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Liberty Media-Entertainment
31 января 2013, 19:09

All data stored on cloud computing services can be accessed by US government without a warrant

Sam Johnston/Wikimedia CommonsMadison Ruppert, ContributorActivist Post According to reports, all personal information stored on major cloud computing services can be spied on by US agencies without users’ knowledge or even a search warrant. This is all reportedly being done under the recently reauthorized Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and has led British Members of Parliament to call on the British government to not only end the use of cloud computing but also stop sharing intelligence services with the U.S, according to the Independent. It’s worth pointing out that the US government has admitted breaching the Fourth Amendment under FISA while maintaining an absurd level of secrecy around the Act. Given the massive expansion of the Pentagon’s cyberwarfare forces and the exponential rise in surveillance overall, people around the world have a quite legitimate reason to be concerned. As New Zealand’s IOL points out, under FISA “all documents uploaded on to cloud systems based in the US or falling under Washington’s jurisdiction can be accessed and analyzed without a warrant by American security agencies.” Apparently, US agencies have been able to access private data stored on the cloud since 2008 while no one had any clue it was going on. “What this legislation means is that the US has been able to mine any foreign data in US Clouds since 2008, and nobody noticed,” said Caspar Bowden, chief privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe for nine years until 2011. According to IOL, US agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), the FBI and the CIA can all access information that potentially concerns American foreign policy for reasons which are purely political. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; There is apparently no need for suspicion that national security issues are at stake which would mean that religious organizations, political campaigns and even journalists could have their data monitored by the US government. Bowden, now working as an independent advocate for privacy rights, co-authored a report for the European Parliament which warns of the threat posed by FISA. In the report, Bowden also criticized the UK Information Commissioner’s Office for giving the control over to the US government. Perhaps even more concerning for the British, four of the suppliers of the UK Government’s G-Cloud system are indeed located in the US and thus under American control thanks to FISA, raising “questions over the security of information is being stored overseas,” as the Independent puts it. “The Americans have got to remember who their allies are and who their enemies are,” said Tory MP David Davis. “There are people like us who they rely on to provide them with listening stations, like Menwith Hill for example,” Davis said, referring to a Royal Air Force base which aids the US intelligence community by intercepting communications. “Do they really want Parliament to start asking Government to limit what Menwith Hill can do? There are all sorts of possibilities if they carry on with this,” Davis said. Davis further warned that there is “a whole cascade of constitutional and privacy concerns for ordinary British people.” However, the UK government seems totally on board as the entity responsible for policing the UK’s data protection laws “effectively ruled that companies were right to pass information over to foreign government requests as the disclosure was made ‘in accordance with a legal requirement,’ such as FISA,” according to IOL. “Every time we make a bridge of trust, or commit an indiscretion, using a social network or webmail, think how a foreign country could use that information for its own purposes to influence policy and politics,” Bowden said. “Drafts of documents prepared online, who is in contact with each other, all of this can be captured and analyzed using data-mining algorithms much more advanced than those offered by public search engines.” Bowden said in his report that the threat of “heavy-caliber mass-surveillance fire-power aimed at the cloud” is actually more significant than the threat posed by cybercrime. “What’s different about this is that it’s a power in the US authorities to insist on real-time collection of information by any data processer within US jurisdiction,” said Gordon Nardell QC, a British barrister specializing in data protection. “The US authorities basically grab everything that is going in and out,” Nardell said. Dutch Member of European Parliament Sophie in’t Veld, vice chair of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee urged the European authorities to act swiftly. “Let’s turn this around and imagine this is not the United States having unlimited access to our data but the government of Mr. Putin or the Chinese government – would we still wonder if it’s an urgent issue? Nobody would ask that question,” she said. “I have a particular concern about UK government data,” said Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert. “If the Government starts to do more work on a cloud system – which is being looked at for obvious reasons – have we had assurance that the US government would not access such data as foreign intelligence information, and whether there would there have to be unambiguous consent of UK citizens?” “If the US will not give a clear assurance about government data then we will have to stop using the Cloud, as we cannot allow that to happen,” Huppert said. “A lot of people wouldn’t realize where data is stored, and hence wouldn’t expect to be subject to US law,” Huppert continued. “The Government has a specific responsibility for personal data, and sensitive data can be stored offshore.” “There is a very sensible increase in the government use of cloud computing, there are excellent reasons for cloud services, however there are concerns around security and this highlights one of them,” Huppert said, according to the Independent. “US surveillance ambitions know no bounds,” said Isabella Sankey, director of Policy for Liberty. “he chilling US Foreign Intelligence Service Act treats all non-US citizens as enemy suspects.” “The reality is that every time a British person uses a cloud service, whether email, social media or online shopping, they are at risk of having their entire communications stored and analyzed in a way that few people would argue is necessary or something that sets an example to the world that blanket surveillance should never be not the norm,” said Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch. Pickles, however, seems quite misinformed when he says, “It’s clear that what this legislation permits surveillance that would be ruled unconstitutional if the US government tried to use these powers on its own citizens.” google_ad_client = "ca-pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 7/28/12 */ google_ad_slot = "9833874419"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; In reality, these powers are used on US citizens and Americans are subject to absurd levels of surveillance thanks to Department of Homeland Security grants, the work of the National Counterterrorism Center (which has the power to create and store dossiers on innocent Americans), and the National Security Agency. While only some of the US government’s surveillance on US citizens is conducted under FISA and the FISA Amendments Act, it is clear that the Constitution really doesn’t factor into the equation. Did I forget anything or miss any errors? Would you like to make me aware of a story or subject to cover? Or perhaps you want to bring your writing to a wider audience? Feel free to contact me at [email protected] with your concerns, tips, questions, original writings, insults or just about anything that may strike your fancy.Please support our work and help us start to pay contributors by doing your shopping through our Amazon link or check out some must-have products at our store. This article first appeared at End the Lie.Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCYTV Monday nights 7 PM - 9 PM PT/10 PM - 12 AM ET. Show page link here: http://UCY.TV/EndtheLie. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at [email protected] var linkwithin_site_id = 557381; linkwithin_text='Related Articles:' Enter Your Email To Receive Our Daily Newsletter Close var fnames = new Array();var ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[1]='FNAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[2]='LNAME';ftypes[2]='text';var err_style = ''; try{ err_style = mc_custom_error_style; } catch(e){ err_style = 'margin: 1em 0 0 0; padding: 1em 0.5em 0.5em 0.5em; background: FFEEEE none repeat scroll 0% 0%; font- weight: bold; float: left; z-index: 1; width: 80%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz- initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: FF0000;'; } var mce_jQuery = jQuery.noConflict(); mce_jQuery(document).ready( function($) { var options = { errorClass: 'mce_inline_error', errorElement: 'div', errorStyle: err_style, onkeyup: function(){}, onfocusout:function(){}, onblur:function(){} }; var mce_validator = mce_jQuery("#mc-embedded-subscribe-form").validate(options); options = { url: 'http://activistpost.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe/post-json? u=3ac8bebe085f73ea3503bbda3&id=b0c7fb76bd&c=?', type: 'GET', dataType: 'json', contentType: "application/json; charset=utf-8", beforeSubmit: function(){ mce_jQuery('#mce_tmp_error_msg').remove(); mce_jQuery('.datefield','#mc_embed_signup').each( function(){ var txt = 'filled'; var fields = new Array(); var i = 0; mce_jQuery(':text', this).each( function(){ fields[i] = this; i++; }); mce_jQuery(':hidden', this).each( function(){ if ( fields[0].value=='MM' && fields[1].value=='DD' && fields[2].value=='YYYY' ){ this.value = ''; } else if ( fields[0].value=='' && fields [1].value=='' && fields[2].value=='' ){ this.value = ''; } else { this.value = fields[0].value+'/'+fields[1].value+'/'+fields[2].value; } }); }); return mce_validator.form(); }, success: mce_success_cb }; mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').ajaxForm(options); }); function mce_success_cb(resp){ mce_jQuery('#mce-success-response').hide(); mce_jQuery('#mce-error-response').hide(); if (resp.result=="success"){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(resp.msg); mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').each(function(){ this.reset(); }); } else { var index = -1; var msg; try { var parts = resp.msg.split(' - ',2); if (parts[1]==undefined){ msg = resp.msg; } else { i = parseInt(parts[0]); if (i.toString() == parts[0]){ index = parts[0]; msg = parts[1]; } else { index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } } } catch(e){ index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } try{ if (index== -1){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } else { err_id = 'mce_tmp_error_msg'; html = ' '+msg+''; var input_id = '#mc_embed_signup'; var f = mce_jQuery(input_id); if (ftypes[index]=='address'){ input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]+'-addr1'; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else if (ftypes[index]=='date'){ input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]+'-month'; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else { input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]; f = mce_jQuery().parent(input_id).get(0); } if (f){ mce_jQuery(f).append(html); mce_jQuery(input_id).focus(); } else { mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } catch(e){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } BE THE CHANGE! 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31 января 2013, 18:03

VICTORY: Wyoming Anti-NDAA Bill passes Committee 6-3, on its way to the House

image sourceActivist Post Thanks to your overwhelming support, and the support of other organizations and individuals, Wyoming House Bill 114, the Wyoming Liberty Preservation Act, passed committee 6-3 and will now advance to the House floor.  On Tuesday evening, at the head of a media firestorm, the Transportation Committee held a hearing on the bill, and passed it with a decisive 6-3 vote. Our battle however, is not yet over.  HB 114 will be debated on the House floor within the next few days.  The deadline for bills to be heard on the house floor is Monday, February 4th,and, if the bill has not come up in committee of the whole by then, it will die due to lack of time left in the session.Wyoming Rep.  Kendall Kroeker, who introduced the bill, said that he expects a fierce battle in the House, “There are a lot of legislators who are afraid to do anything to challenge the federal government and think we should meekly obey them, regardless of the constitutionality of the actions taken by the federal government.  I believe our rights are worth fighting for and that is what I will continue to do.” google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; That, is a fight we intend to win. Two days ago, when HB 114 was going to committee, you acted. Hundreds of calls were sent to the members on the committee and that wave of public pressure shifted a possible loss into a decisive victory. Let’s do it again. Contact the Wyoming House leadership and encourage them to uphold their oath to support and defend the Constitution and bring HB 114 to the Wyoming House floor:Rep. Tom Lubnau, Speaker of the House Rep. Kermit C. Brown, House Majority Floor Leader (307) 682-1313 (307) 745-7358 Rep. Mary Throne, House Minority Floor Leader Rep. James W. Byrd, House Minority Whip (307) 630-6728 (307) 200-0859Contact: Barbara Anderson PANDA [email protected] other articles and announcements by Activist Post Here var linkwithin_site_id = 557381; linkwithin_text='Related Articles:' Enter Your Email To Receive Our Daily Newsletter Close var fnames = new Array();var ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[1]='FNAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[2]='LNAME';ftypes[2]='text';var err_style = ''; try{ err_style = mc_custom_error_style; } catch(e){ err_style = 'margin: 1em 0 0 0; padding: 1em 0.5em 0.5em 0.5em; background: FFEEEE none repeat scroll 0% 0%; font- weight: bold; float: left; z-index: 1; width: 80%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz- initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: FF0000;'; } var mce_jQuery = jQuery.noConflict(); mce_jQuery(document).ready( function($) { var options = { errorClass: 'mce_inline_error', errorElement: 'div', errorStyle: err_style, onkeyup: function(){}, onfocusout:function(){}, onblur:function(){} }; var mce_validator = mce_jQuery("#mc-embedded-subscribe-form").validate(options); options = { url: 'http://activistpost.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe/post-json? u=3ac8bebe085f73ea3503bbda3&id=b0c7fb76bd&c=?', type: 'GET', dataType: 'json', contentType: "application/json; charset=utf-8", beforeSubmit: function(){ mce_jQuery('#mce_tmp_error_msg').remove(); mce_jQuery('.datefield','#mc_embed_signup').each( function(){ var txt = 'filled'; var fields = new Array(); var i = 0; mce_jQuery(':text', this).each( function(){ fields[i] = this; i++; }); mce_jQuery(':hidden', this).each( function(){ if ( fields[0].value=='MM' && fields[1].value=='DD' && fields[2].value=='YYYY' ){ this.value = ''; } else if ( fields[0].value=='' && fields [1].value=='' && fields[2].value=='' ){ this.value = ''; } else { this.value = fields[0].value+'/'+fields[1].value+'/'+fields[2].value; } }); }); return mce_validator.form(); }, success: mce_success_cb }; mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').ajaxForm(options); }); function mce_success_cb(resp){ mce_jQuery('#mce-success-response').hide(); mce_jQuery('#mce-error-response').hide(); if (resp.result=="success"){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(resp.msg); mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').each(function(){ this.reset(); }); } else { var index = -1; var msg; try { var parts = resp.msg.split(' - ',2); if (parts[1]==undefined){ msg = resp.msg; } else { i = parseInt(parts[0]); if (i.toString() == parts[0]){ index = parts[0]; msg = parts[1]; } else { index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } } } catch(e){ index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } try{ if (index== -1){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } else { err_id = 'mce_tmp_error_msg'; html = ' '+msg+''; var input_id = '#mc_embed_signup'; var f = mce_jQuery(input_id); if (ftypes[index]=='address'){ input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]+'-addr1'; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else if (ftypes[index]=='date'){ input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]+'-month'; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else { input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]; f = mce_jQuery().parent(input_id).get(0); } if (f){ mce_jQuery(f).append(html); mce_jQuery(input_id).focus(); } else { mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } catch(e){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } BE THE CHANGE! 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31 января 2013, 08:26

Cuccinelli: 'God save us' from Friedman's America

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli trashes Tom Friedman in his new book, chastising the New York Times columnist for writing "longingly of China." "God save us from Thomas Friedman's 'optimal America,'" the Republican candidate for governor writes. "The Last Line of Defense" comes out Feb. 12 but POLITICO obtained a copy on Wednesday. One column in particular catches Cuccinelli's ire. "There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today," Friedman wrote in 2009. "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages." Cuccinelli responds: "Unfortunately, there are many influential big-government advocates in America who think authoritarian rule is really just a more efficient way to get things done (just be sure to look the other way when there's religious persecution, forced sterilization, or imprisonment for speaking out against the government). And even more regrettable is that such statists--who have no use for the Constitution or the rule of law--are sprinkled throughout all levels of government and media." He notes that Friedman also made a similar point during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Sure, who wouldn't trade freedom for efficiency? I understand the Chinese people are just thrilled with the trade-off," Cuccinelli writes. There's a lot of media criticism in the 252-page book. "I'll detail the attempts by some in the media to willingly propagandize for the administration to lull Americans into thinking government was just doing what was best for the people, regardless of the toll it would take on American liberty," Cuccinelli writes near the beginning. He says there are some "terrific" reporters out there, but many in the media "distorted the truth in their stories...outright lied...(or) only told half the facts" after Obama came into office. Among those cited as wrong-headed at various points in the book: Time managing editor Richard Stengel, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, the Baltimore Sun editorial board, Frank Rich and E.J. Dionne Jr.

31 января 2013, 07:07

Chris Weigant: We've Always Played Politics With Immigration

We stand at the beginning of a grand debate on immigration. America goes through these grand debates every generation or so, and what remains constant is that both sides in the fight can be counted upon to accuse the other side of "playing politics" with the immigration issue. This has, indeed already begun. Republicans are offering up a splendid display of doublethink on the issue, in order to be able to say: "Hah! We were right all along," no matter what happens. Republicans make two accusations, which are completely contradictory (which doesn't seem to bother them at all), that the whole thing is just a cynical political game: (1) Obama and the Democrats want to legalize 11 million people who will then immediately become reliable Democratic voters, and/or (2) Obama and the Democrats will somehow find a way to scuttle the deal because they really don't want to pass any law, they just want to use the issue to beat up Republicans, in election after election. As I mentioned, no matter what happens, they'll be able to fall back on one of these tropes. Democrats, however, are using the second of these (with slight modification) to explain their own wariness: Republicans just want to be able to say: "We tried something" during the next election, and they will find a way to scuttle the deal in the end while blaming Democrats for the legislative failure. The media gladly goes along for this ride, because (as we all know) conflict sells. What's amusing to me, however, is that very little historical context will be presented in the entire debate. Which is a shame, because anyone who knows the slightest bit about the issue's history knows that America always plays politics with immigration, in one fashion or another. It's an inherently political issue, in fact, so it would indeed be impossible to completely divorce it from "political games." Most, when thinking about the history of immigration, reflect on the twentieth century. Ellis Island. Braceros. Internment camps during World War II. That sort of thing. But the question of immigration was even uglier in the previous century, with political parties formed around being anti-Catholic (which was definitely a question of immigration -- who got let in -- at the time). However, to really prove the point that we've always played politics with immigration, the easiest thing to do is go all the way back to the dawn of our federal government, in the 1790s -- the first decade or so after the ratification of the United States Constitution. The nascent political parties were the Federalists and the Antifederalists. The Federalists had a stronghold in New England, which was downright nativist in its views. Don't believe me? One Federalist wrote to Abigail Adams in 1798: "the grand cause of all our present difficulties may be traced... to so many hordes of Foreigners immigrating to America." That's pretty cut-and-dried nativism. Immigrants were undesirables for one reason or another, stated freshman House member Harrison Gray Otis, who hailed from Boston: I feel every disposition to respect those honest and industrious people... who have become citizens... but I do not wish to invite hordes of wild Irishmen, nor the turbulent and disorderly of all parts of the world, to come here with a view to disturb our tranquillity after having succeeded in the overthrow of their own governments." Federalists had other reasons for disapproving of immigrants as well: "The mass of foreigners, who have sought asylum in the United States, have been compelled to that measure by their poverty or their crimes. The "culture" argument was strong, as well. Federalists railed against the Louisiana Purchase, in part because of the types of people who lived there (mostly of French or Spanish descent): "Why admit to a participation in the government aliens who were not parties to the compact -- who are ignorant of the nature of our institutions, and have no stake in the welfare of the country but what is recent and transitory?" There was a heavy regional attitude as well, as Josiah Quincy proclaimed: "The influences of emigrants prevail over those of the ancient natives... the voices of our Representatives will be drowned amid the discordant jargon of French, Spanish, German, and Irish delegates, chosen by slave owners, in a disproportionate ratio." Federalists believed that such immigrants would never manage what is today called "assimilation." Sound familiar? Beyond New England "exceptionalism" (it's hard to call it anything else), the Federalists were fighting a political battle which should also sound familiar. The ranks of Thomas Jefferson's Antifederalists were being swelled by the influx of immigrants, because most found the (small-R) republican values of the Antifederalists more in tune with what they expected from America. Since, at the time, more immigrants meant more political power for the other side, Federalists began limiting immigration. In 1790, an immigrant to the United States could become a full citizen after two years of living here. In 1795, this was upped to five years. But 1798 was when the issue truly exploded on the American political scene, for a number of reasons. By 1798, Federalists were pushing not only to require 14 years of residence to become a citizen, but they also wanted to bar all immigrants from serving in the federal government. This was personal. It was, in fact, directed against a man named Albert Gallatin, who had been born in Switzerland. Gallatin was, at the time, what we would call the House Majority Leader for the Antifederalists. If the proposed law passed, it would force him out of government altogether. Neat way of getting rid of a political opponent, eh? Gallatin later went on to become America's longest-serving Treasury Secretary of all time. Today, such a law would be seen as unconstitutional, but this was before Marbury v. Madison was decided, where the Supreme Court decided it had the power to strike down such laws -- so no judicial remedy would have been possible. The real reason the fur was flying over immigration in the late 1790s, though, was that America was perilously close to fighting a war with France. This became known as the "Quasi War" -- what we'd today perhaps call "limited warfare." Feelings against the French ran high, as this was just after the French Revolution had descended into a "reign of terror." Fears our own governmental experiment would follow the same course were not entirely unjustified, due to the newness of our federal system. Congress held fierce debates over what to do with "aliens." America is always at her worst, constitutionally and morally, when we are fearing war. 1798 was no different, in fact it was the first of many such reactionary periods. Proposals abounded in Congress. All aliens from countries at war with America, upon the proclamation of the president, could be immediately deported. Further provisions gave the president the power to determine who was a threatening alien fit for deportation, on his own. No judicial review was possible. One Federalist explained: "punishment ought not to depend upon the slow operations of a trial" -- the president's say-so was good enough. Even the foreign-born Alexander Hamilton (a founder of the Federalist philosophy) agreed: "the mass ought to be obliged to leave the Country." A national registration system for aliens was also proposed, with the first of what would become "green cards." Aliens weren't the only ones targeted, though -- citizens who were going to permit an alien to even cross the threshold of their houses had to first give written notice to a federal judge, in an attempt to penalize "harboring an alien." What came out of this fight were the "Alien and Sedition Acts." The "sedition" part of it was aimed at anyone espousing anti-government opinions. This was also personal, and targeted Antifederalist newspaper editors -- many of them aliens, themselves. In particular, it targeted the loudest voice among the Antifederalist editors, Benjamin Franklin Bache of the Philadelphia Aurora (Ben Franklin's grandson). Any person who said, wrote, published, or otherwise printed any opinions disrespectful of the party in power could be tried in federal court for such "crimes." Antifederalist editors were rounded up and given steep fines or chucked in jail. While the impetus for passing the Alien and Sedition Acts was the looming threat of war, the Federalists quite obviously overreached in playing the political game. Not only did they cement their anti-immigrant stance with the public, they tried to crush the opposing political party by whatever means they could think up. What happened was a backlash. Thomas Jefferson and his Antifederalists swept into power two years later (in the election of 1800), and the Federalists began a political decline which ended with the complete death of their party in the 1810s. Granted, what really killed off Federalism was their opposition to the War of 1812, but their anti-immigrant stance certainly didn't help them with the changing demographics of their time. Raging debates over immigration in the political arena are nothing new. Political parties have eyed the immigration question through a very partisan lens ("Will this help or hurt my party?") since the beginning of American political parties. The issues raised are not exactly new, and even the positions taken are far from original. Harrison Gray Otis even admitted what the Federalists were truly scared of: "If some means are not adopted to prevent the indiscriminate admission of wild Irishmen & others to the right of suffrage, there will soon be an end to liberty and property." Suffrage, of course, is the right to vote. Back then, as now, immigration was seen by some as a thing to be feared and a burden on the country. The targeted groups change over time (not many rail against letting the "wild Irish" in these days...), but the sentiments do not. Perhaps the most succinct statement of this feeling also comes from Otis, who wrote a fellow Federalist to warn that the Antifederalists were bent on short-changing existing citizens by giving "foreigners our loaves and fishes." Some things never change.   [Notes: I use "Antifederalists" where many historians use "Democratic-Republicans," because this double-barrelled label was only very rarely used back then. Jefferson's party normally called themselves "Republicans," but this gets confusing as there is no link to the modern Republican Party at all. All quotes were taken from two sources: James M. Banner Jr., To The Hartford Convention: The Federalists and the Origins of Party Politics in Massachusetts, 1789-1815 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970) pp.89-99; and William J. Watkins Jr., Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), pp.27-42.] -- Chris Weigant   Chris Weigant blogs at: Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigantBecome a fan of Chris on The Huffington Post  

30 января 2013, 17:18

Gun AdvocateTo Make Controversial Claims At Gun Hearing

WASHINGTON -- Conservative attorney and activist Gayle Trotter plans to tell members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that guns "make women safer," and that "attackers use their size and physical strength, preying on women who are at a severe disadvantage." According to testimony released at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, Trotter will tell the Senate that "guns reverse that balance of power in a violent confrontation. Armed with a gun, a woman can even have the advantage over a violent attacker." Building on that logic, Trotter's next point will be that "using a firearm with a magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, a woman would have a fighting chance even against multiple attackers." Later in her testimony, Trotter will make many of the same arguments against gun-control measures that National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has made in the past six weeks. LaPierre is also scheduled to testify Wednesday. But his opening statement, released Tuesday, was noticeably toned-down and devoid of some of the more contentious arguments which have angered the NRA's critics, and some supporters, in recent weeks. Trotter's opening statement more than makes up for LaPierre's reserve. Early on in her testimony, Trotter will take on the "liberal elitists with armed guards" idea that formed the basis for a controversial web ad this month which featured President Obama's children. Trotter, a mother of six, plans to say that while "political figures" and "Hollywood celebrities" seek to restrict gun rights for others, they "have their own plan: They rely on guns to safeguard their own personal safety." Trotter plans to make another argument that LaPierre and the NRA have made before, but which was missing from LaPierre's prepared remarks: the claim that "gun-free zones" around schools serve only to make children into easy targets for murderers. "Nearly all mass shootings have occurred in 'gun-free zones,'" Trotter will claim, "so psychotic killers know they can inflict more harm in these unprotected environments." In addition to LaPierre, Trotter will testify alongside Captain Mark Kelly, whose wife former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) suffered a near-fatal gunshot wound in 2011. Also testifying at the hearing will be constitutional law professor David Kopel of the University of Denver and Baltimore Chief of Police James Johnson, who chairs the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence. Trotter is neither an employee nor a director of the NRA, and The Huffington Post has no reason to suspect that Trotter and LaPierre collaborated on their testimonies. Neither Trotter nor LaPierre were available to respond to questions Wednesday morning. Trotter plans to pivot from "gun-free zones" to argue that, "while armed security works, gun bans do not. Anti-gun legislation keeps guns away from the sane and the law-abiding, but it does not keep guns out of the hands of criminals." Trotter also plans to address a third pillar of the NRA's argument against gun control -- A view that the Second Amendment, and by extension the entire Bill of Rights, is under threat from any attempts to curtail the sale or manufacture of certain types of guns. LaPierre does not plan to mention the Second Amendment at all in his opening statement, according to his prepared remarks. "In lieu of empty, self-defeating gestures [such as gun bans], we should address gun violence by doing what works," Trotter will say, "by safeguarding our Second Amendment rights, we preserve meaningful protection for women." Guns haven't always been Trotter's specialty. A tax lawyer by trade, Trotter appears to have published her first op-ed about gun control issues this past fall, when she urged voters to "cling to your guns" in a piece published on the conservative website The Daily Caller. Two months before the gun-control piece came out, Trotter argued that President Obama "has the idea of government completely wrong" in an op-ed on Fox News Channel's website. Obama, Trotter wrote, "is a card-carrying member of the jet-setting liberal class that wants to bargain with the American people to win their votes." Trotter's presence at the Senate hearing appears to be tied to her status as a Senior Fellow at the conservative Independent Women's Forum, a nonprofit whose mission is to "to expand the conservative coalition" by pitching conservative ideas with a specifically feminine focus. According to its website, IWF's mission is two-fold: "increasing the number of women who understand and value the benefits of limited government, personal liberty, and free markets," and "countering those who seek to ever-expand government." Since April of 2012, Trotter has produced a few dozen op-eds and media appearances for the group, on topics ranging from Obamacare to Trotter's opposition to the Violence Against Women Act. Before becoming a senior fellow, Trotter was the group's lawyer. In March of 2012, before she started posting on IWF as a senior fellow, Trotter identified herself as general counsel for the group in a blog post about Obamacare, published by The Huffington Post. Like Trotter, the IWF appears to have a developed a new interest in gun rights in recent weeks. In fact, to find anything that resembles the group's current interest in gun control, one must scroll back to 2000, when the group posted and discussed series of statistics and quotes from gun advocate John Lott, author of the book "More Guns, Less Crime." Since 2010, Trotter has maintained a blog, www.Gayletrotter.com, where she addresses questions of faith and values from a Christian perspective. A search of the blog revealed only one post about gun rights, published just over a week ago.

29 января 2013, 23:26

US signs deal with Niger to operate military drones in west African state

Mali Islamists' war reveals paucity of west's intelligence on Sahel and Sahara but Pentagon's move could backfire, analysts warnThe US government appears close to opening a new front in its fight against Islamist militants by planning a new base for surveillance drones in the west African country of Niger.American forces are already assisting a French offensive in neighbouring Mali that is aimed at recapturing the country's northern desert territory from the hands of Islamist rebels. On Monday the US signed a military agreement with Niger that paves the way legally for US forces to operate on its soil, prompting a series of reports that the Pentagon was keen on opening a new drones base there.That news appeared to be confirmed by Niger government sources, who said the US ambassador in Niamey, Bisa Williams, had asked Niger's president, Mahamadou Issoufou, for permission to use surveillance drones and had been granted it."Niger has given the green light to accepting American surveillance drones on its soil to improve the collection of intelligence on Islamist movements," a Niger government source told Reuters.In Washington a diplomatic source told the Guardian that the recently signed deal, known as a "status of forces" agreement, was very broad. "There are no constraints to military-to-military co-operation within the agreement," the source said.The deal with Niger had been under negotiation for some time but had got a sudden burst of urgency after the dramatic events following the French intervention in Mali. Though French-led forces have swept militants from key cities in northern Mali, the conflict has focused diplomatic efforts on the security threat posed by Islamist groups in the vast wilderness of the Sahel and Sahara.It is believed that the US only currently desires surveillance drones to be deployed to Niger though the agreement could pave the way for more aggressive armed drones in the future. A spokesman for the Pentagon did not return requests for clarification by email and telephone.The move would be the latest in a gradual expansion of American surveillance drones in Africa, which have so far been operated from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. It would represent an acknowledgement that the north and west African regions are becoming a key battleground in the fight against Islamist groups. Aside from the conflict in Mali, Nigeria is plagued by violent Islamists extremists in its northern provinces and Algeria recently saw a high-profile and bloody attack on western workers at an oil industry facility.US military consultant Robert Caruso said that any base in Niger would probably be similar to the one already in Burkina Faso and use a variety of manned and unmanned craft to carry out spying and monitoring missions. Caruso said it would make up for a lack of human intelligence in the region."The reason we are having to push so many drones to the Sahel is because we don't have any human intelligence in the region – either through friendly countries providing it, or through espionage," said Caruso. "We should have humans on the ground, but we don't. When it comes to Mali, US policymakers really don't know what's going on."However, the use of drones, even if just on surveillance missions, is controversial. American drone strikes have been used to deadly effect in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia but have caused outrage among civil liberties groups over the secrecy that surrounds their operation and the high incidence of civilian casualties. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has monitored American drone strikes all around the world and calculates that in Pakistan alone there have been some 362 strikes since 2004. They are estimated to have killed up to 3,461 suspected militants in the country and as many as 891 civilians.Due to the US's broad definition of "militant", many experts believe the number of dead civilians may be much higher. But despite the controversy, President Barack Obama has made the use of drones one of the centrepieces of his national security strategy, overseeing a huge increase in their deployment.If the use of drones in the Sahel did escalate beyond simple surveillance and into active strikes, some experts warn that the US risks a considerable backlash."The use of drone strikes in the Sahel would become very problematic," said one senior diplomatic source, who did not want to be named."There are already serious issues with identification of targets and reliability with drones elsewhere, even in Pakistan, where the CIA has a network of informants. But in north Africa they have no idea who they are dealing with whatsoever."The source added that there was a paucity of intelligence as to who exactly US forces would be targeting when it came to local Islamic groups. "The US has no one integrated into these organisations. Intelligence is extremely poor."These groups and subgroups and splinter groups are capable of division at a moment's notice. You might know something about one group but you know nothing about the other. It is an extremely unstable situation," the source said.NigerAfricaMaliDronesObama administrationPakistanPaul HarrisAfua Hirschguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

29 января 2013, 15:59

Criminal record checks system breaches human rights, court rules

Senior judge says government 'needs to pull its finger out' after delaying publication of judgment to allow time for responseThe home secretary, Theresa May, is facing urgent pressure to overhaul the criminal records system after an appeal court ruled that the way it operated was unlawful and breached human rights.One of Britain's most senior judges, Lord Dyson, the master of rolls, ruled that a blanket requirement on job applicants to disclose minor offences, including cautions, amounted to a breach of their right to a private and family life.In an unusual move, the publication of the judgment was delayed from December to give the Home Office time to prevent the implications of the ruling plunging the criminal record checks system into chaos.But after a hearing on Friday, Dyson said: "It is extraordinary that nothing has been done. The government needs to pull its finger out and introduce legislation."The formal judgment published on Tuesday involved a 21-year-old man identified in court as "T", who was given warnings by Greater Manchester police when he was 11 over two stolen bicycles.He was asked to disclose the cautions – even though they were spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 – when he applied for a job at a football club at the age of 17 and when he applied to a university sports studies course.The appeal court also upheld a second case involving "JB", who was cautioned in 2001 when she was in her early 40s for stealing a packet of false nails from a chemist in Sheffield. Ten years later she was turned down for a job working with vulnerable adults, despite completing a six-week training course. The case shows that the ruling applies to minor offences committed by adults as well as juveniles.Four million people a year who apply to work with children or vulnerable adults have to provide either a standard or enhanced criminal records certificate. Both types of check involve the disclosure of all convictions and cautions, including those deemed spent under the 1974 legislation.The ruling by three appeal court judges invites the home secretary to take the case to the supreme court within 28 days, otherwise the ruling that the current system is unlawful will take effect.The judges said they did not accept the Home Office's argument that it was not within their discretion to make a declaration that the current law was incompatible with human rights because parliament was considering the matter."This is not a case where we can be confident that parliament will move swiftly to find a solution. In these circumstances, we consider that it is appropriate to make a declaration. We accordingly allow T's appeal," they said.The master of the rolls said he accepted that the disclosure of old convictions and cautions was sought with the aim of protecting children and vulnerable adults, but added: "The statutory regime requiring the disclosure of all convictions and cautions relating to recordable offences is disproportionate to that legitimate aim."The appeal court objected to the scheme because disclosure had to be made regardless of its relevance to the position applied for.The court also found that the disclosure system had the potential to interfere with privacy rights because "as a conviction recedes into the past, it becomes part of the individual's private life" and "the administering of a caution is part of an individual's private life from the outset".It noted that "the disclosure of historic information about convictions … can lead to a person's exclusion from employment".Corinna Ferguson, legal officer for Liberty, which was party to the case, said: "This sensible judgment requires the government to introduce a more nuanced system for disclosing this type of sensitive personal data to employers."For too long irrelevant and unreliable information provided under the blanket CRB system has blighted people's lives. We hope that long overdue reforms – properly balancing the aim of public protection with privacy rights – will now be forthcoming."A government spokesman said: "The protection of children and vulnerable groups must not be compromised. We are disappointed by this judgment and are seeking leave to appeal to the supreme court."Human rightsUK criminal justiceEmployment lawTheresa MayAlan Travisguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

29 января 2013, 12:00

Al-Qaida: how great is the terrorism threat to the west now?

In the aftermath of the Algerian hostage crisis, David Cameron issued an ominous warning of the continued threat from terrorism. But is al-Qaida more, or less, dangerous than before?Last week the world took another step towards succumbing to an existential threat. Again.Speaking in the aftermath of the spectacular seizure and siege of an Algerian gas refinery by Islamist extremists 10 days ago, David Cameron warned of how "we face a large and existential terrorist threat from a group of extremists based in different parts of the world who want to do the biggest possible amount of damage to our interests and way of life".There was little further detail, leaving it unclear if the prime minister was referring to al-Qaida, the group founded by the late Osama bin Laden 25 years ago. Or possibly al-Qaida-type groups in the middle of the Saharan desert. Or maybe other offshoots around the world. Or possibly the ideology of al-Qaida.However, the broad thrust of what he was saying was obvious: if you thought the threat from al-Qaida, however defined, had gone away, you were wrong. It is here, and will be here for decades to come. And it endangers the very foundation of our societies. The intervening week, one imagines, replete as it was with a range of shootings, bombings, arrests and court judgments across the world all involving Islamist extremism, has not improved things.Such rhetoric was once familiar. We heard much of it in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and through the months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But as the years have passed however, such pronouncements of imminent danger became rarer. The public naturally learned to be suspicious of rhetoric raising fears that appeared unreasonable and unfounded. We all learned enough about the complex phenomenon of contemporary Islamist militancy to be able to challenge the sillier claims ourselves. Policymakers recognised that any exaggeration, particularly of the "global" nature of a threat that their own security services were increasingly seeing as local, simply played into the hands of the enemy.So Cameron's words last week, echoed elsewhere, were unexpected.Rather like al-Qaida's own rhetoric in the wake of the changes wrought by the Arab spring, they sounded dated; at worst, they were an indication of wilful ignorance, a nostalgia for simpler times when leaders could promise "iron resolve" against a threat without provoking widespread scepticism. They have however usefully provoked a new debate on two very old questions, both still urgent and important: what is al-Qaida? And is it more or less dangerous than it was?Answering the first question is, for once, relatively straightforward. Islamist militancy is a phenomenon going back much further than the foundation of the group al-Qaida by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden in 1988. There have been waves of revivalism in the Muslim world since the days of the Prophet Muhammad. These have frequently come in response to external challenges, whether political, social, cultural and military. Intense and very varied reactions were provoked by European colonialism in the 19th century from Afghanistan to Algeria, from Morocco to Malaysia and beyond. The end of European colonialism in the Muslim world in no way diminished the immediacy of that challenge nor the venality, brutality and incompetence of local regimes. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, scores of different violent extremist movements, in part products of a massive new interest in "Islamism" across the Muslim world, were waging armed struggles against local governments in the name of religion.Al-Qaida (usually translated as "the base") was founded – in Pakistan towards the end of the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets – to channel and co-ordinate the dispersed efforts of these movements into a single campaign. It believed that striking at a universally accepted global enemy, the US, would lead to the destruction of "hypocrite" unbelieving regimes across the Muslim world in the short term and, eventually, the creation of a new ill-defined and utopian religious rule. This latter goal was long-term, a cosmic struggle, possibly indefinite and certainly undefinable in terms of time.Aided by a range of external factors, al-Qaida was to some extent successful in achieving its less abstract aims, striking the US hard and drawing together an unprecedented network of affiliates in the late 1990s. This then helped – particularly by the response to the 9/11 attacks and other operations – disseminate its ideology further than ever before in the noughties.The high point, however, was reached around 2004 or 2005. Even as it appeared to peak, the wave of extremism was receding. Since then, the central leadership of al-Qaida has suffered blow after blow. It is not just Bin Laden who has been killed or rendered inactive, but pretty much everyone else in the senior and middle ranks of the organisation. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaida central, may be an effective, utterly dedicated and experienced organiser but he lacks Bin Laden's charisma. Saif al Adel, the only other veteran leader remaining, lacks his stature and may not be at liberty at all but detained in Iran.Key players who few, beyond specialists, had ever heard of – such as the very capable Libyan Atiyah Abd al-Rahman – have gone. British security officials describe "al-Qaida central" as being "hollowed out", largely by the controversial drone strikes. Equally damaging for the group, al-Qaida's training infrastructure is minimal, certainly compared with the dozens of fully fledged camps that were in use on the eve of the 9/11 attacks. Back in 2008, according to interrogation documents, handlers were forced to admit to new recruits coming straight from Europe that their facilities unfortunately bore no resemblance to those depicted in recruiting videos.Nothing has improved since. Volunteers are fewer than before. There are younger members rising up the thinning ranks, but this is promotion by default not merit.Equally damaging has been the rejection by successive communities over the past two decades. Almost every attempt by al-Qaida central to win genuine popular support has failed – in Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Polls show approval ratings for Bin Laden peaking around 2004-5 and then steep decline. This is particularly true when communities have direct experience of extremist violence or rule. The al-Qaida brand is irremediably tarnished. Even Bin Laden was apparently thinking of relaunching the group under a new name, his correspondence reveals.The two most spectacular attacks in recent years – in Algeria and the strike on Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants from the Lashkar-e-Taiba organisation – were carried out by entities that have, in the first instance, tenuous connections with al-Qaida's senior leadership and, in the second, none at all. This indicates the degree to which the remnant led by al-Zawahiri have become, at best, only one player among many.The result is that the centripetal force the group once exerted has gone and we have returned to a situation similar to that of the old "pre-al-Qaida" days with a whole series of different local groups involved in local struggles with negligible central co-ordination.There are major differences with the previous period, of course. Decades of violence have led to much higher structural levels of radicalisation and polarisation. The technology and tactics used by all protagonists in these current "shadow wars" has evolved. Then there are the consequences of the Arab spring – for the Sahel and Syria and elsewhere. But, nonetheless, the unthinking use of the term al-Qaida, as has so often been the case in the past, obscures rather than illuminate the real chaotic and fractured, if still dynamic, nature of modern Islamist militancy. This is something Cameron's own security services will have told him.Of course a threat remains. But the big attacks – those that could potentially pose something a little closer to "an existential threat" – are unlikely. These would need to be in a major European or US city or involve at least one passenger jet. If British intelligence, despite having a team devoted for months to checking and rechecking every possible potential lead, could not come up with a single credible threat to the London Olympics last year and their US counterparts were confident enough to declare a similar lack of immediate danger during the recent presidential campaign, it appears fair to assume that bombs in London or New York are a fairly distant prospect for the moment. The biggest threat to airplanes comes from a single highly proficient bombmaker in the Yemen.The location of the major spectacular attacks appears closely related to al-Qaida's ability to focus the dispersed energies of contemporary Sunni Islamist extremism. Through the 1990s, attacks were restricted to targets – in Pakistan, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere – which were distant from western populations, with the exception of the first abortive plot to bomb the World Trade Center in New York in 1993. US troops who were attacked in Somalia in that year in the famous "Blackhawk Down" episode had simply strayed into someone else's war.By the late 1990s, US interests were being attacked, but in east Africa or the Yemen. It was only through the first six years of the past decade that the violence approached the west – first in Indonesia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, then in Madrid and London. But since, the dynamic has reversed, tracking the new weakness of the al-Qaida senior leadership. The big attacks still come – but in Islamabad, Mumbai, Kabul, Baghdad, and now in the deserts of the Sahara. Nor do they strike targets that resonate throughout the Muslim world. A gas refinery in southern Algeria is not the Pentagon.Partly this is due to vastly improved security precautions and competent intelligence services that co-operated much more effectively.Intermittent attempts to down airplanes have been defeated, if only just. Hundreds of potential troublemakers have been stopped long before they even begin to contemplate actually perpetrating a violent attack. MI5 officials say that, in part due to closer collaboration with a range of other agencies and particularly the police, they are able to head off possible threats much earlier. One compared their operations to the famously tedious stonewall tactics of the Arsenal team 20 years ago. "It's boring but it works," he said.There is, of course, the fear of a "lone wolf", a solo, self-radicalising extremist. The example most often cited is Mohamed Merah, the French-Algerian who killed three soldiers as well as three Jewish schoolchildren and a teacher last March.A spokesman for Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the man who orchestrated the recent refinery attack in Algeria, told French media on Monday that France could expect "dozens like ... Merah and Khaled Kelkal" who would spontaneously rise up to kill and maim.But real lone wolves are extremely rare. Kelkal, who carried out a series of attacks in France in 1995, plugged into a broader network of militants run and recruited by Algerian groups active at the time. Merah did the shooting on his own but came from a family steeped in extremist versions of Islam and anti-Semitism, had been to Afghanistan and Pakistan to train and was, French and Pakistani officials say, connected to Moez Garsalloui, a high-profile known Belgian militant, now dead, who had been recruiting widely and was well-known to intelligence services. Merah was thus not only part of an old style of terrorism – recruits making their way to the badlands of Pakistan to get trained and then returning to carry out attacks – but was also much less effective than predecessors such as those responsible for the 7/7 attacks in London. The number of people making that journey is now a fraction of the levels of six or seven years ago. Back then, scores, if not hundreds, made their way to the Afghan-Pakistan frontier to fight alongside the Taliban or other groups. Now the number is in the low dozens, according to intelligence officials in Pakistan, the UK and elsewhere.The other fear is of a new generation of veteran militants returning from the battlefields of the Sahel to wreak havoc in the US or, more realistically, Europe. There are some reports that Canadian or even French passport-holders were among those who attacked the refinery. However, there are two reasons to be relatively sanguine.First, the facilities available for training in the region are minimal and there would seem to be no reason why extremists graduating in terrorist studies from there would be better able to carry out effective mass casualty attacks than men such as Merah.Second, we are yet to see a wave of violence involving veterans of much more longlasting and extensive violence elsewhere in the Maghreb or the core of the Middle East. British intelligence officials pointed to the experience of the horrific conflict in Iraq when asked about the possibility of veterans of the current fighting in Syria, where extremist religious groups are playing an increasingly significant role, posing a threat to the UK. Only one attack – the abortive 2007 London and Glasgow strikes – has been definitively linked to someone involved in that previous conflict, and he was not a former fighter. Iraqi veterans have proved dangerous in Saudi, even in Afghanistan and in the Maghreb. But that is not the same as posing a direct existential threat to the west. There seems, the officials say, to be no reason why the Syrian theatre should produce a greater threat today than the Iraqi theatre has done. Nor, indeed, Mali.Does this all mean that Islamist militancy will simply die away? Of course not. A phenomenon with such long and complex roots will evolve rather than disappear. That is what is currently happening in this new post-al-Qaida phase. Wherever the various factors that allow the "Salafi-Jihadi" ideology to get traction are united, there is likely to be violence. Extremists do, as Cameron said, "thrive when they have ungoverned spaces in which they can exist, build and plan" and the aftermath of the Arab spring has not just opened up new terrain but also exacerbated existing problems of lawlessness and criminality. Flows of arms from Libya have made a bad situation worse.And if you take the fighting in Mali and the attack on the refinery, and add it to a list of all the incidents occurring around the globe involving extremist Islamist violence, it is undoubtedly a frightening picture.In the last few days there were arrests in the Philippines, anti-terrorist operations in Indonesia, deaths in Pakistan (due to infighting between extremist groups), air raids in Afghanistan on suspected al-Qaida bases, battles in the Yemen, shootings and executions in Iraq following the release of a video showing brutal executions, reports of trials in the UK and Germany as well as fighting in Mali.But does this all add up to al-Qaida 3.0, more dangerous than ever before? There's a simple test. Think back to those dark days of 2004 or 2005 and how much closer the violence seemed. Were you more frightened then, or now? The aim of terrorism is to inspire irrational fear, to terrorise. Few are as fearful today as they were back then. So that means there are two possibilities: we are wrong, ignorant or misinformed, and should be much more worried than we are; or our instincts are right, and those responsible for the violence are as far from posing an existential threat as they have ever been.• This article was amended on 29 January 2013. The abortive attacks on London and Glasgow took place in 2007, not 2006 as originally stated.al-QaidaGlobal terrorismAlgerian hostage crisisAlgeriaMaliAfricaUK security and terrorismJason Burkeguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

29 января 2013, 07:31

James Moore: Jesus Was a Texan

"Long hair, beard and sandals, and a funky bunch of friends, reckon we'd just nail him up if he came down again." - Kristofferson, Jesus Was a Capricorn I love Texas. Almost as much as I hate its prevailing majority politics. This is why I choose to make fun of my state. Laughter is much preferred to tears. And man do we have some reasons to cry down here. The latest comes from the Texas Freedom Network (TFN), a progressive organization dedicated to protecting religious freedom. TFN has just released a report by Dr. Mark Chancey, a professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University. It's on a topic that doesn't exist in too many states: Public Bible School Courses. Yes, it's true. Texas schools -- well, 57 of them -- offer courses on the Bible. The state legislature approved this in 2007. A few other states do, too. Think Oklahoma and surrounds. Professor Chancey wanted to know if the Bible was being taught as mandated by the law, which is in an historical context and not devotionally. Of course, anyone who understands anything about Texas knows the answer to that question without an in-depth study. But before we get into the funny stuff, it's worth noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Bible can be taught in public schools. But not in a manner that promotes a specific religion. Uh, yeah. How is that accomplished? Especially in Texas, where our elected state school board argues for creationism alongside evolution and the president of the board takes pride in "standing up to experts." Those educated people do tend to be a pain with their sciencey stuff. They need to be stood up to. I confess to being disgusted by any religion being taught in public schools. I don't want anyone's belief system being advanced in a building that is funded by my tax dollars. I don't even like the idea of school districts renting out their buildings to religious groups for Sunday gatherings, which is a widespread practice in Texas. Regardless of what the religious right claims, the founders always intended to keep religion out of government. But that's not what we teach our little ones in Texas. One school district, according to the TFN study, quotes Revolutionary War hero Patrick Henry as saying, "It cannot be emphasized too strong or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but the gospel of Jesus Christ." Not true. Just crap. Give him liberty or give him made up quotes. But that's a minor historical sin compared to the other nonsense Texas kids are learning when they sign up for these Bible courses. There's a full cuppa crazy to be had. In the Eastland Independent School District, for example, there is a curriculum tract that talks about the biblical "missing day," and that "the space program is now proving what has been called a 'myth' in the Bible to be truth." The little learner gets told that "'astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, MD,' discovered 'a day missing in space and elapsed time' that corroborates biblical stories of the sun standing still." From the book of dumbass, I believe, Chapter 4, verses 11-16. Eastland ISD is on the case to keep their kids uninformed here in the real world. They even show students videos from the Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, Texas, which is famed for its arguments that the earth is 6,000 years old. They also say they have a fossilized dinosaur print that has been "intruded" with a "pristine human footprint" taken from a nearby riverbed. A recent state school board president has said he we are obligated to teach our children that there were dinosaurs on Noah's ark and that humans and Tyrannosaurus Rex hung out in the same jungles together, which might explain the size of T Rex with lots of people easy to eat. We are a backwards-ass state in a fast-forward world. Texas is a land of contradictions. We are creating some of the planet's most advanced technology while teaching our children that archaeology proves the Bible to be factual. One Bible course worksheet in a public school says, "Archaeologist Sir Walter Ramsay (who went to Asia Minor himself on such a quest), found this book [Bible] to have been written with incredible accuracy. In fact, he could not even find one error." Well, end of discussion then, if Sir Walter thinks it's real. In Texas, we don't let our students be confronted by all of the archaeology that contradicts the Bible. Instead, we teach them "on the whole, archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the Scriptural record. More than one archaeologist has found his respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine." Two, at the most, I bet. Hell, a lot of this comes with commentary so our kids get it right before they go forth into the economy to seek employment and a farthing or two. One document from a West Texas school district says, "Sad to say, mainstream anti-God media do not portray these true facts in the light of faith. But prefer to skeptically [sic] doubt such archaeological proofs of the veracity and historicity of the biblical account of one of the most accurate books in the history of the world." The materials state bluntly, without equivocation, that "Christ's resurrection was an event that occurred in time and space -- that was, in reality, historical and not mythological." Which is a matter of faith. Not history. Nor science. Did I mention that I am sick of religious material of any kind being taught in public schools? I think I did. It is wrong. And an abuse of my tax dollars. I doth protest. Here and now. Loudly as hell. Stop it. All of these crazy Texans excited about Christianity being taught in public schools would spew their barbecue if anyone wanted to hold a class or two on the Koran. And that's precisely what makes this entire thing wrong. And hypocritical. And a violation of our personal rights to not have to endure someone else's religious beliefs in public institutions. So help me, god. Also at: http://www.moorethink.com

29 января 2013, 00:18

Sirius XM Share Buyback And The Impact On Price - Part 2

By Crunching Numbers:Part 1 of this article discussed the options available to corporations looking to return capital to shareholders and the rise in the popularity of share buybacks. At the time Part 1 was written, the shares of Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) were trading below $2.20, and Liberty Media (LMCA) and Sirius XM were engaged in a very public dispute over the control of Sirius XM. Most investors were anxiously awaiting a resolution to this issue so that a share buyback could begin. Although it had been planned that Part 2 would be completed much earlier, the share prices kept rising and the financial metrics were quickly outdated.As many had expected, Liberty was successful in taking control of Sirius XM, and the much anticipated share buyback was announced. What should investors expect from that buyback? Not too much if Sirius XM's experience is similar to that of the S&PComplete Story »

28 января 2013, 23:34

Eric Boehlert: Palin, Fox and the End of An Era

Wasn't it fitting that Sarah Palin's exit from Fox News was made official the same week President Obama celebrated his second inauguration? Didn't it just seem apt that the once-future star of Fox News and the Tea Party movement lost her national media platform just days after the president she tried to demonize for four years basked in the glow of his easy reelection victory? Palin's breakup with Fox was expected, but it's still significant. A "milestone," is how former Bush speechwriter David Frum put it. The move represents the end of a brief, ill-conceived era within the conservative media movement, and specifically at Fox, where in the wake of Obama's first White House win Palin, along with preposterous cohort Glenn Beck, was irresponsibly tapped to become a high-priced pundit who trafficked in hate. At Fox, Palin represented a particularly angry and juvenile wing of the conservative movement. It's the part that appears deeply obsessed with Obama as a person; an unhealthy obsession that seemed to surpass any interest in his policies. With lazy name-calling as her weapon of choice, Palin served as Fox News' point person for misguided snark and sophomoric put-downs. Palin also epitomized the uber-aggressive anti-intellectual push that coincided with Obama's swearing in four years ago. And for a while, it looked like the push might work. In 2010, it seemed like Palin and Beck might just succeed in helping Fox change the face of American politics with their signature calling cards of continuous conspiracies (Beck) and perpetual victimization (Palin). But it never happened. In the wake of Beck's cable TV departure in 2011, Obama's reelection win in 2012, and now Palin's farewell from Fox last week, it's obvious the blueprint drawn up by Fox chief Roger Ailes was a programming and political failure. Yes, the name-calling and conspiratorial chatter remains at Fox, but it's no longer delivered by Palin who was going to be star some loyalist thought the channel could ride all the way to the White House. Let's also note that Fox's Palin era was marked by how the Beltway press often did everything in its power to prop her up as a "star" reaching new heights, when with each passing month Palin's standing with the public seemed to register new lows. Belying claims of liberal bias, the political press seemed desperate for Palin to succeed and to become a lasting presence in American politics; a permanent TV foil during the Obama era. Can you think of another time when the press so enthusiastically heralded the losing vice presidential candidate as a political and media "phenomena"? -- ABC's The Note: "There is precisely one superstar in the Republican Party." --Time's Mark Halperin: Palin's "operating on a different plane, hovering higher than a mere celebrity, more buoyant than an average politician." --Washington Post's David Broder: "A public figure at the top of her game." Wrong, wrong and wrong. Whatever success and momentum Palin enjoyed on Fox in terms of influencing the national conversation (i.e. "death panels"), it slowed in January 2011. That's when, responding to an Arizona shopping center shooting spree that nearly claimed the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Palin cast herself as a victim, and condemned the press for manufacturing a "blood libel." (Palin appeared to not understand that historically, "blood libel" relates to the anti-Semitic charge that Jews murder children and use their blood for religious rituals.) The Beltway press seemed truly aghast by Palin's performance. And so did Roger Ailes. When Palin bowed out of the 2012 presidential race and did so on a right-wing talk show instead of on Fox, thereby robbing the channel of the spotlight, her star seemed to fade precipitously, to the point where her views and commentary were irrelevant to last year's presidential campaign. Meanwhile, Palin's departure is also significant because it comes at a time when Fox is still reeling from Obama's reelection. (A reelection Palin was supposed to help derail.) Where the channel spent the previous four years with a laser-like focus rallying right-wing believers in an effort to drive Obama from the White House, while simultaneously, we were told, saving liberty and countless freedoms, Fox today seems utterly lost knowing it won't ever defeat Obama at the polls. Clinging ever tighter to the gears on its phony outrage machine, Fox talkers take turns taking umbrage. Last week's relentless sobbing over Obama's inauguration speech (too partisan!) was a perfect example of how the channel can't stop lashing out at imaginary slights. Writing for Esquire's website, Tom Junod noticed the same pervasive sense of bewilderment. A student of Fox who wrote a lengthy profile of Ailes two years ago, Junod labeled the Fox incarnation on display early in Obama's second term to be a "freak show" wallowing in defeat and an over-sized "sense of injury": The question, of course, is whether [Ailes] knows what anyone else in the United States might like, or whether his network, even as it holds its captive audience, will descend further into political irrelevance. For all his instinctive showmanship, and for all his purported populist genius, Ailes saw Obama cobble together his new majority right under his nose, and knew neither what to call it or how to stop it. In other words, Fox News got steamrolled by Obama's reelection. Palin's departure from the Fox payroll serves as a useful exclamation point to that fact. Cross-posted at County Fair, a Media Matters blog.

28 января 2013, 23:03

Ariz. Bill Requires Students To Swear Oath To Constitution Under God To Graduate

Two Arizona lawmakers are stirring Constitutional debate and threats of legal action after introducing bills that would require the state's students to express love of country under God. House Bill 2467, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Bob Thorpe, would require all public high school seniors to take an oath to "support and defend" the U.S. Constitution and proclaim, "so help me god." A second proposal, House Bill 2284 sponsored by Republican state Rep. Steve Smith, would require all public 1-12 students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The oath, as proposed by Thorpe, reads: I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God. While critics argue that Thorpe's bill violates the Constitution by requiring a religious declaration to graduate from high school, the lawmaker asserts the bill's legality. The bill, as written, also doesn't outline exemptions for students who are atheist or of other faiths from the requirement. Still, Thorpe says he is considering amending the proposal to make the oath optional to avoid making students or parents uncomfortable, though he is still a strong conceptual proponent of the bill, The Arizona Republic reports. "Constitutional oaths are common for elected officials and government employees, including the governor, the Legislature and members of our law enforcement and our military," he told The Republic. "It is my hope that if Arizona students are given the opportunity to also take a simple, Constitutional oath, that this will inspire them to learn more about our Constitutional form of government and the rich history of our nation and founding." Public school students in Arizona currently must allow time for the Pledge each day, but students are permitted to choose whether they wish to take part. Smith's proposal strikes the words "those students who wish," thus removing the option, and adding a provision for exemption if a student's parent specifically requests their child be excused from recitation. But both bills could open the floodgates to a slew of lawsuits. Alessandra Soler, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, says if taken to court, the proposals could be deemed violations of students' rights to free speech. "Students have a right to free speech, a right to stay silent, a right to go to school," Soler told Current, the media network co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. "It's cynical and ironic that they are promoting allegiance to the Constitution by requiring an oath in the face of crumbling schools and dwindling education funds. Rather than make increases to budgets, they're assuming an oath will teach students about the Constitution." Smith's proposal is one of several that have affected schools across the country. The Nebraska Board of Education unanimously voted last August to require the state's public schools to set time aside every day for the Pledge of Allegiance in grades K-12. Students are, however, allowed to stand or sit quietly if they choose not to participate. But last summer, New Jersey high school student Chelsea Stanton won an extensive battle with her school, which was repeatedly punishing her for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Stanton, an atheist, said she "couldn't bring herself to recite [the Pledge] anymore" because of the words, "under God."

28 января 2013, 04:01

Tory MP Andrew Tyrie attacks secret courts bill

Backbencher warns that government is in danger of 'closing down access to the truth'People will be deterred from providing information to the police if the government expands secret courts and increases the public's distrust of the authorities, according to report by a Conservative-leaning thinktank.In a damaging attack on the justice and security bill, which reaches a crucial parliamentary stage this week, the influential Tory backbencher Andrew Tyrie warns that the government is in danger of "closing down access to the truth".The report for the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), by Tyrie and Anthony Peto QC, is entitled Neither Just nor Secure and is published as the bill goes into committee stage in the Commons.The bill's most controversial proposal is the expansion of closed material procedures – or secret hearings – into the main civil courts. It allows security-sensitive evidence to be presented to a judge but withheld in detail from claimants in the case.Before Christmas, the Lords inflicted a series of defeats on the government's plans, ensuring judges have greater freedom to decide when a closed material procedure should be triggered.Ken Clarke, the minister without portfolio in charge of the legislation, has not yet revealed whether he will accept those amendments. Labour is also waiting until the committee stage to disclose whether or not it will oppose the bill.Tyrie is the Conservative MP for Chichester and an outspoken chairman of the Treasury select committee. He is also founder of the all party group on extraordinary rendition which has highlighted infringements of civil liberties and withholding of official information. The CPS was founded by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher in 1974.The sharply worded CPS report says that if the bill is passed in its current form: "individuals may be less willing to provide information to authorities in an environment characterised by distrust, 'secret justice' and the risk of cover-ups of government wrongdoing."Unless this bill is further amended, this and future governments could find themselves accused, not just of closing down access to justice, but access to the truth as well. In its present form, a strong case can be made that it will do more harm than good, not just to interests of justice and freedom but also to security."Judges should have greater discretion to decide whether or not to closed material procedure is held and there should be a "sunset clause to limit the life of the legislation to five years" ensuring that parliament reviews it.It adds: "The bill also threatens to add to the damage that extraordinary rendition did to Britain's, and the west's, credibility and moral standing. Britain is still reckoning with its mistakes: a deeply regrettable pattern of misinformation regarding the country's involvement in extraordinary rendition which has led to misleading statements being made to the public, to the claimants' relatives, to the intelligence and security committee, to the courts and to parliament."Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, president of the Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, also criticised the bill, saying: "Secret trials and non-disclosure of evidence are characteristics most commonly associated with repressive regimes and undemocratic societies."While HM government rightly takes a strong stance in respect of the importance of the rule of law globally, we fear that if passed, this bill will adversely affect the UK's international reputation for fair justice. British justice should not be seen to stoop to the level of repressive regimes."The Labour MP Chris Mullin also condemned the plans. He said: "Critics have been united in pointing out that the bill undermines the British principles of equal and open justice; that its definitions are wide and sweeping; and that 'secret courts' and verdicts, in which the losing party may not be told why he or she lost, will be deeply damaging to the integrity of our legal system in the eyes of the world."Ken Clarke responded to the CPS report: "This bill will allow light to be shone on material that is currently kept in the dark. It will allow for cases to be heard where there is currently no means of hearing them."It will allow judges to examine national security sensitive material and establish the truth which is just not possible at present. This should give the public greater confidence that the intelligence services are being held to account."It is simply not correct to say that the bill will undermine the public's ability to know what has truly happened regarding British involvement in rendition. In practice nothing will be heard in closed court under these proposals which is currently heard in open. Crucially, the bill will mean the public receives a final judgment in more cases as to whether the government is culpable or not."The bill will ensure that we get to the bottom of more of the sorts of cases we all want to see resolved. Retaining the status quo, or exhausting PII first, which ensures material which is national security sensitive is excluded from the hearing, is quite unequivocally not going to help us get to the bottom of questions about rendition."• Read Tyrie's report (pdf)Justice and security billRenditionOwen Bowcottguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

27 января 2013, 02:09

Palin: 'We can't just preach to the choir'

Reuters Close In Sarah Palin's first interview since parting ways with Fox News, the former Alaska governor said she doesn't want to "just preach to the choir" and that she is looking to take her message to a "larger audience." Palin told Breitbart News there needs to be "more truth-telling in the media" and called for fellow conservatives to follow her lead and expand their audience. "I encourage others to step out in faith, jump out of the comfort zone, and broaden our reach as believers in American exceptionalism," she told the conservative news site in a short Q&A. "That means broadening our audience. I'm taking my own advice here as I free up opportunities to share more broadly the message of the beauty of freedom and the imperative of defending our republic and restoring this most exceptional nation." (VIDEO: Highlights: Sarah Palin on Fox News) "We can't just preach to the choir," she said. "The message of liberty and true hope must be understood by a larger audience." It was reported Friday that Palin had parted ways with Fox News after three years and would no longer be a paid contributor. Palin joined Fox News in 2009, after she resigned as Alaska governor. As for her future plans, Palin told Breitbart News the "door is wide open." "I know the country needs more truth-telling in the media, and I'm willing to do that," she said. "So, we shall see." The former Republican vice presidential nominee also took aim at what she described as the "biased" media's role in the 2012 race. "We had an election defined by a biased media plus millions of voters who sat it out in disgust," she said. "As long as we allow the media and GOP establishment to tell us who our nominees must be, we can expect to lose." In the Q&A -- which consisted of three questions -- Palin also blasted D.C. as "out of touch, obviously" and named conservatives in the media such as Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh and writers at Breitbart News as voices to look at as the 2014 election approaches.

26 января 2013, 21:04

ACTION ALERT: Katerina Jeleva's Battle to See Her Son Will Take Place Monday

Dees IllustrationBrandon TurbevilleActivist Post Katerina Jeleva, the Utah mother whose son has been stolen from her via a corrupt DCFS and family court system, is coming up for trial this week. Katerina is being forced to go to court at her own expense in order to defend herself against the termination of her parental rights even after she has been proven innocent of any wrongdoing on at least three occasions. If Judge Mary Noonan of the Family Court rules against Katerina, she could terminate Katerina’s parental rights altogether. However, if the judge rules in favor of Katerina and does not terminate her parental rights, then Katerina will finally regain custody of her son after an unnecessarily long battle. It is imperative that we contact Judge Mary Noonan and her Clerk and remind them both that we are watching this case and that we expect Katerina’s son to be returned to her. Even after her exoneration, Katerina has still been denied the right to even visit her son due to legal trickery and outright sabotage by the other parties involved. For those of you who are unaware of Katerina’s situation, I encourage you to access the articles and interviews linked at the end of this article to get an idea of the never-ending battle she has been forced to fight thus far. I also encourage you to read the summary of her case as it now stands, also included in this article. Again, if you want to help Katerina, please contact the court using the contact information posted below and encourage them to rule in Katerina’s favor. Remind the court that the world is watching this case and that injustice such as this cannot continue to be tolerated. Remember to be polite, but firm. Contact information:Judge Mary Noonan (801) 764-5820Judge Noonan’s Clerk (801) 724-3820If neither of these individuals can be reached personally, please leave a message. Tell them to “Do the right thing.” Tell them to “Make the right decision.” Katerina’s case number is 1065414. BEYER VS. JELEVASummary of Katerina’s Case:In short, when Katerina was conveniently served with a Protective Order by her ex-husband shortly after his own bankruptcy proceeding, Katerina’s son was immediately taken from her by DCFS agents and armed police. Yet, after repeated interviews and investigations by psychologists, sex abuse investigators, and other DCFS agents, it was determined that there was absolutely no evidence that Katerina had abused her son. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; Soon after her son was returned to her, however, Katerina was served with yet another Protective Order by her ex-husband – this time with the help of rogue Guardian ad Litem, Amber Ruder. Once again, after the filing of the second Protective Order, Katerina’s son was forcibly removed from her, with police literally taking the child out of her arms. The process of interviews and investigations thus began anew and, again, Katerina was exonerated. Yet, after being ordered to organize and facilitate the family therapy sessions, Guardian ad Litem Amber Ruder flatly refused to obey the judge’s orders, telling Katerina that she “cannot and will not do this for you.” Ruder subsequently claimed that Katerina’s son may not be returned to her at all because the two have been separated for such a long time that it might traumatize the child to return to his mother. This is in regards to a child who, in the opinion of the child psychologist who interviewed him, showed signs of being coached by other adults in what to say to the therapist in order to implicate his mother in misconduct in the first place. Ever since the second Protective Order, Katerina has been fighting an uphill fight in what seems like a never-ending legal battle where she is forced to represent herself despite having very little time and money at her disposal. In addition, Katerina has had to contend with a Guardian ad Litem who was not only being uncooperative, but was actively sabotaging and opposing Katerina’s efforts to be reunited with her son.Between the behavior of Ruder, and Katerina’s ex-husband’s legal team led by attorney Jere Reneer, Katerina has had to endure such underhanded tactics as court-issued documents being sent to her previous attorney’s office instead of to her (as she is now representing herself due to financial hardship) among other things. After a great deal of resistance by Ruder and Katerina’s ex-husband, Katerina was finally able to attend a therapy session with her son – a meeting which scarcely could have gone better, according to Jeleva, particularly under the circumstances. Unfortunately, much of the Amber Ruder-related saga continued in the months following. Not satisfied with the outcome of the DCFS investigations (as they determined that there was no evidence for any abuse), Ruder requested a third interview session with DCFS in an environment more conducive for her purposes, but was rightfully denied by the Judge. Very soon, however, a third “anonymous” claim of abuse was conveniently made against Katerina and the interview and investigation process began all over again for a third time. Once again, Springville Police Department Detective Jeff Ellsworth was tasked with investigating Katerina’s case. As before, Ellsworth concluded that there was no evidence for abuse. Indeed, he clearly stated as much in his incident report when he wrote, “I have investigated this matter before, and the information that was brought forward does not provided enough evidence to support Sexual Abuse. This case will remain inactive.” Likewise, Emee Drews, the DCFS worker assigned to the case regarding the third accusation, stated that the interview she conducted did not disclose anything new and that there was not enough evidence to support the claims of sexual abuse. After watching the interview, Detective Ellsworth determined that the alleged incident being dealt with was actually the same incident he had investigated much earlier and had decided there was no evidence of child abuse. Essentially, the third accusation of child abuse was a type of accusational derivative, meaning that the third accusation was itself based on the first and second, which themselves were found to be illegitimate and baseless. Thus, on September 7, 2012, the third investigation was closed due to unsupported evidence. All the while, however, Katerina’s attempts at supervised therapy with her son were flagrantly derailed in direct violation of the court order by her ex-husband who, Katerina claims, was acting on the advice of Amber Ruder. Furthermore, as the report written by Dr. Gale Stringham makes clear, both the ex-husband and the child were told by Amber Ruder that the child “didn’t have to see his mom if he didn’t want to.” Of course, Ruder had zero authority to make this decision because the therapy was court ordered. Keep in mind, Ruder’s function was Guardian ad Litem, not judge or jury.As a result, Katerina’s son, who was ecstatic at seeing his mother at the first therapy session was not present at the second therapy session due to “something that came up,” preventing the ex-husband from attending the court ordered therapy and obstinately declining to accept any rescheduling by Dr. Stringham until at least a week later. After this long delay between therapy sessions, Katerina’s son began acting mysteriously hesitant about seeing his mother and even contradicting himself about claims made against Katerina’s new husband around the same time the first allegations were made against Katerina. Furthermore, Stringham’s assessment regarding the possibility of the child having been coached in the second therapy session is comparable to her suspicions earlier in the year after the initial Protective Order had been filed. In a letter to the court, Stringham wrote,[His] responses during the second visitation raises serious concerns regarding him receiving adult influence. Although it would not be unusual for a child who is reconciling with a parent under similar circumstances to be again guarded at the beginning of another contact, a number of [his] comments both during his one-on-one disclosure to me and during the time with his mother did not sound like the typical language of a child his age. It also appears from his response to receiving the video that he had spoken with someone about her plan to bring the present.(Note: the “present” was simply a gift Katerina was going to bring to her son after the first session. At the first session, her son was eager to receive the video and was looking forward to it.) Shortly after this statement was released, Amber Ruder began complaining to the court via the submission of a motion suggesting that the therapist was providing the wrong kind of therapy. As a result of the continual underhanded tactics of Ruder, Katerina’s ex-husband, and his attorney, Jere Reneer, Katerina was forced to respond via her filing a variety of court motions. Although Katerina’s motion to the court to have GAL Amber Ruder removed from her case was denied, GAL Ruder is no longer the Guardian ad Litem of Katerina’s case. In fact, perhaps due to public pressure as a result of the coverage from the alternative media and the subsequent protest and contact from readers and listeners all across the spectrum, GAL Amber Ruder is no longer Guardian ad Litem in any capacity on any of her former cases. Ruder has been effectively removed from her position as Guardian ad Litem. In Katerina’s case, GAL Ruder has been replaced by her supervisor, John Moody. However, the fact that GAL Ruder is gone is no reason to become complacent. The fact is, one GAL has simply been replaced with another. Of course, we hope that Mr. Moody acts in a much more responsible manner than Ruder. Nevertheless, the fact remains that there is no reason for a GAL to be involved between Katerina and her son in the first place. google_ad_client = "ca-pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 7/28/12 */ google_ad_slot = "9833874419"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; Setting aside the issue of whether or not agencies like DCFS and the family court systems should themselves even exist; in this particular case, it is clear that family court system is now acting outside of its jurisdiction. Because Katerina is not charged with any crime by the State of Utah, and because the Protective Order filed against her has now expired (on September 30, 2012), there is absolutely no reason for a Guardian ad Litem to be present. Nor is there any need for interaction with the Juvenile Court (family court) system. Essentially, Katerina’s case is now a civil matter, not a criminal or juvenile court matter. Regardless, the Utah family court has refused to uphold her Motion to Terminate Jurisdiction Over the Minor Child. It is for this reason that Katerina now goes to trial. Her court date is scheduled to begin Monday January 28, 2013 and continue through Wednesday January 30, 2013. This trial will determine whether or not Katerina will be able to seen her son again as the trial is centered around the complete termination of parental rights. Related articles and interviews.Utah Woman Has Son Stolen by DCFS Agent Despite Declaration of Innocence by Court and Social ServicesKaterina Jeleva Continues Legal Battle to Rescue Son From Child Protective ServicesKaterina Jeleva’s Five Year Battle To Reclaim Her Son From Rogue Family Court System ContinuesKaterina Jeleva discusses her case with Alan Watt of Cutting Through the Matrix.Truth on the Tracks with Brandon Turbeville: Katerina Jeleva and her Ordeal with the Family Court SystemRead other articles by Brandon Turbeville here. Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 175 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. 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26 января 2013, 18:27

Appeals Court Rules On WikiLeaks Investigation

RICHMOND, Va. -- A federal appeals court ruled Friday that prosecutors can demand Twitter account information of certain users in their criminal probe into the disclosure of classified documents on WikiLeaks. The three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also said the government's reasons as to why it is seeking the information can remain sealed. The case involves three Twitter account holders with some connection to the secret-busting WikiLeaks website. They had argued that forcing Twitter to cooperate with the investigation by turning over data amounts to an invasion of privacy and has a chilling effect on the free speech rights of Twitter users. The federal panel in Richmond rejected their appeal and affirmed a magistrate's court order that Twitter must turn over limited account information to prosecutors. The court said it weighed the right of public access against the need to keep an investigation secret. The appeals court agreed with the magistrate that the government's interest in keeping the documents secret outweigh the right to public access. Prosecutors have said federal law specifically allows them to seek account information as a routine investigative tool. Specifically, the Stored Communications Act allows them to obtain certain electronic data without a search warrant or a demonstration of probable cause. The government must only show that it has a reasonable belief that the records it seeks are relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation. "This is essentially a reasonable suspicion standard," the court wrote. Under the Stored Communications Act, the government can also keep sealed documents related to their investigation from the subscribers. The appeals panel concluded the subscribers had no First Amendment right to access the documents. Prosecutors submitted their rationale for seeking the Twitter information to U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan but it was kept secret and sealed also. The court wrote that the "government's interests in maintaining secrecy of its investigation, preventing potential subjects from being tipped off, or altering behavior to thwart the government's ongoing investigation, outweighed" the subscribers' claims. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, representing the Twitter users, said the government can use those IP addresses as a sort of virtual tracking device to identify a specific computer used by an account holder and with it the user's physical location. The appeals panel also allows the government to keep secret any similar orders it sought from other social media sites. "This case shows just how easy it is for the government to obtain information about what people are doing on the Internet, and it highlights the need for our electronic privacy laws to catch up with technology," said ACLU attorney Aden Fine. "The government should not be able to get private information like this without getting a warrant and also satisfying the standard required by the First Amendment, and it shouldn't be able to do so in secret except in unusual circumstances" The original order issued in December 2010 at prosecutors' request also sought Twitter account information from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Pfc. Bradley Manning, who faces life in prison if he's convicted of indirectly aiding the enemy by leaking U.S. secrets while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010. Neither Assange nor Manning was a party in the lawsuit challenging the legality of the Twitter order.

26 января 2013, 01:28

White House condemns court ruling on 'unconstitutional' Obama appointments

Spokesman says ruling heralded by Republicans' lawyers as 'stinging rebuke' to president is 'novel and unprecedented'Barack Obama breached the constitution when he bypassed Congress to make appointments to a labour relations panel, a federal appeal court ruled on Friday in a decision that was condemned by the White House as "novel and unprecedented".The judgement, from a three-judge panel of the US court of appeals for the DC circuit and regarding the filling of vacancies at the the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), represents a significant legal victory for Republicans and big business. It could also severely restrict the president's use of a constitutional provision that permits him to directly appoint officials without congressional approval.Successive presidents have used the provision to place hundreds of officials who have been rejected, or are likely to be rejected, by the Senate at confirmation hearings.But in what lawyers for the Republican congressional delegation called a "stinging rebuke" to Obama, the court narrowed the president's authority considerably by ruling that the constitution only permits him to make those appointments when the vacancy occurs during a recess between individual Congresses, such as occurred earlier this month when a newly elected Congress took office. Any appointment must then be made during the same recess."The filling up of a vacancy that happens during a recess must be done during the same recess in which the vacancy arose," the court said.The ruling struck down the president's appointment of three people to the NLRB a year ago, but if it stands it is likely to have much wider implications.Anthony Riedel of the National Right to Work Foundation, which is fighting several cases seeking to have NLRB rulings overturned on the grounds that the appointments were invalid, described the ruling as a "game changer"."What the court did pretty much took a strict constructionist view of the constitution and said that the president cannot make recess appointments unless during the recess in which one Congress turns into the next Congress. It also said that the vacancy must have occurred within that recess," he said. "This is a game changer on a broader scale of how the president has the power to make recess appointments during a recess."The court decision came in response to a legal challenge by the owners of a soft-drinks bottling plant, after the NLRB ruled against them in a union dispute. The company claimed Obama did not have the power to directly appoint the three officials to the NLRB last year while the Senate was on a 20-day holiday, and said the board's ruling was therefore invalid.The dispute centres on article two of the constitution, which gives the president "the power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate".Successive administrations have interpreted that as meaning whenever the Senate takes a break, such as during Christmas and summer holidays. Obama has invoked the article 32 times to make recess appointments. His predecessor, George W Bush, used it 99 times. But the court ruled that the framers of the constitution had a different meaning in mind.At the time the article was written, Congress sat far less frequently, sometimes for less than half of the year."There is no reason the framers would have permitted the President to wait until some future intersession recess to make a recess appointment, for the Senate would have been sitting in session during the intervening period and available to consider nominations," the court said on Friday.Lawyers for the bottling company argued that holidays did not amount to a recess because although senators were away from Washington, the Senate still effectively remained sitting."Such short intra-session breaks are not recesses. Otherwise, every weekend, night, or lunch break would be a 'recess' too," they told the court.The court agreed, and noted that the House of Representatives had already returned to work the day before the appointments, meaning that Congress was in session even if senators were not in attendance.Republicans joined the legal action, arguing that "the president usurped the Senate's control of its own procedures"."By appointing officers without the Senate's consent, he took away its right to review and reject his nominations," they said.The US justice department told the court that the Senate does no work, and does not fulfill its role to provide advice or consent on presidential nominations, when it takes holidays and therefore is not in session.Democrats in Congress led the way in attempting to block direct presidential appointments during President George Bush senior's administration. They merely adjourned Senate sittings during holiday periods, rather than going into recess.The Obama administration can be expected to take the case to the Supreme Court.The American Center for Law and Justice, which represented the House of Representatives speaker, John Boehner, in the case, welcomed the ruling."This decision represents a stinging rebuke to the unprecedented and unconstitutional actions of President Obama," said the ACLJ chief counsel, Jay Sekulow."This decision is sound and well-reasoned and respects both the constitution and the separation of powers. From the very beginning, no one questioned the President's authority to make recess appointments, but those must occur when the Senate is in recess, which we asserted, and the appeals court concluded, is clearly not the case here. While the Justice Department may decide to appeal this decision to the supreme court, the appeals court decision today sends a strong message rejecting this presidential overreach."The immediate implications of the ruling for the NLRB are unclear. Riedel said it could potentially invalidate hundreds of board decisions over the past year, and may affect other cases in the pipeline elsewhere in the country including several being handled by his own organisation."The NLRB has been handing down very biased decisions in favour of big labor so we're pleased that there's a chance these decisions will now be invalidated because the board has been seen to not have a quorum," he said.The White House disagreed. "This court decision does not effect this operation, their ability to function," said Jay Carney, Obama's spokesman.However the judgement could affect other recess appointments, notably that of Richard Cordray, who was put in place by Obama to head the newly-formed consumer financial protection bureau, after he was rejected by Congress. At the time, Boehner accused Obama of "trampling our system of separation of powers".Barack ObamaObama administrationUS CongressUS SenateUS House of RepresentativesUS supreme courtUS constitution and civil libertiesUS politicsRepublicansDemocratsUnited StatesUS domestic policyChris McGrealguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

26 января 2013, 00:42

Friday Humor: Miniature Predator Drone Goes On Sale To Bipolar Public Reception

Just because there is a superficially-pacifist, yet supraficially genocidal, dictatorially-inclined egomaniac in every one of us, the moment the Maisto Fresh Metal Tailwinds 1:97 Scale Die Cast United States Military Aircraft - US Air Force Medium Altitude, Long Endurance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator went on loss at Amazon (we would say sale, but that would imply some probability of profit, which as even the hotdog guy, knows is never going to happen at AMZN), everyone scrambled to buy one. However, only those first in line got one: everyone else was greeted by a "Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock" sign. So what does one do: what one should have done in the first place before going for the one impulse purchase that can murder innocent children half way around the world courtesy of the latest iPad app "iKiller": read the customer reviews of course. Below is a broad sample of the rather bipolar main street America response when faced with the opportunity of having the same great power, if not so great - or any - responsibility, as is given, by some 25% of the population (factoring for the 55% or so who don't vote) to the president of the USA, even if on a 1:97 scale. First the big thumbs up: By Raini Pachak This is the best toy ever. Finally, I can pretend that I'm a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize!It's like I'm sitting right there in the White House with my very own kill list! By Rambone My son is very interested in joining the Imperial forces when he grows up. He says he's not sure if he wants to help police the homeland or if he wants to invade foreign countries. So I thought a new Predator drone toy would be a nice gift for him. These drones are used both domestically and internationally, to spy on people and assassinate them at the Emperor's discretion. He just loves flying his drone around our house, dropping Hellfire missiles on Scruffy, our dog. He kept saying that Scruffy was a terror suspect and needed to be taken out. I asked him if Scruffy should get a trial first, and he quoted Lindsay Graham, Imperial Senator: "Shut up Scruffy, you don't get a trial!" I was so proud. I think I'll buy him some video games that promote martial law for Christmas. By Maurice Cobbs You've had a busy play day - You've wiretapped Mom's cell phone and e-mail without a warrant, you've indefinitely detained your little brother Timmy in the linen closet without trial, and you've confiscated all the Super-Soakers from the neighborhood children (after all, why does any kid - besides you, of course - even NEED a Super-Soaker for self-defense? A regular water pistol should be enough). What do you do for an encore? That's where the US Air Force Medium Altitude, Long Endurance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator from Maisto comes in. Let's say that Dad has been labeled a terrorist in secret through your disposition matrix. Rather than just arrest him and go through the hassle of trying and convicting him in a court of law, and having to fool with all those terrorist-loving Constitutional protections, you can just use one of these flying death robots to assassinate him! Remember, due process and oversight are for sissies. Plus, you get the added bonus of taking out potential terrorists before they've even done anything - estimates have determined that you can kill up to 49 potential future terrorists of any age for every confirmed terrorist you kill, and with the innovative 'double-tap' option, you can even kill a few terrorist first responders, preventing them from committing terrorist acts like helping the wounded and rescuing survivors trapped in the rubble. Don't let Dad get away with anti-American activities! Show him who's boss, whether he's at a wedding, a funeral, or just having his morning coffee. Sow fear and carnage in your wake! Win a Nobel Peace Prize and be declared Time Magazine's Person of the Year - Twice! This goes well with the Maisto Extraordinary Rendition playset, by the way - which gives you all the tools you need to kidnap the family pet and take him for interrogation at a neighbor's house, where the rules of the Geneva Convention may not apply. Loads of fun! By Jonathan D Brown people around the world beware! Always ready to drop a few Hellfire's worth of freedom on unsuspecting civilian gatherings in various middle eastern nations, this Predator model is the perfect addition to any toy collection. Instead of just talking with your children about how our country conducts diplomacy by assassinating people we don't like along with whatever innocent bystanders may be in the blast radius, this Predator model allows for creative play acting and recreation of the murder scene itself. I was sorely disappointed to find out that it's now out of stock and I can't buy dozens more to add to the realism. By Mr. Ronald M. Ayers Like most children, my sons and daughters fantasize a lot about killing, usually their teachers and/or other kids at school. For a modest amount of money this toy allows them to take their fantasies to a new level. Instead of using a toy gun or knife or even a video game, this baby takes their blood lust over the top. Now, with a fleet of killer drones, mass genocide of third world peoples is possible for my little ones. As others have noted, a lack of bloodied bodies to go along with the drone is a problem. Perhaps the maker will see fit to remedy that problem in the future. BTW, I first found about about the toy drones through my children's therapist. The kids have been torturing kittens and puppies and the wife and I sent them to a headshrinker to try to get them to transfer their murderous impulses to third world humans. Their therapist recommended this little gem of a toy. The kids are so excited by it, my son is even talking about joining the military when he turns 18 just so he can pilot a drone. Thank you Amazon for making this excellent product available so kids can experience the glory of killing. By holmestim I enthusiastically await the prospects of teaching my grandchildren how to promote Democracy from the comfort of my Desktop! Nothing like making church parking lots out of wedding parties and family events! By Vanessa Carlisle I bought this for my son and he spent countless, blissful hours simulating massacres of weddings, funerals, and other family gatherings of brown skinned foreigners! He even realized that if he circled the drone back around on the first responders, his effective kill rate soared! Neat-o! Educationally, this toy can't be beat - inculcating a predilection for indiscriminate, imperialist violence against non-combatants from oppressed and marginalized communities is precisely in accordance with truly "American values!" By Trilobyte This is an awesome toy to instill a sense of exploration in your child. Geography of foreign lands will come naturally as you and your child act out imaginary strikes on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, and many more! Combined with the optional targets, the wedding,the funeral and the dusty road with an American citizen and his son, you can act out these scenarios very realistically! Teaching the moral superiority and callous disregard for other people and nations has never been easier. By Julia Nelson The Maisto replica RQ-1 Predator satisfies the requirement for realism, accuracy and detail in manufacture alongside excellent of playability. The blister pack reminds us of the danger of choking, this attention to detail (especially when the Predator is used in dusty countries in the troubled Middle east) suggests that the Maisto marketing department have really done their homework. I bought ten of these for my boy because, as he so rightly says, "So many countries, so little time". He hasn't played with his Matchbox V2 Buzz Bomb once since he became a "Drone Operator". It's given him a real grasp of imperialism, murder of innocents, the art of war and the complex geography of the Middle East. Thank You Maisto, we look forward to your Cluster Bomb, Land Mine and Gas canister multi pack with anticipation hitherto unseen in the world of play. By Gordon M. Wagner The coolest detail about this toy are the small body fragments you can litter around your target area following a drone missile strike on a wedding party. THEN (this is where the real fun begins) you circle back in an hour and fire MORE missiles at the people rescuing survivors and mourning the dead! Sure if another country did such a thing we'd decry it as heinous terrorism, but when good Ol' Uncle Sam's finger is on the joystick, you can bet that we call what we hit our target, no matter what. Seriously? This toy is inappropriate and ought to be removed from Amazon as soon as possible. If it hasn't occurred to you, "drone" murder is still murder. As in "war crime". As in "international tribunal". ORDER NOW and get FREE packs of Cluster Bombs (banned by all countries except the US and Israel) as well as the latest 2013 assortment of Land Mines (also banned by international treaty except for the US and Israel). By redpleb Nothing teaches your kids about the fact that they may one day be the target of an extra-judicious execution by executive order via a flying death robot from the movie Terminator, then this beautiful piece of replica toy war crimes. By Michael Liszewski This model is a 100% accurate scale model, and you will likely be thrilled that the "for ages 3 and up" disclaimer only applies to those remotely flying the Predator, not its potential victims. ... and those not quite so enthusiastic: By Defenestrate I thought if I bought this, I could kill random people without facing justice. It doesn't work! It won't kill people, not even brown ones. THIS IS AN EDUCATIONAL TOY AND I HOPE TO GOD THAT MY FELLOW MURCUN SHEEPLE LEARN SOMETHING FROM IT.   By sandinista death squad "sandinista death squad" I thought this would come with "baseball cards" of American civilians living in other countries that I could target for termination, I had to satisfy myself by destroying everything in my house and giving up on everything I ever believed in, liberty, freedom, and due process! By HDTV shopper "HDTV" Whenever my 7-year-old takes his dose of psychotropic medication, he's always obsessed with First Person Shooter videogames. Boy, I want to thank Amazon for their patriotic act of making this MALE (awesome friggin' acronym, Maisto!) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) available. At first, when little Tommy unwrapped this gift from Santa, he said, "this blows," but when I informed him that this would give him an opportunity to blow up people "Who Hate Us For Our Freedoms," well, little Tommy just lit up. Now, father and son sit in Little Tommy's tree fort, pretending we're in a 63-degree military installation in Tampa or New Mexico, toggling a joystick and doing some real "collateral damage" on women and children in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Yemen! It's a true bonding experience for father and son -- we're Real American Heroes, making up our own kill list and angling for that Nobel Peace Prize we so richly deserve for bringing Democracy to The Middle East and Africa! [...] Plus, the real bonus is that I'm preparing Little Tommy for a future career. Let's face it -- our Congress has shipped all our manufacturing jobs to China, and Little Tommy is hopelessly addicted to psychotropic medication. His brain is fried, OK? So I thought he might have a great future with the TSA, groping other 7-year-olds or grandmothers at unconstitutional checkpoints, but considering there will be 30,000 REAL DRONES OVER THE SKIES OF THE U. S. OF A. by 2015, Little Tommy is actually preparing himself for the career of a lifetime by practicing to take out his fellow American citizens with a Hellfire missle. Hoowah! www. nowtheendbegins .com/blog/?p=8504 Look, I listen closely to everything the Brit Piers Morgan tells me. The Second Amendment right to own firearms is evil. So I've destroyed all of Little Tommy's toy guns. But piloting a killer drone is freaking awesome. I highly recommend that all you sheeple step up like me and be REAL American patriots. Turn in your guns, eat your GMO foods, drink your fluoride water, breathe in your chemtrails and BUY YOUR BOYS THIS AWESOME, AWESOME TOY for your kid! Remember -- they hate us for our freedoms. So we need to kill thousands of brown people we don't know remotely with the push of a button. Baba booey, y'all! By Barry D. Berns What's next, depleted uranium Play-doh? Yes, let's teach our children that endless war for the benefit of billionaire defense contractors and bankers is okay, that it's okay to kill unarmed civilians as long as it's in the name of "Democracy," that murdering innocent men, women and children is okay as long as it's the government telling you to murder them. I won't mention 9/11 "conspiracies," but isn't it obvious to all by now that war is a racket? Only the mega-rich profit from war while everyone else either suffers or dies. Oh yeah, let's arm and install those evil terrorists in Libya and Syria while we irradiate and/or sexually molest people at our airports to protect us from them. No wonder Al Qaeda has been called "Al CIA Duh." Of course, you need a nebulous "enemy" or boogeyman to fight an unending war. Orwell's "1984" was not supposed to be a book of prophecy. In a word, disgusting. By USS LIBERTY My Ritalin®-fueled first grade son thought it would be so much fun to play "Drop the Hellfire missiles". But when he brought it to school, the taxpayer-funded armed guard overheard him say the word "Hellfire" during recess. The principal immediately assigned him to indefinite detention. Then she called the media, and shamed him at the national level. Now he's depressed and taking Zoloft®. Where did we go wrong? Oh well, at least my new husband and I can finally take that 7 million dollar vacation to Hawai'i! Talk about change... "Yes we did!" By Gk Harris A toy but it's still quite dangerous. My 7-year-old son launched this in the school playground and hit a Pakistani kid in the eye. These things just can't help themselves. By Chai T. "texaschai Disappointed in the price of this toy. Thought it would be paid for with my hard-working, middle-class, high tax rate taxes as the real ones are, but apparently not! Of course I'm kidding. There is no middle-class anymore. By zc2012 DO NOT BUY THIS TOY! JUST MOVE TO PAKISTAN AND YOU WILL SEE THEM DROPPING BOMBS ON YOU.. AND IT ITS FREE! WELL NOT FREE... JUST PAID FOR BY THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER.   h/t Redpill

25 января 2013, 20:09

Eden Hazard charged with violent conduct by the FA after ball boy clash

• FA ruled that standard punishment was 'clearly insufficient'• Hazard has until Tuesday to respond to chargeEden Hazard is facing an extended ban for kicking out at a ball boy after the Football Association charged him over his sending-off in Chelsea's Capital One Cup exit at Swansea.The Belgian playmaker Hazard was already set to serve an automatic three-match suspension for his red card in Wednesday night's semi-final second leg at the Liberty Stadium.But the FA deemed that "insufficient" punishment for the offence, prompting an additional charge this afternoon.An FA statement read: "The FA has charged Chelsea's Eden Hazard following his side's League Cup semi-final at Swansea on 23 January, 2013."It is alleged that Hazard's behaviour in relation to a Swansea ball boy, for which the player was dismissed in the 78th minute, constituted violent conduct whereby the standard punishment that would otherwise apply was clearly insufficient."The player has until 6pm on Tuesday, 29 January, 2013 to respond to the charge."The FA will remind all clubs of their responsibilities in ensuring ball boys and other personnel around the pitch act in an appropriate manner at all times and will liaise with competitions accordingly."ChelseaSwansea CityCapital One Cupguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

25 января 2013, 03:48

Disgusting

Warning - this topic is an uncomfortable one, so if you are of soft skin I suggest not reading. At the Canadian Blogger Conference/Drinkfest my colleagues told me about a woman who was raped in Haiti, but blamed her rape on "white patriarchy."  I found it impossible to believe and incredulous.  A woman, no matter how warped her political beliefs, would not forgive the ultimate crime against a woman (rape).We couldn't find the article and they were adamant it did happen, but after another 4 hours of drinking the conversation left my mind.Until Aurini found it and e-mailed it to me.I know this happened 3 years ago and many people have probably already read it.  However, since it has been whitewashed from the internet, not nearly enough people know about this.  Furthermore, it is important to bring up again, because it highlights just what a threat socialism, leftism and liberal is not just to the individual, but society.First, let me state that leftism IS a mental disorder, cognitive dissonance being the slightest of the symptoms.  For a brain to ignore reality and create rationalization and excuses so it can hold onto its flawed political ideology parallel to reality is dysfunctional.  But if it gets to the point a person puts their political ideology ahead of their own personal sovereignty and well-being, then that is full out psychotic.  Sadly, however, you see this happening all the time.  Ignorant youth voting for "Obama" only to have him further endebt them.  Women disproportionately voting for socialism even though it ruins their lives, etc.  But to get to the point you are sexually violated and STILL stand up for your ideology (in this case, a sexist "anti-white" "anti-male" incredibly extreme version of leftism), leaves me speechless and is only more proof such ideological zealotry is not only psychotic, but self-destructive.Second, realize why leftists (typically, though not always) tend to be the ones putting their ideology ahead of their own self-interests - they have nothing else to live for.  They have no real value.  If there is a reason to buy "Enjoy the Decline" it is because of the chapter "Revenge" where I go into detail as to just what sad and pathetic lives most liberals and leftists live.  Look at your average leftists.  What defines most of them is their fear of effort, rigor, challenge, and work.  They are lazy.  They don't want to try and they (ironically) spend more calories of energy trying to make things "fair" in life than they would have, had they tried.  Ergo, they major in worthless degrees, pursue easy make-work careers, and really achieve nothing of value in their lives. They are worthless human beings.  But dare anybody hold them up to standards of production and the real world, they vehemently get violent, emotional, and accuse their accusers of false crimes (racism, sexism, bigotry, etc. etc.)Amanda Kijera (the woman who blames her rape on people like me - white male) fits this bill perfectly, not out of coincidence, but because this is a law.  She is a "civic journalist and activist" (I could not find her biography page).  Not only is she contradictory (journalists should not be activists, they should be unbiased and be part of no activism group), she immediately confesses to the world she doesn't wish to try via her chosen "profession" and goes on some crusade to mask her ineptitude.  But when the reality (in the horrific form of rape) confronts her ideology, she sacrifices herself so that her ideology may remain in tact.The reason why is deep down inside she knows she, herself, has no value.  And without her ideology she is nothing.  Thus, the disgusting result of tolerating rape and blaming anybody but the rapist.Third, and worst of all for the rest of us, when the individual is so meaningless, worthless, and pathetic, it bodes ill for the rest of society.  Namely, it allows for a tyrannical state to take over.  For if the individual has no meaning, then it will search for it in some form of a "false god."  Some become "born again Christians," others join cults, but in a democracy well on its way on The Road of Serfdom an ever increasing state is more than happy to provide these weak minds with their false god.  Educational systems are primarily there for indoctrination, making children believe "going green" and "sharing" trump individualism and success.  Colleges and universities are there to provide "adult" minds the reason and rationale for taking other people's money.  And the media and government are only too happy to make people focus on bread and circuses, as they slowly erode the individual behind closed doors.  If there is a threat the Amanda Kijera's of the world pose to liberty and western civilization it is that they are so inferior in terms of accomplishment compared to their liberty-loving counterparts (and they loathe this fact so much), they are committed to the point of being raped to make everybody else equally worthless and miserable as them.  They are so selfish they have no problems torpedoing the world's greatest society to maintain their petty cognitive dissonance.  In the end the reason you have a disgust in your stomach over a woman who was raped and then essentially blames you for it, isn't because of the false accusation.  It's because of the fear that socialism can be so convincing of weak minds that it turns them into, mindless, selfless, ideological suicide bombers.HHR4HM7ZPMV3