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No Agenda Episode 450

By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, October 07, 2012 at 12:19 PM.

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By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, October 07, 2012 at 12:21 PM.

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By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, October 07, 2012 at 12:21 PM.

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Executive Producers: Sir Thomas Rice, Sir Michael Kearns

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Shane Castille, Kevin Fairchild, Andrew Ofisher, Greg Filer

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Eleanor Holmes Norton (born June 13, 1937) is a Delegate to the United States Congress representing the District of Columbia. As a non-voting member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Norton may serve on committees, as well as speak on the House floor; however, she is not permitted to vote on the final passage of any legislation.

In September 2010, the national press criticized Norton after the release of a voice message in which she solicits campaign funds from a lobbyist who represents a project that she oversees. Norton countered that the message was typical of appeals made by all members of Congress and that the call was made from campaign offices not paid for by taxpayers.[23] In March 2012, the NPR radio series This American Life featured the voicemail message at the start of a program on lobbying titled "Take the Money and Run for Office".[24]

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Helsinki Commision - Demmink Trial Washington on Vimeo

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Fri, 05 Oct 2012 09:42

Helsinki Commision - Demmink Trial Washington

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CSCE :: About the Commission

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Fri, 05 Oct 2012 07:51

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is an independent U.S. Government agency created in 1976 to monitor and encourage compliance with the Helsinki Final Act and other OSCE commitments.

The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine members from the U.S. House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce. The positions of Chair and Co-Chair are shared by the House and Senate and rotate every two years, when a new Congress convenes. A professional staff assists the Commissioners in their work.

The Commission contributes to the formulation of U.S. policy on the OSCE and takes part in its execution, including through Member and staff participation on U.S. Delegations to OSCE meetings and in certain OSCE bodies. Members of the Commission have regular contact with parliamentarians, government officials, NGOs, and private individuals from other OSCE participating States.

The Commission convenes public hearings and briefings with expert witnesses on OSCE-related issues; issues public reports concerning implementation of OSCE commitments in participating States; and organizes official delegations to participating States and OSCE meetings to address and assess democratic, economic, security and human rights developments firsthand.

U.S. Senate

Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Co-ChairmanSheldon Whitehouse, Rhode IslandTom Udall, New MexicoJeanne Shaheen, New HampshireRichard Blumenthal, Connecticut Roger F. Wicker, MississippiSaxby Chambliss, GeorgiaMarco Rubio, Florida Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire

U.S. House of Representatives

Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey ChairmanJoseph R. Pitts, PennsylvaniaRobert B. Aderholt, AlabamaPhil Gingrey, GeorgiaMichael C. Burgess, TexasAlcee L. Hastings, FloridaLouise McIntosh Slaughter, New YorkMike McIntyre, North CarolinaSteve Cohen, Tennessee

Executive Branch Commissioners

Michael H. Posner, Department of StateMichael C. Camu±ez, Department of CommerceDepartment of Defense, vacant as of February 2012

*By clicking on the staff members' name an employee biography will appear*

When the Helsinki Final Act (HFA) was signed in Helsinki, Finland in 1975, it enshrined among its ten Principles Guiding Relations between participating States (the decalogue), a commitment to "respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience religion or belief, for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion" (Principle VII). In addition, the HFA included a section on cooperation regarding humanitarian concerns, including transnational human contacts, information, culture and education. The HFA and subsequently adopted OSCE agreements are not treaties and are therefore viewed as political commitments, not legal obligations.

The Role of the Helsinki Commission: The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission) is a U.S. Government agency, established in 1976 pursuant to Public Law 94-304. It is mandated to "monitor the acts of the signatories which reflect compliance with or violation of the articles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, with particular regard to the provisions relating to Cooperation in Humanitarian fields[i.e., the human dimension]." (Emphasis added.)

Since 1990, the Helsinki Commission has particularly focused on restrictions on the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly; the treatment of persons belonging to ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, including Roma; human rights violations in conflict settings and the prevention of torture. In addition, the Commission has monitored aspects of the transition to democracy, including challenges to the rule of law, free and fair elections, and the impact of corruption on the human and other dimensions of the OSCE.

What is the "Human Dimension"? "The Human Dimension" was a term coined during the drafting of the 1989 Vienna Concluding Document. This term was designed as a short-hand phrase to describe the human rights and humanitarian provisions of the agreements concluded within the framework of the Helsinki process. In addition, since 1989, this term has embraced the more recently adopted "democratization" commitments of the OSCE, summarized below.

Consensus: All of the agreements of the Helsinki process have been adopted on the basis of consensus; i.e., each participating State has agreed to every provision in each OSCE document.

Universality: Each participating State is equally bound by each document. All countries which joined the Helsinki process after 1975 have pledged, as a condition for membership, to "accept in their entirety all commitments and responsibilities contained in these documents and [. . . ] to act in accordance with their provisions."

Establishing Common Standards on Human Rights: Through the negotiation of successive agreements, the OSCE participating States gradually expanded the body of shared commitments. It was often the case, however, that Soviet-bloc countries might concede to a provision in principle, only to undermine it through the operation of national laws, rules, or regulations. The 1989 Vienna Concluding Document stated, "In this context, [the participating States] confirm that they will respect each other's right freely to choose and develop their political, social, economic and cultural systems as well as their right to determine their laws, regulations, practices and policies. In exercising these rights, they will ensure that their laws, regulations, practices and policies conform with their obligations under international law and are brought into harmony with the provisions of the Declaration on Principles and other CSCE commitments." (Emphasis added.) By 1990, as the Iron Curtain began to fall, the OSCE Heads of State and Government declared in the Charter of Paris for a New Europe: "We undertake to build, consolidate and strengthen democracy as the only system of government of our nations." (Emphasis added.)

Two OSCE documents enshrined the practice of raising human rights concerns. First, the 1989 Vienna Concluding Document committed each participating State (1) to respond to requests for information and to representations from any other participating State on specific cases or broad situations relating to commitments in the human dimension; (2) to meet bilaterally with participating States requesting such a meeting to examine these cases or situations; (3) to bring these cases and situations to the attention of the other participating States; and (4) to provide, if it deems necessary, information on what has transpired under the first two points at OSCE meetings.

Further establishing the OSCE commitments as the basis for bilateral and multilateral dialogue, the 1991 Moscow Concluding Document stated: "The participating States emphasize that issues relating to human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law are of international concern, as respect for these rights and freedoms constitutes one of the foundations of international order. They categorically and irrevocably declare that the commitments undertaken in the field of the human dimension of the CSCE are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States and do not belong exclusively to the internal affairs of the State concerned." (Emphasis added.)

Summary of OSCE Commitments to Build, Consolidate andStrengthen Democracy

Democracy and the Rule of Law

The OSCE participating States have identified the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms as one of the basic purposes of government and reaffirmed that recognition of these rights and freedoms constitutes the foundation of freedom, justice and peace.

They have acknowledged that democracy is an inherent element of the rule of law.

They have declared that the elements of justice which are essential to the full expression of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all human beings include (in addition to protections of civil and political rights):

a form of government that is representative in character, in which the executive is accountable to the elected legislature or the electorate;

the duty of the government and public authorities, which are not above the law, to comply with their constitution;

a clear separation between the state and political parties; in particular, political parties may not be merged with the state (the "no establishment clause" for political parties);

military forces and police under the control of, and accountable to, the civil authorities;

independent judges and impartial operation of the public judicial service.

Free and Fair ElectionsThe participating States have declared that the will of the people, expressed through periodic and genuine elections, is the basis of the authority and legitimacy of government.

To that end, they will respect the right of individuals and groups to establish freely political parties and organizations and enable them to compete with each other on a basis of equal treatment before the law and the authorities;

Recognizing that the presence of observers, both foreign and domestic, can enhance the electoral process, they agreed to invite governmental and non-governmental observers for national elections.

From its inception in the early 1970s, the Helsinki process '' which includes the original Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), follow-up activities after 1975 and, since 1995, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) '' has been a multilateral, politically binding security arrangement. Having addressed successfully the challenges of the Cold War, this arrangement has maintained its relevance in the present era of regional conflict, arms proliferation, terrorism and other emerging threats by combining a uniquely comprehensive definition of security with flexibility and innovation of response.

Defining Security Comprehensively

The first of three chapters of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, commonly known as Basket I, deals with ''Questions Relating to Security in Europe.'' This chapter first sets forth 10 Principles guiding relations between participating States:

Principle I Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty;Principle IIRefraining from the threat or use of force;Principle IIIInviolability of frontiers;Principle IVTerritorial integrity of States;Principle VPeaceful settlement of disputes;Principle VINon-intervention in internal affairs;Principle VIIRespect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, includingthe freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief;Principle VIIIEqual rights and self-determination of peoples;Principle IXCooperation among States; andPrinciple XFulfillment in good faith of obligations under international law.Some of the principles can be found in earlier international agreements, including the UN Charter, but the ''primary significance'' which the Final Act gave them all provided a uniquely comprehensive, political-military definition of security, particularly by making respect for human rights and the building of democratic institutions in one participating State a legitimate concern of all others. By committing to apply them ''equally and unreservedly,'' the OSCE also recognized a linkage between progress in one of these areas and progress in the others, a concrete and significant conceptual contribution to European security. The justification for balancing progress was most explicitly stated in the 1990 Charter of Paris for a new Europe, where the participating States expressed their conviction that ''in order to strengthen peace and security among [them], the advancement of democracy, and respect for and effective exercise of human rights are indispensable.''

Early Soviet proposals for a pan-European conference were designed to manipulate the military balance in Europe, divide the United States from its allies and confirm Soviet hegemony over East-Central Europe. The OSCE's new and unifying definition of security, however, instead formed a basis for ending the Cold War's division of Europe and for recognizing that severe and continual violations of human rights are often the source of a conflict. Democratic development, therefore, was subsequently made a prerequisite for building a stable peace. Participating States today seek to ensure its realization ''from Vancouver to Vladivostok'' and to give this definition wider application around the globe.

Building Confidence and Security Through Transparency

The Final Act's first chapter also contains specific military commitments which, as developed in subsequent documents, enhance European security in modest but very concrete ways. Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs) '' such as prior notification of troop maneuvers and observation of military exercises '' that form the core of this work on military aspects of security overcame barriers of secrecy and diminished the threat of surprise attack or misunderstanding of military activity.

For a few tense years in the early 1980s, OSCE negotiations were the only place where East and West sat at the same table to discuss security matters. The 1986 Stockholm Document not only achieved progress through measures for greater transparency but ushered in a new era of effective, mutually beneficial East-West arms control encompassing both nuclear and conventional forces. The OSCE capitalized on this success in the 1990s by expanding military openness and encouraging further reductions in force levels. A web of interlocking and mutually reinforcing arms control obligations and commitments links the politically binding Vienna Document of 1999 on CSBMs with the related 1990 Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) and the 1992 Treaty on Open Skies, both legally binding and negotiated on an East-West basis, to form a framework for arms control. Reinforcing the regime of new measures in the Vienna Document 1999 is an updated mechanism for consultation and cooperation regarding unusual military activities.

An Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty was also signed in 1999, taking into account realities associated with the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and the demise of the Soviet Union. NATO countries, however, have linked ratification of the agreement to Russia's implementation of commitments made in parallel with the 1999 Istanbul OSCE Summit to the withdrawal Treaty-Limited Equipment and military forces from Moldova, and the withdrawal or destruction of excess equipment, the closure of two bases and negotiations on remaining Russian bases and facilities in Georgia. To date, these commitments remain unfulfilled, making it impossible for the Agreement on Adaptation to come into force and for additional OSCE States, including some NATO allies, to become parties.

Maintaining a Security Dialogue

The Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) was established in 1992 to provide constant attention to implementation of existing arms control agreements, including through regular information exchanges, and to strengthen them when possible. The Forum also encourages a dialogue among the participating States on topics of common concern, such as non-proliferation measures, the importance of adhering to international humanitarian law and civil-military emergency preparedness. The adoption of the 1994 Code of Conduct on Political-Military Aspects of Security, which broke new ground by formulating norms on the role of armed forces in democratic societies, was among the FSC's first notable achievements. The adoption in 2000 of the Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons was a later but even more significant achievement, providing a basis for developing guidelines on dealing with threats such weapons can pose, as well as for providing assistance upon request in securing stockpiles, disposing of small arms and enhancing border controls to reduce illicit arms trafficking.

Security issues are also discussed during the Annual Security Review Conference, the first of which was held in 2003. These conferences provide impetus for bringing new ideas for activity relating to European security into the OSCE framework. Meetings of OSCE foreign ministers and summits of heads of state/government have addressed security issues of paramount concern such as the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them.

Addressing Regional Conflicts

Regional conflicts erupting in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s have been responsible for the most egregious violations of Helsinki principles since their adoption. In response, considerable effort has been devoted by the participating States to developing early warning of potential conflict, offering ''good offices'' for bringing conflicting parties together, monitoring borders vulnerable to sources of instability and ensuring that sub-regional arms control and security-enhancing measures are adopted and implemented. A good example of the latter were the Article II, Article IV and Article V agreements originally mandated by the Annex 1-B of 1995 Dayton General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, the OSCE has contributed to the training of civilian police in several post-conflict situations.

The need to respond to regional conflicts also required the OSCE to become more than a negotiating forum. OSCE field operations, taking many forms, including efforts by OSCE institutions and designated representatives, began in the early 1990s. Significant among them, especially given the ethnic character of regional tensions, was the establishment of the High Commissioner for National Minorities with a specific task to provide early-warning of potential conflict. Field activities, however, take their most visible form as field missions of various sizes deployed at one time or another in places like Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Chechnya, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Kosovo and Serbia and Montenegro. Since 1992, the OSCE has had the capability to organize unarmed peacekeeping forces, although the need for more robust operations in conflict areas has precluded serious activity in this regard.

Combating Terrorism

The events of September 11, 2001, galvanized OSCE efforts to combat terrorism. An OSCE Charter on Preventing and Combating Terrorism, adopted in 2002, targeted four strategic areas for specific action: policing, border control, trafficking and money laundering. The Action Against Terrorism Unit established in the OSCE Secretariat provides assistance to participating States, often in field activities along with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, in strengthening the legal framework for combating terrorism. OSCE efforts have sought to strengthen personal travel and document security as well as transport container security. The OSCE has also broadened the application of export controls on man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).

The Helsinki Commission's Role

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission) is a U.S. Government agency, established in 1976 pursuant to Public Law 94-304, mandated to ''monitor the acts of the signatories which reflect compliance with or violation of the articles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe'...'' While particular emphasis was given to ''provisions relating to Cooperation in Humanitarian fields,'' today known as the Human Dimension, the Commission also monitors developments regarding the Security Dimension and has similarly sought to encourage greater compliance with commitments adopted by the participating States on the basis of consensus. Activities in recent years have included hearings on combating terrorism and on illegal arms/weapons transfers, briefings on the U.S. chairmanship of the Forum for Security Cooperation and on OSCE police training, as well as attendance at security-related OSCE meetings.

Economic, scientific and environmental cooperation were grouped together in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and form the economic dimension of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Based on the view that trade, as well as scientific and environmental collaboration, enhance security, OSCE efforts in this area are designed to facilitate and build on the transition from command to market economies, to lessen economic disparities between participating States, and to combat economic and environmental threats to security.

Within the economic and environmental dimension, as it is generally referred, the OSCE countries have adopted a wide range of commitments designed to foster free market economies and enhance economic cooperation, including better economic and commercial information and improved business contacts and facilities. They have also agreed on industrial cooperation measures such as harmonization of standards and arbitration of disputes.

Additionally, this dimension includes cooperative efforts in the fields of science (such as physics, chemistry, meteorology, oceanography, space research) and technology (e.g., energy, new technologies, computer technology). With respect to the environment, participating States have committed to study bilateral and multilateral environmental problems and ways to increase the effectiveness of national and international protection measures. Areas of specific interest include trans-boundary air and water pollution, marine protection, and protection of the Mediterranean environment.

Key Economic and Environmental Commitments

The 1975 Helsinki Final Act, the 1983 Madrid Concluding Document and the 1989 Vienna Concluding Document contained general commitments on cooperation in the economic and environmental spheres.

The 1990 Charter of Paris and the Concluding Document of the Bonn Conference on Economic Cooperation in Europe, also from 1990, articulate the aim of the OSCE participating States to usher in a new era of economic relations and exchanges following the collapse of communism. These documents contain commitments designed to develop free and competitive market economies as well as environmentally sustainable economic growth and development.

The 1999 Istanbul Charter for European Security broke new ground in the economic commitments as it was the first time that the participating States collectively recognized that corruption poses a great threat to the OSCE's shared values. The countries, at Istanbul, committed themselves to combat corruption and the conditions that foster it.

The 2003 Maastricht Ministerial Council updated the Bonn Economic Strategy document by adopting concrete measures designed to foster sustainable development, improve corporate governance, promote regional integration and overall to address the uneven economic development among OSCE States and to address the emergence of new threats to security and stability.

The OSCE Economic Forum

With the collapse of communism, states in Central and Eastern Europe as well as those of the former Soviet Union embarked on a difficult process of economic transition.

This transition has been threatened by high unemployment, corruption and weak rule of law, factors that hinder investment, impede economic growth and fuel illegal economic activities. Environmental degradation, mismanagement and uneven distribution of natural resources have also caused tension in communities and between countries.

In the early 1990s, the United States attempted to give political stimulus to the dialogue on the transition to free market economies and to suggest practical efforts to assist in their development. Thus, in 1992 the OSCE Economic Forum was created as an annual conference designed to enhance dialogue on the transition to free-market economies; suggest practical means of developing free-market systems and economic cooperation; provide an annual focus for activities by targeting major issues of economic or environmental concern; contribute to the elaboration of specific recommendation and follow-up activities; and review the implementation of the participating States' commitments described in key documents.

OSCE Projects

The OSCE economic and environmental commitments, and activities of the OSCE in this area, reflect the desire of participating States for economic development that contributes to stability and treats citizens fairly. The Office of the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities under the OSCE Secretariat, was created in 1997 to strengthen the ability of the Permanent Council and the OSCE institutions to address economic, social and environmental aspects of security. For example, labor migration within the OSCE region allows for an important source of income for residents of less-developed countries who are able to find work in more economically vibrant countries. With this opportunity also comes the risk of trafficking or exploitation. The OSCE has developed a ''Handbook on Establishing Effective Labour Migration Policies in Countries of Origin and Destination'' in conjunction with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). This handbook serves as a discussion point and best practices guide for participating States seeking to develop effective regional labor migration management.

Part of the OSCE's effort to combat human trafficking is also encompassed in this work. Lack of economic opportunities, unemployment and loss of social cohesion are the main factors that contribute to women's and children's, but also men's vulnerability to trafficking. The Economic Coordinator's office has developed an Anti-Trafficking Programme on Public-Private Co-operation in the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings (ATP). The ATP aims at addressing both the demand and supply side of trafficking in human beings by promoting self-regulation of the private sector; awareness-raising in countries of destination, in particular in Western countries; and creating economic empowerment opportunities for potential victims of trafficking in countries of origin.

The environment is also recognized as a key factor in not only economic development, but security as well. Environmental degradation, resource scarcity, the uneven distribution of natural resources or resource abundance are emerging as potential triggers or accelerating factors of tensions within and among states. One of the ways the OSCE is addressing environmental issues is through the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) that provides a framework for cooperation on environmental issues across borders and promoting peace and stability through environmental cooperation and sustainable development.

To read about other specific projects the OSCE field missions are working on in this area, click here.

The Helsinki Commission's Role

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission) is a U.S. Government agency, established in 1976 pursuant to Public Law 94-304, mandated to ''monitor the acts of the signatories which reflect compliance with or violation of the articles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe'...'' While particular emphasis was given to ''provisions relating to Cooperation in Humanitarian fields,'' today known as the human dimension, the Commission has also focused attention on the economic and environmental dimension of the OSCE, including related commitments and decisions. Activities in recent years have included hearings stressing the importance of democratic governance, transparency and the role of civil society as well as a hearing specifically focused on the lingering consequences of the Chornobyl disaster. Initiatives have also been undertaken on topics ranging from ethics standards and parliamentary immunity to combating corruption and international crime.

Title: Act of June 3, 1976, Public Law No. 94-304, 90 Stat. 661 (codified as amended at 22 U.S.C. 3001-3009)

Sec. 3001. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe; establishment

There is established the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (hereafter in this chapter referred to as the ''Commission'').

Sec. 3002. Function and duties of Commission

The Commission is authorized and directed to monitor the acts of the signatories which reflect compliance with or violation of the articles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, with particular regard to the provisions relating to human rights and Cooperation in Humanitarian Fields. The Commission is further authorized and directed to monitor and encourage the development of programs and activities of the United States Government and private organizations with a view toward taking advantage of the provisions of the Final Act to expand East-West economic cooperation and a greater interchange of people and ideas between East and West.

Sec. 3003. Commission membership

(a) Selection and appointment of members

The Commission shall be composed of twenty-one members as follows:

(1) Nine Members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Five Members shall be selected from the majority party and four Members shall be selected, after consultation with the minority leader of the House, from the minority party.

(2) Nine Members of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate. Five Members shall be selected from the majority party of the Senate, after consultation with the majority leader, and four Members shall be selected, after consultation with the minority leader of the Senate, from the minority party.

(3) One member of the Department of State appointed by the President of the United States.

(4) One member of the Department of Defense appointed by the President of the United States.

(5) One member of the Department of Commerce appointed by the President of the United States.

(b) Commission Chairman and Cochairman

There shall be a Chairman and a Cochairman of the Commission.

(c) Designation of Chairman

At the beginning of each odd-numbered Congress, the President of the Senate, on the recommendation of the majority leader, shall designate one of the Senate Members as Chairman of the Commission. At the beginning of each even-numbered Congress, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall designate one of the House Members as Chairman of the Commission.

(d) Designation of Cochairman

At the beginning of each odd-numbered Congress, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall designate one of the House Members as Cochairman of the Commission. At the beginning of each even-numbered Congress, the President of the Senate, on the recommendation of the majority leader, shall designate one of the Senate Members as Cochairman of the Commission.

Sec. 3004. Testimony of witnesses, production of evidence; issuance of subpena; administration of oaths

In carrying out this chapter, the Commission may require, by subpena or otherwise, the attendance and testimony of such witnesses and the production of such books, records, correspondence, memorandums, papers, and documents as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued over the signature of the Chairman of the Commission or any member designated by him, and may be served by any person designated by the Chairman or such member. The Chairman of the Commission, or any member designated by him, may administer oaths to any witness.

Sec. 3005. Presidential report to Congress; annual submission; contents

In order to assist the Commission in carrying out its duties, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Commission an annual report discussing the overall United States policy objectives that are advanced through meetings of decision-making bodies of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the OSCE implementation review process, and other activities of the OSCE. The report shall also include a summary of specific U.S. policy objectives with respect to participating States where there is a particular concern relating to the implementation of OSCE commitments or where an OSCE presence exists. This summary shall address the role played by OSCE institutions, mechanisms, or field activities in achieving U.S. policy objectives. The report, covering the period from January 1 to December 31, shall be submitted within 90 days after the end of the reporting period. The report shall be posted on the website of the Department of State.

Sec. 3006. Commission report to Congress; periodic reports; expenditure of appropriations

The Commission is authorized and directed to report to the House of Representatives and the Senate with respect to the matters covered by this chapter on a periodic basis and to provide information to Members of the House and Senate as requested. For each fiscal year for which an appropriation is made the Commission shall submit to Congress a report on its expenditures under such appropriation.

Sec. 3007. Appropriations for Commission

(a) Authorization; disbursements

(1) There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission for each fiscal year such sums as may be necessary to enable it to carry out its duties and functions. Appropriations to the Commission are authorized to remain available until expended.

(2) Appropriations to the Commission shall be disbursed on vouchers approved -

(A) jointly by the Chairman and the Cochairman, or

(B) by a majority of the members of the personnel and administration committee established pursuant to section 3008(a) of this title.

(b) Use of foreign currencies

For purposes of section 1754(b) of this title, the Commission shall be deemed to be a standing committee of the Congress and shall be entitled to use funds in accordance with such sections.

(c) Official reception and representational expenses

Not to exceed $6,000 of the funds appropriated to the Commission for each fiscal year may be used for official reception and representational expenses.

(d) Foreign travel for official purposes

Foreign travel for official purposes by Commission members and staff may be authorized by either the Chairman or the Cochairman.

Sec. 3008. Commission staff

(a) Personnel and administration committee

The Commission shall have a personnel and administration committee composed of the Chairman, the Cochairman, the senior Commission member from the minority party in the House of Representatives, and the senior Commission member from the minority party in the Senate.

(b) Committee functions

All decisions pertaining to the hiring, firing, and fixing of pay of Commission staff personnel shall be by a majority vote of the personnel and administration committee, except that -

(1) the Chairman shall be entitled to appoint and fix the pay of the staff director, and the Cochairman shall be entitled to appoint and fix the pay of his senior staff person; and

(2) the Chairman and Cochairman each shall have the authority to appoint, with the approval of the personnel and administration committee, at least four professional staff members who shall be responsible to the Chairman or the Cochairman (as the case may be) who appointed them. The personnel and administration committee may appoint and fix the pay of such other staff personnel as it deems desirable.

(c) Staff appointments

All staff appointments shall be made without regard to the provisions of title 5 governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and general schedule pay rates.

(d) Commission employees as congressional employees

(1) For purposes of pay and other employment benefits, rights, and privileges and for all other purposes, any employee of the Commission shall be considered to be a congressional employee as defined in section 2107 of title 5.

(2) For purposes of section 3304(c)(1) [1] of title 5, staff personnel of the Commission shall be considered as if they are in positions in which they are paid by the Secretary of the Senate or the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives.

[1] See References in Text note below.

(3) The provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall be effective as of June 3, 1976.

Sec. 3009. Printing and binding costs

For purposes of costs relating to printing and binding, including the costs of personnel detailed from the Government Printing Office, the Commission shall be deemed to be a committee of the Congress.

HELSINKI COMMISSION '' DEMMINK TRIBUNAAL

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Source: Klokkenluideronline

Fri, 05 Oct 2012 09:41

Vooraankondiging Arend vs Zeevat 5 oktober 2012 vanavond van 20.00 tot 22.00 uur, met Arend Zeevat , Micha Kat en Andr(C) Vergeer over de ontwikkelingen rondom Marianne Vaatstra.

Gisterenavond was het dan zo ver, de hoorzitting rondom de sexretaris-pedofiel van justitie Joris D. De voorzitter, Smith opende de zitting met de juiste woorden dat er steeds meer in openbaring komt, en dat we er simpelweg niet meer onderuit kunnen komen. En daarmee was de toon gezet!

Zie heer de indrukwekkende zitting van gisterenavond, met in de hoofdrol ; de advocate Ad¨le van der Plas, oud-rechercheur Klaas Langendoen, Samantha Vardaman (The Rebecca Project for Human Rights ) en een anonieme getuige die een smerig boekje open deed.

Hieronder kun je de herhaling zien:

Helsinki Commision '' Demmink Trial Washington from FreeHumanity on Vimeo.

Uncle Jimmy took me to his sick parties: Nephew tells how his childhood was stolen at 13

Link to Article

Source: The Groupie

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 19:06

Guy Marsden, now 59, said he and his teenage friends were taken to act as intermediaries for adults and younger childrenHe said children as young as ten would disappear into bedrooms with men and return laterWhile he did not see anything, he says it was 'perfectly obvious' what was happeningSaid parties were attended by other households names in showbusiness, but never any womenBy Chris Brooke

PUBLISHED: 16:06 EST, 5 October 2012 | UPDATED: 16:21 EST, 5 October 2012

A nephew of Sir Jimmy Savile yesterday told how his celebrity uncle attended 'paedophile parties'.

Guy Marsden was just 13 when 'Uncle Jimmy' took him to a wealthy celebrity's house in London in 1967 for the first of many sordid social gatherings.

Over the next 18 months, Guy and his friends went to numerous 'parties' where he believes men sexually abused girls and boys as young as ten. Savile was at many of these events, he said.

Guy Marsden, pictured left aged eight, and right aged 59 today, says when he was 13 his uncle Jimmy started taking him to 'paedophile parties'

Guy and his teenage friends were used as 'intermediaries' to hang out with the younger victims. Guy, now 59, said the youngsters would disappear into the bedrooms with men and return later.

He said there were 'never any women' at the parties and although he didn't see any sexual abuse, it was 'perfectly obvious' what was happening. Several household names from the world of showbusiness were party regulars.

Guy said Savile sometimes arrived with a man dressed as a priest and he believed the young victims may have come from an orphanage or children's home.

He has regularly spoken to friends about his experiences in the late 1960s, but no one took him seriously until this week's revelations.

'I have loved all this coming out about Jimmy and I feel guilty I didn't do something about it earlier,' he told the Mail yesterday.

After Savile died last year, Guy was one of the relatives who publicly praised him. But he knew he was being a hypocrite. 'I felt as low and as bad as you can get not saying anything.'

Other members of Savile's family spoke out last week to condemn a TV programme alleging the DJ sexually abused teenage girls, but the nephew said many relatives were aware of his sordid past.

The roofer from Leeds later married and he now has four children and ten grandchildren with his wife Anne.

The late Jimmy Savile, pictured in the 1970's working as a porter at Leeds General Infirmary, has been accused by his nephew of attending parties in London attended by children as young as ten

But during his youth he was in and out of trouble and believes his seedy experiences in London were to blame for his problems.

Guy came from a large family '' his mother, who was Savile's sister, gave birth to 'about 18' children '' and he grew up in a council house in Leeds.

Uncle Jimmy was always the family celebrity. 'It was like the Beatles coming to your house,' recalled Guy. 'He would drive us around in his Rolls-Royce and he gave us a colour television and a telephone.'

At 13, Guy and three friends hitch-hiked to London 'for an adventure'. They returned home about five weeks later but regularly ran away to the capital for similar periods.

On the first trip in 1967, the group of boys went to Euston Station and were quickly invited to a grubby flat by men who recognised them as easy prey, although Guy says he was never abused.

'About four days later', Jimmy Savile turned up at the flat where they were staying. 'He recognised me and I thought ''this is it, I'm going to get in big trouble here''. I hadn't been in touch with my parents to tell them where I was. But Uncle Jimmy just took us away to a much better place.'

Savile turned up by coincidence at the address because he mixed with 'fellow child molesters', said Guy.

The group of runaways ended up in a fabulous house '' believed to belong to a famous pop impresario '' with a big indoor swimming pool. The celebrity home was one of the party venues.

'At night you would get about 15 or 20 people turning up. There would be music and tables full of food, we couldn't believe it. There was everything we needed and we just hung around.

'At first we automatically assumed the children lived there, but we soon realised they didn't. They would be brought there, sometimes by Uncle Jimmy, and would stay for six or seven hours until 3 or 4am. They were just little kids, boys and girls.

'Two or three would go off and come back later. The really strange thing was that they didn't come out the bedrooms kicking and screaming. None of them seemed to be in any distress, but there is no doubt at all in my mind what they were being used for.

Savile's nephew Guy said children would be brought to house parties, 'sometimes by Uncle Jimmy, and would stay for six or seven hours until 3 or 4am. They were just little kids, boys and girls.'

'They used to say they were ''playing.'' You heard sounds and moans and groans coming from the bedroom and knew what was going on.'

Guy said he believed he and his friends were there to 'keep the kids happy'. He said: 'I didn't think anything about it at the time, maybe because there was no such thing as paedophiles back then. I never saw Jimmy Savile sexually abuse any of the children, but as far as I am concerned he was part of a paedophile ring at those parties.'

The excursions ended when the teenager got into trouble with the law and was sent to borstal. In later life, Guy said he put his past behind him and became close to Savile. However, they never spoke about what happened and he was concerned that his mother should never find out.

'Although I was not sexually abused I do feel like a victim myself. I think I should have reported him years ago but I was too scared to do it.

'Now I am really pleased everyone knows the truth.'

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Special report: A 15-year-old who killed herself after leaving a diary naming DJs as abusers. Disturbing questions about John Peel. So how many stars WERE involved?

Link to Article

Source: The Groupie

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 19:14

Top Of The Pops dancer Claire McAlpine was 15 when she died of an overdose in her family homeShe left behind a diary naming many famous showbusiness personalities who she claims 'used' herThe allegations weredismissed both within and outside the BBC and Jimmy Savile publicly denied having known herBy Paul Bracchi and Sam Greenhill

PUBLISHED: 16:19 EST, 5 October 2012 | UPDATED: 19:25 EST, 5 October 2012

Denial: Jimmy Savile could not recall having met Claire McAlpine

Back in the Seventies, when Jimmy Savile was at the height of his fame, he was interviewed by a newspaper about the death of a teenage girl.

The youngster was Claire McAlpine. She was just 15 years old and had been a regular dancer in the audience of Top Of The Pops.

On the morning of March 29, 1971, Claire, a former convent school pupil, was found lying on the floor of her bedroom at home in Watford, Hertfordshire, by her distraught mother. She had taken a fatal overdose.

Near her body was a bottle of tablets and her red diary. 'Don't laugh at me for being dramatic, but I just can't take it any more,' Claire wrote.

It was her last heartbreaking entry to her parents before she killed herself.

On the preceding pages, she had named a string of radio disc jockeys '-- and other showbusiness personalities, all household names '-- who, she claimed, had 'used' her.

One of the DJs, she said, had taken her to his house for the night and given her a pill which made her feel like she was 'floating on a cloud'. Another had also invited her back to his 'sumptuously furnished' residence.

Savile, then in his 40s, who presented Top Of The Pops, was asked during the interview if he knew or remembered Claire from the show.

'I studied a photograph of Claire very closely,' he replied. 'I cannot recollect ever seeing the girl in my life. They say she came from Watford. I don't know anyone who lives in Watford.'

The inquest into Claire's death was held shortly after the article appeared. The coroner ruled that Claire committed suicide after deciding her 'day-dreams' of becoming a pop star would never come true.

Claire's diary was scrutinised by Scotland Yard, but no action was taken against the DJs, who, she alleged, had 'used' her for their own sexual gratification.

They were never even questioned, let alone identified. 'It would be ridiculous to connect anyone or anything mentioned in her diary with reality,' a police spokesman said at the time.

Or, to put another way, Claire was a portrayed as a troubled fantasist. Her death, however tragic, had nothing to do with a sex scandal involving the showbusiness establishment.

Does anyone reading her story for the first time today really believe that now?

Claire's family and friends never doubted her.

And someone who knew Claire back then contacted the Mail this week to support the accusations contained in her diary.

Suicide: Claire McAlpine, 15, pictured dancing in the Top Of The Pops audience just weeks before she died

The allegations made '-- and casually dismissed both within and outside the BBC '-- by Claire McAlpine all those years ago can point only to one dreadful conclusion: that far from being alone, the predatory behaviour displayed by Jimmy Savile, national icon and charity fundraiser, was common among many big showbusiness names of the time.

Indeed, all this week accusations have been appearing in national newspapers about various well-known DJs. How many famous men are sitting at home now terrified that the truth is about to come out?

They may not have been paedophiles (although we know of at least two, namely Jonathan King and former Radio 1 DJ Chris Denning, who were) but they were part of the same culture of permissiveness that allowed the moral boundary surrounding under-age sex to become blurred.

Might this be the real reason for the code of omerta that seems to have prevented many of those who must have known about Jimmy Savile's predilection for young girls from speaking out?

Even now, almost all the Radio 1 disc jockeys who worked alongside Savile for years have remained silent over the abuse allegations. Only one, Emperor Rosko, real name Mike Pasternak, was more candid when asked about Savile's sexual misdemeanours.

A picture from Top of The Pops in 1971 shows Claire McAlpine, centre, dancing on stage with Jimmy Savile, third from right, only weeks before she died

'I had heard rumours, but then most of us in the spotlight had rumours to deal with,' he admitted.

Either way, it is difficult to imagine such a scenario arising in the very changed world of today. Back then, though, Britain was a very different place.

Original copies of Alice Cooper's 1972 album School's Out, for example, went on sale with a pair of panties (available in four different colours) wrapped around the record sleeve.

Blind Faith's debut album (featuring the likes of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Steve Winwood) was released at around the same time with a topless, pubescent girl on the cover.

One of Eric Clapton's girlfriends from those days was only 16 when she started going out with him, and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page was accompanying a 14-year-old model around Hollywood. Yet no one epitomised this laissez-faire sexual morality, which, in one way or another, allowed Jimmy Savile's vile activities to continue for so long, than the late, saintly John Peel.

Bizarre: Late BBC Radio DJ John Peel, who died in 2004, poses wearing a schoolgirl uniform in 1973

Peel, awarded the OBE in 1998, is perhaps best remembered for his Saturday morning programme Home Truths on Radio 4 in which he talked about family life to Middle England.

But as a young man, he worked in Texas as a local radio station DJ and self-appointed 'Beatles expert'.

When he was older, he recalled some of the 'perks' of the job in several newspaper interviews in the Seventies and Eighties.

Girls, some as young as 13, he said, used to queue up outside his studio to offer him sexual favours. 'Well, of course, I didn't ask for ID,' he said.

'All they wanted me to do was to abuse them sexually which, of course I was only too happy to do.

'It was the glamour of the job'‰.'‰.'‰.'‰but frustratingly, American girls of that period '-- as they do now, actually '-- had this strange notion of virginity as a tangible thing which you surrendered to your husband on your wedding night.

'So they would do anything but s*** you. They'd give you a b*** *** before they'd s*** you.'

Even now, and allowing for Peel's famously sardonic humour, it is troubling that those words came from Radio 4's cuddly champion of middle-class values. One of the girls who queued up outside his studio was a girl called Shirley Anne Milburn. She and Peel were married in Texas on September 29, 1965.

Peel was 26 years old. Shirley Anne was just 15.

'She lied about her age and so did her family,' he would later declare.

Peel brought his wife to London two years later, but the marriage began to founder almost immediately as his star soared on Radio 1. They were divorced in 1973. Some years later, after returning to the U.S., she committed suicide.

By then, Peel '-- who married his second wife, Sheila, in 1974, and with whom he had four children '-- had become a pillar of the community in the village of Great Finborough, Suffolk.

Nevertheless, the DJ '-- who died in 2004 '-- kept up a running gag in his column in Sounds (a rock music weekly) in the mid-Seventies about how he preferred the company of fans when they were dressed as schoolgirls.

The column was often illustrated with photos of Peel posing with young girls dressed St Trinian's-style in short gym skirts, stockings and suspenders. For one series of pictures, he dressed in a schoolgirl uniform himself.

Alan Lewis, a one-time editor of Sounds, says Peel's regular references to schoolgirls were 'half joking, half serious'. But he admits: 'We really did go quite far on occasion.'

Unbelievably, Peel also ran a Schoolgirl of the Year competition on his Radio 1 show.

So, on the one hand, you have John Peel, and his 'revelations' about under-age girls queuing up for sex with him outside his studio in Texas, and on the other, Jimmy Savile '-- 'Sir Jimmy' '-- grooming girls as young as 12 by offering them sweets, cigarettes and tickets to be in the audience of his shows.

Questions raised: The legendary DJ, right with his OBE, would brag about sex with young girls and married his first wife Shirley when he was 26 and she was 15

Let's not forget Jonathan King, record producer and TV presenter, who like Savile, cruised the streets in his Rolls-Royce looking for victims, before being jailed for seven years in 2001 for attacks on young boys.

Chris Denning, a close friend of King's and member of the original team of DJs hired by Radio 1 (along with the likes of Alan Freeman and Kenny Everett), was also locked up for four years in 2006 for sexually abusing children.

We have been given the names of two more DJs who were sexual predators, according to a victim of one of the stars and an associate of the other.

One of them allegedly tried to rape a girl at a party in Dolphin Square, Pimlico, Central London, back in the Eighties. Many of the big-name

DJs and their agents lived in apartments and townhouses in the Dolphin Square area.

'I was just out of college and working for Capital Radio,' the girl told the Mail this week. 'I was probably around 21 at the time but was very petite and looked much younger. The party was being held at an agent's place.

'The DJ he represented just caught me by surprise. He was about twice my height and quadruple the weight of me, or so it seemed.

Abuser: Jonathan King leaves Maidstone Prison in 2005 after serving less than half his seven-year sentence for abusing teenage boys

'Suddenly, I was being yanked into a bedroom off the main reception room, where I was forced backwards onto the bed. I fought him off and managed to get out of the bedroom and left.'

Shows such as Top Of The Pops also became 'happy hunting grounds', itseems, for some DJs and other showbusiness personalities.

Music journalist David Hepworth, a former editor of Smash Hits magazine, offered this explanation: 'Most of the DJs of the Seventies and Eighties

Had come up via the ballroom circuit or holiday camps. 'They thought it part of their job to make sure the prettiest girls in the audience were hauled up on the stage to pose with them during personal appearances or TV spots.

'This was an era when all any star-struck teenage girl wanted was to be in the audience of Top Of The Pops. The podiums were high, skirts were short and the camera angles low.' Pretty young girls, like poor Claire

Tragedy: Claire McAlpine, pictured left aged 6 and right as a teenager, died of an overdose in 1971 and left behind a diary which mentioned famous radio DJ's who had 'used' her

McAlpine, were known as 'Dolly Dancers', which perhaps tells you all you need to know about the culture that prevailed back then.

Claire was adopted. Her birth name was Claire Ufland. She also used the stage name Samantha Claire and had been chosen to appear on Top Of The Pops on four occasions. But her mother, Vera McAlpine, began to suspect something was amiss after her daughter had stayed out all night following a phone call from a girl who said Claire would spend the night with her.

It was then that she decided to read Claire's diary for the first time. She told her daughter she must never see the DJs concerned again and 'grounded' her for a month.

'I'd been worried about her for some time,' Mrs McAlpine said in an interview back then. 'She was mad about the pop scene and always talking about disc jockeys and pop stars she met and how wonderful they all were. She simply idolised them.

'I was very disturbed by other references in the diary, which mentioned many names. Some of the passages were so shocking that I would rather not repeat them. But the police know what they said.'

Just one month after Mrs McAlpine opened that diary, Claire was dead.

Jenni Bale knew Claire. She was 22 and also a dancer on Top Of The Pops. She says one of the DJs who abused Claire was Jimmy Savile, who 'bluffed his way out of it'.

'Claire's diary entries were later described as fantasy by the police, a terrible slur against someone who couldn't defend herself,' said Jenni.

'I believe Claire lost her life all those years ago because of what was done to her. She would probably be a mother herself now.'

We now know that Jimmy Savile was almost certainly one of the DJs named in Claire's diary. The question is: who were the others?

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EUROLand

Brussel wil Europese belastingen

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Source: Een andere kijk op nieuws @infomagnl » Nieuws items

Sun, 07 Oct 2012 11:47

Geplaatst @ 7 oktober 2012

Er wordt vooralsnog door de staatslieden van de verschillende landen alleen nog sceptisch over gesproken, maar in de besluitvormingsmachinerie van Brussel malen de molens onverstoorbaar door: Er moet een Europees belastingstel komen en daarmee zal weer een belangrijk deel van de nationale soevereiniteit ondergraven worden.Zo ligt er nu een voorstel klaar van Marianne Thyssen. Zij maakt deel uit van de European People's Party, de machtigste partij in het Europese Parlement. De verwachting is dat dit voorstel met overweldigende meerderheid aangenomen zal worden.

Het voorstel is na enig zoeken in het digitale oerwoud van het Europese parlement terug te vinden in de procedurelijst van het parlement. Een lijst die weliswaar via Google openbaar te vinden is, maar door zijn volstrekt ontoegankelijke karakter alleen bestemd lijkt te zijn voor de betrokken politici en bestuurders te Brussel.

In dit voorstel van de European People's Party staat wat ze in Brussel het liefst willen: zelf belasting innen:

Recommendation 2.4: A central European budget raised by own taxes

Uiteraard wordt dit alles nog steeds geformuleerd in de meest wollige denkbare variaties omtrent co¶rdinaties tussen de landen, en dan met name de eurolanden. Maar, en dat is belangrijk, bij al die wollige formuleringen werd telkens weer gesteld dat de huidige crisis ertoe zou nopen. Zo wordt de crisissfeer gebruikt om in alle stilte, ver buiten de dagelijke publiciteit steeds meer seinen op groen te zetten opdat u binnenkort geen blauwe envelop van de Nederlandse staat in uw brievenbus krijgt, maar een envelop uit Brussel.

Let daarop op dit soort formuleringen:

The free movement of capital cannot be used as a way to avoid tax, in particular for Member States whose currency is the euro and that are experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability in the euro area. Therefore the Commission should finalise international agreement rounds and table proposals to improve cooperation and coordination between tax authorities.

Het openbare verhaaltje uit Brussel is nog steeds dat zo'n Europees belastingstel er in de verste verte niet aankomt. Maar u weet nu dus beter.

Voor wie het trouwens op kan brengen: Het is de moeite waard om de hele motie van Thyssen eens door te lezen. (De eerste vijf pagina's kunt u overslaan.) Het biedt een aardiog inzicht in de totale ontmanteling van de natiestaat, die hierin wordt geformuleerd. Deze gaat samen met een grote inbreng van het Europees Parlement en lijkt daardoor samen te gaan met meer democratie, waar juist van het omgekeerde sprake is.

Het kader hiervoor werd overigens geschapen door een recent rapport van Herman van Rompuy. Hierin worden de grote lijnen geschetst naar meer Europese en minder nationale macht.

Het gebeurt waar we bijstaan. Maar we hebben geen idee.

Lagarde list: Greek investigation swings into action.

Link to Article

Source: A diary of deception and distortion

Sun, 07 Oct 2012 11:21

Former Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis'...on the list

Greece's Financial prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis confirmed last night that they believe some 1.5bn euros were hidden in an HSBC branch in Geneva by 1,991 public and political figures on the so-called Lagarde List. A separate charge sheet will be drawn up against every individual suspected of tax evasion 'and other financial crimes'.

The prosecutors, who are conducting a preliminary investigation into the list, are expected to summon as witnesses political figures who handled the data, including former Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Papaconstantinou. But opinion leaders in Athens scoffed at the idea of Venizelos having left the list unaltered during the two years it was in his possession.The previous day (Friday) Financial prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis ordered SDOE)to conduct a full investigation into the list, which had been finally and formallysubmitted to the financial prosecutors by SDOE chief Stelios Stasinopoulos two days earlier.

Says a long-term Athens source:

''The Lagarde list contains many big names from political and media circles. Soon the mainstream newspapers will also run a major story about a related scandal in which 3 members of New democracy are involved: the current President of the Parliament, an ex Minister, and another member of the governing party. In this case the three accused politicians helped a prominent entrepreneur to get '‚¬300m from the banks and then launder the money through his twelve offshore companies''.

But speculation remains rife in several European capitals as to why IMF boss Christine Lagarde leaked the list to Venizelos when she was still Minister of Economics in the Sarkozy government. One German source suggests that she did so knowing the list would embarrass Berlin '' given some of the payments made to List-members involved the corrupt sale of submarines by Germany to Greece some years previously.

Equally open to conjecture is why Venizelos chose now to hand over the list, given that some prominent PASOK members are on it.

Stay tuned: the ripples from this could make some serious waves throughout the eurozone.

Yesterday at The Slog: Choosing between remote shareholders and the social good.

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Portugal Distress Signal

Email from nelson.s.ferreira

1. National republic day holiday abolished next year

2. Prime minister absent from todays ceremony

3. Ceremony closed to the public 1st time ever

4. Flag hoisted upside down

Flag raising error stirs anger in Portugal. (Euronews video)

Link to Article

Source: WT news feed

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 19:53

Celebrations to mark Portugal's Republic Day took on an extra symbolic relevance when President Cavaco Silva unknowingly raised the country's flag upside down.

The internationally recognised signal of distress came on the last time October 5 will be deemed a public holiday having been abolished in an austerity measure.

The day was full of protests; one woman interrupted the last few minutes of the president's speech to complain of the hardships under which she and millions of Portuguese are living, while another joined her and sang an emotionally charged revolutionary song.

With Portugal having just adopted sweeping tax hikes in the struggle to implement budget goals under its international bailout requirement, public discontent with the government is likely to continue.

More about:National Day, Portugal, ProtestCopyright (C) 2012 euronews

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Presidential Debate: Spain Shocked after Diss by Mitt Romney

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Fri, 05 Oct 2012 08:31

Fox News Latino montage with Getty and AP photos.

Spain has been dealing with many blows lately. An economic crisis, record unemployment, protests over austerity measures. Its latest setback: a diss by presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

"Spain spends 42 percent of their total economy on government. We're now spending 42 percent of our economy on government,'' Romney said during the debate. ''I don't want to go down the path to Spain."

Spaniards were shocked that they were unexpectedly slammed in the debate. Romney ''launches a direct verbal attack at Spain,'' said El Economista.

Most Spaniards were asleep when Romney spoke, but his comments made headlines Thursday '' all the major Spanish publications made a big splash with his quote. Some Spaniards criticized him for singling out Spain. Others were not surprised, saying the country is a poster child for economic gloom.

Romney said 42 percent of Spain's gross domestic product is government spending. The Eurostat statistics agency says it was 43.6 percent in 2011, lower than the 49.1 percent average for the European Union's 27 countries.

Several thousand people took to the streets of Madrid last week to protest austerity measures. Police with batons charged at protesters and some demonstrators broke down barricades and threw rocks and bottles.

With reporting by The Associated Press.

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Duizenden agenten in Athene voor bezoek Merkel - Een andere kijk op nieuws @infomagnl -

Oil Cabal

UPDATE 6-Oil rises on Syria, refinery fire lifts U.S. gasoline

Link to Article

Fri, 05 Oct 2012 22:32

* Turkey strikes on Syria raise regional security fears

* Refinery fires in U.S., Russia lift U.S. refined products

* Coming up: U.S. Sept. nonfarm payrolls 8:30 a.m. EDT Friday (Recasts, updates prices, market activity; changes byline and dateline, pvs LONDON)

By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Thursday as Turkey's retaliatory strikes on a Syria sparked additional concern about potential disruptions to Middle East oil supply, while U.S. gasoline futures rallied after a fire at a refinery in Texas.

Crude futures bounced after Brent's 3-percent and U.S. crude's 4-percent retreat the previous session, with U.S. RBOB gasoline also rallying from slump on Wednesday.

Adding support for crude futures, the euro hit a two-week high against the dollar after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi affirmed his commitment to preserve the region's monetary system and its currency.

The dollar index fell and a weak U.S. currency is usually supportive to dollar-denominated commodities like oil.

Equities on Wall Street pushed higher at the open after U.S. jobless claims data came in near expectations and on the ECB news.

"Turkey's strikes on Syria caused the short covering after yesterday's losses in crude and the stock market rise and weak dollar also were factors," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Brent November crude rose $1.39 to $109.56 a barrel by 11:13 a.m. EDT (1513 GMT), having reached $110.13.

U.S. November crude was up $1.16 at $89.30 a barrel, having reached $89.53, but still below the 100-day moving average of $89.93, a technical level closely watched by chart-watching traders.

U.S. RBOB gasoline jumped up 7.61 cents to $2.8756 a gallon, having reached $2.9006, after sliding nearly 7 cents the previous session. Thursday's session peak was back above the 100-day moving average of $2.8774.

U.S. heating oil , the benchmark distillate contract, rose 4.10 cents to $3.1074 a gallon.

TURKEY, SYRIA SPAR

Turkey stepped up retaliatory artillery strikes on a Syrian border town, while its parliament approved further military action if there is more spillover from Syria's internal conflict.

Damascus apologized through the United Nations for shelling southeast Turkey on Wednesday and said it would not happen again, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said.

REFINERY FIRES

A fire broke out late Wednesday at Exxon Mobil Corp's refining and chemical complex in Baytown, Texas, the largest operating U.S. refinery.

According to sources familiar with refinery operations, the fire broke out at the diesel hydrotreating unit, which uses hydrogen to remove sulfur from motor fuel at the 560,000-barrel per day (bpd) refinery.

The smaller, 130,000-bpd, Saratov refinery in Russia also caught fire on Thursday.

(Additional reporting by Alice Baghdjian in London and Ramya Venugopal in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

UPDATE 1-TNK-BP halts Russia's Saratov oil refinery after fire

Link to Article

Fri, 05 Oct 2012 22:32

UPDATE 1-TNK-BP halts Russia's Saratov oil refinery after fireTop News

UPDATE 1-TNK-BP halts Russia's Saratov oil refinery after fire

Thu, Oct 04 10:52 AM EDT

* Refinery normally produces 130,000 bpd of refined products

* Five people injured, one seriously

* Visbreaker caught fire, cause unknown - report

By Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Oil processing at Russia's Saratov oil refinery, owned by Anglo-Russian company TNK-BP, was suspended on Thursday after it caught fire, TNK-BP said.

It's not clear when the refinery, which normally produces 130,000 barrels per day of refined products, will resume production after the fire which struck at about 1100 GMT.

Five workers were injured, and one of them is in a serious condition, the local office of the Emergencies Ministry said. It added that the fire had been localised.

"Oil processing has been temporarily suspended. The cause of fire and damage are being investigated," TNK-BP press service said, citing the plant's director general Konstantin Gusarov.

Saratov refinery, 850 km (600 miles) southeast of Moscow and built in 1934, is the third-largest refinery owned by TNK-BP and is of strategic importance for exports.

A local news agency posted a video showing fire and black smoke rising from a refinery unit. It said that the fire hit a visbreaker, part of a crude distillation unit, with a capacity of 800,000 tonnes of tar a year.

Saratov refinery produced 4.6 million tonnes of oil products in January-August including 1.3 million tonnes of fuel oil, 942,300 tonnes of diesel and 668,800 tonnes of gasoline, according to Energy Ministry data.

About 1.721 million tonnes were exported, mainly by sea but also overland to Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. Exporting items included fuel oil, heating oil and gasoil.

Russian refineries, build mostly between the 1940s and 1970s, have been undergoing large-scale modernisation amid government's efforts to improve quality of the domestic fuel.

UPDATE 1-TNK-BP halts Russia's Saratov oil refinery after fireTop News

UPDATE 1-TNK-BP halts Russia's Saratov oil refinery after fire

Thu, Oct 04 10:52 AM EDT

* Refinery normally produces 130,000 bpd of refined products

* Five people injured, one seriously

* Visbreaker caught fire, cause unknown - report

By Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Oil processing at Russia's Saratov oil refinery, owned by Anglo-Russian company TNK-BP, was suspended on Thursday after it caught fire, TNK-BP said.

It's not clear when the refinery, which normally produces 130,000 barrels per day of refined products, will resume production after the fire which struck at about 1100 GMT.

Five workers were injured, and one of them is in a serious condition, the local office of the Emergencies Ministry said. It added that the fire had been localised.

"Oil processing has been temporarily suspended. The cause of fire and damage are being investigated," TNK-BP press service said, citing the plant's director general Konstantin Gusarov.

Saratov refinery, 850 km (600 miles) southeast of Moscow and built in 1934, is the third-largest refinery owned by TNK-BP and is of strategic importance for exports.

A local news agency posted a video showing fire and black smoke rising from a refinery unit. It said that the fire hit a visbreaker, part of a crude distillation unit, with a capacity of 800,000 tonnes of tar a year.

Saratov refinery produced 4.6 million tonnes of oil products in January-August including 1.3 million tonnes of fuel oil, 942,300 tonnes of diesel and 668,800 tonnes of gasoline, according to Energy Ministry data.

About 1.721 million tonnes were exported, mainly by sea but also overland to Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. Exporting items included fuel oil, heating oil and gasoil.

Russian refineries, build mostly between the 1940s and 1970s, have been undergoing large-scale modernisation amid government's efforts to improve quality of the domestic fuel.

Oil jumps, gasoline futures gain 5 percent on refinery fire

Link to Article

Fri, 05 Oct 2012 22:31

Oil jumps, gasoline futures gain 5 percent on refinery fireTop News

Oil jumps, gasoline futures gain 5 percent on refinery fire

Thu, Oct 04 17:30 PM EDT

By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices jumped 4 percent on Thursday as inflamed Middle East tensions stoked supply fears and U.S. gasoline futures rallied following a fire at the largest operating refinery in the United States.

Brent crude posted the biggest percentage gain since late June as news of the refinery fire at the diesel hydrotreater unit at Exxon Mobil's (XOM.N) Baytown, Texas, refinery sent RBOB gasoline futures up more than 5 percent at times in afternoon trade.

Further support for oil came from U.S. equities gains after weekly jobless claims data suggested improvement in the labor market ahead of the monthly nonfarm payrolls report to be released on Friday.

In the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria, Turkey stepped up retaliatory artillery strikes on a Syrian border town after what it called "the last straw" when a mortar hit Akcakale, killing a mother, her three children and a female relative.

The market had been on edge about possible disruptions to supplies from the oil-rich region due to the standoff between the West and Tehran over Iran's nuclear program.

"You have the Middle East and the euro strong against the weaker dollar because people think Europe may yet get a handle on their debt crisis," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

"Gasoline and heating oil are stronger because of the refinery fire."

The euro hit a two-week high against the greenback, giving a boost to dollar denominated commodities, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi affirmed his commitment to preserve the region's monetary system and its currency.

Brent November crude rose $4.41 to settle at $112.58 a barrel, snapping three days of losses that had pushed prices to just above $108 a barrel.

The settlement left Brent back above the 200-day moving average of $112.11 and the 50-day moving average of $112.28, technical levels closely watched by chart-watching traders and analysts.

U.S. November crude gained $3.57 to settle at $91.71 a barrel, back above the 100-day moving average of $89.95 and ending a two-session string of losses.

The oil complex was led by U.S. RBOB gasoline, which shot up 14.34 cents to settle at $2.9429 a gallon, moving back above the 100-day moving average of $2.8780 and putting the 200-day moving average of $2.9696 in sight.

U.S. heating oil, the benchmark distillate contract, pushed 12.20 cents higher to settle at $3.1884 a gallon.

Cash gasoline and diesel prices on the Gulf Coast also surged on news of the Baytown refinery fire.

Total Brent trading volume was 7 percent above the 30-day average, with U.S. crude turnover less than 1 percent under its 30-day average.

Heating oil futures volume was strong, exceeding the 30-day average by 32 percent.

U.S. stocks on Wall Street and industrial commodities posted gains, lifted by data showing that U.S. jobless claims rose but less than expected.

Investors were also awaiting Friday's key U.S. September nonfarm payrolls report for signs of improvement, which could in turn lead to an increase in demand for petroleum and consumer goods.

REFINERY FIRES

With U.S. product inventories tightening and the winter heating season looming, traders keenly monitored developments at Exxon's massive 560,500-barrel per day Baytown complex.

The company said Wednesday's fire had impacted production but that the problems had been contained in one processing unit which sources familiar with refinery operations said was a diesel hydrotreater.

Support also came from news that a smaller, 130,000-bpd Saratov refinery in Russia also caught fire on Thursday.

(Additional reporting by Matthew Robinson in New York, Alice Baghdjian in London and Ramya Venugopal in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Alden Bentley and Jim Marshall)

Oil jumps, gasoline futures gain 5 percent on refinery fireTop News

Oil jumps, gasoline futures gain 5 percent on refinery fire

Thu, Oct 04 17:30 PM EDT

By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices jumped 4 percent on Thursday as inflamed Middle East tensions stoked supply fears and U.S. gasoline futures rallied following a fire at the largest operating refinery in the United States.

Brent crude posted the biggest percentage gain since late June as news of the refinery fire at the diesel hydrotreater unit at Exxon Mobil's (XOM.N) Baytown, Texas, refinery sent RBOB gasoline futures up more than 5 percent at times in afternoon trade.

Further support for oil came from U.S. equities gains after weekly jobless claims data suggested improvement in the labor market ahead of the monthly nonfarm payrolls report to be released on Friday.

In the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria, Turkey stepped up retaliatory artillery strikes on a Syrian border town after what it called "the last straw" when a mortar hit Akcakale, killing a mother, her three children and a female relative.

The market had been on edge about possible disruptions to supplies from the oil-rich region due to the standoff between the West and Tehran over Iran's nuclear program.

"You have the Middle East and the euro strong against the weaker dollar because people think Europe may yet get a handle on their debt crisis," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

"Gasoline and heating oil are stronger because of the refinery fire."

The euro hit a two-week high against the greenback, giving a boost to dollar denominated commodities, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi affirmed his commitment to preserve the region's monetary system and its currency.

Brent November crude rose $4.41 to settle at $112.58 a barrel, snapping three days of losses that had pushed prices to just above $108 a barrel.

The settlement left Brent back above the 200-day moving average of $112.11 and the 50-day moving average of $112.28, technical levels closely watched by chart-watching traders and analysts.

U.S. November crude gained $3.57 to settle at $91.71 a barrel, back above the 100-day moving average of $89.95 and ending a two-session string of losses.

The oil complex was led by U.S. RBOB gasoline, which shot up 14.34 cents to settle at $2.9429 a gallon, moving back above the 100-day moving average of $2.8780 and putting the 200-day moving average of $2.9696 in sight.

U.S. heating oil, the benchmark distillate contract, pushed 12.20 cents higher to settle at $3.1884 a gallon.

Cash gasoline and diesel prices on the Gulf Coast also surged on news of the Baytown refinery fire.

Total Brent trading volume was 7 percent above the 30-day average, with U.S. crude turnover less than 1 percent under its 30-day average.

Heating oil futures volume was strong, exceeding the 30-day average by 32 percent.

U.S. stocks on Wall Street and industrial commodities posted gains, lifted by data showing that U.S. jobless claims rose but less than expected.

Investors were also awaiting Friday's key U.S. September nonfarm payrolls report for signs of improvement, which could in turn lead to an increase in demand for petroleum and consumer goods.

REFINERY FIRES

With U.S. product inventories tightening and the winter heating season looming, traders keenly monitored developments at Exxon's massive 560,500-barrel per day Baytown complex.

The company said Wednesday's fire had impacted production but that the problems had been contained in one processing unit which sources familiar with refinery operations said was a diesel hydrotreater.

Support also came from news that a smaller, 130,000-bpd Saratov refinery in Russia also caught fire on Thursday.

(Additional reporting by Matthew Robinson in New York, Alice Baghdjian in London and Ramya Venugopal in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Alden Bentley and Jim Marshall)

Armageddon

Sky-high gas prices in California reveal energy infrastructure ripe for sudden collapse

Link to Article

Source: Dprogram.net

Sun, 07 Oct 2012 09:42

(NaturalNews) '' If you're in California, you're paying sky-high prices for gasoline this week. At some stations, prices are over $5 a gallon. But you might not be aware of why you're paying this price. The answer may be more than a little disturbing: California's energy infrastructure is so fragile that a power outage at a single gasoline refinery caused state-wide prices to skyrocket.

Yep, an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance was knocked offline several days ago by a local power outage. This, in turn, caused a sudden spike in gasoline prices state-wide. This whole fiasco may have been set off by something like a single electrical transformer failing somewhere along the electrical supply chain.

What this really reveals is just how close to collapse California's energy infrastructure really is. And it's worse than you think, by the way: California can't import gasoline from neighboring states because its fuel refining requirements are so stringent due to air quality control concerns.

As Nancy Rivera Brooks, the LA Times editor, explained in a recent interview:

Because we have such a clean-burning recipe for gasoline here, very few refineries make it outside California, and there aren't pipelines that bring it into California from those refineries that can make it. When something goes wrong, you're stuck with what you've got in your tank.

I bet most Californians had no idea the gasoline supply across their entire state depends on a couple of high-voltage wires feeding a single refinery in Torrance. That's how amazingly fragile California's energy infrastructure really is. There are no pipelines from other states! When California's refineries go out, they're out!

And given how California is steeped in the culture of driving for hours each day, a loss of gasoline supply is the equivalent of an economic collapse. Without gasoline, in other words, California's economy grinds to a halt almost immediately. For starters, nobody can get to work!

Despite the fragile nature of systems upon which they depend, most Californians don't practice anything resembling preparedness. They have no stored gasoline, no stored water, no stored food and virtually no other supplies, either. They live their lives completely dependent on the system, and so they freak out when the system fails. They've been told the system won't fail, but of course it does'... sometimes catastrophically.

I know lots of people who live in Los Angeles. When I talk with them, I often ask what their plans are for a ''grid down'' scenario. The answers I get include things like, ''I will try to escape by boat.'' Or, ''I hope it won't be that bad.'' Some even tell me, ''I try not to think about that.'' I love my friends, but many of them are living in denial.

And they're not alone. Most Los Angeles residents have never really considered the reality of the city in which they live. If you think gasoline prices are bad right now from one little power outage at a refinery, just wait until the water pumps fail.

Los Angeles is an artificial city built in a desert. There is virtually no natural water supply there. Most of the water used by the city today is delivered using masses of electricity and a complex network of tunnels and pumps to lift an entire river of water 2,000 feet up and over the Tehachapi Mountains. That delivery system is called the California Aqueduct. Click here to see pictures of it.

Where does the electricity come from to power these pumps? Think about it. The Edmonston Pumping Plant has 14 pumps that push water over the mountains. Each one of those pumps uses 80,000 horsepower. These pumps use so much power that a power generating station had to be constructed nearby, just to power the pumps. A picture of that power station appears here. From the photo, it appears to burn coal, although I'm not 100% sure of the energy source.

If it's coal, this means that in Los Angeles, using water is the equivalent of burning coal. When you water your lawn, you burn coal. When you wash your car, you burn coal. When you even drink water, you're burning coal. Because of this, the very act of living in Los Angeles is one of the most environmentally-unfriendly activities imaginable. So much for the ''environmentalists'' who live in L.A. and claim to be living in harmony with the planet. Living in L.A. is, by definition, completely out of harmony with the planet. Los Angeles should not be inhabited by masses of humans. At best, it can naturally support small bands of roaming tribes.

As Navy lieutenant Henry Augustus Wise wrote after visiting California in 1847:

Under no contingency does the natural face of Upper California appear susceptible of supporting a very large population: the country is hilly and mountainous; great dryness prevails during the summers, and occasionally excessive droughts parch up the soil for periods of 12 or 18 months. Only in the plains and valleys where streams are to be found, and even those will have to be watered by artificial irrigation, does there seem the hope of being sufficient tillable land to repay the husbandman and afford subsistence to inhabitants.

What exists in Los Angeles today, in other words, is 100% artificial. Another term for that is non-sustainable. When the water pumps fail, Los Angeles immediately falls into a state of collapse.

This recent gas price blip is but a gentle reminder of the reality of living in or near Los Angeles. This is a city which cannot be evacuated. Too many people and too few roads. As a result, if the water pumps fail, most residents will simply die within days.

To live in Los Angeles is to bet your life on the machines, day after day, and usually with zero preparedness buffer. To live in Los Angeles without a backup supply of food, water, supplies and medicine is truly a suicidal gamble.

Because if fuel prices can hit $5 / gallon virtually overnight, from a tiny little blip in a refinery, what happens in a full-blown economic collapse or grid-down scenario?

The solution to all this? Buffer yourself and your family from infrastructure failures. Have a supply of water, storable food, emergency medicine, emergency fuel and the means for self defense.

If you live in Los Angeles, you are living in a highly vulnerable area. Take steps now to ensure your long-term safety even if refineries fail or something worse unfolds.

Being prepared is being safe!

Source: Natural News

Related posts:

The Real Reasons For High Gasoline Prices100% Certainty of Total Catastrophic Failure of Entire Power Infrastructure Within 3 YearsLatest Computer Virus Attacks the Energy SectorFlame malware, created by US government, could wreck critical infrastructureIsrael's War Plan: the Complete Destruction of Iran's Civilian InfrastructureRadioactive buckyballs from Fukushima invade California beachesCarbon Agenda Sets Stage for Rolling Blackouts in CaliforniaUS And China Wage War'... Against Green Energy

Gasoline Hits Record High Price In California

FEMA Ordered to Plan for Overwhelming Numbers of Dead Americans.

Link to Article

Source: @CrisisClub

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 19:01

Kimberly Paxtonwww.TheDailySheeple.comOctober 6th, 2012Reader Views: 431

The US Congress has put the government's purchase of over a billion and a half rounds of hollow point bullets into perspective with their latest legislative offering, HR Bill 6566: The Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act.

The act was quietly passed on September 28, but only caught public attention yesterday. It mandates Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make preparations for fatalities so great in number that mortuaries, hospitals and funeral homes are overwhelmed.

This bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002, requiring the Administrator of FEMA to ''provide guidance and coordination for mass fatality planning, and for other purposes.''

According to the text of the Bill:

Congress finds the following:

(1) Emergency preparedness often plans for how to prepare and provide for survivors of a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster, but fails to plan for how to prepare for and respond to mass fatalities that result from such an incident.

(2) Funeral homes, cemeteries, and mortuaries could be overwhelmed should mass fatalities arise from a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster.

(3) Different religions have different customs surrounding death; for example, the Jewish and Muslim religions call for burial of the deceased not later than 48 hours after death.

We must be very concerned when plans are put into place to deal with such a large number of dead bodies. This video provides further analysis of the Bill:

The de facto government of the United States has just moved another piece on the chessboard in a game that was begun with the false flag event of 9/11 and the subsequent enactment of the unPatriot Act. We should be extremely concerned that plans are being made for such a massive death toll on American soil that civilian facilities will be unable to keep pace. The wheels are turning faster'...

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

Contributed by Kimberly Paxton of www.TheDailySheeple.com.

Kimberly Paxton, a staff writer for the Daily Sheeple, is based out of upstate New York.

Leave A Comment...The Daily Sheeple Home Page

Full Text of H.R. 6566: Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act - GovTrack.us

Ministry of Truth

American Airlines Blames Loose Seats On Soda

Link to Article

Source: WT news feed

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 19:10

(Updates with name of seat maker in sixth paragraph.)Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- American Airlines aircraft seats that dislodged in flight, causing the temporary grounding of 48 Boeing Co. 757s, already had been under closer scrutiny by the carrier for becoming loose sooner than others.

The airline initially blamed incorrectly installed saddle clamps before determining that a buildup of residue from spilled sodas, coffee and juice had kept locking pins from remaining in place, David Campbell, American's vice president for safety, security and environmental, said in an interview today.

''We look every month because we have seen they were coming loose a little more than the average fleet we have,'' he said. ''We have a very aggressive maintenance program. There were just generally problems with the seat in terms of how it's designed compared to later designs out there.''

The seat issues developed as the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline, operating in bankruptcy, struggled with delayed flights and tried to fend off a takeover attempt by US Airways Group Inc. American, a unit of AMR Corp., canceled 94 flights yesterday and today while it carried out the inspections.

The seats, which have been used for years, differ from others because two locks are torque-tightened and two tightened by hand instead of all being torque-tightened. The manufacturer recommends inspections every 18 months, Campbell said.

Seat ManufacturerThe seats were designed and made specifically for American by Zodiac Aerospace's Weber Aircraft Inc. unit in Gainesville, Texas. Robert Funk, vice president of sales and marketing for Weber, said in an e-mail that he couldn't immediately respond.

The 757 inspections initially began after seat rows in coach sections worked free on three flights from Sept. 26 through Oct. 1. Seat rows were tightened multiple times on at least one of two planes involved, and one set of seats came loose enough to shift backward toward the next row. The seats never came completely loose from the floor, Campbell said.

The airline and U.S. Federal Aviation Administration are continuing an investigation into the incidents. American mechanics are installing a redundant locking mechanism to address the issue.

''We have a lot of confidence that this is what caused those events,'' Campbell said. The seats are only used on 48 of the airline's 102 757s.

American had completed repairs on 42 of the planes by noon Dallas time, and the airline expects to have all 48 planes back in service by tomorrow, Andrea Huguely, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.

Sugary ResidueMaintenance workers had not previously discovered the buildup of ''coking,'' or the sugary residue, that allowed the pins eventually to work free and let the seats move, Campbell said. Seats normally are removed for various maintenance and the tracks cleaned.

''For some reason, coking has built up on these particular ones and created this problem,'' Campbell said. ''When a perfectly situated plunger is down and locked in, you can't move the seat. But as the aircraft moves and torques, the plunger works back up because the locking pin wasn't secured in place.''

Andreas Eichin was stuck in Bridgetown, Barbados, while trying to return to the U.S. from a business conference. His flight on an American 757 to New York's Kennedy airport and then on to Washington Reagan was delayed two hours yesterday and subsequently canceled.

''We could see it on the tarmac,'' Eichin said today while he was waiting for another American flight. ''They said it was canceled because of a mechanical problem on board.''

Eichin, who primarily flies on United Continental Holdings Inc.'s United Airlines, said that in the future he would ''definitely always try to go for'' that carrier for his once- monthly flights.

Flight delays that began at the carrier in September and the seat woes built on labor unrest after American imposed concessions on pilots to help it restructure in bankruptcy and detailed plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs among mechanics and airport ground workers.

--With assistance from Alan Levin in Washington and Susanna Ray in Seattle. Editors: John Lear, Niamh Ring

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at maryc.s@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net

Syria

Shut Up Slave!

Prison Industrial Complex

Scampaign

Obama, Democrats Raise Record $181 Million in September '' CNBC.com

Link to Article

Source: News 1 Stop

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 17:33

U.S. President Barack Obama's campaign and its Democratic allies raised a record $181 million in September for the president's re-election effort, adding to a fundraising haul that could prove crucial in the final stretch of the White House race.

Obama's campaign said via Twitter on Saturday that 1,825,813 people donated to the campaign last month. Of that, 567,000 were new donors.

A vast majority of the donations '-- 98 percent - were $250 or less. The average contribution was $53.

''That's by far our biggest month yet,'' campaign manager Jim Messina said in an email to supporters, urging them to chip in even more as the Nov. 6 election draws near.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign has not yet released its September fundraising figures, which are also expected to be high. A spokeswoman declined to say when the results would be made public.

Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised more than $114 million in August, just beating Romney's $111 million. That followed three months when Romney out-raised the incumbent.

The big number is another piece of good news for Obama after a jobs report on Friday showed unemployment had dipped to 7.8 percent.

The campaign hoped that jobs report and its fundraising success would shift attention from the president's lackluster debate performance Wednesday against Romney, whose aggressive showing gave his own campaign a boost. (Read More: Do Debates Really Matter?)

A Romney spokeswoman said his team had raised $12 million online after the debate in less than 48 hours, with 60 percent of the money from first-time donors.

Obama's September haul was his biggest of this election cycle, but slightly lower than four years ago, when his campaign and the DNC together brought in $193 million in September. Obama advisers are proud of his campaign's base of low-dollar donors, believing that gives the president an advantage, especially at the end of the election cycle when supporters can keep giving even if they have donated before.

Since the campaign officially kicked off in April 2011, 3.9 million people have donated, it said.

Obama's muted debate performance may increase the need for infusions of cash to fund ads in swing states such as Ohio, Florida, and Iowa.

Both candidates continue to raise money even in the final month of the campaign, reflecting the importance of deep coffers to fund the last flurry of expensive advertising.

Obama leaves on Sunday for a fundraising trip to California in an effort to make October a strong month, as well.

''We need every last dollar to continue to build the largest grassroots campaign in history, communicate with the American people and compete against the special interest money flooding in from the Republican Super PACs,'' campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Republicans have had greater success in raising funds from outside groups known as Super PACs or political action committees, which can spend unlimited amounts on advertising.

Former President Bill Clinton will join Obama at a fundraiser in Los Angeles at a private residence with 12 attendees, the campaign said.

Obama then speaks at an event with some 6,000 people that will feature music from singers Jon Bon Jovi and Jennifer Hudson as well as remarks from actor George Clooney.

Obama was in Washington on Saturday and had no pubic events scheduled. Romney spent the morning at a Florida hotel doing debate preparation with Ohio Senator Rob Portman.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

NEW Osama Bin Laden Movie To Air Two Nights Before Presidential Election

'UNFAIR': OBAMA SUPPORTERS EXPLAIN WHY TELEPROMPTERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED DURING DEBATES

Link to Article

Source: JAFB*

Sun, 07 Oct 2012 11:52

From The Blaze

There are many ideas floating around as to why President Obama underperformed in last Wednesday's debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Al Gore thinks the altitude may have something to do with it, while Bill Maher has suggested the president may have gotten highbefore the battle of wits. Rush Limbaugh and many in the conservative media, however, sayRomney's ideas are simply superior, and Obama has nothing in his record he can defend.

Well, now a new excuse is being peddled.

Apparently, some consider it ''unfair'' that President Obama wasn't able to use his now-infamous teleprompter. As one man stated, ''How's he going to memorize an hour and a half debate?''

Watch Rebel Pundit interview some of the president's most loyal supporters at an Obama for America rally in Wisconsin Thursday, via Breitbart, for more:

''How unfair was it for the Debate Commission to not allow the president to use his teleprompter?'' the interviewer asks at the beginning of the clip.

From there, a number of Obama supporters are seen saying, among other things, that they had no idea Obama was ''off-prompter,'' and that he probably would have fared better if he had been able to read his answers.

''Why? Why would you not let him use his teleprompter, you know?'' one young man asks in response.

To be fair, however, there were some who were torn on the issue, and one who said Obama was strategically ''holding back.''

Soon after, the video ends on a ''fair'' note with two women saying: ''Shouldn't they both be able to [use their teleprompters]?''

. Bookmark the

.

Hollywood Implodes Over Obama Meltdown

Link to Article

Source: FrontPage Magazine

Fri, 05 Oct 2012 21:49

You know you're in serious trouble, if you're a leftwing Democrat, when you've lost Bill Maher. President Obama's performance in the first presidential debate with Governor Mitt Romney was so abysmal that even Maher, a $1 million contributor to an Obama super PAC, had to throw up his hands in despair. ''i can't believe i'm saying this,'' he tweeted, ''but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter.''

And Maher wasn't the only celebrity melting down like the Wicked Witch of the West splashed with a bucket of ice cold water. ''Gore 2016!!!!!'' tweeted Bette Midler. ''Romney gave a solid performance. He'll gain in polls. Obama was very passive. This race just got very close. Scary,'' tweeted Adam McKay, co-creator of Funny or Die, a leftist humor site dedicated in large part to slandering conservatives. Samuel L. Jackson, given to racist rants of late, preferred to suggest that the debate was meaningless '' a contention he wouldn't have made if Obama had won. ''What Really happened tonite?!'' he tweeted, in a motherf-ing rage. ''NOBODY changed who they're voting for!! NOBODY!!!'' Rapper Lil Jon was more succinct: ''EVERYBODY SAY IT WIT ME NOW #F'--ROMNEY.''

he rage for many was palpable. Olivia Wilde, who has made a career out of kissing members of her own gender, tweeted, ''Mittens, if you want the federal gov't out of our health care decisions, then stay the F out of our VAGINAS. #debate2012.'' Of course, Romney has never proposed that anyone go near Olivia Wilde's vagina. Neither has any other conservative. She has full control over her own vagina. Apparently, she does not have full control over her mental faculties.

But she's not alone.

Alec Baldwin went with the textbook ''Obama's too nice and smart for his own good'' meme: ''Obama is a potentially great man who remains mildly uncomfortable in public life. Mitt is a gifted off-shore money tycoon and tax preparer.'' Well, no. Obama's a horrible president who is more than comfortable in public life. He's just not comfortable with criticism. And Romney showed himself to be a gifted debater with a tremendous command of the facts. But Lady Gaga agrees with Alec Baldwin: ''I believe its important to note before this begins that Romney is a millionaire and paid well below the average tax rate, paying only 13.9%.'' Well, Ms. Gaga, how about turning over some tax returns so we can see how much money you've handed over to the federal government,, and, equally important, how much you've given to charity? Or are you going to say your accountant's likely use of tax loopholes merely happened because he was ''born that way''?

Some of Hollywood just kept insisting that Obama had won. Eva Longoria, fresh off cutting a ''war on women'' ad for Obama, tweeted, ''I'm in New Zealand watching the presidential debate! Obama is killing it on health care! #Obama2012.'' She might want to rent in New Zealand if she's going to remain this disconnected from realities here in the United States.

The best line of the night went to Chris Rock, an Obama partisan who also happens to be hysterically funny. ''Obama is waiting for the right moment to pull out Bin Laden's skull from behind the podium. Wait for it. Wait for it '...'' Sure enough, Obama trotted out the ''I Killed Bin Laden'' bumper sticker just before the end of the debate. It fell flat.

In truth, nobody should be happier than Hollywood about a potential Romney victory in the presidential race. Hollywood has suffered massively under the Obama administration. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, US/Canada admissions were down in 2010 and 2011, and slated to be down again this year. The only thing keeping revenues even close to even has been the rise of 3D movies and the uptick in ticket prices. But with demand falling, prices will soon have to fall as well.

As for television, the market remains increasingly fragmented by the internet. More importantly, the Obama administration's rotten economy has hurt advertisers, which indirectly affects the profit margin of the TV industry. Only Fox gained ad revenue in 2011 of the major broadcast networks. CBS declined 3.3%; ABC's fell 3.9%; NBC's fell a whopping 12.9%.

What would help Hollywood? Less regulation. Less taxes. And a booming advertising market driven by consumers spending more money. That can only happen when people earn more money. Hollywood, more than any other industry, is dependent on the disposable income people have. When disposable income drops, as it has for the past four years, people cut back. And one of the places they cut is on their entertainment choices.

With Bill Clinton, Hollywood got the best of both worlds: a liberal president who governed as a conservative on the economy. But with Barack Obama, they've had to face the consequences of the socialism they claim to love. It's clear that most in Hollywood would choose socialism over capitalism if given that choice, even if it hurt them '' at least, that's what they say. The truth is more complicated, and many Hollywoodites would simply blame capitalism for the failure of socialism, even if it is socialistic spending policy in states like California that drive socialistic Hollywood to produce its product elsewhere.

In the end, Hollywood's opinion about the debate isn't really going to matter. Mitt Romney has shown himself capable of speaking directly to the American people '' and that's what frightens Hollywood so much. For years, they've been able to control the political narrative because so few national Republicans have been up to the task of providing a direct alternative. Romney is a good communicator. And the Hollywood left has no clue how to deal with that. Neither does their favored candidate.

War on Generics

Generic antidepressant pulled from U.S. shelves after FDA finding

Link to Article

Source: WT news feed

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 19:11

The Food and Drug Administration took a highly unusual step this week: It acknowledged that a widely used generic drug -- a copycat of the antidepressant Wellbutrin XL -- was not the equivalent of the original drug produced by GlaxoSmithKline since 2003.

The move prompted the world's largest manufacturer of generic drugs, Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals, to stop shipping its generic extended-release bupropion -- marketed as Budeprion 300 mg XL-- and to remove it from U.S. shelves.

The FDA finding marks an about-face for the food and drug safety agency, which in 2009 responded to public concerns by flatly declaring Teva's Budeprion XL "bioequivalent and therapeutically equivalent to (interchangeable with) Wellbutrin XL 300 mg."

The agency's reversal came after a five-year kerfuffle that has called into question its unqualified assertion that all generic medications work exactly as the more costly "pioneer drugs" they are intended to mimic. With millions of American patients switched -- often without notification -- to newer, cheaper forms of the drugs they take, this week's acknowledgment by the FDA may open a small chink on the agency's so-far impenetrable armor on generic drugs.

"The FDA is not infallible," write Joe and Terry Graedon, who publish the column "The People's Pharmacy," and run an online forum by the same name. "Just because the agency says all generic drugs are identical to their brand-name counterparts does not make it so."

The Graedons, whose column long ran in The Los Angeles Times, say they have also collected "a great many other complaints" about the generic forms of the beta-blocker Toprol XL (metaprolol) and the anti-seizure drug Keppra (levetiracitam), and have urged the FDA to look into them.

In recent years, a number of pharmacologists have raised concerns about the FDA's standards for approving a range of generic medications -- concerns that the agency has turned away with the unbending assertion that all generics on the market are "the same as those brand-name drugs in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use."

In calling for the removal of Teva's Budeprion XL this week, the FDA also called on four other generic manufacturers making extended-release forms of Wellbutrin to conduct tests demonstrating that they meet the agency's standards for bioequivalence. Those generic drug-makers are Anchen, Activis, Mylan and Watson.

Last year, the FDA approved the first generic version of the antidepressant Lexapro. In 2010, the agency opened the door to generic versions of the extended-release antidepressant Effexor.

Read more about concerns raised about generics here:Just as good? Generic drugs save money, but there's a growing clamor from patients and doctors that some aren't as effective as their brand-name brethren.

In the case of Budeprion XL, which appeared on the market in December 2006, hundreds of consumers within months began sharing their stories in online chat rooms and with drug watchdog groups: As pharmacies filled their brand-name Wellbutrin XL prescriptions with Teva's new generic version of the antidepressant, patients whose depression had been well-managed quickly found their symptoms returning.

The Graedons turned to ConsumerLab.com with a request to evaluate the generic Budeprion. In October 2007, ConsumerLab.com released a report finding that the Teva product behaved in a markedly different way from Wellbutrin XL: It released its active ingredient in a large early burst -- a pattern that could give patients taking it suddens jolts of medication and leave them with too little medication in their systems by the end of the day.

The FDA, in the end, found pretty much the same thing: In addition to finding that Teva's Budeprion XL 300 mg "failed to meet the FDA's bioequivalence standards for a generic drug," the FDA found that patients taking the generic ended up with 75% of the drug, on average, in their bloodstreams than those taking the brand-name drug.

Generic drugs are a bargain. According to the FDA, they cost 80% to 85% less than the brand-name drugs they copy. Through 2010, generic drugs have saved U.S. consumers $931 billion, according to the Generic Drug Manufacturers.

But some physicians and pharmacologists have warned that certain drugs may need stricter scrutiny to ensure that generic formulations work in the same way as the drugs they follow. In particular, the effectiveness of medications for which there is a fine line between too much and too little -- some blood-thinning drugs, anti-arrhythmics and seizure medications are examples -- may suffer when generic manufacturers devise different formulations to deliver those medications. Extended-release forms of any drug can also be tricky for generic manufacturers to get right.

Bottom line: When you're dispensed a new prescription, check to see whether you've been switched to a generic or from a generic made by one manufacturer to one made by a different generic drug-maker; if you have, be attentive to new side effects, a return of symptoms or any change in your condition, whether it's epilepsy, high blood pressure, depression or irregular heartbeat. If you notice something new, talk to your physician and suggest that he or she make a report to the FDA's Medwatch system, which tracks drug-related "adverse events."

Just as good? - Los Angeles Times

F-Russia

Drone Nation

Cyber War$

New Malware Demands Payment To Get Control Of your Computer Back (Easy Fix Found On Youtube)

In Cyberattacks on Banks, Evidence of a New Weapon

Link to Article

Source: Dave Winer's linkblog feed

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 04:50

How were amateur hackers able to take down some of America's largest banks? And who were they?

Those were some of the bigger mysteries of last week's cyberattacks on Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, PNC, the New York Stock Exchange and others, that caused intermittent Internet outages and delays in online banking.

A group claiming Middle Eastern ties, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, took credit for the attacks online. They claimed to have taken the Web sites down using basic online applications. But security researchers said those methods were far too amateur to have been effective.

Indeed, representatives for PNC, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo all said that while they had systems in place to fend off such ''denial of service'', or DDoS, attacks '-- in which hackers bombard a site with traffic until it falls offline '-- in this case, the volume of traffic was simply ''unprecedented.''

''They must have had help from other sources,'' said Jaime Blasco, a security researcher at AlienVault, who investigated the attacks.

Those sources, it turns out, were data centers around the world that had been infected with a sophisticated form of malware that can evade detection by antivirus solutions. The attackers used those infected servers to simultaneously fire at American financial services companies until they fell offline.

''That method has never been used to this degree before,'' said Carl Herberger, a vice president at Radware, who has been investigating the attacks on behalf of many of the victims. ''By infecting data servers, the attackers were given the horsepower and commercial grade capabilities to affect a massive attack.''

Typically DDoS attacks are deployed through an application '-- like the one hackers claimed to use in their online postings '-- or botnets, networks of infected zombie computers and devices that do hackers' work for them.

In this case, hackers infected data centers first. The malware they used was designed to encrypt itself in order to hide from antivirus solutions '-- defending against such malware is a little like fighting an invisible man. The attacks infected data servers all over the world and then instructed the servers to simultaneously fire at each bank until they took each Web site offline.

Mr. Herberger said Radware traced one of the infected servers back to Saudi Arabia. That does not mean, however, that the attacks originated in Saudi Arabia because the infection could have originated anywhere.

Mr. Herberger said it was still unclear who was behind the attack. Interestingly, he said Radware's researchers did not find any evidence that the attackers used any of the attack tools hackers posted online. ''From our vantage point, those tools were not used,'' he said.

Among remaining unknowns were how these servers were infected in the first place, how widespread the infection rate is, and''perhaps most troubling of all''whether the servers could be leveraged to inflict more damage on another target tomorrow.

''We don't have great answers,'' Mr. Herberger said. ''Until we inoculate this tool, we can't stop the bullets from being fired, we can only try to limit the bullet's impact.''

He added, ''It's the classic chess game that is security.''

Your tax dollars at work: local cops now paid with federal money to troll IRC.

Link to Article

Source: WT news feed

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 19:24

Watch out warez traders, St. Louis cops could be lurking in your IRC channel!

In a speech before an assembled crowd of law enforcement officials in Maryland this week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the winners of a new federal grant that will send hundreds of thousands of dollars to 13 agencies in an effort to step up enforcement of copyright and trademark laws.

The Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Grant Award, which became available in January 2012, was given to a wide variety of local law enforcement groups, including the City of Austin, the City of Orlando, the County of Sacramento, the Virginia State Police, and most oddly, the City of Central Point, Oregon (population: 13,000).

"Although these awards will be utilized in a variety of ways, they will help to achieve our common goals: to advance prosecutions'--as well as prevention and education activities'--related to IP theft," Holder said in a speech at the event on Wednesday.

"Without question, these new investments are coming at a critical time. As our country continues to recover from once-in-a-generation economic challenges, the need to defend IP rights'--and to protect Americans from IP theft'--has never been more urgent. We have seen'--far too often'--that IP crimes are not victimless. Not only can they devastate individual lives and legitimate businesses, they also undermine our nation's financial stability, can jeopardize the health of our citizens, and even threaten our national security."

The announcement marked the latest step in a series of moves that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken in clamping down on piracy and counterfeit goods. The DOJ has made no secret of its unilateral approach to seizing domain names and other digital property through "Operation in our Sites," illustrated most notably in the takedown and indictment of Megaupload in early January 2012.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance, the DOJ agency that administers the grant program, wrote in its 18-page January 2012 application document (PDF), citing a 2009 Rand Corporation report (PDF) linking IP theft to organized crime. The document, however, ignores the 2011 major international study that basically countermands that conclusion. As we reported at the time, that study found "'no evidence' of systematic links between piracy and serious organized crime or terrorism."

Still, Washington, DC hopes that this new money can be used as a way to enhance existing agencies and give them a boost to target counterfeit drugs and physical goods, in addition to unauthorized copies of digital software and media. It will also surely give federal authorities a stronger window into catching piracy operations in various parts of the country. In interviews with three grant recipients, the money will be used to target those various elements of IP crime'--some called it a "game-changer."

However, civil libertarian and legal experts question if this is a good use of federal money to enhance investigation and prosecution of non-violent crimes, particularly in large urban areas of the country, like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and San Antonio.

"We too often see law enforcement overreach and target alleged copyright infringement in the name of protecting public safety when many more clear threats to public safety actually exist," said Julie Samuels, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "When this happens, it's important to ask ourselves if this is really how we want our tax dollars spent. More often than not, the answer to that question is no."

St. Louis' new piracy honeypotIn St. Louis, David Marzullo, a police spokesperson told Ars that the city would be using its grant money to form a "area task force consisting of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to share resources and increase enforcement of existing state and federal IP laws."

Marzullo also provided Ars with the 10-page grant application for $200,000 that St. Louis submitted'--it cites counterfeit goods as a notable problem in St. Louis.

"We also know that criminal gangs and organized crime are involved with the production and distribution of counterfeit consumer goods because we encountered these networks while investigating intellectual property crimes in the City of St. Louis," the document states.

However, the document also points out an obvious problem with spending money on IP crime. Most people, particularly in poorer and more gang-ridden areas of the city are likely more concerned with actual violence, rather than a guy on the street selling pirated CDs.

"Unfortunately, district detectives and uniformed patrol officers are overwhelmed with calls for service that are considered more serious in nature (robbery, assaults, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts) where there is an immediate threat of danger to the public," the grant application continues. "District detectives must prioritize assignments and the districts do not have the staffing or expertise to pro-actively investigate intellectual property crimes occurring in their districts."

The grant will transfer two detectives (each to be paid a base salary of $56,229 per year, plus overtime) to the Major Fraud/Cyber Crimes Section. However, the grant also will make sure that St. Louis increases "the number of investigations resulting in the arrest, seizure and the presentation of evidence'...for those persons responsible for knowingly distributing copyrighted software, movies, or music over the Internet." The grant also states that it the St. Louis Police Department would manage the use of an "undercover co-located server," designed to "search popular Peer-2-Peer and Internet Relay Chat networks for the distribution of copyrighted software, movies and music from locations in and around the City of St. Louis."

The grant concludes by noting that its effectiveness "will be measured in the number of new investigations, arrests and cases referred for prosecution for intellectual property crimes by the detectives assigned to the Major Fraud/Cyber Crimes Section."

Julie Samuels, the EFF staff attorney, called this goal "troubling."

"We hope that the St. Louis police department complies with all necessary protocol and includes the required due process controls when it implements this program," she added.

California to enhance coordination, expand caseloadIn addition to St. Louis, California's Department of Justice was one of the grantees, and like many of its counterparts, will receive $200,000 in 2013 for this new program.

Robert Morgester, Senior Assistant Attorney General in California, told Ars that the California Department of Justice would be using the money for three main objectives: to "coordinate IP crime investigation in California," to "refer completed [investications] for state, local, or federal prosecution," and to conduct at least three law enforcement trainings, "as a way to help local cops better enforce IP rules in the Golden State."

Morgester added that the $200,000 would represent about "one-tenth" of the annual $2 million budget for his eCrime Unit, and the new funds would cause a doubling of the unit's current caseload of eight to 16.

The majority of the grant money would be used, not for anything new, but rather, to pay for overtime, he acknowledged. Morgester said that the extra money would significantly enhance how investigations and prosecutions can be carried out.

"Anytime you serve a search warrant'--that search warrant is going to take more than eight hours of employee time," he said. "One of the challenges in the government is getting approval of overtime for agents."

By being given this federal mandate to spend this money specifically on IP issues, Morgester said that it would enable the unit to become more proactive, rather than reactive.

"I got a grant that says 'thou shalt do IP crime,'" he said. "It makes it far easier for me to justify the expenditure of resources for these types of crimes."

Don't forget about those knockoff Louis Vuitton bags!Other agencies, however, that aren't dealing with as much on the digital side, are more concerned with the confiscation of knockoff clothing, handbags and other items. In Riverside County, California (population: 2.1 million), the assistant district attorney told Ars that they would be spending most of its $200,000 on hiring a new prosecutor and investigator that would deal specifically with IP.

"We have 120 investigators total," Creg Datig, the assistant district attorney of Riverside County, told Ars. "We are going to devote one full-time investigator specifically for IP crime as a result of this grant."

Currently, the county has 12 investigations into IP crimes, but Datig asserted that the grant would allow them to expand to "as many as we can successfully detect and prosecute."

He noted that these new officials would spend some of their time working also on "public outreach," not only to law enforcement agencies in the county, but also to ordinary citizens.

"We're talking about reaching out by radio, TV spots, by posters, or pamphlets that we hand out and say 'Look, you might think you got a bargain for getting a Ralph Lauren shirt for $1, but you helped a criminal market their goods,'" he said. "A lot of this property counterfeiting is linked to organized crime. There's money to be made. Anytime there's money to be made by ripping somebody off, there's organized crime there."

Datig added that while Riverside County did not deal with digital IP issues as much as other cities or counties in the country, it has encountered significant cases of trademark violations in counterfeit goods.

"At this point, we've had cases that range from over $2 million of counterfeit property," he added. "We have cases ranging from that much all the way down to counterfeited CDs, where the total amount might be $100 or less. It seems as though it's like kicking over a rock'--the more we focus on this particular area the more activity we see."

Cyrus Farivar / Cyrus is the Senior Business Editor at Ars Technica, and is also a radio producer and author. His book, The Internet of Elsewhere, was published in April 2011.

Welcome to the United States Department of Justice

Link to Article

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 19:25

Thank you, Jim, for that kind introduction, and for your commitment to protecting the rights, safety, and best interests of American consumers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. It's a pleasure to be here at Towson University, and a privilege to join with so many dedicated leaders '' including United States Attorneys Rod Rosenstein, Neil MacBride, and Ron Machen '' as we announce the recipients of the Fiscal Year 2012 Intellectual Property Theft Enforcement Program grant awards.

These new investments represent an important step forward in our fight to prevent and combat IP crimes; and they will enable some of our key state and local partners to build on the record of success that Jim just discussed. As part of these grants, we are awarding more than $2.4 million to 13 law enforcement agencies across the country '' including the County of Baltimore, which will be receiving nearly $124,000 to enhance its Police Department's IP-enforcement training and investigative efforts. Award grants also will be provided to:

· City of Austin, Texas

· City of Central Point, Oregon

· City of Orlando, Florida

· City of San Antonio, Texas

· Cook County Sherriff's Office, Illinois

· County of Riverside District Attorney's Office, California

· County of Sacramento, California

· California Department of Justice

· Los Angeles City Attorney's Office

· New York County District Attorney's Office

· St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

· Virginia State Police

Although these awards will be utilized in a variety of ways, they will help to achieve our common goals: to advance prosecutions '' as well as prevention and education activities '' related to IP theft . These resources will be used to fund new police department positions specifically tasked with investigating IP crime; to create Spanish-speaking radio messages about the dangers of IP theft; to purchase cutting-edge surveillance, evidence collection, and storage equipment; to develop and implement more law enforcement and prosecutor training programs; and to improve coordination, information sharing, and data collection.

Without question, these new investments are coming at a critical time. As our country continues to recover from once-in-a-generation economic challenges, the need to defend IP rights '' and to protect Americans from IP theft '' has never been more urgent. We have seen '' far too often '' that IP crimes are not victimless. Not only can they devastate individual lives and legitimate businesses, they also undermine our nation's financial stability, can jeopardize the health of our citizens, and even threaten our national security.

But make no mistake, today's Justice Department is fighting back. And thanks to Jim's leadership of the IP Task Force; the engagement of partners from across law enforcement and the public and private sectors; and the outstanding work of the Department's U.S. Attorneys' Offices, Criminal and Civil Divisions, and Office of Justice Programs '' our efforts to prevent and combat IP crimes have never been stronger.

Over the last two years, in addition to the work of the Task Force, the Department has played a leading role in the implementation of the first-ever government-wide Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, which was released in June of 2010 and is being overseen by the Office of the U.S. IP Enforcement Coordinator. We've also taken steps to ensure that the Department has the ability '' and expertise '' necessary to take our IP theft prevention efforts to a new level.

I'm proud to report that we now have 40 prosecutors and four computer forensics experts serving in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section; 25 Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property '' or, ''CHIP'' units '' in our U.S. Attorney's offices; m ore than 260 specially-trained CHIP prosecutors ; m ore than 50 FBI IP Special Agents; a robust international IP program; and strong partnerships with a broad range of IP rights holders.

These capacity-building efforts are paying dividends. In this year alone, we have prosecuted a number of significant IP cases. For example, in January '' in one of the largest criminal copyright cases in U.S. history '' the Department indicted two corporations and seven individuals with operating an international organized criminal enterprise responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through Megaupload.com and other related sites.

In March, in one of the largest counterfeit goods cases in U.S. history, federal law enforcement agencies disrupted massive conspiracies to import more than $300 million in counterfeit goods from China, and illegal drugs from Taiwan, to the United States. And we've continued to work with ICE-HSI and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center on a number of matters, including Operation In Our Sites '' which has facilitated the seizure of dozens of domain names associated with businesses engaged in online piracy and counterfeiting.

We also have enhanced our investigations and prosecutions of corporate and state-sponsored economic espionage. And, because IP crime is global in nature, I've prioritized increasing our international engagement. In fact, to date, Department officials have trained, educated, and met with thousands of foreign judges, prosecutors, investigators, and policymakers from more than 100 countries on IP protection. I personally have traveled to China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brazil, Hungary, and Germany to meet with my counterparts '' as well as other government and industry leaders '' to emphasize the importance of combating IP crime on a global scale, and with a global strategy.

But, as much as we've accomplished in recent years, we've also learned that the Justice Department can't win this fight '' and keep pace with today's IP criminals '' alone. We need your help. We need the assistance of industry leaders, law enforcement officials, and IP crime victims. And we will continue to rely on the leadership and engagement of each one of this year's grant awardees.

Only by working together will we be able to anticipate, understand, and overcome the new methods and technologies being employed by those who seek to profit from the innovations of others. That's why, in the fight against IP crime, the Justice Department is '' and will remain '' committed to bringing our full enforcement resources to bear, and to increasing collaboration with our state, local, international, industry, and community partners.

Together, I know we can build on the momentum that's been established. And I look forward to all that each of you '' and, especially, this year's award recipients '' will help to accomplish in the days ahead.

And, now, I'd like to turn things over to a key leader in this work, who is helping to make historic progress here in Maryland '' United States Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

Science!

The Dark Side of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Link to Article

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 07 Oct 2012 11:00

Image Source: PreppyGirlGreen

[Part II: Benign Lesion or Tumor?]

The history of Breast Cancer Awareness Month's surprising origins is a matter of the public record:

"NBCAM was founded in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (now part of AstraZeneca, maker of several anti-breast cancer drugs). The aim of the NBCAM from the start has been to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer." ~ Wikipedia

If you doubt Wikipedia as a reliable source, visit the NBCAM website and try to contact them. It will be AstraZeneca that you will required to connect with, as evidenced by the screenshot below:

AstraZeneca, manufacturer of the blockbuster breast cancer drugs Arimidex and Tamoxifen, founded the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, in order to promote the widespread adoption of x-ray mammography, whose horrors we have documented elsewhere.

Sadly, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time of increasing awareness not of the preventable causes of breast cancer, but of the breast cancer industry's insatiable need to both raise money for research into a pharmaceutical cure, and to promote its primary means of "prevention": early detection via x-ray mammography.

On first account, a pharmaceutical "cure" is as unlikely as it is oxymoronic. Drugs do not cure disease anymore than bullets cure war. Beneath modern medicine's showy display of diagnostic contraptions, heroic "life-saving" procedures, and an armory of exotic drugs of strange origin and power, it is always the body's ability to heal itself '' beneath the pomp and circumstance '' that is truly responsible for medicine's apparent successes. Too often, in spite of what medicine does to "treat" or "save" the body, it is the body which against invasive chemical and surgical medical interventions, silently treats and saves itself.

If it were not for the body's truly miraculous self-healing abilities, and the ceaseless self-correction process that occurs each and every moment within each and every cell, our bodies would perish within a matter of minutes. The mystery is not in how our body succumbs to cancer; rather the mystery is in how, after years and even decades of chemical exposure and nutrient deprivation our bodies prevail against cancer for so long.

The primary causes of breast cancer: nutritional deficiencies, exposure to environmental toxicity, inflammation, estrogen dominance and the resultant breakdown in genetic integrity and immune surveillance, are entirely overlooked by this fixation on drug therapy and its would-be "magic bullets."

Billions of dollars are raised and funneled towards drug research, when the lowly turmeric plant, the humble cabbage and the unassuming bowl of miso soup may offer far more promise in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer than all the toximolecular drugs on the market put together. (To view several dozen substances, visit our Breast Cancer page)

When it comes to the breast cancer industry's emphasis on equating "prevention" with "early detection" through x-ray mammography, nowhere is the inherently pathological ideology of allopathic medicine more clearly evident. Not only is the very ionizing radiation used to discern pathological lesions in breast tissue one of the very risk factors for the development of breast cancer, but the identification of the word "prevention" with "early detection," is a disingenuous way of saying that all we can do to prevent breast cancer is to detect its inevitable presence sooner than would be possible without this technology.

If women succumb to the idea of prevention as doing nothing but waiting for the detection of the disease, many will find a similarly deranged logic reemerge later when the self-fulfilling prophecy of prevention-through-doing-nothing is fulfilled and "treatment" is now required. "Treatment," when not strictly surgical, involves the use of very powerful chemicals and high doses of ionizing radiation which "poison" the cancer cells.

The obvious problem with this approach is that the application of either form of death energy is not suitably selective, and in the long run, many women die sooner from the side effects of toximolecular "therapy" than from the cancer itself. Why is the obvious question never asked: if exposure to the genotoxic and immune system disabling effects of chemicals and radiation is causative in breast cancer, then why is blasting the body with more poisonous chemicals and radiation considered sound treatment?

The answer to this question has much more to do with ignorance than it does an intentional desire to do harm. But the results are the same: unnecessary pain, suffering and death.

Faced with a situation where medieval notions of prevention and treatment of breast cancer are the norm, it is no wonder that when polled over 40% of women believe they will contract breast cancer sometime in their life '' well over three times their actual risk. After all, have any of them been given a sense that there is something they can do to actually prevent their disease other than "watchful waiting"?

Obfuscating the real preventative measures available to women to combat breast cancer, and all cancers for that matter, trusted "authoritative" sources like the Susan G. Komen Foundation publish irresponsible statements like this:

"It is unclear what the exact relationship is between eating fruits and vegetables and breast cancer risk...little, if any link was found between the two in a pooled analysis that combined data from eight large studies."

Have we really come to the point where the commonsense consumption of fruits and vegetables in the prevention of disease can so matter-of-factly be called into question? Do we really need randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled clinical trials to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that our bodies can benefit from the phytonutrients and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables in the prevention of cancer?

Another atrocious example of this conspiracy against identifying the obvious causes and cures for diseases like breast cancer is the National Breast Cancer Foundation's website. Go to the bottom of their homepage and type in "carcinogen" in their site wide search box. This is what will appear on the results page:

Your search '' carcinogen '' did not match any documents. No pages were found containing "carcinogen".

On Susan G. Komen's website the term only emerges twice, and both in the context of denying the likliehood of there being a connection between smoking and breast cancer.

If you can remove the reality of carcinogenicity by erasing from the mind's of would-be cancer sufferers the word carcinogen, and thereby conceal the link between environmental and dietary exposures of a multitude of toxins, then the obvious "cure" these massive organizations are vacuuming in billions of dollars of donations every year to find, namely, the removal of carcinogens and detoxification of the system, will never be discovered.

Examples like these make it increasingly apparent that orthodox medicine, and the world view it represents, is approaching a theoretical end-time perhaps most accurately described as Pharmageddon. Within the horizon of this perspective vitamins are considered toxic, fruits and vegetables simply a source of caloric content (a poor one, at that), and cancer-causing drugs are understood as the only legitimate and for that matter, legal, way to combat cancer. Are we really at the tipping point, or is there still hope?

Fortunately there are thousands of scientific studies extant today on the therapeutic value of foods, herbs and spices in breast health, many of which can be found on the government's own biomedical database known as MEDLINE. Decades of research have confirmed the veracity of the Hippocratic phrase: "Let food be thy medicine," and until a prescription is required to obtain and consume organic food, we can still draw from a vast cornucopia of natural substances whose safety and efficacy that the conventional pharmacopeia to shame.

Health Guide: Breast Cancer

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Drinking 3 Cups Of Coffee Or More A Day Can Cause Blindness

Study Says Caffeinated Coffee Can Cause Vision Loss - Yahoo! News

Caffeinated coffee linked to vision loss

The study, The Relation between Caffeine and Coffee Consumption and Exfoliation Glaucoma or Glaucoma Suspect: A Prospective Study in Two Cohorts, is the first to examine the link between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation glaucoma in a U.S. -based population. "Scandinavian populations have the highest frequencies of exfoliation syndrome and glaucoma," said author, Jae Hee Kang, ScD, of Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. "Because Scandinavian populations also have the highest consumption of caffeinated coffee in the world, and our research group has previously found that greater caffeinated coffee intake was associated with increased risk of primary open-angle glaucoma, we conducted this study to evaluate whether the risk of exfoliation glaucoma or glaucoma suspect may be different by coffee consumption."

A meta-analysis of the two cohorts showed that, compared to abstainers, participants who drank three cups or more of caffeinated coffee daily were at an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma or glaucoma suspect. The researchers did not find associations with consumption of other caffeinated products, such as soda, tea, chocolate or decaffeinated coffee. The results also showed that women with a family history of glaucoma were at an increased risk.

Kang, along with his colleagues, report that this study represents a much needed effort to better understand the causes of exfoliation glaucoma, which are largely unknown.

"Because this is the first study to evaluate the association between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation glaucoma in a U.S. population, confirmation of these results in other populations would be needed to lend more credence to the possibility that caffeinated coffee might be a modifiable risk factor for glaucoma," said Kang. "It may also lead to research into other dietary or lifestyle factors as risk factors.

Oral sex as a cure for morning sickness?

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Fri, 05 Oct 2012 14:34

A psychologist at SUNY-Albany, suggests that ingesting sperm may help'...

LINDSAY GOLDWERT

Friday, August 10, 2012

One academic is proposing a cure for morning sickness that some moms-to-be might find in bad taste '-- sperm.

Gordon Gallup, a psychologist at SUNY-Albany has a theory that pregnant women who are continually exposed to the father's semen are less like to suffer from AM nausea.

Gallup, who specializes in human reproductive competition and behavior, offers the theory that expectant women become ill and vomit because their bodies are rejecting the semen's genetic material as something foreign and unfamiliar.

The theory could feasibly quell their queasiness by ingesting the same sperm in order to allow the body to build up a tolerance.

The idea, while likely appealing to dads, is only a theory and has yet to be tested.

The concept, presented at the 2012 Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, also proposed that morning sickness would actually ebb in subsequent pregnancies '-- if the second child was of the same paternity as the first.

In 2000, immunologists proposed that pregnant women who suffered from preeclampsia, a dangerous condition that can cause high blood pressure and early labor, suffered a lack of tolerance to the foreign properties of the fetus.

Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an ob-gyn based in Mount Kisco, NYand co-author of ''V is for Vagina'' called the concept of linking immunity with conditions associated with pregnancy ''very interesting.''

After all, she said, there's no medical rhyme or reason to morning sickness.

''The accepted literature links it to possible blood sugar or hormonse imbalances,'' she said. ''Acid buildup may also cause the feelings of nausea.''

However, due to the lack of conclusive findings on the topic, she said wouldn't consider recommending oral sex as a morning-sickness cure to her patients.

Gallup has long been making headlines as a proponent of the healing nature of sperm.

In 2002, he made waves when he concluded that exposure to semen offered anti-depressant qualities.

LGoldwert@nydailynews.com

EARon

In goodwill gesture, Iran shifts uranium to fuel stock.

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Source: WT news feed

Sun, 07 Oct 2012 10:57

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) '-- In a bid to ease international concerns over its nuclear program, Iran has converted more than a third of Tehran's most highly enriched uranium into a powder for a medical research reactor that is difficult to reprocess for weapons production, experts and UN monitors say.

The work '-- noted in a technical report by the UN's nuclear watchdog agency in late August '-- suggests Iran is trying to display enough goodwill to restart nuclear talks with world powers, while aiming to soften demands by the US and others to halt Tehran's top-level uranium enrichment.

An influential Iranian parliament member, Hossein Naqavi, said the country was taking a ''serious and concrete confidence-building measure'' by converting some of the 20 percent enriched stockpile into U3O8, or uranium oxide, in the form of powder.

The move also appears to be part of a wider strategy to seek relief from tightening Western sanctions in exchange for step-by-step plans to scale back uranium enrichment, which Washington and its allies fear could lead to weapons-grade material. Iran insists it only has peaceful nuclear ambitions.

But it has offered no substantial concessions to cut into Iran's stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, the highest level acknowledged by the Islamic Republic. Iran already has enough to provide fuel for its Tehran research reactor for years and labs are equipped to make more material at that level, said Olli Heinonen, former director-general at the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency who headed the organization's Iran file until 2010.

So far, Iran's proposals have met with resistance from the West as the economic toll from the embargos take a toll, including protests this week after the nation's currency shed nearly 40 percent of its value.

Iran's 20 percent enrichment program is among the core disputes. That's because it can be boosted to weapons-grade far more rapidly than the 3.5 percent-enriched uranium used for Iran's lone energy reactor.

Iran says it needs this degree of enrichment for its medical research reactor, which can produce isotopes for cancer treatment. It also has announced plans to build more such reactors. The U.S. and allies want Iran to halt the 20 percent production and ship the rest of the material outside the country.

The impasse has put talks on hold between Iran and a six-nation group, the permanent Security Council members plus Germany.

Iranian officials repeatedly insist they will never give up the capacity uranium enrichment. But tightening Western sanctions and growing public outcry could open Tehran's leadership to more deal-making.

The UN's IAEA confirmed in its Aug. 30 report Iran had made U308 '-- uranium oxide '-- from 71.25 kilograms (157 pounds) of its total of 190 kilograms (nearly 419 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium produced until mid-August.

U308 is effectively off the table as a material for possible weapons production, experts say.

The powder is turned into fuel plates for the reactor, but it is complicated and dangerous to try to change the radioactive powder back into a gas state needed for the enrichment centrifuges, said an Iranian nuclear scientist, Rasoul Sediqi Bonabi, a professor at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran.

And, more importantly, Iran doesn't possess the technology even to make an attempt, he added.

''Once converted into U308, it's not usable for producing bomb grade uranium and of little proliferation concern,'' Bonabi told The Associated Press.

Iran insists it does not seek atomic weapons and is only using nuclear technology for energy production and medical applications.

Naqavi, spokesman of the parliament's security committee, said the move is expected to facilitate talks between Iran and the world powers and pave the way for a diplomatic solution over Tehran's nuclear activities.

''Iran has demonstrated'' its rejection of nuclear arms, said the lawmaker Naqavi, spokesman of the parliament's security committee.

But the former IAEA official, Heinonen, estimated Iran is still producing about 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium a month. That could rise to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) a month if Iran expands work at an enrichment facility in Fordo, which is dug deep into a mountainside south of Tehran.

Some experts say Iran would need 200 to 250 kilograms of 20 percent uranium to turn into one nuclear warhead. Others say anything above 170 kilograms is enough.

Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said Iran's decision to produce U308 is ''slightly reassuring.''

''It tends to confirm that there is a civilian purpose in enriching to this level,'' he said in an emailed statement.

But Fitzpatrick and another American nuclear scientist disputed Bonabi's assertion that Iran doesn't have the technology to reconvert the material.

Iranian engineers have the know-how to convert the U308 powder back to gas for the enrichment centrifuges, Fitzpatrick said.

''It would not take long to set it up,'' he said, noting the procedure is similar to the existing conversion line of uranium ore concentrate '-- known as yellowcake '-- to a gas known as UF6 that is the feedstock for enrichment.

Matthew Bunn, an associate professor at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, also said Iran has the ability to reconvert the oxide into uranium gas.

''It is possible '... Iran has the technology,'' he said.

Heinonen noted, however, that any debate about Iran's conversion to the U308 powder ''might not really be an issue'' since it already has a critical mass of 20 percent enriched uranium.

''And the stocks are likely growing,'' he said

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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Fri, 05 Oct 2012 09:42

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'UNFAIR': OBAMA SUPPORTERS EXPLAIN WHY TELEPROMPTERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED DURING DEBATES

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Source: JAFB*

Sun, 07 Oct 2012 11:52

From The Blaze

There are many ideas floating around as to why President Obama underperformed in last Wednesday's debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Al Gore thinks the altitude may have something to do with it, while Bill Maher has suggested the president may have gotten highbefore the battle of wits. Rush Limbaugh and many in the conservative media, however, sayRomney's ideas are simply superior, and Obama has nothing in his record he can defend.

Well, now a new excuse is being peddled.

Apparently, some consider it ''unfair'' that President Obama wasn't able to use his now-infamous teleprompter. As one man stated, ''How's he going to memorize an hour and a half debate?''

Watch Rebel Pundit interview some of the president's most loyal supporters at an Obama for America rally in Wisconsin Thursday, via Breitbart, for more:

''How unfair was it for the Debate Commission to not allow the president to use his teleprompter?'' the interviewer asks at the beginning of the clip.

From there, a number of Obama supporters are seen saying, among other things, that they had no idea Obama was ''off-prompter,'' and that he probably would have fared better if he had been able to read his answers.

''Why? Why would you not let him use his teleprompter, you know?'' one young man asks in response.

To be fair, however, there were some who were torn on the issue, and one who said Obama was strategically ''holding back.''

Soon after, the video ends on a ''fair'' note with two women saying: ''Shouldn't they both be able to [use their teleprompters]?''

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Flag raising error stirs anger in Portugal. (Euronews video)

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Source: WT news feed

Sat, 06 Oct 2012 19:53

Celebrations to mark Portugal's Republic Day took on an extra symbolic relevance when President Cavaco Silva unknowingly raised the country's flag upside down.

The internationally recognised signal of distress came on the last time October 5 will be deemed a public holiday having been abolished in an austerity measure.

The day was full of protests; one woman interrupted the last few minutes of the president's speech to complain of the hardships under which she and millions of Portuguese are living, while another joined her and sang an emotionally charged revolutionary song.

With Portugal having just adopted sweeping tax hikes in the struggle to implement budget goals under its international bailout requirement, public discontent with the government is likely to continue.

More about:National Day, Portugal, ProtestCopyright (C) 2012 euronews

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