Puppet MastersS


Stormtrooper

Police State: Police Write Ordinance for City Council that Criminalizes Homeless Camps and Occupy

Police, political, and business forces against combine to take to action against the poor.
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US, California - On Tuesday, June 5th, in a 6-1 vote, the City Council passed an ordinance that would make forms of illegal camping a misdemeanor within Modesto. Despite an over-whelming majority of the crowd coming out to shout down the ordinance, calling it a "war on the poor," and claiming that it was leading Modesto into "a police state," everyone on the Council voted in favor of the move except the new Mayor, Garrad Marsh. But Marsh's nay vote didn't come out of his love for the homeless or freedom itself, he was simply concerned that it didn't contain language that would allow parents with homes to allow their children to camp outside. As for those with children and without homes, perhaps if they couldn't eat cake, they could eat whatever the Mission was serving that night...

The decision for the camping criminalization ordinance came when a subcommittee of the City Council allowed members of the Modesto Police Department to write up and create the ordinance. But the criminalization of camping is not just aimed at stamping out the homeless. According to the Modesto Bee:
City officials said the camping ordinance will give police a tool to deal with makeshift camps that increasingly are appearing in Modesto. It also will give police the authority to break up any camps tied to the Occupy movement and prohibit residential property owners from charging rent to campers.

Under the ordinance, anyone who stores personal property, including camping paraphernalia, on public or private property without consent of the owner can be cited on a misdemeanor. Those convicted could be sentenced to jail and probation.

Council members claim that the push for the ordinance came after businesses began complaining of homeless people living in the back of parking lots along McHenry Ave. as well as from people who have complained that they "can't walk their dogs" along the canal on Briggsmore Ave., due to homeless encampments.
We find this recent criminalization of both the homeless and the Occupy Movement in Modesto to not be at all surprising, although it shows the direction in which local elites are heading; giving themselves the legal tools to lock-up, displace, and fine those which threaten downtown development and those who would seek to possibly organize against it. We do not find this latest move surprising because over the past year, City Council members, either through the general council or through subcommittees, have helped produce a variety of ordinances all aimed at removing the homeless from the downtown area through criminalization. These include a ban on dumpster-diving, which further criminalized the act of digging through the garbage and threatens the would be trash expropriator with fines and up to six months in jail. The ordinance was pushed by both the La Loma Association, a notoriously anti-homeless group and the Modesto Police Department. There was also the shutting down of a public park, Paperboy Park, or Rose Garden Park, in 2010, which was located across from the Library. Joe Muratore, a city council member who is also involved in the La Loma Association, helped back the ordinance. He claimed that homeless people were ruining the park and making non-homeless people afraid to use it. Paperboy Park became the first park in Modesto that went from public to only being available to those who paid a user fee. Muratore wanted to continue this work even further with the creation of a private park police force that would harass the homeless, youth, and others in local parks and enforce various municipal codes.

Eagle

Court Denies Dismissal of WikiLeaks Charges

Bradley Manning
© unknownPfc. Bradley Manning
A military judge refused on Friday to dismiss any of the 22 counts against an Army private charged in the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history.

Col. Denise Lind also indicated she will postpone Pfc. Bradley Manning's trial, currently set to start Sept. 21, to November or January because of procedural delays.

Manning is charged with knowingly aiding al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula by causing the online publication of hundreds of thousands of classified State Department diplomatic cables and Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, along with some battlefield video clips. Authorities say the 24-year-old Crescent, Okla., native downloaded the files from a Defense Department network and sent them to the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.

He hasn't entered a plea to the charges.

On Friday, the third day of a pretrial hearing, Lind rejected a defense argument that the government used unconstitutionally vague language in charging Manning with eight counts of unauthorized possession and disclosure of classified information. The defense targeted the phrases, "relating to the national defense" and "to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation."

Comment: Bradley Manning's treatment was cruel and inhuman, UN torture chief rules
Bradley Manning Nobel Peace Prize Nomination 2012

Hasn't Manning already served a life sentence, hasn't some part of him already been killed? Perhaps a photo will give us a clue.



Bizarro Earth

Best of the Web: Bloodthirsty Americans Remain Loyal to War Criminal

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What can one say about people who continue to support war criminals among their elected representatives? It is easy to blame the presidents and the Congress and the media for endless war and rising body counts around the world. They are indeed responsible for promoting mass killing as an acceptable, indeed beneficial means of living among the world's people.

It is true that Americans have far less input into their government's decisions than they seem to think. They play a very small role in choosing elected officials, including the president. The power of money means that rich people and corporations call the shots to a greater extent than citizens of a so-called democracy are willing to admit.

But the people do still have the right to their own opinions. We can proclaim what we do and do not like. When the president feeds a story to the New York Times which proclaims that he gladly accepts responsibility for killing people, he believes that said story will increase his support among voters.

Arrow Down

Propaganda Alert: U.S. debt load falling at fastest pace since 1950s

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© Unknown
Everyone knows America has too much debt. What they don't know is that things are getting better, not worse.

Little by little, our economy is reducing its debt burden, slowly repairing the damage caused by 10, 20 or 30 years of excess.

If you want to know why economic growth has been so tepid, here's your answer. Four years after the storm hit, the economy is still deleveraging. And it's very hard for any economy to grow when everyone is focused on increasing their savings.

Total domestic - public and private - debt as a share of the economy has declined for 12 quarters in a row after surging over the previous decade.

The rapid rise in federal debt over the past four years has distracted us from the big picture. The level of public debt is indeed worrisome, but it's not as big a worry as the economy's total level of debt - public and private.

Although we have a whole cottage industry devoted to warning us about the dangers of too much public debt, we don't have any comparable Cassandras telling us about the dangers of too much private debt. Yet the history of the past 30 years (or 300) clearly shows that too much debt, of whatever variety, can pose a systemic risk to the national and global economies.

Comment: The author of this article is either clueless or is cynically spinning the statistics. The global economy is obviously getting worse, while the above article proclaims an official end to the recession.

For example: "The ratio of total debt to gross domestic product has fallen from 3.73 times GDP to 3.36 times."

Assuming for a moment that this statistic is accurate, this means that if all U.S. government spending stopped (military, subsidies, programs, loans etc..), it would take 3.36 years just to go from deep in the red back to black. And remember, this has been compounding year after year.

The Outstanding Public Debt as of 08 Jun 2012 is: $15,741,952,559,067.93
The estimated population of the United States is 312,915,536
so each citizen's share of this debt is $50,307.35.

The National Debt has continued to increase on average by $3.93 billion per day since September 28, 2007!

A city struggles to keep the lights on while The Economy Comes Unglued.


Sheriff

Romney Enjoyed Impersonating Police Officer In High School And College

Romney
© AP
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has long contended that he's a good-humored practical jokester who is only misunderstood as stiff and over-programmed.

As a high school student, Romney's mischievous disposition was frequently on display. Classmates told the Washington Post in a piece published last month that this sometimes led him into unpleasant territory, such as the time he and a group of friends pinned down a screaming boy -- who was presumed to be gay -- and gave him a "hack job" haircut with a pair of scissors.

In another questionable display of his inner prankster, it now appears that Romney was also reportedly fascinated with police uniforms, which he sometimes put on to carry out elaborate practical jokes.

According to a report from National Memo, Romney was open about this practice, telling fellow students at Stanford University, where he studied for two years, that he "sometimes disguised himself as a police officer."

According to classmate Robin Madden, Romney once brought a group of classmates up to his dorm room where he showed them his Michigan State Trooper's uniform.

Take 2

Corrupt Elite: Computer files link TV dirty tricks to favourite for Mexico presidency

Network alleged to have sold favourable election coverage to top politicians

Mexican demonstrator
© Alfredo Estrella/AFP"Tell the truth! Have you got the courage or do you give a damn?" A supporter of defeated Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel López Obrador demonstrating in August 2006.
Mexico's biggest television network sold prominent politicians favourable coverage in its flagship news and entertainment shows and used the same programmes to smear a popular leftwing leader, documents seen by the Guardian appear to show.

The documents - which consist of dozens of computer files - emerge just weeks ahead of presidential elections on 1 July, and coincide with the appearance of an energetic protest movement accusing the Televisa network of manipulating its coverage to favour the leading candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto.

Pirates

Collapse at Hand: The Economy Comes Unglued

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Ever since the beginning of the financial crisis and Quantitative Easing, the question has been before us: How can the Federal Reserve maintain zero interest rates for banks and negative real interest rates for savers and bond holders when the US government is adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt every year via its budget deficits? Not long ago the Fed announced that it was going to continue this policy for another 2 or 3 years. Indeed, the Fed is locked into the policy. Without the artificially low interest rates, the debt service on the national debt would be so large that it would raise questions about the US Treasury's credit rating and the viability of the dollar, and the trillions of dollars in Interest Rate Swaps and other derivatives would come unglued.

In other words, financial deregulation leading to Wall Street's gambles, the US government's decision to bail out the banks and to keep them afloat, and the Federal Reserve's zero interest rate policy have put the economic future of the US and its currency in an untenable and dangerous position. It will not be possible to continue to flood the bond markets with $1.5 trillion in new issues each year when the interest rate on the bonds is less than the rate of inflation. Everyone who purchases a Treasury bond is purchasing a depreciating asset. Moreover, the capital risk of investing in Treasuries is very high. The low interest rate means that the price paid for the bond is very high. A rise in interest rates, which must come sooner or later, will collapse the price of the bonds and inflict capital losses on bond holders, both domestic and foreign.

The question is: when is sooner or later? The purpose of this article is to examine that question.

Bad Guys

Best of the Web: The one Percent's Problem

one percent
© Unknown
Let's start by laying down the baseline premise: inequality in America has been widening for dec­ades. We're all aware of the fact. Yes, there are some on the right who deny this reality, but serious analysts across the political spectrum take it for granted. I won't run through all the evidence here, except to say that the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent is vast when looked at in terms of annual income, and even vaster when looked at in terms of wealth - that is, in terms of accumulated capital and other assets. Consider the Walton family: the six heirs to the Walmart empire possess a combined wealth of some $90 billion, which is equivalent to the wealth of the entire bottom 30 percent of U.S. society. (Many at the bottom have zero or negative net worth, especially after the housing debacle.) Warren Buffett put the matter correctly when he said, "There's been class warfare going on for the last 20 years and my class has won."

So, no: there's little debate over the basic fact of widening inequality. The debate is over its meaning. From the right, you sometimes hear the argument made that inequality is basically a good thing: as the rich increasingly benefit, so does everyone else. This argument is false: while the rich have been growing richer, most Americans (and not just those at the bottom) have been unable to maintain their standard of living, let alone to keep pace. A typical full-time male worker receives the same income today he did a third of a century ago.

From the left, meanwhile, the widening inequality often elicits an appeal for simple justice: why should so few have so much when so many have so little? It's not hard to see why, in a market-driven age where justice itself is a commodity to be bought and sold, some would dismiss that argument as the stuff of pious sentiment.

Put sentiment aside. There are good reasons why plutocrats should care about inequality anyway - even if they're thinking only about themselves. The rich do not exist in a vacuum. They need a functioning society around them to sustain their position. Widely unequal societies do not function efficiently and their economies are neither stable nor sustainable. The evidence from history and from around the modern world is unequivocal: there comes a point when inequality spirals into economic dysfunction for the whole society, and when it does, even the rich pay a steep price.

Let me run through a few reasons why.

Light Sabers

US, China at odds over controlling energy resources

The United States and China are at odds over controlling the world's energy resources especially now that Washington is shifting its military focus to Asia, says Linh Dinh, Pennsylvania-based political analyst and writer.


To achieve their goal, the U.S. is using its "military might to intimidate" other nations in Europe, Africa and Asia, he said in an interview with the Press TV's U.S. Desk on Tuesday. But, he added, China is trying to advance its economic agenda throughout "diplomacy."

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week announced Washington's plan to deploy military warships and troops into Asian waters reportedly to counter a rising China. The decision faced Chinese opposition.

Dinh said the U.S. has made the decision to use its military force "to prevent China from moving more aggressively" into the European market.

Cult

President of French anti-cult organization MIVILUDES condemned for defamation

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What is it that motivates men like George Fenech?
Translated by SOTT.net

Georges Fenech is the president of an interministerial mission established on behalf of the Prime Minister: Miviludes, or Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances. Appointed to this position in 2008 by François Fillon, his position was renewed in 2011.

A former MP, Fenech is currently running as an UMP candidate for the legislative election in the Rhone department, against the incumbent MP, Raymond Durand, from the Nouveau Centre (New Center party).

The president of Miviludes was condemned for public defamation by the Paris Criminal Court on June the 1st, 2012.

Defamatory statements against an association of lay Catholics - la Societé Française de défense de la Tradition, Famille et Propriété (the French Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property) - were published in the 2009 annual report of Miviludes.