The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.
An intense cold front in southern Latin America continues to blanket the region, causing deaths, school and highway closures, and other woes. Police in Paraguay reported eight deaths from hypothermia and two from carbon dioxide poisoning from the use of heating devices. The government opened shelters for the poor, who are picked up at night by military trucks. Paraguayan authorities also estimated that 1,000 cattle died because of the cold.
Clint Guidry, the Louisiana Shrimp Harvester Representative on the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force created by Executive Order of Gov. Bobby Jindal, has called BP "liars" and "killers." Gulf Coast fishermen and others with lost income claims against British Petroleum (BP) are outraged by a recent announcement that the $20 billion government-administered claim fund will subtract money they earn by working on the cleanup effort from any future damages claims against BP. But this move, according to lawyers in Louisiana working on behalf of Louisiana fishermen and others affected by the BP oil disaster, contradicts an earlier BP statement where the company promised it would do no such thing.
The Ministry of Truth was how George Orwell described the mechanism used by government to control information in his seminal novel 1984. A recent trip to Europe has convinced me that the governments of the world have been rocked by the power of the internet and are seeking to gain control of it so that they will have a virtual monopoly on information that the public is able to access.
In his Saturday radio and Internet speech, US President Barack Obama seized on the opposition of Senate Republicans to an extension of jobless benefits to strike a false and demagogic pose as the defender of the unemployed.
Newly-installed Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard last Saturday called an Australian federal election for August 21, giving the shortest time legally possible for the campaign. A key factor in the snap poll was the decision by Gillard and Labor Party bosses to attempt to shut down all public discussion of the June 24 coup that removed Kevin Rudd as prime minister and the agenda behind it.
LAWYERS AND activists are decrying the tactics used by the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and other law enforcement during protests in the city's downtown on July 8. The protests were in response to the verdict of involuntary manslaughter in the trial of BART officer Johannes Mehserle for the killing of Oscar Grant on an Oakland transit platform on New Year's Day last year.
The US government has ordered BP to submit a plan for reopening its recently capped blown-out oil well to allow oil to flow into the ocean again after engineers detected seepage on the ocean floor near the well.
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