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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year


I wish you all a happy, safe and prosperous new year! I hope the year 2013 will be a good one for you, in your personal lives, as well as professionally. 

Warmest Regards
Michele Kearney

The Final Battle by Chris Hedges


The Final Battle

Over the past year I and other plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg have pressed a lawsuit in the federal courts to nullify Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This egregious section, which permits the government to use the military to detain U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers, could have been easily fixed by Congress. The Senate and House had the opportunity this month to include in the 2013 version of the NDAA an unequivocal statement that all U.S. citizens would be exempt from 1021(b)(2), leaving the section to apply only to foreigners. But restoring due process for citizens was something the Republicans and the Democrats, along with the White House, refused to do. The fate of some of our most basic and important rights—ones enshrined in the Bill of Rights as well as the Fourth and Fifth amendments of the Constitution—will be decided in the next few months in the courts. If the courts fail us, a gulag state will be cemented into place. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/12/24

Think tank: Israel's poor international image not the fault of failed hasbara


Think tank: Israel's poor international image not the fault of failed hasbara

Study finds that Israel's advocacy effort has become one of the world's most efficient and productive, but Israel nevertheless
suffers from an image problem - which is rather a product of the Israeli government's policies.

By Barak Ravid | Dec.30, 2012

Chuck Hagel's big problem: being a realist about American power and Iran

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/31/chuck-hagel-big-problem-realist-iran

Chuck Hagel's big problem: being a realist about American power and Iran

The former Nebraska senator faces fierce opposition to possible nomination as defense secretary from Washington's militarists

Now even top officials in the Kabul government vow to kill Americans.

Afghan Allies -- New York Post

Now even top officials in the Kabul government vow to kill Americans.

“The fate of the Americans in Afghanistan will be worse than that of the Russians,” Mohammed Ismail Khan warned in 2009. The same Afghan is now vowing to drive all “foreigners” out of Afghanistan.

More bluster from a Taliban leader? Hardly. Khan serves as Afghanistan’s energy minister, and is a key member of American ally Hamid Karzai’s cabinet.

In a videotaped meeting last month with jihadists in Herat Province, Khan slammed the US for bringing “American girls, white-skinned Western soldiers and black-skinned American soldiers” into Afghanistan. He called on the “mujahideen” to take up arms and attack them like they did the Soviet “invaders” in the 1980s.

Read more ....http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/afghan_allies_1ODZIA19Ru1kCWKc3XmZcN

OPEC Cartel To Reap Record $1 Trillion -- CNN/Financial Times

OPEC Cartel To Reap Record $1 Trillion -- CNN/Financial Times

(Financial Times) -- The Opec oil cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, will pocket a record of more than US$1tn in net oil revenues in 2012 as the annual average price for Brent, the benchmark, heads to an all-time high in spite of weak economic growth.

The windfall will provide fresh capital to some of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the most influential members of the cartel, are home to three of the world's 10 largest SWFs by assets under management, according to estimates by the SWF Institute.

With one trading day left before the year-end, Brent oil prices are on the point of seeing an average for the year of about $111.5 a barrel, higher than the previous all-time high set in 2011 of $110.9.

The benchmark closed at or above $100 every trading day in 2012, bar 24 in June and early July.

Read more ....http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/30/business/opec-record/

Distribution center robots

Distribution center robots

Everything Robotics covered the improvements in the speed of distribution centers through the use of robotics and the Kiva goods to man process.

Kiva Goods to man process achieves 600 units per hour versus 160 picks per hour for Man to Goods

Amazon has and continues to lead e-commerce-driven distribution with their pick-to-cart method (otherwise known as man-to-goods) and their promise of speedy economical delivery. Workers run around and fill carts and deliver them to conveyors where they are transported to packing stations where individual shipments are processed and staged for pickup by FedEx, UPS, etc.. The metrics for this are 160 picks per hour. The video below shows that process.http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/12/distribution-center-robots.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2Fadvancednano+%28nextbigfuture%29

Predictions, 2013 by Justin Raimondo

Predictions, 2013

Year’s end prediction columns are always problematic: my last one wasn’t all that accurate, as it turned out. I was dead wrong on the Big One — war with Iran, to which I assigned a 65 percent probability. This year, however, it looks as if the issue — like a huge, festering boil — is [...]http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2012/12/30/predictions-2013/

The War Party and the Israel Lobby Wish for War With Iran in 2013

The War Party and the Israel Lobby Wish for War With Iran in 2013

As we begin 2013, the War Party and its ally, the Israel lobby, are pushing hard to make sure that they get their wish for the New Year, namely, a devastating war with Iran. To them, it is not enough that the illegal unilateral sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on [...]http://original.antiwar.com/muhammad-sahimi/2012/12/30/the-war-party-and-the-israel-lobby-wish-for-war-with-iran-in-2013/

Gay marriage vs. natural law


Gay marriage vs. natural law

Catholic leaders take different tack as state lawmakers near actionhttp://www.chicagotribune.com/news/religion/ct-met-gay-marriage-natural-law-20121230,0,7173417.story

Writing a History of the Catholic Church

Writing a History of the Catholic Church

 

James Hitchcock, CW Report
The Catholic Church is the longest-enduring institution in the world, and her historical character is integral to her identity. The earliest Christians claimed to be witnesses to the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus, thereby making Christianity a historical religion, emanating from a Judaism that was itself a historical religion.Christianity staked its claim to truth on certain events, notably that at a precise moment in history the Son of God came to earth. The Gospels have a ring of historical authenticity partly because of the numerous concrete details they contain, the care with...http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/1846/on_writing_a_history_of_the_catholic_church.aspx

"We Darn Well Better Cut Spending"

"We Darn Well Better Cut Spending"

Pete DuPont, Wall Street Journal
"If we're going to raise revenue and if we're going to raise it in any form, then we darn well better cut spending, because spending is the biggest part of this problem," said Erskine Bowles, Bill Clinton's onetime chief of staff, earlier this month. The most important words in American public policy today should be "we darn well better cut spending."Unfortunately, most of the conversations about the fiscal cliff miss this point. They center not on how much spending should decrease but how much taxes should increase. That bodes ill for America's...http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2012/12/31/quotwe_darn_well_better_cut_spendingquot_298798.html

Sequester and the fate of America's national security


http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/12/31/sequester-and-fate-america-national-security/

Mort Zuckerman: Brace For an Avalanche of Unfunded Debt

Mort Zuckerman: Brace For an Avalanche of Unfunded Debt

The fiscal cliff isn't as scary as the looming deficit and debt crisis about to swamp the country

The Cliff Is Better Than a Bad Deal

The Cliff Is Better Than a Bad Deal

Jared Bernstein, Huffington Posthttp://www.realclearpolitics.com/2012/12/30/the_cliff_is_better_than_a_bad_deal_298794.html

The Preemptive War on Hagel

The Preemptive War on Hagel

Elizabeth Drew, New York Review of Books
Israel Policy ForumChuck Hagel giving a keynote address to the Israel Policy Forum, December 4, 2008Far more is at stake in Barack Obama's decision on whether to nominate Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense than whether Chuck Hagel is nominated. What the president decides will bear on: his effectiveness in his second term; any president's ability to form a government; whether an independent voice can be raised on a highly sensitive issue in opposition to the views of a powerful lobby and still be named to a significant government position; whether there is actually a proper...http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2012/12/30/the_preemptive_war_on_hagel_298791.html

Kindness in the Face of Horror

Kindness in the Face of Horror

E.J. Dionne, Washington Post
ROCKAWAY BEACH, N.Y. -- The boardwalk where generations strolled along one of the world's great urban beaches is gone, twisted and then tossed into neighborhood streets by an unforgiving storm called Sandy.Off-season devotees of the Atlantic are bound together in homage to the waves even after the temperatures have dropped and bathing suits have given way to fleece. But now, the joy of a winter's day walk along the ocean between Beach 120th and 130th Streets quickly gives way to sorrow at the sight of collapsed roofs, mounds of rubble, front porches warped into unnatural shapes, and...http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/12/31/kindness_in_the_face_of_horror_116545.html

Globalization in Retreat

Globalization in Retreat

Robert Samuelson, Washington Post
WASHINGTON -- One fateful question for 2013 is this: What happens to globalization? For decades, growing volumes of cross-border trade and money flows have fueled strong economic growth. But something remarkable is happening; trade and international money flows are slowing and, in some cases, declining. David Smick, the perceptive editor of The International Economy magazine, calls the retreat "deglobalization." What's unclear is whether this heralds prolonged economic stagnation and rising nationalism or, optimistically, makes the world economy more stable and politically...http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/12/31/globalization_in_retreat_116548.html

Obama's Tax Hikes Won't Be Nearly Big Enough

Obama's Tax Hikes Won't Be Nearly Big Enough

John Judis, New Republic
Republicans want to reduce the size of the federal government, and they won’t take no for an answer. “I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub,” Grover Norquist famously declared. And in negotiations over the fiscal cliff, they have insisted on cutting spending rather than raising taxes. “The President wants to pretend that spending isn’t the problem,” House Speaker John Boehner has complained.Democrats, for their part, have responded defensively. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi...http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2012/12/31/obama039s_tax_hikes_won039t_be_nearly_big_enough_298813.html

Iran Announces 6 Days of Naval Exercises

Iran Announces 6 Days of Naval Exercises

It has been over a year now that Iran has been in conflict with western powers over its nuclear regime. The west believe that Iran is researching and developing the capabilities to enrich uranium to weapons grade in order to build nuclear bombs; Iran maintains that it is only enriching the uranium to levels required for medical research purposes.Forces have been positioned in and around the Persian Gulf in order to maintain the free passage of tankers through the Straits of Hormuz, which see about 20% of world oil supply move through its waters…Read more...http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Iran-Announces-6-Days-of-Naval-Exercises.html

Hezbollah Sends Warm Greetings on Christmas

Hezbollah Sends Warm Greetings on Christmas

Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian Lebanese Shiite organization, designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel, posted a Christmas greeting to all Christians in the world, but particularly those in the Middle East, on its web site. “Hezbollah congratulates Christians and Muslims in Lebanon and across the world on the birth of Jesus Christ (pbuh).  Muslims will almost always add the words, peace be upon Him, (or shortened as pbuh), whenever they mention the name of their prophet Mohammad. Muslims believe Jesus Christ…Read more...http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Hezbollah-Sends-Warm-Greetings-on-Christmas.html

Sandy Victims Still Stranded As ‘Red Tape’ Hinders Help From FEMA



Sandy Victims Still Stranded As ‘Red Tape’ Hinders Help From FEMA

Sandy Victims Still Stranded As ‘Red Tape’ Hinders Help From FEMAhttp://cnsnews.com/blog/joe-schoffstall/sandy-victims-still-stranded-red-tape-hinders-help-fema

8 Results for “”Best of 2012″” MIT Review

8 Results for “”Best of 2012″” MIT Reviewhttp://www.technologyreview.com/search/site/%22Best%20of%202012%22/

The Best of Los Angeles Street Art 2012 (PHOTOS) HuffPo

The Best of Los Angeles Street Art 2012 (PHOTOS)  HuffPohttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/gregory-linton/best-street-art-2012-_b_2376420.html#slide=1930774

Star struck! Dazzling collection of Hubble Telescope photographs released this year captures countless swirling stars as they sparkle in space Daily Mail

Star struck! Dazzling collection of Hubble Telescope photographs released this year captures countless swirling stars as they sparkle in space Daily Mailhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2254802/Dazzling-collection-Hubble-Telescope-photographs-released-year-captures-countless-swirling-stars-sparkle-space.html

Cleaning House: Will Obama Go After the Big Boys?

Posted: 30 Dec 2012 10:30 PM PST
By Jen Alic of Oilprice.com, a geopolitical analyst, co-founder of ISA Intel in Sarajevo, and the former editor-in-chief of ISN Security Watch in Zurich. Cross posted from OilPrice.
* * *
Lambert here: Simple answers to simple questions:
No.
* * *
The ban on BP (NYSE:BP) is only the tip of the iceberg. In the wake of oil spills, deaths, murky war contracts, sharing of government secrets and other lapses in ethics, Obama’s 2012 house-cleaning project will continue into the New Year.
Cleaning up the messes of the past decade of contractual chaos in the US is a formidable task, and so far the Obama administration has slapped bans on more than 3,800 contractors in 2012—though the punishments aren’t exactly tough.  http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/12/cleaning-house-will-obama-go-after-the-big-boys.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29
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"Do-Nothing Congress to Get Pay Raise"


"Do-Nothing Congress to Get Pay Raise" -- Looking for a job where being unproductive and ineffective won't hurt your chances of getting a raise? Try being a member of Congress!
http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/do-nothing_congress_gets_pay_raise_20121230/

2012 by the numbers


FT.com - Analysis
 

2012 by numbers
From supersize national debts to subatomic particles to a sound barrier-busting free fall, we round up the year’s standout statistics. By Kate Allen and FT reporters
http://link.ft.com/r/ZE9K33/9M43AI/3O62UJ/16FUDE/1O7NUR/SN/h?a1=2012&a2=12&a3=31

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Al Qaeda's Yemen branch offers bounty for killing US ambassador, troops


Al Qaeda's Yemen branch offers bounty for killing US ambassador, troops


http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/30/al-qaida-branch-in-yemen-offers-bounty-for-killing-us-ambassador-troops/

Empires of Illusion and the Credibility Trap I came across a nice, compact interview with Chris Hedges which illuminates his thesis of the decline of the American Empire and the illusory thinking that accompanies it. Can the shock and meltdown of Karl Rove on election night be any better contemporary illustration of the power of selective thinking to delude a group of seemingly rational people to their own downfall?

Empires of Illusion and the Credibility Trap http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2012/12/empires-of-illusion-and-credibility-trap.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JessesCafeAmericain+%28Jesse%27s+Caf%C3%A9+Am%C3%A9ricain%29

FISCAL CLIFF IMPASSE: Reid Says Democrats 'Don't Have A Counter Offer To Make' by Grace Wyler

FISCAL CLIFF IMPASSE: Reid Says Democrats 'Don't Have A Counter Offer To Make'

MidEast Christians: an Endangered Species

MidEast Christians: an Endangered Species

With much of the Middle East in the hands of Islamists, the future of Middle Eastern Christians is a grim one.http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/12/mideast_christians_an_endangered_species.html

Hobby Lobby and the Loss of America's Soul

Hobby Lobby and the Loss of America's Soul

As for religious liberty, liberals like Supreme Court judge Sonia Sotomayor, rather than uphold religious liberty, facilitate Barack Obama's effort to redefine the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/12/hobby_lobby_and_the_loss_of_americas_soul.html

French Constitutional Court Strikes Down 75% Millionaire Tax, Finds It "Unfair"

French Constitutional Court Strikes Down 75% Millionaire Tax, Finds It "Unfair"

In a crushing blow to socialism, wealth redistribution and purveyors of the "fairness doctrine" (as defined here first) everywhere, the French Constitutional Council ruled on Saturday that Hollande's brilliant idea to tax millionaires at a 75% tax rate - a move which has since seen numerous millionaires leave France and move to Belgium - is unconstitutional. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-29/french-constitutional-court-strikes-down-75-millionaire-tax-finds-it-unfair

Ron Paul On The Fiscal Cliff: "We Have Passed The Point Of No Return"

Ron Paul On The Fiscal Cliff: "We Have Passed The Point Of No Return"

In a little under three minutes, Ron Paul explains to a somewhat nonplussed CNBC anchor just how ridiculous the charade that is occurring in D.C. actually is. This succinct spin-free clip should be required viewing for each and every asset-manager, talking-head, propagandist, and mom-and-pop who are viewing the last-minute idiocy of the 'fiscal cliff' debacle with some hope that things will be different this time. "We have passed the point of no return where we can actually get our house back in order," Paul begins, adding that "they pretend they are fighting up there, but they really aren't. They are arguing over power, spin, who looks good, who looks bad; all trying to preserve the system where they can spend what they want, take care of their friends and print money when they need it." With social safety nets available to rich and poor, there is no impetus for change and "the country loses," but Paul concludes, the markets are starting to say "there is a limit to this."http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-29/ron-paul-fiscal-cliff-we-have-passed-point-no-return

2012 Greatest Hits: Presenting The Most Popular Posts Of The Past Year from Zerohedge

2012 Greatest Hits: Presenting The Most Popular Posts Of The Past Year

For the fourth year in a row we continue our tradition of summarizing what you, our readers, found to be the most relevant, exciting, and actionable news of the year, determined simply by the number of page views. Those first eager for a brief stroll down memory lane of prior years can do so at their leisure, by going back in time to where the top articles of 2009, 2010 and 2011 are recapped. With that out of the way, here is what readers found to be the most popular posts of the past 365 days. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-30/2012-greatest-hits-presenting-most-popular-posts-past-year

China's New Hatchet Man

China's New Hatchet Man

David Ignatius, Washington Post
WASHINGTON -- Who will have the world's hardest job in 2013? There are many candidates for that role, but my nominee would be Vice Premier Wang Qishan, who has just been given the near-impossible assignment of combating corruption in China.China-watchers see Wang as a crucial player in the new Chinese government headed by Xi Jinping. It will fall to Wang, as the new head of the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline, to crack the whip and stop the thievery before it devours China.Wang's nickname in Chinese is "chief of the fire brigade," earned in earlier...http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/12/30/chinas_new_hatchet_man_116544.html

Forget the Cliff. Is U.S. Already in Recession?

Forget the Cliff. Is U.S. Already in Recession?

Brett Arends, MarketWatch
Many people are warning that if the government goes over the “fiscal cliff” next week, as seems increasingly likely, the U.S. economy could tumble back into recession.But what if we already have?Despite some misleading headlines, and some cheerleading in certain quarters, there are plenty of reasons to be worried that the economy could already be shrinking again, even before the wave of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for January.http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2012/12/30/forget_the_cliff_is_us_already_in_recession_298766.html

The Political Class Is a Cloud Over Us All

The Political Class Is a Cloud Over Us All

Michael Goodwin, New York Post
Americans are in a panic. Crowds throng gun shows and shops. Blue-chip companies fast-forward next year’s dividends to this year. Investors cash out profits, estate planners report a rush of people trying to beat higher inheritance taxes and lobbyists line up for favors.What these people share is the goal of avoiding or benefitting from government actions. More than ever, the invisible hand of free markets is being replaced by the visible hand of bureaucrats. The political class is the new master of the universe.http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2012/12/30/the_political_class_is_a_cloud_over_us_all_298771.html

The Top 10 Global Stories To Watch In 2013

The Top 10 Global Stories To Watch In 2013

New Years' Eve Planning
Where will the major stories of 2013 be? If your country begins with an I, the chances are it is having elections. Otherwise you can look forward to the year of the snake, the start of Barack Obama's second term and a grand Irish homecoming. Oh, and the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle.http://www.businessinsider.com/the-guardian-calls-global-stories-2013-2012-12?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+businessinsider+%28Business+Insider%29

Is Amazon Going To Become The Largest Tech Company? Surpassing Apple?

Is Amazon Going To Become The Largest Tech Company? Surpassing Apple?

This sounds like a remarkable claim, that Amazon is poised to become the world's largest tech company, surpassing Apple. What's more, it's not coming from some strange tech analyst looking to make a headline, it's coming from one of the company's executives. Further, it's not about Amazon's traditional business, of [...]http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/12/30/is-amazon-going-to-become-the-largest-tech-company-surpassing-apple/

‘Iraq war unlawful’: all 27 UK Foreign Affairs lawyers, 2003. ‘Official report delayed again’: UK govt today

‘Iraq war unlawful’: all 27 UK Foreign Affairs lawyers, 2003. ‘Official report delayed again’: UK govt today

The UK Cameron government is blocking publication of their “official” report on Iraq war until perhaps 2014 or later, according to the UK’s most popular newspaper website.http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/12/iraq-war-unlawful-all-27-uk-foreign-affairs-lawyers-2003-official-report-delayed-again-uk-govt-today.html

Government Dependents Outnumber Those With Private Sector Jobs In 11 U.S. States

Government Dependents Outnumber Those With Private Sector Jobs In 11 U.S. States

Government Dependents Outnumber Those With Private Sector Jobs In 11 U.S. Stateshttp://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-12-29/government-dependents-outnumber-those-private-sector-jobs-11-us-states

Michigan Passes Privacy Law Preventing Employers from Snooping


Michigan Passes Privacy Law Preventing Employers from Snooping
http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/michigan-passes-privacy-law-preventing-employers-from-snooping/

LANSING, MI — Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation into law Friday that would
prohibit employers from their asking workers for logins to their social media
and internet accounts.

The bill, introduced by state Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, bars companies and
schools from asking employees and students for their usernames and passwords.

China: Visit Your Parents or get Sued


China: Visit Your Parents or get Sued
http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/china-visit-your-parents-or-get-sued/

China has passed a law requiring adult children to visit their elderly parents
regularly or risk being sued.

The law does not specify how frequently such visits should occur, but warns that
neglect could risk court action.

Reports suggest a growing number of elderly Chinese have been abandoned or
neglected by their offspring.

Iceland Jails Bankers for Fraud

Iceland Jails Bankers for Fraud
http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/iceland-jails-bankers-for-fraud/

REYKJAVIK - Two former executives at an Icelandic bank which collapsed in the
2008 financial meltdown were sentenced to jail on Friday for fraud which led to
a 53 million euro loss, in the first major trial of Icelandic bankers linked to
the crisis.

Utah Teachers and Legislature Push for Concealed Carry in Schools


Utah Teachers and Legislature Push for Concealed Carry in Schools
http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/utah-teachers-and-legislature-push-for-concealed-carry-in-schools/

A few US states are considering allowing school teachers to carry weapons, and
educators, determined not to allow a repeat of the Newtown massacre, are
flocking to training sessions.

As gun control advocates try to outlaw military-style assault weapons and
high-capacity magazines, gun enthusiasts, backed by the powerful National Rifle
Association (NRA), are taking a very [...]

Pakistan Orders Closing of Youtube....Again

Pakistan Orders Closing of Youtube....Again
http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/pakistan-orders-closing-of-youtube-again/

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Saturday ordered the closure of YouTube once
again due to failure of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to remove the
un-Islamic material from the YouTube.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Saturday had directed Internet
service providers and information technology (IT) companies to immediately
reopen YouTube, a video sharing website, across Pakistan.

Top 10 Images From NASA in 2012


Top 10 Images From NASA in 2012
http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/top-10-images-from-nasa-in-2012/

Each and every day the folks over at NASA choose an image to share with the
world. Sometimes it reflects current projects at NASA, sometimes it’s
scientifically interesting, and sometimes, it’s just pure beauty.

For the second year in a row, we’ve gone through an entire years worth of
photos and picked out our favorites.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Obama Issues Executive Order Granting Pay Raises to Congress, the Vice President, Judges; Any Raise is Too Much; Congress Approval Rating is 18%

Obama Issues Executive Order Granting Pay Raises to Congress, the Vice President, Judges; Any Raise is Too Much; Congress Approval Rating is 18%

News On The Looming U.S. Defense Budget Cuts

News On The Looming U.S. Defense Budget Cuts
White House Says No Defense Programs Are Immune to Cuts -- Bloomberg
Fiscal cliff leaves contractors guessing
-- DoD Buzz
Defense contractors mum as nation nears 'fiscal cliff' -- Star Telegram
Pentagon, defense industry brace for looming spending cuts -- FOX News
Defense Industry Seeks Relief as Fiscal Cliff Draws Near -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Defense sector braces for ‘self-amputation’ -- Politico
Senate Leaders Aim for Cliff Deal by Sunday; Still Unclear if DoD Cuts Will be Avoided -- Defense News
Big Defense Cuts Are Coming, Regardless of the Fiscal Cliff -- US News and World Report
Time running out on defense industry efforts to avoid sequestration cuts -- The Hill
Saving The Defense Industrial Base -- Marion Blakey, Aol Defense
Defense Contractors Wait to Hear About Budget Cuts -- Reason.com
America's Superpower Status Goes Over The Fiscal Cliff -- Mackenzie Eaglen, Aol Defense

Obama Issues Executive Order Granting Pay Raises to Congress, the Vice President, Judges; Any Raise is Too Much; Congress Approval Rating is 18%

Congress has done such a beautiful job handling the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling that president Obama felt it mandatory to issue an Executive Order Giving Biden, Congress Pay Raiseshttp://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/12/obama-issues-executive-order-granting.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MishsGlobalEconomicTrendAnalysis+%28Mish%27s+Global+Economic+Trend+Analysis%29
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Dr. Mercola on Medical Malpractice and Obamacare

Dr. Mercola on Medical Malpractice and Obamacare

Natural health physician and Mercola.com founder Dr. Joseph Mercola talks about the healthcare system and medical malpractice in the United States.http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2012/12/29/dr-mercola-on-medical-malpractice-and-obamacare/

Why Congress Cannot Operate Without The Bribing Power Of Earmarks

Why Congress Cannot Operate Without The Bribing Power Of Earmarks

(Photo credit: David Holt London) It seemed like a great victory at the time. After years of federal taxpayer dollars being misappropriated to pay for pet projects in the districts of congressmen and senators looking to curry political favor with the voters back home, a moratorium was passed in 2011 ending the [...]http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2012/12/29/why-congress-cannot-operate-without-the-bribing-power-of-earmarks/

Some pro-Hagel newspaper editorials from around the nation

---
Here's a preliminary list... not comprehensive, but a good cross-section from around the nation...

Local Papers Support Hagel in the Face of Inside-The-Beltway Neocon Opposition

 

Hagel a good fit for next Secretary of Defense

The Independent, Grand Island, NE (Dec 28, 2012)

He is independent and party loyalists struggle with that concept. Hagel is committed to a strong America, regardless of what the party policy wonks spew. Frankly it is refreshing to think the president will have an independent, objective, experienced voice such as Chuck Hagel’s at the Cabinet conference table.

http://www.theindependent.com/opinion/editorial/hagel-a-good-fit-for-next-secretary-of-defense/article_ddbe9456-5076-11e2-b0df-0019bb2963f4.html

 

 

Veterans Denounce Neoconservative 'Swiftboating' of Chuck Hagel

Express Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI (Dec 28 2012)

By Joe Conason

He may run into problems among his former Republican Senate colleagues, not all of whom admire him, but their opinions should carry little weight. Indeed, their opposition too should serve to strengthen the case for Hagel's confirmation. He has served his country with courage and principle over many years in public service—which is far more than can be said for most of his adversaries.

http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20392-veterans-denounce-neoconservative-%5C%27swiftboating%5C%27-of-chuck-hagel.html

 

Editorial: Give Hagel a shot at Defense

MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, MA  (Dec 28, 2012)
In his first term, Obama showed a preference for strong, independent individuals in his cabinet who aren’t afraid to give the president candid counsel. Hagel would bring that kind of attitude and stature to the Pentagon, and we’d like to see him have the chance.
http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinions/editorials/x1631897940/Editorial-Give-Hagel-a-shot-at-Defense#ixzz2GSIM90jY


Obama should ignore Republican attacks on defense candidate

The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Dec 28, 2012)
(Reprint from The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa)
A rarity in his pragmatism and political moderation […] His views and credentials make him a good fit for the task ahead […] There is a difference between being anti-Israel and being Israel's pawn.  Chuck Hagel apparently thinks that's the way it should be. And most Americans, weary of Middle Eastern countries' blood-drenched squabbles, agree.


Editorial: Hagel excellent to run Pentagon; critics mistaken
Ventura County Star, Camarillo, CA (Dec 26, 2012)

Mr. Hagel's career in and out of politics has demonstrated integrity, knowledge, experience and credibility.  If President Obama bows to the right and backs down on Mr. Hagel, as he did when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was targeted by the right and withdrew from consideration as secretary of state, he will only weaken his presidency. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/dec/26/editorial-hagel-excellent-to-run-pentagon/#ixzz2GSNv49Zn 

 

 

Editorial: Hagel good choice for defense

Journal Star, Lincoln, NE (Dec 22, 2012)
One defining characteristic that Hagel would bring to the post of secretary of defense would be a clear-eyed realism about the role of the U.S. military. “It’s easy to get into war, not so easy to get out,” he wrote several years ago. Hagel would serve the nation well as secretary of defense.


Hagel's Israel litmus test

Times Union, Albany, NY (Dec 22, 2012)
(Reprint from LA Times)
Aaron David Miller, a scholar who advised Republican and Democratic administrations on Middle East issues, told The New York Times that "there should not be a litmus test of whether he is pro-Israel enough." We agree. If Obama is convinced that Hagel is the right candidate, he should nominate him — and let the Senate exercise its responsibility of advice and consent.


Obama should ignore Republican attacks on defense candidate
The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa (Dec 22, 2012)
A rarity in his pragmatism and political moderation […] His views and credentials make him a good fit for the task ahead […] There is a difference between being anti-Israel and being Israel's pawn.  Chuck Hagel apparently thinks that's the way it should be. And most Americans, weary of Middle Eastern countries' blood-drenched squabbles, agree.


Editorial: Nominate Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary
The Republic, Columbus, IN (Dec 22, 2012)
Hagel is that rarity these days: a moderate. He clashed repeatedly with former President George W. Bush over how the war in Iraq was conducted. He is a foreign policy realist who has spent years thinking about the role of the United States in the world.  As Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, noted in defending Hagel, the defense secretary doesn't make foreign policy -- he carries it out. And America's men and women in uniform would know that one of their own was leading the Pentagon.

The Hagel litmus test (Editorial)

LA Times (Dec 20, 2012)
Aaron David Miller, a scholar who advised Republican and Democratic administrations on Middle East issues, told the New York Times that "there should not be a litmus test of whether he is pro-Israel enough." We agree. If Obama is convinced that Hagel is the right candidate, he should nominate him — and let the Senate exercise its responsibility of advice and consent.

--
Robert Naiman
Policy Director
Just Foreign Policy
www.justforeignpolicy.org
naiman@justforeignpolicy.org

Al Qaeda Disbands; Says Job of Destroying U.S. Economy Now in Congress’s Hands

Al Qaeda Disbands; Says Job of Destroying U.S. Economy Now in Congress’s Hands
Posted by Andy Borowitz 

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—

The international terror group known as Al Qaeda announced its dissolution today, saying that “our mission of destroying the American economy is now in the capable hands of the U.S. Congress.

”Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2012/12/al-qaeda-disbands-says-job-of-destroying-us-economy-now-in-congress-hands.html#ixzz2GPy4TEj2

‘Promised Land’: Does It Deliver What It Promises?

‘Promised Land’: Does It Deliver What It Promises?

Although I won’t be rushing out to the theater on Jan. 4 to see “Promised Land,” I will see it on video, sometime … probably. There has been so much buzz about the movie, and I must admit I am curious. I do however wonder if it will lack a solid factual background, instead playing

(More)…http://shalestuff.com/controversy-2/promised-land/article05207

The Moscow Club and Armand Hammer

The Moscow Club and Armand Hammer

The best thrillers are the ones based on facts. Finder seemed to have a crystal ball, predicting how the hardliner regime would eventually resume power at a time when many people thought the "bad-guys" were defeated.http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/12/the_moscow_club_and_armand_hammer.html

2012 - 'Year Of Living Dangerously' In Review

2012 - 'Year Of Living Dangerously' In Review

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-28/2012-year-living-dangerously-review

Amateur and PROFESSIONAL Investors Lose Faith In the Economy

Amateur and PROFESSIONAL Investors Lose Faith In the Economy was originally published on Washington's Bloghttp://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/12/amateur-and-professional-investors-lose-faith-in-the-economy.html

The Larger Question of Chuck Hagel

The Larger Question of Chuck Hagel

The Israel Lobby is hell bent on sabotaging President Barack Obama’s tentative plan to appoint former Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. And – with Obama now dithering about this selection – the Lobby and its neocon allies sense another impending victory. Perhaps The New Yorker’s Connie Bruck described Hagel’s predicament best in assessing [...]http://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2012/12/28/the-larger-question-of-chuck-hagel/

STOP! Don't make New Year's Resolutions

Ideas toward a spiritual program for the New Year

Sr. Susan James HeadyThe days are growing shorter and darker as December makes way for January, indicating that the year is drawing to a close. In the midst of these post-Christmas days which extend the celebration of the birth of Christ, we might find ourselves wondering, “How could we have already arrived at the end of another year?”

What have I done this year?
What are some of the memories I’ve created?
Have I made a difference?
Have I touched or been touched by another’s kindness, shared the gift of my faith and love with others?
Have I perhaps lost a loved one this year or has my family rejoiced in the gift of new life?

These are important questions to be asking—questions which can stir within us gratitude or wonder, acceptance or repentance….
St. John of the Cross, a great Carmelite mystic and Doctor of the Church once wrote: “In the evening of life we will be judged on love.” So while our secular culture spends millions in advertising dollars trying to convince us that we need the latest cars, styles, luxurious homes, beauty products and procedures in order to achieve the ultimate goal of satisfaction, recognition, or happiness, the heart knows otherwise… A priest once shared that he’s accompanied many parishioners in the final weeks of their lives. Not once has a person said that they wish they had acquired more things, seen more exotic places or achieved greater success… no, it seems that what is most important in those final hours is to have LOVED much and to have been loved!
So when I kneel quietly in the chapel, still decorated for Christmas, and recall the most salient happenings of the past year, what most stands out for me are the loving encounters with others that have interspersed my days. Sometimes I have been the “receiver” and other times the “giver,” whether it was a word or gesture, a kindly deed or a quite unexpected opportunity to listen, lend a hand, or share faith with another.


love
One of my favorite lines of Scripture which occasionally beckons me is this: “And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) For me this is both an invitation and a program of life…. Rather than make a long list of New Year’s resolutions this year, I want to sit with this simple instruction and let it inform my inmost desires…. The words of the Prophet Micah can help me to love and let myself be loved, to really listen to others and hear their need for compassion and understanding, and to likewise receive in faith the small and sometimes powerful manifestations of goodness, care and tenderness that unexpectedly come.
During this Year of Faith we are each invited to seek ways of growing in our faith. Perhaps a wonderful starting place might be in the area of relationships. In order to grow in love we need to spend more time listening … both to one another and to Jesus. In order to really encounter the “other” we need to create space in our hearts by listening, which requires openness, acceptance and welcome. Help me, Jesus, to welcome your invitations to know you more profoundly, to love you more tenderly, and to follow you more closely in this coming year.

Sr. Susan James Heady, FSP
Daughters of St. Paul

Friday, December 28, 2012

Five 'ObamaCare' provisions to watch

Five 'ObamaCare' provisions to watch

Chinese Oil Companies Apparent Victors in Post-Saddam Iraq

Chinese Oil Companies Apparent Victors in Post-Saddam Iraq

It was not supposed to be like this.After 2003’s U.S.-led Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq’s vast oil reserves, a monopoly under the Baathist government of deposed President Saddam Hussein, were opened to foreign investment. That optimistic assessment proved somewhat na├»ve however, as the country quickly descended into a prolonged power struggle between Sunni Arabs, who had dominated the Saddam administration, Shia Iraqis, the majority in the country, and northern Iraq’s Kurdish population, which had suffered years of repression. Nevertheless,…Read more...http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Chinese-Oil-Companies-Apparent-Victors-in-Post-Saddam-Iraq.html

Why the War Party Fears Hagel


Why the War Party Fears Hagel


http://news.yahoo.com/why-war-party-fears-hagel-080000135.html

China satellite navigation starts services to Asia

China satellite navigation starts services to Asia
(AP)—A Chinese satellite navigation network created to eventually compete with America's Global Positioning System has started offering services to Asian users outside the country. http://phys.org/news/2012-12-china-satellite-asia.html#nwlt

This 11 year old is unbelievable!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PdiRVERxLI

CFR Update 12/27 Syrian Diplomacy Moves to Moscow

Syrian Diplomacy Moves to Moscow
Moscow will host UN special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi this week in the latest diplomatic push to bring an end to Syria's twenty-one-month old conflict. The high-level visit follows Russian negotiations (Reuters)
with Syrian officials on Thursday. Brahimi, who has disclosed little of his impending trip, met with embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday and plans to hold meetings with other Syrian officials and dissidents this week.
Brahimi and Moscow have both indicated their desire to revive a stalled peace initiative that would have a transitional government run Syria until elections can be held. However, Russia has repeatedly said it will not endorse a plan that calls for Assad's removal (AP)
, and it is unclear whether Brahimi will push to ban members of the regime from participating in any provisional government.
Analysis
"The international community, and its envoy, should declare their failure [in Syria] and pull out of the effort, unless there is a stunning secret piece of information that remains hidden from the public. For now, all of the options appear to involve Assad's remaining in power
, in some shape or form, and everyone knows that the Syrian people will not accept this," write the editors of Lebanon's Daily Star.
"Although the fighting [in Syria] to date has more than demonstrated the lethality of conventional weapons, the use of chemical agents
would represent a significant escalation of the violence with potentially mass casualty consequences. It would also breach an international norm against the use of chemical weapons that is important to maintain," writes CFR's Paul Stares.

Don't Let Pro-Israel Extremists Sionk Chuck Hagel


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/opinion/dont-let-pro-israel-extremists-sink-chuck-hagel.html


December 26, 2012
Don’t Let Pro-Israel Extremists Sink Chuck Hagel
By JAMES BESSER
Washington

This Week on Foreign Affiars.com -"The Best Of"

December 27, 2012

This Week on ForeignAffairs.com

This newsletter is sponsored by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Collection

The Best of Print in 2012

Francis Fukuyama on the future of history, Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell on how China sees America, Ned Parker on the Iraq we left behind, Ruchir Sharma on why the rest stopped rising, and more. Read

Collection

The Best of Web in 2012

Yochai Benkler on why Anonymous isn't a threat to national security, Charli Carpenter on "The Game of Thrones" as international relations theory, Seth Jones on al Qaeda regrouping in Iran, Marina Ottaway on Egypt's secularists, and more. Read

Advertisement: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy Confers 2012 Book Prizes

Washington Institute for Near East Policy
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy has named Steven A. Cook's The Struggle for Egypt the recipient of the 2012 gold award ($30,000), Hirsh Goodman's The Anatomy of Israel's Survival the silver ($15,000), and Christopher de Bellaigue's Patriot of Persia the bronze ($5,000) in its annual Book Prize competition. One of the world's most lucrative non-fiction awards, the Book Prize honors works that exemplify the think tank's commitment to outstanding scholarship, compelling writing, and cutting-edge insight. Follow The Washington Institute on Twitter and Facebook.
Collection

Best International Relations Books of 2012

Rachel Kleinfeld's "Advancing the Rule of Law Abroad," Adair Turner's "Economics After the Crisis," Fredrik Logevall's "Embers of War," John Turner's "Brigham Young," and more. Read