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 41 
 on: Sep 29, 2014, 10:28 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Kristin
ARIES on the 10th House Cusp
Warrior, Chief, Entrepreneur


Aries on the 10th House cusp represents a Brand new Evolutionary cycle with respect to one’s career/work function. The career will reflect this new cycle of self discovery and personal expression. The location of Mars, the planetary ruler, in house sign and aspects it is making connects to the nature of the work that the Soul will be instinctually drawn toward. There is an evolutionary pressure here that sets in motion a process of continual becoming that is intensified and highly magnified.

The archetype of Aries will energize the courage and the will to be different and to strike out on their own if the culture and environment make it possible to do so, as the fire of their desire is not only a result of this new unfolding cycle surrounding personal adventure,  it is fueled with a special sense of destiny and independence is required in order for this destiny to be actualized.

Being that the Aries archetype needs total freedom, the Soul will be attracted to careers and work function that offer true independence leading to personal self discovery in every moment, in environments where the Soul will feel as if something new could be discovered at any time. It will be essential in order to support their desire nature that the work or career include flexibility with time,  where someone else is not controlling their watch. If possible they would choose a profession that is not a strict nine til five job or where a time clock needs to be punched. If anyone attempts to control their work or their time, this will result in anger. intense frustration and/or depression. This anger will be projected upon anyone who is seen as the source of the stagnation or limitation. Another example of being controlled in any way, with the square to Cancer, could reflect reverting to childlike behavior, pouting as well as visibly stomping their feet and shaking their fists and in extreme cases physical violence could occur.

Aries on the 10th house can become totally consumed in their work to the point of feeling as if they are always working, even during “off hours’ because they have a hard time knowing when to stop and knowing how and when to 'turn it off’. Aries in this place can reflect a self-centeredness, in some cases a narcissism, where they feel their career is more important than anyone else’s in their life, primary allegiance and identity is with themselves. So in looking at the polarity, Libra 4th house, there is a need to balance home and family life, relationships etc, as well as the needs of others in their world.

The Aries archetype desires to be its own boss and has natural leadership capacity to manage and empower others to join their force or mission and purpose. In many cases this could also equal a self created career, where full independence is allowed and again where they are in charge of their own time as well as in charge of others. Aries on the 10th house cusp will want the freedom to build something from the ground up, a creation of their own making as well as the freedom to change directions at will as new ideas and desires surface, they need full license to do as they want, whenever they want. Even though this signature typically reflects natural courage, drive and confidence, the need for new experiences will create an insecurity as they continually make choices to re-work the inherent structures in place that had offered relative security. This need for constant change can also lead to an identity crisis within their work and/or career when they reach the perceived ceiling of their current reality and feel drawn once again to move in a new direction when anything becomes stale, tired and mundane, Aries on the 10th will be pulled in a direction that offers something new and fresh and full of possibility.

Because of the need to follow the evolutionary pull and to explore new ideas, this can create a life where desires need to act upon as they instinctually occur, at any point in time. The Soul could experience constant changing scenery with respect to careers and job posts as a result, leading to many different jobs or careers within life. This could also connect to making changes within an organization that they are running or changing business ideas throughout life with the progressive exhaustion of acted upon desires as they lose their fire.

Aries by its nature can be very competitive, and as a result, will do whatever necessary to get to the top, even go so far as to step on others if they are in the way (Of course this depends on other factors in the chart as well as the stage of evolution). They need to know there is no limit or ceiling to their growth and life experience and so space and the freedom for upward mobility, room to roam and grow, is essential as they will always be targeting the next goal.

Aries needs change and many with this placement also require physical movement as in a job requiring physical labor, which would include the use of power tools or heavy machinery. I know of someone who works in landscape with this signature, and on rare occasional he is pulled from the field and required to sit for hours at a desk for the day to help with billing. An extended period of time of sedentary activity without physical motion creates a depressing malaise and a heaviness and he has been heard saying on more than one occasion when he is forced to the desk, “someone shoot me”!

They are often highly self motivated Souls, with an immense amount of drive, initiative and ambition, also having the sustained energy and desire to self empower as well as empower others along the way. They are natural leaders who emanate a natural magnetism and can be often seen in positions of authority, such as motivational leaders, bosses, coaches, team captains and high posts in the military, although all military could apply with this signature. I recently watched a true story about Russia's first nuclear ballistic submarine and the captain played by Harrison Ford said, “I am your Captain, without me you are nothing. You are my crew, without you I am nothing”, resonating that Aries Mid Heaven and a Libra polarity.

Professional athletes could also apply here, because of their high energy and natural competitiveness and desire to win as well as need for physical motion and movement. This would especially include those who are central in their posts and positions such as Quarterbacks on a football team or Captains of a soccer, basketball or hockey team. Also this would include anything that involves a high degree of speed such as race car driving, downhill skier instructor, skip patrol person involved in emergency rescue would apply here. The Aries signature is also witnessed in the movie “Top Gun”, where the Air Force Fighter pilot says as he is taking off, “I feel the need for speed”!

The Evolutionary States will condition the types of work the Soul chooses. Below are some examples of careers reflected with Aries on the Mid Heaven.

Consensus

Considering roughly 75 % of the population is part of this consensus mainstream state, the career posts are many and diverse with the root desire as one progresses through this stage to get ahead of the system and can include some of the following:

Outside Sales or any type of door to door, office to office sales call with countless new environments, people and content. Ex. pharamaceutical sales, chemical sales, where they have the freedom to design their day at will and can pick and choose when to leave the house, where to go and who to call on throughout their day.

Sales managers
Political leaders
Presidents of Organizations
Business Owners
Contractors across the board who use power tools and heavy machinery
Military
Air force Pilot - ‘feel the need for speed’
Surgeon - knife/blood
Fire Fighter
Pro Athlete  where discipline, drive, sustained energy is required
Captain of a Professional Sports team ex. quarterback
Race car driver, mountain climber - high risk and high adventure
Ski Patrol - emergency rescue

Individuated

Roughly 20 percent of the population
At this stage the Soul is starting to think for themselves and are beginning to rebel against the consensus state and not follow the norm, individuation becomes essential for them to feel in balance. They are desiring to liberate from the confines of consensus and become passionate about pursing a path that tells them who they are outside of the walls of the mainstream. They are beginning here to objectify themselves and their desires and to take charge of what they want even if it does not look like what everyone else is doing, “I will think for myself and act for myself.”

1st Stage Individuated
Early on in this stage, because of just coming out of the consensus. can lead to being in professions that reflect compensation because of a fear of being judged, but inwardly they are dying to break free and may begin reading books or taking courses that reflect the desired change. The Soul now wants to know who it is outside the restrictions of conditioning and once the courage is accessed to discover this, the work/career will reflect these evolving desires.

One example of a Soul who is well into this stage would be a tattoo artist
(although there are consensus types as well, but most are more alternative and non confirming in nature and work to help others express their individual selves. Many in this profession are social outcasts and can be socially rebellious.)The needle to the skin, to the point of drawing blood is a perfect reflection of the Aries/Capricorn combination.

2nd Stage Individuated equals the archetype of freedom combined with rebellion

Political activist, leading movement of rebellion

Arsonist when anger and resentment flairs to extremes (obviously this is not a career but a symbol for the rebellion towards the system and wanting to burn everything up, Aries), also a terrorist.

3rd Stage Individuated
- Individuality now in tact and Souls have a unique gift to help society evolve

Inventor

Genius - “When mediocre minds interface with genius, expect violent opposition (Albert Einstein) Although Einstein has a Pisces MC, he has Saturn in Aries in the 10th, with Mercury, Venus and Pallas Athene also in the 10th in Aries.

Motivational Coach, life coach, empowering others to have the courage to express their own unique individuality
Alternative arts, an astrologer would apply here without a spiritual focus


Spiritual

Roughly 5 percent or less of the population

1st Stage Spiritual

As the focus narrows and the eyes become more targeted on God, the Soul will design their life around work that supports this desire and they will feel called to help others in their own evolution. This stage is about service to others, to God and to the whole. The root desire here is to know God and these Soul are seeking proof that God exists, belief that God exists is not enough. The Soul realizes from an ego point of view just how small it is as this Virgo/Pisces axis is emphasized. This humbling effect shifts the consciousness from the ego to the Soul.

Leading a spiritual or healing center, helping others to seek and find God.
Any person involved in alternative, spiritual arts that is working for themselves, an example here would be an Evolutionary Astrologer

2nd stage spiritual

The Ego can become too involved as some who experience this spiritual infusion can feel they are invincible known as spiritual delusions of grandeur- in the worst of cases they feel they are “the way, the truth, and the light” as in Raj Nish.
The center of gravity can then shift back and forth between the ego and the Soul with the ultimate intention to remove any remaining ego attachments left in the Soul until all the impurities are purged. The Soul will come to experience its own impurities and natural guilt and atonement will follow resulting in a ‘fall from grace.’  

3rd State spiritual

Center of consciousness has permanently shifted from the ego to the Soul. This stage represents the essence of humility and the Soul will feel as if they can never do enough for God in the context of service. Their focus will be to help other Souls align with their natural work function so they in turn can help others and advance in their own evolution and return to Spirit.

Spiritual Leaders and Teachers, including helping others practice karma yoga.

Kriyananda had Venus in the 10th and Mars in Pisces on the M/C started spiritual centers to teach the teachings of SRF.

Although I am uncertain of her birth time, she did have an Aries Moon and Saturn square the nodes.
Daya Mata was the president and sanghamata (mother of the society) of the organization that Paramahansa Yogananda created to disseminate his teachings, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF).

***

Thanks again Rad and group for this learning opportunity..
Peace,
Kristin

 42 
 on: Sep 29, 2014, 09:50 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Russia Keeps Ukrainian Film Director in Jail till January

by Naharnet Newsdesk
29 September 2014, 18:24

A Russian court ruled on Monday that a Ukrainian film director charged with terrorism must stay in jail until January despite international appeals for his release.

Oleg Sentsov was arrested in May in Simferopol, Crimea's main city, by Russia's FSB security service and charged with plotting and carrying out "terrorist attacks" after the region was annexed by Russia.

"The court upheld a request by investigators to extend Sentsov's detention behind bars for a further three months," the press secretary of Lefortovo district court told RIA Novosti news agency.

The head of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, said on a visit to Moscow this month that Russia should "immediately" hand over Sentsov to Ukraine.

Top film directors including Spain's Pedro Almodovar and Britain's Ken Loach have expressed concern for Sentsov in an open letter to President, the malignant tumor, Pig Putin.

Sentsov has been charged with creating a terrorist group, carrying out two attacks and plotting two more, as well as illegally acquiring explosives, Grani.ru opposition news website wrote.

Sentsov denies the charges.

In a speech in court cited by the website, Sentsov said he was "tortured and beaten up" and said "I wish for Russia to emerge from this darkness."

Three others have been arrested and charged in the same case.

They are accused of setting fire to a Russian community center and a branch of Russia's ruling party United Russia as well as plotting to blow up a Lenin statue and a World War II memorial, MediaZona human rights news website reported.

Sentsov, 38, lives in Crimea. He presented his first feature film, "Gaamer" about a computer-game obsessed teenager at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2012.

Amnesty has linked his case to that of a detained Ukrainian air force pilot, Nadiya Savchenko.

Amnesty chief Shetty said this month that both Sentsov and Savchenko were "detained on fabricated charges" and illegally removed to Russia.

Savchenko is accused of involvement in the deaths under mortar fire of two Russian television journalists in east Ukraine.

She has been transferred from a jail in central Russia to Moscow for a psychiatric evaluation, her lawyers said last week.

Source: Agence France Presse

 43 
 on: Sep 29, 2014, 07:10 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
In the USA...United Surveillance America

Obama Acknowledges U.S. Erred in Assessing ISIS

By PETER BAKER and BRIAN KNOWLTON
SEPT. 28, 2014
NYT

WASHINGTON — President Obama acknowledged in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the United States had underestimated the rise of the Islamic State militant group, which has seized control of a broad swath of territory in the Middle East, and had placed too much trust in the Iraqi military, allowing the region to become “ground zero for jihadists around the world.”

Reflecting on how a president who wanted to disentangle the United States from wars in the Middle East ended up redeploying to Iraq and last week expanding air operations into Syria, Mr. Obama pointed to assessments by the intelligence agencies that said they were surprised by the rapid advances made in both countries by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.   

“Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Mr. Obama said on “60 Minutes,” the CBS News program, referring to James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence. Mr. Obama added that the agencies had overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi Army to fight such Sunni extremists. “That’s true. That’s absolutely true,” he said.

In citing Mr. Clapper, Mr. Obama made no mention of any misjudgment he may have made himself. Critics have repeatedly pointed to his comment last winter characterizing groups like the Islamic State as a "JV team" compared with the original Al Qaeda.

But he rebutted critics who say his refusal to intervene more directly in the Syrian civil war and his decision to pull all American troops out of Iraq in 2011 had created conditions that allowed the rise of the Islamic State. Instead, he pointed a finger at Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, until recently the prime minister of Iraq. “When we left, we had left them a democracy that was intact, a military that was well equipped and the ability then to chart their own course,” Mr. Obama said. “And that opportunity was squandered over the course of five years or so because the prime minister, Maliki, was much more interested in consolidating his Shia base.”

By contrast, he praised Mr. Maliki’s newly installed successor, Haider al-Abadi, whom he met in New York last week, for assembling a more inclusive government that may undercut Sunni support for the Islamic State. Mr. Abadi “so far at least has sent all the right signals,” Mr. Obama said. “We can’t do this for them.”

But he was measured in that assessment, saying there had been “some progress” by the new Baghdad government. “I wouldn’t say great yet,” he said.

Mr. Obama conceded that his strategy would be less likely to succeed in Syria, where he is working at odds with the government rather than in tandem. Mr. Obama has called for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to step down, but now the two share an enemy in the Islamic State. The United States’ plan relies on trying to build up a separate rebel force that can take on both Mr. Assad’s government and the Islamic State, but Mr. Obama dismissed as “mythology” the notion that he should have done that two years ago.

“We’ve got a campaign plan that has a strong chance for success in Iraq,” he said. “I think Syria is a more challenging situation.”

The House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, suggested on Sunday that airstrikes might not be enough and that American ground forces might ultimately have to be deployed. “These are barbarians,” Mr. Boehner said on the ABC News program “This Week.” “They intend to kill us. And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re going to pay the price.” Asked if he would recommend sending American ground troops if no other country would do it, Mr. Boehner said, “We have no choice.”

Mr. Boehner also said that while he believes Mr. Obama has the authority to conduct airstrikes without additional permission from Congress, he would summon lawmakers back to Washington from a recess to vote if the president asked him to. “I’d bring the Congress back,” he said.

Speaking on another news show, “Face the Nation” on CBS, Senator Timothy Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, pressed his opinion that the president needs congressional permission and accused Mr. Obama, a close ally, of inconsistency. “It really concerns me that the president would assert he has the ability to do this unilaterally when as a candidate for president he made very plain that the president cannot unilaterally start a war without Congress,” Mr. Kaine said.

American intelligence agencies were still trying to determine whether airstrikes in Syria had killed the leader of a separate network affiliated with Al Qaeda called the Khorasan Group. The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist social media sites, reported on Sunday that a Qaeda-associated Twitter account declared that Mohsin al-Fadhli, the Khorasan leader, had died. American officials said they believed that a senior Khorasan figure had been killed but were not sure whether it was Mr. Fadhli or Abu Yusef al-Turki. They were hopeful that both had been killed, but added that it was unlikely.

An intelligence report distributed at the White House on Sunday said that there were indications that Mr. Fadhli had been killed, but that they were not conclusive. Officials said they worried that the Twitter reports were part of a disinformation campaign to throw off the Americans.

***************

Enough About ISIL, Obama Needs To Take Off The Gloves and Go After Republicans

By: Jason Easley and Sarah Jones more from Jason Easley and Sarah Jones
PoliticusUSA
Sunday, September, 28th, 2014, 6:55 pm   

The following is an editorial reflecting the opinions of PoliticusUSA’s publishers, Jason Easley and Sarah Jones.

Purely from a political standpoint as we head into the precarious midterm elections, President Obama needs to stop trying to explain why he feels it’s necessary to strike ISIL and instead he needs to be focused on the issues at home and call out Republicans. Otherwise, he risks depressing the Democratic base to a dangerous extent.

We rarely agree with Sunday show pundits, so it was no surprise when Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted dryly, “Watching CNN at the airport. Sunday panelists suggesting that Obama is like Bush because he is now fighting in the Middle East, like Bush.”

We almost can’t bear this level of stupidity. If you fight in the Middle East, you are Bush? This makes all presidents who ever fight in the Middle East Bush. That’s convenient, if you’re trying to whitewash Bush’s record.

This conclusion is absurd because it is built upon the premise that Bush’s political failures regarding the Middle East had nothing to do with the fact that he started a war in Iraq based on a lie, had no exit strategy, and declared Mission Accomplished on his war on an idea (who declares war on an idea and expects victory over the world?). Oh, no. It’s just being in the Middle East that made him one of the worst presidents in modern history. Just fight there and you are also Bush.

Here is an example of the speciousness of the Obama-is-Bush-because-Middle-East argument: If Obama breathes through his nostrils, he is like Bush, because Bush was also rumored to breathe through his nostrils on more than one occasion. But then, the Sunday shows star fallacious arguments lacking any logic every week.

Sadly, stupid is paid and stupid does speak and stupid does seep into the national consciousness. Then stupid beats up the Democratic base, who just like their representatives tend to value civility and middle ground so much that they will avoid conflict even when they should not, gets depressed.

They go silent, because they don’t want to hear that their President is Bush. And since this is such a massively stupid premise that is not backed up by reality or facts so much so that anyone with one working brain cell should know the difference, Democrats often can’t even articulate a coherent response. Pearls after swine, they tell themselves.

It doesn’t help that Republicans have been working hard on selling this idea to the Democratic base for 6 years, including deceptively editing video to suggest that Obama wanted the changes in the NDAA that made him “just like Bush”. Only not, because he had actually asked for the opposite. But no matter, those were heady days for anti-Obama operatives in the “left” media.

So it hurts the base. They have been down this road before from their own “side” and it was ugly. Now President Obama is making what seem like daily appeals to explain the need to fight ISIL, which on the surface really does sound too much like Bush (sounds like is not IS, this is an appearance thing not a reality thing). Then the pundits looking for easy hits pile on, Obama is Bush! The knee jerk response is: Bush argued for war. UGH. Bush bad. Stop talking about war. Bad Obama.

This kind of simplistic reaction overrides our logical understanding that conflict is necessary sometimes. Emotions rule opinions.

But the base loves it when Obama gets the terrorists. So do Independents and even some Republicans. So instead of making the case for why we need to strike ISIL (and it would be foolish to paint Obama with the Bush brush of wanting war, of irrationally surging into war, of justifying it at any cost, because Obama is on the record doing the opposite), Obama needs to actually be more like Bush in one specific way.

President Obama needs to stop explaining policy in an effort to build a coalition of support among the people on this issue. Sure, he can’t make the news, but he can pivot from an attempt to talk intelligently and with nuance about an issue that people can’t/won’t/don’t want to hear.

The people aren’t going to support the strikes because they are tired of any semblance of war. But they will cheer the President for getting the terrorists. He’s already explained why he feels this is necessary, so he can safely pivot now and embrace the Big Daddy-Protector-in-the-White House persona that Americans love to believe in.

President Obama needs to be the decider who decided to strike ISIL, and hand out the terrorist gets to the public as something they can feel good about. The President should be associated with good news like getting the terrorists, while someone else in the administration handles the doling out of the bad news.

The base loves it when Obama disses Republicans even a bit, as he did last night. They hate watching this President get attacked over and over again, it dampens their morale. Low morale means low turnout.

Fight back or die. It’s that simple in politics.

War talk got Bush re-elected, but war talk is toxic to the Democratic base and the larger public right now. A war on obstructionists? That’s a war the base wants to hear all about.

The base needs their President to get them fired up. They will turn out for him, but first he has to lead them into the fight.

***********

Obama Goes Off Script and Drops A Truth Bomb On Selfish Republican Governors

By: Sarah Jones
PoliticusUSA
Sunday, September, 28th, 2014, 10:11 am   

President Obama went off script while speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus Awards Dinner Saturday evening and deployed a truth bomb on selfish Republicans.

While paying homage to the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, he said he was puzzled when certain governors decided to take a stand to make sure poor folks in their state can’t get health insurance even though it doesn’t cost that person a dime, adding one of the most salient political observations in the entire healthcare reform debate, “It’s easy to take a stand when you’ve got health insurance.”

Speaking about the need to get more folks covered in the march forward toward the Great Society, the President said, “But we know our work is not yet done until we get into more communities, help more uninsured folks get covered, especially in those states where the governors aren’t being quite as cooperative as we’d like them to be. You know who you are. It always puzzles me when you decide to take a stand to make sure poor folks in your state can’t get health insurance even though it doesn’t cost you a dime. That doesn’t make much sense to me, but I won’t go on on that topic. We’ve got more work to do.”

“It’s easy to take a stand when you’ve got health insurance,” Obama said, earning appreciative laughter and applause. “I’m going off script now, but – — that’s what happens at the CBC.”

During his speech, the President detailed areas of progress in the push forward toward a Great Society. Obama deadpanned, “We’ve done some work on health care, too. I don’t know if you’ve noticed.”

Detailing some of the unsung success of his signature legislation, the President continued, “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we’ve seen a 26 percent decline in the uninsured rate in America. African Americans have seen a 30 percent decline. And, by the way, the cost of health care isn’t going up as fast anymore either. Everybody was predicting this was all going to be so expensive. We’ve saved $800 billion — in Medicare because of the work that we’ve done — slowing the cost, improving quality, and improving access. Despite unyielding opposition, this change has happened just in the last couple years.”

When Obamacare is a beloved part of our social safety net like Social Security and Medicare, Republicans will pretend that they built that. But their years of hysterical obstruction to a policy built in part on their own idea will say otherwise.

To recap, “It’s easy to take a stand (against affordable health insurance) when you’ve got health insurance.”

Boom. This is what the pundits should have been pointing out from the beginning of this debate, and it’s something we’ve been going on about at Politicus for years. It’s all about the hierarchy of needs. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when you are healthy and have insurance. And since most of the people in high profile media positions and elected officials have what is relatively excellent insurance, the point of view of the struggling American is hardly ever given a seat at the table.

The ACA looks quite different from the perspective of folks who had no insurance or were being screwed over by their insurance company prior to the changes imposed by the ACA. While Republicans fear-monger over the mere suggestion that they might have to change doctors and the press picks this up like it’s the End of the World, average Americans are dealing with things like how to pay for their loved one’s pain pills from their cancer.

The midterms are giving us a peek at campaigning Obama — the guy who could deliver a punch when he needed to, but only after being trolled publicly for so long that middle America knew the other person had it coming.

The lesson here? Republicans had this one coming. Why so selfish, Republican governors?

*************

With Nothing To Run On Republicans Blow Religious Dog Whistles

By: Rmuse
PoliticusUSA
Sunday, September, 28th, 2014, 9:15 pm      

Dog whistle politics refers to the use of certain subjects or phrases that have very special meaning to a specific voting bloc, and represents a particularly insidious use of loaded language. Republicans are big on dog whistle politics, particularly going into a midterm election where they have no apparent agenda to run on, and as is usually the case with Republicans, they are appealing to a dependable voting bloc that are rabid over socially conservative (read religious) issues.

At the Values Voters summit, a dependable cast of Republican religious extremists took turns inciting Christians to vote for Republicans; not for a stronger economy, more jobs, healthcare, infrastructure improvements, higher wages, a clean and safe environment, or education, but for Christianity. There is a good reason Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, particularly, were marshaling electoral support for Republicans using religious dog whistles and it is simply because Republicans across the nation have nothing else to run on.

Republicans cannot possibly claim the economy is suffering since the latest economic report revealed that America’s economy grew at a rate not seen in eight years (since 2006), two years before Republicans created the Great Recession. It is noteworthy that the growth was in spite of a small tax increase on the very richest  Americans and without wiping out environmental, workplace, and banking regulations Republicans perpetually claim destroy economic growth. It is true all of the growth is benefitting corporations and the wealthy, but only because Republicans refuse to help hard-working Americans who hold the distinction of being recipients of the lowest wages among the world’s most economically developed nations.

Even the Republicans’ favorite whipping boy, the Affordable Care Act is not a valid campaign issue like Republicans errantly thought it was in 2012. Particularly since reports emerged that most people are, in fact, paying their own premiums costing the government less, and those premiums are coming in much lower than expected. The dreaded “Obamacare” is turning out to be a popular program Republicans are ill-advised to campaign against as an economy, job, and people killer. So with no reality-based campaign issue, one might think Republicans would opt to campaign on raising wages, bringing off-shored jobs back home, or any number of things the people support like immigration reform, gun control, or higher wages, but they are not; particularly when religious extremists are desperate for politicians to legislate according to religion.

At the Value Voters Summit, the man who would be Pope, Ted Cruz, implored the “righteous” to flock to the polls in November to “vote Harry Reid out” to defend their Christian values. Cruz drew a standing ovation for calling on Christians to “defend the First Amendment or free speech or religious liberty, and vote Harry Reid out,” even though Senator Reid is not up for re-election or advocating for abolishing the 1st Amendment; that is the purview of Republicans. According to the Texas Republican and evangelical savior, Republican voters do not have to abandon their righteous values and promised the Christians that if they vote for a Republican-controlled Senate, Republicans will “stand for life, for marriage, for Israel,” and for good measure assured the crowd the Republicans would abolish the Internal Revenue Service, repeal Common Core, and “repeal every word of Obamacare.”

Cruz scolded Christians who had the temerity to consider embracing same-sex marriage and contraception, and demanded that as good conservatives, Republican voters stick to their Christian roots drawing wild cheers from the crowd. Cruz also accused congressional Democrats and President Obama of being an “extremist radical party” because they are not sending America’s fighting men and women on a Christian crusade to stand up for Christians he claims are being persecuted for being Christians all around the globe. He said,  “This is a time of great crisis, but it is no greater than the crisis that so many of us have faced in our own lives” and quoted the bible to assure the faithful that if they dutifully voted for theocracy, they would experience the “joy that cometh in the morning” because they stood by their Christian values and voted for Republicans.

Although libertarian Rand Paul did not spew fire and brimstone like Cruz, he did attempt to convince Christians that voting for and electing Republicans would start a “revival of Christian values.” Paul told the Christian crowd that Republicans know “where there is liberty there is always plenty of space for God,” and that what America really needs is “something more than laws. We need something that civilizes a nation, and that is virtue. What America really needs is a revival.” Part of Paul’s revival includes an all-out attack on abortion and said “The debate isn’t really about whether government has a role in protecting life. The debate really hinges on when life begins. Don’t tell me that babies have no rights simply because they’re not yet born.”

For a so-called medical professional, Paul should know that a fetus is not a baby until it exits the mother’s womb, and according to the god of the bible, it is not a “living being” until it breathes air. But medical science and the god of the bible are irrelevant to the theocracy crowd and Democrats had better comprehend that the theocrats will show up at the polls and they will elect Republicans who will wage a real war on women; likely with a rash of personhood and anti-contraception laws to effectively eliminate women’s rights.

Paul, like Cruz, did not fail to attack Democrats and President Obama for not defending Christians around the globe. He said, “You and I must stand with Christians in the Middle East” and enraged the crowd into a frenzy by reminding them that Christians are being persecuted worldwide and there is no crusade against Islam. He also implied, strongly, that the Obama Administration is complicit because there is a Christian sitting in prison in Pakistan that proves Democrats are not interested in a military crusade against oppression of Christians abroad because Pakistan gets American economic aid.

Democrats should not underestimate the religious right vote because they are not driven by anything other than fundamentalist religious fervor and there is nothing on Earth as dangerous. Events in Syria and Iraq involving a group of fundamentalist religious extremists should reinforce that simple fact, and as recent comments from Christian fundamentalists calling for Muslims to “convert or die” reveal, there is little difference between the extremists in the Islamic State (ISIL) and those at the Values Voter summit.

Democrats must comprehend that those Values Voter extremists could not care less about the economy, jobs, healthcare, or the environment because they are laser-focused on eliminating women’s rights, gay rights, contraception, abortion, and education that is not founded on the Christian bible. Republicans certainly understand what motivates their righteous base and they are dutifully blowing every dog whistle in their biblical arsenal. Because although they have nothing else, they have what matters to theocrats and it should frighten the life out of every American who loves living in a democracy; a democracy that is in jeopardy of being replaced with a corporate theocracy that Republicans are as anxious to enact as their “values voters.”

*************

John Boehner Rewrites History With An Epic Lie That Blames Obama For Republican Obstruction

By: Jason Easley
PoliticusUSA
Sunday, September, 28th, 2014, 12:55 pm   

John Boehner’s desperation was showing on ABC’s This Week as he repeated the Republican big lie in order to blame President Obama for the fact that House Republicans refuse to do their jobs.

Transcript:

    STEPHANOPOULOS: Bring us inside that room in January. What do you say to the President? What can get done?

    BOEHNER: I think the conversation’s pretty straightforward. ‘Mr President you’ve got two years left. Want to have two years like we’ve had the last four years where we just butt heads and butt heads and butt heads?’

    George I didn’t come to Washington to make noise. I went there to do something on behalf of my country. And I think the president ran for office to do something on behalf of the country. And it’s up to us to see where the common ground is. But tax reform, a big highway bill, certainly are in the realm of doable.

It was so subtle that it could be easily missed, but Speaker Boehner was blaming President Obama for the his own refusal to bring popular legislation to the House floor for a vote. Boehner has refused to allow the House to vote on the Senate passed immigration reform bill. He won’t bring legislation to the floor to raise the minimum wage, and he has spent nearly a year refusing to allow a vote on extending unemployment benefits. This the same John Boehner, who stated in February that he would rather , commit suicide than raise the minimum wage.

A separate issue is the list of bills that Speaker Boehner has had to pull from the House floor because he didn’t have the votes to pass them. Rep. Boehner claims that he wants to do something for the American people, but based on the items that he mentioned during his This Week interview, he is only interested in helping a few wealthy Americans. Boehner wants tax reform to help the wealthy; the Keystone XL pipeline to help the oil industry, and the Koch brothers and the medical device tax repealed.

None of what Boehner wants to do will help average Americans. Most Americans hate this congress. The reason has nothing to do with Obama and everything to with Boehner’s Koch fueled agenda. Every answer that Boehner gave in the interview was based on a single lie. It is a lie that is the basis for the Republican obstructionist cover story.

The lie is that legislation is not getting passed because Obama won’t work with Republicans. In his own words, Speaker Boehner debunked this lie when he claimed that the American people don’t want a congress that passes laws.

If Speaker Boehner wants to meet the man who is responsible for the biggest do nothing congress in history, all he has to do is look in the mirror.

*************

Facing tax shortfall, Kansas approves online sex toy auction to recoup lost tax revenue

Tom Boggioni
28 Sep 2014
RawStory

In an effort to make up for nonpayment of income, withholding and sales taxes, the state of Kansas has approved the online auction of sex toys and DVD’s by a businessman to bring his tax debt current.

According to the Topeka-Capitol Journal, businessman Larry Minkoff, who did business under the ‘Bang’ name, had refused requests from the Kansas Department of Revenue for payment of over $163,986 in state taxes.

In July agents from the state raided Minkoff’s multiple store locations, seizing the sex novelties, books, and DVDs.

Following negotiations with the state, Kansas gave Minkoff his sex toys back with the agreement that he would liquidate the inventory through an online auction and forward the proceeds to the state to apply towards his tax debt.

The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas Democrats are using the auction to mock straight-laced Gov. Sam Brownback who is reeling from a tax shortfall in his state.

“Brownback is so desperate to fill the massive hole in the state budget caused by his reckless income tax cuts that the state of Kansas is now in the porn business,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley. “This is the same governor whose supporters spent this past week attacking his opponent for a strip club incident that happened 16 years ago.”

According to the Capital-Journal, the auction includes, “a Pipedream Fantasy Love Swing, books, hundreds of DVDs, sex and drinking games, a wide assortment of sexually oriented equipment, the carrying cases for devices, the Glass Pleasure Wand, bundles of lingerie and the Cyberskin Foot Stroker.”

**************

The Secret Service Ignored Shots Fired Into the White House Residence When Sasha Obama Was Home

By: Sarah Jones
PoliticusUSA
Sunday, September, 28th, 2014, 11:51 am   

If the news of a knife-wielding man getting access to the White House last week didn’t disturb you enough, late Saturday evening The Washington Post published a terrifying expose of never previously reported failures of the Secret Service to protect the Obama family. The Obama family has been repeatedly put into what can only amount to shameful peril, at the hands of a Secret Service that can’t logically be this incompetent.

According to a Washington Post report written by Carol D. Leonnig that looks to have been tirelessly researched and backed up by multiple accounts, including “interviews with agents, investigators and other government officials with knowledge about the shooting”, Oscar R. Ortega-Hernandez used a semiautomatic rifle to shoot “directly at the home of the president of the United States, and pulled the trigger.”

At least 7 bullets hit the upstairs residence of the White House. Bullets hit steps from the First Family’s living room, others hit a window frame, the roof. All while Sasha and the First Lady’s mom were in residence and as Malia was expected home at any moment.

    The gunman parked his black Honda directly south of the White House, in the dark of a November night, in a closed lane of Constitution Avenue. He pointed his semiautomatic rifle out of the passenger window, aimed directly at the home of the president of the United States, and pulled the trigger.

    A bullet smashed a window on the second floor, just steps from the first family’s formal living room. Another lodged in a window frame, and more pinged off the roof, sending bits of wood and concrete to the ground. At least seven bullets struck the upstairs residence of the White House, flying some 700 yards across the South Lawn.

    President Obama and his wife were out of town on that evening of Nov. 11, 2011, but their younger daughter, Sasha, and Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, were inside, while older daughter Malia was expected back any moment from an outing with friends.

This is bad enough. But what makes this alarming is the fact that after these shots were fired into or at the residence of the White House, a Secret Service supervisor issued a stand down order, saying there were no shots fired.

This supervisor claimed the noises were the backfiring of a vehicle, even as agents were preparing to defend the White House. The supervisor issued a stand down order, per the Post: “No shots have been fired. Stand down.”

It took four days for the Secret Service to realize that shots had been fired at the White House. They only finally realized this because of the discoveries of a white House housekeeper (who should receive an award).

This is not the result of chaos in the line of fire. This is simply incomprehensible. The only way this level of incompetence makes sense is if someone or several someones in the Secret Service have an agenda to fail to protect the First Family.

I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but I am big on logic. There simply is no other reasonable explanation for this level of consistent incompetence that is immediately apparent. When behavior doesn’t make sense, the first question is what is to be gained by this behavior and the second is what is the most logical explanation.

Since agents were preparing to respond to the discharging of a gun at the White House that evening, it does not make sense that a supervisor would issue a stand down order. It does not make sense that they tried to put this off as a gang related shooting — that’s something Fox News would dream up. It does not make sense that they wouldn’t look for and find signs of damage on the building and in the interior.

Also of note, while PolitiFact rates as “false” the claim that President Obama faced more threats than any other president of modern times because they allegedly couldn’t find proof that it was true (this doesn’t make it false though, so this is an odd ruling), the Post researchers found otherwise.

Writing about the First Lady’s concern for the safety of her family, they confirmed, “Her concerns are well founded — President Obama has faced three times as many threats as his predecessors, according to people briefed on the Secret Service’s threat assessment.”

It doesn’t take someone from the Secret Service to tell us that this President faces more threats than any other recent president. The vitriol aimed at him by Republicans, their 6 year gun buying spree, their frothing insanity about his race and name, their beliefs that his birth certificate isn’t real and accusations by elected officials that he is going to intern them in labor camps (these are not just the fringers, but party leaders some of whom campaigned to be the GOP presidential nominee), and so much more hate — these things spell violence.

Thus the Secret Service should be more vigilant, not more complacent. As it stands, they have put the First Family in shameful peril repeatedly. They allowed the daughter of the President to be in a building that was being shot at and into, and they did nothing. They even denied that it happened.

Shameful and inexcusable Secret Service work — and in need of investigation.

 44 
 on: Sep 29, 2014, 06:47 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Mexican Opposition Politician Shot Dead in Acapulco

by Naharnet Newsdesk
29 September 2014, 07:01

A state leader of Mexico's opposition conservative party was shot dead Sunday by unidentified gunmen in a waterfront restaurant in the resort of Acapulco, prosecutors said.

Braulio Zaragoza, head of the National Action Party in Guerrero state, was shot three times in the back by the three assassins at the restaurant of the cliffside El Mirador hotel, Guerrero state prosecutors said.

The national leader of the National Action Party (PAN), Gustavo Madero, condemned the killing and demanded a thorough investigation.

Local politicians often have been targeted by threats and violence Mexico launched a military offensive against drug cartels under former president Felipe Calderon, a PAN member, in 2006.

More than 80,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in the past eight years.

Source: Agence France Presse

 45 
 on: Sep 29, 2014, 06:45 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Brazil's Rousseff: Tortured Guerrilla to First Woman President

by Naharnet Newsdesk
28 September 2014, 17:46

Brazil's first female president, Dilma Rousseff, is seeking a second term next Sunday, the next step on a political journey that began when she was a Marxist guerrilla tortured under the military dictatorship.

Rousseff, the 66-year-old daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant businessman, was the handpicked successor of two-term predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, her Workers Party mentor.

She duly saw off center-right rival Jose Serra in the 2010 poll with 56 percent of votes in the runoff.

Upon taking office, Rousseff vowed to "honor the legacy" of charismatic former union leader Lula, who enjoyed huge popularity throughout his eight years in power.

Under Lula, the PT implemented huge welfare programs, lifting some 40 million people out of poverty, and his second term, in particular, was marked by strong economic growth.

But Rousseff's tenure has been marked by an economic downturn that has seen her solid approval ratings take a serious dive.

Rousseff blames the slowdown on the global crisis, but critics point to what they say is an over-interventionist government policy.

A cool technocrat, Rousseff is known for her strong technical grasp of government business, though her dour style is a radical departure from the charisma of her predecessor, who still enjoys the kind of public acclaim normally afforded a rock star.

Lula, impressed with Rousseff's managerial capabilities and "something different" about her, made her energy minister in his first term.

There she clashed with then-environment minister -- now her poll rival -- Marina Silva over investments in power generation, including hydroelectric dams in the Amazon basin.

Rousseff became Lula's chief of staff between 2005 and 2010 before Lula chose her to succeed him.

The president has come under fire from opponents in recent months over corruption scandals at state-owned energy giant Petrobras, whose advisory board she chaired when the firm purchased the Pasadena refinery in Texas for some 28 times what the previous owners had paid.

Congress is now investigating another scandal over allegations by a former Petrobras director that dozens of politicians -- many PT members or allies -- received huge kickbacks on oil deals.

During the opening ceremony of the World Cup, a tournament whose mammoth cost provoked public unrest, Rousseff responded to boos from fans by saying: "I have come up against hugely difficult situations in my life, including attacks which took me to the limit physically."

The comment alluded to the torture she suffered under the military.

"But nothing knocked me out of my stride," Rousseff added.

Born on December 14, 1947 to a middle-class family in the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte, Rousseff was soon engaged in dissident groups fomenting armed struggle against the 1964-85 military dictatorship.

Arrested at 22, she was tortured and spent almost three years in jail for subversion.

The twice-married Rousseff has a daughter, Paula, from a 30-year relationship with former second husband and fellow anti-dictatorship dissident Carlos de Araujo.

With Araujo, she helped found the Brazilian Labor Party in 1979. She joined the PT in 2000 and held a range of party jobs in the southern city of Porto Alegre, where she spent much of her career before heading for Brasilia.

A year prior to the 2010 campaign, Rousseff was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer and endured chemotherapy that forced her to cover up hair loss with a wig, which she at times used for self-deprecating jokes.

Source: Agence France Presse

****************

Brazil's Neves Long-Shot For Presidency

by Naharnet Newsdesk
28 September 2014, 18:14

While Brazil's financial sector would like to see social democrat Aecio Neves as president, voters are less keen and opinion polls give the senator and former state governor little hope.

Former congressman Neves, the grandson of a former president, is scion of a political dynasty stretching back decades, but recent polls put him 22 points behind left-wing incumbent Dilma Rousseff.

Even environmentalist challenger Marina Silva is better placed ahead of Sunday's first round voting, and Neves is unlikely to make the run off next month.

Neves' grandfather Tancredo Neves was chosen as president in 1985 on Brazil's return to democracy following 21 years of military rule, but he died before taking office.

Now another death may have thwarted the younger Neves' ambitions.

Silva replaced Eduardo Campos as the Socialist Party candidate six weeks ago after the latter was killed in an air crash, and now her unexpected challenge seems to have sunk Neves' campaign.

The 54-year-old economist earned his political spurs as governor of the southeastern state of Minas Gerais and has a reputation as a solid pair of hands but also a charming operator.

Neves joined his grandfather's campaigns in Minas Gerais aged only 20 and by 1987 had his owns eat on the state legislature, beginning a rapid political rise.

He still has the support of former president and fellow social democrat Fernando Henrique.

Neves -- whose former-model second wife gave him twins earlier this year -- has kept up a constant barrage of criticism of Rousseff's economic performance.

Brazil is in recession and has endured sluggish growth since 2011 amid inflation pressures.

Neves also accused Rousseff and Workers Party (PT) predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of frightening off investors and of "demonizing" the idea of public-private partnership.

Neves' Social Democrats (PSDB) have been the PT's major rivals during the latter's 11 years in government.

"We must regain investor confidence. We shall show we are interested in linking up with the private sector," said Neves.

Neves backs central bank independence, which Rousseff opposes.

"For health and education to improve we must pursue a different economic course," he insists.

Neves says Marina's campaign is "incoherent" and points to his stewardship of Minas Gerais, Brazil's second most populous state, as proof of his abilities.

Yet still he looks set to trail in well behind Rousseff and Silva.

 46 
 on: Sep 29, 2014, 06:43 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
The Turkana of east Africa – in pictures

The Guardian
09/29/2014

The Ilemi Triangle is a disputed region claimed by South Sudan and Kenya, which borders both countries as well as Ethiopia. Photographer Goran Tomasevic met members of the nomadic Turkana tribe, who live around the area

Click to view: http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2014/sep/29/turkana-people-east-africa-in-pictures

***************************

                                                A Nilotic people of Kenya

The Turkana tribe is a nomadic pastoralist people that inhabit the Turkana district in Kenya's Rift Valley Province.

Turkana tribe is part of the Nilotic tribes and constitutes the second largest pastoralist community in Kenya after the Maasais.

They speak the Turkana language, which is Nilotic and similar to the Maasai language.

The Turkana, like the Samburu and Maasai, still maintain their undiluted traditional way of life. They are distinguished as being great survivors, living in harsh and inhospitable terrain.
History of the Turkana people

The Turkana tribe originally came from the Karamojong region of northeastern Uganda. Turkana oral traditions purport that they arrived in Kenya while pursuing an unruly bull. The land they occupy is harsh and very dry. The Turkanas were, therefore, less affected by colonialism than other tribes because the British saw little value in their land.

Culture and lifestyle of the Turkanas

As with all other pastoralist tribes in Kenya, livestock, especially cattle, are at the core of Turkana culture. The Turkana people live a nomadic life, always moving from one place to another depending on the availability of pasture and water for their animals.

The Turkana place such a high value on cattle that they often raid other tribes to acquire more animals. This may be seen as theft, but to the Turkana and other pastoralist tribes in Northern Kenya, it is a perfectly acceptable traditional custom. Cattle raids are common between Turkanas and their neighboring tribes, especially the Karamoja of Uganda, and the Pokot and Marakwet of Southern Kenya.

Unfortunately, these cattle raids have increasingly become more dangerous due to an upsurge in the use of small firearms (guns and rifles) by Turkanas and their neighboring tribes. Today, many people in the region own unlicensed firearms for their own protection. The sight of a Turkana herdsman holding a G3 (or AK47) rifle while herding his animals is not strange in this region.

Unlike other nomadic tribes, the Turkana do not have many complex customs or strong social structures. Each Turkana family tends to be self-sufficient though at times a number of families may graze their animals collectively.

Polygamy is an acceptable way of life. A Turkana man can marry as many wives as he can afford to pay the bride price for. Like the Luo tribe and the Teso, the Turkana tribe does not practice male circumcision. They also do not hold any special initiation rituals to mark the transition to manhood.
Turkana dress and clothing

The Turkana are nearly as colorful as the Maasai and Samburu in their regalia and dressing. Turkana men dye their hair with special colored soil, while the women adorn themselves with traditional jewelry and beaded necklaces. A woman's social status or class determines the quantity and style of jewelry she wears. From the point of view of a Turkana person, one glance at a woman is enough to know her standing in the society.

Turkana art and crafts

Some of the most beautifully crafted items from the Turkana are the bracelets and necklaces worn by the women. Turkana craftsmen also produce many other artistic items, especially weapons such as spears, clubs and knives. The Turkana also manifest special skills in metalwork, woodcarving, and stone carving.

Turkana faith and religion

Today, the majority of Turkanas still adhere to their traditional African religion. They believe in a god of the heavens/skies, whom they call Akuj or Kuj. Turkanas can pray directly to Akuj, or through the spirits of their ancestors. They normally call upon this god in times of crisis or during calamities such as extreme droughts.

The Turkana life today

Cattle are still the main source of livelihood for the Turkana, especially in the rural areas. The livestock provide food (milk and meat) and are also a source of wealth when sold for money. Fishing in Lake Turkana is another important source of income for those living close to the lake. While illiteracy levels are still high among the Turkana, there are a few well-educated Turkanas who have joined other sectors of the Kenyan economy.

 47 
 on: Sep 29, 2014, 06:36 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

Israel’s Mossad comes in from the cold in search for new recruits

Israel’s infamous spy agency drops secretive cloak-and-dagger approach and goes online to seek out potential agents

Associated Press in Tel Aviv
The Guardian, Monday 29 September 2014 09.48 BST   

It used to be that if you wanted to join one of the world’s most secretive espionage organisations you had to sneak into a foreign embassy, answer a cryptic newspaper ad or show up in a nondescript building in Tel Aviv to meet a shadowy recruiter. Now, all it takes to apply for a job at Israel’s Mossad spy agency is a click of the mouse.

The usually shadowy Mossad revamped its website last week to include a recruiting video and an online application option for those seeking employment. With versions in Hebrew, English, French, Russian, Arabic and Persian, the site looks to revolutionise the way Israel’s infamous agency seeks out potential agents after generations of backdoor, cloak-and-dagger antics.

“We must continue to recruit the best people into our ranks so that the Mossad might continue to lead, defend and allow for the continued existence of the state of Israel,” the head of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, said in a statement announcing the launch. “The Mossad’s qualitative human capital is the secret of our success.”

The Mossad, Hebrew for “the Institute,” is short for the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations. It is the global arm of the Israeli intelligence community.

Applicants are more likely to land a job in its technology, cyber or administration departments than secret missions, but the video makes the most of the agency’s derring-do reputation with images of satellites and drones as well as men and women in suits carrying out surveillance operations.

A narrator says: “Your imagination is my reality”, and the banner at the top of the page reads: “Join us to see the invisible and do the impossible.”

Aside from its initial announcement, the agency has been tightlipped about the new media strategy. But at least one former operative thinks reaching out is a good idea.

“It’s the 21st century. This gives them the chance to reach the kind of people they have never reached before,” said Gad Shimron, who served in the Mossad for a decade and later wrote Mossad Exodus, a book about its secret operation to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel. “They’ve got nothing to lose. If you throw out a line you may hook a fish.”

Shimron said the Mossad used to be more of an old boys’ network, with friends recruiting their friends and family. Ads offering “interesting jobs” would occasionally show up in the classified sections and those with multiple passports and a proper security clearance from their military service could get a call, inviting them to an interview. But the options for walk-ins were limited. With the increase of video cameras worldwide, physically walking into an Israeli embassy has become more risky for those afraid of being exposed.

The Mossad insists its online option is safe and discreet.

“Rest assured that all approaches will be treated with the utmost discretion and confidentiality so that your personal safety is ensured,” the instructions read. “When filling in the form, we suggest you consider whether the computer you are using and your location is secure enough. It would be safer to fill in the form using means that are not directly connected to you. We also recommend erasing the browsing history upon completion of the form.”

In going online, the Mossad appears to be taking a page out of the playbook of its domestic equivalent, Shin Bet, which launched its online recruiting campaign in 2006.

The workings of the Mossad have been shrouded in secrecy but the new site includes some background on its origins and perhaps its most famous operation – the capture of Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann in the 1960s. But its activity description is vague and dozens of other well-known operations linked to the agency are nowhere to be found.

In his online welcome address, Pardo explains why.

“Information about the Mossad’s activity does not reach the public, and often what is publicised many years after the event is but the tip of the iceberg of almost imaginary activity and operations,” he writes. “This website gives you a brief glimpse of the Mossad, and will reveal only a little of its past and activity.”

 48 
 on: Sep 29, 2014, 06:34 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Boko Haram Dims Hopes of Oil-Fuelled Revival of North Nigeria

by Naharnet Newsdesk
28 September 2014, 17:28

Social and economic development has long been touted as the way to revive the fortunes of Nigeria's impoverished north and prevent legions of disaffected young men turning to radical Islam.

But Boko Haram violence has scuppered progress, particularly from one potentially lucrative source of revenue -- the oil found under the Lake Chad Basin in the country's far northeast.

Nigeria struck black gold in the Kukawa area of Borno state in 2012, with estimates that 100 billion cubic meters of deposits lie beneath the lake and its arid hinterland.

The discovery raised hopes not just because of its potential to transform the region economically but to also help boost Nigeria's oil reserves by three billion barrels to 40 billion barrels.

But the former head of the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, said in March that plans to start production had been put on hold because of the conflict.

Geologists, engineers and other technical staff quit while the country's main oil unions warned workers to stay away, putting paid to extraction and further exploration.

"We have advised our members to avoid the northeast because we don't want them to be killed by the lawless group," said Babatunde Oke of the white-collar oil workers union PENGASSAN.

A senior NNPC official said efforts were ongoing to make the region safe for oil workers, against a backdrop of militant gains of towns and villages across the states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa.

"For now, the plan is on hold because of the Boko Haram unrest," he told AFP.

"But the GMD (group managing director) Joseph Dawha is in talks with (the) Nigeria airforce to ensure safe exploration in the Chad Basin."

Five years of relentless violence in northeast Nigeria has claimed thousands of lives and made hundreds of thousands of others homeless.

The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, now the Muslim emir of Kano, said this month that investment in the north was key to preventing radicalization.

For Mustapha Ibrahim, a political scientist at Yobe State University, oil in particular could help reduce poverty, unemployment and lack of education which fuel radical recruitment.

"We need to address this social malaise to effectively tackle Boko Haram and this can be achieved with the judicious use of money from oil in the Chad Basin when oil production finally starts," he said.

"The oil money will facilitate job and employment generation, mass education opportunities and other social and economic programs which will in the long run do away with the factors responsible for the Boko Haram violence raging now."

Boko Haram wants to carve out a hardline Islamic state in Nigeria but there have been no serious suggestions that its insurgency is driven by oil.

"There is no evidence that Boko Haram or their associates are motivated by a desire for control of oil," said Andrew Noakes, coordinator of the Nigeria Security Network of analysts.

"The insurgency is driven primarily by ideological, religious, and socio-economic grievances rather than pursuit of financial gain."

Nevertheless, in the maelstrom of rumors that is Nigerian politics, there have been claims that some northern leaders have been fueling the rebellion for personal economic gain.

One theory is that no oil extraction can be carried out as long as there is instability in Nigeria's northeast, giving neighboring Chad free rein to pump out crude from the shared basins in the region from its side of the border.

If and when the conflict ends, analysts say it will be vital to learn from the mistakes made in the Niger Delta region, where most of the country's oil is currently produced.

The Delta has been wracked by violence while decades of corruption and mismanagement have done little to improve the lives of ordinary people, despite the billions the industry produces.

"Everything must be done to avoid the resource curse," said Debo Adeniran, from the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, a pressure group. "Oil should be a blessing rather than a curse."

Only good governance and accountability will bring the insurgency to an end, according to Ibrahim, warning that the stakes are high for Africa's biggest oil producer.

"If that is not done Boko Haram may never end," he said.

"The present crop may be defeated now but in a few years another disgruntled group may rise under different cover because the factors that breed such criminal groups are still with us".

Source: Agence France Presse

 49 
 on: Sep 29, 2014, 06:32 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Genocide Court Upholds Life Terms for Rwanda ex-Ruling Party Bosses

by Naharnet Newsdesk
29 September 2014, 12:04

The U.N.-backed tribunal for Rwanda on Monday upheld the life sentences for two former heads of the ex-ruling party for genocide crimes committed in 1994.

Matthieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera, the former head and deputy of Rwanda's National Revolutionary Movement for Development, had been handed life terms in 2011 for genocide, crimes against humanity and for not having prevented or denounced crimes committed by the party's militia, the Interahamwe, but had appealed the verdicts.

An estimated 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis, were killed in the genocide.

But appeals judge Theodor Meron said the verdict and sentence had been upheld and that the two would remain in detention pending their transfer to a jail where they will serve their sentence.

Ngirumpatse was arrested in Mali in June 1998 and transferred to Arusha the following month. Karemera was arrested the same year in Togo.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was set up to try those alleged to bear the greatest responsibility for the 1994 genocide.

Lesser suspects have been judged by the Rwandan courts and by several thousand grassroots courts, known as gacaca, that were set up by the Rwandan government to deal with the sheer number of cases.

Source: Agence France Presse

 50 
 on: Sep 29, 2014, 06:29 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

US-led air strikes pound Isis bases in Syria

Coalition raids target oil facilities held by Islamic State while Syrian army bombs areas in Aleppo province overnight

Reuters in Beirut
The Guardian, Monday 29 September 2014 09.10 BST   

US-led forces launched air strikes overnight on territory controlled by Islamic State (Isis) in northern and eastern Syria while the Syrian army continued bombing areas in the west, according to a group monitoring the war.

The US has been carrying out strikes in Iraq against the militant group since last month and in Syria since last week with the help of Arab allies. It aims to destroy the bases and forces of the al-Qaida offshoot that has captured large areas of both countries.

The overnight raids hit Isis in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers information from sources in Syria.

Manbij sits between Aleppo city in the west and Kobani on the northern border with Turkey, which Isis has been trying to capture from Kurdish forces, forcing tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds to flee over the frontier.

Syria’s army carried out air raids in Aleppo province overnight, targeting areas east of Aleppo city with barrel bombs and other projectiles, the observatory said. It also carried out air strikes in Hama, western Syria.

Forces loyal to Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, have been battling Islamist fighters around Aleppo, which is held by a number of groups in Syria’s civil war.

In eastern Syria, US-led forces bombed a gas plant controlled by Islamic State outside Deir al-Zor city, wounding several militants, the observatory said.

The US has said it wants strikes to target oil facilities held by Islamic State to try to stem a source of revenue for the group.

The raid hit Kuniko gas plant, which feeds a power station in Homs that provides several provinces with electricity and powers oil fields generators, the observatory said.

Coalition warplanes also hit areas of Hasaka city in the north-east and the outskirts of the Isis stronghold of Raqqa city in the north.

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Isis reconciles with al-Qaida group as Syria air strikes continue

Jabhat al-Nusra denounces US-led attacks as ‘war on Islam’, and leaders of group holding meetings with Islamic State
 
Martin Chulov   
The Guardian, Sunday 28 September 2014 17.56 BST   

Air strikes continued to target Islamic State (Isis) positions near the Kurdish town of Kobani and hubs across north-east Syria on Sunday, as the terror group moved towards a new alliance with Syria’s largest al-Qaida group that could help offset the threat from the air.

Jabhat al-Nusra, which has been at odds with Isis for much of the past year, vowed retaliation for the US-led strikes, the first wave of which a week ago killed scores of its members. Many al-Nusra units in northern Syria appeared to have reconciled with the group, with which it had fought bitterly early this year.

A senior source confirmed that al-Nusra and Isis leaders were now holding war planning meetings. While no deal has yet been formalised, the addition of at least some al-Nusra numbers to Isis would strengthen the group’s ranks and extend its reach at a time when air strikes are crippling its funding sources and slowing its advances in both Syria and Iraq.

Al-Nusra, which has direct ties to al-Qaida’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called the attacks a “war on Islam” in an audio statement posted over the weekend. A senior al-Nusra figure told the Guardian that 73 members had defected to Isis last Friday alone and that scores more were planning to do so in coming days.

“We are in a long war,” al-Nusra’s spokesman, Abu Firas al-Suri, said on social media platforms. “This war will not end in months nor years, this war could last for decades.”

In the rebel-held north there is a growing resentment among Islamist units of the Syrian opposition that the strikes have done nothing to weaken the Syrian regime. “We have been calling for these sorts of attacks for three years and when they finally come they don’t help us,” said a leader from the Qatari-backed Islamic Front, which groups together Islamic brigades. “People have lost faith. And they’re angry.”British jets flew sorties over Isis positions in Iraq after being ordered into action against the group following a parliamentary vote on Friday.

David Cameron has suggested he might review his decision to confine Britain’s involvement to Iraq alone, but for now the strikes in support of Kurdish civilians and militants in Kobani were being carried out by Arab air forces from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE and Bahrain.

The US was reported to have carried out at least six strikes in support of Kurdish civilians near the centre of Kobani, where the YPG, the Kurdish militia, is fighting a dogged rearguard campaign against Isis, which is mostly holding its ground despite the aerial attacks.

Kobani is the third-largest Kurdish enclave in Syria, and victory for Isis there is essential to its plans to oust the Kurds from lands where they have lived for several thousand years. Control of the area would give the group a strategic foothold in north-east Syria, which would give it easy access to north-west Iraq.

US-led forces are also believed to have carried out air strikes on three makeshift oil refineries under Isis’s control.

Isis continued to make forays along the western edge of Baghdad, where its members have been active for nine months. The Iraqi capital is being heavily defended by Shia militias, who in many cases have primacy over the Iraqi army, which surrendered the north of the country.

That rout – one of the most spectacular anywhere in modern military history – gave Isis a surge of momentum and it has since seized the border with Syria, menaced Irbil, ousted minorities from the Nineveh plains and threatened the Iraqi government’s hold on the country.

Barack Obama said the intelligence community had not appreciated the scale of the threat or comprehended the weakness of the Iraqi army. In an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes, he said: “Over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves. And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world.”

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Barack Obama says Syria is 'ground zero for jihadists around the world'

President: US underestimated Isis, overestimated Iraqi army
Remarks may be seized upon by Republican critics   
   
Martin Pengelly and Ed Pilkington in New York
theguardian.com, Sunday 28 September 2014 18.06 BST   

President Barack Obama has said that US intelligence agencies underestimated Islamic State (Isis) activity inside Syria, which has become “ground zero” for jihadist terrorists worldwide, while overestimating the ability of the Iraqi army to fight such militant groups.

The president’s words, extracted from a CBS interview that was scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, came as further US-led airstrikes were carried out in Syria and Iraq and John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, called for a ground war against Isis. The interview, for the 60 Minutes programme, was taped on Friday.

Citing comments by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, to the Washington Post earlier this month, Obama said US intelligence underestimated what had been taking place in Syria after Islamic militants went underground when US marines defeated al-Qaida in Iraq with help from Iraqi tribes.

“But over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos,” Obama said. “And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world.”

Clapper was quoted by the Post as saying: “I didn’t see the collapse of the Iraqi security force in the north coming. I didn’t see that. It boils down to predicting the will to fight, which is an imponderable.”

Obama’s admission that Isis managed to set up its bases in Syria and Iraq under the noses of the world’s most powerful intelligence services runs the risk of emboldening Republican hawks who have been complaining for months that the administration was being too passive in its handling of the Syrian civil war.

Former Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been particularly caustic in his criticism of Obama’s policy in the Middle East, ridiculing it for being even worse than Jimmy Carter’s.

Isis controls large areas of Syria and northern Iraq and has killed thousands of people. The beheadings of two American journalists and one British aid worker by Isis militants have shocked the world.

US air strikes on Iraq began on 8 August, and more than 200 have since been carried out. Strikes on Syria, by a coalition which includes Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, began on Tuesday.

Speaking to CBS, Obama outlined his military goal against Isis: “We just have to push them back, and shrink their space, and go after their command and control, and their capacity, and their weapons, and their fueling, and cut off their financing, and work to eliminate the flow of foreign fighters.”

He also said a political solution was necessary in both Iraq and Syria for peace in the long term.

The interview was scheduled to be broadcast in full on Sunday night in the US.

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