Sunday, June 30, 2013

A CORK IN THE BOTTLE, MOLESTATION, OR BACK SEAT DRIVER

Jordanians are suspicious about US weapons and troops being deployed to the kingdom, even if Washington seeks to help its ally protect itself from a possible spillover of Syrian violence, experts say.

Worried about the security of Jordan, which is already struggling to cope with around 550,000 refugees from its war-torn northern neighbour, the United States has kept F-16 warplanes and Patriot missiles in the country since a joint military exercise ended on June 20.
A US defence official has stated that Washington has expanded its military presence in the country to 1,000 troops.
"Jordanians do not feel comfortable about the presence of US troops, weapons and equipment in the kingdom," analyst Oraib Rintawi, who runs the Al-Quds Centre for Political Studies. (a political hack or a voice of reason?)
"For Jordanians, the US military presence is linked to plots and conspiracies against their neighbours, which would impact the country itself."
Rintawi said Jordan is a key US regional ally that is still stable and secure; protecting that stability is key and at the core of their strategy in the Middle East for American interests.
"But public opinion here does not welcome the Americans, even if they say they want to protect the country."
US Secretary of State John Kerry (Obama's water boy) was in Amman on Friday on another errand -- to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, as he sought to revive stalled Middle East peace talks. (for what purpose? Nothing has ever come from this "peace talks" … EVER!)
Jordan has repeatedly said it does not seek to interfere in Syria's affairs.
Last week, Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur denied a Los Angeles Times report that the Central Intelligence Agency and US special forces have been training Syrian rebels at a new American desert base in southwest Jordan.
"There is no training in our country whatsoever of Syrian opposition forces... the only Syrians we are dealing with in our country are refugees," he told journalists.
MP Khalil Atiyeh, deputy house speaker, says lawmakers reject the presence of foreign forces.
"As deputies representing Jordanian people, we do not accept US or any other foreign troops in Jordan. Jordanians do not think there are threats from Syria."
"But we understand the nature and requirements of US-Jordanian relations and that Washington wants to protect its interests in the region as well as its allies."
Jordan, a major beneficiary of US military and economic aid, could act as a conduit for military support Washington has said it will give rebels battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
Amman also shares Western concerns that Muslim extremists could establish a foothold in Syria.
"Jordanian people do not want to see American troops here because they fear the Syrian regime could retaliate," political writer and columnist Labib Kamhawi told AFP.
"The US weapons and troops have been deployed to Jordan as a precautionary measure, but this could be seen by Syria as an act of aggression, which makes people here worried."
King Abdullah II vowed this month to defend Jordan from the war in Syria, saying "we are capable at any time to take the necessary measures to protect our country and people's interests".
The opposition Islamists said the US military deployment "is not in Jordan's interest".
"We reject the presence of US invaders and I think other Jordanians are worried and agree with us," said Zaki Bani Rsheid, deputy leader of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, the main political party. (THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IS DOING SO WELL IN EQYPT!)
US media reports have said Washington was preparing to use the weapons to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria from Jordan, but the White House has ruled out the idea, billing it as difficult, dangerous, costly and unsuitable.
"Jordan's situation is complex. Even if Amman does not agree with its allies on certain things in the Syria file, the country has to compromise," Mohammad Abu Rumman, a researcher at the University of Jordan's Centre for Strategic Studies, told AFP.
"I think Jordan seized the opportunity of the current US movements concerning Syria to have the Patriots (missiles) and improve the kingdom's defense systems."
Jordan Perry, a senior analyst at Maplecroft risk group, said Washington wanted to assure Amman that it "remains committed to upholding the country's border security as the conflict in Syria continues and threatens to spread even more outside its borders."
"Jordan's bid to obtain Patriot missiles reflects the kingdom's growing concern over the recent rise in violence between the Syrian military and rebel forces in the border areas, and the propensity for the violence to spill over into Jordanian territory."














Saturday, June 29, 2013

PLAY DATE WITH MUSLIM JIHAD, … A TRIFECTA … OUR ENEMY'S ENEMY IS OUR FRIEND … NOT ON A GOOD DAY!


The concept of "moderate Muslim" is an oxymoron. A true moderate Muslim is simply an Islamist temporarily without ammunition.

Forget Paula Deen. There are far more dangerous bigots and poisonous haters spoiling the American landscape. They cook up violent rhetoric and murderous plots against our troops, our citizens and our allies 24/7. And they have direct access to the White House.

Earlier this week, the indefatigable Investigative Project on Terrorism blew the whistle on the Obama administration's latest flirtation with Muslim jihad. Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah bragged on his website that he had met with Team Obama on June 13. IPT reported that bin Bayyah was invited by National Security Council official Gayle Smith "to learn from you and we need to be looking for new mechanisms to communicate with you and the Association of Muslim Scholars."

Someone associated with bin Bayyah deleted his website reference to the meeting, but the Internet is forever. The White House has now 'fessed up to the confab. According to Fox News, a senior official spun the troubling event as a discussion about "poverty, global health efforts and bin Bayyah's own efforts to speak out against al-Qaida."

Bin Bayyah's moderate Muslim costume shouldn't fool anyone. This sharia thug, who has worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to boost his progressive-friendly cred, lobbied the United Nations to outlaw all mockery and criticism of Allah. He raised money to benefit the terror group Hamas. He is a top lieutenant of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi, who exhorts followers to kill every last Jew; sanctioned suicide bombings and the killing of our soldiers; expressed support for executing apostates and stoning gays; and declared that the "U.S. is an enemy of Islam that has already declared war on Islam under the disguise of war on terrorism and provides Israel with unlimited support."

As jihad watchdogs have reported, the administration has rolled out the red carpet for dozens of Muslim Brotherhood officers, flacks and sympathizers. IPT noted last year: "White House visitor logs show that top U.S. policy-makers are soliciting and receiving advice from people who, at best, view the war on terrorism as an unchecked war on Muslims. These persons' perspectives and preferred policies handcuff law enforcement and weaken our resolve when it comes to confronting terrorism."

No kidding. Another Qaradawi cheerleader, Hisham al-Talib, was welcomed last spring at the White House by Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Four days later, White House officials welcomed a foreign delegation of the radical sharia-enforcing Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt. As I reported previously, al-Talib is an Iraqi-born Muslim identified by the FBI as a Muslim Brotherhood operative and a major contributor to the left-wing Center for Constitutional Rights, the group of jihadi-sympathizing lawyers who helped spring suspected Benghazi terror plotter Abu Sufian bin Qumu from Gitmo.

Al-Talib is also a founding member of the SAAR Foundation and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). FBI and Customs officials believe SAAR/SAFA laundered money for a plethora of violent Muslim terrorist groups, from Hamas and Hezbollah to al-Qaida and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Investigative journalist Patrick Poole reported recently that the Obama DOJ dropped planned prosecutions of IIIT leaders including al-Talib, despite being "targeted and repeatedly named in the 2003 U.S. Customs Service search warrant application by Customs Agent David Kane targeting the SAAR Foundation/SAFA Group terror finance network."

IIIT was also a demonstrated unindicted co-conspirator in the feds' Holy Land Foundation terror financing case and supported convicted terror aides Sami al-Arian and Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi. Al-Amoudi was the first president of the Islamic Society of Boston mosque, where Boston bomber jihad brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, used to worship.

We need a zero tolerance policy for jihadist infiltrators and coddlers in Washington. Let's make the most transparent administration ever live up to the hype. I suggest the White House be required to raise the black flag of Islamic jihad at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue every time President Obama welcomes these treacherous visitors.
Even better: Let's take a page from Kanye West and project the names of all the Ikhwan-linked goons who are allowed to darken the White House doorstep onto the side of the Old Executive Office Building for all to see — along with their most infamous hate videos and fatwas against Jews, infidels, gays, women and U.S. soldiers. No more play dates with Muslim jihad behind closed doors. Light 'em up.
NSA, CIA, AND FBI HAVING A HARD TIME ID'ING THEM … "THEY ALL LOOK ALIKE"!
NOW THAT WAS RACIST!!!










Friday, June 28, 2013

A SLOWLY DEVELOPING OPTICAL ILLUSION WITH DOUG HENNING ASSISTANCE


Obama drags Snowden into the gutter and character assassinates him there … leaves no marks on societies memory … then puts him in a cave with you know who … while he and his wife burns through the U.S. Treasury.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The last thing President Barack Obama wants to do is turn Edward Snowden into a grand enemy of the state or a Daniel Ellsberg-type hero who speaks truth to power.
In the shifting narrative of the Obama administration, the man whose leaks of top-secret material about government surveillance programs have tied the national security apparatus in knots and brought charges under the Espionage Act has now been demoted to a common fugitive unworthy of international intrigue or extraordinary pursuit by the U.S. government.
A "29-year-old hacker," in the words of Obama; fodder for a made-for-TV movie, perhaps, but not much more. (AND OBAMA WOULDN'T EVEN HAVE A BIT PART)
"This is not exceptional from a legal perspective," the president said Thursday of Snowden's efforts to avoid capture by hopscotching from Hawaii to Hong Kong to Russia.
"I'm not going to have one case of a suspect who we're trying to extradite suddenly being elevated to the point where I've got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues simply to get a guy extradited," the president told reporters in Senegal.
It was the second time in a week that the administration had toned down its rhetoric as Snowden remained out of reach and first China and then Russia refused to send him back.
Just Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry was talking tough against China and calling Snowden a traitor whose actions are "despicable and beyond description." By Tuesday, Kerry was calling for "calm and reasonableness" on the matter, and adding, "We're not looking for a confrontation. We are not ordering anybody."
There are plenty of reasons for Obama to pull back, beyond his professed desire to avoid international horse-trading for the leaker.
The president, in his own words, has "a whole lot of business to do with China and Russia." Why increase tensions in an already uneasy relationship when Obama is looking for Russia's cooperation in finding a path to peace in Syria, for example?
In addition, less-heated dialogue could make it easier to broker Snowden's return because, despite the latest shrugs, U.S. officials very much want him.
"There's a lot of signaling going on," said Steve Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists. "If the White House were issuing ultimatums, then Russia might feel obliged not to cooperate. But if it's merely one request among many others, that might make it easier to advance to a resolution."
The president also may have a U.S. audience in mind for his comments.
Obama's Democratic base includes plenty of defenders of civil liberties who are sympathetic to Snowden's professed goal of making government more transparent.
Benjamin Pauker, managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, said the president was loath to elevate Snowden to a state enemy or "an Ellsberg-type truth-teller," referring to the 1971 leaker of the Pentagon Papers, which showed the U.S. government had misled the public about the war in Vietnam.
Ellsberg himself recently called Snowden's revelations the most significant disclosures in the nation's history.
The administration, though, would rather marginalize Snowden, a former National Security Agency systems analyst who is thought to have custody of more classified documents.
"Calling him a hacker, as opposed to a government contractor or an NSA employee, brings him down a notch to someone who's an irritant, as opposed to someone who has access to integral intelligence files," Pauker said. "To externalize him and brand him with a black-hat hacker tag distances him from the government."
The disdainful talk isn't just coming from the White House.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Snowden "a high school dropout who had a whole series of both academic troubles and employment troubles" (EXCUSEEEEE ME … HE WORKED FOR THE NSA AND BOOZ ALLEN … DUH? THE PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT NEEDS TO BE FIRED!!!) after a recent closed hearing on the leaks. The committee's top Democrat, C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger from Maryland, called Snowden "a legend in his own mind" for claiming to be able to use NSA systems to access any email or phone call anywhere - something the NSA's director has said can't be done.
There may also be face-saving benefits for Obama in cutting down Snowden, who turned 30 last week. An unsuccessful full-court press for Snowden's return would only show the limitations of Obama's international influence.
It's not the first time a president has tried to reset expectations by first elevating and then playing down the importance of an international fugitive who eluded capture, at least for a time.
President George W. Bush went from putting out a "dead-or-alive" ultimatum for 9-11 terror mastermind Osama bin Laden to dismissing him as "a person who's now been marginalized."
"I just don't spend that much time on him," Bush said in March 2002.
Candidate Barack Obama pledged during the 2008 presidential campaign: "We will kill bin Laden, we will crush al-Qaida. That has to be our biggest national security priority."
By January 2009, just days before his inauguration, Obama was saying: "My preference, obviously would be to capture or kill him. But if we have so tightened the noose that he's in a cave somewhere and can't even communicate with his operatives, then we would meet our goal of protecting America."
As it turned out, he got him.

IF THE NSA IS THE OTHER VOICE IN YOUR HEAD … THEN OBAMACARE IS …



Thursday, June 27, 2013

CREEPY ASS CRACKERS, IDIOTS AND A MENSA WITNESS


Twitter and social media has been abuzz over the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, a close friend of Trayvon Martin who was on the phone with the Florida teen just moments before his death.



Jeantel testified that she heard Martin yell "Get off! Get off!" right before his phone went dead (ARE YOU SURE IT WAS HIS PHONE?).  She added that Martin repeatedly told her he was being followed, at one time describing the man pursuing him as a "creepy ass cracker."

At Wednesday's proceeding, Jeantel sparred with Zimmerman's lawyer, Don West, who pointed out what he said were inconsistencies between statements she gave to his team and a statement she had previously given to lawyers for Martin's family. The teen admitted to lying about her age when initially contacted by lawyers for Martin's family about giving a deposition. She had claimed at the time to be 16 in order to shield herself from offering testimony, according to the New York Times.

She also admitted to lying about her reason for not attending Martin's wake, the Times reported.. She told West that she did not miss Martin's wake because she was in the hospital, like she first said, but rather because she could not stand to see his body. Jeantel said she did not call police immediately after learning about Martin's death because she believed they would contact her, as she said was typical on the show "The First 48."

While prosecutors allege that Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman instigated an altercation with Martin and shot him dead on February 26, 2012, Zimmerman's defense team alleges that the 29-year-old acted in self-defense after Martin jumped him and slammed his head into the sidewalk.


What we know about Jeantel (the mensa from Sanford, FL)
  • She is 19, according to the Times.
  • According to her Facebook page, she went to Miami Norland Senior High School
  • She also said she attended Miami University of Ohio and studied criminal justice there, according to her Facebook page. An official at the registrar's officer there told MSN News that no student named Rachel Jeantel recently attended the university. (Ops!)  The registrars office at the University of Miami in Florida would not disclose school records over the phone.
  • On Facebook, Jeantel posted pictures of her new manicure, which she called her "court nails."
  • Jeantel allegedly scrubbed her Twitter account of tweets and pictures related to smoking and drinking yesterday afternoon, the Smoking Gun reported.
  • "Party time lets get high," she reportedly tweeted on February 24.
  • On June 21, Jeantel reportedly wrote, "16 months later wowww [sic] I need a drink."
The internet's take on Jeantel's testimony
  • "Rachel is the prosecution's key witness, but I am going to call her the misunderstood witness. She holds vital information that both the defense and prosecution need, but these middle-aged white men questioning her do not get it," Rachel Samara wrote for Global Grind.
  • "Jeantel is a horrible witness; she's been lying ever since the shooting took place and I wouldn't be surprised if she's lying in court," Charles J. Orth wrote on Twitter.
  • "In re: Rachel Jeantel, I was once a witness in a mock trial for my wife's law school class. I was a babbling panicked fool under cross," MSNBC host Christopher Hayes tweeted.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A NEW TWIST ON PANDORA'S BOX …


Snowden’s Files Are Out There if “Anything Happens” To Him

Today, the phrase "to open Pandora's box" means to perform an action that may seem small or innocuous, but that turns out to have severe and far-reaching consequences.
As the U.S. government presses Moscow to extradite former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, America’s most wanted leaker has a plan B. The former NSA systems administrator has already given encoded files containing an archive of the secrets he lifted from his old employer to several people. If anything happens to Snowden, the files will be unlocked.

Glenn Greenwald, who first reported former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosure of government surveillance programs, speaks to reporters in June at his hotel in Hong Kong. (Vincent Yu/AP)

Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who Snowden first contacted in February, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that Snowden “has taken extreme precautions to make sure many different people around the world have these archives to insure the stories will inevitably be published.” Greenwald added that the people in possession of these files “cannot access them yet because they are highly encrypted and they do not have the passwords.” But, Greenwald said, “if anything happens at all to Edward Snowden, he told me he has arranged for them to get access to the full archives.”
The fact that Snowden has made digital copies of the documents he accessed while working at the NSA poses a new challenge to the U.S. intelligence community that has scrambled in recent days to recover them and assess the full damage of the breach. Even if U.S. authorities catch up with Snowden and the four classified laptops the Guardian reported he brought with him to Hong Kong the secrets Snowden hopes to expose will still likely be published.
A former U.S. counterintelligence officer following the Snowden saga closely said his contacts inside the U.S. intelligence community “think Snowden has been planning this for years and has stashed files all over the Internet.” This source added, “At this point there is very little anyone can do about this.”
The arrangement to entrust encrypted archives of his files with others also sheds light on a cryptic statement Snowden made on June 17 during a live chat with The Guardian. In the online session he said, “All I can say right now is the U.S. government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”
Last week NSA Director Keith Alexander told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that Snowden was able to access files inside the NSA by fabricating digital keys that gave him access to areas he was not allowed to visit as a low-level contractor and systems administrator. One of those areas included a site he visited during his training that Alexander later told reporters contained one of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court orders published byThe Guardian and The Washington Post earlier this month.

U.S. politicians were visibly upset when news broke of Snowden's trip to Russia.
It’s unclear what else is in the Snowden archive. The Guardian and The Washington Post have already published slides from a classified presentation on a program known as Prism that gives the NSA access to data on non-U.S. persons from Internet companies like Google and Facebook. The newspapers have also published the “minimization procedures” approved by Attorney General Eric Holder to make sure this collection does not include U.S. persons without a warrant and a top-secret presidential directive approving offensive cyber operations.
Greenwald said that he himself has thousands of documents from Snowden that he is continuing to examine. That figure is considerably higher than the 200 documents that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee, said over the weekend that she was told Snowden possessed.
“I don’t know for sure whether [Snowden] has more documents than the ones he has given me,” Greenwald said. “I believe he does. He was clear he did not want to give to journalists things he did not think should be published.”
In addition to providing documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post, Snowden has also given interviews to the South China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, which reported that Snowden has disclosed the Internet Protocol addresses for computers in China and Hong Kong that the NSA monitored. That paper also printed a story claiming the NSA collected the text-message data for Hong Kong residents based on a June 12 interview Snowden gave the paper.
“He was not trying to harm the U.S. government; he was trying to shine light on it.”
Greenwald said he would not have published some of the stories that ran in the South China Morning Post. “Whether I would have disclosed the specific IP addresses in China and Hong Kong the NSA is hacking, I don’t think I would have,” Greenwald said. “What motivated that leak though was a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China.”
However, Greenwald said that in his dealings with Snowden the 30-year-old systems administrator was adamant that he and his newspaper go through the document and only publish what served the public’s right to know. “Snowden himself was vehement from the start that we do engage in that journalistic process and we not gratuitously publish things,” Greenwald said. “I do know he was vehement about that. He was not trying to harm the U.S. government; he was trying to shine light on it.”
Greenwald said Snowden for example did not wish to publicize information that gave the technical specifications or blueprints for how the NSA constructed its eavesdropping network. “He is worried that would enable other states to enhance their security systems and monitor their own citizens.” Greenwald also said Snowden did not wish to repeat the kinds of disclosures made famous a generation ago by former CIA spy, Philip Agee—who published information after defecting to Cuba that outed undercover CIA officers. “He was very insistent he does not want to publish documents to harm individuals or blow anyone’s undercover status,” Greenwald said. He added that Snowden told him, “Leaking CIA documents can actually harm people, whereas leaking NSA documents can harm systems.”
Greenwald also said his newspaper had no plans to publish the technical specifications of NSA systems. “I do not want to help other states get better at surveillance,” Greenwald said. He added, “We won’t publish things that might ruin ongoing operations from the U.S. government that very few people would object to the United States doing.”
In this sense Greenwald is applying a more traditional journalistic approach to publishing classified information than WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization that published hundreds of thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables and intelligence reports from Afghanistan and Iraq—initially without removing the names of individuals who were placed at risk after their interactions with U.S. officials in dangerous places were made public. “I am supportive of WikiLeaks, but I am doing something different,” Greenwald said.
For now, the FBI has taken a keen interest in the leak of FISA court documents. Those documents are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the U.S. intelligence community. As of last week, the FBI was investigating whether Snowden may have obtained those documents from a leak inside the secret FISA court.
Thus far, The Guardian and The Washington Post have only published FISA documents that disclosed the wholesale collection of telephone metadata, but not the authorization to monitor the electronic communications of individuals. Greenwald declined to say whether or not he possessed FISA court warrants authorizing surveillance of a specific individual.
For now, Greenwald said he is taking extra precautions against the prospect that he is a target of U.S. surveillance. He said he began using encrypted email when he began communicating with Snowden in February after Snowden sent him a YouTube video walking him through the procedure to encrypt his email.
“When I was in Hong Kong, I spoke to my partner in Rio via Skype and told him I would send an electronic encrypted copy of the documents,” Greenwald said. “I did not end up doing it. Two days later his laptop was stolen from our house and nothing else was taken. Nothing like that has happened before. I am not saying it’s connected to this, but obviously the possibility exists.”
When asked if Greenwald believed his computer was being monitored by the U.S. government. “I would be shocked if the U.S. government were not trying to access the information on my computer. I carry my computers and data with me everywhere I go.”


NIGHTLY NEWS … NOT ON YOUR LIFE … HOLD THE PICKLES HOLD THE LETTUCE …

ACTIONS SPEAK VOLUMES … NO WAY … NOT IN A MILLION YEARS MR. OBAMA SHOULD WE ARM THESE REBELS …

SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER, A GLOBAL AWAKENING, EDELMAN TRUST BAROMETER 2013 … REDUX?


Global protest grows as citizens lose faith in politics and the state

The Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park, New York in September 2011. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
The demonstrations in Brazil began after a small rise in bus fares triggered mass protests. Within days this had become a nationwide movement whose concerns had spread far beyond fares: more than a million people were on the streets shouting about everything from corruption to the cost of living to the amount of money being spent on the World Cup.
In Turkey, it was a similar story. A protest over the future of a city park in Istanbul – violently disrupted by police – snowballed too into something bigger, a wider-ranging political confrontation with prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has scarcely been brought to a close by last weekend'sclearing of Gezi Park.
If the recent scenes have seemed familiar, it is because they shared common features: viral, loosely organised with fractured messages and mostly taking place in urban public locations.
Unlike the protest movement of 1968 or even the end of Soviet influence in eastern Europe in 1989, these are movements with few discernible leaders and often conflicting ideologies. Their points of reference are not even necessarily ideological but take inspiration from other protests, including those of the Arab spring and the Occupy movement. The result has seen a wave of social movements – sometimes short-lived – fromWall Street to Tel Aviv and from Istanbul to Rio de Janeiro, often engaging younger, better educated and wealthier members of society.
What is striking for those who, like myself, have covered these protests is often how discursive and open-ended they are. People go not necessarily to hear a message but to take over a location and discuss their discontents (even if the stunning consequence can be the fall of an autocratic leader such as Egypt's Hosni Mubarak).
Demonstration against the demolition of Gezi Park in Istanbul. Photograph: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images
If the "new protest" can be summed up, it is not in specifics of the complaints but in a wider idea about organisation encapsulated on a banner spotted in Brazil last week: "We are the social network."
In Brazil the varied banners underlined the difficulty of easy categorisation as protesters held aloft signs expressing a range of demands from education reforms to free bus fares while denouncing the billions of public dollars spent on stadiums for the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics two years later.
"It's sort of a Catch-22," Rodrigues da Cunha, a 63-year-old protester told the Associated Press. "On the one hand we need some sort of leadership, on the other we don't want this to be compromised by being affiliated with any political party."
As the Economist pointed out last week, while mass movements in Britain, France, Sweden and Turkey have been inspired by a variety of causes, including falling living standards, authoritarian government and worries about immigration, Brazil does not fit the picture, with youth unemployment at a record low and enjoying the biggest leap in living standards in the country's history.
So what's going on? An examination of the global Edelman Trust Barometer reveals a loose correlation between the ranking of a country on the trust scale and the likelihood of protests. The trust barometer is a measure of public confidence in institutions compiled by the US firm Edelman, the world's largest privately owned PR company.
In 2011, at the time the Occupy movement was being born in Zuccoti Park on Wall Street, the UK and the US were both firmly placed at the bottom of the "distrusters" while Brazil topped the "trusters". By this year Brazil had dropped 30 points on the table, while Spain and Turkey, which have both seen protests this year, were both in the distrusted category.
Paul Mason, economics editor of BBC2's Newsnight and author of Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions, has argued that a key factor, largely driven by new communication technologies, is that people have not only a better understanding of power but are more aware of its abuse, both economically and politically.
Mason believes we are in the midst of a "revolution caused by the near collapse of free-market capitalism combined with an upswing in technical innovation" – but not everyone is so convinced.
Protesters in Tel Aviv in September 2011. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
What does ring true, however, is his assertion that a driving force from Tahrir Square to Occupy is a redefinition of notions of both what "freedom" means and its relationship to governments that seem ever more distant. It is significant, too, that many recent protests have taken place in the large cities that have been most transformed by neoliberal policies.
Tali Hatuka, an Israeli urban geographer, whose book on the new forms of protest will be published next year, identifies themass mobilisations against the Iraq war in 2003 as a turning point in how people protest. Hatuka argues that, while previous large public protests had tended to be focused and narrow in their organisation, the Iraq war protests saw demonstrations in 800 cities globally which encompassed and tolerated a wide variety of outlooks.
"Most recently," Hatuka wrote in the journal Geopolitics last year, "this spirit has characterised the Arab spring and New York's Occupy Wall Street, which were protests based on informal leadership and a multitude of voices."
"Up to the 1990s," she said last week, "protests tended to be organised around a pyramid structure with a centralised leadership. As much effort went into the planning as into the protest itself. And the [impact on the] day after the protest was as significant as the event itself. Now protest is organised more like a network. It is far more informal, the event itself often being immediate."
Hatuka cautions against generalising too much – distinguishing between the events of the Arab spring, where mass protests were able to remove regimes, and protests in western democracies. But she does point to how the new form of protest tends to produce fractured and temporary alliances.
"If you compare what we are seeing today with the civil rights movement in the US – even the movements of 1989 – those were much more cohesive. Now the event itself is the message. The question is whether that is enough."
She suspects it is not, pointing to how present-day activism – from the Iraq war demonstrations onwards – has often failed to deliver concrete results with its impact often fizzling out. Because of this, current forms of protest may be a temporary phenomenon and may be forced to change.
Another key feature of the new protests, argues Saskia Sassen, a sociology professor at Columbia University, New York, is the notion of "occupation" – which has not been confined to the obvious tactics of the Occupy movement. Occupations of different kinds have occurred in Tahrir Square, Cairo, in Gezi Park, Istanbul, and during widespread social protests in Tel Aviv, the Israeli capital, in 2011.
"Occupying is not the same as demonstrating. Many of the [recent] protests made legible the fact that occupying makes novel territory, and thereby a bit of history, using what was previously considered merely ground," Sassen wrote recently. "Whether in Egypt, the US, or elsewhere, it is important that the aim of the occupiers is not to grab power. They were and are, rather, engaged in the work of citizenship, exposing deep flaws and wrongs in their polity and society.
"This is a very peculiar moment," Sassen told the Observer. "This form of protest is very amorphous in comparison with the movements that came before." She argues that one distinguishing factor is that many of the protest movements of the past decade have been defined by the involvement of what she calls "the modest middle class", who have often been beneficiaries of the systems they are protesting against but whose positions have been eroded by neoliberal economic policies that have seen both distribution of wealth and opportunities captured by a narrowing minority. As people have come to feel more distant from government and economic institutions, a large part of the new mass forms of dissent has come to be seen as an opportunity to demonstrate ideas of "citizenship".
"Often what people are saying is that you are the state. I'm a citizen. I've done my job. You're not recognising that."
Sassen's belief that many of the recent protests are middle-class-driven appeared to be confirmed overtly – in the case of Brazil, at least – by President Dilma Rousseff, when she acknowledged that the new middle classes "want more and have the right to more".
For an older generation of political theorists, as Sassen admits, not least those from a Marxist background, the current trends have sometimes been puzzling. "I remember talking to [British Marxist historian] Eric Hobsbawm – a dear friend. He asked me: 'What's up [with Occupy]?' I said it is a very interesting movement. But his reply was: 'If there is no party, then there's no future.'"
Indeed, it was precisely this concern two years ago that led Malcolm Gladwell – in a controversial essay for the New YorkerSmall change: why the revolution will not be tweeted – to ask a similar question: whether networks of activists modelled on social media and with "weak tie-ins" can sustain themselves in the long run.
"The old pyramid way of organising protests does have its limitations, but so too do the new ways of organising," says Hatuka. "Often it does not feel very effective in the long run. People will often go for a day or two and these protests are not necessarily offering an ideological alternative."







GIVE ME JUST ONE GOOD REASON WHY THE IRS SHOULD NOT BE ABOLISHED … JUST ONE!


IRS Sent $7,319,518 in Refunds to One Bank Account Used by 2,706 Aliens … and then handed out bonuses to themselves … WTF!

On Monday, Rep. Harold Rogers (R., Ky.) of the House Appropriations Subcommittee asked acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel about bonuses within the IRS, some of which had to be approved by the president. Werfel explained the president’s role in distributing these bonuses, stating, “There’s a small sub-class of bonuses called presidential rank awards that are approved by the president, but they are relatively small in number, maybe a couple hundred throughout the entire government. The larger amounts of bonuses in terms of quantity are typically approved by the agency head.”
REP. HAROLD ROGERS: Mr. Werfel, I’m beginning to like you when you say you don’t want more money. That’s music to my ears and I’m sure the chairman feels the same. Now, in addition to the $50 million for conferences over the last three years, the press is reporting that the IRS paid out more than $92 million in bonuses during that three-year period. And within that sum, key figures in the current scandal got bonuses. Sarah Hall Ingram, the former Commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division which was responsible for overseeing the 501 c4 applications, received a bonus, bonuses of $103,000 plus which increased during the period of the increased scrutiny of these conservative groups and in addition to that she was promoted, now to head up the IRS involvement with Obamacare. Joseph Grant, former Deputy Commissioner of Tax Exempt, three bonuses, almost $84,000. Same period of time. Lois learner, Director of the Exempt Organizations Division, given $42,000 in bonuses during that period. And all of these had to be approved by the president, isn’t that right?
DANIEL WERFEL: My understanding is there’s a small sub-class of bonuses called Presidential Rank Awards that are approved by the president but they are relatively small in number, maybe a couple hundred throughout the entire government. The larger amounts of bonuses in terms of quantity are typically approved by the agency head.
ROGERS: OPM’s guidelines say that bonuses over $25,000 have to be approved by the president. So did the president approve these bonuses of these very critical people in this scandal that we’re investigating?
WERFEL: I’m not sure of the answer to that question. I’m also not sure the way you phrased the question if the bonus totals you articulated were individual bonuses that added up to those numbers or if there was an individual bonus that exceeded 25,000 but that’s something we can certainly look into and get back to you.
ROGERS: Would you let me know?
WERFEL: Yes.
 

Since 1996, the IRS has issued what it calls Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to two classes of persons: 1) non-resident aliens who have a tax liability in the United States, and 2) aliens living in the United States who are “not authorized to work in the United States.”(CNSNews.com) -
The Internal Revenue Service sent $7,319,518 in tax refunds in 2011 to what theoretically were 2,706 aliens who were not authorized to work inside the United States and who all used the same bank account, according to an audit report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The 2,706 tax refunds worth a combined $7,319,518 that the IRS sent to a single bank account in 2011 were all paid on tax returns that used Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers.
The inspector general's audit report revealing this remarkable payout was spurred by two IRS employees who went to members of Congress "alleging that IRS management was requiring employees to assign Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) even when the applications were fraudulent.”
The report was completed in June 2012 and released in August 2012. In an August press release that accompanied the report, TIGTA said the report “validated” the complaints of the IRS employees.
“TIGTA’s audit found that IRS management has not established adequate internal controls to detect and prevent the assignment of an ITIN to individuals submitting questionable applications,” said Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George. “Even more troubling, TIGTA found an environment which discourages employees from detecting fraudulent applications.”
The one bank account that got 2,706 refunds worth $7,319,518 in 2011 was not the only singular account that in 2011 received many hundreds of tax refunds theoretically paid to aliens who were not authorized to work in the United States.
In its audit report, TIGTA published a partially redacted list of the Top 10 bank accounts getting tax refunds in 2011 for aliens using ITINs. The list did not include the full account number or the name of the bank holding the account. But it did say that one account—00731XXX22—got 8,393 tax refunds in 2011 worth $236,747. A second account—200005XXX4---got 3,912 refunds worth $186,966. A third—199372XXX2—got 1,608 refunds worth $4,564,264. A fourth—200004XXX9—got 1,428 refunds worth $149,375. A fifth—200004XXX3—got 1,332 refunds worth $391,510. A sixth—630163XXX0—got 1,191 refunds worth $861,162. A seventh—00731XXX30—got 1,084 refunds worth $93,065. An eighth—20000XXX95—got 1,053 refunds worth $810,589. And a ninth—457020XXX8—got 853 refunds worth $1,814,730.
CNSNews.com asked the Office of the Treasury Inspector General if these bank accounts were in the United States. A spokesman said TIGTA did not look at that issue.
As CNSNews.com reported last week, this same TIGTA audit report also listed the Top 10 addresses in the United States where the IRS had sent multiple tax refunds presumably to aliens not authorized to work in the United States who had filed tax returns using ITINs.
The top address was one in Atlanta, Ga., where in 2011 the IRS sent 23,994 refunds worth $46,378,040.
LET'S PRETEND WE GIVE A SHIT
AND LEAVE IT AT THAT














Monday, June 24, 2013

FOR SALE … COMMISSION ONLY …


The US has entered into a contract with a real estate firm to sell 56 buildings that currently house U.S. Post Offices. The government has decided it no longer needs these buildings, many of which are located on prime land in towns and cities across the country.

The sale of these properties will fetch billions of dollars and a handsome 6% commission to the company handling the sales. That company belongs to a man named Richard Blum. Who is Richard Blum you ask?
Why the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein, that's who. What a bunch of crooks we have running this country!
Senator Feinstein and her husband, Richard Blum, stand to make a fortune. His firm, C.R.I., is the sole real estate company offering these properties for sale. Of course, C.R.I. will be making a 6% commission on the sale of each and every one of these postal properties.

All of these properties that are being sold are all fully paid for. They were purchased with U.S. taxpayers dollars, and they are allowed free and clear by the U.S.P.S. The only cost to keep them is the cost to actually keep the doors open and the heat and lights on. The United States Postal Service doesn't even have to pay property taxes on these subject properties. Would you sell your house just because you couldn't afford to pay the electric bill? Well, the Post Office is.
How does a powerful U.S. Senator from San Francisco manage to get away with such a sweet deal?
A powerful United States Senator's husband is standing by, all ready to make millions from a U.S. taxpayer funded enterprise.
No one in the mainstream media is even raising an eyebrow over his 6% commission on the sale of hundreds of millions of dollar's worth of quasi-public assets.