Friday, February 3, 2012

Syrian security forces have tortured children, group says

Syrian anti-regime demonstrators wave the former Syrian flags in the Khalidiya neighbourhood, said to be under the control of the Free Syrian Army, in the flashpoint city of Homs on January 20, 2012. NEW: U.N. Security Council has agreed on the text of a draft resolution – Russian state media NEW: A Security Council meeting ended Thursday without a publicly stated agreement Human Rights Watch says Syrian security forces have targeted children as they have adults Russia has said it won’t accept suggestion of sanctions or military intervention in Syria (CNN) — Syrian army and security officers have detained and tortured children with impunity during the past year, a rights group claimed in a report Friday, as it urged the U.N. Security Council to act on Syria. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report comes as the U.N Security Council considers a draft resolution intended to pressure Syria to end its months-long crackdown on anti-government demonstrators

Hackers: We intercepted FBI, Scotland Yard call

LONDON (AP) — A sensitive conference call between the FBI and Scotland Yard was recorded by the very people they were trying to catch, the hacking group known as Anonymous claimed Friday.

The group released a roughly 15-minute-long recording of what appears to be a Jan. 17 conference call devoted to tracking and prosecuting members of the loose-knit hacking group.

The recording’s authenticity could not immediately be verified, and it’s not clear how the hackers got their hands on it. It appears to have been edited to bleep out the names of some of the suspects being discussed.
Anonymous also published an email purportedly sent by an FBI agent which gave details and a password for accessing the call.

“The FBI might be curious how we’re able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now,” the group gloated in a message posted to Twitter.

Calls to law enforcement officials on both sides of the Atlantic were not immediately returned.

Amid the material published by Anonymous was a message purportedly sent by an FBI agent to international law enforcement agencies. It invites his foreign counterparts to join the call to “discuss the on-going investigations related to Anonymous … and other associated splinter groups.” The email contained a phone number and password for accessing the call.

The email is addressed to officials in the U.K., Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and France, but only American and British officials can be heard on the recording.

Emails to the FBI agent and others coded in on the call were not immediately returned, but the discussion itself appears sensitive. Those on the call talk about what legal strategy to pursue in the cases of Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis — two British suspects linked to Anonymous — and discuss details of the evidence gathered against other suspects.

Karen Todner, a lawyer for Cleary, said that the recording could be “incredibly sensitive” and warned that such data breaches had the potential to derail the police’s work.

“If they haven’t secured their email it could potentially prejudice the investigation,” she told The Associated Press.

Anonymous is an amorphous collection of Internet enthusiasts, pranksters and activists whose targets have included the Church of Scientology, the music industry, and financial companies such as Visa and MasterCard.

Following a spate of arrests across the world, the group and its various offshoots have focused their attention on law enforcement in general and the FBI in particular.

Reports Of Capitalism's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

By Howard Rich

As originally published at Investor’s Business Daily.
Klaus Schwab, a German academic and founder of the World Economic Forum, recently proclaimed the death of capitalism as we know it — a curious critique coming from the head of an organization whose motto finds "entrepreneurship is in the global public interest."

"Capitalism, in its current form, no longer fits the world around us," Schwab declared at the most recent installment of his globalist gathering in Davois, Switzerland, adding that the world's business and political leaders "have failed to learn the lessons from the financial crisis."

The latter half of this observation is indisputable. The doctrine of chasing good money after bad has reached dangerous dimensions on both sides of the Atlantic — yet leaders continue to plow ahead with new deficit spending and fresh bailouts regardless.

But is refusing to acknowledge the increasingly-costly failure of this ever-escalating interventionism really an indictment of capitalism? It would be easy to condemn Schwab for conducting a botched autopsy on the capitalist economic model, but what he's really done is more intellectually dishonest — he has misidentified the "victim."

Capitalism is far from dead. As proof we need only examine the ongoing rise of the global black market — which employed 1.8 billion people (half of the world's work force) and did $10 trillion worth of business in 2009. Within a decade, this "shadow economy" will employ two-thirds of the global work force and represent the largest economy on the planet.

More conventionally we ought to consider China — which has embraced free market reforms and seen its economy expand 16-fold over the last 30 years. In the last two decades this rising tide has lifted an estimated 440 million Chinese out of poverty.
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Down the Toilet

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Default better than death of democracy

By Bill Wilson

Reflecting Europe is nowhere near agreement on how to “rescue” Greece — let alone prop up Italy and Spain — German Chancellor Angela Merkel again delayed finalizing any deal on Jan. 30, telling reporters, “We won’t have a thorough discussion of Greece because the troika is in Greece and we don’t have a result of the talks with the banks.”

Greece cannot receive what remains of the original €110 billion bailout refinance loans, nor an additional €130 billion pledged in October, unless an agreement is reached with both Greece and private banks that lent the money to begin with. With €14.5 billion of debt coming due on Mar. 20, time is running out to resolve these issues.

At issue is Greek control over its fiscal sovereignty, and whether private investors will be forced to accept losses as much as 70 percent while governmental institutions such as the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other sovereigns that purchased Greek debt bear no losses.
Germany has demanded quite explicitly a “transfer of national budgetary sovereignty” to a “budget coordinator” appointed by European authorities to administer Greece’s budget that will “veto decisions not in line with the budgetary targets set by the Troika,” referring to the tripartite organizations administering the bailouts: the European Commission, the ECB, and the IMF.

Greece has, to its credit, rejected these demands. A government source told AFP, “It is out of the question that we would accept it, these are matters of national sovereignty.”

Another told Athens News Agency, “We can never accept this. A similar proposal was made in the past by a Dutch minister. We do not even discuss about it.”
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A very bad week for Big Labor

By Rick Manning

On Feb. 1, Indiana became the twenty third state in the nation to pass a right to work law, and the first in the formerly heavily unionized rust belt to do so.

After signing the legislation, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels released a statement saying, “The only change will be a positive one.”

“Indiana will improve still further its recently earned reputation as one of America’s best places to do business, and we will see more jobs and opportunity for our young people and for all those looking for a better life.”
The state of Indiana’s decision to allow workers to choose whether to join a labor union is likely to put competitive pressure on neighboring states like Michigan and Ohio to follow suit.

Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government, called Indiana’s achievement, “a milestone that in ten years we will look back upon as the dam breaking in a tidal wave against forced unionization.”
The other bad news for Big Labor is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s state legislature’s passage of legislation to end Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on Jan. 31.

PLAs require that a government only award contracts to unionized firms. It is estimated that PLAs add between 17-20 percent to the costs of construction projects due to higher labor costs.
If, as expected, the legislation is signed by Virginia Governor Bob McDonald, it will effectively open up competition for government contracts saving Virginia taxpayers millions of dollars.
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Roseanne Barr Enters Presidential Race As Official Green Party Candidate

by David Badash on February 3, 2012

Post image for Roseanne Barr Enters Presidential Race As Official 
Green Party Candidate
Comedian Roseanne Barr has officially entered the 2012 presidential race and yesterday qualified as an official candidate for the Green Party. Barr, who is best-known for her 1988-1997 sitcom, Roseanne, maintains an extensive and current career in television. Barr lives on a 46-acre macadamia nut farm on the Big Island of Hawaii. Barr, who reportedly has two homosexual siblings, supports same-sex marriage equality, and reportedly, legalization of marijuana, but has not released a major platform or policy statement yet. 

The presidential run is not a spur-of-the moment idea — Barr announced she was seeking the Green party’s nomination last year in August.

“The actress-comedian said in a statement that she’s a longtime supporter of the party and looks forward to working with people who share her values,” The Huffington Post reported. “She said the two major parties aren’t serving the American people.”
“The Democrats and Republicans have proven that they are servants — bought and paid for by the 1 percent — who are not doing what’s in the best interest of the American people,” Barr said.
The L.A. Times added:
“I am running for Green Party nominee for POTUS,” the comedian said Thursday on Twitter. “I am an official candidate. I am4 the Greening of America&the world. Green=peace/justice.”
Barr filed her paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 25, creating a four-way racefor the Green nomination, which will be decided at the Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention in July.
“I will run until the convention in July in Baltimore-I fully expect Jill Stein 2b the nominee& I will support her, but til then-I’ll serve,” Barr said amid a slew of other tweets, some of them raunchy, most having to do with her campaign.
Her platform as expressed Thursday on the microblogging site included a promise to institute “#Europeanstyle” single-payer healthcare within the first 100 days of her term, and to forgive all credit card and mortgage debt “by kicking out the FED-those to whom all this fake debt is owed.”
Barr also runs the Roseanne World website.

New fears over Iran's missile capability

Top US intelligence officials assert that Iran has the means to build a nuclear weapon, but has not yet decided to follow through, in contrast to Israel’s insistence that time is running out to stop Iran from developing such a weapon.

But Iran is likely to strike out at US interests if it feels threatened, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Tuesday told the Senate Intelligence Committee in an annual report to Congress on threats facing America.

Citing last year’s thwarted Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in the US, “some Iranian officials – probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei … are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived US actions that threaten the regime,” Clapper said.

Iran has the technical ability to build a nuclear weapon, Clapper said. But he, CIA director David Petraeus and others reasserted their stance that Iran was not building nuclear weapons, in subtle contrast to Israeli officials’ statements that Iran could have nuclear capability within a year.

There was “dissension and debate in the political hierarchy of Iran” over whether to build a weapon, Clapper said. Iranian political officials were weighing the regional prestige of possessing a weapon against the cost of further international sanctions and the risk of retaliatory military action by Israel or the West.
Petraeus said the latest round of sanctions against the regime was beginning to bite, with a run on Iranian banks in recent weeks. However, he conceded that the “clock is ticking” as Iran moves ahead enriching uranium to a grade that’s below weapons-ready, but higher than normal for regular industrial use.

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said in an interview aired this week that the Iranians could build a bomb quickly.

“If they decided to do it, it would probably take them about a year to be able to produce a bomb and then possibly another one to two years in order to put it on a deliverable vehicle of some sort,” Panetta said on Sunday on CBS television’s 60 Minutes.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said last week that Iran was proceeding toward nuclear weapons capability and time was “urgently running out.”

Petraeus said he met the head of Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, last week to discuss Israel’s concerns.
While he said Israel sees the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon as “an existential threat to their country”, he did not say whether Israel agreed with the US assessment that Iran had not yet decided to make a nuclear weapon.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein called 2012 “a critical year for convincing or preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon”.

Other threats faced by the US include terrorists, criminals and foreign powers who might try to strike via nuclear weapons or cyberspace, Clapper and the others said.

Al-Qaeda is far weaker since Osama bin Laden’s death in Pakistan last year. Petraeus pointed out that “four of the top 20 in a single week were captured or killed” last year, and Clapper said the group was likely to resort to “smaller, simpler attacks” as its ranks are thinned by continued pressure from US drone strikes and special operations raids.

The intelligence chiefs predicted al-Qaeda’s regional affiliates, such as Yemen’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, would try to pick up the slack for the beleaguered core group in Pakistan.

The US continues to put pressure on the Yemeni offshoot. On Monday the US mounted air strikes targeting al-Qaeda leaders there, killing at least four suspected militants, according to Yemeni and military officials.
Just below Iran and al-Qaeda on the list of threats comes the possibility of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, from chemical and biological to nuclear and radiological. The intelligence community does not believe states that possess them have supplied them to terror groups, but that remains a risk, Clapper said.

Ex-New York Cop Admits To Murdering Wife Over Finances

Ex-New York Cop Admits To Murdering Wife Over Finances
Your Black World reports:

Ex-New York cop, Clarence Cash, admitted to authorities that he killed his wife because of financial strain.

“I just shot my wife,” said Cash, 49, merely a few hours after he allegedly pumping 10 bullets into wife, Tracey Young, 42, in their ritzy Queens condo.

Young was a tax attorney who specialized in busting tobacoo, according to the New York Post. Replaying his heinous crime to officers, including how he shot his wife a a few years three times in the face, Cash cried, “My wife, she didn’t deserve that.”

In a tragic twist of fate, according to a neighbor, Young’s mother was murdered by a lover when she was just child.

According to sources, Cash punched Young in the face during an argument over finances, including the fact that he had recently bought her an expensive Louis Vuitton purse. Negligent neighbors admit that they heard the altercation and what sounded like gunshots, but none called the police.

Cash told authorities that he tried for seven hours to gather the nerve to commit suicide, but couldn’t force himself to do it.

“He took her gun and went to Rockaway Beach to kill himself,” said Queens Assistant District Attorney Robert Hanophy Jr.

The burly ex-cop turned himself in to authorities, bringing with him his Glock and Young’s registered Sig Sauer. He was charged with first-degree murder at his arraignment and held without bail.  At his lawyers request, he will be placed in protective custody at Rikers Island.

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Ex-New York Cop Admits To Murdering Wife Over Finances

Cop Plants Cocaine On Innocent Couple And He Doesn’t Get Jailtime Because He Cried Like A Baby

A disgraced NYPD detective convicted of planting drugs on an innocent couple was looking at jail time when he walked into court on Thursday. He walked out with probation after blubbering that he was ashamed of himself and pleading for mercy. All he did was cry, like literally cry and mumble some words and he walked(Well not really). Click below to find out more.

Drake Breaks Record For Most Number Ones On Billboard Rap Charts!

The good news keeps on rollin’ in for Drizzy. After his current single “The Motto” was certified platinum this week, he now has another accolade to add to his resume. The Young Money rapper has surpassed Diddy’s record for the most number ones on the Billboard rap charts. He’d previously tied with him in October at 10, but “Make Me Proud” featuring Nicki Minaj has pushed him over the edge.

1. Drake – Best I Ever Had
2. Eminem x Kanye West x Lil Wayne x Drake – Forever
3. Timbaland ft. Drake – Say Something
4. Drake – Over
5. Drake ft. T.I. & Swizz Beatz – Fancy
6. Lil Wayne ft. Drake – Right Above It
7. Rick Ross ft. Chrisette Michele & Drake – Aston Martin Music
8. Nicki Minaj ft. Drake – Moment 4 Life
9. DJ Khaled ft. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne – I’m On One
10. Drake – Headlines


Five Uncomfortable Questions Black People Are Asking about the Death of Don Cornelius

viktoria chapman & don cornelius

*Black America continues to mourn the death of the great Don Cornelius, creator of the legendary television show, “Soul Train.”

Most of us remember doing Soul Train lines at parties, and recall our first booty-shaking exercise, which likely took place with Don’s television show playing in the background.  As the shock from brother Don’s untimely death starts to wear off, there are some questions that black folks are asking about how he died.  Some of the questions are not necessarily politically correct, but since when did that stop black folks from speaking their minds?

Here are some things that most of us are thinking, but some are afraid to ask out loud:

1)      Who is that white woman anyway?  Shortly after Don Cornelius’ death, pictures began to emerge of his ex-wife (Viktoria Chapman Cornelius), who didn’t exactly look like your standard Soul Train dancer.  She also looks like she was a baby when Soul Train  was in its prime.  There were also reports that his wife, who Cornelius allegedly despised, is going to get a monster payday from his life insurance policy.  While most of us thought that policies don’t pay out in the event of suicide, this is apparently not the case in California when your policy is at least two years old.

2)      How was his health?  Don Cornelius was in poor health at the time he died.  The pain was reportedly unbearable, and he likely felt that it was time to ride the Soul Train to heaven on his own terms. Can we really blame him for his decision?  Don lived a long and fruitful life, achieved many of his goals, and impacted the world.  Why not go out in his own way?

 3)      What in the world would make him shoot himself in the head?  There are quite a few ways to kill yourself without forcing your relatives to have to clean your insides off the floor.   Some folks are wondering why Don chose to use a gun to kill himself rather than something less gruesome.    Also, God forbid he’d survived the incident, for this would have obviously made his pain much worse.

 4)      How did he do it?….Soul Train I mean:  We will always marvel at how Don Cornelius almost single-handedly built an entertainment powerhouse.  He had a vision and he saw it through.  Every black entrepreneur in America should read about the life of Don Cornelius in order to learn how to rise to the top while strengthening your soul instead of selling it.  In many ways, Don Cornelius was the anti-Bob Johnson of his generation.
 5)      What are we going to do now?  There is never going to be another Soul Train, we can accept that.   But when I watch shows like BET’s 106& Park, which has become a how-to session for uneducated thugs, I wonder why we still don’t believe that we can be wealthy, conscientious and intelligent, all at the same time.  Black entertainment must be redefined, and it’s going to take a Don Cornelius- like effort in order to get there.

Don Cornelius and Soul Train are like sturdy stone structures built 500 years ago, they will last forever.  He elevated us, edu-tained us, and gave us something to look forward to after being bored to tears by shows like American Bandstand.   But Don Cornelius was also human, and in spite of the immortality of his legacy, his body and mind were not meant to last forever.  May Don rest in peace and may we carry a piece of him with us for all eternity.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.
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