Friday, June 3, 2011

Syria Cuts Internet Cord Prior To Attacking Protestors

Syria Cuts Internet Cord Prior To Attacking Protestors
News Link  •  Protests and Protesters

06-03-2011  •  PC World 
"The Syrian government has cut off Internet service (3G, DSL, Dial-up) all across Syria, including in government institutions," USA Today reports, passing along the information from al-Jazeera, a major Arabic news network. The timing apparently coincided with reports of anti-government protestors taking to the streets in droves.
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Reported by Powell Gammill

Louisiana: Cops Beat Up Old Man For Accelerating Slightly

06-03-2011  • 
Appeals court upholds $25,000 fine on Louisiana police officers who beat an elderly man during a minor traffic stop. Police in Louisiana slammed a 67-year-old man into the ground, arresting him over a questionable traffic violation. The state court of appeals ruled May 11 that Calvin D. Miller's injuries were only worth $25,000 in compensation. Miller had been driving his big rig logging truck home to Florien on US Highway 171 at 5:30pm on July 13, 2007. As he passed through the Village of Hornbeck, Officers Kenneth Hatchett, Jr., and Andy Mitchell, 19, pulled him over because he began speeding up "about 100 feet" before the limit changed from 45 to 55 MPH. Having driven the road for the past forty-seven years, Miller was quite familiar with the speed limit. He insisted he was not speeding. "I can see right now you're going to need an attitude adjustment," Officer Hatchett said to the five foot, six inch tall elderly man. Miller punched his own fist, then turned his back on th  Read Full Story
Reported by Justin Tyme

Unemployment in The Great Depression vs 2011: Waking Up To The Truth

Unemployment in The Great Depression vs 2011: Waking Up To The Truth 
News Link  •  Economy - Economics USA

The commonly-accepted unemployment figures for the Great Depression are overstated. Specifically, government workers were counted as unemployed by Stanley Lebergott (the BLS economist who put together the most widely used numbers) ... even though gainfully employed and receiving a pay check. If we're trying to compare current unemployment figures with the Great Depression, the calculations of economists such as Michael Darby are more accurate. Here is a comparison of Lebergott and Darby's unemployment figures: Year Lebergott Darby 1929 3.2% 3.2% 1930 8.7% 8.7% 1931 15.9% 15.3% 1932 23.6% 22.9% 1933 24.9% 20.6% 1934 21.7% 16.0% 1935 20.1% 14.2% 1936 16.9% 9.9% 1937 14.3% 9.1% 1938 19.0% 12.5% 1939 17.2% 11.3% 1940 14.6% 9.5% (see Robert A. Margo's Employment and Unemployment in the 1930s.) We've Got Depression-Level Unemployment Unemployment is currently underreported. Even government officials admit that their "adjustments" to unemployment figures are inaccurate during recessions. In addition, the most widely-cited statistics use the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics' "U-3" methodology. But "U-6" figures are more accurate, because they include people who would like full-time work, but can only find part-time work, or people who have given up looking for work altogether. U-6 is also is closer to the way unemployment was measured during the Great Depression than U-3 

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Reported by Jack Gregson

US Troops discuss "Drop-Weapons"

Russia Warns U.S., NATO Against Military Aid to Syria Protests After Libya

Russia Warns U.S., NATO Against Military Aid to Syria Protests After Libya
News Link  •  World News

06-02-2011  • 

  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the U.S. and European nations not to encourage anti-government protesters in Syria by holding out the prospect of military support like they provided in Libya.

“It is not in the interests of anyone to send messages to the opposition in Syria or elsewhere that if you reject all reasonable offers we will come and help you as we did in Libya,” Lavrov, 61, said yesterday during an interview in Moscow. “It’s a very dangerous position.”

Rallies against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule have swept Syria, inspired by the uprisings that ousted authoritarian rulers in Egypt and Tunisia. Syrian security forces have killed more than 1,100 people and detained at least 10,000, according to human-rights groups. The government blames the protests on Islamic militants and foreign provocateurs. 
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A Proposal to End NJ’s Helicopter Controversies

By Richard A. Lee

Chris Christie was a little late in coming to the table, but this week he joined the ranks of Jim McGreevey, Christie Whitman and other New Jersey governors whose use of state helicopters have generated controversy. In just a few days, the circumstances surrounding the current controversy have become topics for state and national news stories and fodder for the Governor's political opponents.

As has been reported in multiple news outlets, Governor Christie used a state helicopter to travel to his son's high school baseball game in Montvale. The trip touched off controversy for several reasons. It was an expensive way to travel -- at taxpayer expense -- to a non-governmental event, especially for a Governor who has been vocal about the need for New Jersey to control spending. In addition, the primary functions of the state's helicopter fleet are homeland security and emergency medical transportation. A trip to a high school baseball game fits into neither category.

In the span of a few days, we've had Democrats calling for hearings and investigations, the State Police defending the trip, and the Governor first refusing to reimburse the state, and then pulling an about-face and writing a check to cover the costs of traveling to not one, but two of his son's baseball games. 

Although the circumstances may differ from what occurred during previous administrations, the result was the same. Once again, a New Jersey Governor’s use of a state helicopter has been the source of controversy. But it doesn’t have to be that way; we just have to take a different approach to the issue. Instead of holding hearings, reviewing flight logs, and demanding reimbursement, New Jersey might want to consider providing its Governor with a state helicopter for his or her exclusive use (with clear provisions requiring that the state be reimbursed for non-governmental travel).

On the surface, such a move runs counter to the current fiscal climate in which spending cuts and smaller government are the mantra. But think of it this way: The price tag of the helicopter Christie used was $12.5 million. It’s a big number that becomes smaller when you place it in the context of a $30 billion state budget. And we’re not going to be buying a new chopper every year. Granted, at about $2,500 an hour, the cost of flying by helicopter could add up quickly, but it still would be a small portion of the overall budget.

From an efficiency standpoint, it makes sense too. As taxpayers, don’t we want to get our money’s worth out of our governors? Wouldn’t we rather have them get to more places to do their job instead of spending time in a car?

In addition, giving governors their own helicopters would eliminate the inevitable controversies that occur when they use choppers that are responsible for homeland security and emergency medical transports. Governors serve as the chief executive of the state and have critical responsibilities and duties. They shouldn’t have to hitch rides to do their job.

New Jersey already provides our governors with more power than their counterparts throughout the nation. Under terms of the state constitution, New Jersey governors have the power of line-item veto; they appoint judges and other state officials, and until recently the governor was the only statewide elected office.

The world was much different when the current state constitution was drafted in 1947, giving New Jersey governors the broad powers at their discretion today. The idea of providing governors with a state helicopter would have been far-fetched at that time. But it’s a different era today, and perhaps now is the time to give the idea serious consideration.

# # #

Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute. A former State House reporter and Deputy Communications Director for the Governor, he also teaches courses in media, politics and government at Rutgers University, where he is completing work on a Ph.D. in media studies. Read more of Rich’s columns at richleeonline and follow him on Twitter.

Unemployment Rate Jumps to 9.1%, ALG Reacts

June 3, 2011, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson released the following statement on the unemployment situation in our nation:

“There should not be any remaining doubters that Obama’s big government spending and the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policies are two of the most disastrous economic policies in American history.

“Almost 14 million people who want a job can’t find one, as the number of unemployed jumped by 167,000 people in the past month. Almost 20 percent of the workforce is either unemployed or working part time when they want a full-time job. Obama’s economic plan has been tried and has failed the American people and now we have to return to fiscal sanity in order to get our economy moving.

“The only people who don’t understand that we can’t continue digging to get out of the debt hole that is killing our country’s future are the President and Capitol Hill Democrats, who continue to cling to the very fiscal policies that have buried our nation in debt and are threatening to consign a generation of Americans to second-class status in the world.

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The Great Unraveling

By Bill Wilson
The U.S. has already defaulted on its debts. We’re just all politely pretending that we haven’t. But we have.

According to Pimco, last year, the Federal Reserve — a central bank printing press — bought 70 percent of Treasury debt. The year before, it bought 80 percent. Where did the money come from? Out of thin air.

This is the “pretended payment” on sovereign debt that economist Adam Smith warned against, which he wrote in The Wealth of Nations “has gradually enfeebled every state which has adopted it.” To him, increasing the money supply to pay the debt was substantively no different than a public bankruptcy.

So, while the Fed dresses up its actions as targeting unemployment or maintaining its balance sheet, the real reason for QE2 has been to prop up the U.S. Treasury from a catastrophic default, just as the European Central Bank (ECB) has been propping up Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.

And as the bank assures the American people it will not be engaging in QE3, its treasuries holdings will continue to rise from their current $1.5 trillion level after QE2 ends in June. It’s already the world’s largest lender to the U.S. government, more than China or Japan. So how can it become an even larger sovereign lender?
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A Couple Congressmen Give Their Thoughts On Obama's Unique Executive Order

Video by Frank McCaffrey
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Hayek vs. Keynes: The Great Depression

By Adam Bitely
During the era of the Great Depression, many politicians turned to the theories being developed by the economist John Maynard Keynes. According to Keynes, to reduce unemployment, the government should print more money and create programs that would employ the unemployed. By doing this, unemployment would drop and money would make it into the hands of those affected by the economic downturn.
Of course, the data never proved Keynes right.

On the other side of this argument at that time was Friedrich von Hayek, who promoted the idea of allowing the free market to fix the biggest problem of the age. As Hayek argued, resources would flow to where they are deemed most needed and eventually everything will turn around. If the government tries to centrally plan a recovery, as Keynes suggested, the result would be inflation and more unemployment.

Hayek was eventually proven correct, but many still don’t agree with his analysis of why the central planners failed in the 1930’s — and still continue to fail today.

First, the form of economic recovery that was envisioned by Keynes involved the Federal Reserve to pump newly printed currency into the market. This infusion of currency was designed to ease consumers back to their previous spending habits. However, as Hayek predicted, it led to inflation as more and more currency was printed which devalued the dollar. Keynesians still use the creation of new currency to fix the problems of an economic recession — and are looking to implement this very method again today.

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Enviro elitists keep America unemployed

By Rick Manning
As originally published at The Hill.

This Friday will mark the release of the May unemployment report. A report that will reflect the last effects of the Obama trillion-dollar stimulus and of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE2).

The report is likely to show that job creation is mediocre at best, with unemployment insurance claims continuing well above the 400,000 weekly level, housing in a double-dip recession and the gross domestic product contracting to a paltry 1.8 percent growth rate for the second quarter of 2011.

The situation is so dire on the economic growth front that The New York Times has awoken from its slumber to opine, in a May 30 piece titled “The Numbers Are Grim,” that:

“Republican lawmakers have responded to renewed signs of weakness with a jobs plan that prescribes more of the same 'fixes' that Republicans always recommend no matter the problem: mainly high-end tax cuts, deregulation, more domestic oil drilling and federal spending cuts.

"The White House has offered sounder ideas, including job retraining, plans to boost educational achievement and tax increases to help cover needed spending.”

In just a few lines, the Times managed to encapsulate the left’s complete lack of understanding of why jobs are created.
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Breaking News: John Edwards Indicted By Federal Grand Jury

John Edwards, a two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination and a former U.S. senator from North Carolina, was indicted today on charges of conspiracy and false statements.

The indictment is the culmination of a secretive federal probe that has been going on for more than two years.

The investigation has centered on allegations that donations to Edwards were used to support Rielle Hunter, his former mistress and mother of his now-3-year-old daughter.

In recent months, Edwards' lawyers have tried to persuade prosecutors in the U.S. Justice Department's Public Integrity Section to drop the investigation.

Those efforts ended with today's indictment, which starts an even tougher legal battle.
The key questions in the case are whether payments to Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, and to a campaign staffer, Andrew Young, were intended to keep Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign alive, and whether Edwards knew about those payments.

Payments for Hunter never touched campaign accounts and weren't reported on campaign disclosure forms. Money went to Young and Hunter directly from donors or through intermediaries.

Prosecutors say the money was essentially campaign spending — intended to save the campaign by keeping Edwards' affair with Hunter secret — and thus an illegal use of campaign funds. They will point out that one donor, the late Fred Baron, was a key figure in Edwards' national campaigns. The other donor was multimillionaire Rachel "Bunny" Mellon.

Edwards' lawyers, on the other hand, say that the money was intended merely to conceal the affair from Edwards' late wife, Elizabeth, and was not connected to the campaign. As such, they argue, the payments were not illegal.

Investigators have been curious about Edwards' relationship with Mellon, whom Edwards courted for financing during his second failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, in 2008.
Mellon, who turned 100 last year, wrote sizable checks to further Edwards' political interests in 2005 and 2006, as Edwards positioned himself to run for the White House a second time after settling for the second spot on the Democratic ticket in 2004.

Mellon, matriarch of the late industrialist Andrew Mellon's family, contributed at least $3.48 million to a nonprofit group, The Alliance for a New America, that was created to further Edwards' political aspirations. Another nonprofit group that helped fund Edwards' campaign work isn't required to disclose donors.
Baron, a former Dallas trial lawyer who was finance chairman for the Edwards campaign, said before he died that he provided financial support to Young and Hunter.

The saga that led to today's charges began when Hunter, a videographer, secured work with Edwards' 2008 campaign in 2006 and 2007. According to campaign finance disclosures, she received $114,000 to film Edwards' travels across America and abroad to raise awareness about poverty. Hunter's "webisodes" were posted on the Internet.

When Hunter got pregnant in 2007, her role in Edwards' world shifted.

Young, a former Edwards aide, initially claimed paternity of Hunter's baby, and he and his family at one point lived with Hunter while Edwards publicly denied the affair. Edwards later admitted the affair but for a while still denied fathering the child.

Mellon began writing checks to help pay the living expenses of Hunter and Young, who were in hiding and stayed in homes in different places across the country.

Edwards, a trial lawyer himself, was elected U.S. senator from North Carolina as a political novice in 1998, defeating incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth. He chose not to seek re-election in 2004, running for president instead. Eventual Democratic nominee John Kerry chose him as his running mate that year.

A South Carolina native, Edwards lives in Orange County. His wife died of cancer last December.

Doctor Holds 32 Pregnant Women Hostage, Selling Their Babies Into Slavery

Your Black World reports.

Nigerian police have broken up what they call a “baby factory” in the southern Nigerian city of Aba.  The clinic, known as The Cross Foundation, is accused of holding pregnant girls hostage and selling their newborn babies into the sex trade and human trafficking markets.

The clinic’s owners, Dr. Hyacinth Orikara, is accused of forcing women to sell their babies to him for $190, depending on the gender of the child.  He is denying the allegations.  The girls, many of whom are aged between 15 and 17, confirmed details to authorities.

“We rescued 32 pregnant girls and arrested the proprietor who is undergoing interrogation over allegations that he normally sells the babies to people who may use them for rituals or other purposes,” police commissioner Bala Hassan said.

The doctor is claiming that the clinic cared for teens with unwanted pregnancies.  The women were sent to a haven for victims of human trafficking.   “Baby farms” are believed to be common in Western Africa.  The newborns are sold to the highest bidder, with children ending up as factory workers or sex slaves.

After fraud and drug trafficking, human trafficking is believed to be the third most common crime in Nigeria.

US Boycotts the UN World Conference on Racism

Your Black World reports.

This September, the United Nations plans to gather for its 10th annual UN World Conference on Racism.  The United States and Israel both walked out of the conference because they felt that the gathering was anti-Semitic by criticizing Israel in a draft resolution on Zionism.  The resolution accused Zionists of being racists, in large part due to their treatment of the Palestinian people.

Joseph E. Macmanus, the acting US assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, claims that the conference “included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitis.”

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said that she welcomes the United States’ decision to boycott the conference.
“It is an insult to America that the United Nations has decided to hold the Durban III conference in New York just days from the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  We all witnessed how extreme anti-Semitic and anti-American voices took over” previous gatherings.The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations also applauded the move.

The United States may have another reason for avoiding UN conferences on racism.  The US has been accused of racism itself for its treatment of African Americans.  Some claim that it is a human rights violation that African Americans experience far higher unemployment than whites, poorly funded educational systems and far greater rates of incarceration.  The criticism has grown and continues as black unemployment continues to rise here in the U.S.

Ohio State University Professor Michelle Alexander recently stated that the United States should consider new methods of incarceration because the current system has had a disproportionate impact on the African American community.

Married Mother Kills Five Newborns from Affair, Hides Remains in Closet

Your Black World Reports. 

Michele Kalina is being accused by the state of hiding her pregnancies and killing five of her newborn children.  Police are also alleging that she proceeded to hide the remains of her kids in the closet.  Public defenders in her case are bringing up mental health issues and may argue that she is not competent to stand trial.

Judge Linda K.M. Ludgate will seek out independent psychiatric testing before she determines whether Kalina is competent to stand trial.  Thus far, there is no court date set and attorneys are disallowed to speak to the media.

According to DNA tests, the 45-year old Kalina conceived most of the children with a co-worker.  The affair lasted more than 10 years, and neither the man nor Kalina’s husband knew anything about the pregnancies.
The remains of the children were found in the closet by Kalina’s teenager daughter, who proceeded to call the police.  A set of bones were put in cement, and others in a cooler and plastic tub.

“It may be the way in which women resolve these dilemmas: `I’m pregnant again, and I don’t want to abort the child. But I don’t want anybody to know that I have the child,’” said Geoffrey R. McKee, a forensic psychologist at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.

McKee says that women who kill their newborns are typically young mothers who don’t want to be found out as being pregnant.  Even if they are mentally ill, he argues that the illness is rarely a factor in the decision to murder the child.

“More often, it’s (the death) designed to avoid being detected as pregnant,” McKee said to the Associated Press.

Kalina is being charged with one count of criminal homicide for each child and also counts of aggravated assault, with multiple counts of abuse of a corpse and concealing the death of a child.  She started her affair with the co-worker in 1997 and told him that she had a cyst when she was pregnant.  When he asked why the weight was gone, she told him that the cyst had been removed.  The cyst appears to be the excuse she used for the other pregnancies, telling her boyfriend that it kept coming back.

In addition to the five children that Kalina allegedly killed, there was a sixth child that she put up for adoption.  The child was also fathered by the co-worker, according to reports.

Former Black Panther Geronimo Pratt Dies at 63-Years Old Former Black Panther Geronimo Pratt Dies at 63-Years Old

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Former Black Panther Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt died Thursday in Tanzania, according to his attorney.  Pratt spent 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.  He died at the age of 63, and authorities do not yet know his exact cause of death.

“He could’ve been a great leader. He was very charismatic,” said Scott Hanlon, Pratt’s attorney. “His legacy is that he never gave up. He never got despondent or angry.”

Hanlon also describes Pratt to be a true and loyal American, noting that the former Panther did two tours of duty in Vietnam before joining the party.   He was convicted of the 1968 murder of Caroline Olsen, who was killed on a tennis court in Santa Monica.   His conviction was overturned in 1997 after prosecutors were found to have concealed evidence.

Pratt was not identified by the woman’s husband to have been the killer.  The husband had actually identified another man in the police lineup.  The jury was not informed of this information, which would have obviously hurt the case of the prosecution.  Several attorneys, including both Hanlon and the great Johnny Cochran, played a role in getting Pratt’s conviction overturned before he died in 2005.

What’s most amazing is that Pratt said that he holds no ill will for his conviction.

“I don’t think bitterness has a place. I’m more understanding,” Pratt said in a 1999 interview with CNN. “Understanding doesn’t leave any room for bitterness or anger.”

For eight of his 27 years in prison, Pratt was placed in solitary confinement.  This fact alone would be enough to drive most of us to the mad house.  The idea that a man who put his life on the line for America would be treated in this way is nothing less than shameful.  To lose 27 years of a 63 year life is devastating, and my psyche fills with the tears of rage as I think about what was done to this man.

Without question, Geronimo Pratt should be saluted for being the great American hero that he was.  He was driven to stand up on behalf of the oppressed while living in a nation that had trained its young to be so evil that they learned to hate an entire group of people without even knowing them.  I’ve often wondered to myself (as I watched an interesting documentary last night about a known racist by the name of Walt Disney) how these folks, whose lives hardly seemed to intersect with African Americans (there was not one black face in the entire documentary) could find the time to learn to dislike us so much.  This kind of evil must be taught, for it is not natural for anyone to harbor this kind of innate animosity.

What must be remembered is that Geronimo was not the only African American to be wrongly accused and sentenced for a crime they did not commit.  There are tens of thousands of other men and women just like him who were either wrongly convicted or given an excessive sentence that they would never have received had they not been poor and black.  It’s time that our nation take a serious look at the criminal justice system and find out how many other lives we’ve destroyed, for I am convinced that there is another Geronimo in a cell somewhere right now.

Whitney Houston’s Doctors Diagnose Her with a Deadly Disease

by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Whitney Houston’s European tour was a fail, but now Houston’s body will fail her if she does not make some serious changes. No, I’m not talking about her more-than-noticeable weight gain from a life-long slim figure. That was reportedly due to taking steroids to treat a respiratory infection. I’m talking bigger than that — emphysema.

The smoking and drugs has finally caught up with this 47-year-old singer, and she is in the first stages of emphysema. The terrible thing is that her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, just got out of rehab trying to kick the unhealthy lifestyle she inherited from her parents. Reportedly a friend of Whitney’s toldThe Enquirer exclusively that “[Whitney's] developed emphysema — and her doctors are warning her she’ll die a horrible death,” if she does not quit smoking immediately.
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer degreed in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, email submissions to ayvaunnpennspokenword at gmail dot com.