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An Open Letter to Steve Bannon, Trump’s Inside Man

By Jon Rappaport | No More Fake News

I Love America! I'm boing to bring it back to what it was!

How and American Caudillo came to dominate the 2016 US Presidential Election

Steve Bannon, Trump’s inside man, his chief strategist and senior counselor, is different. No question about that. What he creates for Trump and the American people remains to be seen. But when was the last time you saw an anti-mainstream-media man, a virulent ridiculer of major media, a high-profile figure in independent media (Breitbart) sit this close to the president of the United States?

Bannon, talking to reporter Michael Wolff of the Hollywood Reporter the other day:

“The media bubble is the ultimate symbol of what’s wrong with this country. It’s just a circle of people talking to themselves who have no f—ing idea what’s going on. If The New York Times didn’t exist, CNN and MSNBC would be a test pattern. The Huffington Post and everything else is predicated on The New York Times. It’s a closed circle of information from which Hillary Clinton got all her information — and her confidence. That was our opening.”

Steve,

Since you say you’re going to push programs and projects to dig the country out of the economic hole it’s been in for years now, I have a few ideas, based on 30-plus years of working as a freelance independent reporter. Thirty years starts to put a few new ideas into your head. Solutions. Because you can’t keep reporting on what’s screwed up for that long without seeing there are ways out of the horror show. Exits. My ideas aren’t filmy fantasies. They’re gained from looking straight at continuing disasters that have been unfolding across America.

ONE: On a search engine, type in “urban farms Chicago.” You’ll see there is actually a directory of such operations. They’re happening. Local people are growing and eating their own food. Some of this food can also be sold for profit.

—There should be many, many urban farms in every city in America. Plots of land where local residents grow and trade and eat their own fresh, clean, nutritious food. It is a revolutionary act.

Initiate 5,000 of these farms in inner cities. The government provides initial funding in the form of loans. The residents themselves will expand their operations into profit-making ventures; they’ll sell the excess food.

I’m estimating that for less than $50 million, the whole national program can be launched—as opposed to the trillions of dollars that have been poured down rat holes for the past 50 years in the “war on poverty.”

The residents of inner cities will now have a real economic stake in their own survival and success, and they’ll escalate the power of their demands for safe neighborhoods—safe from gangs and thugs and drugs.

TWO: With federal encouragement, let’s have one state (pick one) in which the following unimpeachable rule applies: any health practitioner of any stripe can practice freely, as long as he doesn’t offer remedies which are more toxic than the standard medical remedies for the condition he’s treating. Do you see the outcome? That state, overnight, becomes a destination of choice for huge numbers of people who highly value the freedom to manage their own health. The economy of the state blossoms like a million roses. The state becomes an example for every other state in the union. They quickly follow suit.

Background: In case you think I’m talking about an inconsequential segment of the population, during the Health Freedom movement of the early 1990s, when the FDA was raiding the offices of alternative health practitioners and threatening to cut off the public’s access to a wide range of nutritional supplements, the Congress received millions of letters protesting these moves—more letters than had ever been received on any issue in the nation’s history. These people are still out there. Some of them came to Trump’s side during the campaign. Some didn’t. They are a potent force. And they spend billions on natural health solutions every year.

THREE: Deploy the cutting edge of new media—live streaming video on the Web—to make a large populist movement into a huge populist movement. Trump (and perhaps you) do several broadcasts a week directly to the people, bypassing the tired old media networks and putting them further in the dumper where they belong. The substance of these broadcasts (to the whole world)? A blow-by-blow description of life-lifting programs your administration is putting in place—the ground-and-pound specifics, not the usual high-flying generalities—featuring, of course, comments on the people who are opposing you (by name) and exactly what they’re doing to stop the people’s will. This would be a new kind of reporting and speech-making from the president.

FOUR: More live-streaming on the Web—on-site coverage and interviews from the places where the actual work of rebuilding the nation’s infra-structure is taking place. Day after day. And to boot, the same on-site coverage where factories are being re-opened and Americans are reclaiming their jobs. Show all this to the country and the world (if it’s really happening). And while you’re at it, why not stream exactly, and in great detail, what’s actually going on at the US southern border? I’m sure Americans would be interested, to say the least.

[Read more here]




RT’s Bank Accounts Frozen, Assange’s Internet Cut In Apparent Move to Silence West’s Critics

wikileaks-rt-bank

By Claire Bernish | Activist Post

In a major development being described as a brutal blow to free speech, RT — the Russian outlet formerly known as Russia Today — has now found its bank accounts allegedly blocked by the U.K.

“Our accounts in Britain have been blocked,” tweeted RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan Monday morning. “All of them. ‘Decision not to be discussed’. Hail to freedom of speech!”

According to RT, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said London abandoned any obligations to free speech when it moved to exit the European Union, as clearly evidenced in the inexplicable move by The National Westminster Bank.

In a statement from its press office on Twitter, RT announced:

RT has received a letter from Natwest, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which has a significant shareholding by the UK government, informing it that its UK banking facilities with the bank will be withdrawn without explanation or redress.

The decision is incomprehensible, and without warning. It is however, not at odds with the countless measures that have been undertaken in the UK and Europe over the last few years to ostracize, shout down, or downright impede the work of RT.

RT UK will continue its operations uninterrupted.

In the letter announcing its decision after reviewing the media outlet’s “banking arrangements,” NatWest indeed provides no explanation for the cancellation of its client relationship with RT, except to say:

We assure you that we have only reached this decision after careful consideration, however our decision is final and we are not prepared to enter into any discussion in relation to it.

Given the secretive nature of the sudden termination, speculation naturally must include RT’s function as a state-run media agency — and the worsening situations between the West and Russia in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere — particularly, as RT notes, the U.K.’s ‘significant shareholding in NatWest.

Perhaps the baffling move would not be as suspect were it not for another apparent act of extreme censorship which began to unfold yesterday evening.

On Sunday night, WikiLeaks announced via Twitter that Julian Assange’s Internet connection had been purposely cut in his sanctuary-turned-prison home inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:

Julian Assange’s internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.

Prior to this accusation, WikiLeaks had tweeted a string of three tweets appearing to reference its ongoing October Surprise document leaks — including cryptic codes naming U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Ecuador, and the U.K.’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office — in turn setting off alarm bells by those concerned the tweets indicated Assange’s ‘dead man’s switch’ had been triggered.

Although neither the cutting of Assange’s Internet access nor that a state agent was responsible have been proven, if factual, speaks to the power wielded in the government transparency WikiLeaks continues to provide when, for instance, President Obama’s administration has failed.

WikiLeaks assumedly already has possession of whatever documents Assange might have obtained and plans to release in the future, but the attempt to silence the controversial and vociferously debated public figure are at least concerning — and at worst disturbingly indicative of the trouble an unknown will go to silence free speech and press.

Related Article: Wikileaks Founder Reveals More Reasons Why the TPP Should Never Become Law

Attempting to gag RT — no matter its Russian state association — also presents a troubling aspect about increasingly limited and denigrated press freedom.

“We have no idea why it happened,” RT’s Simonyan told RBT, “because neither yesterday nor the day before yesterday, nor a month ago, nothing special happened to us, nobody threatened us in any way. Hypothetically, this may have something to do with new British and American sanctions against Russia, which may be announced soon. It may not. Our legal department is dealing with the issue now.”

Publisher Marcus Papadopoulos echoed that surprise, as well as concern for what amounts to abrupt censure.

“I sincerely hope that there’s no political motive for this, because we know that the British government isn’t happy with RT in Britain,” Papadopoulos asserted to RT.

RT has a lot of viewers in Britain. Many British people now tune in to RT to receive information on major topics around the world, including in Britain. And many British people believe that the alternative accounts that RT puts forward and covers are more truthful than what they’re hearing from, for example, Sky News.

If no bank in Britain would allow RT to be a customer, then that could spell the end of RT broadcasting in Britain, which would be a catastrophic event for freedom of speech in Britain.

Russia, currently home to asylum-seeker and controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden, might indeed face additional sanctions by the United States and U.K. if American politicians infuriated over a false narrative of Russian aggression in Syria and elsewhere have their way.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May responded to outrage over the sudden proxy censure of RT, stating, “It’s a matter for the bank and it’s for them to decide who they offer services to based on their own risk appetite.”

However, as Zero Hedge pointed out, with both RBS and thus NatWest essentially acting as ‘wards of the state,’ such a politically-significant mover surely had prior clearance from the government.

As the already-chilled diplomacy between the West and Russia continues to deteriorate, an announcement from White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama is considering a response proportional to alleged Russian state hacking into the Democratic National Committee servers — despite the lack of unassailable evidence backing that claim.

Related Article: Fakery: Major Media Preparing to Steal Election-night Outcome?

On Friday, unnamed and unverified CIA officials told NBC News the “Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election.”

Whether or not any state agent — of the U.S., the U.K., or Russia — is responsible for any of these events might never be known. But the circumstances and timing are worthy of consideration.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

Read more great articles at Activist Post.




CLN RADIO NEW EPISODE: The Dark Side of Technology and the Human DILEMMA!

Alexis speaks with psychologist, spiritual advisor, and best-selling author Dr. Laurie Nadel about the dark side of technology and how the “human” is being taken from humanity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD37NA-THec

In an age of digital culture, we know there are rewards: the pleasure convenience, the ability to connect with individuals who share common values from all over the globe, and access to information one might never have found without the Global Internet. But there are also risks, and potentially they may have dire consequences. In this episode of Higher Journeys Radio, we explore the dark side of technology as we welcome back Dr. Laurie Nadel, a counseling psychologist, journalist, best-selling author, and spiritual practitioner. Today, Dr. Laurie and I weigh in on the risks from a multitude of levels, and why now it is imperative that we take stock in just how much of ourselves we wish to give over to a computer generated reality.

Dark side of technology

Some of the issues we discuss include:

  • How a significant amount of her own patients are coming in for therapy because of something that happened on Facebook.
  • Why individuals are so willing to share their personal lives with “strangers” on social media.
  • Was digital culture planned or planted, and if so, to what end?
  • How phone sex has now morphed into “sexting,” and how issues like erectile disfunction are now being blamed on overuse of technology for sexual gratification
  • The overuse of emojis and how icons have replaced language.
  • What questions we all need to be asking ourselves before we give our lives (or even some part of it) to technology.

For full show notes and other extras on this episode visit HERE.

When it comes to looking at the dark side of technology, there are many questions to be answered. There’s much to sort out. But one thing that Dr. Laurie reminds us all, no matter how big the temptation (or push) to use technology, is to exercise our right to choice, and learn how to draw a line in the sand when it comes to how much we allow technology into our lives.

This is a MUST-LISTEN/WATCH for everyone reading this today!

laurie_nadelDr. Nadel is a nationally recognized expert on mental health issues stemming from catastrophic events. After September 11, 2001, she was quoted in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Reuters and the Associated Press.  She appeared as an expert on CNN. Since Hurricane Sandy, Dr. Nadel’s work with survivors has been featured in The New York TimesNewsday, CNN.com, and the Associated Press and other publications and websites.  She was interviewed on National Public Radio’s Here and Now noontime broadcast.

Laurie Nadel, Ph.D. has been in private practice since 1991.  A psychotherapist and business coach certified by the International Coach Federation, Dr. Nadel is a master practitioner of neurolinguistic programming (NLP).  Her clients include CEO’s, entrepreneurs, Broadway stars and professionals from many different countries.  Phone and Skype sessions are available upon request.  She has been a guest on Oprah and Coast-to-Coast AM with Art Bell and George Noory.

Visit her website at: www.laurienadel.com and at mindbodynetwork.com/laurie-nadel

 

iTunes3

If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to our show on iTunes!

About the Author:

alexisheadshotv2Alexis Brooks is the #1 best-selling author of Conscious Musings, writer/editor for CLN and host of Higher Journeys Radio. Alexis brings over 30 years of broadcast media experience to CLN. For over half of that time, Alexis has dedicated her work to the medium of alternative journalism, having researched and reported on the many aspects and angles of metaphysics, spirituality and new thought concepts.

This article and its accompanying media was originally created and produced by Higher Journeys in association Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alexis Brooks, HigherJourneys.com and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




Wikileaks Founder Reveals More Reasons Why the TPP Should Never Become Law

By Unattributed | * Aircrap

Julian Assange

“Once We’re In, We’re Stuck Forever” Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange knows more about the contents of the TPP than most members of Congress and is doing much more to inform the American public than any of our so-called representatives with the lone exception of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL). He has no restrictions other than his politically-motivated confinement to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on his freedom to disclose the truth to the world and he is sounding the alarm.

Assange described it in a “Democracy Now” interview as being “not formally classified but being treated as if it is classified in terms of how the information is being managed.” He says, “It is very well-guarded from the press and the majority of people and even from Congressman, but 600 U.S. companies are part of the process and have been given access to various parts of the TPP.”

He continues, “It’s the largest ever international economic treaty that has ever been negotiated. Very, considerably larger than NAFTA, it is mostly not about trade. Only five of the twenty-nine chapters are about traditional trade. The others are about regulating the Internet. Internet service providers have to collect information; they have to hand it over to companies under certain circumstances. It’s about regulating labor, what labor conditions can be applied, regulating whether you can favor a local industry, regulating the hospital health care system, privatization of hospitals.”

[Read more here]

Originally entitled: “WikiLeaks’ Assange – TPP Not Only Trade 83% Is Fascists Controlling Our Daily Lives”

Robert O'Leary 150x150

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

 




Disposable People: Obama, the TPP & Human Rights Betrayal

By Jim Miller | San Diego Free Press

During the lead-up to the vote on the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) that the President narrowly won, Obama and his surrogates consistently suggested that those in labor and other allied groups opposing the deal were “fighting the last war” and were against “the most progressive trade agreement the world has ever seen.” Indeed, he even went so far as to accuse critics like Senator Elizabeth Warren of “making stuff up”.

As we know, Obama defeated labor and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and, in concert with Republicans and just enough New Democrats like San Diego’s own Scott Peters and Susan Davis, he succeeded in forwarding the multinational corporate agenda.

Since that time the gaze of the national media has turned elsewhere and, as negotiations have encountered difficulties, the administration has sunk to new lows in its zeal to finish the deal on the TPP.

Indeed, after scolding critics and pooh-poohing concerns about human rights, it appears that the proponents of “the most progressive trade deal in history” aren’t so politically correct that they would stand in the way of slavery in the name of ideological purity if it might sink the TPP.

As Reuters reported in a piece that will surely make Project Censored’s list of the most under-reported stories of 2015:

[An] examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, shows that the government office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior American diplomats and pressured into inflating assessments of 14 strategically important countries in this year’s Trafficking in Persons report.

In all, analysts in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons – or J/TIP, as it’s known within the U.S. government — disagreed with U.S. diplomatic bureaus on ratings for 17 countries, the sources said.

The analysts, who are specialists in assessing efforts to combat modern slavery – such as the illegal trade in humans for forced labor or prostitution – won only three of those disputes, the worst ratio in the 15-year history of the unit, according to the sources.

As a result, not only Malaysia, Cuba and China, but countries such as India, Uzbekistan and Mexico, wound up with better grades than the State Department’s human-rights experts wanted to give them, the sources said.

Why does this matter? As The Fiscal Times notes, it has nothing to do with human rights and everything to do with the politics of the TPP:

Last year, the State Department listed Malaysia among the world’s worst human trafficking nations because of “limited efforts to improve its flawed victim protection regime.” The report described a horrendous life for Malaysia’s foreign workers, threatened by large smuggling debts and confiscated passports that put them at the mercy of recruiting companies. Women in particular, recruited for hotel or beauty salon work, are routinely coerced into the commercial sex trade.

The conviction rate for smugglers has actually fallen in Malaysia since last year’s report, suggesting no improvement on fighting human trafficking. One house of Malaysia’s parliament did pass legislation giving more protections to slavery victims, but it further criminalizes something that’s already illegal. The problem has always been sustained enforcement. The U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia, Joseph Yun, criticized the lack of will to defend trafficking victims as recently as this April. Yet an unnamed administration official told Reuters that the U.S. had been working closely with Malaysian leaders to remedy the problem.

The political implications of reclassifying Malaysia suggest another rationale for the upgrade. During the markup of trade promotion authority (aka “fast track”), signed into law by the president last month, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) passed a provision denying access to fast-track procedures for any trade partner in Tier 3 on the human trafficking report.

As Zach Carter’s reporting in “Obama Shrugs Off Global Slavery to Protect Trade Deal” in the Huffington Post suggests, this move was about as craven as you can get:

The Obama administration outraged human rights advocates on Monday by removing Malaysia from its list of the world’s worst human trafficking offenders — a move that the activists said damages U.S. credibility — simply to boost the president’s trade agenda.

“The Administration has turned its back on the victims of trafficking,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a written statement. “They have elevated politics over the most basic principles of human rights.”

Hundreds of Democrats and a handful of Republicans had previously urged the State Department to maintain Malaysia’s ranking as a “Tier 3” human trafficking violator. For years, the Malaysian government has largely turned a blind eye to sex slavery involving men, women and children. Forced labor is rampant in several sectors of the country’s economy, particularly the electronics industry. In April, mass graves holding more than 130 human trafficking victims were discovered near the country’s northern border with Thailand. That same month, the U.S. ambassador to Malaysia said the government needed to take human trafficking prosecution more seriously. Nevertheless, the State Department officially upgraded Malaysia’s status to Tier 2.

By ignoring modern day slavery to advance the TPP, Obama has given the lie to the rhetoric of TPP advocates with all their bluster about how this trade deal was somehow about a more progressive world order with regard to labor and human rights. As the Citizens Trade Campaign noted in their statement on the matter, “The administration’s alleged willingness to turn a blind eye to trafficking abuses in Malaysia in order to get the TPP done also does not bode well for the hope of any enforcement of labor and environmental provisions were the TPP actually enacted.  If the administration were serious about using the TPP to enforce basic rights, they would make such enforcement a prerequisite to joining.”

In many ways, the Obama administration’s complicity with global slavery in the name of furthering the neoliberal economic agenda is not surprising. As Kevin Bales documents in his seminal work, Disposable People: The New Slavery in the Global Economy, today’s bondage is no longer about race but rather economics.

More specifically, modernization and rapid economic globalization in concert with an exploding population has created a situation where labor markets have been flooded with desperately poor people, 27 million of whom have ended up in some form of slavery. According to Bales, “Modern slaveholders are predators keenly aware of weakness; they are rapidly adapting an ancient practice to the new global economy.”

[Read more here]

Originally entitled: “Disposable People: Obama, the TPP, and the Betrayal of Human Rights”

Robert O'Leary 150x150Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealth andbeauty@gmail.com.



Recent Congressional News About the TPP

By Sander M. Levin | House Ways and Means Committee

Stop-TPP

 
Editor’s Note: with a possible vote just weeks away, and lobbyists reportedly already knocking on congressional doors , it is that time again to begin telling our legislators how we feel about it. While the mainstream media act like it does not exist, there is at least some discussion of it going on in the U.S. Congress. Here is part of what happened in a recent congressional hearing.
Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today [i.e., January 13, 2015]testified at a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing on the potential economic impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement on the United States. An extended version of Rep. Levin’s full submitted testimony can be found here.

(Remarks as prepared)

“The Commission’s report on the potential economic impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) comes at a turning point in American trade policy.

“We all recognize that trade can be beneficial. The issue is not whether Members of Congress such as myself could pass an Econ 101 class, as President George W. Bush’s Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Gregory Mankiw, recently put it. Instead, the issue is whether we are going to face up to the fact that our trading system today is much more complex than the simplistic trade model presented in an Econ 101 class.

“What do David Ricardo and Adam Smith have to say about the inclusion of investor-state dispute settlement in our trade agreements? What do they have to say about providing a five-year or an eight-year monopoly for the sale of biologic medicines? About the need to ensure that our trading partners meet basic labor and environmental standards? How about the issue of currency manipulation? And what about trade in services on the internet or the offshoring of jobs that result from greater capital mobility? Does the theory of comparative advantage address these new issues?  No – and yet those are the kinds of issues at the crux of the debate over the TPP Agreement today.

“As you know, one of the most critical economic issues facing our country today is growing economic inequality and a stagnant middle class.

“There is growing agreement among economists today that trade contributes to economic inequality in the United States, with estimates ranging from 10% to 50% of the total inequality growth.

“Against this backdrop the Commission is now charged with undertaking an economic analysis of this Agreement. It will need to cut through the simplistic and prevalent generalizations in the debate today that trade is categorically good or bad. It will need to move beyond the old models.

“The most recent example of an economic analysis of the TPP was completed by the World Bank and was released just last week. The World Bank’s analysis suggests that the TPP will result in a 0.3-.0.4 percent rise in total, cumulative GDP in the United States by 2030 – a very small figure.

“In my view, the World Bank report raises a number of issues regarding the manner in which typical economic analysis of trade agreements are completed, and which I hope the Commission will avoid.

“First, the World Bank bases its analysis on the computable general equilibrium (CGE) models, which has a number of defects.

“Second, the authors conclude that tariff cuts account for only 15% of the increase in GDP resulting from the TPP, with cuts in non-tariff barriers accounting for the remainder of the gains. But the authors merely assume that the provisions in TPP will eliminate some portion of the non-tariff barriers without analyzing the obligations in any detail.

“Third, TPP is about much more than cuts in tariffs and non-tariff regulatory barriers.

“The Commission’s upcoming report needs to reflect how trade policy and economic thinking has changed over the years, how the TPP involves both trade and  international investment issues, as well as global rules in new areas with a large, economically significant and very diverse group of countries.

“Specifically, I urge the Commission to consider the following points:

  • The Commission should estimate not only the long-term impact of the Agreement, but its impact in the short-term, including any costs and benefits associated with the transition. Further, most economic models of trade agreements assume a fluid labor market in which, if someone loses their job, that person can easily find a similar job. The Commission should analyze the ability of workers in sectors negatively affected by the TPP to be able to find commensurate employment after losing their job. The Commission should also avoid assumptions that are unrealistic at least in the short-term, such as full employment.
  • There are claims being made on both sides about the impact that our trade agreements have on the U.S. trade deficit. While proponents of trade agreements often tout the benefits of increased exports, the Commission needs to fully consider the impact that increased imports have had on our economy as well. And it would be helpful to hear from the Commission as to what impact trade agreements have on U.S. trade balances.
  • The Commission should estimate the impact the Agreement will have on jobs, wages, and inequality. For instance, if the Commission finds that the U.S. economy will see gains from the TPP, in which sectors will those gains be realized? In other words, the Commission should explicitly examine who will win and who will lose as result of this agreement, with a particular focus on income distribution.
  • What economic impact would compliance with basic international labor standards have in the TPP region, and will the TPP Agreement ensure compliance with those standards? For example, Mexico today falls far short of those standards. How would labor standard compliance affect competitiveness between the United States and Mexico?
  • Will the investment protections and other provisions in the Agreement make it more likely that U.S. producers will offshore production to other TPP countries?
  • What impact will the intellectual property rules in TPP have on drug prices in the United States, and in other countries, particularly poorer ones?
  • What impact will the environment chapter of TPP have on the United States economy?
  • What impact will the relative weakening of the automotive rules of origin in TPP have on the North American supply chain that has been greatly influenced by the stronger rules in NAFTA?
  • What issues aren’t addressed in TPP that could nullify or impair the benefits of the Agreement? For example, an incredibly important issue that has traditionally been neglected in economic analyses of trade agreements is currency manipulation, even though currency values have such a big impact on trade flows.

[Read more here]

Originally entitled: Levin Testimony at ITC TPP Hearing”

Robert O'Leary 150x150

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty.




Government Spying is “Chilling” Writers’ Freedom of Expression (Project Censored #7)

By Shelby Meyers & Mickey Huff | * Project Censored

Charges Dropped in Student Laptop Spying CaseMass surveillance has “badly shaken writers’ faith that democratic governments will respect their rights to privacy and freedom of expression,” according to a January 2015 PEN America report based on the responses of 772 writers from fifty countries. Reporting for Common Dreams, Lauren McCauley covered not only the PEN America report, but also a July 2014 report by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch indicating that US journalists and lawyers increasingly avoid work on potentially controversial topics due to fear of government spying.

McCauley’s January 2015 Common Dreams story quoted one of the conclusions from the PEN America report: “If writers avoid exploring topics for fear of possible retribution, the material available to readers—particularly those seeking to understand the most controversial and challenging issues facing the world today—may be greatly impoverished.”

[Read more here]

*Originally entitled: #7 Fear of Government Spying is “Chilling” Writers’ Freedom of Expression

Sources:

Lauren McCauley, “Fear of Government Spying ‘Chilling’ Writers’ Speech Worldwide,” Common Dreams, January 5, 2015, https://commondreams.org/news/2015/01/05/fear-government-spying-chilling-writers-speech-worldwide.

Lauren McCauley, “Government Surveillance Threatens Journalism, Law and Thus Democracy: Report,” Common Dreams, July 28, 2014, https://commondreams.org/news/2014/07/28/government-surveillance-threatens-journalism-law-and-thus-democracy-report.

Robert O'Leary 150x150

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty.

 




Reality Check: The NSA Hasn’t Actually Stopped Spying on Anybody – Ben Swann

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1gXZZ_qxjE

Video Source: Ben Swann

You might have heard that as of this week the NSA is no longer capturing your phone call and text message data. But is that really true? Find out in this episode of Reality Check with Ben Swann.

Related Posts: 

Project Censored #3: ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine

Wikipedia is Suing the NSA For Their Surveillance of US Citizens

Project Censored #24: NSA’s AURORAGOLD Program Hacks Cell Phones Around World




Project Censored #3: ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine

By Kori Williams & Nick Sedenquist | * Project Censored

(Photo cropped from EFF Photos via flickr)

(Photo cropped from EFF Photos via flickr)

Based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, Ryan Gallagher reported for the Intercept that the National Security Agency (NSA) has developed a “Google-like” search engine called ICREACH, which has the capacity to gather personal information. This search engine can access over 850 million personal records, including private e-mails, chats, and some phone locations. The NSA is sharing the data collected through its ICREACH program with nearly two dozen US government agencies. “The documents provide the first definitive evidence,” Gallagher wrote, “that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies.” Planning documents specifically identify the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as “core participants,” Gallagher reported.

According to a December 2007 NSA secret document, “The ICREACH team delivered the first-ever wholesale sharing of communications metadata within the U.S. Intelligence Community.” The Interceptreported that one key issue raised by the ICREACH program is whether domestic law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI or the DEA, have used ICREACH to trigger secret investigations of US citizens through a controversial process known as “parallel construction.” As Gallagher explained, parallel construction involves information gathered covertly by law enforcement agents, who subsequently create a new evidence trail that excludes the original, covert one. “This hides the true origin of the investigation from defense lawyers and, on occasion, prosecutors and judges—which means the legality of the evidence that triggered the investigation cannot be challenged in court.”

[Read more here]

*Originally entitled: “#18 ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine”

Sources:

Ryan Gallagher, “The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google,” Intercept, August 25, 2014, https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/08/25/icreach-nsa-cia-secret-google-crisscross-proton/.

Jack Crone, “NSA Builds Its Own Google: Spy Agency Secretly Providing Data to Dozens of Government Agencies with Search Engine that Shares 850 Billion Phone and Email Records,” Daily Mail (UK), August 26, 2014, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2734498/NSA-builds-Google-Spy-agency-secretly-providing-data-dozens-government-agencies-search-engine-shares-850-BILLION-phone-email-records.html.

Robert O'Leary 150x150Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products and modalities since the early 1970’s, and he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist and father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive and safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England and “virtually” the world, through his new website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com




These 3 Judges Hold the Fate Of The Internet In Their Hands

net neutralityBy Brian Fung | The Washington Post

Next week, a federal appeals court in Washington will hear one of its biggest cases of the year, one whose outcome will directly affect how Internet providers can alter your experience online.

Related Article: FBI Seeks Backdoors in New Technology (Project Censored #20)

At stake are the government’s net neutrality rules banning telecom and cable companies from unfairly discriminating against new or potential rivals. Using their power in the marketplace to control what services consumers can access from their smartphones, tablets and PCs, Internet providers could be granted more latitude to favor preferred Web sites — if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit says so.

Related Article: Big Win for Net Neutrality Advocates

Three judges from the D.C. Circuit have been named to hear the oral argument on Dec. 4. Much like the Supreme Court, the very makeup of this panel could subtly shape the course of events. What do we know about the judges? Are they familiar with the issues? How might they vote? Below, get briefly acquainted with each one ahead of the big day.

Related Article: The Biggest Danger to Net Neutrality is Now Political, Not Legal

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…




FBI Seeks Backdoors in New Technology (Project Censored #20)

By Chelsea McCampbell & Elliot D. Cohen | * Project Censored

FBI Surveillance

Responding to announcements by Apple and Google that they would make customers’ smartphone and computer data more secure, in October 2014 the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s director James Comey announced that the Bureau was seeking to enlarge its data collection capabilities to include direct access to cell phones, tablets, and computers through an expansion of the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). Comey told an audience at the Brookings Institution that expanding surveillance was in the interest of “public safety” to protect the nation against “potential terrorist threats.”

According to the FBI director, “Unfortunately, the law hasn’t kept pace with technology, and this disconnect has created a significant public-safety problem.” Specifically, Comey called on Congress to update CALEA to mandate all software and hardware providers to build interception methods into their products and services.

The debate hinges on this language in CALEA: “A telecommunications carrier shall not be responsible for decrypting, or ensuring the government’s ability to decrypt, any communication encrypted by a subscriber or customer, unless the encryption was provided by the carrier and the carrier possesses the information necessary to decrypt the communication.” Commenting on CALEA and Comey’s appeal, Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote, “Nothing in the bill is intended to limit or otherwise prevent the use of any type of encryption within the United States. Nor does the Committee intend this bill to be in any way a precursor to any kind of ban or limitation on encryption technology.”

[Read more here]

*Originally entitled: “#20 FBI Seeks Backdoors in New Communications Technology”

Sources:

“FBI Wants Congress to Mandate Backdoors in Tech Devices to Facilitate Surveillance,” Homeland Security News Wire, October 20, 2014, https://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20141020-fbi-wants-congress-to-mandate-backdoors-in-tech-devices-to-facilitate-surveillance.

Cindy Cohn, Jeremy Gillula, and Seth Schoen, “What Default Phone Encryption Really Means For Law Enforcement,” Vice News, October 8, 2014, https://news.vice.com/article/what-default-phone-encryption-really-means-for-law-enforcement.

Ed Pilkington, “FBI Demands New Powers to Hack into Computers and Carry out Surveillance,” Guardian, October 29, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/29/fbi-powers-hacking-computers-surveillance.

Robert O'Leary 150x150

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com




Project Censored #24: NSA’s AURORAGOLD Program Hacks Cell Phones Around World

By Michael Brannon & Peter Phillips | Project Censored

The House of Representatives passed the USA Freedom Act on Wednesday with a 338-88 vote, but experts say that powers of mass surveillance will continue, and even expand, if the bill passes and becomes law. (Image: EFF/flickr/cc)

Editor’s Note: As you may recall, within the last year, I have featured most of Project Censored’s 2013-2014 Top 25 List. Now the latest list, for 2014-2015, has been released. Here is Project Censored # 24 article and stay tuned for more to come each week.

The National Security Agency (NSA) has hacked cell phone networks worldwide for many years, according to a report in the Intercept based on documents provided by Edward Snowden. Ryan Gallagher’s article analyzed the contents of at least nine NSA documents that show how the NSA has spied on hundreds of companies, as well as other countries that are close to the US. As Gallagher reported, through a secret program codenamed AURORAGOLD, the NSA sought security weaknesses in cell phone technology to exploit for surveillance. Furthermore, Gallagher wrote, the documents also revealed NSA plans “to secretly introduce new flaws into communication systems,” which would make those systems easier for the NSA to access—a “controversial tactic,” Gallagher wrote, because doing so could expose “the general population to criminal hackers.”

AURORAGOLD monitored the contents of messages sent and received by over 1,200 e-mail accounts associated with major cell phone service providers. In some cases, this allowed the NSA to intercept “confidential company planning papers” that would help it “hack into phone networks,” Gallagher wrote.

“Even if you love the NSA and you say you have nothing to hide, you should be against a policy that introduces security vulnerabilities,” according to Karsten Nohl, a leading cell phone security expert and cryptographer. “Once NSA introduces a weakness, a vulnerability, it’s not only the NSA that can exploit it.”

[Read more here]

Source: Ryan Gallagher, “Operation Auroragold: How the NSA Hacks Cellphone Networks Worldwide,” Intercept, December 4, 2014, https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/04/nsa-auroragold-hack-cellphones/.

Robert O'Leary 150x150Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com.




Estonia Is a Global Example of E-Government, Digital Freedom, Privacy, and Security

By  Ashley Ibarra (San Francisco State University) [Student Researcher] and Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University) [Faculty Evaluator] | Project Censored

PrivacyWordCloud-34765999_m-680x380

Editor’s Note: Here’s an example of why we do not have to continue going “along for the ride” with politicians and corporations trying to put more and more controls on our lives. Estonia has thrived with a more balanced approach that could help us to find a better way for ourselves.

Since Estonia regained independence in 1991, its government has sought to redesign the nation’s entire information infrastructure with goals of openness, privacy, and security. The technology platform that Estonia built to serve its citizens sets an example for the rest of the world. Each citizen has one identification number to use across all systems, from paper passport to bank records to any government office or medical care. This includes giving electronic signatures, filing taxes, and voting. Estonians elect their parliament online, and get their taxes back in two days.

The liquid movement of data, along with privacy and security measures, are of primary importance. Citizens have the ability to choose who can see their information. A citizen cannot block the state from seeing their data, but they can see who has accessed their data and file an inquiry to have an official fired if their information is accessed without valid reason.

[Read more here]

DSC03391

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products and modalities since the early 1970’s, and he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist and father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive and safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England and “virtually” the world, through his new website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com



AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale

By Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson | The New York Times

GovernmentSpying-38253819_m-680x380-ModifiedThe National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.

While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.”

AT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013. AT&T has given the N.S.A. access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks. It provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order permitting the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, a customer of AT&T.

The N.S.A.’s top-secret budget in 2013 for the AT&T partnership was more than twice that of the next-largest such program, according to the documents. The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon. And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.

One document reminds N.S.A. officials to be polite when visiting AT&T facilities, noting, “This is a partnership, not a contractual relationship.”

The documents, provided by the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, were jointly reviewed by The New York Times and ProPublica. The N.S.A., AT&T and Verizon declined to discuss the findings from the files. “We don’t comment on matters of national security,” an AT&T spokesman said.

It is not clear if the programs still operate in the same way today. Since the Snowden revelations set off a global debate over surveillance two years ago, some Silicon Valley technology companies have expressed anger at what they characterize as N.S.A. intrusions and have rolled out new encryption to thwart them. The telecommunications companies have been quieter, though Verizon unsuccessfully challenged a court order for bulk phone records in 2014.

[Read more here]

Robert O'Leary 150x150Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealth andbeauty@gmail.com.  



Trans Pacific Partnership: Dissenting Lawmakers Punished as Corporate Takeover of United States Advances

Dr. Joseph Mercola | Guest Writer for Wake-Up World

Despite strong opposition, on June 24 the US Senate passed the Fast Track bill 1,2 (known as Trade Promotion Authority or TPA) that gives the President carte blanche to negotiate and finalize free trade deals in complete secrecy, which brings us one step closer to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP, which appears to be nothing short of a corporate takeover of global powers, has the legal ability to thwart all future attempts at protecting the public from genetically engineered (GE) foods. For this and many other reasons, the TPP must be stopped.

As explained by Ben Beachy and Ben Lilliston in recent interviews, the TPP, which involves the United States and 11 other countries around the Pacific Rim, is a vast expansion of terms already found in the notoriously unpopular North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). If ratified, the TPP will have tremendous ramifications for our health, economy, and environmental protections — not to mention the loss of individual, state, and national rights, as it sets up binding rules that supersede US law.

As noted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation 3 (the primary concern of which is the TPP’s impact on digital regulations), we have but one narrow window of opportunity left. The Fast Track legislation does force the White House to release the final trade agreement text 60 days before Congress votes on it, giving us a two-month long window to dissect it and convince our lawmakers not to ratify it.

In the meantime, we need to continue hammering our representatives, driving home the message that we will not accept a yes vote on TPP. Nor will we accept a yes vote on the Pompeo bill, which would also eliminate state rights to label and regulate GMOs. This is actual language from the Fast Track Bill introduced April 16, 2015:

Section (3) Trade in Agriculture (I)(ii)

(I) developing, strenthening, and clarifying rules to eliminate practices that unfairly decrease US market access opportunities… including:

(ii) unfustified trade restrictions or commercial requirements, such as labelling, that affect new technologies, including bio-technology;

Contact your Congressman now!

Please, contact your member of Congress and tell them to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While Fast Track passed, we may still prevent the TPP from becoming reality if we can convince Congress to vote against the ratification of it.

  1. Write down what you will say. You can use facts in this article and other articles discussing the free trade deal, but tell them to oppose the TPP when it comes up for vote.
  2. Rehearse what you will say.
  3. Remember to be respectful.

In the U.S., you can find your congressman by clicking this link.

The time to apply pressure is right NOW. In addition to the source above, you can also find contact information for your state’s Congressman and additional information on the TPP viaStopFastTrack.com, and ExposetheTPP.org.

Read the rest of the article on Wake-Up World here.