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Executive Producers: Sir Pap Smear, Dame Astrid, Earl Melancon, Werner Flipsen, Beth Amann
Associate Executive Producers: Wlodek Zieleniec, John White
Knighthoods: Tim Saunder, Todd Brink
Art By: Thoren
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New: Directory Archive of Shownotes (includes all audio and video assets used) nashownotes.com
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Torrents of each episode via BitLove
He and wife Michelle paid an effective tax rate of 18.4% and donated $150,034 to 33 different charities.
Sun, 14 Apr 2013 01:26
Illustration by Robert Neubecker.
Beware the DSM-5, the soon-to-be-released fifth edition of the ''psychiatric bible,'' the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The odds will probably be greater than 50 percent, according to the new manual, that you'll have a mental disorder in your lifetime.
Although fewer than 6 percent of American adults will have a severe mental illness in a given year, according to a 2005 study, many more'--more than a quarter each year'--will have some diagnosable mental disorder. That's a lot of people. Almost 50 percent of Americans (46.4 percent to be exact) will have a diagnosable mental illness in their lifetimes, based on the previous edition, the DSM-IV. And the new manual will likely make it even "easier" to get a diagnosis.
If we think of having a diagnosable mental illness as being under a tent, the tent seems pretty big. Huge, in fact. How did it happen that half of us will develop a mental illness? Has this always been true and we just didn't realize how sick we were'--we didn't realize we were under the tent? Or are we mentally less healthy than we were a generation ago? What about a third explanation'--that we are labeling as mental illness psychological states that were previously considered normal, albeit unusual, making the tent bigger. The answer appears to be all three.
First, we've gotten better at detecting mental illness and doing so earlier in the course of the illness. For decades, mental health clinicians, physicians, the U.S. surgeon general's office, and various state and local agencies have been advocating for better detection of mental illness. If we are better at spotting it, we can treat it. And if we detect it earlier, we can, hopefully, intervene to reduce the intensity and/or frequency of symptoms. For instance, people who decades ago may have had undiagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, or substance abuse are now more likely to have their problems recognized and diagnosed. But the increased awareness and detection translates into a higher rate of mental illness.
Second, we really are getting ''sicker.'' The high prevalence of mental illness in the United States isn't only because we've gotten better at detecting mental illness. More of us are mentally ill than in previous generations, and our mental illness is manifesting at earlier points in our lives. One study supporting this explanation took the scores on a measure of anxiety of children with psychological problems in 1957 and compared them with the scores of today's average child. Today's children'--not specifically those identified as having psychological problems, as were the 1957 children'--are more anxious than those in previous generations.
Another study compared cohorts of American adults on the personality trait of neuroticism, which indicates emotional reactivity and is associated with anxiety. Americans scored higher on neuroticism in 1993 than they did in 1963, suggesting that as a population we are becoming more anxious. Another study compared the level of narcissism among cohorts of American college students between 1982 and 2006 and found that more recent cohorts are more narcissistic.
An additional study supports the explanation that more people are diagnosed with mental illness because more of us have mental illness: The more recently an American is born, the more likely he or she is to develop a psychological disorder. Collectively, this line of research indicates that more is going on than simply better detection of mental illness.
Here's a third explanation for the increased prevalence of mental illness, one that implies something important about our culture: What was once considered psychological healthy (or at least not unhealthy) is now considered to be mental illness. Some of the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that were within the then-normal range of human experience are now deemed to be in the pathological part of the continuum. Thus, the actual definition of mental illness has broadened, creating a bigger tent with more people under it. This explanation implies that we, as a culture, are more willing to see mental illness in ourselves and in others.
The increasing prevalence is in part because each edition of the DSM has increased the overall number of disorders. The DSM-I, from 1952, listed 106; the DSM-III, from 1980, listed 265, and the current DSM-IV has 297. (Complaints about this ever-increasing total led the chair of the DSM-5 task force, David Kupfer, to announce that the total number of disorders in DSM-5will not increase. One way to add new diagnoses'--and DSM-5 will'--but not increase the total is to make a disorder in a previous edition into a ''subtype'' of another disorder in the new edition, thereby keeping two diagnostic entities, but with one subsumed under another.)
The increasing number of disorders comes about because some ''problems'' that were not previously considered to be mental illness were reclassified as such by their inclusion in the DSM'--and it is the DSM that functionally defines mental illness in the United States.
As an example, prior to the DSM-IV, there was no diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome; rather, people with what is now called Asperger's would have been diagnosed with autism (''high functioning'' autism) or not diagnosed at all. This syndrome was added as a separate disorder to highlight the different forms that autism symptoms may take and to focus research on the most effective treatments for Asperger's. Others, however, claimed that the diagnostic label pathologized quirkiness. (In DSM-5, Asperger's is classified as a subtype of a newly consolidated single diagnosis ''autism spectrum disorder.'')
Some of the disorders added to DSM editions are primarily'--or wholly'--medical in nature. One example is the diagnosis of ''breathing-related sleep disorder,'' which arises from medical problems that interfere with sleep. One such medical problem is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the muscles of the throat relax so much during sleep that they narrow or block the airway. Throughout the night, people with obstructive sleep apnea have their deep sleep cut short as they relax because they stop breathing; once in a lighter phase of sleep, they breathe normally again. This disorder is not a mental disorder, but a medical one.
Another example is the ''disorder'' ''caffeine intoxication,'' characterized by at least five symptoms after consuming the equivalent of two to three cups of coffee: restlessness, gastrointestinal problems, difficulty sleeping, nervousness, and rapid heartbeat. To meet the diagnosis, the symptoms must impair functioning in some way. It's hard to believe that an episode of too much coffee or Red Bull constitutes a mental disorder, but there you have it. DSM-5 has added ''caffeine withdrawal'' as a diagnosis'--characterized by a withdrawal headache plus at least one other symptom, such as drowsiness, that interferes with some aspect of functioning. With disorders like this in the DSM, it's no wonder that half of Americans will have a diagnosable disorder in their lifetimes. The wonder is why more Americans won't!
Asperger's syndrome, which will be redefined into the broader category of autism spectrum disorders in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, is one of several changes to the "psychiatry bible." Above, Matthew Kolen was diagnosed at age 8 with Asperger's.
Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
In addition to classifying some medical disorders as mental disorders, the DSM also has been nibbling at the edges of ''normal'' by reclassifying as pathological the patterns of thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that were previously considered normal (albeit perhaps weird or odd). For instance, people who are extremely shy and concerned about how others might evaluate them, and who thus avoid certain types of activities, might be diagnosed with ''avoidant personality disorder.'' These same characteristics didn't used to be considered pathological, and in some other cultures they are not considered to be so.
Another way that the increased prevalence of mental illness occurs is by lowering the threshold of what it takes to be diagnosed with a given disorder. For instance, DSM-5 will change in the criteria for ''generalized anxiety disorder,'' a disorder that involves excessive and persistent worrying. Whereas the criteria in DSM-IV required three out of six symptoms of worrying, only one symptom is needed in DSM-5. Similarly, whereas in DSM-IV the symptoms must have persisted for at least six months, in DSM-5 the duration has been reduced to three months. So if you are excessively worried for three months about your finances or your health or that of a family member (to the point where you can't control the worries), you would be considered to have a disorder, whereas in the past you would not have.
One effect of a bigger mental illness tent is that there are fewer people standing outside the tent. Although the next edition of the DSM might not increase the overall number of disorders, if the criteria are loosened (that is, if it takes fewer symptoms or less severity to meet the criteria for diagnosis), then more people would qualify for a disorder. There are, and probably will continue to be, fewer and fewer people who will live their lives in relatively good mental health according to the DSM.
The normal trials and tribulations of life'--the periods of sadness, or worry, of anxiety, or grief, of difficulty sleeping, of drinking too much caffeine or having caffeine withdrawal headaches'--have been pathologized. They've been made into mental illnesses. More ''normal'' thoughts, feelings, and actions have come to merit a diagnosis. This way toward providing a bigger tent for mental illness leaves us with an increasingly restricted definition of mental health and can make us all more likely to see mental illness even when it isn't there'--where there is just normal human struggle. We can become so used to seeing psychopathology that we think'--erroneously'--that being odd or having difficulties must be an expression of mental illness.
What is going in our culture that allows for this expanding definition of mental illness? There are many explanations. The first is related to payment for treatment. Psychological treatments and medications can be useful for a variety of problems, but for those treatments to be even partially paid for by health insurance companies, the problems must have a diagnosis. It's not enough that there's a problem that's being addressed. It has to be a problem. (Of course, if you treat a problem before it becomes a mental illness, the health insurance company will have ended up saving a significant amount of money, but they don't pay for early mental health intervention'--there has to be a problem. But that's a story beyond the scope of this article.)
Second, pharmaceutical companies search for ever-wider markets for their products. When more people are diagnosed with a given disorder (perhaps because of less stringent criteria), or a new diagnosis is created, it widens the market for their drugs. They push for ''off-label'' uses of their medications that in some way reduce a problem, and then they push for that ''problem'' to be redefined as a problem. In fact, DSM-5 and the pharmaceutical industry have a significant number of connections: One study found that 70 percent of DSM-5 task-force members have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Third is increased work expectations. The pace and demands of many jobs have increased. Many companies maintain as few workers as possible to get the work done, and if an employee can't reliably perform up to the (more intense) pace, he or she risks getting fired. If an employee has been feeling ''down'' or ''anxious'' enough that it's not possible to work at near 100 percent or even 90 percent productivity, a pill that promises to counteract the symptoms of a newly identified psychological disorder seems like a better alternative than limping along, worried about being fired on top of other problems.
Fourth, in our era of instant gratification, ushered along by online shopping, downloaded entertainment, and the immediate access to the world available through the Internet, if we have problems, we want a quick fix. If a medication will help lessen uncomfortable thoughts or feelings or maladaptive behavior, we are receptive to medication. To quote Sami Tamimi, an adolescent psychiatrist in the United Kingdom, ''Like fast food, recent medication-centered practice comes from the most aggressively consumerist society (USA), feeds on people's desire for instant satisfaction and a 'quick fix,' fits into a busy life-style.'' But if we're going to take a medication, we need to have a problem that is being treated'--at least to get those doctors' visits reimbursed by the insurance company.
Fifth, certain diagnoses'--along with other criteria'--make the sufferer eligible for government services or programs or supplementary educational services, or allow them to claim legal rights of nondiscrimination. People who feel they or their loved ones could benefit from those services may advocate for a widening in criteria that enables more people to be diagnosed and thus eligible for those services. For instance, the diagnostic criteria for autism will change with DSM-5, and people diagnosed with the disorder'--per DSM-IV'--and their loved ones have vociferously expressed their concern that the new criteria will be more restrictive and thus will exclude some who currently have the diagnosis.
Finally, I think there is an additional reason: As our lives take on an even more frantic pace and our workload becomes ever greater, having a diagnosis gives a name to the suffering we feel and the hope that with a label can come relief. In dark or difficult times, hope is essential. But I'm not sure that ultimately labeling half of us with a mental disorder is the best way to give people realistic hope. Having a diagnosable mental illness has almost become the new ''normal.'' As a society, we have an opportunity to think about how we define mental health and illness. It shouldn't only be up to the authors of the DSM.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:42
WASHINGTON '-- In the days after the Newtown, Conn., massacre, the one thing opponents and advocates of gun control agreed on was the need to address deficiencies in the mental health system so that killers like Adam Lanza would stop slipping through the cracks.
Since then, however, with Congress consumed by issues like background checks and a ban on assault weapons, there has been comparatively little focus on how American society deals with mentally ill people.
But quietly, lawmakers have been working on several plans that would lead to some of the most significant advancements in treating mental illness in years, proponents said. All stand a good chance of being in the final gun-control bill the Senate is now taking up.
The legislation would, among other things, finance the construction of more community mental health centers, provide grants to train teachers to spot early signs of mental illness and make more Medicaid dollars available for mental health care.
There would be suicide prevention initiatives and support for children who have faced trauma. The sponsors of one of the bills estimated that an additional 1.5 million people with mental illness would be treated each year.
The issue is one of the more distinguishing '-- and unnoticed '-- aspects of the gun-control debate, which has been stymied by partisan squabbling.
Unlike other initiatives that the Senate is likely to vote on '-- expanded background checks, a restriction on high-capacity ammunition magazines and a ban on certain semiautomatic weapons '-- mental health unites lawmakers Republican and Democrat, urban and rural, even those with safe seats versus those who may face competitive races.
One bill, sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, has been joined by some of the Senate's most conservative members who are strongly backed by the National Rifle Association, including Marco Rubio of Florida and Roy Blunt of Missouri, both Republicans.
Another bill, which has the support of Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, and Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, unanimously passed a Senate committee this week, something that could hardly be said about any of the gun legislation.
''This is a place where people can come together,'' Ms. Stabenow said. ''As we've listened to people on all sides of the gun debate, they've all talked about the fact that we need to address mental health treatment. And that's what this does.''
Indeed, some Republicans have used mental health care as a political refuge while pressure to act on gun laws built. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, who has not wavered in his opposition to tighter gun laws, met with families of Newtown victims but said he came away believing they wanted to attack mental health problems above all else.
''This is actually something we can and should do something about,'' Mr. Cornyn said. ''We need to make sure that the mentally ill are getting the help they need.''
Advocates for better mental health services said that many of them were initially uneasy about seizing on an event as tragic as the Connecticut school shootings. But they came to believe that the current time was the best opportunity for real change, and that they might not get another one for a while.
''This is our moment,'' said Linda Rosenberg, the president of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. ''I hate the connection between gun violence and the need for better mental health care, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.''
President Obama has also joined the effort. His budget includes $130 million for programs that would help detect mental illness in young children, train educators to spot those signs and refer the students to treatment.
Treatment for mentally ill people is but one of the myriad issues before Congress, and it lacks not only headline-grabbing elements like semiautomatic weapons and gun-show loopholes, but also a backer like Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York who can bankroll a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to keep reminding voters to contact their senators.
Nevertheless, the issue has moved rapidly through the Senate, because of the efforts of the mental health lobby and because many legislators have a personal connection to mental illness. Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, spoke the other day about his father's suicide by gun.
Senate Democratic aides said that there is likely to be at least one mental health bill offered as an amendment to the larger gun package. The problem will be accommodating all of the additions.
Democrats have to agree to allow Republicans the same number of amendments as they give themselves. To reduce the likelihood that Republicans will offer multiple amendments that could water down and even torpedo the gun bill, it is in Democrats' interest to limit their amendments.
A major reason proponents of this legislation see it as so significant is that unlike background checks or weapons bans, properly treating mental illness can prevent problems before a potential killer ever tries to buy a gun.
''Interestingly enough, if you look at Aurora, Tucson, Newtown, the people we're talking about are very likely not individuals whose names would be on any lists,'' said Ronald S. Honberg, the legal director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He noted that none of the recent spree killers he mentioned had been declared ''mentally defective'' by a judge, which is the legal standard for an individual's name landing in the background check system.
Though more-stringent reporting standards into the nation's background check system will undoubtedly help, he added, there will always be holes.
''It's very difficult to come up with a system that's foolproof,'' he said. ''The bigger point is if you really want to improve mental health care in this country, then let's improve mental health care.''
Hello, everybody --
Each week, like many presidents before me, I sit down to record a
short address to the nation. It's something I take very seriously
because it offers a chance to bring focus to an issue that needs to be
part of the national dialogue.
But today, I've asked someone to take my place.
Francine Wheeler is a mother. She and her family live in Newtown,
Connecticut. Four months ago, her six year-old son Ben was murdered in
his elementary school, along with 19 other children and six brave
Joined by her husband David, Francine shares her perspective about
the steps we can take to reduce gun violence and prevent the kind of
tragedy she understands all too well.
It's a message that every American should hear:
Watch Francine, then join her in speaking out to make our country safer.
This week, because people like Francine and like you got involved,
the U.S. Senate took a step forward on commonsense reforms to reduce gun violence.
And that's good. Because this shouldn't be about politics. This is
about doing the right thing for families that have been torn apart by
gun violence, and for all our families going forward.
But we've got a lot of work to do before Congress finishes the job.
So if you believe that we can take sensible steps to protect more of
our kids from gun violence and protect our Second Amendment rights,
stand up and join us.
Just visit WhiteHouse.gov to get started:
Sat, 13 Apr 2013 10:42
Francine Lobis, the daughter of Antoinette and Carmen Lobis of Bonita Springs, Fla., is to be married today to David Cole Wheeler, a son of Ann Berquist of Ordinary, Va., and Ellsworth Wheeler of Charleston, S.C. The Rev. Mary Tiebout, a Unitarian Universalist minister, will officiate at the Aldie Mansion in Doylestown, Pa.
Ms. Lobis, 34, works in New York as the personal assistant to Maureen White, the finance chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. The bride is also a music and movement teacher for infants and toddlers in the Gymboree program in New York. She graduated from Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Wheeler, 40, is an actor and musician based in New York. He performed recently with the Lexington Group, an acting troupe, at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston and at the New York International Fringe Festival. He is also a freelance illustrator. He graduated from San Diego State University. The bridegroom's previous marriage ended in divorce.
The couple met in September 1999 at the Squeeze Lounge in New York. The bridegroom, a member of a comedy duo, Ward & Wheeler, was host to a variety show, and the bride was performing with the guest act, SwingSet, a vocal trio.
Photo (Naomi Barr)
Sat, 13 Apr 2013 10:39
When a band cites among its musical influences the Beatles, Duke Ellington, the Grateful Dead, Woody Guthrie, Led Zeppelin, and Mozart, you know you and your family are in for a wild ride. And that's exactly what the Dream Jam Band delivers. Recently, we spoke with singer Francine Wheeler about the band, its members and all those influences.Meet the Artist: Francine WheelerHow did you all get together?We've all been professional musicians and teachers in the New York area for a long time. Maestro C and Barry G had been teaching and Erin the Red had been performing. I'd been doing a lot of musical theater. And so we all met around that scene. I'd just had a baby and was also teaching preschoolers and I had become totally inspired by them. I realized that I love kids so much that I wanted to sing to them.
You and Barry G both have kids. Do you try out the music for them?I have a 6- and a 3-year-old; Barry's twins are 6. We do play our songs for them. When they enjoy something, they say so: "Yeah! I like that!" Sometimes we'll even perform part of our show for them at home, just to feel them out and see what they think. And they love when we do that.
How can you tell if a song isn't going over very well?Kids are really positive people, but they're very clear too. They won't tell me, "I don't like it." Instead they'll say something like "I want to hear that other one more -- I want to dance to that one!" Mostly I'm looking at their reaction. I'll know whether a song is working immediately by looking at my 3-year-old. If he's singing, if he's moving, if he's dancing, it's a good song.
Do you write songs as group or individually?Sometimes we write our own and bring them in finished, and then our producer, Rick Chertoff, will help us arrange the songs in different ways. On the new record there's a song -- I can't pronounce it the way Maestro C does -- called "Boing." He brought in the idea, and then we all started playing. It's essentially a song of psychedelic music with some other sounds thrown in -- oh, and a freeze-dance in the middle! So we sort of all worked on that one together. When we get together to rehearse, we always come up with something good to add to a song, no matter how it was written.
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Sun, 14 Apr 2013 06:49
AP Photo/Mike Fuentes
Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes, center, walks away from a news conference on March 31.
Authorities are beginning to think the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT), a white supremacist prison gang, may not be responsible for theshocking death of two prosecutors,.The New York Times reported Friday that police are pursuing a theory that a "lone wolf" killed Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia as well as assistant DA Mike Hasse.
Shortly after the Times report, reports emerged that former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams had been arrested overnight Friday and charged with making a terroristic threat.
Williams hasn't been named as a suspect in the case. His name has "swirled around in the courthouse," though, because he was ousted from office after a high-profile trial accused him of theft, according to a local NBC affiliate. Still, he's at least the third person who's been arrested for allegedly making threats since the prosecutor slayings, Reuters reports.
Officials told the Times the McLellands may have known the person who killed them since there was no sign of a break-in before they were shot to death in their home. Initially prosecutors believed the ABT might have been involved since the McLelland's office prosecuted 34 of its members last year, but they're backing away from that theory.
"The Aryan Brotherhood theory has been losing some steam," an unnamed law enforcement official told the Times.
Place of Birth : United States
Citizenship : American
Height : 5'11" (180 cm)
Weight : 210 lbs (95 kg)
Hair : Brown
Eyes : Brown/Hazel
Sex : Male
Complexion : Light
Build : Medium
Languages : Arabic, English
Scars and Marks : Gadahn has scars on his chest and right forearm.
Aliases : Azzam al Amriki, Azzam the American, Abu Suhayb al Amriki, Abu Suhail al Amriki, Abu Suhayb, Yihya Majadin Adams, Adam Pearlman, Yayah
Adam Yahiye Gadahn was indicted in the Central District of California for treason and material support to al-Qaida. The charges are related to Gadahn's alleged involvement in a number of terrorist activities, including providing aid and comfort to al-Qaida and services for al-Qaida.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 12:38
7:17 PM, Apr 11, 2013 ' By DANIEL HALPERSenator Pat Toomey has finally posted the full text of "The Public Safety And Second Amendment Rights Protection Act," the so called gun Senate compromise bill, agreed upon by Toomey, Joe Manchin, and Chuck Schumer. Here's the text of 7,800 word bill:
Purpose: To protect Second Amendment rights, ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and provide a responsible and consistent background check process.
To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale, and for other purposes.
Referred to the Committee on __________ and ordered to be printedOrdered to lie on the table and to be printedAMENDMENT INTENDED TO BE PROPOSED BY MR. MANCHIN (for himself, Mr. TOOMEY, Mr. KIRK, and Mr. SCHUMER)Viz:Strike title I and insert the following:TITLE I-PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS PROTECTION ACTSECTION 101. SHORT TITLE.This title may be cited as the "Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013".SEC. 102. FINDINGS.Congress finds the following:(1) Congress supports, respects, and defends the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.(2) Congress supports and reaffirms the existing prohibition on a national firearms registry.(3) Congress believes the Department of Justice should prosecute violations of background check requirements to the maximum extent of the law.(4) There are deficits in the background check system in existence prior to the date of enactment of this Act and the Department of Justice should make it a top priority to work with States to swiftly input missing records, including mental health records.(5) Congress and the citizens of the United States agree that in order to promote safe and responsible gun ownership, dangerous criminals and the seriously mentally ill should be prohibited from possessing firearms; therefore, it should be incumbent upon all citizens to ensure weapons are not being transferred to such people.SEC. 103. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.Nothing in this title, or any amendment made by this title, shall be construed to-(1) expand in any way the enforcement authority or jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; or(2) allow the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a Federal firearms registry.SEC. 104. SEVERABILITY.If any provision of this title or an amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid for any reason in any court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any other person or circumstance, shall not be affected.Subtitle A-Ensuring That All Individuals Who Should Be Prohibited From Buying a Gun Are Listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check SystemSEC. 111. REAUTHORIZATION OF THE NATIONAL CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.Section 106(b) of Public Law 103-159 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended-(1) in paragraph (1), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking "of this Act" and inserting "of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013"; and(2) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:"(2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.-There are authorized to be appropriated for grants under this subsection $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2017.".SEC. 112. IMPROVEMENT OF METRICS AND INCENTIVES.Section 102(b) of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended to read as follows:"(b) Implementation Plan.-"(1) IN GENERAL.-Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Attorney General, in coordination with the States, shall establish for each State or Indian tribal government desiring a grant under section 103 a 4-year implementation plan to ensure maximum coordination and automation of the reporting of records or making records available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System."(2) BENCHMARK REQUIREMENTS.-Each 4-year plan established under paragraph (1) shall include annual benchmarks, including both qualitative goals and quantitative measures, to assess implementation of the 4-year plan."(3) PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE.-"(A) IN GENERAL.-During the 4-year period covered by a 4-year plan established under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall withhold-"(i) 10 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State does not meet the benchmark established under paragraph (2) for the first year in the 4-year period;"(ii) 11 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State does not meet the benchmark established under paragraph (2) for the second year in the 4-year period;"(iii) 13 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State does not meet the benchmark established under paragraph (2) for the third year in the 4-year period; and"(iv) 15 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State does not meet the benchmark established under paragraph (2) for the fourth year in the 4-year period."(B) FAILURE TO ESTABLISH A PLAN.-A State that fails to establish a plan under paragraph (1) shall be treated as having not met any benchmark established under paragraph (2).".SEC. 113. GRANTS TO STATES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF COORDINATION AND AUTOMATION OF NICS RECORD REPORTING.(a) In General.-The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended-(1) by striking section 103 and inserting the following:"SEC. 103. GRANTS TO STATES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF COORDINATION AND AUTOMATION OF NICS RECORD REPORTING."(a) Authorization.-From amounts made available to carry out this section, the Attorney General shall make grants to States, Indian Tribal governments, and State court systems, in a manner consistent with the National Criminal History Improvement Program and consistent with State plans for integration, automation, and accessibility of criminal history records, for use by the State, or units of local government of the State, Indian Tribal government, or State court system to improve the automation and transmittal of mental health records and criminal history dispositions, records relevant to determining whether a person has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to Federal and State record repositories in accordance with section 102 and the National Criminal History Improvement Program."(b) Use of Grant Amounts.-Grants awarded to States, Indian Tribal governments, or State court systems under this section may only be used to-"(1) carry out, as necessary, assessments of the capabilities of the courts of the State or Indian Tribal government for the automation and transmission of arrest and conviction records, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to Federal and State record repositories;"(2) implement policies, systems, and procedures for the automation and transmission of arrest and conviction records, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to Federal and State record repositories;"(3) create electronic systems that provide accurate and up-to-date information which is directly related to checks under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, including court disposition and corrections records;"(4) assist States or Indian Tribal governments in establishing or enhancing their own capacities to perform background checks using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; and"(5) develop and maintain the relief from disabilities program in accordance with section 105."(c) Eligibility.-"(1) IN GENERAL.-To be eligible for a grant under this section, a State, Indian Tribal government, or State court system shall certify, to the satisfaction of the Attorney General, that the State, Indian Tribal government, or State court system-"(A) is not prohibited by State law or court order from submitting mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; and"(B) subject to paragraph (2), has implemented a relief from disabilities program in accordance with section 105."(2) RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES PROGRAM.-For purposes of obtaining a grant under this section, a State, Indian Tribal government, or State court system shall not be required to meet the eligibility requirement described in paragraph (1)(B) until the date that is 2 years after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013."(d) Federal Share.-"(1) STUDIES, ASSESSMENTS, NON-MATERIAL ACTIVITIES.-The Federal share of a study, assessment, creation of a task force, or other non-material activity, as determined by the Attorney General, carried out with a grant under this section shall be not more than 25 percent."(2) INFRASTRUCTURE OR SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT.-The Federal share of an activity involving infrastructure or system development, including labor-related costs, for the purpose of improving State or Indian Tribal government record reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System carried out with a grant under this section may amount to 100 percent of the cost of the activity."(e) Grants to Indian Tribes.-Up to 5 percent of the grant funding available under this section may be reserved for Indian tribal governments for use by Indian tribal judicial systems."(f) Authorization of Appropriations.-There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2017.";(2) by striking title III; and(3) in section 401(b), by inserting after "of this Act" the following: "and 18 months after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013".(b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.-The table of sections in section 1(b) of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended by striking the item relating to section 103 and inserting the following:"Sec.103.Grants to States for improvement of coordination and automation of NICS record reporting.".SEC. 114. RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES PROGRAM.Section 105 of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended by adding at the end the following:"(c) Penalties for Non-compliance.-"(1) 10 PERCENT REDUCTION.-During the 1-year period beginning 2 years after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Attorney General shall withhold 10 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State has not implemented a relief from disabilities program in accordance with this section."(2) 11 PERCENT REDUCTION.-During the 1-year period after the expiration of the period described in paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall withhold 11 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State has not implemented a relief from disabilities program in accordance with this section."(3) 13 PERCENT REDUCTION.-During the 1-year period after the expiration of the period described in paragraph (2), the Attorney General shall withhold 13 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State has not implemented a relief from disabilities program in accordance with this section."(4) 15 PERCENT REDUCTION.-After the expiration of the 1-year period described in paragraph (3), the Attorney General shall withhold 15 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State has not implemented a relief from disabilities program in accordance with this section.".SEC. 115. ADDITIONAL PROTECTIONS FOR OUR VETERANS.(a) In General.-Chapter 55 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:"5511. Conditions for treatment of certain persons as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes"(a) In General.-In any case arising out of the administration by the Secretary of laws and benefits under this title, a person who is determined by the Secretary to be mentally incompetent shall not be considered adjudicated pursuant to subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18 until-"(1) in the case in which the person does not request a review as described in subsection (c)(1), the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the person receives notice submitted under subsection (b); or"(2) in the case in which the person requests a review as described in paragraph (1) of subsection (c), upon an assessment by the board designated or established under paragraph (2) of such subsection or court of competent jurisdiction that a person cannot safely use, carry, possess, or store a firearm due to mental incompetency."(b) Notice.-Notice submitted under this subsection to a person described in subsection (a) is notice submitted by the Secretary that notifies the person of the following:"(1) The determination made by the Secretary."(2) A description of the implications of being considered adjudicated as a mental defective under subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18."(3) The person's right to request a review under subsection (c)(1)."(c) Administrative Review.-(1) Not later than 30 days after the date on which a person described in subsection (a) receives notice submitted under subsection (b), such person may request a review by the board designed or established under paragraph (2) or a court of competent jurisdiction to assess whether a person cannot safely use, carry, possess, or store a firearm due to mental incompetency. In such assessment, the board may consider the person's honorable discharge or decoration."(2) Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Secretary shall designate or establish a board that shall, upon request of a person under paragraph (1), assess whether a person cannot safely use, carry, possess, or store a firearm due to mental incompetency."(d) Judicial Review.-Not later than 30 days after the date of an assessment of a person under subsection (c) by the board designated or established under paragraph (2) of such subsection, such person may file a petition for judicial review of such assessment with a Federal court of competent jurisdiction."(e) Protecting Rights of Veterans With Existing Records.-Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Secretary shall provide written notice of the opportunity for administrative review and appeal under subsection (c) to all persons who, on the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, are considered adjudicated pursuant to subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18 as a result of having been found by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be mentally incompetent."(f) Future Determinations.-"(1) IN GENERAL.-Not later than 180 days after the enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Secretary shall review the policies and procedures by which individuals are determined to be mentally incompetent, and shall revise such policies and procedures as necessary to ensure that any individual who is competent to manage his own financial affairs, including his receipt of Federal benefits, but who voluntarily turns over the management thereof to a fiduciary is not considered adjudicated pursuant to subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18."(2) REPORT.-Not later than 30 days after the Secretary has made the review and changes required under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report detailing the results of the review and any resulting policy and procedural changes.".(b) Clerical Amendment.-The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 55 of such title is amended by adding at the end the following new item:"5511. Conditions for treatment of certain persons as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes.".(c) Applicability.-Section 5511 of title 38, United States Code (as added by this section), shall apply only with respect to persons who are determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act, to be mentally incompetent, except that those persons who are provided notice pursuant to section 5511(e) shall be entitled to use the administrative review under section 5511(c) and, as necessary, the subsequent judicial review under section 5511(d).SEC. 116. CLARIFICATION THAT FEDERAL COURT INFORMATION IS TO BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE NATIONAL INSTANT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM.Section 103(e)(1) of Public Law 103-159 (18 U.S.C. 922 note), is amended by adding at the end the following:"(F) APPLICATION TO FEDERAL COURTS.-In this subsection-"(i) the terms 'department or agency of the United States' and 'Federal department or agency' include a Federal court; and"(ii) for purposes of any request, submission, or notification, the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts shall perform the functions of the head of the department or agency.".SEC. 117. CLARIFICATION THAT SUBMISSION OF MENTAL HEALTH RECORDS TO THE NATIONAL INSTANT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM IS NOT PROHIBITED BY THE HEALTH INSURANCE PORTABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT.Information collected under section 102(c)(3) of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) to assist the Attorney General in enforcing section 922(g)(4) of title 18, United States Code, shall not be subject to the regulations promulgated under section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 1320d-2 note).SEC. 118. PUBLICATION OF NICS INDEX STATISTICS.Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, and biannually thereafter, the Attorney General shall make the National Instant Criminal Background Check System index statistics available on a publically accessible Internet website.SEC. 119. EFFECTIVE DATE.The amendments made by this subtitle shall take effect 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.Subtitle B-Providing a Responsible and Consistent Background Check ProcessSEC. 121. PURPOSE.The purpose of this subtitle is to enhance the current background check process in the United States to ensure criminals and the mentally ill are not able to purchase firearms.SEC. 122. FIREARMS TRANSFERS.(a) In General.-Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended-(1) by repealing subsection (s);(2) by redesignating subsection (t) as subsection (s);(3) in subsection (s), as redesignated-(A) in paragraph (1)(B)-(i) in clause (i), by striking "or";(ii) in clause (ii), by striking "and" at the end; and(iii) by adding at the end the following:"(iii) in the case of an instant background check conducted at a gun show or event during the 4-year period beginning on the effective date under section 130(a) of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, 48 hours have elapsed since the licensee contacted the system, and the system has not notified the licensee that the receipt of a firearm by such other person would violate subsection (g) or (n) of this section; or"(iv) in the case of an instant background check conducted at a gun show or event after the 4-year period described in clause (iii), 24 hours have elapsed since the licensee contacted the system, and the system has not notified the licensee that the receipt of a firearm by such other person would violate subsection (g) or (n) of this section; and";(B) in paragraph (3)(C)(ii), by striking "(as defined in subsection (s)(8))"; and(C) by adding at the end the following:"(7) In this subsection-"(A) the term 'chief law enforcement officer' means the chief of police, the sheriff, or an equivalent officer or the designee of any such individual; and"(B) the term 'gun show or event' has the meaning given the term in subsection (t)(7)."(8) The Federal Bureau of Investigation shall not charge a user fee for a background check conducted pursuant to this subsection."(9) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, upon receiving a request for an instant background check that originates from a gun show or event, the system shall complete the instant background check before completing any pending instant background check that did not originate from a gun show or event."; and(4) by inserting after subsection (s), as redesignated, the following:"(t)(1) Beginning on the date that is 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection and except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person other than a licensed dealer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed importer to complete the transfer of a firearm to any other person who is not licensed under this chapter, if such transfer occurs-"(A) at a gun show or event, on the curtilage thereof; or"(B) pursuant to an advertisement, posting, display or other listing on the Internet or in a publication by the transferor of his intent to transfer, or the transferee of his intent to acquire, the firearm."(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply if-"(A) the transfer is made after a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the firearm for the purpose of complying with subsection (s), and upon taking possession of the firearm, the licensee-"(i) complies with all requirements of this chapter as if the licensee were transferring the firearm from the licensee's business inventory to the unlicensed transferee, except that when processing a transfer under this chapter the licensee may accept in lieu of conducting a background check a valid permit issued within the previous 5 years by a State, or a political subdivision of a State, that allows the transferee to possess, acquire, or carry a firearm, if the law of the State, or political subdivision of a State, that issued the permit requires that such permit is issued only after an authorized government official has verified that the information available to such official does not indicate that possession of a firearm by the unlicensed transferee would be in violation of Federal, State, or local law;"(B) the transfer is made between an unlicensed transferor and an unlicensed transferee residing in the same State, which takes place in such State, if-"(i) the Attorney General certifies that State in which the transfer takes place has in effect requirements under law that are generally equivalent to the requirements of this section; and"(ii) the transfer was conducted in compliance with the laws of the State;"(C) the transfer is made between spouses, between parents or spouses of parents and their children or spouses of their children, between siblings or spouses of siblings, or between grandparents or spouses of grandparents and their grandchildren or spouses of their grandchildren, or between aunts or uncles or their spouses and their nieces or nephews or their spouses, or between first cousins, if the transferor does not know or have reasonable cause to believe that the transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under Federal, State, or local law; or"(D) the Attorney General has approved the transfer under section 5812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986."(3) A licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer who processes a transfer of a firearm authorized under paragraph (2)(A) shall not be subject to a license revocation or license denial based solely upon a violation of those paragraphs, or a violation of the rules or regulations promulgated under this paragraph, unless the licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer-"(A) knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the information provided for purposes of identifying the transferor, transferee, or the firearm is false;"(B) knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the transferee is prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a firearm by Federal or State law, or published ordinance; or"(C) knowingly violates any other provision of this chapter, or the rules or regulations promulgated thereunder."(4)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, except for section 923(m), the Attorney General may implement this subsection with regulations."(B) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision requiring licensees to facilitate transfers in accordance with paragraph (2)(A)."(C) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision requiring persons not licensed under this chapter to keep records of background checks or firearms transfers."(D) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision placing a cap on the fee licensees may charge to facilitate transfers in accordance with paragraph (2)(A)."(5)(A) A person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, who makes a transfer of a firearm in accordance with this section, or who is the organizer of a gun show or event at which such transfer occurs, shall be immune from a qualified civil liability action relating to the transfer of the firearm as if the person were a seller of a qualified product."(B) A provider of an interactive computer service shall be immune from a qualified civil liability action relating to the transfer of a firearm as if the provider of an interactive computer service were a seller of a qualified product."(C) In this paragraph-"(i) the term 'interactive computer service' shall have the meaning given the term in section 230(f) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(f)); and"(ii) the terms 'qualified civil liability action', 'qualified product', and 'seller' shall have the meanings given the terms in section 4 of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (15 U.S.C. 7903)."(D) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to affect the immunity of a provider of an interactive computer service under section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230)."(6) In any civil liability action in any State or Federal court arising from the criminal or unlawful use of a firearm following a transfer of such firearm for which no background check was required under this section, this section shall not be construed-"(A) as creating a cause of action for any civil liability; or"(B) as establishing any standard of care."(7) For purposes of this subsection, the term 'gun show or event'-"(A) means any event at which 75 or more firearms are offered or exhibited for sale, exchange, or transfer, if 1 or more of the firearms has been shipped or transported in, or otherwise affects, interstate or foreign commerce; and"(B) does not include an offer or exhibit of firearms for sale, exchange, or transfer by an individual from the personal collection of that individual, at the private residence of that individual, if the individual is not required to be licensed under section 923.".(b) Prohibiting the Seizure of Records or Documents.-Section 923(g)(1)(D) is amended by striking, "The inspection and examination authorized by this paragraph shall not be construed as authorizing the Attorney General to seize any records or other documents other than those records or documents constituting material evidence of a violation of law," and inserting the following: "The Attorney General shall be prohibited from seizing any records or other documents in the course of an inspection or examination authorized by this paragraph other than those records or documents constituting material evidence of a violation of law.".(c) Prohibition of National Gun Registry.-Section 923 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:"(m) The Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize the records of the-"(1) acquisition or disposition of firearms, or any portion thereof, maintained by-"(A) a person with a valid, current license under this chapter;"(B) an unlicensed transferor under section 922(t); or"(2) possession or ownership of a firearm, maintained by any medical or health insurance entity.".(d) Technical and Conforming Amendments.-(1) SECTION 922.-Section 922(y)(2) of title 18, United States Code, is amended, in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking ", (g)(5)(B), and (s)(3)(B)(v)(II)" and inserting "and (g)(5)(B)".(2) CONSOLIDATED AND FURTHER CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012.-Section 511 of title V of division B of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended by striking "subsection 922(t)" and inserting "subsection (s) or (t) of section 922" each place it appears.SEC. 123. PENALTIES.Section 924 of title 18, United States Code, is amended-(1) in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following:"(8) Whoever makes or attempts to make a transfer of a firearm in violation of section 922(t) to a person not licensed under this chapter who is prohibited from receiving a firearm under subsection (g) or (n) of section 922 or State law, to a law enforcement officer, or to a person acting at the direction of, or with the approval of, a law enforcement officer authorized to investigate or prosecute violations of section 922(t), shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both."; and(2) by adding at the end the following:"(q) Improper Use of Storage of Records.-Any person who knowingly violates section 923(m) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.".SEC. 124. FIREARMS DISPOSITIONS.Section 922(b)(3) of title 18, United States Code, is amended-(1) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking "located" and inserting "located or temporarily located"; and(2) in subparagraph (A)-(A) by striking "rifle or shotgun" and inserting "firearm";(B) by striking "located" and inserting "located or temporarily located"; and(C) by striking "both such States" and inserting "the State in which the transfer is conducted and the State of residence of the transferee".SEC. 125. FIREARM DEALER ACCESS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT INFORMATION.Section 103(b) of Public Law 103-159 (18 U.S.C. 922 note), is amended-(1) by striking "Not later than" and inserting the following:"(1) IN GENERAL.-Not later than"; and(2) by adding at the end the following:"(2) VOLUNTARY BACKGROUND CHECKS.-Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Attorney General shall promulgate regulations allowing licensees to use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System established under this section for purposes of conducting voluntary preemployment background checks on prospective employees.".SEC. 126. DEALER LOCATION.Section 923 of title 18, United States Code, is amended-(1) in subsection (j)-(A) in the first sentence, by striking ", and such location is in the State which is specified on the license"; and(B) in the last sentence-(i) by inserting "transfer," after "sell,"; and(ii) by striking "Act," and all that follows and inserting "Act."; and(2) by adding after subsection (m), as added by section 122(c), the following:"(n) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the sale, transfer, delivery, or other disposition of a firearm or ammunition not otherwise prohibited under this chapter-"(1) by a person licensed under this chapter to another person so licensed, at any location in any State; or"(2) by a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to a person not licensed under this chapter, at a temporary location described in subsection (j) in any State.".SEC. 127. RESIDENCE OF UNITED STATES OFFICERS.Section 921 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:"(b) For purposes of this chapter:"(1) A member of the Armed Forces on active duty, or a spouse of such a member, is a resident of-"(A) the State in which the member or spouse maintains legal residence;"(B) the State in which the permanent duty station of the member is located; and"(C) the State in which the member maintains a place of abode from which the member commutes each day to the permanent duty station of the member."(2) An officer or employee of the United States (other than a member of the Armed Forces) who is stationed outside the United States for a period of more than 1 year, and a spouse of such an officer or employee, is a resident of the State in which the person maintains legal residence.".SEC. 128. INTERSTATE TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS OR AMMUNITION.(a) In General.-Section 926A of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:"926A. Interstate transportation of firearms or ammunition"(a) Definition.-In this section, the term 'transport'-"(1) includes staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, and any other activity incidental to the transport; and"(2) does not include transportation-"(A) with the intent to commit a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year that involves a firearm; or"(B) with knowledge, or reasonable cause to believe, that a crime described in subparagraph (A) is to be committed in the course of, or arising from, the transportation."(b) Authorization.-Notwithstanding any provision of any law (including a rule or regulation) of a State or any political subdivision thereof, a person who is not prohibited by this chapter from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm or ammunition shall be entitled to-"(1) transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where the person may lawfully possess, carry, or transport the firearm to any other such place if, during the transportation-"(A) the firearm is unloaded; and"(B)(i) if the transportation is by motor vehicle-"(I) the firearm is not directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the motor vehicle; or"(II) if the motor vehicle is without a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the firearm is-"(aa) in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console; or"(bb) secured by a secure gun storage or safety device; or"(ii) if the transportation is by other means, the firearm is in a locked container or secured by a secure gun storage or safety device; and"(2) transport ammunition for any lawful purpose from any place where the person may lawfully possess, carry, or transport the ammunition, to any other such place if, during the transportation-"(A) the ammunition is not loaded into a firearm; and"(B)(i) if the transportation is by motor vehicle-"(I) the ammunition is not directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the motor vehicle; or"(II) if the motor vehicle is without a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the ammunition is in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console; or"(ii) if the transportation is by other means, the ammunition is in a locked container."(c) Limitation on Arrest Authority.-A person who is transporting a firearm or ammunition may not be-"(1) arrested for violation of any law or any rule or regulation of a State, or any political subdivision thereof, relating to the possession, transportation, or carrying of firearms or ammunition, unless there is probable cause that the transportation is not in accordance with subsection (b); or"(2) detained for violation of any law or any rule or regulation of a State, or any political subdivision thereof, relating to the possession, transportation, or carrying of firearms or ammunition, unless there is reasonable suspicion that the transportation is not in accordance with subsection (b).".(b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.-The table of sections for chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 926A and inserting the following:"926A. Interstate transportation of firearms or ammunition.".SEC. 129. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.Nothing in this subtitle, or an amendment made by this subtitle, shall be construed-(1) to extend background check requirements to transfers other than those made at gun shows or on the curtilage thereof, or pursuant to an advertisement, posting, display, or other listing on the Internet or in a publication by the transferor of the intent of the transferor to transfer, or the transferee of the intent of the transferee to acquire, the firearm; or(2) to extend background check requirements to temporary transfers for purposes including lawful hunting or sporting or to temporary possession of a firearm for purposes of examination or evaluation by a prospective transferee.SEC. 130. EFFECTIVE DATE.(a) In General.-Except as provided in subsection (b), this subtitle and the amendments made by this subtitle shall take effect 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.(b) Firearm Dealer Access to Law Enforcement Information.-Section 125 and the amendments made by section 125 shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act.Subtitle C-National Commission on Mass ViolenceSEC. 141. SHORT TITLE.This subtitle may be cited as the "National Commission on Mass Violence Act of 2013".SEC. 142. NATIONAL COMMISSION ON MASS VIOLENCE.(a) Establishment of Commission.-There is established a commission to be known as the National Commission on Mass Violence (in this subtitle referred to as the "Commission") to study the availability and nature of firearms, including the means of acquiring firearms, issues relating to mental health, and all positive and negative impacts of the availability and nature of firearms on incidents of mass violence or in preventing mass violence.(b) Membership.-(1) APPOINTMENTS.-The Commission shall be composed of 12 members, of whom-(A) 6 members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Majority Leader of the Senate, in consultation with the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives, 1 of whom shall serve as Chairman of the Commission; and(B) 6 members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the Republican leadership of the Senate, 1 of whom shall serve as Vice Chairman of the Commission.(2) PERSONS ELIGIBLE.-(A) IN GENERAL.-The members appointed to the Commission shall include-(i) well-known and respected individuals among their peers in their respective fields of expertise; and(ii) not less than 1 non-elected individual from each of the following categories, who has expertise in the category, by both experience and training:(I) Firearms.(II) Mental health.(III) School safety.(IV) Mass media.(B) EXPERTS.-In identifying the individuals to serve on the Commission, the appointing authorities shall take special care to identify experts in the fields described in section 143(a)(2).(C) PARTY AFFILIATION.-Not more than 6 members of the Commission shall be from the same political party.(3) COMPLETION OF APPOINTMENTS; VACANCIES.-Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the appointing authorities under paragraph (1) shall each make their respective appointments. Any vacancy that occurs during the life of the Commission shall not affect the powers of the Commission, and shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment not later than 30 days after the vacancy occurs.(4) OPERATION OF THE COMMISSION.-(A) MEETINGS.-(i) IN GENERAL.-The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairman.(ii) INITIAL MEETING.-The initial meeting of the Commission shall be conducted not later than 30 days after the later of-(I) the date of the appointment of the last member of the Commission; or(II) the date on which appropriated funds are available for the Commission.(B) QUORUM; VACANCIES; VOTING; RULES.-A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum to conduct business, but the Commission may establish a lesser quorum for conducting hearings scheduled by the Commission. Each member of the Commission shall have 1 vote, and the vote of each member shall be accorded the same weight. The Commission may establish by majority vote any other rules for the conduct of the Commission's business, if such rules are not inconsistent with this subtitle or other applicable law.SEC. 143. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.(a) Study.-(1) IN GENERAL.-It shall be the duty of the Commission to conduct a comprehensive factual study of incidents of mass violence, including incidents of mass violence not involving firearms, in the context of the many acts of senseless mass violence that occur in the United States each year, in order to determine the root causes of such mass violence.(2) MATTERS TO BE STUDIED.-In determining the root causes of these recurring and tragic acts of mass violence, the Commission shall study any matter that the Commission determines relevant to meeting the requirements of paragraph (1), including at a minimum-(A) the role of schools, including the level of involvement and awareness of teachers and school administrators in the lives of their students and the availability of mental health and other resources and strategies to help detect and counter tendencies of students towards mass violence;(B) the effectiveness of and resources available for school security strategies to prevent incidents of mass violence;(C) the role of families and the availability of mental health and other resources and strategies to help families detect and counter tendencies toward mass violence;(D) the effectiveness and use of, and resources available to, the mental health system in understanding, detecting, and countering tendencies toward mass violence, as well as the effects of treatments and therapies;(E) whether medical doctors and other mental health professionals have the ability, without negative legal or professional consequences, to notify law enforcement officials when a patient is a danger to himself or others;(F) the nature and impact of the alienation of the perpetrators of such incidents of mass violence from their schools, families, peer groups, and places of work;(G) the role that domestic violence plays in causing incidents of mass violence;(H) the effect of depictions of mass violence in the media, and any impact of such depictions on incidents of mass violence;(I) the availability and nature of firearms, including the means of acquiring such firearms, and all positive and negative impacts of such availability and nature on incidents of mass violence or in preventing mass violence;(J) the role of current prosecution rates in contributing to the availability of weapons that are used in mass violence;(K) the availability of information regarding the construction of weapons, including explosive devices, and any impact of such information on such incidents of mass violence;(L) the views of law enforcement officials, religious leaders, mental health experts, and other relevant officials on the root causes and prevention of mass violence;(M) incidents in which firearms were used to stop mass violence; and(N) any other area that the Commission determines contributes to the causes of mass violence.(3) TESTIMONY OF VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS.-In determining the root causes of these recurring and tragic incidents of mass violence, the Commission shall, in accordance with section 144(a), take the testimony of victims and survivors to learn and memorialize their views and experiences regarding such incidents of mass violence.(b) Recommendations.-Based on the findings of the study required under subsection (a), the Commission shall make recommendations to the President and Congress to address the causes of these recurring and tragic incidents of mass violence and to reduce such incidents of mass violence.(c) Reports.-(1) INTERIM REPORT.-Not later than 3 months after the date on which the Commission first meets, the Commission shall submit to the President and Congress an interim report describing any initial recommendations of the Commission.(2) FINAL REPORT.-Not later than 6 months after the date on which the Commission first meets, the Commission shall submit to the President and Congress a comprehensive report of the findings and conclusions of the Commission, together with the recommendations of the Commission.(3) SUMMARIES.-The report under paragraph (2) shall include a summary of-(A) the reports submitted to the Commission by any entity under contract for research under section 144(e); and(B) any other material relied on by the Commission in the preparation of the report.SEC. 144. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.(a) Hearings.-(1) IN GENERAL.-The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, administer such oaths, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out its duties under section 143.(2) WITNESS EXPENSES.-Witnesses requested to appear before the Commission shall be paid the same fees as are paid to witnesses under section 1821 of title 28, United States Code.(b) Information From Federal Agencies.-The Commission may secure directly from any Federal agency such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out its duties under section 143. Upon the request of the Commission, the head of such agency may furnish such information to the Commission.(c) Information to Be Kept Confidential.-(1) IN GENERAL.-The Commission shall be considered an agency of the Federal Government for purposes of section 1905 of title 18, United States Code, and any individual employed by any individual or entity under contract with the Commission under subsection (d) shall be considered an employee of the Commission for the purposes of section 1905 of title 18, United States Code.(2) DISCLOSURE.-Information obtained by the Commission or the Attorney General under this subtitle and shared with the Commission, other than information available to the public, shall not be disclosed to any person in any manner, except-(A) to Commission employees or employees of any individual or entity under contract to the Commission under subsection (d) for the purpose of receiving, reviewing, or processing such information;(B) upon court order; or(C) when publicly released by the Commission in an aggregate or summary form that does not directly or indirectly disclose-(i) the identity of any person or business entity; or(ii) any information which could not be released under section 1905 of title 18, United States Code.(d) Contracting for Research.-The Commission may enter into contracts with any entity for research necessary to carry out the duties of the Commission under section 143.SEC. 145. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.(a) Compensation of Members.-Each member of the Commission who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Commission. All members of the Commission who are officers or employees of the United States shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for their services as officers or employees of the United States.(b) Travel Expenses.-The members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of service for the Commission.(c) Staff.-(1) IN GENERAL.-The Chairman of the Commission may, without regard to the civil service laws and regulations, appoint and terminate an executive director and such other additional employees as may be necessary to enable the Commission to perform its duties. The employment and termination of an executive director shall be subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the Commission.(2) COMPENSATION.-The executive director shall be compensated at a rate not to exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code. The Chairman may fix the compensation of other employees without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for such employees may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.(3) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.-Any Federal Government employee, with the approval of the head of the appropriate Federal agency, may be detailed to the Commission without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status, benefits, or privilege.(d) Procurement of Temporary and Intermittent Services.-The Chairman of the Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals not to exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.SEC. 146. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission and any agency of the Federal Government assisting the Commission in carrying out its duties under this subtitle such sums as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this subtitle. Any sums appropriated shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.SEC. 147. TERMINATION OF THE COMMISSION.The Commission shall terminate 30 days after the Commission submits the final report under section 143(c)(2).
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Revisit Gifford theory
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:20
NYT admits fraudulent Syrian human rights group is UK-based "one-man band" funded by EU and one other "European country."Tony CartalucciActivist Post
In reality, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has long ago been exposed as an absurd propaganda front operated by Rami Abdul Rahman out of his house in England's countryside. According to a December 2011 Reuters article titled, "Coventry - an unlikely home to prominent Syria activist," Abdul Rahman admits he is a member of the so-called "Syrian opposition" and seeks the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad:
After three short spells in prison in Syria for pro-democracy activism, Abdulrahman came to Britain in 2000 fearing a longer, fourth jail term.
"I came to Britain the day Hafez al-Assad died, and I'll return when Bashar al-Assad goes," Abdulrahman said, referring to Bashar's father and predecessor Hafez, also an autocrat.
One could not fathom a more unreliable, compromised, biased source of information, yet for the past two years, his "Observatory" has served as the sole source of information for the endless torrent of propaganda emanating from the Western media.Perhaps worst of all, is that the United Nations uses this compromised, absurdly overt source of propaganda as the basis for its various reports - at least, that is what the New York Times now claims in their recent article, "A Very Busy Man Behind the Syrian Civil War's Casualty Count."
The NYT piece admits:Military analysts in Washington follow its body counts of Syrian and rebel soldiers to gauge the course of the war. The United Nations and human rights organizations scour its descriptions of civilian killings for evidence in possible war crimes trials. Major news organizations, including this one, cite its casualty figures.
Yet, despite its central role in the savage civil war, the grandly named Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is virtually a one-man band. Its founder, Rami Abdul Rahman, 42, who fled Syria 13 years ago, operates out of a semidetached red-brick house on an ordinary residential street in this drab industrial city [Coventry, England].
The New York Times also for the first time reveals that Abdul Rahman's operation is indeed funded by the European Union and a "European country" he refuses to identify:Money from two dress shops covers his minimal needs for reporting on the conflict, along with small subsidies from the European Union and one European country that he declines to identify.
Photo:From Reuters: "Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, leaves the Foreign and Commonwealth Office after meeting Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in central London November 21, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor" Abdul Rahman is not the "head" of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, he is the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, run out of his UK-based house as a one-man operation. And while Abdul Rahman refuses to identify that "European country," it is beyond doubt that it is the United Kingdom itself - as Abdul Rahman has direct access to the Foreign Secretary William Hague, who he has been documented meeting in person on multiple occasions at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. The NYT in fact reveals that it was the British government that first relocated Abdul Rahman to Coventry, England after he fled Syria over a decade ago because of his anti-government activities:
When two associates were arrested in 2000, he fled the country, paying a human trafficker to smuggle him into England. The government resettled him in Coventry, where he decided he liked the slow pace.
Abdul Rahman is not a "human rights activist." He is a paid propagandist. He is no different than the troupe of unsavory, willful liars and traitors provided refuge in Washington and London during the Iraq war and the West's more recent debauchery in Libya, for the sole purpose of supplying Western governments with a constant din of propaganda and intentionally falsified intelligence reports designed specifically to justify the West's hegemonic designs.Abdul Rahman's contemporaries include the notorious Iraqi defector Rafid al-Janabi, codename "Curveball," who now gloats publicly that he invented accusations of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the West's casus belli for a 10-year war that ultimately cost over a million lives, including thousands of Western troops, and has left Iraq still to this day in shambles. There's also the lesser known Dr. Sliman Bouchuiguir of Libya, who formed the foundation of the pro-West human rights racket in Benghazi and now openly brags in retrospect that tales of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's atrocities against the Libyan people were likewise invented to give NATO its sought-after impetus to intervene militarily.Unlike in Iraq and Libya, the West has failed categorically to sell military intervention in Syria, and even its covert war has begun to unravel as the public becomes increasingly aware that the so-called "pro-democracy rebels" the West has been arming for years are in fact sectarian extremists fighting under the banner of Al Qaeda. The charade that is the "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" is also unraveling.
It is unlikely that the New York Times' limited hangout will convince readers that Rami Abdul Rahman is anything other than another "Curveball" helping the corporate-financier elite of Wall Street and London sell another unnecessary war to the public.
Tony Cartalucci's articles have appeared on many alternative media websites, including his own at Land Destroyer Report, Alternative Thai News Network and LocalOrg.Read other contributed articles by Tony Cartalucci here.
BE THE CHANGE! PLEASE SHARE THIS USING THE TOOLS BELOW
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 07:46
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 11, 2013
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
SUBJECT: Drawdown Pursuant to Section 552(c)(2)of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 of up to $10 Million in Commodities and Services from any Agency of the United States Government to the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) and the Syrian Opposition's Supreme Military Council (SMC)
Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 552(c)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA), 22 U.S.C. 2348a, I hereby determine that:
(1) as a result of an unforeseen emergency, the provision of assistance under chapter 6 of part II of the FAA in amounts in excess of funds otherwise available for such assistance is important to the national interests of the United States; and
(2) such an unforeseen emergency requires the immediate provision of assistance under chapter 6 of part II of the FAA.
In addition, pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 614 of the FAA, I hereby determine that it is important to the security interests of the United States to furnish this assistance to the SOC and the SMC without regard to any other provision of law within the purview of section 614(a)(1) of the FAA.
I therefore direct the drawdown of up to $10 million in nonlethal commodities and services from the inventory and resources of any agency of the United States Government to provide food and medical supplies to the SOC and the SMC for distribution to those in need.
The Secretary of State is authorized and directed to report this determination to the Congress, to arrange for its publication in the Federal Register, and to coordinate execution of this drawdown.
Sun, 14 Apr 2013 09:40
(NaturalNews) '' San Diego County in California is considering implementing Laura's Law, which would give the state's second most populous county '' home to over three million people '' the uncontested right to force psychiatric medication upon its residents.
Funds for the forced inpatient or outpatient psychiatric incarceration, known as ''assisted outpatient treatment'' are to be provided by taxpayers. Other bills under consideration would extend Laura's Law to schoolchildren, at the discretion of school administrators.
Laura's Law is heavily supported by law enforcement, the press, the American Psychiatric Association and host of ''consumer and family advocate groups.'' In others words, those who believe the government deserves more control absolutely love Laura's Law. After all, Laura's Law offers those in power the ultimate form of control '' over your brain chemistry.
What is Laura's Law?Laura's Law is an existing state law, passed by the California state legislature in 2002 and signed by Governor Gray Davis. The law makes it possible for anyone to be ordered into psychiatric treatment if determined appropriate by authorities. Non-compliant ''patients'' are not given a choice, pending involuntary incarceration.
Each county within the state of California has the option of implementing Laura's Law. Los Angeles County implemented it in 2004. San Diego County undertook a 90-day review of the law in March 2013 as it considers implementation.
The law is named for Laura Wilcox, who was shot and killed at the age of 19 by a man with untreated, severe mental illness.
How do you qualify for forced psychiatric treatment under Laura's Law?Authorities simply determine that you meet the state approved criteria. In California, the criteria are as follows:
Inpatient: (1) Danger to self/others or (2) unable to provide for basic personal needs for food, clothing, or shelter.
Outpatient: Condition likely to substantially deteriorate, unlikely to survive safely in community without supervision, history of noncompliance which includes two hospitalizations in past 36 months or act/threat/attempt of violence to self/others in 48 months immediately preceding petition filing, likely needs to prevent meeting inpatient standard, and likely to benefit from assisted treatment.
Glancing over these standards quickly is dangerous because they are written to appear strict and reasonable. If we break them down, however, you can see that the wildly vague language used is open to broad interpretation.
The bottom line is this: Someone in authority needs to decide that you are a ''danger.'' That's it. Then, they can lock you up and medicate you into oblivion. Case closed.But wait, it says that you have to have a hard history of hospitalization and violence in order to qualify. Not so! All you need to qualify to lose your physical and mental freedom is, at any time during the last four years, to act/threat/attempt violence to self/others. An ''act/threat/attempt'' of violence, by the way, could be ANYTHING. Giving someone a dirty look could be interpreted as a threat of violence.
Finally, authorities have put themselves in a position to predict whether or not you are ''likely to benefit'' from assisted treatment. And the clause, condition likely to substantially deteriorate, suggests that they can take over your life if they feel you may do something wrong in the future.
I recently spoke with Sophie Faught at MindFreedom International about Laura's Law. MindFreedom International is a true patient rights advocacy group that believes in mental health freedom. Sophie said the following:
For over 25 years, we at MindFreedom have argued for VOICE and CHOICE in mental health care. We're against force in mental health care because it's simply not therapeutic. When you're suffering from mental or emotional distress, the last thing you need is to have a technology you don't believe in forced on you. Rather,you need to feel safe and loved by your fellow human beings. It's that human connection, which can be found in peer support and compassionate care, that helps you find the meaning in your experience and your path to a better mental/emotional place.
Many of our members describe the practice of forced drugging as dehumanizing, invasive, violent, and downright TRAUMATIZING. Because trauma is so often a contributing factor to mental/emotional distress, our first goal should be to provide care that does not exacerbate old traumas or create new ones. Forced drugging cannot possibly meet that goal '-- many psychiatric survivors spend years coming to terms with the violence and violation of that kind of an act.
Forcibly injecting another human being with a mind-altering chemical cannot be considered therapeutic under any circumstances, but it's especially shocking to think of doing this to a person in his own home, the place (above all others), where he expects privacy, self-determination, and safety. What psychiatry says through this act is: ''There is only a narrow spectrum of thoughts and emotions that are acceptable, EVEN IN YOUR OWN HOME, EVEN IN YOUR OWN MIND.''
Why limit mankind? Why stop these journeys into the inner world of thoughts and feelings? What incredible discoveries do we '-- as individuals and as a society '-- miss in the process?
MindFreedom International will always oppose legislation like Laura's Law because we believe that there must be safe spaces for extreme thoughts and emotions. Mankind has much to learn from these experiences. They are a difficult but necessary part of the healing path.
Psychiatry has no answer to gun massacresAs much as our hearts go out to those who have suffered and lost loved ones to the violent and unpredictable acts of others, we need to face the hard truth.
Violence is not predictable.
Psychiatry does not have the answer.
Psychiatric medication does not prevent violence.
Stealing freedom and medically torturing innocent people will do nothing to protect anyone. The problem of violence will remain unsolved. The state will continue to gain unprecedented power and an easier path to implement that power. The freedom of the people will continue to vanish.
Peter Breggin, MD has the following to say about psychiatric approaches to violent behavior:
The most devastating recent shooters were all involved with psychiatric treatment and evaluation, and it did not prevent their violence. In some cases, it undoubtedly increased it.On the possibility of identifying violent people and preventing violent acts, Dr. Breggin said:
So many people harbor feelings of violence, and so few perpetrate them, that it is impossible to screen society for violent individuals without untold numbers of ''false positives.'' In a general psychiatric practice such as my own, a number of patients will be struggling to control their violent feelings and usually a few will have acted aggressively or violently in the past. Within society as a whole, there will be thousands of ''suspicious-looking'' people locked up and drugged for every genuine threat.
Read Dr. Breggin's full commentary on psychiatry and gun massacres here. For an amazing interview with Dr. Breggin about the violent, death-camp style history of psychiatry, listen to the March 13, 2013 episode of Mental Health Exposed. If you think psychiatry is rooted in a desire to help people heal, think again! These are the folks we are empowering with Laura's Law! Ice pick lobotomy anyone?
There you have it. States like California are using devastating acts of violence to increase their power with ''solutions'' that do NOTHING more than steal freedom from innocent people.
About the author:Watch the free video The AHA! Process: An End to Self-Sabotage and discover the lost keys to personal transformation and emotional well-being that have been suppressed by mainstream mental health for decades.
The information in this video has been called the missing link in mental health and personal development. In a world full of shallow, quick-fix techniques, second rate psychology and pharmaceutical takeovers, real solutions have become nearly impossible to find. This presentation will turn your world upside down.
Mike Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center and host of Mental Health Exposed, a Natural News Radio program.
Follow Mike on Facebook for daily personal development tips.
Source: Natural News
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 09:00
LOS ANGELES '' Just when you thought Justin Bieber couldn't possibly exert any more influence over his teen fan base, it was announced the pop prince is encouraging minors to spend more of their parents' cash with a new prepaid debit card.
Bieber, 19, inked a lucrative deal with BillMyParents to endorse its teen-focused SpendSmart prepaid card, for which he is reportedly being paid $3.75 million for a 14-month contract, plus monthly royalties linked to the growth of the card, and an option to buy two million SpendSmart shares.
According to the New York Times, the average age of a SpendSmart user is 16, and the card is most often used to purchase fast food, gas, gadgets and clothes. The card has a monthly fee of $3.95, which translates into around $50 annually, additional charges to load money onto the card ($2.95 from a debit or credit card or $0.75 from a checking or savings account), a lost card replacement fee of $7.95, ATM fees of 50 cents per balance enquiry, $1.50 every time cash is withdrawn, and a $3 charge if the card inactive for 90 days.
Which experts tell us adds up to one thing: Parents beware!
''It is a good thing and part of parenting to teach kids how to manage their money responsibly, but there are different ways to go about it,'' Michelle Jun, Senior Attorney at the Consumers Union told FOX411's Pop Tarts column. ''This card is in the middle of the pack, it is not the cheapest card. It is good for young consumers to learn financial responsibility; however we still live in a world where you build your world and financial history with credit and at traditional institutions like banks and credit unions. This card is middle of the road; there are definitely cards out there that are lower.''
According to Vladimir Nardin, Consumer Trends Expert for the Opinion Corporation, a leading source for customer reviews, the big winners are Bieber and SpendSmart.
''Celebrities sell and Justin Bieber has a great deal of marketing influence and a huge social media outreach, so this will likely put peer pressure on teens and subsequently their parents to set up these accounts. The issuing company will get instant access to this market for an essentially unregulated gift card that has a pretty steep drain on the funds compared to a normal credit or debit card which is great for the card company,'' he explained. ''The only good thing I see for parents is a way to control spending, though I'm not sure that this product is the best way to teach kids about spending because the fees are a little higher than typical bank card products.''
Bieber, who earned $55 million last year alone, insists in a commercial for the card that money in his family was scarce before he hit the big time.
''You know when I was a kid; we didn't have a lot of money, so me and my family had to watch the money that we spent. I learned that if you have $100 or $100 million, if you spend more than you have you are going to go broke,'' he says in a video sent to his 30 million Twitter followers and 48 million Facebook fans.
And there are some who say his card offers lower fees that others in the prepaid market and comes with an array of features designed to teach teens about sensible spending, including an option for parents to instantly alerted when the card is used through a text message or phone app, and the ability to block purchases and lock the card at their discretion. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) also gives SpendSmart a an A+ rating, as it has received just 19 complaints since it became accredited just over two years ago, mostly due to billing/collection issues and problems with product/service, all of which has been listed as now closed.
Yet some parents remain skeptical.
''I wouldn't get it for my children, but my sister's daughter is just crazy about Bieber,'' said mom Jennifer Brawley. ''I think he is past his prime in the U.S. and the kids that loved him four years ago are likely too old to think he's cool anymore. My kids think he's way too much of an idiot with the way he wears his clothes, so aren't interested in the card anyway.''
Reps for Bieber and BillMyParents did not respond to a request for further comment.
Danielle Jones-Wesley contributed to this report.
Thu, 11 Apr 2013 09:18
MIAMI - The lawyer for a man accused in an attack on a U.S. warship said Wednesday that a Pentagon computer server failure resulted in the loss of a large cache of documents used by military tribunal defense lawyers.
Richard Kammen, a member of the team representing an alleged senior al-Qaida figure facing a war crimes tribunal at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, also said officials mishandled more than 500,000 defense lawyer emails and appear to be monitoring their Internet searches as they prepare their cases.
Kammen, an Indianapolis defense lawyer appointed to defend Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, has urged a military judge to cancel a hearing at Guantanamo next week because of the alleged breaches of attorney-client privilege and the server failure.
The motion remains under seal until authorities review it for potential classified information. The lawyer said in an interview that the court needs to establish the extent of any breach of the attorney-client privilege.
"We want to put the case on hold number one to find the scope of the intrusions," he said. "Was this the product of negligence or something worse? Also, we need to have the problem fixed."
A Defense Department spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Joseph Todd Breasseale, declined comment because the defense allegations are the subject of active litigation.
A response by prosecutors has not yet been posted by the Office of Military Commissions, which is in charge of the Guantanamo tribunals.
This is not the first time that tribunal defense teams have alleged improper monitoring. In February, proceedings in the case of five men charged in the Sept. 11 attacks were thrown into disarray after lawyers discovered microphones apparently disguised to look like smoke detectors in the rooms where they meet their clients.
The military said it would disconnect the devices but said they had not been used to eavesdrop or record meetings between prisoners and their lawyers.
Kammen said he was uncertain when the server failure occurred, but said it involved about 7 gigabytes of data, or many thousands of pages of documents. He said information pertaining to his case and others was recovered but defense teams still need time to review files to make sure nothing was lost or changed.
The emails were turned over to prosecutors by mistake after the Court of Military Commissions Review asked for certain prosecution emails and hundreds of thousands from the defense were turned over as well, Kammen said. The defense cannot prepare their case if they suspect their work is being monitored by the prosecution, he added.
A judge has scheduled a four-day pretrial motions hearing to start Monday at Guantanamo for al-Nashiri, who faces charges that include terrorism and murder for allegedly setting up the 2000 attack on the USS Cole which killed 17 crew members and wounded 37. It was not clear when he would rule on the request to delay the proceedings.
(C) Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Just used No Agenda Travel Tip 2 at SFO complaining about my left shoulder.
Got to go straight through the magnetometer. Made a feeble attempt at
lifting my arm to the horizontal.
Sun, 14 Apr 2013 09:35
(RussiaToday) '' A controversial cybersecurity bill is one step closer to being added to the law books following a closed-door meeting between members of Congress on Wednesday.
Privacy advocates are up in arms after the House Intelligence committee overwhelmingly approved an updated draft of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 18-to-2. Now if the bill makes it all the way to the desk of US President Barack Obama, Americans will likely be subjected to having the personal information they provide to online businesses shared with the government's top-secret spy agencies.
The authors of the bill, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), introduced a revamped version of CISPA in February after attempts to pass the act in 2012 were thwarted when the congressional session came to a close before a final vote could occur. In the few months between the original CISPA's demise and the reintroduction, though, officials have reported an increase in cyberattacks by way of Iran and China that have been condemned by politicians as high up as the president.
''Congress must act,'' Obama said during his 2013 State of the Union address, '''...by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.''
On their part, Rogers and Ruppersberger say CIPA will ''provide for the sharing of certain cyber threat intelligence and cyber threat information between the intelligence community and cybersecurity entities,'' by closely monitoring threats to the nation's cyber infrastructure and formally legalizing the practice of sending personal user data to government agencies, including the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency.
''While no portion of CISPA requires companies to share data with the feds, major telecommunications providers have illegally shared customer data with the NSA before, leading to a congressional grant of retroactive immunity in 2008,'' CNET reporter Declan McCullagh recalls.
Now with the backing of both the commander-in-chief and the overwhelming majority of the Intelligence committee, CISPA is expected to have an easier time than ever advancing in the House and Senate, which would then require nothing more than the autograph of Pres. Obama to sign the bill into law. Critics of the act aren't so sure that's a good idea though, and are more adamant than ever at crushing CISPA after members of the committee failed to include a handful of amendments that were touted as safeguards necessary to protect the privacy of Americans.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) voted against CISPA during Wednesday's closed-door mark-up meeting, but might have acted differently had her congressional colleagues approved any of the three amendments that she unsuccessfully tried to tack on to the bill. One of those amendments would have excluded the Pentagon and NSA from the list government entities allowed to access third-party data; another would create a high-level privacy post to oversee ''the retention, use and disclosure of communications, records, system traffic or other information'' obtained by the feds.
''My amendments would have strengthened privacy protections, ensured that consumers can hold companies accountable for misuse of their private information, required that companies report cyber threat information directly to civilian agencies and maintained the long standing tradition that the military doesn't operate on US soil against American citizens,'' she told reporters after the vote. ''I strongly agree with the need to enact effective cybersecurity legislation, and commend the bipartisan effort of the House Intelligence Committee, but this bill doesn't sufficiently protect individual privacy rights.''
Schakowsky was joined in dissenting with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), who told reporters after the vote that CISPA simply does too much to tear away at the personal privacy of Internet users.
''It is not too much to ask that companies make sure they aren't sending private information about their customers, their clients, and their employees to intelligence agencies, along with genuine cyber security information,'' Rep. Schiff said. ''While I support increased information sharing, without requirements that companies make sure they aren't sharing Personally Identifiable Information, as well as making the Department of Homeland Security the initial point of receipt, I cannot support the bill in its current form.''
That isn't to say that Schiff doesn't think changes could be made: speaking to the Los Angeles Times Wednesday evening, he said that creating cybersecurity legislation is ''worthwhile,'' adding, ''it shouldn't be that hard to require the steps that would protect people's privacy while also preventing the massive theft of America's work product that's going on.''
The authors of the bill say that foreign hackers have cost US businesses billions of dollars by stealing intellectual property by infiltrating computer networks, and CISPA could curb these assaults while also helping prevent cyberattacks that could cause actual physical damage. Opponents call these warnings trumped up and over-the-top, though, and fear that the US government is advancing a cybersecurity bill in order to not just answer these allegedly ramped up cyberattacks, but to take away what little is left of Americans' privacy.
Jennifer Martinez, a reporter for DC's The Hill, tweeted a photo from outside of the closed-door hearing Wednesday afternoon that showed two signs on display for the committee: an enlarged issue of Bloomberg Businessweek that reads, ''Yes, the Chinese Army is Spying on You'' and a quote from the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Trevor Timm that he made last year on RT.
image from '¶@jenmartinez
''They can dream up these nightmare scenarios and try to scare people. These are no studies or empirical evidence that shows this is a giant danger to us at all,'' said Timm.
CISPA is being opposed by the EFF, the American Civil Liberties Union and a number of other advocacy groups determined to keep any government from getting too much control of the Internet. Facebook and Microsoft both originally supported the bill but have since changed their stance, and on Wednesday a co-founder of the website Reddit published a passionate anti-CISPA video plea that quickly went viral.
''I'm hoping that all of these tech companies take the stand, that their privacy policies matter, their users' privacy matters,'' Reddit's Alexis Ohanian says in the clip. ''And no legislation like CISPA should take that away.''
Before his suicide in January, fellow Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz told RT that CISPA is ''incredibly broad and dangerous'' since it provides the federal government with unprecedented power to snoop on online activity. ''It also goes much further and allows them to spy on people using the Internet, to get their personal data and e-mails,'' he said.
The House of Representatives is expected to weigh in on CISPA next week. Both Schiff and Schakowsky say they hope to amend the bill when it goes before the full Congress then.
Source: Russia Today
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:58
The company's two major communication networks go down for the second time in the same week.
Apple's iMessage and FaceTime networks are once again experiencing outages.
The outage, which is the second this week, began just before 8 a.m. PT, and once again affects "some users," according to Apple's system status page.
Both services experienced a similar outage this past Tuesday that lasted more than five hours.
iMessage is Apple's proprietary messaging platform that works between iOS and OS X users. FaceTime is the company's live video chat service, also for those two platforms. In January, Apple said that iMessage users were sending more than 2 billion messages a day on the service. For iPhone users, those are often in place of text messages when sending to another iOS device.
Update at 9:47 a.m. PT: And just like that Apple says they're back up. Apple also appears to have adjusted the outage time to end at 9:07 a.m. PT.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:53
This week three banks, ING, Rabo and SNS, simultaneously suffered major computer malfunctions, leading to a temporary closure of their on-line facilities. Their problems were 'unrelated'. It is completely unprecedented. The chances of a coincidence are close to zero. For years some in the blogosphere have speculated that 'computer problems' might be a good excuse for the Money Power to call a bank holiday and 'reorganize' their system. This looks like a drill.
By Anthony Migchels for Henry Makow and Real Currencies
ING's problems were the worst, it's off-line again today. ING is one of the biggest banks in Europe with a trillion plus balance and one of the living dead. It's a zombie bank, propped up with massive credit lines from the ECB and handouts and guarantees from the Dutch taxpayer. It has 40 billion of Spanish debt on its books and it needs to write off untold billions, maybe as much as hundreds of billions, from its commercial real estate portfolio. Obviously this would vaporize the Dutch economy over night, should it have to bail out ING.
The Dutch economy is one of the worst in the world in terms of debt. All the nonsense about 'lazy Greeks' and 'thrifty and frugal Dutch' is just that: complete baloney. We have a usurious debt based monetary system. However hard one works, eternally growing debt and interest charges are inevitable, it has nothing to do with character.
Meanwhile, the economy is being destroyed with ridiculous austerity, 45 billion was taken out of the budget over the last two years. The Government loses 80 cents in income due to falling aggregate demand in the economy for every euro it takes out of the economy through taxation or austerity. Same thing that destroyed Southern Europe. It's incredible that this kind of insanity can happen in the modern age.
Considering the situation in Cyprus and depositors now knowing they are fair game, it seems clear that the Money Power is organizing a bank run to further the depression it wants so badly.
However unpleasant it is to be on the same side as these vultures in this case, the advice remains the same: get your money out of the bank now. The advice is now not just correct because of moral imperative, it is becoming a matter of personal financial survival. True, it is becoming harder and harder to find safe havens, but the bank is absolutely not one of those, that's for sure.
Why is the Money Power busting its own banks? They don't really care: all the major banks own each other. 100% market share remains guaranteed, even if some of them drop. Also, the smaller banks go first and they are gobbled up by the big boys, often with ECB/Fed/taxpayer financial support. So this crunch is also a major consolidation effort by the Money Power. Busting the banks is a good way to plausibly sell the many that the good days are over.
So what does this computer malfunction mean? It's an exercise. And probably not for Holland itself. The Dutch economy is midsized and a good place for a drill for something bigger. Like the US, which is the real target here. Two weeks ago, Chase Manhattan had some problems too: accounts were suddenly drained and set to zero. Interestingly, this was also going on with ING.
The US has been coasting relatively unscathed through the crunch up to now. Because the Fed printed like crazy, all in all some 16 trillion were lent out to its buddy insider banks worldwide to prop up their balances. This money never enters the real economy, because it used as capital to replace losses to the Mortgage Backed Securities scam that popped in 2008. Hence no inflation.
But this is coming to an end and in the next round of the crunch something major is going to go down.
ConclusionWe have the funniest stockmarket boom ever, bankers resigning all over the place, Cyprus, and now this.
Something's on. And it's big.
Addendum: I forgot (but Henry didn't) to mention ABN-AMRO, another one of the Dutch Big Five, who two weeks ago let their customers know they would stop physical delivery of Gold and that all those with a Gold account would be paid in Euro if they liquidate their account. I'm sure most readers connected this dot, though. This certainly adds to the notion that there is some kind of trial run going on in the Netherlands.
Related:The Few Banks that Own AllTake your Money out of the Bank NOW! (Video)High Noon in Nicosia: what really happened in Cyprus?At long last: savers will pay for their folly of trusting banks
Sun, 14 Apr 2013 01:20
Cyprus-style confiscation of depositor funds has been called the ''new normal.'' Bail-in policies are appearing in multiple countries directing failing TBTF banks to convert the funds of ''unsecured creditors'' into capital; and those creditors, it turns out, include ordinary depositors. Even ''secured'' creditors, including state and local governments, may be at risk. Derivatives have ''super-priority'' status in bankruptcy, and Dodd Frank precludes further taxpayer bailouts. In a big derivatives bust, there may be no collateral left for the creditors who are next in line. Shock waves went around the world when the IMF, the EU, and the ECB not only approved but mandated the confiscation of depositor funds to ''bail in'' two bankrupt banks in Cyprus. A ''bail in'' is a quantum leap beyond a ''bail out.'' When governments are no longer willing to use taxpayer money to bail out banks that have gambled away their capital, the banks are now being instructed to ''recapitalize'' themselves by confiscating the funds of their creditors, turning debt into equity, or stock; and the ''creditors'' include the depositors who put their money in the bank thinking it was a secure place to store their savings.
The Cyprus bail-in was not a one-off emergency measure but was consistent with similar policies already in the works for the US, UK, EU, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, as detailed in my earlier articles here and here. ''Too big to fail'' now trumps all. Rather than banks being put into bankruptcy to salvage the deposits of their customers, the customers will now be put into bankruptcy to save the banks.
Why Derivatives Threaten Your Bank Account
The big risk behind all this is the massive $230 trillion derivatives boondoggle managed by US banks. Derivatives are sold as a kind of insurance for managing profits and risk; but as Satyajit Das points out in Extreme Money, they actually increase risk to the system as a whole.
In the US after the Glass-Steagall Act was implemented in 1933, a bank could not gamble with depositor funds for its own account; but in 1999, that barrier was removed. Recent congressional investigations have revealed that in the biggest derivative banks, JPMorgan and Bank of America, massive commingling has occurred between their depository arms and their unregulated and highly vulnerable derivatives arms. Under both the Dodd Frank Act and the 2005 Bankruptcy Act, derivative claims have super-priority over all other claims, secured and unsecured, insured and uninsured. In a major derivatives fiasco, derivative claimants could well grab all the collateral, leaving other claimants, public and private, holding the bag.
The tab for the 2008 bailout was $700 billion in taxpayer funds, and that was just to start. Another $700 billion disaster could easily wipe out all the money in the FDIC insurance fund, which has only about $25 billion in it. Both JPMorgan and Bank of America have over $1 trillion in deposits, and total deposits covered by FDIC insurance are about $9 trillion. According to an article on Bloomberg in November 2011, Bank of America's holding company then had almost $75 trillion in derivatives, and 71% were held in its depository arm; while J.P. Morgan had $79 trillion in derivatives, and 99% were in its depository arm. Those whole mega-sums are not actually at risk, but the cash calculated to be at risk from derivatives from all sources is at least $12 trillion; and JPM is the biggest player, with 30% of the market.
It used to be that the government would backstop the FDIC if it ran out of money. But section 716 of the Dodd Frank Act now precludes the payment of further taxpayer funds to bail out a bank from a bad derivatives gamble. As summarized in a letter from Americans for Financial Reform quoted by Yves Smith:
Section 716 bans taxpayer bailouts of a broad range of derivatives dealing and speculative derivatives activities. Section 716 does not in any way limit the swaps activities which banks or other financial institutions may engage in. It simply prohibits public support for such activities.
There will be no more $700 billion taxpayer bailouts. So where will the banks get the money in the next crisis? It seems the plan has just been revealed in the new bail-in policies.
All Depositors, Secured and Unsecured, May Be at Risk
The bail-in policy for the US and UK is set forth in a document put out jointly by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bank of England (BOE) in December 2012, titled Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions.
In an April 4th article in Financial Sense, John Butler points out that the directive does not explicitly refer to ''depositors.'' It refers only to ''unsecured creditors.'' But the effective meaning of the term, says Butler, is belied by the fact that the FDIC has been put on the job. The FDIC has direct responsibility only for depositors, not for the bondholders who are wholesale non-depositor sources of bank credit. Butler comments:
Do you see the sleight-of-hand at work here? Under the guise of protecting taxpayers, depositors of failing institutions are to be arbitrarily, de-facto subordinated to interbank claims, when in fact they are legally senior to those claims!
. . . [C]onsider the brutal, unjust irony of the entire proposal. Remember, its stated purpose is to solve the problem revealed in 2008, namely the existence of insolvent TBTF institutions that were ''highly leveraged and complex, with numerous and dispersed financial operations, extensive off-balance-sheet activities, and opaque financial statements.'' Yet what is being proposed is a framework sacrificing depositors in order to maintain precisely this complex, opaque, leverage-laden financial edifice!
If you believe that what has happened recently in Cyprus is unlikely to happen elsewhere, think again. Economic policy officials in the US, UK and other countries are preparing for it. Remember, someone has to pay. Will it be you? If you are a depositor, the answer is yes.
The FDIC was set up to ensure the safety of deposits. Now it, it seems, its function will be the confiscation of deposits to save Wall Street. In the only mention of ''depositors'' in the FDIC-BOE directive as it pertains to US policy, paragraph 47 says that ''the authorities recognize the need for effective communication to depositors, making it clear that their deposits will be protected.'' But protected with what? As with MF Global, the pot will already have been gambled away. From whom will the bank get it back? Not the derivatives claimants, who are first in line to be paid; not the taxpayers, since Congress has sealed the vault; not the FDIC insurance fund, which has a paltry $25 billion in it. As long as the derivatives counterparties have super-priority status, the claims of all other parties are in jeopardy.
That could mean not just the ''unsecured creditors'' but the ''secured creditors,'' including state and local governments. Local governments keep a significant portion of their revenues in Wall Street banks because smaller local banks lack the capacity to handle their complex business. In the US, banks taking deposits of public funds are required to pledge collateral against any funds exceeding the deposit insurance limit of $250,000. But derivative claims are also secured with collateral, and they have super-priority over all other claimants, including other secured creditors. The vault may be empty by the time local government officials get to the teller's window. Main Street will again have been plundered by Wall Street.
Super-priority Status for Derivatives Increases Rather than Decreases Risk
Harvard Law Professor Mark Row maintains that the super-priority status of derivatives needs to be repealed. He writes:
. . . [D]erivatives counterparties, . . . unlike most other secured creditors, can seize and immediately liquidate collateral, readily net out gains and losses in their dealings with the bankrupt, terminate their contracts with the bankrupt, and keep both preferential eve-of-bankruptcy payments and fraudulent conveyances they obtained from the debtor, all in ways that favor them over the bankrupt's other creditors.
. . . [W]hen we subsidize derivatives and similar financial activity via bankruptcy benefits unavailable to other creditors, we get more of the activity than we otherwise would. Repeal would induce these burgeoning financial markets to better recognize the risks of counterparty financial failure, which in turn should dampen the possibility of another AIG-, Bear Stearns-, or Lehman Brothers-style financial meltdown, thereby helping to maintain systemic financial stability.
In The New Financial Deal: Understanding the Dodd-Frank Act and Its (Unintended) Consequences, David Skeel agrees. He calls the Dodd-Frank policy approach ''corporatism'' '' a partnership between government and corporations. Congress has made no attempt in the legislation to reduce the size of the big banks or to undermine the implicit subsidy provided by the knowledge that they will be bailed out in the event of trouble.
Undergirding this approach is what Skeel calls ''the Lehman myth,'' which blames the 2008 banking collapse on the decision to allow Lehman Brothers to fail. Skeel counters that the Lehman bankruptcy was actually orderly, and the derivatives were unwound relatively quickly. Rather than preventing the Lehman collapse, the bankruptcy exemption for derivatives may have helped precipitate it. When the bank appeared to be on shaky ground, the derivatives players all rushed to put in their claims, in a run on the collateral before it ran out. Skeel says the problem could be resolved by eliminating the derivatives exemption from the stay of proceedings that a bankruptcy court applies to other contracts to prevent this sort of run.
Putting the Brakes on the Wall Street End Game
Besides eliminating the super-priority of derivatives, here are some other ways to block the Wall Street asset grab:
(1) Restore the Glass-Steagall Act separating depository bankingfrom investment banking. Support Marcy Kaptur's H.R. 129.
(2) Break up the giant derivatives banks. Support Bernie Sanders' ''too big to jail'' legislation.
(3) Alternatively, nationalize the TBTFs, as advised in the New York Times by Gar Alperovitz. If taxpayer bailouts to save the TBTFs are unacceptable, depositor bailouts are even more unacceptable.
(4) Make derivatives illegal, as they were between 1936 and 1982 under the Commodities Exchange Act. They can be unwound by simply netting them out, declaring them null and void. As noted by Paul Craig Roberts, ''the only major effect of closing out or netting all the swaps (mostly over-the-counter contracts between counter-parties) would be to take $230 trillion of leveraged risk out of the financial system.''
(5) Support the Harkin-Whitehouse bill to impose a financial transactions tax on Wall Street trading. Among other uses, a tax on all trades might supplement the FDIC insurance fund to cover another derivatives disaster.
(5) Establish postal savings banks as government-guaranteed depositories for individual savings. Many countries have public savings banks, which became particularly popular after savings in private banks were wiped out in the banking crisis of the late 1990s.
(6) Establish publicly-owned banks to be depositories of public monies, following the lead of North Dakota, the only state to completely escape the 2008 banking crisis. North Dakota does not keep its revenues in Wall Street banks but deposits them in the state-owned Bank of North Dakota by law. The bank has a mandate to serve the public, and it does not gamble in derivatives.
A motivated state legislature could set up a publicly-owned bank very quickly. Having its own bank would allow the state to protect both its own revenues and those of its citizens while generating the credit needed to support local business and restore prosperity to Main Street.
For more information on the public bank option, see here. Learn more at the Public Banking Institute conference June 2-4 in San Rafael, California, featuring Matt Taibbi, Birgitta Jonsdottir, Gar Alperovitz and others.
Ellen Brown is an attorney, chairman of the Public Banking Institute, and the author of eleven books, includingWeb of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free. Her websites are webofdebt.com and ellenbrown.com.
Seems Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti is the post to get if you want to party, hardy.
Gen William Ward was fired for taking personal flights on military
aircraft to go to Europe shopping and New York to see a play with Denzel Washington that a defense contractor appears to have paid for. He had
military subordinates chauffeur his wife around and take her to spas and shopping.
Now his replacement has been fired for screwing around and having liquored
up parties. Word is at a drunken party he got happy hands with
a civilian female contractor (spook).
Top Army General Is Accused Of Spending Hundreds Of Thousands On Personal Luxuries
You also have a host of other Generals screwing around it appears including the superintendent of West Point Genera David Huntoon. Huntoon's case
is a total disgrace in that it appears the IG covered up the case so
that Huntoon would be able to retire after 40 years which means he would get full pay at his last rank for the rest of his life. It took a FOIA
request from the Washington Post before anyone said anything his case
and they are still downplaying it.
Then we have Colonel Robert Rice being charged with kiddie pron after his
laptop was found to contain over 10k pron pics. Now this one could be
interesting because he and his wife were separated and he claims she
hacked his notebook and put the images there which considering she is
the one who turned him in, well...
So it's sex, drugs, rock and roll with a touch of kiddie pron when it
comes to the upper echelon of offices in the Army it appears. I mean we
had Petreaus with his little girlfriend so if the top dog can do it why
not the rest of the command staff.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:43
A partnership between Google and tech startup Nixle will allow safety notifications from local authorities to appear at the top of search results.
Alerts from police, firefighters, and other authorities should soon start popping up in your Google search results.
The new initiative comes courtesy of a team-up between Google and Nixle, a San Francisco-based startup firm.
Nixle allows people to sign up to receive crime alerts, missing person notifications, and other notices from local police and fire departments. The alerts are sent via text message to a mobile phone.
Google has tapped Nixle as the first partner to work with the Google Crisis Response Team to expand those safety alerts beyond just mobile phones. Local public safety agencies can now post alerts so they appear at the top of Google search results, on Google Maps, and even on Android devices through the Google Now app.
Here's an example from Google on how the system would work:
Upper Darby Police [located in Pennsylvania], for example, send out a text or e-mail notification to their residents alerting them to a missing child, an escaped convict, or a hurricane bearing down. In addition to Nixle subscribers receiving this alert, anyone who searches "Upper Darby weather" or other related keywords on Google (or happens to be in Upper Darby and searches "hurricane" for example) will see the Nixle alert prominently displayed at the top of search results, complete with clickable links for further info and actions to be taken. It will also be layered over Google Maps, and will pop-up on Android phones through Google Now.
Adding local alerts to search results can clearly benefit authorities as well as residents.
"This gives everyone from small-town cops to large fire, sheriff, and OEM departments (no matter what their budget) access to post timely and location-relevant public safety information on Google," a Google spokesperson said in a statement, "thereby increasing their reach by hundreds of millions."
you are missing out on a great opportunity here are the warning that should be issued by your GVS:
1). Attention please stay indoors -CHEMMMMMTRAILLLLS- are in effect.
2) Attention do not drink the water there is fluoride in your cup
3) Attention! attention! 9/11 was an inside job "wtc7 won't go away"
4) there is a flu outbreak please standby for the no agenda swine flu minute
5) if you are interested in advertising on the giant voice system please go to da vorak dot org slash NA.
6) there is a food shortage please stay in your homes and wait for your ration of Mac n cheese by Ayn Rand
Greg S. - knight of the noho squirrels
HereÌ°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ¢¥õå¢s some more information on Giant Voice systems as referred to in No Agenda show #502.
Giant Voice systems (also referred to as MNS - Mass Notification Systems,
installed as part of an outdoor warning siren system) are very
widespread throughout the country. There are a few companies that
manufacture them, along with conventional air raid sirens (used as
weather warning sirens in the Midwest where tornadoes are common):
http://www.alertnotification.com/ - Federal Signal Corporation (Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ·¥þModulatorÌ°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌåÿ, Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ·¥þDSAÌ°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌåÿ)
http://www.americansignal.com/ - American Signal Corporation (Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ·¥þI-ClassÌ°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌåÿ, Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ·¥þQuadrenÌ°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌåÿ, Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ·¥þE-ClassÌ°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌåÿ)
http://www.whelen.com/_MASSNOTIFICATION/massnotification.php - Whelen Engineering (Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ·¥þWPS-2900 SeriesÌ°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌåÿ, Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ·¥þWPS-4000 SeriesÌ°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌåÿ)
http://www.atisystem.com/index.htm - ATI Systems (Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ·¥þHPSS1600Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌåÿ, Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ·¥þHPSS3200Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌåÿ Ì°å¢Ì¢¥ûåÂÌ¢Âã the San Francisco system uses these).
These are essentially remote stations with high-power horn loudspeakers
(thousands of watts). They have battery backup power systems in case the main power fails, and a set of pre-recorded messages loaded into memory for playback. Voice-enabled mass notification systems are installed
near nuclear power plants, chemical plants, and chemical weapons depots
to warn of a release, but they are also becoming more popular for
Compared to older civil defense sirens, Giant Voice systems have a major
problem, which is intelligibility. Unlike the tone sounded by sirens,
voice messages are complex signals with sounds that start and stop, and
when these speaker stations are spread out over a wide area with
overlapping coverage, the message can become garbled, and people may not be able to interpret the message. There are videos on YouTube of these
systems in action, and this smearing of the sound is easy to hear.
I hope this information helps.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 13:56
Eat Your Cat Food, Mrs. RobinsonPosted on Apr 12, 2013The new cost of living index proposed in Obama's latest budget is really a means to push lower living standards on people who depend on Social Security, University of Missouri economist Michael Hudson says.
The blandly named ''Chained CPI'' would require Social Security recipients to select cheaper goods and services, effectively diminishing'--if not destroying'--their quality of life by creating an official policy justification for the issuance of smaller pension checks.
Hudson explained the switch in detail Thursday on The Real News Network:
It's not really a cost of living index. It's a ''cost of lower living standards'' index. Yves Smith calls it the catfood index.
Here's what it does: Suppose that you have to switch away from eating steak or eating meat or eating fish to eating canned tuna fish or canned beans. That's considered a price reduction.?If the chained index is done ''properly,'' anti-labor economists can cut Social Security by 50 percent. Here's how. If people stop taking cabs and begin to take buses, that's considered a lower cost of living. Well, what if they buy a bicycle? All Obama has to say is, ''Look, folks! If you really want to save money, get a bike.'' That's what Margaret Thatcher said. That was one of her campaign slogans: ''Get a bike!'' So all of a sudden, the transportation in the cost of living goes down to zero.
People pay between 25 percent and 40 percent of their income on rent. Let them live out on the street. Let them live in a homeless shelter '... about 15 percent of their income is spent on medical care. Let them do what George Bush said: Go to the emergency ward. That's free. So the cost of living goes down!If living standards are ground down and down because people are poor, then the government can say, ''Because you're getting poorer and poorer, your living standards have declined, so we don't have to pay you so much to live.'' This is no longer a price index. This is an index of declining living standards. Poverty will cascade downward, and so will the chained CPI. This gives new means to the working class being put in chains.
Below, hear Hudson's essential points about Social Security and more about why the national debt is not the crisis officials are making it out to be. A transcript of the conversation between him and Real News Network senior editor Paul Jay immediately follows.
'--Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
The Real News Network:
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.
President Obama released his budget, and the most controversial piece of it is he wants to make some cuts to Social Security. Now here's a little bit of what he said: ''Most economists agree that the chained CPI provides a more accurate measure of the average change in the cost of living.'' This chained CPI is at the heart of the controversy, because critics are saying this is in fact a cut to Social Security benefits in the future.
Why is President Obama doing all this? Well, the logic for it is given more or less by The New York Times in their report on the budget. Here's what they wrote:
Social Security benefits would increase from $860 billion next year, less than the projected $743 billion in payroll tax revenues for the program, to $1.4 trillion in 2023 fiscal year, about equal to the entire amount of discretionary spending, Medicare and Medicaid, which would total $504 billion and $267 billion, respectively, next year. Each would be nearly double those amounts in 2023, and interest on the federal debt, projected to be $222 billion next year, would be four times that in 2023.
Now joining us to talk about all of this is Michael Hudson. He's a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His two newest books are The Bubble and Beyond and Finance Capitalism and Its Discontents. Thanks very much for joining us, Michael.
MICHAEL HUDSON, RESEARCH PROF., UMKC: Thank you, Paul.
JAY: So first of all let's start with the New York Times quote, where they give a fairly apocalyptic sense of where we're heading in terms of debt and Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid not being able to be paid for. What do you make of that?
HUDSON: It reminds me of The Hound of the Baskervilles, where Sherlock Holmes said the important thing is that the dog didn't bark. When the government printed $13 trillion to give to the banks after the 2008 breakdown, nobody complained at all about the fact that the government can simply print the money and pour it into the economy. Nobody is complaining about the increased war spending that we're doing, the waste that the Pentagon itself is complaining to congress about.
Why is it that these complaints focus on one particular small part of the budget, Social Security and medical care and health care? And the reason is this is pure, naked class war. There's no other word for it. You can't believe that people are being honest when they don't talk about the whole budget or the overall economy when they're single-mindedly tunnel-visioned, focused only on how do we pay retirees less, so that we can give the bankers more when President Obama continues the bank deregulation he's sponsoring. The idea is to cut back Social Security in order to gear up for the next big bank bailout that's going to result from current policies.
JAY: So what do you make of the prediction that deficit spending will lead to interest on the debt becoming four times what it is now? Isn't that some kind of danger?
HUDSON: Not necessarily, for a number of reasons that the Obama administration is doing its best to obscure. First of all, when advocates of cutting back Social Security lobbyists use scare tactics to talk about the debt, they talk about a $16 trillion super-total. But of this, about $4 trillion, is owed by the government to the Federal Reserve, and another $2.5 trillion is owed to the Social Security fund. So for the $6.5 trillion the government pays interest to itself. This interest credit is a bookkeeping accounting fiction. This is not really paying a penny interest than the government receives as revenue on another part of its budget. It is not paying interest to bondholders or into the economy. When people start by talking about $16 trillion, you know that they're not being honest.
JAY: Is the argument they would give that when the Fed gives money to the banks, as you were talking about in the bailout, they do eventually get paid back, don't they? And in a sense it doesn't create more debt. That's the argument they give, whereas these payments on Social Security ...
HUDSON: That brings up the second point I want to make. Every government's debt tends to grow steadily over time. The Federal Reserve has rarely reduced its debt to the United States Government apart from the World War I and II debt. The debt it holds does not involve banks, you're quite right. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury can simply create money on their own computer keyboards, just like banks can do electronically. It doesn't cost a penny for them to create the money to pay Social Security recipients. They could simply print greenbacks, to make a long story short.
The debt is never paid back, but becomes in effect part of the money supply. Over two hundred years ago, already in 1776, Adam Smith wrote that no government ever has repaid its debt. So the debt doesn't have to be repaid. It's not like a private-sector account book where, if you run into debt, you have to keep paying the banks more on your credit card and your bank loan. This is zero-interest money. You've had Bill Black and my other University of Missouri-Kansas City colleagues on your show explaining this.
When people refuse to acknowledge what universities teach in their money and banking courses, you know that they're pulling a con job on you.
JAY: There's two sides to this. There's the side of the money the Fed just simply creates. And then there's the part where the government borrows money from outside sources. They borrow money by selling T-bills. At the moment this borrowed money is costing the government practically nothing, but that could change at a point.
HUDSON: It could, in which case there would probably be a shift away from borrowing from the public to simply monetizing it, which is what the U.S. government has always done in a pinch, as have the British government and the Chinese government. Any government that has a central bank has the option of doing that. So this to pretend that the debts to the banks and the bondholders are the whole thing just avoids looking at the real overall budget situation.
But to pick up your point, it also assumes that, ''Okay, we're going to be paying the rich much more interest.'' Remember, the bondholders '' the 1% '' own maybe 75 percent of all the bonds. So if the government pays them a lot more interest and doesn't tax them more, this is a pure giveaway to the 1%.
So what they're really saying, The New York Times and the others, is that we're running a probability of giving a huge amount of money to the wealthiest 1% in the future. In case we indeed do have to pay them more, we have to screw the Social Security recipients, screw the Medicare recipients, screw Medicaid. We have to squeeze the 99 percent more to pay higher interest to the 1% that are the bondholders.
JAY: Now, President Obama in this budget proposal wants to raise taxes on the wealthy, he says. Anyone over making more than $1 million he wants to pay, I think, a minimum of 30 percent tax. Is that something?
HUDSON: Yes. It's a fraud. It's doubletalk. Rich people don't make income if they help it. To paraphrase Leona Helmsley, income is for the little people. Rich people make capital gains.
So they fill out your tax returns, they don't say that they're earning income. They report capital gains, taxed at a much lower rate. So what Obama is doing is flimflam. The Congressional Budget Office has shown that the wealthy people get most of their rise in net worth by capital gains, not income. He's not making a peep about that.
JAY: The other argument I guess you hear from Obama supporters is that he's dealing with a Republican-controlled House. I think the New York Times headline of the coverage of this was President Obama's budget meant to engage the Republicans. So this is more about the politics than about the economics.
HUDSON: When they say ''engage the Republicans,'' this means that Mr. Obama realizes that as a follower of Rubinomics '' Robert Rubin at Citibank '' that he's going to do something that most Democrats don't like, He's advocating a policy that most voters don't like. So he's trying to blame it on the Republicans. He's ''engaging'' them simply in order to put the blame on them.
JAY: Just quickly dig into this CPI chained cost of living. Why are people criticizing this, and what does it mean?
HUDSON: It's not really a cost of living index. It's a ''cost of lower living standards'' index. Yves Smith calls it the catfood index.
Here's what it does. Suppose that you have to switch away from eating steak or eating meat or eating fish to eating canned tuna fish or canned beans. That's considered a price reduction.
If the chained index is done ''properly,'' anti-labor economists can cut Social Security by 50 percent. Here's how. If people stop taking cabs and begin to take buses, that's considered a lower cost of living. Well, what if they buy a bicycle? All Obama has to say is, ''Look, folks! If you really want to save money, get a bike.'' That's what Margaret Thatcher said. That was one of her campaign slogans: ''Get a bike!'' So all of a sudden, the transportation in the cost of living goes down to zero.
People pay between 25 percent and 40 percent of their income on rent. Let them live out on the street. Let them live in a homeless shelter [crosstalk]
JAY: Because the point of this chained '....
HUDSON: '... about 15 percent of their income is spent on medical care. Let them do what George Bush said: Go to the emergency ward. That's free. So the cost of living goes down!
If living standards are ground down and down because people are poor, then the government can say, ''Because you're getting poorer and poorer, your living standards have declined, so we don't have to pay you so much to live.'' This is no longer a price index. This is an index of declining living standards. Poverty will cascade downward, and so will the chained CPI. This gives new means to the working class being put in chains.
JAY: And that's because the concept behind this chained CPI is that people are finding cheaper ways to do things, ways that supposedly are not being reflected in the current system.
HUDSON: That's right. People are having to walk to work instead of taking buses. They're having to eat tuna fish and canned beans instead of buying fresh food on the table. Of course they're finding cheaper ways. We call that declining living standards.
The starting point for Obama's budget ''reform'' is to find the path of least resistance in screwing Social Security recipients, how can we pay them less to pay our campaign contributors, the 1%, more? They start by putting the class war back in business. They sugar-coat it by calling it a price index instead of a catfood index or declining living standards index. This is the politics of deception.
JAY: All right. Thanks for joining us, Michael.
JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
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Just wanted to send you a note
about your segment on Jay-Z and Beyonce's trip to Cuba. Some friends
were around them there during their trip and said it was interesting
because: though Cuba sees many celebreties, these two, particularly
Beyonce, drew huge crowds. They had gov't security while there who shut
down every restaurant and store that they went into and kicked all "the
People to People is one of the
categories of permission that allows Americans to visit Cuba. This must
be applied for at OFAC (office of foreign asset control) of the Treasury Dept. It is not an easy permission to get. I have tried to get it to
bring groups there twice. I failed both times. Treasury only gives the
license to their buddies? I don't know exactly how they determine who to give it to.
But this is different from the
organization called People to People. Just wanted to clarify. Let me
know if you want any more info about permissions to visit Cuba from
Treasury. I go often as a journalist and have been through the ins and
outs for years.
Here are some links.
Here's the one you're probably most looking for: (see pages 6 and 22)
Very interesting info about the relationship between OFAC and US banks -
reporting info on private individuals and companies to Treasury: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/reg_mou-index.aspx
WHAT WAS THEIR PURPOSE?
Cuba's a cool place to visit. Jay-Z loves Cuban cigars. He smokes them all the time (fact).
My guess is that Barry O'Bama okayed it or encouraged it or even asked him to do it to mainstream the idea of Americans going to Cuba again. I
think Barry is flirting with the idea of removing some parts of the
embargo. It has been suspected for a while as a second term agenda
Raul Castro has been doing things to
signal to the US that Cuba is ready for changes (legalizing private
business, allowing Cubans into hotels, and giving Cubans access to
passports). Barry has very lightly insinuated that the policy should be
My guess is that this was a testing
of the waters. Whether the idea came from Barry or Jay or Beyonce, I
don't think it matters. In any regard, I think Barry encouraged it.
Not sure what to make of this, but not entirely surprising.
wife has a friend stationed in South Korea and says that he doesn't
know what South Korea that US news is covering, but that what's shown on
our news is nothing like what is really happening.
He says US media has actually
asked for trucks, jets and such to fly over head or drive by during
shoots and that bases are complying. It makes for good TV. He also says
that routine movements and such are being attended by the media so that
they can show something happening and pass it off as "US TROOPS AND
SOUTH KOREA MOBILIZING" "OMG WAR!!!"
you think it worthwhile to discuss, please don't mention my name. I
have family in the military and working for various fed agencies.
Keep up the great work guys!
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 09:33
WASHINGTON -- A U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that North Korea has developed nuclear warheads small enough to fit on a ballistic missile, a congressman disclosed Thursday.
At a House armed services committee hearing focused on the budget, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) read from what he said was an unclassified portion of a classified Defense Intelligence Agency study that states, "DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles. However, the reliability will be low."
Although U.S. experts believe North Korean missiles are not capable of hitting the U.S. mainland, the notion that the regime had achieved a significant leap in weapons technology would be deeply disconcerting for U.S. policymakers. It was not immediately known whether the CIA and other U.S. agencies agree with the DIA, an intelligence arm at the Pentagon.
[Updated, 6:50 p.m., April 11: James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said in a statement that the DIA view is not a formal assessment shared by all U.S. intelligence agencies.]
Lamborn said the DIA study was completed last month but the conclusion had not been made public.
The Pentagon announced last month that it plans to augment missile defense systems in Alaska in response to the North Korean threat. It also said it will deploy another antimissile system to Guam, which is in range of North Korean missiles.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declined to answer Lamborn's question about the report in the public hearing.
At a different congressional hearing Thursday, James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, sought to downplay the recent tension with North Korea. He said the tension was higher in previous episodes in his career, including when the North Koreans seized a Navy spy ship in 1968 and detained its crew. They ultimately were released but the ship, the Pueblo, remains in Pyongyang.
Clapper said there is uncertainty regarding North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un.
"We don't have good detail on the inner sanctum," he said. "There's no telling how he's going to behave. He impresses me as impetuous, [and] not as inhibited as his father became about taking aggressive action."
Rescue workers in Iran give up search for earthquake survivors
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Five women detained in Israel over prayer shawls at Western Wall
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:02
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Fri, 12 Apr 2013 09:59
Pyongyang warned that Tokyo would be its primary target if war broke out on the Korean Peninsula, if Japan maintains its ''hostile posture.'' It also threatened a nuclear strike against the island nation if it intercepts any North Korean test missiles.
In the comments, carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday, Pyongyang lambasted Tokyo's standing orders to shoot down any North Korean missile heading towards Japan, Seoul-based Yonhap news agency reports. The agency warned that any ''provocative'' intervention on the part of Japan would see Tokyo ''consumed in nuclear flames.''
"Japan is always in the cross-hairs of our revolutionary army and if Japan makes a slightest move, the spark of war will touch Japan first," KCNA warned.
Speaking in Seoul alongside his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-Se on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the rhetoric emanating from Pyongyang was ''unacceptable.''
Kerry, who arrived in South Korea to kick off a four-day diplomatic tour in East Asia amidst rising tensions in the region, further insisted the international community "are all united on the fact that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power."
"I am here to make it clear today, on behalf of President Obama and the citizens of the United States and our bilateral security agreement, that the United States, will, if needed, defend our allies and defend ourselves."
Kerry continued that any North Korean nuclear missile test would be "a huge mistake."
"If (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-Un decides to launch a missile, whether it's across the Sea of Japan or any other direction, he will be choosing willfully to ignore the entire international community."
"It will be a huge mistake for him to do that because it will further isolate his country," Kerry continued.
His comments mirrored statements made by President Barack Obama, who met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the Oval Office on Thursday.
"We both agree that now is the time for North Korea to end the belligerent approach they have taken and to try to lower temperatures," Obama told reporters.
"It's important for North Korea, like every other country in the world, to observe basic rules and norms," he continued.
Kerry's visit coincides with the disclosure of a US Defense Intelligence Agency report which says North Korea has the technological know-how to arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.
The analysis, disclosed at a congressional hearing in Washington on Thursday, was rebuffed by Pentagon spokesman George Little.
Little argued "it would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced" in the DIA report.
The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also concluded that the report was not in line with America's other intelligence agencies.
"Moreover, North Korea has not yet demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear armed missile," Clapper continued.
On Wednesday, the South Korean military was put on high alert following intelligence reports from Seoul, Tokyo and Washington that a North Korean mid-range missile test could occur at any time.
Pyongyang is expected to launch its untested Musudan missile from its east coast. With a range of 1,800 to 2,180 miles, the missile could hit the Japanese mainland, as well as the Japanese island of Okinawa and the US territory of Guam.
On Friday, Japan announced it would permanently deploy Patriot missile interceptor batteries on Okinawa, where the United States currently has a total military deployment of some 50,000 personnel.
Japan had initially planned to station the missile batteries in March 2015, but now hopes to place them on the island later this month. Several other Patriot Advance Capability-3 missile interceptor were deployed throughout Japan during the past week to defend key military units and Tokyo.
The US for its part announced last week that it will soon deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) to Guam in response to North Korean threats.
The ongoing crisis on the Korean Peninsula was sparked in February, when North Korea conducted its third nuclear test. The launch was condemned by the United Nations and much of the international community, prompting the UN to approve a new round of sanctions in early March.
Pyongyang reacted to the sanctions by threatening to launch a nuclear strike against the US.
In late March, Pyongyang declared it had entered a state of war with its southern neighbor following an earlier decision to withdrawal from the 60-year armistice that ended the Korean War.
North Korea had previously threatened to pull out of the 1953 armistice if the South did not halt a joint annual military exercise with the US.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 08:59
Flight Paths Are Set to Get BumpierPosted on Apr 12, 2013By Tim Radford, Climate News Network
This article first appeared at Climate News Network.
LONDON'--Airline passengers '' and airlines too '' could be in for a rough ride as the decades pass and the world warms. Two British scientists have asked the question literally uppermost in the minds of transatlantic flight planners: what difference will global warming make to atmospheric turbulence?
Clear air turbulence is an enduring problem for commercial aircraft: pilots cannot see it coming, it doesn't reflect signals to onboard radar, and satellite monitors cannot detect it.
Pilots however encounter moderate or uncomfortable clear air turbulence at least one per cent of cruise time. This adds up to tens of thousands of bumpy episodes each year, and hundreds of passengers who didn't fasten their seatbelts in time may be injured.
Clear air turbulence is calculated to cost airlines £100 million ($150 million) a year in delays and damage, and although air crew and passengers have been facing such discomforts almost since the invention of flight 110 years ago, the mechanisms of turbulence are still, in that famously enigmatic scientific phrase, ''not fully understood.''
But Paul Williams of the University of Reading and Manoj Joshi of the University of East Anglia report in Nature Climate Change that they decided to look at computer models to see whether climate change would make a difference. Turbulence is linked to atmospheric jet streams and these are likely to be strengthened by man-made global warming.Since, right now, climate scientists cannot predict episodes of turbulence in particular latitudes at identifiable altitudes, the researchers could reach only very general conclusions.
And since the factors involved in churning up flows of air are the subject of serious academic debate, they had a lot of possibilities to consider and at least 20 different units of measurement to factor into their models '' technicalities like the magnitude of vertical shear of horizontal wind, flow deformation and simple wind speed, and highly specialised meteorological considerations such as the negative Richardson number, and the Brown energy dissipation rate.
They also had to consider the air traffic lanes between Europe and the Americas, the changes according to season, and the projected rates of increase in carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. They decided to focus on the case for winter flights, because that is when turbulence is at its peak.
They found that at typical cruise altitudes in the northern half of the North Atlantic corridor in winter, most of their diagnostics showed between 10% and 40% increase in median strength of turbulence, and a 40% to 170% increase in the frequency of episodes of moderate or greater turbulence. So the airplanes that significantly increase the potential for global warming will also be affected by global warming.
''We conclude that climate change will lead to bumpier transatlantic flights by the middle of this century, assuming the same flight tracks are used'', they report. ''Observational evidence suggests that this increase in bumpiness has already begun.
''Flight paths may need to become more convoluted to avoid patches of turbulence that are stronger and more frequent, in which case journey times will lengthen and fuel consumption and emissions will increase, in the same season and location that contrails have their largest climatic impact.''
Finally, they say, any increase in clear air turbulence would have important implications for large-scale atmospheric circulation, because clear air turbulence contributes significantly to exchanges between the stratosphere and the lower atmosphere.
''Aviation is partly responsible for changing the climate in the first place'', said Dr Williams. ''It is ironic that the climate looks set to exact its revenge by creating a more turbulent atmosphere for flying.''
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Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:36
12 April 2013Last updated at10:52 ETDowning Street has released the names of more guests who will attend Lady Thatcher's funeral, including US politician Newt Gingrich and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Advertising magnate Lord Maurice Saatchi, internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee and singer Katherine Jenkins have also accepted invitations.
The ceremony will be held at St Paul's Cathedral in London next Wednesday.
The Queen and Prince Philip have already confirmed they will go.
The guest list for the funeral was drawn up by Lady Thatcher's family with the assistance of the government and the Conservative Party, with more than 2,000 invitations being dispatched on Friday.
It will be the first funeral of a British politician the Queen has attended since that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.
In other developments:
A police officer who reportedly wrote on Twitter that he hoped Baroness Thatcher's death was "painful and degrading" resigns.BBC Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper decides Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead, which has been at the centre of an anti-Margaret Thatcher campaign, will not be played in full on the Official Chart Show.Downing Street denies a "blanket ban" on taking photos outside Number 10, after a group of special Olympians were initially told they would not be allowed to take a souvenir snap because it was "too sombre" an occasion following the death of Lady Thatcher.Two Tory MPs propose that one of the UK's airports should be renamed Thatcher International as an "enduring testament to her contribution to the world".The cathedral has a capacity of 2,300 and is expected to be full on the day.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, whose force is in charge of security arrangements for the day, is expected to attend.
Broadcaster Andrew Neil and actor Michael Crawford will be present, as will Tory donor Lord Harris and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Those who have already confirmed they will not be attending include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan's widow Nancy.
Continue reading the main storyNOTABLE INVITEESThe QueenAll surviving ex-prime ministersAll surviving US presidentsAll surviving members of Lady Thatcher's cabinetsCurrent cabinetLabour leader Ed MilibandFirst Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern IrelandFW de KlerkDame Shirley BasseyJeremy ClarksonSir Terry WoganJoan CollinsSir Trevor McDonaldLord and Lady Lloyd WebberLord and Lady ArcherNeither George Bush Senior, Mr Reagan's vice-president who succeeded him in the White House, nor his son George W Bush, US president between 2001 and 2009, will be attending.
And Lord Kinnock, who was Labour leader for most of Lady Thatcher's time in Downing Street and was defeated by her at the 1987 election, says he will not be present because of a commitment to attend the funeral of a former local councillor in Wales.
All surviving members of Lady Thatcher's cabinets will be invited, as will the current cabinet and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Other invited guests from around the globe include former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and a representative of Nelson Mandela.
A service will be held on Tuesday afternoon before Lady Thatcher's funeral in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster, where her body will rest overnight.
The short service, for around 100 people, will be led by the Dean of Westminster and attended by members of the family, senior figures from both Houses of Parliament and staff from Parliament and Downing Street who knew or worked closely with the former prime minister.
After the service, the chapel will be open for several hours in order that members of both Houses and parliamentary staff may pay their respects. The Speaker's Chaplain will keep vigil in the chapel through the night.
More than 700 armed forces personnel will line the route of the funeral procession from Westminster to St Paul's, including three bands whose drums will be covered in black cloth.
A gun salute will be fired from the Tower of London and the coffin will be carried into St Paul's by service personnel from regiments and ships closely associated with the Falklands campaign.
Following the funeral, the City of London Corporation will hold a reception at London's Guildhall for invited guests.
Lady Thatcher, who won three successive general elections, died on Monday after suffering a stroke while staying at the Ritz hotel in central London.
St Clement Danes
WestminsterThe funeral procession will set out from the Palace of Westminster with Baroness Thatcher's body carried in a hearse for the first part of the journey. The coffin will be trasferred to a gun carriage at the church of St Clement Danes on the Strand.
Baroness Thatcher's body will lie overnight in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft which is found beneath St Stephen's Hall at the Palace of Westminster.
St Clement DanesAt the RAF Chapel at the church of St Clement Danes on the Strand, Baroness Thatcher's coffin will be borne in procession to St Paul's Cathedral on a gun carriage drawn by six horses of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
St Paul's CathedralThere will be a Guard of Honour outside St Paul's as the coffin is transferred into the Cathedral by service personnel from regiments and ships closely associated with the Falklands campaign.
The ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral will be attended by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, family and friends of Baroness Thatcher, members of her cabinets and dignitaries from around the world.
Downing StreetThe funeral passes Downing Street, which is found on the left of the route along Whitehall.
Baroness Thatcher was resident at Number 10 for more than ten years following her General Election victory in 1979.
Ceremonial processionOnce the procession leaves St Clement Danes, the route to St Paul's along Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill will be lined by more than 700 armed forces personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, F Company Scots Guards, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and the Royal Air Force.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 08:51
More than 2,000 guests are to be invited to Baroness Thatcher's funeral.
The POLITICIANS are said to include:
Joe Biden, John Kerry, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Stephen Harper, Brian Mulroney, Caligula, Kenneth Clarke, Tony Blair.
The CELEBRITIES are said to include:
Joan Collins, Sir David Frost, Sir Tim Rice, Sir Terry Wogan, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir James Savile, Jeremy Clarkson, Frederick Forsyth, Dr Liam Fox, and Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber.
Thatcher and good friend General Pinochet."This may seem far-fetched, but the British government is in the process of mind controlling the entire UK population using CIA research from the Pandora Project and the so-called TETRA system which costs £2.5 billion will place 30,000 transmitters in every urban conurbation in the UK."Further to this, the British Army has long experience of using microwaves for murder and mind control in Northern Ireland.
"In 1977, the CIA contacted Margaret Thatcher and gave her all the details, elf frequencies, to induce cancer, paranoia (4.5 Hz), depression (6.66 Hz), manic rage (11.3 Hz)"tavistock agenda | UK Mind Manipulation
Sun, 14 Apr 2013 08:18
This week, the New York Times Op-Ed columnist Charles M. Blow talks to the host Ben Ratliff about Brad Paisley's controversial new song, ''Accidental Racist,'' in which the central character '-- a white southerner '-- walks into a Starbucks and experiences a moment of clarity, or something like that, regarding the Confederate flag T-shirt he's wearing. (LL Cool J plays the barista and de facto spirit guide.)
It was quickly and widely understood as a message song gone wrong. As The Times's critic Jon Caramanica put it, ''Mr. Paisley sings from the perspective of a man facing his conscience and his privilege, but only newly understanding that he is in possession of either of those things.'' But what's the value in the song '-- even if it's flawed, even if it's to be understood not as a question but an answer?
After the first backlash, what are the next conversations to have, both about American life in general, and about white southern identity and the persistent meanings of the Confederate flag in particular?
Listen above, download the MP3 here, or subscribe in iTunes.
Jon Caramanica on Brad Paisley's new album, ''Wheelhouse.''
''Room for Debate'' discussion on ''Accidental Racist.''
SPOTIFY PLAYLISTTracks by artists discussed this week. (Spotify users can also find it here.)
Sun, 14 Apr 2013 01:14
WINNIPEG (CBS Cleveland) '' A new study indicates that people who engage in text messaging tend to be more racist and shallow than their less technologically savvy counterparts.
Researchers at the University of Winnipeg found that young people are specifically susceptible to the trend, according to the Edmonton Journal.
The study was conducted by observing 2,300 psychology students for three years, with observations beginning during their first years of college. Participants were asked to fill out online surveys during the course of the several-year study.
Sun, 14 Apr 2013 01:18
China's H7N9 bird flu raises international concerns
The total number of confirmed human infections of the H7N9 bird flu in China has risen to 51, as two new cases were reported in Central China's Henan Province on Sunday.
The latest cases were confirmed following tests by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention early on Sunday.
A 34-year-old man surnamed Ma, a restaurant chef in Weishi county of Kaifeng city, displayed flu symptoms from April 6. He is in a critical condition and under ICU treatment in a local hospital.
The other case involves a 65-year-old farmer from Zhoukou who had frequent contacts with poultry in his residence. He is in a stable condition after receiving treatment.
Both cases were tested positive for the H7N9 bird flu virus on Thursday by the Henan provincial center of disease control and prevention.
The 19 people who have had closely contact with the two men have yet shown flu symptoms.
So far 51 cases of H7N9 bird flu infection have been reported in China, of which 11 people have died.
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Sat, 13 Apr 2013 22:46
Two people in the central Chinese province of Henan have been infected by a new strain of avian influenza bringing the nationwide total to 51, state media has reported.
The latest cases of infections from the H7N9 bird flu virus, reported on Sunday, were the first in the province.
One of the victims, a 34-year old man in the city of Kaifeng, is critically ill in hospital, while the other, a 65-year old farmer from Zhoukou, is stable. The two cases do not appear to be connected.
A total of 19 people in close contact with the two victims were under observation but had shown no signs of infection, said Xinhua news agency said.
On Saturday, Xinua reported that a seven-year-old girl in the capital city of Beijing was the first person to contract bird flu outside of the eastern region.
The girl was reportedly in a stable condition in a Beijing hospital, and was given the drug Tamiflu, received intravenous drips on Thursday night, and was transferred to an intensive care unit when her condition worsened.
The parents of the girl, who developed flu symptoms on Thursday morning, are engaged in the live poultry trade.
The website of China's state radio showed a photo of the girl lying in bed, wearing a large blue face mask and with a stuffed doll next to her.
So far 11 people have died of the H7N9 bird flu strain since it was confirmed in humans for the first time last month.
Shanghai and the eastern provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui had been the only confirmed locations of infection until the case in Beijing, a city home to over 20 million people.
The source of infection remains unknown, though the virus has been found in some birds in poultry markets that remain the focus of investigations by China and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The new virus has caused severe illness in most of the people affected, leading to fears that if it becomes easily transmissible, it could cause a deadly influenza pandemic, though there has been no indication of that happening.
In a bid to calm public jitters over the virus, Chinese authorities have detained a dozen people for spreading rumours about the spread of bird flu.
Earlier in April, the World Health Organisation praised China for mobilising resources nationwide to combat the strain by culling tens of thousands of birds and monitoring hundreds of people close to those infected.
"So far, we really only have sporadic cases of a rare disease, and perhaps it will remain that way. So this is not a time for over-reaction or panic," said Michael O'Leary, the WHO's representative to China.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 12:54
The US government has published the names of the people on the 'Magnitsky List,' despite warnings of counter-measures from Moscow and the risk of straining ties between the two countries.
The SDN list published on the US Treasury Department website includes the names 18 people from Russia and the CIS countries, who are blacklisted under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.
The law commonly known as the Magnitsky Act imposes visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials allegedly involved in the death of Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergey Magnitsky and in other human rights abuses in the country. The 37-year-old Magnitsky died in a Moscow pre-trial detention center in November 2009.
Russia will respond with an 'anti-Magnitsky law' in two days' time, the Head of the State Duma International Relations Committee Aleksey Pushkov said on Friday, adding it will be ''proportionate'' to the US list.
Earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that the timing of the publication of the US blacklist was extremely poorly chosen, considering forthcoming visit of the US National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon. Lavrov also told reporters that if the list is published, Russia would react accordingly, and that the US side is aware of this.
''In our response we will abide by the rules of parity. We will not publish anything substantially different in terms of the numbers [of names] published by the American side,'' the Foreign Minister indicated.
Top Russian officials have repeatedly blasted the Magnistky Act as an attempt to subvert the laws of a sovereign country, and also to exploit a human tragedy for political ends.
Earlier reports said the list would include the names of the 16 Russian officials ''directly responsible'' for Magnitsky's death according to the US version of events, as well as two other persons not connected to the Hermitage Capital case.
An original version of the 'Magnitsky list' included 60 names, with some proposing to extend it to some 280 blacklisted citizens of Russia. The latest '' and the largest '' variation was handed to the Obama administration by Congressman James P. McGovern, who threatened to lobby for a harsher law, should the White House shrink the document in question.
Thu, 11 Apr 2013 18:02
The US Supreme Court is about to hear arguments in a case challenging patents on breast and ovarian cancer genes. If the court upholds the company's right to patent human genes, the course of US medical research could forever be altered.
The case involves the Utah biotech firm Myriad Genetics, which for years has been facing a lawsuit for placing patents on human genes and restricting cancer patients' treatment options.
The molecular diagnostic company, which is based in Salt Lake City, holds a number of patents on genes related to breast cancer and ovarian cancer, two of which US District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet ruled invalid in 2010, the decision that Myriad appealed. The genes in question, BRCA1 an BRCA2, often appear in cancer patients, sometimes before the cancer has even developed. With methods to diagnose these genes patented by Myriad Genetics, patients are unable to go to any other doctors for a second opinion before seeking treatment.
''Myriad is gate-keeping who can do what research on these genes and they are uniquely aggressive in how they control a patent,'' Karuna Jagger, executive director of Breast Cancer Action, told The Guardian. As a result of Myriad's gene-ownership, other doctors and researchers are unable to develop alternate tests or treatment options, thereby giving cancer patients very few options.
Women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have no other options aside from taking the Myriad test, which is expensive and not always covered by insurance. Breast cancer survivors are expected to speak before the Supreme Court next week, where they will talk about the costs of the $3,000 tests that their health insurances did not cover.
''The Supreme Court has the opportunity to right this wrong, to correct a problem that could free up human genomics to develop new diagnostic tests,'' Jagger said.
A coalition of cancer survivors, scientists, cancer patients, medical associations and support groups have expressed their outrage at the biotech firm for patenting parts of the human body, which they say are ''products of nature'' and should not be financially exploited. The group claims that the patents violate the First Amendment by restricting the free exchange of ideas on human body parts.
Runi Limary, a 36-year-old breast cancer survivor, told USA TODAY that one of the patented genes showed up in her body when she was 28. Suspecting ovarian cancer, she debated having her ovaries removed, but couldn't get a second opinion because Myriad held a patent on the mutated gene that she developed.
''It's so frustrating,'' she said. ''I'm really trying to buy time until I'm 40.''
Limary has not yet had her ovaries removed, since doing so would diminish her ability to have children. She claims that if Myriad didn't have a patent on the mutated gene, she could seek better treatment options and medical advice.
In its defense, Myriad argues that without the ability to have such patents, which financially sustain the industry, research and development would dry up. But patent-opponents claim that the resulting competition would cause medical bills to go down in price and lead to greater scientific discoveries.
''It's about the future of personalized medicine for every single human being on this planet, and actually animals too,'' Ellen Matloff, director of cancer genetic counseling at Yale School of Medicine, told USA TODAY.
Currently, about 20 percent of the 4,000 genes found in the human body are already covered by a patent, including some linked to colon cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Some patents are owned by research institutions that try to prevent large corporations from using them for profit.
The Supreme Court ruling on Myriad's patents could affect the entire medical industry. The court will ultimately decide whether or not human genes can be 'owned' by corporations, which continues to encourage a race towards discovering them, while also limiting research after their discovery.
''You have to ask, how is it possible that my doctor cannot look at my DNA without being concerned about patent infringement?'' Christopher Mason, assistant professor at Weill Medical College, told The Guardian.
But in order to strike down Myriad's patents, the Supreme Court would likely have to rule against a law that has already allowed about a thousand human genes to become patented '' a landmark decision that would overhaul the US medical research system.
Sat, 13 Apr 2013 22:39
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Sat, 13 Apr 2013 12:04
Remarks of Francine WheelerThe President's Weekly Address
Hi. As you've probably noticed, I'm not the President. I'm just a citizen. And as a citizen, I'm here at the White House today because I want to make a difference and I hope you will join me.
My name is Francine Wheeler. My husband David is with me. We live in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
David and I have two sons. Our older son Nate, soon to be 10 years old, is a fourth grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our younger son, Ben, age six, was murdered in his first-grade classroom on December 14th, exactly 4 months ago this weekend.
David and I lost our beloved son, but Nate lost his best friend. On what turned out to be the last morning of his life, Ben told me, quite out of the blue, '' I still want to be an architect, Mama, but I also want to be a paleontologist, because that's what Nate is going to be and I want to do everything Nate does.''
Ben's love of fun and his excitement at the wonders of life were unmatched His boundless energy kept him running across the soccer field long after the game was over. He couldn't wait to get to school every morning. He sang with perfect pitch and had just played at his third piano recital. Irrepressibly bright and spirited, Ben experienced life at full tilt.
Until that morning. 20 of our children, and 6 of our educators '' gone. Out of the blue.
I've heard people say that the tidal wave of anguish our country felt on 12/14 has receded. But not for us. To us, it feels as if it happened just yesterday. And in the four months since we lost our loved ones, thousands of other Americans have died at the end of a gun. Thousands of other families across the United States are also drowning in our grief.
Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy.
Sometimes, I close my eyes and all I can remember is that awful day waiting at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Firehouse for the boy who would never come home '' the same firehouse that was home to Ben's Tiger Scout Den 6. But other times, I feel Ben's presence filling me with courage for what I have to do '' for him and all the others taken from us so violently and too soon.
We have to convince the Senate to come together and pass commonsense gun responsibility reforms that will make our communities safer and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us.
When I packed for Washington on Monday, it looked like the Senate might not act at all. Then, after the President spoke in Hartford, and a dozen of us met with Senators to share our stories, more than two-thirds of the Senate voted to move forward.
But that's only the start. They haven't yet passed any bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. And a lot of people are fighting to make sure they never do.
Now is the time to act. Please join us. You can talk to your Senator, too. Or visit WhiteHouse.gov to find out how you can join the President and get involved.
Help this be the moment when real change begins. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 12:00
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) on Wednesday explained that Al Gore and the United Nations get most of the blame for what he called a global warming "hoax," but filmmaker Michael Moore and billionaire George Soros deserved some credit too.
At a Environment and Public Works Committe on President Barack Obama's nomination of Gina McCarthy to be the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said that he wanted the agency to listen to scientists instead of climate change deniers like Inhofe and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).
"What Sen. Inhofe has written and talked about is his belief that global warming is one of the major hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people, that it's a hoax pushed by people like Al Gore, the United Nations and the Hollywood elite," Sanders told the committee.
"I think that is a fair quote from Sen. Inhofe. Is that roughly right, Sen. Inhofe?" Sanders asked the Oklahoma Republican.
"Yes," Inhofe agreed. "I'd add to that list MoveOn.org, George Soros, Michael Moore and a few others."
"That's exactly the issue," Sanders said, turning back to the committee. "Do we agree with Sen. Inhofe that global warming is a hoax and that we do not want the federal government, the EPA, the Department of Energy to address that issue? Because it is a -- quote -- unquote -- hoax, according to Sen. Inhofe and others? Or do we believe and agree with the overwhelming majority of scientists who tell us that global warming is the most serious planetary crisis that we face, and that we must act boldly and aggressively to protect the future of this planet? That is what the issue is."
(h/t: The Hill)
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:49
Obama's Social Security Move Breaks Campaign PromisePosted on Apr 12, 2013Remember when, running for president back in 2008, Barack Obama vowed never to cut Social Security's cost-of-living adjustments? He seems to be having second thoughts.
During his first White House campaign against Republican nominee John McCain, Obama made two promises regarding Social Security. First, he said he wouldn't raise the retirement age; and second, he pledged not to cut the cost-of-living adjustment.
The president's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad budget proposal, which he introduced Wednesday, breaks the latter promise.
That of course raises the question: How long'--in the name of ''compromise'''--until he reneges on the former?
(h/t Huffington Post)
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Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:26
Even the author of the BuzzFeed piece they refer to admits Adam Gadahn has no idea how American gun laws work.
Via Conn Carroll:
This morning on NBC, Joe Scarbarough continued his relentless campaign for more gun control by repeating the false propaganda of American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn.
From Morning Joe:
Joe Scarborough: This is what al Qaeda has to say, yeah listen to this.
Mika Brzezinski: Yeah, we'll show you something and then we'll let you talk. You know your background check system is weak when even al Qaeda makes a video pointing out how easily attainable guns are in the U.S. The website BuzzFeed pointed out this 2011 video by American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn who is among the FBI's most wanted terrorists. Take a look.
Adam Gadahn: In the west you've got a lot at your disposal. Let's take America as an example. America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle [false -.ed], without a background check [false -.ed], and most likely without having to show an identification card [false -.ed]. So what are you waiting for?
Place of Birth : United States
Citizenship : American
Height : 5'11" (180 cm)
Weight : 210 lbs (95 kg)
Hair : Brown
Eyes : Brown/Hazel
Sex : Male
Complexion : Light
Build : Medium
Languages : Arabic, English
Scars and Marks : Gadahn has scars on his chest and right forearm.
Aliases : Azzam al Amriki, Azzam the American, Abu Suhayb al Amriki, Abu Suhail al Amriki, Abu Suhayb, Yihya Majadin Adams, Adam Pearlman, Yayah
Adam Yahiye Gadahn was indicted in the Central District of California for treason and material support to al-Qaida. The charges are related to Gadahn's alleged involvement in a number of terrorist activities, including providing aid and comfort to al-Qaida and services for al-Qaida.
VIDEO-HAARP SBX1 : Mobile Sea Based Radar Weather Weapon in place to shake the ground off North Korea : Expect a false flag in North Korea any time soon : Weather is the weapon of choice : Please look at these Giant HAARP WAR Rigs : | lightworkersxm
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 09:46
Home > HAARP, Modern war fare > HAARP SBX1 : Mobile Sea Based Radar Weather Weapon in place to shake the ground off North Korea : Expect a false flag in North Korea any time soon : Weather is the weapon of choice : Please look at these Giant HAARP WAR Rigs :
It has been used in many Hurricanes and many recent ( 10 years) major political earthquakes See here :
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 09:25
The Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler '-- Olympic rowers, nemeses of Mark Zuckerberg '-- are laying claim to a new title: bitcoin moguls.
The Winklevii, as they are known, have amassed since last summer what appears to be one of the single largest portfolios of the digital money, whose wild gyrations have Silicon Valley and Wall Street talking. The twins, the first prominent figures in the largely anonymous bitcoin world to publicly disclose a big stake, say they own nearly $11 million worth.
Or at least $11 million as of Thursday morning '-- when trading was temporarily suspended after the latest and largest flash crash left a single bitcoin worth about $120 and the whole market worth $1.3 billion. At one point, the price had plummeted 60 percent.
To skeptics, the frenzy over the bitcoin network created by anonymous programmers in 2009 looks more like the mania for Dutch tulip bulbs in the 1600s than the beginnings of an actual currency.
''To say highly speculative would be the understatement of the century,'' said Steve Hanke, a professor specializing in alternative currencies at Johns Hopkins University.
Whatever else it is, bitcoin has become the financial phenomenon of the moment.
In addition to the identical twins, Silicon Valley investment firms, while not holding bitcoins, are starting to show interest in the technology.
On Thursday, a group of venture capitalists, including Andreessen Horowitz, announced that they were financing a bitcoin-related company, OpenCoin.
The Winklevosses say this week's tumult is just growing pains for a digital currency that they believe will become a sort of gold for the technorati.
''People say it's a Ponzi scheme, it's a bubble,'' said Cameron Winklevoss. ''People really don't want to take it seriously. At some point that narrative will shift to 'virtual currencies are here to stay.' We're in the early days.''
While little is known about the creator of bitcoin, or if it even was a single person, the work involved serious programming chops, building a system that could live on borrowed computer space around the world. It was determined that only a finite number of bitcoins could be created '-- the count is currently around 11 million. New coins are ''mined'' by programmers who solve mathematic riddles and can sell their coins on upstart exchanges.
For now, there are few places where bitcoins can be used. One marketplace is an online bazaar, Silk Road, where narcotics are reportedly the main wares for sale. But bitcoin believers imagine a future where the e-cash can be used at their local Starbucks. The Winklevosses have paid in bitcoin for the services of a Ukrainian computer programmer who has worked on their Web site.
''We have elected to put our money and faith in a mathematical framework that is free of politics and human error,'' Tyler Winklevoss said.
This is not the brothers' first gamble on an unproved technology. As students at Harvard, the twins founded a social networking site, ConnectU, and enlisted their schoolmate, Mark Zuckerberg, to help them build the company. After Mr. Zuckerberg went off to start Facebook, the brothers sued him, accusing him of stealing their idea '-- a story that was dramatized in the movie ''The Social Network.'' The case was settled with the brothers being given $20 million in cash and Facebook shares that are now worth more than $200 million.
They have parlayed that fortune into Winklevoss Capital. Their first two investments were in Hukkster, a start-up shopping Web site and SumZero, an online community for professional money managers.
The brothers began dabbling in bitcoin last summer when the dollar value of a single coin was still in the single digits. To keep their holdings secure from hackers, they have taken the complex codes that represent their holdings off networked computers and saved them on small flash drives, putting the drives, in turn, in safe deposit boxes at banks in three different cities.
It's hard to verify how the Winklevoss holdings compare with other bitcoin players, given the anonymity of accounts, and the twins say they believe that some early users of the system probably have holdings that are at least as large.
A Maltese company, Exante, started a hedge fund that the company says has bought up about 82,000 bitcoins '-- or about $10 million as of Thursday '-- with money from wealthy investors. A founder of the fund, Anatoli Knyazev, said his main concern was hackers and government regulators, who have so far mostly left the currency alone.
These investments were all in an uncertain state on Thursday after the big price swings and the shutdown of trading on Mt. Gox, a Japanese-based company that claims to handle 80 percent of all bitcoin trades. Mt. Gox said in a statement that the problems were a result of the currency's popularity, making it impossible to process all the incoming orders. It added that it was not the victim of hackers but ''instead victim of our own success!''
The 6-foot-5 Winklevoss brothers were unfazed. The brothers said they took advantage of the low prices to buy more.
''It has been four years and it has yet to be discredited as a viable alternative to fiat currency,'' Tyler Winklevoss said. ''We could be totally wrong, but we are curious to see this play out a lot more.''
A version of this article appeared in print on 04/12/2013, on page A1 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Never Mind Facebook; Winklevoss Twins Rule in Digital Money.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:22
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The journalist at Good Morning America once again showed how unserious they are when it comes to challenging Barack Obama. On Friday, the reporters covered the latest on rapper Jay-Z's trip to communist Cuba in an amused, unserious tone. Lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer featured no Republican critics of the international visit. Instead, she went to Rolling Stone's editor for comment on the entertainer's new song about the trip. Simon Vozick-Levinson hyperbolically proclaimed, "[Jay-Z is] a brilliant lyricist. He's one of the great poets of our age." In the new song, the singer insists that he received "White House clearance" for the excursion to Cuba, a place American citizens aren't allowed to visit. Although Spencer admitted that Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce "supported" Obama's campaign in 2012, she didn't explain what that meant. The musician raised over $4 million for the Democrat's reelection bid.
Video cross-posted at NewsBusters.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 07:46
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CNN used a 2011 al Qaeda video calling on U.S. Muslims to take advantage of America's lax gun laws as a legitimate critique of current gun laws.
Adam Gadahn's blatant falsehood that citizens could easily purchase an automatic rifle didn't stop CNN from emphasizing his main point. "But the point that he's making is that it's easy to get a gun," anchor Suzanne Malveaux noted. "Yeah. Exactly. And how ironic coming from an al Qaeda spokesman," remarked CNN's Michael Holmes.
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:59
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is now tying her efforts for increased gun control to the ongoing War on Terrorism.
During a segment on MSNBC's ''Morning Joe'' Thursday, Feinstein warned that without the proposed restrictions, a terrorist could purchase a firearm with ''virtually no questions are asked.''
In response, co-host Joe Scarborough doubled down:''So now we have al Qaeda terrorists saying, 'Kill Americans, it's easy, just go to gun shows, get an assault weapon.'''
Really? We're supposed to believe that radical extremists have abandoned their dreams of mass destruction and global chaos and are instead planning to wage their jihad against America one gun at a time?
Scarier still: Feinstein currently sits on the Senate Subcommittee for Terrorism and Homeland Security.