Detroit -- Federal agents are investigating why the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority hired a security director positioned at a key entry point along the U.S./Canadian border who is a felon convicted of extorting $30,000 to help an illegal immigrant stay in the country.
The rest of Detroit officials have yet to be convicted...
Agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security raided the port authority's gleaming riverfront headquarters Wednesday, and search warrant affidavits obtained exclusively by The Detroit News show they are probing allegations of a conspiracy involving security director Benjamin Bostic. The alleged conspiracy involves submitting phony documents as a cover-up of Bostic's criminal record in order to receive a fingerprint-based security pass granting access to port facilities across the United States.
Bostic has not violated any federal criminal laws, said his attorney Brian Legghio, who accused the government of "employing the heavy hand of the criminal justice system."
"He went to prison and has been rehabilitated and is a fine citizen," Legghio said.
[An Nahar] The leader of the M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday urged all fighters to "immediately end hostilities" with army troops. M23 president Bertrand Bisimwa said in a statement his aim was to "allow the continuation of the political process" with Kinshasa in a bid to end the insurgency.
[Al Ahram] Mohammedan women should be banned from wearing a veil when giving evidence in British courts, a cabinet minister in Prime Minister David Cameron ... has stated that he is certainly a big Thatcher fan, but I don't know whether that makes me a Thatcherite, which means he's not. Since he is not deeply ideological he lacks core principles and is easily led. He has been described as certainly not a Pitt, Elder or Younger, but he does wear a nice suit so maybe he's Beau Brummel ... 's government said on Sunday, arguing it was hard to judge someone's testimony otherwise. In comments likely to stir up an already emotive debate, Ken Clarke, a minister without portfolio who used to work as a criminal barrister, likened traditional female Islamic dress to being "in a kind of bag", and said he found it "a most peculiar costume for people to adopt in the 21st century."
"I think we do need a clear rule. I don't think a witness should be allowed to give evidence from behind a veil," Clarke, a former interior minister, told BBC radio.
"I can't see how on earth a judge and a jury can really appraise evidence when you're facing someone who is cloaked and is completely invisible to you. It's almost impossible to have a proper trial if one of the persons is in a kind of bag."
A judge's ruling in September that a Mohammedan woman could not give evidence at her trial wearing a full-face veil sparked debate about whether Britannia should follow other European countries and ban veils in schools and public places.
Judge Peter Murphy said at the time he hoped parliament or a higher court would provide a definitive verdict "sooner rather than later".
Britannia has so far steered clear of following the examples of La Belle France and Belgium, where it is illegal for women to wear full-face veils in public.
Clarke, who said he had no objection to anyone wearing what they liked outside the courtroom provided it was "decent", said it was vital for jurors to be able to observe a person's body language and facial expression to make a decision on whether they were telling the truth.
Face-coverings were therefore an obstacle to justice, he said.
"I actually think it undermines a trial and that's not based on any trace of Islamophobia ...the irrational fear that Moslems will act the way they usually do... ."
Cameron's government is considering how to better integrate Britannia's 2.7 million Mohammedans without restricting their right to freedom of religious expression.
Cameron's government is considering how to better integrate Britain's 2.7 million Muslims without restricting their right to freedom of religious expression.
The answer to this pommie paradox is stridently obvious. Simply relinquish your own freedom and religious expression and submit to theirs. Oh, your churches are now museums and assembly halls? Well grand, you've nearly arrived.
Chinese backing of UN efforts to curb the NSA's activities may undermine American hegemony by disrupting America's alliances.
...which IMHO is exactly why functionaries in the Ogabe regime engineered the Manning and Snowden leaks, likely with the full knowledge of The Won himself. Who in the hell believes that a near-lunatic E-3 intel clerk and a junior NSA conract employee with holes in his background that should have kept him from getting hired, just happened to end up in places where they could score espionage coups causing damage that took this guy and his accomplices almost twenty years to inflict?
Posted by: Ricky bin Ricardo (Abu Babaloo) ||
11/04/2013 1:39 Comments ||
The U.S. government has a problem with dead people. For one thing, it pays them way too much money. Yeah, but can you buy votes for any less?
In the past few years, Social Security paid $133 million to beneficiaries who were deceased. The federal employee retirement system paid more than $400 million to retirees who had passed away. And an aid program spent $3.9 million in federal money to pay heating and air-conditioning bills for more than 11,000 of the dead. And how does the WaPo know this? Or are they just making up numbers?
These mistakes are part of a surprising glitch at the heart of the federal bureaucracy. Because of a jury-rigged and outdated system meant to track deaths, the government has trouble determining exactly which Americans are deceased.
As a result, Washington is bedeviled by both the living dead and the dead living. As long as they vote correctly, who cares?
The first group are people who have died but are counted as alive in federal records. Their benefits keep coming. Millions of dollars pile up in unwatched accounts. Millions more are spent by feckless relatives. In one recent record-breaking case, a son stole his dead father's federal benefits for 26 years. "Stole" being the operative word. I trust he's in the slammer now?
The second group includes living Americans -- at least 750 new people every month -- whom the system falsely lists as dead. And once you're on that list, it is not easy to get off. This summer in Utah, one man visited a Social Security office to protest his "death" in person. But the clerks wanted more evidence. They gave him a piece of paper, and asked him to write on it, "I'm alive."
In Washington, these failures have become a long-running case study in how government systems break -- and stay broken.
The task of tracking deaths for the federal bureaucracy is an enormous one; about 2.5 million Americans die each year. Federal officials say the vast majority of these cases are handled correctly: The death is recorded. Government money is no longer sent to that person. But they can continue to vote, depending on who is counting.
In 2011 alone, auditors found, Medicare paid $23 million for services provided to dead people. From 2009 to 2011, it spent $8.2 million on medical equipment prescribed by doctors who had been dead for at least a year. The causes seemed to include poor record-keeping, sometimes exploited by fraudsters. No! Say it ain't so! Fraud?
For government watchdogs, these are some of the most fixable -- and therefore the most maddening -- mistakes that the government makes. A big part of the frustration stems from the fact that there is no interest group fighting to keep the flawed status quo: The dead do not lobby.
But, somehow, they still get paid. The same root cause as most of what ails the US - Somebody Else's Money
"Not to speak ill of the dead, but they're the least deserving of federal payments," said a spokesperson for the group Taxpayers for Common Sense. But the situation doesn't get fixed, he said, because the cost is spread among all taxpayers -- too wide and too thin to make anybody very mad.
In the Feds severely adverse scenario, the jobless rate peaks at 11.25 percent, stocks fall almost 50 percent and U.S. housing prices slide 25 percent, while the euro area sinks into recession. Developing economies in Asia also experience a sharp slowdown, the Fed said.
Encouraging to see at least someone planning for the eventual fall of Obamacare, or more appropriately, the economy tasked with supporting it.
Making sure (Or trying to) Republicans get the blame.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
11/04/2013 0:44 Comments ||
Maybe the Fed is realizing how much trouble it is in, and it is doing the old Brenda Lee song so as not to appear as a bunch of total fools:
And break it... to me gently
Give me time... oh give me a little time to ease the pain
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
11/04/2013 0:53 Comments ||
Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, 55, said yesterday he doesnt see evidence of market bubbles developing and that investors should celebrate when the Fed begins to taper its support program because it will signal the economy is healthy.
We've been waiting for that for five years now, Jimbo, ya got any idea when that might happen?
[An Nahar] Silvio Berlusconi ...current Italian prime minister, known for his plain (for a European politician) speaking and his liking for hookers a third his age or less... 's daughter Marina, touted as his possible political successor, was given a boost in a poll published Sunday showing that the flamboyant ex-premier's supporters think she is prime minister material.
Some 65 percent of voters for Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party think 47-year-old Marina Berlusconi "would be suitable for the office of prime minister", according to the SWG institute poll published in the Corriere della Sera daily.
The sentiment was shared by 57 percent of the center-right.
Speculation is rife in Italia over whether Berlusconi, embroiled in a series of court cases, is planning to hand over the reins of his party to his eldest daughter -- though she has repeatedly denied an interest in entering politics.
Berlusconi's conviction for tax fraud earlier this year and an upcoming Senate vote on whether to expel him from parliament have threatened to weaken his grip on his party, and Marina appears to be the only choice for successor.
His former protege Angelino Alfano led a revolt against Berlusconi's hardline allies earlier this month, a betrayal the mogul has not forgiven.
Marina, who sits at the helm of the Berlusconi family's powerful holding company Fininvest, has refused so far to give up her business career.
At 57%, Italian voters appear to have an affinity for successful entrepreneurs. Sadly, we seem to be terminally stuck on snake-oil community organizers who have never earned an honest days pay in their entire lives.
[Daily Caller] A federal circuit court struck down the Obamacare birth-control mandate Friday, ruling that the requirement places a substantial burden on the religious beliefs of individual employers.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the mandate infringes on the religious freedom of individual business owners, in this case Francis and Philip Gilardi, the Catholics who own Freshway Foods and Fresh Unlimited. The court did not, however, extend the same rights to companies themselves.
The Affordable Care Act requires that employers offer health insurance that covers contraception or face penalties. Catholics object to the mandate on religious grounds. Now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. No victory laps just yet.
Good point, g(rom). Even if the Supremes declare the law unconstitutional, Obama will probably just take the Andrew Jackson approach: "Justice Roberts has made his decision. Now let him enforce it."
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia ||
11/04/2013 8:44 Comments ||
Which is one of the reasons he has been purging the military. How many divisions does Justice Roberts have?
An overwhelming majority of Israelis believe the US spies on Israelis, according to the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University's monthly Peace Index poll, released Monday.
When asked if the US listens to Israeli leaders' and citizens' conversations, 90 percent of Jewish respondents and 62% of Arabs said yes.
At the same time, 65% of Jewish Israelis and 22% of Arab Israelis support spying on friendly countries, while 73% of Israeli Jews believe Israel already does so. Of course, one might ask what constitutes "friendly" if you're Israel?
The poll results come after The New York Times reported Sunday that classified files made public by fugitive former US National Security Agency agent Edward Snowden showed that the NSA tracked Israeli military targets and shared material with the IDF Military Intelligence's Unit 8200.
Governments are NOT spying on foreign governments. Interest is wastefully diverted into spying on foreign citizens and sharing that useful to the politically-connected info with foreign governments often to get around constitutional restrictions...
Bill, The Air Farce, in it's infinite wisdom, retired the Blackbird and replaced it with satellites. The Blackbird community was too small to be influential and there were far more opportunities for promotions, funding and post military careers in the companies that make satellites. Remember this is the same branch of service that is constantly trying to replace the very effective A-10 with F-16's and F-35's
Asia's coconut palms, which mark the landscape from the Philippines to India, face a crisis as rapidly aging groves become less productive, curbing harvests that are a source of food and income for millions. The trees, many of which were planted about 50 to 60 years ago after World War II, no longer yield enough to meet rising global demand, according to the Rome-based Food & Agriculture Organization. There's an urgent need for replanting and rejuvenation, said Hiroyuki Konuma, regional representative for Asia and the Pacific at the United Nations agency, which is seeking to coordinate a response to the challenge.
At stake is the productivity of a core part of the rural economy in the Asia-Pacific, which accounts for about 85 percent of the global supply of the commodity that goes into food, fuel, soaps and cosmetics. In the Philippines, among the three biggest growers, one in five people depends on the crop to some extent, according to the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community. The Jakarta-based group, which represents growers, predicts that harvests could be increased to benefit millions of smallholders.
"We have a lot of aging trees," Yvonne Agustin, executive director of the United Coconut Association of the Philippines, said in an interview, adding some local palms are already 100 years old. "The government recognizes that and has embarked on a planting and replanting program," Agustin said by phone.
The slender trees that are a staple image for tourists' postcards are productive for between 50 years and a century, with the highest yields in the first three decades, according to the FAO. The harvest in the Asia-Pacific is now about 40 nuts per tree a year, compared with a potential yield of 75 to 150, it estimates, saying replanting is advisable after 60 years. Death by coconut
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.