect information on your vehicle's location during a theft recovery or in the midst of sending emergency services your way. That has apparently changed. Now, OnStar says that it has the right to collect and sell personal, yet supposedly anonymous information on your vehicle, including speed, location, seat belt usage and other information. Who would be interested in that data, you ask?

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at: Autoblog.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

U.K. Researchers to Test "Artificial Volcano" for Geoengineering the Climate

Source: Scientific American

Next month, researchers in the U.K. will start to pump water nearly a kilometer up into the atmosphere, by way of a suspended hose. The experiment is the first major test of a piping system that could one day spew sulfate particles into the stratosphere at an altitude of 20 kilometers, supported by a stadium-size hydrogen balloon. The goal is geoengineering, or the "deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment" in the words of the Royal Society of London, which provides scientific advice to policymakers. In this case, researchers are attempting to re-create the effects of volcanic eruptions to artificially cool Earth.

The $30,000 test, part of a project called Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE), is inspired by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. That volcano spewed 20 million tons of sulfate particles into the atmosphere, cooling Earth by 0.5 degree Celsius for 18 months. If the British feasibility tests are successful, the balloon-and-hose contraption could be used to inject additional particles into the stratosphere, thereby reflecting more of the sun's energy back into space, and hopefully curbing some of the effects of global warming.

October's tests will mainly focus on whether the balloon-and-hose design could be an effective method to deliver the sunlight-reflecting particles. At an airfield in Norfolk, England, that is no longer in use, a helium blimp will hoist a regular pressure-washer hose one kilometer off the ground. An off-the-shelf pressure washer will pump up 1.8 liters of tap water per minute, to a maximum of 190 liters, which will evaporate or fall down to the ground locally. The researchers will monitor the performance of the system, and use the data to design the larger 20-kilometer-high setup.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Scientific American
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bloomberg warns high unemployment rate could lead to widespread rioting


"We have a lot of kids graduating college, can't find jobs. That's what happened in Cairo. That's what happened in Madrid. You don't want those kinds of riots here."

Bloomberg also said the damage may be done --especially to recent college grads --as the nation's unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent. "The damage to a generation that can't find jobs will go on for many, many years," Bloomberg said.

This is a Suspicious News Brief.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Polish Finance Minister mentioned risk of war in Europe

Source: Warsaw Business Journal

At a speech before the European Parliament on Wednesday, Polish Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski said “Europe was in danger” and that if the euro zone collapsed, the European Union itself wouldn't be able to survive for long. But what really caused a stir were the FM's allusions to the possibility of war in Europe as a result of the current crisis.

“I recently met a friend who worked with me during the period of [economic] transformation and is now the president of a big Polish bank. He said, 'You know after such economic and political shocks, it rarely is the case that after ten years, there would be no catastrophic war. I am seriously thinking of getting my children an American green card.'”

Mr Rostowski concluded by saying European leaders “cannot allow that to happen.”

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at the Warsaw Business Journal.
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ron Paul's Campaign Manager Died of Pneumonia, Penniless and Uninsured

First, watch the video and read the transcript of a question Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul during the last GOP debate on CNN:

Wolf Blitzer: You're a physician, Ron Paul, you're a doctor. You know something about this subject. Let me ask you this hypothetical question. A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides I'm not going to spend 200 or $300 a month because I'm healthy, I don't need it. But something terrible happens, all of a sudden he needs it. Who will pay if he goes into a coma, who pays for that?
Ron Paul: In a society that you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him.
Blitzer: What do you want?
Paul: What he should do is whatever he wants to do and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would have a major medical policy.
Blitzer: He doesn't have that and he needs intensive care for six months. Who pays?
Paul: That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody --
Audience: [applause]
Blitzer: But congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?
Audience: [shouts of "yeah!"]
Paul: I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid in the early 1960s when I got out of medical school. I practiced at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio and the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospital. And we've given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves, our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it. This whole idea -- that's the reason the cost is so high. The cost is so high because they dump it on the government, it becomes a bureaucracy. It becomes special interests, it kowtows to the special interests and the drug company, then on top of that you have the inflation, the inflation devalues the dollar. We have lack of competition. There's no competition in medicine. Everybody is protected by licensing. We should legalize alternative health care. Allow people to practice what they want."

Now you can read the following story in context.

Source: Gawker

At CNN's Tea Party-indulging debate on Monday, Ron Paul, a medical doctor, faced a pointed line of questioning from Wolf Blitzer regarding the case of an uninsured young man who suddenly found himself in dire need of intensive health care. Should the state pay his bills?

Paul responded, "That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody—"

He never quite finished that point, letting the audience's loud applause finish it for him. So Blitzer pressed on, asking if he meant that "society should just let him die," which earned a chilling round of approving hoots from the crowd.

Paul would not concede that much outright, instead responding with a personal anecdote, the upshot being that in such a case, it was up to churches to care for the dying young man.

Back in 2008, Kent Snyder —Ron Paul's former campaign chairman —died of complications from pneumonia. Like the man in Blitzer's example, the 49-year-old Snyder was relatively young and seemingly healthy when the illness struck. He was also uninsured. When he died on June 26, 2008, two weeks after Paul withdrew his first bid for the presidency, his hospital costs amounted to $400,000. The bill was handed to Snyder's surviving mother (pictured, left), who was incapable of paying. Friends launched a website to solicit donations.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Gawker
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What should the White House do? Panic!

Source: CNN

James Carville's advice to Obama: Panic!

"As I watch the Republican debates, I realize that we are on the brink of a crazy person running our nation. I sit in front of the television and shudder at the thought of one of these creationism-loving, global-warming-denying, immigration-bashing, Social-Security-cutting, clean-air-hating, mortality-fascinated, Wall-Street-protecting Republicans running my country. The course we are on is not working."

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at CNN.
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

C.I.A. Demands Cuts in Book About 9/11 and Terror Fight

Source: New York Times

n what amounts to a fight over who gets to write the history of the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath, the Central Intelligence Agency is demanding extensive cuts from the memoir of a former F.B.I. agent who spent years near the center of the battle against Al Qaeda.

The agent, Ali H. Soufan, argues in the book that the C.I.A. missed a chance to derail the 2001 plot by withholding from the F.B.I. information about two future 9/11 hijackers living in San Diego, according to several people who have read the manuscript.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at the New York Times.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Debt after death: Banks chase down mourners

Debt collectors are especially abusive after a death. Creditors race to collect debts before all of the money has been drained from the estate. Creditors often make frequent and high-pressure calls to family members and executors of an estate. They often offer reduced interest rates, reduced balances and other incentives if payment or tranfer of debt happens quickly.

If you find yourself in this position, my advice is to just let all calls from unrecognized numbers go to voicemail and take your time deciding what to do. You should have at least 30 days from the time you receive written notice to respond. Don't feel obligated to pay an unsecured debt if the estate is unable to pay. Obviously consult a lawyer, but don't let the creditors pressure you into making rash decisions.

Source: CNN Money

Because it's likely the deceased carried multiple debts, creditors often race to be the first to collect money from the next of kin or the estate before it has all dried up, said Gerri Detweiler, a debt specialist at credit card research and comparison site

"The longer a creditor waits to get paid, the less their chance of getting paid," she said. "And unfortunately, they may find that it's easiest to elicit payment when bereaved relatives are still trying to sort everything out."

During her husband's wake, Deborah Crabtree said she had set up an answering machine and put it on speaker phone so that loved ones could leave their condolences, according to the complaint she filed against Bank of America. But instead of hearing only the voices of friends and family come through the speakers, she said a debt collector from Bank of America Home Loan Servicing called every 15 minutes and left harassing messages about the debts her husband had left behind that everyone in the house could hear.

Even after the wake, Crabtree said Bank of America collectors called her as many as 48 times a day --and even threatened to foreclose on her home, according to a lawsuit she filed last month against the bank.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at CNN Money.
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Are food prices approaching a violent tipping point?

Source: The Guardian

A provocative new study suggests the timing of the Arab uprisings is linked to global food price spikes, and that prices will soon permanently be above the level which sparks conflicts

Furthermore, it suggests there is a specific food price level above which riots and unrest become far more likely. That figure is 210 on the UN FAO's price index: the index is currently at 234, due to the most recent spike in prices which started in the middle of 2010.

Lastly, the researchers argue that current underlying food price trends - excluding the spikes - mean the index will be permanently over the 210 threshold within a year or two.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read More at The Guardian.

Requiem for the Dollar

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Section 19 of this country's founding monetary legislation, the Coinage Act of 1792, prescribed the death penalty for any official who fraudulently debased the people's money. Is the massive printing of dollar bills to lift Wall Street (and the rest of us, too) off the rocks a kind of fraud? If the U.S. Senate so determines, it may send Mr. Bernanke back home to Princeton. But not even Ron Paul, the Texas Republican sponsor of a bill to subject the Fed to periodic congressional audits, is calling for the Federal Reserve chairman's head.

For most of this country's history, the dollar was exchangeable into gold or silver. "Sound" money was the kind that rang when you dropped it on a counter. For a long time, the rate of exchange was an ounce of gold for $20.67. Following the Roosevelt devaluation of 1933, the rate of exchange became an ounce of gold for $35. After 1933, only foreign governments and central banks were privileged to swap unwanted paper for gold, and most of these official institutions refrained from asking (after 1946, it seemed inadvisable to antagonize the very superpower that was standing between them and the Soviet Union). By the late 1960s, however, some of these overseas dollar holders, notably France, began to clamor for gold. They were well-advised to do so, dollars being in demonstrable surplus. President Richard Nixon solved that problem in August 1971 by suspending convertibility altogether. From that day to this, in the words of John Exter, Citibanker and monetary critic, a Federal Reserve "note" has been an "IOU nothing."

The lifespan of no monetary system since 1880 has been more than 30 or 40 years, including that of my beloved classical gold standard, which perished in 1914. The pure paper dollar regime has been a long time dying. In no phase of American monetary history was every banker so courageous and farsighted as Isaias W. Hellman, a progenitor of an institution called Farmers & Merchants Bank and of another called Wells Fargo. Operating in southern California in the late 1880s, Hellman arrived at the conclusion that the Los Angeles real-estate market was a bubble. So deciding—the prices of L.A. business lots had climbed to $5,000 from $500 in one short year—he stopped lending. The bubble burst, and his bank prospered. Safety and soundness was Hellman's motto. He and his depositors risked their money side-by-side. The taxpayers didn't subsidize that transaction, not being a party to it.

In this crisis, of course, with latter-day Hellmans all too scarce in the banking population, the taxpayers have born an unconscionable part of the risk. Wells Fargo itself passed the hat for $25 billion.

Gold is appreciating in terms of all paper currencies—or, alternatively, paper currencies are depreciating in terms of gold—because the world is losing faith in the tenets of modern central banking. Correctly, the dollar's vast non-American constituency understands that it counts for nothing in the councils of the Fed and the Treasury. If 0% interest rates suit the U.S. economy, 0% will be the rate imposed. Then, too, gold is hard to find and costly to produce. You can materialize dollars with the tap of a computer key.

A proper gold standard promotes balance in the financial and commercial affairs of participating nations. The pure paper system promotes and perpetuates imbalances. Not since 1976 has this country consumed less than it produced (as measured by the international trade balance): a deficit of 32 years and counting. Why has the shortfall persisted for so long? Because the U.S., uniquely, is allowed to pay its bills in the currency that only it may lawfully print. We send it west, to the central banks of our Asian creditors. And they, obligingly, turn right around and invest the dollars in America's own securities. It's as if the money never left home. Stop to ask yourself, American reader: Is any other nation on earth so blessed as we?

There is, however, a rub. The Asian central banks do not acquire their dollars with nothing. Rather, they buy them with the currency that they themselves print. Some of this money they manage to sweep under the rug, or "sterilize," but a good bit of it enters the local payment stream, where it finances today's rowdy Asian bull markets.

Thomson Hankey, a onetime governor of the Bank of England, wrote, "I cannot conceive of anything more likely to encourage rash and imprudent speculation... I am no advocate for any legislative enactments to try and make the trading community more prudent." Hankey believed in the price system. It might pain him to discover that his professional descendants have embraced command and control. "We should have required [banks to hold] more capital, more liquidity," Mr. Bernanke rued in a Senate hearing in 2009. "We should have required more risk management controls." Roll over, Isaias Hellman.

The thing to do, I say, is to restore the nets to the tennis courts of money and finance. Collateralize the dollar—make it exchangeable into something of genuine value. Get the Fed out of the price-fixing business. Replace Ben Bernanke with a latter-day Thomson Hankey. Find—cultivate—battalions of latter-day Hellmans and set them to running free-market banks. There's one more thing: Return to the statute books Section 19 of the 1792 Coinage Act, but substitute life behind bars for the death penalty. It's the 21st century, you know.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Cyborg insects generate power for their own neural control

The bee population is shrinking and GM crops are causing stronger pests to evolve. These bugbots might just be the solution to our agriculture problems. Farmers could release squads of praying mantises to pollenate and patrol crops for pests.

Source: PhysOrg

For many years, researchers have been working on designing and fabricating micro-air-vehicles (MAVs), flying robots the size of small insects. But after realizing how difficult it is to create a tiny, lightweight flying vehicle capable of carrying a payload and being powered by a long-life onboard power source, some researchers have recently stopped trying to copy real-life insects and started using the insects themselves, with a few small tweaks.

So far, the neural control systems in cyborg insects have generally been powered by batteries. But now Aktakka and coauthors Hanseup Kim and Khalil Najafi from the University of Michigan (Kim is currently with the University of Utah), have developed an energy scavenger that generates power from the wing motion of a Green June Beetle during tethered flight. Two generators – one on each of the beetle’s wings – use piezoelectric devices to produce a total of 45 µW of power per insect. The researchers predict that this power could be increased by an order of magnitude through a direct connection between the generator and the insect’s flight muscles.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at PhysOrg.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Gibson: Feds Want Guitar Woodwork Done By Foreign Labor

Source: Fox News

Gibson Guitar Corp. is claiming the Obama administration wants more of its woodwork erseas, as a bizarre battle heats up between the government and one of the s most renowned guitar makers.

According to search warrants associated with the latest raid, federal agents in June intercepted a shipment of Indian ebony apparently bound for Gibson in Tennessee. The documents noted that Indian law "prohibits the export of sawn wood," which can be used for fingerboards --but does not prohibit the export of "veneers," which are sheets of woods that have already been worked on. The search warrants alleged that the intercepted shipment was "falsely declared" as veneer, something that would have been legal. However, the documents said the ebony was in fact unfinished "sawn wood," supposedly illegal. This led to the raid on Gibson facilities late last month.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Fox News.
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The race is on for Libya's oil, with Britain and France both staking a claim

Source: The Guardian

The starting pistol has been fired on bids by Britain and other western powers to secure a slice of the oil prize in Libya when France said it was "fair and logical" for its companies to benefit.

Rebel leaders had already made clear that countries active in supporting their insurrection –notably Britain and France –should expect to be treated favourably once the dust of war had settled. But they were anxious to shut down any suggestion that firm promises had already been made to carve up the country's only real wealth-providing industry with foreign powers or companies.

The new Tripoli government has denied the existence of a reported secret deal by which French companies would control more than a third of Libya's oil production in return for Paris's support for the revolution.

Chinese and Russian companies had a significant presence in the country but could face difficulties after being equivocal early on about the rebel plan to unseat Gaddafi.

Abdeljalil Mayouf, an executive at Libyan rebel oil firm Agoco told Reuters: "We don't have a problem with western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil."

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The Guardian.
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How US firms profited from torture flights

Source: Guardian

The scale of the CIA's rendition programme has been laid bare in court documents that illustrate in minute detail how the US contracted out the secret transportation of suspects to a network of private American companies. The manner in which American firms flew terrorism suspects to locations around the world, where they were often tortured, has emerged after one of the companies sued another in a dispute over fees.

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the mass of invoices, receipts, contracts and email correspondence –submitted as evidence to a court in upstate New York –provides a unique glimpse into a world in which the "war on terror" became just another charter opportunity for American businesses.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The Guardian.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Offering Funds, U.S. Agency Dreams of Sending Humans to Stars

Source: New York Times

In what is perhaps the ultimate startup opportunity, Darpa, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, plans to award some lucky, ambitious and star-struck organization roughly $500,000 in seed money to begin studying what it would take -organizationally, technically, sociologically and ethically -to send humans to another star, a challenge of such magnitude that the study alone could take a hundred years.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at New York Times.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NYT: Iowa Poll Goes to Bachmann

Source: NYTimes

This paragraph about sums it up:

It was hardly a perfect laboratory of democracy. The right to cast a ballot cost $30. Most campaigns footed the bill, throwing in a lunch of barbecued pork, grilled hamburgers and ice cream as an enticement to spend part of the day in Ames. The campaigns poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the political carnival, which is a fund-raiser for the Republican Party of Iowa.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at NYTimes.
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Panic on the streets of London.

Source: Penny Red

Noone expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Penny Red.
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Biggest Religious Movement You Never Heard of: Nine Things You Need to Know About Rick Perry's Prayer Event

Source: AlterNet

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry decided to stage a Texas-size prayer event —dubbed “The Response” —on Aug. 6, it no doubt seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It received little critical scrutiny when he announced it back in early June, except on websites that track these sorts of things.

But after Rachel Maddow, drawing on these sites, did a segment highlighting some of the more bizarre statements made by Perry's high-profile religious endorsers, things cooled considerably —even though the real story is still not remotely well-understood. “Perry’s endorsers are not just a random group of radical evangelists making outrageous statements,” researcher Rachel Tabachnick subsequently wrote at "These are the apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the biggest international religious movement you never heard of.”

With tens, even hundreds of millions of followers worldwide, the NAR's stress on Godlike prophetic and apostolic powers, its revisions of end-time prophecies, its methodology of “spiritual warfare” and its agenda of theocratic dominion over all aspects of society are not just threatening to modern secular democracy and the religious pluralism it protects, they have been sharply criticized by other conservative Christians as unbiblical, deviant teachings, even a form of the very demonic practices they obsessively declare war against.

According to Tabachnick, writing about Perry's announcement in June, GOP candidates competing for NAR support “include Sarah Palin, who has an over 20-year relationship with Alaskan Apostle Mary Glazier; Newt Gingrich, who was anointed by Lou Engle on an internationally televised broadcast in 2009; Michelle Bachman; Rick Santorum; and now, apparently, Rick Perry.” “It's not just the NAR infiltrating government,” Wilder told me. “I think —my observation —they are sought out, often by the politicians themselves.”

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at AlterNet.
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Multi-agency armed raid hits Rawesome Foods, Healthy Family Farms for selling raw milk and cheese


A multi-agency SWAT-style armed raid was conducted Wednesday morning by helmet-wearing, gun-carrying enforcement agents from the LA County Sheriff's Office, the FDA, the Dept. of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control.

Rawesome Foods, a private buying club offering wholesome, natural raw milk and raw cheese products (among other wholesome foods) is founded by James Stewart, a pioneer in bringing wholesome raw foods directly to consumers through a buying club. James was followed from his private residence by law enforcement, and when he entered his store, the raid was launched.

Law enforcement demanded that all customers (members) of the store vacate the premises, then they demanded to know how much cash James had at the store. When James explained the amount of cash he had at the store --which is used to purchase product for selling there --agents demanded to know why he had such an amount of cash and where it came from.

James was handcuffed, was never read his rights and was stuffed into an unmarked car. While agents said they would leave behind a warrant, no one has yet had any opportunity to even see if such a warrant exists or if it is a complete warrant. Law enforcement then proceeded to destroy the inventory of the story by pouring the milk down the drain and / or confiscating raw cheese and fresh produce for destruction.

Note to NaturalNews readers: We believe this was an ILLEGAL raid being conducted mob-style by government thugs who respect no law and no rights. This is an all-out war by the government against people who try to promote healthy raw and living foods. James is now being held at the Pacific division police department at Centinela and Culver in Los Angeles. He is being held at $123,000 bail with no possibility of using bail bonds. Law enforcement has demanded that if he comes up with the money to cover bail, he must disclose to them all the sources of that money. (This is an illegal demand!)

This is a Suspicious News Brief.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What's really in the food? The A to Z of the food industry's most evil ingredients

This is an interesting and informative list of ingredients to watch out for when you buy processed, packaged and/or commercially produced foods.

Source: Natural News

Acrylamides - formed in foods when carbohydrates are exposed to high heat (baking, frying, grilling).

Aspartame -Chemical sweetener

Autolyzed Proteins -Highly processed form of protein

BPA (Bisphenol-A) -A hormone mimicking chemical found in nearly all food packaging plastics.

Casein - Milk proteins

Corn Syrup - Just another name for High Fructose Corn Syrup

Food Colors - Nearly all artificial food colors are derived from petroleum, and many are contaminated with aluminum.

Genetically Modified Ingredients - Nearly all conventionally grown corn, soy and cotton are GMOs.

High Fructose Corn Syrup -A highly processed liquid sugar

Homogenized Milk -The fats in the milk are artificially modified to change them into smaller molecules.

Hydrochloride - chemical forms of B vitamins that companies add to their products to be able to claim higher RDA values of vitamins.

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein -A highly processed form of (usually) soy protein that's processed to bring out the free glutamate (MSG).

Phosphoric Acid -The acid used in sodas to dissolve the carbon dioxide and add to the overall fizzy-ness of the soda.

Propylene Glycol - used to make the fake blueberries you see in blueberry muffins, bagels and breads.

Sodium (Salt) -The processed white salt lacking in trace minerals.

Sodium Nitrite - red coloring chemical added to nearly all processed meats.

Soy Protein - The No. 1 protein source used in "protein bars"

Sucralose - An artificial chemical sweetener sold as Splenda.

Sugar - The bleached, nutritionally-deficient byproduct of cane processing.

Textured Vegetable Protein - Usually made of soy protein which is extracted from genetically modified soybeans and then processed using hexane

Yeast Extract - Hidden form of MSG that contains free glutamate and is used in many "natural" food products to claim "No MSG!"

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Natural News.
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summary of HR 1981, Data Retention Mandate Bill, 7/12/2011.

Source: Tech Law Journal

Background on ECPA and SCA: The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which was enacted in 1986, includes the Stored Communications Act (SCA). The Congress has amended various parts of the ECPA since 1986, but the ECPA has not kept pace with technological changes. The terms used in the ECPA were included in 1986 based upon the drafters' understanding of technologies that existed in 1986. Law enforcement agents and prosecutors now rely on these 1986 terms when dealing with new technologies not foreseen when the ECPA was drafted.

The data retention provisions of HR 1981 contain amendments to the SCA. This bill does nothing to address underlying obsolescence of the ECPA. It adds to the foundation of the ECPA, without clarifying what that foundation means in the context of new technologies developed since 1986, or in the context of the new mandates that would be imposed by this bill.

In March of 2010 a coalition named Digital Due Process (DDP) announced a set of four principles which the DPP members argue should be incorporated into the federal statutes that regulate government searches and seizures of stored communications and data. These DPP principles state, for example, that the "government should obtain a search warrant based on probable cause before it can compel a service provider to disclose a user's private communications or documents stored online" and it "should obtain a search warrant based on probable cause before it can track, prospectively or retrospectively, the location of a cell phone or other mobile communications device".

HR 1981 would provide that "No cause of action shall lie in any court against any provider of wire or electronic communication service, its officers, employees, agents, or other specified persons for retaining records or providing information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with the terms of a court order, warrant, subpoena, statutory authorization, or certification under this chapter."

Similarly, HR 1981 would also provide that "A good faith reliance on (1) a court warrant or order, a grand jury subpoena, a legislative authorization, or a statutory authorization (including a request of a governmental entity under section 2703(f) or the requirement to retain records under section 2703(h) of this title) ... is a complete defense to any civil or criminal action brought under this chapter or any other law."

These are inducements to service providers to diligently retain data, and to follow instructions from the DOJ. They are also an inducement to support this bill, because they could immunize service providers from a broad range of claims. For example, if this bill were enacted, a service provider retained data, and a hacker accessed that data, and injured subscribers sued the service provider, the service provider would assert this immunity provision as a defense. Just as this bill builds onto the ECPA without addressing the obsolescence of the ECPA, it imposes broad data retention mandates without addressing data security or privacy.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at the Tech Law Journal.
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Friday, July 29, 2011

New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism

Could it be that the greenhouse gasses are trapping far less heat than the models predict? Or is this just another global climate change denyer throwing uncertainty and doubt into the debate?

Source: James Taylor - Endpoint Analysis - Forbes

The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA’s ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.

In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth’s atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at James Taylor - Endpoint Analysis - Forbes.
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States negotiating immunity for banks over foreclosures

Source: Reuters

A coalition of all 50 states' attorneys general has been negotiating settlements with five of the biggest U.S. banks that would include payment of up to $25 billion in penalties and commitments to follow new rules. In exchange, the banks would get immunity from civil lawsuits by the states, as well as similar guarantees by the Justice Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development, which have participated in the talks.

State and federal officials declined to say if any form of immunity from criminal prosecution also is under discussion. The banks involved in the talks are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, CitiGroup, JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Reuters.
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

6 Ways Food is Being Used as a Weapon

Source: Activist Post

Because of massive corporate consolidation of agriculture, centrally coordinated global regulations, a devalued commodity-dollar and unrestrained commodity speculation, chemical and genetic modification, and real or manipulated food shortages; there is indeed a war being waged --with food as the primary weapon. Understand, this is a not purely a war on food, but rather a war on the general population. Therefore, it is crucial to understand these tactics in order to defend against them.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Activist Post.
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

ALEC Exposed

Source: The Nation

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) describes itself as “the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators”.

“Dozens of corporations are investing millions of dollars a year to write business-friendly legislation that is being made into law in statehouses coast to coast, with no regard for the public interest,” says Bob Edgar of Common Cause. “This is proof positive of the depth and scope of the corporate reach into our democratic processes.”

The full archive of ALEC documents is available at a new website,, thanks to the Center for Media and Democracy, which has provided powerful tools for progressives to turn this knowledge into power. The data tell us that the time has come to refocus on the battle to loosen the grip of corporate America and renew democracy in the states.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The Nation
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ron Paul’s Surprisingly Lucid Solution to the Debt Ceiling Impasse

Source: The New Republic

Representative Ron Paul has hit upon a remarkably creative way to deal with the impasse over the debt ceiling: have the Federal Reserve Board destroy the $1.6 trillion in government bonds it now holds. While at first blush this idea may seem crazy, on more careful thought it is actually a very reasonable way to deal with the crisis. Furthermore, it provides a way to have lasting savings to the budget.

This is a Suspicious News News Brief. Read more at The New Republic.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The U.S. Military’s “Third-Country Nationals”

Source: The New Yorker

More than seventy thousand “third-country nationals” work for the American military in war zones; many report being held in conditions resembling indentured servitude by subcontractors who operate outside the law.

The Pentagon’s invisible army consists of more than seventy thousand cooks, cleaners, construction workers, fast-food clerks, electricians, and beauticians from the world’s poorest countries who service U.S. military logistics contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Filipinos launder soldiers’ uniforms, Kenyans truck frozen steaks and inflatable tents, Bosnians repair electrical grids, and Indians provide iced mocha lattes. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is behind most of the commercial “tastes of home” that can be found on major U.S. bases, which include jewelry stores, souvenir shops filled with carved camels and Taliban chess sets, beauty salons where soldiers can receive massages and pedicures, and fast-food courts featuring Taco Bell, Subway, Pizza Hut, and Cinnabon. (AAFES’s motto: “We go where you go.”)

The vast majority of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan—more than sixty per cent of the total in Iraq—aren’t hired guns but hired hands. These workers, primarily from South Asia and Africa, often live in barbed-wire compounds on U.S. bases, eat at meagre chow halls, and host dance parties featuring Nepalese romance ballads and Ugandan church songs. A large number are employed by fly-by-night subcontractors who are financed by the American taxpayer but who often operate outside the law.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The New Yorker.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All Work And No Pay - The Great Speedup

Source: Mother Jones

Sound familiar: Mind racing at 4 a.m.? Guiltily realizing you've been only half-listening to your child or spouse for the past hour? Checking work email at a stoplight, at the dinner table, in bed? Dreading once-pleasant diversions, like dinner with friends, as just one more thing on your to-do list?

We hear from creative professionals in what seemed to be dream jobs who were crumbling under ever-expanding to-do lists; from bus drivers, hospital technicians, construction workers, doctors, and lawyers who shame-facedly whispered that no matter how hard they tried to keep up with the extra hours and extra tasks, they just couldn't hold it together. (And don't even ask about family time.)

Webster's defines speedup as "an employer's demand for accelerated output without increased pay," and it used to be a household word. Bosses would speed up the line to fill a big order, to goose profits, or to punish a restive workforce. Workers recognized it, unions (remember those?) watched for and negotiated over it—and, if necessary, walked out over it.

But now we no longer even acknowledge it—not in blue-collar work, not in white-collar or pink-collar work, not in economics texts, and certainly not in the media (except when journalists gripe about the staff-compacted-job-expanded newsroom). Now the word we use is "productivity," a term insidious in both its usage and creep. The not-so-subtle implication is always: Don't you want to be a productive member of society?

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Mother Jones.
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Lawrence Korb Rachel Maddow Interview Regarding Defense Spending

This is an interesting interview with Lawrence Korb. We could go a long way towards fixing our budget and deficit by eliminating most of the use of ground troops and conducting all military actions exactly like the Osama Bin Laden assassination. For FY10, the National Intelligence Program (NIP) budget was $53.1 billion vs $685.1 billion on the Military.

Source:MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show

Lawrence Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, talks with Rachel Maddow about the unquestioned, unchallenged power of the military industrial complex in Washington, D.C.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Electronic Devices - Know Your Rights!

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation

The EFF has put together a simple Q&A guide to help you know your rights regarding the data stored in electronic devices. In my opinion, this is the most important thing to remember:

Q: If the police ask for my encryption keys or passwords, do I have to turn them over? A: No. The police can't force you to divulge anything. However, a judge or a grand jury may be able to. The Fifth Amendment protects you from being forced to give the government self-incriminating testimony. If turning over an encryption key or password triggers this right, not even a court can force you to divulge the information.

You can probably protect your rights best if you observe your right to remain silent, protect your electronic devices with passwords and refuse to provide passwords if asked to do so.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

F.B.I. Giving Agents New Powers in Revised Manual

Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four seems more prophetic than ever. Source:

The F.B.I. is giving significant new powers to its agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention. The F.B.I. soon plans to issue a new edition of its manual, called the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide.

The F.B.I. recently briefed several privacy advocates about the coming changes. Among them, Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent who is now a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that it was unwise to further ease restrictions on agents’ power to use potentially intrusive techniques, especially if they lacked a firm reason to suspect someone of wrongdoing.

“Claiming additional authorities to investigate people only further raises the potential for abuse,” Mr. German said, pointing to complaints about the bureau’s surveillance of domestic political advocacy groups and mosques and to an inspector general’s findings in 2007 that the F.B.I. had frequently misused “national security letters,” which allow agents to obtain information like phone records without a court order.

Valerie E. Caproni, the F.B.I. general counsel, said the bureau had fixed the problems with the national security letters and had taken steps to make sure they would not recur. Ms. Caproni said it was too cumbersome to require agents to open formal inquiries before running quick checks. She also said agents could not put information uncovered from such searches into F.B.I. files unless they later opened an assessment.

The new rules will also relax a restriction on administering lie-detector tests and searching people’s trash. Under current rules, agents cannot use such techniques until they open a “preliminary investigation,” which —unlike an assessment —requires a factual basis for suspecting someone of wrongdoing.

This is a Suspicious News Bried.
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