Saturday, December 28, 2013
Government Monitoring Of Us Could Extend To Many Things Including Infiltrating Conspiracy Groups. The Government Is OUT Of Control!
Friday, December 27, 2013
European Delegation Sucks Up Iranian Garbage While 38 People Are Executed. Are They Gullible Or Stupid Or...?
Friday, December 27, 2013
NO HALT TO EXECUTIONS WHILE EU DELEGATION VISITS IRAN
Stunning: 38 death sentences were carried out during a six-day visit to Tehran by the European Parliament delegation ..... Europe comfortably reverts to its heinous past.
While opposition activists in Iran consider that "the current U.S. administration is among the weakest in U.S. history."
No halt to executions while EU delegation visits Iran," By Mosa Zahed, UPI, December 26, 2013 (thanks to Philip)
LONDON, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Last week a European Parliament delegation returned from a six-day visit to Tehran, the first official visit to Iran in more than six years.The five-member delegation was led by the chairwoman of European Parliament's friendship delegation with Iran, Tarja Cronberg from Finnish Greens and included Cornelia Ernst, German communist; Isabelle Durant, Belgian Greens; Marietje Schaake, Dutch Liberals; and Josef Weidenholzer, Austrian Social Democrats.During their Dec. 13-18 visit at least 38 death sentences were carried out official Iranian media sources said. This while many executions in prisons are conducted in secret and news of those is rarely released.Many MEPs including those from the Group of the European People's Party, the largest in the European Parliament, refused to go to Iran in protest of the country's gross human rights violations.Some analysts argue that this rare visit took place in the context of the Geneva talks, which are aimed at normalizing relations between Iran and the West by convincing the ayatollahs to give up their nuclear ambitions. However, others have pointed out that for the Iranian side, the ultimate goals of the Geneva talks remain breaking sanctions, forcing the West to accept a nuclear Iran and eliminating chances for regime change by the democratic opposition.Opposition activists suggest that since "the current U.S. administration is among the weakest in U.S. history" Iran wants to use the opportunity to enhance its hegemony over the region and would thus warmly welcome any lifting of the crippling sanctions that have delayed its nuclear weapons ambitions.
They claim that by offering lucrative oil and natural gas contracts, the regime wants to intimidate the West, particularly the European Union, to ease the sanctions. Countries such as Sweden, traditionally seen as human rights advocates, have placed themselves first in line. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt recently declared that he sees no problem in removing the sanctions as early as January. Other countries, such as Italy, have already sent foreign ministers to seize business opportunities if the sanctions are lifted.
To help the European delegation justify their visit, the Iranian Foreign Ministry took two former political prisoners, Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi, winners of the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize, to the Greek Embassy in Tehran to meet with them discreetly.
Upon her return from Tehran, Cronberg made contradictory remarks in Brussels in favor of the "moderate" Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. She praised him for keeping his "promise to improve human rights" by freeing a handful of political prisoners, something observers had stressed was part of his charm offensive before going to United Nations in September.
However, she failed to explain the twofold increase in executions during Rouhani's term and instead defended him by saying that "the judiciary is not under his control."
"So Rouhani is only responsible for the good things that his judiciary does and not the bad things!" a Twitter user replied to Cronberg after the news conference.
In her interview with the Persian section of Radio Free Europe, she said: "We have to bear in mind that Iranians say that their values are different from Europeans. This is true but we have to sit down and discuss these values and accept our differences ... and we must bear in mind that in comparison with the European Union, religion plays a very important role in Iran. We're a liberal society and Iran is a highly conservative society."
Commenting on this, U.S.-based Iranian journalist and human rights activist Hassan Dai wrote on his blog: "No, you are not mistaken, these are not the remarks of Sadegh Larijani -- Head of Iran's notorious Judiciary, these are the words of Tarja Cronberg!"
The delegation chairwoman didn't condemn the 450 executions since Rouhani became president and said: "When we discussed the executions with Iranian authorities, we realized that more than 80 percent of executions were in connection with drug-related offenses. They are working on this issue. ... they do not intend to abolish the death penalty but are thinking about slowing down. I think that until here is a good sign."
While in Tehran, Cronberg told EuroNews that she was impressed that women have "their own fraction" in the Iranian Parliament which "is an evolvement in the society." No criticism was mentioned about the fact that only nine out of 290 members of the Iranian Parliament are women.
In her Brussels press briefing she said, "There is no regime change on the agenda, there is no revolution on its way but there is a step by step transformation."
She also claimed that the regime has "equal rights for women in all their laws" and added "but because women were not breadwinners, it was natural that men had higher incomes."
But, as the Iranian Penal code states, the life of a woman has half the value of a man's. Article 300 of the code states that the "Deyeh" (blood money) of a Muslim woman is half of the "Deyeh" of a man. "A woman cannot leave her home without her husband's permission, even to attend her father's funeral" (Article 105 of the Civil Code).
"It is really an insult to all women rights activists to hear an EU parliamentarian lobbying for the mullahs in this way. Such comments will only give freer hands to the government to justify the institutionalized repression against women," Mariam Amiri, rights activist in Amsterdam said.
Commenting on the visit to Iran, Kazem Mousavi, founder of Iran's Green Party, said in a radio interview from Berlin: "One can conclude that according to these parliamentarians, human rights violations or their non-improvement are a result of values enshrined in Islamic and cultural beliefs of people in Iran and at the end of the day, the regime is only implementing the people's ideals and values. So this repression and these executions are merely a cultural difference between the West and Iran and we should accept them for the time being."
He added, "Given that the Left parties in Europe no longer have the socialist bloc of the past, for these European greens and socialists the last stronghold to defend their political principles, they assume, is to support the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially since they both share a common anti-American and anti-Israeli stance.
"Unfortunately the mullahs have managed to deceive them by portraying themselves as victims of Western hard-liners. So here the murderers become the victims!"
Trump Dubbed 'Conservative Rockefeller' for New York Governor Bid
Thursday, 26 Dec 2013 05:17 PM
By Cathy Burke
"We believe we moved him from a soft no to a firm maybe," strategist Michael Caputo told New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser.
In her column Tuesday, Peyser wrote state GOP chairman Ed Cox praised "The Apprentice" creator and billionaire real estate developer for his "smart political mind" after a Dec. 13 meeting.
And three days later, Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long told the Post, "Mr. Trump would give [current Gov.] Andrew Cuomo heartburn," she noted.
Peyser wrote Trump is due to meet with other local lawmakers in January — and he has already said he'll make a decision in January about whether to run.
But he's already sounding more than ready for the political fray.
"If I ran and won, this state would become so rich, our taxes would come down, people would come back, our health care would be taken care of at the highest level," he told Peyser. "Our infrastructure would be rebuilt."
He's also battling state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, alleging corruption, "setting the table neatly for a corruption-in-Albany campaign," the American Spectator wrote Thursday.
Trump, who flirted with, and then quickly ditched, a presidential run in 2012 — and has popped up on lists of 2016 GOP contenders — may be "the conservative version of Nelson Rockefeller," the magazine wrote.
Like the late four-term governor, Trump is a native New Yorker, "the real deal..." and "has frequently been connected to presidential aspirations," the American Spectator wrote.
"Though Nelson Rockefeller eventually became synonymous with liberal Republicanism — a personal political choice that destroyed his presidential nomination chances — Rockefeller also left behind a decidedly philosophically neutral blueprint for just how Trump could win the New York governorship," the magazine noted, citing his 1958 win over incumbent Averell Harriman.
And though Trump is "disdainful of those perceived by conservatives as Rockefeller’s political heirs," the magazine asserted Trump could win the New York governorship should he decide to make a run.
"Yes, he could," the magazine wrote. "By all accounts, 2014 is slated to be a GOP year. The Obama administration is plummeting by the day. Andrew Cuomo has not shown himself to be an overpoweringly popular governor."
In Peyser's column, she wrote the Democratic governor has largely brushed off a possible Trump challenge.
“Oh, I don’t know, we have plenty of time for politics," Cuomo said. "I’m thinking more about the State of the State and the budget.’’
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Main Street 2014: Small-Business Owners Fret Taxes, Regulatory Burdens, Obamacare
December 26, 2013 by Sam Rolley
Despite ongoing assurances from economic officials that the U.S. economy is improving leading into 2014, small-business owners who have endured a financially tumultuous 2013 are pessimistic about their economic situations in the year ahead.
Increasing regulatory burdens, snowballing taxes and dysfunctional leadership in Washington were all cited by American small-business owners as areas of economic concern in the coming year, according to data compiled by the National Federation of Independent Business.
In a summary of its “Small Business Economic Trends” report for December 2013, the NFIB notes that negative feelings about the economy have been bad for several years since the so-called economic recovery began: “Owner sentiment increased by 0.9 points to 92.5, a dismal reading as has been the case since the recovery started. Over half of the improvement was accounted for by the labor market components which is certainly good news, lifting them closer to normal levels.”
The report continues: “Expected business conditions though deteriorated further — lots of dismal views of the economy coming next year. The Index has stayed in a “trading range” between 86.4 and 95.4 since the recovery started, poor in comparison to an average reading of 100 from 1973 through 2007.”
Throughout 2013, news headlines about an oncoming regulatory “tidal wave” have abounded; it is estimated that about one new regulation per hour is added to the books. For November, the majority of small-business owners (21 percent) cited government regulations and red tape as their single biggest problem.
“Compliance costs add up to about $1.8 trillion a year,” NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a video address.
Behind regulatory concerns, business owners told NFIB that their biggest concerns centered around: taxes (21 percent), poor sales (15 percent), cost of available insurance (11 percent), competition from big business (8 percent), labor quality (8 percent), labor cost (5 percent), inflation (4 percent), “other” (4 percent), and interest rates (2 percent).
Dunkelberg said that concerns in many of the aforementioned categories are tied directly to uncertainty about Obamacare in 2014.
“There is also a hint that employers are getting an inkling of what Obamacare might mean for labor costs, concern about the cost and availability of insurance bumped up 3 percentage points after a long period of no real change… ,” Dunkelberg said. “Small business owners who provide health insurance may soon find that their plans ‘unacceptable’ to Obamacare and be obliged to either pay more for the coverage or abandon it and pay the benefit in cash. This will be a major source of angst and uncertainty in 2014.”
Read the full report below:
Research Analyst: Obamacare’s Many Negative Side-Effects Should Surprise No One
December 26, 2013 by The Ludwig von Mises Institute
This article, written by research analyst Jordan Bruneau, was originally published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute on Dec. 26.
Even left liberals are coming to realize that Obamacare is fatally flawed. Perhaps this is because fewer people will be insured at the end of the year, under Obamacare, than at the beginning of the year as insurers are forced to drop coverage. Stories of such cancellations to cancer-stricken children certainly don’t help matters. For a program whose expressed purpose is to bring insurance to more people, this irony seems even too much for the interventionists to stomach.
Obamacare’s negative effects, however, are simply a microcosm of government policy in general. Virtually all well-intended (assuming they are in fact well-intended) government policies bring negative unintended consequences that hurt the very people they intend to serve. The prevalence of this paradox, called iatrogenics (originally used in the medical context to refer to doctors’ actions that hurt patients), should give pause to those who favor government intervention to solve societal problems.
Take rent control policies, for example, intended to make housing more accessible to those with lower incomes. In reality these policies shrink the amount of available housing because potential landlords have less incentive to rent out, and developers have less incentive to build new, units. As a result, less housing is available for those with lower incomes. Just look at the apartment shortage in New York or San Francisco, the two cities with the most stringent rent-control policies, for proof.
This process of iatrogenics also exists in financial regulation. Polemicist Nassim Taleb has illustrated how increased financial regulation intended to prevent another financial crisis has actually made one more likely. Regulations entrust the fate of the financial system to a handful of big banks because they are the only ones who can afford to comply with them. This consolidation of power among the big banks makes the financial system riskier because if one of these few banks fails the damage will be much greater to the economy than from the failure of one small bank among many. “These attempts to eliminate the business cycle,” says Taleb, “lead to the mother of all fragilities.”
In terms of protecting society’s most economically disadvantaged, sociologist Charles Murray chronicles, most recently in his bestseller Coming Apart, how the federal government’s war on poverty paradoxically hurts the poor. He explains that though welfare benefits are well intentioned, what they in effect do is pay people to stay poor, hurting the very people they intend to help. These misaligned incentives are a leading reason why $15 trillion in welfarespending over the past 50 years has perversely resulted in a 50-year-high poverty rate of15.1 percent.
Those currently advocating for a raise of the minimum wage should first examine its iatrogenic history of bringing about negative unintended consequences to the very low wage people it intends to help. Minimum wage increases actually hurt low wage earners because business owners lay off staff and cut back on hours to try to recoup their losses from such mandated wage increases. This leaves those with a tenuous grasp on the labor market in an even more precarious position. “Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws,” says economist Thomas Sowell, “and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they either lose their jobs or fail to find jobs.”
Of course it’s not only left liberal policies that generate negative unintended consequences that hurt the very people they’re intended to help, but also conservative ones like the war on drugs and the war on terror.
The war on drugs intends to help drug-blighted communities by enacting and enforcing strict penalties on drug use. What it in effect does is hurt these communities by making criminals out of a significant portion of its inhabitants. Drug users now make up nearly 25 percent of federal and state prison inmates, many of whom go in for simple possessions and come out hardened criminals wreaking untold damage on their communities. Even those who do not run afoul with the law again face a lifetime of job and social struggles with a criminal record attached to their name.
The same iatrogenic story exists in the war on terror, which intends to keep us safe by waging a multipronged offensive against potential terrorists and the geographies they may inhabit. Unfortunately, as former CIA intelligence officer Michael Scheuer has illustrated, some of these prongs, such as aggressive drone warfare and support for apostate regimes, actually fan the flames of US hatred making us less safe. “It’s American policy that enrages al-Qaeda,”says Scheuer, “not American culture and society.”
Government intervention, no matter what its form or intention, causes iatrogenics — unintended negative consequences that hurt the very people they’re intended to help. Nowhere is this better exemplified than with Obamacare, a policy intended to bring insurance to all that has in effect taken it away from many. Perhaps the growing coalition of people recognizing this paradox will take this revelation and apply it to other policy arenas as well. For the affected classes, we can only hope.