Solving the Threat to our Energy Grid

Only a matter of time before there is a major cyber attack that will cripple our country. And our government is doing nothing to prevent it. Just like before 9-11:

Admiral Michael Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency and head of the US Cyber Command has warned Congress that our energy grid is under threat of cyber attack. His warning comes after independent reports tracked intrusions targeting energy companies, health care systems and other components of our “critical infrastructure.” The warning advised the House Intelligence Committee about the threat, but it lacked concrete steps to prevent cyber attacks that could hobble the United States in a crisis.

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Bank Of America Hires U.S. Officials For Financial Crime Team

How do banks get to hire government officials? I guess that’s why we live in a corporatocracy. Not only do corporations get still out of jail but they can buy themselves the people who should be charge of watching them:

Bank of America has hired two U.S. government officials to join its financial crimes team, according to three people familiar with the matter, as banks are under increasing pressure to police their transactions for suspicious activity.

Bank of America has hired Jaikumar Ramaswamy, who heads the U.S. Justice Department’s asset forfeiture and money laundering section, and Frederick Reynolds, who is deputy director of the Treasury Department’s anti-money laundering unit, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

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Occupy London activists attempt to set up camp in Parliament Square

Occupy London activists attempt to set up camp in Parliament Square | UK news | The Guardian

Occupy London activists defied police warnings and gathered in central London on Friday to set up camp outside parliament.

Demonstrators converged on Parliament Square despite being told by Scotland Yard that they are banned from putting up tents or sleeping overnight by the landmark.

About 100 demonstrators formed a blockade in the road around the square, unveiling banners reading “real democracy now” and chanting “the police should be helping us”.

Long tailbacks formed along Whitehall as motorists sounded their horns, while scuffles broke out between protesters and police as the demonstration moved towards Downing Street.

via Occupy London activists attempt to set up camp in Parliament Square | UK news | The Guardian.

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British police have spied on reporters for years, documents show

None of this would be coming out without the revelations originating with Edward Snowden:

Freelance video journalist Jason Parkinson returned home from vacation this year to find a brown paper envelope in his mailbox. He opened it to find nine years of his life laid out in shocking detail.

Twelve pages of police intelligence logs noted which protests he covered, who he spoke to and what he wore – all the way down to the color of his boots. It was, he said, proof of something he’d long suspected: The police were watching him.

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California Tells Court It Can’t Release Inmates Early Because It Would Lose Cheap Prison Labor

Out of California’s years-long litigation over reducing the population of prisons deemed unconstitutionally overcrowded by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, another obstacle to addressing the U.S. epidemic of mass incarceration has emerged: The utility of cheap prison labor.

In recent filings, lawyers for the state have resisted court orders that they expand parole programs, reasoning not that releasing inmates early is logistically impossible or would threaten public safety, but instead that prisons won’t have enough minimum security inmates left to perform inmate jobs.

via California Tells Court It Can’t Release Inmates Early Because It Would Lose Cheap Prison Labor | ThinkProgress.

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Forbidden to Feed the Homeless?

It’s adding insult to injury. Pay from a job isn’t high enough to support housing or putting food on a table. And the government doesn’t provide enough help. So now it’s become a crime to feed oneself through charity. America is rapidly going backwards.  We are turning into a third world nation:

This phenomenon not isolated to Fort Lauderdale. This new law has come into effect in Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Philadelphia. Astonishingly, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 33 American cities passed new restrictions on feeding the homeless between January 2013-April 2014.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren: “Enough Is Enough: The President’s Latest Wall Street Nominee”

This is the person who should be President instead of Hillary. But Wall St. bankers that run both parties won’t allow it:

I believe President Obama deserves deference in picking his team, and I’ve generally tried to give him that. But enough is enough.

Last Wednesday, President Obama announced his nomination of Antonio Weiss to serve as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Treasury Department. This is a position that oversees Dodd-Frank implementation and a wide range of banking and economic policymaking issues, including consumer protection.

So who is Antonio Weiss? He’s the head of global investment banking for the financial giant Lazard. He has spent the last 20 years of his career at Lazard — most of it advising on international mergers and acquisitions.

That raises the first issue. Weiss has spent most of his career working on international transactions — from 2001 to 2009 he lived and worked in Paris — and now he’s being asked to run domestic finance at Treasury. Neither his background nor his professional experience makes him qualified to oversee consumer protection and domestic regulatory functions at the Treasury. As someone who has spent my career focused on domestic economic issues, including a stint of my own at the Treasury Department, I know how important these issues are and how much the people in Treasury can shape policies. I also know that there are a lot of people who have spent their careers focused on these issues, and Weiss isn’t one of them.

via Enough Is Enough: The President’s Latest Wall Street Nominee | Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

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Walmart Asks Employees To Donate Food To Help Feed Their Coworkers

An Oklahoma City Walmart is asking employees to donate food to help their coworkers make ends meet during the holiday season, according to a photo posted by the labor-backed coalition Making Change At Walmart. A sign on the collection bin reads, “Let’s succeed by donating to associates in need!!!”

The company drew criticism for similar employee food drives a year ago. At that time, a spokesman characterized the efforts as “part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships.” A request for comment Thursday was not immediately returned.

The worker who snapped the Oklahoma City photo released on Thursday did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation from the company, representatives of Making Change at Walmart said. The company has faced formal charges for illegally firing and disciplining over 100 workers for participating in the organizing efforts. It also trains store managers to monitor employee conversations, report worker sympathies with the union campaign to senior management, and dissuade workers from joining the OUR Walmart campaign without violating the letter of the law governing worker-manager interactions around union rights.

via Walmart Asks Employees To Donate Food To Help Feed Their Coworkers | ThinkProgress.

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Mexicans protesting about missing students scuffle with police

Mexicans protesting about missing students scuffle with police | World news | The Guardian

The wonderful people of Mexico deserve justice. But they won’t get it until they have power. Taking to the streets and demanding justice is part of that process of regaining power:

Protesters marched in Mexico City on Thursday to demand authorities find 43 missing college students, seeking to pressure the government on a day traditionally reserved for the celebration of Mexico’s 1910-17 revolution.

Authorities cancelled the traditional 20 November Revolution Day parade, but did not give a reason.

About 200 youthful protesters, some with their faces covered in masks or bandanas, scuffled with police as they tried to block a main expressway to the international airport. Protesters hurled rocks, fireworks and gasoline bombs at the police, at least one of whom was hit by the projectiles.

via Mexicans protesting about missing students scuffle with police | World news | The Guardian.

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Obama’s Forging His Own Reality

By going it alone on immigration reform, President Obama signaled Thursday that, in his final two years in office, he’s going to be dealing strictly in reality—his version of it anyway.

Not the long-dead dream of hope and change, that rhetoric alone can move mountains. Not the similar fantasy of working hand-in-hand with congressional Republicans. Or even the fiction that most of the country is listening to him.

The president is focused on the here and now. What he can do versus what he can’t—and to some degree taking care of his own. Remember what Janis Joplin sang about freedom when Obama was just a kid? It’s been conventional wisdom that there are risks on both sides with this expansive executive order, but there’s no real risk for Obama. Risk is for politicians who have futures. But Congress has flipped, the president is already at 40 percent approval, and on Thursday night, he gave an address that was notable for the fact that the major broadcast networks didn’t air it. Obama’s future is in the past. There’s not much left to lose.

If anything, the fact that the White House was so quick to roll out the new immigration policy right after the president’s party was thumped in the midterms suggests the administration may now view its half-hearted decision to postpone the order until after the election as a mistake. This time, when Senate Democrats asked him to wait until an omnibus funding bill was passed, Obama didn’t listen. And he didn’t bother to invite Republican leaders to a dinner Wednesday to talk about the order. That would be more useless theater. He may be done playing footsie with anyone.

via Obama’s Forging His Own Reality – NationalJournal.com.

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