Saturday, December 20, 2008
Don't destabilize Russia, Putin warns foes
By Oleg Shchedrov Oleg Shchedrov
Sat Dec 20, 1:39 am ET
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned Russia's foes on Friday against trying to destabilize a country facing broadening economic crisis, Russian news agencies reported.
Putin did not specify who might pose a threat to Russia's stability. But in the past, he has often blamed Western security services of trying to destabilize the country using opposition groups and non-governmental organizations as their instruments.
"Any attempts to weaken or destabilize Russia, harm the interests of the country will be toughly suppressed," they quoted ex-KGB spy Putin as telling an annual meeting of top spies and security officers ahead of their professional holiday.
Putin, who was the Russian president in 2000-08, has contributed greatly to the growth of influence of Russia's FSB federal security service, a successor of the Soviet-era KGB.
Many ex-KGB officers became key government and regional officials during his presidency forming his power base, which largely remained intact after Putin handed over powers to his successor Dmitry Medvedev in May.
Critics say that under Putin, security services have become excessively influential and expressed fears Russia could one day become a police state.
Rights campaigners have urged Medvedev to veto a cabinet bill ordering that professional judges rather than juries run trials involving terrorism, civil unrest and several other serious crimes.
They also urged Medvedev to block government attempts to impose high treason charges on people accused of "harming the constitutional order," which critics believe could lead to a political witch-hunt.
Analysts say the role of the security services is likely to grow even further as Russia plunges into an economic crisis marked by rising unemployment and financial woes that threaten the popularity of the government.
Avoiding civil unrest and maintaining political stability is viewed by the government as a top priority.
The Day of Security Officers is marked annually on December 20, a day when in 1917 Bolshevik rulers created the CheKa secret police to suppress their foes. After a string of transformations, the Cheka became the KGB.
As president, Putin always personally attended the holiday meetings of security officials. Medvedev, a former corporate lawyer with no security background, stayed away and sent his chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin to deliver his greetings.
Medvedev, who faced the challenge of a brief war with Georgia soon after becoming president which soured Russia's ties with the West, said security concerns remained paramount.
"In the past 20 years the world has changed but has not become a quieter place," Naryshkin said, reading out his letter, according to Interfax.
President John F. Kennedy made the following opening remarks at a White House dinner honoring a gathering of Nobel Prize winners,
Ladies and gentlemen:
I want to tell you how welcome you are to the White House. I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
Someone once said that Thomas Jefferson was a gentleman of 32 who could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, and dance the minuet. Whatever he may have lacked if he could have had his former colleague Mr. Franklin here we all would have been impressed.
Jefferson in some cases could be called a prophet. So here are some quotes from Mr. Jefferson that seem very appropriate to repeat today.
When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
In light of the present financial crisis, it's interesting to read what Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:
'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks,
and corporations that will grow up around the banks, will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
- In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
- In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
- Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
- China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
- Guatemala established gun control in 1964.. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
- Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
- Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million 'educated' people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in:
- Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent
- Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent
- Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!
- In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!
It will never happen here? I bet the Aussies said that too!
While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.
There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.
Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.
With Guns.............We Are 'Citizens'.
Without Them........We Are 'Subjects'..
During W.W. II the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED !
Note: Admiral Yamamoto who crafted the attack on Pearl Harbor had attended Harvard U 1919-1921 & was Naval Attache to the U. S. 1925-28. Most of our Navy was destroyed at Pearl Harbor & our Army had been deprived of funding & was ill prepared to defend the country.
It was reported that when asked why Japan did not follow up the Pearl Harbor attack with an invasion of the U. S. Mainland, his reply was that he had lived in the U.S. & knew that almost all households had guns.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St. Paul, MN, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2008 Presidential election:
- Number of States won by Parties: Democrats - 20; Republicans - 30
- Square miles of land won by Parties: Democrats - 580,000; Republicans - 2,427,000
- Population of the counties won by Parties: Democrats - 127 million; Republicans - 143 million
- Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by Parties: Democrats - 13.2; Republicans - 2.1
Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory Republican won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens. Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in rented or government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare."
Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.
From the following, notice that only in the states of Alaska and Oklahoma where all counties were won by McCain/Palin.
December 10, 2008
Posted by Marc Morano – 9:36 AM ET - Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.GOV
UN Blowback: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims
Study: Half of warming due to Sun! –Sea Levels Fail to Rise? - Warming Fears in 'Dustbin of History'
POZNAN, Poland - The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN. The report has added about 250 scientists (and growing) in 2008 to the over 400 scientists who spoke out in 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.
The U.S. Senate report is the latest evidence of the growing groundswell of scientific opposition rising to challenge the UN and Gore. Scientific meetings are now being dominated by a growing number of skeptical scientists. The prestigious International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists' equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Norway in August 2008 and prominently featured the voices and views of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears. [See Full report Here: & See: Skeptical scientists overwhelm conference: '2/3 of presenters and question-askers were hostile to, even dismissive of, the UN IPCC' ]
Full Senate Report Set To Be Released in the Next 24 Hours – Stay Tuned…
A hint of what the upcoming report contains:
“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” - Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.
“Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical.” - Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”
Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.
“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists,” - Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.
“The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC "are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity.” - Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico
“It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” - U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.
“Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will.” – . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.
“After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet.” - Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.
“For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" - Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.
“Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.” - Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.
“Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined.” - Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh.
“Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense…The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning.” - Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.
“CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.” - Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.
“The [global warming] scaremongering has its justification in the fact that it is something that generates funds.” - Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology Department at the University of La Plata. # #
In addition, the report will feature new peer-reviewed scientific studies and analyses refuting man-made warming fears and a heavy dose of inconvenient climate developments. (See Below: Study: Half of warming due to Sun! –Sea Levels Fail to Rise? - Warming Fears in 'Dustbin of History')
The Senate Minority Report is an update of 2007’s blockbuster U.S. Senate Minority Report of over 400 dissenting scientists. See here: This new report will contain the names, quotes and analyses of literally hundreds of additional international scientists who publicly dissented from man-made climate fears in just 2008 alone. The chorus of scientific voices skeptical grow louder as a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses and real world data challenge the UN and former Vice President Al Gore's claims that the "science is settled" and there is a "consensus." The original 2007 U.S. Senate report is available here: Full Report Set To Be Released in the Next 24 Hours – Stay Tuned…
Meanwhile, while the UN climate conference is in session here in Poznan, the bad scientific news for promoters of man-made climate alarm just keeps rolling in. Below is a very small sampling of very inconvenient developments for Gore, the United Nations, and their promoters in the mainstream media. Peer-reviewed studies, analyses, and prominent scientists continue to speak out to refute climate fears. The data presented below is just from the past week.
Peer-reviewed study: Half of recent warming was solar! - December 10, 2008
Excerpt: In this dose of peer-reviewed skeptical climatological literature, we follow Climate Research News. The blog was intrigued by a new article in Geophysical Research Letters that was accepted on Friday, December 5th. Eichler, A., S. Olivier, K. Henderson, A. Laube, J. Beer, T. Papina, H. W. Gäggeler, and M. Schwikowski: Temperature response in the Altai region lags solar forcing - Recall that the Siberian Altai Mountains are found at the intersection of Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. The authors looked at 750 years worth of the local ice core, especially the oxygen isotope. They claim to have found a very strong correlation between the concentration of this isotope (i.e. temperature) on one side and the known solar activity in the epoch 1250-1850. Their data seem to be precise enough to determine the lag, about 10-30 years. It takes some time for the climate to respond to the solar changes. It seems that they also have data to claim that the correlation gets less precise after 1850. They attribute the deviation to CO2 and by comparing the magnitude of the forcings, they conclude that "Our results are in agreement with studies based on NH temperature reconstructions [Scafetta et al., 2007] revealing that only up to approximately 50% of the observed global warming in the last 100 years can be explained by the Sun." Well, the word "only" is somewhat cute in comparison with the "mainstream" fashionable ideology. The IPCC said that they saw a 90% probability that "most" of the recent warming was man-made. The present paper would reduce this figure, 90%, to less than 50% because the Sun itself is responsible for 1/2 of the warming and not the whole 50% of the warming could have been caused by CO2 because there are other effects, too. Note that if 0.3 °C or 0.4 °C of warming in the 20th century was due to the increasing CO2 levels, the climate sensitivity is decisively smaller than 1 °C. At any rate, the expected 21st century warming due to CO2 would be another 0.3-0.4 °C, and this time, if the solar activity contributes with the opposite sign, these two effects could cancel. Even if you try to stretch these numbers a little bit - but not unrealistically - you have to become sure that the participants of the Poznan conference are lunatics.
Flashback: New scientific analysis shows Sun “could account for as much as 69% of the increase in Earth's average temperature” (LINK) & (LINK)
Dr. Bruce West, A U.S Army Chief Scientist, Says Sun, Not Man, Is Driving Climate Change – June 3, 2008 – (LINK)
21 spotless days and solar magnetic field still in a funk – Meteorologist Anthony Watts Excerpt:
We are now at 21 days with no sunspots, it will be interesting to see if we reach a spotless 30 day period and then perhaps a spotless month of December.
New Arctic ice analysis reveals ‘No clear evidence of a delay in the start of the later summer/early fall freeze up or the start of the late winter/early spring melt’ – Excerpt: Based on analysis by William Chapman, author of The Cryosphere Today website, graciously prepared an analysis of the dates of the minimum and maximum Arctic sea ice coverage since 1979.
Oscillation Rules as the Pacific Cools – December 9, 2008 Excerpt: A cool wedge of lower-than-normal sea-surface heights continues to dominate the tropical Pacific, ringed by a horseshoe of warmer waters. The continuation of this long-term cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation stacks the odds against a wetter-than-average winter/spring in the southwestern United States. The latest image of sea-surface height measurements from the U.S./French Jason-1 oceanography satellite shows the Pacific Ocean remains locked in a strong, cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a large, long-lived pattern of climate variability in the Pacific associated with a general cooling of Pacific waters. […] Sea-surface temperature satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration mirror Jason sea-surface height measurements, clearly showing a cool Pacific Decadal Oscillation pattern, as seen at: http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/sst/sst.anom.gif . "This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation 'cool' trend can cause La Niña-like impacts around the Pacific basin," said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. […] This cool phase will likely persist this winter and, perhaps, beyond.
Report: Sea Level rise 'has stumbled since 2005' – Meteorologist Anthony Watts – December 5, 2008 Excerpt: We’ve been waiting for the UC web page to be updated with the most recent sea level data. It finally has been updated for 2008. It looks like the steady upward trend of sea level as measured by satellite has stumbled since 2005. The 60 day line in blue tells the story. From the University of Colorado web page: “Long-term mean sea level change is a variable of considerable interest in the studies of global climate change. The measurement of long-term changes in global mean sea level can provide an important corroboration of predictions by climate models of global warming. Long term sea level variations are primarily determined with two different methods.” - Yes, I would agree, it is indeed a variable of considerable interest. The question now is, how is it linked to global climate change (aka global warming) if CO2 continues to increase, and sea level does not?
Peer-Reviewed Study: Recent worldwide land warming' NOT 'a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land' - WorldClimateReport.com – December 3, 2008 ‘Rethinking Observed Warming?’ Key quote: “Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land.”
Alert: 2008 will be coolest year of the decade!- December 5, 2008 Excerpt: This year is set to be the coolest since 2000, according to a preliminary estimate of global average temperature that is due to be released next week by the Met Office. The global average for 2008 should come in close to 14.3C, which is 0.14C below the average temperature for 2001-07. [Note: For evidence of the panic apparently gripping the promoters of man-made climate fear, read the quotes in the article from the warming partisans absolutely assuring everyone that cool temperatures are “absolutely not" evidence that global warming is on the wane. Those same voices are usually absent when it comes to linking heat waves to global warming. ]
Flashback: Global Cooling? - 'Thirty years of warmer temperatures go poof' - National Post – October 20, 2008
Report: NASA’s James Hansen "adjusts" a cooling trend into a warming trend - December 9, 2008 Excerpt: "[H]ere is what the data looks like before and after NASA GISS adjusts it. These are the USHCN “raw” and “homogenized” data plots from the GISTEMP website. The before and after is quite something to behold. ... What was down, is now up." "How not to measure temperature, part 79"
Geophysist: ‘It is time to file this theory in the dustbin of history’ – ‘Alarmists are in denial and running for cover'- Washington Times
By Geophysicist Dr. David Deming, associate professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma who has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles. Excerpt: Environmental extremists and global warming alarmists are in denial and running for cover. Their rationale for continuing a lost cause is that weather events in the short term are not necessarily related to long-term climatic trends. But these are the same people who screamed at us each year that ordinary weather events such as high temperatures or hurricanes were undeniable evidence of imminent doom. Now that global warming is over, politicians are finally ready to enact dubious solutions to a non-existent problem. […] To the extent global warming was ever valid, it is now officially over. It is time to file this theory in the dustbin of history, next to Aristotelean physics, Neptunism, the geocentric universe, phlogiston, and a plethora of other incorrect scientific theories, all of which had vocal and dogmatic supporters who cited incontrovertible evidence. Weather and climate change are natural processes beyond human control. To argue otherwise is to deny the factual evidence.
Climate Chancellor' No More – Der Spiegel Excerpt: Angela Merkel is facing withering criticism for remarks she made on Monday that seemed to back away from her earlier commitment to tackling climate change.
Alert: Under the Weather: Internal Report Says U.N. Climate Agency Rife With Bad Practices - Fox News – December 4, 2008
Excerpt: As more than 10,000 delegates and observers gather in Poznan, Poland, to discuss the next phase in the battle against "climate change," a U.N. agency at the center of that hoopla badly needs to do some in-house weather-proofing. […] But the WMO, the $80 million U.N. front-line agency in the climate change struggle, and the source for much of the world's information in the global atmosphere and water supply, has serious management problems of its own, despite its rapidly expanding global ambitions. The international agency has been sharply criticized by a U.N. inspection unit in a confidential report obtained by FOX News, for, among other things, haphazard budget practices, deeply flawed organizational procedures, and no effective oversight by the 188 nations that formally make up its membership and dole out its funds. The inspection was carried out by a member of the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), a small, independent branch of the U.N. that reports to the General Assembly and is mandated to improve the organization's efficiency and coordination through its inspection process. […] WMO did not respond to a series of questions from FOX News regarding its future programs, sent on the eve of the Poznan meeting.
16-year-old suggests sheep dung can help save planet Card business has really dung good - Daily Post North WalesExcerpt: The company makes its products at the Twll Golau Papermill in Aberllefenni Slate Quarry using sustainable fuel and materials. Every sheet of paper is made from recycled materials, including sheep dung, waste paper and discarded rags, using processes designed to affect the natural environment as little as possible. […]
Katie 16, from Tal-y-Bont, Conwy, was appointed to help spread the word on how Wales can reduce its carbon footprint and is urging other North Wales businesses to follow Creative Paper Wales’ example and adopt innovative approaches to the design and manufacture of products and the delivery of services.
Lord Christopher Monckton: 'Companies could be sued over climate change' Excerpt: The alarmist faction knows that, if it were to bring a case against a corporation whose executives were not minded merely to believe in the extremist presentation of "global warming" just because it is temporarily in fashion, they would lose. The case of Dimmock v. Secretaries of State for Education and for the Environment in the UK in 2007 was a very clear warning. The UK Government threw all of the resources of the taxpayer and of the Meteorological Office at the case, attempting to defend Al Gore's sci-fi comedy horror movie against the plaintiff's allegation that it was serially and seriously inaccurate. The Government failed and was humiliated. The judge, having heard both sides, said bluntly of Al Gore, and particularly of his unscientific allegation that sea level was about to rise by 20 feet, that "the Armageddon scenario that he depicts is not based on any scientific view". A few more judgments like that and the "global warming" fantasy would rapidly collapse. End of scare.
OOPS, We Forgot Siberia! (M4GW) - Weather Stations in Coldest parts No Longer Reporting
Excerpt: The thing that these skewed chart never take into account is that when the Soviet Union fell in 1990 the number of reporting weather stations went form a high of 15,000 in 1970 to 5,000 in 2000. This takes some of the coldest places on the planet out of the equation like Siberia. # #
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
By Andrew Jacobs
Monday, December 8, 2008
BEIJING: Local officials in Shandong Province have apparently found a cost-effective way to deal with gadflies, whistleblowers and all manner of muckraking citizens who dare to challenge the authorities: dispatch them to the local psychiatric hospital.
According to an investigative report published Monday by a state-owned newspaper, public security officials in Xintai city have been institutionalizing residents who persist in their personal campaigns to expose corruption or to protest the unfair seizure of their property. Some people said they were committed up to two years, and several of those interviewed said they had been forced to consume psychiatric medication.
The article, in The Beijing News, said most inmates had been released after they agreed to give up their causes.
Sun Fawu, 57, a farmer seeking compensation for land spoiled by a coal mining operation, said he was seized by the local authorities on his way to petition the central government in Beijing and brought to the Xintai Mental Health Center in October.
During a 20-day stay, he said he was tied to a bed, forced to take pills and given injections that made him numb and woozy. When he told the doctor he was a petitioner, not mentally ill, the doctor reportedly said, "I don't care if you're sick or not. As long as you are sent by the township government, I'll treat you as a mental patient."
In an interview with the paper, the hospital's director, Wu Yuzhu, acknowledged that some of the 18 patients brought there by the police in recent years were not deranged, but he had no choice but to take them in. "The hospital also had its misgivings," he said.
Although China is not known for the kind of systematic abuse of psychiatry that occurred in the Soviet Union, human rights advocates say forced institutionalizations are not uncommon in smaller cities. Robin Munro, the research director of China Labour Bulletin, a rights organization in Hong Kong, said such "an kang" wards - Chinese for peace and health - are a convenient and effective means of dealing with pesky dissidents.
In recent years practitioners of Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement, have complained of coerced hospitalizations and one of China's best-known dissidents, Wang Wanxing, spent 13 years in a police-run psychiatric facility under conditions he later described as abusive.
In one recent, well-publicized case, Wang Jingmei , the mother of a man convicted of killing six policemen in Shanghai, was held incommunicado at a mental hospital for five months and only released last Sunday, the day before her son was executed.
The Beijing News story about the hospitalizations in Xintai was notable for the traction it gained in China's constrained state-run media. Such Communist Party stalwarts as People's Daily and the Xinhua news agency republished the story, and it was picked up by scores of Web sites. At the country's most popular portal, Sina.com, it ranked the fifth most-viewed news headline and readers posted more than 20,000 comments by evening. The indignation expressed was universal, with many clamoring for the dismissal of those involved. "They're no different than animals," read one post. "No, they're worse."
Reached by phone on Monday, a hospital employee said Wu, the hospital director who voiced his misgivings to The Beijing News, was unavailable. The employee, Hu Peng, said local government officials had taken him away for "a meeting" earlier in the day and had also looked through patient records.
Although Hu said the hospital was not authorized to diagnose patients, he nonetheless defended the hospitalizations, saying that all the patients delivered by the Public Security Bureau were certifiably ill. "We definitely would not accept those without mental problems," he said.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Mon 1 Dec 2008, 0:45 GMT
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday urged supporters to work on a constitutional reform that would let him stay in office as long he keeps winning elections, a year after voters narrowly rejected this same proposal in a referendum.
The anti-U.S. leader is pushing forward the controversial proposal to eliminate a two-term limit for the president just a week after regional elections in which the OPEC nation's fractured opposition gained ground by beating Chavez allies in key states and the capital of Caracas.
"I'm ready to be with you until 2021," Chavez told a crowd of red-clad supporters in a televised address.
Chavez said reports of opposition governors and mayors sabotaging social programs and attacking government supporters convinced him he needed more time in office.
"Last year, when we lost the referendum, I said I should accept the decision of the majority," he said. "But now seeing what's happening, seeing more clearly the great threat of these fascists ... I say you were right, Chavez will not go."
Local media have also published reports that the outgoing pro-government officials allowed looting and stealing of equipment after they lost to opposition contenders.
Chavez said congressional leaders and supporters should formulate the reform effort, in contrast to the failed 2007 referendum to increase presidential power and lift a limit of two terms that he himself initiated.
Venezuela's constitution allows the Congress, currently controlled almost entirely by Chavez supporters, to propose a popular referendum via the electoral authority.
Polls show Chavez's popularity is near 60 percent thanks to heavy social spending of oil revenues that has built up support among the nation's poor.
But sympathizers have grown weary of poor trash collection, unchecked violent crime and the continent's highest inflation, which analysts say contributed to victory of opposition candidates in the recent vote.
Chavez on Sunday threatened to expel a Colombian consul in western city of Maracaibo on charges was working with newly elected opposition leaders to conspire against his government.
Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro moments later said Colombia had agreed the official would leave Venezuela.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:56pm IST
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Communists expect the global financial crisis will cause social unrest and help them challenge for power, the party's leader said on Saturday.
Gennady Zyuganov told the party's annual congress the Communists should make maximum use of the growing public discontent caused by the economic downturn to try to restore their political strength.
"The wind of history is blowing in our sails again ... At this time of crisis the world of imperialism is starting to die. We are standing on the threshold of political and social shifts," Zyuganov said in a 2-hour speech opening the congress.
Russia's Communists ruled the Soviet Union for eight decades and remained a major opposition force for several years after the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991.
But the party has since lost much of its authority and many analysts say it is too weak to seriously challenge for power.
The Russian authorities are trying to minimise the impact of the financial crisis by promising billions of dollars of state aid. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has pledged higher social payments to the needy and lower taxes for business.
"The authorities are clearly not coping with managing the country ... A mass social protest is brewing and it is hard to predict now when and in what shape it will explode," Zyuganov said.
The Kremlin has acknowledged the crisis will lead to a rise in popular discontent, challenging the massive popularity that Putin secured in eight years as president and handed on to his successor, Dmitry Medvedev.
Medvedev has ordered police to stamp out any social unrest arising from the crisis and Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has said higher unemployment could lead to a rise in crime.
"We should secure the support of society well before the political crisis comes ... We have to squeeze everything we can from this situation," Zyuganov said.
Zyuganov trailed far behind Medvedev at the presidential election in March and his party's contingent in parliament is dwarfed by the pro-Kremlin majority.
Many Russians associate Communist rule with empty shelves in the shops and endless queues.
Russia has been among the biggest losers from the global financial crisis. The benchmark RTS stock exchange has fallen about 70 percent since peaks in May, and the rouble has been hit by tumbling prices for oil, Russia's main export.
The impact on ordinary people so far has been limited, partly because share ownership is not widespread and few people have private pensions. But firms in some sectors have started laying off staff.
Russia's liberal opposition movement, Solidarity, also predicts that the fallout from the economic crisis will force Putin and Medvedev from power by 2012.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wasn't it McCain who preached the importance of staying the course in Iraq until the Iraqi government is capable of defending themselves and Obama that claimed just the opposite and promised to remove troops from Iraq within 16 months?
Wasn't it McCain who preached the importance of Bush's tax cuts to stimulate the economy and Obama who claimed just the opposite and promised to repeal the Bush tax cuts immediately and provide tax relief ONLY to those who make less than $250,000 a year (and then changed his mind to those making les than $200,000 and then changed it again to those making less than $150,000 a year http://visionsfromthehorizon.blogspot.com/2008/10/obama-already-changing-tunes-on-taxes.html)
And what happened to Obama's campaign slogan of "CHANGE"? He has filled his cabinet with Washington insiders and former Clinton aides. Sounds like more of the same to me?
Looking at Obama's plans now, one would think McCain is advising him on policies. Take a look:
- Iraq's government approves security pact with US - 3 MORE YEARS!!! http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081116/D94G86LG0.html Iraqi's want us for 3 more years to help maintain security until they are capable of defending themselves. Iraq and US governments agree to the pact. "President-elect Barack Obama would honor the agreement". Isn't this EXACTLY what McCain was saying he wanted to do while Obama said it was a bad idea? Am I missing something here?
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/23/AR2008112302064_pf.html The article mentions, "that Obama might be forced to delay his pledge to repeal President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy." Why would that be? Could it be that the Republican's plans to stimulate the ecnonomy through tax cuts (especially on the wealthy who spend more) would have worked in the first place?! And why repeal them at all then...ever, if they work to stimulate the economy. Read between the lines people...it doesn't take a genious to realize what is being admitted by Obama and the democrats here!!!
- President-elect promised change, picking insiders http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D94IIPN00&show_article=1
- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article5239776.ece Barack Obama defended his decision to pack his new Cabinet with veteran Washington insiders and former Clinton officials yesterday after a campaign in which he promised change.
The President-elect responded after naming the former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, a veteran of the Carter and Reagan Administrations, as the head of a new economic panel to stop “groupthink” infecting his inner circle of White House financial advisers.
There have been mounting concerns, particularly from the liberal wing of his Democratic Party, that Mr Obama has pivoted sharply to the centre-right with his choice of top Cabinet posts.
His main economic advisers have close ties to the Clinton White House and Mr Obama has already chosen Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, once served Bill Clinton, and more appointments still to be announced will include a slew of officials who served in the most recent Democratic Administration.
The bloggers' view
“Is it true he is going to allow Bush’s tax cuts to continue until 2011? We voted for change, not to govern with the same old cronies”
“How can economists who supported deregulation of the markets provide the answer to regaining our economic viability?”
“Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Janet Napolitano, Jim Jones, and Robert Gates — that is, overall, a centre-right foreign policy team. All of them, with the possible exception of Jones, supported the Iraq war from the outset”
(Chris Bowers, openleft.com)
“Not a single, solitary, actual dyed-in-the-wool progressive has, as far as I can tell, even been mentioned for a position in the new administration”
(Christopher Hayes, Leftout.com)
Carla, San Diego, CA , USA
The choice of Volcker is, all by itself, proof that Obama is simply another tool of the Oligarchy. So those on the right can at least take comfort that nothing much has changed, while those on the left can watch their leftist revolutionary hopes just get folded in to the same old rule by money.
Gian Paolo, Sakura,
Russia to help Venezuela develop nuclear energy...
Russia to complete Iran nuclear plant in 2009...
Russia to help Venezuela develop nuclear energy
Nov 27 11:29 AM US/Eastern
By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER
Associated Press Writer
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to help start a nuclear energy program in Venezuela and said Moscow is willing to participate in a socialist trade bloc in Latin America led by President Hugo Chavez.
Medvedev used his visit to Venezuela—the first by a Russian president—to extend Moscow's reach into Latin America and deepen trade and military ties. Chavez denied trying to provoke the United States, but he welcomed Russia's growing presence in Latin America as a reflection of declining U.S. influence.
Chavez and Medvedev planned to visit a Russian destroyer docked in a Venezuelan port on Thursday. The arrival of Russian warships this week for training exercises with Venezuela's navy was the first deployment of its kind in the Caribbean since the Cold War.
Accords signed Wednesday included one pledging cooperation in nuclear energy for peaceful uses. (Yeah right...Chavez and Venezuela have more oil than they know what to do with, I don't think they really need nuclear energy for "peaceful" reasons.) Russia also agreed to work with Venezuela in oil projects and building ships.
Moscow plans to develop a nuclear cooperation program with Venezuela by the end of next year, said Sergey Kirienko, head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency.
"We are ready to teach students in nuclear physics and nuclear engineering," he said through an interpreter. He said the help would include "research and development" and "looking for uranium in the territory of Venezuela."
Chavez says Venezuela hopes to build a nuclear reactor for energy purposes.
The Venezuelan leader—one of the world's most strident U.S. critics—thanked Medvedev for helping to create a "multi-polar" world with declining U.S. influence.
Medvedev called Venezuela "one of our most important partners in Latin America" and pledged to keep supplying the South American nation with weapons. But he said arms sales to Venezuela "are not aimed against any other country."
Chavez's government has already bought more than $4 billion in Russian arms, including Sukhoi fighter jets, helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles.
Chavez had assembled a group of Latin American allies for talks hours before Medvedev's visit, and leaders including Bolivia's Evo Morales and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega joined them for a late-night meeting.
Medvedev said Russia is ready to "think about participating" in the Bolivarian Alernative for the Americas, likely as an associate member. Chavez launched the socialist trade bloc, named after South American independence hero Simon Bolivar, as an alternative to U.S.-backed free-trade pacts.
The Russian naval squadron deployed to the Caribbean includes the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great, the largest in the Russian fleet.
The military show of force is widely seen as a demonstration of Kremlin anger over the U.S. decision to send warships to deliver aid to Georgia after its conflict with Russia, and over U.S. plans for a European missile-defense system.
But U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that "a few Russian ships is not going to change the balance of power" in the region.
Medvedev was to finish his four-nation Latin American tour in Cuba.
Medvedev said he also discussed the global financial crisis with Chavez, and "exchanged different ideas of what actions to take in this situation." Chavez blames the financial crisis on U.S. free-market capitalism.
Russia to complete Iran nuclear plant in 2009 -Tass
Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:52pm IST
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will complete Iran's first nuclear power plant in 2009, Itar-Tass news agency quoted the head of Russia's state nuclear corporation as saying on Thursday.
The launch of the Bushehr plant's nuclear reactor has frequently been delayed. Russian and Iranian officials have given different dates for the start-up. Iran's foreign minister said last year the plant would launch in mid-2008.
Russia has already delivered nuclear fuel under a $1 billion contract to build the Bushehr plant on the Gulf coast in southwest Iran. Russia has blamed previous delays on problems with receiving payment from Iran.
"Work is ongoing and certain difficulties which arose, including those connected with timely financing, are being resolved due to joint efforts between the Iranian purchaser and the Russian contractor," Tass quoted Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's Rosatom nuclear corporation, as saying.
"Next year we should conclude all the work," Kiriyenko was quoted as saying. Kiriyenko was in Caracas, Venezuela, accompanying President Dmitry Medvedev on a visit.
Russia agreed in 1995 to build the plant on the site of an earlier project begun in the 1970s by German firm Siemens. The Siemens project was disrupted by Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
"The position of Russia has not changed: that Bushehr should be finished as soon as possible," a spokesman for Rosatom said. "But that must not affect the security of the plant and the functioning of its systems."
"The main question is the integration of Russian equipment with the equipment delivered to the plant at Bushehr by the Germans," the spokesman said.
Atomstroyexport, the Russian firm building the plant, said in September the plant was nearing completion and that it would start "technological work" in December 2008 to February 2009 that would put the plant on an "irreversible final" course.
Analysts say Russia has used Bushehr as a lever in relations with Tehran, which is at loggerheads with the West over its nuclear programme.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly said Moscow does not want Iran to be armed with nuclear weapons but that Russia has seen no evidence that Tehran is seeking to build atomic bombs.
Iran denies having a bomb programme and says it has the right to develop civilian nuclear power.
Russian and U.S. officials point to cooperation over Iran as an area where Moscow and Washington have been able to work together despite a general cooling of ties.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili said Wednesday that Russian forces were erecting a "Berlin Wall" as part of a campaign to cut off rebel regions from the rest of the country.
Russia is trying to divide Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the rest of Georgia, she said in a speech to the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank in London.
Tkeshelashvili said Russia was building a wall at Zugdidi, a city at the Abkhaz border.
"Russia physically destroys physical links between the regions of Georgia," she said. "It is blowing up bridges in Gali region so that it is harder for people to go to the neighbouring region of Samegrelo.
"In Zugdidi city, for that matter, they are building a wall which will be not perhaps the size of the Berlin Wall but is something resembling that.
"The same goes for South Ossetia with which the roads and then bridges are being blown up. In physical terms, they try to dismember these regions in such a way that there's a physical detachment of these regions.
And she warned: "If Russia is allowed to continue along the way, that would damage the process of talks and negotiations."
Russian troops and tanks poured into Georgia on August 8 to repel a Georgian military attempt to retake South Ossetia, which had received extensive backing from Moscow for years.
Russian forces occupied swathes of the country, but later withdrew to within South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Moscow recognised as independent states.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday she would not insist on granting NATO membership to Georgia and Ukraine at the military alliance's ministerial meeting in Brussels next week.
Tkeshelashvili, 31, said Georgia still aspired to join Western community frameworks.
"It's not NATO membership that unnerves Russia," she said. "It's the very fact of the independence of Georgia and the possibility of independence of other countries (formerly under Moscow's control).
"The blackmailing of Russia cannot be successful."
She added: "If Russia is allowed to be effective in reinstating the Soviet Union, it will be a danger not only for Georgia."
Outgoing US President George W. Bush was a staunch ally of Georgia during the August war with Russia.
But despite Washington cooling its support for a formal path to help Georgia join NATO, Tkeshelashvili said she was not worried about the incoming US president-elect Barack Obama being less attentive to Georgia.
"There are no concerns of that type attached to the situation," she said.
"We have had very interesting consultations with the possible new administration and then with the president-elect himself."
Both Obama and vice president-elect Joseph Biden had made a "very firm commitment to the cause of Georgia's independence and sovereignty" on a number of occasions.
Key members of the incoming administration have "a very full understanding what is the situation in the in the region, what are the challenges ahead, what needs to be done," she said.
"I don't think that there will be any chance of fading interest from the United States."
Copyright AFP 2008, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Medvedev’s message was delivered just hours after Barack Obama was elected - an unmistakable signal to the incoming U.S. administration.
(click on link above to read message)
Putin had a reputation for being tough, but it was under Medvedev that Russia used excessive force against Georgia, occupying part of its territory and crushing its military. Medvedev then defied world opinion by accusing the United States of instigating the war and by recognizing the independence of Georgia's two separatist regions.
The Cold War rhetoric continued with the Kremlin blaming the United States for the global financial crisis.
Moscow has pursued close ties with countries like Venezuela and has even sent warships to the Caribbean for joint naval exercises.
The latest from President Medvedev is a threat to deploy missiles on the border with Poland as a response to the U.S. missile-defense program in eastern Europe. It is the first time in decades that Russia's leader has officially announced his readiness to target a NATO country with tactical weapons.
Venezuela's Chavez welcomes Russian warships
LA GUAIRA, Venezuela – Russian warships sailed into port in Venezuela on Tuesday in a show of strength as Moscow seeks to counter U.S. influence in Latin America. Russia's first such deployment in the Caribbean since the Cold War is timed to coincide with President Dmitry Medvedev's
Chavez, basking in the support of a powerful ally and traditional U.S. rival, wants Russian help to build a nuclear reactor, invest in oil and natural gas projects and bolster his leftist opposition to U.S. influence in the region.
He also wants weapons — Venezuela has bought more than $4 billion in Russian arms, including Sukhoi fighter jets, helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, and more deals for Russian tanks or other weaponry may be discussed after Medvedev arrives Wednesday.
Tue Nov 25 2008 09:04:22 ET
A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts.
Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily IZVESTIA published on Monday: "The dollar is not secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse."
The paper said Panarin's dire predictions for the U.S. economy, initially made at an international conference in Australia 10 years ago at a time when the economy appeared strong, have been given more credence by this year's events.
When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: "It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator."
When asked who would replace the U.S. in regulating world markets, he said: "Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia."
Asked why he expected the U.S. to break up into separate parts, he said: "A whole range of reasons. Firstly, the financial problems in the U.S. will get worse. Millions of citizens there have lost their savings. Prices and unemployment are on the rise. General Motors and Ford are on the verge of collapse, and this means that whole cities will be left without work. Governors are already insistently demanding money from the federal center. Dissatisfaction is growing, and at the moment it is only being held back by the elections and the hope that Obama can work miracles. But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles."
He also cited the "vulnerable political setup", "lack of unified national laws", and "divisions among the elite, which have become clear in these crisis conditions."
He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong.
He even suggested that "we could claim Alaska - it was only granted on lease, after all." Panarin, 60, is a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare.
"Promote then as an object of primary importance, Institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened." -George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796
On November 4th, 2008 millions of Americans were shocked that a man of Barack Obama's limited experience, extreme liberal positions and radical political alliances could be elected President of the United States. For many of these Americans, the explanation was rather simple... the news media, completely enamored with Obama, simply refused to do their job.
On Election day twelve Obama voters were interviewed extensively right after they voted to learn how the news media impacted their knowledge of what occurred during the campaign. These voters were chosen for their apparent intelligence/verbal abilities and willingness to express their opinions to a large audience. The rather shocking video below seeks to provide some insight into which information broke through the news media clutter and which did not.
OVER 1,400,000 VIEWS ON YOUTUBE! (Check out the website and view the video on youtube by visiting the link above.)
Because obviously interviewing a relative handful of Obama voters, while interesting, is hardly scientific proof of anything, we also commissioned a Zogby telephone poll which asked the very same questions (as well as a few others) with similarly amazing results.
Zogby Poll: Almost No Obama Voters Ace Election Test
Survey finds most Obama voters remembered negative coverage of McCain/Palin statements but struggled to correctly answer questions about coverage associated with Obama/Biden
For full poll results visit link above.
512 Obama Voters 11/13/08-11/15/08 MOE +/- 4.4 points
97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates
Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions
57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)
71.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)
82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)
88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)
56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).
Only 13.7% failed to identify Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 in clothes
Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter
And 86.9 % thought that Palin said that she could see Russia from her "house," even though that was Tina Fey who said that!!
Only 2.4% got at least 11 correct.
Only .5% got all of them correct. (And we "gave" one answer that was technically not Palin, but actually Tina Fey)
Monday, November 24, 2008
Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government is prepared to lend more than $7.4 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers, or half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, to rescue the financial system since the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.
"When Congress approved the TARP on Oct. 3, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson acknowledged the need for transparency and oversight. Now, as regulators commit far more money while refusing to disclose loan recipients or reveal the collateral they are taking in return, some Congress members are calling for the Fed to be reined in."
“Whether it’s lending or spending, it’s tax dollars that are going out the window and we end up holding collateral we don’t know anything about,” said Congressman Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican who serves on the House Financial Services Committee. “The time has come that we consider what sort of limitations we should be placing on the Fed so that authority returns to elected officials as opposed to appointed ones.”
“There is a lack of transparency here and, given that the Fed is taking on a huge amount of credit risk now, it would seem to me as a taxpayer there should be more transparency,” Kasriel said.
"The worst financial crisis in two generations has erased $23 trillion, or 38 percent, of the value of the world’s companies and brought down three of the biggest Wall Street firms."
"Most of the spending programs are run out of the New York Fed, whose president, Timothy Geithner, is said to be President- elect Barack Obama’s choice to be Treasury Secretary." (well isn't that convenient. In other words, the Obama could pay off Geithner to buy up American businesses for the governement, aka: Obama. Yeah that doesn't sound corrupt to me! Yeah that's nothing like communism is it?! SARCASM!!!)
The money that’s been pledged is equivalent to $24,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. It’s nine times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office figures. It could pay off more than half the country’s mortgages.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said he was angry that banks used the money for acquisitions.
“The only purpose for this money is to lend,” said Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. “It’s not for dividends, it’s not for purchases of new banks, it’s not for bonuses. There better be a showing of increased lending roughly in the amount of the capital infusions” or Congress may not approve the second half of the TARP money. (maybe that's why we need transparency!!! We shell out the money and it gets abused. Way to go government! We aren't a country with a representative form of government any longer. They just raised our taxes and took this money WITHOUT our approval and against our wishes and now they loan our money out without our approval and we don't get to see where it is going or what kind of risk is involved, our money is misused and abused and we are forced to sit here and take it. Sounds like NOW is a perfect time for a little bit of "CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE!!!)
Political correctness apparently has a rather weaker hold in Italy than in most Western countries, if we are to judge by the campaign posters. Please scroll down the web page at the link above,and see the poster which says 'Indovina chi e el ultimo?' The image is that of several 'diverse' immigrants and one Italian man waiting in a social service line. Notice the rather caricatured features of the immigrants. Can we imagine such a poster by any political party in this country? Enough said. And the message, which translates to 'guess who is last?' is rather frank, too. We all know that in our Western countries, the immigrant and the minority (the two terms overlap) are given precedence, while the native-born citizen is pushed to the back of the line.
But is the American Indian's situation, or ''plight'', as the old books called it, analogous to that of white European-descended people as the West is being broken up and given away to Third Worlders? There are some parallels but the circumstances are rather different. At least the Indians were able to fight for their land, --- though they ultimately lost, but modern European-descended people are stifled by political correctness and thwarted in many places by laws proscribing any kind of 'hate speech' (i.e.criticism) against the invaders. The Indians at least were not crippled by guilt-trips and propaganda in their struggle to maintain their territory.
This question of how European colonists and settlers ''stole the Native Americans' land'' is a persistent thorn in the side of Americans who are resisting the loss of their country. I can't count the number of times that some liberal has triumphantly introduced this accusation in a debate over immigration. They always flourish this as their trump card, their ultimate retort, so they think. They smugly say 'white people stole this country from the Natives', and they then expect this rather juvenile statement to silence their opponents.
I've said to such people that if they truly believe this, they should show some integrity and give all their property to the Indians and pack up to go to Europe, rather than remaining on 'stolen' land where they have no right to remain. I haven't yet gotten a response to that from any liberal. They obviously don't literally believe that this land 'belongs to the Indians', or else they would vacate it.
Another question I pose to these pestilent liberals is: ''were the Indians racist and xenophobic when they tried to expel or kill the whites? Why didn't the Indians 'embrace diversity' and why weren't they 'tolerant' and inclusive enough to accept the whites rather than attack them?"
This usually elicits no response, or a changing of the subject, usually accompanied by angry sputtering.
I continue: "if the Indians were within their rights to try to keep their land, why aren't we?"
The usual answer, if any, to that is: ''well, that was different; they belonged here, but our ancestors didn't." This, of course, dodges the question of the origins of Indians, and of their being transplants from Asia.
As for the accusation that whites killed and dispossessed the Indians, I remind the accusers that Indians did the same to each other; there was mutual hostility among many tribes, with constant conflict and frequent skirmishes, and sometimes considerable bloodshed. Indians displaced other Indians in their conflicts.
Indians also enslaved other Indians. Captives became slaves in many cases. The foolish idea that all Indians lived in some kind of idyllic noble savage utopia before the whites intruded still persists.
The liberal always wants to introduce guilt trips about how the Indians were ''forced onto reservations."
David Yeagley gives an Indian point of view on this: he says that far from being forced into isolation, the Indians preferred this solution. They in no way desired to be part of white society; they just wanted to remain Indian and to continue to live in their traditional ways. In a way, their position was the opposite of the black demands for integration, and for the right to live, work, go to school, and mingle socially with whites. Indians preferred to stay with their own kind in most cases. The idea that Indians follow the pattern established by blacks in their campaign for integration and 'equality' is false.
And if it happens that we become, like the original 'vanishing Americans', displaced and relegated to being walking museum pieces, will we want to be 'integrated' into the polyglot, Babelized society that supplants our civilization, or would we want to have our own sovereign, separate areas, where we can continue our own culture and way of life? I think I would choose the latter, if I had to choose between the two. Being swallowed up by some alien culture, among people who are hostile to me and mine, would seem like annihilation to me.
Still, though a 'reservation' or enclave of some sort would be the lesser of evils, I think that most of us are not meant for that kind of life; ''we must be free or die...'' as the poet said.
But I think that Italian campaign poster is a timely warning. We, all of us in the West need to contemplate, and realize how late is the hour, and how precarious our position.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
- Singer Britney Spears
- Actor Kelsey Grammer
- Actress Angie Harmon
- Action Star Chuck Norris
- Actor Dennis Hopper
- Author Tom Clancy
- Singer/Songwriter Naomi Judd
- Actor Danny Aiello
- Hall of fame quaterback John Elway
- Singer Sara Evans
- Singer Lee Ann Womack
- Founding member of punk rock group "The Ramones", Johnny Ramone
- Actress Shannen Doherty
- NASCAR driver Richard Petty
- Singer Mari Osmond
- Actor Mel Gibson
- NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Award-winning actor and Comedian Jackie Mason
- Championship baseball pitcher Curt Schilling
- Singer Trace Adkins
- Super model Kathey Ireland
- Actor Jon Voight
- Actor Bruce Willis
- Actor Scott Baio
- Actor Rick Schroder
- Dr. Phil
- Model / Actress Bo Derek
- Singer Nick Lachey
- Actor Stephen Baldwin
- NBA star Karl Malone
- Bodybuilder, Actor, Businessman & Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Emmy award winning actress Susan Lucci
- Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar
- Actor Kirk Cameron
- Singer / Songwriter Martina McBride
- Singer Gloria Estefan
- PGA golfer Jack Nicklaus
- Actress Heather Locklear
- Irish Tenor Ronan Tynan
- Singer / Actress Jessica Simpson
- Model Kim Alexis
- Actor / Pro-wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
- Singer, Author & Actress Cheryl Ladd
- Actor Robert Duvall
- Musician Kid Rock
- Actor Ben Stein
- Actor Dennis Franz
- Actor James Earl Jones
- Actor Tom Selleck
- Actor / Filmmaker Clint Eastwood
- Singer / Songwriter Loretta Lynn
- Academy-award nominated actor James Woods
- Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton
- Boxing promoter Don King
- Model & Actress Rachel Hunter
- Actor Dean Cain
- Actor Charlton Heston
- Stand-up comedian Dennis Miller
- Singer Meat Loaf
- Actor Tony Danza
- Former NFL player and coach Mike Ditka
- Game show host Pat Sajak
- Actress Patricia Heaton
- Actress Elisabeth Hasselbeck
- Former world #1 tennis player Chris Evert
- New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
- Comedian Drew Carey
- Actor, Director, Producer & Screenwriter Vincent Gallo
- Actor Sylvester Stallone
- Actress Dixie Carter
- Actor Adam Sandler
- Former M*A*S*H* star Jamie Farr
- Guitarist Ted Nugent
- Singer & Entertainer Wayne Newton
- Actor & Director Robert Conrad
- Singer & Actress Shirley Jones
- Actor Robert Davi
- Singer LeAnn Rimes
- Actor, Director & Producer Ron Silver
- Actress Janine Turner
- Actor Andy Garcia
- Rapper LL Cool J
- Rock star Alice Cooper
- Former Van Halen member Sammy Hagar
- Rapper 50 Cent
- Actor John Travolta
- Singer Billy Ray Cyrus
- Singer / Actress Miley Cyrus
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Cardinal Stafford criticizes Obama as ‘aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic’
Washington DC, Nov 17, 2008 / 02:27 pm (CNA).- Cardinal James Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, delivered a lecture on Thursday saying that the future under President-elect Obama will echo Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane. Criticizing Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,” he went on to speak about a decline in respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the values of marriage and human dignity.
Delivered at the Catholic University of America, the cardinal’s lecture was titled “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul,” the student university paper The Tower reports. Hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, his words focused upon Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, whose fortieth anniversary is marked this year.
Commenting on the results of the recent presidential election, Cardinal Stafford said on Election Day “America suffered a cultural earthquake.” The cardinal argued that President-elect Obama had campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform” and predicted that the near future would be a time of trial.
“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” he said, contrasting the year of Humane Vitae’s promulgation with this election year.
“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Cardinal Stafford told his audience. Catholics who weep the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” should try to identify with Jesus, who during his agony in the garden was “sick because of love.”
The cardinal attributed America’s decline to the Supreme Court’s decisions such as the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which imposed permissive abortion laws nationwide.
“Its scrupulous meanness has had catastrophic effects upon the unity and integrity of the American republic,” Cardinal Stafford commented, according to The Tower.
His theological remarks centered upon man’s relationship with God and man’s place in society.
“Man is a sacred element of secular life,” he said, arguing that therefore “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”
Cardinal Stafford also touched on the state of the family, saying that the truest reflection of the relationship between the believer and God is the relationship between husband and wife, and that contraceptive use does not fit within that relationship.
"He said Obama's victory was an "admission of defeat in Iraq."
Al-Qaida No. 2 insults Obama in new audio message
Nov 19 09:50 AM US/Eastern
By MAAMOUN YOUSSEF and LEE KEATH
Associated Press Writers
CAIRO,Egypt (AP) - Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri insulted Barack Obama in the terror group's first reaction to his election, calling him a demeaning racial term implying that the president-elect is a black American who does the bidding of whites.
The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Al-Zawahri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites Wednesday, that Obama is "the direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader.
Al-Zawahri also called Obama—along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice—"house negroes."
Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term "abeed al-beit," which literally translates as "house slaves." But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as "house negroes."
The message also includes old footage of speeches by Malcolm X in which he explains the term, saying black slaves who worked in their white masters' house were more servile than those who worked in the fields. Malcolm X used the term to criticize black leaders he accused of not standing up to whites.
The 11-minute 23-second video features the audio message by al-Zawahri, who appears only in a still image, along with other images, including one of Obama wearing a Jewish skullcap as he meets with Jewish leaders. In his speech, al-Zawahri refers to a Nov. 5 U.S. airstrike attack in Afghanistan, meaning the video was made after that date.
Al-Zawahri said Obama's election has not changed American policies he said are aimed at oppressing Muslims and others.
"America has put on a new face, but its heart full of hate, mind drowning in greed, and spirit which spreads evil, murder, repression and despotism continue to be the same as always," the deputy of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden said.
He said Obama's plan to shift troops to Afghanistan is doomed to failure, because Afghans will resist.
"Be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them," he said.
Al-Zawahri did not threaten specific attacks, but warned Obama that he was "facing a Jihadi (holy war) awakening and renaissance which is shaking the pillars of the entire Islamic world; and this is the fact which you and your government and country refuse to recognize and pretend not to see."
He said Obama's victory showed Americans acknowledged that President George W. Bush's policies were a failure and that the result was an "admission of defeat in Iraq."
But Obama's professions of support for Israel during the election campaign "confirmed to the Ummah (Islamic world) that you have chosen a stance of hostility to Islam and Muslims," al-Zawahri said.
Monday, November 17, 2008
A prominent reporter in Russia`s Ingushetia region, Magomed Yevloyev, was shot dead in police custody in September.
Published: November 17, 2008 21:57h
A Russian reporter who challenged alleged corruption in local government was close to death on Monday after a savage beating, a close friend said.
Mikhail Beketov, the editor of a newspaper in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, was found unconscious and covered in blood near his home on Nov. 13. He had multiple fractures.
Doctors have amputated one of his legs and have had to delay another operation at Moscow's main emergency hospital, the Sklifosovsky Institute, because his condition is so serious.
"Mikhail is floating between life and death," Lyudmila Fedotova, a friend of Beketov's, told Reuters by telephone.
"He remains in a coma. The doctors say he is the most seriously ill patient in the intensive care unit of the Sklifosovsky Institute."
"This is what happens when you oppose certain people," Fedotova said. "If they finish me off then you can write a story about that too. I am no longer scared."
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said that threatening calls had been made to the hospital where Beketov was treated. The Sklifosovsky Institute declined to comment.
"Beketov has lost a leg and is still in a coma, but that is not all -- threatening calls were also made to the hospital where he was taken," Reporters Without Borders said.
"Violence against journalists continues to be very much in the news in Russia... This cycle of violence must stop."
Reporters in Russia risk beatings and even death if they delve into the murky world where Russian politics and business overlap. Attackers are rarely convicted and journalists say they regularly receive threats.
Beketov, owner and editor of the paper Khimskaya Pravda, was known for his opposition to plans by local officials to fell a forest to make way for a major road. He also wrote about corruption.
Those behind the killings of Anna Politkovskaya and Paul Klebnikov -- the highest-profile reporters murdered during the eight-year rule of former President Vladimir Putin -- have still not been brought to justice.
Politkovskaya was shot dead on Oct. 7, 2006 outside her flat in Moscow. The judge in the trial of three people accused of involvement in her killing opened the hearings to the public on Monday. Klebnikov was shot near his office on July 9, 2004.
A prominent reporter in Russia's Ingushetia region, Magomed Yevloyev, was shot dead in police custody in September. Investigators said a police officer had accidentally fired his gun at Yevloyev's head.
"It is impossible not to get angry when you think about these murders that too often remain unpunished," said Reporters Without Borders.
There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges.
However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.
Of course, as your employer, I am forbidden to tell you how to think politically- it is against the law to discriminate based on political affiliation, race, creed, religion, etc. Yes, the elections are now over, but as Americans, we still have a powerful voice through letter writing, placing phone calls to Congress, and volunteering our time & effort for causes near & dear to us. After all, they were elected to represent you. Please do (or not do) whatever you think will serve your interests and the interests of the country the best.
However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interest.
First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my big home at last year’s Christmas party. I'm sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.
However, what you don't see is the back story.
I started this company 12 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you. My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business – hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.
Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.
So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the
office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, shit, and breathe this company every minute of the day.
There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... you never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made.
Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.
Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds.
Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why: I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.
The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.
The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts.
Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.
Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.
When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the mud of America is the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.
So where am I going with all this?
It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem anymore.
Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.
While tax cuts to 95% of America sounds great on paper, don't forget the back story: If there is no job, there is no income to tax. A tax cut on zero dollars is zero.
So, when you make your decision whether to support or fight against the President Obama’s tax & economic plans, ask yourself, who understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job?
Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of saving your job. While the media wants to tell you "It's the economy stupid" I'm telling you it isn't.
If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me in the South Caribbean sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.