March 9, 2012
By Christopher Sign
Do you believe there’s something else out there?
About a week from the 15th anniversary of the ‘Phoenix Lights’ event , a new set of lights has national UFO investigators taking a close look at the skies over the Valley.
In two clips totaling about four minutes, a Valley resident videotaped an eye-catching series of lights in the night sky over north Phoenix near Cave Creek.
The person recorded the “V” shaped object about 10 days ago.
He and several witnesses with him turned the video over to the Mutual UFO Network, known as MUFON .
The Phoenix chapter of MUFON has possession of the two video clips, and according to MUFON Arizona Director Jim Mann, the agency has an investigator assigned to the case.
“It could be nothing, it could be something, we just need to find out,” said Mann.
Some believe the lights are nothing more than a kite with LEDs attached or some type of radio-controlled airplane with LEDs.
It’s not uncommon, Mann told ABC15, for most UFO reports to be debunked or simply explained.
March 9, 2012
By Carla Fried
Money market mutual funds have been taking it on the chin lately. The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering proposing regulatory changes that would make the funds less appealing for investors. At stake: whether share prices will float based on market values, rather than follow the practice of fixed $1 per share values, and whether up to 5 percent of a requested withdrawal may be held back for 30 days.
Any proposal is bound to engender fierce debate. If you own one of the nearly 30 million money market fund accounts, you might want to focus on a more pressing issue, though: Why are you content to earn bupkes? The average money fund yield is a you-can-barely-see-it 0.06 percent, according to Crane Data. And the Federal Reserve has telegraphed that it’s unlikely to budge on rates for a further two years. Still, there’s $2.7 trillion sitting in these funds.
March 9, 2012
By John Browne
This past week, gold and silver experienced one of their steeper drops in recent months. After gold had touched a four month high, and silver came close to a six month high, prices abruptly reversed course. By the end of the week gold had sold off more than 5 percent, and silver was down almost 10 percent (down 6.5 percent on Leap Day alone). Often, such sudden price falls create downward momentum. And it looks as if that may be the case this week. Thus far this week silver has dipped 3 percent.
Based on these sharp movements it would have been logical to assume that some great piece of economic news had been issued that kindled hopes of a strong and sustainable economic recovery either in the U.S. or in Europe. In such case, investors would be expected to pull money out of “defensive” metals and into “aggressive” stocks. But the news on that front was far from reassuring. Alternatively, a selloff in metals would normally be expected if central bankers were to move to tighten monetary policy. That did not happen either.
Instead, this selloff was sparked not by a development, but a non-development. In his address to Congress, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke offered no clue as to when the Federal Reserve would unleash its next round of quantitative easing. Despite pressure from curious legislators, Bernanke kept his lip buttoned on that very sensitive topic. (See more analysis of the Fed’s current predicament in the latest edition of the Euro Pacific newsletter).
The markets took this as a sign that the monetary madness is coming to an end, which would bode poorly for precious metals. Metals are increasingly seen as substitutes for continuously debased fiat money, and tend to do well when new liquidity injections are announced.
Bernanke’s failure to telegraph more printing means nothing. Investors are craving a return to normalcy, which means more prudent monetary policy. As a result, many are grasping at straws. But I believe these hopes are premature, and that gold will be buoyed by easy money for quite some time.
March 9, 2012
By Steve Watson
Two mainstream media reporters have revealed that the TSA has “strongly cautioned” them not to cover the story of an engineer revealing major flaws in the agency’s $1 billion dollar body scanner program.
As we reported earlier this week, Engineer Jon Corbett of the popular blog TSA Out of Our Pants! posted a video that demonstrates how the TSA’s radiation firing scanners can easily be bypassed, when carrying metal objects.
Despite YouTube initially restricting the video for no discernable reason, the story went viral and the TSA was forced to respond, albeit in a way that only made the subject more pressing.
Now Corbett, who was the first person in the country to sue the TSA over the body scanners, says that two mainstream media journalists have contacted him to make it known that the TSA warned them off the story.
“I’ve been on the phone all day for the last 2 days with reporters and journalists of all kinds,” writes Corbett.
“One South Florida reporter told me that he had been “strongly cautioned” by the TSA not to cover this story. Absolutely unbelievable”
Corbett later updated his post to say that another reporter had also been “strongly cautioned” not to cover the story.
The reporters cite a TSA spokeswoman called Sari Koshetz as the person attempting to intimidate them out of covering the issue. They say that Koshetz described Corbett as someone who “clearly has an agenda” that “should not be aided by the mainstream media”.
March 9, 2012
By Paul Joseph Watson
FBI Director Robert Mueller’s failure to acknowledge that the Constitution and the rule of law prevents the government from being allowed to kill American citizens on U.S. soil without due process is yet another shocking benchmark of how far American has sunk into a military dictatorship.
Asked by House lawmakers Wednesday on whether the Obama administration’s policy of extra-judicial killings of American citizens abroad could also apply inside the United States, Mueller was evasive.
“I have to go back. Uh, I’m not certain whether that was addressed or not,” Mueller said when asked by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., about a distinction between domestic and foreign targeting.
Graves followed up asking whether “from a historical perspective,” the federal government has “the ability to kill a U.S. citizen on United States soil or just overseas.”
“I’m going to defer that to others in the Department of Justice,” Mueller replied.
As Judge Andrew Napolitano explains in the clip above, Mueller shouldn’t have to “check” whether the government is allowed to kill American citizens on U.S. soil or indeed anywhere in the world – the thing that stops this from happening is called due process and the rule of law.
As top constitutional and military law expert Jonathan Turley explains, “[Mueller] appeared unclear whether he had the power under the Obama Kill Doctrine or, in the very least, was unwilling to discuss that power. For civil libertarians, the answer should be easy: “Of course, I do not have that power under the Constitution.”
Despite Mueller’s evasive response, the Obama administration itself has made it clear that American citizens will be targeted for assassination on U.S. soil if they are deemed enemy combatants.
Since the National Defense Authorization Act defines the whole of the planet, including the United States, as a “battlefield” in the perpetual war on terror, it doesn’t matter whether Americans are inside the United States or abroad, they are all legitimate targets of the policy of state-sponsored assassination, according to the government’s argument.
As Turley stated when the issue arose during the recent NDAA debate, “President Obama has just stated a policy that he can have any American citizen killed without any charge, without any review, except his own. If he’s satisfied that you are a terrorist, he says that he can kill you anywhere in the world including in the United States.”
March 9, 2012
By Eric Blair
Much of the alternative news and the establishment political right has speculated that Andrew Breitbart’s untimely death may have something to do with his opposition to Obama. Some have even suggested that he was murdered to keep compromising tapes of Obama from surfacing. But, at worst, these tapes will prove Obama was a radical left political activist in his youth.
How is this news to anyone? And what purpose does it serve; to get Romney in the White House?
Understandably, it’s a juicy story for conspiracy researchers and for those who oppose Obama. However, Breitbart was a partisan neocon who claimed to be against “Big Government” while promoting preemptive wars and supporting the mythical war on terror. He seemed to be genuine in his bitter partisanship, but he was a poster child for perpetuating the false left-right paradigm.
Now that the tapes are being released by the Breitbart team, they will no doubt take over the news cycle at Fox and other right-wing news outlets. It will be endlessly discussed if Obama was a radical ideologue who hung out with “domestic terrorists” in his youth, or if he was even eligible to be president in the first place with renewed “birther” accusations. It will supposedly be the vetting process that never took place before the 2008 election.
March 9, 2012
Electronic Frontier Foundation
By Trevor Timm
“It’s pretty sad that the government is this afraid of its own people. Only a corrupt and paranoid organization would act like this.” –KTRN
Attorney General Eric Holder gave a much publicized speech at Northwestern law school on Monday, in which he attempted to explain the Obama administration’s constitutional authority for killing U.S. citizens abroad without judicial oversight. Holder in part claimed that there is a difference between “due process” and “judicial process”, the latter of which—according to him—is not guaranteed under the Constitution. The speech was predictably and widely criticized in legal circles on Fifth Amendment grounds (see here, here, here, here, and here),but an overlooked section of his speech should also give constitutional experts pause: Holder’s stance on the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) and warrantless wiretapping.
Holder spent a portion of his speech arguing that legal tools used to fight terrorism (excluding the killing of al-Awlaki and other American citizens overseas) are rightly subject to “check and balances” and “a comprehensive regime of oversight by all three branches of government.” He curiously used section 2702 of the FAA as his prime example, a law he says “protect[s] the privacy and civil rights of innocent individuals.”
As EFF readers will remember, the FAA is the statute Congress passed giving immunity to telecom companies despite their participation in the NSA’s massive warrantless wiretapping program, which the New York Times first exposed in 2005. EFF and a host of other civil liberties groups have been involved in litigation challenging the constitutionality of warrantless wiretapping for years.
Former member of the Obama administration’s Office of Legal Counsel Marty Lederman explains section 702 of the FAA “permits the NSA to intercept phone calls and e-mails between the U.S. and a foreign location, without making any showing to a court and without judicial oversight, whether or not the communication has anything to do with al Qaeda—indeed, even if there is no evidence that the communication has anything to do with terrorism, or any threat to national security.” All told, the “collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications” every day, according to the Washington Post.
March 9, 2012
By Stephen Lendman
“It’s hard to believe so many people in the US are facing extreme poverty. It really doesn’t take that much effort to make something of yourself. Just a little bit of work goes a long way.” –KTRN
Years ago, who could have imagined the appalling growing poverty level in the world’s richest country?
Various reports confirm it, including a new one by the University of Michigan’s National Poverty Center (NPC), titled “Extreme Poverty in the United States, 1996 to 2011”.
NPC promotes multidisciplinary research on poverty and policy. It mentors and trains poverty researchers. It analyzes causes and consequences, and addresses pressing policy questions at both federal and state levels.
How is poverty calculated, it asked?
The Census Bureau issues annual thresholds. They represent minimal income levels required to support various family sizes. Its methodology dates from the mid-1960s and hasn’t changed. Inflation’s taken into account annually. Families are judged poor based on pretax income. Non-cash benefits aren’t counted, such as Medicaid and food stamps.
In 2010, singles under 65 with incomes of $11,344 or less were designated poor. For those over 65, it was $10,458.
For single parents with one child, it’s $15,030. With two children, it’s $17,568. For two adults with no children, it’s $14,602. With one child, it’s $17,552. With two children, it’s $22,113. With three children, it’s $26,023.
March 9, 2012
By Nile Bowie
“No one is saying Joseph Kony is a good man. But shroud the US be playing world police in Africa? The whole situation is very sad.” –KTRN
Edward Bernays believed that society could not be trusted to make rational and informed decisions on their own, and that guiding public opinion was essential within a democratic society. Bernays founded the Council on Public Relations and his 1928 book, Propaganda cites the methodology used in the application of effective emotional communication. He discovered that such communication is capable of manipulating the unconscious in an effort to produce a desired effect – namely, a capacity to manufacture mass social adherence in support of products, political candidates and social movements.
Nearly a century after his heyday, Bernays’ methodology is apparent in almost every form of civic and consumer persuasion. The platform of social media is being used in unprecedented new ways; one such example is a new online documentary about the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an extremist rebel group operating in Central Africa.
The documentary is unprecedented, not for its educational attributes but for its capacity to use visual branding, merchandising and highly potent emotional communication to influence the viewer to support US military operations in resource rich Central Africa under the pretext of capturing the LRA’s commander, Joseph Kony. The Lord’s Resistance Army was originally formed in 1987 in northwestern Uganda by members of the Acholi ethnic group, who were historically exploited as forced laborers by the British colonialists and later relegated by the nation’s dominant ethic groups following independence. Together with the Holy Spirit Movement, the LRA represented the armed wing of a resistance faction aiming to overthrow the government of current Ugandan President and staunch US military ally, Yoweri Museveni.
March 9, 2012
By Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja
In situations of adversity and crises, leaders represent optimism and hope for change, not egoistic agenda and confusion. Peace requires new thinking and new visions that American President and Israeli PM do not have except the war agenda. Would peace and security grow out of nowhere?
Threatening rhetoric of pre-emptive war strikes on Iran’s nuclear centers and the nuisance of individualistic political indoctrination do not articulate rational and responsible opportunities for rational and intelligent leaders to engage in peaceful dialogue or conflict resolution.
Obama appeared confused instead of pragmatic and visionary. His face and body language did not seem to correspond to his movements of lips and the air he was breathing at the AIPAC stage. There is no scarcity of proactive Jewish intellectuals and scholars in Israel and America enriched with political imagination and strong sense of interests of the global humanity. There are people who love peace and harmony with the Arabs and Palestinians, and likewise, American thinkers and political visionaries who could do a better job than Netanyahu and Obama’s warrior mindsets.
In a knowledge-driven global culture of enhanced human communications and proactive visions for sustainable futuristic co-existence between Man and the encompassed Universe of divergent civilizations, we. the educators and learners, are to exercise rational capacity of thoughts, universal ideals and continuous intelligent foresight to change and adaptability to the future-making. This requires intelligent commitment to principles of international peace and security for all, non-aggression in the working of global system, protection of life and a balanced ecological culture of co-existence within the encompassed Universe-Man and the Humanity.
As the presidential elections are dominating the 2012 political culture across the United States, the world is nervously watching when and where the insanity would hit next. It is predictably unpredictable curiosity of the unknown impulse; otherwise, the news media and war-profiteering lobbyists would go bankrupt. Today, Obama spoke to the politically influential AIPAC Israeli lobby in Washington. Global peace, humanity and security of the Middle East region are the net causality of Obama’s egomaniac rhetoric. War of words and hasty and conveniently arrived personalized hypothesis of the few sadistic intellects on complex global issues are draining out the time and opportunities for dialogue and positive thinking.