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US: Scott Walker's Real Agenda in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
© Reuters
Republican Governor Scott Walker's 'budget repair bill' would pave the way for wholesale privatisation of Wisconsin's state infrastructure.
The Republican governor's budget plan would open the state up to a corporate asset-grab not seen since robber baron capitalism

On Wednesday evening, in a veritable Night of the Long Knives, Wisconsin's integrity was brutally murdered on the floor of the state Capitol in Madison. On 9 March, integrity and trust built up over a century was obliterated as Wisconsin state senators quickly reversed course and cleaved its budget "repair bill" in half. Financial items require a quorum, thus, collective bargaining was split off from the budget repair bill and voted on separately so as to permit its being voted on now. Even so, this still broke the state's open meeting law requiring 24 hours' notice to ensure transparency. Instead, the Wisconsin senate Republicans pulled out this new legislation without advance notice and began voting, leaving only a stunned Democratic legislator, Peter Barca, to read the open meeting law out loud to prevent the senators from voting. The senate voted over his objections anyway.

The Wisconsin brand has always centered on integrity. This was really about the only distinctive comparative advantage the state could lay claim to. Now, it is gone. With collective bargaining abolished, huge issues remain beyond labour. The privatisation of public assets is now on the agenda, with the yet-to-be-voted-on budget repair bill.

Bad Guys

The Grievous Return of Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger illus
© n/a
Oh God protect us, Henry Kissinger is back!

Henry Kissinger was President Richard Nixon's National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State. He also held the latter position under President Gerald Ford. While it would be unfair to characterize him as someone who never gave a piece of good advice (he did encourage Nixon to engage in Detente with the Soviet Union), his record weighs heavily on the side of unwise counsel. As we will see he is back in exactly that role, plying bad advice that, in this case, could further erode America's already messed up intelligence agencies.

Kissinger was originally an academic. His doctoral dissertation was on the diplomacy of two early 19th century statesmen, Britain's Viscount Robert Castlereagh and Austria's Prince Klemens von Metternich. These men were major players at the great Congress of Vienna that took place after the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815. At that meeting Metternich argued for returning Europe to its pre French Revolution political status. Pursuing that impossible end, he backed repressive policies and regimes. One gets the impression that the history of Kissinger's public service was, at least in part, an effort to achieve the stature of a Metternich. Toward this end Kissinger would pursue "realpolitik" which, more often than not in its American manifestation, entailed the backing of repressive policies and regimes.

Card - VISA

US: Pimco's Gross Eliminates Government Debt From Total Return Fund

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© Reuters / Jason Reed
Bill Gross

Bill Gross, who runs the world's biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., eliminated government-related debt from his flagship fund last month as the U.S. projected record budget deficits.

Pimco's $237 billion Total Return Fund last held zero government-related debt in January 2009. Gross had cut the holdings to 12 percent of assets in January, according to the Newport Beach, California-based company's website. The fund's net cash-and-equivalent position surged from 5 percent to 23 percent in February, the highest since May 2008.

Yields on Treasuries may be too low to sustain demand for U.S. government debt as the Federal Reserve approaches the end of its second round of quantitative easing, Gross wrote in a monthly investment outlook posted on Pimco's website on March 2. Gross mentioned that Pimco may be a buyer of Treasuries if yields rise to attractive levels.

Treasury yields are about 150 basis points too low when viewed on a historical context and when compared with expected nominal gross domestic product growth of 5 percent, he wrote in the commentary. The Fed is scheduled to complete purchases of $600 billion of Treasuries in June.

Gross in his February commentary urged investors to reduce holdings of Treasuries and U.K. gilts and buy higher-returning securities such as debt from emerging-market nations. "Old- fashioned gilts and Treasury bonds may need to be 'exorcised' from model portfolios and replaced with more attractive alternatives both from a risk and a reward standpoint," Gross wrote.

Pumpkin

General Petraeus Jokes with Robert Gates About Attacking Libya

Robert Gates, the US Secretary of Defence, has been caught joking with General David Petraeus about bombing Libya while on a visit to Afghanistan.


Apparently unaware of an open microphone, Gen Petraeus greeted Mr Gates at Kabul airport joking: "Welcome back, sir, flying a little bigger plane than normal ... you gonna launch some attacks on Libya or something?"

The US Defence Secretary responded to the comment by laughing and replied, "yeah, exactly".

Gates, who arrived on Monday for a two-day trip, visited Camp Leatherneck in Helmand after issuing a public apology over a Nato air strike last week that targeted insurgents but killed nine young boys who were collecting firewood in eastern Afghanistan.

"This breaks our heart," Mr Gates told a news conference on Monday at the presidential palace in Kabul, as US-backed President Hamid Karzai looked on.

Cult

Who is Michael Chertoff?

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Not human
If it looks like a Nazi and acts like a Nazi...

The US news media protects Michael Chertoff.

Why?

He has done more damage to the US than any person I can think of, living or dead.

His record speaks for itself:


Bell

Pentagon Papers Whistleblowers, Congressman Who Saved Headwaters Forest, and 9/11 Commissioners Themselves Call for a New 9/11 Investigation

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The two main players in releasing the Pentagon Papers were Daniel Ellsberg and United States Senator Mike Gravel.

Senator Gravel is the person who read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. This act made the papers public record, so that they could not be censored by the government. He was the only member of Congress courageous enough to do so.

Both Ellsberg and Gravel - like many other high-level former officials in the government and intelligence services (including many well-known whistleblowers) - support a new 9/11 investigation. Ellsberg says that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers". (Here's some of what that whistleblower says.) He also said that the government is ordering the media to cover up her allegations about 9/11.

And he said that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that "very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been", that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of those in office, and that there's enough evidence to justify a new, "hard-hitting" investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath (see this and this).

Control Panel

Flight Data Expert Confirmation: No Evidence Linking FDR Data to American 77

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FDR Data Exceeds Capabilities Of A 757, Does Not Support Impact With Pentagon

Flight Data Recorder Expert Dennis Cimino has confirmed that the data being provided through the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is missing crucial information, which according to Dennis, should be present and link the data to a specific aircraft and fleet. The NTSB provided three sets of data through the FOIA for what they claim is from American 77, N644AA. A csv file, an animation reconstruction and a raw data file. Rob Balsamo of Pilots For 9/11 Truth along with numerous other aviation experts, including trained Aircraft Accident Investigators have analyzed these files and determined they do not support an impact with the Pentagon. The data also exceeds the design limitations and capabilities of a standard 757 by a wide margin. This is based on data, precedent and numerous verified experts, including those who have actual flight time in the aircraft reportedly used for the 9/11 attacks (See - "Flight Of American 77", "9/11: Attack On The Pentagon" and "9/11: World Trade Center Attack" at Pilotsfor911Truth.org for full detailed analysis and interviews).

One file in particular, the compressed binary raw file alleged to be a direct data dump from the Flight Data Recorder, was recently analyzed by an alleged computer expert. He has claimed to decode 4 more seconds worth of data, above and beyond the NTSB decode, although the "additional" data has not been verified by anyone. The claim was made that the reason the NTSB did not decode this "additional" data is because the software used by the NTSB, along with the software used by the manufacturer of the FDR (L3 Communications), has an alleged "bug". If correct, this has grave consequences for Flight Safety as Flight Data is used in the promotion of safe flight through changes in regulation and procedure. The NTSB and L3 have been contacted, along with an Aviation Safety Report being filed with NASA. There hasn't been any reply confirming such a "bug".

Laptop

Iran Says It Welcomes Hackers Who Work For Islamic Republic

islamhack
© RFERL
March 07, 2011
An official with Iran's Revolutionary Guard has said that Iran welcomes hackers who are willing to work for the Islamic Republic.

"Regarding the cyber issue, we welcome the presence of those hackers who are willing to work for the goals of the Islamic Republic with good will and revolutionary activities," said Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali, adding that those hackers who he said are working against people will be dealt with.

Jalali, who heads the country's Passive Defense Organization, made the comments in an interview with "Bultannews," a website said to be close to the Intelligence Ministry.

Was Jalali trying to recruit new staff for the "Iranian Cyber Army" or for Iran's newly launched cyber police? Or for a new entity called the "Cyber War Base "? Jalali said the "base" will be launched in the near future and will fight against cyber attacks.

Display

French Ministry hit by hacker attack, targeting secret G20 plans

eifel
© Sophos
The French Ministry of Finance has reportedly confirmed that it has become the victim of an internet attack, targeting documents related to the French presidency of the G20 and international economic affairs.

Paris Match magazine, which broke the story, claims that more than 150 computers at the ministry have been infilitrated by hackers since December, and numerous documents stolen.

Budget Minister Francois Baroin confirmed in a radio interview that an investigation was taking place into the attacks, claiming that it was "probably the first time" that the French government's computer systems had been hit on such a scale. He told Europe-1 that it was documents about the G20 that especially interested the hackers.

France holds the rotating leadership of the G20 this year and is hosting a series of meetings aimed at improving relations among the world's top economies, including the US and China.

MIB

British "diplomat" captured along with SAS unit in Libya was MI6 spy

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The British "diplomat" captured in Libya along with seven special forces soldiers was a Bond-style MI6 spy, The Sun can reveal.

He and his SAS team were released last night, 72 hours after a secret mission to make contact with rebel leaders went badly wrong.

Angry questions were being asked about alleged intelligence failures that forced them to surrender when surrounded and "suicidally outnumbered" by militia.

Despite Government claims it sent a "small diplomatic team", The Sun can reveal it was an MI6 secret agent and his special forces minders.

The government has also confirmed that the botched SAS mission was authorised by Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Their job was to contact opponents of Libyan tyrant Colonel Gaddafi after intelligence reports that the rebels were open to talks.

But the Brits found themselves surrounded by scores of militia armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

Comment: Indeed, this is beginning to stink of a Western conspiracy:

"Operation Libya": The US-NATO Attempted Coup d'Etat in Libya and the Battle for Oil