Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration. By Victoria Ward and Nick Collins
6:20AM GMT 18 Nov 2011
EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.
Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.
“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.
“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”
NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day.
The Department for Health disputed the wisdom of the new law. A spokesman said: “Of course water hydrates. While we support the EU in preventing false claims about products, we need to exercise common sense as far as possible."
German professors Dr Andreas Hahn and Dr Moritz Hagenmeyer, who advise food manufacturers on how to advertise their products, asked the European Commission if the claim could be made on labels.
They compiled what they assumed was an uncontroversial statement in order to test new laws which allow products to claim they can reduce the risk of disease, subject to EU approval.
They applied for the right to state that “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration” as well as preventing a decrease in performance.
However, last February, the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) refused to approve the statement.
A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.
Now the EFSA verdict has been turned into an EU directive which was issued on Wednesday.
Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the ruling made the “bendy banana law” look “positively sane”.
He said: “I had to read this four or five times before I believed it. It is a perfect example of what Brussels does best. Spend three years, with 20 separate pieces of correspondence before summoning 21 professors to Parma where they decide with great solemnity that drinking water cannot be sold as a way to combat dehydration.
“Then they make this judgment law and make it clear that if anybody dares sell water claiming that it is effective against dehydration they could get into serious legal bother.
EU regulations, which aim to uphold food standards across member states, are frequently criticised.
Rules banning bent bananas and curved cucumbers were scrapped in 2008 after causing international ridicule.
Prof Hahn, from the Institute for Food Science and Human Nutrition at Hanover Leibniz University, said the European Commission had made another mistake with its latest ruling.
“What is our reaction to the outcome? Let us put it this way: We are neither surprised nor delighted.
“The European Commission is wrong; it should have authorised the claim. That should be more than clear to anyone who has consumed water in the past, and who has not? We fear there is something wrong in the state of Europe.”
Prof Brian Ratcliffe, spokesman for the Nutrition Society, said dehydration was usually caused by a clinical condition and that one could remain adequately hydrated without drinking water.
He said: “The EU is saying that this does not reduce the risk of dehydration and that is correct.
“This claim is trying to imply that there is something special about bottled water which is not a reasonable claim.”
Well, that's good to know that they won't be turning this into a politicized affair. Maybe they should consider postponing it a little more to give time for better scriptwriting research. In any case, it's a project that should definitely go ahead for the subject matter, which is very important.
Now, onto the main subject: this past week, comics writing veteran Frank Miller, who took the bold path of writing Holy Terror, spoke out against the Occupy hoodlums on his site. His statement included:
Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy.
Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism.
And this enemy of mine — not of yours, apparently - must be getting a dark chuckle, if not an outright horselaugh - out of your vain, childish, self-destructive spectacle.
He may have a point there. Why wouldn't a jihadist get a kick out of seeing such vulgar monsters causing everyone such disturbing problems as they have, and the news in the 2 above videos is just the tip of the iceberg?
Soon after he made that statement, the very same leftists who never cared what non-comics subject say, Peter David ever spoke about, attacked him in some way or other. But the only mistake Miller may have made is that he didn't provide any links to videos or news articles like what I've posted, though if he had, would they have said anything? It's probably yes and no.
Following this very galling reaction on the left, I've decided to draw up a list of as many leftist contributors to comics news sites I can find who are writing themselves down in disgrace and shame for acting as though Miller's condemnation has no base.
For example, there's leftist AOL's Comics Alliance and its head honcho, Laura Hudson: she spoke about how Mark Millar, though a leftist who sees nothing wrong with the OWS, was willing to come to Miller's defense. Unfortunately, not only does she call Miller's statement a "screed", when there just happens to be evidence to support what he's offended by, she also says:
Apologism is a common reaction, or tactic, by the supporters of great men and women whose profound personal flaws or misdeeds have been exposed, and an understandable one. It's difficult to watch your heroes fall, especially by their own hand. But let's get real: the problem here is Miller and the things he has said and done, not the fact that other people have failed to protect him from the consequences of his very public and deliberate actions.
Millar's defense confuses the symptom with the disease, and the sadness of seeing a very gifted creator's reputation dragged through the mud with the even sadder truth: that he did it to himself, and that it has made many people realize he is not the man they thought he was.
In other words, Hudson is blaming the victim, not anybody who may be reacting offensively to his statement like herself, nor is she willing to recognize the nihilism the Occupy movement is allowing.
And what's this about realization? That depends. Miller, for better or worse, was once pretty leftist himself; that's hardly a secret, and he wrote at least one Batman story in the late 1980s that contained a swipe at Ronald Reagan. He also did some of the scripting for the Robocop sequels, a movie series which, as Paul Verhoeven later claimed, were meant as anti-capitalist assaults. And if it matters, it's not like his recent work is anything to write home about. But he's right if anything, that the Occupy movement for example, is a most utterly destructive one, and the Islamic religion is built uponvery grisly concepts.
Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, a supporter of the Occupy movement or a critic, it's hard to read Miller's comments and not feel let down. These aren't thoughtful critiques; they're crude, verbally abusive expressions of rage that lash out wildly at his perceived enemies: Muslims, liberals, protesters, and strangely, the people he believes "live in [their] mommas' basements" playing "Lords of Warcraft."
Boy, look who's playing sainthood here and acting as though the Religion of Rape itself hasn't a thing wrong with it. Let us be clear: Miller isn't perfect, and he can make mistakes. So too in fact can I. It's all part of being human. Too bad Hudson's too holier-than-thou to admit the same, and would rather exploit Miller's weaknesses - and ours - instead of check to see if there's any backing for them.
Saying that the negative reactions or personal choices of readers somehow amount to "silencing" Miller not only fundamentally misunderstands the principle of free speech, it attempts to delegitimize critics who exercise their right to express themselves by portraying them as authoritarian censors rather than opinionated individuals. Disagreeing with someone -- no matter how sharply -- isn't censorship; it is itself free speech. And free speech isn't always nice. But then, Miller should know that better than anyone else.
So should jihadists, the Occupiers and even Hudson herself, but alas...
Hudson once wrote an item where she panned DC's abominable Identity Crisis, which trivializes rape, naming it one of the worst comics of the past decade. After her distasteful attack on Miller, however, I'm no longer convinced she really meant what she said if she's going to turn her back, selectively or otherwise, on women who were victimized at a left-wing movement.
Another moonbat voicing negativity to Miller is none other than our old friend Andy Khouri, who once signaled hostility to Israel and admitted he doesn't know squat about Arabic. He does this by writing about webcomics published by other galling cartoonists in response to Miller. I hope little Mr. Khouri is still reading the creations of my Jewish bloodbrothers and making a joke out of himself; it only makes him all the more funny.
Then, there's Chris Sims, who goes out of his way to say that Miller was always a cranky old man, but never considers that maybe some of that crankiness derived from leftist politics? And since Sims has been only so kind as to oblige, in response to his earlier act of foolishness, is this what he doesn't think exists?
Then, there's CBR's Kevin Melrose. As I recall, he once implied that I "manufactured" the news, and now he's going along calling Miller a liar too, I notice, and declaring his statement a "tirade". I feel sorry for Melrose. Like Hudson and a few others, he too is turning a deaf ear and a blind eye at women and others who were assaulted and raped and had their businesses damaged by those hoodlums the protests were drawing, mainly because the "organizers" would not act responsibly or recognize how their ideologies create golems. Why, he's even ignoring how their anti-capitalist platform is practically hostile even to people like Stan Lee and the late Julius Schwartz, who made it big and it was no crime to do so. (Update: and since Lee and Schwartz are both Jewish, I think that's why the following article by Phyllis Chesler is also important to mention, because the anti-semitic incidents at OWS are as much an attack on them as any other person of Jewish descent.)
Although I’ve not seen the calls for boycotts, I’m sure they’re out there; the Internet is a greenhouse for boycotts and petitions. However, like so many other online protests, a movement against Miller’s body of work will fizzle, if it even gets off the ground. Readers outraged by the writer’s views about the Occupy movement likely weren’t ordering Holy Terror, tracking down 300 or counting the days until Xerxes. And few, if any, are going to stop reading or buying such seminal works as Batman: Year One or The Dark Knight Returns because, after a quarter-century, they conclude Miller is a crackpot whose views differ radically from their own. Odds are, both collections are already on their shelves anyway.
No, I don't suppose so. And maybe they won't stop reading Bill Willingham's Fables series either despite its fairly pro-Israel stance.
One more example who's not a comics news writer per se is moonbat Andrew Belonsky, whom I recall also once did me the flattering honor of attacking one of my posts about the Islamic propaganda in Batman and acting as though the character in itself is what we think is the problem, not the religion he's written going by. Belonsky says of Miller:
Many of Miller’s long-time readers are surprised and upset by his clear dismissal and disrespect for a populist movement.
Well gee, populism has long taken on a negative meaning, and the main thing wrong with the Occupy movement is how they show almost zero respect for anyone else. Since when aren't they accountable?
Bleeding Cool points to another comment reminding Miller that he once left mega-publishers like DC and Marvel to work with independent house Dark Horse, “Remember the Frank Miller who donated to groups that supported creator-owned companies? The guy who printed “Give ‘em an inch, they’ll take a Mile” in big bold letters on the back cover of one of his books? He was talking about CORPORATIONS, not big government. He was protesting corporations that exploit their workers.” Miller, who has made bank adapting his work into movies, has sold out.
Very funny, because big guv is just what a lot on the left embrace, whereas it's the right that's been trying to advocate the opposite. And he's still writing indie books even today, including Holy Terror. This dummy sure is nearsighted. (By the way, is he also attacking Miller's capitalizing on adaptations of his work and stuff like that and saying it was wrong of him to make money on even his comics? Tsk tsk.)
Could a team-up with Sarah Palin, Karl Rove and the Koch Bros. be far behind? Will our hero become like the fictional villain he created, super-soldier gone wrong, Nuke, seen below, or will he have a change of heart? And more immediately: will Batman, an Occupy ally, fight one of his most famous writers?
If a moonbat of a writer forces such a view upon him, unfortunately. This is a pure disgrace that Belonsky acts like Batman is a real person, which he sure ain't. What they just don't seem to recognize is how, since 9-11, Miller's changed in some ways if not all, and has offered some more positive viewpoints in that time.
Anyway, that's about all I can provide for now of how some leftists just simply don't have what it takes to avoid making a big deal out of when somebody decides to break ranks with their collective mindset. I'd suggest that Miller probably grew so disgusted with what people of his former mindset were advocating, he decided they're not people he should endeavor to please at all costs, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was well aware of what their reaction would be. If he knew the costs, then what we can say is that he's a very bold man to tell it like it is. And that's why he's to be admired, which is more than can be said for any of the clueless apologists for marxism in comics industry.
Pre revolution: CENSUS - one in three Americans — either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it
It doesn’t matter if you are conservative, libertarian, progressive, liberal or moderate, this kind of number about Americans should shrivel the scrotums and anuses of every politician because it means SYSTEM FAILURE.
Older, Suburban and Struggling, ‘Near Poor’ Startle the Census
By JASON DePARLE, ROBERT GEBELOFF and SABRINA TAVERNISE
WASHINGTON — They drive cars, but seldom new ones. They earn paychecks, but not big ones. Many own homes. Most pay taxes. Half are married, and nearly half live in the suburbs. None are poor, but many describe themselves as barely scraping by.
Down but not quite out, these Americans form a diverse group sometimes called “near poor” and sometimes simply overlooked — and a new count suggests they are far more numerous than previously understood.
When the Census Bureau this month released a new measure of poverty, meant to better count disposable income, it began altering the portrait of national need. Perhaps the most startling differences between the old measure and the new involves data the government has not yet published, showing 51 million people with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line. That number of Americans is 76 percent higher than the official account, published in September. All told, that places 100 million people — one in three Americans — either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it.
After a lost decade of flat wages and the worst downturn since the Great Depression, the findings can be thought of as putting numbers to the bleak national mood — quantifying the expressions of unease erupting in protests and political swings. They convey levels of economic stress sharply felt but until now hard to measure.
The Census Bureau, which published the poverty data two weeks ago, produced the analysis of those with somewhat higher income at the request of The New York Times. The size of the near-poor population took even the bureau’s number crunchers by surprise.
“These numbers are higher than we anticipated,” said Trudi J. Renwick, the bureau’s chief poverty statistician. “There are more people struggling than the official numbers show.”
Outside the bureau, skeptics of the new measure warned that the phrase “near poor” — a common term, but not one the government officially uses — may suggest more hardship than most families in this income level experience. A family of four can fall into this range, adjusted for regional living costs, with an income of up to $25,500 in rural North Dakota or $51,000 in Silicon Valley.
But most economists called the new measure better than the old, and many said the findings, while disturbing, comported with what was previously known about stagnant wages.
“It’s very consistent with everything we’ve been hearing in the last few years about families’ struggle, earnings not keeping up for the bottom half,” said Sheila Zedlewski, a researcher at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan economic and social research group.
This means that CEO and Board positions pay cannot be 200-500 times line workers, and commissions and bonuses for secured derivatives cannot be paid at sale, but OVER MATURATION. It means govt stimulation of funds cannot be sprayed about as some political palliative to shut up the masses. It means stock and financial performance based upon measures not directly related to profit making sales CANNOT be the measure of success. It means govt funds must be to BACK UP american businesses engaged in research and engineering, NOT production. It means American success is in the people who produce and service STUFF, not just think up and design for production in Shenzen, Tolucca and Djakarta. It means govt must ACT THAT WAY or GO.
That is the bitter and unavoidable reality.
Delay only means one political extreme or the other will be selected.
Must be selected.
The warning signs not just for America, but for all who depend on her (which MAY BE EVERYONE) could not be more unmistakable.
Free enterprise does not mean those who handle money do best at other’s expenses. Nor does it mean those who make the laws can exempt themselves legally from what is immoral. Nor does it mean those who shape the opinions of govt, advise business and teach in academia can self select to be above the workers financially by warping the reality to the advance of a political class composed of themselves, business and a govt elite which is deaf and blind and segregated.
This is a meritocracy, not an oligarchy of an apartheid political class which in financial terms makes no distinction between a progressive and conservative elite.
I spent most of yesterday trying to understand and navigate the complexities of Medigap coverage.
You see, this week Mr. AOW's Medicare card arrived in the mail.
Even though Mr. AOW will not reach the age of sixty-five for nearly three more years, he is automatically enrolled in Medicare thirty months after the qualifying event that disabled him in 2009 and has confined him to a hospital bed with a bedside commode in our living room.
Frankly, we've been looking forward to Medicare: Mr. AOW's private health-insurance premiums have risen from $500 a month to $700 a month over a two year period. The next premium hike for Mr. AOW is scheduled for June 2012, at which point the premium will be $908 a month. Mind you, the private health-insurance policy that Mr. AOW has is of the catastrophic type without prescription coverage and with a high deductible — two features which keep the premium far below that of gold-plated health insurance.
So, what's the point of this post? Shouldn't I be dancing for joy that, in a few months, Mr. AOW's health-insurance premium will drop from hundreds of dollars a month to $117.00 a month? Not exactly.... Read the rest at Always On Watch.
The Blaze: ‘Going Galt’: Hedge Broker Shuts Down Firm With Chilling Letter About the Market Posted on November 18, 2011 at 8:45am by Jonathon M. Seidl
Ann Barnhardt describes herself as a an “an old-school commercial hedge broker specializing in CATTLE and GRAIN.” And she just shut down her business by delivering a passionate and chilling open letter posted on her website.
“I could no longer tell my clients that their monies and positions were safe in the futures and options markets – because they are not,” she writes. And then she unloads:
Everything changed just a few short weeks ago. A firm, led by a crony of the Obama regime, stole all of the non-margined cash held by customers of his firm. Let’s not sugar-coat this or make this crime seem “complex” and “abstract” by drowning ourselves in six-dollar words and uber-technical jargon. Jon Corzine STOLE the customer cash at MF Global. Knowing Jon Corzine, and knowing the abject lawlessness and contempt for humanity of the Marxist Obama regime and its cronies, this is not really a surprise. What was a surprise was the reaction of the exchanges and regulators. Their reaction has been to take a bad situation and make it orders of magnitude worse. Specifically, they froze customers out of their accounts WHILE THE MARKETS CONTINUED TO TRADE, refusing to even allow them to liquidate. This is unfathomable. The risk exposure precedent that has been set is completely intolerable and has destroyed the entire industry paradigm. No informed person can continue to engage these markets, and no moral person can continue to broker or facilitate customer engagement in what is now a massive game of Russian Roulette. [Emphasis added]
The letter caught the attention of Rush Limbaugh on Thursday.
“The letter from the hedge fund guy sounds particularly filled with vitriol, but he’s right about something,” Limbaugh said after reading an excerpt. “Corzine was that firm, and the customers’ money is gone, and it’s like $600 million of it, and it’s gone, and they’re trying to get it back, it’s a miniature Madoff in that sense. And somebody did steal that money. Somebody at that firm, which is now bankrupt and 1,100 people or thereabouts have been laid off, somebody stole the clients’ money. It is a big deal to a lot of people.”
Posted by Ann Barnhardt – November 17, AD 2011 10:27 AM MST
Dear Clients, Industry Colleagues and Friends of Barnhardt Capital Management,
It is with regret and unflinching moral certainty that I announce that Barnhardt Capital Management has ceased operations. After six years of operating as an independent introducing brokerage, and eight years of employment as a broker before that, I found myself, this morning, for the first time since I was 20 years old, watching the futures and options markets open not as a participant, but as a mere spectator.
The reason for my decision to pull the plug was excruciatingly simple: I could no longer tell my clients that their monies and positions were safe in the futures and options markets – because they are not. And this goes not just for my clients, but for every futures and options account in the United States. The entire system has been utterly destroyed by the MF Global collapse. Given this sad reality, I could not in good conscience take one more step as a commodity broker, soliciting trades that I knew were unsafe or holding funds that I knew to be in jeopardy.
The futures markets are very highly-leveraged and thus require an exceptionally firm base upon which to function. That base was the sacrosanct segregation of customer funds from clearing firm capital, with additional emergency financial backing provided by the exchanges themselves. Up until a few weeks ago, that base existed, and had worked flawlessly. Firms came and went, with some imploding in spectacular fashion. Whenever a firm failure happened, the customer funds were intact and the exchanges would step in to backstop everything and keep customers 100% liquid – even as their clearing firm collapsed and was quickly replaced by another firm within the system.
Everything changed just a few short weeks ago. A firm, led by a crony of the Obama regime, stole all of the non-margined cash held by customers of his firm. Let’s not sugar-coat this or make this crime seem “complex” and “abstract” by drowning ourselves in six-dollar words and uber-technical jargon. Jon Corzine STOLE the customer cash at MF Global. Knowing Jon Corzine, and knowing the abject lawlessness and contempt for humanity of the Marxist Obama regime and its cronies, this is not really a surprise. What was a surprise was the reaction of the exchanges and regulators. Their reaction has been to take a bad situation and make it orders of magnitude worse. Specifically, they froze customers out of their accounts WHILE THE MARKETS CONTINUED TO TRADE, refusing to even allow them to liquidate. This is unfathomable. The risk exposure precedent that has been set is completely intolerable and has destroyed the entire industry paradigm. No informed person can continue to engage these markets, and no moral person can continue to broker or facilitate customer engagement in what is now a massive game of Russian Roulette.
I have learned over the last week that MF Global is almost certainly the mere tip of the iceberg. There is massive industry-wide exposure to European sovereign junk debt. While other firms may not be as heavily leveraged as Corzine had MFG leveraged, and it is now thought that MFG’s leverage may have been in excess of 100:1, they are still suicidally leveraged and will likely stand massive, unmeetable collateral calls in the coming days and weeks as Europe inevitably collapses. I now suspect that the reason the Chicago Mercantile Exchange did not immediately step in to backstop the MFG implosion was because they knew and know that if they backstopped MFG, they would then be expected to backstop all of the other firms in the system when the failures began to cascade – and there simply isn’t that much money in the entire system. In short, the problem is a SYSTEMIC problem, not merely isolated to one firm.
Perhaps the most ominous dynamic that I have yet heard of in regards to this mess is that of the risk of potential CLAWBACK actions. For those who do not know, “clawback” is the process by which a bankruptcy trustee is legally permitted to re-seize assets that left a bankrupt entity in the time period immediately preceding the entity’s collapse. So, using the MF Global customers as an example, any funds that were withdrawn from MFG accounts in the run-up to the collapse, either because of suspicions the customer may have had about MFG from, say, watching the company’s bond yields rise sharply, or from purely organic day-to-day withdrawls, the bankruptcy trustee COULD initiate action to “clawback” those funds. As a hedge broker, this makes my blood run cold. Generally, as the markets move in favor of a hedge position and equity builds in a client’s account, that excess equity is sent back to the customer who then uses that equity to offset cash market transactions OR to pay down a revolving line of credit. Even the possibility that a customer could be penalized and additionally raped AGAIN via a clawback action after already having their customer funds stolen is simply villainous. While there has been no open indication of clawback actions being initiated by the MF Global trustee, I have been told that it is a possibility.
And so, to the very unpleasant crux of the matter. The futures and options markets are no longer viable. It is my recommendation that ALL customers withdraw from all of the markets as soon as possible so that they have the best chance of protecting themselves and their equity. The system is no longer functioning with integrity and is suicidally risk-laden. The rule of law is non-existent, instead replaced with godless, criminal political cronyism.
Remember, derivatives contracts are NOT NECESSARY in the commodities markets. The cash commodity itself is the underlying reality and is not dependent on the futures or options markets. Many people seem to have gotten that backwards over the past decades. From Abel the animal husbandman up until the year 1964, there were no cattle futures contracts at all, and no options contracts until 1984, and yet the cash cattle markets got along just fine.
Finally, I will not, under any circumstance, consider reforming and re-opening Barnhardt Capital Management, or any other iteration of a brokerage business, until Barack Obama has been removed from office AND the government of the United States has been sufficiently reformed and repopulated so as to engender my total and complete confidence in the government, its adherence to and enforcement of the rule of law, and in its competent and just regulatory oversight of any commodities markets that may reform. So long as the government remains criminal, it would serve no purpose whatsoever to attempt to rebuild the futures industry or my firm, because in a lawless environment, the same thievery and fraud would simply happen again, and the criminals would go unpunished, sheltered by the criminal oligarchy.
To my clients, who literally TO THE MAN agreed with my assessment of the situation, and were relieved to be exiting the markets, and many whom I now suspect stayed in the markets as long as they did only out of personal loyalty to me, I can only say thank you for the honor and pleasure of serving you over these last years, with some of my clients having been with me for over twelve years. I will continue to blog at Barnhardt.biz, which will be subtly re-skinned soon, and will continue my cattle marketing consultation business. I will still be here in the office, answering my phones, with the same phone numbers. Alas, my retirement came a few years earlier than I had anticipated, but there was no possible way to continue given the inevitability of the collapse of the global financial markets, the overthrow of our government, and the resulting collapse in the rule of law.
As for me, I can only echo the words of David:
“This is the Lord’s doing; and it is wonderful in our eyes.”
With Best Regards- Ann Barnhardt
“I am going to head out of town for a few days, but will be checking email and messages,” Barnhardt wrote, after describing her letter as “going Galt” — a reference to Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.”
“Thanks to one and all for the kind support and prayers. Please be assured of mine in return, for all of us.”
It turns out Barnhardt has a history of being quite outspoken. She regularly posts videos to a YouTube channel and has a history of making controversial statements about Islam. She’s also come under fire for her thoughts on the bin Laden raid.
Despite some of her baggage, though, she is grabbing headlines. Besides catching the attention of Zero Hedge and Limbaugh, her story was also featured in an article on Bloomberg Business Week’s website today.
Could it be that despite her past, her present story is still compelling?
Exercise in east Iran aimed at 'heightening level of preparedness amid possible threats to airspace, nuclear centers' Dudi Cohen
The Iranian army was set to launch an air defense drill Friday evening simulating an attack on the country's nuclear facilities, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
According to the regime's mouthpiece, the four-day drill will be held in eastern Iran and stress "the characteristics of the Islamic Republic's defense doctrine in the framework of the heightened air defense alert level."
The military exercise comes just six days after a blast at an army base outside Tehran left several members of the Revolutionary Guard dead, including a senior officer who was a key figure in Iran's missile program. Some western media outlets claimed Israel was behind the explosion.
Blast at Iranian army base (Photo: AP)
The report said the drill will include the use of "missile systems, advanced anti-aircraft artillery and various radar systems, as well as "tactical maneuvers aimed at increasing the level of preparedness amid possible threats to the Islamic homeland's airspace, particularly with regards to the country's...nuclear centers."
Last June the Revolutionary Guard conducted an extensive drill in northwest Iran, during which surface-to-surface missiles were launched.
The past few weeks have seen a stream of leaks from Israel regarding the possibility of a military strike on Iran, this after an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report said Tehran has been working toward building a nuclear weapon since 2003 despite sanctions imposed by the international community.
Israel recently test-launched a ballistic missile and conducted an aerial drill in Italy with the participation of IDF fighter pilots. The IDF also held a home front drill simulating a missile attack on the greater Tel Aviv area – a realistic scenario in case of an attack on Iran's nuclear sites.
Iran tends to conduct high-profile military exercises once every few months to showcase the country's technological and military innovations.
Meanwhile, governors of the UN nuclear watchdog approved a resolution on Friday voicing "increasing concern" about Iran's atomic work, cranking up international pressure on Tehran after a UN report said it appeared to have worked on designing an atom bomb.
The 35-nation policy-making body of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted the text by a clear majority, with 32 states voting for and 2 against.
Al Arabiya: Egyptians back in Tahrir for anti-military protests, 10 months after Mubarak’s ouster
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rallied Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir square with Islamists in the forefront to protest against what they say are attempts by the country’s military rulers to designate themselves as the guardians of a new Egypt. It was one of the largest rallied in Egypt in recent months.
Most rallies in Tahrir have been led by liberal- or left-leaning groups. But Friday’s rally was dominated by the country’s most organized political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which has rarely come out in full force since the protests that forced President Hosni Mubarak to step down in February.
The Brotherhood had until recently avoided confrontation with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, but now warns of escalating its protest campaign if plans to give permanent political powers to the military are not scrapped.
“The army has no role in ruling people. Its only job is to protect the country. We want civilian rule chosen through democracy,” said Hani Hegazi, a 28-year old Brotherhood member who traveled by bus to Tahrir from the Delta province of el-Beheira, according to The Associated Press.
Banners read: “Down with military rule. Egypt our country is not a military camp.” Some demonstrators flew the Egyptian flag, while others including ultraconservative Salafis waved a banner declaring Islam's holy book, the Quran, to be “our constitution.”
Defending the goals of the revolution
The rally was called to protest a document floated by the government which declares the military the guardian of “constitutional legitimacy,” suggesting the armed forces could have the final word on major policies even after a new president is elected. The document, which includes guiding principles for Egypt's new constitution, also introduces clauses that would shield it from civilian oversight.
Most of Egypt’s pro-democracy groups object to the document, calling it an attempt to perpetuate military rule past the post-Mubarak transitional period which is supposed to end with the election of a new parliament and a new president.
Delivering the Muslim prayer sermon, imam Mazhar Shahin urged protesters to keep defending the goals of the revolution.
“Perhaps those who rule us think we will forget our cause with the passage of time. They are deluded and mistaken,” he warned the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took power when Mubarak was ousted.
“We reject the imposition of dictates on the people, we reject Silmi’s document. No voice can drown out the voice of the people,” Shahin told the crowd.
“Those who fear Islamist movements in Egypt, I tell them don’t be scared of Islam in Egypt,” Shahin said, AFP reported.
“Egypt is Islamic, like it or not... We want a civic democratic state with an Islamic vision that allows people to practice their rights and democracy,” he said.
All groups join new protests
In addition to the Brotherhood, Salafis, left- and liberal-leaning groups such as the April 6 movement and other youth revolutionary alliances have joined the rally, demanding a timetable for the end of military rule which began in February.
They have called for marches from mosques around Egypt to major squares, dubbing it the “Friday of the Single Demand” - that demand being a clear date for the transfer of power to civilian rule. Many groups have planned to hold an open ended sit-in until a date has been set.
The Brotherhood says the document reinforces “dictatorship.”
“It contains articles that rob the people of their sovereignty and reinforces dictatorship. It constitutes a coup against the principles and goals of the January 25 revolution,” the group said in a statement issued Wednesday. Last minute negotiations between the government and the Brotherhood failed to stave off their participation in the rally, or scrap the document.
Close by, the head of the fundamentalist Gamaa Islamiya, Tarek al-Zomor, told AFP that the constitutional principles were a "circumvention of the people’s will.”
“We are here to stress the necessity of a timetable to civilian rule. If that doesn’t happen, then it confirms the conspiracy to rob the revolution,” Zomor added.
The show of force comes 10 days before the country’s first parliamentary elections since Mubarak stepped down, when a Brotherhood-affiliated political party is expected to fare well.
Anger against the Supreme Council has been building up over their management of the transition period. Many complain that the generals are recreating the Mubarak regime by cracking down on opponents, by refusing to order a thorough reform of the security services, and by monopolizing decision making. Islamists and liberals alike now express fear that the military council wants to hold on to power, a claim denied by the generals.
The military council had promised to transfer power to an elected civilian government within six months of Mubarak's ouster. But according to a vague timetable in place, it may not be until early 2013 that a president is elected. Only the dates for the parliamentary elections, which are due to begin in ten days and which will drag into March, are yet known.
Walid Farouk, 32, who wore the heavy beard and traditional robe of the ultraconservative Salafi trend, said that Egypt had seen nothing good from military rule since the army took power in 1952.
“All of us are scared that the army could try to hold on to power,” he told AP. “It is time for a civilian government.”
The writing of Egypt’s constitution has been a divisive issue, and details of who will write it and what it contains are at the heart of the recent rally.
Some liberals have supported the idea of writing guiding principles for the constitution, fearing that a parliament controlled by Islamists would insert religious principles into the document.
Even now, some liberals remain opposed to the Friday rally, saying a document is necessary to detail how members of the assembly are to be chosen, and controversial clauses can be negotiated.
But many others have come to distrust the military’s Supreme Council at least as much they distrust the Islamists.
At the rally, protesters are expected to celebrate the birthday of one of the most prominent revolutionary to be jailed by the military prosecutor. Alaa Abdel Fattah, a famous blogger and activist, was detained late last months for refusing to answer to the military prosecution on his alleged role in sectarian violence that left 27, mostly Christians, dead. He turns 30 Friday.
Many hold the military responsible for the violence, and see Abdel-Fattah's detention as an attempt to find a scapegoat and discredit activists.
Foreign hackers broke into a water plant control system in Illinois last week and damaged a water pump in what may be the first reported case of a malicious cyber attack on a critical computer system in the United States, according to an industry expert.
On Nov. 8, a municipal water district employee in Illinois noticed problems with the city’s water pump control system, and a technician determined the system had been remotely hacked into from a computer located in Russia, said Joe Weiss, an industry security expert who obtained a copy of an Illinois state fusion center report describing the incident.
The city affected was Springfield, Ill., according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Problems with the system had been observed for two to three months and recently the system “would power on and off, resulting in the burnout of a water pump,” the Nov. 10 report from the statewide terrorism and intelligence center stated, according to Weiss, who read the report to The Washington Post.
“This is a big deal,” said Weiss. The report stated it is unknown how many other systems might be affected.
According to the report, hackers apparently broke into a software company’s database and retrieved user names and passwords of various control systems that run water plant computer equipment. Using that data, they were able to hack into the plant in Illinois, Weiss said.
It’s not the first time that two-step technique — hack a security firm to gain the keys to enter other companies or entities — has been used.
Earlier this year, hackers believed to be working from China stole sensitive data from RSA, a division of EMC that provides secure remote computer access to government agencies, defense contractors and other commercial companies around the world. Armed with that data, they breached the computer networks of companies, including Lockheed Martin, whose employees used RSA “tokens” to log in to the corporate system from outside the office. Lockheed said that no sensitive data were taken.
“RSA is the gold standard” for remote access security in industry, said Gen. Keith Alexander, head of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, at a conference in Omaha this week. “If they got hacked, where does that leave the rest?”
Alexander noted his concern about “destructive” attacks on critical systems in the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security, whose job is to oversee the protection of critical infrastructure such as water utility computer systems in the United States, said that DHS and the FBI are investigating the Illinois incident. “At this time there is no credible corroborated data that indicates a risk to critical infrastructure entities or a threat to public safety,” DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard said in an e-mailed statement.
According to the fusion center report obtained by Weiss, the network intrusion of the software company “is the same method of attack recently used against a Massachusetts Institute of Technology server” used to “aid and initiate an attack on other Websites.”
For Weiss, though, the incident has significance. “It was tracked to Russia. It has been in the system for at least two to three months. It has caused damage. We don’t know how many other utilities are currently compromised.”
1st the CA pipeline is delayed/cancelled killing 20k jobs and now, 204,000 jobs are flushed by Obama over shale gas
President Obama’s United States Department of Agriculture has delayed shale gas drilling in Ohio for up to six months by cancelling a mineral lease auction for Wayne National Forest (WNF). The move was taken in deference to environmentalists, on the pretext of studying the effects of hydraulic fracturing.
“Conditions have changed since the 2006 Forest Plan was developed,” announcedWNF Supervisor Anne Carey on Tuesday. “The technology used in the Utica & Marcellus Shale formations need to be studied to see if potential effects to the surface are significantly different than those identified in the Forest Plan.” The study will take up to six months to complete. The WNF study reportedly “will focus solely on how it could affect forest land,” the significance of hydraulic fracturing to united proponents of the delay, “and not how it could affect groundwater.”
Speaking of the WNF gas drilling, one environmentalist group spokesman suggestedthat moving forward with drilling “could turn the Ohio Valley into Ozone Alley,” even though Wayne National Forest already has nearly 1300 oil and gas wells in operation.
The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) recently estimated that drilling in the Utica shale, which is affected by the suspension of the mineral lease auctions, would produce up 204,500 jobs by 2015.
Congratulations, average American! It’s your turn to be blamed for President Obama’s — and America’s — problems.
This is the biggest honor you’ve won since Time magazine named “you” the Person of the Year.
Being the root cause of our dire national predicament puts you in some very august company indeed. You are joining the ranks of George W. Bush, the Japanese tsunami, the Arab Spring, Wall Street fat cats, and other luminaries, both living and merely anthropomorphized.
Last week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Obama explained, “We’ve been a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — ‘Well, people would want to come here’ — and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new businesses into America.”
The White House and its proxies insist that Obama wasn’t talking about Americans per se. He just meant we’ve been lazy about attracting foreign investment.
We’ll come back to that in a minute. For now, let’s take him at his word.
Still, you can understand the confusion. In September, the president reflected in an interview that America is “a great, great country that has gotten a little soft, and we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades.”
Shortly after that, he told rich donors at a fundraiser that “we have lost our ambition, our imagination and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam.”
So, Obama thinks Americans lack ambition and are soft, but don’t you dare suggest that he also thinks they’re lazy.
The point of all this is pretty obvious. Obama has a long-standing habit of seeing failure to support his agenda as a failure of character. The Democratic voters of western Pennsylvania refused to vote for him, he explained, because they were “bitter.” He told black Democrats lacking sufficient enthusiasm for his reelection to “Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’.”
And in the context of the country’s economic doldrums, Obama sees a lack of ambition, softness, laziness, etc., in anyone who doesn’t support his agenda. He has spent several years now exhorting Americans about how we have to “win the future” by doing what he says. He has told us repeatedly that this is our “Sputnik moment” when all Americans must drop their selfish, cynical, or foolish objections to his program. People who disagree aren’t putting their “country first.”
He’s constantly stoking nationalistic and quasi-paranoid fears of China to goad Americans into supporting ever more “investments” in green energy and high-speed white elephants.
Indeed, China always seems to be on the man’s mind. He has even reportedly expressed envy for Chinese president Hu Jintao. “Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China,” the New York Times reported last year. “As one official put it, ‘No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.’” What’s so pathetic here — other than the obvious grotesqueness of envying a totalitarian tyrant — is that Obama’s objections are so baseless. Americans remain the most productive workers in the world. As Obama himself notes, we attract more foreign investment than any other country.
Meanwhile, it’s Obama and his allies in Congress who’ve been at the forefront of the effort to make America less competitive. Obama delayed free-trade deals for years, until he could lard them up with Big Labor giveaways. He has thrown roadblocks in front of a multibillion-dollar U.S.–Canada pipeline project, which many ambitious and imaginative people see as something like this generation’s Hoover Dam or Golden Gate Bridge. He did postpone those new job-killing smog regulations his EPA administrator wants, but he has also let everyone — including foreign investors — know that he’ll put them back on the agenda if he’s reelected.
In 2008, Obama said Bush’s deficit of $9 trillion was “unpatriotic.” Now he questions the patriotism of those who think the Obama deficit of $15 trillion argues against spending even more money we don’t have. And of course, there’s that giant unfunded disaster known as Obamacare, which Nancy Pelosi claimed was a “jobs bill” because it would lead to “an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.”
But, yes, by all means, let’s blame our lack of competitiveness on the American people.
What do the 1% do? File a 57,000 page Tax Return, and pay no taxes
General Electric, one of the largest corporations in America, filed a whopping 57,000-page federal tax return earlier this year but didn’t pay taxes on $14 billion in profits. The return, which was filed electronically, would have been 19 feet high if printed out and stacked.
Is anyone protesting in front of Immelt’s house today?
All of us, every single man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth were born with the same unalienable rights; to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And, if the governments of the world can't get that through their thick skulls, then, regime change will be necessary.
“It is all about the behavior of our elites, our upper classes, which we define now in a practical sense as those who are successful, affluent and powerful. This group not only includes but is almost limited to our political class, Wall Street, and the media, from Hollywood to the news divisions.
They’re all kind of running America.
They all seem increasingly decadent.
What are the implications of this, do you think?
They’re making their videos, holding their parties and having a ball. OK. But imagine you’re a Citizen at Home just grinding through—trying to do it all, the job, the parenthood, the mowing the lawn and paying the taxes. No glamour, all responsibility and effort. And you see these little clips on the Net where the wealthy sing about how great taxpayer bailouts are and you feel like . . . they’re laughing at you.
What happens to a nation whose elites laugh at its citizens?
What happens to its elites?”
--- Peggy Noonan
"An Islamic regime must be serious in every field," explained Ayatollah Khomeini. "There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humour in Islam. There is no fun in Islam."
"I want to be very, very clear, however: I understand and agree with the analysis of the problem. There is an imminent threat. It manifested itself on 9/11. It's real and grave. It is as serious a threat as Stalinism and National Socialism were. Let's not pretend it isn't." ~~~~~Bono~~~~~