` 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.”

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#AceGuestNews and Views Brendan Cole VOR Two centuries…

#AceGuestNews and Views – Brendan Cole – VOR

Two centuries on from the abolition of slavery, the slave trade continues to make headlines. A coalition of 14 Caribbean heads of state is considering endorsing a proposal to seek financial reparation for 400 years of slavery. Martyn Day is a senior UK lawyer, who is one of those who have drawn up an action plan to try and bring a claim to the International Criminal Court next year.

The nations involved argue that a legacy of illiteracy, poor health and limited social opportunities in the region is a direct consequence of the centuries of Human trafficking.

Day explained that they were approached by the prime minister of St Vincent about helping them with the issue after they achieved compensation for the Mau Mau tortured by the British in Kenya in the 1950’s.

They agreed there was no prospect of a case for injuries suffered in the same way as with the Mau Mau, so the case is about the damage being suffered today.

“Even now in 2014, the Caribbean suffers a lot from what happened during the slave era,” he says. “Issues such as health, education, social welfare. The Caribbean nations have been hamstrung by their past. We would be saying to countries like Britain, France, Netherlands and other countries that they should play a role in trying to recompense and assist the Caribbean nations in trying to come into the 21st century.”
We pointed out that some of them may not agree.

“Of course, but we benefited massively from the money that was being made out of slaves back in the 16th, 17th, 18th century and at the same time we were handicapping both the African and Caribbean states.

#AceGuestViews of Brendan Cole

Audio SLAVE_TRADE_TWO_WAY.mp3

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/news/2014_03_10/Slavery-UK-lawyers-assist-14-Caribbean-nations-in-push-for-ICC-claim-5832/

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` Number of children ` Tasered’ by ` London’s Metropolitan Police’ has risen almost `Six-Fold ‘in the last four years’

#AceGuestNews and Views – Scott Craig – VOR

The number of children tasered by London’s Metropolitan Police has risen almost six-fold in the last four years. The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) says the stun guns were used on children 53 times in 2012 – up from just eight in 2008. VoR’s Scott Craig spoke to Paola Uccellari, Director at the CRAE.

Tasers deliver a 50,000-volt electrical charge into targets to incapacitate them.

Paola Uccellari, told VoR: “The use of Tasers on children in London has increased almost six-fold, between 2008 and 2012. Children were tasered 131 times in that period. In our view children should not be tasered at all.

So we are really concerned that there’s been an increase during this period.

“We can see that it’s particularly in the south London boroughs, children [there] are being tasered a lot more than in other areas of London. For us that shows that it is possible to police effectively without using tasers on children.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concern at their use on children.

“The UN human rights bodies recognise that children should be treated differently. Because these weapons are dangerous when they’re used on children they should not be used at all.

“I think it shows that when there’s a determination to improve things with children, when there’s a concerted effort, things can change. We need to see a resolve to improve things for children in other areas.”
(VoR)

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Audio 07032014_CHILDRENTASERTX_scottcraig.mp3

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` Margaret Thatcher `Iron Lady' to some and destroyer of our `Public Services ' to Other's or a Great States Woman '

AceGuest News and Views says that on International Women’s Day this was one persons opinion of Margaret Thatcher post by: Anna Mikhailova.

Originally a research chemist before becoming a barrister, Margaret Hilda Thatcher, later Baroness Thatcher, was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and is the only woman to have held the office.

A Soviet journalist dubbed her the “Iron Lady”, a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.

“I stand before you tonight in my Red Star chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up and my fair hair gently waved, the Iron Lady of the Western world. A cold war warrior, an Amazon philistine, even a Peking plotter.

Well, am I any of these things? Yes, I am an iron lady, after all it was not a bad thing to be an iron duke, yes if that’s how they wish to interpret my defence of values and freedoms fundamental to our way of life.

But I happen to believe that what is at stake is important and is crucial to our future both in this country and in the world as a whole. We’re waging a battle on many fronts. We must not forget the guns and missiles aimed at us—but equally we must not let them blind us to the insidious war on words, which is going on. It is not just a matter of hurling insults—where he who hurls loudest, hurls last— that is the final resort of the man who has already lost the argument.

No, this is not such a war. The war is a true war of words, where meanings get lost in a mist of revolutionary fantasy; where accuracy is slipped quietly under the carpet; and where truth is twisted and bent to suit the latest propagandist line.

That is what we are up against. And we have to fight it if only because we find it totally alien to our notions of freedom and truth.”

Courtesy of Anna Mikhailova – VOR

Audio Link: http://cdn.ruvr.ru/download/2014/03/07/10/Thatcher.mp3

#ANS2014 Editor says well that was ANNA’s opinion what is yours ?

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#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
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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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” 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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#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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#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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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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#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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#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

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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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#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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#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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#AceGuestNews & Views: ” The Year Ahead – Beautiful Content Everywhere, Feeling the Love”

#AceNewsServices says l have a number of people that send me posts all year round and would like me to post their Guest Views some l have found not to our news groups ethos, but occasionally someone has thought it through and their views are worthy of print. These are their view’s and l thank them for their input.

Their Thoughts and Feelings about 2013 and 2014:   

More than anything 2014 is going to be a year of beauty, acceptance, and becoming more comfortable with the fact that we’re not alone. even in our own thoughts.

In 2013 we saw:

  1.  The demise (more of a lowering of expectations) of 3D and movement to the next era of insanely brilliant moving image brilliance with 4K content and growing possibilities
  2. The death (realignment) of the PC, rise of everything mobile, constant connection
  3. The stimulated deterioration of long-term thinking being replaced by ultra short-term images/messages that are replaced in a nanosecond by newer/funer images/messages
  4. Business pressures demanding a more rapidly deployed and flexible infrastructure that could respond/react in minutes/hours rather than days/weeks economically. The Cloud
  5. The “horror” to discover that even our most innocuous utterances, activities were being followed by someone, somewhere but not enough to skip a beat or a keystroke

The list at first blush may look like a very pessimistic view of our “progress” but actually the last two years have been a major seismic shift – forward – in becoming increasingly more comfortable with the speed of technology change/adoption. And it’s only getting better…faster.

In 2014 we’ll see:

  1.  4K content production, delivery, enjoyment will increase more rapidly than many expect not just because people will buy UHD TV sets more quickly than anticipated but because more 4K content – new and old – will be appreciated and we’ll see a demand force the move more quickly than we did with  the shift from SD to HD. The change will also have a positive/negative effect on what we watch, when we watch it, where we watch it. OTT (over the top) quality streaming will enable more viewing options forcing the change of cable/satellite firms to become service providers, not gate keepers.
The first developers of IBM PC computers negle...

The first developers of IBM PC computers neglected audio capabilities (first IBM model, 1981). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. First appearing in 1977 the PC has had a good run and is being rapidly augmented – not replaced – by new tablets and smartphones. It’s estimated that more than a half billion of the desktop/notebook systems are in use today and the technology is on track to keep them fresh and relevant. The challenge (opportunity) for the industry is to offer a range of screen sizes for tablets and smartphones so they meet the uses of each consumer not broad theoretical “groups.” The 9-12 inch tablet will establish itself as the entertainment/work device of choice by Gen X, Gen Yers while the 3-7 inch phone/phablet will become the communications/entertainment device of choice for Gen Cers
  • The instant-on acceptance of TVs and appliances has raised the expectations of people in almost everything they see, hear, do. It is difficult to “find the time” to sit through something as exciting and breathtaking as Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity without the addition of show Tweets and 3-minute YouTube views of outtakes and goofs. Fortunately the human computer – the mind – is upgrading itself to make multitasking easier to manage, control, live with…I hope
  • Image representing SAP as depicted in CrunchBase

    Image via CrunchBase

    1. The Cloud will experience a lot of upheaval in 2014 that will also have a mixed effect on the computer hardware/software industry. The industry will experience a lot of change this year as startups will be squeezed out or acquired by others and the herd will be thinned to the point where the dominant players will be Amazon, IBM, Google, Microsoft. This consolidation of horrendously big data centers will also place a lot of pressure on hardware producers like Dell and HP as well as software providers such as Oracle, SAP and VMware which will have a much smaller prospective customer base. The saving grace for these organizations will be the growing SMB (small to medium business) segment which is growing very nicely
  • While we all “knew” that businesses were spying on each other and tracking customer activities on the Internet and we “knew” governments were spying on each other, 2013 marked the turning point where we now “really knew” it. While we will continue to give lip service to transparency, the security industry will enjoy solid – but futile – growth in every area – consumer, business, public organizations. Globally governments, businesses, individuals will use all the tools they can develop/find to keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. The black hats/white hats will finally become grey hats
  • Image representing IBM as depicted in CrunchBase

    Image via CrunchBase

    Conclusion: 

    • Lower cost video capture solutions like Black Magic’s 4K $400 and $4,000 cameras combined with high-performance, low-cost video post production systems will reduce overall content production costs so studios, indies and businesses will deliver more eye-popping content more quickly
    • Standards organizations like SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) are already developing more efficient solutions for delivering (streaming) content rather than forcing native 4K content delivery. Rather than relying on pushing  more pixels through the already cramped pipe they will focus on more delivering higher frame rates, better bit rates and a broader color gamut more effectively with lower bandwidth requirements
    • While producing new 4K content is an expensive/time-consuming process, studios, content owners and firms like 4K Studios are finding they can mine their libraries of content, economically re-purpose/represent old movies/shows and find an eager market for the material
    • UHD TV set manufacturers are “stimulating” people to replace their “old” HD sets more quickly and are working directly with content owners to deliver material now rather than waiting for the cable gatekeepers to negotiate distribution
    • The perfect storm of new Xbox and PS4, growing array of versatile media players like Roku, Nuvola, NetFlix, Hulu and UltraFlix are giving consumers just the content they want – mixture of free/paid – helping legacy TV services to become less relevant
    • Today there are a half billion PCs in use and the sales growth has obviously slowed as mobile devices – tablets/smartphones – take more of the consumer’s budget. Still only about 230M + tablets will be sold this next year and more than 500M smartphones. Three players will continue to dominate the tablet market – Apple, Samsung, Amazon – and two will dominate the smart phone market – Apple and Samsung. The big struggle here will be in the OS arena – Android, iOS and Windows.  To be more in control of its own destiny you can expect to see Samsung move more of its mobile devices from Android to Baba in a slow, cautious fashion
    • Face it there are just too many cloud service companies in the pool and 25 percent of them will disappear this coming year either through acquisition or bankruptcy. The economy of scale plays too big of a roll for second tier service providers to make the heavy investment in infrastructure
    • Because C office folks see huge savings by buying into the cloud it also means less IT investment – servers, storage, software – which could reduce global IT spending to single-digit growth. It will also require a major focus shift from enterprise to SMB sales
    • I’m not quite certain why Snowdon’s “revelations” of the foul activities of the #NSA (National Security Agency) gets so much attention but it has certainly stimulated the security industry. People have put, gathering, grabbing big data on the Internet for years. Look in the mirror…you are big data. And there’s money to be made, things to be found in your data. It’s what people gave freely to get free stuff! It’s the financial motivation to mine that data that fuels Facebook’s/Google’s growth. It is just too tempting for governments, organizations not to tap into. It’s not that people didn’t know that spies, espionage, surveillance didn’t know it…it’s on the news and the storyline of every movie, TV show. Everyone is suddenly outraged even though he/she wants to know what the other is thinking/doing while protecting their thoughts/ideas/actions. Covering up my stuff while finding out dirt about the other guy is a big business, getting bigger. Just know everyone !

    <

    p style=”text-align:center;”>Is cheating, spying except you and me and…I’m not too sure about you.

    <

    p style=”text-align:left;”>Editor: Says if you have your own thoughts and feelings about 2013 or 2014 or anything really, just send me your details, by leaving a simple link to your site on the comments box, to a post or posts you would like to feature. Thank you.   

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    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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    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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    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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