Throughout his tenure, irresponsible Western officials and complicit media scoundrels bashed him relentlessly. Any excuse will do.
Stuff made up out of whole cloth is held against him. Whatever he does is wrong no matter how right.
His months of efforts to save Europe from the scourge of more war is treated like he intends to wage it.
The reason, of course, is his opposition to US imperial adventurism. Its plan to colonize planet earth, steal its resources, and enslave its people as serfs paid poverty or sub-poverty wages.
To let Western monied interests and war-makers control everything for their own benefit at the expense of all others.
To transform nations into exploitable assets. To crush all opposition to its agenda. To let bankers steal everyone’s wealth.
To wage permanent wars because they’re so profitable. To risk destroying planet earth to own it. To commit genocide all in a day’s work.
Putin’s vision is polar opposite. He wants peace, not war. He believes in nation-state sovereignty inviolability.
He says rule of law principles are meant to be obeyed – especially when world peace is at stake. Over 85% of Russians support him.
Why anyone besides rich elites profiting at the expense of others supports Obama they’ll have to explain.
Nemtsov’s killing aroused the bash Putin crowd – despite knowing he had nothing to with it.
Odds strongly indicate a CIA false flag – much like many others it instigated throughout its sordid history.
Jack Kennedy once said he wanted “to splinter (it) in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds” – reason enough to kill him.
For sure over wanting war in Vietnam ended. Obama can’t wait to wage another one. His desire for imperial conquest is insatiable.
As this is written, smaller crowds mourning Nemtsov than Putin bashers hoped for turned out in Moscow and St. Petersburg – around 7,000 in each city growing incrementally throughout the afternoon.
Sputnik News estimated a Moscow 21,000 turnout. Nemtsov supporters hoped for 50,000 or more.
NBC News hyped “immense crowds.” The New York Times ludicrously said after Nemtsov’s killing, “(t)here are no longer any limits.”
Ignoring no-holds-barred US domestic and global barbarism throughout its sordid history – especially post-WW II. Most of all post-9/11.
Nemtsov was a widely disliked self-serving opportunist. The Times ludicrously called him a “standard-bearer of Western liberalism.”
Putin bashing followed. The Times irresponsibly accused him of an “aggressive foreign policy…labeling his opposition a ‘fifth column,’ (and using) state television (to whip) up a militant, nationalistic fervor…”
It quoted a Putin critic saying “(t)he fact that they (meaning Russia’s government) killed him is a message to frighten everyone…”
“This is what happens to people who go against the government of our country.”
Despite knowing Putin had nothing to do with Nemtsov’s killing, The Times published this rubbish – willful Big Lies intended to deceive.
The neocon controlled Washington Post headlined “Russian opposition leaders allege Kremlin links to Nemtsov slaying.”
On the one hand, WoPo flat-out lied. It knows nothing suggests Putin’s involvement. On the other,it hyped a nonexistent threat for political advantage not achieved. More on this below.
At the time of his death, Nemtsov was a political nobody. Polls showed his RPR-PARNAS party had less than 5% support. His personal popularity was around 1%.
You’d never know it based WaPo hyperbole calling him “a towering figure of post-Soviet politics.”
Perhaps he was a legend in his own mind – in very few others in Russia wanting nothing to do with him.
WaPo practically blamed Putin for his death. It called his killing “by far the highest-profile assassination during” his tenure.
Despite no evidence suggesting it, WaPo claimed opposition elements “reasoned that, at minimum, the security services that blanket Red Square must have had advance warning of Nemtsov’s fate.”
Putin had every reason not wanting him or other opposition figures killed. Political smearing alone would follow.
Plenty of unjustifiable criticism – much like what’s happening now. Besides nothing suggesting Putin believes it’s OK to order someone killed.
No evidence suggests he maintains a kill list like Obama – deciding who lives or dies. Ordering people killed by presidential diktat. Acting extrajudicially as judge, jury and executioner.
Heading a regime more abusive of fundamental civil and human rights than any government in history. Making state terror official US policy.
WaPo irresponsibly quoted Nemtsov ally Vladimir Milov absurdly calling his killing “connected to the authorities.”
Another opposition figure was quoted claiming an “aggressive atmosphere created by the Kremlin…could lead to murder” – without citing a shred of corroborating evidence.
None exists. Don’t expect WaPo to explain.
Wall Street Journal neocons hyped Nemtsov’s “political assassination” as “the new reality of Putin’s Russia.”
Again no corroborating evidence, Just baseless accusations and hype about “Russia’s now-dimmed an tarnished hopes for democracy and reform…”
During his 2012 presidential campaign, Putin warned about dark forces “abroad…looking for a sacrificial victim from among prominent people.”
“They would rub him out and then blame it on the authorities. I know about this. I’m not exaggerating,” he said.
What happened was exactly as he envisioned. Perhaps to be followed by similar CIA-staged false flags irresponsibly blamed on him.
The good news is Washington’s best laid plans fell flat. The Saker reported no opposition elements blaming Putin for what happened.
Many indicated a provocation – the term Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov used meaning a false flag intended to blame Kremlin authorities unjustly.
The area around the seat of government is heavily surveilled for security reasons. The Saker expects an arrest in a week at most, likely sooner.
If evidence shows US involvement, he believes it won’t be made public. Instead it will be used quietly behind the scenes, he said.
Expect little or no effect on Putin’s popularity. It won’t stop lunatics in Washington and media scoundrels from bashing him relentlessly.
By this time next week or sooner, they’ll find other reasons to vilify him unjustly. It doesn’t matter what he does or doesn’t do.
A Final Comment
March 1 marks the one-year anniversary of Donbass anti-fascist resistance. Freedom fighters risked all for fundamental democratic rights everyone deserves.
What began as a protest against Kiev’s ban on Russian language use developed into full-blown rebellion against fascist rule – notably in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Activists from Russia, other parts of Ukraine and elsewhere joined rebels against the scourge of fascism they deplore – perhaps inspired by the Lincoln and other Spanish Civil War brigades.
Freedom-fighting rebels want Novorossiya freed from fascist tyranny. They overcame enormous odds so far.
Their liberating struggle continues. It has miles to go. Washington deplores democracy. Expect all-out US efforts to crush it in Donbass.
Maybe by US-led NATO war – turning Novorossiya into a killing field like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Maybe initiated by a US-instigated Ukraine 9/11 followed by shock-and-awe bombing.
Fascists running America want hardline rule established everywhere. No matter how many millions of corpses it takes to accomplish their objective.
No matter how much human misery follows. No matter if nuclear war risks mass annihilation.
Lunatics in Washington may end life on earth to own it. No greater threat in history matches what humanity faces today. No greater urgency than ending it before it ends us.
A wide majority of pediatricians and family physicians acquiesce to parents who wish to delay vaccinating their children, even though the doctors feel these decisions put children at risk for measles, whooping cough and other ailments, a new survey has found.
Physicians who reluctantly agreed said they did so to build trust with families and to avoid losing them as patients.
The survey, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, asked a nationally representative sample of 534 primary care physicians in 2012 how often parents in their practices postponed one or more vaccinations for children younger than age 2.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that children be vaccinated for 14 diseases before age 6 on a schedule, which entails roughly 29 shots, sometimes several at once.
Ninety-three percent of doctors reported that in any given month, they had been asked at least once to delay vaccines. A fifth said more than 10 percent of parents in their practices had asked them to delay vaccines.
One-third of doctors said they acquiesced “often” or “always”; another third gave in only “sometimes.”
Such deference is in keeping with today’s doctoring style, which values patients as partners, said Dr. Paul A. Offit, a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who was not involved in the study.
“At some level, you’re ceding your expertise, and you want the patient to participate and make the decision,” he said. The downside is that “you have to be willing to stand back and watch them make a bad one.”
Too many doctors compromise on vaccines, instead of mounting a passionate plea, Dr. Offit said.
“It is sad that we are willing to let children walk out of our offices vulnerable to potentially fatal infections,” he said. “There’s a fatigue here, and there’s a kind of learned helplessness.”
Part of the problem is the lack of a proven strategy to guide physicians in counseling parents.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have a solid evidence base in terms of how to communicate to patients about vaccines,” said Saad Omer, an epidemiologist at Emory University. “A lot of approaches are wisdom-based, not evidence-based.”
Dr. Omer said that he did not sanction the use of alternative vaccine schedules, but that he understood why primary care physicians keep treating these patients — just as doctors do not kick smokers out of their practices when they fail to quit.
“Physicians recognize it’s not ideal, but they’re saying, ‘Let’s continue this relationship’ to the family,” he said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises doctors to keep skeptics in the fold, lest the doctors lose the opportunity to educate, cajole or persuade them.
Physicians in the survey reported trying various strategies, like telling skeptical parents that they had immunized their own children, or warning them that outbreaks will continue if too few people are fully vaccinated.
A disproportionate amount of time is spent discussing vaccines during doctor visits, the survey also found. For hesitant parents, counseling can take 10 to 14 minutes or longer — more than half of the average 18-minute visit.
Guidance on safe sleep or toilet training is being crowded out, the study authors said. Forty percent of the doctors reported that dealing with changes to vaccine schedules had decreased their job satisfaction.
In late February, Dr. Nivedita More, a pediatrician in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., sent letters ending her relationship to parents who refused all vaccinations.
“If they aren’t getting their act together to even start the process, I’ll discharge them within 30 days,” said Dr. More, a board member of the Orange County chapter of the pediatrics academy.
By contrast, her stance on vaccine delays is much more flexible. “I do allow that most times,” she said. “The reason is, ultimately they will get vaccinated.”
Many of those parents are simply hoping to limit the number of shots their children receive at once, she added, and are willing to accept combination vaccines.
But “the people who didn’t want to vaccinate at all — I had a really hard time converting them,” she said. “They are never going to change.”
In the midst of the current measles outbreak, which began nearby at Disney parks, Dr. More said she also felt the need to safeguard vulnerable patients in her waiting room from unvaccinated patients. Infants in particular do not get their first measles-mumps-rubella shot until age 1.
Dr. Allison Kempe, the study’s lead author and a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Colorado, thinks the time has come to acknowledge that the idea that “vaccine education can be handled in a brief wellness visit is untenable.”
Dr. Omer said doctors should be paid separately for vaccine counseling in cases where a “substantial proportion of time is being spent on vaccines.”
In addition to compensation, Dr. Kempe said, vaccine counseling should begin during a woman’s pregnancy, and pro-vaccine parents — perhaps even celebrities — should star in marketing campaigns to help “reinforce vaccination as a social norm.”
This Dog and Pony show will also help to insure that JEB and the GOP get the uninitiated Jewish vote in 2016 (as planned)
US and Israel attempting to establish feigned “diplomatic row” to justify “unilateral” Israeli attack on Iran.
March 2, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – In a 2009 US policy paper published by the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution, it was made clear that the US was determined to provoke Iran into a conflict and effect regime change at any cost – up to and including an outright military invasion and occupation of Iran with US troops.
However, before it came to that, the Brookings Institution’s policymakers explored other options including fomenting US-backed political unrest coupled with covert, violent force, the use of US State Department listed foreign terrorist organizations to carry out assassinations and attacks within Iran, and limited airstrikes carried out by either the US or Israel, or both.
In retropspect, 6 years on, all of these tricks have not only been attempted to one degree or another in Iran, but have been demonstrably employed in neighboring Syria to diminish its strength – which according to Brookings – is a necessary prerequisite before waging war on Iran.
And of particular interest – considering what appears to be a growing diplomatic row between the United States and Israel – is just how precisely the US planned to covertly back what would be made to appear as a “unilateral” Israeli first strike on Iran – an attack that appears to be in the process of being justified through a carefully orchestrated propaganda campaign now unfolding.
From the Mouths of US Policymakers Themselves
The Brookings Institution’s 2009 policy paper titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran,” makes clear that negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program is merely theater, and that it will be used to give the world the impression that the United States explored all possible “peaceful” options before resorting to violent regime change. The report states specifically that:
…any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context— both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer—one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.
Of course, Iran – as admitted to by Brookings themselves – is not governed by irrational leadership, and would not turn down a genuinely “superb offer.” The Brookings Institution admits openly that the US pursues a dual track foreign policy – one for public consumption (making “superb offers”) and another aimed at ensuring Iran looks as unreasonable as possible.
At one point in the policy paper, Brookings would state:
The truth is that these all would be challenging cases to make. For that reason, it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)
Here, Brookings policymakers openly conspire to undermine global peace by “goading” another nation into a war it neither wants nor will benefit from. Provoking a nation that poses no threat to the national security of the United States is a clear violation of international law – with the Brookings paper serving as a literal signed confession.
Yet despite this open admission, conspiring against world peace, what is of more interest is the United States’ plans to disavow any responsibility for an attack it would use its regional proxy, Israel, to carry out in its place. It states specifically under a chapter titled, “Allowing or Encouraging an Israeli Military Strike,” that:
…the most salient advantage this option has over that of an American air campaign is the possibility that Israel alone would be blamed for the attack. If this proves true, then the United States might not have to deal with Iranian retaliation or the diplomatic backlash that would accompany an American military operation against Iran. It could allow Washington to have its cake (delay Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon) and eat it, too (avoid undermining many other U.S. regional diplomatic initiatives).
President Obama is alleged to have stopped an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets, according to reports to emerge from the Middle East at the weekend
The threat from the U.S. forced Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to abort a planned attack on Iraq, reported Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida.
Netanyahu will be in Washington for an address to Congress on Tuesday aimed squarely at derailing Obama’s cherished bid for a diplomatic deal with Tehran.
Here, the Daily Mail repeats a growing narrative that dovetails neatly into long-standing US foreign policy described by the Brookings Institution’s report in 2009 – down to the letter. In fact, the prospect of “shooting down” Israeli planes was discussed as one of many props used in this geopolitical theater.
The US, as prescribed by Brookings, is portrayed as desperately trying to hammer out an almost unreasonably accommodation with Iran, while “mad dog” Israel seeks to unilaterally attack Iran – thus giving the US the plausible deniability it openly claimed it would disingenuously attempt to create ahead of any Israeli attack on Iran. It should be noted that the summation of Israel’s military might is a result long, extensive, and continuous US military support meaning that Israeli military operation is even possible without it.
Also of interest is Israel’s habitual, belligerent, serial acts of inhumanity against both its own people and the Palestinians whose land Tel Aviv has seized and continues to occupy. The nature of these acts is not one of self-preservation, but of intentional provocation – creating predictable political divides across the West easily manipulated particularly at times like these where a “regrettable” attack made upon Iran, a nation the West has thus far failed to topple with terrorism, US-backed sedition, sanctions, and covert provocations, is now in the cards.
It is also clear that the 2009 “Which Path to Persia?” policy paper still represents a vivid window into a much deeper and well-entrenched doctrine still to this day being used to reorder the Middle East into alignment with Western special interests. It is a signed confession of a now evident conspiracy against global peace and stability. It should be read, in full, before the United Nations Security Council before those who wrote it and the corporate-financier interests who sponsored it are brought to international justice.
Anything less proves that the United States and its regional proxies, not Iran, are the rogue states, working against global peace and stability, with many standing examples already of their atrocities on display, and more – apparently – still to come.
Juraboev, who is also known as Adbulloh Ibn Hasan, came to the attention of authorities after he posted threatening messages to an Uzbek-language website in August 2014, according to a criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Brooklyn.
‘We too wanted to pledge our allegiance and commit ourselves while not present there,’ Juraboev wrote while using the name Abdulloh ibn Hasan.
‘I am in USA now but we don’t have any arms,’ he wrote.
‘But is it possible to commit ourselves as dedicated martyrs anyway while here?
‘What I’m saying is, to shoot Obama and then get shot ourselves, will it do?’
During a meeting with law enforcement officials at his Brooklyn home, Juraboev said he would kill the president because ‘of Allah,’ and that he would also bomb Coney Island if asked to do so.
Juraboev also said he ‘wanted to be a martyr’ against the ‘polytheists and infidels’
Saidakhmetov and an informant watched videos of Islamic State training camps in Syria, according to court papers.
Saidakhmetov told the informant in September that he wanted to travel to Syria for jihad, or holy war, but that his concerned mother confiscated his passport so he couldn’t travel, the complaint said. He said he would lie and tell her he planned to go to Uzbekistan to visit relatives. When he called to ask for his passport back, she hung up the phone.
‘The flow of foreign fighters to Syria represents an evolving threat to our country and to our allies,’ said state US Attorney Loretta Lynch, who is Obama’s choice to be U.S. attorney general.
Saidakhmetov’s attorney, Adam Perlmutter, said his client was a ‘young, innocent kid’ who would plead not guilty.
‘This is the type of case that highlights everything that is wrong with how the Justice Department approaches these cases,‘ Perlmutter said. Juraboev’s attorney had no immediate comment.
Saidakhmetov booked a flight to Turkey on Feb. 19 and seemed like just another ‘regular American teenager,’ said workers at Nil Travel in Coney Island who helped him.
‘He was just like anyone around us. He was totally normal. He wasn’t nervous,’ said assistant manager Frank Cakir. ‘It’s just scary.’
Until their arrests Wednesday in connection with an alleged failed attempt to join ISIS in Syria, Saidakhmetov and Juraboev appeared to live the mundane lives of ordinary Brooklyn immigrants.
They also appeared careless in planning their alleged plot. One man, for instance, showed up at U.S. Homeland Security offices to apply for a travel document, authorities said. They sometimes communicated online because they believed it would be harder for authorities to trace.
Juraboev allegedly discussed assassinating President Barack Obama, according to the complaint. But he told an FBI agent that he “currently does not have the means or an imminent plan to do so.”
Juraboev and Saidakhmetov, authorities said, planned to embark on the journey to Turkey on Wednesday.
One of them discussed the possibility of hijacking a commercial flight to Turkey and diverting it “to the Islamic State, so that the Islamic State would gain a plane,” the complaint said. They also talked about joining the U.S. military in order to attack soldiers.
Juraboev and Saidakhmetov were arrested in New York; Habibov in Florida. They face charges that include attempting and conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, the complaint said.
Saidakhmetov was arrested Wednesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport attempting to catch a flight to Turkey, authorities said.
Juraboev, who was to catch a later flight, was arrested at his home in Brooklyn. Habibov, who Bratton said “helped organize and finance” the operation, was in Jacksonville, Florida, when he was picked up.
In addition to threats against Obama, the suspects allegedly talked of killing U.S. law enforcement officers. Juraboev allegedly mentioned planting a bomb at Coney Island if ordered to do so by ISIS.
An FBI intelligence bulletin to state and local law enforcement urged officers to be vigilant for not only recruits, but people who may want to carry out attacks.
“These individuals highlight the continued interest among U.S.-based violent extremist to support designated terrorist organizations,” the bulletin said.
Outside federal court in Brooklyn, attorney Adam Perlmutter, who represents Saidakhmetov, said his client will plead not guilty if indicted.
“This case really makes us question the federal government’s approach … to young Muslim men in America,” he told reporters. “They are very ham-fisted tactics. There is no attempt to intervene, to speak, to explore, to understand. There’s just the rush to prosecution, to arrest, and to conviction.”
A man appeared in court today after he was caught in an FBI sting allegedly buying a consignment of deadly ricin chemical that was sent to him hidden inside a toy car.
Mohammed Ammer Ali from Liverpool is accused of going to the darkest recesses of the internet and using the online currency bitcoin in an attempt to buy 500mg of the chemical that would have had the potential to kill hundreds of people, Westminster magistrates’ court was told.
The 31-year-old allegedly paid the equivalent of $500 (£325) to the FBI and received five phials of harmless white powder through the post.
Police said they had not uncovered any threat or plan for an imminent attack at home or abroad following the joint operation by officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, Merseyside police and the US authorities.
Officers – some wearing masks and boiler suits – searched five properties including homes and businesses in Liverpool on 11 February, and seized a number of items, according to a police spokesman. Ricin is said to be hundreds of times more deadly than cyanide.
Mr Ali, wearing a dark sweater and trousers, sat in the dock at Westminster magistrates’ court for a three-minute hearing and spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
Mr Ali, a father of two, is accused of attempting to have a chemical weapon in his possession between 1o January and 12 February, contrary to the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 and the Chemical Weapons Act 1996.
He will stand trial at the Old Bailey, with his next hearing scheduled for 13 March.
The Pentagon let slip that one of its training camps to help fight Islamic State terrorists is in
Jordan — information the pro-U.S. kingdom had specifically requested be kept private, and the latest gaffe in a series of sensitive leaks coming out of the Department of Defense.
In order to hide its flub, which was first announced to reporters during a briefing last week, the Pentagon has scrubbed its public transcripts of any mention of the training camp.
Pentagon officials acknowledged Monday that one of its officers, who was briefing reporters on condition of anonymity last week, likely made the mistake. The Pentagon’s policy is to discuss only the contributions its partner nations are making to its operations against extremists in Iraq and Syria only after those partner nations have publicly spoken about those contributions.
Security analysts are befuddled by the high-level operational “screw-up.”
“Either the official made a mistake or is deliberately leaking information to put the administration’s plans for Syria in a better light in an attempt to defuse criticism that the administration has bungled efforts to aid Syrian rebels,” said James Phillips, a national security analyst at The Heritage Foundation.
Even though the FCC hasn’t yet ruled on the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, one group has already filed a lawsuit claiming at least $20 billion in damages from the way the two giants allegedly discriminate against black-owned media.
The complaint, filed in California on Friday, comes from the National Association of African-American Owned Media, which also filed a similar suit against AT&T and DirecTV in December.
This time, the plaintiff is not only targeting both Comcast and TWC — on the eve of the two companies merging to become what would be the largest pay television distributor in the United States — but also various African-American advocacy groups and MSNBC host Al Sharpton for allegedly facilitating discrimination.
The lawsuit figures to face many hurdles, from the sufficiency of its allegations to possibly the First Amendment, but for now it presents a larger portrait of a media company that isn’t carrying many fully owned black channels and the dangers of allowing it to grow bigger.
“We do not generally comment on pending litigation, but this complaint represents nothing more than a string of inflammatory, inaccurate, and unsupported allegations,” responds Comcast in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Sharpton tells us that he “welcomes the opportunity to answer the frivolous allegations” and says he will be bringing counterclaims for defamation.
According to the lawsuit, Comcast and TWC “collectively spend approximately $25 billion annually for the licensing of pay-television channels and advertising of their products and services, yet 100% African American–owned media receives less than $3 million per year.”
At the time of Comcast’s 2010 acquisition of NBCUniversal, Comcast entered into memoranda of understanding with the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, but the lawsuit says the voluntary diversity agreements are “a sham, undertaken to whitewash Comcast’s discriminatory business practices.”
The plaintiff objects that the only fully black-owned channel picked up by Comcast is the Africa Channel, and that entity is owned by former Comcast/NBCU exec Paula Madison, who “was directly involved in putting together the sham MOUs and obtaining government approval for the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal, thus creating a serious conflict of interest.”
Other black channels are said to be “window dressing,” with black celebrities as “fronts” when they are “white-owned businesses” that are run by friends or family of Comcast executives.
The lawsuit goes on to say that Comcast made large cash “donations” to obtain support for its acquisition. The money includes $3.8 million to Sharpton and his National Action Network. The money, it’s charged, was meant to pay Sharpton to endorse the NBCU deal and divert attention away from discrimination. As for Sharpton’s MSNBC gig, the complaint says, “Despite the notoriously low ratings that Sharpton’s show generates, Comcast has allowed Sharpton to maintain his hosting position for more than three years in exchange for Sharpton’s continued public support for Comcast on issues of diversity.”
Sharpton objects that the budget for National Action Network is not even $4 million, and as for his MSNBC show, he believes he has the most successful show in the 6 p.m. hour at MSNBC, that “the numbers speak for themselves.” The lawsuit seems to count Sharpton’s reported $750,000 annual salary at MSNBC as part of the $3.8 million and leverages past criticism of the noted “civil rights leader” that’s rooted in him allegedly turning an eye and forgoing boycotts and protests on corporations upon receiving monetary contributions to the National Action Network.
As for support to the theory of discrimination in contracting, the lawsuit says Comcast has a “Jim Crow” process with respect to licensing black-owned channels, and that one Comcast exec stated, “We’re not trying to create any more Bob Johnsons,” referring to the founder of Black Entertainment Television.
The NAAAOM is suing along with Entertainment Studios Networks, which was founded by Byron Allen and now has a television operation with stations like Justice Central that reach 7.5 million consumers through deals with smaller pay TV distributors.
Representing the plaintiffs are Louis “Skip” Miller at Miller Barondess. The attorney has been a mainstay for many years on The Hollywood Reporter‘s list of the 100 most powerful lawyers in the entertainment industry. Besides representing clients including Rod Stewart, Steven Tyler, Elton John and Bob Dylan, he also defended the city of Los Angeles in the Rodney King civil rights case.
A Comcast spokesperson responds, “We are proud of our outstanding record supporting and fostering diverse programming, including programming from African-Americans”
Al Sharpton is all about the Benjamins, a daughter of police chokehold victim Eric Garner claims in a bombshell videotape.
Erica Snipes tees off on the reverend as interested primarily in money during a conversation secretly recorded by controversial conservative activist James O’Keefe’s group, Project Veritas.
One of O’Keefe’s investigators with a hidden camera posed as a Garner supporter during a protest last month at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.
“You think Al Sharpton is kind of like a crook in a sense?” the investigator is heard asking Garner’s oldest daughter.
“He’s about this,” Snipes replies, rubbing her fingers together.
“He’s about money with you?” the undercover asks.
“Yeah,” Snipes responds.
Snipes, 24, also complained that the Staten Island director of Sharpton’s National Action Network, Cynthia Davis, scolded her for handing out street fliers about her father’s case that did not include NAN’s logo.
“She started attacking me. ‘Oh, I see that you got this flier out, how come you didn’t add the logo?’ ’’ Snipes said.
The undercover then asks, “They want their logo on your fliers?”
“Instead of me, he wants his face in front,” Snipes says, referring to Sharpton
“But it’s not about them, it’s about your dad,” the undercover says.
“Exactly,” Snipes responds.
“Al Sharpton paid for the funeral. She’s trying to make me feel like I owe them,” she adds.
In an interview with The Post on Monday night, Snipes denied that she had accused Sharpton of being a money-grubber.
“No, I didn’t say that I think Al Sharpton is all about the money,” she said.
‘Al Sharpton paid for the funeral. [NAN Director Cynthia Davis is] trying to make me feel like I owe them.’
– Erica Snipes
But she stood by her criticism of Davis, the NAN director, who she claimed tried to block her from attending a protest at the Staten Island Museum against mass incarceration.
Sharpton on Monday night accused Project Veritas of “exploiting” Snipes and a dispute within the Garner family.
“They’re splicing and dicing stuff together. It was a distortion. Erica is a sincere victim. She was not trying to infer anything with me,” Sharpton said of the secret recording.
Sharpton said the premise of the criticism is flat wrong. He said NAN helps families, including paying for funerals, and does not take money from them. He said Snipes’ sister, Emerald, now works for NAN.
Moreover, he said, NAN organizes rallies after receiving legal permits from the city and therefore requests that its logo be put on fliers for events it sponsors.
In the video, Sharpton is also criticized by leaders and supporters involved in the Michael Brown police shooting case in Ferguson, Mo., and the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, according to the Project Veritas videotapes.
Jean Petrus, a Brooklyn businessman who attended a recent Trayvon Martin Foundation fundraiser in Florida, is also seen criticizing Sharpton in the secretly taped video.
“He knows how to make money and get money. They’re shakedown guys to me. You know, let’s call it what it is, they’re shakedown,” he says in the video.
Esaw Garner, wife of the late Eric Garner, cries as the Rev. Al Sharpton leads a vigil on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in Staten Island.
Photo: Chad Rachman
Petrus told The Post on Monday night that he never consented to an interview and considers himself a “friend of Sharpton.”
“It was an entrapment situation,” Petrus said. “It’s really underhanded.”
“To some degree, he sort of incites people for the wrong reason,” the bishop says. “I’m in the gathering. He got them all fired up. But I just sense this is not the way you want to go.”
Sharpton dismissed the criticism, saying he went to Ferguson at the request of Brown’s family.
“I condemned the violence in Ferguson,” he said.
The Post attempted to contact all the subjects in the Veritas video documentary. Two responded.
Lawyer Darryl Parks, who is involved with the Trayvon Martin Foundation, said “there may be a little truth in that” when asked in a secret recording whether Sharpton is “all about his money.”
Parks on Monday night told The Post that he was “totally misconstrued” by a woman who misrepresented herself as a donor willing to give $50,000 to the foundation. He said it was a lengthy interview taken out of context.
“This is operating under false disguise. It’s nothing but hogwash,” said Parks, who stressed that he supports Sharpton.
Another subject, Vivian Dudley of One Outreach Ministry in Ferguson, said in the video that she was “not quite sure what Al Sharpton did” when he visited there following Brown’s death. She confirmed that two people identifying themselves as documentarians openly interviewed her.
“They asked me about Sharpton. I don’t have anything bad to say about anybody,” Dudley said Monday night.
Other subjects did not respond or could not be reached for comment.
The National Action Network issued a statement Tuesday on behalf of Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, and widow, Esaw Garner.
“Today’s NY Post front page story is deeply misleading about the relationship between our family, National Action Network, and Rev. Al Sharpton.
“As the mother and head of the estate of Eric Garner, and the widow of Eric Garner, let us be clear: We reached out and asked for help and assistance from Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network in the wake of Eric’s death. National Action Network and Rev. Al Sharpton have honored all of our requests, including covering the expenses of Eric’s funeral. We believe that their involvement is solely based on their commitment for justice for Eric and our family. It is National Action Network’s policy that they do not accept monies or even reimbursement from victim’s families.
“Erica made it clear in this NY Post article that the way the interview was conducted was extremely deceptive and her comments were taken out of context.
“We appreciate the work that National Action and Rev. Sharpton has done and continues to do for our family. The best way to continue to seek justice and honor Eric is through peaceful demonstrations, including by attending this Saturday’s rally with Rev. Sharpton at National Action Network.”
Imagine getting a layoff notice, then being ordered to train your replacement.
That’s what has happened to hundreds of information technology employees at Southern California Edison. Since last summer, Edison, which serves nearly 14 million customers, has been firing its domestic IT workers and replacing them with outsourced employees from India.
In doing so, the utility is exploiting a gaping loophole in immigration law, which Congress has failed to close despite years of warnings that it’s costing thousands of American jobs.
The Indian workers are brought in on H-1B visas, which are temporary work permits for “specialty occupations” — those requiring “highly specialized knowledge” and a bachelor’s degree.
The purpose is to allow employers to fill slots for which adequately trained Americans aren’t available, not to replace existing workers with cheap foreign labor. That’s why employers such as Google and Microsoft, which say they’re short of highly trained software engineers, have lobbied hard to expand the program beyond the 65,000 visas available annually. These high-tech companies say they can’t meet their needs from the pool of U.S. graduates in STEM specialties — science, technology, engineering and math.
The pay for Edison’s domestic IT specialists is about $80,000 to $160,000 not including benefits, with the average at about $120,000 for experienced personnel, according to records Edison submitted to the state Public Utilities Commission. The two Indian outsourcing firms providing workers to Edison, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, pay their recruits an average of about $65,000 to $71,000, according to their federal filings.
“They told us they could replace one of us with three, four, or five Indian personnel and still save money,” one laid-off Edison worker told me, recounting a group meeting with supervisors last year. “They said, ‘We can get four Indian guys for cheaper than the price of you.’ You could hear a pin drop in the room.”
This worker and the half-dozen others I interviewed asked to remain anonymous because their severance packages forbid them to speak disparagingly about the company.
These employees perform the crucial work of installing, maintaining and managing Edison’s computer hardware and software for functions as varied as payroll and billing, dispatching and electrical load management across Edison’s vast power generating and electric transmission network. The workers I interviewed are in their 50s or 60s and have spent decades serving as loyal Edison employees.
They’re not the sort of uniquely creative engineering aces that high-tech companies say they need H-1B visas to hire from abroad, or foreign students with master’s degrees or doctorates from U.S. universities who also can be employed under the H-1B program. They’re experienced systems analysts and technicians for whom these jobs have been stairways from the working class to five- or six-figure middle-class incomes. Many got their training at technical institutes or from Edison itself.
Some laid-off Edison employees say the transition is not going well.
Some report that Tata was unable to recruit enough workers in time to replace — or get training from — the domestic workers ushered out the door. Edison delayed some layoffs scheduled for November and December until as late as March. Sources say the utility may now even be considering recalling some laid-off employees to fill the gaps.
Meanwhile, important IT projects have been delayed and complaints from Edison offices about poor tech support are rising, according to some workers and sources at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents thousands of Edison employees (though not the laid-off IT workers).
Edison acknowledges that the transition “has not been seamless but it is also not complete.” The firm says the outsourcing will be completed early this year, and that once the transition reaches “a mature state,” its IT operating costs will fall 20%.
Thus far, the PUC’s interest in this affair has been to demand that any savings get passed on to ratepayers. The commission should be more concerned about potential problems: The consequences a botched transition could have for Edison’s service and emergency response could be dire.
Edison has been less than forthright about the outsourcing, which it says will cost the jobs of 500 IT employees — 400 laid off and an additional 100 “leaving voluntarily.”
Edison relies on a loophole to skate around rules forbidding the use of cheap H-1B labor to replace existing domestic employees. Technically, Edison isn’t the H-1B employer; Tata and Infosys are. This sleight of hand allows Edison to say, as it told The Times, that it is “not hiring H-1B visa workers to replace displaced employees.” The contractors, Tata and Infosys, are doing the hiring. Edison says those firms “determine the composition of their own workforce.” Because the outsourcing firms employ minimal American staffs themselves, the thousands of Indian workers they import aren’t technically replacing Americans.
What’s even more disgraceful is how Tata and Infosys are alleged to treat their employees. In 2013, Tata paid $29.8 million to settle a federal class action brought by 12,800 outsource workers. The employees alleged that Tata cheated them of wages they were due and forced them to sign over their U.S. tax refund checks to the firm. Tata didn’t admit wrongdoing.
The same year, Infosys paid $34 million — a record penalty in an immigration case — to settle federal charges that it had systematically defrauded immigration authorities.
Infosys told Edison the settlement was related to “paperwork administrative issues.”
The Department of Justice put it differently. When federal prosecutors announced the settlement, they specified that Infosys was alleged to have deliberately submitted falsified documents to U.S. immigration authorities, and even instructed visa holders how to deceive consular officials. Infosys denied wrongdoing.
Tata and Infosys declined to comment.
It has long been an open secret that the H-1B program has gone off the rails.
“The reality is that what’s going on at Southern California Edison is the most common usage,” Hira says. Last year, for instance, Minnesota-based agribusiness behemoth Cargill said it would outsource as many as 900 IT jobs to Tata.
Tata and Infosys have become two of the largest recipients of H-1B visas, receiving more than 12,400 new visas in fiscal 2013. A report last year from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston observed that a majority of firms requesting and receiving H-1B visas “specialize in offshore outsourcing and rarely sponsor H-1B workers for permanent residency.”
That conforms to Hira’s findings that Tata filed only seven applications for permanent residency in fiscal 2013 despite receiving 6,163 H-1B visas; Infosys received 6,269 visas and filed no applications for permanent residency.
The H-1B system turns the Indian workers virtually into indentured servants, Hira says. The visas are held in the employer’s name, and are canceled if the worker loses the job. That gives the employer immense power to keep its workforce docile. “If you speak out, they’ll terminate you and you’ll have to leave the country,” Hira says.
The H-1B program has turned into a scam for outsourcing firms and their U.S. clients. Congress must fix it so it serves its original purpose. Instead, a measure introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) would increase the number of available H-1B visas to 115,000 per year. Democrats Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), whose state is home to Cargill, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, where Northeast Utilities announced plans last year to outsource some 200 IT jobs, have signed on as co-sponsors. But critics say the bill would do almost nothing to stem the abuses.
Some pushback is coming from legislators such as Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa); and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
Sessions asked, in a “primer” for his GOP colleagues last month, why Congress should ever consider “advancing legislation that provides jobs for the citizens of other countries at the expense of our own.”
As it stands now, the H-1B program works chiefly for employers looking for new ways to fire older, experienced workers. One laid-off Edison worker put it best: “When you are referred to as a commodity or a cost, not even treated as a human being, it’s pretty degrading.”
Iraqi Army Downs 2 UK Planes Carrying Weapons for ISIL –Iraqi lawmaker says US prefers chaotic situation in Anbar Province — which is near cities of Karbala and Baghdad — as it does not want ISIL crisis to come to an end | 23 Feb 2015 | Iraq’s army has shot down two British planes as they were carrying weapons for the ISIL terrorists in Al-Anbar province, a senior lawmaker disclosed on Monday. “The Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee has access to the photos of both planes that are British and have crashed while they were carrying weapons for the ISIL,” Head of the committee Hakem al-Zameli said, according to a Monday report of the Arabic-language information center of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. He said the Iraqi parliament has asked London for explanations in this regard. The senior Iraqi legislator further unveiled that the government in Baghdad is receiving daily reports from people and security forces in al-Anbar province on numerous flights by the US-led coalition planes that airdrop weapons and supplies for ISIL in terrorist-held areas.
ISIS plans to capture Lebanese territories, declare emirate – report | 23 Feb 2015 | Islamic State militants are planning to extend their positions to Lebanon and declare an “Islamic emirate” there, Lebanese media says. IS extremists are also planning suicide bombings in Beirut, according to the report. IS (formerly known as ISIS, ISIL) militants are “preparing military plans to declare an Islamic emirate in Lebanon very soon,” security sources told Lebanon’s Daily Star. The report added that the jihadists are preparing to establish a military committee that will oversee “Lebanese affairs” while “considering Lebanon as part of its state.”
France deploys aircraft carrier against ISIS in Iraq – Defence Ministry | 23 Feb 2015 | France has deployed its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) extremist group in Iraq, French media report citing government officials. “The integration of the Charles de Gaulle in the operation…(in Iraq) begins this morning,” a member of Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s staff told AFP. The ship’s deployment, during which it will provide airstrikes against Islamic State militants, is expected to last until May at the earliest.
Boston’s mainstream media has delivered its verdict on the allegations against marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: he’s so guilty, there’s no need to used the word alleged anymore.
If there were any doubt that Boston’s media had a bias in the case, several of the city’s media pundits and one of its journalism professors have decisively put that question to rest. The panelists on WGBH’s “Beat the Press” were shameless in discarding any pretense of unbiased, neutral reporting.
The use of the word, “alleged” to identify a suspect who has not been convicted is a long-established practice of media ethics. It’s a standard which acknowledges that only properly-held trial can assign guilt. Yet using “alleged” or “accused” for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is unnecessary,” according to the pundits on “Beat the Press”
“In the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, I wouldn’t have a big problem if somebody simply described him as ‘The Boston Bomber’ because, the evidence is overwhelming to the point (that) there is virtually no other side to this,” said Northeastern journalism Professor Dan Kennedy.
The Boston Globe’s Dante Ramos went one step further, arguing that the use of “alleged” or “allegedly” is just lip service in this case. The words are “the tribute that we pay to the idea of innocent until proven guilty. There’s no way of putting these facts together in a way that he’s not one of the perpetrators.”
But, given the high number of sealed motions, the dubious hospital bed confession, the restrictions placed on the defendant and his attorneys that have left him incommunicado, is Tsarnaev’s guilt is a foregone conclusion?