Saturday, July 7, 2012

Anal Sex Approved by Allah and Prophet Muhammad

Europe News has been linking to posts from the Sex in Islam blog (added to blogroll on left). Here is on that gets very interesting at the end, no pun intended. via “Anal Sex Approved by Allah and Prophet Muhammad” by Amar Khan.

Linguistic analysis uncovers phony names on White House petition

Linguistic analysis of a White House petition against increased coal-ash regulations — submitted by coal industry front group “Citizens for Recycling First” in late 2011 – revealed that hundreds of Chinese signatures from Colorado on the petition that are less than authentic...

Obama Administration Calls Pro-Lifers Terrorists Again

Once again, the Obama administration has called “terrorists” the majority of Americans who support the pro-life view on abortion. A January 2012 Department of Homeland Security document is making the rounds on the Internet and it paints an unflattering picture of pro-life Americans.

The January, 31, 2012 document is titled, “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008″ and was released by the Behavioral Sciences Division of the department...

Pennsylvania Approves Private School Tax Credit Program

Public school students in poor performing Pennsylvania schools will now be eligible to receive scholarships to attend a private school of their choice.

Late Saturday night, Governor Tom Corbett (R) signed into law a provision that will make private school scholarships available for students assigned to the lowest-performing 15 percent of the state’s public schools.

While Pennsylvania has operated its Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program—which provides tax credits to corporations that donate money to scholarship-granting organizations—since 2001, scholarships were limited to students already enrolled in private schools. The new law expands the current program by adding $50 million in tax credits for corporations that donate toward scholarship for students assigned to low-performing public schools.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “The budget provides for corporate donations to pay up to $8,500 in tuition for the students to attend private schools. Special-education students can get up to $15,000 in tuition.”

New Executive Order -- Assignment of National Security & Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions - Signed Friday, July 6, 2012

- - - - - - -

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. The Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions. Survivable, resilient, enduring, and effective communications, both domestic and international, are essential to enable the executive branch to communicate within itself and with: the legislative and judicial branches; State, local, territorial, and tribal governments; private sector entities; and the public, allies, and other nations. Such communications must be possible under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies, and improve national resilience. The views of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public must inform the development of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications policies, programs, and capabilities.

Sec. 2. Executive Office Responsibilities.

Sec. 2.1. Policy coordination, guidance, dispute resolution, and periodic in-progress reviews for the functions described and assigned herein shall be provided through the interagency process established in Presidential Policy Directive-1 of February 13, 2009 (Organization of the National Security Council System) (PPD-1).

Sec. 2.2. The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) shall: (a) issue an annual memorandum to the NS/EP Communications Executive Committee (established in section 3 of this order) highlighting national priorities for Executive Committee analyses, studies, research, and development regarding NS/EP communications;

(b) advise the President on the prioritization of radio spectrum and wired communications that support NS/EP functions; and

(c) have access to all appropriate information related to the test, exercise, evaluation, and readiness of the capabilities of all existing and planned NS/EP communications systems, networks, and facilities to meet all executive branch NS/EP requirements.

Sec. 2.3. The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and the Director of OSTP shall make recommendations to the President, informed by the interagency policy process established in PPD-1, with respect to the exercise of authorities assigned to the President under section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (47 U.S.C. 606). The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and the Director of OSTP shall also jointly monitor the exercise of these authorities, in the event of any delegation, through the process established in PPD-1 or as the President otherwise may direct.

Sec. 3. The NS/EP Communications Executive Committee.

Sec. 3.1. There is established an NS/EP Communications Executive Committee (Executive Committee) to serve as a forum to address NS/EP communications matters.

Sec. 3.2. The Executive Committee shall be composed of Assistant Secretary-level or equivalent representatives designated by the heads of the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Commerce, and Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the General Services Administration, and the Federal Communications Commission, as well as such additional agencies as the Executive Committee may designate. The designees of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense shall serve as Co-Chairs of the Executive Committee.

Sec. 3.3. The responsibilities of the Executive Committee shall be to: (a) advise and make policy recommendations to the President, through the PPD-1 process, on enhancing the survivability, resilience, and future architecture of NS/EP communications, including what should constitute NS/EP communications requirements;

(b) develop a long-term strategic vision for NS/EP communications and propose funding requirements and plans to the President and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), through the PPD-1 process, for NS/EP communications initiatives that benefit multiple agencies or other Federal entities;

(c) coordinate the planning for, and provision of, NS/EP communications for the Federal Government under all hazards;

(d) promote the incorporation of the optimal combination of hardness, redundancy, mobility, connectivity, interoperability, restorability, and security to obtain, to the maximum extent practicable, the survivability of NS/EP communications under all circumstances;

(e) recommend to the President, through the PPD-1 process, the regimes to test, exercise, and evaluate the capabilities of existing and planned communications systems, networks, or facilities to meet all executive branch NS/EP communications requirements, including any recommended remedial actions;

(f) provide quarterly updates to the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and the Director of OSTP, through the Co-Chairs, on the status of Executive Committee activities and develop an annual NS/EP communications strategic agenda utilizing the PPD-1 process;

(g) enable industry input with respect to the responsibilities established in this section; and

(h) develop, approve, and maintain a charter for the Executive Committee.

Sec. 4. Executive Committee Joint Program Office.

Sec. 4.1. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish an Executive Committee Joint Program Office (JPO) to provide full-time, expert, and administrative support for the Executive Committee's performance of its responsibilities under section 3.3 of this order. Staff of the JPO shall include detailees, as needed and appropriate, from agencies represented on the Executive Committee. The Department of Homeland Security shall provide resources to support the JPO. The JPO shall be responsive to the guidance of the Executive Committee.

Sec. 4.2. The responsibilities of the JPO shall include: coordination of programs that support NS/EP missions, priorities, goals, and policy; and, when directed by the Executive Committee, the convening of governmental and nongovernmental groups (consistent with the Federal Advisory Committees Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.)), coordination of activities, and development of policies for senior official review and approval.

Sec. 5. Specific Department and Agency Responsibilities.

Sec. 5.1. The Secretary of Defense shall: (a) oversee the development, testing, implementation, and sustainment of NS/EP communications that are directly responsive to the national security needs of the President, Vice President, and senior national leadership, including: communications with or among the President, Vice President, White House staff, heads of state and government, and Nuclear Command and Control leadership; Continuity of Government communications; and communications among the executive, judicial, and legislative branches to support Enduring Constitutional Government;

(b) incorporate, integrate, and ensure interoperability and the optimal combination of hardness, redundancy, mobility, connectivity, interoperability, restorability, and security to obtain, to the maximum extent practicable, the survivability of NS/EP communications defined in section 5.1(a) of this order under all circumstances, including conditions of crisis or emergency;

(c) provide to the Executive Committee the technical support necessary to develop and maintain plans adequate to provide for the security and protection of NS/EP communications; and

(d) provide, operate, and maintain communication services and facilities adequate to execute responsibilities consistent with Executive Order 12333 of December 4, 1981, as amended.

Sec. 5.2. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall: (a) oversee the development, testing, implementation, and sustainment of NS/EP communications, including: communications that support Continuity of Government; Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal emergency preparedness and response communications; non-military executive branch communications systems; critical infrastructure protection networks; and non-military communications networks, particularly with respect to prioritization and restoration;

(b) incorporate, integrate, and ensure interoperability and the necessary combination of hardness, redundancy, mobility, connectivity, interoperability, restorability, and security to obtain, to the maximum extent practicable, the survivability of NS/EP communications defined in section 5.2(a) of this order under all circumstances, including conditions of crisis or emergency;

(c) provide to the Executive Committee the technical support necessary to develop and maintain plans adequate to provide for the security and protection of NS/EP communications;

(d) receive, integrate, and disseminate NS/EP communications information to the Federal Government and State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, as appropriate, to establish situational awareness, priority setting recommendations, and a common operating picture for NS/EP communications information;

(e) satisfy priority communications requirements through the use of commercial, Government, and privately owned communications resources, when appropriate;

(f) maintain a joint industry-Government center that is capable of assisting in the initiation, coordination, restoration, and reconstitution of NS/EP communications services or facilities under all conditions of emerging threats, crisis, or emergency;

(g) serve as the Federal lead for the prioritized restoration of communications infrastructure and coordinate the prioritization and restoration of communications, including resolution of any conflicts in or among priorities, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense when activities referenced in section 5.1(a) of this order are impacted, consistent with the National Response Framework. If conflicts in or among priorities cannot be resolved between the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, they shall be referred for resolution in accordance with section 2.1 of this order; and

(h) within 60 days of the date of this order, in consultation with the Executive Committee where appropriate, develop and submit to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, a detailed plan that describes the Department of Homeland

Security's organization and management structure for its NS/EP communications functions, including the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service, Wireless Priority Service, Telecommunications Service Priority program, Next Generation Network Priority program, the Executive Committee JPO, and relevant supporting entities.

Sec. 5.3. The Secretary of Commerce shall: (a) provide advice and guidance to the Executive Committee on the use of technical standards and metrics to support execution of NS/EP communications;

(b) identify for the Executive Committee requirements for additional technical standards and metrics to enhance NS/EP communications;

(c) engage with relevant standards development organizations to develop appropriate technical standards and metrics to enhance NS/EP communications;

(d) develop plans and procedures concerning radio spectrum allocations, assignments, and priorities for use by agencies and executive offices;

(e) develop, maintain, and publish policies, plans, and procedures for the management and use of radio frequency assignments, including the authority to amend, modify, or revoke such assignments, in those parts of the electromagnetic spectrum assigned to the Federal Government; and

(f) administer a system of radio spectrum priorities for those spectrum-dependent telecommunications resources belonging to and operated by the Federal Government and certify or approve such radio spectrum priorities, including the resolution of conflicts in or among such radio spectrum priorities during a crisis or emergency.

Sec. 5.4. The Administrator of General Services shall provide and maintain a common Federal acquisition approach that allows for the efficient centralized purchasing of equipment and services that meet NS/EP communications requirements. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the procurement authorities granted by law to an agency or the head thereof.

Sec. 5.5. With respect to the Intelligence Community, the DNI, after consultation with the heads of affected agencies, may issue such policy directives and guidance as the DNI deems necessary to implement this order. Procedures or other guidance issued by the heads of elements of the Intelligence Community shall be in accordance with such policy directives or guidelines issued by the DNI.

Sec. 5.6. The Federal Communications Commission performs such functions as are required by law, including: (a) with respect to all entities licensed or regulated by the Federal Communications Commission: the extension, discontinuance, or reduction of common carrier facilities or services; the control of common carrier rates, charges, practices, and classifications; the construction, authorization, activation, deactivation, or closing of radio stations, services, and facilities; the assignment of radio frequencies to Federal Communications Commission licensees; the investigation of violations of pertinent law; and the assessment of communications service provider emergency needs and resources; and

(b) supporting the continuous operation and restoration of critical communications systems and services by assisting the Secretary of Homeland Security with infrastructure damage assessment and restoration, and by providing the Secretary of Homeland Security with information collected by the Federal Communications Commission on communications infrastructure, service outages, and restoration, as appropriate.

Sec. 6. General Agency Responsibilities. All agencies, to the extent consistent with law, shall: (a) determine the scope of their NS/EP communications requirements, and provide information regarding such requirements to the Executive Committee;

(b) prepare policies, plans, and procedures concerning communications facilities, services, or equipment under their management or operational control to maximize their capability to respond to the NS/EP needs of the Federal Government;

(c) propose initiatives, where possible, that may benefit multiple agencies or other Federal entities;

(d) administer programs that support broad NS/EP communications goals and policies;

(e) submit reports annually, or as otherwise requested, to the Executive Committee, regarding agency NS/EP communications activities;

(f) devise internal acquisition strategies in support of the centralized acquisition approach provided by the General Services Administration pursuant to section 5.4 of this order; and

(g) provide the Secretary of Homeland Security with timely reporting on NS/EP communications status to inform the common operating picture required under 6 U.S.C. 321(d).

Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) For the purposes of this order, the word "agency" shall have the meaning set forth in section 6.1(b) of Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009.

(b) Executive Order 12472 of April 3, 1984, as amended, is hereby revoked.

(c) Executive Order 12382 of September 13, 1982, as amended, is further amended by striking the following language from section 2(e): "in his capacity as Executive Agent for the National Communications System".

(d) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(e) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(f) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


The tax man cometh to police you on health care

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama's health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2 1/2 years, when they'll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance.

That scenario puts the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the debate, renewing questions about whether the agency is capable of policing the health care decisions of millions of people in the United States while also collecting the taxes needed to run the federal government....

Surprise: Ohio woman who weeped in gratitude for ObamaCare was a 'plant'

(who just deleted her Twitter page)

Brits making fun of Barack/Michelles LAVISH lifestyle w/ TAXPAYER money!

Did Maryland farmer pay a price for criticizing federal prosecutors?

Readers will remember from this series of posts in April and May how the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maryland brought and then settled charges against Randy and Karen Sowers of Middletown, Md., over “structuring” of bank deposits, that is, the conscious holding of transactions under $10,000 to avoid triggering paperwork and federal scrutiny. Now Van Jones of the Baltimore City Paper, who has led the coverage of the story, has some unsettling new allegations:

Obama administration repeats same jobs line—for the 30th month

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the nation's latest national employment figures Friday, the Obama administration stressed that people should not "read too much" into the data.

Mitt Romney's campaign pounced, and flagged the fact that the White House has repeated that same line nearly every month since November 2009.

See below CLICK HERE for the roundup of articles from that Romney's campaign posted on its site. In many of the posts, the authors for the administration do acknowledge that they repeat themselves:

LaHood: Golly, I envy the Chinese government

It’s bad enough to have a columnist at one of America’s most prominent newspapers regularly singing the praises of Chinese authoritarianism. It’s worse when high-ranking members of the American government do it. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood griped at the Aspen Ideas Festival about having to deal with political opposition, and yearned for the ease in which Beijing could impose solutions without having to deal with dissent:

Echoing the laments of pundits like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood argued Saturday that China outpaces the United States in building major transportation infrastructure like high-speed rail because of its authoritarian system and because the Chinese don’t have the Republican Party holding up progress.

“The Chinese are more successful [in building infrastructure] because in their country, only three people make the decision. In our country, 3,000 people do, 3 million,” LaHood said in a short interview with The Cable on the sidelines of the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival on June 30. “In a country where only three people make the decision, they can decide where to put their rail line, get the money, and do it. We don’t do it that way in America.” …

“Two years ago, between 50 to 60 Republicans were elected to the House of Representatives to come to Washington to do nothing, and that’s what they’ve done and they’ve stopped any progress. Those people don’t have any vision about what the government can do. That’s been a real inhibitor in our ability to think outside the box and think big,” he said.

Er, high-speed rail is outside the box? Democrats have been pushing that idea for decades, even while our current passenger-rail monopoly eats government subsidies while delivering the kind of performance one would expect from an anachronistic transportation medium. Air travel surpassed fixed-rail transportation in the 1950s and 1960s, with its flexibility on routes and moderately free-market competition for passengers.

In California, for instance, the state and the federal government will spend $100 billion to build a route between San Francisco and Los Angeles that will consist of a government monopoly riding on tracks near one of the largest earthquake faults in the world for most of its length, all to deliver passengers slower and at greater overall cost between two fixed points. Airlines give consumers a choice of carriers and airports on either end of that route, will deliver passengers more quickly, and probably with a much wider choice of departure and arrival times. That sounds a lot more “outside the box,” and since the infrastructure for that already exists, it won’t cost an additional $100 billion for a state chronically in ten-figure budget deficits year in and year out.

Furthermore, the people sent those “50 to 60 Republicans” not to do nothing, but specifically to block the Obama administration’s agenda on big-spending government. That is how democracy works, and why we have midterm elections — so that voters can issue a corrective to Presidents and Congresses that defy public will. LaHood tried to tell The Cable that “democracy is preferable” after his hosanna to China, but it’s not clear that LaHood even understands how democracy works.

David Harsanyi echoes that concern at Human Events:

In my career, I’ve been lucky enough to meet cabinet members, governors, senators and even a few presidential candidates, but, honestly, I’ve never met anyone less impressive at the higher levels of government than LaHood. When I listened to him claim that commercial flying was a perilous mode of transportation, heard him say that bullet trains would soon replace cars and claim that building more bike lanes would solve the congestion problems in major cities … well, how can I put this: giving someone this silly a cabinet position should be an impeachable offense. Remember this is the guy who recklessly, and without evidence, suggested Americans “stop driving” Toyota for safety reasons right in the middle of the debate over the General Motors rescue.

And how has China’s authoritarianism worked out for its high-speed rail infrastructure? About as well as you’d expect:

The problem — beyond the idea of spending untold billions on the antiquated technology of static choo-choo trains — is that the three people making all these wonderful decisions in China now have a high-speed rail system plagued by failure, corruption, out-of-control costs and legitimate safety concerns.

Apparently, LaHood hasn’t heard about this, despite Charles Lane’s exposé at the Washington Post in April 2011. It’s yet another measure of the cluelessness of the China-boosters, but then again, anyone demanding massive government expenditures on fixed-rail transportation can’t be all that terribly bright in the first place.

Modern Marxists crave chance to sign their own death warrant..

Why Marxism is on the rise again

Capitalism is in crisis across the globe – but what on earth is the alternative? Well, what about the musings of a certain 19th-century German philosopher? Yes, Karl Marx is going mainstream – and goodness knows where it will end

Class conflict once seemed so straightforward. Marx and Engels wrote in the second best-selling book of all time, The Communist Manifesto: "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable." (The best-selling book of all time, incidentally, is the Bible – it only feels like it's 50 Shades of Grey.)

Today, 164 years after Marx and Engels wrote about grave-diggers, the truth is almost the exact opposite. The proletariat, far from burying capitalism, are keeping it on life support. Overworked, underpaid workers ostensibly liberated by the largest socialist revolution in history (China's) are driven to the brink of suicide to keep those in the west playing with their iPads. Chinese money bankrolls an otherwise bankrupt America.

The irony is scarcely wasted on leading Marxist thinkers. "The domination of capitalism globally depends today on the existence of a Chinese Communist party that gives de-localised capitalist enterprises cheap labour to lower prices and deprive workers of the rights of self-organisation," says Jacques Rancière, the French marxist thinker and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII. "Happily, it is possible to hope for a world less absurd and more just than today's."

That hope, perhaps, explains another improbable truth of our economically catastrophic times – the revival in interest in Marx and Marxist thought. Sales of Das Kapital, Marx's masterpiece of political economy, have soared ever since 2008, as have those of The Communist Manifesto and the Grundrisse (or, to give it its English title, Outlines of the Critique of Political Economy). Their sales rose as British workers bailed out the banks to keep the degraded system going and the snouts of the rich firmly in their troughs while the rest of us struggle in debt, job insecurity or worse. There's even a Chinese theatre director called He Nian who capitalised on Das Kapital's renaissance to create an all-singing, all-dancing musical.

And in perhaps the most lovely reversal of the luxuriantly bearded revolutionary theorist's fortunes, Karl Marx was recently chosen from a list of 10 contenders to appear on a new issue of MasterCard by customers of German bank Sparkasse in Chemnitz. In communist East Germany from 1953 to 1990, Chemnitz was known as Karl Marx Stadt. Clearly, more than two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the former East Germany hasn't airbrushed its Marxist past. In 2008, Reuters reports, a survey of east Germans found 52% believed the free-market economy was "unsuitable" and 43% said they wanted socialism back. Karl Marx may be dead and buried in Highgate cemetery, but he's alive and well among credit-hungry Germans. Would Marx have appreciated the irony of his image being deployed on a card to get Germans deeper in debt? You'd think.

Later this week in London, several thousand people will attend Marxism 2012, a five-day festival organised by the Socialist Workers' Party. It's an annual event, but what strikes organiser Joseph Choonara is how, in recent years, many more of its attendees are young. "The revival of interest in Marxism, especially for young people comes because it provides tools for analysing capitalism, and especially capitalist crises such as the one we're in now," Choonara says.

There has been a glut of books trumpeting Marxism's relevance. English literature professor Terry Eagleton last year published a book called Why Marx Was Right. French Maoist philosopher Alain Badiou published a little red book called The Communist Hypothesis with a red star on the cover (very Mao, very now) in which he rallied the faithful to usher in the third era of the communist idea (the previous two having gone from the establishment of the French Republic in 1792 to the massacre of the Paris communards in 1871, and from 1917 to the collapse of Mao's Cultural Revolution in 1976). Isn't this all a delusion?

Aren't Marx's venerable ideas as useful to us as the hand loom would be to shoring up Apple's reputation for innovation? Isn't the dream of socialist revolution and communist society an irrelevance in 2012? After all, I suggest to Rancière, the bourgeoisie has failed to produce its own gravediggers. Rancière refuses to be downbeat: "The bourgeoisie has learned to make the exploited pay for its crisis and to use them to disarm its adversaries. But we must not reverse the idea of historical necessity and conclude that the current situation is eternal. The gravediggers are still here, in the form of workers in precarious conditions like the over-exploited workers of factories in the far east. And today's popular movements – Greece or elsewhere – also indicate that there's a new will not to let our governments and our bankers inflict their crisis on the people."

That, at least, is the perspective of a seventysomething Marxist professor. What about younger people of a Marxist temper? I ask Jaswinder Blackwell-Pal, a 22 year-old English and drama student at Goldsmiths College, London, who has just finished her BA course in English and Drama, why she considers Marxist thought still relevant. "The point is that younger people weren't around when Thatcher was in power or when Marxism was associated with the Soviet Union," she says. "We tend to see it more as a way of understanding what we're going through now. Think of what's happening in Egypt. When Mubarak fell it was so inspiring. It broke so many stereotypes – democracy wasn't supposed to be something that people would fight for in the Muslim world. It vindicates revolution as a process, not as an event. So there was a revolution in Egypt, and a counter-revolution and a counter-counter revolution. What we learned from it was the importance of organisation."

This, surely is the key to understanding Marxism's renaissance in the west: for younger people, it is untainted by association with Stalinist gulags. For younger people too, Francis Fukuyama's triumphalism in his 1992 book The End of History – in which capitalism seemed incontrovertible, its overthrow impossible to imagine – exercises less of a choke-hold on their imaginations than it does on those of their elders.

Blackwell-Pal will be speaking Thursday on Che Guevara and the Cuban revolution at the Marxism festival. "It's going to be the first time I'll have spoken on Marxism," she says nervously. But what's the point thinking about Guevara and Castro in this day and age? Surely violent socialist revolution is irrelevant to workers' struggles today? "Not at all!" she replies. "What's happening in Britain is quite interesting. We have a very, very weak government mired in in-fighting. I think if we can really organise we can oust them." Could Britain have its Tahrir Square, its equivalent to Castro's 26th of July Movement? Let a young woman dream. After last year's riots and today with most of Britain alienated from the rich men in its government's cabinet, only a fool would rule it out.

For a different perspective I catch up with Owen Jones, 27-year-old poster boy of the new left and author of the bestselling politics book of 2011, Chavs: the Demonisation of the Working Class. He's on the train to Brighton to address the Unite conference. "There isn't going to be a bloody revolution in Britain, but there is hope for a society by working people and for working people," he counsels.

Indeed, he says, in the 1860s the later Marx imagined such a post-capitalist society as being won by means other than violent revolution. "He did look at expanding the suffrage and other peaceful means of achieving socialist society. Today not even the Trotskyist left call for armed revolution. The radical left would say that the break with capitalism could only be achieved by democracy and organisation of working people to establish and hold on to that just society against forces that would destroy it."

Jones recalls that his father, a Militant supporter in the 1970s, held to the entryist idea of ensuring the election of a Labour government and then organising working people to make sure that government delivered. "I think that's the model," he says. How very un-New Labour. That said, after we talk, Jones texts me to make it clear he's not a Militant supporter or Trotskyist. Rather, he wants a Labour government in power that will pursue a radical political programme. He has in mind the words of Labour's February 1974 election manifesto which expressed the intention to "Bring about a fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people and their families". Let a young man dream.

What's striking about Jones's literary success is that it's premised on the revival of interest in class politics, that foundation stone of Marx and Engels's analysis of industrial society. "If I had written it four years earlier it would have been dismissed as a 1960s concept of class," says Jones. "But class is back in our reality because the economic crisis affects people in different ways and because the Coalition mantra that 'We're all in this together' is offensive and ludicrous. It's impossible to argue now as was argued in the 1990s that we're all middle class. This government's reforms are class-based. VAT rises affect working people disproportionately, for instance.

"It's an open class war," he says. "Working-class people are going to be worse off in 2016 than they were at the start of the century. But you're accused of being a class warrior if you stand up for 30% of the population who suffers this way."

This chimes with something Rancière told me. The professor argued that "one thing about Marxist thought that remains solid is class struggle. The disappearance of our factories, that's to say de-industrialisation of our countries and the outsourcing of industrial work to the countries where labour is less expensive and more docile, what else is this other than an act in the class struggle by the ruling bourgeoisie?"

There's another reason why Marxism has something to teach us as we struggle through economic depression, other than its analysis of class struggle. It is in its analysis of economic crisis. In his formidable new tome Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism, Slavoj Žižek tries to apply Marxist thought on economic crises to what we're enduring right now. Žižek considers the fundamental class antagonism to be between "use value" and "exchange value".

What's the difference between the two? Each commodity has a use value, he explains, measured by its usefulness in satisfying needs and wants. The exchange value of a commodity, by contrast, is traditionally measured by the amount of labour that goes into making it. Under current capitalism, Žižek argues, exchange value becomes autonomous. "It is transformed into a spectre of self-propelling capital which uses the productive capacities and needs of actual people only as its temporary disposable embodiment. Marx derived his notion of economic crisis from this very gap: a crisis occurs when reality catches up with the illusory self-generating mirage of money begetting more money – this speculative madness cannot go on indefinitely, it has to explode in even more serious crises. The ultimate root of the crisis for Marx is the gap between use and exchange value: the logic of exchange-value follows its own path, its own made dance, irrespective of the real needs of real people."

In such uneasy times, who better to read than the greatest catastrophist theoriser of human history, Karl Marx? And yet the renaissance of interest in Marxism has been pigeonholed as an apologia for Stalinist totalitarianism. In a recent blog on "the new communism" for the journal World Affairs, Alan Johnson, professor of democratic theory and practice at Edge Hill University in Lancashire, wrote: "A worldview recently the source of immense suffering and misery, and responsible for more deaths than fascism and Nazism, is mounting a comeback; a new form of leftwing totalitarianism that enjoys intellectual celebrity but aspires to political power.

"The New Communism matters not because of its intellectual merits but because it may yet influence layers of young Europeans in the context of an exhausted social democracy, austerity and a self-loathing intellectual culture," wrote Johnson. "Tempting as it is, we can't afford to just shake our heads and pass on by."

That's the fear: that these nasty old left farts such as Žižek, Badiou, Rancière and Eagleton will corrupt the minds of innocent youth. But does reading Marx and Engels's critique of capitalism mean that you thereby take on a worldview responsible for more deaths than the Nazis? Surely there is no straight line from The Communist Manifesto to the gulags, and no reason why young lefties need uncritically to adopt Badiou at his most chilling. In his introduction to a new edition of The Communist Manifesto, Professor Eric Hobsbawm suggests that Marx was right to argue that the "contradictions of a market system based on no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous 'cash payment', a system of exploitation and of 'endless accumulation' can never be overcome: that at some point in a series of transformations and restructurings the development of this essentially destabilising system will lead to a state of affairs that can no longer be described as capitalism".

That is post-capitalist society as dreamed of by Marxists. But what would it be like? "It is extremely unlikely that such a 'post-capitalist society' would respond to the traditional models of socialism and still less to the 'really existing' socialisms of the Soviet era," argues Hobsbawm, adding that it will, however, necessarily involve a shift from private appropriation to social management on a global scale. "What forms it might take and how far it would embody the humanist values of Marx's and Engels's communism, would depend on the political action through which this change came about."

This is surely Marxism at its most liberating, suggesting that our futures depend on us and our readiness for struggle. Or as Marx and Engels put it at the end of The Communist Manifesto: "Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win."

Marxism 2012, University College and Friends Meeting House, London, 5-9 July. Further information:

Summer Campaign 2012 - Take Back the Media.mxf

Poverty has to “exist” if we are to fix the problem of poverty [Reader Post]

Hear me out. I’ll end this with a cherry on top, a simple five second mental exercise that exposes the fallacy that is known as wealth disparity..

How can you detect if your computer has been violated and infected with DNS Changer?

An industry wide team has developed easy “are you infected” web sites. They are a quick way to determine if you are infected with DNS Changer. Each site is designed for any normal computer user to browse to a link, follow the instructions, and see if they might be infected. Each site has instructions in their local languages on the next steps to clean up possible infections.

For example, the will state if you are or are not infected (see below).
No Software is Downloaded! The tools do not need to to load any software on your computer to perform the check.
No changes are performed on your computer! Nothing is changed on your computer when you use sites like
No scanning! The “are you infected with DNS Changer” tool does not need to scan your computer.

If you think your computer is infected with DNS Changer or any other malware, please refer to the security guides from your operating system or the self -help references from our fix page (

The following table is a list of all easy “are you infected” sites. It includes the links to the security organizations who are maintaining the sites. Each site has instructions in their local languages on the next steps to clean up possible infections.

If you are not affected by DNS Changer then do nothing.

If the Check-Up Site indicates that you are affected then either follow the instructions on that site or go to the “FIX” page.

Manually Checking if your DNS server have been Changed

The following pages would help check to manually see if you have DNS Changer DNS servers configured on your computer. Use of the “check up” pages are more effective, but some would want to check manually.

Checking for DNS Changer on Windows XP
Checking for DNS Changer on Windows Vista (pending)
Checking Windows 7 for Infections
Checking OSX for Infections

Would my Service Provider Help Me?

Many service providers are notifying their customers. They are creating help pages that will help you detect and clean up DNS Changer from your system. Here is a partial list. Please contact your SP if you do not see them on the list.

*Reposted using Linux :)

Will the FBI Shut Down Your Internet on Monday?

It’s three days and counting before the deadline by the FBI hits in which they’ve threatened to shut down your Internet connection. The agency believes they are doing Americans a favor..

The Federalist No. 78

The Judiciary Department

Independent Journal
Saturday, June 14, 1788
[Alexander Hamilton]

To the People of the State of New York:

Government of the People?

A just released report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee shows that the now defunct Countrywide Financial Corp., the mortgage underwriter that turned subprime lending into a ticking time bomb, created a “VIP loan unit” to provide “hundreds of loans to current and former Members of Congress, congressional staff, high ranking government officials and executives and employees of Fannie Mae … VIPs who worked at Fannie Mae enjoyed expedited loan processing and pricing discounts. Countrywide also waived company guidelines for Fannie Mae’s senior executives to a greater extent than it did for ‘regular’ VIPs,” said the congressional report..

This may send Wall Streeters to prison

With the four-year anniversary of the financial crisis approaching, Wall Street thought it had dodged a bullet. Now comes the Libor scandal.

Health Savings Accounts Under Attack

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are an oasis in the desert of government-run health care. That is why President Obama’s health care bureaucrats are intent on killing HSAs.

Christian fined, sentenced to 60 days in jail-over Az home Bible Studies/

We’ve told you before about government regulations hampering home Bible studies, but this story is even more pervasive, perplexing and complicated than the others. Michael Salman, who lives in Phoenix, Ariz., has been sentenced to a startling 60 days in jail, given a $12,180 fine and granted three years probation for refusing to stop hosting Bible studies at his home. Why, you ask? He‘s apparently in violation of the city’s building code laws...

Court Rules that Cops Need to Be Sober if they Want to Shoot Anyone

Familiar Themes for $1trillion: French police lose power to detain illegal immigrants

France’s highest court has ruled that the country’s police can no longer arrest and detain illegal immigrants unless they are suspected of having committed a criminal offence.

White House Rolls Out Kenya Propaganda Plan

Aims to 'groom' journalists for favorable coverage from Nairobi to New York

Now that the Obama administration is pouring vast amounts of money into Kenya, his homeland, it’s going to need some help selling its spending to the people..

Free speech claims tossed in N.Irish "Troubles" case

(Reuters) - Researchers do not have free speech protections that would allow them to keep interviews with fighters from Northern Ireland's sectarian "Troubles" sealed, a U.S. Appeals Court ruled Friday, siding with prosecutors who want access to their papers..

Finland Would Rather Exit Euro Than Pay for Others

Finland would rather leave the euro zone than pay down the debt of other countries in the currency bloc, Finnish Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen said in a newspaper interview Friday.

"Finland is committed to being a member of the euro zone, and we think that the euro is useful for Finland," Urpilainen told financial daily Kauppalehti, adding though that "Finland will ...

Small businesses are faltering on job creation

The majority of small-business owners in California say they don't plan to hire any workers in the next few months as consumer confidence remains weak.

Forbidden Science: Low Level Radiation and Cancer

Some things are hard to believe. What you've been told about low-level radiation by the people who are supposed to be responsible authorities is very wrong. The evidence that the official story is wrong is overwhelming. They know about the evidence. Yet because they have a vested interest in being wrong, they willfully keep being wrong. There is massive evidence that low levels of radiation rather than causing cancer, actually suppress cancer. The reason is, probably, that radiation in small or moderate quantities stimulates cellular repair mechanisms. This is not to negate the fact that large amounts of radiation can kill you or make you sick. This protective effect of low levels of radiation is called radiation hormesis.

The case of radiation hormesis provides yet more evidence that the scientific establishment and the EPA are lacking in objectivity when their interests are at stake. They cling to scare stories like leeches. Be it ionizing radiation or global warming they will not admit that they were wrong, at least if they can avoid it..

Jordanian MP pulls a gun on his critic during live TV debate

Polling station violence mars historic Libya election

While Libya’s first free national election in 60 years is a cause for celebration by many voters, polling in two eastern cities was suspended due to violence.

Security sources say a group of radical Islamists stormed several polling stations in Ajdabiya and Brega and burned or stole ballot boxes.

Authorities decided to proceed with Sunday’s vote despite surge in violence and vandalism in recent days.

The election comes after the death of Muammar Gaddafi following 42 years in power.

The polls will choose a 200 member legislative assembly which will elect a prime minister and cabinet and draft the country’s new constitution.

The election has heightened tensions between eastern and western regions. Groups based around Benghazi in eastern Libya complain they will be under represented in the assembly.

Hundreds of people protested through the city on Friday threatening to boycott the election.

Fighting this Depression with the Last Depression's Tactics is a Recipe for Disaster

Black Doctor Who Performed First Surgery to Separate Siamese Twins Opposes Obamacare

Dr. Ben Carson, who has been chronicled in Ebony and Jet for at least two decades for his achievements as a neurosurgeon, including his successful 1987 surgery to separate siamese twins, is also opposed to Obamacare.

In an interview with Black Christian News, Carson previously said, “The government is big enough and intrusive enough as it is. If you go back and read the ideals the Founders had, you’ll see they never intended for the government to grow so large. They said it is critical, if the United States is to maintain itself as a free and prosperous nation, that the people be well-informed and active in government. We’re becoming a nation for, of, and by the government. As that continues, we become less of a “can-do” nation and more of a “what can you do for me?” nation.”

An Opinion of an Opinion of an Opinion.....

The Five Hosts Agree That Morgan Freeman’s Comments About ‘Mixed-Race’ Obama Are ‘Race-Baiting’

On Friday, Fox News Channel’s hosts of The Five weighed in on comments made by actor Morgan Freeman who said that President Barack Obama cannot be considered America’s first black president because he is half-white. In a rare moment of agreement between co-hosts Bob Beckel and Greg Gutfeld, Beckel said that he thought Freeman’s comments were “unhelpful” and Gutfeld agreed that they were “race-baiting.”

“I’m not allowed to call him mulatto, right....”

Fort Hood suspect's lawyers discuss jury screening

Jurors must be of Hasan’s rank or higher, and they will be brought from Fort Hood and Army posts across the country. Death penalty cases in the military require at least 12 jury members, more than in other cases. And unlike other trials, their verdict must be unanimous in finding guilt or assessing a sentence..

...Is it already too late?


From: John Porter To: Americans everywhere

I was sitting at my keyboard halfway through my writing a letter to you about how Barack Obama was fulfilling his pledge to "Transform America" by "Changing the fundamentals of America", so that our government would become the plantation, he the owner, and we the slaves, when this article by Steve McCann appeared in my in box. After checking it for accuracy, and finding it so, I put my writing on hold and here present it to you, for I could not say it better.

...Is it already too late?

Obama's Second Term Transformation Plans

The 2012 election has often been described as the most pivotal since 1860. This statement is not hyperbole. If Barack Obama is re-elected the United States will never be the same, nor will it be able to re-capture its once lofty status as the most dominant nation in the history of mankind.

The overwhelming majority of Americans do not understand that Obama's first term was dedicated to putting in place executive power to enable him and the administration to fulfill the campaign promise of "transforming America " in his second term regardless of which political party controls Congress. That is why his re-election team is virtually ignoring the plight of incumbent or prospective Democratic Party office holders.

The most significant accomplishment of Obama's first term is to make Congress irrelevant. Under the myopic and blindly loyal leadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats have succeeded in creating an imperial and, in a second term, a potential dictatorial presidency.

During the first two years of the Obama administration when the Democrats overwhelming controlled both Houses of Congress and the media was in an Obama worshipping stupor, a myriad of laws were passed and actions taken which transferred virtually unlimited power to the executive branch.

The birth of multi-thousand page laws was not an aberration. This tactic was adopted so the bureaucracy controlled by Obama appointees would have sole discretion in interpreting vaguely written laws and enforcing thousands of pages of regulations they and not Congress would subsequently write.

For example, in the 2,700 pages of ObamaCare there are more than 2,500 references to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. There are more than 700 instances when he or she is instructed that they "shall" do something and more than 200 times when they "may" take at their sole discretion some form of regulatory action. On 139 occasions, the law mentions that the "Secretary determines." In essence one person, appointed by and reporting to the president, will be in charge of the health care of 310 million Americans once ObamaCare is fully operational in 2014.

The same is true in the 2,319 pages of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act which confers nearly unlimited power on various agencies to control by fiat the nation's financial, banking and investment sectors. The bill also creates new agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, not subject to any oversight by Congress. This overall process was repeated numerous times with other legislation all with the intent of granting unfettered power to the executive branch controlled Barack Obama and his radical associates.

Additionally, the Obama administration has, through its unilaterally determined rule making and regulatory powers, created laws out of whole cloth. The Environmental Protection Agency on a near daily basis issues new regulations clearly out of their purview in order to modify and change environmental laws previously passed and to impose a radical green agenda never approved by Congress. The same is true of the Energy and Interior Departments among many others.

None of these extra-constitutional actions have been challenged by Congress. The left in America knows this usurpation of power is nearly impossible to reverse unless stopped in its early stages.

It is clearly the mindset of this administration and its appointees that Congress is merely a nuisance and can be ignored after they were able to take full advantage of the useful idiots in the Democrat controlled House and Senate in 2009-2010 and the Democrat Senate in the current Congress.

Additionally, Barack Obama knows after his re-election a Republican controlled House and Senate will not be able to enact any legislation to roll back the power previously granted to the Executive Branch or usurped by them. His veto will not be overridden as there will always be at least 145 Democratic members of the House or 34 in the Senate in agreement with or intimidated by an administration more than willing to use Chicago style political tactics.

The stalemate between the Executive and Legislative Branches will inure to the benefit of Barack Obama and his fellow leftists.

The most significant power Congress has is the control of the purse-strings as all spending must be approved by them. However, once re-elected, Barack Obama, as confirmed by his willingness to do or say anything and his unscrupulous re-election tactics, would not only threaten government shutdowns but would deliberately withhold payments to those dependent on government support as a means of intimidating and forcing a Republican controlled Congress to surrender to his demands, thus neutering their ability to control the administration through spending constraints.

Further, this administration has shown contempt for the courts by ignoring various court orders, e.g. the Gulf of Mexico oil drilling moratorium, as well as stonewalling subpoenas and requests issued by Congress. The Eric Holder Justice Department has become the epitome of corruption as part of the most dishonest and deceitful administration in American history. In a second term the arrogance of Barack Obama and his minions will become more blatant as he will not have to be concerned with re-election.

Who will be there to enforce the rule of law, a Supreme Court ruling or the Constitution? No one. Barack Obama and his fellow-travelers will be unchallenged as they run roughshod over the American people.

Many Republicans and conservatives dissatisfied with the prospect of Mitt Romney as the nominee for president are instead focused on re-taking the House and Senate. That goal, while worthy and necessary, is meaningless unless Barack Obama is defeated. The nation is not dealing with a person of character and integrity but someone of single-minded purpose and overwhelming narcissism. Judging by his actions, words and deeds during his first term, he does not intend to work with Congress either Republican or Democrat in his second term but rather to force his radical agenda on the American people through the power he has usurped or been granted.

The governmental structure of the United States was set up by the founders in the hope that over the years only those people of high moral character and integrity would assume the reins of power. However, knowing that was not always possible, they dispersed power over three distinct and independent branches as a check on each other.

What they could not imagine is the surrender and abdication of its constitutional duty by the preeminent governmental branch, the Congress, to a chief executive devoid of any character or integrity coupled with a judiciary essentially powerless to enforce the law when the chief executive ignores them

Conservatives, Libertarians, the Republican Party and Mitt Romney must come to grips with this moment in time and their historical role in denying Barack Obama and his minions their ultimate goal. All resources must be directed at that end-game and not merely controlling Congress and the various committee chairmanships.

Steve McCann May 12, 2012

I would add but 6 words to those above mentioned, Conservatives, Libertarians, the Republican Party and Mitt Romney, to say "and we the American people also", must come to grips with this moment in time and our role in denying Barack Obama his life long goal of "transforming" us into his slaves working on his government plantation.

Please forward this to all you can, maybe together we can save America for ourselves and those who will follow after us.

May God bless America . Until next time: John Porter 118 Approach Drive Harrison , Arkansas 72601 870-741-4119

Man wins last-minute appeal to distribute Bibles at Pride

Brian Johnson says he's been spreading "the love of Jesus Christ" at Pride fest since 1995.

Disappointment: Akron restaurant owner dies hours after meeting President Obama

Harris had no idea Obama would make a stop at her small diner, which she had owned for about 30 years. Her daughter came and picked her up, and they hurried to the restaurant.

Spy Drone Buzzes Journalist’s Secluded Home

World Net Daily editor and prominent Obama administration critic Joseph Farah revealed how his secluded property was buzzed by a spy drone – part of what Farah fears is a “war” being waged by the administration against its political adversaries.

That's No Baloney: Lobster Cheaper Than Deli Meat

An excess supply in Maine of smaller soft-shell lobsters has driven prices to under $4 a pound, the Associated Press reported this week, making the luscious sea creature cheaper than the per pound price of deli meat in some cases..

Initiative would let voters overrule federal law

PHOENIX -- Voters could get the right to overrule federal laws and mandates under the terms of an initiative filed late Thursday.

The Arizona Constitution already says the federal Constitution "is the supreme law of the land." This measure, if approved in November, it would add language saying that federal document may not be violated by any government -- including the federal government.

More to the point, it would allow Arizonans "to reject any federal action that they determine violates the United States Constitution."

That could occur through a vote of the state House and Senate with consent of the governor...

Roll-your-own cigarette operations to be snuffed out

A tiny amendment buried in the federal transportation bill to be signed today by President Barack Obama will put operators of roll-your-own cigarette operations in Las Vegas and nationwide out of business at midnight..

Merkel’s public approval ratings soar

Two-thirds of Germans happy with chancellor, says poll

Gov. Chris Christie Fightin' Words On the Jersey Shore

Unemployment rate for blacks jumps to 14.4%


The unemployment rate for white men and women was unchanged at 7.4 percent, while 184,000 more black American's went without a job in June, for an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent.

Disability Ranks Outpace New Jobs In Obama Recovery

Shocking video shows Islamists punishing Syrian ‘collaborator’ by throwing him out third-floor window

Friday, July 6, 2012

As U.N. Finalizes Arms Trade Treaty, Opponents Warn of Global Gun Grab

( – Amid energetic lobbying from both sides, the Obama administration is taking part in month-long negotiations at United Nations headquarters aimed at finalizing a conventional arms trade treaty, which supporters say will save millions of lives but opponents fear threatens to restrict Second Amendment rights at home and U.S. arms sales policies abroad.

U.N. bureaucrats insist that the U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) will have no impact on civilian gun ownership, saying that it will deal only with the arms trade across borders. They also stress that its outcome will not be imposed on any country, noting it will only be binding on countries that ratify it.

In a letter to Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the eve of the conference, 130 Republican lawmakers outlined their concerns that the treaty being negotiated could negatively affect U.S. security, foreign policy and economic interests – as well as Americans’ constitutional rights.

“The ATT must not accept that free democracies and totalitarian regimes have the same right to conduct arms transfers: this is a dangerous piece of moral equivalence,” the letter stated.

“Moreover, the ATT must not impose criteria for determining the permissibility of arms transfers that are vague, easily politicized, and readily manipulated,” it continued, referring in particular to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and Israel.

The lawmakers warned that they would oppose the appropriation or authorization of any taxpayer money to implement a “flawed” treaty.

The Bush administration in 2006 cast the lone negative vote when 153 nations passed a U.N. General Assembly resolution that began the treaty-drafting process, which is now in its final phase in New York. President Obama reversed that position in 2009, backing the initiative but making its support conditional on consensus decision-making.

Alert to the political sensitivity of the issue as the election looms, the administration says it has clear red lines that it will not allow to be crossed.

At home, it says, the Second Amendment must be upheld: “There will be no dilution or diminishing of sovereign control over issues involving the private acquisition, ownership, or possession of firearms, which must remain matters of domestic law.”

Abroad, the U.S. will oppose any provisions that would “unduly interfere with our ability to import, export, or transfer arms in support of our national security and foreign policy interests,” it says.

Further, the administration pledges not to accept a treaty that covers ammunition or explosives, or one that establishes an international enforcement body.

Some of Washington’s closest allies differ with at least some of those positions.

For example the British, French, German and Swedish governments in a joint position published this week said, “We believe that an arms trade treaty should cover all types of conventional weapons, notably including small arms and light weapons, all types of munitions, and related technologies.”

Britain, France and Germany are among the world’s top six arms suppliers, along with the United States – the leader by far – as well as China and Russia.

A powerful coalition of non-governmental organizations including Amnesty International and Oxfam says the negotiated treaty must be workable and enforceable, with international reporting of sales and a mechanism for monitoring compliance.

On the issue of consensus, the Control Arms coalition also wants the conference to follow usual U.N. practice, requiring “wide agreement” on a final text but not giving countries veto power.

‘Goal is clear: A robust and legally-binding arms trade treaty’

The month-long negotiating conference got off to a slow start this week after demands by Arab states that the Palestinian Authority be allowed to participate as a voting delegate, citing the precedent set by UNESCO in admitting “Palestine” as a full member nine months ago. After reported boycott threats by the U.S. and Israel, the P.A. was seated as an observer, without voting rights.

In his opening remarks, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said poorly-regulated international arms transfers fuel civil conflicts, destabilized regions, and empowered terrorists and criminal networks.

“Our common goal is clear: a robust and legally-binding arms trade treaty that will have a real impact on the lives of those millions of people suffering from the consequences of armed conflict, repression and armed violence,” he said.

One of the key issues under discussion is criteria that should be met when countries decide on selling arms. Any deal that would contribute to war crimes, human rights violations or terrorism should not be authorized, although who would make such determinations remains fuzzy.

If left up to countries themselves, argue proponents of a strong treaty, this would allow Russia, for example, to continue selling arms to Syria since Moscow views the regime’s actions against the anti-Assad opposition as lawful.

Arms Control Association executive director Daryl Kimball argued in a recent paper that the treaty must require countries to withhold problematic arms transfers, not merely require them to take any potential risks into account.

On the other hand, global regulation of sales could impact the right of the U.S. to sell arms to allies that have powerful enemies in the international community, such as Israel and Taiwan.

“Washington is the only capital that now sells weapons to Taipei, aiding its defense against Beijing’s unprecedented arms buildup,” Heritage Foundation senior fellow Peter Brookes wrote in an op-ed Tuesday. “China would love to cut off those sales.”

Also unclear is how arms sales benefiting terrorists would be restricted, given the U.N.’s failure over many years to define terrorism – largely because Arab and Muslim states insist on exclusions for those fighting “foreign occupation.”

Less controversial proposed criteria for arms sales include not fostering corruption or harming the economy of the country buying the weapons.

ATT proponents and the U.N. say the initiative will not affect domestic gun ownership, but Second Amendment advocacy groups are adamantly opposed to the treaty, which Gun Owners of America calls “a backdoor attempt by the Obama administration to impose radical gun control on America citizens.”

Addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference last February, National Rifle Association vice-president Wayne LaPierre accused Obama of working behind the scenes with the U.N. on a “treaty that could effectively ban or severely restrict civilian ownership of firearms worldwide.”

“I've been around long enough to know that the U.N. has little regard for our Constitution and none at all for the Second Amendment,” LaPierre said. “But I never thought I’d see the day when an American White House would tolerate a proposal that would literally gut one of our most fundamental freedoms in this country.”

Last March Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced legislation prohibiting any funds for negotiating an ATT that would restrict U.S. citizens’ Second Amendment rights. The bill has 19 co-sponsors, all Republicans.

Win a cup of coffee with Biden

The Obama campaign has raffled off numerous dinners with the president.

Now ... it's coffee with Joe Biden.

The vice president makes the pitch himself in an e-mail to supporters, asking them to contribute at least $3 to enter a contest for a sit-down with him.

"Want to have a cup of coffee sometime soon?" Biden writes. "I'm sure we'll have a lot to talk about, but mainly I just want to say thanks for helping out."

Of course, the campaign calls it "grab a cup of joe with Joe."

The contest offers what Biden calls "the chance to come hang out -- flight, hotel, and coffee on us. You can even bring a guest."

Biden also writes:

Barack and I know that we ask you for a lot. We wouldn't do it if we didn't believe that folks like you are going to decide this election.

The spending on the other side this year is literally unprecedented. If nothing changes, Barack is on pace to be the first president in modern history to get outspent in his re-election campaign.

What you do will determine how this goes.

Make a grassroots donation today, and you'll be automatically entered to win. ...

Last week was a big one for this campaign. The truth is we need every week to be that big. We need to dig deeper and deeper every day if we want to win.

Hope to see you soon,


Twitter Engineer: Twitter Search "Set To Change Forever"

Twitter engineering manager Pankaj Gupta announced Thursday night in a tweet that big changes were coming to the service.

Here's what he wrote:

Search & discovery in @twitter set to change forever after tmrw. Team - congrats and enjoy the enormity of ur impact few understand today!

Twitter search has long been extraordinarily limited in its functionality. For example, you can't currently search among just the tweets of people you follow. And Twitter's reach into its own archives has been extraordinarily limited: Only relatively recent tweets are displayed.

In his tweet, first noticed by Jon Russell of The Next Web, Gupta didn't give any indication into how Twitter will revolutionize search and discovery. But there are some clues.

In May, Twitter announced that the Discover tab on its website and mobile apps would display stories that are more personalized based on the accounts users follow. Last month, it started personalizing its Trends feature based on similar social signals.

Last year on question-and-answer site Quora, Gupta disclosed that he had built a system similar to Google's PageRank algorithm for ranking tweets and that it was "used throughout various Twitter features."

Gupta's a hot commodity in the Valley. The cofounder of two startups, he joined Twitter in 2009 after turning down offers from Google and Facebook.

So from the evolution of Twitter's product—into something resembling social news reader Flipboard—and from Gupta's past work, odds are pretty good that Twitter is rolling out improvements that use social signals based on the accounts users follow to deliver smarter search results and related tweets and accounts.


Introducing Kevin Jackson

CBO: 20 million Americans could lose employer-provided health coverage under Obamacare

From The Hill:

As many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-provided coverage because of President Obama’s healthcare reform law, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a new report Thursday.

The figure represents the worst-case scenario, CBO says, and the law could just as well increase the number of people with employer-based coverage by 3 million in 2019.

The best estimate, subject to a “tremendous amount of uncertainty,” is that about 3 million to 5 million fewer people will obtain coverage through their employer each year from 2019 through 2022.

The new report adds more detail to this week’s update of the law’s coverage provisions, which CBO released Tuesday. Compared to a year ago, the law is now anticipated to cover 2 million fewer people but cost $50 billion less over 10 years, after factoring penalties paid by individuals and businesses that don’t get or provide healthcare coverage.

Republicans immediately pounced after the new numbers came out because they appear to violate Obama’s pledge that people who like their health plans will be able to keep them. Last year, CBO’s best estimate was that only 1 million people would lose employer-sponsored coverage.

“President Obama’s string of empty promises is quickly becoming a disappointing trail of broken promises,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “He promised Americans that his overhaul of the health care sector would not jeopardize the health coverage of those who liked what they had. As nonpartisan analysts made clear today, millions of Americans will soon learn the hard way that Washington’s overreach into their health care decisions will result in sharp disruptions to their coverage and their care.”

I think this is important because conservatives are constantly being portrayed as “mean” in the media because we don’t embrace big government health care solutions. Everyone agrees on the problems, and everyone wants to help. The difference is that we conservatives think that health care is better when it is run profitably and is responsive to consumers and offers choice, low prices and high quality – like Amazon. We want privatized, market-driven health care with vouchers given to each citizen to purchase what they need, and to encourage them to save the rest for their old age while making healthier choices now.

The alternative is Department of Motor Vehicles health care – long lines, huge budget overruns, one-size-fits-all, lousy service and nowhere else to go for better better service. Why think that government is better at anything than the private sector? The private sector does everything better and cheaper and with better quality. So what if people get rich providing goods and services? As long as the customers are happy, and the children of the customers don’t get stuck paying for huge trillion dollar cost overruns.

Here are a few articles that I have been using lately to inform people about the problems with Obamacare:

End the Vote-Buying

Here’s a letter to the Los Angeles Times:

Although he properly defends the Citizens United decision, Michael Kinsley laments that “The influence of money in politics is greater than ever” (“Citizens United got it right,” July 6). His proposed solution is to inspire voters to toss from office politicians who spend “an offensive amount of money on the effort to get reelected.”

Indeed – so let’s stop worrying about the relatively paltry sums contributed to political campaigns voluntarily and spent on the likes of television ads and shiny posters. Let’s attack the heart of the matter by tossing from office politicians who buy votes with money taken from taxpayers involuntarily and spent on the likes of “green-energy” appropriations and subsidized student loans.

Perhaps it’s a problem that votes are bought every two and four years with campaign funds. But this problem dims into utter insignificance in light of the reality that votes are bought every second of every day with far more offensive sums of taxpayer funds.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

Bright children 'being failed by comprehensive schools'

Comprehensive schools were accused of neglecting bright pupils today after figures showed children are lagged far behind top-performing peers in other countries.

HHS Targets Health Savings Accounts

President Obama may claim that "if you like your current health care plan you can keep it" but his Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hasn't gotten the message. In fact, should new proposed regulations for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) remain in place, over five million Americans will lose their current plan..

The video that will change the way you see politics

Blue-state shock: Chicago River as much as 70 percent raw sewage

We already knew that progressives are messier than real Americans, based upon the aftermaths of the Tea Party rallies and the ill-named "One Nation demonstrations" on the national mall.

And let's not even get into the rat-infested Occupy movement.

But now we have actual, scientific proof:

In a story regarding the hazards of kayaking in city rivers, ("Kayak Tours Pose New Risk for Cities"), the Wall Street Journal includes a single, final sentence of untold hilarity:

According to a 2011 report by American Rivers, a nonprofit environmental group, parts of the Chicago River are 70% undisinfected wastewater.

Shocking. A state and city controlled for decades by Democrats requires a hazmat suit when kayaking.

Hat tip: Amalaur.

Obama's Problem Obeying the Law

There is ample evidence that Barack Obama, and people under his supervision, committed at least one felony -- specifically, illegal gambling across state lines -- to fund his 2008 election campaign. Congress, meanwhile, found Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder, in contempt for refusal to testify about Operation Fast and Furious. Orchestration of straw purchases of firearms, one of which resulted in the death of a law enforcement officer, could easily be another felony.

The Obama Campaign's Numbers Racket

Daughters sell lemonade to help with dad's cancer treatment

Two girls set up a lemonade stand in Pierre, S.D., to raise $6,000 for their dad's cancer treatment.

KCCR radio reported that 8-year-old Sydney Youngberg and her 10-year-old sister, Rylee, spent Tuesday selling lemonade with the proceeds going to help with Mike Youngberg's travel expenses to Minneapolis.

Mike Youngberg has been diagnosed with a brain tumor after being cancer-free for 12 years. Doctors found the cancer after he was stricken with an aneurysm on June 3.

Hundreds of residents dropped off fistfuls of money and the girls became sensations on Twitter and Facebook.

The girls' mother, Jen Youngberg, says the family is overwhelmed by the response. She says the donations are more than enough to help pay for the family's trips to Minneapolis for Mike's cancer treatment.

Was President Obama Born In 1890?

Well, one could easily be led to believe that Barack Obama was indeed born in 1890 ... especially given that the person who originally owned his social security number was.

Go figure!

Are We Being Too Hard On John Roberts?

“Members of this court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our nation’s leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”
-Chief Justice John Roberts in NFIB vs. Sebelius

Michelle Obama: Politics Belong in Churches – But Don’t Offer a Discounted Sunday Lunch for a Church Bulletin

I just listened to Bill O’Reilly discuss Michelle Obama’s comment that “there is no place better than church to talk politics.” My first thought was to agree with the First Lady and to ask why she doesn’t do something about her Democrat party which believes the First Amendment’s so-called “separation” of church and state means, among other things, that churches cannot take a political stance. The IRS disallows politics in the pulpits and pews across America. Why? Because some Americans oppose tax-exempt faith-based-religions and find it distasteful when they are forced to fund a politically religious ideology. It is necessary for me to pay for ‘their’ abortions, but it is not okay for my pastor to discuss the immorality of it – or advise me to vote-out the party advocating for it. If that’s not enough, a restaurant is under attack for offering a discount to church-goers who drop-by with their church bulletin in hand.

Michelle Obama at African Methodist Episcopal Church Conference

I feel certain Michelle Obama approves of pastors counselling their members to vote for Barack Obama, and a basket of other Obama-isms, including educating young girls in the sanctuary that the Obama’s will make their early sex life safe and sanctioned….and don’t forget, no young woman needs to be punished for her mistake.

Never mind that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright, all “reverends,” are never taken to task for their ugly and egregious anti-American rhetoric which you and I are forced to fund. Jesse Jackson has quite a list of non-profits under his umbrella. Tax cheat Reverend Al Sharpton’s non-profit organization is continually in trouble with the IRS, but he never loses his tax-exempt status. We call him “reverend” anyway. When Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ, compared Barack to Jesus Christ – from the pulpit, the IRS didn’t blink. Virginia’s Islamic Saudi Academy did not submit tax reports to the IRS for their tax-exempt indoctrination madrassa for years. It’s enough to say that O’Reilly’s conversation was not a satisfying or substantive one.

When Mrs. Obama was rallying the vote and made these statements, she was speaking at a conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Conference. Have I mentioned that I am leaving the Methodist Church which has tilted Left to the point of proneness, as it does the bidding of the evil National Council of Churches. Read more at The Tennessean.

A Pennsylvania restaurant, Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen, is under a “state discrimination investigation” for offering a discounted meal on Sunday to those church-goers who present a church bulletin.

A “retired electrical engineer” filed the claim against the restaurant:

He said this not out of spite, but out of a feeling against the prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion, particular in Lancaster County,” Wolff told the York Daily Record. “I don’t consider it an earth-shaking affair, but in this area in particular, we seem to have so many self-righteous religious people, so it just annoys me.”

The restaurant is not tax-exempt, and it’s not a church. The engineer is targeting those self-righteous Christian patrons. It’s another assault on Christianity, something Michelle Obama knows a lot about. There’s more to this story. Read it at Pirate Cove.

Physicians’ Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of Human Events, it becomes necessary for one Profession to dissolve the Financial Arrangements which have connected them with Medicare, Medicaid, assorted Health Maintenance Organizations, and diverse Third Party Payers and to assume among the other Professions of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that the Physician’s primary responsibility is toward the Patient; that to assure the sanctity of this relationship, payment for service should be decided between Physician and Patient, and that, as in all transactions in a free society, this payment be mutually agreeable. Only such a Financial Arrangement will guarantee the highest level of Commitment and Service of the Physician to the Patient, restrain Outside Influence on Decision-Making, and assure that personal information be kept confidential.

The Financial Arrangements between Physicians and the Third Parties have become so destructive to the Patient-Physician relationship, and to the Medical Profession as a whole, that it is the Right, and Obligation, of the Members of the Profession to abolish them. Prudence will dictate that arrangements long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown, that Physicians are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right; it is their Duty, to throw off such arrangements, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of this Profession; and such is now the necessity that constrains them to alter their former Financial Arrangements. The history of the present system is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct effect the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the Medical Profession. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

The Tyranny began during the Second World War, when the Government gave tax subsidies to Employers who offered Health Insurance Benefits, thus penalizing and disenfranchising individuals.

The Government created and subsidized the Health Maintenance Organization---Entities designed to ration Health Care by Capitation; These incentives set Patient against Physician, thus destroying this Sacred Trust.

The Government, in 1965, in its Infinite Wisdom and going far beyond its Powers as set out in the Constitution, decreed that the Poor and The Elderly should receive Health Care Benefits funded by the Taxpayer. Thus came into existence Medicaid and Medicare, massive Entitlements that are bankrupting the Federal and many State Governments.

Alarmed by the rising Health Care Cost that it had engendered, the Government set out to restrain fees to Physicians. These Price Controls increased Health Care Spending, as Volume of Services went up, and Quality went down. No other Profession in the United States is denied the ability to raise fees to cover increasing costs of doing Business.

The Government enacted HIPAA, forcing the spending of billions to comply, and with no positive impact on Patient Care.

The Government passed Sustainable Growth Rate formula which lowers Medicare Physician Payment when total spending and volume increase, virtually assuring a downward spiral in Payments.

The Government and HMOs now limit fees to Physicians by "Payment for Performance," based on "Practice Guidelines." Beyond insulting our Ethic, this destroys our Professional Autonomy.

Congress and the President have conspired to completely take over all aspects of the Health Care System, with all patient encounters feeding into a National Database.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A System whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a Free Profession.

We, therefore, the undersigned Physicians of the United States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name of our Patients solemnly publish and declare, that we will withdraw our participation in all above-described Third Party Payment Systems. Henceforth and Forever, we shall agree to provide our services directly to our Patients, and be compensated directly by them, in accordance with the ancient customs of our Profession. The Patients’ medical interactions with us will remain confidential. We pledge the highest level of Service and Dedication to their Well-Being.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Richard Amerling, MD; New York, NY

December, 2009

Sign The Physicians' Declaration of Independence