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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 28,354

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Iraq And Iran Plot Oil Revolution In Challenge To Saudi Arabia

Iraq's goal of pumping 9m barrels a day of crude could be a game changer for oil prices and British companies

By Andrew Critchlow1:32PM GMT 28 Jan 2014

Iraq is poised to flood the oil market by tripling its capacity to pump crude by 2020 and is collaborating with Iran on strategy in a move that will challenge Saudi Arabia's grip on the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"We feel the world needs to be assured of fuel for economic growth," Hussain al-Shahristani, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy in Iraq told oil industry delegates attending a Chatham House Middle East energy conference.

Al Shahristani said on Tuesday that Iraq plans to boost its capacity to produce oil to 9m barrels a day (bpd) by the end of the decade as Baghdad rushes to bolster its economy, which is still shattered by war and internal conflict. Iraq was producing 3m bpd in December, according to the International Energy Agency.

Iraq's intention to challenge Saudi Arabia's status as the "swing producer" in the OPEC cartel could see a dramatic fall in oil prices if Baghdad decides to break the group's quotas and sell more of its crude on the open market.



Rand Paul To File NSA Suit Within Days

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will file his class-action lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) “hopefully within the next week," he said.

The vocal critic of the NSA told the State of the Net conference on Tuesday that the complaint has already been written, and predicted that the challenge would likely reach to the Supreme Court.

Paul has been working for months on the suit against the NSA over its surveillance of Americans' phone and Internet records, which he plans to file as a private citizen. On Tuesday, he asked for the public to back the effort.

“I would like people on the Internet to go out and really support our lawsuit,” he said on Tuesday.

Paul said that the suit could replicate the success of the Internet campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). Online outcries against those pieces of legislation effectively killed them in Congress in 2012.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/196688-paul-to-file-nsa-suit-within-days#ixzz2rjXnUfa6

North Dakota Cow Thief Is First American Arrested, Jailed With Drone’s Help

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane — it’s a Predator drone finding you because you wouldn’t give your neighbor his cows back after they wandered onto your property.

Rodney Brossart, the farmer from North Dakota, was arrested after being located by Predator drone, Forbes reports. Sentenced yesterday, he is the first American to be sent to the clink thanks to drone assistance.

In June 2011, Forbes reports, police attempted to arrest him because he wouldn’t return the three cows that had grazed onto his property. This resulted in “an armed standoff between Brossart, his three sons and a SWAT team” on his property. It ended only after the family of perps was located by a Predator drone borrowed from Customs and Border Patrol.

Mr. Brossart tried to have the case dismissed on the grounds that there was no warrant for the drone surveillance, but a federal judge rejected his motion.

Forbes points out that it’s disconcerting that drones created to protect American borders are now being used to apprehend American citizens, although a manned helicopter could have done the same thing. The danger, though, is that widespread drone use could be easier to achieve than buying a helicopter for every local precinct in the country.

Read more at http://betabeat.com/2014/01/north-dakota-cow-thief-is-first-american-arrested-jailed-with-drones-help/#ixzz2rjXBUVrY

The Deep South Faces A Deep Freeze

(CNN) -- A winter storm is slinging snow and ice on a broad swath of the South, where snow plows and salt trucks are nearly as rare as bikinis in a Minnesota winter.

Drivers in major metropolitan areas including Atlanta sat unable to move on gridlocked streets as schools and offices shut down early Tuesday, unleashing hordes of vehicles onto slushy roadways.

And while Northerners may laugh at their Southern friends' panic over a dusting of snow, the threat is real: With few resources to battle snow and ice, public works crews may have a difficult time keeping up with any significant accumulation.

Add to that the fact that millions of Southern drivers aren't used to driving on snow or ice, and things were getting tricky fast.

"This is a very dangerous situation," Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said Tuesday afternoon. "People need to stay at home. They need to stay there until conditions improve."



California's 'Wall Of Debt' Is Only A Slice Of Its Liability Problem

Source: San Jose Mercury News

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown's image as a responsible, penny-pinching steward of California's finances has been cemented in recent weeks because of his renewed call to pay off California's "wall of debt.

That's a term Brown coined when he took office to describe the tens of billions of dollars California owed to public schools and special funds whose coffers were raided to help balance budgets in the past.

But look behind that $24.9 billion wall and you'll see a $330 billion skyline of other liabilities threatening the state's financial health. It includes $80 billion needed to cover teachers' pensions and $64 billion to pay for state workers' health care in retirement -- two particularly troublesome liabilities because the state isn't even making the minimum payments on them.

As a result -- similar to the debt of a homeowner who fails to make regular mortgage payments -- California's liabilities keep growing. For example, the money needed to fully fund the California State Teachers' Retirement System balloons by $22 million a day, or about $8 billion a year, financial analysts estimate.

Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_24998205/californias-wall-debt-is-only-slice-its-liability

Reposting from the 'locked' LBN thread. http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014710843

Poll: Most Americans Oppose Obama, Support Israel

ZOA poll reveals that most Americans - even those outside Jewish communities - oppose Washington's anti-Israel policies.

By Tova Dvorin

The White House's recent policies against Israel do not reflect the will of the American people, according to a recent poll.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) released the results of a nationwide survey this month revealing that the vast majority of Americans support Israel on nearly every major issue addressed in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The survey recorded the responses of over 1000 American citizens from various populations - not just the Jewish community - and was conducted by McLaughlin Associates, a well-known polling organization.

Among those polled in the representative sample, 46% of respondents were Protestant, 30% were Catholic, and 3.6% were Jewish; by ethnicity, 13% were African Americans, 12% were Hispanics, 3% were Asian, and 70% were Caucasian, according to the organization. The religious and ethnic breakdown reflects the American population as a whole.

The survey also attempted to cover the political spectrum; 42% of respondents identified themselves as Republican, and 41% as Democrats.



Well, that settles it then...

Iran Sanctions Push Stalls, US Lawmakers Mull Weaker Measure


WASHINGTON- An attempt to impose new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program has stalled in the US Congress and lawmakers are discussing whether to introduce a much weaker measure, congressional aides said on Monday.

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives are considering a non-binding resolution that expresses concern about Iran's nuclear ambitions and calls for negotiators to set strict conditions in talks between Tehran and world powers.

That would fall short of tightening sanctions on Iran, as envisioned in a bill that senators have been discussing for months.

"We don't think it is going to come to a vote," said a Senate aide who requested anonymity because that person was not authorized to speak to the media. "There are discussions about a resolution."

Read more: http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Iran-sanctions-push-stalls-US-lawmakers-mull-weaker-measure-339559

Deep Freeze In Midwest Puts Normal Routines On Ice

CHICAGO (AP) -- Parents brought kids to work or just stayed home because schools were closed, again. Office workers hailed cabs to ride a block - or less. And companies offering delivery services were inundated with business as Artic air blasted the central U.S. on Monday for the second time in weeks, disrupting the lives of even the hardiest Midwesterners.

As temperatures and wind chills plummeted throughout the day, even simple routines were upended by the need to bundle up, with anyone venturing outdoors being well advised to layer up with clothing, coats, hats, scarves and gloves.

And there's no quick relief in sight as subzero highs were expected to dominate across the region into Tuesday.

"This is similar to what we had three weeks ago" in terms of life-threatening conditions, said Sarah Marquardt, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "With wind chills in the minus 30 to minus 40 range, you can get frostbite within 10 minutes on exposed skin."

In Chicago, temperatures had fallen below zero by Monday afternoon with wind chills in the negative double-digits.



So f'n cold here even my Siberian Husky has had enough. Let him out on his lead for about 20 minutes this afternoon and when I went to let him in, I thought he had thrown his hip out again as he could hardly walk to the door.

Once he got inside, he limbered up and now is just fine. Won't do that again!!!

Currently -3 here right now...

NV Sheriff's Sergeant Accused Of Stealing Prescription Drugs

Written by Matt Guillermo

Authorities in Nye County believe a deputy took prescription drugs from the sheriff's office as well as medication from a woman while responding to a call.

According to the Nye County Sheriff's Office, Sgt. Michael Horn was detained Saturday, accused of taking morphine pills from a holding room at a sheriff's station the day before.

In addition, the sheriff's office accused Horn of confiscating prescription drugs when he responded to an elderly woman's report of noise outside her home Saturday morning.

The sheriff's office said detectives learned of Horn pressing a deputy to turn prescriptions over to him rather than booking them into evidence.

Read more: http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/24557460/nv-sheriffs-sergeant-accused-of-stealing-prescription

Navy Codebreaker Picked To Head Embattled NSA

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has signed off on the nomination of Vice Adm. Michael Rogers to lead the embattled National Security Agency and the Pentagon’s cyberwarfare organization, according to sources familiar with the decision.

In an unusual move, Obama himself interviewed Rogers last week, in a reflection of the job’s high profile as the NSA has drawn fire for the scope of its surveillance practices.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to comment, but people familiar with the matter said an announcement is expected soon.

Rogers, a Navy cryptologist, has long been seen as the frontrunner to succeed Gen. Keith Alexander, who has been NSA director since 2005. Alexander, who will retire March 14, is the longest-serving NSA head. He is also the first commander of U.S. Cyber Command, which launched in 2009.

Rogers, whose Navy career spans more than 30 years, is “uniquely qualified” to take on the job, said Terry Roberts, a former naval intelligence official who worked with Rogers when he served as a special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and JCS director of intelligence. She cited his background in intelligence and his experience heading Fleet Cyber Command, the Navy unit that works for U.S. Cyber Command.


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