Posts Tagged ‘Obama’
Nothing wrong with recycling the same old lies!
Sanctions have been the most visible sign of U.S. anger at Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region in southern Ukraine last month, reflecting the deepest plunge in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War.
Obama spoke to French President Francois Hollande about the crisis on Monday and praised Ukraine’s government for showing “great restraint” and working to unify the country, the White House said.
Spokesman Jay Carney confirmed that the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, had been in Kiev over the weekend and decried what he called “false claims” leveled at the CIA by Russian authorities.
“Senior level visits of intelligence officials are a standard means of fostering mutually beneficial security cooperation including U.S.-Russian intelligence collaboration going back to the beginnings of the post-Cold War era,” Carney said.
“U.S. and Russian intelligence officials have met over the years. To imply that U.S. officials meeting with their counterparts (in Kiev) is anything other than in the same spirit is absurd,” he said.
According to media reports, Russia has urged Washington to explain what Brennan was doing in Ukraine.
Bobblehead politicians nod in agreement and sagely quote the nearest brass hat, “Peace is our profession”.
The US government is refusing to grant Angela Merkel access to her NSA file or answer formal questions from Germany about its surveillance activities, raising the stakes before a crucial visit by the German chancellor to Washington.
Merkel will meet Barack Obama in three weeks, on her first visit to the US capital since documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had been monitoring her phone.
The face-to-face meeting between the two world leaders had been intended as an effort to publicly heal wounds after the controversy, but Germany remains frustrated by the White House’s refusal to come clean about its surveillance activities in the country.
In October, Obama personally assured Merkel that the US is no longer monitoring her calls, and promised it will not do so in the future. However, Washington has not answered a list of questions submitted by Berlin immediately after Snowden’s first tranche of revelations appeared in the Guardian and Washington Post in June last year, months before the revelations over Merkel’s phone.
The Obama’s administration has also refused to enter into a mutual “no-spy” agreement with Germany, in part because Berlin is unwilling or unable to share the kinds of surveillance material the Americans say would be required for such a deal…
A senior US administration official denied the surveillance controversy would overshadow Merkel’s visit.
So, Germany isn’t spying on enough people to make it worthwhile for the White House to order diminished spying on Germans and their government. Not exactly a modern approach to democracy.
The “senior US administration official” – of course – is a liar.
RTFA article for history, details, the kind of info embraced by few journalists and even fewer editors.
Demonstration by Confederation of German Trade Unions for minimum wage
Germany’s cabinet agreed on Wednesday to a national minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($11.75) per hour – a flagship project for the Social Democrats who share power with Angela Merkel’s conservatives.
The minimum wage will take effect in Europe’s biggest economy from 2015 but will not cover minors, trainees and some interns. Some employers can continue to pay their workers less until the end of 2016 if they are covered by certain collective agreements…
The Bundestag lower house of parliament is due to debate the law in June before passing it in July. The Bundesrat upper house is expected to wave it through after the summer break.
Employer lobbies say blah, blah, blah.
Of the 28 states in the European Union, 21 have minimum wages. EU states without minimum wages tend to have smaller low-wage sectors than Germany and a bigger proportion of their workers are covered by collective wage deals between unions and employers.
Then, we have the United States where our courageous Democrats are considered too radical for Republicans and the rest of the right-wing crowd for offering a proposal that wouldn’t match inflation since the last update years ago – by the time the change took place. Assuming it ever gets past the Party of No in Congress.
Just one more moment to look back over the half-century or so since the end of WW2 and consider our victory in the War in Europe and what the losers have achieved compared to the winners.
OK. So, maybe Dazed and Confused isn’t the pot classic that Up in Smoke is, but the cult coming-of-age film set in the ’70s featured enough grass to rank as Rolling Stone’s No. 2 “Stoner Movie of All Time.” More important, Dazed and Confused seems to perfectly capture the reaction to Friday’s announcement from the Justice and Treasury Departments aimed at addressing the biggest challenge facing the almost-legal marijuana industry today — lack of access to banks.
Banks have refused to do business with marijuana dispensaries operating within the bounds of state laws for fear of being prosecuted themselves. Federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug on par with heroin, which means a bank doing business with a marijuana shop can be accused of money laundering and racketeering. This has left dispensaries in the 20 states and Washington, D.C., that allow marijuana distribution in a challenging position; they can’t let their bankers know how they make money…
Friday’s moves by the Justice and Treasury Departments gave many hope that the Feds were making significant changes to address this banking problem. Instead, the memos show that the industry is still dealing with a basic issue: Despite all the changes to state laws, popular support and President Obama’s recent remark that he considers marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol, marijuana is still 100% illegal under federal law. So, it’s no wonder you might be dazed and confused listening to the reactions that followed the release of the memos…
The Colorado Bankers Association calls this guidance a red light for banks, stating, “At best, this amounts to ‘serve these customers at your own risk,’ and it emphasizes all of the risks…Where does this leave the fledgling multi-billion dollar industry? Very much where it’s been.
Although marijuana entrepreneurs are increasingly comfortable starting businesses under permissive state laws and a federal “look the other way” policy, the federally regulated banking system needs certainty…
Trish Regan ends the piece by trivializing it all as election year politics. As cynical as I am, I don’t share the politics of many of those at Bloomberg. I’d like to presume that Obama and Holder went to the trouble of calling for opening service to the pot trade to save folks a lot of hassles. That brings in as many or more votes than a John Boehner tap dance.
She and Matt Miller got into a heated discussion on camera over the piece and though they both wasted time trying to talk over each other, I think she made the most sense. Fact is – and I’ve checked with my personal community banker, again – your community bank isn’t anymore likely than a chain store bank to open an account for a pot dealer who’s obeying all the local laws until and unless they receive assurances that would satisfy the most anal regulator.
Belgian cryptography professor hacked by NSA – but, Obama and Congress say we only spy on enemies of the United States, right?
Belgium’s federal prosecutor is looking into the likely hacking of noted cryptographer Jean-Jacques Quisquater by the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ…
Quisquater’s targeting became apparent during the investigation into the hacking of telecoms firm Belgacom, shown by Edward Snowden’s leaks to be the work of GCHQ.
As in that case, the Université catholique de Louvain professor apparently fell victim to a “quantum insert” trick that duped him into thinking he was visiting LinkedIn to respond to an emailed “request” when he was actually visiting a malware-laden copy of a LinkedIn page.
“The Belgian federal police (FCCU) sent me a warning about this attack and did the analysis,” Quisquater told me by email. As for the purpose of the hack: “We don’t know. There are many hypotheses (about 12 or 15) but it is certainly an industrial espionage plus a surveillance of people working about civilian cryptography…”
Whatever the precise motive, on the face of it Quisquater is very much a civilian target — a professor emeritus, not a spy, a terrorist nor a member of government. It would be difficult for any intelligence agency to claim that stealing information from him is a matter of crucial national interest…
I’d love to see the Belgian federal prosecutors acquire sufficient evidence to indict the bloody NSA and the phonies who never cease their mantra of protecting us from the bad guys, “never bothering ordinary civilians – or companies with industrial secrets worth stealing”.
The intellectual and political corruption of our government never ceases to amaze. And I have been an activist and cynic for a helluva long time. I realize the two qualities are simultaneously generated by the history of liars who “defend” our Constitution by despoiling it with rationales for dishonesty.
Sometimes I think the worst villains are the liberal fops who achieve a certain percentage of progressive goals – followed by crimes against humanity. The truly overt thugs are only behaving the way we expect them to act.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden helped The New York Times “keep the public informed on what I consider to be very important matters,” says Jill Abramson, the woman who has the final say on what constitutes “all the news that’s fit to print.”
As executive editor of the Times — the first woman to hold what has been one of the most influential positions in American journalism — Abramson sets the agenda. We talk to her about what she calls the “most secretive White House” she has covered as well as the newspaper’s “seriously flawed” coverage of the run-up to the Iraq War, which happened during her watch as Washington bureau chief. John Seigenthaler also asks Abramson about the future of print newspapers and about accusations that the Times is too far left.
John Seigenthaler: Let me dive right into the news and a little bit about the NSA and Edward Snowden. Daniel Ellsberg was quoted recently as saying that Edward Snowden was his hero. Do you see Snowden as a hero or a traitor?
Jill Abramson: I see him as a very good source. We have published many of the NSA and GCHQ (British intelligence) documents that came from Snowden. And so I view him, as I did Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, as a very good source of extremely newsworthy information.
Edward Snowden did help The New York Times keep the public informed on what I consider to be very important matters…
John Seigenthaler: Let me move on to another topic in the Obama administration. How would you grade this administration, compared to others, when it comes to its relationship with the media?
Jill Abramson: Well, I would slightly like to interpret the question as “How secretive is this White House?” which I think is the most important question. I would say it is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering, and that includes — I spent 22 years of my career in Washington and covered presidents from President Reagan on up through now, and I was Washington bureau chief of the Times during George W. Bush’s first term.
I dealt directly with the Bush White House when they had concerns that stories we were about to run put the national security under threat. But, you know, they were not pursuing criminal leak investigations. The Obama administration has had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history. It’s on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with.
And do you think this comes directly from the president?
I would think that it would have to…
John Seigenthaler: Everybody has an opinion of The New York Times, so let’s talk about some opinions of the Times. And in particular, The New York Times is often labeled as left-wing, liberal. How do you respond to that?
Jill Abramson: I respond to it by saying I think The New York Times represents a kind of cosmopolitan outlook towards the world and to this country and this city that may strike, you know, some readers as liberal because we have, you know, paid a lot of attention to stories like gay marriage, but these are newsworthy currents in our society.
But it’s not liberal in the sense of being doctrinaire or tied to the Democratic Party in any way. You know, I’ve run many investigative stories and political stories that have made liberal political figures furious.
Folks confuse editorial policy with journalism and reporting. A mistake falling in the category of ignorance – and not limited to the United States.
This is just a portion of the interview appearing at america.aljazeera.com…The full interview will be on AlJazeera America TV, Sunday evening at 7pm ET/4pm PT.
An independent executive branch board has concluded that the National Security Agency’s long-running program to collect billions of Americans’ phone records is illegal and should end.
In a strongly worded report to be issued today, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said that the statute upon which the program was based, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, “does not provide an adequate basis to support this program…”
The board’s conclusion goes further than President Obama…The board had shared its conclusions with Obama in the days leading up to his speech…
The divided panel also concluded that the program raises serious threats to civil liberties, has shown limited value in countering terrorism and is not sustainable from a policy perspective.
“We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “Moreover, we are aware of no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.”
The politicians and pundits who say otherwise are liars, egregious and gutless, fools dedicated to Cold War ideology.
RTFA for beaucoup details, analysis – albeit as stodgy as expected.
From Obama to Mike Rogers, the conformity of cowards who prefer Overlords to oversight, continues as freely under John Brennan as it did in the CIA under Allen Dulles. From liberals to anal retentive conservatives, allegiance to anything-but-liberty is their only solution to the fear ruling their political lives as thoroughly as their dedication to corporate wealth.