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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Kremlin slips spying gadgets into G20 summit gift bags, newspapers say

Kremlin slips spying gadgets into G20 summit gift bags, newspapers say

Russian hosts of the Group of 20 summit near St. Petersburg in September sent world leaders home with gifts designed to keep on giving: memory sticks and recharging cables programmed to spy on their communications, two Italian newspapers reported Tuesday.


The USB thumb drives marked with the Russia G20 logo and the three-pronged European phone chargers were "a poisoned gift" from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turin-based La Stampa [link in Italian] said in its report.

“They were Trojan horses designed to obtain information from computers and cellphones,” the paper said.

The bugging devices were included in gift bags given to all delegates who attended the Sept. 5-6 summit at the palace in Stelna, outside of St. Petersburg, the newspapers said.


oh, yes there is MORE:

“Don’t worry mate -- there’s bigger crooks in the market than us guys!”

Internal Rabobank Groep e-mails cited in the U.S. Justice Department’s case against the bank show a culture where fixing benchmark interest rates had become an easygoing routine, one in which employees joked about rate rigging while telling each other they weren’t really that bad.

Exchanges among traders, rate submitters and a money manager in London were laced with jokes and requests to raise or lower rates depending upon the traders’ positions, according to a statement of facts filed yesterday in federal court in Hartford, Connecticut, as part of a deferred prosecution deal reached with Rabobank.

“Don’t worry mate -- there’s bigger crooks in the market than us guys!” the Rabobank yen Libor submitter, identified as Submitter-4 in the filing, said in a Sept. 21, 2007, e-mail, after agreeing to increase its submission to the one-month yen rate by seven basis points from the previous day. Another mid-level manager joked to a colleague seeking help rigging rates: “I am fast turning into your Libor bitch!!!

Rabobank, the co-operative formed in 1898 to lend to Dutch farmers, was fined 774 million euros ($1.1 billion) for its involvement in rigging benchmark interest rates, the second-largest in the global investigation.



SHAME On US: Only 5 Elected Officials Attend Drone Strike Congressional Briefing

Despite being heralded as the first time in history that U.S. lawmakers would hear directly from the survivors of a U.S. drone strike, only five elected officials chose to attend the congressional briefing that took place Tuesday.

Pakistani schoolteacher Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children—9 year-old daughter Nabila and 13 year-old son Zubair—came to Washington, DC to give their account of a U.S. drone attack that killed Rafiq's mother, Momina Bibi, and injured the two children in the remote tribal region of North Waziristan last October.

"I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer grey skies. Drones don't fly when sky is grey." –Zubair Rehman, 13-year-old drone victim

According to journalist Anjali Kamat, who was present and tweeting live during the hearing, the only lawmakers to attend the briefing organized by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), were Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.).

Before the handful of reporters and scant lawmakers, however, Rafiq and his children gave dramatic testimony which reportedly caused the translator to break down into tears.


Commander-in-Chief and Hand-ker-Chief


Alabama Agrees To Permanently Gut Immigration Law

Source: NPR

Opponents of Alabama's strict immigration law are declaring victory Tuesday, as the state agreed not to pursue key provisions of a measure critics had called an endorsement of racial profiling. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal of a federal court's ruling that gutted the law.

Widely considered the toughest immigration law in the U.S. when it took effect in 2011, the measure known as HB 56 was challenged soon after it was approved. Its opponents included the U.S. Justice Department, a coalition of civil rights groups, and religious groups. Critics often called it the "show me your papers" law.

The suit's challengers included the Southern Poverty Law Center. Today, it listed provisions in the law that are now permanently blocked:

Requiring schools to verify the immigration status of newly enrolled K-12 students.
Criminalizing the solicitation of work by unauthorized immigrants.
A provision that made it a crime to provide a ride to undocumented immigrants or to rent to them.
A provision that infringed on the ability of individuals to contract with someone who was undocumented.
A provision that criminalized failing to register one's immigration status.

Read more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/29/241685794/alabama-agrees-to-permanently-gut-immigration-law

With Trayvon's mother sitting just across from him, Cruz Argues Florida Law Helps African-Americans

With Trayvon Martin’s mother sitting just across from him, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) claimed that Stand Your Ground is beneficial for African-Americans. At the Tuesday Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, Cruz claimed, “In Florida, the data show that African-American defendants have availed themselves of the Stand Your Ground law more frequently than Anglo defendants”, indirectly citing a Daily Caller story that said black defendants were successful in 55 percent of fatal cases compared to 53 percent of whites.

GOP witness John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, also argued Cruz’s point at length. “Poor blacks who live in high-crime urban areas are not only the most likely victims of crime, they are also the ones who benefit the most from Stand Your Ground laws,” he said according to prepared testimony. Later, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he found Lott’s argument “compelling,” and that he did not see how the law “has a racial injustice about it.”

The same data that Florida Cruz cited also shows that killers are far more likely to go free when their victims are black


Krugman Trolls Deficit Hawks With One Amazing Chart

Krugman Trolls Deficit Hawks With One Amazing Chart
The Huffington Post | By Mark Gongloff
Posted: 10/29/2013 11:35 am EDT | Updated: 10/29/2013 3:14 pm EDT

Debt scolds like Harvard economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart constantly warn us that too much government debt causes terrible things like soaring interest rates and wrecked economies. History often disagrees.

Paul Krugman teased Rogoff and Reinhart about this on Tuesday with a chart he found on the Bank of England's website. It's a chart that shows 300 years of British debt and interest rates, which is just awesome in its own right, if you are the kind of geek that gets into that sort of thing. Adding to the risk of nerdgasm, the chart highlights England's "major war periods."

The chart also directly contradicts the debt scolds. It shows many long stretches in which England carried a massive debt burden, particularly after its extended war orgy around the turn of the 19th century, which included the American Revolution and the War of 1812.


LOL:Senate Dems propose making McConnell debt limit plan permanent, so of course McConnell says 'no'

Senate Dems propose making McConnell debt limit plan permanent, so of course McConnell says 'no'

Will this be an opportunity for a rare display of bipartisan comity?

A group of Senate Democrats is slated Tuesday to introduce a plan allowing the president to raise the debt ceiling without the approval of Congress — a tactic dubbed the "McConnell Rule."

The plan hinges on a solution devised by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) during the 2011 debt-ceiling standoff that saddled President Obama with ultimate responsibility for raising the limit. It was used again in the deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government earlier this month.

While Congress would be able to halt the borrowing increase by a vote of disapproval, it would be subject to a presidential veto and have little chance of gaining the necessary supermajorities to override it.




TKO-Sen Reid's Response To Sen Coburn's comment Monday in which he called Reid an "absolute a--hole"


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) office responded on Tuesday to Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-OK) comment on Monday in which he called Reid an "absolute a--hole."

"Nothing says 'comity' like childish playground name-calling, especially from a senator who has not sponsored a single piece of successful bipartisan legislation during his entire Senate career," Reid's spokesman Adam Jentleson told the Hill.


Dick Cheney says Iraq War was worth it because - NOW WE KNOW - they didn't have WMDs

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said on Monday that what the United States gained as a result of the war in Iraq was that Iraq now does not have weapons of mass destruction.

While professing that he’s not trying to blame Cheney or President Bush for doing anything wrong by invading Iraq, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly wondered what the U.S. got out of the whole thing. “They finger pointed you and Bush and I don’t want to do that,” O’Reilly said, “But we spent a $1 trillion on this with a lot of pain and suffering on the American military. What did we get out of it? Beside Saddam being out of there?”

While Cheney meandered for a few minutes, he finally settled on the main prize: an Iraq without weapons of mass destruction:

O’REiLLY: But what — right now, what do we — what do we get of Iraq for all of that blood and treasure? What do we get out of it?

CHENEY: What we gain and my concern was then and it remains today is that the biggest threat we face is the possibility of terrorist groups like al Qaeda equipped with weapons of mass destruction, with nukes, bugs or gas. That was the threat after 9/11 and when we took down Saddam Hussein we eliminated Iraq as a potential source of that.

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