Monday, January 31, 2011

Anti-abortion bill’s intent was to help rape victims, Democratic co-sponsor says

Remove Rep. Daniel Lipinski from office,  Recall him, run some one against him, sit the election out and let his opponent win.  This woman hater does not belong in office.

What a misogynistic pile of horseshit.  We need a left wing version of the Tea Party to rid the party of dickwads like this one.

I so want this scum sucking piece of shit to know what it feels like to be raped.

Even then he wouldn't know what it is like to be forced to bear a monster child of a rapist.


By Nathan Diebenow
Monday, January 31st, 2011

A bill that would redefine rape was not meant to end federal funding allocations for women that sought to terminate pregnancies due to rape, a Democratic congressman said recently. 

"The language of HR 3 was not intended to change existing law regarding taxpayer funding for abortion in cases of rape, nor is it expected that it would do so," Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois said in a statement to Talking Points Memo Saturday.


However, that could all change if the bill's language is not clarified. Instead of keeping the 30-year-old definition of rape in federal law, the bill would modify it to "forcible rape," thereby severely limiting the health care choices of millions of American women and their families.
In other words, rape would not be rape unless violence were involved; but the term "forcible rape" was left undefined, leading some to speculate its meaning since it is also not defined in the federal criminal code or in some state laws.

The bill largely co-sponsored by Republicans, if it becomes law, would also disallow parents of minors from paying for pregnancy termination for their daughters with tax-exempt health savings accounts. Also, the cost of the private health insurance that covered the treatment would not be able to be deducted as a medical expense for tax purposes.

Stop the Kochs From Destroying The Freedom of Americans

The Kochs should know that the people are on to their attempts to pervert the American political process and destroy our great nation.

People are waking up to the fact that we are a democracy and that we want politicians who represent the interests of the people not the greedy thieving rich elite scum that control the corporations and Wall Street.

From Fire Dog Lake:

Thousands Converge on Koch Brothers Billionaire’s Caucus; 25 Arrested

Sunday January 30
Twenty-five protesters were arrested in Rancho Mirage, California today, at a protest in front of the Rancho Las Palmas resort, site of the “Billionaire’s Caucus,” an annual meeting put on by the Koch Brothers and other corporate entities and conservative movement operators.
Riverside Sheriff’s deputy Melissa Nieburger said that the sheriff’s department did have contacts with protest organizers, which included the California Courage Campaign, CREDO, MoveOn.org, 350.org, the California Nurses Association, United Domestic Workers of America and the main sponsor, the good-government group Common Cause, prior to the event, and that they were aware that some protesters would seek to be arrested for trespassing. She would not guarantee that all 25 who were arrested were part of that coordinated operation. The police, who wore riot gear, batons and helmets, did put the arrested into plastic handcuffs.
Nieburger described them as “passive restraints.” They were being processed at press time, and Nieburger would not say whether they would be released or would spend the night at the jail in Indio.
Nieburger estimated between 800 and 1,000 activists at the “Uncloak the Kochs” event. Event organizers chartered buses from several locations around Southern California and claimed 1,500 people signed up for those buses, on top of any local activists who attended. It appeared from the ground that well over 1,000 protesters were there.
While the sheriff’s deputy claimed no knowledge of who called out the Riverside County sheriffs and the Palm Springs police department to the proceedings, Common Cause was contacted by the sheriff to see what they were planning and coordinate appropriate resources. The city of Rancho Mirage contracts with the Riverside County sheriff’s department for their law enforcement needs.

Greenpeace blimp buzzes Koch brothers’ strategy meeting

By Daniel Tencer
Sunday, January 30th, 2011
Attendees of the billionaire Koch brothers' strategy session in Rancho Mirage, California, this weekend were met with an unusual sight: A blimp overhead declaring "Koch brothers -- dirty money."
The blimp was the work of Greenpeace, the environmentalist group that last year brought attention to the prominent role that Charles and David Koch, owners of Kansas-based oil company Koch Industries, play in efforts to discredit climate change theories.
The brothers, who jointly own the second-largest privately held company in the US, "are able to push their polluter agenda through tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions, lobbying, and funding fronts groups and think tanks," Greenpeace said on its website.
The environmental group argued that Koch brothers meetings attract enough big conservative money for the meetings to be considered a de facto political movement in and of itself.
Analyzing the attendance list of an earlier Koch meeting in Aspen, Colorado, Greenpeace found that the participants had contributed more than $61 million to political campaigns since 1990 -- a statistic that prompted the Guardian's Ed Pilkington to declare that the meetings' attendees form "a major, though unofficial, bloc within American politics."
Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/greenpeace-blimp-koch-meeting/

Boycott Chick fil-A, Don't Give Your Money to Bigots

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/us/30chick.html?_r=2

A Chicken Chain’s Corporate Ethos Is Questioned by Gay Rights Advocates

By KIM SEVERSON
Published: January 29, 2011

Nicknamed “Jesus chicken” by jaded secular fans and embraced by Evangelical Christians, Chick-fil-A is among only a handful of large American companies with conservative religion built into its corporate ethos. But recently its ethos has run smack into the gay rights movement. A Pennsylvania outlet’s sponsorship of a February marriage seminar by one of that state’s most outspoken groups against homosexuality lit up gay blogs around the country. Students at some universities have also begun trying to get the chain removed from campuses.


Because the company remains privately held — his two sons run it — it can easily keep its faith-based principles intact. The company’s corporate purpose is, in part, “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.”

With its near-national reach and its transparent conservative Christian underpinnings, Chick-fil-A is a trailblazer of sorts, said Lake Lambert, the author of “Spirituality, Inc.” and dean of the college of liberal arts at Mercer University, where he teaches Christianity.

“They’re going in a direction we haven’t seen in faith-based businesses before, and that is to a much broader marketing of themselves and their products,” he said. “This is possibly the next phase of evangelical Christianity’s muscle flexing.”

The company’s Christian culture and its strict hiring practices, which require potential operators to discuss their marital status and civic and church involvement, have attracted controversy before, including a 2002 lawsuit brought by a Muslim restaurant owner in Houston who said he was fired because he did not pray to Jesus with other employees at a training session. The suit was settled.

The sandwiches that will feed people who attend a February seminar, called “The Art of Marriage: Getting to the Heart of God’s Design,” in Harrisburg, Pa., are but a tiny donation.
Over the years, the company’s operators, its WinShape Foundation and the Cathy family have given millions of dollars to a variety of causes and programs, including scholarships that require a pledge to follow Christian values, a string of Christian-based foster homes and groups working to defeat same-sex marriage initiatives.
Complete article at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/us/30chick.html?_r=2
From The Atlanta Journal Constitution: http://www.ajc.com/business/chick-fil-a-counters-821566.html
A variety of complaints against the Atlanta-based company coalesced this month. There was the decision by a Chick-fil-A operator in Pennsylvania to supply food to an event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which has worked to defeat gay marriage initiatives and has become a lightning rod for gay rights groups. There was a blogger’s contention that Chick-fil-A’s WinShape Foundation does not admit gay couples to marriage counseling.

For some gay activists, these are just more reasons to avoid the company’s chicken sandwiches and conservative ways.

“Chick-fil-A can sponsor who they want. It’s a free country,” said Will Kohler, administrator of a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender blog called back2stonewall.com. “But they shouldn’t get upset when they get found out supporting issues and ideas that discriminate against a section of their customers.”
Complete article at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/us/30chick.html?_r=2

Don’t Sleep With the Enemy and Don’t Give the Enemy Your Money

The Revolution in Egypt: Mubarak is a Dictator, but he is our Dictator

First the revolution in Tunisia now in Egypt with large demonstrations through out  North Africa and the Middle East.

People getting sick and tired of being enslaved by the oligarchs and the Multi-National Corporations.
I’ve come to have very little faith in American main stream media, considering how even the New York Times, the paper I’ve always considered the best in the nation sold us on the war in Iraq.

There is so much going on.  I read the Guardian UK, Al Jazeera, BBC and news sites like Raw Story to get the news as it unfolds.

The headlines that jumped out at me yesterday were:

New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/world/middleeast/31israel.html?_r=1&hp
(File this one under: He’s a dictator, but he is our dictator.)

Israel Shaken as Turbulence Rocks an Ally

By ETHAN BRONNER
Published: January 30, 2011
JERUSALEM — The street revolt in Egypt has thrown the Israeli government and military into turmoil, with top officials closeted in round-the-clock strategy sessions aimed at rethinking their most significant regional relationship.

Israel’s military planning relies on peace with Egypt; nearly half the natural gas it uses is imported from Egypt; and the principle of trading conquered land for diplomatic ties began with its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt more than with any other foreign leader, except President Obama. If Mr. Mubarak were driven from power, the effect on Israel could be profound.

“For the United States, Egypt is the keystone of its Middle East policy,” a senior official said. “For Israel, it’s the whole arch.”

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because Mr. Netanyahu has ordered his ministers and their officials to stay publicly silent on Egypt while events there play out.
Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/world/middleeast/31israel.html?_r=1&hp

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/europe-fear-arab-revolt-contagion/

US, Europe fear Arab revolt ‘contagion’: analysts

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, January 30th, 2011
PARIS — The United States and Europe are raising pressure for democratic reform in Egypt but face a tricky task amid fears that the violent unrest there could spread far beyond its borders, analysts say.

The United States on Sunday raised pressure on Egypt’s long-time President Hosni Mubarak, its closest ally in the Arab world, to make reforms. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for an “orderly transition” to democracy.

Denis Bauchard of the French International Relations Institute (IFRI) said US President “Barack Obama has taken the lead, calling for political reform, without sparing Mubarak, and that’s quite smart.”
Clinton went further on Sunday, saying that Mubarak’s move to name his first ever vice-president and a new premier was not nearly enough to answer the concerns of his people.
“We’re trying to promote an orderly transition and change that will respond to the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people which the protests are all about,” Clinton told CBS television news.
Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/europe-fear-arab-revolt-contagion/

From CNN:  http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/01/29/egypt.middle.east.reaction/index.html?hpt=T2

Egypt protests draw mixed reaction in region

By the CNN Wire Staff
January 29, 2011
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — Saudi Arabia slammed protesters in Egypt on Saturday as “infiltrators” who seek to destabilize their country, while a a top Palestinian official affirmed “solidarity” with Egypt.

An official in Iran called on Egypt to “abide by the rightful demands of the nation” and avoid violent reactions.

And in Israel, a member of the Knesset, or parliament, described a recent conversation with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that suggested that Mubarak had been expecting — and preparing for — the wave of unrest that has engulfed Egypt, the most populous Arab nation.
Leaders across the Middle East were following events in Egypt with rapt attention Saturday,

aided in that endeavor by saturation coverage on Arabic television networks such as Al-Jazeera. Many are on edge after protests in Algeria, Jordan and Yemen following unrest in Tunisia that forced that country’s president from office after two decades in power.

In Saudi Arabia, the turmoil in Egypt rattled investors as the nation’s stock market lost over 6% of its value Saturday.
Continue reading at:  http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/01/29/egypt.middle.east.reaction/index.html?hpt=T2

From Al Jazeera: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/201113014218302425.html

US calls for ‘orderly transition’

January 30, 2011
International reaction to the ongoing protests in Egypt has been mixed, with Barack Obama, the US president, voicing support for an “orderly transition” in Egypt in phone calls with foreign leaders.

Obama spoke by phone on Saturday with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish prime minister and Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister. He also spoke to David Cameron, British prime minister, on Sunday.

“During his calls, the president reiterated his focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, association, and speech; and supporting an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” the White House said.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s Rosalind Jordan, reporting from Washington DC, said that Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, would “not favour any transition to a new government where oppression … would take root.”

It’s unclear if that includes if such a government would, in the US’s view, include the Muslim Brotherhood party.

Jordan noted that in making the rounds on Sunday television shows, Clinton sidestepped the question of whether Mubarak would be given asylum in the US or in another allied country.Clinton also pressed Mubarak to ensure that the coming elections are free and fair and to live up to his promises of reform but insisted Egypt must avoid a result like that of Iran, which she called a “faux democracy.”
Continue reading at: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/201113014218302425.html

From Al Jazeera: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/201113023414787871.html

Egypt condemned for blocking media

January 31, 2011
International press institutes have come out strongly against Egyptian authorities’ suppression of the media, following the withdrawal of Al Jazeera’s license to broadcast from the North African country.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned on Sunday the information ministry’s move to shutdown Al Jazeera’s bureau in the country.

The CPJ described the move as an attempt to “disrupt media coverage by Al Jazeera and calls on them to reverse the decision immediately”.

The official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported that the order was to take effect on Sunday, and transmissions originating from Egypt ceased within an hour of the announcement. Nilesat, the satellite transmission company owned by Egyptian radio and television stopped the transmission of Al Jazeera’s primary channel and others.

Reporters without borders added to the condemnation of Egyptian authorities attempt to quell the media.

“By banning Al Jazeera, the government is trying to limit the circulation of TV footage of the six-day-old wave of protests,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-Fran├žois Julliard said.
Continue reading at:  http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/201113023414787871.html

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/business/global/31markets.html?hp

Unrest in Egypt Unsettles Global Markets

By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
January 31, 2010
On Wall Street, it is what is known as an exogenous event — a sudden political or economic jolt that cannot be predicted or modeled but sends shockwaves rippling through global markets.

Investors have largely shrugged off several of these unexpected developments recently, including the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, but the situation in Egypt has the potential to cause more widespread uncertainty, especially if oil and other commodities keep surging or the unrest spreads to more countries in the Middle East.

While Egypt’s banks and stock market were closed because of the protests there, other Middle Eastern markets declined in trading Sunday, with shares falling by 4.3 percent in Dubai, 3.7 percent in Abu Dhabi and 2.9 percent in Qatar.

By early Monday morning, Asian markets were also trending lower, with Japan’s Nikkei index falling 1.5 percent, while in South Korea, the Kospi index slid 1.4 percent.

Last week, the Dow Jones industrial average nearly surpassed the closely watched 12,000 level, but fell 166 points in late trading Friday as the protests in Egypt intensified and oil prices jumped 3.7 percent to $89.34.

With the United States economy seeming to gain a foothold only recently — government data released Friday showed the economy grew by 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 — a sustained increase in oil prices could choke growth, analysts said. It could also undermine the more general optimism that lifted the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index by 1.5 percent in January, after a 12.8 percent jump in 2010.
Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/business/global/31markets.html?hp

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Video Report from Davos

Raw Video: Protest at World Economic Forum 

Sundance film takes aim at US gender inequality


By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, January 29th, 2011

PARK CITY, Utah — A documentary at this year's Sundance film festival takes aim at gender inequality in the United States and the distorted image of women in the media.

"Miss Representation," the directorial debut of actress Jennifer Siebel Newsom, peers through the glass ceiling with a wide range of women, including political and media figures who would seem to have broken through it.
The film is in competition at the Sundance independent film festival here in the US state of Utah, with prizes to be announced later on Saturday.

It features dozens of interviews with American women from all walks of life -- including Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice -- who discuss the gender barriers they have faced and ways to lift them.

"Some of them were actually frightened to say something, they were afraid of losing their job. That shows this fear that we have in America, the fear we women have of speaking our mind," Newsom told AFP.
"Hopefully I'm encouraging other women and men to have a voice and stand up for women's rights, which are human rights," she added.

The film includes several statistics showing that gender inequality is worse in the United States than in much of the rest of the world.

Capital of conservatism


Democrats are as responsible as Republicans for the right-wing climate in Washington.

January 26, 2011

THE DOGMAS and delusions of conservatives and Corporate America are still dominating national politics--and their most effective advocate has turned out to be a Democratic president.
That's the conclusion we drew from President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. The man who not long ago was derided as a "socialist" by the right wants to "make America the best place on Earth to do business" and to work with Republicans to shrink the deficit with a five-year freeze on federal spending--non-security-related spending, that is.

Are we exaggerating? After all, Obama served up his proposals with appeals to tolerance and rhetoric about helping those in need. He said that the real measure of the success of the economy wasn't the stock market but "the success of our people."

Plus, sitting in the audience in Congress was the new Republican majority in the House--their snarling about "job killing" and "anti-business" policies temporarily quieted by the spotlight on Obama's speech and the calls for more "civility" following the Arizona shootings.

Compared to the union-hating, immigrant-bashing, budget-slashing Republicans, Obama can't help but seem progressive and reasonable. And that's been his strongest appeal for the millions of people who voted for him two years ago and are disappointed today--at least he's not them.

The media recap of the State of the Union speech will portray the national "debate" on an incredibly narrow spectrum, with Obama and the Democrats as the left-most extreme and the Republicans as the right. But this misses the fact that Democrats and Republicans agree on so much more than they disagree--and that both parties have dragged the debate to the right.

In fact, Obama's speech was filled with the same tired phrases heard over and over from Republicans and Democrats alike: "[T]he challenges we face are bigger than party." "Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation." "Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same." "[T]he American people deserve to know that special interests aren't larding up legislation with pet projects." "[L]et us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families."

Some Snarky Music for a Cynical Saturday





Conversations with History: Noam Chomsky

Egypt tense after bloody protests

It is unclear in the American press if there is a revolution happening in Egypt or simply massive demonstrations.

So much pressure has been put upon the poor, exploiting them mercilessly in order to enrich the small elites at the top that a pressure cooker situation has been created.

The dictators will be the first to face revolutions while ostensibly democratic nations including those on the verge of bankruptcy may continue if the governments take much needed actions to restore the economic balance.


January 29, 2011

A tense calm has descended on the Egyptian capital, Cairo, following a night of deadly protests, but anger against Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-old presidency is continuing to simmer.
Al Jazeera's Jane Dutton, reporting from Cairo, said the normally bustling city looked more like a warzone on Saturday morning.

Cities across Egypt witnessed unprecedented protests on Friday, with tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets after noon prayers to vent their anger against Mubarak. The president went on air at midnight, announcing that he was dismissing his government. His concession, however, did little to douse public anger.
Dutton said the number of the people on the streets "increased after president Hosni Mubarak's speech shortly after midnight".

Regarding the situation in Cairo on Saturday morning, she said "there is broken glass everywhere ... a lot of the burnt out shells of the police cars have been removed but you are aware that there were hours and hours of skirmishes on the streets of the capital city [last night]".

Military vehicles have been seen patrolling the streets of the capital.

The ruling National Democratic Party's headquarters in the capital is still ablaze, more than 12 hours after it was set alight by protesters.

The Egyptian army says that it has been able to secure the neighbouring museum of antiquities from the threat of fire and looting, averting the possible loss of thousands of priceless artefacts.
Armoured personnel carriers remain stationed around the British and US embassies, as well as at the state television station.

Ronald Reagan's 30-Year Time Bombs


The time element of “30 years” keeps slipping into American official reports and news stories about the origins of crises – the latest in “The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report” – but rarely is the relevance of the three-decade span explained, and there is a reason.

By Robert Parry
January 28, 2011

The failure to close the circle in saying who started the nation off on the path toward these disasters is because nearly everyone shies away from blaming Ronald Reagan for almost anything.
The overpowering consensus in Washington is that it’s political suicide to criticize the 40th president of the United States, whose centennial birthday on Feb. 6 will be celebrated elaborately.

It’s much safer to behave like MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews and simply accept that Reagan was “one of the all-time greats.”

But the truth is that Reagan’s current historical reputation rests more on the effectiveness of the Republican propaganda machine – and the timidity of many Democrats and media personalities – than on his actual record of accomplishments.

Indeed, many of today’s worst national and international problems can be traced to misjudgments and malfeasance from the Reagan years – from the swelling national debt to out-of-control banks, from the decline of the U.S. middle class to the inaction on energy independence, from the rise of Islamic fundamentalism to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

All of these disasters are part of the Reagan Legacy. Yet, possibly the most insidious residue from the Reagan Years was the concept of manipulating information – what some Reagan officials liked to call “perception management” – as a means of societal control.

In that endeavor, Reagan’s team took aim at two key entities – the CIA’s analytical division and the Washington press corps – with the realization that if the information produced and disseminated by those two groups could be controlled then the insider community of Washington and the broader American public could be managed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ugandan lesbian awaiting deportation fears for her safety


After the murder of gay activist David Kato, Brenda Namigadde, currently in Yarl's Wood, says she fears her life is over

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 27 January 2011

Inside Yarl's Wood detention centre, awaiting deportation to Uganda in less than 24 hours, Brenda Namigadde is desperate.

Namigadde fled her home country eight years ago after being persecuted for her relationship with another woman. She says she has always intended to return home when "things were better". But things, she says, have just got worse.

After the murder of the gay Ugandan activist David Kato and with a chilling warning from Ugandan MP David Bahati ringing in her ears, she says she fears her life is over. Bahati, the author of a bill which would impose the death penalty on homosexuals, intervened in Namigadde's case to warn her she should "repent" or be arrested on her return.

Speaking from Yarl's Wood, Namigadde, 29, says: "My life is in danger. I don't know what will happen to me. I'm very scared. I haven't eaten, I haven't slept."

She knows from experience what returning to her country will mean for her, she says. "I'll be tortured, or killed, if I'm sent back. They've put people like me to death there."

Growing up as a devout Christian in a country where homosexuality is a crime, Namigadde says she was used to keeping her sexuality a secret from her family and her church and the wider community.

There are various petitions to sign appealing sending this woman back to a place where she faces being murdered.


Never mind the role theocratic Christo-Nazis like Scott Lively have played in the instigation of the murder of gay and lesbian people.  It is immoral to deport people to a place where they faced being murdered for who they are.

There is little doubt that she will be put in mortal danger by these actions.

Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Beaten to Death

Posted on Jan 27, 2011
David Kato, a 43-year-old gay rights activist in Uganda, was murdered in his home near Kampala on Wednesday, less than four months after his picture was published in a Ugandan tabloid under the words “Hang Them” in a story about gays “recruiting” local schoolchildren.  —KA

The BBC’s Joshua Mmali, in Kampala, says it is unclear whether the death is linked to the Rolling Stone campaign but police have said there is no connection between Mr Kato’s activism and his death.

The police say that though they have arrested one suspect, the main suspect - who they say lived with Mr Kato - remains on the run.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, with punishments of 14 years in prison. An MP recently tried to increase the penalties to include the death sentence in some cases.

There has been a recent spate of “iron-bar killings” in Mukono, where Mr Kato lived, in which people have been assaulted with pieces of metal.

Witnesses have told the BBC that a man entered Mr Kato’s home near Kampala and beat him to death before leaving.

Koch Brothers Feel the Heat In DC, as Broad Coalition Readies Creative Action to Quarantine the Billionaires Gathering in California Desert


The news that justices Scalia and Thomas have attended Koch strategy sessions is adding to the growing buzz over a planned demonstration against the billionaires.

January 27, 2011 |

As the right-wing Koch brothers get ready for their billionaires' strategy session in Rancho Mirage, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 30, big questions are being raised in Washington about the Kochs' relationship with radical conservative justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Charges of conflict-of-interest -- particularly in the infamous Citizens United decision that opens the floodgates to anonymous corporate money in elections -- have been raised by Common Cause. Both Scalia and Thomas have admitted, according to a newspaper in Palm Springs, to speaking at private dinners hosted by Kansas oil tycoon Charles Koch, who, along with his brother David, has funded a wide array of right-wing causes and spent many millions on behalf of right-wing candidates.

Common Cause, led by former congressional member Bob Edgar, with the irrepressible Robert Reich as chair of the board, has taken a leadership role in a broad, unprecedented coalition organizing the gathering and rally in the desert on Sunday. (Click here for information about the protest.) In addition to Common Cause, groups working the event range from the California Courage Campaign and California Nurses Association to the more rambunctious CodePink and the Ruckus Society. The broad coalition is testament to the fact that the Koch brothers, via dozens of fake groups and money funnels, have poured millions into efforts to undermine and block many issues important to a wide array of constituencies, including aging people, union members, environmentalists, and those fighting against corruption and for good government principles that enhance democratic processes. Especially infuriating to many were efforts to undermine campaign finance laws and unleash unlimited corporate money in elections via the Citizens United decision.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/149691/koch_brothers_feel_the_heat_in_dc%2C_as_broad_coalition_readies_creative_action_to_quarantine_the_billionaires_gathering_in_california_desert/

Abortion Doesn't Increase Mental Health Risk, But Having A Baby Does


January 26. 2011

LOS ANGELES — Having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems, but having a baby does, one of the largest studies to compare the aftermath of both decisions suggests.
The research by Danish scientists further debunks the notion that terminating a pregnancy can trigger mental illness and shows postpartum depression to be much more of a factor.

Abortion in Denmark has been legal since 1973 – the same year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, which established a right to abortion.

The Danish study included 365,550 teenagers and women who had an abortion or first-time delivery between 1995 and 2007. None had a history of psychiatric problems that required hospitalization. Through various national registries, researchers were able to track mental health counseling at a hospital or outpatient facility before and after an abortion or delivery.

During the study period, 84,620 had an abortion while 280,930 gave birth.

Researchers compared the rate of mental health treatment among women before and after a first abortion. Within the first year after an abortion, 15 per 1,000 women needed psychiatric counseling – similar to the rate seeking help nine months before an abortion.

Researchers say women who seek abortions come from a demographic group more likely to have emotional problems to begin with. Statistics show that a large percentage struggle economically and they have above-average rates of unintended pregnancies.

Egypt's Internet Shut Down, According To Reports

Ireland, France, Spain, Great Britain, Greece Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and so many other places have had massive demonstrations, riots and revolutions the last two months that it sort of feels like the Masters of the Universe might be whistling on the gallows when they stand there and tell us things will be alright.  That we aren't really in a depression and in fact the "recession" is over.

Maybe it is for them but a world where a tiny minority controls most of the wealth is an inherently unstable world and as the Kris Kristofferson song says, "Freedom's just another word for nothing else to lose."
Taking away people's jobs, homes and leaving them struggling to survive puts their backs against the wall and no amount of Super Bowls, Glen Beck or fussy pictures of Brittany Spears will be enough spectacle to distract them from their misery.

What I can't understand is the right wing's desire to keep ramping up the misery.


January 27, 2011

Reports are emerging that Internet has gone down in Cairo and throughout Egypt, only hours before the largest planned protests yet.
According to a report from The Arabist, "Egypt has shut off the internet."
Multiple Internet Service Providers are affected according to the report, which states:
I just received a call from a friend in Cairo (I won't say who it is now because he's a prominent activist) telling me neither his DSL nor his USB internet service is working. I've just checked with two other friends in different parts of Cairo and their internet is not working either.
The news of the Internet outage came minutes after the Associated Press published a video of an Egyptian protestor being shot.

CNN reporter Ben Wedeman confirmed Internet is down in Cairo and writes, "No internet, no SMS, what is next? Mobile phones and land lines? So much for stability. #Jan25 #Egypt"

The Los Angeles Times is also reporting that BlackBerry Internet has been taken offline in Egypt.
UPDATE (7:05 p.m. ET) Reuters confirms "major network disruptions" for Egypt Internet users at this time, with reports in Cairo that there is no Internet altogether. A top state official declined to comment.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Schakowsky: GOP Anti-Abortion Bill Goes 'Way Beyond' Current Law

Megan Carpentier

January 25, 2011

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show last night to discuss the House Republicans' push to pass H.R. 3, which they're calling the "No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act." But those familiar with federal law -- specifically the Hyde Amendment, which has prohibited the Department of Health and Human Services from using taxpayer funds for abortions since 1976, and other laws that prohibit members of the military, Peace Corps, those utilizing Native American health services or federal prisoners from obtaining abortions using federal funds -- might wonder what the fuss is about.

As Schakowsky explained, the law introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and backed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) actually goes further than all of the current restrictions and increases taxes on people with private insurance plans -- if those plans cover abortion.
Schakowsky said:
This says that a person whose employer provides health care but that health insurance policy covers abortions, man or woman, then that employer can't get a tax break. If an individual who buys a policy that provides for abortion cannot get any kind of health care tax deduction if that policy were to cover abortion. So, now it goes into private money and private insurance policies and things that people do on their own. It's much further than the Hyde amendment.
Schakowsky added, "I think what it really says is 'Insurance companies don't offer abortion coverage.'" She also noted that if companies provided separate abortion coverage policies -- or riders -- to their employees, those health insurance riders would actually count as additional income to employees and be taxes as such.

Update: Mass FBI raids target pro-WikiLeaks ‘Operation Payback’


By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, January 27th, 2011

UPDATE: Following the arrest of five people in Britain in connection with the "Operation Payback" cyber-attacks in support of WikiLeaks, the FBI announced mass raids across the United States in connection with the case.

"FBI agents today executed more than 40 search warrants throughout the United States as part of an ongoing investigation into recent coordinated cyber attacks against major companies and organizations," a bureau press release states.

Though the bureau did not say if any individuals were arrested during the raids, it did confirm a link between the US raids and the arrests in Britain. The bureau said suspects, if charged, could face up to 10 years in prison.
The police actions indicate that governments on both sides of the Atlantic are determined to prevent hacktivists from taking revenge against companies that ceased to do business with WikiLeaks following the release of US State Department cables late last year.

Breast Implants May Be Associated With Rare Cancer

FDA requests reports of anaplastic large cell lymphoma in women with implants

FDA NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Jan. 26, 2011
Media Inquiries: Erica Jefferson, 301-796-4988, erica.jefferson@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA review indicates possible association between breast implants and a rare cancerAgency requesting health care professionals to report confirmed cases
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced a possible association between saline and silicone gel-filled breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a very rare type of cancer. Data reviewed by the FDA suggest that patients with breast implants may have a very small but significant risk of ALCL in the scar capsule adjacent to the implant.

The FDA is requesting that health care professionals report any confirmed cases of ALCL in women with breast implants.

In an effort to ensure that patients receiving breast implants are informed of the possible risk, FDA will be working with breast implant manufacturers in the coming months to update their product labeling materials for patients and health care professionals.

“We need more data and are asking that health care professionals tell us about any confirmed cases they identify,” said William Maisel, M.D., M.P.H., chief scientist and deputy director for science in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “We are working with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and other experts in the field to establish a breast implant patient registry, which should help us better understand the development of ALCL in women with breast implants.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, ALCL appears in different parts of the body including the lymph nodes and skin. Each year ALCL is diagnosed in about 1 out of 500,000 women in the United States. ALCL located in breast tissue is found in only about 3 out of every 100 million women nationwide without breast implants.

In total, the agency is aware of about 60 cases of ALCL in women with breast implants worldwide. This number is difficult to verify because not all cases were published in the scientific literature and some may be duplicate reports. An estimated 5 million to 10 million women worldwide have breast implants.

The FDA notification is based on a review of scientific literature published between January 1997 and May 2010 and information from other international regulators, scientists, and breast implant manufacturers. The literature review identified 34 unique cases of ALCL in women with both saline and silicone breast implants.

Most cases reviewed by the FDA were diagnosed when patients sought medical treatment for implant-related symptoms such as pain, lumps, swelling, or asymmetry that developed after their initial surgical sites were fully healed. These symptoms were due to collection of fluid (peri-implant seroma), hardening of breast area around the implant (capsular contracture), or masses surrounding the breast implant. Examination of the fluid and capsule surrounding the breast implant led to the ALCL diagnosis.

The FDA is recommending that health care professionals and women pay close attention to breast implants and do the following:
  • Health care professionals are requested to report all confirmed cases of ALCL in women with breast implants to Medwatch, the FDA’s safety information and adverse event reporting program. Report online1 or by calling 800-332-1088.
  • Health care professionals should consider the possibility of ALCL if a patient has late onset, persistent fluid around the implant (peri-implant seroma). In cases of implant seroma, send fresh seroma fluid for pathology tests to rule out ALCL.
  • There is no need for women with breast implants to change their routine medical care and follow-up. ALCL is very rare; it has occurred in only a very small number of the millions of women who have breast implants.  Although not specific to ALCL, health care providers should follow standard medical recommendations.
  • Women should monitor their breast implants and contact their doctor if they notice any changes.
  • Women who are considering breast implant surgery should discuss the risks and benefits with their health care provider.
The FDA published its literature review in a document posted on FDA’s website site today titled “Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) in Women with Breast Implants: Preliminary FDA Findings and Analyses.”

The FDA also plans to provide an update on its review of silicone gel-filled breast implants in the spring of 2011. This update will include interim findings from ongoing post-approval studies for silicone gel-filled breast implants currently sold in the United States, adverse event reports submitted to the FDA, and a review of the scientific literature on these products.

For more information:

ALCL and Breast Implants2
Breast Implant Consumer Information3
ALCL and Breast Implants Consumer Article4

Mortgage Lenders Committed Massive Fraud and Now Wall St. Wants to Escape the Law


Here they come looking for an out-clause and a way to keep their coffers full. We need to repeat a simple mantra: No more bailouts for Wall Street.

January 27, 2011

They committed widespread fraud – largely whitewashed by the corporate media – and, in the process, threw the economy into a tailspin. They've broken into and stolen people's homes, and, in the name of “efficiency,” bilked state governments out of billions of dollars in real estate transfer fees. They've even admitted to ripping off – and foreclosing on – soldiers deployed overseas, in violation of the law.

And they shredded a bedrock principle of capitalism, throwing hundreds of years of settled property law into doubt and in turn creating a massive drag on Main Street's economic “recovery.”

They got rich in the process. The mortgage industry did all of that for a fat stream of profits while the going was good, but now that they face the prospect of being held accountable by the justice system -- as would you or I had we routinely broken the laws -- analysts expect the “banksters” to lobby hard for another bailout.

They won't be looking for the Fed to shower them with free money or buy up trillions worth of “toxic assets” weighing down their books they already got that sort of bailout once, the voters detested it and with the Tea Party ascendant in the GOP, the political atmosphere precludes a repeat performance.

No, the mortgage industry – with the help of its political lackeys in Washington-- is reportedly looking for a judicial bailout that would retroactively allow loan servicers to foreclose on properties without running up the costs of getting their paperwork in order, and limit investors' – and possibly the states' – ability to sue them for the mess they created in the housing market.

Obama Urged To Support Regulations On For-Profit Colleges And Student Debt


January 26, 2011

As the Department of Education gets closer to finalizing regulations that would hold for-profit colleges accountable for saddling students with debts they cannot repay, a wide array of civil rights, student advocacy and consumer groups wrote a letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday urging him to immediately move forward with the proposed rule.

The letter comes in the midst of an intense lobbying and advertising campaign run by the for-profit education sector, which is waging an assault on the so-called "gainful employment" regulations being considered by the federal government. The rules are proposed as a consumer protection measure, aimed at cracking down on schools that leave students unable to repay student loan debts given the low-wage jobs they tend to secure after graduation.

The for-profit sector includes a broad swath of schools, from University of Phoenix and DeVry University to more specialized schools such as Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

"Federal financial aid shouldn't go to career education programs that consistently leave students buried in debt they cannot repay," reads the letter, signed by 38 groups, including the National Consumer Law Center, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Council of La Raza.

The stakes for the for-profit colleges are huge: Many of the publicly-traded corporations that own such institutions derive more than 85 percent of their revenues from federal student aid dollars. By not meeting the criteria of the new rules, schools could be banned from tapping into federal student aid or be forced to disclose the high average debt burdens to prospective students.

The Media's Role in the Assault on Working People

A common theme runs through a variety of news stories: there isn’t enough money around, and so working people must take a hit. But is that really the only solution?

By Russ Baker
January 26, 2011

A common theme runs through a variety of news stories: there isn’t enough money around, and so working people must take a hit. But is that really the only solution? First, let’s look at the stories. There’s growing talk of letting state governments declare bankruptcy so they can get out of paying pension benefits to retired state workers. As The New York Times put it:
Policymakers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers.
The article does not really get into why this is all happening, and the only real defense of not going this route is from—surprise, surprise, a union leader, making it sound like this defense is of only parochial interest:
Still, discussions about something as far-reaching as bankruptcy could give governors and others more leverage in bargaining with unionized public workers.
“They are readying a massive assault on us,” said Charles M. Loveless, legislative director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We’re taking this very seriously.”
It also does not interview anyone who would point out that retirees who have less, spend less, meaning less “recovery.” In that sense, it is typical media narrative compartmentalization. Meanwhile, it notes, only very briefly, and so it is easy to miss, the crux of what is going on here:

F.D.A and Dairy Industry Spar Over Testing of Milk


By WILLIAM NEUMAN
Published: January 25, 2011

Each year, federal inspectors find illegal levels of antibiotics in hundreds of older dairy cows bound for the slaughterhouse. Concerned that those antibiotics might also be contaminating the milk Americans drink, the Food and Drug Administration intended to begin tests this month on the milk from farms that had repeatedly sold cows tainted by drug residue.

But the testing plan met with fierce protest from the dairy industry, which said that it could force farmers to needlessly dump millions of gallons of milk while they waited for test results. Industry officials and state regulators said the testing program was poorly conceived and could lead to costly recalls that could be avoided with a better plan for testing.

In response, the F.D.A. postponed the testing, and now the two sides are sparring over how much danger the antibiotics pose and the best way to ensure that the drugs do not end up in the milk supply.

“What has been served up, up to this point, by Food and Drug has been potentially very damaging to innocent dairy farmers,” said John J. Wilson, a senior vice president for Dairy Farmers of America, the nation’s largest dairy cooperative. He said that that the nation’s milk was safe and that there was little reason to think that the slaughterhouse findings would be replicated in tests of the milk supply.

But food safety advocates said that the F.D.A.’s preliminary findings raised issues about the possible overuse of antibiotics in livestock, which many fear could undermine the effectiveness of drugs to combat human illnesses.