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2010 April 16 | Activist News
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The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

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U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

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The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Daily Archives: April 16, 2010

Feds indict ex-Blackwater president, four others on gun charges

By Raw Story
Friday, April 16th, 2010

A former president of security contractor Blackwater and four other company officials have been indicted on federal weapons charges, the Associated Press reports.

Federal prosecutors indicted Gary Jackson, who was president of Blackwater until last year, on Friday in a case that stemmed from a raid on Blackwater’s North Carolina headquarters in 2008, which turned up 22 automatic weapons, including 17 Russian-made AK-47s.

Along with Jackson, the other Blackwater officials charged include the company’s former lawyer, Andrew Howell, former vice president Bill Matthews and two employees tasked with overseeing Blackwater’s armory and documentation having to so with its status as an arms dealer.

The AP reports:

The charges open a new front of the government’s oversight of the sullied security company. Several of the company’s contractors have previously been charged with federal crimes for their actions in war zones, but the company’s executives have so far weathered a range of investigations….

The latest case stems from a raid conducted by federal agents in 2008 that seized 22 weapons, including 17 AK-47s.

Blackwater signed agreements in 2005 in which the company financed the purchase of 34 automatic weapons for the Camden County sheriff’s office. Sheriff Tony Perry became the official owner of the weapons, but Blackwater was allowed to keep most of the guns at its armory.

Federal law prohibits private parties from buying fully automatic weapons registered after 1986, but does let law enforcement agencies have them.

In February, the Senate Armed Services Committee found “reckless” use of weapons by Blackwater employees in Afghanistan, and found Blackwater staffers had removed weapons from US military facilities without proper authorization.

In one instance, a Blackwater employee signed out military weapons under the name “Eric Cartman,” a character in TV’s South Park.

Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services last year, as part of an effort to rebrand itself in the wake of the notorious 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, in which Blackwater guards opened fire on civilians, killing 17 people.

Late last year, a federal judge threw out charges against Blackwater employees in a case related to the shooting. The US government has promised to review the matter.

link – http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0416/feds-indict-exblackwater-president/

Goldman Sachs charged with fraud by SEC


(Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc was charged with fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over its marketing of a subprime mortgage product, igniting a battle between Wall Street’s most powerful bank and the nation’s top securities regulator.

The civil lawsuit is the biggest crisis in years for a company that faced criticism over its pay and business practices after emerging from the global financial meltdown as Wall Street’s most influential bank.

link – http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63F3JX20100416

Why Are Corporate Groups Funding the Tea Party?

by Shamus Cooke
Global Research, April 15, 2010

Rank and file Tea Partiers are, politically speaking, lost at sea in the dead of night, looking for the light of common principles. On land, those manning right-wing lighthouses are broadcasting ideas loaded with hidden motives into this ocean of conservative public opinion. What the Tea Party will become is presently unknown; but those with an agenda will do their best to steer lost boats at sea in their direction, with potentially dangerous consequences.


Only recently have some tea party groups spotted land, organizing themselves under the new body National Tea Party Federation. One would expect such an organization to release a detailed statement about its members’ shared political positions, beliefs, goals, etc.


Instead, only three unifying concepts were announced: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets — all vague terms overused by any corporate Republican. It seems, then, that there is still much work to be done in organizing and channeling the national Tea Party “movement.”


Because the three unifying ideas are so vague, special interests will fill in the blanks when needed. For example, does a “constitutionally limited government” allow the economy to be dominated by giant corporations? Does “fiscal responsibility” mean that the U.S. should spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on foreign wars? Does “free markets” mean that Wall Street should be allowed to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants? The answers to these questions, according to the National Tea Party Federation, will all be YES!


How can we be sure? The website announcing the new federation lists a number of Tea Party “allies” and “support groups.” Many of these groups are corporate-dominated front groups such as Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity — two groups who’ve relentlessly promoted the Tea Party movement with massive resources. Not listed as an “ally” is the super-rich Koch family, which has also poured giant resources towards boosting the Tea Partiers. Fox News and other corporate media outlets, too, are non-official Tea Party “support groups.”


What are the goals of these corporate groups? Profits for corporations, at whatever the cost to the rest of us. And because they all subscribe to corporate ideology, the investments in the Tea Party come with strings attached. So what do the corporations and super-rich want from the Tea Party in return? Glenn Beck gives the most specific answers to this question.


Beck is a right-wing populist who supports the Tea Party via his television show on Fox News. At the same time, he dedicates much of his time to “educate” his supporters as to who their enemies are. In no particular order: Obama, labor unions, working class organizations like ACORN, “progressives,” “social justice” advocates, and “socialists” and “Marxists.” For Beck, all of these constituencies are the same and equally involved in an absurdly complicated conspiracy to “destroy America.”(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJDDvyAQO6s&feature=related)


The fact that this fanatic rant is being broadcast internationally is very telling, hinting that Beck’s corporate sponsors have crossed the political Rubicon onto territory dominated by the extreme right wing.


Beck, along with his other right-wing colleagues, are reviving the putrid American tradition of Communist witch hunts and McCarthy-style red-baiting. Such tactics are used in times of social unrest, where the corporate elite needs both distraction and excuses for persecuting anyone who challenges corporate rule.


Beck’s attempt to denounce labor unions — especially the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) — and other working-class organizations as “Marxists” and “extremists” is not an accident. Some sections of the U.S.corporate elite view these groups as having too much power, especially in the context of the still-continuing Great Recession.


For example, U.S. corporations are intent on continuing — and even expanding — foreign wars, low taxes for the wealthy, and when needed, further bank/corporate bailouts. These policies are incompatible with the current expenditures on social services, education, and Social Security and Medicare — thus the gigantic and expanding U.S. deficit.


There has been enormous talk in the corporate media about dealing with this problem by cutting back Medicare and Social Security (Obama’s health care bill reduces Medicare by $500 billion). Likewise, Obama’s education plan, Race to the Top, is designed as a massive attack on public education. Social services in general are also being targeted.


The strongest defenders of these social programs are the groups that Beck routinely denounces. Unions and progressive groups are viewed by the corporate elite as obstacles, which need to be weakened or removed so that a solidly corporate agenda can be pursued. Beck is preparing public opinion to accept any harm that may come to labor and progressive groups — by individuals or the government — by routinely condemning them as America’s enemies.


Beck’s preaching can be referred to as a form of “fascist ideology.” The most defining element of fascist movements and governments is their destruction of working-class organizations: both Mussolini and Hitler outlawed and smashed the labor unions and Left organizations, allowing their own corporate sponsors a conflict-free environment to make profits.


Fascism becomes a social force when society is ridden with class conflict, when income inequality soars, and when corporations and the working class and the unemployed cannot find a stable equilibrium during prolonged economic crisis. Fascism comes onto the scene to aid the very wealthy with brute force, while creating new organizations and political parties to pursue a radically right-wing path outside of the existing political structures (tea partiers seem split between forming a new party or attempting to further radicalize the Republicans).


One way that Beck helps the super-rich is by confusing the word “property” and “wealth redistribution.” Beck never ceases to explain that progressives and socialists want to “redistribute wealth,” while always ignoring the fact that there are two types of wealth: the corporate wealth of the very rich and the insignificant/non-existent wealth of the majority of Americans. Many Americans would agree that the “property” of the giant corporations and Wall Street could be “re-distributed” to the working class, or better yet, run as public utilities for social need, not for private profit. Such confusion is only one way that Beck mis-educates and sows confusion and fear for his corporate donors.


Fortunately, labor activists and some union leaders are starting to catch on to the danger that Beck and the corporate sponsors of the Tea Party represent. For starters, labor unions and progressive groups are organizing a tax day protest — not in opposition to the corporate media-advertised Tea Party tax day protests, but above it.


For example, the Tea Party anti-tax protests are simply “against taxes.” Instead, unions are demanding that we “tax Wall Street.” Labor’s message is superior; it takes sides, whereas the Tea Party’s vagueness is its weakness.


This weakness must be further exploited. A tax day protest against Wall Street is a positive message, but it’s not enough. A campaign must be waged by labor and community groups to demand massive job creation, to be paid for by the rich and corporations. If specific demands like these are raised in mass demonstrations, the Tea Party’s blathering against “government” in general will seem far less inspiring.


Also, labor taking the streets with its own demands will compel the Labor Movement into opposition to the Obama administration and its own corporate backers — something some labor leaders resist like the plague. But such a break is necessary if organized labor is to receive mass support from working people in general, since right-wingers like Beck earn populist points by pointing out Obama’s corporate-friendly policies like bank bailouts and corporate health care.


The sooner that labor becomes an independent force in national politics, the more difficult the Tea Party will find in gathering popular support. The extreme right is only in its infantile stage of development. This growth will be stunted if labor wages a strong campaign in the streets for jobs at the expense of the rich and corporations. Waging a half-hearted campaign will have the exact opposite effect.

link - http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18677

Wamu bankers sang ‘I like big bucks and I cannot lie’ before bank failed

By Raw Story
Thursday, April 15th, 2010

“I like big bucks and I cannot lie,” they sang. “You mortgage brothers can’t deny.”

We’re not making it up. According to documents released as part of a Congressional investigation, bankers from the failed Washington Mutual rewrote the lyrics to 1992′s “Baby Got Back” to celebrate their dominance of the mortgage lending market.

An apparent exhibit of misplaced hubris, Washington Mutual would later become the largest failed savings bank in US history, in part due to their exuberance in extending risky loans.

The bankers also staged a mock funeral for another big subprime mortgage lender — Countrywide Financial — which would also need a huge infusion of cash and was picked up by banking behemoth Bank of America in the wake of the 2008 crash.

Bankers sang about “big bucks” at their 2006 Kauai, Hawaii retreat. As if the lyrics themselves weren’t enough, the bankers’ chorus was apparently accompanied by cheerleaders who moved in time to the music, and wads and wads of flying fake cash.

“That when the dough rolls in like you’re printin’ your own cash/

And you gotta make a splash/

You just spends/

Like it never ends/

Cuz you gotta have that big new Benz/

All of that bling you’re wearin’/

Shining so bright peoples starin’/

It’s crazy, I gotta ski Aspen/

That’s all I’m askin’”

It didn’t turn out that way.

On Sept. 26, 2008, the Wall Street Journal crowed, “In what is by far the largest bank failure in U.S. history, federal regulators seized Washington Mutual Inc. and struck a deal to sell the bulk of its operations to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.”

Still, Washington Mutual’s former chief executive (above right) made off with a bundle: Kerry Killinger took in a whopping $100 million between 2003 and 2008.

link – http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0415/wamu-bankers-sang-i-big-bucks-lie-bank-failed/

Foreclosures 46% higher in March than a year ago

USA Today
April 15, 2010
By Stephanie Armour

The number of homeowners facing foreclosure surged in March as lenders lifted temporary moratoriums and resumed legal actions against delinquent mortgage payers.
Foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 341,180 properties in March, 46% more than a year ago and 17% above February’s total, RealtyTrac reports today.
One in 159 U.S. housing units received at least one foreclosure notice in the first quarter, for a total of 803,459, according to RealtyTrac, which lists foreclosed properties around the country.

link – http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2009-04-16-foreclosures_N.htm

Banks Resist Plans to Reduce Mortgage Balances

NY Times
April 14, 2010


In a rebuff to the Obama administration, two big banks on Tuesday drew a line in the sand on cutting the mortgage balances of beleaguered homeowners, saying that the tool would be applied sparingly.

read more at – http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/banks-resist-plans-to-reduce-mortgage-balances/?src=busln

Bayer admits GMO contamination out of control

Thursday, April 15, 2010 by: David Gutierre

(NaturalNews) Drug and chemical giant Bayer AG has admitted that there is no way to stop the uncontrolled spread of its genetically modified crops.

“Even the best practices can’t guarantee perfection,” said Mark Ferguson, the company’s defense lawyer in a recent trial.

Two Missouri farmers sued Bayer for contaminating their crop with modified genes from an experimental strain of rice engineered to be resistant to the company’s Liberty-brand herbicide. The contamination occurred in 2006, during an open field test of the new rice, which was not approved for human consumption. According to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Don Downing, genetic material from the unapproved rice contaminated more than 30 percent of all rice cropland in the United States.

“Bayer was supposed to be careful,” Downing said. “Bayer was not careful and that rice did escape into our commercial rice supplies.”

The plaintiffs alleged that in addition to contaminating their fields, Bayer further harmed them financially by undermining their export market. When the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the widespread rice contamination, important export markets were closed to U.S. producers. A report from Greenpeace International estimates the financial damage of the contamination at between $741 million and $1.3 billion.

Bayer claimed that there was no possible way it could have prevented the contamination, insisting that it followed not only the law but also the best industry practices. The jury disagreed, finding Bayer guilty of carelessness in handling the genetically modified crops. The company was ordered to pay farmers Kenneth Bell and Johnny Hunter $2 million.

“This is a huge victory, not only for Kenny and me, but for every farmer in America who was harmed by Bayer’s LibertyLink rice contamination,” Hunter said.

According to Hunter, the company got “the wake-up call they deserved.”

Bayer is still being sued by more than 1,000 other farmers from Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Sources for this story include: www.organicconsumers.org; www.bloomberg.com.

link – http://www.naturalnews.com/028585_GMOs_Bayer.html