The White Flag


Not news worthy
February 6, 2011, 5:47 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

United States

We need men who will do whatever it takes to stop criminals even if it means breaking the law yourself. CIA agents avoid punishment and are sometimes promoted despite their history of power abuse.
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“CIA officers who were involved in cases of wrongful imprisonment, mistreatment and even detainee deaths have often avoided serious punishment and in many cases been promoted within the agency, an investigation by the Associated Press has found.”

“Though the lawyer who signed off on the decision received a reprimand, the CIA never punished the analyst who pressed for El-Masri’s wrongful rendition, despite recommendations from the CIA’s inspector general, AP reported.”

“A former CIA official told the Washington Post in 2005 that the analyst “didn’t really know. She just had a hunch” when she made the decision regarding El-Masri. The analyst now runs the CIA’s Global Jihad unit, which leads the U.S. government’s counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaeda.”

Changing directions, America is putting nonrenewable energy on the budget chopping block.
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“Chu said that the budget proposal, which will be released Monday, would cut the Office of Fossil Energy by 45 percent, or $418 million. That includes eliminating the Fuels Program, the Fuel Cells Program, the Oil and Gas Research and Development Program and the Unconventional Fossil Technology Program.”

“Following up on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union call for the nation to get 80 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2035, Chu said the budget would include over $8 billion for research, development, and deployment investments in clean energy technology programs. A White House fact sheet last month said that represents a one-third increase.”

“Another energy program not part of the DOE budget, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, would be cut in half – by about $2.5 billion, two people familiar with the budget proposal told The Associated Press this week. That program provides home heating aid program for the poor.”

People protesting and crying about making this country a better place, or peace, just is not news worthy. But find me a car accident, or a tweet from Sarah Palin, and you have got yourself a story. American media only showing the public stories they want people to hear?
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“Over the years, Milwaukee Labor Press editor Dominique Paul North has covered a ‘heck of a lot of protests’ in Wisconsin. Last summer, a peace rally in Wisconsin’s inner city drew about 100 people calling for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan. ‘There was no media coverage,” he says. “I was the only reporter there.’ ”

“The next day, 40 people attended a tea party event in Wisconsin and every local media outlet was there to cover it. ‘This is what we’ve been seeing over the past year. If there’s a peace rally or a worker’s rights rally, it’s ho hum. You might find a reporter or two. The tea party would gather five people on the corner and there would be coverage.’ ”

Computer program compiles data on routine traffic stops to monitor for discrimination.
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“The Police Department plans to begin tracking the race and gender of people stopped by police to determine whether racial profiling occurs. The data could be analyzed once a year, for the department as a whole and for individual officers.”

“Blacks made up about 30 percent of Cedar Rapids’ violent and property crime arrests in 2009 and 2010.”

“This is disproportionate to the city’s black population, which is 6.3 percent of the whole, according to 2010 census figures. The Cedar Rapids arrest demographics are right on par with national figures reported as part of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, however.”

“ ‘We want to be able to track who we’re stopping and why,’ said Sgt. Chas Maier, public information officer for Ocala.”

“ ‘The statistical data on each of the named officers should not lead one to believe they are conducting any biased based profiling,’ the report states. ‘However, it is recommended that their immediate supervisors monitor their (field interview reports) and traffic for a period of time to determine if they are conducting biased based profiling.’ ”

Bank of America is assisting in the attack on Wikileaks?
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“After a tip from Crowdleaks.org, The Tech Herald has learned that HBGary Federal, as well as two other data intelligence firms, worked to develop a strategic plan of attack against WikiLeaks. The plan included pressing a journalist in order to disrupt his support of the organization, cyber attacks, disinformation, and other potential proactive tactics.”

“The proposal starts with an overview of WikiLeaks, including some history and employee statistics. From there it moves into a profile of Julian Assange and an organizational chart. The chart lists several people, including volunteers and actual staff.”

“One of those listed as a volunteer, Salon.com columnist, Glenn Greenwald, was singled out by the proposal. Greenwald, previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York, has been a vocal supporter of Bradley Manning, who is alleged to have given diplomatic cables and other government information to WikiLeaks.”

Health

There is money to be made everywhere. Glaxo, a pharmaceutical company, after analyzing cost to benefits, decided it would be safer for the company to release a drug than to find one that was not likely to to kill people. And it paid off, they ended up only having to pay $46,000 a head, which was much low than they anticipated.
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“An average of $46,000 per case is a modest price to pay, in the grand scheme of things,” Gbola Amusa, an analyst at UBS AG in London, said in a telephone interview. “If Avandia definitively had caused heart attacks, Glaxo would have been forced to pay” as much as $1 million a case, he said.

“The cases settled were filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Joseph Zonies and Thomas Cartmell. Glaxo was facing about 2,000 suits alleging the drugmaker hid Avandia’s heart-attack and stroke risks prior to the settlements, lawyers for former users and the company said in court hearings. The company already agreed to pay about $460 million to resolve allegations it didn’t properly warn doctors and consumers about the medicine’s risks.

“Avandia sales fell 43 percent to $710 million […]. Avandia was once the world’s best-selling diabetes pill, generating $3 billion in annual sales.”

Civil Liberties

Why would there need to be judicial review? Anyone that the FBI is investigating has to be guilty, why would the FBI waste their time and money if they did not know they were right, and how would they become FBI agents if they could not smell guilt? Besides judicial overview just protects bad people, it never stopped the FBI from arresting and imprisoning innocent people, because that does not happen.
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“The Obama administration’s Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy.”

“The bureau devised an informal system of requesting the records from three telecommunications firms to create what one agent called a “phone database on steroids” that included names, addresses, length of service and billing information.”

” ‘Now, 30 years later, the FBI has looked at this provision again and decided that it is an enormous loophole that allows them to ask for, and the phone companies to hand over, records related to international or foreign communications,” he said. “Apparently, they’ve decided that this provision means that your international communications are a privacy-free zone and that they can get records of those communications without any legal process.’ ”

” ‘It’s wrong that they’re withholding a legal rationale that has to do with the authorities of the FBI to collect information that affects the rights of American citizens here and abroad,” said Michael German, a former FBI agent of 16 years who now works for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The law should never be secret. We should all understand what rules we’re operating under and particularly when it comes to an agency that has a long history of abuse in its collection activities.’ “

Is the all inclusive phrase ‘less government’ finally going to include ‘less government’? After nine years of reinstatement, many House Republicans are opposing the PATRIOT Act because of the extensive powers granted to the government, and its agencies.
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“Amash wrote he had voted Feb. 9 against extending three of the provisions of the national security act because: ‘[T]his renewal allows the government to obtain a broad production order to confiscate your business records, without disclosing to you the purposes of the investigation, while prohibiting you from discussing it with anyone.’ ”

“ ‘Like many Republicans and Democrats concerned with protecting civil liberties, I have serious reservations about the USA PATRIOT Act provisions up for renewal,’ Amash’s statement read. ‘The business records provision allows the government to order the production of ‘any tangible things’ — e-mails, phone logs, and even library records. Worse still, the company turning over the records to the government is forbidden from telling the records’ owner of the order. Likewise, the Act’s roving wiretap provision goes far beyond a similar provision in criminal law. It may allow the government continuously to monitor pay phones or public computers, even when a suspect is not using the devices. The breadth of the provisions raises serious Fourth Amendment concerns in my mind, and I cannot support them as currently written.’ ”

“The ‘Lone Wolf’ provision allows the government to do surveillance and physical searches of non-U.S. citizens without having to find a connection between that ‘lone wolf’ and a terrorist organization.”

“Sanchez said that the ‘Lone Wolf’ provision has never been used. He stated that the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court granted roving wiretaps an average of 22 times per year and that FISA issued 1,320 electronic surveillance orders in 2009. Roving wire taps were not a big part of the investigations. Sanchez said there were 21 business records orders in 2009.”

World

All people concerned with the welfare of mankind can take a minute to rejoice for this small step toward universal human freedom, as the Egyptian dictator steps down from office.
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“President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt resigned his post and turned over all power to the military, ending his 30 years of autocratic rule and bowing to a historic popular uprising that has transformed politics in Egypt and around the Arab world.”

“The popular protest, peaceful and resilient despite numerous effort by Mr. Mubarak’s legendary security apparatus to suppress them, ultimately deposed an ally of the United States who has been instrumental in implementing American policy in the region for decades.”

“The military did not indicate whether it intended to take the kinds of fundamental steps toward democracy that protesters have been demanding.”

Progress

This article is not very supportive of the notion, however, it is about time we take in our own problems. As of now Guantanamo detainees who have been cleared to leave must wait at the prison until a willing country takes them in. Berkeley, California, is taking measures to allow freed prisoners into their city.
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“The resolution also asserts that ‘cleared’ detainees have been determined to ‘pose no threat to the United States.’ ”

“On Tuesday, on the recommendation of its Peace and Justice Commission, the Berkeley City Council is set to vote on a resolution to invite ‘one or two cleared’ Guantanamo Bay detainees to resettle in Berkeley.”

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