April 12, 2012
By Patrick Henningsen
“For some reason, it looks like the media is trying to get a race war brewing. Could it really be for ratings? Or is there a more sinister plot involved?” –KTRN
America has come a very long way in very short period of time, in terms of racial integration and understanding.
But that hard-fought progress is currently under threat, but not from rogue neighbourhood watchmen, as we are led to believe by our media’s divisive coverage and commentary on events surrounding the tragic shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
In both the media and political classes, there exist individuals who are seemingly addicted to crisis opportunity, and whose shallow efforts threaten to set the country back 30 or 50 years in terms of its social and racial development.
Like fast food, they will use cheap techniques like race-baiting, and tabloid sensationalism to score cheap ratings and even cheaper political points. Their reckless efforts fly in the face of every fundamental principle which the United States was founded upon, principles which each generation has fought for, in some way or another, in order to to improve society over the last 250 years.
The George Zimmerman case has been seized upon by the charlatans, the political classes and the media manipulators – as their latest vehicle for dividing Americans into their respective camps, along the lines of ethnicity, insisting that Martin’s death was caused by ‘racial profiling’ – when no evidence beyond anecdotal has been presented to date to support such an accusation. here we witness both the media and politicians alike, working in concert, to construct the illusion of a race war in America.
But this is only the beginning.
Amidst all the hype and media circus promoted by the likes of NBC, CNN, FOX and and foundation-funded talking heads like Al Sharpton, and even President Obama who injected flammable material into the conversation early on with his comment, “If I had a son, he’s look like Trayvon Martin”- there exists a a dark Zeitgeist, trend, or a wave forming, which is obviously and overwhelmingly antagonistic – and ultimately designed to ‘divide and rule’ the culture.
TV network NBC took race-baiting to new depths, with its own humiliating admission that it had in fact edited and then aired audio clips of George Zimmerman’s 911 call to the police in order to give the impression that the caller, Zimmerman, was racially profiling the victim Martin. In repsonse, NBC scapegoated a producer by firing him, and the network walked away clean from the incident – when other smaller media outlets have had their broadcast licenses revoked for lesser offenses.
March 14, 2012
By Madison Ruppert
“Here is yet another article that demonstrates that the police are out of control. If they aren’t doing anything wrong, why are they afraid to be filmed?” –KTRN
Over a month ago, Steve Horrigan, a Florida resident, was arrested on charges of felony wiretapping for the high crime of recording video of police in public with his cell phone.
The Sarasota County, Florida State Attorney’s Office has yet to even formally file charges against Horrigan, and the North Port Police Department has not yet returned his cell phone.
Unfortunately, Horrigan’s case is not some isolated anomaly, but instead part of a much larger war on citizens who attempt to hold police accountable for their activities and do so in a wholly legal manner.
The state of Horrigan’s case has him in legal limbo wherein he cannot move forward with his lawsuit, and the state attorney has even more time before they have to file charges.
On top of the felony wiretapping, Horrigan is facing a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence, something which Carlos Miller characterizes as “the usual tack-on charge in Florida when you’ve pissed off the cops.”
Under state law in Florida, an individual who was arrested for a misdemeanor must be tried within 90 days of the arrest, while a felony arrest gives a period of 175 days.
Horrigan was arrested on January 25 of this year, so the state attorney has more time to make him squirm before they have to bring him to trial.
Thankfully, Horrigan’s case is getting some attention, at least amongst the local media like the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Recently they ran an in-depth piece not only about Horrigan’s case, but the nationwide struggle between citizens who want to hold police accountable and those individuals who refuse to allow citizens to exercise this right.
Unfortunately, the author of the piece failed to point out the fact that there is absolutely no legal basis upon which an officer can arrest an individual for filming them in public carrying out their public duties where they have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
March 5th, 2012
Shares in BP are expected to rise 5-9 percent on Monday after the oil giant reached a settlement with businesses and individuals impacted by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill worth an estimated $7.8 billion.
Some analysts said the expected payout was less than they had forecast, reduced legal uncertainty and suggested the final settlement with BP’s biggest opponent – the U.S. government – would be much lower than the worst case scenario.
“On a trading basis we see a potentially quite positive reaction … BP moving to the 530-550 pence range near term (if not higher), and possibly higher thereafter,” said Jason Kenny, oil analyst at Santander.
BP shares closed at 496.5 pence on Friday.
Analysts had given a wide range of forecasts for how much BP would have to pay out to compensate fishermen, condominium owners and hoteliers, with many predicting a figure of $14 billion, although BP had taken a provision of just $6.1 billion.
The company has also taken a $3.5 billion provision for expected government fines but the maximum possible level of penalty could be over $20 billion, if BP is found to have been grossly negligent.
Analysts said the agreement boosted the chances of a settlement with the government.
“What this agreement does, if it is implemented, is to give the management of BP further encouragement to try and reach a settlement out of court (with the U.S. Department of Justice),” said Iain Armstrong, oil analyst with Brewin Dolphin, via email.
Fadel Gheit, oil analyst at Oppenheimer in New York, said BP’s hand had been strengthened by the deal.
“I think the settlement further weakens the government claim of gross negligence,” he said.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley predicted the agreement would allow BP to continue raising its dividend, which was cut at the height of the oil spill – the worst in U.S. history.
“We believe the path towards free cash flow of $8.7 billion and a dividend of 39 cents per share by 2014 remains intact,” the bank said in a research note.
BP paid a dividend of 29 cents per share for 2011. Some investors had feared BP’s ability to grow the dividend could be limited by the legal uncertainty.
Nontheless, even the most optimistic forecasts suggest BP will remain well below its pre-spill payout of 14 cents per share per quarter for years to come.
In addition to the U.S. federal government’s claims, BP faces lawsuits from the states affected by the spill, which came after a blast on a drilling rig that killed 11 men.
Analysts at Citigroup said they expected BP to have to pay another $1-2 billion to settle these claims.
For The Full Report Go To Raw Story
February 16, 2012
The Raw Story
By Stephen C. Webster
Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a tea party favorite, said Wednesday in a speech to the U.S. House of Representatives that his colleagues in the Democratic Party engage in “the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today.”
“Our party firmly believes in the safety net,” West said. “We reject the idea of the safety net becoming a hammock. For this reason, the Republican value of minimizing government dependence is particularly beneficial to the poorest among us. Conversely, the Democratic appetite for ever-increasing redistributionary handouts is in fact the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today, and it does not promote economic freedom.”
The comment, though startling, is not unusual for West, who’s collected a litany of critics with his often over-the-top rhetoric.
He’s particularly fond of attacking Democrats with analogies to “slavery,” and once called himself “the modern-day Harriet Tubman” for his efforts to lead black voters off the “21st-century plantation,” which he thinks is run by “certain black leaders, who are nothing more than the overseers of that plantation.”
February 16, 2012
By Joe Wright
“There is big money to be made in prisons. Why do you think more people are incarcerated in the US than any other country? It’s always all about the money.” –KTRN
A new report from Chris Kirkham for Huffington Post, reinforces my treatment of his previous article which covered news that Florida would privatize 20% of their prisons, following the trend taken by other states. This is supposedly due to state budget shortfalls that need assistance from the private sector. As Kirkham continues to demonstrate, this particular argument is the weakest of all, given the documented facts. Nevertheless, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has forged ahead even further by recently submitting letters to 48 states offering to buy prisons: “In exchange … for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.” View Kirkham’s latest must-read article here.
The article below provides some of the background to this latest maneuvering by CCA.
Well, it’s nice work if you can get it. Florida is set to privatize all of its prisons south of Orlando — 20% of its total — according to a report issued by Chris Kirkham for Huffington Post.
The for-profit prison scheme is a case study in crony capitalism, as it involves private prison corporations donating to the politicians best in position to grant them lucrative contracts. Cenk Uygur, in the video below, breaks down this “cherry picking” strategy that sets up FL taxpayers to carry the burden of failure, while corporate/government interests land another windfall; in this case, the largest procurement contract in the industry’s history:
Beyond this single blatant example of lobbying by private interests in the state of Florida, the trend of privatizing prisons has been ongoing since the first business was established in 1984*, and is slated to rise in coming years. Furthermore, the implications of what it means that private companies are taking over captive populations should also be examined.
The U.S. prison population continues to explode, as America plunges headlong into becoming a bona fide police state. The federal policies of criminalizing just about everything, offer a built-in growth sector for any corporation that can capture it. No wonder, then, that companies like GE have gotten in on the action, while the nation’s largest private contractors, Corrections Corporation of America and GEO (formerly Wackenhut), have combined revenues well into the billion of dollars per year. And they are international in scope. (Source)
February 8, 2012
By G.W. Schulz
When several armed robberies occurred recently in Lancaster, Calif., police had little of use on the two suspects. Then, a reliable image of one suspect turned up from a surveillance camera.
In years past, that still might not have been enough for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to close the case.
But with the help of new facial recognition software, investigators plugged the image into a database of booking photos and quickly came up with a possible match. That led to a pair of arrests on Jan. 27.
Facial recognition technology is growing rapidly, both in the consumer world and among police, but privacy advocates are troubled by the potential for intrusion and misuse.
Police in Tampa, Fla., created an uproar several years ago when they installed facial recognition devices in an entertainment district, hoping to identify wanted criminals. The system eventually was unplugged, because it didn’t catch any perpetrators. A similar effort at the 2001 Super Bowl also netted few results.
Things have changed since then. Agencies like the cutting-edge Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida are using millions of jail mug shots to double-check identities if they believe someone is lying about who they are. Deputies can simply snap a photo of the person and begin a search using their in-car laptop.
That’s how the agency unmasked one man with an active warrant. In another 2009 incident, the North Miami Police Department asked Pinellas County deputies for help tracking down a bank robbery suspect, and they did so with a surveillance video image that led to an arrest.
“All of this was accomplished by lunch time,” the sheriff’s office boasted then in a press release. Pinellas County also became the first in the nation that year to include the use of driver’s license photos in its searching capabilities, rather than just individuals who have been arrested.
In the meantime, outcry over the technology is heating up. The Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington last week called for a moratorium on the use of facial recognition in consumer products. Namely, they’ve targeted a Facebook feature that enables users to tag the photos of friends using special software.
January 31, 2012
The New York Times
By MIKE McINTIRE and MICHAEL LUO
“Here’s a lengthy article than explains where some of Newt’s money is coming from.” –KTRN
The trip to Jordan by a group of United States congressmen was supposed to be a chance for them to meet the newly crowned King Abdullah II. But their tour guide had a more complicated agenda.
The guide was Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate who helped underwrite trips to the Middle East to win support for Israel in Congress. On this occasion in 1999, as the lawmakers enjoyed a reception at the Royal Palace in Amman, Mr. Adelson and an aide retreated to a private room with the king.
There, the king listened politely as Mr. Adelson sat on a sofa and paged through his proposal for a gambling resort on the Jordan-Israel border to be called the Red Sea Kingdom.
“This was shortly after his father, King Hussein, died, and he was grateful to me,” Mr. Adelson explained later in court testimony, recalling that he had lent his plane when the ailing monarch sought treatment in the United States. “So they remembered.”
The proposal never went anywhere — Mr. Adelson later said he had feared that a Jewish-owned casino on Arab land “would have been blown to smithereens.” But his impromptu pitch to the Jordanian king highlights the boldness, if not audacity, that has propelled Mr. Adelson into the ranks of the world’s richest men and transformed him into a powerful behind-the-scenes player in American and international politics.
Those qualities may also help explain why Mr. Adelson, 78, has decided to throw his wealth behind what had once seemed to be the unlikely presidential aspirations of Newt Gingrich. Now, in no small measure because of Mr. Adelson’s deep pockets, Mr. Gingrich is locked in a struggle with Mitt Romney heading into Florida’s Republican primary on Tuesday.
January 26, 2012
By Ken Walsh
“Ron Paul’s message is getting out there like never before.” –KTRN
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul’s strategists say they have discovered a surprising source of support for their candidate—Latinos in Florida.
Paul hasn’t made any overt appeals for the Hispanic vote, his advisers say. In fact, he has barely campaigned in Florida at all because he considers the odds too great against him, although he did participate in a Tampa debate earlier this week and is preparing for another one in Jacksonville tonight. But a Paul spokesman cites a new poll indicating that the Texas congressman has the support of 41.5 percent of likely Hispanic Republican voters in Florida, with former House Speaker New Gingrich second at 25.3 percent, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts at 9.2 percent, and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 4.1 percent.
This suggests that Paul could do better than expected in Florida’s presidential primary next Tuesday.
Other polls, however, have Paul far behind. A survey sponsored by Univision, ABC News and Latino Decisions, released yesterday, found that Romney was ahead among Latinos in Florida with 35 percent, Gingrich had 20, Santorum 7, and Paul 6, with 21 percent undecided.
But Paul strategists argue that their candidate is gaining traction with Latinos, a key voting bloc in Florida.
“Ron Paul’s support among Hispanic Republicans makes sense,” says Jesse Benton, Paul’s national campaign chariman, “since Hispanics desire the same reforms that their non-Hispanic counterparts want—strong purchasing power for their hard-earned dollars, a regulatory climate hospitable to business and job growth, and personal and economic liberties returned so decision-making on important life matters occurs in the home and not in Washington.”
Other Paul strategists speculate that Hispanics see Paul as a strong advocate of policies that reward individual effort and entrepreneurship so everyone can pursue the American Dream.
January 24, 2012
Tampa Bay Times
By Alexandra Zayas and Richard Danielson
Lining the streets of the University of South Florida before Monday’s Republican presidential debate, the crowd thickened with hundreds, bull horns blaring, signs held high.
One read, “Ron Paul not for sale. End the Fed.”
Steps away, “Keep the Fed. End Ron Paul.”
One sign, “Throw ‘em all out!”
Across the street, dozens, supporting the Dream Act.
Mayra Hidalgo, 20, stood among them, with a group called We Are Florida! She calls herself a Dreamer, an undocumented college student in support of reforms to help her pay for school and get hired after graduation. She wants to be an immigration lawyer.
She said she wants to see an end to anti-immigration rhetoric.
“Latinos are listening very closely to what is being said. We’re holding candidates accountable,” she said.
As they chanted, “Yes, we can,” a group of anti-President Barack Obama, pro-Israel demonstrators called on Republican candidates to recognize Israel as Obama’s “Achilles’ heel.”
“Florida made Obama president,” said longtime activist Bob Kunst. “He’s betrayed us ever since.”
Across campus, a coalition of union leaders, student activists, anti-war demonstrators and members of the Occupy movement made its public debut with a march that drew hundreds of enthusiastic protesters, some with enlarged copies of dollar bills taped across their mouths.
January 16, 2012
New York Times
By Eric Lichtblau
At a town-hall-style meeting in New Hampshire last month, listeners pressed Mitt Romney on the soaring cost of higher education. His solution: students should consider for-profit colleges like the little-known Full Sail University in Florida.
A week later in Iowa, Mr. Romney offered another unsolicited endorsement for “a place in Florida called Full Sail University.” By increasing competition, for-profit institutions like Full Sail, which focuses on the entertainment field, “hold down the cost of education” and help students get jobs without saddling them with excessive debt, he said.
Mr. Romney did not mention the cost of tuition at Full Sail, which runs more than $80,000, for example, for a 21-month program in “video game art.”
Nor did he mention its spotty graduation rate. Or, for that matter, that its chief executive, Bill Heavener, is a major campaign donor and a co-chairman of his state fund-raising team in Florida.
That team, Mr. Romney said last fall when he appointed Mr. Heavener, “will be crucial to my efforts in Florida and across the country.”
Beyond his fund-raising role, Mr. Heavener has committed his own resources to the cause. He and his wife have each given the maximum $2,500 to the campaign, and he gave $45,000 to Restore Our Future, a “super PAC” run by former Romney aides to bolster his campaign. The chairman of the private equity fund that owns Full Sail University — C. Kevin Landry of TA Associates — gave $40,000 to Restore Our Future, records show.
Mr. Romney has received financial support from other segments of the for-profit college industry as well, and he was quick to praise the industry as an affordable alternative to traditional colleges.
With for-profit colleges under siege in Washington over accusations that they defraud students, Mr. Romney’s full-throttled endorsement puts him squarely in the middle of a political debate over them and dovetails with his strong belief in a free-market system that thrives on competition.
To industry critics and some education experts, however, Mr. Romney’s stance appears at odds with much of the available evidence on the cost and performance of for-profit institutions.