Barack Obama’s ‘Politics As Usual’ Revealed By Rod Blagojevich Trial

Obama’s action in trying to ease his friend Valerie Jarrett into his old Senate seat will fuel cynicism about politics.

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Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Photo: EPA

In a year when Americans are arguably more cynical and disillusioned about politics than at any time since Watergate, the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich is a sobering reminder of how its practitioners operate.

Although “Blago”, the foul-mouthed bouffant buffoon, is the main attraction of the Chicago production, the former Illinois governor’s reluctant co-star is Barack Obama. The President forms part of the proceedings each day even though the judge has spared him a personal experience.

Reports of the Blago trial cannot make comfortable reading for the White House for they provide what Mary Mitchell, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist, described as “an unfiltered look at how the sausage is made in Illinois”

Illinois, of course, is the state that gave us President Obama. It is where he cut his teeth as a community organiser and where he first began to ascend the greasy pole of politics by taking his seat in the state senate.

At issue in the Blago trial is whether the then governor was trying to sell the United States Senate seat that Obama ascended to in 2004 after his initial Republican opponent imploded.

Blago had the power to appoint a new Senator when the seat was vacated because of Obama’s presidential election victory in November 2008. Clearly, he thought the seat was a valuable prize.

“I got this thing and it’s f—— golden and I’m not just giving it up for f—— nothing,” he said in a conversation recorded by a federal wiretap. Blago’s instinct was that Obama – who he mockingly described as “this historic, f—— demi-god” – would be willing to pay to have his preferred choice be duly appointed.

That choice, the trial has confirmed, was Valerie Jarrett, who now rejoices in the title of senior White House adviser and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Her qualification to be a Senator? Jarrett had worked for Mayor Richard Daley and chaired the Chicago Transit Board. She had been a successful businesswoman in Chicago. But she had never held elected office and her name would not even have been mentioned had it not been for her closeness to the President-elect.

Jarrett was a long-time personal friend of Obama and his wife Michelle and that seemed to be qualification enough for the man about to enter the White House.

Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International Union’s powerful Local 1 branch, took on the role as “emissary” for Jarrett, who initially wanted the Senate seat, and testified that Obama telephoned him personally to speak about it.

Next, Obama’s incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel spoke to John Wyma, a lobbyist, who then telephoned Blago’s right-hand man John Harris to communicate that “the president-elect would be very pleased if you appointed Valerie and he would be, uh, thankful and appreciative”.

Blago’s problem seems to have been that he wanted something a little bit more concrete than appreciation. To be precise, his response was: “F— them.”

Read moreBarack Obama’s ‘Politics As Usual’ Revealed By Rod Blagojevich Trial

Intel Researchers Develop ‘Intelligent’ Surveillance Cars That Send Video Footage From Accidents to Authorities And Even Take Over Control From Motorists.

“Camera systems that can recognise street signs and then take over control of a car ….”

What could possibly go wrong?


Intelligent cars fitted with aircraft-style black boxes that can send video footage and information about driving behaviour during accidents to the police and insurance companies are being developed by computer scientists.

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An electrical car with Intel Connected Car applications sits on display at the Intel Research Day in Mountain View, California

The car, which is being developed by researchers at computer chip giant Intel, will record information about the vehicle speed, steering and braking along with video footage from inside and outside the vehicle.

This would be automatically sent to police and insurance companies in the event of an accident to make it easier to determine the cause of car crashes and identify the person responsible.

The device forms part of an intelligent car envisaged by researchers at computer chip giant Intel. They are developing technology that will transform cars into smart vehicles that are able to detect dangers on the road and even take over control from motorists.

They have been in discussions with car manufacturers about developing cars that are permanently connected to the internet and other vehicles using wireless technology.

Camera systems that can recognise street signs and then take over control of a car if the motorist tries to drive the wrong way up a one-way street, for example, are being developed for use in vehicles.

Read moreIntel Researchers Develop ‘Intelligent’ Surveillance Cars That Send Video Footage From Accidents to Authorities And Even Take Over Control From Motorists.

UK ‘Bin Police’ Punishes Hundreds of Households With Bigger Fines Than Those Given To Shoplifters

Council “bin police” are punishing hundreds of households with bigger fines than those given by police to shoplifters, it can be revealed.

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Councils are issuing fines of up to £110 for such infringements as putting their bins out for collection at the wrong time, over filling bins, or putting recycling into the wrong boxes

Figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph have revealed that local authorities issued more than 1,240 fixed penalty notices last year for breaking rules on recycling and putting out rubbish.

Councils are issuing fines of up to £110 for such infringements as putting their bins out for collection at the wrong time, over filling bins, or putting recycling into the wrong boxes.

That compares to the £80 spot fines that can be issued by police to people caught shoplifting.

The controversial rules have been condemned as “draconian” and are deeply unpopular with householders.

Read moreUK ‘Bin Police’ Punishes Hundreds of Households With Bigger Fines Than Those Given To Shoplifters

PM David Cameron orders Ministers to draw up 40 percent spending cuts – the biggest in history

Now also the UK government presents the bill for the bankster bailouts.


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Doomsday savings: Prime Minister David Cameron is preparing departments for cuts of up to 40 per cent

David Cameron is ready to approve the biggest public-spending cuts in the history of the developed world in a dramatic bid to cut ­Britain’s soaring national debt.

He has ordered Cabinet Ministers to draw up ‘Doomsday’ savings of up to a staggering 40 per cent which could see vast parts of the public ­services shut down and tens of thousands of policemen, teachers, town hall workers and other civil servants lose their jobs.

The proposed cutbacks are even more extreme than emergency reductions used in other countries such as Canada and Ireland and are double the amount of the Geddes cuts imposed after the First World War when Britain faced bankruptcy from government debt and waste.

Read morePM David Cameron orders Ministers to draw up 40 percent spending cuts – the biggest in history

US: TSA to Block ‘Controversial Opinion’ on the Internet

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is blocking certain websites from the federal agency’s computers, including halting access by staffers to any Internet pages that contain a “controversial opinion,” according to an internal email obtained by CBS News.

The email was sent to all TSA employees from the Office of Information Technology on Friday afternoon.

It states that as of July 1, TSA employees will no longer be allowed to access five categories of websites that have been deemed “inappropriate for government access.”

The categories include:

• Chat/Messaging

• Controversial opinion

• Criminal activity

• Extreme violence (including cartoon violence) and gruesome content

• Gaming

The email does not specify how the TSA will determine if a website expresses a “controversial opinion.”

There is also no explanation as to why controversial opinions are being blocked, although the email stated that some of the restricted websites violate the Employee Responsibilities and Conduct policy.

The TSA did not return calls seeking comment by publication time.

Source: CBS NEWS

Governments wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer money on swine flu drugs and vaccines

Ministers ‘wasted millions on stockpile of swine flu drugs for epidemic that never arrived’ (Daily Mail):

More than £1.2billion of taxpayers’ money was spent on the swine flu pandemic that never materialised, a report has found

AP IMPACT: 40 million doses of expired swine flu vaccine to be burned; $260 million lost (Chicago Tribune):

ATLANTA (AP) — About a quarter of the swine flu vaccine produced for the U.S. public has expired — meaning that a whopping 40 million doses worth about $260 million are being written off as trash.

“It’s a lot, by historical standards,” said Jerry Weir, who oversees vaccine research and review for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The outdated vaccine, some of which expired Wednesday, will be incinerated. The amount, as much as four times the usual leftover seasonal flu vaccine, likely sets a record. And that’s not even all of it.

About 30 million more doses will expire later and may go unused, according to one government estimate. If all that vaccine expires, more than 43 percent of the supply for the U.S. public will have gone to waste.

Howard Davidowitz: Obama is ‘Mr. Mass Destruction’ – US Economy ‘Is a Complete Disaster’

The U.S. economy is in shambles and Americans will continue to see high unemployment and lower living standards in the years to come, Howard Davidowitz tells Henry and Aaron in the accompanying clip.

Davidowitz lays much of the blame for the economy’s woes at the feet of the Obama administration, which he calls “the worst of my lifetime.”

Obama “Mr. Mass Destruction”

Davidowitz says that the key to Obama’s success is his ability to sell his policies to the public. He can confidently read from a teleprompter and appear competent and in control, when in reality, “it’s one big bag of empty words,” Davidowitz says of Obama’s messages.

Davidowitz contends that the President’s spending, including the health-care bill, is creating massive deficits that will take the U.S. years to dig itself out of.  “He is Mr. Mass Destruction,” Davidowitz says of Obama. “I mean he is a human destroyer. This guy has spent his way into oblivion and we don’t have a budget. He is surrounded by a bunch of complete incompetents, led by himself. “

Read moreHoward Davidowitz: Obama is ‘Mr. Mass Destruction’ – US Economy ‘Is a Complete Disaster’

Warning To Gulf Volunteers: Almost Every Cleanup Worker From The 1989 Exxon Valdez Disaster Is Now Dead

Are you sure that you want to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? In a previous article we documented a number of the health dangers from this oil spill that many scientists are warning us of, and now it has been reported on CNN that the vast majority of those who worked to clean up the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska are now dead. Yes, you read that correctly. Almost all of them are dead.

In fact, the expert that CNN had on said that the life expectancy for those who worked to clean up the Exxon Valdez oil spill is only about 51 years. Considering the fact that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is now many times worse than the Exxon Valdez disaster, are you sure you want to volunteer to be on a cleanup crew down there? After all, the American Dream is not to make big bucks for a few months helping BP clean up their mess and then drop dead 20 or 30 years early.

(Bonus: Uncovered BP Document Brags Of Declining Production Costs)

This news clip from CNN is absolutely stunning.  If this is even close to true, then why would anyone want to be involved in helping to clean up this oil?….

The truth is that what we have out in the Gulf of Mexico is a “toxic soup” of oil, methane, benzene, hydrogen sulfide, other toxic gases and very poisonous chemical dispersants such as Corexit 9500.

Breathing all of this stuff is not good for your health, but the reality is that the true health toll of this oil spill is not going to be known for decades.

However, the early reports are not encouraging….

*Already, a large number of workers cleaning up the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico report that they are suffering from flu-like symptoms.

*According to another new report, exposure to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has resulted in 162 cases of illnesses reported to the Louisiana state health department.

*In addition, according to one local Pensacola news source,  400 people have sought medical care for upper or lower respiratory problems, headaches, nausea, and eye irritation after trips to Escambia County beaches.”

Read moreWarning To Gulf Volunteers: Almost Every Cleanup Worker From The 1989 Exxon Valdez Disaster Is Now Dead

Schwarzenegger administration orders minimum wage for state workers

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Schwarzenegger administration today ordered State Controller John Chiang to reduce state worker pay for July to the federal minimum allowed by law — $7.25 an hour for most state workers.

The instructions from the Department of Personnel Administration exclude roughly 37,000 state workers in six bargaining units that recently came to tentative labor agreements with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Some employees, such as doctors and lawyers, would get no pay because federal exempts them from any minimum wage requirement. Managers, supervisors and others who don’t get paid for working more than 40 hours per week would receive $455 per week until a budget deal got done.

Read moreSchwarzenegger administration orders minimum wage for state workers