Saturday, February 16, 2013

This Isn't Hard, Mr. President: Do You Think You Can Kill Us on American Soil or Not?

Feb. 16, 2013

The White House won't say whether it thinks Barack Obama is so empowered.

Does President Obama think that he has the power to kill American citizens on U.S. soil? If he accuses a guy in the Arizona desert or rural Montana of being an Al Qaeda terrorist, is it ever kosher to send a drone over to blow him up, as was done to Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen killed in Yemen? Or is it never okay to drone strike an American citizen to death here in the United States?

It's an easy question.

Answering it wouldn't jeopardize national security in any way.

So why do Obama Administration officials keep dodging it?

Asked the question in a Google Plus interview Thursday, Obama himself said, "Well first of all, there has never been a drone used on an American citizen on American soil." Duh. But will there ever be? He went on to say that it's easier to capture accused terrorists in the United States than abroad.

But he still didn't give a straight answer.

Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan won't answer either, despite Senator Rand Paul's repeated inquiries and vow that he'll try to block Brennan's confirmation as CIA director until he gets a response. Here's how Paul phrased the question: "Do you believe that the president has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil?"

He added, "What about the use of lethal force against a non-U.S. person on U.S. soil?"

He's been after these answers awhile, so it's no surprise that he's also produced variations on the question:

Do you believe that the prohibition on CIA participation in domestic law enforcement, first established by the National Security Act of 1947, would apply to the use of lethal force, especially lethal force directed at an individual on a targeting list, if a U.S. citizen on a targeting list was found to be operating on U.S. soil? What if the individual on the targeting list was a non-U.S. person but found to be operating on U.S. soil? Do you consider such an operation to be domestic law enforcement, or would it only be subject to the president's wartime powers?

I can't think of any reason why the Obama Administration would keep dodging this question save one: It believes that, under certain circumstances, perhaps spelled out in a secret legal memo, it is empowered to kill American citizens or non-citizens with drones inside the United States.

And it knows the citizenry would be alarmed by that belief.

Americans know enough about what sometimes happens to innocents when Hellfire missiles explode to want their use restricted to foreign lands where victims can be put in the mental bucket "not like us." Paul, Senator Ron Wyden, and others are right to keep pressing for an answer. They should have more company. When sex scandals occur, the Washington, D.C., media whips itself into a frenzy getting answers to questions like, "Congressman, is that a picture of your penis in the tweet?" They don't rest until they get answers!

"Do you think you can kill Americans on U.S. soil?" would seem to be a more important question.

Anyone want to join me in a media frenzy for answers? If Paul tattoos the question on his butt and tweets out a picture, would that help?

(The terrible truth is that, yes, that would totally help.)

source: The Atlantic

Black, Brown and Obama

Feb. 16, 2013

A federal hate-crimes indictment highlights differences in response between Barack Obama and previous presidents when racists target blacks with violence.

The Feb. 8 Department of Justice press release says that members of the Compton 155 gang, whose members call themselves “nigger killers” (the release spells it out N***** Killers) or “NKs,” use “violence and threats of violence in an effort to drive African-Americans out of their ‘territory’ on the west side of Compton.” Further, “[t]o instill fear in African-Americans, members of the gang tag their gang moniker and ‘NK’ throughout their ‘territory.’”

In the Los Angeles Times story, over the Christmas holidays a mother, three teenagers and a 10-year-old, all black, moved into a home in Compton. Soon four men in a black SUV pulled up, called a 19-year-old family friend a “nigger,” then drew a gun and beat him with metal pipes.

The DOJ explains that more than 15 gang members “went to the victims’ home and threatened them by yelling racial slurs and warning the juveniles that they did not belong in the neighborhood. During this time, a member of the gang smashed one of the windows of the house.” In the Times account, the attackers came back almost daily “yelling racial insults and telling them to leave.” According to the police, none of the family members has anything to do with any gang.

Compton councilwoman Yvonne Arceneaux told the Times “That’s blatant to tell a family you can’t live in this area because you are black. That’s just shocking.” But the violent campaign of racial hatred is not limited to one incident or to historically black areas.

San Bernardino, Highland Park, Pacoima, Canoga Park and other areas have seen similar attacks going back over a decade. As the Times noted, in Azusa, gang leaders were sentenced to prison terms for “leading a policy of attacking African American residents and expelling them from the town.” Federal authorities charge that “the Mexican Mafia prison gang has ordered street gangs under its control to attack African Americans.”

A violent racist campaign of that magnitude failed to draw a specific response from California Governor Jerry Brown, a former candidate for president. Brown preached his tax increase in black churches but he holds a politically correct attitude toward violent criminals from accredited victim groups. In his previous stint as governor, Brown refused to extradite Dennis Banks of the American Indian Movement, a fugitive from a courthouse gun battle in South Dakota.

Brown’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris, has supported injunctions against gangs but did not devote special attention to the violent racists targeting black people. Aside from the hate-crime indictment, neither did U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. President Obama did not rise to the defense of embattled blacks nor issue warnings to those attempting to drive African American residents from their own neighborhoods. That marks a sharp contrast to past presidents in times of racial violence.

In 1957, before the Civil Rights Act, Arkansas segregationists, including governor Orval Faubus, barred nine black students from attending Central High School in Little Rock. The New York Times story described a “shrieking mob” forcing the students to withdraw. President Dwight Eisenhower, a white Republican, responded by sending federal troops – 1,000 members of the 101stAirborne – to protect the students and guarantee their access to education.

The anti-black racists in southern California, by contrast, are not blocking access to schools. Rather they are using violence and threats to terrorize blacks and drive them from their very homes and neighborhoods. This campaign has gone on for a decade yet, even under the nation’s first black president, the victims have not received federal help anywhere near the extent of Eisenhower’s action. The explanation doubtless lies with the perpetrators.

One may be sure that if a shrieking mob from the Newport Beach Yacht Club told a family of newly arrived blacks that “niggers” were not welcome in Newport Beach, state and federal action would be quite different. Those actually evicting blacks are “Latinos,” an accredited victim group currently demanding amnesty and other special favors, which President Obama wants to give them.

Meanwhile, gangs controlled by the Mexican Mafia have been conducting what amounts to an ethnic cleansing campaign against African Americans in southern California. The police say they won’t tolerate it but after a decade it’s pretty clear they are. So is the governor of California and President Obama. Federal troops might not be the right response but it will take more than a hate-crime indictment to protect blacks from terror at the hands of violent racists.

source: frontpagemag

Obama made no phone calls the night of the Benghazi attack

Feb. 16, 2013

Strange indeed.. It's almost like the details were known in advance

Photo by: Mohammad Hannon
**FILE** A Libyan civilian watches one of Ansar al-Shariah Brigades' cars burn, after hundreds of civilians, military and
police raided the Brigades base in Benghazi, Libya. The
recent attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other
Americans has sparked a backlash among frustrated Libyans
against the heavily armed gunmen, including Islamic extremists,
who run rampant in their cities. (Associated Press)
President Obama didn’t make any phone calls the night of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the White House said in a letter to Congress released Thursday.

During the entire attack, the president of the United States never picked up the phone to put the weight of his office in the mix,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, who had held up Mr. Obama’s defense secretary nominee to force the information to be released.

Mr. Graham said that if Mr. Obama had picked up the phone, at least two of the Americans killed in the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi might still be alive because he might have been able to push U.S. aid to get to the scene faster.

The White House has said Mr. Obama was kept up to date on the attack by his staff, though after being alerted to the attack in a pre-scheduled afternoon meeting he never spoke again with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin E. Dempsey or then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Mr. Panetta told Congress last week that he knew immediately the attacks were a terrorist assault, though the White House downplayed that notion in the first five days after the attack.

Republican senators said they will still push for more information on who changed the talking points given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who went on the Sunday talk shows after the attacks and blamed protests against an anti-Islam video.

Mr. Graham said he will block the president’s nominee to head the CIA until he hears more details about what Mr. Obama was doing.

Sen. John McCain said the White House’s reticence in releasing information contrasts poorly with the flood of details the White House put out about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, which has spawned two movies.

“We still don’t know what the president of the United States was doing the night of the attack and who he was talking to. We know who he wasn’t talking to,” Mr. McCain said.

source: Washington Times

New York wraps up 5 years of handing out free condoms

Feb. 16, 2013

From the "village of the weird"...

Free condoms and information are seen at
a free HIV testing site outside a Walgreens pharmacy
near Times Square in New York, on June 27, 2012.
AFP - New York City this week marked the fifth anniversary of a groundbreaking free condom program that has distributed tens of millions free rubbers, under the racy slogan "NYC Condoms -- Get Some!"

NYC brand Condoms, launched on Valentine's Day 2007 by the city's health department, were the first to be produced by a municipality.

The program started out by handing out condoms throughout the city's subway, in what was hailed as a bold initiative to try to conquer sexually-transmitted illnesses.

Officials say the widely-imitated program has been a great success at helping reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted disease and AIDS and HIV.

"Since 2007 launch, the NYC Condom has helped pave the way for other cities to brand their own condoms, cities like Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Vancouver to name just a few," said Monica Sweeney, Assistant Commissioner of the New York City Health Department.

Sweeney said that while NYC brand condoms have only been in existence a half-decade, the city has been giving out the prophylactics for much longer.

"I'm very proud to say that the Health Department has been distributing free male condoms since 1971," she said.

For half a decade, New York has doled out packages of premium, lubricated latex condoms at some 3,500 distribution points, from hospitals to bars, designated stores, businesses, community organizations bars, night clubs and health clinics.

The eye-catching design on each condom package riffs on the city's iconic subway system, using an instantly-recognizable design borrowed from the city's iconic subway map.

And the free rubbers program has continued to break ground, with a smartphone app that helps New Yorkers determine the closest place to get theirs.

The anniversary of the program fell this week on February 14, Valentine's Day, a holiday which has been re-purposed by some Americans as "National Condom Day."

The initiative distributes not only conventional rubbers, but female condoms, as well as water-based personal lubricants.

EU states want 'fair tax share' from big business

Feb. 16, 2013

Customers leave a branch of Starbucks in
central London on February 1, 2013. The finance
ministers of Britain, France and Germany have
launched a new drive to force big business to pay its
fair share of tax and halt the schemes of top
firms to keep payments to a minimum.
AFP - The finance ministers of Britain, France and Germany on Saturday launched a new drive to force big business to pay its fair share of tax and halt the schemes of top firms to keep payments to a minimum.

Britain's George Osborne, France's Pierre Moscovici and Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble said it was time for internationally-coordinated action to clamp down on the practice of shifting profits from the company's home country to pay less tax under another jurisdiction.

The drive -- which is backed by a study by the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD) on the consequences of the so-called profit shifting -- comes as cash-strapped governments try to use every means to inject new funds into their budgets.

"We are talking about something that is fundamentally legal. We need to modify the law," admitted the OECD secretary general Angel Gurria. "Avoiding double taxation has become a way of having double non-taxation."

"No single country can go by itself," he said at a news conference on the sidelines of the G20 finance ministers' meeting in Moscow, insisting that the drive was not aimed at "bashing" individual corporate giants.

Schaeuble said it was "unfair that multinational companies should be able to use globalisation as a tool" not to pay their fair share of taxes while Moscovici described the issue as a "matter of fairness for our citizens".

Osborne said that current global tax rules had been developed almost 100 years ago -- along principles set out by the League of Nations in the 1920s -- and few changes had been made since.

"This means that the tax system does not reflect how international companies do business."

"We want businesses to pay the taxes that we set in our countries. And this cannot be achieved by one country alone. No one country can create an international tax system by itself."

The ministers emphasised that their proposal was supported by the Russian presidency of the G20.

Online retailer Amazon, Internet giant Google as well as coffee shop chain Starbucks have been under the spotlight for their tax strategies in Britain and other EU countries in recent months.

Starbucks came under particular pressure in Britain following the revelation last year that it has paid just £8.6 million ($13.8 million) in British corporation tax since 1998, despite generating £3 billion in revenues. It has now pledged to voluntarily pay back millions in extra tax.

A person familiar with the OECD's report said it was essential to move rapidly, especially with the United States apparently not sharing Europe's wholehearted enthusiasm for the anti-tax avoidance drive.

"The timetable is going to be very tight -- otherwise the (OECD) report will be buried," the person said.

According to the OECD, some multinational companies use avoidance strategies that allow them to pay just five percent in corporate taxes while smaller businesses are paying 30 percent.

It says that practices have become more aggressive in the past decade, with some multinationals creating offshore subsidiaries or shell companies and taking advantage of the tax breaks offered in the countries where these are registered.

This has led to absurdities like the tax havens of Barbados, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands in 2010 together receiving together more foreign direct investment than either Germany or Japan, the OECD said.

In 2010, the creation of offshores meant the British Virgin Islands was the second largest investor in China, it noted.

The three EU states and the OECD warned that it would be smaller businesses that paid their taxes in full who risked bearing the brunt of the multinationals' complex schemes to avoid tax.

"In times of difficulty when you need to increase revenues, when the large multinationals are not making a contribution, you go for (taxes from) the small and medium enterprises or the middle classes," said Gurria.

"This is something that is quite undesirable."

EU financial transaction tax divides union

Feb. 16, 2013

It's not in force yet but the hotly debated European financial transaction tax has divided the EU, angered U.S. bankers and threatens jobs in competing business centers in London and 15 other countries that rejected it.

BRUSSELS, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- It's not in force yet but the hotly debated European financial transaction tax has divided the European Union, angered U.S. bankers and threatens jobs in competing business centers in London and 15 other countries that rejected it.

The revised FTT law, now before European Parliament, has introduced provisions that will affect firms in countries that are outside the 11-country zone that the new financial transaction tax regime will create.

London is most vulnerable because of the huge diversity of financial transactions passing through its financial center, the City. Experts predicted job losses, an unwelcome brake on an already slow economic recovery and deeper EU divisions than those caused by cash bailouts of the 17-country eurozone.

Disagreements over EU measures to stimulate recovery have triggered a political storm in Britain, which plans to have a referendum on whether to ditch the European Union altogether. The FTT is set to exacerbate those tensions because new provisions will act as a disincentive for traders to move transactions to London outside the 11-country FTT zone.

France and Germany lead the group and are backed by Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

Britain and 15 other members that oppose the FTT include countries that either have financial centers or are trying to develop facilities and feel the tax will hurt their chances of reaching their goal.

The new proposals capture all financial instruments originating from a resident country. "So a Volkswagen share traded between banks in London and New York would be charged," the Telegraph said. "The charges will hit all sorts of companies, not just banks."

The tax, set at 0.1 percent for shares and bonds and 0.01 percent for derivatives, is aimed to raise the European Union's public finances and will apply to all transactions that can be traced to the FTT zone even when conducted outside the zone or even Europe. The European Union hopes to raise $40 billion-$47 billion a year but analysts see trouble ahead over the levy.

The FTT will apply to any transaction ordered or executed in relation to any financial product issued within the tax area or by a group or individual within it.

For example, a bank based in the United States would have to collect the tax if it acts for a European client seeking to buy shares in a U.S. company even if neither the bank nor the company has any link to the tax zone.

EU taxation Commissioner Algirdas Semeta called the tax proposals "unquestionably fair and technically sound."

Critics say the FTT is a nightmare waiting to be experienced and predicted that implementation and enforcement will create a huge bureaucracy. The European Union is already under fire allegedly for squandering taxpayer funds on wasteful bureaucratic operations in and outside Brussels.

The FTT's overarching application outside the European Union will discourage transactions across the European Union and will drive companies outside the region, critics say.

There are several candidates that would welcome business fleeing the European Union, including Istanbul, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore -- and China in and outside Hong Kong.

1 hit by car and killed in anti-Muslim Brotherhood riots, ambulance chief tells state-run news agency

Feb. 16, 2013

One person was hit by a car and killed during riots in Gharbiya Friday, with 20 others arrested on charges of attacking governorate buildings

Protesters in Gharbiya on Friday (Photo: Ahram Arabic News Website)
One person was killed in clashes in Gharbiya governorate Friday after being hit by a car, Mohamed Sultan, head of the Egyptian Ambulance Authority, told Egypt's state-run MENA news agency Saturday.

According to Gharbiya Security Director General Hatem Osman, the person died during Friday's riots while engaged in "damaging vehicles." He was hit by a speeding car.

Osman said that 20 rioters were arrested in the clashes on charges of attacking the governorate's administration building, security directorate, Mahalla city council, and attempting to storm a police station in Tanta city.

Anti-Muslim Brotherhood protests took place in the central Delta governorate of Mahalla Friday when hundreds went out in a rally to demand justice for slain activist Mohamed El-Gendy, who died of severe injuries after being detained by police following anti-government demonstrations two weeks ago. Activists allege that he was tortured while in detention and these injuries led to his death.

Riots broke out in many places, including his home town, between groups of protesters and the police after his death.

According to Egypt's Ministry of Health, 21 people were injured in Gharbiya Friday.

The total number of security forces injured reached 14, including one Central Security Forces (CSF) officer and 13 CSF conscripts, Osman said.

About 125 people were injured nationwide in Friday's protests and clashes, including in Cairo at Al-Qubba Palace, where President Mohamed Morsi has moved his administration, and in Giza, in Beni-Suef governorate, and Al-Daqahliya governorate.

source: Ahram Online

Friday, February 15, 2013

Question: Who's More Trustworthy, Alex Jones or the U.S Government?

February 15, 2013

..To help you decide, here's an Associated Press story by Fox News.... certainly this will help...

Why is the Department of Homeland Security buying so many bullets?

Online rumors about a big government munitions purchase are true, sort of.

The Homeland Security Department wants to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition in the next four or five years. It says it needs them -- roughly the equivalent of five bullets for every person in the United States -- for law enforcement agents in training and on duty.

Published federal notices about the ammo buy have agitated conspiracy theorists since the fall. That's when conservative radio host Alex Jones spoke of an "arms race against the American people" and said the government was "gearing up for total collapse, they're gearing up for huge wars."

The government's explanation is much less sinister.

Federal solicitations to buy the bullets are known as "strategic sourcing contracts," which help the government get a low price for a big purchase, says Peggy Dixon, spokeswoman for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga . The training center and others like it run by the Homeland Security Department use as many as 15 million rounds every year, mostly on shooting ranges and in training exercises.

Dixon said one of the contracts would allow Homeland Security to buy up to 750 million rounds of ammunition over the next five years for its training facilities. The rounds are used for basic and advanced law enforcement training for federal law enforcement agencies under the department's umbrella. The facilities also offer firearms training to tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officers. More than 90 federal agencies and 70,000 agents and officers used the department's training center last year.

The rest of the 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition would be purchased by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal government's second largest criminal investigative agency.

ICE's ammunition requests in the last year included:

--450 million rounds of .40-caliber duty ammunition

--40 million rounds of rifle ammunition a year for as many as five years, for a total bullet-buy of 200 million rounds

--176,000 rifle rounds on a separate contract

--25,000 blank rounds

The Homeland Security ammo buy is not the first time the government's bullets purchases have sparked concerns on the Internet. The same thing happened last year when the Social Security Administration posted a notice that it was buying 174,000 hollow point bullets.

Jonathan L. Lasher, the agency's assistant inspector general for external relations, said those bullets were for the Social Security inspector general's office, which has about 295 agents who investigate Social Security fraud and other crimes.

Jones the talk-show host did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Calling Bullshit: Tennessee Congressman's Alleged Twitter Love Is Actually His Long Lost Daughter

February 15, 2013

Rep. Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, attracted unwanted attention during the State of the Union address, when press reported on what appeared to be flirtatious tweets sent to a very pretty 24-year-old blonde. It didn't help Cohen's case when he then deleted the tweets just a few minutes. Oh no, it's another Weinergate only not as exciting because there's no penis photo, the conservative media crowed. Turns out Rep. Cohen actually has a very pretty 24-year-old daughter, a fact that has been kept secret from the public for, well, 24 years. Scandal dodged. Sort of.

It's actually pretty sweet story. Cohen told NBC News the whole thing on Thursday. Yes, Brinks has a secret daughter. Her name is Victoria Brink, and she appears to have had some sort of career as a bikini model. The congressman only found out about her three years ago. "I googled her mother, found out she had a child and the math looked pretty accurate," he said. "The mom told me we had a lot of catching up to do." Since then, Cohen's done his best to be a good dad. He's given her a tour of the Capitol and even took her to the White House Christmas party, where he asked the official photographer to take two pictures — one with him and Brinks together and one without Brinks — since nobody else knew about the situation. After that, Brinks took a trip to Memphis, Cohen's home district, though it's unclear if she hung out with dear old dad.

Cohen shows me picture of him and his daughter Victoria at White House Christmas party…
— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) February 14, 2013

All that said, the circumstances of Cohen's revealing his relationship with Brink are sketchy at best. That is to say, we can see how some people might think she was some sort of mistress. Cohen is not married, though his spokesperson says that he "has a longtime girlfriend in Memphis." Accounts vary as to when Cohen actually found out that Brinks was his daughter. His spokesperson says he's known her "pretty much since she was born" while NBC News says it's only been three years. There are a bunch of pictures on the Internet of Brink in skimpy bikinis, not that there's anything wrong with that. But again, we can see how some people would draw the conclusion that Brink is Cohen's secret lover, not his secret daughter.

One thing is absolutely clear: Cohen is bad at Twitter. Initially, Cohen's spokesperson said that the tweets were meant to be "private" direct messages to "the daughter of a longtime friend." You can almost smell Weinergate's return. As for the tweets themselves, Cohen says it was just good old fashioned paternal pride that compelled him to send them. "When she let me know she was watching the State of the Union address I was thrilled that she wanted Steve Cohen to be part of her," he told NBC News. "I had such joy, that I couldn't hold back from tweeting her." Everybody all at once: Awwwww.

The Sunlight Foundation maintains a website called Politwoops that archives politicians' deleted tweets, and this is not the first time that Cohen's tweeted at Brink. New York Magazine's Joe Coscarelli traces their Twitter relationship back to February 2012, almost exactly one year before the State of the Union, when Cohen favorited Brinks' first tweet. Tweets since then have been pretty adorable, especially Cohen's classic dad-just-learned-to-text spelling tricks — "miss u/wil call later_-give me a good time."

There will inevitably be a group of people that thinks Cohen is lying, that he made up an elaborate story about a long-lost daughter to avoid his own Weinergate. It's a pretty terrible cover story, though, you have to admit. Brazen at best. While we're eager to find out more details in the story of the Tennessee congressmen and his secret bikini-clad daughter, we're in no rush to dive into another Twitter-induced political scandal. There are more important things going on in the world.


US antique dealer sentenced in rhino horn ring

February 15, 2013

Lam Tak-fai, the Acting Head of Ports and Maritime
Command holds up a Rhinoceros horn in Hong Kong's
Customs and Excise Department Offices on November
15, 2011. A New York antiques dealer was sentenced
Thursday to six months behind bars for obstruction of justice
in a crackdown on rhinoceros horn smuggling.
AFP - A New York antiques dealer was sentenced Thursday to six months behind bars for obstruction of justice in a crackdown on rhinoceros horn smuggling.

A US federal judge in Manhattan sentenced David Hausman following his guilty plea in July.

Hausman had pretended to aid investigators from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in a probe into the illegal trade of horns from the highly endangered African animal. All the time, he was using his insider position to promote his business.

"With today's sentence, David Hausman now knows that trafficking in endangered and legally protected species, and obstructing law enforcement's ability to do its job have grave consequences," US Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Ignacia Moreno, the assistant attorney general for the environment division, said Hausman "posed as someone who was protecting this endangered species when he was really obtaining and using inside information to further the illegal trade in black rhino horns."

Hausman was caught up in Operation Crash, a continuing investigation targeting the trafficking of endangered rhino horns.

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice said that three people had been charged in Miami, Newark and New York with trafficking horns, which are highly prized for folkloric medical cures in China.

Tunisia jihadists on patrol as tensions simmer

February 15, 2013

The entrance to the medina in Tunis. Tunisian jihadist groups, taking advantage of a political crisis after last week's assassination of a vocal critic of the Islamist-led government, have set up patrols to police towns and keep the peace, witnesses said.
AFP - Tunisian jihadist groups, taking advantage of a political crisis after last week's assassination of a vocal critic of the Islamist-led government, have set up patrols to police towns and keep the peace, witnesses said.
Wearing orange vests and armed with clubs, the militants patrol by night on foot, motorcycles or by car "to protect people and property," the jihadist Ansar al-Sharia group said on its official Facebook page.

They have been seen in Tunisia's second city Sfax in the southeast, in Kef and Mateur in the north, in a half a dozen Tunis neighbourhoods and in the central city of Sidi Bouzid, said witnesses and the Facebook page.

On Wednesday their commanders ordered them, however, to get off the streets "because of the threats of the so-called" Interior Minister Ali Larayedh, a member of the Islamist ruling Ennahda party and bete noire of the jihadists.

But the orders posted on Facebook urged the jihadists to continue nevertheless to protect their homes and "stay vigilant" amid accusations by the group that the police are hunting down its militants.

Interior ministry spokesman Khaled Tarrouche has warned that the country's "security forces alone have the right to maintain law and order and protect citizens and their property, in cooperation with the national army."

"As much as the ministry praises the initiative of some citizens to protect their surroundings from acts of violence, it also reminds (the population) that no one can replace the security apparatus," he said.

Larayedh said on state television that he would not tolerate any patrols by jihadists.

The group has since reported that one of its members who took part in a patrol in the impoverished Tunis suburb Sijoumi had been arrested by security forces and that police were searching for others.

Two years on from the revolution that toppled the dictatorship of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and brought to power the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, the influence of Salafist jihadists has grown in Tunisia.

The Salafists, known for their radical version of Sunni Islam, are flexing their muscles as Tunisia battles lawlessness and political and social turmoil that has swept the country since the start of the revolution that triggered the Arab Spring uprisings across the Arab world.

The February 6 killing in Tunis of leftist leader Chokri Belaid has further inflamed the tensions in the once proudly secular Muslim nation.

The Muslim extremists are believed to number between 3,000 and 10,000 and are held responsible for a wave of violence, including an attack on the US embassy in September.

The first jihadist patrols were seen in Sidi Bouzid, cradle of the revolution, a day after the funeral last Friday of Belaid, an AFP reporter said.

The funeral became a mass protest against Tunisia's new Islamist rulers and sparked clashes in Sidi Bouzid between protesters and police.

Soon after the security forces were forced out of parts of the city on Saturday, the jihadists launched their patrols, with reinforcements coming from surrounding towns.

Incidents erupted on Sunday night between jihadists and residents of the Nour neighbourhood, where the revolution's first protests had erupted back in December 2010.

The group has also issued several statements this week, including one condemning the burial of Belaid in a Muslim cemetery and denouncing the leftist politician as an "unbeliever".

Ansar Al-Sharia was brutally repressed under Ben Ali's regime and its fugitive leader Abu Iyadh, whose real name is Seif Allah Ibn Hussein, is the suspected organiser of an attack on the US embassy in September, in which four people died.

Earlier this month a Tunisia judge barred a private radio station from broadcasting an interview with Abu Iyadh, a former pro-Taliban combatant who was jailed by Ben Ali's regime.

GOP blasted over Muslim Convert Chuck Hagel filibuster

February 15, 2013

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate Republicans "put political posturing" over national security in blocking President Obama's Muslim Brotherhood nominee for "defense of Islam" secretary, the White House said.

Media deception continues here>>

The Nobel Peace Prize of Photography or Cracker Jack Prizes for $100.00

February 15, 2013

Propaganda Deluxe via Reuters: Top photo prize for picture of dead Gaza children

If you haven't already figured it out, the world is supposed to feel sorry for the attackers. Nevermind the victims of their sleezy sneak attacks on Israeli civilians...

Bred to Hate: Fabio Bucciarelli of Italy, a photographer working for the Agence France-Presse,
has won the second prize in the Spot News Stories category of the World Press Photo Contest 2013
with the series ''Battle to death''. The picture shows a Free Syrian Army fighter taking up a position
during clashes against government forces in the Sulemain Halabi district. in Aleppo, taken on
October 10, 2012 and distributed by the World Press Photo Foundation February 15, 2013.
 Credit: Reuters/Fabio Bucciarelli/Agence France-Presse/World Press Photo/Handout
(Reuters) - A photograph of two dead children, who were killed in an Israeli missile strike on Gaza City, won the top World Press Photo prize on Friday for Swedish photographer Paul Hansen of newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
The photograph shows a group of men bearing the bodies of two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her brother Muhammad, 3, as they were taken to the mosque for a burial ceremony.

"The strength of the picture lies in the way it contrasts the anger and sorrow of the adults with the innocence of the children," Mayu Mohanna, a member of the jury, said of the photograph which was named World Press Photo of the Year 2012.

Ammar Awad of Reuters received an honorable mention in the General News single category for his photograph "Israeli Border Police Pepper spray Palestinian Protester".
(Reporting by Sara Webb; editing by Michael Holden)

additional editing:Mine

President Unleashes a Nationwide ´Community Organizing´ Campaign

February 15, 2013

The president's State of the Union address (SOTU) was merely a prelude to a massive undertaking to go nationwide with his community organizing methods and objectives. This is a president who operates in campaign mode 24/7. One can make a strong case for his failure as a president, but it would be hard to claim that he lacks campaign skills. He learned at the feet of Chicago maestros. As soon as the obligatory SOTU speech was over, Mr. Obama set about revving his campaign engine -- this time for his agenda of nakedly expanding the role and reach of the federal government now that his re-election is history.

First off, he held a conference call with supporters across the nation. Thousands of activists were gathered at SOTU parties and are part of the new highly controversial activist organization, "Organizing for Action," that is designed as part PR, part campaign effort to enact and promote the president's agenda. The president's conference call was designed to mobilize the troops in the same way that he mobilized friends and neighbors in community organizing efforts in Chicago. In other words, he unleashed a nationwide community organizing effort to sell his policies for his second term: a scheme of radically transforming the governance of the nation, which will persist long after his second term ends. In addition to the conference call mobilizing troops, the president is leaving for a whirlwind tour of two states -- North Carolina and Georgia -- that will be crucial in the upcoming mid-term elections.

These efforts are designed to build momentum for the "unfinished task" of "transforming" America into the president's design. Mr. Obama seems totally uninterested in governing; he certainly is unwilling to work with Congress. Instead, he is obsessed with campaigning and mobilizing people through rhetoric that panders, manipulates, and demagogues, without any regard for truth or reality (for example, raising the minimum wage, which will kill off entry-level jobs, when unemployment among those under 30 remains at untenable levels, or blaming Congress for the "sequester," when it was his idea in the first place).

These rhetorical tactics have successfully put the Republicans on the defensive and, without a similar bully pulpit they were rendered powerless until the mid-term elections of Mr. Obama's first term. He was able to, out of one side of his mouth, accuse the GOP of being unwilling to negotiate, while out of the other side of his mouth declare that, for him, there are things that are non-negotiable. Those tactics throughout his first term frustrated and stymied the Republicans. Now, in his second term, Mr. Obama is obviously trying to annihilate the GOP. With those who opposed his agenda neutered by accusations of racism and more at every turn during his first term, it seems the goal during the second is to crush them.

Mr. Obama's recurring mantra is that he will focus on the "needs of the middle class," yet every single day nearly 12,000 people are added to the food stamp program, food and gas prices escalate, we are distributing billions of dollars worth of "Obama phones" to millions who do not qualify as needy, and we now have a record number of people who are declared "disabled." That is not expanding the middle class or meeting the needs of the middle class. FDR was recently quoted by Thomas Del Beccaro in a Forbes article, "People who are hungry, people who are out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made." Perhaps Mr. Obama is not preparing for a dictatorship, but the groundwork is being laid for unprecedented government dependency; further, the creation of numerous White House Czars and the issuing of one after another Executive Order is enabled by a climate of crisis and the media-created illusion that the president is above criticism or censure. Indeed, Mr. Obama's image has moved from campaign pictures with an illusionary halo surrounding his head to a Newsweek cover declaring him the "Second-Coming" Messiah.

Numerous commentators noted that the SOTU marked the apex of Mr. Obama's power to command a nationwide audience. From here it is all downhill in terms of his ability to exert power through regular presidential channels. Thus, we should all be concerned about the expansion of his community organizing efforts to nationwide scope. While he has not reached out to his political adversaries, Mr. Obama is using every possible avenue to reach out to his supporters (referred to by conservative bloggers on the Internet as low-information voters) to mobilize and motivate them to demonstrate to the point of intimidating the Congress and the courts to acquiesce to his radical agenda.

While he pays lip service to the importance of bipartisan compromise, he is actually intent upon re-establishing the one-party control of Congress that he had during the first two years of his presidency. While he talks about "investing" in America, the "stimulus" spending schemes he engineered during his first term as payoffs to his cronies actually did nothing to reduce unemployment. His low-information supporters show no comprehension or concern about the fact that he is borrowing billions from the Chinese in order to give 20 F-16 fighters and 200 Abrams tanks to the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government of Egypt. Nor do they see that while he nixes the Keystone Pipeline in the U.S., which would create a flood of new jobs here at home and move us away from dependency upon OPEC produced oil, he is underwriting Brazil's deep-water oil exploration.

The president declares that the debt problem is solved, but the national debt has increased 60 percent since he took office. He talks about ObamaCare reducing health care costs, full well knowing that the CBO estimates the costs of subsidies mandated by ObamaCare will increase by 29 percent. The clouds of Benghazi hang over the White House, and North Korea is flaunting its nuclear weapons tests. Mr. Obama studiously avoids mentioning family breakdown, decline of marriage, increase in fatherless children, and the overwhelming onslaught of crudity and vulgarity in the media, Internet, and entertainment industries.

But he sounds good. He packs the balcony with people representing the issues he wants to personalize, and he knows how to work a crowd. He has mastered community organizing. But if you listen closely and compare what he says to truth and reality, you'll be very concerned about the future of America.

Source: Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., is a spokesperson for Concerned Women for America Political Action Committee.

FAA moves closer to widespread US drone flights with plan for test sites

February 15, 2013

WASHINGTON – A future in which unmanned drones are as common in U.S. skies as helicopters and airliners has moved a step closer to reality with a government request for proposals to create six drone test sites around the country.

The Federal Aviation Administration made the request Thursday, kicking off what is anticipated to be an intense competition between states hoping to win one of the sites.

The FAA also posted online a draft plan for protecting people's privacy from the eyes in the sky. The plan would require each test site to follow federal and state laws and make a privacy policy publicly available.

Privacy advocates worry that a proliferation of drones will lead to a "surveillance society" in which the movements of Americans are routinely monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities.

The military has come to rely heavily on drones overseas. Now there is tremendous demand to use drones in the U.S. for all kinds of tasks that are too dirty, dull or dangerous for manned aircraft. Drones, which range from the size of a hummingbird to the high-flying Global Hawks that weigh about 15,000 pounds without fuel, also are often cheaper than manned aircraft. The biggest market is expected to be state and local police departments.

Industry experts predict the takeoff of a multibillion-dollar market for civilian drones as soon as the FAA completes regulations to make sure they don't pose a safety hazard to other aircraft.

Potential civilian users are as varied as the drones themselves. Power companies want them to monitor transmission lines. Farmers want to fly them over fields to detect which crops need water. Ranchers want them to count cows. Film companies want to use drones to help make movies. Journalists are exploring drones' newsgathering potential.

The FAA plans to begin integrating drones starting with small aircraft weighing less than about 55 pounds. The agency forecasts an estimated 10,000 civilian drones will be in use in the U.S. within five years.

The FAA is required by a law enacted a year ago to develop sites where civilian and military drones can be tested in preparation for integration into U.S. airspace that's currently limited to manned aircraft.

The law also requires that the FAA allow drones wide access to U.S. airspace by 2015, but the agency is behind schedule on that.

The test sites are planned to evaluate what requirements are needed to ensure the drones don't collide with planes or endanger people or property on the ground. Remotely controlled drones don't have a pilot who can see other aircraft the way an onboard plane or helicopter pilot can.

There's also concern that links between drones and their on-the-ground operators can be broken or hacked, causing the operator to lose control of the aircraft.

"This research will give us valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation's skies," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

The test sites are also expected to boost the local economy of the communities where they are located.

Customs and Border Patrol uses drones along the U.S.-Mexico border. And the FAA has granted several hundred permits to universities, police departments and other government agencies to use small, low-flying drones. For example, the sheriff's department in Montgomery County, Texas, has a 50-pound ShadowHawk helicopter drone intended to supplement its SWAT team.

The sheriff's department hasn't armed its drone, although the ShadowHawk can be equipped with a 40 mm grenade launcher and a 12-guage shotgun. The prospect of armed drones patrolling U.S. skies has alarmed some lawmakers and their constituents. More than a dozen bills have been introduced in Congress and state legislatures to curb drone use and protect privacy.

President Barack Obama was asked Thursday about concerns that the administration believes it's legal to strike American citizens abroad with drones and whether that's allowed against citizens in the U.S.

"There's never been a drone used on an American citizen on American soil," the president said, speaking during an online chat sponsored by Google in which he was promoting his policy initiatives.

"We respect and have a whole bunch of safeguards in terms of how we conduct counterterrorism operations outside of the United States. The rules outside of the United States are going to be different than the rules inside the United States, in part because our capacity, for example, to capture terrorists in the United States are very different than in the foothills or mountains of Afghanistan or Pakistan."

He said he would work with Congress to make sure the American public understands "what the constraints are, what the legal parameters are, and that's something that I take very seriously."

Earlier this week, an FAA official told a meeting of potential test site bidders that aviation regulations prohibit dropping anything from an aircraft, which could be interpreted to bar arming civilian drones, according to an industry official present at the meeting who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

Fox News

Elementary school bans white kids from tutoring

February 15, 2013

(Daily Caller) - An elementary school principal in the Denver suburbs told parents that white children would be excluded from an after-school tutoring initiative.

Andre C. Pearson, the principal at Mission Viejo Elementary in Aurora, Colorado sent letters home to parents informing them that only students of color are eligible for the program, KJCT, the local ABC affiliate, reports.

Some shocked parents have alleged discrimination and segregation, reports CBS Denver.

“I was infuriated,” one parent, Nicole Cox, told CBS Denver. “I didn’t understand why they would include or exclude certain groups.”

“We have come so far in all of these years to show everybody that everyone is equal, that everyone should be treated equally,” Cox added.

Cox is white. She has a 10-year-old daughter at the school, and she wants her daughter to have tutoring.

CBS Denver explains that Principal Pearson left Cox a voicemail before she could complain directly to the school (as other parents already had).

“This is Andre Pearson,” the voicemail said. “It’s focused for and designed for children of color, but certainly, if we have space for other kids who have needs, we can definitely meet those needs.”

The district has since apologized for the error. A spokeswoman for the school district told KJCT that Pearson’s letter was a mistake and that white students can participate in the tutoring program.

“We deeply regret that they got that communication,” the spokeswoman added, according to notes CBS Denver.


February 15, 2013

Well Lefties, looks like it was all true... I guess it's time to pass  your cyanide fruit punch bowl.. see ya

A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from space objects such as asteroids or comets, ranging in size from tiny to gigantic. When a meteorite falls on Earth, passing through the atmosphere causes it to heat up and emit a trail of light, forming a fireball known as a meteor, or shooting or falling star. Screenshot from YouTube user Gregor Grimm

Russia’s Urals region has been rocked by a meteorite explosion in the stratosphere. The impact wave damaged several buildings, and blew out thousands of windows amid frigid winter weather. Hundreds are seeking medical attention for minor injuries.

Eyewitness accounts of the meteorite phenomenon, handpicked by RT.

Read more here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


February 14, 2013

I was expecting to hear that Piers Morgan took her place. Yes, for some I do set the bar that low..

Former Westboro protester apologizes to mother of slain soldier

A former member of the Westboro Baptist Church–a fringe group based in Topeka, Kan., that pickets soldiers' funerals–apologized to the mother of a 21-year-old soldier killed in Afghanistan on a talk show on Wednesday.

Libby Phelps Alvarez, the former Westboro member, apologized to Sherry and Randy Wyatt for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers like their son on "Anderson Live" on Wednesday. Alvarez is the granddaughter of Fred Phelps, the group's founder, and has recently left the group. (Other members of the shrinking group have recently publicly defected as well.)

"I just feel sad ... and I'm sorry," Alvarez said. "I thought I was doing the right thing ... but I was just hurting people."

Westboro protesters set up picket lines outside funerals, holding signs that say soldiers are killed in action as a punishment for the existence of homosexuality. The Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that the Westboro group has a First Amendment right to protest at the funerals.

"Our son died to ensure freedom of assembly, to ensure freedom of speech, to ensure freedoms for those that are white, black, gay, straight, rich, poor," Sherry Wyatt said to Alvarez.

Wyatt thanked her local community for showing up at her son's July 21 funeral in Columbia, Mo., to form a wall of support between her family and any protesters. Wyatt's son, Sterling Wyatt, died July 11 in Kandahar province from an improvised explosive device while on patrol, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

"We had thousands stand shoulder to shoulder in 105-degree heat," she said. "We had businesses bringing in water, we had our American Legion Auxiliary cooking hot dogs, we had people setting up health stations because of the heat. That's community. That is church."

Watch the interview here.


Anti-Piracy Group Steals Pirate Bay Website, Pirate Bay Threatens to Sue

February 14, 2013

The Pirate Bay doesn't have many fans among rights holders and their representatives. Still, despite plenty of attempts, the site is still going strong and is still the largest pirate site in the world, certainly the best known.

So one anti-piracy group decided to return the favor and copied the site's design for a campaign.

It didn't just design a site to look like the Pirate Bay, it copied[strike] stole The Pirate Bay's CSS files and used them as is, only replacing the logo.

The Pirate Bay is understandably furious over the violation and is prepared to sue the Finnish group, the same one that came after a nine-year-old girl for trying to download a song she liked.

"We are outraged by this behaviour. People must understand what is right and wrong," the Pirate Bay told TorrentFreak. "Stealing material like this on the internet is a threat to economies worldwide."

Obviously, the statement is tongue in cheek, it's very unlikely that The Pirate Bay will sue anyone, least of all because someone would need to come forward as a representative of the site.

We saw how well that turned out for the people that created The Pirate Bay in the first place. The Pirate Bay also has a stronger sense of irony than the anti-piracy group it seems.

While these groups shout to anyone who'll listen that copying anything is "stealing" and illegal, they don't see anything wrong in doing it "to prove a point."

A group that doesn't hold itself to the same principles that it wants the rest of the world to conform to, doesn't have any principles at all, it just has interests that must be served in any way possible.

Fortunately, wrong or right, The Pirate Bay does have principles and it does respect them. The people behind the site believe information should be free to share and that applies to The Pirate Bay itself.


Eurozone recession deepens in fourth quarter

February 14, 2013

The Euro symbol pictured outside the European
Central Bank in Frankfurt, western Germany, on
February 7, 2013. The recession in the 17-nation eurozone
recession deepened sharply in the fourth quarter of 2012,
with the economy shrinking by 0.6 percent from output in
the three months to September when it dropped
0.1 percent, official data showed on Thursday.
AFP - The recession in the 17-nation eurozone recession deepened sharply in the fourth quarter of 2012, with the economy shrinking by 0.6 percent from output in the three months to September when it dropped 0.1 percent, official data showed on Thursday.
In the second quarter of 2012, the eurozone economy had contracted 0.2 percent on a sequential basis, meaning the recession has now lasted three quarters as the debt crisis has sapped growth and sent unemployment soaring.

Compared with output in the fourth quarter of 2011, the eurozone economy contracted 0.9 percent, according to Eurostat agency figures.

For the wider 27-member European Union, output fell 0.5 percent compared with third quarter 2012 when the bloc had eked out growth of just 0.1 percent to narrowly avoid being in recession, as defined as two consecutive quarterly negative figures.

Compared with fourth quarter 2011, the EU economy shrank 0.6 percent.

Eurostat said that for 2012 as a whole, the eurozone economy contracted 0.5 percent and the EU 0.3 percent.


LONDON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Britain must deny immigrants "access to housing, access to the health service and access to justice," Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday.

During question time in Parliament, Cameron said the country should not be a "soft touch for those who want to come here."

"There are many parts of our current arrangements that simply don't pass a simple commonsense test in terms of access to housing, access to the health service, and access to justice and other things, which should be the right of all British citizens but they are not the right of anyone who just chooses to come here," he said.

Cameron's office later declined to expand on his parliamentary statements or to define what he meant by "access to justice." Although the government has recently moved to deny legal aid in immigration cases, immigrants and tourists are entitled to legal aid if they are charged with a crime in Britain and cannot afford an attorney.

Steve Hynes of Legal Action Group said he does not believe the government has the power to change that.

"It would be a minefield. It's an intrinsic part of our legal part of system that all those who face charges are entitled to a defense," he said. "If they haven't got the cash then there is state support for them."

Steve Cohen Makes Weiner Mistake

February 14, 2013

BY: CAF Truth Monkey

Rep. Steve Cohen (D., Tenn.) broke one of the cardinal rules of public officials using Twitter: be sure to direct-message groupies.

Cohen was caught off guard during the State of the Union last night when he tweeted game to Victoria Brink, a graduate of Texas State University, by shouting out “ilu” as reported by the Hill. Ilu is short for “I love/like you” and we can’t blame Cohen for feeling that way about Brink.

Brink first hollered at Cohen, saying she saw the Tennessee lawmaker on the television.

@repcohen just saw you on tv!

— Victoria Brink (@victoria_brink) February 13, 2013

The 63-year-old longtime bachelor hollered back to the amateur bikini and lingerie model, showing his appreciation for her in messages that were intended to be private and between “family friends,” according to his office.

According to, Brink is an avid Mexican food and rom-com fan. She is also a sharpshooter at beer pong. Considering Cohen is a proponent of concealed carry, one can see where the model and congressman found their friendship.

Sloppy Twitter game is a feature of the House Democratic caucus. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned in disgrace after he tweeted lewd photos to a young lady.

A congressman-groupie Twitter-relations workshop has yet to be announced.

source: WFB

Happy Valentines Day: Taylor Swift´s ex arrested with his father during global warming protest outside the White House. Hilarity ensues...

February 14, 2013

Question: What does a washed up Hollywood radical and relatives of a drunken driving democratic killer have in common?

Answer: Taylor Swift's environmentally minded ex-boyfriend Conor Kennedy ended up in handcuffs after taking part in a high-profile protest over global warming outside the White House Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Kennedy heir, who had enjoyed a brief summer romance with the country singer, was arrested along with his father, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, actress and activist Daryl Hannah and dozens of others.

The protesters had attached themselves with zip-ties to the gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in an act of civil disobedience meant to draw attention to the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Trouble: Conor Kennedy, (above) son of Robert Kennedy, Jr., is arrested after tying himself to the White House gate to protest the Keystone XL oil pipeline
High-profile arrest: Conor's father, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, was led away by police along with dozens of other protesters committing an act of civil disobedience
The group were demanding that President Obama reject the proposed project, which they say would carry 'dirty oil' that exacerbates the growing problem to global warming.

As the 48 arrested protesters were being led away by police from the presidential residence, a crowd of spectators cheered Conor and his father by name.

Summer fling: Singer Taylor Swift, 24, left, dated
18-year-old Conor Kennedy for several months and
even visited the family compound in Hyannis Port, but
their relationship proved short-lived
According to a press release from the Sierra Club, which also participated in the rally, 'After being taken away from the White House in handcuffs, both Kennedys were driven to a Park Police station and released after paying a fine.'

‘For the first time in the Sierra Club’s 120-year history, we have joined the ranks of visionaries of the past and present to engage in civil disobedience, knowing that the issue at hand is so critical, it compels the strongest defensible action,’ Michael Brune, executive director of the environmental group, told RadarOnline.

‘We cannot afford to allow the production, transport, export and burning of the dirtiest oil on Earth via the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama must deny the pipeline and take decisive steps to address climate disruption, the most significant issue of our time.’

Under the proposal currently before the president, the pipeline would transport heavy crude oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a renowned environmental lawyer who heads the organization Waterkeeper Alliance, called the Keystone pipeline a ‘catastrophic and criminal enterprise’ that will enrich a few while ‘threatening the future of civilization,’ according to a statement cited by the Huffington Post.

Conor Kennedy, who is still in high school, dated the 24-year-old Swift for several months over the summer. The happy couple were photographed flocking on the beach in Cape Cod and spending time at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, Yahoo! OMG reported.

Defiant: Actress and activist Daryl Hannah flashes a victory sign as she is arrested outside the White House gates
Civil disobedience: Hannah, center, was one of nearly 50 protesters who took part in the rally calling on President Obama to reject the controversial oil pipeline
At the height of their fling, Ethel Kennedy, the matriarch of the clan, even publicly said that she 'should be so lucky' to have Swift become part of the family.

The Grammy-winning 'Trouble' songstress even purchased a mansion for $4.5million across from the Kennedy estate, but her relationship with Conor proved short-lived.

Swift soon turned her attention across the pond to One Direction singer Harry Styles, also aged 18, but their hot-and-heavy love affair did not last long either.

source: Daily Mail