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Privacy Advocates Warn of Potential Surveillance Through Listening Devices Like Amazon Echo, Google Home
The Kindle version of The President's Mortician is available for under five bucks. Here's an excerpt from the book:
"In the time that has passed since the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was murdered, the topic has been addressed by hundreds of books, countless documentaries, numerous investigations—both public and private, and even a courtroom battle. The evidence in the case has been hashed and re-hashed many times over, yet the years (nearly 20 now) and the analysis overkill have not dulled the world’s fascination with the subject. Nor has time diminished America’s conviction that a conspiracy was afoot to take Kennedy’s life on November 22, 1963. Since the early 1970s the numbers have remained consistent—three in every four citizens believe that either accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone, or he did not act at all…rather, he was likely just the “fall guy” or the patsy. Moreover, among people 27-39 years of age as of 1980, upwards of 85% were pro-conspiracy (1). In other words, all reasonable people with even a passing knowledge of the events and aftermath of JFK’s assassination suspect that an organized, far-reaching plot took the president’s life that day in Dallas.
"Who killed JFK? The easy answer is that rogue CIA operatives planned, orchestrated and covered up the murder. But this solution is too pat, too simplistic. For it does not take into account the other elements that played their parts in the drama—Texas oilmen, Mafia associates, future presidents and corrupt politicians, ambitious lawyers, Secret Service traitors, the military hierarchy, and wealthy defense contractors. Taken together, these elements form a Secret American Empire.
"Born of the anti-communist fervor which inflamed the nation in the 1940s and ‘50s; fed by the enormous wealth of oil and weapons makers; protected by ambitious, greedy public servants; and enforced by violent, pathological criminals, this Secret American Empire possesses what amounts to its own foreign policy, its own air force, its own militia, its own economy, and its own rules. It is not subject to the laws of the land. It is rich and powerful enough to operate outside the laws that restrict all the rest of us. As Haroldson Lafayette Hunt, one of its high ministers, once said, “I am the richest man in the world. I can do any damn thing I want to do” (2). This empire existed before JFK’s murder, but it had never before pulled off anything so outrageous and brazen as the crime it committed on November 22, 1963. In fact, some of the participants feared for their own apprehension and left the country before and after the execution. Their fears were unfounded, however, because the fix was in. The new president, Lyndon Johnson, was the Empire’s boy, and soon he cut off all legitimate investigations and appointed his own fraudulent commission made up of the Empire’s most ardent protectors. Once the perpetrators knew they were safe, America became their playground. They were free to romp through the public trust, trample the Constitution, start an unnecessary and catastrophic war, have free reign over domestic and foreign policy, and invoke immunity from crimes committed. The JFK assassination taught the Empire that it could get away with anything, and in the years subsequent to 1963 it has coalesced its power and consolidated its reign over democracy. Its candidates have been elected, by hook or crook; its power base has expanded; its wealth has grown unchecked. It has smugly, almost defiantly, moved on to evermore audacious, outlandish covert operations—the removal of Richard Nixon from office, the subversion of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the narcotic trafficking necessary to fund covert operations, and the overthrow of foreign governments. In short, the Secret American Empire, while waving the flag in our faces and clamoring to high heaven about the land of the free and the home of democracy, has done everything it can to undo the processes and the restraints that would impede it under a true democratic system. We are living in, and have been since 1963, a neo-fascist oligarchic state, where only wealth and power matter, where the ways and means of a free press are stifled, where the people are propagandized by disinformation and half-truths, where our elected officials represent their own greedy interests and the interests of the Secret Empire, rather than the interests of those who elected them.
"Would it have been different if JFK had lived? Emphatically, yes! Kennedy, a conventional cold warrior when he took the oath of office, had transformed into a startling advocate of world peace by 1963. His landmark address at American University, in June 1963, laid out a revolutionary vision of America and its place in the world, one that made him a lot of deadly enemies. A world without endless war? An America free of what Eisenhower called “…the unwanted influence of the military-industrial complex”? A pullback on the power of the intelligence community? JFK became a marked man. He wanted to pull us completely out of Vietnam. He wanted to negotiate a settlement to the Cold War and live in peaceful co-existence with the communist world (3). The Secret Empire was not going to tolerate such a radical paradigm shift in domestic and foreign affairs. That was the entire point of the assassination."
Amazon, Applebee’s and Google’s Job-Crushing Drones and Robot Armies: They’re Coming for Your Job...
Amazon.com running deceptive pharmaceutical ads on its website, promoting dangerous drugs as if they...
The Peruvian government has declared an environmental state of emergency after finding elevated levels of lead, barium, and chromium in the Pastaza River in the Amazon jungle, reports the Associated Press. Indigenous peoples in the area have been complaining for decades of widespread contamination from oil drilling, but this is the first time the Peruvian government has acknowledged their concerns. Currently 84 percent of the Peruvian Amazon is covered by potential oil blocs, leading to conflict with indigenous people and environmental degradation.
The Peruvian Environment Minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, said that Pluspetrol, which has operated the oil bloc in question—1 AB—since 2001, would be liable for cleaning up the pollution. But the minister also noted that Occidental Petroleum, which operated the bloc from 1971-2001, had not been environmentally responsible in its operations either.
River in the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
The news comes shortly after Peru set forth its first environmental standards for soil pollution, which the government claims is what led to the announcement of the state of emergency. For the first time Peruvian experts had standards by which to measure contamination in the Pastaza River bed.
Pluspetrol now has 90 days to clean up the Pastaza River and mitigate risk to the local Quichua and Ashuar peoples.
Peru has 659,937 square kilometers of its Amazon rainforest (84 percent) under actual and potential oil and gas development, an area larger than Afghanistan. Not surprisingly—given the scale—many of the oil blocs cover indigenous lands and protected areas. Such concessions not only imperil indigenous groups and the forest itself, but also many tribes that live in voluntary isolation who are especially susceptible to disease.
Meanwhile oil companies are complaining that Peru’s regulatory process is stifling the development of the country’s oil fields. Dow Jones Newswires reports that 16 oil companies have come together to lobby the Peruvian government on increasing oil production.
In 2009 conflict between oil development and indigenous rights erupted in violence. A clash between protestors and government police lead to the deaths of 23 police officers and at 10 indigenous protestors. Indigenous groups have since accused the government police of hiding protesters bodies in order to hide the scale of the violence.
Amazon Sells Sex Toys as Wellness Products
Posted on Mar 25, 2013
Amazon and other companies have rebranded once taboo sex paraphernalia, thus starting another sexual revolution; public libraries aren’t free, per se, but they’re an absolutely important investment; meanwhile, is the fact that college athletic directors get paid more than $1 million a year justifiable? These discoveries and more below.
On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.
Amazon Sells 60,000 Sex Toys and Related Products? Welcome to Sex 4.0
When was the last time you used a sex toy?
How We Got to the Supreme Court
Twenty years ago this July, Michelangelo Signorile went to Hawaii to cover the lawsuit that launched the first salvo in the current war over marriage equality, ultimately leading to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Proposition 8 and, this week, arguments before the Supreme Court: Several gay and lesbian couples took the then-extraordinary step of suing the state of Hawaii, claiming gender discrimination because they were denied marriage licenses.
Winning and Whining, or How to Get Your Just Desserts in America
The phrase “American Exceptionalism” has a long, convoluted, and too often tortured track record.
Obama Ignores the Ugly, Brutal Reality of Occupation and Colonization on His Israel Trip
Round after round of tear gas was shot by a group of Israeli soldiers on a hill overlooking a protest of about 100 Palestinians in support of a hunger striking prisoner.
There Are No Free Libraries
Over the past few months, an image has been making its way around social media to underscore the value of libraries.
Religion Without God
The familiar stark divide between people of religion and without religion is too crude.
Why is Science So Obsessed with Beauty?
Scientists have been musing about beauty, order and natural symmetry since Pythagoras.
Science-fiction Turns Real: Genetically Engineering Animals for War
Scientific advances have us on the verge of being able to control and manipulate animals. Should we use that power?
Mistakes, Excuses, and Painful Lessons from the Iraq War
Ezra Klein has admitted he made a mistake in supporting the Iraq War. And he’s sorry.
The ‘Canonical’ Image of a Drone Is a Rendering Dressed Up in Photoshop
The media of the drone war is not like the media of World War II or Vietnam.
Introducing Brics From Above, And Brics-From-Below
In Durban, South Africa, five heads of state meet on March 26-27 2013 at the International Convention Centre, to assure the rest of Africa that their countries’ corporations are better investors in infrastructure, mining, oil and agriculture than the traditional European and US multinationals.
College Athletic Directors—Why is the Pay So High?
We’ve just learned that nine athletic directors of major college-sports programs make more than $1 million annually, with an average salary of about $515,000.
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WASHINGTON - March 25 - The United Nations has demanded an immediate halt to the expansion of a major gas project in the Peruvian Amazon, over concerns that it poses a grave risk to the lives of uncontacted Indians living nearby.
In a letter to the Peruvian government, the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) requested the ‘immediate suspension’ of plans to expand the existing Camisea gas project further into the Nahua-Nanti reserve, as it ‘threatens the physical and cultural survival of the indigenous peoples living there.’
The call follows an appeal to CERD by Peru’s indigenous organizations AIDESEP, ORAU and COMARU, who are also launching legal action against the government and companies involved in the $1.6 billion project.
Camisea is run by a consortium of companies including Argentina’s Pluspetrol, US’s Hunt Oil and Spain’s Repsol, and is one of the largest gas projects in the Amazon.
The gas project lies in the heart of the Nahua-Nanti Reserve that was created to protect the land and lives of uncontacted Indians.
Now the companies plan to carry out seismic tests in the forest – detonating thousands of explosives – and to drill more than twenty exploratory wells.
The work will have a devastating impact on the local inhabitants, who rely on the rainforest and its game for their survival. Any contact with the uncontacted Indians could prove fatal.
In 2003, a Supreme Decree was passed, as a condition of a loan by the Inter-American Development Bank, which prohibited any further expansion of the project. But in flagrant violation of the Decree, Peru’s Ministry of Energy approved part of the expansion of Camisea in April 2012. The Ministry is imminently set to approve the next phase of expansion, costing $480 million.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The Peruvian government promised the Inter-American Development Bank that it wouldn’t expand the Camisea project, and even passed a Supreme Decree to write the pledge into law. Now it’s doing exactly what it promised not to. Small wonder the UN has demanded this reckless project be stopped.’
"A culture of bullying and endemic harassment through the â€˜dataveillanceâ€™ system."Amazon terminals direct employees from task to task, with no protocols agreed such as the work speed or how frequently workers should take a break.
Screenshot from phildub.com
Creativity trumps unemployment and a bad economy – at least for one jobless Frenchman, whose online CV went viral after he created a mock Amazon.com webpage and offered himself for sale based on his skills as a web product manager.
Parisian Philippe Dubost caused an internet sensation by creating an Amazon-like webpage that invited prospective employers to bid for him.
The price has been scratched out from $999,999, encouraging employers to offer their own salary options. The fake page urges buyers to "order soon", as there is "only one left in stock".
The page includes a profile picture, skills and experience. It also has personal information like his height, languages spoken, and his best marathon time.
By clicking to add Dubost to your ‘cart’, his contact information pops up. He also links his resume to his blog.
Under ‘shipping’ he indicated, “This item is available for shipping anywhere in the world!” demonstrating his willingness to travel.
Dubost even developed a “frequently bought together” section and included running shoes (sold on Amazon) and airline tickets.
"I wanted to do something fun. Résumés are not fun. They're not fun to write, not fun to read", Dubost told The Independent. "I thought it would be fun to build a small web product that would feel a little bit like a game you could interact with, like those baby toys where every button you push makes a different noise."
After the online CV went viral, around 100 employers had offered various job opportunities, Dubost says.
"So many awesome companies, projects, entrepreneurs, I'm starting to feel like a spoilt kid with too many toys," Dubost added. "And yes, among those there are indeed a few opportunities that match what I'm looking for and that I'm going to pursue."
Unprecedented unemployment levels are putting a big strain on the young professionals to innovate traditional methods of job search. Earlier in January, the UK’s Adam Pacitti, 24, spent his last $800 on a billboard featuring his picture and a message “please give me a job”.
In France, the number of jobless has continued to increase in December for the 19th consecutive month, affecting at least 3 million people, which is a near-15-year high.
Rescue workers at the site of a helicopter crash in Peru (file photo).
At least seven people, including five US citizens and two Peruvians, have been killed after a BV-234 helicopter crashed into a commercial building in a village located in Peru's Amazon jungle, officials say.
“There are seven dead, including five Americans and two Peruvians,” said a local prosecutor, Marcos Ochos following the incident.
The incident took place on Monday at 2:57 p.m. local time (1957 GMT) in the village of San Juan situated in the jungle region of Ucayali, Ochos added.
Reports say that the helicopter was carrying people working for Petrominerales Ltd., a Canada-based oil and mining company focused on Latin American countries, including Colombia and Peru.
Local media said that the helicopter, which was travelling from the eastern city of Pucallpa to Tarapoto, took off from the Pucallpa international airport hours earlier.
Following the deadly crash, Peru’s air transport agency, Corpac issued a statement, saying that the helicopter had been operated by “the local unit of US based Columbia Helicopters.”
Rescue workers, police officers, and firefighters rushed to the site of the crash and cordoned off the area.
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