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Zero Risk Society

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Zero Risk Society

Executive Producers: Sir David R. Foley Black Baron of Silicon Valley, Sir Eric of Minnasotnuts, Sir Mark Dytham Baron of Tokyo, Sir John Richert, Baron Sir Dr. Sharkey Protector of the Smokey Mountains, Ron Zoetjens

Associate Executive Producers: Bubba Moustafa, Michael Knight, John Sextro, Keith Brown, Dame Astrid Viscountess of Tokyo

528 Club Members: Sir Eric of Minnasotnuts

Become a member of the 528 Club, support the show here

Knighthoods: John Richert

Titles: Sir Dr Sharkey -> Baron Sir Dr Sharkey, protector of the Great Smoky Mountains, Sir Mark Dytham -> Baron of Tokyo, Dame Astrid -> Viscountess of Tokyo

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Art By: Patrick Buijs

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Recent articles from all sources | 33 is the Magic Number

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 17:15

2013-07-06T13:42:27.000Z

CNN

'...egree outbanks, 70-degree drop The Storm, Etnaland S.r.l., C.da Agnelleria, Belpasso, Italy; +95 7913334; 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; ticket price '‚¬25 ($32) 10. As yet unnamed roller coaster (Ocean Kingdom, Chi'...

2013-07-06T11:39:28.000Z

BBC News

'...lford was arrested on Friday on suspicion of assisting an offender. Police are still questioning the33-year-old man previously arrested on suspicion of murder, and the 55-year-old woman and man of 64 he'...

2013-07-06T10:30:06.000Z

BBC News

'...reer earnings ‚£33,692,379 112-28 Career Grand Slam record 152-28 72-14 Career record on grass 53-1433-5 2013 record 39-5 14-6 2013 tie-break record 15-5 "I would hope so just because I've been there be'...

2013-07-06T01:27:55.000Z

BBC News

'...state of the polls Source: YouGov/Sunday Times 30 June Labour 38 (At 2010 election 29%) Conservative33(At 2010 election 36%) UKIP 11 (At 2010 election 3.1%) Liberal Democrats 11 (At 2010 election 23%) '...

2013-07-06T00:57:04.000Z

The Wall Street Journal

'...rotest. Similar tales of brutality are not hard to find in the real Yacoubian Building. Ehab Mehana,33,speaks five languages and once led high-end tour groups. But the work dried up last year, and he be'...

2013-07-05T20:41:45.000Z

BBC News

'...on the brink of handing back his advantage several times, but he held on to level after one hour and33minutes. With the time approaching 20:00 BST and the prospect of the light becoming an issue, Janow'...

2013-07-05T17:26:26.000Z

CNN

'...legislation more acceptable to Republicans. CBO: Senate immigration bill would cut undocumented flow33-50% A bipartisan group is also working on a package in the House, though its proposals differ sharp'...

2013-07-05T17:08:30.000Z

BBC News

'...le and was run out attempting a second run which would have tied the game. Earlier, Edwards (46 from33balls) and Taylor (57 from 50) led the way as England took control of the first match. After winnin'...

2013-07-05T13:06:24.000Z

BBC News

'...d with the news that no women would be featured on the next issue of pound notes, they had collected33,000signatures, demanding that the Bank reconsider. Continue reading the main story Mark Carney's week '...

2013-07-05T11:54:02.000Z

BBC News

'...5 September. The mayor, Sally Walker, could not be contacted for comment. Last month Richard Taylor,33,was told the police would be called unless he stopped filming a Huntingdonshire District Council me'...

FBI 6 Weeks

Man with guns, explosive devices arrested in Seattle - BNO News

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Archived Version

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 13:43

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON (BNO NEWS) '-- A Nevada man was found to be in the possession of guns and explosive devices after he was arrested near the University of Washington in Seattle while driving a stolen pickup truck, police said on late Thursday, but few details were immediately released.

The investigation began at around 10:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday when officers from the University of Washington Police Department observed a pickup truck that had been reported stolen out of Montana. They then conducted a ''high-risk'' traffic stop near the university's campus.

''The officers took the driver of the vehicle, a Nevada resident, into custody without incident, originally on the stolen vehicle charge. He was brought back to UWPD for questioning,'' said Chief John Vinson of the University of Washington Police Department. He was later booked into the King County Jail.

After the traffic stop, detectives searched the vehicle and discovered a stolen scoped rifle, a stolen shotgun, suspected incendiary devices and body armor. It was not immediately clear why the 21-year-old suspect, whose identity has not yet been released, was carrying the weapons and explosives.

''At this point, there does not appear to be any threat to the University of Washington community. This is an ongoing criminal investigation,'' Vinson said at a Thursday news conference. ''The University of Washington Police Department is collaborating with the Seattle Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on this case.''

Vinson said the suspect, who has not yet formally been charged with a crime, was not cooperating with investigators.

(Copyright 2013 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

$2 million bail for man found near UW with molotov cocktails | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News | Local & Regional

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Archived Version

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 08:36

SEATTLE -- Prosecutors say a man who was caught in a stolen truck full of stolen weapons, body armor and incendiary devices had maps of three local colleges and evidence indicating he was planning some sort of incident in the western United States.Justin M. Jasper was ordered held on $2 million bail during his first court appearance Friday.

Jasper was arrested Thursday after University of Washington police had discovered he was driving a truck reported stolen out of Montana. While searching the truck, police found a stolen scoped rifle, a stolen shotgun, body armor, knives, a machete, and six incendiary devices.

"They were well made devices. Some would call them molotov cocktails," interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel said during a Thursday press conference.

In court Friday, prosecutors revealed new evidence against Jasper, including a Podcast that indicated Jasper had anti-government views and was planning something in the western United States in support of the Brazilian revolution.

"In the Podcast, Mr. Jasper asks the question: 'Who is supporting the Brazilian revolution,' " prosecutor Andrew Hamilton told the judge. "(Jasper) goes on to say: 'Because I know I am. I won't say where, but somewhere in the Western United States. I'm going to make sure people understand and notice it.' "

Hamitlon said Jasper was also found with maps of the University of Washington, Seattle University and South Seattle Community College during his arrest, in addition to anti-government literature and documents about the Syrian and Brazillian revolutions.

When he was arrested, Jasper listed his occupation as self-employed journalist and had just 25 cents on him, according to court documents.

In setting the high bail, the judge agreed that Jasper posted an extreme flight risk and a danger to the community.

"Having an assembled Molotov cocktail appears to communicate to this court an imminent threat," the judge said.

Jasper is from Nevada and has no known ties to the Seattle area, investigators said.

A video posted five days ago to an account associated with Jasper shows the Nevada man burning a $5 bill.

Burn Another1 from Miles Jasper on Vimeo.

Left-Wing Terrorist Arrested In Washington Carrying Bombs, Arsenal Of Weapons: Wanted To Back Union Protests In Brazil, Upset Over Voting Rights In US, Genetically Modified Food'...

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Archived Version

Source: Weasel Zippers

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 01:57

What are the odds this guy was at an Occupy Wall Street protest?

SEATTLE '-- A judge set bail at $2 million Friday for a Las Vegas man arrested near the University of Washington in a truck that authorities say contained multiple weapons, maps to three Seattle campuses and a recording in which he said he planned to do something in the West to support protesters demanding reform in Brazil.

King County Judge Arthur R. Chapman said he set such a high bail for Justin Jasper because he considered the 22-year-old a flight risk and a threat to the community.

Montana authorities said Jasper stole a pickup truck and guns from a truck driver in Butte, Mont., who had let Jasper stay at his home.

At the bail hearing in Seattle, a prosecutor said authorities found six firebombs in the vehicle, along with a bolt-action rifle, a double-barrel shotgun, a machete and several knives. They also found a recording of a podcast that appears to have Jasper expressing support for protesters in Brazil.

More than 1 million demonstrators have taken to the streets in Brazil over the past month to denounce everything from poor public services to the billions of dollars spent preparing for next year's World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Police found evidence that Jasper was planning some kind of action in support of those protesters, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Hamilton said. Hamilton said that on the podcast, Jasper said he was going to back the ''Brazilian revolution'' by doing something ''somewhere in the Western United States.'' [...]

The trucker said Jasper described himself as an ''anarchist,'' The Times reported.

Jasper had concerns about topics ranging from the chemical industry to genetically altered foods to voting rights [both big lib issues as of late -ed], Henderson said.

Henderson discovered his pickup, guns and body armor missing Tuesday after returning home from 11 days on the road. He said he had body armor from his days as a contract convoy trucker in Iraq.

Also see: U.S. Union Boss Praises Violent Protesters In Brazil, Warns America May See Same If More Taxpayer Money Isn't Coughed Up

PODCASTER!

Freedom Fighter Radio Podcast

Driverless train carrying oil explodes, leveling Canadian town

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Archived Version

Source: DEBKAFile

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 20:32

Driverless train carrying oil explodes, leveling Canadian townDEBKAfileJuly 6, 2013, 10:58 PM (GMT+02:00)

A freight train carrying tankers of crude oil derailed at high speed and exploded in a giant fireball in the middle of a the small south Canadian town of Lac-Megantic north of the US town of Maine Saturday. More than 1,000 houses were flattened. An unknown number of people are still missing. The runaway train spilled oil into the environment including the nearby lake.

Flight 214

Largest Sunspot In Cycle 24 Emerges: Chance Of X-Class Flare Increases Dramatically

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Archived Version

Source: Activist Post

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 15:15

Chris CarringtonActivist PostThe southeastern section of the Sun is covered with a large dark blotch. Sunspot AR1787 is one of the biggest if not the biggest of the whole of cycle 24. The spot is massive; the dark cores of the spots alone are the size of the Earth and it has the energy to produce X-Class flares, though that magnetic field is still building and is nowhere near its full potential yet. The magnetic field will continue to build in strength and this dramatically increases the chance of a large X-class flare.

If an X-class was thrown off today, Earth would not be directly in the firing line. But over the next few days the sunspot will move across the solar disc putting us squarely in its sights.

AR1787 is close behind it, another very active region that already has the energy for M-Class flares, and NOAA predicts that the chance of an M-class within the next 24 hours is 40% and an X-Class 10% during the same period.

With two massive and active areas coming so close together, experts are watching the Sun very carefully at the moment.

These sunspots are a sign that the sun's southern hemisphere is waking up. For most of the current solar cycle, the northern half of the sun has dominated sunspot counts and flare production. The south has been lagging behind''until now. June brought a surge in southern sunspots, and the trend is continuing in July. This ''southern awakening'' could herald a double-peaked Solar Maximum due in late 2013-early 2014. (Source)

Today's sunspot number is 109, not overly high for this point in the cycle as we head towards solar maximum.The Marshall Solar Physics Center has released the July solar cycle update:

The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 67 in the Summer of 2013. The smoothed sunspot number has already reached 67 (in February 2012) due to the strong peak in late 2011 so the official maximum will be at least this high. The smoothed sunspot number has been rising again over the last four months. We are currently over four years into Cycle 24. The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906.

Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple, where this article first appeared. Wake the flock up!BE THE CHANGE! PLEASE SHARE THIS USING THE TOOLS BELOW

Asiana Boeing 777 crash-lands at San Francisco Intnl airport

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Archived Version

Source: DEBKAFile

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 20:33

Asiana Boeing 777 crash-lands at San Francisco Intnl airportDEBKAfileJuly 6, 2013, 10:46 PM (GMT+02:00)

As the Asiana Boeing 777 flying in from South Korea came in to land at San Francisco Saturday, its tail came off. The plane crash-landed, wobbled and flipped over on its back on the ground. Rescue crews rushing to the scene of the smoking craft said it was unclear how many people were injured and how many passengers were on board. As people were helped off the plane, some were said to be in need of burns treatment.

Asiana 214 Crash at KSFO | LiveATC.net

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Archived Version

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 21:53

capolydudeNewbieOfflinePosts: 1

First 3 minutes KSFO Tower feed from today's crash of Asiana 214.

bhartmanNewbieOfflinePosts: 1

As always, impressed by the training and professionalism of ATC and pilots.

marc99NewbieOnlinePosts: 1

Sounded like a stepped on transmission, partially heard "go around" and then a few seconds later "I have trouble".

blantonlNewbieOnlinePosts: 1

I wonder if this 777 had Rolls Royce engines? If so, could this be a repeat of BA-38 at Heathrow?

President Obama Updated on the Plane Crash in San Francisco

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 01:39

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

July 06, 2013

Soon after the plane crash in San Francisco, CA, the President was made aware of the incident by Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. The President will continue to be updated as new information becomes available. The President expressed his gratitude for the first responders and directed his team to stay in constant contact with the federal, state and local partners as they investigate and respond to this event. His thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost a loved one and all those affected by the crash.

"Tail Strike Avoidance" advice article (Boeing.com)

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Archived Version

Source: no corn syrup's feed

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 12:32

Tail Strike AvoidanceTail Strike Avoidance

Tail strike, which occurs when an airplane tail contacts the runway during takeoff or landing, is an event that can be encountered by virtually all transport airplane designs. Some models in the Boeing commercial airplane fleet experience tail strike more often than others and, almost without exception, the cause is elusive to the flight crew. In order to better understand this occurrence, Douglas Products Division examined a number of recent tail strike events.

n an effort to help operators avoid tail strike and the resulting damage, Douglas Products Division (DPD) conducted an evaluation of the circumstances surrounding this event, including weather, wind, weight, speed, and control input. DPD also conducted flight crew interviews and reviewed flight recorder data during its examination of recent tail strike events.

The results provided the following two conclusions:

The frequency of tail strike is higher for some models on takeoff, and for other models on landing. The overall incident rate varies from one model to another as well as over time. For example, one model experienced a high incident rate upon entry into service, followed by a reduced rate and then an increased rate about six years after initial entry into service. Over the years, Boeing has taken a number of actions to reduce the rate of tail strike, including training, information, and system changes. Specific activities have included a tail strike avoidance video, a Flight Operations Review article, operations manual and technical bulletins, and airline presentations by Boeing instructor pilots. System changes included installation of tail skids on stretched models, revisions of automatic speed brake deployment logic to reduce pitchup on landing, and installation of a trailing edge flap seal to reduce airplane noseup attitude on approach and landing.Though tail strike occurs in both daylight and darkness, and in both good and bad weather, the amount of flight crew experience with the model of airplane flown is a more significant factor. While tail strike may occur to pilots with abundant flight time in a model, most occur to pilots who are transitioning from one airplane model to another and have fewer than 100 hours of flight time in the new model. Incidents are greatest among pilots during their first heavy-weight operations in the new model, especially when the weather is marginal.The DPD examination revealed eight risk factors, one or more of which precede a tail strike: mistrimmed stabilizer; rotation at improper speed; excessive rotation rate; improper use of the flight director; unstabilized approach; holding off in the flare; mishandling of crosswinds; and over-rotation during go-around. Additional factors may exist that were not revealed by the DPD examination, but each of the eight wasshown to play a significant role in tail strike. Most importantly, the examination showed that each is under the direct control of the flight crew, and therefore can be avoided with proper understanding and training. The risk factors were found to occur in two categories:

Takeoff risk factors.Landing risk factors.Takeoff Risk FactorsAny one of these four takeoff risk factors may precede a tail strike:

Mistrimmed stabilizer.Rotation at improper speed.Excessive rotation rate.Improper use of the flight director.MISTRIMMED STABILIZERA mistrimmed stabilizer occurring during takeoff is not common but is an experience shared at least once by almost every flight crew. It usually results from using erroneous data, the wrong weights, or an incorrect center of gravity (CG). Sometimes the information presented to the flight crew is accurate, but it is entered incorrectly either to the flight management system (FMS) or to the stabilizer itself. In any case, the stabilizer is set in the wrong position. The flight crew can become aware of the error and correct the condition by challenging the reasonableness of the load sheet numbers. A flight crew that has made a few takeoffs in a given weight range knows roughly where the CG usually resides and approximately where the trim should be set. Boeing suggests testing the load sheet numbers against past experience to be sure that the numbers are reasonable.

A stabilizer mistrimmed nosedown can present several problems, but tail strike usually is not one of them. However, a stabilizer mistrimmed noseup can place the tail at risk. This is because the yoke requires less pull force to initiate airplane rotation during takeoff, and the pilot flying (PF) may be surprised at how rapidly the nose comes up. With the Boeing-recommended rotation rate between 2.0 and 3.0 degrees per second (dps), depending on the model, and a normal liftoff attitude, liftoff usually occurs about four seconds after the nose starts to rise. (These figures are fairly standard for all commercial airplanes; exact values are contained in the operations and/or flight-crew training manuals for each model.) However, with the stabilizer mistrimmed noseup, the airplane can rotate 5 dps or more. With the nose rising very rapidly, the airplane does not have enough time to change its flight path before exceeding the critical attitude. Tail strike can then occur within two or three seconds of the time rotation is initiated.

If the stabilizer is substantially mistrimmed noseup, the airplane may even try to fly from the runway without control input from the PF. Before reaching Vr, and possibly as early as approaching V1, the nose begins to ride light on the runway. Two or three light bounces may occur before the nose suddenly goes into the air. A faster-than-normal rotation usually follows and, when the airplane passes through the normal liftoff attitude, it lacks sufficient speed to fly and so stays on the runway. Unless the PF actively intercedes, the nose keeps coming up until the tail strike occurs, either immediately before or after liftoff.

ROTATION AT IMPROPER SPEEDThis situation can result in a tail strike and is usually caused by one of two reasons: rotation is begun early because of some unusual situation, or the airplane is rotated at a Vr that has been computed incorrectly and is too low for the weight and flap setting.

An example of an unusual situation discovered during the DPD examination was a twinjet going out at close to the maximum allowable weight. In order to make second segment climb, the crew had selected a lower-than-usual flap setting. The lower flap setting generates V speeds somewhat higher than normal and reduces tail clearance during rotation. In addition, the example situation was a runway length-limited takeoff. The PF began to lighten the nose as the airplane approached V1, which is an understandable impulse when ground speed is high and the end of the runway is near. The nose came off the runway at V1 and, with a rather aggressive rotation, the tail brushed the runway just after the airplane became airborne.

An error in Vr speed recently resulted in a trijet tail strike. The load sheet numbers were accurate, but somehow the takeoff weight was entered into the FMS 100,000 lb lower than it should have been. The resulting Vr was 12 knots indicated air speed (kias) slow. When the airplane passed through a nominal 8-deg liftoff attitude, a lack of sufficient speed prevented takeoff. Rotation was allowed to continue, with takeoff and tail strike occurring at about 11 deg. Verification that the load sheet numbers were correctly entered may have prevented this incident.

EXCESSIVE ROTATION RATEFlight crews operating an airplane model that is new to them, especially when transitioning from unpowered flight controls to ones with hydraulic assistance, are most vulnerable to using excessive rotation rate. The amount of control input required to achieve the proper rotation rate varies from one model to another. When transitioning to a new model, flight crews may not consciously realize that it will not respond to pitch input in exactly the same way.

As simulators reproduce airplane responses with remarkable fidelity, simulator training can help flight crews learn the appropriate response. A concentrated period of takeoff practice allows students to develop a sure sense of how the new airplane feels and responds to pitch inputs. On some models, this is particularly important when the CG is loaded toward its aft limits, because an airplane in this condition is more sensitive in pitch, especially during takeoff. A normal amount of noseup elevator in an aft CG condition is likely to cause the nose to lift off the runway more rapidly and put the tail at risk.

IMPROPER USE OF THE FLIGHT DIRECTORAs shown in figure 1, the flight director (FD) is designed to provide accurate pitch guidance only after the airplane is airborne, nominally passing through 35 ft (10.7 m). With the proper rotation rate, the airplane reaches 35 ft with the desired pitch attitude of about 15 deg and a speed of V2 + 10 (V2 + 15 on some models). However, an aggressive rotation into the pitch bar at takeoff is not appropriate and may rotate the tail onto the ground.

Landing Risk FactorsAny one of these four landing risk factors may precede a tail strike:

Unstabilized approach.Holding off in the flare.Mishandling of crosswinds.Over-rotation during go-around.A tail strike on landing tends to cause more serious damage than the same event during takeoff and is more expensive and time consuming to repair. In the worst case, the tail can strike the runway before the landing gear touches down, thus absorbing large amounts of energy for which it is not designed. The aft pressure bulkhead is often damaged as a result.

UNSTABILIZED APPROACHAn unstabilized approach (figure 2) appears in one form or another in virtually every landing tail strike event. When an airplane turns on to final approach with excessive airspeed, excessive altitude, or both, the situation may not be under the control of the flight crew. The most common cause of this scenario is the sequencing of traffic in the terminal area as determined by air traffic control.

Digital flight recorder data show that flight crews who continue through an unstabilized condition below 500 ft will likely never get the approach stabilized. When the airplane arrives in the flare, it invariably has either excessive or insufficient airspeed, and quite often is also long on the runway. The result is a tendency toward large power and pitch corrections in the flare, often culminating in a vigorous noseup pull at touchdown and tail strike shortly thereafter. If the nose is coming up rapidly when touchdown occurs and the ground spoilers deploy, the spoilers themselves add an additional noseup pitching force. Also, if the airplane is slow, pulling up the nose in the flare does not materially reduce the sink rate and in fact may increase it. A firm touchdown on the main gear is often preferable to a soft touchdown with the nose rising rapidly.

HOLDING OFF IN THE FLAREThe second most common cause of a landing tail strike is a long flare to a drop-in touchdown, a condition often precipitated by a desire to achieve an extremely smooth landing. A very soft touchdown is not essential, nor even desired, particularly if the runway is wet.

Trimming the stabilizer in the flare may contribute to a tail strike. The PF may easily lose the feel of the elevator while the trim is running; too much trim can raise the nose, even when this reaction is not desired. The pitchup can cause a balloon, followed either by dropping in or pitching over and landing flat. Flight crews should trim the airplane in the approach, but not in the flare itself, and avoid "squeakers," as they waste runway and may predispose the airplane to a tail strike.

MISHANDLING OF CROSSWINDSA crosswind approach and landing contains many elements that may increase the risk of tail strike, particularly in the presence of gusty conditions (figure 3). Wind directions near 90 deg to the runway heading are often strong at pattern altitude, and with little headwind component, the airplane flies the final approach with a rapid rate of closure on the runway. To stay on the glidepath at that high groundspeed (figure 4), descent rates of 700 to 900 ft (214 to 274 m) per minute may be required. Engine power is likely to be well back, approaching idle in some cases, to avoid accelerating the airplane. If the airplane is placed in a forward slip attitude to compensate for the wind effects, this cross-control maneuver reduces lift, increases drag, and may increase the rate of descent. If the airplane then descends into a turbulent surface layer, particularly if the wind is shifting toward the tail, the stage is set for tail strike.

The combined effects of high closure rate, shifting winds with the potential for a quartering tail wind, the sudden drop in wind velocity commonly found below 100 ft (31 m), and turbulence can make the timing of the flare very difficult. The PF can best handle the situation by exercising active control of the sink rate and making sure that additional thrust is available if needed. Flight crews should clearly understand the criteria for initiating a go-around and plan to use this time-honored avoidance maneuver when needed.

OVER-ROTATION DURING GO-AROUNDGo-arounds initiated very late in the approach, such as during flare or after a bounce, are a common cause of tail strike. When the go-around mode is initiated, the FD immediately commands a go-around pitch attitude. If the PF abruptly rotates into the command bars, tail strike can occur before a change to the flight path is possible. Both pitch attitude and thrust are required for go-around, so if the engines are just spooling up when the PF vigorously pulls the nose up, the thrust may not yet be adequate to support the effort. The nose comes up, and the tail goes down. A contributing factor may be a strong desire of the flight crew to avoid wheel contact after initiating a late go-around, when the airplane is still over the runway. In general, the concern is not warranted because a brief contact with the tires during a late go-around does not produce adverse consequences. Airframe manufacturers have executed literally hundreds of late go-arounds during autoland certification programs with dozens of runway contacts, and no problem has ever resulted. The airplane simply flies away from the touchdown.

SummaryAn examination of recent tail strike events, which included consideration of weather conditions, flight recorder information, and interviews with flight crews, showed that eight factors contribute to tail strike. A significant factor that appears to be common is the lack of flight crew experience with the model being flown. The examination concluded that flight crews can take a variety of steps to prevent tail strike, including challenging the reasonableness and accuracy of takeoff numbers, being very aware of pitch attitude when flying on or just above the runway, and obtaining flight simulator training to become more familiar with how various airplane models respond to pitch inputs.

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Pitch attitude versus bank angleRunway contact by the tail or wing is a function of pitch attitude and bank angle. Strut compression occurs during a hard landing or during a vigorous takeoff rotation, increasing the possibility of contact with the runway.

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Unstabilized ApproachAn unstabilized approach is the biggest single cause of tail strike. Flight crews try to set all the approach variables--on centerline, on approach path, on speed, and in the final landing configuration--by the time the airplane descends through 1,000 ft (305 m) above ground level (AGL). This is not always possible. If by the time the airplane descends through 500 ft (152 m) AGL with these approach variables not stabilized, a go-around should be considered. For more information concerning go-arounds, see Approach and Landing Accidents, a report issued by the Approach and Landing Accident Reduction Task Force of the Flight Safety Foundation. It is available by calling the Jerry Lederer Aviation Safety Library at (703) 739-6700, ext. 103.

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Approach and LandingAn inability to remain on the glide slope is a cause of tail strike.

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Glide slope indicatorDuring takeoff, the FD pitch bar is rotated well above the horizon (roughly +15 deg) to provide the flight crew with a clear view of the attitude instrument. If the PF maintains the nominal rotation rate, then all the numbers come together at 35 ft and the FD provides precise pitch guidance thereafter.

-----------------------------------------------------Tail Strike Avoidance Training VideoFlight crew training programs can help operators greatly reduce the frequency of tail strike by emphasizing pitch attitude when the airplane is near the ground. Boeing and Douglas Products Division have assisted in this effort by distributing tail strike training videos to all operators in recent years. Additional copies of these videos may be obtained at the following addresses:

Boeing models:Boeing Commercial Airplane GroupAttn: Customer Services and Material Support (CSMS)P. O. Box 3707, MC 36-65Seattle, Washington 98124-2207, USAPhone (206) 662-7143Fax (206) 662-7145Douglas models:Douglas Products DivisionAttn: Flight OperationsCustomer Service3855 Lakewood Blvd., MC D094-0026Long Beach, California 90846-0001, USAPhone: (562) 593-1249FAX: (562) 593-3471

Pete BernardinChief Pilot,Customer Services

Flight OperationsDouglas Products Division

return to top | AERO text-only contents | Boeing Home | CommercialCopyright ½ The Boeing Company. All rights reserved.

Tail Strike AvoidanceTail Strike Avoidance

Tail strike, which occurs when an airplane tail contacts the runway during takeoff or landing, is an event that can be encountered by virtually all transport airplane designs. Some models in the Boeing commercial airplane fleet experience tail strike more often than others and, almost without exception, the cause is elusive to the flight crew. In order to better understand this occurrence, Douglas Products Division examined a number of recent tail strike events.

n an effort to help operators avoid tail strike and the resulting damage, Douglas Products Division (DPD) conducted an evaluation of the circumstances surrounding this event, including weather, wind, weight, speed, and control input. DPD also conducted flight crew interviews and reviewed flight recorder data during its examination of recent tail strike events.

The results provided the following two conclusions:

The frequency of tail strike is higher for some models on takeoff, and for other models on landing. The overall incident rate varies from one model to another as well as over time. For example, one model experienced a high incident rate upon entry into service, followed by a reduced rate and then an increased rate about six years after initial entry into service. Over the years, Boeing has taken a number of actions to reduce the rate of tail strike, including training, information, and system changes. Specific activities have included a tail strike avoidance video, a Flight Operations Review article, operations manual and technical bulletins, and airline presentations by Boeing instructor pilots. System changes included installation of tail skids on stretched models, revisions of automatic speed brake deployment logic to reduce pitchup on landing, and installation of a trailing edge flap seal to reduce airplane noseup attitude on approach and landing.Though tail strike occurs in both daylight and darkness, and in both good and bad weather, the amount of flight crew experience with the model of airplane flown is a more significant factor. While tail strike may occur to pilots with abundant flight time in a model, most occur to pilots who are transitioning from one airplane model to another and have fewer than 100 hours of flight time in the new model. Incidents are greatest among pilots during their first heavy-weight operations in the new model, especially when the weather is marginal.The DPD examination revealed eight risk factors, one or more of which precede a tail strike: mistrimmed stabilizer; rotation at improper speed; excessive rotation rate; improper use of the flight director; unstabilized approach; holding off in the flare; mishandling of crosswinds; and over-rotation during go-around. Additional factors may exist that were not revealed by the DPD examination, but each of the eight wasshown to play a significant role in tail strike. Most importantly, the examination showed that each is under the direct control of the flight crew, and therefore can be avoided with proper understanding and training. The risk factors were found to occur in two categories:

Takeoff risk factors.Landing risk factors.Takeoff Risk FactorsAny one of these four takeoff risk factors may precede a tail strike:

Mistrimmed stabilizer.Rotation at improper speed.Excessive rotation rate.Improper use of the flight director.MISTRIMMED STABILIZERA mistrimmed stabilizer occurring during takeoff is not common but is an experience shared at least once by almost every flight crew. It usually results from using erroneous data, the wrong weights, or an incorrect center of gravity (CG). Sometimes the information presented to the flight crew is accurate, but it is entered incorrectly either to the flight management system (FMS) or to the stabilizer itself. In any case, the stabilizer is set in the wrong position. The flight crew can become aware of the error and correct the condition by challenging the reasonableness of the load sheet numbers. A flight crew that has made a few takeoffs in a given weight range knows roughly where the CG usually resides and approximately where the trim should be set. Boeing suggests testing the load sheet numbers against past experience to be sure that the numbers are reasonable.

A stabilizer mistrimmed nosedown can present several problems, but tail strike usually is not one of them. However, a stabilizer mistrimmed noseup can place the tail at risk. This is because the yoke requires less pull force to initiate airplane rotation during takeoff, and the pilot flying (PF) may be surprised at how rapidly the nose comes up. With the Boeing-recommended rotation rate between 2.0 and 3.0 degrees per second (dps), depending on the model, and a normal liftoff attitude, liftoff usually occurs about four seconds after the nose starts to rise. (These figures are fairly standard for all commercial airplanes; exact values are contained in the operations and/or flight-crew training manuals for each model.) However, with the stabilizer mistrimmed noseup, the airplane can rotate 5 dps or more. With the nose rising very rapidly, the airplane does not have enough time to change its flight path before exceeding the critical attitude. Tail strike can then occur within two or three seconds of the time rotation is initiated.

If the stabilizer is substantially mistrimmed noseup, the airplane may even try to fly from the runway without control input from the PF. Before reaching Vr, and possibly as early as approaching V1, the nose begins to ride light on the runway. Two or three light bounces may occur before the nose suddenly goes into the air. A faster-than-normal rotation usually follows and, when the airplane passes through the normal liftoff attitude, it lacks sufficient speed to fly and so stays on the runway. Unless the PF actively intercedes, the nose keeps coming up until the tail strike occurs, either immediately before or after liftoff.

ROTATION AT IMPROPER SPEEDThis situation can result in a tail strike and is usually caused by one of two reasons: rotation is begun early because of some unusual situation, or the airplane is rotated at a Vr that has been computed incorrectly and is too low for the weight and flap setting.

An example of an unusual situation discovered during the DPD examination was a twinjet going out at close to the maximum allowable weight. In order to make second segment climb, the crew had selected a lower-than-usual flap setting. The lower flap setting generates V speeds somewhat higher than normal and reduces tail clearance during rotation. In addition, the example situation was a runway length-limited takeoff. The PF began to lighten the nose as the airplane approached V1, which is an understandable impulse when ground speed is high and the end of the runway is near. The nose came off the runway at V1 and, with a rather aggressive rotation, the tail brushed the runway just after the airplane became airborne.

An error in Vr speed recently resulted in a trijet tail strike. The load sheet numbers were accurate, but somehow the takeoff weight was entered into the FMS 100,000 lb lower than it should have been. The resulting Vr was 12 knots indicated air speed (kias) slow. When the airplane passed through a nominal 8-deg liftoff attitude, a lack of sufficient speed prevented takeoff. Rotation was allowed to continue, with takeoff and tail strike occurring at about 11 deg. Verification that the load sheet numbers were correctly entered may have prevented this incident.

EXCESSIVE ROTATION RATEFlight crews operating an airplane model that is new to them, especially when transitioning from unpowered flight controls to ones with hydraulic assistance, are most vulnerable to using excessive rotation rate. The amount of control input required to achieve the proper rotation rate varies from one model to another. When transitioning to a new model, flight crews may not consciously realize that it will not respond to pitch input in exactly the same way.

As simulators reproduce airplane responses with remarkable fidelity, simulator training can help flight crews learn the appropriate response. A concentrated period of takeoff practice allows students to develop a sure sense of how the new airplane feels and responds to pitch inputs. On some models, this is particularly important when the CG is loaded toward its aft limits, because an airplane in this condition is more sensitive in pitch, especially during takeoff. A normal amount of noseup elevator in an aft CG condition is likely to cause the nose to lift off the runway more rapidly and put the tail at risk.

IMPROPER USE OF THE FLIGHT DIRECTORAs shown in figure 1, the flight director (FD) is designed to provide accurate pitch guidance only after the airplane is airborne, nominally passing through 35 ft (10.7 m). With the proper rotation rate, the airplane reaches 35 ft with the desired pitch attitude of about 15 deg and a speed of V2 + 10 (V2 + 15 on some models). However, an aggressive rotation into the pitch bar at takeoff is not appropriate and may rotate the tail onto the ground.

Landing Risk FactorsAny one of these four landing risk factors may precede a tail strike:

Unstabilized approach.Holding off in the flare.Mishandling of crosswinds.Over-rotation during go-around.A tail strike on landing tends to cause more serious damage than the same event during takeoff and is more expensive and time consuming to repair. In the worst case, the tail can strike the runway before the landing gear touches down, thus absorbing large amounts of energy for which it is not designed. The aft pressure bulkhead is often damaged as a result.

UNSTABILIZED APPROACHAn unstabilized approach (figure 2) appears in one form or another in virtually every landing tail strike event. When an airplane turns on to final approach with excessive airspeed, excessive altitude, or both, the situation may not be under the control of the flight crew. The most common cause of this scenario is the sequencing of traffic in the terminal area as determined by air traffic control.

Digital flight recorder data show that flight crews who continue through an unstabilized condition below 500 ft will likely never get the approach stabilized. When the airplane arrives in the flare, it invariably has either excessive or insufficient airspeed, and quite often is also long on the runway. The result is a tendency toward large power and pitch corrections in the flare, often culminating in a vigorous noseup pull at touchdown and tail strike shortly thereafter. If the nose is coming up rapidly when touchdown occurs and the ground spoilers deploy, the spoilers themselves add an additional noseup pitching force. Also, if the airplane is slow, pulling up the nose in the flare does not materially reduce the sink rate and in fact may increase it. A firm touchdown on the main gear is often preferable to a soft touchdown with the nose rising rapidly.

HOLDING OFF IN THE FLAREThe second most common cause of a landing tail strike is a long flare to a drop-in touchdown, a condition often precipitated by a desire to achieve an extremely smooth landing. A very soft touchdown is not essential, nor even desired, particularly if the runway is wet.

Trimming the stabilizer in the flare may contribute to a tail strike. The PF may easily lose the feel of the elevator while the trim is running; too much trim can raise the nose, even when this reaction is not desired. The pitchup can cause a balloon, followed either by dropping in or pitching over and landing flat. Flight crews should trim the airplane in the approach, but not in the flare itself, and avoid "squeakers," as they waste runway and may predispose the airplane to a tail strike.

MISHANDLING OF CROSSWINDSA crosswind approach and landing contains many elements that may increase the risk of tail strike, particularly in the presence of gusty conditions (figure 3). Wind directions near 90 deg to the runway heading are often strong at pattern altitude, and with little headwind component, the airplane flies the final approach with a rapid rate of closure on the runway. To stay on the glidepath at that high groundspeed (figure 4), descent rates of 700 to 900 ft (214 to 274 m) per minute may be required. Engine power is likely to be well back, approaching idle in some cases, to avoid accelerating the airplane. If the airplane is placed in a forward slip attitude to compensate for the wind effects, this cross-control maneuver reduces lift, increases drag, and may increase the rate of descent. If the airplane then descends into a turbulent surface layer, particularly if the wind is shifting toward the tail, the stage is set for tail strike.

The combined effects of high closure rate, shifting winds with the potential for a quartering tail wind, the sudden drop in wind velocity commonly found below 100 ft (31 m), and turbulence can make the timing of the flare very difficult. The PF can best handle the situation by exercising active control of the sink rate and making sure that additional thrust is available if needed. Flight crews should clearly understand the criteria for initiating a go-around and plan to use this time-honored avoidance maneuver when needed.

OVER-ROTATION DURING GO-AROUNDGo-arounds initiated very late in the approach, such as during flare or after a bounce, are a common cause of tail strike. When the go-around mode is initiated, the FD immediately commands a go-around pitch attitude. If the PF abruptly rotates into the command bars, tail strike can occur before a change to the flight path is possible. Both pitch attitude and thrust are required for go-around, so if the engines are just spooling up when the PF vigorously pulls the nose up, the thrust may not yet be adequate to support the effort. The nose comes up, and the tail goes down. A contributing factor may be a strong desire of the flight crew to avoid wheel contact after initiating a late go-around, when the airplane is still over the runway. In general, the concern is not warranted because a brief contact with the tires during a late go-around does not produce adverse consequences. Airframe manufacturers have executed literally hundreds of late go-arounds during autoland certification programs with dozens of runway contacts, and no problem has ever resulted. The airplane simply flies away from the touchdown.

SummaryAn examination of recent tail strike events, which included consideration of weather conditions, flight recorder information, and interviews with flight crews, showed that eight factors contribute to tail strike. A significant factor that appears to be common is the lack of flight crew experience with the model being flown. The examination concluded that flight crews can take a variety of steps to prevent tail strike, including challenging the reasonableness and accuracy of takeoff numbers, being very aware of pitch attitude when flying on or just above the runway, and obtaining flight simulator training to become more familiar with how various airplane models respond to pitch inputs.

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Pitch attitude versus bank angleRunway contact by the tail or wing is a function of pitch attitude and bank angle. Strut compression occurs during a hard landing or during a vigorous takeoff rotation, increasing the possibility of contact with the runway.

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Unstabilized ApproachAn unstabilized approach is the biggest single cause of tail strike. Flight crews try to set all the approach variables--on centerline, on approach path, on speed, and in the final landing configuration--by the time the airplane descends through 1,000 ft (305 m) above ground level (AGL). This is not always possible. If by the time the airplane descends through 500 ft (152 m) AGL with these approach variables not stabilized, a go-around should be considered. For more information concerning go-arounds, see Approach and Landing Accidents, a report issued by the Approach and Landing Accident Reduction Task Force of the Flight Safety Foundation. It is available by calling the Jerry Lederer Aviation Safety Library at (703) 739-6700, ext. 103.

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Approach and LandingAn inability to remain on the glide slope is a cause of tail strike.

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Glide slope indicatorDuring takeoff, the FD pitch bar is rotated well above the horizon (roughly +15 deg) to provide the flight crew with a clear view of the attitude instrument. If the PF maintains the nominal rotation rate, then all the numbers come together at 35 ft and the FD provides precise pitch guidance thereafter.

-----------------------------------------------------Tail Strike Avoidance Training VideoFlight crew training programs can help operators greatly reduce the frequency of tail strike by emphasizing pitch attitude when the airplane is near the ground. Boeing and Douglas Products Division have assisted in this effort by distributing tail strike training videos to all operators in recent years. Additional copies of these videos may be obtained at the following addresses:

Boeing models:Boeing Commercial Airplane GroupAttn: Customer Services and Material Support (CSMS)P. O. Box 3707, MC 36-65Seattle, Washington 98124-2207, USAPhone (206) 662-7143Fax (206) 662-7145Douglas models:Douglas Products DivisionAttn: Flight OperationsCustomer Service3855 Lakewood Blvd., MC D094-0026Long Beach, California 90846-0001, USAPhone: (562) 593-1249FAX: (562) 593-3471

Pete BernardinChief Pilot,Customer Services

Flight OperationsDouglas Products Division

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US air crash: 'No mechanical cause'

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Sun, 07 Jul 2013 12:37

7 July 2013Last updated at07:11 ETPlease turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

Passenger Ben Levy: "It happened in a flash, nobody was worried about anything"

A Boeing 777 aircraft that crash-landed at San Francisco airport killing two people did not have mechanical problems, an airline official has said.

The head of the South Korean airline Asiana, Yoon Young-doo, did not rule out human error but said the pilots were experienced veterans.

Most of the 307 people on board were injured, 49 of them seriously.

The plane came down short of the runway, ripping off its tail, after apparently hitting a sea wall.

One survivor said the plane came in to land too fast and too low, but there was no warning of problems.

Passengers and crew escaped down emergency slides as it burst into flames.

Good recordMr Yoon apologised "deeply" for the effect the accident had had on all those involved, bowing in front of TV cameras at a Seoul news conference.

He said there was no emergency alarm and the crew had made the usual requests to passengers to fasten their seatbelts to prepare for landing.

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Eyewitness Ki Siadatan: "[The plane] seemed like it was out of control"

"Currently we understand that there were no engine or mechanical problems," he said.

The pilots were veterans, he added, and one had more than 10,000 flying hours.

Asiana confirmed that two female Chinese teenagers died in the crash. They had been seated at the back of the aircraft.

They are believed to be the first-ever fatalities in a Boeing 777 crash.

The twin-engine aircraft has a good safety record for long-haul and is used by many major carriers.

The only previous notable crash occurred when a British Airways plane landed short of the runway at London's Heathrow Airport in 2008.

Continue reading the main storyBoeing said in a statement it would provide technical assistance to the investigation.

Five people are in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital, hospital spokesperson Rachael Kagan said. Three others are being treated at Stanford Hospital.

Altogether 181 people were taken to hospital, mostly with minor injuries.

There were 291 passengers and 16 crew on board, Asiana said.

Nationalities on board included 141 Chinese, 77 South Koreans and 61 US citizens, the airline said.

All of the passengers have been accounted for.

Continue reading the main storyTwin-engine jet launched in June 1995One of the world's most popular long-distance planesSeats between 300 and 380 passengersHas flown around five million flightsOften used for nonstop flights of 16 hours or morePrior to Asiana crash, only one fatal accident when a crew member died during a re-fuelling fire at Denver International Airport in September 2001Footage of the scene showed debris strewn on the runway and smoke pouring from the jet, as fire crews sprayed a white fire retardant into gaping holes in the craft's roof.

One engine and the tail fin were broken away from the main wreckage.

Quick evacuationPassenger Ben Levy said there had been no warning of problems, although the plane appeared to be coming in too fast and too low.

"It happened in a flash, nobody was worried about anything," he said.

But once the aircraft crashed, "there was chaos, disbelief, screaming".

"My seat had been pushed to the floor, it was a mess everywhere," Mr Levy recalled.

Nevertheless, people "calmed down pretty quickly" and evacuated the plane without pushing or stepping on each other.

Meanwhile another passenger, David Eun, tweeted a picture of people evacuating down the plane's emergency inflatable slides and wrote: "I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I'm ok. Surreal..."

A witness to the crash, Ki Siadatan, said the plane "looked out of control" as it descended over San Francisco Bay to land just before 11:30 (18:30 GMT).

"We heard a 'boom' and saw the plane disappear into a cloud of dust and smoke," he told the BBC. "There was then a second explosion."

Arrivals and departures at the airport have been suspended since the incident.

Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you canupload here.

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5MIN News July 7, 2013: Does Spaceweather Affect Airlines???

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Source: Conscious Life News

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 13:25

Posted by clnews_Featured_, Earth, Space, Videos, WeatherSunday, July 7th, 20135-minute Earth and space weather news for July 7, 2013:

Two identical Asiana Airlines Boeing 777's experienced problems in landing within five minutes of one another. You probably know about the crash at San Francisco International Airport, which occurred at 19:53 UTC. Just five minutes earlier, at 19:48 UTC, an identical jetliner had a fire break out and barely landed in time to avoid major problems at the Athens International Airport in Greece. It was the same airline [Asiana] and same model jet [B777 ER200]. Could the cause be related to a magnetic disturbance that peaked at around the same time?Mexico is experiencing hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. The Popocatepetl volcano was active again last night.Flooding in India6.1 earthquake in Indonesia.Global weather updateSolar flaring is quiet

SnowJob

VIDEO-BBC News - Spain 'told Edward Snowden was on Bolivia president's plane'

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Fri, 05 Jul 2013 19:26

5 July 2013Last updated at09:38 ETPlease turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

President Evo Morales (L): "If necessary, we will close the US embassy"

Spain and other European countries were told that US whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board the Bolivian president's plane earlier this week, the Spanish foreign minister has said.

Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo refused to say who gave out the information.

The plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales from Moscow back to La Paz was grounded for 13 hours in Austria earlier this week after it was banned from European airspace.

Edward Snowden was not found on board.

The incident has been widely condemned by President Morales and several other South American nations, who have demanded an apology from the countries involved.

Diplomatic damage?"They told us they were sure... that he was on board," Mr Garcia-Margallo told Spanish television, without indicating who "they" are.

"And so the reaction of all the European countries that took measures - whether right or wrong - was because of the information that had been passed on. I couldn't check if it was true or not at that moment because it was necessary to act straight away."

Mr Garcia-Margallo denied reports that Spain - along with France, Portugal and Italy - had closed its airspace to the plane.

He said the delay in Austria meant the flight permit had expired and had to be renewed, so there was "no need to apologise".

Mr Garcia-Margallo's comment is the first official recognition by the European states that the incident with Mr Morales' plane was connected with the Snowden affair.

Spain will be keen to limit the diplomatic damage as it does a lot of trade with countries in Latin America, the BBC's Tom Burridge reports from Madrid.

France earlier apologised for the plane incident, blaming it on "conflicting information".

Embassy closure threatPresident Morales' plane was rerouted on Tuesday as he travelled from a meeting in Russia where he had suggested he would be willing to consider an asylum application from Mr Snowden.

The former CIA contractor is believed to be holed up at the transit area of Moscow airport after leaking details of a vast US surveillance programme.

He has sent requests for political asylum to a number of countries, including Bolivia.

Continue reading the main storyMy hand would not tremble to close the US embassy''

End QuoteEvo MoralesBolivian PresidentMr Morales was joined by the presidents of Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Venezuela and Suriname at a meeting on Thursday to discuss the incident.

The leaders demanded an explanation from France, Portugal, Italy and Spain over their actions and, although the US was not mentioned in their statement, several of them criticised the Americans in comments after the meeting.

The Bolivian president blamed Washington for pressurising European countries into refusing him passage, and threatened to close the US embassy in La Paz.

"We have dignity, sovereignty. Without America, we are better off politically and democratically," he said.

The US state department has not commented directly on the latest claims, saying only that Washington had "been in touch with a broad range of countries" over the Snowden case.

Demonstrators marched on the French embassy in La Paz on Wednesday, burning the French flag and demanding the expulsion of the ambassador to Bolivia.

Mr Morales' plane took off from Vienna on Wednesday morning and arrived back in La Paz on Wednesday night.

Glenn Greenwald (ggreenwald) on Twitter

Glenn Greenwald: Edward Snowden Confirmed WikiLeaks Statement Was Written By Him

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Sat, 06 Jul 2013 23:32

After doubts surfaced Monday regarding the authenticity of an Edward Snowden statement released by WikiLeaks, The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald claimed in a tweet Saturday that he has proof.

WikiLeaks released the letter Monday evening, which was signed by Snowden. He wrote that he was "unbowed" in his convictions, vowing that the Obama administration should be afraid.

"In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake," the letter read. "We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised '-- and it should be."

Journalists doubted whether Snowden wrote the piece, questioning the syntax of the text as odd for an American. Even Greenwald wondered whether the item was from Snowden. In a Tuesday interview with MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes," Greenwald said that the "core ideas" were consistent with Snowden's thinking, but the piece was "flavored" with a person who was unlike him.

A WikiLeaks spokesperson later told TPM: "I can confirm that, as far as I know, this is from Mr. Snowden."

Also on HuffPost:

Laura PoitrasNSA Spies on 500 Million German Data Connections - SPIEGEL ONLINE

The Snowden Effect: WikiLeaks now open for business with payment partner Mastercard

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Source: Dprogram.net

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 15:53

(21stCenturyWire) '' The timing of this payment gateway opening certainly could be a boon for Wikileaks, who's latest star, Ed Snowden, could generate millions of dollars in donations for Icelandic docu-dumpers. But there's more'...

The Guardian Newspaper-linked organisation, Wikileaks, appears to now be managing the public-facing PR and media campaign for NSA whistleblower Snowden, which is interesting, considering what Wikileaks stands to gain financially in terms of fund-raising, by aligning itself with Snowden through a series of upcoming international media opportunities.

It would be naive to think that Wikileaks would not want to raise say 20, or $30 million '' or more, as a result of their current alignment with the fugitive former CIA analyst. For an organisation who is allegedly starved of funds, it would certainly be a major bounce for the Wiki bank balance.

Enter stage left '' Julian Assange, from his bunker in the basement of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, who now says he's 'involved in brokering a deal where Wikileaks would be financing Snowden's asylum effort, and who has already spoken to Snowden's father, Lonnie Snowden '' but through ''an intermediary', whom the elder Snowden is only able speak to his son Ed.

Enter stage right '' Bruce Fein, the controversial Neocon and Israeli lobby Washington DC lawyer has been retained by father Lonnie Snowden, and is said to be engineering the domestic effort to bring Snowden back to the US. Fein has recently hit out in public, where Fein said about Wikileaks in an interview with USA TODAY,''They are using him to raise money''.

If this story plays out in adherence to Shakespearean principles, Wikileaks and Fein will each net huge benefits, with Wikileaks netting millions and championing the latest high-profile operative whistleblower while organising his temporary asylum in a host country like Iceland or Ecuador, after handing Snowden over to Fein's camp for a dramatic return to the US for the show trial of the century. If that show trial takes place, it will dwarf Benghazi in terms of the political power-play against the Obama Administration '' who is already in hot water over a litany of scandals and autocratic overreaching moves both at home and abroad. In addition, a Snowden trial will attract a much larger global media audience, particularly since foreigners now know they are also targets of the NSA's digital spy network.

Let's not forget here that Wikileaks is not the only one who stands to net a killing off of handling Mr. Snowden. Bruce Fein and his law firm, The Lichfield Group, could also rake in millions in fees paid for via a campaign for an 'Ed Snowden Legal Defense Fund', or something to that effect. Either way you look at, for certain central players in this staged drama, Snowden is golden.

Aside from the money, more and more this story is taking on a partisan shape, and may be more about a right-wing-Israeli lobby agenda at home and abroad, and may not have anything to do with actually changing the current US Federal policies on spying on its own citizens '' and foreigners too.

A drama that will be brought to you exclusively'... by The Guardian.

Watch closely at how this drama unfolds'...

ASSANGE: Back in the spotlight handling PR for whistleblower and fugitive Ed Snowden..

WikiLeaks says MasterCard lifts 'financial blockade'.RT

MasterCard's financial blockade against WikiLeaks has been lifted more than two years after the credit card company first took measures to keep their customers from supporting the anti-secrecy website.

WikiLeaks announced in a press release Wednesday that MasterCard International has reversed its decision to not process payments for WikiLeaks and that customers can once again contribute to the site's operations.

Along with VISA, PayPal, Bank of America and Western Union, MasterCard stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks in December 2010 after the whistleblower website began publishing a trove of classified diplomatic cables pilfered from the computer networks of the US Department of State.

WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange previously called that embargo ''an unlawful, US influenced, financial blockade'' and ''an existential threat'' to his organization. With MasterCard once again willing to work with Assange and his website, however, the future of WikiLeaks may be all the less uncertain '-- and at a time when arguably it's at its most relevance in a while.

Whereas the publication of State Department cables brought an array of critique directed at WikiLeaks at the time, the website has become of renewed interest as of late following an alliance of sorts established between Assange and Edward Snowden, the 30-year-old former government contractor who has been leaking classified National Security Agency documents to the media. Assange has said he's involved in brokering a deal that could aid in asylum being granted to Snowden '-- who is currently wanted by the United States on charges of espionage '-- while he himself is awaiting safe passage to Ecuador, where's he's been offered assistance against his own prosecution.

According to an article published on Tuesday by The Washington Post, Assange has spoken to Snowden's father this week and said he could coordinate an intermediary to exchange messages between the two.

''We are obviously concerned,'' Bruce Fein, an attorney for father Lonnie Snowden told the Post. ''If Julian Assange can talk to Edward directly, why can't his dad?''

On his part, Edward Snowden issued a statement through WikiLeaks on Monday condemning US President Barack Obama for his administration's hunt for leakers and mirrored remarks Assange made last month to RT about how the White House's actions against whistleblowers '-- particularly WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning '-- have hurt journalism as of late.

''We know from at least three national security reporters that their sources are hesitant to speak to them and explicitly cite the treatment of Bradley Manning as a reason as to why they are hesitant to disclose abuses by the United States government in the national security sector,'' Assange said at the time. ''So already the Manning prosecution is harming the quality of western Democracy and the quality of reporting in the press.''

''In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers,'' Snowden said through WikiLeaks on Monday. ''No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised '-- and it should be.''

Of course, the financial blockade against WikiLeaks has also hindered that organization for performing its journalistic duties, at least from December 2010 through this week. As the website acknowledges in their statement, though, all that could change if other companies decide to follow in the footsteps of MasterCard, who made their reversal this week in the wake of a recent court ruling that decided in favor of Assange and his site.

In the statement, WikiLeaks recalls how they won a lawsuit in April when the Icelandic Supreme Court ordered VALITOR, the Icelandic partner for Visa and MasterCard, to recommence processing donations after the blockade was erected in 2010.

''VALITOR complied and reopened its payment gateway, but gave formal legal notice that it would terminate its contract and reclose the gateway on July 1, 2013, citing a unilateral termination clause in the contract,'' WikiLeaks wrote. ''VALITOR has now fully reversed its position and announces it will honor the contract.''

WikiLeaks says that in response to that ruling, ''MasterCard made clear to VALITOR that it no longer desires to blockade WikiLeaks.''

According to the website, VISA has not yet responded to their competitor's decision. WikiLeaks intends to sue VALITOR for money lost during the two-and-a-half-year embargo.

Source: 21st Century Wire

Dad Lonnie Hired this guy:

Bruce Fein - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

History - Lichfield & Associates

In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A. - NYTimes.com

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Archived Version

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 03:17

WASHINGTON '-- In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation's surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.

The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, according to current and former officials familiar with the court's classified decisions.

The 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, was once mostly focused on approving case-by-case wiretapping orders. But since major changes in legislation and greater judicial oversight of intelligence operations were instituted six years ago, it has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues and delivering opinions that will most likely shape intelligence practices for years to come, the officials said.

Last month, a former National Security Agency contractor, Edward J. Snowden, leaked a classified order from the FISA court, which authorized the collection of all phone-tracing data from Verizon business customers. But the court's still-secret decisions go far beyond any single surveillance order, the officials said.

''We've seen a growing body of law from the court,'' a former intelligence official said. ''What you have is a common law that develops where the court is issuing orders involving particular types of surveillance, particular types of targets.''

In one of the court's most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the ''special needs'' doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment's requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures, the officials said.

The special needs doctrine was originally established in 1989 by the Supreme Court in a ruling allowing the drug testing of railway workers, finding that a minimal intrusion on privacy was justified by the government's need to combat an overriding public danger. Applying that concept more broadly, the FISA judges have ruled that the N.S.A.'s collection and examination of Americans' communications data to track possible terrorists does not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, the officials said.

That legal interpretation is significant, several outside legal experts said, because it uses a relatively narrow area of the law '-- used to justify airport screenings, for instance, or drunken-driving checkpoints '-- and applies it much more broadly, in secret, to the wholesale collection of communications in pursuit of terrorism suspects. ''It seems like a legal stretch,'' William C. Banks, a national security law expert at Syracuse University, said in response to a description of the decision. ''It's another way of tilting the scales toward the government in its access to all this data.''

While President Obama and his intelligence advisers have spoken of the surveillance programs leaked by Mr. Snowden mainly in terms of combating terrorism, the court has also interpreted the law in ways that extend into other national security concerns. In one recent case, for instance, intelligence officials were able to get access to an e-mail attachment sent within the United States because they said they were worried that the e-mail contained a schematic drawing or a diagram possibly connected to Iran's nuclear program.

In the past, that probably would have required a court warrant because the suspicious e-mail involved American communications. In this case, however, a little-noticed provision in a 2008 law, expanding the definition of ''foreign intelligence'' to include ''weapons of mass destruction,'' was used to justify access to the message.

The court's use of that language has allowed intelligence officials to get wider access to data and communications that they believe may be linked to nuclear proliferation, the officials said. They added that other secret findings had eased access to data on espionage, cyberattacks and other possible threats connected to foreign intelligence.

''The definition of 'foreign intelligence' is very broad,'' another former intelligence official said in an interview. ''An espionage target, a nuclear proliferation target, that all falls within FISA, and the court has signed off on that.''

The official, like a half-dozen other current and former national security officials, discussed the court's rulings and the general trends they have established on the condition of anonymity because they are classified. Judges on the FISA court refused to comment on the scope and volume of their decisions.

Unlike the Supreme Court, the FISA court hears from only one side in the case '-- the government '-- and its findings are almost never made public. A Court of Review is empaneled to hear appeals, but that is known to have happened only a handful of times in the court's history, and no case has ever been taken to the Supreme Court. In fact, it is not clear in all circumstances whether Internet and phone companies that are turning over the reams of data even have the right to appear before the FISA court.

Created by Congress in 1978 as a check against wiretapping abuses by the government, the court meets in a secure, nondescript room in the federal courthouse in Washington. All of the current 11 judges, who serve seven-year terms, were appointed to the special court by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and 10 of them were nominated to the bench by Republican presidents. Most hail from districts outside the capital and come in rotating shifts to hear surveillance applications; a single judge signs most surveillance orders, which totaled nearly 1,800 last year. None of the requests from the intelligence agencies was denied, according to the court.

Beyond broader legal rulings, the judges have had to resolve questions about newer types of technology, like video conferencing, and how and when the government can get access to them, the officials said.

The judges have also had to intervene repeatedly when private Internet and phone companies, which provide much of the data to the N.S.A., have raised concerns that the government is overreaching in its demands for records or when the government itself reports that it has inadvertently collected more data than was authorized, the officials said. In such cases, the court has repeatedly ordered the N.S.A. to destroy the Internet or phone data that was improperly collected, the officials said.

The officials said one central concept connects a number of the court's opinions. The judges have concluded that the mere collection of enormous volumes of ''metadata'' '-- facts like the time of phone calls and the numbers dialed, but not the content of conversations '-- does not violate the Fourth Amendment, as long as the government establishes a valid reason under national security regulations before taking the next step of actually examining the contents of an American's communications.

This concept is rooted partly in the ''special needs'' provision the court has embraced. ''The basic idea is that it's O.K. to create this huge pond of data,'' a third official said, ''but you have to establish a reason to stick your pole in the water and start fishing.''

Under the new procedures passed by Congress in 2008 in the FISA Amendments Act, even the collection of metadata must be considered ''relevant'' to a terrorism investigation or other intelligence activities.

The court has indicated that while individual pieces of data may not appear ''relevant'' to a terrorism investigation, the total picture that the bits of data create may in fact be relevant, according to the officials with knowledge of the decisions.

Geoffrey R. Stone, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago, said he was troubled by the idea that the court is creating a significant body of law without hearing from anyone outside the government, forgoing the adversarial system that is a staple of the American justice system. ''That whole notion is missing in this process,'' he said.

The FISA judges have bristled at criticism that they are a rubber stamp for the government, occasionally speaking out to say they apply rigor in their scrutiny of government requests. Most of the surveillance operations involve the N.S.A., an eavesdropping behemoth that has listening posts around the world. Its role in gathering intelligence within the United States has grown enormously since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Soon after, President George W. Bush, under a secret wiretapping program that circumvented the FISA court, authorized the N.S.A. to collect metadata and in some cases listen in on foreign calls to or from the United States. After a heated debate, the essential elements of the Bush program were put into law by Congress in 2007, but with greater involvement by the FISA court.

Even before the leaks by Mr. Snowden, members of Congress and civil liberties advocates had been pressing for declassifying and publicly releasing court decisions, perhaps in summary form.

Reggie B. Walton, the FISA court's presiding judge, wrote in March that he recognized the ''potential benefit of better informing the public'' about the court's decisions. But, he said, there are ''serious obstacles'' to doing so because of the potential for misunderstanding caused by omitting classified details.

Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the N.S.A. director, was noncommital when he was pressed at a Senate hearing in June to put out some version of the court's decisions.

While he pledged to try to make more decisions public, he said, ''I don't want to jeopardize the security of Americans by making a mistake in saying, 'Yes, we're going to do all that.' ''

In Wyoming, a Cheney Run Worries G.O.P.

Edward Snowden: Did the media fool the west?

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Archived Version

Source: The Top Information Post

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 05:18

At this point, the Edward Snowden saga seems to be running out of steam. The latest is that Venezuela and Nicaragua (out of at least 27 countries he asked) have offered him asylum so the story is almost at an end for now. The U.S. government will probably keep trying to extradite him so that they can prosecute but that may be years in coming. IF he manages to find asylum in the first place.

Through this whole business, I've remained of two minds about Snowden's tale. While I am certain that what he has reported is true, I'm unsure of motivation. With what I have just read, though, I think I'm getting a clearer picture. One I will try to paint for you.

Snowden used to post on a website called Ars Technica: it's a site for professional techies (''alpha geeks'' is what the site says). He frequented the Internet Relay Chat rooms quite a lot, shooting the breeze with whoever happened by. This began when he was stationed in Geneva in 2007: an IT guy for the CIA in a foreign land, he probably enjoyed this little bit of home. His posts '' under user name TheTrueHOOHA '' from that time show someone who is decidedly unworldly: he complained about almost everything in Switzerland, from the price of food to the women. Over the years, he changed from an insulated, opinionated American into an opinionated, snarky ex-pat. One of the biggest changes in his opinions is what he thought of leakers. Back then, he was not a fan. In January of 2009, the following exchange took place in the chat room:

SNOWDEN: HOLY SHIThttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/washington/11iran.html?_r=1&hp

SNOWDEN: WTF NYTIMES

SNOWDEN: Are they TRYING to start a war? Jesus christ they're like wikileaks

User19: they're just reporting, dude.

SNOWDEN: They're reporting classified shit

User19: shrugs

User19: meh

SNOWDEN: moreover, who the fuck are the anonymous sources telling them this?

SNOWDEN: those people should be shot in the balls.

Well, he's sure done a switch since then, eh? I bet he would rather that his balls remain unshot now. He went so far as to wish the NYT would go bankrupt. He also had no problem with Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, saying:

SNOWDEN: these are the same people who blew the whole ''we could listen to osama's cell phone'' thing the same people who screwed us on wiretapping over and over and over again [sic] Thank god they're going out of business.

User19: the NYT?

SNOWDEN: Hopefully they'll finally go bankrupt this year.yeah.

He was gung-ho for it when Bush was president. Which brings up an interesting point: his opinion of such programs abruptly changed when Barack Obama took office. In the chat room, which Ars Technicacalls ''Officially unofficial'' '' the online equivalent to ''the back room occupied by drinkers who feel the front (of the bar) is just too stuffy for them,'' Snowden felt free to speak his mind even if everyone in the room would disagree with him. And he could be ugly about it.

Snowden revealed that he was a Ron Paul supporter and championed a return to the gold standard along with short selling stocks. Social issues also reveal a Libertarian bent when it came to personal freedoms. He also bought into Obama conspiracy theories such as the one that said Obama was going to devalue U.S. currency, leading to higher unemployment, something he saw as a ''correction'' and ''a necessary part of capitalism.''

His disdain of President Obama and his policies was apparent and he bitched about them with ''increasing frequency.'' But there are two issues where, I believe, where Snowden's true colors shine very clearly. This is one:

SNOWDEN: save money? cut this social security bullshit

User11: hahahayes

User18: Yeah! Fuck old people!

User11: social security is bullshit

User11: let's just toss old people out in the street

User18: Old people could move in with [User11].

User11: NOOO

User11: they smell funny

SNOWDEN: Somehow, our society managed to make it hundreds of years without social security just fine

SNOWDEN: you fucking retards

SNOWDEN: Magically the world changed after the new deal, and old people became made of glass

SNOWDEN: yeah, that makes sense

User11: wow

User11: you are just so fucking stupid

SNOWDEN: yeah, [User11]. and you're quite a gem

User19: and magically, life expectancy has doubled in the last 100 years.funny how that works.

SNOWDEN: [User19], you don't think modern medicine has something to do with that? no? it's social security? wow. I guess I missed that.

User11: hurr wait a second, life expectancy has shot up in recent times along with the dissolution of the communal family unit in exchange for the nuclear family

User11: gee i guess we might need to create a safety net for the sudden glut of helpless elderly????

SNOWDEN: they wouldn't be fucking helpless if you weren't sending them fucking checks to sit on their ass and lay in hospitals all day

User11: you are so goddamned stupd*pid

User11: PUT OLD PEOPLE TO WORK IN THE FIELDS

SNOWDEN: my grandmother is eighty fucking three this year, and you know what? she still supports herself working as a goddamned hairdresser

''Fuck old people''? An objectivist view if ever there was one. The other issue is the Second Amendment:

User: the restrictions were made to appease the conservatives to get another bill passed. fucking cons.

SNOWDEN: See, that's why I'm goddamned glad for the second amendment. Me and all my lunatic, gun-toting NRA compatriots would be on the steps of Congress before the C-Span feed finished.

Very interesting. Snowden is a gun nut as well as an Obama hater. He also has been an outspoken advocate of the very thing he has become famous for revealing, cheering the security state network and insisting that it needed funding, even in the face of draconian budget cuts. He was particularly upset by Obama's choice for the head of the CIA:

SNOWDEN: Obama just appointed a fucking POLITICIAN to run the CIA!

User11: yes unlike every other director of CIA ever

User11: oh wait, no

SNOWDEN: I am so angry right now. This is completely unbelievable.

Ars Technica has opened a new forum thread called Edward Snowden'--NSA Leaker and Arsian (does anyone know what 'arsian' means?) where users who remember interactions with Snowden are not very complimentary. One wrote, ''He was kind of dick.'' Posts like this make a good argument for his dickishness:

''The fact that you're posting on a gaming forum makes me cry. I hope someone tosses you in a burlap sack and beats you with reeds. You're a filthy little ragamuffin who lacks any semblance of taste. You loved Halo and own an Xbox. You pre-ordered ''Mary-Kate and Ashley: Sweet 16 Licensed To Drive.'' You are the sole reason I write these posts. I hope you're killed by a drunk driver on Halloween.''

This new information has me pondering exactly who this guy is: is he the concerned whistle-blower? Or did he have an ulterior motive to spill what he did? His background isn't really CIA or NSA material, so say a few people I've spoken to who actually have worked for a government contractor. So why was he hired? And why did he pick now to speak out? This has never smelled right to me, which is why I have withheld judgement. But these new revelations create even more questions. Is this whole thing a ruse to make the President look bad? If so, who is funding it '' who is paying for all his travel and hotels? Or is Edward Snowden, a man who has completely destroyed his own life, just stupid? I still don't know but this new information gives me a lot to think about. How about you?

Mirror

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In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A. - NYTimes.com

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Archived Version

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 12:55

WASHINGTON '-- In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation's surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.

The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, according to current and former officials familiar with the court's classified decisions.

The 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, was once mostly focused on approving case-by-case wiretapping orders. But since major changes in legislation and greater judicial oversight of intelligence operations were instituted six years ago, it has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues and delivering opinions that will most likely shape intelligence practices for years to come, the officials said.

Last month, a former National Security Agency contractor, Edward J. Snowden, leaked a classified order from the FISA court, which authorized the collection of all phone-tracing data from Verizon business customers. But the court's still-secret decisions go far beyond any single surveillance order, the officials said.

''We've seen a growing body of law from the court,'' a former intelligence official said. ''What you have is a common law that develops where the court is issuing orders involving particular types of surveillance, particular types of targets.''

In one of the court's most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the ''special needs'' doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment's requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures, the officials said.

The special needs doctrine was originally established in 1989 by the Supreme Court in a ruling allowing the drug testing of railway workers, finding that a minimal intrusion on privacy was justified by the government's need to combat an overriding public danger. Applying that concept more broadly, the FISA judges have ruled that the N.S.A.'s collection and examination of Americans' communications data to track possible terrorists does not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, the officials said.

That legal interpretation is significant, several outside legal experts said, because it uses a relatively narrow area of the law '-- used to justify airport screenings, for instance, or drunken-driving checkpoints '-- and applies it much more broadly, in secret, to the wholesale collection of communications in pursuit of terrorism suspects. ''It seems like a legal stretch,'' William C. Banks, a national security law expert at Syracuse University, said in response to a description of the decision. ''It's another way of tilting the scales toward the government in its access to all this data.''

While President Obama and his intelligence advisers have spoken of the surveillance programs leaked by Mr. Snowden mainly in terms of combating terrorism, the court has also interpreted the law in ways that extend into other national security concerns. In one recent case, for instance, intelligence officials were able to get access to an e-mail attachment sent within the United States because they said they were worried that the e-mail contained a schematic drawing or a diagram possibly connected to Iran's nuclear program.

In the past, that probably would have required a court warrant because the suspicious e-mail involved American communications. In this case, however, a little-noticed provision in a 2008 law, expanding the definition of ''foreign intelligence'' to include ''weapons of mass destruction,'' was used to justify access to the message.

The court's use of that language has allowed intelligence officials to get wider access to data and communications that they believe may be linked to nuclear proliferation, the officials said. They added that other secret findings had eased access to data on espionage, cyberattacks and other possible threats connected to foreign intelligence.

''The definition of 'foreign intelligence' is very broad,'' another former intelligence official said in an interview. ''An espionage target, a nuclear proliferation target, that all falls within FISA, and the court has signed off on that.''

The official, like a half-dozen other current and former national security officials, discussed the court's rulings and the general trends they have established on the condition of anonymity because they are classified. Judges on the FISA court refused to comment on the scope and volume of their decisions.

Unlike the Supreme Court, the FISA court hears from only one side in the case '-- the government '-- and its findings are almost never made public. A Court of Review is empaneled to hear appeals, but that is known to have happened only a handful of times in the court's history, and no case has ever been taken to the Supreme Court. In fact, it is not clear in all circumstances whether Internet and phone companies that are turning over the reams of data even have the right to appear before the FISA court.

Created by Congress in 1978 as a check against wiretapping abuses by the government, the court meets in a secure, nondescript room in the federal courthouse in Washington. All of the current 11 judges, who serve seven-year terms, were appointed to the special court by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and 10 of them were nominated to the bench by Republican presidents. Most hail from districts outside the capital and come in rotating shifts to hear surveillance applications; a single judge signs most surveillance orders, which totaled nearly 1,800 last year. None of the requests from the intelligence agencies was denied, according to the court.

Beyond broader legal rulings, the judges have had to resolve questions about newer types of technology, like video conferencing, and how and when the government can get access to them, the officials said.

The judges have also had to intervene repeatedly when private Internet and phone companies, which provide much of the data to the N.S.A., have raised concerns that the government is overreaching in its demands for records or when the government itself reports that it has inadvertently collected more data than was authorized, the officials said. In such cases, the court has repeatedly ordered the N.S.A. to destroy the Internet or phone data that was improperly collected, the officials said.

The officials said one central concept connects a number of the court's opinions. The judges have concluded that the mere collection of enormous volumes of ''metadata'' '-- facts like the time of phone calls and the numbers dialed, but not the content of conversations '-- does not violate the Fourth Amendment, as long as the government establishes a valid reason under national security regulations before taking the next step of actually examining the contents of an American's communications.

This concept is rooted partly in the ''special needs'' provision the court has embraced. ''The basic idea is that it's O.K. to create this huge pond of data,'' a third official said, ''but you have to establish a reason to stick your pole in the water and start fishing.''

Under the new procedures passed by Congress in 2008 in the FISA Amendments Act, even the collection of metadata must be considered ''relevant'' to a terrorism investigation or other intelligence activities.

The court has indicated that while individual pieces of data may not appear ''relevant'' to a terrorism investigation, the total picture that the bits of data create may in fact be relevant, according to the officials with knowledge of the decisions.

Geoffrey R. Stone, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago, said he was troubled by the idea that the court is creating a significant body of law without hearing from anyone outside the government, forgoing the adversarial system that is a staple of the American justice system. ''That whole notion is missing in this process,'' he said.

The FISA judges have bristled at criticism that they are a rubber stamp for the government, occasionally speaking out to say they apply rigor in their scrutiny of government requests. Most of the surveillance operations involve the N.S.A., an eavesdropping behemoth that has listening posts around the world. Its role in gathering intelligence within the United States has grown enormously since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Soon after, President George W. Bush, under a secret wiretapping program that circumvented the FISA court, authorized the N.S.A. to collect metadata and in some cases listen in on foreign calls to or from the United States. After a heated debate, the essential elements of the Bush program were put into law by Congress in 2007, but with greater involvement by the FISA court.

Even before the leaks by Mr. Snowden, members of Congress and civil liberties advocates had been pressing for declassifying and publicly releasing court decisions, perhaps in summary form.

Reggie B. Walton, the FISA court's presiding judge, wrote in March that he recognized the ''potential benefit of better informing the public'' about the court's decisions. But, he said, there are ''serious obstacles'' to doing so because of the potential for misunderstanding caused by omitting classified details.

Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the N.S.A. director, was noncommital when he was pressed at a Senate hearing in June to put out some version of the court's decisions.

While he pledged to try to make more decisions public, he said, ''I don't want to jeopardize the security of Americans by making a mistake in saying, 'Yes, we're going to do all that.' ''

In Wyoming, a Cheney Run Worries G.O.P.

Star Chamber - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 12:58

Under the Plantagenets and Tudors[edit]The Court evolved from meetings of the King's Council, with its roots going back to the medieval period. Contrary to popular belief, the so-called "Star Chamber Act" of King Henry VII's second Parliament (1487) did not actually empower the Star Chamber, but rather created a separate tribunal distinct from the King's general Council.[5]

Initially well regarded because of its speed and flexibility, the Star Chamber was made up of Privy Counsellors, as well as common-law judges, and it supplemented the activities of the common-law and equitycourts in both civil and criminal matters. In a sense, the court was a court of appeal, a supervisory body, overseeing the operation of the lower courts, although it could hear cases by direct appeal as well. The court was set up to ensure the fair enforcement of laws against the English upper class, those so powerful that ordinary courts could never convict them of their crimes.

Another function of the Court of Star Chamber was to act like a court of equity, which could impose punishment for actions which were deemed to be morally reprehensible but were not in violation of the letter of the law. This gave the Star Chamber great flexibility, as it could punish defendants for any action which the court felt should be unlawful, even when in fact it was technically lawful; however, this meant that the justice meted out by the Star Chamber could be very arbitrary and subjective, and it enabled the court to be used later on in its history as an instrument of oppression rather than for the purpose of justice for which it was intended. Many crimes which are now commonly prosecuted, such as attempt, conspiracy, criminal libel, and perjury, were originally developed by the Court of Star Chamber, along with its more common role of dealing with riots and sedition.

Star Chamber sessions were closed to the public. The cases decided in those sessions enabled both the very powerful and those without power to seek redress. Thus King Henry VII used the power of Star Chamber to break the power of the landed gentry which had been such a cause of problems in the Wars of the Roses. Yet, when local courts were often clogged or mismanaged, the Court of Star Chamber became also a site of remittance for the common people against the excesses of the nobility.

In the reign of King Henry VIII, the court was under the leadership of Cardinal Wolsey (the Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor) and Thomas Cranmer (the Archbishop of Canterbury) (1515''1529). From this time forward, the Court of Star Chamber became a political weapon for bringing actions against opponents to the policies of King Henry VIII, his Ministers and his Parliament.

Although it was initially a court of appeal, King Henry, Wolsey and Cranmer encouraged plaintiffs to bring their cases directly to the Star Chamber, bypassing the lower courts entirely.

The Court was used extensively to control Wales, after the Laws in Wales Acts 1535''1542 (sometimes referred to as the "Acts of Union"). The Tudor-era gentry in Wales turned to the Chamber to evict Welsh landowners and protect themselves, and in general protect the English advantages of the Laws in Wales Acts.

Court sessions were held in secret, with no indictments, no right of appeal, no juries, and no witnesses. Evidence was presented in writing.

Under the Stuarts[edit]The power of the Court of Star Chamber grew considerably under the House of Stuart, and by the time of King Charles I, it had become synonymous with misuse and abuse of power by the King and his circle. King James I and his son Charles used the court to examine cases of sedition, which meant that the court could be used to suppress opposition to royal policies. It came to be used to try nobles too powerful to be brought to trial in the lower court.

King Charles I used the Court of Star Chamber as Parliamentary substitute during the eleven years of Personal Rule, when he ruled without a Parliament. King Charles made extensive use of the Court of Star Chamber to prosecute dissenters, including the Puritans who fled to New England.

On 17 October 1632, the Court of Star Chamber banned all "news books" because of complaints from Spanish and Austriandiplomats that coverage of the Thirty Years' War in England was unfair. [6] As a result, newsbooks pertaining to this matter were often printed in Amsterdam and then smuggled into the country, until control of the press collapsed with the developing ideological conflict of 1640''41. [7]

The Star Chamber became notorious for judgements favourable to the king and to Archbishop Laud. An example is the branding on both cheeks of William Prynne in 1637 for seditious libel.[8]

In 1571 Elizabeth I set up an equivalent Court in Ireland, the Court of Castle Chamber, to deal with cases of riot and offences against public order generally ( though it was also initially popular with private litigants). Under the Stuarts it developed the same reputation for harsh and arbitrary proceedings as its parent and during the political confusion of the 1640s it simply disappeared.[9]

In the early 1900s, Americanpoet, biographer and dramatistEdgar Lee Masters, 1868''1950, commented:

In the Star Chamber the council could inflict any punishment short of death, and frequently sentenced objects of its wrath to the pillory, to whipping and to the cutting off of ears. ... With each embarrassment to arbitrary power the Star Chamber became emboldened to undertake further usurpation. ... The Star Chamber finally summoned juries before it for verdicts disagreeable to the government, and fined and imprisoned them. It spread terrorism among those who were called to do constitutional acts. It imposed ruinous fines. It became the chief defence of Charles against assaults upon those usurpations which cost him his life. . . .Abolition and aftermath[edit]In 1641, the Long Parliament, led by John Pym and inflamed by the severe treatment of John Lilburne, as well as that of other religious dissenters such as William Prynne, Alexander Leighton, John Bastwick and Henry Burton, abolished the Star Chamber with an Act of Parliament, the Habeas Corpus Act 1640.

The Chamber itself stood until demolished in 1806, when its materials were salvaged. The door now hangs in the nearby Westminster School. and the historic Star Chamber ceiling, with its bright gold stars, was brought to Leasowe Castle on the Wirral Peninsula in Cheshire from the Court of Westminster, along with four beautiful tapestries depicting the four seasons.

Recent history[edit]In the late Twentieth Century, the expression was revived in reference to ways resolving internal high-level questions within the government, usually relating to budget appropriations. Thatcher's government (1979''90) revived the term for private ministerial meetings at which disputes between the Treasury and high-spending departments were resolved.[10] The term was again revived by the popular press to describe a panel set up by the Labour party's National Executive Committee to review expenses claims by Labour MPs in May 2009.[11] In 2010, the term was revived for a committee established by the Cameron ministry to plan spending cuts to reduce public debt.[12]

Putin Surrounding us like we surround him??

Can MEXICO BE NEXT???

Can Mexico be Next?

Wikileaks Twiiter Attack on Glenn Greenwald

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: EconomicPolicyJournal.com

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 13:25

A crack in the relationship between the two Snowden supporters?@GGreenwald "They have never flinched in reporting these stories," Guardian deserves much credit, but this Glenn, is simply not true.'-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 7, 2013

@GGreenwald Guardian didn't walk away, in the end, but it flinched and redacted repeatedly and continues to withhold vital information.'-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 7, 2013

Omaba Nation

In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A. - NYTimes.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 03:17

WASHINGTON '-- In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation's surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.

The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, according to current and former officials familiar with the court's classified decisions.

The 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, was once mostly focused on approving case-by-case wiretapping orders. But since major changes in legislation and greater judicial oversight of intelligence operations were instituted six years ago, it has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues and delivering opinions that will most likely shape intelligence practices for years to come, the officials said.

Last month, a former National Security Agency contractor, Edward J. Snowden, leaked a classified order from the FISA court, which authorized the collection of all phone-tracing data from Verizon business customers. But the court's still-secret decisions go far beyond any single surveillance order, the officials said.

''We've seen a growing body of law from the court,'' a former intelligence official said. ''What you have is a common law that develops where the court is issuing orders involving particular types of surveillance, particular types of targets.''

In one of the court's most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the ''special needs'' doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment's requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures, the officials said.

The special needs doctrine was originally established in 1989 by the Supreme Court in a ruling allowing the drug testing of railway workers, finding that a minimal intrusion on privacy was justified by the government's need to combat an overriding public danger. Applying that concept more broadly, the FISA judges have ruled that the N.S.A.'s collection and examination of Americans' communications data to track possible terrorists does not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, the officials said.

That legal interpretation is significant, several outside legal experts said, because it uses a relatively narrow area of the law '-- used to justify airport screenings, for instance, or drunken-driving checkpoints '-- and applies it much more broadly, in secret, to the wholesale collection of communications in pursuit of terrorism suspects. ''It seems like a legal stretch,'' William C. Banks, a national security law expert at Syracuse University, said in response to a description of the decision. ''It's another way of tilting the scales toward the government in its access to all this data.''

While President Obama and his intelligence advisers have spoken of the surveillance programs leaked by Mr. Snowden mainly in terms of combating terrorism, the court has also interpreted the law in ways that extend into other national security concerns. In one recent case, for instance, intelligence officials were able to get access to an e-mail attachment sent within the United States because they said they were worried that the e-mail contained a schematic drawing or a diagram possibly connected to Iran's nuclear program.

In the past, that probably would have required a court warrant because the suspicious e-mail involved American communications. In this case, however, a little-noticed provision in a 2008 law, expanding the definition of ''foreign intelligence'' to include ''weapons of mass destruction,'' was used to justify access to the message.

The court's use of that language has allowed intelligence officials to get wider access to data and communications that they believe may be linked to nuclear proliferation, the officials said. They added that other secret findings had eased access to data on espionage, cyberattacks and other possible threats connected to foreign intelligence.

''The definition of 'foreign intelligence' is very broad,'' another former intelligence official said in an interview. ''An espionage target, a nuclear proliferation target, that all falls within FISA, and the court has signed off on that.''

The official, like a half-dozen other current and former national security officials, discussed the court's rulings and the general trends they have established on the condition of anonymity because they are classified. Judges on the FISA court refused to comment on the scope and volume of their decisions.

Unlike the Supreme Court, the FISA court hears from only one side in the case '-- the government '-- and its findings are almost never made public. A Court of Review is empaneled to hear appeals, but that is known to have happened only a handful of times in the court's history, and no case has ever been taken to the Supreme Court. In fact, it is not clear in all circumstances whether Internet and phone companies that are turning over the reams of data even have the right to appear before the FISA court.

Created by Congress in 1978 as a check against wiretapping abuses by the government, the court meets in a secure, nondescript room in the federal courthouse in Washington. All of the current 11 judges, who serve seven-year terms, were appointed to the special court by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and 10 of them were nominated to the bench by Republican presidents. Most hail from districts outside the capital and come in rotating shifts to hear surveillance applications; a single judge signs most surveillance orders, which totaled nearly 1,800 last year. None of the requests from the intelligence agencies was denied, according to the court.

Beyond broader legal rulings, the judges have had to resolve questions about newer types of technology, like video conferencing, and how and when the government can get access to them, the officials said.

The judges have also had to intervene repeatedly when private Internet and phone companies, which provide much of the data to the N.S.A., have raised concerns that the government is overreaching in its demands for records or when the government itself reports that it has inadvertently collected more data than was authorized, the officials said. In such cases, the court has repeatedly ordered the N.S.A. to destroy the Internet or phone data that was improperly collected, the officials said.

The officials said one central concept connects a number of the court's opinions. The judges have concluded that the mere collection of enormous volumes of ''metadata'' '-- facts like the time of phone calls and the numbers dialed, but not the content of conversations '-- does not violate the Fourth Amendment, as long as the government establishes a valid reason under national security regulations before taking the next step of actually examining the contents of an American's communications.

This concept is rooted partly in the ''special needs'' provision the court has embraced. ''The basic idea is that it's O.K. to create this huge pond of data,'' a third official said, ''but you have to establish a reason to stick your pole in the water and start fishing.''

Under the new procedures passed by Congress in 2008 in the FISA Amendments Act, even the collection of metadata must be considered ''relevant'' to a terrorism investigation or other intelligence activities.

The court has indicated that while individual pieces of data may not appear ''relevant'' to a terrorism investigation, the total picture that the bits of data create may in fact be relevant, according to the officials with knowledge of the decisions.

Geoffrey R. Stone, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago, said he was troubled by the idea that the court is creating a significant body of law without hearing from anyone outside the government, forgoing the adversarial system that is a staple of the American justice system. ''That whole notion is missing in this process,'' he said.

The FISA judges have bristled at criticism that they are a rubber stamp for the government, occasionally speaking out to say they apply rigor in their scrutiny of government requests. Most of the surveillance operations involve the N.S.A., an eavesdropping behemoth that has listening posts around the world. Its role in gathering intelligence within the United States has grown enormously since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Soon after, President George W. Bush, under a secret wiretapping program that circumvented the FISA court, authorized the N.S.A. to collect metadata and in some cases listen in on foreign calls to or from the United States. After a heated debate, the essential elements of the Bush program were put into law by Congress in 2007, but with greater involvement by the FISA court.

Even before the leaks by Mr. Snowden, members of Congress and civil liberties advocates had been pressing for declassifying and publicly releasing court decisions, perhaps in summary form.

Reggie B. Walton, the FISA court's presiding judge, wrote in March that he recognized the ''potential benefit of better informing the public'' about the court's decisions. But, he said, there are ''serious obstacles'' to doing so because of the potential for misunderstanding caused by omitting classified details.

Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the N.S.A. director, was noncommital when he was pressed at a Senate hearing in June to put out some version of the court's decisions.

While he pledged to try to make more decisions public, he said, ''I don't want to jeopardize the security of Americans by making a mistake in saying, 'Yes, we're going to do all that.' ''

In Wyoming, a Cheney Run Worries G.O.P.

State Department bureau spent $630,000 on Facebook 'likes'

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Source: BlackListedNews.com

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 14:50

Source: Washington Examiner

State Department officials spent $630,000 to get more Facebook "likes," prompting employees to complain to a government watchdog that the bureau was "buying fans" in social media, the agency's inspector general says.

The department's Bureau of International Information Programs spent the money to increase its "likes" count between 2011 and March 2013.

"Many in the bureau criticize the advertising campaigns as 'buying fans' who may have once clicked on an ad or 'liked' a photo but have no real interest in the topic and have never engaged further," the inspector general reported.

The spending increased the bureau's English-language Facebook page likes from 100,000 to more than 2 million and to 450,000 on Facebook's foreign-language pages.

Despite the surge in likes, the IG said the effort failed to reach the bureau's target audience, which is largely older and more influential than the people liking its pages. Only about 2 percent of fans actually engage with the pages by liking, sharing or commenting.

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Those Great New Part Time Jobs Created By ObamaCare

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Source: JustOneMinute

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 04:01

ObamaCare may be a full-time job killer but the NY Times explains that it is a part-time job machine:

A Surge in Part-Time Workers

By ANNIE LOWREY

The June jobs report saw a surge in part-time workers, and the health care law that starts coming into full effect next year might be in part responsible. The number of part-time workers for economic reasons climbed to 8.2 million in June from 7.6 million in March.

The economist Casey B. Mulligan ran through the numbers on this blog earlier in the week. The Affordable Care Act gives employers an incentive to hire part-time workers rather than full-time workers, as they might be compelled to offer health coverage to the latter, but not the former. That's why a number of big employers have started offering more temporary or part-time positions.

It also makes part-time jobs more attractive for workers. Say you currently have a 20-hour-a-week job with no health coverage, and that you cannot afford to buy insurance on the private market. Soon, the government will start offering you generous subsidies to buy a plan on the new health care ''exchanges'' '' meaning, provided your income is low enough, you get an expensive benefit with taxpayers picking up most of the tab.

The numbers are here; under Obama, being in the working class will become a part-time job.

Woah! Book Club Movie!!

IMPORTANT-In the Garden of Beasts (2014) - IMDb

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Fri, 05 Jul 2013 18:39

EditStorylineA mild-mannered Chicago professor becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany just before the Nazis began to assert an iron grip across Europe.

Add Full Plot|Add SynopsisEditDetailsBox OfficeBudget:$50,000,000 (estimated)

See more >>Company Credits

Shut Up Slave!

Oilfield Tech & Stuff: The Third Amendment

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Fri, 05 Jul 2013 15:42

In case you haven't noticed, there is a theme going on here... I realized that with all of this talk about things being unconstitutional, I decided to educate myself on what the amendments to the United States Constitution actually said. I also decided that it could help me to post more in my blog, so here we are. Today's post is about the Third Amendment.

" No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law"

This Amendment says that the government cannot force citizens to keep soldiers in their homes in times of peace, and the only way they can force citizens to house soldiers in times of war is by passing specific laws to be able to do so.

The threat I can see is that since we are in a forever war, it would no be hard to comply with this. That being said, I don't see it happening because they would rather keep the soldiers in the disciplined environment of their own camp. (just my opinion)

You can find the text of the Constitution online at:

http://www.usconstitution.net/

Third Amendment specifically:

http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am3.html

Russia and Chiners, Sittin' in a Tree

Chinese Warships Arrive in Vladivostok

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Source: RIA Novosti

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 14:46

Tags:drills, Chinese Navy, VladivostokA flotilla of seven ships of the Chinese Navy has arrived in Vladivostok to take part in the joint naval exercises Naval Interaction '' 2013, which will take place between July 8 and 10 in Peter the Great Bay.

Russia-USA : the end of the "Reset" ?

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Fri, 05 Jul 2013 15:10

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin at the G8 Summit (Lough Erne, 17th June 2013). Clearly, the two men aren't getting along so well any more.The relations between Russia the United States just keep getting worse, and this downhill trend seems to have accelerated over the last few weeks. Particularly, and obviously, since the Syrian conflict seems to be turning into an indirect war between Russia and the USA.

So the illusion of a "new entente" between Russia and the US hasn't lasted. The last G8 summit was marked by the Syrian conflict, which clearly opposes Russia and the other powers in the group '' with the USA, the United Kingdom and France in the lead. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, clearly stated during the conference that " '... it is not the Syrian people who are fighting el-Assad, but commandos, including foreign units, who are well-trained and well-armed ('...) by terrorist organisations."

Since only one step separates Europe from Qatar, it is not surprising that the "Friends of Syria" have now decided to support the Syrian opposition even more actively, by opting for a solution which promises to be increasingly military in nature. Paradoxically, it was John Kerry who made the toughest declaration concerning Russia, when he accused them of being the main instigators of the continuing conflict in Syria. Without a doubt, his declaration signals the end of the honeymoon between Russia and the United States, and it looks like the chill may last.

At their reunion in Doha, the "Friends of Syria" finally published a document which makes it clear that Bashar el-Assad will play no part in the transition in Syria once the terms of the peace negotiations are finalized, and in particular, that the delivery of arms to the opposition will be decided entirely by each individual country. Russia, which had been hoping that a conference (dubbed "Geneva-2") could help find a political solution to the conflict, is now faced with an even stronger and more determined coalition which includes the Western powers, Turkey, and the Sunnite powers of the Gulf. The question of Bashar El-Assad retaining power, and the participation of Iran (with its new president, who is actually a reformist) are the two main sticking points between Russia and the Western-Sunnite block which has formed on this issue.

Russia has therefore asked the United States to clarify its position, in other words, to choose between the political solution (Geneva 2) and the solution of military support for the "opposition" which has decided to continue the war to overthrow the current Syrian leadership - at whatever cost.

However, this diplomatic tension does not only concern Syria. On the 24th June, the United States threatened Russia and China with "consequences" for their bilateral relations, after the assistance given by the two countries for the exfiltration of Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA consultant who recently denounced the PRISM system. Edward Snowden is accused by the USA of the illegal transfer of information relevant to national security, and the premeditated transfer of secret information. Snowden left Hong-Kong, where he had been living for the last few days, to fly by Aeroflot to Moscow, prior to flying on to an unknown destination.

These threats from the USA arrive, curiously enough, at the same moment when Russia and China have just signed an enormous oil contract for a value of 270 billion dollars over a 25-year period. The agreement was signed between CNPC and Rosneft, whose director is Igor Sechin, a close friend of Vladimir Poutine. Rosneft has therefore taken place as the leader of the oil chapter of energy cooperation between Russia and China.

This collaboration is one element in a wider policy of diversification of Russian energy deliveries '' Moscow is playing the Asian card in an attempt to balance Russia's present dependency in terms of the European crisis.

This finalization of the oil partnership with China, when Sino-Russian discussions on energy cooperation have been static for a long time, is a further indication of Russia's determination to open a "window on Asia", a sort of historical replica of the "window on Europe" which was opened in the 18th century, symbolised by the construction of the magnificent "Venice of the North," Saint-Petersbourg.

Egypt

What's Really Happening in Egypt

After US Secretary of State John Kerry was filmed vacationing on his yacht at the peak of the Egyptian crisis, President Barack Obama released this statement early Sunday, July 7: "The US is not aligned with and is not supporting any particular Egyptian political party or-group and condemns "ongoing violence across Egypt."- Obama made these points in a telephone conference with the National Security Council from Camp David. To further rebut US media criticism, the administration reported that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had spoken three times with Egypt's Defense Minister Abdel Fattah El-Sisi about the military coup which deposed Mohamed Morsi on July 3, to demand the expeditious reinstatement of civilian rule. Nothing was said about the general's response. The military has along denied staging a coup, insisting it only stepped in to avert civil bloodshed and a provisional government would prepare the country for early elections.-- Both parties to this exchange were putting on an act. For President Obama, the Muslim Brothers' ouster was and remains unacceptable. By denying support for any particular party or group, he was also saying he wants no truck with the generals who made it happen. It was also evident that Gen. El-Sisi rejected Hagel's demand. Indeed, the army chief is determined not to let Washington interfere with his next moves, realizing-that the Muslim Brotherhood's president dismissal was but the first step in a process which must be followed up if it is not to implode in chaos. At least another six months are needed for the rewriting of the constitution, installing a working interim administration and setting up elections for the presidency and parliament. In that time, Egypt will be on a knife's edge. debkafile's Middle East sources report the army chief plans two steps for cutting through the tension, in the knowledge that the first, at least, will be strongly censured by Washington: 1. The Muslim Brotherhood's top leadership was more or less decapitated when the army seized power Wednesday, July 3. Next, the generals plan to send security forces to fan out across the country for mass arrests of thousands of local activists. They will be confined in detention centers already in-preparation. By this action, Gen. El-Sisi will be treading-in the footsteps of Gemal Abdul Nasser in the fifties and Anwar Sadat in the seventies. Those rulers-kept thousands of Muslim Brotherhood national and field operatives in pirson and under tight control for years before gradually letting them out on condition they did not run for office. The army chief, while bracing for Washington's condemnation, is also assured of approval by the Gulf rulers led by the Saudi royal house. Likewise, if the US cuts off or reduces military aid to Egypt, currently running at $1.3 billion a year, the Egyptian strongman has Gulf guarantees to make up the difference. Cairo's post-coup military rulers are therefore squaring up for a major collision with Washington, which would also encompass their backers, the conservative pro-West Arab governments of the Persian Gulf. At the same time, say our Middle East sources, Gen. El-Sisis is looking to the long term. He believes that his alignment with the Gulf will eventually lead to back to an understanding with the United States, although he will have to ride out the initial rift with the Obama administration. 2. The second step he plans is a crackdown on the estimated 10,000 armed Salafists, some of them working for al Qaeda, who have made Sinai their stamping ground. debkafile's military sources recall that as a past military intelligence chief, later commander of Egyptian forces in Sinai, Gen. El-Sisi-is thoroughly acquainted with the-terrain and conditions of the peninsula. Our intelligence sources disclose that the generals in Cairo now believe the Muslim Brotherhood regime deliberately turned a blind eye in the past year to the massive flow-of weapons smuggled in from Libya into Sinai and onto the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The Brotherhood, it appears, had been quietly accumulating an arsenal for the contingency of its downfall by setting up a clandestine armed "Center of Revolt" for-resistance operations against-any takeover of rule in Cairo. This Center of Revolt has set up a coalition with the armed Islamist gangs terrorizing Sinai. This was confirmed in the last 24 hours by Salafist statements, such as: "Sinai is the center of revolt against the military coup which deposed Mohamed Morsi as president." The generals realize the urgency of cutting down this Islamist terrorist-backed revolt before it spreads out of control to Cairo and the Suez cities of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia - not to mention the threat of sabotage to the international cargo and oil shipping traffic passing through the Suez Canal. Since Friday, the first attacks have been ongoing on Egyptian military targets in Sinai, leaving five officers and a Coptic priest dead. Early Sunday, Salafist Bedouin blew up the Sinai gas pipeline to Jordan. Sabotage of the pipeline stopped after Egypt discontinued supplies to Israel. On this second step by the Egyptian military, the Obama administration faces-a serious dilemma: On the one hand, the United States can hardly object to a major Egyptian military crackdown on Salafist terrorist groups which work-hand in glove with al Qaeda and the Palestinian Hamas. On the other, in order to succeed, the Egyptian army must destroy the weapons caches the Muslim Brotherhood hoarded in Sinai. This would further weaken the movement after its loss of rule in Cairo. Another problem for the US president is that in Sinai, Egyptian and Israeli security interests undeniably converge. Full-scale Egyptian military operations in Sinai-are dependent on Israel's consent under the demilitarization clauses of their 1979 peace treaty. They would also be welcomed by Jerusalem which kept anti-terrorist forces parked on the Egyptian border from the time that-the Muslim Brotherhood came to power a year ago. The crackdown on Islamist terrorists in Sinai will bring the collaboration between Egypt's-military rulers and Israel out in the open and further complicate the Obama administration's stance in relation to the new regime in Cairo. -

Morsi Arrested Because He Was Plotting to Use Egypt's Military to Attack Assad Government in Syria

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Source: TARPLEY.net

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 01:32

Webster G. Tarpley Ph.D.TARPLEY.net '' World Crisis RadioJuly 6, 2013

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The Real Coup: Egypt's ElBaradei Named Interim Prime Minister

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Source: BlackListedNews.com

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 23:38

Source: Forbes

Just days after Morsi's removal from office by the Egyptian armed forces, there is a remarkable replacement: Mohammad ElBaradei, the lone leadership figure with deep Western appeal '-- and the resume and ideology to match. Details:

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, said the main question is how much power ElBaradei will have in his new role as interim prime minister.

''It is not really a surprise. ElBaradei was sitting next to General al-Sisi when he announced the oustre of President Morsi, which already indicated that ElBaradei was to take up an important role in the new government.''

Color me surprised. There's a huge difference between an important role and the most important role. It's possible that the Army chose ElBaradei because they're really committed to liberalizing, and not just democratizing, Egypt. It's possible that the choice reflects nothing more or less than the relatively thin Egyptian bench. Or, it's possible that Egypt's kingmakers were nervously refreshing their Facebook and came across this old thing from a couple years back:

The ruling military council on its Facebook page asked voters which candidates they supported most in the current field. ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, took first place with more than 19,000 supporters, or more than 30 percent of those participating [...].

If you're like me, you trust informal polls about as far as you can throw them, especially on Facebook, which is, after all, quite nearly ElBaradei's only constituency. There's no doubt that ElBaradei represents the smallest and least powerful of the main factions supporting big reform in post-Mubarak Egypt '-- the others being Team Muslim Brotherhood and Team Army. Young, wired, liberalized Egyptians may bring a twinkle to the eye of the West, but they've got much work to do to make a real-life dent in Egyptian politics and Egyptian rule. And there's not much of an indication that ElBaradei can actually help them with that.

For the Army, ElBaradei is the closest they've got to a Terry MacAuliffe '-- love him or hate him, he keeps those donors writing checks. US dismay over regulations which prohibit foreign aid to coup-stricken countries will surely abate when it's ElBaradei standing beside President Obama in the Rose Garden. This is a man no self-respecting Western leader can deprive of cash. The appointment of ElBaradei sends a clarion signal to Egypt's creditors, summed up in three letters: B.F.F.

Notably, ElBaradei lacks the disruptive and risk-forward character of Egypt's own young liberals. Personally, he's not Generation Facebook. He's Generation UN. He's more like Hans Blix and Kofi Annan than he is like Mark Zuckerberg or Wael Ghonim. It's very hard to see how much traction he could get as the voice of a new era in Egyptian politics. He's running plays from a liberalization playbook that's decades old '-- not just pre-Arab Spring but pre-9/11, pre-Internet.

And no matter how many hearts, flowers, and dollars he'll keep flowing Egypt's way, inside his own country ElBaradei will remain a sharply divisive figure. If the military is in a tight spot, having appointed such a man after declaring that the popular will dumped Morsi, ElBaradei's position is even less enviable. His best chance for uniting Team Liberal and Team Army is to focus on declawing the Muslim Brotherhood '-- an effort sure to have broader regional implications.

Those implications won't be fun and easy to handle. But Israel, on the other hand, must be pinching itself right now. Could anything better have happened in Egypt from Israel's point of view? A fresh relative calm on Israel's southwest flank makes Syria the focus again '-- less as a ''powderkeg'' and more as an isolated, contained problem.

But all this presumes that ElBaradei's appointment is a turning point in the Egyptian chaos. If this effort to reconcile military government with liberal attitudes succeeds, it could look to many observers like a template for the new Mideast. If it fails'... the West will continue to struggle to understand just what is unfolding in the Muslim world.

Tags: Al Jazeera, arab spring, coup, Egypt, Facebook, Generation Facebook, government, Israel, Kofi Annan, leadership, military, Mubarak Egypt, Muslim, Muslim Brotherhood, observers, President Morsi, Sherine Tadros, signal, Syria, us

Blast hits gas pipeline between Egypt, Jordan

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Source: Reuters: World News

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 03:14

CAIRO | Sat Jul 6, 2013 10:06pm EDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - An explosion hit an Egyptian pipeline on Saturday in the lawless Sinai peninsula following a series of attacks the last several days on security checkpoints, state TV and witnesses said.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the pipeline and checkpoint attacks or if they were in reaction to the Egyptian army's overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on Wednesday.

The pipeline, which supplies gas to Jordan, has been attacked more than 10 times since former autocratic president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 during the Arab Spring uprisings.

Five security officers were killed at their checkpoints in Sinai on Friday and four other checkpoints were attacked on Saturday.

A priest was killed at one checkpoint by a group of militants, according to security sources.

Egypt has struggled to control the security in the peninsula since Mubarak's departure. Hard-line Islamist groups took advantage of the collapse of security that followed and launched many attacks on army and police troops there.

(Reporting by Yusri Mohamed in Ismailia and Youssef Rostom in Cairo and writing by Yasmine Saleh in Cairo; Editing by Philip Barbara)

Mohamed ElBaradei Named PM Of Egypt

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Source: Weasel Zippers

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 23:40

Via Ahram:

A presidential source said on Saturday evening that Mohamed ElBaradei, the general coordinator of the National Salvation Front, has already been assigned the post of prime minister. ''He accepted and will be shortly sworn in,'' the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Ahram Online.

According to an official source, the choice of ElBaradei came after the military failed to convince Central Bank Governor Hisham Ramez to accept the job. Farouk El-Oqda, Ramez' predecessor, also declined the job.

A graduate of the faculty of law at Cairo University, ElBaradei joined the Foreign Service before he launched his international career.

Keep reading'...

Update:

Looks like after it was announced that ElBaradei was the nominee for PM, some of the folks in the new government coalition flipped their wigs and said ''no way''. So, just a bit embarrassing that they are now walking this back.

Liberal ElBaradei named Egypt PM, Islamists cry foul

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Source: The Daily Star >> Live News

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 20:33

CAIRO: Liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei was chosen as Egypt's interim Prime Minister on Saturday as the transitional administration fought to restore calm after at least 35 people were killed in Islamist protests that swept the country.

ElBaradei, a 71-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner and former U.N. nuclear agency chief, had been favorite to head the temporary leadership installed by the military after it ousted elected President Mohamed Mursi on Wednesday.

He was holding a second meeting of the day with interim head of state Adli Mansour late on Saturday ahead of his expected appointment.

Tens of thousands of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets on Friday to protest against what they called a military coup, and clashes between them, security forces and anti-Mursi protesters left more than 30 people dead.

Within minutes of the news that ElBaradei would be named, a senior Brotherhood official said that the Islamist movement would reject his candidacy and any other measures implemented by the army-backed administration.

"We reject this coup and all that results from it, including ElBaradei," Farid Ismail, of the Brotherhood's political wing the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), told Reuters.

He described ElBaradei as "Washington's choice", a reference to suspicions among Brotherhood members of U.S. complicity in Mursi's overthrow.

An Islamist coalition led by the Brotherhood also called for another wave of demonstrations on Sunday, raising the prospect of further violence that has thrown the most populous Arab nation of 84 million people into fresh turmoil.

Those reactions underlined the challenges facing transitional powers as they seek to implement a military roadmap leading to fresh elections.

While the ouster of Egypt's first freely elected president was greeted with jubilation on streets crammed with millions of people, his many supporters feared a return to the suppression that the Islamists endured for decades under autocratic rulers.

The army has given few details and no timeframe for elections, adding to political uncertainty at a time when many Egyptians fear that bloodshed could polarize society still further.

Mursi's dramatic removal and subsequent violence is the latest twist in a tumultuous two years since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in the Arab uprisings that swept the region.

At least 35 people died and more than 1,000 were wounded in violence on Friday and Saturday, with the army struggling to maintain order in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities and towns, where rival demonstrators fought street battles.

The most deadly clashes were in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, where 14 people died and 200 were wounded.

In central Cairo, protesters clashed late into Friday night with stones, knives, petrol bombs and clubs as armored personnel carriers rumbled among them.

It took hours to restore calm on the Nile River bridges around the landmark Egyptian Museum. Anti-Mursi activists remained encamped in a suburb of the capital, but Cairo and others cities were relatively calm as darkness fell on Saturday.

While the Brotherhood has insisted it will not resort to violence, some radical Islamists have no such inhibitions.

On Saturday, a Coptic Christian priest was shot dead in Egypt's lawless North Sinai province in what could be the first sectarian attack since Mursi's overthrow, raising concerns about the potential for further religious violence.

There were more attacks on army checkpoints in Sinai overnight and gunmen fired on a central security building in El Arish, security sources said.

A new Islamist group announced its formation in the Sinai peninsula adjoining Israel and the Gaza Strip, calling the army's removal of Mursi a declaration of war on their faith and threatening violence to impose Islamic law.

Ansar al-Shariah (Supporters of Islamic Law) in Egypt said it would gather arms and start training members, according to a statement on an online forum for Sinai militants recorded by SITE Monitoring.

The events of the last week have raised alarm among Egypt's allies in the West, including main aid donors the United States and the European Union, and in Israel, with which Egypt has had a U.S.-backed peace treaty since 1979.

Newspapers quoted ElBaradei as saying that he expected Gulf Arab monarchies that were hostile to the Muslim Brotherhood's rule to offer financial support to the new authorities.

Only gas-rich Qatar provided substantial funds to Mursi's government, totaling $7 billion in loans and grants. Turkey and Libya also provided smaller loans and deposits.

In one of the first outbreaks of violence on Friday, three protesters were shot dead outside the Republican Guard compound where Mursi is being held, security sources said. The army denied responsibility for the shootings. It was not clear whether other security forces were involved.

On Saturday, about 2,000 people gathered outside the barracks. A man with a loudspeaker told soldiers separated from protesters by razor wire not to open fire.

Thousands more Islamists braved the fierce midday sun at a sit-in outside a nearby mosque. Shawled women shook their heads and wept as an imam led prayers for "martyrs" of the violence.

At least 15 tanks were positioned on streets leading to the square outside the mosque, but they were farther away than on Friday, suggesting that the military was keen to ease tensions.

Elsewhere in Cairo, the retrial of former autocrat Mubarak resumed at a snail's pace, in a bizarre coda to the past week's drama. The 85-year-old, who ruled Egypt for 30 years, is charged with conspiracy to murder hundreds of demonstrators in 2011.

The judge adjourned the case until August 17. He said that he would continue to show proceedings live on state television, despite unhappiness among army commanders at seeing their former head of state and air force chief paraded in a courtroom cage.

John Kerry overwhelmed by crisis in Egypt

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Source: Voltaire Network

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 20:45

The White House released a photo of President Barack Obama discussing the situation in Egypt with his national security team on July 3, 2013. However, the Secretary of State is absent from the photograph.

According to CBS, John Kerry did not attend the meeting because he was relaxing aboard his yacht, Isabel [photo].

At that point, the State Department claimed that Mr. Kerry was busily working on the Egyptian issue ... from his yacht. Thus, he is supposed to have spent his time on 3 and 4 July (the U.S. national holiday) taking part in the White House meeting through a secure communication system and on the phone with the Norwegian, Qatari and Turkish foreign ministers as well as with Egyption opponent El Baradei, in addition to the five calls he placed to the U.S. ambassador in Cairo. The next day, his calls allegedly included the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Israeli Prime Minister and the "Egyptian Foreign Minister" (sic).

However, the record shows that Secretary of State had called his Egyptian counterpart on Monday, July 1st. Kerry was startlingly informed by Amr Mohamed, who was still in his office, about his resignation from the Morsi government, something which news agencies had been reporting for some time but to which John Kerry was still oblivious.

A military coup overthrew the government of the Washington-backed Muslim Brotherhood, on July 3 at 22h (Cairo time).

Dinner Party

Laurie & Mark Fricke making napkin rings on her new 3D printer

Jamie & Ruth Pennebaker added

Ruth Pennebaker

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Sat, 06 Jul 2013 08:55

She'll Take Manhattan, but Hold the JeansDARKNESS fell on a brisk Saturday night, and droves of the young and the raucous flooded the entrance and lobby of the Dream Downtown hotel in Chelsea. It happened to be my hotel for this stay, since I'd gotten a killer deal on the Internet.

"Good lord," said Pat, a New York friend, eyeing the eager faces, the stilettos, the sheer force field of energy. "Is anybody here over the age of 18?"-- The New York Times, March 22, 2012

Brooklyn, in Thick and Thin (Crust)THE big white bus is leaving. If you're one of those ignorant souls who thinks New York City is limited to Manhattan and its cold, imperious skyscrapers, you should hop aboard.-- The New York Times, March 8, 2012

Survivors Bond Over a Grueling PlayOVER her crevettes Marseillaise, the author and blogger Jen Singer is telling me about the tumor she had in her left lung. ''It was the size of a softball,'' she says.

She and I are online acquaintances who had never met in the flesh before. But we're both cancer survivors, and we are going to see the Broadway play ''Wit'' together. Our respective tumor sizes count as small talk.-- The New York Times, February 16, 2012

The City, Inside Yet OutDON'T think David Roffe is only a New York City tour guide.

He's also an actor who has appeared on ''Law & Order'' three times '-- most memorably in 13 consecutive seconds as an accused murderer of a college student. ''You've got the wrong guy, dude,'' he told the law, in a speaking role he nailed in only two takes.-- The New York Times, November 17, 2011

Following a Child of the City''MY love affair with New York,'' Marc Aronson says, ''is a continuation of my parents' love affair with New York.''-- The New York Times, November 3, 2011

All Those Great Stories, Crying to Be OverheardCome here to sightsee? It's fine, I guess. You can catch the towering buildings, the store windows, the stunning bridges, the leafy parks. And yes, they're impressive and staggering.

But to me New York is most of all a city of people and their stories... -- The New York Times, October 20, 2011

Monday, So Good to MeWHEN my husband and I moved to New York for several months in August 2009, we were told repeatedly that ''nobody'' was in the city in August. We wandered around the crowded streets, marveling at the number of nobodies everywhere.-- The New York Times, August 25, 2011

Newest New Yorkers at PlayTHEY are young, talented and driven: artists who want to make their mark on the world. You see them in New York more than any other city in the country, and their New York is different from yours and mine. It's hipper and faster paced, open to experience. If they want to see a folk-singing duo, and their iPhones tell them to cross two highway lanes on foot to get there, consider them crossed.-- The New York Times, August 11, 2011

Where Lone Stars Don't Feel So Alone"TEXANS make the best New Yorkers," Robert Leleux says loudly. "It's because we're bred for size. New Yorkers appreciate that '-- our extravagance. We wouldn't play so well in Indiana."-- The New York Times, June 23, 2011

The Mediocre MultitaskerRead it and gloat. Last week, researchers at Stanford University published a study showing that the most persistent multitaskers perform badly in a variety of tasks. They don't focus as well as non-multitaskers. T hey're more distractible. They're weaker at shifting from one task to another and at organizing information. They are, as a matter of fact, worse at multitasking than people who don't ordinarily multitask.-- The New York Times Week in Review, August 29, 2009

Throne Occupied; Try a Comfy ReclinerOn Friday, Charles, the Prince of Wales, turned 60.

Sixty! If you think that birthday is tough for most baby boomers - who struggle with desperate rationalizations about whether they're young-old or old-young, and whether 60 might possibly be the new 40 - think about Charles. He's now been the heir apparent to the British throne for 56 years, waiting to be King of England since 1952.-- The New York Times Week in Review, November 15, 2008

Having Cancer, and Finding a PersonalityThey say cancer changes you. They may be right. When I found out I had breast cancer 12 years ago, I became a comedian.

Not the kind anyone paid to see. Just the kind who lurked around hospital corridors and examination rooms offering offbeat opinions, wiseacre remarks, outrageous commentary.-- The New York Times, August 11, 2008

'Sex' and the Pink RibbonAll right, we admit it. We're not traditional "Sex and the City" types.

We're five women from Austin, Tex. (wrong number, right sex, wrong city), who range from our late 40s to early 60s (wrong demographics; too old). Our shoes are conservative and our politics are liberal (wrong, right).-- The New York Times Week in Review, June 1, 2008

Surviving AloneBy the time you read this, I'll be 58.

I'm the same age as Red China and millions of other American Baby Boomers. Viewed broadly, my age is no big deal.

More specifically, though, I'm surprised to be 58 and in apparent good health. It's shocking to me when I find myself looking at a future that may stretch into my sixties, seventies and even eighties.-- Heal: Living Well After Cancer, Summer 2008

We're Big, We're Back, We're TexasSOMEWHERE, Ann Richards and Molly Ivins '-- bless their big, demanding hearts and rest their impatient souls '-- must be sharing non-alcoholic margaritas and crowing with delight. Their beloved Texas Democrats, long rumored to be terminally dysfunctional, bitter and comatose or dead, are staking out the center stage of the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. On March 4, two days after Texas Independence Day, they will choose between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton in what turns out to be a pivotal contest.

Well, hot, as we say down here, durn.-- The New York Times Week in Review, February 24, 2008

JOURNEYS; 36 Hours | Austin, Tex.TEXANS, especially sentimental University of Texas alumni, have long agonized over Austin's soul. Does Austin remain easygoing and eccentric in its setting of rugged hills, trees and lakes? Are its politics still liberal and is its music still rowdy? Is it still a refuge for slackers who don't want to grow up and move to Houston or Dallas?-- The New York Times, March 28, 2003

What We Learned From Each OtherWho knows why you become close friends with another person? Is it chemistry? Are you drawn together by your differences or your commonalities, your strengths or your weaknesses?

You don't know. What you do know, though, is something about yourself and your own expectations about life. You are the kind of person who has always known life is not fair. Maybe you were born knowing it or you learned it at an early age, but you can never remember not knowing it.

If life were fair, then your close friend would not be dying at the age of 44.-- The Dallas Morning News, July 28, 2002

Hotter than a Crawford RanchAll those reporters who are always clustered around President Bush should have been suspicious the minute he started stomping around his ranch in the middle of August. Instead, sweating and gullible and, frankly, kind of pathetic, they earnestly reported the president's rhapsodic remarks about going home to Texas in the summer. They bought the implication that Texans wouldn't miss a Texas August, even if it is 110 degrees in the shade (except there's not any shade).

The truth is, nobody with a brain the size of a kumquat stays in Texas in August. Most of us head to the mountains and cool, dry breezes of New Mexico, where we like to think we're not considered nearly as arrogant and obnoxious as we used to be.-- The New York Times Op-Ed page, August 28, 2001

Hers; Going Off The Deep EndI didn't take swimming lessons because of my 40th birthday. I'd like to blame it on that, but it isn't true. I took them because of my 7-year-old daughter, Teal. I could see it in her eyes. She already hated the water as much as I did.-- The New York Times Magazine, February 25, 1990

Amazon.com: Ruth Pennebaker: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

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Sat, 06 Jul 2013 08:54

WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKTHROUGH is Ruth Pennebaker's first adult novel. She's also written three highly acclaimed young-adult novels, DON'T THINK TWICE, CONDITIONS OF LOVE, and BOTH SIDES NOW, as well as essays and articles for The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, Texas Observer, Parents, Redbook, McCall's, Cooking Light and other nationwide publications. She is a commentator for KUT, Austin's public radio station, and the author of A TEXAS FAMILY TIME CAPSULE, a collection of her favorite columns.

Ruth lives in Austin, with her mad-scientist husband, the scattered memorabilia of their adult daughter and son, and a neutered cat named Lefty. Her hobbies are reading, yoga, social criticism, and free-form worrying. A card-carrying member of the Chickasaw Nation, Ruth was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, close to a refinery. She holds a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from Eckerd College and, for reasons that now elude her, a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law.

Ruth also blogs at www.geezersisters.com.

Book read he listened to the show

Swear Like a Sailor Short Cut

Just had to change by billing details with my cellphone provider and I used the "swear like a sailor" short cut! Two quick outburst took me right past the 6 menu options to a shorter list and then one button push and I was with a very sympathetic rep!

THIS is value for value!!

Kyle

Presedential Oath blow away as performative

Secret life of pronouns

Obama feminine, unlike any other president (Valerie Jarrett?)

Drop of "I words" before going to war

Tsarnev analysis

Brother to Chechnyia, I words dropped

Brother returns, Cognitives dropped

decided to go to work

Nailed him on calling him guilty

This research is going to Bing!

Ruth went to Protest

Hardly anyone really under 50

Had not read the bill

Accepted the math of closings without having the calculations

Russ

Anihilated my Blood Type diet with science

Digital Dimentia, moron jap university study is BULCRAP

Turned me on to important study by Slovic

Texas Abortion Bill

Texas ALEC Chair Files "Preborn Pain Act," as Promised by Rick Perry

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Fri, 05 Jul 2013 22:24

See our other pieces on ALEC and anti-choice bills in Texas here.

This morning, Texas State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker) filed the state legislature's first attempt to ban abortions after 20 weeks'--the so-called Preborn Pain Act'--a move championed last winter by Governor Rick Perry. The bill alleges that ''substantial medical evidence recognizes that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain by not later than 20 weeks after fertilization.''

In fact, there is no such medical evidence, and the American Medical Association has concluded that ''evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester.''

The bill provides an exception for the life of the pregnant person, though only if the person is physically in danger; an abortion may not be performed if there is a ''claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct that may result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.''

It also changes language in the Texas health code to require physicians to report the ''probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child,'' rather than the ''the period of gestation,'' as part of the state's newly enacted Big Brother-style abortion reporting requirements.

As RH Reality Checkhas previously reported, 20-week abortion bans predominantly serve to make abortion inaccessible to people who are already in dire straits. According to Lilith Fund President Amelia Long, whose organization helps low-income women find funding for safe, legal abortions:

It's not the case that women know they want or need an abortion and are ''just putting it off and just being lazy about it,'' as Perry and his anti-choice supporters seem to believe. ''That is never the case with anyone we talk to.''

Instead, says Long, the Lilith Fund hears from women who are in abusive relationships, or from women who initially had a wanted pregnancy but ''then something happens that's a disaster for them,'' making the prospect of pregnancy and parenthood untenable. Long characterized Perry's position as ''not acting with compassion.''

And yet, conservative, anti-science legislators soldier on in their attempts to make safe, legal abortion as inaccessible as possible in Texas. This shouldn't come as a surprise, considering that the sponsor of the so-called Preborn Pain Bill, Rep. Laubenberg, is affiliated with one of the country's shadiest conservative lobby groups.

Rep. Laubenberg is the Texas state chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a hyper-conservative, ostensibly non-profit lobby group that provides state legislators with model legislation developed by and for large corporate interests. Goals of ALEC-developed legislation range from dismantling Medicaid to protecting big businesses that pollute the environment to strengthening stand-your-ground gun laws, making the group a particular friend to the National Rifle Association.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. CaseySupreme Court of the United StatesArgued April 22, 1992Decided June 29, 1992Full case namePlanned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, et al. v. Robert P. Casey, et al.Citations505 U.S.833 (more)112 S. Ct. 2791; 120 L. Ed. 2d 674; 1992 U.S. LEXIS 4751; 60 U.S.L.W. 4795; 92 Daily Journal DAR 8982; 6 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 663

Prior historyJudgment and injunction for plaintiffs, 686 F. Supp. 1089 (E.D. Pa. 1988); injunction clarified, 736 F.Supp. 633 (E.D. Pa. 1990); judgment and injunction granted for plaintiffs, 744 F.Supp. 1323 (E.D. Pa. 1990) (regarding 1988 amendments to 1982 Act); affirmed in part and reversed in part, 947 F. 2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991); certiorari granted 502 U.S. 1056 (1992)Subsequent historyRemanded, 978 F.2d 74 (2d Cir. 1992); motion to disqualify judge denied, 812 F. Supp. 541 (E.D. Pa. 1993); record reopened and injunctions continued, 822 F. Supp. 227 (E.D. Pa. 1993); reversed and remanded, 14 F.3d 848 (3d Cir. 1994); stay denied, 510 U.S. 1309 (1994); attorney fees and costs awarded to plaintiffs, 869 F. Supp. 1190 (E.D. Pa. 1994); affirmed, 60 F.3d 816 (3d Cir. 1995)HoldingA Pennsylvania law that required spousal awareness prior to obtaining an abortion was invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment because it created an undue burden on married women seeking an abortion. Requirements for parental consent, informed consent, and 24-hour waiting period were constitutionally valid regulations. Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part.Court membershipCase opinionsPluralityO'Connor, Kennedy, Souter (jointly)Concur/dissentStevensConcur/dissentBlackmunConcur/dissentRehnquist, joined by White, Scalia, ThomasConcur/dissentScalia, joined by Rehnquist, White, ThomasLaws appliedU.S. Const. amends. I, XIV; 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§ 3203, 3205-09, 3214 (Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982)Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in which the constitutionality of several Pennsylvaniastate regulations regarding abortion were challenged. The Court's plurality opinion upheld the constitutional right to have an abortion and altered the standards for analyzing restrictions of that right, invalidating one regulation but upholding the other four.

Background of the case[edit]Five provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982 authored by Rep. Stephen F. Freind[1] were being challenged as unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, which first recognized a constitutional right to have an abortion in the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The informed consent rule under the Act required doctors to inform women about detriments to health in abortion procedures.The spousal notice rule required women to give prior notice to their husbands.The parental notification and consent rule required minors to receive consent from a parent or guardian prior to an abortion.The fourth provision imposed a 24-hour hold before obtaining an abortion.The fifth provision challenged in the case was the imposition of certain reporting mandates on facilities providing abortion services.The case was a seminal one in the history of abortion decisions in the United States. It was the first case that provided an opportunity to overturn Roe since the two liberal Justices, William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, were replaced with the Bush-appointed Justices David Souter and Clarence Thomas. Both were viewed as ostensible conservatives compared to their predecessors. This left the Court with eight Republican-appointed justices'--six of whom had been appointed by Presidents Reagan or Bush, both of whom were well known for their opposition to Roe. Finally, the only remaining Democratic appointee'--Justice Byron White'--had been one of the two dissenters from the original Roe decision.

At this point, only two of the Justices were obvious supporters of Roe v. Wade: Blackmun, the author of Roe, and Stevens, who had joined opinions specifically reaffirming Roe in City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health and Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Given these circumstances, some pro-choice advocates expected Roe to be overruled.[citation needed]

The case was argued by ACLU attorney Kathryn Kolbert for Planned Parenthood, with Linda J. Wharton serving as Co-Lead Counsel. Pennsylvania attorney general Ernie Preate argued the case for the State. Upon reaching the Court of last resort, the United States defended the Act in part by urging the Court to overturn Roe as having been wrongly decided, filing an amicus curiae brief with representation from Solicitor General Ken Starr for the Bush Administration.

The District Court's ruling[edit]The plaintiffs were five abortion clinics and a class action of physicians who provide abortion services, in addition to one physician representing himself independently. They filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to enjoin the state from enforcing the five provisions and have them declared facially unconstitutional. The District Court, after a three-day bench trial, held that all the provisions were unconstitutional and entered a permanent injunction against Pennsylvania's enforcement of them.

Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision[edit]The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, upholding all of the regulations except for the husband notification requirement. Then-Circuit Judge Samuel Alito sat on that three-judge appellate panel and dissented from the court's invalidation of that requirement.

The Supreme Court's consideration[edit]At the conference of the Justices two days after oral argument, Justice Souter defied expectations, joining Justices O'Connor, Stevens, and Blackmun, who had likewise refused to do so three years earlier in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. This resulted in a precarious five Justice majority consisting of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Byron White, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas that favored upholding all the abortion restrictions. However, Kennedy changed his mind shortly thereafter and joined with fellow Reagan-Bush justices Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter to write a plurality opinion that would reaffirm Roe.[2]

The Court's opinions[edit]Except for three opening sections of the O'Connor-Kennedy-Souter opinion, Casey was a divided judgment, as no other sections of any opinion were joined by a majority of justices. However, the plurality decision jointly written by Justices Souter, O'Connor, and Kennedy is recognized as the lead opinion with precedential weight because each of its parts were concurred in by at least two other Justices, albeit different ones for each part.

The O'Connor, Kennedy and Souter plurality opinion[edit]These three justices began their written opinion by noting the U.S. government's previous challenges to Roe v. Wade:

"Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt. Yet 19 years after our holding that the Constitution protects a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy in its early stages, Roe v. Wade (1973), that definition of liberty is still questioned. Joining the respondents as amicus curiae, the United States, as it has done in five other cases in the last decade, again asks us to overrule Roe."The plurality opinion stated that it was upholding what it called the "essential holding" of Roe. The plurality asserted that the right to abortion is grounded in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the plurality reiterated what the Court had said in Eisenstadt v. Baird: "[i]f the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child."

The plurality's opinion also included some controversial language about the doctrine of stare decisis - see the more recent discussion from Justice Roberts on stare decisis in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. The plurality emphasized the need to stand by prior decisions even if they were unpopular, unless there had been a change in the fundamental reasoning underpinning the previous decision. It also acknowledged the need for predictability and constancy in judicial decision making. For example,

"Where, in the performance of its judicial duties, the Court decides a case in such a way as to resolve the sort of intensely divisive controversy reflected in Roe and those rare, comparable cases, its decision has a dimension that the resolution of the normal case does not carry. It is the dimension present whenever the Court's interpretation of the Constitution calls the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution."The plurality went on to give society's rejection of the "Separate but Equal" concept as a legitimate reason for the Brown v. Board of Education court's rejection of the Plessy v. Ferguson doctrine. Emphasizing the need to not be seen as overruling a prior decision merely because the individual members of the Court had changed, O'Connor states,

"Because neither the factual underpinnings of Roe's central holding nor our understanding of it has changed (and because no other indication of weakened precedent has been shown), the Court could not pretend to be reexamining the prior law with any justification beyond a present doctrinal disposition to come out differently from the Court of 1973.''Since the plurality overruled some portions of Roe v. Wade despite its emphasis on stare decisis, Chief Justice Rehnquist in dissent argued that this section was entirely obiter dicta. All these opening sections were joined by Justices Blackmun and Stevens for the majority. The remainder of the decision did not command a majority, but at least two other Justices concurred in judgment on each of the remaining points.

The plurality then overturned the formula used in Roe to weigh the woman's interest in obtaining an abortion against the State's interest in the life of the fetus. Continuing advancements in medical technology meant that at the time Casey was decided, a fetus might be considered viable at 22 or 23 weeks rather than at the 28 weeks that was more common at the time of Roe. The plurality recognized viability as the point at which the state interest in the life of the fetus outweighs the rights of the woman and abortion may be banned entirely "except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother".

The plurality also replaced the heightened scrutiny of abortion regulations under Roe, which was standard for fundamental rights in the Court's case law, with a lesser "undue burden" standard previously developed by O'Connor in her dissent in Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health.[3] A legal restriction posing an undue burden was defined as one having "the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus." The plurality also overruled City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 462 U.S. 416 (1983) and Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986),[4] each of which applied "strict scrutiny" to abortion restrictions.[5]

Applying this new standard to the Pennsylvania Act under challenge, the plurality struck down the spousal notice requirement, stating that it gave too much power to husbands over their wives and would worsen situations of spousal abuse. The plurality upheld the State's 24-hour waiting period, informed consent, and parental consent requirements, holding that none constituted an undue burden.

The Plurality, in section 5 of its decision, made a special note of the precedential value of Roe v. Wade, especially how women's lives were changed by that decision:

The sum of the precedential enquiry to this point shows Roe's underpinnings unweakened in any way affecting its central holding. While it has engendered disapproval, it has not been unworkable. An entire generation has come of age free to assume Roe's concept of liberty in defining the capacity of women to act in society, and to make reproductive decisions; no erosion of principle going to liberty or personal autonomy has left Roe's central holding a doctrinal remnant.

'--Planned Parenthood v. Casey[6]Notable by omission in the plurality is any mention of any right to privacy coming from the Constitution; while O'Connor does use "privacy" a few times in her opinion, the usages are all in the context of a quotation or paraphrase from Roe or other previous cases.

The concurrence/dissents[edit]William Rehnquist, Byron White, Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas'--the six Justices who did not join the plurality opinion'--wrote or joined opinions in which they partially concurred and partially dissented from the decision.

Rehnquist and Scalia each joined the plurality in upholding the parental consent, informed consent, and waiting period laws. However, they dissented from the plurality's decision to uphold Roe v. Wade and strike down the spousal notification law, contending that Roe was incorrectly decided. Rehnquist and Scalia joined each other's concurrence/dissents, and White and Thomas, who did not write their own opinions, joined in both.

Blackmun and Stevens wrote opinions in which they approved of the plurality's preservation of Roe and rejection of the spousal notification law. They did not, however, agree with the plurality's decision to uphold the other three laws at issue. Blackmun went further, sharply attacking and criticizing the anti-Roe bloc of the Court.

See also[edit]References[edit]^deCourcy Hind, Michael (1992-02-21). "The 1992 Campaign: Pennsylvania; Trouble Shadows Specter in Senate Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-15. ^Lane, Charles. "All Eyes on Kennedy in Court Debate On Abortion". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2010. ^Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 462 U.S. 416 (1983).^http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0476_0747_ZO.html^"The undue burden standard is binding on lower courts, see Marks v. United States, 430 U.S. 188, 193 (1977) (defining the holding of a divided Court as the view of the members of the Court who concurred on the narrowest grounds), although for stare decisis purposes, only the portion of the three-Justice opinion that garnered five votes counts as a full-fledged precedent in the Supreme Court itself." Michael C. Dorf, INCIDENTAL BURDENS ON FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, 109 Harv. L. Rev. 1175 at Note 197.^505 U.S. at 860, from Findlaw.comExternal links[edit]

NWO / Bank$etrs

41 IMF Bailouts And Counting '' How Long Before The Entire System Collapses?

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Source: Dprogram.net

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 20:39

(EconomicCollapse) '' Broke nations are bailing out other broke nations with borrowed money. Round and round we go '' where we stop nobody knows. As of April, 41 different countries had active financial ''arrangements'' with the IMF. Sometimes they are called ''bailouts'' and sometimes they are called other things, but in every single case they involve loans. And most of the time, these loans come with very stringent conditions. It is a form of ''global governance'' that most people don't even know about. For decades, the IMF has been able to use money as a way to force developing nations to do what it wants them to do.

But up until fairly recently, this had mostly only been done with poor nations. But now an increasing number of wealthy nations are turning to the IMF for help. We have already seen Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus receive bailouts which were partly funded by the IMF, Spain has received a bailout for its banking sector, and as I noted yesterday, it is being projected that Italy will need a major bailout within six months. How long can this go on before the entire system collapses?

Well, that would depend on how much money the lender has.

And so where does the IMF get their money?

The IMF gets their money from a bunch of nations that are absolutely drowning in debt themselves.The IMF is funded by ''wealthy'' nations that dominate the global economy. The following is how Wikipedia describes the IMF's quota system'...

The IMF's quota system was created to raise funds for loans. Each IMF member country is assigned a quota, or contribution, that reflects the country's relative size in the global economy. Each member's quota also determines its relative voting power. Thus, financial contributions from member governments are linked to voting power in the organization.

These are the five largest contributors to IMF funding'...

United States '' 16.75%Japan '' 6.23%Germany '' 5.81%France '' 4.29%UK '' 4.29%

But those countries are in trouble themselves. The U.S. has a debt to GDP ratio of over 100%. Japan has a debt to GDP ratio of over 200%.

The truth is that these countries are funding the IMF with borrowed money.

So what happens when the contributors run out of money and can't contribute anymore?

All over the globe, an increasing number of countries are reaching out to the IMF for help. For example, on Thursday we learned that Pakistan is getting a new bailout from the IMF'...

Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund have reached an initial agreement on a bailout of at least $5.3 billion.

Pakistani Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar and IMF mission chief Jeffrey Franks announced the agreement at a press conference Thursday.

And the new government in Egypt is hoping that the revolution that just occurred will not stop the flow of IMF funds'...

In recent months, a handful of neighboring countries such as Qatar have been keeping Egypt's economy afloat by loaning the country's central bank cash. That has bought Morsi government time to delay implementing the politically-sensitive measures the IMF has sought as a precondition before it gives Cairo a $4.8 billion credit line. In particular, the IMF had said that Egypt must raise taxes and begin phasing out fuel subsidies.

It's not the only cash at stake. Other international donors have vowed another $9.7 billion for the country once the IMF program is in place. Roughly $1.55 billion in bilateral aid from Washington could also be held up: under U.S. law, the administration can't loan money to countries where the military is involved in an unconstitutional change in government.

But what often happens with these bailouts is that the ''conditions'' that are imposed prove extremely difficult to meet. For example, Greece has not implemented all of the ''reforms'' that they were ordered to implement, and so the flow of future funds may be threatened'...

As Greece looks set to miss a key reform deadline set by international lenders, which could jeopardize further financial aid, a Greek government minister said it wasn't Greece's fault that it couldn't live up to the demands of a flawed bailout program.''There are failures [by Greece],but you assume that the program that has been effectively imposed on us is perfect, which is far from the case,'' Nikos Dendias, minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection, told CNBC on Thursday.

His comments come after Greek finance ministry officials said on Wednesday that Greece would not meet targets on reforming its public sector by the deadline set by international lenders, putting further financial aid in jeopardy.

Once a nation gets hooked on bailout money from the IMF or from other international sources, it can be very hard to get off of it. But that is what these globalist organizations like '' they want to be able to use money as a form of control.

As we saw with Greece, sometimes a nation will need bailout after bailout. And it appears that is also going to be the case with Portugal. The Portuguese government is on the verge of collapsing and their financial situation is being described as ''very fragile'''...

Portugal had been held up as an example of a bailout country doing all the right things to get its economy back in shape. That reputation is now harder to sustain and even before this latest crisis, the International Monetary Fund reported last month that Lisbon's debt position was ''very fragile''.

Coming soon after the near-collapse of the Greek government, which has been given until Monday to show it can meet the demands of its own EU-IMF bailout, the euro zone may be on the brink of falling back into full-on crisis.

Right now, Portuguese bond yields are absolutely soaring and the Portuguese economy is rapidly heading into depression.

Portugal is going to desperately need the assistance of the IMF.

But what happens when the nations that primarily fund the IMF start failing themselves?

The U.S. is a complete and total financial disaster and so is Japan. Much of Europe is already experiencing a full-blown economic depression and even China is showing signs of trouble.

So if the ''wealthy'' nations fail, who is going to be there to help the ''poor'' nations?

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 6th, 2013 at 1:38 pm and is filed under Dictatorship, Economic Crisis, Education/Mind Control, Fascism, NWO. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Performatives

National Intelligence Director Apologizes for Lying to Congress

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Source: Dprogram.net

Wed, 03 Jul 2013 15:27

July 3rd, 2013

(USNewsWorldReport) '' The director of National Intelligence apologized in June to the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee for lying during a hearing, according to a letter published on the DNI website on Tuesday.

Director James Clapper appeared before the committee in March, where Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked him specifically if NSA spies on millions of Americans. Clapper answered, ''No.''

Since then, Edward Snowden reportedly leaked government documents that unveiled a secretive government program that did precisely what Wyden suggested in collecting meta data for cell phone and internet records of hundreds of millions of Americans.

Clapper says the intricacy of Wyden's question '' asking for a clarification of ''hundreds of millions of dossiers on people'' '' combined with a need to preserve classified information prompted him to give the wrong answer.

''My response was clearly erroneous '' for which I apologize,'' he wrote in the letter to committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. ''While my staff acknowledged the error to Sen. Wyden's staff soon after the hearing, I can now openly correct it because the existence of the metadata collection program has been declassified.''

Full article here

Tags: lying to congress, national intelligence directorThis entry was posted on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 at 8:25 am and is filed under Dictatorship, Education/Mind Control, Fascism, Martial Law/Police State, NWO, Politics/Corrupt. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Ministry of Truth

The British Are Coming'--and They've Brought Newspapers - Atlantic Mobile

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Sat, 06 Jul 2013 08:52

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The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald speaks to reporters in Hong Kong after the release of Edward Snowden's identity. (Vincent Yu/AP)

Of the three English-language newspaper websites with the highest readerships, two are British.

The number one spot has been occupied since last January by the Mail Online, an industrial-sized feedbag of celebrity titillation and gossip, with a ComScore rating of 50.2 million monthly unique visitors worldwide for May. Currently in at number two is TheNew York Times, with 46.2 million. Snapping at its heels is The Guardian: it had 40.9 million last month.

That was before Edward Snowden arrived on the scene. Figures given exclusively to TheAtlantic show that -- according to internal analytics -- June 10, the day after Snowden revealed his identity on The Guardian's website, was the biggest traffic day in their history, with an astonishing 6.97 million unique browsers. Within a week of publishing the NSA files, The Guardian website has seen a 41 percent increase in U.S. desktop unique visitors (IP addresses loading the desktop site) and a 66 percent rise in mobile traffic. On June 10, for the first time in the paper's history, their U.S. traffic was higher than their UK traffic.

The publication of the NSA documents represented the first time since the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 that 'top secret' classified documents were made public - nothing in the files leaked by Bradley Manning to WikiLeaks in 2010 rated higher than 'secret'. They were leaked by former CIA employee Edward Snowden to The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, and a veteran team of reporters led by Editor-in-Chief of Guardian US Janine Gibson was convened to shape the raw data into the story. I met Gibson for an exclusive interview in TheGuardian's airy SoHo loft office on Wednesday. It is furnished identically to the paper's London headquarters in Kings Cross, where I worked for several years in 2009-11; white walls, shiny new iMacs and orthopaedic chairs. The staff is comparatively small -- Guardian U.S. employs just 57 people, 29 of them journalists.

Gibson offers me a cup of Yorkshire Gold tea brought over from England. "Glenn got [the story] first, and called me up," she tells me. "But a lot of this is difficult to talk about over open communications. You're like, 'hang on a minute. ... I'm not sure that Skype is a very very good idea.' So we talked in broad terms, and then very quickly got to the next stage where a certain amount of bona fides were being established, and then to: 'Right. I think you just -- get on a plane. Get on a plane.' So he came up here and we talked, and he showed me a very small amount of establishing material, and [we] got very very excited very fast."

Gibson sent Greenwald, along with Ewan McAskill, The Guardian's former diplomatic editor and D.C. bureau chief and a reporter of some 30 years standing, on a plane to Hong Kong to meet Snowden the following morning, at the same time bringing some investigative reporters out to New York from the London office to help process the story. By June 5 they were ready to publish the first story: the FISA order requisitioning Verizon phone data. From Wednesday to Saturday The Guardian published a new scoop each day, and on Sunday June 10 Snowden revealed himself as the whistleblower, explaining his rationale for the leak in a video interview with Greenwald hosted on the Guardian US site.

Greenwald had been working for The Guardian for less than a year, coming from Salon.com in August 2012, but he was already a well-known figure; a trained lawyer, a strident campaigner against the Patriot Act, and an award-winning journalist and author with three books in The New YorkTimes bestseller list. The pedigree, however, does not appear to have impressed The New York Times, which in its coverage of the leak uncharitably referred to TheGuardian as a "British news-site" and Greenwald as a "blogger" .

In their own way, these labels are fair enough; The Guardian doesn't put out a U.S. print edition, and Greenwald first made his name on his independent blog Unclaimed Territory.But the subtext there was the struggle of the New York Times to encapsulate the hybrid beast that the Guardian has created - which almost certainly helped it scoop the New York Times and other papers -- including The Washington Post -- on the PRISM leak.

During my time in America, I've become convinced that The Guardian is currently unique in the U.S. market. American broadsheet papers write news very differently from their counterparts in the UK; aloof, lengthy, sometimes even a little archaic, The New York Times -- and to a lesser extent The Washington Post and their cohort -- aim to be papers of record, even as they've begun to add daily and weekly blogs to their rosters. The Guardian's style is quite different, with more of an onus on live-blogging, reader engagement, and lighter-hearted content; it can be seen as sitting half-way between The New York Times and online-only outlets like BuzzFeed, despite the fact that its founding actually pre-dates that of the of the New YorkTimes by thirty years.

Back home, The Guardian, which is headquartered in London's fashionable and liberal N1 postcode, has a reputation for catering to a hip, urban, liberal crowd. Gibson says this is by design. "We want to build a different kind of newsroom [for the American operation]," she says. "That means being really great at live, real-time stuff, which was where we started, because it's a great place to grow quickly." In some ways, The Guardian's U.S. operation got very lucky in that its launch coincided with the birth of the Occupy movement; for a left-leaning newspaper with a talent for live, rolling coverage, Occupy was a match made in heaven. "We are really really good at live real-time stuff," Gibson says. "[The Guardian is] about telling great stories that are important and have significance in the world, and that generally means investigative, and then also be relevant, and be in people's lives and tell them stuff they need to know, which is live and real-time. And sometimes, either end of that stuff can be really quite funny, or at least humorous. It's not all kind of dense, and -- " she searches for the right term " -- kale salad."

Kale salad. Back home, The Guardian, which is headquartered in London's fashionable and liberal N1 postcode, has a reputation for catering to a hip, urban, liberal crowd -- and is often mocked for being left-wing, stiffly politically-correct and, on occasion, for having an obsession with health foods. A Buzzfeed UK article this year claims to have spotted the "most Guardian opening sentence of all time", which read:

At 10 to five one Saturday afternoon last year, I was walking up the Hornsey Road in London with a tin of rhubarb from Tesco, checking the football results on my iPhone after a lovely day at Kew Gardens. The phone replaced the BlackBerry I'd destroyed a month earlier by running into the sea to save my daughter from drowning.

But The Guardian also has a reputation for solid investigative journalism. The NSA story isn't their first rodeo. They were one of three publications to work closely with WikiLeaks to process the mountains of data leaed by Bradley Manning in 2010. When Rupert Murdoch's vast tabloid the News of the World was finally caught phone-hacking, it was The Guardian that brought it down, doggedly fighting for the story for two years against a storm of legal threats and denials from News International. Before that, the paper was known for having faced down a storm of litigation to prove that the former MP Jonathan Aitken had lied before a court, giving them probably their best-known front page, featuring the headline "He Lied And Lied And Lied".

I ask Gibson what's coming up for Guardian US, when the Snowden dust finally settles. "We will add commentators, we will add reporting, we will add verticals, we will continue to grow, and we'll work with commercial partners and do tech and business and all the things that we want to be," she says. The publication is doubling down on its investigative presence in the States as well: Investigative journalist Paul Lewis is joining the paper's Washington bureau from the London office this month, and Nick Davies, the reporter whose two years of digging brought about the phone-hacking scandal, is joining the New York team later in the year.

For nearly any other publication, there would be a big question looming over such expansion: cost. How can TheGuardian afford this kind of aggressive investment when other papers are being forced to scale back? Here The Guardian admittedly has some help: The paper enjoys the financial cushion of a large trust, which was set up in 1936 to carefully invest the fortune of the paper's most famous editor CP Scott. In its current form, the Scott Trust Limited is now the sole stakeholder in Guardian Media Group, so the paper has no shareholders nor a Rupert Murdoch-like proprietor; instead, any profits from the assets held by the group are used to maintain -- and propagate -- the newspaper operation. In essence, it is a journalistic perpetual-motion machine, one with exceptionally fortunate investment properties which managed to lose relatively little of their value during the financial crisis.

This is the financial grounding which enables the publication's experimentation. They have a very successful dating site in the UK -- Guardian Soulmates. They were ahead of the website curve, and have experimented very successfully with tablet and mobile apps.

Some of the experiments have yielded surprising conclusions about the new media landscape.

"All the things you believed to be true, are not really true," Gibson says. "'You shouldn't really launch a story on a Sunday afternoon, that's a dead zone!' - no it's not. Sunday afternoon's actually a brilliant time to launch a story. And actually, Friday night: perfectly good time to launch a story as well. Shouldn't be - a Friday night drop suggests it goes into a lull of the weekend -- but it's the internet, and people have smartphones, and people are going out to meet each other and tell each other things, and say 'did you see this'. The whole world has changed."

She grins happily. "Everything you think you know, you don't know any more."

Next ArticleNicky Woolf is a New York-based writer for British GQ and The New Statesman.

A Fake Beached Whale To Stir The Emotions Of Beachgoers | Co.Exist | World changing ideas and innovation

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Sat, 06 Jul 2013 10:06

Few things are as sad as the site of a beached whale being lapped at by the waves. That sentiment is often accompanied by a sense of human guilt as well--pollution, shipping activity, and even military sonar can all contribute to the beaching of marine mammals.

Since most people never see a beached whale in real life and get to experience those feelings, Belgian art collective Captain Boomer decided to bring a 17-meter plexiglass whale to the banks of London's River Thames for the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival of the arts, along with a crew of fake scientists who documented the scene.

According to the artists (via My Modern Met), "The psychological archetype of the dead big fish leaves no one untouched. It stirs and mobilizes a local community. During our beachings, we see an intensive interaction among the crowd. People address each other, speculate and wonder. They offer help and ask for information. The different layers of perception create funny games. Some audience members know it is a work of art but feed the illusion to other people.''

And for those who aren't so excited by fantasy and want real information? The British Divers Marine Association was kind enough to be on hand to answer questions about what would happen to the whale if it was real.

Zak StoneZak Stone is a staff writer at Co.Exist and a co-founder of Tomorrow Magazine.

July 3, 2013 | 8:30 AM

Spy vs Spy

Stasi vs NSA: A comparison of data storage

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Source: Hacker News

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 20:42

Stasi versus NSAHow much space would the filing cabinets of the Stasi and the NSA use up, if the NSA would print out their 5 Zettabytes?

Made by OpenDataCity. CC-BY 3.0.

The German President, Joachim Gauck, concluded in an interview with the ZDF on 30.6.2013, that the NSA was not to be compared with the Stasi:

We know for example, that it is not like it was with the Stasi and the KGB '' that there exist big filing cabinets in which all the content of our conversations are written down and nicely filed. This is not the case.

Wir wissen zum Beispiel, dass es nicht so ist wie bei der Stasi und dem KGB, dass es dicke Aktenb¤nde gibt, in denen unsere Gespr¤chsinhalte alle aufgeschrieben und sch¶n abgeheftet sind. Das ist es nicht.This statement is completely correct. At the NSA, conversation contents are not written down nor filed - but digitally recorded, saved and can be searched and found within seconds.

In contrast to the Stasi, the NSA can count on new technologies and can therefore collect information in gigantic quantities. To get the picture, we compared the data volume in this little app:

According to a report by the NPR, the data center of the NSA in Utha will be capable of saving 5 Zettabytes (5 billion Terabyte). Assuming that a filing cabinet with 60 files (30.000 pages of paper) uses up 0,4 m², which would correspond to 120 MB of data, the printed out Utah data center would use up 17 million square kilometers. Thereby the NSA can capture 1 billion times more data than the Stasi!

This page is uses Google Analytics. The NSA may already know that you're right here. contact

MIC

Defense.gov News Release: Missile Defense Test Conducted

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Sat, 06 Jul 2013 22:39

IMMEDIATE RELEASENo. 494-13July 05, 2013Missile Defense Test Conducted

The Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, Joint Functional Component Command, Integrated Missile Defense (JFCC IMD) and U.S. Northern Command conducted an integrated exercise and flight test today of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System. Although a primary objective was the intercept of a long-range ballistic missile target launched from the U.S. Army's Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands, an intercept was not achieved. The interceptor missile was launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

Program officials will conduct an extensive review to determine the cause or causes of any anomalies which may have prevented a successful intercept.

2TTH

Randy Udall, Brother of U.S. Senator, Found Dead in Wyoming

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Source: Crooks and Liars

Sat, 06 Jul 2013 23:23

Randy Udall - Energy Activist and Analyst.Randy Udall, brother of Colorado Senator Mark Udall, has been found dead in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains, apparently from natural causes, according to a statement from the lawmaker. ''Randy left this earth doing what he loved most: hiking in his most favorite mountain range in the world,'' the statement read. ''Randy's passing is a reminder to all of us to live every day to its fullest, just as he did.'' Their family had reported Randy, an experienced hiker, missing earlier in the week after he failed to return from his trip.

CNN:

"Randy Udall, 61, went on a hike in the Wind River Range in Wyoming on June 20 and was expected back six days later.

When the experienced hiker did not return, family members reported him missing. Rescue crews and helicopters scoured mountain passes to find him.

A helicopter search team discovered his body in a remote area on Wednesday afternoon, the Sublette County Sheriff's Office said."

Udall, brother of Senators Mark Udall of Colorado and Tom Udall of New Mexico, also is a son of the late Morris ''Mo'' Udall of Arizona, reportedly had planned on backpacking alone for nearly a week, starting on June 20. He is known to be an experienced mountaineer, and to have hiked in the Wind River Range numerous times.

Udall, a locally well-known advocate for alternative energy and the need to protect the environment from over-development, co-founded and was the original director of a valleywide energy efficiency organization, called the Community Office for Resource Efficiency or CORE.

Udall also has been an outspoken critic of the oil and gas recovery method known as hydraulic fracturing, or ''fracking,'' which is in widespread use around the U.S. and in Western Colorado, particularly in Garfield County,

Drone Nation

U.S. Has Nothing to Say About 10-Year-Old Killed in Drone Strike.

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Archived Version

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 01:52

So what does the administration have to say in response to evidence that a child was killed?

Nothing.

National security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden would not comment on the June 9 strike or more generally on the White House position on acknowledging civilian deaths. She referred further questions to the CIA, which also declined to comment.

The president's speech was the capstone on a shift in drone war policy that would reportedly bring the program largely under control of the military (as opposed to the CIA) and impose stricter criteria on who could be targeted. In theory, it could also bring some of the classified program into the open. As part of its transparency effort, the administration released the names of four U.S. citizens who had been killed in drone strikes.

An official White House fact sheet on targeted killing released along with the speech repeated the ''near-certainty'' standard for avoiding civilian casualties. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated it a few days later, when he told an audience in Ethiopia: ''We do not fire when we know there are children or collateral '-- we just don't do it.''

But White House press secretary Jay Carney said in late May that ''this commitment to transparency'...does not mean that we would be able to discuss the details of every counterterrorism operation.''

The new White House statements don't address what happens after a strike, even in general terms.

CIA Director John Brennan offered one of the few public explanations of how casualties are assessed during his nomination hearing in February. Before his confirmation, Brennan was the White House counterterrorism adviser, and is considered to be the architect of Obama's drone war policy.

He told senators that, ''analysts draw on a large body of information '-- human intelligence, signals intelligence, media reports, and surveillance footage '-- to help us make an informed determination about whether civilians were in fact killed or injured.''

Brennan also said the U.S. could work with local governments to offer condolence payments. As we've reported, there's little visible evidence of that happening.

At the hearing, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Brennan if the U.S. should acknowledge when it ''makes a mistake and kills the wrong person.''

''We need to acknowledge it publicly,'' Brennan responded. Brennan also proposed that the government make public ''the overall numbers of civilian deaths resulting from U.S. strikes.''

Neither overall numbers nor a policy of acknowledging casualties made it into Obama's speech, or into the fact sheet. Hayden, the White House spokeswoman, would not say why.

The government sharply disputes that there have been large numbers of civilian deaths but has never released its own figures. Independent counts, largely compiled from news reports, range from about 200 to around 1,000 for Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia combined over the past decade.

Researchers agree that the number of drone strikes and civilian deaths have dropped during the past year. (Before Obama's speech, an administration official attributed this partly to the new heightened standards.) The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which generally has the highest tally of civilian dead, has found there were between three and 16 civilians reportedly killed in about 30 drone or other airstrikes in Yemen and Pakistan so far this year. No strikes have been reported in Somalia.

''Official'' statistics might not be much help without knowing more about how they were compiled, said Sarah Holewinski, head of the advocacy group Center for Civilians in Conflict.

That's because it's still not clear how the U.S. distinguishes between civilians and ''militants,'' or ''combatants.''

In so-called signature strikes, operators sometimes fire on groups of people who appear to be engaged in militant activity without necessarily knowing their identities. The newly instituted drone rules reportedly roll back the military's ability to use signature strikes, but the CIA can keep firing in Pakistan under the old rules at least through the end of the year.

An administration official told ProPublica last year that when a strike is made, ''if a group of fighting-age males are in a home where we know they are constructing explosives or plotting an attack, it's assumed that all of them are in on that effort.''

The new White House fact sheet contradicts that, stating: ''It is not the case that all military-aged males in the vicinity of a target are deemed to be combatants.''

From the outside, in a strike like the recent one in Yemen, it's impossible to know how these things were determined. McClatchy reported that the target, Saleh Hassan Huraydan, had ''largely unquestioned'' ties to al Qaida. Yemeni officials said he arranged to bring money and fighters from Saudi Arabia to Yemen.

As for Huraydan's young brother, ''They may not have realized who was in the car. Or they may have realized it and decided collateral damage was okay,'' Holewinski says.

The same questions dog the death of another boy that the administration has acknowledged: the 16-year-old son of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric tied to terror attacks. Awlaki and his son were killed in separate strikes in Yemen in the fall of 2011. The boy, Attorney General Eric Holder has said, was ''not specifically targeted.''

Cora Currier was previously on the editorial staff of the New Yorker. She has written for the New Yorker's website, The European, Let's Go guides, and other publications. During the 2008 presidential election, she covered the youth vote for The Nation. She has also worked as a researcher for several books on history and politics. Cora graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Social Studies.

Out There

Commercials to be Broadcast Directly Into Consumers' Heads

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Source: Dprogram.net

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 15:58

''Suddenly a voice inside their head is talking to them''

(PaulWatson) '' A company in Germany has developed technology that will allow commercials and other announcements to be broadcast directly into train passengers' heads when they lean against the window.

''Tired commuters often rest their heads against windows. Suddenly a voice inside their head is talking to them. No one else can hear this message,'' states the video for the campaign launched by Sky Deutschland in association with ad agency BBDO Germany.

''The proposal involves using bone conduction technology, which is used in hearing aids, headphones and Google's Glass headset, to pass sound to the inner ear via vibrations through the skull,'' reports the Telegraph.

The sound is broadcast from a transmitter which is attached to the train window. BBDO said that as soon as approval is obtained from Sky Deutschland, the technology will be rolled out ''as quickly as possible''. The device has already been tested on public transport in Munich and Aachen.

Neither company addressed the possibility that tired commuters who rest their head against the window may want to sleep and not be bombarded with annoying commercials.

The technology can also be used to broadcast ''mass transport information,'' meaning those ominous security announcements you hear in airports and train stations may soon be playing inside your head.

YouTube users reacted to the idea with little in the way of enthusiasm.

''Ugh. We need ad blocker for our brains,'' remarked one.

''I think you'll start to see a few broken windows as this becomes more popular,'' added another.

Some were even more vehement, with one user commenting, ''I hate the kind of people who come up with these ideas. You are the scum of humanity, and I hope you fail miserably in your misguided pursuit to make everyone else's life that little bit harder for your own financial gain. Fuck you. Seriously. Fuck you. '-- A tired commuter.''

As we have previously detailed, the new wave of advertising is focused around the target consumer being bombarded with auditory and visual commercials against their will, technology which resembles the classic Minority Report scene where personalized ads are tailored to individuals via iris scans.

Back in 2006, Google announced that they would use in-built microphones to listen in on user's background noise, be it television, music or radio '' and then direct advertising at them based on their preferences.

In 2011, IBM announced that they are planning to scan ''RFID technology that people are carrying around with them'' in order to tailor ads to specific consumer tastes.

Last year, high-definition face-scanning cameras were installed at a bus stop in Oxford Street, London as part of a new invasive advertising campaign that delivers gender-specific targeted ad content.

The $60,000 dollar ad, displayed on a screen that is a cross between a huge iPad and an XBox Kinect, plays a 40 second video message when a female's face is scanned but only a brief message if a man walks past.

Creators of the ad Clear Channel UK and 3D Exposure reacted to concerns about Minority Report style invasive advertising by promising that future projects ''may soon surpass what we've seen at the cinema.''

Source: Infowars

All the American Flags On the Moon Are Now White

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Fri, 05 Jul 2013 18:33

NASA has finally answered a long-standing question: all but one of the six American flags on the Moon are still standing up. Everyone is now proudly talking about it. The only problem is that they aren't American flags anymore.

They are all white.

The debate on the Moon flags has been going on for decades. Engineers and historians have been discussing it without ever coming to a definitive answer as to their status. Even Dennis Lacarruba'--the manufacturer of the flags'--didn't think they would still be standing erect. Lacarruba's New Jersey company, Annin, made the nylon flags for $5.50 ($33 in 2012 dollars) a piece in 1969:

I can't believe there would be anything left. I gotta be honest with you. It's gonna be ashes.

Even the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera man, Dr. Mark Robinson, was skeptical. Like Lacarruba, Robinson thought that there wouldn't be any trace of the flags to be found.

But his own camera has proved him wrong. The LRO has been taking photos of the Moon landing sites for a while now. They are so sharp that you can even see the tracks of the rovers.

These photos show that the shadows of the flags are still there. There's even a video showing how the shadows change as the Moon rotates. Indeed, all of them are standing up except the one left by Armstrong and Aldrin, the first two men on the Moon. The Apollo 11 lunar module crew placed the flag too close to their spacecraft and, according to Buzz Aldrin himself, it was blown away as they blasted off to rendezvous with Michael Collins, on board Columbia, their Command and Service Module orbiting the Moon.

We come in peaceSo America f*ck yeah, right? Not quite. While the $5.50 nylon flags are still waving on the windless orb, they are not flags of the United States of America anymore. All Moon and material experts have no doubt about it: the flags are now completely white. If you leave a flag on Earth for 43 years, it would be almost completely faded. On the Moon, with no atmospheric protection whatsoever, that process happens a lot faster. The stars and stripes disappeared from our Moon flags quite some time ago.

According to lunar scientist Paul Spudis:

For forty-odd years, the flags have been exposed to the full fury of the Moon's environment '' alternating 14 days of searing sunlight and 100° C heat with 14 days of numbing-cold -150° C darkness. But even more damaging is the intense ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the pure unfiltered sunlight on the cloth (modal) from which the Apollo flags were made. Even on Earth, the colors of a cloth flag flown in bright sunlight for many years will eventually fade and need to be replaced. So it is likely that these symbols of American achievement have been rendered blank, bleached white by the UV radiation of unfiltered sunlight on the lunar surface. Some of them may even have begun to physically disintegrate under the intense flux.

Robinson and Lacarruba agree with Spudis.

S

So, at the end, it turns out that the commemorative plaque left by Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins on the Eagle's descent stage, left on the surface of the Moon, was right:

Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon.July 1969, A.D.We came in peace for all mankind.

Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, Edwin E. Aldrin

We came in peace indeed. And here's the flag to prove it.

Now, take us to your leader.

VIDEOS

RadioWHY '' Russ Baker on NSA, Snowden, more, on KSFR Santa Fe

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Source: WhoWhatWhy

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 15:19

By James Huang on Jul 5, 2013

Radio: WhoWhatWhy Editor Russ Baker interviewed on independent radio station KSFR, Santa Fe, NM. Topics: NSA, Snowden, surveillance, what we should be afraid of, what we should do about that fear, and more. Approx. 28 minutes.

Click HERE to play/download.

WhoWhatWhy plans to continue doing this kind of groundbreaking original reporting. You can count on it. But can we count on you? We cannot do our work without your support.Please click here to donate; it's tax deductible. And it packs a punch.

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Keep it civil. Keep it relevant. Keep it clear. Keep it short. Keep it intelligent. Identify your assertions as fact or speculation. No typing in ALL-CAPS. And please read the article in its entirety before commenting. Note: We reserve the right to remove any post at any time.

VIDEO-Video: Egyptian Man Delivers Powerful Message To Obama | The Top Information Post

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Sat, 06 Jul 2013 23:22

***** ENGLISH MESSAGE STARTS AT 0:40 *****

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VIDEO-AUDIO-Asiana Airlines 214 San Francisco CRASH ATC RECORDING Original - YouTube

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Sun, 07 Jul 2013 02:55

VIDEO-You Always Know It's Serious When They Cue The Dramatic Music! - YouTube

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VIDEO-China And Russia Hold Joint Naval War Games In Sea Of Japan - YouTube

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VIDEO-CNN: GITMO Hunger Strike Reaches Day 150! Wait What...? - YouTube

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VIDEO-Fears Of Mass Casualties After Train Carrying Crude Oil Explodes In Canada - YouTube

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VIDEO-Obama called on not visiting Kenya - his father's homeland - YouTube

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VIDEO-60 reported missing as runaway Canada oil train explosion forces town evacuation (VIDEO) - BlackListedNews.com

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Sat, 06 Jul 2013 23:27

Screenshot from youtube.com @Francois Rodrigue

Four tanker cars of petroleum exploded in the east Canadian province of Quebec after a train derailed, leaving flames billowing hundreds of feet into the sky. Some 30 buildings were destroyed and 1,000 evacuated from homes. Local radio reports 60 missing.

''It's dreadful,'' Lac-Megantic resident Claude Bedard told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. ''It's terrible. We've never seen anything like it. The Metro store, Dollarama, everything that was there is gone.''The 73-tanker train left the tracks shortly after 1 a.m. local time as it was passing through the French-speaking lakeside town of Lac-Megantic, causing a huge fireball to rise into the night sky. Witnesses told Reuters they heard at least five loud blasts. The fire spread to a number of homes.

Radio Canada has reported that dozens are missing.

The blast was described as ''like an atomic bomb,'' by a local restaurant owner. Bernard Demers had to evacuate the premises, telling AP that everybody had been terrified.

The train ''somehow got released,'' and had no conductor on board, according to the rail company. The convoy of crude oil left the station of its own accord during a shift change in Nantes, west of the affected region.

''We're not sure what happened, but the engineer did everything by the book. He had parked the train and was waiting for his relief,'' Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, Inc Vice President Joseph McGonigle said on Saturday.

Twitter user Mathieu Huchette wrote that one hour before explosion, at 11.25pm in Nantes, ''the train was already on fire and on autopilot.''

@Juste_EntreNous 1 heure avant explosion, 23h25 Nantes, le train d(C)j en feu et pilote automatique 'Ž#LacM(C)ganticpic.twitter.com/ccA1hmcOeA

'-- Mathieu Huchette (@MrHuchette) July 6, 2013

Approximately 1,000 of the town's 6,000 residents have been evacuated, with many missing. Police imposed a 1/2-mile (1-km) security zone around the blast's center.

Early on Saturday, a Quebec provincial police Lt., Michel Brunet, told a press briefing that it had been too early to say if there were any casualties.

''I can say absolutely nothing about victims'...we've been told about people who are not answering their phones, but you have to understand that there are people who are out of town and on holiday,'' said Brunet.

''Thoughts & prayers are with those impacted in Lac Megantic. Horrible news,'' tweeted Prime Minister Stephen Harper as firemen tried to calm the blaze.

Another unbelievable shot from #LacMegantic: pic.twitter.com/yhu1Z6sUOx

'-- Michael Forian (@Forian) July 6, 2013

Around 20 fire engines have been battling the inferno, which they fear could spread as many tanker cars are still at risk of exploding. Firetrucks have been dispatched from northern Maine, US, to assist.

''There are still wagons which we think are pressurized. We're not sure because we can't get close, so we're working on the assumption that all the cars were pressurized and could explode. That's why progress is slow and tough,'' said local fire chief Denis Lauzon.

'-- Michael Forian (@Forian) July 6, 2013

''Right now, there is a lot of smoke in the air, so we have a mobile laboratory here to monitor the quality,'' Christian Blanchette, a spokesperson for Environment Quebec, told AP. Smoke could be seen from several miles away hours after the derailment occurred.

''When you see the center of your town almost destroyed, you'll understand that we're asking ourselves how we are going to get through this event,'' a tearful town Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche told a news briefing.

The railroad is under the supervision of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic. The company owns around 500 miles of track across Maine and Vermont in the US, as well as in Quebec and New Brunswick in Canada.

Train derailments carrying petroleum products in Canada have not been uncommon in recent months. An accident last week in Calgary, Alberta saw a train derailed on a collapsing bridge, threatening to send the diesel-carrying cars into the swollen Bow River.

BBC News - Doubts over ElBaradei's appointment as Egypt PM

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Sun, 07 Jul 2013 13:12

6 July 2013Last updated at18:32 ETEgypt's new president says pro-reform leader Mohamed Elbaradei has not yet been appointed as interim prime minister despite earlier reports.

A spokesman for interim President Adly Mansour said consultations were continuing.

Officials had earlier named Mr ElBaradei - a former head of the UN's nuclear watchdog - for the post.

News of his appointment had been criticised by the Salafist Nour Party, which said it would not work with him.

It came three days after the army removed Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi following growing public unrest.

The appointment of Mr ElBaradei caused anger among supporters of Mr Morsi, who want to see him returned to power.

"Interim President Adly Mansour met today with Dr ElBaradei but so far there has been no official appointment," Agence France-Presse news agency quoted presidential advisor Ahmed al-Muslimani as saying.

But he added that Mr ElBaradei was "the logical choice" among a list of names being considered, the news agency said.

Mr ElBaradei and other party leaders attended a meeting called by Mr Mansour on Saturday.

He leads an alliance of liberal and left-wing parties, the National Salvation Front.

In a BBC interview on Thursday, Mr ElBaradei defended the army's intervention, saying: "We were between a rock and a hard place."

"It is a painful measure, nobody wanted that," he said. "But Mr Morsi unfortunately undermined his own legitimacy by declaring himself a few months ago as a pharaoh and then we got into a fist fight, and not a democratic process."

Polarised nationPlease turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

Mohamed ElBaradei: "We were between a rock and a hard place"

Earlier, news of Mr ElBaradei's appointment was greeted with cheers in Cairo's Tahrir Square - the main focus of anti-Morsi demonstrations.

People there set off firecrackers, honked car horns and waved flags when they heard the news, AFP news agency reports.

However Egypt's second-biggest Islamist group, the Salafist hard-line Nour party - which had initially backed the army-led "roadmap" to new elections - criticised the nomination.

Nour deputy leader Ahmed Khalil told the state news website Al-Ahram that the appointment "violates the roadmap that the political and national powers had agreed on". He added that the party would withdraw from the transition process if Mr ElBaradei was sworn in.

The move comes a day after more than 30 people died and about 1,000 were wounded in protests staged by Islamist supporters of the deposed president.

The Muslim Brotherhood - to which Mr Morsi belongs - has said its followers would remain on the streets until he is restored to office.

On Saturday funerals were held for those who died. Outside Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque - where the Islamists have camped for the past 10 days - an imam told mourners to pray for the "martyrs of legitimacy".

The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Cairo says Egypt remains sharply divided between Islamist supporters of Mr Morsi and rival demonstrators who helped force him from office.

The latter have called for demonstrations against the Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday.

Mr Morsi is in detention, along with some senior Brotherhood figures.

He was replaced on Thursday by Mr Mansour - the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court - who promised to hold elections soon but gave no date.

The Tamarod [Rebellion] movement - which organised recent anti-Morsi protests - had accused the ousted president of pursuing an Islamist agenda against the wishes of most Egyptians, and of failing to tackle economic problems.

The US and other Western countries have expressed concern over the Mr Morsi's removal, and have called for reconciliation and speedy elections.

VIDEO-AUDIO-STUDENTS LAY TO WASTE NSA RECRUITERS; YOU HAVE GOT TO LISTEN TO THIS: - YouTube

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Fri, 05 Jul 2013 18:37

VIDEO-BBC News - Spain 'told Edward Snowden was on Bolivia president's plane'

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Fri, 05 Jul 2013 19:26

5 July 2013Last updated at09:38 ETPlease turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

President Evo Morales (L): "If necessary, we will close the US embassy"

Spain and other European countries were told that US whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board the Bolivian president's plane earlier this week, the Spanish foreign minister has said.

Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo refused to say who gave out the information.

The plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales from Moscow back to La Paz was grounded for 13 hours in Austria earlier this week after it was banned from European airspace.

Edward Snowden was not found on board.

The incident has been widely condemned by President Morales and several other South American nations, who have demanded an apology from the countries involved.

Diplomatic damage?"They told us they were sure... that he was on board," Mr Garcia-Margallo told Spanish television, without indicating who "they" are.

"And so the reaction of all the European countries that took measures - whether right or wrong - was because of the information that had been passed on. I couldn't check if it was true or not at that moment because it was necessary to act straight away."

Mr Garcia-Margallo denied reports that Spain - along with France, Portugal and Italy - had closed its airspace to the plane.

He said the delay in Austria meant the flight permit had expired and had to be renewed, so there was "no need to apologise".

Mr Garcia-Margallo's comment is the first official recognition by the European states that the incident with Mr Morales' plane was connected with the Snowden affair.

Spain will be keen to limit the diplomatic damage as it does a lot of trade with countries in Latin America, the BBC's Tom Burridge reports from Madrid.

France earlier apologised for the plane incident, blaming it on "conflicting information".

Embassy closure threatPresident Morales' plane was rerouted on Tuesday as he travelled from a meeting in Russia where he had suggested he would be willing to consider an asylum application from Mr Snowden.

The former CIA contractor is believed to be holed up at the transit area of Moscow airport after leaking details of a vast US surveillance programme.

He has sent requests for political asylum to a number of countries, including Bolivia.

Continue reading the main storyMy hand would not tremble to close the US embassy''

End QuoteEvo MoralesBolivian PresidentMr Morales was joined by the presidents of Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Venezuela and Suriname at a meeting on Thursday to discuss the incident.

The leaders demanded an explanation from France, Portugal, Italy and Spain over their actions and, although the US was not mentioned in their statement, several of them criticised the Americans in comments after the meeting.

The Bolivian president blamed Washington for pressurising European countries into refusing him passage, and threatened to close the US embassy in La Paz.

"We have dignity, sovereignty. Without America, we are better off politically and democratically," he said.

The US state department has not commented directly on the latest claims, saying only that Washington had "been in touch with a broad range of countries" over the Snowden case.

Demonstrators marched on the French embassy in La Paz on Wednesday, burning the French flag and demanding the expulsion of the ambassador to Bolivia.

Mr Morales' plane took off from Vienna on Wednesday morning and arrived back in La Paz on Wednesday night.

$2 million bail for man found near UW with molotov cocktails | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News

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Sun, 07 Jul 2013 01:22

SEATTLE -- Prosecutors say a man who was caught in a stolen truck full of stolen weapons, body armor and incendiary devices had maps of three local colleges and evidence indicating he was planning some sort of incident in the western United States.Justin M. Jasper was ordered held on $2 million bail during his first court appearance Friday.

Jasper was arrested Thursday after University of Washington police had discovered he was driving a truck reported stolen out of Montana. While searching the truck, police found a stolen scoped rifle, a stolen shotgun, body armor, knives, a machete, and six incendiary devices.

"They were well made devices. Some would call them molotov cocktails," interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel said during a Thursday press conference.

In court Friday, prosecutors revealed new evidence against Jasper, including a Podcast that indicated Jasper had anti-government views and was planning something in the western United States in support of the Brazilian revolution.

"In the Podcast, Mr. Jasper asks the question: 'Who is supporting the Brazilian revolution,' " prosecutor Andrew Hamilton told the judge. "(Jasper) goes on to say: 'Because I know I am. I won't say where, but somewhere in the Western United States. I'm going to make sure people understand and notice it.' "

Hamitlon said Jasper was also found with maps of the University of Washington, Seattle University and South Seattle Community College during his arrest, in addition to anti-government literature and documents about the Syrian and Brazillian revolutions.

When he was arrested, Jasper listed his occupation as self-employed journalist and had just 25 cents on him, according to court documents.

In setting the high bail, the judge agreed that Jasper posted an extreme flight risk and a danger to the community.

"Having an assembled Molotov cocktail appears to communicate to this court an imminent threat," the judge said.

Jasper is from Nevada and has no known ties to the Seattle area, investigators said.

A video posted five days ago to an account associated with Jasper shows the Nevada man burning a $5 bill.

Burn Another1 from Miles Jasper on Vimeo.

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