Protests Widen as Brazilians Chide Leaders SÃO PAULO, Brazil Shaken by the biggest challenge to their authority in years, Brazils leaders made conciliatory gestures on Tuesday to try to defuse the protests engulfing the nations cities. But the demonstrators remained defiant, pouring into the streets by the thousands and venting their anger over political corruption, the high cost of living and huge public spending for the World Cup and the Olympics.
Israel has frozen new building in settlements: minister Israel has frozen nearly all housing starts in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Housing Minister Uri Ariel said on Tuesday, in an apparent bid to help U.S. efforts to revive peace talks with the Palestinians.
U.S. And Russia Cyber Security Pact And The Snooping Scandal In a recent White House press release, both Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin affirmed the completion of landmark steps designed to strengthen relations, increase transparency, and build confidence between the two nations. Both the countries have decided to build real-time cyber security communications network.
Blast at chemical plant in US state of Louisiana A chemical plant in the US state of Louisiana has been hit by a large explosion and fire, officials say.
At least 30 people have been injured in the blast at the Williams Olefins chemical plant in Geismar, officials quoted by AP news agency said.
US to prosecute NSA leaker Snowden US government taking steps to prosecute contractor who leaked information on wide-scale surveillance programme. The United States has launched a criminal investigation and is taking "all necessary steps" to prosecute Edward Snowden for exposing secret US surveillance programmes, the director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has said.
The Director Of The NSA Wants The Internet Under His Control Besides being leading the worlds largest intelligence agency, Alexander is also in charge of the Central Security Service, US Cyber Command, the Navys 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army. He basically controls his own military.
In Stunning Admission, Pope Confirms The Presence Of Gay Lobby In The Vatican It is being widely reported that in private remarks to leaders of the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious (CLAR, in its Spanish acronym), the pope made this surprisingly candid admission. CLAR, a regional collective of nuns and priests, confirmed that a report of the popes meeting with the group had been documented and published, purportedly to the great distress of the group.
Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have 'Nothing to Hide' When the government gathers or analyzes personal information, many people say they're not worried. "I've got nothing to hide," they declare. "Only if you're doing something wrong should you worry, and then you don't deserve to keep it private."
NIST: Cybersecurity executive order calls for harmonization Language in President Obama's February cybersecurity executive order calling for federal agencies with regulatory power over the security of critical infrastructure to review a preliminary version of the framework and to make a determination on whether "current cybersecurity regulatory requirements are sufficient given current and projected risks" calls for a process of harmonization rather than emergence of a new regulatory model, said a National Institute of Standards and Technology official.
Senator Al Franken: from SNL spoofer to NSA surveillance hawk Al used to be a funny guy. Now, hes not.
Make no mistake about it, if Bush were president at the moment, Little Al would be attacking him mercilessly.
But with Obama in the White House, Al sings a different tune.
The NSA spying is A-OK. No problem.
I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people.
There are certain things that are appropriate for me to know that are not appropriate for the bad guys to know.
Al, you see, has been briefed. Hes bought into those high-level briefings. He now resides in a rarefied elite atmosphere. If Senator Al says NSA is good, it must be.
If you believe him, Ive got condos for sale on Jupiter.
Al even thinks its appropriate for the Justice Dept. to investigate Ed Snowden, the NSA leaker. Well sure, Als Mr. Establishment these days, and Snowden defected.
Al used to have a bullshit detector. Now, bullshit is detecting him as an easy mark.
Who in his right mind would believe a bunch of CIA and NSA guys sitting in a room explaining and justifying their own spying programs?
Is there any chance these cold-fish bureaucrats would do a mea culpa? Theyre looking for more budget dollars. Theyre looking to avoid any possible criticisms of their plots and operations. Theyre professionals paid to lie.
So theyre going to paint the war on terror in the most dire terms possible. Theyre going to tell stories and make it up. Theyre going to give gullible and grasping senators the impression theyre privy to real insider material.
Theyre going to say, Now youre in the Club. You know secrets. You know the truth the public must be protected from, because the public would be frightened. But you guys, you senators, you can handle the truth
Als sitting there in the room, and he poised half-way between buying what the intell boys are selling and knowing he wants to protect his president and his party.
Its a suckers game. Al has gone for it. Willingly.
On SNL, Al, as Stuart Smalley, the pathetic rainbow self-help psycho, used to look in the mirror and say, Im good enough, Im smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.
Well, now Al IS Stuart Smalley, but with a new tough-guy exterior. Hes a little man of steel, protecting the nation from the bad guys. Hes on the inside, with the big boys. And they like him.
So, Stuart, Ive written a thing for you about surveillance of citizens that falls in line with your New Age sentiments. I hope it helps you in the days ahead:
Its wonderful to be spied on: I feel like a real citizen.
I tell you, this is great. Why be anonymous when you can attract the attention of the government? Its a dream come true. They care. They really do.
Everyone deserves to be noticed.
If I start to do something that isnt normal, I can stop and say to myself: Would the government, watching me, approve of this? And then an answer will come.
No, dont do that.
Were all movie stars now because were being watched. Dont blow your nose and then look at the Kleenex in a restaurant.
Were comedians, too, all of us, because government employees are watching us and laughing. Were entertaining them. Were funny. Were a hit.
Were all happy. Thats the main thing. The right people are watching us, and we can feel safe. Thats why we have the Department of Homeland Security. They do whatever it takes. If it snows an inch in North Dakota in July, theyll send agents to the scene, to find out whats going on. Theyll make sure the snow plows are working.
The new test for a good citizen is: he accepts being spied on.
There should be a special app you can tap to confess your sins and misdeeds. What you say goes right into a government file. I think a lot of people would like that.
Broadcast it on television, too. People will line up to have their chance. Weve got C-Span. But we need C-NSA. Go before the cameras and spill your guts. Its good for the soul.
Last night, I was on the phone with my cousin, and I said I was sick and tired of my ex-wife badgering me about our divorce settlement. That was wrong. I shouldnt have demeaned my ex to my cousin. I want to go on the record and apologize to my family, friends, and co-workers. I will seek counseling. I want a better world.
I bought a toy gun for my son last year. How foolish of me! What was I thinking? Toy guns are a gateway drug. Last night, I took the family out into the back yard and we burned the gun in a garbage can. I feel a lot better now. Thank you, C-NSA. I fervently hope my sons brain isnt permanently warped. Time will tell. In the meantime, weve enrolled him in a three-year training seminar: Reprogramming the Young Mind, Post-Trauma.
But you know, as much as we try to correct our mistakes, we arent perfect. And thats where the government comes in. My only concern is there isnt enough surveillance.
Thats why Ive built a frame for a small video camera. The camera is mounted in the frame, which I wear around my neck and shoulders. Wherever I go, whatever I do or say, the camera is looking at me and recording.
Every day, I email the video file to NSA. I hope others will adopt this practice. If government is helping us, we should help it. Were all in this together.
There isnt any us versus them. Thats an illusion fostered by those who wish to divide us. United we stand in the New Age.
Surveillance is an initiation. Some people cant make the grade. They go negative. They feel compelled to criticize the government. Courage, as Hemingway wrote, is grace under pressure. This is how heroes are forged.
We can all be heroes by assisting the government. It wants us to do well. It wants us to succeed. It likes us.
I dont hear any poor people objecting to being spied on. Theyre too busy trying to eke out a living. Why should we, who can afford the time to consider this issue, separate ourselves from the poor? In a drug store, on a bus, in a car, walking down the street, in an office, in our homes, lets celebrate the safety that comes with knowing we are watched.
Try smiling for no reason at all. Let employees of the NSA know youre happy to have them there with you. Occasionally, flash them the peace sign. You might even try talking to them.
Ask them if theyre having a good time. Say, I hope youre doing well. Its a wonderful day in the neighborhood. Or, Hows the family? Would you like a hot meal? If you let me know where you are, I might know someone who lives nearby. They can bring it to you. Do you like pot roast?
Im having shirts monogrammed with the NSA seal below the pocket.
I do have one suggestion, vague as it must be, since I dont posses knowledge about the various forms surveillance takes:
Feedback. I believe earnest citizens would like to see and hear what the NSA hears and sees of them.
How wonderful it would be to awaken in the morning to a packet of surveillance on ones self.
There you are, crossing the street, entering a cafe, talking on the phone, as you appear to NSA (by whom I mean, of course, all the agencies who watch over us).
We could thus begin a kind of dialogue with our watchers. Back and forth, back and forth; who knows where it would lead?
I call it open secrecy, a paradox to be sure, but just the type that would crack the egg of a combative society as it transforms itself into a higher evolutionary substance.
Some day, perhaps we could even watch the NSA watching us.
Then, truly, we would breathe together. Made new in collective consciousness.
How do you like that, Stuart? Isnt it an illustration of self-help, self-improvement, as we seek to love being spied on?
J. RUSSELL GEORGE: AN AMERICAN SUPER HERO J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, has singlehandedly turned the federal government upside down. Like a Clark Kent turned Superman, he has suddenly risen to national prominence on an agenda that is quite rare in Washington: honesty, integrity, and service to country before self.
In very short order, Inspector General George with the assistance of his TIGTA office of over 800 federal employees has uncovered major federal scandals now leading to efforts to identify and prosecute those responsible. George uncovered the fact that some $4 billion annually has been paid to illegal aliens under the Additional Child Tax Credit for which many are not entitled. He uncovered the discriminatory treatment accorded to over 500 conservative applicants for non-profit tax-exempt status. He just uncovered IRS lavish spending on conferences, amounting to some $50 million in tax dollars wasted. Courageous, honorable, and committed to achieve justice, George has singlehandedly done more to help save the United States from corruption than any other government official in American history, but who is he?
George is a lawyer. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. While in law school, he dated Michelle Obama for a short time. His politics are far from those of the President and First Lady, however. He is a Republican. He was a prosecutor in the Queens County District Attorneys Office. George worked for former Representative Steve Horn (R-California). George served in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. From 1995 to 2002, he was the Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the House Government Reform Oversight Government Management Information and Technology Subcommittee (later entitled the Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations). In George H.W. Bushs White House, George was the Associate Director for Policy in the White House Office of National Service. In George W. Bushs White House, George was the Assistant General Counsel in the Office of Management and Budget. Throughout his career, George has been exceptional, efficient, and trustworthy. President George W. Bush nominated him to be the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in 2004, and he was confirmed to be the Treasury IG by the United States Senate in November 2004.
Since assuming the post of Treasury Inspector General, true to form George has been a no-nonsense, non-partisan investigator who has worked diligently to ferret out corruption, waste, fraud and abuse at the Internal Revenue Service, as was his mandate. That achievement is extraordinary, particularly because the IRS is one of the most secretive entities within the federal government and because the tax code is an impossible morass that yields layer upon layer of IRS analysis that must be deciphered to uncover abuses.
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Because of its largely independent power within the federal government, the IRS has achieved a wall of omnipotence and resilience from accountability that one lone knight, J. Russell George, has powerfully obliterated. It is as if the massive brick and stone walls of the IRS building in Washington were suddenly removed by a super hero George, exposing the inner workings of the service, including its most unseemly aspects. George, the man responsible for exposing the IRS scandals that have caused the American people to lose trust and respect for the service, is also the man whose work will be most responsible for restoring internal accountability to the IRS.
27 Edward Snowden Quotes About U.S. Government Spying That Should Send A Chill Up Your Spine Would you be willing to give up what Edward Snowden has given up? He has given up his high paying job, his home, his girlfriend, his family, his future and his freedom just to expose the monolithic spy machinery that the U.S. government has been secretly building to the world. He says that he does not want to live in a world where there isn't any privacy. He says that he does not want to live in a world where everything that he says and does is recorded. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that the U.S. government has been spying on us to a degree that most people would have never even dared to imagine. Up until now, the general public has known very little about the U.S. government spy grid that knows almost everything about us. But making this information public is going to cost Edward Snowden everything. Essentially, his previous life is now totally over. And if the U.S. government gets their hands on him, he will be very fortunate if he only has to spend the next several decades rotting in some horrible prison somewhere. There is a reason why government whistleblowers are so rare. And most Americans are so apathetic that they wouldn't even give up watching their favorite television show for a single evening to do something good for society. Most Americans never even try to make a difference because they do not believe that it will benefit them personally. Meanwhile, our society continues to fall apart all around us. Hopefully the great sacrifice that Edward Snowden has made will not be in vain. Hopefully people will carefully consider what he has tried to share with the world. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about U.S. government spying that should send a chill up your spine...
#1 "The majority of people in developed countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and Governments are abusing that necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate."
#2 "...I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents."
#3 "The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to."
#4 "...I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."
#5 "The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything."
#6 "With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards."
#7 "Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere... I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President..."
#8 "To do that, the NSA specifically targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system and it filters them and it analyzes them and it measures them and it stores them for periods of time simply because that's the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends. So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government, or someone that they suspect of terrorism, they are collecting YOUR communications to do so."
#9 "I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinized most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians."
#10 "...they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them."
#11 "Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded. ...it's getting to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've ever made, every friend you've ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life."
#12 "Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."
#13 "Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten and theyre talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state."
#14 "I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under."
#15 "I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."
#16 "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong."
#17 "I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act."
#18 "There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich."
#19 "The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things... And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it's only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that... because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny."
#20 "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
#21 "You can't come up against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk."
#22 "I know the media likes to personalize political debates, and I know the government will demonize me."
#23 "We have got a CIA station just up the road the consulate here in Hong Kong and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be."
#24 "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end."
#25 "Theres no saving me."
#26 "The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won't be able to help any more. That's what keeps me up at night."
#27 "I do not expect to see home again."
Would you make the same choice that Edward Snowden made? Most Americans would not. One CNN reporter says that he really admires Snowden because he has tried to get insiders to come forward with details about government spying for years, but none of them were ever willing to...
As a digital technology writer, I have had more than one former student and colleague tell me about digital switchers they have serviced through which calls and data are diverted to government servers or the big data algorithms they've written to be used on our e-mails by intelligence agencies. I always begged them to write about it or to let me do so while protecting their identities. They refused to come forward and believed my efforts to shield them would be futile. "I don't want to lose my security clearance. Or my freedom," one told me.
And if the U.S. government has anything to say about it, Snowden is most definitely going to pay for what he has done. In fact, according to the Daily Beast, a directorate known as "the Q Group" is already hunting Snowden down...
The people who began chasing Snowden work for the Associate Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence, according to former U.S. intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity. The directorate, sometimes known as the Q Group, is continuing to track Snowden now that hes outed himself as The Guardians source, according to the intelligence officers.
If Snowden is not already under the protection of some foreign government (such as China), it will just be a matter of time before U.S. government agents get him.
And how will they treat him once they find him? Well, one reporter overheard a group of U.S. intelligence officials talking about how Edward Snowden should be "disappeared". The following is from a Daily Mail article that was posted on Monday...
A group of intelligence officials were overheard yesterday discussing how the National Security Agency worker who leaked sensitive documents to a reporter last week should be 'disappeared.'
Foreign policy analyst and editor at large of The Atlantic, Steve Clemons, tweeted about the 'disturbing' conversation after listening in to four men who were sitting near him as he waited for a flight at Washington's Dulles airport.
'In Dulles UAL lounge listening to 4 US intel officials saying loudly leaker & reporter on #NSA stuff should be disappeared recorded a bit,' he tweeted at 8:42 a.m. on Saturday.
According to Clemons, the men had been attending an event hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.
As an American, I am deeply disturbed that the U.S. government is embarrassing itself in front of the rest of the world like this.
The fact that we are collecting trillions of pieces of information on people all over the planet is a massive embarrassment and the fact that our politicians are defending this practice now that it has been exposed is a massive embarrassment.
If the U.S. government continues to act like a Big Brother police state, then the rest of the world will eventually conclude that is exactly what we are. At that point we become the "bad guy" and we lose all credibility with the rest of the planet.
- See more at: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/27-edward-snowden-quotes-about-u-s-government-spying-that-should-send-a-chill-up-your-spine#sthash.5U2jTKed.dpuf
The Only Thing Children Really Need Is Freedom As parents, we are responsible for the "education" of our children. For me, that means simply this: if my daughter, now 7, grows up to be a responsible, self-reliant, self-motivated, honest, caring, freedom-loving good neighbor, and an overall happy person, then Ive succeeded.
I dont have a career path laid out for her, and I dont expect her to go to college, even though I have several degrees myself. The choice, when the time comes, will be hers and hers alone.
If you are a parent and this sounds like you, you need to pay attention.
In the recently published book Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that if this is truly our goal, "There is no need for forced lessons, lectures, assignments, tests, grades, segregation by age into classrooms, or any of the other trappings of our standard, compulsory system of schooling. All of these, in fact, interfere with childrens natural ways of learning."
Using evidence in anthropology, psychology, and history, Gray argues that children come into this world genetically programmed to learn, and that if they are free to pursue their own interests through play, they will learn all they need to know to function in the culture in which they are born, no matter what culture that may be, or at what particular moment in time.
Children are designed, by nature, to play and explore on their own, independently of adults. They need freedom to develop; without it they suffer. The drive to play freely is a basic, biological drive. Lack of free play may not kill the physical body, as would lack of food, air, or water, but it kills the spirit and stunts mental growth. Free play is the means by which children learn to make friends, overcome their fears, solve their own problems, and generally take control of their own lives. It is also the primary means by which children practice and acquire the physical and intellectual skills that are essential for success in the culture in which they are growing. Nothing that we do, no amount of toys we buy or "quality time" or special training we give our children, can compensate for the freedom we take away. The things that children learn though their own initiatives, in free play, cannot be taught in other ways.
And as Gray points out, it is not only in schools that children have less and less freedom and hardly any time to play. Homework (which is the regimes way of keeping parents in line, in my opinion) and extra-curricular, resume-building activities now fill our children lives after school, on weekends and all summer long. In all of those adult-directed activities, children are told what to do just about every minute and they are supervised at all times. We have lost the ability to trust children and trusting them is what we need to do. As educator John Holt said, "Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted."
Meanwhile, it is the children who are suffering. As Gray writes:
WE HAVE HERE A TERRIBLE IRONY. In the name of education, we have increasingly deprived children of the time and freedom they need to educate themselves though their own means. And in the name of safety, we have deprived children of the freedom they need to develop the understanding, courage, and confidence required to face lifes dangers and challenges with equanimity. We are in a crisis that continues to grow more serious with every passing year. We have lost sight of the natural way to raise children. We have, not only in the United States but also throughout the developed world, lost sight of childrens competence. We have created a world in which children must suppress their natural instincts to take charge of their own education, and instead, mindlessly follow paths to nowhere laid out for them by adults. We have created a world that is literally driving many young people crazy and leaving many others unable to develop the confidence and skills required for adult responsibility.
Gray also offers solutions. To demonstrate how we can achieve "education" in our modern society without classes, classrooms, curriculums, or testing, Gray uses Sudbury Valley School as a model. SVS, located near Boston, has been in operation since 1968 and they currently have around 200 students. Despite the lack of formal instruction, grades, or testing, surveys of graduates show that over 75% of them pursue higher education (with no reported difficulties in being accepted or in succeeding).
At SVS, children are allowed the same freedom and rights we have as adults. They are respected as individuals and are allowed to pursue their own interests so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others in the school community. The school, the staff (they are not called "teachers"), the resources are there for the students to use as needed. Each child is 100% free to explore the world in his own way and at his own pace.
The school is also self-governing with each child and staff having a vote and being allowed to participate in the running of the school, including the voting of rules, the allocation of resources (budget), and the hiring (and firing) of staff. Rules infractions are dealt with through a Judicial committee that evaluates, investigates, and ultimately issues sentences if a party is found guilty.
In short, students at SVS, and in other Sudbury schools in the US and abroad, are enjoying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, while learning to take responsibility for their actions, education, and lives, and learning to live as members of a democratic society.
And it works! At SVS, it has been working for 45 years, but whos counting?
What Grays research also confirms, and what many parents have known all along, is that there is nothing wrong with our children. They do not need "fixing" and certainly not with drugs. We, as a society, are making our kids miserable, anxious, depressed, and stressed, drugging some of them so they can get through their day, for no benefit whatsoever. What we are doing to our children through "schools" is not only unnecessary, it is cruel and becoming increasingly dangerous.
Childhood is not a disease or a mental disorder. We simply need to stop treating it like one and as parents, we need to learn to trust and respect our children as the human beings that they are.
Free to Learn is, in my opinion, the ONE book every parent should read to really understand the nature of human education (how our children learn) and how we can best facilitate our childrens natural instinct to educate themselves. This is where we need to go back to basics, not in math, reading, or sciences. And youll find that the answer can ultimately be found in one little word:
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S BROTHER SPANKS MEDIA SANFORD, Fla. On the first day of George Zimmermans trial, his older brother Robert held an impromptu news conference. In it, Robert openly challenged the media spin that has controlled the case since the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at George Zimmermans hand in February 2012.
Texas lawmakers failed you Dear John,
Did you hear what your supposedly "pro-gun" lawmakers in Austin did to your gun rights?
They squandered the entire 2013-14 regular session by delaying, stalling, watering down, and ultimately killing true pro-gun reforms like open carry and the Second Amendment Protection Act.
A third pro-gun bill -- campus carry -- was strung along till the last days of session only to be killed when lawmakers decided to spend the last hours of session debating special gun privileges for themselves instead.
But lawmakers are in special session -- right now -- to take up unfinished business.
That's why I'm hoping you'll take a moment to read Dudley's message below and then do the following THREE things when you're done:
1.) Contact House Speaker Joe Straus (R):
2.) Contact Senate President / Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R):
E-mail: Web Forum Link
3.) Contact YOUR state lawmakers:
Member Look-up: Click Here
Give them an earful! Remind them that paying gun owners lip-service alone is unacceptable.
INSIST they use this second chance to pass the true pro-gun reforms they SHOULD HAVE during the regular session!
URGE them to pass STRONG campus carry, open carry, and Second Amendment protection bills in the special session WITHOUT any delay.
From: Dudley Brown [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:43 PM
Subject: Texas lawmakers failed you
I've got bad news out of Austin.
Despite your action urging lawmakers to pass true pro-gun reforms and protections, state lawmakers adjourned earlier this week after accomplishing virtually nothing to protect your gun rights.
Despite all the tough talk, despite "pro-gun" Republican dominance in both chambers -- your state legislature has decided to ignore the most meaningful and urgently needed pro-gun bills.
Their to-do list was simple:
*** Campus Carry -- Result: Fail
Allowing law-abiding adult students, faculty, and staff carry their firearms on the grounds of state-run colleges and universities.
Lawmakers not only failed to enact campus carry, they put on a compelling last minute dog-and-pony show with a fake bill that would have accomplished nothing, marking at least the fourth consecutive session -- eight years -- in which campus carry has died.
*** Open Carry -- Result: Fail
As we've been reminding you, Texas -- yes Texas, is one of a dwindling number of states that still outlaws the open carry of firearms.
Oklahoma partially legalized open carry last year, as California outlawed it. But lawmakers in Texas killed open carry early on this year -- leaving the state on par with California, New York, and other anti-gun bastions.
*** Second Amendment Protection Act -- Result: Fail
One of the most promising and urgently needed bills this year was the Second Amendment Protection Act.
This bill simply declared any new unconstitutional federal infringements on your right to keep and bear arms to be unenforceable in Texas.
As President Obama wages war on your gun rights, he's using every tool he has access to, even if it means side-stepping Congress and using Executive Orders to impose his agenda.
This bill would have posed a true Tenth Amendment challenge to this federal overreach, and protected the Second Amendment rights of all Texans.
Texas lawmakers killed this bill too.
Instead, they've decided to let President Obama and billionaire playboy New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pillage your Second Amendment rights.
You see, House Speaker Joe Straus, Lt. Governor (Senate President) David Dewhurst, and even Governor Rick Perry think they can get away with just paying lip-service to you.
Meanwhile, when the legislative season rolls around, they conspire in back rooms to water-down, squander, and kill any meaningful legislative progress -- year after year.
They're convinced you won't notice and they won't ever be held to account for their anti-gun actions because they've got the cover of other self-proclaimed "pro-gun" groups in Texas.
John, NAGR will never try to sugar coat things for you, or let anti-gun politicians get away with short-changing your right to keep and bear arms.
Two months ago I wrote to you to tell you they were pulling every trick in the book to delay and stall the pro-gun bills.
That's exactly what they did.
But it gets even worse.
Instead of passing pro-gun bills, Texas legislators actually spent the final days debating a bill that would have given THEMSELVES the privilege of carrying firearms pretty much anywhere they wish!
"We face a higher degree of risk because we're known and people might not like our opinions," squeaked Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster).
It's another case of elected officials believing they are ABOVE THE LAW.
It's no wonder their approval ratings are so low.
After all, it's virtually impossible to get a concealed carry permit in California, yet U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein were able to leverage their positions to make sure lawmakers like themselves were deemed "worthy" enough.
Some lawmakers in Austin think they're special too -- that they can have for themselves what they've denied to you.
Now, the legislature has transitioned into a special session.
It's unclear whether or not any Republicans will have the courage to salvage true pro-gun bills or if they'll continue their quisling trend and revive special privileges for themselves.
But the only thing these politicians hate more than doing their jobs in the summer is having to account for their actions.
And this is a PERFECT chance for YOU to make that happen.
Please take a moment to do the following THREE things:
1.) Contact House Speaker Joe Straus (R):
2.) Contact Senate President / Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R):
E-mail: Web Forum Link
3.) Contact YOUR state lawmakers:
Member Look-up: Click Here
Give them an earful!
INSIST they apologize for prioritizing special privileges for themselves over YOUR right to keep and bear arms.
URGE them to pass STRONG campus carry, open carry, and Second Amendment protection bills in the special session WITHOUT any delay.
Thank you for taking immediate action.
Executive Vice President
P.S. Texas Lawmakers adjourned the 2013 session without passing any of the major pro-gun pieces of legislation that were introduced.
Instead, they spent the final days of session debating special privileges for themselves.
Now the legislature is in a special session and they need to hear from you.
Please take a moment to do the following THREE things:
1.) Contact House Speaker Joe Straus (R):
2.) Contact Senate President / Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R):
E-mail: Web Forum Link
3.) Contact YOUR state lawmakers:
Member Look-up: Click Here
Give them an earful!
INSIST they apologize for prioritizing special privileges for themselves over YOUR right to keep and bear arms.
URGE them to pass STRONG campus carry, open carry, and Second Amendment protection bills in the special session WITHOUT any delay.
Thank you for taking immediate action.
Also, please consider chipping in $10 or $20 to help the National Association for Gun Rights keep up the fight for pro-gun legislation and against anti-gun schemes in Austin and Washington.
Texas bans drones used for surveillance The drumbeat of liberty and freedom continues to beat the loudest in Texas, as lawmakers there recently passed a bill that would outlaw the use of drones for surveillance.
From 9/11 To PRISMgate - How The Carlyle Group LBO'd The World's Secrets The short but profitable tale of how 483,000 private individual have "top secret" access to the nation's most non-public information begins in 2001. "After 9/11, intelligence budgets were increased, new people needed to be hired, it was a lot easier to go to the private sector and get people off the shelf," and sure enough firms like Booz Allen Hamilton - still two-thirds owned by the deeply-tied-to-international-governments investment firm The Carlyle Group - took full advantage of Congress' desire to shrink federal agencies and their budgets by enabling outside consultants (already primed with their $4,000 cost 'security clearances') to fulfill the needs of an ever-more-encroaching-on-privacy administration.
Echelon, Prism, then ........... ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS and Five Eyes). It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.
Will Texas Become California 2? Who hasn't heard the new pro-immigration ads? It seems like they're playing on every news-radio station, all day, every day. Americans for a Conservative Direction is a lobbying group put together by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is definitely not a conservative. The southern RINO Haley Barbour is also involved.
The ads posit the notion, put forth by Republicans Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, that the current immigration system is de facto amnesty. They neglect to mention that the current system bears no resemblance to and follows virtually none of the thousands of immigration laws already on the books.
Rubio and Ryan take turns promoting the new 1000-page "comprehensive" bill, saying, "Lets secure the border." But that's not whats in the bill. It says that DHS shall submit a plan to secure the border that's it.
In the ad both senators claim, illegals will "undergo background checks, start paying taxes, won't qualify for federal benefits, pay a fine, learn English, and no amnesty. They claim that if illegals do all these things they will then go to the end of the immigration line.
Sure they will.
And what if they don't do all those things? Will we deport them? Of course not.
So no matter what they say, in actuality, between 11 and 20 million illegals will become legal. Litigation will see to that. Mark my words.
Don't believe me? Let's take a ride back to 1986 and examine IRCA, the Immigration Reform and Control Act that was passed during Reagans administration.
This failed law allowed amnesty for in excess of 2.7 million illegals (a fraction of todays numbers). It greatly contributed to the downfall of California with over 40% of all illegals ending up in California and Texas. California used to be conservative state. Time will tell if Texas becomes California 2.
But did IRCA accomplish what the liars in 1986 claimed it would do? Did they shut down the border and end or greatly decrease illegal immigration?
According to a study done by the Cato Institute, "IRCA did not achieve its goal of reducing illegal inflows and the size of the undocumented population. Illegal immigration quickly resumed growing and legal immigration increased because the families of legalization beneficiaries immigrated."
The study added that stricter enforcement has had little actual deterrent effect. But of course, we all know there is no "stricter" border security.
Cato warned of the potential burden of legalizing so many unskilled immigrants. Almost half of all adult illegals did not have a high school education, and they comprised 22% of all non-high school graduates.
As we conservatives know today and was expressed after passage of the 1986 law, "the number of immigrants far exceeded expectations." Big surprise!
Newly legalized women were found to have left the workforce. Why? They suddenly became eligible for government giveaway programs.
The study added that the new adult citizens could then sponsor relatives. Eleven million immigrants my foot. Try double or triple that number.
And all those new arrivals will of course be taking advantage of the freebies we so generously offer. How stupid are we?
Cato concluded that amnesty can create the expectation of additional future amnesties which encourage continued illegal inflows.
So what have we learned from the debacle of 1986? Absolutely nothing. Check that. We've learned that politics and elections trump the nations security and our ever-dwindling resources.
Weve also learned that whatever the era, politicians lie.
Florida Governor Has Sheriff Arrested, Removed From Office for Allowing Concealed Carry Well this is certainly an interesting case. Apparently Florida Governor Rick Scott has named a new interim sheriff for Liberty County, FL after the current sheriff was arrested for releasing a man who was arrested for carrying a concealed handgun without a license.
The following press release was put out by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on June 4,
Tallahassee Inspectors with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Office of Executive Investigations obtained a warrant for the arrest of Nicholas Lee Finch, 50, of Bristol, Fla., earlier today on one count of official misconduct, a violation of section 838.022, Florida Statutes.
Investigators allege that Finch destroyed or removed official arrest documents from the Liberty County Jail, making it appear as though an arrest never occurred. The investigation revealed that a Liberty County Sheriffs Office deputy arrested a Liberty County resident on March 8, 2013 for carrying a concealed firearm, a third degree felony. Shortly after the suspect was booked into the Liberty County Jail, Finch allegedly released the suspect and altered or destroyed documents associated with his arrest.
Finch was arrested just after 5 p.m. today and was booked into the Liberty County Jail. He was released on his own recognizance. Finch was elected Liberty County Sheriff in 2012.
The State Attorneys Office, 2nd Judicial Circuit will prosecute this case.
According to WCTV, the sheriff was just trying to uphold the Second Amendment rights of his constituents,
Sheriff Nick Finch has declined to comment on his arrest. His attorney, Jimmy Judkins, released the following statement:
The records at the jail show exactly what happened in this case and the records speak the truth. The sheriff looked at the facts and said I believe in the second ammendment and were not going to charge him. That is not misconduct at all. That is within the Sheriffs perogative whether to charge someone or not.
Well have to wait to see how this one plays out. If the sheriff truly was trying to look out for interests of his constituents then we have an issue. If he got caught trying to get a friend off a gun charge then thats another thing entirely. I guess well have to wait for more details.
No Surprise Here: Man Arrested for DUI Blows .000 Surprise is actually the name of a city in Arizona. When you read a news article about an incident there, you keep waiting for some kind of punch line. In Surprise, Arizona, there was a Surprise man who was arrested by Surprise police officers.
The surprise in this particular incident however is not really all that surprising. A 64-year-old retired firefighter named Jesse Thornton was arrested for DUI even though he blew a .000.
His schedule is such that he sleeps during the day and runs errands and works out during the night. He changed his schedule so that it would match up more with his wifes schedule. She works 12-hour shifts as an ER nurse.
Obviously, because of his schedule change, hes out on the road at night all the time. He said hes been pulled over 10 times, and hes received 4 four tickets.
In this last incident, he had just left LA Fitness where he was doing laps in a swimming pool. He got pulled over for failure to maintain lanes, and when the cop approached Mr. Thornton, he noticed he had bloodshot eyes. The cop then knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was drunk, despite Thornton informing him that he had just been in a chlorine pool.
The officer told Thornton that they had to do a sobriety test. Thornton was very compliant but told the officer that he had hip and knee problems, and that he was scheduled for hip replacement surgery in 2 days. His hip and knee problems might have made him look drunk if the cop had him walk the line. The man wasnt lying. Medical documents prove that he did have hip and knee problems, and that he really was scheduled to have surgery 2 days after his run-in with the Surprise Police Department.
A local ABC affiliate explained what ensued:
Thornton said two other officers arrived and he conducted the sobriety test. At one point, one of the officers shined the light in my eye and said, Oh, sorry, and asked the other officer if he was doing it right, said Thornton. Thornton said he was then placed in handcuffs and told to sit on the curb. I couldn't even sit on the ground like that, and they knew it, and I was lying on the ground, then they put me in the back of an SUV, and when I asked the officer to move her seat up cause my hip hurt she told me to stop whining, said Thornton. According to documents provided to ABC15 from the City of Surprise, Thornton was taken to police headquarters where he took a breathalyzer test. The test, according to the police documents came back with a blood alcohol level of 0.000.
While at the police station, a drug recognition expert (DRE) was called over to test Thornton as well. The DRE even commented to Thornton that he wouldnt have arrested him, because he didnt appear impaired at all.
So whyd they arrest him for DUI even though he wasnt drunk? Because they could. Their job isnt so much to protect and serve anymore. Its to arrest and ticket people. Bring in revenue. Once the arrest or ticket is complete, their chores are done. Let the judge sort out the rest.
And thats just what is going to happen. I think Thornton has had enough of these police surprises, so hes filed a lawsuit against the department for $500,000. I hope he gets every penny.
Jensen: Nebraska school officials want boy named 'Hunter' to change his name Liberals believe in creating institutions to solve problems.
Conservatives believe the individual is better at solving problems.
A 3 year-old deaf boy in Lincoln, Nebraska is being bullied by public school officials to change his name because the hand sign for Hunter Spanjer looks like a weapon. The Grand Island school district has a policy that forbids kids bringing to school "any instrument ... that looks like a weapon." They can't change the sign, because it's the official hand sign for his name, registered through S.E.E., Sign Exact English.
Pressure from the National Association of the Deaf and the public has compelled the district into allowing the deaf boy to keep his name. Sadly, there is no humility or sense of shame from district authorities.
The fight for the individual succeeded. The institution proved to be a gargantuan failure, and neither the district superintendent nor the school principal was fired.
An 8 year-old Baltimore student tries to chew his Pop-Tart into the shape of mountain. It looks more like a gun, so he says, "bang bang." Anne Arundel County authorities declare this to be an "inappropriate" use of his imagination and so they suspended him from school.
Neither the district superintendent nor the school principal was fired.
Kicking children out of school for harmlessly exercising creativity is what passes for education in a world where parents and teachers feel they have no influence on their local schools.
Just a few weeks ago, a seven-year-old Virginia boy was suspended for pretending a pencil was a gun at his Suffolk school. His father and neighbors were furious. Then the story went away. But not the education. What did the boy learn? He learned that admitting to doing something he didn't know was bad behavior will get you the maximum punishment. He learned that apologizing for doing something that he didn't know was bad behavior will get you the maximum punishment. He also learned that teachers and principals do not want to teach children that pencils can be dangerous. They want to teach you that using your imagination to pretend any object is a gun is punishable with exile from society. He learned that they use so-called "zero tolerance" laws to cold-heartedly deny children an education in favor of capitulation to the politically popular reaction of the day.
Neither the district superintendent nor the school principal was fired.
A second-grade teacher was suspended without pay in April, charged with possessing, carrying, storing or using a weapon for showing his students the proper ways to use tools. According to Washington Irving Elementary School officials, these deadly weapons included wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers. They were kept in a secured toolbox out of the children's reach.
Perhaps the Washington Irving Elementary School principal should hold an assembly during which she could deliver a PowerPoint presentation demonstrating how children should call police if they ever find an unattended wrench.
Sadly, neither the district superintendent nor the school principal was fired.
These institutional "solutions" to violence in schools are an obvious failure to everyone except the principals and superintendents who are delightfully relieved of their responsibilities to educate and consider the context of each student's behavior.
In this utopian liberal world, all carbon-based life forms are equally subservient to the draconian laws bequeathed from the holy sanctuaries of their state legislatures.
It's time to show zero tolerance for these small-minded, short-sighted bureaucrats infesting your public schools.
In the real world, we parents need to exercise our rights and duty by protesting, lobbying and forcing the firings or resignations of principals and superintendents (not teachers) around the country who use these zero tolerance laws as a weapon against imagination and an excuse for avoiding the difficult job of actually getting to know each student and properly guiding and directing them toward learning.
Government Spying: Should We Be Shocked? Last week we saw dramatic new evidence of illegal government surveillance of our telephone calls, and of the National Security Agencys deep penetration into American companies such as Facebook and Microsoft to spy on us. The media seemed shocked.
Many of us are not so surprised.
Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it would pave the way for massive US government surveillance not targeting terrorists but rather aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least four wars ago.
We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the status quo even when the crisis has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once lost is never regained. How many times did the PATRIOT Act need renewed? How many times did FISA authority need expanded? Why did we have to pass a law to grant immunity to companies who hand over our personal information to the government?
It was all a build-up of the governments capacity to monitor us.
The reaction of some in Congress and the Administration to last weeks leak was predictable. Knee-jerk defenders of the police state such as Senator Lindsey Graham declared that he was glad the government was collecting Verizon phone records including his own because the government needs to know what the enemy is up to. Those who take an oath to defend the Constitution from its enemies both foreign and domestic should worry about such statements.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers tells us of the tremendous benefits of this Big Brother-like program. He promises us that domestic terrorism plots were thwarted, but he cannot tell us about them because they are classified. I am a bit skeptical, however. In April, the New York Times reported that most of these domestic plots were actually elaborate sting operations developed and pushed by the FBI. According to the Times report, of the 22 most frightening plans for attacks since 9/11 on American soil, 14 were developed in sting operations.
Even if Chairman Rogers is right, though, and the program caught someone up to no good, we have to ask ourselves whether even such a result justifies trashing the Constitution. Here is what I said on the floor of the House when the PATRIOT Act was up for renewal back in 2011:
If you want to be perfectly safe from child abuse and wife beating, the government could put a camera in every one of our houses and our bedrooms, and maybe there would be somebody made safer this way, but what would you be giving up? Perfect safety is not the purpose of government. What we want from government is to enforce the law to protect our liberties.
What most undermines the claims of the Administration and its defenders about this surveillance program is the process itself. First the government listens in on all of our telephone calls without a warrant and then if it finds something it goes to a FISA court and get an illegal approval for what it has already done! This turns the rule of law and due process on its head.
The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing. We need to turn the cameras on the police and on the government, not the other way around. We should be thankful for writers like Glenn Greenwald, who broke last weeks story, for taking risks to let us know what the government is doing. There are calls for the persecution of Greenwald and the other whistle-blowers and reporters. They should be defended, as their work defends our freedom.
Report: Homeschooling Growing Seven Times Faster than Public School Enrollment As dissatisfaction with the U.S. public school system grows, apparently so has the appeal of homeschooling. Educational researchers, in fact, are expecting a surge in the number of students educated at home by their parents over the next ten years, as more parents reject public schools.
A recent report in Education News states that, since 1999, the number of children who are homeschooled has increased by 75%. Though homeschooled children represent only 4% of all school-age children nationwide, the number of children whose parents choose to educate them at home rather than a traditional academic setting is growing seven times faster than the number of children enrolling in grades K-12 every year.
As homeschooling has become increasingly popular, common myths that have long been associated with the practice of homeschooling have been debunked.
Any concerns about the quality of education children receive by their parents can be put to rest by the consistently high placement of homeschooled students on standardized assessment exams. Data demonstrates that those who are independently educated generally score between the 65th and 89th percentile on these measures, while those in traditional academic settings average at around the 50th percentile. In addition, achievement gaps between sexes, income levels, or ethnicityall of which have plagued public schools around the countrydo not exist in homeschooling environments.
According to the report:
Recent studies laud homeschoolers academic success, noting their significantly higher ACT-Composite scores as high schoolers and higher grade point averages as college students. Yet surprisingly, the average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students.
The high achievement level of homeschoolers is readily recognized by recruiters from some of the best colleges in the nation. Home-educated children matriculate in colleges and attain a four-year degree at much higher rates than their counterparts from both public and private schools. Schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, and Duke Universities all actively recruit homeschoolers.
Similarly, the common myth that homeschoolers miss out on so-called socialization opportunities, often thought to be a vital aspect of traditional academic settings, has proven to be without merit. According to the National Home Education Research Institute survey, homeschoolers tend to be more socially engaged than their peers and demonstrate healthy social, psychological, and emotional development, and success into adulthood.
From the report:
Based on recent data, researchers such as Dr. Brian Ray (NHERI.org) expect to observe a notable surge in the number of children being homeschooled in the next 5 to 10 years. The rise would be in terms of both absolute numbers and percentage of the K to 12 student population. This increase would be in part because  a large number of those individuals who were being home educated in the 1990s may begin to homeschool their own school-age children and  the continued successes of home-educated students.
Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.
The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," he said.
Snowden will go down in history as one of America's most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world's most secretive organisations the NSA.
In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," but "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. "I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."
He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me."
Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. "I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in." He added: "My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."
He has had "a very comfortable life" that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. "I'm willing to sacrifice all of that because I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."
'I am not afraid, because this is the choice I've made'
Three weeks ago, Snowden made final preparations that resulted in last week's series of blockbuster news stories. At the NSA office in Hawaii where he was working, he copied the last set of documents he intended to disclose.
He then advised his NSA supervisor that he needed to be away from work for "a couple of weeks" in order to receive treatment for epilepsy, a condition he learned he suffers from after a series of seizures last year.
As he packed his bags, he told his girlfriend that he had to be away for a few weeks, though he said he was vague about the reason. "That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world."
On May 20, he boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he has remained ever since. He chose the city because "they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent", and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.
In the three weeks since he arrived, he has been ensconced in a hotel room. "I've left the room maybe a total of three times during my entire stay," he said. It is a plush hotel and, what with eating meals in his room too, he has run up big bills.
He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.
Though that may sound like paranoia to some, Snowden has good reason for such fears. He worked in the US intelligence world for almost a decade. He knows that the biggest and most secretive surveillance organisation in America, the NSA, along with the most powerful government on the planet, is looking for him.
Since the disclosures began to emerge, he has watched television and monitored the internet, hearing all the threats and vows of prosecution emanating from Washington.
And he knows only too well the sophisticated technology available to them and how easy it will be for them to find him. The NSA police and other law enforcement officers have twice visited his home in Hawaii and already contacted his girlfriend, though he believes that may have been prompted by his absence from work, and not because of suspicions of any connection to the leaks.
"All my options are bad," he said. The US could begin extradition proceedings against him, a potentially problematic, lengthy and unpredictable course for Washington. Or the Chinese government might whisk him away for questioning, viewing him as a useful source of information. Or he might end up being grabbed and bundled into a plane bound for US territory.
"Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets," he said.
"We have got a CIA station just up the road the consulate here in Hong Kong and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be."
Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. "I am not afraid," he said calmly, "because this is the choice I've made."
He predicts the government will launch an investigation and "say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become".
The only time he became emotional during the many hours of interviews was when he pondered the impact his choices would have on his family, many of whom work for the US government. "The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won't be able to help any more. That's what keeps me up at night," he said, his eyes welling up with tears.
'You can't wait around for someone else to act'
Snowden did not always believe the US government posed a threat to his political values. He was brought up originally in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His family moved later to Maryland, near the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade.
By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework. (He later obtained his GED.)
In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: "I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression".
He recounted how his beliefs about the war's purpose were quickly dispelled. "Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone," he said. After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged.
After that, he got his first job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency's covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the internet and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma.
By 2007, the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland. His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents.
That access, along with the almost three years he spent around CIA officers, led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw.
He described as formative an incident in which he claimed CIA operatives were attempting to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car. When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment.
"Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world," he says. "I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good."
He said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. But, at the time, he chose not to for two reasons.
First, he said: "Most of the secrets the CIA has are about people, not machines and systems, so I didn't feel comfortable with disclosures that I thought could endanger anyone". Secondly, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms, rendering disclosures unnecessary.
He left the CIA in 2009 in order to take his first job working for a private contractor that assigned him to a functioning NSA facility, stationed on a military base in Japan. It was then, he said, that he "watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in", and as a result, "I got hardened."
The primary lesson from this experience was that "you can't wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act."
Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA's surveillance activities were, claiming "they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them".
He described how he once viewed the internet as "the most important invention in all of human history". As an adolescent, he spent days at a time "speaking to people with all sorts of views that I would never have encountered on my own".
But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. "I don't see myself as a hero," he said, "because what I'm doing is self-interested: I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."
Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA's surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. "What they're doing" poses "an existential threat to democracy", he said.
A matter of principle
As strong as those beliefs are, there still remains the question: why did he do it? Giving up his freedom and a privileged lifestyle? "There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich."
For him, it is a matter of principle. "The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to," he said.
His allegiance to internet freedom is reflected in the stickers on his laptop: "I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation," reads one. Another hails the online organisation offering anonymity, the Tor Project.
Asked by reporters to establish his authenticity to ensure he is not some fantasist, he laid bare, without hesitation, his personal details, from his social security number to his CIA ID and his expired diplomatic passport. There is no shiftiness. Ask him about anything in his personal life and he will answer.
He is quiet, smart, easy-going and self-effacing. A master on computers, he seemed happiest when talking about the technical side of surveillance, at a level of detail comprehensible probably only to fellow communication specialists. But he showed intense passion when talking about the value of privacy and how he felt it was being steadily eroded by the behaviour of the intelligence services.
His manner was calm and relaxed but he has been understandably twitchy since he went into hiding, waiting for the knock on the hotel door. A fire alarm goes off. "That has not happened before," he said, betraying anxiety wondering if was real, a test or a CIA ploy to get him out onto the street.
Strewn about the side of his bed are his suitcase, a plate with the remains of room-service breakfast, and a copy of Angler, the biography of former vice-president Dick Cheney.
Ever since last week's news stories began to appear in the Guardian, Snowden has vigilantly watched TV and read the internet to see the effects of his choices. He seemed satisfied that the debate he longed to provoke was finally taking place.
He lay, propped up against pillows, watching CNN's Wolf Blitzer ask a discussion panel about government intrusion if they had any idea who the leaker was. From 8,000 miles away, the leaker looked on impassively, not even indulging in a wry smile.
Snowden said that he admires both Ellsberg and Manning, but argues that there is one important distinction between himself and the army private, whose trial coincidentally began the week Snowden's leaks began to make news.
"I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest," he said. "There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over, because harming people isn't my goal. Transparency is."
He purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should remain concealed.
As for his future, he is vague. He hoped the publicity the leaks have generated will offer him some protection, making it "harder for them to get dirty".
He views his best hope as the possibility of asylum, with Iceland with its reputation of a champion of internet freedom at the top of his list. He knows that may prove a wish unfulfilled.
But after the intense political controversy he has already created with just the first week's haul of stories, "I feel satisfied that this was all worth it. I have no regrets."
KS Gov Signs Law: Stops Govt From Using Public Money For Gun Control Lobbying Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who signed into law the The Second Amendment Protection Act, which has been referred to as the strongest Second Amendment legislation in the nation, has gone a step further. Now Brownback has signed a bill into law that would prohibit any state employee, municipality or school district from using taxpayer dollars to lobby in support of or against gun control.
Attorney General Eric Holder threatened Brownback by writing him a letter to inform him that The Second Amendment Protection Act was unconstitutional, stating In purporting to override federal law and to criminalize the official acts of federal officers, S.B. 102 directly conflicts with federal law and is therefore unconstitutional.
Brownback simply replied, With respect to any litigation, we will happily meet Mr. Holder in court.
I assume this latest legislation may garner a similar response from the Attorney General, who is now embroiled in several scandals including the snooping into reporters emails, Fast and Furious (including being in contempt of Congress due to the scandal) and a congressional investigation into whether or not he perjured himself.
According to Guns.com:
House Bill 2162, known colloquially in the state Legislature as the NRA bill because of the gun lobbys backing of the legislation, will take effect on July 1, 2013, and is seen by gun rights advocates as a way to further secure the Second Amendment rights of responsible gun owners in the Sunflower State.
Upon signing the bill, the governors spokeswoman, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, released this statement, Governor Brownback signed the bill because Kansans do not support spending taxpayer dollars on legislation limiting gun rights; Kansas is a strong pro-Second Amendment state.
In addition to banning the use of taxpayer dollars to hire lobbyists for gun control, local governments cannot create publicity or propaganda materials, such as any kit, pamphlet, booklet, publication, electronic communication, radio, television or video presentation related to gun control.
While some argue that this comes close to violating the First Amendment rights of cities and towns, it becomes apparent that they have no idea that rights are granted to individuals, not government.
In fact, whoever elected Mike Dever of Lawrence, Kansas, should seek a recall. Mayor Dever doesnt like the States concealed carry law. In other words, he has a real problem with the Second Amendment. He told the Associated Press, It kind of creates an interesting dilemma for local government agencies, when they feel strongly about something and have to be careful.
The problem is that these people want to use public money to push their agenda against the people. Individuals and businesses can still spend all the money they like to get their message out.
This is not a freedom of speech issue, State Senator Jeff King, told the AP. This is an issue of using taxpayer dollars.
Kansas seems to be headed in the right direction and the signing into law of HB 2162 is just another step.
House Speaker Ray Merrick said, It goes along with a lot of good legislation thats happening on Second Amendment rights.
Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security Security took part in a large scale counter-terrorism drill in Los Angeles with the LAPD. The drill was planned alongside the National Homeland Security Associations conference at the Bonaventure Hotel and was conducted by the Police Departments Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau. The drill was complete with black clad police repelling down helicopters, flash grenades and the sounds of gunfire in the streets.
Police Chief Charlie Beck said about 1,800 people from 60 major cities attended the conference and most watched the demonstration. Representatives from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and Canada also attended.
This expensive operation is justified with the fear mongering of a terrorist threat.
According to Signalsscv.com LAPD spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith said We know that terrorists are capable of acting everywhere. We need to maintain our vigilance. We need to maintain our edge. Thats the reason we do this training.
About 50 officers from various units, mainly SWAT, air support and hazardous materials, participated in the drill, following months of preparing and notifying area businesses of the exercise.
This is something we constantly worry about. The threat is always there, Police Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement. What happens in other regions of the world is important, but we have enough of a homegrown issue that all this needs to be practiced continuously.
This seems more of an excuse to play with their new toys than anything, but there has been a disturbing increase of these drills in public areas, possibly to desensitize the general population to having military police in the streets.
Glenn Greenwald: U.S. wants to destroy privacy worldwide The journalist who broke the news that the government is monitoring vast quantities of American phone records is claiming the U.S. is building a massive snooping apparatus committed to destroying privacy worldwide.
There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal, and that is to destroy privacy and anonymity, not just in the United States but around the world, charged Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for the British newspaper The Guardian, speaking on CNN. That is not hyperbole. That is their objective.
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Greenwald, speaking with CNNs Piers Morgan, appeared during a week in which Americans learned that according to reports, the National Security Agency and other parts of the government have been monitoring the phone records of Verizon users and accessing Internet information as part of intelligence-gathering procedures. Some Republicans and Democrats have defended the phone records strategy, including the highest-ranking members of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). But Greenwald dismissed those arguments.
(PHOTOS: Pols, pundits weigh in on NSA report)
So whatever the Justice Department wants to do, they can beat their chests all they want, he said. People like Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss can have press conferences threatening people for bringing light to what it is theyre doing, but the only people who are going to be investigated are them. Its well past time that these threats start to be treated with the contempt that they deserve. Thats certainly how I intend to treat them moving forward, with more investigation and disclosures.
He also bashed the Obama administration for issuing threats.
The Obama administration has been very aggressive about bullying and threatening anybody who thinks about exposing it or writing it or even doing journalism about it, and its well past time that come to an end, he said.
Greenwald also told CNNs Jake Tapper that the administration has taken a warped and distorted view of the PATRIOT Act, the legislation that authorized certain kinds of surveillance for security reasons in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
What the Obama administration is doing in interpreting the PATRIOT Act is so warped and distorted and it vests themselves with such extremist surveillance powers over the United States and American citizens that Americans, in their words, would be stunned to learn what the Obama administration is doing, he said on CNNs The Lead.
Speaking with MSNBC host Lawrence ODonnell, Greenwald dared lawmakers to investigate how information about the Verizon phone records leaked, as Feinstein has said should happen.
Let them go and investigate, Greenwald said.
He added, There is this massive surveillance state that the United States government has built up that has extraordinary implications for how we live as human beings on the earth and as Americans in our country, and we have the right to know what it is that that government and that agency is doing. I intend to continue to shine light on that, and Dianne Feinstein can beat her chest all she wants and call for investigations, and none of that is going to stop and none of it is going to change.
New app claims to prevent government eavesdropping on cell phones The developers of a new mobile app may have just caught a break and found a new group of potential customers with the revelation that government is secretly snooping on Verizon cell phone users.
Developers in South Africa have developed an app called Seecrypt, which they say protects cell phone users from having their calls and texts tracked.
It was revealed Wednesday that the National Security Agency has forced Verizon to turn over phone records of customers inside the United States in the name of fighting terrorism
U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers. But there has never been a Google or Facebook before, and it is unlikely that there are richer troves of valuable intelligence than the ones in Silicon Valley.
Equally unusual is the way the NSA extracts what it wants, according to the document: Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.
Londons Guardian newspaper reported Friday that GCHQ, Britains equivalent of the NSA, also has been secretly gathering intelligence from the same internet companies through an operation set up by the NSA.
According to documents obtained by The Guardian, PRISM would appear to allow GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required in Britain to seek personal material such as emails, photos and videos from an internet company based outside of the country.
PRISM was launched from the ashes of President George W. Bushs secret program of warrantless domestic surveillance in 2007, after news media disclosures, lawsuits and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court forced the president to look for new authority.
Congress obliged with the Protect America Act in 2007 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with U.S. intelligence collection. PRISM recruited its first partner, Microsoft, and began six years of rapidly growing data collection beneath the surface of a roiling national debate on surveillance and privacy. Late last year, when critics in Congress sought changes in the FISA Amendments Act, the only lawmakers who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.
The court-approved program is focused on foreign communications traffic, which often flows through U.S. servers even when sent from one overseas location to another. Between 2004 and 2007, Bush administration lawyers persuaded federal FISA judges to issue surveillance orders in a fundamentally new form. Until then the government had to show probable cause that a particular target and facility were both connected to terrorism or espionage.
In four new orders, which remain classified, the court defined massive data sets as facilities and agreed to certify periodically that the government had reasonable procedures in place to minimize collection of U.S. persons data without a warrant.
In a statement issue late Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable foreign intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats. The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.
Clapper added that there were numerous inaccuracies in reports about PRISM by The Post and the Guardian newspaper, but he did not specify any.
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said: I would just push back on the idea that the court has signed off on it, so why worry? This is a court that meets in secret, allows only the government to appear before it, and publishes almost none of its opinions. It has never been an effective check on government.
Several companies contacted by The Post said they had no knowledge of the program, did not allow direct government access to their servers and asserted that they responded only to targeted requests for information.
We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers, said Joe Sullivan, chief security officer for Facebook. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.
We have never heard of PRISM, said Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.
It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations, rather than directly to company servers.
Government officials and the document itself made clear that the NSA regarded the identities of its private partners as PRISMs most sensitive secret, fearing that the companies would withdraw from the program if exposed. 98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft; we need to make sure we dont harm these sources, the briefings author wrote in his speakers notes.
An internal presentation of 41 briefing slides on PRISM, dated April 2013 and intended for senior analysts in the NSAs Signals Intelligence Directorate, described the new tool as the most prolific contributor to the Presidents Daily Brief, which cited PRISM data in 1,477 items last year. According to the slides and other supporting materials obtained by The Post, NSA reporting increasingly relies on PRISM as its leading source of raw material, accounting for nearly 1 in 7 intelligence reports.
That is a remarkable figure in an agency that measures annual intake in the trillions of communications. It is all the more striking because the NSA, whose lawful mission is foreign intelligence, is reaching deep inside the machinery of American companies that host hundreds of millions of American-held accounts on American soil.
The technology companies, whose cooperation is essential to PRISM operations, include most of the dominant global players of Silicon Valley, according to the document. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of entry into the program: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple. PalTalk, although much smaller, has hosted traffic of substantial intelligence interest during the Arab Spring and in the ongoing Syrian civil war.
Dropbox, the cloud storage and synchronization service, is described as coming soon.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who had classified knowledge of the program as members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, were unable to speak of it when they warned in a Dec. 27, 2012, floor debate that the FISA Amendments Act had what both of them called a back-door search loophole for the content of innocent Americans who were swept up in a search for someone else.
As it is written, there is nothing to prohibit the intelligence community from searching through a pile of communications, which may have been incidentally or accidentally been collected without a warrant, to deliberately search for the phone calls or e-mails of specific Americans, Udall said.
Wyden repeatedly asked the NSA to estimate the number of Americans whose communications had been incidentally collected, and the agencys director, Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, insisted there was no way to find out. Eventually Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III wrote Wyden a letter stating that it would violate the privacy of Americans in NSA data banks to try to estimate their number.
Roots in the 70s
PRISM is an heir, in one sense, to a history of intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s. The NSA calls these Special Source Operations, and PRISM falls under that rubric.
The Silicon Valley operation works alongside a parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, that gathers up metadata technical information about communications traffic and network devices as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEYs top-secret program summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.
But the PRISM program appears to more nearly resemble the most controversial of the warrantless surveillance orders issued by President George W. Bush after the al-Qaeda attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Its history, in which President Obama presided over exponential growth in a program that candidate Obama criticized, shows how fundamentally surveillance law and practice have shifted away from individual suspicion in favor of systematic, mass collection techniques.
The Obama administration points to ongoing safeguards in the form of extensive procedures, specifically approved by the court, to ensure that only non-U.S. persons outside the U.S. are targeted, and that minimize the acquisition, retention and dissemination of incidentally acquired information about U.S. persons.
And it is true that the PRISM program is not a dragnet, exactly. From inside a companys data stream the NSA is capable of pulling out anything it likes, but under current rules the agency does not try to collect it all.
Analysts who use the system from a Web portal at Fort Meade, Md., key in selectors, or search terms, that are designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a targets foreignness. That is not a very stringent test. Training materials obtained by The Post instruct new analysts to make quarterly reports of any accidental collection of U.S. content, but add that its nothing to worry about.
Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as incidental, and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspects inbox or outbox is swept in. Intelligence analysts are typically taught to chain through contacts two hops out from their target, which increases incidental collection exponentially. The same math explains the aphorism, from the John Guare play, that no one is more than six degrees of separation from any other person.
In exchange for immunity from lawsuits, companies such as Yahoo and AOL are obliged to accept a directive from the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to open their servers to the FBIs Data Intercept Technology Unit, which handles liaison to U.S. companies from the NSA. In 2008, Congress gave the Justice Department authority for a secret order from the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court to compel a reluctant company to comply.
In practice, there is room for a company to maneuver, delay or resist. When a clandestine intelligence program meets a highly regulated industry, said a lawyer with experience in bridging the gaps, neither side wants to risk a public fight. The engineering problems are so immense, in systems of such complexity and frequent change, that the FBI and NSA would be hard pressed to build in back doors without active help from each company.
Apple demonstrated that resistance is possible when it held out for more than five years, for reasons unknown, after Microsoft became PRISMs first corporate partner in May 2007. Twitter, which has cultivated a reputation for aggressive defense of its users privacy, is still conspicuous by its absence from the list of private sector partners.
Google, like the other companies, denied that it permitted direct government access to its servers.
Google cares deeply about the security of our users data, a company spokesman said. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government back door into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data.
Microsoft also provided a statement: We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we dont participate in it.
Yahoo also issued a denial.
Yahoo! takes users privacy very seriously, the company said in a statement. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.
Like market researchers, but with far more privileged access, collection managers in the NSAs Special Source Operations group, which oversees the PRISM program, are drawn to the wealth of information about their subjects in online accounts. For much the same reason, civil libertarians and some ordinary users may be troubled by the menu available to analysts who hold the required clearances to task the PRISM system.
There has been continued exponential growth in tasking to Facebook and Skype, according to the PRISM slides. With a few clicks and an affirmation that the subject is believed to be engaged in terrorism, espionage or nuclear proliferation, an analyst obtains full access to Facebooks extensive search and surveillance capabilities against the variety of online social networking services.
According to a separate Users Guide for PRISM Skype Collection, that service can be monitored for audio when one end of the call is a conventional telephone and for any combination of audio, video, chat, and file transfers when Skype users connect by computer alone. Googles offerings include Gmail, voice and video chat, Google Drive files, photo libraries, and live surveillance of search terms.
Firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities, is what drove a career intelligence officer to provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to The Washington Post in order to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy. They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type, the officer said.
Poitras is a documentary filmmaker and MacArthur Fellow. Julie Tate, Robert OHarrow Jr., Cecilia Kang and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.
NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.
The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.
Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.
The disclosure is likely to reignite longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government's domestic spying powers.
Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.
The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.
The Guardian approached the National Security Agency, the White House and the Department of Justice for comment in advance of publication on Wednesday. All declined. The agencies were also offered the opportunity to raise specific security concerns regarding the publication of the court order.
The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI's request for its customers' records, or the court order itself.
"We decline comment," said Ed McFadden, a Washington-based Verizon spokesman.
The order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compels Verizon to produce to the NSA electronic copies of "all call detail records or 'telephony metadata' created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad" or "wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls".
The order directs Verizon to "continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this order". It specifies that the records to be produced include "session identifying information", such as "originating and terminating number", the duration of each call, telephone calling card numbers, trunk identifiers, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, and "comprehensive communication routing information".
The information is classed as "metadata", or transactional information, rather than communications, and so does not require individual warrants to access. The document also specifies that such "metadata" is not limited to the aforementioned items. A 2005 court ruling judged that cell site location data the nearest cell tower a phone was connected to was also transactional data, and so could potentially fall under the scope of the order.
While the order itself does not include either the contents of messages or the personal information of the subscriber of any particular cell number, its collection would allow the NSA to build easily a comprehensive picture of who any individual contacted, how and when, and possibly from where, retrospectively.
It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks. It is also unclear from the leaked document whether the three-month order was a one-off, or the latest in a series of similar orders.
The court order appears to explain the numerous cryptic public warnings by two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, about the scope of the Obama administration's surveillance activities.
For roughly two years, the two Democrats have been stridently advising the public that the US government is relying on "secret legal interpretations" to claim surveillance powers so broad that the American public would be "stunned" to learn of the kind of domestic spying being conducted.
Because those activities are classified, the senators, both members of the Senate intelligence committee, have been prevented from specifying which domestic surveillance programs they find so alarming. But the information they have been able to disclose in their public warnings perfectly tracks both the specific law cited by the April 25 court order as well as the vast scope of record-gathering it authorized.
Julian Sanchez, a surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, explained: "We've certainly seen the government increasingly strain the bounds of 'relevance' to collect large numbers of records at once everyone at one or two degrees of separation from a target but vacuuming all metadata up indiscriminately would be an extraordinary repudiation of any pretence of constraint or particularized suspicion." The April order requested by the FBI and NSA does precisely that.
The law on which the order explicitly relies is the so-called "business records" provision of the Patriot Act, 50 USC section 1861. That is the provision which Wyden and Udall have repeatedly cited when warning the public of what they believe is the Obama administration's extreme interpretation of the law to engage in excessive domestic surveillance.
In a letter to attorney general Eric Holder last year, they argued that "there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows."
"We believe," they wrote, "that most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted" the "business records" provision of the Patriot Act.
Privacy advocates have long warned that allowing the government to collect and store unlimited "metadata" is a highly invasive form of surveillance of citizens' communications activities. Those records enable the government to know the identity of every person with whom an individual communicates electronically, how long they spoke, and their location at the time of the communication.
Such metadata is what the US government has long attempted to obtain in order to discover an individual's network of associations and communication patterns. The request for the bulk collection of all Verizon domestic telephone records indicates that the agency is continuing some version of the data-mining program begun by the Bush administration in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack.
The NSA, as part of a program secretly authorized by President Bush on 4 October 2001, implemented a bulk collection program of domestic telephone, internet and email records. A furore erupted in 2006 when USA Today reported that the NSA had "been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth" and was "using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity." Until now, there has been no indication that the Obama administration implemented a similar program.
These recent events reflect how profoundly the NSA's mission has transformed from an agency exclusively devoted to foreign intelligence gathering, into one that focuses increasingly on domestic communications. A 30-year employee of the NSA, William Binney, resigned from the agency shortly after 9/11 in protest at the agency's focus on domestic activities.
In the mid-1970s, Congress, for the first time, investigated the surveillance activities of the US government. Back then, the mandate of the NSA was that it would never direct its surveillance apparatus domestically.
At the conclusion of that investigation, Frank Church, the Democratic senator from Idaho who chaired the investigative committee, warned: "The NSA's capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter."
Rick Scott Vetoes Bill to Give Illegal Immigrants Driver's Licenses Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have required Florida hand out drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, a sign he is taking a stand against the left in favor of conservatism.
Florida is home to immigrants of many nationalities, who add to the cultural fabric of our great state, and whose productivity and hard work have contributed to our economic turnaround, Scott said in his official letter to Florida Secretary of State Kenneth Detzner announcing the veto. Still, our nation struggles with immigration issues every day, as Americans seek to reconcile the fact that at one point our families were immigrants who came, as many do today, to work and live the American dream with the fact that the federal government has failed at enforcing the nations laws on this topic.
Scott went on to detail the inconsistencies of immigration policy coming out of Janet Napolitanos Department of Homeland Security and President Barack Obamas administration at large.
Despite the federal governments inability to enforce the nations current immigration laws or to find common ground on how to change them, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in a June 2012 memo the immediate establishment of a Deferred Action Process for Childhood Arrivals, Scott wrote. Through this process DHS provides that a young person illegally brought to the United States as a child will not be subject to removal if the individual meets certain criteria."
"Qualifying for deferred action status does not confer substantive rights or lawful status upon an individual; it does not create a pathway to a green card or citizenship; nor does it extend to any family members of the person granted the status either," he explained. "Deferred action status is simply a policy of the Obama Administration, absent Congressional direction, designed to dictate removal action decisions using DHS agency discretion. It was never passed by Congress, nor is it a promulgated rule.
The institutional left and Florida Democrats are furious that Scott would make such a move. Democrat state Sen. Darren Soto called Scotts veto an anti-Hispanic bomb.
Make no mistake about it: This will be an anti-Hispanic bomb if he vetoes this bill, Soto, a sponsor of the legislation, said before Scott officially vetoed the bill according to the National Journal. The vast majority of my peers understand we need to encourage immigrants to become working members of our society. It makes no sense that the Scott administration would veto something its already doing.
The Florida House Democrat who also sponsored the bill, Rep. Randolph Bracy, tried to argue Scotts veto foils plans to move the national Republican party as a whole toward amnesty. I thought the party was moving in that direction and was behind this bill, and then the governor just comes out of nowhere and does this, Bracy said according to National Journal. Republicans have been talking as a party about Hispanic outreach, and this was only a small step.
Internal Documents in TX Trooper lawsuit: Cops admit "the passenger is under no obligation to comply with request" for ID Initial disclosure documents in a civil rights lawsuit filed against two Texas Troopers have revealed Texas Department of Public Safety admissions that automobile passengers are under no obligation to show their ID to police, even if they're threatened with arrest by rogue officers. The case involves a 2010 incident in which a commercial truck driver was woken up out of the sleeper berth while off-duty and forced under threat of arrest to produce identification for officers. He refused to show the troopers his ID, because they had no reasonable suspicion or probable cause to demand it.
The initial internal affairs responses by the two defendants in the case, filed in November 2010 by Inspector Yolanda Aguinaga and Trooper Kevin Marmor, were among the recently disclosed documents. Both officers, now defendants in a 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 Civil Rights lawsuit in the Western District of Texas San Antonio Division, have denied all wrongdoing. They are represented courtesy of the Texas Attorney General, which defends officers in lawsuits.
Inspector Aguinaga's supervisor Sergeant Christopher S. McGuairt was a key defender of the cops in the early stages, attempting all sorts of contortions and deceptions to excuse the officers on all counts. On November 22, 2010, for example, McGuairt claimed that he could not find Hill to correspond with him regarding the internal affairs investigation, despite the fact that numerous TX Dept.of Public Safety employees were in regular contact with Hill via his long established postal address, telephone number and e-mail address, all of which were clearly printed on the official original complaint submitted to the agency. In the end, McGuairt's feeble attempts were of no avail; Captain Kenneth Plunk of the Waco Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division admitted wrongdoing on behalf of the officers in a written statement to Hill at the conclusion of the investigation, noting that "corrective action was needed" against both officers and that "additional training has been taken." In addition, the recently disclosed internal memo from Plunk dated 12/15/10 stated that passengers are under no obligation to show ID without probable cause:
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY INTEROFFICE MEMORANDUM
To: Tim Thompson, Major, Region VI
From: Kenneth Plunk, captain, CVE, Region VI
Subject: Citizen Complaint by Mr. Martin Hill
I have reviewed the information provided by Sergeant Christopher McGuairt and the complainant Mr. Martin Hill and formulate the following conclusion. I concur with most of Sergeant McGuairt's findings however a few items need to be addressed.
Sergeant McGuairt is accurate in his statement that it is a legal practice to attempt identification of the driver and passengers, regardless if articulated facts exist to support this request for identification. Though there may be no issue with attempting to identify a passenger, unless you have an articulate reason regarding your or other's safety or criminal activity is present, the passenger is under no obligation to comply with this request. When Mr. Hill asked Trooper Marmor if he (Marmor) was requesting or demanding his driver license, Trooper Marmor stated "I'm telling you" - this statement is not a request it is a demand.
At no time did Trooper Marmor state to Mr. Hill that he would be arrested, however he did tell him that it was a "jailable offense" for Failure to Identify. The charge of Failure to Identify under Penal Code 38.02 would not be applicable to this contact.
Sergeant McGuairt has addressed with Trooper Marmor his requirements to identify himself properly on future contacts. Sergeant McGuairt will also address with Trooper Marmor proper procedure and additional training regarding the offense of Failure to Identify and how it relates to roadside contacts.
In am INTEROFFICE MEMORANDUM memo dated 12/9/10, [View the document here: [Page 1] [Page 2] [Page 3] [Page 4] Sergeant McGuairt stated, in part,
"Mr. Hill refused to provide Inspector Aguinaga with his CDL and in doing so asked her if the need for the license was 'a request or a demand" to which she replied it was "a request". He refused her request and she allowed him to leave unimpeded. This statement and all others pertaining to this conversation are not refuted by Inspector Aguinaga. Through my investigation I have located a "youtube" audio clip of the conversation between Mr. Hill and the inspector through www.examiner.com. a website through which Mr. Hill posts various news topics, in which she displays professionalism and courtesy. This recording was done so by Mr. Hill surreptitiously during this contact. (Two other audio clips exists on this website containing conversation between Trooper Marmor and Mr. Hill)."
"Mr. Hill's exiting the sleeper berth to meet with the Inspector was done so on his own accord and without instruction by any law enforcement or non-commissioned personnel."
Sure, I just decided to get woken up in the middle of the night 'on my own accord,' and exited the truck willingly, only to magically then refuse to show them my ID. Christopher S. McGuairt exhibits the logic of a deranged psychopath.
Defending the Trooper, McGuairt states
"Trooper Marmor is not heard at any time in the audio clip speaking to Mr. Hill in a manner which would make a reasonable person feel they are "under duress" or "threat of arrest". Trooper Marmor speaks to Mr. Hill the entire audio clip in a calm and professional manner."
What the recordings actually reveal, however, is that Marmor stated
"If you fail to ID, then you can go the other route...
Let me stop you right there...
I don't know how far you want to take it- But in Texas, if you fail to ID, that's a jailable offense.
If you're in the sleeper berth, then sure, we don't have any right to ask for your logbook, but we damn sure can ID you.
that's part of the penal code.
We're talking about criminal law.
I don't know what it is in California but in Texas, when we have a vehicle stop, we ID everybody in the vehicle. Truck drivers, everybody.
We ID everybody. We stop you, everybody's getting out.
Marmor also stated that he and Aguinaga have a right to wake up the off-duty person in the sleeper, and when asked "So this is a demand, not a request?" he replied "I'm TELLING you," with emphasis on the word TELLING, as in demanding. But according to McGuairt, saying it's "a jailable offense", invoking "criminal law" and threatening the motorist with the "penal code" is not remotely a threat of arrest.
One interesting revelation in the disclosure documents is that defendant Marmor confirmed in writing what Hill described in 2010 but had not recorded. When Hill told Marmor that he didn't even know who he was, Marmor replied by stating "Im the one with the badge and the gun." Marmor's own statement in the internal affairs investigation states, in part,
"He (Hill) advised me that when speaking with the Inspector he asked her if she was requesting or demanding his license. He stated that she told him that it was a request. He advised me that he refused the request. I then explained to him the difference between a Civilian Inspector and a Peace Officer. I also explained that the reason for identifying him was a common practice and that all passengers in a vehicle or commercial vehicle that had been stopped would be identified. He responded saying that he wanted to see my ID. I told him that I was in full uniform including a clearly displayed badge and gun, which identified me a Peace Officer. The codriver asked me if I was requesting or demanding his Driver License. I responded by saying, "I'm telling you" at which time the co-driver complied."
McGuairt concluded "I have spoken with Trooper Marmor since the start of this investigation of his requirement to identify himself properly on future contacts if requested , though the alleged request by the complainant was vague."
Disclosure documents also reveal that the two defendants have not even gotten their story straight. For example, Marmor in his 2010 response stated that Aguinaga informed him via cell phone that Hill refused to show ID. However, in Aguinaga's response, she said she told him in person, at his car window:
Marmor: "I had returned to my patrol unit when Inspector Aguinaga contacted me via cell phone and advised that the co-driver had refused to present his Driver License."
Aguinaga: "When Trooper Marmor began to drive by me, I stopped him and mentioned that the co-driver was refusing to give me his CDL, and that he was angry for being woken up."
Another issue not particularly relevent to the case but rather illustrative of the disrecpancies in the details of what allegedly transpired have both Aguinaga and Marmor each claiming that they were the ones who opened the trailer doors to inspect the freight.
On Page 13, Marmor states: "Aguinaga asked if I would search the trailer and that the driver had given consent to enter the trailer. I met with the driver at the rear of his trailer and obtained consent to search the trailer. The driver was very cooperative and advised me that I was welcome to check anything ( needed to. The co-driver walked up as I was speaking with the driver and asked me why he was requested to leave the sleeper berth and go to the office. I advised him that I could not answer that but the inspector probably just wanted his Driver License and that he did not need to go to the office. I opened the trailer door and was securing it when I noticed that both subjects were walking to the office. I completed the search with negative results."
On page 17, Aguinaga states: "At 6:45 PM on 11-10-10, I inspected a [redacted] truck & trailer due to the heaviness on the rear tandem of the trailer. I began the inspection at the driver's door & continued around the truck & trailer. I then asked the driver to open the trailer for an inspection of the load. The driver removed the seal from the trailer as I watched and then he handed it to me. Upon the opening of the trailer, I saw several large caterpillar parts, & I noticed a heavy smell ofnew paint, but the caterpillar parts didn't look very new. I then asked the driver to pull the vehicle forward and then to join me in the office with required paperwork."
Fire breaks out in Moscow subway tunnel Fifty-nine people sought medical attention after a fire in a tunnel by a Moscow metro station during the Wednesday morning rush hour, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said.
ANONX: Internet For Turkey Anonymous blogger posts instructions for internet connectivity should the Turkish government disconnects them from the world wide web.
Official Bilderberg Attendee List Features 33 Americans According to the official list of Bilderberg attendees published on infowars.com, there will be 33 Americans in attendance. The meeting begins on June 6th and concludes on June 9th. Here are the Americans who will be attending:
All Talk: Armed March In Washington Didnt Muster Enough Balls Activist become non-activist, Adam Kokesh, hyped up the country as he announced in early May that he would indeed be leading an armed march on Washington. However, it looks like Kokesh just couldnt muster up the balls to do it, as the armed march has now been cancelled.
Was this set up to fail from the beginning?
In fact an excerpt from Kokeshs personal website read, On the morning of July 4, 2013, Independence Day, we will muster at the National Cemetery & at noon we will step off to march across the Memorial Bridge, down Independence Avenue, around the Capitol, the Supreme Court, & the White House, then down Constitution Avenue to peacefully return to Virginia across the Memorial Bridge. This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. In my opinion backing out doesnt look like mustering.
In the beginning Kokesh started out by preaching how, This event is civil disobedience because we will be violating and/or attempting to violate various regulations that have been used to curtail freedom of speech and freedom of self-defense, however, this is in response to the DC Police refusing to follow the law of the Constitution. They have been in violation of court order and the law by continuing to enforce statures that have been ruled unconstitutional. This is one in a long train of abuses, but a government that cannot be trusted to follow its own rules cannot be trusted, and we cannot allow this lawlessness to continue. We must stop this criminal government!. However, the fact now remains that he will do nothing about it, every claim he said means nothing, and was backed up by nothing.
Once again the American people have been defeated, and have been made to look like cowards because of activists biting off more than they can chew. The government pushed us back even further now, showing all Americans that they are still slaves, and that they simply will not march in Washington armed.
Kokesh ought think twice about carrying out his next planned event if he wants anyone to take him seriously. As of now the country has taken a step backwards.
After all, the people of Temple Texas had no problem doing what Kokesh talked about, as this past weekend they conducted an armed march.
Moral Degenerates Are Running the Colleges of America In the first two parts of this series, the financial larceny associated with obtaining a college education was exposed. The government, the banks and the institutions of higher learning are involved in predatory loan practices which turns many of our young people into debt slaves for the rest of their lives. The Department of Education swat teams people who are delinquent on their student loans. The United States has the most expensive and abusive post-secondary education system in the world. As I demonstrated in Part Two, I illustrated how to dramatically cut college tuition costs.
Unfortunately, cost is not the only issue with our college campuses. Just who and what will be influencing our impressionable young people when they depart for college this coming fall?
Increasingly, our post-secondary institutions of higher learning are being run by moral degenerates of the highest order.
Deadline Looms for Suspect to Decrypt Laptop, or Go Directly to Jail If a judge orders you to decrypt the only existing copies of incriminating files, are your constitutional rights against compelled self-incrimination being violated?
Thats the provocative question being raised as a Wisconsin man faces a deadline today either to give up his encryption keys or risk indefinite imprisonment without a trial. The defendants attorney, Robin Shellow of Milwaukee, said its one of the most important constitutional issues of the wired era.
Shellow is making a novel argument that the federal magistrates decryption order is akin to forcing her client to build a case for the government. Thats because encryption basically transforms files into unreadable text, which is then rebuilt when the proper password is entered, she said.
Some encryption effects erasure of the encrypted data (so it ceases to exist), in which case decryption constitutes re-creation of the data, rather than simply unlocking still-existing data, Shellow wrote in a court filing. (.pdf)
In a telephone interview Monday, she said this area is a new way of thinking about encryption.
Though rare, decryption orders are likely to become more common as the public slowly embraces a technology that comes standard even on Apple computers. Such orders have never squarely been addressed by the Supreme Court, despite conflicting opinions in the lower courts.
The latest decryption flap concerns Jeffrey Feldman, who federal authorities believe downloaded child pornography on the file-sharing e-Donkey network. They seized 15 drives and a computer from his suburban Milwaukee apartment with a search warrant. A federal magistrate has ordered Feldman to decrypt the drives by today.
Feldman has refused, citing the Fifth Amendment. A federal judge could find him in contempt as early as today and jail him pending his compliance.
The magistrate in the case stepped aside Monday after Shellow argued that only U.S. district court judges, not magistrates, have the legal power to issue decryption orders. As of now, the new judge in the case has not decided whether to uphold the magistrates order.
U.S. Magistrate William Callahan Jr. initially said the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination protected Feldman from having to unlock his drives.
But last month, prosecutors convinced Callahan to change his mind. Among other reasons, the authorities were able, on their own, to decrypt one drive from Feldmans storage system and discovered more than 700,000 files, some of which constitute child pornography, the magistrate said.
When the magistrate ruled against the government last month, the magistrate said the authorities did not have enough evidence linking Feldman to the data, and that forcing the computer scientist to unlock it would be tantamount to requiring him to confess that it was his. But that theory is now out the door, because the data on the decrypted drive contains pictures and financial information linking Feldman to the storage system, Callahan ruled last week.
Among the last times an encryption order came up in court was last year, when a federal appeals court rejected an appeal from a bank-fraud defendant who has been ordered to decrypt her laptop so its contents could be used in her criminal case. The issue was later mooted for defendant Romano Fricosu as a co-defendant eventually supplied a password.
Shellow said it was unclear whether her client even remembers the passwords to the 16 drives the authorities confiscated.
The government is claiming that our client has the capacity to decrypt them, Shellow said.
That issue has never been addressed in court. But judges usually view forgetfulness as a sham or subterfuge that purposely avoids giving responsive answers.
Prosecutors did not respond for comment.
$4.10 gas in Michigan? Blame lagging Midwest refineries, analysts say Gas prices in Michigan are now the highest in the country outside of Hawaii because of underperforming refineries throughout the Midwest.
While gas prices are trending down elsewhere, Michiganfs average prices shot up Monday to $4.10 a gallon, 23 cents higher than a week ago, according to AAAfs Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Nationally, prices held steady at $3.62 a gallon, down a penny from a week ago.
gI was surprised to see the high prices,h said Sri Anand, 35 of Novi, after filling his Hyundai Sonata with regular gas for $63.67 at the Speedway at Jefferson and Chrysler in Detroit. gItfs pretty annoying. It just keeps increasing and increasing.h
Other motorists at the same gas station, especially those in large SUVs, said they would not top off their tanks Monday because $4.15 a gallon was more than they could afford.
Analysts said it is difficult to predict how long the higher prices will last, but warned they could continue to climb before coming down.
gThe Midwest refineries are plagued with problems,h said Phil Flynn, chief energy analyst with the Price Future Group in Chicago. gWhile the rest of the country is swimming in supply, the Midwest is seeing 22-year lows of supply. We canft seem to get a break.h
Michigan was especially hard hit this weekend because it depends on aging Midwest refineries that have had problems this year. However, unlike other Midwest states, which also had higher prices, Michigan doesnft have as many other refinery and pipeline options, one analyst said.
In addition, speculation among Midwest refiners likely is causing them to panic and buy gasoline at a premium to meet contract orders from wholesalers. Other oil producers see a competitorfs vulnerability and ratchet up prices, which the buying refinery passes on to wholesalers, who, in turn, raise their prices to retailers, who then boost what they charge consumers.
Flynn pointed to five regional refineries that supply Michigan with gas:
¡ On Friday, the ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Ill., shut down, possibly through next week. The refinery was closed in April for maintenance.
¡ Last week, the Phillips 66 Wood River plant in Roxana, Ill., reported a process leak. Its operations status was unclear. The plant also had an unplanned shutdown in late February.
¡ In late May, a compressor at Citgo Petroleumfs Lemont, Ill., refinery was shut down, adding to the regional supply shortage.
¡ In late April, there was an explosion and fire at the Marathon Petroleum refinery in southwest Detroit.
¡ And for many months, production at BPfs refinery in Whiting, Ind., has been cut to about a third of capacity as the plant converts to process heavy Canadian tar sands crude. When completed, the plant is expected to refine more oil, but the conversion is taking longer than anticipated, Flynn said.
Patrick DeHaan, an analyst with GasBuddy.com who had predicted on Friday that gas prices would jump over the weekend in the Midwest, said rumors that unnamed oil companies are buying gas from other refineries pushed prices even higher.
Eventually, he said, prices likely will come down when the crude conversion is completed at the BP refinery and problems at the other aging refineries are resolved.
gWill it get worse before the scales tip?h DeHaan asked. gItfs possible.h
For David Rosenberg The Legacy Of The Bernanke Regime Will Be Stagflation Several months ago we presented a dramatic change in David Rosenberg's outlook when from a die hard deflationist, he uttered the first rumblings of an inflationista. Since then he has further focused his substantial shift in perception culminating with this: "The number of firings, in fact, are more than 10% lower today with a 7.5% unemployment rate than they were in May 2007 when the unemployment rate had hit its cycle trough of 4.4%. Right there that tells you that 7.5% is the "new 4.4%". Yikes. Sounds very 1970s-ish and recall in that decade, real spending growth was weak but the supply curve was so sclerotic that inflation stayed stubbornly high. At the same time, at a time when firings are at record lows and job openings are rising at a double-digit annual rate, the number of people quitting their current job for greener pastures elsewhere is on a discernible uptrend. All this points to higher wage growth ahead, and frankly, this is a good thing for society." Of course, Rosie is simply picking up on what we discussed over a year ago: namely that courtesy of central planning, Okun's law is now terminally broken.
It also means that higher wages for those workers who are in demand (and perpetual part-time status for those who aren't) will lead to another unpleasant side effect for those forecasting soaring EPS for the S&P: a further drop in corporate margins, which as we keep on showing are now the lowest they have been in over two years: "But the flip side is that as the labour share of the national income pie mean reverts off its all-time lows, we are likely to see profit margins pinched. This is the big risk: margin compression affects the 'E', while inflation, insofar as the tight historical relationship with final prices holds, even if to a smaller degree this time around, affects the P/E."
Some claim to see this in the chart of the Labor Share of income, which to the delight of Marxists everywhere, may have finally broken its long term downtrend and found a support level:
But wrapping it all together, there is one word for what follows: stagflation.
The next major theme is stagflation this will be the legacy of the Bernanke regime. You cannot keep real short-term rates negative for this long in the face of even modestly positive real economic growth without generating financial excesses today and inflationary pressures in the future. Imagine dusting off the Phillips Curve and getting away with it it's as if the Fed has changed religions as it now believes there is some trade-off between inflation and unemployment The last time we had negative real policy rates for this long with a central bank wedded to the Phillips Curve was under the Burns-led Fed of the early 1970s. As I have said recently I am undergoing my own epiphany. I am renowned for being very early to a fault in my calls and no doubt am early yet again.
Little by little all the deflationists are starting to fold
Double Take! Opposition to Common Core Stimulates Strange Alliances Controversy over the implementation of the Common Core State Standards has served to highlight the sorry state of public education. According to its own website, The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.
Common Core was supposedly a state led initiative created by state departments of education. But the adoption of Common Core by 42 states in 2010 occurred in such rushed fashion, with pressure from the Obama administration, that it reminds many opponents of the adoption of Obama Care. Like Obama Care, the standards seem to have been developed by faceless bureaucrats in secret. Both teachers and parents feel that there was little to no input from them.
Beginning in 2009, states were pressured to adopt the Common Core Standards through the lure of competitive federal Race to the Top grants. The adoption of a one size fits all national standard and pressure to quickly adopt it from the Obama administration, confirms, in the minds of many who mistrust big, overreaching federal control, that this is a top down approach to control the education of our children.
It has been said that politics creates strange bedfellows. Opposition to Common Core has arisen from such divergent groups as the Tea Party and teachers alike. There is opposition developing in almost every state and some states are beginning to back off. The Michigan legislature voted last week to withdraw funding from Common Core implementation and there is similar legislation pending in other states including liberal New York. Along with the Tea Party groups and Freedom Works, other conservative groups such as Concerned Women for America have rallied against Common Core. There is an active Facebook group with over 4200 members coordinating opposition.
But, opposition is not confined to conservative groups. Teachers are leaving the profession out of frustration because control of what and how to teach has been taken away as they are forced to use scripted lessons or online curriculum to teach to tests. Frustration about teaching to the test dates back to the implementation of No Child Left Behind. In spite of assurances from Common Core advocates that academic freedom is preserved, the pressure to teach to the tests is overwhelming due to the high stakes nature of the results no pass, no money, no job for teacher and student alike. The adoption of a nationwide curriculum is precisely what conservative parents fear, as history has demonstrated that such a curriculum will most likely have a liberal bias.
One teacher website dedicated to the opposition goes so far as to postulate a big corporate conspiracy to control education. Like many conspiracy theories, it is founded in a fair amount of truth. The author points to the undue influence of such corporations as Pearson over textbooks, curriculum and assessments. As a former Pearson employee, I can attest to the validity of her concerns. Having had personal discussions with Pearson executives, I can attest that the company was intimately involved in the Common Core initiative.
Not surprisingly, the current Executive Director of the Common Core State Standards Organization (CCSSO) is a former Pearson employee. Pearson is a publicly held international corporation headquartered in the U.K. They are the leading educational publisher in the world. In addition to publishing textbooks, they develop curriculum and assessments as well as score the assessments.
Cruz: 'Abolish the IRS' Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Monday pressed for eliminating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) amid the scandal over the agency's targeting of conservative political groups.
Cruz called for replacing the current tax system with a flat tax.
"I think we ought to abolish the IRS and instead move to a simple flat tax where the average American can fill our taxes on a postcard, put down how much you earn, put down a deduction for charitable contribution, for home mortgage, and how much you owe," Cruz said in an interview with Fox News on Monday.
"It ought to be just a simple one-page postcard and take the agents, bureaucracy out of Washington and limit the power of government," he added.
Lawmakers are probing the IRS's use of higher scrutiny for Tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Cruz said the scandal highlighted the extent to which the White House would use its powers to go after political opponents.
"The Obama administration has demonstrated a willingness to use the machinery of government," said Cruz.
The Texas senator has been one of the most outspoken proponents of overhauling the tax system. In May, after news broke of the IRS scandal, Cruz tweeted that the only way to prevent that conduct from happening again was to get rid of the agency.
The new chief of the IRS, Danny Werfel, testified before Congress on Monday, vowing to correct the problems within the agency.
"We have a great deal of work ahead of us to review and correct the serious problems that have occurred at the IRS and continue the important work of the agency on behalf of taxpayers," Werfel said.
After Kicking Out Illegal Aliens Alabama Is Putting American Citizens Back To Work Alabama and Arizona are being sued by Barack Hussein Obama to farther his insidious plan to erase our borders and allow millions of potential new Democrat voters to flow in and snuff out our liberties.
Both states have taken strong measures to get their illegal alien problem under control and both are experiencing improvements in their unemployment rates, but the results in Alabama have been stunning.
Since putting its tough anti-illegal alien bill (H. B. 56) into effect last September Alabama has seen an overnight increase in the number of her citizens working and a drop in the percentage of Alabamians collecting unemployment benefits.
The numbers tell the story and they are embarrassing for Obama. In the first month after H.B. 56 became law Alabamas unemployment rate fell from 9.8 to 9.3 percent. Last month the number dropped to 8.1% which is .4% below the national average. Some quick math shows this is a 1.7% drop.
The real life Main Street result of what Alabamas Republicans have done is visible across their state. Because of H.B. 56 an enraged Barack Obama is suing Alabama. The more than 41,000 Alabama families who now have a bread winner going off to work every day means nothing to Obama because they are not voting for Democrats anyway.
In just three months Alabama has moved up from being the 42nd worst unemployment state to the 28th on the national list.
The numbers from Alabama will continue to improve as more illegal aliens come to understand that the Heart of Dixie is not a place to sneak into. Those with minimal skills, now filling jobs Americans want, will continue to leave and sneak into neighboring states.
Both Georgia and Mississippi have unemployment rates substantially above the putative national average of 8.5%, and this promises to be a continuing pattern. As one state stands firmer against these illegal invaders its neighboring states will find them flooding their workplaces schools hospital and jails. Which part of this is hard to understand?
To read more use these links:
New Jerseys Top Anti-Gun Senator, Frank Lautenberg Dead Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the last World War II veteran in the Senate and the chambers oldest member, died Monday morning. He was 89.
Lautenberg, was an unabashed supporter of gun control and his signature piece of legislation the Lautenberg Amendment that was supposed to target Domestic Violence, but is infamous for entrapping innocents whose cases were later over turned, will live on.
The senator, who survived a bout with blood cancer in 2010, had been in failing health for the last few months and had been absent from the Senate floor for much of the year. His office issued a statement in early April citing muscle weakness and fatigue that prevented him from traveling.
The senators office confirmed Lautenbergs death in a Monday morning statement:
United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, the last remaining World War II veteran serving in the Senate, passed away due to complications from viral pneumonia at 4:02 a.m. today at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell. He was 89 years old. Senator Lautenberg is survived by his wife, Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg; six children and their spouses, Ellen Lautenberg and Doug Hendel, Nan and Joe Morgart, Josh and Christina Lautenberg, Lisa and Doug Birer, Danielle Englebardt and Stuart Katzoff, Lara Englebardt Metz and Corey Metz; and 13 grandchildren.
Earlier this year, Lautenberg announced that he would not seek reelection.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will fill the vacant Senate seat. Fox News speculates that could be up and coming hoplophobe and Mayor of Newark, NJ, Cory Booker.
U.S. Fails to Join Allies in Signing UN Weapons Treaty The U.S. didnt join the U.K., France and other major Western allies at the United Nations today to sign the first international treaty regulating the $85 billion-a-year global arms trade.
The absence of the worlds top arms dealer at a morning ceremony in New York drawing about 60 nations casts a shadow over a decades-long push to stop illegal cross-border shipments of conventional weapons. Some of the worlds most violent nations, from drug-plagued Mexico to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, are among the signatories.
A replica of a camouflage military-style helicopter stands on a rooftop across Manhattan's skyline and the United Nations headquarters during a campaign by Control Arms Coalition activists in New York. Photographer: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images
The first international treaty regulating the global arms trade wouldnt muster enough votes for approval by the U.S. Senate, and the influential National Rifle Association, which says it has more than 4.5 million members, has lobbied against it. Photographer: Aaron M. Sprecher/Bloomberg
While supporters say the treaty wouldnt affect U.S. domestic sales or impinge on the constitutional right to bear arms, it would be a political minefield at home. The accord wouldnt muster enough votes for approval by the U.S. Senate, and the National Rifle Association, which says it has more than 4.5 million members, has lobbied against it.
I suspect they probably took a decision that, politically, it made sense not to completely alienate people in Congress on something that, in their opinion, doesnt matter when they sign it as long as they sign it, said Adotei Akwei, Amnesty International USAs managing director for government relations, in a May 31 telephone interview.
After years of stalled discussions about a multilateral arms sales agreement, it wasnt until Obama took office in 2009 that the U.S. reversed long-standing opposition to a treaty.
Even as he broke with tradition, Obama is in no rush to sign it.
We look forward to signing it as soon as the process of conforming the official translations is completed satisfactorily, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said today in a statement.
Advocates of the treaty, which requires ratification by at least 50 nations to go into effect, are under no illusion about an early Senate ratification even when the current administration gets around to signing it later this year, as predicted by nongovernmental bodies such as Amnesty International and Oxfam.
The atmosphere on Capitol Hill toward treaty ratifications is absolutely toxic, Akwei said. The U.S. also isnt a party to the International Criminal Court in The Hague that seeks to bring war criminals to trial.
Ratification by the U.S. is a long-term strategy and it can take 10 to 15 years, he said.
For now, the U.S. is happy to lend its symbolic seal of approval while reiterating that much of the regulation outlined in the treaty has already been put in practice by the U.S. in its overseas sales of small arms, missile launchers, tanks, warships and attack helicopters.
The treaty was approved two months ago by more than two-thirds of the 193-member UN General Assembly even as Iran, Syria and North Korea voted against the accord, and 23 countries, including Russia, a major arms dealer, abstained.
The next step is for UN members to sign it, as many are doing today, and then for their legislators to ratify the pact.
In the U.S. Senate, a two-thirds majority would be needed for Senate ratification. On March 23, senators voted 53-46 for a symbolic measure opposing U.S. participation in the treaty. Eight Democrats and all 45 Senate Republicans opposed it.
Thomas Countryman, the assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation who led the U.S. delegation at the treaty negotiations, told the Atlantic Council in Washington on May 15 that the U.S. will sign in the very near future.
As the U.S. point person on the treaty, Countryman has said the agreement would reduce worldwide violence by curbing black-market arms sales. The U.S. already has the highest standards in the world for regulating weaponry, he said.
While the treaty seeks to prevent conventional arms from falling in the wrong hands, it wont have an immediate effect on current conflicts such as the crisis in Syria, where a two-year conflict has killed at least 80,000 people.
Yet the mere signing of such a treaty gives hope to the millions affected by armed violence every day, said Anna MacDonald, Oxfams head of arms control.
Gunrunners and dictators have been sent a clear message that their time of easy access to weapons is up, she said in a statement. For generations the arms trade has been shrouded in secrecy, but from now on it will be open to scrutiny.
Issa dismisses Carney as a 'paid liar' The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee blasted White House press secretary Jay Carney on Sunday, calling him a paid liar who is not being truthful about the scandal at the Internal Revenue Service.
Their paid liar, their spokesperson, the picture behind, hes still making up things about what happened and calling this a local rogue, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), said on CNNs State of the Union, gesturing to a graphic of Carney on the set.
Issas committee provided CNN a transcript of an IRS employee interviewed under oath who said that it seemed as if the idea to single out conservative groups for additional scrutiny came from Washington. The Obama administration has maintained that local IRS agents in a single agency division have been responsible for the scandal.
(PHOTOS: 10 slams on the IRS)
This is a problem that was in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters, Issa said. Were getting to proving it.
Issa said the White House is not being truthful or forthcoming about the scandal.
The presidents spokesman spokesperson is saying whatevers convenient at the time. The story changes, Issa said.
But he vowed his committee would get to the bottom of the scandal.
What we have is people who have to come in and transcribe interviews. Theyre saying under penalty of crimes that certain things are true. We have subpoenaed documents that would support that that they say emails went back and forth, Issa said. We will learn the whole truth.
Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday said police can routinely take DNA from people they arrest, equating a DNA cheek swab to other common jailhouse procedures like fingerprinting.
"Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court's five-justice majority.
But the four dissenting justices said that the court was allowing a major change in police powers.
"Make no mistake about it: because of today's decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason," conservative Justice Antonin Scalia said in a sharp dissent which he read aloud in the courtroom.
At least 28 states and the federal government now take DNA swabs after arrests. But a Maryland court was one of the first to say that it was illegal for that state to take Alonzo King's DNA without approval from a judge, saying King had "a sufficiently weighty and reasonable expectation of privacy against warrantless, suspicionless searches."
But the high court's decision reverses that ruling and reinstates King's rape conviction, which came after police took his DNA during an unrelated arrest. Kennedy wrote the decision, and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Scalia was joined in his dissent by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Getting DNA swabs from criminals is common. All 50 states and the federal government take cheek swabs from convicted criminals to check against federal and state databanks, with the court's blessing. The fight at the Supreme Court was over whether that DNA collection could come before conviction and without a judge issuing a warrant.
According to court documents, the FBI's Combined DNA Index System or CODIS - a coordinated system of federal, state and local databases of DNA profiles - already contains more than 10 million criminal profiles and 1.1 million profiles of those arrested.
In the case before the court, a 53-year-old woman was raped and robbed but no one was arrested. Almost six years later, Alonzo King was arrested and charged with felony second-degree assault. Taking advantage of the Maryland law that allowed warrantless DNA tests following some felony arrests, police took a cheek swab of King's DNA, which matched a sample from the 2003 Salisbury rape. King was convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison.
King eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault from his arrest, a crime for which Maryland cannot take warrantless DNA samples. The state courts said it violated King's rights for the state to take his DNA based on an arrest alone. The state Court of Appeals said King had "a sufficiently weighty and reasonable expectation of privacy against warrantless, suspicionless searches." But the high court's decision reinstates King's conviction.
Maryland stopped collecting DNA after that decision, but Roberts allowed police to keep collecting DNA samples pending the high court's review.
Terrifying: The Moment A Drone Narrowly Misses Passenger Plane Carrying 100 People The United States isnt the only country that deals with its share of drone-related controversy. Classified footage from a German drone plane shows the unmanned device just barely missing an Afghan passenger plane reportedly carrying 100 people.
Despite being strictly classified, footage of the Luna drone narrow made its way to YouTube and has stirred an uproar within Germany over the countrys use of drones and its Defense Ministers reluctance to build the Lunas successor with anti-collision technology.
The video was apparently recorded nine years ago and never saw the light of day until recently, when critics of the current drone program pointed to the frightening footage as proof that the unmanned aircraft are dangerous on many levels.
The Black Secret of Higher Education Ive seen many articles wailing about the uselessness of college degrees, but theres a bigger scam going on in college than useless degrees a much, much, bigger scam thats so far been kept secret from even the most diligent opponents of higher education. Lets expose that secret today.
A great scam needs suckers, and the more suckers, the better. It didnt take long before administrators realized that the big, big money was in broadening the market, and through their efforts student enrollment has more than doubled since the 80s.
In todays college environment, most anyone can get accepted into an institution of higher learning. Student loans are not strictly acquired by people who want to learn, even if they dont know all that much to begin with. Instead, student loans are granted to anyone who can check a box saying you are a degree seeking student.
The easily acquired and plentiful student loan scheme means anyone can go to college, but what if the student has little in the way of academic skill or interest? A popular TV commercial hawking college education has the would-be student sing about not doing great in high schoolenough to keep a student out of college, years ago, and evidence the old myth is still alive.
Its not just late night TV commercials that target these potential students for enrollment, although there has always been some option for remedial classes at college or university. Only a few such classes were offered, since in the good old days, it was rare for students lacking in basic skills to nonetheless gain admittance to an institution. A student without basic reading, writing, or arithmetic skills could get in, but thirty years ago, if he didnt catch up quickly, the university would prevent him from destroying his finances and life. Nowadays there are many sections of remedial courses taught each semester, often more than sections for college courses. These courses generally move slower than normal courses, since administration thinks when a student is behind, hell catch up by slowing down. These poor souls spend years wandering from one remedial course to another, only to get destroyed by the pace of real college courses when they finally make it of remedial programs.
Administrations at many institutions have become very successful at talking people into checking that box, and remedial--administration likes to use the word developmental, but Ill stick with the correct word, remedialstudents have come to dominate higher education now. Around half of incoming students require remediation. It would be a clear majority, but college material has been defined down quite a bit (the first year courses I took in the 80s are now second or third year courses, and even some graduate courses are little different than what used to be first year courses).
College student population has more than doubled but most students are remedial. It follows then that the growth of the student base in higher education has been due to the elimination of standards.
Having a great number of students going into remedial courses looks bad for institutions of higher education, but administration tirelessly works to fix this problem, but not in a way that a person of integrity might think:
Were going to reduce the score necessary on the placement test to get into College Algebra so that even the weakest students will be told they can skip developmental courses if they want to. Theyll still be competitive.
--Administrator, explaining a clever plan to reduce the number of students taking remedial courses. Until I heard this, I had no idea that getting an education was a competition. This change in policy led to several disastrous years in the entry level mathematics courses.
So what is a remedial student? When a student enrolls, often hell take some sort of placement test to see where he fits as far as reading, writing, and mathematical skills. There are many sorts of tests, each with their own special scoring system, ultimately translated into either good enough for a college level course or should take a remedial course. Most institutions favor some form of standardized test, paying a dollar or two per student for the privilege of having an independent company quickly grade and administer the test online.
These tests are far from perfect, but have been around for years, with constant improvement by many private corporations legitimately interested in providing a better, more accurate product. They are quick, cheap, and about 95% accurate for determining which course a student should take. Quick and cheap are important factorsthe days of real entrance examinations for incoming college students are long over, students want to be admitted quickly, and administration complies. The 95% accuracy might sound very good, but it means that in every classroom of at least 20 students, youll expect one student was misdiagnosed by the test. Not perfect, but good enough, all things considered.
As hinted in the above quote, administration hates losing control of students to placement tests, and is always looking into ways to gain more control. The most likely way in the future will be through PARCC, a placement test that will allow students to place out of placement tests. It doesnt take a calculator to see the amount of money being poured into re-inventing and centralizing the placement tests is huge. Administration clearly wants this control, and a reasonable person might wonder how well they could be trusted with this power.
A student that does poorly on a placement test, no matter how poorly, is never turned away. Never. No problem, says college admissions, youll just need to take a developmental course or two and then youll be fine! as though a person thats blown off education for twelve years is really going to make it all up in a few months.
So higher education is mostly about remediation and has been for years, but does it really help these people? One might think that the answer has to do with those useless degrees people talk about, but only the lucky ones get a useless degree. The answer comes from the black secret of higher education:
Fewer than 1 in 10 remedial students will get a 2 year degree within 3 years1.
Thats above a 90% failure rate, quite possibly after the college soaks up $20,000 or more in loans. All the growth in higher education is in remedial students, and theyre being horribly abused by the system.
If there were any integrity to higher education, administrators would look at the 90% victimization rate and say we need to stop doing this. Instead, the bar just gets moved lower and lower and lower administration responds to failure by increasing the amount of failure. One might well conclude they just want the checks and dont actually care about the students at all.
Lets compare this kind of abuse of the customer to another industry. Depending on various factors, around 20% of smokers get lung cancer eventually over the course of a lifetime this rate is so high that the institutions which promote smoking, tobacco companies, are considered evil for creating so many victims.
More than 90% of remedial students waste years of their lives and bury themselves in debt by getting sucked into higher education what word describes the institutions that create a much higher rate of victims than tobacco companies?
Heres a chart to put things in perspective for a remedial student:
>90% Chance of a remedial student wasting 3 years of his life with nothing to show for it
67% Chance of dying after a stab wound to the heart
52% Chance of dying after a stage 4 colon cancer diagnosis
30% Chance of dying within 5 years of a heart transplant
20% Chance of a smoker getting lung cancer
<10% Chance of dying after being hit by lightning
Now, getting stabbed in the heart or struck by lightning are activities people should avoid and yet remedial students are actually encouraged to go to college. There are surgeon generals warnings on packs of cigarettes. Why arent remedial students warned about the disastrous side-effects of college loans?
40% of students that start in remedial never make it out of remedial courses. Of course, the college gets the loan money, while the student gets the debt, so the college has no reason to tell the student such depressing information he might change his mind about going to college, and there goes that sweet check.
Someones making a lot of money off this. Not us.
--Mathematics department head, at another daylong meeting addressing ways to improve remediation.
Added to the high failure rate is a massive double-dipping factor. When a community is being sold on opening up a community college for higher education, or paying for a university to expand its capacity for students, its never mentioned that the majority of the courses will be high school (or lower) level materialmaterial the community already paid for their children to learn in high school or earlier. The communitys tax dollars pay for the institution, which re-teaches (at best) the material that the students didnt want to learn when they were children.
The people building these institutions dont warn about the double-dipping to the communities supporting them. Likewise, the remedial students will never be warned about the grim odds and disaster they face when they check the box asking for student loans.
Higher education loan programs were sold to the American public as an opportunity to advance into a better economic status, but its turned into a massive scheme to take advantage of the most vulnerable members of the public, indebting them so deeply, so permanently, that theyll never be anything but broke. Is this what higher education is supposed to be all about?
Think about it.
See Remediation: Higher Education's Bridge to Nowhere, available online; the results come from looking at data from millions of students. Everyone in education has known for years that remediation is a disaster, but heres a study that shows it unarguably.
Israel pushes US to destabilize Syria: Analyst An investigative journalist tells Press TV that an Israeli mindset dominates over American policy-making, further pushing the United States toward destabilizing Syria.
Israel has long had it in its mind to destabilize Syria, Maidhc O Cathail, editor of The Passionate Attachment, told Press TV by phone on Saturday.
He added, If you look at any of the Israel lobby websites [in the US], think tanks such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Foreign Policy Initiative, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, and the AIPAC-created think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, its very clear that Israel has a major stake in the conflict in Syria.
Israel is pushing White House policy to destabilize Syria and as usual, when they follow Israeli policy, it doesnt work out for US interest, O Cathail noted.
Last month, Co-founder of Crescent and Cross Solidarity Movement Mark Glenn told Press TV that Israel and its supporters in the United States have basically cornered President Barak Obama and his administration in the hopes that they will be able to put American boots on Syrian soil.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed in the violence.
Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are supporting the militants.
Several international human rights organizations have accused the militants operating in Syria of committing war crimes.
Police & public explain why they surrendered their guns for $100 grocery cards Law enforcement agencies throughout San Bernardino County took part in the first county-wide gun-buyback program on Saturday June 1st. The events were held in six Stater Brothers Grocery Store parking lots, with thousands of Californians turning in their guns for grocery store gift cards. Jodi Miller of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said that the public was "very appreciative of the opportunity" to turn in their guns at the gun-buyback event in Victorville. The event had such a large turnout that although it had originally been scheduled to begin at 10am, Miller explained "at 8:30 we were sending the first cars through" the line. She stressed that the gun surrender was completely voluntary and that these are weapons the participants no longer wanted to posess. Several people were concerned that if their house was burglarized the guns mught be stolen and used in a crime. It should be noted as you will see in the video that two armed deputies asked if I had 'credentials' prior to letting me speak to the public information officer, but I informed them that "I don't need a 'press card' - 1st Amendment."
Ex Obama Secret Service Exposes Gun Control Agenda I recently spoke with former Obama Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, who actually left his career to inform the public on the reality behind the gun control debate and campaign for office.
You may know Bongino from his inspiring speech on the subject of how gun control is really not centered around the control of guns, but in fact the control of the individuals who own and carry them. Quite simply, gun control is really about people control. A reality that very few talking heads within the gun debate who push for gun control truly understand (or are willing to admit).
Sociopathic control freaks inside government, many of which Bongino is certainly familiar with working deep within Secret Service for Obama, are simply utilizing gun control legislation and regulation to exercise yet more control over the individual with the ultimate goal of eroding the very checks and balances provided by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at large. But why?
Well, without the rights legally granted by the Constitution, which are actually being illegally bypassed through legislation like the Patriot Act and the NDAA (two pieces of legislation that Obama has signed off on despite voicing opposition to Bush-era creations like the Patriot Act), then bloated government can do virtually anything it pleases. And those at the top of this bloated government system would ultimately stand to gain. We see this throughout history as certain forms of equal government are pushed by those at the top who in fact hog the resources for themselves under the guise of government duty and use phony patriotism (or worse) to silence the opposition.
Second Amendments Demise Signifies Constitution Collapse
Today, legislation is being written that ignores the Constitution. From gun control and spy bills to internet censorship and tax hikes that fund the mega bankers, we are seeing the Constitution thrown into the fire over and over. But if we truly lose the Second Amendment through a major gun ban, or perhaps the Supreme Court decides it is outdated, then we are truly setting ourselves up to lose the entire Bill of Rights at large. And until we understand this, the gun debate will rage on.
Like Dan, I was never really into firearms until I realized the importance of the Second Amendment when it comes to our rights granted by God and the Constitution. At the end of the day, its not really even about the firearm to a large extent.
Monsanto shares fall as South Korea joins pause in wheat imports
Investors drove down the price of Monsanto shares by 4 percent on Friday as South Korea joined Japan in suspending imports of U.S. wheat after an unapproved strain of genetically modified wheat was discovered in a field in eastern Oregon.
The strain of wheat, designed to resist harmful effects from Monsantos Roundup weedkiller, was never commercially developed by the St. Louis-based agriculture giant in large part because wheat growers did not want to risk retaliation from their biggest export markets.
The spread of genetically modified crops
More business news
Are you happier today than you were two years ago?
We take a look at Harris Poll's Happiness Index, while Solar Impulse continues to make its way across the country, and the speculation over the next Doctor Who kicks into high gear.
GM says May sales were strongest since September 2008
General Motors Co. says its May sales were the strongest since September of 2008.
Michelles Mailbag: traffic tickets, mortgage payments and scary debt
Michelle Singletary advises a reader who needs new windows and a graduate with back-breaking loan.
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Fields used to test new crop varieties are burned and checked for surviving crops. So the mysterious appearance of the Monsanto wheat has raised questions about how the strain traveled there and whether it is lurking in the commercial wheat crop.
As a precaution, South Korea, which last year bought about half of its wheat imports from the United States, said it would halt purchases while it runs tests this weekend on wheat and flour that it has already imported. The European Union is also testing supplies.
This is an embarrassment for Monsanto, not as much with the public as it is with food companies, said Gene Grabowski, executive vice president of Levick, a communications and public relations firm. Grabowski, a former senior executive at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said cereal and other food product firms selling in Japan or Europe havent wanted to go to the expense of making sure their wheat sources were free of genetic engineering.
I was in board meetings where I remember food company CEOs who were very concerned about the idea that Monsanto was pushing for approval for biotech wheat, he said. They didnt want it because they already had their hands full dealing with repercussions of biotech corn and soy.
But Monsanto, which is still testing strains of gene-altered wheat in Hawaii and North Dakota, relies heavily on genetically modified (GM) seeds that make up anywhere from 80 percent to more than 90 percent of U.S. corn, soybean and cotton crops.
GM technology is extremely important for Monsanto, said Frank Mitsch, an analyst with Wells Fargo. Fully three-quarters of company profits are coming from those three crops driven in large part by the GM technology.
In addition to their widespread adoption in the United States, genetically modified corn and soy seeds are spreading in Latin America, especially in Brazil and Argentina, Mitsch said.
Though there have been widespread protests about genetically modified foods, many lawmakers in Congress support alteration of crops. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in 2011 hailed the Agriculture Departments decision to deregulate genetically modified alfalfa.
Alfalfa was one of nearly two dozen genetically modified crops awaiting USDA evaluation and approval a bottlenecked process that hinders growth and progress, she said in a statement. (Stabenow received $570,515 from agribusiness political action committees in 2012; her spokesman did not return calls on Thursday or Friday.)
Get Ready to be CYPRUSED at a Bank near you The banking situation in Europe continues to deteriorate rapidly. As a measure of the ongoing crisis the Bail In option used in Cyprus is actually being made European Commission policy. The following is a recent report from the much respected Irish Times:
Proposals under Irish presidency to deal with European bank collapses likely to bail-in large depositors.
Deposits of over 100,000 are likely to be hit in the event of future European bank collapses, according to a proposal put forward by the Irish presidency of the European Council ahead of a key meeting of finance ministers next week.
Discussions on the controversial bank resolution regime, which is likely to see savers with deposits over 100,000 bailed in as part of future bank wind-downs, are due to intensify this week in Brussels, ahead of Tuesdays meeting, which will be chaired by Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan.
We will try to get some guidance from Ministers about the possible design of the bailout tool, one EU official said yesterday.
Under a compromise text proposed by the Irish presidency, uninsured deposits of over 100,000 would be bailed in in the event that a bank is resolved, but depositors would rank higher than other creditors in the event of a wind-down.
In this scenario known as deposit preference depositors would rank at the very end of the process, with other creditors first absorbing losses.
However, some member states have not ruled out the possibility that insured deposits, i.e. deposits under 100,000, would be forced to bear losses in the event of a bank collapse even though these deposits would be likely to be protected by the deposit guarantee scheme.
However, the explicit exclusion of insured deposits from future bail-ins could in fact be included in the final text, according to some sources, with some MEPs in particular keen to include such a provision.
Significant differences still remain between states on the issue, with some countries calling for greater flexibility as regards the application of the new rules on a national basis, including the possibility that individual countries could be permitted to exempt large depositors from losses if a bank fails.
The introduction of an EU-wide bank resolution process, which would govern how banks are wound down, is a key strand of the EUs plan for a pan-European banking union, which was endorsed by EU leaders at last Junes summit.
However, the chaotic Cyprus bailout instilled the issue with greater urgency, with EU lawmakers now keen to provide clarity around bank collapses.
This year Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the group of 17 euro zone finance ministers, said that losses on bondholders and depositors could form part of future bank bailouts as euro zone officials seek to move the burden of bailouts away from taxpayers as was the case in the Irish bailout and on to private investors.
The European Commission argues that this switch from so-called bailouts to bail-ins would result in an allocation of losses that would not be worse than the losses that shareholders and creditors would have suffered in regular insolvency proceedings that apply to other private companies.
While the new rules governing bank resolution were first intended to come into place in 2018, since the Cypriot bailout there have been calls from senior EU figures such as European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and EU economics affairs commissioner Olli Rehn to introduce the new regime as early as 2015.
The Irish presidency of the European Council is hoping to reach a common position by the end of next month.
Below is a copy from a Laikie Bank customers business account. This was one of the bad banks in Cyprus. This puts into clear terms what happened to clients funds. As they say a picture tells a thousand words. (This image is published courtesy of MarketOracle.Co.UK).
No wonder the European Central Bank has ceased providing accurate information on Euro wide bank liquidity levels. According to sources of mine funds are transferring out of Euroland at an alarming rate. Given what is currently being discussed in Dublin who would blame any corporate entity or individual removing all Euro funds from possible confiscation.
The Best Is Now The Least Worst:
The current boom in American equities is a strategic boom not a fundamental one.
The Macro Economic chart below shows that the real economic situation for the American consumer is terrible. Thus in my opinion stocks are being bought up not because fund managers have great expectations for future earnings but because it is the least worst option. Governments around the world may be contemplating confiscating large percentages of banked cash balances but many believe that they would never sequester your shares in IBM or McDonalds or Microsoft. Ergo cash is no longer king.
Chart: Divergence between index of American Macro Economic Indicators and the S & P.
(Chart: Courtesy of Zero Hedge).
With regard the Dow 30, the S&P 500 and particularly the NASDAQ, they were all beginning to show early signs of parabolic price action.
Technically, parabolic moves are not good as in most cases uncorrected price rises end in painful over- compensating crashes.
The current pullback was expected as the market was so over-bought it was inevitable that profit taking would come into play at some point.
My view is that this bull has legs and the ideal investment strategy is to accumulate target stocks following solid technical consolidations.
I have been asked whether one should consider shorting now. I would not recommend automatically shorting stock against a bull trend of the magnitude we are currently experiencing as the possibility of being whiplashed is very high. However, if the 5900 level on the Trannies is violated there is a strong likelihood that the current choppy market action will turn into a strong bear trend. At that juncture put options on the QQQs will have a very high probability of being an excellent short term trade, particularly if the Hindenberg Omen, signaled on Friday, is re-confirmed.
Louisiana Democrat: If You Oppose Obamacare, Youre a Racist Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson took to the floor earlier this week to explain to everyone the real reason people are opposed to Obamacare and specifically the Medicaid expansion provision:
[I]t shouldnt be about this administration at the state level, nor should it be about the federal administration when it comes to Obamacare. But in fact it is. And why is that? Why is that? I have talked to so many members in the House and the Senate, and you know what? You ready? You ready [for] what it comes down to? Its not about how many federal dollars we can receive. Its not about that. You ready? Its about race. No, nobody wants to talk about that. Its about the race of this African-American president, because this same thing has been offered by whom? By former Speaker Newt Gingrich in the past. Yeah, he had a similar bill to what President Obama has offered. Similar legislation was offered. It comes down to the race of the President of the United States, which causes people to disconnect and step away from the substance of the bill
Maybe she supports Obamacare because shes black. Would she have supported Gingrichs plan that she referenced? Would she have supported Romneycare? Im sure she could easily find reasons not to support either of those plans. Would she oppose them because Gingrich and Romney are both white? Would she take offense if Republicans claimed she opposed those plans because the authors were white?
Id agree that a lot of opposition to Obamacare may not be completely founded on principle. Much of the opposition is partisan. If someone opposes Obamacare, that person should also oppose similar overreaches by Republicans. Socialism under a GOP administration is no better than socialism under a Democrat administration.
But saying things are merely partisan just isnt all that shocking anymore. Its to be expected. Politics is all about playing a game and being a good team player. The more principled politicians are mocked and ridiculed for not playing the game.
For whatever reason, liberals think the race card isnt quite overplayed yet. They dont like it that conservatives dont favor socialism. Fortunately for them, the President happens to have darker skin than most white people, so they claim the reason conservatives dont like wealth redistribution and the idea of government-run healthcare is that the Presidents skin hue is darker. As if wed all be perfectly fine with Clintoncare or Kerrycare or Liebermancare. Or Romneycare for that matter.
5 Year Old With Cap Gun Interrogated Until He Wet His Pants According to the Washington Post, a five year old boy brought an orange-tipped cowboy style cap gun in his back pack, and during the 10 minute ride on the bus, showed a friend the toy. The child was questioned for more than two hours without his mother called or present until he wet his pants.
I have no problem that he had a consequence to his behavior, said the mother, who asked that her name be withheld to protect her sons privacy.
What I have a problem with is the severity, she said, and the way it was handled.
The attorney for the family has appealed the childs 10 day suspension, and is requesting that the childs record be expunged.
The mother was called by the principal at 10:50 a.m. and was told that her son had the cap gun and pretended to shoot someone on the bus. She said that both the kindergartner and his first-grade sister, sitting nearby on the bus, disputed that account.
The mother said the principal told her that if the cap gun had been loaded with caps, it would have been deemed an explosive and police would have been called in.
The childs disciplinary referral said he was being suspended for possession of a look-alike gun.
The childs mother is a high school teacher in Calvert who said she strongly supports the school system and loves the teachers at her sons school. She and her husband, who coaches youth sports, are active community volunteers.
For the family, a major concern is the long period the 5-year-old was questioned without parental guidance or support. His sister was questioned, too, she said.
The school was quite obviously taking it very seriously, and hes 5 years old, she said. Why were we not immediately contacted?
If you are the parents of children in a public school setting, or even many private schools, please do be prepared for increasing witch hunts against little boys. Little boys with imaginations and God-given desire to act out good vs evil in play and make believe, are suddenly the target of immense attack, at the hand of de-masculinized Marxist and Feminist controlled education systems. Walking hand in hand with the anti-liberty gun haters, the failing education system has no business taking care of our children.
In todays world, we cannot expect improvement in the progressive schools, as they are headed by the most Marxist individuals and groups, hell bent on indoctrinating the youth against God, family, country and distinguishing right from wrong at the very youngest ages.
Parents, guard and fully raise your children. This is not the time to allow those who despise all things good and innocent, to rule over your families and warp the truth God instructs us to instill in our children.
Google Will Help Police to Track Extremist Websites Through its Search Results According to The Guardian reports ,Schmidt was asked to remove the extremist websites from Googles search engines during the Hay festival. Answering a question posed from an impassioned audience member, he said: I am rather perplexed by this issue. The international tax regime has been around a long time. No rational computer scientist would have erected such a system. He said that decisions about these matters should be taken by elected governments and not companies. Under US law we have a fiduciary responsibility to do what were doing. We understand the complaint but we cant fix it. The British government can fix it, he said.
Schmidt further said that the police can detect extremists through their internet activity as they leave a digital trail and their online presence can sometimes help in tracking them and their pre-planned terrorist activities.
Asked if Google is now more powerful than many countries and whether it in effect operates just like one, Schmidt said it was not an aim of the company. Were not becoming a state. We dont want to be because states have a lot of complicated problems.
On the whole, it is a fight between the internet community and government who do what they want to do. We cant force governments to do what we want, he said.
Illinois Ag. Department Illegally Seizes Privately Owned Bees Resistant to GMO Poison Terrence Ingram, a world renowned naturalist who once saved the Bald Eagle from being on the endangered species list, was recently met by the Illinois Agricultural Department which seized his privately-owned bees. The department seized his bees that were resistant to GMO pesticides and killed the remaining healthy queen bees in his beehives.
Ingram had been researching the effects of Roundup, the Monsanto franken-food best-selling herbicide meant to make crops more resilient to pests. Roundup itself has long list of negative effects, with the product even shown to kill human kidney cells. Much of the ill effects of Roundup are produced by the active ingredient, glyphosate.
Ingram has been raising his bees for 58 years and researching Roundups effects on the bees for 15+ years. They ruined 15 years of my research, he told Prairie Advocate, by stealing most of his stock. You can surmise, that the results of his research were not likely a glowing report on the benefits of GMO pesticides.
The Ag Department allegedly seized Ingrams bees because they were stricken with a disease known as American foulbrood. However, Ingram said he could prove that this is simply not true, and intended to do so at a hearing in April. Unfortunately, his bees were seized in March and are MIA.
The department released this statement to Ingram:
During a routine inspection of your honeybee colonies by Inspectors Susan Kivikko and Eleanor Balson on October 23, 2011, the bacterial disease American Foulbrood was detected in a number of colonies located behind your house . Presence of the disease in some of your colonies was confirmed via test results from the USDA Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland that analyzed samples collected from your apiary .
Monsanto will not be held to any legal action, not in any state in America, especially as it loses stable footing in countries like Hungary. With scientific evidence mounting every day against their faulty seeds, of course they would need to dismantle additional research which proves the long-term negative effects of their GMO crops. Ingrams bees were inspected without his presence and without a warrant. As government regulation of our freedoms are increasingly suppressed, why are companies like Dow and Monsanto given free reign?
Institute of Science in Society
Japan halts imports of U.S. wheat after USDA's shock finding of genetic pollution from GMOs It has already begun: Japan has just cancelled a large contract to purchase U.S. wheat. "We will refrain from buying western white and feed wheat effective today," Toru Hisadome, a Japanese farm ministry official in charge of wheat trading, told Reuters.
As many readers well know, I predicted precisely this scenario just yesterday in a Natural News article warning about the consequences of genetic pollution. There, I wrote, "All wheat produced in the United States will now be heavily scrutinized -- and possibly even rejected -- by other nations that traditionally import U.S. wheat. This obviously has enormous economic implications for U.S. farmers and agriculture."
Now we're already seeing the result: the ditching of U.S. wheat by world nations that want nothing to do with GMOs.
Monsanto is a ticking time bomb for U.S. agriculture
This proves, without any question, that Monsanto's genetic experiments which "escaped" into commercial wheat fields are now going to devastate U.S. wheat farmers. Expect the floor to drop out on wheat prices, and watch for a huge backlash against the USDA by U.S. farmers who stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars on this.
As the USDA has now admitted, Monsanto's GMO experiments from 1998 - 2005 were held in open wheat fields. The genetically engineered wheat escaped and found its way into commercial wheat fields in Oregon (and possibly 15 other states), causing self-replicating genetic pollution that now taints the entire U.S. wheat industry.
"Asian consumers are keenly sensitive to gene-altered food, with few countries allowing imports of such cereals for human consumption," writes Reuters. It continues:
Asia imports more than 40 million tonnes of wheat annually, almost a third of the global trade of 140-150 million tonnes. The bulk of the region's supplies come from the United States, the world's biggest exporter, and Australia, the No. 2 supplier.
Another incredible Monsanto achievement: the genetic contamination of the U.S. wheat supply
Nice job, Monsanto. You've managed to spew your genetic pollution across the fields of innocent U.S. farmers who are now going to lose huge sums of money due to the reject of U.S. wheat by all the other world nations that refuse to feed their populations GMO.
And a big thumbs up to the USDA, too, for screwing U.S. farmers by green-lighting open-field GMO experiments that we all warned were going to result in runaway genetic pollution. The USDA, of course, is the official cheerleading squad for Monsanto's criminal "science" that we all know is a total fraud. How do these scientists now suggest this self-replicating genetic pollution be put back into the black box from which it emerged?
It can't be done, of course. So now the entire future of the U.S. wheat supply is at risk thanks to Monsanto and the USDA. Nice one, folks. Score another victory for the scumbag destroyers in Washington D.C. and the greed-driven executives at our favorite corporation, Monsanto.
And remember: Genetically modified wheat is only the beginning. Monsanto has no doubt unleashed genetic pollution across many other crops as well. We're now living in an age where Monsanto is essentially ejaculating its patented seed across all the farms of America, then claiming to "own" the contaminated crops. What a wonderful image of corporate responsibility and service to humankind. I can't wait to see what other U.S. crops will be rejected by world nations due to Monsanto's genetic pollution.
Sources for this story include:
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040572_Japan_GE_wheat_genetic_pollution.html#ixzz2UtDyGtIY
Israel Threatens Syria Self-defense is inviolable. It's a fundamental right. International law affirms it. On May 29, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington supports Israel's right to defend itself.
Israeli-style defense is offense. It hasn't been attacked in 40 years. It faces no regional threats now except ones it invents. It prioritizes violence, conflict and instability.
Syria is Washington's war. Israel's very much involved. It's arming US-enlisted death squads. It bombed Syrian targets. It did so lawlessly. It initiated other provocations. It threatens more attacks now.
Russia's supplying Syria with sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. They have every right to do so. They're for defense, not offense. Washington wants Syria defenseless. It maliciously calls self-defense belligerent and provocative.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell "condemn(ed) the continued supply of Russian weapons to the (Syrian) regime." He responded to Moscow affirming its S-300 missile sale.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said doing so "does not bring us closer to the political transition that Syria deserves."
International law is unequivocal. Sovereign rights are inviolable. No nation or combination thereof may interfere in the internal affairs of others. Syrians alone may choose who leads them.
Washington feels otherwise. War was planned years ago. Foreign terrorists were recruited. Syria was invaded. There's nothing "civil" about ongoing conflict. Naked aggression defines it.
Washington, key NATO partners, Israel, and rogue Arab states are arming, funding, training and directing anti-Syrian death squads. They've been doing so since conflict began.
Lifting the so-called EU arms embargo is subterfuge. EU nations agreed to what never existed. Arms flow freely. Recruited assassins get them.
Syria's been lawlessly invaded. It's under attack. Assad's vilified for self-defense. So is Russia for aiding its right to do so.
Hezbollah fighters are involved. They support Syrian sovereignty. They have every right to do so. State Department spokeswoman Psaki responded, saying:
"This is an unacceptable and extremely dangerous escalation. We demand that Hezbollah withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately."
In other words, do what we say, not what we do. It bears repeating. Washington wants Syria defenseless. It wants Assad ousted. It wants a pro-Western puppet replacing him. It's longstanding US policy.
It's waging lawless aggression to do so. It's using proxy foot soldiers. They're assassins. They're death squads. They're murdering noncombatant men, women, children, the elderly and infirm. They're committing gruesome atrocities. Clear evidence proves it.
Washington calls doing so humanitarian intervention. Mass slaughter and destruction define US-style liberation. Syria's being systematically ravaged and destroyed. Imperial priorities matter most.
Rogue states operate that way. America's by far the worst. Waging war on humanity is policy. Syria's in the eye of the storm. Conflict rages with no end.
Full-scale US-led NATO intervention could happen any time. Events head steadily toward it. Obama deplores peace. He's waging multiple direct and proxy wars. He's got other nations in mind to attack. Wars without end continue.
Lebanon's Al-Manar television interviewed Assad. He affirmed receiving anti-aircraft S-300 missiles. The first shipment arrived. More will "arrive soon," he said.
Syria's battling "one hundred thousand" foreign invaders, he added. Washington, Turkey, other NATO countries, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are directly involved.
Syrian forces achieved decisive victories. Battles continue against terrorists. Syria will attend Geneva II, he said. Its military will respond immediately to further Israeli aggression.
Appearing on Lebanese Al-Mayadeen television, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said:
"Syria will not let any Israeli aggression go unanswered without retaliation. The retaliation will be the same size as the aggression, and the same type of weapons will be used."
He added that any agreement Geneva II reaches will be put to a national referendum. "If it wins support of the Syrian people, we will go ahead with it," he added.
They alone have sole right to decide internal Syrian affairs. Outside interference has no legitimacy. It's lawless and unacceptable.
On May 29, Syria's real friends met in Tehran. Over 40 countries attended. So did regional and international organization representatives. They did so to support "Political Solution, Regional Stability."
A final statement rejected anti-Syrian aggression. It stressed comprehensive national dialogue. It's the only acceptable conflict resolution solution. It supported Geneva II peace discussions.
It stressed the necessity of restoring and preserving regional stability. Respect Syrian sovereignty. Obey international law. Stop the bloodshed.
End foreign interference. Restore peace. Do so by diplomatic dialogue. These and other lawful steps were highlighted.
Washington, key NATO partners, rogue Arab states and Israel have other ideas in mind. On May 29, Haaretz headlined "Israel says will act to prevent S-300 missile systems from becoming operational."
Netanyahu lied. He told EU foreign ministers that Syrian S-300s make Israel's "entire air space (a) no-fly zone." Israel "cannot stand idly by" and permit it, he said.
Israeli National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror said Israel will act "to prevent the S-300 missiles from becoming operational." A day earlier, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon affirmed it. "Israel will know what to do," he stressed.
On May 29, London's Guardian headlined "Israel in Moscow talks to halt supply of missiles to Syrian regime." Senior Israeli intelligence officials made a last ditch attempt to do so.
Their arguments don't wash. They're convoluted. They mask Israels belligerent intentions. Defensive anti-aircraft missiles are solely for that purpose. Syria has no intention to attack Israel or any other regional state.
Nor do Iran or Hezbollah. Doing so would be suicidal. Assad has no death wish. Nor do Iranian or Hezbollah officials. They prioritize peace. They deplore war.
Israel's entire history is blood-drenched. So is America's. Therein lies the problem. Both countries partner in aggressive wars. They claim doing so supports liberating struggles.
Israel calls naked aggression self-defense. Justifiable defensive responses are called terrorism. America acts the same way.
Rogue states write their own rules. They spurn rule of law principles. Imperial priorities override them. They matter most.
Syria's under attack. Events head dangerously close to full-scale US-led NATO intervention. It bears repeating. Libya 2.0 looms. It could erupt any time. It could embroil the entire region. Preventing it matters most.
A Final Comment
A Western-backed Syrian National Coalition statement said:
"The Syrian Coalition welcomes the international efforts to find a political solution to what Syria has been suffering for two years while being committed to the principles of the revolution."
No "revolution" exists. It reiterated its precondition. Assad must go. So must all Syrian special services heads and high-ranking military officials.
In other words, it demands Syria unconditionally surrender. Otherwise it won't attend. Geneva II has no chance to succeed either way.
Previous peace initiatives failed. They were dead on arrival. Washington deplores them. Its conflict resolution strategy is aggressive war. Expect nothing different this time.
Separately, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a US/Qatar-backed resolution. It was maliciously one-way.
It "condemned the widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities and the Government-affiliated militias, including against the people of Al Qusayr."
The resolution passed 36 in favor, one against, and eight abstentions. The usual suspects voted yes. US pressure assured it. Venezuela was the sole nation against.
Russia denounced the resolution. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called it "unilateral and odious."
It runs counter to planned peace efforts. He referred to Geneva II. Secretary of State John Kerry supports it. He does so disingenuously. At the same time, he's "taking steps that in essence aimed at undermining" it, said Lavrov.
Washington, France, Britain and Israel want Iran excluded. Russia insists it be included. Lavrov said supplying anti-Syrian forces more weapons undermines peace.
S-300s are for defense, not offense. Installing them perhaps will help restore it. Peace initiatives so far reflect more hope than reality. Nothing ahead looks encouraging. Hopefully that dynamic will change.
Note: On May 30, Voice of Russia headlined "Turkey arrests extremists with sarin gas for Syria - media." Russia Today and Interfax were cited.
Turkish "special anti-terror forces" apprehended 12 people suspected of having Al Nusra links. They were seized in southern Turkey.
Reports said they had a two gm cylinder with sarin nerve gas. Turkish authorities havent officially confirmed it.
On May 5, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria (COI) said testimonial evidence indicates "rebel forces" used sarin. A day later, COI suggested "no conclusive findings."
Other reports confirmed anti-Assad elements using chemical weapons. The latest one adds more proof.
Comprehensive List Of Politicians Accepting Bribes From Monsanto The amounts allocated under official provisions to candidates in support of their House or Senate election campaign are by no means large.
What is striking, however, is that the contributions are spread out and include a large number of both Republicans and Democrats.
Whoever wins, Monsanto has the support of the White House, the Senate and the House, not to mention key appoints in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
While there are numerous points of overlap between Monsanto and the United States Government under the Obama administration, the three most important connections are that of Michael Taylor, Roger, Beachy, and Islam Siddiquiall three of these Monsanto affiliates were appointed to high level positions within the government by the Obama administration.
Barrow, John (D-GA) $2,500
Bishop, Sanford (D-GA) $5,000
Boehner, John (R-OH) $10,000
Braley, Bruce (D-IA) $5,000
Camp, Dave (R-MI) $5,000
Cantor, Eric (R-VA) $10,000
Clay, William L Jr (D-MO)$10,000
Cleaver, Emanuel (D-MO) $5,000
Conaway, Mike (R-TX) $2,000
Courtney, Joe (D-CT) $4,500
Crawford, Rick (R-AR) $2,500
Fincher, Steve (R-TN) $8,000
Gardner, Cory (R-CO) $7,500
Goodlatte, Bob (R-VA) $4,500
Graves, Sam (R-MO) $5,000
Griffin, Tim (R-AR) $1,000
Guthrie, Brett (R-KY) $1,000
Hanabusa, Colleen (D-HI)$5,000
Hannemann, Mufi (D-HI) $1,000
Hartzler, Vicky (R-MO) $3,000
Holden, Tim (D-PA) $1,000
Huelskamp, Tim (R-KS) $2,500
Hultgren, Randy (R-IL) $2,500
Jenkins, Lynn (R-KS) $2,500
Johnson, Timothy (R-IL) $3,000
King, Steven A (R-IA) $2,500
Kingston, Jack (R-GA) $7,000
Kinzinger, Adam (R-IL) $3,500
Kissell, Larry (D-NC) $5,000
Labrador, Raul (R-ID) $2,000
LaMalfa, Doug (R-CA) $1,000
Landry, Jeff (R-LA) $1,000
Latham, Tom (R-IA) $10,000
Loebsack, David (D-IA) $5,000
Long, Billy (R-MO) $2,500
Lucas, Frank D (R-OK) $10,000
Luetkemeyer, Blaine (R-MO)$5,000
Lungren, Dan (R-CA) $1,000
McIntyre, Mike (D-NC) $1,000
Neugebauer, Randy (R-TX)$1,000
Noem, Kristi (R-SD) $1,000
Nunes, Devin (R-CA) $3,500
Owens, Bill (D-NY) $2,000
Peterson, Collin (D-MN) $10,000
Rogers, Hal (R-KY) $7,500
Rokita, Todd (R-IN) $5,000
Roskam, Peter (R-IL) $1,000
Schilling, Bobby (R-IL) $3,000
Schock, Aaron (R-IL) $5,000
Shimkus, John M (R-IL) $5,000
Simpson, Mike (R-ID) $10,000
Smith, Adrian (R-NE) $5,000
Stutzman, Marlin (R-IN) $5,000
Thompson, Bennie G (D-MS)$10,000
Thompson, Glenn (R-PA) $1,000
Upton, Fred (R-MI) $5,000
Valadao, David (R-CA) $2,500
Wagner, Ann L (R-MO) $10,000
Walden, Greg (R-OR) $1,000
Walorski, Jackie (R-IN) $2,500
Womack, Steve (R-AR) $1,000
Akin, Todd (R-MO) $3,500
Baucus, Max (D-MT) $1,000
Berg, Rick (R-ND) $10,000
Blunt, Roy (R-MO) $10,000
Boozman, John (R-AR) $5,000
Casey, Bob (D-PA) $2,500
Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA) $5,000
Fischer, Deb (R-NE) $5,000
Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY)$1,000
Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) $2,000
Hirono, Mazie K (D-HI) $1,000
Johanns, Mike (R-NE) $1,000
Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN) $5,000
Landrieu, Mary L (D-LA) $1,000
McCaskill, Claire (D-MO)$5,000
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $10,000
Moran, Jerry (R-KS) $2,500
Nelson, Ben (D-NE) $13,000
Rehberg, Denny (R-MT) $2,000
Risch, James E (R-ID) $3,500
Roberts, Pat (R-KS) $9,000
Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI) $8,000
Thompson, Tommy G (R-WI)$5,000
Wicker, Roger (R-MS) $1,000
Wilson, Heather A (R-NM)$2,500
Top US Brand of Childrens Vitamins Contains Aspartame, GMOs, & Other Hazardous Chemicals The #1 Childrens Vitamin Brand in the US contains ingredients that most parents would never intentionally expose their children to, so why arent more opting for healthier alternatives?
Kids vitamins are supposed to be healthy, right? Well then, whats going on with Flintstones Vitamins, which proudly claims to be Pediatricians #1 Choice? Produced by the global pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, this wildly success brand features a shocking list of unhealthy ingredients, including:
Coal tar artificial coloring agents (FD&C Blue #2, Red #40, Yellow #6)
Hydrogenated Oil (Soybean)
GMO Corn starch
On Bayer Health Sciences Flintstones product page designed for healthcare professionals they lead into the product description with the following tidbit of information:
82% of kids arent eating all of their veggies1. Without enough vegetables, kids may not be getting all of the nutrients they need.
References: 1. Lorson BA, Melgar-Quinonez HR, Taylor CA. Correlates of fruit and vegetable intakes in US children. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(3):474-478.
The implication? That Flintstones vitamins somehow fill this nutritional void. But lets look a little closer at some of these presumably healthy ingredients .
Aspartame is a synthetic combination of the amino acids aspartic acid and l-phenylalanine, and is known to convert into highly toxic methanol and formaldehyde in the body. Aspartame has been linked to over 40 adverse health effects in the biomedical literature, and has been shown to exhibit both neurotoxicity and carcinogenicity  What business does a chemical like this have doing in a childrens vitamin, especially when non-toxic, non-synthetic non-nutritive sweeteners like steviaalready exist?
Next, lets look closer at Cupric Oxide, 2mg of which is included in each serving of Flinstones Complete chewable vitamins as a presumably nutritional source of copper, supplying 100% of the Daily Value (Ages 4+), according to Flintstones Vitamins Web sites Nutritional Info.
But what is Cupric Oxide? A nutrient or a chemical?
According to the European Unions Dangerous Substance Directive, one of the main EU laws concerning chemical safety, Cupric Oxide is listed as a Hazardous substance, classified as both Harmful (XN) and Dangerous for the environment (N). Consider that it has industrial applications as a pigment in ceramics, and as a chemical in the production of rayon fabric and dry cell batteries. In may be technically correct to call it a mineral, but should it be listed as a nutrient in a childrens vitamin? We think not.
COAL TAR ARTIFICIAL COLORING AGENTS
A well-known side effect of using synthetic dyes is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. For direct access to study abstracts on this topic view our Food Coloring research page. There is also indication that the neurotoxicity of artificial food coloring agents increase when combined with aspartame, making the combination of ingredients in Flintstones even more concerning.
Each serving of Flinstones Complete Chewable vitamins contain 12 mg of zinc oxide, which the manufacturer claims delivers 75% of the Daily Value to children 2 & 3 years of age. Widely used as a sun protection factor (SPF) in sunscreens, The EUs Dangerous Substance Directive classifies it as an environmental Hazard, Dangerous for the environment (N). How it can be dangerous to the environment, but not for humans ingesting it, escapes me. One thing is for sure, if one is to ingest supplemental zinc, or market it for use by children, it makes much more sense using a form that is organically bound (i.e. chelated) to an amino acid like glycine, as it will be more bioavailable and less toxic.
Sorbitol is a synthetic sugar substitute which is classified as a sugar alcohol. It can be argued that it has no place in the human diet, much less in a childs. The ingestion of higher amounts have been linked to gastrointestinal disturbances from abdominal pain to more serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
The one clear warning on the Flinstones Web site concerns this chemical. While it is impossible to die from consuming iron from food, e.g. spinach, ferrous fumarate is an industrial mineral and not found in nature as food. In fact, ferrous fumarate is so toxic that accidental overdose of products containing this form is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. The manufacturer further warns:
Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.
HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL
Finding hydrogenated oil in anything marketed to children is absolutely unacceptable. These semi-synthetic fatty acids incorporate into our tissues and have been linked to over a dozen adverse health effects, from coronary artery disease to cancer, violent behavior to fatty liver disease.
GMO CORN STARCH
While it can be argued that the amount of GMO corn starch in this product is negligible, even irrelevant, we disagree. It is important to hold accountable brands that refuse to label their products honestly, especially when they contain ingredients that have been produced through genetic modification. The vitamin C listed as ascorbic acid in Flintstones is likely also produced from GMO corn. Lets remember that Bayers Ag-biotech division, Bayer CropScience, poured $381,600 of cash into defeating the proposition 37 GMO labeling bill in California. Parents have a right to protect their children against the well-known dangers of genetically modified foods and the agrichemicals that contaminate them, dont they? GMO corn starch is GMO, plain and simple. Wed appreciate it if Bayer would label their vitamins accordingly.
In summary, Bayers Flintstones vitamin brand is far from a natural product, and the consumer should be aware of the unintended, adverse health effects that may occur as a result of using it.
About the Author
Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation.
He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.
 GreenMedInfo.com, Adverse Health Effects of Aspartame
 FlinstonesVitamins.com, FLINSTONES Complete Chewable, Nutritional Info Overview
 Karen Lau, W Graham McLean, Dominic P Williams, C Vyvyan Howard. Synergistic interactions between commonly used food additives in a developmental neurotoxicity test. Toxicol Sci. 2006 Mar;90(1):178-87. Epub 2005 Dec 13. PMID: 16352620
 GreenMedInfo.com, Sorbitols Adverse Health Effects
 GreenMedInfo.com, Health Effects of Hydrogenated Oil
21 Facts About Rising Government Dependence In America That Will Blow Your Mind Government dependence in the United States has reached a level never seen before. Fifty years ago, the federal government handed out about 10 cents for every dollar that American workers earned. Now, the federal government hands out about 35 cents for every dollar that American workers earn. Yes, there are always poor people that cannot take care of themselves. We never want to see a single American going hungry or sleeping in the streets. But we are rapidly approaching the point where so many people are jumping on to the "safety net" that it is going to break.
If you can believe it, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program, and more than 70 percent of all spending by the federal government goes to "dependence-creating programs". If we really are "the greatest economy on earth", then why is the number of people dependent on the government absolutely exploding?
Of course the truth is that all of this just shows that we are in the midst of a long-term economic decline that is rapidly accelerating. Our economy simply does not produce enough jobs anymore, and there are a whole lot of people out there that are really suffering.
It is good to want to help all of the people that are hurting, but the reality is that we are spending far more money than we can afford to. We have been borrowing (stealing) more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day to pay for all of this. Our national debt is rapidly approaching 17 trillion dollars, and if future generations get the chance, they will look back and curse us for handing such a mountain of debt down to them.
It is absolutely criminal what we are doing to future generations. But we cannot help ourselves. We are like the 400-pound union executive in New York that takes long naps at his desk every afternoon. We know that what we are doing is not right, but we cannot help ourselves. For much more on the horror of our national debt, please see my previous article entitled "55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know".
So what should we do? We certainly don't want millions of Americans to go without food or a place to sleep, and yet the number of Americans who need government assistance just continues to grow. Of course the ultimate solution would be to provide a job for all of those people, but our economy is falling apart. Unless a miracle happens, the U.S. economy will never produce enough jobs ever again. As our economy continues to crumble, dependence on the government is likely going to continue to rise.
The following are 21 facts about rising government dependence in America that will blow your mind...
1. Back in 1960, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 10 percent. In the year 2000, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 21 percent. Today, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages is approximately 35 percent.
2. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
3. Overall, more than 70 percent of all federal spending goes to "dependence-creating programs".
4. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Sadly, that figure does not even include Social Security or Medicare.
5. Today, the federal government runs about 80 different means-tested welfare programs, and almost all of those programs have experienced substantial growth in recent years.
6. The number of Americans on Social Security disability now exceeds the entire population of the state of Virginia.
7. If the number of Americans on Social Security disability were gathered into a separate state, it would be the 8th largest state in the country.
8. In 1968, there were 51 full-time workers for every American on disability. Today, there are just 13 full-time workers for every American on disability.
9. Right now, there are approximately 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits. By 2035, that number is projected to soar to an astounding 91 million.
10. Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.
11. The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.
12. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.
13. Today, the number of Americans on food stamps exceeds the entire population of the nation of Spain.
14. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of "Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming."
15. According to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, 43 percent of all immigrants that have been in the United States for at least 20 years are still on welfare.
16. Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
17. As I wrote about recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
18. At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for every single household in the United States.
19. Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for just 32 percent of all health care spending in America. It is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in the United States very soon.
20. The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.
21. When you total it all up, American households are now receiving more money directly from the federal government than they are paying to the government in taxes.
Hawkish US Senator McCain met with infamous kidnapper in Syria A new report has revealed that, in his recent trip to Syria, hawkish US Senator John McCain met with an infamous terrorist who has been involved in the abduction of a group of Lebanese pilgrims.
Eleven Shia pilgrims were abducted by the militants in Azaz town in the Syrian province of Aleppo in May 2012.
Two of the abductees, who were later freed, recognized the militant that had been involved in their abduction after photos of McCain posing with the abductor were released.
According to the two released captives, Anwar Ibrahim and Hussein Ali Omar, and the family members of the other nine abductees - who remain in the custody of the militants - McCain was photographed standing next to one of the kidnappers, namely Mohammad Nour.
In the photographs released by McCains office, Nour is seen holding a camera and wearing a blue shirt.
Following the identification of the kidnapper, McCains office claimed that the US senator had been unaware of the identity of the individual he was meeting with.
According to McCains spokesman Brian Rogers, the American politician had entered Syria through Turkey in order to visit the top commander of the foreign-backed militants, Brigadier General Salim Idris.
Speaking to Press TV, Dr. Mohammad Marandi, a professor of American Studies at the University of Tehran, pointed out, One must be too naive to believe that McCain was unaware of the identities of the people he was due to meet.
The political analyst stressed that the claim by McCains spokesman is completely unbelievable as the American senator, who has been openly supporting the militants and the Takfiri groups operating in Syria, must have normally ascertained the identities of every single individual he was planning to meet with.
McCain has never minced his words in calling for US support for the terrorists and the Takfiri militants - who accuse most Islamic sects of being infidels - in Syria.
On May 25, the US senator said that Washington would take [Syrian President Bashar] Assads air power out if the upcoming Geneva conference on Syria failed.
The Syria crisis began in mid-March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. Several international human rights organizations have charged the foreign-sponsored militants of war crimes.
Syria will retaliate against any Israeli aggression: FM The Syrian government says it will give an immediate response to any possible future attacks by the Israeli regime.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said in an interview with Lebanese TV station al-Mayadeen on Wednesday that any response from Damascus will be given without a warning.
Syria will not let any Israeli aggression go unanswered without retaliation. The retaliation will be the same size as the aggression, and the same type of weapons will be used, the Syrian foreign minister stated.
Muallem said that Syria would take part in the upcoming talks in Geneva without any precondition, adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would remain president until the next presidential election scheduled to be held in 2014.
"From now until the next elections, President Bashar al-Assad is the president of the Syrian Arab Republic," he said.
The Syrian foreign minister also noted that any deal reached in the Geneva talks, due to be held possibly next month, would be put to a referendum inside Syria.
"If it wins the support of the Syrian people, we will go ahead with it," Muallem said.
He reiterated that many militants from over 28 countries, including Arab neighboring countries and some European states, are fighting against the government.
The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
Damascus says the West and its regional allies, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are supporting the militants.
In an interview recently broadcast on Turkish television, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that if the militants take power in Syria, they could destabilize the entire Middle East region for decades.
If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control the situation will inevitably spill over into neighboring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond, he stated.
Can One Imagine Will Travis And Davy Crockett Surrendering Their Guns?
Pressing events in the country, namely, Barack Obama and Dianne Feinsteins attempted gun confiscation proposals, made it necessary for me to devote my column to specifically addressing that issue. Accordingly, the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo passed without my annual tribute. I will rectify that with todays column. Plus, the story of the Alamo only augments the need for strict adherence to the Second Amendment and the rejection of Obama and Feinsteins Machiavellian gun-control measures.
It was on March 6, 1836, that the Alamo fell. For more than 13 days, 186 brave and determined patriots withstood Santa Annas seasoned army of over 4,000 troops. To a man, the defenders of that mission fort knew they would never leave those ramparts alive. They had several opportunities to leave and live. Yet, they chose to fight and die. How foolish they must look to this generation of spoiled Americans.
It is difficult to recall that stouthearted men such as Davy Crockett (a nationally known frontiersman and former congressman), Will Travis (only 23 years old with a little baby at home), and Jim Bowie (a wealthy landowner with properties on both sides of the Rio Grande) really existed. These were real men with real dreams and real desires. Real blood flowed through their veins. They loved their families and enjoyed life as much as any of us do. However, there was something different about them. They possessed a commitment to liberty which transcended personal safety and comfort.
Liberty is an easy word to say, but it is a hard word to live up to. Freedom has little to do with financial gain or personal pleasure and everything to do with a commitment to duty. Accompanying Freedom is her constant and unattractive companion, Responsibility. Neither is she an only child. Patriotism and Morality are her sisters. They are inseparable: destroy one and all will die.
Early in the siege, Travis wrote these words to the people of Texas: Fellow Citizens & Compatriots: I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna... The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise the garrison are to be put to the sword... I have answered the demand with a cannon shot & our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat... VICTORY OR DEATH! P.S. The Lord is on our side...
As you read those words, remember that Travis and the others did not have the A.C.L.U., P.E.T.A., the National Education Association, and the Southern Poverty Law Center telling them how intolerant and narrow-minded their notions of honor and patriotism were. A hostile media did not constantly castigate them as a bunch of wild-eyed extremists. As schoolchildren, they were not taught that their forefathers were nothing more than racist jerks. Neither did they have pastors constantly filling their hearts and minds with this imbecilic Obey-the-government-no-matter-what misinterpretation of Romans chapter 13.
The brave men at the Alamo labored under the belief that America (and Texas) really was the land of the free and the home of the brave. They believed God was on their side and the freedom of future generations depended on their courage and resolve. They further believed their posterity would remember their sacrifice as an act of love and devotion. It all looks pale now.
By todays standards, the gallant men of the Alamo appear rather foolish. After all, they had no chance of winning--none. Yet, the call for pragmatism and practicality was never sounded. Instead, they answered the clarion call, Victory or death!
Please try to remember the heroes of the Alamo as you watch our gutless political and religious leaders surrender to globalism, corporatism, socialism, and political correctness. Try to recall the time in this country when ordinary men and women had the courage of their convictions and were willing to sacrifice their lives for freedom and independence.
One thing is certain: those courageous champions at the Alamo did not die for a political party or for some lesser of two evils mantra. They fought and died for a principle, and that principle was liberty and independence. So did the men at Lexington and Concord. That is our heritage.
Today, however, our national leaders are in the process of turning the United States over to the very forces that the Alamo defenders (and Americas Founding Fathers) gave their lives resisting. On second thought, do they look foolish, or do we?
Furthermore, can one imagine the response of Travis and Crockett to the suggestion that they disarm themselves? In truth, Santa Annas assault against the Alamo was mostly to do with confiscating the Texans firearms. The battle at the Alamo was, in fact, Travis and Crocketts response to Santa Annas attempted gun confiscation. As with Americas separation from Great Britain, the Texas patriots drew their line in the sand (literally) over the issue of gun confiscation.
At this juncture, let me again remind readers that my constitutional attorney son, Tim, and I have just released a brand new book entitled, To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns. This book looks at the right to keep and bear arms strictly from a Biblical perspective.
Books outlining the constitutional and historical principles relating to the Second Amendment are plentiful. But I know of NO BOOK written within the last one-hundred years which deals with this subject solely from a Scriptural perspective. That is exactly what our new book does.
Here are some of the questions we answer in our new book:
Is the right to keep and bear arms a divine right?
Should Christians surrender their firearms if the law requires them to do so?
Does the New Testament require Christians to always be non-violent?
Did the fact that Jesus and the apostles not rise up with arms against tyrannical government mean that Christians today should never do so?
Were Americas Founding Fathers right or wrong when they rebelled with arms against the British Crown?
These are the questions Christians everywhere are rightly asking. These are the questions Americas pastors must be addressing from their pulpits. And these are the questions Tim and I show the Biblical answers to in our new book.
To order this brand new book, To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns, go to: Keep Your Arms
I firmly believe if enough pastors and Christians would read and digest this book, it would revolutionize the way churches respond to efforts such as Obamas gun grab. It might even be an instrument that could help preserve liberty in our nation for the next fifty years or more.
We MUST get this book into the hands of as many people as possible. Im asking readers to help me get the word out about this new book. If everyone reading this column would purchase two of these books, one for themselves and one for a friend, the results could be mind-boggling. I truly believe this book has the potential to change the course of America. Why? Because the pulpits and churches have the potential to change the course of America. And this book has the potential to provide the instruction and inspiration necessary to awaken and energize Americas pastors and churches. Perhaps your pastor or Christian school administrator would even be willing to sell multiple copies of this book in their church or school. There are discount prices for bulk orders. Why not ask him or her?
Again, to purchase this brand new book, To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns, go to: Keep Your Arms
Indeed, it is no hyperbole to say that Will Travis and Davy Crockett helped write this book--with their own blood.
P.S. Today, Thursday, May 30, 2013, I am launching my brand new ChuckBaldwinLive.com website, featuring a fresh new look and design. The new site will be easier to use and navigate. The CBL site is a HUGE site. We have tons of useful videos, information, and resources available for your perusal. Every patriot should search through the CBL site regularly. You will probably find a whole lot more than you ever imagined. And now, the site has a brand new look. Please visit the brand new ChuckBaldwinLive.com website.
Here, again, is the CBL website: Chuck Baldwin Live
Kill shot? Man linked to Tsarnaev took FBI bullet to top of head Ibragim Todashev, who was killed by the FBI during a questioning, was shot six times, once in the crown of his head, photos shown at a press conference in Moscow reveal. His father suspects it could have been a kill shot.
I can show you the photos taken after the killing of my son. I have 16 photographs. I just would like to say that looking at these photos is like being in a movie. I only saw things like that in movies: shooting a person, and then the kill shot. Six shots in the body, one of them in the head, Abdulbaki Todashev said at the press conference at RIA Novosti news agency in the Russian capital.
He explained that the photos were taken by friends of his son in the US, to whom the FBI handed the body.
I want justice and I want an investigation to be carried out, I want these people [the FBI agents] to be put on trial in accordance with US law. They are not FBI officers, they are bandits. I cannot call them otherwise, they must be put on trial, he said.
From left: lawyer Zaurbek Sadakhanov of the Moscow Interterritorial Bar Association, Abdulbaki Todashev, the father of Ibragim Todashev, and human rights activist Kheda Saratova, head of the Objective independent information and analysis agency, at the RIA press conference on May 30, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Alexander Natruskin)
Ibragim had been questioned twice by the FBI in connection with the Boston bombings, but not about the murder in which he was allegedly suspected, his father said.
The 2011 triple murder in Massachusetts, in which the Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was also implicated, was reportedly the subject of the third and final FBI interrogation of Ibragim Todashev.
His friend Khusen Taramov told the father that Ibragim had refused to come in for questioning on May 22, and instead asked the FBI agents to come and question him at home.
Should something happen to me, call my parents, Taramov quoted the last thing he heard from his friend.
On the day of Ibragims death, Taramov was questioned by the FBI separately on the street, and was refused entry back into his friends house, Todashevs father claimed. He was sent off to wait in a nearby café on the grounds that Todashev was still being questioned and that the interrogation would take a long time. After some eight hours passed since the start of interrogation and his Todashevs phone still was not answering, Taramov returned, only to find the street cordoned off with police cars and an ambulance.
They tortured a man for eight hours with no attorney, no witnesses, nobody. We can only guess what was going on there, until there is an official investigation, Abdulbaki Todashev said.
Lawyer Zaurbek Sadakhanov shows a photo of Ibragim Todashevs body, with what appears to be a bullet wound in the crown of the head, at the RIA press conference on May 30, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Alexander Natruskin)
Referring to the Boston bombings, Todashev said his son believed it was a set-up. But Ibragim never sympathized with radical or terrorist ideas, and was not a follower of a radical Islam, he added.
Also, Ibragim was never a close friend of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev he and
Tamerlan only went boxing at the same gym and exchanged phone numbers, the father said.
So far, Todashev has received no official explanation of his sons death from the US side. He said he was only told there is an ongoing investigation inside the FBI.
Todashev called the earlier claims that Ibragim was shot attempting to attack an FBI agent absurd, saying four or five police and FBI officers could have easily handled such an attack without needing to kill his son.
Maybe my son knew something, some information the police did not want to be made public. Maybe they wanted to silence my son, Todashevs father said.
Abdulbaki Todashev said his main aim now is to go to the US and get his sons body.
My brother and I, we went to the American embassy today. We both want to fly there, weve applied for a visa, he explained.
Abdulbaki Todashev, the father of Ibragim Todashev.(RIA Novosti / Alexander Natruskin)
Indications of extrajudicial killing
Todashevs killing shows signs of international human rights violations, and indications of an extrajudicial killing, war correspondent, political analyst, and member of the Presidential Council of Human Rights Maksim Shevchenko, said at the RIA conference. It looks like a cold-blooded murder, he claimed.
Ibragim Todashev was killed just two days before he was due to fly back home to Russia, Shevchenko said as he pointed to a striking chain of coincidences in the US.
Two key witnesses of Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs arrest have also died recently, Shevchenko said, referring to the accidental death of members of the FBIs elite counterterrorism unit, who fell a significant distancefrom a helicopter last Thursday.
Lawyer Zaurbek Sadakhanov of the Moscow Interterritorial Bar Association said he fully believes this is a case of an extrajudicial execution.
Sadakhanov questioned why international human rights organizations, as well as Russian rights activists, have ignored the shooting.
He also urged Todashevs friend Khusen Harlamov to return to Russia as being a witness in the US is not safe.
This is not the first time experts have questioned whether the FBI acted lawfully when shooting at Ibragim Todashev after he allegedly attacked an officer, with what some called a use of excessive force.
But a recent report revealed Todashev was completely unarmed when the FBI agent opened fire, raising questions over why lethal force was deemed necessary to subdue the strongly outnumbered man.
Investigative journalist and former Los Angeles police officer, Mike Ruppert offered his professional opinion to RT, finding two major issues with the official story (given that he himself had been in a similar predicament as an officer years before the incident). Firstly, the standard operating procedures were out the window; and secondly, the FBI itself appears to have set the situation up.
Theres an escalation-of-force scale which was obviously not followed in this case, he said, referring to the officers decision to draw firearms. But my second huge problem with the law enforcement story is he (Todashev) was supposed to be signing a confession to a triple murder I dont care even if you are the FBI which doesnt have a good reputation you have somebody whos about to sign a confession, you have him in a jail house, in a secure setting, and the police officers around him are not armed because hes in a secure setting. For the FBI, this was, at best, horribly mishandled. But it sounds to me very much like they went there with the intent to provoke him and stage a shooting, Ruppert went on, recounting a similar shooting from decades ago.
And the implication of this, in Rupperts words, is that America is landing itself in a Stalinist, or Nazi, system of silencing people.
If we go back to [those] days, these are executions dead men tell no tales and I will speak as an American citizen. My country is behaving like a totalitarian state run amok."
WALL STREET JOURNAL Claims Americans Aren't On Fire Over AmnestyBecause Talk Radio Has Been Bought Off?
In Washington, the Congressional offices are not reporting much activity from citizens opposing the massive Senate amnesty bill and that the phone calls are nothing like what happened during the 2007 victory against anarchy.
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal gave the subject a page-top treatment with a photo of citizens speaking out against amnesty in Phoenix:
Part of the problem is likely the buying off of talk radio conservatives with big-money ad purchases (paid by Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg), particularly of Senator Rubio lying up a storm about how conservative the bill is, how filled with enforcement it is, blah blah. Those ads have run heavily on Rush Limbaughs show, among others. Limbaugh has recently begun speaking of amnesty again, but such a death threat to traditional America needs constant reinforcement, does it not? Perhaps he heard from enough irate listeners that buying into the Rubio snake oil is not acceptable.
We Wont Be Distracted from Amnesty, RushLimbaugh.com Transcript, May 28, 2013
RUSH: By the way, Chris Cillizzas point, that piece that I was sharing with you about how all of these scandals are distracting everybody away from amnesty, not here. And I just want to reiterate with all of these things that are going on, amnesty is the biggie, folks, because if amnesty is achieved, then all the rest of this is academic, and we basically have a one-party government and country for at least a generation. By the way, Chris Cillizza, even in his story, Chris Cillizzas point was that the IRS scandals were distracting talk radio from raising the alarm about amnesty. He admitted that it was talk radio that stopped amnesty in 2007.
Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post. And he said all these other scandals Benghazi, IRS are providing cover for amnesty, got talk radio distracted, so they know where their real problems lie. Cillizza admits it. But heres the point. The amnesty bill, as its written, or the pathway to citizenship bill, delays citizenship for a number of years. Thats why youre hearing pathway to citizenship. Well, whatll happen, the theory is and its a good one whatll happen is if the law is passed, then itll immediately be challenged, that this citizenship provision is unconstitutional. You cant bring these people out of shadows. You cant grant them this. You cant do that. Theyre citizens now, and all you need is one Obama judge, one liberal judge, and theyre not hard to find these days, and, bammo, youve got instant citizenship, instant voting.
FAIR recently posted a list of 40 things wrong with S. 744 which could be helpful talking points, but the important thing callers should be saying is that the bill hurts American workers and taxpayers, and they want it voted down. Legalizing lawbreaking is no way for a great nation to deal with a vexing problem.
Heres the text of the WSJ article:
Immigration Bill Slow to Stir Foes Passion, Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2013
Fierce Backlash That Derailed 2007 Overhaul Bid Has Yet to Materialize, Though Opponents Vow to Intensify Campaign
Grass-roots activists were instrumental in derailing the previous attempt by Congress to overhaul immigration laws, in 2007. This time, they have yet to ignite a similar fire.
Coordinated rallies last week to oppose the current bipartisan immigration legislation drew sparse crowds, with fewer than 10 people showing up for a protest in Dover, Del. The number of phone calls to lawmakers offices opposing the bill has been a fraction of what it was six years ago. As a discussion topic on conservative talk radio in recent weeks, immigration has ranked behind issues such as Syria-Israel tensions and President Barack Obamas speech on counterterrorism.
This time I am getting this sense of resignation, said Rusty Childress, a veteran opponent of illegal immigration in Phoenix. We have to awaken the sleeping giant.
The current immigration bill, introduced by a group of senators known as the Gang of Eight, would provide a pathway to citizenship to about 11 million people illegally in the U.S. and create new work-visa programs. It also would require beefed-up border security and employment verification before steps to legalize undocumented immigrants could kick in.
Opponents of the bill say that, like the 2007 effort, it amounts to amnesty for law breakers and doesnt stanch the flow of illegal immigration. Adding legalized immigrants to the workforce would disadvantage jobless Americans, they say.
But this years bill hasnt stirred as much opposition. It has more support from mainstream Republicans eager to improve the partys standing with the fast-growing Hispanic population, and from many evangelical Christian leaders. Also, a steep drop in illegal immigration in recent years has meant fewer television images of migrants sneaking into the country.
Even so, prospects for the bills passage appear mixed. The Senate legislation hasnt yet been tested in that chamber, and efforts by a bipartisan House group to write a similarly broad bill havent succeeded. The path to citizenship provision of the Senate bill could prove particularly troubling in the House.
Meantime, opponents promise to intensify their campaign. Mr. Childress leads Remember 1986, a group named after the year of the last big immigration overhaul, signed by President Ronald Reagan. The group sponsored the coordinated rallies last week, many of which were dwarfed by larger protests the same day against the Internal Revenue Service over its scrutiny of conservative nonprofits. Mr. Childress said his group would start targeting a tea-party base that he said is newly energized since the IRS news broke.
A fierce backlash against the bill six years ago ultimately spelled its demise because it prompted lawmakers such as Georgia Republican Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, who helped draft sections of the measure, to withdraw support. The backlash began as soon as an outline for a bill was announced, and it was relentless, said Joan Kirchner, a top aide to Mr. Isakson. Neither of the Georgia senators has taken a public position on this years bill.
In recent weeks, Mr. Isaksons office has been receiving about 100 calls a day compared with as many as 2,000 a day in 2007. The volume is expected to rise if a bill reaches the floor, Ms. Kirchner said, but signs are it wont be as intense. Activists said they are planning a protest outside Mr. Isaksons Atlanta office in early June.
Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, a talk-radio trade magazine, said many influential hosts have moved on to discuss gun control, health care and other hit topics because the publics attitude is different on immigration.
Alan Ogushoff, who made protest calls to Mr. Chamblisss office in 2007, often several times a day, said he remains a foe of any legalization. But, the avid listener of conservative talk radio said, Im just going to let this happen and move on; Im burned out fighting it.
Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a national group that channeled grass-roots opposition to the 2007 bill into a barrage of calls, faxes and emails to lawmakers, agreed there may be some fatigue now. Still, the group over the weekend said it unveiled TV and radio ads opposing the bill in 18 states. One radio script warning of the dangers of adding more potential workers says: Jobs20 million of our friends, family and neighbors still cant find one.
Groups pressing for an immigration overhaul, such as businesses and undocumented youngsters, also have been more vocal. The Evangelical Immigration Table, made up of leaders of Christian organizations, this week will launch another round of national radio ads to promote the overhaul.
This time, there is not as much emotion on our side, said Mr. Beck of NumbersUSA. But, I dont know if that means there is less resolve.
Hasbro Indoctrinates Kids With a Transsexual Superhero
Hasbro is one of those companies that most of us could never imagine as one of lifes bad guys.
The people at Hasbro make toys and childrens entertainment, for crying out loud. Sure theyve been behind some animated shows that were little more than extended commercials for the latest action figure, but Hasbro has never been high on the list of things parents need to worry about.
How things change.
In more ways than one, in this case.
Hasbro and Discovery, co-owners of The Hub childrens network, are behind a new animated show called SheZow.
The main character is a 12-year-old boy named Guy who gets powers from a magic ring.
It all sounds pretty standard, except that Guys superpower is to turn into a girl. Uttering the phrase You go, girl, Guy becomes a preteen transsexual superheroine with thigh-high boots and a cape.
(And you thought the Wonder Twin who turned into a bucket of ice was disturbing.)
So we can add Hasbro now to the list of companies trying to appease the homosexual rights movement by indoctrinating kids into the world of sexual depravity.
A representative of the homosexual activist group GLAAD, Rich Ferraro, said that any complaint about the gender-bending SheZow demonstrates a profound ignorance of transgender people since this show doesnt include any.
I dont even want to know what that means.
The homosexual rights movement always insists that homosexuals are born that way and theres no changing it. Isnt it odd then, how they persist in trying to educate children about the lifestyle?
The transsexual SheZow is a long way from He-Man, though perhaps we should have been forewarned with Transformers.
Its a shame to think that a company like Hasbro would sacrifice members of its 12-and-under target audience just to shore up ratings at the struggling Hub network.
I dont see The Hubs ratings going up anytime soon.
R.I.P, Boy Scouts of America What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Mark 8:36)
Its a sad day for both Scouting and for freedom. Indeed, its a sad day for America. The century-old Boy Scouts of America (BSA) created in 1910 to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes has betrayed its own constituency, mission, oath and law.
Last Thursday, approximately 1,400 adult BSA delegates from around the country gathered in Texas and decided, in a disgracefully lopsided vote, to welcome into its ranks, open and avowed homosexuality (boy-on-boy sexual attraction and behavior), thereby disavowing the morally straight Scout Oath its members are sworn to uphold.
They voted unwisely.
History will reflect that on this day the BSA turned from morally straight to immorally bent that this once great organization founded on honor, reverence and biblical morality was crushed beneath the worldly weight of pagan idolatry.
Whereas, for over a century, millions of boys have raised their right hands, swearing on my honor to do my duty to God and my country on this day, hundreds of adult delegates likewise raised their right hands, shook their fists at God and flipped their middle fingers at both the boys they serve and the parents who trusted them.
While endeavoring to gain the world, this once honorable institution has forfeited its soul.
Scripture admonishes: The wages of sin is death. (Rom. 6:23). This was a catastrophic miscalculation. It was sin, and, tragically, through this sin, the BSA has now effectively sealed its own fate. It has set into motion its own demise.
Even by its own estimates, BSA leadership admits that the decision will likely result in a mass exodus from Scouting. They anticipate that as many as 400,000 Scouts and Scouters will leave the organization (acceptable casualties in the war on morality, I guess). Still, as devastating as this number is, it too represents a gross miscalculation.
Consider, for instance, that when Canadas version of the Boy Scouts voted in 1998 to welcome open homosexuality, its membership rolls plummeted by over half in just five years, forcing camp closures, staff layoffs and huge budget cuts. Looking north of the border for clues, then, we can expect that, with current membership at around 2.6 million, its more likely that roughly 1.5 million Boy Scouts and troop masters will walk.
Then again, were talking about progressive Canada. This is the good ol USA. With over 61 percent of Scouts, Scouters and parents opposing the homosexualization of Boy Scouts, and over 70 percent of U.S. Scout groups sponsored by churches and religious organizations, its not unreasonable to expect that defections will even exceed this estimate.
In short, BSAs betrayal may well result in near-total ruin. The wages of sin is death.
Heres the reality: Reality has not changed. Objective truth did not suddenly and miraculously reverse itself on May 23, 2013. As BSA has always acknowledged (until Thursday), homosexual behavior remains empirically disordered and immoral. The only thing that has changed is politics.
Ultimately, this decision had nothing to do with tolerance or inclusivity. Neither did it concern the best interests of the boys who make up Boy Scouting. Instead, this decision was rooted in pure evil. It had everything to do with money. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10).
And wandered from the faith they have.
Now come the many griefs.
Really, three things drove this decision: Fear, greed and politics. A number of high-dollar corporate donors threatened to pull funding from BSA if they maintained the existing policy on sexual morality. Additionally, a number of extremist pressure groups, aided by a sympathetic left-wing media, brought tremendous pressure to bear.
But the pressures not going away. The BSA made a critical error in judgment. It showed weakness. This has only whipped these radicals into a heightened frenzy. Within moments of the gay announcement, Nancy Pelosi called the move an important first step. The Human Rights Campaign demanded the new policy doesnt go far enough, and Mother Jones, a liberal online publication, posted an article titled, Boy Scouts: You Can Be Gay Until Youre 18.
The U.S. Corporation and the Maritime Flag Gerald Celente has an excellent piece on the Superbowl entitled Are Americans Sure Their Flag Is Still There?
Good stuff. But I'm wondering, not just if there's a flag still there, but which one?
And who notices?
Besides the banality of this meaningless exchange and the usual attempts to polarize viewers and pretend they have some significance in the grand scheme of things, I was more taken by the fringed Maritime flag featured behind Obama during the interview. (Stop after you see the flag if you like, sickening interview..)
How many understand the significance of the fringed Maritime flag?
A whole other set of laws are in effect under the fringed Maritime flag. And we're seeing it continue to become more and more prevalent on military uniforms, police and private security uniforms, in public areas and throughout government. It's not just a pretty decoration.
It has a more serious significance than most could imagine. It's an abdication of national and personal power.
These young men have no idea they're property of a corporation, not a constitutional government
Under Maritime Admiralty law the corporation of the United States, not the constitutional entity, is in control. For those of you unfamiliar with maritime law and its legal implications, here's a brief explanation:
Ever wonder why some American flags, especially those in your courts of law, police stations, and even in the lobby of Walt Disney Corporation all have a gold fringe? Its not to make the flag look more regal, but to make sure that those who are governed by the law of that institution are NOT governed by the United States of America Constitution, but by the bylaws of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CORPORATION.
The Corporation is a headless beast that strives to create profit. Profit to a laymen is money. Profit to those who control the world is control. The gold fringe on any American flag is the greatest level of desecration one could have. This goes for state flags as well. It says to the legal world that you are under the law of the Corporation and NOT the country.
Our supposedly representative government is purely a corporate state under this flag
Ultimately when you walk into a court of law, you are being governed by the bylaws of a Corporation and not by your Constitution. There are courts that decide if a matter is Constitutional or Unconstitutional, but they are merely looking out of their legal domain and into ours, for we the people, are the only body or group that considers itself under the Constitution.
Straightforward fact - yet no one notices
What is Maritime Law?
The gold fringe originates from something called Maritime Law. This was a technique that countries used back in the days of Naval fleets that needed to barter and or sign treaties between nations. Each ship flew a flag of its country to denote its legal domain. This flag was honored as the legal domain over that ship. If one were to step onto that ship, one was subject to the written and recorded laws of that flags country.
The gold fringe on the United States flag is a legal holdover from these times. When one walks into the courtroom or any other institution with a gold fringe, one has surrendered to the bylaws of that Corporation and NOT the Constitution. (Source)
The Corporate Takeover Is Complete
Besides our government actually being a corporation, look at the overall corporate takeover of America today. It's never been so thoroughly consolidated. Corporations have never had such full sway through their owned media and their revolving door with government via actual goverment positions and their extremely powerful lobbys.
Heads of Monsanto and other mega food and drug related corporations move in and out of the FDA approving their own products and changing laws, while banksters and oil oligarchs freely flow in and out of the Fed and Treasury Department.
Immelt and Obama talking business in a GE factory
GEeee, What a Team...
A perfect example is Obama's recent appointment of corporate power broker GE CEO Jeff Immelt to another "Czar"-type position to lead a new economic advisory council. Few people know Immelt's full connections. A former Fed board member, Immelt's GE was one of the largest recipients of bail out money via their well-placed subsidiary GE Financial. To insure this cozy relationship keeps up, GE spent a cool 40 million dollars on lobbying! (see here)
Fringed Maritime flag behind Obama in Oval Office. Notice the flag artwork doesn't have gold fringe (and Masonic sunburst in the carpet and Venusian arch in window )
The fascist corporate state is "sewn up". Literally.
"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."
Postscript: More on Maritime Admiralty Law
Note: Personally, I think the apparent experiment of 'America' and the plan to build the ultimate world dominating vehicle has somewhat backfired. The human spirit is easily overlooked and underestimated by our would-be controllers, and it seems the founders gave perhaps too much "leeway" for freedom, which has presented something of a problem.
They'll keep up their programs with police measures, ELFs, chemtrails, fluoride, GMOs, food additives and precipitating social decay, but people are waking up. And fast. And it's exciting. So don't let this information get you down, it's just to understand what they've been up to and how it works and to broaden your awareness.
Here's a great conclusion on the subject:
The United States is a Corporation
or "Don't Take it Personal, it's Only Business"
(Illuminati-news.com) Yes, you read the title correctly. We are not living in a country with a government of the people, by the people, for the people, but we are part of a giant Corporation, The United States Corporation, and the President of America is the CEO. We are only the employees. This Corporation, in its turn, is owned by another Corporation, The British Crown.
"Hey, wait a minute! First of all, America is not owned by Great Britain," you may say. "That's what the War of Independence was all about; to free ourselves from British tyranny. We are free from Britain and we have our own Constitution. Our Founding Fathers helped out with that!"
If this is what you think, it is incorrect, and I will tell you why. We have never been free from Britain; the power only changed from overt power to covert power. They gave us an illusion of freedom, and they have succeeded well to keep their little secret. Thus, the Founding Fathers, who most of them were Freemasons, had no intention to give us any freedom. They worked hand in glove with the British Crown all the time, but the only way to establish a "New World" in America was to fool the people and tell them that they were fighting for freedom. This is the plain truth in a nutshell, but now it's time to back up and explain the above a little deeper...
Corporation of the People, by the People, for the People
(The following section is an excerpt from David Icke's book, The David Icke Guide to the Global Conspiracy [and how to end it] pp. 231-233. I strongly recommend this book, because it gives you a brilliant overview of how this conspiracy works. You can order the book at www.davidicke.com)
The United States 'government' is actually the United States Corporation. It was created behind the screen of a 'Federal Government' when, after the manufactured 'victory' in the American War on 'Independence', the British colonies exchanged overt dictatorship from London for the far more effective covert dictatorship that has been in place ever since.
In effect, the Virginia Company, the corporation headed by the British Crown that controlled the 'former' colonies, simply changed its name to the United States of America and other related pseudonyms. These include the US, USA, United States of America, Washington DC, District of Columbia (Samurais) and the President of the Corporation is known as the President of the United States. This is an accurate title given that one is the name for the Corporation is the 'United States'. He or she is not the President of the people or the country as they are led to believe - that's just the smokescreen.
It is the United States Corporation, not the 'government', which owns the United States military and everything else that comes under the term 'federal'. The privately-owned Corporation called the United States is the holding company, if you like, and the fifty states are its subsidiaries.
The Gold Fringe
You may have noticed that the national flag of the United States always has a gold fringe when displayed in court or federal buildings, and you see this also in federally-funded schools and on the uniforms of US troops. Under the International Law of the Flags, a gold fringe indicates the jurisdiction of commercial law, also known as British Maritime Law, and, in the U.S., as the Uniform Commercial Code, or UCC. The gold fringe is not part of the American flag known as the Stars and Stripes, but it is a legal symbol indicating that the court, government building, school or soldier is operating under British Maritime Law and the Uniform Commercial Code; military and merchant law.
For example, if you appear in a court with a gold-fringed flag your constitutional rights are suspended, and you are being tried under British Maritime (military/merchant) Law. If it seems strange that a court or building on dry land could be administered under Maritime or Admiralty Law, look at US Code, Title 18 B 7. It says that Admiralty Jurisdiction is applicable in the following locations:
1) the high seas
2) any American ship
3) any lands reserved or acquired for the use of the United States, and under the exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction thereof, or any place purchased or otherwise acquired by the United States by consent of the legislature of the state. In other words, mainland America.
Israeli DM Threatens to Attack Russian Ships Israelfs long-standing habit of making bellicose threats in the face of neighbors potentially acquiring defensive weapons has reached a new level today, with Defense Minister Moshe Yafalon threatening to attack Russian ships in the Mediterranean if they attempt to deliver anti-aircraft weapons to Syria.
Russia has had a long-standing contract with Syria to provide anti-aircraft defensive systems, and the Assad government is keen to get those shipments completed in the wake of repeated Israeli air strikes against them. The Russian S-300 system, the best the Russian government sells, is seen as being able to foil Israeli attacks.
Israel has struggled to justify its opposition to the deliveries, making ridiculous predictions of a dystopian future in which the whole region is a no-fly zone because Syria is attacking random planes for no reason. Syriafs existing arsenal would be able to do this at any rate, and it doesnft. The obvious reason for acquiring the S-300 is to stop the Israeli attacks, and thatfs also the obvious reason for Israeli opposition. Itfs just not likely to convince the Russians.
A similar round of Israeli rhetoric was seen over several years related to Iran, with Israeli officials first claiming they had super-secret electronics that would render all S-300s useless worldwide and render Russian airspace defenseless. They later revised that claim and insisted those defensive weapons were an gexistential threath to Israel. After that didnft work either, they threatened massive retaliatory arms sales to gRussiafs enemies.h
The question of the latest threats is just how desperately Israel wants to keep its overwhelming military superiority over the entire region, and whether the prospect of one of its would-be victims acquiring defensive equipment is such a threat to their long-term strategy that it warrants risking a war with Russia. Logic would suggest it doesnft.
Confirmed: Polk County, FL schools conducted iris scans on students without permission The schools involved:
Daniel Jenkins Academy high school
Bephune Academy elementary school
Davenport School of the Arts middle school.
Davis told me that it is a mistake on our part that a notification letter to parents did not go out on May 17. He blamed a secretary who had a medical emergency. Instead of verifying that parents received the letter and ensuring that any families who wanted to opt out had a chance to so, the schools allowed officials from Stanley Convergent Security Solutions to take iris scans of an unknown number of students as part of a pilot security program for students who take the bus to the three above-named schools.
Davis told me those unauthorized scans took place on May 22 and May 23 last week, right before the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Schools were notified that Stanley was coming. But not parents.
In addition, the district had planned to conduct a pilot scan program with another security company, Blinkspot. Students who ride seventeen school buses were planned to be a part of the scanning regime.
Davis says all of the data has been destroyed.
So has the trust parents have in these negligent educrats violating family privacy in the name of safety.
Davis says the districts superintendent and attorney met on Tuesday. Lawyering up is probably a good idea.
The vigilant parent who blew the whistle on Facebook writes:
have been in touch with the principal at my sons school this morning regarding the iris scans. She verified everything my son told me, she says the scans were completed on May 22. She said that she was following instructions from the Polk County School Board (PCSB), and that she knew very little, if anything, about this before it occurred, she just did as she was told. She gave me the name and number for her two contacts at the PCSB whom she said were pulling these strings on this security pilot program.
By the time we were able to make a phone call to PCSB (a time span of about 1 hour), the secretary told us that this pilot program had been suspended. When we did get a return call from one contact, she reiterated that the program has been suspended, like this should appease us. My husband continued to ask where our sons private scans were, and she said the company was instructed to destroy the information. When we asked how do we know this has happened, there was no answer.
It is interesting that this letter went home on Friday afternoon at 3pm. Like I told you originally, everyone was gone by 4pm when I tried to make calls. So when exactly did this program get suspended? As of Friday afternoon, it was still in effect. Are they trying to say that somehow it was suspended by Tuesday morning (Monday being a holiday)? It seems like they are mostly focused on this program, like the program was the problem. Its not, its the invasion of my familys Constitutional right to privacy that is the problem, as well as the school allowing a private company access to my child without my consent or permission. This is stolen information, and we cannot retrieve it.
This is of a piece with the threat that the federalized Common Core student databases pose to students and families. See my reporting on that here.
If you see something, say something.
Remember: BOLO is our watchword now.
They would suck a corpse dry if they could George Zimmerman's defense fund is almost depleted with less than two weeks until the former neighborhood watch leader goes on trial in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman's attorneys posted on their website Wednesday that the fund had less than $5,000 left. The fund had almost $315,000 in January.
The attorneys say they calculate that Zimmerman needs another $120,000 to put on a good defense or even another $75,000 to give him a fighting chance.
Attorneys Mark O'Mara and Don West say they haven't been paid a cent and many interns are working on the case without pay.
They say they will need the money in the coming weeks to pay experts and for transcripts of depositions.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He is pleading not guilty
Jeb Bush urges Michigan lawmakers to approve education reform Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush met privately Tuesday with Michigan Republican lawmakers to urge them to approve higher K-12 education standards that face hurdles from conservatives who fear it's an attempt to nationalize classroom teaching.
Bush said Wednesday he met with the state House and Senate's Republican majority caucuses on the same day the House passed a budget bill prohibiting the Department of Education from spending tax dollars implementing Common Core standards until the Legislature votes on whether to allow the higher standards.
Bush, the son and brother of two former presidents, has become a national leader in education reform since leaving the Florida governor's office in January 2007 and has urged states to adopt Common Core standards in the face of opposition from tea party conservatives and some teacher unions.
"What I first do is tell people: 'Go read what the standards are.' They're not saying how you teach social studies, that's going to be driven just how it is today," Bush said Wednesday in an interview with The Detroit News from the presidential suite of Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel, where he is speaking Wednesday at the annual Mackinac Policy Conference. "Common Core standards are standards, they're not curriculum."
Some conservative tea party groups have urged lawmakers, Gov. Rick Snyder and the State Board of Education to abandon Common Core standards, contending they will lead to an inflexible and standardized education system.
"The Bush family seems to think that big government knows better than the local school board or the parents, for that matter," Michigan Common Core opponent Jack Hoogendyk said in a Wednesday email. "Common Core is all about handing the decisions for what our standards should be to a national consortium, endorsed by Mr. Big Government, himself, Barack Obama.
"...I have always said, the closer education decisions are to the school house door, the better they will be. Local parents and teachers would know better than anyone else what the kids in their district need."
But Bush told The News that higher expectations through a common core curriculum matter.
"If you have low expectations, children will meet those expectations, but not much more," he said. "If you have higher expectations, many will achieve them, far more than what they could ever imagine."
Bush, a potential 2016 presidential contender, said the nation needs to raise the bar on education achievement to compete with other countries.
"I worry a little bit for a country that is persuaded by fear rather than aspirations," Bush said. "And I would argue we should have higher (aspirations)."
Mike Flanagan, the state's superintendent of schools, publicly admonished lawmakers Tuesday for putting up hurdles to Common Core standards.
"In this time, when we need to be focusing on the highest-quality education for Michigan's kids, we get a legislative mandate to go backwards," Flanagan said in a statement. "When will they stop playing politics with our children's education?"
Flanagan's remarks prompted a rebuke Tuesday from House Republicans, who noted the Legislature has until Oct. 1, when the new fiscal year begins, to vote on whether to allow Michigan to join a national movement to adopt Common Core education standards.
"Pressing the pause button is not the same as hitting rewind; it's simply a way to take a breath before rushing headlong with Common Core," House GOP spokesman Ari Adler said.
Martin Ackley, spokesman for the Department of Education, said Wednesday the Legislature's dictate on Common Core is anything but a "pause" after three years of school districts working to implement the new standards by spring 2015.
"This is an outright prohibition ("shall not"), with no guarantee that the prohibition will be lifted," Ackley wrote in a memo to reporters.
Snyder has endorsed adopting the standards, and his administration worked to get the prohibition removed from the Department of Education's funding bill.
Bush said after discussing the issue with lawmakers he believes the Legislature's delay will give lawmakers more time to study the issue.
"Why not have a dialogue to actually convince people that this is the right thing to do? Why not create a consensus around the importance of it? That's what politics is about," Bush told The News. "I'm confident with the proper amount of energy behind an initiative, that the Legislature will support this."
Bush is scheduled to address 1,600 business, education and political leaders attending this year's conference at 1:45 p.m. The speech will be broadcast live at detroitnews.com/mackinac by Detroit Public Television
Israel warns Russia against giving Syria missiles
Israel's defense chief said Tuesday a Russian plan to supply sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to Syria was a "threat" and signaled that Israel is prepared to use force to stop the delivery.
The warning by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ratcheted up tensions with Moscow over the planned sale of S-300 air-defense missiles to Syria. Earlier in the day, a top Russian official said his government remained committed to the deal.
Israel has been lobbying Moscow to halt the sale, fearing the missiles would upset the balance of power in the region and could slip into the hands of hostile groups, including the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, a close ally of the Syrian regime.
Israel has carried out several airstrikes in Syria in recent months that are believed to have destroyed weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah. Israel has not confirmed carrying out the attacks.
The delivery of the Russian missiles to Syria could limit the Israeli air force's ability to act. It is not clear whether Israeli warplanes entered Syrian airspace in these attacks.
Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Russia to discuss the Syrian situation with President Vladimir Putin. The sides have said little about the talks, but the S-300s were believed to have been on the agenda.
"Clearly this move is a threat to us," Yaalon told reporters Tuesday when asked about the planned Russian sale.
"At this stage I can't say there is an escalation. The shipments have not been sent on their way yet. And I hope that they will not be sent," he said. But "if God forbid they do reach Syria, we will know what to do."
Since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011, Israel repeatedly has voiced concerns that Syria's sophisticated arsenal, including chemical weapons, could either be transferred to Hezbollah, a bitter enemy of Israel, or fall into the hands of rebels battling Syrian President Bashar Assad. The rebels include al-Qaida-affiliated groups that Israel believes could turn their attention toward Israel if they topple Assad.
Syria already possesses Russian-made air defenses, and Israel is believed to have used long-distance bombs fired from Israeli or Lebanese airspace. The S-300s would expand Syria's capabilities, allowing it to counter airstrikes launched from foreign airspace as well.
In Moscow, Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, wouldn't say whether Russia has shipped any of the S-300s, which have a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) and the capability to track and strike multiple targets simultaneously. But he insisted that Moscow isn't going to abandon the deal despite strong Western and Israeli criticism.
"We understand the concerns and signals sent to us from different capitals. We realize that many of our partners are concerned about the issue," Ryabkov said. "We have no reason to revise our stance."
He said the missiles could be a deterrent against foreign intervention in Syria and would not be used against Syrian rebels, who do not have an air force.
"We believe that such steps to a large extent help restrain some 'hotheads' considering a scenario to give an international dimension to this conflict," he said.
Russia has been the key ally of the Syrian regime, protecting it from United Nations sanctions and providing it with weapons despite the civil war there that has claimed over 70,000 lives.
In any case, an open confrontation between Israel and Russia would seem to be months away. Russian military analysts say it would take at least one year for Syrian crews to learn how to operate the S-300s, and the training will involve a live drill with real ammunition at a Russian shooting range. There has been no evidence that any such training has begun.
If Russia were to deliver the missiles to Syria, Israeli and Western intelligence would likely detect the shipment, and Israel would have ample time to strike before the system is deployed.
Ryabkov's statement came a day after European Union's decision to lift an arms embargo against Syrian rebels. He criticized the EU decision, saying it would help fuel the conflict.
Israel's defense chief spoke at an annual civil defense drill to prepare for missile attacks on Israel. This year's exercise comes at a time of heightened concerns that Israel could be dragged into the Syrian civil war.
A number of mortar shells from the fighting in Syria have landed in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. While Israel believes most of the fire has been errant, it has accused Syria of firing intentionally at Israeli targets on several occasions, and last week the sides briefly exchanged fire.
Israel's civil defense chief, Home Front Minister Gilad Erdan, said this week's drill was not specifically connected to the tensions with Syria.
"But of course we must take into consideration that something like that might happen in the near future because of what we see in Syria, and because we know that chemical weapons exist in Syria and might fall to the hands of radical Muslim terror groups," he said.
Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
Switzerland to Allow Its Banks to Sidestep Secrecy Laws The Swiss government said on Wednesday that it would allow its banks to disclose information on American clients with hidden accounts, a watershed move intended to help resolve a long-running dispute with the United States over tax evasion.
The decision, which comes amid widening scrutiny in Europe of tax havens, is a turning point in what has been an escalating conflict between Switzerland and the United States.
Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, Switzerlands finance minister, said the move would enable Swiss banks to accept an offer by the United States government to hand over broad client details and pay fines in exchange for a promise by United States authorities not to indict any banks.
Switzerland Weighs Deal in Tax Cases (May 28, 2013)
Disclosure of actual client names and account data, which American authorities have been aggressively seeking, would take place under a taxation treaty between the two countries that the American side has not yet ratified. Banks under criminal scrutiny that agree to cooperate with the decision could still face deferred-prosecution or nonprosecution agreements, a lesser punishment than indictment.
Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf declined to say how much banks might have to pay. But she said the Swiss government would not make any payments as part of the agreement. Sources briefed on the matter say the total fines could eventually total $7 billion to $10 billion, and that to ease any financial pressure on the banks, the Swiss government might advance the sums and then seek reimbursement.
It is important for us to be able to let the past be the past, Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf said at a news briefing in Bern, Switzerland. She declined to give any details about the program, but said banks would have one year to decide whether to accept the American offer.
American clients whose names are handed over by Swiss banks but who have not voluntarily disclosed hidden accounts to the Internal Revenue Service would probably face criminal tax-evasion charges, lawyers said. Dozens of Americans have been indicted or charged in recent years for failing to disclose their accounts.
Until now, the Swiss government has been resisting cooperation because the secrecy of its banking system has long made country an offshore money haven for wealthy foreigners.
The country is also under growing pressure from the European Union to assist in ferreting out citizens who have sheltered money using offshore private banking services. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but nations including France and Germany have tired of watching their citizens squirrel away cash with impunity right across their borders.
The European Union is pushing member nations like Luxembourg and Austria to update their own secrecy rules, meaning the Swiss could soon be without an ally in the bloc and be left vulnerable to pressure from other nations.
Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf said the government would work with Parliament to quickly pass a new law that would allow Swiss banks to accept the terms of the United States offer, but said the onus would on individual banks to decide whether to participate.
If banks were not authorized to cooperate with the U.S. authorities, the initiation of further criminal investigations or charges concerning banking institutions could not be ruled out, a Swiss government statement said. It added that the uncertainty for the financial center would continue to exist.
In 2012, the United States Justice Department indicted Wegelin & Company, Switzerlands oldest bank. The bank pleaded guilty in January, putting it out of business, and prosecutors have indicated in recent months that more indictments could be coming.
Calling the decision a good, a pragmatic solution for the banks to emerge from their past, Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf said, We expect this to create the base for banks to again gain some room for maneuver so that calm can return to the sector.
There is no certainty that Parliament would pass the law after two of Switzerlands biggest parties, the Social Democrats and the Peoples Party, voiced their opposition and a third, the Christian Democratic Peoples Party, said it disagreed with the urgency the new law was put forward.
Igor Moser, a spokesman for Zürcher Kantonalbank, one of about a dozen Swiss and Swiss-style banks under criminal scrutiny by United States prosecutors, said that if the Swiss Parliament approved the governments decision, the bank will be able to agree on an individual solution with the U.S. authorities. He added that a possible penalty will be part of this individual agreement.
Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf hinted that the repercussions for banks that actively helped clients evade taxes after 2009 would be bigger than for those that stopped such activities that year. All banks knew after 2009 that they can no longer do all sorts of businesses, she said.
It was in 2009 that UBS, the largest Swiss bank, agreed to enter into a deferred-prosecution agreement with the United States. The bank eventually turned over 4,450 client names and paid a $780 million fine after admitting criminal wrongdoing in selling tax-evasion services to wealthy Americans. Justice Department authorities were incensed that after the UBS deal, other Swiss banks took in American clients fleeing UBS to provide shelters for their income, according to court documents in cases of some indicted American clients.
Also in 2009, Switzerland and the United States signed a protocol amending a 1996 tax treaty governing exchanges of information on Americans suspected of avoiding taxes. While the protocol has been approved by the Swiss Parliament, it has been held up in the United States Senate, blocked by Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky. The protocol makes it easier for American authorities to seek client and account data from Switzerland.
The Swiss decision on Wednesday to turn over any American client names appears to be contingent on the American side passing the protocol. The decision said any names release would occur exclusively within the scope of administrative assistance procedures based on a valid double taxation agreement.
In the meantime, Swiss banks would be free to disclose to American authorities broader statistical data about American clients, like information about business relationships. Such disclosure would then pave the way for banks under criminal investigation to negotiate settlements with United States authorities.
This is an important step for the banks; it will apparently allow them to disclose statistical information, such as the number of accounts with U.S. beneficial owners, the number of accounts with foreign corporations or foundations, and the amount of assets under management, said Scott Michel, a tax lawyer in Washington, D.C. The I.R.S. and D.O.J. can use this information as the basis for financial penalties under settlement agreements, which might be deferred-prosecution agreements or nonprosecution agreements.
The decision also requires Swiss banks that cooperate with the Justice Department to protect their bankers and employees from, among other things, being fired for cooperating. American authorities have indicted more than two dozen Swiss bankers, lawyers and financial advisers in recent years.
Other Swiss banks that have been the targets of United States inquiries include Credit Suisse, which disclosed in July 2011 that it had received a letter saying it was under a grand jury investigation; the Zurich-based Julius Baer; two cantonal, or regional, banks; the Swiss operations of HSBC Holdings; and three Israeli banks, Bank Hapoalim, Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank and Bank Leumi.
Resolution of the conflict has taken longer than it should have, with a lot of otherwise avoidable damage suffered on the Swiss side, said Robert Katzberg, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer in New York with Swiss and American bank clients. But it now appears the end is in sight.
Cuba to expand government-controlled Internet access Cuba's communist government has presented a plan to expand public Internet access on the Caribbean island nation. But private Internet access in Cuban homes will remain unavailable.
According to a government resolution published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday, authorities plan to set up 118 additional places where Cubans can access state-controlled Internet for a fee.
The expansion, set to begin on June 4, will take advantage of an undersea fiber optic cable from Venezuela. Cuba is currently receiving Internet access through a slow and expensive satellite link. Havana has been unable to join other undersea fiber optic cables due to an embargo by the United States.
The government said that Cubans will be able to access the Internet at the designated sites for a fee of $4.50 (3.50 euros) an hour, down from the current price of $6 an hour. Cubans will be able to check their email for a fee of $1.50.
But Tuesday's resolution made clear that the Internet will remain under strict state control. The government has warned that it will not tolerate Internet users who "endanger or prejudice public security, or the integrity and sovereignty of the nation."
Cuba has one of the lowest rates of Internet access in Latin America. There are some 2.6 million Internet users, out of a population of 11.1 million, according to official statistics.
The government claims that limited bandwidth has forced it to prioritize the Internet for social purposes, giving priority to universities, companies and research institutions instead of private access in households.
Russia blasts US double standards over Syrian peace progress The US-Russian initiative for a comprehensive peace conference to resolve the Syrian crisis needs honest effort of those involved. But some nations apparently try to undermine the effort to call the meeting, says the Russias foreign minister.
On Wednesday, the US, Turkey and Qatar pushed through a UN resolution condemning the Syrian government for the alleged use of foreign fighters against rebel forces in the battle for the strategic town of Qusair.
The document calls for an investigation into the matter as well as more aid access and protections for the civilian population of Syria.
The foreign fighters in question are from the Lebanese Shia movement, Hezbollah, which backed Syrian president, Bashar Assad, fearing that if his regime falls, Lebanon will become Al-Qaedas next target.
35 of the bodys members voted in favor of the resolution, with 8 abstentions and Venezuela being the only state to speak against the document.
After the resolution was adopted, the US State Department called on Hezbollah to immediately withdraw its fighters from Syria, with spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, labeling their involvement in the country as "unacceptable" and "dangerous".
Earlier that day, the Russian foreign minister warmed against the resolution, which he says may threaten a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict.
To my great astonishment we have learned that in addition to the sponsors of this draft resolution the US delegation is promoting most vigorously this very unhelpful idea. I asked [US State Secretary] John Kerry about it in Paris, and apparently he was not aware of this situation. He promised to handle it, but I dont know whether he managed to do it, Lavrov said.
He added that Russia currently sees no alternative to the peace conference, which would hopefully gather all interested parties, including the Syrian government, various Syrian opposition groups, regional powers like Iran and other. But doing it requires a genuine joint effort.
We need everyone to work honestly and not allow double standards backing the conference in statements and taking steps actually aimed at undermining this suggestion in practice,Lavrov explained.
Lavrov also explained that the primary focus of Hezbollah fighters in Syria as stated by the leadership is the protection of the Shia population and holy sites from the threat posed by Sunni rebel forces. He said it indicates that the Syrian conflict is increasingly characterized by sectarian confrontation, a development which Russia has long warned against.
Free Syrian Army fighters lay cover fire after what they say was during clashes with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Deir al-Zor May 13, 2013. (Reuters)
Russia and the US have diverged in their position over the end of EUs embargo on delivery of arms to Syria this week, which may open the door for direct arming of rebel groups by European nations. Washington praised the development, saying it gives Europe more flexibility and ramps up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Moscow sees it as not only counterproductive, but also potentially unlawful, since delivering arms to non-governmental actors against the wishes of a countrys government breaks international law. Such moves are forbidden both by UN-level treaties on arms trade and EUs own guidelines.
Russia itself has standing military contracts with the Syrian government, which it intends to fulfill. Supporters of the rebels, including the US, have criticized Russia on several occasions over arming the Assad army. Moscow insists that the weapon systems it sold Syria cannot be used against the rebels.
For example the S-300 surface-to-air missiles are meant to shoot down aircraft and some ballistic missiles, neither of which the rebels have. Russia believes that its position helps stabilize the situation and restrain external parties, which would like to use force in Syria.
Meanwhile, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has urged not to supply weapons to Syria, but push the two sides to find a political solution.
"The message from all of us should be the same: we will not support this conflict with arms, ammunition, politics or religion," she told a 47-member Geneva forum.
Pillay warned that in case the situation deteriorates, increased inter-communal massacres are a certainty, rather than a risk."
'Drones are changing the face of conservation' Anti-hunting groups in Britain, conservationists on African game reserves and US animal welfare groups have started using drones to combat poaching and to monitor suspected illegal activities.
Singapore to require news websites to be licensed; seen as some as bid to control the Internet Singapores government says a new policy will require online news websites to be licensed, a move that is being criticized as a form of censorship in a country where media outlets are already strictly controlled.
The policy will require websites that report regularly on Singapore news and have at least 50,000 visitors a month to obtain annual licenses, the city-states Media Development Authority said in a statement Tuesday. They also will be required to remove content found to be in breach of MDA standards within 24 hours of notification.
New SARS-like virus is a 'threat to the entire world' A new SARS-like virus recently found in humans is "a threat to the entire world," according to the director-general of the United Nations' World Health Organization.
The so-called novel coronavirus "is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself," Margaret Chan said Monday in her closing remarks at the 66th World Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
The world needs to pull together its resources to properly tackle the virus which, Chan said, is her "greatest concern" at present.
"We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat," she said, and more information is needed "quickly" and "urgently."
"We do not know where the virus hides in nature. We do not know how people are getting infected. Until we answer these questions, we are empty-handed when it comes to prevention. These are alarm bells. And we must respond," she said.
Coronavirus reported in France
Health workers infected with coronavirus
What is coronavirus?
Novel coronavirus is part of a family called coronaviruses, which cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, as well as a variety of animal diseases. However, the new virus is not SARS.
The virus had infected 44 people worldwide as of last week, most of them in the Middle East, according to the World Health Organization's most recent update Thursday. Half of them have died.
Also in its Thursday update, the WHO appeared to have given the novel coronavirus a name: Middle East respiratory symptom coronavirus, or MERS-CoV.
A 23rd death was reported Tuesday, when a French hospital and the French government reported a man diagnosed with the coronavirus had died of organ failure.
The patient, the first of two people to be diagnosed with novel coronavirus, died at University Hospital of Lille, where he had been treated since May 9.
The man contracted the virus while visiting the Arabian Peninsula, said Marisol Touraine, France's minister of social affairs and health, in a statement.
The second patient, also male, was in stable but very serious condition, the hospital said. One of the patients shared a room with the other and contracted the virus.
Joint WHO missions with Saudi Arabia and Tunisia will take place as soon as possible, with the goal of gathering the facts needed to conduct a risk assessment, Chan said Monday.
5 things to know about dangerous, SARS-like virus
Earlier this month, the WHO said two health care workers in Saudi Arabia became ill while treating patients.
Novel coronavirus acts like a cold virus and attacks the respiratory system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said. But symptoms, which include fever and a cough, are severe and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea have also been seen, according to the WHO.
It's not yet known how humans contract the virus, experts have said. Most of the cases so far have been seen in older men with other medical conditions; precise numbers are hard to come by, as officials don't know how many people might contract a mild form.
Cases have been identified in eight countries including France and Saudi Arabia, according to the WHO. Other European countries include Germany and the United Kingdom.
No cases have been reported in the United States, but infectious disease experts have said it would not be surprising.
New SARS-like virus poses medical mystery
UN anti-cholera plan in Haiti 'failing' UN efforts to tackle cholera in Haiti are "almost non-existent", a charity says, as the world body faces court action for inadvertently starting a cholera epidemic in the country.
Late last year, the UN launched a $2.2bn-appeal (£1.5bn) to improve water supplies in Haiti.
But Medecins Sans Frontieres says this has had almost no practical effect.
The UN is accused of negligently allowing peacekeeping soldiers to pollute Haiti's water with cholera.
The epidemic, which is spread by infected sewage, has killed more than 8,000 people since late 2010.
"There have been grand plans - a 10-year $2.2bn project," Duncan McClean, a senior manager for MSF, told the BBC.
But the UN plan had not been implemented, he added.
"I travel regularly to Haiti; the impact on the ground today is almost non-existent."
The UN plan to improve drinking water and sewage outlets - which MSF says is unfulfilled - was widely seen as the international body's attempt to deflect calls by the victims of cholera for financial compensation.
Responding to the MSF charge, the UN told the BBC that "enormous efforts" had been made to support Haiti's cholera eradication plans. These efforts had resulted in significantly fewer cases and reduced mortality rates.
But the UN also recognised that a shortage of funds meant "resources mobilised to date are clearly insufficient to face a potential peak of cases" in the forthcoming rainy season.
It has called for more resources from member states to tackle the cholera epidemic.
The UN says it has legal immunity from the compensation case.
Lawyers for the cholera victims say that unless talks on compensation begin in the next few weeks, they will take the UN to court in New York.
MSF said the cholera situation in Haiti was currently "extremely alarming". The rainy season had begun - causing the usual flooding of infected open sewers - while donor countries had reduced aid commitments.
Taliban deputy commander Wali ur-Rehman killed in first drone strike since Barack Obama's speech on tougher regulations A senior Taliban commander is believed to have been killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan, the first such operation since Barack Obama announced tighter regulations on their use and since an election won by a party that had campaigned against them.
In an operation that will further complicate the debate over the use drones and present an immediate challenge for Pakistans prime minister elect, Nawaz Sharif, reports said two missiles were fired from the unmanned drone and hit a house in a village near Miran Shah in North Waziristan.
Pakistani intelligence officials told Reuters that among up to seven people killed was Wali-ur-Rehman, the man considered the number two in the Pakistan Taliban. However, there was no immediate independent verification of the claim and the Taliban denied he was dead.
The US drone strikes usually targeting al-Qa'ida and Taliban fighters involved in attacks on Western troops in Afghanistan - are deeply controversial in Pakistan and a foreign ministry spokesman has condemned the operation. Analysts said the fact the Americans decided to target the Pakistan Taliban, which have largely attacked targets inside Pakistan, could suggest Pakistani military cooperation.
While there is concern about the number of civilians killed in the strikes, there is equal anger that the drones represent an affront to the countrys sovereignty. During his election campaign, Mr Sharif, who is due to be sworn in next week, said he was opposed to their use and would withdraw from the USs so-called war on terror.
Drones indeed are challenging our sovereignty. Of course, we have taken this matter up very seriously, he told reporters, shortly after his victory.
The party of Imran Khan, which is set to lead a coalition government in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, is also strongly opposed to the drones. The regional assembly, based in Peshawar, was sworn-in on Wednesday sworn in.
The strike was the first since Mr Obama delivered a speech last week in which he said tighter regulations would be imposed on the use of drones in places such as Pakistan and Yemen. It is likely their use will switch from the CIA to the Pentagon, though critics point out most details about the operation of the drones remains classified information.
As our fight enters a new phase, Americas legitimate claim of self-defence cannot be the end of the discussion, Mr Obama said in Washington.
He added: To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance. For the same human progress that gives us the technology to strike half a world away also demands the discipline to constrain that power, or risk abusing it.
Mr Sharifs position on drones may be more nuanced than his campaign slogans suggested. Senior members of his party have said what they really want is control over the targeting of such operations.
If it is confirmed that the deputy of Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud, or another senior Taliban figure was killed in Wednesday mornings strike, it will strengthen the hand of those who support the use of drones, despite the controversy they create. In 2010, the US added Wali-ur-Rehman and Mr Mehsud to its list of so-called Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
I think Mr Sharif will be caught in a dilemma. The target that the Americans have chosen could not have been better for Pakistan, said retired general Talat Masood, an Islamabad-based analyst. At the political level it may raise some questions for him, but he must have known after President Obamas speech that the strikes would continue.
Mr Masood said the decision to target a Pakistani Taliban fighter could indicate the cooperation of the Pakistani military, but he added: The level of cooperation between the intelligence agencies is not always clear.
There have been 355 drone strikes since 2004, according to the USbased New America Foundation, and at least 3,336 people have been killed. Earlier this month, a court in Peshawar declared the strikes were illegal and asked the government to move a resolution against their use in the United Nations.
The court made its announcement in relation to a legal petition filed last year by the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, a legal charity based in Islamabad. It was acting on behalf of the families of up to 50 people killed when missiles stuck a tribal gathering, or jirga, in March 2011.
The head of the group, Shazhad Akbar, said: The court ruling means that any drone strike puts the government of Pakistan in a very difficult decision.
Wali-ur-Rehman, had been a known Taliban leader since 2005 but was only added to Washingtons list of so-called Specially Designated Global Terrorists in 2010, along with the top commander, Hakimullah Mehsud.
Rehman was once a spokesman for Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, from the Mehsud tribe, who was killed by a drone missile strike in 2009. After that, Rehman was in line to lead the organisation but was passed over.
The man regarded as the No 2 in the Taliban in Pakistan was reported to have died in drone strikes on at least two occasions prior to this mornings strike.
3 killed in attack, gun battle at Red Cross in Afghanistan Two attackers and a security guard were killed on Wednesday during an assault on a Red Cross building in Afghanistan and a gun battle between police and militants, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
Insurgents stormed the International Committee of the Red Cross building in Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan.
Afghan parliament member Haji Hazrat Ali told CNN the incident started with one attacker blowing himself up and others entering the building.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said forces surrounded the building and engaged in a gun battle with the attackers. Seven foreign nationals were rescued and one ICRC foreign staffer was slightly injured, he said.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force said Afghan personnel secured the scene. The ICRC confirmed an incident occurred at the building.
On Friday, attackers wielding suicide bombs, grenades and machine guns in Kabul struck the compound of another foreign agency -- the International Organization for Migration.
Three Afghans died in the strike, the IOM said, and three international staffers were wounded, one seriously. The agency also said all of the attackers were killed. The IOM helps displaced people across the world.
Governor's office attacked in Panjshir province
Six men with explosives strapped to their bodies attacked a governor's office in northeastern Afghanistan just before dawn Wednesday, authorities said.
One of the attackers blew himself up; the others were shot dead by Afghan security forces, Sediqqi said.
The attack at the offices of the Panjshir governor also left one police officer dead and four others injured.
Panjshir is one of 34 provinces that make up Afghanistan.
In recent months, militants have repeatedly tested the Afghan security forces.
With international troops gradually moving out of the country, local police and the Afghan army have been left responding to the increasing attacks on their own.
China to hold digital war games
China's military is to stage digital war games, state media has said. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters
China is to conduct its first "digital" war games, state media has said, as concern grows in Washington and elsewhere about Chinese hacking attacks.
A brief report by the official Xinhua news agency said the exercise, in north China's remote Inner Mongolia region, will "test new types of combat forces including units using digital technology amid efforts to adjust to informationalised war".
"It will be the first time a People's Liberation Army exercise has focused on combat forces including digitalised units, special operations forces, army aviation and electronic counter forces," the brief English-language report added.
Barack Obama will discuss cyber security with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, during a meeting in California next week, as Washington becomes increasingly worried about Chinese hacking of US military networks.
The Pentagon underscored its concerns in a report to Congress this month, accusing China of using cyber espionage to modernise its military. It said the US government has been the target of hacking that appeared to be "attributable directly to the Chinese government and military".
In Australia this week a report by Australia's ABC television said hackers linked to China stole the floor plans of a new A$630m headquarters for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the country's domestic spy agency.
The Chinese government scorned the claim and has repeatedly denied any involvement in hacking attacks, even as it steps up defence spending and develops new technologies such as aircraft carriers and stealth fighters.
New York Sheriffs Join Federal Lawsuit Against SAFE Act
New York States Rifle and Pistol Association is an affiliate of the National Rifle Association. Theyve filed a federal lawsuit against New York for their overreaching gun-grabbing bill that expands the definition of assault weapon and puts an arbitrary cap on the number of rounds that are allowed to be inside a gun magazine. In fact, one New York man was recently arrested for having 9 rounds in his properly registered firearm instead of 7.
The New York State Sheriffs Association as well as 5 individual sheriffs have now joined the NRA affiliates lawsuit. They made a statement regarding the SAFE Act:
The Supreme Court has confirmed that the Second Amendment protects arms typically possessed by law-abiding citizens, and identified that the right of self-defense is core protected conduct that is at its zenith in the home. At a minimum, laws that criminalize the most common rifle in America today a rifle that is often selected precisely for its self-defense capabilities impinge upon that core right. The same is true of laws banning standard-capacity magazines.
Earlier this month, the Sheriffs Association met with Governor Andrew Cuomo to go over the gun control bill that Cuomo had signed into law in January. Sheriffs from around the state thought they were meeting to go over possible changes to the bill. Instead, Governor Cuomo used it as a venue to tell sheriffs to keep quiet about their critical opinions of the bill:
Cuomo pushed the sheriffs to stop publicly speaking out against the act, [Chemung County Sheriff] Moss said. The governor was of the opinion that the sheriffs around the state should not be interjecting their personal opinions in reference to the law, Moss said, adding that Cuomo said sheriffs cant do that and enforce the law. One person briefed on the meeting said Cuomo threatened to remove sheriffs from office, a little-used power afforded the states chief executive under the state constitution.
Colorado also made headlines last week when 54 of their sheriffs joined together in a lawsuit against Colorados newly enacted gun control laws. Hopefully, judges will rule against the respective states laws and give citizens back their natural duties and responsibilities to defend themselves and their families.
The attempt to destroy the individual What is finished is the idea that this great country is dedicated to the freedom and flourishing of every individual in it. Its the individual thats finished. Its the single, solitary human being thats finished. Its every single one of you out there thats finished. Because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. Its a nation of some two hundred odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods. Howard Beale, in Paddy Chayefskys 1976 film,Network
But that was only a movie. Who cares about that? You go into a theater, sit there in the dark for a couple of hours, walk out, and think about something else.
For several years now, Ive been writing about the decline of the individual. The wipeout.
Every time I write an article on this subject, I receive suggestions. I should go back and re-read Marx. I need to understand the difference between communal, communitarian, community, communist. I should research worker-owned businesses. What about trans-substantial transpersonal sub-brain algorithmic psychology? How about the pygmies? Ego? Superego? Id?
I appreciate these and other remarks, but Im talking about the individual, about Self, beyond any construct, beyond citizenship, beyond membership, beyond sociology or anthropology or archeology.
The individual is enshrined in various political documents, but his rights dont originate there. Neither does courage nor imagination.
Ive laid out the enormous psyop designed to submerge the individual in unconscious goo. This psyop depends on the repetition of words like: unity, love, caring, community, family. And phrases like were all in this together.
A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The individual is characterized as: lone, outsider, selfish,greedy, inhumane, petty. Turn him into an exile, excommunicated from the great body of humanity.
Here, in the usual prose, is a familiar formulation of the grand psyop: We can no longer afford the luxury of thinking of ourselves as individuals. The stakes are too high. Finally, we must all come together and realize our presence on this planet is a shared experience. The decimation of our resources, through hatred and divisive behavior, the denial of love and community, the cold greed and excessive profit-making, the whole range of social and political injusticesall this can ultimately be laid at the door of the individual who refuses to join the rest of humanity
Is this manifesto valid? Its a deception, BECAUSE its aimed at making the individual extinct.
And once that happens, the collective, managed by Globalist princes, will have a clear path to the control of Earth, at the expense of the rest of us. And the cruelties we now witness will pale in comparison to what is in store for us.
When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows them. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race, or his holy cause Collective unity is not the result of the brotherly love of the faithful for each other. The loyalty of the true believer [who surrenders Self] is to the whole the church, party, nation and not to his fellow true believer. True loyalty between individuals is possible only in a loose and relatively free society. Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, 1951
Wait. Isnt that a bit harsh? Isnt that too critical and negative? Where is the cosmic share-and-care we need to spread like butter over the whole universe? I mean, Eric Hoffer was a wonderful writer, and he was a working man, a longshoreman for his whole life, so we should admire him, but todays prophets are wired directly into the Unity that will save us all automaticallylike a toaster popping up with toast every time right?
On some mid-west college campus, a wide-eyed kid of 19, full of hope and optimism, is studying political science. His professor is running down the catalog of stunning injustices that populate far-off regions of the planet.
The boy wants to help. His professor gives him the name of a humanitarian group that runs operations in Africa. The boy, in some sort of personal crisis, drops out of school and signs on with the group.
Little does he know that the charity he is now working with in Africa has ties to USAID, which in turn is a solid CIA front. The real mission of the charity, unknown to most or all of its members, is gathering information that can be used as intelligence.
Under the banner of justice, help, hope, and unity of all peoples, the charity is providing actionable intell to CIA-backed rebel forces who are carrying out assassinations and bombings in advance of a political coup.
The coup will pave the way for new deals with multinational scum, organized as corporations, to enter the scene and plunder natural resources and labor at more formidable levels.
Five years later, the boy leaves the charity and returns to the US. He is confused, looking for another group in which he can submerge himself. Hes hooked on groups
The naïve have given up the ghost on their own independent existence. That is the key.
Think of some of the messages of recent pathetic presidents. Bush the Elder: Kinder, gentler. Clinton: I feel your pain. Bush 2: No child left behind. Obama: Were all in this together.
Judging by these presidents murderous actions, its clear they were selling unity and caring and togetherness as cover stories for oppressive business as usual.
The op? Make the individual extinct, present him as a useless and dangerous and outmoded construct. Then, whatever real unity that might exist between individuals will vanish, because the population will take on the shape of a coagulated mass melted down into a cosmic glob of androidal harmony.
Artists have warned about all this. Their so-called supporters say, Oh yes, he was a wonderful writer. Misunderstood, of course, but brave in the face of utter rejection. The usual claptrap. Point is, these gushing advocates conveniently and easily forget what the artists actually wrote.
Here is another reminder from an Outsider who was glad to be outside. He was a hero to some. He was reviled by many.
A bureau operates on opposite principles of inventing needs to justify its existence. Bureaucracy is wrong as a cancer, a turning away from the human evolutionary direction of infinite potentials and differentiation and independent spontaneous action to the complete parasitism of a virus Bureaus die when the structure of the state collapse. They are as helpless and unfit for independent existence as a displaced tapeworm, or a virus that has killed the host.
After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didnt do it. I sure as hell wouldnt want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.
There is simply no room left for freedom from the tyranny of government since city dwellers depend on it for food, power, water, transportation, protection, and welfare. Your right to live where you want, with companions of your choosing, under laws to which you agree, died in the eighteenth century with Captain Mission. Only a miracle or a disaster could restore it.
The author? William S. Burroughs. But not to worry, he was crazy. Of course he was. He didnt profess utter loyalty to the mass of humanity. He didnt prostrate himself before the greater good. He didnt preach unity and togetherness.
He was an individual. Therefore, he is obsolete. A cherished memory of a time now wiped from the mind. Now we are all dancing and marching in the psyop.
Heres another psyop and cultural theme: the distortion of money and the free market.
The psyop goes this way: The making of $$ is a religious event comparable to the arrival of Jesus or the appearance of the Great Buddha. Indeed, isnt Christmas the season measured by consumer sales?
A life justified is a life of the bottom-line cash register, a poem to make Shakespeare turn pale with envy.
It doesnt matter what a product is. If it sells, it must be good. It must mean something profound.
Nail polish, a new plastic toy, a little robot that sings songstheyre Walt Whitman and Michangelo and Bach because they jumped off store shelves.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are geniuses because they and their companies amassed billions. It has to be so.
The team that put together Goofy Bird III, the summer blockbuster hit, are the Chaucers of our time. The box office proved it.
What product makes more money than any other? War. Therefore, Jesus wore a white leisure suit and played golf with generals and made deals for weapons systems.
If a young man or woman today wants to express his true individuality and succeed with other like-minded individuals who have no fear of failure, the two businesses to go into are war and banking. My father told me that, and its stood me in good stead all these years. Its the apotheosis of America
An artist named Paddy Chayefsky, in his film, Network, covered this waterfront pretty well:
You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and sub-atomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and You Will Atone!
Hail to the collective, managed from the top. Ah, but as I said, Network was just a movie.
Who cares about American artists? They need monuments and grants here and there, if theyre still alive, but taking them seriously? Who would want to do that? Theyre just INDIVIDUALS.
Who would want to keep the individual alive, especially the free, independent, and creative individual? We can learn all we need about that by listening to TED lectures!
Here is another quote from an American artist. This one is REALLY not in the politically correct mode. I mean, how dare he!:
Tomorrow you may bring about the destruction of your world. Tomorrow you may sing in Paradise above the smoking ruins of your world-cities. But tonight I would like to think of one man, a lone individual, a man without name or country, a man whom I respect because he has absolutely nothing in common with youMYSELF. Tonight I shall meditate upon that which I am. Henry Miller, Black Spring, 1936
And this! From the most celebrated American poet of all! Is this what he really wrote?
I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself/And what I assume you shall assume/For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you/I loafe and invite my soul/I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass/ Creeds and schools in abeyance I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked The smoke of my own breath/Echoes, ripples, buzzd whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides/The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun. Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, I, II, VI & LII
A celebration of self, and self expanded out into limitless dimensions?
And this is is our real poet laureate?
Something must be wrong.
Yes, the individual, the selfthese individual artistsfar too messy, too uneven, too unpredictable, too complex to fit into a scheme of the future in which well all be subsumed in a cosmic order.
No, the individual, the self, must be shaved and carved so we can all meld together in a simplified enlightenment.
Here, from the universally acclaimed author of Moby Dick, Herman Melville, another quote that sticks out from the great uniform mass of group-think:
There is the grand truth about Nathaniel Hawthorne. He says NO! in thunder; but the Devil himself cannot make him say yes. For all men who say yes, lie; and all men who say no,why, they are in the happy condition of judicious, unincumbered travellers in Europe; they cross the frontiers into Eternity with nothing but a carpet-bag, that is to say, the Ego. Whereas those yes-gentry, they travel with heaps of baggage, and, damn them! they will never get through the Custom House.
There is no doubt; these Individuals are too thorny, too differentand even different from each other. How can we build a world of unity and unified enlightenment if we let them in the door?
We must erase the memory that these people ever existed. We need to cut down space and time, leave them out, and outfit a new continuum so it will accept only the brainwashed and reduced and harmonized desires of the collective.
Yes. Thats it.
Lets cause everyone to accept one of two things. We are either all in this together forever, or money is the supreme and final god of all time and space. Those are the two choices. They both flatten out the soul and prepare it for the endless gray day.
The Individual must be put into permanent exile. We cant even say what he is. We cant define him. We cant hold him within borders. We cant know what hell do.
Sometimes hes up, sometimes hes down, sometimes hes sideways. Sometimes he embraces the whole cosmos, sometimes hes alone in a room.
The new world cant have him. For sake of the coming glory, he has to exit.
The Great Psyop hath spoken.
So, you see, when it comes to freedom, Im not talking about columns and columns of people marching in one direction, most of them moving ahead together, and a few dropping out and scattering. Im not talking about a billion androids, among whom a few thousand defect.
Im not talking about androids or columns of marchers at all. Im talking about Self. The individual apart from any coordinated picture, apart from any tedious idea about what a human being is.
I dont care whether he chooses to live in a one-room apartment in New York or a commune in Georgia. I dont care whether he votes Republican or Democrat or the Party of Golden Lucifer. I dont care about any of those distinctions, because they all proceed from some horrendous and mutilated idea, some shrunken desiccated idea of what the Self IS in the first place.
Well, were really all the same, so the choices a person has arent that important
Were really all the same AFTER the great curtain has lowered on the individual and his psyche and his imagination and his daring. Yes, THEN were all the same. And then it doesnt matter what the individual thinks or does, or whether he goes left or right or stays down the middle. THEN he begins to concoct systems and counter-systems and parochial visions he wants to impose on everyone else.
The truth is, were all different, astonishingly different. So different, in fact, that left to our own devices, over a long enough span of time, how each one of us would express his deepest thoughts and inventions would make the world into a completely different place.
The individual, the Self, isnt just a little different or moderately different or quite different. The individual is a revolution all his own, a living breathing revolution.
He can become and identify with any other thing or creature in the universeor not. He can think with seventeen brains and walk on eight legs if he wants to. He can be Self inventing more Self. He can destroy all forms and shapes of slaverymost importantly his own.
He can love and he can hate. He can experience and create emotions that have never been dreamed of. He can dance with the angels on the head of a pin or drift off past the stars.
He knows freedom is real, and he doesnt have the slightest interest in interfering with anothers freedom.
This is what political and social movements are FOR: to establish enough freedom for the individual, any individual, so that he can then, if he wants to, become what he is, which is to say, invent his existence entirely according to his own fecund imagination. It will not be a copy of anyone elses existence. It will not even be close.
After enough time has elapsed, it will be astonishing.
I know many people who believe they are already free and are already living life exactly the way they want to. This is preposterous. At a superficial level, yes. But beyond that, there are oceans of potential expression and invention they havent begun to fathom. If by free they mean relatively unencumbered by outside forces, but locked down tight as a drum from the inside, then yes, they are free, and good luck to them.
Ive quoted artists in this essay because I want to impart at least some sense of how different we are from each other. This doesnt mean we cant bridge the gulf; of course we can. In fact, it becomes far easier when each of us is speaking with a Voice uncoupled from the wisdom of this joke of a society in which we currently live.
The ultimate and permanent fusion of all things is a myth and fairy tale. Its a fairy tale bought by people who have never ventured off the reservation to discover and invent their own Voice.
If all this is true, then why do I write about the crimes of the medical cartel, the crimes of Monsanto, the corrosive destruction wrought by television? Why bother with any of this? Because Im for authentic movements to end these crimes. The mafias of this world are out to gain as much control as possible and finally and ultimately, this means a war against the freedom of every individual. It means writing the individual and his enormous untapped potential out of existence.
When the android-uniformity of all individuals is being sold as marvelous unity, that needs to be pointed out. When millions of people believe uniqueness=uniformity=unity, thats more Orwellian than Orwell, and it needs to be pointed out.
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails atwww.nomorefakenews.com
Media Coverage Blackout Over Anti-Monsanto Protests The decision by the mainstream media to ignore the thousands of individuals marching down the busiest streets of major cities worldwide may be appalling, but in reality it matters very little at this point. Not only is the movement against Monsanto adding to its number each day thanks to the real alternative media and intelligent activism, but the movement as a whole is driven by an inexorable desire to push the GMO food bully out of our food supply.
And in addition to the rapid success, growth, and determination of the movement, we have key players in the alternative media that have decided theyre fed up with the hindered focus of mainstream news agencies. I am extremely glad that we decided to run live coverage on the March Against Monsanto in Philadelphia for its first year, as otherwise the event would not have been properly documented and shared. Couple that with the fact that the mainstream media is on its last breathe of life, and you realize that the alternative news media can actually succeed without the support of the multi-billion dollar news agencies whose ratings are plunging.
Whats truly amazing is that I saw hundreds of pedestrians not taking part in the march use their smart phones to take a few minutes of video. Video that they will likely post on Facebook, Youtube, or Twitter and incite social media activity. Whether its asking what is going on via their hundreds of friends on Facebook, or showing support for the march. This is how ideas and movements spread in the modern age, and this is how things like the March Against Monsanto go viral no television required.
In fact, it really just comes down to strong ideas and topics. We have so much support from so many different groups coming out and standing up against Monsanto that it just goes to show there is a sleeping giant of awake individuals who thoroughly understand the challenges we face as a nation. One only needs to tap into that powerful energy of resistance to ignite a movement, like a match to a gasoline-drenched fire pit.
I was extremely impressed and inspired by the support at March Against Monsanto, including the number of readers who came up to voice their support. At the end of the day, even corrupt Monsanto executives and paid-off politicians cannot stand up against a movement like this.
Larry Summers has an edge in the race to head the Federal Reserve
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hen Wall Street predicts something will happen in Washington, it is often wise to bet on the opposite. Multiple polls show Janet Yellen, vice-chair of the US Federal Reserve, as the strong favourite to be named Ben Bernankes replacement as chair an announcement that is likely by September.
Such certainty is puzzling: there is no evidence President Barack Obama sees Ms Yellen as a shoo-in. Nor does his likely shortlist which includes two former Treasury secretaries, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner; and a former vice-chairman of the Fed, Donald Kohn suggest Ms Yellen as the inescapable choice. Each is an impressive name, as are possible outsiders such as Stanley Fischer, governor of the Bank of Israel (who holds dual nationality). Mr Obama has a deep bench from which to choose.
More Edward Luce
It is my bet he will settle on Mr Summers. The case for Ms Yellen is strong. Her economic credentials are a match for anyones, including Mr Summers. Having been head of the San Francisco Fed, her central bank experience is also deep. Yet Ms Yellen has a reputation as a dove at a time when the cycle may be close to turning. By next January, when Mr Bernankes successor takes over, the long phase of monetary easing is likely to be tapering off. Last week, Mr Bernanke assured Congress that the monthly $85bn of asset purchases in the third round of quantitative easing would continue as long as there was any question about the US recovery. Such doubt grows a little weaker with each Fed meeting. The US economy is picking up speed.
Mr Bernankes successor will need to reassure the markets that he or she is tough enough to raise interest rates when necessary. Much as a dovish president might feel under pressure to order air strikes, Ms Yellens reputation could push her to tighten too soon. Such are the perverse incentives of expectations. As for Mr Geithner, his résumé is equally stellar. But he insists he is uninterested in the job. The continuing Washington controversy over the Internal Revenue Services targeting of Tea Party groups would also risk an ugly Senate confirmation process. The events took place while Mr Geithner was Treasury secretary and the IRS is supervised by the Treasury department. No one suggests Mr Geithner knew of the audits. But Republicans would be tempted to revive the 2009 controversy over his failure to pay $34,000 in taxes on time. In contrast, Mr Kohn would probably sail through Senate confirmation. But most people are betting that, at 70, he will be seen as too old.
Which leaves Mr Summers. I should disclose that I once worked for him (and that he writes regularly for the Financial Times) but I have not spoken to him for this column. Peoples chief concern is rightly about his emotional quotient rather than his IQ. No one has any doubt on the latter. Since the Fed chairmans job is to build consensus among sometimes fragile egos, Mr Summers abrasiveness would count fatally against him, critics argue. Such worries are exaggerated. Even if he has greatly mellowed in recent years, as his friends insist, charm is overrated. He would make a bad choice as a mediator in Syria. Fortunately, a Fed chairman faces lesser diplomatic challenges. The most important quality is intellectual leadership something Mr Summers would offer in greater abundance than the others.
An abiding yen for consensus may even be a handicap at a critical time such as this. The laconic Paul Volcker, Americas most celebrated former Fed chairman, had a patchy record of managing colleagues and was twice outvoted on the Feds Open Market Committee. Being in the minority has been unthinkable for a Fed chairman ever since. Yet Mr Volcker was able to impose his controversial stamp on the inflation-prone economy with the most painful course of high interest rates since the 1930s. The Fed became a target of angry demonstrations. Mr Volcker stuck it out and presided over the later easing that helped spur the 1980s boom. His success owed little to charm. The perverse effects of Mr Summers own reputation should not be overlooked. The risk may in fact be that he treads too softly.
Worries about Mr Summers Senate hearings are also overblown. Among economists, he is seen as neither a hawk nor a dove. Republicans would be unlikely to question his credentials. In practice and not just for the hearings his reputation for neutrality would be an asset. The only danger would come from the left, where Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, could raise questions about Mr Summers central role in the financial deregulation of the 1990s. Valid though many of the criticisms are, they would be unlikely to derail his nomination.
Likewise, in 2004, Mr Summers resigned as Harvard Universitys president after seeming to cast doubt on womens aptitude for maths. It was a stupid comment for which he apologised. Someone with a better diplomatic record would have got away with it. But it would be a weak basis almost 10 years later on which to reject his US monetary credentials. With any presidential nomination, the political calculus is always a wild card. The same is true of personality and Mr Summers has made more than his share of enemies. Any of the other contenders for Fed chairman, including Ms Yellen, would make a good choice. But if Mr Obama wants to fill the job solely on merit, Mr Summers ought to have the edge.
Summers (Samuelson)is Jewish. He is a crook. He is an economic idiot. He ruined Harvard's trust fund. He is a protege of Robert Rubin who stole all of the gold in Fort Knox that LBJ didn't steal. He will continue the Bernanke and Greenspan tradition. Are there no FED chairmen who are not Jewish apart from the Mormons?
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#1. To: Horse (#0)
They are all descendants of the Jewish money changers mentioned in the Bible.
..LIFE IS LIKE A COIN, YOU CAN CHOOSE TO SPEND IT ANYWAY YOU WISH, BUT YOU CAN ONLY SPEND IT ONCE...
Give Me Liberty posted on 2013-05-28 10:41:33 ET Reply Trace Private Reply
#2. To: Horse (#0)
On the other hand, he got in trouble once for violating PC on the subject of women and science/math. Nobody's all bad.
"Mr. Prime Minister, there is only one important question facing us, and that is the question whether the white race will survive." -- Leonid Brezhnev to James Callahan
Prefrontal Vortex posted on 2013-05-28 12:01:44 ET Reply Trace Private Reply
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The Swedish Welfare State Is on Fire Stockholms rioting goes on, night after night. The police seem powerless to stop this.
Immigrant youths are in the streets, burning cars that belong to immigrant adults.
Certainly, wandering around Husby last week, it was hard at first glance to see quite what the problem was. Built in the 1970s as part of the Million Programme that aimed to give affordable housing for all Swedes, the estate is one of dozens on Stockholms outskirts that now house mainly immigrant populations, including large numbers from Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Iraq.
It turns out that open immigration, a generation of state handouts to immigrants, and tolerance greater than any in Western Europe has not work as planned. Surprise, surprise!
Two decades on, though, white flight has left only one in five of Husbys flats occupied by ethnic Swedes, and many of their immigrant replacements do not seem to share his view that a new life in Sweden is a dream come true. Last week, the neighbourhood erupted into rioting, sparking some of the fiercest urban unrest that Sweden has seen in decades, and a new debate about the success of racial integration.
In the old days, the neighbourhood was more Swedish and life felt like a dream, but now there are just too many foreigners, and a new generation that has grown up here with just their own culture, he said, gesturing towards the hooded youths milling around in Husbys pedestrianised shopping precinct.
Also, in Sweden you cannot hit your children to discipline them, and this is a problem for foreign parents. The kids can feel they can cause whatever trouble they want, and the police dont even arrest any of them most of the time.
Liberalism is coming home to roost in Europes model welfare state.
The disturbances erupted in Husby last weekend, after police shot dead an elderly man brandishing a machete inside his house. Angered at what they saw as police heavyhandedness, youths torched cars and buildings and stoned police and firefighters. Police were then forced to draft in extra manpower from outside Stockholm as the trouble spread to other immigrant-dominated suburbs of the capital and towns such as Orebro in central Sweden, where 25 masked youths set fire to a school on Friday night.
So, they burned down a state-funded school. This is the equivalent of sacrilege in statist Western Europe: worse than burning down a church.
What caused this? Liberals know. Meanwhile politicians from the Swedish Left, which has ruled the country for most of the post-war period, blamed the trouble on social spending cuts introduced by Mr Reinfeldt, whose Moderate Party vowed to trim though not slash the welfare budget when he took office in 2006.
Thats right. Sweden needs more wealth redistribution, more taxation, more handouts. That will fix it!
Certainly, claims of racism upset many Swedes, who have little colonial history, and whose decision to admit large numbers of Third World migrants from the 1980s onwards was born of no particular political obligation, more just a very Swedish sense of humanitarian duty to the wider world. From the very start, the government also sought to avoid creating a German-style guest worker class by promoting immigrants rights and introducing a plethora of programmes to promote racial integratkion.
Yet despite Swedish language education being offered free to all long-term immigrants, ghettos of foreigners have flourished in recent years.
No kidding! Will wonders never cease?
We have tried harder than any other European country to integrate, spending billions on a welfare system that is designed to help jobless immigrants and guarantee them a good quality of life, said Marc Abramsson, leader of the National Democrats Party. Yet we have areas where there are ethnic groups that just dont identify with Swedish society. They see the police and even the fire brigade as part of the state, and they attack them. We have tried everything, anything, to improve things, but it hasnt worked. Its not about racism, its just that multi-culturalism doesnt recognise how humans actually function.
Swedes ask: But where is the gratitude? Swedes are silly.
Still, some of Husbys younger generation argue that it is unreasonable of Swedes to expect them to be perennially grateful for taking them in, even from the dire circumstances in their homelands.
Among them is local youth worker Rami al Khamisi, 25, whose family escaped to Sweden from Saddam Husseins Iraq back in 1994, smuggling themselves first through Turkey and Russia and then across the Baltic in a fishing boat commandeered by a people smuggler. I was six years old and the boat was packed with about 60 people, he said. An old man died, and they threw him in the water because his body was smelling a lot.
That, though, he says, is his only real memory of the hardships of his early life, and as such, he finds it hard to be as thankful as his parents still are to his adopted homeland. They compare it to Baghdad or Somalia, he said. But we younger immigrants only really know Sweden, and we just compare our situation to the one around us.
And then they torch cars in their own neighborhoods.
This is envy in action. It is resentment against visible signs of success. It cannot be placated. The very fact that the welfare state liberals offer to buy it off with more welfare breeds resentment. The fact that white Swedes have money to use to buy off the rioters enrages the rioters even more.
White Europeans no longer reproduce at replacement rates. The future of Europe is in the immigrants ghettos.
As Dr. Phil asks, Hows that working out?
Former Pro-GMO Scientist Speaks Out on the Real Dangers of Genetically Engineered Food
Who better to speak the truth about the risks posed by genetically modified (GM) foods than Thierry Vrain, a former research scientist for Agriculture Canada? It was Vrains job to address public groups and reassure them that GM crops and food were safe, a task he did with considerable knowledge and passion.
But Vrain, who once touted GM crops as a technological advancement indicative of sound science and progress, has since started to acknowledge the steady flow of research coming from prestigious labs and published in high-impact journals; research showing that there is significant reason for concern about GM crops and he has now changed his position.
Former Pro-GMO Scientist Cites GM Food Safety Concerns
Vrain cites the concerning fact that it is studies done by Monsanto and other biotech companies that claim GM crops have no impact on the environment and are safe to eat. But federal departments in charge of food safety in the US and Canada have not conducted tests to affirm this alleged safety.
There are no long-term feeding studies performed in these countries [US and Canada] to demonstrate the claims that engineered corn and soya are safe. All we have are scientific studies out of Europe and Russia, showing that rats fed engineered food die prematurely.
These studies show that proteins produced by engineered plants are different than what they should be. Inserting a gene in a genome using this technology can and does result in damaged proteins. The scientific literature is full of studies showing that engineered corn and soya contain toxic or allergenic proteins.
I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat.
The Whole Paradigm of Genetic Engineering Technology is Based on a Misunderstanding
This misunderstanding is the one gene, one protein hypothesis from 70 years ago, which stated that each gene codes for a single protein. However, the Human Genome project completed in 2002 failed dramatically to identify one gene for every one protein in the human body, forcing researchers to look to epigenetic factors -- namely, "factors beyond the control of the gene" to explain how organisms are formed, and how they work.
According to Vrain:
Genetic engineering is 40 years old. It is based on the naive understanding of the genome based on the One Gene one protein hypothesis of 70 years ago, that each gene codes for a single protein. The Human Genome project completed in 2002 showed that this hypothesis is wrong.
The whole paradigm of the genetic engineering technology is based on a misunderstanding. Every scientist now learns that any gene can give more than one protein and that inserting a gene anywhere in a plant eventually creates rogue proteins. Some of these proteins are obviously allergenic or toxic.
In other words, genetic engineering is based on an extremely oversimplified model that suggests that by taking out or adding one or several genes, you can create a particular effect or result. But this premise, which GMO expert Dr. Philip Bereano calls the Lego model, is not correct. You cannot simply take out a yellow piece and put in a green piece and call the structure identical because there are complex interactions that are still going to take place and be altered, even if the initial structure still stands.
Serious Problems May Arise From Horizontal Gene Transfer
GE plants and animals are created using horizontal gene transfer (also called horizontal inheritance), as contrasted with vertical gene transfer, which is the mechanism in natural reproduction. Vertical gene transfer, or vertical inheritance, is the transmission of genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction, i.e., breeding a male and female from one species.
By contrast, horizontal gene transfer involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results. Proponents of GM crops assume they can apply the principles of vertical inheritance to horizontal inheritance, but according to Dr. David Suzuki, an award-winning geneticist, this assumption is flawed in just about every possible way and is just lousy science.
Genes dont function in a vacuum they act in the context of the entire genome. Whole sets of genes are turned on and off in order to arrive at a particular organism, and the entire orchestration is an activated genome. Its a dangerous mistake to assume a genes traits are expressed properly, regardless of where theyre inserted. The safety of GM food is based only on a hypothesis, and this hypothesis is already being proven wrong.
Leading Scientists Disprove GMO Safety
Vrain cites the compelling report "GMO Myths and Truths"2 as just one of many scientific examples disputing the claims of the biotech industry that GM crops yield better and more nutritious food, save on the use of pesticides, have no environmental impact whatsoever and are perfectly safe to eat. The authors took a science-based approach to evaluating the available research, arriving at the conclusion that most of the scientific evidence regarding safety and increased yield potential do not at all support the claims. In fact, the evidence demonstrates the claims for genetically engineered foods are not just wildly overblown they simply aren't true.
The authors of this critical report include Michael Antoniou, PhD, who heads the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King's College at London School of Medicine in the UK. He's a 28-year veteran of genetic engineering technology who has himself invented a number of gene expression biotechnologies; and John Fagan, PhD, a leading authority on food sustainability, biosafety, and GE testing. If you want to get a comprehensive understanding of genetically engineered foods, I strongly recommend reading this report.
Not only are GM foods less nutritious than non-GM foods, they pose distinct health risks, are inadequately regulated, harm the environment and farmers, and are a poor solution to world hunger. Worse still, these questionable GM crops are now polluting non-GM crops, leading to contamination that cannot ever be recalled the way you can take a bad drug off the market once traditional foods are contaminated with GM genes, there is no going back! Vrain expanded:3
Genetic pollution is so prevalent in North and South America where GM crops are grown that the fields of conventional and organic grower are regularly contaminated with engineered pollen and losing certification. The canola and flax export market from Canada to Europe (a few hundreds of millions of dollars) were recently lost because of genetic pollution.
American Academy of Environmental Medicine Called for Moratorium on GM Foods FOUR Years Ago
In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium on GM foods, and said that long-term independent studies must be conducted, stating:
Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation "
Despite this sound warning, GM foods continue to be added to the US food supply with no warning to the Americans buying and eating this food. Genetic manipulation of crops, and more recently food animals, is a dangerous game that has repeatedly revealed that assumptions about how genetic alterations work and the effects it has on animals and humans who consume such foods, are deeply flawed and incomplete. Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant claims genetically engineered crops are the most-tested food product that the world has ever seen. What he doesnt tell you is that:
1.Industry-funded research predictably affects the outcome of the trial. This has been verified by dozens of scientific reviews comparing funding with the findings of the study. When industry funds the research, its virtually guaranteed to be positive. Therefore, independent studies must be done to replicate and thus verify results
2.The longest industry-funded animal feeding study was 90 days, which recent research has confirmed is FAR too short. In the worlds first independently funded lifetime feeding study, massive health problems set in during and after the 13th month, including organ damage and cancer
3.Companies like Monsanto and Syngenta rarely if ever allow independent researchers access to their patented seeds, citing the legal protection these seeds have under patent laws. Hence independent research is extremely difficult to conduct
4.There is no safety monitoring. Meaning, once the GM item in question has been approved, not a single country on earth is actively monitoring and tracking reports of potential health effects
It Might Take More Than One Bite to Kill You
One argument I hear repeatedly is that nobody has been sick or died after a meal (or a trillion meals since 1996) of GM food, Vrain said. Nobody gets ill from smoking a pack of cigarettes either. But it sure adds up, and we did not know that in the 1950s before we started our wave of epidemics of cancer. Except this time it is not about a bit of smoke, its the whole food system that is of concern. The corporate interest must be subordinated to the public interest, and the policy of substantial equivalence must be scrapped as it is clearly untrue.
Remember, Vrain used to give talks about the benefits of GM foods, but he simply couldnt ignore the research any longer and why, then, should you? All in all, if GM foods have something wrong with them that potentially could cause widespread illness or environmental devastation, Monsanto would rather NOT have you find out about it. Not through independent research, nor through a simple little label that would allow you to opt out of the experiment, should you choose not to take them on their word. As Vrain continued:
The Bt corn and soya plants that are now everywhere in our environment are registered as insecticides. But are these insecticidal plants regulated and have their proteins been tested for safety? Not by the federal departments in charge of food safety, not in Canada and not in the U.S.
We should all take these studies seriously and demand that government agencies replicate them rather than rely on studies paid for by the biotech companies Individuals should be encouraged to make their decisions on food safety based on scientific evidence and personal choice, not on emotion or the personal opinions of others.
At present, the only way to avoid GM foods is to ditch processed foods from your grocery list, and revert back to whole foods grown according to organic standards.
Keep Fighting for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods
While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November, by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people's initiative 522, "The People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act," will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. As stated on LabelitWA.org:
"Calorie and nutritional information were not always required on food labels. But since 1990 it has been required and most consumers use this information every day. Country-of-origin labeling wasn't required until 2002. The trans fat content of foods didn't have to be labeled until 2006. Now, all of these labeling requirements are accepted as important for consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says we must know with labeling if our orange juice is from fresh oranges or frozen concentrate.
Doesn't it make sense that genetically engineered foods containing experimental viral, bacterial, insect, plant or animal genes should be labeled, too? Genetically engineered foods do not have to be tested for safety before entering the market. No long-term human feeding studies have been done. The research we have is raising serious questions about the impact to human health and the environment.
I-522 provides the transparency people deserve. I-522 will not raise costs to consumers or food producers. It simply would add more information to food labels, which manufacturers change routinely anyway, all the time. I-522 does not impose any significant cost on our state. It does not require the state to conduct label surveillance, or to initiate or pursue enforcement. The state may choose to do so, as a policy choice, but I-522 was written to avoid raising costs to the state or consumers."
Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn't have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37 camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let's not allow Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can, regardless of what state you live in.
No matter where you live in the United States, please donate money to these labeling efforts through the Organic Consumers Fund.
If you live in Washington State, please sign the I-522 petition. You can also volunteer to help gather signatures across the state.
For timely updates on issues relating to these and other labeling initiatives, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the Washington initiative
SC Rep Blasts Hillary On Benghazi: You Cant Lie To Congress Whether Youre Sworn In Or Not Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who serves on several House committees including the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, discussed the Benghazi scandal in an interview with the Daily Callers Ginni Thomas. Particularly, he dealt with former Secretary of State Hillary Clintons role in the scandal and he questioned the method by which the administration has revealed to the American people what happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi.
Thomas said that some think that because Clinton was not sworn in by the Senate or the House makes the case for the need for a select committee that doesnt make any mistakes on the seriousness of investigating the attack in Benghazi.
You cant lie to Congress whether youre sworn in or not, Gowdy said bluntly. I know that some committees do swear in witnesses and some do not, but the reality is that you cant lie to Congress whether youre sworn in or not.
Gowdy went on to say that some committees dont like the custom of swearing in former members. Hillary Clinton would fall under that custom as a former member of the United States Senate.
However, It doesnt impact your ability, not with respect to her, but with respect to anyone, to say you did not you were not honest with the committee of Congress, the South Carolina representative stated.
Ive never been on a committee that had the opportunity to question her, he added. Ive watched the questioning and I would like the chance to ask her some questions and hopefully I will get that chance at some point.
Gowdy said the ARB (Accountability Review Board) report had been labeled the final say so on Benghazi, but added that it was a befuddling, if not mind numbing omission, since Clinton was never interviewed for the report.
If you want to know what happened in Benghazi I would think that you would talk to everyone who might potentially have firsthand knowledge, Gowdy said. If 10 people watch a car wreck why would you talk to three?
Gowdy, like many of us wonders why the ARB didnt question her, since she was the head of the State Department.
The Accountability Review Board, at least in my judgment, was calculated to insulate the State Department, not to tell us what happened in Benghazi, he continued.
This is why Raymond Maxwell, a former official at the State Department who placed on forced administrative leave after the ARB report was released, believes that Hillary Clinton and her staff were the ones spearheading the review, not an independent board.
Gowdy expressed confidence in Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to find out all the relevant factors about what happened in Benghazi. He also said it didnt have to be a committee hearing that was used to get the information. Depositions can also be taken to get the truth.
In fact, rather than have questioning for five minutes at a time, Gowdy said Depositions where you can go for hours and hours and hours is more calculated to get the full story out.
Rep. Gowdy said that he didnt know how you would have a credible report if you failed to investigate all those who had information on Benghazi before, during or after September 11, 2012.
According to Gowdy, Issa has confidence in his committee and he asks their input in the best way to approach the Benghazi issue and the best way to get the facts out. Gowdy believes that depositions are the best way to do that. Thats the way we do it in litigation, he said.
John McCain reportedly sneaked into Syria to meet with rebel leaders, calls for no-fly zone renewed According to a report, Sen. John McCain entered Syria unannounced (and probably without permission) to meet with leaders of the Free Syrian Army who called for the U.S. to openly provide heavy weapons, a no-fly zone and airstrikes on Hezbollah and Syrian government forces.
Keep in mind, the United States is already providing weapons to Syrian rebels and the calls for a no-fly zone are hardly new.
However, given the increasingly prominent role played by Hezbollah and the potential of spillover into Lebanon, the calls for targeting of the Shiite group are noteworthy.
Yet most important of all is that McCain actually met with the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army and in doing so, associated himself with a group that previously told their forces to cooperate with the terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra.
If the kind of broad definitions outlined in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and 2013 were applied to McCain, he could easily be indefinitely detained for substantially support[ing] al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces.
While the FSA has attempted to distance itself from al-Nusra, it clearly remains an associated force and is, according to the Guardian the best-equipped, financed and motivated force fighting Bashar al-Assads regime.
Of course, McCain will likely never be held responsible for what he is doing, just as he was not held responsible for openly supporting terrorists in Libya.
Salem Idris, leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, met with McCain and praised him for the visit in an interview with the Daily Beast.
The visit of Senator McCain to Syria is very important and very useful especially at this time, Idris said. We need American help to have change on the ground; we are now in a very critical situation.
What we want from the U.S. government is to take the decision to support the Syrian revolution with weapons and ammunition, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons, Idris said. Of course we want a no-fly zone and we ask for strategic strikes against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon and inside Syria.
In other words, Idris wants the U.S. to spend even more money we dont have to provide even more assistance to the Syrian rebels.
Furthermore, Idris wants to provide the same type of aid that absolutely destroyed Libya. Perhaps most amazingly, he wants the U.S. to attack Lebanon when it would be nothing more than an unprovoked strike on a sovereign nation without real justification.
While the Obama administration is apparently attempting to push the Syrian rebels to attend a conference in Geneva to negotiate with the Syrian government, Idris once again rejected peace talks without preconditions that will never be met.
We are with Geneva if it means that [Syrian President] Bashar [al Assad] will resign and leave the country and the military officials of the regime will be brought to justice, Idris said.
That essentially means that unless the government agrees to dissolve itself before the talks begin, they wont participate in the talks. Such an approach from the Syrian opposition is nothing new and has continuously shot down any possibility of peaceful negotiation.
According to the Daily Beast, McCain and Idris held separate meetings with two groups of FSA commanders and their Civil Revolutionary Council counterparts in Gaziantep, Turkey.
The trip was reportedly coordinated with assistance from the Syrian Emergency Task Foce, an American non-profit group that works on behalf of the Syrian rebels.
Two leaders of the group were present at all of the meetings and told the Daily Beast that the rebels dont have enough ammunition or effective weapons to counter the regimes use of airpower.
They also claimed that a growing number of Russian military advisers are present in Damascus along with Iranian and Iraqi fighters.
Hezbollah has taken over the regimes role in fighting rebels in Homs, they claim, saying that four to seven thousand Hezbollah fighters are present in and around the city.
This was the start of a really important engagement between various forces in the U.S. government and people in the civilian and armed opposition who are working together to fight for a free Syria, said Elizabeth OBagy, the political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force.
Senator McCain proved today you can very easily go and meet with these people, OBagy said. Hes the first U.S. senator to step foot in free Syria and one of the first government officials to reach out to the FSA officials and thats a huge step.
U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford who previously stepped far out of his role as Ambassador to openly criticize Assad and meet with prominent opposition members also slipped into Syria while on a trip to Turkey earlier this month.
Despite the massive amount of support provided by the United States to the rebels, they contend that it isnt enough.
They voiced their frustration at the policy of the U.S., because they believe that its in the interest of both the U.S. and Syria for the right people to be armed, said Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force.
We need to increase the frequency of these types of visits by senior-level policy makers, Moustafa said. Its the best way to know who we are arming and to know who we are really dealing with.
All of this comes as British Foreign Secretary William Hague just announced that the European Union has agreed to lift the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition.
While McCain refused to comment on this most recent visit, in an unrelated interview with the Daily Beast last week McCain made some strong statements about Syria.
Ive been known to be an optimist, but here are the Russians sending them up-to-date missiles, continued flights of arms going into Syria, Putin keeps our secretary of State waiting for three hours It doesnt lend itself to optimism, all it does is delay us considering doing what we really need to do, McCain said. The reality is that Putin will only abandon Assad when he thinks that Assad is losing. Right now, at worst its a stalemate. In the view of some, he is succeeding.
As CBS News points out, just last week the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill that would approve sending weapons to moderate rebels forces [sic].
As the situation in Syria looks increasingly grim and the potential for regional spillover seems more likely than ever, it is important to keep an eye on the situation. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
Rep. Adam Schiff preparing legislation that could end AUMF, remove authority for war on terror According to a report, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is preparing legislation that would end the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and in doing so would remove much of the authority for the war on terror and all that comes with it.
The AUMF has been used to justify everything from indefinite detention of Americans to assassinations carried out by drones so legislation that would sunset the AUMF would bring about many changes.
The current AUMF is outdated and straining at the edges to justify the use of force outside the war theater, Schiff said to Wireds Danger Room.
Schiff is still in the very early stages of drafting the bill and doesnt even have a timeline for introducing it. Yet Schiffs effort is quite noteworthy since there was only one previous effort to change the AUMF. Obviously that failed.
The supposed end of the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014 though of course the U.S. drone presence there will continue after that will be used as a hinge point for the sunsetting of the AUMF, according to Danger Room.
However, Schiff said that he is unsure if Congress should pass a new piece of legislation that would give the president a limited version of the war powers given under the AUMF.
The American counterterrorism architecture is becoming increasingly unsustainable, Schiff said, ut I have only a less clear idea of what should follow.
Rep. Barbara Lee, also a California Democrat, was the only legislator to vote against the AUMF in 2001 and has failed in her efforts to get the authorization repealed since that time.
Im convinced that if we do not repeal this authorization to use force that I voted against in 2001, we are going to see this state of perpetual war forever, Lee said earlier this year, referring to the AUMF.
The possibility of some kind of reexamination of the AUMF looks more likely than ever, that is, if we can take Obama at his word. Unfortunately that is very hard to do.
I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMFs mandate, Obama said during his speech at the National Defense University. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end.
That statement was quite different from the position of then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta who said the U.S. must maintain open-ended drone war to prevent another attack on America.
Similarly, generals from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior civilians at the Pentagon all argued that the AUMF was necessary and should remain in place unchanged during a hearing last week.
Obamas position seems somewhat self-contradictory. Even Danger Rooms Spencer Ackerman pointed out, At the National Defense University, Obama simultaneously talked about a longer war and removing his own authorities for waging it.
Then again, when the Obama administration admits to killing American citizens while refusing to ever explain the legal justification for the killings in court, that kind of inconsistent statement isnt all that surprising.
Theres probably bipartisan support for the idea that the existing AUMF is ill-suited to the nature of the threats we face now, Schiff said.
Yet Schiff also noted there will probably be bipartisan opposition to what would come after.
Schiffs efforts are still in the quite formative stages but it cant hurt to encourage him to push for a much overdue challenge to the AUMF.
You can contact him by calling his Washington D.C. office at (202) 225-4176 or writing him at 2411 Rayburn HOB Washington D.C. 20515. You can contact him at his Burbank, California office by calling (818) 450-2900 or (323) 315-5555 or writing him at 245 East Olive Ave., #200 Burbank, California 91502.
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Rand Paul: Senate Is Arming Al-Qaeda and Rushing to War in Syria This is an important moment. You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda.
That was the declaration Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.; pictured) made on May 21 during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Pauls comments were directed at his colleagues, nearly all of whom voted to send arms to Syrian rebels.
Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) co-sponsored the bill that authorizes critical support to the Syrian opposition through provision of military assistance, training, and additional humanitarian support.
The bill sailed through the committee, passing with bipartisan support by a vote of 15-3.
Senator Paul offered two amendments to the bill officially styled the Syria Transition Support Act one that would have forbidden the transfer of weapons to the rebel forces fighting to oust the government of current Syrian president Bashar al-Asad, and another that would have prevented the use of U.S. military armed forces in Syria.
Both of Pauls amendments were rejected by the committee.
Apart from supplying lethal and non-lethal weaponry to Syrian opposition forces, the Menendez-Corker bill contains several other regime-toppling provisions, all of which are boastfully reported by Mendendez on his website. They include:
Creation of a $250 million transition fund each year through FY2015 drawn from funds otherwise appropriated for regional transition support;
Sanctions on arms and oil sales to Assad: Targeting any person that the President of the United States determines has knowingly participated in or facilitated a transaction related to the sale or transfer of military equipment, arms, petroleum, or petroleum products to the Assad regime.; and
Amendment to the Syria Accountability Act: To allow for sanctions removal once a transitional government is in place and certain terrorism and WMD criteria have been met.
Neither Pauls warnings nor his amendments were enough to counteract the powerful politicians pushing to arm the Syrian rebels. A cadre of lawmakers from seemingly distinct bands of the political spectrum lined up behind the move to add Syria to the list of Middle Eastern countries with U.S.-approved ruling parties. As in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, these dictators-in-waiting will walk a path to power paved with American money and likely covered in the blood of American soldiers.
Rubio, described by many as a Tea Party favorite, chastised Senator Paul, refuting his allegation that a vote for arming the Syrian rebels was tantamount to giving guns to al-Qaeda.
"I don't think any member of this committee would vote for anything we thought was going to arm al Qaeda," said Rubio.
Mendendez piled on, saying, "Al Qaeda, unfortunately, is well-armed. That is the present reality in Syria."
Senator Corker tried striking a less hostile tone, arguing that arming rebels vetted by Congress as called for in his bill would prevent U.S. weaponry from being funneled into more radical segments of the coalition of anti-Assad armed forces.
Seeing through Corkers false dilemma, Paul responded, saying, Its impossible to know who our friends are. He later said that the vote was nothing more than a rush to war.
In an exclusive interview with The New American, Senator Paul pointed out the irony in the fact that the original Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) enacted after September 11, 2001 called for finding and destroying al-Qaeda, while the legislation passed on May 21 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would arm known associates of that very organization.
These people [Syrian rebels] will say they love America knowing that thats how to get weapons. They lie to us and then shoot us in the back, Paul explained.
Another bit of irony apparently lost on 15 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is the fact that the United States has walked this road before. In the 1980s, Congress voted to arm militant Islamic forces under the pretext that the enemy of our enemy was our friend. Then, within 20 years, the very beneficiaries of U.S. military largesse in Afghanistan seized control of that country and reportedly sheltered and trained the men who carried out the attacks of September 11.
One wonders how (or if) the Senate fails to appreciate the destruction that will surely come from once again sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind that comes from arming those who would do us harm. Some senators, however, seemed determined to deploy troops in every corner of the planet, regardless of the fact these young men and women could be killed by militants armed with weapons supplied by their very own government.
Never one to miss a chance to take his turn banging on the war drum, Senator John McCain mocked an amendment offered by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) that would have placed more stringent controls on the type of weapon shipped to Syrian rebels.
"The senator from New Mexico wants to use shotguns against SCUD missiles," McCain said.
Rand Paul has been banging another drum, however. During the hearings on the attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya, Paul brought up the possibility that the Obama administration was covering up the existence of a gun running pipeline running throughout the Middle East.
Paul, in fact, tried to get answers to these questions from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Senates investigation of the Benghazi raid that left four people dead, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Addressing Secretary Clinton, Paul asked directly, Is the U. S. involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?
Clinton demurred, claiming that shed never heard about that allegation.
Undaunted, Paul continued, Its been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that may have weapons, and what Id like to know is the annex that was close by, were they involved with procuring, buying, selling, obtaining weapons, and were any of these weapons being transferred to other countries, any countries, Turkey included?
Always the savvy politician, Clinton responded, Well, Senator, youll have to direct that question to the agency that ran the annex. I will see what information is available.
Youre saying you dont know? asked Paul.
I do not know, Clinton said. I dont have any information on that.
Americans have a right to know, however, whos receiving millions in tax dollars taken from them.
A Reuters article from last August, which detailed a secret order signed by President Obama providing support to Syrian rebel forces opposing the regime of Bashar al-Assad, noted, Recent news reports from the region have suggested that the influence and numbers of Islamist militants, some of them connected to al Qaeda or its affiliates, have been growing among Assad's opponents.
Later, The New American covered the same story, writing that Western governments, brutal Sunni-Arab dictatorships, an assortment of terror groups including al-Qaeda, and other powerful interests have all been backing the uprising since long before violence even broke out last year.
In a story covering the violence of the Syrian uprising, the BBC added credibility to the accusations:
The al-Qaeda-styled group in Syria is Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham (the Front for the Protection of the Syrian People).
Like other al-Qaeda affiliated groups, al-Nusra's statements and videos are usually issued by its own media group, al-Manara al-Baida (the White Minaret) in Syria.
Al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for several attacks against the Syrian army, security and shabiha (state-sponsored thugs) since it announced its formation early this year.
Finally, under a headline reading "Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria, The Guardian (U.K.) reported:
They try to hide their presence. "Some people are worried about carrying the [black] flags," said Abu Khuder. "They fear America will come and fight us. So we fight in secret. Why give Bashar and the west a pretext?" But their existence is common knowledge in Mohassen. Even passers-by joke with the men about car bombs and IEDs [improvised explosive devices].
According to Abu Khuder, his men are working closely with the military council that commands the Free Syrian Army brigades in the region. "We meet almost every day," he said. "We have clear instructions from our [al-Qaida] leadership that if the FSA need our help we should give it. We help them with IEDs and car bombs. Our main talent is in the bombing operations." Abu Khuder's men had a lot of experience in bomb-making from Iraq and elsewhere, he added.
Regardless of Rand Pauls efforts to keep the U.S. from running headlong into an armed conflict in Syria and his accurate depiction of the duplicity of those Syrian opposition forces waiting for the shipment of weapons from the United States, the Senate is speedily moving toward awarding al-Qaeda with crates of technologically advanced U.S. weaponry.
The Menendez-Corker bill will now move to Senate floor for debate by the entire body. A member of the staff of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told The New American that he was unsure when the bill would be put on the calendar.
Texas House passes a dozen gun bills The Texas House approved a batch of bills Saturday to further soften gun laws that were already among the country's most firearms-friendly, allowing college students to carry handguns in class, putting potentially armed marshals in public schools and exempting the state from any future federal bans on assault rifles, high-capacity magazines or universal background checks.
Dubbed "gun day" by supporters and opponents alike, the parade of votes came as tens of thousands of members of the National Rifle Association attended the group's annual convention in Houston. Gov. Rick Perry welcomed convention attendees Friday with a video of him taking target practice using a semi-automatic rifle.
The 12 approved gun bills must all clear final, procedural votes before heading to the state Senate. Still, they advanced with only minimal delay, cruising past Democrat-led efforts to block or stall them. Nearly all were approved by simple voice votes.
A Democratic parliamentary point of order managed to shoot down just one, a bill by Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, that would have allowed the use of a concealed handgun license as valid proof of personal identification even though obtaining such licenses requires a background check that's not necessary to get driver licenses and many other forms of ID.
The fiercest debate in the Republican-controlled chamber came over the plan to allow students over 21 who already hold concealed weapons permits to take their handguns into college classrooms. The issue became exceedingly volatile during the last legislative session in 2011, and ultimately failed.
Pro-Second Amendment lawmakers have revived it, however. Sponsor Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Tomball, reminded lawmakers: "College campuses are not crime-free zones."
The measure would allow colleges and universities to opt out of the new rules annually which has softened opposition to it among some top higher education leaders. Current law already allows universities to opt in, and the Texas A&M University System is among those that have done so.
Meanwhile, the Texas Senate has already approved a separate measure allowing college students to keep guns in their cars on campus. But the prospects for the campus carry bill passed by the House on Saturday appear far bleaker. Top Republicans have even suggested the issue will be a non-starter in the upper chamber.
The House also overwhelmingly approved a bill that attracted national attention when it was introduced by first-term, tea party Republican Rep. Steve Toth of The Woodlands. It would nullify within state borders any federal laws banning assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, or expansion of background checks for firearms owners, even though doing so would almost certainly violate the U.S. Constitution.
"There are 27 amendments in the Constitution but only one says 'shall not be infringed,'" Toth said. "The Second Amendment is the amendment that keeps the people free."
Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, raised a string of parliamentary objections to many of the gun bills, but they all failed. He asked Toth, "Is your bill political posturing?"
"We just passed by voice vote a slew of pro-gun legislation," Walle said. "So what is this? Why do we need it?"
Rep. Gene Wu, a Houston Democrat, went further on Twitter, saying, "In case your head is too thick to understand: State law will not trump federal law."
Conroe Republican Rep. Brandon Creighton, and several co-authors, sponsored a bill to punish by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine police officers or government officials who try to enforce federal firearms limits in Texas.
Also passing was the school marshal measure, sponsored by Dallas Republican Rep. Jason Villalba. The marshals would be employees who already hold concealed weapons permits and are chosen by their public school district or charter schools to receive firearms training. They would keep guns locked away on campus, but have access to them in an emergency though their identities would not be divulged to the public.
Causing fewer fireworks when it passed was a measure reducing penalties for permit holders who accidentally show a concealed handgun.
Three other successful bills reduced the number of hours of training needed to obtain a concealed handgun license and tweaked the rules for renewing or being fingerprinted for one. A separate measure that passed 136-0 reduced the concealed handgun license fee for police officers, military veterans, national and state Guard members and even some Criminal Justice Department employees, despite costing the state up to $2 million in lost revenues.
Another measure that was approved was one by Democratic Rep. Ryan Guillen of Rio Grande City that's meant to prohibit agencies from posting "no carry" signs in cases where carrying a gun isn't illegal and imposing fines for violators. A bill by fellow Democrat Sergio Munoz of Palmview to expand school districts' ability to alert hunters of the location of campuses also passed.
Where Do Cops Come From? Ever wonder how come there are men (and women) in costumes policing the rest of us?
Most people accept this relationship as both given and eternal. That there have always been men (if not always women) in costumes policing the rest of us. But, in fact, its a relatively novel thing. Think back to your schooldays. Do you recall any mention of police when you were learning about the colonial era and the American Revolution? There were sheriffs, yes and the local militia. But these were concerned mostly with keeping the peace that is, stepping in when someone harmed someone else. Up to and even during the Civil War a titanic struggle between the fading remnants of the old republican idea and the centralized, omnipotent state that took its place the idea of police as we know it was essentially unknown.
It is a modern concept one developed out of the company town idea.
You may or may not recall the company town. It is a place once upon a time, a very real place in which the company not only employs nearly everyone but also controls nearly everyone. During work hours and most relevant in terms of the discussion at hand the rest of the time, too. This is achieved by paying the workers not in specie, but in script or tin coinage or some other form of fiat currency issued by the company and good at the company stores in the company town where all the company workers live. Even the workers homes are company homes. In the company town, everything you did was the companys business. And to keep it all nicely organized, there were company police.
Examples of these paternalistic and authoritarian communities include Bournville (see here) founded by Cadbury Chocolate King George Cadbury which was gently paternalistic. And also the less gently paternalistic Pullman, Chicago. You may recall the Pullman Railroad strike of 1894 which got ugly, quickly. The cattle oops, Pullman workers had become recalcitrant.
They were more firmly dealt with.
Often, they were dealt with by badged and costumed goons hired by the men who owned the company town. For example, the infamous Pinkertons pinks, as they were once called.
Shortly after the not-so-Civil War, founder Allan Pinkerton expanded his band of head-crackers into the largest private law enforcement organization in the world with more agents than there were soldiers in the U.S. Army at the time. Andrew Carnegie and other corporatists used the pinks to keep the cattle in line.
But, there was a problem.
The cattle were still free range. They could leave the company town or the crowded city and go somewhere beyond the reach of costumed enforcers. America even post Civil War was not yet a consolidated corporate entity. One could still live relatively free. But it was only a temporary reprieve one based almost entirely on remoteness from the clutches of the octopus and its costumed enforcers, i.e., the police.
It would not be long before America the entire continental United-at-gunpoint-States became one singular, insufferable, inescapable company town. One in which rights no longer existed. Only privileges which could be rescinded at any time, for any reason. Because now, everyone was on the clock, 24-7.
Post not-so-Civil War, the federal leviathan that squatted in DC looked upon the Pinkerton model and smiled. An army literally, with military grades as well as military-style uniforms and the military attitude to go with it was just what was needed to maintain order in the biggest company town the world had yet seen.
But, some light cosmetic retouching was in order. It would not do, from the standpoint of public relations, to have private (that is, corporate) law enforcers. These would have to be transformed into public servants and just like that Americans fell under the total authority of the police. A standing army of enforcers from whom there is no escape and little recourse. Today, most Americans accept, without question, the company town ideal and the enforcers that go along with it. The former distinctions between a private army of goons and an army of goons styled public servants have been effaced. People not only no longer chafe at being ordered around by buzz-cut barking goons they have been conditioned to revere their tormenters as selfless heroes working ever-so-hard to protect them!
The transformation and consolidation of absolute power is both astonishing and fearful.
In a company town, one could at least leave and one could still lawfully defend oneself against an assault by a company goon. Even that is now denied us. To resist in any way even if the costumed enforcer is acting illegally is itself illegal. For example, the courts have ruled that a homeowner may not legally use force to defend his home or himself against a costumed enforcer who forces his way into the home, even if the break-in is utterly illegal. We are expected required to go limp, roll over, present our bellies and trust to the good offices of the officer that we wont get kicked.
Police have become a class of persons immune from the normal rules of civilized human interaction. Almost a sacred priesthood. And we are expected to play the role of humble supplicant thanking them for their service. Somewhere, far below, Alan Pinkerton is looking upward and smiling.
Another Gun Ban Carve-Out, This Time in Texas New York legislators are set to exempt ex-cops from the SAFE Acts unconstitutional provisions. Texans may scoff at Empire State politicians trampling on their residents natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, but Lone Star state pols are no less guilty of enacting a two-tier legal framework for gun owners. To wit this from trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com: Earlier this week, lawmakers added language into a bill that was designed to levy penalties for keeping guns out of public buildings where they should be allowed. The new language said the nine statewide elected officials and all 150 members of the Legislature who held concealed handgun licenses could carry their guns anywhere in Texas. And then it got worse . . .
Under state law, CHL holders are prohibited from carrying guns into a handful of public places, including bars, sporting events, schools and federal buildings. Also excluded are privately-owned buildings that have a no-weapons sign posted.
When the bill author, Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, [above] came back with the bill, some of his colleagues were upset, including [Rep. Kenneth] Sheets.
Guillen took the bill into a conference committee with senators. It was reported back on Saturday, but instead the only major change was that more elected officials this time Congress was added to the exemption.
OK, hold it. Why should ANY politicians have ANY different treatment than ANY Texas taxpayer when it comes to exercising their gun rights? Ready?
Guillen said no members of Congress had requested the provision, but that hes heard from many elected colleagues about numerous threats theyve received and that the provision is meant to increase their safety.
Bullshit. More to the point, public servants packing heat should adhere to same laws that apply to their constituents. To suggest otherwise is to undermine the rule of law. And guess what? Im not the only one whos pissed off at these perfidious pols.
Sheets said hes heard from plenty of people since The News first reported the provision.
The news cycle over the past 48-hours has made it very clear that our constituents dont like the notion of lawmakers giving themselves special privileges and putting ourselves in an elite class above our constituents, Sheets said.
Once again, gun rights are not a right left issue. It just looks that way. The struggle against gun control is a fight between individual liberty and government tyranny. Period.
Russia Warns Obama: Global War Over Bee Apocalypse Coming Soon The shocking minutes relating to President Putins meeting this past week with US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal the Russian leaders extreme outrage over the Obama regimes continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto in the face of a growing bee apocalypse that the Kremlin warns will most certainly lead to world war.
According to these minutes, released in the Kremlin today by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (MNRE), Putin was so incensed over the Obama regimes refusal to discuss this grave matter that he refused for three hours to even meet with Kerry, who had traveled to Moscow on a scheduled diplomatic mission, but then relented so as to not cause an even greater rift between these two nations.
At the center of this dispute between Russia and the US, this MNRE report says, is the undisputed evidence that a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, are destroying our planets bee population, and which if left unchecked could destroy our worlds ability to grow enough food to feed its population.
So grave has this situation become, the MNRE reports, the full European Commission (EC) this past week instituted a two-year precautionary ban (set to begin on 1 December 2013) on these bee killing pesticides following the lead of Switzerland, France, Italy, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine, all of whom had previously banned these most dangerous of genetically altered organisms from being used on the continent.
Two of the most feared neonicotinoids being banned are Actara and Cruiser made by the Swiss global bio-tech seed and pesticide giant Syngenta AG which employs over 26,000 people in over 90 countries and ranks third in total global sales in the commercial agricultural seeds market.
Important to note, this report says, is that Syngenta, along with bio-tech giants Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and DuPont, now control nearly 100% of the global market for genetically modified pesticides, plants and seeds.
Also to note about Syngenta, this report continues, is that in 2012 it was criminally charged in Germany for concealing the fact that its genetically modified corn killed cattle, and settled a class-action lawsuit in the US for $105 million after it was discovered they had contaminated the drinking supply of some 52 million Americans in more than 2,000 water districts with its gender-bending herbicide Atrazine.
To how staggeringly frightful this situation is, the MNRE says, can be seen in the report issued this past March by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) wherein they warned our whole planet is in danger, and as we can, in part, read:
As part of a study on impacts from the worlds most widely used class of insecticides, nicotine-like chemicals called neonicotinoids, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has called for a ban on their use as seed treatments and for the suspension of all applications pending an independent review of the products effects on birds, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife.
It is clear that these chemicals have the potential to affect entire food chains. The environmental persistence of the neonicotinoids, their propensity for runoff and for groundwater infiltration, and their cumulative and largely irreversible mode of action in invertebrates raise significant environmental concerns, said Cynthia Palmer, co-author of the report and Pesticides Program Manager for ABC, one of the nations leading bird conservation organizations.
ABC commissioned world renowned environmental toxicologist Dr. Pierre Mineau to conduct the research. The 100-page report, The Impact of the Nations Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds, reviews 200 studies on neonicotinoids including industry research obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act. The report evaluates the toxicological risk to birds and aquatic systems and includes extensive comparisons with the older pesticides that the neonicotinoids have replaced. The assessment concludes that the neonicotinoids are lethal to birds and to the aquatic systems on which they depend.
A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird, Palmer said. Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid called imidacloprid can fatally poison a bird. And as little as 1/10th of a neonicotinoid-coated corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction.
The new report concludes that neonicotinoid contamination levels in both surface- and ground water in the United States and around the world are already beyond the threshold found to kill many aquatic invertebrates.
Quickly following this damning report, the MRNE says, a large group of group of American beekeepers and environmentalists sued the Obama regime over the continued use of these neonicotinoids stating: We are taking the EPA to court for its failure to protect bees from pesticides. Despite our best efforts to warn the agency about the problems posed by neonicotinoids, the EPA continued to ignore the clear warning signs of an agricultural system in trouble.
And to how bad the worlds agricultural system has really become due to these genetically modified plants, pesticides and seeds, this report continues, can be seen by the ECs proposal this past week, following their ban on neonicotinoids, in which they plan to criminalize nearly all seeds and plants not registered with the European Union, and as we can, in part, read:
Europe is rushing towards the good ol days circa 1939, 40 A new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to grow, reproduce or trade any vegetable seeds that have not been tested, approved and accepted by a new EU bureaucracy named the EU Plant Variety Agency.
Its called the Plant Reproductive Material Law, and it attempts to put the government in charge of virtually all plants and seeds. Home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds would be considered criminals under this law.
This MRNE report points out that even though this EC action may appear draconian, it is nevertheless necessary in order to purge the continent from continued contamination of these genetically bred seed monstrosities.
Most perplexing in all of this, the MRNE says, and which led to Putins anger at the US, has been the Obama regimes efforts to protect pesticide-producer profits over the catastrophic damaging being done to the environment, and as the Guardian News Service detailed in their 2 May article titled US rejects EU claim of insecticide as prime reason for bee colony collapse and which, in part, says:
The European Union voted this week for a two-year ban on a class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, that has been associated with the bees collapse. The US government report, in contrast, found multiple causes for the collapse of the honeybees.
To the truer reason for the Obama regimes protection of these bio-tech giants destroying our world, the MRNE says, can be viewed in the report titled How did Barack Obama become Monsantos man in Washington? and which, in part, says:
After his victory in the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA: At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center. As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsantos genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.
Even worse, after Russia suspended the import and use of an Monsanto genetically modified corn following a study suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage this past September, the Russia Today News Service reported on the Obama regimes response:
The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.
The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the Monsanto Protection Act, as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.
The provision, also decried as a biotech rider, should have gone through the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees for review. Instead, no hearings were held, and the piece was evidently unknown to most Democrats (who hold the majority in the Senate) prior to its approval as part of HR 993, the short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.
On 26 March, Obama quietly signed this Monsanto Protection Act into law thus ensuring the American people have no recourse against this bio-tech giant as they fall ill by the tens of millions, and many millions will surely end up dying in what this MRNE report calls the greatest agricultural apocalypse in human history as over 90% of feral (wild) bee population in the US has already died out, and up to 80% of domestic bees have died out too.
Hershberger Verdict In After Judge Orders Jury NOT to Vote With Conscience Into the wee hours of last night, after about 16 hours of deliberating, the Baraboo, Wisconsin court decided not to wait until Tuesday for a verdict.
Four criminal misdemeanor charges are aimed at Vernon Hershberger for providing fresh food to his community through a contractual agreement with members. Paraphrased by Derrick J Freeman the "crimes" include:
distributing milk from his Grazin Acres dairy farm without a milk producers license,
operating a retail food establishment without a state license,
operating a dairy plant without a state license, and
violating a hold order placed on his dairy products after the state raided his farm.
Prosecution (State) tried to drive home the twisted view that Vernon's family and barn was a "retail operation," instead of the membership agreement where the members (who are owners) thereof put in a lot of the hard work there, like a co-op. Also, there have never been complaints. The 2010 armed raid was initiated by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
Along with the growing list of words that shall not be named during the trial, including liberty, Judge Guy Reynolds had shoo-ed the jury out of the room frequently. Witnesses had a difficult time mincing words, almost having to mince the truth in order to testify because they couldn't freely discuss membership details, or why they chose Vernon's food. Jury members were often left in the dark and coached to only look at LAW.
Again, there is no other way to provide farm fresh foods in Wisconsin - so of course, no matter what, he is a law breaker. They are charging him in part for not having licenses and calling it retail. There is no such thing as a raw milk license in Wisconsin and so how could he ever operate this Grade A facility that they want to smear? The State argued that some license was available for $265 and why didn't he "just get it" and pay the price?
In the last arguments, Defense told the jury they could vote by conscience and to send Vernon back to his family as a free man. Defense gave the jury a crash course in abuse of government authority "which led to creation of jury system: 'Conscience of the community.'" They referenced Orwell's "Newspeak" for the lack of logic: 3 years of battle and all the State really could argue was a farmer "filing the wrong paperwork." And Prosecution had 1,000 pages of data but did not interview one member. Defense called that a "Sad use of power & pathetic waste" and compared the trial to Prohibition.
The judge looked at the jury and around 7 pm said: "(you) must base your verdict on the law I give you." So the judge thinks he gives the law. Can't even put into words what an assassination of justice it is that a judge would even say that. Later the judge read "instruction NOT to be swayed by conscience." Prosecution echoed Reynolds, probably fearing how they looked, and told the jury it is not about whether Vernon is a good man or not . . . also accusing Defense of mis-characterization of crimes saying: "The words that matter here are the instructions on the law. Law comes from judge." (Source)
VERDICT: NOT guilty on first three counts;
GUILTY on last count of violating holding order.
That last count held the maximum penalty which now includes one year in jail and $10,000 in fines.
This was a completely uphill battle for three years with a judge, State, and agents clearly going after him with bias - even obfuscating truth to the jury. Food freedom advocates, including Vernon and his family, are hailing it as a victory. On three counts, the jury voted by conscience and it sets a precedent dealing with license requirements versus membership agreements.
Do you wonder why Vernon cut the tape and continued distributing foods after the State destroyed them (including his family's personal food) and closed his pantry? First he went to jail on $500 bail and had to sign an agreement to stop. He obeyed. Then he thought about it and prayed. Something was impressed upon him that it would be wrong, and worse, to stop feeding his neighbors. So he acted on conscience and continued distributing - plus his family was only left with a two-day's supply of food and they were probably hungry!
Everything happens for a reason.
Reporting from David Gumpert:
Hershberger holding order guilt irony: if he hadn't violated order, wouldn't have gotten criminal trial & jury that acquitted on licensing.
During that armed raid, agents stole his computer and personal files, but of course there is no punishment for that and no recompense. The judge declared that the armed raid and seizure of property is NOT of use of force. It's incredible that anything positive came from this kangaroo court case. It's upsetting to think they might extract jail time and exorbitant fines for daring to disobey a detrimental holding order.
As more details emerge, including potential jail sentence, we will share accordingly.
Popeye from FederalJack.com and I had an exciting discussion and we even had a surprise call in from food freedom warrior Liz Reitzig at Baraboo. Listen HERE.
Also listen to Josh Tolley's archive and hear Vernon's dad and others at the Ringling theater across from the courtroom.
Special thanks to Derrick J Freeman's live Tweeted updates
Donate on Vernon's behalf at Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and Vernonhershberger.com - All proceeds go to help him.
Vernon told Liz to tell us that you can support farm and food freedom best by supporting your local farm and co-op. That is also what today's March Against Monsanto is trying to inspire.
Updates from - Liz Reitzig, Weston A. Price, Farm Food Freedom Coalition, PeaceNewsNow, David Gumpert at The Complete Patient
Background stories from most recent to earliest:
Hershberger Trial: List of Things You Can't Say and Wear Gets Bigger
Breaking: No Mention of "Liberty" Allowed During Hershberger Raw Milk Trial
Farmer Faces Over 2 Years Jail, $10K Fines for Feeding Community
Pre-Trial Hearing Begins For Farmer Targeted by Raw Milk Police; Legal Concerns Begin to Mount
Last Year's Rally & Hearings for Vernon Hershberger with Footage of Inspections
Swedish Citizens Take to Streets to Defend Property From Rioting Immigrants FriaTider reported:
Faced by another night of terror at the hands of predominantly immigrant rioters, Swedes grown tired of the polices inability to put an end to the unrest took to the streets Friday night to defend their neighborhoods.
The vigilantes were described as a motley crew of homeowners and concerned citizens, as well as neo-Nazi activists and football hooligans.
In the Stockholm suburb of Tumba the police decided to abandon their earlier non-intervention policy as a large group of police officers rounded up and dispersed a group of vigilantes trying to fend off rioters.
The decision to round up vigilantes while, according to Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Löfving, doing as little as possible to stop rioters, met with a wave of protests in various social media and on the Internet. Representatives of some vigilante groups contacted Fria Tider to give their view of last nights events.
The number of police officers on the streets is simply staggering. The police appear to have focused all their resources on stopping the Swedes, Fredrik Becklin, spokesman for the nationalist youth organization Nordisk Ungdom (Nordic Youth), said Friday night.
It makes me sick to see the police clamp down on us Swedes with full force and without warning, using nightsticks and tear gas, while they dont do a damn thing about the immigrants. We are only trying to help maintain order, while the immigrants set cars and buildings on fire, said a young man who wished to remain anonymous.
The police, however, rejected the accusations as unfounded.
Fifteen percent of the population in Sweden is foreign born.
Head of the IMF Christine Lagarde in court charged with embezzlement and fraud
The head of the International Monetary Fund arrived in the dock of a Paris courtroom today as she braced herself to be formally charged with embezzlement and fraud.
Christine Lagardes humiliation is not only a massive personal blow which could lead to her resignation, but one which will plunge the worlds banking system into further ignominy.
The clearly nervous 57-year-old said nothing to reporters as she entered the Court of Justice of the Republic, a special tribunal set up to judge the conduct of Frances government ministers, shortly after 8.30am.
Lagarde faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail if found guilty of the very serious charges.
It was when she was President Nicolas Sarkozys finance minister that she is said to have authorised a 270 million pounds payout to one of his prominent supporters, so abusing her government position.
The money went to Bernard Tapie, a convicted football match fixer and tax dodger who supported Lagarde and Sarkozys UMP party.
It came after Dominque Strauss-Kahn, another senior French politician, was sacked as IMF chief following allegations that he attempted to rape a chambermaid in a New York hotel.
Ms Lagarde began campaigning to succeed Mr Strauss-Kahn soon after his arrest for the alleged crime.
But now it is Ms Lagarde, a lawyer and retired synchronised swimming star, who is facing a long court process of her own, as well as a possible jail sentence.
The scandal will not only pile further shame on Frances political class, but worry politicians and bankers desperately trying to resolve the global financial crisis.
Mr Tapie, the former head of adidas in France, claims he was cheated out of millions by Credit Lyonnais bank when the sports kit empire was sold in 1993.
In 2007, Ms Largarde ended the epic dispute by ordering a panel of judges to arbitrate and, in turn, they awarded Tapie the damages.
Opposition MPs were furious, with former presidential candidate Francois Bayrou accusing Ms Lagarde of dipping into the taxpayers pocket for a private beneficiary.
Mr Strauss-Kahns Socialist Party also accused Ms Lagarde of improper conduct, pointing to the fact that Mr Tapie was a vocal supporter of Sarkozy.
Ms Lagardes lawyer, Yves Repiquet, said the inquiry was in no way incompatible with her new job, and expected the case to be dismissed.
Ms Lagarde denies any wrongdoing, saying before todays court appearance: If its decided to continue with this inquiry it wont be particularly surprising. Personally, it doesnt worry me at all I didnt benefit personally.
But it has been widely reported in the French media that investigators intend to charge her with fraud and embezzlement.
Le Monde said that magistrates had already written to Mrs Lagarde to tell her that she should not expect any special treatment because of her high-profile international job
Woolwich attack: Michael Adebolajo was asked to work for MI5 claims friend Abu Nusaybah told the BBC's Newsnight programme that his friend, who has arrested after the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, rejected the request after he was approached.
He also claimed that Adebolajo had been detained by security forces during a trip to Kenya last year. He alleged that Adebolajo had been tortured and sexually assaulted by troops at the time.
None of the claims he made could be verified.
But as soon as the interview was finished, three members of Special Branch arrived at the BBC's London studios and arrested him.
Mr Nusaybah, who is Muslim and has known Adebolajo since they met in Romford in 2002 before they both converted to the faith, has been vocal about the Woolwich attack on social networking sites.
How far is Britain willing to go to prevent modern jihad?
25 May 2013
Woolwich attack provokes anti-Muslim backlash across UK
25 May 2013
'Chickens are coming home to roost
23 May 2013
We must have the courage to confront the preachers of hate
25 May 2013
Suspect victim of vicious knife attack aged 16
25 May 2013
Woolwich attack: Cheers for our heroes... we will not be moved
24 May 2013
During the interview with the BBC he said that his friend had undergone a "change" following his interrogation in Kenya and became withdrawn, "less talkative" and "wasn't his usual bubbly self".
Mr Nusaybah said Adebolajo told him that when he returned to the UK he was "followed by MI5" who were "knocking on his door" a claim which is unverified by Whitehall.
Mr Nusaybah said: "His wording was, 'They are bugging me they won't leave me alone.'
"He mentioned initially they wanted to ask him if he knew certain individuals.
"But after him saying that he didn't know these individuals, what he said was they asked him if he would be interested in working for them.
"He was explicit in that he refused to work for them but he did confirm he didn't know the individuals."
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that a 31-year-old man was arrested at the BBC studios in relation to terrorism offences and search warrants were executed at two addresses in east London.
He was held on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and is being held in custody at a south London police station.
The arrest was not directly linked to Drummer Rigby's death, the Met said.
WILL AUGUST BRING THE INEVITABLE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE? BERNANKE LEAVING FED, QE3 ENDS AND RATES SKYROCKET = CRASH=UNREST=REVOLUTION The Dr. Boom scenario: America is about to unleash a spending spree. Years of self-denial give way to pent-up demand, predicts UBS economist Maury Harris in USA Todays bold lead story.
His clue? Consumer sentiment: Harris estimates that in the next five years, catch-up consumption will boost annual consumer spending growth by a half point to above 3% from about 2%.
Reassuring? No, wishful thinking. Be very skeptical. As Robert Kuttner, author of the new Debtors Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Prosperity once wrote in BusinessWeek, What do you call an economist with a prediction? Wrong.
Harris is bucking the headwinds of history. As Jeremy Grantham, chief strategist of the $100 billion GMO money managers, recently told InvestmentNews, the newspaper of record for Americas 90,000 professional investment advisers, 3% annual GDP growth is history.
Heres why you better be preparing today for a crash dead ahead. As Pimcos Bill Gross warned in his recent newsletter: Youre going to lose money investing because the central banks say so. Thats right, this is a Fed-driven rally. Soon the Fed will be forced to stop printing cheap money.
No spending spree; Obamas new Fed Chair has to raise rates
Heres the alternative Dr. Dooms August scenario: Aging bull market. Fifth year. Markets at risk. Down soon. August. Will Obama reappoint Bernanke again? No way. But who? New blood? Shake things up with Wall Street mastermind Mayor Michael Bloomberg? After more than two decades of Greenspan/Bernankes misguided, destructive monetary policies, America could use a guy like him at this crucial turning point.
But expect a safe bet. Obama favors a woman. The high rollers are already betting on Janet Yellen, vice chairman of the Fed, long-time monetary insider. Former San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank CEO. Also chairman of Clintons Council of Economic Advisers.
But watch out, even a sure bet can misjudge hidden dangers lurking ahead of a Titanic like the $15 trillion U.S. economy. As the Wall Street Journals Matt Wirz wrote in March:
The Fed wont be able to keep a lid on interest rates forever. So large money managers such as BlackRock, TCW Group and Pimco are getting ready for the day when rates take their first turn higher. It isnt coming anytime soon, these investors say. But when it does, they worry, the ascent will be swift and steep.
Get defensive now, start preparing for a crash later is too late
Get it? Rates will go up. Way up. Very fast. And Americas 95 million Main Street investors will be unprepared. Markets will crash. Like 1994s 24% bond crash after Fed rate increases, notes Wirz.
The big players say the crash wont happen soon. Dont believe them. Theyre betting with trillions. And they are hedging their bets, already preparing for when rates take their first turn higher, because rates will soar swift and steep, and when that happens it will be too late to prepare.
Dr. Doom, the economist Nouriel Roubini is also hedging his bet, misleading investors, telling us to expect a huge rally in risky assets the next couple years setting markets up for a major sell-off.
Read more at
Legalized corruption of government Jack Abramoff, the notorious former lobbyist at the center of Washington's biggest corruption scandal in decades, spent more than three years in prison for his crimes. Now a free man, he reveals how he was able to influence politicians and their staffers through generous gifts and job offers. He tells Lesley Stahl the reforms instituted in the wake of his scandal have had little effect.
Paramilitary Police in America: How Did It Happen? It is clear that things have changed in America and much of it is due to two wars: the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. These ongoing conflicts have brought about major changes in the way law enforcement does business with Americans every day.
Because of the so-called war on drugs, SWAT teams began springing up across the land, tactically armed and ready to do whatever became necessary to overcome the drug problem that this country faces. The fight against terrorism has also been added to the picture and because of it, the same SWAT teams can be seen herding people out of their homes (without warrants), searching them (illegally), and then the homes they just vacated (also illegally), as was done recently in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. Amazingly, nearly 90% of people polled believed that the police did a great job. This of course, is in spite of the use of force and restriction of rights.
AP photo shows large gathering of Tea Party protesting the IRS.
Even today May 21, 2013 with Tea Party protests against the IRS occurring throughout America, DHS Police have been stationed at IRS facilities as a means of protecting those facilities and employees. This is in spite of the fact that there has not been a case of Tea Party-related violence with any person officially connected to the Tea Party movement, unlike the Occupy Movement.
The fact that Obama has used the DHS to create his own national police force is likely meant to be intimidating. Frankly, Im not sure how such a force is Constitutional, but lawyers are probably better equipped to respond to that question than I am.
DHS Police Officer
In the meantime, we have members of the DHS police force who are very likely not hampered by state boundaries. This is reminiscent of the FBI, but on a different scale. Sadly, as time moves on, we can assume that the DHS police force will likely be given greater authority by the Obama administration.
In the meantime, Radley Balko has written several white papers and books on the subject of the militarization of Americas police. The problems associated with this are often chilling.
On August 5, 2005, at 6:15 a.m., a SWAT team converged around the Sunrise, Florida, home of Anthony Diotaiuto. They came to serve a search warrant based on an anonymous tip and an informants purchase of a single ounce of marijuana from the 23-year-old bartender and part-time student.
Forty-five minutes later, Diotaiuto was dead from ten bullets to his head and body. How did that happen?
It should be noted that Diotaiuto legally owned guns and also had a permit to carry concealed weapons. Police say they announced themselves prior to breaking down his front door, though neighbors say they heard no such announcement before the raid began. The police also claim that because Diotaiuto had a concealed weapons permit, that made him dangerous. How? For someone to obtain a concealed carry permit in Florida (as in most states), paperwork needs to completed, fingerprints need to be checked and a background check finished. Surely, if Diotaiuto had been dangerous, that information would have come out? Obviously, in spite of his potential possession of marijuana, he had never been in trouble with the law before, or he would not have been granted a concealed weapons permit.
Police say Diotaiuto pointed a gun at police leaving them no choice but to fire on him. They modified that later on and to date, no one really knows exactly what happened. Its the word of the police against a dead suspect.
In Hawaii, tactically-armed police broke into a home occupied by an elderly couple who had their grandchildren staying with them. The police were searching for a box that was said to contain marijuana. They never found it, though they roughly manhandled the couple, throwing them face down on the floor, holding guns to their heads. Turns out the police had the wrong address. They made the same mistake again with another residence before they finally got it right.
This type of mistake happens too often because many of these raids take place based on the word of some street informant. The militarized demeanor of our police forces have become the norm. If one stops to consider the fact that in many cases, the police are going after minor drug offenses, the question of why such force is used becomes even more important to answer.
Radley Balko points out that until the 1980s, SWAT were used sparingly, only in volatile, high-risk situations such as bank robberies or hostage situations. Obviously, in situations where lives are at risk by the criminal element, a response provided by a highly trained SWAT team makes sense. But when the person(s) being tracked down is being sought because of marijuana usage, we are left wondering why that type of force was necessary?
SWAT changed during the administration of Ronald Reagan. More money became available, allowing better tactical equipment to be purchased. More training became the norm. Under Reagan, the War on Drugs became official and the services of many SWAT teams began to play a large and normal part in how this war was fought.
Under Reagans administration and During the next 10 years, with prodding from the White House, Congress paved the way to widespread military-style policing by carving yawning drug war exceptions to the Posse Comitatus Act, the Civil Warera law prohibiting the use of the military for civilian policing. These new exceptions allowed nearly unlimited sharing of drug interdiction intelligence, training, tactics, technology, and weaponry between the Pentagon and federal, state, and local police departments.
We have since seen the Posse Comitatus Act the act that protects American people from military being used as police within Americas borders all but set aside. Bush signed the Patriot Act into law (2001) that reduced restrictions on law enforcement and Congress passed a Defense Appropriations Act (2006) allowing the president to use federal troops within the US whenever thought necessary. Both whittled away at the Posse Comitatus Act.
This introduces how law enforcement in the United States started to become militarized. We will be back with more detail about what our government has created and how they created it in our next installment. Well then look at problems associated with paramilitary raids, as well as what we can expect in the future since it appears as though Obama is deliberately building his national police force that may ultimately have powers equal to the military on foreign soil.
Top 10 reasons to join the March Against Monsanto tomorrow! (Saturday, May 25, 2013) The global March Against Monsanto happens tomorrow! Nearly three hundred cities will host what's sure to be hundreds of thousands of protesters and activists around the globe who are taking a stand against Monsanto and GMOs.
YOU can join in the activities, too! Check this site to see if there's a march planned near you:
And learn more about the event at this FB page:
Here are my top 10 reasons to attend the March Against Monsanto!
#1) There will be tons of press coverage, so your voice will be heard
It's hard to get your voice heard these days. But now's your chance! Bring your protest sign, wear a shirt with a message, speak to news crews or even give a speech to the audience. This is your chance to have your voice heard on an issue of crucial importance to the future of life on our planet.
#2) Send a powerful message to Monsanto that their corporate evil will not be tolerated by the people of the world
Beyond the media watching this event, Monsanto will also be very closely monitoring what happens. (Look out for "Monsanto spies" at every event!)
When you show up and march with determination and passion, you help send a message to Monsanto that they will never stop the resistance against GMOs. We want to tell them they should find a way to transition out of the market while they still have time. Let Monsanto know that We the People won't tolerate their genetic poisoning of the planet and the food supply!
#3) Learn more about GMOs and why they're so dangerous for life on our planet
By attending these rallies, you'll also learn a huge amount of valuable information about GMOs and why they're so dangerous to us all. You might even learn something so powerful you feel compelled to share it with others.
And that's how this works: Gathering knowledge and sharing it with the people around you so that they, too, can learn to avoid GMOs. Let knowledge be open-source!
#4) Listen to great speakers who share a message of inspiration and solidarity
At every city, speakers will be sharing their wisdom and rallying the crowd with inspiring, informative live speeches. Listen to these speakers and you'll learn a lot!
#5) Meet and interact with like-minded people
Want to meet informed, intelligent, health-conscious people who aren't dumbed-down like everyone else? Meet them at the March Against Monsanto!
Think about it: What kind of people come to these marches? The top 1% of the most informed, "awake" and environmentally-aware individuals on the planet. That's my kind of crowd!
#6) Send a global message to food retailers that they should drop GMOs
Food retailers will also be watching this event, and as more and more people protest GMOs, more pressure will be placed on retailers to either label GMOs or drop them altogether.
And that's what we want! At minimum, we want mandatory GMO labeling across the board. That way, shoppers can make an informed choice of what they're buying at the grocery store.
#7) Get some outdoor exercise while joining a noble cause
Joining the march will give you a fantastic opportunity to get some healthy exercise while marching for a worthy cause. It's not every day that you get to march with a group of fun, intelligent, informed people who truly represent the future of humankind (because they care about genetic integrity).
If for no other reason than this, join the March Against Monsanto and enjoy the stroll!
#8) Raise your spiritual karma score by standing up for universal justice
Need a little help in the karma realm? Marching against evil is always a good thing; especially when you're taking a stand for universal justice: food freedom, farm freedom and the integrity of seeds on our planet.
The time to do something good is now!
#9) Show off your cool protest sign!
Bring an awesome protest sign and show it off to the crowd! I'll be marching with my own sign, and I can't wait to see what everybody else comes up with, too.
Make your sign large enough to be easily read in photos and news cameras. If your sign is awesome enough, it will get major play on the 'net!
#10) Be part of a truly grassroots, non-hierarchical, non-centralized global protest
This entire event has come into existence organically, with no central planning or coordination. I don't even know who put this together in the first place. And it doesn't matter, you see, because as long as we each continue to do our part on this, we can feel hugely rewarded in knowing that millions of other people are also doing their part for the same common goal: the global outlawing or labeling of GMOs.
Join us in this march for the sole reason that it is the right thing to do. Become part of a peer-to-peer, decentralized movement of justice against a terrible evil that threatens our planet. Feel the power of the People as you join in this meaningful, grassroots effort to banish corporate evil from our food and farms.
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040467_March_Against_Monsanto_GMO_rally.html#ixzz2UEEL31Hk
'They don't want to integrate': Fifth night of youth rioting rocks Stockholm Youth gang riots in the Swedish capital Stockholm have entered fifth straight night. Hundreds of mostly immigrant teenagers tore through the suburbs, smashing windows and burning cars in the countrys worst outbreak of violence in years.
At least six vehicles were torched throughout the city late on Thursday while the police called for reinforcements from other Swedish cities bracing for further unrest.
Firefighters were putting out flames that engulfed several cars and a school in immigrant-dominated areas of Stockholm.
Firemen extinguish a burning car parked in an indoor garage in the Stockholm suburb of Tureberg after youths rioted in several different suburbs for a fourth consecutive night on May 24, 2013 (AFP Photo / Jonathan Nackstrand)
The night before, the fire brigades were called to some 90 different blazes. On the fourth night of violence, youths torched over 30 cars in 15 neighborhoods along with a restaurant in Skogas, south of Stockholm. Three law enforcement officers were injured, police spokesperson Kjell Lindgren reported.
Stockholm firefighters were busy throughout the night, saying they had never before seen so many fires raging at the same time. Some 90 blazes were reported in total, most of them reportedly caused by the rioters. Still, the fourth night of violence was relatively quiet compared to the previous three, RT's Peter Oliver reported from Stockholm.
Leaders of immigrant communities were out on the streets in a bid to stop young people from rioting. Despite their efforts, as soon as the night fell, groups of arsonists took to the streets to set cars on fire. RT's Peter Oliver witnessed rioters throwing stones at police and journalists alike.
RT's Peter Oliver. Screenshot from RT video.
Civil disorder in Stockholm started on Sunday, when police shot and killed a 69-old-man in his apartment after he confronted officers with a machete; the unrest has since continued throughout week.
Community leaders insist that a main reason for the violence is the high rate of unemployment in immigrant communities, particularly in the suburb of Husby near central Stockholm, one of the worst affected by the nighttime violence, Peter Oliver reported.
Although Swedens unemployment rate is below the EU average, joblessness among those under 25 has reached nearly 25 percent. The RT crew in Stockholm noted that a majority of those taking part in the violence are young.
In Sweden youve got welfare, access to the educational system up to university level, you got access to public transport, libraries, healthcare to everything. And still they feel that they [immigrants] need to riot through stones and Molotov cocktails. Its ridiculous and a bad excuse, Swedish Democrats MP Kent Ekeroth told RT.
Police can put down these riots in five minutes if the politicians were to allow them, Ekeroth added.
Parents of the rampaging teenagers and community religious leaders are now spending sleepless nights on the street in an effort to prevent their children from wreaking havoc.
Firemen extinguish a burning car in Kista after youths rioted in few differant suburbs around Stockholm on May 21, 2013.(AFP Photo / Jonathan Nackstrand)
Meanwhile, the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt blamed the violence on hooligans and said they did not represent the majority in the rioting neighborhoods.
I think its dangerous to draw a picture of Sweden with a capital separated from its suburbs. I dont think thats true. I think the dividing line runs straight through Husby, with a majority population and then a small group of troublemakers, Reinfeldt said.
But the Husby youth taking part in riots told Reuters they are indeed divided from the rest of Stockholm, struggling to find a full-time job with their Husby address. Most of the interviewed rioters were reportedly unemployed.
The claims of social exclusion in immigrant-dominated suburbs have been partly conceded by Swedens Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag, who said the ministry is aware of discrimination in these areas. But the riots dont improve the image of these areas, where there is a lot of positive stuff going on, he added.
A car set on fire burns, following riots in the Stockholm suburb of Kista late May 21, 2013.(Reuters / Fredrik Sandberg)
For years, Sweden one of Europes most tranquil countries, famous for its attractive immigration policies and generous welfare system has been accepting an influx of immigrants, which now make up about 15 per cent of its population. These migrants have failed to integrate into Swedish society, and are only in the country to enjoy the countrys social benefits system, Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlqvist told RT.
The problem is not from the Swedish government or from the Swedish people, the editor in chief of Dispatch International said. The last 20 years or so, we have seen so many immigrants coming to Sweden that really dont like Sweden. They do not want to integrate, they do not want to live in [Swedish] society: Working, paying taxes and so on.
The people come here now because they know that Sweden will give them money for nothing. They dont have to work, they dont have to pay taxes they can just stay here and get a lot of money. That is really a problem, Carlqvist added.
The police could do so much, [instead] they have told the public that they mean to do as little as possible. But they could go there and use water cannons, they could not let people out onto the streets at night. There are so many things they could do within the law but they dont do it, she said.
Firefighters extinguish a burning car, following riots in the Stockholm suburb of Kista late May 21, 2013.(Reuters / Fredrik Sandberg)
Young Muslims who enjoy tolerance, social institutions and welfare while living in Sweden nevertheless refuse to integrate into the West, Gerolf Annemans told RT. Annemans is the parliamentary leader of Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), a Belgian far-right nationalist political party.
They [Muslim youths] have always sought excuse to show that they are not agreeing with the basic values of Western society, Annemans said, pointing to the recent cases of the Boston Marathon bombing in the US and yesterdays beheading of a British soldier in the UK.
Its always the same problem. There is a massive refusal by Muslim youngsters of the basics of Western society... and they take any excuse whatsoever to show that with violence that is where the problem is, he said.
As rioting continues to rip through Stockholm, some claim the violence has clearly been orchestrated for ulterior motives, Lars Hedegaard, Editor-in-Chief of Swedish newspaper Dispatch International said to RT.
Some people would like to gain recognition as stakeholder in society. In other words, there are people who would like to be in a negotiating position that they can make things happen and go away. That they have power in local communities and should be reckoned with, he explained.
These riots in the country that are spreading and continuing for a long time that the [multiculturalism] success was a fiction, they never succeeded, Hedegaard said.
Delinquent Student Loans Hit Record, 30% Of 20-24 Year Olds Are Unemployed And Not In School Almost a year ago we shared a calculation according to which "Over $120 Billion In Federal Student Loans In Default", suggesting that the next credit crisis has already arrived. Since then the topic of the student loan bubble has become a household topic. Sadly, that does not mean it has gotten any better. In fact, according to the latest Education Department data it has gotten as bad as it has ever been. As Bloomberg reports, not only have overdue student loans reached an all-time high but the number of young people aged 20-24 out of school and unemployed is at a record high: not quite astronomic by European standards, but hardly a ringing endorsement of an economy set to transition labor tasks to the next generation, especially with the employment of those 55 and older at all time highs.
Pentagon to Buy Russian Helicopters Despite Ban The US Department of Defense said Thursday it plans to sidestep a Congressional ban to purchase 30 helicopters from Russian state-owned defense firm Rosoboronexport, despite objections from US lawmakers who allege that the firm has equipped the Syrian government to commit brutal crimes against civilians.
Ex-Diplomats Report New Benghazi Whistleblowers with Info Devastating to Clinton and Obama More whistleblowers will emerge shortly in the escalating Benghazi scandal, according to two former U.S. diplomats who spoke with PJ Media Monday afternoon.
These whistleblowers, colleagues of the former diplomats, are currently securing legal counsel because they work in areas not fully protected by the Whistleblower law.
According to the diplomats, what these whistleblowers will say will be at least as explosive as what we have already learned about the scandal, including details about what really transpired in Benghazi that are potentially devastating to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The former diplomats inform PJM the new revelations concentrate in two areas what Ambassador Chris Stevens was actually doing in Benghazi and the pressure put on General Carter Ham, then in command of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and therefore responsible for Libya, not to act to protect jeopardized U.S. personnel.
Stevens mission in Benghazi, they will say, was to buy back Stinger missiles from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA. Such a mission would usually be a CIA effort, but the intelligence agency had opposed the idea because of the high risk involved in arming insurgents with powerful weapons that endanger civilian aircraft.
Hillary Clinton still wanted to proceed because, in part, as one of the diplomats said, she wanted to overthrow Gaddafi on the cheap.
This left Stevens in the position of having to clean up the scandalous enterprise when it became clear that the insurgents actually were al-Qaeda indeed, in the view of one of the diplomats, the same group that attacked the consulate and ended up killing Stevens.
The former diplomat who spoke with PJ Media regarded the whole enterprise as totally amateurish and likened it to the Mike Nichols film Charlie Wilsons War about a clueless congressman who supplies Stingers to the Afghan guerrillas. Its as if Hillary and the others just watched that movie and said Hey, lets do that! the diplomat said.
He added that he and his colleagues think the leaking of General David Petraeus affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was timed to silence the former CIA chief on these matters.
Regarding General Ham, military contacts of the diplomats tell them that AFRICOM had Special Ops assets in place that could have come to the aid of the Benghazi consulate immediately (not in six hours).
Ham was told by the White House not to send the aid to the trapped men, but Ham decided to disobey and did so anyway, whereupon the White House called his deputy and had the deputy threaten to relieve Ham of his command.
The White House motivation in all this is as yet unclear, but it is known that Ham retired quietly in April 2013 as head of AFRICOM.
PJ Media recognizes this is largely hearsay, but the two diplomats sounded quite credible. One of them was in a position of responsibility in a dangerous area of Iraq in 2004.
We will report more as we learn it.
Thanks To QE Bernanke Has Injected Foreign Banks With Over $1 Trillion In Cash For First Time Ever Two years ago, Zero Hedge first made the observation that the bulk of Fed reserves (also known simply as "cash created out of thin air" because money is first and foremost fungible no matter what textbook theoreticians may claim, and the only cash allocation preference is the capital allocation IRR analysis) had been parked not with US banks, but with foreign banks with US-based operations. We followed that with more analyses, showing explicitly how the Fed was providing a constant cash injection to foreign banks courtesy of the rate on overnight reserves which is the amount Fed pays to banks that hold reserves with it, as the bulk of reserves continued to end up with foreign banks - a situation set to become a huge political storm some time in 2014-2015 when the IOER has to rise and the Fed is "found" to have injected tens of billions of "interest" not into US banks but in foreign banks operating in the US, and which then can upstream the "profits" to insolvent offshore domiciled holding companies.
Darrell Issa: Lois Lerner lost her rights House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said embattled IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights and will be hauled back to appear before his panel again.
Its Not a Conspiracy Theory It Is Happening Right Now The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 was originally established to protect American citizens from the federal use of military troops to enforce and execute the laws of the land unless expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. Since then, for over a century, this task has fallen upon local and federal law enforcement. But with the War on Terror taking center stage in the United States for the last decade, elements within the government have been working tirelessly to expand the mission of the US military on the domestic front.
As Scandals Deepen, Obama, His Party, and Republicans Will Militarily Intervene in Syria As three administration-wrecking scandals Benghazi, the IRS, and the AP phone records continue to unfold, it will become increasingly clear that President Obama is: (a) stupid; (b) unable to control his felonious subordinates; or (c) a liar and a trimmer. And as this clarity evolves, Obama will engineer a U.S.-NATO military intervention in Syria. This week Obama told the press his administration has fairly solid evidence that chemical weapons were used by Damascus against al-Qaeda and its allies. Obama also said he still wants more and better evidence that Asaad used the weapons. This long has been his standard line.
But then, before closing his remarks, Obama lapsed into his patented weeping-for-humanity mode, saying in an almost off-hand manner enough thousands of Syrians had been killed in the civil war to justify intervention by that American-killing and nation-bankrupting fiction of our bipartisan governing elites imagination, the U.S.-led International Community. In other words, our beleaguered president already is looking to distract Americans from his administrations rampant felonies, and what better way to quiet the hounds of just retribution than by consigning U.S. soldiers and Marines to death in a useless intervention in Syria, a place where no genuine U.S. national interest is at stake. One straw in the wind: Fridays news brought word of Obamas talking-points-changing, intelligence-leaking lickspittle of a CIA Director, John Brennan, sneaking into Israel to discuss Syria.
Odds are that we are going to see the same old story: Obama will intervene militarily in Syria, get Americans worried about the safety of their soldier-children, stoke their patriotism and fierce support for the troops, and voila the Obama-butt-kissing media will refocus the victims of the Obama-ites domestic felonies on an unnecessary war in the Levant.
The saddest part of the foregoing scenario is that it probably will work. Obama artfully masks his casual willingness to get Americans killed seen in his zeal for abortion; keeping troops in Afghanistan to die (6 more on 16 May 2013) long after conceding defeat there; and refusing to try to save soon-to-be-dead Americans in Benghazi with a maudlin deep concern for people suffering abroad, in this case in Syria. Obamas faux concern for those suffering overseas is just another indelible sign of his and his partys absolute disdain for the needs of everyday Americans. Under Obamas two secretaries of state Clinton and Kerry the United States have dispersed more than $500 million to strengthen the Syrian Resistance; which is to say, to strengthen al-Qaeda and its allies. Both secretaries and their master have deceitfully described the aid as humanitarian, but as always this funding is military in every way because it frees up the Islamists other funds to be spent for weapons.
With Democrats ever ready to leave Americans to fend for themselves, Obamas diversionary campaign obscure impeachable offenses by launching an unnecessary war will be abetted by Senators McCain, Graham, Lieberman, and dozens of other U.S. Senators and Congressman intent on war with Syria. Obama will use these useful idiots to convince the American people of three bipartisan lies: that (a) genuine U.S. interests are at risk in Syria; (b) Americans owe the Syrian people U.S. dollars and blood to stop their suffering in a war they started; and that (c) Americans must expend their dollars and kids to staunch the anarchy spreading in the Levant in order to protect our loyal and indispensable ally Israel. Most of the media left and right will concur in and support this self-defeating nonsense and, once again, we will all go off intervening in a Muslim country where we have nothing at risk, thereby prolonging our already losing war with Islam and motivating more U.S. Muslims to stage attacks like Aprils in Boston.
Will Americans ever see the plain fact that they are being played for fools? If every Syrian dies tomorrow along with every Palestinian, Israeli, Saudi, etc. it matters not a lick to the way we live and conduct ourselves in North America. Is it too bad and very sad that they die? You bet, but it is neither our fault they are fighting nor our responsibility to stop their wars; say a prayer for them, but know their deaths are of their own making and no skin of an Americans nose.
And if some self-righteous Americans want to help these folks, let them open their individual wallets and donate; or let them light candles, pile up bouquets, weep, hold hands, and sing for peace; or, better yet, let them renounce their U.S. citizenship and go abroad to fight alongside those in the countries they love better than their own. In fact, it seems only right that some leaders of the anti-U.S., pro-Israel movement perhaps people like Limbaugh, Lieberman, Levin, McCain, Hannity, and Graham set the example for others of their ilk. These fearsome tough guys could buy airline tickets to the Levant; turn in their U.S. passport and acquire at long last the passport from their country of first allegiance (if they do not have it already); and then go off to the war they have tried so hard to start from their out-of-harms-way safety in North America. I would like to be helpful here and would willingly contribute to a fund to buy Rush, Joe, Mark, John, Sean, Lindsey and all others of their interventionist, anti-U.S., and Israel-First orientation an AK-47 and a thousand rounds of ammunition. Each of these folks could claim their arms as soon as they renounce their citizenship and turn in their U.S. passport. America would be far better off without them.
Sound harsh? Well, think for a moment of the cruel and cynical madness of a situation that finds Americans in New Jersey and New York still flat on their backs from Hurricane Sandy while both U.S. political parties are dumping a half-billion dollars into the hands of al-Qaeda-ism in Syria. And think of the billions going to Turkey, Egypt, and Israel, while Americas infrastructure continues to rot; millions of our kids are undernourished; our borders remain undefended; and thousands of wounded and crippled U.S. military veterans must depend on public charity to assist their recovery. And think of all the money and military lives we have and will waste making Muslim enemies overseas by intervening at bayonet point to promote education, womens rights, irreligion, and the spread of secular democracy.
It seems likely that todays preeminent Democratic and Republican foreign-policy motto Give and pander to foreigners and to hell with the real interests and welfare of America and Americans is not one the Founders had in mind when they created America. Indeed, if the Founders could hear it now, they would have yet another reason to thank Providence for their decision to include the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
Dozens dead after tornado roars through Okla. City suburb A monstrous tornado at least a half-mile wide roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds up to 200 mph. At least 51 people were killed, and officials said the death toll was expected to rise.
Remember when Obama and Holder went after Gibson Guitars? Remember Obama and Eric Holders attack on Gibson Guitars? Back in 2009 the Obama regime raided Gibson Guitars and demanded that its woodwork labor be done overseas. The original excuse by the Obama regime for their raid on Gibson Guitars was environmental concerns. Court documents however, revealed that the raid and legal hassles were from a non-environmental question which country is working on the wood? Thats right, the Obama regime wanted the fingerboards produced outside the U.S. In something that was overlooked at the time but makes a lot more sense now, the Gibson Guitars CEO Henry E. Juszkiewicz is a Republican donor.
Spontaneous Pledge Of Allegiance Interrupts NJ Gun Control Hearing James Kaleda, who was removed from a Senate Law and Public Safety Committee meeting held in Trenton, NJ, posted an unbelievable video to Facebook on Saturday. The video not only shows Kaledas removal by New Jersey State Troopers, it also shows an amazing Patriotic moment as members of the audience spontaneously interrupt the proceedings by standing and reciting our Pledge of Allegiance.
RED ALERT: Obama Administration to Sign U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Just when we all thought the gun debate was dying down, the Obama administration has said it is now pursuing to sign the UN Arms treaty in the near future. On April 2nd, 2013, the UN general assembly voted 153-4 to proceed with the arms treaty, with the United States voting in favor of the bill.
Casino bill would give city unparalleled control Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing lawmakers to pass a gambling bill that would allow the city to weigh its choice of a casino operator in secret and forbid state regulators from taking away its license.
The legislation also would grant the mayor authority to seize land for a casino and keep not only the gambling profits but also two local taxes and a cut of an upfront fee paid for the right to run the gambling emporium.
It's a mix of power and privileges that gambling experts say has never been bestowed upon any city or casino owner in the country. They also say the measure raises concerns about whether the state would have ample oversight of the nation's first city-owned casino.
"The traditional model is the state and city collect tax revenue, the state regulates and then there is a clear line with the owner-operators running the casino with no connection other than the collection of taxes," said Mark Clayton, a Las Vegas casino regulation expert and former member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. "In this case, that line is more blurred ... and raises legitimate questions about oversight."
Beyond regulatory issues looms the question of who would get to spend the hundreds of millions in gambling money reeled in from slot machines, blackjack tables and roulette wheels.
The measure requires all proceeds from a Chicago casino to go toward school construction and modernization. But the 524-page bill says only that the money would be "transferred to the city" by the new Chicago casino authority. It does not specify whether gambling proceeds would flow through the elected City Council, the Emanuel-appointed Chicago Board of Education or some other arm of the city.
Mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said Emanuel would work with Chicago Public Schools to spend the money. She would not guarantee that aldermen would get a vote but did say City Council approval would "likely be necessary."
The legislation, which has passed the Senate and is pending in the House, is drawing scrutiny from Gov. Pat Quinn, who twice has vetoed gambling expansion bills he insisted were short on ethical safeguards, education funding and regulatory oversight.
As with the previous two bills, the latest version would add five casinos and allow slot machines at horse racing tracks. The new measure includes provisions aimed at easing the Democratic governor's concerns, including a ban on political contributions from gambling interests and required state approval of the Chicago authority's members.
But the proposal still would allow Chicago's casino to dodge areas of oversight all other Illinois casinos face.
For example, when the Chicago Casino Development Authority sits down to consider the bids from private companies competing to run the casino, it can do so behind closed doors.
The measure calls for Chicago's authority to accept sealed bids, which the city could keep secret under the state's Freedom of Information Act until after it selects a casino operator. By contrast, when the Illinois Gaming Board considers the other new casinos, it will be required to open bids, discuss those proposals, listen to presentations from bidders and make a decision during public meetings.
"The process set up for Chicago definitely is unusual, and I think for something like this where you've got a lot of money at stake, the more transparency, the better," said David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. "It raises a lot of concerns, and if this is how it was going to be selected in my state, I would want some more transparency."
Hamilton noted that the closed-door bidding language was contained in prior gambling bills, including one that predated Emanuel taking office. Asked whether it should stay in the bill, Hamilton did not respond.
Hamilton insisted the mayor is "committed to a robust and transparent procurement process" and pointed to a provision that requires the city to tell state regulators of its bidding procedures ahead of time.
The bill, however, would not give the Illinois Gaming Board power to approve or change the city's bid process. The state regulator's only recourse would be to reject the license for Chicago's operator.
Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said that's good enough, waving aside concerns that the public could be shut out of the decision on who runs a casino responsible for generating millions of dollars in city and state revenue.
"I don't think it's a breach of any ethical code or need for transparency to say that the private bids the city of Chicago gets for their operator might be kept out of public view," said Lang, the bill's House sponsor. "But I would not say that if the Gaming Board didn't have final say on the license."
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said the governor believes the Gaming Board should have power to approve Chicago's bidding procedures to help state regulators identify any problems early on.
Michigan growers bracing for a stink bug invasion A tiny insect with a voracious appetite has found its way to Metro Detroit and soon could pose a big threat to Michigan's fruit and vegetable crops.
Called the brown marmorated stink bug, it devours a variety of plants, which has growers and agriculture experts becoming more concerned since there are no state or federal eradication programs.
Last year, the invasive bug from Asia was found in Wayne, Oakland and 10 other Michigan counties, just two years after it was first spotted in Berrien County. It's the latest member on a list of invasive species that have had an impact on the state's plants and lakes, including the emerald ash borer beetle, the zebra mussel and feral swine.
While not yet spotted in Macomb County, growers such as Paul Blake, co-owner of Blake Farms in Armada and Almont, are monitoring their crops for the flat, hungry stink bug invaders.
"We haven't seen it on our farm yet and we are hoping that we don't; however, we are very aware of the stink bugs," said Blake, who grows fruits such as apples, peaches, strawberries and cherries on his 700 acres.
"We have certified scouts coming out once a week who check all of our orchards with magnifying glasses and we set traps so we can be aware of something out in the orchard that shouldn't be there."
Matthew Grieshop, assistant professor with the Michigan State University department of entomology, said a stink bug invasion into more of the state's 83 counties is inevitable. With few natural predators and an abundance of food sources, the invasive insect spreads quickly, invading farm fields and backyard plots and wintering inside homes.
"If the pattern continues like it did out east, yes, it is a matter of time," Grieshop said. "We are in the early invasion stage."
He said he expects a lot of stink bug damage in tree fruit in three to four years. Michigan's fruit and vegetable production has a total economic impact of more than $1.3 billion annually.
"The major concern for us in Michigan is that we are a peninsula," said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, which represents 850 apple growers. "This insect gets in, it doesn't keep moving west to another state. It's locked in by the Great Lakes. It doesn't care what it eats and will go from one crop to the next.
"I think at this point avoiding it is probably not possible. I think the task now is for researchers to find a way for famers and growers to combat it. Eliminate the pest before it does too much damage and devastates their crops."
Doing a lot of damage
Grieshop said 2010 crop damage by the brown marmorated stink bug in the mid-Atlantic states was horrific.
"There were hundreds of growers who had double-digit to 100 percent losses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey because they got caught flat-footed," Grieshop said. "It has caused million and millions of damage."
The stink bug was discovered in the United States in Allentown, Pa., in 2001 but there are reports it arrived as early as 1996. According to StopBMSB.org, stink bugs have been found in 40 states.
The brown marmorated stink bugs are different from the common brown or green stink bugs found in Michigan. The common variety's population is controlled by predators such as birds, toads, insect-eating animals and parasitic wasps. The brown marmorated bug, which has few natural enemies, gets its smelly moniker from the odor secreted as protection from those predators.
Grieshop described the smell as a combination of cilantro and sweaty socks.
Because the brown marmorated stink bugs are found in so many states and eat all kinds of vegetation, there are no state or federal control or eradication programs, said Jennifer Holton, spokeswoman for the state's Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.
For Blake, using scouts who go through special training programs at MSU is a preventive measure and a money saver since workers don't have to spray crops for bugs that aren't there.
"We farm about 700 acres," he said. "We have 100 acres in apples, 20 acres in strawberries, 10 acres of peaches, 10 acres of cherries, 100 acres of Christmas trees."
Getting rid of a pest
Blake is optimistic something will be developed to combat the bugs such as a pheromone trap or a pesticide. The traps use sex pheromones, powerful chemical attractants emitted by a female insect, to capture the bugs.
Scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working on a pheromone trap as well as using a parasitic wasp found in Asia that controls stink bug populations there by laying its own eggs inside those of the stink bug. The wasp's larvae feed on the stink bug eggs.
Grieshop said MSU is working on finding a species that will eat stink bug eggs. But using parasitic insects can be tricky.
"You can't just go somewhere else, grab an insect and release it because sometimes you end up buying yourself as much or more of a problem," Grieshop said, adding the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires researchers to prove any controls won't harm native species.
Smith said there are no clear-cut solutions to get rid of the pest, since many insecticides are ineffective. She said the brown marmorated stink bug is not only a pest to farmers and growers, but also to daily life.
"They create havoc for the everyday person," she said. "They get into your home. You can't get rid of them. And they stink."
Why Barack Obamas imperial presidency is imploding This has been a nightmare week for Barack Obama, without a doubt the worst of his presidency so far. Steven T. Miller, acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service has resigned over his agencys targeting of conservative groups, which even The Washington Post labeled this morning a horror story. Yesterday Obamas Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the House Judiciary Committee on a host of issues including the Benghazi debacle, in what can only be described as a train wreck of a performance. Holder was simply unable or unwilling to answer most key questions, and demonstrated a level of contempt for elected officials in Congress that was breathtaking. It was yet another public relations disaster for the Obama team.
In addition the administration has come under heavy fire over the Justice Departments monitoring of phone records belonging to Associated Press journalists. All this has combined to create a perfect storm in the first year of Obamas second term, a wave of scandals that has been so damaging to the standing of this administration that even The New York Times today carries the headline on its front page: An Onset of Woes Raises Questions on Obama Vision. When even the usually subservient inflight newspaper of Air Force One has doubts over the job the president is doing you know the situation is really desperate for The White House.
George F. Will, one of Americas most influential political commentators, and a columnist for The Washington Post, believes there are echoes of Watergate in both the IRS and Benghazi scandals. As Will wrote earlier this week:
The burglary occurred in 1972, the climax came in 1974, but40 years ago this week May 17, 1973 the Senate Watergate hearings began exploring the nature of Richard Nixons administration. Now the nature of Barack Obamas administration is being clarified as revelations about IRS targeting of conservative groups merge with myriad Benghazi mendacities.
Will doesnt go as far as saying that Barack Obama will suffer the same fate as Nixon. After all, Obama benefits from a Senate controlled by the Democrats. But there is no denying the parallels between the sense of impunity in this White House and that of Richard Nixons four decades ago. In fact its considerably worse on many fronts.
Political analyst Michael Barone warned back in October 2008 of what he called The Coming Liberal Thugocracy, referring to then Senator Obamas call for his supporters to get in their face when confronting Republicans and Independents. Barone argued at the time that Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Mr. Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech they dont like and seem utterly oblivious to claims this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment.
Barones predictions have been proved correct. As Ive noted in previous pieces, this is a nasty, brutish, imperial-style presidency that is highly intolerant of dissent, and which goes out of its way to target political opponents. It is ironic that one of the journalists threatened by the Obama White House in recent months has been Bob Woodward, one of two Washington Post reporters who originally broke the Watergate scandal, and who was immortalised in the 1976 Oscar winner All The Presidents Men, where he was played by Robert Redford. Woodward was warned back in February by White House economic adviser Gene Sperling that he would regret remarks he made on the sequester issue. Other writers, including Bill Clintons former special counsel Lanny Davis, have faced similar threats.
Is it any surprise that conservative groups have been targeted en masse by the federal government following the kind of deeply unpleasant rhetoric used by Vice President Joe Biden, who supported the charge by Democrat Congressman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania that Tea Party Republicans had acted like terrorists over the debt issue? Biden has been a master of this kind of divisive, heated language, telling union members at an AFL-CIO rally in Detroit in September 2011 that you are the only folks keeping the barbarians from the gates. At the same rally, Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa declared: "President Obama, this is your army, and we are ready to march. Everybody heres got a vote. If we go back, and we keep the eye on the prize, lets take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong. Needless to say, President Obama remained silent on both the Biden and Hoffa remarks, and in the following year called on his supporters to take revenge against Republicans at the ballot box.
This week, thanks to unprecedented levels of Congressional and mainstream media scrutiny of the actions of the Obama administration, the American people have been given a powerful insight into the way in which this presidency has operated. For far too long, the Obama administration has acted like an imperial court rather than a government that is accountable to the nation. The White Houses culture of arrogance and impunity, coupled with a deeply unpleasant vindictiveness, is increasingly there for all to see. Suppression of political dissent, a callous disregard for the loss of American life in Benghazi, and the relentless rise of big government these will be three of the most of enduring images of Barack Obamas imperial presidency.
9/11 Widow & lawyer sanctioned for motions which "reflect anti-Semitism in a raw and ugly form." A federal court in New York has sanctioned the widow of a 9/11 victim as well as her attorney, for filing "a series of offensive insinuations, unmistakably anti-Semitic." California Attorney Bruce Leichty and Appellant Ellen Mariani were both chided and fined by the court in an 11-page decision dated May 15th. The case, Ransmeier v. UAL Corporation, et al., was heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. "We conclude that Appellant and her attorney's conduct in prosecuting this appeal was frivolous and offensive," the court proclaimed, "and therefore warrants the imposition of sanctions."
Our October 2012 run-down '9/11 Widow Faces Sanctions For Objecting To Judges Israeli Ties' was dubbed an "excellent article" by the Ellen Mariani Legal Defense Fund and explains how the 9/11 widow and her lawyer were threatened with sanctions for "deeply troubling personal slurs" against U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein.
The court's decison filed Wednesday chides Leichty for making "personal slurs against Judge Hellerstein and his family" and alleges "In fact, on closer observation, Leichty's real argument is that Judge Hellerstein cannot be impartial because he is Jewish."
The court also sanctioned Mariani, one of the few 911 survivors who had the nerve to refused to be paid off. They noted that Mariani "is a veteran of federal court litigation" and that she signed a motion which included "some of the most offensive allegations against Judge Hellerstein." The court concluded therefore that "Mariani, too, is therefore jointly responsible with her attorney for the double costs imposed by this Order."
As we previously reported, Mariani's April 19, 2012 brief noted in part that "Judge Hellerstein and his wife Mildred are known to be active supporters of Israeli causes, and it is implausible that Judge Hellerstein would not at least be on inquiry notice of the affiliations of his son's law firm and the connections of his son's clients to Israeli and Israeli-linked defendants in a case before him, particularly in a case of the magnitude of the 911 case." It continued "It is not plausible that Judge Hellerstein, a highly-educated and connected supporter of Israeli causes, was unaware of the connections of his son's law firm."
Ironically, in their May 15th decision, the court in the Mariani case repeatedly referred to Gallop v. Cheney, another case in which a 9/11 victim sued the government, only to have her case thrown out and financial sanctions imposed. [See Bush court dismisses 9/11 suit against Bush officials, orders sanctions, globalresearch.ca.]
The court closed the decision noting that they were actually being easy on the two, once again referring to the April Gallop case: "Although we have authority to impose additional sanctions in the form of fines or attorney's fees on Mariani and Attorney Leichty, see Gallop III, 660 F.3d at 586, we decline to do so at this time. We trust that this relatively public reprimand will suffice to prevent similar transgressions in the future."
Below are some of the highlights (or rather lowlights) of the courts excoriating admonitions of the Plaintiff and Counsel who 'dared' to question the integrity of a public servant. The entire PDF of the ruling can be see here.
"Our other concern with Mariani's second appeal was the disturbing manner in which she and her counsel prosecuted it. We noted, in particular, the 'discreditable tone' of her filings. Ransmeier, 486 F. App'x at 893. We also wrote that her briefs featured 'an escalating series of ad hominem attacks on opposing counsel and bombastic challenges to the integrity of the district court,' id., which culminated with the particularly offensive Motion to Supplement the Record to introduce 'newly-discovered evidence' of the district court's alleged partiality. Id. This purported 'evidence' consisted of little more than a series of offensive insinuations, unmistakably anti-Semitic, about Judge Hellerstein, his family members, their professional work and some of their personal charitable activities. We therefore ordered Mariani and her counsel to show cause why they should not be sanctioned in the amount of double costs."
"...we also impose sanctions where the conduct of the sanctioned litigant or attorney evinces bad faith or an egregious disrespect for the Court or judicial process. We recently sanctioned attorneys who 'repeatedly and in bad faith accused the Court of bias, malice, and general impropriety.' Gallop v. Cheney (Gallop III), 660 F.3d 580, 584 (2d Cir. 2011) (per curiam),..."
"These technical deficiencies, however, pale alongside the ludicrous arguments Leichty makes in support of the Motion. Leichty's main argument is, in sum, that Judge Hellerstein is partial to defendants and must recuse himself because his adult son, an attorney, at one point was employed by a law firm in Israel that at some time represented two companies that might have an indirect connection to some of this case's defendants. He also makes reference to certain religiously-oriented philanthropic activities of the family, which he says evince partiality."
"...This leads us to the question of why the Motion was brought. Leichty's behavior belies the possibility that he was motivated by a belief that the Motion would be successful. Rather than making good-faith legal arguments, his Motion seems to us to be nothing more than a vehicle for making personal slurs against Judge Hellerstein and his family. In fact, on closer observation, Leichty's real argument is that Judge Hellerstein cannot be impartial because he is Jewish. The papers filed in support of the Motion reflect anti-Semitism in a raw and ugly form. For a private citizen to make such spurious and offensive suggestions is bad enough. For an attorney admitted to this Court to make them in court pleadings is unpardonable. We note, of course, that no law or court may prevent Leichty from believing what he chooses to believe. In most contexts, he may also say the things he says. What he is not allowed to do, however, is to let his misguided views cloud his judgment regarding what arguments may properly be made to this Court. In other words, we do not sanction him here for harboring anti-Semitic views. Rather, we impose sanctions against him because he allowed those views to prompt him to submit frivolous and grossly insulting arguments to this Court. See Gallop III, 660 F.3d at 585-86 (sanctioning an attorney who allowed 'his emotional reaction . . . to further undermine his legal judgment and interfere with his duty to provide thoughtful and reasoned advice to his client').To deter Leichty from acting similarly in the future, and to warn other lawyers about the consequences of similarly egregious behavior, we impose sanctions on Attorney Leichty in the form of double the costs incurred by Ransmeier in responding to the Motion..."
'The rule that the sins of the lawyer are visited on the client does not apply in the context of sanctions,' and we therefore must 'specify conduct of the client herself that is bad enough to subject her to sanctions.' Gallop III, 660 F.3d at 584....Mariani, however, is a veteran of federal court litigation, and she affirmatively admits that she 'worked closely' with Attorney Leichty in preparing the Motion to Supplement the Record. Decl. of Ellen Mariani in Support of Motion at 1. Indeed, it is the declaration filed under her name, and signed with her signature, that includes some of the most offensive allegations against Judge Hellerstein. Mariani, too, is therefore jointly responsible with her attorney for the double costs imposed by this Order.
For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that Appellant Ellen Mariani and her attorney Bruce Leichty are SANCTIONED in the amount of double the costs incurred by Ransmeier in responding to the Motion. They shall be jointly and severally liable for the amount, which shall be paid within sixty days of entry of this order. Although we have authority to impose additional sanctions in the form of fines or attorney's fees on Mariani and Attorney Leichty, see Gallop III, 660 F.3d at 586, we decline to do so at this time. We trust that this relatively public reprimand will suffice to prevent similar transgressions in the future.
US plans to militarily penetrate Africa The U.S. is preparing to militarily penetrate the African continent by building up its military resources within the Mediterranean Sea, says Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop the NATO organization.
RULES ARE RULES!
Date: Fri, 17 May 2013 10:39:41 -0700
Subject: RULES ARE RULES!
Roy Mullins wrote:
Good news: It was a normal day in Sharon Springs, Kansas, when a Union Pacific crew boarded a loaded coal train for the long trek to Salina.
The Bad news: Just a few miles into the trip a wheel bearing became overheated and melted, letting a metal support drop down and grind on the rail, creating white hot molten metal droppings spewing down to the rail.
The Good news: A very alert crew noticed smoke about halfway back in the train and immediately stopped the train in compliance with the Governmental Regulations.
The Bad news: The train stopped with the hot wheel over a wooden bridge with creosote ties and trusses. When crew tried to explain to higher-ups they needed to move the train, they were instructed not to move the train because Federal Regulations prohibit moving the train when a part is defective.
Well okee-dokey then, and the pictures tell the rest.
As always the Government knows
what is best for us
REMEMBER, RULES ARE RULES!
Don't ever let common sense get in the way
of a Government Regulation.
And now they decide your health care!!
Self reliance under seige as EU herbal regulations take hold The "all knowing" think they can govern the land, the plants, traditional herbal medicine, and each individual person, however they choose. That's why they have begun implementing the European Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive all across Europe.