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No Agenda Episode 493 Snowquestration

By Adam Curry. Posted Thursday, March 07, 2013 at 2:02 PM.

Snowquestration

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By Adam Curry. Posted Thursday, March 07, 2013 at 2:04 PM.

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Credits

By Adam Curry. Posted Thursday, March 07, 2013 at 2:04 PM.

Snowquestration

Executive Producers: Sir Geir, Sir Melancon, Sir Philip Meason

Associate Executive Producers: Adam Levine, Judy Schwartz

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Knighthood: Philip Meason

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Drone Nation

DHS built domestic surveillance tech into Predator drones | Politics and Law

Link to Article

Mon, 04 Mar 2013 14:31

Homeland Security's specifications say drones must be able to detect whether a civilian is armed. Also specified: "signals interception" and "direction finding" for electronic surveillance.

Homeland Security required that this Predator drone, built by General Atomics, be capable of detecting whether a standing human at night is "armed or not."

(Credit: U.S. Department of Homeland Security)The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has customized its Predator drones, originally built for overseas military operations, to carry out at-home surveillance tasks that have civil libertarians worried: identifying civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones, government documents show.

The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the department's unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States' northern and southern borders but have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and local police.

Homeland Security's specifications for its drones, built by San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, say they "shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not," meaning carrying a shotgun or rifle. They also specify "signals interception" technology that can capture communications in the frequency ranges used by mobile phones, and "direction finding" technology that can identify the locations of mobile devices or two-way radios.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center obtained a partially redacted copy of Homeland Security's requirements for its drone fleet through the Freedom of Information Act and published it this week. CNET unearthed an unredacted copy of the requirements that provides additional information about the aircraft's surveillance capabilities.

Homeland Security's Predator B drone can stay aloft conducting surveillance for 20 hours.

(Credit: U.S. Department of Homeland Security)Concern about domestic use of drones is growing, with federal legislation introduced last month that would establish legal safeguards, in addition to parallel efforts underway from state and local lawmakers. The Federal Aviation Administration recently said that it will "address privacy-related data collection" by drones.

The prospect of identifying armed Americans concerns Second Amendment advocates, who say that technology billed as securing the United States' land and maritime borders should not be used domestically. Michael Kostelnik, the Homeland Security official who created the program, told Congress that the drone fleet would be available to "respond to emergency missions across the country," and a Predator drone was dispatched to the tiny town of Lakota, N.D., to aid local police in a dispute that began with reimbursement for feeding six cows. The defendant, arrested with the help of Predator surveillance, lost a preliminary bid to dismiss the charges.

"I am very concerned that this technology will be used against law-abiding American firearms owners," says Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. "This could violate Fourth Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights."

Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection agency declined to answer questions about whether direction-finding technology is currently in use on its drone fleet. A representative provided CNET with a statement about the agency's unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that said signals interception capability is not currently used:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not deploying signals interception capabilities on its UAS fleet. Any potential deployment of such technology in the future would be implemented in full consideration of civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy interests and in a manner consistent with the law and long-standing law enforcement practices.

CBP's UAS program is a vital border security asset. Equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and day-and-night cameras, the UAS provides real-time images to frontline agents to more effectively and efficiently secure the nation's borders. As a force multiplier, the UAS operates for extended periods of time and allows CBP to safely conduct missions over tough-to-reach terrain. The UAS also provides agents on the ground with added situational awareness to more safely resolve dangerous situations.

During his appearance before the House Homeland Security committee, Kostelnik, a retired Air Force major general who recently left the agency, testified that the drones' direction-finding ability is part of a set of "DOD capabilities that are being tested or adopted by CBP to enhance UAS performance for homeland security." CBP currently has 10 Predator drones and is considering buying up to 14 more.

If the Predator drones were used only to identify smugglers or illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican and Canadian borders, or for disaster relief, they might not be especially controversial. But their use domestically by other government agencies has become routine enough -- and expensive enough -- that Homeland Security's inspector general said (PDF) last year that CBP needs to sign agreements "for reimbursement of expenses incurred fulfilling mission requests."

"The documents clearly evidence that the Department of Homeland Security is developing drones with signals interception technology and the capability to identify people on the ground," says Ginger McCall, director of the Open Government Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "This allows for invasive surveillance, including potential communications surveillance, that could run afoul of federal privacy laws."

A Homeland Security official, who did not want to be identified by name, said the drones are able to identify whether movement on the ground comes from a human or an animal, but that they do not perform facial recognition. The official also said that because the unarmed drones have a long anticipated life span, the department tries to plan ahead for future uses to support its border security mission, and that aerial surveillance would comply with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and other applicable federal laws.

The documents show that CBP specified that the "tracking accuracy should be sufficient to allow target designation," and the agency notes on its Web site that its Predator B series is capable of "targeting and weapons delivery" (the military version carries multiple 100-pound Hellfire missiles). CBP says, however, that its Predator aircraft are unarmed.

Gene Hoffman, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who's the chairman of the Calguns Foundation, said CBP "needs to be very careful with attempts to identify armed individuals in the border area" when aerial surveillance touches on a constitutional right.

"In the border area of California and Arizona, it may be actively dangerous for the law-abiding to not carry firearms precisely due to the illegal flow of drugs and immigrants across the border in those areas," Hoffman says.

CBP's specifications say that signals interception and direction-finding technology must work from 30MHz to 3GHz in the radio spectrum. That sweeps in the GSM and CDMA frequencies used by mobile phones, which are in the 300MHz to 2.7GHz range, as well as many two-way radios.

The specifications say: "The system shall provide automatic and manual DF of multiple signals simultaneously. Automatic DF should be able to separate out individual communication links." Automated direction-finding for cell phones has become an off-the-shelf technology: one company sells a unit that its literature says is "capable of taking the bearing of every mobile phone active in a channel."

Although CBP's unmanned Predator aircraft are commonly called drones, they're remotely piloted by FAA-licensed operators on the ground. They can fly for up to 20 hours and carry a payload of about 500 lbs.

To protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles commonly called drones, and for other purposes. (H.R. 972)

Link to Article

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 14:55

GovTrack's Bill SummaryWe don't have a summary available yet.

Library of Congress SummaryThe summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

No summary available.

House Republican Conference SummaryThe summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

No summary available.

House Democratic Caucus SummaryThe House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.

So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference's summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That's because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.

We'll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.

Pilot reports mysterious drone that could have caused crash over JFK airport '-- RT USA

Link to Article

Source: BadChad's ThoughtPile

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 15:33

Published time: March 05, 2013 21:27

The Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating a possible drone sighting reported over New York City by a commercial airline pilot on Monday.

The operator of a Boeing 777 flown by Italy's Alitalia told air traffic controllers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York that he encountered an unmanned aerial vehicle a few hundred feet in front of his aircraft while flying over Brooklyn, NY Monday afternoon.

''We saw a drone, a drone aircraft,'' the pilot is radioing to JFK airport's control tower in audio released Monday night.

The unidentified flying object was described hovering around 1,500 feet off the ground around five miles outside of JFK. The pilot of Flight AZA 60 did not take any evasive action and managed to land the flight without further incident, although a near-collision could have jeopardized the safety of the passengers should the reported drone have caused the Alitalia pilot to erratically maneuver the aircraft.

Now the Joint Terrorism Task Force says they are investigating in order to determine what exactly the Alitalia pilot spotted.

Laura Brown, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration, tells CNN that the FAA is also investigating the incident. One source speaking to the New York Post on condition of anonymity though says the pilot was certain it was a drone that he spotted.

''He was very clear as to what he saw,'' the source says. According to the Post's report, the pilot described the aircraft as ''a black drone about a meter square, with helicopter rotors on the corners.''

''In all the years I've been with the airport, I can't remember a similar incident,'' one investigator adds the paper.

Earlier this year, New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly told Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler that the NYPD has considered acquiring a drone for surveillance purposes, but claims to not have one in its arsenal just yet.

''The only thing we would do is maybe use the cheap $250 ones to take a look and see the size of the demonstration or something along those lines,'' Kelly said.

As preliminary reports on this week's drone sighting continue to trickle in, some commentators have speculated that the aircraft spotted on Monday may have been just a hobbyist's drone not equipped with the space-age technology outfitted on high-tech drones. According to an airport shuttle driver that spoke with 1010 WINS Radio, remote-controlled aircraft are routinely flown in the area by amateurs.

''I see it many times,'' the driver, Fyezil, tells the radio station. ''Sometimes, I see them flying so high.''

The US Department of Homeland Security keeps a fleet of drones for surveillance over the nation's borders, and military drones are regularly tested over select bases scattered across the nation. One of those exercises last year went awry when a 44-foot drone engaged in a routine maintenance flight crashed in the Chesapeake Bay around 100 miles outside of Washington, DC.

ABC News claims that a second pilot caught on tape also reported seeing the drone Monday afternoon.

British terror suspects quietly stripped of citizenship'... then killed by drones - Crime - UK

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 07:32

The Government has secretly ramped up a controversial programme that strips people of their British citizenship on national security grounds '' with two of the men subsequently killed by American drone attacks.

An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism for The Independent has established that since 2010, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has revoked the passports of 16 individuals, many of whom are alleged to have had links to militant or terrorist groups.

Critics of the programme warn that it allows ministers to ''wash their hands'' of British nationals suspected of terrorism who could be subject to torture and illegal detention abroad.

They add that it also allows those stripped of their citizenship to be killed or ''rendered'' without any onus on the British Government to intervene.

At least five of those deprived of their UK nationality by the Coalition were born in Britain, and one man had lived in the country for almost 50 years. Those affected have their passports cancelled, and lose their right to enter the UK '' making it very difficult to appeal against the Home Secretary's decision. Last night the Liberal Democrats' deputy leader Simon Hughes said he was writing to Ms May to call for an urgent review into how the law was being implemented.

The leading human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce said the present situation ''smacked of mediaeval exile, just as cruel and just as arbitrary''.

Ian Macdonald QC, the president of the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association, described the citizenship orders as ''sinister''.

''They're using executive powers and I think they're using them quite wrongly,'' he said. ''It's not open government; it's closed, and it needs to be exposed.''

Laws were passed in 2002 enabling the Home Secretary to remove the citizenship of any dual nationals who had done something ''seriously prejudicial'' to the UK, but the power had rarely been used before the current government took office.

The Bureau's investigation has established the identities of all but four of the 21 British passport holders who have lost their citizenship, and their subsequent fates. Only two have successfully appealed '' one of whom has since been extradited to the US.

In many cases those involved cannot be named because of ongoing legal action. The Bureau has also found evidence that government officials act when people are out of the country '' on two occasions while on holiday '' before cancelling passports and revoking citizenships.

Those targeted include Bilal al-Berjawi, a British-Lebanese citizen who came to the UK as a baby and grew up in London, but left for Somalia in 2009 with his close friend the British-born Mohamed Sakr, who also held Egyptian nationality.

Both had been the subject of extensive surveillance by British intelligence, with the security services concerned they were involved in terrorist activities.

Once in Somalia, the two reportedly became involved with al-Shabaab, the Islamist militant group with links to al-Qa'ida. Mr Berjawi was said to have risen to a senior position in the organisation, with Mr Sakr his ''right-hand man''.

In 2010, Theresa May stripped both men of their British nationalities and they soon became targets in an ultimately lethal US manhunt.

In June 2011 Mr Berjawi was wounded in the first known US drone strike in Somalia and last year he was killed by a drone strike '' within hours of calling his wife in London to congratulate her on the birth of their first son.

His family have claimed that US forces were able to pinpoint his location by monitoring the call he made to his wife in the UK. Mr Sakr, too, was killed in a US airstrike in February 2012, although his British origins have not been revealed until now.

Mr Sakr's former UK solicitor said there appeared to be a link between the Home Secretary removing citizenships and subsequent US actions.

''It appears that the process of deprivation of citizenship made it easier for the US to then designate Mr Sakr as an enemy combatant, to whom the UK owes no responsibility whatsoever,'' Saghir Hussain said.

Mr Macdonald added that depriving people of their citizenship ''means that the British government can completely wash their hands if the security services give information to the Americans who use their drones to track someone and kill them.''

The campaign group CagePrisoners is in touch with many families of those affected. Its executive director Asim Qureshi said the Bureau's findings were deeply troubling for Britons from an ethnic minority background.

''We all feel just as British as everybody else, and yet just because our parents came from another country, we can be subjected to an arbitrary process where we are no longer members of this country any more,'' he said.

''I think that's extremely dangerous because it will speak to people's fears about how they're viewed by their own government, especially when they come from certain areas of the world.''

The Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes said that, while he accepted there were often real security concerns, he was worried that those who were innocent of Home Office charges against them and were trying to appeal risked finding themselves in a ''political and constitutional limbo''.

''There was clearly always a risk when the law was changed seven years ago that the executive could act to take citizenship away in circumstances that were more frequent or more extensive than those envisaged by ministers at the time,'' he said.

''I'm concerned at the growing number of people who appear to have lost their right to citizenship. I plan to write to the Home Secretary and the Home Affairs Select Committee to ask for their assessment of the situation, and for a review of whether the act is working as intended.''

Ms Peirce, a leading immigration defence lawyer, said, ''British citizens are being banished from their own country, being stripped of a core part of their identity yet without a single word of explanation of why they have been singled out and dubbed a risk,'' she said.

Families are sometimes affected by the Home Secretary's decisions. Parents may have to choose whether their British children remain in the UK, or join their father in exile abroad.

In a case known only as L1, a Sudanese-British man took his four British children on holiday to Sudan, along with his wife, who had limited leave to remain in the UK. Four days after his departure, Theresa May decided to strip him of his citizenship.

With their father excluded from the UK and their mother's lack of permanent right to remain, the order effectively blocks the children from growing up in Britain. At the time of the order the children were aged between eight and 13 months.

The judge, despite recognising their right to be brought up in Britain, ruled that the grounds on which their father's citizenship was revoked ''outweighed'' the rights of the children.

Mr Justice Mitting, sitting in the semi-secret Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac), said: ''We accept it is unlikely to be in the best interests of the appellant's children that he should be deprived of his British citizenship...

''They are British citizens, with a right of abode in the UK.

''They are of an age when that right cannot, in practice, be enjoyed if both of their parents cannot return to the United Kingdom.''

Yet he added that Theresa May was ''unlikely to have made that decision without substantial and plausible grounds''.

In another case, a man born in Newcastle in 1963 and three of his London-born sons all lost their citizenship two years ago while in Pakistan.

An expert witness told Siac that those in the family's situation may be at risk from the country's government agencies and militant groups. Yet Siac recently ruled that the UK ''owed no obligation'' to those at risk of ''any subsequent act of the Pakistani state or of non-state actors [militant groups] in Pakistan''.

The mother, herself a naturalised British citizen, now wants to return here in the interests of her youngest son, who has developmental needs. Although 15, he is said to be ''dependent upon [his mother and father] for emotional and practical support''.

His mother claimed he ''has no hope of education in Pakistan'. But the mother has diabetes and mobility problems that mean she ''does not feel able to return on her own, with or without [her son].''

Mr Justice Mitting ruled that the deprivation of citizenship of the family's father had ''undoubtedly had an impact on the private and family life of his wife and youngest son, both of whom remain British citizens''. But he added that the father posed such a threat to national security that the ''unavoidable incidental impact'' on his wife and youngest son was ''justifiable'', and dismissed the appeal.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: ''Citizenship is a privilege not a right. The Home Secretary has the power to remove citizenship from individuals where she considers it is conducive to the public good. An individual subject to deprivation can appeal to the courts.''

She added: ''We don't routinely comment on individual deprivation cases.''

Asked whether intelligence was provided to foreign governments, she said: ''We don't comment on intelligence issues. Drone strikes are a matter for the states concerned.''

Mahdi Hashi: From Camden care worker to US prisoner

Mahdi Hashi, a former care worker from Camden in north London, was well known to Britain's security services '' in fact they tried to recruit him when he was 19.

Now 23, Mr Hashi is in a high-security US prison having been secretly ''rendered'' from the African state of Djibouti last year.

Mr Hashi claims that before being sent to the US on charges of working with the terrorist group al-Shabaab he witnessed torture in an African prison, before being handed over to the CIA and forced to sign a confession.

Despite Mr Hashi being brought up in the UK, the British Government has washed its hands of him, having stripped him of his citizenship shortly before he disappeared in Somalia last summer.

His UK family say that when they lost contact with their son they approached the Foreign Office for help. But they were told by officials that they could not provide assistance because the Home Secretary had issued an order depriving him of his British citizenship.

It was only five months later, when he re-appeared in the US, that they were able to contact him again. The family's lawyer, Saghir Hussain, said at the time: ''The UK Government has a lot of explaining to do. What role did it play in getting him kidnapped, held in secret detention and renditioned to the US?''

The case has led to allegations that Britain may have conspired with the US to strip Mr Hashi of his citizenship knowing he would be arrested in Africa. They have no further obligations towards him and can avoid potentially embarrassing questions about his treatment before his rendition.

The case is all the more bizarre as Mr Hashi gave an interview to The Independent in 2009 when he alleged that MI5 had attempted to recruit him. He claimed that on a previous trip to Africa he was held for 16 hours in a cell at Djibouti airport, and that when he was returned to the UK he was met by an MI5 agent who told him his terror-suspect status would remain until he agreed to work for the Security Service. He alleges he was to be given the job of informing on his friends by encouraging them to talk about jihad.

Mohamed Sakr: The British car valet killed by a drone strike

In February last year, international agencies in Africa reported that ''four foreign Islamist militants'' had been killed in a drone strike south of Somalia's capital, a day after the country's Prime Minister called for foreign air strikes against the terror group al-Shabaab.

At the time a senior Western intelligence officer was quoted as saying that a ''very senior Egyptian was killed'' in the raid, along with three Kenyans and a Somali.

That was technically true '' but in reality the Egyptian had not even been born in the country for which he held a passport. It would have been more accurate to describe him as a British terror suspect who once ran a car valeting business in London.

The Bureau has established that the victim of the February air strike was Mohamed Sakr, who was born and brought up in the UK before having his citizenship revoked in September 2010 by the Home Secretary, Theresa May.

Sakr appears to have come to the attention of UK intelligence officials after he visited Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Dubai in 2007. He was then repeatedly targeted by counter-terrorism officers over a two-year period, according to reports.

It was this, it is alleged, that drove Sakr out of the country; he left Britain in late 2009 for Somalia.

The law allowing the Home Secretary to remove citizenship was in place when Sakr left the UK, but it was not until after the Coalition came to power that it was used in his case.

It would be another year and a half before he was killed.

Rand Paul's Grand Effort

Link to Article

Source: Weasel Zippers

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 07:39

Rand Paul ended the filibuster about 20 minutes ago after 12 hours and 52 minutes. All of the filibuster argument is being uploaded here. From quoting Reagan, we are ''the last best hope on earth'' to Marco Rubio quoting the Godfather, they put on quite a study in the Constitution.

We should tip our hats tonight to Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

The question was simple-do you, Mr. President, believe you and your administration have the authority to kill by drone an American citizen without due process on American soil?

If a President cannot immediately answer that question ''no'' , there is a deep problem.

Federal Register | Federal Acquisition Regulation; Definition of Contingency Operation

DoD, GSA, and NASA are publishing an interim rule amending the FAR to revise the definition of "contingency operation" at FAR 2.101 in accordance with the statutory change to the definition made by paragraph (b) of section 515 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Pub. L. 112-81, enacted December 31, 2011). The definition of "contingency operation" was amended at 10 U.S.C. 101(a)(13) by adding "12304a".

Paragraph (a) of section 515 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Pub. L. 112-81), entitled "Authority to Order Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, and Air Force Reserve to Active Duty to Provide Assistance in Response to a Major Disaster or Emergency", amends chapter 1209 of title 10, United States Code, by incorporating a new provision at section 12304a that provides for treatment of an operation as a contingency operation when the Secretary of Defense activates Reserves under the terms of 10 U.S.C. 12304a in response to a Governor's request for Federal assistance in responding to a major disaster or emergency declared by the President.

P4 (Patreus) being called out over torture. A distraction?

John Tirman: Petraeus' Torture Teams

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 14:49

One of Britain's leading newspapers, the Guardian, has just published an expos(C) of interrogation teams run by two U.S. operatives acting under the authority of General David Petraeus in Iraq in 2003-05. While no smoking gun -- or blood-stained billy club -- has Petraeus' fingerprints, it's clear from this extensive reporting that Petraeus not only knew of the "enhanced interrogation" of suspected insurgents, but likely hired the two thugs who were involved in it for two years.

The Guardian article and video, and earlier reporting by Gareth Porter, reveal that two Americans, James Steele and Colonel James Coffman, created commando units and manned them with Shia militia members from the Badr Brigade. That particular militia -- which was "funded, trained, and equipped by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps," according to a reliable source -- was the arm of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. These militia-supplied commandos comprised the torture squads, say reports, that "interrogated" thousands of Sunni insurgents and very likely many who were not insurgents, and did so with the implicit, if not explicit, approval of the U.S. military and the Bush administration.

Hundreds of victims were paraded in front of television cameras on a program dedicated to showing how tough the Shia were on the Sunni fighters. It was "an open secret," said one high-ranking U.S. official in Baghdad, that torture was going on in the detention centers and that the United States was complicit.

Steele earned his stripes in Ronald Reagan's jihad in Central America in the 1980s, creating exactly the same kind of torture and death squads in El Salvador. The Guardian says that defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent Steele to Iraq to create the commando squads. Coffman, a retired colonel, reported directly to Petraeus. They worked together and were deeply involved in operations of the detention centers where torture took place.

For those of us who followed the war closely, it was well known that the detention centers were Dickensian, violent places. I did an investigation for a lawsuit in the UK that involved the detention centers and other prisons in Iraq, and while I never saw one in person, the accounts of them were chilling. It was assumed that the U.S. military was aware of the sustained, brutal human rights violations in these places, but were not responsible for them.

Now we know differently, thanks to Gareth Porter and the Guardian team, headed by Mona Mahmood. The detentions in Iraq were notorious for many reasons. Men, usually, could be detained for no particular reason. It wasn't just "insurgents" being tortured -- beaten, humiliated and harmed sexually, hung upside down, etc. -- but Iraqis who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Abu Ghraib scandal early in the war shocked many Americans and perhaps set off the downward spiral in public support for the war. What happened at Abu Ghraib is what was happening much more broadly, at the express wishes of the U.S. command and that reached into the civilian leadership at the Pentagon.

More importantly for Iraq was the way these torture and death squads fueled the sectarian war that was just brewing in 2003-04. While the United States is responsible for the hundreds of thousands of deaths resulting from the war, the retort to that charge is that much or most of the killing was Iraqi-on-Iraqi. (That still does not absolve the U.S.: an occupying power is obligated by law to provide security.) But here we have one of the most incendiary causes of the oncoming civil war -- the hiring of sectarian militias, bent on revenge for Saddam's rule, brutalizing Sunnis and boastfully broadcasting it on television.

This is the deeper significance of this story. Bad enough that torture was used -- an organized, sustained program of torture that affected many thousands of Iraqis, and apparently organized at the behest of General Petraeus and Secretary Rumsfeld. But anyone familiar with Iraq would know that stoking the flames of revenge in the volatile environment of Iraq would indeed set the country aflame.

The Sunnis and Shia were in conflict, even as many communities got along fine and there was a high rate of intermarriage. But the tensions are just below the surface, and this can become violent in times of social and political stress. Given the longtime brutality of Saddam and the disruptions of the U.S. invasion and occupation, the competition for power, and the score-settling for how badly the Sunni Saddam treated the Shia, everyone knew Iraq was a sectarian tinderbox. Everyone knowledgeable, that is. The neocons were, as one would expect, downplaying any repercussions.

From about the time these detention centers were operating with torture techniques (to say nothing of unwarranted detentions themselves), the sectarian strife mounted. By 2006-07, the level of killing, displacement, and immiseration was out of control. By then, it was a civil war. And Iraq continues to suffer this legacy. Political violence continues, albeit at a low level compared with six or seven years ago. Millions of displaced Iraqis have no means or interest to return to their homes, some because their neighborhoods were subject to sectarian "cleansing."

Of course, no American official -- not Steele (now a motivational speaker in Texas), not Petraeus (now licking his wounds from his extramarital affair), not Rumsfeld (continuing to defend the indefensible) -- is going to be arrested and tried for their criminal behavior in organizing, condoning, or covering up a torture operation that lasted at least two years. And, anyway, federal prosecutors are busy these days with the likes of Bradley Manning for his release of documents to Wikileaks. That act, as it happens, is how we've come to learn of Petraeus' torture teams.

Follow John Tirman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnTirman

TSA

TSA Prohibited Items List Changing April 25th - Small Pocket Knives and Some Sporting Goods Items to be Permitted

Link to Article

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 15:10

TSA established a committee to review the prohibited items list based on an overall risk-based security approach. After the review, TSA Administrator John S. Pistole made the decision to start allowing the following items in carry-on bags beginning April 25th:Small Pocket Knives '' Small knives with non-locking blades smaller than 2.36 inches and less than 1/2 inch in width will be permittedSmall Novelty Bats and Toy BatsSki PolesHockey SticksLacrosse SticksBilliard CuesGolf Clubs (Limit Two)This is part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives. This decision aligns TSA more closely with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.These similar items will still remain on the prohibited items list:

Razor blades and box cutters will remain prohibited in carry-on luggage.Full-size baseball, softball and cricket bats are prohibited items in carry-on luggage.Visit TSA.gov for more information on small knives permitted in carry-on luggage and sporting equipment permitted in carry-ons. Again, please note these changes are effective April 25, 2013.Click on Images to Enlarge

Slave Scanner Tricks

From Frmr DHS Under Secretary

AdamÉ

Listening to Thursday night's No Agenda I heard you talk about avoiding the full body scanners at airports. Just a heads up that this does work. While I haven't made a big deal of it on my radio program or blog (TSA will start requiring a medical certificate or some other nonsense) I routinely avoid the opt-out by simply telling the ID checker that I can't raise my left arm above my shoulder.

Every time I'm directed to the magnetometer instead of the full body scanner.

It avoids the opt-out lecture bullshit, the demeaning groping; and, the "under arrest" arms up posture for the full body scanners.

Just thought you and John would like to know that yes, this does work, and I've been doing it for over a year.

Michael Brown

Former Under Secretary, Homeland Security

Author: Deadly Indifference: The Perfect Political Storm

michael@michaelbrowntoday.com

http://michaelbrowntoday.com

http://www.khow.com/pages/michaelbrown.html

Dave Humphries magnetometer trick worked

Banging the manager

Adam -

Confirmed with a friend of mine who is banging a TSA manager. Hell, she told him to do it too (the arm thing, not the banging thing, although - actually, she probably told him to do the banging thing too). They apparently make you show that you can't raise your arms but then they just send you through the jr. slave scanner (magnetometer).

-w

Shut Up Slave

State of CT proposes bill to force "Behavioral Assessments" on public High School students AND home school...

Link to Article

Source: 101292674006572799842 - Google+ Posts

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 14:28

State of CT proposes bill to force "Behavioral Assessments" on public High School students AND home school students. Parents get no say in the matter.After all, the state needs to ensure that prescription drug companies get the kids hooked as early as possible. On top of that, clearly the behavior of the child is a reflection of the parents and environment in which they are raised so, the State will have to come and investigate.

That's right the STATE knows what is best for OUR children. What gives US the right to think that we could parent properly without the STATE. Clearly we are messing up our children for generations because we are stupid, stupid slaves! Let the STATE take control, they know what is best. Sit down and shut up you parental units and DO AS YOU ARE TOLD!

This makes me sick!

Bill Status >>Connecticut General Assembly Official Legislative Site for Bills, Legislation, Statutes, and sessional activity. Visit our site to find all your legislative information

AN ACT REQUIRING BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ASSESSMENTS FOR CHILDREN.

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 14:37

AN ACT REQUIRING BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ASSESSMENTS FOR CHILDREN.

General Assembly

Proposed Bill No. 374

January Session, 2013

LCO No. 2001

Referred to Committee on PUBLIC HEALTH

Introduced by:

SEN. HARP, 10th Dist.

REP. WALKER, 93rd Dist.

AN ACT REQUIRING BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ASSESSMENTS FOR CHILDREN.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

That section 10-206 of the general statutes be amended to require (1) each pupil enrolled in public school at grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 and each home-schooled child at ages 12, 14 and 17 to have a confidential behavioral health assessment, the results of which shall be disclosed only to the child's parent or guardian, and (2) each health care provider performing a child's behavioral health assessment to complete the appropriate form supplied by the State Board of Education verifying that the child has received the assessment.

Statement of Purpose:

To provide behavioral health assessments to children.

Copyright Alert System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Copyright Alert System (CAS) is a private system for alerting and punishing internet subscribing customers of AT&T, Cablevision, Time Warner, Verizon and Comcast in regards to accusations of bittorrent use via their home networks to access alleged copyrighted material from a list of specific entertainment corporations and their CAS registered content. It is limited to customers of those internet vendors in the United States. The consortium that manages the program has branded it as the six strikes program.[1]

The CAS has been the subject of criticism concerning its effectiveness and possible privacy violations.

The CAS framework was established on July 7, 2011 by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), after 3 years in the making.[2] After multiple delays, ISPs began implementing it in February 2013.[6]

It is intended to be a graduated response system wherein participating ISPs send up to six[2] electronic warnings notifying subscribers of alleged copyright infringement, as reported by a monitoring service working on behalf of participating copyright owners.[3] If copyright infringement is reported after a final warning, the ISPs have agreed to implement "mitigation measures", which can include penalties such as bandwidth throttling.[4][5]

Sellabretties

'Celebrity Apprentice' premiere ratings low: Are All-Star editions a bad idea? | Inside TV | EW.com

Donald Trump could get called into NBC's boardroom if his numbers don't improve.

The business tycoon's All-Star Celebrity Apprentice returned Sunday night to its lowest-rated premiere ever for a celebrity edition of the reality franchise. Only 5.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the show, which had a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49. That's down 38 percent from last year's premiere. Contestants include Trace Adkins, Bret Michaels, La Toya Jackson and Omarosa.

War on Patriots

EUROLand

Germany to lose sovereignty over its financial system

Insight: Beppe Grillo - Italian clown or political mastermind?

Link to Article

Source: Reuters: World News

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 07:41

Five-Star Movement leader and comedian Beppe Grillo gestures during a rally in Turin February 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Giorgio Perottino

By Gavin Jones

ROME | Thu Mar 7, 2013 2:04am EST

ROME (Reuters) - Beppe Grillo stirs strong feelings. His supporters believe he can clean up Italian politics and give ordinary people more say in decision-making. His opponents see a dangerous populist who evokes memories of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

International media describe Grillo as a comic, which on one level he is, but the man who jointly created and leads the party that in just three years has become the largest in Italy is much more than that.

Behind his tirades against the political and business elite is a shrewd mind, a hugely influential alter ego and the desire to win complete power in the euro zone's third largest economy.

"The left and right will govern together on the ruins they've created, it will last a year at most, then our movement will change the world," Grillo said after his party's triumphant performance in last week's election.

Grillo has made all the headlines since the vote, but he is only half the story of his anti-establishment 5-Star Movement. Most of the strategy is decided by Gianroberto Casaleggio, an Internet expert who seldom appears in public.

"A single man in command is not democracy," said Pier Luigi Bersani after his Democratic Party (PD) was beaten into second place in the vote. "Behind Bersani is the PD, I want to know what is behind Grillo."

The answer is Casaleggio, and his Milan-based firm Casaleggio Associates whose business is to create websites and web-based marketing campaigns for clients.

The two men met in 2004 and the following year Casaleggio's company created Grillo's hugely successful blog. Casaleggio has been running Grillo's public activities ever since. They are joint founders of the 5-Star Movement.

In one of the best debut performances by any party in Western Europe since World War Two, 5-Star took 26 percent of the vote, outstripping the PD and Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom.

"Unless the other parties change their leaders and somehow get back in touch with ordinary people he can certainly keep on growing," said Elisabetta Gualmini, politics professor at Bologna University and a close observer of Grillo's movement.

DEMOCRAT OR DESPOT?

Grillo capitalized on popular despair over recession, unemployment and poverty with a campaign that convinced millions of Italians that he could offer them a break with the past.

"Grillo was the only one who gave any hope of change," said Matteo Schiavetti, 22, a student at Rome University.

Grillo and his mostly young followers present themselves as pioneers of a new, more egalitarian type of democracy, based on direct participation rather than delegation and hierarchies.

Yet his critics say he is more of a despot than a democrat. They point out that in practice Grillo not only controls the movement but owns it, having obtained the rights to its brand when he founded it with Casaleggio in 2009.

"The total dependence on Grillo is not sustainable, they will have to create a structure and he will have to allow mini-leaders to emerge or everything will implode," said Gualmini.

Grillo showed his iron grip last year when he expelled two local councilors who had criticized a lack of internal democracy and flouted the party rule not to appear on talk shows with rival politicians from the "old" parties.

"There is no transparency, Casaleggio created everything and the only structure is Casaleggio Associates," said Giovanni Favia, the councilor for the Emilia Romagna region who was thrown out of the party after falling out with Casaleggio.

Casaleggio, 59, with his unruly, shoulder length hair and round wire-framed glasses, is an ardent believer in the power of the Internet to transform the world and is often caricatured as a dreamy visionary (here).

But those who have met him say he is practical, single minded and determined. His hero is 13th century Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan and he has said his final goal is for Italy's parties to disappear altogether.

"I am on the streets and Casaleggio is on-line, they are interlinked roles and neither of us is leader," Grillo said in a book he published with Casaleggio last month.

MUSSOLINI

Some commentators have compared Grillo to Mussolini, seeing similar personality cults, the same vitriolic attacks on opponents and their common rejection of traditional parties.

While most of Grillo's policies are light years away from those of the wartime dictator he, like Mussolini, possesses a rare charisma and an energy that belies his 64 years.

To launch his party's campaign for elections in Sicily last year he swam the Straits of Messina, a treacherous 3 km (2 mile) stretch of water that separates the island from mainland Italy.

Grillo and Casaleggio understood Italians' need for something different. And everything about 5-Star is different.

It is the only party that refuses state financing and its elected representatives have all voluntarily slashed their salaries. Its members never appear on television talk shows, it communicates almost exclusively through Grillo's blog (www.beppegrillo.it), and it refuses to form alliances with other parties.

Grillo aims to appeal to left and right. He attacks the old "zombie" parties and business fat cats but also the trade unions who he says no longer represent workers' interests.

And it's not all vitriol. He also offers the positive message that politics can be clean and different, constantly citing the movement's local councilors who have given up most of their salaries to provide cheap credit to small businesses.

MANSLAUGHTER

Grillo himself will not be in parliament because a conviction for manslaughter makes him ineligible under his movement's rules. The jeep he was driving with friends on a mountain road in 1981 skidded on ice, went over a cliff and killed three of his four passengers.

There may be contradictions in Grillo and his movement, but the common claim that he has no policies is untrue, and the thrust of his ideas is clear.

He is an ecologist with a largely left-wing platform based on attacking privilege, redistributing wealth, increasing public control of schools and healthcare, and cutting spending on defense. He believes in more direct democracy using referendums and the Internet and wants new laws to clean up politics.

However, he has wavered on the crucial issue of Italy's membership of the euro zone, first calling for withdrawal, then only for a referendum and most recently saying he wanted merely an on-line, non-binding consultation.

"Grillo is interested in economics and he has a sound grasp of it," Mauro Gallegati, an economics professor at Ancona University who has advised Grillo on economic policy for 20 years, told Reuters.

Gallegati said a wealth tax on Italy's richest 1 percent would go a long way towards funding a minimum income for the unemployed, one of Grillo's main promises.

A wealth tax would almost certainly hit Grillo himself, as one of the country's most successful performers for more than 30 years. In the 2005 tax year he earned 4.3 million euros, according to leaked official data.

Grillo's own lifestyle has not always gelled with his environmentalist stands. He used to own a Ferrari and a speedboat, but now runs an ecological hybrid Toyota. He has two children by his Iranian wife and two by a previous marriage.

While Grillo's policies are nearly all on the left, he also draws considerable support from conservative voters who are equally tired of discredited parties and want something new.

Around 46 percent of his votes come from the left, 39 percent from the right and centre and the rest from previous non-voters. Unlike the other parties, his support is also evenly spread geographically and among social classes.

He gets fewer votes from the elderly, who have less access to the Internet, but "totally cleans up among the young, who have lost all faith in traditional parties," said Gualmini.

Remarkably, 5-Star's election result was achieved by a party which in many ways does not even exist.

The whole movement is based on the Internet. Its candidates for parliament were picked in primaries held on-line. It has no headquarters, no local offices and no internal hierarchy other than that Grillo is its leader.

The movement's lightweight organization allows it to be virtually self-financing. Grillo's blog carries some advertising and sympathizers can contribute funds on-line.

ORIGINS

Grillo and Casaleggio probably became aware of their political potential in 2007 when protest rallies they organized on Grillo's blog, held simultaneously in cities around Italy, drew an estimated 2 million participants.

Grillo's burly frame, wrinkled face and white, shaggy hair were little known internationally before the election campaign, but he had been a household name in Italy since he emerged as a television comedian in the late 1970s.

The son of the owner of a small welding company, he studied economics at the university of his home town of Genoa but never finished his degree. He then worked briefly as a clothing salesman before becoming a stand-up comic in cabaret.

After breaking into television his popularity grew and his shows became increasingly pungent and satirical.

In 1986 he took aim at the ruling Socialist party on a Saturday night show, a move that virtually ended his TV career but boosted his popularity. The rest is history. Grillo moved out of television into theatres and public squares, beginning his metamorphosis from comic to political leader.

His act began to resemble the furious rallies seen in the election campaign, addressing subjects like renewable energy, greener cities and the corruption of the Italy's leaders. It was this final theme that resonated most with his audience.

To quell growing outrage at the privileges of the political caste, Italy's parties have repeatedly vowed to curb their salaries, pensions and cut the number of national and local politicians. The promises have never been fulfilled.

Most recently, the same parties failed to change an electoral law they all publicly decried, because they secretly thought it could benefit them. As a result the election failed to produce a majority and left the country ungovernable.

Now the centre-left coalition which won most seats is trying to woo Grillo to form a government with them by promising the same reforms. Italy awaits his - and Casaleggio's - decision.

(Additional reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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Casaleggio: who is he? | Tribune of the people

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 06:59

La storia della Casaleggio Associati ¬ piena di ombre e pochissime luci. L'eminenza grigia del grillismo ¬ legato ai grandi trust economici mondiali tramite Enrico Sassoon. Il comico genovese ¬ complice o un burattino nelle mani dei gruppi finanziari internazionali?

Beppe Grillo? Come GesÕ con gli apostoli>>. Cos secondo Gianroberto Casaleggio in un'intervista al The Guardian. E lui, Casaleggio, rientra tra gli apostoli? Secondo il quotidiano britannico no. Tutt'altro. Casaleggio ¬ descritto come l'eminenza grigia che tesse i fili del Movimento 5 Stelle. Guru dell'informazione via web, Casaleggio ¬, per il Guardian, una sorta di Assange italiano, uno che con la rete riesce a manipolare informazioni, sviscerarle, andare alla ricerca di segreti mai venuti alla luce.Ma al di l dell'aurea misterica che tentano di ricamargli addosso chi ¬ Gianroberto Casaleggio? Cosa fa realmente? Il suo nome viaggia in binomio con Grillo, ma sempre un passo indietro, come se Grillo fosse la bocca tramite la quale parla, in realt , Casaleggio stesso. Grillo piÕ che GesÕ ¬ una sorta di avatar dell'informatico. Ma a sua volta chi c'¬ dietro Casaleggio?

La carriera di Casaleggio inizia nell'Olivetti, durante l'era Colaninno. All'epoca l'azienda informatica italiana stava entrando nel settore delle comunicazioni tramite la costituzione di Infostrada, ed alcune partecipazioni in Omnitel (ora Vodafone). Internet era un affare in via di sviluppo, e la branca Olivetti/Infostrada che si occupava della rete viene affidata proprio a Casaleggio, con la costituzione di Webbeg Joint Adventure, azienda che si occupava proprio dello sviluppo di internet in Italia. Ma Olivetti, quindi di conseguenza WJA, erano controllate da Lehmann Brothers, il tristemente noto gigante finanziario americano che fall rovinosamente segnando una delle pagine piÕ buie dell'economia americana. Nel 1999 Colaninno acquista Telecom, ma l'affare ¬ rovinoso, l'Olivetti non riesce a saldare i debiti della Telecom e nel 2001 vende l'azienda a Pirelli/Benetton e alla nuova propriet passa anche WJA che cambia nome in Netikos. Casaleggio resta sempre al comando fin quando Telecom non decidere di vendere Neitkos e Casaleggio crea una nuova societ : la Casaleggio Associati.

Fondata nel 2004 la Casaleggio Associati ha nel suo c.d.a quattro quinti di quello che fu il c.d.a. Netikos (unico escluso Colaninno jr.) quindi tutti dipendenti Telecom, e, sar un caso, ma tutt'ora la domiciliazione tecnica del dominio di beppegrillo.it ¬ per conto di tale Emanuele Bottaro a Via Jervis 77 Ivrea. Indirizzo che ¬ anche la sede legale di Olivetti s.p.a. di propriet di Telecom Italia.

Ma tra i nomi che spiccano tra gli attuali membri del c.d.a. della Casaleggio associati c'¬ quello di Enrico Sassoon, socio fondatore. Chi ¬ Sassoon? Economista di origine ebraiche (la famiglia ¬ imparentata con i Rotschild), dopo una brillante carriera nella Pirelli riceve due nomine, la prima di direttore della rivista Affari Internazionali, del cui comitato di redazione fanno parte: Mario Monti, Giorgio Napolitano, Fabrizio Saccomanni (direttore generale di Banca d'Italia), Domenico Fisichella, Enrico Letta, Giuseppe Zadra (direttore generale dell'Associazione Bancaria Italiana). La seconda nomina, ben piÕ importante ¬ di Presidente del Comitato Affari Economici dell'American Chamber of Commerce in Italy, di cui presidente onorario ¬ il tanto odiato da Grillo, Cesare Romiti. In sostanza Sassoon ¬ l'uomo di tramite tra il nostro paese e le principali multinazionali americane. Infatti dell'American Chamber fanno parte Standard & Poor's, Philip Morris, Coca Cola, Pepsi, JP Morgan, Microsoft, Bank of America etc. Insomma tutte le societ della conferenza Bilderberg.

La conferenza Bildeberg ¬ un incontro che si svolge una volta all'anno e alla quale partecipano i piÕ influenti uomini d'affari e politici del mondo per discutere delle sorti dell'economia mondiale. lo stesso gruppo che Grillo accusa di complotto internazionale, di aver portato al governo prima Berlusconi e poi Monti e di controllare l'economia UE. Alla conferenza partecipa anche Sassoon, lo stesso uomo che controlla il gruppo web-editoriale che cura il blog di Grillo!

Casaleggio ¬ uomo di Sassoon ed infatti, nel 2004, annuncia che la Casaleggio associati ¬ entrata in partnership con l'Enamics, una societ di gestione internet specializzata nel c.d. marketing virale, una tipologia di comunicazione ai limiti della legalit basata sullo screditare con accuse violente, linguaggio aggressivo e argomenti non totalmente dimostrati (e molto spesso creati ad hoc) gli avversari d'affari in blog, forum, social network, etc. Pensando al tipo di comunicazione proposta da Grillo e studiata a tavolino con Casaleggio, viene da riflettere. Inoltre l'Enamics (combinazione) ¬ controllata dall'American Chamber di cui sopra.

Grillo come GesÕ evidentemente non riconosce i Giuda tra i suoi amici, o forse fa finta di non riconoscerli. In entrambi i casi si guardi, il comico genovese, dal non finire, anche lui, crocifisso.

Antonio Siniscalchi

Secreatstation

Government email instructs department head to make sequestration as painful as possible

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 13:37

(NaturalNews) Prior to the current budgetary sequestration, President Barack Obama went on the record publicly warning Americans of dire consequences should the planned cuts that he himself helped devise - and eventually signed into law - be allowed to go into effect."This work, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, are currently in jeopardy because of politics in Washington. In a few days, Congress might allow a series of immediate, painful, arbitrary budget cuts to take place, known in Washington as the sequester," he said Feb. 19 at a shipyard in Newport News, Va. "These cuts are wrong. They're not smart, they're not fair."

Continuing, Obama predicted more dire consequences:

If the sequester goes into effect, more than 2,000 college students would lose their financial aid. Across the country these cuts will force federal prosecutors to close cases and potentially let criminals go. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks and that could cause delays at airports across the country.

The president also warned that the cuts would lead to furloughs of 800,000 federal defense workers, as well as layoffs of local first responders, police and firefighters (all of whom, by the way, are paid with local funds, but I digress).

Self-fulfilling prophecy?

After the March 1 deadline passed and the sequestered cuts became mandatory, Obama eased off his dire warnings, though with far less fanfare, admitting that the cuts would not be as devastating as he claimed they would be.

"We will get through this. This is not going to be an apocalypse, I think as some people have said," he said, following a nearly hour-long meeting with lawmakers March 1. As you have read, "some people" who have said the sequester was going to be apocalyptic includes, of course, the president.

Apparently, however, Obama is set to make his initial claims that the sequester would be painful on Americans a self-fulfilling prophesy, according to government emails that have been publicized by the Washington Times:

The Obama administration denied an appeal for flexibility in lessening the sequester's effects, with an email this week appearing to show officials in Washington that because they already had promised the cuts would be devastating, they now have to follow through on that.

In the email sent Monday by Charles Brown, an official with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Raleigh, N.C., Mr. Brown asked "if there was any latitude" in how to spread the sequester cuts across the region to lessen the impacts on fish inspections.

The answer from the White House, quite simply, was...no.

'The Obama administration is doing everything it can...'

"We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that 'APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.' So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be."

In other words, agency officials are being told by the president - who is head of the Executive Branch and directly oversees the vast array of government agencies - to make pain so he can blame it on the sequester and, by default, the opposition party.

"This email confirms what many Americans have suspected: The Obama administration is doing everything they can to make sure their worst predictions come true and to maximize the pain of the Sequester cuts for political gain," said Rep. Tim Griffin, a Republican lawmaker from Arkansas.

APHIS is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and on March 5, during a congressional hearing, agency head Tom Vilsack said he hadn't seen the email Brown referenced.

"If we have flexibility, we're going to try to use it to make sure we use sequester in the most equitable and least disruptive way," Vilsack said in response to a question from Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. "There are some circumstances, and we've talked a lot about the meat inspection, where we do not have that flexibility because there are so few accounts."

Noem said the email made it sound as if the administration was attempting to use the sequester for political gain.

"I'm hopeful that isn't an agenda that's been put forward," she said.

Sources:

http://www.washingtontimes.com

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3699345.htm

http://thehill.com

Popular on Natural News

Have comments on this article? Post them here: people have commented on this article.

Gitmo Nation

Boots on the ground Preparedness Centers

Adam,

Here's something I think worth checking out. We all saw the recent

story of the 2700 armored vehicles that DHS just bought. And you told

us about the OPB.

Now I'm hearing that DHS has a big facility near where you and Micky

stayed on the Hot Pockets Tour.

You know we stay at an RV park. And so do many construction workers

and contractors working on temporary construction projects, like the

"Wichita Readiness Center" aka "Heartland Preparedness Center".

At first we were told this facility would be a training center shared

between local law enforcement and the National Guard (see the link to

2010 article). Now we are hearing (rumors from some of the

construction people staying here at the park?) that it has an

underground bunker and is for DHS.

Maybe you and your producers can discover more about this site and

perhaps others like it. If you think this is worthy of show material,

you can be vague about your source, but feel free to mention me if you

must.

More soon. If I discover more, I'll send it your way.

Jon

Syria

Video of Syrians With Seized U.N. Vehicle in Golan Heights

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 15:01

Updated, Thursday, 9:07 a.m. As my colleagues Rick Gladstone and Alan Cowell report, 30 armed rebel fighters kidnapped a group of 20 United Nations peacekeepers in the Golan Heights on Wednesday and gave a 24-hour deadline before they would treat the peacekeepers ''as prisoners of war.''

The abduction was announced in two video messages posted online by a group calling itself the Martyrs of Yarmouk Brigade that showed two young-looking rebels, one carrying a rifle, standing in front of captured United Nations vehicles. The videos did not clearly show any of the abducted United Nations personnel, although two figures seated in the cab of one of the captured vehicles may have been peacekeepers.

One of the videos posted on YouTube does appear to show the abducted peacekeepers, although they are not the focus of the message. Several people in the signature light blue helmets and vests of the United Nations can be seen inside the captured vehicles while their kidnappers energetically talk about the treachery of both the United Nations and the Syrian government.

Video posted on YouTube on Wednesday by a Syrian rebel group calling itself the Martyrs of Yarmouk Brigade, which claims to have abducted 20 United Nations peacekeepers in the Golan Heights.

Speaking about the United Nations, one rebel shouts, ''They are agents of Israel, and the Syrian regime and the United Nations and all the European countries, and the Assad regime, they are all agents of Israel!''

He also calls Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, ''an agent of Zionism and America'' before the sound of gunfire is heard. ''One of the tyrant's snipers is shooting at us,'' he said, before the video ended.

In a second video clip, a young spokesman for the rebels listed their demands.

A video messsage from a Syrian rebel group that said it had captured U.N. preacekeepers.

The spokesman said:

We are holding the forces of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force until the withdrawal of Bashar al-Assad's forces from the village of al-Jamla and its outskirts to their positions. We ask America, the United Nations and the Security Council that Assad's forces withdraw to obtain their release. We won't release them until after the withdrawal of the forces of the regime of Bashar al-Assad from the outskirts of the village of al-Jamla, which is on the border with Israel. We ask them for the complete withdrawal of the forces back to their positions. If the withdrawal does not take place within 24 hours, we will treat them as prisoners of war, and praise be to God almighty.

The abduction poses perhaps the most serious threat to the safety of United Nations personnel since the start of the two-year-old Syrian conflict. The European media director of Human Rights Watch posted an update on Twitter that said his organization was investigating the rebel brigade for its role in the execution of prisoners.

Rebels holding UN team are being investigated by @HRW for past executions http://t.co/TmTXY55gxr

'-- Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein)6 Mar 13

The United Nations has demanded the immediate return of its personnel. But an update posted to Twitter to that effect also exposed resentment bubbling among some Syrians who feel the outside world has done little but stand by and watch their country descend into violence and chaos.

Security Council demands release of UN peacekeepers held in Golan Heights http://t.co/unCZ4Ag2L9 #Syria

'-- UN News Centre (@UN_News_Centre)6 Mar 13

@UN_News_Centre @UN Syrians demand that the UN and the Security Council respect their commitments in protecting the Syrian people. SHAME!

'-- Jinan Assami Alaouf (@jinnyonly)6 Mar 13

There is more than one place in Syria called Yarmouk, and it was not immediately clear whether the rebel group that claimed responsibility for the abduction was named in honor of those who died in Yarmouk Camp, a large Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, or in Wadi Yarmouk, a valley on the border with Jordan in Daraa where refugees have fled in the past.

There are Facebook pages dedicated to a rebel group from Yarmouk Valley as well as one memorializing those killed in Yarmouk Camp, but as of Wednesday evening neither page posted an update claiming an affiliation with the Martyrs of Yarmouk Brigade.

In December, government jets attacked Yarmouk Camp for the first time, killing at least eight people and driving hundreds more to flee to Lebanon.

Yarmouk has traditionally housed the most Palestinian refugees of any camp in Syria. It is a densely packed urban quarter housing more than 148,000 registered Palestinian refugees, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is assigned to care for Palestinian refugees since they were displaced by the creation of Israel in 1948.

In a video posted to YouTube in January, two Syrian activists, standing in a meadow full of bleating sheep ''just 10 meters from Jordan'' in Yarmouk Valley, discuss government harassment and attacks of refugees who were once there.

Two Syrian activists discuss past government attacks on refugees in Yarmouk Valley in Daraa Province.

Another video, posted to YouTube on Monday, shows a large number of refugees, primarily women and children, in the valley. Some are seeking shelter inside a large tunnel while others are climbing into the back of pickup trucks to travel elsewhere. The video is narrated by a fighter from the Ahfad Ibn al-Walid Brigade.

Refugees in Yarmouk Valley sought shelter in a large tunnel and climbed into pickup trucks to travel elsewhere.

The Golan Heights has long been a trip wire for regional conflict. Israel occupied the area during the Six-Day War in 1967 and effectively annexed it in 1981. That action was not internationally recognized, and Syria and Israel have technically been in a state of war for decades. United Nations peacekeepers have been stationed there since 1974.

Syria and Israel have never resumed hostilities, but opposition to Israel has long been a pillar of the Assad government's self-styled image as an anti-imperial stalwart and ''the beating heart of Arabism.'' That is especially true when it comes to the Golan Heights.

As Anthony Shadid pointed out in May 2011, critics of the Syrian government have long said that its anti-Israel and anti-imperialist rhetoric was meant to distract from the brutality it meted out to its own people as well as its meddling in neighboring Lebanon. A popular joke about the Assad regime has turned the surname, which means ''lion'' in Arabic, into a sarcastic barb: ''A lion in Lebanon but a rabbit in the Golan.''

Report Links US Advisers to Iraq Torture Centers

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 14:32

WASHINGTON - U.S. military advisers have been implicated for the first time in human-rights abuses committed by sectarian Iraqi police commandos who set up a network of torture centers in post-war Iraq, a news report said Wednesday.

The report by London's Guardian newspaper and the BBC's Arabic-language service identifies the advisers as Colonel James Steele, a retired special forces veteran, and Colonel James H Coffman.

Steele was sent to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion to help organize the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency. Coffman worked alongside Steele in detention centers that were set up with U.S. funding and reported directly to General David Petraeus, who at the time was commander of multinational forces in Iraq.

There is no evidence that Steele or Coffman tortured prisoners, the report said. However, they were sometimes present in the detention centers where torture took place and were involved in processing of thousands of detainees, according to the report.

A key source for the story is General Muntadher al-Samari, who worked with Steele and Coffman for a year while the Iraqi commando units were being set up. He said Steele and Coffman knew everything that was going on in the centers.

Samari, who was Iraqi interior minister from 2003-05, spoke for the first time in detail about the U.S. role in the interrogation units. He described "the ugliest sorts of torture" he had ever seen, including detainees being hung upside down, having their nails pulled off and being beaten in sensitive areas.

The Pentagon did not respond to a dpa email request for comment. Steele did respond to questions from the Guardian and BBC Arabic about his role in the interrogations. Coffman declined to comment, the Guardian/BBC report said.

The report said Steele was previously involved in El Salvador as head of a U.S. team of special military advisers that trained units of the Central American country's security forces in counterinsurgency.

The impact of the U.S. backing of the paramilitary forces was that it unleashed a sectarian militia that terrorized the Sunni community and helped stoke a civil war that claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The Guardian/BBC Arabic investigation was sparked by the release of classified U.S. military logs on the website WikiLeaks. Those documents, released by Private Bradley Manning, detailed hundreds of incidents where U.S. soldiers came across tortured detainees in a network of detention centers run by the police commandos across Iraq.

Manning is facing a prison sentence after admitting last week that he gave thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks in a bid to expose what he said were abuses by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. He pleaded guilty to 10 lesser charges related to the leaks, but still faces 12 more serious charges, including aiding the enemy, and has pleaded not guilty to them.

It is the first time that Petraeus - who in November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal - has been linked through an adviser to the abuse, which the report said was common knowledge across Baghdad.

(C) Copyright 2013 Deutsche Presse-Agentur. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Moon BS

What if you could mine the Moon?

Link to Article

Source: BBC News - Home

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 14:52

7 March 2013Last updated at08:07 ETBy Regan MorrisBBC News, Los AngelesSpace exploration has long been about reaching far off destinations but now there's a race to exploit new frontiers by mining their minerals.

When Neil Armstrong first stepped on the Moon in 1969, it was part of a "flags and footprints" strategy to beat the Soviets, a triumph of imagination and innovation, not an attempt to extract precious metals.

No-one knew there was water on that dusty, celestial body. What a difference a generation makes.

Mysterious and beautiful, the Moon has been a source of awe and inspiration to mankind for millennia. Now it is the centre of a space race to mine rare minerals to fuel our future - smart phones, space-age solar panels and possibly even a future colony of Earthlings.

"We know that there's water on the Moon, which is a game-changer for the solar system. Water is rocket fuel. It also can support life and agriculture. So exploring the Moon commercially is a first step towards making the Moon part of our world, what humanity considers our world," says Bob Richards, CEO of Silicon Valley-based Moon Express, one of 25 companies racing to win the $30m in Google Lunar X Prizes.

It is considered to be among the top-three teams in the running for the prize. The other two are Pittsburgh-based Astrobiotic and Barcelona Moon Team.

Google's $20m first prize will be awarded to the first privately funded company to land a robot on the Moon that successfully explores the surface by moving at least 500m and sends high-definition video back to Earth.

A second place team stands to win $5m for completing the same mission, with bonus prizes for teams that travel more than 5km or find water. The deadline is 2015.

But $30m is a relatively small amount of money when it comes to funding a Moon mission. The companies competing have business models far beyond the Google prize, with the real prize being the potential treasure trove of valuable minerals.

"The most important thing about the Moon is probably the stuff we haven't even discovered," says Mr Richards. "But what we do know is that there could be more platinum-group metals on the surface of the Moon than all of the reserves of Earth. The race is on."

But can anyone own the Moon, and what happens if multiple companies and countries succeed in getting there?

Continue reading the main storySo-called rare-earth minerals, which are used in a range of technologies. Currently, they are refined almost exclusively in ChinaWater frozen in the dark recesses of polar craters, which according to Nasa can be split into hydrogen for rocket fuel and oxygen for breathingHelium-3 (He-3), which apparently exists in abundance on the Moon. Some believe He-3 could be a future energy sourceValuable titanium depositsAccording to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty no nation can own the Moon, and most people believe that extends to individuals and companies. But would-be Moon miners can have something like property rights. And there is an advantage to getting there first and staking claims.

"Appropriation and ownership is not allowed under the treaty, but free access exploitation is encouraged," says space lawyer James Dunstan. "You can't own it, but you can go there and use it, so how do we balance those two?"

China has plans to land a probe on the Moon later this year and astronauts by 2020. Because China's lunar plans are more ambitious than most, some fear they may get too much control of the moon.

Dunstan does not think China would flout international laws to gain an upper hand in space, but it will be difficult to police.

"Trade sanctions would be very harsh if there were a rogue country or rogue corporation driving around ripping up other people's stuff."

If Moon Express and others are right, it's conceivable that in the future the lunar surface could host a colony of mining robots and astronauts who could use the Moon as a base to explore further into the solar system.

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

Alastair Leithead gets a look at the prototype Lunar Express lander

Richards believes humans will discover ways to live on the Moon permanently.

"We're becoming a multi-world species. That will happen. The first footprints on Mars by human beings will happen in our lifetime in the next 10 to 20 years," he says.

"People, themselves, will be transformed. They'll be merging with their technologies. And that which we call human will become redefined as we find how to reprogramme our bodies to live longer, how we find machines that are able to symbiotically work with us to cure disease.

"So that which we consider human today will continue to evolve."

Moon Express, which has its offices at Nasa Ames' research centre, is funded by entrepreneur Naveen Jain.

Jain says that location is key because it's in Silicon Valley where he believes, which he believes will become the home to space pioneers.

Continue reading the main storyWhat if we could stay young forever? What if everyone had a car? What If? is a season across BBC News looking at visions of the future.

What If (special report)

"We are those crazy people who think that every idea is a crazy idea until we make it happen and then people say, 'Of course'," he says.

So, if we're going to live on the Moon one day, shouldn't we worry about polluting it? Won't armies of digging robots mess up our future real estate?

Nasa planetary scientist Margarita Marinova thinks we won't make the same mistakes in space that we've made on Earth and that man can't afford to explore space without tapping the local resources to survive.

"For me, it's a little hard because I do see these planets as very beautiful and very pristine in a way we don't really have on Earth anymore, and so the idea of mining is a little difficult," she says.

The potential resources from the Moon are vast. M Darby Dyar, a professor of astronomy at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, says the reservoirs of water ice in the dark, polar regions of the Moon probably come from comets that hit the moon over the past four billion years, and that future moon miners could strike it rich with precious metals in ancient lunar rocks.

But even if no company makes the 2015 deadline to win the Google Prize, Dyar says the Google Lunar prize has already yielded returns on Earth.

"I lived through the excitement of the Apollo era, my father helped design thrusters on the lunar landing modules and those remembered feelings of patriotism and wonder about the universe are what brought me into lunar science in the first place.

"When I hand a child a meteorite and tell her that it's four billion years old, her entire frame of reference changes, and that's what science should do. Not everyone wants to be a scientist but everyone can get excited about and learn to respect and understand its breakthroughs.

"Competitions like this bring science to the public's eyes. Where better than the Moon, which seems so close to us?"

You can follow the Magazine onTwitterand onFacebook

Mac and Cheese

Google Trends - Web Search Interest: "mac and cheese" - Worldwide, 2004 - present Ryan

We Deserve Better: Tell Kraft To Stop Using Dangerous Artificial Colors in Our Mac & Cheese - 100 Days of Real Food

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 04:47

By Lisa, on March 5th, 2013

Hi there, this is Lisa Leake from 100DaysofRealFood.com and Vani Hari from FoodBabe.com. We recently discovered that several American food products contain harmful additives that are not used '' and in some cases banned '' in other countries. One of those products is an iconic staple that almost every American, us included, has had at one time or another: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

In the US, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese contains the artificial food dyes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These unnecessary '' yet potentially harmful - dyes are not in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in other countries, including the UK, because they were removed due to consumer outcry. Kraft reformulated their product for the UK, but not for their fellow American citizens, and it's time we demand the same here in the US!-

We are petitioning Kraft to remove all artificial food dyesfrom their line of macaroni and cheese products.

Kraft Foods is the largest food company headquartered here in the United States. If Kraft changes their Macaroni and Cheese formula, we know this could inspire other US food companies to follow suit and finally eliminate dangerous artificial food dyes once and for all.

Here are the reasons why Kraft needs to remove Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 from their entire line of Macaroni and Cheese:

Artificial food dyes'...

To prove this last point we personally tested both the US and UK versions of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and found little difference in color and virtually no difference in taste (see for yourself in the video below).

Go to our petition page and sign your name.Share our petition with your family and friends!Watch our video below to learn more about our mission (and see us taste test the two different mac & cheese products ourselves).We both grew up eating this product '' I even used to feed it to my kids '' and it's available at almost every grocery store across the country. Our kids deserve the same safer version that our friends get overseas!

Join us and demand this change by signing this petition now.

Thank you for all your support '' together we can make a difference.

The War Against Macaroni and Cheese: Petition Asks Kraft to Remove Artificial Dyes | Healthy Living - Yahoo! Shine

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 14:49

Food bloggers Vani Hari (left) and Lisa Leake are asking Kraft to remove the artificial dyes from their iconic '...Like many people in the United States, Lisa Leake grew up eating Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. She even used to whip up a blue box of the iconic comfort food for her kids once a week or so. But when she took a closer look at the ingredient list she immediately decided to stop serving it to her family.

Also on Shine: Mom Fights to Ban Toxins in School Supplies

The problem: Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, two artificial food dyes that give the dish it's day-glo hue but also contain known carcinogens. In Europe, foods that contain Yellow 5 are required to carry a warning label, and the chemical has been banned outright in some countries, including Norway and Austria. In 2008, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to ban eight different food dyes found in nearly everything kids like to eat today (even plain white marshmallows have blue dye in them).

Also on Shine: 20 Surprising Artificially Colored Foods

"A lot of American companies use ingredients in the products they sell in the US that are no longer used, and are in some cases banned in other countries," Leake told Yahoo! Shine in an interview on Wednesday. "We were just appalled."

In the United Kingdom, Kraft's "Cheesey Pasta" comes in a red-and-yellow box'--and doesn't contain artificial food dyes. Instead, the company uses natural colors from paprika extract and beta-carotene to create the dish's iconic color for British consumers.

Leake and Vani Hari, who writes the blog Food Babe and guest posts once a month on Leake's blog, 100 Days of Real Food, decided to launch a petition at Change.org, calling on Kraft to give U.S. consumers the same chemical-free formulation that they currently sell in the U.K. They racked up more than 18,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

Kraft isn't the only company that markets different versions of their products. "McDonald's french fries has basic ingredients in the U.K.: potatoes, salt, and oil," Hari told Yahoo! Shine in an interview. "But here in the United States they use an ingredient that's an anti-foaming agent that's used in Silly Putty."

Hari decided to do some investigating, and found plenty of other offenders: Betty Crocker cake mixes, Pringles potato chips, Rice Krispies, Starburst candies, and Diet Coke were among those that use artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives in the U.S. but leave them out of their European versions. Kellogg's strawberry Nutri-Grain cereal bars, for example, are colored with Red 40, Yellow 6, and Blue 1 in the United States but use beetroot, annatto, and paprika in their "soft bake bars" sold in the United Kingdom.

"These companies already have better, safer versions of their products formulated and for sale in other countries overseas," Leake pointed out. "In some cases, that's because their consumers demanded it. But nobody has done anything over here yet."

Food bloggers Vani Hari and Lisa Leake tested both the U.K. and the U.S. versions of Kraft's macaroni and cheese '...Still, the women, both of whom are based in North Carolina, decided to focus their petition on Kraft first.

"There is a health component here with Kraft Macaroni & Cheese," Hari explained to Yahoo! Shine. "The one thing that really angers Lisa and I, and why we're so appalled at this, is that Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is specifically aimed at children."

Yellow 5, also known as tartrazine, has been linked to long-term health problems including asthma, skin rashes, and migraines, as well as slightly decreased sperm counts in mice; it has also been known to affect behavior in children who have diagnosed hyperactivity issues. It's found in bright-yellow products like Mountain Dew and some candies as well.

"Their brains are developing, they don't need to be exposed to these chemicals," Hari told Yahoo! Shine. "The fact that they have a safer version for kids overseas and not here is a travesty."

"Our petition is honestly bigger than just Kraft Macaroni & Cheese," Leake told Yahoo! Shine. "We decided that if we could convince the largest food company to change its iconic food products to match the formula that its already created for other countries, that could hopefully allow Kraft to lead the way for other companies to follow suite."

To make sure that the artificial food dyes weren't actually part of the pasta's flavor profile, Hari and Leake asked a friend in the U.K. to send them a box of Kraft's "Cheesey Pasta" so they could compare it with the U.S. version. (They included a video of the taste test with their petition.) The results? They taste'--and look'--virtually the same.

"Artificial dyes provide no value to the food they're in," Leake pointed out. "They provide no nutritional value, they don't affect the taste or the flavor of the food they're in, yet they do pose risks. So there's really no benefit in having them there."

A spokesperson for Kraft told Yahoo! Shine on Wednesday that the company had recently expanded its macaroni and cheese line. "We know some people prefer foods without certain ingredients," Lynne Galia of Kraft Foods Corporate Affairs told Yahoo! Shine in an email. "We now offer a multitude of products without added colors, as well as products with natural food colors," including their organic, "deluxe," and "homestyle" macaroni and cheese options.

"The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority and we take consumer concerns very seriously," Galia wrote. "We carefully follow the laws and regulations in the countries where our products are sold. So in the U.S., we only use colors that are approved and deemed safe for food use by the Food and Drug Administration."

But Hari and Leake -- as well as the thousands of people who have signed on to their petition -- feel that Kraft can do more.

"Kraft is the largest U.S. based food company," Hari told Yahoo! Shine. "The government hasn't acted'--there have been multiple government petitions that have not produced the results that we were hoping to see with the FDA. But if we target a specific company and they make the change, this could snowball into finally eliminating artificial dyes and safeguarding our children."

"American food companies have already formulated safer versions of these products for other countries overseas," Leake added. "We deserve the same here in the U.S. It's that simple."

Also on Shine:

8 Ways to Make Organic DIY Food ColoringThe Difference Between Natural and Artificial FoodsAlso on Shine: Food Dyes and Hyperactivity: Are M&Ms Really Like Crack for Kids?

Cyber War$

Telcos want google in on their deal with gov sharing

Link to Article

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 15:09

By Eric Engleman and Bloomberg News, Published: MARCH 05, 9:30 AM ET Aa March 5 (Bloomberg) -- Telecommunications companies want President Barack Obama's administration to rethink a decision that may exempt Google Inc.'s Gmail, Apple Inc.'s iPhone software and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows from an executive order on cybersecurity.

Obama's Feb. 12 order says the government can't designate ''commercial information technology products or consumer information technology services'' as critical U.S. infrastructure targeted for voluntary computer security standards.

''If e-mail went away this afternoon, we would all come to a stop,'' said Marcus Sachs, vice president of national security policy at Verizon Communications Inc., the second-largest U.S. phone company. ''Hell yeah, e-mail is critical.''

Technologies used in personal computers, software and the Internet ''are the lifeblood of cyberspace,'' Sachs said. ''If you exclude that right up front, you take off the table the very people who are creating the products and services that are vulnerable.''

Obama's order is aimed at areas such as power grids, telecommunications and pipelines. The goal is to protect ''systems and assets whose incapacitation from a cyber incident would have catastrophic national security and economic consequences,'' White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in an e-mail. ''It is not about Netflix, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.''

Voluntary Standards

Under the executive order, the Department of Homeland Security is to identify critical infrastructure, translating the order's broadly worded information technology exclusions into specific guidelines.

The order expands a government program for sharing classified information about computer threats with defense contractors and Internet-service providers and calls for computer security standards for companies in critical industries. While adherence to the standards is to be voluntary, the executive order tells federal agencies that directly regulate affected industries to consider binding rules.

Telecommunications and cable companies don't want to face regulatory burdens and costs that aren't shared by technology companies, David Kaut, a Washington-based analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Co., said in an interview.

''The telecom community is concerned the tech industry is going to get a free pass here,'' Kaut said. ''You have an ecosystem and only the network guys are going to get submitted to government scrutiny.''

Hacker Targets

Critical infrastructure such as power grids rely on information technology, Verizon's Sachs said. Such technology should be part of the solution to U.S. cybersecurity, he said.

Obama's order isn't meant to ''get down to the level of products and services and dictate how those products and services behave,'' said David LeDuc, senior director of public policy for the Software & Information Industry Association, a Washington trade group that lobbied for the exclusions.

If countries impose differing security guidelines for technology products and services, such actions can amount to a type of trade barrier if rules are written to favor their own companies, LeDuc said.

Samantha Smith, a Google spokeswoman, Michelle Hinrichs, a spokeswoman for Microsoft, Steve Dowling of Apple, and Jodi Seth of Facebook Inc. all declined to comment.

'Shared Responsibility'

''The nation's cybersecurity policy framework should be structured in a way that takes into account the shared responsibility of the entire Internet ecosystem,'' Ed Amoroso, chief security officer at AT&T Inc., the biggest U.S. phone company, said in a Feb. 15 e-mail reacting to Obama's order.

Telecommunications companies think the order's exclusions may leave out technologies that play a vital role in the total security picture, Stewart Baker, a former Homeland Security Department official, said in an interview.

''If you're attacking people, you go for the weakest link and the weakest link is often some commercial product,'' said Baker, a Washington-based partner at the law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

Twitter Inc. said Feb. 1 that hackers may have gotten access to data on 250,000 users of its microblogging site. Facebook, operator of the largest social network, said Feb. 15 that some of its employees' laptops were infected after visiting a mobile developer's site.

Apple said Feb. 19 some of its internal Mac systems were affected by a malicious software attack. Microsoft, the largest software maker, said Feb. 22 a small number of its computers were infected by malware in an attack similar to those against Facebook and Apple.

Swiping Secrets

Obama, in announcing the executive order in his State of the Union speech, said the U.S. needs to boost cyber defenses for vital U.S. facilities.

''We know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private e-mail. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets,'' Obama said. ''Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air-traffic-control systems.''

Obama's executive order mirrors parts of a Senate bill that was blocked last year by Republicans who said the standards would be burdensome to industry. Lawmakers are working on new legislation.

The Internet Association, a trade group whose members include Google, Facebook, and Amazon.com Inc., urged the White House and Congress to ''ensure that all Internet services are not subject to regulation,'' the group's president, Michael Beckerman, said in an e-mailed statement.

The Obama administration and Google opposed revisions to an international telecommunications treaty negotiated at a United Nations conference in Dubai last year, saying new language related to cybersecurity and other topics could open the door to Internet regulation and censorship by other countries.

(C) Copyright 1996-2013 The Washington Post

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Bitcoin

Ricardo from Mexico bitcoin

Hi Mr. Curry.

Thanks for the great show, please accept this humble 1 btc donation. I know

that plain cash is better but Paypal does not like my cheap mexican WalMart

Bank debit card.

Please consider bitcoins as an option. Never as the best option, but one more

fo us to pay for your excellent work.

Say hi to Mr Dvorak.

Here in Mexico some of us do use bitcoins only for fast same day transactions.

In many cases is useful because our federal gov has the legal power to peep in

any citizen bank account for tax collection, and also we have a tax for bank

transaction with cash.

Transaction id:

a35b2f2ca553d98567fdcd3c618ee940f06db40b29d3cc40723bfc84e21fd734

War on Weed

Canard - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

a : a false or unfounded report or story; especially : a fabricated report

See canard defined for English-language learners >>

: an airplane with horizontal stabilizing and control surfaces in front of supporting surfaces; also : a small airfoil in front of the wing of an aircraft that can increase the aircraft's performance

2

b : a groundless rumor or belief

Vaccine$

Vaccinating Babies: More Vaccines For Newborns? Set You Free News

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 15:08

By Janelle Vaesa | Decoded Science

A newborn's immune system is not very well developed and doesn't respond to vaccines very well. However, a new study may change the vaccine timetable for infants. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the only vaccine currently given at birth is the hepatitis B.

This new study conducted by Ofer Levy MD, PhD of the Boston's Children's Hospital has found a compound that increases the immune system's response to vaccines.

Toll-like Receptor 8Dr. Levy and his team of researchers found that in the white blood cells there is a receptor called the Toll-like receptor 8 (TLR 8) that responds strongly to stimulation. The researchers tested a panel of synthetic compound called, benzazepines that target the Toll-like receptor 8.

Decoded Science asked Dr. Levy how this works to stimulate the immune system and he stated, ''benzazepines apparently bind to TLR8 and thereby activate white blood cells to induce an immune response.''

Researchers discovered toll-like receptors about twenty years ago, and have currently found ten TLRs. The receptors are part of the innate immune response, which is the body's first defense against an infection. One TLR called monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA) is used in the Cervarix vaccine for HPV, which protects against the human papillomavirus.

Benzazepines '' VTX-294One of the benzazepines, called VTX-294 was tested in the white blood cells that were taken from cord blood and from whole blood of adults. VTX-294 resulted in a large production of cytokines (chemicals that ignite the immune response) and proved to be 10 times more potent then the TLR8.

This benzazepine, VTX-294 was sometimes more effective in the newborns' cord blood than in the adult samples, but is benzazepine VTX-294 safe for newborns? Dr. Levy explains, ''We don't yet know for sure whether benzazepines are safe for newborns. Next steps will be animal studies to assess that. If the animal studies suggested safety and effectiveness in boosting vaccine responses, then yes the idea would be to include these compounds in vaccines.''

Vaccines for NewbornsIf all the testing is successful, and VTX-294 is approved, other vaccines maybe given at birth in addition to the hepatitis B shot. Dr. Levy explains which vaccines maybe given and if it safe.

''Currently only hepatitis B virus vaccine (''HBV'') is given at birth in U.S., ultimately there may be more vaccines given at birth to induce protection earlier in life. In regions of the world where there is a lot of tuberculosis (''TB'') a vaccine called Bacille-Calmette Guerin (''BCG'') is also given soon after birth as is oral polio virus vaccine. Safety will be a major focus in this neonatal vaccine development.''

Can a Newborn's Immune System Handle More Vaccines?If a newborn's immune system doesn't respond to most vaccines; then why do we give newborns the hepatitis B vaccine when the infant is just 12 hours old? I asked Dr. Levy and he explained, ''HBV should be given at birth per the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC).

HBV does have some effectiveness with a birth dose which is why it is given. We believe that research such as that we are doing will ultimately allow us to manufacture even more effective vaccines- perhaps ones that may not require multiple doses.''

Vaccines at BirthOne of the benefits of giving more vaccines at birth is in other countries, where many times the only time a infant has access to a doctor is at birth. This would provide children swifter access to protection against illnesses such as whooping cough and rotavirus, when normally these immunizations aren't given until two months of age. The acceleration of an immunization schedule could potentially save many lives, especially in developing countries.

Resources:American Academy of Pediatrics. Recommended vaccine schedule for persons ages 0-18 years '' 2013. Accessed March 7, 2013.

David J. Dowling, Zhen Tan, Zofia M. Prokopowicz, Christine D. Palmer, Maura-Ann H. Matthews, Gregory N. Dietsch, Robert M. Hershberg, Ofer Levy. The Ultra-Potent and Selective TLR8 Agonist VTX-294 Activates Human Newborn and Adult Leukocytes. (2013). PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (3): e58164 DOI. Accessed March 7, 2013.

Boston Children's Hospital. A vaccine that works in newborns? (2013). Accessed March 7, 2013.

To direct the Secretary of Defense to establish a task force on urotrauma. (H.R. 984)

Link to Article

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 13:45

GovTrack's Bill SummaryWe don't have a summary available yet.

Library of Congress SummaryThe summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

No summary available.

House Republican Conference SummaryThe summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

No summary available.

House Democratic Caucus SummaryThe House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.

So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference's summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That's because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.

We'll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.

VIDEO

Rand Paul Filibusters So Far 7 HOURS And Five Minutes With NO Bathroom Break!

Holder Drones senate - C-SPAN Video Library

Holder FnF Exec Privldg senate - C-SPAN Video Library

A Drone Strike To Kill US Citizen On American Soil Would Be Legal! Atty Gen Holder Makes It Clear!

8 Former Heads Of DEA Want Obama To Crackdown On Recreational Marijuana Use! "Time Is Running Out!"

Number Of Anti-Government Groups At An All Time Record High!

Flight Attendants Outraged TSA Is Changing Rules To Allow Pocket Knives & Baseball Bats On Planes

ABC Network Predicted 'Vaporizing' of America for Sequester Cuts, But Now Finds Fraud in Government

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Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 15:33

MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them -- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.

MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 325 South Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.

Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.

ABC's Bianna Golodryga: Isn't It 'Kind of Sad' That Investors Are Shrugging Off Sequester?

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Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Tue, 05 Mar 2013 18:59

MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them -- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.

MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 325 South Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.

Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.

Sharpton Co-Host STUNNED To Discover 30% Of Blacks Own Guns Legally

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Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Tue, 05 Mar 2013 18:59

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

[So much for the bitter white guy theory, as Sharpton & friends abruptly discover]

EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON (04 March 2013): Now, we know a few things about the NRA in terms of their overall make-up, even though they say they don't keep any statistics any figures on race or ethnicity. Their whole thing is if you believe in the Second Amendment you want to protect gun ownership the rights of gun owners, that's all we ask in being a member a bonafide member of the NRA, however a couple things Rev. Al, one thing I was surprised to find, typically when you think of the NRA, typically you know we think of a bunch of conservative white guys that pretty much run the outfit, but also when you think of gun owners in America gun ownership in America you tend to think basically kind of rural southern white male, but what I was stunned to find looking at a poll from Gallup when they looked at gun ownership as of 2011, 45% and this really is what caught my eye 45% of gun owners in America are non-white and even more interesting almost thirty percent, were talking legally owning guns, 30% of gun owners in America are African-American.

"When You Say He Was Raising Questions About 911 And The Destruction Of The WTC By Planes"

Mika 'Angry' Stephanopoulos Invited Rodman On 'This Week'

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Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Mon, 04 Mar 2013 20:56

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VIDEO: Moon mining race under way

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Source: BBC News - Home

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 07:42

Space exploration has long been about reaching far off destinations but now there is a race to exploit new frontiers by mining their minerals.

Google has offered a $20m grand prize to the first privately-funded company to land a robot on the moon and explore the surface by moving at least 500 metres and send high definition video back to Earth by 2015.

A second-placed team stands to win $5m for completing the same mission, with bonus prizes for travelling more than 5km, finding water and discovering any traces of man's past on the moon, such as the Apollo site.

Alastair Leithead visited the test laboratory of Moon Express, one of 25 companies vying to win the prize.

VIDEO-UK To Supply Military Aid To Syria Opposition - YouTube

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Thu, 07 Mar 2013 06:12

VIDEO-Eric Holder Admits Some Banks Are Just Too Big To Prosecute

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Thu, 07 Mar 2013 05:06

When the Attorney General of the United States admits some banks are simply too big to prosecute, it might be time to admit we have a problem -- and that goes for both the financial and justice systems.

Eric Holder made this rather startling confession in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, The Hill reports. It could be a key moment in the debate over whether to do something about the size and complexity of our biggest banks, which have only gotten bigger and more systemically important since the financial crisis.

"I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy," Holder said, according to The Hill. "And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large."

Holder's comments don't come as a total surprise. His underlings had already made similar confessions to The New York Times last year, after they declined to prosecute HSBC for flagrant, years-long violations of money-laundering laws, out of fear that doing so would hurt the global economy. Lanny Breuer, formerly in charge of doling out the Justice Department's wrist slaps to banks, told Frontline as much in the documentary "The Untouchables," which aired in January.

Some observers have defended the Justice Department, suggesting that prosecuting law-breaking banks would amount to a death penalty that could upset the financial system and trigger another recession -- although nobody really knows if it would do any such thing. But by not prosecuting law-breaking banks, and confessing to its terror of prosecuting those banks, the Justice Department has waved a big checkered flag to the biggest banks to go ahead and break all of the laws they want.

Holder's confession comes after several weeks of criticism from lawmakers about the Justice Department's failure to prosecute banks not only for potentially hard-to-prove cases involving the financial crisis, but also for cases in which proof wasn't as hard to find, as in HSBC's case.

It is significant that Holder's confession -- cry for help, really -- comes at the one place that could possibly help, the U.S. Congress. So now you have the Obama administration joining a growing, bipartisan group of lawmakers speaking out about the problem of banks being too big to fail and/or jail. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and David Vitter (R-La.) last week announced they were working together on bipartisan legislation to address it.

That doesn't mean you should hold your breath for anything to be done about it right away, or ever. It is far easier to talk about breaking up the big banks than to do it, particularly given that they will lobby hard against it every step of the way. But the tide of public opinion is turning against them a little more every day.

Also on HuffPost:

VIDEO-Pat Robertson On Mac And Cheese: 'Is That A Black Thing?'

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Tue, 05 Mar 2013 16:38

Pat Robertson appeared confused about macaroni and cheese while hosting "The 700 Club" Wednesday on the Christian Broadcasting Network following a clip of host Kristi Watts interviewing former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In the clip, Watts asked Rice what dish she had to have at Thanksgiving. "It's mac and cheese," Rice said.

Watts clapped. "Sister, that is my dish, that is the one thing I can rock," she said.

"But only once, once a year," said Rice.

Following the clip, Robertson asked, "What is this mac and cheese? Is that a black thing?"

"It is a black thing Pat. Listen: and you guys, other people, the world needs to get on board with macaroni and cheese," said Watts. "Christmas and Thanksgiving -- we have to have macaroni and cheese, and it trips me out that you don't."

"I really don't, I don't, and I have never," said Robertson while the two laughed.

Robertson, 81, said recently that President Barack Obama has a Muslim "inclination" because of his upbringing in Indonesia. He also recently said that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's disease is justifiable because the disease is "a kind of death."

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White House Says They Will Save Money By Cancelling White House Tours

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