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Monday, November 03, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Monday November 3 2008 - (813)

Monday November 3 2008 edition
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Report: The Financial Crisis And Sustainable Security
2008-11-03 00:41:07
Intellpuke: The following report was written by Professor Paul Rogers, a global consultant to Oxford Research Group and Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. I found it well worth the read and thought it merits a larger readership. Prof. Rogers' report follows:


Oxford Research Group’s (ORG) International Security Monthly Briefings focus primarily on issues such as the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the evolution of western counter-terrorism policies and the development of the al-Qaeda movement. On occasions they also cover matters such as energy security, climate change and world food prospects. In view of the serious financial situation that has developed in recent months, this briefing provides an initial analysis of the possible impact of the crisis on security.

This is undertaken in the context of ORG’s work on sustainable security which, in turn, is predicated on an underlying analysis of the security issues that are likely to be most prominent in the next two to three decades. This assesses that there are four main trends that are particularly salient.

Firstly, global socio-economic divisions are widening, with most of the benefits of the past three decades of economic growth being concentrated in the hands of a trans-global elite community of about 1.2 billion people, mainly in the countries of the Atlantic community and the West Pacific, but with elite communities in the tens of millions in countries such as China, India and Brazil. Improvements in education, literacy and communications in recent decades have increased the awareness of many marginalized people of this unjust distribution of wealth. In extreme circumstances this can lead to the rise of violent and extreme social movements such as the Naxalites in India.

Secondly, climate change is expected to have profound effects on that majority of the world’s population living in the tropical and sub-tropical regions but without the economic resources to respond to severe storms, rising sea levels and drastic changes in rainfall distribution. Increased migration and social and political unrest are likely consequences.

Thirdly, resource competition, especially over energy resources in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere, will, on present trends, be an increasing source of tension and conflict.

Lastly, the strong tendency of powerful elites to maintain security, by military force if necessary, is expected to be counter-productive, as has already been seen by many of the consequences of the war on terror.

Countering such trends involves a fundamental commitment to emancipation and socio-economic justice. This includes fair trade, debt cancellation, assistance for sustainable development, a radical cut in carbon emissions, rapidly increased use of renewable energy resources and the development of conflict prevention and conflict resolution policies that avoid the use of force.
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U.S. Supreme Court To Take Up Indecency Standard For T.V., Radio
2008-11-02 13:21:41
The Supreme Court would not be recommended as the best place in this city to hear a raucous conversation that makes full use of the F-word, the S-word and assorted other vulgarities.

It is a place of decorum. Officers will firmly reprimand a visitor who errs by leaning an elbow on the next chair.

Tuesday morning may be an exception, however. While the nation focuses on the presidential election, the justices will discuss the F-word and its variants in a case that could determine whether these words will be heard more on television and radio.

The nation's broadcasters are fighting fines imposed by the Federal Communications Commission for airing the banned words, even if inadvertently. For example, when Cher won a Billboard Music award, she said it proved her critics wrong: "People have been telling me I'm on the way out every year, right? So f- - - 'em." Fox TV broadcast the awards program live.

The channel's lawyer, Carter G. Phillips, said that "unless someone tells me not to," he will use in court the actual words that federal regulators hope to keep off the air.

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North Korea Can't Hide Signs Of Hunger
2008-11-02 13:21:15
Along the sides of the road, people comb through the grass looking for edible weeds. In the center of town, a boy about 9 years old wears a tattered army jacket hanging below his knees. He has no shoes.

Sprawled on the lawn outside a bathhouse, poorly dressed people lie on the grass, either with no better place to go or no energy to do so at 10 a.m. on a weekday.

Despite efforts to keep North Korea's extreme poverty out of view, a glance around the countryside shows a population in distress. At the root of the problem is a chronic food shortage, the result of inflation, strained relations with neighboring countries and flooding in previous years.

Aid agencies say the level of hunger is not at the point it was in the 1990s, when it was defined as a famine, although they have found a few cases of children suffering from kwashiorkor, the swollen belly syndrome associated with malnutrition. Mostly what they are seeing is a kind of collective listlessness - the kind shown by the people on the streets of Nampo.

"Teachers report that children lack energy and are lagging in social and cognitive development," reported a group of five U.S. humanitarian agencies in a summer assessment of the food situation. "Workers are unable to put in full days and take longer to complete tasks - which has implications for the success of the early and main harvests."

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California Board Knew Of Nurses' Criminal Records But Took Years To Act
2008-11-02 01:42:58
California panel lagged in revoking LVNs convicted of sex and drug crimes. The Los Angeles Times found RNs working despite convictions. "The public isn't protected," said expert.

In March 2006, a Long Beach hospital put state licensing authorities on notice: Two patients had accused a nurse of molesting them on a single night. One said that he massaged her breasts, the other that he groped her under her hospital gown, according to hospital and court records.

By year's end, licensed vocational nurse Carlito Paar Manabat, Jr., had pleaded no contest to two counts of sexual battery. He went on to serve six months in jail and register as a sex offender.

Last February, he renewed his license, checking "yes" on the application when asked if he'd been convicted of a crime.

It wasn't until July, more than two years after first being alerted to the problem, that the California Bureau of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians took the first formal steps to revoke or restrict Manabat's license.

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A World Of Trouble And Discord
2008-11-02 01:42:25

Presidents and prime ministers from major countries around the world will gather in Washington, D.C., in two weeks to begin heated negotiations over the shape of global financial regulation as they scramble to avoid a deep worldwide recession and restore confidence in markets.

Key European allies are pushing for broad new roles for international organizations, empowering them to monitor everything from the global derivatives trade to the way major banks are regulated across borders. But the Bush administration has signaled reluctance to go that far. In the past, it has resisted similar proposals as potentially co-opting the independence of the U.S. financial system or compromising free markets.

Some economists and policymakers say the summit could launch important reforms. Others predict it could turn into an economic tower of Babel, with weak political leaders promoting solutions fundamentally at odds with one another. And if leaders cannot bridge their differences, they could risk another bout of financial disarray.

There are also differences of opinion on the issue of timing. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who pressed for the 20-nation summit, says it must produce concrete and immediate results. However, the host, President Bush, is a lame duck who says the meeting will be "the first in a series" and should focus on principles even though "the specific solutions pursued by every country may not be the same." Emerging proposals to sharpen existing regulatory tools appear to conflict with plans to create entirely new ones.

What is clear is that expectations for the summit among many observers are high.

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Canadian Troops Fight Taliban Inch By Inch
2008-11-02 01:41:22
Breaking the Taliban's hold on Kandahar has proved elusive.

The company of Canadian soldiers set off from the small base in southern Afghanistan a few hours before dawn. Combat boots crunching along the wide plains of the Kandahar desert, they moved slowly in a long line into the moonless black ahead.

No one said a word as they picked their way across an old cemetery. The soldiers strained to hear any sound of approaching insurgents above the slap of funeral flags in the crisp autumn wind. Someone at the head of the line motioned them forward. A few dozen yards later, they stopped again.

The soldiers' target, a Taliban bomb-supply compound, was only a little more than two miles away. It took the contingent of 200-plus troops about three hours to march from the cemetery to the insurgent stronghold. That is the way the war is being fought in southern Afghanistan: inch by inch.

The pace is frustratingly slow for many of the 2,500 Canadian troops fighting to break the Taliban's hold on Kandahar. The insurgents move swiftly under cover through much of the province. But for the Canadians, every tactical wiggle in Kandahar involves days of planning and dozens - sometimes hundreds - of soldiers.

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Don't Vote
2008-11-02 21:31:24
Don't vote.  Why bother? 

Watch the following video to understand my statement.  Really.  Watch the whole thing.

What's the worse that could happen?  Failing to vote could get the wrong person in office, and your vote could have made a difference.

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Terrorism-Financing Blacklists Losing Support
2008-11-02 13:21:31
The global blacklisting system for financiers of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups is at risk of collapse, undermined by legal challenges and waning political support in many countries, according to counterterrorism officials in Europe and the United States.

In September, the European Court of Justice threw the future of the United Nations' sanctions program against al-Qaeda and the Taliban into doubt when it declared the blacklist violated the "fundamental rights" of those targeted.  The Luxembourg-based court said the list lacked accountability and made it almost impossible for people to challenge their inclusion.

Courts in Britain and France have also questioned whether European countries can enforce the U.N. sanctions and other blacklists without violating local laws, including a defendant's right to see evidence. The United Nations keeps such evidence secret.

The U.N. blacklist is the backbone of an international effort to prevent al-Qaeda supporters from raising or transferring money. All U.N. members are required to impose a travel ban and asset freeze against the 503 individuals, businesses and groups on the list. About $85 million in al-Qaeda and Taliban assets are frozen worldwide.

Enforcement, however, is inconsistent; some countries have quietly permitted alleged supporters of al-Qaeda to travel and to access their bank accounts.

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Judge Orders Justice Dept. To Produce White House Memos On Warrantless Wiretaps
2008-11-02 01:43:08
A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Justice Department to produce White House memos that provide the legal basis for the Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 warrantless wiretapping program.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy, Jr., signed an order Friday requiring the department to produce the memos by the White House legal counsel's office by Nov. 17. He said he would review the memos to determine whether any information could be released publicly without violating attorney-client privilege or jeopardizing national security.

Kennedy issued his order in response to lawsuits by civil liberties groups in 2005 after news reports disclosed the wiretapping program.

The department argued that the memos were protected attorney-client communications and contained classified information.

However, Judge Kennedy said that the attorney-client argument was "too vague" and that he would have to look at the documents to determine whether that argument was valid and also to see whether there was information that could be released without endangering national security.

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From U.S. Midwest To M.T.A., Pain From Global Gamble
2008-11-02 01:42:39

“People come up to me in the grocery store and say, ‘How did we get suckered into this?’ ” - Marc Hujik, of the Kenosha, Wisconsin, school board

On a snowy day two years ago, the school board in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, gathered to discuss a looming problem: how to plug a gaping hole in the teachers’ retirement plan.

It turned to David W. Noack, a trusted local investment banker, who proposed that the district borrow from overseas and use the money for a complex investment that offered big profits.

“Every three months you’re going to get a payment,” he promised, according to a tape of the meeting. But would it be risky? “There would need to be 15 Enrons” for the district to lose money, he said.

The board and four other nearby districts ultimately invested $200 million in the deal, most of it borrowed from an Irish bank. Without realizing it, the schools were imitating hedge funds.

Half a continent away, New York subway officials were also being wooed by bankers. Officials were told that just as home buyers had embraced adjustable-rate loans, New York could save money by borrowing at lower interest rates that changed every day.

For some of the deals, the officials were encouraged to rely on the same Irish bank as the Wisconsin schools.

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Editorial: Gone Missing
2008-11-02 01:42:01
Intellpuke: This editorial appeared in the New York Times edition for Sunday, November 2, 2008.

Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, the world has shuddered at the possibility of loose nuclear weapons or radioactive material falling into the hands of terrorists. Shuddered and done too little to stop it.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned last week that there has been a “disturbingly high” number of reports of missing or illegally trafficked nuclear material. According to agency figures, there were 243 incidents between June 2007 and June of this year. Fortunately, the amounts reported missing have been small. Some experts say that if all the material were lumped together it would not be enough for one nuclear weapon. That is no consolation in a world where so many countries are eager to build their own nuclear reactors and possibly nuclear weapons.

That means that in coming years there will be even more states with nuclear materials, more scientists with nuclear knowledge and more opportunities for terrorists to get their hands on the material for a bomb.

It is the atomic agency’s job to keep tabs on civilian nuclear programs, to ensure that states do not misplace fuel or divert it to clandestine weapons programs. One way to guard against such a perilous future is to ensure that the agency is fully staffed with the best people available and has the money and support it needs.

Member states must be willing to increase their budget contributions so the agency can refurbish its testing laboratory, invest in new technology and hire additional nuclear experts. The agency must also be ready to take on new tasks, like administering a nuclear fuel bank to be the supplier of last resort for countries that choose not to get into the risky reactor fuel business. (Producing nuclear fuel is the hardest part of building a nuclear weapon.)

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Machinists Union Ratifies Contract With Boeing
2008-11-02 01:41:02
Machinists union members ratified a new contract with Boeing Co. on Saturday, ending an eight-week strike that cut the airplane maker's profits and stalled jetliner deliveries.

The vote by members of the union, which represents about 27,000 workers at plants in Washington state, Oregon and Kansas, was about 74 percent in favor of the proposal five days after the two sides tentatively agreed to the deal and union leaders recommended its approval.

The workers are expected to return to Boeing's commercial airplane factories, which have been closed since the Sept. 6 walkout, starting Sunday night.

The union has said the contract protects more than 5,000 factory jobs, prevents the outsourcing of certain positions and preserves health care benefits. It also promises pay increases over four years rather than three, as outlined in earlier offers.

The union members, including electricians, painters, mechanics and other production workers, have lost an average of about $7,000 in base pay since the strike began. They had rejected earlier proposals by the company, headquartered in Chicago.

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Blogger dot said...

I'll vote 'cause I'm a good nigga!

10:33 PM  

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