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  • Apr 10 2009 06:32 AM
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Posted 10 April 2009 - 06:32 AM

Tue, Apr 7, 2009 10:49am ET

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Glenn Beck and the Rise of Fox News' Militia Media

by Eric Boehlert

After a night of drinking, followed by an early-morning argument with his mother, with whom he shared a Pittsburgh apartment, 22-year-old Richard Poplawski put on a bulletproof vest, grabbed his guns, including an AK-47 rifle, and waited for the police to respond to the domestic disturbance call his mother had placed. When two officers arrived at the front door, Poplawski shot them both in the head, and then killed another officer who tried to rescue his colleagues.

In the wake of the bloodbath, we learned that Poplawski was something of a conspiracy nut who embraced dark, radical rhetoric about America. He was convinced the government wanted to take away his guns, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Specifically, Poplawski, as one friend described it, feared "the Obama gun ban that's on the way" and "didn't like our rights being infringed upon." (FYI, there is no Obama gun ban in the works.) The same friend said the shooter feared America was "going to see the end of our times."

We learned that Poplawski hosted his own (failed) Internet radio show and that he visited the website of 9-11 conspiracy backer Alex Jones, who has been hyping the threat of a totalitarian world government for years. More recently, Jones has been warning listeners like Poplawski about The Obama Deception (that's the name of Jones' new documentary DVD) and how President Obama is bound to destroy America.

Who's Alex Jones? Even according to some conservative bloggers, the anti-government, anti-Obama talker is a "freak" who's popular with "the tin foil hat crowd." Like with Poplawski, apparently.

Jones might be a "freak," but he has recently been embraced -- and mainstreamed -- by Fox News, as part of the news channel's unprecedented drive to push radical propaganda warning of America's democratic demise under the new president.

During a March 18 webcast of FoxNews.com's proudly paranoid "Freedom Watch," Andrew Napolitano introduced a segment about "what the government has done to take your liberty and your property away." And with that, he welcomed onto the show "the one, the only, the great Alex Jones," who began ranting about "exposing" the New World Order and the threat posed by an emerging "global government."

"I appreciate what you're exposing," Napolitano assured his guest.

Waving around a copy of his Obama Deception, Jones warned Fox News webcast viewers about Obama's "agenda" for "gun confiscation" and the new president's plan to "bring in total police-state control" to America.

Jones also noted with excitement that Fox News' Glenn Beck had recently begun warning about the looming New World Order on his show, just like Jones had for years. "It is great!" cheered the conspiracist. (Like Jones, Beck recently warned viewers that "the Second Amendment is under fire.") Concluding the interview, Fox News' Napolitano announced "it's absolutely been a pleasure" listening to Jones' insights.

We don't know if Poplawski tuned in to watch Jones' star turn for Fox News last month. But is there any doubt that Fox News is playing an increasingly erratic and dangerous game by embracing the type of paranoid insurrection rhetoric that people like Poplawski are now acting on? By stoking dark fears about the ominous ruins that await an Obama America, by ratcheting up irresponsible back-to-the-wall scenarios, Fox News has waded into a territory that no other news organization has ever dared to exploit.

What Fox News is now programming on a daily (unhinged) basis is unprecedented in the history of American television, especially in the form of Beck's program. Night after night, week after week, Beck rails against the president while denouncing him or his actions, alternately, as Marxist, socialist, or fascist. He felt entirely comfortable pondering whether the federal government, under the auspices of FEMA, was building concentration camps to round up Americans in order to institute totalitarian rule. (It wasn't until this week that Beck was finally able to "debunk" the FEMA conspiracy theory.) And that's when Beck wasn't gaming out bloody scenarios for the coming civil war against Obama-led tyranny. In just a few shorts months, Beck raced to the head of Fox News' militia media movement.

Just prior to the Pittsburgh massacre, Beck's often bizarre on-air performances, in which his rants against the Obama administration's dark forces were mixed in with his tearful proclamations of love of country, had turned him into a highly rated laughingstock. "That is a shaky cat," Dennis Miller recently giggled while describing Beck. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough broke into hysterics after a montage of Beck's most weepy moments. And TV satirists have had a field day at the Fox News host's expense. (Stephen Colbert: "Crank up the crazy and rip off the knob!")

But I'm not sure people should be laughing.

The consequences of Fox News' doomsday programming now seem entirely predictable. As Jeffrey Jones, a professor of media and politics at Old Dominion University, recently explained to The New York Times in regard to Beck's rhetoric, "People hear their values are under attack and they get worried. It becomes an opportunity for them to stand up and do something."

People like Richard Poplawski? FYI, weeks before his deadline shooting spree, Poplawski uploaded a video clip of Beck ominously referencing the FEMA camps on Fox News.

It's true that Beck, in response to mounting criticism, made this statement on his show:

BECK: Let me be clear on one thing. If someone tries to harm another person in the name of the Constitution or the truth behind 9-11 or anything else, they are just as dangerous and crazy as those people we don't seem to recognize anymore -- you know, the ones who kill in the name of Allah.

But look at the very next two lines of his monologue: "There are enemies both foreign and domestic in America tonight. Call it fearmongering or call it the truth." That doesn't sound like Beck was backing away from his rhetorical call to arms to fend off the Marxist -- no, wait -- fascist Obama administration.

And let's drop the idea -- pushed hard by Beck himself -- that he's simply a modern-day Howard Beale, from the classic film Network, just an angry, I'm-mad-as-hell everyman lashing out at the hypocrisies of our time. Nonsense. Beale's unvarnished on-air rants from Network targeted conformity, corporate conglomerates, and the propaganda power of television. ("This tube," he called it.) Beale's attacks were not political or partisan. Beck, by contrast, unleashes his anger against, and whips up dark scenarios about, the new president of the United States. Big difference.

Here's a sampling of what Beck's been drumming into the heads of viewers, a portion of whom likely (and logically) hear his rhetoric as a call to action. That the government is a "heroin pusher using smiley-faced fascism to grow the nanny state." That it's indoctrinating our children; that we have "come to a very dangerous point in our country's long, storied history." Beck's concerned that the "Big Brother" government will soon dictate what its citizens can eat, at what temperature their house can be set, and what kind of cars they're allowed to drive.

Beck's sure "[d]epression and revolution" are what await America under Obama, and fears moving "towards a totalitarian state." The country today sometimes reminds Beck of "the early days of Adolf Hitler." Beck thinks that Obama, who has "surrounded himself by Marxists his whole life," is now "addicting this country to heroin -- the heroin that is government slavery."

And it's not just Beck. Appearing on Fox News, Dick Morris recently made a wildly irresponsible comment that looks even worse in light of the Pittsburgh law-enforcement slayings: "Those crazies in Montana who say, 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the UN's going to take over' -- well, they're beginning to have a case."

And it's not just Fox News. Radio nut Michael Savage recently claimed that "we have a naked Marxist for president." And high-profile conservative blogger Erick Erickson contemplated the beating of politicians: "At what point do [people] get off the couch, march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?"

Of course, the right-wingers at Free Republic are way ahead of Erickson as they fantasize about Obama's assassination: "And let's face it: all the speculation about Obama being the actual Antichrist will either be confirmed or denied if someone gets off a lucky shot at the SOB."

"Go Kill Liberals!"

I wonder if Glenn Beck knows who Jim Adkisson is. Adkisson made headlines on July 28, 2008, when he brought his sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, and, after whipping it out of a guitar case, opened fire on parishioners while a group of schoolchildren performed songs up by the altar. Adkisson killed two people and wounded several others.

Adkisson, a 58-year-old unemployed truck driver, brought 70 shotgun shells with him to the church and assumed he'd keep killing until the police arrived on the scene and shot him dead as well. Instead, some members of the congregation were able to wrestle him to the ground and hold him for police.

When investigators went to Adkisson's home in search of a motive, as well as evidence for the pending trial, they found copies of Savage's Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, Let Freedom Ring by Sean Hannity, and The O'Reilly Factor, by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. They also came across what was supposed to have been Adkisson's suicide note: a handwritten, four-page manifesto explaining his murderous actions. The one-word answer for his deed? Hate. The three-word answer? He hated liberals.

The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I'd like to encourage other like minded people to do what I've done. If life aint worth living anymore don't just Kill yourself. Do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals!

What Adkisson especially hated about liberals ("this cancer, this pestilence") and what he hated about candidate "Osama Hussein Obama" was that they were marching America toward ruin: "Liberals are evil, they embrace the tenets of Karl Marx, they're Marxist, socialist, communists." Adkisson seethed over the way liberals were "trying to turn this country into a communist state" and couldn't comprehend why they would "embrace Marxism."

Sound familiar, Glenn?

John Bohstedt was one of the Unitarian church members who tackled Adkisson after the first round of gunfire went off inside the sanctuary. Two months ago, Adkisson pleaded guilty to the murder charges and was sentenced to life in prison. At the hearing, Bohstedt told the Associated Press he didn't think the killer had been insane, but rather had been manipulated by anti-liberal rhetoric.

"There are a lot of people who hate liberals, and if we stir that around in the pot and on the airwaves, eventually there will be people (like Adkisson) ... who get infected by the violent rhetoric and put it into violent action," Bohstedt said.

He remained worried about future violence: "Do you think there are other Jim Adkissons out there listening to hate speech? I do."

Me too.

© 2009 Media Matters for America.
All rights reserved.

[Note: I thought I'd start this thread as a sticky and allow the daily stories and the discussions surrounding them to build, also I thought it would cut down on the need to make a thread for ever issue that comes up. Feel free to post the stories that matter to you or that you think other blades should be informed about. I start with the article above.]
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Posted 10 April 2009 - 07:59 AM

[ame="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/30145811#30145811"]msnbc.com Video Player[/ame]

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 08:10 AM

Obama to seek $83.4 billion for Iraq, Afghanistan wars as costs near $1 trillion
AP News
Apr 09, 2009 13:56 EST
President Barack Obama is seeking $83.4 billion for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for a war supplemental spending bill like the ones he repeatedly voted against when he was senator and George W. Bush was president.

Obama's request would push the costs of the two wars to almost $1 trillion since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to the Congressional Research Service. The additional money would cover operations into the fall.
Budget office spokesman Tom Gavin said the White House will send an official request to Congress Thursday afternoon. Congressional aides briefed on the request revealed its overall cost on condition of anonymity since the briefing was private.
Obama was a harsh critic of the Iraq war as a candidate, a stance that attracted support from the Democratic Party's liberal base and helped him secure his party's nomination. He opposed a war spending bill in 2007 after Bush used a veto to force Congress to remove a withdrawal timeline from the $99 billion measure.
The upcoming request will include $75.5 billion for the military and more than $7 billion in foreign aid.
Obama announced plans in February to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq on a 19-month timetable.
Obama's request would push the amount approved for 2009 to about $150 billion, a drop from the $171 billion cost incurred in 2007 and the $188 billion approved for 2008, when Bush increased the tempo of military operations in a generally successful effort to quell the Iraq insurgency.

Source: AP News

AP Newsbreak: Obama looks at climate engineering
Apr 8 11:55 AM US/Eastern
AP Science Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The president's new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth's air.

John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a last resort.

"It's got to be looked at," he said. "We don't have the luxury of taking any approach off the table."

Holdren outlined several "tipping points" involving global warming that could be fast approaching. Once such milestones are reached, such as complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic, it increases chances of "really intolerable consequences," he said.

Twice in a half-hour interview, Holdren compared global warming to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."

At first, Holdren characterized the potential need to technologically tinker with the climate as just his personal view. However, he went on to say he has raised it in administration discussions.

Holdren, a 65-year-old physicist, is far from alone in taking geoengineering more seriously. The National Academy of Science is making climate tinkering the subject of its first workshop in its new multidiscipline climate challenges program. The British parliament has also discussed the idea.

The American Meteorological Society is crafting a policy statement on geoengineering that says "it is prudent to consider geoengineering's potential, to understand its limits and to avoid rash deployment."

Last week, Princeton scientist Robert Socolow told the National Academy that geoengineering should be an available option in case climate worsens dramatically.

But Holdren noted that shooting particles into the air—making an artificial volcano as one Nobel laureate has suggested—could have grave side effects and would not completely solve all the problems from soaring greenhouse gas emissions. So such actions could not be taken lightly, he said.

Still, "we might get desperate enough to want to use it," he added.

Another geoengineering option he mentioned was the use of so-called artificial trees to suck carbon dioxide—the chief human-caused greenhouse gas—out of the air and store it. At first that seemed prohibitively expensive, but a re-examination of the approach shows it might be less costly, he said.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Edited by Salvial, 10 April 2009 - 08:12 AM.

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 01:38 PM

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Yo ho ho ho and a bottle of Chteau Lafite Rothschild

The venture capitalist; if you ask a Republican they will tell you that this is a forward thinking individual that provides capital for a risky new venture that holds great promise for society. (a compassionate conservative funding the cure for disease for example) While they sometimes actually do this, most new ventures in the past were things like the dot-com bubble.

What they have been doing the past eight years with current tax laws and total lack of regulation is become nothing less than pirates, plundering and looting across the corporate seas. They take a relatively modest investment and match it with 10 to 1 financing and go out and acquire controlling interest in a business. Then they sell off any marketable assets that the company holds and borrow money against what they can’t sell. Then spin off the remaining shell with the entire debt load (including the original loan that they are now no longer responsible for) and take the entire profit as capital gains which are then taxed at a maximum of 15%. The Republicans keep insisting that the capital gains tax rate be reduced to zero to "stimulate business". In the old days (when we were a prosperous nation) short term capital gains were taxed at 66%.

You might think that a bank wouldn’t want to loan money for this purpose since the debt ends up attached to a company that will almost certainly fail in the long term. The trick to that is the loan gets shredded up and mixed with all sorts of other debt and sold as securities. It’s even considered high grade debt at the time because it’s attached to a long standing corporation with an excellent credit rating; of course now it’s called a toxic asset.

This simple, risk free process has made a lot of rich Republicans into billionaires; in the old days the pirates would have been hunted down by the Navy and hanged from the yardarm. Prairie2 News


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Posted 10 April 2009 - 02:22 PM

Richard Poplawski put on a bulletproof vest, grabbed his guns, including an AK-47 rifle, and waited for the police to respond to the domestic disturbance call his mother had placed. When two officers arrived at the front door, Poplawski shot them both in the head, and then killed another officer who tried to rescue his colleagues.

YOU FORGOT TO MENTION THAT HE WAS A WHITE-SUPREMIST,,,AND POSTED ON '' STORMFRONT''.. a racist website,,, full of nut's like him,?

..just look at the big tatoo this guy had on his chest,,,

the way this guy went down is the way these people go '' out'' fighting,,,

,, it had nothing to do with what he may have heard a fox. news anchor say..


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Posted 10 April 2009 - 03:00 PM

YOU FORGOT TO MENTION THAT HE WAS A WHITE-SUPREMIST,,,AND POSTED ON '' STORMFRONT''.. a racist website,,, full of nut's like him,?

..just look at the big tatoo this guy had on his chest,,,

the way this guy went down is the way these people go '' out'' fighting,,,

,, it had nothing to do with what he may have heard a fox. news anchor say..


He posted a blog from Media Matters... a self-proclaimed ANTI CONSERVATIVE news outlet. This thread is going to go to shit if we use it as a soap box for personal political agendas, which in AK's case is to serve as the valiant defender of the Obama administration and to minimize the argument of opposition.

If the rule of this thread is to post only news, and no comments, then I think we should encourage as objective a source as possible. Leave your propaganda for the discussion threads.

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 03:59 PM

My Way News - Pirates recapture US hostage after escape attempt

Pirates recapture US hostage after escape attempt
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Apr 10, 10:49 AM (ET)

Posted Image(AP) Chart shows number of pirate attacks near Somalia since
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p {margin:12px 0px 0px 0px;} NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - The American captain held hostage by four Somali pirates made a desperate escape attempt Friday but was recaptured, and officials said other pirates sought to reinforce their colleagues by sailing hijacked ships with other captives aboard to the scene of the standoff.
A Somali in contact with a pirate leader said the captors want a ransom and are ready to kill the hostage, Capt. Richard Phillips, if attacked.
The U.S. was bolstering its force by dispatching other warships to the site off the Horn of Africa, where a U.S. destroyer shadowed the drifting lifeboat carrying Phillips. He was taken hostage in the pirates' failed effort to hijack the cargo ship Maersk Alabama on Wednesday.
The pirates' strategy is to link up with their colleagues, who are holding Russian, German, Filipino and other hostages, and get Phillips to lawless Somalia, where they could hide the hostage and make it difficult to stage a rescue. It would give them more leverage and a stronger negotiating position to discuss a ransom. Anchoring near shore also means they could escape onto land quickly if attacked.
The Somali, who helped negotiate a ransom last year to pirates after they seized a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks, spoke Friday on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. He says he has spoken with a pirate leader in Somalia who is coordinating action on the lifeboat.
Around midnight local time, Phillips jumped off the lifeboat and began swimming, but was recaptured, according to Defense Department officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about unfolding operations.
Sailors on the USS Bainbridge, which is patrolling nearby, were able to see Phillips moving around and talking after his return to the lifeboat, and the Defense Department officials think he is unharmed.
Negotiations are taking place between the pirates and the captain of the Bainbridge, who is getting direction from FBI hostage negotiators, the officials said. The captors are also communicating with other pirate vessels by satellite phone, officials said.
U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus said U.S. warships also are headed to the area, more than 300 miles off Somalia's Indian Ocean coast.
"We want to ensure that we have all the capability that might be needed over the course of the coming days," he said.
Mohamed Samaw, a resident of the pirate stronghold in Eyl, Somalia, who claims to have a "share" in a British-owned ship hijacked Monday, said four foreign vessels held by pirates are heading toward the lifeboat. A total of 54 hostages are on two of the ships - citizens of China, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, the Philippines, Tuvalu, Indonesia and Taiwan.
"The pirates have summoned assistance - skiffs and mother ships are heading towards the area from the coast," said a Nairobi-based diplomat, who spoke on condition on anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media. "We knew they were gathering yesterday."
Samaw said two ships left Eyl on Wednesday. A third sailed from Haradhere, another pirate base in Somalia, and the fourth was a Taiwanese fishing vessel seized Monday that was already only 30 miles from the lifeboat.
He said the ships include the German cargo ship Hansa Stavanger, seized earlier this month. The ship's crew of 24 is made up of five Germans, three Russians, two Ukrainians, two Filipinos and 12 from Tuvalu.
Posted Image(AP) Tthe MV Ibn Batouta anchors outside the port of Mogadishu, Somalia on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008. The...
Full Image
Another man identified as a pirate by three different residents of Haradhere also said the captured German ship had been sent.
"They had asked us for reinforcement, and we have already sent a good number of well-equipped colleagues, who were holding a German cargo ship," said the man, who asked that only his first name, Badow, be used to protect him from reprisals.
"We are not intending to harm the captain, so that we hope our colleagues would not be harmed as long as they hold him," Badow said. "All we need, first, is a safe route to escape with the captain, and then (negotiate) ransom later."
Jack Cloonan, a former FBI agent whose Virginia-based firm Clayton Consultants Inc. handles hostage negotiations, told The Associated Press that the presence of other hijacked vessels in the area "could complicate the negotiation strategy under way."
Negotiators are sure that various pirate groups are in contact, he said.
"We know for certain that they share information. We know they talk to each other. They're not stupid. They can be very smart," Cloonan said.
Phillips, 53, thwarted the takeover of the 17,000-ton U.S.-flagged Alabama by telling his crew of about 20 to lock themselves in a room, the crew told stateside relatives.
The crew later overpowered some of the pirates but Phillips surrendered himself to the bandits to safeguard his men, and the Somalis fled with him to an enclosed lifeboat, the relatives said.
Capt. James Staples, a classmate of Phillips at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, said he was not surprised by the escape attempt.
"That just shows me that Richie's still ... strong, he's thinking, he's alert," Staples said. "He's going to take every opportunity he can to, to make the situation a lot better for himself and probably get home as quick as he can."
At Phillips' home in Underhill, Vt., family members nervously awaited word on his fate. Sister-in-law Lea Coggio said Thursday a representative of Maersk called to let Phillips' wife know that food and water had been delivered to the lifeboat.
"I think he's coping, knowing Richard," she said. "He's a smart guy, and he's in control. "
Officials at Maersk Line Ltd. offices in Norfolk, Va., did not respond to repeated messages seeking comment Friday.
The Alabama sailed away from the lifeboat Thursday, Maersk shipping line said, and a team of armed Navy SEALs is on board, according to a U.S. official who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.
It was sailing toward the Kenyan port of Mombasa - its original destination - and was expected to arrive Saturday night, said Joseph Murphy, a professor at the maritime academy whose son, Shane Murphy, is second-in-command of the vessel.
Company spokesman Kevin Speers told AP Radio on Thursday the lifeboat carrying Phillips and the pirates was out of fuel and "dead in the water."
Most of the lifeboats are about 28 feet long and carry water and food for 34 people for 10 days, Joseph Murphy said.
The lifeboats are covered and Murphy, speaking after a briefing by the shipping company, said he suspects the pirates have closed the ports to avoid sniper fire.
Petraeus said the other warships would arrive shortly. U.S. officials said the guided-missile frigate USS Halyburton was among them.
The show of force follows an increase in the number of attacks and the first on a U.S.-flagged ship. The vessels strengthen surveillance of the area and may dissuade pirates from seizing another ship, but there are not enough for a blockade in the danger zone that sprawls across 1.1 million square miles, said a senior U.S. defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss operational matters.
The Alabama was the sixth vessel in a week to be hit by pirates who have extorted tens of millions of dollars in ransoms.
President Barack Obama is getting regular updates on the situation, said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the United States will take whatever steps are needed to protect U.S. shipping interests against pirates.
Steve Romano, a retired head of the FBI hostage negotiation team, said he doesn't recall the FBI ever negotiating with pirates before, but he said this situation is similar to other standoffs. Although pirates release most of their hostages unharmed, the difficulty will be negotiating with people who clearly have no way out, he said.
"There's always a potential for tragedy here, and when people feel their options are limited, they sometimes react in more unpredictable and violent ways," Romano said.

Edited by Deutschbag, 10 April 2009 - 04:00 PM.

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 06:37 PM

He posted a blog from Media Matters... a self-proclaimed ANTI CONSERVATIVE news outlet. This thread is going to go to shit if we use it as a soap box for personal political agendas, which in AK's case is to serve as the valiant defender of the Obama administration and to minimize the argument of opposition.

If the rule of this thread is to post only news, and no comments, then I think we should encourage as objective a source as possible. Leave your propaganda for the discussion threads.

You have a point, I should have broadened the scope a bit, but please feel free to post what you think is relevant to the City, we aren't objective newsies here nor is most news, but let's go with huh?

Post as you blades see fit. :)

Edited by AK Infinity, 10 April 2009 - 06:56 PM.

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 07:48 PM

I don't see how people hate liberals? :confused_2:

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 06:18 PM

I don't see how people hate liberals? :confused_2:

I don't see how people hate period

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 07:12 PM

Friday, April 10, 2009

Potatoes for everybody!

The New Jobless Claims Report dipped slightly this week but the total number of people continuing to receive benefits set another new record. This means that the jobs continue to disappear and not just to out-sourcing; imports are down; the economy is just falling in on itself. A European company just canceled an 80 million dollar windmill plant scheduled for construction in the US this year. This adds to a long list of similar cancellations and this should be no surprise, since we have no way to pay them. We, can’t print our own Euros.

We have an economy that is based on giving each other haircuts and minimum wage jobs selling Chinese goods we can’t pay for. The morning infotainment shows are running segments on people digging up their front yards to plant gardens. While this is good thing, it illustrates the "every man for himself" situation we find ourselves in. We were told that if we got rid of the small family farms we could feed the world. Corporate agribusiness is only capable of producing pesticide-laden corn and meat marinated in antibiotics. Increasingly even this comes from China where they can use drugs that are banned here and more and more Americans can’t even afford that.

We are increasingly becoming like the Irish of the 1840’s who had to try to grow food on the little plot around their huts while the powerful few at the top controlled the land and everything else for their own enrichment. We need to emigrate to America for a better life.... Wait, we’ve got a problem.

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 07:34 AM

Drilling Ban Revisited

Facing gas prices near $4 a gallon and a pivotal national election, congressional Democrats allowed a ban on offshore drilling to lapse in September

But times change, and on Tuesday, the Obama administration - with gas prices roughly half what they were and many Democrats' having been swept into office - blocked offshore drilling plans put in place at the last minute by the Bush administration, including plans to open the national outer continental shelf for drilling.

Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar also announced last week that his agency would block drilling on public lands in Utah, criticizing the Bush administration for releasing its offshore drilling plan just days before leaving office.

"It was a headlong rush of the worst kind," he said. "It was a process rigged to force hurried decisions based on bad information. It was a process tilted toward the usual energy players while renewable energy companies and the interests of American consumers and taxpayers were overlooked."

Mr. Salazar said he plans to hold four meetings nationwide as he considers how to rewrite the nation's five-year offshore drilling plan and has extended the public-comment period six months, pushing any action well into the fall.

A former Bush administration staffer said the extended review process needlessly drags out an already thorough process.

"Given the domestic-supply challenges we face, it's hard to imagine what more can be accomplished by extending the comment period," said Michael D. Olsen, a former Interior Department staffer now working with the Bracewell & Giuliani law firm.

Offshore oil exploration and drilling became a tough topic for Democrats during the 2008 elections, as gas prices topped $4 a gallon and public opinion polls showed broad support for expanded domestic oil production - a prospect opposed by many environmental groups at the core of their base.

The congressional moratorium, which had been in place since 1982, lapsed just months after President Bush lifted an executive order banning offshore drilling.

Mr. Salazar also chastised the Bush administration's snubbing of offshore wind farms, saying that offshore renewable energy sources would be included in the Obama administration's new energy plans.

"For them, it was oil and gas or nothing," he said of the Bush administration.

President Obama has said that he supports domestic oil exploration and production as part of a larger plan to break the nation's dependence on foreign oil, but oil companies and Republican leaders have been skittish since he took office.

Environmental groups said that they were encouraged by Mr. Salazar's announcement but that offshore drilling should be banned outright.

"Without a new moratorium, our coasts and oceans will be more vulnerable to oil damage than they have been since the Exxon Valdez spill," said Jacqueline Savitz, senior campaign director for Oceana, a nonprofit that tracks the health of the oceans. "Saying 'no' to offshore drilling is the only way to keep sensitive ocean and coastal areas from becoming oiled industrial zones, and to put a lid on climate change by reducing our use of fossil fuels."

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 08:27 PM

April 13, 2009

U.S. Captain Held by Pirates Is Rescued


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U.S. Navy, via Reuters

The captain of an American cargo ship held hostage by armed Somali pirates was rescued on Sunday by United States Navy personnel, who killed three his captors, government and shipping officials said.

Richard Phillips, 53, had been held for more than four days by the pirates.

“This is truly a very happy Easter for the Phillips family,” said Alison McColl, an official with the ship’s owner, Maersk Line, Limited, who has been representing Captain Phillips’ family. “They are all just so happy and relieved.”

Maersk was told at 1:30 p.m. Sunday that Captain Phillips had been rescued, the company said in a statement. “John Reinhart, President and Chief Executive Officer of Maersk Line, Limited, called Captain Phillips’ wife, Andrea, to tell her the good news,” the statement continued. “The crew of the Maersk Alabama was jubilant when they received word.”

Captain Phillips was rescued and placed aboard the United States Navy destroyer Bainbridge, CNN reported. He was then flown by helicopter to another Navy ship, and has contacted his family and received a routine medical examination.

“Maersk Line, Limited is deeply grateful to the Navy, the F.B.I. and so many others for their tireless efforts to secure Richard’s freedom,” the company said.”

Only three pirates were in the motorized lifeboat where Mr. Phillips was being held because one had surrendered early this morning, according to a Kenyan maritime official who had been monitoring the situation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Mr. Phillips was being held in a covered part at the back of the lifeboat, the official said, and one pirate typically stayed with him under cover. The lifeboat had gotten as close as 20 miles to shore, drifting after running out of fuel, off Gara’ad, Somalia.

On Saturday night, the Navy fired warning shots at the lifeboat, followed by a brief exchange of fire, the official said. Hours afterward, one pirate who was either injured or scared jumped off the boat and surrendered to Navy personnel, the Kenyan official said.

Around 7 p.m. Somali time, just after dark, U.S. Navy personnel opened fire, killing all three pirates, the official said.

The Justice Department will be reviewing evidence to decide whether charges will be brought against the surviving pirate, a Justice Department official told CNN.

In Underhill, Vt., Captain Phillips’ hometown, Ms. McColl said that Andrea Phillips had talked on the phone with her husband since his rescue.

Minutes before Ms. McColl made her statement, a car pulled up to the house and three youngsters jumped out and ran into the house in jubilation.

Mr. Reinhart, Maersk’s president, will hold a media briefing in Norfolk, Va., later on Sunday.

The pirates — demanding $2 million in ransom — seized Mr. Phillips on Wednesday and escaped the cargo ship in a motorized lifeboat.

A standoff between the pirates and the United States Navy then ensued until Saturday when negotiations between American officials and the pirates broke down, according to Somali officials, after the Americans insisted that the pirates be arrested and a group of elders representing the pirates refused.

The negotiations broke down hours after the pirates fired on a small United States Navy vessel that had tried to approach the lifeboat not long after sunrise Saturday in the Indian Ocean.

The cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama, a 17,000-ton cargo vessel, pulled into port at 8:30 Saturday evening in Mombasa, Kenya, with its 19 remaining American crew members.

When the crew members heard that their captain had been freed, they placed an American flag over the rail of the top of the ship. They whistled and pumped their fists in the air, The Associated Press reported.

In Somalia, Abdirahman Muhammad Faroole, president of the Puntland region, where some of the pirates were thought to be from, said that on Sunday afternoon, American officials whom he’d been talking to throughout the crisis abruptly told him to stop pursuing negotiations with tribal elders affiliated with the pirates. Mr. Faroole was told the Americans “had another action,” and said it was no longer necessary for him to work with the elders, he said.

More than 250 hostages are being held by various Somalian pirate groups, including the 16 crew members of an Italian tugboat captured on Saturday.

One pirate named Ali, in Galkaiyo, Somalia, said the American Navy rescue won’t discourage other Somali pirate groups at all.

“As long as there is no just government in Somalia, we will still be the coast guard,” he said, adding: “If we get an American, we will take revenge.”

Reporting was contributed by Serge F. Kovaleski from Underhill, Vt.; Mark Mazzetti from Washington; and employees of The New York Times from Somalia.

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 09:24 PM

Fine work by our Navy.

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 08:55 PM

I thought this was interesting.

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New Progressive America

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 05:21 AM

Marry a Farmer

Marry a Farmer
Sure, commodities prices go down in the long term—but in the long term, we're all dead.
By Rana Foroohar | NEWSWEEK
Published Apr 11, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Apr 20, 2009

Jim Rogers, the legendary American investor, financial commentator and, along with George Soros, founder of the Quantum Fund, is the ultimate commodities bull. More than 10 years ago, he started the Rogers International Commodities Index, and in 2005 he wrote "Hot Commodities: How Anyone Can Invest Profitably in the World's Best Market." Below, he explains to NEWSWEEK's Rana Foroohar why oil is still black gold.

Foroohar: Inflation-adjusted, oil is the same price that it was in 1976, and in 1870. So why are you still a bull?

Rogers: It doesn't matter. It's also true that just about any stock you can think about is at or below where it was in the 1970s right now. So what? There are still 15- to 20-year periods when commodities, stocks and any other asset class goes up a great deal. In 1987 stocks collapsed by 40 to 80 percent. But people who were smart enough to stay in them made 1,000 percent returns in the next decade. The point is to take advantage of those periods and make some money.

What's the fundamental case for commodities right now?

Supply is declining. There's been 35 years of low investment in production capacity. The last lead smelter in the U.S. was built in 1969! There's been no major oilfield discovery in 40 years. Oil is in decline. According to the International Energy Agency, oil reserves are declining significantly. At this rate, in 20 years, there will be no oil left. The only people to make money in the next 20 years will make it in commodities. It's the only asset class where the fundamentals are improving. I mean, look at Citigroup, look at GM. Those fundamentals are not improving.

Do you see commodities as an inflation hedge?

Absolutely. This is only time in history where you've got every central bank in the world printing money at the same time. Consumer prices are going to go way up. The public is already getting out of paper money, which is why you're seeing gold go up.

Does the future growth of China factor into your bullishness?

China is tiny in comparison to the U.S. economy. Anyone who thinks that the commodities story is driven by China needs to do more homework. In the 1970s, everyone was in recession, and you still had declining supply [in oil] and higher prices. Asia wasn't even in the game then. China was run by Mao. But now, of course, there are those 3 billion people in Asia who are in the game. It's just another factor.

Are we going to see another food-price spike sometime soon?

Definitely. I think you should move back to Indiana and marry a farmer. There are times in history when the money lenders have been in charge, and we just came through one of those periods. But it wasn't always that way. Wall Street was a backwater in the '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s, and it will be again. Farmers are going to be the ones driving Lamborghinis, and the traders are going to have to learn to drive tractors.

What about technological advances? Another green revolution could easily drive prices down …

Sure, there's always something that will end a bull market. But if you think we're anywhere near that point now, think again. Even if everyone in the world decided to put a windmill on their head, it's going to take decades for that to really change things. In the meantime, you've got to put your money somewhere. And as we're already seeing, even the value of cash can be wiped out.

I guess that's one reason the Chinese are so worried …

Well, if I were running the Chinese central bank, I'd buy oil, wheat and zinc. Which is what folks there are already doing.

How about you? Are you upping your own commodities positions right now?

As a matter of fact, I am. I never sold anything to begin with. And I'm not planning to, either.

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 02:52 PM

Monday, April 13, 2009

Plant your bubble garden

Two different versions of reality are circulating in the mainstream media. One version is the "news" dutifully read on air from press releases put out by the large banks. From what is being read from the TelePrompTers you would think that there wasn’t any problem with the banks and after the slight hiccup in the economy they are making billions again and ready for business as usual.

The other version is coming out in drips and drabs in the print media. People who attended White House meetings with bankers say that the encounters have been heated with Banking Regulators in favor wholesale firings and a crack down on executive pay. The bankers want to continue collecting billions in salary and perks from banks that are losing, well, billions, and not just investors money (that’s long gone) but now taxpayer money as well.

The bankers contend that they are solvent but to make that claim they are valuing their toxic assets at 91% of original value. Nobody will give them anything like that and never will, but when your weekly salary is measured in millions you must be smarter than everybody else. Right? (yeah right) They are really operating like any other chronic gambler who is sure that if they just keep going back to the table they will win it all back. Of course they aren’t gambling with their money; it’s our farm they are betting on an inside straight; they win no matter how much we lose.

But that’s the "free market", right? How dare Obama and a bunch of bureaucrats at the Treasury Dept. interfere in the "free market". Just keep printing the money and handing it to them and everything will be all right. Just keep repeating: everything will be all right, we just need to keep printing money, printing money, printing, printing....

The bankers are creating the public illusion that the "free market" is working everything out and the Government is putting undo burdens on them. This may make it difficult for Obama to convince Congress to authorize further action. If they prevail and are able to just go back to business as usual, then what we will get is another bubble. This one won’t take long to run its course and when it bursts things really will get bad. Everybody should follow the President’s example and plant a garden.

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 04:34 PM

Gov. Perry Backs Resolution Affirming Texas’ Sovereignty Under 10th Amendment

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today joined state Rep. Brandon Creighton and sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 50 in support of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state,” Gov. Perry said. “That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.”

A number of recent federal proposals are not within the scope of the federal government’s constitutionally designated powers and impede the states’ right to govern themselves. HCR 50 affirms that Texas claims sovereignty under the 10th Amendment over all powers not otherwise granted to the federal government.

It also designates that all compulsory federal legislation that requires states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties, or that requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding, be prohibited or repealed.

HCR 50 is authored by Representatives Brandon Creighton, Leo Berman, Bryan Hughes, Dan Gattis and Ryan Guillen.

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 08:55 PM

Ron Paul's response to Obama's economic speech today. Ron Paul just lays out the facts about how we are becoming economically fascist and are just creating inflation.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TS7Jf6XBjQ&eurl]YouTube - ron paul: barack obama is "preaching inflation...economic fascism"[/ame]

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 09:49 PM

Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment (PDF)

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-wJNpWgss8"]YouTube - Patsy Cline - Crazy[/ame]

Edited by AK Infinity, 14 April 2009 - 09:58 PM.

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