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suffragette's Journal - Archives
Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Fri Dec 09th 2011, 05:36 PM
I posted recently.
Dr. Wood addressed both of those issues in an interview from 2005 about her resignation.

Her statements then are consistent with her statements now.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...


http://nwhn.org/who-do-you-trust-womens-he...

Who Do You Trust on Women's Health: Dr. Susan Wood Speaks Out to NWHN About the FDA

Women’s Health Activist Newsletter
November/December 2005

By Cindy Pearson

On August 31, 2005, Dr. Susan F. Wood resigned from her position as head of the Office of Women's Health at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in protest over the agency's handling of emergency contraception (EC). That month, the FDA announced that it would not approve Barr Laboratory's application to make Plan B emergency contraception available over-the-counter (OTC). In Susan's words: "I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled." Susan has been busy since her resignation, talking to groups around the country about how the FDA is ignoring science and the threat this poses to women's health. Cindy Pearson, NWHN's Executive Director, caught up with Susan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in early November. Below is a portion of their conversation.

Cindy: Susan, how did you see the process go wrong in relation to Plan B Emergency Contraception, and the request to make it available over-the-counter?

Susan: There were a couple of places where the process went wrong. First of all, in 2004, the Director for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research overruled the decision of the scientific reviewers and the Advisory Committee's recommendation that EC be made available over-the-counter. This overruling was very unusual because there was, essentially, consensus at every level below the Director that EC should be approved for OTC use. So, for the FDA to come out with a non-approvable letter was quite unusual, given the strong agreement in favor of over-the-counter approval at every level and of the Advisory Committee.

The second way the situation was unprecedented was that the FDA asked a question about an OTC product that we've never asked before. The FDA has never asked whether a small, specific group of the general public can understand a product's label and use the product correctly. In this case, we asked about teens aged 16 and under. There is no evidence to suggest that EC is not safe and effective for these young teens, and there is no precedent for pulling them out as a special population and seeking greater restrictions on their use of a product.





Also, by having to get this from a pharmacist instead of off the shelf, even a person 17 or over could still face the same obstacles as the person referenced in the link about the pharmacist refusing to provide the medication.



edited to add link and excerpt from interview for ease of access to it
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Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Fri Dec 09th 2011, 03:52 PM
Here are just a few examples:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...
US GAO: FDA review on Barr contraceptive 'unusual'


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...
MSNBC announced that the Morning After Pill may be available OTC..

http://upload.democraticunderground.com/di...
LAT: FDA Nominee's Future Hinges on Morning-after Pill

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...
FDA has lost its way, says former official

That last one is an OP I posted in 2006.


Note that for each of the threads above there were multiple additional OPs in different forums.
For example, the the 3rd one was also posted highlighting the fact that Patty Murray and Hillary Clinton were active on this issue:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...
Democrats (Clinton, Murray) Want FDA Answers on 'Morning-After' Pill


There were also many, many related posts about pharmacists denying women this medication:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...
Wal-Mart pharmacist denies couple morning-after pill



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Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Thu Dec 08th 2011, 02:42 PM
so it has been active for quite some time.

http://nwhn.org/who-do-you-trust-womens-he...


Who Do You Trust on Women's Health: Dr. Susan Wood Speaks Out to NWHN About the FDA

Women’s Health Activist Newsletter
November/December 2005

By Cindy Pearson

On August 31, 2005, Dr. Susan F. Wood resigned from her position as head of the Office of Women's Health at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in protest over the agency's handling of emergency contraception (EC). That month, the FDA announced that it would not approve Barr Laboratory's application to make Plan B emergency contraception available over-the-counter (OTC). In Susan's words: "I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled." Susan has been busy since her resignation, talking to groups around the country about how the FDA is ignoring science and the threat this poses to women's health. Cindy Pearson, NWHN's Executive Director, caught up with Susan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in early November. Below is a portion of their conversation.

Cindy: Susan, how did you see the process go wrong in relation to Plan B Emergency Contraception, and the request to make it available over-the-counter?

Susan: There were a couple of places where the process went wrong. First of all, in 2004, the Director for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research overruled the decision of the scientific reviewers and the Advisory Committee's recommendation that EC be made available over-the-counter. This overruling was very unusual because there was, essentially, consensus at every level below the Director that EC should be approved for OTC use. So, for the FDA to come out with a non-approvable letter was quite unusual, given the strong agreement in favor of over-the-counter approval at every level and of the Advisory Committee.

The second way the situation was unprecedented was that the FDA asked a question about an OTC product that we've never asked before. The FDA has never asked whether a small, specific group of the general public can understand a product's label and use the product correctly. In this case, we asked about teens aged 16 and under. There is no evidence to suggest that EC is not safe and effective for these young teens, and there is no precedent for pulling them out as a special population and seeking greater restrictions on their use of a product.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...

FDA Official Quits Over Delay on Plan B


By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 1, 2005


Susan F. Wood, assistant FDA commissioner for women's health and director of the Office of Women's Health, said she was leaving her position after five years because Commissioner Lester M. Crawford's announcement Friday amounted to unwarranted interference in agency decision-making.

"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled," she wrote in an e-mail to her staff and FDA colleagues.

~~~

Many supporters of the Plan B application -- including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) -- accused Crawford of making a political decision that ignored science and public health. The two senators were especially angry at Crawford's ruling because they had lifted a hold on his pending nomination based on promises, relayed by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, that the Plan B issue would be resolved by Sept. 1.

Clinton and Murray have accused the administration of breaking its promise, but Leavitt has disagreed. "The commitment was they would act," he told Reuters on Monday. "Sometimes action isn't always yes and no. Sometimes it requires additional thought."




So, the FDA finally has turned around from Bush times, but now we have this decision coming from Sebelius at HHS
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Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Thu Dec 01st 2011, 01:56 PM

Something I noticed about the Carrier IQ story is that Carrier IQ first tried to suppress the information about its tracking software by claiming "copyright infringement" against the whistleblower who made this information public.




http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/...

The company responded on November 16 to Eckhart’s initial post by firing off a cease-and-desist letter to Eckhart, threatening to sue him for “copyright infringement,” for publishing the inner-workings of their software.

Eckhart smartly sought counsel from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights advocacy organization, which responded on November 21 with it’s own letter telling Carrier IQ it had no legal grounds upon which to threaten Eckhart and to back off.

As the EFF wrote in its letter to Carrier IQ: “Given that there is no basis for your legal claims, we must conclude that your threats are motivated by a desire to suppress Mr. Eckhart’s research conclusions, and to prevent others from verifying those conclusions. Mr. Eckhart stands by his research and, accordingly, declines to meet your demands. We ask that you immediately withdraw your allegations in writing.”

Carrier IQ capitulated two days later on November 23, faxing a letter to the EFF saying it had unequivocally dropped the cease-and-desist request and was “sorry for any concern or trouble that our letter may have caused Mr. Eckhart.” Carrier IQ also said it should have reached out to Eckhart directly to “start a discussion” about the issues he raised and asked the EFF to help initiate a “dialogue.”





So, EFF was able to successfully counter this attempt by Carrier IQ to censor the whistleblower.

This got me thinking. I wonder how differently this might have ended up had SOPA and PIPA already been enacted.

This seems to me the type of situation EFF had cautioned about when arguing against this legislation, especially since even just the accusation made above would be enough to trigger suppression of the information from the whistleblower if these Acts had already been passed or if they are passed in the future.






https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/11/prop...

November 2, 2011 - 9:23am | By Trevor Timm
Proposed Copyright Bill Threatens Whistleblowing and Human Rights

In the past week, the larger Internet community has joined EFF in sounding the alarm about the new copyright bill, now known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), as it makes its way through the U.S. House. The bill threatens to transform copyright law, pushing Internet intermediaries—from Facebook to your ISP—to censor whole swaths of the Internet. SOPA could forever alter social networks, stifle innovation and creativity, and destroy jobs, which is why Rep. Zoe Lofgren wasn’t exaggerating when she said SOPA “would mean the end of the Internet as we know it."

But this bill could also have a huge impact on the work of human rights advocates and whistleblowers who depend on online tools to protect their anonymity and speak out against injustice. Platforms created to provide anonymity software to human rights activists across the world, as well as next generation WikiLeaks-style whistleblower sites, could be major casualties of this bill—all in the name of increasing Hollywood’s bottom line.

Under SOPA, private companies will be able to force payment processors to shut down payments to websites by merely claiming the site “engages in, enables or facilitates” infringement.


https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/11/stop...

First, the new law would allow the Attorney General to cut off sites from the Internet, essentially “blacklisting” companies from doing business on the web. Under section 102, the Attorney General can seek a court order that would force search engines, DNS providers, servers, payment processors, and advertisers to stop doing business with allegedly infringing websites.

Second, the bill encourages private corporations to create a literal target list—a process that is ripe for abuse. Under Section 103 (cleverly entitled the “market based” approach), IP rightsholders can take action by themselves, by sending notices directly to payment processors—like Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal—demanding that they cut off all payments to the website. Once notice is delivered to the payment processor, that processor has only five days to act.1 The payment processor, and not the rightsholder, is then responsible for notifying the targeted website. So by the time Visa or Mastercard—who will no doubt be receiving many of these notices—processes the notice, informs the website, and the website decides whether to file a counter notice, the five days will almost certainly have elapsed. The website will then be left without a revenue source even if it did nothing wrong.

Third, section 104 of SOPA also allows payment processors to cut websites off voluntarily—even if they haven’t received a notice. Visa and Mastercard cannot be held accountable if they cease processing payments to any site, as long as they have a “reasonable belief” that the website is engaged in copyright violations of any kind. Hmm, wonder how long it will take big media to publicly post a list of allegedly infringing sites, and start pressuring payment processors to cut them off? As long the payment processors are willing to comply, the rightsholders can essentially censor anyone they see fit. Even well-meaning payment processors might do this to avoid liability down the road.

The potential for rampant abuse is obvious—whether it’s a frivolous claim that wouldn’t withstand the scrutiny of the official process or an attempt to put an emerging competitor at an extreme disadvantage.





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Posted by suffragette in Latest Breaking News
Wed Nov 30th 2011, 02:23 PM
processor in the nation.



This is about the case with the two midlevel employees indicted with Lawrence’s cooperation:


http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/11/17/nev... /


A grand jury in Nevada yesterday indicted two title officers, Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, on 606 counts of robo-signing between 2005 and 2008, a scheme that resulted in the fraudulent filing of tens of thousands of other documents with the Clark County register of deeds. This has the potential to be a groundbreaking case; it’s the first I can think of which actually indicts a robo-signer on criminal charges for fraud. And by going after the title officers, the Attorney General of Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto, appears to be laying out a strategy to go up the chain and hollow out the entire industry and their illegal document fraud.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the two defendants were employed by Lender Processing Services, the leading foreclosure document processing company in the country, and one under a near-constant state of controversy over the past few years of the foreclosure crisis. In the indictment, Trafford and Sheppard are accused of directing fraudulent notarization and filing of foreclosure documents. This included having their employees forge Trafford and Sheppard’s names on the documents, typically Notices of Default, and then having them notarized. So in addition to a robo-signing scheme, where the notaries and affiants have no underlying knowledge of the documents, this was a forgery scheme. And banks filed these fraudulent documents with the country register of deeds, in violation of existing statutes under Nevada law. These are category C and D felonies, in addition to gross misdemeanors. One woman who worked with Trafford and Sheppard says she signed 25,000 Notices of Default this way.

~~~

LPS hasn’t been indicted, but you can see where this is going. We know enough now to know that this casual forgery and document fraud was official policy for the company. Indictments of Trafford and Sheppard will almost certainly not end there. Everyone who worked for LPS in Nevada will be culpable.

~~~

The fact that they are LPS employees also suggests this is just a first step. This could be a way to get at the software that LPS uses to create documents, which would prove pattern and practice. LPS was central to the entire robo-signing scheme across foreclosure mill law firms and mortgage servicers. And they consistently maintain that they worked at the direction of the servicers and with their full knowledge. So that ropes in the servicers as well.




LPS is apparently trying to blame it all on the midlevel employees in the hopes the investigation won’t continue up the chain:

http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/11/17/in-... /

This is pretty stunning. In the boldface part, there is an admission on guilt – on behalf of its employees who are facing life in prison! – with the usual alibi that the deadbeats had it coming anyway, and nobody was wrongly foreclosed as a result.
As for the notion that LPS wasn’t a target of the investigation: that’s true for now. But Masto’s spokeswoman would not confirm or deny any investigation into the executive suite at LPS. And…
A spokeswoman for Masto declined to confirm or deny whether the attorney general’s office is pursuing an investigation into higher-level LPS employees. As for the company’s clients, Kelleher told American Banker, “We simply don’t know if the major banks were aware of what these individuals were doing.” Kelleher added that the state would consider future actions if it were to discover that banks had sanctioned robo-signing.

Of course they would. I don’t think this ends with the midlevel staffers who were operating under orders. Unless you believe they came up with such a scheme on their own, they would have good reason to explain that they were merely carrying out official policy. This is just the first rung on the ladder.








I wonder about the impact of this in terms of those employees being willing to take the type of plea deal Lawrence did?






More on implications of Masto’s investigation here:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/mat...
Learn the name Catherine Cortez Masto, because she just took a big leap in front of every public servant in the country in terms of restoring faith in government. As Nevada AG, she actually indicted someone for blowing up our housing system. Specifically, she handed down 606 counts of felony or gross misdemeanor indictments on robo-signing against two employees of big bank subcontractor Lender Processing Services.
It’s pretty clear from the indictment that these are mid-level employees, one level up supervisors of fraud rather than top CEOs. And yet, even if this were as far as it goes, it would still be a big deal. These would be the only charges served involving the housing crisis and its link with the structurally corrupt securitization chain so far. By itself, these indictments signify that the fraudulent foreclosure game is over for the big mortgage servicers in Nevada, which is the center of the foreclosure epidemic. It says the rule of law matters, in at least one corner of the country. But you don’t throw 606 counts against someone if all you’re going for is jail time for that person; this is about starting at the bottom, and flipping people. It could be the takedown of the mortgage servicer mafia, and then back to the origination.
~~~

Masto has been by far the most aggressive AG on the civil side, suing Bank of America for multiple violations of a consent order on mortgage servicing, and even making the dreaded nuclear chain of title claim on foreclosures. It’s no surprise she’s taking the lead on criminal matters. Given that her office basically has no native resources or sector expertise in mortgage backed securities, it does make me wonder just what every other AG in the country and DOJ official is doing now that she’s proved bringing charges for fraud is not in fact impossible.
At this point, Masto has gone further than any other official in terms of restoring some sort of social contract. And that’s saying something. Leadership can come from anywhere, especially when the corruption seems to be everywhere. And with California AG Kamala Harris putting immense pressure on Fannie/Freddie on foreclosures, it suggests the tide is turning on this issue somewhat.





A couple more interesting related items:
The CEO/President of LPS retired this summer for (ahem) “health-relates reasons.”
Florida’s AG fired staff investigating LPS.


http://jacksonville.com/business/2011-07-0...

Lender Processing Services Inc. announced Wednesday that President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Carbiener is resigning because of "significant health-related reasons," effective immediately. The Jacksonville-based company gave no other details.
LPS said Executive Chairman and former CEO Lee Kennedy will replace Carbiener on an interim basis, and the board of directors has established a committee to search for a replacement. Carbiener will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to Kennedy and the board of directors, but he also has resigned from the board.
LPS provides technology services to mortgage lenders through all phases of the loan process, from origination through foreclosure if the loan goes bad. The company has been under fire because of allegations that one of its subsidiaries falsified foreclosure documents. Although LPS said it has corrected that problem, the company has remained under investigation by federal and state authorities for its role in the nationwide foreclosure mess.


http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/07/22/flo... /


Maybe it’s because I’ve done so much reporting on the foreclosure fraud issue, but I have to admit to some surprise that the firing of two Assistant Attorney Generals down in Florida, the hotbed of the housing crisis, hasn’t gotten much attention nationally. In my mind, this is the state-based equivalent of the US Attorney scandal. You have a conservative Attorney General who has fired two investigators who were tasked by a previous Republican regime with finding violations of the law. When they proved too effective for the next regime to stomach, they were canned. And now, the new AG, Pam Bondi, is smearing their reputations.
Let’s first give some background. Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson were heading up investigations in the Florida Attorney General’s office on a series of crimes for over a year. Former AG Bill McCollum put them on this task, and they executed. Their interviews and collections of data were essential in rooting out fraud among document processors like Lender Processing Services, and the scores of foreclosure mill law firms operating in the state. Their presentation, “Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable Acts in Foreclosure Cases,” was so influential on the issues of fabricated and forged documents, that it is being used as evidence in a New York foreclosure fraud case against HSBC. The servicer for many HSBC loans, Ocwen, is cited repeatedly in Clarkson and Edwards’ report.


~~~

Clarkson and Edwards claim that under Bondi, they felt pressure to ease up on their investigations. Their supervisors suddenly began questioning their findings. “Obviously we did our job too well,” Theresa Edwards told the Orlando Sentinel.
This is disgusting and deserves wide attention. You have a Republican Attorney General engaged in politically motivated firings that will allow criminals to go free and hurt hundreds of thousands of homeowners being ripped off by the system.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-0...
Eight months after she took office as a first-time elected official, Attorney General Pam Bondi is facing a management crisis replete with allegations of old-fashioned political interference in cases and a revolving door between lawyers and the companies they investigate.
An outside investigator is looking into the circumstances surrounding the May firings of foreclosure fraud investigators June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards. This week, another investigator abruptly resigned after giving the media a 16-page memo noting that two other high-profile lawyers in the attorney general's office had taken jobs with companies under investigation, and accusing top management of interfering in an investigation of a prominent Tampa car dealership.

~~~
The latest blast came from Andrew Spark, who resigned from Bondi's Tampa economic crimes office and said in a 16-page, memo that he was speaking out because the public deserved "fair and honest government, independent of personal connections and powerful interests."
He complained that two top lawyers, former assistant attorney general Joe Jacquot and former Economic Crimes Division Director Mary Leontakianakos, had both taken jobs with foreclosure companies under state investigation, Jacksonville-based Lender Processing Services and the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson in Fort Lauderdale. Both had worked for Bondi's predecessor, Bill McCollum, who lost a primary bid for governor last fall.







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Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Fri Nov 18th 2011, 03:09 PM
Something that caught my eye in terms of national coordination against OWS was the comment below from an interview with Dan Siegel that coordination with fusion centers was possible.

I posted this elsewhere and sabrina encouraged me to make this a thread so am doing so now.




Dan Siegel is the Oakland mayoral legal adviser who resigned in protest of how OWS is being treated in Oakland.

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/15/top...

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think of what has taken place in New York, as you observe from afar following the Oakland raid, right here in New York, just this—in the last hours, the clearing out of Zuccotti Park?

DAN SIEGEL: Well, you know, it’s people around the country have made a decision to crack down on the Occupy movement. We’ve seen it, as you say, today in New York, yesterday in Oakland, over the weekend in Portland and Denver and other places. And clearly, this movement is striking a nerve, because it is so powerful. And it seems like there must be some coordination, perhaps at the level of national security and the fusion centers and so on, to put the word out to local police and politicians that it’s time to move against us. But, you know, at the same time, I think this will be a losing strategy. Every time they hit us, our movement grows stronger.


Fusion Centers?

Looked that up and found some info here:
http://epic.org/privacy/fusion /





The more info I've looked up about them, the more they share with COINTELPRO, from being a combo of local, state, federal, private, public and military agencies with blurred jurisdiction and oversight.



More background here from 2009, in discussing them in light of the discovery of a military operative who had infilitrated WA peace groups:
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/28/broa...

MIKE GERMAN: Well, I think his analysis is exactly right. This is a pretty clear violation of Posse Comitatus. Now, what the military would argue, and has argued, is that they have a right to engage in force protection, which obviously, in its normal understanding of that term, is a defensive sort of capability, i.e. they can put guards at the gates of military bases and protect from threats from without. But they seem to have been, since 2002, considering that as an offensive capability, where they’re actually sending operatives out to spy on community activists, which is, of course, prohibited and something that, you know, the First and the Fourth Amendment become engaged.

And, you know, this is something that we found out through a FOIA back in 2005 the military was engaged in through a group called the Counterintelligence Field Activity. And they had a database of activists called TALON that, again, collected this US person information that the military has no business collecting. And that was shut down. But unfortunately, you know, they just created a new mechanism. This appears to be the fusion centers and these fusion cells that they’re using that, they seem to think, give them a method of circumventing Posse Comitatus and the restrictions on military intelligence gathering in the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what you mean, Mike, by fusion centers.

MIKE GERMAN: About two years ago, me and a colleague at the ACLU started investigating a lot of federal money going to what were called intelligence fusion centers. And I was only two years out of federal law enforcement at that point, and I had never heard this term, so I became concerned. And what these centers are is multi-jurisdictional intelligence centers that involve state, local and federal law enforcement, as well as other government entities — you know, a lot of times there are emergency services type of entities, but actually can’t involve any government entity — but also involve oftentimes the military and private companies.

So we produced a report in November of 2007 warning of the potential dangers that these multi-jurisdictional centers had, because it was unclear whose rules applied. Were we using federal rules? Were we using state rules? Local rules? And what was military and private company — what rules govern their conduct? So we put out this report in November of 2007. At that point, there were forty-two fusion centers. By July of 2008, we had found so many instances of abuse, we put out an updated report. At that point, there were fifty-eight fusion centers. Today, the DHS recognizes at least seventy-two fusion centers. So these things are rapidly growing, without any sort of proper boundaries on what activities happen within them and without really any idea of what it is the military is doing in these fusion centers and what type of access they have to US person information.



And much more here:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/ar...

Let's start with the fusion centers. What is the purpose of them, and who pays for them?

Good questions. The difficulty with fusion centers is that no two are alike. ...

But essentially, a fusion center is a multijurisdictional intelligence information and analysis collection and dissemination point. Typically, they involve a number of government agencies from different levels -- from federal government, from state and local government. They can also involve private companies. They can involve the U.S. military, in some instances.

But there is very little regulation that mandates any particular form, so they can really adapt to whatever environment they're in.




Some aspects of this that I've been thinking of more since first posting this in a thread are:

Given the blended/fused nature of these centers, they are a way to have federal involvement while still stating that this is being done at a local level.

Since they don't use the term "fusion center" in their names, it's a multi-step process to identify their involvement. For example, stockholmer has a thread about "Breaking: Goldman Sachs And Other Wall Street Firms Spy on Protesters In Taxpayer-Funded Center." I looked up more the name "Lower Manhattan Security Initiative" and found it listed in an article in Washington Post as a fusion center. I added the bolding below:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-sec... /

FUSION
New York state operates six fusion centers: The New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC), established in 2003 by the New York State Police and the New York State Office of Homeland Security, is a multiagency intelligence center designed to collect and analyze information and to disseminate terrorist and criminal intelligence. The NYSIC has been designated the state-level fusion center and has developed a Field Intelligence Officer program consisting of 1,600 officers representing 85 percent of the state's law enforcement agencies. In 2010, the NYSIC was designated as one of 12 state agencies to be part of the new Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative. The NYPD Intelligence Division's fusion center, officially established in March 2002, is the all-crimes and counterterrorism component of the New York City Urban Area Security Initiative. The NYPD Terrorism Threat Analysis Group (TTAG) performs intelligence analysis for the fusion center and disseminates open-source and classified intelligence to government and private-sector partners, as well as the U.S. intelligence community. The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, focused on protecting the financial infrastructure, operates a network of cameras, radiation detectors and license plate readers. A similar security zone is being developed around Midtown Manhattan. The all-crimes Rockland County Intelligence Center, originally established in 1995 and operated by Rockland County law enforcement agencies, shifted its emphasis after 9/11 to homeland security and counterterrorism as well as crime. The Suffolk County Police Department operates an Intelligence Center. The Upstate New York Regional Intelligence Center (UNYRIC), based in Latham, was established in 2003 and is operated by the New York State Police to facilitate the collection, analysis and dissemination of criminal intelligence, including drug intelligence, in Upstate areas. The Westchester County Crime Analysis Unit, a component of the Westchester County Police Department of Public Safety, operates as an all-crimes fusion center.




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Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Tue Nov 15th 2011, 04:08 PM
Not the answer to the question in the OP, but points to some directions.
Dan Siegel is the Oakland mayoral legal adviser who resigned in protest of how OWS is being treated in Oakland.


http://www.democracynow.org/seo/2011/11/15...

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think of what has taken place in New York, as you observe from afar following the Oakland raid, right here in New York, just this—in the last hours, the clearing out of Zuccotti Park?

DAN SIEGEL: Well, you know, it’s people around the country have made a decision to crack down on the Occupy movement. We’ve seen it, as you say, today in New York, yesterday in Oakland, over the weekend in Portland and Denver and other places. And clearly, this movement is striking a nerve, because it is so powerful. And it seems like there must be some coordination, perhaps at the level of national security and the fusion centers and so on, to put the word out to local police and politicians that it’s time to move against us. But, you know, at the same time, I think this will be a losing strategy. Every time they hit us, our movement grows stronger.


Fusion Centers?

Looked that up and found some info here:
http://epic.org/privacy/fusion /

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Posted by suffragette in Latest Breaking News
Mon Sep 05th 2011, 01:19 PM
Wasn't aware of this until now.
Found it when searching for articles from March 2010 on Blair.

Why is this reminding me of "Aspen roots"?


http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/ma...
Blair courts controversial US pastor Rick Warren in bid to unite faiths
Former prime minister builds network of Christian allies as he prepares to launch a religious 'offensive' in North America

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/3da2d8d2-c29d-11...

Warren "is also on the board of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the former UK prime minister’s interfaith charity, which aims to “promote understanding” between major religions. “He’s been here at Saddleback,” says Warren of Blair. “I’ve given him relationship connections I have because I know religious leaders around the world.” "

http://www.ocregister.com/news/blair-29097...

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, does a fist bump during a moment of agreement with Pastor Rick Warren during the "Civil Forum on Peace In a Globalized Economy" at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest Sunday.
PAUL BERSEBACH, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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Posted by suffragette in Latest Breaking News
Mon Sep 05th 2011, 12:44 PM
After all, he's part of the family.

Still, adds perspective to info like this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/no...


And this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/0...
Throughout his years in power, Blair had regular secret meetings with Murdoch, many abroad, and was in regular telephone contact. Price has gone as far as to claim that Murdoch "seemed like the 24th member of the cabinet".

Blair insisted no record was ever kept of the meetings or calls, so they were totally deniable. Cherie Blair has said that her husband's decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 was a "close call". So it was – and there is evidence that the final decision was taken only after Murdoch's encouragement was received and his blessing given. Blair talked to the media tycoon three times on the telephone in the 10 days before the US-led invasion. Details obtained under freedom of information show Blair called Murdoch on 11 March, 13 March and 19 March 2003. British and US troops began the invasion on 20 March, with the Times and Sun voicing total support.

The Murdoch penetration into the heart of political life has accelerated under Cameron. His links to the Murdoch empire are arguably even closer than those of Blair or Gordon Brown, whose wife, Sarah, helped to arrange Brooks's 40th birthday party.


ETA 2nd item
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Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Tue Aug 30th 2011, 10:51 AM
Original interview:

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration...
During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”
The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”



In press briefing about the above:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office...



Q Do you want to name any names?

MR. GIBBS: I left my membership list back in the office.

Q Of the professional left?

Q Well, who wants to eliminate the Pentagon?

MR. GIBBS: I think that was -- wasn’t that a proposal during the presidential campaign? Didn't Dennis Kucinich -- or maybe it was adding the Department of Peace.

Q The Department of Peace --

Q There’s a big difference between adding a Department of Peace and eliminating the Pentagon.


The term gets used variously at different times by those using it to criticize and minimize discussion and dissension from (or perceived as from) the left wing of the party, whether that is from bloggers, forum contributors or even long-time members of Congress, as above. And as the party gets pushed ever farther to the right, more people than ever, even people who might formerly identify themselves as centrist, find themselves as labeled far to the left when they call for action on policies traditionally endorsed by the party platform.

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Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Wed Aug 10th 2011, 03:47 PM
especially given the finance world's culpability in trashing so many nations' economies, followed by the bank bailouts and the the finance industries strong push for austerity for most of us (while they rake in huge profits from that process and the raiding of social programs and privatization of public assets that comes with it).

Here's a labeled pic:




(1) the Hon. Edward Sebastian Grigg, the heir to Baron Altrincham of Tormarton and current chairman of Credit Suisse (UK)(formerly a partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs)

(2) David Cameron

(3) Ralph Perry Robinson, a former child actor, designer, furniture-maker

(4) Ewen Fergusson, son of the British ambassador to France, Sir Ewen Fergusson and now at City law firm Herbert Smith

(5) Matthew Benson, the heir to the Earldom of Wemyss and March

(6) Sebastian James, the son of Lord Northbourne, a major landowner in Kent

(7) Jonathan Ford, the-then president of the club, a banker with Morgan Grenfell

(8) Boris Johnson, the-then president of the Oxford Union, now Lord Mayor of London

9) Harry Eastwood, the investment fund consultant
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Posted by suffragette in Latest Breaking News
Mon Aug 08th 2011, 03:12 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/20...

There is a context to London's riots that can't be ignored

Since the coalition came to power just over a year ago, the country has seen multiple student protests, occupations of dozens of universities, several strikes, a half-a-million-strong trade union march and now unrest on the streets of the capital (preceded by clashes with Bristol police in Stokes Croft earlier in the year). Each of these events was sparked by a different cause, yet all take place against a backdrop of brutal cuts and enforced austerity measures. The government knows very well that it is taking a gamble, and that its policies run the risk of sparking mass unrest on a scale we haven't seen since the early 1980s. With people taking to the streets of Tottenham, Edmonton, Brixton and elsewhere over the past few nights, we could be about to see the government enter a sustained and serious losing streak.

The policies of the past year may have clarified the division between the entitled and the dispossessed in extreme terms, but the context for social unrest cuts much deeper. The fatal shooting of Mark Duggan last Thursday, where it appears, contrary to initial accounts, that only police bullets were fired, is another tragic event in a longer history of the Metropolitan police's treatment of ordinary Londoners, especially those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and the singling out of specific areas and individuals for monitoring, stop and search and daily harassment.

One journalist wrote that he was surprised how many people in Tottenham knew of and were critical of the IPCC, but there should be nothing surprising about this. When you look at the figures for deaths in police custody (at least 333 since 1998 and not a single conviction of any police officer for any of them), then the IPCC and the courts are seen by many, quite reasonably, to be protecting the police rather than the people.

Combine understandable suspicion of and resentment towards the police based on experience and memory with high poverty and large unemployment and the reasons why people are taking to the streets become clear. (Haringey, the borough that includes Tottenham, has the fourth highest level of child poverty in London and an unemployment rate of 8.8%, double the national average, with one vacancy for every 54 seeking work in the borough.)

More at the link.


Article about Tottenham by someone who lives there. The following paragraph stood out to me:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/07/t...
On the evidence of what I have described, it would be easy to say that this is a bad place full of bad people. But it is not. It is a poor place. Unemployment in some of the estates near to where I live is among the highest in London.

Some of the housing is desperately run down, occupied, often for a short time, by the capital's poorest. It has few amenities for young people, which have become even fewer since the threat to close down 75% of the borough's youth clubs stemming from the government's austerity measures. There is crime, which goes with all the above.



Searching led me to this article.
Note, this article is from Friday 29 July 2011:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jul/29/y...

Farewell youth clubs, hello street life – and gang warfare


Aaron is one of hundreds of youngsters in the north London borough of Haringey whose youth clubs were shut after the youth services budget was slashed by 75% after a cut of £41m to the council's overall budget. Hundreds of thousands of young people throughout the UK are affected.

Gang experts, MPs and sector workers are warning that these cuts – which have hit youth services harder than any other area of local authority spending, according to the education select committee – could have a serious impact on the safety of young people in urban areas.


~~~

Professor John Pitts, who has researched gang behaviour for more than 40 years, says the "annihilation" of youth services, coupled with academies likely to favour middle-class students over disadvantaged children, could further disconnect young people from society and result in more entrenched gangs.

"Services are not just being taken away from young people, they are being taken from poor young people," he said.


Much more there.



http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/07/t...

We warned Tottenham situation could get out of control – community leaders

Police branded 'absolutely culpable' after more than 100 people left waiting to see senior officer at station


Community leaders warned Tottenham police immediately before Saturday's rioting that a peaceful protest over the fatal shooting by officers of a local man could get out of control, it has emerged.

More than 100 people who demanded to see a senior officer at Tottenham police station feared that if they were still there by nightfall it could cause problems in an area with tensions running high.

"I told the chief inspector personally that we wanted to leave before nightfall. If he kept us hanging around after nightfall, it was going to be on his head. We couldn't guarantee it wouldn't get out of control," said Stafford Scott, a community organiser, who accompanied the family of the shot man, Mark Duggan.

"If a senior police officer had come to speak to us, we would have left. We arrived at 5pm, we had planned a one-hour silent protest. We were there until 9pm. Police were absolutely culpable. Had they been more responsive when we arrived at the police station, asking for a senior officer to talk with the family, we would have left the vicinity before the unrest started.
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Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Wed Aug 03rd 2011, 05:43 PM
and very much agree with you.

I just want to start addressing the whole more government/less government club that gets used as shorthand more.

Because it's not really about whether it's less or more, it's about how it's directed and structured.

Areas that are for public benefit seem to always be termed "more government" while those that funnel large amounts of money to fewer pockets are termed as "less government."


At at a time when austerity for most while bailouts for some are being characterized as a so-called needed restructuring, it's important to challenge the premise that government programs that benefit the majority are somehow more government while those that benefit the already wealthy minority are somehow less government.


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Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Wed Aug 03rd 2011, 02:15 PM
I don't think it's about "more" or less" but instead about the structure.

In many ways we have more government right now though it's not characterized as such.

We've seen huge growth in so-called "security" areas that are government funded.
A small example of this is the Border Patrol, which has received so much funding (while other agencies have had funding cut) that they are now performing work far outside the scope of their mission in order to justify all the money they receive.

http://www.seattleweekly.com/2011-07-27/ne... /

http://www.seattleweekly.com/2011-08-03/ne... /

There's even a whistle blower who was harassed after he divulged that he had refused unearned overtime pay:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-pol...


Border Patrol whistleblower pays price for refusing unearned overtime pay

By Joe Davidson, Published: July 28

During a period when some in Congress and their related policy wonks think federal employees are overpaid, here comes Christian Sanchez, a Border Patrol agent who says he was punished for refusing overtime pay.

His bosses suggested that he get psychological help.

Instead, Sanchez has become a whistleblower, and on Friday he plans to tell gathering on Capitol Hill that he was retaliated against because he would not take overtime for doing no work.

~~~

The worst fraud on taxpayers is that we are getting paid overtime not to work,” Sanchez said in a prepared statement. When he first started working at the station, “I noticed it was common practice for everyone to get paid overtime not to work. Back then there were about twenty-four agents and our entire station was receiving at least two hours of Administratively Uncontrolled Overtime.” Now, he said, there are more than 40 agents there.





I'd love to see an accounting of the increased funding that has gone to all these 'security" entities as a category, some newly created such as Dept of Homeland Security and some like the Border Patrol that have been operating beyond their mission to justify the increased budget. It would also need to include areas such as wire tapping (how much to pay for the rooms created for server traffic, such as at AT&T and the salaries for those monitoring all that) and the bureaucracies put in place in the last decade.



How much better that funding would be spent on social needs and investment in areas such as infrastructure (especially updating the grid and investing in sustainable energy technology. Instead, we've had amounts that are hard to even identify or track diverted for years now.
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Posted by suffragette in General Discussion
Sat Jul 30th 2011, 03:52 PM
which clearly comes at the expense of the citizens' needs. Disaster capitalism on steroids, with a restructuring which is a tearing down of public structures put in place over generations to be replaced by a privatized system that benefits only a few.

Krugman wrote a great article about this, but since it was before this debt ceiling theater's bipartisan direction of austerity, he focused on Europe:


When Austerity Fails
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: May 22, 2011
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/23/opinion/...

In Europe, by contrast, the pain caucus has been in control for more than a year, insisting that sound money and balanced budgets are the answer to all problems. Underlying this insistence have been economic fantasies, in particular belief in the confidence fairy — that is, belief that slashing spending will actually create jobs, because fiscal austerity will improve private-sector confidence.

~~~

What to do? European leaders offered emergency loans to nations in crisis, but only in exchange for promises to impose savage austerity programs, mainly consisting of huge spending cuts. Objections that these programs would be self-defeating — not only would they impose large direct pain, but they also would, by worsening the economic slump, reduce revenues — were waved away. Austerity would actually be expansionary, it was claimed, because it would improve confidence.

~~~

Nobody bought into the doctrine of expansionary austerity more thoroughly than Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, or E.C.B. Under his leadership the bank began preaching austerity as a universal economic elixir that should be imposed immediately everywhere, including in countries like Britain and the United States that still have high unemployment and aren’t facing any pressure from the financial markets.

But as I said, the confidence fairy hasn’t shown up. Europe’s troubled debtor nations are, as we should have expected, suffering further economic decline thanks to those austerity programs, and confidence is plunging instead of rising. It’s now clear that Greece, Ireland and Portugal can’t and won’t repay their debts in full, although Spain might manage to tough it out.



In Spain, the austerity measures have clearly worsened the situation:

Youth Protests Sweep Spain As Unemployment Soars
by SYLVIA POGGOLI
May 26, 2011
http://www.npr.org/2011/05/26/136683688/yo...

Debt-heavy European countries are again raising anxiety in international financial markets. Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal are trying to cut deficits drastically despite their deep recessions.

~~~

The jobless rate among Spain's generally well-educated young people has reached nearly 45 percent, a record in any industrialized country.

Under international pressure to cut its deficit, the government imposed sharp austerity measures — cutting public service workers' salaries, freezing pensions and drastically reducing public expenditures.

The immediate results: a 20 percent drop in consumption and Europe's highest jobless rate, 21 percent.


Yet we saw in the article posted by marmar that the IMF is pushing for even more austerity. More from that here:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-29/i...

Spain is still in “the danger zone” and must keep up momentum in restructuring its economy to stave off contagion from Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis, the International Monetary Fund said.

~~~

The report, a so-called article IV assessment, praised Spain for its “strong and wide-ranging” response to economic challenges in the last year. The country met its 2010 budget deficit target, forged ahead with efforts to curb the cost of its pension system and reshaped its banking industry by forcing lenders to meet minimum capital requirements, the IMF said.

~~~

The IMF said that in terms of Spain’s efforts to cut its budget deficit, the “larger risk” to the 2011 target is that some regional governments may not keep to spending limits.

“All levels of government should deliver on their commitments,” the report said. “Bold strengthening” of changes to labor laws are also needed to reduce the scope of collective bargaining and the practice of indexing wages to inflation, while severance payments should be cut to at least average European Union levels, the IMF said.


So even though they took austerity measures, even though this made life worse for the citizens, even though they met the "budget deficit target" imposed by this, they are pushed to restructure even more and tear down more systems that benefit people.


The point on Blair's becoming quite religious reminds me of the meeting he had with Obama in 2009:

Obama greets 'good friend' Blair
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7873000.stm

Tony Blair has become the first leading British politician to meet Barack Obama since he was sworn in as US President.

The former prime minister was welcomed as a "very good friend" by Mr Obama, as he gave a speech at the traditional National Prayer Breakfast.

~~~

After the address Mr Obama said: "I want to thank my good friend Tony Blair for coming today. He has been an example to so many people around the world of what dedicated leadership can accomplish."Mr Obama praised Mr Blair as "somebody who did it first and perhaps did it better than I will do".



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