Thursday, December 3, 2009

Researcher: NASA hiding climate data

The fight over global warming science is about to cross the Atlantic with a U.S. researcher poised to sue NASA, demanding release of the same kind of climate data that has landed a leading British center in hot water over charges it skewed its data.

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said NASA has refused for two years to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act that would show how the agency has shaped its climate data and would explain why the agency has repeatedly had to correct its data going as far back as the 1930s.

"I assume that what is there is highly damaging," Mr. Horner said. "These guys are quite clearly bound and determined not to reveal their internal discussions about this."

The numbers matter. Under pressure in 2007, NASA recalculated its data and found that 1934, not 1998, was the hottest year in its records for the contiguous 48 states. NASA later changed that data again, and now 1998 and 2006 are tied for first, with 1934 slightly cooler.

Mr. Horner, a noted global warming skeptic and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism, wants a look at the data and the discussions that went into those changes. He said he's given the agency until the end of the year to comply or else he'll sue to compel the information's release.

His fight mirrors one in Europe that has sprung up over the the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit in the UK after thousands of e-mails from the center were obtained and appear to show researchers shaving their data to make it conform to their expectation, and show efforts to try to drive global warming skeptics out of the conversation.

The center's chief has stepped down pending an investigation into the e-mails.

The center has also had to acknowledge in response to a freedom of information request under British law that it tossed out much of the raw data that it used to draw up the temperature models that have underpinned much of the science behind global warming.

Mr. Horner suspects the same sort of data-shaving has happened at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), another leading global warming research center.

Mark Hess, public affairs director for the Goddard Space Flight Center which runs the GISS laboratory, said they are working on Mr. Horner's request, though he couldn't say why they have taken so long.

"We're collecting the information and will respond with all the responsive relevant information to all of his requests," Mr. Hess said. "It's just a process you have to go through where you have to collect data that's responsive."

He said he was unfamiliar with the British controversy and couldn't say whether NASA was susceptible to the same challenges to its data. The White House has dismissed the British e-mails as irrelevant.

"Several thousand scientists have come to the conclusion that climate change is happening. I don't think that's anything that is, quite frankly, among most people, in dispute anymore," press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters this week.

But Republicans on Capitol Hill say the revelations deserve a congressional investigation. Republican leaders also sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson Wednesday telling her she should withdraw a series of EPA rules until the global warming science can be better substantiated. For now, climate scientists are rallying around the British researchers.

Michael Mann, a scientist at Penn State University who is under fire for his involvement in the British e-mail exchanges, said the e-mails' release was timed to skunk up next week's U.N. global warming summit in Copenhagen. Mr. Obama is planning to attend.

"They've taken scientists' words and phrases and quoted them out of context, completely misrepresenting what they were saying," Mr. Mann told in an interview, calling it a "manufactured controversy."

NASA's GISS was forced to update its data in 2007 after questions were raised by Steve McIntyre, who runs

GISS had initially listed the warmest years as 1998, 1934, 2006, 1921 and 1931. After Mr. McIntyre's questions GISS rejiggered the list and 1934 was warmest, followed by 1998, 1921, 2006 and then 1931. But since then, the list has been rewritten again so it now runs 1998, 2006, 1934, 1921, 1999.

The institute blamed a "minor data processing error" for the changes but says it doesn't make much difference since the top three years remain in a "statistical tie" either way.

Mr. Horner said he's seeking the data itself, but he also wants to see the chain of e-mails from scientists discussing the changes.

The Freedom of Information Act requires agencies to respond to requests within 20 days. Mr. Horner says he's never received an official acknowledgement of his three separate FOIA requests, but has received e-mails showing the agency is aware of them.

He said he has provided NASA with a notice of intent to sue under FOIA, but said he also hopes members of Congress get involved and demand the information be released.

NASA and CRU data are considered the backbone of much of the science that suggests the earth is warming due to manmade greenhouse gas emissions. NASA argues its data suggests this decade has been the warmest on record.

On the other hand, data from the University of Alabama-Huntsville suggests temperatures have been relatively flat for most of this decade.

Source: The Washington Times

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Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic

President Barack Obama's Tuesday speech left a bad taste in many mouths.

President Barack Obama's Tuesday speech left a bad taste in many mouths.

Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America's new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric -- and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.

One can hardly blame the West Point leadership. The academy commanders did their best to ensure that Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama's speech would be well-received.

Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond "enthusiastically" to the speech. But it didn't help: The soldiers' reception was cool.

One didn't have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama's speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.

An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan -- and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war -- and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate.

Just in Time for the Campaign

For each troop movement, Obama had a number to match. US strength in Afghanistan will be tripled relative to the Bush years, a fact that is sure to impress hawks in America. But just 18 months later, just in time for Obama's re-election campaign, the horror of war is to end and the draw down will begin. The doves of peace will be let free.

The speech continued in that vein. It was as though Obama had taken one of his old campaign speeches and merged it with a text from the library of ex-President George W. Bush. Extremists kill in the name of Islam, he said, before adding that it is one of the "world's great religions." He promised that responsibility for the country's security would soon be transferred to the government of President Hamid Karzai -- a government which he said was "corrupt." The Taliban is dangerous and growing stronger. But "America will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars," he added.

It was a dizzying combination of surge and withdrawal, of marching to and fro. The fast pace was reminiscent of plays about the French revolution: Troops enter from the right to loud cannon fire and then they exit to the left. And at the end, the dead are left on stage.

Obama's Magic No Longer Works

But in this case, the public was more disturbed than entertained. Indeed, one could see the phenomenon in a number of places in recent weeks: Obama's magic no longer works. The allure of his words has grown weaker.

It is not he himself who has changed, but rather the benchmark used to evaluate him. For a president, the unit of measurement is real life. A leader is seen by citizens through the prism of their lives -- their job, their household budget, where they live and suffer. And, in the case of the war on terror, where they sometimes die.

Political dreams and yearnings for the future belong elsewhere. That was where the political charmer Obama was able to successfully capture the imaginations of millions of voters. It is a place where campaigners -- particularly those with a talent for oration -- are fond of taking refuge. It is also where Obama set up his campaign headquarters, in an enormous tent called "Hope."

In his speech on America's new Afghanistan strategy, Obama tried to speak to both places. It was two speeches in one. That is why it felt so false. Both dreamers and realists were left feeling distraught.

The American president doesn't need any opponents at the moment. He's already got himself.

Source: Spiegel Online International

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Ex-ADL Leader Blasts ADL/Foxman

Joel Sprayregen is a former ACLU staff attorney and National Vice-Chair of the Anti-Defamation League. He was appalled at ADL's recent 27-page online attack on the Christian/conservative right, "Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies."
Writing in American Thinker Online, November 29, he says, "You can...understand the consternation, and not just mine, which greeted the ADL's hyped "Report" declaring that 'rage' expressed against President Obama is un-American." He says, "ADL's perfervidly purple prose belies an abysmal ignorance of American political traditions." Sprayregen documents this tradition on the authority of Jefferson, Holmes, etc., who not only tolerated but actually encouraged fervent, even heated dissent.
"ADL's naked partisanship," he says, is revealed by the fact that "In the time of anti-Bush rage, the ADL held its tongue." But, he says, "You can't fool all the people all the timeThe failure of mainline media to scrutinize Obama and his mentors - which truly is unprecedentedincentivizes many who love this country to sound off...The ADL could not have chosen a more infelicitous moment to try to shield Obama from anger generated by his policies."
Sprayregen says he was National Vice-Chair of "the then-respected Anti-Defamation League." But in past years "ADL stumbled so egregiously. As observed by many, including myself, who have left the organization, the ADL has declined into an autocracy where no opinion counts other than that of its long-time National Director, Abraham Foxman, whom the New York Times described as "a one-man Sanhedrin for life." When Foxman hatches a crackpot idea like the "Rage Report," no one can restrain him."
He says, "Foxman is driven to justify his half-million-dollar-plus salary (matched in virtually no other Jewish organization) To generate publicity for himself, he launches (and then summarily drops) foolish initiatives, such as his attack on Christian Evangelicals, Israel's most consistent supporters I found only one press column praising the ADL statement: that of Los Angeles Times writer Timothy Rutten... When I googled Rutten, I found that last year, he received an ADL First Amendment award."
Sprayregen's article adds to rapidly mounting testimony by yet another Jew (and ADL insider) informing the world that ADL is a loose cannon on the deck of liberalism. It could threaten Zionist interests also because ADL is the PR bulldog of Israel to the world. Jewish liberals view it, as Jewish Week confirmed last week, as "an active part of the right-of-center pro-Israel establishment." Yet Foxman, Sprayregen contends, counterproductively attacks the century-long arch supporters of Israel: evangelical Christians. This includes WorldNetDaily owner Joseph Farah who, not unlike ADL, provides a pipeline for Israeli policy directives to millions of evangelicals.
Where Is ADL Taking Us?
What does Sprayregen's exposure of Foxman's instability and persecutive inclinations mean to Christians/conservatives -- indeed to all Americans?
It means many things because ADL has so profoundly altered American social attitudes, especially in regard to tolerance of homosexuality and support of pro-homosexual legislative initiatives. These, whether on the local, federal, or international level, will unfailingly be found to have been generated primarily by ADL and its parent organization, B'nai B'rith International.
ADL hate crimes laws have taken free speech from the citizens of Canada, England, Australia, etc.; and now America is shackled with a national hate law fully capable of doing the same. Recently signed by Pres. Obama, it was very largely conceived and brought into existence by the same Abe Foxman who wrote the recent "Rage Report" which portrays millions of Americans as "conspirators."
Since 1984, with publication of my book Israel: Our Duty, Our Dilemma, I have been sounding the alarm against the ADL -- warning of ADL's anti-Christian, anti-freedom malevolence -- just as Sprayregen and other Jewish ADL critics are now alleging. Yet virtual silence of any criticism of ADL has prevailed among frightened Christian and Jewish leaders until now. At last, Joseph Farah, Orthodox rabbi Nachum Shifren, Commentary magazine editor Jonathan Tobin, and Joel Sprayregen are finally breaking the national silence in terse and even biting rebuke. This is a historic moment. Never since its founding in 1913 have one evangelical and three Jewish leaders stood up in public criticism of ADL. Let's make sure that ADL's irresponsibility in issuing its "Rage Report" will result in a new era of responsibility for vigilance, scrutiny and criticism of ADL by all in positions of religious and political authority.
Danger from ADL Will Continue
What will happen to ADL if criticism and controversy over the "Rage Report" continues? Foxman could resign. ADL, under new leadership, could ostensibly learn some of the "tolerance" it has presumed to teach others for most of the past century.
Yet, ADL will remain an enormous threat to freedom. The statement by California Senator Jack Tenney in the 1971 Congressional Recordremains apropos: "The CIA and FBI are tinker toys compared to the ADL."
ADL remains frighteningly powerful, eliciting recent effusive praise from guest speakers at ADL functions: Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Security; Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; and Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General. In fact, legislative events of the past year have demonstrated beyond doubt that, at least concerning passage of ADL's hate crimes laws, most Democrats in Congress as well as Attorney General Holder are securely in the palm of ADL's hand.
ADL will continue to surveil Christian/conservative Americans along with fringe groups, providing under-the-table intelligence to the U.S. government unavailable through lawful means. Sometimes it will get caught, as Sprayregen says, "for illegally gathering evidence against unsuspecting Americansstored in its massive files (twice in recent years the ADL has paid damages for illegal surveillance)." (For a complete education on ADL's massive spy operation on 10,000 Americans, watch my gripping 82-minute video at "Hate Laws: Making Criminals of Christians.")
Evil tends to be immoderate. This time ADL has gone too far. In 2005, ADL's National Executive Board member Philadelphia district attorney Lynne Abraham also went too far. Erupting in rage two days after Christian conservatives defeated ADL's hate bill in Congress, she took revenge on the religious right by arresting 11 Christians. She charged them with seven crimes, threatening 47 years in prison and $90,000 in fines each. Included was the "hate crime" of witnessing to homosexuals at a gay pride rally. But ADL paid a big price then, as I hope they will pay in the days and weeks ahead. As a result of Abraham's rash persecution, ADL provided a red hot issue which propelled me onto national talk radio. Since then, thanks to ADL, I have given roughly 700 interviews, with 125 hosts, almost entirely in warning against ADL and its hate laws.
Once, in an interview by author and radio talk show host Michael Collins Piper, he related how on a street corner in Washington, D.C. he saw someone who looked very familiar. Yes, it was Abe Foxman. Piper, who has exhaustively researched and written about ADL, started walking toward him, saying, "Hey, I know you -- you're Abe Foxman!" Foxman, doubtless recognizing Piper, turned and started walking briskly away and then fled.
This is the man who brings Christians/conservatives to silence and submission by threatening to label them anti-Semitic. He did this to Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, several weeks ago. Land had transgressed ADL's ban on using any Nazi terminology to describe the pro-abortion provisions of the healthcare reform bill. Confronted by Foxman, Land was utterly intimidated, vowing, according to ADL, that from then on ADL can always count him "on board" their "tolerance" social agenda. Dr. Land should know this includes promotion of homosexuality, abortion, pornography, and hate laws. (See ADL Welcomes Christian Leader's Apology For Insensitive Remarks On Healthcare Debate)
Yet, as Piper's encounter reveals, Foxman showed himself a coward, one who can't face an eminent critic on the street corner or, as Sprayregen alleges, even criticism from his own staff. That is part of the reason he and ADL tirelessly promote hate laws which ban criticism of homosexuals, Muslims, and Jews. Above everything else, ADL abhors criticism of itself.
Foxman and the ADL need to be identified, exposed, and shamed in order to deflate their persona from the gargantuan proportions and reputation they have falsely attained over the past century. Foxman is like a phobia: If you run from it, it only attains credibility, becoming a giant in hot pursuit. But if you relax, turn around and mockingly defy it, it will dissipate. In the same way Foxman, the terror of the religious right, will shrink to nothing more than a mouse squeaking in the corner.
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Cartoon Exposes “Hate Crimes” Law Insanity

A Mallard Fillmore cartoon has caused political controversy among the politically correct, so much so that one of the cartoons’ syndicated publications, Newsday, issued an apology. After all, a large newspaper in America has an obligation to censor anything that challenges the orthodoxies of our times. We can’t have anything in our papers that make us think! To quote Newsday:

Newsday issued a statement saying, “we expect the cartoons we publish, many of which are nationally syndicated, to amuse, stir and entertain, but never to offend. Hate crime is a serious issue. This nationally syndicated cartoon should never have run and we have expressed our concern to the syndicator.”

The cartoon simply makes the point that the idea of classifying crimes as “hate crimes” is ridiculous, for indeed, aren’t all violent crimes, “hate crimes?” Isn’t most murder or assault motivated by “hate.” In the cartoon, the prehistoric victim of the appetite of a Tyrannosaurus Rex feels relief because he will be eaten not because he is certain breed of dinosaur. Of course, a “crime is a crime is a crime” and when one makes certain kinds of thoughts more punishable for the same crime, such laws lead to the Orwellian concept of “thought crimes” and a slippery slope that leads to suppression of our most basic rights. In a way, the words of Newsday show exactly where the concept of “hate crimes” leads, even to a suppressing a cartoon that simply offers a differing opinion.

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UNEP Power Grab Planned For Copenhagen?

For those who have gotten used to watching the Internationalists pushing for limitless power to be vested in the United Nations, the following observation should not be much of a stunner: The upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is about power — and we’re not talking about the voltage.

A report at (“Document Reveals U.N.’s Goal of Becoming Rule-Maker in Global Environmental Talks”) profiles a curious paper — "The UNEP That We Want" — which was drafted two years ago to offer guidance to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) following high-level discussions which included individuals who are highly placed within that organization.

According to

The purpose of the paper, put together after an unpublicized day-long session in Switzerland by some of the world's top environmental bureaucrats: to argue for a new and unprecedented effort to move environmental concerns to "the center of political and economic decision-making" around the world — and perhaps not coincidentally, expand the influence and reach of UNEP at the tables of world power, as a rule-maker and potential supervisor of the New Environmental Order.

The positions argued in that paper now appear to be much closer at hand; many of them are embedded in a four-year strategy document for UNEP taking effect next year, in the immediate wake of the much-touted, 11-day Copenhagen conference on "climate change," which starts on Dec. 7, and which is intended to push environmental concerns to a new crescendo.

The major difference is that the four-year UNEP plan expresses its aims in the carefully soporific language that U.N. organizations customarily use to swaddle their objectives. The Swiss document makes its case passionately — and more important, plainly — than any U.N. official document ever would.

In fact, it is hard to overstate the “passionate” nature of the document when it comes to pressing for an extremely radical UNEP agenda. To quote directly from “The UNEP That We Want”:

UNEP has an important—indeed a critical—message, but it is delivering it in the wrong language to the wrong audience. It is attached to the wrong narrative. It will never position itself to do what is needed until it finds the right language and narrative. The force of this message cannot be over-emphasized. UNEP’s success depends on getting this right.

The environment should compete with religion as the only compelling, value-based narrative available to humanity. To do that, however, it will have to make itself relevant well beyond the world of those already concerned with the environment, including very prominently its own formal constituency. Indeed, unless UNEP succeeds in recasting the debate, it is highly likely that the economic community will do it—badly, and on its own terms. It is already happening in the field of climate change.

Thus, according to such recommendations, it would appear that the role envisioned for the UNEP is to become the priesthood of a cult of Gaia. “The environment should compete with religion as the only compelling, value-based narrative available to humanity”? This sort of foolishness would appear to cast the UNEP in the role of waging war against competing faiths. Despite the silly use of buzzwords such as “narrative” (one of those ridiculous post-modern terms which implicitly proclaims that it’s not the facts that matter, but the story you make from them), it appears to this writer that what is being advocating is ‘spinning’ the UNEP message in pseudo-religious phraseology to mask an aggressive ideological agenda which in certain key elements can be reduced to a redistributionist agenda.

Again, to cite “The UNEP That We Want”:

Influencing economic policy means messaging in its language, and stating the case in terms that carry with the economic policy community and the business community that it serves. We believe that the environment argument should be recast in terms of its importance for and potential contribution to Prosperity, Stability and Equity. ...

And Equity is a precondition of both Stability and Prosperity. Unless we greatly increase equity, neither of the other two is an option. Equity is a better way to approach the North-South agenda, the poverty agenda, and the production/consumption agenda than the traditional one. Politically, it carries better than development. UNEP needs to restructure its narrative around these three objectives, relating each of these three goals back to its core areas of competence.

The change of ‘narrative’ identified by Halle has obviously been implemented throughout the push for the redistributionist scheme planned for Copenhagen. Call it “equity” because “Politically, it carries better than development”? The “development” spin has ‘played out’; time to switch codewords. But in the end, it all boils down to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s plans for a massive — at least $100 billion per year — redistribution of wealth from the First World to the Third World. reports that despite the high profile attendees at the meeting which preceded the writing of “The UNEP That We Want,” the author of the document is claiming sole responsibility for the text.

Another important attendee was John Scanlon, listed on UNEP's website as principal advisor to UNEP's Steiner. Among other things, Scanlon is credited in his UNEP biography with being the leader in developing UNEP's new medium-term strategy, "Environment for Development," covering the period from 2010 to 2013. The draft version of the strategy was presented to a UNEP's Governing Council and a meeting of the world's environmental minister's in February 2008, and subsequently approved.

The Swiss paper was written not by Scanlon but by Mark Halle, the Europe-based director of trade and investment for an influential environmental think-tank, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), which originated in Canada and now operates in some 30 countries. IISD, which still has heavy Canadian government support, bills itself as a research institute promoting policies that are "simultaneously beneficial to the global economy, the global environment and to social well-being."

Even though all of the Swiss participants took part in the brainstorming, the responsibility for the ideas in the paper are his own, Halle emphasized to Fox News, after he was contacted last week about the document. The paper itself says it offers "elements," not a "complete offering," of what UNEP should consider for its role in the years ahead.

Nevertheless, the “equity narrative” has certainly become an important element of the ideological framework leading up to the Copenhagen Conference. For example, at the twelfth conference of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) (“Global Governance for Sustainable Development”) Chengxin Chen of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in the People’s Republic of China presented a paper, “UNEP Institutional Reform With Its Impact on Developing Countries” setting forth the same “equity narrative” advocated by Halle.

The fact is that UNEP does not have and in all likelihood never will have the resources to make much of an impact on the ground through direct, country-level activities. There are better ways to serve its constituency of developing countries. One thing that can be done is to change the narrative, moving away from the “poverty” agenda with its negative connotations to a “prosperity and equity” agenda. This new approach would focus the agenda both on the environmental underpinnings of prosperity and the search for it, and on the patterns of consumption and production that underlie this prosperity. It would help focus the world community on the root causes of environmental stress, on the extraordinary, equity-denying affluence in some parts of the world, and on the consumption patterns on which that affluence depends and which make sustainability hard to reach.

The identification of so-called “developing countries” as the UNEP’s “constituency” is interesting; apparently, the United Nations Environment Programme’s “constituency” does not include the developed world despite the fact that it would claim authority over the whole world. What a surprise.

Thus we return to the point where we began: The Copenhagen Conference is about power — power to be given to the Internationalists which apparently may even use the trappings of Gaia worship if that’s what it takes to force out all competing world views.

Source: The John Birch Society

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Romanian Constitutional Court decision against data retention

The decision of the Romanian Constitutional Court (CCR) against the data retention law was finally published in the Official Monitor on 23 November 2009.

The motivation of the court, which was made public only with a few days before its publication in the Official Monitor, shows an interesting argument from a Court with no prior jurisprudence in the field of privacy protection. Thus, the court not only criticizes several aspects of the text of the law, but declares the whole law as unconstitutional because it breaches the right to corespondence and to privacy.

Even though only several articles were mentioned in the motion of unconstitutionality, the Court went further and examined art 20 of the law that could have been interpreted as an open door for the secret services to access the retain data under any circumstances and without a judicial approval, an issue that was raised by EDRi-member APTI starting with the public consultations in 2007.

CCR notes that the principle of limited collection of personal data is emptied through this new regulation that obliges a continuos retention of traffic data for 6 month."The legal obligation that foresees the continuous retention of personal data transforms though the exception from the principle of effective protection of privacy right and freedom of expression, into an absolute rule. The right appears as being regulated in a negative manner, its positive role losing its prevailing character."

CCR also makes a comparison with article 91^1 of the Penal Procedure Court (CPP) dealing with audio and video interceptions in crime cases, that was considered constitutional in an earlier ruling. The text of the CPP allows the video interception only in a specific case and person, only with judicial supervision, only for the future and for a period that may not exceed 120 days under any circumstances . The Court concludes that basically, this data retention law deletes the right to privacy in terms of electronic communications: "Therefore, the regulation of a positive obligation that foresees the continuous limitation of the privacy right and secrecy of correspondence makes the essence of the right disappear by removing the safeguards regarding its execution."

The court is underlining the fact, already pointed out by European civil organizations even during the adoption of the data retention directive, that the law considers all citizens as potential criminals: "This (data retention) equally addresses all the law subjects, regardless of whether they have committed penal crimes or not or whether they are the subject of a penal investigation or not, which is likely to overturn the presumption of innocence and to transform a priori all users of electronic communication services or public communication networks into people susceptible of committing terrorism crimes or other serious crimes."

Finally, the court quotes the ECHR case of Klass and others vs Germany (1978) considering that "taking surveillance measures without adequate and sufficient safeguards can lead to 'destroying democracy on the ground of defending it .'"

According to art 147 of the Romanian Constitution, the legal provisions on data retention are now suspended. The Government and Parliament have 45 days to "fix" the unconstitutional provisions. But taking into consideration the CCR reasoning, there are little chances that any text that would ask for a six month blanket data retention would be considered as constitutional in Romania. Moreover, there is currently only an interim government and a new one is unlikely to appear in the next weeks (at least not until the second round of presidential election, which is scheduled for 6 December).

Constitutional Court Decision no 1258 of 8 October 2009 (unofficial English translation, 23.11.2009)

Constitutional Court Decision no 1258 of 8 October 2009 (only in Romanian, 23.11.2009)

APTI's comments on draft data retention law (only in Romanian, 9.05.2007)

Romania: Data retention law declared unconstitutional (21.10.2009)

Art 147 of the Romanian Constitution

Source: European Digital Rights

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Spanish court revokes its decision to shut down P2P-related sites

A preliminary shut down decision against two P2P file-sharing link sites has been recently overturned by a Spanish court which also fined the anti-piracy group involved in the case.

Two eD2K file-sharing link sites known as Elitelmula and Etmusica were shut down by court order in April 2009 on the basis of an action of by anti-piracy group SGAE. Shortly after, Juan Jose Carrasco Colonel, who ran the two sites, received a visit from a lawyer and a computer expert of SGAE who, under false pretences of coming from the court with a warrant, entered his home and inspected his computers and hard drives to find proofs of music downloads through the two sites between September and December 2007.

The two lawyers of the sites succeeded in convincing the court that the hard drive evidence collected during the controversial raid was worthless and therefore the evidence was dismissed and both sites can now be reopened.

"The reason for reopening the websites is that a hyperlink, per se, does not violate intellectual property law," said Javier de la Cueva, one of the lawyers, who explained that the dismissal of the hard drive evidence was due to having proved that it was impossible for the site's users' sharing statistics to be stored in it.

He also pointed out that SGAE requested injunctions against Etmusic and Elitemula without summoning their client. "When this happens and injunctions are adopted, the defendant should have the opportunity of opposition, and this is what we have won," he said.

Furthermore, the court fined SGEA with 500 euros for bad faith ("mala fides") concluding the group had acted on the intention to avoid the right to a defence of the defendants and for having failed to tell the court that earlier criminal proceedings brought by Promusicae to achieve preliminary injunctions against both sites, had already been dismissed.

P2P Sites' Injunctions Overturned, Anti-Piracy Group Fined (24.11.2009)

Spain: the judges fining an anti-piracy group guided by SGAE. (only in Spanish, 25.11.2009)

The Judge orders the reopening of the two p2p sites and fines SGAE for mala fides in its request for closing down (only in Spanish, 22.11.2009)

Source: Euopean Digital Rights

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Czech Big Brother Awards 2009

The results of the fifth annual Big Brother Awards were announced at a festive evening in Prague's Theatre Na Pradle on 12 November 2009. A jury of experts chose from almost 80 nominations entered by the public.

Among those awarded are the Czech Ministry of Schools, Youth and Sports for gathering information about pupils and students, Nokia company for its efforts to legalize snooping in its employees' email communication, the social networking site Facebook for its inconsistent approach to user privacy protection, the Czech Ministry of Health, the State Institute for Drug Control and National Health Registries, or the French "HADOPI law", nicknamed the "electronic guillotine".

The "Statement of the year" went to the General Manager of the state-owned lottery operator Sazka, for demanding that slot-machines be equipped with ID scanners. He thinks this would prevent people who receive social benefits from gambling. "It is a question of a greater control or an increase in gambling," says Mr. Ales Husak. The positive prize was awarded to the citizens of Iran for boycotting telephones manufactured by Nokia Siemens, because a telecommunication surveillance system was sold by this company to the Government of Iran.

The first ceremony in the Czech Republic took place in 2005. Similarly to previous years there are eight categories - Longterm Violation of Human Privacy (for companies and public organizations), Biggest Corporate Snoop (for companies), Biggest Government Agency Snoop (for government organizations), Dangerous New Technology, Big Brother Law, Snoop Among Nations, Statement of a Big Brother and finally the positive award for Achievements in Protecting Privacy. The Czech Awards are held by the EDRi-member Iuridicum Remedium.

Big Brother Awards 2009 (only in Czech)

Czech Big Brother awards press release in English (12.11.2009)

Source: European Digital Rights

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Tell the Department of Energy to sanction, not award, Motorola Israel

Stop your tax dollars from subsidizing Motorola Israel!

Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it will award $900,000 to Motorola Israel and SmartSynch for a joint project to develop an energy grid management system. The Department of Energy should not be rewarding Motorola Israel with this contract; instead it should be sanctioning Motorola for supporting Israel's illegal settlements. Click here to send a message to the Department of Energy telling them to end their relationship with Motorola Israel.

Motorola "virtual fences" are used to support dozens of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but this isn't the only support that Motorola offers Israel's occupation. Up until last April, Motorola also provided fuzes for Israel's MK80 series of bombs. These bombs were used against civilians in Israel's 2006 war on Lebanon and again during last winter's assault on the Gaza Strip. Moto's new advertisements for the "Droid" phone come startlingly close to showing this side of Motorola's business. The commercial shows stealth bombers blasting Droid phones to unsuspecting fishermen, farmers, and motorists.

Click here to email the Department of Energy about their new contract with Motorola Israel.

Click here to view Motorola's outrageous new "Droid" phone commercial.

Click here to receive resources for organizing the Hang Up On Motorola boycott in your community.

We couldn't let this opportunity to raise awareness of Moto's activities in Israel/Palestine slip by, so we're creating our own video that shows the truth left out by Motorola's ad. Subscribe to our Youtube channel to be the first to see our video, or just wait to see it in a future email.

While our video shows the results of Motorola's collaboration with the Israeli military on operations in the Gaza Strip, it doesn't tell the whole story. The encrypted mobile phones that Motorola provides the Israeli military also enable Israel's regime of over 600 checkpoints in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Motorola "virtual fences" in Hebron facilitate settler violence against Palestinians. Many transmission towers for Motorola Israel's subsidiary MIRS communications are built on privately- owned Palestinian land confiscated to make communication easier for settlers living illegally in the West Bank. Tell the Department of Energy that they shouldn't be rewarding Moto's lawlessness in Palestine/Israel. Send them an email by clicking here.

Photo shows the Jawazat Police Academy, which was bombed by Israel during "Operation Cast Lead." The bomb, which was equipped with a Motorola fuze fell during a graduation ceremony for new police cadets, killing 300 civilians.

Homeland Security or Homeland Enslavement?

By now, most readers are familiar with the story of how a Virginia couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, crashed the White House State Dinner last Tuesday evening. President and Mrs. Obama were entertaining Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the first official State Dinner of the new administration. The Salahis were not on the invited guest list, but were still allowed to walk right into the White House. They even had face-to-face conversations with both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Photographs of the Salahis with the President and Vice President have been published in numerous newspapers and on hundreds of web sites.

I wonder if the American people are thinking this episode through? Think of it: in the post-9/11 world, a world that has invented the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), body scanners, retina readers, the Patriot Act, hundreds of laws and regulations restricting the freedoms and liberties of the American people, thousands of cameras photographing our public movements, and satellite spy devices, a couple can walk right into the White House and meet the President and Vice President without being invited!

Is there something wrong with this picture, or what?

I well remember what I had to go through when I was an invited guest of then-Vice President George H. W. Bush at the White House. My wife and I joined several others for a luncheon with Vice President Bush and his wife, Barbara. Later that day, we were in a crowd of several hundred who got to meet President Ronald Reagan. Needless to say, security was tight.

Upon arriving, we had to show the proper credentials to White House security, along with a photo ID and the personal invitation that had been sent to us ahead of time. I remember how some of the folks who had actually received invitations were denied entrance due to bureaucratic mix-ups or unintentional lapses in proper protocols. And these were people who really did have an invitation to be there. I can tell you this: there was absolutely no way that an uninvited person could have gained access to the White House that day. And remember: that was nearly two decades BEFORE 9/11!

That an uninvited couple could be granted access to the President and Vice President in this day and time is more than a "fluke." It betrays something much deeper.

For the last 8 years, the American people have been told they must sacrifice certain liberties in order that the federal government might protect them. And for the most part, the American people have been happy to accommodate this incessant intrusion into their personal liberties. They know the feds are monitoring their emails, personal phone conversations, and even their personal letters when received from overseas. They have sat silently as their banking institutions have monitored and reported virtually any and all financial transactions to the federal government. In today's super-security world, one cannot even cash a check without showing the bank teller his or her driver's license, which is recorded and made available to the feds. Sometimes, we are even required to provide our thumbprints. Beyond that, even certain service personnel that must come into our homes to provide in-home repair services, home inspections, or general services are often required to report what they see to various law enforcement authorities. All of this is done in the name of "national security."

All the while, America's federal buildings today more resemble castles of ancient Europe than they do buildings that house the people's servants. Concrete barriers along with super-reinforced, "bomb proof" structures remind one of castles of old, with their guard towers and crocodile-filled moats. Today, people must walk through metal-detectors and surrender their pocketknives to even visit their local supervisor of elections office (or just about any other public office, for that matter). Again, this is all done under the rubric of "homeland security."

In the name of "national security," veterans who have been accused of some kind of domestic disturbance or who have affirmatively answered an ambiguous question on a VA form regarding whether they have feelings of "anger" or "depression" are having their right to keep and bear arms stripped away. That's right, in the name of "homeland security," some of the very men who were entrusted with lethal weapons to fight America's wars are now being told they are not fit to purchase or possess their own firearms.

Yet, in spite of all of the above, an uninvited couple is allowed to calmly walk right past Secret Service personnel and have personal audiences with the President and Vice President of the United States in what is ostensibly the most heavily-guarded, tightly secured building in the country: the White House.

Furthermore, this story comes on the heels of the mass shooting on what one would think would be a rather secure location: the US Army base at Fort Hood, Texas. And, have we forgotten the fellow who brought a gun into the Capitol Building (the home of the US Congress) in Washington, D.C., a few years ago and killed two police officers?

Dear Reader, ask yourself this question, Do you really think those schmucks in Washington, D.C., actually believe that protecting you and me is more important than protecting American soldiers, US congressmen, and especially the President of the United States? "Are you serious?" (To quote Nancy Pelosi.) The truth is, to the elites in DC, you and I are expendable commodities. In fact, to some of the soulless creatures running things, you and I are worth more dead than alive (but that's a topic better discussed at a later date).

The point is, all this talk about "national security" is simply a ruse for Big Government elitists to steal our liberties and make slaves out of us. They don't care about security; all they care about is POWER.

So, the next time you are required to be strip-searched by an airport screener, or to surrender your pocketknife at your local county commissioner's office, or to show your driver's license to your bank teller, or to submit to a random police checkpoint; the next time you make a phone call that you know is monitored by a federal agent (and they all are), or drive under a video camera, or visit these castle-esque federal buildings, remember Michaele and Tareq Salahi. And, if you are old enough, remember the time in America when we really were the "land of the free." And also remember that it's not security they seek--it's the abolition of our liberty.

Source: Campaign For Liberty

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The U.S. Government Is Taking Us Down

President Obama has decided to up the ante in Afghanistan by acceding to his generals' request to send an additional 34,000 troops to that beleaguered nation. What better proof that those of us who opposed the initial invasion of Afghanistan were right? The decision to treat the 9/11 attacks as a military problem, rather than a criminal-justice one, has turned out to be one unmitigated disaster, a disaster that seemingly has no end.

After all, the occupation has now been going on for 8 years. Eight years of bombs, shootings, killing, maiming, secret prisons, arbitrary arrests, torture, indefinite incarcerations, and unrestrained power to search and seize.

And eight years of unrestrained spending on armaments, soldiers, and weaponry.

Where has it gotten the American people? Nothing but more anger and rage against them among Muslims all over the world, not to mention an ever-increasing mountain of debt that is sure to send America's currency into a free-fall.

What will those additional troops do? They will kill and maim and incarcerate and torture people. That's their job. Sure, they'll call it pacifying the country, establishing law and order, spreading democracy, and waging the war on terrorism.

Yet, as they kill, maim, torture, and incarcerate more Afghanis, at the same time they will be producing more anger and rage against the United States among friends, relatives, and countrymen of the victims.

Moreover, since the victims in Afghanistan are predominantly Muslim, it is inevitable that Muslims all over the world will continue to perceive the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan (and Iraq) as a U.S. crusade against Islam. Denials by U.S. officials will continue to fall upon deaf ears within the Muslim community. With each new death at the hands of U.S. military personnel, the ranks of the terrorists will continue to swell, not just in Afghanistan but all over the world.

What began as an attempt to capture or kill Osama bin Laden has morphed into an involvement in a civil war. Those 34,000 troops aren't being sent to Afghanistan to find bin Laden. They're being sent there to kill people whose regime was ousted from power eight years ago and to maintain a crooked, corrupt, fraudulent, drug-pushing U.S. puppet regime in power.

We should also bear in mind that among the Afghanis who U.S. officials term "bad guys" are those Afghanis who simply are resisting the illegal occupation of their country by a foreign invader and occupier. There is a moral and just alternative to killing such people: Simply exit the country.

In fact, it would be interesting to know what percentage of Afghanis killed by the U.S. military during the past 8 years, including those wedding parties that are bombed from time to time, had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks. My hunch: 99.99 percent of the total number of Afghanis killed had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Of course, we don't know how many Afghanis have been killed because U.S. policy is to keep track only of Western casualties.

On top of all this is a simple financial fact: the longer the U.S. government occupies Afghanistan (and Iraq), the closer to national bankruptcy America comes. The additional troops are estimated to cost more than a billion dollars. That inevitably means two or three billion.

Yet, where is all that money coming from? We all know that ever since 9/11, U.S. officials have been spending much more than what the IRS is seizing from the taxpayers. To avoid taxpayer ire, they've been borrowing the difference, especially from the communist regime in China, which has become the U.S. government's chief foreign lender.

The pro-empire, pro-intervention crowd is taking our country down. Today, they tell us that they're trapped -- that they have no choice -- that in order to achieve "success," they have to continue doing the same thing they've done for the past 8 years. If that's not insane, what is?

America need not fear the terrorists or even a foreign invasion. The U.S. government is doing a fine job taking down our country all on its own.

Source: Campaign For Liberty

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Climate Change Dogma and World Government

As a physician and as one that has conducted research and published in peer-reviewed journals, I am intimately connected to the scientific world and the scientific process. The scientific process requires a complete objectivity, a complete reliance on the data. It does not rely on what politicians think, or what the supposed majority of other scientists believe, or even upon what was thought to be proven in the past. It requires continual scrutiny and a stubborn willingness to be critical of everything proven and unproven. At times this stubborn willingness to continually analyze and reanalyze established beliefs places the scientific world in disarray as new beliefs replace old. What marks someone as a true scientist is a willingness to let go of previously held beliefs when the facts turn in another direction, even at the expense of one's established research, reputation, and tenure.

A scientific dictatorship occurs when this willingness to follow the data is disregarded and replaced with political correctness, consensus, economic motives, or personal hopes and aspirations. This dictatorship which attempts to suppress alternative viewpoints or theories is merely an attempt to make a scientist's own selfish view preeminent at the expense of the scientific process and sometimes the truth. Inevitably, this dictatorship uses tactics like vilification, name calling, discrimination, and sometimes even threats of physical incarceration or violence in order to enforce the accepted dogma.

There are no greater examples of this than the ordeal of scientists that challenged the belief that the earth was flat and the center of the universe. The scientists that challenged the existing scientific aristocracy or dictatorship of the time were often incarcerated and even sometimes put to death. If true scientists like Copernicus and Galileo and their counterparts lived in a world filled with true followers of the scientific process they might have encountered some initial skepticism but would not have suffered like they did. True scientists would have evaluated the evidence that they presented and quickly have come to the same conclusion themselves. The fact that this didn't happen was evidence of an over-arching scientific dogma or dictatorship at that time. Their theories threatened the position, theories, and power of the existing scientific elite of their day.

The same type of scientific dogma or dictatorship exists in the world today. There are many examples of modern scientists that have challenged the accepted scientific dogma. Oftentimes, they have had to surmount tremendous obstacles and go to great lengths to prove they were right.

It was only twenty years ago that two Australian scientists, Robin Warren and Barry Marshall implicated a bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, as the causative agent in many intestinal ulcers. Prior to 1982, the predominant theory for the cause of ulcers was overproduction of stomach acid. The prevailing wisdom of the time was that if only stomach acid could be reduced then ulcers could be controlled. Of course, this would lead to lifelong treatments for acid suppression. When these two scientists proposed a simple bacterium as the cause, which could be eradicated with a simple antibiotic cocktail, they were more than met with initial skepticism -- they were mocked and ridiculed. It was only because of tireless persistence on their part, which included ingesting the very causative organism in question and testing their hypothesis on themselves, that eventually the established dogma began to subside.

Along the same lines it is within the last twenty years the cyclo-oxygenase type 2 (COX-2) inhibitors like the infamous Vioxx were touted as the new anti-inflammatory medications for this generation. They would replace similar medications like Ibuprofen and Advil. When evidence surfaced that these medications may be causing increased incidences of heart attacks and deaths, they were forced off the market. Unfortunately, because the company and its scientists had great reputations, profits, and careers at stake it may have taken 3 years after the associations with heart attacks were discovered before the drug was removed from the market. It is not clear how many people have suffered the ultimate consequence for scientists letting ulterior motives cloud scientific purity.

This brings to me to the most important issue of our day -- the debate over whether climate change is related to man-made green house gases or if it is related to natural processes such as sun-spot cycles. While it is not the purpose of this article to discuss the science around this discussion in detail, what can be illuminated is the presence of a dogmatic scientific bureaucratic dictatorship that has one particular view in mind at the expense of all others. This view contends that mankind is responsible for global warming, the inevitable consequence of which will be a collapse of the earth's vital ecosystems. In order to stop man and the collapse of the earth, the global scientific and political dictatorship would have the first world nations dramatically reduce their production of green-house gases. This will be accomplished by the cap-and-trade system, which would de-industrialize, depopulate, and subjugate the peoples of Europe and America and transfer their wealth to the third world and to the sponsors and ministers of the system.

As the EU President Herman Von Rompuy recently put it:

"2009 is also the first year of global governance, with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet."

It is clear from this statement that the climate agenda goes hand in hand with the plan for global governance. In fact, it may serve as the key stone to the foundation of just such a superstate. It is precisely because the globalists are using this issue as the means for attaining their long sought after dominion that the climate change debate is the most important issue of this generation.

What about the science that is being used as one of the stepping stones to global governance? Has global temperature really been increasing in lock-step with carbon-dioxide emissions?

Climate change skeptics have recently challenged the assumption of climate change fanatics by pointing out that the global temperature doesn't appear to have continued to rise over the past decade or more, despite a continued surge in carbon-dioxide emissions. In fact, the temperatures may have decreased slightly. Yet, this information has fallen on seemingly deaf ears in the climate community. Fortunately, the question was recently answered by the climatologist global warming alarmists themselves. In emails that were leaked from the bastion of climate activism, the climate research unit (CRU) of East Anglia University, are some really startling yet somehow expected revelations about the real data, propaganda, intimidation, and fraud perpetrated by the climate change scientific community.

In fact, in response to a recent skeptical article entitled "Whatever happened to Global Warming" by Paul Hudson, a BBC weatherman, one of the lead authors of the IPCC report commented within the private leaked emails:

"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."

In commenting about Hudson's piece, climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State University added:

"extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. its particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black's beat at BBC (and he does a great job). from what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office.

"We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be appropriate for the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what's up here?"

What is clear from the conservations in these emails is that not only is the science not settled but there was a systematic attempt by these scientists to keep any contrary viewpoints out of the media, published literature, and the political arena. Does this sound like people genuinely seeking after truth or just scientists trying to protect their own turf, reputations, and agenda - whatever the cost?

In another email, the director of the East Anglia climate center, Phil Jones, suggested that we:

"will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

This email highlights a very important but little understood point outside of academic circles. Central to life of an academic researcher is their ability to publish peer-reviewed papers in to the literature. Often times, the amount of published material they produce correlates with their ability to become tenured and to continue to receive grants. What is particularly disturbing about these emails is they demonstrate a willingness to destroy other people's lives by making it difficult for them to publish.

An example of this scientific shakedown by these supposed scientists occurs in email by Michael Mann that suggests destroying a journal that dared publish these alternative viewpoints. He writes:

"Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal."

In another of the emails, Tim Wigley says that pressure should be applied to a particular journal, Climate Research, to fall in line with the established climate change order. He writes that the publisher needed to be more concerned with how publishing alternative viewpoints, or as he puts it "misinformation," would be "perceived." He added: "whether it is true or not is not what the publishers care about -- it is how the journal is seen by the community that counts."

This scientific witch hunt is vaguely reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition. It is not about the truth of their ideas, it is about the opposition. If it takes destroying their opponents' careers in order to perpetuate their climate fraud, then they seem perfectly willing to do it. Another excerpt demonstrates this career-destroying intention of theirs. In a comment about James Saiers of the Geophysical Research Letters journal:

"If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted"

In response to these vicious attacks, one of the subjects of some of the emails, Pat Michaels, a climate scientist at the Cato Institute, said in response that: "This is what everyone feared. Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult for anyone who does not view global warming as an end-of-the-world issue to publish papers. This isn't questionable practice, this is unethical."

To add insult to injury these very same scientists also write about their attempts to fraudulently distort their own data so they can continue the charade. In another email by Phil Jones the truth about the agenda comes out. It turns out they are more worried about the climate agenda going forward than what their data actually shows. If they have to distort the data then they will do what it takes. He writes:

"In any case, if the sulfate hypothesis is right, then your prediction of warming might end up being wrong. I think we have been too readily explaining the slow changes over past decade as a result of variability -- that explanation is wearing thin. I would just suggest, as a backup to your prediction, that you also do some checking on the sulfate issue, just so you might have a quantified explanation in case the prediction is wrong. Otherwise, the Skeptics will be all over us -- the world is really cooling, the models are no good, etc. And all this just as the US is about ready to get serious on the issue."

In another email they write:

"I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

Here we sit on the verge of subjecting ourselves to the tyranny of global government in the name of protecting the planet. Now that the truth has been established and the hypocrisy and error revealed, let us press our congressman and senators before it is too late. In a matter of a couple weeks the most important conference of our lifetimes will convene in Copenhagen in order to decide our fate. I urge you with all the energies of my heart; let us pull down the global warming false idol worshippers and their climate dictatorship while we still have time.

Source: Campaign For Liberty

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EU to consider resolution recognizing East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

Sweden has introduced a resolution to the European Union to be considered next week in Brussels that would call for the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of any future Palestinian state. Israeli officials immediately condemned the proposal and said that it will harm negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian officials.

But Palestinians, who have little faith in 'negotiations' in which Palestinian rights are ignored, have welcomed the measure by the EU.

The move comes after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made the controversial statement that "united Jerusalem will always be the capital of Israel", effectively denying any claim by the indigenous Palestinian population to the city.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement that the measure should have included a recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli state.

The European Union would not comment on the proposal, as it is still in draft form and it is the body's policy not to comment unless all member countries are able to agree on a proposed measure.

Sweden did comment last week that it would be willing to recognize a Palestinian state if Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat were to go ahead with the declaration. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated, "We would be ready to recognize a Palestinian state but conditions are not there as of yet."

Source: Institute For Middle East Understanding
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The Peace Prize President sends a Christmas gift

And so, more 21-year-old Americans will not get to live out their 20's. Not because they're defending a homeland under siege or even in threat of danger, but due only to deceiving politicians, who are egged on by zealots whose warped sense of patriotism is tied to their love of war.

Here are some trenchant insights from David Lindorff in Holiday Greetings: President and Man-of-Peace Obama Has a Xmas Present for Afghanistan.
• • •


Merry Xmas Jarheads!! The Man of Peace, Nobel Laureate-to-be, President Barack Obama, your chickenhawk commander-in-chief, is shipping you out as a holiday gift to the people of Afghanistan.

You will be delivering bullets and bombs, with my name and the name of other American taxpayers on them, to the long-suffering people of Afghanistan by December 25, according to what Mr. Hope and Change’s told the nation in a speech delivered at West Point last night.

Back here in America, the land of the free and brave, come the holidays, we will be scraping together the cash to buy small gifts for our kids, hopefully without having to miss a rent payment or a mortgage payment. Fortunately, we’ve got Food Stamps, which are now, we are told, flooding the suburbs, and are “no longer a stigma,” so we won’t be hurting too much for Christmas dinner—though you still can’t use the stamps to buy eggnog.

It will be interesting to hear what your commanders tell you your mission is. The president is saying we need to keep Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, which he dishonestly called the "epicenter" of global terrorism, but from what I hear, there are no Al Qaeda operatives in the country. They all upped and left for greener pastures a long time ago—to places like Pakistan, Somalia, and maybe Europe and the USA. Hell, they can go anywhere. How do you spot an Al Qaeda guy anyhow? The fellows getting on the plane in Boston on 9-11 were clean-shaven and wore Brooks Brothers shirts, looking more like bond traders than bombers.

No, you will be targeting the Taliban. But the Taliban are Afghans, and look just like the people who are not Taliban, so what you’ll most likely be doing half the time or more is shooting up ordinary struggling Afghani peasants and shopkeepers, or members of weddings or funerals, whose angry relatives will then seek revenge by setting traps or ambushes for you. ...

You’ll be called “our heroes,” too. I’m not sure why. I mean, it takes a certain amount of guts just to sign up for an outfit like the Marines, I know (my dad volunteered to be a Marine in WWII). But I just find it hard to see what’s so heroic about being part of the best-armed, best-trained fighting force in the history of mankind and fighting a group of poor, uneducated peasants armed at best with AK rifles and home-made bombs—especially when you guys reportedly outnumber your enemy by better that 10:1, and have the backing of completely unchallenged air support—F-16s, helicopter gunships, fixed-wing gunships and B-1 bombers. That’s not a fight. It’s a slaughter. ...

So when you’re over there, try to kill as few of the poor Afghanis as you can. That would be a genuine act of heroism. Or just refuse to go. That would even be more heroic still.

Don’t believe your commander-in-chief when he says you are defending America over there. I’m confident that you’ll see pretty quickly once you get there that the notion that those poor people could be in any way a threat to this nation is beyond ludicrous.

No, what you’ll be defending is Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama’s scheme to look tough on defense, and to be able to kick the can of this ugly, pointless war down the road past the 2012 election without having to run as the "president who lost Afghanistan."

Source: Issues and Views
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UK cops still having problems with suspected terrorists carrying cameras

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which can only mean one thing. Terrorists are out to kill us.

No, I’m not talking about the usual suspects who wage War on Christmas by wishing everybody Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.

I’m talking about those brazen terrorists who strap digital cameras to their bodies and immerse themselves in crowded public places under the pretense that they are photographing Christmas lights.

Anybody with any sense knows that they will use those photos to … well, I don’t know … maybe do a before-and-after comparison once they bomb the place? Your guess is as good as mine.

But thanks to the sharp-eyed police officers of the United Kingdom, citizens can sleep well because those culprits are being weeded out one-by-one with the help of the new anti-terrorism law that turned all photographers into suspected terrorists.

The latest suspect is Andrew White, a 33-year-old man with a shaved head and goatee. And a camera. In other words, he fits the profile of a terrorist perfectly.

Police told the Daily Mail that he was stopped for “taking too many photographs in a busy shopping area.”

Source: Photography Is Not A Crime

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Bernie Sanders Puts Hold on Bernanke!

WASHINGTON, December 2 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today placed a hold on the nomination of Ben Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

“The American people overwhelmingly voted last year for a change in our national priorities to put the interests of ordinary people ahead of the greed of Wall Street and the wealthy few,” Sanders said. “What the American people did not bargain for was another four years for one of the key architects of the Bush economy.”

As head of the central bank since 2006, Bernanke could have demanded that Wall Street provide adequate credit to small and medium-sized businesses to create decent-paying jobs in a productive economy, but he did not.

He could have insisted that large bailed-out banks end the usurious practice of charging interest rates of 30 percent or more on credit cards, but he did not.

He could have broken up too-big-to-fail financial institutions that took Federal Reserve assistance, but he did not.

He could have revealed which banks took more than $2 trillion in taxpayer-backed secret loans, but he did not.

“The American people want a new direction on Wall Street and at the Fed. They do not want as chairman someone who has been part of the problem and who has been responsible for many of the enormous difficulties that we are now experiencing,” Sanders said. “It’s time for a change at the Fed.”

The Federal Reserve has four main responsibilities: to conduct monetary policy in a way that leads to maximum employment and stable prices; to maintain the safety and soundness of financial institutions; to contain systemic risk in financial markets; and to protect consumers against deceptive and unfair financial products.

Since Bernanke took over as Fed chairman in 2006, unemployment has more than doubled and, today, 17.5 percent of the American workforce is either unemployed or underemployed.

Not since the Great Depression has the financial system been as unsafe, unsound, and unstable as it has been during Mr. Bernanke’s tenure. More than 120 banks have failed since he became chairman.

Under Bernanke’s watch, the value of risky derivatives held at our nation’s top commercial banks grew from $110 trillion to more than $290 trillion, 95 percent of which are concentrated in just five financial institutions.

Bernanke failed to prevent banks from issuing deceptive and unfair financial products to consumers. Under his leadership, mortgage lenders were allowed to issue predatory loans they knew consumers could not afford to repay. This risky practice was allowed to continue long after the FBI warned in 2004 of an “epidemic” in mortgage fraud.

After the financial crisis hit, Bernanke’s response was to provide trillions of dollars in virtually zero-interest loans and other taxpayer assistance to some of the largest financial institutions in the world. Adding insult to injury, Bernanke refused to tell the American people the names of the institutions that received this handout or the terms involved.

“Mr. Bernanke has failed at all four core responsibilities of the Federal Reserve,” Sanders concluded. “It’s time for him to go.”

Source: Dandelion Salad

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