January 31, 2009
January 30, 2009
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – will deny a license to Blackwater Worldwide, the private security firm accused of killing Iraqi civilians while protecting U.S. diplomats, U.S. and Iraqi officials said on Thursday.
"The operating permission for the firmwill not be renewed. Its chance is zero," said Alaa al-Taie, head of the press department at Iraq's Interior Ministry.
"It is not acceptable to Iraqis and there are legal points against it, like killing Iraqis with their weapons."
Blackwater employs hundreds of heavily armed guards with a fleet of armored vehicles and helicopters to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq under a State Department contract. It boasts that no American has been killed while under its protection.
Iraqi officials have expressed anger with the firm since a September 2007 shooting in which Blackwater guards opened fire in traffic, killing at least 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians.
One Blackwater guard has pleaded guilty in U.S. court to voluntary manslaughter and attempt to commit manslaughter over that incident. Five others are awaiting trial next year on manslaughter charges. The firm denies wrongdoing.
A U.S. embassy official confirmed that the embassy had been informed that the license would not be renewed, and said it was working on finding a new arrangement to cover its security.
"We don't have specifics about dates. We are working with the government of Iraq and our contractors to address the implications of this decision," the official said.
Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said the firm had followed the proper procedures to apply for a license and had not been told by the Iraqi or U.S. governments of the outcome.
"Blackwater has always said that we will continue the important work of protecting U.S. government officials in Iraq for as long as our customer asks us to do so, and in accordance with Iraqi law. That has not changed," she said in an e-mail.
The presence of war in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion. The U.S. occupation authorities granted contractors immunity from Iraqi law, an edict that remained in place until the beginning of this year., often as heavily armed as the military itself, has been a signature feature of the
Private security licenses must be renewed every six months.
Blackwater in particular was a target of Iraqi anger even before the 2007 shooting, because of its sheer size, high profile and aggressive posture on the streets.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki branded the 2007 shooting incident a "massacre" and complained when the U.S. State Department subsequently renewed Blackwater's contract.
Lawrence Peter, director of the, whose members include Blackwater, said any replacement would need time to gear up for such a big job.
"With sufficient lead time, any capabilities can be replaced," he said. "If they want to switch the security provider to another company or the U.S. military, there will need to be a sufficient period for mobilization involved."
Posted by Me at Friday, January 30, 2009
January 28, 2009
VIENNA: The United Nations' crime and drug watchdog has indications that money made in illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the global financial crisis, its head was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Vienna-based UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said in an interview released by Austrian weekly Profil that drug money often became the only available capital when the crisis spiralled out of control last year.
"In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid investment capital," Costa was quoted as saying by Profil. "In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor."
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had found evidence that "interbank loans were funded by money that originated from drug trade and other illegal activities," Costa was quoted as saying. There were "signs that some banks were rescued in that way."
Profil said Costa declined to identify countries or banks which may have received drug money and gave no indication how much cash might be involved. He only said Austria was not on top of his list, Profil said.
Posted by Me at Wednesday, January 28, 2009
January 27, 2009
Strong investor buying on Monday pushed the price of gold above $*** a troy ounce, hitting a 3½-month high in dollar terms and posting all-time highs in euro and sterling, in a stark sign of money seeking refuge from equities and bond markets.
Traders said that investors, particularly in continental Europe and the UK, were pouring money into gold exchange-traded funds – a popular way to gain access to the metal – and also noted strong buying of physical gold, from coins to bars.
Edel Tully at Mitsui & Co Precious Metals in London said gold was the “obvious shelter” for safe-haven investors.
In London, spot gold rose to $915.30 an ounce, up from New York’s last quote on Friday of $898.40. The precious metal also hit an all-time high in both sterling at £661.55 an ounce, and in euros, at €701.55 an ounce.
The total amount of gold held by the world’s gold ETFs last week rose for the first time above the 40m ounce level. Together, such investment vehicles are now the largest holders of physical gold after the official reserves of the US, Germany, the International Monetary Fund, France and Italy.
“The aggressive appreciation in the ETF contracts ... is the clearest signal to date this year that gold is one of the limited assets that investors want exposure to during these frantic times,” Ms Tully said.
John Reade, a precious metal strategist at UBS in London, added that the change in ETF gold holdings so far this month, at plus 2.5m ounces, was “impressive”, but he warned that the figure fell short of the 6m ounces achieved in mid-October, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
ETF Securities, which provides commodity-based exchange-traded funds, said it saw record inflows last week, with $500m invested in its products in just two days.
Hector McNeil, managing director at ETF Securities, said that about 60 per cent of those inflows were into the yellow metal. “Gold is set to rise dramatically,” he said.
Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo, Japan’s biggest bullion house, said on Monday that sales of gold coins jumped 121 per cent last year as investors flocked to the safe-haven metal.
Traders and strategists cautioned, however, that jewellery demand was weak and noted that old gold in the form of scrap was returning to the market, particularly in India, potentially capping any price gain.
James Steel, a precious metals analyst at HSBC in New York, added that the global economy risked falling into deflation, a situation in which “historically, gold has never rallied for a sustained period”.
Mr Steel forecast gold prices at $825 an ounce on average in 2009, with any rally towards $1,000 an ounce short-lived.
In the short term, traders said gold was likely to consolidate above $*** an ounce this week and could test the $930 an ounce level previously touched in October.
Spot gold in London, the market’s benchmark, hit an all-time high of $1,030.80 in March.
Posted by Me at Tuesday, January 27, 2009
January 26, 2009
PELOSI SAYS BIRTH CONTROL WILL HELP ECONOMY
Sun Jan 25 2009 22:13:43 ET
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic "stimulus" package, claiming "contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."
Pelosi, the mother of 5 children and 6 grandchildren, who once said, "Nothing in my life will ever, ever compare to being a mom," seemed to imply babies are somehow a burden on the treasury.
The revelation came during an exchange Sunday morning on ABC's THIS WEEK.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?
PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?
PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.
Posted by Me at Monday, January 26, 2009
January 24, 2009
While industry executives and shoppers will remember 2008 as the year the party ended, figure 2009 to be the year of the hangover. Already, Circuit City, Linens 'N Things and Mervyn's stores are going away. Sharper Image is too, though the company will continue to sell some of its high-end gadgets through license agreements with other retailers.
More pain is on the way. One-third of U.S. women recently surveyed by America's Research Group said they plan no clothing purchases--none--in 2009. Normally, it's just 4%. That means the market is still far too saturated with stores.
Expect closings and bankruptcies to rattle the likes of Lane Bryant, Gap, and Starbucks. It's the inevitable counterpunch to the days of retailers fighting hand over fist for market share during an era of loose credit and minuscule interest rates.
Those days are over, probably for a long time. While accelerating unemployment will only last so long, consumers' debt loads and credit access don't figure to recover to pre-party levels for quite awhile.
"I don't think we will live the same way for 10 years," says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of New York-based retail consultant and investment bank Davidowitz & Associates. "People are so scared they're starting to save."
Retailers at risk in 2009, he thinks, include outerwear specialist Eddie Bauer and teen-apparel-seller Pacific Sunwear, along with Zales, the big jewelry chain. All three shuttered at least 8% of their U.S. stores last year, with many more closings expected. The same is largely true of Charming Shoppes, the owner of Lane Bryant, which closed 150 stores last year. With a mountain of debt and losses totaling over $260 million over the most recent 12-month reporting period, the company will close another 100 locations this year.
Another possible casualty: Sears Holdings, operator of Sears and Kmart stores. A key to hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert's 2005 merger of the two chains was in the underlying real estate. But with those values down 30% or so since then, slumping sales hit even worse.
"I'd be surprised if Sears-Kmart makes it through the year," says Britt Beemer, who runs retail market-research firm America's Research Group.
Non-apparel specialists like Starbucks and Sprint Nextel won't be going away, but they will close hundreds more stores during the coming year, Davidowitz predicts. Narrow specialties (Sprint's cellphones) and high prices (Starbucks' coffee) are tough sells as the consumer mood turns thrifty. What plagues Starbucks will also affect other upscale goody chains like Mrs. Fields' Cookies, and causal dining outlets like Applebee's and Cheesecake Factory. Any of the neighborhood outlets for those restaurant chains could be a casualty this year. For too many customers now, it's McDonald's or bust.
Davidowitz doesn't think a huge government stimulus will help. Better to let things bottom out naturally before regrouping. "Obama's plan will make it worse," he says. "We got into this by borrowing and stimulating, now he wants to borrow and stimulate more."
In Pictures: Where You Won't Shop in 2009:
Charming Shoppes (owner of Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines)
© AP Photo / Chris O'Connor
Specialty: Women's plus-size
2008 closings: 150 (6% of total)
Outlook: Lots of debt, performance is terrible (losses of over $260 million for the 12 months ended in November 2008). The company already said it will close at least 100 more stores this year. Who knows if it can survive?
© AP Photo/Charles Bennett
2008 closings: 29 (8% of total)
Outlook: The specialty retailer catering to 30- to 54-year-olds is on the critical list as losses mount and shares trade at 50 cents.
Ultimately unlikely to make it.
© JIN LEE/Bloomberg News /Landov
Specialty: Outdoor Apparel
2008 closings: 40 (16% of total)
Outlook: Not on the critical list, but expect significantly more closings.
The footwear company is still sponsoring this year's Sundance Film Festival.
© AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
Specialty: Women's apparel
2008 closings: 60 (6% of total)
Outlook: After 180 layoffs, the women's clothing chain announced an additional 57 store closings over the next two years.
Relatively healthier than other struggling retailers, but figures to shrink further.
© AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
2008 closings: 105 (12% of total)
Outlook: Absolutely in free fall, more closings for sure.
Zales may not make it.
provided by Forbes.com. All rights reserved.
Posted by Me at Saturday, January 24, 2009
January 22, 2009
January 20, 2009
The Oprah Winfrey Show," taped at Washington's Kennedy Center on the eve of the inauguration.'s comment came during an appearance with her husband on "
"Joe had the choice to be secretary of state or vice president," she said. Her husband turned to his wife with his finger to his lips and a "Shhhh!" that sent the audience into laughter. "OK, he did," Jill Biden said in her defense.
The vice president-elect blushed, grimaced and gave his wife a hug while the audience continued to erupt in laughter. "That's right," he finally said to his wife. "Go ahead."
Mrs. Biden said she told him vice president would be better for the family.
"If you're secretary of state, you'll be away, we'll never see you, you know," she said. "I'll see you at a state dinner once in a while."
After the exchange aired on television three hours later, Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander denied Jill Biden's account in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
"To be clear, President-elect Obama offered Vice President-elect Biden one job only — to be his running mate," the statement said. "And the vice president-elect was thrilled to accept the offer."
While the statement denies that Obama ever offered Biden the secretary of state job, it doesn't rule out that the two discussed the possibility. Obama's transition office did not respond to questions about their private discussions.
Clinton's spokesman declined to comment about the suggestion that she was the second choice.
Obama made no reference to the comments Monday night, when he praised the Bidens at a dinner honoring his running mate at Washington's Union Station. Obama invited the two on stage, where he kissed Jill Biden's cheek and hugged her husband.
On Winfrey's program, Joe Biden said he didn't immediately take the vice presidential offer since he wasn't sure it was the best place for him to serve. But Biden, who ran against Obama in the Democratic primary race, said he agreed after getting some assurances from Obama about his role.
"This is a partnership," Biden said. "He's president of the United States, but as I said to him when he asked me, I said, `Barack, don't ask me unless the reason you're asking me is you're asking me for my judgment. I get to be the last guy in the room when you make every important decision. You're president. Any decision you make, I will back.'
"He said he wanted to have a confidant and somebody who wouldn't be a yes man. He's pretty sure about that last part," Biden said with a laugh.
Alexander's statement said, "Like anyone who followed the presidential campaign this summer, Dr. Jill Biden knew there was a chance that President-elect Obama might ask her husband to serve in some capacity and that, given his background, the positions of vice president and secretary of state were possibilities. Dr. Biden's point to Oprah today was that being vice president would be a better fit for their family because they would get to see him more and get to participate in serving more."
The Bidens made a surprise appearance on Winfrey's show. The celebrity-filled show also included the premiere of "America's Song," performed by Faith Hill, Seal, Bono, Mary J. Blige, Will.i.am and David Foster in honor of the occasion and available for free download on Winfrey's Web site for 24 hours.
Winfrey also interviewed movie star couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher about how Obama has inspired them to pledge to help end slave labor around the world and encourage other people to make a pledge to improve their communities. Other celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson, Justin Timberlake and Forest Whitaker appeared by videotape to talk about what Obama's election means to them.
Winfrey, who made her first ever presidential endorsement for Obama, heralded the significance of the moment particularly coming the day after Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
"I feel like I am better because of his being elected," Winfrey said. "And I think that the country is going to be better. I feel like it is a beautiful thing, and we all start to see ourselves differently, the possibility."
Posted by Me at Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The last fiscal year was a banner one for the military, with all active-duty and reserve forces meeting or exceeding their recruitment goals for the first time since 2004, the year that violence in Iraq intensified drastically, Pentagon officials said.
And the trend seems to be accelerating. The army exceeded its targets each month for October, November and December — the first quarter of the new fiscal year — bringing in 21,443 new soldiers on active duty and in the reserves. December figures were released last week.
Recruiters also report that more people are inquiring about joining the military, a trend that could further bolster the ranks. Of the four armed services, the army has faced the toughest recruiting challenge in recent years because of high casualty rates in Iraq and long deployments overseas. Recruitment is also strong for the Army National Guard, according to Pentagon figures. The Guard tends to draw older people.
"When the economy slackens and unemployment rises and jobs become more scarce in civilian society, recruiting is less challenging," said Curtis Gilroy, the director of accession policy for the Department of Defense.
Still, the economy alone does not account for the military's success in attracting more recruits. The recent decline in violence in Iraq has "also had a positive effect," Gilroy said.
Another lure is the new G. I. Bill, which will significantly expand education benefits. Beginning this August, service members who spend at least three years on active duty can attend any public college at government expense or apply the payment toward tuition at a private university. No data exist yet, but there has traditionally been a strong link between increased education benefits and new enlistments.
The army and Marine Corps have also added more recruiters to offices around the country in the past few years, increased bonuses and capitalized on an expensive marketing campaign.
The army has managed to meet its goals each year since 2006, but not without difficulty.
As casualties in Iraq mounted, the army began luring new soldiers by increasing signing bonuses for recruits and accepting a greater number of people who had medical and criminal histories, who scored low on entrance exams and who failed to graduate from high school.
The recession has provided a jolt for the army, which hopes to decrease its roster of less qualified applicants in the coming year. It also has helped ease the job of recruiters who face one of the most stressful assignments in the military. Recruiters must typically talk to 150 people before finding one person who meets military qualifications and is interested in enlisting. Gilroy said the term "all-volunteer force" should really be "an all-recruited force."
Now, at least, the pool has widened. Recruiting offices are reporting a jump in the number of young men and women inquiring about joining the service in the past three months.
As a rule, when unemployment rates climb so do military enlistments. In November, the army recruited 5,605 active-duty soldiers, 6 percent more than its target, and the army Reserve signed up 3,270 soldiers, 16 percent more than its goal. December, when the jobless rate reached 7.2 percent, saw similar increases in recruitments.
"They are saying, 'There are no jobs, no one is hiring,' or if someone is hiring they are not getting enough hours to support their families or themselves," said Sergeant First Class Phillip Lee, 41, the senior recruiter in the army office in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
The Bridgeport recruitment center is not exactly a hotbed for enlistments. But Lee said it had signed up more than a dozen people since October, which is above average.
He said he had been struck by the number of unemployed construction workers and older potential recruits — people in their 30s and beyond — who had contacted him to explore the possibility. The army age limit is 42, which was raised from 35 in 2006 to draw more applicants.
"Some are past the age limit, and they come in and say, 'Will the military take me now?' " Lee said. "They are having trouble finding well-paying jobs."
Of the high school graduates, a few told him recently that they had to scratch college plans because they could not get students loans or financial aid. The new G. I. bill is an especially attractive incentive for that group.
The Army Reserve and the National Guard have also received a boost from people eager to supplement their falling incomes.
Sean D. O'Neil, a 22-year-old who stood shivering outside an army recruitment office in St. Louis, said he was forgoing plans to become a guitar maker for now, realizing that instruments are seen as a luxury during a recession. O'Neil, a Texas native, ventured to St. Louis for an apprenticeship but found himself $30,000 in debt. Joining the army, his Plan B, was a purely financial decision. With President-elect Barack Obama in office, he expects the troop levels in Iraq to be lowered.
Going to war, although likely, feels safer to him. "I'm doing this for eight years," he said. "Hopefully, when I get out, I'll have all my fingers and toes and arms, and the economy will have turned around, and I'll have a little egg to start up my own guitar line."
Ryen Trexler, 21, saw the recession barreling toward him as he was fixing truck tires for Allegheny Trucks in Altoona, Pennsylvania. By last summer, his workload had dropped from fixing 10 to 15 tires a day to mending two to four, or sometimes none. As the new guy on the job, he knew he would be the first to go.
He quit and signed up for the Jobs Corps Center in Pittsburgh, a federal labor program that would pay for two years of training, figuring he would learn to be a heavy equipment operator. When a local army recruiter walked into the center, his pitch hit a nerve. Trexler figured he could earn more money and learn leadership skills in the army. Just as important, he could ride out the recession for four years and walk out ready to work in civilian construction.
Although the other branches of the military have not struggled as much as the army to recruit, they, too, are attracting people who would not ordinarily consider enlisting.
Just a few months ago, Guy Derenoncourt was working as an equity trader at a boutique investment firm in New York. Then the equity market fell apart and he quit.
Last week, he enlisted for a four-year stint in the navy, a military branch he chose because it would keep him out of Afghanistan and offer him a variety of aviation-related jobs.
"I really had no intention to join if it weren't for the financial turmoil, because I was doing quite well," Derenoncourt, 25, said, adding that a sense of patriotism made it an easier choice.
The army has struggled to attract the same caliber of enlistee that it did before the war. In 2003, 94 percent of new active-duty recruits had high school degrees. Last year, the number increased slightly from 2007, but it was still 82 percent. The percentage of new recruits who score poorly on the military entrance exam also remains comparatively high. The same is true for enlistees who need permission to enter the military for medical or "moral" reasons, typically misdemeanor juvenile convictions. Last year, 21.5 percent of the 80,000 new recruits in the army required a so-called medical or moral waiver, 2 percent higher than in 2006. Fewer recruits needed waivers for felony convictions, though, compared with 2007.
Posted by Me at Tuesday, January 20, 2009
January 17, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) - Eighty-three of the nation's 100 largest corporations, including Citigroup, Bank of America and News Corp. (NWSA), had subsidiaries in offshore tax havens in 2007, and some of the companies received federal bailout funding, a government watchdog said Friday.
The Government Accountability Office released a report that said Bank of America Inc., Citigroup Inc. (C) and Morgan Stanley (MS) all had more than 100 units in countries that maintain low or no taxes. The three financial institutions were included in the $700 billion financial bailout approved by Congress.
Insurance giant American International Group Inc. (AIG), which has received about $150 billion in bailout money, had 18 subsidiaries. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) had 50 units and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) had 18; both financial institutions received government bailout money.
Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who requested the report, have pushed for tougher laws to fight offshore tax havens around the globe. Levin, who leads the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, has estimated abusive tax havens and offshore accounts cost the U.S. government at least $100 billion a year in lost taxes.
"I think we should take action to shut down these tax dodgers and we will be introducing legislation to do just that," Dorgan said.
General Motors Corp. (GM), which received $13.4 billion from the federal rescue package, had 11 offshore subsidiaries while GM's financing arm, GMAC LLC (GOM), had two offshore units. GMAC, whose majority owner is private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, received $5 billion from the Treasury Department in late December.
Citigroup said in a statement that it has more than 4,000 subsidiaries around the globe "which enables us to serve hundreds of millions of individuals and institutions in more than 100 countries." A News Corp. spokeswoman declined comment. Messages were left with several of the companies identified in the report.
Separately, the GAO said 63 of the 100 largest federal contractors maintain subsidiaries in 50 tax havens.
Levin noted that many competitors use the tax havens to varying degrees. PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) has 70 subsidiaries while the Coca-Cola Co. (KO) has eight units. Caterpillar Inc. had 49 while Deere & Co. had three.
"We need to put an end to the use of offshore secrecy jurisdictions as tax havens," Levin said.
The GAO said the subsidiaries could be established in the countries "for a variety of nontax business reasons" and said having a business unit in one of the countries "does not signify that a corporation or federal contractor established that subsidiary for the purpose of reducing its tax burden."
Citigroup had 427 units in 23 countries, including 91 subsidiaries in Luxembourg and 90 in the Cayman Islands. Morgan Stanley had 273 units, News Corp. had 152 and Bank of America had 115. Procter & Gamble Co. had 83 subsidiaries and Pfizer Inc. had 80 in the jurisdictions.
Several major corporations have announced plans to leave Bermuda, a leading offshore business center, amid the global financial crisis and fears of tighter tax rules. Tyco Electronics Ltd., which makes electronic components, and Foster Wheeler Ltd., an engineering and construction company, are reincorporating in Switzerland - which has a tax treaty with the U.S. - for tax and other reasons. Covidien Ltd., a health care products company, is heading to Ireland.
On the Net:
U.S. Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
Posted by Me at Saturday, January 17, 2009
January 11, 2009
The American print and TV media have never been very good. These days they are horrible. If people intend to be informed, they must turn to foreign news broadcasts, to Internet sites, to foreign newspapers available on the Internet, or to alternative newspapers that are springing up in various cities. A person who sits in front of Murdoch’s Fox “News” or CNN or who reads the New York Times is simply being brainwashed with propaganda.
Before conservatives nod their heads in agreement, I’m not referring to “the liberal media.” I mean the propaganda that issues from the US government and the Israel Lobby.
It was neoconservative Bush regime propaganda fed to America through Judith Miller and the New York Times and through Murdoch’s Fox “News” that convinced Americans that they were in danger from a small secular Arab country half way around the globe called Iraq. It was the American media that convinced Americans that getting rid of dangerous “weapons of mass destruction,” weapons that did not exist in Iraq, would be a cakewalk paid for by Iraqi oil revenues.
It is the same propagandistic American print and TV media that have rationalized Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan based on seven years of lies and deception.
It is the same media that today provids only Israeli propaganda as “coverage” of the Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
It was the New York Times that spiked for one year the leaked information from the National Security Agency that the Bush regime, in violation of US law, was illegally spying on Americans without warrants. The “liberal” New York Times agreed to suppress the story so that Bush would not face reelection under the cloud of his outlaw behavior.
Conservatives think the Washington Post is “liberal media” despite the fact that the editorial and commentary pages are controlled by neocons and their sympathizers.
During the run up to wars and during wars, the American press has always been a propagandist for the government. The only exceptions occurred during the later phases of the Vietnam war and the Contra-Sandinista conflict in Central America. Karen de Young and some others tried to honestly cover the Contras and Sandinistas and were demonized by “patriots” taken in by the government’s lies.
Conservatives still blame the “liberal” media for losing the Vietnam war, when in fact all the media did was to provide some truthful reports that opened some American eyes.
When the truth cuts against the position of the US government, conservatives see it as “liberal.”
When propaganda supports the government’s lies, conservatives see it as “patriotic.”
However, any resemblance to independent reporting disappeared from the American media when the Democratic regime of President Clinton allowed Murdoch and a small handful of moguls to concentrate the American media in a few corporate hands. That was the end of American reporting.
Journalists disappeared from media management and were replaced by corporate advertising executives with an eye not to offend any source of advertising revenue, and certainly not to offend the government, which controls the broadcast licenses that comprise the value of the mega-companies. Today reporters write the stories that their masters want to hear, or they are out. The function of editors is to make certain that no uncomfortable information reaches the public.
The public is slowly catching on, and the print media is dying. The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times are all on the ropes.
Americans are still subjected to Fox “News” and CNN propaganda piped into airport waiting rooms, doctors’ offices, and exercise centers
People ask me where they can get reliable information. I tell them that their goal cannot be reached without their commitment of time.
People who have access to television services that provide English language foreign broadcasts, such as Iran’s Press TV, Russia Today, or Al Jazeera, can get get news and insights from those parts of the world demonized by the US media.
The BBC World Service still reports facts while covering itself by providing the views of the US, UK, and Israeli governments.
Both the Asia Times and Israeli newspapers, such as Haaretz can be read online in English. There are other such newspapers, and all of them provide information that Americans will never see in their own media. Any American newspaper that was as truthful about the Israeli government as Haaretz would be closed down.
The only US print source with which I am familiar in which some honest reporting can be found on a regular basis is the McClatchy papers.
Americans addicted to print media must turn to alternative newspapers, which tend to be weekly or bi-weekly. However, the news and commentary provided are often superb..
Alternative newspapers are often the children of people motivated by a sense of justice and the love of truth. Such people have become an endangered species in the American “mainstream media.” The free press Americans have today is online and in the alternative media.
The function of the “mainstream media” is to sell products and to brainwash the audience for the government and interest groups. By subscribing to it, Americans support their own brainwashing.
ZURICH (Reuters) - Under pressure from the U.S. tax authorities, Swiss wealth management giant UBS is closing all the offshore accounts of its rich U.S. clients, the New York Times said on Friday.
UBS, which the U.S. authorities says helped wealthy Americans hide cash in offshore bank accounts, will shut about 1****0 offshore accounts, the paper said, quoting unnamed U.S. clients.
A UBS spokesman in Switzerland was not immediately available to comment on the report.
The Swiss bank, one of the hardest-hit in the credit crisis, decided in July last year to stop offering offshore accounts to U.S. citizens after it was targeted by the U.S. tax investigation which challenges Switzerland's famous banking secrecy laws.
As part of the investigation, U.S. authorities indicted UBS's wealth management chief last year.
"UBS is progressing with the closing in an orderly fashion," UBS spokeswoman Karina Byrne was quoted as saying in the U.S. paper.
U.S. prosecutors have alleged that UBS helped clients hide $18 billion of untaxed American money in undeclared accounts. This amounts to around $300 million of annual unpaid taxes, the newspaper said. UBS will transfer the U.S. clients' assets to other banks or other divisions within UBS, or will mail checks directly to the account holders, creating paper trails for U.S. federal prosecutors who are checking whether UBS clients used such accounts to evade taxes.
"You can either transfer the money to new banks, or deposit somewhere and get busted," a UBS client was quoted as saying in the newspaper report.
The transfer of more than $10,000 to a new bank is something that clients are expected to report to the Treasury Department, the paper said.
In a separate article, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday that many U.S. clients of UBS had started to voluntarily turn themselves in to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The clients have so far avoided serious punishment, the paper said.
'The NSA's colossal Cray supercomputer, code-named the 'Black Widow,' scans millions of domestic and international phone calls and e-mails every hour. . . . The Black Widow, performing hundreds of trillions of calculations per second, searches through and reassembles key words and patterns, across many languages.'
Barack Obama will be in charge of the biggest domestic and international spying operation in history. Its prime engine is the National Security Agency (NSA)—located and guarded at Fort Meade, Maryland, about 10 miles northeast of Washington, D.C. A brief glimpse of its ever-expanding capacity was provided on October 26 by The Baltimore Sun's national security correspondent, David Wood: "The NSA's colossal Cray supercomputer, code-named the 'Black Widow,' scans millions of domestic and international phone calls and e-mails every hour. . . . The Black Widow, performing hundreds of trillions of calculations per second, searches through and reassembles key words and patterns, across many languages."
In July, George W. Bush signed into law the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which gives the NSA even more power to look for patterns that suggest terrorism links in Americans' telephone and Internet communications.
The ACLU immediately filed a lawsuit on free speech and privacy grounds. The new Bush law provides farcical judicial supervision over the NSA and other government trackers and databasers. Although Senator Barack Obama voted for this law, dig this from the ACLU: "The government [is now permitted] to conduct intrusive surveillance without ever telling a court who it intends to spy on, what phone lines and e-mail addresses it intends to monitor, where its surveillance targets are located, why it's conducting the surveillance or whether it suspects any party to the communication of wrongdoing."
This gives the word "dragnet" an especially chilling new meaning.
The ACLU's Jameel Jaffer, director of its National Security Project, adds that the new statute, warming the cold hearts of the NSA, "implicates all kinds of communications that have nothing to do with terrorism or criminal activity of any kind."
Why did Obama vote for this eye-that-never-blinks? He's a bright, informed guy, but he wasn't yet the President-Elect. The cool pragmatist wanted to indicate he wasn't radically unmindful of national security—and that his previous vow to filibuster such a bill may have been a lapse in judgment. It was.
What particularly outraged civil libertarians across the political divide was that the FISA Amendments Act gave immunity to the telecommunications corporations—which, for seven years, have been a vital part of the Bush administration's secret wiretapping program—thereby dismissing the many court cases brought by citizens suing those companies for violating their individual constitutional liberties. This gives AT&T, Verizon, and the rest a hearty signal to go on pimping for the government.
That's OK with the Obama administration? Please tell us, Mr. President.
Some of us began to see how deeply and intricately the telecoms were involved in the NSA's spying when—as part of an Electronic Frontier Foundation lawsuit—it was revealed by a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, that he had found a secret AT&T room in which the NSA was tapping into the telecom giant's fiber-optic cables. On National Public Radio on November 7, 2007, he disclosed: "It's not just AT&T's traffic going through these cables, because these cables connected AT&T's network with other networks like Sprint, Qwest [the one firm that refused to play ball with the government], Global Crossing, UUNet, etc."
What you should know is that these fruitful cables go through "a splitter" that, as Klein describes, "just copies the entire data without any selection going on. So it's a complete copy of the data stream."
Under the new FISA Amendments Act, there are no limits on where this stream of data can be disseminated. As in the past, but now with "legal" protection under the 2008 statute, your suspicious "patterns" can go to the FBI, Homeland Security, the CIA, and state and local police that are also involved in "fusion centers" with the FBI.
Consider the enormous and bottomless databases that the government—and its NSA—can have a ball with. In James Bamford's The Shadow Factory (Doubleday)—a new book that leads you as far as anyone has gone into the bowels of the NSA—he notes: "For decades, AT&T and much of the rest of the telecommunications industry have had a very secret, very cozy relationship with the NSA." In AT&T's case, he points out, "its international voice service carried more than 18 billion minutes per year, reaching 240 countries, linking 400 carriers, and offering remote access via 19,500 points of presence in 149 countries around the globe."
Voilá! Also, he notes: "Much of those communications passed through that secret AT&T room that Klein found on Folsom Street in downtown San Francisco."
There's a lot more to come that we don't know about. Yet. In The Shadow Factory, James Bamford quotes Bush's Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell as saying that this wiretapping program was and is "only one program of many highly secret programs approved by Bush following the attacks on 9/11" (emphasis added). McConnell also said of the NSA's nonstop wiretapping: "This is the only aspect of those various activities whose existence has officially been acknowledged."
Come on, Mike. Bush acknowledged the NSA's flagrant contempt of the First and Fourth amendments only after The New York Times broke the story in December 2005. When the Times executive editor, Bill Keller, first decided to hold the explosive story for a year, General Michael Hayden—the former head of the NSA who is currently running the CIA—was relieved because he didn't want the news to get out that "most international communications pass through [these telecommunications] 'switching,' " Bamford reports. It would blow the cover off those corporate communicators. Now, AT&T, Verizon, et al., don't have to worry, thanks to the new law.
There are increasing calls, inside and outside of Congress, for President Obama to urge investigations by an independently bipartisan commission—akin to the 9/11 Commission—to get deeply into the many American and international laws so regally broken by Bush and his strutting team.
But there is so much still to find out about the NSA's "many highly secret programs" that a separate commission is sorely needed to probe exclusively into the past and ongoing actions of the Black Widow and other NSA lawless intrusions into our privacy and ideas.
President Obama could atone for his vote that supported the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 by appointing such a bipartisan commission composed of technology experts who are also familiar with the Constitution.
Bamford says that the insatiable NSA is "developing an artificial intelligence system designed to know what people are thinking." Here come the thought police!
Rules that force internet companies to keep details of every email sent in the UK are being criticised.
From March, information on the amount of messages delivered will be kept for a year.
The content of individual emails will not be held but the timing and number of each communication are and security experts say it is an attack on privacy and a waste of money.
The law is being implemented as part an EC directive, and the Government will reportedly have to pay the internet service providers (ISP) more than £25 million to ensure the law is obeyed.
Dr Richard Clayton, a security researcher at the University of Cambridge's computer lab, said the costs of the regulation could have been better spent.
"There's going to be a record of every single email which arrived addressed to you and all the emails you sent out via your ISP. That of course includes all the spam," he said.
"There are much better things to do to spend our billions on than snooping on everybody in the country just on the off chance that they're a criminal."
The Earl of Northesk, a Conservative peer on the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, said it meant anyone's movements could be traced 24 hours a day.
He said: "This degree of storage is equivalent to having access to every second, every minute, every hour of your life.
"People have to worry about the scale, the virtuality of your life being exposed to round about 500 public authorities.
"Under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, privacy is a fundamental right... it is important to protect the principle of privacy because once you've lost it it's very difficult to recover."
The Home Office said the data would be useful for combating crime.
A spokesman said: "Communications data is crucial for the police to be able to investigate and identify criminal suspects by examining their contacts, establish relationships between conspirators and place them in a specific location at a certain time.
"The data retained is not the content of emails but only the email addresses and times they were sent.
"Implementing the EC Directive will enable UK law enforcement agencies to benefit fully from historical communications data in increasingly complex criminal and terrorist investigations and will enhance our national security."
Exxonmobil corp., the world's largest crude oil refiner, supports taxing carbon dioxide as the most efficient way of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, its chief executive said.
"As a businessman, it's hard to speak favourably about any new tax, but a carbon tax strikes me as a more direct, more transparent and more effective approach," Rex Tillerson, CEO of the Irving, Texas based company, said Thursday at the Woodrow Wilson international center for scholars in Washington.
At a Dec. 11 event in Chicago, Tillerson, 56, said he preferred a carbon tax to carbon trading programs such as the type used in Europe.
A trading program, known as 'cap and trade,' "inevitably introduces unnecessary cost and complexity" that reduces effectiveness, said Tillerson. They require a vast expansion of regulation, he said. a carbon tax "can be more easily implemented" and is the "most efficient means of reflecting the cost of carbon," said Tillerson.
"Such a tax should be made revenue neutral," he said, which requires other taxes to be lowered so that the overall tax burden isn't increased.
January 8, 2009
The media-shy billionaire, whose family controls some of Germany's best-known companies, was hit by a train on Monday evening, local officials said.
"The desperate situation of his companies caused by the financial crisis, the uncertainties of the last few weeks and his powerlessness to act, have broken the passionate family entrepreneur and he took his own life," a family statement said.
State prosecutors from the southern city of Ulm said Merckle, 74, left work on Monday and died after being hit by a train near the town of Blaubeuren. He left behind a suicide note to his family, they added.
There was no sign of anyone else being involved, they said.
In 2008 Merckle was ranked as the world's 94th-richest person and Germany's fifth-wealthiest by Forbes magazine.
On Tuesday pale blood stains still dotted the snow along the railway track where he died. The area looked deserted apart from a police car nearby.
Merckle, a father of four, inherited the basis of his fortune from his Bohemian grandfather, but went on to build up the chemical wholesale company into Germany's largest drugs wholesaler.
The passionate skiier and mountain climber assembled a business conglomerate with about 100,000 employees and 30 billion euros (27.13 billion pounds) in annual sales.
His family controls a number of German companies including cement maker HeidelbergCement and generic drug company Ratiopharm.
But the empire was rocked last year by wrong-way bets made on shares in Volkswagen after a surprise stakeholding announcement from Porsche sent the VW share price rocketing as short sellers scrambled to cover their positions.
Banking sources had told Reuters the family lost hundreds of millions of euros on investments, with about 400 million euros lost on Volkswagen shares alone.
Since then the family has been in talks for weeks with banks to renegotiate loans. Banking sources said on Tuesday his death was not expected to affect loan agreements with the family.
Shares in HeidelbergCement fell as much as 12.5 percent following the news of Merckle's death and ended the day down 6.2 percent at 31.25 euros.
"Some investors are afraid that there will be no one to lead negotiations during this sensitive situation for the company," one trader in Frankfurt said.
Psychologists and other mental health experts have said suicide rates could creep up as a result of the financial crisis.
Last month Frenchman Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, 65, a co-founder of money manager Access International, was found dead in a New York office building, reportedly distraught over losing up to $1.4 billion in client money to Bernard Madoff's alleged fraud. He slit his wrists with box cutters.
Posted by Me at Thursday, January 08, 2009
January 2, 2009
We've rounded up ten credit crunch Houdinis who've escaped the financial crisis and are laughing all the way to the ailing bank.
1. Andrew Lahde
Andew Lahde, a California based hedge-fund manager, made 888 per cent profits last year when his company Lahde Capital bet against US sub-prime mortgage assets. In September this year Mr Lahde decided he was rich enough to retire, closed his fund and released a letter, which has become an internet sensation.
The opening paragraph begins: "Today I write not to gloat, given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, that would be entirely inappropriate." In a petulant rant he then, bizarrely, goes on to ask the American government to recognise the benefits of growing marijuana and urges bankers to bin their blackberries and go on holiday.
2. John Paulson
Last year, John Paulson, a New York-based hedge fund manager, outsmarted Wall Street and made nearly $2 billion by betting against mortgage backed securities. Much derided for cashing in on others' misery, he has shown few regrets, telling the Wall Street Journal: "I've never been involved in a trade that had such unlimited upside with a very limited downside."
3. Barack Obama
The final straight of the presidential race has coincided nicely with the meltdown of the global financial system, providing a serendipitous marketing tool for Mr Obama. As voters watch the stock market plummet, the Democrats have offered to clean up the economic mess that the Republicans will leave behind.
4. Gordon Brown
A couple of months ago the Prime Minister was against the ropes. Now he's being lauded as the rescuer of the banks. In an article in the New York Times entitled "Gordon does good" Paul Krugman, who two weeks ago picked up the Nobel Prize for economics said: "Luckily for the world economy, Gordon Brown and his officials are making sense... they may have shown us the way through this crisis." Mr Brown's polls ratings are starting to creep up and Labour, it seems, are back in the game.
5. Ronald McDonald
Don't expect to bump into Ronald in the dole queue any time soon. As slightly pricier restaurant chains stare at gloomy sales figures, cheap and cheerful fast food joints are watching profits soar. McDonalds has seen two million extra customers a month compared with last year and is intending to create 4,000 new jobs in response.
6. Karl Marx
Dust off your headscarf, Marx is making a comeback. German bookstores have experienced a 300 per cent increase in sales of Das Kapital in recent months, and visitors are flocking to Marx's birthplace in Trier - 40,000 so far this year. Jörn Schütrumpf, head of the Berlin publishing house Dietz, which brings out the works of Marx said: "We have a new generation of readers who are rattled by the financial crisis and have to recognise that neo-liberalism has turned out to be a false dream."
7. Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase
With more than $900 billion in deposits, JP Morgan Chase is now America's biggest savings business after it bailed out the failed Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. Despite the market turmoil, its employees, not least its chief executive Jamie Dimon, can expect a nice Christmas box this year - staff have already been paid £700m in bonuses. Even better news for Dimon if rumour is to be believed, is that he will replace Hank Paulson as Treasury Secretary if Barack Obama makes it to the White House.
8. The Magic Circle
The paperwork is piling up on the desks of lawyers at Magic Circle firms such as Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Allen&Overy since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Icelandic banks. Some top City lawyers are now demanding up to £900 an hour to dish out their advice on insolvency and restructuring. Fraud litigators are also feeling plush, as fraudsters are easier to spot during economic downturns.
9. Emilio Botin, chairman of Santander
Spanish Santander has been fattening itself up on high street banks rather than subprime mortgages, and thanks to a tough stance on exotic investment is now the world's fifth largest bank based on the profits it generates. Already the owner of Abbey, Santander's rescue of Alliance & Leicester and Bradford &Bingley mean that Mr Botin oversees almost 25million UK customers.
10. Bart Becht, chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser
The world's biggest household detergent group and the makers of Cillit bang, Reckitt Benckiser has posted record profits of £373m for the last quarter. Apparently, as none of us can afford to leave the house or go out to eat we are staying in to clean the loo and stack the dishwasher instead.
| Laura Knight-Jadczyk |
Signs of the Times
| As I mentioned in the previous chapter of the present series, I was 11 years old and in my 6th grade classroom when the news of John F. Kennedy's assassination was first broadcast. I was not ignorant of the idea that evil existed in the world, but I thought about it as something that was personal, local even, not some sort of global juggernaut stalking whole societies. John Kennedy's assassination was the event that changed all that. Even though I was not able to fully comprehend it then, years later I was better able to articulate the raw, horrifying face of evil I had seen on that sunny November day in 1963. I didn't know then that Kennedy himself had already seen it and described it: |
Well, of course, George W. Bush says the same thing, doesn't he? The difference is, Kennedy died for saying it, Bush didn't. That suggests that Kennedy had in mind the real conspiracy, and Bush either doesn't have a clue, or is busy directing attention away from it.
John Kennedy went to Texas to lay the groundwork for the next election. Even though he had not formally announced that he would run again, it was clear that he intended to and that he knew he would have to rely on the support of the people. Earlier, in September, he had spoken in nine states in a single week, focusing on natural resources and conservation efforts, improving education, maintaining national security, and promoting peaceful relations between countries. He talked about the achievement of a limited nuclear test ban, which the Senate had just approved, and the public made it clear that they were enthusiastically behind him. The masses knew that he cared about them, their sons and daughters, and most of all, peace.
Then, in early November, Kennedy had held a political planning session for the upcoming election. At that meeting, he noted the importance of winning Florida and Texas and that's where he announced his plans to visit both states in the next two weeks. JFK was aware that a relatively small but vocal group of extremists was contributing to the political tensions in Texas and would likely make its presence felt-particularly in Dallas, where UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson had been physically attacked a month earlier after a making a speech there. As an aside, one wonders if it is just coincidence that George Bush was governor of Texas and Jeb Bush was governor of Florida during the 2000 election which it is now agreed by almost everyone who can read and think, was fraudulently stolen? The trip to Florida and Texas was Jackie Kennedy's first extended public appearance since the loss of their baby, Patrick in August which had been a cruel ordeal for her and the whole Kennedy family. Nonetheless, JFK was said to have appeared to relish the prospect of getting out among the people.
So it was that, on November 21, the John and Jackie Kennedy departed on Air Force One for a two-day, five-city tour of Texas.
On November 22nd, 1963, the 1,036th day of his presidency, a light rain was falling, but a crowd of several thousand had gathered in the parking lot outside the Texas Hotel where the Kennedys had spent the night. A platform had been set up and the President came out to make some brief remarks without a raincoat or umbrella.
"There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth," he began, "and I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it." He talked about the nation's need for being "second to none" in defense and in space, for continued growth in the economy and "the willingness of citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership." The audience loved him and that love was palpable as John Kennedy reached out to shake hands amidst a sea of smiling faces.
Back inside the Hotel, he addressed a breakfast meeting of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce for about 12 minutes. His talk began, as usual, with humor and the audience loved him! He proceeded to talk about defense projects, emphasizing the role of the military in maintaining peace: ". . . to that great cause, Texas and the United States are committed."
"Committed" was his last publicly spoken word.
The 1,037th day never came.
Listen to: Remarks at the Breakfast of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, November 22, 1963
Now, let us turn to the Official History which tells us:
"The presidential party left the hotel and went by motorcade to Carswell Air Force Base for the thirteen-minute flight to Dallas. Arriving at Love Field, President and Mrs. Kennedy disembarked and immediately walked toward a fence where a crowd of well-wishers had gathered, and they spent several minutes shaking hands. The First Lady was presented with a bouquet of red roses, which she brought with her to the waiting limousine.
Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie were already seated in the open convertible as the Kennedys entered and sat behind them. Since it was no longer raining the plastic bubble top had been left off. Vice President and Mrs. Johnson occupied another car in the motorcade.
"The procession left the airport and traveled along a ten-mile route that wound through downtown Dallas on the way to the Trade Mart where the President was scheduled to speak at a luncheon. Crowds of excited people lined the streets waving to the Kennedys as they waved back.
The car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza around 12:30 p.m. As it was passing the Texas School Book Depository gunfire suddenly reverberated in the plaza. Bullets struck the President's neck and head and he slumped over toward Mrs. Kennedy. The Governor was also hit, in the chest." (emphasis, mine)
As it happened, there was a spectator in the crowd at Dealey Plaza that day with a home movie camera. Abraham Zapruder, standing in the area that has come to be known as the "grassy knoll," had filmed the assassination. Let's watch it and then continue with the story.
Life magazine bought the Zapruder film and locked it up. Not even the Warren Commission viewed it as a motion picture. The magazine published staggered still frames in a cover story endorsing the Warren Report when it was issued in 1964 with captions under each frame. The caption under frame 313, where Kennedy's head explodes, said it was from a shot from the front. But that meant that Oswald could not have fired the "head shot." When Life realized its "error," it stopped the presses and rewrote the caption as a shot from the rear. The film also graphically demonstrated that the president and Texas Governor John Connally, sitting in the jump seat in front of him, were struck by bullets within three-quarters of a second of each other, which meant that there had to be more than one weapon.
The Warren Commission disposed of this problem with what has come to be known as the "Magic Bullet Theory."
According to the Warren Commission, the bullet fired by Lee Harvey Oswald hit John Kennedy in the back, then went up and exited via his throat, passed through John Connally's upper right arm, went inside his body, shattered a rib, exited his body under his right nipple, entered his upraised lower right arm and shattered his wrist, crossed his body to the left and entered his left thigh.
And then, magically, the bullet itself just fell out of John Connally's body onto the stretcher at the hospital, completely intact.
That's a pretty amazing bullet, wouldn't you say? It's like the Boeing 757 that allegedly hit the Pentagon and liquified and just flowed into the building and melted away. But that Magic Bullet is even more amazing when you actually see it. And here it is:
Yes, folks, this is the alleged actual bullet that slaughtered John F. Kennedy, and put Governor John Connally in a world of hurt.
Look at it carefully.
It's pretty shiny and sleek looking, isn't it? Looks pretty deadly.
This bullet left fragments in Governor Connally's body, too, by the way. Doesn't look like it's missing any fragments to me. How about you?
Now, let's look at some other bullets. The following selection are the exact same type of bullet, same manufacture, same caliber. They have all been fired into different objects to see how those impacts would affect the appearance of the bullet itself.
I think we can determine that the bullet that fell out of John Connally's thigh must have been planted there. And that means that there was someone in the hospital who knew what kind of weapon was supposed to be the murder weapon and came prepared.
Now, we notice in the official history above that it says: "Bullets struck the President's neck and head and he slumped over toward Mrs. Kennedy." They are saying that he was struck in the neck, first.
Can we say "an attempt to cook the data to fit the fantasy"?
In spite of the fact that Ford admitted falsifying evidence in the Warren Commission report, and that the evidence shows that his changes had nothing to do with any attempts to be "precise," but rather to support the "Lone Assassin" theory , the "official sources continue to use various media outlets to propagandize their fantasy.
I believe that the last polls I read indicated that only about 10% of Americans believe that there was "no conspiracy."
You got it, buddy. And there's no way you can refute that bullet above. It is, no pun intended, the "smoking gun" evidence that the government's single assassin, single bullet theory is a total crock of horse-hockey.
Yes, those documents certainly did "fuel conspiracy theorists". It's important to remember what a "theory" is: it is a reasonable conjecture based on an assembly of facts and observations. On the other hand, the Warren Commission Report is a total fantasy.
So, based upon maps, blueprints, physical measurements, more than 500 photographs, films and autopsy reports, the good folks at ABC have made a computer-generated reconstruction of the shooting that leaves no doubt that Oswald acted alone.
Glory Hallelujah! We have been saved from those evil, lying, conspiracy theorists by Lee Harvey Oswald and ABC!
Now, in addition to the Magic Bullet - you know the one that entered Kennedy's back and then jumped up and exited through his throat and went on to bounce around in Connally like a lethal pinball - there was another bullet. Let's look at what that bullet, allegedly fired by marksman Oswald, from the rear, did to John Kennedy's head:
Next is the photo doctored by the Warren Commission for public consumption. The problem is, if the bullet that entered JFK's back, and exited through his throat, then hit John Connally, and the second bullet hit JFK in the head, where is the exit wound of the second bullet?
Notice how he is all cleaned up. There's another shot available on the net that purports to be the back of John Kennedy's head, minus the blown-out brains that is clearly fraudulent because here are the embalmer's notes:
The issue of the head-shot that killed Kennedy is as contentious as the current day issue of the Pentagon Strike on 9/11. The government and its apologists have produced endless "experts" to prove that a gunshot to the head from the rear can cause the head to fly violently backward - in the direction the shot came from - and, at the same time, that the shot to the rear of the skull will cause a large piece of the skull to fly off to the rear as can be seen to happen in the Zapruder film above. That is, in fact, what Jackie Kennedy is seen to be trying to retrieve. To see that poor woman watch as her husband's head literally explodes in front of her eyes, and to see her try to get the pieces to put him back together, is unbearably painful to watch.
One of the key elements of the "official explanation" for the headshot is that John Kennedy's head can be seen to first move forward, and then jerk violently backward. Somehow this is twisted into some kind of off-planet physics to be hard evidence for the shot from the rear, i.e. the Texas School Book Depository, i.e. Oswald. Never mind that there are thousands, if not millions, of cases where the point of entry is small, and the bullet tears a gigantic hole when making its exit; a hole exactly like the one on the back of John Kennedy's head.
As it happens, shortly after the assassination, Dallas resident Billy Harper was walking down the median in Dealey Plaza and found a piece of the President's skull laying in the grass. Taken together with the violent motion of the President's head, the blood spray dousing the motorcyle cops who were behind Kennedy to his left rear and then the skull pieces found in the grass opposite the grassy knoll, the debris pattern clearly indicates that the head shot came from the front. Thousands of murder cases have been prosecuted on this type of evidence. If, suddenly rules of criminal evidence were to be reversed by all the so-called experts trying to support the Warren Fantasy, then how many criminal cases might be overturned based on this newly discovered law of physics?
There is a reason that JFK's head moves forward just a fraction of a second before it moves violently back and to the left.
From the confession of James Files:
Houston Chronicle Published Nov. 22, 1963:
See: I Shot JFK. Results of a 10 year private, unbiased investigation provide the first hard evidence of conspiracy in 40 years!
Let us now return to our official history of that day:
"The car sped off to Parkland Memorial Hospital, just a few minutes away. But there was little that could be done for the President. A Catholic priest was summoned to administer the last rites and at 1:00 p.m. John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead. Governor Connolly, though seriously wounded, would recover.
"The President's body was brought to Love Field and placed on Air Force One. Before the plane took off, a grim-faced Lyndon B. Johnson stood in the tight, crowded compartment and took the oath of office, administered by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Hughes. The brief ceremony took place at 2:38 p.m."
As I have already mentioned in a previous chapter, Lyndon Johnson had already drafted National Security Memorandum 273, dated November 21st, 1963 - the day before John Kennedy met his fate in Dallas - which suggests that LBJ knew something. So, let's have a look at the "grim-faced" Lyndon Baines Johnson taking the oath of office as described above:
Barr McClellan, father of former White House press secretary Scott McClellan and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Mark McClellan, wrote a book entitled: "Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K". His thesis was that former President Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His book apparently includes photographs, copies of letters, insider interviews and details of fingerprints as proof that Edward A. Clark, the powerful head of Johnson's private and business legal team and a former ambassador to Australia, led the plan and cover-up for the 1963 assassination in Dallas.
Well, I don't think that LBJ was behind it, but we already suspect that he was involved - as were 90% of the pathological deviants in the United States at the time - most of whom were successful businessmen, mobsters and politicians.
The fact is, the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a form of control of the government of the United States. It is the ultimate form of control of the election process. Understanding this can lead us to understand what has happened to our country since that terrible day in November, 43 years ago. Studied carefully, the assassination of John F. Kennedy can reveal who really controls the United States and its polices, particularly foreign policy. As John Kennedy himself said:
He was right; but I think he didn't realize how far they were willing - and able - to go.
Nowadays, we know how far they are able and willing to go: just look at the events of September 11, 2001, which bear the same unmistakable stamp of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In fact, as I have mentioned before, the same gang is involved.
Today, we live in a country where the poor and old cannot afford health care, something that John Kennedy was trying to correct. We live in a country where the economy is falling apart; a country where 44 million people live on less than $12,000 dollars a year; a nation where over 2 million people are homeless; a country where the entire media system is owned by only six media mega conglomerates; the country with the highest crime rate in the world (not being at war); a country with the world's largest prison population; a society where 25% of children under 12 live in poverty; a country that gives Israel billions of dollars a year to kill and maim Palestinians while there are over 2 million homeless on our own streets; a country where the gulf between the rich and poor is wider than it is in almost all other civilized countries; a nation that supports dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and many other countries around the world; a country that spies on its own citizens, has trashed the Constitution; a country that has undertaken to torture people when it is known that no intelligence that comes from a tortured person is likely to be accurate; a country where the government is full of corruption worse than any Banana Republic; a country where 40 percent of the homeless are military veterans, in a country with the world's highest teen suicide rates; and all of these were issues that concerned John F. Kennedy, issues that he was working very hard - against a stubborn, oligarchic system - to correct.
As people throughout the nation and the world struggled to make sense of the senseless act of the slaughter of a man who had the brains and guts to solve America's problems, and to articulate their feelings about President Kennedy's life and legacy, many recalled these words from his inaugural address which had now acquired new meaning:
John Kennedy was on his way to give a speech on that Sunny afternoon in Dallas, Texas, 43 years ago. I think it is only fitting that we close this chapter with the words he planned to say, but never got the chance:
Remarks Prepared for Delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas
President John F. Kennedy November 22, 1963
"I am honored to have this invitation to address the annual meeting of the Dallas Citizens Council, joined by the members of the Dallas Assembly--and pleased to have this opportunity to salute the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest.
It is fitting that these two symbols of Dallas progress are united in the sponsorship of this meeting. For they represent the best qualities, I am told, of leadership and learning in this city--and leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. The advancement of learning depends on community leadership for financial and political support and the products of that learning, in turn, are essential to the leadership's hopes for continued progress and prosperity. It is not a coincidence that those communities possessing the best in research and graduate facilities--from MIT to Cal Tech--tend to attract the new and growing industries. I congratulate those of you here in Dallas who have recognized these basic facts through the creation of the unique and forward-looking Graduate Research Center.
This link between leadership and learning is not only essential at the community level. It is even more indispensable in world affairs. Ignorance and misinformation can handicap the progress of a city or a company, but they can, if allowed to prevail in foreign policy, handicap this country's security. In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America's leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.
There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.
But today other voices are heard in the land--voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to the sixties, doctrines which apparently assume that words will suffice without weapons, that vituperation is as good as victory and that peace is a sign of weakness. At a time when the national debt is steadily being reduced in terms of its burden on our economy, they see that debt as the greatest single threat to our security. At a time when we are steadily reducing the number of Federal employees serving every thousand citizens, they fear those supposed hordes of civil servants far more than the actual hordes of opposing armies.
We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will "talk sense to the American people." But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this Nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense.
I want to discuss with you today the status of our strength and our security because this question clearly calls for the most responsible qualities of leadership and the most enlightened products of scholarship. For this Nation's strength and security are not easily or cheaply obtained, nor are they quickly and simply explained. There are many kinds of strength and no one kind will suffice. Overwhelming nuclear strength cannot stop a guerrilla war. Formal pacts of alliance cannot stop internal subversion. Displays of material wealth cannot stop the disillusionment of diplomats subjected to discrimination.
Above all, words alone are not enough. The United States is a peaceful nation. And where our strength and determination are clear, our words need merely to convey conviction, not belligerence. If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help.
I realize that this Nation often tends to identify turning-points in world affairs with the major addresses which preceded them. But it was not the Monroe Doctrine that kept all Europe away from this hemisphere--it was the strength of the British fleet and the width of the Atlantic Ocean. It was not General Marshall's speech at Harvard which kept communism out of Western Europe--it was the strength and stability made possible by our military and economic assistance.
In this administration also it has been necessary at times to issue specific warnings--warnings that we could not stand by and watch the Communists conquer Laos by force, or intervene in the Congo, or swallow West Berlin, or maintain offensive missiles on Cuba. But while our goals were at least temporarily obtained in these and other instances, our successful defense of freedom was due not to the words we used, but to the strength we stood ready to use on behalf of the principles we stand ready to defend.
This strength is composed of many different elements, ranging from the most massive deterrents to the most subtle influences. And all types of strength are needed--no one kind could do the job alone. Let us take a moment, therefore, to review this Nation's progress in each major area of strength.
First, as Secretary McNamara made clear in his address last Monday, the strategic nuclear power of the United States has been so greatly modernized and expanded in the last 1,000 days, by the rapid production and deployment of the most modern missile systems, that any and all potential aggressors are clearly confronted now with the impossibility of strategic victory--and the certainty of total destruction--if by reckless attack they should ever force upon us the necessity of a strategic reply.
In less than 3 years, we have increased by 50 percent the number of Polaris submarines scheduled to be in force by the next fiscal year, increased by more than 70 percent our total Polaris purchase program, increased by more than 75 percent our Minuteman purchase program, increased by 50 percent the portion of our strategic bombers on 15-minute alert, and increased by too percent the total number of nuclear weapons available in our strategic alert forces. Our security is further enhanced by the steps we have taken regarding these weapons to improve the speed and certainty of their response, their readiness at all times to respond, their ability to survive an attack, and their ability to be carefully controlled and directed through secure command operations.
But the lessons of the last decade have taught us that freedom cannot be defended by strategic nuclear power alone. We have, therefore, in the last 3 years accelerated the development and deployment of tactical nuclear weapons, and increased by 60 percent the tactical nuclear forces deployed in Western Europe.
Nor can Europe or any other continent rely on nuclear forces alone, whether they are strategic or tactical. We have radically improved the readiness of our conventional forces--increased by 45 percent the number of combat ready Army divisions, increased by 100 percent the procurement of modern Army weapons and equipment, increased by 100 percent our ship construction, conversion, and modernization program, increased by too percent our procurement of tactical aircraft, increased by 30 percent the number of tactical air squadrons, and increased the strength of the Marines. As last month's "Operation Big Lift"--which originated here in Texas--showed so clearly, this Nation is prepared as never before to move substantial numbers of men in surprisingly little time to advanced positions anywhere in the world. We have increased by 175 percent the procurement of airlift aircraft, and we have already achieved a 75 percent increase in our existing strategic airlift capability. Finally, moving beyond the traditional roles of our military forces, we have achieved an increase of nearly 600 percent in our special forces--those forces that are prepared to work with our allies and friends against the guerrillas, saboteurs, insurgents and assassins who threaten freedom in a less direct but equally dangerous manner.
But American military might should not and need not stand alone against the ambitions of international communism. Our security and strength, in the last analysis, directly depend on the security and strength of others, and that is why our military and economic assistance plays such a key role in enabling those who live on the periphery of the Communist world to maintain their independence of choice. Our assistance to these nations can be painful, risky and costly, as is true in Southeast Asia today. But we dare not weary of the task. For our assistance makes possible the stationing of 3-5 million allied troops along the Communist frontier at one-tenth the cost of maintaining a comparable number of American soldiers. A successful Communist breakthrough in these areas, necessitating direct United States intervention, would cost us several times as much as our entire foreign aid program, and might cost us heavily in American lives as well.
About 70 percent of our military assistance goes to nine key countries located on or near the borders of the Communist bloc--nine countries confronted directly or indirectly with the threat of Communist aggression - VietNam, Free China, Korea, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Greece, Turkey, and Iran. No one of these countries possesses on its own the resources to maintain the forces which our own Chiefs of Staff think needed in the common interest. Reducing our efforts to train, equip, and assist their armies can only encourage Communist penetration and require in time the increased overseas deployment of American combat forces. And reducing the economic help needed to bolster these nations that undertake to help defend freedom can have the same disastrous result. In short, the $50 billion we spend each year on our own defense could well be ineffective without the $4 billion required for military and economic assistance.
Our foreign aid program is not growing in size, it is, on the contrary, smaller now than in previous years. It has had its weaknesses, but we have undertaken to correct them. And the proper way of treating weaknesses is to replace them with strength, not to increase those weaknesses by emasculating essential programs. Dollar for dollar, in or out of government, there is no better form of investment in our national security than our much-abused foreign aid program. We cannot afford to lose it. We can afford to maintain it. We can surely afford, for example, to do as much for our 19 needy neighbors of Latin America as the Communist bloc is sending to the island of Cuba alone.
I have spoken of strength largely in terms of the deterrence and resistance of aggression and attack. But, in today's world, freedom can be lost without a shot being fired, by ballots as well as bullets. The success of our leadership is dependent upon respect for our mission in the world as well as our missiles--on a clearer recognition of the virtues of freedom as well as the evils of tyranny.
That is why our Information Agency has doubled the shortwave broadcasting power of the Voice of America and increased the number of broadcasting hours by 30 percent, increased Spanish language broadcasting to Cuba and Latin America from I to 9 hours a day, increased seven-fold to more than 3-5 million copies the number of American books being translated and published for Latin American readers, and taken a host of other steps to carry our message of truth and freedom to all the far corners of the earth.
And that is also why we have regained the initiative in the exploration of outer space, making an annual effort greater than the combined total of all space activities undertaken during the fifties, launching more than 130 vehicles into earth orbit, putting into actual operation valuable weather and communications satellites, and making it clear to all that the United States of America has no intention of finishing second in space.
This effort is expensive--but it pays its own way, for freedom and for America. For there is no longer any fear in the free world that a Communist lead in space will become a permanent assertion of supremacy and the basis of military superiority. There is no longer any doubt about the strength and skill of American science, American industry, American education, and the American free enterprise system. In short, our national space effort represents a great gain in, and a great resource of, our national strength--and both Texas and Texans are contributing greatly to this strength.
Finally, it should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live. And only an America which is growing and prospering economically can sustain the worldwide defenses of freedom, while demonstrating to all concerned the opportunities of our system and society.
It is clear, therefore, that we are strengthening our security as well as our economy by our recent record increases in national income and output--by surging ahead of most of Western Europe in the rate of business expansion and the margin of corporate profits, by maintaining a more stable level of prices than almost any of our overseas competitors, and by cutting personal and corporate income taxes by some $ I I billion, as I have proposed, to assure this Nation of the longest and strongest expansion in our peacetime economic history.
This Nation's total output--which 3 years ago was at the $500 billion mark--will soon pass $600 billion, for a record rise of over $too billion in 3 years. For the first time in history we have 70 million men and women at work. For the first time in history average factory earnings have exceeded $100 a week. For the first time in history corporation profits after taxes--which have risen 43 percent in less than 3 years--have an annual level of $27.4 billion.
My friends and fellow citizens: I cite these facts and figures to make it clear that America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the military, the scientific, and the economic strength to do whatever must be done for the preservation and promotion of freedom.
That strength will never be used in pursuit of aggressive ambitions--it will always be used in pursuit of peace. It will never be used to promote provocations--it will always be used to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes.
We in this country, in this generation, are--by destiny rather than choice--the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of "peace on earth, good will toward men." That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: "except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."
Remarks Prepared for Delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas , November 22, 1963