Monday, December 16, 2013

Speaker Boehner is not angry here. He does not have his "Irish Up." He was animated to hold the attention of his audience. That is nothing but stage presence and not an emotional outburst.

His facial expressions are some of the most relaxed and sincerely honest I have witnessed since he took the Speakership in 2010. He has won. He has tolerated the extremists and attempted to make them important in a meaningful way and he is defending them. His words defend those mostly seen as too extreme to matter. He has removed the stigma in this statement. The "political groups" now carry the stigma of extremism.

I don't dislike John Boehner, but, his willingness to sell out the country to win approval of extremists disgusted me. 

He is wearing a black awareness ribbon. Last I looked that was an awareness ribbon of POW/MIAs. That is Vietnam. I have not heard of a POW/MIA from Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't doubt his sincerity and to wear an awareness ribbon from a war so long ago proves a great deal about his commitment to the country and the problems it faces. 

He finally has his spine, let's hope he doesn't lose it.

Rhode Island ran them out of town. Children First. Every reason to be proud.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. December 14, 2013 (AP)
Voters in a small Rhode Island town defeated (click here) an effort by gun rights activists Saturday to recall four sitting town councilors who had proposed changing the way gun permits are issued.
The rare recall election was prompted by gun rights supporters who said the four Exeter council members ignored their objections to a failed proposal to allow the attorney general to oversee the town's concealed weapons permits.
"This was never a gun rights issue," said Town Council President Arlene Hicks, one of the councilors targeted by the recall. "It started out as a procedural proposal that we made as a council."
Town election officials reported a higher than expected turnout, with 63 percent voting against the recall. Of the town's roughly 5,000 registered voters, more than 1,800 turned out to cast their votes on a snowy Saturday in December for a special election that had drawn national attention from advocates on both sides of the gun control debate....

Governor Christi needs to take the State of New Jersey seriously. Political hubris won't help him with his latest problems.

Governor Christi stars in a new video highlighting Republican infighting (click here)

Governor Christi needs to take the problems surfacing with the Port Authority seriously and have an investigation carried out for several reasons.

Bill Baroni’s resignation (click here) as deputy executive director comes as New Jersey Democrats allege that officials loyal to the New Jersey’s Republican governor on the agency, which runs the bridges and tunnels between New York and New Jersey among other transportation infratructure, shut down lanes on the busy George Washington Bridge as payback for the refusal of Fort Lee mayor, a Democrat, to back Christie’s reelection. Fort Lee is directly affected by bridge traffic.

Bill Baroni was a law professor and career politician. This is more than a surprise and I don't know if he resigned because he doesn't want to be connected to the scandal or because he is involved, but, this is a real surprise. I would not expect him to be involved either.

The Governor forgets within his successful administration are many career New Jersey employees. Many of them are unionized and protected from political whip lash that may manifest over this. But, career employees of the State take themselves and their regulations very seriously. They hold no loyalty to anyone but themselves and rightfully so. In some ways, New Jersey can run itself without a governing body. It is well established government that runs fairly smoothly most of the time.

The other aspect of this is the fact this is The Port Authority. Officials are connected to New York Port Authority as well and I guarantee you the New York Attorney General is already looking into their responsibility in this matter. There are financial implications and all kinds of pollution issues. New York will not simply look the other way.

So, while the New Jersey Governor is recently off a political run for the office he was re-elected into, he needs to realize something is seriously wrong here and call up an investigation and get this resolved. It is his responsibility both as Governor and the leader of the State Republican Party to clean up the hubris and realize lives were effected by this.

Straight up and honest. It's the only way. There are too many involved to think the truth isn't going to come out in the wash. I guarantee you it will.

Why does it have to be one or the other? Why not the EU and Russia?

Pro-EU supporters braved freezing temperatures in Kiev to protest on Sunday

EU foreign ministers (click here) have used a high-level meeting to reassure Russia that a possible trade deal with Ukraine would not undermine Moscow's interests.

The EU's Catherine Ashton said they told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Ukraine signing the deal would not be "detrimental" to Moscow.
Ukraine recently backed out of signing an EU association agreement, seemingly under pressure from Russia.
The U-turn sparked a series of mass anti-government demonstrations.
The protests, the largest since Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution, are aimed at pushing Mr Yanukovych to dismiss his government and call an election....
Europe has a relationship with Russia regarding energy, why should there be a problem with trade relations with the Ukraine? That doesn't seem right to me. Russia should be open to fair and free competition. There is no reason to strain the Ukraine economy when it can flourish with diversity from all nations.

If there is going to be a global consensus on peace, this has to start somewhere.
People need to take a look at this film in a new light. The collective works of Michael Moore is absolutely astounding when realizing the depth of knowledge and instinct in the writing and documentaries.

His works are about the competency and confidence in Americans to receive information and process it without panic or confusion. His technique allows the mind to laugh instead of cry, but, he is brilliant. 

That. Is. Simply. The Truth.

Murdoch’s NYPost Today Backs Michael Moore Bush-Saudi Claims from “Fahrenheit 911″

Earlier this afternoon: (finally - click here) 
Shock: today’s Murdoch owned highly conservative New York Post features an opinion piece backing Michael Moore‘s Bush-Saudi claims from “Fahrenheit 911.” It’s the main story on the Post’s website with a huge photo and prominent placement. The story is also featured in a color block headline on the front page of today’s paper.
Moore must get a lot of satisfaction out of this. It’s only taken a decade for a conservative pundit writing in a conservative newspaper to endorse his movie....

Write your House Representative  and Senators to vote for the bill.

December 15, 2013

...A pair of lawmakers (click here) who recently read the redacted portion say they are “absolutely shocked” at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks.
Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) can’t reveal the nation identified by it without violating federal law. So they’ve proposed Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama to declassify the entire 2002 report, “Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”
Some information already has leaked from the classified section, which is based on both CIA and FBI documents, and it points back to Saudi Arabia, a presumed ally....

...The Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo reportedly found “incontrovertible evidence” that Saudi government officials — not just wealthy Saudi hardliners, but high-level diplomats and intelligence officers employed by the kingdom — helped the hijackers both financially and logistically. The intelligence files cited in the report directly implicate the Saudi embassy in Washington and consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks, making 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war....

It makes too much sense that a plot that intense was carried out by a network based in Afghanistan. Bin Laden's Victory shout was premature. He wasn't successful, an intelligence network was.

...Other al Qaeda funding was traced back to Bandar and his embassy — so much so that by 2004 Riggs Bank of Washington had dropped the Saudis as a client.
The next year, as a number of embassy employees popped up in terror probes, Riyadh recalled Bandar.
“Our investigations contributed to the ambassador’s departure,” an investigator who worked with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington told me, though Bandar says he left for “personal reasons.”...
The drone program is based entirely in the reality Bin Laden and terrorists like him carried out the heinous acts of September 11th unassisted by any larger entity. The drone program is wrong and why people in villages fight back so viciously against American forces. 
Terrorist networks cannot carry out such crimes alone. It is not possible. We are chasing our tails because Bush lied. Remember this? I don't believe the entire story is still known.
Michael Ellison,The Guardian
Thursday, 8 June 2000
American investigators (click here) of a plane crash that killed 217 people last year are wrapping up their inquiry and may approve their conclusions without public hearings for fear of exacerbating strained relations with Egypt.
According to the New York Times, experts at the National Transportation Safety Board are more convinced than ever that a suicidal pilot caused the crash of EgyptAir 990 after it left New York last October.
But the Egyptian government is pressing the theory that the plane, a Boeing 767, developed a mechanical fault in its tail.
According to the paper, some of the US investigators are frustrated that the inquiry, which the Egyptian government delegated to the US, has not been completed. One said that in investigations of domestic crashes, each party has a "constituency" because each represents the airline, or the plane manufacturer, but, he added, "usually you want to solve it"....
The passenger list included Egyptian military that had just completed training in the US to fly jumbos.
...Included in the passenger manifest (click here) over 30 Egyptian military officers; among them were two Brigadiers-Generals, a Colonel, a Major, and four other air force officers. After the crash, newspapers in Cairo were prevented by censors from reporting the officers' presence on the flight....
Americans believe they are the greatest nation every conceived in a constitutional democracy. That is more than naive. The USA and it's pressure through the decades that enforce 'American Interests' backed by military force was never necessarily well received. There is a reason the American backed dictators in the Middle East are gone and it isn't because they were benevolent to their people, but, they did align with USA priorities; for a price.

What is the NSA missing because they focus on electronic transmission?

Osama bin Laden was off the net. He used thumb drives to communicate to others. Where is the NSA going will all this? Certainly not finding the real criminals. They aren't on the net. And they aren't on the net because the NSA is!

From Forbes (click here)
USA Intelligence is an ongoing assessment. It is not based in archival information. It needs to be current, accurate and evidence based.

If agencies are relying on archives for intelligence, they aren't doing their job. Storing records for the sake of storing records only goes to prove the National Security State has gotten ungainly and out of control. There is no way an American's personal information should be stored for further scrutiny if there was no basis to store it in the first place.

Metadata trends need assessment to secure evidence based intelligence. It is the assessment that is stored, NOT, the personal information of citizens. I think the National Security State is handing the American people a bill of goods.

What is this information storing, oops, I missed that or I thought it might be important? That is outrageous to think there is archival information that was missed and/or disregarded and/or NEVER ASSESSED in the first place. That is not intelligence, that is fishing.

What is the degree of error in our intelligence these days? It wasn't that far off in 2001. As a matter of fact the profiles and pursuit of potential danger to the USA was 'spot on.' The intelligence agencies never needed that level of archives of Americans, they knew what they were looking for. 

Homegrown Violence is where the intelligence is failing. McVeigh and all that mess. The case of the Boston Bombers isn't really homegrown terrorism, it was scrutinized by Russia and passed on. 

It IS 'the quality of intervention' that is the issue. Homegrown terrorism is best addressed by incorporating local assets into the FBI's scope of practice. Two way communication between local detectives and federal knowledge base. But, the international community is finding the problem and passing it on. There is something lost in the translation when it gets to within the USA borders. NSA invasive techniques into other nations isn't necessary.

There are gaps in national intelligence such as the underwear bomber. But, that is the ability to move explosives through local surveillance. That doesn't have anything to do with metadata of Americans. The explosives were undetected and now we have those lousy radiation scans that I won't allow to be used. I rather the TSA do their thing based on pat downs. They aren't looking for any sexual highs. I mean give me a break. That is like saying Kindergarteners are sexually exploitative if they kiss a classmate.

...The Science Center (click here) remained closed, Harvard said on its website....

Why? Why would the Science Center still be closed? What is stored there and used in laboratories? The only way of knowing if the chemicals stored in that building for use by professors and graduate students is still there is to inventory it.

Most states require colleges and universities to post hazard signs/placards on the outside of any building containing them so fire responders know what they are dealing with. I would imagine there is that concern by those responding to threats on the university. 

I would expect those currently responding to 'the threat' will pass on the information to the local authorities to solve the issue as to whom directed the threat. In other words the local detectives will have to find the jerk that did this and pass on that information to prosecutors. That local information when it is processed can reveal a larger threat if that is called for or it could be a disgruntled person for whatever reason they are. At any rate, that local assessment is local intelligence. 

Now, why COLLECT metadata on every person in Boston to store for further investigation when the crime is solved and the local intelligence is filed and available to be reviewed at any time when an issue arises? It is ridiculous to treat every American as a potential criminal.

NSA open to amnesty for Snowden.

There should NOT be long term storage! That is a movement by the NSA that indicts Americans based on the past and not the present. If the intelligent agencies has to keep this level of information then they don't know what they are doing. The past should have been addressed at the time. Where does any intelligence agency claim competence if they need to rely on history. There is too much information that can be used unjustly against Americans. If past information didn't indicate danger to the nation, why is present information dependent upon it? It's ridiculous.

An undated photo of National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. REUTERS/NSA/Handout via Reuters

As much as 5 zettabytes — 1 zettabyte = 1 billion terabytes = 1 trillion gigabytes — and with just 1 zettabyte (1024 exabytes) of space, the NSA can store a year's worth of the global Internet traffic (which is estimated reached 966 exabytes per year in 2015).

The NSA's Utah Data Center, located 25 miles south of Salt Lake City.

General Alexander hasn't learned an important lesson in his military training. When surrender is to the people he is supposed to be protecting it is time to reassess.
16 December 2013 
Last updated at 05:23 ET

...But Gen Alexander, (click here) who is retiring early next year, rejected the idea of any amnesty for Mr Snowden.

"This is analogous to a hostage taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10, and then say, 'if you give me full amnesty, I'll let the other 40 go'. What do you do?"...

"We have concrete proof that they have already, terrorists groups and others, are taking action, making changes, and it's going to make our job tougher," said Gen. Keith Alexander, in an interview at the Aspen Security Conference in Colorado....
Hello? General Alexander, are you there and aware? The USA caused itself it's own problems. It is time to reassess the programs and purpose of this multi-billion dollar mess.

Where in god's name did the USA intelligence community give permission for Wall Street firms to have free and open access? Then realize there is no such thing as 'internet security,' not even for the NSA.

Where does anyone in the NSA think this is going?

Hackers. People who break into supposedly secure sites. That is where our national defense lies? You've got to be joking. The USA is TRUSTING criminality as a means of protecting citizens. I don't think so. Americans want their privacy back and rightfully so. This is ridiculous and has to stop. 

What ever happened to listening to allies and friends when it comes to international intelligence? If we listened to Germany regarding Atta the crimes of September 11th may have averted. If the then Executive Branch had taken the PDB regarding "Bin Laden Known to Strike Within the USA" seriously, September 11th might have been nothing but a terrorist's pipe dream. 

The PDB gave a three month timeline, everyone should have been scrambling, instead it was considered another day in paradise to achieve a political end. The American people were betrayed and it wasn't by the military or USA intelligence. Moussaoui and the FBI's knowledge of his activities was all that was necessary to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Atta, the PDB and Moussaoui, what else did anyone need?

Why does the military and intelligence community believe they can nail down an attack better than they did before September 11th? It wasn't the failure of the intelligence community or the military, it was the failure of the Executive Branch of the USA putting their own agenda ahead of the people of this country.

If the intelligence community wants to protect Americans from their own shortcomings then intercept propaganda that is dangerous and heinous in our own media.

Tenet should have been screaming at the top of his lungs when the PDB was dismissed. Interpol should have cried 'wolf' regarding Atta. September 11th was preventable. Stop believing the fault applied to our intelligence infrastructure at the time is true. It is a lie. It has been a lie. Stop propagating 'cooperation' with politicians for the sack of stability. I strongly suggest the USA military and the intelligence community reassess the 'era before September 11th'  before it is too late and the country completely turns against them.

Mr. Snowden is not the problem, he is the symptom.

Recognizing the extensive record of child deaths by gun culture strengthens the resolve and does not weaken it.

This is an article in "Sagtown Magazine." It is quite extensive. It also points to the fact the children killed and maimed and communities traumatized are forgotten and never a part of the collective conscience of America. We only concentrate on the latest victims as if a need for support and grieving.

It is worth noting this trauma to our children and their families has been ongoing since the gun culture spawned itself as a political power and economic source of profits. Coming together with the understanding the most recent killing of school children is not the first in the USA has to strengthen the network of people to stop this culture from causing more and more deaths and trauma. 

We know for a fact that gun control works. What are we afraid of to realize the body count of children increases through time?


...Yet the event in Stockton (click here) had an unprecedented impact on the American psyche, which has struggled ever since to reconcile the image of fallen kids with the power of its gun culture. As the first mass school shooting since the advent of CNN, it stunned and galvanized viewers in breathless televised loops. Within months of Purdy’s rampage, lawmakers up the road in Sacramento had passed America’s first major gun-control legislation, including statewide bans on 75 types of firearms (including the Norinco AK-47 rifle, Purdy’s main weapon). The nation’s gun-rights proponents, led by representatives of the three million-member National Rifle Association, fought back with lobbying and recall efforts that it wields effectively to this day. And from Stockton to Newtown, Conn., and everywhere else these grim anniversaries await, the echoes of gunfire and rhetoric dissolve around the heartbreak, heroism and recovery of those who were there. Then, at another ravaged school, the cycle that started at Cleveland resumes....

Israel is reporting an incident with Lebanon at their border killing an Israeli and Lebanese soldier.

12:21PM GMT 16 Dec 2013

Israel said it had shot a Lebanese soldier (click here) early on Monday just hours after a sniper in Lebanon's army had killed one of its troops, leading to fears of escalating cycles of retaliation on the tense border between the two countries.
Major Arye Shalicar, an Israeli Defence Force (IDF) spokesman, said the shootings happened shortly after midnight after Israeli troops had identified "suspicious movement" along the frontier and fired at two Lebanese soldiers, hitting at least one of them. Their condition was unclear and there was no immediate response from the Lebanese military.
The incident followed the death of Master Sergeant Shlomi Cohen, 31, after he was hit by sniper fire as he travelled in a military vehicle along the border region near the Rosh Hanikra crossing, close to the Mediterranean coast on Sunday evening....
Lebanon's Daily Star isn't. It is reporting suicide attacks by the Sidon Army. The Sidon Army is within Syria. There are several attacks in recent history in Lebanon.

I am not saying Israel is completely incorrect if they are losing soldiers. What I am saying is there is spill over from Syria into Lebanon and Sidon, Lebanon is one of those places. Sidon has been fighting with Sunni militants.

Evidently, there is a militant preacher Ahmed Al-Assir in Sidon that has a militia following. The conflict in Syria has created problems for Lebanon. June of this year there was a incursion now called The Battle of Sidon. Sidon is coastal, but, is south of Beirut and within reach of the northern border of Israel. The reports in The Daily Star is about border crossings. It may be that Lebanon and Israel have a common foe.

Lebanon officials condemn Sidon Army (click here)

December 16, 2013 02:41 PM
(Last updated: December 16, 2013 03:18 PM)

BEIRUT: Lebanese officials condemned Monday the two suicide attacks against the Lebanese Army in the coastal city of Sidon where one officer was killed.

President Michel Sleiman said “this criminal, terrorist act” came at a time the Lebanese were rallying behind the Army, seeking protection and stability.
Sleiman stressed that authorities will take all measures to fight terrorism.
One Lebanese Army officer was killed Sunday night in what the Army said was suicide attacks in separate parts of Sidon. Three gunmen were also killed.
Security sources said the attackers were likely supporters of Salafi-labelled Sheikh Ahmad Assir whose gunmen clashed with the Army in Sidon earlier this year.

Caretaker PM Najib Mikati said the incidents were terrorist attacks par excellence to target the military which protects Lebanon and preserves sovereignty and independence.

"We call on everyone to support the Army and the rest of Lebanon's security agencies and to prevent [anyone] from messing with our security," he said in a statement.

He also contacted Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi and followed up on the two incidents....

The tensions being reported between Israel and other nations may be less the actions of the sovereign Lebanon so much as free lancing militant groups that Lebanon is attempting to defend from itself. It sound to me as though the military leaders of these small countries need to form an alliance of intelligence to end the turbulence caused by small militias spawning because of the Syrian Civil War. 

That may be unrealistic and simply a guess, but, it sincerely sounds as though Israel and Lebanon militaries need to be talking to each other.

December 16, 2013 02:05 PM 
(Last updated: December 16, 2013 03:49 PM)

BEIRUT: The twin attacks on the Lebanese Army (click here) Sunday night are an act of suicide, the Army said.
The Army said in a statement that three men approached the checkpoint at the Sidon Awali bridge at 9 p.m., drawing suspicion that prompted soldiers to ask for their IDs.
At this point, the statement added, one of the attackers dashed toward the soldier, waving a hand grenade. The soldier swiftly responded by opening fire on him which led the to the explosion of the grenade.
The attacker was killed instantly and two soldiers were wounded, the statement said.
Another grenade was found in the victim’s pocket and was immediately dismantled by an Army expert, the statement added.
It said the two other assailants managed to escape, adding that investigation is underway to determine whether the Awali attackers are related to the group that attacked a similar checkpoint in Majdalyoun 45 minutes later.
The statement adds that as a result of a random checkpoint set up by the Army in Majdalyoun in the wake of the Awali attack, and while soldiers attempted to search a grey GMC Envoy with three men in it, one of them – Palestinian Bahaeddine al-Sayyed – stepped out of the vehicle and rushed toward Sgt. Samer Rizk, killing the officer and himself. Another soldier was also wounded in the 9:45 p.m. attack.
The statement said soldiers also opened fire toward the Envoy, killing two Lebanese nationals, Mohammad Jamil Zarif and Ibrahim al-Mir.
Soldiers confiscated an explosives-belt that was set to blow up.

If there is increasing instability in Lebanon that is a concern for the region and not just Israel.

December 15, 2013

GENEVA: The number of Syrian refugees (click here) in the Middle East will nearly double over the next year to exceed four million, the United Nations said Monday as it launched its appeal for funds.
Another 9.3 million people are expected to be in need of aid inside the war-ravaged nation by the end of next year, with millions displaced from their homes, the UN's humanitarian agency (OCHA) said. The civil war between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebels seeking his overthrow has raged for 33 months and killed more than 126,000 people.
The crisis has put an enormous strain on neighbouring countries, where hundreds of thousands of refugees are sheltering in tents as the winter sets in.
Some 4.1 million Syrians will be living as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt by the end of 2014, up from an estimated 2.4 million today, according to the latest estimate....

Do they have to?

BEIRUT: (click here) A three-member U.S. Congressional delegation arrived in Beirut on a brief visit Monday for talks with Lebanese officials.
A source at Beirut airport said the delegation, coming from Cairo, included Steve King, Michele Bachmann, and Louie Gohmert.
U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale met the delagation upon arrival, the source added.

"Good Night, Moon"

Waxing Gibbous

99% Full

13.6 days old   
2013-12-14 22:23:22

BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's lunar probe Chang'e-3, (click here) with the country's first moon rover onboard, successfully landed on the moon on Saturday night, marking the first time that China has sent a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body.
The lunar probe began to carry out soft-landing on the moon at 9 p.m. Saturday and touched down in Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, 11 minutes later, according to Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
During the process, the probe decelerated from 15 km above the moon, stayed hovering at 100 meters from the lunar surface to use sensors to assess the landing area to avoid obstacles and locate the final landing spot, and descended slowly onto the surface.
The success made China the third country, after the United States and the Soviet Union, to soft-land on the moon.
Compared to those other two countries, which have successfully conducted 13 soft-landings on the moon, China's soft-landing mission designed the suspension and obstacle-avoiding phases to survey the landing area much more precisely through fitted detectors, scientists said....