DaniMartExtras, Too

ALTERNATIVE NEWS NETWORK

REAL NEWS Feb. 23

Posted by Xaniel777 on February 22, 2012

TODAY’S NEWS : February 23, 2012

 

 

Government Pressures Twitter to Hand Over OWS Protester’s Location Without a Warrant

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{ XANIEL’S NOTE :  On a unrelated yet very related note,  Google ( playing censorship police again ) is making it difficult for me to get to a story that you have a right to know about. 

” New Government Initiative Would Circumvent Second Amendment By Targeting Ammunition Not Guns ” This story is at Poor Richard’s Blog and although it’s not being block by Google, it is being allowed to time out over and over again, thus making in impossible to ever get to that story ( in Google ) for my readers. ( I can get it elsewhere but I’m pressed for time and under a deadline.  And getting it elsewhere would destroy my point and my happy rant at the moment. AND WE JUST CAN’T HAVE THAT, NOW CAN WE !!!) 

And this isn’t the first time this has ever happened. Google is really good at making stories their trying to censor appear to be a glitch of some kind or another. That way it doesn’t look like it’s their fault.

Google does the same thing with websites that carry enlightened information for the masses by placing ‘ Malware Warnings ‘ where there isn’t any malware or where malware mysteriously appeared as though place there by a clever unknown hacker ( as was the case with ‘ The Illuminati News ‘  It’s editor Wes Penre, has indeed dealt with the problem that was placed there by the mysterious hacker, but Google still refuses to remove the Malware warning,  even though there is now no malware on the site !

They did the same with my Blog at Danimart.com and it’s mirror site,  however,  have since removed the warnings they had on them.

Apparently Google does not see me as big a threat as they do of  Wes at The Illuminati News, that and the fact that I too had to remove source info I had gotten through Illuminati News after it was proven to have  ‘ said malware ‘!  I do plan on putting the info back, now that Wes has fixed the problem on his in. But only after Wes pushes Google to remove their NOW false malware warning.)  

I won’t even waste your time with the full rant about Google and it’s hand in hand walk with our ( U.S. ) Tyrannical Government. See the story after this one ‘  How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google’s New Privacy Policy Takes Effect. ‘

Google isn’t the only  ‘Government/Elite minion suck up ‘ doing their masters bidding against ‘ WE THE PEOPLE .’  There is also Facebook, Twitter ( although the story below seems a little bit favorable towards them today), Yahoo, YouTube,( owned by Google ), ect, ect.  Just pay closer attention and you can spot these traitors to your privacy, trust and the world !

( Because as far as I am concerned, their alliance with the tyrannical  government(s) and the elite makes them equally  ‘ CRIMIALS,  CHARGED WITH CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, DECEPTION OF PUBLIC TRUST, AND JUST DOWN RIGHT ARROGANCE !!’ okay, that last one isn’t really a crime but it is the truth.

Maybe it’s time for a Occupy ( place your favor social media/browser here ) and wake these ‘ minion’s for the 1% ‘ up and maybe force them to see that they are standing on the wrong side of HISTORY.  And that, we and our children and their children, will never forget or forgive them if they don’t wake up to what they are doing  and fix it before it’s too late !!} ~~ Xaniel777 

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From Activist Post

Wiki image

Hanni Fakhoury
EFF

On October 1, 2011, over 700 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. Most of the protesters, including Malcolm Harris, were charged with the mundane crime of disorderly conduct, a “violation” under New York law that has a maximum punishment of 15 days in jail or a $250 fine

And yet on the basis of a charge no more consequential than speeding ticket, the New York City District Attorney’s office sent a poorly worded subpoena to Twitter requesting “any and all user information, including email address, as well as any and all tweets posted for the period of 9/15/2011-12/31/2011” regarding Mr. Harris’ Twitter account, @destructuremal.

Unsurprisingly, the government wanted to keep it quiet, but thankfully Twitter didn’t listen. Instead, as it has consistently warned law enforcement, Twitter notified Mr. Harris, who through his lawyer, Martin Stolar of the National Lawyers Guild, has moved to challenge the subpoena in court.

The subpoena is astonishing not only for its poor grammar, but also for the breadth of information the government wants for a trivial crime that hardly requires it. The government’s request that Twitter hand over Tweets is unlikely to succeed because consistent with the Stored Communications Act, Twitter releases “contents of communication” (effectively Tweets and private messages between Twitter users) only with a search warrant.

In any event, Mr. Harris’ account is “public”, meaning the government could obtain Tweets simply by checking out Mr. Harris’ Twitter feed. Plus, requesting Tweets only highlights the absurdity of the entire situation: why would the government need Tweets from both before and after the October 1 protest to prove he was obstructing traffic on the bridge? In any event, government fishing expeditions like this raise serious First Amendment concerns. Mr. Harris was very outspoken about his support of and involvement in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

With this overbroad subpoena, the government would be able to learn about who Mr. Harris was communicating with for an extensive period of time not only through Tweets, but through direct messages. And with the government’s request for all email addresses associated with @destructuremal, they could subpoena Mr. Harris’ email provider to get even more information about who he communicated with. The First Amendment shouldn’t be trampled with only an expansive subpoena in a case that barely registers as “criminal.”

Given that much of Mr. Harris’ Twitter information (like Tweets and followers) is already public, it’s very likely that the government was really after something else: location data. By attempting to subpoena these records, the government can get around the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against warrantless searches by requesting information that includes IP addresses.

Twitter keeps track of IP address information regarding every time a person logged into Twitter, as well as the IP address information related to a Twitter user’s direct messages to other users, and the date and time information related to these log ins and direct messages. Armed with IP addresses, the government — without a warrant — can go to an ISP to determine who was assigned that particular IP address.

And if that person connected on a mobile device — which is where the majority of Twitter users access their accounts — the ISP will hand over to the government the specific cell tower (and its corresponding geographic location) which that person used to access Twitter. This allows the government to piece together a map of where a person physically is when he opens Twitter on his smartphone, sends a direct message to a friend, or Tweets.

And with that information, the government could get a record of Mr. Harris’ movement over the three months it requested from Twitter. Its no surprise then that the government singled out Mr. Harris for this request: he currently has over 1,500 followers and 7,200 Tweets

Allowing the government to gets its hands on this data with nothing more than an administrative subpoena renders the Fourth Amendment meaningless. Only with the protection of a search warrant, and the heightened judicial supervision that comes along with it, can the voracious appetite of law enforcement be curbed.

As we’ve consistently argued, the Fourth Amendment protects this information. But another way to impose privacy protection from the prying hands of law enforcement is through Congressional reform of the badly outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act(“ECPA”). As part of the Digital Due Process coalition, EFF has been calling for Congress to update ECPA to conform with the realities of the 21st century. 

It looks like judicial momentum may finally be on our side. In January of this year, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in United States v. Jones (PDF), ruling that law enforcement could not physically install a GPS device on private property without a search warrant. The majority opinion resolved the Fourth Amendment issue by looking exclusively at the physical installation of the GPS device.

Importantly, however, in a concurring opinion, Justice Sotomayor warned that “physical intrusion is now unnecessary to many forms of surveillance.” Collecting IP addresses of a prolific Tweeter, and matching it with other easily obtainable information from other service providers, demonstrates this problem.

In writing that society is unlikely to accept extensive warrantless surveillance as “reasonable”, Justice Sotomayor called into question “the appropriateness of entrusting to the Executive, in the absence of any oversight from a coordinate branch, a tool so amenable to misuse, especially in light of the Fourth Amendment’s goal to curb arbitrary exercises of police power to and prevent ‘a too permeating police surveillance.’”

Similarly, Justice Alito’s concurring opinion noted that with “dramatic technological change, the best solution to privacy concerns may be legislative.” 

Hopefully with the public breathing down its neck, Congress can finally act to fix a antiquated set of laws. Malcolm Harris, like Birgitta Jonsdottir before him, took a stand to protect our privacy rights. You can too by telling Congress that its time to update ECPA and tell law enforcement once and for all that in order to get a person’s location data, it needs to come back with a warrant. 

Please visit and support Electronic Frontier Foundation for Internet privacy and freedom.

END

 

How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google’s New Privacy Policy Takes Effect

 

From ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION

   DEFENDING YOUR RIGHTS IN THE DIGITAL WORLD

FEBRUARY 21, 2012 | BY EVA GALPERIN

[UPDATE 2/22/2012] It is important to note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes. More information at the end of this post.

On March 1st, Google will implement its new, unified privacy policy, which will affect data Google has collected on you prior to March 1st as well as data it collects on you in the future.

Until now, your Google Web History (your Google searches and sites visited) was cordoned off from Google’s other products. This protection was especially important because search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more.

If you want to keep Google from combining your Web History with the data they have gathered about you in their other products, such as YouTube or Google Plus, you may want to remove all items from your Web History and stop your Web History from being recorded in the future.

Here’s how you can do that:

1. Sign into your Google account.

2. Go to https://www.google.com/history

3. Click “remove all Web History.”

4. Click “ok.”

Note that removing your Web History also pauses it. Web History will remain off until you enable it again.

[UPDATE 2/22/2012]: Note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes. It also does not change the fact that any information gathered and stored by Google could besought by law enforcement.

With Web History enabled, Google will keep these records indefinitely; with it disabled, they will be partially anonymized after 18 months, and certain kinds of uses, including sending you customized search results, will be prevented. If you want to do more to reduce the records Google keeps, the advice in EFF’s Six Tips to Protect Your Search Privacy white paper remains relevant.

If you have several Google accounts, you will need to do this for each of them.

Anonymity

Privacy

Search Engines 

END

 

IS PAYBACK TO THE ISRAELIS COMING ?

 

From Benjamin Fulford’s Blog

02/21/2012

It would appear, Mr. Stone, that your investigative work ( http://www.jimstonefreelance.com/fukushima1.html ) is gaining some traction on the Net (below… and your letter to Mr. Rense).  It is becoming more difficult to dismiss your comments.  Your photos and supplemental information are looking more like a strong testament to the high level of technical care that the Japanese exercised in reinforcing the Fukushima facility.  The camera bomb would have been much more destructive if the Japanese had constructed a weak facility.  It looks like they did their homework and they knew what they were doing.
 
But what happens when the Japanese people begin to understand that the tsunami bomb and the Fukushima camera bomb were party favors supplied by the Mossad?  There would have to be some serious blow back from that somewhere down the line.  And the Japanese have no constraints with respect to schedules, deadlines or performance review dates.  They can bide their time and return responses to the Israeli party favors whenever they please. 
 
If the Mossad committed acts of war on Japanese soil, would the Japanese be out of order to send a nuclear “thank you notes” back to Israeli?  And who says that the Japanese have to deliver their messages with any particular level of nuclear “punch”?  What if they decide to spread nuclear waste around cities in Israel?  

What if they decide to send operatives into Israel with suitcase or backpack nukes?  The situation in Israel could become unlivable via several different methods.  The nuclear brinksmanship game is an extremely dangerous game to play.  And the civilian populations always end up on the dirty end of the stick.  What else is new?  And what happens when the low level party game is over and it becomes nuclear kung fu… or jujitsu?  But you get the idea.
 
Also, with 63 nuclear reactors at 18 different locations, Fukushima is not the only source of enriched materials that the Japanese have access to.  They have a many more reactor sources and lots of materials to play with.  They can furnish enriched nuclear materials to Iran any time they please.  Losing Fukushima means nothing.  Did the Israelis honestly think that Japan would somehow be afraid of them… permanently
 
And what about the Chinese?  They are not afraid to sail their ships right into the Mediterranean.  And Russian war ships are in port in Syria right now.  Israel is not very well protected if the nuclear conversation begins to involve more game players or the discussion becomes more “intense”.  Would anyone blame the Japanese for responding to an Israeli act of war?

The Japanese would certainly be within their rights if indeed the Israelis opened the nuclear discussion between them via acts of mass murder… the tsunami bomb coastal mass murders then the Fukushima camera bomb radiation murders.  Generally speaking, I would think that secret acts of mass murder would make for rather poor diplomacy as the truth unfolds later on.  That can’t end well.
 
One other question:  Has there been any significant discussion that you know about with regard to the Japanese reducing/mitigating the nuclear contamination at the Fukushima site?  There have to be quite a number of tons of fairly hot irradiated metals sitting there now.  A lot of that radio active steel (and other alloys) can be rendered much less contaminated with high temperature HydrOx plasma torch processing… a simple and inexpensive process (comparatively speaking).  There are process containment issues but nothing that the Japanese cannot handle (based on their demonstrated engineering ability).  
 
Hopefully your investigative efforts will bear positive fruit out into the future.

Regards, ( left blank for privacy )

RESPONSE :

Dear Sirs(s),
The Japanese, the Pentagon, the Chinese etc. know who attacked Japan on March 11, 2011. They have no intention of harming innocent Israelis to retaliate for the actions of their leaders. The specific individuals responsible for this attack, people like Benjamin Netanyahu, J. Rockefeller, Peter Hans Kolvenbach, Rahm Emmanuel, Paul Wolfowitz, the pope etc. know that they will not be on this planet for very long.

END

 

White House Blocking Release of Monsanto-Linked Lobbyist’s Email

 


The Intel Hub

By Madison Ruppert
February 22, 2012

The Obama administration is now blocking a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by an environmental group, Public Employees for Environment Responsibility (PEER), which is attempting to uncover Obama’s connections to Monsanto-linked lobbyists.

Keep in mind, Monsanto’s products have been linked to some horrific effects on biological systems like the human body, not the least of which is creating necrosis and significant mutations in critical cell types.

Also quite noteworthy is the fact that Monsanto was actually recently found guilty of chemical poisoning in the case of a French farmer.

The group suspects the Obama White House of working with these lobbyists to defend genetically engineered (GE) crops and the attempts to get these GE crops planted in wildlife refuges across the United States.

Part of the information which is currently being withheld by the Obama administration is part of an email from January 2011 from a lobbyist to a top White House policy analyst.

This lobbyist was with the Biotechnology Industry Organization, or BIO, which regularly represents the interests of companies specializing in GE seeds like Syngenta and the infamous multinational giant Monsanto.

The White House claims that they had to block portions of the email because it contained information on BIO’s lobbying strategy.

They claimed that if this strategy was released, it could cause damage to the group’s competitiveness and those of the companies it represents.

“We suspect the reason an industry lobbyist so cavalierly shared strategy is that the White House is part of that strategy,” said Kathryn Douglass, the staff counsel for PEER.

Douglass is arguing that the email should be public record, adding, “The White House’s legal posture is as credible as claiming Coca Cola’s secret formula was ‘inadvertently’ left in a duffel bag at the bus station.”

PEER has been doing phenomenal work exposing the connections between our government and BIO lobbyists, including the release of internal emails last July.

The email release revealed that Peter Schmeissner, a senior science policy analyst and member of the biotechnology working group at the White House, actually had been corresponding with a BIO lobbyist about one of PEER’s legal challenges.

The lawsuit, filed by PEER and their allied groups, was quite successful in that it halted the planting of GE crops within the wildlife refuges across northeastern states.

PEER has obviously not given up and they continue to fight the planned plantings of GE crops across the nation.

In some of the emails obtained by PEER from 2010, it was found that Adrianne Massey, a biotechnology lobbyist for quite a while, asked Schmeissner if the “interagency working group” is addressing the legal challenges put forth by PEER.

In addition, Massey forwarded some of the environmental assessments of the proposed GE crop plots at other wildlife refuges across the United States. These assessments could supposedly protect GE crop plots in wildlife refuges from further legal challenges in the future.

The emails obtained by PEER spurred them to seek out information on the “interagency working group” referred to by Massey which is known as the White House Agricultural and Biotechnology Working Group via FOIA request.

The group boasts high-level officials from most of the Obama administration’s agencies that deal with agriculture and trade, even the State Department, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to PEER.

These discoveries have led PEER to file a lawsuit against the White House in an attempt to get the information which was withheld from their FOIA requests.

This would include not only the Massey email in question but the White House Agricultural and Biotechnology Working Group’s schedule, the items on their agenda and their work related to GE crops in general.

An attorney for BIO filed an affidavit which claims that the withheld portions of Massey’s email contain “mistakenly” forwarded trade secrets.

“BIO operates in an advocacy environment in which there are many organizations that oppose the use of biotechnology, particularly in the agricultural arena, and that seek to persuade federal, state and local agencies to restrict the technology’s use. If this information were released, competitors could imitate or seek to counteract BIO’s strategy and further their own contrary agendas at the expense of BIO and its members,” the attorney wrote.

The White House is also claiming that they withheld the information according to current disclosure law, but PEER isn’t buying it, and likely rightly so.

Jeff Ruch, PEER’s Director told Truth-Out that he believes that the withheld Massey email actually has the details of a concerted effort being made by BIO lobbyists to have the White House help make sure that the environmental assessments of the GE crops on wildlife refuges are so strong that they cannot be challenged on a legal basis in the future.

This is because groups like PEER regularly challenge the legally required environmental assessments in order to hold up projects like planting GE crops on wildlife refuges in court.

Deborah Rocque, an official with the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS), claimed last year that the FWS had actually been allowing farming on refuges for years.

Rocque claims this is part of habitat restoration efforts and that the planting of herbicide-resistant GE crops would actually allow conservationists to grow ground cover while still killing unwanted weeds with herbicidal products.

However, even classifying these types of crops as “herbicide-resistant” is misleading, because in the case of “Roundup Ready” crops produced by Monsanto the crops actually still absorb all of the incredibly harmful Roundup but instead of dying, these crops are genetically engineered to be able to survive the herbicide.

This means that if these products are moved into the food supply, there are trace amounts of Roundup which actually make it to the dinner table.

The mere presence of herbicides in the environment is something that any true conservationist would avoid like the plague, so Rocque’s statement is laughably nonsensical.

PEER seems to realize the ulterior motive behind the effort to plant GE crops on wildlife refuges, which they see as an attempt by the Obama administration to boost exports of the crops.

While European countries remain relatively skeptical about the safety of genetically modified (GM) foods and some other countries have actually banned certain seeds, the United States government shares none of these concerns.

PEER says that the White House and its working group is trying to give trade partners the impression that the United States government thinks GE crops are so environmentally safe that they can even be planted on wildlife reserves.

Such a vote of confidence could increase the willingness of trade partners to import the GE crops, which have quite a long list of potential hazards associated with their use.

Truth-Out has been doing one of the best jobs of keeping track of the United States’ efforts to pressure foreign nations into accepting exports and GE crops, including countries like France and Spain.

Through the release of some WikiLeaks cables, it was found that essentially United States diplomats were working for companies like Monsanto by going around the world promoting their GE products.

The first legal challenge relating to the planting of GE crops on wildlife reserves came after PEER was contacted by biologists with the FWS who were opposed to the planting of GE crops on said reserves.

Later, PEER actually received an internal email which they believe shows that Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the USDA, actually was pressuring FWS to support GE crops.

In the email, dated January 14, 2011, David Hayes, the Interior Department Deputy Secretary, relayed to some of the top Interior Department and FWS officials that, “Apparently Vilsack is somewhat exercised that the Administration is not being consistent in supporting genetically modified crops.”

Of course when asked about this high-level pressure, Rocque claimed that she was completely unaware of any internal pressure coming from the upper levels of the Obama administration.

This is just more of the “I do not recall” plausible deniability nonsense.

Hopefully PEER’s legal challenges will be treated in a just manner and we will be able to get an accurate glimpse in the world of corporatism which is so egregiously damaging our nation.

The case of Monsanto and the American diplomats promotion of their products is just about the most perfect example of how corrupt our so-called government has really become.

This article originally appeared on End the Lie 

END

 

FBI organizes almost all terror plots in the US

 

From RT NEWS

 23 August, 2011

FBI organizes almost all terror plots in the US

 FBI organizes almost all terror plots in the US

The Federal Bureau of Investigation employs upwards of 15,000 undercover agents today, ten times what they had on the roster back in 1975.

If you think that’s a few spies too many — spies earning as much as $100,000 per assignment — one doesn’t have to go too deep into their track record to see their accomplishments. Those agents are responsible for an overwhelming amount of terrorist stings that have stopped major domestic catastrophes in the vein of 9/11 from happening on American soil.

Another thing those agents are responsible for, however, is plotting those very schemes.

The FBI has in recent years used trained informants not just to snitch on suspected terrorists, but to set them up from the get-go. A recent report put together by Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkley analyses some striking statistics about the role of FBI informants in terrorism cases that the Bureau has targeted in the decade since the September 11 attacks.

The report reveals that the FBI regularly infiltrates communities where they suspect terrorist-minded individuals to be engaging with others. Regardless of their intentions, agents are sent in to converse within the community, find suspects that could potentially carry out “lone wolf” attacks and then, more or less, encourage them to do so. By providing weaponry, funds and a plan, FBI-directed agents will encourage otherwise-unwilling participants to plot out terrorist attacks, only to bust them before any events fully materialize.

Additionally, one former high-level FBI officials speaking to Mother Jones says that, for every informant officially employed by the bureau, up to three unofficial agents are working undercover.

The FBI has used those informants to set-up and thus shut-down several of the more high profile would-be attacks in recent years. The report reveals that the Washington DC Metro bombing plot, the New York City subway plot, the attempt to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower and dozens more were all orchestrated by FBI agents. In fact, reads the report, only three of the more well-known terror plots of the last decade weren’t orchestrated by FBI-involved agents.

The report reveals that in many of the stings, important meetings between informants and the unknowing participants are left purposely unrecorded, as to avoid any entrapment charges that could cause the case to be dismissed. Perhaps the most high-profile of the FBI-proposed plots was the case of the Newburgh 4.

Around an hour outside of New York City, an informant infiltrated a Muslim community and engaged four local men to carry out a series of attacks. Those men may have never actually carried out an attack, but once the informant offered them a plot and a pair of missiles, they agreed. Defense attorneys cried “entrapment,” but the men still were sentenced to 25 years apiece.

“The problem with the cases we’re talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents,” Martin Stolar tells Mother Jones. Stolar represented the suspect involved in a New York City bombing plot that was set-up by FBI agents. “They’re creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror.” For their part, the FBI says this method is a plan for “preemption,” “prevention” and “disruption.”

The report also reveals that, of the 500-plus prosecutions of terrorism-related cases they analyzed, nearly half of them involved the use of informants, many of whom worked for the FBI in exchange for money or to work off criminal charges. Of the 158 prosecutions carried out, 49 defendants participated in plots that agent provocateurs arranged on behalf of the FBI.

Experts note that the chance of winning a terrorism-related trial, entrapment or not, is near impossible. “The plots people are accused of being part of — attacking subway systems or trying to bomb a building — are so frightening that they can overwhelm a jury,” David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor, tells Mother Jones. Since 9/11, almost two-thirds of the cases linked to terrorism have ended with guilty pleas. “They don’t say, ‘I’ve been entrapped,’ or, ‘I was immature,’ a retired FBI official remarks.

All of this and those guilty pleas often stem for just being in the right place at the wrong time. Farhana Khera of the group Muslim Advocate notes that agents go into mosques on “fishing expeditions” just to see where they can get interest in the community. “The FBI is now telling agents they can go into houses of worship without probable cause,” says Khera. “That raises serious constitutional issues.”

From the set-up to the big finish, the whole sting operation is ripe with constitutional issues such as that. A decade since 9/11, however, the FBI is reaching through whatever means it can pull together to keep terrorists — or whom they think could someday become one — from ever hurting America.

END

 

Congress set to hand our highways and freeways over to foreign corporations

New toll roads planned for all 50 states!)

 

From The PPJ Gazette

Submitted by Marti Oakley

February 17, 2012

The efforts to parcel off and sell out entire sectors of America’s infrastructure to foreign interest continues daily.  HR 7, the bill at issue here would put tolls on roads American taxpayers funded and paid for and which they continue to fund through gasoline taxes diverted to the Transportation and Highway Trust account at the IMF

Of course, that trust fund, just like Social Security has been raided continually by the federal government since its inception leaving a negative balance for that particular identified revenue stream.  The money the federal government invested in the original construction of these highways and freeways was garnered from individual taxes and was not taken from some non-existent private account owned by the Fed.  The Fed has no money of its own.

HR 7 will effectively end our right to travel freely by making the cost of travel so expensive, that we won’t travel. 

____________________________________

From www.texasturf.org Texas Turf:

It’s been 7 years since Congress passed the last federal highway bill. Now its racing through Congress at the speed of light — why? Because they want to sell-off our public roads to private corporations, raise your taxes through tolls, and lift the ban on imposing tolls on existing highways. There are 500 toll projects being contemplated inTexas alone!

An amendment to allow tolls on ALL existing interstates in all 50 states is expected to be presented on the floor by Senator Carper of Delaware. Imposing tolls on existing freeways is a massive DOUBLE TAX — charging motorists an additional tax, a toll, to use what they’ve already built and paid for!

The current House Bill, HR 7, only bans tolls on existing FEDERAL interstates. It GUTS the ban on imposing tolls on existing STATE highways — a ban that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison put in place for Texas since 2007.  The fate our public freeway system is under attack!

URGENTACTION ITEM

STEP 1 –
Call Senator John Cornyn and ask him to support the Hutchison  ban on tolling existing STATE and FEDERAL freeways and to STRIP PPPs & TIFIA loans OUT of the transportation bill .

Call Cornyn’s office at 202-224-2934 & email him here.

STEP 2 –

Call your member of Congress and ask him/her to ADD the Hutchison “Freedom from Tolls” Amendment to ban tolling existing freeways – BOTH state and federal – to HR 7 and STRIP PPPs & TIFIA loans OUT of the transportation bill.

Find out who your member of Congress is here or call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Sneaky new tax

Government has figured out that instead of solving congestion, they can manipulate it for a profit (by keeping your free lanes congested and forcing people to pay a premium to get mobility). They’re terrified to raise the gas tax, but have no problem imposing tolls on all new capacity to our roads, even on EXISTING lanes that we travel today without tolls.

It costs 1-2 cents per mile to travel a gas tax funded freeway, but anywhere from 20 cents a mile up to 75 cents per mile to use a toll lane. It’s an explosion in our cost to travel. A gas tax funded road costs PENNIES a day, a toll road costs DOLLARS a day and THOUSANDS more in new taxes per year.

The way toll roads are being financed today, ALL Americans are paying to build them through subsidies of taxpayer money like gas tax, but you won’t be able to use them without paying a toll, too (a DOUBLE TAX)! So whether you can afford to take these toll lanes or not, you’re paying for them. This notion that tolls are user fees is a myth when you look at how heavily they’re subsidized by ALL taxpayers. You’re also paying for them through a higher cost of goods that gets passed onto consumers.

Selling us out 

Both the House and Senate versions of the federal highway bill, dubbed the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act, include public private partnerships (or PPPs) that sell-off our public roads to private corporations in 50-99 year government-sanctioned toll road monopolies. PPPs use heaps of public money to socialize the losses, while they privatize and GUARANTEE profits for the private operators.

Columnist Michelle Malkin calls PPPs ‘corporate welfare.’ Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were some of the first PPPs and eventually caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis and subsequent $1 trillion dollar taxpayer BAILOUT!

The TIFIA loan program is a HUGE source of funds used to subsidize ill-conceived toll roads that can’t pay for themselves. It’s the primary pot of taxpayer money given to these private, foreign corporations seeking to takeover our U.S. highways using public private partnership toll road contracts.

NOTE: The first TIFIA loan was awarded to a private consortium in a PPP deal on the South Bay Expressway in San Diego. It went bankrupt less than three years later due to traffic projections that were off by over 40,000 cars per day! Taxpayers had to accept a write-down of nearly $80 million of a $172 million federal TIFIA loan in yet another taxpayer bailout for private corporations.

The TIFIA loan program is all BORROWED money from the Federal Reserve, so who will have to bailout these toll roads when the cars don’t show up as they didn’t in San Diego along with other projects across the country? YOU and me, the taxpayer.

Think about it – PPPs give private corporations the power to TAX! They are granted the power to levy unlimited toll taxes on the traveling public – and we can’t hold corporations accountable like we can politicians at the ballot box. This is why politicians LOVE PPPs. They get to OUTSOURCE the taxation to their special interest buddies and makes us pay back our own money with interest through tolls!

Rather than get rid of the failed TIFIA loan program, the federal highway bill INCREASES TIFIA funding by nearly TEN times from $100/yr to $1 BILLION/yr. Current law requires the taxpayers to be paid back first, now in the bill as written, private interests would get paid back first and taxpayers would be paid back last.

PPPs also contain non-compete clauses that prohibit or penalize the expansion of free roads surrounding the privatized toll roads, guaranteeing congestion on the free routes.

Also, PPP toll contracts allow private entities to benefit from the use of eminent domain, and they result in toll rates as high as 75 cents a mile. That’s like adding $15 to every gallon of gas you buy!

END

 

Gaza Gripped by Crisis

 

From Activist Post

February 22, 2012

Dees Illustration

Stephen Lendman, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

Punishing years under siege, Cast Lead’s devastation, and regular IDF air, land and sea attacks took a terrible toll on Gazans physically, economically and emotionally. 

In 2010, Doctors Without Borders (Medicine Sans Frontiers) said over half of children under age 12 need mental health help. Moreover, one-third of cases are severe.

Gaza Community Mental Health Program PR Director, Husam El Nounou, blamed crisis conditions on closure and regular Israeli attacks. Begun in 1993, it stiffened markedly after the second Intifada began.

Following Hamas’ January 2006 legislative victory, harsher people traffic and goods restrictions were imposed. In June 2007, siege compounded partial isolation. As a result, hopelessness, virtual imprisonment, and regular Israeli attacks affect all Gazans, especially young children and youths.

According to Husam:

The effect is most felt by those who are in greatest need of travel such as students studying abroad, the sick requiring medical attention unavailable in Gaza, and people whose work requires them to travel or trade in exports and imports.

The World Health Organization (WHO) calls the link between physical and mental health well documented. Closure caused food shortages. Nutritional deficiencies and poor physical health resulted. In combination with inadequate healthcare and other deprivation, emotional problems developed.

Without imports and spare parts, sanitation facilities can’t operate properly. According to a Gaza Mental Health Community Program study, mental health outcomes deteriorated markedly in the past five years. Depression increased 17.7%, and 95% of those surveyed felt imprisoned.

Cast Lead and regular Israeli attacks heighten crisis conditions. Over 82% of Gazan children felt endangered during Cast Lead. Two-thirds fear more war, and over 40% want revenge.

Other research found similar results. Islamic University in Gaza’s Jameel Tahrawi analyzed children’s drawings. He found over 82% related to Cast Lead. A comparable UN study found two-thirds of respondents experienced worse health outcomes since the war. In most cases, it’s emotionally related.

According to Husam, “(w)omen especially tend to bury mental health problems as they may reduce chances of marriage.”

In contrast, men become more violent. Women and children bear the brunt. Children are less attentive in school. Their educational outcomes and later life opportunities suffer. Feelings of entrapment result.

Isolation prevents overseas study to develop professional mental health skills. To compensate, the Gaza Mental Health Program began a post graduate mental health intervention course to train practitioners.

Nonetheless, conditions remain critical and won’t improve until siege conditions and Israeli attacks end. 

A Final Comment 

In mid-February, a power crisis gripped Gaza. Out of fuel, the Strip’s power plant can’t operate properly. Protracted outages occurred. An acute fuel shortage exists. Vital services can’t function. Drinking water, health and sanitation facilities are affected.

On February 14, the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company shut down operations. Around two-thirds of Gaza was affected. Citing unprecedented challenges, the company said severe complications restricts daily electricity distribution to six hours daily, followed by 18-hour outages.

Gaza’s Health Ministry declared a state of emergency. Hospital generators lack enough fuel to operate properly.

Health Ministry’s General Supplies Stores director Bassam Barhoum said long outages combined with acute fuel shortages affect the entire Strip. The deficit’s 72%. The toll on hospitals and other healthcare facilities is devastating.

According to Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra, over 80% of patients face deteriorating health conditions. He also warned disaster may affect all patients in vital hospital department whose treatment depends on dependable electricity supplies.

Those most affected include premature incubator babies, patients suffering renal failure, those requiring intensive care, and others needing surgery and emergency treatment. In fact, many departments face total paralysis if crisis conditions don’t end soon.

The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) warned it’s unable to supply water in proper amounts. It said despite efforts to operate wells and pumping plants, it’s impossible to do so properly under current conditions.

Gaza’s Palestinian Energy Authority blamed lack of fuel on measures to prevent delivery. Israel used to supply industrial fuel. Frequent border crossing closures, denial of regular supplies, and high prices got the Palestinian Energy Authority to stop Israeli imports in January, 2011.

Instead, it relies on Egyptian supplies. Much comes smuggled through tunnels. Egypt agreed to supply more. On February 20, limited amounts arrived. Egyptian authorities pledged much more and would begin pumping 500,000 liters daily followed by another 100,000 for gas stations within days.

They also pledged to increase electricity supplies to 22 megawatts from 17 megawatts supplied free. Moreover, a deal struck with Egypt will increase electricity flows to 62 megawatts within two to four months.

In addition, emergency diesel will be provided. Egypt’s electricity and power minister Hassan Younes said “(t)he increase comes in the framework of a quick attempt to relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people.”

Regular shipments will arrive by truck through Israeli controlled Kerem Shalom crossing. Hamas fears it will restrict supplies to inflict punishment.

Gaza’s Energy Authority director Omar Katana hopes crisis conditions will be resolved shortly. Egypt agreed to help. A joint Egyptian-Palestinian committee was formed to examine best ways to deliver fuel through “official channels.”

Various power routes are being considered. In addition, expanding power line capacity and rehabilitating Gaza’s power plant take on urgency.

Meanwhile, crisis conditions still exist. Operating normally under siege is impossible. Israel’s closure prevents imports of vital equipment and spare parts needed for maintenance and upgrades.

At full capacity, Gaza’s power plant produces 80 megawatts of electricity. Katana hopes planned cross-border transmission capability increases will boost it to 300 megawatts.

Costing $50 million, it requires 18 months or longer to “resolve the Gaza problem once in for all” provided Israel doesn’t wage war and destroy it.

Earlier Gaza Blackouts 

Following Gilad Shalit’s June 2006 capture, Israel bombed Gaza’s power plant, destroying its transformers. The damage was never fully repaired. Current capacity combined with purchased electricity supplies only 62% of Gaza’s needs.

In October 2007, Israel restricted fuel transfers, including industrial diesel for Gaza’s power plant. After months of shortages and outages, supplies came through tunnels at lower prices.

In 2010, after EU diesel fuel payments stopped, Hamas bought supplies from Egypt. However, no formal agreement was reached. So Egypt can cut or stop supplies if it wishes.

Moreover, Fatah and Hamas dispute responsibility for Gaza’s energy. Agreed reconciliation didn’t resolve it. In addition, tunnel-supplied fuel is cheaper than other supplies. Moreover, Israel controls three border crossings, including for fuel. Kerem Shalom isn’t designed for its transfer and has limited capacity.

 

If Fatah and Hamas can resolve differences and Israel doesn’t impose punitive restrictions, these obstacles can be overcome. At issue is will all sides cooperate for the welfare of 1.7 million Gazans?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/

END

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