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Sep 24, 2015

Major United States's Banks Rule Ukrainian Default is Inevitable

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) announced that its Determination Committee has ruled that a moratorium was instituted on Ukraine’s debt, triggering payouts on default insurance.

The panel comprises 15 major banks and financial companies, including Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan.
 The decision was made unanimously at a committee meeting on September 23.
"EMEA Credit Derivatives Determinations Committee resolved that a Potential Repudiation/Moratorium had occurred with respect to the Republic of Ukraine," according to the press-release.

The decision is the first step toward a so-called credit event that would allow the settlement of nearly $396 million of derivatives contracts, ISDA reported.

The ruling means holders of credit default swaps (CDS) now have a wait-and-see period to see if Ukraine will pay out its debts. On Wednesday, Ukraine froze redemption of a $500 million bond maturing September 23. The expected credit event will occur after the 10-day grace period and trigger the payout of the CDS.
 The payout of CDS is an event of repudiation/moratorium having two parts, according to ISDA’s rules. The first is an evaluation of the potential for default, and the second includes a failure to pay.

Source: SputnikNews

Sep 23, 2015

United States : Los Angeles Experiencing Homelessness 'Emergency'

The city has announced a US$100 million plan to address the problem but critics say much more is needed.
Officials in Los Angeles labeled homelessness an "emergency" and announced plans to offer permanent housing and shelters for more than 20,000 homeless people in the city.

“These are our fellow Angelinos,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday as he announced the plan outside City Hall. “They are those who have no other place to go, and they are literally here where we work, a symbol of our city’s intense crisis.”

Over the past two years, the number of people living in the streets increased from 23,000 to 26,000 according to official figures from Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Nearly 18,000 people of the total live on the streets as opposed to shelters. The city, the second largest in the country, currently spends over US$13 million of its general funding on homeless programs, such as winter shelters, housing vouchers and outreach to homeless veterans, said Assistant City Administrative Officer Ben Ceja.

Other major cities in the U.S. have been battling with homelessness as well. In New York city, official figures show that there are more than 67,000 homeless people – almost double the number in Los Angeles.

While the mayor announced a US$100 million budget for the anti-homelessness plan, critics say that it would not be enough to fix the growing problem. “A hundred million dollars won’t even buy all the homeless (people) pillows,” Alice Callaghan, a longtime advocate for the homeless in city, told the Associated Press Wednesday. “A hundred million certainly won’t build much housing – and what we really have here is a housing crisis.”

In a recent report in April, the U.S.-based National Alliance to End Homelessness said that 578,424 people were experiencing homelessness in the U.S. in 2014, meaning they were sleeping outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program.

While the report said the recent economic recovery in the U.S. has slightly reduced homelessness, it also warned that many were still at risk of not being able to afford housing.

“Longitudinal trends and changes from 2012 to 2013 indicate populations at risk of homelessness may not be experiencing the benefits of the economic recovery,” the report said.

Source : Telesur

Sep 21, 2015

Anonymous Launches ‘Black October’ Campaign Against United States Banking System

Right on the heels of the Occupy Wall Street movement’s four year anniversary, activist group Anonymous has launched a new campaign which they say outlines an “easy” way for the 99% to demonstrate their strength and overcome the richest 1%.

The statement was released on Anonymous’ website, with a video inviting people to join the peaceful revolution, under the name "Black October." The group calls on "ordinary people" to demonstrate their strength and independence from wealthy banks by simply using cash instead of debit and credit cards.

"US branches of Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Spain’s Banco Santander have failed US Fed stress tests, while America’s largest bank, Bank of America, is put on 'warning,'" the statement reads. "How far can the ordinary people shoulder responsibility of a failed private bank?"

A stress test, officially known as the Comprehensive Capital and Analysis Review, is an annual assessment conducted by the US Federal Reserve of a bank’s ability to “lend to households and businesses even in times of stress.” It was introduced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

This year’s review found that both Deutsche Bank and Banco Santander would fail to deal with "doomsday" scenarios such as rising unemployment and plummeting house prices, while Bank of America also has "certain weaknesses."
With "Black October," Anonymous asks people to demonstrate their independence from such big banks.

The month-long campaign is outlined in Anonymous’ video and statement, inviting people to take their money out of bank accounts and not to use their debit or credit cards.

"Show the Big Bankers that we don’t need their debit cards, we don’t need their credit cards, we don’t need their loans, and we don’t need them," Anonymous said. "Let’s show them that we are the 99% and we can beat them. It is that easy."

Driven by social and economic inequality, the Occupy movement began on September 17, 2011 in Zuccotti Park in New York’s Wall Street financial district. The movement was inspired by anti-austerity protests in Spain, and saw thousands of activists in hundreds of US cities coming together and calling for policy reforms favoring 99% of Americans over the richest and most powerful 1%.

Source : SputnikNews

Sep 4, 2015

United States : Black and Latino Police Punished for Resisting Racial Profiling

Punishments include bullying, threats of being laid off, denial of benefits, and downgrades.

A dozen Black and Latino NYPD officers filed a lawsuit earlier this week alleging that police institutions  punish them if they resist implementing a quota system that targets their own communities.   

The plaintiffs claim that the New York Police Department is violating a state labor law by enforcing quotas of issuing “summons, tickets or number of arrests.” They further allege they are unfairly punished when they are “unwilling to perform racially discriminatory and unwarranted enforcement actions against the minority community,” the New York Daily News reported.     

Pedro Serrano, a Puerto Rican officer, said he was told by a superior that a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood are “animals” when he complained about racist policing there. Serrano also received poor performance evaluations for reporting police malpractice and criticizing the illegal quotas, according to ThinkProgress.   

Serrano is one of the plaintiffs who say they are unfairly punished and harassed by colleagues and superiors with threats of being laid off, denial of benefits, and downgrades.   

The lawsuit claims that resistance to racist policing by officers of color has “led to a racially unfair and unreasonable performance evaluation system … to which white police officers are not subjected.”   

Adhyl Polanco, a Latino officer who went to the media in 2009 to expose how arrest and summons quotas disproportionately affect communities of color, said he has since earned a bad reputation that has led to bullying, being called a “f*cking b*tch,” suspension, probation and being placed on mental watch.   

Another officer, Sandy Gonzalez, was stationed alone in the cold as punishment for refusing to meet the enforced quota.   

The NYPD however asserts that the police department does not impose such quotas.   

“There are no numerical enforcement quotas established by the NYPD,” Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis said in a statement. “Performance evaluations are conducted for all department employees based on an assessment of their duties, responsibilities and specific conditions of their assignments.”

Source : Telesur

Sep 2, 2015

Baltimore Judge OKs Police Trial in Killing of Freddie Gray

Six Baltimore police officers were charged in connection with the police in-custody death of the 25-year-old.

A Baltimore judge Wednesday rejected motions to drop charges against the six police officers charged in the high-profile death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal injury while in Baltimore police custody last April.   

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams also rejected calls for State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby to be removed from the case."The motion is hereby dismissed," he said, paving the way for a trial to begin next month.​

The six officers involved in Gray´s arrest and subsequent death face charges ranging from false imprisonment to involuntary manslaughter. All six have pleaded not guilty.

The legal defense team sought the removal of Mosby from the prosecution team and demanded that the officers be tried separately.

At least one person was arrested and another reportedly runover during protests outside the court, where small groups of demonstrators gathered to demand justice for Gray and his family.

"Our message is pretty obvious. Do not drop the charges. No change in venue. Do not recuse Marilyn Mosby," said Sharon Black of the Baltimore People's Power Assembly, an organization that has been involved in police brutality protests. The group has roughly 50 to 75 people, according to police.

The death of Freddie Gray, 25, in April drew worldwide attention, sparking protests and contributing to a national debate on police treatment of minorities in the United States.

The actual trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 13

Source : Telesur

Aug 21, 2015

Europe’s Horrific Mistreatment of Migrants, the Victims of United States’s Wars

Refugees fleeing war zones, persecution, or poverty and unemployment are the world’s least welcome people. America bears full responsibility for millions leaving Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Donbass and elsewhere – seeking safe havens in Europe or countries bordering their own.

Hungary deployed thousands of police to its border with Serbia. It’s “under attack (by) increasingly aggressive migrants,” according to Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff. Around 130,000 arrived this year so far – triple 2014’s number.

Over 160,000 arrived in Greece – about 50,000 in the last month alone. Welcome mats don’t greet them. Conditions are deplorable.
Families sleep outside because of overcrowding.

Sanitation is lacking. Little medical care or nutritious food is available. Babies are given sugar water instead of milk.

A UNHCR report said 60 million people were forcibly displaced by end of 2014. Globally one in every 122 people are asylum seekers, refugees or internally displaced persons. More than half the world’s refugees are children.

Last month, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said Greece’s Dodecanese Islands reception center is on the verge of collapse.
Thousands of migrants sleep outside or in abandoned buildings for lack of accommodations. They haven’t enough food, clean water, medical care, and basic sanitation.

In Kos, hundreds sleep on floors “amidst rubble and shattered glass in an overcrowded, dilapidated building.” MSF teams do their best “treating conditions linked to unhygienic living conditions, including scabies and skin infections.”

Desperately needed humanitarian aid isn’t available in amounts needed. MSF’s Stathis Kyroussis called the situation “a violation of Greece’s and the EU’s obligations toward asylum seekers and migrants…”

Given Athens’ struggling economy, it can’t cope on its own. Help from EU member states is needed. MSF’s Lesvos emergency coordinator said “(l)eaving people to fend for themselves in a field full of garbage or in an abandoned building where there is hardly any water or latrines is simply unacceptable and is putting people’s health at risk.”

Growing thousands needing shelter, toilets, organized food distribution, access to medical treatment and other essentials aren’t getting it.

Despite urgent calls for help, there’s been little or no improvement. Migrants are increasingly on their own to survive. Thousands perish at sea from drowning, starvation, thirst or weather conditions en route to safe havens. Arrivals don’t find it.

A July Amnesty International report said: “migrants heading for Europe fac(e) abuse and extortion in the Balkans…at the hands of the authorities and criminal gangs…”

They’re abandoned by EU policymakers – left “trapped without protection Serbia and Macedonia…” Deplorable conditions await them wherever they arrive. According to AI’s Europe and Central Asia deputy director Gauri van Gulik:
“Refugees fleeing war and persecution make this journey across the Balkans in the hope of finding safety in Europe only to find themselves victims of abuse and exploitation and at the mercy of failing asylum systems.”
“Serbia and Macedonia have become a sink for the overflow of refugees and migrants that nobody in the EU seems willing to receive.”
Both countries “have to do much more to respect migrants and refugees’ rights. But it is impossible to separate the human rights violations there, from the broader pressures of the flow of migrants and refugees into and through the EU, and a failed EU migration system.”
“As increasing numbers of vulnerable refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants become trapped in a Balkan no-man’s land, the pressures on Serbia and Macedonia are mounting.”
“These stresses, like those on Italy and Greece, can only be resolved by a much broader rethink of EU migration and asylum policies.”
Migrants come from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey after arriving by sea, then to Greece followed by land travel to Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and other EU destinations.

They endure nightmarish conditions along the way and after arriving – including beatings, financial extortion and other abuses.

A previous article discussed Britain’s appalling centers for refugees and asylum seekers. They’re locked up indefinitely like criminals with no concern for their welfare or right of appeal. They endure torture and other forms of abuse.

Conditions are so bad, some migrants attempt suicide. Detainees are left to rot. Some give up in despair.

A separate article discussed Syria’s refugee crisis – the gravest since WW II, nearly half the nation’s population internally or externally displaced, fleeing Obama’s war to hellhole refugee camps, largely on their own with minimal lifeline help.

RT International interviewed Dr. David Isaacs. He faces possible prison for exposing Australia’s horrific mistreatment of migrants on Nauru island 3,300km northeast of Brisbane, he explained.
“I am breaking the law by talking to you about this, and I could even go to prison for doing this,” he said. “Anyone who works there – doctors, teachers, nurses – could go to prison for two years for telling the truth about what is happening.”
Things are so bad, he felt he had no choice. One young girl “tr(ied) to hang herself,” he said. Many children developed PTSD. Migrants endure “mental torture.” Conditions are hellish.

Letters written by children said they live in dirty tents, flooded during rainstorms. Officers “treat (them) like animals.”

Isaacs compared Nauru  detention centers to “prisons.” A former employee responsible for security speaking on condition of anonymity said waterboarding and other forms of torture are used.

A May Australian parliamentary inquiry found rampant child abuse. Many detainees complained of sexual assault. No one was held accountable. No changes in deplorable conditions were made.

Refugees and asylum seekers increasingly are unwanted – especially as their numbers grow exponentially from mostly US-devastated war-torn countries and others where they’re abused. The end of their long anguished nightmare is nowhere in sight.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at .  His new book as editor and contributor is entitled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Read more about his book hereYou can also visit his blog site here, where you will find hyperlinks to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio Network’s ’Progressive Radio News Hour’. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Source : GlobalResearch

Aug 14, 2015

United States : Ferguson's State of Emergency Extended

The state of emergency was called Monday, after a police officer shot and critically injured another black teenager Sunday night.

Officials extended a state of emergency in Ferguson, Missouri Thursday for an extra 24 hours, after citizens began taking to the street once again for the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown – a black, unarmed teenager who was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson last year.

County Executive Steve Stenger called for the extension, saying it will now last until at least Friday.

This is the second time this week the county executive has drawn-out the state of emergency after calling for a 24 hour extension Wednesday, even though the region has remained in a relative state of calm over the past few days.

According to a statement released by Stenger Wednesday, the tranquility in the city was an indication that the state of emergency was working and should therefore be extended.

Stenger originally declared the state of emergency Monday in order to stop potential retaliatory protests after another white police officer shot and critically injured black 18 year old Tyrone Harris in an exchange of gunfire Sunday night.

The shooting interrupted what had been a day of peaceful protests, as people took to the streets to commemorate Brown and demand justice for his killing on Aug. 9, 2014.

Brown's death last year – as well as the court's conclusion that Wilson acted legally – set off a wave of protests across the nation over police killings of minorities, sparking the movement Black Lives Matter and what many are calling a new civil rights movement.

Protests in Ferguson have continued over the past couple of nights, but have calmed down significantly, with smaller crowds and no confrontations or arrests.  

Source : Telesur

Aug 12, 2015

United States : California Now Wants to be First State to Mandate Adult Vaccines – Criminal Penalties for those Who Refuse

Is California becoming a medical police state?

Health Impact News Editor Comments

In a brazen act of medical tyranny, California recently became the first state in the U.S. where lawmakers removed religious exemptions to those opposing vaccines for their children. The bill now signed into law, SB277, faces legal hurdles in court next.

Now, legislators in California want to pass the “first US adult vaccine mandate with NO personal exemptions and CRIMINAL penalties for failure to comply.” SB 792, would eliminate an adult’s right to exempt themselves from one, some, or all vaccines, a risk-laden medical procedure.
Will California soon become a medical police state?

URGENT ACTION ALERT Monday July 13, 2015

SB792- The first US adult vaccine mandate with NO personal exemptions (only medical exemptions approved by a doctor and defined by the bill) and CRIMINAL penalties for failure to comply will be heard in the California Assembly Human Services Committee this Tuesday July 14th at 1:30 in Room 437.

SB 792 would eliminate an adult’s right to exempt themselves from one, some, or all vaccines, a risk-laden medical procedure. This bill would make California the first state to require mandated vaccinations for all childcare workers, including all private and public school early childhood education programs (Headstart, Private preK and preschools), family daycares, and daycare centers.
Commencing September 1, 2016, a person shall not be employed at a family day care home if he or she has not been immunized against influenza, pertussis, and measles. An employee shall receive an influenza vaccination between August 1 and December 1 of each year.
This bill eliminates medical autonomy, crushes religious freedom, undermines personal freedom, and burdens quality providers with a non-optional series of medical interventions in the form of mandated vaccines that are not even 100% effective.
Bill SB 792 excerpt:
This bill, commencing September 1, 2016, would prohibit a day care center or a family day care home from employing any person who has not been immunized in accordance with the schedule for routine adult immunizations, prescribed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bill would specify circumstances under which a person would be exempt from the immunization requirement, based on medical safety and current immunity, as specified. The bill would make conforming changes to provisions that set forth qualifications for day care center teachers and applicants for licensure as a family day care center. Because the bill would extend the application of a crime under the act, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Read the entire bill here.


Assembly Human Services Committee: http://ahum.assembly.ca.gov/hearings
(916) 319-2089 – Fax (916) 319-2189

Kansen Chu (Chair) (D) – 25 (Abstain on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 5175, Sacramento, CA 94249-0025
(916) 319-2025 Fax: (916) 319-2125

Chad Mayes (Vice Chair) (R) – 42 (No on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 4144, Sacramento, CA 94249-0042
(916) 319-2042 Fax: (916) 319-2142

Ian C. Calderon (D) – 57 (Yes on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 2148, Sacramento, CA 94249-0057;
(916) 319-2057 Fax: (916) 319-2157

Patty López (D) – 39 (No on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 4126, Sacramento, CA 94249-0039
(916) 319-2039 Fax: (916) 319-2139

Brian Maienschein (R) – 77 (No on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 4139, Sacramento, CA 94249-0077
(916) 319-2077 Fax: (916) 319-2177

Mark Stone (D) – 29 (Yes on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 5155, Sacramento, CA 94249-0029
(916) 319-2029 Fax: (916) 319-2129

Tony Thurmond (D) – 15 (Yes on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 5150, Sacramento, CA 94249-0015
(916) 319-2015 Fax: (916) 319-2115




Also contact YOUR Assembly Member to urge a NO VOTE! http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

SB792: Assembly Health Committee Hearing, June 30, 2015

Medical Doctors Opposed to Forced Vaccinations – Should Their Views be Silenced?

One of the biggest myths being propagated in the compliant mainstream media today is that doctors are either pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine, and that the anti-vaccine doctors are all “quacks.”

However, nothing could be further from the truth in the vaccine debate. Doctors are not unified at all on their positions regarding “the science” of vaccines, nor are they unified in the position of removing informed consent to a medical procedure like vaccines.

The two most extreme positions are those doctors who are 100% against vaccines and do not administer them at all, and those doctors that believe that ALL vaccines are safe and effective for ALL people, ALL the time, by force if necessary.

Very few doctors fall into either of these two extremist positions, and yet it is the extreme pro-vaccine position that is presented by the U.S. Government and mainstream media as being the dominant position of the medical field.

In between these two extreme views, however, is where the vast majority of doctors practicing today would probably categorize their position. Many doctors who consider themselves “pro-vaccine,” for example, do not believe that every single vaccine is appropriate for every single individual.

Many doctors recommend a “delayed” vaccine schedule for some patients, and not always the recommended one-size-fits-all CDC childhood schedule. Other doctors choose to recommend vaccines based on the actual science and merit of each vaccine, recommending some, while determining that others are not worth the risk for children, such as the suspect seasonal flu shot.

These doctors who do not hold extreme positions would be opposed to government-mandated vaccinations and the removal of all parental exemptions.
In this eBook, I am going to summarize the many doctors today who do not take the most extremist pro-vaccine position, which is probably not held by very many doctors at all, in spite of what the pharmaceutical industry, the federal government, and the mainstream media would like the public to believe.
Source : GlobalResearch

Aug 11, 2015

United States : 23 More Arrested as Police Attack Ferguson Protests

A total of 144 activists were arrested on Monday in protests commemorating the one year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown.

After a state of emergency was declared in Ferguson, Missouri on Monday amid the third day of protests marking the anniversary of the killing of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown, 23 more activists were arrested Monday night in ongoing demonstrations.

Riot police with militarized vehicles attacked protesters as tensions flared along West Florence Avenue, the site of repeated protests over the past year, but authorities reported that no shots were fired and no property was damaged. The protest wrapped up in the St. Louis suburb around 3:30 am local time.

Several activists were arrested for “resisting/interfering,” the St. Louis police department said on its Twitter account, when authorities attempted to clear “unlawfully assembled” protesters from the streets.

Although police refrained from using teargas, unlike in the previous nights' protests, pepper spray was used on demonstrators.

In total, 144 people were arrested on Monday, including Cornel West, DeRay McKesson, and other leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement.

While West, McKession, and other protesters detained Monday outside the Ferguson Courthouse were later released, it remains unclear whether the 23 arrested during nighttime protests or any of those previously detained remain in custody.

Police detain a protester in Ferguson, August 10, 2015. I Photo: Reuters   

Monday night's protests also followed the shooting of Tyrone Harris, teenager and classmate of Mike Brown. Harris was shot by police and hospitalized with critical injuries in the early hours of Monday morning. Authorities say Harris was shot for being a suspect in gunfire that disrupted peaceful protests, but family members say the 18-year-old was unarmed and fleeing for his life when police shot him.

White vigilantes, heavily armed with assault rifles, began to patrol the streets in the early hours of Tuesday morning, attracting critcism of the the double standard of police in Ferguson.

​Outrage over ongoing police brutality and racist policing practices continues in Ferguson one year after Mike Brown was shot dead by white police officer Darren Wilson, who was not indicted for the killing.

According to local residents, unjust policing and poor relations with police have not improved, despite the killing of Mike Brown which launched Ferguson and its police department into the national spotlight last year.

“They kill us, they get away with it. It's crazy,” said Rayna Martin, a 17-year-old protester and resident of the neighborhood where Mike Brown was killed, adding that police violence has worsened in the community.

The police response to renewed protests in Ferguson recalls the heavily-militarized crackdown on demonstrations in the wake of Mike Brown's killing last year, when the National Guard was deployed in Ferguson to control nightly crowds in the streets.

“Our marches were all done very peacefully,” wrote Mike Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., commending the weekend of demonstrations as “meaningful, inspiring, and successful” on his Facebook account. “With your support, we properly honored your friend and my son's memory.”

Source : Telesur

Aug 10, 2015

The United States Economy Continues Its Collapse

Do you remember when real reporters existed? Those were the days before the Clinton regime concentrated the media into a few hands and turned the media into a Ministry of Propaganda, a tool of Big Brother. The false reality in which Americans live extends into economic life. Last Friday’s employment report was a continuation of a long string of bad news spun into good news. The media repeats two numbers as if they mean something—the monthly payroll jobs gains and the unemployment rate—and ignores the numbers that show the continuing multi-year decline in employment opportunities while the economy is allegedly recovering.

The so-called recovery is based on the U.3 measure of the unemployment rate. This measure does not include any unemployed person who has become discouraged from the inability to find a job and has not looked for a job in four weeks. The U.3 measure of unemployment only includes the still hopeful who think they will find a job.

The government has a second official measure of unemployment, U.6. This measure, seldom reported, includes among the unemployed those who have been discouraged for less than one year. This official measure is double the 5.3% U.3 measure. What does it mean that the unemployment rate is over 10% after six years of alleged economic recovery?

In 1994 the Clinton regime stopped counting long-term discouraged workers as unemployed. Clinton wanted his economy to look better than Reagan’s, so he ceased counting the long-term discouraged workers that were part of Reagan’s unemployment rate. John Williams (shadowstats.com) continues to measure the long-term discouraged with the official methodology of that time, and when these unemployed are included, the US rate of unemployment as of July 2015 is 23%, several times higher than during the recession with which Fed chairman Paul Volcker greeted the Reagan presidency.

An unemployment rate of 23% gives economic recovery a new meaning. It has been eighty-five years since the Great Depression, and the US economy is in economic recovery with an unemployment rate close to that of the Great Depression.

The labor force participation rate has declined over the “recovery” that allegedly began in June 2009 and continues today. This is highly unusual. Normally, as an economy recovers jobs rebound, and people flock into the labor force. Based on what he was told by his economic advisors, President Obama attributed the decline in the participation rate to baby boomers taking retirement. In actual fact, over the so-called recovery, job growth has been primarily among those 55 years of age and older. For example, all of the July payroll jobs gains were accounted for by those 55 and older. Those Americans of prime working age (25 to 54 years old) lost 131,000 jobs in July.

Over the previous year (July 2014 — July 2015), those in the age group 55 and older gained 1,554,000 jobs. Youth, 16-18 and 20-24, lost 887,000 and 489,000 jobs.

Today there are 4,000,000 fewer jobs for Americans aged 25 to 54 than in December 2007. From 2009 to 2013, Americans in this age group were down 6,000,000 jobs. Those years of alleged economic recovery apparently bypassed Americans of prime working age.

As of July 2015, the US has 27,265,000 people with part-time jobs, of whom 6,300,000 or 23% are working part-time because they cannot find full time jobs. There are 7,124,000 Americans who hold multiple part-time jobs in order to make ends meet, an increase of 337,000 from a year ago.

The young cannot form households on the basis of part-time jobs, but retirees take these jobs in order to provide the missing income on their savings from the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policy, which is keyed toward supporting the balance sheets of a handful of giant banks, whose executives control the US Treasury and Federal Reserve. With so many manufacturing and tradable professional skill jobs, such as software engineering, offshored to China and India, professional careers are disappearing in the US.

The most lucrative jobs in America involve running Wall Street scams, lobbying for private interest groups, for which former members of the House, Senate, and executive branch are preferred, and producing schemes for the enrichment of think-tank donors, which, masquerading as public policy, can become law.

The claimed payroll jobs for July are in the usual categories familiar to us month after month year after year. They are domestic service jobs—waitresses and bartenders, retail clerks, transportation, warehousing, finance and insurance, health care and social assistance. Nothing to export in order to pay for massive imports. With scant growth in real median family incomes, as savings are drawn down and credit used up, even the sales part of the economy will falter.

Clearly, this is not an economy that has a future.
But you would never know that from listening to the financial media or reading the New York Times business section or the Wall Street Journal.

When I was a Wall Street Journal editor, the deplorable condition of the US economy would have been front page news.  

Source : GlobalResearch

United States : "State of Emergency" Declared Amidst Ferguson Protests

With a state of emergency declared on Monday afternoon, Ferguson braces for a tense night after a police shooting on Sunday left one man critically wounded. That incident occurred during weekend protests organized to mark the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown one year ago.

Protesters gathered over the weekend to honor Michael Brown, fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson one year ago, and to demonstrate support for the Black Lives Matter movement. While raising awareness of police brutality on Sunday night, shots rang out across the city.

Police say the incident began when officers responded to calls of a shootout between rival groups in the heart of Ferguson. When one individual turned to open fire on the four plainclothes officers, he was became critically injured during the ensuing chase.

That individual has now been identified as 18-year-old Tyrone Harris, and has been charged with assaulting police officers.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar stressed that the shooters "were criminals; they weren’t protesters."

"There is a small group of people out there that are intent on making sure that we don’t have peace that prevails," he said, according to Reuters.
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch also condemned Sunday night’s incident, saying that violence "places the community, as well as the officers who seek to protect it, in harm’s way."

The shooting served as a harsh reminder of the incidents of one year ago. The death of Michael Brown, and the failure of a grand jury to indict the officer responsible, led to a wave of protests nationwide, and Ferguson police are preparing for potential violence on Monday night.

"After a year of protest and conversation around police accountability, having plainclothes officers without body cameras and proper identification in the protest setting leaves us with only the officer’s account of the incident, which is clearly problematic," Kayla Reed, an organizer with the Organization for Black Struggle, said in a statement.

Arrests have already been made in nearby St. Louis, where "Moral Monday" protesters were also marching to honor Michael Brown. As many as 57 individuals have been arrested outside the city's courthouse, prominent civil rights activist Cornel West among them.

Police are also considering implementing a curfew for Monday night.
Now that the weather has cleared, protesters have formed a line across all eight lanes of highway 70, blocking traffic in both directions just outside of St. Louis. That has reportedly resulted in mass arrests.

Sunday’s demonstrations were largely peaceful. Hundreds gathered by a memorial at the site of Brown’s death. A service was held at a nearby church. Organizers have stressed that Monday will be more of the same; a peaceful day of civil disobedience meant to draw attention to racial bias in the US criminal justice system.

After nightfall, a small group of individuals emerged from the crowd of protesters and broke into businesses along West Florissant Avenue. Ferguson police responded by forming a line across the storefronts. Donning riot gear, they ordered demonstrators to move out of the street.

A St. Louis County police officer takes cover behind a car after shots were fired during a protest march on August 9, 2015 on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri
Even after those individuals had cleared the area, police began speeding down West Florissant with sirens blaring. Officers formed a line to control protesters, and some demonstrators began moving toward that police line.

Some activists saw this as an example of the kind of police provocation that escalated tensions during last year’s demonstrations.

"We learned the last time we did it this way, there was more violence," Amy Hunter, director of racial justice for the YWCA, told the New York Times.

Ferguson law enforcement, in particular, has been found to unfairly target minorities. A Justice Department investigation conducted after Brown’s death found systemic racism in the city, saying that police had created a “toxic environment.” This report included a number of incidents in which excessive police force was used against unarmed black individuals.

Source : SputnikNews

Aug 3, 2015

America's Greece? Puerto Rico Goes Into Default For First Time in History

Due to its failure to repay a $58 million to creditors on Monday, Puerto Rico has defaulted for the first time in its history.

Sending the Puerto Rican government into a "death spiral," according to Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, the island has defaulted after paying only $628,000 of a $58 million debt repayment which was due on Monday.

"This was a decision that reflects the serious concerns about the Commonwealth's liquidity in combination with the balance of obligations to our creditors and the equally important obligations to the people of Puerto Rico," Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank president Mela Acosta Febo said in a statement.

A US territory, the island's monthly debt payment of $483 million was due Monday. $58 million due to Public Finance Corporation, went unpaid.

The government chose to prioritize other creditors over PFC because that institution is largely owned by local credit unions and will affect poor Puerto Rican citizens with little legal recourse. Much of the debt that was repaid was held by Wall Street hedge funds.

Overspending over the last few years despite the island's shrinking economy, Puerto Rico owes roughly $70 billion dollars to creditors. The island also saw high unemployment, and a large number of islanders searching for employment on the US mainland.
Unemployment currently rests at 12%.

The Obama administration has repeatedly said it would not provide a bailout for the island should it default. The US Congress could alter existing legislation to provide Puerto Rico with Chapter 9 bankruptcy rights, but that is unlikely to pass.

Some have suggested that even if the island were granted Chapter 9 status, it would do little to improve the economy.

"Since Chapter 9 is unlikely to be a viable way to achieve a consolidated restructuring of all the commonwealth's debt, bankruptcy authorization would not be sufficient by itself to manage Puerto Rico's current pressures," Moody's Investor Service wrote in a report late last month.

While Monday's default will largely affect Puerto Rican citizens, any future defaults could have a stronger effect on the American economy, since over 20% of bond funds in the US have at least partial involvement in Puerto Rican bonds.

Source : SputnikNews

Jul 30, 2015

Gulf Nations Increase Purchase of United States's Weapons After Iran Deal

U.S. weapons continue to fuel wars among Arab nations, while Gulf states increase weapons purchases claiming Iran is now a threat.

United States is already profiting from the Iran nuclear deal, as Gulf
nations react to the agreement by purchasing massive amounts of U.S.
weapons systems, beginning with Saudi Arabia that is buying 600 advanced
 Patriot missiles worth US$5.4 billion.

The U.S. State Department has already approved the request by Saudi
Arabia to purchase the PAC-3 missiles, according to a memorandum the
Pentagon sent Congress on Wednesday.

“The proposed sale will modernize and replenish Saudi Arabia’s current
Patriot missile stockpile, which is becoming obsolete and difficult to
sustain due to age and limited availability of repair parts,” said the
Pentagon’s notice to Congress. “The purchase of the PAC-3 missiles will
support current and future defense missions and promote stability within
 the region.”

According to Russian news outlet RTS, Saudi Arabia already bought a US$2
 billion shipment of Patriots in April.

Last week, according to Defense One, the Pentagon purchased US$1.5
billion worth of Patriots intended for Qatar, the United Arab Emirates,
Taiwan, South Korea and the Saudis.

RT wrote that Gulf Arab states are eager to purchase U.S.
counter-missiles, as embargoes on conventional weapons and missiles
against Iran are expected to be lifted in the next five to eight years
under the terms of a nuclear deal reached in Vienna on July 14.

The United Arab Emirates have already purchased a Terminal High Altitude
 Area Defense (THAAD) system, with a greater reach than the Patriot’s,
RT added.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also expressed interest in the THAAD, while
Qatar is now likely to proceed with the purchase of a missile-tracking
radar system, RT said.

In March, the Guardian said the U.S. accounted for nearly half of all
arms sales to the Middle East, followed by Russia and the United

Sales of weapons to Gulf states have increased by more than 70 percent
over the past five years, according to research quoted by the Guardian.

“We’re going to see more of this,” Thomas Karako, a missile defense
expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in
 Washington told Defense One. “So long as the Iranian missile threat
exists, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and other countries in the region
 are going to have to invest in counters, offensive and defensive.”

In May, President Barack Obama guaranteed his Arab allies that
Washington would “stand by our GCC – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman,
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates – partners against external

In 2009, President Obama said if Iran was still a threat, missiles would
 have to be deployed in Europe nor the Middle East, but apparently he
has forgotten those words as the sale of arms and the deployment of
missiles and anti-missile systems are increasing now that the nuclear
Iranian threat has supposedly been eliminated.

U.S. Weapons Fuel Wars Among Araba States

In April, the Financial Review said that Unites States weapons fueled
the wars among Arab states. For example, they said, “To wage war in
Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing.

Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin's F-16
to bomb both Yemen and Syria.”

They added, that, “As the Middle East descends into proxy wars,
sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in
 the region that have stockpiled U.S. military hardware are now actually
 using it and wanting more.”

This supports the theory that one of the greatest beneficiaries of a
deal with Iran are the United states.

The Financial Review also said the United States will now be more
willing to sell massive quantities of weapons to Arab countries, because
 they no longer represent a threat to Israel. Tel Aviv agrees as they
now have a common enemy: Iran.

"When you look at it, Israel's strategic calculation is a simple one,"
Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies
said. The gulf countries "do not represent a meaningful threat" to
Israel, he said. "They do represent a meaningful counterbalance to

Source : Telesur

Jul 28, 2015

United States Set to Deploy More Troops, Combat Aircraft to Turkey

The United States is looking to broaden its military presence in Turkey with more personnel and combat aircraft, in its effort to intensify fight against ISIL alongside Turkish armed forces, a Pentagon official announced Monday.

According to an emerging cooperation program between Ankara and Washington, more troops and US warplanes and troops are set to deploy into Turkey, with the aim of battling more effectively ISIL militants’ strongholds along the Syrian border.

"We're talking about logistics… berthing and force protection and things like that," Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesperson, said Monday.

The official declined to comment on the number of additional troops to be sent to Incirlik and — potentially — three other air bases in Turkey, but added that "you would need to have more people to do more operations."
 According to the Pentagon, there are approximately 1,700 US personnel — mostly Air Force — based at Incirlik, near the border with Syria.

The US Department of Defense confirmed that talks with Turkey’s military to determine what forces and capabilities should be used in the joint operation are still ongoing.

"The purpose of the operation is to clear the border and close the border to Daesh (ISIL)," a senior Obama administration official earlier told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He also underscored that the US does not intend to create a specific "no-fly" zone in Syria along the Turkish border, which Ankara has long lobbied for, stressing instead that the agreement with Turkey will involve establishing an "ISIL-free zone," but that the US is "not committed to a specific zone per se."
 Davis was similarly noncommittal when it came to the Pentagon’s current position on Syrian President Bashar Assad:
"We're not cooperating with the Assad regime nor are we waging war with the Assad regime," the spokesperson said.

Last week, the Turkish government announced it would permit US air strike operations against ISIL to fly out of Incirlik Air Base. While Ankara had previously tried to remain unengaged in the fight against the terrorist group, the death of 32 students in a suspected ISIL suicide bombing forced Ankara’s hand into reversing that policy.
 On Friday, Turkey launched a two-front military campaign against ISIL militants in Syria and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) in northern Iraq. The campaign involves airstrikes by F-16 fighter jets and shelling from within Turkish territory.

While Turkey has been attacking Kurdish forces in Iraq, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia has proved a major military asset for US strikes against ISIL in Syria. This could become a serious obstacle for a full-scale joint military operation, as Turkey may veto any US activity perceived to be in favor of the Kurds, Middle East experts Neil Quilliam and Jonathan Friedman wrote for Reuters.

Source : SputnikNews

United States : Puerto Rico Unable to Make August Debt Payback

The Caribbean island owes US$73 billion to creditors. Analysts warn the crisis in Puerto Rico could be worse than Greece’s.

Puerto Rico will not pay off its US$93.7 million debt installment due
Aug. 1 to the Puerto Rico Public Financing Corporation (CFP), the
Caribbean island’s chief of staff announced Monday.

Victor Suarez told journalists in San Juan that the Puerto Rican
government was looking into the possibility of obtaining some US$400
million through raising gasoline prices, in order to pay back the US$73
billion debt owed to creditors.

"We are trying to achieve a smaller transaction with reasonable terms of
 some $400 to $500 million," Suarez said, according to Reuters.

Suarez added that the island would do everything possible to guarantee
the debt due to be paid to the CFP, a subsidiary of the U.S. territory's
 Government Development Bank

The small island nation, a U.S. commonwealth territory, began
negotiations with U.S. creditors earlier this month to renegotiate its
massive debt, after it has been struggling to make payments – a
situation analysts are comparing to Greece's current struggles with the
European Union.

In light of the financial crisis gripping the island, the resident
commissioner in Washington, Pedro Pierluisi, asked whether Puerto Rico’s
 debt might be unpayable and asked the administration of Governor
Alejandro Garcia Padilla to change the discourse of the financial state
of the country and to instigate economic development projects.

“Instead of talking about a general extension for the total payment of
the debt by the government of Puerto Rico, we should focus on
negotiating solutions for the particular entities that are having
financial problems,” he said.

For years, economic turmoil has rocked the island, produced by
historical issues, as well as recent financial shakes affecting the
United States, especially the 2007-2010 recession and housing crisis.

With an unemployment rate of double that of the U.S. at 13 percent and
the highest inequality rates when compared with the U.S.’ 50 states and
around 40 percent of the government budget invested in pensions,
analysts are warning that the crisis on the island could be worse than
the situation in Greece.

Source : Telesur

Jul 22, 2015

United States : Native Americans Protest US Bill Seizing Land for Mining

Apache Stronghold group held protests in front of U.S. capitol to draw attention to the seizing of their sacred land for a US$6 billion mine.

A group of native Americans from the United States protested in front of
 the U.S. capitol in Washington D.C. against a proposed copper mine
worth US$6 billion that would be operative on lands they consider sacred
 in Arizona.

The Apache Stronghold group organized a caravan from their home state
all the way to Washington D.C. in order to draw attention to their cause
 demanding the government reserve a bill allowing the seizure of their
land, known as Oka Flat, in favor of mining operations.

The mine will run by Resolution Copper Mining, a company owned by
Australian miners Rio Tinto Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd.  

The group of 100 Native Americans and supporters marched from the White
House to the Capitol, where they drummed, sang and performed prayer
ceremonies for nearly three hours.

“Today is our day. Today is our ceremony. We’re not here looking at this
 Capitol like it’s in charge of us,” said Wendsler Nosie, the councilman
 leading Apache Stronghold.

They had also staged a similar celebratory protests in New York city
Friday. In February a group of activist also set up a camp in the mine
area and said they would stay until the land exchange is struck down.
The mine would be located near the Apache Leap cliffs, a site where
Apaches jumped to their death to avoid capture by US troops in the

Nosie told the Guardian Friday Oak Flat is “a central part of our
religion, our ceremonies, our upbringing for our children”. He added
that it signified the same religious value to his people as is Mount
Sinai to the people of the bible and yet authorities dismiss their
claims as less important.

“It’s like Mount Sinai. Tell the people who believe the Bible that,” he
said. “What would they say? It’s no different. Why do we treat it

The groups is trying to draw attention to a bill labeled “Save the Oka
Flat” introduced by Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva and aims a repealing
the bill giving the title of Oka Flat to the mining company.

The land exchange was a provision that U.S. Senator McCain added to a
defense appropriations bill in December that traded away sacred Native
American tribal land in the Tanto National Forest to build a copper

Source : Telesur

Jul 15, 2015

FBI Cracks Down On Huge Hacker «Darkode» Forum

Darkode was used to trade stolen data and methods for cyberattacks on governments and companies.

One of the largest and most notorious hackers trading forums, Darkode,
has been shut down and dismantled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
 and other law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Justice Department said

According to U.S. attorney David Hickton, who charged 12 people in the
operation, said Darkode is a "a cyber hornet's nest of criminal hackers"
 that "represented one of the gravest threats to the integrity of data
on computers in the United States."   

The European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol, also took part of
the hacker hunt. The agency said it had arrested 28 people in what the
Justice Department called the largest coordinated international law
enforcement effort ever directed at an online cybercriminal forum.   

The operation included the participation of another 20 countries in
Europe and Latin America as well as Israel, Nigeria and Australia.   

Reuters reported that Darkode was used to trade stolen data as well as
hacking and spam tools and services, and methods for cyber attacks on
governments and companies.   

"Darkode was unusual because it was a virtual crossroads for criminal
hackers from a variety of languages, countries and backgrounds," Brian
Krebs, who writes on cybercrime and had infiltrated the forum to study
it, told Reuters.   

"For many years, some of the most accomplished cybercriminals sold their
 wares and services on this forum, including everything from
denial-of-service attacks for hire to malicious software and stolen
identities and credit cards," Krebs added.   

A total of 70 Darkode members and associates worldwide are currently
still being investigated, the department said.     

Residents of Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin,
Louisiana, Slovenia, Spain and Pakistan have been indicted.

Source : Telesur

Jul 9, 2015

United States Military Successfully Test Nuclear Gravity Bomb

The United States Air Force and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) successfully tested the latest version of a nuclear bomb that was originally developed in the early 1960s.

A "safe" version of the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb – one with no warhead – was tested on July 1 at a test range in the Nevada desert. The Air Force and NNSA are aiming to extend the lifespan of the nuclear weapon by upgrading some of its parts.

"This test marks a major milestone for the B61-12 Life Extension Program, demonstrating end-to-end system performance under representative delivery conditions," Dr. Don Cook, of the NNSA, said in statement released Wednesday.

"Achieving the first complete B61-12 flight test provides clear evidence of the nation's continued commitment to maintain the B61 and provides assurance to our allies."

The test was the first of three development flight tests for the B61-12 Life Extension Program (LEP), with the other two development flight tests scheduled for later this year.

"This test demonstrated successful performance in realistic flight environments" and "provides confidence in the weapon system and instrumentation system designs and the hardware at its current state prior to going to a baseline design review in 2016," the Air Force said in the same release.

The B61-12 LEP entered Development Engineering in February 2012 after approval from the Nuclear Weapons Council, a joint Department of Defense and Department of Energy/NNSA organization established to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the two departments as they fulfill their complementary agency responsibilities for US nuclear weapons stockpile management.

According to the Air Force and NNSA, the B61-12 LEP "refurbishes both nuclear and non-nuclear components to extend the bomb's service life while improving its safety, security and reliability." The upgraded B61-12 will replace four older versions of the bomb.

The B61 was developed in 1963 – a year after the Cuban missile crisis – and has been one of top weapons in the US nuclear arsenal since. The total cost of the upgrades is expected to be as much as $11 billion by the program's completion in the 2020s.

Source : SputnikNews

Jul 8, 2015

International Court Judge: Dick Cheney Will Face Trial for War Crimes

A former judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said former US Vice President Dick Cheney should – and eventually will – stand trial for war crimes for his role in the Iraq War.

"Some of us have long thought that Cheney and a number of CIA agents who did what they did in those so-called black holes should appear before the" International Criminal Court (ICC), Thomas Buergenthal said in an interview with Newsweek.

Former International Court of Justice judge Thomas Buergenthal
Buergenthal, 81, served as a judge at the ICJ – the main judicial arm of the United Nations – for 10 years before retiring in 2010.

The ICJ, unlike the ICC, has no jurisdiction to try individuals accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity. As the ICJ is not a criminal court, it does not have a prosecutor able to initiate such proceedings.

Buergenthal was born in the former Czechoslovakia and survived the Auschwitz concentration camp as a boy. He is now a US citizen and a professor of law at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

"We (in the United States) could have tried them ourselves," Buergenthal said of Cheney and others. "I voted for Obama, but I think he made a great mistake when he decided not to instigate legal proceedings against some of these people. I think – yes – that it will happen."

As for Cheney's superior for eight years, Buergenthal dismissed former president George W. Bush as "an ignorant person who wanted to show his mother he could do things his father couldn't."

Buergenthal said Richard Nixon, whose administration Cheney served in during the 1970s, was "more intelligent. I don't think Nixon would have got involved in Iraq."
Source : SputnikNews

Jul 7, 2015

United States : Hillary Clinton Implicated in Honduras Coup, Emails Reveal

The U.S. said they were working to restore ousted-president Zelaya, while in fact ensuring the coup government’s grip on power.

A new round of emails from Hillary Clinton’s time as U.S. Secretary of
State released last week, reveals her complicity in the 2009 military
coup that toppled Honduran president Manuel Zelaya.   

According to an email exchange in the aftermath of the coup, Clinton
requested the assistance of a prominent PR advisor Lanny Davis as a
back-channel to Roberto Micheletti, the interim president after the
coup. Davis was also an adviser to a group of Honduran businessmen who
had supported Zelaya's ouster .   

The request came a week before Clinton brokered a deal to reinstall
Zelaya through a national unity government. According to the Intercept,
this was an attempt at undermining the democratically elected left-wing
president while not explicitly endorsing the coup.   

The plan failed however as the legal vacuum left by the coup made the
return of Manuel Zelaya impossible. The U.S. State Department continued
to support and recognize what many considered fraudulent elections by
the post-coup government, saying they were “free, fair and transparent.”
According to the Intercept, the U.S. presented a facade in the media
saying they were working to restore the democratically elected Honduran
government, while in fact ensuring the coup government’s grip on power.   

In another email exchange Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon,
who was in Honduras the week prior to the coup to meet with the civilian
 and military groups that later participated in the coup, applauded the
U.S. for “having worked so hard to manage and resolve this crisis.”

Zelaya was inspired by the policies of Hugo Chavez to combat poverty and
 had joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) a year
prior to his ouster.   

In the aftermath of the coup, the homicide rate increased by 50 percent
while political repression and assassinations of political opponents,
farmer organizers and LGBTQI activists heightened dramatically.

Source : Telesur

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