Thursday, October 27, 2011



Ray Cassin October 24, 2011
THE City Square has mostly been noted as one of Melbourne's less successful public spaces. Crowds just don't throng there as they do to Federation Square or Bourke Street Mall. Then briefly, for a week, that all changed. About 100 protesters, a diminutive Melbourne outcrop of the ''Occupy'' protests that began in New York last month and have since mushroomed across the world, set up camp in the square. Some Melburnians actually chose to enter their city's notoriously dud space, and did so without the lure of free entertainment or an oversized, illuminated Christmas tree. The campers came to make a point. And other people came to hear it, or at least to gawk at them. No one was assaulted or obstructed in the course of their daily business. In truth, Occupy Melbourne didn't occupy very much, except public space. It didn't block Swanston Street or Collins Street. Nor did it threaten anyone, though some cafe and bar owners complained that their business had suffered because of the new presence in the square. This complaint, if true, suggests that Melbourne's vaunted cafe culture is not quite the pinnacle of urban sophistication it is sometimes claimed to be. Elsewhere in the world, watching the local street politics unfold is just one thing you might do while lingering over an espresso. But here, apparently, people who hawk short blacks and flat whites can't imagine that a politicised street carnival on their doorstep might be a business opportunity, with happy sippers to be found at least among the gawkers, if not the campers. So the campers antagonised local business, though not the kind of business they had in mind. Occupy Melbourne, like its international counterparts, is directed against corporate greed and the increasing disparities of wealth that have resulted from economic deregulation. The rage of the ''Occupiers'' - though ''rage'' seems like crazy hyperbole when applied to the less-than-strident lot who colonised our square - is a reflection of the fact that since the global financial crisis of 2008 none of the perpetrators has been held to account, though the livelihoods of ordinary people have become ever more precarious, or disappeared entirely. That, grossly oversimplified, was the point of the ''Occupation''. And if you believe the square's whiney cafe proprietors and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, a week was more than enough time in which to make it. ''They've made their point and should move on'' was the message, and last Friday Victoria Police heeded it. The campers were evicted by police behind riot shields - the public order response team, to use the official euphemism - with mounted colleagues and the dog squad assisting. There were some bleeding heads, and drifts of pepper spray, without which no riot is complete these days. Except that it wasn't a riot, was it? It was a group of people sitting around and talking. Or it was until Doyle decided that a week is time enough to make a point. One imagines him in Colonel Kilgore mode as the riot police moved in: ''I love the smell of pepper spray in the morning … smelled like victory.'' Occupy Melbourne is not, of course, unique among the world's Occupations in having attracted the ire of civic authorities or in having been subjected to what Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana described as ''minimum force''. The early days of Occupy Wall Street were a rash of clashes between police and protesters. And yesterday, Occupy Sydney was pushed out of Martin Place, where the harbour city's campers had been doing their sitting and talking. Whether it was necessary to use force to move them on, however, is another question. People whose idea of changing the world begins with sitting around and talking are usually open to negotiations about voluntary relocation. Occupy Melbourne, for example, intends to pitch a new camp at the weekend, in Treasury Gardens. No baristas and bartenders to annoy there, and they can chat with the public servants over a sandwich at lunchtime. It's where the Occupiers might have been willing to go earlier, if they had been asked. So the Occupiers will decamp, and, provided the state government and the city council can get past their fear of revolution or whatever it was that brought about last week's bizarre overreaction, there will be no further wielding of minimum force. After all, we still believe in free speech and assembly, don't we? Well, we certainly think we do. But when I hear people who ought to know better insisting that a week is long enough to make a point, I wonder how deeply rooted our belief in these basic liberal freedoms really is. Occupy Wall Street and other Occupations around the world may have had some unsolicited intimate moments with their local constabularies, but they continue. And they continue simply because the Occupiers want to keep Occupying. In most of the countries with which we like to compare ourselves it is accepted that protest movements will either become absorbed into the political mainstream, and thereby transform it, or will gradually wither. That is the dynamic of democracy. Here, however, the notion of democratic debate has become so impoverished that people who have been sitting and talking for a week can be told their time is up.
Ray Cassin is a senior writer.
Follow the National Times on Twitter: @NationalTimesAU
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/why-do-the-occupiers-so-preoccupy-our-masters-20111023-1meem.html

Wednesday, October 26, 2011



Defense giant Lockheed Martin had a totally sweet quarter, raking in $700 million and looking forward to the same this time next year. So it raises eyebrows when Lockheed’s anointed mouthpieces predict mass economic disaster if Congress touches the defense budget.
On Tuesday, the aerospace industry put out a report saying that chopping the defense budget would put over a million Americans out of work. Cuts that could total up to a trillion dollars over 10 years would “devastate the economy and the defense industrial base and undermine the national security of our country,” said Marion Blakeley, president of the Aerospace Industries Association, which sponsored the report.
But while Blakeley’s group paid for research to draw that dire conclusion, some of her members reported a sunnier economic outlook to their shareholders. In its third-quarter earnings report, also released Tuesday, Lockheed – manufacturers of the F-22 and F-35 jets — told investors to expect that as long as Congress passes President Obama’s next defense budget, ”the Corporation expects 2012 net sales to be flattish as compared to 2011 levels, and that consolidated 2012 segment operating profit margin will remain at approximately 11 percent.” Boom: another $700 million in earnings, on its way.
While there’s no doubt that defense cuts will mean job losses, there’s also no doubt that a report prepared for an industry so reliant on defense cash will paint a stark picture of what happens if that cash is threatened. Congressmembers looking to get reelected pay attention, since fighting for defense money as a jobs program is easier than making a case for what a sensible, appropriately funded defense strategy ought to be. That’s the problem with reports like these: They make it easy to ignore structural economic and defense problems and imply that all will be well if the cash keeps flowing.
To see the report’s breathlessness, check out its methodology. (.pdf) The aerospace report draws a straight correlation between lost jobs and lost sales (the result of lower defense budgets for orders). But defense firms concerned about losing jobs have, like all businesses, other options for preserving them, like dipping into their earnings.
And those earnings, as evidenced by the third-quarter disclosures, are up. Lockheed’s $700 million net quarterly earnings are up sharply from its $56 million haul this time last year. Boeing’s net income during that time was $1.09 billion, up from $837 million. General Dynamics? $652 million in net earnings this quarter, slightly up from its $650 million last year.
Meanwhile, Lockheed paid CEO Robert Stevens $19.1 million in 2010. Boeing’s Jim McNerney made$19.7 million.
In other words, defense cuts won’t, by themselves, force firms to fire people. Companies will surely be stressed by the revenue loss, but their bright economic pictures give them some options.
Then there are some dubious assumptions in the report. It says job-providing “modernization” cash is 45 percent of the $550 billion annual defense budget, but as defense gadfly Winslow Wheeler emails, the Congressional Budget Office puts it at 29 percent. (.pdf) Wheeler adds that the study presumes a cost of $130,000 per lost job: “One seasoned observer opined to me that the total for salary, materials, etc. should be about twice that.”
Nor does the association report actually address the defense manufacturing base that so alarmed Blakeley. It drew its million-job-loss total from “across the breadth of the U.S. economy,” into ripple-effect industries like finance, health care and “retail trade, leisure and hospitality services.” Meanwhile, the structural effects of the shifting defense industrial supply chain go unstudied.
Now: America’s defense industrial base — the engineering and manufacturing sector of the economy that ensures the U.S. can build warships, planes and missiles — is in the midst of a decades-long globalization that policymakers have yet to come to terms with. A recent report from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) warns that the U.S.’ influence over that supply chain suffers from a key vulnerability: “its dependence upon relatively large defense procurement budgets.” (.pdf) Cut the budget too deeply, and the economic effects could cascade: the most expensive military program in history, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet family, is built in eight countries.
In fact, CNAS warns that engineering “large-scale, high-technology projects” domestically is a “dying art,” since “many of the nation’s best young people tend to avoid ‘old’ manufacturing industries — including the aerospace sector — opting instead for what seem to be more exciting (and potentially much more lucrative) prospects in startup ventures and ‘cutting-edge’ firms that appear to be at the technological frontier.”
In other words, it’s not just the prospect of declining defense budgets that ravage the most important nodes of the defense industrial base. On the low-pay end of the spectrum, it’s the fact that manufacturing plants have moved to low-wage places like China — which also erodes U.S. engineering know-how. On the high end, defense firms now have to compete with Apple, Google, Facebook and anything Y Combinator funds for bright tech engineers. All that is a problem that extends way beyond defense budgets, and into fundamental questions of how the U.S. structures its economy and values work.
And assume for a moment that all the aerospace industry’s lost-jobs estimates are accurate. Notice that’s an economic argument, not a national security argument. The explosion in defense spending since 9/11 was predicated on an emergency — all financed by borrowed money, contributing to the fiscal mess that cuts are meant to fix — that’s receding. U.S. troops will be out of Iraq on December 31; the Afghanistan war is beginning its own drawdown. Arguing for military spending primarily as a stimulus measure begs the question of why less capital-intensive industries — road repair, anyone? — shouldn’t get their own big checks from the government.
The answer — at least, one that ex-Defense Secretary Robert Gates proposed — isn’t to look at the military as a big jobs program. It’s to ask what the country wants defense strategy to be. If the U.S. is faced with the necessity of cutting defense, then it makes sense to ask what missions ought to be scaled back or jettisoned. In a series of reports this year, the most recent of which came out on Tuesday, the doves at the Project on Defense Alternatives have at least attempted that, even if not all their ideas are good ones. The aerospace industry? Not so much.
It’s natural for defense cuts to raise anxiety in a military-industrial complex that’s reaped a decade of cash windfalls. And it’s just as natural for defense companies to cherry-pick arguments to support their revenue. That’s all in the game. But unless they’re also willing to accept big tax hikes to finance their continued desired spending, then it’s hard to see how reports like this get around Winston Churchill’s (or maybe Sir Ernest Rutherford’s) famous aphorism: “Gentlemen, we have run out of money. Now we have to think.”
Photo: U.S. Navy Aviation

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


By Cyrus Maximus · February 3, 2011 ·

Egyptian protester
With Iranian authorities increasingly using tear gas against democratic protesters, it’s important to know how not to be afraid, and how to defend against its use.
What to bring if you anticipate tear gas: (1) a bandana or paper towel soaked in lemon juice or cider vinegar, stored in a plastic bag; (2) swimming goggles or similar eye protection; and if desired (3) a glove to allow you to pick up a hot tear gas canister and throw it back at your attacker. Do not wear contact lenses if you anticipate a tear gas attack. The gas will destroy them.
The best defense against tear gas is a gas mask, but if you don’t have a mask there are still steps you can take to minimize damage from tear gas. If you think you might encounter tear gas you can soak a bandana or paper towel in lemon juice or cider vinegar and store it in a plastic baggie. You can breathe through the acidified cloth for several minutes, which should give you sufficient time to get upwind or reach higher ground.
Goggles are a great thing to have. You can use tight-fitting swim goggles if chemical safety goggles aren’t available. Don’t wear contacts anywhere you might encounter tear gas. If you are wearing contact lenses, immediately remove them. Your contacts are a loss as is anything else you can’t wash. You can wear your clothes again after you wash them, but wash them separately that first time. If you don’t have goggles or any sort of mask, you can breathe the air inside your shirt, since there is less air circulation and therefore a lower concentration of the gas, but that is counterproductive once the fabric becomes saturated.

First Aid

First aid for eyes is to flush them with sterile saline or water until the stinging starts to abate. Exposed skin should be washed with soap and water. Breathing difficulties are treated by administering oxygen and in some cases using medication that are used to treat asthma. Medicated bandages can be used on burns.
For more information on protecting against tear gas, see the following links:
About.com http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemicalweapons/a/teargasexposure.htm
Freedom Manual – Tear Gas http://freedommanual.blogspot.com/2009/12/tear-gas.html. Contains extra tips on how to defend against tear gas and pepper spray, along with warnings for people with health issues who should stay away from potential tear gas attacks.


Some of these job titles are pretty interesting.
Prime Minister
Hon. Julia Gillard MP
Deputy Prime Minister, Treasurer
Hon. Wayne Swan MP
Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government
Hon. Simon Crean MP
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations and Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator Hon. Chris Evans
Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth
Hon. Peter Garrett AM, MP
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator Hon. Stephen Conroy
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Hon. Kevin Rudd MP
Minister for Trade
Hon. Dr Craig Emerson MP
Minister for Defence and Deputy Leader of the House
Hon. Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
Hon. Chris Bowen MP
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Leader of the House
Hon. Anthony Albanese MP
Minister for Health and Ageing
Hon. Nicola Roxon MP
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Hon. Jenny Macklin MP
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Hon. Tony Burke MP
Minister for Finance and Deregulation
Senator Hon. Penny Wong
Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Senator
Hon. Kim Carr
Attorney-General and Vice President of the Executive Council
Hon. Robert McClelland MP
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Manager of Government Business in the Senate
Senator Hon. Joe Ludwig
Minister for Resources and Energy and Minister for Tourism
Hon. Martin Ferguson AM, MP
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency 
Hon. Greg Combet AM, MP
[The above ministers constitute the cabinet]

Saturday, October 22, 2011


  • Target: NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione
  • Sponsored by: Care2.com
According to police commissioner Andrew Scipione, young women who want to avoid getting raped should rely on their friends and their sobriety to keep them safe. Although Scipione clearly had good intentions, his comments imply that women who do get sexually assaulted should have planned ahead better. This, essentially, is a form of rape apology.

Scipione is not only implying that the victims of rape have only themselves and their alcohol intake to blame; he is also insinuating that women will be safe from rape if they stay sober, which is blatantly false.

Rape is the fault of the rapist and the rapist alone, no matter the consequence. Call on Police Commissioner Scipione to take real action against assault in New South Wales instead of relying on victim-blaming.


Sunday, October 16, 2011


October 15, 2011 By 

Bank of America in Santa Cruz. Image from http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/10/08/18692743.php
Two protesters involved with Occupy Santa Cruz in California walked into Bank of America earlier this week to close their own accounts as part of the national protest against the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street, which has only seen it’s profits soar since it nearly collapsed the economy back in 2008.

So Bank of America naturally closed the accounts, right? Not even close. Rather than allow their customers to close their accounts, they told them that “you can not be a protester and a customer at the same time.” The bank manager threatened to lock the doors and call the police to have their own customers arrested for the simple act of requesting the closure of their own accounts. The two women left the bank and called the police. The officer went into the bank and after talking to the manager, relayed a message to them. According to the bank manager, “If they came in with the signs and they were part of the protest earlier, then they are protesters and cannot be customers at the same time.”
Watch it:

Apparently, it is now a crime to close your bank account if it’s located at one of the big banks that nearly crashed the American economy. Just today, Citibank locked in their own customers and had them arrested for trying to close their own accounts. Just another reason why you should close your account if it’s in any big bank that hurt the economy and put your money in a small bank or a credit union. Banks are just looking for ANY excuse to keep the money they have in their banks. It shouldn’t matter if these folks are protesters or not. If you walk into a bank and request that your account be closed, the bank should give you your money and close the account. These banks are illegally holding the money these customers deposited, and they are willing to have their own customers arrested rather than give up money they want to gamble with. The police are arresting the wrong people.


Friday, October 14, 2011


Nine arresteds -??what is that word?- in police crackdown on drinks and drugs

NINE people were arrested overnight as police began their summer crackdown campaign on booze-filled revellers and drug and drink drivers last night. 
HERALD SUN TYPERS have never been shy about telling porky pies, and this is no different. They begin by linking the number of arrests made last night with the fund raising operation that has been euphemistically titled a 'summer crackdown campaign'. 
Last time I checked, October 14th is 1/2 way through spring. 
Victoria Police is a trading name for a business with the A.B.N 63 446 481 493 and this summer crackdown campaign is the name of a business enterprise designed to increase revenue for the business, which, ultimately comes under the business entitled the STATE OF VICTORIA-DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ABN32 790 228 959. 
Where do these public servants get the temerity to prevent people from manifesting their peaceful, lawful pleasure?
It is a scam. Do not be fooled by these attempts to use opinions and words to cast spells.   
Three men were arrested for a serious assault after attacking a victim with an iron bar in Fitzroy.
How is this relevant to the previously described campaign? It isn't. That equates to 33% of the original figure.  
The victim was transferred to hospital and treated for a serious head injury.
A further six people were arrested for drunken behaviour as part of Operation Parnell a task force created in response to the growing concern among locals about alcohol-fuelled behaviour in the area. Which locals? How many people were lawlessly harrassed to find these alleged six minor offences? This is actually about training you to accept police interference in the peaceful & lawful pursuit your life as being 'normal'. 
Officers visited 40 licensed premises in the entertainment precincts of Brunswick, Johnston and Smith streets and Swan street, Richmond. FORTY VENUES!!! Forty venues featuring drunk & drinking people for only 6 arrests. You'd think this would be a celebratory article. But, similar to the propaganda pushed by booze busses, whereby, the police harrass 99% of people to catch less than 1% of people allegedly drink driving.
Police also stationed seven booze buses on main roads leading to the suburbs in a bid to send a strong message to intoxicated drivers.
The buses were on the Tullamarine Freeway, Victoria Pde, Footscray Rd and Sydney Rd.
Police confiscated the vehicle/committed armed robbery of a 21-year-old Mulgrave man for 30 days after he was caught driving 50km/h over the speed limit. What does this have to do with the campaign? As much as the three men arrested in Fitzroy mentioned in the second sentence of this article. It is here to pad out a story, and to create an emotional impression of crime that therefore requires police presence. It is also known as problem/reaction/solution.
Police allege that the suspended P plate driver was travelling at 131km/h on Wellington Road in Mulgrave just after 9pm.
The driver returned a breath test reading of 0.134.
His car was impounded immediately and he is likely to be charged on summons at a later date. So much for innocent until found guilty in a court of law. Of course, they do this because they are alleging that he is in breach of a contract that he freely entered into.
Another 21-year-old Pascoe Vale man has had his second car impounded for a week. 
Police saw the man driving dangerously at 2.30am on the corner of Sydney Road and Bell St in Coburg. What does 'driving dangerously' have to do with a campaign on drinking people and drink/drug driving? More window dressing for the article, trying to justify what has happened, and what will continue to happen.
His car was impounded for 30 days and he is expected to be charged on summons.
Road Policing Acting Inspector Gary Stokie said the operation would continue all summer.
"Alcohol remains one of the biggest killers on Victorian roads,'' Insp Stokie said. Therefore the police need to harrass people inside of pubs, and alleged 'dangerous drivers'
"With today's warm weather we know that many people will be out enjoying a couple of drinks after work.
"Our message is that if you choose to drink, then don't drive its that simple.''
Our message is that if you choose to remain ignorant, then you'll suffer the consequences. It is time to wake up.


October 13, 2011 By AMY CHOZICK and TANZINA VEGA
The European edition of The Wall Street Journal accounts for less than 1 percent of total business at its parent company, the News Corporation. But the controversy this week over an unorthodox circulation deal that resulted in the resignation of the newspaper’s publisher could carry outsize influence among investors already concerned about ethical practices at the company, analysts said Thursday. The revelation of another journalistic lapse at News Corporation — though minor compared with the phone hacking scandal in Britain — further complicates matters for the leadership at News Corporation as it prepares for its annual shareholder meeting next Friday. “No news of impropriety at News Corporation is a blip when they’re under such scrutiny,” said Doug Creutz, a senior research analyst at the Cowen Group. “This adds to the general question of how the company is being run.” He pointed to several independent investor advisory groups that have recently recommended that shareholders vote against some members of the News Corporation board, “especially those whose name ends in Murdoch,” he said. Rupert Murdoch is the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, and his sons James and Lachlan, have large roles in the company. The scrutiny on the company increased on Thursday when the bureau that audits newspaper sales in Britain said it was reviewing new information about The Wall Street Journal Europe’s circulation arrangement that could lead to further investigation. Under the deal, The Journal used a third party to channel money to a Dutch consulting firm, which bought thousands of copies of The Journal each day for as little as one euro cent (1.37 American cents). The practice helped bolster The Journal’s subscription rate in Europe. The publisher of The Wall Street Journal Europe, Andrew Langhoff, resigned on Tuesday after an internal investigation revealed that the circulation deal also led to an agreement that provided the Dutch company, Executive Learning Partnership, with two positive articles in exchange for its financial support. “We have always been transparent with the A.B.C., and they have certified this program over recent reporting periods,” Dow Jones & Company, which owns The Journal, said in a statement, using an acronym to refer to the circulation auditing agency in Britain. “We plan to meet with them soon and review all the details with them again.” The incident at The Wall Street Journal Europe also puts the spotlight on how newspapers report circulation numbers, which are crucial to determining how much publications can charge for advertisements. At a time when the industry is struggling, many newspapers rely on heavily discounted copies to prop up circulation numbers. Last year, the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the regulatory agency in the United States, added a new category on how publications should report copies that are sold to schools, bought by businesses for their employees, or bought in bulk by third parties, like advertisers, which include promotional inserts or wraps and distribute the copies free. The new category, called “verified,” is separate from paid circulation totals that include home delivery and newsstand sales. Michael J. Lavery, the president and managing director of the Audit Bureau, said the popularity of the third party bulk sales that are considered verified had waned over the last several reporting cycles. He said the bureau no longer included third-party sales as a paid category that could determine advertising rates. “There are other distribution channels that helped media buyers and advertisers get their message to their target audiences,” Mr. Lavery said, citing new programs, like Sunday Select by the Gannett newspaper division, where nonsubscribers could opt to have advertising circulars delivered to them directly. The New York Times does have third-party agreements but does not include those sales in its report to the bureau, the company said Thursday. Around 9 percent of The New York Times’s print and digital circulation of 917,000 comes from verified subscriptions, though that figure does not include Web site subscriptions. Dow Jones said that in the six months that ended in March, 26,687 of The Wall Street Journal’s print and digital United States circulation of 2.1 million — which does include Web subscribers — came from verified papers or copies distributed inexpensively at places like universities. News Corporation has invested in The Journal’s foreign editions in Europe and Asia with the hopes of gaining a stronger international presence. But expanding The Wall Street Journal Europe has proved tough, and the paper’s circulation, even with tens of thousands of papers sold cheaply in bulk, has remained flat at around 75,000 since 2008, according to the British audit bureau. The New York Times Company’s overseas edition, The International Herald Tribune, distributed globally, had a daily circulation last year of 217,700, according to a Times spokeswoman, Eileen Murphy. She did not immediately have information on third-party agreements by the I.H.T. The paper, based in Paris and audited by the French circulation bureau, accounts for 28 percent of its circulation through subscriptions, 16.5 percent on newsstands and sells heavily to hotels and airlines. “The I.H.T. does not engage in unethical practices with regard to our circulation or any other part of our business,” said Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, the paper’s publisher. “We would never enter any commercial contract that puts our journalistic integrity at risk.” Mr. Langhoff took over at The Wall Street Journal Europe in 2009. During his tenure the paper engaged in aggressive marketing tie-ins. In 2008, it established “Future Leadership Institute” seminars for students. The Dutch firm, Executive Learning Partnership, sponsored the events through which thousands of copies of the Journal were given out. “Any suggestion that E.L.P. was involved in a scheme to artificially boost the circulation of W.S.J.E. is not based on facts, not in line with the ethical standards of E.L.P.,” Nick Van Heck, a partner at Executive Learning Partnership., wrote Thursday in an e-mail. Still, comparing circulation practices to phone-hacking is “apples to oranges,” said Barton Crockett, director and senior media analyst at Lazard Capital Markets. “All sorts of magazines and newspapers boost circulation,” Mr. Crockett said. “You can’t expect that the board of directors would be auditing circulation practices at The Wall Street Journal Europe at a company the size of News Corporation.” Eric Pfanner contributed reporting. This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Correction: October 13, 2011 An earlier version of this article misstated the price of the discounted papers. It was one euro cent, or 1.37 American cents, not $1.37.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Peter Veness October 11, 2011

Overlooking Lake Burley Griffin, the ASIO headquarters is being built to accommodate the massive expansion of the agency since the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent decade-long war on terror.It isn't finished yet but the new multi-million-dollar headquarters of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) will need further upgrading, according to the spy agency's annual report.
There are now more than 1700 people working at ASIO.
"It is inevitable that additional capabilities will need to be added to the new building," the report, tabled in the Senate on Tuesday, says.
While the domestic spy agency says the building, last estimated to cost $602 million, will be finished by the middle of next year, staff won't start moving in until late 2012.
The report also says the agency's workload is now heavy, with a long list of emerging cyber threats from individual hackers, loose networks like Anonymous, and nations like China.
While the cyber threat is growing, the main concern remains terrorism.
"Some Australians continue to be drawn to the jihadist message," the report says.
"New extremist groups and individuals continue to emerge, and some seek to act in Australia or travel overseas to train or fight."
The report reconfirms Yemen, Somalia and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border as terrorist hotspots.
Yemen has long been a focus of ASIO, with reports that more than 20 Australians have headed there in the past 12 months in a bid to receive training in terrorism, only to fall under the watch of ASIO.
"While jihadist terrorism remains the most immediate security threat, ASIO remains attuned to the terrorist threat posed both in Australia and abroad," ASIO says.
The report warns that conditions in Australia "are conducive to the promotion of communal violence".
It goes on to suggest any terrorist attack on Australia "might quickly and unexpectedly unlock the potential for violence" across the community.
Alongside Islamists there is also a "persistent but small sub-culture of racist and nationalist extremists in Australia".
ASIO raises the possibility of a "lone actor" or "autonomous group" from within the extremists turning violent.
In recent years these groups have used what the agency describes as "violent and provocative tactics" against police during demonstrations.
The tactics include throwing foul liquids and "invisible weapons" such as fish hooks at police.
This story was found at: http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-national/asio-continues-to-expand-post911-20111011-1lis1.html

Saturday, October 8, 2011


By Pat Garofalo, Think Progress 08 October 11

RSN Special Coverage: Occupy Wall Street

11 facts you need to know about the nation's biggest banks.

he Occupy Wall Street protests that began in New York City more than three weeks ago have nowspread across the country. The choice of Wall Street as the focal point for the protests - as even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said - makes sense due to the big bank malfeasance that led to the Great Recession.
While the Dodd-Frank financial reform law did a lot to ensure that a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis won't occur - through regulation of derivatives, a new consumer protection agency, and new powers for the government to dismantle failing banks - the biggest banks still have a firm grip on the financial system, even more so than before the 2008 financial crisis. Here are eleven facts that you need to know about the nation's biggest banks:
  • Bank profits are highest since before the recession ...: According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., bank profits in the first quarter of this year were "the best for the industrysince the $36.8 billion earned in the second quarter of 2007." JP Morgan Chase is currentlypulling in record profits.

  • ... even as the banks plan thousands of layoffs: Banks, including Bank of AmericaBarclays,Goldman Sachsand Credit Suisse, are planning to lay off tens of thousands of workers.

  • Banks make nearly one-third of total corporate profits: The financial sector accounts forabout 30 percent of total corporate profits, which is actually down from before the financial crisis, when they made closer to 40 percent.

  • Since 2008, the biggest banks have gotten bigger: Due to the failure of small competitors and mergers facilitated during the 2008 crisis, the nation's biggest banks - including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo - are now bigger than they were pre-recession. Pre-crisis, the four biggest banks held 32 percent of total deposits; now they hold nearly 40 percent.

  • The four biggest banks issue 50 percent of mortgages and 66 percent of credit cards: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup issue one out of every two mortgages and nearly two out of every three credit cards in America.

  • The 10 biggest banks hold 60 percent of bank assets: In the 1980s, the 10 biggest banks controlled 22 percent of total bank assets. Today, they control 60 percent.

  • The six biggest banks hold assets equal to 63 percent of the country's GDP: In 1995, the six biggest banks in the country held assets equal to about 17 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product. Now their assets equal 63 percent of GDP.

  • The five biggest banks hold 95 percent of derivatives: Nearly the entire market in derivatives - the credit instruments that helped blow up some of the nation's biggest banks as well as mega-insurer AIG - is dominated by just five firms: JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo.

  • Banks cost households nearly $20 trillion in wealth: Almost $20 trillion in wealth was destroyed by the Great Recession, and total family wealth is still down "$12.8 trillion (in 2011 dollars) from June 2007 - its last peak."

  • Big banks don't lend to small businesses: The New Rules Project notes that the country's 20 biggest banks "devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business."

  • Big banks paid 5,000 bonuses of at least $1 million in 2008: According to the New York Attorney General's office, "nine of the financial firms that were among the largest recipients of federal bailout money paid about 5,000 of their traders and bankers bonuses of more than $1 million apiece for 2008."
In the last few decades, regulations on the biggest banks have been systematically eliminated, while those banks engineered more and more ways to both rip off customers and turn ever-more complex trading instruments into ever-higher profits. It makes perfect sense, then, that a movement calling for an economy that works for everyone would center its efforts on an industry that exemplifies the opposite.

Thursday, October 6, 2011



So you think the Wall Street demonstration is spontaneous -- but reading this on-the-scene account by one of the herd, it's obvious there is a hidden organization on the ground in full control. Agent Soros taking over. Do you still think the Wall Street demonstration is spontaneous? It isn't. If you read the participants' own account of how the demonstrations started and how they are being run, it is obvious they are controlled at every step by a well-oiled organization that is deliberately staying in the background. Read the following account and think about the significance of those portions where I have enlarged the font. Dick Eastman Demonstrators on Wall Street. By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor Donations are sent to local restaurants to provide food for the organizers. Here, pizza is delivered by bicycle from a nearby pizza shop. Camping out in the park. The beginning of the last few paragraphs at the end of the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City reads: “To the people of the world, We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.” Even before Katherine Derby heard those words, it was what she was trying to do. Derby is an information technologist with UNH IT. She’s been here 11 years. When I met her, she was wearing khaki pants and a dark sweater. At one point she used the word ‘soccer mom’ and talked of getting her step-son to school on time; of doing the laundry and deciding what to wear to work the next day. Not exactly the image of a take-to-the streets protester. And yet, there she was last week, marching down Wall Street, sleeping on the cold marble flooring in Zuccotti Park, having her voice heard. Because that’s what she thinks it’s going to take to change the direction our country has gone. And that’s what she thinks the message is of Occupy Wall Street. The leaderless movement began Sept. 17 when a small group set up in Zuccotti Park to speak out against corporate greed and to bring awareness to the belief that Wall Street shares the blame for the financial crisis that has gripped the nation for the last several years, seemingly without end. “I heard about Occupy Wall Street from a friend and started following it on social media,” Derby, 47, says. “The first week, I watched the videos and followed what was happening online. I was reading more and more and something just happened—I said, ‘I’ve got to go.’ It is by far the most unique and interesting thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Some of the demonstrators are there throughout the day and evening but leave to sleep elsewhere come nightfall. Derby was an occupier—the people who stay in the park 24 hours a day. They sleep outside on the ground. There’s no grass cushion; the private park has a marble floor. Tents aren’t allowed. Some people have air mattresses. Some have tarps and wrap up in them “like a burrito” to stay dry. Derby drove to New York on Tuesday, Sept. 27. She found an affordable parking garage where she could leave her car for the week, grabbed her sleeping bag and backpack and headed over to Liberty Street where she found an information table set up at the mouth of the park. “I walked up and said ‘I’m here to help out’ and they said, ‘Welcome,’” Derby says. “I didn’t know how I’d feel, being pretty far removed from the 20-year-old set, but it was fine.” Another occupier ran her through orientation, pointing out the food station; the medical and comfort stations (“You could get dry socks at the comfort station”). She was told about general assembly, which takes place twice a day, and where in the park the events list is posted. Then Derby walked around looking for a spot to settle. She came upon a student who asked where she was going to camp and when she said she didn’t know, the response was, “How about here?” “Everyone was like that. You didn’t have time to know anyone’s name but there were nicknames. That first day, I was wearing a Boston Red Sox hat so they called me Boston,” Derby says. “The kids told me everything that was going on. We had wonderful conversations.” The common denominator was that people asked why others were there. Derby met many who had lost their jobs; their homes. There were older people whose retirement accounts had been wiped out and didn’t know how they were going to live. A young actor wondered how he’d be able to follow his passion. A recent college graduate didn’t know how he’d pay off his student loans. But the most jolting account came from a young woman. “She said she was there because her father, who had lost his job, had committed suicide so her mother could get the insurance money and she and her siblings could have a roof over their heads,” Derby says. “That was really sobering.” When Derby first got to New York, the mainstream media wasn’t reporting on the demonstration. Police were trying to end the gathering quickly. But then things started to change. A media station in the park helped take the daily actions viral. News outlets began telling the story. At some point it was decided there was a need for a declaration to state the intent of the protest. Derby was one of the hundreds who helped draft the “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.” “It was a very interesting process because everyone had to agree on everything, not just the declaration,” Derby says. Discussions are led by facilitators. Because they aren’t allowed to use bullhorns, messages are spread via “human mikes”—rows of people relaying the information to the person behind them who then pass it to the person behind them. Once it has spread to everyone, they vote. If someone disagrees, they raise their crossed forearms to block the passage and state why they are opposed. To address the general assembly, people raise one finger or approach the facilitator. The method was used for every decision, she adds, citing as example how the group should be referred to on Twitter, and what their address should be. (Mail is sent to a nearby UPS store on Fulton Street.) “It’s a very, very democratic way to do it,” Derby says, adding that sometimes this meant waiting for hundreds and hundreds of people to hear the message. A daily agenda is posted on a piece of cardboard at the park entrance. There are working groups that people can attend. There is no list of demands; people are simply trying to raise awareness, Derby says. “Things need to be fixed, and this is laying the groundwork to fix them,” she says. “In the park, people have signs supporting every possible thing but the common theme is, there’s a lot of trouble with the economy and we need to make it better.” “It’s not about socialism. It’s not a bunch of college kids wanting to end the war and live in peace. It’s about having a voice. About working to build something new,” Derby says. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all these thousands and thousands of people bonded together and actually did something?” These are the tactics of Rothschild agents all around the world. It is how Rothschild starts revolutions, how they start reforms they want -- which have nothing to do with changing the financial system. The Agenda exists in advance -- and people simply discuss and approve it -- and they think THEY are coming up with these ideas. There is no leader -- no individuals who understand what is going on who are teaching the people -- that is not allowed and the Soros agents shout down anyone who tries to discuss exactly how the system failed us and what can be done about it. This is not a populist event by any means. It is a bought and paid for operation to control the masses and create false opposition. Don't be naive. Read this account and you can't help seeing how the demonstration is being controlled according to a plan. Nothing populist can come out of this. A Soros document is being pushed down people's throats and we are going to be told that it comes from the American people -- that is what this sham is all about!!! Stop herding and start thinking. You don't need to be in a herd being driven off a cliff -- you need to know the problem before you can get together and write a list of demands that was passed on to you out of an anonymous mob with no visible leaders. I happen to know from experience that people NEVER spontaneously in a mass demonstration -- come up with what is best for themselves and the country. It is always the skilled operatives among them, the organized, those with money and a plan and hidden organizations behind them, that control such demonstrations and, in fact, all violent revolutions. And if you think I am a reactionary for telling you this, you are, at best, mistaken. Dick Eastman


Richard Owen in Rome Pope Benedict XVI today said that the global credit crisis shows that the world's financial systems are "built on sand" and that only the works of God have "solid reality". Opening a Synod of Bishops in the Vatican the Pope referred to a passage from St Matthew's Gospel on false prophets, saying ''He who builds only on visible and tangible things like success, career and money builds the house of his life on sand''. He added: ''We are now seeing, in the collapse of major banks, that money vanishes, it is nothing. All these things that appear to be real are in fact secondary. Only God's words are a solid reality''. He was referring to Jesus's words in Matthew Chapter 7, beginning "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Jesus adds: "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock …but everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.” On Sunday the pontiff launched a marathon reading of the Bible on Italian television at the basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome by reading aloud the opening passages of Genesis. More than 1,200 people are reading the entire Old and New Testaments from beginning to end this week, including Church and political figures, actors and volunteers from all walks of life drawn from the ranks of Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims. The Pope was followed among others on the first evening by the actor and film director Roberto Begnini, who said he had been awed at reading the Bible "in the house of the author". However Riccardo Di Segni, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, who was to have been one of the readers, pulled out last month, saying that the arrangements for the marathon were too "rigorously Roman Catholic."


Posted by European Revolution on 08/14/2011 By Bill Heid As governments around the world, including our own, face more and more popular resistance, we’re witnessing a revival of the use of agent provocateurs. An agent provocateur is the well-used tactic of using undercover military or police to join a dissenting group or protest in order to provoke others in the group to carry out illegal actions and violence. The goal is to discredit the group from the inside. Sometimes the group gets discredited with those outside. Other times the group is enticed into internal divisions and collapses. The most recent and clumsy attempt was the Egyptian government’s use of plain-clothes police officers to incite violence amid the largely peaceful anti-Mubarak protests. They tried to resemble the genuine protesters at first, but then the Mubarak agents showed their true colors. They rode horses and camels, carrying weapons and throwing fire bombs. Even the international media wasn’t fooled. For the first time, mainstream media started using the language of agent provocateurs. In decades past in the U.S., the FBI was exposed for using agent provocateurs to pose as members of right wing groups and the Black Panthers. This was the infamous COINTELPRO program that operated from the 1950s into the 1970s. It was thought to have been shut down in the early 1970s, but another version of it came to light during the Reagan years. Italian police were caught using agent provocateurs during the G8 financial meeting in 2001, and the British police did the same during the 2009 G20 meetings in London. In 2007, a Canadian police force in Quebec first denied and then admitted it used disguised officers during a protest of a Security and Prosperity Partnership meeting. The police denied that the disguised officers were inciting violence, though they were carrying rocks. New York City police officers were accused of using agent provocateurs during the 2004 Republican National Convention, and the Denver police were discovered using undercover detectives during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In this case, police officers ended up using riot-control chemicals against their own officers. In recent years, the FBI has used a growing number of agent provocateurs to infiltrate Muslim communities in the U.S., the most notable being exposed agent Craig Monteith in Orange County, California. He said he had been paid between $2500 and $11,000 a month to help radicalize Muslims. As the paranoia common to governments grows, the question arises: will your group or church or political action committee be targeted with agent provocateurs at some point? Why not? The targets have been quite various, with government certainly not always focused on so-called radicals. At the same time, governments’ definitions of what groups are risky can change quickly and silently. It certainly wouldn’t be advertized. Many groups haven’t discovered their agent provocateurs until years after their activity. Would you be able to spot an agent provocateur? They try to blend in and make friends. They appear to share your interests. Drawing from several sources, experienced observers have suggested some tips for identifying such agents. They’re not foolproof, but they’re a start. Agents will often lack background connections or references. No one in your circles or related groups will know them. Agents try to keep discussions and action unproductive and still. They’ll spend plenty of time debating issues, with little action. They focus on ideas over people. They tend to create messes in groups and between group members. They leave chaos in their wake. They tend to gravitate toward people in the group who are dissatisfied. Once relationships with those folks grow, the dissatisfaction spreads. Some agents have been former prisoners who do this work as part of a deal. These folks tend to jump from organization to organization in a relatively short time. Agents don’t have known sources of income. They might have a job that doesn’t match their spending or claim their money comes from prior savings. They tend to provide gifts for key figures at first. This helps them build trust with the group. When confronted, they will get defensive and start making their own accusations. They act like zealots, but they don’t have the fruit of it. They have passion but don’t truly care. Of course, good but immature people can do all these things. Discernment involves sound judgment calls. Protection from agent provocateurs increases as your group matures. If your group has rich relationships and trust, you won’t as easily fall prey to cheap provocateurs. * Originally published on OffTheGridNews