Category: News Items

Congress Moves to Eliminate Labels Showing Consumers Where Meat Comes from Following WTO Ruling

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A House committee has voted to get rid of labels on packages of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

The House Agriculture Committee voted 38-6 to repeal a “country-of-origin” labeling law for beef, pork and poultry Wednesday — just two days after the World Trade Organization ruled against parts of the law. The labels tell consumers what countries the meat is from: for example, “born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the United States” or “born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.”

From the Washington Post article: House Panel Votes to Repeal Country-Origin Meat Labeling Law

The following article should take on an increased significance given the Obama administration’s current desperate and aggressive push to receive “fast-track” authority to pass the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. If you aren’t up to speed on the topic, see:

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Number of NYC Apartments for Rent Above $50k/Month Triples Since ’08; 82% of U.S. Construction = Luxury Units

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Here is good news for the plutocrat who wants to try out Manhattan’s ritziest neighborhoods before taking the multimillion-dollar plunge. The market for super-high-end rentals is booming, with plenty of enticing options for tenants of every taste.

In all, 82 apartments renting for at least $50,000 a month were listed on StreetEasy during the first three months of the year, more than triple the number listed in the first quarter of 2008. At lower thresholds, luxury listings are also on the rise. Apartments renting for more than $25,000 a month made up 0.95 percent of total inventory in the first quarter of 2015, up from 0.46 percent in the first quarter of 2008…

Of 370,000 multifamily rental units completed from 2012 to 2014 in 54 U.S. metropolitan areas, 82% were in the luxury category, according to CoStar Group Inc., a real-estate research firm. The firm defines luxury buildings as those that command rents in the top 20% of the market. In some places, including Denver, Tampa, Baltimore and Phoenix, virtually all new apartment construction has been targeted to high-end renters. In Atlanta, about 95% of new apartments have been in the luxury category.

– From Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal:

The oligarch recovery marches forward with reckless enthusiasm, despite extremely disturbing underlying trends which are all but guaranteed to result in significant societal unrest in the years ahead. The U.S. economy, and indeed the global economy, is much more similar to pre-1789 France than any other historical period I can think of.

You have a handful of super wealthy people, completely disconnected from any sense of reality, running around telling governments what to do. All the same characters who created the global financial crisis remain in charge of the world’s most powerful institutions, and continue to benefit handsomely from its aftermath. While claiming to have “saved the global economy,” the only things they really saved were their own positions of power and wealth. The only thing that was saved, was the very thing that should have been completely discarded, the global status quo. 

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This is How the Clowns at the DEA Screen for Drug Dealers on Amtrak

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It’s been a rough couple of years for the DEA. We’ve heard about the agents who got caught having orgies with prostitutes, paid for by both drug cartels and the U.S. taxpayer. We’ve heard about the agents who wrongly locked up a California student and forgot about him for days, forcing him to drink his own urine for survival. Most recently, we heard about the DEA agent who robbed a man of his life’s savings via civil asset forfeiture as he travelled from Michigan to Los Angeles on Amtrak to start a music company.

Unsurprisingly, what happened to the man on Amtrak appears to be a regular occurrence, as DEA agents and Amtrak officials basically assume all human behavior to be deemed “suspicious.”

We learn from the Atlantic that:

An ACLU staffer reported on the results of the request. Amtrak employees are instructed to report conduct “indicative of criminal activity” to law enforcement. Such as:

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As the author of the Atlantic article, Conor Friedersdorf notes:

So to avoid getting hassled by the state, don’t act nervous, but don’t act too calm either. Don’t stare straight ahead unless you’re on the telephone, in which case don’t look around. And disembark right amidst all the other passengers with lots of luggage.

This is not what freedom looks like. Are we livestock, or are we human beings?

I suggest reading the entire Atlantic article, as it focuses on the recent plight of 37-year-old mathematician Aaron Heuser of Eugene, Oregon, who was unceremoniously robbed by a DEA agent who told him:

You Oregonians may think that the green leafy stuff is harmless, but I know from my job that it kills people every day.

Of course, he wasn’t even traveling with drugs. Just another example of an ignorant clown with a badge and a license to rob you with impunity.

More from the DEA and civil asset forfeiture generally:

The DEA Strikes Again – Agents Seize Man’s Life Savings Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Without Charges

DEA Agents Wrongly Jailed Student for 5 Days Without Food or Water Until He Had to Drink Own Urine; Nobody Fired

DEA Agents Caught Having Drug Cartel Funded Prostitute Sex Parties Received Slap on the Wrist; None Fired

Asset Forfeiture – How Cops Continue to Steal Americans’ Hard Earned Cash with Zero Repercussions

“Common People Do Not Carry This Much U.S. Currency…” – This is How Police Justify Stealing American Citizens’ Money

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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Saudi Arabia is Making a Play to Head the U.N. Human Rights Council

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The fact that Saudi Arabia is on the U.N. Human Rights Council at all is more than sufficient to make a mockery out of the entire body. Nevertheless, it appears this ridiculous membership isn’t enough for the Saudis, and the Washington Free Beacon is reporting that the medieval desert monarchy is angling to take over the head position when the leadership position becomes available after 2016.

Apparently the whole thing is funny to Saudi Arabia, which has already beheaded as many people in 2015 as it did in all of 2014.

Now we learn from the Washington Free Beacon:

Saudi Arabia is making a bid to head the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) just days after it posted a slew of new job openings for executioners who would help carry out beheadings amid a massive uptick in state-sanctioned killings in the country.

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How UCLA Tried to Negotiate a Lower Speaking Fee, but Hillary Clinton Refused and Demanded $300,000

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Before Hillary Clinton spoke at the University of California at Los Angeles in March, her representatives had a few specifications to negotiate with school officials.

And of course, there was the matter of Clinton’s $300,000 speaking fee. When officials asked for a price reduction on behalf of the public university, Clinton’s representatives didn’t budge, saying $300,000 was already the “special university rate”…

Disclosure documents filed by Hillary Clinton last week revealed that the couple have earned about $25 million for delivering 104 paid speeches since January 2014.

In some cases, organizations that had once paid Bill Clinton to speak now paid even more to lure his wife.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization paid Bill Clinton $175,000 in 2010. Four years later, the group paid $335,000 — nearly twice as much — to hear from Hillary Clinton. Likewise, the Advanced Medical Technology Association paid Bill Clinton $160,000 to speak in 2009 and paid Hillary Clinton $265,000 to speak in 2014.

– From CBS News and the Washington Post

Hillary Clinton is not only incredibly corrupt, she’s a fraud and a phony of gigantic proportions. One could say she truly sold out to corporate interests back in the mid-1970s, something I highlighted in the post, This is How Hillary Does Business – An Oil Company, Human Rights Abuses in Colombia and the Clinton Foundation. Here’s an excerpt and a little walk down Clinton memory lane:

After Bill was elected governor of Arkansas in 1976, Hillary joined the Rose Law Firm, the first woman partner in an outfit almost as old as the Republic. It was all corporate business, and the firm’s prime clients were the state’s business heavyweights ­ Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart, Jackson Stevens Investments, Worthen Bank and the timber company Weyerhaeuser, the state’s largest landowner.

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New York Post Reports – ABC Signed a $105 Million Contract with George Stephanopoulos Last Year

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If the New York Post report is true, ABC News made a monumental financial blunder last year when it signed a $105 million contract to keep George Stephanopoulos as the face of its “news” network.

As I outlined in last week’s post, First Brian Williams, Now George Stephanopoulos Has Lost All Credibility in Latest Mainstream Media Scandal, due to his undisclosed donations to the Clinton Foundation, Mr. Stephanopoulos is now unable to report with any credibility on Hillary Clinton. If he isn’t capable of reporting on Hillary, then he isn’t able of reporting on any aspect of the 2016 Presidential election. So why would he be worth five dollars, let alone $105 million?

From the New York Post:

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Need a Job? Saudi Arabia is Looking for Eight Swordsmen to Keep up with Record Beheadings

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Looking for work and want to help out one of the U.S. government’s closest global allies at the same time? Well today might be your lucky day.

All you have to do is be willing to sever the heads of human beings accused of committing victimless crimes. No qualifications are necessary.

From the AFP:

Riyadh (AFP) – Saudi Arabia advertised vacancies for eight executioners Tuesday after beheading nearly as many people since the start of the year as it did in the whole of 2014.

The civil service ministry said that no qualifications were necessary and that applicants would be exempted from the usual entrance exams.

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Trade Expert and TPP Whistleblower – “We Should Be Very Concerned about What’s Hidden in This Trade Deal”

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So here are some of the things, I think, our global Over Class would like to achieve and how they intend to achieve them.

1) The Over Class must retain and consolidate their control over the global system of debt.

2) The power to regulate must be taken from nations and effectively controlled by corporations.

3) Professionalize governance. Democracy can be and must be neutered, and an effective way of doing this is to insist that amateur, elected officials MUST take the advice of professional (read corporate) advisors. Expand current law to enforce this.

4) The financial system badly needs un-encumbered ‘assets’ to feed the debt issuing system. A new way must be found to pry sovereign assets from public ownership. Such a new way is suggested.

5) In order to facilitate the political changes necessary, the public mind-set must be changed. National Treasures such as the NHS in Britain must be re-branded as evil State Monopolies.

6) Effective ways must be found to convince people that democratic rule is no longer sufficient to protect them.

7) An alternative to Democracy must be introduced and praised. That alternative must be the Rule of International Law as written and controlled by the lawyers of the 1%. People must be told that this is all that stands between them and an increasingly hostile and anarchic world. But that it can only keep them safe if it has absolute authority over democracy. People must voluntarily bow to it out of fear and its decisions must be as absolute and unquestionable.

– From David Malone’s excellent article published last year: The Next Crisis – Part two – A manifesto for the supremacy of the 1%

Obama is obsessively pushing for fast track authority on a secret trade deal written by corporate lobbyists known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. I focused on this issue last week in the post, As the Senate Prepares to Vote on “Fast Track,” Here’s a Quick Primer on the Dangers of the TPP. Here’s an excerpt:

Trying to learn about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is like trying to walk through a minefield. The only information we really have is courtesy of leaks, and those snippets are definitely not encouraging.

Pretty much every piece of major legislation passed by Congress since 9/11 is either a taxpayer giveaway to mega corporations, or a major expansion of government power. The worst pieces of legislation are always marketed with positive sounding terms and soundbites. The latest swindle is no exception. At its core, the TPP appears to be nothing more than a ceding of national sovereignty to multi-national corporations. Then again, us skeptics could be wrong about that, but chances are we’re not. We just don’t know because the text is “classified.”

The Obama administration’s primary tactic in defending this monstrosity has been to accuse critics of “not knowing what they are talking about.” Fortunately, Michael Wessel, a trade expert and “cleared advisor” on the TPP, is blowing the whistle. Here are some excerpts from his very important article published by PoliticoI’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned:

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Chris Christie Calls Snowden Supporters “Civil Liberties Extremists” in His Latest Desperate Neocon Diatribe

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Chris Christie is a uniquely American embarrassment. Only a person so completely consumed with his own bullshit and narcissism could miss the fact that he characterizes the word coward. He’s created a national presence for himself as a warrior against corruption, yet he only punches downward, and exclusively picks on the weak. While he rails against entitlements and takes particular pleasure in attacking teachers, he never dares go after the real entitlement criminals. Wall Street bailout babies, and the multi-national corporations constantly sucking on the taxpayer teat via corporate welfare are never the focus of his ire. That’s because he’s 100% completely full of shit with regard to pretty much every topic he addresses.

Chris Christie is the consummate authoritarian, and he worships at the altar of the rich and powerful. He loves war, the surveillance state and political control. He’s the type of person who would chop off the hand of a poor person caught stealing a cookie, while happily offering a deferred prosecution agreement to a financial oligarch stealing billions. The fact that anyone takes him seriously after all his scandals and previous examples of verbal diarrhea is a testament to how deranged and damaged our political system really is.

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The DEA Strikes Again – Agents Seize Man’s Life Savings Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Without Charges

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All the money – $16,000 in cash – that Joseph Rivers said he had saved and relatives had given him to launch his dream in Hollywood is gone, seized during his trip out West not by thieves but by Drug Enforcement Administration agents during a stop at the Amtrak train station in Albuquerque.

Rivers, 22, wasn’t detained and has not been charged with any crime since his money was taken last month.

That doesn’t matter. Under a federal law enforcement tool called civil asset forfeiture, he need never be arrested or convicted of a crime for the government to take away his cash, cars or property – and keep it.

Rivers was left penniless, his dream deferred.

From the Albuquerque Journal article: DEA to Traveler: Thanks, I’ll Take That Cash

In the “land of the free” you might be innocent until proven guilty, but your assets aren’t.

In one of the most uncivilized and preposterous loopholes in America, federal agents are allowed to steal citizens’ assets; cars, cash, even homes, based on suspicion alone. I’ve covered this barbaric and backward practice on many occasions, but here’s a quick refresher from the first post I wrote on the subject in 2013, Why You Should Never, Ever Drive Through Tenaha, Texas:

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