IMF cyber-attack led by hackers seeking ‘privileged information’

From The Guardian UK:

Experts suspect source of targeted attack to be nation state as reports suggest IMF systems have been under attack for months

Charles Arthur, technology editor, Sunday 12 June 2011

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is investigating a serious cyber-attack in which some of its systems were compromised and used to access internal data.

Security experts said the source seemed to be a “nation state” aiming to gain a “digital insider presence” on the network of the IMF, the inter-governmental group that oversees the global financial system and brings together 187 member countries.

Tom Kellermann, a cybersecurity expert who has worked for the IMF and was in charge of cyberintelligence in the World Bank’s treasury team, said the intrusion could have yielded a treasure trove of non-public economic data used by the IMF to promote exchange rate stability, support balanced international trade, and provide resources to remedy members’ balance-of-payments crises. “It was a targeted attack,” said Kellermann, who serves on the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance.

The attack will increase concerns over low-level cyberwarfare waged by governments for economic and industrial espionage purposes, which have grown in recent weeks with announcements by the chancellor, George Osborne, of cyber-attacks on the Treasury and by defence secretary Liam Fox of a “sustained attack” on the Ministry of Defence.

Earlier this year it was revealed that computers at France’s finance ministry had been hacked and were silently redirecting data to websites in China, apparently in an effort to steal documents relating to February’s G20 summit.

The code used in the IMF incident was developed specifically for the attack on the institution, said Kellermann, now chief technology officer at cyberconsultancy AirPatrol.

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New federal aquaculture policy paves way for Gulf of Mexico fish farms


By Benjamin Alexander-Bloch, The Times-Picayune
June 9, 2011

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s national aquaculture policy released Thursday paves the way for the Gulf of Mexico to be the first region in the country to develop open-ocean aquaculture in federal waters, potentially reaping another 64 million pounds of seafood from the ocean.

Within a year, businesses could begin applying for permits to establish red snapper, grouper and other finfish-farms in Gulf federal waters, which in Louisiana extend from three to 200 miles offshore.

In 2009, the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, a regional advisory body that sets fishing regulations in the Gulf for NOAA’s Fisheries Service, established its Gulf fish-farming plan. But the plan has sat, officially in place but unusable, awaiting formal NOAA regulations.

The Gulf council’s plan calls for 10-year offshore fish-farm permits with a total cap on farmed fish production at 64 million pounds. The council initially expected about five to 20 such operations to emerge within the first 10 years, but with start-up costs estimated in the $5 million to $10 million range, the level of interest largely is unknown.

The plan prohibits shrimp farming, and only allows the raising of native Gulf species.

Michael Rubino, the manager of NOAA’s aquaculture program, said the Gulf council plan will go through a typical, multi-tiered review process that will culminate in a public comment period. He said that process likely would take about a year to complete and largely would only focus on implementation, with the nuts and bolts of the plan remaining untouched.

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Default: the Student Loan Documentary

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Bachmann Calls For Huge Corporate Tax Cut Alongside Tax Increase For The Working Poor

From Think Progress:

By Pat Garofalo
Jun 11, 2011

Several of the 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls have laid out economic platforms that would include huge cuts in the corporate tax rate. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) called for lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) went a step further, calling for a cut to 15 percent.

In an interview published today by the Wall Street Journal, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — who is toying with a presidential run herself — decided to one-up both Romney and Pawlenty, calling for a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 9 percent. Adding insult to injury, Bachmann wants to pair that huge tax cut with giant tax reductions for the rich, as well as a tax increase on the working poor:

“In my perfect world,” she explains, “we’d take the 35% corporate tax rate down to nine so that we’re the most competitive in the industrialized world. Zero out capital gains. Zero out the alternative minimum tax. Zero out the death tax.” [...]

Her main goal is to get tax rates down with a broad-based income tax that everyone pays and that “gets rid of all the deductions.” A system in which 47% of Americans don’t pay any tax is ruinous for a democracy, she says, “because there is no tie to the government benefits that people demand. I think everyone should have to pay something.”

Let’s take these one at a time. First, cutting the corporate tax rate to 9 percent — a reduction about two and a half times larger than that called for in the radical House Republican budget — would cost more than $2 trillion over ten years. (The Tax Policy Center estimated that a 10 point reduction in the corporate tax rate would cost about $915 billion.)

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American Banks ‘High’ On Drug Money: How a Whistleblower Blew the Lid Off Wachovia-Drug Cartel Money Laundering Scheme

From Alternet:

A fraud investigator helped expose the shocking world of multi-billion dollar drug laundering by American banks and the surprising lack of oversight by the Feds.

By Clarence Walker
June 10, 2011

Martin Woods, an Englishman in his mid-40s, is blessed with a Sherlock Holmes instinct and demeanor. Woods is an expert at sniffing out “dirty” money passing through International Banking Systems.

A police officer for 18 years and later a detective with London Metro Police Agency, Woods capitalized on his unique expertise as a fraud expert by joining Wachovia’s London-based Bank in March 2005 as an anti-money laundering officer.

It wasn’t long after taking the job that he discovered that his own employer, one of America’s leading banks, was a major player in aiding the “bloodthirsty” Mexico drug cartels to launder billions of dollars in drug money through Wachovia banks. Woods traced and identified a “number of suspicious transactions” related to Mexico-based Casa de Cambios (CDC).

Casa de Cambios are currency-exchange operations set up along the U.S. Mexico-border to assist cross border transfers of money to remit labor paychecks. And on the illegal side the Casa de Cambios are also known as the superhighway for narcotic proceeds into the U.S. and overseas financial markets.

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Transgender Lesbian

Listening to people caught up in the Transgender Borg Collective makes my head hurt.

It is like listening to either the anti-sex branch of “radical feminism” or some of the Christo-Fascist right wing.

Every time I hear it I feel like I am listening to the iPhone app. version of the gospel according to gender variant Arnold Lowman aka. Virginia Prince.

The heterosexual transvestite always manages to shine through all the psychobabble bullshit about gender and identity.

Today on a thread on Bilerico, someone who shall remain anonymous, to avoid making my using this quote into a battle of personalities and to avoid my turning this person into a target of scorn and invective posted the following quote:

I received a full GID Diagnosis in 2008, began hormone therapy, and received my Gender Realignment Surgery in January, 2011 after clearing two more psychologists’ recommendations. I identify as transgender because I think it’s a more appropriate term to define who I am. I do not like using the word transsexual to describe myself because I do not like the implication of sexuality that it implies. I’m happy to identify as a transgender lesbian.

I’m currently reading, They Say You’re Crazy: How The World’s Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who’s Normal by Paula J. Caplan.  If one ever wishes to study  the creation of a fictitious DSM category I would suggest they study the purely political creation of the pathology called GID.

That one grew out of Prince’s conversations with Stoller and his haunting of so much of the early literature.  Along with a the right wing Christo-fascist cult of Rekers, McHugh, Raymond, Daly etc.

So needless to say I am not impressed when someone treates their “GID” diagnosis as something to be proud of.

I never had GID because GID hadn’t been invented yet when I went through the process.  Hell they were barely starting work on the Prince based idea of Gender Dysphoria.

I’m always amazed when someone who had a sex change operation has to find weasel words to deny what the operation actually did.

What the fuck is “Gender Realignment Surgery”?  It sounds like taking apart a wrecked car and putting the frame in a realignment gig to rebuild it.

Gender is bullshit.  It is just a way of oppressing women while side-stepping all the 1970s critiques of sex role oppression.

Oooh gender, a plastic fantastic concept for people unwilling to be honest.

Oh I don’t like transsexual because it sounds like sex and that is nasty.  I like gender instead because it sounds so pure and virginal and Barbie like.  Where as sex sounds like I might actually have a cunt, now and passions.  Lust, that I can finally express.

What the fuck is a “Transgender Lesbian”?  Is that a bull-dyke?  Or is it a Boi?

Lesbians are women who love other women.  End of freaking story.

Haven’t you ever heard of “Woman Identified”?  It means putting women and the interests of women first.  If feminism is the theory lesbianism is the practice.  How can you be woman identified if you put being transidentifed first?

And to think people actually wonder why I don’t want to be active in the Transgender Borg Collective…


Obama extends protections to gay couples under Medicaid

From The Washington Blade:

By Chris Johnson
June 10, 2011

The Obama administration is set on Friday to issue policy guidance to states expanding their ability to offer same-sex couples the same protections afforded to straight couples when they receive long-term care under Medicaid, the Washington Blade has learned exclusively.

Under the new guidance, dated June 10, states have the option to allow healthy partners in a same-sex relationship to keep their homes while their partners are receiving support for long-term care under Medicaid, such as care in a nursing home.

Medicaid kicks in for a beneficiary to receive care after an individual depletes virtually all of their money. To pay for the beneficiary’s expenses under Medicaid, a state could impose a lein, or take possession, of a beneficiary’s home to pay for Medicaid expenses.

However, federal law prohibits imposing this lein if beneficiaries are married to someone of the opposite-sex who’s still living in their home. The new guidance, signed by Deputy Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Cindy Mann, clarifies that states can offer this protection to the healthy partner of a Medicaid recipient in a same-sex relationship.

“A State can have a policy or rule not to pursue liens when the same-sex spouse or domestic partner of the Medicaid beneficiary continues to lawfully reside in the home,” the guidance states.

The Obama administration previously hadn’t articulated whether gay couples could receive these protections under the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The guidance doesn’t mandate that same-sex couples receive this protection, but allows states to “incorporate their criteria for determining when to impose a lien in the Medicaid State plan.”

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Pharmageddon: how America got hooked on killer prescription drug

Oxycodine is alleged to be Rush Limbaugh’s drug of choice.  He supposedly abused it until he went deaf and needed implants.  When you wonder about the shit he says, remember his alleged drug problem.

From The Guardian UK:

White House declares prescription drug abuse in US ‘alarming’ as thousands flock to Florida – the home of oxycodone pill mills

Ed Pilkington in Palm Beach, Thursday 9 June 2011

The Kentucky number plate on Chad’s pick-up truck, parked round the back of a doctor’s clinic in Palm Beach, Florida, reveals that he has just driven a thousand miles, 16 hours overnight, to be here – and he’s not come for the surfing.

“It’s my back,” he says, rubbing his lower vertebrae. “I’m a builder. I fell off the roof and hurt my back.”

That’s odd, as we have just watched him run out of the clinic and over to his truck without so much as a limp. He’s clutching a prescription for 180 30mg doses of the painkiller oxycodone.

Chad is one of thousands of “pillbillies” who descend on Florida every year from across the south and east coasts of America. Some come in trucks bearing telltale number plates from Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, even far-away Ohio. Others come by the busload on the apocryphally named Oxycodone Express.

It’s a lucrative trade. Chad tells us he has just paid $275 (£168) to the doctor inside the clinic, or pill mill, as it is pejoratively called. The doctor, who can see up to 100 people in a sitting, can make more than $25,000 in a day, cash in hand.

For Chad the profits are handsome too. He will spend $720 at a pharmacy on his 180 pills, giving him a total outlay of about $1,000. Back in Kentucky he can sell each pill for $30, giving them a street value of $5,400 and Chad a clear profit of more than $4,000. If he goes to 10 pill mills in Palm Beach on this one trip he could multiply that windfall tenfold. But then there’s the other cost of the oxycodone trade, a cost that is less often talked about, certainly not by Chad or his accommodating doctor.

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Will “The Sissy Boy Experiment” Finally Mean Death For “Ex-Gay Therapy”?

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash
June 8, 2011

Will “The Sissy Boy Experiment,” a three-​part series from CNN’s Anderson Cooper which began Monday night, be the death of so-​called “ex-​gay” therapy? It should be. So-​called “ex-​gay therapy,” the pseudo-​science of changing someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity to heterosexual, also labeled “conversion therapy,” has gotten its final nail in the coffin, thanks in large part to author Jim Burroway, whose extensive research – even more in-​depth and broader that CNN’s – uncovered the fact that the man responsible for the so-​called ex-​gay movement, George Alan Rekers, fraudulently reported on a pivotal study — his study, as a student — back in the 1970s.

The study? A four-​year old boy, known as “Kraig” to millions who read the 20+ research papers Rekers published on him, had exhibited so-​called “feminine” characteristics early on. “Kraig” went through Rekers’ emotionally and physically violent aversion therapy — not just “praying away the gay” — but attempts to physically beat homosexuality out of him. Rekers falsely reported that Kurt Murphy, aka “Kraig,” became a well-​adjusted heterosexual man intent on marrying a woman and having a family. In reality, “Kraig,” after ten months of “therapy,” between the ages of four and five, attempted suicide at seventeen, and succeeded after a miserably unhappy life, at 38.

“In 1972, George Alan Rekers wrote a dissertation that earned him a Ph.D. in Psychology,” Burroway writes at Box Turtle Bulletin. “His dissertation described his success in treating three young boys whom he diagnosed as having a ‘cross-​gender disturbance.’ The boys’ treatments were part of a federally funded study at UCLA. Two years later, Rekers and his mentor, Dr. Ivar Lovaas, published a groundbreaking paper based in Rekers’s dissertation. It featured one boy in particular, five-​year-​old Kraig. That paper launched Rekers’s career, and he would feature or mention Kraig’s case in at least twenty papers, books and chapters in the forty years following his dissertation.

“In 1987 another UCLA researcher, Dr. Richard Green, published a book, titled The ‘Sissy Boy Syndrome’ and the Development of Homosexuality. Kraig — this time his name would be changed to ‘Kyle’ — was one of a dozen feminine boys featured in his treatise on cross-​gender behavior. Green interviewed Kyle’s parents when Kyle was five, Kyle and his mother when Kyle was seventeen, and Kyle again when he was eighteen. That last interview left Green considerably more ambivalent about Kyle’s sexuality than Rekers was. Rekers described Kraig as ‘indistinguishable from any other boy in terms of gender-​related behaviors,’ but Green wrote that Kyle was bisexual. Green also revealed that Kyle tried to commit suicide when he was seventeen. Nevertheless, Green concluded that no one was ‘obviously harmed by treatment.’ (emphasis his).”

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Saturday Night ’60s Flashback

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Some Arsenic With That Supermarket Chicken?

From Mother Jones:

By Tom Philpott
Sat Jun. 11, 2011

Earlier this week, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced it would “voluntarily” stop selling a widely used arsenic-laced poultry feed additive, after FDA tests found traces of the poison in chicken meat.

So the system works, right? A federal regulatory agency conducts rigorous tests, detects a problem, and industry reacts by doing the right thing. Except, not so much. A closer look at the arsenic-lased feed saga reveals a tattered, industry-dominated regulatory regime that abuses public health and the environment alike.

The story goes like this. In the ’40s, the pharmaceutical industry began marketing a nifty new poultry feed additive bearing the charming name of roxarsone. The chemical helped control parasitic ailment common to chickens called coccidiosis. But that was just part of its appeal. As the poultry-processing industry consolidated into the hands of just a few companies over the post-war decades, poultry farmers had to scale up and fatten their chickens as quickly as possible. Roxarsone helped with that, too—it’s a growth enhancer. What’s more, it contributes to that rosy-pink hue consumers have come to associated with fresh chicken meat.

Moreover, after poultry production transformed from far-flung, diversified farms to today’s vast industrial operations, coccidiosis became ever-harder to control—making roxarsone ever more popular. As Food and Water Watch put it in a recent report (downloadable here):

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Pfizer Suspends Sales of Chicken Drug With Arsenic

From The New York Times:

By and
Published: June 8, 2011

WASHINGTON — Farmers have for decades fed chickens an arsenic-containing drug that promotes growth, but after a government study found trace amounts of this poisonous carcinogen in chickens, its maker will suspend its sales.

For decades, farmers have fed chickens a drug that contains arsenic to promote their growth.

Officials at the Food and Drug Administration said the amounts found were so low that chickens treated with the drug, called 3-Nitro, do not pose a serious health risk and will continue to be sold. Perdue and organic chicken producers do not use the drug.

“The presence of that carcinogenic residue obviously raises concerns, and it’s completely avoidable,” said Michael R. Taylor, F.D.A.’s deputy commissioner for foods. “It needed to be acted on.”

Pfizer, which makes 3-Nitro, also known as roxarsone, will suspend the drug’s sales in 30 days, giving producers time to find alternatives. The drug, first approved in 1944, kills intestinal parasites, promotes growth and makes meat look pinker. And since 3-Nitro contains organic arsenic, which is far less toxic than its inorganic counterpart, producers assumed that it would have no effect on people who ate the animals.

But there has been growing evidence that organic arsenic can change into its more toxic cousin. So F.D.A. researchers developed a way to measure inorganic arsenic in meat. They got 100 chickens, fed roxarsone to about half of them and measured levels of inorganic arsenic in their livers. Chickens fed roxarsone had consistently higher levels of inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen.

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