A Day in the Life: 4/15-16/14
Global Warming and FeedbacksIs there a mechanism that could make humanity go extinct in the not-too-distant future, i.e. within a handful of decades?Most people will be aware that emissions due to human activity are causing global warming, as illustrated by the arrow marked 1 in the image on the left. Global warming can cause changes to the land, to vegetation and to the weather. This can result in wildfires that can in turn cause emissions, thus closing the loop and forming a self-reinforcing cycle that progressively makes things worse.
Furthermore, less forests and soil carbon also constitute a decrease in carbon sinks, resulting in carbon that would otherwise have been absorbed by such sinks to instead remain in the atmosphere, thus causing more global warming, as illustrated by the additional downward arrow in the image on the right. In conclusion, there are a number of processes at work that can all reinforce the impact of global warming.
Emissions can also contribute more directly to land degradation, to changes in vegetation and to more extreme weather, as indicated by the additional arrow pointing upward in the image on the right. A recent study by Yuan Wang et al. found that aerosols formed by human activities from fast-growing Asian economies can cause more extreme weather, making storms along the Pacific storm track deeper, stronger, and more intense, while increasing precipitation and poleward heat transport.
Accelerated Warming in the Arctic
Similar developments appear to be taking place over the North Atlantic. Huge pollution clouds from North America are moving over the North Atlantic as the Earth spins. In addition, the Gulf Stream carries ever warmer water into the Arctic Ocean. As the image below shows, sea surface temperature anomalies at the highest end of the scale (8 degrees Celsius) are visible off the coast of North America, streching out all the way into the Arctic Ocean.
As said, feedbacks as are making the situation progressively worse. Feedback loops are causing warming in the Arctic to accelerate. Warming in the Arctic is accelerating with the demise of the snow and ice cover in the Arctic, and this is only feedback #1 out out many feedbacks that are hitting the Arctic, as described in an earlier post. As the temperature difference between the equator and the Arctic decreases, the Jet Stream is changing, making it easier for cold air to move out of the Arctic and for warm air from lower latitudes to move in (feedback #10).
Views by ContributorsHow likely is it that the above mechanism will cause human extinction within the next few decades? What views do the various contributors to the Arctic-news blog have on this?
Guy McPherson has long argued that, given the strengths of the combined feedbacks and given the lack of political will to take action, near-term human extinction is virtually inevitable.
Further contributors are invited to have their views added to this post as well. While many contributors may largely share Paul Beckwith’s comments, it’s important to highlight that contributors each have their own views, and this extends to their preference for a specific plan of action.
One of the more controversial issues is the use of geo-engineering. Guy McPherson doesn’t believe geo-engineering will be successful. In the video below, Paul Beckwith gives his (more positive) views on this.
I must admit that the lack of political will to act is rather depressing, especially given the huge challenges ahead. So, I can understand that this can make some of us pessimistic at times. Nonetheless, I am an optimist at heart and I am convinced that we can get it right by giving more support to a Climate Plan that is both comprehensive and effective, as discussed at ClimatePlan.blogspot.com
Chemtrails: An Integral Part of the Great Starvation
When I was a child, I knew that the elite preferred to use starvation to nuclear weapons because those Hydrogen bombs killed rich people. Starvation was a great weapon in their opinion because it only struck down poor people. I had estimated at that time that at least 2 to 3 million Americans had died from starvation during the Great Depression. I have since learned that between 3 and 7 million Americans actually did starve to death. Of late I have been writing of the Great Starvation which is what I have called the next Great Depression because it will starve at least 10 million Americans to death and kill a billion people overseas.
Of course these deaths and suffering need not be if we had worldwide Debt Cancellation and monetary reform.
Today I want to specifically include Chemtrails on the list of programs designed by the elite to starve 10 million Americans to death. Chemtrails are also being used to degrade the health of Americans so many of them will be too sick to resist the Evil that passes for their government. And, when the plagues are released, the hungry and the sick will have a lowered resistance to diseases created for them in labs.
I also said when I was in high school that America would face a rising NationalSecurityState because Wall Street was stealing our pensions, savings and paychecks. This was long before they blew up the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City and the WorldTradeCenterTowers on 911.
Chemtrails spray 20 million tons of aluminum oxide, barium oxide and strontium oxide on human beings, plants, trees and the water we all must drink. These metal oxides have been linked to several human, plant and animal diseases.
Aluminum oxide raises the ph level of soil depleting the soil of micro-organisms needed for organic gardening. Trees are dying. Aluminum oxide is an accelerant for forest fires.
Ozone is depleted by aluminum oxide. Cosmic rays are blocked by Ozone.
The videos below present some interesting facts.
The parents of a young girl who was raised on an organic farm in Maui, Hawaii had her hair analyzed. Her hair proved she was poisoned by aluminum.
There are 160 Geoengineering patents. A defender of Geoengineering (Chemtrails) admitted two billion people could have their food sources interrupted while we are Geoengineering the planet. Rephrased in standard American this becomes ‘We are willing to starve a couple of billion people to death to conduct our scientific experiment.’
It is claimed Chemtrail combats Global Warming. I personally believe we are beginning a period of Global Cooling much like the Maunder Minimum. Scientists say spraying 20 million tons of aluminum into the atmosphere does cool the planet during the day but it traps heat at night so Chemtrails are ineffective in countering Global Warming.
Chemtrails are said to be part of weather modification. This causes droughts which bankrupt small farmers and send food prices higher all to the benefit of speculators and the GMO seed companies. Monsanto has a drought resistant GMO corn. In the videos below organic farmers say that Chemtrails will put them out of business forcing them to raise GMO crops.
One in ten American teenagers by their 19th birthday have livers functioning no better than senior citizens. This is thought to be due to the rapid increase of GMO High Fructose Corn Syrup in the US diet. A degradation in the functioning of the human liver can only aid the elite in their plans to reduce the population of planet earth.
Several European nations have recently banned GMO food. The European Union Commission overruled the member states and have allowed GMO food. Chemtrails can kill plants and reduce organic food production to force the Europeans to accept GMO food. Weather modification has caused droughts in Africa and Latin America which will also force those nations to accept GMO food.
GMO food fed to animals in labs causes tumors and reduces fertility in the first generation. By the third generation the few remaining lab animals are sterile runts with undersized organs and hair growing out of their mouths.
We the people of Planet Earth deserve the right to say No to GMO food and to Chemtrails.
The elite have had hundreds of studies conducted at their Foundations and at select Universities telling us that we need to reduce the world’s population to a billion or so. The mysterious Georgia Guidestones monument says we need to reduce the total world population to 500 million. Since I believe there are a few hundred million more Chinese people than their government admits, I take that to mean there is a well organized group in this world that wants to kill 7 billion human beings.
I ask them this: ‘By what right do you justify killing 7 billion people?’
Previously, I have written of the Epicyte corporation which spliced a protein that causes sterility into GMO corn. By what right do they sterilize people who eat corn? The government of the United States has intentionally added cancer viruses and other contaminants to the vaccines they require us to take. The German military refused vaccines given to the general public and successfully received cleaner versions normally reserved for high level politicians.
The food in America is laced with dangerous chemicals that are often banned in other countries. Bisphenol is a plastic used to line cans. It causes cancer and is an estrogen mimicker. It raises estrogen levels in men and women which causes cancer and sterilizes us without our consent.
These additives, the Chemtrails, the radiation from Fukushima, the vaccines and the coming spike in food prices at a time when the dollar is set to collapse will challenge our immune systems. The combination of poor health, the consumption of GMO food, contaminated vaccines and starvation will make billions of people susceptible to a coming series of plagues. MIT released a study saying that when the dollar collapses a half billion people die from starvation and riots and that a few billion will die from plagues.
The question is: why do they want us dead?
Please understand this: Wall Street and the City of London have stolen all of your pensions and savings. The coming currency crash will cut wages in half in the United States and Great Britain. The elite knows that the people will come after them demanding the return of the tens of trillions of dollars they stole from them. The Bankers have designed the NationalSecurityState to prevent effective opposition from forming. But they also know when the economy crashes and the Great Starvation begins people will have nothing left to lose. How can you threaten a man or woman with fines and jail if they have no food for their children? The bankers and their friends have decided that instead of allowing reform they will kill us by the billions.
And that is why they are poisoning our vaccines, our food and our water. That is why they are spraying the skies.
They want you and your family and your friends dead.
If you are unfamiliar with my writings, please consider the following:
Video: GMO Ticking Time Bomb, The Bankers Want You Sterilized And Then Dead
Video: The Sinaloa Mexican Drug Cartel Is A CIA Subsidiary
Eddie Reborn Into A World With Debt Cancellation
How And Why An American Military Coup Could Save The World
The Russo-Chinese Pincer Movement Against The US Treasury and The FED
This video goes into Chemtrails in some detail.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale hit the Arctic Ocean on April 13, 2014, at 02:12:19 UTC at a depth of 10.00 km (6.21 mi).The epicenter of the quake is located right on the faultline that crosses the Arctic Ocean, at 86.687°N 45.393°E, some 800 km north of Franz Josef Land.Earthquakes at this location are very worrying, as they can destabilize hydrates contained in the sediment under the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. Furthermore, one earthquake can trigger further earthquakes, especially at locations close-by on the same faultline.
– Earthquakes in the Arctic Ocean
– Methane, Faults and Sea Ice
– Norwegian Sea hit by 4.6M Earthquake
– Greenland Sea hit by M5.3 Earthquake
– Earthquake hits waters off Japan
– Earthquake hits Laptev Sea
– Methane Release caused by Earthquakes
– Earthquake M6.7 hits Sea of Okhotsk
– Sea of Okhotsk
– Seismic activity
– Climate Plan
‘Lungs of the Earth’ Could Get Pushed to ‘Tipping Point’
Agribusiness is already fueling fire in the Amazon, and climate change
could make fires kill even more trees
Amazon forests — the “lungs of planet earth” — could be pushed towards a “tipping point” as severe droughts converge with fires to bring about massive forest loss, a new study shows.
Climate change will likely increase regional temperatures while decreasing precipitation, and that means an increased likelihood of a perfect storm of conditions for causing massive tree-killing fires.
The team of researchers led by Paulo Brando of the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia, Carnegie Institution for Science and Woods Hole Research Center, did an 8-year study of three 50-hectare forest plots in southeast Amazonia to see how the trees within the plots responded to intentional burns.
One of the plots was left unburned, one was burned every three years, and the third was burned every year.
“Over the course of our experiment, 60 percent of the trees died with combined drought and repeated fire. Our results suggest that a perfect firestorm, caused by drought conditions and previous fire disturbance, crossed a threshold in forest resistance,” said study co-author Jennifer Balch, assistant professor of geography at Penn State.
Included in their study was 2007, a year a severe drought took place. During droughts, not only is there less humidity but there is also more fuel in the way of fallen leaves and branches.
Lead author Brando explains, “Four times more adult trees were killed by fire during a drought year, which means that there was also more carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere, more tree species loss and a greater likelihood of grasses invading the forest.”
In addition to pointing to future challenges exacerbated by climate change, the researchers write:
Insights from our fire experiment indicate that human-driven alteration of the Xingu landscape has already substantially modified the forest fire regime in this region and increased fire-related forest degradation.
That “human-driven alteration” is deforestation as a result of agribusiness. The study highlights how fragmented forests, which have more exposed areas and potentially more tinder-producing invasive grasses, are more susceptible to the impacts of droughts and fires.
“These smaller forest fragments have more edges than large blocks of forest, which exposes them to the hotter, dryer conditions in the surrounding landscape and makes them more vulnerable to escaped fires,” said co-author Marcia Macedo of the Woods Hole Research Center.
Indigenous rights and environmental groups have long criticized the effects of agribusiness “land grabs,” such as those that have occurred in Brazil, when huge swathes of forests that supported peoples and biodiversity are wiped out for large-scale monocultures like soybeans.
As nonprofit organization GRAIN has written:
Agribusiness is making a killing in the literal sense: it is killing the unique ecosystems of the region [Southern Cone] , and thereby the peoples who have cohabited with the forest for millennia.
In addition to emphasizing the importance of stopping deforestation, the authors say that previous models looking at the future health of the Amazon forests have left out fire’s effects, thereby giving a false impression of health.
“This study shows that fires are already degrading large areas of forests in Southern Amazonia and highlights the need to include interactions between extreme weather events and fire when attempting to predict the future of Amazonian forests under a changing climate,” Brando stated.
CIA Directs Kiev Proxy Regime to Launch Military Assault Against Rebels in Eastern Ukraine
On Sunday John Brennan, the CIA Director, paid a secret visit to the Ukraine
Within 48 hours, Ukrainian armed services launched a controlled assault against rebel positions in the Eastern Ukraine. Repeated claims by the Ukrainian regime and its sponsors in Brussels and Washington that this is an anti-terrorist operation are distortions of reality.
The rebellion in the East has genuine popular support, but the mainstream media, the US-NATO-EU axis, and its puppet regime in the Ukraine cannot allow this fact to become widely known and understood because then people might start to ask questions, like:
‘Why did the “international community” sponsor and support a violent coup by a nationalist mob against an elected government when it knew all along that half of the population, together with a closely related and powerful neighbour, would NEVER accept the outcome?
So, rather than face the inconvenient truth – that the Ukrainian coup was a coup launched not just against the Yanukovych government, but also against a large section of the Ukrainian people – rather than allowing people to face this truth – they are being fed another lie. Supposedly the rebels are ‘terrorists’, they have no genuine popular support, they are all Russian ‘agents’ and ‘provocateurs’, it is not a war against Ukrainians but against fifth-columnists and stooges – it’s all the fault of the crazy Russian dictator – Putin.
Well, it seems that some of the members of the Ukrainian armed and security forces aren’t at all ‘with the program’. There are reports that soldiers and police are defecting from the regime and throwing in their lot with the rebellion . In fact, there are even reports that Ukrainian citizens – assuming that ‘Russian gun-men’ are not cleverly disguising themselves as unarmed working-class East Ukrainian men and women ranging in age from 16 to 60 – are confronting the Ukrainian troops. And with some interesting outcomes. When Ukrainian troops entered Kramatorsk, their tanks were stopped in their tracks by a crowd of angry citizens. Six of the tank crews then appear to have defected and flown the Russian flag. http://rt.com/news/ukrainian-tanks-kramatorsk-civilians-840/
So, for the sake of those who think this is all about ‘Russian gun-men’ and ‘plucky Ukrainian democrats’ let’s be very clear about what is happening:
With the full support of the USA and its close allies, the Ukrainian coup regime is deploying the army against sections of the Eastern Ukrainian people who have never, and never will, support a regime that the USA played a greater role in placing into power than they did.
Nor will they support a regime that turned its back on a beneficial Russian offer and sold them down the river to western bankers, that blocks Russian language television channels, downplays the Russian language, hands ministerial portfolios to fascists, and is deeply embedded in a Galician historical self-consciousness that is completely at odds with the Russian speaking, Slavic historical self-consciousness of most people in the East and South of Ukraine.
When the USA/EU/NATO axis supported the February 22nd nationalist coup they sacrificed the unity of the Ukraine for their own geopolitical gain. Once the deed had been done, and the national unity agreement of February 21st had been trodden under Pravy Sektor boots, there would only be two options left for Ukraine – fragmentation or federalism. And by supporting the coup, and abandoning the February 21st agreement, the USA/EU/NATO knew full well they were set on a collision course with Russia.
So NATO and the EU are, as they say, ‘making hay while the sun shines’.
On Tuesday, in a meeting in Luxembourg with EU defence ministers, NATO secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen laid down the need to strengthen co-operation between the trade bloc and the military association. According to reports, the two sides agreed that, faced with the ‘Russian threat’, it is vital that they extend and deepen their co-operation, continuing a process that began in earnest with the Berlin Plus agreement in 2002, in which NATO essentially made itself formally and institutionally available as a military capability for the EU.
According to the AP report:
‘Rasmussen told reporters that NATO is planning a three-fold response to Moscow’s actions in and around Ukraine: “reinforced defense plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployment” to reassure NATO member states nearest Russia that their allies have has their back.
Rasmussen said “Russia’s hand” is clearly visible in Ukraine.’
Well, if Russia does have a ‘hand’ in the Ukraine, then it at least has strong economic, cultural and historical reasons for doing so. Quite what business the USA/EU/NATO axis has in having the best part of an arm and a leg in the Ukraine, helping depose an elected regime and directing military assaults against its civilians, is another matter entirely.
Kiev Government No Longer Controls Armed Forces: Troops Sent to Eastern Ukraine Switch Sides
Six Ukrainian Army Vehicles Join Pro-Federalist Protesters
Personnel From 6 Armored Transport Vehicles Sent To Kramatorsk In East Ukraine Switch To Side Of Pro-Federalist Activists.
SLAVIANSK, April 16 (RIA Novosti) – The personnel of six armored transport vehicles sent to the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk have switched sides and have joined the pro-federalist activists, witnesses told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
“We found them at a square near the railway station. A group of women surrounded them, we started telling them we were peaceful residents who are just fighting for their rights and that there are no terrorists here,” the witness said, adding: “They won’t shoot us.”
“The main armored transport vehicle had a Russian flag on it and they left together with our [protesters] towards Slaviansk,” the witness said.
The number of personnel from the transport vehicles was not specified.
The Ukrainian army started a special operation Tuesday in a crackdown on self-defense activists in eastern Ukraine. The operation targeted the cities of Kramatorsk and Slaviansk in the Donetsk region. At least four protesters were killed and two others wounded Tuesday as Ukrainian troops stormed an airfield in Kramatorsk, local pro-federalization supporters said. Two others were wounded.
Eastern Ukraine has been swept by rallies beginning last month. Federalization supporters in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Gorlovka, Slaviansk and Kramatorsk refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government and are urging interim authorities to hold referendums similar to the one held in Crimea last month, which led to the republic’s reunification with Russia.
Russia condemned the decision by the new Ukrainian authorities to use force against the federalization supporters, saying it was an extremely unpleasant turn of events.
Ukraine presidential candidates attacked in Kiev
Radicals have attacked two Ukrainian presidential candidates. One of them, Oleg Tsarev, was “brutally beaten,” claimed the candidate’s press office. The radicals poured green antiseptic solution and flour on another candidate, Mikhail Dobkin.
Oleg Tsarev was attacked after being trapped inside the ICTV media building following his appearance on the ‘Svoboda Slova’ chat show, according to the statement released by Tsarev’s office.
“It was with great difficulty that government’s security forces were able to recapture Oleg Tsarev from the angry mob. He was severely beaten and is in serious condition,” the press office said.
The video embedded below shows the scene of the alleged mob attack, although Tsarev himself is not visible through the crowd.
Earlier, there were reports of the entire building being surrounded by unidentified gunmen with Tsarev trapped inside and his car attacked, including slashed tires.
Following the attack, Tsarev said that he would not withdraw his candidacy from the presidential election under any circumstances, his press office stated.
“Peaceful dialogue between the authorities and all of the people in the country, the search for compromise and understanding are the only ways to solve the political crisis,” Interfax quoted the politician as saying in the lobby of the General Prosecutor’s Office Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, has noted a “shy silence” from Western countries towards the attack on Tsarev.
“The Maidan tank democracy is in full swing, the extremists remained unpunished,” Dolgov tweeted. “Typical double standards.”
According to Dolgov, Kiev coup-appointed government used ‘tank’ force against people of south-eastern Ukrainian cities whose rights should be protected by this vey government.
“Is it an inclusive political dialogue and a constitutional reform?” he asked on Twitter.
Around the same time, unidentified individuals blocked and damaged the vehicle carrying another presidential candidate, Mikhail Dobkin, while attacking and injuring his aides on their way to that same talk show.
Dobkin admitted to the attack during a live phone interview later on the show. Other media reported that the radicals poured green antiseptic solution and flour on Dobkin.
The two candidates were scheduled to join a third presidential candidate, Yulia Tymoshenko, on the talk show.
Both Dobkin and Tsarev submitted their candidacies for the presidential election as self-nominees. Ukraine’s presidential elections are scheduled to be held on May 25, with twenty three registered candidates taking part in the campaign.
Dobkin is a businessman-turned-politician and the former governor of the eastern Kharkov region. During his presidential bid he vowed to focus on reviving diplomatic relations with Russia, if elected.
Tsarev is also from the eastern part of Ukraine and was a Dnepropetrovsk businessman and People’s Deputy of Ukraine elected for the Party of Regions. He was later expelled from the party on April 7.
This is not the first time Tsarev was attacked in recent days. There were reports of him being caught up in the clashes in Odessa on Friday, as well as, beaten and pelted with eggs in Nikolaev by members of the Right Sector, according to RIA Novosti.
Date: Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 1:22 AM
After reading the open letter to President Putin signed by over 300 Germans, one of the readers of this blog decided to emulate their example and write his own open letter to President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov. Unlike the German letter, this letter is much more simple and very much to the point. This is its full text:
Many citizens of western countries greatly respect your measured responses to the recent and ongoing threats to Syria, Iran, and Ukraine.You and your government have several times averted dangerous conflicts. Irresponsible nations heavily armed with biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons ache for a war whose outcome they cannot comprehend.International diplomacy requires a grasp of history, as well as strength, courage, rectitude, grace, and common sense. Most western leaders today lack these essential qualities. We appreciate how challenging it must be to negotiate with such people.The above views are neither represented by our leaders nor explored by our corporate media commentators. Reaching over them to extend a hand of friendship and gratitude, we offer you our support and best wishes.
According to Obama, the Kerry, Samantha Power, Jen Psaki and the rest of the US 1%ers, most members of the UN Security Council and according to the EU clowns at the OSCE or PACE, what you are seeing in this video is: “Russian agents creating chaos were there was none and spreading hatred”.According to the freaks of the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev, what you see are terrorists.According to me, what you see is simple civilians willing to stand up in front of a tank with their car and their bodies to stop it. What I hear them say is “who the hell do you plan to shoot at? Stop the engine! Stop the engine! What are you pulling your assault rifle out for? Do you think that if we jump on your tank it will protect you?”. Judging by the copious amount of cursing the civilians are really very mad because they are suspecting that this tank is headed for the city of Slaviansk. I would add that the poor tank crew is clearly frightened and ashamed and the tank commander does the only right thing: he climbs out of the tank, begs to crowd not to touch it (he is personally responsible for it) and tries to convince the crowd that they did not plan to shoot anybody. The tank commander looks like a nice young guy placed in an impossible situation, and I hope that the civilians will understand that. They are angry because initially the tank crew tried to avoid them. The good news is that I clearly hear a voice saying “stop screaming! stop screaming!” to try to cool down the angry crowd. And no, I don’t see any Spetsnaz GRU in disguise or any sign of Russians at all.
Decide for yourself what you see:
One more thing. The tank sounds like it has some transmission problem (though not being an armor person I am not sure). It sure is an old tank. But what is absolutely certain, is that basic military tactic categorically forbids sending a lone tank cruising around the countryside. If these civilians had been military, even without anti-tank weapons, they could have easily set this tank on fire. In other words, what I see here is not anything remotely looking like a military assault on the city of Slaviansk, but complete total chaos.
It appears that the next 24 hours will be absolutely crucial for the future of the Ukraine. So far, these are the most important developments:The following cities have seen uprisings taking place over the week-end: Kharkov, Slaviansk, Krasnyi Liman, Kramatorsk, Lugansk, Enakievo, Gorlovka, Donetsk, Khartsyzk, Ilovaisk, Mariupol. To get a feel for the spread, check out this map:The second big development is the clear increase in the quality of the forces opposing the takeover of the eastern Ukraine by the revolutionary regime in Kiev. Up until Friday, most of the demonstrators were civilians, “armed” with bars, stones, Molotov cocktails, bats, etc. and, frankly, their barricades looked pretty lame. Over the week end some better equipped forces have appeared, this could be due to the seizure of weapons caches from the SBU, but my guess is that there is a traffic going on between Crimea and the eastern Ukraine. Some Crimeans have said so openly. Furthermore, it is very likely that there are also volunteers from Russia, probably with military backgrounds, helping out the locals. The barricades look far better built now, they are over 6 feet high and they seem much better protected.
The Kiev regime and the USA have accused Russia of having GRU agents involved. Well, I am pretty sure that they are there – they would be stupid not to – but to present the spreading insurrection as the result of the Kremlin’s covert operations is rather silly. While I would expect the SVR and GRU to try to help, they are going to try to stay several steps removed in order to avoid a potential political scandal for Russia. But could the GRU be providing equipment for Russian volunteers in eastern Ukraine. Yes, that is definitely possible, thought not necessarily the most likely explanations. The fact is that nobody really knows.
There are some pretty consistent rumors that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John O. Brennan, has covertly travelled to Kiev and that he is the one who told the regime to put down the rebellion in the East. Maybe. Maybe not. What is certain is that the SBU has been run by the CIA since 22 years already and that the authorities would never have gone ahead with this plan without getting Uncle Sam’s approval. Since the offensive basically failed, it appears that the US has told its Ukrainian allies to “cool it”, either to try to negotiate or just to win some time. Whatever may be the case, both Iatseniuk and Turchinov have now promised a referendum on the future of the Ukraine and all the “legitimate demands” of the East. Nobody trusts them (Turchinov had just announced an “anti-terrorist” operation!), but this is nevertheless a *huge* development. At the very same time, there are repeated reports about a secret order by Turchinov to crack down on the eastern Urkaine and that Andrei Parubii (Maidan), Valentin Nalivaichenko (SBU) and Vasilii Krutov (Military) have formed special headquarters to coordinate the repression.
Finally, there are a lot of reports of large columns of military units moving towards the East. They even include artillery and heavy multiple rocket launchers. My hope is that these are moved to the eastern Ukraine in order to try to stop a Russian military intervention. I am not saying that this would work – it would not – but that I hope that this is the plan. I don’t want to even contemplate the possibility that these systems might be used against the civilian population.
There are basically three scenarios for the short term now:
1) The Ukies give up on the notion to solve this problem by violence and terror and some kind of deal will be hammered out between Russia and the US on the 17th.
2) The Ukies do attack and fail.
3) The Ukies attack, are successful and Russia intervenes.
Can a unitary Ukraine still be saved? At this point, I would say that this *might* still be possible, but that the Ukies have to really give up the notion of breaking the rebellion in the East by violence and the USA have to finally stop the nonsense and agree to seriously negotiate.
If the Ukie do try to attack and put down the rebellion by force, they can kiss the eastern Ukraine goodbye forever.
The Tax Breaks That Are Killing the Planet
ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, hauled in a $32.6 billion profit last year. Chief executive Rex Tillerson got a 3 percent bump in his pay package, sending it above $28 million. And today the company gets its annual boost from the federal government: anestimated $600 million in tax breaks.
All told, the government gifts as much as $4.8 billion to the oil industry each year, more than any other country. Much of that comes not as direct handouts but instead via loopholes in the tax code; deductions for depleting oil reserves, for example, and write-offs for the expense of drilling a new well. These reflect a long-past era in which oil exploration was financially risky, and prices were low. Now oil prices and profits are high, and the government is losing revenue while promoting the continued exploitation of carbon-intensive fuels. In the face of a changing climate and a constrained domestic budget, the lunacy of such preferential treatment is hard to overstate.
“Perverse” is the word the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found for such policies in its latest report, which was released in full on Tuesday. Globally, subsidies for fossil fuel production—amounting to $1.9 trillion in 2011, or 8 percent of government revenues, according to the International Monetary Fund—“prove to increase emissions and put heavy burdens on public budgets,” reads the report.
On the other hand, rolling them back could be a key part of a serious climate agenda. The IMF estimates that eliminating fossil fuel subsidies could lower emissions by 13 percent. That general principle, if not the exact figure, is supported by the IPCC, which wrote, “Lowering or removing such subsidies would contribute to global mitigation, but this has proved difficult.”
“Difficult” may be an understatement in the United States. As a recent article at Mother Jones lays out, the energy industry wields considerable influence in Washington. In the last fifteen years oil and gas companies spent more than $1.4 billion on lobbying, employing nearly 800 lobbyists, many of them culled from congressional offices. That expense is actually a shrewd investment: every dollar the five largest oil companies spend on lobbyingreflects $53 in tax breaks. The industry also leverages millions in donations to candidates and political ads during each election cycle, discouraging politicians from taking a hard line on tax breaks.
Government support for fossil fuels goes beyond the tax code. Another de facto subsidy comes from the Interior Department’s failure to collect proper royalties on domestic oil and coal. The government has lost as much as $14.7 million because royalties are not collected on offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico. In Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, below-market sale prices and an uncompetitive bidding process for coal reserves has cost taxpayers as much as $30 billion over the past two decades, while helping to prop up a collapsing industry. There’s also evidence that the federal coal program is failing to properly collect royalties on coal sold overseas. While President Obama may not be able to do much about the tax code unilaterally, his Interior Department certainly has the authority—in fact, the obligation—to reform its coal-leasing program.
Finally, there is a more deeply hidden giveaway to the fossil fuel industry, the most critical of oversights: the fact that companies don’t pay for the damages caused by their products—their external costs. While every citizen will pay for climate change, as those living near extraction and refining sites have long borne the burden of local pollution, companies get a free pass on their carbon emissions. This imbalance is what a carbon tax is designed to remedy.
Closing loopholes in the tax code would be only a small part of an aggressive climate agenda—particularly since it’s unlikely that eliminating those subsidies would affect global oil prices significantly. Still, those tax breaks represent billions that could be spent elsewhere, such as investment in renewables. The IPCC report concluded that subsidies, directed properly, can be an effective tool for slowing down global warming by helping low-carbon technologies and products overcome their competitive disadvantage in relationship to fossil fuels. Federal support for renewables now outstrips benefits for fossil fuels, but it’s still not comparable to the help that the government gave the oil industry in its early days. Important incentives, like the wind energy tax credit, have been allowed to expire. Furthermore, our national infrastructure is designed for the age of cheap fossil fuels, making it even more difficult for alternative energy to compete.
The best chance for closing the loopholes—and, perhaps, for imposing a carbon tax—is if Congress overhauls the tax code, something both parties have indicated an interest in. But even the best chance is a slim one given the cabal of climate deniers in the House, and a broader reluctance to challenge energy interests. If climate change seems like a problem too big to to approach, perhaps start here: elections matter.
From: Gar Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 12:38 PM
Subject: An article for US Tax Day: Under US Law, paying taxes can get you fined and jailed for supporting terrorism
Here’s a timely article (timely for the next 24 hours, at least).
Pay Your Taxes, Go to Gitmo?
With April 15 fast approaching, I have just finished mailing my 1040. This year, I didn’t owe taxes and, boy, am I relieved. Not because I can’t afford to cut a check, it’s just that I don’t want to spend the next six years in a federal prison for violating the provisions of US Code Title 18 — Crimes and Criminal Procedures.
That’s exactly what happened to Ahmed Taalil Mohamud, a cab driver in Anaheim, California, who was sentenced to six years in prison for, as the Associated Press put it, “funneling thousands of dollars to a terrorist organization” in Somalia.
Mohamud was one of four Somali immigrants convicted of sending nearly $11,000 to al-Shabab, a militant group linked to Al Qaeda. The other co-conspirators received prison sentences ranging between 10 and 18 years.
The Somalis ran afoul of Title 18 — specifically <a href=”http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/USCODE-2011-title18/USCODE-2011-title18-partI-chap113B-sec2339C“>Article 2339C</a>, which sets forth “Prohibitions against the financing of terrorism.”
This law stipulates that it is a crime to collect funds with the intention or knowledge that such funds might be used to carry out any “act intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed combat, when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act.”
Title 18’s <a href=”http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2339B“>Article 2339B</b> further states that: “whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.”
Any act “intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian” — that stands as a perfectly legitimate definition of terrorism. President Barack Obama offered an equally straightforward definition of terrorism on the eve of the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings when he stated: “Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.”
My concern is that my government has a long and abiding history of engaging in acts that clearly meet all-of-the-above definitions of terrorism.
A Long, Proud History of Bombing Civilians
US bombs have been killing civilians in great numbers ever since the end of WWII when the detonation of a single bomb over the city of Hiroshima incinerated <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_bombing_during_World_War_II#Conventional_bombing“>220,000 men, women and children.</a>
By 1968, US bombs and bullets had killed an estimated <a href=”http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/vietnam-a-war-on-civilians“>300,000 civilians </a>in Vietnam.
Between 1969 and 1973, America’s secret bombing raids over Cambodia may have killed as many as <a href=”http://www.japanfocus.org/-ben-kiernan/3380“>150,000 civilians</a<>.
On February 13, 1991, more than <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiriyah_shelter_bombing“>408 civilians were blown to bits in an aerial attack on the Amiriyah shelter (aka “Public Shelter No. 25”) in Iraq. The attack was carried out by the US Air Force, using two laser-guided “smart bombs.”
In Operation Allied Force, the US-led assault on Kosovo, Human Rights Watch documented <a href=”http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/nato/Natbm200-01.htm“>528 civilians killed</i> in 90 different incidents.
The devastating US siege of Fallujah is believed to have killed <a href=”http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/1116-04.htm“> at least 800 Iraqi civilians.
The 1989 US bombing of Panama City — <a href=”http://www.airforcemag.com/magazinearchive/pages/2009/december%202009/1209panama.aspx“>Operation Just Cause</a> — left a sprawling barrio in flames, 10,000 homeless and <a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/01/world/panama-and-us-strive-to-settle-on-death-toll.html“>as many as 4,000 civilians dead</a>.
In the process of enforcing a “no-fly zone” over Libya — ostensibly “to protect civilians” — US and allied bombs left “<a href=”http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/14/nato-investigate-civilian-deaths-libya“>at least 72</a>” civilians dead.
In Afghanistan, between October 2001 and March 2002, US bombs and drones claimed the lives of <a href=”http://cursor.org/stories/civilian_deaths.htm“>3,000 – 3,400 civilians</a>.
On April 1, 2003, a US nighttime air attack on a residential district in the town of Hilla killed <a href=”http://www.rense.com/general36/33a.htm“>at least 11 Iraqi civilians</a>, mostly children.
On June 18, 2004, Washington’s first known drone strike inside Pakistan’s <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_drone_strikes_in_Pakistan“>killed 5-8 people, including two children</a>.
In a pre-dawn attack on October 30, 2006, three missiles fired by a US Predator drone slammed into a madrassa in Chenagai village, <a href=”http://www.rediff.com/news/report/guest/20061106.htm“> killing 80 Afghan students and teachers sleeping in the seminary.
In June 2007, <a href=”http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jun/18/usa.afghanistan“>seven children were killed</a> in a US air strike on a <a href=”http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15477981/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/t/pakistan-strikes-alleged-al-qaida-center“>mosque and religious school</a> in eastern Afghanistan.
On November 3, 2008, a US airstrike on a wedding party in Wech Baghtu, Afghanistan, killed 26 “insurgents” — and <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wech_Baghtu_wedding_party_airstrike“>37 civilians, largely women and children.
In 2009, <a href=”http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2010/02/24/un-346-afghan-children-killed-in-2009-more-than-half-by-nato.html“>more than half of the 131 children killed</a> in Afghanistan were victims of US/NATO air strikes.
In March 2011, a CIA drone attack killed scores of Pakistanis — mainly civilians and tribal elders — as they gathered to discuss a local land dispute. “Maybe there were one or two Taliban at that jirga,” Brig. Abdullah Dogar told the London Sunday Times, “but does that justify a drone strike which kills <a href=”http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/04/obama-terror-drones-cia-tactics-in-pakistan-include-targeting-rescuers-and-funerals/“>42 mostly innocent people</a>?”
As of August 2011, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism determined, 2,292 Pakistanis had been killed by US missiles, including <a href=”http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8695679/168-children-killed-in-drone-strikes-in-Pakistan-since-start-of-campaign.html”>as many as 775 civilians — 168 of whom were children</i>.
Between June 2011 and January 12, 2013, the US had conducted at least 23 air attacks inside Somalia, nine of which involved drones. Investigations by journalists determined that between 58 to 170 people were killed in these attacks, including <a href=”http://stats.areppim.com/stats/stats_dronewar_som.htm“>11 to 57 civilians and 3 children</a>.
In the last week of November 2013, a “botched NATO drone attack” in Afghanistan <a href=”http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/asia/afghanistan/article3935025.ece“>killed three civilians, one of them a two-year-old toddler</a>.
In December 2013, a US drone killed <a href=”http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/12/air-strike-yemen-15-wedding-guest-killed-mistaken-al-qaida“>15 civilians in Yemen</a> as they were driving to a wedding party.
In April 2014, <i>Time</i> magazine (citing a 2013 report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism) reported “US drone attacks have killed an estimated <a href=” http://tribune.com.pk/story/510528/us-senator-says-4700-killed-in-drone-strikes-report/“>900 civilians</a> in Pakistan since 2004.” The latest BIJ figures list 383 drone strikes (87 percent authorized by Barack Obama) with as many as <a href=”http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/drones-pakistan/]”>957 civilians and 202 children killed</a>.
No wonder that, in an April 10 interview with <i>Salon</i>, former President Jimmy Carter observed: “<a href=”http://www.salon.com/2014/04/10/america_as_the_no_1_warmonger_president_jimmy_carter_talks_to_salon_about_race_cable_news_slut_shaming_and_more/]”>The rest of the world, almost unanimously, looks at America as the No. 1 warmonger.</a>”
And the White House has not done the country any favors by lowering its terrorism bar. Only a few days after the murder of a two-year-old child inflamed Afghan anger against the US, the White House <a href=”http://news.antiwar.com/2013/12/04/pentagon-guidelines-no-longer-ban-killing-civilians-with-drones/“>radically revised its rules of engagement</a>. The previous standard required that the US military was to “ensure” that civilians were not targeted. Now, troops are merely advised to “avoid targeting” civilians. Civilian deaths are now acceptable. The only limitation is that they “must not be excessive” — a slippery word that is open to interpretation.
A US Taxpayer’s Liability
According to the “jurisdiction” section of article 2339C, the potential targets of the law are not limited to immigrant cabdrivers. American citizens are also placed in the legal crosshairs. The law makes it clear that its enforcement also applies when “a perpetrator is a national of United States.”
What kind of crimes are we talking about? They can include assaults against a government building, acts directed against “any person or property within the US,” or any offense “committed onboard” an aircraft registered under US law or a vessel flying the US flag. Taking a cue from the USA PATRIOT Act, the law criminalizes any “predicate act committed in an attempt to compel United States to do or abstain from doing any act.” This would seem to include everything from firebombing the Pentagon to staging vigils at US military bases or holding mass rallies in the Capital Mall.
The penalties for violating this law are severe, including fines and imprisonment “for not more than 20 years, or both.” And the Department of Justice is not even required to prove that funds volunteered by a would-be terrorist — or taxpayer — were actually used to finance, support or provoke some proscribed act. As Article 2339C clearly stipulates: “[F]or an act to constitute an offense set forth in this subsection, it shall not be necessary that the funds were actually used to carry out a predicate act.”
“Prohibited activities” include knowingly providing material support or resources. Individuals or financial institutions found to have “possessed or controlled funds used by any designated terrorist organizations” are liable to a fine of $50,000 or imprisonment “for not more than 15 years or both.” If someone is killed as a result of the “predicate act,” US law requires a life sentence.
According to US Code, Article 2339B: “A person must have knowledge that the organization is designated terrorist organization. . . , that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorist activity. . . or that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorism.”
In light of this definition, a taxpayer’s only defense against a charge of complicity in supporting state-sponsored terrorism would be to claim total ignorance of the Pentagon’s long history of collateral damage and civilian carnage. But, given the state of the US media and education, such claims might prove persuasive in a court of law.
Article 2339B contains a curious escape clause. “No person may be prosecuted under this section . . . if the provision of that materiel support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization was approved by the Secretary of State with the concurrence of the Attorney General.” Article 2339B then seems to double back on itself by adding: “the Secretary of State may not approve the provision of any material support that may be used to carry out terrorist activity.”
Article 2339B provides a possible loophole for taxpayers who fear being prosecuted under to Article 2339C when it states “whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a <i>foreign</i> terrorist organization . . . shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both . . . .” [Emphasis added.]
Meanwhile, even the government itself has not been able to avoid violating its own laws. According to “Contracting with the Enemy,” <a href=”http://www.sigar.mil/pdf/quarterlyreports/2013-07-30qr-section2.pdf“> an April 2014 report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, taxpayer money is already being used to finance terrorism in Afghanistan.
In 2013, $1.7 million worth of tax dollars were handed over to 9,733 Afghan contractors but, because of the way law is written, 80 percent of these contracts were granted without scrutiny. As a result, the report notes, “millions of contracting dollars could be diverted to forces seeking to harm US Military and civilian personnel.”
So the Pentagon is not only perpetrating acts of terror against civilians from the Middle East to Panama; it is now in the position of financing terrorism against itself.
Comprehensive Disobedience: Occupying the Sharing Economy in Spain
Photo credit: Olmo Calvo
Spanish war tax resisters and activists from the 15-M, or indignados, movement (the Spanish version of “Occupy”) have joined forces to organize a sharing economy network and to nourish it with redirected taxes.
How this came about is an interesting story, and though their project is decidedly edgier and more confrontational than most of what goes on under the sharing economy umbrella, we can learn a lot from what they have accomplished.
When the financial crisis hit Spain, the banking and finance industry rushed to the government for bailouts, just like they did in the U.S. But Spain went further, abruptly amending its Constitution to make debt payments to these financiers the government’s “absolute priority” — higher than any other budget item — and to mandate austerity budgets that cut funding for social services.
Meanwhile, Enric Durán carried out a daring bank robbery. He took out loans from 39 different Spanish banks, under false pretenses, and then fled with the money — nearly half a million euros. He put the bulk of it into a variety of anti-capitalist activist projects, and publicized the action as his attempt to fight back against the banking system’s hijacking of the Spanish economy.
Among the projects this Robin Hood funded was one called Derecho de Rebelion (Right of Rebellion). It was launched shortly after the Constitution was amended — something the project characterized as a coup “dictated by international capital and enacted behind the backs of the people.”
Derecho de Rebelion encourages the people of Spain to withdraw their allegiance from this delegitimized government and instead “declare ourselves citizens of the popular assemblies and the assemblies of post-capitalist projects in which we participate”:
We pledge to do everything in our power to construct a new, popular force that enables a new society where decisions will be actually realized by the people.
…we commit ourselves to begin and extend an action of complete tax resistance against the Spanish state and those who control it… we will not pay their debts, because we do not recognize this constitution. Tax resistance serves to fund the popular assemblies, and from these, gives “absolute priority” to participatory funding of the resources that we really consider public.
Because the situation that we are experiencing in Spain is common to many countries worldwide, and because the ruling economic powers are global, we encourage people around the world to assert their right of rebellion by means of manifestos like this.
This manifesto came out as the first Occupy Wall Street demonstrations were beginning. The following Spring they published half a million copies of a tabloid called ¡Rebelaos! (“Revolt!”). It recommended methods that had been developed by the war tax resistance movement in Spain, with a couple of modifications:
- They advised people to resist not just taxes for military spending but also for other items in the federal budget, such as payments on the debt, the salaries of legislators, the church, the prisons, the police, and the monarchy — totaling roughly 25% of the tax bill (though in other places they advocated “total” tax resistance).
- They asked people to redirect their resisted taxes into their local Occupy-style popular assemblies or into projects launched through these assemblies.
The tax resistance advice in ¡Rebelaos! was mixed with other ideas for societal transformation: organizing worker-run cooperatives, creating grassroots job centers, squatting in unused buildings and resettling abandoned villages, operating self-managed healthcare cooperatives, running popular assemblies, and other things of that nature.
With the advice of veteran Spanish war tax resisters like Arcadi Oliveres, the group began work on a crowd-funded tax resisters’ handbook. They also opened what they called “offices of economic disobedience” in Madrid, Barcelona, Castellón, and Zaragoza (the first four of what are now at least a dozen such offices), where they counsel prospective resisters on how to resist the income tax and VAT and how to set up self-managed businesses and cooperatives.
Cooperativa Integral Catalunya in Barcelona
They also remained active in the 15-M assemblies and began to link up various sharing economy projects — cooperatives, community gardens, free stores, food banks, alternative currencies, debtors’ unions, credit cooperatives, barter networks, housing co-ops, tool libraries, off-the-grid small-scale energy generators, soup kitchens, squats, activist affinity groups, popular assemblies, and the like — hoping that by connecting the people in these projects into local, self-managed networks, they could bypass the government/financial intermediaries in the economy. They coined the term “Desobediencia Integral” (Comprehensive Disobedience) for this strategy:
Comprehensive Disobedience involves breaking the social contract with the State of a territory where one lives, in order to bring into being a new social contract in a community with which the individual is really linked.
The second edition of the movement’s Handbook of Economic Disobedience expands on this theme. It highlights tax resistance and gives practical advice on how to go about it, but it also puts tax resistance in the context of a much more comprehensive restructuring of personal and communal economic life that aims to help you take your resources away from big business, from the financial system, and from the government, and put those resources instead at the service of people in your community by means of more personal, face-to-face gifts and exchanges in decentralized networks.
They acknowledge that this is going to be a long process, and that for some time people will have to operate in two worlds at once: the official economy where the rules and priorities are set by a privileged few for their own benefit, and the emerging one in which everyone participates on an equal basis.
Because Big Finance and Big Government are so tightly interlinked, the movement is augmenting tax resistance with resistance to mortgages and foreclosures, defaults on credit card debt, and personal bankruptcy as a tactic to make debts like these uncollectable – something like the Strike Debt! project in the U.S.
They are taking their money out of banks in favor of credit unions, new “ethical” banks, and microloan-style plans that fund alternative economy projects. In some cases they are leaving money behind entirely and moving to barter or alternative currencies or Local Exchange Trading Systems which further strengthen the alternative economic network and build ties between its members.
And they are experimenting with a variety of ways to use the laws and tools of the official economy to subversively build and strengthen the sharing economy. Corporate personhood? We can play that game too!
By participating in this network of experiments, by building new methods of production and exchange, and by redirecting their resources and their loyalty from the government to democratically-organized grassroots projects, together they are building a new economic system in which people are the highest priority.
How can those of us in the U.S. learn from Spain’s “comprehensive disobedience” model? Well, one thing we can do is to reach out to the American war tax resistance movement. They already have a long-standing tradition of redirecting their taxes from the government to more worthwhile projects — it seems a natural fit for them to partner with the people who are developing the new sharing economy. It could be that all you need to do is extend a hand of friendship in order to find enthusiastic start-up capital for your subversive sharing economy innovation.
If you’re more daring, you might ask them for advice on how you and those around you can redirect your own tax dollars away from the politicians in Washington and into the projects whose benefits you have seen with your own two eyes. Tax resistance may be just as important a part of the new economy here as it is in Spain.
Obama Administration Rakes In Billions Off Student Debt
‘The student loan program isn’t about helping students or borrowers—
it’s about making profits for the federal government.’
Critics blasted the U.S. Department of Education for profiting off the backs of struggling students after a new projection by the Congressional Budget Office revealed Monday that the federal agency is set to make $127 billion from loan interest payments over the next ten years.
And despite promises to do the opposite, a student loan bill signed into law last year is driving up those interest rates even faster than projected, an internal government watchdogreports.
“This exploding debt is crushing our young people,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Saturday, speaking at a student loan symposium at Suffolk University’s law school in Boston. Warren was one of the few lawmakers who last year voted against the passage of the loan bill.
“These students didn’t go to the mall and run up a bunch of charges on credit cards,” Warren continued. “They worked hard to learn new skills that will benefit this country. […] They deserve our support, not an extra tax for trying to get an education.”
According to the Huffington Post, reporting on the new estimates:
Beginning in 2015, the average undergraduate borrower will pay 5.72 percent to borrow from the federal government, the budget office estimates. Graduate borrowers are forecast to pay at least 7.27 percent, while parents will pay 8.27 percent.All three rates are higher than what borrowers paid in the 2012-13 academic year—the last year before Congress changed the law.
Further, these higher borrowing costs come at least a year sooner than projected last summer when the bill was signed into law. At the time, the Obama administration touted the new rule as a “win for students,” saying the student loan law would “keep student loan interest rates low this year.”
“This is a profit-making machine for the Education Department,” Chris Hicks, who leads the Debt-Free Future campaign for Jobs With Justice, told Huffington Post.
Hicks added that average estimated annual profit of $12 billion demonstrates that the federal student loan program is charging borrowers way too much: “The student loan program isn’t about helping students or borrowers—it’s about making profits for the federal government.”
U.S college graduates now owe over $1 trillion and, according to the Project on Student Debt, 7 out of 10 graduating college seniors owe an average of $29,400.
By Paul Craig Roberts
Washington is putting the entire world at risk. Continue
By The Saker
There are a lot of reports of large columns of military units moving towards the East. They even include artillery and heavy multiple rocket launchers. Continue
By Johannes Stern
Evidence is mounting that the Western-backed opposition was responsible for the lethal shootings in Independence Square on February 20. Continue
Cindy Sheehan Interviews John Pilger Continue
By Gareth Porter
The deceptive rhetoric about the Iranian nuclear programme began with the Bill Clinton administration. Continue
By David Swanson
Fifteen years ago, it was possible to pretend the U.S. government opposed torture. Then it became widely known that the government tortured. Continue
By Jack D. Douglas
“NO! I wont’ believe anything these terrible criminals say and I absolutely will not help them in any way.” Continue
By Eric Zuesse
Who governs? Who really rules?” Continue
By Ellen Brown
“Our system is completely rotten. All of the largest banks are involved—eagerly engaged in this fraud for years, covering it up.” Continue
By Paul Craig Roberts
Money is more important to European politicians than humanity’s survival. Continue
By Mike Whitney
Washington couldn’t beat Putin in a fair fight, so now they’ve taken off the gloves. Continue
Obviously if there is bloodshed in the east, I think that president Putin will be forced to take some sort of measures. I think that what people don’t understand in the West is that there are strong feelings running in Russia. Continue
By Moon Of Alabama
He said the above two month ago while U.S. financed brutes from Maidan occupied government buildings. Continue
By John Chuckman
When you have lied to and manipulated a people for a very long time, how can a growing contempt for them be avoided? Continue
By Paul Rosenberg
What America does overseas is always good and right. We do not speak against it. Continue
By Nick Turse
Is the U.S. secretly training Libyan militiamen in the Canary Islands? Continue
By Craig Murry
The unabashed collusion of two torturing security states and blocking criminal prosecution of the guilty is a sign of how low public ethics have sunk. Continue
By Travis Gettys
The 63-year-old Ruppert had previously worked as a Los Angeles police officer, and he gained notoriety in 1995 for an encounter with then-CIA Director John Deutch during a town hall meeting. Continue
By Matt Taibbi
This is a case that has everything. everything except an arrest. Continue
Video – Stefan Molyneux
Stop believing these people – Everything coming out of your television set is Bull*hit.Continue
By TONY BURBECK
Cindy Castano Swannack called police the first time she drove by it. Continue
Video – Alan Watts
When you’re ready to wake up, you’re going to wake up, and if you’re not ready you’re going to stay pretending that you’re just a ‘poor little me.’ Continue
April 15, 2014
- QEG Resonance Chatter – The Laminate plates are meant to vibrate which is the main part of the generation according to the QEG team. Frequency vibration showing an electrical response. Testing of QEG Effect. (Free Energy Blog; April 15, 2014)
April 14, 2014
- CIA Murdered Yull Brown (Not) – …he had been involved in financing Yull Brown and had taken him to a university to introduce his work there. Two days later he was contacted by the CIA and grilled for three hours, being told to back off or he would be killed, along with Yull Brown… (Free Energy Blog; April 14, 2014)
More Than 900 Environmental Advocates Slain in a Decade as Concern for the Planet Grows
BANGKOK (AP) — As head of his village, Prajob Naowa-opas battled to save his community in central Thailand from the illegal dumping of toxic waste by filing petitions and leading villagers to block trucks carrying the stuff — until a gunman in broad daylight fired four shots into him.
A year later, his three alleged killers, including a senior government official, are on trial for murder. The dumping has been halted and villagers are erecting a statue to their slain hero.
But the prosecution of Prajob’s murder is a rare exception. A survey released Tuesday — the first comprehensive one of its kind – says that only 10 killers of 908 environmental activists slain around the world over the past decade have been convicted.
The report by the London-based Global Witness, a group that seeks to shed light on the links between environmental exploitation and human rights abuses, says murders of those protecting land rights and the environment have soared dramatically. It noted that its toll of victims in 35 countries is probably far higher since field investigations in a number of African and Asian nations are difficult or impossible.
“Many of those facing threats are ordinary people opposing land grabs, mining operations and the industrial timber trade, often forced from their homes and severely threatened by environmental devastation,” the report said. Others have been killed over hydro-electric dams, pollution and wildlife conservation.
The rising deaths, along with non-lethal violence, are attributed to intensifying competition for shrinking resources in a global economy and abetted by authorities and security forces in some countries connected to powerful individuals, companies and others behind the killings.
Three times as many people died in 2012 than the 10 years previously, with the death rate rising in the past four years to an average of two activists a week, according to the non-governmental group. Deaths in 2013 are likely to be higher than the 95 documented to date.
The victims have ranged from 70-year-old farmer Jesus Sebastian Ortiz, one of several people in the Mexican town of Cheran killed in 2012 while opposing illegal logging, to the machine-gunning by Philippine armed forces of indigenous anti-mining activist Juvy Capion and her two sons the same year.
Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr., who heads the Philippine military’s human rights office, told the Associated Press that a military investigation showed the three died in crossfire as troops clashed with suspected outlaws. “We don’t tolerate or condone human rights violations and we hope Global Witness can work with us to pinpoint any soldier or officer involved in those killings,” Tutaan said.
Brazil, the report says, is the world’s most dangerous place for activists with 448 deaths between 2002 and 2013, followed by 109 in Honduras and Peru with 58. In Asia, the Philippines is the deadliest with 67, followed by Thailand at 16.
“We believe this is the most comprehensive global database on killings of environment and land defenders in existence,” said Oliver Courtney, senior campaigner at Global Witness. “It paints a deeply alarming picture, but it’s very likely this is just the tip of the iceberg, because information is very hard to find and verify. Far too little attention is being paid to this problem at the global level.”
Reports of killings, some of them extensive, from countries like Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, and Myanmar, where civil society groups are weak and the regimes authoritarian, are not included in the Global Witness count.
By contrast, non-governmental organizations in Brazil carefully monitor incidents, many of them occurring in the Amazon as powerful businessmen and companies move deeper into indigenous homelands to turn forests into soya, sugar cane and agro-fuel plantations or cattle ranches. Clashes between agribusiness and the Guarani and Kuranji people in the Amazon’s Mato Grosso do Sul province accounted for half of Brazil’s killings during 2012, the report said. Human rights groups and news reports say killings are often carried out by gunmen hired by agricultural companies.
In Thailand, Sunai Phasuk of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch echoed the report’s assertion that an “endemic culture of impunity” was prevalent, and that governments and their aid donors must address this.
Prosecution of Prajob’s suspected killers, Sunai said, was a “welcome rarity” in a country where investigations have been characterized by “half-hearted, inconsistent, and inefficient police work, and an unwillingness to tackle questions of collusion between political influences and interests and these killings of activists.”
“The convicted tend to have lowest levels of responsibility, such as the getaway car driver. The level of impunity is glaring,” he said.
After Prajob’s murder, villagers lived in fear but in the end decided to sue the illegal dumpers and landfill owners, said the victim’s brother, Jon Noawa-opas.
“Prajob’s death has led us to fight for justice in this town,” he said. “We can be disheartened and we were, but we also know that we have to do the right thing for our community.”
Four Eras of Slavery, for the Benefit of Corporations
David Horowitz, founder of an organization called the “Freedom Center,” argued that blacks should not be paid reparations for the enslavement of their ancestors. Among his reasons are that:
- There Is No Single Group Clearly Responsible For The Crime Of Slavery
- Most Americans Have No Connection (Direct Or Indirect) To Slavery
- Reparations To African Americans Have Already Been Paid
But slavery, in its various forms of physical and mental torment, has been a part of U.S. history from the beginnings of our country to the present day. There are numerous modern-day corporations who profited immensely – themselves or their predecessors – from slave labor. Only token amounts have been paid back, along with a few scattered apologies.
Four eras of abuse can clearly be identified.
First Era: Before Emancipation
Prior to the Civil War, King Cotton was the rallying cry for the South. With cotton accounting for 60 percent of all U.S. exports, and 75 percent of all the cotton purchased by Great Britain, slaves were needed more than ever. African-Americans in tens of thousands wereherded to the deep south, chained neck to neck as they became the hapless tools of industry.
By 1840 there were more millionaires along the Mississippi River than throughout the rest of the nation. Cotton was more valuable than all other U.S. commodities combined. In this“great laboratory of American capitalism” slaves were the most valuable property, and that meant big business for the slave traders, even in the North, as the Fugitive Slave Act legitimatized capture and transport to the South.
Cotton drove the textile industry in the northern states. In 1860, New England had over half of the manufacturing operations, and consumed two-thirds of all the cotton used in U.S. mills. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts called it “a conspiracy of the lords of the loom and the lords of the lash.”
Before the start of the Civil War, the mayor of New York City sought independence from the Union in order to continue its lucrative trading with the South.
Other industries flourished as well, through the predecessors of companies that still exist and thrive today. The Norfolk Southern Railroad leased slaves for one-year terms of hard labor. The parent company of USA Today had links to the slave trade. Insurance companies such as Aetna issued policies protecting slaves as property. Many Wall Street firms, who held slave auctions outside their doors, had their beginnings in the cotton trade. Lehman Brothers, which began investing in 1850, founded the New York Cotton Exchange in 1870. The predecessors of JP Morgan/Chase got their start with loans to slave owners, at times with enslaved Africans as collateral. In 2005 JP Morgan apologized for its predecessors’ slave trading activities in Louisiana, and Bank of America and Wachovia also apologized for their early involvement with slave trading.
Second Era: Slavery by Another Name
Slavery was abolished after the Civil War, but in name only. The great hope of Reconstruction lasted just ten years. Now, as Douglas Blackmon documents, a new version of slavery had begun, with arrests for petty ‘offenses’ such as talking too loud or looking at a white woman. A man committing an actual offense such as stealing a pig could be sentenced to five years of hard labor. These were the “Pig Laws.” For many blacks, incarceration meant death, as convict leasing programs allowed companies to work prisoners until they could no longer stand on their feet.
The predecessors of U.S. Steel were complicit in this second era of slavery. One of the tens of thousands of victims was 22-year-old Green Cottenham, arrested in Alabama in March, 1908 for “vagrancy.” That means he couldn’t prove, at the moment of his arrest, that he was employed. It was a tactic used by local sheriffs and judges to put black men in jail. Ironically, Green’s arrest was on the anniversary of the 15th Amendment, which gave blacks the right to vote in 1870.
Cottenham was found guilty and sentenced to thirty days of hard labor. When he was unable to pay court and jailhouse fees, his sentence was extended to a full year, and he was sold to Tennessee Coal, a subsidiary of US Steel. The company forced him to live and work in a mineshaft deep in the black earth, where he worked every day from 3 AM to 8 PMdigging and loading tons of coal. If he slowed down he was whipped. He drank the water he was standing in. He was surrounded by caverns filled with poison gas and walls that often collapsed, crushing or suffocating miners. At night he was chained to a wooden barracks. Crazed men were always nearby, filthy and sweaty, some homicidal, some sexual predators. A boy from the Alabama countryside had been deposited in the middle of hell.
Third Era: World War 2 Slave Labor
Slave labor in the Nazi years generated massive profits for many of our most prominentcorporations, starting with Ford and General Motors. Henry Ford, who had published “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem,” was a dear friend of Nazi Germany. His company used prison labor to produce a third of the military trucks for the German army. Ford’s Dearborn, MI factory was called an “arsenal of Nazism.” In Germany, Ford’s worker-inmates were said to have labored for twelve hours a day with six ounces of bread for breakfast and a dinner of turnips and potatoes.
General Motors worked with the German company that built Auschwitz. General Electric partnered with a German company that used slave labor, and invested in the builder of gas chambers. Kodak used prison labor for the manufacture of German arms. Nestle admitted acquiring a company that used forced labor during the war.
Finally, IBM was responsible for the punch card machines that allowed the Nazis to tabulate train shipments to the death camps.
Fourth Era: The Present Day
The 13th Amendment bans slavery “except as punishment for crime.” The 14th Amendment bans debt servitude. But each inmate in a modern-day private prison, according to Chris Hedges, “can generate corporate revenues of $30,000 to $40,000 a year.” Prisoners accused of minor drug crimes have replaced the vagrants. And private probation companies are keeping them in debt. The system seems little different from the corrupt local governments in the deep South a century ago.
The Corrections Corporation of America and G4S are two of the prison privatizers who sell inmate labor to corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM. Nearly a million prisoners work in factories and call centers for as little as 93 cents an hour.
More corporate profits come from the probation business, which, in direct opposition to the14th Amendment, keeps people in prison for being too poor to pay their court costs and probation fees. It’s called ‘peonage,’ or debt slavery.
Examples are more than disturbing. In Louisiana, Gregory White, a homeless man, was arrested for stealing $39 worth of food and ended up spending 198 days in jail because he was unable to pay his fines. In Ohio, Howard Webb, who makes $7 an hour as a dishwasher, accumulated almost $3,000 in court costs and probation fees. In Georgia, Thomas Barrett stole a can of beer from a convenience store, was fined $200, and before long owed his probation company $1000, more than a month’s pay.
Reparations? One of the arguments against it is that the sheer number of African Americans – 42 million – makes the whole concept unfeasible.
But a financial transaction tax is feasible. It will come to us from the Wall Street firms that used to hold slave auctions outside their doors.
Date: Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 4:09 AM
Subject: Apocalypse Man: Michael C. Ruppert
News Links, April 15-16, 2014
Baltic Dry Drops For 15th Day To Lowest In 9 Months (Back Below $1000)
What Happens When ‘All Assets Have Become Too Expensive?’
CSIRO prepares to cut another 300 jobs (Australia)
Citigroup cuts 200 to 300 jobs
Economist Thomas Piketty’s message is bleak: the gap between rich and poor threatens to destroy us
Two of Canada’s northern airlines plan merger
Tigerair Mandala Airline continues to strip-off more routes and flights from its domestic network in a measure to stem mounting financial losses. Meanwhile, the Indonesian Civil Aviation Authorities are undertaking an audit of the airline’s finances to determine whether the airlines is financially able to continue to operate.
Pro-Russian militias fill the vacuum as Kiev’s control in eastern Ukraine slips
Fragile Europe Weakens U.S. Push for Russia Sanctions
Growing Muscle: China’s Neighbors Gear Up for a Fight
French test fire new cruise missile
Anti-royal protesters march in Madrid
Student killed, 3 journalists injured in clashes in Egypt
The recent annexation of the Crimea region could land Russia with substantial Black Sea gas and oil resources off the peninsula’s southwest and east coasts.
Copper thieves target Board of Water Supply (Hawaii)
After two copper theft incidents targeting the Board of Water Supply left customers without water and damaged its operating system, the company said it plans to increase security around its reservoirs.
Drought Could Complicate Already Difficult Food Crisis In Syria
Every week, in Britain and across the world, new food banks are opening their doors. Ballooning numbers of people in the US, one of the wealthiest nations on earth, inhabit tent cities and the OECD tells us that income disparity in industrialised nations has reached a thirty-year high.
Prices for shrimp have jumped to a 14-year high in recent months, spurred by a disease that’s ravaging the crustacean’s population.
Mississippi Basin Water Quality Declining Despite Conservation
A new law is being drafted in Germany to regulate investigations aimed at finding suitable sites for permanent nuclear waste storage. The search can take many years – and Germany’s neighbors are facing similar obstacles.
Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer prize for NSA revelations
Plagued by poor infrastructure, climate denialism, and a patchwork of unregulated fracking wells and nuclear waste sites, the U.S. is poised to topple itself with self-inflicted wounds.
After Deaths, Renewed Focus On Leaky Gas Pipelines
Japan Restricts Chicken Shipments After Bird Flu Outbreak
China Tightens Oversight of Trusts as Default Risk Increases
Childhood ‘eroded’ by 10-hour school day, teachers warn
How To Get a Job Despite the Economy (or, how much is a college degree really worth?)
What would we do without the Wall Street Journal? Do people actually pay for this lame-brained noise?
U.S. Crude Reserves Hit Highest Levels in nearly 40 Years
‘The government doesn’t listen to average citizens, just the rich and their lobbyists,’ is probably the oldest criticism of any government, anywhere. But a new study has pretty much proven that this is precisely what’s happening in Congress. According to the research, the meek voice of the public barely registers beneath the booming baritone of the wealthy—so much so that ‘democracy’ isn’t a great descriptor of how we Americans are governing ourselves. The study’s authors suggest “Economic Elite Domination” instead. And it’s only going to get worse.
What the financial crisis, subsequent taxpayer bailouts, zero prosecutions of financial industry participants and further consolidation of the economy by oligarchs has taught us more than anything else is that the super rich and politically connected are not allowed to fail.
The Rich Are Paying More Taxes: The Horror! The Horror! (another look at the data)