mardi 8 février 2011

Kleptocrats at Work

Kleptocrats at Work
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Paul Craig Roberts
February 8, 2011

Kleptocracy is as old as government. Exotic car broker Michael Sheehan discovered an amazing case nine years ago when he was invited to purchase rare Ferraris and McLaren F1s from a Brunei collection. He writes about it in the current issue of Sports Car Market.

Brunei is a family-owned oil sultanate of 400,000 people located on the island of Borneo in southeast Asia. A brother of the sultan was finance minister until 1997, when the Asian financial crisis hit Brunei. The Arthur Andersen accounting firm was called in to audit the books. The accountants found that between 1983 and 1998 $40 billion had disappeared and that the finance minister himself had personally spent $14.8 billion.

The finance minister had a collection of 2,500 exotic cars, 500 properties, five yachts, and nine world-class aircraft. He had managed to spend $900,000,000 in the London jeweler Asprey, apparently guaranteeing the old age retirements of a number of attractive women who consort with kleptocrats.

The finance minister was allowed to keep 500 of the cars, but he had to turn in the rest of his loot – to no avail as we shall see.

Sheehan went to Brunei to view the cars. From his general description of the collection, I estimate that the finance minister had paid six figures for the least expensive car in the collection. Many cost much more. McLaren F1s cost $1,000,000 new. They are more valuable now. In October 2008 one sold at a London auction for $4,100,000. Many of the cars were custom built. Some of the high-speed Ferraris “were coated in radar-absorbent matte-black coatings and fitted with infrared cameras for night driving.” Easily more than one billion dollars of Brunei’s oil revenues had found their way into the finance minister’s car collection.

Sheehan reports that the cars were stored in about 12 buildings “surrounded by a high wall topped with razor wire and with a bomb-proof front gate” and patrolled by “armed Gurkhas with very serious German shepherds.” The security was for naught, because “the air conditioning was off, but the tropical sun was not.” Years of heat and humidity had destroyed the cars. The storage facilities had become a car tomb.

Sheehan concluded that most of the cars were in such a state of ruin that only a few of the cars had sufficiently high inherent values to support commercially viable restorations. The best use of the rest, Sheehan decided, would be to turn them into an artificial ocean reef.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

The careless waste is shocking and even more so to car buffs who consider many of the ruined cars to be artistic masterpieces. This is the kind of opulent waste that we associate with family-owned countries. But before we Americans start feeling superior, consider that the U.S. government puts the Brunei finance minister to shame.

On Jan. 29, 2002, the CBS Evening News reported that the Pentagon had lost track of $2.3 trillion, yes, $2,300 billion. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld admitted, “According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” “We know it is gone,” said Jim Minnery of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, “but we don’t know what they spent it on.”

Reported thefts from Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction aid rival Brunei’s missing billions. Pallets of cash stacked high have been flown out of Afghanistan in plain view. The stories of corruption and missing funds are so numerous that they are no longer reported.

The U.S. Congress, at President Obama’s request, recently passed the largest military spending bill of all time in behalf of the share prices of the military/security complex, while many of the 50 states teeter on bankruptcy and default on pensions and municipal bonds and slash education, medical, and other services. For “our” government in Washington, it is a no-brainer that the profits of the military-security complex take every precedence over every need of the American people.

If the Brunei finance minister’s billion-dollar car collection becomes an artificial reef, it will foster marine life. In contrast, Dick Cheney seriously damaged, perhaps for many years to come, the Gulf of Mexico, because Cheney believed a few extra bucks for the oil companies were more important than safety standards. The missing safety standards have cost British Petroleum $20 billion in clean up and restitution costs.

U.S. taxpayers are paying the Orwellian Department of Homeland Security $56,336,000,000 this year to porno-scan and grope them and otherwise invade their privacy, while millions of Americans are foreclosed out of their homes.

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How are the priorities of the U.S. government superior to those of the Brunei finance minister? When it comes to waste and corruption, lies and deception, the U.S. government has no equal.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously the editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.

Poll: Ron Paul Has Greater Chance Of Beating Obama Than Palin Does In 2012 *

Poll: Ron Paul Has Greater Chance Of Beating Obama Than Palin Does In 2012
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Steve Watson
February 8, 2011

Poll: Ron Paul Has Greater Chance Of Beating Obama Than Palin Does In 2012 140410RP

A Rasmussen poll released Monday indicates that Congressman Ron Paul has a better shot of beating Obama in the 2012 presidential election than Sarah Palin would, should both decide to run on the GOP ticket.

As Paul is seemingly on the verge of announcing another presidential bid, The poll shows that more American voters would side with Ron Paul is he were to be pitted against Obama than would vote for Palin.

The poll shows that in these extremely early stages, Ron Paul would poll 35% of votes to Obama’s 44%, where as Sarah Palin would attract 38% to an Obama count of 49%.

The figures mean that at this time the Texas Congressman would score 2% more of the overall vote than the former governor of Alaska.

With a sustained campaign behind him once more, Paul’s figures would undoubtedly shoot up. Indeed, at the height of the backlash against Obama last year, a similar Rasmussen survey found that a hypothetical 2012 election race between Obama and Paul would result in an almost dead heat.

Of course, we should not be surprised by the figures, given that Ron Paul was the figurehead at the inception of the Tea Party movement, which consisted of a small but dedicated team of people who organized Boston Tea Party re-enactment protests in 50 different cities in late 2007, in support of Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The libertarian themed protests became extremely popular, and continued throughout 2008 and into 2009, prompting thousands of people to engage in peaceful political protest.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Since that time the movement has been co-opted by the establishment GOP and figures such as Palin, who is as much a pro-war hawk as the neocons responsible for miring the US in two endless, devastating and extremely costly wars.

Other candidates ranking high against Obama in the poll included the usual GOP establishment crowd of Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

As we have previously highlighted, perhaps the only saving grace for Obama is the fact that those Republican candidates have all lost popularity at a similar pace to the President. If Obama were to run against any of these individuals, he would probably still win, such is American’s increasing disdain for the two party monopoly.

Ron Paul would be the only Republican candidate to carry a message that resonates with the American people, his thoroughbred anti-war and anti-big government stance.

Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate to have voted against the Iraq war.

Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate who will not seek to lead the U.S. into yet more military confrontations.

Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate who is not compromised while the likes of Romney and Palin have more skeletons in their closet than a fancy dress boutique.

Ron Paul is the only candidate period who has promised to abolish the IRS, the Federal Reserve and end the fraudulent fiat-based money system that is crippling America’s economy while lining the pockets of the ultra-rich.

Rasmussen surmises from its findings that it is safe to assume that the president’s actual vote total on Election Day 2012 will be close to his overall job approval rating at the time. Therefore, if Obama’s job approval ratings improve from this point forward, it is likely that his support will increase against all Republican candidates. If his job approval ratings fall, his numbers are likely to weaken against all potential candidates.

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Ron Paul has no better chance to become President than in 2012 and we urge him to accept the challenge and provide millions of Americans with genuine hope that the country can still be rescued from its current spiral of terminal decline.

Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, and He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.

Congress Poised to Reauthorize Constitution-busting Patriot Act

Congress Poised to Reauthorize Constitution-busting Patriot Act

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Kurt Nimmo
February 8, 2011

It looks like Congress will extend the unpatriotic PATRIOT Act later today. The extension will reauthorize for a period of nine months the Constitution-busting legislation.

The three most contested provisions of the legislation expire on February 28.

The temporary reauthorization is supported by the Obama White House. “The administration would strongly prefer enactment of reauthorizing legislation that would extend these authorities until December 2013,” a statement from the Obama administration said.

It looks like some members of the Tea Party also support the legislation. Ryan Hecker, a Houston lawyer and tea-party organizer, told the Wall Street Journal he believes the act has helped curb terrorism and “the movement should remain agnostic.”

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Despite opposition to the act by Republicans such as Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, reauthorization enjoys wide support in Congress.

Rand highlighted his opposition to the PATRIOT Act during his Senate campaign.

On Monday, Paul said he has “had a lot of reservations about the Patriot Act” and added that he is “reviewing it and we’re going over it, and we will have something out probably in the next couple of days.”

Rand’s father, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, was one of three Republicans lawmakers who opposed the legislation when the House passed it in October, 2001.

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One reason for bipartisan support for reauthorization, according to the Journal, is the perceived threat of homegrown terrorism, seen in the absurd Times Square barbeque canister and underwear non-bombings last year. Both events and others staged by FBI agents provocateurs have led to a hysterical propaganda campaign obviously designed not only to get the PATRIOT Act reauthorized, but also expand various police state measures, including an internet kill switch, the takeover of media by the Department of Homeland Security (see our Obama Launches Total Takeover of Media System posted earlier today), and the steady militarization of law enforcement and emergency services, an effort that has been underway at least since the days of the Reagan administration.

RED ALERT: Obama Launches Total Takeover of Media System

Obama Launches Total Takeover of Media System

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Kurt Nimmo
February 8, 2011

Even the Washington Post describes it like something out of Orwell’s 1984. The FCC has approved a presidential alert system. Obama may soon appear on your television or call your cell phone to warn you about the next specious al-Qaeda underwear bombing event.

Commissioners voted last week to require television and radio stations, cable systems and satellite TV providers to participate in a test that would have them receive and transmit a live code that includes an alert message issued by the president. No date has been set for the test, according to the Post.

Once again, the government has imposed an unreasonable and absurd mandate on business and the American people.

“The Federal Communications Commission today took action to help pave the way for the first-ever Presidential alert to be aired across the United States on the Nation’s Emergency Alert System (EAS),” the FCC announced on February 3 in a press release. “The national test will help determine the reliability of the EAS system and its effectiveness in notifying the public of emergencies and potential danger nationwide and regionally.”

FecderalNewsRadio interviews the FCC about the system.

As Next Generation EAS systems become operational over the next few years, they will complement other public alert and warning systems now being developed, including FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and the Commercial Mobile Alert System that will enable consumers to receive alerts through a variety of multi-media platforms on their smart-phones, blackberries and other mobile broadband devices.

If implemented, the president will be able to commandeer your smart phone any time he wants and for any reason the government deems necessary.

In November, communications company Alcatel-Lucent announced that it’s creating a Broadcast Message Center that will allow government agencies to send cell phone users specific information in the event of a local, state or national emergency, including those now ubiquitous government warnings about fantastic terror plots that invariably fizzle out or are run by FBI informants and agents provocateurs. It seems not a week or two passes that some gullible Muslim is duped by the agency into a fantastic terror plot (for instance, blowing up Christmas trees).

The Broadcast Message Center is designed to force mobile phone manufacturers to adopt the Federal Communication Commission’s Commercial Mobile Alert System. Under the new system, all phones would receive emergency alerts directly from government bureaucrats.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Former DHS boss Tom Ridge has admitted that the government exploits terror alerts for political gain. Ridge said he “was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush’s re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over.” A specific al-Qaeda terror alert hyped up prior to the election was downgraded by the DHS after Bush beat fellow bonesman Kerry in the election.

Obama’s warnings about a supposed al-Qaeda attack on targets in Europe was exaggerated for political purposes, Pakistani diplomat Shamsul Hasan said in October. “I will not deny the fact that there may be internal political dynamics, including the forthcoming midterm American elections. If the Americans have definite information about terrorists and al-Qaida people, we should be provided [with] that and we could go after them ourselves,” Hasan said.

No terror event occurred. “It was nothing specific, nothing very new,” said Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask after the official warning. “We agree that there is no indication of concrete targets, concrete dates and concrete terror groups,” added German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

In addition to your cell phone, the government wants to take control of your internet broadband in the event another phony terror attack threatens the homeland.

Lisa Fowlkes, deputy chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC, told FederalNewsRadio on Monday that the FCC is looking at how wireless broadband could also enhance the EAS as part of a recommendation that was in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan from last year. The idea is to hijack broadband and the internet for emergency alerting propaganda with the “Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) being developed by FEMA and the wireless industry,” according to Fowlkes.

The system would break into your computer or wireless device and broadcast presidential propaganda announcements, FEMA reports, so-called “Imminent Threat Alerts,” and AMBER Alerts.

Government has devised other creative ways to disseminate propaganda. For instance, California introduced a bill last year to commission a study on emerging electronic license plate technology and examine ways that it could introduce new ad revenue streams. In addition to ads, the technology would flash Amber Alerts and other information.

Earlier this month, DHS unveiled a new terror alert system that will hijack social networking sites as one way of informing people of terrorist threat updates. “The new, two-tiered system will provide alerts that are more specific to the threat and even recommend certain actions or suggest that people look for specific suspicious behavior, she said. They also may be limited to a particular audience — such as law enforcement — rather than broadcast to the general public, and also will have a specified end date,” reported Information Week Government.

In December, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano  announced the expansion of the Department’s national “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign to hundreds of Walmart stores across the country — launching a new partnership between DHS and Walmart to help the American public play an active role in informing on each other. Thousands of Wamart stores will have telescreens pumping out government propaganda.

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FEMA is also working on a new system that would send emergency alerts as text messages to wireless phone users. The system is still about two years away from full implementation, according to the agency.

CMAS is slated to begin deployment in April 2012.

AOL and Huffington Team Up To Provide Perfect Blend of Sanitized News & Gossip

AOL and Huffington Team Up To Provide Perfect Blend Of Sanitized News & Gossip
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Anything of any worth is ignored or censored

AOL and Huffington Team Up To Provide A Perfect Blend Of Sanitized News Content And Celebrity Gossip Slop 070211slop

Steve Watson
Feb 7, 2011

AOL, a dying offloaded subsidiary of Time Warner, a company that still relies on dial up internet for a vast portion of its revenue, has decided that the only way it can stay relevant is to buy an “alternative” media outlet, namely the Huffington Post.

However, the Huffington Post is not an alternative media outlet, it was bank rolled by George Soros, a multi multi multi billionaire.

The majority of the material on the Huffington Post is made up of celebrity trash and mind numbing lifestyle articles.

Occasionally someone writes something of substance for the Huffington Post, take Jesse Ventura’s article on 9/11 last year, for example. The piece quickly slipped off the front page-and then completely disappeared.

“I can’t believe the Huffington Post today will practice censorship,” Ventura said in astonishment at the time. “I’ve got news for them. … I won’t ever write for ‘em again.”

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

In a subsequent interview with Politico, Arianna Huffington admitted:

“There are certain obvious things we have, certain specific things,” says Huffington. “Conspiracy theories — we don’t allow conspiracy theories. If you thought Sept. 11 was caused by the Bush administration, your comment is not going to appear unless it is a mistake.”

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The Huffington Post only covers material that falls into line with it’s own business model – it has never been a real alternative media website and it never will be.

It is now firmly embedded within the White House press corps, and is the darling of the Obama Administration, which has artificially boosted Huffington as a way of appearing to snub the establishment media.

Therefore what AOL has really acquired is a gatekeeping blog composed of government approved political opinion and churned out prole feed that any free minded individual recognizes and rejects with impunity.

Which should fit in just fine with AOL’s current output.