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unhappycamper

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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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Brazil confirms secure satellite deal to stifle U.S. spying

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/28/brazil-confirms-secure-satellite-deal-to-stifle-u-s-spying/



Brazil confirms secure satellite deal to stifle U.S. spying
By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, November 28, 2013 20:15 EST

Brazil’s state-owned telecom provider Telebras signed a $560 million contract to deliver a satellite for secure communications on Thursday, following months of outrage over revelations of US cyber-spying.

A statement said a joint venture between Telebras and Embraer would deliver the geostationary satellite for strategic communications by late 2016.

Embraer said the satellite would ensure Brazil’s “sovereignty over strategic communications in both the civilian and military areas.”

Brasilia has been angered by reports of US electronic spying on Brazilian government communications, as well as phone call data and emails of millions of Brazilians.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Nov 29, 2013, 07:12 AM (0 replies)

Australia blocks Archer Daniels Midland takeover bid

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/28/comet-ison-vanishes-as-it-circles-the-sun/



Australia blocks Archer Daniels Midland takeover bid
By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, November 28, 2013 21:36 EST

The Australian government rejected Friday the Aus$3 billion (US$2.7 billion) sale of GrainCorp to American agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), saying it went against the national interest.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said the sector was still moving towards more robust competition and a foreign takeover of the biggest grain handler in eastern Australia could undermine public support for foreign investment in general.

“Now is not the right time for a 100 percent foreign acquisition of this key Australian business,” he said.

The bid met strong opposition from grower groups and the National Party, which is part of the governing coalition that declared Australia “open for business” after winning September elections.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Nov 29, 2013, 07:01 AM (0 replies)

Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Monsanto-the-TPP-and-Glo-by-Ellen-Brown-Food_Food-Sovereignty_Food-Supply_Food-Agriculture-131127-63.html



Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance
OpEdNews Op Eds 11/27/2013 at 14:00:43
By Ellen Brown

~snip~

According to an Acres USA interview of plant pathologist Don Huber, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, two modified traits account for practically all of the genetically modified crops grown in the world today. One involves insect resistance. The other, more disturbing modification involves insensitivity to glyphosate-based herbicides (plant-killing chemicals). Often known as Roundup after the best-selling Monsanto product of that name, glyphosate poisons everything in its path except plants genetically modified to resist it.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Glyphosate is an essential partner to the GMOs that are the principal business of the burgeoning biotech industry. Glyphosate is a "broad-spectrum" herbicide that destroys indiscriminately, not by killing unwanted plants directly but by tying up access to critical nutrients.

Because of the insidious way in which it works, it has been sold as a relatively benign replacement for the devastating earlier dioxin-based herbicides. But a barrage of experimental data has now shown glyphosate and the GMO foods incorporating it to pose serious dangers to health. Compounding the risk is the toxicity of "inert" ingredients used to make glyphosate more potent. Researchers have found, for example, that the surfactant POEA can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. But these risks have been conveniently ignored.

The widespread use of GMO foods and glyphosate herbicides helps explain the anomaly that the US spends over twice as much per capita on healthcare as the average developed country, yet it is rated far down the scale of the world's healthiest populations. The World Health Organization has ranked the US LAST out of 17 developed nations for overall health.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:42 AM (0 replies)

Heroic Diplomacy: How Barack Obama Finally Earned That Peace Prize

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Heroic-Diplomacy-How-Bara-by-Robert-Scheer-International_Iran_Israel_Obama-Effect-131127-628.html



Heroic Diplomacy: How Barack Obama Finally Earned That Peace Prize
OpEdNews Op Eds 11/27/2013 at 15:54:29
By Robert Scheer

Finally, Barack Obama may prove deserving of his Nobel Peace Prize by joining with England, France, China, Russia and Germany in negotiating an eminently sensible rapprochement with Iran on its nuclear program. Following on his pullback from war with Syria and instead, successfully negotiating the destruction of that country's supply of chemical weapons, this is another bold step to fulfill the peacemaking promise that got him elected president in the first place.

As Obama reminded his audience at an event Monday in San Francisco, he was fulfilling the pledge from his first campaign to usher in a "new era of American leadership, one that turned the page on a decade of war." As a candidate in 2007, he committed to engage in "aggressive personal diplomacy" with Iran's leaders, and he has now done just that.

This is potentially an international game changer comparable to Richard Nixon's opening to Mao's Red China and Ronald Reagan's overtures to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, two examples of heroic diplomacy that combined to destroy the underpinnings of the Cold War. Those who continually call for regime change in Iran as a condition for improved relations with that country, as Obama's critics are now doing, ignore that history.

It is also true that the religious leaders of Iran came to power after a previous U.S. effort at regime change -- replacing a democratic secular leader with the despotic shah -- failed miserably. The Israelis who are now giving Obama such a difficult time on dealing with Iran might also adopt some humility, since it was their Mossad spies who helped train the shah's agents in the fine art of prisoner interrogation. Yesterday's prisoners sometimes end up today's negotiators.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:38 AM (0 replies)

Citizens Protest NSA Data Center

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Citizens-Protest-NSA-Data-by-Laura-Bonham-Data-mining_Democracy_Energy_Energy-131127-645.html



Citizens Protest NSA Data Center
General News 11/27/2013 at 09:24:28
By Laura Bonham

On Sunday, November 24th, the NSA data collection center was targeted by US citizens angered by violations of their first amendment rights to free speech and association, and their rights of privacy protected by the fourth amendment. The citizens lifted a banner by helium balloons, created by The Backbone Campaign, measuring 26 feet square, containing the message: Water, Energy, Tax $; NSA: Guzzling Billions to Steal Our Liberties.

The data collection center, located at Camp Williams in Bluffdale, Utah covers 1 million square feet, 100,000 of which is purely for computer servers and storage hardware, to store the data illegally collected from phone calls made in the US, to the US or from the US, and any other data transmitted through the telecommunications networks. It also houses a code-breaking program to de-encrypt confidential communications like financial transactions, stock transactions, and legal documents.

Walter Mason, Coordinator for the Utah Justice Party, is outraged. "I'm very angry that my own government is spying on me. My work revolves around justice issues and a return to the rule of law. It is outrageous that we spend billions of tax dollars on this illegal surveillance operation when so many people are in need. It's time for us to start fighting for our rights."

"Outrage doesn't quite capture my feelings," said Laura Bonham, a board member of Move to Amend and a supporter of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. "When I learned that this one spy center uses 1.7 billion gallons of water to cool its servers, I was stunned. We live in a desert state, often under forced water restrictions. We have a situation where the government has taken a valuable, limited, and life supporting resource to use for the very purpose of undermining our rights--and our legislature let them get away with it."
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:29 AM (0 replies)

John F. Kennedy’s Thanksgiving Ideals, 1962– How different they are from Ours

http://www.juancole.com/2013/11/john-f-kennedys-thanksgiving-ideals-1962-how-different-they-are-from-ours.html

John F. Kennedy’s Thanksgiving Ideals, 1962– How different they are from Ours
Posted on 11/28/2013 by Juan Cole

~snip~

On this Thanksgiving, what strikes me is the ideals JFK put forward in his Thanksgiving proclamations, and how different they are from today’s discourse in Washington, D.C.

~snip~

Kennedy talks of giving thanks for the “health of our people.” The people’s health was of concern to him. Today, we have a vast disinformation campaign against the Affordable Health Care Act, a campaign aimed at ensuring that 40 million Americans remain without health insurance, at danger at any time of losing everything. Our liberties were enshrined in the Bill of Rights, which since 1962 has been more or less gutted. They are no longer strong. The Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches of our private papers and effects has been gutted by an out-of-control National Security Agency. Our freedom of speech is threatened by surveillance and dirty tricks, which has already induced self-censorship in many American authors. As for self-righteousness, it pervades the atmosphere on Capitol Hill.

~snip~

There is nothing in Kennedy of the hatred of the foreigner or the punitive attitude toward the poor so prominent in the discourse of today. JFK wanted to see America’s bounty shared with the disprivileged not only in the United States but abroad. Nowadays, the Congress is obsessed with punishing the working poor and reducing government assistance for them, including food stamps. Mitt Romney revealed their thinking when he referred to the 47%, the portion of the population he said depends on government help. But that 47% includes Veterans, who deserve all the help they can get. It includes retirees, who paid into Social Security all their lives and are not getting a handout but their due.

~snip~

We haven’t confronted the uncertainties we now face with “grace and modesty.” We have not risen to the challenge of climate change; rather, we have allowed the debate to be dominated by the multi-billionaires and their sock puppets. We haven’t confronted the crisis in health care with grace and modesty but rather with misrepresentations and false flags. We didn’t deal well with the 9/11 attacks, going off in our anger to strike an unrelated country, Iraq. The US public was manipulated into blaming Muslims in general, whereas it was the work of a tiny, extremist fringe.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:05 AM (1 replies)

US 'Zero Option' for Afghanistan Arrives as Ultimatum to Karzai

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/11/26-8



With Afghan people caught in the middle the idea of a negotiated peace or a thoughtful withdrawal are not part of the dialogue

US 'Zero Option' for Afghanistan Arrives as Ultimatum to Karzai
- Common Dreams staff
Published on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 by Common Dreams

A full and complete U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan—known as the "zero option"—has now been floated by U.S. officials at the highest levels.

The plan, however, has not been offered as a responsible solution to the plague of war and occupation that has ravaged the country since 2001, but delivered as an ultimatum in order to pressure the Afghan government to agree to U.S. terms over a pending security agreement.

Following the surprise refusal by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a security agreement outlining the terms of a prolonged U.S. occupation, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice issued the "zero option" threat after the Afghan president, citing a "lack of trust," announced his desire to wait to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement until after the next presidential elections in April.

"Ambassador Rice reiterated that, without a prompt signature, the US would have no choice but to initiate planning for a post-2014 future in which there would be no US or Nato troop presence in Afghanistan," said a White House spokesman.



unhappycamper comment: I think it would be a HUGE mistake to continue this occupation for another ten years.

I would rather have my tax dollars go towards feeding people, not killing them.

This is what we're up against:

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:01 AM (1 replies)

Big Retail Is Watching You: Exposing Walmart's Massive Data Collection Schemes

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/11/27-6



Retail giant's mass data collection is disproportionately affecting people of color, say authors

Big Retail Is Watching You: Exposing Walmart's Massive Data Collection Schemes
- Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Published on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 by Common Dreams

Outside of its growing reputation for poverty wages, worker intimidation and an overall culture of employee repression, a new report released Wednesday reveals that retail giant Walmart is also throwing its weight behind a massive consumer tracking effort with particular implications for people of color.

Authored by a coalition of consumer rights and social justice groups, the report, Consumers, Big Data and Online Tracking in the Retail Industry: A Case Study of Walmart (pdf), examines many of the ways in which large retailers—with a particular focus on Walmart—collect consumer data through mobile devices and online activity and use that information to "tease out meaningful patterns,” as noted by a November 2011 Walmart blog post.

The report notes that people of color and other marginalized and low-income communities are being disproportionately affected by such data collection since studies have shown they are less likely than wealthier consumers to protect their data or avoid the marketing ploys which target them.

“Walmart is collecting information on millions of Americans who are disproportionately low-income Black folks and other communities of color," said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange who, along with Sum of Us and the Center for Media Justice, authored the report.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 28, 2013, 07:49 AM (1 replies)

Great Gifts! Save More! Don't Wait! Special Buys! 1,800 Dead! Evil Scumsuckers Go Home!

http://www.commondreams.org/further/2013/11/26



Great Gifts! Save More! Don't Wait! Special Buys! 1,800 Dead! Evil Scumsuckers Go Home!
by Abby Zimet
11.26.13 - 8:55 AM

Okay, all done. After months of impassively, unthinkingly trashing each morning's florid email from the black hole of greed and profiteering that is Walmart - "Map Out Your Black Friday Shopping Trip! New Value of the Hour! Save More With Home Value Bundles! - we just had one of those Network-inspired "I'm mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore" moments. It's not just 'cause they sell something called "hamburger helper cheeseburgr macaroni" - though WTF? - and call it food, or even because they famously asked their own grossly underpaid workers to donate food to other grossly underpaid workers for a Thanksgiving dinner nobody will have time to eat anyway because they'll all be working to feed the endless greed of the multi-billionaire Waltons, yet another reason for the welcome and overdue wave of strikes hitting them this week. It's because of this: Many months after over 1,200 workers in Bangladesh were killed in the dual disasters of the Tazreen factory fire and Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, Walmart has refused to contribute a penny to international compensation funds to assist the families of the dead and the over 1,800 workers injured because it was "financially unfeasible" to do so; has blown off a meeting in Geneva where companies came to discuss such compensation; has offered to create its own safety scheme that critics say is so flawed, vague and unenforceable it's virtually meaningless, despite the fact that one in five Walmart factories still fails safety tests, a figure that leads advocates to charge that Walmart did and still does have "blood on its hands"; and reportedly and with great fanfare offered $50 million in low-cost loans to Bangladesh garment factories to improve conditions - loan offers which Walmart claimed were met with several "no thanks," but which labor advocates in Bangladesh say were, in fact, never made, leaving them still waiting for any substantive change. So. A plea: If you're indulging in shopping this season, please forego the drek and evil of Walmart and other big box atrocities - where, it seems, some have already camped out almost two weeks before the fact for whatever it is they, evidently lacking a life or any sense thereof, so very desperately want to buy there. But we digress. Buy local, buy modest, buy where it helps someone else who needs it. The Waltons don't. And please, one day, let them eat hamburger helper cheeseburgr macaroni.



Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 28, 2013, 07:44 AM (12 replies)

Water shortages could doom the fracking industry in England

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/27/water-shortages-could-doom-the-fracking-industry-in-england/



Water shortages could doom the fracking industry in England
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 14:30 EST

Fracking may be impractical in parts of the UK due to the scarcity of local water supplies, and in other areas will have an impact on local water resources, the water industry has admitted, in a deal struck with the oil and gas industry.

The controversial process of shale gas and oil extraction uses hydraulic fracturing technology or fracking, where water and chemicals under very high pressure are blasted at dense shale rocks, opening up fissures through which the tiny bubbles of methane can be released.

But the quantities of water required are very large, leading to cases in the US – where fracking is widespread – where towns and villages have run dry.

~snip~

But the potential need to abstract water from underground sources or rivers has raised concerns. The new water bill is likely to lead to a large increase in the amount of water taken by water companies from rivers and streams, and has been criticised by campaigners for enshrining very lax controls on how much they can take. This could lead to water courses running dry, with dire effects on wildlife. If water companies are under pressure to supply more for fracking, this could put even more pressure on resources.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 28, 2013, 07:25 AM (0 replies)
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