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Archive for February 6th, 2013|Daily archive page

Reality Check: President Obama’s Rules for Assassinating U.S. Citizens

In News on February 6, 2013 at 11:26 PM

 

02/06/2013

It is a story that has made national headlines in the past 24 hours.

But a story Reality Check has been telling you for nearly 2 years.

NBC News obtained a copy of the Obama administration’s rules for assassinating U.S. citizens.

President Obama told Ben about this kill list in a face to face interview last September.

The details in a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.

Reality Check: Should Federal Ban on Hemp Production Be Lifted?

In News on February 6, 2013 at 11:07 PM

 

02/05/2013

Could a federal ban on hemp production soon be lifted?

One of Americas most powerful Senators is now backing that idea and throwing his support behind a bill that could mean an economic boom for Kentucky.

So what exactly is hemp and what has it been banned in the United States in the first place?

Ben has the Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.

Sources:

http://www.kentucky.com/2013/01/01/2461252/advocates-of-industrial-hemp-point.html#storylink=cpy

http://norml.org/news/2005/01/13/us-stands-alone-in-hemp-ban-congressional-research-service-report-says

Virginia Moves Closer to Creating State’s Own Currency

In News on February 6, 2013 at 10:45 PM

02/05/2013

Virginia Del. Robert G. Marshall fears that a financial apocalypse is coming and only one thing can save the Commonwealth: its own currency.

The idea that Virginia should consider issuing its own money was dismissed as just another quixotic quest by one of the most conservative members of the state legislature when Marshall introduced it three years ago. But it has since gained traction not only in Virginia, but also in states across the country as Americans have grown increasingly suspicious of the institutions entrusted with safeguarding the economy.

This week, the proposal by the Prince William Republican sailed through the House of Delegates with a two-to-one majority.

“This is a serious study about a serious topic,” Marshall said Tuesday. “We’re not completely powerless.”

So far, only Utah has approved a law recognizing nontraditional currency. Four other states have bills pending this year. Marshall said he is unsure of his proposal’s prospects in the Virginia Senate. One Democrat derided it as a descent into “la-la land.”

But the fact that the debate is happening at all reflects a deep-seated distrust in the very foundation of the country’s economic system — the dollar.

Much of the anger is directed at the Federal Reserve, which controls the nation’s supply of money. Since the financial crisis, the Fed has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy to help avert what Chairman Ben S. Bernanke believed could have been the next Great Depression. Critics worry the Fed won’t ever stop.

Marshall believes that the result could resemble the Weimar Republic of Germany after World War I: a worthless currency, skyrocketing inflation and a crumbling government.

And those are only the problems that the Fed might create. Who knows what other threats may be lurking in the shadowy world of cyberattacks, Marshall said. The Fed acknowledged Tuesday that its computer systems were recently compromised, although the problems did not affect critical operations and have since been fixed.

“This is a lifeboat study; what happens if?” Marshall said.

Mainstream economics maintains that America is in little danger of turning into postwar Germany. Inflation is below 2 percent even though the Fed has tripled the amount of money in circulation since the 2008 financial crisis. Investors view the dollar as a safe haven, buying up greenbacks when turmoil strikes around the globe. A single currency is one of the bedrock assumptions of modern economics.

But that doesn’t mean Virginia shouldn’t be ready, Marshall and his supporters believe. His proposal would create a 10-member commission to study “the need, means, and schedule for establishing a metallic-based monetary unit to serve as a contingency currency for the Commonwealth.” The study would cost $17,440.

“The resolution is pretty modest,” said Lawrence H. White, a George Mason University economics professor who said he supports the proposal as a private citizen. “It’s ‘consider the idea.’ ”

White doesn’t subscribe to the doomsday scenario, but he’s no optimist, either. He predicted that the inflation rate would rise to 5 percent before the end of the decade and eventually reach 10 percent.

“I think the most effective way to send a message is to say you’re prepared to do something,” White said. “I view it as a kind of state-level expression of concern about the uncharted course the Federal Reserve has been on in monetary policy.”

Some members of Congress have also denounced what they considered Fed overreach. Texas libertarian Ron Paul’s book “End the Fed” hit No. 6 on the New York Times bestsellers list in 2009. A campaign by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dubbed “Audit the Fed” culminated in a report by the Government Accountability Office highlighting potential conflicts of interest within the institution.

Efforts to establish alternative currencies amount to an economist’s version of a Fed boycott. But how the system would actually work remains murky. States do not have the constitutional authority to print money, but Marshall believes a potential loophole exists that could allow states to coin silver and gold.

Utah’s law recognizes coins minted by the federal government from precious metals, intended for use as investments or collectibles, to be used as legal tender anywhere in the state. One Utah company even advertises the coins for use in 401(k) retirement plans.

Although the law hasn’t changed what’s in most residents’ wallets, the measure became the poster child for those calling for a return to the days when money derived its value from gold. Today, money is backed by the authority of the U.S. government.

Economist Bernard Lietaer, author of “Rethinking Money,” pointed out that a host of informal currencies have proved widely popular in the United States. For example, he said, there are 50 trillion airline frequent-flier miles in circulation, far surpassing the number of dollar bills.

The benefit of a single currency “has been drilled into our heads for about 300 years,” Lietaer said. “I’m still looking for a book of economics that drops this assumption.”

And of course, there is the open question of what a Virginia coin would look like. A tongue-in-cheek prototype made the rounds at an annual dinner in Richmond for lawmakers and the media two years ago. It was a wooden nickel, stamped with Marshall’s likeness and emblazoned with the motto “In Bob We Trust.”

Via WashingtonPost

Charlottesville, Va Becomes First US City to Ban Government Spy Drones

In News on February 6, 2013 at 10:38 PM

02/05/2013

Yesterday we brought you news on the efforts of the House of Delegates and the Senate in Virginia to bring about a two year moratorium on the use of surveillance drones by government and law enforcement agencies. Today we learn that Charlottesville, Va has passed legislation to outlaw the use of drones, making it the first US city to do so.

In a 3-2 vote, city councilors passed the anti-drone resolution Monday, echoing the State level effort to halt the use of drones for the next two years. There will, in effect now be a ban on the craft entering Charlottesville city limits, prohibiting any city agency from using the technology.

The council will urge the Virginia General Assembly and Congress to keep drones out of local air space.

The resolution adopted by the council reads:

“WHEREAS, the rapid implementation of drone technology throughout the United States poses a serious threat to the privacy and constitutional rights of the American people, including the residents of Charlottesville; and

“WHEREAS, the federal government and the Commonwealth of Virginia have thus far failed to provide reasonable legal restrictions on the use of drones within the United States; and

“WHEREAS, police departments throughout the country have begun implementing drone technology absent any guidance or guidelines from law makers;

“NOW, THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, endorses the proposal for a two year moratorium on drones in the state of Virginia; and calls on the United States Congress and the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to adopt legislation prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court, and precluding the domestic use of drones equipped with anti-personnel devices, meaning any projectile, chemical, electrical, directed-energy (visible or invisible), or other device designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being; and pledges to abstain from similar uses with city-owned, leased, or borrowed drones.”

Anti-drone activist David Swanson, who led protests in the days and hours before the council vote, notes on his website that “citizens speaking in favor of the anti-drone resolution dominated the public speaking period at the beginning of the meeting, shortly after 7 p.m. Many were quite eloquent, and the video will be available soon on the city’s site.”

Swanson had submitted his own draft version of the eventual resolution, amended largely from a Rutherford institute document.

Swanson noted that “some people are opposed to drones in the United States but eager to see them used however the President may see fit abroad. Charlottesville’s City Council ended up not including the section in my draft that instructed the federal government to end its practice of extrajudicial killing.”

“But there was no discussion on that point, and several other sections, including one creating a local ordinance, were left out as well. The problem there, according to (Councillor) Smith, was that ‘we don’t own the air.’ Swanson added.

As we have previously noted, efforts to push back against drone use by government and law enforcement agencies are ongoing in many other cities and states across the nation. The Charlottesville case shows how such significant issues can be affected at the local level.

Via InfoWars

An “Informal Arrangement” to Not Report the News

In Drones, News, NWO, Other Leaks, Politics, Saudi Arabia, USA on February 6, 2013 at 10:19 PM

02/06/2013

Today the Washington Post  (2/6/13) reported some news that it’s known for years, but had decided not tell us until now: The CIA has a drone base in Saudi Arabia.

Their rationale for withholding this information was simple: The government didn’t want them to. And from what the Post is telling us today, they weren’t the only ones.

After explaining that Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by an attack  “carried out in part by CIA drones flown from a secret base in Saudi Arabia,” the paper explains:

The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an Al-Qaeda affiliate regarded as the network’s most potent threat to the United States, as well as potentially damage counterterrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

So why did the Post finally report this news today?

The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organization was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year.

So there was an “informal arrangement among several news organizations” not to report important news because the government felt that it could make things difficult for them.

It would appear that “another news organization” is the New York Times, which reported today:

The first strike in Yemen ordered by the Obama administration, in December 2009, was by all accounts a disaster. American cruise missiles carrying cluster munitions killed dozens of civilians, including many women and children. Another strike, six months later, killed a popular deputy governor, inciting angry demonstrations and an attack that shut down a critical oil pipeline.

Not long afterward, the CIA began quietly building a drone base in Saudi Arabia to carry out strikes in Yemen. American officials said that the first time the CIA used the Saudi base was to kill Mr. Awlaki in September 2011.

The fact that the Post was keeping something secret was known in 2011, as FAIR noted (FAIR Blog, 7/27/11), quoting the paper:

The agency is building a desert airstrip so that it can begin flying armed drones over Yemen. The facility, which is scheduled to be completed in September, is designed to shield the CIA’s aircraft, and their sophisticated surveillance equipment, from observers at busier regional military hubs such as Djibouti, where the JSOC drones are based.

The Washington Post is withholding the specific location of the CIA facility at the administration’s request.

As FAIR also pointed out then, this was reminiscent of another decision by the Post to withhold news. In 2005, the paper delivered an explosive story about “black sites” where CIA was interrogating suspects–places where, in many cases, the agency could reasonably expect the prisoners to be tortured. The Post‘s valuable expose was undercut by its decision not to name the countries involved. As the paper explained:

The Washington Post is not publishing the names of the Eastern European countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior U.S. officials. They argued that the disclosure might disrupt counterterrorism efforts in those countries and elsewhere and could make them targets of possible terrorist retaliation.

This week, a new report from the Open Society Institute documented that more than 50 countries were involved in the CIA “extraordinary rendition” program. It’s certainly possible that some countries might have stopped helping the U.S. government torture people if it had been made known that they were doing so.

Likewise, it’s possible that Saudi Arabia will stop allowing the CIA to use its territory to conduct a secret drone war against a third country now that the secret is out. But the possibility that news might affect the world is not a reason to stop doing journalism. Indeed, it’s the best reason to do journalism.

Via FAIR

Related Links:

US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets

Is This the Secret U.S. Drone Base in Saudi Arabia?

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