Saturday, June 30, 2012

HAITI: Humanitarian Aid for Earthquake Victims Used to Build Five Star Hotels

Global Research
Julie Lévesque


As some 500 000 Haitians still live in displaced camps, five star hotels are being built amid shanty towns. 
 
As part of the country's "Reconstruction", The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund recently invested $2 million in the Royal Oasis Hotel, a deluxe structure to be built in a poverty-stricken metropolitan area "filled with displaced-persons camps housing hundreds of thousands”. Royal Oasis belongs to a Haitian investment group (SCIOP SA) and will be managed by the Spanish chain Occidental Hotels & Resorts.

AP reported in April that funds raised by the former
US Presidents to help the neediest Haitians are now being used to build a hotel for  "rich foreigners" including tourists as well many foreign NGO "aid workers" currently in Haiti. (Daniel Trenton, AP: New hotels arise amid ruins in Haitian capital, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, April 29, 2012)

It is worth noting that Western governments have insisted that aid money for Haiti be given to NGOs and foundations rather than to the Haitian government, which they consider  to be "corrupt".

In the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, people in the US, Canada and the EU, who made donations to those humanitarian organisations and NGOs did not realize that their contribution to Haiti's reconstruction would be channeled towards the building of five star hotels to house foreign businessmen. Their expectation was that the money would be used to provide food and housing for the Haitian people.



Royal Oasis hotel. More pictures at http://www.oasishaiti.com/



The Royal Oasis as well as other hotel projects totalling over $100 million are, according to AP, “raising hopes that thousands of [foreign] investors will soon fill their air-conditioned rooms looking to build factories and tourist infrastructure” (emphasis added)

The “10-story building […] will include an art gallery, three restaurants, a commercial bank and high-end shops. Construction on the Royal Oasis began before the earthquake and is expected to finish by the end of the year.” The earthquake was therefore a blessing for the hotel promoter and contractors, bringing $2 million dollars originally raised to “go directly to supplying these material needs [food, water, shelter, first-aid supplies]” (see add below). Among the companies involved in the construction of the Royal Oasis two are Haitian, one is Canadian (Montreal) and the other American (Miami).


Foreign Aid: Who Benefits?
Foreign “aid” often benefits NGOs of the donor country as well as the local business elites in the recipient country.  The Council on Hemispheric Affairs has blamed both Bill Clinton as well previous
U.S. presidents for having maintained  Haiti in conditions of "endemic poverty through a self-serving U.S. rice export policy […] By 2003, approximately 80% of all rice consumed in Haiti was imported from the United States.” (Leah Chavla, Bill Clinton’s Heavy Hand on Haiti’s Vulnerable Agricultural Economy: The American Rice Scandal, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, April 13, 2010.)


Last January iWatch News reported:
According to [U.S] government figures, 1,537 contracts had been awarded [to U.S. Companies] for a total of $204,604,670, as of last fall. Only 23 of the contracts went to Haitian companies, totaling $4,841,426. (Marjorie Valbrun, Haitian firms few and far between on reconstruction rosters, iWatch News, January 11, 2012.)


The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a division of the World Bank, has also invested $7.5 million in the project, claiming it will “create employment, generate business opportunities for small businesses and promote sustainable development.” Since 2006, $68.6 millions have been invested by IFC in the Haitian private sector. Despite those investments, the per capita GDP in Haiti has seen very little improvement during that period. There is a fine line between slavery and an average $2 a day salary, which ousted president Jean Bertrand Aristide wanted to abolish prior to his overthrow in a US-French-Canadian sponsored Coup d'Etat. (La Société Financière Internationale (IFC) investit dans un projet hôtelier en Haiti pour supporter les efforts de reconstruction, IFC, June 30, 2010.)

Lawyers For Ron Paul 6/27 Teleconference

Presented with chat discussion on 12160

Cliff Notes.
SilenceDewgooder
Was on the phone for the duration .. quick summary... based on my memory..
LFRP-PRCallJune-27-2012.mp3
the lawyers stated they have been in the contact with the highest echelon of Dr. Paul's campaign. They are wanting to talk to delegates that wish to be unbound even if the delegates choice is to vote for Romney.. Mr. Gilbert blasted some of the staff at Daily Paul... Mr. Gilbert also challenged those who spoke against the lawsuit to propose a plan.. 80%-ish of the states have been served... Mr. Gilbert's argument for the lawsuit is basically that if the Judge does not rule in favor of the delegates, then nothing has changed, but if the Judge does rule in favor of the delegates, then Tampa basically becomes a brokered convention.

The oddest part of the call is when someone, I think from this forum, asked Mr. Gilbert in a round-about way about very the odd tweeter account and messages about working in intel and so forth... Mr. Gilbert confirmed it, but in a slightly defensive and dismissive approach.

Dave Calihan (Op Manager) said they could use people with organizational and administrative skills; if interested http://electionfraudremedy.com/. Mr. Gilbert made reference to Dr. Paul's "secret" convention weapon being Rule 40, which he does not have much faith in it since it is listed under the RNC's temporary rules, but insisted that it still could used as a last resort, regardless of the lawsuit. Mr. Gilbert said this lawsuit is essentially Dr. Paul's last legitimate attempt at winning the nomination. Oh yeah, Mr. Gilbert also spoke confidently of Judge Carter to rule based upon the law and not influence.

Basically, what they are looking for now are more plaintiffs and evidence.
-
Does anyone have contact info for Carlos Beltran? I wanna compare some notes.
-
Lawyers For Ron Paul
http://www.toolsforjustice.com/

56:00 where they talk about money.
lawsuit,Case,"Lawyers For Ron Paul",LFRP

Lawyers for Ron Paul facing some tough questions and criticism as the grassroots try to get to the bottom of things. Tracy Diaz interviews guests Porter Davis & Pat Jack of Lawyers for Ron Paul, Tracy is also joined by grassroots activists Carlos Beltran and Steve Parent. Recorded 6-28-12





Holder scandal may be US attempt to destabilize Mexico

PressTV

video

An analyst says the trafficking of guns by the US to violent cartels in Mexico in a secret operation has resulted in some of those guns entering into Arizona.

Press TV has interviewed Wayne Madsen, investigative journalist from Washington, about the ramifications of the US running guns across the Mexican border and being caught doing it; and also about the possibility that US Attorney General Eric Holder, voted by Congress as being in contempt of Congress, will be pursued through independent prosecution.

What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: It’s been said that the Holder case is meant to distract Americans from bigger issues at hand such as the economy and never ending wars etc. Do you agree or is this a lot more significant?

Madsen: Well, I think one of the interests in this case may be misplaced somewhat. Of course, the Obama White House says this was a political move, but… and we have to understand it is the Justice Department, which would have to bring charges for this contempt of Congress vote against the attorney general.

Well, the attorney general is the head of the Justice Department so it’s rather doubtful that he is going to appoint a prosecutor to have himself prosecuted.

So, this is actually more of a symbolic vote by the House. They knew this wasn’t going to go anywhere, but there’s another issue.

The issue is that anytime the National Rifle Association thinks that guns are an issue and it could be restricted, they have their people in Congress vote for their legislation. So we saw some 17 Democrats vote with Republicans to cite Holder for contempt of Congress - I think only two Republicans joined the Democrats in opposition.

But we also know that there are a lot of strange things going on in Mexico with the two major drug cartels, Las Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel and the fact is that guns from the US wound up in the hands of these cartels.

There’s a conspiracy theory amongst the NRA that this is a means by the Obama administration to try to restrict guns, but there’s also another thought that this is an attempt to destabilize Mexico.

There’s a big presidential election in Mexico on Sunday and the mere fact that we could see a return of the PRI Party candidates, which ruled Mexico for decades, there could be much more to what’s going on with the running of guns from the US into Mexico.


And I’m told from sources in Arizona that guns are coming back across the border from Mexico into states like Arizona that share a border with Mexico… So I’m wondering whether there’s an intelligence operation going on and that is why Mr. Holder decided to stonewall because his record shows that he will protect the interests of all US intelligence operations and this may be an attempt by the US to destabilize Mexico.

Press TV: I want to pick up on your point about the Justice Department. Doesn’t the fact that Holder’s case will be referred to prosecutors under him unearth a vital flaw, maybe, in the judicial system? It seems the US attorney general is in a sense above the law as no prosecutor would want to jeopardize his or her own position.

Madsen: Absolutely. And this is why many times we saw independent special councils or independent prosecutors named, to get that individual out from any kind of coercion from the attorney general.

We saw during Watergate with the independent Watergate prosecutor; we saw it again in the move against President Clinton that ended up in his impeachment - of course, he was found not guilty by the Senate. But we have seen these special prosecutors appointed because of this very issue.

It’s always stated that the attorney general is not a political position. It’s somehow different from the other members of the Cabinet, but we’ve seen from past history with the Attorney General John Mitchell under Richard Nixon and Edwin Meese under Reagan that these attorneys general have been highly political and in fact Attorney General Mitchell went to prison because of his activity during the Watergate scandal.


So, yes it does point out a flaw in the Independent Counsel Statute, which is now not in force. It was always used as a means to prevent the politicization of the Justice Department in these types of matters.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cynthia McKinney - We define the system, the system does not define us


Researched, Produced and Directed by Abir Alsayed

A part of Asdekaa Al Arab series
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Asdekaa-Al-Arab-%D8%A3%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%82%D8%A7%...

Take Back Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, Say World Leaders

Occupy Corporatism
Susanne Posel

Valdimir Zhirinovsky, Russian Liberal Party leader wants US President Barack Obama stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize (NPP). In 2009, Obama was given the prestigious award because of his work on nuclear non-proliferation. Zhirinovsky, in a statement , says that because of “these developments in Libya are another outrageous act of aggression by NATO forces and, in particular, the United States.” He also pointed out that Obama’s strike was a “colonial policy” that intended to usurp control over Libyan oil.

Bolivian President Evo Morales agrees with Zhirinovsky, as he commented : “How is it possible that a Nobel Peace Prize winner leads a gang to attack and invade? This is not a defense of human rights or self-determination.”

Other commentators were more frank: “Obama gives speeches trashing his own country and for that gets a prize, which is now worth as much as whatever prizes they are putting in Cracker Jacks these days.”

Guenther Oettinger, leader of the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, told Bloomberg that the NPP is given “at the end” of a persons’ achievements, not the beginning.

Since Obama’s election in 2008, he has turned from the commander-in-chief to the “ drone warrior-in-chief ” as the shredding of the US Constitution by his administration paved the way for draconian legislation, use of torture and murdering of Americans without due process.

Obama has created a kill list in which he made himself judge, jury and executioner with unmanned drones to carry out his tyrannical orders. John Brennan was promoted from counter-terrorism advisor to “assassination Czar” last month. Between the two of them, they decide who lives and dies by simply placing a name on a target list for the US military and CIA that defines who are terrorists and who are not.

The use of drones within American skies has also increased as Obama incrementally turns our Free Republic into a Police State that were conceived of by Orwell in 1984.

Global leaders have denounced the award of the NPP to Obama; regarding the summation that he has worked toward efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” was a premature assumption of the first few months of his presidency. Since then, Obama’s actions do not reflect that of a peacemaker, but rather a self-proclaimed dictator within the US domestic boarders and violent usurper abroad.


The calm may not last for ever

The Economist

Despite several years of peace and a rise in prosperity, frustration is bubbling up


FIVE years after Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, dismissed an elected government run by the Islamists of Hamas and decided to rule instead by decree, the Palestinian Authority (PA) that oversees the West Bank is being dangerously challenged from within. In Nablus, the first city where Mr Abbas chose to fill the security vacuum with his American-trained national-security battalions, turf wars have recently erupted between rival commanders, puncturing four years of calm. The walls of Jacob’s Well, a local church, a theatre and the UN office all bear the scars of recent shooting sprees. “It’s hell,” says a social worker in Balata, the city’s largest refugee camp, which suffered grievously during two previous intifadas (uprisings), in 1987-93 and 2000-05. Now people are beginning gloomily to wonder whether there will be a third intifada, this time aimed at the PA as much as at the Israelis occupying the West Bank.

For the moment Mr Abbas has the upper hand. Dispatched from Ramallah, the PA’s seat of government, his presidential guards have detained dozens of rogue security officers, some of them very senior, in Nablus and in Jenin, a smaller Palestinian city half an hour’s drive to the north, where the governor recently died of a heart attack after machinegun fire raked his house. In Jenin triumphant officers loyal to Mr Abbas patrol the streets with M-16 rifles captured from their rivals.

The PA’s Western donors praise Mr Abbas for his readiness to rein in his own rogues. Israel’s generals, who give him a security umbrella, welcome the belated prevention of anarchy. And for the first time in months camp residents are enjoying their first nights of sleep unbroken by gunfire.

Moreover, Nablus people still appreciate the relative prosperity that has revived the city since the second intifada ended in around 2005. Hundreds of businessmen have returned since Israel pulled back from the roadblocks at the city gates. Some 700,000 Arab citizens of Israel came shopping last year in the elegant medieval quarter. The governor hopes foreign tourists will follow, with plans for a “nativity trail” from Nazareth to Bethlehem to make a detour via Nablus. A new hotel and museum are due to open this summer on the ruins of a medieval khan, al-Wikala, which Israeli tanks pummelled during the second intifada. Unemployment has halved, say PA officials. In more affluent districts, young women are discarding veils.

But the camp’s residents are deeply divided. Though many are grateful for the calm that Mr Abbas and his appointed prime minister, Salam Fayyad, have brought in the past few years, others resent the heavy-handed security of the PA regime. Imposing muqatas (fortresses) are rising in all the West Bank’s main cities. Many Palestinians find the PA’s co-operation with Israel galling. “We give them the names and they arrest them,” says an Israeli officer. Many Palestinians fear they are being condemned to indefinite occupation. At a recent funeral for three local fighters whose bodies Israel recently returned to their families, mourners chanted “Down with the PA! Down with Abbas!”

Most worrying for Mr Abbas was the fact that the ringleaders of the recent trouble hailed from his own Fatah party, which provides the bedrock of the PA’s security forces. PA officials fear that certain senior Fatah commanders who have fallen foul of Mr Abbas—in particular a former intelligence chief, Tawfiq Tirawi, and a prominent strongman, Muhammad Dahlan—are stoking the unrest in the hope of creating a security vacuum they could later fill. Hamas, which still controls the Gaza Strip but is heavily suppressed in the West Bank by both Israel and the PA, awaits the tardy coming of the Arab spring to Palestine. The Israelis may be content to see Mr Abbas tied up with recalcitrant Palestinians rather than tackling Israel on the world stage.

Nablus’s commercial regeneration cannot cure a gnawing national malaise. “There is no political horizon,” say disgruntled Palestinians. They increasingly question the point of the PA. It has failed to usher in a Palestinian state, and appears powerless to prevent Israeli military incursions or the relentless expansion of Jewish settlements on the West Bank. “All the windows are closed, and the political elite has no keys to open them,” says Raid Nairat, an academic. The West Bank’s 30,000 security forces seem unkeen on a recent quest for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas that would force them to share power. Their recent round-up of 150 Hamas men helped dampen hopes of a deal.

A fiscal crisis is compounding the political one. On paper the PA expects a budget deficit of $1 billion, equivalent to 10% of GDP. But this may well double when arrears owed to private businesses are added. Unpaid for years, suppliers refuse government orders on credit, and are having to cut production and their workforces. Palestinian builders complain that ministries pay them only when they give bribes. “We won’t let our financial system go down with the PA,” says a Palestinian banker.
Donors, too, are tired. Cash from the Gulf has dwindled, partly because the United Arab Emirates, which used to send $200m a year, seems to have sided with Mr Dahlan. “The crash is coming,” says an official in Mr Fayyad’s office. “If we can’t pay salaries over Ramadan [the Muslim month of fasting which starts on July 20th], there will be a revolt.”

Few Palestinians call for a renewal of violence. But such talk is again in the air. In some West Bank towns Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extreme Islamist group, has been making headway. “A Muslim army should defend Muslims, not Jews,” says an angry Islamist, denouncing the PA’s security co-ordination with Jewish kuffar (unbelievers).


NATO Proxies Turkey and Saudi Arabia Move to War Footing on Eve of Syrian ‘Peace Summit’

Global Research
Finian Cunningham

UN's Ban pushes Annan Syria plan at Arab summit
The NATO-backed covert aggression against Syria could be reaching a tipping point for all-out war involving state forces. That should be no surprise. For the past 16 months, NATO and its regional proxies have been steadily increasing the violence and turmoil inside and outside Syria, while the Western corporate-controlled media maintain the ridiculous fiction that the bloody chaos is largely due to the government forces of President Bashar Al Assad cracking down on “peaceful protesters”.

Ironically, the crisis is culminating at the same time that the United Nations convenes an emergency summit on Syria in Geneva this weekend. The meeting, which is ostensibly aimed at “reviving the Kofi Annan peace plan”, will be attended by the five permanent members of the UN security council and other “invited” regional states. The irony is that leading NATO members, the US, Britain and France, as well as their Turkish and Arab allies who will also be attending the crisis conference, are the very parties that have deliberately created the precipice for all-out war in the Middle East.

As dignitaries fly into Geneva to “salvage peace in Syria”, there is a lockstep military build-up on the northern and southern flanks of Syria underway, with news that Turkey has dispatched battlefield tanks, missile batteries and heavy artillery to its Syrian border, while to the south Saudi Arabia has announced that its military forces have been put on a “state of high alert”.

Ankara’s military mobilization along its 800km land border with Syria came within hours of the declaration by Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slating Syria as “a hostile state”. The immediate cause of the deterioration in relations between the neighbouring countries is the downing of a Turkish fighter jet last week in Syrian territorial waters. Syria claims it was acting in self-defence after the Phantom RF-4E warplane entered its airspace on Friday. Ankara has so far failed to give an explanation for why one of its warplanes was making such a provocative low-flying manoeuvre into Syrian airspace. But the Turkish government has announced that any move by Syrian armed forces towards its border will be viewed as another “hostile act” that it will respond to. How’s that for a provocative tether? Especially towards a country that is being attacked by armed groups crossing over its border with Turkey.

Meanwhile, on the same day that Turkey is militarizing along its border with Syria, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah makes an unprecedented announcement putting his armed forces on high alert “due to the tense situation in the Middle East”. Using vague and contrived language, the Saudi ruler warned against “foreign or terrorist attacks” to justify the mobilization of the kingdom’s armed forces.

The military pincer movement against Syria tends to support the analysis that the downing of the Turkish fighter jet was a deliberate set-piece scenario designed to furnish a cause for war, or at least a stepping up of the international psy-ops campaign of intimidation against Syria.

IAEA official warns against unilateral Iran strike

Jerusalem Post
Yaakov Lappin


Tariq Rauf says threats, use of force would not guarantee success, could become driver for proliferation.
BERLIN – A senior International Atomic Energy Agency official warned against a unilateral military strike on Iranian nuclear sites on Monday at a global security conference in Berlin.

Tariq Rauf, head of verification and security policy coordination at the IAEA, told the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe that “the use or threat of force unilaterally to deal with proliferation challenges does not guarantee success. At best, [the result] could be incomplete, and at worst, it could be a driver to proliferation.”

The comments come as speculation continues over potential Israeli or American military action against Iranian nuclear sites, against the backdrop of diplomatic negotiations, economic sanctions and mysterious computer viruses afflicting Iran.

Rauf spent much of his talk discussing his vision of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East. A November meeting on prospects for regional nuclear disarmament provided “a faint glimmer of hope... to at least engage in preliminary explorative discussion on a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region,” he said.

Rauf added that all Middle Eastern IAEA members attended, including Israel, which he described as “one key state in the region not party to NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty].”
The November conference “saw constructive dialogue... despite the complexity of issues and differences of views,” he said.

Further spelling out his vision, Rauf said goals included ending the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, halting the development and stationing of weapons, and dismantling any nuclear weapons programs.
The IAEA’s talks with Israel and its Arab neighbors “show that there still continues to be a longstanding and fundamental difference of views between Israel on the one hand and the other states of the Middle East region on other hand, with regards to the application of.

IAEA safeguards to all nuclear activities in region,” he continued.

Arab states have long attempted to exploit their IAEA membership to place diplomatic pressure on Jerusalem over the nuclear issue.

Summarizing his understanding of Israel’s stance, Rauf said, “Israel takes the view that IAEA safeguards, as well as other regional security issues, cannot be addressed in isolation from the creation of stable regional security conditions – and that these issues should be addressed in the framework of a regional security and arms control dialogue.”

The Israeli stance at last year’s meeting won backing from the US, UK and Russia.
Rauf added that the nuclear dialogue “could be resumed in the framework of a multilateral peace process.”



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Contradicts Obama's Refusal to Acknowledge Health Care Tax

Observation from Liberty Fight
by Martin Hill

President Obama appeared on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos in September, insisting that the penalty for those who don't buy health insurance is not a tax. However, with the passage of  H.R. 3962, otherwise known as the "Affordable Health Care for America Act", the exact opposite has proven to be true.

A letter from Thomas A Barthold, Chief of Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, specifies clearly and repeatedly that the penalty for the non-insured is indeed a tax, with potential prosecution and jail time for those who do not comply.The 4 page letter, sent to Rep. Dave Camp on Guy Fawkes day, was in response to the Michigan Republican's questions Barthold explained that the bill contains a "tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage" and added that the goal of the IRS "is consistency, fairness and predicttabilty in administration of penalties", also pointing out that the total number of convictions the government won in tax evasion cases was 666.

"if the government determined that the taxpayer's unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply" Barthold explained, adding that there is a religious conscience exemption in the bill as well.

Several media outlets reported on the exchange between Obama and Stephanopoulos in September, with many covering potential jail time for non compliance. The left gatekeepers made a partisan issue out of it, but few addressed the fundamental question of  the constitutionality of universally mandated healthcare.

Following is an excerpt of the exchange between Obama and  the ABC host on THIS WEEK. Now that the facts have come out, will Obama respond?

------------------------------------------
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were against the individual mandate...

OBAMA: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...during the campaign. Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don't .. How is that not a tax?

OBAMA: Well, hold on a second, George. Here -- here's what's happening. You and I are both paying $900, on average -- our families -- in higher premiums because of uncompensated care. Now what I've said is that if you can't afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn't be punished for that. That's just piling on.  If, on the other hand, we're giving tax credits, we've set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we've driven down the costs, we've done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you've just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances. And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that's...

STEPHANOPOULOS: That may be, but it's still a tax increase.

OBAMA: No. That's not true, George. The -- for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to 446 get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase.

People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I'm not covering all the costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy...

OBAMA: No, but -- but, George, you -- you can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase. Any...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Here's the...

OBAMA: What -- what -- if I -- if I say that right now your premiums are going to be going up by 5 or 8 or 10 percent next year and you say well, that's not a tax increase; but, on the other hand, if I say that I don't want to have to pay for you not carrying coverage even after I give you tax credits that make it affordable, then...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I -- I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax -- "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but...

OBAMA: ...what you're saying is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.
OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I'm taking over every sector of the economy. You know that.  Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it's a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion. 
 
Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured on LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened, Infowars, PrisonPlanet, National Motorists Association, WorldNetDaily, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 Los Angeles, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI 640, The Press Enterprise, Antiwar.com, IamtheWitness.com, FreedomsPhoenix, Rense, BlackBoxVoting, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com

Supreme Court upholds Obama health care law

USAToday
David Jackson

The Supreme Court upheld the health care law today in a splintered, complex opinion that appears to give President Obama a major victory.

Basically. the justices said that the individual mandate -- the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine -- is constitutional as a tax.

Chief Justice John Roberts -- a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush -- provided the key vote to preserve the landmark health care law, which figures to be a major issue in Obama's re-election bid against Republican opponent Mitt Romney.

The announcement will have a major impact on the nation's health care system, the actions of both federal and state governments, and the course of the November presidential and congressional elections.

A key question for the high court: The law's individual mandate, the requirement that nearly all Americans buy health insurance, or pay a penalty.

Critics call the requirement an unconstitutional overreach by Congress and the Obama administration; supporters say it is necessary to finance the health care plan, and well within the government's powers under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

While the individual mandate remained 18 months away from implementation, many other provisions already have gone into effect, such as free wellness exams for seniors and allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents' health insurance policies. Some of those provisions are likely to be retained by some insurance companies.

Microphone Grabbed Out of Hands of Reporter Questioning Honeywell CEO

Reader Supported News
Mike Elk

For the last two years, I have covered union busting efforts by Honeywell, their close connections to President Obama and how federal agencies have assisted Honeywell in three different labor struggles since Obama came to power.  In particular, I covered a 14-month lockout at Honeywell uranium plant in Metropolis, Illinois, where Honeywell cheated on tests for replacement workers, who later caused several releases of radioactive gas into the atmosphere. Instead of their picket line with the striking workers as he promised to do during his campaign, Obama decided to fly with top Democratic donor and Honeywell CEO David Cote to India while the lockout was still going on. (Today, Obama and Cote will appear at Honeywell’s Minneapolis facility for an event on the economy).

Recently, on May 10, at around 2 p.m., managers walked into Honeywell's uranium conversion plant in Metropolis, Ill., and told workers—both union and nonunion—they had to leave the plant immediately. Multiple workers present say a manager told them the sudden dismissal was because the company had to investigate "sabotage" of plant equipment. Honeywell has since allowed non-union contractors and salaried employees and managers back into the plant to operate it as the company's investigation continues, but still hasn't allowed the full unionized workforce to return.

Then on May 14, according to United Steelworkers Local 7-669 President Stephen Lech, an engineer—manning a post typically manned by a union employee—caused a release of highly toxic radioactive UF6 gas for over seven minutes. Contrary to company policy, no alarms were sounded informing the community of the release of this deadly gas. Fortunately, no one was hurt by the accidental release of UF6 gas. Yet another leak of the same gas occurred at the Metropolis plant yesterday, although again it appears that workers fortunately escaped serious injury.

I had attempted to get Honeywell to comment on the matter, but as the company has done throughout the two years I have covered their union-busting, they refused to answer the question. Earlier in May, Plant Manager Larry Smith hung up the phone on me when I contacted him.  So when I heard Honeywell CEO Dave Cote would be talking at a forum on “Revitalizing America: Encouraging Entrepreneurship,” hosted by Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), I decided to go ask him a few questions about Honeywell’s various labor disputes.

Yesterday morning, I showed up at the event in the basement of the U.S. Capitol Building’s Visitor Center where Cote was speaking. I identified myself as a reporter for In These Times and gave my card to a Republican House staffer, who then handed me a media badge for the event.  It was one of the most bizarre events I have ever covered, as if those secret meetings between congressman and CEOs that union guys always talk about actually existed.

The assembly included lobbyists, corporate executes and GOP congressmen, talking about how they were going to push for deregulation and lower taxes. Even Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) showed up to brag about how he was working with the Heritage Foundation to find ways to lower corporate taxes. Clarke was met with wild applause from the suit-clad room.

Supreme Follies

American Everyman
Scott Creighton

Just a quick note: In a few hours the Supreme Court is going to release it’s decision on the Obamacare (aka the ironically named “Affordable” Care Act) lawsuits brought by 26 different states. I won’t be here when the verdict is released so I will go out on a limb and make a little prediction… the court will support the mandate as “constitutional” but will strike several aspects of the bill as unconstitutional, namely the part that mandates corporations offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and the part that keeps them from charging more from elderly MANDATED “customers” (are we really “customers” if we are forced to purchase their deeply flawed insurance scams?). They will do this because to them it is constitutional to force human citizens to buy a flawed product from a corporation but it is unconstitutional to force corporate persons to treat human citizens in a just manner. Plus, there is just WAAAAAY too much money at stake (for those of you who don’t know…

MOST of the industrialized Western nations have a single payer type healthcare system and the big insurance companies have EVERY INTENTION of exporting our system and thus striking this down not only hurts their profits here but also in the future all across the world. Just think about those payment premium profit margins for a second. think about it… think about it…. good. now move on)
The fake left is inundated with dire warnings of life without Obamacare (first suggested by the Heritage Foundation don’t ya know) and the right is being bombarded with renewed threats of the evil soooooocialism (and when I say soooooocialism, Fox News style,  I mean Nazi Germany, Satan himself, and the dreaded social justice… cus that all means the same thing to Fox News viewers and “freedom” loving libertarians who pledge their support daily to the “freedom” of corporations to rip off their customers, pay no taxes for the services they enjoy, and poison our food supply) of single payer healthcare if the court rules in favor of the constitution. The stage has been set. The actors are on their marks. Everyone is ready. Are you?


If you take a look at recent events it’s hard to imagine that anything else could happen. Everything is going the corporate way. From Citizen’s United to Obama’s new “trade” deal, the writing is on the wall, the winds of CHANGE are a blowin. The SCOTUS transformation team just recently ruled to strike down a 100 year old state law which prohibited corporations from dumping unlimited cash into campaign support. Now TransCanada for instance can dump billions of dollars into a local mayoral candidate’s campaign if they desire thanks to the Supreme Follies of the Roberts’ court.

It seems fascism the Washington Consensus is all the rage in DC these days. I don’t expect they will have any problem supporting the clearly unconstitutional personal mandate of the Heritage Foundation Mitt Romney Hillary Clinton Barack Obama “healthcare” plan.

I really hope I’m wrong about this one but it seems it may be inevitable.

Perhaps we can expect some kind of nifty staged distraction to accompany their announcement as well. Lots of people on the left and the right oppose this “Affordable” Care Act. They may need a bigger, juicier story to drown out the wails of dissent from the unwashed masses.


Military Rape Survivors Call On Congress To Stop The Silent Epidemic

Business Insider
Lauren Brown

Today a group of veterans delivered letters signed by 200 military sexual assault and rape survivors to Congress urging them to pass the STOP Act. The letters were presented to Congresswoman Spier who introduced the Act to congress in November of 2011.

If passed, the STOP Act would remove the reporting of sexual assault and rape in the military outside of the chain of command and into the jurisdiction of the military's Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office which is comprised of military and civilian experts.

Despite 17 congressional hearings over the past 25 years, there's been no major action taken to stem the "silent epidemic" of sexual assault in the military. It's been estimated that nearly 20,000 servicemembers were assaulted in 2010 though only a little more than 13 percent of the incidents were reported.

The group of women delivered the letters with the human rights organization, Protect Our Defenders, which provides support for men and women who have served in the military and been victims of sexual assault. A number of the women who went to Congress today were featured in the documentary, "The Invisible War," a film which gives voice to the staggering number of horrific sexual assaults that have gone unpunished.

The letter was from:

"200 Veterans who have been raped or sexually assaulted at least once while serving in the United States Armed Forces between 1971 – 2011. Retaliation, including discharge and punishment, happened to many of us who tried reporting the crime."

Many victims say that the way they were treated by the military after the incident and the military's failure to prosecute the assault is worse than the actual incident.

UN tribunal finds ethics office failed to protect whistleblower

The Guardian
Julian Borger

UN accused of culture of impunity after diplomat fired and detained by UN police after raising suspicions of corruption

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, has unsuccessfully
sought to curb the UN’s dispute tribunal’s jurisdiction.
A landmark case brought by a former United Nations employee against the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has cast light on what activists describe as a pervasive culture of impunity in an organisation where whistleblowers are given minimal protection from reprisals.

James Wasserstrom, a veteran American diplomat, was sacked and then detained by UN police, who ransacked his flat, searched his car and put his picture on a wanted poster after he raised suspicions in 2007 about corruption in the senior ranks of the UN mission in Kosovo (Unmik).

The UN's dispute tribunal has ruled that the organisation's ethics office failed to protect Wasserstrom against such reprisals from his bosses, and that the UN's mechanisms for dealing with whistleblowers were "fundamentally flawed", to the extent the organisation had failed to protect the basic rights of its own employees.

The case was directed against Ban as being directly responsible for the actions of the ethics office.
Of the 297 cases where whistleblowers complained of retaliation for trying to expose wrongdoing inside the UN, the ethics office fully sided with the complainant just once in six years, according to the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a watchdog organisation in Washington.

"Like any internal office in an institution, it is always subjected to huge pressures from above," said Bea Edwards, GAP's executive director. "It is very difficult for an official employed by the institution to be impartial."

The dispute tribunal, which was created in 2009 in an effort to improve the UN's system of internal justice, has challenged the power of the secretariat on several occasions, forcing it to hand over evidence in Wasserstrom's case, and a higher court has rejected the UN's attempt to appeal.
Ban has sought to curb the tribunal's jurisdiction but has so far been unsuccessful.

The tribunal wants another hearing on the Wasserstrom case in October to decide how the UN should compensate him for his treatment. The American diplomat, now an anti-corruption official in the US embassy in Kabul, said he would also be asking for the UN to pay his legal costs, because its reluctance to co-operate with its own ethics office by handing over evidence had stretched the case out over several years.

"In an ideal world this would force the UN to revisit its ethics office and investigate how it interprets its own rules on whistleblowing, but the UN is far from an ideal world. Pressure has to be put on it for it to change," he said.

"I was told at some point in the whole process that the UN didn't want a 'culture of snitches'. What has grown up instead is a culture completely insulated from reality. It's a culture of impunity."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

NBC Blocks Footage of Flight 93 Crash on 09/11/2012




Dutch Amnesty International launches propaganda campaign to make "Putin stop Assad"

World Mathaba
Quoriana

In yet another politically-motivated move, the Dutch branch of Amnesty International has launched a petition campaign urging Russian president Putin to demand Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to stop what Amnesty describes as the "systematical use of horrible violence by Syrian government troops and militias in towns and villages".

The site writes in Dutch language: People are dragged out of their houses and are summarily executed. Prisoners are tortured, sometimes to death. The Syrian army surrounds cities and incessantly bombs and shells them. There also took dozens of massacres place in which children were murdered in cold blood. This violence has to stop now!

Russia blocks the UN Security Council and thus prevents any possible solution. Russia continues to supply arms to the Syrian regime. Russia is against the departure of president Assad, against military intervention and against an arms embargo.

Ask Russian president Putin to take responsibility and to use his influence to end the violence in Syria!
Amnesty's message is summarized in a highy biased as well as plain laughable video. Accompanied by Carole King's song You've got a friend, it shows the photo of a glum-looking president Assad while the following text appears in Dutch:

There are moments when you feel lonely and misunderstood... when you doubt everything. Whether you should continue the torture in hospitals... Whether the murder of those children has been a good idea... Whether you really can make the world believe that all those protesters are terrorists... At those difficult moments it is good to remember... 


A fatherly-looking portrait of Russian president Putin appears, together with the words: You've got a friend.




The video is not only ridiculous, shameless and full of intelligence-insulting lies; the so-called human rights organisation also failed to include the fact that the Syrian rebels, who obviously are allowed to continue to murder rampantly, are receiving weapons and millions of dollars from U.S. - and Dutch - allies and notorious human rights abusers Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which weapons according to a diplomat in Ankara are transported to Syria via Turkey with the implicit support of Turkey's intelligence agency.

TIL: The Pentagon Is Building a Reddit Knockoff

Wired

For years, the military has struggled over what to do about social media. One response has been to create dull, Pentagon-controlled versions of popular websites Facebook and YouTube. Now the Pentagon is preparing to launch its own version of Reddit, in another small step in the military’s quest to strip the fun out of everything on the internet.

It’s called Eureka, and it’s supposed to be a rough analogue to the ginormous social news site where users vote on which content rises to the top — or which content falls to the bottom — of user-generated feeds. (Disclosure: Wired and Reddit are both owned by Advance Publications.) Though Eureka looks to be a much more restricted and focused variant. Instead of choosing to upvote or downvote, well, anything that’s not blatantly illegal, troops will vote on “ideas,” according to Lauren Biron of Defense News.

What kind of ideas rise to the top? Those that improve training, or solve the “problems that plague the military and hamper efficiency,” Biron reports.

“Seems like a perfect fit!” writes Reddit general manager Erik Martin in an e-mail. “The Reddit format and the military both love acronyms. I can actually imagine a decent military version of TIL (Today I Learned), IAMA (Ask Me Anything), and ELIF (Explain It Like I’m Five), but the military version of MLP (My Little Pony) gives me nightmares. I do have high hopes for RAOMRE (Random Acts of MRE),” he added.

Eureka will also be firewalled, which means you probably can’t get in, unless you’re in either a member of the reserve or active-duty military, a civilian defense worker, in the National Guard or are an eligible contractor. Same goes for the rest of milSuite: the set of Pentagon social media sites like its Facebook and YouTube variants. And milWiki, the Pentagon’s version of Wikipedia.

MilSuite also includes a news blog, and resources for storing knowledge “that might be lost during the drawdown of troops and eventual exodus of leadership.” The same thinking is going into Eureka, as upvoted Eureka posts work their way (in theory) into updated field manuals.

Think more of a teaching tool and resource database than an object of troops’ leisure time. Every upload to MilTube, formally known as TroopTube, is screened. The last time Danger Room checked in on it, the selection was ruthlessly tame. Brutal battlefield video uploaded by soldiers to YouTube and its shock-site counterpart, LiveLeak, are not allowed.

“It could be powerful if done right, but getting the critical mass of active engagement necessary to make something like this work is tough,” writes Martin. “For best results they should keep everything, or at the very least voting pseudo anonymous, otherwise you’ll have the same problems you have with offline politics and group dynamics. If they want to take a lesson from Reddit, they should make sure users can create their own subcommunities (subreddits) since that’s where the real innovation happens. Also, I hope they took advantage of our open source or something similar instead of paying some contractor a lot of money.”

But on the other hand, Eureka doesn’t sound that much different from Reddit’s unofficial military forums.

“Many of the visitors to /r/Navy use the site to ask questions about a variety of topics that pertain to their military life and career,” writes Anthony Genovese, a former Naval Academy cadet and moderator of Reddit’s Navy subforum. Genovese says he likes the idea behind Eureka, because an official site with support from the military “can really help these people get the correct information the fastest way possible.”

On Human Identity

Richard Falk

Early in my blog life I wrote about Jewish identity. It was partly an exercise in self-discovery, and partly a response to those who alleged that I was a self-hating Jew, or worse, an anti-Semite. These attacks on my characterwere hurtful even as I felt their distance from my actual beliefs and worldview. In my mind and heart criticisms of Israel and support for the Palestinian struggle for their rights under international law and in accord with fundamental ideas of justice had to do with taking suffering seriously,which for me is the most solid foundation of human identity.

            I realized that in a globalized world human identity should serve as the moral trump card in relation to conflict situations. Of course, the optic of human identity can produce a variety of interpretations of a particular situation, and is not meant to eclipse other experienced identities. The Holocaust was a most horrifying instance of what the great Catholic monk, mystic, and writer, Thomas Merton, called the unspeakable. The memories of victimization can never function as a moral excuse for the victimization of another. Tragically, the unfolding of Israel’s quest for security and prosperity beneath the banner of Zionism has generated a narrative of severe

Palestinian suffering taking multiple forms, ranging from the prolonged and acute vulnerability of statelessness and rightslessness to the humiliations of living decade after decade under harsh military rule in an increasingly apartheid setting.

            But the wider concern beyond the specifics of any given situation is with the future of humanity. So long as ethnic, religious, and nationalist identities are given precedence in a world of inequality and critical scarcities of water, energy, food, and health, there will be oppression and widespread abuse. For the modern world the identity of the part, whether state, religion, or ethnicity, has consistently prevailed over the identity of the whole, whether humanity or world. As a result, globally sensible policies to control global warming or world poverty or the instability of financial markets are not attainable. The national interest continues to eclipse the human interest.

            In earlier periods of history this kind of dispersal of authority was sustainable, although often cruel in maintaining hierarchies as during the colonial period and in relation to the annihilation of many indigenous peoples whose pre-modern wisdom has much to teach us about survival in the emergent post-modern world of scarcities and limits.

            At the same time, a plural world order allowed for diversities that were consistent with the variety of religions, civilizations, cultural traditions, and worldviews. Warfare and exploitation made such a world order morally deficient, but so were the envisioned alternatives associated with a global state or world government. A potential tyranny of the whole seemed to most of us worse than the anarchic circumstances of a world of sovereign states.

            Increasingly, conflict patterns based on the technologies of oppression and resistance are illustrating the menacing realities of a borderless world. Drones ignore borders. Cyber warfare is heedless of space. We cannot go on in  this manner much longer without bloodying our heads against the stone walls of history. We are living as a species on borrowed time. It is not the occasion for panic, but it is a time to recalibrate our relations with one another, with nature, with past and future, with this inevitable and mostly invisible transition of mentalities underway– from the enclosures and openings of a spatially oriented world of borders to the before and after of a temporally shaped world now and in the future beset by scarcities and limits.

            In such a global circumstance, human identity is not so much a choice as a destiny thrust upon us. It can produce a spectrum of responses. The tendency is strengthen border controls, increase surveillance, indulge in blame games, and build high, electrified walls, making sovereign territory resemble at its best ‘a gated community’ of gargantuan proportions or at its worst ‘a maximum security prison.’ In this sense, the captivity of Gaza prefigures one kind of regressive future that resists the imperatives of a world of limits, seeking to lull us in the belief that we can remain safe in a world of borders.

            And so my orientation is in support of those who struggle against the odds, and for freedom, and it is in solidarity with those who believe that empathy and compassion bring greater security than guns and guard dogs. For me this means a celebration of human identity, and a citizenship that is derived primarily not from the blessings of a state or the sense of national belonging, but from the feeling that life is a journey toward a just and humane future, a pilgrimage endowed with spiritual significance throughout its unfolding. It is an engagement with impossible possibilities for the future, dreams and dramas of human fulfillment, and the person who fully endorses such a journey and the human identity that accompanies it is what I choose to call, and aspire to be;  ‘a citizen pilgrim.’

Rick Rozoff: NATO War Council To Target Syria

Global Research
Rick Rozoff

Turkish fighter jet flies into
Syrian airspace.
On Tuesday, June 26 Belgium time the North Atlantic Council, the highest governing body of the U.S.-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organization military bloc, will take up the issue of Syria under provisions of its founding document that in the past ten and a half years have resulted in military deployments preparatory to and the subsequent waging of full-scale wars.

The ambassadors of the alliance's 28 member states constitute the council, nations whose collective population is 900 million. Its founding members include three nuclear powers - the U.S., Britain and France - the first the self-proclaimed world's sole military superpower.

Until the day before the meeting NATO was to take up a request by member Turkey to hold consultations under the terms of the North Atlantic (Washington) Treaty's Article 4, which allows any member state to call on the entire alliance to respond to alleged threats to its territorial integrity and security.

On June 25, three days after a Turkish F-14 supersonic fighter-bomber was shot down over Syrian waters, Turkey announced that it was going to ask the military alliance to discuss its Article 5, which states that "an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all" and commits NATO allies to "assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force..."

Article 5 was invoked for the first and to date only time in October 2001 and is the basis for the deployment of troops from 28 NATO and 22 partner states to Afghanistan over the past decade.

Article 4 was first invoked on February 16, 2003, again by the North Atlantic Council and again in relation to Turkey, on the eve of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq. So-called Operation Display Deterrence was launched as a result and five Patriot interceptor missile batteries, three Dutch and two American, and four Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft were deployed to Turkey in conjunction with NATO's Integrated and Extended Air Defence System.

NATO, in its own words, deployed "1000 technically advanced and highly capable forces" to run the operation.

The first AWACS aircraft arrived on February 26 and three weeks later the bombardment and invasion of Iraq began. Although Iraq at the time had a population of approximately 25 million and Turkey 70 million, and although Turkey had one of the most formidable militaries in the region while Iraq's had been weakened by the eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s, the U.S. and allied bombing campaign of 1991 and in the interim, and twelve years of crushing sanctions, NATO afterward praised Operation Display Deterrence as having "tested and proved the success of NATO’s military to respond immediately and with appropriate defensive force to a rapidly developing threat against a member of the Alliance."

In what manner a fatally debilitated Iraq had presented Turkey with "a rapidly developing threat" was never specified.

The AWACS flew 100 missions and the Dutch Patriot batteries included Patriot Advanced Capability-2 missiles and "a more modern missile provided by Germany," according to NATO.

The operation was concluded on May 3, 65 days after it began and 45 days after the invasion of Iraq. To provide an indication of what NATO will claim after its meeting on Syria, the then-Turkish ambassador to the bloc stated after the invoking of Article 4:  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Warming critic at OSU loses teaching position

Albany Democrat-Herald
Hasso Herring

For the last 10 years Nick Drapela has taught chemistry at Oregon State University. Now the instructor will be out of a job in the fall and says he doesn’t know why.

He suspects — but the university denies — it’s because he has spoken out against the idea that human activity is causing global warming or climate change.

He has decribed himself as “probably the most visibly outspoken critic of the global warming doctrine at OSU ... I think they finally just said, we can’t have this.”

Drapela, 47, is married with four young children. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at OSU in 1998 and has taught there since 2002.

In 2004, the College of Science honored him as an outstanding faculty member with an award for “effective and inspirational teaching,” the college says on its website.

Drapela says he received merit raises for his work as a faculty member through 2007.
“As soon as I began publicly questioning the global warming theory and giving skeptical talks about the subject (in) 2008, I stopped receiving any awards or raises,” he wrote in an email.

On May 29, Drapela says, he was called into the office of Rich Carter, his department chairman since Feb. 1, told that his contract would not be renewed, required to hand over his master key to the building and given a key to just his office instead.

Drapela says he was stunned and asked for a reason but was told “this is not the time or place.”
(The office key broke when someone helping Drapela tried to use it, according to Drapela’s lawyer, but he got another.)

Since then, said the lawyer, Ben Rosenthal of Portland, Drapela has tried to find out specifics from academic and human resources administrators at the university, only to be told that they are in his personnel file.

Interviewed on Friday, Rosenthal said there was nothing relevant in the file, only a letter from the department’s former chairman with routine comments about Drapela’s teaching — a letter the lawyer said Drapela was never given.

Another attack on the Second Amendment: UN Small Arms Treaty

Marti Oakley

The United Nations, that bastion of self-enriching, bloated gas bags, will soon be holding a month long convention on the UN Small Arms TREATY between 192 nations. Of course, Hillary Clinton is right in the middle of things in an effort to commit the US to this unconstitutional treaty.

Because this is a treaty, and not one of those federal corporate contract agreements the presidents are so fond of, it will have to be brought to the states for ratification (See U.S. Const. art. II, § . Section 3 provides the power to make treaties (with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate)) except I don’t believe that will ever happen.  Some, never heard of before, political slight of hand will be given as the reason as to why ratification of the treaty by the states was by-passed.

Clinton will agree to the treaty on behalf of the US and Obama will sign it with great pleasure.  For decades it has been the intent of the federal government to disarm lawful gun owners in the US.. Every possible excuse and reason has been used to try and sell the idea of striking down the 2nd Amendment by both partys.  The actual intent is, by U.N. mandate to disarm private individual gun owners in America claiming a global treaty banning the ownership of small arms.  Its all for world peace!  It will make the military assaults on all nations far easier if the general population isn’t armed and able to mount even a limited defense.

Don’t look to the District of Criminals for help!

If you think other than a few Republicans and even fewer Democrats will half-heartedly object or stand to defend our constitution or our inalienable rights of any kind, much less the right to keep and bear arms, you are sadly mistaken.  Both partys have been equally active in their assaults on the constitution, with members of both partys actively promoting the militarization of local law enforcement against their respective communities.  Our police and many sheriffs departments are now para-military organizations capable and willing to turn on their own communities in subservience to Homeland Security edicts and orders.  Regarding this, the District of Criminals couldn’t be happier.

Atomic Energy Agency Dangerously Weak, Warns Report

InterPressService
Mauro Tedon

Subject to politicization
Jun 25 2012- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is “significantly underfunded”, warns a new report released here on Monday.


The agency is labouring under a three-decade-old budget cap that, the report says, is significantly hampering the organisation’s ability to function at the necessary level.

Under several of its mandates, the IAEA is the only organisation in the world tasked with such oversight. It remains entirely funded by voluntary contributions from its member states.

“In spite of (a) well-deserved reputation and its apparently starry prospects, the Agency remains relatively undernourished, its powers significantly hedged and its technical achievements often overshadowed by political controversy,” warns the report, released by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a Canadian think tank.

Currently, the IAEA’s regular budget stands at 321 million euros (around 400 million dollars), which pays for a staff of around 2,300.

“This is tiny, considering what it does,” the report’s author, Trevor Findlay, said on Monday at the Washington offices of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

What that budget currently does, according to Findlay’s research, is oversee nuclear safeguards at 949 facilities in 175 countries, as of 2010. That same year alone, the organisation engaged in more than 2,100 on-site inspections.

Indeed, the IAEA has garnered surprisingly widespread accolades since its creation in 1953. At the same time, much of this praise has inherently acknowledged the agency’s relative budgetary limitations, choosing to laud its efficiency.

In 2006, the U.S. government office tasked with assisting the president create the federal budget gave the IAEA a perfect score in terms of its value for money. In 2004, a U.N. panel cited the agency as an “extraordinary bargain”.

Yet while Findlay notes that the IAEA has repeatedly been called out as “one of the better-run agencies in the U.N. system”, he warns that the organisation’s capped budget is having negative ramifications across its several mandates.

Zero real growth

The funding problems stem from a United Nations-wide policy instituted during the mid-1980s called zero real growth, which halted budgets from growing beyond the median rate of inflation. This came about due to pressure from the so-called Geneva Group, comprised of the largest contributing countries to the U.N.

In the IAEA’s case, this policy essentially froze the budget until 2003, when small though incremental increases were made to the agency’s budget, particularly as a result of U.S. pressure.

Suicide Bomber in Khost Targets Biometric Screening Checkpoint?

Empty Wheel

A suicide bombing in Khost, Afghanistan has caused multiple casualties today. Accounts of the bombing by Reuters and the New York Times have substantial differences in pertinent details, but the Reuters account stands out because it suggests that the attack was against NATO forces using biometric scanners to screen Afghan citizens at a checkpoint:
A suicide bomber struck a security checkpoint in Afghanistan’s city of Khost on Wednesday, killing at least 16 people and wounding 30, police said, the latest attack to raise questions about stability in the volatile eastern region bordering Pakistan.
/snip/
A witness said that NATO and Afghan troops were using biometric data to screen residents of the provincial capital when the bomber struck.
The photo above is from ISAFMedia’s Flicker feed and demonstrates the equipment used by NATO in collecting biometric data. The caption provided by ISAFMedia reads:
 A soldier from 2nd Platoon, A Company, 1-503rd Infantry Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team enters a member of a private Afghan security company into the Biometrics Automated Toolset (BAT) Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment (HIIDE) System near the village of Heyderk Hel, Wardak Province, Afghanistan, Feb.18, 2010. The BAT HIIDE System assists soldiers in community mapping. U.S. Army photo by Sgt Russell Gilchrest. (Released)
The handset used for collection of the biometric data is quite powerful:
With a high-capacity storage of up to 22,000 full biometric portfolios (two iris templates, ten fingerprints, a facial image, and biographic data), L-1’s HIIDE Series 4, or Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, is receiving praise for its functionality and appeal to Afghanis wishing to have proper identification that would distinguish them from suspected terrorist in question.
The product description on L-1’s Web site reads:
The HIIDE is the world’s first hand-held tri-biometric system that allows users to enroll and match via any of the three primary biometrics: iris, finger and face. The intuitive user interface makes it easy to enter biographic data to create a comprehensive database on the enrolled subject. The HIIDE provides complete functionality while connected to a host PC or when operating in the field un-tethered.
The featured biometric technology is presently being used in a ring of security checkpoints around Kandahar City in Afghanistan, where Canadian operated bases are also being equipped with it. The enrollment procedure is voluntary and takes approximately six minutes to complete. All the biometric information is sent securely to the database of ISAF, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.