Wednesday, February 29, 2012

$411 million global arms trade in 2010

In 2010, global gun runners not named China sold weapons and military services to the tune of $411 million in 2010, a 1% increase over the 2009 figures.
"The data for 2010 demonstrates, once again, the major players' ability to continue selling arms and military services despite the financial crises currently affecting other industries."
-Susan Jackson,
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

The Bernank lies to Americans about inflation

"I think what we're witnessing today is the end stages of a grand experiment."
-Dr. Ron Paul

Congressman Paul asks the Bernank if he does his own shopping...since the Bernank says that there is no inflation.

I am not endorsing Ron Paul, but I can't help but notice that the mainstream media is pretending like he isn't running a very successful national campaign.
I would love to see Dr. Paul, an anti-Wall Street, anti-war Republican, go head-to-head against Obama, a pro-Wall Street, pro-war, pro-martial law Democrat.
Heads would explode.

Friday, February 24, 2012

“The system is broken”

The Federal government may be turning a blind eye to Mortgage Industry jankiness, but at least local officials aren’t.
Last week, San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting released a report documenting that 85% of the nearly 400 foreclosures that his office has audited have “serious problems or were outright illegal".
"We really wanted to take a look at what the documents would tell us and whether or not it was something systemic," Ting said. "We had a lot of anecdotal information but never knew if the problems represented 5 percent or 20 percent or 80 percent of the cases. What we have for the first time is hard data about the level of systematic problems going on in the mortgage industry."
-Huffington Post
Ting joins a small handful of other local officials who have, over the past year, gone public with similar findings.
Earlier this month, after federal officials conducted more than 10,000 hours of research and poured through more than 2 million documents, the Obama Administration and 49 state attorneys general announced a $25 billion settlement with five of the nation's largest banks that had gotten caught committing document fraud and wrongful foreclosures on homeowners.
None of the findings from that research have been released to the public.
As hard as it may be to fathom, it is very likely that systemwide fraud may just be the tip of the iceberg...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gas thefts on the rise

Cities dealing with more and more vacant land

Here's a excerpt from a great read about collapse in Chicago. This section touches on the most important reason why land becomes vacant.
Meanwhile, hundreds of properties are being deposited every month into the city’s land bank by foreclosure-minded mortgage companies and banks who are seeking to rid their books of delinquent homes and apartments.

The process typically starts with abandonment, boarding up, and then foreclosure. But the blight and foreclosed properties are far from forgotten by the neighbors and the community.

With no hope for a resale to recoup the investment, the banker’s neglect results in abandonment of the property. The weeds grow, the windows are smashed, and the building becomes an unsafe place for homeless people to squat, a drug house, or the site of a fire.

Eventually, this scenario forces the city to raze the property and reduce the bank’s real estate tax classification from improved property to vacant land, which is taxed at a much lower level. Often the land is just donated to the city for back taxes, or picked up in the tax scavenger sale.

Typically, the abandoned building also becomes a resource for Chicago’s underground economy and is stripped of its valuable appliances, furnaces, light fixtures, copper pipe and electrical wire. Often, the urban pirates even take the hardwood floors, fireplace mantels and doors.

Even if an investor buys the abandoned building, secures it with guard dogs to protect the building’s improvements and begins to renovate the property, it sometimes isn’t a happy ending. It is not uncommon for the dogs to be poisoned and killed by the urban pirates to scavenge the profits within.
Chicago Journal

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

OPD Thugs in the spotlight yet again

Yesterday, news broke that Oakland Police shot the cousin of Oscar Grant this weekend. 24 year-old Tony Jones was shot in the back by Oakland Police early Sunday morning. The cops claim he had a gun, but no charges have been filed yet against Jones four days after the incident.
For several hours, attorney Waukeen McCoy says he was denied the right to meet with his client at the hospital, going so far as to take a picture of the Oakland officer he says refused entry after Jones requested to see his attorney.
"We believe what happened is that the Oakland Police Department is hiding the fact that they shot him in his back while he was retreating from them," said McCoy.

If that wasn’t bad enough, yesterday’s hot-off-the-presses issue of the East Bay Express contained another story that claims to have identified the Oakland Police Officer who both shot Iraq War Veteran Scott Olsen during an Occupy Oakland Protest back in October, and then threw a grenade at the group of people who came to Olsen’s aid.
An extensive review of video footage and Oakland Police Department records by this reporter indicates that Robert Roche, an acting sergeant in the Oakland Police Department and member of OPD's "Tango Teams," threw the flash-bang at Olsen and his rescuers. It's also not the first time that Roche's actions have come under scrutiny. Police records show that Roche had previously killed three people in the line of duty.

In one clip of footage shot on October 25 by KTVU, the camera zooms in on a helmeted, gas-mask wearing officer in OPD insignia pointing a shotgun at the crowd. Olsen's inert body is also visible in front of the barriers. Another video clip shows the same officer training his shotgun on the crowd, lowering the firearm as a crowd gathers around Olsen, and stepping back behind a line of San Francisco sheriff's deputies on the barricade line. A grenade is then tossed at Olsen's body as rescuers arrive.
According to former San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey and Sergeant Kara Apple, a Palo Alto Police spokeswoman, officers from neither agency were equipped with less-than-lethal shotguns or flash-bang grenades that night. A list of OPD crowd-control munitions published by Al Jazeera last year includes the Remington .357 shotgun and two types of CS or pepper spray-loaded blast grenades.
Two stripes and a star, OPD's insignia for acting sergeants, are visible on the officer's left sleeve. In both clips, the officer is holding his shotgun with his right hand on the trigger, his helmet visor is up and the numbers "35" are visible on his helmet. According to an OPD roster of the three-digit helmet numbers assigned to individual officers and the personnel detail for October 25, Officer Robert Roche is the only one with a helmet number beginning with "35" who was assigned to a Tango Team that night. Roche's helmet number that night was "357," according to OPD records.
Three attorneys who reviewed the two clips mentioned above concur that the shotgun-wielding officer is the same in both clips.
-East Bay Express

Police Chief Howard Jordan claimed that no Oakland Officers had grenade launchers nor grenades that night.
That was clearly yet another lie from these habitual liars..

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Afghan Opium Output Up 61%

Data recently released by the United Nations shows a 61% increase in opium production in Afghanistan this year. This continues an upward trend ever since the US invasion in 2001, which also happened to be the year that the Taliban outlawed opium. The government crackdown that year resulted in a 185 ton yield. The harvest has since grown to 5,800 tons a year.
The UN figures make grim reading for those who backed the invasion of Afghanistan.

I can't help but notice that wherever the CIA goes, rising drug production seems to be a consistent theme.
Ironically, the Taliban had overseen a significant fall in heroin production in the months before the invasion. Their leader Mullah Mohammed Omar – collaborating with the UN – had decreed that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world’s most successful anti-drug campaigns.
As a result of this ban, opium poppy cultivation was reduced by 91 per cent from the previous year’s estimate of 82,172 hectares.
The ban was so effective that Helmand Province, which had accounted for more than half of this production, recorded no poppy cultivation during the 2001 season.
However, with the overthrow of the Taliban opium fields returned, despite the destruction of crops by coalition forces and initiatives to persuade farmers to switch to other produce.
-Daily Mail

Mission Accomplished?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Anti-Occupy Organizer Outed

Standing for the bankstas comes with a price.
Occupy Oakland sympathizers aren't just targeting cyber attacks at council members and top city administrators; they've also gone after at least one of the organizers of a recently formed anti-Occupy citizens group.

Nancy Sidebotham has been a thorn in the council's side way before tents were ever pitched at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, but she apparently ran afoul of Occupy supporters Monday when a group she helped start, Stand for Oakland, staged a rally decrying recent Occupy Oakland actions.

Sidebotham, a community policing leader and former City Council candidate, got a voice mail Tuesday evening from a man with a Texas-based phone number, saying "Hi Nancy, for some oddball reason your life history seems to have been plastered all over the Internet."

Sidebotham Googled herself and found that just like city leaders, her phone number, address and lots of biographical information had been posted on the file-sharing website

The information, which was likely culled from other public websites, included a nasty note from someone claiming to represent the hacker group Anonymous: "After looking into your background, it has come to our attention that you are involved in a self-aggrandizing political game you should not have involved yourself in, as now you have drawn our attention."
-Inside Bay Area

Friday, February 10, 2012

Greek Police Union Threatens Bankstas

"Since you are continuing this destructive policy, we warn you that you cannot make us fight against our brothers. We refuse to stand against our parents, our brothers, our children or any citizen who protests and demands a change of policy."

"We warn you that as legal representatives of Greek policemen, we will issue arrest warrants for a series of legal violations ... such as blackmail, covertly abolishing or eroding democracy and national sovereignty."
-Greek Police Union to the Bankstas

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A new era

Occupy Oakland has paid its dues, and is now truly and officially an Oaklander. The movement is diverse and foward-thinking, is committed to working together to move forward into the future, cares about everyone in its community, has been scapegoated and misrepresented in the media, has been evicted twice, has been repeatedly shot and grenaded and teargassed, is ALWAYS being watched by the police (and most likely the feds as well), and now has a major case of PTSD that no one else seems to care about, and actually seems to blame them for. Most importantly though, despite all of the state repression/oppression and harassment and intimidation, the movement is still alive and well (even though homeless and misunderstood). That's about as Oakland as it gets.

The powers that be are LYING about the movement. The J28 "Move-in Day" action, and the criminally violent suppression of that attempted action, have forced a major rift in the broader society between those who instinctually trust the police, and those who know better.
J28 was the epitome of the class war that has been raging in the country for generations: a homeless movement was attempting to peacefully occupy a blighted, unused public space, and the police showed up armed for war. The video evidence alone proves whose agenda was actually carried out that day.

The Occupy Oakland movement is about democracy. Period. It is about an inclusive process where anyone who wants in can be in, and no one is left out. Anyone who says otherwise is a LIAR.
Resident livestreaming videojournalist Spencer Mills extended a polite invitation to Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan to participate in tonite's community forum on police actions. Hojo, of course, declined. OPD has never and will never be interested in dialog. Just ask Bobby Hutton and Judi Bari.
Even back when Mayor Quan was trying to "dialog" with the labor council (her best attempt at trying to understand the movement was to call in the usual suspects, most of whom had NOTHING to do with the actual movement on her front lawn) OPD was calling for violent action rather than talk. When she realized that she couldn't bully big labor into controlling the movement (i.e. when she realized that they weren't in charge), she ignored the progressive voters who got her elected, and let OPD have their way. Rather than waiting her turn to speak to a general assembly and having genuine dialog, she conspired via teleconference with Homeland Security to help orchestrate a nationwide series of violent assaults on Occupy camps. That's her interpretation of democracy apparently.

The funny thing is, her blatant subservience to the radical right has earned her no respect in their eyes either. A recall campaign to oust her from office is currently underway, and its backers all represent "business" interests. Clearly, it was an incredibly stupid move on her part to try to make them happy...they didn't want her elected in the first place.

Oakland City Hall could learn a lot from the Oakland Raiders, who are risking short-term criticism from their fan base in exchange for long-term success. The Raiders are cleaning house in a quest for better communication, more discipline, improved teamwork and increased productivity (the same values that Occupy Oakland has prioritized since its inception).
It is painfully clear that OPD needs a similar cleansing.

Only one person had to die in order for the Raiders to move forward.
How many will it take before OPD and Oakland City Hall clean up their act?