Wednesday, February 23, 2011

6 Threats to Free and Open Access to the Internet

Activist Post

Many of us believe the Internet to be open and free for us to explore all known information. Indeed, it is true that we currently can surf to any active website with our browser, and we can start a website or blog on any topic we wish to discuss. And it is quite a profound concept that everyone with a smart phone literally has all of the world's knowledge in the palm of their hand.

Ben Franklin knew well the importance of free access to information when he founded the first public library in America to share knowledge with those without the means to their own books. Today, he surely would consider the Internet's unprecedented access to information, and ability to communicate it instantly, as the ultimate level playing field of economic mobility and freedom.

However, this access is now under threat of authoritarian control. First, it is important to note that the gears of the Internet have always been controlled by central authorities, as Douglas Rushkoff recently wrote, "From its Domain Name Servers to its IP addresses, the Internet depends on highly centralized mechanisms to send our packets from one place to another."

Therefore, the idea that our movements on the Web are even remotely private or untraceable is false. The central "authorities" who control the gears of the machine know exactly where you have been, while Google and the CIA have even developed ways of knowing where you're going next as well. It's very creepy to know that our every move is being tracked, traced, and databased, but it has been happening from day one on the Internet, and will likely continue to happen despite the violation of basic rights to our privacy.

Because Internet privacy has never been possible in the current web infrastructure, any proposed "privacy law" would just seem to pay lip service to the idea if it doesn't address decentralizing the control grid. As Rushkoff pointed out, "I'm not trying to be a downer here, or knock the possibilities for networking. I just want to smash the fiction that the Internet is some sort of uncontrollable, decentralized free-for-all, so that we can get on with the business of creating something else that is."

The focus here will be on the multitude of threats to our free access to the current Internet. As Ben Franklin understood, information should be free and open to all, not just the select few. Although the books in Franklin's first library were indeed copyrighted material, they were freely shared. We should think of the Internet as a gigantic open-source public library. A place where information such as news, books, movies, and music should be free to view while we're visiting the library.

Unfortunately, those who have control over the grid and influence over policymakers do not view the Internet in the same light. It appears that they view it as an economic and propaganda playground -- the last one that they don't fully control. Well, given the blight of proposed Internet control laws and web censorship tactics, it seems there is a calculated effort to control the free flow of information.

Below are 6 threats to our free and open access to the World Wide Web:

Legislation: The Protecting Cybersecurity as a National Asset Act, aka the "Internet Kill Switch" bill, has recently been reintroduced with a new Orwellian name, the Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act. This bill would give government the unchecked power to restrict access to the Internet if they declare a "national cyberemergency." CNET recently reported:
But the revised wording (PDF) continues to alarm civil liberties groups and other critics of the bill, who say the language would allow the government to shut down portions of the Internet or restrict access to certain Web sites or types of content. Even former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak didn't actually "shut down" the Internet: at least at first, a trickle of connections continued.
The second piece of legislation that's being reintroduced this year is the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). This bill, clearly written by the mega-media entertainment cartel, would empower the U.S. Department of Justice to shut down, or block access to, websites found to be illegally sharing copyrighted material. It gives the government the authority to force Internet Service Providers to block access to websites from certain IP addresses, much like how the U.S. recently blocked the Al Jazeera feed during the Egyptian protests. COICA has also been referred to as the "Blacklist" bill because it allows the government to blacklist or seize any domain name suspected of infringement -- even if located outside the United States.

DHS Seizures: Who needs there to be laws on the books when the Department of Homeland Security appears to already be above the law. DHS has been on a rampage of arbitrarily seizing websites without due process. In November 2010, they seized over 70 websites suspected of copyright infringement. Just before the Super Bowl, DHS seized another lot of domains for illegally share-streaming sporting events -- some merely for linking to copyrighted material. Most recently, DHS erroneously seized 84,000 domains accused of being affiliated with child porn in some way which the DHS later admitted was done by accident.

Clearly, DHS has displayed its technical ability to censor the Internet by removing these websites. And although the domain seizures were technically accompanied by a court order, it seems that the DHS has partnered with large media outlets and sports entertainment to protect their profits. Finally, these court orders are a guilty-until-proven-innocent ruling which can irrevocably damage small businesses and the livelihoods of many people whose path to justice remains unclear.

Civil Lawsuits: Again who needs laws when you can be frivolously sued in civil court over copyright issues and bullied into settling the claim. Copyright infringement trolls like Righthaven are suing blogs and sites, and despite the only court ruling to date being a dismissal of charges due to Fair Use rights, they are still forcing many settlements. In fact, even Internet giant Drudge Report was forced to settle a civil suit involving a copyrighted image and link.

According to Steve Green, who's been diligently covering these lawsuits for the Las Vegas Sun, claims they are a new type of legal enterprise:
Attorneys say the Righthaven lawsuits are unprecedented in recent memory because, in the past, newspapers dealt with online copyright infringement by simply asking infringing websites to remove the infringing material and to replace it with a link to the source newspaper. Most Righthaven defendants say they were sued without warning.
Not surprisingly, most of the cases are settled out of court. However, this tactic is a very effective intimidation tool against small websites who seek to share information. In some cases the costs and aggravation of combating the lawsuit can force the closure of these website defendants.

Net Neutrality: It would seem that net neutrality should fall under the legislative category. However, it is actually considered more of a "market based" regulation than actual law, yet the taxpayer still funds its enforcement through the FCC. Before identifying the reasoning behind and specific aspects of net neutrality rules, it's worth noting that Internet futurist, Douglas Roshkoff, views the details as irrelevant because:
The moment the 'net neutrality' debate began was the moment the net neutrality debate was lost. For once the fate of a network -- its fairness, its rule set, its capacity for social or economic reformation -- is in the hands of policymakers and the corporations funding them -- that network loses its power to effect change. (source)
The concept behind net neutrality is just what it says; to keep Internet access neutral for all users. But again, it is a very Orwellian term where true supporters of a free an open Internet can be tricked into supporting so-called neutrality rules. Blogger Timothy Karr wrote, "The rule is so riddled with loopholes that it's become clear that this FCC chairman crafted it with the sole purpose of winning the endorsement of AT&T and cable lobbyists, and not defending the interests of the tens of millions of Internet users."

What they are, in fact, are rules to allow service providers to charge tiered price levels depending on the amount of broadband used by individual web-surfers or websites. In other words, certain access will be discriminated against through reduced access speeds or additional fees. Besides limiting size of the surfer's information wave, this tiered approach to the Internet will likely make it very difficult for smaller websites to compete with the big boys who can afford to pay ISPs for unadulterated access.

Technical Censorship: Google, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Wikipedia have become the most powerful information sharing tools the world has ever known. Combined, these five websites could literally rewrite history or shape the entire flow of current information if they chose to do so. Indeed, each of these virtual libraries has been repeatedly accused of censorship in many various forms; from blatant removal of content to manipulating the searchable strength of disapproved content.

Google, who seems so powerful that they may actually run the world, recently revealed that they are tweaking their search algorithm to weaken the search engine ranking of information aggregating websites referred to as "content farms." It seems that Google seeks to reduce websites with little original content to the level of spammer status in their search results. What's more, Google can wield the power of their Google Page Ranking for individual sites. Their constantly changing algorithm may actually penalize websites for search engine optimization, as with the recent case of JC Penney losing business due to Google penalizing them for SEO.

Taxes: If Congress or local governments elect to tax websites, the level playing field on the Internet is finished. In May 2010, the Federal Trade Commission proposed the "Drudge Tax" which would seek to tax news aggregators as if they are brick and mortar media companies. The FTC report also suggested that news aggregators be forced to pay copyright fees to link to mainstream news sources. And in perfect wealth distribution fashion the report also discusses the "possibility of offering tax exemptions to news organizations, establishing an AmeriCorps for reporters and creating a national fund for local news organizations."

More recently, some states have proposed taxing online retailers such as Amazon, arguing that it's not fair for local retailers who must pay taxes for selling the exact same items. In the past, Amazon has terminated its contracts with third-party affiliates in states who have adopted online tax laws. California Congressman, Dan Lungren, introduced the resolution Supporting the Preservation of Internet Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses aimed at preventing states from impose these new taxes on online retailers.

What's more, some states and even municipalities are beginning to impose a blogger fee referred to as a "privilege license" as a sort of business license for blogs. Philadelphia has forced bloggers to pay a $50/year, or $300 lifetime, fee for the privilege of expressing ideas online.

It seems clear that the powers-that-be are engaged in an all-out assault the free flow of information on the Internet. Blogs and websites must be prepared to combat the coming onslaught of news laws, regulations, and fees. For those who believe information should be free for all who pay for Internet access, we must fight to maintain this liberty. Stay tuned to the new blog Sites & Blogs for breaking Internet news and legal commentary about online copyright and privacy rights.

Cut Benefits to Bankers, Not Public Services (One Good Cut)

Florida's Curse Of Negative Equity: 43% Of Mortgages Underwater, 11% Of Homes In Foreclosure

Former Governor Charlie Crist gets distracted while inspecting a beach for oil.


Source - Miami Herald

Wesley Ulloa bought her first condo for $230,000 in 2007, and watched helplessly as it lost two-thirds of its value during South Florida’s historic housing market tailspin.

The 24-year-old real estate agent has been selling units in her Coconut Grove building for $80,000, a figure that makes her shudder each month as she makes her mortgage payment.

She’s one of hundreds of thousands of South Floridians coping with the reality of being underwater on their mortgages—one of the most widespread side effects of the real estate market collapse.

“I get a little angry. I think ‘Man I bought this for $230,000 and for what I’m paying, I could be in a house’,” she said. “But I can’t dwell on it. I mean, what are you going to do?”

As more than $113 billion worth of home equity has vanished from South Florida’s housing market in the past five years, the number of homeowners with mortgages that are larger than the values of their properties has become enormous. More than 300,000 South Florida mortgages—or 43 percent of them—are currently underwater, the highest level in decades, if not ever. That’s about four times the number of homes in foreclosure.

The underwater problem has been a thorn in the side of a housing market plagued with tight credit, record-high foreclosures and high unemployment. It has contributed to a deluge of loan modification requests, pushed up the foreclosure rate and helped revive a once-taboo exit strategy—the strategic default.

It has also brought about untold levels of stress for homeowners who bought or refinanced at the peak of the market and have seen their homes turn into depreciating investments. Because of the current turmoil in the market, many of these owners can’t sell their homes without taking a loss, and most won’t be able to break even for years, or decades.

The implications are profound for a sputtering economy that was once fueled by homeowners tapping into their home equity for kitchen improvements, vacations, new cars, boats and the like. That option doesn’t exist when you are underwater. People feel poor and disinclined to buy when their home has negative equity.

Richard Walsh saw his home start to shed value shortly after he bought the three-bedroom in 2007 for $550,000. Walsh put down 25 percent of the purchase price when he bought the Northeast Miami-Dade home but, based on the market value of the house, just about all of that money has since disappeared.

The 67-year-old retired firefighter says the home is worth about $380,000, but he has never considered walking away.

“When I sign my name to a paper, I’m obligating myself whether I like it or not,” he said in a response to a Miami Herald query.

Walsh reasons that he has benefitted from the rising real estate market over the years—he bought his first home in the 1960s. He also believes history points to an upwardly trending market, and he’d rather wait for the home to appreciate than walk away from a property and neighborhood he likes.

“There’s an old saying: ‘If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute’,” he said. “That’s how I feel about real estate. If you don’t like the market—just wait.”

Continue reading...


CNN Video - Retired judges in Florida run a temporary foreclosure court, a rocket docket. Bubble states are in a standstill. Here's another angle on the process...


Jamie Dimon Laughs About Buying Bear Stearns For $2 Bucks Per Share With Taxpayer Help (Charlie Rose Video)

Archive Video - Jamie Dimon CEO of JPMorgan with Charlie Rose - July 2008

What Dimon doesn't mention is the $29 billion subsidy provided by the Federal Reserve now called Maiden Lane I. Without the taxpayer gift, the deal doesn't happen, and Bear Stearns creditors (bank bondholders) would have been forced to take a massive and deserved haircut.

But that's where Tim Geithner, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke stepped in with a boatload of cash from taxpayers. The end result, as Alan Grayson explained last week, is that we (via the Fed) now own Red Roof Inns, just one of many commercial real-estate miracles of excess clogging the books of Maiden Lane.

  • "I don't think Bear Stearns could have survived Monday in any event, for any reason at all. I'm telling you they would have been bankrupt Monday morning."
  • "Buying a house and buying a house on fire are two different things."

And the audience roars in idiotic approval because they were watching Dancing with the Stars every night that month and missed the Bear Stearns implosion.

Bernanke, You Stupid Bastard

Yes, you.

And Trichet, and the rest of the Central Bank fools.

But especially you, Bernanke.

There's dumb and then there's really dumb. Let's take a short walk back down history lane.

You were sure there was no housing bubble.

Then you were sure it wouldn't pop.

Then you were sure when the subprime problem hit, that it wouldn't cause a recession.

Then you were sure you had it under control with Bear Stearns' hedge funds.

Then you were sure you had it under control with Bear Stearns itself.

Then you were sure it was under control with Lehman, even though you had to know Citibank and others were refusing their collateral in the repo market.

You were sure QE would support higher bond prices - and lower yields. The exact opposite thing happened.

You were sure QE2 would suppress long end yields. The exact opposite thing happened.

Oh yeah, you made excuses both times, but in fact you publicly said that in both cases the exact opposite thing would happen that did.

Now let's look at what happened just today.

Oil went up almost $7 today for the WTI contract. For each dollar that crude oil rises, we transfer roughly $95 billion (estimates vary from $90-100) outside of the United States.

That's a direct hit to GDP.

In ONE DAY the entire impact of your so-called "QE2" was ERASED.

(As an aside, yes, I can do the math on the direct import numbers; the argument here is on the total economic impact, which is as noted above. Estimates there vary somewhat, but they're centered around $90-100 billion/year/dollar increase.)

Your entire gambit and what you sold to Congress and President Obama was that you could "restart" credit expansion with your policies. Implicit in your policy was a need to do so, because without it you cannot succeed. The World Economic Forum at Davos released a paper saying that we needed, collectively, to add one hundred trillion dollars of new debt to the system to support the paltry growth numbers you and your economists are putting up. Worse, the CBO stuck up numbers in the TBAC report that show another doubling of Federal Debt in the next nine years and a rough quadrupling of debt service costs to $800 billion, implying a paltry 3% blended rate.

We had the collapse starting in 2007 because people couldn't afford the debt they already had and yet your entire scheme, to succeed, requires doubling all systemic debt AGAIN.

So how are you going to do it Ben?

Who's going to take on that debt, and how are they going to service it?

You know damn well it can't work, and won't. You also know damn well you've goaded and prodded the Federal Government into taking on $4.5 trillion in debt we cannot afford, or nearly 30% of GDP.

How are you going to take that back off Bernanke? You keep being asked this, but all you say is that you're confident "you have the tools."

Uh huh.

You don't have jack and you know damn well you can't pull your pump-job back one iota without laying bare on the table the fact that the Federal Government is supporting 12% of GDP with borrowed money. If it disappears we have an instant Depression worse than the 1930s.

The bad news is that if you keep this crap up it will disappear by force of the market, there's not a damn thing you can do to prevent it, and that day is rapidly approaching.

EVERY prediction you've made about the economy over the last five years has been wrong.

All of them.

The market is rising only because you're "promising" infinite leverage.

But infinite leverage means certain financial ruin if you're wrong about external forces. And the economy is not a closed system under your control. You cannot control other nations, you cannot control commodity speculators and you cannot control other central banks and politicians. You think you can force China off their peg, but they can suppress riots longer than we can. You think you can keep printing but now Egypt has gone down, Libya is collapsing and if Saudi Arabia folds you're instantly ****ED and so are the rest of us.

Never mind that it's not just the Middle East. What if Venezuela folds? Mexico goes feral with their drug war? How about South Korea, which now has how many banks closed due to runs?

The longer you keep this crap up the worse the instability will become. Eventually something will break that's important, and then it's too late.

You can't win this game Bernanke. And the longer you keep trying to protect the banks that should have been shut down and taken into receivership in 2007 the more damage you're going to do. When the history books are written on this catastrophe your name is going to be featured in bright lights as the personal architect and chief jackass who pontificated that he knew it all because he studied The Great Depression.

Yeah, you studied it all right. And now you're duplicating the mistakes made then, writ even larger.

There are no statesmen left in this nation when it comes to Congress. Not one who will haul your ass in front of them by force of subpoena, put your clear and public record of "accuracy" in front of you and then demand that you justify your twisting of the clear English language to come up with "2% inflation" as your "interpretation" of STABLE PRICES.

You're going to fail Bernanke. You're failing right now. You've destroyed one nation's government and this evening, as I write this, a second is falling apart. The madman behind the second, Qaddafi, has apparently ordered his military to strafe civilians, murdering hundreds.

But behind it all, your policies and those of your cronies, believing in an indefinite Ponzi Scheme of exponential debt without bound, are responsible for every bit of what's happening today worldwide - and what is to come tomorrow.

The only way you can stop it is to admit you were wrong, pull liquidity and allow the insolvent institutions to collapse. And collapse they will - all of them. I'm convinced you know that too. And I'm also convinced that there's three words you will never utter so long as you infest Washington DC: I ****ed up.

So here we sit as Americans, with no solution. There is nobody in Congress or The Administration that has the balls to stop you, and you're too much of a douche to admit you blew it and do what should have been done three years ago.

As a result, all we have left is to be prepared for what's to come.

It's not going to be pretty, and I hope Americans are ready for it.
Congratulations Ben Bernnake. Your place in history is secure, and I'm sure Beelzebub thanks you daily for your cooperation.

Some day I'm quite sure you'll meet him face-to-face.


Tom Morello live from Madison protests

Wisconsin protests here to stay

Dramatic aerial video: Strong earthquake hits Christchurch, New Zealand

Why Keep Paying The Bank?

Video - Dylan Ratigan with Ryan Grim - Feb. 3, 2011

Why keep paying the bank: examining the pros and cons of walking away from an underwater mortgage.


Matt Taibbi's Latest For Rolling Stone: Florida's Foreclosure Rocket Docket Expedites MASSIVE Bank Fraud

Illustration by Victor Juhasz

Originally published in December of 2010.

By Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone


The foreclosure lawyers down in Jacksonville had warned me, but I was skeptical. They told me the state of Florida had created a special super-high-speed housing court with a specific mandate to rubber-stamp the legally dicey foreclosures by corporate mortgage pushers like Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase. This "rocket docket," as it is called in town, is presided over by retired judges who seem to have no clue about the insanely complex financial instruments they are ruling on — securitized mortgages and laby­rinthine derivative deals of a type that didn't even exist when most of them were active members of the bench.

Their stated mission isn't to decide right and wrong, but to clear cases and blast human beings out of their homes with ultimate velocity. They certainly have no incentive to penetrate the profound criminal mysteries of the great American mortgage bubble of the 2000s, perhaps the most complex Ponzi scheme in human history — an epic mountain range of corporate fraud in which Wall Street megabanks conspired first to collect huge numbers of subprime mortgages, then to unload them on unsuspecting third parties like pensions, trade unions and insurance companies (and, ultimately, you and me, as taxpayers) in the guise of AAA-rated investments. Selling lead as gold, shit as Chanel No. 5, was the essence of the booming international fraud scheme that created most all of these now-failing home mortgages.

The rocket docket wasn't created to investigate any of that. It exists to launder the crime and bury the evidence by speeding thousands of fraudulent and predatory loans to the ends of their life cycles, so that the houses attached to them can be sold again with clean paperwork.
The judges, in fact, openly admit that their primary mission is not justice but speed. One Jacksonville judge, the Honorable A.C. Soud, even told a local newspaper that his goal is to resolve 25 cases per hour. Given the way the system is rigged, that means His Honor could well be throwing one ass on the street every 2.4 minutes.

Foreclosure lawyers told me one other thing about the rocket docket. The hearings, they said, aren't exactly public. "The judges might give you a hard time about watching," one lawyer warned. "They're not exactly anxious for people to know about this stuff." Inwardly, I laughed at this — it sounded like typical activist paranoia. The notion that a judge would try to prevent any citizen, much less a member of the media, from watching an open civil hearing sounded ridiculous. Fucked-up as everyone knows the state of Florida is, it couldn't be that bad. It isn't Indonesia. Right?

Well, not quite. When I went to sit in on Judge Soud's courtroom in downtown Jacksonville, I was treated to an intimate, and at times breathtaking, education in the horror of the foreclosure crisis, which is rapidly emerging as the even scarier sequel to the financial meltdown of 2008: Invasion of the Home Snatchers II. In Las Vegas, one in 25 homes is now in foreclosure. In Fort Myers, Florida, one in 35. In September, lenders nationwide took over a rec­ord 102,134 properties; that same month, more than a third of all home sales were distressed properties. All told, some 820,000 Americans have already lost their homes this year, and another 1 million currently face foreclosure.

Throughout the mounting catastrophe, however, many Americans have been slow to comprehend the true nature of the mortgage disaster. They seemed to have grasped just two things about the crisis: One, a lot of people are getting their houses foreclosed on. Two, some of the banks doing the foreclosing seem to have misplaced their paperwork.

For most people, the former bit about homeowners not paying their damn bills is the important part, while the latter, about the sudden and strange inability of the world's biggest and wealthiest banks to keep proper records, is incidental. Just a little office sloppiness, and who cares? Those deadbeat homeowners still owe the money, right? "They had it coming to them," is how a bartender at the Jacksonville airport put it to me.

But in reality, it's the unpaid bills that are incidental and the lost paperwork that matters. It turns out that underneath that little iceberg tip of exposed evidence lies a fraud so gigantic that it literally cannot be contemplated by our leaders, for fear of admitting that our entire financial system is corrupted to its core — with our great banks and even our government coffers backed not by real wealth but by vast landfills of deceptively generated and essentially worthless mortgage-backed assets.

You've heard of Too Big to Fail — the foreclosure crisis is Too Big for Fraud. Think of the Bernie Madoff scam, only replicated tens of thousands of times over, infecting every corner of the financial universe. The underlying crime is so pervasive, we simply can't admit to it — and so we are working feverishly to rubber-stamp the problem away, in sordid little backrooms in cities like Jacksonville, behind doors that shouldn't be, but often are, closed.

And that's just the economic side of the story. The moral angle to the foreclosure crisis — and, of course, in capitalism we're not supposed to be concerned with the moral stuff, but let's mention it anyway — shows a culture that is slowly giving in to a futuristic nightmare ideology of computerized greed and unchecked financial violence. The monster in the foreclosure crisis has no face and no brain. The mortgages that are being foreclosed upon have no real owners. The lawyers bringing the cases to evict the humans have no real clients. It is complete and absolute legal and economic chaos. No single limb of this vast man-­eating thing knows what the other is doing, which makes it nearly impossible to combat — and scary as hell to watch.

What follows is an account of a single hour of Judge A.C. Soud's rocket docket in Jacksonville. Like everything else related to the modern economy, these foreclosure hearings are conducted in what is essentially a foreign language, heavy on jargon and impenetrable to the casual observer. It took days of interviews with experts before and after this hearing to make sense of this single hour of courtroom drama. And though the permutations of small-time scammery and grift in the foreclosure world are virtually endless — your average foreclosure case involves homeowners or investors being screwed at least five or six creative ways — a single hour of court and a few cases is enough to tell the main story. Because if you see one of these scams, you see them all.

Continue reading...

Rolling Stone


Canada, U.S. agree to use each other’s troops in civil emergencies

by Ottawa Citizen at

Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal.

Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal.

Neither the Canadian government nor the Canadian Forces announced the new agreement, which was signed Feb. 14 in Texas.

The U.S. military’s Northern Command, however, publicized the agreement with a statement outlining how its top officer, Gen. Gene Renuart, and Canadian Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, head of Canada Command, signed the plan, which allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.

The new agreement has been greeted with suspicion by the left wing in Canada and the right wing in the U.S.

The left-leaning Council of Canadians, which is campaigning against what it calls the increasing integration of the U.S. and Canadian militaries, is raising concerns about the deal.

“It’s kind of a trend when it comes to issues of Canada-U.S. relations and contentious issues like military integration. We see that this government is reluctant to disclose information to Canadians that is readily available on American and Mexican websites,” said Stuart Trew, a researcher with the Council of Canadians.

Trew said there is potential for the agreement to militarize civilian responses to emergency incidents. He noted that work is also underway for the two nations to put in place a joint plan to protect common infrastructure such as roadways and oil pipelines.

“Are we going to see (U.S.) troops on our soil for minor potential threats to a pipeline or a road?” he asked.

Trew also noted the U.S. military does not allow its soldiers to operate under foreign command so there are questions about who controls American forces if they are requested for service in Canada. “We don’t know the answers because the government doesn’t want to even announce the plan,” he said.

But Canada Command spokesman Commander David Scanlon said it will be up to civilian authorities in both countries on whether military assistance is requested or even used.

He said the agreement is “benign” and simply sets the stage for military-to-military co-operation if the governments approve.

“But there’s no agreement to allow troops to come in,” he said. “It facilitates planning and co-ordination between the two militaries. The ‘allow’ piece is entirely up to the two governments.”

If U.S. forces were to come into Canada they would be under tactical control of the Canadian Forces but still under the command of the U.S. military, Scanlon added.

News of the deal, and the allegation it was kept secret in Canada, is already making the rounds on left-wing blogs and Internet sites as an example of the dangers of the growing integration between the two militaries.

On right-wing blogs in the U.S. it is being used as evidence of a plan for a “North American union” where foreign troops, not bound by U.S. laws, could be used by the American federal government to override local authorities.

“Co-operative militaries on Home Soil!” notes one website. “The next time your town has a ‘national emergency,’ don’t be surprised if Canadian soldiers respond. And remember — Canadian military aren’t bound by posse comitatus.”

Posse comitatus is a U.S. law that prohibits the use of federal troops from conducting law enforcement duties on domestic soil unless approved by Congress.

Scanlon said there was no intent to keep the agreement secret on the Canadian side of the border. He noted it will be reported on in the Canadian Forces newspaper next week and that publication will be put on the Internet.

Scanlon said the actual agreement hasn’t been released to the public as that requires approval from both nations. That decision has not yet been taken, he added.
© (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.

Facing Foreclosure Without Missing A SINGLE Payment: One Couple's Housing Nightmare

This is shocking even for your jaded and cynical editor. Because we all know banks never make mistakes...


Source - Huff Po

For the past 30 days, Kendra and Todd Parker have been trying to figure out what to tell their four children, fearing that they, like millions of other Americans facing foreclosure, could be tossed out of their home.

But unlike the vast majority of homeowners in their predicament, Kendra Parker says she can prove she and her husband have not missed a single mortgage payment.

The Parkers' mortgage began like any other that might have emerged from the housing boom: the neighborhood bank that originally issued their mortgage sold the loan, and it eventually landed in the hands of one of the nation's largest mortgage companies. In industry parlance, the loan was "securitized," or sliced into parts and combined with hundreds, possibly thousands of other mortgages, then sold piecemeal to investors. The complex reality of the modern mortgage system was supposed to have very little effect on the Parkers -- they would simply mail their monthly payment to a mortgage servicer, which would handle the payment on behalf of the investors holding the mortgage securities.

But, along the way, that machinery broke down. No one, the Parkers say, told them their loan had been sold. With no word from the new servicer, New Jersey-based PHH Mortgage, the Parkers sent their first payment to the original bank, which mailed the check to PHH, according to documents the Parkers provided to The Huffington Post. But that check went missing. The Parkers say that despite the fact that they made every other payment, that missing check led to foreclosure proceedings, and a wrecked Kendra Parker's credit rating.

Soon, the mortgage company informed the Parkers that they were three months past due and owed over $3,000.

In the past three months, Kendra Parker and her husband, Todd, said they have spent countless hours on the phone trying to straighten things out. When that went nowhere, they sent registered letters to everyone from the CEO of PHH to their state attorney general's office. They finally secured the help of a lawyer who oversees foreclosures on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But more than a month after they were informed of the foreclosure proceedings, nothing has changed.

Once the Parkers' first payment was missing for 90 days, their account was considered delinquent, and the mortgage company automatically stopped accepting their payments. This is how even homeowners who appear to have made every single payment find themselves threatened with foreclosure.

The Parkers signed the deed on June 30 of 2010, and were told to expect a statement. The first payment was due on Aug. 1, but the day came and went without that statement. When Kendra finally got in touch with the original lender, Metropolitan National Bank, she was told that her mortgage had been sold, and she should hold that first check until she got the first statement from her new mortgage servicer. On Aug. 27, Kendra got a letter from PHH Mortgage explaining that PHH would now be servicing their mortgage.

PHH Mortgage of Mount Laurel, N.J., is ranked eighth among America's top 10 mortgage servicers by volume of loans serviced, according to a list compiled by Mortgage Servicing News. Bank of America and Wells Fargo top that list.

In an interview with Housing Wire last year, PHH President Luke Hayden said despite being relatively small, the company could compete by being efficient. "There are opportunities for lenders who are willing to rethink traditional approaches to originating, servicing and investing mortgage products," he told Housing Wire. "We are currently embarked on a yearlong initiative to drive efficiency and take more than $100 million out of our cost structure on a run-rate basis."

The letter Kendra Parker got from PHH Mortgage on Aug. 27, which was reviewed by The Huffington Post, listed two addresses, under which the letter instructs Parker, "Please do not send your mortgage payments to this address." By September, she said, there was still no word on where they should send their payment. The Parkers got in touch with their original bank, and were advised to send the first payment as originally intended. Metropolitan National Bank, they were told, would forward the payment to the PHH, they said.

The Parkers sent a check for $1,111.86 to Metropolitan National Bank on Sept. 8. Documents from Metropolitan National Bank provided by Kendra Parker show the bank sent the check by registered mail via UPS to a "Mortgage Servicing Center" in Chicago and that it arrived on Sept. 9. Someone in the firm's mailroom would have had to have signed for it. It appears that that check went missing, and that payment was never applied.

"It looks like one payment got misplaced and that started the domino effect," said lawyer Greg Nelson, who works for law firm Michaelson, Connor & Boul. The law firm examines all foreclosures stemming from loans by lenders approved by the Federal Housing Administration. When an FHA approved loan is foreclosed on, the firm can help some homeowners to stay in their homes. After hearing the story, and seeing the proof Kendra had to offer, he too forwarded the details to PHH.

When the Parkers made their second payment, on Sept. 17, it was applied as their first payment, and from that point, they were considered in arrears. The clock started ticking.

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Banks are 'foreclosure fraud factories'...

Video - Alan Grayson on fraudulent foreclosure practices by banks.

Alan Grayson: "Banks Are Foreclosure Fraud Factories"

Video - Alan Grayson on the foreclosure fraud games that banks play...

This clip was recorded about 6 weeks ago, and was circulated widely at the time, though it has never been posted here. He presents a compelling case.

Of course, anytime we discuss Grayson, we must mention this video, our most popular and in many ways the most important video we've ever posted.


Census Estimates: 1 In 4 US Counties Dying

Shifting Jobs, Aging Population Mean Shrinking Counties

Nestled within America's once-thriving coal country, 87-year-old Ed Shepard laments a prosperous era gone by, when shoppers lined the streets and government lent a helping hand. Now, here as in one-fourth of all U.S. counties, West Virginia's graying residents are slowly dying off. Hit by an aging population and a poor economy, a near-record number of U.S. counties are experiencing more deaths than births in their communities, a phenomenon demographers call "natural decrease." Years in the making, the problem is spreading amid a prolonged job slump and a push by Republicans in Congress to downsize government and federal spending. Local businesses in Welch began to shutter after U.S. Steel departed McDowell County, which sits near Interstate 77, once referred to as the "Hillbilly Highway" because it promised a way to jobs in the South. Young adults who manage to attend college - the high-school dropout rate is 28 percent, compared with about 8 percent nationwide - can't wait to leave. For some reason, the fish in nearby Elkhorn Creek left too. "There's no reason for you to come to Welch," says Shepard, wearing a Union 76 cap at a makeshift auto shop he still runs after six decades. "This is nothing but a damn ghost town in a welfare county." ___ In all, roughly 760 of the nation's 3,142 counties are fading away, stretching from industrial areas near Pittsburgh and Cleveland to the vineyards outside San Francisco to the rural areas of east Texas and the Great Plains. Once-booming housing areas, such as retirement communities in Florida, have not been immune. West Virginia was the first to experience natural decrease statewide over the last decade, with Maine, Pennsylvania and Vermont close to following suit, according to the latest census figures. As a nation, the U.S. population grew by just 9.7 percent since 2000, the lowest decennial rate since the Great Depression. "Natural decrease is an important but not widely appreciated demographic phenomenon that is reshaping our communities in both rural and urban cores of large metro areas," said Kenneth Johnson, a sociology professor and demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute who analyzed the census numbers. Johnson said common threads among the dying counties are older whites who are no longer having children, and an exodus of young adults who find little promise in the region and seek jobs elsewhere. The places also have fewer Hispanic immigrants, who on average are younger and tend to have more children than other groups. "The downturn in the U.S. economy is only exacerbating the problem," said Johnson, whose research paper is being published next month in the journal Rural Sociology. "In some cases, the only thing that can pull an area out is an influx of young Hispanic immigrants or new economic development." ___ The predicament is starkest in places like Welch. In the 1960s, McDowell County ranked tops in the U.S. in coal production. Even as it began to stumble, President John F. Kennedy took notice and pushed federal aid to the region. McDowell residents were the first to get federal food stamps when they were rolled out in the Kennedy administration. After U.S. Steel sold the last of its mining operations by 2003, folks in southern West Virginia began counting on new highway projects to prop up the long-struggling area. "One of the promises we're waiting to come is the highway," said Carolyn Falin, an assistant schools superintendent in McDowell County. From the east, the Coalfields Expressway would bypass the many two-lane, truck-clogged roads zigzagging through the mountainous region. It would link a freeway to the Virginia state line 65 miles to the southwest. So far, only a few miles are open. Design work on most of it hasn't been finished. From the west, a 95-mile King Coal Highway is also envisioned, with some bridge work and a few miles now under construction. Shepard, who walks to work from a nearby apartment, watched the county's population plummet 80 percent after U.S. Steel's exit. Even with the recent opening of a federal prison, Shepard bemoans the area's decline, including the end of "20 years of the best fishing you ever saw." Nowadays, he says, "you can fish but you won't catch any trout. It's like the coal mines. It's all gone." Recently the U.S. Senate rejected a $900,000 appropriation for a proposed interchange of the King Coal Highway and the Coalfields Expressway near Welch. ___ Dying counties in the U.S. were rare until the 1960s, when the baby boom ended. By 1973, as farming communities declined, roughly 515 counties - mostly in the Great Plains - reported natural decrease. The phenomenon then began to show up in industrial regions, such as upstate New York and California. Natural decrease peaked in 2002 at a record 985, or 1 in 3 counties, before increasing births and an influx of Hispanic immigration helped add to county populations during the housing boom. Following the recent recession, birth rates have dropped to the lowest in a century. Preliminary census numbers for 2007-09 now show that the number of dying counties is back on the upswing. Recent additions include Pittsburgh and its surrounding counties. James Follain, senior fellow and economist at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the University of Albany, said a new kind of declining city may be emerging in the wake of the housing bust - metropolitan areas that rapidly overbuilt earlier in the decade and then suffered massive foreclosures. He cited as examples Las Vegas, Miami, parts of Arizona, and Stockton, Modesto, Fresno and Riverside in California. Like traditional ghost towns, Follain says, portions of these areas could spiral down from persistent loss of jobs and population and lose their reason for being. Follain also pointed to a tighter fiscal environment in Washington that will limit help to troubled areas. The Obama administration announced this month it would shrink the government's role in the mortgage system to reduce taxpayer exposure to risk. House Republicans also are pushing federal spending cuts of more than $61 billion, even if it means reducing jobs. "It's going to be a very slow recovery," Follain said. ___ Not all U.S. areas are declining. Most places with the fastest growth since 2000 were able to retain or attract college graduates and young professionals who came for jobs and later started families. Metro areas with diversified economies such as Austin, Texas, Raleigh, N.C., and Portland, Ore., all saw gains in college graduates; other places seeing gains or reduced losses in young adults, such as Washington, D.C., Boston and San Francisco, have burgeoning biotech industries. In West Virginia, more than 40 of its 55 counties had natural decrease over the past decade. Yet the state still gained population overall, and averted a loss of a U.S. House of Representatives seat based on the 2010 census. It wasn't because of a last-minute turnaround. Most of West Virginia's population gains are new residents spilling over into the eastern part of the state from the blossoming Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area. The three counties on the Maryland line - Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson - each had substantial increases. It's a different story in West Virginia's northern panhandle, along the edge of Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. On a recent afternoon, a group of students mingled during a cigarette break at West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling and chatted about their futures. "It's not that bad an area," said Demetrius Paige, 19, but there are "not a lot of jobs." He plans to leave within six years. Kayla Murphy, 19, of Moundsville wants to stay in the state and become a nurse to help children like her brother, who has celiac disease and diabetes. She says moving out is the only real option for career-oriented people. They include her boyfriend, who left for Wisconsin to teach history. "You have to," Murphy said. "Working at McDonald's isn't cool." ___ Yen reported from Washington.

Lawyer Accuses Nevada Supreme Court Of 'Predetermining' Foreclosure Cases In Favor Of Banks

Source - Las Vegas Review Journal

A lawyer accuses Nevada District Judge Donald Mosley and other judges of predetermining the outcome in foreclosure disputes in favor of the lenders, according to an appeal filed with the Nevada Supreme Court.

In the process, they have made a "mockery" of a program designed to rescue distressed homeowners, attorney Jacob Hafter says in court papers.

A 2009 state law gives judges the authority to modify loans if lenders fail to abide by Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program guidelines.

Hafter said Mosley -- and by implication the high court -- had previously discussed how Nevada courts would rule in these disputes. During a foreclosure hearing for Hafter client Carl Piazza, Mosley said he would never sanction a lender for bad faith by modifying a loan from the bench.

"That's something we resolved for, basically, since this program began, that the judges, and the Supreme Court was part of this discussion, are not going to, in this forum, start modifying loans; just would not do (it)," Mosley said during the October hearing.

"That would lead to a nightmare. I'd be here until midnight every night restructuring loans."

Mosley said he'd discussed the procedure with Washoe County District Judge Patrick Flanagan, who handles the foreclosure hearings in Northern Nevada.

"The judge up north, my counterpart, has agreed and as the Supreme Court agreed, we're not going to do that. So that's the way it is," Mosley said.

Defining bad faith

The Supreme Court appeal stems from a foreclosure dispute involving Piazza, a lawyer and former candidate for Family Court judge, and his lender, CitiMortgage.

Piazza had a $700,000-plus mortgage when he suffered a "massive" heart attack that left him bedridden. Piazza's once-thriving solo practitioner law firm faltered as he spent months recovering and unable to work.

Like many homeowners, Piazza was told his lender could not adjust his loan unless he stopped making the monthly payment, roughly $5,000. Instead of helping Piazza stay in the home, the bank filed a notice of default and began foreclosure proceedings, Hafter said during the October hearing.

In June, a mediator found that CitiMortgage failed to provide legally required documentation and ruled the lender was in noncompliance.

CitiMortgage appealed to Mosley, who sided with the lender and refused to find CitiMortgage acted in bad faith.

During that October hearing, Mosley also said he would never modify a loan from the bench, a statement that was followed by heated comments from Hafter. A marshal ordered Hafter to be quiet after loud exchanges with the judge.

  • "This statement is extremely concerning on numerous levels," Hafter said in court papers.

If what Mosley said is true, Hafter said, then the judiciary "has predetermined how it will rule on these cases. Such negates any value the program may have had for homeowners, not to mention makes a mockery of the impartiality of the judiciary in Nevada."

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Now take a look at a letter from the Hafter to Judge Mosley:

Analysis from Daily Bail resident Supreme Court licensed attorney 'Cheyenne':

Jesus H. Christ. This is unbelievable. That attorney is kicking the shit out of a judge in public, suggesting that a good part of the bar is behind him, adumbrating that there is collusion on the High Nevada Bench, and requesting recusal. In short, he has declared war on this judge and indeed the system itself.

That's the most incredible feckin' letter I've ever read from a member of the bar to his court, by far.

P.S. Note that the lawyer here is licensed before the U.S. PTO. Chances are he's got a background in science or engineering.

IDEX: DCI Crowd-Control Specialists Work With Bahrain Army

ABU DHABI - Defense Conseil International (DCI), a French state-owed training company, has three crowd-control specialists acting as advisers to the Bahrain Army, chief executive Jean-Louis Rotrubin said at the IDEX trade show.

The advisers, drawn from the French Gendarmerie Nationale and elite GIGN special forces unit, are part of a program to train Bahrain special Zforces in non-lethal crowd control and the avoidance of the use of deadly force, he said. The program is just beginning.

The program aims "to develop a new approach to how manage crowds in cities," Rotrubin said.

Security forces used deadly force against protesters in recent street demonstrations in Bahrain, leaving six dead and hundreds wounded. An inquiry into the deaths of demonstrators was one of the conditions opposition groups demanded before opening talks with the Bahrain monarchy.

DCI also has sent French personnel to Libya to train pilots and maintenance crews, aimed at bringing the Libyan Air Force's Mirage F1 fighters back into active service. Up until three years ago, an embargo prevented the delivery of spare parts, which meant Libya was unable to fly the Mirage F1, Rotrubin said.

In the Gulf region, DCI is in the early stages of developing military training and general education programs for the Qatar Air Force and Navy, he said.

As part of an agreement with the Qatar Navy announced at the Imdex trade show in March last year, the French company is setting up a naval school for petty officers and officer cadets.

DCI is also helping the Qatar Air Force to create an aeronautical academy, he said. One of the aims is to train up Qatari personnel to be more self reliant in aircraft maintenance rather than rely on third party sources.

"It's very important for them to master the technology and the know how in their new defense approach," he said.

DCI is helping organize BA and MA degree courses for the armed forces personnel so they receive a broad university education, in addition to the military training. DCI is working with North Atlantic University of Canada for the degree courses.

As part of the region's drive to foster education, the UAE agreed with the Paris Sorbonne University to open an annex here, while Qatar is host to a branch of the French HEC business school.

The Arabian Gulf region accounts for around two thirds of DCI's annual sales, with Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE generating significant revenue. Some 20 years ago, DCI was only present in Saudi Arabia, which requested crew training for the Sawari frigate program, based on the stealthy La Fayette warship. DCI also provided training for UAE crews for the Leclerc battle tank, and helicopters for the Kuwait armed forces.

The Security Budget vs. the Necessities of Americans.

How does military spending impact Americans?

President Obama and the Congress have taken 66% of discretionary spending in the federal budget off the table –the SecurityBudget – while proposing a freeze to the rest of the budget and deep cuts to some programs that provide necessities for the American people. His budget crystalizes a choice that U.S. presidents have been making since President Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex – investment in the military vs. investment in the civilian economy.

The bloated and sacrosanct security budget – the military, domestic security and intelligence budgets –all saw rapid growth under President Bush when the DoD doubled its budget. Under President Obama the trendhas continuedwith record military, intelligence and domestic security budgets.

And, while the so-called recovery has only been a recovery for Wall Street and big business, the administration and congress are focused more on the deficit then on re-starting the economy for the rest of us. But there is more talk of cutting Social Security and Medicare than cuttingthe security budget. In fact, these two items are called entitlements because they are a contract with working Americans who pay for them in every paycheck. For this reason they should not even be considered part of the deficit. Payrolltaxes fund these two programs that are essential for older Americans in their retirement years. Both face budget challenges but can be fixed, indeed Social Security has more than $2.5 trillion in Treasury Notes in reserve.

President Obama has proposed the largest DoD budget since World War II, $553 billion (not including war funding and nuclear weapons funding in the Department of Energy). Much attention has been shined on Secretary of Defense Gates’proposal to “cut” $78 billion inthe Pentagonbudget. Those “cuts” take place over five years with reductions taking place after the 2012 election in 2014 and 2015. And, the “cuts” do not include the cost of wars. The Afghanistan war alone could eat up projected “savings” and if the CIA’s war in Pakistan escalates that will be an even bigger budget item. Further, we have not seen what the continuing U.S. military footprint in Iraq will cost. These projected cuts are more image than reality.

How does military spending impact Americans? President Reagan’s former assistant secretary of defenseLawrenceKorb describes the military budget as “an annual tax of more than $7,000 on every household in the country.”While increasing the security budget, Obama and the Democrats have proposed widespread cuts to critical programs from a 50% cut in low-income heating assistance to nearly a 30% cut to the clean drinking water fund. They have also proposed a 25% cut ($1.3 billion) to the community development block grants used to fund local community development including affordable housing, anti-poverty programs, and infrastructure development. These are essential services needed for Americans health, safety and economic security.Of course, Republican cuts in the House budget are even more extreme but Obama set the table for them by making the debate about deficits and both parties will not touch the security budget. Military analyst, William Hartung, writes “These cuts will be painful, and they will be felt in every middle- and lower-income household in America.”

Cities and states are cutting essential services to balance their budgets. U.S. taxpayers will spend $737billion for Pentagon spending for FY2011 including war funding). To get a sense of what these means, for the same amount of money tax payers could provide funding for 11.3 million elementary school teachers for one year or 93.5 million scholarships for university students for one year or restart the economy by providing 166.9 million households with renewable electricity - solar photovoltaic for one year.Instead all these programs face cutbacks, while military spending grows.

To get a sense of the absurdity of protecting all military spending, the federal government spends $500 million each year for military marching bands. In comparison it spends $430 million a year on public broadcasting. More than half of all Americans use PBS each year, 170 million people, but PBS faces cutbacks while military bands are protected from budget cuts.

The greater damage will be in the failure to restart the economy. Economists like Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, are convincingly urging more spending. Big business is sitting on $2 trillion in cash stifling job creation and a real economic recovery. There are no signs of inflation because the recoveryif you can even it call it a recoveryis non-existent for working Americans and the unemployed/underemployed whose consumer purchases are needed to drive the economy.Obama risks a 1937 mistake – cutting spending too soon and causing another collapse.

Cutting $1 trillion from the federal budget is the goal of the Obama administration deficit plan. All of these cuts could come from military spending and still leave the U.S. militarily dominant. In fact, since the administration has projected an increase in spending of $6.5 trillion from 2011 to 2020, even a trillion would be a slowing of growth more than a real cut. Lawrence Korb lays out a five point plan to reduce military spending by $1 trillion without jeopardizing national security and thereby protecting U.S. economic security.

He is not alone,theSustainable Defense Task Force provides specific cuts without harming U.S. national security including:

•The $238 billion Joint Strike Fighter program: Cancelling the program and relying instead on upgraded versions of current aircraft would save almost $50 billion over ten years.

•The MV-22 Osprey: Replacing this dangerous, overpriced, and underperforming aircraft with cheaper alternatives would save over $10 billion over ten years.

•Reducing the number of U.S. troops in Europe and Asia to 100,000 from current levels of 150,000 would save $80 billion over a decade.

•Reforming Pentagon health care systems so that retirees pay modest, reasonable premiums could save $60 billion over a decade.

•Scaling back missile defense and space weapons programs could save over $50 billion over a decade.

•Further reductions in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, including deployment of fewer ballistic-missile launching submarines, could save over $100 billion in a ten year period, much of it in operating costs.

•Reducing the size of the Navy from 286 to 230 ships would save over $125 billion over ten years.

If you combine these recommendations of the five point plan of Lawrence Korb, which includes items like bringing home 50,000 of the 150,000 troops stationed in Asia and Europe, reducing the size of the Army and Marine Corps to their pre-Iraq invasion level and reducing nuclear weapons from 1,968 to the 311 the Military War College says is needed for defense, the U.S. would save another $200 billion.

For many, these would only be the starting points of correctly prioritizing military spending. President Eisenhowerwarned about the military industrial complex 50 year ago. During that time, U.S. spending on the military adjusted for inflation has more than doubled and we have moved to a permanent war state. Columbia University’s Seymour Melman, a professor of industrial engineering, pointed out that “Industrial productivity, the foundation of every nation’s economic growth, is eroded by the relentlessly predatory effects of the military economy.” In fact, we have seen – as we see in the Obama budget – a constant conflict between the military economy and the civilian economy. The civilian economy is losing that battle.

Thomas Woods, Jr. recently wrote in the American Conservative that military spending is parasitic as it feeds off the economy rather than grows it. The scale of resources used by the military is exorbitant, Woods writes: “To train a single combat pilot, for instance, costs between $5 million and $7 million. Over a period of two years, the average U.S. motorist uses about as much fuel as does a single F-16 training jet in less than an hour. The Abrams tank uses up 3.8 gallons of fuel in traveling one mile. Between 2 and 11 percent of the world’s use of 14 important minerals, from copper to aluminum to zinc, is consumed by the military, as is about 6 percent of the world’s consumption of petroleum. The Pentagon’s energy use in a single year could power all U.S. mass transit systems for nearly 14 years.”

To get a sense of the competition between the civilian and military economy, the Department of Commerce estimated the value of the nation’s plants, equipment, and infrastructure (capital stock) at just over $7.29 trillion in 1985; and from 1947 to 1987 the military spent the equivalent, $7.62 trillion in capital resources.

With the long record of the ascendency of military spending it is not surprising to see the U.S. economy in collapse, industry disappearing and the infrastructure crumbling. Not only has the U.S. failed to win a major war since World War II, but the cost of the standing army has become a burden on all of us and a drag on the economy. Some describe the U.S. Empire in decline and others see a collapse as possible at any moment.

The failure of President Obama to confront military spending in this time of economic collapse and perceived deficit crisis, when tax dollars are needed to restart the domestic economy, is not only a short term budget failure but does not face up to the long-term damaging economic impact of the American military empire.

Kevin Zeese is executive director of Voters for Peace (www.VotersForPeace.US) and an editor of the book ComeHomeAmerica.US (visit ComeHomeAmerica.US for more information and to purchase the book).

Directions to the revolution

Step 1


By John Kaminski

Shackled by debt, deluded by prescription drugs, and agitated into righteous rage against anything that doesn’t speak of the real problem debilitating us all, Americans are now virtual prisoners in their own homes. You can talk about anything else anywhere you like, but to talk of the real problem that causes all the other problems is to invite derision, defamation, and death courtesy of the people who don’t like you talking about such hateful things as their rape of your entire life, and the lives of the ones you love.

If I were to conduct a voice vote right now in an acoustically perfect arena with every single one of our 300 million Americans in attentive attendance, the American government would fall in a heartbeat, in a truly unanimous show of hands accompanied by enthusiastic cheers with all the assembled thumbs pointed straight to hell. The spontaneous appreciation of the world would then echo across the skies.

The American government would instanteously crumble in a tumultuous paroxysm of moral outrage by shamefaced Americans at the sexually perverted and criminally negligent actions of their treasonous rulers who have sold our jewel of the world to the pawnbrokers on the corner for a fistful of shekels.

(Hmm, sounds kind of familiar when you put it that way, doesn’t it?)

It’s time to tell our so-called leaders that we don’t trust them — in no uncertain terms. It’s clear to everyone — they are not working for us, they are working for them — the predators. As such, they are clearly guilty of multiple counts of treason that multiply daily, but as they own the judges, who often just send them back to Israel for their own safekeeping, the U.S. courts are no longer — if they ever were — effective avenues of redress for the complaints of legitimate Americans (excluding those recently imported from elsewhere to mow the lawns of the rich).

It’s time for you and me — and most especially, prominent members of every community who aren’t in on the take, if there are any — to tell their local cops, the mayor or selectmen, county commissioners, especially sheriffs and every government employee whose throat you can get your hands around that the American people know they’re being treated as prisoners in their own homes, and anyone who assists the predators in their enslavement policies is now an enemy of the people, us prey, who, like everyone else in the world, only ever wanted a chance to dream in peace, without being constantly sold something by somebody who makes us want to puke.

It’s time to demand of these fat government characters whose side they”re really on — ours? or theirs? Because we need to know. The big cloud is comin’ down if we don’t do something about it right now.

I absolutely guarantee you would need no recount. A voice vote would do it. Too bad it wouldn’t work with TV, but you may not deny that the Jews control all the TV networks in the world, even the so-called hip ones on the Internet. So this would have to be in person, and what a joyous party it would turn into. The whole world would leap into the streets in celebration that the Jewish robot state known as the conscienceless American war machine had been unplugged. And then we could all cry together, but only for a little while, because there is simply so much to do, so much wrong to be halted and rectified.

So many crooks to be exposed and neutralized. So many poisons and poison programs that all aim to shorten peoples lives, but not too quickly, so that the maximum amount of cash can be extracted from their pockets before they succumb to the poison ‘medicine.’ So many lies we have built our lives upon.

Perhaps now we finally realize that like Egypt, Greece, Rome, France and Russia, our heritage and our possessions have all been stolen by foreign operatives recruiting local patsies of bad character to be our righteous moral leaders, who stuff their pockets with largesse from criminals and create widespread social programs that paralyze our vitality like so many vampires from central Asia sucking the life’s blood out of everything they touch.

It’s time to walk up to your local cop and say, “Whose side are you on, flatfoot? The people’s? Or the predators’?” Look him right in the eye. Observe his reactions closely. He won’t have to say anything.

You’ll be able to tell right away. Will he understand what you’re saying, or will he look at you like Michael Chertoff, restraining himself from the urge to twitch and taze you?

If you are on your way to being scanned or groped, I would not recommend mentioning this to an airport screener, whose thought control implants connect him directly to the desk of Michael Chertoff.

You remember Michael. Who flew those 70 Israelis who’d been planting suitcase nukes in various cities but came together for the big Jewish celebration in New York, the one Netanyahu called “very good for Israel.” Yes, the same Michael who became head of Homeland Security, which is building its new $70 billion headquarters on the grounds of the same mental institution that imprisoned the war protesting poet Ezra Pound, whose savvy perspectives on justice and reality guide real patriots to this very day. Oh yes, and the very same Ashkenazi Rabbi Michael who now sells scanners that give you cancer at airports, after assisting with the creation of the laws that demanded them for “security purposes”. Talk about following rabbinical dogma. Oh, just one more thing: Chertoff engineered the crotch bomber burlesque in Detroit that “convinced” our patriotic Congress we needed these cancer-causing scanners to fight terror. I would think the Sanhedrin would give him this year’s Rothschild award for making a tidy profit off the mandatory infliction of either cancer or sexual molestations on the feckless American goyim. It is for this and a million other worse abuses of people everywhere that this American government needs to be ‘disappeared’ immediately if not sooner. And with it, all the third-generation Israeli terrorists who are now running America.

And I do mean ‘disappeared.’ I wrote in 2003 that the president, the congress and thousands of other people needed to be arrested for treason, accessory to mass murder and obstruction of justice — all capital crimes — for the obvious coverup of American participation in the attacks of 9/11.

<> Imagine all the innocent lives that would have been saved if my recommendations had been accepted and implemented.

But the Jewish PR anesthesia kept people waving their flags in stupefied shock and they plugged their ears to all the lies their leaders were vomiting forth, all the evidence that was deliberately destroyed, and the false, preconstructed leads that they followed led to more piles of lies and very soon, with the acclaim of both the media and the American people, they were bombing Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have written previously that the plotline of this drama would receive low marks in highschool debate class.

But the chief observation in all these recountings should be: how could the American people swallow this line of clumsy daytime TV soapery? Hmm. Maybe that’s the clue. Daytime somnambulance training in trance state America. If it’s not on TV, it’s not real. Comatose people cannot conduct a competent revolution. But then, that’s their problem. The rest of us have a lot of work to do.

When the American government collapses this year after an endless succession of massive protests in every single city and town in America, I would do this, just to get over the confusing hump that will inevitably ensue.

• Dismiss all elected and appointed members of all three branches of the federal government, and let the sovereign states take over all functions of the law on a temporary, possibly permanent basis.

• Hack the Constitution down to the first 12 amendments and reinstate the original 13th which stipulates that lawyers may not run for federal office (non judicial assistance would be permitted but

regulated) or hold an elective position in Congress. All Jewish judges dismissed in perpetuity. All subsequent amendments to be reviewed for possible discard. Overturn the Santa Clara decision, the income tax, the Federal Reserve, and return the naming of senators to state legislatures to eliminate illegal international interference. Except for military purposes, we don’t need the federal government at all.

And if we stop paying for it, it will go away. It’s time to grow up and take control of our own lives.

• Name Cynthia McKinney, Ron Paul and Mike Gravel as tribunes of temporary service to oversee the reorganized reestablishment of the United States government (no capital letters — that entity is now illegal). Persecuted lawmakers George Hanson, James Traficante, and Bill Bradley to serve as backups.

• The Construction of a new Constitution, very similar to the Articles of Confederation that focuses on the need to maintain the decentralization of power to prevent tyranny by pretty much eliminating all federal government departments and returning their responsibilities and authorities to the states, thereby eliminating unnecessary duplication of services in the service of bureaucracy, and ridding us of all those Beltway bandits.

• Immediate elimination of the income tax, and simply following the law that exists for taxing employers and contractors of the federal government. Mass amnesty of all convicted of tax evasion, as well as smalltime pot dealers who committed no other offense.

• Officials, judges, military flag officers, media owners and other business tycoons and Wall Street archons for propagating government lies and profiting from that practice, all subject to military tribunals and automatic death sentences for treason, mass murder and obstruction of justice. Congress shall be housed at Guantanamo prior to tribunal trial, and scheduled to be the victims of exactly what they did to innocent Muslim bystanders to hype up their phony war on terror. This event will be hosted by some Jewish wraith like Lady Gaga or Oprah Winfrey and televised worldwide.

• President and vice president and cabinet; supreme court justices (all federal judges are hereby dismissed; states to take over

caseloads;) senior military officials who were promoted for betraying their country, quick tribunals and firing squads composed of the people they formerly commanded; all members of Congress housed at Guantanamo prior to execution (if convicted).

• Get Admiral Fallon and General Pace temporarily back on board to facilitate the reconstruction of the American military. Automatic retirement for all flag officers, who are to be examined for evidence of their controllabity by typical Mossad programs; draft senior colonels for leadership positions, backchecked by selected junior officers who report to new Congress and president the results of their observations. Same process to be conducted in all U.S. law enforcement agencies. Triage all servicemen and women for pharmaceutical poisoning by their own leaders.

• Require immediate registration of all Jews in the U.S. (actual definition to be announced by me). All dual Israeli-U.S. citizens automatically arrested, tried, convicted and executed for treason by definition during time of war, which was always against them. Also, RICO acted proceeds from the criminal profits of these goons would instantly balance the federal budget, whose money would then be used for reconstruction of U.S. infrastructure and seeding small communities with happier ways to live that they will invent for themselves, with outside help only if they ask for it.

• Sever relations with Israel, lead coalition of all other countries to do the same, as all countries have the same problem; help them extract and detoxify homicidal Jewish tendencies from all their governments. Begin campaign of worldwide extermination of Judaism with recovery treatment plan for Jews. Once organized, all countries would ship their Jews to central location, where they would be required to live among themselves and not prey upon others. This sentence will last for one thousand years. First probation review in one hundred years. Individual Jews may petition for parole, which would be granted after extensive psychological review of the claimants’ stated objective.

• Nuke the city of London and hope the Queen is there when we do it. A totally poisoned Great Britain would be a fitting monument to the epidemic of Jewish perfidy it has distributed, along with its drugs and other perversions, throughout the world for centuries. Having London as a gray nuclear wasteland (which it very much resembles now) will be a fitting destiny for this den of thieves, and truly make it the sister city of that other warmongering world capital of world history, Babylon, which now sits in the poisoned desert of Iraq covered with depleted uranium dust, all historical artifacts having been looted by the Bush family and sold on the black market in Miami.

• Let economists Ellen Brown and Michael Hudson finalize a system of state banks that totally erases the Federal Reserve from the loop.

Massive arrest of Wall Street tycoons and functionaries, with military tribunals to get these pathological poachers off the planet as quickly as possible. The decentralization process will be fueled by the decommissioning of 95 percent of federal programs. Welfare has sapped the strength of this country. Everybody gets to work; they will be supervised only if they need to be, and the immediate neighbors will make all decisions on whether that will ever need to be done (though it probably will be).

• All new elections depend on paper ballots, lead pencils and three people at a time counting every single vote that is cast. Problem of fixed elections ends.

• Free heating and cooling fuel, free healthcare, no insurance premiums (the federal government is about to become an insurance company, and we’re going to run it), free internet (constitutional amendment to prevent any mind-forg’d manacles from ever being imposed on it: the internet is the mental construction of ultimate freedom and liberty, and it should become the main purpose of humanity to transmit this concept throughout the universe as the best of all possible worlds); total reconstruction of all public school curricula (learning foreign language and musical instrument now mandatory) . . .

How much our local cops have become like Michael Chertoff bears directly on the chances of survival past the year 2011.

America’s reputation has become the smell of a dead body on a very hot day.

The odious remnant of America’s horrid deeds would linger for awhile in the fetid Washington air, but soon — with a good plan — the sun would begin to shine again, and maybe — just maybe — there still is a chance that America could be the home of the brave.

But right now, the brave are elsewhere. Fortunately for us, they’re becoming active. All those brown-skinned people — yes, the ones we whites have all looked down upon for centuries, and followed Jewish instructions for the exploitation of — Tunisians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Yemeni, Libyans, Bahrainis . . . now they’re showing us the way to a more sensible life, declaring their governments illegitimate and contrary to the explicit needs of the people they pretend to protect.

Let’s stop looking down our noses and rejoin the rest of the world, and admit that all those limpid peasants whose lives America has negatively affected over the years were all really people who had something to teach us. But instead of learning what they offered, we killed them and took their money.

Now is the time to learn and understand exactly how we got that idea to begin with.

It’s time to stop being confused. It’s time to let them know that we know what they’re up to. And let them know bigtime. I’m talking loud, from all angles, and in the most profound and penetrating method you can muster.

It’s time to let Jews know that we know they’re not really Americans, that they value their allegiance to the worst religion that ever was (because it’s not a religion at all) and the ugliest nation on the planet above the highest moral values human civilization has ever invented.

Any country that allows Jews to live within its borders is not a trustworthy country, because the Jewish philosophy is so diametrically opposed to all the basic human values. The admission of Jews into any country guarantees sedition, perversion, revolution and destruction, as the consensus historical record of world history proves beyond even an inkling of doubt. Other than outright invasion, which the Jews very rarely do, the only way Jews have ever gained admission to ANY country is by bribery, blackmail and murder, and by these three black arts have utterly destroyed any country in which they have been allowed to remain for any length of time.

But, as I mentioned, they never do the dirty work themselves. They dupe others into committing the crimes they engineer, and insinuate themselves into their target society mostly by breeding and urging others to breed frequently, which destroys the bonds necessary for strong families and makes more half caste citizens to increase their anonymity. Oh yes, and to go on welfare, which is really what has destroyed all societies, especially America, with the manipulated weight of its cripples actually crippling the potential of its geniuses.

It is now time for all that to end, so we may at long last realize that all those people we were told were our enemies were really — minus the Jewish propaganda that taught us to hate them — all this time . . . they were really our friends, wanting exactly what we wanted. What we share with them is this lesson. We can have exactly what we want in this life. All it takes is the courage and resolve to take our freedom back, and share it with every single person on this planet, who, with a little time and patience, we can all learn to love, once the predators have been neutralized and are out of the way of what could be a very promising human destiny.

John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida preaching the message that no problem in the world can be authentically addressed without first analyzing tangents caused by Jewish perfidy, which has subverted and diminished every aspect of human endeavor throughout history. Support for his work is wholly derived from people who can understand what he’s saying and know what it means. 250 N. McCall Rd. #2, Englewood FL 34223 USA