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Monday, 18 May 2015

Doctor speeds to save dying baby, cops pull him over and give him multiple charges, baby dies as a result

© WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Dr. Bhagwan Bang was at his home in Opp, Alabama on Sept. 8th, 2014, when he received a call about a baby that had stopped breathing and turned blue at the Andalusia Regional Hospital. Having been in this exact situation several times before, he knew that he had just minutes to be there in order to save the baby from life-altering brain damage or even death.

He has been pulled over by police several times previously for emergency medical calls. The police in Opp even gave him a specific route to take any time he had to rush to the hospital for emergency medical situations and was informed to call 911 on his way there any time he needed to get there in a hurry. He followed those exact instructions but ended up getting pulled over anyway.

When he got pulled over, he was on the phone frantically telling the hospital why he couldn't be there sooner. The police detained him even after he explained to them the situation. They held him for fifteen minutes and threatened to put handcuffs on him but eventually, they let him go.

When the Dr. Bhagwan Bang got to the hospital, he did what he could but unfortunately, the baby died several days later, likely as a result of the doctor being stopped for so long.

Not only did the baby die as a result but the police charged the man with reckless driving along with several other charges even after doctors and nurses gave testimonies in his favor that this was in fact an emergency. The Opp Municipal Court decided that Dr. Bhagwan Bang is guilty of all charges so now he faces losing his driver's license for 6 months.

Members of the community have started a petition that they will show to the Opp Police Department and Judge Ronnie Penn, the link to that is here.

WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news video here.

International community seems fine letting Saudi Arabia acquire nuclear weapons...


© Reuters / Mian Khursheed
Nuclear-capable missile Shaheen II.

At the prospect of the international community's nuclear deal with Iran, Saudi Arabia has reportedly taken a decision to call in an old favor from Pakistan and get some of its nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia is widely believed to have bankrolled the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. In exchange, Riyadh reportedly expects Islamabad to provide missiles in times of trouble to defend the kingdom.

"For the Saudis the moment has come," a former American defense official told The Sunday Times newspaper. "There has been a longstanding agreement in place with the Pakistanis, and the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward."

According to the report, no actual transfer of weapons has taken place yet, but "the Saudis mean what they say and they will do what they say," the source reportedly said.
The report comes a month ahead of a meeting between Tehran and the P5+1 group to finalize a deal, which would lift sanctions from Iran in exchange for making its nuclear program more transparent and restricted. Key US allies in the Middle East, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are objecting to the deal, saying it would ultimately allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

Reports of Saudi Arabia getting nukes aren't new. In November 2013, BBC's Newsnight reported on the alleged nuclear sharing agreement between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The program cited Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, telling a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, "the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring."

The speculation came just as nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 were showing progress in Geneva.

Some experts, however, doubted that the supposed nuclear arming by Saudi Arabia was as simple as calling in the debt.

"I doubt that Pakistan is ready to send nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia," Mark Fitzpatrick, a non-proliferation expert with the International Institute for Strategic Studies,told the Guardian at the time.

"Pakistan's reputation suffered greatly the last time they assisted other countries with nuclear weapons technology (i.e., the sales by [Pakistani nuclear project chief] A.Q. Khan, with some governmental support or at least acquiescence, to North Korea, Iran and Libya). Pakistan knows that transferring nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia would also incur huge diplomatic and reputational costs."

The potential of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East triggered by the Iran deal is one of the argument critics use to denigrate the talks. At the moment there are several countries in the region known or believed to have nuclear weapons.

Pakistan has a stockpile of 80 to 120 warheads designed to counterbalance India's arsenal, while Turkey hosts NATO nuclear weapons. Israel is said to have a stockpile, although it has never officially confirmed this.

Several other nations have civilian nuclear programs, including Iran, Egypt and UAE.

Five Mexican children detained over six-year-old's murder

© Daniel Acosta, AFP
Relatives of Cristopher Raymundo Marquez Mora, 6, mourn during his funeral service in Chihuahua, Mexico on May 17, 2015.

Mexico sought answers Monday after five children aged 11 to 15 stoned, stabbed and buried a six-year-old boy, a shocking case that raised questions about the influence of drug violence on kids.

The boy was found in a shallow grave by a stream on Saturday, two days after he was last seen with a group of children on the outskirts of the Chihuahua state capital, the regional prosecutor's office said.

Cristopher Raymundo Marquez Mora was found after investigators interrogated the children, who include two 13-year-old girls, one 11-year-old boy and two 15-year-old boys.

The five were detained as "probable culprits in an act that reflects a problem of social decay," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The victim disappeared late Thursday and his mother reported his disappearance the next morning, sparking a search.

The boy and the other children are neighbors who knew each other.

© Daniel Acosta, AFP/File
Police and forensic personnel carry the body of Cristopher Raymundo Marquez Mora in Chihuahua on May 16, 2015.

"They were playing, they tied him up and they put a stick on his neck that semi-asphyxiated him," the statement said.

"When the boy fell to the ground, they hurled rocks at him, they stuck a knife in his back and once dead, they dragged him where they deposited the body, in a shallow dig," it said.

"They covered the body with dirt and put plants and a dead animal on the surface" in a bid to hide him, the statement said.

The two 15-year-old boys could be jailed if found guilty but the other three other minors face "other types of sanctions," prosecutors said.

The murder took place in a state that has endured some of the worst bloodshed in Mexico's drug war, with thousands of people killed in turf wars between cartels.

'Generation of psychopaths'

© Daniel Acosta, AFP
Relatives of Cristopher Raymundo Marquez Mora during his funeral service in Chihuahua on May 17, 2015.

Chihuahua, which borders Texas, is home to Ciudad Juarez, which was once considered the world's murder capital outside a warzone as the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels fought for the territory.

The city's murder rate has dramatically dropped in the past four years but the state continues to witness murders, torture, kidnappings and extortion.

The five children accused of murder "are victims of an environment of extreme violence," said Juan Martin Perez, executive director of the Children's Rights Network, a non-governmental organization.

"There's a strong presence and culture of organized crime and a lack of culture of rule of law," he said. "The children reflect what they experience every day."

Carlos Ochoa, a forensic and criminology expert, said cases like the six-year-old's killing mark "the start of a generation of psychopaths, who are getting younger."

© Jesus Alcazar, AFP/File
Police officers take part in a security operation on February 12, 2013 in a street of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state.

Ochoa recalled the 2013 case of a 17-year-old girl from Chihuahua who poisoned and burned her adoptive parents.

The mother of Cristopher, Concepcion Mora, angrily rejected the explanation that the children killed her son during a game.

"It's illogical for it to be a game," she said Sunday as relatives and neighbors joined her in a protest. "They should pay for my son's life."

One of the boy's aunts warned: "We want vengeance. If they don't give us justice, we will take revenge."

Saudi Arabia advertises for executioners as beheading rates rise

© BroadAarow
Deera Square, central Riyadh. Known locally as "Chop-chop square", it is the location of public beheadings.

Riyadh - Because of the increase in public executions this year, the Saudi Arabian government is in need of an additional eight "religious functionaries" to carry out the beheadings of people condemned to death by public execution.

The job description states there are no special qualifications needed, but besides beheading an individual, the applicant will also be required to do the occasional limb amputation for those convicted of lesser crimes.

The position is a Civil Service job and a downloadable PDF application is available on the website that carries today's date. The job is classified as a "religious Functionary," and is at the lower end of the Civil Service pay scale.

Saudi Arabia is just one of the top five countries in the world in putting people to death. The Islamic country, with 90 deaths, was ranked number three in 2014, after China and Iran, with 289 executions, but ahead of Iraq, with 81 deaths, and the United States with 35 executions. China carries out more executions that any other country in the world, but the actual numbers are a closely guarded state secret.

According to the official Saudi Press Agency, a man beheaded on Sunday was the 85th execution this year, compared to 90 for all of 2014. While most of those executed this year were convicted of murder, there were 38 people executed because of drug offenses. Half were from Saudi Arabia and the rest were from Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Burma, Chad, Eritrea the Philippines and Sudan, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Although government officials are not saying, there is speculation about the reason for the increase in executions this year. Diplomatic sources say it may be because more judges have been appointed recently to handle a backlog of appeals cases. Political analysts think the increase in executions is more likely a tougher response to increasing turbulence in the region.

Hawaiian volcano on brink of eruption

© Thinkstock

Kilauea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is one of the more active shield volcanoes in the Aloha State and observers at the United States Geological Survey are saying that the odds of a major eruption have increased significantly in recent days.

"Activity at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano continues to change, as shown by a pronounced drop in the level of the lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, a change in the summit area deformation pattern, and the concentrated earthquake activity in the southern part of the caldera and upper Southwest Rift Zone," a recent statement from the USGS said.

A lake of molten rock near the summit of the volcano had risen to record-high levels, but, as the USGS statement pointed out, the lava level has subsided, dropping almost 500 feet. As lava levels have been rising and falling, a series of earthquakes have radiated out from Kilauea.

These eruptions are impending

USGS scientists also said deformations of the ground could point to impending eruptions.

"Clearly the lava, by dropping out of sight, it has to be going somewhere," said Steven Brantley, deputy scientist at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory told the AP.

According to reports, two minor volcanic activities are already taking place on Kilauea. First, lava has been flowing into Halemaumau Crater, which is located in the much larger summit caldera of Kilauea. Second, is the eruption at Puu Oo vent, a feature in the volcano's east rift zone that streamed lava toward the town of Pahoa last year. Lava flows stopped just outside a shopping center.

In their statement, USGS researchers said earthquakes have been centered on the southern part of the volcano, and this could mean that an eruption is coming from southwest of the Halemaumau Crater. An eruption in the volcano's upper Southwest Rift Zone would be the first in more than 40 years.

Researchers also conceded that all this activity could lead to nothing.

"We don't know what the outcome of this activity might be," Brantley said. "That is the challenge. [We are] trying to interpret what this activity really means in terms of the next step for Kilauea."

Nature or nuture? Twins hold the answer

© shironosov/iStockphoto

The degree to which we are a product of our genes or the environment has been calculated by an analysis of 50 years of twin studies.

In a study published today, an international team including Australian researchers shows an almost 50-50 split in the influence of genes or the environment on the development of various human traits.

The finding, published in Nature Genetics, is based on a review of 2748 studies involving 14 million twin pairs from across 39 countries.

The twins involved in the various studies ranged in age from 18 to 64 years.

Co-first author Dr Beben Benyamin, at the Queensland Brain Institute, says it has long been established that genetics influence almost all human traits.

"But there is still some controversy and differences in terms of how much of the variation [in traits] is due to genetics and how much is due to environment," Benyamin says.

He says the team, including Dutch and American researchers, looked at all published twin studies to answer this puzzle.

Benyamin says while identical twins are genetically the same, non-identical twins share 50 per cent of their DNA.

The researchers were able to determine the contribution of genetics and the environment on the trait by measuring how similar various traits are between identical twins and non-identical twins.

"If the trait is genetic then you would expect identical twins will be more similar than the non-identical twin. The more similar an identical twin to a non-identical twin then we can infer the trait is largely due to the genetic factor," says Benyamin.

Genes or environment

For all traits, the average genetic influence was 49 per cent while the environment accounted for 51 per cent.

"We were amazed the number was so close to half," admits Benyamin.

However, he says, this is an average figure and some traits are more or less influenced by genes.

For example, schizophrenia is 70 per cent the result of genetic influences and 30 per cent environmental.

Whereas social values are shaped by around 30 per cent genetics, and 70 per cent socio-economic factors such as education and where people live.

Across the more than 2000 studies, the 10 most investigated traits were temperament and personality functions, weight maintenance functions, general metabolic function, depressive episode, higher-level cognitive function, conduct disorders, mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol, anxiety disorders, height and mental and behavioural disorders due to use of tobacco.

The researchers also found almost 70 per cent of the effect of genes on a trait is additive.

This means that where hundreds of genes are involved in a trait, such as height, each gene has a tiny cumulative impact.

"So for example in height one gene might add one centimetre, the next gene a half a centimetre," Benyamin says.

This finding has implications on the design of gene mapping studies, says Benyamin, as it enables researchers to adopt the correct modelling.

While some of the findings have been reported before, the "difference with our study is the scale," says Benyamin.

"We comprehensively reviewed everything in the literature of twin studies — and we found everything is inherited, but the degree to how much the genetics contributed varies between traits and phenotype."

Two cold temperature records broken in Saskatchewan, Canada


© Neil Longmuir/Global News

Environment Canada says a couple of cold temperature records were established on the May long weekend in Saskatchewan. It released a weather summary early Monday morning.

An arctic high pressure ridge settled over southern areas of the province last night producing clear conditions and widespread frost.

A new record low temperature was set in North Battleford at -4.5°C. The previous mark was set in 1895 at -3.3°C.

Swift Current also broke a record at -5.9°C, beating out -5.6°C, which was set in 1923.

The federal agency says these figures may be preliminary and do not constitute a final report.

Russia stops transit of NATO military cargo to Afghanistan through its territory



Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev has revoked a decree that allowed delivery of NATO military equipment to Afghanistan through Russian territory.

According to the official document, signed by Medvedev and published on Monday, all previous decisions on NATO cargo transit to Afghanistan have now been revoked. This includes an act allowing delivery of military hardware and equipment via rail, motor vehicles, or through Russian airspace.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has been ordered to inform all the countries involved.

Transit of military cargo to Afghanistan through Russia was permitted after a 2001 UN Security Council resolution. The document established an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and called on all countries to support the NATO-led security mission. In 2008 Russia signed a decree allowing ISAF cargo to pass through its territory.

In 2014, Washington announced that the military operation in Afghanistan was over. The US-led coalition has pulled out most of its forces and the Afghan military has assumed full responsibility for national security. However, while the 2001 resolution has been terminated, some 13,000 ISAF troops will remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2016 to oversee local forces and provide training on counter-terror operations.

Multiple officers charged with possession of child porn, one accused of raping a child, still working in New Orleans


Police charged with crimes are rarely prosecuted, and even when they are, punishment or prison time are even more uncommon.

What happens to a citizen when hundreds of images of child pornography are found on their computer and phone? Well, if you are a law enforcement officer, the answer is, nothing. An investigation into the New Orleans Police Department has revealed a disturbing lack of discipline for individuals who've been caught and accused of despicable acts.

The residents of a Mandeville neighborhood felt safe knowing that a 16-year veteran of the NOPD, Sgt Bradley Wax lived down their street. However, that would quickly change after Wax was arrested and charged with 38 counts of possessing child pornography. The Louisiana Attorney General's office conducted a search on Wax's personal computer and other electronic devices and found them to be full of explicit photos of young children.

He was obviously fired immediately and not allowed to be a cop any longer, right? Or at the very least he was suspended until the trial, right? Wrong. WDSU, who carried out the independent investigation, found that Wax was initially suspended but has since returned to work as normal, working in fleet management at the NOPD headquarters.

"It's incredibly hard to imagine anyone in that capacity would be back working and being paid for it at taxpayer expense," said Dr. John Penny, criminologist at Southern University at New Orleans.

It is indeed hard to imagine how any morally sound establishment would continue to allow a man, who was found in possession of so much child pornography that he faces more than 500 years behind bars if convicted, to continue to draw a salary as a cop.

But to the NOPD, it's business as usual.

Wax's scenario is not an isolated incident either. WDSU found more than a half-dozen officers charged with everything from child porn to the state's most serious sexual assault charge, aggravated rape.

NOPD Officer Michael Thomassie was another one. Thomassie was accused and arrested on charges of aggravated rape over a year ago. However, when WDSU investigators went to New Orlean's 4th district, they found Thomassie currently still working as a cop.

While these officers were initially suspended, as soon as the spotlight moved on, they were silently allowed back across the blue line.

Naturally, the department has declined an interview about this situation, but they have released the following statement:

"An emergency suspension is generally used as a tool for emergency situations when an officer has been arrested and is physically unable to come to work and perform their duties. Once the officer is able to return to work, they are reassigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation. Based on civil service rules, officers are disciplined after an investigation is completed and a formal disciplinary hearing has been held."

Apparently it takes the NOPD more than a year to conduct an investigation and find guilt in a man whose iPhone was a pedophile's paradise. Of course, everyone, even the vilest of criminals deserves the right to due process. But the double standard here is where the issue arises.

These people claim the responsibility of upholding the law. When they are the ones suspected of violating that law, they should be held to a much higher standard, not a lower one.

"It sends a very dangerous message to the citizens of this community," said Dr. Penny. "The appropriate action was taken; now you step back from that and put them, back to work and pay them, and it sends an incredibly dangerous message."

The message it sends is that police are above the law.

[embedded content]

Meanwhile, as police collect child porn and rape the citizens, the school children are told to write letters to them.

[embedded content]

Centers for Disease Control maps 'most distinctive' causes of death by state



Heart disease and cancer can be easily branded as the two most notorious and common killers in the United States. However, there are other causes of death which are less common with the nation as a whole but are actually much more typical in specific states.

A new color-coded map has been created by the CDC in order to categorize the most likely causes of death for each of the 50 U.S. states.

According to Francis Boscoe, a research scientist at New York State Cancer Registry the most distinctive causes of death in majority of cases is not so surprising. In several northern states, including Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming the flu is considered as the most distinctive cause of death. In Alaska and Idaho the most distinctive causes of death is considered to be plane crashes or boat accidents. In mining states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky pneumoconiosis, a group of lung diseases caused by inhaling dusts, are branded as the most distinctive causes of death.

There were however, some unexpected findings. In New Jersey, Sepsis is categorized as the most distinctive cause of death and deaths by legal intervention. Surprisingly the most distinctive cause of death in New Mexico, Nevada and Oregon is that caused by law enforcement officers, excluding legal executions.

In order to determine the most distinctive causes of death for each individual state, the researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiated a list of 113 causes of death.

Then, the researchers began determining the estimate of death from each cause, for each state and divided this by the rate of death from that particular cause in the United States as a whole. This theory allowed the researchers to observe which of the states had higher rates of death from certain causes than the rest of the United States.

In Alaska, for instance the rate of death for plane crashes and boat accidents was about 4 deaths per 100,000 people; whereas the national rate is 0.6 deaths per 100,000 people. This essentially proves beyond reasonable doubt that deaths from plane crashes or boat accidents are seven times more likely in Alaska than entire United States. According to Boscoe, this "distinctive" cause of death makes sense, since some parts of Alaska are accessible only by boat or plane.

In Florida, HIV was identified as the most distinctive cause of death, where about 15,000 people died from the disease. But in numerous cases, the most distinctive cause of death was still quite uncommon. Although Syphilis caused only 22 deaths in Louisiana, it is considered as the most distinctive cause of death in that particular state.




79 members of Congress have been in office for at least 20 years

No wonder Washington never changes - 79 members of Congress have been there since Bill Clinton's first term in the White House. This list includes names such as Reid, Feinstein, McConnell, McCain, Pelosi, Boehner, Rangel and Boxer.

In this article, I am going to share with you a complete list of the members of Congress that have been "serving" us for at least 20 years. They believe that they are "serving" us well, but without a doubt most Americans very much wish that true "change" would come to Washington. In fact, right now Congress has a 15 percent approval rating with the American people, and that approval rating has been consistently below 20 percent since mid-2011. So of course we took advantage of the 2014 mid-term election to dump as many of those Congress critters out of office as we possibly could, right? Wrong. Sadly, incumbents were re-elected at a 95 percent rate in 2014. This just shows how broken and how corrupt our system has become. The American people absolutely hate the job that Congress is doing, and yet the same clowns just keep getting sent back to Washington again and again.

Our founders never intended for service in Congress to become a career, but that is precisely what it has become for many of our "public servants". As of this moment, there are 79 members of Congress that have been in office for at least 20 years, and there are 16 members of Congress that have been in office for at least 30 years.

No wonder so many Americans are advocating term limits these days. When there are dozens of members of Congress that know that they are going to be sent back to Washington over and over again no matter how the American people feel about things, that can cause them to become extremely callous toward the will of the people. Instead, often these politicians become increasingly responsive to the needs of their big donors, because it takes big money to win campaign after campaign. I am sure that if George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were running around today, they would be absolutely disgusted by how our system has evolved.

The following is a list from rollcall.com of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate that have served for at least 20 years and the dates when they first took office...

Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Jan. 4, 1977
Thad Cochran, Miss. Dec. 27, 1978
Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Jan. 5, 1981
Mitch McConnell, Ky. Jan. 3, 1985
Richard C. Shelby, Ala. Jan. 6, 1987
John McCain, Ariz. Jan. 6, 1987
James M. Inhofe, Okla. Nov. 30, 1994

The following is a list from rollcall.com of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate that have served for at least 20 years and the dates when they first took office...

Patrick J. Leahy, Vt. Jan. 14, 1975
Barbara A. Mikulski, Md. Jan. 6, 1987
Harry Reid, Nev. Jan. 6, 1987
Dianne Feinstein, Calif. Nov. 4, 1992
Barbara Boxer, Calif. Jan. 5, 1993
Patty Murray, Wash. Jan. 5, 1993

The following is a list from rollcall.com of the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives that have served for at least 20 years and the dates when they first took office...

Don Young, Alaska March 6, 1973
Jim Sensenbrenner, Wis. Jan. 15, 1979
Harold Rogers, Ky. Jan. 5, 1981
Christopher H. Smith, N.J. Jan. 5, 1981
Joe L. Barton, Texas Jan. 3, 1985
Lamar Smith, Texas Jan. 6, 1987
Fred Upton, Mich. Jan. 6, 1987
John J. Duncan Jr., Tenn. Nov. 8, 1988
Dana Rohrabacher, Calif. Jan. 3, 1989
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Fla. Aug. 29, 1989
John A. Boehner, Ohio Jan. 3, 1991
Sam Johnson, Texas May 18, 1991
Ken Calvert, Calif. Jan. 5, 1993
Robert W. Goodlatte, Va. Jan. 5, 1993
Peter T. King, N.Y. Jan. 5, 1993
John L. Mica, Fla. Jan. 5, 1993
Ed Royce, Calif. Jan. 5, 1993
Frank D. Lucas, Okla. May 10, 1994
Rodney Frelinghuysen, N.J. Jan. 4, 1995
Walter B. Jones, N.C. Jan. 4, 1995
Frank A. LoBiondo, N.J. Jan. 4, 1995
Mac Thornberry, Texas Jan. 4, 1995
Edward Whitfield, Ky. Jan. 4, 1995

The following is a list from rollcall.com of the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives that have served for at least 20 years and the dates when they first took office...

John Conyers Jr., Mich. Jan. 4, 1965
Charles B. Rangel, N.Y. Jan. 21, 1971
Steny H. Hoyer, Md. May 19, 1981
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio Jan. 3, 1983
Sander M. Levin, Mich. Jan. 3, 1983
Peter J. Visclosky, Ind. Jan. 3, 1985
Peter A. DeFazio, Ore. Jan. 6, 1987
John Lewis, Ga. Jan. 6, 1987
Louise M. Slaughter, N.Y. Jan. 6, 1987
Nancy Pelosi, Calif. June 2, 1987
Frank Pallone Jr., N.J. Nov. 8, 1988
Eliot L. Engel, N.Y. Jan. 3, 1989
Nita M. Lowey, N.Y. Jan. 3, 1989
Jim McDermott, Wash. Jan. 3, 1989
Richard E. Neal, Mass. Jan. 3, 1989
José E. Serrano, N.Y. March 20, 1990
David E. Price, N.C. Jan. 7, 1997 Also served 1987-95
Rosa DeLauro, Conn. Jan. 3, 1991
Collin C. Peterson, Minn. Jan. 3, 1991
Maxine Waters, Calif. Jan. 3, 1991
Jerrold Nadler, N.Y. Nov. 3, 1992
Jim Cooper, Tenn. Jan. 7, 2003 Also served 1983-95
Xavier Becerra, Calif. Jan. 5, 1993
Sanford D. Bishop Jr., Ga. Jan. 5, 1993
Corrine Brown, Fla. Jan. 5, 1993
James E. Clyburn, S.C. Jan. 5, 1993
Anna G. Eshoo, Calif. Jan. 5, 1993
Gene Green, Texas Jan. 5, 1993
Luis V. Gutierrez, Ill. Jan. 5, 1993
Alcee L. Hastings, Fla. Jan. 5, 1993
Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas Jan. 5, 1993
Carolyn B. Maloney, N.Y. Jan. 5, 1993
Lucille Roybal-Allard, Calif. Jan. 5, 1993
Bobby L. Rush, Ill. Jan. 5, 1993
Robert C. Scott, Va. Jan. 5, 1993
Nydia M. Velázquez, N.Y. Jan. 5, 1993
Bennie Thompson, Miss. April 13, 1993
Sam Farr, Calif. June 8, 1993
Lloyd Doggett, Texas Jan. 4, 1995
Mike Doyle, Pa. Jan. 4, 1995
Chaka Fattah, Pa. Jan. 4, 1995
Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Jan. 4, 1995
Zoe Lofgren, Calif. Jan. 4, 1995

As you looked over those lists, you probably noticed that they contain many of the members of Congress that Americans complain about the most.

Unfortunately, because the vast majority of these individuals come from states or congressional districts that are basically a lock to vote a certain way, there is very little hope of ever removing them. That means that most of these Congress critters are going to get to keep coming back for as long as they want.

No matter which political party you prefer, this should greatly disturb you.

Our founders certainly never intended for a permanent class of elitists to rule over us.

But that is what we have.

We are supposed to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, but instead we have a government of the elite, by the elite and for the elite. Most people do not realize this, but today most members of Congress are actually millionaires. The disconnect between members of Congress and average Americans has never been greater than it is right now, and I think that is a very troubling sign for the future of this nation.

So is there a solution to this problem?

JP Morgan warns of liquidity crunch; U.S. farmers in 'dire straits'


© Worldpropertyjournal.com

Despite the government's 'advice' to young debt-laden students, the tragedy of the American farmer continues with worryingly pessimistic views on the future of the industry. With farmland prices falling for the first time in almost 30 years, credit conditions are weakening dramatically and the Kansas City Fed warns that persistently low crop prices and high input costs reduced profit margins and increased concerns about future loan repayment capacity, and JPMorgan concludes, the industry is currently in dire straits with the potential for a liquidity crunch for farmers into 2016.

Not so long ago, U.S. farmland - whose prices were until recently rising exponentially - was considered by many to be the next asset bubble. Then, almost overnight, the fairytale ended, and as reported in February, U.S. farmland saw its first price drop since 1986.


© Zerohedge

Looking ahead, very few bankers expect price appreciation and more than a quarter of survey respondents expect cropland values to decline further in the next three months.

© Zerohedge

And now, The Kansas City Fed warns that Agricultural credit conditions are worsening rapidly...

Credit conditions in the Federal Reserve's Tenth District weakened as farm income declined further in the first quarter of 2015. Persistently low crop prices and high input costs reduced profit margins and increased concerns about future loan repayment capacity. Funds were available to meet historically high loan demand, but loan repayment rates dropped considerably.Although profit margins in the livestock industry have remained stable, most bankers do not expect farm income or credit conditions to improve in the next three months.

On a more regional level, farm income declined in all District states except Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, farm income has steadily improved over the last three years due to revenue from mineral rights and cattle production but remained unchanged in the first quarter of 2015 .


© Zerohedge

Strains on the farm economy have begun to affect the overall economic outlook in some states. Through 2014, growth in per capita personal income was notably smaller in states most heavily concentrated in crop production.

Ninety-four percent of survey respondents expect farm income to remain the same or decline further in the next three months. Additional declines in farm income could continue to create economic challenges in states heavily dependent on crops.

Loan Demand is surging... (to replace income's collapse or roll old debt)

The continued decline in farm income boosted demand for new loans as well as renewals and extensions on existing loans. During years of historically high farm income, some farmers were able to self-finance. However, as working capital has declined due to high production costs and lower crop revenues, more producers have needed external financing to pay for operating expenses and capital purchases. Loan demand was also supported by livestock loans on feeder cattle, which still command historically high prices. In fact, demand for non-real estate farm loans increased across all District states in the first quarter and is expected to remain elevated over the next three months.

If expectations are met, the survey measure of loan demand would be the highest since the survey began in 1980.


© Zerohedge

And paying back loans is slumping...

Alongside reduced farm income and higher loan demand, loan repayment rates have declined significantly.

Bankers also expressed concerns over increased debt-to-asset ratios, especially for younger farmers with high borrowing needs.

As The Kansas City Fed concludes...

Low crop prices placed added stress on net farm incomes and contributed to weaker credit conditions in the first quarter. As farm incomes fell, cropland values moderated and more producers depended on financing to cover operating expenses.

Sufficient funds were available to meet increases in loan demand, but declines in repayment rates as well as slight increases in carry-over debt, collateral requirements and loan renewals and extensions suggest that credit quality may become more of a concern moving forward.

All of which is summed up ominously by JPMorgan, writing in a downgrade not for Deere, that...

We recently spent some time in the Midwest meeting various agriculture industry participants including dealers, farmers and industry experts. We believe it was clear from what we heard that the industry is currently in dire straits with the potential for a liquidity crunch for farmers into 2016.

So that is why the government is pushing the young debt-laden student serfs into farming... to 'create' some demand...

Sen. Warren releases 'Broken Promises' report in face of Obama's TPP vows

© Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

One of the biggest critics of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal being touted by the White House raises questions about the Obama administration's promises for the TPP in a new report.

The 15-page "Broken Promises" study put out by the Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) on Monday this week contains what the lawmaker's office describes as highlights from "two decades of failed enforcement by the United States of labor and environmental standards" related to past free trade agreements.

US President Barack Obama has hailed the 12-nation TPP agreement currently being discussed as a means of enhancing the economy both at home and abroad by establishing new relationships among Pacific Ring nations. Opponents of the trade deal have taken aim at the secrecy with which negotiations have so far been conducted, as well as whether or not the TPP will actually live up to the administration's promises, or spawn results similar to that of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

According to Sen. Warren's analysis, previous examples suggest that the TPP has a good chance of contributing to further abuses in workplaces abroad if the trade deal is approved.

"Supporters of past trade agreements have said again and again that these deals would include strong protections for workers, but assurances without strong enforcement are just empty promises," Warren said. "The facts show that, despite all the promises, these trade deals were just another tool to tilt the playing field in further of multinational corporations and against working families."

"We have two decades of experience with free trade agreements under both Democratic and Republican Presidents. Supporters of these agreements have always promised that they contain tough standards to protect workers," the report reads. "The rhetoric has not matched the reality."

For the president's part, Obama said the TPP will be "the most progressive trade bill in history" and will have "higher labor standards, higher environmental standards" and "new tools to hold countries accountable." According to the New England senator, however, similar statements made in the wake of NAFTA have routinely failed to be realized.

Earlier this month, Pres. Obama appeared at the headquarters of footwear giant Nike to endorse the TPP. Nike's top-brass says passage of the trade deal would create thousands of new domestic jobs for the corporation, and the White House says rules laid out within the agreement would force foreign partners to implement new rules and regulations. In Vietnam, for example, where around one-third of Nike's products are produced, workers would be guaranteed a minimum wage and the right to form unions for the first time ever.

"That would make a difference. That helps to level the playing field and it would be good for the workers in Vietnam even as it helps make sure that they're not undercutting competition here in the United States," Obama said.

The Senator Warren responds bluntly in the report that "The United States does not enforce the labor protections in its trade agreement." According to past analyses cited in her report, 11 of the 20 countries that the US has entered into free trade agreement with are linked to "significant problems with use of child labor or other labor-related human rights abuses,"

The White House has asked Congress to give the Obama administration fast-track authority to tentatively iron out any potential trade agreements on its own before asking Capitol Hill lawmakers to either accept or reject a proposal, but that effort stalled after a vote in the Senate last week ended with that request being shot down.

Monday's release marks only the latest installment in a standoff between Sen. Warren and the White House over the TPP. Warren wrote the Office of the US Trade Representative last year saying "We cannot afford a trade deal that undermines the government's ability to protect the American economy," and has remained an adamant critic of the proposal in the months since.

Obama recently responded to Warren's concerns by saying, "The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else" and that "her arguments don't stand the test of fact and scrutiny."

Another moronic plot to damage Russia as the US strains to hold on to world dominance

The Empire is failing.

"The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.....We must, however, be mindful that...Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States."

-- The Wolfowitz Doctrine, the original version of the Defense Planning Guidance, authored by Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992

"For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia...and America's global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained."
-- The Grand Chessboard - American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, page 30

The Laussanne negotiations between Iran and the so called P5+1 group (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany) have nothing to do with nuclear proliferation. They are, in fact, another attempt to weaken and isolate Russia by easing sanctions, thus allowing Iranian gas to replace Russian gas in Europe. Laussanne shows that Washington still thinks that the greatest threat to its dominance is the further economic integration of Russia and Europe, a massive two-continent free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok that would eventually dwarf dwindling US GDP while decisively shifting the balance of global power to Asia. To counter that threat, the Obama administration toppled the elected government of Ukraine in a violent coup, launched a speculative attack on the ruble, forced down global oil prices, and is presently arming and training neo-Nazi extremists in the Ukrainian army. Washington has done everything in its power to undermine relations between the EU and Russia risking even nuclear war in its effort to separate the natural trading partners and to strategically situate itself in a location where it can control the flow of vital resources from East to West.

Laussanne was about strategic priorities not nukes. The Obama administration realizes that if it can't find an alternate source of gas for Europe, then its blockade of Russia will fail and the EU-Russia alliance will grow stronger. And if the EU-Russia alliance grows stronger, then US attempts to extend its tentacles into Asia and become a major player in the world's most prosperous region will also fail leaving Washington to face a dismal future in which the steady erosion of its power and prestige is a near certainty. This is from an article titled "Removing sanctions against Iran to have unfavorable influence on Turkey and Azerbaijan":

"If Washington removes energy sanctions on Iran...then a new geopolitical configuration will emerge in the region. Connecting with Nabucco will be enough for Iran to fully supply Europe with gas...

Iran takes the floor with inexhaustible oil and gas reserves and as a key transit country. Iran disposes of the 10% of the reported global oil reserves and is the second country in the world after Russia with its natural gas reserves (15%). The official representatives of Iran do not hide that they strive to enter the European market of oil and gas, as in the olden days. Let's remember that the deputy Minister of Oil in Iran, Ali Majedi, offered to revive project of Nabucco pipeline during his European tour and said that his country is ready to supply gas to Europe through it...

"Some months earlier the same Ali Majedi reported sensational news: 'two invited European delegations' discussed the potential routes of Iranian gas supply to Europe," the article reads." ... It is also noted that the West quite materially reacted to the possibility of the Iranian gas to join Nabucco." (Removing sanctions against Iran to have unfavorable influence on Turkey and Azerbaijan, Panorama)

So, is this the plan, to provide "energy security" to Europe by replacing Russian gas with Iranian gas?

"After almost three years of go-anywhere see-anything interview-anyone inspections, IAEA inspectors have yet to find any indication that Iran has — or ever had — a nuclear weapons program." -- Gordon Prather, nuclear weapons physicist

It sure looks like it. But that suggests that the sanctions really had nothing to do with Iran's fictitious nuclear weapons program but were merely used to humiliate Iran while keeping as much of its oil and gas offline until western-backed multinationals could get their greasy mitts on it.

Indeed, that's exactly how the sanctions were used even though the nuclear issue was a transparent fake from the get go. Get a load of this from the New York Times:

"Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America's 16 intelligence agencies." (U.S. Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb, James Risen, New York Times, February 24, 2012)

See? The entire US intelligence establishment has been saying the same thing from the onset: No Iranian nukes. Nor has Iran ever been caught diverting nuclear fuel to other purposes. Never. Also, as nuclear weapons physicist, Gordon Prather stated many times before his death, "After almost three years of go-anywhere see-anything interview-anyone inspections, IAEA inspectors have yet to find any indication that Iran has — or ever had — a nuclear weapons program."

The inspectors were on the ground for three freaking years. They interviewed everyone and went wherever they wanted. They searched every cave and hideaway, every nook and cranny, and they found nothing.

Get it? No nukes, not now, not ever. Period.

The case against Iran is built on propaganda, brainwashing and bullshit, in that order. But, still, that doesn't tell us why the US is suddenly changing course. For that, we turn to an article from The Brookings Institute titled "Why the details of the Iran deal don't matter" which sums it up quite well. Here's a clip:

"At heart, this is a fight over what to do about Iran's challenge to U.S. leadership in the Middle East and the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia. Proponents of the deal believe that the best way for the United States to deal with the Iranian regional challenge is to seek to integrate Iran into the regional order, even while remaining wary of its ambitions. A nuclear deal is an important first step in that regard, but its details matter little because the ultimate goal is to change Iranian intentions rather destroy Iranian capability." (Why the details of the Iran deal don't matter, Brookings)

Notice how carefully the author avoids mentioning Israel by name although he alludes to "the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies". Does he think he's talking to idiots?

But his point is well taken; the real issue is not "Iranian capability", but "Iran's challenge to U.S. leadership in the Middle East". In other words, the nuclear issue is baloney. What Washington doesn't like is that Iran has an independent foreign policy that conflicts with the US goal of controlling the Middle East. That's what's really going on. Washington wants a compliant Iran that clicks its heals and does what its told.

The problem is, the strategy hasn't worked and now the US is embroiled in a confrontation with Moscow that is a higher priority than the Middle East project. (The split between US elites on this matter has been interesting to watch, with the Obama-Brzezinski crowd on one side and the McCain-neocon crowd on the other.) This is why the author thinks that easing sanctions and integrating Iran into the predominantly US system would be the preferable remedy for at least the short term.

Repeat: "The best way for the United States to deal with the Iranian regional challenge is to integrate Iran into the regional order." In other words, if you can't beat 'em, then join 'em. Iran is going to be given enough freedom to fulfill its role within the imperial order, that is, to provide gas to Europe in order to inflict more economic pain on Russia. Isn't that what's going on?

But what effect will that have on Iran-Russia relations? Will it poison the well and turn one ally against the other?

© Russia today
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has suggested establishing a free trade zone involving Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan; all bordering the Caspian Sea and oil-rich.

Probably not, mainly because the ties between Iran and Russia are growing stronger by the day. Check this out from the Unz Review by Philip Giraldi:

"Moscow and Tehran are moving towards a de-facto strategic partnership, which can be easily seen by the two groundbreaking announcements from earlier this week. It's now been confirmed by the Russian government that the rumored oil-for-goods program between Russia and Iran is actually a real policy that's already been implemented, showing that Moscow has wasted no time in trying to court the Iranian market after the proto-deal was agreed to a week earlier. Providing goods in exchange for resources is a strategic decision that creates valuable return customers in Iran, who will then be in need of maintenance and spare parts for their products. It's also a sign of deep friendship between the two Caspian neighbors and sets the groundwork for the tentative North-South economic corridor between Russia and India via Iran." (A Shifting Narrative on Iran, Unz Review)

But here's the glitch: Iran can't just turn on the spigot and start pumping gas to Europe. It doesn't work that way. It's going to take massive pipeline and infrastructure upgrades that could take years to develop. That means there will be plenty of hefty contracts awarded to friends of Tehran - mostly Russian and Chinese - who will perform their tasks without interfering in domestic politics. Check this out from Pepe Escobar:

"Russia and China are deeply committed to integrating Iran into their Eurasian vision. Iran may finally be admitted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the upcoming summer summit in Russia. That implies a full-fledged security/commercial/political partnership involving Russia, China, Iran and most Central Asian 'stans'.

Iran is already a founding member of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); that means financing for an array of New Silk Road-related projects bound to benefit the Iranian economy. AIIB funding will certainly merge with loans and other assistance for infrastructure development related to the Chinese-established Silk Road Fund..." (Russia, China, Iran: In sync, Pepe Escobar, Russia Today)

Get the picture? Eurasian integration is already done-deal and there's nothing the US can do to stop it.

Washington needs to rethink its approach. Stop the meddling and antagonism, rebuild relations through trade and mutual trust, and accept the inevitability of imperial decline.

Asia's star is rising just as America's is setting. Deal with it.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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Police shoot German pensioner who refused to be admitted to a clinic

A police forensics team gathering evidence after the shooting.

Police in Hesse killed a 74-year-old pensioner on Sunday in a gun battle which erupted after the man refused to be admitted to a clinic.

A special response team (SEK) had arrived at the man's home in Rodgau, near Frankfurt, just before 7am after beat officers were unable to defuse the situation.

The pensioner, who had a valid firearms license, threatened to use violence if anyone tried to force him to leave against his will, investigators said.

After the SEK arrived, he opened fire and refused to lay down his weapon after the initial shots.

Officers returned fire after he resumed shooting, fatally wounding him and leaving him dead on the ground outside the house.

The floor was left strewn with cartridge casings and there were several bullet holes in the garage door.

Police forensics teams locked down the area through the afternoon as they gathered evidence. It is not yet clear why the man was to be admitted to the clinic.