John Harding’s book, Escape from Paradise – Paperback and Kindle Versions


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It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable book...it is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it. C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.

Bought the book from Select this weekend and can't put it down! It's a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days! Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That's the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei's latest film is The Blue Mansion - Click for the trailer!

It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.

“It's quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore

Escape from Paradise – the movie!!!


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China’s devaluation killing U.S. manufacturers and U.S. stock market

When China devalued its currency it made all Chinese goods imported into the U.S. less expensive. It made Chinese goods even more competitive in the U.S. reducing sales for U.S domestic manufacturers.

China’s devaluation has caused the U.S. stock market to crash.

In addition, when China devalued its currency, it made all U.S. goods more expensive in China. The devaluation closed may markets to U.S. exporters.
China’s devaluation has caused emerging-market currencies to reach record lows—making their products cheaper and more competitive in the U.S.

Analysts are pointing out that China is the culprit:

“It’s all coming from China,” says Masamichi Adachi, an economist with JP Morgan Chase in Tokyo. “Brazil, South Africa, many countries are commodity exporters, and the final destination is all going to China.”

“The devaluation is a red flag about China’s current economic situation,” says Kurt Braybrook, who runs a Shanghai company that does quality control work. A falling yuan raises the risk that other countries will devalue their currencies to catch up.

Hurt again by the weakest Chinese factory data since the global financial crisis. The Bloomberg Commodity Index slid to its lowest level since 2002, forcing oil to its longest run of weekly declines in almost 30 years. Copper, nickel, zinc, aluminum, tin and lead also fell.

Trump was right.

BrietbartPrimary

Americans now need a passport (and maybe money) to enter Mexico

While Mexico beefs up its border control, Obama and Biden on the White House putting green

While Mexico beefs up its border control, Obama and Biden on the White House putting green

Now, pedestrians going to Tijuana, Mexico from San Diego at the San Ysidro border crossing must choose between a line for Mexicans who get walk through unchecked and a line for Americans and other non-Mexicans. These “foreigners” entering Mexico must show a passport, fill out a form and pay 322 pesos, or roughly $20, for a six-month permit if the plan to stay more than a week. This new process at the San Ysidro border crossing will extend to all border crossings from the U.S. into Mexico.

This new border procedure marks a big change for trips into Mexico that weren’t designed to question everyone. Pedestrians and motorists have generally entered Mexico unencumbered along the 1,954-mile border with the United States.

Mexico is getting tough with Americans, while Mexican allows its illegals to pour into the U.S.

“This is about putting our house in order,” said Rodulfo Figueroa, Mexico’s top immigration official in Baja California state, which includes Tijuana.

“This is going to be a real bear,” said one American after getting his passport stamped. “I will give more thought to what days and times I come.”
For now, motorists will see no change and not be required to show passports.

For Mexico, it is a step toward closing an escape route for American criminals who disappear in Mexico. Mexican border inspectors will tap into international criminal databases.
More than 120 Americans were expelled from Mexico this year from Baja California as they had arrest warrants in the U.S. Some of these were on the FBI’s most-wanted list.

Figueroa said Mexico can initially process only about 1,000 foreigners daily, up from about 50 currently—the lines and delays are going to be long. About 25,000 pedestrians (and 50,000 motorists) cross daily at San Ysidro to work, shop and play but it is unclear how many are foreigners in Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Protection says about one-third entering San Diego are U.S. citizens, one-third are U.S. legal residents and the rest are from other countries, largely Mexico. An unknown number have dual citizenship or residency in the U.S. and Mexico.

Mexico is following Donald Trump’s advice and beating America to the punch when it comes to securing their borders.

Mexico is out trumping Trump.

Jeb Bush’s Support for Puerto Rico statehood, Drug Use and Dealing Hurts Him in Iowa

Jeb Bush - Before and After

Jeb Bush – Before and After

Jeb Bush’s committed support to Puerto Rico on the issue of statehood and drug involvement is driving his poll numbers down.

The poll asked whether respondents would support Jeb Bush for the Republican nomination due to his support for Puerto Rican statehood.

Respondents had a generally negative reaction to that position: 46% were less likely to support him, while 27% were more likely. A plurality – 28% – was somewhat less likely and 23% said it made no difference, the most common two responses, showing that Bush’s position is certainly not popular, and probably toxic.

Much more off-putting is Bush’s call to extend the bankruptcy laws that apply to Puerto Rico, which would allow for the restructuring of debt owed to the United States. 64% of respondents were less likely to support him and a plurality – 34% – was much less likely. This position by Bush will jeopardize Americans taxpayers’ 401ks, mutual funds and IRAs, as these are the forms in which most of Puerto Rico’s $72 billion in debt to the U.S. is held,

As reported below, Jeb is already polling worse than expected for Iowa. Since this is an issue he can expect his rivals to attack him on, it is bad news that it doesn’t play well to voters.

It is bad news in a larger sense too: Bush has staked much of his success in the Republican primary on his ability to favor Hispanic voters by advocating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

And then there is Jeb’s drug history

Don’t just take our word for it.

Bill Maher has slammed Jeb Bush harder than them all for his degree of hypocrisy which showed a complete lack of ethics.

“When Jeb Bush was at prep school, he was apparently not just a pothead but a dealer,” Bill Maher said. “But he dismisses that by saying ‘Back then I was a cynical little turd at a cynical school.’ OK. But then when you became a governor of a state you insisted on mandatory sentences for drug crimes and a policy of jail only, no treatment for drug users. Except when it was your daughter. When you made an exception. Wow that sounds like something a cynical turd would do.”

It is well known that Governor Jeb Bush’s daughter is an addict, but at the same time his daughter was getting treatment for her drug abuse, Jeb Bush was opposing a proposition that would allow the masses that same treatment—the ordinary people.

According to a recent Jeb Bush profile in the Boston Globe a friend of Jeb’s said: “The first time I really got stoned was in Jeb’s room,” Tibbetts said. “He had a portable stereo with removable speakers. He put on Steppenwolf for me.” As the rock group’s signature song, “Magic Carpet Ride,’’ blared from the speakers, Tibbetts said he smoked hash with Bush.

Tibbets said he once bought hashish from Bush but stressed, in a follow-up e-mail, “Please bear in mind that I was seeking the hash. It wasn’t as if he was a dealer, though he did suggest I take up cigarettes so that I could hold my hits better, after that first joint.” Yeah, Jeb knew a lot about dope.

Then there is the case of murdered CIA drug smuggler Barry Seal in 1986 to keep a lid on Iran-Contra and government’s and Bush family participation. You can read all about that here.

 

 

Eric Holder’s Fast and Furious gun used by ISIS in Garland shooting on May 3rd

Eric Holders fast-and-furious assault rifle was obtained by ISIS and used in the violent shootout over a Prophet Muhammad art contest.

ISIS militant, Nadir Soofi, bought the 9-mm pistol at a Phoenix gun shop in 2010 that sold illegal firearms through ATF’s heavily criticized Operation Fast and Furious to track firearms back to Mexican drug cartels.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee wants to know if that same pistol was used five years later in an Islamic State-sanctioned shootout targeting Pamela Geller’s event, according to a memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Both ISIS shooters, Soofi and his roommate, Elton Simpson, were armed with assault rifles and killed in the May 3 gunfight with Garland police.

Eruc Holder’s gift of guns to the Mexican drug cartels and ISIS ended a month after two guns of his guns were used in a 2010 gunfight with Mexican bandits that killed Brian Terry, an agent with the Border Patrol’s elite tactical team working along the Mexican border in Arizona.

The revelation that a Department of Justice operation let about 1,400 firearms go missing in the hands of drug cartels and gangs put a hiccup in Eric Holder stint as attorney general and raised questions if he had been paid off by the cartels including drug lords like Forbes billionaire El Chapo Guzman.

Though the sting resulted in 34 indictments, the scandal’s aftermath resulted in several resignations and a House of Representative vote to hold Holder in criminal contempt when he refused to release documents tied to the gun running scheme.

Clinton “Crooks” on the March

The Wall Street Journal on August 30th offered yet another unsavory saga of what appears to be the Clintons accepting bribes. After Hillary, as secretary of state, intervened to help make a deal where UBS had to turn over only a small fraction of the account information sought by the I.R.S., UBS increased up its donations to the Clinton Foundation and paid Bill Clinton $1.5 million to do some “work” for the company.

Huma Abadeen at Work

Huma Abadeen at Work

State Department investigators have found that Huma Abedin, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s closest aide, was overpaid by nearly $10,000 because rule violations concerning sick leave during her employment by the State Department. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) sent letters to Secretary of State John F. Kerry and others seeking more information about an investigation into possible “criminal” conduct by Abedin concerning her pay.

The senator’s letter also inquired into whether Abedin had violated conflict-of-interest laws because she was allowed to work and collect pay simultaneously for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and a private firm with close ties to the Clintons.

In addition the finding that Abedin, as vice chairwoman of her presidential campaign, had improperly collected taxpayer money could prove damaging to Clinton’s candidacy, as Republicans charge that government rules were routinely bent to benefit Clinton and her aides.

In letters sent Thursday to Abedin, Kerry and the Office of Inspector General, Senator Grassley wrote that there was “at least a reasonable suspicion of a violation” of the law concerning the “theft of public money through time and attendance fraud” as well as “conflicts of interest connected to her overlapping employment.”

Huma Abedin is the wife of former Congressman Anthony Weiner who was caught “sexting,” and had to resign from Congress.

Abedin, vice chairwoman for the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign, is being probed for allegedly accepting overpayments from the State Department while working for the then US secretary of state.

Abedin has come under scrutiny for pocketing a $33,000 payout from the State Department for unused leave and using her simultaneous employment inside and outside of government to “deliver favors” to Clinton cronies.

“Abedin leveraged her State Department job to benefit her two other employers at that time—the Clinton Foundation and a consulting firm called Teneo Strategies (Teneo Strategies was founded by Douglas Band, a long time aide to Bill Clinton),” claimed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, written by senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Grassley wrote to Abedin – “The committee has learned of allegations that, during your simultaneous employment by the Department of State, Teneo, and the Clinton Foundation, you were solicited for and delivered favors for preferred individuals”. The letter added, She was given a “special government employee” designation and soon took on roles at the Clinton Foundation and Teneo.

Grassley also called into question the $33,000 payment Abedin received from the State Department for leave she had never used.

“During approximately three and a half years as a full time government employee, Ms Abedin reportedly never requested, was approved for, or had her leave balance reduced for use of any sick leave, annual leave, or administrative leave,” he said in the letter.

A federal judge last week ordered her and another top Clinton aide at the State Department, Cheryl Mills, to attest, under penalty of perjury, that they had turned over all official email in their possession. The order followed a revelation that both Abedin and Ms. Mills used a private email account for official business, just like their boss, Hillary.

Is Saudi Arabia behind ISIS and 9/11?

The conclusion of a nuclear agreement between the P5+1 (E3/EU+3) international group and Iran yesterday has fed fears that Washington and Tehran were growing closer at the expense of America’s partners and allies in the region – in this case, Saudi Arabia.

In March 2014 President Barack Obama was in Riyadh for a summit with King Abdullah to “underscore the importance of the bilateral relationship” and to “talk about some of the key regional issues, specifically Iran, that affect both of our interests so profoundly,” according to an Administration spokesman. At the time President Obama made very clear that he believes that both American and Saudi strategic interests remain very much aligned.

In the wake of the March 2014 Obama-Abdullah summit Fahad Nazer, a Washington, DC area-based political analyst, writing in Yale Global Online commented on the “unusually blunt, public criticism that some Saudi officials and analysts have leveled against the Obama administration in Saudi and US media” which “suggests that the profound difference stems from varying perceptions of the threat that the region’s crises pose to the national security of each nation and while the Obama administration reassured its Saudi hosts that the differences between the two sides were “tactical,” a careful reading of the assertive, and risky, policies that Saudi Arabia has adopted in places as varied as Syria, Egypt Iraq and Iran – in sharp difference with Obama administration’s extremely cautious, if not ambiguous policies in the region – reveals that the difference is perhaps deeper, more philosophical, and unlikely to be bridged in a two-hour meeting or perhaps even over the next two years.”

Yesterday as Mr. Obama was wrapping up his remarks on the Iranian nuclear deal with Iran he sought to keep the Washington-Tehran prospects in perspective:
In May, President Obama hosted Gulf Cooperation Council leaders at a summit in Washington at the White House and at Camp David. The conclave produced a comprehensive communique addressing the regional challenges that faced the partners. It addressed in an unambiguous fashion the enduring relationships between Washington and its Gulf Arab allies:
The leaders pledged to further deepen U.S.-GCC relations on these and other issues in order to build an even stronger, enduring, and comprehensive strategic partnership aimed at enhancing regional stability and prosperity.

On July 15, 2015, Mr. Nazer drew the sharp distinction between Iran and Saudi Arabia reinforcing the rationale for Washington’s generations’ old ties with Riyadh in a VOA op-ed. He stated: “Some advocates of the nuclear deal are even suggesting that it could potentially transform Iran from an avowed enemy of the United States to its most important strategic partner in the Persian Gulf, supplanting the long-time U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia, in the process.”

Nazer went on to admit that Saudi citizens comprised the majority of the perpetrators who conducted the 9/11 attack against the United States. And then Nazer stated that Saudis continue to fill the ranks of terrorist organizations, including the so-called Islamic State, there is no evidence that the Saudi government supports militant groups that target American citizens and interests.
In Nazer’s admissions, we see what Saudi government officials have long maintained – that Saudi Arabia is not the originator of the Islamic State. However, the mysterious 28 pages of the “The 9/11 Commission Report” which are still classified, may reveal Saudi Arabia’s possible involvement in 9/11 and in the formation of the Islamic State.
Yet, it is known that the Islamic State was formed from Saudis sent into Syria to destabilize the Shiite Assad regime. In addition, there are striking similarities between the Saudi’s brand of Sunni Wahhabi Islam and the religious beliefs of the Islamic State.

Given these circumstances it is no wonder that, even though Saudi Arabia is part of the U.S. coalition against the Islamic State, no Saudi help in the battle against the Islamic State has been forthcoming.

Possible Saudi state terrorism could well be the reason for America’s opening up to Iran.

El Chapo Guzman Escapes from Jail!

We are the first to report this, as it comes directly from our sources in Mexico.

Forbes Billionaire Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo or “Shorty”, has escaped from a maximum security prison for a second time.

Mexico’s National Security Commission said Guzman was last seen in the showers of the Altiplano jail late on Saturday night. Now, he is nowhere to be found.

He was (and is again?) the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, which smuggles huge amounts of illegal drugs into the U.S., controlling much of the flow of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine to the U.S. Fifty billion U.S. dollars flow into Mexico each year for narcotics.

Officials say that Guzman’s escape was discovered when officers checked his cell in the Altiplano prison, which is near Mexico City.

A search operation has been launched and flights have been suspended at a nearby Toluca airport.

Guzman was arrested in Guatemala in 1993, but escaped from a Mexican high-security prison in 2001. He hid in a laundry basket after bribing prison officials.

He had been serving a sentence of more than 20 years after being arrested in Guatemala in 1993.

The US has indicted him on federal drug trafficking charges. However, Mexico refuses to extradite him to the U.S. – because the powers that be in Mexico are corrupt and easy for billionaire El Chapo to have his way with them. Looks like Donald Trump is correct.

His recapture in 2014 was hailed as a victory for Mexico’s government. El Chapo’s arrest last year was a success story for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto who has failed to stop the drug-related killings in Mexico. At the time of his arrest Pena Nieto had Guzman paraded before the media in Mexico City. Now, it is El Chapo who has the last laugh.

El Chapo is too rich and Mexico is too corrupt to keep him in prison. Like many U.S. executives, El Chapo is to big to jail!

Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

The climate as a common good

23. The climate is a common good of all and for all. It, globally, is a complex system in relation to many conditions essential for human life. Scientific consensus exists that indicates that we are very firm in  presence of a worrisome warming of the climate system. In recent decades, that the heating was accompanied by the constant rise in the sea level, and is also hard not to relate it to the increase in extreme weather events, regardless of the fact that we can not attribute a cause scientifically determined at each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to become aware of the need to change lifestyles, production and consumption, to combat this heating or, at least, the human causes that produce or accentuate. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanism, and the variations of the orbit of the Earth, the solar cycle), but numerous scientific studies indicate that most of the global warming of recent decades is due to the large concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other) issued mainly because of human activity. Their concentrations in the atmosphere prevents the heat of sunlight reflected by the earth being dispersed in space. This is especially enhanced by the development model based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the center of the world energy system. It has also affected the increase in the practice of land-use change, mainly deforestation for agricultural purposes.

24. In turn, the heating has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious cycle that exacerbates the situation even more and that will affect  on the availability of essential resources such as drinking water, energy and agricultural production of the hottest areas, and will result in the extinction of the planet’s biodiversity. The melting of polar ice and high altitude threat of those escaping at high risk of methane gas, and the decomposition of organic matter frozen could further accentuate the emission of carbon dioxide. In turn, the loss of tropical forests makes things worse, since they help to mitigate climate change. The pollution produced by carbon dioxide increase the acidity of the oceans and impairs the marine food chain. If the current trend continues, this century could be witnessed climate change inau- fingers and unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. Rising sea levels, for example, can create situations of extreme gravity when we consider that a quarter of the world population lives by the sea or very close to it, and most of the megacities are located in coastal areas.

25. Climate change is a global problem with serious environmental implications, social, economic, and political distribution, area and are one of the main current challenges for humanity. Impacts heavier probably will fall in the coming decades on developing countries. Many poor people living in particularly  affected by phenomena related to heating, and their livelihoods depend heavily from nature reserves and by so-called ecosystem services, such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry. They have no other financial resources and other resources that enable them to adapt to climate impacts or deal with catastrophic situations, and have little access to social services and protection. For example, climate change give rise to migration of animals and plants that can not always adapt themselves, and this in turn affects the productive resources of the poor, and they also see ob- bligati to migrate great uncertainty about the future of their lives and their children. Tragically, the increase of migrants fleeing poverty exacerbated by environmental degradation, which are not recognized as refugees will in international conventions and carry the burden of their lives abandoned without any protection legislation. Unfortunately there is a general indifference to these tragedies, which still occur in different parts of the world. The lack of responses to these dramaturgical me of our brothers and sisters is a sign of the loss of the sense of responsibility for our fellow men that underpin any civilized society.

26. Many of those who hold more resources and economic or political power seem to concentrate mainly in the mask problems and hide the symptoms, just trying to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change.  But many signs indicate that these effects Po- tranno always be worse if we continue with current patterns of production and consumption. Therefore it has become urgent and compelling policy development in the coming years so that the emission of carbon dioxide and other heavily polluting gas is reduced drastically, for example, by replacing fossil fuels and by developing renewable energy sources. In the world there is a small level of access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop appropriate technologies for accumulation. However, in some countries there have been advances that are beginning to be significant, although they are far from reaching a significant proportion. There were also some investments in modali- ty of production and transportation that use less energy and require fewer raw materials, as well as mode of construction or renovation of buildings which do best- no energy efficiency. But these good practices are far from becoming general.

The original version, in Italian: of the portion on climate change:

Il clima come bene comune
23. Il clima è un bene comune, di tutti e per tutti. Esso, a livello globale, è un sistema com- plesso in relazione con molte condizioni essen- ziali per la vita umana. Esiste un consenso scien- tifico molto consistente che indica che siamo in

presenza di un preoccupante riscaldamento del sistema climatico. Negli ultimi decenni, tale ri- scaldamento è stato accompagnato dal costan- te innalzamento del livello del mare, e inoltre è difficile non metterlo in relazione con l’aumento degli eventi meteorologici estremi, a prescindere dal fatto che non si possa attribuire una causa scientificamente determinabile ad ogni fenome- no particolare. L’umanità è chiamata a prendere coscienza della necessità di cambiamenti di stili di vita, di produzione e di consumo, per com- battere questo riscaldamento o, almeno, le cause umane che lo producono o lo accentuano. È vero che ci sono altri fattori (quali il vulcanismo, le variazioni dell’orbita e dell’asse terrestre, il ciclo solare), ma numerosi studi scientifici indicano che la maggior parte del riscaldamento globale degli ultimi decenni è dovuta alla grande concen- trazione di gas serra (anidride carbonica, meta- no, ossido di azoto ed altri) emessi soprattutto a causa dell’attività umana. La loro concentrazione nell’atmosfera impedisce che il calore dei raggi solari riflessi dalla terra si disperda nello spazio. Ciò viene potenziato specialmente dal modello di sviluppo basato sull’uso intensivo di combustibili fossili, che sta al centro del sistema energetico mondiale. Ha inciso anche l’aumento della pra- tica del cambiamento d’uso del suolo, principal- mente la deforestazione per finalità agricola.

24. A sua volta, il riscaldamento ha effetti sul ciclo del carbonio. Crea un circolo vizioso che aggrava ancora di più la situazione e che inciderà

sulla disponibilità di risorse essenziali come l’ac- qua potabile, l’energia e la produzione agricola delle zone più calde, e provocherà l’estinzione di parte della biodiversità del pianeta. Lo sciogli- mento dei ghiacci polari e di quelli d’alta quota minaccia la fuoriuscita ad alto rischio di gas me- tano, e la decomposizione della materia organi- ca congelata potrebbe accentuare ancora di più l’emissione di anidride carbonica. A sua volta, la perdita di foreste tropicali peggiora le cose, giacché esse aiutano a mitigare il cambiamento climatico. L’inquinamento prodotto dall’anidride carbonica aumenta l’acidità degli oceani e com- promette la catena alimentare marina. Se la ten- denza attuale continua, questo secolo potrebbe essere testimone di cambiamenti climatici inau- diti e di una distruzione senza precedenti degli ecosistemi, con gravi conseguenze per tutti noi. L’innalzamento del livello del mare, ad esempio, può creare situazioni di estrema gravità se si tiene conto che un quarto della popolazione mondiale vive in riva al mare o molto vicino ad esso, e la maggior parte delle megalopoli sono situate in zone costiere.

25. I cambiamenti climatici sono un problema globale con gravi implicazioni ambientali, sociali, economiche, distributive e politiche, e costituisco- no una delle principali sfide attuali per l’umanità. Gli impatti più pesanti probabilmente ricadranno nei prossimi decenni sui Paesi in via di sviluppo. Molti poveri vivono in luoghi particolarmente

colpiti da fenomeni connessi al riscaldamento, e i loro mezzi di sostentamento dipendono forte- mente dalle riserve naturali e dai cosiddetti ser- vizi dell’ecosistema, come l’agricoltura, la pesca e le risorse forestali. Non hanno altre disponibilità economiche e altre risorse che permettano loro di adattarsi agli impatti climatici o di far fronte a situazioni catastrofiche, e hanno poco accesso a servizi sociali e di tutela. Per esempio, i cam- biamenti climatici danno origine a migrazioni di animali e vegetali che non sempre possono adat- tarsi, e questo a sua volta intacca le risorse pro- duttive dei più poveri, i quali pure si vedono ob- bligati a migrare con grande incertezza sul futuro della loro vita e dei loro figli. È tragico l’aumento dei migranti che fuggono la miseria aggravata dal degrado ambientale, i quali non sono riconosciu- ti come rifugiati nelle convenzioni internazionali e portano il peso della propria vita abbandonata senza alcuna tutela normativa. Purtroppo c’è una generale indifferenza di fronte a queste tragedie, che accadono tuttora in diverse parti del mondo. La mancanza di reazioni di fronte a questi dram- mi dei nostri fratelli e sorelle è un segno della perdita di quel senso di responsabilità per i nostri simili su cui si fonda ogni società civile.

26. Molti di coloro che detengono più risorse e potere economico o politico sembrano con- centrarsi soprattutto nel mascherare i problemi o nasconderne i sintomi, cercando solo di ridurre alcuni impatti negativi di cambiamenti climatici.

Ma molti sintomi indicano che questi effetti po- tranno essere sempre peggiori se continuiamo con gli attuali modelli di produzione e di con- sumo. Perciò è diventato urgente e impellente lo sviluppo di politiche affinché nei prossimi anni l’emissione di anidride carbonica e di altri gas altamente inquinanti si riduca drasticamente, ad esempio, sostituendo i combustibili fossili e svi- luppando fonti di energia rinnovabile. Nel mondo c’è un livello esiguo di accesso alle energie pulite e rinnovabili. C’è ancora bisogno di sviluppare tecnologie adeguate di accumulazione. Tuttavia, in alcuni Paesi ci sono stati progressi che comin- ciano ad essere significativi, benché siano lontani dal raggiungere una proporzione importante. Ci sono stati anche alcuni investimenti in modali- tà di produzione e di trasporto che consumano meno energia e richiedono minore quantità di materie prime, come pure in modalità di costru- zione o ristrutturazione di edifici che ne migliori- no l’efficienza energetica. Ma queste buone prati- che sono lontane dal diventare generali.

The entire encyclical, in Italian, is here: http://speciali.espresso.repubblica.it/pdf/laudato_si.pdf

 

Sunnis (ISIS and Saudi Arabia), at war with Iran’s Shiites

ISIS Ramadi Victory Parade - Undefended and not Bombed by the US. Why?

ISIS Ramadi Victory Parade – Undefended and not Bombed by the US. Why?

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, which includes the Shiite militia (mainly from Iran) are fighting ISIS.

Iranian Shiite militiamen continue to pour into Iraq’s Sunni heartland of Anbar province with the goal of recapturing Ramadi which is only miles from Baghdad.
As the U.S. prepares to send an additional 450 personnel to Iraq, the Iranian-backed militias say that coalition assistance only hurts their efforts – contradicting statements by the Iraqi government that more international support is needed.

ISIS fighters captured Anbar’s provincial capital of Ramadi last month, prompting Defense Secretary Ash Carter to lament that the U.S.-trained Iraqi troops lacked “the will to fight.” The Popular Mobilization Forces were called to battle in Anbar after the fall of Ramadi, despite concerns that their involvement in the province would antagonize the Sunni population. as Anbar province is populated by Sunnis.

Many of the Shiite fighters, believe that U.S. airstrikes have been a hindrance to their efforts to recapture territory—and in some cases, have been deadly.

“We know of Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi fighters who were killed by the American planes,” Shiite fighter, Mahdi, said, using the commonly known Arabic name for the Popular Mobilization Forces. “If they really wanted to help us, then they would leave Iraqis to liberate Iraq by themselves.” On the other had, the U.S. missed a golden opportunity, when they did not bomb the ISIS mile’s-long (and undefended) victory parade to celebrate their taking of Ramadi.

The Popular Mobilization Forces have played a key role in several battles in the past year, but their strategy is increasingly at odds with that of the government. While Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi continues to lobby for greater international support in the way of arms, training and aid, the Popular Mobilization Forces want the coalition to back off and let the Iranian Shiites do it.

While there are no official estimates for the size of the Shiite dominated Popular Mobilization Forces, they are now believed to make up the majority of fighters in Iraq, outnumbering the official Iraqi military, which virtually crumbled in the face of the militant onslaught last year.

A number of the individual militias have said Iranian advisers arm and train their fighters, but officially the Popular Mobilization Force can only receive aid from the Iraqi government, leaving the U.S. somewhat at a loss for how to deal with them.

In Anbar itself, red and green flags with the operation’s slogan — “Labaik ya Hussein,” or “At your command, Hussein” — flap in the wind and dust alongside posters hailing the Popular Mobilization Forces. The slogan is in honor of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Hussein, who was killed in the 7th century battle that led to the schism between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

And that is what the war is all about – the centuries-old war between the Sunnis, now represented by ISIS and Saudi Arabia, and the Shiites, represented by Iran.

Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert Indicted

Vote out the crooks in Washington!

Steve Reinboldt was allegedly the victim of Hastert’s sexual abuse. Reinboldt was Hastert’s equipment manager when the man who went on to be speaker of the House was a high-school wrestling coach.

And Hastert is the type of person we send to Washington?

Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert indicted for money laundering and for lying to the FBI.
Each count can put him away for 5 years.

In 2010, Hastert allegedly agreed to pay money to keep something quiet to an unnamed longtime acquaintance (who the document refers to as Individual A). It is alleged that Hastert agreed to give Individual A a total of $3.5 million to “compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct.” No doubt other indictments will follow and Individual A will be exposed.

And how does Hastert come up with so much money?

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA    )
)
)
v.                                                           ) Violations: Title 18, United States
) Code, Section 1001(a)(2); Title 31,
) United States Code,
JOHN DENNIS HASTERT             ) Section 5324(a)(3)

COUNT ONE

The SPECIAL FEBRUARY 2014 GRAND JURY charges:

1. At times material to this indictment:

a. From approximately 1965 to 1981, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois. From approximately 1981 to 2007, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was an elected public official, including eight years as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. From approximately 2008 to the present, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT has worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.
b. Individual A has been a resident of Yorkville, Illinois and has known defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT most of Individual A’s life.
c. In or about 2010, Individual A met with defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT multiple times. During at least one of the meetings,

Individual A and defendant discussed past misconduct by defendant against Individual A that had occurred years earlier.
d. During the 2010 meetings and subsequent discussions, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT agreed to provide Individual A $3.5 million in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A.
e. Shortly thereafter, defendant began providing Individual A cash payments.
f. From approximately 2010 to 2014, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT withdrew a total of approximately $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts he controlled and provided it to Individual A.
g. From approximately June 2010 through April 2012, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT made fifteen $50,000 withdrawals of cash from bank accounts he controlled at Old Second Bank, People’s State Bank and Castle Bank and provided that cash to Individual A approximately every six weeks.
h. Title 31, United States Code, Section 5313(a) and Title 31, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1010.310-313 required domestic financial institutions to prepare and file with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network a Currency Transaction Report (Form 104) for any transaction or series of transactions involving currency of more than $10,000.
i. Old Second Bank, People’s State Bank, Castle Bank and Chase Bank were domestic financial institutions subject to the Currency Transaction Reporting requirements described in the preceding paragraph.
j. In approximately April 2012, pursuant to bank policy and federal regulations, bank representatives questioned defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT about the $50,000 cash withdrawals that he had made.
k. In July 2012, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT began withdrawing cash in increments of less than $10,000. Defendant provided that cash to Individual A in an increment of $50,000 at pre-arranged meeting places and times.
l. In approximately 2014, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT and Individual A changed the timing and amounts of the payments so that defendant provided Individual A $100,000 every three months. Defendant continued to withdraw cash in increments of less than
$10,000. Defendant provided that cash in an increment of $100,000 at pre- arranged meeting places and times.
m. In approximately 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service, agencies within the executive branch of the Government of the United States, began investigating defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT’s cash withdrawals as possible structuring of currency transactions to evade the reporting requirements described above.
n. As of December 8, 2014, the following matters, among others, were material to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service regarding possible structuring by defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT:
i. Whether defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was withdrawing less than $10,000 in cash at a time in order to evade currency transaction reporting requirements;
ii. Whether defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was using the cash he was withdrawing to cover up past misconduct;
iii. Whether defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was using the cash he was withdrawing for a criminal purpose;
iv. Whether defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was the victim of a criminal extortion related to, among other matters, his prior positions in government and was giving the cash to another individual as payment; and
v. Whether defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was using the cash for some other purpose, not related to a crime or past misconduct.

2. On or about December 8, 2014, in Plano, in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, JOHN DENNIS HASTERT, defendant herein, did knowingly and willfully make materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an agency within the executive branch of the Government of the United States, when JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was interviewed by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his cash withdrawals over the prior four and a half years totaling in excess of $1.7 million. Specifically, in response to the agents’ question confirming whether the purpose of the withdrawals was to store cash because he did not feel safe with the banking system, as he previously indicated, JOHN DENNIS HASTERT stated: “Yeah . . . I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing.”
Whereas, in truth and in fact, as JOHN DENNIS HASTERT then well knew, this statement was false because:
(i) He had been withdrawing cash from banks and providing the cash to Individual A in amounts of $50,000 or $100,000 to satisfy the agreement he made with Individual A to provide $3.5 million in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A; and
(ii) He had been withdrawing cash in increments of less than $10,000 to evade currency transaction reporting requirements because he wanted his agreement to compensate Individual A to remain secret so as to cover up his past misconduct;
In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2).

COUNT TWO

The SPECIAL FEBRUARY 2014 GRAND JURY further charges:

1. The allegations contained in paragraphs 1(a)-1(l) of Count One of this Indictment are realleged and incorporated herein.
2. Beginning no later than July 2012, and continuing until on or around December 6, 2014, in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and elsewhere, JOHN DENNIS HASTERT, defendant herein, did knowingly and for the purpose of evading the reporting requirements of Title 31, United States Code, Section 5313(a) and regulations prescribed thereunder, structure and assist in structuring transactions at Old Second Bank, People’s State Bank, Castle Bank and Chase Bank by withdrawing and causing the withdrawal of $952,000 in United States currency in amounts under $10,000 in separate transactions on at least 106 occasions;
In violation of Title 31, United States Code, Section 5324(a)(3).

A TRUE BILL:

FOREPERSON

UNITED STATES ATTORNEY