Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nigeria: Mass Burials as Troops Take Over

Jos — A TANK rumbled through the troubled city of Jos, yesterday, as soldiers escorted a truck loaded with bodies to a mass grave after four days of inter-religious clashes left some 300 dead.

With a 24 hour curfew relaxed for a few hours, religious leaders conducted mass funerals after the government ordered in troops to quell attacks by rampaging gun and machete-wielding gangs that had raged largely unchecked in the city since Sunday....

This is ethnic cleansing.

Channels TV via Reuters TV/Reuters Vehicles burn on the street in Jos on Jan. 17, 2010 in this video grab

Calm returns to Nigerian city plagued by religious clashes (click here)

Kingsley Igwe, National Post

Published: Thursday, January 21, 2010

JOS, Nigeria -- Nigerian authorities relaxed a 24-hour curfew in the city of Jos on Thursday to allow thousands of residents to return to their homes following clashes between Muslims and Christians that killed hundreds.

The strong presence of troops and police has helped restore calm in the capital of Plateau state with no reports of major violence for nearly a day.

Four days of sectarian clashes this week killed more than 460 in and around the central Nigerian city.

The Red Cross estimated 17,000 people have been displaced and took shelter in colleges, hospitals and schools since clashes began on Sunday.

"There are so many people that need clothing, food and water. The Red Cross is focusing on those injured and referring some to hospital," an agency spokesman said, adding that about 990 have been hospitalized.

Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang relaxed the curfew in Jos to operate between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to allow people to return to their homes....

TIMELINE-Ethnic and religious unrest in Nigeria (click here)

Jan 21 (Reuters) - Following is a timeline of religious and ethnic violence in Nigeria:

2000 - Thousands killed in northern Nigeria as non-Muslims opposed to the introduction of Islamic sharia law fight Muslims who demand its implementation in the northern state of Kaduna.

Sept. 2001 - Christian-Muslim violence flares after Muslim prayers in Jos, with churches and mosques set on fire. At least 1,000 people are killed, according to a Sept. 2002 report by a panel set up by Plateau state government.

Nov. 2002 - Nigeria abandons the Miss World contest in Abuja. The decision follows the death of at least 216 people in rioting in the northern city of Kaduna after a newspaper article suggests the Prophet Mohammad would probably have married one of the Miss World beauty queens if he were alive today. May 2004 - Hundreds of people, mostly Muslim Fulanis, are killed by Christian Tarok militia in the central Nigerian town of Yelwa. Survivors say they buried 630 corpses. Police say hundreds were killed.

-- Muslim and Christian militants fight street battles later the same month in the northern city of Kano. Christian community leaders say 500-600 people, mostly Christians, were killed in two days of violence.

Feb. 2006 - At least 157 people die in a week of rioting by Muslim and Christian mobs. The violence begins in the northeastern city of Maiduguri when a Muslim protest against Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad runs out of control. Revenge attacks follow in the south.

Nov. 2008 - Clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs triggered by a disputed local government election kill at least 700 people in the central city of Jos, according to U.S.-based Human Rights Watch.

Feb. 2009 - The governor of Bauchi state imposes a night curfew on Bauchi city on Feb. 22, a day after clashes in which at least 11 people die, 28 are seriously wounded and several houses, churches and mosques are burned down.

July 2009 - Boko Haram, an organisation which opposes Western education and demands the adoption of sharia in all of Nigeria, stages attacks in the northeastern city of Bauchi after the arrest of some of its members. More than 50 people are killed and over 100 arrested, prompting the Bauchi state governor to impose a night curfew on the state capital.

-- Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sinful", threatens further attacks on security forces.

-- Police in Maiduguri, home of Boko Haram's leader Mohammed Yusuf, say security forces killed 90 sect members on July 27. In neighbouring Yobe state, police recover the bodies of 33 sect members after a gunbattle near the town of Potiskum on July 29.

-- Yusuf is shot dead while in police detention in Maiduguri on July 30.

-- Red Cross and defence officials say more than 700 people were killed during the five-day Boko Haram uprising.

Dec. 2009 - At least 40 people are killed in clashes between security forces and members of an Islamic sect armed with machetes in the northern city of Bauchi.

Jan. 2010 - At least 460 people are reported killed after clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs in Jos, most by gunfire. Police impose a 24-hour curfew, enforced by hundreds of soldiers and police.

Let's all have a pity party for Wall Street today. AHHHHHhhhhhhh......

The Thune (R-Rep.) Amendment in the Senate today failed. It was to stop the use of TARP surplus by the Treasury. The 53 vote in favor of the bill was bipartisan, in a smaller vote against the bill it was also bipartisan, but, alas the amendment needed 60 votes to pass.

There are other measures that are bipartisan, but, it was a general consensus on the floor of the Senate that the 'jockeying' for political positions was destroying the efforts to unit the parties in future endeavors to bring justice to the people of the USA in regard to its huge debt.

There is a measure that is to come before the Senate that would create a Statutory Commission. It is (was) a bipartisan amendment with many bipartisan co-signers. It was to make a comprehensive study of the National Debt and report back to Congress. No rules, no regulations, simply a bipartisan committee that would seek to present 'the state' of the National Debt to Congress for its review and quite possibly action on that Debt.

Now it would seem, the Senators, especially the Minority Leader Senator McConnell is opposed to that amendment when before Tuesday he was strongly in favor of it. It would seem as though the Republicans believe they will take a majority back in the Senate in November and they won't have to worry about 'understanding' the National Debt, but, simply to continue to contribute to it.


The statement that was most profound today from the Senate floor was, "I wish legislators would govern this nation past the next election."

US STOCKS-Wall St drops on Obama bank limits plan (click here)

Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:49pm EST

* Obama proposes tougher restrictions on banks

* Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, other bank shares fall

* Volatility index jumps 19 percent

* Indexes off: Dow 2 pct, S&P500 1.9 pct, Nasdaq 1.1 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US] (Updates close with American Express down after the bell and details on VIX rise)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Jan 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks suffered their worst one-day percentage drop since October on Thursday as U.S. President Barack Obama proposed tough restrictions on banks that would squeeze profits.

Major banks slid, with Goldman Sachs (GS.N) falling 4.1 percent despite posting stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter results, and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) shed 6.6 percent, after Obama proposed limiting how banks invest their own money....

In a 5 to 4 decision the Supreme Court opened the way for Unions to particpaite with the Party System.

But, they also stated Corporations are the same as people with Freedom of Speech.

It's "W'rong.

It is a hostile court toward 'individuals' in the USA. This is NOT the a good and certainly doesn't display the insight of The Burger Court.

WASHINGTON, DC (click title to entry for video - thank you) – A coalition of public interest organizations strongly condemned today's ruling by the US Supreme Court allowing unlimited corporate money in US elections and announced that it is launching a campaign to amend the United States Constitution to overturn the ruling. The groups, Voter Action, Public Citizen, the Center for Corporate Policy, and the American Independent Business Alliance, say the Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC poses a serious and direct threat to democracy. They aim, through their constitutional amendment campaign, to correct the judiciary's creation of corporate rights under the First Amendment over the past three decades. Immediately following the Court's ruling, the groups unveiled a new website – – devoted to this campaign....

People are not corporations and corporations are not people. George Washington is rolling over in his grave. I believe we need to revisit legislative efforts.

Supreme Court overturns Michigan campaign finance ruling (click here)

By Ed Brayton 1/21/10 10:58 AM
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its highly anticipated decision in Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission this morning. To almost no one’s surprise, the court struck down Austin v Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a 1990 ruling that forbid corporations from spending money from their general treasury to support or oppose candidates during elections.
Though most of the ruling is a relatively simple 5-4 decision with Justice Anthony Kennedy joining the court’s four most conservative members (Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito) in the majority and the four more liberal members (Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor) in the minority, it becomes very complicated in regard to one section of the ruling....

Mr. New Breed Republican is NOT. He upon entering the Senate building did nothing but spout Republican Rhetoric.

Oddly enough, Palin never showed at the Brown campaign. Don't know why, they have so much in common?

I am confident he was a well schooled as Palin along the way. The Right Wing is saying the Liberals are 'going after him' no different than Palin. You'll excuse me but that is just the same old nonsensical analogy that proves they have no ability to reason, but, just spout hate. Palin wasn't elected. Hello? This is a 'real' analogy? I don't think so.

He is Right Republican no different than every other Republican in the USA Senate and he TOES the Republican line. He has said the EXACT same words about Health Care Reform that every other Republican has stated during the debates on Capital Hill before the passing of the Late Senator Edward Kennedy. He is an 'icon - position' politician and he has absolutely no intention of being a New Breed anything.

His spouse is his media consultant. Hello? Perhaps he is a little hen pecked for a CAREER politician.

He wants to maintain Medicare Advantage REGARDLESS of its corrupt status and fraudulent ways. NO !!!!

Today in the Senate the Republicans are already ranting their rhetoric all over again.

Senator Johanns states while TARP did NOT do what the country expected it to do, it should not be used (his words) as a SLUSH FUND.

He stated it should never have been used to bailout GM. OH? That was a Bush Policy we are still contending with that saved jobs of all things, yet, Senator Johanns is off on a tangent to try to create a wedge issue.

If I may?

Michigan's jobless rate improves for 3rd straight month, drops to 14.6 percent in December

The Associated Press

Michigan's unemployment rate improved in December for the third straight month, dropping slightly to 14.6 percent, state officials said Wednesday.

The new rate was down from a national high of 14.7 percent in November. The state jobless rate peaked for the year in September, when it hit 15.3 percent.

Modest recalls of laid-off auto workers and a slower pace of job loss in the service sector helped stabilize Michigan's unemployment rate in the second half of 2009. The state spent the first half watching its rate climb as the national recession worsened and General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC went through bankruptcy, causing Michigan to lose more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs.

But the losses, which averaged 33,000 jobs a month in the first half of the year, slowed to 2,000 a month in the second half....

Senator Johanns is WRONG. Simply wrong in his demands for the cessation of the use of TARP funds that were SUPPOSE to re-establish the flow of credit in the USA. The Republicans are lost in their own swill and they did this to the USA and its Working Class and Middle Class. They did it and they don't want to live up to it, they only want Murdoch to 'get them out of it' and will create more and more and more rhetoric.

Senator Johanns states, there should never have been a Cash for Cluckers Program. No Off Budget highway funding, no housing vouchers, no college work-study programs.

HOWEVER, he admits that the TARP FUND he voted for didn't do what it was 'sold to the American people to do.'

Senator Johanns is talking out of both sides of his mouth and that is exactly what Brown is doing and will continue to do. They are people that do not care about the Middle or Working Class. It is just that simply. They are 'fit' to be tied they have to live with their own reality and they are counting on propagandists to 'get them out of it.'

Get your mind around it, that is the reality the American people have.

Cutting taxes doesn't create jobs, it creates wealth.

The United States of American has seen nothing but eight years of reduction in taxes and rampant unemployment while the Wealth Merchant of Wall Street reap huge and disproportionate profits.

We have a record National Debt in this country of which MOST of it was 'generated' during the years 2001-2009.

Goldman Sachs Posts Record Profit on Bonus Pool Cuts (Update1) (click here)

January 21, 2010, 08:56 AM EST
(Adds revenue figures in the eighth paragraph.)

By Christine Harper

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history, reported record earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as the bank slashed its bonus pool.

Now, Goldman-Sachs' CEO has met God.

Thank you, President Obama for showing Wall Street how to ACTUALLY show a profit and balance books.

Net income of $4.95 billion, or $8.20 per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31 compared with a loss of $2.12 billion, or $4.97 per share, for the same period in 2008, when the fiscal year ended in November, the New York-based company said today in a statement. The average estimate of 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for $5.18 a share.

Goldman Sachs, under Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, relied on gains from trading and investments with the firm’s own money to help it recover last year from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Blankfein made up for a slowdown in trading revenue in the fourth quarter by taking back money the bank had set aside for pay earlier in the year, resulting in the lowest percentage of compensation to revenue since Goldman Sachs went public in 1999....

Now that Goldman has double dipped into the nation's treasury, it is time the Working Class and Middle Class kick started their economy.

I would expect Wall Street to behave itself from now on, especially in the light of pending regulation.

Now, you'll excuse the rest of the nation while we close the book on the Exploitative and Carpet Bagging Bush Years.

I haven't heard a good analysis of the Massachusetts election yet.

Senator Elect Brown, the new icon of The Cheney Observer. Interesting. College I think he said. Well there is no reason to continue to use Darth Dickie Vadar. So much for modesty and right wing rhetoric, lest we forget.

We have a Constitution in this country. One man does not make a Constitution, especially one that lies and manipulates the electorate to the extent Brown did.

The Independent Voters of Massachusetts chose unwisely. They'll figure it out along with the rest of the country.

But, there was only one bill passed in the USA regarding Health Care. The House Bill went to the Senate. There were additions made to it. There is only one path for the bill to take and that is for the House to put their business in order and send it to the President's desk for signature.

There is a process in this country and it has to be honored.

Speaker Pelosi has a job to do. She has been doing that job since 2006. She needs to carry out the process prescribed by the USA Constitution and care for those that are uninsured and uninsurable.

This plight was not Americans making, it was forced on this country by the Greed Merchants of Wall Street. And while stocks have advanced in value since the bill has made progress that doesn't have any meaning except there are speculators expecting to receive dividends from health insurance companies. Speculators are what Wall Street is all about and that is all they have been about since its inception and that is why it is "W"rong to hinge a USA economy on that market. It is unstable in nature.

THE ONLY REASON that health insurance company stock has gone up (did I say 'gone up') is because NOW it is LESS RISKY an investment. I'll be darn. Less risky an investment. Does that mean costs to the insured will go up? No. Because there is no one that has seen the final bill and there is no one that can 'speculate' to its outcomes. End of that discussion.

Now, if I were Speaker Pelosi I would also pay attention to the fact there is rising anger in the country. The President is right, the anger is directly related to eight years of broken promises and unresolved problems Americans face. Health Care is one of them, but, a "W"rongful war in Iraq and the corruption in Afghanistan while al Qaeda still exists on Earth are all broken promises. In addition, there has been a backward movement in innovation in the USA due to some idiotic ideology by the Right Wing Extremists in the Republican Party of which Brown is a proud member now.

And don't tell me he is a 'new type' of Republican. No way. He has a record and even though that record was ignored by the propagandists in the nation that is driving the irrational rhetoric Brown does have a record. He is a hardline, right wing extremist just like every other Republican in the Senate.

But, if I were Speaker Pelosi and realizing the country is very upset over many issues they are lead to believe are unresolved, I would DEFINATELY have the 'intact' House with its expert legislators that wrote the backbone of the Health Care Bill go to work on writing legislation that Senator Elect Brown has promised to live up to while protecting the best interests of the people of this country.

In other words, we all know this new Senator Elect is a wolf in sheep's clothing and I'd make him eat every word that he states makes him a New Breed of Republican and have him pass legislation sent to the Senate that will deal with all the concerns of the people.

But, to stop the Health Care Bill is not only stupid, its imprudent. We know people die daily with problems related to the lack of health care insurance and to go back to a place where we are allowing that to continue is an outrageous demand. The people making those demands are as guilty of killing the uninsured as Wall Street is.

The Health Insurance Reform bill must go forward as it has many, many good and quality aspects to it. It not only insures the uninsured, it also provides for funding for new health care practioners and significant reductions in the national debt over time.

Go back? You've got to be joking?

As I have stated many, many times, our Constitution is a process and the legislation will take on many aspects of the process as change will be needed as it is implimented and we can witness for ourselves how completely outrageous some aspects of the bill are that were forced on the American people by the Right Wing of the Republican Party including Joe Lieberman.

I guess, that vacation to the Far East might have to be postponed a year or so in order to have a bill that protects all American's health. Gee. What a sham, huh?

Domestic Killings in Virginia

Murder suspect Christopher Speight, second from right, is led out of State Police headquarters in Appomattox, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010. Speight is accused of killing eight people and leading police on an overnight manhunt. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Photo Credit: Steve Helber -- AP Photo

...Among the victims are three teenagers (click title to entry - thank you), 15 year old Morgan Dobyns, 15-year-old Emily Quarles, and 16-year-old Ronald Scruggs the Second. Emily's mother, 43 year old Karen Quarles, 43 year old Jonathan Quarles, 38 year old Dwayne Sipe, 38 year old Lauralee Sipe and 4 year-old Joshua Sipe have all been named among the dead as well. Along with the announcement of the victim's names, authorities have charged 39-year-old Christopher B. Speight with one count of first degree murder. The events of Tuesday's homicides are quickly unveiling and as the news digests, residents around the rural area are stunned. "My reaction was you got to be kidding me" says Appomattox County resident Meghan Taylor. "We've never had anything in this county of that magnitude....