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Sat, 24 Sep 2022
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Attention

Who spends the most dollars lobbying Washington, DC?

Oil? Financials? Aerospace? When someone asks who the biggest sources of lobby dollars for DC's politicians-for-purchase are, these are the three usual suspects that come to mind. Some may, therefore, be surprised to learn according to the database kept by OpenSecrets between Pharmaceutical and health product industry, hospital and nursing homes, health professionals and health services, HMOs, or more broadly Pharma/Healthcare/HMO, the total lobby dollars spent between 1998 and 2012 was a staggering $5.3 billion, or nearly three times greater than the second most generous industry: insurance, and well above Oil and Gas at $1.4 billion, and Securities and Investment at $1.0 billion. Is it becoming clearer why the US government has few qualms about unsustainable taxpayer funded healthcare spending, especially when there are so many current benefits accruing to the politicians who see so many billions in benefits from passing lobby-friendly laws now (by which we mean generous taxpayer funding, the bulk of which benefits the healthcare industry's bottom line)?

As for the costs: who cares - just dump them on future generations. It's not like anyone expects the $16.7 trillion in US debt to be ever repaid.
Lobbyist
© Center for Responsive Politics
Why is this important? Because as we showed nearly a year ago, the IRR on lobbying is by and far the highest of any investment return under the sun.

Attention

Drone came within 200 feet of airliner over New York

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An MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) sits in a shelter at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, after a mission on November 10, 2008. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the Reaper can carry up to 3,750 pounds of laser-guided bombs and missiles.
An unmanned drone came within 200 feet of a commercial jet over New York, triggering an FBI appeal to the public for any information about the unusual and potentially dangerous incident.

The crew of Alitalia Flight 608 approaching John F. Kennedy airport on Monday reported the sighting.

"We saw a drone, a drone aircraft," the pilot can be heard telling air traffic controllers on radio calls captured by the website LiveATC.net.

The FAA said it was investigating the incident.

The Alitalia aircraft did not take any evasive action and landed safely.

The FBI expanded on the FAA report, saying in a statement that the Alitalia flight from Rome was roughly three miles from runway 31R when the incident occurred at an altitude of approximately 1,750 feet.

The unmanned aircraft, described by the FBI as black and no more than three feet wide with four propellers, came within 200 feet of the Boeing jetliner.

Vader

Pathocrats launched PR blitz campaign to subdue hostility against drones

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Stung by mounting hostility from the left and right, America's drone industry is fighting back.

"We're going to do a much better job of educating people about unmanned aviation, the good and the bad," said Michael Toscano, president of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the industry's trade group in Washington. "We're working on drafting the right message and how to get it out there."

The P.R. blitz comes after drones suffered a round of negative attention last week. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer called for a ban on drones in U.S. airspace, and two other conservative commentators endorsed the idea of shooting down unmanned aircraft flown by U.S. law enforcement agencies. (Opposition to the U.S. government's deployment of unmanned vehicles had previously come from left-liberal groups concerned about civilian casualties in the drone war in Pakistan and potential threats to civil liberties at home.) The nation also witnessed drone "scares": An unidentified flying object nearly collided with a plane over Denver, and rumors circulated of a surveillance drone flying near the NATO summit in Illinois.

After issuing a statement denouncing Krauthammer's remarks as "irresponsible" and "dangerous," Toscano said the AUVSI would go on the offensive against critics. While the strategy is still being shaped, Toscano made it sound like something straight out of a crisis-management textbook - or Orwell. The AUVSI wants to bombard the American public with positive images and messages about drones in an effort to reverse the growing perception of the aircraft as a threat to privacy and safety.

Comment: And they are here:
FAA investigating report of drone spotted near NYC
Where Is The Outrage? US government to deploy thousands of drones over US cities


Red Flag

Venezuelan opposition leader launches "doomed" candidacy with attack against government

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© AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles gestures during a press conference in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, March 10, 2013. Capriles announced he will run in elections, scheduled for April 14, to replace late President Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer on March 5.
Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles on Sunday launched what many consider a doomed candidacy to replace Hugo Chavez with a no-holds-barred attack against a government he accused of coldly betraying Venezuelans' trust.

Chavez's political heirs have toyed with Venezuelans' hopes, lying to them about his deteriorating health by suggesting he could recover and even producing decrees he supposedly signed, said Capriles, whom Chavez defeated by a 12-point margin in October.

He did not make direct reference to the decision to embalm Chavez and put him on permanent display, but he said: "You are playing politics with the president's body."

Capriles accused the socialist government that Chavez left behind after 14 years in power of meticulously planning a campaign to assure the election of Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's desired successor.

USA

Retaliation: U.S. kicks out two Venezuelan diplomats

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© Bullit Marquez
A room with a portrait of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is prepared for supporters and members of the diplomatic corps to pay tribute and sign the book of condolences at the Venezuelan Embassy in the financial district of Makati city east of Manila, Philippines, on March 7, 2013. Chavez died Wednesday after a long bout with cancer. He was 58. (AP)
The Obama administration has moved to kick two Venezuelan diplomats out of the United States in response to Venezuela's expulsion last week of two U.S. officials from the U.S. embassy in Caracas, The Washington Times has learned.

In a sign that U.S.-Venezuelan relations are unlikely to warm quickly in the post-Chavez era, the Venezuelan government confirmed that two of its diplomats have left the U.S., a State Department spokesman told The Times.

One of the diplomats had apparently been based at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, while the other worked at a Venezuelan office in New York.

The State Department spokesman said that the Venezuelan Embassy's Second Secretary Orlando Jose Montanez Olivares, and Consular Officer Camacaro Mata have been declared "personae non gratae" in accordance with Vienna conventions on diplomatic and consular relations.

Black Magic

Police State! What is Homeland Security planning to do with 1.6 billion rounds of ammo and MRAP vehicles on American streets?

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© Wikipedia
Armored Personnel Carriers in Baghdad.
The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice. It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. In America.

Comment: There has been an alarming increase in meteorites/cometary fragments entering our atmosphere recently. The pathocrats in charge know that Something Wicked this Way Comes and are preparing for the ensuing chaos.

As Laura Knight-Jadczyk writes: Historically, when a people begin to perceive atmospheric, geological, climatic disruption and all the ills that these bring on a society, including famine, plague and pestilence, they individually and collectively look to their leaders to fix things. That is where the concept of the Divine King came from to begin with: the king was supposed to be able to intercede for his people with the gods. If the king was unsuccessful with his intercession, a solution had to be found. Sacrifices were made, rituals were performed, and of course, if that didn't work, if the gods remained angry, then the king had to die. This is possibly due to a similar brain switch that drives people to seek whatever relieves the stress on their brain: if the gods are angry, find a scape-goat. And when it is the nation that is threatened, the most obvious guilty person or persons are those in charge, the king and his elite. What's more, they know their vulnerability to this reaction instinctively.

For more information read:
Crowded Skies
Celestial Intentions: Comets and the Horns of Moses


Cult

Sex abuse victims call on 'tarnished' Cardinals to recuse themselves from Papal conclave

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© AFP Photo
As cardinals prepare for the conclave to elect the next pope, the victims of sex abuse by clergymen are trying to ensure the vote doesn't go to anyone they accuse of helping cover up the scandal.

The Catholic hierarchy had a final day of talks in Rome on Monday before going into lockdown in the Sistine Chapel for the vote, after former pontiff Benedict XVI's shock resignation - the first for 700 years.

The endless scandals over sexual abuse by pedophile priests and cover-ups by superiors will be a factor in the debate, and victims' groups have been campaigning in the Vatican and at home to try to make it a deciding one.

"If the Church elects a new Pope that has a poor record of dealing with abuse, that will be a sign that nothing has changed," said James Salt, director of victims' pressure-group Catholics United.

The group has launched an appeal calling for "all Cardinals tarnished by scandal to recuse themselves from upcoming Papal conclave," eliminating themselves not just as candidates, but as electors.

Sheriff

Witnesses question NYPD account of undercover officers shooting 16-year-old boy

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Witnesses to the shooting death of a 16-year-old Brooklyn teenager at the hands of New York City Police detectives have begun raising questions over authorities' account of the fatal encounter.

WNBC-TV reported on Monday that Kimani Gray was shot 11 times by the detectives. A 19-year-old man who was allegedly at the scene told the station the officials did not identify themselves as police before approaching them.

"They shot him," said the witness, who did not identify himself. "They didn't ask him no questions, no nothing, they just shot him."

But department spokesperson Paul J. Browne told the New York Times that Gray threatened the detectives.

"After the anti-crime sergeant and police officer told the suspect to show his hands, which was heard by witnesses, Gray produced a revolver and pointed it at the officers," Brown said.

Ambulance

Three feared dead as military jet crashes in eastern Washington

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© Reuters / U.S. Navy-Dave Adam
A military plane has crashed after setting off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in eastern Washington, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office has confirmed. All three people on board are believed dead.

The plane went down around 10 miles outside of Harrington, Washington on Monday morning, Lincoln County Sheriff Wade told Komo 4 News.

He said there were no survivors and police were cordoning off the crash site while waiting for investigators to reach the scene. The victims of the crash have yet to be identified.

Local resident Halee Walter told the station she heard a huge explosion that rattled her home.

Brick Wall

Freedom of (some) information: U.S. 'national security' hampers data access

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© corporatewelfare.org
Despite President Obama's promise that openness will prevail, America's government agencies continue to tighten their grip over free public access of state documents, AP reports. Papers are mostly being censored to conform to the security policy.

America's Freedom of Information Act has been increasingly sacrificed for the sake of national security, revealed the latest analyses of the Associated Press.

Having examined the annual document workflow of the 33 federal government agencies, the Associated Press concluded that just over a third of the private requests applied to US government agencies in 2012 were turned down altogether for various reasons, the most common of which are matters of national security.

In some cases the requested records could not be found, while in others the requests were determined improper or the requestor refused to pay for the copies.

A considerable part of the remaining nearly two-thirds of the requests that were finally handed over to the applicants had been either preliminarily censored or selectively curtailed.