Archive for June, 2012

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s statement on Obamacare ruling

Rick Perry

Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—Gov. Rick Perry today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the federal health care reform bill:

“This ruling will be a stomach punch to the American economy. It is a shocking disappointment to freedom-loving Americans desperate to get our country back on track. Obamacare is bad for the economy, bad for health care, bad for freedom. Americans have made clear their overwhelming opposition to its convoluted, burdensome and overreaching mandates.

“Freedom was frontally attacked by passage of this monstrosity – and the Court utterly failed in its duty to uphold the Constitutional limits placed on Washington. Now that the Supreme Court has abandoned us, we citizens must take action at every level of government and demand real reform, done with respect for our Constitution and our liberty.”

Based on the reaction from the Republican governors who said they would ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling and do nothing until after the election, it is now clear that this year’s election will hinge on health care. Some analysts believe it plays in favor of Mitt Romney because the majority of Independents are against being compelled to purchase health care they may not need.

Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal the health care law and released a statement saying: “Today, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare. But regardless of what the Court said about the constitutionality of the law, Obamacare is bad medicine, it is bad policy, and when Mitt Romney is president, the bad news of Obamacare will be over. This November it’s all on the line. The stakes couldn’t be higher.”


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 29, 2012 at 4:59 am

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Attorney General Eric Holder voted in contempt of Congress

Attorney General Eric Holder

by Napp Nazworth

Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The House of Representatives voted 255-67 on Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the “Fast and Furious” investigation.

Seventeen Democrats joined 238 Republicans in passing the measure. Only two Republicans voted against it. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not vote. Instead, she led a walkout in protest of the contempt charge. In total, 108 Democrats and two Republicans did not vote, but it is not clear how many of those participated in the walkout versus those who were not in attendance for other reasons.

“We’re here because when we asked legitimate questions about Brian Terry’s murder, about ‘Fast and Furious,’ we were lied to,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has led the investigation as chair of the House Oversight Committee. “We were lied to repeatedly and over a 10 month period. The fact is that is what we’re here for.”

Pelosi accused Republicans of lying about the facts and engaging in a hyper-partisan, election year exercise.

“The fact is,” Pelosi said, “that the chief legal officer of our country and his staff has to spend enormous energy, psychic, intellectual and time, dealing with this unprincipled effort on the part of Republicans.

The contempt charge came after Holder continually refused to hand over documents relating to the period when the Justice Department misinformed the committee about the “Fast and Furious” program.

“Fast and Furious” was an undercover operation that sold weapons to drug dealers and other criminals. The weapons were not tracked and some were found at the scene of a shootout in which Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed.In February 2011, the Justice Department sent a letter to a member of Congress saying that no weapons were sold that were not tracked. In December 2011, the Justice Department admitted that was not true, there were weapons that were sold under the program that were not tracked.

“Our fellow citizens have a right to know the truth and we have an obligation to fight for it, Mr. Speaker, the politics be damned,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said. “We have a right to fight for it.”


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 28, 2012 at 11:56 pm

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Arresting demonstrators will not solve Sudan’s economic crisis

Khartoum Demonstrations

Newscast Media KHARTOUM, Sudan—The Sudanese government’s arrest and mistreatment of demonstrators will not solve the country’s economic crisis, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, calling on Omar Bashir’s government to immediately release those it has detained.

In a June 26 statement, Nuland said peaceful demonstrations that began June 16 with university students protesting a rise in food and fuel prices have been met with “numerous arrests and detentions,” as well as “reports of protesters being beaten, imprisoned, and severely mistreated while in government custody.”

The demonstrations have reportedly spread beyond the capital, Khartoum, to other parts of the country and have been described as the most active in Sudan since Bashir’s rule began in 1989. Nuland condemned what she described as the “heavy-handed approach adopted by Sudanese security forces” against the
demonstrators and called it “disproportionate and deeply concerning.”

“A government that respects the rights of its citizens to freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly in order to raise their grievances does not respond to such protests by using unnecessary force,” she said.

Nuland also said the Sudanese government is deepening the country’s economic crisis by engaging in armed conflicts in the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile regions, and by failing to reach agreements with neighboring South Sudan on oil, trade and other avenues of economic cooperation.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 27, 2012 at 10:10 pm

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Barclays Bank Ordered To Pay $200m Penalty For False Reporting

Barclays Bank

Newscast Media CHICAGO, Illinois— The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued an Order today filing and settling charges against Barclays PLC, Barclays Bank PLC (Barclays Bank) and Barclays Capital Inc. (Barclays Capital) (collectively Barclays or the Bank). The Order finds that Barclays attempted to manipulate and made false reports concerning two global benchmark interest rates, LIBOR and Euribor, on numerous occasions and sometimes on a daily basis over a four-year period, commencing as early as 2005.

Click Here To Read or Download The June 27, 2012 Settlement Order

“The American public and our markets rely upon the integrity of benchmark interest rates like LIBOR and Euribor because they form the basis for hundreds of trillions of dollars of transactions and affect nearly every corner of the global economy,” said David Meister, the CFTC’s Director of Enforcement. “Banks that contribute information to those benchmarks must do so honestly. When a bank acts in its own self-interest by attempting to manipulate these rates for profit, or by submitting false reports that result from senior management orders to lower submissions to guard the bank’s reputation, the integrity of benchmark interest rates is undermined. The CFTC launched this investigation to protect the markets and the public from such illegal conduct, and today’s action demonstrates that we will bring the full force of our authority to bear as we carry out that mission.”

According to the Order, Barclays, through its traders and employees responsible for determining the Bank’s LIBOR and Euribor submissions (submitters), attempted to manipulate and made false reports concerning both benchmark interest rates to benefit the Bank’s derivatives trading positions by either increasing its profits or minimizing its losses. This conduct occurred regularly and was pervasive. In addition, the attempts to manipulate included Barclays’ traders asking other banks to assist in manipulating Euribor, as well as Barclays aiding attempts by other banks to manipulate U.S. Dollar LIBOR and Euribor.

The Order also finds that throughout the global financial crisis in late August 2007 through early 2009, as a result of instructions from Barclays’ senior management, the Bank routinely made artificially low LIBOR submissions to protect Barclays’ reputation from negative market and media perceptions concerning Barclays’ financial condition. The CFTC Order requires Barclays to pay a $200 million civil monetary penalty, cease and desist from further violations as charged, and take specified steps, such as making the determinations of benchmark submissions transaction-focused (as set forth in the Order), to ensure the integrity and reliability of its LIBOR and Euribor submissions and improve related internal controls.

LIBOR – the London Interbank Offered Rate – is among the most important benchmark interest rates in the world’s economy, and is a key rate in the United States. LIBOR is based on rate submissions from a relatively small and select panel of major banks, including Barclays, and is calculated and published daily for several different currencies by the British Banker’s Association (BBA).

In a related matter, as part of an agreement with the Fraud Section of the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Barclays agreed to pay a $160 million penalty and to continue to cooperate with the Department. Furthermore, the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) issued a Final Notice regarding its enforcement action against Barclays Bank PLC, and has imposed a penalty of £59.5 million against the Bank.


1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 5:49 pm

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SCAF: Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi will be president for a short time

Muhammed Morsi

Newscast Media CAIRO, Egypt — The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Muhammed Morsi may have won the presidency, but since the current constitution was suspended by SCAF and parliament dissolved, when a new constitution is drafted by SCAF and new parliamentary elections take place, the current president will not
remain in office—his stay in office will be short the head of SCAF’s advisory said.

“The upcoming president will occupy the office for a short period of time, whether or not he agrees. His office term will be short despite the huge efforts exerted in the election campaign. This is simply because a new constitution will be drafted, followed by new parliamentary elections to take on the legislative power and therefore it is not possible in any event for the president to remain in office after a new constitution comes to life,” said Sameh Ashour.

In a news conference, SCAF said it will be its own boss and the new president will not be its commander-in-chief. SCAF also will retain limited legislative powers. It seems the current president’s role is merely ceremonial and transitional. The video below by Al-Jazeera discusses the aftermath of the recent election:


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

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SEC halts $100 million fraudulent real estate based Ponzi scheme


Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against a Utah man and company charged with operating a real estate-based Ponzi scheme that bilked $100 million from investors nationwide.

The SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, names Wayne L. Palmer and his firm, National Note of Utah, LC, both of West Jordan, Utah. According to the complaint, Palmer told investors that their money would be used to buy mortgage notes and real estate assets, or to make real estate loans. More than 600 individuals invested, lured by promises of annual returns of 12 percent, the SEC alleged.

“Palmer promised double-digit returns at his real estate seminars, where investors learned the hard way about his lies and deceit,” said Kenneth Israel, Director of the SEC’s Salt Lake City Regional Office.

The SEC’s complaint charges National Note and Palmer with violating the anti-fraud and securities registration provisions of U.S. securities laws. Palmer also faces charges that he operated as an unregistered broker-dealer.

Section 17(a)(2) – Anti-Fraud Authority of the Securities Act of 1933 states:

“It shall be unlawful for any person in the offer or sale of any securities or any security-based swap agreement (as defined in section 206B of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [15 USCS § 78c note]) by the use of any means or instruments of transportation or communication in interstate commerce or by use of the mails, directly or indirectly (1) to employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud, or (2) to obtain money or property by means of any untrue statement of a material fact or any omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading.”
Click here to download or read entire complaint.

2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 8:15 pm

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Team USA vs. Italy Rugby Game in Houston, Texas (Italy 30 USA 10)

USA vs. Italy Rugby game. Team USA in white vs. Italy in blue. Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — Houston hosted the international rugby match in which USA played against Italy on June 23. Before the game, a pre-game party was held at Lucky’s where thousands of fans gathered in support of Team USA. Italy’s Carlo Festuccia scored the first seven (7) points, followed by a penalty awarded to Team USA giving it three (3) points. Italy also got a penalty awarded to it for three (3) additional points making the score 10-3 against the US. Team USA then plowed through the Italian team scoring an additional seven (7) points that tied the game. Italy won the game after all by a 30-10 win against Team USA.

However, a sporting event isn’t a sporting event in Houston without a brawl. Both
teams started hurling insults at each other in the second half, as players shoved
one another. Team USA then all of a sudden started spraying the Italian players with
fists—the referee ended the fist fight by issuing a couple of red cards to the US

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 25, 2012 at 11:52 pm

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Hillary Clinton: Trafficking Victims Should Be Made Whole

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C. — Survivors of human trafficking must be given the opportunity “to move past what they endured and make the most of their potential,” says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Speaking at the State Department June 19 at an event marking the release of the department’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report, Clinton said: “Traffickers prey on the hopes and dreams of those seeking a better life. And our goal should be to put those hopes and dreams back within reach, whether it’s getting a good job to send money home to support a family, trying to get an education for oneself or one’s children, or simply pursuing new opportunities that might lead to a better life.”

The annual report, which tracks how human trafficking is handled in 186 countries and territories — including the United States — emphasizes proven and innovative practices for protecting victims via psychological support for victims, immigration laws to protect migrant victims and training for labor inspectors to recognize trafficking, Clinton said.

According to the State Department, there are some 27 million people around the world who are enslaved for labor or for the sex industry. Statistics provided by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization estimate that 55 percent of forced labor victims are women or girls, as are 98 percent of sex trafficking victims.

Among the recommendations the report makes:

• Provide victims with shelters but do not detain them there. Victims should have freedom of movement.

• Victims should be informed of their rights as early as possible in a language they understand.

• Victims should be given the choice of how much of their information is shared.

• Governments should offer victims permanent residency and the right to work.

Benefits — rather than forced deportation — facilitate the law enforcement process, the report says. The report also cautions governments not to confuse trafficking, in which victims are coerced, with illegal immigration.

“Authorities often fail to look beneath the surface for possible indicators of forced labor, debt bondage or sex trafficking,” the report says. It is the traffickers, not the trafficking victims, who are the criminals, the report says. You may read or download the 2012 Trafficking in Person’s Report.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm

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Russia rules out voluntary resignation of Syria’s Bashar Assad

Sergei Lavrov

Newscast Media St. PETERSBURG, Russia—Russia has strongly rejected the idea of a voluntary regime change in Syria and the offer of clemency to its president, Bashar al-Assad by the West.

In an interview in St. Petersburg, Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “We cannot accept the policy which will be aimed at changing regimes from outside. This has been our policy all along, and we cannot prejudge for the Syrians what the outcome of the political dialogue will be. We strongly support political dialogue. We strongly support the efforts to stop the violence.”

Russia has always insisted on resolving the conflict through peace talks and has used Libya as a reference to what may happen in Syria if there is a regime change. Last year NATO, with support of the West and Al-Qaeda rebels bombed Tripoli, resulting in the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. The rebels took over the nation which is now in chaos as killings continue to happen, while the West that supported the rebels looks on.

Putin has emphatically stated he won’t allow that to happen to Syria, an ally of Russia. Below is the interview of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov:


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 4:21 pm

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Private-public companies needed for African infrastructure projects

African infrastructure

Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has recommended partnerships between governments and private companies to build large-scale transportation projects in Africa.

“Governments can only do so much. We also need strong commercial partners to collaborate with us on major projects,” LaHood said at the U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, known as the AGOA Forum, in Washington June 14.

He cited two success stories that he said can serve as models for African countries. In South Africa, the government worked with private companies to build the first high-speed rail service, the Gautrain, which connects Pretoria, the capital, with Johannesburg, the economic center of the country. The final section of the train service spanning the 80 kilometers between the two cities opened June 7. The Gautrain is expected to carry 100,000 passengers a day.

LaHood also mentioned the rapid bus system in Lagos, Nigeria, which he said is the first bus system in sub-Saharan Africa that allows passengers to avoid traffic congestion. The secretary said the Nigerian government financed the infrastructure costs, such as road construction, while the private sector financed the buses, bus depots and maintenance facilities. The project created 2,000 direct jobs and moved more than 170 million people in its first three years of operation.

“Successes such as these set an example of how you build a 21st-century transportation network at home,” LaHood said.

He said the United States has the same goals as African countries: “grow our economies and expand trade.”

Assistant Transportation Secretary Susan Kurland said a number of U.S. federal agencies work in African countries to help them improve their transportation systems: the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Maritime Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration. These agencies work not only with individual governments but also with regional groups; transportation safety is the main concern.

“When we provide technical assistance and grants, one of our main aims is to help other countries improve compliance with international standards for safety and security,” she said.

For investments in transportation infrastructure to pay off, the governments involved must be committed to maintaining the infrastructure after it is completed. “One of the most important lessons learned is that commitment from the highest levels of government is critical for achieving success,” Kurland said.

The director-general of the ministry of tourism, industry and energy in Cape Verde, Antonio Baptista, said his country’s participation in the Safe Skies for Africa program has had a big, positive impact on Cape Verde’s trade and tourism. He said after Cape Verde met safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, people felt safe to travel there, bringing in more tourists and business travelers.

Leocadia Zak, director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, described her agency’s work in conducting feasibility studies and introducing governments to private-sector companies to build integrated transportation systems involving road, rail, sea and air links.

Source: U.S. State Department


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 20, 2012 at 5:43 am

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Egypts’ Mohammed Morsi: I Won – Ahmed Shafiq: I Won!

Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq

Newscast Media CAIRO, Egypt—After the conclusion of Egypt’s presidential election, both candidates are claiming victory. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi was the first to declare victory over his opponent Ahmed Shafiq. The Morsi campaign team displayed what they claim is proof of his presidential election victory at a press conference Tuesday.

“Dr. Mohamed Mursi won 52 per cent of the votes (13,238,298), while Ahmed Shafiq won 48 per cent (12,351,184). This is based on results at polling stations issued on Sunday and Monday, and the tally of Egyptians voting abroad,” a spokesperson for Morsi’s campaign said.

Mohamed Morsi’s campaign said he won 52.5 percent of the vote in the presidential runoff election that took place Saturday and Sunday. Former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq won 47.5 percent, according to the campaign, with a difference of about 1 million votes.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Shafiq’s campaign dismissed what it called ‘lies’ about Morsi winning, confirming their candidate’s victory.

“The Egyptian public will know the truth, Shafiq is leading the race not Mursi,” said Ahmed Sarhan spokesman of shafiq’s campaign. Sarhan later stressed that “no one is president till Thursday.”

Shafiq’s campaign has claimed their candidate winning with earlier on Monday after all elections violations have been verified from their side. The campaign claims that Shafiq is winning with at least 200,000 votes.

The hysterics continued when the Presidential Elections Commission is not responsible for results announced by presidential candidates’ campaigns, a commission member said Monday. Omar Salama, a member of the commission’s general secretariat, said in an interview with privately owned satellite channel CBC that some ballots hadn’t been counted yet and that appeals will be reviewed.

He said it is still too early for celebrations in the streets, and that the commission would announce the official results Thursday.


2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm

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Mitt Romney’s stance on immigration may divide GOP base

Homeland Security

by Paul Stanley

Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas—Mitt Romney’s position on immigration, in particular on young illegal immigrants, may divide the GOP base because many of the party’s evangelical voters are moving left of the Republican Party on the issue.

If Romney takes a hardline approach, he risks alienating evangelical and Hispanic voters in key battleground states such as Florida. On the other hand, if he shows compassion to the children of illegal immigrants, he risks angering a large portion of the GOP base and several new members of Congress who are trying to win re-election in districts heavy with Tea Partiers.

The immigration issue as a whole, particularly President Obama’s recent order to stop deportation of young illegal immigrants, has put Romney in a challenging position. On Friday, President Obama announced his new policy to stop deporting young illegal immigrants who came to the United States before they turned 16 and now are no older than 30 years old. The young illegal immigrants can now obtain work permits and live without fear of being deported.

Also last week, a group of influential evangelicals that included the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Richard Land, Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly and Sojourners’ Jim Wallis encouraged Congress and President Obama to take a more compassionate approach to dealing with some of the nation’s illegal immigrants.

“These young people – 99.9 percent of them have done nothing wrong. They didn’t bring themselves here,” Land told The Christian Post. “They were brought here as young children by their parents. Many of them have no memory – no recollection of their home country.”

Land also argues that the 800,000 to 1 million young illegal immigrants living in this country should be addressed in a sympathetic, Christian manner. “This is the right thing to do.”

As expected on such a divisive issue, Romney took a middle-of-the-road position by suggesting that Obama’s statement was motivated by politics and not policy.

“If he felt seriously about this he should have taken action when he had a Democratic House and Senate, but he didn’t,” Romney told CBS’s Bob Schieffer during a “Face The Nation” segment on Sunday. “He saves these sorts of things until four and a half months before the general election.”

But last January when Romney was campaigning in Iowa against several challengers running to the right of him, he made a stronger statement on immigration, promising to veto any legislation by Democrats that would have given undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. Now – in a fashion that is Romney-esque in nature – he is refusing to say if he would repeal Obama’s new policy if elected.

“With regards to these kids who were brought in by their parents through no fault of their own, there needs to be a long-term solution so they know what their status is,” said Romney. “This is something Congress has been working on, and I thought we were about to see some proposals brought forward by Sen. Marco Rubio and by Democratic senators, but the president jumped in and said I’m going to take this action – he called it a stop-gap measure.”

Obama senior adviser David Plouffe commented on Romney’s response to the president’s new immigration policy by saying on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that, “It’s ironic coming from Governor Romney, who said he would veto the Dream Act, whose immigration policy during the primary seemed to consist of just sending 11 million people home, asking them to self-deport.”

Whether or not Romney will soften his stance on immigration is not yet known. However, both he and Obama are scheduled to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials later this week and the issue will certainly be front and center. Land says he is unsure what direction Romney will take, but he does believe that the former governor is “evolving” on this immigration platform.

“A lot will be determined by who Romney picks as his running mate,” said Land. “Rubio would certainly change the dynamics if he’s on the ticket.”


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 3:09 am

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GOP On Fire – Prelude To November 2012 Presidential Election

President George Washington

Newscast Media DALLAS, Texas—There is an old African proverb that goes: “If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.” Republicans are doing just that by marshalling an army of volunteers, to help get the vote out. The fish are the voters, and the hooks are the volunteers.

The GOP has energized its grassroots with a united theme of ending the Obama presidency in November. Congressman Paul Ryan said, “…This means we do everything, to get our country back. This is it! And you know what’s going to happen, on Wednesday morning, November 7, we are going to wake up, and we are
going to look back, and we are going to say, this is the first day when we get our country back on track.”

The video features speakers like Congressman Paul Ryan, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Senator John Cornyn, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Herman Cain, Dinesh D’Souza, former President George Washington and much more. Watch the two-part series of the video below:


Videography by Joseph Earnest
Highlights of the 2012 GOP Texas Convention in Fort Worth—Texas


Highlights of the 2012 GOP Texas Convention in Fort Worth—Texas

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 16, 2012 at 1:02 am

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Gaye Arbuckle performs The Star Spangled Banner at the Texas GOP Convention

Newscast Media FORT WORTH, Texas—On the final day of the Texas GOP Convention local singer and songwriter Gaye Arbuckle, performed The Star Spangled Banner as she set the stage for the invited speakers at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The video below captures Gaye as she demonstrates her powerful set of pipes before a live audience.

Videography by Joseph Earnest
Gaye Arbuckle performing The Star Spangled Banner at the Texas GOP Convention

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 14, 2012 at 12:58 am

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SEC charges 14 agents with $415 million securities Ponzi scheme

Securities and Exchange Commission

Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged 14 sales agents who misled investors and illegally sold securities for a Long Island-based investment firm at the center of a $415 million Ponzi scheme.

The SEC alleges that the sales agents — which include four sets of siblings — falsely promised investor returns as high as 12 to 14 percent in several weeks when they sold investments offered by Agape World Inc. They also misled investors to believe that only 1 percent of their principal was at risk. The Agape securities they peddled were actually non-existent, and investors were merely lured into a Ponzi scheme
where earlier investors were paid with new investor funds.

The sales agents turned a blind eye to red flags of fraud and sold the investments without hesitation, receiving more than $52 million in commissions and payments out of investor funds. None of these sales agents were registered with the SEC to sell securities, nor were they associated with a registered broker or dealer. Agape also was not registered with the SEC.

“This Ponzi scheme spread like wildfire through Long Island’s middle-class communities because this small group of individuals blindly promoted the offerings as particularly safe and profitable,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Acting Regional Director for the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “These sales agents raked in commissions without regard for investors or any apparent concern for Agape’s financial distress and inability to meet investor redemptions.”

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, more than 5,000 investors nationwide were impacted by the scheme that lasted from 2005 to January 2009, when Agape’s president and organizer of the scheme Nicholas J. Cosmo was arrested. He was later sentenced to
300 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $179 million in restitution. The SEC alleges that the sales agents misrepresented to investors that their money would be used to make high-interest bridge loans to commercial borrowers or businesses that accepted credit cards. Little, if any, investor money actually went
toward this purpose. Investor funds were instead used for Ponzi scheme payments and the agents’ sales commissions, and Cosmo lost $80 million while trading futures in personal accounts.

The SEC’s complaint charges the following sales agents:

* Brothers Bryan Arias and Hugo A. Arias of Maspeth, N.Y., who offered and
sold Agape securities to at least 195 and 1,419 investors respectively. They
received more than $9.5 million combined in commissions and payments.

* Brothers Anthony C. Ciccone of Locust Valley, N.Y. and Salvatore Ciccone
of Maspeth, N.Y., who offered and sold Agape securities to at least 535 and
348 investors respectively. They received more than $17 million combined in
commissions and payments.

* Brothers Jason A. Keryc of Wantagh, N.Y. and Michael D. Keryc of Baldwin,
N.Y. Jason Keryc offered and sold Agape securities to at least 1,617 investors
and received at least $16 million in commissions and payments. He also paid
sub-brokers, including his brother, at least $7.4 million to sell Agape securities
for him. Michael Keryc offered and sold Agape securities to at least 177
investors and received more than $1 million in commissions and payments.

* Siblings Martin C. Hartmann III of Massapequa, N.Y. and Laura Ann Tordy of
Wantagh, N.Y. Hartmann enlisted his sister in his sales effort while he worked
as a sub-broker for Jason Keryc. Hartmann and Tordy offered and sold Agape
securities to at least 441 investors and received more than $3.5 million in
commissions and payments.

* Christopher E. Curran of Amityville, N.Y., who worked as a sub-broker for
Keryc. Curran offered and sold Agape securities to at least 132 investors and
received at least $531,890 in commissions and payments.

* Ryan K. Dunaske of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., who worked as a sub-broker for Keryc.
Dunaske offered and sold Agape securities to at least 70 investors and
received more than $700,000 in commissions and payments.

* Michael P. Dunne of Massapequa, N.Y., who worked as a sub-broker for
Keryc. Dunne offered and sold Agape securities to at least 99 investors and
received more than $1.5 million in commissions and payments.

* Diane Kaylor of Bethpage, N.Y., who offered and sold Agape securities to at
least 249 investors and received at least $3.7 million in commissions and

* Anthony Massaro of Boynton Beach, Fla., who offered and sold Agape
securities to at least 826 investors and received more than $5.9 million in
commissions and payments.

* Ronald R. Roaldsen, Jr. of Wantagh, N.Y., who worked as a sub-broker for
Keryc. Roaldsen offered and sold Agape securities to at least 159 investors and
received more than $600,000 in commissions and payments.

The SEC’s complaint charges Bryan and Hugo Arias, Anthony and Salvatore Ciccone, Jason and Michael Keryc, Dunne, Hartmann, Kaylor, Massaro, and Tordy with violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The complaint charges all 14 defendants with violations of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act, and Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

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Kelsey Lewis performs her rendition of America The Beautiful at the Texas GOP Convention

Newscast Media FORT WORTH, Texas—The 2012 Texas GOP Convention took place last weekend at the Fort Worth Convention center, and among the many guests were Kelsey Lewis, an aspiring performing artist from Keller, Texas, Herman Cain, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and many more. Kelsey performed America The Beautiful in front of thousands of Texans who attended the event.

Another special guest at the convention was former presidential candidate Senator Rick Santorum, who mingled with the crowd before speaking at the fundraising gala, which was an invitation-only event.

Videography by Joseph Earnest
Kelsey Lewis performs her rendition of America The Beautiful at the Texas GOP Convention
Senator Rick Santorum takes some time out to mingle with convention attendees


2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm

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Photos: 2012 GOP Convention – Fort Worth Texas

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson

Newscast Media FORT WORTH, Texas—The Texas GOP convention took place in Fort Worth from June 7-9 at the Fort Worth Convention center, featuring several guest speakers. Among the speakers who attended were former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson from Texas, Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, former presidential candidate Herman Cain, and many more speakers. The theme of the convention was “Taking Our Country Back” with the GOP determined to win the White House this November. Newscast Media was on hand to capture the event. ENTER PHOTO GALLERY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm

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World brain tumor day brings awareness to the public about disease

World Bran Tumor Day June 8.

Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas—The German Brain Tumor Association is commemorating June 8, as World Brain Tumor Day, with the aim of directing public attention towards this little-known disease. This commemoration day was initialized by the Deutsche Hirntumorhilfe e.V. (German Brain Tumor Association) in 2000. Because brain tumors occur rather seldom in comparison to other cancers, they are little-noticed by the public.

But the diagnosis can affect every one of us. In Germany, more than 6,000 people contract a primary malignant brain tumor annually. Worldwide there are 500 incidents daily. The number of patients with brain metastases as a complication of lung cancer, breast cancer and other cancers is even higher. Furthermore, brain tumors are the most common solid tumors in children.

In the fight against brain tumors neurosurgical measures, chemo and radiation therapy, immune and antibody therapy are used. But besides huge progress in the medical treatment of brain tumors, a cure is still rarely possible as the localization of the tumor and its biology make the treatment very difficult.

That is why it is especially important to investigate brain tumors more intense and to improve treatment options. Every small scientific innovation is a success in the fight against this disease and can help to improve the chances of surviving and the quality of life of the patients.

For patients themselves it is important to get broad and relevant information to deal with their disease appropriately and to be aware of their therapy options. The knowledge of different treatment possibilities can lessen the mental pressure and increase the chances of survival.

Together with other organizations, the Deutsche Hirntumorhilfe agitates for the improvement of the patient care and an international transfer of knowledge. The World Brain Tumor Day calls public attention to the situation of brain tumor patients and appeals for solidarity with patients and their dependants. It is also a reminder directed to the responsible persons in the fields of politics and economy to assume their social responsibility.

Active support of research and an increased interdisciplinary collaboration are the ways to develop new therapies and improve the chances of healing. Until that, it is essential to campaign together to advance the quality of life of patients, to give hope and show solidarity—it is essential to send a signal.

A Grey Ribbon as a symbol is aimed to remind of the solidarity with brain tumor patients and was designed in dependence on the Red Ribbon, the global symbol of solidarity with people living with HIV. If you are wearing the Grey Ribbon you show your solicitousness and solidarity with people who are confronted with the diagnosis brain tumor.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 8, 2012 at 5:42 am

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Bill Clinton advises Barack Obama to extend Bush era tax cuts

Clinton and Obama

Paul Stanley

Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Former President Bill Clinton took to the airwaves Tuesday to offer President Obama some economic advice by suggesting that the White House back a temporary extension of what is known as the Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire in January.

The suggestion from one Democratic president to another may cause further scrutiny of the Obama administration’s plan to increase taxes on those earning over $250,000 per year to raise money to reduce the nation’s growing deficit.

During President George W. Bush’s second term, Congress enacted a series of tax cuts, some of which will expire in January of 2013.

About that same time, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts will take effect because the so-called “supercommittee” that met last fall was unable to reach a consensus on budget cuts or tax increases. Officials in the Congressional Budget Office have said allowing the two to occur at the same time may add to the nation’s economic woes by causing another recession.

“What I think we need to do is find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy now, and then deal with what’s necessary in the long-term debt reduction plan as soon as they can, which presumably will be after the election,” Clinton said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell With Maria Bartiromo.”

Officials at the White House were mum on Clinton’s comments, but others close to the president pointed out that Obama has repeatedly said that he would not extend the Bush tax cuts for high-income individuals and families when they expire.

President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada have said they will not extend the Bush era tax cuts without some agreement from Republicans to raise taxes.

“If Republicans want to walk away from the bipartisan spending cuts agreed to last August, they will have to work with Democrats to replace them with a balanced deficit reduction package that asks millionaires to pay their fair share,” Reid said in a statement on Tuesday.

Despite both sides saying something must be done soon, political pundits believe the White House will not push the issue until after the elections.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - June 7, 2012 at 6:23 am

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China and Russia unite to oppose to military intervention in Syria and Iran

Russia's Putin and China's Hu Jintao

Newscast Media BEIJING, China—Russia and China have set two standards: ‘No’ to bombing Iran, and another ‘No’ to regime change in Syria brought about through a Western intervention campaign.

Moscow and Beijing on Wednesday reaffirmed their strong opposition to intervention in Syria in a joint statement issued after talks between China’s leaders and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing.

“Russia and China are decisively against attempts to regulate the Syrian crisis with outside military intervention, as well as imposing a policy of regime change, including within the Security Council,” the statement said. The neighbors also came out against any use of military force or “unilateral sanctions” against Iran in the statement, released after China’s Premier Wen Jiabao met visiting Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Putin and Ahmadinejad will meet on Thursday, as Moscow prepares to host more talks later this month aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program. Moscow and Beijing have remained in lockstep over Syria, opposing foreign intervention and forced regime change in the country.

On Wednesday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Beijing heeding opposition groups’ calls for the forcible removal of the Assad regime would lead to “catastrophe” in the state.

He reaffirmed China and Russia’s support for the Annan plan, and called for a new international meeting on Syria to include Turkey and Iran. “We think it is necessary to call a meeting of countries that truly have an influence on various opposition groups,” he added, citing the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the Arab League, the European Union, Turkey and Iran, after meetings with Chinese leaders.

The two countries have also agreed to build military ties, as the United States turns the focus of its huge firepower towards the Pacific—China’s backyard. “Not long ago in the Yellow Sea, we successfully carried out the first Russian-Chinese joint naval exercise,” said Putin during a meeting with China’s likely next leader, Vice President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.

China’s President Hu Jintao, speaking in an interview released by the official Xinhua news agency Wednesday, said countries should refrain from escalating the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.

Hu also said China, Russia and other SCO member countries had vowed to play a bigger role in Afghanistan, as NATO forces prepare to pull out. “We will… play a greater role in the peaceful reconstruction process in Afghanistan,” Hu said in an interview published in the People’s Daily newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling
Communist Party.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 1:34 am

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