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Since the Dilly, Dally, Delay & Stall Law Firms are adding their billable hours, the Toyota U.S.A. and Route 44 Toyota posts have been separated here:

Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon

Monday, March 31, 2014

RSN: Obamacare, Fighting the Militarized State, Neo-Nazis, Plutocracy Without End, A High Seas Fishing Ban?, et al

Live on the HomePage Now:
Reader Supported News

FOCUS: Robert Parry | Ukraine's Inconvenient Neo-Nazis
Neo-Nazis at Ukrainian protests. (photo: Drugoi)
Robert Parry, Consortium News
Parry writes: "Ukraine's neo-Nazis are not some urban legend. Their presence is real, as they swagger in their paramilitary garb through the streets of Kiev, displaying Nazi insignias, honoring SS collaborators from World War II, and hoisting racist banners, including the white-power symbol of the Confederate battle flag."

FOCUS: Charles Pierce | The GOP's Last Line of Defense on Obamacare
Rick Santorum. (photo: unknown)
Charles Pierce, Esquire
Pierce writes: "Apparently, the last line of defense that the Republicans have on the Affordable Care Act is to argue that the administration is cooking the books."
It's Live on the HomePage Now:
Reader Supported News

Chris Hedges | Fighting the Militarized State
Alexa O’Brien speaks to reporters during a news conference on March 29, 2012, in New York. (photo: AP/Mary Altaffer)
Chris Hedges, TruthDig
Hedges writes: "The lawsuit, Hedges v. Obama, challenges Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It was signed into law the last day of 2011."

Thomas Frank | Plutocracy Without End
Thomas Frank, Salon
Frank writes: "I've been writing about what we politely call 'inequality' since the mid-1990s, but one day about ten years ago, when I was traveling the country lecturing about the toxic curlicues of right-wing culture, it dawned on me that maybe I had been getting the entire story wrong."

Anonymous Strikes Albuquerque Police in Retaliation for Shooting
Russell Contreras, Associated Press
Contreras writes: "A protest over deadly police shootings turned from peaceful into 'mayhem,' Albuquerque's mayor said late Sunday, as officers in riot gear clashed with demonstrators."

Disgruntled Worker Sets Fire, Destroys US Nuclear Submarine
David Sharp, Associated Press
Sharp writes: "The Navy said farewell Friday to the USS Miami, the nuclear-powered submarine whose service was cut short when a shipyard employee trying to get out of work set it on fire, causing $700 million in damage."

FBI to Probe Killing of Homeless Man by NM Police
Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor
Jonsson writes: "The FBI has now launched a criminal probe into why Albuquerque police officers on the scene killed the man, James Boyd, as he appeared to be giving up."

US Joint Chiefs Chairman to Israel for Talks on Mutual Strategic Interests
Agence France-Presse
Excerpt: "The chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff is heading to Israel for talks on mutual strategic interests after Israel's defence minister upset Washington with remarks criticising US foreign policy."

A High Seas Fishing Ban? (Almost) Everybody Wins
John Upton, Grist
Upton writes: "When it comes to fishing, most of the ocean is lawless."

Koch Brothers fibs, fables, fictions, fabrications, forgeries and falsehoods

This Congressman has stood up for the future of America.

Whether you stand up behind him will help determine the direction of our Nation.  

You can watch silently as the world drowns in Koch Brothers' fibs, fables, fictions, fabrications, forgeries and falsehoods. Or you can help our campaign beat them back. Deadline: Midnight
Support Alan before the end-of-quarter deadline.

DailyKos: 'What's the headline here? Stock market's rigged!', •GOP's Obamacare spite means death toll for red states,

Daily Kos Recommended

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CounterCurrents: IPCC Report Predicts A Dark Future For The Planet, Climate Crisis Is Increasing Insecurity, et al

Dear Friend,

If you think the content of this news letter is critical for the dignified living and survival of humanity and other species on earth, please forward it to your friends and spread the word. It's time for humanity to come together as one family! You can subscribe to our news letter here You can also follow us on twitter, and on Facebook,

In Solidarity
Binu Mathew

IPCC Report Predicts A Dark Future For The Planet
By Countercurrents

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II report published today in Yokohoma, Japan paint a dark future for global humanity and other species on earth. It predicts violent conflicts, food shortages and infrastructure damage in the coming decades, while a growing number of animals and marine species will face increased risk of extinction. The report was compiled by more than 300 authors from 70 different countries with contributions from thousands of global experts

Climate Crisis Is Increasing Insecurity
By Farooque Chowdhury

Climate crisis generated increased insecurity is now boldly visible. IPCC, the global scientists’ panel on climate change, for the first time, has connected climate crisis to possibilities of conflicts

Climate Crisis: Reduce Meat, Dairy Consumption
By Countercurrents

Greenhouse gas emissions from food production may threaten the UN climate target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, finds a research at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Beautiful Sunsets (and Sunrises) In Art
By Subhankar Banerjee

The question is: What is the long–term stress acidification from Arctic haze might put on the fragile Arctic ecology? While we don’t know this yet, the haze might also be contributing to the rapid polar melt

Adam Smith's Invisible Hand Is At Our Throats
By John Scales Avery

For the reasons mentioned here, we can see that an economic system where selfishness and greed are exalted as the mainspring for human actions lacks both a social conscience and an ecological conscience. Both these dimensions are needed for the long-term survival of human civilization and the biosphere

MH 370: Respecting One's Friends
By Chandra Muzaffar

As someone who for many years has defended the peaceful rise of China as a global power as a positive development that will lead to the emergence of a more equitable multi-polar international order, it is imperative that China demonstrates greater sensitivity towards its neighbours. It should never be seen as a nation with a narrow, blinkered view of its own interests with little empathy for the honour and dignity of other people, especially those who are its true and tested friends. The MH 370 tragedy has brought this issue to the fore

I Didn't Sign Up For Third
By Tim Gatto

Everything you hear in the Mainstream media is suspect. Everything that comes out of Congress is suspect. The President lies to his people. The government spies on us. This is something I didn't sign up for

Crimean crisis: The smell Of American Hypocrisy In The Air
By Kourosh Ziabari

The United States is imparting a clear message by adopting this insincere and hypocritical approach toward Russia, which is also a message to other countries: We can invade your countries, we can kill your citizens, we can rule you tyrannically, we can behave in any way we desire, but if you do something which doesn’t please us, we will impose sanctions on you, we will banish you from international organizations, and we will come down on you like a ton of bricks. This is how the American hypocrisy works

Of UN And Harassment Of Kashmiri Students
By Abdul Majid Zargar

The democratic credentials of India touched a nadir when 67 Kashmiri students studying in a Meerut University were charged with sedition and expelled from the university for cheering for Pakistan cricket team. Since then news of hounding & harassment of Kashmiri students are pouring in from many other Indian States as well. Though charges of sedition have since been dropped, the other charges of rioting & promoting enmity between different group etc. still remain, jeopardizing the career of many a meritorious student

One of The Heroes!

Mark Udall has been one of the Heroes in the Senate who has spoken out for ALL Americans and stood up to vested interests.

I share the email below so that we all know what the 'Dark Money' of Hidden Campaign Contributions from those such as Sheldon Adelson is doing.

As Americans, we have a choice this year more than ever.

We can get involved, make a nominal contribution to keep those Heroes in Washington fighting for us. We can make some phone calls, volunteer for the campaign....Get involved!

Thanks for all you do!

Mark Udall for Colorado

Deadline: Midnight Tonight

Yesterday Congressman Cory Gardner was in Las Vegas meeting billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate and GOP super funder. Adelson spent more than $100 million in 2012 supporting Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, and now he has his eyes set on us. Think of him as the Koch brother of the West.

Congressman Gardner already has the Koch brothers on his side for his race against Mark Udall. We don't need more billionaires spending big to take over Colorado for the special interests.

With each passing day, it becomes more and more important to hit our $100,000 fundraising deadline. We have just $19,446 left to go and only 14 hours to get there. Can you give just $5 right now?

The Koch brothers have already dumped nearly $1 million into false television ads to distort Mark's record, and there will be millions more spent on Colorado's airwaves.

We can't match the outside spending, but we can build a strong ground game inside Colorado to spread the truth about Mark's record across the state.

That's why these end-of-quarter fundraising goals are so important. Mark needs support from his grassroots network to build up a defense from the big money. Can you give $5 right now?

I can't overstate the importance of tonight's deadline. We must counter Congressman Gardner's sudden entry into the race with a strong fundraising report to show the pundits and the media Mark's strength.

Thanks for your support at this critical time,

Adam Dunstone | Udall for Colorado




Can we talk about Climate Change now?

Europe's climate impacts have never hit closer to home.
Now it's time for Europe's leaders to commit to action.
I’ve seen all the hard data, digested all the scary graphs, seen all the heartbreaking photos from the Arctic. I’ve heard reports from other people across the world [on] what impact climate change is having on their lives and there’s nothing that I...

As Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Midwest Program Director Henry Henderson explained in a 2010 article, “heavy crude [is] code for tar sands.”
Is it conventional crude or tar sands? That is the question. And it's one with

Conservatives Are Destroying Our Future's photo.

Big business loves welfare, just not for common folk. ~Rick
‪#‎cadof‬ ‪#‎uniteblue‬

Like & share Conservatives Are Destroying Our Future today


This & that....

Matters for America's photo.

Since the news media is going to obscure the truth about access to contraceptives for American women, get the truth for yourself:

Robert Reich's photo.
Many of you express outrage about what’s happening to our democracy and our economy. That’s appropriate. But outrage spawns two contrary sentiments. The first leads to reform. The second guarantees defeat.
(1) Determination to change the situation. “I’m taking action.” “Count me in.” “Sign me up.” “I’m organizing and mobilizing.” “I’m not gonna take this any more.” “We’re making a ruckus.” “Join us.” “I’m committed to reversing this.”

(2) Cynicism. “Nothing can be done.” “The game is rigged, so why bother?” “Don’t even try.” “It’s hopeless.” “We’re screwed.” “I give up.” “It’s even worse than I thought, and I’m utterly powerless to do anything about it.”

Which camp do you find yourself in? If you’re in the latter or know others in it, how can you move yourself or them into the first camp?

How many times do we have to say it? SHARE if you agree: Your boss is not your doctor.

How many times do we have to say it? SHARE if you agree: Your boss is not your doctor.


"People love the ACA......"

Carl Younger
"People love the ACA.
People who responded to the question cited different reasons for saying that they’re better off since the ACA went into effect. Some pointed out that the ACA has saved them money, reduced their monthly premiums, and lowered deductibles and co-pays.
A large number of those who responded to Cruz’s ‘quick poll,’ said cited the ACA that prevents insurance companies from dropping people with a preexisting condition.
Others pointed to the laws requirement that... young people be allowed to stay on their parent’s insurance until the age of 26.
Some pointed out that the law prevents insurance companies from putting lifetime limits on healthcare spending.
People pointed to the overall benefits of the ACA, including keeping the rising cost of medical care under control, which benefits everyone.
Many of those who responded cited the most important benefit one can imagine. ‘It saved my life.’
Not everyone said that Obamacare had helped them. There were intermittent responses from the tea party crowd. When called out, it quickly became apparent that the ‘no’ respondents had not signed up for the ACA or even reviewed their options, under the law.
There were people like this woman, who claims she doesn’t want insurance and won’t pay for it.
In spite of her professed ideology, she clearly has no problem shifting the burden of her healthcare onto the public. If she gets hurt in an accident or becomes sick, her options will be to file for bankruptcy, unless she has hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay her own medical expenses.
Not surprisingly, statistics show that red states have the highest rate of bankruptcy in the nation. Four out of the states with the highest number of personal bankruptcies are red. Medical debt accounts for more than 60 percentof all bankruptcies. What the tea party doesn’t get is that everyone in the country has been covering their medical expenses for years. Obamacare means no more free riders.
Everyone who can afford to, has to contribute to the system. Maybe that’s what they’re so mad about, underneath the surface of all that patriotic, flag waving showmanship.

 There’s nothing patriotic about driving healthcare costs up for everyone else in the country, because you falsely believe that being asked to pay taxes is unconstitutional. There’s nothing patriotic about bankrupting the medical system, because you take a ‘moral position’ against buying health insurance. There’s certainly nothing patriotic about using it as a weapon in order to try andshut down the government."
Oops. Texas Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz asked people on facebook if they're better off, since the ACA took effect. He got the answer - not the one he wanted.
Addicting Info

Those who are trying to create a market-based system to replace public education have been selling the false narrative that our public schools are obsolete and failing, education blogger and historian Diane Ravitch writes. "Public education is the target, and privatizing it is the goal."
Parties interested in creating a market-based system to replace public education are selling the false narrative that our public schools are obsolete and failing. They are...
Bill Moyers

The elected official, Michelle Bachmann, speaking on racism!

The elected official, Michelle Bachmann, speaking on racism! "Think, and then VOTE!"

The elected official, Michelle Bachmann, speaking on racism! "Think, and then VOTE!"

Meet a Pediatrician Who Believes Vaccines Are "Messing With Nature"

Interesting article!

Meet a Pediatrician Who Believes Vaccines Are "Messing With Nature"

The physicians at Pediatric Alternatives treat thousands of California children. They have impeccable credentials, having trained and completed residencies at some of the nation's top medical schools and institutions.

So it might surprise you to learn that one of Pediatric Alternatives' policies is extremely unorthodox: It recommends that families delay certain childhood immunizations—in some cases for years past the age recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and forego others entirely.

If these top-shelf pediatricians are willing to allow customized immunization plans for each patient, then is there a possibility they are onto something? Could it be that much of what we've heard about the importance of timely vaccines is wrong?

To find out the answer—and to watch a video of Pediatric Alternatives' head physician explaining her beliefs—click here. [READ MORE]

Environmental group supports Pilgrim closure

In case you missed it....

BARNSTABLE — Cape Cod's largest environmental organization is calling for closure of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.
In a position statement sent last week to its 5,000 members, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod "calls for Pilgrim's permits to be terminated and for the facility to be decommissioned."

The Barnstable-based environmental organization further urges the transfer of Pilgrim's 3,800 spent fuel rods to dry casks; air and land radiation monitoring; expansion of emergency planning to include the Cape; and replacing the power plant with "safer and less-polluting alternative energy sources."
Ed DeWitt, the association's executive director, said Friday the agency had been looking at this issue for several months largely because of the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, "and what came out of that in lessons learned."
In its position statement, which focuses on environmental impacts, the association calls Cape Cod "one of the most ecologically valuable and sensitive areas" in the state.
"The Fukushima nuclear disaster provided important lessons: a) improbable accidents occur, and b) if an accident results in major radioactive contamination, there can be serious and widespread impacts on water resources, fish, wildlife, food webs, crops, the economy, human populations and society," the statement says.
Safety concerns included frequent power outages at the plant, a past fire that could have damaged the reactor, storage of spent nuclear fuel in pools, partial blockage of the emergency cooling system by mussels, and Pilgrim's "vulnerability to natural hazards and terrorism."
The agency pointed out that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently downgraded Pilgrim to include it in a group of the nation's eight lowest-rated reactors, based on its recent poor performance.
"These issues point to aging infrastructure, outdated systems, failure to account for climate change, and inadequate maintenance, oversight and regulation," the association says in its statement.
Also on the association's list is concern over the release of radioactive materials, including tritium, into groundwater and discharge of heated seawater into Cape Cod Bay "resulting in a thermal plume, erosion, barren and stunted areas, warm-water algae growth and increased thermal burden on marine ecosystems."
Diane Turco, co-founder of the Pilgrim watchdog group Cape Downwinders, called the nine-page position statement "another comprehensive indictment of Pilgrim."
"How much more evidence does the Nuclear Regulatory Commission need to follow its congressional mandate to preserve the public's safety?" Turco said.
Entergy, the Pilgrim plant's owner and operator, issued a statement when asked for reaction to the position paper.
"Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is a safe and vital resource to the commonwealth and the region. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, after six years and tens of thousands of hours of review and analysis, including the plant's potential effects on the environment, concluded that the plant is safe and can continue to provide virtually emission-free electricity for years to come and we stand by that," Entergy's statement says.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not provide a comment in time for this story.
DeWitt said the association plans to share the statement with officials and organizations throughout the region, hoping to gain support. "Ultimately we want to work toward logical decommission," he said.

Provincetown may ban single-use plastic bags

Bravo Provincetown!

PROVINCETOWN — The outermost town may become the first on Cape Cod to ban single-use plastic bags from stores and restaurants.
"We want to capitalize on our beauty without having bags in our ocean and in our trees," said Laura Ludwig, a member of Provincetown's Recycling and Renewable Energy Committee.

Voters will have a chance to weigh in on the proposed bag ban at the April 7 town meeting, where the measure is on the warrant.
The targeted bags include the lightweight type distributed at Stop & Shop rather than the sturdier versions given out at places such as Marine Specialties, a shop on Commercial Street, Ludwig said.
The thinner bags, made of low-density polyethylene (which may be marked with the recycling code No. 4), catch the air easily. And they fly easily out of landfills and dumpsters, she said.
They find their way into the ocean, where whales and sea turtles often die in mistaking them for their favorite foods, jellyfish and squid, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Although the bags can be recycled, in reality they often end up in the trash hopper since they don't process well in recycling machines that attempt to chop them into little pieces, she said.
"They tend to gum up the works," Ludwig said.
Though Provincetown may be first on the Cape to attempt such a ban, Nantucket did away with plastic bags, Styrofoam cups and Styrofoam packing material back in 1990, said Diane Holdgate, the island's public works administrator.
Back then, she said, big grocery stories had been using plastic for only a couple of years. So Nantucket simply banned the material before it became habit-forming, she said.
"Most people here preferred paper anyway," Holdgate said.
In 2013, three other Massachusetts towns — Manchester, Brookline and Great Barrington — passed similar bag bans at town meeting, according to the Surfrider Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that tracks plastic bag bans and fee legislation.
To date in California there are 67 bag-ban ordinances, according to Surfrider.
This year, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to ban the bags.
"It's happening in so many places," Ludwig said.
Stop & Shop spokeswoman Jennifer Krupski said the grocery store chain would not comment on a regulation it has not yet seen. But Ludwig said Stop & Shop representatives have voiced support to her committee, as have other local retail stores.
People will be offered paper bags at stores or they can bring their own reusable bags.
The ban would take effect in January 2015.
Businesses that don't comply would be fined $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second and $200 for a third, the town meeting article states.
"We just want to reduce the supply of plastic bags," Ludwig said.

CLG:'There's sealed evidence on MH370 that cannot be made public' - Malaysian air force general, et al

MH370 News Updates from CLG
30 Mar 2014

Previous edition: Ukrainian leadership to hire US mercenaries to suppress eastern regions - report (Google subscribers: Google Filter Instructions for CLG Newsletter.)

'There's sealed evidence on MH370 that cannot be made public' - Malaysian air force general 26 Mar 2014 A Malaysian team have told relatives of Chinese passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 that there was sealed evidence that cannot be made public, as they came under fire from the angry relatives at a briefing on Wednesday. The sealed evidence included air traffic control radio transcript, radar data and airport security recordings. The briefing at the Metropark Lido Hotel in Beijing focused on UK satellite analysis which led Malaysia to conclude that flight MH370 ended in south Indian Ocean, off Perth.

MH370 search: Captain Mark Matthews paints pessimistic assessment of black box search 30 Mar 2014 Finding the black box flight recorder of the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet is simply "untenable" as things stand at the moment, the US Navy officer who will lead the search has conceded. The deeply pessimistic assessment from Captain Mark Matthews came as the Royal Australian Navy vessel Ocean Shield was being loaded with a "pinger" locator and an underwater drone critical to recovering the black box. However, ADV Ocean Shield will not arrive in the 319,000 square kilometre search area for three to four days, while the beacon on the black box could have only four days of battery power left.

Missing Flight MH370: AirAsia pilot suspended for claiming Kuala Lumpur is 'hiding facts' 28 Mar 2014 A senior AirAsia pilot has been suspended for suggesting in a Fbook post Malaysian authorities have been "hiding facts" about the disappearance of MH370. "The supposed debris…isn't even confirmed to be from the plane yet! Show us the proof and then tell us MH370 has crashed," wrote the pilot from the Kuala Lumpur-based airline. "Till then stop hiding the facts! It's obvious even to a blind man that there are tons of info the government definitely knows and isn't sharing yet!," he wrote. AirAsia's chief executive officer Tony Fernandes tweeted the senior first officer who he did not name had been suspended pending an investigation.

International panel of intelligence, aviation agencies will be created to probe disappearance of MH370 30 Mar 2014 The Transport Ministry will set up an international committee to probe the disappearance of MH370, says its Acting Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. He also hinted that international aviation and intelligence agencies would be invited to look into [cover up] the issues over Malaysia's aviation industry. "I have indicated that not only the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is doing an inquiry but the ministry is also coming up with an international panel," he told reporters.

Australia taps former defence chief to coordinate MH370 search support 30 Mar 2014 Australia has appointed a former chief of its defence forces to coordinate the country's support for the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Sunday. Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston will lead a new Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) based in Perth, from where the search for the missing plane was being carried out in the Indian Ocean. The Australian government is coordinating the search for MH370, which has involved 60 aircraft and ships, and cooperation between more than two dozen countries.

Letter demands that Beijing mounts own inquiry in MH370 case --'We question Malaysia's motivations in misleading and delaying so as to miss the best moment to find MH370.' 29 Mar 2014 Relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have demanded China mount its own inquiry into the disappearance, a letter shows. The document, sent to Beijing's special envoy in Kuala Lumpur, denounced Malaysia's handling of the search and asked the Chinese government to set up its own "investigation office". Relatives have also clashed with senior Malaysian officials in briefings in Beijing, with some openly insulting them and accusing Malaysia of hiding the truth.

World's first cyber hijack: Was missing Malaysia Airlines flight hacked with mobile phone? 16 Mar 2014 Intelligence chiefs fear the missing Malaysian airliner was hijacked by hackers taking over the controls using a mobile phone. British anti-terror expert Dr Sally Leivesley said last night: "It might well be the world's first cyber hijack." Dr Leivesley, a former Home Office scientific adviser, said the hackers could change the plane's speed, altitude and direction by sending radio signals to its flight management system. It could then be landed or made to crash by remote control. Possible culprits include criminal gangs, terrorists or a foreign power. ['Foreign power.' Diego Garcia?]

Malaysia did not check passport database prior to plane disappearance: Interpol 29 Mar 2014 The international police agency Interpol said on Friday that Malaysia's immigration department had not checked passengers' passports against its database at all this year prior to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. As a result, two passengers with stolen Austrian and Italian passports were able to board the plane, which vanished over the South China Sea on March 8, Interpol said in a statement.

Malaysian Air, Boeing Data on Plane Sought in U.S. Court 26 Mar 2014 Malaysian Airline System Bhd. and Boeing Co. records of Flight 370's maintenance and crew are being sought by a law firm representing the uncle of one of the missing plane's passengers, the opening salvo in what may become a barrage of litigation over its disappearance... Citing satellite data, Malaysia's government said March 24 the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean, southwest of Perth, Australia, and the airline said there is no hope of survivors. "We believe that both defendants named are responsible for the disaster of Flight MH370," Monica Kelly, a partner in the Chicago-based firm Ribbeck Law Chartered, said in a statement announcing the filing yesterday in Illinois state court in Chicago.


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News Updates from CLG
31 Mar 2014

Previous edition: 'There's sealed evidence on MH370 that cannot be made public' - Malaysian air force general (Google subscribers: Google Filter Instructions for CLG Newsletter.)

Breaking: North and South Korea exchange artillery fire 31 Mar 2014 North and South Korea traded artillery fire across their disputed maritime border on Monday. The South's military said it had responded to shells landing in its waters from a North live-fire drill. "Some of the shells fired by North Korea dropped in our area and our side responded with fire," a spokesman for the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said. There was no indication that either side was firing at any particular target.

North and South Korea exchanged fire Monday across maritime border - report --S. Korea evacuates border island residents amid NK live-fire drill (Yonhap) 31 Mar 2014 North and South Korea have exchanged fire Monday across a maritime border, according to South Korea's semi-official Yonhap news agency. (This story will be updated.)

U.N. watchdog urges Obama to curb drone use, surveillance 27 Mar 2014 A U.N. human rights watchdog called on the Obama administration on Thursday to limit its use of drones targeting suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban militants civilians and to curb U.S. surveillance activities at home and abroad. U.S. drone strikes have led to excessive civilian casualties and unrestricted data collection has eroded the right to privacy, the U.N. Human Rights Committee said in its first report on Washington's rights record since 2006. "A lot has to do with lack of transparency and oversight," Swiss lawyer Walter Kaelin, who is among the panel's 18 independent experts, told a news briefing where the findings were issued.

Russian Senator seeks to strip President Obama of Nobel over double standards 24 Mar 2014 A Russian senator has asked the Nobel Committee to annul the award given to the US President last year claiming Barack Obama's double standard policy has helped develop the political crisis in Ukraine. "The double standard policy is incompatible with the title of Nobel Peace Prize laureate. I think the Nobel committee must take an objective look at the situation and consider the possibility of taking the title from Barack Obama," Senator Lyudmila Bokova (Saratov Region) was quoted as saying by the Izvestia daily. "The latest statements and activities of Mr. Obama are clearly aimed against the non-violent solution of the Ukrainian crisis. Besides, the US President is pursuing the objective of world domination and the interests of the Ukrainian people is the last thing to be taken into consideration by him," the Russian politician said.

Marine flashed security badge on Obama trip, bragged of being 'bullet catcher' - witnesses 29 Mar 2014 Military officials said they are investigating the conduct of a U.S. Marine who was on assignment for President Obama's trip to the Netherlands last week, after witnesses said he was talking in detail about his job and passing around his government security badge during a night of drinking at a bar. The Marine, Korey Nathan Pritchett, was first identified by a Dutch newspaper based on witness accounts and smartphone photos taken during the partying, which happened two nights before Obama arrived at The Hague for a nuclear security summit. Pritchett is a security guard at the U.S. Embassy in Monte­negro and reports to the State Department, according to department and military officials.

Israeli Supreme Court to hear war crimes case against top officials - report 30 Mar 2014 In a unique hearing next week, the Israeli Supreme Court will be presented with a petition that reportedly contains evidence implicating a number of high ranking officials in war crimes during military operations in Lebanon and Gaza, Al Jazeera reports. For the first time in history the Israeli judiciary on April 2 will hear evidence against top officials blamed for committing war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza, according to the report. The Supreme Court will be presented with a 52-page petition outlining Israel's alleged crimes in three operations in Lebanon in summer 2006, Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in late 2008, and an attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla in May 2010.

Turkey blocks YouTube after 'Syria invasion plan' leak 28 Mar 2014 Access to YouTube has been cut off in Turkey after an explosive leak of audiotapes that appeared to show ministers talking about provoking military intervention in Syria. Other social media have already been blocked ahead of tumultuous local elections. The latest leaked audio recording, which reportedly led to the ban, appears to show top government officials discussing a potential attack on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.

Libya poised to retake oil ports from rebels in move that could split country 28 Mar 2014 Libyan government forces are poised to attack rebels blockading key oil ports this weekend in an offensive that risks splitting the country apart. A deadline for rebels in the eastern province of Cyrenaica to hand over the ports, blockaded since last summer, has passed with the opposition still in control and vowing to form a breakaway state if attacked... Meanwhile, militias in the western mountain town of Zintan have cut one of Libya's last remaining pipelines, further choking production and leaving the government facing rebellion on two fronts.

Fukushima cleanup suspended after worker's death --Friday's fatality was fifth death among workers involved in cleanup operation at Fukushima plant 29 Mar 2014 The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, TEPCO, suspended the cleanup at the facility after one of the workers died while digging a ditch Friday. All cleanup operations at the plant have been suspended for an immediate safety inspection, Kyodo News reports. Like most of the laborers at the disaster-hit nuclear plant, the worker was hired by Tokyo Electric Power Co. through a subcontractor. The Fukushima operator didn't announce the man's name or his direct employer, only saying that he reported up to Toso Fudosan Kanri Company, a first-tier contractor under TEPCO.
Fukushima Nuclear Worker Dies in Mudslide 28 Mar 2014 A worker at the Japanese nuclear plant devastated by the 2011 tsunami has died after being buried in a mudslide. The man had been working near a storage area at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. He was already unconscious when he was dug out and taken to a hospital. He could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead three hours later, said Tokyo Electric Power Company, the utility that operates the plant.
Southington, Conn. Schools in 'Precaution' Lockdown --Schools went into an 'exterior lock' protocol. 27 Mar 2014 A domestic disturbance [!?] that spilled out of a home Tuesday on a street near several schools prompted a brief lockdown of the high school and three other schools, officials said. "We did this as an extreme precaution," Superintendent Joseph Erardi said Thursday. "It lasted about 20 minutes. There was absolutely no danger to our school at any point of this." The event lasted from 11:45 am to 12:05 p.m. Tuesday.
Vaccine effectiveness a dismal 9% in elderly against main flu strain H3N2 29 Mar 2014 Vaccine effectiveness against H3N2, the main flu strain circulating the 2012–2013 flu season, proved to be only 46% in adults aged 18–49, 50% in those aged 50–64, and a dismal 9% in people aged over 65 -- a vulnerable group. Flu hospitalizations and deaths were the highest in almost a decade. Poor outlook: ...Moreover, the Canadian researchers found that the same problem probably arose with a revised H3N2 component of the 2013–14 flu vaccine (each season's vaccine is also designed to ward off H1N1 and influenza B type viruses) and the upcoming 2014–15 vaccine. This suggests that effectiveness against H3N2 may be poor in these seasons' vaccines, too. [Mercury-laden, squalene-filled vaccines are manufactured so that pharma-terrorists can make a killing on the(ir) pandemics. --LRP]
Mega barf alert: Influential Republicans working to draft Jeb Bush into 2016 presidential race 29 Mar 2014 Many of the Republican Party's most powerful insiders and financiers have begun a behind-the-scenes campaign to draft former Florida governor Jeb Bush into the 2016 presidential race, courting him and his intimates and starting talks on fundraising strategy. Concerned that the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal has damaged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political standing and alarmed by the steady rise of Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), prominent donors, conservative leaders and longtime operatives say they consider Bush the GOP's brightest hope to win back the White House.
Bridget Kelly's lawyer responds to internal Christie report 28 Mar 2014 The lawyer for Bridget Anne Kelly fired back today against allegations that largely blamed her for the George Washington Bridge lane closings, blasting a 1M report commissioned by Gov. Chris Christie's office as containing "venomous, gratuitous, and inappropriate sexist remarks." Michael Critchley, Kelly's lawyer, said in a statement, "The report's venomous, gratuitous, and inappropriate sexist remarks concerning Ms. Kelly have no place in what is alleged to be a professional and independent report."
Chris Christie confirms Port Authority chairman David Samson has quit 28 Mar 2014 The governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, announced on Friday that the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, David Samson, has resigned. Samson refused to be interviewed for an inquiry commissioned by Christie over the politically motivated closure of lanes leading to the George Washington bridge, a key link between New Jersey and New York that comes under the control of the Port Authority, last year. The inquiry, by the law firm Gibson Dunn and Crutcher, published on Thursday, recommended that the Port Authority be reformed. But it left unanswered questions over the role of Samson in the lane closures and their aftermath.
Chris Christie holds first news conference in 76 days 28 Mar 2014 Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to hold his first news conference in 76 days today, speaking from the Statehouse at 2:30 p.m. It comes one day after the law firm his office hired to conduct an internal investigation into the George Washington Bridge scandal released a 360-page review that cleared the Republican governor of any involvement.
California senate suspends three lawmakers in criminal probes 28 Mar 2014 The California state Senate suspended three Democratic lawmakers on Friday who have been the subject of criminal probes, including Leland Yee, who was arrested this week in an FBI sweep on corruption and gun trafficking charges. The Senate voted 28-1 to suspend the three, all of whom have been charged with or convicted of criminal wrongdoing in separate cases, in a move that further erodes what had once been a Democratic two-thirds super-majority in the Senate. The suspensions with pay, the first in state history from the senate, deal a major blow to Democrats in an election year as they seek to use large majorities in both houses of the state legislature and all statewide offices to push through key projects.
U.S. will recognize 300 same-sex couples who married in Michigan 28 Mar 2014 The federal government will officially recognize about 300 same-sex couples in Michigan who wed before such marriages were put on hold by the courts, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. announced Friday. Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down Michigan's gay marriage ban but refused to issue the stay. That allowed about 300 couples to marry on Saturday before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ordered a temporary halt the same day by issuing an emergency stay. The appeals court on Tuesday then made the stay permanent, pending a review of the case.
21 confirmed dead in Wash. mudslide 30 Mar 2014 Another day of rain showers on Sunday greeted searchers continuing their slow, resolute dig through mud and the battered debris of what once was a neighborhood in Oso, Washington. A day earlier, the effort drew a rare taste of good news: The number of missing people was officially trimmed to 30... On Sunday, however, the confirmed death toll rose from 18 to 21. Six of the dead were not yet identified, said Jason Biermann, spokesman for the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management.
La Habra earthquake: Powerful magnitude-4.1 aftershock rattles Southern California 29 Mar 2014 A magnitude-4.1 aftershock hit parts of Southern California on Saturday afternoon, the largest of more than a hundred such aftershocks of Friday night's magnitude-5.1 earthquake that shook homes and businesses throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. The 4.1 temblor struck just after 2:30 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which also recorded two foreschocks Friday, measuring magnitudes of 3.6 and 2.1.
Earthquake: 5.1 quake, aftershocks shake Los Angeles, Southern California 28 Mar 2014 A magnitude 5.1 earthquake was reported Friday evening one mile from La Habra, California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 9:09 p.m. Pacific time at a depth of 0.6 miles.

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