Archive for February 11, 2012

Four Priests Charged In Vatican Banking Scandal

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Source: http://www.businessinsider.com

By Rob Wile

Pope photoItalian investigators have charged four priests with laundering money out of the Vatican’s official bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion, the National Catholic Reporter’s John L. Allen Jr. writes.

The Italian daily l’Unita was the first to report that the priests were being investigated for laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It’s the latest in a series of investigations into Vatican finances dating back to 2010. In December of that year, Pope Benedict XVI decreed an updated anti-money laundering law for Vatican finances.

Late last month, an Italian TV program published letters written by the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S. that charged the Holy See’s financial planners with cronyism and corruption.

In the letters, published by the popular Italian news magazine program “The Untouchables,” Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò said that his appointment to the U.S. was motivated by a desire to get him out of Rome because he was causing headaches, according to Les Echoes’ Guillaume Delacroix.

Viganò worried that his removal would cause disillusion among those hoping to clean up “corruption and dishonesty” in the city-state, including rigged contract bids and mismanaged investments, Allen reports.

The Vatican has denied the charges.

Google Map Mishap in Maine Missed by Mainstream Media

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Source: http://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com

Thanks to @sibzianna

Google Map Mishap in Maine Missed by Mainstream Media

What is going on with Google Maps and the Maine elections? Why were maps with Maine’s Republican Caucus results posted a day early? When I first learned Google had a map of the results from the Maine elections I had to go see it for myself. I first saw it on Facebook. Google later cleared the map.

Maine caucus on Google early

I took a few screen shots of my own. I made these screen shots on February 10, 2012.

Google polotics

No one is talking about this mishap from mainstream media. No surprise there. This is just a heads up for those who pay attention to the presidential elections. Watch for news on the Maine Caucus tonight and see if the numbers match the results posted prematurely yesterday.

Maine Caucus
100% Reporting


Romney 45.7% 5,489
Gingrich 33.5% 4,022
Paul 10.5% 1,263
Santorum 9.7% 1,165

Maine Caucus Returns

 

Fear And Loathing In The Maine GOP

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Source: http://www.dailypaul.com

Submitted by ZMAN70

My brother, a delegate chair, met with the Secretary of the Caucus of his town. This was a few days ago.

The Secretary and my brother talked about delegate information for about 15 minutes. As they were talking, a gentleman walked in, pulled up a chair, and sat down.

The Secretary introduced the man to my brother. My brother recognized the man….he holds a high office in the GOP in my brother’s county.

After some small chit chat….this is the conversation that took place……keep in mind….neither the Secretary nor the GOP official knew that my brother was a Paul supporter…….

GOP Official: So, you’re the guy who’s going to be collecting delegates huh?

Brother: That’s Right.

GOP Official: You know they’re really worried about the state convention.

Brother: What do you mean?

GOP Official: You know, that they’re going to hijack this thing.

Brother: What do you mean hijack? What are you talking about?

GOP Official: You know, the Ron Paul People. They’re going to hijack the convention.

Brother: Really?

GOP Official. Yea…We’re very concerned. They can hijack the state convention, and win the whole thing.

Brother: Wow…Really? You’re that concerned huh?

GOP Official: Oh yeah. They have me setting up other caucuses in the smaller towns to get the delegates.

Brother: Is that possible? The deadline is February 11th.
They’re going to announce the tally.

GOP Official: It has nothing to do with the straw poll. We’re not going to add them to the tally, its about getting delegates. You know, it has nothing to do with the straw polls right? It’s all about the delegates. You know, I’ve been to all the Caucuses in the county and Ron Paul dominated them all….hands down.

Brother: Even the other caucus…in the next town over?

GOP Official: Yeah…I went to all of them. I talked to the Councilman. I know Ron Paul won the entire county.

Brother: Wow.

(then there was some more idle chit chat)

GOP Official: We need to do this to prevent the Paul supporters from hijacking the state convention. You know, they’re going to increase security.

Brother: What are you expecting? You think they’re going to riot?

GOP Official: No, not concerned about that. It’s just that, you know, that Ron Paul people are very vocal.

Brother: I don’t get it then…why the security? As long as they’re being respectful, isn’t it good to engage in dialogue?

GOP Official: Well, it’s just they can be very vocal.

(GOP official then started talking about bylaws at the convention…but he kind of trailed off…and didn’t finish his thoughts.)

The GOP official then started asking my brother personal questions.

GOP Official: Jim, I remember you from the Caucus.

Brother: Yeah…I remember you too.

The GOP official then looked out the window and saw my brother’s car.

GOP Official: Jim, is that your car? The grey one? The one with the Ron Paul sticker?

Brother: Yes it is!

GOP Official: Wait, are you telling me that you are a Ron Paul supporter?

Brother: Yes I am!

The GOP Official then looked at the Secretary. They stared at each other for a few seconds. And then he looked down at the floor. Then there was silence…for about a minute.

The GOP Official then looked at my brother and said…

” You know, I don’t have anything against Ron Paul or anything. It’s just that his supporters, you know….

My brother then defended Paul supporters by saying that they are respectful, civil and totally engaged in the process. And that’s what you want.

GOP Official…Well, its his views on the drug laws….

Brother: The war on drugs…the way it’s set up…is not working. I have kids who can score drugs right around the block in this town. Why are you afraid to look at another philosophy?

The GOP official did not answer the question.

My brother then received a text from his wife…who was not feeling well. He told then GOP official and the Secretary that he had to leave. He wished them both a good day…and left.

 

Obama Cuts Hazard Pay for Soldiers Serving in Harm’s Way

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Source: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com

Posted by Jim Hoft

Photo of military

They will now only get the $7.50 daily proration for the individual days they are actually serving in harm’s way instead of for the whole month. (DOD)

Barack Obama cut pay for military men and women serving in harm’s way starting this month.
The Army Times reported:

Starting this month, some troops will begin receiving less Imminent Danger Pay when a new policy takes effect that will prorate the standard $225 monthly IDP stipend.

Under the new policy, troops will be paid only for the actual days they spend in the danger pay location, defense officials said Thursday.

Under the previous policy, troops who spent any portion of the month in a danger pay location received danger pay for the entire month.

The proration amounts to $7.50 per day. So, for example, if a service member spends only 7 days of the month in Afghanistan, he or she will have only $52.50 in Imminent Danger Pay added to their paycheck.

Doug Ross reminds us:

This follows efforts by the president to make veterans pay for their own health insurance — even those injured in combat — and his calls last month for raises for millions of federal paper-pushers.

In other words, the president continues to siphon off more and more money from our defense infrastructure — hitting our warriors first, last and hardest in the process — to fund his green energy scams and public sector union cronies (which, coincidentally, also contribute heavily to his campaign).

And yet Obama will be more than happy to use these same soldiers for a photo op.

Group Forces Congressional Hearing On Big Sis’ Twitter, Drudge Spying

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Source: http://www.infowars.com

Homeland Security is monitoring the web for anti-government sentiment and signs of social unrest

Steve Watson
Infowars.com

A privacy advocacy group has swayed Congress to hold a hearing next week into the Department of Homeland Security’s practice of monitoring social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as media reports and organizations, including The Drudge Report.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) recently obtained close to 300 pages of documents, as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, detailing the federal agency’s “intelligence gathering” practices on the web.

Among the documents were guidelines from DHS instructing outside contractors to monitor the web for media reports and comments that “reflect adversely” on the agency or the federal government.

As Reuters reported last month, in early 2010 contractors were asked to spend 24 hours monitoring news media coverage on popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks, as well as news sites including the Huffington Post and The Drudge Report.

The contractors were required to provide the DHS with feedback on any potential “threats and hazards”, as well as “any media reports that reflect adversely on the U.S. Government and the Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) ability to prevent, protect and respond, to recovery efforts or activities related to any crisis or events which impact National Planning Scenarios.”

The documents also state that the program should highlight “both positive and negative reports on FEMA, C.I.A., C.B.P., ICE, etc., as well as organizations outside of D.H.S.”

The documents obtained by EPIC indicate that following the exercise, a procurement official awarded an $11.3 million contract to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in order to carry out the monitoring on a “24/7/365 basis”.

EPIC director Ginger McCall notes that monitoring what people are saying about government policies goes too far and has a chilling effect on free speech.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of political dissent has no legal basis and is contrary to core First Amendment principles,” she said.

“The language in the documents makes it quite clear that they are looking for media reports that are critical of the agency and the U.S. government more broadly,” said McCall. “This is entirely outside of the bounds of the agency’s statutory duties.”

DHS officials have admitted that monitoring of social networks for negative opinion was undertaken by the agency, but claim that the operation was a one off test and was quickly dropped as it did not meet “operational requirements or privacy standards,” which “expressly prohibit reporting on individuals’ First Amendment activities.”

EPIC argues otherwise and has presented evidence that suggests the practice is being held up by the DHS an an example that should be emulated.

“They are completely out of bounds here,” McCall said. “The idea that the government is constantly peering over your shoulder and listening to what you are saying creates a very chilling effect to legitimate dissent.

The Congressional hearing, DHS Monitoring of Social Networking and Media: Enhancing Intelligence Gathering and Ensuring Privacy, will be held Thursday February 16th.

However, it is already apparent where the House subcommittee for intelligence and counter-terrorism stands on the matter. As reported by Reuters, the top two members of the subcommittee, Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), wrote to DHS Intelligence Chief Caryn Wagner last month, pressing her to more carefully monitor users’ posts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to help detect “current or emerging threats.”

As we have also previously reported, The DHS has openly announced that it is actively monitoring social media for signs of “social unrest”, in a bid to pre-empt any sign of social dislocation within the United States.

Lew Rockwell Interviews Ron Paul Before Maine Caucuses: ‘The Youth Revolution’

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Source: http://www.dailypaul.com

http://youtu.be/1exq2WNurVw

Ron Paul talks to Lew Rockwell about who’s resisting the wars, the executive dictatorship, and the fed.

The interview is titled “Ron Paul and the Youth Revolution.”

http://www.lewrockwell.co…

[CIM Comment]

Now more than every we need the Champion of the Constitution!

Please visit Ron Paul’s official campaign site by following the link below and donate today!

Will Maine give Republican Paul his first win?

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Source: http://www.reuters.com

Ron Paul rally photo

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul speaks at a rally in Golden Valley, Minnesota February 7, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Eric Miller

By Ros Krasny

PORTLAND, Maine

(Reuters) – He is the only one of the four contenders for the Republican presidential nomination not to have won a state primary or caucus.

But on Saturday, Ron Paul could get his best shot at a victory in Maine, the cold, far northeastern state that has given a warm reception to his libertarian views.

Local caucusing has been under way in Maine since January 29, and will continue in a few towns until March. Even so, the state Republican Party will announce the winner of its presidential straw poll on Saturday, and the Texas congressman’s strong on-the-ground organization could have a big impact.

Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, generally is viewed as the favorite here, and in the overall Republican race. After losing the last three state contests to Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, Romney is thirsty for a morale-boosting win in Maine, where he won 52 percent of the vote during his unsuccessful run for president in 2008.

Paul typically has been viewed as the Republican contender least likely to win the nomination, but he has a loyal following and this week was running second to Romney in a nationwide Reuters/Ipsos poll of Republican voters.

Paul has yet to translate that appeal into a victory in the state-by-state race for the nomination. His best results have been second-place finishes in Minnesota and New Hampshire, in both instances far behind the winner.

Speaking to supporters on Tuesday after his runner-up finish in Minnesota, Paul said he expected to do well in Maine.

Political analysts agree.

“If Ron Paul is going to win one state, this is the one,” said Mark Brewer, associate professor of political science at the University of Maine in Orono.

“There’s a particularly strong libertarian streak in Maine’s political culture, and Ron Paul can tap into that in a way that the others really can’t,” Brewer said. “He can generate a mass of enthusiasm, particularly among college students.”

PAUL’S AGGRESSIVE EFFORTS

Polling data is sparse for the Pine Tree State, so it is difficult to get a precise read on where the candidates stand with voters.

The betting site Intrade is predicting that Romney will win the state, followed by Paul.

Santorum and former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich have largely ignored Maine, preferring to focus on other states in the run-up to the “Super Tuesday” contests on March 6, when voters in 10 states will take part in primaries or caucuses.

But Paul’s supporters have been aggressive in their get-out-the-vote efforts, calling to make sure potential voters know when and where to caucus — no small feat given the state’s stretched-out voting calendar.

Sylvia Most, a Republican who has worked on several political campaigns, including Maine U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ successful re-election bid in 2008, said Paul’s ground troops have been out in force.

“At the caucus in my local community (in Scarborough, near Portland), they had a good organization, and that’s what I’ve been hearing elsewhere,” Most said.

CONCERNS FOR ROMNEY?

Maine has only 24 delegates at stake, a fraction of the 1,144 needed to clinch the Republican nomination.

But the symbolic importance of Maine to Romney has spiked after Tuesday, when the front-runner lost to Santorum in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

With that in mind, Romney’s schedulers had their candidate flying to Portland late on Friday for a town hall meeting, hours after a speech to the conservative CPAC meeting in Washington.

“One can speculate that his campaign is hearing some things they don’t really like out of Maine,” Brewer said. “It certainly sounds like Ron Paul is doing well so far.”

If Romney’s visit could be a sign of weakness, Paul’s two-day campaign swing in late January was a show of strength. The congressman attracted large crowds despite frigid weather, and favorable press when he held six events in the state.

Paul met with Maine’s Governor Paul LePage, a Republican affiliated with the Tea Party, a populist conservative movement that aims to limit taxes and government.

Elected in 2010, LePage has outraged many Maine Democrats by, among other things, seeking to undermine labor unions. But LePage, who has not made an endorsement in the presidential race, is popular with the type of die-hard conservatives who typically vote in the Republican caucuses.

Maine is split into two congressional districts. The southern 1st District, which includes lively and eclectic Portland, is “right in Romney’s back yard,” Most said.

But the sparsely populated 2nd District, dominated by woods and lakes stretching hundreds of miles to the Canadian border, is quintessential Ron Paul territory because its residents tend to be wary of government excess.

Although he carried all but two of Maine’s 16 counties in the 2008 primary, “I’d be pretty surprised if Romney’s able to win a lot of towns in the 2nd District,” Brewer said. “2008 was a different contest.”

Debt Slavery: 30 Facts About Debt In America That Will Blow Your Mind

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Source: http://endoftheamericandream.com

When most people think about America’s debt problem, they think of the debt of the federal government.  But that is only part of the story.  The sad truth is that debt slavery has become a way of life for tens of millions of American families.  Over the past several decades, most Americans have willingly allowed themselves to become enslaved to debt.  These days, most of us are busy either going into even more debt or paying off the debt that we have accumulated in the past.  When your finances are dominated by debt, it makes it really hard to ever get ahead.  Incredibly, 43 percent of all American families spend more than they earn each year.  Even while median household income continues to decline (now less than $50,000 a year), median household debt continues to go up.  According to the Federal Reserve, median household debt in America has risen to $75,600.  Many Americans spend decades caught in the trap of debt slavery.  Large numbers of them never even escape at all and die in debt.  It can be a lot of fun to spend lots of money and go into lots of debt, but it can be absolutely soul crushing to toil and labor for years paying off those debts while making others wealthy in the process.  Hopefully this article will inspire many people to try to escape the chains of debt slavery once and for all.

Because the truth is that the American people need a wake up call.  Consumer borrowing rose by another $19.3 billion in December.  Right now it is sitting at a grand total of $2.5 trillion according to the Federal Reserve.

Overall, consumer debt in America has increased by a whopping 1700% since 1971.

We always criticize the federal government for going into so much debt, but we rarely criticize ourselves for our own addiction to debt.

Debt slavery is destroying millions of lives all across this country, and it is imperative that we educate the American people about the dangers of all this debt.

The following are 30 facts about debt in America that will absolutely blow your mind….

Credit Card Debt

#1 Today, 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.

#2 Overall, Americans are carrying a grand total of $798 billion in credit card debt.

#3 If you were alive when Jesus was born and you spent a million dollars every single day since then, you still would not have spent $798 billion by now.

#4 Right now, there are more than 600 million active credit cards in the United States.

#5 For households that have credit card debt, the average amount of credit card debt is an astounding $15,799.

#6 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#7 The average interest rate on a credit card that is carrying a balance is now up to 13.10 percent.

#8 According to the credit card calculator on the Federal Reserve website, if you have a $10,000 credit card balance and you are being charged a rate of 13.10 percent and you only make the minimum payment each time, it will take you 27 years to pay it off and you will end up paying back a total of $21,271.

#9 There is one credit card company out there, First Premier, that charges interest rates of up to 49.9 percent.  Amazingly, First Premier has 2.6 million customers.

Auto Loan Debt

#10 The length of auto loans in America just keeps getting longer and longer.  If you can believe it, 45 percent of all new car loans being made today are for more than 6 years.

#11 Approximately 70 percent of all car purchases in the United States involve an auto loan.

#12 A subprime auto loan bubble is steadily building.  Today, 45 percent of all auto loans are made to subprime borrowers.  At some point that is going to be a massive problem.

Mortgage Debt

#13 Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.

#14 Mortgage debt as a percentage of GDP has more than tripled since 1955.

#15 According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, approximately 8 million Americans are at least one month behind on their mortgage payments.

#16 Historically, the percentage of residential mortgages in foreclosure in the United States has tended to hover between 1 and 1.5 percent.  Today, it is up around 4.5 percent.

#17 According to Dylan Ratigan, 46 percent of all mortgaged properties in Florida are underwater, 50 percent of all mortgaged properties in Arizona are underwater and 63 percent of all mortgaged properties in Nevada are underwater.

#18 Overall, nearly 29 percent of all homes with a mortgage in the United States are underwater.

#19 If you can believe it, the mortgage lenders now have more equity in U.S. homes than the American people do.

(more…)

Fox Business News Axes Freedom Watch

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Source: http://theintelhub.com

Was Judge Andrew Napolitano cutting to close to the bone for the establishment?

Steve Watson
Infowars.com
February 10, 2012

The Fox Business Channel has cancelled one of the only shows on the entire Fox News network that was in any way informative or watchable - Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano.

In a press release distributed late Thursday, the channel announced that its entire prime-time programming lineup had been changed, with re-runs of already existing programs replacing Freedom Watch.

Napolitano’s show had been airing for a year, in which time he had consistently covered major issues that other news programs would only gloss over, if they devoted any coverage to them at all.

Napolitano’s coverage of the freedom stripping National Defense Authorization Act for one was second to none as far as mainstream news output was concerned. His legal and constitutional expertise on such matters is also unrivalled.

YouTube Preview Image

His focus on Austrian economics and Libertarian social policy provided a much welcome alternative to the endless left/right bickering constantly played out on programming from the likes of MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News itself.

Napolitano regularly defended the free market and lambasted the actions of the Federal Reserve, holding it accountable daily for the economic crisis that the US finds itself mired in. Congressman Ron Paul was a regular guest on the show, with a host of other informative analysts who were not merely about peddling the establishment party line or representing special interests.

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It is for these very reasons that many fans of the show suspect Napolitano has been axed by the corporate machine.

Regarding Napolitano’s future, Fox Business stated that the judge will be “continuing to make significant contributions to both FOX Business and FOX News” and would “be showcased throughout future programming on both networks”

“Currently one of the leading judicial analysts on television, Judge Napolitano will continue his role on both FOX Business and FOX News, providing key legal insights surrounding the growing intersection between Washington and Wall Street.” the statement read.

Linking to the press release on his Facebook page, Napolitano wrote “sad news friends, but don’t worry I’ll still be here defending liberty.”

Libertarian activist Lew Rockwell is spearheading a campaign to have Freedom Watch reinstated, writing on his website yesterday:

“If you are as outraged as I am at the cancellation of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s “Freedom Watch,” here is something you can do.”

Please contact Fox Business to ask them to reverse their decision.

Irena Briganti,
Senior Vice President Media Relations
Phone: 212-301-3608
Fax: 212-819-0816
E-Mail: irena.briganti@foxnews.com

“Be respectful but be sure to convey your outrage at this matter, and state that you and many others will boycott the network if the show is taken off the air.” Rockwell added.

Revolution PAC at CPAC; Ron Paul The Elephant In The Room

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Source: http://www.revolutionpac.com

YouTube Preview Image

Aaron Jones is at CPAC representing Revolution PAC to bring Ron Paul supporters across the nation independent, insider coverage about the factions within the conservative movement. Aaron reports that while there is of course the normal talk and posturing from the neocons there is something that no one is talking about. Ron Paul’s absence at CPAC is in many ways doing more to bring attention to the man and his ideals than his presence would. Aaron reports to the RevPac HQ that there are many subtle flirtations with ideas of auditing the Fed, returning to the gold standard, and the destruction of American civil liberties. Ron Paul and his ideas are the elephant in the room at CPAC this year as many supporters have come to show their support for liberty in this largely establishment stronghold. These Patriots are showing the “conservatives” attending that we are here to stay; that we will take the message of liberty where it is needed regardless of whether Dr. Paul is there. There is no doubt that Ron Paul’s ideals are influencing the conversation at CPAC this year and will continue to do so. No one defects from the cause of liberty once their minds have been awakened.

Watch the video for a surprise appearance by Ron Paul!

Stay tuned to more updates from Revolution PAC and our boots on the ground as our CPAC coverage continues.

 

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