Monday, April 6, 2009

Executive Guillotine

US judge will drop charges in event of resurrection


A US judge has agreed to drop murder charges against a woman accused of starving her one-year-old son to death if the little boy is resurrected, a lawyer for the accused said Tuesday.

Ria Ramkissoon, now 22, was accused with four other members of a small cult called One Mind Ministries of starving her infant son Javon Thompson to death in 2007.

According to prosecutors, the leader of the sect, a Baltimore woman who goes by the name of Queen Antoinette, had ordered Ramkissoon and other sect members to stop feeding Javon after he didn't say "amen" at breakfast.

In a hearing Monday before the Baltimore Circuit Court, Judge Timothy Doory accepted Ramkissoon's guilty plea and agreed to let her testify against Queen Antoinette and the other defendants.

But if Ramkissoon's son "is resurrected, as you still hold some hope he will be, you may withdraw the plea and the charges against you will be withdrawn," Doory said.

"It's a sad, crazy situation," Ramkissoon's lawyer Steven Silverman told AFP.

"Had we gone to trial, her only defense would have been, 'My child will be resurrected, therefore I'm not guilty.'

"You and I and everyone else knows that's not happening, but she's been brainwashed by a cult and still believes it to this day," he said.

Silverman said as far as he knew, the plea deal marked a global legal first.

Man detained, threatened and abused by TSA for flying with $4700 in cash


Here's a recording of Steve Bierfeldt, a US citizen who tried to board a domestic airplane while carrying $4700 in cash, and was detained by the TSA and subjected to abusive language and threats when he said that he would only answer the TSA's inquiries ("Where do you work?" "Why are you carrying cash?") if he was required to by law. The TSA agents threatened to turn him over to the DEA. He was returning from a Ron Paul event in St Louis, MO, and worked for the campaign. The cash on his person arose from sales of t-shirts and stickers at the event.


The transport cops in the audio recording of his interrogation actually tell him if he's not guilty he has nothing to fear.

Exactly what security threat does cash pose to an airplane? Are suicide bombers wont to carry a lot of liquid capital in case they flub it and need to bribe their way out?


Cue clueless commenter who says, "Well what did he expect when he told the law enforcement person that he expected to be informed of his rights and legal obligations before he would answer his questions?" After all, constitutional liberties are only there to be admired, not exercised. In 3...2...1.


Man detained and harassed at airport for carrying CASH! (via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)


Finally, a little honesty about America's inept war on drugs

Through pot legalization, we can bring the marijuana trade into the safety of the regulated economy, consequently eliminating the black market the drug cartels rely on. We can do so without fearing any more negative consequences than we already tolerate in our keg-party culture.

Finally, a little honesty.

Finally, after America has frittered away billions of taxpayer dollars arming Latin American death squads, airdropping toxic herbicide on equatorial farmland, and incarcerating more of its own citizens on nonviolent drug charges than any other industrialized nation, two political leaders last week tried to begin taming the most wildly out of control beast in the government zoo: federal narcotics policy.

It started with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stating an embarrassingly obvious truth that politicians hardly ever discuss. In a speech about rising violence in Mexico, she said, "Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade," and then added that "we have co-responsibility" for the cartel-driven carnage plaguing our southern border.

She's right, of course. For all the Rambo-ish talk about waging a "War on Drugs" that interdicts the supply of narcotics, we have not diminished demand — specifically, demand for marijuana that cartels base their business on.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Americans spend about $9 billion a year on Mexican pot.

Add that to the roughly $36 billion worth of domestically produced weed, and cannabis has become one of the continent's biggest cash crops. As any mob movie illustrates, mixing such "insatiable" demand for a product with statutes outlawing said product guarantees the emergence of a violent black market — in this case, one in which Mexican drug cartels reap 62 percent of their profits from U.S. marijuana sales.

That last stat, provided by the White House drug czar, is the silver lining. Every American concerned about Mexico's security problems should be thankful that the cartels are so dependent on marijuana, and not a genuinely hazardous substance like heroin. Why? Because that means through pot legalization, we can bring the marijuana trade out of the shadows and into the safety of the regulated economy, consequently eliminating the black market the cartels rely on. And here's the best part: We can do so without fearing any more negative consequences than we already tolerate in our keg-party culture.

Though President Obama childishly laughed at a question about legalization during his recent town-hall meeting, his government implicitly admits that marijuana is safer than light beer. Indeed, as federal agencies acknowledge alcohol's key role in deadly illnesses and domestic violence, their latest anti-pot fear mongering is an ad campaign insisting — I kid you not — that marijuana is dangerous because it makes people zone out on their couches and diminishes video gaming skills.

(This is your government on drugs: Cirrhosis and angry tank-topped lushes beating their wives are more acceptable risks than stoners sitting in their basements ineptly playing Halo ... any questions?).

Despite this idiocy, despite polls showing most Americans support some form of legalization, and despite such legalization promising to generate billions of dollars in tax revenue, Clinton only acknowledged the uncomfortable reality about demand. That's certainly no small step, but she did not address drug-policy reform. Confronting that taboo subject was left to Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.

Last week, this first-term lawmaker proposed creating a federal commission to examine potential changes to the prison system, including a relaxation of marijuana statutes.

House Preparing To Legalize Payday Loans With 391% APRs

By Carey

A House subcommittee wants to legalize payday loans with interest rates of up to 391%. Lobbyists from the payday industry bought Congress' support by showering influential members, including Chairman Luiz Gutierrez, with campaign cash. The Congressman is now playing good cop, bad cop with the payday industry, which is pretending to oppose his generous gift of a bill.

"While they may not be JP Morgan Chase or Bank of America, they're very powerful. Their influence should not be underestimated," Gutierrez, the top Democrat on the Financial Services subcommittee in charge of consumer credit issues, said in an interview this week.

Indeed, the payday lending industry is strenuously resisting Gutierrez's measure, which it says would devastate its business. The measure would cap the annual interest rate for a payday loan at 391 percent, ban so-called "rollovers" - where a borrower who can't afford to pay off the loan essentially renews it and pays large fees - and prevent lenders from suing borrowers or docking their wages to collect the debt.

A newer player representing Internet payday lenders - a growing segment of the market - also ramped up its lobbying and political giving efforts. The Online Lenders Alliance, formed in 2005, nearly quintupled, to $480,000, its lobbying expenditures from 2007 and 2008. It contributed $108,400 to candidates in advance of the 2008 elections compared to about $2,000 in the 2006 contests. Gutierrez was among the top House recipients, getting $4,600, while the top Senate recipient was Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., a Banking Committee member who got $6,900.

After watching members of the military fall prey to exorbitant payday loans, Congress in 2006 capped the interest rates for military payday loans at 36%. Fifteen states have similar caps or outright bans.

Congressman Gutierrez is competing with Congressman Joe Baca to see who can author the biggest giveaway. Baca's legislation would allow rollovers, higher fees for online banks, and would pre-empt state laws banning payday loans.

Someone—maybe Carolyn Maloney, who did an excellent job with the Credit Card Bill of Rights—needs to step up and punch the payday lending lobbyists in the face.

Sean Penn, King Player

" . . . Mr. Penn has joined the cast of "The Three Stooges," a new MGM comedy based on the vintage film shorts of that knockaround trio, Variety reported. Mr. Penn, who recently won his second Academy Award, for playing the title role in Gus Van Sant's "Milk," is set to play Larry, the wire-haired, violin-wielding Stooge . . . " NY Times.

Orson Welles once mentioned that there are actors who are king players. By virtue of their bearing and stature they just naturally play kings. Sean Penn, film royalty for sure, is, by all accounts, preparing for the role of a lifetime: the biopic of Larry Fine, the quiet Stooge, and his relatively unknown life story: as a tireless fighter for social justice.

In this dynamic screenplay, a copy of which I have obtained, Larry, a migrant concert violinist, finds himself in a community of persecuted Burlesque comedians, ultimately takes up their cause and finds the human rights crusader in himself. As the first president of the Slapstick Workers Action Committee (SWAC) he ultimately drives through major reforms in the industry such as: true custard filling to be used in the cream pies, non-toxic red paint for the "do you want your palm read?" sketch and better access to the strippers' dressing rooms.

His torrid love affair with Jackie "Moms" Mably, in a racially intolerant era ends tragically in a firestorm of condemnation. Now questions about his personal life combine with the coming of the McCarthy era result in increased pressure and persecution for Larry. He and his lieutenants, Curly and Moe Howard, are continually victimized by industry goons, chief among them, the feared Harry Cohn, who puts them in films in which they are exposed to punishing, sometimes life-threatening situations.

Aging and nearly blind from years of eye-poking (known in the trade as "Cohning") and almost bald from years of relentless hair pulling, Larry bravely leads the historic, "Funny Walk on Washington" protest. Fifty thousand comics rally on the steps of the Ronald Reagan Trade Building in Washington, at the foot of the statue of Bonzo the chimp, waving signs and hollering, "It's not the money it's the principle of the thing!" In a barely audible voice he delivers the now famous, "I have a terrible headache" speech, calling for better breakaway furniture, gorilla suit ventilation and research into a safe seltzer bottle. The rally is a huge success but the excitement is too much for Larry. Soon afterward, he passes away, ironically, after years of violence and agony, quietly munching a bagel.

There won't be a dry eye in the house. Oscar is waiting. You heard it here.


Citizens for Legitimate Government, a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush Coup d'Etat and oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.

Experts say North Korea extended missile warranty will wreak havoc with America's big three missile makers.

by R J Shulman

Pyongyang, North Korea -- (PTSD News) -- Despite threats of retaliation from the United States, at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, North Korea launched a long range missile with a twist - they are guaranteeing the rocket for 100,000 miles or ten years. "This bold defiance of the excepted standards of the world community is a threat to the global missile makers community," said Charles Kramer, president of the World Missile Manufactures.

Experts say North Korea extended missile warranty will wreak havoc with America's big three missile makers. "If we are not immediately bailed out by Congress," said Lance Blowfield of General Missiles, "we will have to declare bankruptcy."

"We cannot take this situation lightly," said President Barack Obama, commenting in Paris where he was in a meeting with French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. "If we allow our domestic missile industry to die, we will lose jobs which will further depress the economy." President Sarkozy suggest that Obama immediately surrender. "In France, the white flag allows us to forget about the expenses of war so we can concentrate of what we French people do best, make wine and cheat on our spouses."

"If we don't make our own missiles in America anymore, we would have to get them from China" said Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. "This could be embarrassing if we needed these weapons to protect Taiwan from Chinese aggression and had to ask the Chinese to send us some rockets to be used against them."

"The Americans shouldn't be so upset about getting their rockets from China," said Fa Ho Shin, of the Chinese embassy, "after all, rockets were invented by the Chinese."

"It may be too late in that our weapons manufacturing has been mostly outsourced already," said General Brian Capstone, commander of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. "We had a malfunction the other day. We called tech support and got some guy named Chuck in India. I couldn't understand a damn word of what he was saying and our next test missile went haywire and almost took out El Paso."

Where Madoff's $55 billion went

Some things just didn't work out so well.

What did Bernie Madoff do with that $55 billion? Flip Side assigned its crack investigative reporting team to answer this question. The results are just in:

Bernard Madoff : Sources of Funds, 1992-2008

Chumps: $5,637,000,000. Shmedriks: $14,080,000,000. Dupes: $4,363,000,000. Shlemiels: $7,375,000,000. Goyim: $23,545,000. Total: $55,000,000,000.

Bernard Madoff: Uses of Funds, 1992-2008

New York Yankees baseball cap, $17.95

Loss on co-investment with Paul Allen in Charter Communications, $325,000,000

Book: Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend, $14.95

Ingrates who wanted money back: $4,325,000,000

NPR Spring Pledge Drive: $50

East Side Co-op: $4,000,000

Pilates classes: $1,325

Payment to Dr. Bomo Ngoro, Auditor General of Burkina: $18,766,000

Six Sigma Consulting: $919,459.15

Property in Antibes: $900,000

Loss on co-investment with Paul Allen in Portland Rose Garden: $55,000,000

Summer home in Hamptons: $1,580,000

Things that cost a lot of money: $3,695,000,000

Things that cost a whole lot of money: $9,423,000,000

Loss on co-investment with Paul Allen in Radar Networks: $35,780,000

NPR Feast of the Ascension Pledge Drive: $50

Purchase of Papal Indulgences: $2,936,890,000

Food (excluding Vitello Tonnato): $77,736.89

Vitello Tonnato: $77,736.89

Motivational speakers: Barry Bonds ($75,000), Jeff Skilling ($125,000), Charles Manson ($250,000)

Tchatchkes: $6,000,000,000

Michael Tamblyn - 6 Projects That Could Change Publishing for the Better


Obama launches effort to reduce nuclear arms

President Barack Obama on Sunday launched an effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons, calling them "the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War" and saying the U.S. has a moral responsibility to lead as the only nation to ever use one.

In a speech driven with fresh urgency by North Korea's rocket launch just hours early, Obama said the U.S. would "immediately and aggressively" seek ratification of a comprehensive ban on testing nuclear weapons. He said the U.S. would host a summit within the next year on reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, and he called for a global effort to secure nuclear material.

"Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be checked — that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction," Obama said to a bustling crowd in an old square outside the Prague Castle gates.

"This fatalism is a deadly adversary," he said. "For if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable."

Obama targeted his comments directly at North Korea at one point, which launched a rocket late Saturday night in defiance of the international community. The president was awoken by an aide and told of the news, which occurred in the early morning hours in Prague.

"North Korea broke the rules once more by testing a rocket that could be used for a long range missile," Obama said. "This provocation underscores the need for action — not just this afternoon at the UN Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons."

Addressing another longtime foe on the nuclear front, Obama said the U.S. will present Iran with "a clear choice" to join the community of nations by ceasing its nuclear and ballistic missile activity or face increased isolation and a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

He said the U.S. also will proceed with development of a missile defense system in Europe as long as there is an Iranian threat of developing nuclear weapons. If that threat is removed, he said, "The driving force for missile defense in Europe will be removed. "

Fake faith and epic crimes

The Brussels War Crimes Tribunal and the newly established Blair War Crimes Foundation are building a case for the former British prime minister's prosecution

by John Pilger

These are extraordinary times. With the United States and Britain on the verge of bankruptcy and committing to an endless colonial war, pressure is building for their crimes to be prosecuted at a tribunal similar to that which tried the Nazis at Nuremberg. This defined rapacious invasion as "the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes [sic] in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole". International law would be mere farce, said the chief US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, the Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson, "if, in future, we do not apply its principles to ourselves".

That is now happening. Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and Britain have long had "universal jurisdiction" statutes, which allow their national courts to pursue and prosecute prima facie war criminals. What has changed is an unspoken rule never to use international law against "ourselves", or "our" allies or clients. In 1998, Spain, supported by France, Switzerland and Belgium, indicted the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, client and executioner of the west, and sought his extradition from Britain, where he happened to be at the time. Had he been sent for trial, he almost certainly would have implicated at least one British prime minister and two US presidents in crimes against humanity. The then home secretary, Jack Straw, let him escape back to Chile.

The Pinochet case was the ignition. On 19 January, the George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley compared the status of George W Bush with that of Pinochet. "Outside [the United States] there is no longer the ambiguity about what to do about a war crime," he said. "So if you try to travel, most people abroad are going to view you not as 'former president George Bush' [but] as a current war criminal." For this reason, Bush's first defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who demanded an invasion of Iraq in 2001 and personally approved torture techniques for use in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, no longer travels. Rumsfeld has twice been indicted for war crimes in Germany. On 26 January, the UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, said: "We have clear evidence that Mr Rumsfeld knew what he was doing but nevertheless he ordered torture."

The Spanish high court is currently investi­gating a former Israeli defence minister and six other top Israeli officials for their role in the killing of civilians, mostly children, in Gaza. Henry Kissinger, who was largely responsible for bombing 600,000 peasants to death in Cambodia in 1969-73, is wanted for questioning in France, Chile and Argentina. Yet, on 8 February, as if demonstrating the continuity of American power, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, James Jones, said: "I take my daily orders from Dr Kissinger."

Like them, Tony Blair may soon be a fugitive.

Hoax Film Made by Nazis

by Jorge Luis Marzo

These three clips are part of an SS film shot at Theresienstadt, a Nazi concentration camp for Jews in Prague, in 1944. Entitled "The Fuhrer gives a city to the Jews," it was a hoax film made by Nazis intended to demonstrate that widespread news about the extermination of Jews in the East was false. The most unbelievable thing is that, in order to create a credible plot, the entire film was directed by Jewish filmmaker Kurt Gerron, himself a prisoner, and shot and performed by the very inmates, under the threat of being sent to Auschwitz. The camp was painted, remodelled and inmates received extra rations of food, etc..

The Fuhrer gives a city to the Jews, Part 1

A copy of the film was sent to the Red Cross in Geneve (Switzerland). A few days later, the whole camp's population was sent to Auschwitz and murdered in the gas chambers.

I got this footage from the Jewish International Council in NYC. The film has been used by some negationist pro-Nazi groups to deny the Holocaust. So, for any use of these film clips, it is very important to explain the full context.

The Fuhrer gives a city to the Jews, Part 2

The Fuhrer gives a city to the Jews, Part 3

Thousands flee bomb attacks by US drones

AMERICAN drone attacks on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan are causing a massive humanitarian emergency, Pakistani officials claimed after a new attack yesterday killed 13 people.

The dead and injured included foreign militants, but women and children were also killed when two missiles hit a house in the village of Data Khel, near the Afghan border, according to local officials.

As many as 1m people have fled their homes in the Tribal Areas to escape attacks by the unmanned spy planes as well as bombings by the Pakistani army. In Bajaur agency entire villages have been flattened by Pakistani troops under growing American pressure to act against Al-Qaeda militants, who have made the area their base.

Kacha Garhi is one of 11 tented camps across Pakistan's frontier province once used by Afghan refugees and now inhabited by hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis made homeless in their own land.

So far 546,000 have registered as internally displaced people (IDPs) according to figures provided by Rabia Ali, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Maqbool Shah Roghani, administrator for IDPs at the Commission for Afghan Refugees.

The commissioner's office says there are thousands more unregistered people who have taken refuge with relatives and friends or who are in rented accommodation.

The Smooth Criminal Transition from Bush/Cheney to Obama

Corrupt new administration deepens and expands systemic criminalization and war agenda

To sober, clear-eyed observers of history and political deception, the ascension of Barack Obama held the promise for unprecedented new dangers: a revitalized New World Order, led by the Anglo-American empire's  neoliberal criminal faction and an iconic, deceptive new facilitator; and a continuation of Bush/Cheney criminality and war, under smarter and much more effective management.


Now, just months into their tenure, the Barack Obama administration has more than fulfilled the promises he made to his elite constituency, deepening the mass destruction of Bush/Cheney, while charming its victims all over the world into enjoying their own demise.


The empire's facilitator 


Beneath his seemingly boundless charisma and charm, Barack Obama has always been an utterly ruthless politician. He has been a compromiser who has danced with the darkest forces of political and criminal power, while winning over common people; a consensus-abiding chameleon and a "pragmatist". Obama is the true model of what George W. Bush only claimed to be: "a uniter, not a divider".


The signs were clear from the early days of the presidential contest that Obama was, like every presidential candidate, a handpicked puppet. His cadre of national security and foreign policy advisors included the most notorious war criminals, intelligence/security "advisors" and corrupt think tank assets in the world. His campaign was bankrolled by Wall Street, and big corporations. His policy agenda was taken from the playbook of the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. Both neoliberal (and neocon) elite power and money coalesced behind Obama, as his political rivals dropped off.


Obama's record in the US Senate was one of general complicity with Bush/Cheney and the status quo, including enthusiastic support of the consensus "war on terrorism" deception and the big 9/11 lie. Former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has described how, in her encounters with Obama, the senator from Illinois repeatedly refused to act in opposition to Bush/Cheney policies. Time again, during his days in the Senate, and throughout the presidential campaign, Obama has not only fully supported the Bush/Cheney administration on the Patriot Act, and the wholesale the militarization and criminalization of the United States. 


Immediate destabilization


The naïve, the hopeful and the ignorant have continued to harbor fantasies about "change", even as Obama promptly destroyed every single hope, starting with the composition of his administration. He hand picked a transition team, and then a cabinet consisting entirely of legendary war criminals and corrupt elites, each more malodorous and corrupt than the next. From Iran-Contra participant Robert Gates and war criminal Richard Holbrooke, to Hillary Clinton and an economic advisory team comprised of the architects of Wall Street destruction, including Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.


Under Geithner and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, the Ponzi scheme that is Wall Street, the wholesale robbery of the American people begun by Alan Greenspan, Bernanke, and Bush/Cheney Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has not only continued unabated, but has metastasized with each new bailout, and every new fraud orchestrated by Geithner.


While the people on "Main Street" have continued to suffer a new Great Depression without real assistance from the Obama administration, the New World Order's financial coffers continue to fill with stolen US taxpayer money. No relief for the impoverished, while the administration "bails out" banks and Wall Street, under such frauds as the  "Public Private Partnership Program". Leaving the wolves in charge of the financial henhouse, Geithner and the Obama administration authorized Congress to toss out securities pricing standards on "toxic assets". (Also see this op-ed, and the piece by Arthur Leavitt, former head of the SEC, and the Carlyle Group.) Essentially, the Obama administration is simply going to let the banks and financial institutions, that created the crisis with their massive Ponzi schemes, determine how they wish to price their own "toxic assets".


This move, not surprisingly, sparked a huge Wall Street rally. Some even hailed it as the end of the crisis.


A criminal stimulus plan


Obama's so-called stimulus package is yet another Trojan horse. As exhaustively and incisively detailed by Michel Chossudovsky in "America's Fiscal Collapse":

"This is a 'War Budget'. The austerity measures hit all major federal spending programs with the exception of:  1. Defence and the Middle East War: 2. the Wall Street bank bailout,  3. Interest payments on a staggering public debt. 

"The Obama stimulus program constitutes a continuation of the Bush administration's bank bailout packages. The proposed policy solution to the crisis becomes the cause, ultimately resulting in further real economy bankruptcies and a corresponding collapse of the standard of living of Americans. 

"Both the Bush and Obama bank bailouts are intended to come to the rescue of troubled financial institutions, to ensure the payment of 'inter-bank' debt operations. In practice, large amounts of money transit through the banking system, from the banks to the hedge funds, to offshore banking havens and back to the banks.  

"What we are dealing with is the fraudulent transfer and confiscation of lifelong savings and pension funds, the fraudulent appropriation of tax revenues to finance the bank bailouts, etc. To understand what has happened:  follow the money trail of electronic transfers with a view to establishing where the money has gone.


"What is at stake is the outright criminalization of the financial system: 'financial theft' on an unprecedented scale.

"The monetary system, which is integrated into the State budgetary process, has been destabilized."

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night