AMERICA 4

AMERICAN POLICE CHIEFS RESIGNING EN MASSE

us cop 1. Gaithersburg, MD Gaithersburg Police Chief John King resigned with little explanation last week, leaving his colleagues and community members wondering what happened.

2. Guttenberg, IA Police Chief Resigns After Seven Months on the Job, no reason

3. Harrisburg, PA - Richard Pickles retires after serving a month as Harrisburg police chief

4. Culpeper, VA When Scott Barlow announced two weeks ago he would step down from his job as chief of police with the town of Culpeper, it caught a lot of people off guard, including us.

5. Carbondale, IL - Police Chief Resigns, no reason given

6. Austin, MN - Several Austin City Council members said they were "shocked" by Austin Police Chief Paul Philipp's resignation Tuesday morning.

7. Jonesboro, GA - The City of Jonesboro's new police chief has resigned, five weeks after being named to the top job.

8. Manassas, VA - found this quote: "I hope the Chief enjoys his retirement. Between his service in the Secret Service, Fairfax and Manassas, he's earned it."

9. West Covina, CA - Tolich, a 21-year veteran of the force, retired nine years before he was eligible for full retirement benefits, Finance Director Thomas Bachman said.

In an email Tolich sent to members of the department, he tells fellow officers that a personal matter involving him and his family led to the sudden departure.

These were either benign stories or little info given.
(Bearing in mind that a seasoned cop could probably make a pretty believable alibi for leaving.)

POLICE CHIEFS RESIGNING:

10. Oroville, CA

11. Burlington City, PA

12. Bellmead, TX

13. Bridgeport, WV

14. Gaston, ID

15. Meigs, GA

16. Independence, LA

17. Miami, FL

18. Britt, IA

19. Nickerson, KS

20. New Holland, PA

21. Navarre, OH

22. Glocester, RI

23. Lithonia, GA

24. Harrison, NY

25. Huntsville, AL

26. Moose Lake, MN

27. Boxborough, MA

28. Sutton, WV

29. Itta Bena, MS

30. St. Cloud, FL

31. Menomonie, WI

32. Fanwood, NJ

33. Morton's Gap, KY

34. New Haven, CT

35. Guttenberg, IA

36. South Amboy, NJ

37. Santa Cruz, CA

38. Bakersfield, CA

39. South Pasadena, CA

40. Tulsa, OK

41. Hastings, MN

42. Stamford, CT

43. Dallas, TX

44. Somerville, MA

45. Greensboro, NC

46. Avon, CO

47. Benton, IL

48. Nogales, AZ

49. West Tisbury, MA

50. Gainesville, GA

51. Anniston, AL

52. West Richland, WA

53. Watford City, ND

54. Ponce Inlet, FL

55. Clearwater, FL

56. Monmouth, ME

57. Brookfield, IL

58. Ludowici, GA

59. Orland, CA

60. Springfield, NJ

61. Holt, MO

62. Brookneal, VA

63. Chesterton, IN

64. Edina, MN

65. Birmingham, MI

66. Montebello, CA

67. Vonore, TN

68. Ventnor, NJ

69. New Hartford, NY

70. Kennedy, AL


The following major cities
had Police Chief turnover in 2009.

Seattle

Atlanta

Los Angeles

Miami

San Francisco

Dallas

  • MORE ON COP ABUSE HERE
  • BUSH, CHENEY AND THE GREAT ESCAPE

    bush lies With each passing day, it becomes more and more astonishing to encompass the fact that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their henchmen from the prior administration have managed thus far to escape any accounting whatsoever for the massive battery of criminal activity committed during their time in office.

    More than a year has passed since these men had their hands on the levers of power, and evidence of their myriad crimes and frauds is laying all over the countryside, yet nothing has come of it. The British government has been running a wide-ranging inquiry into the manner in which the UK and United States were led to war in Iraq by then-President Bush and then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. An astonishing amount of damning evidence and information has been uncovered and publicly aired, including the following statements delivered by a senior member of Parliament (MP) on Tuesday:

    A senior Welsh MP said last night he knew "for certain" Tony Blair and George Bush struck a deal to invade Iraq at their notorious Crawford Ranch meeting in 2002 - a year before war was declared. Elfyn Llwyd, Plaid Cymru's parliamentary leader, said he had seen a confidential memo to that effect, although he would not divulge its exact contents. Critics of the military action in Iraq have long suspected Mr Blair and President Bush came to an agreement at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas in April 2002, a claim Mr Blair denied in evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry last week. Mr Llwyd said he had offered to give evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry himself, in private if necessary. The Meirionnydd Nant Conwy MP said: "I think other things should have been pursued [at the inquiry], in particular the detailed conversation at the ranch in Crawford in April 2002. I do know that the deal was struck, I know for certain it was struck at that stage so just to pretend months down the road that no deal had been struck I think is unforgivable. I have offered to give evidence and Chilcot has said 'I'll come back to you'. At that stage I will have private discussions with him."

    MP Llwyd refers here to the infamous Downing Street Memos, a collection of British government documents that lay out George W. Bush's intent to invade and occupy Iraq whether or not there was any WMD/terrorism evidence to support the action, documents that further demonstrate Prime Minister Tony Blair's willing acquiescence to the plan. Most damning of all is the secret memo dated 23 July 2002, explaining that war in Iraq was coming, and if the facts did not support the action, those facts would be twisted and buried. "There was a perceptible shift in attitude," read the memo [emphasis added]. "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action." These documents, along with testimony from the likes of MP Llwyd, offer a vivid portrait of a Bush administration far gone in the pursuit of its own militant plans, and more than willing to break laws and deceive the public to achieve the ends they sought. It was a nest of criminals that occupied the White House for those eight long years, proof of this continues to pile up in vast drifts, and nothing comes of it. Quite the contrary, in fact. A recent report from the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility slapped a big fat "Not Guilty" stamp on the jackets of John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the two central authors of the notorious "torture memos" that argued the legal justifications for the use of torture by the Bush administration. Worse, it appears Obama's DOJ went out of the way to make sure Bybee and Yoo escaped free and clear from any censure for their despicable activities. According to a recent Newsweek report:

    An upcoming Justice Department report from its ethics-watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), clears the Bush administration lawyers who authored the "torture" memos of professional-misconduct allegations. While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other "enhanced" interrogation techniques, NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors - Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor - violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed "poor judgment," say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action - which, in Bybee's case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.

    The truth of the matter is plain enough. Yoo and Bybee are not going to turn themselves in. Neither are any of the other actors in this gruesome play. If any measure of justice is going to be achieved, it will fall upon Congress, President Obama and his Department of Justice to get it done. Subpoenas must be issued, evidence gathered and testimony heard for the truth to be brought forth and for punishment to be meted out. But this DOJ cannot even accept the judgment of its own OPR on two comparatively minor foot soldiers of the Bush administration without sanding down the conclusions enough to spare Yoo and Bybee the punishment they so richly deserve. Is there any hope at all that the larger players in the Bush-era criminal activities - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, Perle, Feith and Wolfowitz most prominently - will be brought to justice when those two lesser lights are allowed to return to a law school classroom and a seat on the federal bench? Disgraceful as it is to say, don't hold your breath.

    Speaking of evidence, there is this: a bomb in Karbala exploded on Wednesday, killing and wounding dozens of Shiite pilgrims. Another bomb in Karbala was attached to a military vehicle and killed and wounded dozens on Wednesday. Another bomb killed and wounded several other pilgrims outside Baghdad on Wednesday. Gunmen shot and killed a police officer in Kirkuk on Wednesday. The day before, a suicide bomber killed 54 and wounded dozens more in the outskirts of Baghdad. As of Wednesday, almost 5,000 US soldiers had been killed in Iraq, and nearly 50,000 more have been wounded. More than a million Iraqi civilians have likewise been killed and wounded. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz, Rice, and a dozen other members of the Bush administration, including Yoo and Bybee, are directly responsible for this carnage. They lied through their teeth and broke any number of laws to see it done. They are guilty of much more than the war crimes they committed in both Iraq and the United States. They are guilty of bankrupting this nation with two wars begun on false pretenses and perpetuated to enrich the few, while further cementing the stranglehold "defense spending" has on our growth as a civilized nation. Thanks in no small part to the Iraq debacle, there is no political impetus to lay a finger on the wildly bloated "defense" budget, even as the fabric of our society shreds and shatters under the economic yoke placed upon our necks by the previous administration. Ours is a government staffed from stem to stern with political cowards who refuse to heal these wounds, and with those who are just as culpable as those members of the Bush administration (read: members of Congress who voted to support each and every criminal act that led us to this place).

    Justice? When it comes to the Bush administration, the word has no meaning. They have escaped that justice, and we are all less free because of it.

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  • OREGON MAN DIES AFTER SETTING HIMSELF ON FIRE OUTSIDE FUR STORE

    manonfire PORTLAND, Ore. - A man set himself on fire after pouring gasoline on himself outside Nicholas Ungar Furs at 12th and Yamhill Wednesday morning before police used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. He later died from his injuries at the hospital, police said.

    The man was identified as 26-year-old Daniel Shaull from Kansas, according to the Multnomah County medical examiner. It was not immediately clear whether Shaull was protesting against the store, which has had problem with animal rights activists in the past, but witnesses said he was screaming about the treatment of animals. “There are animals dying! Animals dying!” witnesses said Shaull was screaming as flames engulfed his body and shot above his head.

    “He tried to run into the building,” said witness Mike Cheema who owns a food cart a few feet from where the incident occurred. “The door was locked. He couldn’t get in. He came right out screaming, ‘the world is ending, animals dying!’” “I looked over … flames, burning. I thought he was crazy,” said another witness L.C. “It was traumatizing. It was horrible.” “I saw a guy that was running around with his arms waving, and he was completely on fire,” said Julie Sies who was walking to a dentist appointment at the time. “He was just screaming and asking for help.”

    Witnesses gave different accounts of the path Shaull took while he was on fire. The fire blackened the sidewalk and charred remains were scattered about the area, including what appeared to be a footprint. Shaull was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital where he later died.

    No one at Nicholas Ungar Furs wanted to comment on the incident.

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  • OBAMA ECONOMY: NEW YORK DAIRY FARMER KILLS 51 COWS THEN COMMITS SUICIDE

    cows COPAKE, N.Y. – The widow of a New York dairy farmer who methodically slaughtered 51 cows before taking his own life says she wants to figure out a way to keep the farm going.

    Dean Pierson, 59, was found dead Thursday on the floor of his barn in Copake, a rural hamlet 115 miles north of New York City. Nearby, half his herd lay in their milking stalls, also dead of gunshot wounds. Pierson left no explanation for what he'd done, just a simple note on the barn door warning whoever found it not to come in and to call the police. But there appeared to be a method to his bloody work. He killed only the cows that required frequent milking, letting 50 others live, including heifers and calves. Neighbors speculated that he was trying to spare his family the burden of caring for the animals. He left no suicide note, said his wife, Gwynneth, who was home at the time of the shootings but heard nothing. "No one knows why for sure," she told the Times Union of Albany, adding that her husband had been "talking a lot to his mom."

    Now, she said, "We need to figure out how to keep the farm going ... It wouldn't be right for all that work he put into it to go to nothing." On Friday, neighboring farmers used a backhoe and bulldozer to bury the animals, pushing them into a deep pit in the Columbia County soil. Pierson had four children, but he milked the herd alone — once before sunrise and again at night, neighbors said. He kept mostly to himself, rarely visiting with other farmers. "Dean had no help on the farm and he worked really hard to do it all himself," neighbor Susan Kiernan told the Times Union. "It's hard to hang in now and a lot of dairy farmers are going out of business," she added. Kiernan's family has operated a dairy farm for three generations.

    The gruesome scene in the barn was discovered at about 1 p.m. Thursday by a neighboring farmer State police Capt. Scott Brown told the Rockford Register-Star that an investigation revealed that the farmer was having "personal issues." The farm was founded by Pierson's father, a Swedish immigrant. He named the property High Low Farm.

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  • IF AMERICA COULD CREATE AVATAR IT COULD FAKE 9/11 ATTACKS

    mahathir mohamad Malaysia’s former premier Mahathir Mohamad said on Wednesday there was “strong evidence” the US faked the September 11 terror attacks as an excuse to go to war against Muslims.

    “There is strong evidence that the attacks were staged. If they can make Avatar, they can make anything,’ Mahathir told the Conference for the Support of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), as quoted by local media. The former premier also blamed Jews for hindering progress in US foreign policy. Voicing his disappointment that Barack Obama had not yet ended the war in Afghanistan or closed the US terror detention center at Guantanamo, he explained that “there are forces in the United States which prevent the president from doing some things. One of the forces is the Jewish lobby.”

    Jews “had always been a problem in European countries. They had to be confined to ghettoes and periodically massacred. But still they remained, they thrived and they held whole governments to ransom," Mahathir said. "Even after their massacre by the Nazis of Germany, they survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world." Mahathir, who led Malaysia from 1981 to 2003, has long been known for anti-semitic and anti-US statements.

    Meanwhile, police in Kuala Lumpur said on Thursday that vandals tried to torch a Muslim prayer room, one of the few attacks on an Islamic place of worship after nearly a dozen churches were firebombed amid a dispute over the use of the word “Allah” by Christians. Religious tensions have risen after a court ruled on Dec. 31 that non-Muslims can use “Allah” as a translation for God in the Malay language. Many among the country’s ethnic Malay Muslim majority believe the word should be exclusive to Muslims, and that its use by others could confuse some Muslims and even entice them to convert. Since Jan. 8, there have been assaults on 11 churches, a Sikh temple and a mosque.

    Police this week arrested eight suspects believed to have orchestrated the most serious attack, which partially gutted a church in Kuala Lumpur. On Thursday, vandals apparently set fire to a curtain in a small building designated for Muslim prayers in southern Johor state, that state’s police said.

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  • AMERICA AND THE WORLD IS BEING DESTROYED BY GREED OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE

    federal reserve Federal Reserve makes record $52.1bn profit

    The Federal Reserve made a profit of $52.1bn (£32.2bn) in 2009, a rise of 47% over the previous year. The sum allowed the central bank to pay a record $46.1bn to the US Treasury last year. That was the largest amount ever paid by the central bank since its creation in 1914.

    The record figure was largely thanks to its attempts to support the financial system throughout the ongoing financial crisis. The Fed funds itself from its own operations and returns any profits to the Treasury department.

    Taxpayer gains

    The figures suggest that US taxpayers have, so far, gained money from the US government's action in propping up the system. Some of the profit has come from interest earned on government bonds and mortgage-related securities - including those of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The emergency lending programmes instituted by the central bank during the last year's financial crisis helped swell the Fed's balance sheet to more than $2tn.

    They were designed to keep down interest rates and get banks lending to each other again, hoping to spark an economic recovery. The Fed could also lose money on its holdings if it sells them at a time when they have fallen in value. The Fed also earned money from its emergency loans to banks and other firms, such as the giant carmakers. It charged both interest and fees on these.

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  • ONE IN EIGHT JAILED AMERICAN YOUTHS SEXUALLY ABUSED

    jail WASHINGTON — Around one in eight youths in prison in the United States, some as young as 12, have been sexually abused by another inmate or jail staff, a first-ever survey by the Department of Justice shows.

    Eighty percent of abuse cases involved a member of the prison staff, and in nearly all those cases, the alleged offenders were women -- even though less than half the staff in US juvenile prisons are women -- the first National Survey of Youth in Custody report, which was published Thursday, said. In more than a third of cases where a member of prison staff abused a youngster, force was used or threatened, the survey showed. Boys, who make up the majority of young prison inmates in the United States, were more likely than girls to report unwanted sexual activity with a member of prison staff: 10.8 percent of the boys surveyed said they had been sexually abused by prison staff compared with less than five percent of girls. But in terms of unwanted sexual activity with other youth, the complainants were reversed, with just over nine percent of girls and two percent of boys saying they had been sexually abused by other youth. Youth with "a sexual orientation other than heterosexual" reported significantly higher rates of sexual victimization by another youth -- 12.5 percent -- compared to heterosexual youth (1.3 percent).

    Nearly 9,200 young inmates in 195 large state or privately-owned prisons were interviewed for the survey between June 2008 and April last year. The youngest of the inmates was 12, the oldest 24, and only a third of the young convicts were older than 18, a statistician at the Department of Justice told AFP. Some 26,550 youngsters are incarcerated in large state or privately run prisons across the United States, according to the report.

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  • Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit
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  • NEW YEAR IN AMERICA : A PORTRAIT OF SOCIAL MISERY

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  • American Tent Cities

    The new decade finds the US working class suffering a level of social misery not seen since the Great Depression. Unemployment, poverty, hunger, utility cutoffs, homelessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies have become common experiences for millions. But unlike in the Great Depression, when limited reforms were put in place in response to the crisis, the Obama administration, Congress, and state and local governments are taking no serious measures to provide relief. On the contrary, the two parties of big business are exacerbating the crisis through budget cuts at the state and local level and the federal government is preparing new austerity measures.

    Unemployment:
    At over 10 percent, the official US jobless rate reached in October and November was the highest since June of 1983. A broader measure of unemployment, taking into account those who have fallen out of the official workforce, reveals that something approaching one in five workers is unemployed or underemployed. The economy has not added jobs since December 2007, and in that same time span has lost 7.2 million jobs overall. Coupling these losses with population growth—the economy must add about 150,000 jobs per month to break even—the net jobs deficit in the period is well over 10.5 million. It is widely acknowledged that most of the jobs lost will not return for years, if ever. Even by the optimistic forecast of the Federal Reserve Board, the jobless rate will remain above 7 percent through 2011. Those without jobs face long periods of unemployment, the most recent figures showing that 38.3 percent of the unemployed have been without work for 27 weeks or longer. Data for November show that all 50 states have witnessed an increase in unemployment since the end of 2008. Michigan continued to have the highest official jobless rate at 14.7 percent. Detroit, its principal city and the longtime hub of US auto production, had an official unemployment rate of 27 percent. The real rate approaches 50 percent, a number in line with the worst levels of big city unemployment during the Great Depression.

    In California, 12.3 percent of the official workforce was unemployed in November. The most populous US state had by itself shed 617,000 jobs over the previous year. What remains of the US social safety net is woefully unprepared to meet this crisis, with jobless benefits reaching well under half of unemployed workers. In December nearly ten million workers in the US were receiving jobless benefits, not quite half of these in the form of extended or emergency relief. There were some 5.6 million workers who had both exhausted their unemployment benefits and given up looking up for work. Those fortunate enough to keep their jobs in 2009 saw their hours, wages and benefits cut, even as employers drove up their productivity. In real terms, average weekly wages fell by 1 percent last year, while worker productivity was ratcheted up by 8.1 percent in the third quarter and 6.4 percent in the second.

    Foreclosures and bankruptcies:
    Increasing numbers of unemployed and financially stressed workers have been unable to meet their mortgage payments. During the third quarter, the number of US homes in foreclosure surpassed one million. In October, a survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association found that about one in ten mortgages was at least one payment behind, while 4.47 percent were in the process of foreclosure. Most of the recent increase in foreclosures has occurred outside of the subprime loan market, among households that had previously qualified for loans based on stable employment and income. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that filings for personal bankruptcy rose to 1.41 million in 2009, up by almost one third. The newspaper called the increase “a surge largely driven by foreclosures and job losses.”

    Poverty and hunger:
    Poverty and hunger, already on the rise in 2008 before the brunt of the economic crisis hit, have intensified. Analysis of the 2008 US census using criteria favored by the National Academy of Sciences shows that 47.4 million Americans, 15.8 percent of the population, were living below the official poverty line. The official government tally recorded 39.8 million people in poverty in 2008, or 13.2 percent of the population. One in five US children was living in poverty in 2008, according to the official data. The real poverty rate is far higher, since the income threshold set by the government—$22,000 for a family of four—is absurdly low.

    Judy Putnam, a spokesperson for the Michigan League for Human Services, discussed with the World Socialist Web Site her organization’s new study “Michigan by the Numbers: Hard Times Continue.” According to Putnam, 22 percent of the state’s children under five are growing up in poverty. For African American children, the figure is 45 percent, with half the children in Detroit growing up poor. “Many of those who would have received cash assistance in past recessions are not getting it now,” Putnam said. “Only a third are getting cash assistance compared with two-thirds before ‘welfare reform’ in 1996. All of these folks who need assistance have been squeezed off the safety net. People in Michigan are heavily dependent on food stamps and, if they qualify, for unemployment benefits. But unlike previous recessions only the very, very poor qualify for cash assistance.” The evidence of widespread hunger in the US is unmistakable. In December, the National Conference of Mayors released a study of 27 major cities conducted between October 2008 and September 2009. The report revealed the largest increase in those seeking food assistance since 1991.

    In November, the United States Department of Agriculture reported that a record 49.1 million Americans, one sixth of the population, lacked dependable access to adequate food in 2008. Also in November, Feeding America, a national food assistance organization, released details of an economic impact survey of some of its 63,000 member food charities. It found that between summer 2008 and summer 2009, demand for food charity rose by over 30 percent nationally. Many of those reliant on food assistance have no other source of income, a new analysis of state data by the New York Times reveals. Six million Americans, or 1 in 50, report no income beyond what they receive in food stamps through the joint federal-state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). According to a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, about half of US children will rely on food stamps at some point during their childhood. The figure is 90 percent for black children.

    Homelessness and utility cutoffs:
    With a bitter cold snap settling over much of the nation last week, those suffering homelessness and utility cutoffs found themselves in dangerous conditions. The caseload of the government’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) increased by 25 percent in 2009, and is projected to increase by another 20 percent in 2010.

    Among the 27 major cities surveyed by the US Conference of Mayors report, 19 reported an increase in family homelessness between the autumns of 2008 and 2009. The largest increases were in Dallas (20 percent), Boston and Kansas City (22 percent each), and Charleston (41 percent). Across the US, shantytowns reminiscent of the “Hoovervilles” of the 1930s have emerged. People in these encampments live in tents or shacks built of old wood, scrap metal, cardboard and other waste, with no running water, electricity, plumbing, or garbage removal. An indelible scene took place in Detroit on October 5, when an estimated 50,000 city residents formed a long line stretching around the Cobo Hall convention center after hearing rumors that the city was dispensing assistance for utility bills and housing payments. City officials said only a tiny fraction of those seeking assistance would receive help.

    Conditions of the youth:
    The economic crisis has exacted perhaps its greatest toll on the youth. All of the data related to hunger, homelessness and unemployment show that young people are disproportionately affected. A study by the Pew Research Center published in November shows that one in ten adults under the age of 35 has moved back to his parents’ home as a result of the recession. Overall, half of those aged 18 to 24 now live with their parents. Only about half of young people have jobs, the lowest figure on record dating back to 1948. A recent study showed that less than half of students graduate on schedule after signing up for a two- or four-year college program, and that most who quit or delay their studies do so on account of economic hardship.

    Those who do graduate enter the worst market for degree holders in 30 years, and with record levels of student debt. The average college graduate in 2008 carried a burden of $23,000 in student loan debt, while the unemployment rate for college graduates aged 20 to 24 reached 10.6 percent in the third quarter. Meanwhile, one in ten male high school dropouts, ages 16 to 24, is currently either in prison or juvenile detention. Among black male high school dropouts, more than a fifth are incarcerated, a study by researchers at Northeastern University shows. For the population as a whole, the Justice Department recently reported that 1 in 31 US adults is behind bars or on probation or parole.

    The response of the government:
    The response of state and local governments to this social catastrophe is drastic reductions in social services and job cuts, under conditions where the Obama administration refuses to provide emergency aid to help cover budget deficits. The total deficit of the states from 2009 to 2012 is now estimated at $460 billion, a figure that is likely to grow as more state capitals adjust estimates for rapidly declining tax revenue. ”Anything and everything’s on the table,” said Todd Haggerty, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislators. States have “cut the fat, cut the muscle and are now cutting bone. The easy decisions have already been made.”

    The fiscal situation confronting the states is expected to deteriorate sharply next year when funds from the federal economic stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, are exhausted. Like the states, the federal government faces a fiscal catastrophe, with cumulative US budget deficits expected to top $10 trillion by the end of the new decade, according to the Obama administration’s rather optimistic forecast. Cuts in spending must be put in place, in part, to convince creditors, especially China, that the US “can get its finances back in order,” the Wall Street Journal wrote Monday in a feature on the annual gathering of the American Economic Association. The response of the Obama administration is to call for an unprecedented program of fiscal austerity and sharp cuts in social spending, to be announced in his State of the Union address early next month and outlined in the new federal budget proposal shortly thereafter. Obama’s repeated insistence on the need for Americans to reduce their consumption—even as trillions more are allocated for the banks and for ever-expanding wars in Central Asia and the Middle East—is code language for a deepening of the assault on the working class.

    The discussion of possible deficit reduction measures includes regressive taxes such as a national sales tax and sweeping cuts in entitlement programs on which millions of people rely, such as Medicare and Social Security. Such measures are on top of the administration’s health care overhaul, which will reduce costs for corporations and the government while slashing benefits and increasing out-of-pocket expenses for millions of working people.

    By Tom Eley

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  • Have Americans Stopped Loving Their Cars?
  • THE COMING FURY OF AN ANGRY AMERICA

    angry mob member A tiny part of a tiny part of the population of the earth will set the terms for the future of all humans. A tiny part that is broken, spent out, and increasingly disillusioned. That sliver of humanity is the broken, spent out, and increasingly disillusioned American middle class, burdened with the task of spending all America out of catastrophe. When they break under the weight of desperate impossibility, how will the heartlands good citizens react, and what will they do?

    According to the World Bank, there are about 6,692,030,277 human beings on the earth. 308,108,741 of them live in the United States, about 4.6% of the total. Of these fortunate Americans, about 231,000,000 are of voting age. In general elections in history's greatest democracy, about half those eligible to vote actually do...115 million people. History's greatest democracy has only two options every election, a choice between two almost similar positions, and the winning option typically enjoys the support of only half of those who choose, approximately 60 million individuals.

    For a scant 90 years, America has been the wealthiest, most powerful group of humans in all 20,000 years of recorded civilization. Decisions made by Americans can and do affect the lives of every other human on the planet, often for both present and future, good and bad. By brute force of American economics alone, a single, small 0.9% of the 6.6 billion people who call earth home set the agenda for each and every one of all the rest of us. Not even by force of arms has there ever been a time in glorious history when so few people dominated so many in so complete a way. Centuries from now, historians will want to know whom these few people were, if only to understand how they lived and thought, and better know the cause of global events that shaped the world they live in. As we in our time grapple to understand who the powers were that made a Roman, a Roman, future thinkers will want to dissect the condition of the less than one per cent of all humanity who call themselves American, and who alone make America, America... and the earth, American as well.

    It cost 1 billion dollars and four years to have .9% of the earth elect the President of the United States in 2008. It took a similar amount of time and money to be the guy that lost. Hundreds of millions more are expended to elect the 435 people who make up the United States Congress. No statistical analysis is required to understand that these are among the wealthiest and most privileged humans in all of history. A tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of the population of the planet. This, we are led to believe is democracy, and so this small sliver is at least nominally responsible to those few who elected them, and nobody else. Like all great empires, America has a well-defined class structure. As a fedora on a table, at one brim is the thin cruel line of poverty and disenfranchisement, at the other brim another thin line of luxury and excess, and a middle where the head goes which has historically been the big, fat, American middle class. The middle class sets the agenda by dearth of weight, the luxury class promoting the agenda where and when it suits them. The lower class don't matter at all. The great American middle class, then, at least nominally controls the fate of the planet. They do so by electing wealthy folks who pander to their interests, those wealthy folks whose interpretations of the middle class becomes policy. Future folks will want to understand how representative those interpretations were, and will want to see if changes in the middle class over time were responsible for changes in American policy towards the world.

    If anything defines the great American middle class, it is the concept of the American Dream. The basic building block of the American Dream is the family - mom, dad, 2.4 kids and a dog. The "dream" part is the very American right to economic freedom, freedom to accumulate stuff. A box on a postage stamp in a sea of urban sprawl called home, a couple of cars, a good education for the kids, and unrestricted ability to consume as much surplus crap as possible. Americans define success completely in economic terms and then attach the flag, religion, and everything else to it. Without this absolute right to consume hordes of junk, there is no American Dream, and no middle class. There is left only a lower class, (whatever that is), and a powerful capitalist class existing as it always has throughout time, changing flags and philosophy depending on how the winds blow. Caesar, Czar, King, or CEO of Goldman Sachs. The rise of the middle class at the end of the 19th century tracks the rise of wealth and power for most western, industrialized nations. Production, trade, and consumption of machine made goods became a near universal indicator of the rise of modern civilization. However, 40 years of crushing war amongst European powers stalled the growth for most, but emerging America remained unscathed, benefiting from the misdemeanours of a now dead age. History will fix the date of the birth of absolute America to the year 1914, the dawn of the American age to 1945, and no doubt, the golden era to the short period that began to erode in 1971. Of the time since, we the generation here and now and in the teeth of it, can only speculate. In the summer of 1914, America was an outlier in a world of teetering monarchies, festering colonial empires, and rancid landed aristocracies. While the rest of the world fed its gold and its young to the insatiable maw of industrial war, Americans were building a dream from limitless resources and the economic opportunities of a conflict that left America unspoiled and prosperous. By the close of hostilities in 1945, with the capital of the planet spent and exhausted, America burst from the ruins to begin the greatest run of prosperity and innovation of all time. The American middle class exploded, living the dream so thoughtfully given to them over a generation of global war.

    Powerhouse America imposed its vision of a liberal, free market democracy on the "free world" through the Bretton Woods agreement of 1944. The United States became the world's greatest manufacturer of goods, trader of goods, and consumer of goods. Rebuilding the planet became a God given mission, the profits manna from heaven. The American dollar became the world's dollar. Freedom and cash registers rang. But with the US greenback backed by gold, American economic expansion was limited to the bullion it horded. Wars in Korea and Viet Nam, and the massive expansion of "entitlements" with Social Security and Medicare among others, began to strain the American Dream. By the early 1970's the US had ceased to be an exporter of stuff, and the middle class began to buy increasingly cheaper stuff from abroad - at the expense of their own manufacturing and jobs. Given that the dream of freewheeling consumption was the bedrock of the burgeoning, voting middle class, politics insisted on a populist solution to the increasingly broke US economy. In 1971, Richard Nixon elected to abandon Bretton Woods, leave the gold standard, and America was free to print its way out of deficit and keep the dream alive. At the same time as the US set the world awash in USD's, untold wealth and prosperity inflated its way through the massive baby boomer cohort. Women were entering the workforce in exponential numbers, soaking up inflated dollars with double incomes, and less kids. American politics became a contest of pandering to the hedonistic desires of the American household, boom times embraced and fuelled by lax regulation and credit, busts fought off with the simple printing of even more money. Good times. The American household saved 11% of its income in 1970, and had only 1.4% of their cash going to newfangled credit cards and auto loans. Everything else exchanged for clothes, appliances, food, houses, and shiny happy stuff, increasingly from overseas. Unknown to all, it was to be the high water mark for the middle class of America. In 1971, American imports exceeded exports for the first time in modern history, by 2.6 billion dollars. At a time when a billion was a lot, America began paying to simply exist. Gross Public Debt had grown from 43 billion in 1940, to 381 billion by 1970. Within a single generation - the age of narcissism, the computer age, the age of globalization - the baby boomers of the American middle class had tilted the entire planets resources towards an unsustainable consumer culture. No longer living the dream, those alive just moments before Lehman Brothers listed over, rolled under, and disappeared below the waves of history, were fighting simply to keep the stuff they had. The future had evaporated right before their shuttered eyes, and for over forty years.

    The current version of the American middle class bears no resemblance at all to that of the end of the golden era in 1970. Forty years ago, Americans saved 11% of their earnings - which had evaporated by 2005, reaching the oxymoron of negative savings. Credit card debt shot from 1.4% to 15%. In the space of a generation, a single income family flush with cash, savings, and dreams had become a double income nightmare staggered with debt. In 2008, there were more household bankruptcies than divorces. The cost of crap fell and Wal Mart rose. Debt enslaved suburbanites now spend 32% less on clothing than they did a generation ago. 18% less on food, 52% less on appliances, and 24% less on cars. The middle class is consuming as voraciously as it ever has, however they have replaced sturdy $400.00 American Lawn Boy lawn mowers with $99.00 tin cans from China, and buy it now on credit. Some call that progress, others, value. In reality, it's inflation. The simple fact of the matter is Americans no longer have the disposable income to consume their way out of trouble, and that trouble lies in why it is the American middle class is broke, struggling, and increasingly angry. At the same time that consumables were falling in price, the fixed portions of the American Dream began an exponential increase. Two incomes meant two cars - or three, or four - and despite the fact that cars were cheaper, the cost of cars to the two-income family rose by 52%. Houses got bigger, and mortgages increased 76% - with 10 million of them in various states of distress and foreclosure. Health insurance rose 76%, taxes 25%. Childcare was an expense nobody had a generation ago, but one that became essential with two adults working. The cost of education had increased - as did the length of time necessary to obtain that education. A ticket to the middle class that cost 12 years of school - grade one through high school - now includes daycare, preschool, grade school, high school, and then college. Americans must now pay for the additional time. In 2005, that .09% of the earth that set the agenda for the planet was spending over 66% of its income on the fixed costs of the American dream alone, where it once spent less than a third. Or, to frame it in a way that defines the great problem, the American system that depends on rabid consumerism has left its heartland with exponentially decreasing amounts of disposable income, falling from 66% to 33% in a single lifetime. When George W Bush implored the middle class to spend its way out of the 9/11 chaos, in stunned and terrified whispers the American middle class muttered, "With what?"

    "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country"- Edward Bernays, 1928 "Our enormously productive economy...demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption.... We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate"- Victor Lebeau, 1947 "Too much consumption and too little investment, too many imports and too few exports. We have not been on a sustainable economic track and that has to be changed. But those changes don't come overnight, they don't come in a quarter, they don't come in a year. You can begin them but that is a process that takes time. If we don't make that adjustment and if we again pump up consumption, we will just walk into another crisis."- Paul Volker, 2009 “If you look around, you see how many people is out of work, number one, and you see how many people is in foreclosure or lost their homes or in default because they've lost their jobs, that tells you right there what the economy is doing.” - Middle Class American, 2009

    A tiny part of a tiny part of the population of the earth had constructed a global economic architecture that sustained it in wealth and excess, security and predictability. In a scant forty years that wealth, excess, security, and predictability have proved to be entirely unsustainable. The approaching political climate of the American middle class will reflect the shock and desperation that may now be starting to manifest itself. How Americans react to their fast changing circumstance and what they will do about it will deeply affect the 95% of the earth's humans who are really only along for the ride. In 2008, America gambled on hope, as hope is all it had. A new administration faced the growing catastrophe in the only way it could understand, frantically pumping in dollars to resuscitate a prostrate consumerism. An insane amount of debt piled up, the annual deficit soaring through $1,000,000,000.00. One trillion dollars. Absolutely none of it was used to purchase plasma TV's, hot tubs, or bling. The richest of Americans - as they always have - prospered along Wall Street and summered in the Hamptons while the drought stricken middle class waited for a rain that will never fall. The American middle class will not spend its way out of disaster, if only because it can't. There are no savings. The house is worthless. The credit cards are gone. Jobs are disappearing. Today is bad and tomorrow looks worse. People are nervous, frightened, worried. They are behind in the mortgage, and struggle to make health insurance payments. All the while, they watch the stock market explode, the bonuses arrogantly roll on, and their government lie to their faces that the "recovery" is underway. China is booming, so is India and Brazil. Beneath the hope, patriotism, and the flag, the American middle class can feel it all slipping away. In a nation consumed by politics, where pandering and lobbying are two sides of the same platitude, what will the increasingly angry gentle folks of Ohio, Iowa, and Florida demand of their philandering representatives in Washington? What form of instant remedy will some baseless political hack come to offer them as the snake oil for what ails them? How will those decisions come to dominate the lives of those in Canada, Ecuador, and Ghana?

    In the distant future, historians will consider the rise, fall, and collapse of the great American Dream and conclude that was the cause of all that followed. None will be surprised at the all too human response of anger, frustration, and action in the teeth of injustice and inequality. After all, history is full of angry people who just weren't going to take it anymore. They will wonder only how it was we could not see it coming - how we could be so stupid to have blown it. The coming fury of angry America is as palpable as it is silent. What will that tiny part of a tiny part of the earth's population do when the utter hopelessness of the situation washes over them and the tides of history curl around and bear them, inexorably, into the past? What will they do?

    Aetius Romulous

    Historian, Economist, Accountant, Writer, and blood sucking CEO.

    Born at the wrong end of the Baby Boom Generation - too late to enjoy the ride, too early to have missed it, and stuck in the middle with the mess. Aetius writes and blogs from his frozen perch atop the earth in Canada, spending the useful capital of a life not finished making sandwiches and fomenting revolution. It's a living.

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  • EMPTY SHOPPING MALLS IN FLORIDA VIDEO

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  • GEORGIA LEADS THE WAY TO HONEST MONEY AND RETURN TO THE CONSTITUTION VIDEO

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  • LAS VEGAS FEDERAL COURTROOM SHOOTING VIDEO

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  • A gunman opened fire in the lobby of a federal building in downtown Las Vegas on Monday, killing one court officer and wounding a second before he was shot to death.

    The gunfire erupted moments after 8 a.m. at the start of the work week and lasted for several minutes. Shots echoed around tall buildings in the area, more than a mile north of the Las Vegas Strip. A reporter on the eighth floor More.. of a high-rise building within sight of the building heard more than 20 shots during the sustained barrage of gunfire. The U.S. Marshals Service says the victims included a deputy U.S. marshal and a court security officer. The 48-year-old deputy marshal was hospitalized, and the 65-year-old security officer died.

    FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said the gunman died across the street shortly after the shootout. The man's identity and motive were not immediately known. Authorities believe the shooter acted alone, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Roxanna Lea Irwin said. The building was evacuated, police and news helicopters circled overhead, and Las Vegas police cordoned off the area for several blocks. A 16-story state and local courthouse two blocks away was locked down as a precaution.

    After police arrived, paramedics wheeled at least two people out and down a ramp to ambulances. Dickey called the building evacuation "standard procedure" in such an incident, and said it was "for the safety of everybody in the place." Las Vegas police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said the shooter had been shot in the head.

    "It looks like he went in there and just started unloading," Morgan said. The Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building is named for a longtime senior federal judge who still hears cases. It has federal courts and offices for federal officials including U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign. Neither were in the building at the time, authorities said. Irwin said she saw shotgun casings on the floor of the federal building lobby.

    THE CROOKS, THE LIARS AND THE CRIMINALS VIDEO

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  • USA WILL NOT REPAY $1 TRILLION DEBT TO CHINA VIDEO

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  • IS THIS THE REPLACEMENT DOLLAR?

    new dollar

    42% OF AMERICA'S WEALTH CONTROLLED BY TOP 1%

    fwusa Many Americans are not buying the recent stock market rally. This is being reflected in multiple polls showing negative attitudes towards the economy and Wall Street. Wall Street is so disconnected from the average American that they fail to see the 27 million unemployed and underemployed Americans that now have a harder time believing the gospel of financial engineering prosperity.

    Americans have a reason to be dubious regarding the recovery because jobs are the main push for most Americans. A recent study shows that over 70 percent of Americans derive their monthly income from an actual W-2 job. In other words, working is the prime mover and source of their income. Yet the financial elite have very little understanding of this concept. Why? 42 percent of financial wealth is controlled by the top 1 percent.

    We would need to go back to the Great Depression to see such lopsided data. Many Americans are still struggling at the depths of this recession. We have 37 million Americans on food stamps and many wait until midnight of the last day of the month so checks can clear to buy food at Wal-Mart. Do you think these people are starring at the stock market? If we break the data down further we will find that 93 percent of all financial wealth is controlled by the top 10 percent of the country. That is why these people are cheering their one cent share increase while layoffs keep on improving the bottom line. But what bottom line are we talking about here? The Wall Street crowd would like you to believe that all is now good that the stock market has rallied 60+ percent. Of course they are happy because they control most of this wealth. Yet the typical American still has negative views on the economy because they actually have to work to earn a living:

    The above daily poll asks Americans about their view on the health of the economy. Only 13 percent believe the economy is good or excellent. Funny how that correlates with the top 10 percent who control 93 percent of wealth. Many Americans were sold the illusion of the bubble. They were sold on the idea that their homes were worth so much more than they really were. And many used this phony wealth effect to go out and spend beyond their means. They started spending as if they were part of this elite 10 percent crowd. But once the tide rolled out, it was clear they were not. And the horribly built bailouts demonstrate who is controlling our political system. This was not the rule of a capitalist system but a corporate run government. Just think about the bailouts and which companies were saved. We ended up bailing out the worst performing and troubled companies thus keeping alive companies that should have completely failed. Did we bail out Google? Proctor and Gamble? Of course not. These companies actually produce something that people want. Banks and especially the Wall Street kind merely keep that 42 percent happy by making sure their stock values stay high so they can keep on making money while the average Americans is sold up the river.

    Yet many were brought into the easy money fold by going into massive amounts of debt. And who has most of the debt? That is right, the average American: The bottom 90 percent have been saddled with 73 percent of all debt. In other words much of their so-called wealth is connected to debt. Debt is slavery for many especially with egregious credit card companies taking people out with absurd credit card tricks and scams. Yet the corporate propaganda machine is strong and mighty. Have you ever received an inheritance? A large one? Probably not because only 1.6% of all Americans receive an inheritance larger than $100,000. If this is the case, why in the world do politicians worry so much about the tax impacts of this? Because they want to keep the corporatocracy alive and well so their spawn can get a piece of their pie. They give the illusion to average Americans that if you only work hard enough you too can join this elusive club of cronies. The data shows otherwise. But if we start looking at investment assets, the true wealth in the country, we start realizing why Wall Street is all giddy about the recent stock market government induced rally:

    Of investment assets 90 percent of Americans own 12.2 percent. The rest goes to the top 10 percent. Welcome to the new serfdom. The bailouts that went out to the filthy rich were more about protecting their tiny corner of the world than actually making the economy better. That is why it is interesting to see companies fire people and Wall Street cheer for the increase in earnings per share. Good for the few at the expense of the many. Yet the propaganda out of Wall Street and our government is what is good for Wall Street is good for you. Just like that 1.6% inheritance issue, the vast majority of Americans won’t deal with that and their primary concern is simply a job. A job that has provided stagnant wages for a decade while the ultra wealth get richer and richer in a phony form of corporate socialism. If you break down the data you realize that most Americans don’t have time to speculate in stock markets:

    Notice after running the budget we are in the hole for $1,000? That is because of many costs that typical families have. We can debate the merits of where they are spending money but the point is this; are these people really making beaucoup money from the stock market? They are putting away $12,000 a year into their 401k. As we have now found out, 8 percent a year is never guaranteed in the stock market although the corporate powers would like you to believe that so they can have other suckers to unload stocks onto.

    They are more concerned on working to have a paycheck to pay for necessities. They are more concerned about paying their house off by the time they retire and hopefully, have a little bit of retirement funds coming in. The sad fact is most Americans rely on Social Security when they retire. All those ads of unlimited golf and daily trips to Tahiti are propaganda of how Wall Street lives and they want to sell you the sizzle, and clearly not the steak. They live their lives paper pushing and sucking the life out of the productive part of our economy. The average American should now realize this since this financial crisis was primarily caused by them. They are now on a massive campaign to blame Americans for this. This is hypocrisy to the next level. Many Americans have paid for their mistake by losing their home through foreclosure. We have 300,000 foreclosure filings a month. Many have taken a hit to their overall stock portfolio (if they have one). Yet the corporate cronies have protected their horrible economy crushing debts at the taxpayer expense. Unlike you, many hold bonds on the companies and not common stock like many Americans. Bondholders have been protected at all costs during this crisis. Goldman Sachs through AIG received 100 cents on the dollar for their horrible bets. The banks have unlimited back stops thanks to taxpayers. This is how the top 1 percent rule the new feudal state. Welcome to the 2010 serfdom. Time to wake up and restructure the system. Many people are starting to wake up to this massive scam.

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  • OBAMA BLAMES AL-QAEDA AFFILIATE FOR AIRLINE BOMB PLOT

    obama nwo Obama Saturday for the first time accused an Al-Qaeda affiliate of arming and training a young Nigerian man for a thwarted suicide mission to blow up a US airliner.

    Obama, in his weekly radio and video address, promised to hold the group, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to account for the attack, declaring the United States was at war with a "far-reaching network of violence and hatred." The president's vacation in his home state of Hawaii has been interrupted by the ramifications of the failed attack on a Northwest jet heading for Detroit on Christmas Day.

    Obama has reviewed preliminary results of probes he has ordered into the attack, and said details were becoming clear about the 23-year-old Nigerian suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. "We know that he traveled to Yemen, a country grappling with crushing poverty and deadly insurgencies," Obama said in his address, posted on the White House website early Saturday.

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  • Obama Executive Order Removes All Constraints on INTERPOL
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  • WASHINGTON'S TEN MOST WANTED CORRUPT POLITICIANS OF 2009

    washington
    1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): This marks two years in a row for Senator Dodd, who made the 2008 "Ten Most Corrupt" list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for accepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial, a scandal which still dogs him. In 2009, the scandals kept coming for the Connecticut Democrat. In 2009, Judicial Watch filed a Senate ethics complaint against Dodd for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms. Judicial Watch's complaint forced Dodd to amend the forms. However, press reports suggest the property to this day remains undervalued. Judicial Watch also alleges in the complaint that Dodd obtained a sweetheart deal for the property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon (during the Clinton administration) and other favors for a long-time friend and business associate. The false financial disclosure forms were part of the cover-up. Dodd remains the head the Senate Banking Committee.
    2. Senator John Ensign (R-NV): A number of scandals popped up in 2009 involving public officials who conducted illicit affairs, and then attempted to cover them up with hush payments and favors, an obvious abuse of power. The year's worst offender might just be Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign. Ensign admitted in June to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the Nevada Republican in exchange for his silence. According to The New York Times: "The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee are expected to conduct preliminary inquiries into whether Senator John Ensign violated federal law or ethics rules as part of an effort to conceal an affair with the wife of an aide…" The former staffer, Douglas Hampton, began to lobby Mr. Ensign's office immediately upon leaving his congressional job, despite the fact that he was subject to a one-year lobbying ban. Ensign seems to have ignored the law and allowed Hampton lobbying access to his office as a payment for his silence about the affair. (These are potentially criminal offenses.) It looks as if Ensign misused his public office (and taxpayer resources) to cover up his sexual shenanigans.
    3. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Judicial Watch is investigating a $12 million TARP cash injection provided to the Boston-based OneUnited Bank at the urging of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank. As reported in the January 22, 2009, edition of the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury Department indicated it would only provide funds to healthy banks to jump-start lending. Not only was OneUnited Bank in massive financial turmoil, but it was also "under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives' use." Rep. Frank admitted he spoke to a "federal regulator," and Treasury granted the funds. (The bank continues to flounder despite Frank's intervention for federal dollars.) Moreover, Judicial Watch uncovered documents in 2009 that showed that members of Congress for years were aware that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were playing fast and loose with accounting issues, risk assessment issues and executive compensation issues, even as liberals led by Rep. Frank continued to block attempts to rein in the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). For example, during a hearing on September 10, 2003, before the House Committee on Financial Services considering a Bush administration proposal to further regulate Fannie and Freddie, Rep. Frank stated: "I want to begin by saying that I am glad to consider the legislation, but I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two Government Sponsored Enterprises we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in a crisis. We have recently had an accounting problem with Freddie Mac that has led to people being dismissed, as appears to be appropriate. I do not think at this point there is a problem with a threat to the Treasury." Frank received $42,350 in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 1989 and 2008. Frank also engaged in a relationship with a Fannie Mae Executive while serving on the House Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
    4. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner: In 2009, Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted that he failed to pay $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes from 2001-2004 on his lucrative salary at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization with 185 member countries that oversees the global financial system. (Did we mention Geithner now runs the IRS?) It wasn't until President Obama tapped Geithner to head the Treasury Department that he paid back most of the money, although the IRS kindly waived the hefty penalties. In March 2009, Geithner also came under fire for his handling of the AIG bonus scandal, where the company used $165 million of its bailout funds to pay out executive bonuses, resulting in a massive public backlash. Of course as head of the New York Federal Reserve, Geithner helped craft the AIG deal in September 2008. However, when the AIG scandal broke, Geithner claimed he knew nothing of the bonuses until March 10, 2009. The timing is important. According to CNN: "Although Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders on Tuesday that he learned of AIG's impending $160 million bonus payments to members of its troubled financial-products unit on March 10, sources tell TIME that the New York Federal Reserve informed Treasury staff that the payments were imminent on Feb. 28. That is ten days before Treasury staffers say they first learned 'full details' of the bonus plan, and three days before the [Obama] Administration launched a new $30 billion infusion of cash for AIG." Throw in another embarrassing disclosure in 2009 that Geithner employed "household help" ineligible to work in the United States, and it becomes clear why the Treasury Secretary has earned a spot on the "Ten Most Corrupt Politicians in Washington" list.
    5. Attorney General Eric Holder: Tim Geithner can be sure he won't be hounded about his tax-dodging by his colleague Eric Holder, US Attorney General. Judicial Watch strongly opposed Holder because of his terrible ethics record, which includes: obstructing an FBI investigation of the theft of nuclear secrets from Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory; rejecting multiple requests for an independent counsel to investigate alleged fundraising abuses by then-Vice President Al Gore in the Clinton White House; undermining the criminal investigation of President Clinton by Kenneth Starr in the midst of the Lewinsky investigation; and planning the violent raid to seize then-six-year-old Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint in order to return him to Castro's Cuba. Moreover, there is his soft record on terrorism. Holder bypassed Justice Department procedures to push through Bill Clinton's scandalous presidential pardons and commutations, including for 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that orchestrated approximately 120 bombings in the United States, killing at least six people and permanently maiming dozens of others, including law enforcement officers. His record in the current administration is no better. As he did during the Clinton administration, Holder continues to ignore serious incidents of corruption that could impact his political bosses at the White House. For example, Holder has refused to investigate charges that the Obama political machine traded VIP access to the White House in exchange for campaign contributions – a scheme eerily similar to one hatched by Holder's former boss, Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The Holder Justice Department also came under fire for dropping a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. On Election Day 2008, Black Panthers dressed in paramilitary garb threatened voters as they approached polling stations. Holder has also failed to initiate a comprehensive Justice investigation of the notorious organization ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), which is closely tied to President Obama. There were allegedly more than 400,000 fraudulent ACORN voter registrations in the 2008 campaign. And then there were the journalist videos catching ACORN Housing workers advising undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration, and child prostitution laws. Holder's controversial decisions on new rights for terrorists and his attacks on previous efforts to combat terrorism remind many of the fact that his former law firm has provided and continues to provide pro bono representation to terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Holder's politicization of the Justice Department makes one long for the days of Alberto Gonzales.
    6. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL): One of the most serious scandals of 2009 involved a scheme by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to sell President Obama's then-vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Two men caught smack dab in the middle of the scandal: Senator Roland Burris, who ultimately got the job, and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, emissaries for Jesse Jackson Jr., named "Senate Candidate A" in the Blagojevich indictment, reportedly offered $1.5 million to Blagojevich during a fundraiser if he named Jackson Jr. to Obama's seat. Three days later federal authorities arrested Blagojevich. Burris, for his part, apparently lied about his contacts with Blagojevich, who was arrested in December 2008 for trying to sell Obama's Senate seat. According to Reuters: "Roland Burris came under fresh scrutiny…after disclosing he tried to raise money for the disgraced former Illinois governor who named him to the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama…In the latest of those admissions, Burris said he looked into mounting a fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich -- later charged with trying to sell Obama's Senate seat -- at the same time he was expressing interest to the then-governor's aides about his desire to be appointed." Burris changed his story five times regarding his contacts with Blagojevich prior to the Illinois governor appointing him to the U.S. Senate. Three of those changing explanations came under oath.
    7. President Barack Obama: During his presidential campaign, President Obama promised to run an ethical and transparent administration. However, in his first year in office, the President has delivered corruption and secrecy, bringing Chicago-style political corruption to the White House. Consider just a few Obama administration "lowlights" from year one: Even before President Obama was sworn into office, he was interviewed by the FBI for a criminal investigation of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's scheme to sell the President's former Senate seat to the highest bidder. (Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and slumlord Valerie Jarrett, both from Chicago, are also tangled up in the Blagojevich scandal.) Moreover, the Obama administration made the startling claim that the Privacy Act does not apply to the White House. The Obama White House believes it can violate the privacy rights of American citizens without any legal consequences or accountability. President Obama boldly proclaimed that "transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency," but his administration is addicted to secrecy, stonewalling far too many of Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act requests and is refusing to make public White House visitor logs as federal law requires. The Obama administration turned the National Endowment of the Arts (as well as the agency that runs the AmeriCorps program) into propaganda machines, using tax dollars to persuade "artists" to promote the Obama agenda. According to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the idea emerged as a direct result of the Obama campaign and enjoyed White House approval and participation. President Obama has installed a record number of "czars" in positions of power. Too many of these individuals are leftist radicals who answer to no one but the president. And too many of the czars are not subject to Senate confirmation (which raises serious constitutional questions). Under the President's bailout schemes, the federal government continues to appropriate or control -- through fiat and threats -- large sectors of the private economy, prompting conservative columnist George Will to write: "The administration's central activity -- the political allocation of wealth and opportunity -- is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption." Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, debasing his office to help Chicago cronies, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, perks for campaign donors – this is Obama's "ethics" record -- and we haven't even gotten through the first year of his presidency.
    8. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): At the heart of the corruption problem in Washington is a sense of entitlement. Politicians believe laws and rules (even the U.S. Constitution) apply to the rest of us but not to them. Case in point: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her excessive and boorish demands for military travel. Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Pentagon in 2008 that suggest Pelosi has been treating the Air Force like her own personal airline. These documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, include internal Pentagon email correspondence detailing attempts by Pentagon staff to accommodate Pelosi's numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker's 11th hour cancellations and changes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came under fire in April 2009, when she claimed she was never briefed about the CIA's use of the waterboarding technique during terrorism investigations. The CIA produced a report documenting a briefing with Pelosi on September 4, 2002, that suggests otherwise. Judicial Watch also obtained documents, including a CIA Inspector General report, which further confirmed that Congress was fully briefed on the enhanced interrogation techniques. Aside from her own personal transgressions, Nancy Pelosi has ignored serious incidents of corruption within her own party, including many of the individuals on this list. (See Rangel, Murtha, Jesse Jackson, Jr., etc.)
    9. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven: Rep. John Murtha made headlines in 2009 for all the wrong reasons. The Pennsylvania congressman is under federal investigation for his corrupt relationship with the now-defunct defense lobbyist PMA Group. PMA, founded by a former Murtha associate, has been the congressman's largest campaign contributor. Since 2002, Murtha has raised $1.7 million from PMA and its clients. And what did PMA and its clients receive from Murtha in return for their generosity? Earmarks -- tens of millions of dollars in earmarks. In fact, even with all of the attention surrounding his alleged influence peddling, Murtha kept at it. Following an FBI raid of PMA's offices earlier in 2009, Murtha continued to seek congressional earmarks for PMA clients, while also hitting them up for campaign contributions. According to The Hill, in April, "Murtha reported receiving contributions from three former PMA clients for whom he requested earmarks in the pending appropriations bills." When it comes to the PMA scandal, Murtha is not alone. As many as six other Members of Congress are currently under scrutiny according to The Washington Post. They include: Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN.), James P. Moran Jr. (D-VA), Norm Dicks (D-WA.), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS.). Of course rather than investigate this serious scandal, according to Roll Call House Democrats circled the wagons, "cobbling together a defense to offer political cover to their rank and file." The Washington Post also reported in 2009 that Murtha's nephew received $4 million in Defense Department no-bid contracts: "Newly obtained documents…show Robert Murtha mentioning his influential family connection as leverage in his business dealings and holding unusual power with the military."
    10. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Rangel, the man in charge of writing tax policy for the entire country, has yet to adequately explain how he could possibly "forget" to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property. He also faces allegations that he improperly used his influence to maintain ownership of highly coveted rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, and misused his congressional office to fundraise for his private Rangel Center by preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange for funding. On top of all that, Rangel recently amended his financial disclosure reports, which doubled his reported wealth. (He somehow "forgot" about $1 million in assets.) And what did he do when the House Ethics Committee started looking into all of this? He apparently resorted to making "campaign contributions" to dig his way out of trouble. According to WCBS TV, a New York CBS affiliate: "The reigning member of Congress' top tax committee is apparently 'wrangling' other politicos to get him out of his own financial and tax troubles...Since ethics probes began last year the 79-year-old congressman has given campaign donations to 119 members of Congress, including three of the five Democrats on the House Ethics Committee who are charged with investigating him." Charlie Rangel should not be allowed to remain in Congress, let alone serve as Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and he knows it. That's why he felt the need to disburse campaign contributions to Ethics Committee members and other congressional colleagues.
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