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
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.]]>
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)
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).
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:
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY]]>
A few days ago I sat at breakfast with a group of friends. We like to get together and talk about stuff. One had been at the Lebanon School band concert the night before. Inevitably, the conversation turned to how tough it is to keep things like music and art [...]]]>
A few days ago I sat at breakfast with a group of friends. We like to get together and talk about stuff. One had been at the Lebanon School band concert the night before. Inevitably, the conversation turned to how tough it is to keep things like music and art going any more in the face of declining funding of education.
I ventured that this is a travesty. “Funding for education should be our top priority,” I declared. “I agree,” said another in the group. “But then there are the folks who say welfare should be our top priority, or the environment. Every interest group is passionate that theirs should be the most important. They’ve got their lobbyists out there bidding for top billing with legislatures.”
“Yes,” I said. “That’s why I think our debates should be about our core values.”
“O.K.,” said another, “so what are your core values?”
“One of them is that every one of our kids should have everything they need to be well prepared to take their place in the economy and society,” I said.
“I agree;’ said my questioner. “So, that should include ….” He piled on everything he could think of that kids need to have a top-rate education – some of them what we tend to think of as “frills.”
“I’m playing devil’s advocate here,” he said.
“I recognize that,” I said. “And these are exactly the debates we should be having locally, and at the state, and national level.”
Indeed the debates taking place do reflect core values. The debate is about distribution of wealth, the size of government and the role of government in society and the economy. The theme the debate as it applies to the role of government in education is raging across the country. In an article by Alice Ollstein of “ThinkProgress,” we get a look at how this is playing out at the state level in several states, notably Wisconsin, Kansas, Louisiana and Illinois.
Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker has placed top priority on reducing taxes on wealthy citizens and corporations driven by his belief in trickle-down economics: The surest road to a strong economy is to free wealthy property owners and corporations from burdensome taxation, to unleash their money to invest in economic growth. His first bi-annual budget contained massive tax cuts based in this ideology. Another round of cuts is scheduled in his up coming budget.
But there is a problem. His ideology has failed miserably. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has informed him there is no re bounding economy. There is no new revenue at all. In his first two years in office, Walker has taken Wisconsin from a state with a $1billion surplus to one with a $2 billion deficit.
He is determined to go ahead with the next round of tax cuts any way, based, I assume, on the belief that the problem is not his ideology, but rather that he didn’t cut taxes enough. He is now determined to retrieve the situation by slashing spending. He proposes to cut spending for higher education by $275 mil lion, almost exactly the amount his next round of tax cuts will reduce revenue; this in the face of his determination to also spend more than a billion dollars on a new professional basketball stadium in Milwaukee. (Does that sound familiar? How about the new football stadium being built by cash-strapped Missouri, parallel with further cuts in spending for education?) Wisconsin’s elementary and secondary schools are scheduled for a cut as well, at $120 million.
The Wisconsin State University system has already begun laying off hundreds of professors and staff. But other values are beginning to compete with Walker’s agenda. The legislature soundly rejected his new budget. A majority of Republican legislators voted no, joining every Democrat in the legislature. A student movement called United Council of UW Students has mobilized opposition to Walker’s cuts.
Meanwhile, in Kansas, Gov. Brownback’s draconian cuts in taxes have so decimated the state’s coffers, its public schools are closing early this year. They’re out of money.
And in Louisiana, the state university system is considering declaring bankruptcy in the face of Gov. Bobbie Jindal’s huge cuts in taxes on wealthy and corporate entities, consistent with the trickle-down ideology of his fellow governors. Students and their supporters have stormed the State capitol in opposition to Jindal’s tax cuts. The Louisiana House of Representatives has passed a budget that erased more than $200 million of the governor’s tax cuts. The governor threatens a veto.
Here in Illinois, our wanabee Scott Walker, recently elected Governor Bruce Rauner, has proposed a massive budget slashing program as a way of balancing the state’s budget. This is accompanied by huge tax cuts for (guess who) wealthy and corporate taxpayers. Like Walker, he sees that as the way to prosperity.
Like Walker, Rauner’s proposed budget was overwhelmingly rejected by the state House of Representatives. As in Wisconsin, members of Rauner’s own party rebelled. Yes, I am aware that Illinois is in the midst of a major budget crisis. Rauner’s formula for addressing the crisis is untenable, unless we are willing to become like Greece.
The Occupy Movement was the launching pad of a growing push back against a value system which places highest priority on wealth accumulation for the already wealthy. The campaign for the $15 minimum hourly wage is an outgrowth of that movement, as is the growing counter-campaign for economic and social justice and quality of life values.
Illinois Voices for Children is one organization pushing back hard against Gov. Rauner’s agenda. Next week we will explore IVC’s proposals for putting the state’s fiscal house in order, based on quality of life values.
Illinois Voices for Children is one organization pushing back hard against Gov. Rauner’s agenda. Next week we will explore IVC’s proposals for putting the state’s fiscal house in order, based on quality of life values.
The Islamic State , ISIS claims credit for a suicide bombing of a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia on May 22 that killed at least 19 people with about 70 injured, “some very critically”. Dozens of people were injured in the blast and the death toll is expected to rise.
The ISIS attack resulted in a huge blast at the Imam Ali mosque in the village of al-Qadeeh, in Qatif governorate during Friday prayers.
The village of al-Qadeeh is only and 20 miles north of Dhahran the location of Saudi Aramco, the source of Saudi Arabia’s vast oil production. Al-Qadeeh is also only 14 miles away from Saudi Arabia’s port of Ras Tanura, from where the country ships most of its oil.
This shows that ISIS has is already present in the area and a major threat to the largest source of crude oil in the world. This fact has been suppressed by the media-so far.
The two million Shias in Saudi Arabia live mainly in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province where Saudi Arabia’s vast oilfields are located.
The Sunni ISIS extremists have a special loathing for the Shia and, in addition, they will almost certainly have been looking to raise sectarian tensions between Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority and the rest of the population.
These Shia/Sunni tensions in already exist in Saudi Arabia as a Saudi court has sentenced to death a prominent Saudi Shia religious leader, Nimr al-Nimr, for “sedition” and “disobeying” the kingdom’s rulers.
Nimr al-Nimr, who is in his 50s, was a driving force behind demonstrations in the oil-rich Eastern Province in 2011 against the kingdom’s Sunni rulers, in tandem with the Shia-led protests in neighboring Bahrain.
Now Shia anger will likely be directed at the Saudi authorities (mainly Sunnis) for failing to protect their community in Eastern Province.
Shias have been concerned for some time at inflammatory speeches given by hardline Sunnis that depict them as being ‘not real Muslims’, a view shared by ISIS.
In a statement published online, IS said “the soldiers of the Caliphate” were behind the attack and pledged “dark days ahead” for the Shia community. It identified the bomber as Abu Amer al-Najdi.
Saudi Arabia has previously been threatened by ISIS in several border attacks – one in which ISIS killed several Saudi soldiers including a General.
Slowly, ISIS has been penetrating Saudi Arabia. More than 2,000 Saudis are believed to have joined ISIS and Saudi Arabia has launched a security crackdown in recent months, arresting hundreds of ISIS suspects.
With Syria, Iraq and Libya being invaded by ISIS, will Saudi Arabia be next?
This is the best version of the Koran in both English
and Arabic, with copious footnotes.
The very best and best-selling book on ISIS!]]>
Based on the law firm’s exhaustive report, the NFL is weighing a suspension of Tom Brady for allegedly knowing that he was using [...]]]>
Based on the law firm’s exhaustive report, the NFL is weighing a suspension of Tom Brady for allegedly knowing that he was using deflated footballs during the AFC championship game.
His suspension could span up to one season. “Everything is being studied, everything is being considered,” an NFL source disclosed. The source also said it would be wrong to dismiss such an extended and seemingly improbable length of time as the ceiling for discipline – it could be longer.
It is clear the NFL is expecting to hand down some sort of discipline on #deflategate following the unveiling of the Ted Wells report on the incident.
Brady appeared on CNN, today, but was more than cagey in his non-answers to any questions regarding #deflategate. His smug attitude did nothing but aggravate the situation.
ESPN has reported the NFL would respond to this Wells Report (there was another, you may recall) within days, not weeks.
If Brady misses the entire season, the AFC East is up for grabs. Indeed, this has implications beyond the division as players would be fleeing the Patriots for other teams. This is because it is doubtful that Brady’s teammates would find much success under New England’s backup quarterback, second-year player Jimmy Garoppolo who has thrown only 27 NFL regular-season passes in his entire career.
Below is the damning report on Brady by Ted Wells it contains text messages by the “deflators,” but Brady? Brady refused to allow the investigators to see his text messages to the deflators.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORT CONCERNING FOOTBALLS USED DURING THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ON JANUARY 18, 2015
By: PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GARRISON LLP Theodore V. Wells, Jr. Brad S. Karp Lorin L. Reisner
On January 18, 2015, the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts played in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts to determine which team would advance to Super Bowl XLIX. During the first half of the game, a question was raised by the Colts concerning the inflation level of the footballs being used by the Patriots. As a result, at halftime, members of the officiating crew assigned to the game, overseen by a senior officiating supervisor from the National Football League (the “ NFL ” or the “ League ”), tested the air pressure of footballs being used by each of the Patriots and the Colts. All eleven of the Patriots game balls tested measured below the minimum pressure level of 12.5 pounds per square inch (“psi”) allowed by Rule 2 of the Official Playing Rules of the National Football League(the “Playing Rules”) on both of two air pressure gauges used to test the balls.
The four Colts balls tested each measured within the 12.5 to 13.5 psi range permitted under the Playing Rules on at least one of the gauges used for the tests.
On January 23, 2015, the NFL publicly announced that it had retained Theodore V. Wells, Jr. and the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (“Paul, Weiss”) to conduct an investigation, together with NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash, into the footballs used by the Patriots during the AFC Championship Game.
For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.
In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee.
Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls. During the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game, a ball thrown by Tom Brady was intercepted by a player for the Colts and the ball was taken to the Colts sideline.
On the sideline, Colts equipment personnel used a pressure gauge to measure the inflation level of the ball, determined that it was below the minimum 12.5 psi level and informed a game official and other NFL personnel.
Prior to the game, Colts personnel had notified the NFL that they suspected that the Patriots might be deflating game balls below the minimum level permissible under the Playing Rules, although they did not support their suspicions with any specific factual information. In response to the pre-game concerns raised by the Colts, NFL Football Operations staff had notified the head of the NFL Officiating Department, Dean Blandino, and a senior officiating supervisor who would be attending the game, Alberto Riveron. During a pre-game conversation concerning various game-day topics, Riveron told referee Walt Anderson that a concern had been raised about the air pressure of the game balls. Anderson told Riveron that he would be sure to follow his usual ball inspection procedure to ensure that the balls were properly inflated. 9.After being informed during the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game that the Colts had measured a Patriots game ball and found it to be under-inflated, and having previously been advised of the Colt’s suspicions, Riveron decided that the game balls for both teams should be inspected at halftime by the game officials. Two other senior NFL personnel present at the game, Troy Vincent and Mike Kensil, independently reached the same conclusion.10.At halftime, under Riveron’s supervision, two alternate game officials (Clete Blakeman and Dyrol Prioleau) tested eleven Patriots game balls and four Colts game balls. The Patriots ball intercepted by the Colts was not among the eleven Patriots balls tested. Each official used a separate air pressure gauge provided by referee Anderson that Anderson had brought with him to the game, one of which also had been used by Anderson for his pre-game inspection. Each of the eleven Patriots balls tested at halftime measured below the minimum 12.5 psi level established by the Playing Rules on both gauges. Each of the four Colts balls tested measured within the permissible 12.5 to 13.5 psi range on at least one of the gauges. The measurements were recorded in writing by Richard Farley, an NFL security official who has been assigned to the Patriots and Gillette Stadium for approximately twelve years.
Only four Colts balls were tested because the officials were running out of time before the start of the second half. Indeed, in our view, a contrary conclusion requires the acceptance of an implausible number of communications and events as benign coincidences. Although we believe that a number of the communications between Jastremski and McNally were attempts at humor, based on the evidence and the communications in their entirety, we believe that McNally and Jastremski were joking about events in which they were actually participating that involved the deflation of footballs in violation of the Playing Rules. When interviewed, McNally claimed, among other things, that he brings game balls to the field when he deems fit, that he generally does not receive permission from or inform the game officials before leaving the Officials Locker Room and taking game balls to the field and that he often has taken game balls into the tunnel bathroom near the entrance to the playing field. We do not find these claims plausible and they were contradicted by other evidence developed during the investigation. Counsel for the Patriots also contended that the text messages between McNally and Jastremski referring to the inflation levels of footballs and related topics were not serious and should be seen as nothing more than attempts at humor and hyperbole. We also find these claims not plausible. As noted above and described more fully in the Report, we believe that although a number of the communications between McNally and Jastremski were attempts at humor, McNally and Jastremski were making jokes based on actual events. Our conclusions with respect to Tom Brady also are based on an analysis of the substantial and credible evidence. The evidence does not allow us to reach conclusions as to when McNally and Jastremski began their efforts to release air from Patriots game balls on game day (although McNally referred to himself as “the deflator” prior to the start of the 2014-15 season), exactly how long those efforts have been ongoing…
The complete report can be found here.]]>
Italians are worried ISIS that has already infiltrated their country. Apparently, dozens of jihadists who fought in Iraq and Syria have returned home to Italy. In addition, Italy has evidence that ISIS terrorists are hiding among thousands of people arriving boats and ships from Libya. Along with Libyans, others arriving by sea are other Arabs and Africans, just passing through Libya to get to Italy.
More than 11,000 migrants have been rescued in the Mediterranean and taken to Italy in the past six days, with hundreds more expected Friday, April 17, the coastguard said.
The migrant wave has swelled in recent days on the back of the worsening security situation in Libya – the staging post for most of the crossings – as well as the milder spring weather.
On April 14, Italian police reported that Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 Christians overboard—killing them.
Italian authorities have arrested 15 people involved in the incident on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said.
The original group of 105 people aboard the killer boat left Libya in a rubber boat. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants—Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal—threw the Christians 12 overboard, according to the Italian police.
Since the fall of Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011, Libya has descended into chaos, giving rise to warring militias, many of whom are loyal to ISIS. “We find ourselves facing a country with a vast territory and failed institutions, and that has potentially grave consequences not only for us but for the stability and sustainability of the transition processes in neighboring African states,” Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni said.
Unfortunately for Italy, as many as 500 newcomers arrive each day from Africa.
The Italian Navy has a fleet of ships dispatched to find these migrants at sea. These ships have saved as many as 170,000 people from sinking vessels in 2014, a 66% increase over 2013.
It’s hard to say how many hiding among these immigrants could be terrorists or ISIS sympathizers.
Sabrina Magris, president of the International University School of Rome and Florence, which offers counter terrorism and hostage negotiation training to various governments around the world, said that Italian officials are increasingly worried about the situation in post-Qaddafi Libya and the influx of terrorists sneaking into Italy. A growing number of Libyan militias have proclaimed their loyalty to ISIS in recent months.
Pro-ISIS blogger Abu Irhim al-Libi wrote last month.,“If ISIS can successfully intermingle with those fleeing the Libyan coast en-route for Europe, this could turn life in southern European states into hell.”
ISIS has hundreds of thousands of sympathizers in Italy. Italy’s army is only 5,000 strong—a force to small, perhaps, to save Italy from ISIS—and there are hundreds of thousands currently waiting to be transported to Italy.
Last year, 170,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East entered Europe through Italy, according to the United Nations. And by some estimates, their number may more than triple this year, as political and economic stability in their home countries worsens. Presently, there are 600,000 or so migrants currently waiting in Libya for their turn to go to Italy.
To stop the largest group of migrants from coming, Europe would have to end the bloody civil war in Syria and institute a lasting peace in the area. This is something Western governments don’t have a great track record with in the Arab world so far, as Libya demonstrates. In fact, the current turmoil in the Middle East and Libya has been caused by the U.S. overthrowing of the governments of Iraq and Libya—thereby upsetting the delicate balance of power in the Middle East and North Africa.
This is the legacy of the last Bush administration with the support of the Democrats led by Hillary Clinton who voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq and who played a leading role in reducing Libya to a failed state. Consequently, there is no end in sight to the continuing migrations to Italy and the threats of ISIS calling for their invasion of Italy.
Way back on April 1st, 2012, we wrote about the super-exciting remake of the famous film Gone with the Wind, starring Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian. With everyone anxiously waiting for the film to come out, we ask – what happened? When are we all going to see [...]]]>
Way back on April 1st, 2012, we wrote about the super-exciting remake of the famous film Gone with the Wind, starring Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian. With everyone anxiously waiting for the film to come out, we ask – what happened? When are we all going to see this wonderful film.
Back then, James Cameron, the producer consented to give us an interview. We met with Cameron, today, early in the morning in his office to see what had happened.
“Hi, I’m Jim,” said Mr. Cameroon with a friendly smile. He was an unimposing fellow, short and fat, and seemed to be somewhere in his sixties or seventies. He had aged at least twenty years since our first interview only three years ago, to the day.
Mr. Cameron didn’t seem to remember us, so we explained that we were reporters from JohnHarding.com, and were here to get some background information on his epic re-make of Gone with the Wind.
“Youse come to the right place,” smiled Mr. Cameroon.
We felt quite at ease with the great man.
Before we could ask a single question, just like in the last interview, Cameroon took off what was going on with Gone with the Wind, and its stars, Bieber and Kardashian.
“We have had to delay the film a bit. Kim is demanding $50 million for her part, and wants to replace Bieber with Kayne West. Geez. I tried to explain to her that, as great an artist that Kayne is, how could he play Clark Gable’s part.”
Gosh, Mr. Cameron, how could Kayne play a rich white guy back in the days of slavery?
“Exactly, continued Cameron, “but Kim countered that she is all for LGBT and diversity, which is her mission in life. Also, said I had to pay for her new butt implants.”
“LGBT?,” we spouted out.
“Of course, I’m sure you must know it stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Trans-gender.”
“Oh sure, Mr. Cameron, sir,” we responded as one.
“So I told Kim that since we are all for LGBT Diversity, we should have Kayne play the part of her black maid – you know, the gal who said, ‘I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ babies. Well, guess what? Kim said that this was a great idea to have Kayne star in a female role, and that he would do it for sure for $90 million.”
“Ninety-million,” we chorused.
“Now don’t tell this to Bieber, or he will be wanting even more than Kayne – maybe even $100 million. But you know what Bieber wants?”
We sat in stunned silence.
“Bieber wants Selena Gomez to play the lead role and replace Kim Kardashian… not a bad idea because Selena will do it for peanuts.” Cameron paused in thought and then continued, “Hell, I don’t know what we are going to get this film on the road, even though the public is screaming for it.”
Cameron then stared at the floor.
Slowly and respectfully we got up and left in silence.
He is a former Democrat congressman who represented Iowa’s 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives for two terms, from 1973 to 1977.
Mezvinsky sat on the House Judiciary Committee that decided the fate of [...]]]>
He is a former Democrat congressman who represented Iowa’s 1st congressional district in the United States House
of Representatives for two terms, from 1973 to 1977.
Mezvinsky sat on the House Judiciary Committee that decided the fate of Richard Nixon. He was outspoken saying that Nixon was a crook and a disgrace to politics and the nation and should be impeached.
Mezvinsky and the Clintons were friends and very politically intertwined for many years.
He also had an affair with NBC News reporter Marjorie Sue Margolies and later married her after his wife divorced him.
In 1993, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, then a freshman Democrat in Congress, cast the deciding vote that got President Bill Clinton’s controversial tax package through the House of Representatives.
In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 counts of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud.
Mezvinsky had embezzled more than $10 million dollars from people via both a Ponzi scheme and through notorious Nigerian e-mail scams. He was found guilty and sentenced to 80 months in federal prison.
After serving less than five years in federal prison, Mezvinsky was released in April 2008 but remains on federal probation.
To this day, Mezvinsky still owes $9.4 million in restitution to his victims. About now you are saying, “So what!”
Well, this is Marc and Chelsea Mezvinsky. That’s right, Ed Mezvinsky is Chelsea Clinton’s father-in law. They were married in George Soros’ mansion.
Now Marc and Chelsea are only in their early thirties but managed to purchase a $10.5 million NYC apartment.
Has anyone heard mention of any of this in any of the media?
If Mezvinsky was Jenna or Barbara Bush’s, or better yet, Sarah Palin’s daughter’s father-in- law, the news would be an everyday headline and every detail would be reported over and over. And yet liberals say there are no double standards in political reporting.]]>
In addition, secret files left behind by the fleeing Americans contain details of American intelligence operations in the country have been looted by Iran-backed militia leaders, exposing names of confidential informants and plans for U.S.-backed counter-terrorism strikes, U.S. officials say. The identities of local agents were compromised after Houthi leaders in Sana took over the offices of Yemen’s National Security Bureau, which had worked with the CIA, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive operations. The compromised agents’ lives are now in danger.
On Wednesday, March 25, Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled his residence in the southern Yemeni city of Aden.
This is a major victory for Iran which continues to exploit the ongoing unrest by the Shia majority in Bahrain, which threatens to spread to the Shia population in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. Meanwhile, Sunni-backed ISIS continues to penetrate into Saudi Arabia from Iraq.
The strength of ISIS lies in social inequality, which is rife throughout the Arab and North African countries.
When unrest came to Syria in the spring of 2011, King Abdullah’s advisers thought that, with a little outside help, Syrians might be able to rid themselves of the Assad government and shift their country out of the Iranian orbit.
Washington shared this optimistic assessment, which turned out to be a tragic misreading of Syrian realities. 225,000 dead and nine million displaced Syrians later, Bashar Al-Assad still rules in Damascus. Worse, Syria has become the incubator for a self-proclaimed ISIS “caliphate” (“Da’ish,” to use the Arabic acronym for it), a renegade Muslim movement of truly satanic brutality that is at once an idea, a structure of governance, and an army.
ISIS was born by the U.S. intervention and misguided “surge” in Iraq, and has grown rapidly in Syria. It has already erased the Syrian-Iraqi border.
ISIS is determined to undo the legacy of colonialism in the Middle East, including the formation of the modern states of Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, and to revenge past injuries to the world’s Muslims at the hands of Western powers elsewhere. ISIS plans to rule in Mecca and Medina. It now governs an area the size of Ireland with a population larger than Israel or Jordan.
ISIS is rapidly attracting migrants, recruits, and statements of allegiance from all over the world. ISIS is expanding into Africa. Potentially hundreds of millions of people with two continents could fall under the ISIS caliphate.
At the outset, Riyadh saw ISIS as a distastefully extremist but potentially useful instrument of armed opposition to Assad and Iran. But the Kingdom later realized that ISIS is threat to its interests, including its domestic tranquility and even the head of its ruler, among other Arab monarchs.
Under Saudi Arabia’s new monarch, King Salman, Saudi policy seems to be evolving toward actively countering ISIS as well as Iran and the Houthi’s in Yemen.
It looks as though Riyadh may now be in the process of organizing a coalition with its neighboring Arabian countries, especially with the Arab monarchies, whose Ankara, Amman, Cairo, and Islamabad so as to be able to counter both ISIS and Iran. This could change the regional balance and alter its political economy in important ways. With respect to Iran, Pakistan can provide a nuclear deterrent, Egypt can furnish military manpower, and Turkey has industrial strength. All three are producers of armaments as well as importers of them. Amman is on the frontline with Da’ish. Saudi money can help them cooperate or at least coordinate their policies to mutual advantage.
From an American perspective, such a coalition would be a mixed blessing. Certainly, Israel would not welcome it. But, if something like it came into being, there could at last be hope for an effective strategy that dealt with all three dimensions of the Da’ish phenomenon. Currently, there is a military campaign plan but no strategy. U.S. policy is especially limited. The Americans treat ISIS as a bombing target, even though military commanders all acknowledge that it is also an ideological and political problem that military means alone cannot address.
This is because Western interests are not credible or competent as commentators on ISIS connection to mainstream Islam. Rather than believe in an “extremist” version of Islam, ISIS may reflect what true Islam was originally.
Salafism has a literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islam. Salafi Jihadis who espouse offensive jihad (holy war) against those they deem to be enemies of Islam as a legitimate expression of Islam.
It is often reported from various sources, including the German domestic intelligence service, that Salafism is the fastest-growing Islamic movement in the world.
The Saudis had their Salafi reformation in the 18th century. Salafism in the Kingdom is a conservative, stabilizing, if repressive force. Many Saudis, like ISIS, are Salafis, being adherents of the view that the revival of their Islam requires reaffirmation of the way of the Salaf, the earliest Muslims and the repudiation of subsequent innovations, superstitions, and corrupt practices.
There are 4 million Saudi Salafis, making up 22.9% of Saudi Arabia’s population, while most of the rest are Wahhabi. The Salafi movement is often described as synonymous with Wahhabism, but Salafists consider the term “Wahhabi” derogatory.
The 4 million Saudi Salafis plus many socially deprived Saudi Wahhabis provide a fertile recruiting ground for ISIS. In fact, there are many ISIS attacks on Saudi Arabia and not just on its border. Internal attacks in Saudi Arabia by ISIS are increasing rapidly – something which is not reported in the news.
Both the rise of ISIS and the challenge of Iran’s advance into Iraq, Syria and Yemen underscore the importance of Saudi-American strategic cooperation. The window of opportunity is closing. For the sake of the West, the Arab and African counties quick, informed and decisive action must be taken to save the day.
Saudi Arabia has formed a coalition of more than 10 countries to attack the Houthi Shiites in Yemen. These include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar. In addition, Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan have said they have forces involved in the operation. Even Pakistan is considering a Saudi request to send ground forces. Some reports say that Morocco will send combat aircraft as well.
Even if this is a winnable plan (and it may not be) its success is risky. If the effort fails, those opposed to ISIS will suffer the consequences and heads will roll (both figuratively and literally).]]>