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  • #AceNewsGroup 07:02 on June 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #AceFriendsNewsDesk, #AND2014, Canadian Pacific Railway, , , HMS Belfast, , RSS, , , ,   

    ‘ Good Morning All Word Press Friends, Followers and Readers of Ace News Groups Posts ‘ 


    #Ace Shauny Friends News Desk 2014  Launches Chat-Box For Sharing For All Word Press Blogger’s, Followers And Friends to Add Their Posts, News, Views and Opinions of the World ‘

    Ace Shauny News Desk 2014

    Following certain comments and disputes it has been decided that to enable all friends, followers and readers to post their news, views, opinions and comments.

    l have now opened up Ace Friends News Desk fully so anyone sharing will be added automatically to our #Tweet News Desk.   

    Anyone requiring to post a video, picture, provide a comment on their opinions, or anything other  than spam, can do so at the link, below.

    Need help or guidance leave a  comment also any sites that are friends and followers sites will be advised and added to our new RSS Feeds Platform, to Share across our Social Media Sites.

    #AceFriendsNewsDesk2014  

     

    #AND2014

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 21:55 on May 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Emily Thompson, Karabeg, , Omer Karabeg, , , ,   

    ` Having Seen Decades of War and Violence Omer Karaberg Knows the Power of Words’ 


    #AceGuestNews – May 10 – (RFERL) – Having seen decades of war and violence, Omer Karabeg knows the transformative power of words.    For 20 years, through his program “The Bridge,” he has sought to forge a dialogue among representatives of the former Yugoslavia’s different political, ethnic, and religious groups, whose views on his carefully chosen, contentious topics often could not be more at odds.

    Karabeg’s guests run the gamut from hard-line politicians to political moderates to academics and cultural figures. While his pairings are often daring, he always insists on a civil discussion and mutual respect, qualities that are scarce in the region’s mainstream media.

    Arbana Vidishiqi, RFE/RL’s Kosovo Bureau Chief, remembered how in 2002, with the wounds of the Kosovo war still raw, Karabeg gathered influential Kosovo Albanians and Serbs in a face-to-face round-table discussion in Pristina.

    “That was so rare at that time, just after the war, to see those two sides talking,” said Vidishiqi. “What was especially interesting was to see these former [Albanian] guerilla fighters talking with Serbs even during the breaks.”   Over the course of two decades, “The Bridge” has broadcast more than 800 such dialogues involving more than 1,500 participants.

    The 30-minute weekly program began as a radio show and is now also recorded as a Skype broadcast for on-line audiences. On many occasions, the show has broken barriers between figures across political and ethnic divides who have then continued their dialogue in follow-up meetings off the air. Excerpts and quotes from the dialogues are regularly reprinted in high-circulation national newspapers throughout the region.

    Much has changed since the first broadcast of “The Bridge” in April 1994 which, at the height of the Yugoslav war, focused on how to start the process of reconciliation between the Serb minority and the Croatian majority in Croatia. At that time, much of the former Yugoslavia was separated not only by ideology, but by violence, blocked roads, and broken telephone lines.

    But Karabeg says some divides persist. “The most difficult combination to have on the show is nationalists, of course,” he said. “Nationalists don’t like discussion, they like monologues. They usually don’t change their minds after the show, but at least they talk; at least it gives them something to think about later.”

    Originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina Karabeg is a veteran journalist who, before joining RFE/RL in 1994 in the early days of the Balkan Service (then known as the South Slavic Service), was a popular prime-time national TV news anchor in Belgrade.

    He left Belgrade after refusing to broadcast nationalist propaganda during the war, an act of defiance for which he was called a traitor on national TV by government officials.   Karabeg is the winner of the 2010 Erhard Busek South East Europe Media Award for Better Understanding in South East Europe.

    He received the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia’s Jug Grizelj Award for promoting friendship and overcoming barriers between the people in the region. He has published selected dialogues from “The Bridge” in two books: “Bridge of Dialogue: Conversations Despite the War,” and “Dialogue on the Powder Keg, Serbian-Albanian Dialogue.”

    While Karabeg has seen much progress in the region, he says the deepest rifts remain in Bosnia, where dialogue between politicians from the two main ethnic entities carved out in the Dayton Accords has broken down.   “Each side has its own media where the politicians can go on and say whatever they want with no one to challenge them when they lie,” he said.

    He added that separatist rhetoric has intensified in Bosnia since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, and that the international community must stay engaged there to keep the dialogue going.

    ” As the saying goes,” Karabeg said, “It’s better to have 1,000 days of talking than to have war for even one day.”

    Courtesy and by Emily Thompson of her News and Views – Radio Free Europe

    #ANS2014 

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  • #AceNewsGroup 14:26 on May 11, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , Coroner, Jonathan Allen, , National September 11 Memorial Museum, , , , , World Trade Center site   

    ` Remains of Those Killed in 911 Attack are Moved Amid Family Protests ‘ 


    #AceGuestNews – NEW YORK –  The unidentified remains of those killed in the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York City were moved into a repository at the bedrock level of Ground Zero on Saturday after a procession through Manhattan streets.

    The 7,930 fragmentary remains in sealed containers were escorted by fire, police and Port Authority vehicles with flashing lights and no sirens from a Manhattan forensics lab to the repository at the site of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

    The repository will be under the care of the city’s chief medical examiner, whose office will continue trying to match the fragments to the more than 1,000 victims of the attacks that have yet to have had any remains identified.

    The repository is sealed off from exhibition areas by a wall and will only be accessible to the medical examiner’s staff and family members of the victims, who will be able to visit the space even when the museum is closed, the city has said.

    Some family members of those killed in the attacks protested the move, saying it was wrong to store the remains at what is essentially a tourist site, adding that the underground repository could be subject to flooding.

    They put black bands over their mouths in a silent protest as the procession rolled past.

    “The human remains repository is most certainly a part of the museum,” Jim Riches, the chairman of the 9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims group, said in a statement.

    Other family members have supported the move.

    (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jonathan Allen and Tom Heneghan)

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  • #AceNewsGroup 14:27 on May 10, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, , Henry Waxman, , , Nancy Pelosi, , Trey Gowdy   

    ` House of Democratic Leaders Cannot Help but Criticise Investigation of Benghazi ‘ 


     

    #AceGuestNews – BENGHAZI – May 10 – House Democratic leaders have been unstinting in their criticism of the select committee established this week to investigate the aftermath of the 2012 attack on an American compound in Benghazi, Libya. Now they are facing a touch choice about whether to join it, cautiously weighing which strategy would be riskier politically and whether their instinct to boycott the select committee might just give it more power in the end.

     Nancy Pelosi

    Democratic leaders have called the new committee “a political ploy,” a “stunt,” a “sham,” a “waste of taxpayer dollars” and, in the words of White House spokesman Jay Carney, “a blatantly political and partisan effort.” This week, two arms of the party, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committeelaunched a coordinated messaging blitz to undermine the committee and cast Republicans as political opportunists who have established the select committee only because of their interest in raising money and exciting the GOP base before the 2014 midterm elections.

    Should Democrats now take part in this thing they view as a non-serious exercise in pandering to the right? House Democrats met behind closed doors Friday morning to discuss their options, but emerged with no clear answer on how to proceed.

    In the case of reopening an investigation into the events of Sept. 11, 2012, in Libya, Democrats are stuck in a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t scenario. That’s left the caucus torn on what to do.

    There’s a vocal chorus of Democrats urging Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to boycott the committee altogether. Appointing members to the committee would lend credibility to the investigation, they fear, and it would force Democrats to risk being pawns in a Republican political game.

    “If you’re going to have a hanging,” said Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, one of the leading opponents to participating, “don’t ask me to bring the noose.”

    Democrats point to the fact that four other bipartisan committees have already investigated the Benghazi attack and that one of those lines of inquiry — the Government Oversight Committee’s investigation — remains ongoing.

    John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, George Walker Bush.

    John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, George Walker Bush. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    But if Democrats don’t appoint panel members — the resolution the House approved Thursday night would give them five slots on the committee — they will give up having any authority over the process and the messaging from each hearing. Not participating would grant Republicans monopoly control over the tone of the hearings and the information provided during the proceedings. Republicans would be the only lawmakers posing questions to the witnesses. Democrats would risk of having entire news cycles dominated by Republican-driven messaging.

    “We need to be there to be sure that when Republicans abuse their power, point it out then and there that they’re abusing their power,” California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman told National Journal.

    Democrats, then, face a choice: Risk legitimizing a Republican-led hearing they think is a charade, or grant total control of the content and the message to Republicans. It’s a decision they’re not ready to make.

    “We need to make a judgement about how dangerous they can be about their misrepresentation of the facts of the committee,” Pelosi told reporters Friday after her meeting with the caucus.

    For now, Democratic leaders say they will withhold judgment until they’re satisfied with negotiations with Boehner over how the hearings will be conducted. Members of Pelosi’s staff have been in ongoing talks with Boehner’s over the role the Democratic members would play if they chose to join the hearing. At issue, Pelosi said Friday, is whether Democratic committee members will have a say when it comes to issuing subpoenas, calling witnesses and releasing documents to the public. Pelosi said she would base her decision on the outcome of talks with Boehner over the next several days.

    This week’s round of talks did not bode well for a speedy resolution. Pelosi on Friday rejected a proposed “Memorandum of Understanding” from Boehner’s staff that outlined ground rules, calling them “fundamentally unfair” in a letter sent to Boehner. Pelosi’s letter indicated, however, that she would be open to further negotiations.

    Republicans, meanwhile, aren’t waiting for Democrats to make a decision. On Friday, Boehner announced the names of the seven Republicans who had been appointed to the committee, which will be chaired by South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, a 16-year veteran prosecutor. The other members include Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo, Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Alabama Rep. Martha Roby and Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland.

    “I  expect this committee to carry out an investigation worthy of the American lives lost in Benghazi,” Boehner said in a statement. “I also urge my Democratic colleagues to treat this tragedy with the proper respect and appoint members so that we can finally, on a bipartisan basis, get answers, provide accountability, and help deliver justice.”

    Courtesy of and Guest Views Yahoo News  

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  • #AceNewsGroup 21:00 on March 8, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Cut copy and paste, , , , , Share - Tweet - Comment - News and Views @AceNewsServices with #ANS2014, URL shortening,   

    Welcome Everyone to `Ace News Services ‘ Please Comment or Post to be Approved ‘ 


    #AceNewsServices says good evening from my UK home and to all my friends and readers of my news articles and posts, well just so you can write your news as it happens, and chat on the go.

    Ace Friends News

    ` Follow my news and views and post in the box’

    It is not just 140 characters and you can post a link to a video or promote your group, charity, idea or really anything.

    Anyone wanting to post a video best way is copy and paste the short URL from the YouTube site and post.

    Add your own tags and links and enjoy chatting to fellow bloggers.

    I ask for you to observe that we do not use it as a spam area, should this happen it will be closed to everyone and l will email those people ,to be the only users.

    Thank you Editor (Ace News Group) 

    Share – Tweet – Comment – News and Views @AceNewsServices with #ANS2014   

    Sites:
    Ace News Services 2014 – http://wp.me/165ui
    Ace History2Research News 2014 – http://wp.me/48Dp0
    Ace British History News 2014 – http://wp.me/3QKto
    Ace Sales & Services News 2014 – http://wp.me/2y0H0

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  • #AceNewsGroup 13:18 on March 8, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , ,   


    #AceNewsGroup says to all my reader and followers have just completed adding an Ace Guest News and Views box on Ace Finance News ‘ just add your news, views and videos by copying and pasting short URL from and post as easy as that. When you add your first post l will approve and after that just add whenever you like. Enjoy http://wp.me/zTwj

    #AFN2014

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 12:05 on March 8, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , Ace Guest Views, , , , , Government of Ukraine, , , , ,   

    `Press harassed in Crimea ‘ 


    #AceGuestPost says ‘Free press’ in Russian eyes. Russia does not want free press and all they want is to spread only their point of you.

    Press harassed in Crimea

    It was a difficult night for journalists. AP had equipment stolen by armed men in Simferopol as they tried to set up a live satellite and there is footage of other cameramen being beaten by supporters of Russia.

    Courtesy of Ace Guest Views

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 15:53 on March 2, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , Black History, Instagram,   

    ` Question has ` Rap ' lost its roots due to disrespect of `Black Icons' and is not in the Groove ? ' 


    #AceMediaNews says that Jesse Washington wrote about Malcolm X and rap music having always fitted together like a needle in the groove, connected by struggle, strength and defiance.

    But three recent episodes involving the use or misuse of Malcolm and other black icons have raised the question:

    Has rap lost touch with black history?
    Chart-topping rapstress Nikki Minaj provoked widespread outrage with an Instagram post featuring one of black history’s most poignant images:
    OR
    Malcolm X peering out the window of his home, rifle in hand, trying to defend his wife and children from fire-bombs while under surveillance by federal agents.

    Superimposed on the photo: the title of Minaj’s new song, which denigrates certain black men and repeats the N-word 42 times.

    BY JESSE WASHINGTON
    AP NATIONAL WRITER

    #ANS2014 says your thoughts – welcome?

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 21:08 on February 16, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Palliative care, , Sophie Shevardnadze   

    #Belgium: ” Euthanasia Law Author Speaks Frankly in Interview & Video” 


    #AceGuestNews and Views says the ‘Death of a child is sometimes lesser evil’ – Kids’ euthanasialaw author’ 

    February 14, 2014 10:30
    Download video (214.29 MB)
    euthanasia-for-children-3137098Belgium has adopted a law allowing terminally sick children to be euthanized. Now, these kids can have a say in whether they want to live or end their suffering. But are they able to make such irreversible decision? Should the society force those in pain to endure it further? Today we’ll be talking to one of the advocates of the law – a Belgian Senator Philippe Mahoux is on Sophie&Co.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: And our guest is Belgian senator, and the supporter of the law, allowing euthanasia for minors, Philippe Mahoux, thank you very much for being with us at this program. So you are a doctor yourself, a surgeon – what have you seen that could possibly make you take up this issue in the first place?

    Philippe MahouxPhilippe Mahoux: Listen… as a doctor, I think … we were confronted with situations of great distress, patients with incurable disease, mostly cancers, and it also applies to minors, children and teenagers. Before the 2002 law was adopted in Belgium, we could not respond to the requests for euthanasia. Since the law was passed, many pediatricians and oncologists, in particular those who deal with children, asked us repeatedly… begged in some cases, to amend the law to allow those children that are suffering to benefit from dignified death. This is why we started this discussion in the Belgian Parliament.

    SS: But I’m just wondering if you had any personal experience yourself, how many cases have you personally come across, where children have asked doctors to help them die, and how many parents have agreed to that?

    PM: Oh, you know, it is always difficult to be able to evaluate the number of cases… I will tell you something quite specific. If in your life, especially if you are a physician, you are called to take care even of one of these cases, only one of these people, whether an adult or a minor, you are confronted with this situation and you quickly realize the need to find solutions and solve this issue of unbearable pain in case of incurable diseases. And so, the number is not the most important element. What matters is that there are children, teenagers who suffer from incurable diseases and for whom it is necessary to find a humane solution.

    SS: It’s pure coincidence, but I am a journalist, I’m 35, but I also happen to be a board member of Moscow hospice – so, people that I worked with very tightly, they are actually confronted with terminally ill kids every day; kids, who die every day. When I talked to them, about euthanasia, they tell me that they yet have to come across a child who wishes to die, because that hasn’t happened yet, in our case.

    PM: Quite frankly, there are such cases. Very fortunately, it is not the same person who is facing this type of situation every time, very fortunately it is not the same families. But I can tell you that pediatricians tell us that this type of situation exists, that unbearable suffering exists. Then is the number of cases that arise an extremely important number? The answer is no, very fortunately, the answer is no! But there are cases and it is necessary to respond to them. This is the reality. And you know, in 2002, when the law permitting euthanasia for adults was passed, we have heard arguments saying that we did not care enough about the patients, saying that’s the reason we propose this type of solution.

    As for me, I can say that we do this because we truly care. We are putting this amendment through parliament to allow a solution, which is both euthanasia and palliative care, available for both adults and children. The caregivers and doctors who continue to tell us that this choice is needed, they want to support people at the end, make sure pain is gone in the end.

    SS: Have you had a situation where parents ask for their children to be killed through euthanasia?

    PM: Not with parents, not with my immediate circle. But I want to remind you again, that I am a doctor, and as doctors we can be confronted with situations that are highly different. It isn’t because we find ourselves in a situation similar to the experience of someone emotionally close to us. It is not because we find ourselves in this kind of situation that we take initiative. We take this initiative because we want to fix the overall situation, and that is what is most important.

    SS: But why I insist to find out your personal opinion and experiences is because this is a very personal, very emotional law, and it’s a law that for many crosses ethics or morals. I don’t know if you have any children, but if you had any children – would you allow them to decide on matters of life or death?

    PM: I can answer you, in any case, that if, God forbid, I had a child who’d end up in this type of situation… I want to point out that by this type of situation I mean a child, a teenager whose suffering is related to an incurable disease, and who will die in the near future. If such a child asked me to put an end to his or her suffering, I would respond positively. And I believe that the entire population, in Belgium, when asked to answer a survey posing the same question, also replied in an overwhelmingly positive manner. I want to repeat that it isn’t the fact that we want to end the suffering of a child, a teenager which is outrageous. It’s the suffering itself that is outrageous. What is outrageous is that children are suffering, children are dying.

    What is outrageous is that there are children who are suffering from cancer. What we are doing is precisely preventing this scandal, and thus preventing the suffering of these children and teenagers.

    SS: But we are still talking in general terms. Take us through an average case which ends in someone being euthanized. What are they suffering from, how long does the decision take?

    PM: I will give you an example. A child is suffering from a cancer which particularly affects children. I don’t want to give an exact diagnosis, but we know about these cancers affecting children: leukemia, or kidney cancers, for example. We provide them with chemotherapy; we provide them a second chemotherapy, a third one. There comes a time for such patients, including for example the sick, young people with brain tumors, there comes a time where we can no longer ease the suffering and there is no hope for a cure. We know that death will occur, and it’s coming soon. A number of these cases exist, where under these conditions, these children turn out to be more mature than many adults. Precisely because they are facing disease, precisely because these children are about to die.

    SS: Then, since you say that there are not so many cases, why make it into a law? Why not just deal with it on a case-by-case basis? Because at the point where it becomes a law, you know very well that it leaves a lot of room for mistakes, and abuses, because not all doctors are so honest and not all doctors are so of their profession. In all countries, it is the same.

    PM: Listen, quite frankly, quite frankly, I do not know who you are talking about. There is a law in Belgium that has existed for ten years. We made a law that makes it possible for a doctor to make the last humane gesture for a patient who is suffering. At the same time, we established an evaluation commission to which all euthanasia cases should be reported. For ten years, there has been a regular report made by this commission. Never has this commission found abuse. That is an important element. And then, you know, those who talk about abuse, I think that they have rarely faced this type of situation. We know what it is like, for a doctor, or for a caregiver, or for the families, to take into account the requests that are being made by patients and relatives in case of an incurable disease, to be able to hear them out and to respond to them positively…

    When we know what it means, in terms of patient support, the gesture that is the gesture of euthanasia, I think that we finally realize that abuse cannot exist. Because the burden that is, I would say, the emotional, empathetic burden linked to this gesture, is extremely important. And I believe that those who speak of abuse actually are those who, for their reasons, are obviously opposed to euthanasia. I want to recall that the laws in Belgium, in Holland, in Luxembourg, these laws open an area of freedom, put in place guarantees to prevent abuse, but do not force anyone to make the gesture if they do not want to. I still believe, that when we talk about these patients, adults or children or teenagers, if these patients request euthanasia, it is a very humane gesture to carry out their request.

    SS: So, then Mr. Mahoux, just to be precise, there is no age restriction in this law.

    PM: There are restrictions that are not connected to age, but tied to the understanding that the child or the teenager may have of the situation. Therefore, we kept as a criteria the capacity for discernment, that is, we have to ask a psychologist, a psychiatrist who is not connected to the situation, to assess if the request that is made by this minor, I repeat, who is suffering from an incurable disease after treatments that have become unnecessary – if that request is made with full understanding. That is the rule. I repeat, we found that the maturity of the children who are suffering, the maturity of children facing disease, facing death, is greater than that of many adults, so…

    SS: So it is really the psychologists that decide if the child is in a condition to make a life decision or not. Is that it?

    PM: Exactly, that is how it is written in the law. It is a person from the outside, a psychologist, psychiatrist, who determines if the minor has an understanding of the situation, if the minor is making a request of which he or she is fully aware.

    SS: So, this minor can be four years old as well as sixteen years old; do I understand that right?

    PM: It is hard, obviously, to understand that a minor who is four years old is able to make a request of this nature being perfectly aware of what he is asking. It is not the role of the legislator in any case to determine how these things could be evaluated by specialists. We have effective assurance that these specialists are able to determine if the child has this capacity for understanding.

    SS: But you, as a doctor, what do you think, at what age does a child develop the capacity to make such a serious decision?

    PM: You do understand, that as a legislator, I have proposed that there be a report on the state of awareness of a child, because each case is unique. And so, if I had thought there was a right age for this, I would have suggested that we set it. You know, we consulted with a bunch of specialists, many of whom are both doctors and psychologists, and we have consulted lawyers. They all told us that we should not introduce an age provision but instead put in this criterion of awareness. They suggested this because they consider that each case is individual, so it is impossible to determine an age limit. So I can answer your question that the law kept the condition of awareness, the ability of discernment.

    SS: You know, because there are still some people who are, nevertheless, opposed to this law, and they say that minors do not have the right to vote, do not have the right to drink, do not have the right to marry, so then if they are suffering from an incurable disease, does it really give them the competence to make an adult decision?

    PM: Madame, you are asking me if I know if a child is aware and capable of understanding his or her situation. I would like to remind you that we are not in the child’s shoes, we are not suffering from an incurable disease which causes pain, for which multiple treatments were given that have led to nothing. We have to remember this. You know, it is easy to have a definite answer, to make a decision like that, in the place of someone else, when we are not in the same situation. We do not make decisions for those for whom we care. Those who are working closely with patients, those who know, they can actually, according to the law, decide in their heart and conscience to respond to a formal request positively. I think that’s the right way to do it. It is not the legislator who will normally be at the bedside of children or adults who are suffering. It is the medical personnel who will have to solve the problem but, at least, the law allows them to respond humanely to those requests. This is about the possibility for everyone to choose at some point not to accept this suffering and to say at a certain point ‘this is enough’ And consider that one can finally ask to die, so that the suffering stops. It is, in the end, a freedom, freedom that is related to human rights and humans, in general. For centuries we valued pain. People who were condemned to death, before they’d be executed for, let’s say, offensive opinions – they weren’t just executed, but put to death with pain and horrible suffering. And well, we, we follow a process that is exactly the opposite approach. I am a strong supporter of the abolition of the death penalty. In all the countries of the world, I am opposed everywhere and always to all forms of torture. I am opposed to the value of pain. I think that pain is pointless, except when it is an alarm signal, a signal of diagnosis. But for the rest, the approach fits into a battle of individual vs. collective, a discussion of humanity against precisely this vision of a society. A society that would condemn to death, which would execute, which values the pain. Our approach is the next stage, when we say that one can avoid the inevitability of this pain, when it is unbearable – well, it is the duty of humanity to do so and to allow one to do so.

    SS: And what do you do with the option of palliative care, for example? Because everyone who works in “palliative care” will tell you that, you know, the only time that a child or an adult would ask you for euthanasia is if you have not provided a palliative net, otherwise they would never ask you to kill them.

    PM: Well, I will tell you this: in 2002, when there was a vote on the law for the adults, I tabled legislation, two pieces of legislation. One of which involved the implementation of palliative care, and the other concerning the possibility of patients benefiting from euthanasia. And so my belief, shared by the majority of the population, and the majority of the caregivers in general, at least in our country, to consider the implementation of palliative care. But that is not because we have implemented palliative care that automatically, first, this palliative care, eliminates any request for euthanasia. One does not exclude the other. And then, there’s the freedom of everyone to consider that at a certain point, palliative care isn’t enough. I really want to clarify that. You know, as a doctor and caregiver, first, for all patients who come to consult, what is the primary approach?

    The approach is to treat them. And to try to heal them. That is the primary approach. The second approach, if that is not possible, is to recognize, at some point, that this is not possible and that the disease is too strong. And if we cannot treat the disease, if the patient must die, we must enable them to die in the most dignified way possible. And to die in the most dignified way possible, it can be done either through palliative care or through a request for euthanasia. Even the best palliative care does not eliminate requests for euthanasia, in any case it is a responsibility, a choice which is left with each patient. That is what’s important, the freedom that the ethical laws allow in our society. A positive response based on each choice.

    SS: Since we are speaking about ethics, have you already had a case where the doctor refuses to use euthanasia with a client?

    PM: But of course. You know, there is no element of coercion in the laws we are voting on. We open a space of freedom that makes it possible to give a positive response to a request for euthanasia. But when we speak of freedom, we also speak of freedom of conscience for everyone. And so it is provided for in the law that if a doctor refuses, he obviously has the right to do so. It is the conscience which dictates if he will accept it or not. It is his conscience that will tell him that he agrees to support a patient to the end, or that he is unable to do it because of philosophical or religious imperatives. Of course there are refusals. In these cases, when a patient makes a request and the doctor refuses in full right (and some do) – it is important to continue the care. It means that when confronted with a patient’s request, if a doctor refuses, I think he has the obligation to actually pass on the request to someone else, because at some point, he ultimately refuses to support his patient. It is a rule that applies not only here. You know, in medicine, when we take on a patient, we have an obligation of responsibility and when we can no longer provide this support, we also have the obligation to see that this responsibility is covered by someone else.

    SS: And you do not see an ethical problem, for example, in paying a doctor just to put an end to the life of someone, to kill someone? Is there not an ethical problem there?

    PM: Well, listen, we do not pay someone to end the life of someone else. As if that act was isolated… It is never isolated. In fact, if you talk of payment, doctors are paid for giving care, supporting people in a humane manner… A doctor, a health care team is responsible for a patient. Each time a different individual, an individual who is suffering. And there at the end of the road, when there is no way out, that support is the essence of assuming responsibility for one’s patient. So what are you saying about payment? Of course, I think that anything done professionally deserves compensation. Who could think otherwise? But the doctors receive payment for taking responsibility for their patients’ wishes and they understand what that responsibility entails.

    SS: Mr. Mahoux, thank you very much for this interesting interview.

    Courtesy of: Sophie&Co 

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 12:52 on February 14, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , #DCRS, #MyBloggingFriend #finalpost   

    Final Post 


    #AceNewsGroup:

    #ANS2014 says :)

    Like

    Originally posted on Dead Republican Party (DeRP):

    Thank you everyone who has followed these blogs (Dead Republican Party and Dead Citizen’s Rights Society). Thank you to all whom have read, blogged or linked to my posts, both satirical and factual. My health has deteriorated to the point where I simply cannot continue to blog. I shall continue to read online (I have been an avid reader since age 4) and comment when able on conservative blogs.

    I wish God-speed to all of my blogging friends as well as all those whom have visited either blog and ask your prayers for a peaceful death.

    May God bless you all.

    View original

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 12:54 on February 8, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Digital electronics, Free Software Foundation, , , Richard Stallman, , , Worlds Apart   

    ” One Man’s View of `Internet Surveillance’ and how it will Affect our Democracy” 


    #AceGuest News and Views says `Stallman: ‘We’ve got to limit Surveillance to keep Democracy’

    Published time: February 06, 2014 19:18

    Richard Stallman (screenshot from RT video)Richard Stallman (screenshot from RT video)
    We need to change a lot of things about digital technology so that they’re not surveillance engines. The idea is that human rights should be respected in digital activities as in non-digital life, software freedom activist Richard Stallman told RT.

    The world is witnessing a transition from non-digital life, in which people mostly have a lot of autonomy. However, people should also have human rights in their digital activities, the world-famous technologist and philosopher Richard Stallman said, interviewed by Oksana Boyko in RT’s Worlds Apart show. Stallman argues that though there are many exceptions in terms of human rights, they should be stopped in order to have effective democracy.

    “It simply means returning to users of computing the autonomy that they have in non-digital life. What we see happening is a transition from non-digital life, in which people mostly have a lot of autonomy … There are countries that don’t respect human rights, but we call that an injustice. The point is that you should have human rights in your digital activities as well,” Stallman said.

    “We need to change a lot of things about digital technology so that they’re not surveillance engines, but part of it is that we need to use software that the users control,” Stallman continued.

    Richard Stallman tries not to use mobile phones in personal communication, he says, but that doesn’t mean he’s advocating some pre-digital innocence. We’ve got to limit surveillance to keep democracy, he believes.

    AFP Photo / Paul J. RichardsAFP Photo / Paul J. Richards

     “When I say we should have portable phones with only free software in them, and that the system should be designed, under legal requirement, not to track anybody but court-ordered investigation subjects, that’s not saying go back to an innocent pre-digital world,” Richard Stallman told RT.

    “There are others who say using digital technology means total surveillance, just surrender to it. But since that surrender means no democracy anymore, because whistleblowers who tell us what the state is doing will be caught, and they have to flee to places like Russia in order not to be caught, that means it’s too much of a sacrifice. We’ve got to keep our democracy, and that means we’ve got to limit surveillance,” he added.

    Stallman is known for developing the concept that every computer program must be free for users to study and modify as they want.

    “Even those of us who are not programmers and won’t personally exercise the control, if the users control the program, and since most of the users don’t want to be spied on, each of us can count on the other users to make sure the program isn’t spying on us,” Stallman told RT.

    He admits that depending on others can’t guarantee perfect results, but compares it to non-free software, when users are dependent on the “tyrant”whose interest is to take advantage of them.

    “With non-free software, the decisions about that program are all made by somebody whose interest is to exploit the users and you can pretty well expect the decisions to be bad for the users, whereas when you’re depending on other users, you’ve got a pretty good chance it’s going to be more or less good,”Richard Stallman said.

    He added that the argument “Never try to get rid of a tyranny because you don’t know what’s going to happen, just accept the tyrant” is an utter fallacy, since this is particularly the thing that guarantees tyranny.

    “So, this doesn’t mean that every contributor is an angel. It does mean, however, that none of the contributors faces the same kind of temptation to abuse power that a proprietary developer faces, because none of them has that kind of power,” Richard Stallman said.

    The fact that various big companies like Google, Microsoft or Facebook were ready to cooperate with intelligence services is not surprising because they were money-driven, Stallman says. Nevertheless, it’s important to distinguish between governments spying on other governments, which is something that governments have done plenty of, and governments spying on all citizens.

    “That [governments spying on governments] is just what governments do to each other. For me, that’s not the scandal. The scandal is not spying on other governments and their activities, it’s spying on all the citizens. And of course there are countries that work together to spy on the citizens of these countries,”he told RT.

    “Thirty years ago we had phones, but they weren’t in general being monitored. There wasn’t a list of everybody’s phone calls, but now . And now the US government is collecting that all the time, and in Spain as well, with the help of the Spanish government. So, now we have to address that issue as well,”Stallman added.

    #AceGuestViews

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 11:05 on February 6, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , Alan M. Taylor, , , , , New Statesman, Office for Budget Responsibility, The Survivors of the Chancellor, University of California-Davis   

    ” Money Cannot Be Created or Destroyed “ 


    #AceDebtNews says this was recently sent to my news desk and relates to as they call it “doozy of a working paper “ available to download as PDF if you are willing to pay, basically l thought the following extract from the Washing Posts Wonk Blog says what is really important on austerity, as these two eminently qualified people state their own opinions on austerity of this government!

    Governor of the Bank of England Mark CarneyÒscar Jordà of the San Francisco Fed and Alan M. Taylor of the University of California-Davis have a doozy of a working paper out on the macroeconomic effects of austerity. The chart above has the money stat: According to their numbers, the U.K.’s experiment with austerity starting in 2010 led to a 3 percent reduction in growth. If true, that’s a big, big indictment of the Cameron government‘s policies.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/09/british-austerity-was-even-worse-than-you-thought/

    : This is a link to a Money Week Video – Their intention being to sign you up for their magazine – but if time it is well worth a watch – beware you cannot stop it or roll-back just leave and close tab!  This video long and drawn out as it is trying to put fear in us to invest wisely, with them of course and through their financial advisers advice even though they do not state this outright. Also going to the extent of adding a disclaimer to their video, to take independent advice! Also states from their point of view that this country is bankrupt and has been for a very long time!  http://pro.moneyweek.com/myk-eob-tpr123/EMYKP909/?a=5&o=128929&s=133565&u=75227&l=428374&r=MC&g=0&h=true

    Spending Rises as Austerity BitesThen thirdly this simple report in the New Statesman that our Chancellor of the Exchequer argues it is nothing to do with his policies, as so many Chancellors have done before over the last 40 years! Then pray tell me whose fault is it ,we have debts totalling X and as a percentage of our GDP they are Y and that we will never repay them as they cost Z . My why not putting figures for XYZ is simple: figures lie and so do politicians! We do not need a statement of what we owe, but we need a solution of what we owe, does anyone have this solution, well of course not, or if they do, then pray tell us all, do it for nothing and admit the truth!

    Well read it all if you like and then leave your comments or share:

    The Chancellor‘s claim that “the pace of fiscal consolidation has not changed” is not supported by any of the available data.

    The Chancellor does not deny that growth has been much weaker than forecast, although it’s worth repeating the scale of this under-performance. In June 2010, the Office of Budget Responsibility predicted that by now the economy would be about 7 per cent larger, driven by a sharp rise in business investment and exports, while the deficit would have fallen by two-thirds. What has actually happened? In fact, GDP has grown at less than a third of that rate, business investment has fallen, and the path of deficit reduction bears no resemblance at all to the original projections (which is, as I’ll elaborate below, a good thing).    

    But, the Chancellor argues, this under-performance has nothing to do with fiscal policy:

    More at: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/09/what-osborne-wont-admit-growth-has-increased-because-slower-cuts

    My Personal View: 

    So as with all my articles l will give you my very simple understanding of all that has to be done in 5 very simple lines, l call this my `Five Steps to Becoming Debt Free’ l realise only a few will read it or even understand it, but most of all will never ever agree to it, WHY – simply wanton-greed and this will prevail until people either have nothing, or until they realise that wanting more will lead them into a pit of despair they will never ever get out of …….

    Well here are my simple and easy tips:

    1. Everyone does not owe anyone anything!

    2. They do not want anything!

    3. They make do and mend!

    4. They only buy what they need!

    5. They except the fact to live their life with less not more!

    So l leave you with these questions!

    If l had never borrowed more than l could afford, would l now be in debt?

    If l had never borrowed for things l did not need, would l now be in debt?

    So if l had lived my life to satisfy my need , and not my want, would l now be in debt? 

    If you answer NO to any of these three question, then stop borrowing and lending more, and learn to manage what you have already borrowed!!!

    Ace Related News :

    Money Cannot Be Created or Destroyed

    Related articles

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 17:41 on February 3, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , Craft, Freemason, , Jack Lopresti, John Robison, , Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, Provincial Grand Master, , United Grand Lodge of England   

    ” Freemasonry Another Way to Do Business or a Darker Meaning Behind Closed Doors” 


    #AceGuestNews says `Freemasonry: ‘The firm within the firm’

    Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist.

    Published time: January 23, 2014 14:12

    freemason.siFormer Freemason Senior Grand Deacon John Hamill poses for photographs inside the Grand Temple in London June 26, 2002. (Reuters / Peter Macdiarmid)

    Is there a vaster chasm than that between ‘worthy charitable giving’ and ‘swindlers at the top of society’? This is par for the course though when you do an internet search for the Freemasons.

    Last week brought more evidence of the latter (and darker), with the second leaked report from UK criminal justice authorities in as many years to conclude that mobsters use Freemasonry to freely recruit corrupt detectives, being one of ‘the most difficult aspects of organized crime corruption to proof against.’

    Scotland Yard’s Operation Tiberius report was written over a decade ago but has only this week been made public by The Independent’s investigations editor, Tom Harper. It follows on from Project Riverside, revealed by Channel 4 News’ Andy Davies in March 2012 from the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), which also describes Freemasonry in round terms as ‘a firm within a firm’. Incredible though it may seem, although paid for with public money, both these reports have taken nearly a decade to surface, and then only as partial press leaks.

    So why did the authors of Scotland Yard’s Operation Tiberius’ find Freemasons so difficult to winkle out? Most know Freemasonry sits somewhere between a religious cult and a pyramid selling scheme but have no idea where ‘The Craft’ came from, or what makes Masons tick. It’s the oath of secrecy, similar to the Mafia’s Omertà, on pain of death, which, in theory, makes any revelation about ‘The Craft’ a slip of the tongue you can die for.

    Behind the lodge door

    Masons have a pyramid of initiation through 33 ranks, or ‘degrees’ and belong to geographic ‘Provinces’ overseen by London’s United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE). They follow civic county boundaries and each produce an annual yearbook with a tally of lodges followed by members names in each lodge. One would have thought it would be a relatively simple job, therefore, for Scotland Yard detectives to figure out who of their colleagues are in and who are out.

    The trouble is those yearbooks are jealously guarded. Masonic Bristol MP, Jack Lopresti, for example, promised me a copy of the latest Bristol Yearbook live on the radio in April 2012 but his provincial secretary, Steve Rawlings, refused to send it. This begs the question: when a senior public figure is low to middling in the secret Masonic hierarchy, who’s really in charge in the world of the ‘profane’, as Masons call the public?

    As a secret establishment club, Freemasonry rightly rings alarm bells. By seizing only a handful of key positions in the criminal justice system, like any unscrupulous interest, it could corrupt the entire caboodle. The other nerve-jangling concern is that Freemasonry’s ‘Don’ just happens to be a little too close to one the top figures in Britain’s military and judicial chain-of-command; UGLE’s Grand Master, Prince Michael of Kent, is Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin.

    freemason-1The Freemason book of reference is displayed in the Museum of Freemasonry in Paris February 9, 2010, two days before it reopens to the public. (Reuters / Charles Platiau)

    Historians trace Masonic scandals back to a few decades after ‘The Craft’ was founded in the eighteenth century as a society of ‘free thinkers’. The occasion was the 1798 publication of John Robison‘s ‘Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe’. When he said proofs, proofs he meant. Quoting verified leaked documents, he detailed methods of political infiltration and deception to be used by a coterie of senior German masons, sponsored by a wealthy ancestor of the present British royal family, Duke Ernest II of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.

    Quoting links to the perpetrators of the bloody French Revolution, Robison’s scandal flew like a whirlwind round the high society of Europe. This exposé might have been roundly discredited by Masonic loyalists as ‘Conspiracy Theory’ had the author not been one of the most respected men of his day, his brilliant scientific mind nurturing the white heat of scientific innovation driving the industrial revolution.

    Secretary of the Royal Society in Edinburgh, Robison was a close friend of the inventor of the steam engine, James Watt, and above all, from the point of view of credibility, a Freemason himself. He saw the secrecy which had protected free-thinking innovators beginning to take on a new self-serving character absolutely contemptuous of outsiders. Along with the 1798 ‘Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism‘ by Abbé Augustin Barruel in France, Robison’s forensic critique of Freemasonry caused a bitter public schism in ‘The Craft’ which lasted a decade or more, before being ‘buried alive’ with the passing of Robison’s generation.

    So Masonic scandal is nothing new. Every time, whether the ‘powers that be’ hit Masonic accountability into the long grass or not, the true remedy is the same: declare your secret society membership as an interest like any other or face prosecution for misconduct, particularly in public office. One would expect to find those principles as the nucleus of all probity and good governance for associations and corporations round the world, both public and private, yet they are eerily absent.

    Is Freemasonry a fundamentalist religious cult?

    freemason-2

    Britain’s Prince Michael of Kent, Provincial Grand Master for Middlesex and Grand Master for The Mark Mason (an additional order of masonry) arrives at St Paul’s Cathedral in central London, June 18, 2002 (Reuters)

    Though many accuse ‘The Craft’ of being a religious cult, Freemasonry may not fit the definition of a ‘religion’ in the usual sense. However, Masons certainly hold strong beliefs about Western influences in the Holy Land. Those of the higher degrees privately profess a ‘fundamentalist’ fervor for Zionism. Israel’s own Grand Lodge was founded in 1953, now numbering between 50 and 60 lodges with thousands of members. Indeed even in Bristol’s windowless ‘Royal Arch’ Masonic Temple, the furnishings are embossed throughout with golden Israeli ‘Star of David’ emblems.

    Where you can find them, former Freemasons give dazzling insights into the favors ‘The Craft’ affords as well as the evils of what is essentially a ‘gang for grown ups’ strewn through with a toxic mix of mumbo-jumbo and bullying. Both Stephen Knight’s 1984 book ‘The Brotherhood’ and former ‘World In Action’ journalist Martin Short’s 1989 follow-up ‘Inside The Brotherhood’ do an ample job documenting the testimony of those brave enough to reject the threats and leave ‘The Craft’. The latter, as a six-part Granada TV documentary, found its way to an incredulous national audience the same year.

    TV examinations are notoriously few and far between, but in his 1999 HTV Documentary ‘Rites and Wrongs’ journalist James Garrett discovered a human skull and two femur cross-bones hidden away in a chequered cabinet. He asked Gloucestershire’s top Mason on camera, “What part do the skull and cross-bones play in your ritual?” Provincial Grand Master Peter Marsh’s voice quavered as he replied “Well, yes there are some skulls and cross-bones which are part of the regalia of the lodge and they represent mortality.” Perfect for emphasizing that threat of death then, Peter?

    The Church of England and House of Commons deliberate

    In 1987, the General Synod of the Church of England considered the question ‘Freemasonry and Christianity: Are they compatible?’ Failing to come down on one side or the other of the fence they concluded, “The reflections of the working group itself reveal understandable differences of opinion between those who are Freemasons and those who are not.” So despite a clear instruction from Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:37 “Never swear an oath, simply let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’, anything else comes from the devil,” they Church of England couldn’t make their minds up.

    In 1998 Labour MP, Chris Mullin, chaired the second House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee Enquiry into Freemasonry in as many years. The report’s penultimate paragraph “requires public servants who are members of a secret society … to disclose their membership.” The result was non-compliance by many of Britain’s police forces. The Standards Board for England which, for several years required all elected local councilors to declare membership of secret societies was conveniently abolished by the Lib/Con coalition government in 2012 as part of their deregulation policy.

    Even if Freemasonry does not control some of the key positions of state in its own self-interest, its involvement in promoting its own to positions of power and privilege is a likely candidate to explain why Britain is increasingly being controlled by individuals who seem entirely unsuited to positions of public trust.

    If ‘The Craft’ has not yet become a kind of secret government, as a 1981-84 Italian parliamentary enquiry proved Propaganda Due (P2) Masonic Lodge to be, it is almost certainly why Britain is paralyzed by what’s known in drinking dens across the land as the ‘Tyranny of the Mediocre’.

    So as thin old London police and newsroom files on Freemasonry start to fill up with cold hard truths, at the very least it should concentrate the minds of those thinking of using Freemasonry as a convenient cover for crookedness. It is only a matter of time now before their secret number is up.

    The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of: Ace News Group 

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 15:42 on February 3, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Andrew Tyrie, , , , , , , , Sainsbury,   

    #UK:` Financial Crisis for the Poor’ Meanwhile the `Wealthy Gain Rich Pickings’ from this Government’s Strategy’ 


    #AceGuestNews says Financial crisis for many, bonanza for the few.  

    Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist.
    Published time: February 03, 2014 13:42
    Reuters/Kacper PempelReuters/Kacper Pempel
    Despite what the UK’s ruling politicians or statisticians from palm-greased think tanks may say, the UK’s economic “recovery” is visible nowhere on the country’s streets.

    The opiate of Quantitative Easing (QE) or Printing Money, the £375 billion fraudulently spirited up so far, is making some of the figures look good, but it is killing the patient.

    The effect of QE is to propel the nest eggs of the rich from prudent “savings accounts,” where interest rates are at an all-time low, into capricious stock and bond markets to be managed by hedge funds and other pushy players. Meanwhile, everything with half a brain that moves, including the Parliamentary Commission on Banking, chaired by Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, is demanding to see clear blue water between public-facing banks and the casino economy. However, precisely the opposite is happening, as billions of savings leaves the safe ground in search of higher returns.

    The London media have no excuse to talk of a “recovery.” They don’t have to look very far to see the tell-tale signs of a nation falling apart: Try looking down next time you’re in the street. None of the infrastructure of the nation is being maintained. From jutting-out high street paving slabs to potholed roads and even silted up rivers in the Somerset Levels that have been flooded since Christmas, the vital systems of the nation are clogged and breaking.

    For a country with one of the highest living standards in the world to have 20 percent of its population, ticking up every month, existing below the poverty line, something must be very wrong. And the “democratic” strings that are supposed to tie Britain’s 65 million people to the cosseted elite that spend the nation’s taxes are also horribly frayed. The period before a general election is when a government courts its voters.

    And what is the role of Britain’s third-party in all this? The Liberal Democrats (with 56 MPs) hold the balance of power between Labour (256) and the Conservatives (303). Any party in such a position should call the shots, as Irish MPs did with the 1885 Ashbourne Act which forced absentee English landowners to hand over land to Irish farmers who had been impoverished by the famine: A dramatic change in ownership that was one of the main catalysts for Irish Home Rule.

    A broken labour market

    Like the “Balance of Payments,” which compares British exports to imports, taking stock of the “Cost of Living” has fallen out of fashion in the London media. Maybe it’s the lack of the feel-good factor in both sets of statistics – but that doesn’t make either of them any less crucial to understanding whether or not the economy is working. Cost of living is rarely mentioned because an enormous, economically driven, social engineering by the power elite has been played out in our lives in a generation. Britain has fallen from a high-wage, unionized, high-job security economy, from a developed world to a third-world economy in those 30 years.

    Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFPSpencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

    A broken housing market

    Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) has a “great plan” to exterminate Britain’s welfare benefits. So as Work and Pensions Secretary he has put the onus on the claimant, however disabled, mentally ill or otherwise infirm, to prove they are in need, and many are struggling to do so. Scores have already taken their own lives because the vulnerable cannot endure his“survival of the fittest” ATOS test. Duncan-Smith’s own family, though, continue to receive around £1.2 million in annual welfare benefits – in the form of agricultural subsidies for their inherited land.

    IDS’s other “flagship” policy is the Bedroom Tax. So vicious is this tax that it puts the most vulnerable in constant fear of eviction and, unbelievably, costs the government more! Both to pay the higher rents the private sector demands and in eviction fees. Meanwhile, Britain is encouraging mass economic migration and building fewer homes than any time since the 1920s, so as to keep property prices artificially high. Now Britons who don’t get Housing Benefit are, on average, paying a staggering 45 percent of their income on rent or mortgage costs.

    A broken food market

    The international grain trade, according to Oxfam, is now dominated by only five multinational companies. ADM, Bunge, Cargill, Glencore and Louis Dreyfus control 90 percent of this fundamental trade. Through the unregulated derivative markets’ ability to speculate on a future collapse in world food supplies, a hideous profit motive is being whispered of which enriches the few by pushing billions of people to the edge of starvation.

    With the demise of the biggest traditional fish, meat and fruit and vegetable markets, deals are now cut behind closed doors for vast quantities of food, the economies of scale suiting buyer and seller alike. With only seven supermarket chains in the UK (Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose) selling 85 percent of the country’s food they are able to coax almost every consumer with other basic essentials on the same site: petrol, banking and pharmacies, for example, driving traditional, locally owned shops to the wall.

    As historian E.P. Thompson wrote in his 1979 book, “Writing by Candlelight,”quoting from an Elizabethan diary he found behind an oak panel in his library:

    Fruit cannot go to Markett, not for Money nor even yett as Charitye for the Poor. Some say it be through a Sort of Monopolisers in the Dealing Trade, wch wd keep all Price at its Customary Heighth as it is set in any Leen Yeer. And that these Dealers wd rather that the Poor Starve, the Fruits fall Rotted and Wormey, and the Husbandmen & their Familys Toile & Swinke for no Reward – all so that their Proffits be not Sunke.

    Prices paid to farmers today, they say, are driven down by the supermarkets while what the consumer pays is ratcheted up. The small grocers go to the wall and the poor cannot afford to eat, while the multinational food cartels become more powerful every day. With an exponential threefold rise in food bank use this Christmas, and food bank users set to top the 1 million mark in 2014, it seems that monopolies – after 400 years, the crooked markets of Elizabethan times – are back.

    Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

    Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

    A broken energy market

    One of the most damning indictments of Coalition Britain is the obscene way in which the destitute have been quietly and gradually made to pay the energy bills of the rich. An investment now in an energy company of £20,000, peanuts for the rich, delivers annual share dividends which will pay the annual gas and electricity bill of the average two or three-bedroom home. That investment grows above inflation too and will provide a tidy sum if the investor ever tires of his free energy. Through the privatization of the utilities, indentured servitude has been hardwired into the economy and the suffering.

    At the other end of the spectrum, those living hand to mouth are forced off cheap direct debit payment schemes onto key meter energy tariffs, where they can pay as much as double what the rich are paying, or not paying, for each unit of energy they use. Such injustice and cruelty is scarcely conscionable in a nation proud to suit among the top ten wealthiest in the world. One can only speculate that this must be worked out on average wealth, a handful of billionaires surrounded by hoards of 16th Century destitute.

    Perhaps these markets are not ‘broken’ at all?

    Given that Britain’s plutocrats are doing very nicely, thank you, out of the £850 billion bank rescue in 2008 and the subsequent financial “crisis,” and that their friends in the London media have promised not to tread on their toes, let’s take an educated guess at what the real game might be here.

    Perhaps there is no democracy? Perhaps all the political parties are bought and paid for lock, stock and barrel by the power elite who have no conscience, letting accountants run their affairs.

    And when they have filled all their garages with the most ostentatious sports cars money can buy, the next thing up the pecking order perhaps is a government department or a newspaper or two?

    “Nobody wants a crash,” some might say. But they’d be wrong. One of the unintended, or intended, consequences of deregulation in financial markets is that it’s now easier than ever to make a fortune from betting on disaster. What Naomi Klein calls “Disaster Capitalism” – economic warfare and deliberate sabotage of a nation’s economy – is more profitable than ever before.

    The ordinary people of the world had better wise up and look sharp, because we are swimming in shark-infested waters. What the power elite don’t seem to have realized, though, is that we are teaching our children to watch those overnight subjects like hawks. The younger generation are good swimmers, and getting ready with their rocket harpoons.

    The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and full editorial rights to print have been obtained.

    Though they do not necessarily represent those of: Ace New Group

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 14:18 on January 30, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Bureau, Civilian casualties, Drone attacks in Pakistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, , , , Pakistan government, Pakistani government,   

    `Official Document Records Show ‘ that there has been `300 Drone Strikes’ in Pakistan’ that `Gathered Pace’ under Obama” 


    #AceGuestNews says according to `Leaked Official Document Records‘ 330 Drone Strikes in have taken place in Pakistan.

    Bibi-Mammana-Grab-PanoramaCourtesy and by Alice K Ross
    Published: 29 January 2014 -

    The Bureau is today publishing a leaked official document that records details of over 300 drone strikes, including their locations and an assessment of how many people died in each incident.

    The document is the fullest official record of drone strikes in Pakistan to have yet been published. It provides rare insight into what the government understands about the campaign.

    It also provides details about exactly when and where strikes took place, often including the names of homeowners. These details can be valuable to researchers attempting to verify eyewitness reports – and are often not reported elsewhere. But interestingly, the document stops recording civilian casualties after 2008, even omitting details of well-documented civilian deaths and those that have been acknowledged by the government.

    Last July the Bureau published part of the document for the first time. This documented strikes, which hit the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan between 2006 and late 2009, and revealed that the Pakistani government was aware of hundreds of civilian casualties, even in strikes where it had officially denied civilians had died.

    The reports are based on information filed to the FATA Secretariat each evening by local Political Agents – senior officials in the field. These agents gather the information from networks of informants in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the area bordering Afghanistan.

    Now the Bureau has obtained an updated version of the document, which lists attacks up to late September 2013.

    Read the secret document here

    The document contains estimates of how many people have been killed in each strike, as well as whether the dead are ‘local’ or ‘non-local’ – a broad category that includes those from elsewhere in Pakistan, as well as foreigners.

    When the Bureau released the first part of the report last summer, anonymous US officials attacked the document, claiming that the report was ‘far from authoritative’ as it was based on ‘erroneous media reporting’ and ‘indirect input from a loose network of Pakistani government and tribal contacts’. But the US has consistently refused to release information on what it believes has been the result of its drone strikes.

    The overall casualties recorded by the document are broadly similar to those compiled by the Bureau, which uses sources including media reports, sworn affidavits and field investigations. The Bureau estimates that at least 2,371 people died in the time covered by the document (excluding 2007, which is missing from the record), while it records 2,217 deaths in total.

    The document does not represent the Pakistani government’s full view of drone strikes. Alongside the Political Agents and their daily reports to the FATA Secretariat, the country’s intelligence agencies and military are each believed to collect details of attacks in separate reports. And during a recent trip to Pakistan the Bureau obtained a list of individuals killed in a single strike from a local politician.

    The Pakistani government has made a series of statements on drone casualties: in March last year, officials at the Foreign Affairs ministry told UN expert Ben Emmerson, who was carrying out an investigation into drones, that at least 400 civilians – and possibly 600 – were among 2,200 drone casualties. In October, the Ministry of Defence issued a statement that contradicted this, asserting that drones had killed 67 civilians since 2008. It later retracted the statement, with unnamed senior defence officials telling The News International that the figures were ‘wrong and fabricated’.

    The document obtained by the Bureau is unusual because it gives a strike-by-strike account, allowing for comparison between the government’s view of individual incidents and that of other sources.

    Civilian casualties

    Although the document records civilian casualties in the early years, from 2009 these almost disappear. Even well-documented cases of civilian deaths are omitted. These include at least two incidents where the tribal administration is known to have admitted to the families that it knew civilians had died.

    Among the civilian deaths that go unmentioned is one of the most high-profile attacks of the past 18 months – an October 2012 attack that killed Mamana Bibi, an elderly woman, as she was in a field. Her grandchildren were nearby, and several were injured by debris.

    ‘If a case as well-documented as Mamana Bibi’s isn’t recorded as a civilian death, that raises questions about whether any state records of these strikes can be seen as reliable, beyond the most basic information,’ said Mustafa Qadri, a researcher for Amnesty International, who investigated the strike for a major report published last autumn. ‘It also raises questions of complicity on the part of the Pakistan state – has there been a decision to stop recording civilians deaths?’

    Up to the end of 2008, the document reports where attacks have killed civilians. In this period the document lists 37 drone strikes, as well as four attacks carried out by NATO and Afghan forces – and it notes civilian deaths in 15 of the drone attacks. The document records 353 deaths in this time, of whom at least 138 are specifically described as civilians.

    The document records a further 294 incidents between January 1 2009 and September 2013, when the version obtained by the Bureau ends. Only seven of these specifically mention civilian victims. Just two use the word ‘civilian’ – the others typically refer to women and children as being among the dead. A further entry states that a child was injured.

    The Bureau’s data records a similar number of incidents over the same time period, but shows 53 incidents where at least one civilian death is reported by multiple credible sources – and many more where civilian deaths are possible. In total, the document records around 200 civilian deaths, including those where ambiguous language such as ‘local tribesmen’ is used – compared to a minimum of over 400 recorded by the Bureau.


    Civilian casualties according to the document. In 2011, the file notes that 41 ‘local tribesmen’ were killed – these are included in the civilian count here.

    A former senior FATA Secretariat official, speaking on condition of anonymity, explained that rather than attempting to establish which of the dead were believed to be civilians, agents instead categorised the dead as ‘local’ or ‘non-local’.

    ‘It is very difficult to report it whether this man was really a militant or a non-militant. So they found an easy way of saying it: local and non-local,’ he said.

    ‘It’s certainly of concern that almost all mention of non-combatant casualties simply disappears from this document after 2009, despite significant evidence to the contrary.’

    - Chris Woods

    A second local source agreed: ‘As a matter of policy, deaths in drone strikes were classified as locals and non-locals, because [the term] civilians was found to be too vague and contradictory.’ This helped to ‘avoid controversy’, he added.

    The ‘non-local’ category strongly suggests that an individual is an alleged militant, the former official added. ‘Local means that they belong to that agency [tribal administered district] and you could say in general terms that they are innocent… But it is quite possible that some of them might be terrorists.’

    The change in recording follows an escalation in the number of strikes in the final months of Bush’s presidency, which gathered pace under Obama. With the increased frequency of the strikes, gathering information may have become more challenging for Political Agents. Some non-combatant deaths may be missing, too, because reports are filed soon after they occur and are not later updated: several entries contain no casualty estimates at all and simply note: ‘Details are awaited.’

    The former FATA official suggested that the document may have stopped regularly recording civilian casualties because of something as prosaic as a change of the personnel charged with compiling it. But other observers suggested that the cause could be less mundane.

    The last drone strike in the document to use the word ‘civilian’ in describing the dead is the first of Obama’s presidency, on January 23 2009 (a strike six months later says, more ambiguously, ‘A civilian pickup was targeted’).

    Amnesty’s Qadri said: ‘You cannot rule out a deliberate attempt not to include information on possible civilians or non-combatants being killed. It seems a huge coincidence that there’s this change in reporting just as Obama enters power. But whatever the explanation and despite the lingering uncertainty, we know these figures are not presenting the full picture of the US drone program.’

    Chris Woods, who started the Bureau’s investigation into drone strikes and who is now writing a book on armed drones, said: ‘One of my sources, a former Pakistani minister, has indicated that local officials may have come under pressure to play down drone civilian deaths following the election of Barack Obama. It’s certainly of concern that almost all mention of non-combatant casualties simply disappears from this document after 2009, despite significant evidence to the contrary.’

    ‘It is feared that all the killed were local tribesmen’

    A handful of entries include ambiguous language hinting at non-combatant casualties. On August 14 2010, the document records an evening strike, noting: ‘The dead included 07 Mehsuds, 05 locals and 01 unknown’. Mehsud is the name of a prominent local tribe. A field investigation by Associated Press later found that seven civilians – including a child – were among 14 to die in an attack on a house during Ramadan prayers.

    And when a drone attacked a meeting of tribal elders on March 17 2011 – an attack that was condemned by the Pakistani military and civilian government – the report says ‘it is feared that all the killed were local tribesmen’.

    Bureau field investigations have repeatedly encountered civilian deaths in strikes where local media have used ambiguous phrases such as ‘villagers’, ‘people’ and ‘local tribesmen’.

    One entry in the file hints at problematic definitions of who is considered a ‘militant’. For a strike on April 12 2010, it records 14 deaths and three injuries, noting: ‘The killed militants also include a 12 years [sic] old child.’

    ‘Whatever is happening, if this document is anything to go by, it’s clear the Pakistan government’s investigations are not adequate,’ said Amnesty’s Qadri. ‘First, this table does not appear to be telling us the whole truth about casualties.

    ‘Secondly, what steps have Pakistan authorities taken to assist civilians caught up in these strikes like access to medical services or provide them with remedies such as access to justice or compensation? … It doesn’t seem to be the case that this record keeping is carried out so that the Pakistan state can better assist people caught up in these strikes.’

    The document also barely mentions other details such as which organisation the dead are believed to have belonged to, or the names of those killed. Even when very senior militants are killed, they are almost never identified by name.

    As the Bureau has found with its Naming the Dead investigation, the majority of those killed in drone strikes remain unidentified – only around one in five has so far been identified by name. Documents obtained by news agency McClatchy and NBC showing the CIA’s records of its drone strikes indicated that in most strikes these do not record the names of the dead either. These documents have not been published. And as the Pakistan document shows, even to the local government it is often a mystery who is dying in the CIA’s drone strikes.

    Missing civilians

    The document obtained by the Bureau omits several incidents where multiple credible sources report civilian casualties – even when local officials have acknowledged.

    For example, on October 24 2012, a drone strike in North Waziristan hit a figure in a field. The report notes that one person died, adding: ‘At about 1440 hours, US Drone fired two missiles at agriculture land situated in between the two houses in village Ghundi Killi Daur Tappi area Tehsil Miranshah, N. W. Agency.’

    Letter from Political Agent to family of Mamana BibiBut it neglects to mention what over a dozen other sources reported: the figure was a 67-year-old grandmother, Bibi Mamana, who was in the fields with her grandchildren. Three of her grandchildren were also injured – yet the document records no injuries at all.

    Yet Pakistani official sources have acknowledged that civilians were harmed in the strike. The Political Agent gave the family $100 to get medical treatment, an Amnesty field investigation found. And in the attack’s immediate aftermath, military officials told reporters that a woman had been killed – although they said two others were also killed.

    In October 2012, Mamana’s family – including children who were injured in the strike – visited the US, where they met members of Congress.

    Letter from the Political Agent, obtained by Amnesty

    Yet the document makes no mention of a civilian death, or of any injuries.

    Jennifer Gibson of Reprieve, the legal charity that took the family of Bibi Mamana, the grandmother killed in a drone strike, to the US, said: ‘It’s past time CIA drone strikes in Pakistan were brought out of the shadows and into the light. Nine-year-old Nabila ur Rehman told Congress just a few months ago about how she watched a US drone kill her grandmother and injure her siblings. Nabila deserves answers. Unfortunately, this document doesn’t give them to her.’

    Similarly, immediately after a strike on December 26 2009, Pakistani intelligence sources told Al Jazeera that everyone killed was a civilian – a reported six civilians. But the document notes only: ‘No foreigners were killed’.

    And as the Bureau reported last July, for a strike on January 23 2009 – the second of Obama’s presidency – the local Political Agent sent a letter acknowledging the deaths of four civilians. But there is no hint of them in the secret file.

    With thanks to by:  Alice K Ross

    Editor says here is some additional information: 

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 21:07 on January 27, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   

    #Geneva2 : ” Syria & Peace are Misnomer’ s Provided to Make Us Believe in Miracle’s” 


    #AceGuestNews and `Views’ says `Syria and the Geneva 2 Charade’

    Courtesy of: Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.In the summertime, people flock to Montreux, Switzerland, to follow the jazz festival. This week, though, the ‘performance’ is by a positively un-swinging lot, part of the (in theory) very serious Geneva 2 conference on Syria.

    What is Geneva 2 for? It has nothing to do with ‘peace’. It won’t yield an international deal to end the Syrian tragedy. The horrible war facts on the ground will remain facts, and horrible; many perpetrators won’t be gathering in Montreux. Syrian civil society has not even been invited.

    And then the whole charade degenerated into pitiful parody even before it started.

    This past Sunday, it seemed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had decided to spring out of his trademark vegetable slumber, inviting Iran to Geneva 2. The invitation lasted less than 24 hours; after the requisite ‘pressure’ by Washington – instigated by those sterling democrats of the House of Saud – it was duly rescinded.

    Thus we had Ban Ki-moon parroting the US State Department, according to which Tehran had not agreed to the principles of the Geneva 1 communiqué, which called for a sustained cessation of armed violence. Iranian diplomats strongly begged to differ, stressing how Tehran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the previous, June 2012 conference, even if Iran was not part of it.

    Ban Ki-moon also invited the Holy See, as well as Australia, Luxembourg, Mexico and the Republic of Korea, among others, to Montreux; as if these actors had any clue about what’s going on in Syria.

    But the apex of the farce is that Iran cannot go, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who continue to weaponize every Syrian ‘rebel’ in sight, from young adrenaline seekers to Western-supported Takfiris and beheaders – can. And will.

    Members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) shoot at advancing government troops in the al-Jadeida neighbourhood, in the Old City of Aleppo, on August 21, 2012. (AFP Photo)

    Members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) shoot at advancing government troops in the al-Jadeida neighbourhood, in the Old City of Aleppo, on August 21, 2012. (AFP Photo)

    Meet ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Al-Qaeda

    Time to break it down. Washington ruled that Iran cannot be in Montreux because it supports Assad. It’s as simple as that.

    Washington dictating to the UN is the norm. Washington dictating to the Syrian exiled ‘opposition’ is also the norm. Everyone is a puppet in this lethal comedy.

    As for Western spin doctors, they are dizzier than flies over corpses. As part of the new Western myth that the Saudi Arabia-sponsored Islamic Front – formed last September against the US-backed Supreme Military Council – are nothing but ‘good Al-Qaeda’, now we have top ‘rebels’ routinely acknowledging to Western corporate media they are, well, Al-Qaeda.

    Tens of thousands of foreign jihadis using Al-Qaeda’s network of safe houses in Turkey – well, that’s not such a big deal. As the narrative goes, ‘our new friends’ in the Islamic Front are just ‘conservative Salafi Muslims’. What if they are fond of the odd torture binge and will think nothing of slaying the odd Shiite or Christian? Not such a big deal.

    As for the ‘bad’ Al-Qaeda gang – from Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – they are on a roll. After all, they are the ones with fighting experience/leverage on the ground. And when push comes to shove, they just run yet another ring around clueless Western necks.

    Take Ahrar al-Sham. They now lead the Islamic Front – and talk to the Americans. And guess what; they’re going to Montreux! The icing on this Takfiri cake is that, ultimately, their “interests” are being defended by no less than US Secretary of State John Kerry. Washington promoting al-Qaeda? Well, we’ve seen that movie before.

    Should I stay or should I go?

    Washington is selling the fiction it is ‘leading’ Geneva 2 to ‘reconstruct’ Syria. This is utter nonsense.

    Theoretically – and even that is still extremely debatable – the Obama administration’s core interest in Southwest Asia is to negotiate a very complex deal with Iran, which will take most of 2014.

    Ultimately, this whole charade is between Washington and Tehran. The US Navy won’t make Assad ‘go’anytime soon – or ever; so everything, in theory, remains on the table.

    A Syrian army tank is seen in the Christian town of Maalula on September 11, 2013. (AFP Photo)

    A Syrian army tank is seen in the Christian town of Maalula on September 11, 2013. (AFP Photo)

    And everyone else, the UN, the Holy See, the House of Saud, are just onlookers, even as several players, from the EU to India, China and Japan, can think of nothing but finally normalizing everything with Iran.

    The Syrian government, for its part, will be in Montreux; it had agreed to the conference long ago. Yet President Assad laid down; he won’t ‘leave’, as US President Barack Obama demanded. He won’t let the foreign-sponsored ‘opposition’ take over. And he may even contest the next presidential elections.

    Assad went for the jugular when he said Geneva 2 should be about his own ‘War on Terror’. Terror, incidentally, widely supported by the West.

    So under this perspective, even Washington needs Assad not to go. The bottom line is that the only players who really want Assad to go are the House of Saud and the House of Thani in Qatar. Many in the West have now realized Assad must stay to fight ‘the terrorists’.

    The notoriously shady US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford – who always pops up when the US is destabilizing something – this time called an urgent meeting in Istanbul, supported by Turkey and Qatar, and pulled a ‘go to Montreux because I said so’ shtick.

    He just needed to follow the money. Those who won’t travel – a lot of Syrian National Coalition (SNC) hangers-on – will find themselves short of cash.

    So listen to the sound of ‘patriotism’ talking. The SNC, which was always rabidly against any talks with Assad, suddenly said they’ll go, even though one-third of their shady members boycotted the Istanbul meeting.

    What’s even more farcical is what Ford may have told the SNC stalwarts – still subject to much debate across the Middle East. If Ford really said that Bandar Bush’s strategy has been a total failure (in fact turning Syria into an Al-Qaeda hub) then this points to the Obama administration, for all practical purposes, sharing the same objective as Assad’s: fighting ‘terror’.

    Still, Geneva 2 won’t ‘solve’ anything. Iran and Russia will keep supporting Damascus. The desert wasteland from Syria to Iraq will keep being occupied by Bandar Bush-supported and Gulf-supported hardcore sectarian jihadis.

    The war will keep spreading deeper into Lebanon. The government in Damascus won’t collapse. The refugee crisis will soar. And the West will keep striking a pose of being concerned with ‘terror’.

    All that non-jazz in Montreux will come to nothing. And then some bureaucrat will call for a Geneva 3.

    The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of :

    Ace News Group  

     

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    • Mercedes Stainforth 03:15 on February 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

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  • #AceNewsGroup 14:11 on January 26, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , Chronic pain, , , , Look (American magazine), Mind, Nursery school, ,   

    Tribute to Shaun Gibson: “One Man’s Feelings of `Being Human’ Just for a `Moment’ in Time” 


    #AceGuestPost and his View of `Feeling Human’ just for a moment, please read

    tumblr_m926b1WIbY1qbrzd4o1_500

    When we as people suffer from any illness, mind issue, depression, pain, anything that makes us feel less than Human and suffer unimaginable despair. Some suffer 24/7 and if it is unfair on these people, screaming and crying all day unable to do limited things. Can you imagine? Then there are people who are in pain all day but are able to take a shower (Just) Make their Dinner (Just) suffer darkness, thoughts of utter despair, I can imagine. Some may work with pain but are in pain all day, struggle to work, struggle to go for lunch, living a life where nobody seems to notice them. I can’t imagine

    There are many ways we can be when we are ill in body or mind long-term and I believe we who suffer can help by doing one thing and that is “Doing something Human every day” That could be advice to a friend, helping someone with a problem, speaking to someone who lives alone and giving them comfort, speaking to someone in pain, helping a PC user fix a problem (I did this tonight for a friend) and in that moment I felt human

    How do we define ” Doing something Human every day” in a way that does not come across patronising or smarmy or big-headed. For me it is the smallest things we can do that are the most helpful. I see it every day and I  try to do it every day, and I guess  for  a “moment” I feel human

    Some days for me taking my Daughters to nursery school and going to the shop as well as take the dog out is amazing, the satisfaction I feel after being able to do this, knowing I will suffer badly with pain the next day, is brilliant. The next day I suffer, but I think “Look what I did yesterday” You see it’s the small things. Sometimes we try too hard to do the big things and suffer for it, keep it small, realistic and worthwhile

    We live in a pain that makes us feel as if it is not fair and also hurts the people who love us and care for us, I am talking about the people we live with. I know mostly everyone with pain of any kind, body or mind can have an impact on their home, some realise it and some don’t. I think the more we realise it, talk about it like adults the better it can get. Again, the little things

    We may live a cruel life some of us and feel inhuman, but I think we owe it to ourselves to feel human like anyone else. You suffer? Give it a try, do one good thing for another and see how you feel

    To help another is to help yourself. Try it, what you got to lose? It could be as simple as liking something horrible online to saying hi to someone you know is alone

    Be Human, it is your right

    More love, Less Hate

    Shaun

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 14:52 on January 25, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , National security letter, , ,   

    #NSA : Security is a `Step by Step Process’ Step One in Place `Now’ We `Need’ Step Two” Mr Obama” 


    #AceGuestNews says this is an excellent post courtesy of “Cato Institute” and their `Liberty for All’ spot.
    Good First Steps, But Real Surveillance Reform Will Require More

    JANUARY 17, 2014 1:35PM

    nsa eye1

    `NSA Has Their Eye On You’

    The president’s speech on surveillance today proposed some welcome first steps toward appropriately limiting an expanding surveillance state — notably, an end to the NSA’s bulk phone metadata program in its current form, and a recognition that judges, not NSA analysts, must determine whose records will be scrutinized.

    The details are important, however. Obama’s speech left open the possibility that bulk collection might continue with some third-party — which would in effect be an arm of government — as a custodian. If records are left with phone carriers, on the other hand, it’s important to resist any new legal mandate that would require longer or more extensive retention of private data than ordinary business purposes require.

    It was disappointing, however, to see that many of the recommendations offered by Obama’s own Surveillance Review Group were either neglected or specifically rejected. While the unconstitutional permanent gag orders attached to National Security Letters will be time-limited, they will continue to be issued by FBI agents, not judges, for sensitive financial and communications records.

    Nor did the president address NSA’s myopic efforts to degrade the security of the Internet by compromising the encryption systems relied on by millions of innocent users. And it is also important to realize that changing one controversial program does not alter the broader section 215 authority, which can still be used to collect other types of records in bulk—and for all we know, may already be used for that purpose.

    Most fundamentally, Congress must now act to cement these reforms in legislation — and to extend them —to ensure safeguards implemented by one president cannot be secretly undone by another.

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 21:10 on January 23, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Race card   

    #Obama : “Playing the `Race Card’ Makes the President `Unpopular’ or is it `Something’ Else” 


    #AceGuestNews says Obama Says Race May be why he is unpopular

    Posted by shaun gibson on January 23, 2014

    Obama-Race-Card

    Remember this blog here I did? `News and Views

    Where I said I had researched Obama did not like white people? Well it seems the race cards are flying around just now. AGAIN for those who don’t pay attention I am from Scotland I tell news, I have no leaning towards Red or Blue, left or right, I just tell it as it is, without disrespecting people and I tell it with PROOF MANY REFUSE to want to read. At the bottom here I will leave some Links. It sure seems to me that Race can ONLY be discussed when Mr Obama mentions it, anyone else does, they are white racists. And I notice this ALL the way over here in Scotland where we have the internet and TV, running water and EVEN Electricity!

    Reply from one person on a forum I spend a little time on and from where I stand I believe it is a fair answer to what Obama is saying:

    Mr.President, most people don’t care for you due to your policies and lack of leadership
    Many young adults think #Obamacare is a sham and have little to no confidence in you as a leader

    Despite your Godly view of yourself, not every one focuses on your skin colour
    You Sir seem to love to play the race card however

    Besides, in case you forgot, which you seem to a lot lately, you are bi-racial
    You know, half white and half black
    You just seem to acknowledge the ‘black’ half

    So, while you evidently can’t handle criticism Mr.Obama, it’s because of you as a person, not because you’re black

    Remember, ALL presidents are criticized
    You are nothing special, so don’t act like you are

    Obama:

    President Barack Obama said that racial tensions may have softened his popularity among white voters within the last two years, according to a story posted on the New Yorker magazine’s website today.

    “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president,” Obama said in the article by David Remnick, appearing in the magazine’s Jan. 27 edition.

    “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president,” Obama said in his most direct comments on how race has affected his political standing since he’s been in office.

    Obama’s second term has been marked by controversies including a partial government shutdown in October, revelations that the National Security Agency has gathered personal mobile phone data and the troubled rollout of health-insurance expansion.

    Obama’s approval rating among all voters is 39 percent and his disapproval rating is 53 percent, according to a Gallup Poll conducted Jan. 14-16. In the 2012 presidential election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney won 59 percent of the white vote, compared with Obama’s 39 percent, according to exit polling by a consortium of major news outlets. Obama won 43 percent of the white vote in 2008 against 55 percent for opponent John McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona.

    #Obamacare Blamed

    “Poll after poll makes it very clear that #Obamacare and other job-killing policies are the reason” for the president’s decline in popularity, Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer said in a phone interview today.

    Obama offered reflections on a variety of subjects in the New Yorker story, including his view about the dangers of playing professional football, which has been the subject of media scrutiny over players’ head injuries.

    “I would not let my son play pro football,” the article quotes Obama, the father of two daughters, as saying. When asked by Remnick how those dangers squared with his enjoyment of the game as a spectator, Obama said professional players are aware of the inherent risk in playing a full-contact sport.

    Like Smokers

    “They know what they’re buying into,” Obama said. “It is no longer a secret. It’s sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know?”

    Obama acknowledged that reports of U.S. surveillance programs, including allegations that the government tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, had created a “breach of trust,” Remnick reported.

    Obama said he also assumes others are trying to spy on him, and for this reason he doesn’t have a phone, according to The New Yorker.

    He said, “there are European governments that we know spy on us, and there is a little bit of Claude Rains in ‘Casablanca’ — shocked that gambling is going on,” the magazine quoted him as saying, referring to the actor who played the police captain in the 1942 movie.

    Ace Related News: 

    http://www.thestate.com/2014/01/13/3204492/anti-obama-mood-hurts-dems-in.html

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/republicans-hoping-obama-s-unpopularity-yields-upset-in-west-virginia-governor-s-race-20110929

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/danieldoherty/2014/01/20/obama-perhaps-racism-has-something-to-do-with-my-low-approval-ratings-n1781546

    This transmission is intended for the named addressee(s) only and may contain sensitive or protectively marked material up to RESTRICTED and should be handled accordingly. Unless you are the named addressee (or authorised to receive it for the addressee) you may not copy or use it, or disclose it to anyone else. If you have received this transmission in error please notify the sender immediately.

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  • #AceNewsGroup 18:35 on January 23, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Muirhouse, , Sheriff court   

    Mikaeel Kular: ” Mother Rosdeep Charged Charged with Son’s Murder” 


    #AceGuestNews says Mikaeel Kular: Mother Rosdeep charged with son’s murder

    Rosdeep Kular murdered her own son. charged with son’s murder

    JUST TRAGIC.. Reason I blog this again is I was told to remove “MURDER” from the last title.

    The mother of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular has appeared in court charged with his murder.

    Rosdeep Kular, 33, appeared in private at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, charged under her married name of Adekoya.

    She is also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice. She made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody.

    Mikaeel was reported missing from his home in Edinburgh last Thursday, prompting a major search.

    His body was found 20 miles away in Kirkcaldy, Fife, late on Friday.

    The private hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court lasted only a few minutes and no media or members of the public were present.

    There was a heavy police presence as a van left Edinburgh Sheriff Court after Rosdeep Kular’s appearance

    The case was continued for further examination, with another court appearance expected on 28 January.

    Forensic officers have continued their investigations at the site where Mikaeel’s body was discovered.

    His body was removed from woodland behind a property in the town’s Dunvegan Avenue at the weekend. A house in the street was searched, along with an area of woodland to the rear and side of the property.

    Ms Kular and her five children had previously lived at the address. A neighbour told the BBC that Mikaeel and his twin sister were born while the family was living there.

    Mikaeel was reported missing from his home in Ferry Gait Crescent, Edinburgh, at about 07:15 on Thursday morning.

    More than 200 volunteers from the community joined the emergency services in a huge search operation for the young boy.

    Hundreds of people gathered at Muirhouse St Andrew’s Church in Edinburgh on Saturday evening for a service in Mikaeel’s memory.

    Many also left flowers and soft toys and lit candles outside his home in Edinburgh.

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 19:47 on January 21, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Assistant chief constable, Drylaw, , , HM Prison Cornton Vale, , , Mikaeel Kular, Police Scotland, Rosdeep Kular,   

    #AceGuestPost: “A Musical Tribute to Mikaeel Kular-In God’s Hands Now” 


    #AceNewsServices says a musical tribute to Mikaeel Kular – In God’s hands now

    Mikaeel Kular's family x

    Mikaeel Kular’s family x

    Thank you, nearly 2,000 shares of this video on Facebook

    When a child of 3-year-old goes missing we all fear the worst, all over the world. This doesn’t happen in Scotland, we don’t have to deal with this. Today we do. But we do together and as one. Same as any community would. I couldn’t go search but my son did. All I could do was sit and type. Now we know the Mother killed her own, what should have been her precious child “Praying4TheDay” Anger comes and we ask God to take Mikaeel and to make sure he is ok. We ask why but we will ever know why Rosdeep Kular did what she did. She will go to Cornton Vale women’s prison till the trial.

    In the meantime our thought turn to Mikaeel. His pain is over, he won’t be in pain again, he is in a better place. But I thought all day about doing something but couldn’t as I couldn’t walk. I was one of a few people who put a reward out for  information, and I would again. We wanted a headline like “Kid found in Uncles house alive” We never.

    For Mikaeel

     

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  • HAD A GOOD TIME BLOGGING 18:00 on January 21, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , BARACK OBAMA; POLITICS; PRESIDENTS; WHITE HOUSE; CONGRESS; REPUBLICAN PARTY; FUND-RAISING, Cannabis, CRIMINALIZE Alcohol, , Hashish, LEGALIZE the Herb, LEGALIZE the Herb CRIMINALIZE Alcohol issue, , , , Obama: I don't think marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, , , ,   

    #AceGuestViews : “Obama I don’t think `Marijuana’ Is More `Dangerous’ than Alcohol” 


    #AceGuestPost and his “News and Views” on the subject of “Obama and Marijuana” 

    In a profile published on The New Yorker’s website, the President admits he smoked marijuana when he was younger and is pretty sure many other politicians did, too, but that some demographics are more harshly punished for the offence. He says if it is legalized, it could lead to a slippery slope, with supporters possibly wanting to legalize recreational use other drugs, such as meth or cocaine.
    President Obama (Who is to meet the Pope in March this year) thinks marijuana is no more dangerous than booze — and even less harmful “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.”

    English: US President Barack Obama and British...

    English: US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron trade bottles of beer to settle a bet they made on the U.S. vs. England World Cup Soccer game (which ended in a tie), during a bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Toronto, Canada, Saturday, June 26, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “As has been well-documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,” Obama said to New Yorker editor David Remnick in a lengthy profile published Sunday

    President Obama thinks marijuana is no more dangerous than booze — and even less harmful “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.”

    “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot and poor kids do,” he told Remnick. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor, and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.”

    I have always wondered why Alcohol is sociably acceptable while Hash/Cannabis/Marijuana is not. I have NEVER seen or heard of someone do ANY bad stoned. But I can tell 1oo stories of drunk people doing wrong, even dying. The world is BACKWARDS on this issue, for me it’s as clear as day. LEGALIZE the Herb, CRIMINALIZE Alcohol!

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 18:14 on January 15, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,   

    Press release: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – Environment Chapter 


    #AceSecurityNews says today, 15 January 2014, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs’ Report. The TPP transnational legal regime would cover 12 countries initially and encompass 40 per cent of global GDP and one-third of world trade. The Environment Chapter has long been sought by journalists and environmental groups. The released text dates from the Chief Negotiators’ summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. PDF

    TPP WikiLeaksThe Environment Chapter covers what the Parties propose to be their positions on: environmental issues, including climate change, biodiversity and fishing stocks; and trade and investment in ‘environmental’ goods and services. It also outlines how to resolve environmental disputes arising out of the treaty’s subsequent implementation. The draft Consolidated Text was prepared by the Chairs of the Environment Working Group, at the request of TPP Ministers at the Brunei round of the negotiations.

    When compared against other TPP chapters, the Environment Chapter is noteworthy for its absence of mandated clauses or meaningful enforcement measures. The dispute settlement mechanisms it creates are cooperative instead of binding; there are no required penalties and no proposed criminal sanctions. With the exception of fisheries, trade in ‘environmental’ goods and the disputed inclusion of other multilateral agreements, the Chapter appears to function as a public relations exercise.

    Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ publisher, stated: “Today’s WikiLeaks release shows that the public sweetener in the TPP is just media sugar-water. The fabled TPP environmental chapter turns out to be a toothless public relations exercise with no enforcement mechanism.”

    The Chairs’ Report of the Environment Working Group also shows that there are still significant areas of contention in the Working Group. The report claims that the draft Consolidated Text displays much compromise between the Parties already, but more is needed to reach a final text. The main areas of contention listed include the role of this agreement with respect to multilateral environmental agreements and the dispute resolution process.

    The documents date from 24 November 2013 ─ the end of the Salt Lake City round. They were requested by the Ministers of the TPP after the August 2013 Brunei round. The Consolidated Text was designed to be a “landing zone” document to further the negotiations quickly and displays what the Chairs say is a good representation of all Parties’ positions at the time. The WikiLeaks Consolidated Text and corresponding Chairs’ Report show that there remains a lot of controversy and disagreement within the Working Group. The Consolidated Text published by WikiLeaks is not bracketed, as per the IP Chapter released in November 2013, as it is drafted by the Chairs of the Working Group at their responsibility. Instead, the accompanying Chairs’ Report provides commentary on the draft Consolidated Text and is the equivalent of bracketed disagreements for the countries that have not agreed on certain Articles, and provides their positions.

    Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. This is the third in the series of Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) leaks published by WikiLeaks.

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 21:15 on January 10, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Anita MonCrief, , , , Judicial Watch, , Tom Fitton, Tyrone Woods, , William G. Boykin   

    Message to Speaker Boehner: Create Select Committee to Investigate Benghazi 


    #AceWorldNews says latest news from “The Judicial Watch”  by Tom Fitton and the requirement to create a select committee to investigate Benghazi in the message to the speaker Boehner:

    US Rep John Boehner

    US Rep John Boehner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    There is little doubt that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) is dodging a thorough, top-to-bottom, no-holds-barred investigation of the Benghazi terrorist attack. The only question is, “Why?”

    As the only non-governmental organization in the country litigating in federal court to uncover the full story about what happened before, during, and following the Benghazi massacre, Judicial Watch knows first-hand that the full story has not been told and that a massive cover-up is underway. As we said in our special report, The Benghazi Attack of September 11, 2012: Analysis and Further Questions from a Diplomatic Security Service Regional Security Officer and Special Agent, the entire tragic scenario is    a “story of political treachery in high places.”

    And now, it appears that John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House, has become a key player in the cover-up. A willing participant in the “political treachery.”That’s why earlier this week, Judicial Watch joined forces with the grieving family members of the Benghazi terrorist attack, U.S. military leaders, and other prominent conservatives to call out Boehner on the wretched and deplorable job he’s doing investigating the tragedy. Or, more likely, blocking a thorough investigation.
    In a scathing letter delivered on January 6, 2014, JW and our co-signers blasted the Republican leader, demanding that he install a Select Committee to investigate the atrocity. Forcefully, and to the point, the letter informs the recalcitrant Speaker, “You have an opportunity to show strong leadership and resolve a national disgrace perpetrated by specific public officials. You are failing.”On September 11, 2012. Islamic jihadists attacked the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, murdering Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the first diplomat to be killed overseas since 1979, and three other Americans. The Obama administration has worked hard to keep details of the attack-and the negligence that led to it-from the American public. But JW has refused to let the cover-up go unabated. To date, we have four pending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the Obama administration for documents about the attack, 14 FOIA requests and one Mandatory Declassification Review Request. And we have published two in-depth special reports on Benghazi, the last one on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack. You can read the special reports here andhere.It was JW that obtained the first photos depicting the devastating aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic and CIA facilities in Benghazi, as well as details of the inexperienced foreign company hired to protect the American compound. The State Department paid the virtually unknown British firm $794,264 for nearly 50,000 guard hours, according to the federal contract obtained in the course of JW’s ongoing Benghazi probe. And all that we got for our money was four murdered Americans.Now, we have put the responsibility on House Speaker Boehner to take action to extract the truth about Benghazi from the Obama administration. I signed the letter on behalf of Judicial Watch, along with the mother and uncle of slain Foreign Officer Sean Smith, and the father of murdered security officer Tyrone Woods. Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, former Florida Congressman Allen West, and nearly 50 additional retired military officers signed; as did Freedom Center President David Horowitz, Black Voters Alliance’s Anita MonCrief, and scores of other conservative leaders.As I said, the letter pulled no punches.  In fact, the letter, which gained national headlines and significant coverage on Fox News, was drafted by our own Chris Farrell, who heads our investigations team. The message to the Speaker is blunt:To date, five (5) different committees of the House have conducted separate hearings, uncovering information in a piecemeal fashion lacking professional investigators. The five committees’ efforts are disjointed and uncoordinated. The Obama administration has benefited from that dysfunctional process to hide the truth. Hardly any Obama administration witnesses have testified – publicly or privately. You have resisted repeated calls for the creation of a select investigative committee with subpoena authority. It appears that you are satisfied to allow that state of investigative incoherence and ambiguity to continue. The last public hearing by any of the five committees was held in September – four (4) months ago. The families of the dead who fought valiantly to protect the mission and their families, the survivors, and the American people deserve better from you and your Members of Congress. They deserve the absolute truth from their government. Your failure to get the truth and hold public officials accountable increases the possibility of other repeat attacks and additional failures to defend Americans abroad.

    The letter goes on to remind Boehner that his oversight of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation has been without any meaningful effect or result. “Not a single terrorist in this well-planned and executed military attack by radical Islamists has been apprehended. Ahmed Abu Khattala, a ringleader of the attack, granted long interviews to reporters in Benghazi cafes while the Obama administration-and you-have done nothing. Nearly 16 months after the terrorist attack, the American public has no accountability and no plan of action from House leadership.”

    Raising the issue of why Boehner may be stonewalling a thorough investigation of the Benghazi tragedy, the coalition of Benghazi victims and patriots asks tough questions that demand answers:

    Some analysts believe your inaction and passivity towards getting to the truth concerning Benghazi is because you were briefed on the intelligence and special operations activities in Libya as a member of the “Super 8.” You may possess “guilty knowledge.” We recall how then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi developed a form of “amnesia” concerning a documented briefing she received on so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” – later termed “torture” for political purposes. Are you in the same position as your predecessor? Are you dodging a legitimate, thorough, coordinated investigation of Benghazi because it will damage your political position as Speaker?

    The conclusion leaves no wiggle room for Boehner to dodge the issue:

    Mr. Speaker, we call upon you to act now and create a Select Committee on Benghazi to investigate all aspects of the United States involvement in Libya, to include, but not be limited to the attacks of September 11, 2012. It must now also include the protracted cover-up the American people, the families of the fallen and those with loved ones serving overseas have endured. The new committee must have subpoena power, capable staff and Members from both parties who are committed to finding the truth, not playing politics. The Committee must be staffed with new, professional, qualified and experienced investigators. It must have resources to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation and issue an exhaustive report before this Congress adjourns.

    As you know by now, JW will not let this matter rest. As Voltaire wrote, “To the living, we owe respect. To the dead, we owe the truth.” And, regardless of how hard Obama tries to cover up his misdeeds or Boehner tries to stonewall the truth, we will work to see that both debts are paid in full for Benghazi.

    “It’s Time for the Obama Administration to Stop Blocking Ballot Box Integrity”

    What a wonderful change of pace it would be if the federal government actually began protecting the integrity of the ballot box, instead of being one of the nation’s leading defenders of practices that can lead to voter fraud and stolen elections. As a reader of the Weekly Update, you know that Barack Obama and election fraud are fellow travellers. Judicial Watch has fought tooth-and-nail nationwide to prevent Obama and his acolytes from thoroughly corrupting our electoral process.

    JW’s most recent move to defend free and fair elections from federal assault came early this month, when our expert team of attorneys took on a little-known agency known as the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).  In finest Orwellian fashion, the EAC seems intent upon “assisting” in elections by assuring that noncitizens – both illegal and legal residents – are able to cast bogus ballots.

    So, on January 3, JW filed comments with the EAC in support of efforts by Arizona, Kansas, and Georgia to compel the EAC to amend its National Voter Registration Voter Registration Mail Application (a federal form) to require voter registration applicants to provide proof of citizenship. Arizona and Kansas have sued the EAC to force such action; Georgia has issued a formal letter of request.

    By way of brief background, the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) requires the states to accept the “federal form” to register individuals to vote. The EAC maintains the federal form, which fails to include any requirement that registrants provide proof of U.S. citizenship.

    Kansas first requested that the EAC update to its federal form instructions in August 2012, following changes in the state’s election law requiring evidence of U.S. citizenship when registering to vote. Arizona, since 2004, had required an Arizona driver’s license, a U.S. birth certificate, a passport or other similar document before the state would approve the federal registration application.

    In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Arizona provision requiring proof of citizenship. InArizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Inc., the Court said the 1993 NVRA trumps the state law. The ruling affected Arizona, Kansas, Georgia and Alabama.

    But the court left the door open for Arizona to assert its arguments through separate litigation, a possibility mentioned by justices during oral arguments in April. Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that Arizona could still challenge the current EAC form in court or ask the commission to include the citizenship requirement on the federal form in the future. At that point, both Kansas and Arizona sued the EAC to amend the federal form.

    Filing in support of the state actions, Judicial Watch argued that “Under Section 8 of the NVRA, states are under a federal obligation to assure that non-citizens neither register nor vote.” It added, “A failure to allow states to require such information would undermine Americans’ confidence that their elections are being conducted fairly and honestly, and would thwart states’ ability to comply with the election integrity obligations imposed by federal law.”

    We then pointed out that there are “good reasons to believe that the public needs to be reassured on this point”:

    In poll after poll, for some time now, large segments of the American populace have expressed their dismay with various aspects of our electoral system. A Rasmussen poll from August of 2013 reported that only 39% of Americans believe elections are fair. In 2012, a Monmouth University poll reported that more than two-thirds of registered voters thought voter fraud was a problem. In 2008, when a Gallup poll asked respondents around the world whether they had “confidence in the honesty of elections,” 53% of Americans said that they did not.

    And JW’s lawyers argued that “routine failure of certain states to comply with their voter list accuracy obligations … is quickly becoming a national, nonpartisan issue,” adding:

    For example, the Pew Research Center on the States released an astonishing report in 2012 noting that “[a]pproximately 2.75 million people have active registrations in more than one state.” That same report observed that “24 million – one of every eight – active voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate,” and that “[m]ore than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as active voters.” Non-citizen voter registration fraud is a contributor to this problem.

    We also cited the outrageous failure of the EAC to have a quorum as a further factor strengthening the arguments of Arizona, Kansas, and Georgia that they be granted a federal form amendment. Unbelievable as it may be, the EAC has not had a quorum since December 2010, has had no commissioners since December 2011, no executive director since then, and no general counsel since May 2012. To add insult to injury, the EAC is using its own ineptitude as an excuse to block changes to the federal form. So, we turned the tables on them, commenting:

    Judicial Watch notes that only a quorum of EAC Commissioners can refuse the states’ requests. An Acting Director lacks authority to take official regulatory action for the Commission. See 42 U.S.C. § 15328 (action by the EAC can be authorized “only with the approval of at least three of its members.”). Because there is no quorum of Commissioners, the EAC cannot reject the states’ request.

    As I said at the time we filed our comments with the EAC, “For the EAC to use its own inability to convene a quorum as an excuse to contravene the right of the states of Arizona, Kansas, and Georgia to protect the integrity of the ballot box is a travesty. Gladstone’s axiom that ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ has never been more obvious than in this situation. And the EAC ought to stop its stonewalling and let justice proceed.” (These EAC comments are not the first time Judicial Watch has intervened on this issue to protect election integrity. In December 2012, Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Arizona’s proof of citizenship voter registration law.)

    On August 21, 2013, the states of Kansas and Arizona jointly filed a complaint against the EAC asking the federal court in Topeka, Kansas, to force the agency to require proof of citizenship in the state-specific instructions on the National Mail Voter Registration Form. On August 1, the state of Georgia sent a letter to the EAC asking the same. The EAC had rebuffed previous requests for modifications, blaming a lack of quorum on the commission.

    In filing their lawsuit, Kansas and Arizona cited the June 2013, Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Inc. While the Court ruled that the NVRA “precludes Arizona from requiring a federal form applicant to submit information beyond that required by the form itself,” it also stipulated that states are free to petition the EAC to add the proof of citizenship requirement and, if the EAC does not act or rejects the request, take it to court.

    I’ll be sure to keep you updated on this effort to protect the integrity of our elections.

    You can contact Speaker Boehner’s office by telephone 202-6225-6205; by fax 202-225-0704; or by mail to 1011 Longworth H.O.B., Washington, DC 20515.

    Courtesy of Tom Fitton 

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  • #AceNewsGroup 20:12 on January 10, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Bandar, Bandar bin Sultan, , , , , , , , ,   

    Sochi Winter Olympics: “Russia’s Hidden Agenda” 


    #AceWorldNews says following Monday’s terrorist bombings only 400 miles away from the site of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, have a geopolitical back story involving implied threats from Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan to Russian President Vladimir Putin last summer when Bandar was pressing Putin to withdraw his backing for the #Syrian government.

    Bandar bin Sultan, Secretary-General of the Na...

    Bandar bin Sultan, Secretary-General of the National Security Council of Saudi Arabia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    According to a diplomatic leak detailing the Bandar-Putin meeting in Moscow on July 31, Bandar suggested that Putin’s agreement to abandon the #Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad would lead Saudi Arabia to restrain its Chechen terrorist clients who have attacked Russia targets for years. Putin reportedly grew furious, interpreting Bandar’s offer as a warning that the Sochi games would be threatened by terrorism if Putin didn’t comply.

    At the time, I was even told that Putin warned Saudi Arabia of potentially severe consequences – suggesting military retaliation – if Bandar’s implied warning was followed up by actual terrorist attacks like the ones in Volvograd on Monday, killing more than 30 people.

    Of course, it is always hard to trace specific terrorist acts back to their origins and many terrorist cells operate with much autonomy. But Putin has staked much of his prestige on a successful Olympics in Sochi, and he also would risk losing face if it were perceived that Bandar had executed a terrorist plan to disrupt the Winter Olympics and that Putin was powerless to stop it.

    According to the leaked diplomatic account of last summer’s meeting, Bandar sought Russia’s cooperation on several Mideast concerns, including Syria, and told Putin, “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”

    English: RIYADH. Before the beginning of the R...

    English: RIYADH. Before the beginning of the Russian-Saudi talks. Русский: ЭР-РИЯД. Перед началом российско-саудовских переговоров. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Putin reportedly responded, “We know that you have supported the Chechen terrorist groups for a decade. And that support, which you have frankly talked about just now, is completely incompatible with the common objectives of fighting global terrorism that you mentioned. We are interested in developing friendly relations according to clear and strong principles.”

    Besides safety for the Sochi Olympics, Bandar raised the potential of Saudi cooperation with Russia on oil and other investment matters, saying, “Let us examine how to put together a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and production quantities that keep the price stable in global oil markets,” according to the diplomatic account.

    I was told by a source close to the Russian government that this mix of overt inducements and implied threats infuriated Putin who barely kept his anger in check through the end of the meeting with Bandar. Putin viewed Bandar’s offer to protect the Sochi Olympics as something akin to a Mafia don shaking down a shopkeeper for protection money by saying, “nice little business you got here, I’d hate to see anything happen to it.”

    Putin then redoubled his support for the Syrian government in response to Bandar’s blend of bribes and warnings. The source said Russia also issued its own thinly veiled threats against the Saudis. The Saudis may have substantial “soft power” – with their oil and money – but Russia has its own formidable “hard power,” including a huge military, the source said.

    Osama bin Laden compound

    Osama bin Laden compound (Photo credit: Sajjad Ali Qureshi)

    Bandar and Terrorism:

    Over the years, Bandar has often treated the issue of “terrorism” as a situational ethic, an ambivalence well-honed since the days when Saudi Arabia and the Reagan administration teamed up to pour billions of dollars into the Afghan mujahedeen and their Arab jihadist allies fighting Soviet troops in the 1980s.

    The anti-Soviet effort in Afghanistan brought to prominence Saudi national Osama bin Laden and the terrorists who later consolidated themselves under the global brand, al-Qaeda. In the 1980′s, these roving jihadists’ were hailed as brave defenders of Islam and even “freedom fighters,” but – in the 1990′s – they began targeting the United States with terrorist attacks, leading up to 9/11 in 2001.

    At the time of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, Bandar was the Saudi ambassador to the United States and was so close to the Bush family that he was nicknamed “Bandar Bush.” Bandar was also very close to the bin Laden family. After the attacks, Bandar even acknowledged having met Osama bin Laden in the context of bin Laden thanking Bandar for his help financing the Afghan jihad project.

    “I was not impressed, to be honest with you,” Bandar told CNN’s Larry King about bin Laden. “I thought he was simple and very quiet guy.”

    President Obama confirms death of Osama bin Laden

    However, immediately after 9/11, Bandar undermined the FBI’s opportunity to learn more about the connections between Osama bin Laden’s relatives and the perpetrators of 9/11 when Bandar arranged for members of the bin Laden family to flee the United States on some of the first planes allowed back into the air – after only cursory interviews with FBI investigators. The only segment of the 9/11 Commission’s report to be blacked out was the part dealing with alleged Saudi financing for al-Qaeda.

    Now, as chief of Saudi intelligence, Bandar appears to be back in the game of coercive geopolitics, arranging weapons for some of the most brutal Syrian rebels and Arab mercenaries operating inside Syria, while offering carrots-and-sticks to foreign leaders who are seen are malleable toward Saudi regional interests. The technique may have failed with Putin but had greater success in lining up the French behind Saudi opposition to a negotiated agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.

    As a repressive monarchy that preaches the ultra-conservative Wahhabi version of Sunni Islam, Saudi Arabia is bitterly opposed to the democratic reforms of the Arab Spring and the growing influence of Shiite Islam, which now stretches from Iran through Iraq and Syria to the Hezbollah enclaves of Lebanon.

    President Mohammed Morsi

    Saudi Arabia backed the military coup in Egypt that ousted the elected Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi. The Saudis also have stepped up assistance to Sunni-dominated rebels in Syria seeking to overthrow the Assad dynasty that is based in the Alawite religion, a branch of Shiite Islam.

    The commonality of interests between Saudi Arabia and Israel has given rise to a de facto alliance between the Saudi monarchy and the Jewish government of Israel. Though historically enemies, Israel and Saudi Arabia are now on the same page in backing Egypt’s military regime, in viewing Iran as their principal adversary, and in wanting a rebel victory in Syria.

    The shifting sands of Middle East interests also have pushed the United States and Russia closer together, with the former Cold War rivals sharing an interest in tamping down disorder across the region. President Putin and President Barack Obama cooperated in reaching a tentative nuclear deal with Iran and in convincing Syria’s Assad to surrender his chemical weapons. Putin and Obama are pressing for Syrian peace talks, too.

    Now, however, a new complication has been introduced: Islamist terrorist attacks aimed at undermining the Sochi Olympics. If Putin concludes that the Saudis are behind these bombings – that the attacks are the equivalent of a Mafia don having a store torched after the owner rebuffed an offer of “protection” – then the issue of Russian retaliation could suddenly be on the table.

    Courtesy of and by Robert Parry

    This article has originally appeared on Consortium News 

    [NOTE: Alawites are not a Shiite branch. In fact, the two Islamic sects are different in form and content. Alawites' are as much different from Shiites as they are from the Sunnis and this can even be observed in the form of daily prayers.]

    #AceRelatedNews: Rivers of Hope 

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 19:24 on January 10, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Fluticasone/salmeterol, , Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, , Medicare Part D, Opferman,   

    Medicare Drug Plan: “How People Get Caught Up in the Medicare Drug Fraud” 


    #AceHealthNews says when you are elderly and infirm ,would you expect your doctor, drug company and advisers, to give you a “Medicare Drug Plan” you do not really need. Well according to this recent article that is exactly what happened to this person, under this “Medicare Drug Fraud” read the story ……………………………………………. below: comment and share

    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...

    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicaid administrator) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Story of the Events:

    At another time in her life, Denise Heap might have tossed aside the insurance forms listing the drugs prescribed to her mother.

    The “explanation of benefits” forms came like clockwork and didn’t require any action on her part.

    But Heap was worried about her mother, Joyce, who was in the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Her health had inexplicably declined in the Los Angeles-area nursing home where she’d been living. So in April, when a thick envelope arrived from her mother’s Medicare drug plan, Heap scrutinized it.

    What she found was frightening: Her 77-year-old mother was receiving a raft of medications Heap had never seen before.

    As Heap began Googling the drugs, she realized something was drastically wrong. Either her mother was being given expensive medications for conditions she didn’t have 2014 such as breast cancer, asthma, emphysema and high cholesterol 2014 or something sinister was going on: Someone was using her mother to steal drugs.

    “I flipped,” Heap said. Medicare’s prescription program, known as Part D, paid for more than “$10,000 worth of meds” in just three months, she said.

    She first called Medicare to report her suspicions, she said, then the insurance company that managed her mother’s Medicare drug plan. Neither, she said, seemed very concerned.

    “I was like, No, No, No,  You have to understand. I am trying to help you guys,’” she said.

    Soon, Heap became convinced someone had stolen her mother’s identity while she was living at a nursing home run by an Armenian couple. The couple kept moving the location of the nursing home. And Heap believed they had over-sedated her mother with high doses of antipsychotics, inappropriately treating her blood pressure and allowing bed bugs to feast on her.

    “I knew something crooked was going on,” said Heap, 59, who, with her mother, had co-founded a Holocaust education nonprofit in the 1990s to document stories of German resistance to Hitler.

    Frustrated, Heap called Los Angeles County sheriff‘s Sgt. Steve Opferman, head of a task force specializing in prescription drug fraud. As soon as Heap began describing what had happened, Opferman said he knew her mother had been caught up in a fraud scheme involving Armenian organized crime.

    Opferman and other investigators say criminals wager that patients and their families will not be like Heap. They bank on the fact that their victims 2014 Medicare beneficiaries 2014 will be too old or too sick to review insurance forms summarizing the medications and services billed in their names. And they count on the tendency of busy family members to give such forms a cursory glance, if that.

    “Suffice it to say most people don’t pay attention, let alone know what they’re looking at,” Opferman said.

    But Heap’s case, and others like it, shows the important role patients and their families can play in uncovering fraud within Part D. The program now covers 36 million seniors and disabled people and fills 1 in 4 prescriptions nationwide. Last year, it cost taxpayers $62 billion.

    In an earlier report, ProPublica found that Medicare’s system for pursuing such fraud is so cumbersome and poorly run that schemes can quickly siphon away millions. Tips such as Heap’s can come into private insurers, which run Part D for Medicare, to contractors hired by Medicare to spot fraud, or to the U.S. Department of Health Human Services inspector general, which investigates health care fraud. But only a small percentage of cases funneled through this chain are prosecuted.

    Reporters, using Medicare’s own data, were able to identify scores of doctors whose prescribing within the program followed known patterns of fraud: the cost of doctors’ prescribing jumped dramatically 2014 sometimes by millions of dollars 2014 from one year to the next and they chose brand-name drugs that scammers’ can easily resell.

    Some doctors claimed that they 2014 like some of the patients involved 2014 were unwitting victims of identity theft. In other cases, federal investigators found, the doctors were paid for writing bogus or inappropriate prescriptions.

    In a response to these findings, a Medicare official said more focus has been placed on fraud detection within Part D.

    SpirivaThe drugs listed on Joyce Heap’s explanation of benefits forms are those most-desired in such fraud schemes. They included the asthma drugs Spiriva and Advair Diskus, for which her insurance plan paid nearly $270 a month each, the cholesterol drug Crestor, which cost nearly $170, and the antipsychotic Abilify, for which the plan paid about $920 for a 30-day supply.

    Advair DiskusOpferman said Heap’s call launched an investigation that uncovered a large Part D scheme allegedly connecting the owners of the nursing home to a North Hollywood pharmacy operation, including evidence that other residents’ identities were used. A September search of the pharmacy where Heap’s mother’s prescriptions were filled found evidence that drugs were being relabeled or repackaged for resale, he said.

    The doctor who prescribed the drugs has denied prescribing the majority of them, Opferman said. The case is now part of an ongoing investigation by California’s Department of Justice and his group, he said.

    Opferman said investigators might never have known of the scheme without Heap’s tip.

    Joyce Heap didn’t live long after her daughter unearthed the problems.

    She improved briefly after moving to a new nursing home, where a doctor reduced her psychiatric medications, Denise Heap said. But she died of a heart attack on April 21.

    In the months following her mother’s death, Heap said, she sent letters alerting Medicare and her mother’s insurer to the possible fraud. In July she wrote, “Please note that 100% of the prescriptions charged in April 2013 2026 are FRAUDULENT.”

    Heap said she is “outraged” Medicare didn’t follow-up and ask detailed questions about her allegations. In fact, it was either her insurer or Medicare 2014 she can’t recall which 2014 that recommended she call the local sheriff if she was worried.

    “I would have thought immediately they would have gotten on it,” she said.

    But Heap said she is mostly tormented that she didn’t know such fraud schemes existed 2014 and that elderly people like her mother could become prey.

    “It’s a hard thing to live with,” she said, tearfully. “I feel like I failed.”

    Follow: AceNewsServices

     Courtesy of:  Tracy Weber and Charles Ornstein ProPublica,  Dec. 31, 2013, 10:20 a.m.
    

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 16:10 on January 10, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Fast track (trade), , , , Trade pact, , , United States Senate Committee on Finance   

    #TPP is Fast-Tracked Through Congress to Facilitate a Flawed Agreement 


    #AceWorldNews says according to a post today in EcoWatch written by Ilana Solomon it was yesterday, Congress pulled a rusty, old tool from the bottom of its toolbox. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Rep. Camp (R-MI) introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, otherwise known as “fast track,” which could facilitate passage of deeply flawed trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact with limited public and Congressional input. If fast-track legislation is approved by Congress, the President would be able sign the #TPP and then send it to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote—with no room for amendments and limited floor debate. If that sounds backward, it’s because it is.

    tppFI

    The#TPP agreement could devastate communities, our climate and our environment. It would open the floodgates for the expansion of natural gas exports and fracking across the U.S. Graphic courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

    First, fast track is an outdated and inappropriate mechanism. It was first passed in 1974 when trade pacts focused on traditional trade issues, like tariffs and quotas. Today, trade pacts like the #TPP cover a broad range of issues including the environment, investment, labour, government procurement, consumer protections and many more things we face in our everyday lives. It is therefore critical that Congress maintain its constitutional authority to oversee trade policy and ensure that trade pacts protect communities, workers and the environment before the pacts get finalized.

    Second, fast track is undemocratic. After congressional approval, the President could submit signed trade pacts to Congress for an up-or-down vote within 90 days with all amendments forbidden and a maximum of 20 hours of debate. Even more atrocious is that it would actually allow the President to write legislation that would change U.S. laws to make them conform to the terms of the secretly negotiated trade agreement.

    In other words, fast-track authority eliminates a critical constitutional check-and-balance structure that aids most other democratic processes. By stripping Congress of its ability to fully debate and amend the language of today’s all-encompassing trade pacts, fast-track authority renders Congress unable to ensure that trade negotiations result in agreements that benefit communities and the environment.

    Third, it’s a risky endeavor that could help rubber-stamp very harmful trade pacts such as the #TPP. The #TPP agreement could devastate communities, our climate and our environment. It would elevate corporations to the level of nations, thus allowing foreign companies to directly sue governments in private trade tribunals over laws and policies that corporations allege reduce their profits. It would also open the floodgates for the expansion of natural gas exports and, therefore,fracking across the U.S.

    TPP What is Wrong?And the real kicker is that—despite these any many other consequences—there has been virtually no opportunity for public discussion of the trade pact, as no draft text has been publicly revealed. So Congress is actually voting on whether to quickly pass trade agreements it’s never even seen!

    Now is the time we need a full discussion about the true costs of the #TPP and other trade pacts—not a process to rush flawed deals through the finish line.

    The bottom line is that fast track would set us up for failure. It’s critical that Congress has the ability to effectively oversee trade negotiations and ensure that the contents of our trade agreements protect our workers, communities and environment in the U.S. and abroad. The public and members of Congress have effectively been left in the dark for too long. Now it’s up to Congress to take the reins and oppose fast track. On behalf of the Sierra Club and our 2.1 million members and supports, I urge members to oppose this fast-track bill and retain their right to ensure that the U.S. trades responsibly.

    Courtesy of Ilana Solomon

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 12:04 on January 5, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , Animal rights, Animal Welfare, , Argentine people, , , , Compassion in World Farming, Concentrated Animal Feed Operations, , Factory farming, Farm, Farming, , Friends of the Earth, , , Sofia Gatica, ,   

    “Soy Factory Farming and the Destruction of Lands and Lives In Argentina” 


    #AceGuestNews and Views provided the basis of this article on “Factory Farming and the Destruction of Lands and Lives in Argentina due to the Soy Industry” For which our thanks goes to her.

    The world’s reliance on soy to feed factory farmed animals is having a devastating impact. In Argentina, ’Big Soy’ production is ruining lands and lives. Raw campaigners spent time with Argentinean communities to investigate the true cost of factory farming. Witness the Soy Story below.

    The logo for Compassion in World Farming.

    The logo for Compassion in World Farming. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    According to the write upJonty Whittleton, campaigner at Compassion in World Farming, recounts the time he spent with communities in Argentina, where the ‘Big Soy’ boom is ruining lands and lives – and it’s all in the pursuit of cheaper meat and bigger profits.

    Argentina is the world’s biggest exporter of soy meal – the solid, protein-rich part of the bean that’s left after grinding. On paper, it’s the agricultural lifeblood of the country (the UK imports more soy meal than wine), but there’s a dark side to this green-gold rush. The bean isn’t feeding Argentinians; 97% of soy meal is used to fatten up farm animals around the world, most of whom are reared in factory farms (also known as concentrated animal feeding operations – CAFOs). The animal-welfare problems associated with these intensive systems are well documented, but their impact goes far beyond this; these systems are also ruining people’s lands and lives.

    In October 2013, I travelled to the Chaco and Pampas regions of Argentina, northwest of the country’s capital, Buenos Aires. Big Soy has come at a heavy cost for many Argentinians, with lands being grabbed, rampant deforestation and intense chemical spraying. Here’s what I found.

    Soybeans: Not so Green

    First, I met Alicia Barchuk, who works at the University of Cordoba. She told me that more than 100 million hectares of native forest have been lost to Big Soy in the last 50 years – only 10–12% of the original forest still stands.

    A similar story came from my guide, Alberto Villarreal, who works at Friends of the Earth in Uruguay. He spoke of the ‘ecological graveyards’ that are brought about by Big Soy’s reliance on chemicals – they don’t just kill everything on the ground, but also everything in the ground (apart from the genetically modified soy beans, of course).

    Living on the Front Line of Big Soy

    Alberto also talked about Big Soy’s far-reaching social impact. He introduced me to Ramona Bustamante, who is in her late 80s. She told me that her home has been bulldozed twice by soy barons, who wanted to take her land. Ramona even showed me where her house once stood, now a heap of rubble.

    I also met peasant farmer Christina Sanaviron, who spent three days in jail with her 11-month old baby, just for standing up to the land-grabbers. ‘The land is for everyone’, her family told me. ‘It belongs to the people, not the government.’

    Sick to Your Stomach

    There has been much speculation about the possible links between the chemicals sprayed on the crops (glyphosate, in particular) and sickness in humans. According to the Associated Press, in Argentina ‘agrochemical spraying has increased nine fold, from 9 million gallons in 1990 to 84 million gallons today’. And although the manufacturers insist that these chemicals are safe to use, a lack of awareness around their proper handling and ineffective enforcement of legislation have created a dangerous situation, with medical cases that are hard to ignore.

    Both Norma Herrera and Marcela Ferreyra have deeply personal reasons to fight Big Soy: Norma’s daughter had leukemia and one of Marcela’s children was stillborn. They showed me a worrying map in a recent newspaper article – it suggested that the closer you get to the soy fields, the more sick people you find.

    Driving past a small school, I stopped to talk to teacher Marta Ferreyra. The spraying planes apparently come dangerously close to the school, and pupils are regularly affected by breathing problems from the haze of chemicals in the air.

    I spoke to Doctor Medardo Avila Vazquez – a well-known face in the Argentinean media. He’s studied the effect of the industry’s chemicals on humans and has found a significant increase in the number of babies born dead or with severe physiological problems in areas where the soy spraying is intense.

    A Violent Legacy

    On my last day in Argentina, I visited a protest camp, full of people resisting companies, like Monsanto, who are responsible for the soy boom here. Later, I read reports of intimidation and violence against camp members – desperate attempts to prevent the public’s voice from being heard.

    The soy story in Argentina is a truly toxic tale. Lands are being grabbed, lives are being ruined. And so much of this is happening to fill the bellies of farm animals around the world – mostly in factory farms.

    For me, it’s yet more proof that factory farming isn’t just an animal welfare issue.

    Fighting Back

    We can all help to tackle this crisis. You can cut down on the amount of meat you eat, and make it as high quality as possible. And if you eat soy products, you can look for options that are GM-free and organic.

    You can also help spread the word. Witness the full Soy Story and help break the world’s addiction to cruel, destructive, intensive farming on our website.

    Help us end the addiction

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 11:12 on January 5, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , kind support, , , ,   

    #AceNewsGroup says to All its Readers “Thank You for 1000 Likes on Our Posts” 


    WP Like Button#AceNewsGroup says today marks another milestone for our group and it is all thanks to you the readers kind support and all your likes, as we have reached 1000 and we could not do it without your support.

    So all l can say is a great big thank you from the Ace News GroupThanks in all languages   

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 20:06 on January 4, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , LiveJournal, , , Tomsk, ,   

    “Government Anti-“Extremism” Campaign Hits Internet Content and Access in Russia” 


    Logo of Reporters Without Borders, animated tr...

    Logo of Reporters Without Borders, animated trilingual version (English, French, Spanish). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceGuestNews says according to a recent article in RFS the authorities have used the issue of national security to expand Web monitoring and censorship – even while continuing to promote and develop Internet access for the population at large. The Web has played a key role in the political debate prompted by legislative and presidential elections and in the post-election mobilization of the opposition and civil society. These developments provoked a strong official response. The blogosphere has grown stronger and better organized in the face of state attacks.

    Government anti-“extremism” campaign hits Internet content and access

    President George W. Bush of the United States ...

    President George W. Bush of the United States and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, exchange handshakes Thursday, June 7, 2007, after their meeting at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Prime Minister (now President-elect) Vladimir Putin said on 9 February 2012: “Negative phenomena exist everywhere, including on the Internet, and should not be used as a pretext to limit Internet freedom.” However, the authorities have used the justification of preventing violence to reinforce their control of the Internet, with the Federal Security Service (FSB) taking steps to close a number of online organizations in late 2011. Most of these groups have clearly called on their members to respect the law and not to let themselves be provoked into violence.

    The government list of “extremist” content, as well as the boundaries of the category itself, keep growing. It now includes everything touching on religion and issues of ethnicity, which have become taboo subjects on RuNet – as the Russian Internet is known. That list is the basis of official demands to take down content, and of actions to block site access (see the Russia chapter in the 2011 report on Enemies of the Internet).

    The process of domain name registration could affect freedom of expression online by leading to closure of more sites. New rules promulgated by Nic.ru, the biggest Russian domain name-registration company, allow the cancellation of domain names for inciting violence, “extremist” activity, advocating overthrow of the government, activity in conflict with human dignity or religious beliefs. The rules reflected new official regulations. Domain name-registration companies are authorized to suspend names in the .ru and .rf (pΦ) domains upon written notification from “agencies conducting an investigation.” That provision would potentially authorize prosecutors, the FSB, the police, or the drug enforcement agency (FSKN) to order such a move.

    In Tomsk, Siberia, the broadcast arm of Roskomnadzor, the federal mass communications supervisory agency, has recently pressured the regional television network TV-2 to stop transmitting two news programs by Dozhd, the first Internet TV network in Russia, whose content is critical of the government.

    Anatoly Baranov, owner of the forum.msk.ru discussion platform, states that the Yandex search engine filtered out news items from his site on Yandex.News searches.

    Danger of the spread of online monitoring and censorship

    English: Flag of Roskomnadzor Русский: Флаг Ро...

    English: Flag of Roskomnadzor Русский: Флаг Роскомнадзора (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Roskomnadzor, whose regulatory authority extends to information technology and mass communications, has announced that it has installed on-line software to detect “extremist” material. The sites identified through this process will be given three days to take down content that meets this ill-defined standard. If a site does not comply, two additional warnings will be sent. The site will then be shut down.

    The software was to go into operation in test mode in December, 2011. Its full deployment has beenpostponed indefinitely. Nevertheless, it carries the risk of system-wide monitoring of the Russian Weband could lead eventually to the taking down of all content that displeases the authorities.

    The justice ministry, for its part, has invited bids to create its own monitoring system of content on the Internet. Such a system would allow close examination of all content touching on Russian government and justice systems, and any European Union statement concerning Russia.

    Bloggers under pressure

    Prison sentences and violent attacks were less frequent in 2011, except during the election campaign period. Yet legal proceedings and pressures of all kind continue – above all when the activities of netizens focus on sensitive topics and powerful interest groups.

    Maj. Igor Matveev of the interior ministry garrison in Vladivostok has been prosecuted on charges that seem to have been prompted by his revelations last June of practices in the military region where he served. He reported that troops were served dog food in cans falsely labelled as containing beef stew. He faces a possible 10-year sentence.

    Yuri Yegorov, a former employee of the regional government of Tatarstan’s human rights ombudsman’s office, received a six-month suspended sentence last June, as well as two years of probation, for defamation. He had revealed a case of alleged corruption in the ombudsman’s office, headed by Rashit Vagiov, that took place from February to July 2007.

    Leonid Kaganov, a prominent blogger, was forced last May to house his site abroad. In 2009, the FSB had demanded, through his hosting service, the removal of an anti-Semitic poem that was on his site because he had mocked it.

    Roman Hoseyev is the target of administrative action for having quoted from “Mein Kampf” on a site in 2005, before the 2010 banning of the book in Russia. He had drawn comparisons between statements by US President George W. Bush and Hitler.

    No information has been received about the fate of a Navy conscript who blogged under the nameVasily, publishing on Twitter under the name Sosigusyan. He denounced hazing and poor living conditions in his unit. His Twitter account was hacked and the content about the military taken down, except for the last three posts, which were written by another person.

    Propaganda and cyber-attacks

    In addition to mounting a campaign of repression against on-line oppositionists, the Kremlin deploys its own cyber-weapons. Several thousand Twitter accounts were hacked at the end of 2011 in order to flood social media with pro-government messages, using hashtags popular with oppositionists (notably, #navalny, from the name of the well-known political activist and anti-corruption bloggerAlexei Navalny, and #триумфалънпая, from Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow).

    LiveJournal was taken down by DDOS in 2006.

    LiveJournal was taken down by DDOS in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Many Russian bloggers have pointed to a wave of “bots” unleashed against the LiveJournal social media platform. Oleg Kozyrev, an opposition blogger, has counted more than 2,000 of these software weapons.

    Oppositionist Navalny’s e-mail inbox has been hacked, with the contents displayed on a site called navalnymail.kz. According to several bloggers, this action could be part of a government-organized campaign to discredit Navalny.

    The wave of cyber-attacks peaked at the time of the legislative elections last December. A series of Distributed Denial of Service attacks paralyzed sites critical of the government before and during the vote, apparently to silence the dissidents. Access to LiveJournal, which hosts blogs critical of the Kremlin, was blocked for three days, starting on 1 December 2011. The site had already suffered a DDoS attack the month before.

    Among other Web targets are:

    • Echo of Moscow radio’s site, Echo.msk.ru
    • The independent daily Kommersant’s site, komersant.ru
    • The election-monitoring NGO’s site, golos.org
    • KartaNarusheniy.ru, an interactive map created by Golos to track reports of election fraud
    • Gazeta.ru, an independent news site
    • Lenizdat.ru, a Saint Petersburg-based independent news site
    • Slonl.ru and Newtimes.ru, opposition sites which posted the Golos map after Gazeta.ru took it down
    • Ridus.ru, a citizen-journalism site
    • Doshdu.ru, the site of Dosh, an independent news magazine about the Russian Caucasus
    • Zaks.ru, a news site on the northwest region.

    Some media organizations and opposition groups, having anticipated these developments, migrated to social networks and called on their readers to follow them on Twitter and Facebook in the event that their sites went down.

    Disputed elections, attempted control of online political debate

    Most traditional media organizations, notably television networks, are under Kremlin control, genuine political discussions have been possible only online. Any measure deemed necessary to uphold the country’s strongman, Putin, has been considered appropriate.

    Even before and during the legislative elections, debates had been hindered by cyber-attacks and by the arrests of journalists and bloggers. Those detained included Alexey Sochnev, the editor of the independent news site Besttoday.ru; Maria Plieva, a prominent blogger in Ossetia; and the president of Golos, Lilia Chibanova.

    Golos’ interactive election-fraud monitoring map proved to be a great success as the elections unfolded. Thousands of videos showing irregularities at voting places were posted to the site, prompting Russians to take to the streets in great numbers to denounce election fraud. Navalny and many journalists were arrested during these post-election demonstrations,

    The great majority of traditional media organizations – especially television networks – ignored these events. Instead, they provided largely favourable coverage of Putin’s party, United Russia, which swept the legislative elections.

    English: Emblem of Federal Security Service of...

    English: Emblem of Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. Español: Emblema del Servicio Federal de Seguridad. Русский: Эмблема ФСБ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The social media site Vkontakte, which has more than 5 million members in Russia, found itself in the government spotlight. The FSB told the site’s founder and director, Pavel Durov, to shut down seven groups calling for demonstrations last December (including a group rallying to defend the ruling party). A Russian blogger estimated that up to 185,000 netizens subscribed to protest-organizing groups. A spokesman for Vkontakte said publicly that the site would not practice censorship and would not carry out the FSB order. Following the statement, Durov was summoned to appear before prosecutors in Saint Petersburg on 9 December.

    Regional discussion forums, very popular at the provincial level, with most participants anonymous, have become a favourite resource for political debate among Russian netizens, and a nightmare for the authorities. However, these sites are less powerful than the national media and easy to censor, though that has not prevented netizens from migrating to other sites, hosted abroad. At least three forums were closed or suspended during the months leading up to the early December elections.

    One of these sites is the Kostroma Jedis regional forum, which was targeted following the posting of two satirical videos criticizing Igor Slyunyaev, governor of the Kostroma region, some 300 km northwest of Moscow. In November, other forums were shut down or purged of all political content by their administrators. One such case occurred in the Arzamas, a city 410 km east of Moscow, affecting the mcn.nnov.ru site. Another took place in the west-central city of Miass, 95 km west of Chelyabinsk, affecting the forum.miass.ru site. It is not clear if these were cases of official action or self-censorship. In either case, the closing of these forums signifies a narrowing of the possibilities for political debate on the Russian Web.

    In the run-up to the presidential election in March, Golos, the election-monitoring NGO, put up a new version of its interactive map to track election fraud, with stronger defences against cyber-attack. Navalny, the activist and blogger, mounted a site, Rosvybory.org, to assist citizens in becoming presidential election observers.

    The campaign of repression mounted for the legislative elections illustrated the official attitude toward protest. And the official response was designed to create a deterrent to popular action in the presidential election period. Tensions grew during the months between the two elections. On 17 February, Reporters Without Borders denounced a wave of intimidation aimed at national independent media. Major targets included Echo of MoscowNovaya Gazeta, an independent newspaper, and Dozhd, the online television operation. The latter organization received a fax on 16 February from the Moscow prosecutor’s office, demanding detailed information on the “network’s financing for coverage of mass demonstrations on 10 and 24 December.”

    These barely veiled accusations against Dozhd track precisely with statements by Prime Minister Putin, who had publicly accused demonstrators of having acted at the encouragement of the US state department. Roskomnadzor, the mass communications authority, had already required Dozhd to defend its coverage of the December protests. After examining in detail the images that the network had transmitted, the agency finally concluded that they contained nothing objectionable.

    Journalists were again arrested and beaten during the post-election demonstrations of 5 March 2012. The clear goal was to prevent coverage of the demonstrations. However, contrary to what was seen in December, cyber-attacks seem to have been set aside – for now.

    Export of the Russian model of Web control?

    Russia has played a leading role on the international scene in promoting its vision of the Internet and exporting its Web control strategy. Moscow has proposed to the UN, together with China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, an Internet conduct code designed to provide “information security.”

    The impact of the Kremlin’s policy is all the greater because the RuNet sphere of influence extends throughout the region, influencing countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan in their Internet monitoring and censorship programs.

    #AceGuestViews

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 22:03 on December 19, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Boone County, Colo, , Colorado River, Doctor of Philosophy, , endocrine disruptors, endocrine system, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, Garfield County, , , natural gas drilling, Susan Nagel, Susan Nagel PhD,   

    MU Researchers Find #Fracking Chemicals Disrupt Hormone Function 


    #AceHealthNews says that Endocrine-disrupting activity is linked to birth defects and infertility

    Shale GasUniversity of Missouri researchers have found greater hormone-disrupting properties in water located near hydraulic fracturing drilling sites than in areas without drilling. The researchers also found that 11 chemicals commonly used in the controversial “#fracking” method of drilling for oil and natural gas are endocrine disruptors.

    Endocrine disruptors interfere with the body’s endocrine system, which controls numerous body functions with hormones such as the female hormone estrogen and the male hormone androgen. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as those studied in the MU research, has been linked by other research to cancer, birth defects and infertility.

    Dr. Nagel
    Susan Nagel Phd

    “More than 700 chemicals are used in the #fracking process, and many of them disturb hormone function,” said Susan Nagel, PhD, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health at the MU School of Medicine. “With #fracking on the rise, populations may face greater health risks from increased endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure.”

    The study involved two parts. The research team performed laboratory tests of 12 suspected or known endocrine-disrupting chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, and measured the chemicals’ ability to mimic or block the effects of the reproductive sex hormones estrogen and androgen. They found that 11 chemicals blocked estrogen hormones, 10 blocked androgen hormones and one mimicked estrogen.

    The researchers also collected samples of ground and surface water from several sites, including:

    • Accident sites in Garfield County, Colo., where hydraulic fracturing fluids had been spilled
    • Nearby portions of the Colorado River, the major drainage source for the region
    • Other parts of Garfield County, Colo., where there had been little drilling
    • Parts of Boone County, Mo., which had experienced no natural gas drilling

    The water samples from drilling sites demonstrated higher endocrine-disrupting activity that could interfere with the body’s response to androgen and estrogen hormones. Drilling site water samples had moderate-to-high levels of endocrine-disrupting activity, and samples from the Colorado River showed moderate levels. In comparison, the researchers measured low levels of endocrine-disrupting activity in the Garfield County, Colo., sites that experienced little drilling and the Boone County, Mo., sites with no drilling.

    “#Fracking is exempt from federal regulations to protect water quality, but spills associated with natural gas drilling can contaminate surface, ground and drinking water,” Nagel said. “We found more endocrine-disrupting activity in the water close to drilling locations that had experienced spills than at control sites. This could raise the risk of reproductive, metabolic, neurological and other diseases, especially in children who are exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.”

    The study, “Estrogen and Androgen Receptor Activities of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Surface and Ground Water in a Drilling-Dense Region,” was published in the journal Endocrinology.

    Courtesy of  MU

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 16:19 on December 7, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   

    “Top Secret’ Global Trade Partnership…According to our Guest Post Author” 


    #AceGuestViews says this was provided by a guest writer and we feature this view as it was printed. We are also pleased to give him a platform to air his article across our network .Hope you enjoy and please comment. Thanks, Editor. 

    WikiLeaks Releases “Top Secret ” Global Trade Partnership

    Posted by  on November 14, 2013   /   Comments Off

    Category: Cover-ups   Tags: 

    A screenshot from wikileaks.orgA screenshot from wikileaks.org

    A screenshot from WikiLeaks.org

    Stephen: This secret document could be seen in two ways: 1. as something divisive and corrosive; or, 2. as “a forerunner of global oneness thinking”(as sage put it when we were discussing its possible merits, purpose and contents today). I’m putting it in to the light of the latter because even if it isn’t, it’s now in the light anyway – for discussion, evaluation, alteration and/or rejection by us, the people.

    I also think it’s important to remember that not everything ‘secret’ is necessarily out of alignment and that sometimes things are leaked intentionally to instigate the ‘right’ change.

    From WikiLeaks – November 13, 2013

    http://wikileaks.org/tpp/

    Stop TPP -  Total Peasant Pacification

    Stop TPP – Total Peasant Pacification (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

    On the, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter.

    The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP.The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013.

    The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents.

    Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states. Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

    Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy. Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Wal-Mart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.

    The TPP negotiations are currently at a critical stage. The Obama administration is preparing to fast-track the TPP treaty in a manner that will prevent the US Congress from discussing or amending any parts of the treaty. Numerous TPP heads of state and senior government figures, including President Obama, have declared their intention to sign and ratify the TPP before the end of 2013.

    WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange stated: “The US administration is aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly.” The advanced draft of the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter, published by WikiLeaks on 13 November 2013, provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarise themselves with the details and implications of the TPP.

    The 95-page, 30,000-word IP Chapter lays out provisions for instituting a far-reaching, transnational legal and enforcement regime, modifying or replacing existing laws in TPP member states. The Chapter’s subsections include agreements relating to patents (who may produce goods or drugs), copyright (who may transmit information), trademarks (who may describe information or goods as authentic) and industrial design.

    The longest section of the Chapter – ’Enforcement’ – is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence. The IP Chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.

    The consolidated text obtained by WikiLeaks after the 26-30 August 2013 TPP meeting in Brunei – unlike any other TPP-related documents previously released to the public – contains annotations detailing each country’s positions on the issues under negotiation. Julian Assange emphasises that a “cringingly obsequious” Australia is the nation most likely to support the hardline position of US negotiators against other countries, while states including Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia are more likely to be in opposition. Numerous key Pacific Rim and nearby nations – including Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and, most significantly, Russia and China – have not been involved in the drafting of the treaty.

    In the words of WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

    Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

    To read the full TPP documentation and accompanying information, head tohttp://wikileaks.org/tpp/

    Here’s how RT.com reported this news release today:

    tppsecretTPP Uncovered: WikiLeaks Releases Draft of Highly-Secretive Multi-National Trade Deal

    From RT.om – November 13, 2013

    http://rt.com/usa/wikileaks-tpp-ip-dotcom-670/

    Details of a highly secretive, multi-national trade agreement long in works have been published by WikiLeaks, and critics say there will be major repercussions for much of the modern world if it’s approved in this incarnation.

    The anti-secrecy group published on Wednesday a 95-page excerpt taken from a recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a NAFTA-like agreement that is expected to encompass nations representing more than 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product when it is finally approved: the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

    US President Barack Obama and counterparts from 11 other prospective member states have hammered out the free trade agreement in utmost secrecy for years now, the result of which, according to the White House, would rekindle the economies of all of those involved, including many countries considered to still be emerging.

    “The TPP will boost our economies, lowering barriers to trade and investment, increasing exports and creating more jobs for our people, which is my number-one priority,” Obama said during a Nov. 2011 address. The deal, he said, “has the potential to be a model not only for the Asia-Pacific but for future trade agreements” by regulating markets and creating opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in the growing global marketplace.

    Upon the publication of an excerpt obtained by WikiLeaks this week, however, opponents of the act are insisting that provisions dealing with creation, invention and innovation could serve a severe blow to everyone, particularly those the internet realm.

    Although the TPP covers an array of topics — many of which have not been covered by past agreements, according to Obama — WikiLeaks has published a chapter from a draft dated August 30, 2013 that deals solely on Intellectual Property, or IP, rights. Previous reports about the rumored contents of the TPP with regards to IP law have raised concern among activists before, with the California-based Electronic Frontier Foundation going as far as to warn that earlier leaked draft text suggested the agreement “would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process and hinder peoples’ abilities to innovate,” all of which is being agreed upon without any oversight or observation. Indeed, the thousands of words released by WikiLeaks this week has concreted those fears and has already caused the likes of the EFF and others to sound an alarm.

    The IP chapter, wrote WikiLeaks, “provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarize themselves with the details and implications of the TPP,” an agreement that has largely avoided scrutiny in the mainstream media during its development, no thanks, presumably, to the under-the-table arguments that have led prospective member states to the point they’re at today.

    Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the whistleblower site who has been confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over a year now, had particularly harsh words for the TPP in a statement published alongside the draft release.

    “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons,” Assange said. “If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

    Within the IP chapter, the partaking nations in one excerpt agree to “Enhance the role of intellectual property in promoting economic and social development,” but elsewhere suggest that the way such could be accomplished would involve serious policing of the World Wide Web. Later, the countries write they hope to “reduce impediments to trade and investment by promoting deeper economic integration through effective and adequate creation, use, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, taking into account the different levels of economic development and capacity as well as differences in national legal systems.”

    “Compared to existing multilateral agreements, the TPP IPR chapter proposes the granting of more patents, the creation of intellectual property rights on data, the extension of the terms of protection for patents and copyrights, expansions of right holder privileges and increases in the penalties for infringement,” James Love of Knowledge Ecology International explained after reading the leaked chapter.

    “The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions in all types of intellectual property rights. Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine and profoundly bad for innovation.”

    Opponents have argued in the past that stringent new rules under the TPP with regards to copyrighted material would cause the price of medication to go up: potentially catastrophic news for residents of member state who may have difficulties affording prescriptions. Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer advocacy organization, has warned that US Trade Representatives privy to the TPP discussions have demanded provisions that “would strengthen, lengthen and broaden pharmaceutical monopolies on cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS drugs, among others, in the Asia-Pacific region.” Indeed, the leaked chapter suggests drug companies could easily extend and widen patents under the TPP, prohibiting other countries from producing life-saving pills and selling them for less. Outside of the world of medicine, though, the implications that could come with new copyright rules agreed upon my essentially half of the world’s economy are likely to affect everyone.

    “One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view,” Dr. Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property law, told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this.”

    WikiLeaks wrote in response that the enforcement measures discussed have “far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons.”

    “Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards,” warned WikiLeaks. “The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence.”

    According to the whistleblower site, the IP chapter also includes provisions that rehash some of the very surveillance and enforcement rules from the abandoned SOPA and ACTA treaties that were left to die after public outrage halted any agreement with regards to those legislation.

    “The WikiLeaks text also features Hollywood and recording industry inspired proposals – think about the SOPA debacle – to limit internet freedom and access to educational materials, to force internet providers to act as copyright enforcers and to cut off people’s internet access,” Burcu Kilic, an intellectual property lawyer with Public Citizen, explained to the website TorrentFreak.

    SOPA, or the Stop Online Privacy Act, was abandoned last year after massive public campaign thwarted the US Congress’ attempt to censor access to certain internet sites were copyrighted content may be incidentally hosted. One of the bill’s biggest opponents, Kim Dotcom of file-sharing sites Megaupload and Mega, was quick to condone WikiLeaks for their release of the TPP draft and condemned those responsible for drafting a bill that he warned would have major consequences for all if approved, including residents of New Zealand such as himself.

    “No wonder they kept it secret. What a malicious piece of US corporate lobbying. TPP is about world domination for US corporations. Nothing else. We will stop this madness in New Zealand,” he told RT’s Andrew Blake.

    According to WikiLeaks, the Obama administration and senior heads of state from other potential TPP nations have expressed interest in ratifying the agreement before 2014. All of that could now be put in jeopardy.

    Related articles

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 15:13 on December 7, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Al Gore, , , , , Intellectual Ventures, PAE, Patent, Patent Assertion Entities, patent infringement, Patent Office, Patent troll, software patents, United States Patent and Trademark Office   

    ” Rise of the Patent Trolls” 


    #AceGuestNews says this was provided by a guest and colleague who sends items to us on a regular basis, and asks should we like to feature the post. So we are pleased to give him a platform to air his article across our network .Hope you enjoy and please comment. Thanks, Editor.

    “A Good Patent is Good, a Great Lawyer is Even Better”

    “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” New Line Cinema, 2001

    A friend and his partners recently received the first of three patents after more than three years.

    Maybe in the next 12 months they’ll get the other two.

    It’s a great concept and I’d tell you more but then I’d have to ….

    Patents are vital to keep innovation and competition moving forward.

    If you didn’t have some protection – personal and/or company – why pour all the brainpower, time, effort, money into an idea just to have someone rip you off?

    We get it!

    When companies get strapped for money, they often sell their patents to other companies.

    Kodak sold about thousand of their patents to a pool formed by Google, Facebook, Samsung and Apple for $527M.

    Oh, also in on the deal were Intellectual ventures and RPX (remember these names).

    Patents have always been used and abused as protection and clubs.

    Software Patents

    But things went wild when folks started getting software patents in the early ‘60s.

    In the late ‘90s things took off.

    Folks were getting patents for any concept or “what if” idea they could articulate in the filing – usually so broad you could drive a semi through sideways.

    As Elrond commented, “I was there the day the strength of Men failed.”

    Obviously, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) didn’t have a clue about software (few normal people do!) so they signed off on almost anything.

    While Al Gore said, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet,” he didn’t claim (as is widely asserted) he invented it and he didn’t try to patent it.

    Tim Bernes-Lee is widely credited with inventing the Web, but a firm called Eolas owned a patent covering the “interactive Web.”

    Eolas took millions from companies with the patent that was later invalidated.

    Patents like that never should have been filed or granted because of prior art (evidence the key concepts were widely known before folks even filed).

    The flow of vague patents created a new and very profitable ying/yang industry – patent licensing firms and patent assertion entities (PAEs).

    Trolls Emerge

    The latter are more commonly known by their less attractive name, patent trolls.

    As Gimli said, “Never trust an Elf!”

    Trolling – People who manage patents or have purchased tons of software patents may not necessarily be Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) or more commonly known as patent trolls. However, if they spend most of their time sending out threat letters, being abusive on the phone (especially with a Texas drawl) then look out.

    PAEs/trolls span the spectrum:

    -        Legal shell companies that shotgun letters to businesses claiming infringement, demanding payment

    -        Firms like Intellectual Ventures (remember the Kodak patent sale) which buy technology patents, assemble large portfolios and generate licensing  payments that run into the millions of dollars

    -        Firms that license patents on behalf of others, hammering out reasonable agreements like talent agents

    According to Eugene R. Quinn Jr., patent attorney with Zeis Widerman & Malek and founder of IP-Watchdog, the best business to be in is being a patent troll. The number of suits have doubled in recent years to 4,73l cases in 2012 from 2,304 in 2009 and the cost – to the firms and consumers who must ultimately pay the costs – has been tremendous.

    Filing Growth – While even PAE lawsuits were down during the past recession, they recovered rapidly–faster than the national economy. But instead of quietly settling, a growing number of firms are joining forces to fight the frivolous suits.

    The annual payouts for PAE lawsuits were estimated to be $29B in 2011. Only a fraction ($6B) went to the actual inventors.

    The rest?

    Well yeah!! Lawyers and troll expenses including overhead, marketing, profits.

    Most of the time, trolls go after small to medium-size businesses like in 2011, when a troll firm targeted coffee shops for setting up Wi-Fi networks for customers, “suggesting” they pay a licensing fee of $5-$20,000 (far less than going to court).

    Proving Innocence

    Hey, you’re guilty until you prove yourself innocent!!

    Big Targets – PAEs with questionable software patents are not afraid of taking on industry giants, especially when the patents are so ambiguous about possibly have a touch of validity. In addition, if their claims are “small” enough — $10,000 to $50,000, many organizations justify the payments as being less than the cost of a long trial with judges and juries ill-equipped to address the issues.

    Of course, they are equal opportunity suers, litigators.

    After all, trolls can’t be sued for patent infringement because they don’t make anything … just lawsuits.

    The PAEs usually have a complex shell company structure that is almost impossible to penetrate so it’s hard to figure out who’s doing what and where the money goes.

    Apple is not only more popular than Coke, they (and unfortunately, their partners) are also popular with the trolls.

    IPNav, for example – an ultra active PAE, has sued more than 1,600 companies in the United States.

    Bilbo saw what IPNav had done and said, “Gracious, you have been productive.”

    “Aggressive” – Some of the most aggressive PAEs are firms that if you’re fortunate you’ve never heard of – and we hope you never do. The software patents issued in the early ‘90s were so vague that they could cover web sites, the Internet and almost anything. The key for successful litigation is to find a friendly or unscrupulous judge and sue away.

    The overachiever has lawsuits pending with almost everyone in the industry including, Google, Hitachi and Adobe.

    Howdy Pardner

    Or take lowly little Lodsys that bought a patent in 2011 and went after iPhone app developers. Lodsys has sued about 200 end-users as well as developers and claims 500 firms have paid for its vague patents.

    And Lodsys has a sweet deal down there in Marshall, Tx.

    They can’t get US District Judge Leonard Davis since his son “Bo” Davis is Lodsys’ lawyer so the cases get redirected to the other Judge in the East Texas town … Gilstrap.

    Those Californicator lawyers are not going to ’ slip anything past this boy!!!

    Today, the Patent Office does a much better job of insisting software-patent applicants be specific.

    However, between 500,000 and a million software patents have been granted – some valid, some questionable.

    The legal system provides incentives’ for firms to pay the trolls to go away rather than prove the patents invalid.

    Fighting Back

    Increasingly though, firms like Rackspace, Martha Stewart, Apple, many more (large and small) are returning fire.

    The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is taking a closer look at PAEs that spend most of their time in court, i.e., if they accounted for more than 60 percent of the 4,000 patent lawsuits filed in last year.

    Bilbo explained the FTC’s objectives, “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

    Highly successful patent trolls, Intellectual Ventures, insists their business model actually helps inventors and many of their clients who have received payments agree.

    Adam Mossoff, law professor at George Mason University, says the PAEs are licensing firms practicing their property rights and their purpose isn’t to file lawsuits but license patents.

    But even if someone can straighten out the U.S. patent system, there are new issues on the horizon because The EU is working on a unified patent court system.

    Firms like Google, Apple, Microsoft and hordes of others that have spent millions defending themselves, have nightmares that Europe could become a similar battleground.

    Kevin Mooney, British patent lawyer and chairman of the EU court system drafting committee, doesn’t see a major problem, “It would be nonsense if we allowed one court, Romania perhaps, to become the Eastern District of Texas.”

    Thanks to Gilstrap; Marshal, Tx is known worldwide!!!!

    End ‘Em All

    Of course, there’s the other extreme that want to put an end to software patents. That’s tough to do because software, good software, does so much for us that the innovation and developer have to be protected/compensated.

    As Boromir said, “I ask only for the strength to defend my people!”

    With software there’s black, white and a thousand shades of grey.

    If you get slapped with a suit – any large/small firm can – experts say to fight back, get support from others that have been targeted.

    Oh yeah…stay outta’ Marshall, Texas!

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 13:59 on December 7, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Commonwealth Fund, , , , Health care reform, , , Life expectancy, , , ,   

    “Affordable Healthcare What Affordable Healthcare – I Am Still Not As Healthy” 


    #AceGuestNews says this was provided by a guest and colleague who sends items to us on a regular basis, and asks should we like to feature the post. So we are pleased to give him a platform to air his article across our network .Hope you enjoy and please comment. Thanks, Editor.

    Affordable Healthcare … Hi! I’m from the Government to Help You

    Better than Paper – The healthcare industry has made tremendous strides in patient care and records management by riding themselves of paper records and doing more and more on-line and on device. The increased use of technology has helped control quality and cost, except when it comes to reporting patient services/care to the government.

    I haven’t bothered to sit down and read the American affordable healthcare act that was passed a year ago, so that makes me about as qualified to talk about it as anyone in Congress (either side).

    But in doing a little research, I have come to realize that:

    -        The American healthcare system just is not working for most folks

    -        The idea that you sign up or else (something like that) sort of bothers me

    -        Bureaucrats can’t develop a website to save their behinds

    -        To believe they can ensure data security defies logic

    Globally, around 54.5 million people die each year because of disease or preventable healthcare issues.

    One in eight of these deaths occur in children under the age of five.

    At the same time, our worldwide population is over 7 Billion and climbing.

    Since people are not going simply disappear when they turn 30 (as they did in Logan’s Run), we’re going to have to address the healthcare issue with the same focus and determination that has produced today’s feature-rich technologies.

    It can’t be that the countries of the world are not spending enough on health.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, we’ll spend more than $6.5T this year. Despite that expenditure, healthcare isn’t available to everyone.

    In fact, there are gross shortages of healthcare professionals in way too many countries.

    Care Distribution – While industrialized countries have done a lot to ensure better healthcare and services are provided to citizens, there is still a very large part of the world’s population that does not have even the basic assistance.

    While WHO indicates the U.S. has sufficient services available, they also noted:

    -        The government spends more than any other country – $8362/person per year

    -        That works out to about $948 per person per year

    -        The WHO’s highly contested 2000 health report put the U.S. healthcare system in 15th in overall performance

    -        The US was 37th in overall ranking

    WHO did not bother ranking countries in their 2010 report but … the Commonwealth Fund ranked seven developed countries on their health care performance and surprise … the U.S. was dead last.

    The U.S. may be last, but they are investing in healthcare.

    According to McKinley, seven percent of the average household income goes for healthcare and another 11 percent for personal insurance and pensions (if you live that long). That expenditure is expected to be 13.6 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product) this year; and by 2020, it is expected to be 19.8 percent of GDP.

    All of those U.S. healthcare payments come from:

    -        32 percent private health insurance

    -        20 percent Medicare

    -        15 percent Medicaid

    -        13 percent other government funds

    -        12 percent out of the consumer’s pocket

    -        8  percent from private funds

    It just does not look like Americans are getting the same ROI as people in other countries.

    Room for Improvement – Even though the U.S. government, citizens and companies spend more on healthcare that others on the planet, citizens still have a lower average life expectancy than people in many other countries.

    Americans have a lower life expectancy as well as higher rates of infant mortality, low weight birth, injuries and homicides, adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, drug-related deaths, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease and disability than people in other industrialized countries.

    Throwing more money at the problem is not working.

     It’s easy to see why Senator Ted Kennedy championed healthcare reform right up until he died, and Hillary Clinton (among others) pushed really hard for it.

     The U.S. Affordable Healthcare Program got off to a rocky start…it sucked!

     We spent $630 Million in technology to get the federal health insurance website open for business. Right after it was unveiled, someone figured they’d use it and … BAM!!!

     Did not anyone run the numbers and notice that there are $300 Million plus people in the U.S. who might sign up or at least be a little curious?

     Rotten Take-Off – The federal government said the healthcare web site was open for business and ready to fly, but it crashed within hours of being made available. Even a duck knows you try a few test flights, including take-offs/landings, before you show folks how good you are.

    Instead of a showcase for Verizon’s data centers and the site developer, it’s an embarrassment … it crashed right out of the gate.

    Amazon, Google, Oracle, Microsoft and other folks have jumped in to bail out CGI, “the important part of the team,” and straighten things out.

    These folks don’t work for the government; they work for a living and understand the importance of availability, fast response/page refresh, customer satisfaction.

    Hey, I am not an IT guy but after 20-plus years, I know IT is complex, was never meant to be commercialized like it is and that the Internet was not developed to handle the media and workload it does.

    It’s so complex. With constantly changing with each browser, each device, system/tablet/smart phone, it’s a wonder that websites and the Internet work at all!

    That’s why the companies listed earlier let people test it, try to break it, find the bugs … there are thousands of folks who just love doin’ that sorta’ thing.

    If the federal folks had done some testing, they might have figured out, “Hey, this pig isn’t ready to be put on display.”

    Big, Ugly – It didn’t take long for people to find out that the government’s healthcare services site was a bloated pig with a lot of serious issues. Not a great way to start a new, better program.

     Millions of people tried, but early reports said only 100 – 250 struggled through the early process.

    Even though they worked for the government or were trained government contractors, they should have figured out it had been thrown together, had not been thoroughly tested and was not ready for prime-time.

    All they had to do was have the Cajone’s to go to the boss and say, “we’re going to have to have a few more weeks before we’re ready for business.”

     The boss would have been ticked and the opposition would have something to crow about for a little while, but that’s better than showing the world you’re incompetent.

     All they have done is insulted the intelligence of the people they’re trying to win over.

    Trust is hard to win back–especially when you’re asking people to give you all of their personal and vital information.

    Heck, we all know government spies, hackers, whacker’s and cyberspie’s are rubbing their hands together just waiting to start mining the site.

     Inside, Outside – Most IT people will tell you that their major security problems arise from inside the organization, not from outsiders attempting to penetrate the organization. Most of the time, the security breaches aren’t malicious, it’s just easier if you bypass the security hurdles. But then, there are bad folks on the inside as well … sometimes.

     As the recent Snowdon “excitement” has proven, government agencies can’t even handle their own internal security.

     With all the stuff Snowdon “releases” the dude had to be taking 8-10 6 TB HD’s home every night!

     And that was all about grabbing information from … well everyone.

     The idea that suddenly one government department is going to keep a citizen’s information safe and secure from others is a real leap of faith.

     We all know that bugs, crashes, delays and hacks are a fact of life in the industry. But if you’re trying to convince folks the site is good for their health and well being, putting up a garbage site as a finished product just doesn’t resonate.

    Poor Norm – The U.S. Affordable Care Act was designed – and heavily promoted– to Americans to reduce fee-for-service provider payment updates and lower payments to private plans. The way the website registration has gotten off the ground, you may wonder.

     It would not have taken much to dodge the bullet … label it BETA and you’d attract techie’s like flies who love telling you where you mucked up!

     True to governmental protocol though, they opened a finished site and then were selective in the “facts.”

     They tried to make you believe the site was pretty good, even though there were/are “a few problems.”

    -        HHS (Health and Human Services) said 15 million site visits proved it was popular

    -        Pew Research said 70 percent of the visitors have insurance  and were curious.

    -        Pew Research reported that 46 percent said that the online exchanges weren’t working well

    -        65 percent of the uninsured were going to get regardless of the law

    The biggest issue with the site’s failure is that it makes people question the credibility, viability of the entire program and the competence of the people in charge.

    Anyone who turns on a device and surfs the web knows the stuff should work perfectly – the first time, every time.

    You also know that is not going to happen.

    Just don’t lie to us … it makes us mad.

     

     
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