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Monday, November 30, 2015
Oregon Ranching Family Persecuted By Feds On Bogus Charges
Oregon Ranching Family Persecuted By Feds On Bogus Chargeshttp://www.tsln.com/news/17302049-113/story.html
An eastern Oregon family with a long history in ranching is fighting to keep its cow/calf operation afloat against an onslaught of blows from the federal government. Two members of the Hammond family have been charged under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 for starting two range fires that ended up on federal land.
One of the fires, set in 2001, was a prescribed burn on Hammond’s private property; a routine rangeimprovement practice. The other fire, set on Hammond’s private property in 2006, was a back-burn intended to protect the ranch’s winter pasture from a lightening fire on adjacent federal land. Combined, the two fires burned about 140 acres of federal land. Now, although two Hammond family members have already done time in federal prison for setting these fires, they are facing a resentencing—now scheduled for late October—that could land them back in prison.
The Hammonds hold grazing rights on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and own private grazing acres intermingled with BLM land in the Steens Mountains. For 45 years, the Hammonds have used their BLM grazing rights and private property to run a successful operation. But now, their operation is being threatened not only by criminal and civil charges brought by the federal government, but with the loss of their grazing permits, as well. The BLM has refused to renew their grazing permits for two years running.
Although the family has refrained from making a public splash, the story is slowly getting out. Court documents are beginning to circulate. Those documents paint a picture of a family that serves on the local school board, volunteers in community clubs and counsels, and donates time, money and meat each year to local youth organizations and senior groups. District Court Judge Michael Hogan, the federal judge who first saw their case, went on record calling the Hammonds “the salt of their community.”
Why did Hammonds start the fires? According to court documents, the 2001 “Hardie-Hammond” fire was set under a long-standing plan between Hammonds and their BLM range conservationist to burn off invasive species on that section. They had called the BLM at noon that day to see if burning was permitted. After being told there was no burn ban in effect, the Hammonds told the BLM that they would be setting a fire on that section.
The fire later spread to approximately 139 acres of public land, land that happened to be one of Hammond’s grazing allotments. The Hammonds presented evidence that the spread onto public land was not intentional. However, back in 1999, a similar scenario had occurred (a prescribed burn on their land spread to public land), and the Hammonds had been warned that they would face serious consequences should it happen again. As an aside, according to the BLM itself, the 2001 Hardie-Hammond fire had, in fact, “improved range conditions” on the public lands.
The 2006 “Krumbo Butte” fire was started by lightening on public land adjacent to Hammond’s private land, where they grow their winter feed. Hammonds set a backfire that successfully kept the Krumbo Butte fire from burning a large portion of their private land. Their backfire burned about one acre of federal land.
Years later, BLM pressed charges for the above-mentioned fires, citing endangerment of human lives and damage to federal property. However, the district court found that no one had been endangered by the fires, and that the fires had caused minimal damage. In fact, the court found, the fire had arguably increased the value of the land for grazing.
Original jail sentence
Dwight and Steven Hammond (father and son operators of the family ranch) admitted to having started the above fires. In determining the Hammonds’ sentences, Judge Hogan had decided that applying the “mandatory minimum” of five years cited in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act would “shock the conscience…” He referenced the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which states, “Excessive bail shall not be required…nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
To call for five years’ imprisonment, he said, “would result in a sentence which is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offenses here…” He said that Hammonds’ actions “could not have been conduct intended under [the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act]…” Judge Hogan used his discretion under the Eighth Amendment to sentence Dwight (now 74) to three months in prison, followed by three years’ “supervised release.” Dwight’s son Steven (45), father of three, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison—also to be followed by three years’ “supervised release.” The men served their sentences starting in 2013.
Their firearms were taken, as was Dwight’s pilot’s license.
Back to prison?
Not satisfied by Judge Hogan’s reasoning or sentencing decisions, the federal government is now coming back for more: It wants the men to serve at least five years’ time. The government appealed the judge’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and that court agreed that Judge Hogan’s ruling must be remanded back to another judge. The Hammonds appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of overturning the Ninth Circuit decision, but their case was not taken up by the high court.
Thus, the case is now in the hands of Chief Judge of the District Court of Oregon, Judge Ann Aiken. She will decide whether to institute the five-year minimum or more. The resentencing hearing, once scheduled for July 9, has been delayed to late October 2015.
Meanwhile, on the civil side, a wholly separate civil case is being considered. The ranch is also paying $400,000 as part of a settlement agreement with BLM for the alleged costs of fighting fires for which BLM claims the Hammonds are responsible. If the Ham monds have to sell part of their ranch to make the payment, BLM managed (as part of the settlement agreement) to get first option to buy.
Meanwhile, due to BLM’s refusal to renew the family’s grazing permits, the Hammonds have had to find alternative feed for their cattle for large parts of the year, all while working to come up with the $400,000 settlement sum. Hammonds own grazing preferences and hold an associated permit on the BLM land. What’s more, they own private property intermingled with the BLM land. This two-year denial of their grazing permits has preventing them from using their grazing rights and private land.
After a “45-year record of exemplary stewardship” on Hammonds’ part, the family’s counsel wrote, BLM’s refusal of permits is an act of “zeal,” an effort to “make an example of” the family. The Hammonds are currently appealing to get their permits reinstated.
“The public has an interest in maintaining and stabilizing the livestock operations that are dependent upon the public lands,” said the Hammonds’ appeal. “However, contrary to this interest, the… BLM Decision destabilizes [Hammonds’] current livestock operation which is dependent upon the public lands…” Watch for updates on both the criminal and civil aspects of the Hammond family’s story in future editions.
–Reprinted with permission from the Western Livestock Journal
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Capitalism At Work
Paul Craig Roberts
Zero Hedge reports a story from “Keep Talking Greece” that first appeared in The Times
According to the story, the plummeting living standards forced on the Greek people by German chancellor Merkel and the European banks have forced large numbers of young Greek women into prostitution. The large increase in the supply of women offering sexual services has dropped the price to 4 euros an hour. That’s $4.24, enough for a cheese pie or a sandwich, the value that bankster-imposed austerity has placed on an hour’s use of a woman’s body. The half hour price is $2.12. They don’t even get the minimum wage.
When one reads a story such as this, one hopes it is a parody or a caricature. Although the London Times has fallen a long way, it is not yet the kind of newspaper that can be purchased at grocery store checkout counters.
The story gains credence from the websites in the US on which female university students advertise their availability as mistresses to men who have the financial means to help them with their expenses. From various news reports, mistress seems to be a main occupation of female students at high-cost universities such as NYU.
The NYU girls have it far better than the Greek ones. The mistress relationship is monogamous and can be long-lasting and loving. Prudes make an issue of the disparity in ages, but disparity in age was long a feature of upper class marriages. Prostitutes have large numbers of partners, each possibly carrying disease, and they receive nothing in return except cash. In Greece, if the report is correct, the payment is so low that the women cannot survive on the money beyond lunchtime.
This is capitalism at work. In the US the hardship comes from escalating tuition costs, with 75% of the university budget spent on administration, rather than on faculty or student aid, and from the lack of jobs available to graduates that pay enough to service the student loans. These days your waiter in the restaurant might be an adjunct or part-time university professor hoping to get a full-time job as an actor. As mistresses, the NYU girls will be doing better.
In Greece the hardship is imposed from outside the country by the European Union, which Greece foolishly joined, giving away its sovereignty in exchange for austerity. The banksters and their agents in the EU and German governments claim that the Greek people benefitted from the loans and, therefore, are responsible for paying back the loans. But the loans were not made to the Greek people. The loans were made to corrupt Greek governments who were paid bribes by the lenders to accept the loans, and the proceeds often were used for purchases from the country from which the loan originated. For example, Greek governments were paid bribes to borrow money from German or other foreign banks in order to purchase German submarines. It is through this type of corruption that the Greek debt grew.
The story told by the financial media and neoliberal economists who shill for the banksters is that the Greek people irresponsibly borrowed the money and spent it on welfare for themselves, and having enjoyed the fruits of the loans don’t want to repay them. This story is a lie. But the lie serves to ensure that the Greek people are looted in order to make good the banks’ own mistakes in overlending. The banks got both the loan fees and the kickbacks from the submarine producers. (I am using submarine producers as a generic for the range of outside goods and services on which the loans were spent.)
In Greece the loans are being paid by money “saved” by cutting Greek pensions, education and social services, and public employment, and by money raised from selling off public assets such as ports, municipal water systems and protected islands. The cutbacks in pensions, education, social services and employment drain money from the economy, and the sale of public assets drains money from the government’s budget. Michael Hudson tells the story brilliantly in his new book, Killing The Host.
The result is widespread hardship, and the result of the hardship is that young Greek women have to sell themselves.
It is just as Marx, Engels, and Lenin said.
One would think that people everywhere would be outraged. But to most of those who commented on Zero Hedge it is just something to make crude jokes about—“think about it, Viagra costs 4x the cost of pussy.” “Sure beats dating and taking a girl to dinner.”
Those who represent the vaunted “Western Values” see nothing to be outraged about.
The percentage of pro-Western Russians who look to the West for leadership must be rapidly approaching zero.
What’s more important? The dignity of women or another billion dollars for the banksters?
Western “civilization” has given its answer: Another billion dollars for the banksters.
Paul Craig Roberts – Putin And The Russians Crushing
The U.S. As The West Destroys Itself
November 27, 2015
On the heels of the Chinese stock market plunging 5.5 percent, continued turmoil in the Middle East and the price of gold hitting 5 year lows, today former U.S. Treasury official, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts told King World News that Putin and the Russians are now dominating in Syria and the Middle East as the West destroys itself.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: “It could well be that this is going to work out so much in Russia’s favor that Putin will send a letter of thanks to the Turkish President and say, ‘Thank you very much. You’ve done us a huge favor. (Laughter). We lost a pilot and a naval marine but we sure have gained a lot. That was only two deaths for winning a war.”…
Paul Craig Roberts continues: “So that looks to me like the most likely outcome. The unintended consequence of this are so positive for Russia that it’s got Washington quaking and Europe wondering about the idiocy of being in NATO.”
Eric King: “What I’m hearing from you Russia is dominating in Syria. The Russians have completely taken over and there’s really nothing Washington can do.”
Paul Craig Roberts: “No, except make a fool of itself by supporting ISIS. We brought ISIS in there (to Syria) — everybody knows that. Just the other day the former head the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency said on television that ‘Yes, we created ISIS and we used them as henchmen to overthrow governments.’ (Laughter).
And the polls in Europe show that the people are on Russia’s side regarding the shooting down of their aircraft. They don’t believe (the West’s) story at all. So I think what you are seeing here is the arrogance, hubris, and stupidity of the United States government. They are just handing every possible advantage over to the Russians.
This American government is the most incompetent government that has ever walked the earth. Those people don’t have any sense at all. Just look at what they’ve done. In 14 years they’ve destroyed 7 countries, killed millions of people, and displaced millions of people. And where are those displaced people? They are overrunning Europe.
This is all because those Europeans were stupid enough to enable our wars. Now the political parties in Europe are under tremendous pressure from these refugees and the populations who object to them, and from the rising dissident parties who are saying, ‘Look at what these people who you trusted have done. They’ve changed your country. It’s not Germany anymore — it’s Syria.’ (Laughter).
This is a disaster. Only the stupid Americans could have produced such a disaster. Does Putin need to do anything? We’re doing it all for him. So he doesn’t need to do anything. He’s not going to attack anybody. What does he need to attack anybody for? The idiot Americans are destroying themselves and their allies. This is an amazing fiasco.”
Eric King: “Dr. Roberts, people are worried about World War III breaking out and yet we have the price of gold today hitting 5 1/2 year lows. So I guess even though Washington has lost control in the Middle East, they still feel like they have to keep up appearances.”
Paul Craig Roberts: “Gold didn’t hit a low, it was artificially driven down by the bullion banks, who are agents of the Federal Reserve and acting on the Fed’s orders. This is the way the Fed protects the dollar from losing value. This has been going on in earnest since the fall of 2011. We see the appearance at the most odd times of day and night, for no reason whatsoever, of massive short sale of paper contracts that cause the price of gold to move straight down.”
Massive Government Corruption
Eric King: “We saw that today in the gold market with roughly $2 billion of paper gold being sold into the market almost instantaneously.”
Paul Craig Roberts: “But it doesn’t mean anything about the value of gold. It simply means that the Federal Reserve and the bullion banks have manipulated the market. So that’s what’s going on. This is the worst kind of criminality and the worst kind of corruption. I, myself, wrote to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and asked them why they permitted this? This is a violation of the law. But nothing can be done because it’s the government that’s doing it and the government is not going to prosecute itself.
So never say gold hit a new low because it didn’t. It got driven down artificially by a corrupt government…
To continue listening to one of the most extraordinary interviews ever with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts that has now been released CLICK HERE OR ON THE IMAGE BELOW.
***ALSO JUST RELEASED: The World Is Now On The Edge Of Massive Financial Destruction And Total Chaos CLICK HERE.
Friday, November 27, 2015
Stall Speed of SU-24
Stall Speed of SU-24
A few readers have taken issue with the 243mph stall speed of the SU-24 reported by Zero Hedge, which I cited in this article:
First let me say that nothing in the article depends on the stall speed of the SU-24. The point is that 17 seconds is not sufficiently long for a pilot to get authorization to shoot down what Turkey claims was an unidentified aircraft. It was a pre-arranged event with pre-planned authorization.
Now for the stall speed. Zero Hedge says 243 mph is stall speed. Another writer says it is 150. I cannot find online information about the stall speed of the aircraft. What I have found is explanations that many think of stall speed in terms of level flight, but that stall speed varies according to angle and maneuver. In other words, straight line stall speed can be lower than one in which wings are in positions that receive less lift, or that is the way I read the explanations. A 150 mph straight line stall speed, assuming that is a correct number, is only 93mph less than 243, and thus 243 mph could be in the stall speed area depending on wing angle and maneuver.
What is for certain, according to the online information about the SU-24 is that 243 mph is far below the normal operating range of the aircraft. The supersonic aircraft is not intended to fly at such a low speed. I think Zero Hedge’s point is that it is unlikely that a pilot would be flying at or approaching stall speed as his control over the aircraft can become an issue. Pilots tell me that they are trained to operate aircraft in the range that the aircraft is intended to operate.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Guest Column From George Abert, Formerly Of Air Force Intelligence
Why did Turkey shoot down a Russian Air Force jet?
Turkey is so militarily inferior to Russia that it is unlikely Turkey would commit an act of war against Russia without encouragement from Washington. We might think that Turkey would feel shielded by NATO, but it is doubtful that many European members of NATO would risk nuclear annihiliation by going to war with Russia in order to save Turkey from the consequences of such a reckless and irresponsible act as shooting down a Russian military aircraft and lying about it. Turkey has issued no apology and no believable explanation. Unless Erdogan has lost his mind, Washington is behind the shootdown, and the reason is Washington’s desperation to decode the new Russian technology that gives Russian forces total control over a battlefield, whether on land, sea, or air.
When the Russians deployed their forces to Syria they also deployed some new stealth technology. So far as I know they’ve only used this technology in Syria twice, once during their first sortie and one other time when some Israeli Air Force jets entered what they knew was Russian operational airspace.
PCR Debates the Intelligent and Gracious Stefan Molyneux about Private vs. Government Power
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Another Part of Bianca Facchinei’s RT Interview With PCR
Why are they called “migrants” and not refugees?
PCR Interviewed By Press TV — Neocons Seeking US Hegemony Over World
PCR Interviewed By Press TV
Neocons Seeking US Hegemony Over Worldhttp://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/25/439124/Neocons-US-hegemony-over-world
Turkey Is Lying
Paul Craig Roberts
Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge has posted the flight paths of the Russian aircraft according to Turkey and to Russia. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-24/17-seconds-changed-world-leaked-letter-exposes-turkeys-hair-trigger-reality
We know that Turkey is lying for three reasons.
One reason is that NATO governments lie every time that they open their mouths.
A second reason is that Turkey’s claim that the SU-24 was in Turkey’s airspace for 17 seconds but only traveled 1.15 miles means that the SU-24 was flying at stall speed! The entire Western media was too incompetent to do the basic math!
A third reason is that, assuming Turkey’s claim of a 17 second airspace violation is true, 17 seconds is not long enough for a Turkish pilot to get clearance for such a serious and reckless act as shooting down a Russian military aircraft. If the SU-24 was flying at a normal speed rather than one that would be unable to keep the aircraft aloft, the alleged airspace vioation would not have been long enough to be noticed. A shootdown had to have been pre-arranged. The Turks, knowing that the Russians were foolishly trusting to the agreement that there be no air to air encounters, told pilots to look for an opportunity. In my recent article, I gave a reason for this reckless act:http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/11/24/turkey-has-destroyed-russias-delusion-of-western-cooperation-paul-craig-roberts/
Turkey’s explanation to the UN Security Council gives itself away as a lie. The letter states: “This morning (24 November) 2 SU-24 planes, the nationality of which are unknown have approached Turkish national airspace. The Planes in quesion have been warned 10 times during a period of 5 minutes via ‘Emergency’ channel and asked to change their headings south immediately.”
As SU-24 are Russian aircraft, as Turkey is able to identify that the aircraft are SU-24s, how then can the nationality of the aircraft be unknown? Would Turkey risk shooting down a US or Israeli aircraft by firing at an unknown aircraft? If the SU-24 takes 17 seconds to fly 1.15 miles, the SU-24s would have only traveled 20.29 miles in five minutes. Does anyone believe that a supersonic aircraft can fly at stall speed for 17 seconds, much less for five minutes?
Do not expect any truth from any Western government or from any Western media. Governments and media know that the Western populations are uneducated, unaware, and can be relied upon to accept any preposterous story. In the West the Matrix has a firm grip. The Russians need to wake up to this fact.
NPR this morning confirmed that the media is a government propaganda organ. The Diane Rehm show on NPR presented us with a group of talking heads. Only one was informed, a professor at the Middle East Institute of the London School of Economics. The rest of the “experts” were the typical dumbshit Americans. They repeated all of the lies. “Russia is attacking everyone except ISIS.” How can there be anyone but ISIS to attack when the US general overseeing the area recently told Congress that “only 5” of our trained “rebels” remained? Yet the myth of “moderate rebels” is kept alive by these liars.
“The refugees are fleeing the brutal Assad.” Notice that it is always Assad who is brutal, not ISIS which has cut out opponents hearts and eaten them and routinely cuts off peoples heads and commits the most atrocious atrocities. Here we have “experts” blaming Assad. The “experts” said that the refugees are fleeing from Assad not from ISIS. The refugee problem is Assad’s fault, not the fault of ISIS. It is all Assad’s fault because he doesn’t give up and turn Syria over to Washington’s ISIS henchmen.
There was no acknowledgement from the “experts” that ISIS is a Washington creation or that until the Paris attack Washington was strongly backing ISIS with both words and weapons against the Russian air attacks that caught both Washington and ISIS off guard. This is extraordinary considering the fact that US responsibility for ISIS was acknowledged on TV by the former head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency. https://www.rt.com/usa/312050-dia-flynn-islamic-state/
Gullible Americans who give money to NPR are supporting lies and propaganda that have resulted in the deaths and dislocation of millions of peoples and that are leading to WWIII. The Western media whores are complicit in the crimes, because they fail their responsibility to hold government accountable and make it impossible for valid information to reach people. The Western media serves as cheerleaders for death and destruction.
From Michael Hudson:
What French President Hollande Would Have Liked To Have Said:
Signs of a Dying Society
Guest Column by Paul Buchheit
Signs of a Dying Society
By Paul Buchheit
November 24, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - While Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou are vilified for revealing vital information about spying and bombing and torture, a man who conspired with Goldman Sachs to make billions of dollars on the planned failure of subprime mortgages was honored by New York University for his “Outstanding Contributions to Society.”
This is one example of the distorted thinking leading to the demise of a once-vibrant American society. There are other signs of decay:
1. A House Bill Would View Corporate Crimes as ‘Honest Mistakes’
Wealthy conservatives are pushing a bill that would excuse corporate leaders from financial fraud, environmental pollution, and other crimes that America’s greatest criminals deem simply reckless or negligent. The Heritage Foundation attempts to rationalize, saying “someone who simply has an accident by being slightly careless can hardly be said to have acted with a ‘guilty mind.'”
One must wonder, then, what extremes of evil, in the minds of conservatives, led to criminal charges against people apparently aware of their actions: the Ohio woman who took coins from a fountain to buy food; the California man who broke into a church kitchen to find something to eat; and the 90-year-old Florida activist who boldly tried to feed the homeless.
Of course, even without the explicit protection of Congress, CEOs are rarely charged for their crimes. Not a single Wall Street executive faced prosecution for the fraud-ridden 2008 financial crisis.
2. Unpaid Taxes of 500 Companies Could Pay for a Job for Every Unemployed American
Citizens for Tax Justice reports that Fortune 500 companies are holding over $2 trillion in profits offshore to avoid taxes that would amount to over $600 billion. Our society desperately needs infrastructure repair, but 8 million potential jobs are being held hostage beyond our borders.
3. Almost 2/3 of American Families Couldn’t Afford a Single Pill of a Life-Saving Drug
62 percent of polled Americans said they couldn’t cover a $500 repair bill. If any of these Americans need a hepatitis pill from Gilead Sciences, or an anti-infection pill from Martin Shkreli’s company, they will have to do without.
An AARP study of 115 specialty drugs found that the average cost of a year’s worth of prescriptions was over $50,000, three times more than the average Social Security benefit. Although it’s true that most people don’t pay the full retail cost of medicine, the portion paid by insurance companies is ultimately passed on to consumers through higher premiums.
Pharmaceutical companies pay competitors to keep generic drugs out of the market, and they have successfully lobbied Congress to keep Medicare from bargaining for lower drug prices. The companies claim they need the high prices to pay for better medicines. But for every $1 they spend on basic research, they invest $19 in promotion and marketing.
4. Violent Crime Down, Prison Population Doubles
FBI statistics confirm a dramatic decline in violent crimes since 1991, yet the number of prisoners has doubled over approximately the same period.
Meanwhile, white-collar prosecutions have been reduced by over a third, and, as noted above, corporate leaders are steadily working toward 100% tolerance for their crimes.
5. One in Four Americans Suffer Mental Illness, Mental Health Facilities Cut by 90%
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 25 percent of adults experience mental illness in a given year, with almost half of the homeless population so inflicted. Yet from 1970 to 2002, the per capita number of public mental health hospital beds plummeted from over 200 per 100,000 to 20 per 100,000, and after the recession state cutbacks continued.
That leaves prison as the only option for many desperate Americans.
There exists a common theme amidst these signs of societal decay: The super-rich keep taking from the middle class as the middle class becomes a massive lower class. Yet the myth persists that we should all look up with admiration at the “self-made” takers who are ripping our society apart.
2015 President - EN from Roberto Petitpas on Vimeo.
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2017.03.10 Maria Zakharova - MFA Press Briefing - EN from Roberto Petitpas on Vimeo.