by Napp Nazworth
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—There will be a religious exemption to the requirement that individuals purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (2010), better known as “Obamacare,” according to a fact sheet released Wednesday by the Internal Revenue Service. (pop-up)
The religious exemption rule for the individual mandate was included in a set of new rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the implementation of the new health care law.
Only those who are members of a religious sect that is already recognized by the Social Security Administration as exempt from Social Security requirements will be eligible for an exemption from the individual mandate. These sects mostly include the Amish and some other Mennonite sects.
There has been an internet rumor that Muslims would be exempt as well, but Muslims are not exempt from participating in Social Security so they would not be eligible for an individual mandate exemption.
Those who want the religious exemption will be required to go to a “Health Insurance Marketplace,” which will be set up by HHS or a state government, and apply for the exemption. Those who are under 18 will have to reapply for the exemption after they turn 18.
Exemptions will also be provided for members of federally recognized Indian tribes, members of a recognized health care sharing ministry, those whose income is so low they were not required to file an income tax return, those who would have to pay more than eight percent of household income for the cheapest premium, those who are in jail, and those who have a certified hardship that makes them unable to obtain coverage.
Newscast Media PARIS, France—In a surprise move that happened within the past 24 hours, French troops arrived in the northern Mali town of Kidal, driving Islamist rebels into the mountains. But the Malian general staff was not aware of the French plan, according to Radio France Internationale. French aircraft landed at Kidal’s airstrip on Tuesday, carrying French troops but no Malians. They faced no resistance, Tuareg
separatists having earlier declared that they supported the Franco-Malian offensive and thrown the Islamists out of town.
“The Malian and French forces have reversed the chain of events,” French chief of defence staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud said in Bamako on Wednesday after meeting Malian Prime Minister Diango Cissoko.
“The reestablishment of law and order in northern Mali has started. That’s good news and we will carry on.”
This was a smart move on behalf of French troops because as we’ve seen in places like Egypt, Libya and now Syria, loose lips sink ships, especially when the media gets involved. Foreign news agencies have perfected the art of propaganda, and French troops were fully aware that telegraphing their next move could work against them.
This could have caused media outlets that are sympathizers with Islamists to tip off Al Qaeda rebels, creating an ambush situation. The French decided to undertake this mission incognito for the sake of their safety.
In his book The Art of War, Sun Tzu said: “O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.” page 32.
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” page 39.
According Radio France Internationale, Mali’s military chiefs were not aware that the French were planning to enter Kidal, sources close to the general staff say and the presidency and communications ministry also said that they had not been in the loop.
Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—Governor Rick Perry gave his seventh State of the State address to the 83rd Legislature, in which he talked about developing a mechanism that allows the state to return unused funds to Texas taxpayers. The Texas rainy day fund has about $8.2 billion that has not been tapped. This emergency fund will soon have $12 billion.
“We’ve never bought into the notion that if you collect more, you need to spend more. Today, I’m calling for a mechanism to be put in place so when we do bring in more than we need, we’ll have the option of returning tax money directly to the people who paid it. Currently, that’s not something our constitution allows. We need to fix that,” Perry said.
“While Washington, D.C., can sometimes seem entirely non-responsive and is increasing the tax burden on Americans, and other states are scrambling to grab every tax dollar they can, I’m proud that in Texas, we’re talking about the best way to give money back,” Perry added.
Below is the video of Gov. Perry’s address:
Newscast Media PARIS, France—Arab Emirate Qatar will soon be under investigation for allegedly bribing FIFA officials to allow it to host the 2022 World Cup. The Emirate is trying to recover from an image problem caused by accusations from foreign diplomats that it has interfered in the affairs of Libya, as reported by the Guardian, and according to the New York Times, the Syrian government has accused it of supporting terrorism in Syria.
Now, after more than two years after FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, an influential French magazine, France Football is accusing the gulf kingdom of bribing its way to hosting the event.
The 15-page article published on Tuesday and titled “The Qatargate” revealed evidence pointing towards Qatar buying the right to host the 2022 World Cup. The magazine claimed African Confederation President Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast who both took part in the voting were accused of taking bribes by a former Qatari bid employee Phaedra Al Majid.
The French magazine has sent out tweets that are going viral on Twitter.
The magazine said it will hand the evidence to FIFA so a supplementary investigation in the Qatar bid can be launched.
by Napp Nazworth
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—A coalition of conservative leaders will call on fellow conservatives to support letting Puerto Rico decide whether it will become the 51st state.
The announcement will come at a Tuesday morning press conference with Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles; Luis Fortuno, former Republican Governor of Puerto Rico; Niger Innis, national outreach director for TheTeaParty.net; Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and executive editor of The Christian Post; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; and Dr. Hernan Padilla, former mayor of San Juan and the first Hispanic chair of U.S. Conference of Mayors.
In a Monday interview with The Christian Post, Aguilar said they will make an argument for why conservatives should support statehood. The United States was founded because England did not recognize the natural rights of citizens in its American colonies, Aguilar explained, and “ironically, that is what the federal government is now doing to Puerto Rico.”
Puerto Ricans are citizens, but they do not have the full rights of citizenship. Puerto Ricans have served in the U.S. military, yet they cannot vote for the president and they do not have full representation in Congress. (Puerto Rico has one non-voting delegate.)
“Not only is it not democratic, it goes against the very soul and ideas of the Founding,” Aguilar added. “We were created as a republic, not an empire.”
Some Republicans may be concerned that, if given statehood, Puerto Rico would vote Democratic for president and their U.S. senators. Aguilar said these concerns are unfounded. Before this month, Puerto Rico had a Republican governor, Republican House, Republican Senate and a majority of the municipalities were held by Republicans. Additionally, over 70 percent of Puerto Ricans oppose same-sex marriage and oppose abortion, Aguilar added.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Securities and Exchange Commission charged a former executive at New York-based broker-dealer Jefferies & Co. with defrauding investors while selling mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in the wake of the financial crisis so he could generate additional revenue for his firm.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Connecticut, Jesse Litvak arranged trades for customers as part of his job as a managing director on the MBS desk at Jefferies. Litvak would buy a MBS from one customer and sell it to another customer, but on many occasions he lied about the price at which his firm had bought the MBS so he could re-sell it to the other customer at a higher price and
keep more money for the firm. On other occasions, Litvak misled purchasers by creating a fictional seller to purport that he was arranging a MBS trade between customers when in reality he was just selling MBS out of his firm’s inventory at a higher price. Because MBS are generally illiquid and difficult to price, it is particularly important for brokers to provide honest and accurate information.
The SEC alleges that Litvak generated more than $2.7 million in additional revenue for Jefferies through his deceit. His misconduct helped him improve his own standing at the firm, as his bonuses were determined in part by the amount of revenue he generated for the firm.
“Brokers must always tell their customers the truth, particularly in complex securities transactions in which it is difficult for investors to determine market prices on their own,” said George Canellos, Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
“Litvak repeatedly lied to his customers and invented facts to bring additional profits into his firm and ultimately his own pocket at their expense.”
The SEC’s complaint charges Litvak with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, particularly Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, and Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933.
Newscast Media ADDIS ABABA—African leaders met in the Ethiopian capital on Sunday for talks dominated by the conflict in Mali as well as lingering territorial issues between the two Sudans. The African Union says it will deploy a force in Mali, where French troops are helping the Malian army to push back militants whose rebellion threatens to divide the West African nation.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is attending the two-day summit in Addis Ababa, where Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn took over from President Yayi Boni of Benin as chairperson of the African Union.
With Mali at the top of the agenda, African leaders hope they can make quick progress in deploying a substantial number of African troops there. As the African leaders met, French special forces fighting alongside Malian troops were pushing farther north into the Malian desert in an offensive against rebels who took control of northern Mali more than nine months ago. Africa’s economic boom is threatened by violent conflicts across the continent, African Union officials said at the summit.
“While we are proud of the progress made in expanding and consolidating peace and security on the continent, we also acknowledge that much still needs to be done to resolve ongoing, renewed and new conflict situations in a number of countries,” said African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma said the Peace and Security Council of the African Union will report to the summit on efforts to resolve conflicts in countries ranging from Mali to Madagascar.
The Peace and Security Council of the African Union said in a statement Saturday that it wanted “the early operationalization of the African Standby Force” in Mali. The council also said it fully supports Mali President Dioncounda Traore but urged him to put in place a roadmap to free and fair elections. It also said the African Union is committed to preserving the unity of Mali and would “spare no efforts” to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity.
A number of African countries have pledged to send troops to Mali, and on Tuesday the African Union will hold a conference of donors with hopes that money will be raised for the Mali force. The Peace and Security Council of the African Union urged member states to “seize the opportunity of the donors’ conference … to meaningfully contribute toward the mobilization of the necessary resources.”
Meanwhile, the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan met at the summit in Addis Ababa, although African Union officials said they did not expect them to make much headway. South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Sudan President Omar al-Bashir earlier this month agreed to “the unconditional and speedy” implementation of deals they had reached back in September. But a subsequent meeting of the two countries’ negotiating teams that should have outlined timetable for the deal’s implementation ended in disagreement.
Ban urged the two Sudans to resume direct talks and spoke of the “dangerous humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.”
“In Sudan and South Sudan the parties have taken positive steps to resolve outstanding issues,” Ban said. “But they should make more progress in meeting their agreements.”
Mediators led by former South African leader Thabo Mbeki have until July to push the two sides to agree on the status of the disputed Abyei region as well as other contested border areas.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas—The International Rugby Board and USA Rugby awarded Houston a multi-year deal to host the International Rugby Women’s Sevens World Series featuring 12 international women’s teams competing at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston, on February 1 and 2, 2013.
This two-day International Series, the first of its kind for women, signifies the IRB’s on-going growth and development of women’s rugby around the world. The event will take place annually in Houston through 2015, leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where rugby will debut as one of the new Olympic sports. The inaugural global Series for the world’s top Women’s Sevens players will feature rounds in UAE (Dubai), the United States (Houston), China (Guangzhou), and the Netherlands (Amsterdam).
“This is a breakthrough moment for women’s international rugby and the USA Eagles. As the team prepares for the 2016 Olympics, this Series will be instrumental in giving them the competition they need to compete for gold,” said USA Rugby President Nigel Melville.
The six core teams for the inaugural Houston series are: Australia, Canada, England, Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States. The 2013 event also includes: Brazil, South Africa, Russia, Japan, Argentina, and Trinidad & Tobago. Women’s Rugby is one of the fastest-growing team sports in the world and in 2016, the finest female players in the world will take their place alongside their male counterparts in Rio de Janeiro when Rugby returns to the Olympic Games program.
The inception of an international Series is a key milestone in the on-going development of both the competitive standards and the professionalism of the women’s game. For ticket information visit: BBVA Compass Stadium.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today joined a broad coalition representing Congress, law enforcement, politicians and gun violence victims to announce the introduction of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. The bill bans dangerous military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
Interestingly enough, the loudest voices on the Conservative side resisting the bill, are the very same ones that did not vote in the past election and encouraged others not to participate in the 2012 election.
This should be a lesson to all Conservatives who refused to vote because they did not like the candidate on the GOP ticket, and instead they either stayed home, wasted their vote on Gary Johnson, or encouraged others not to vote. Even though there was voter fraud, overwhelming numbers of voters would have been enough to offset any voter fraud.
The bill bans the sale, transfer, manufacturing and importation of the following:
* All semiautomatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at
least one military feature: pistol grip; forward grip; folding, telescoping, or
detachable stock; grenade launcher or rocket launcher; barrel shroud; or
* All semiautomatic pistols that can accept a detachable magazine and have at
least one military feature: threaded barrel; second pistol grip; barrel shroud;
capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the
pistol grip; or semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm.
* All semiautomatic rifles and handguns that have a fixed magazine with the
capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
* All semiautomatic shotguns that have a folding, telescoping, or detachable
stock; pistol grip; fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 5
rounds; ability to accept a detachable magazine; forward grip; grenade
launcher or rocket launcher; or shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
* All ammunition feeding devices (magazines, strips, and drums) capable of
accepting more than 10 rounds.
* 157 specifically-named firearms.
List of weapons prohibited by name:
Rifles: All AK types, including the following: AK, AK47, AK47S, AK–74, AKM, AKS, ARM, MAK90, MISR, NHM90, NHM91, Rock River Arms LAR–47, SA85, SA93, Vector Arms AK–47, VEPR, WASR–10, and WUM, IZHMASH Saiga AK, MAADI AK47 and ARM, Norinco 56S, 56S2, 84S, and 86S, Poly Technologies AK47 and AKS;
All AR types, including the following: AR–10, AR–15, Armalite M15 22LR Carbine, Armalite M15–T, Barrett REC7, Beretta AR–70, Bushmaster ACR, Bushmaster Carbon 15, Bushmaster MOE series, Bushmaster XM15, Colt Match Target Rifles, DoubleStar AR rifles, DPMS Tactical Rifles, Heckler & Koch MR556, Olympic Arms, Remington R–15 rifles, Rock River Arms LAR–15, Sig Sauer SIG516 rifles, Smith & Wesson M&P15 Rifles, Stag Arms AR rifles, Sturm, Ruger & Co. SR556 rifles; Barrett M107A1; Barrett M82A1; Beretta CX4 Storm; Calico Liberty Series; CETME Sporter; Daewoo K–1, K–2, Max 1, Max 2, AR 100, and AR 110C; Fabrique Nationale/FN Herstal FAL, LAR, 22 FNC, 308 Match, L1A1 Sporter, PS90, SCAR, and FS2000; Feather Industries AT–9; Galil Model AR and Model ARM; Hi-Point Carbine; HK–91, HK–93, HK–94, HK–PSG–1 and HK USC; Kel-Tec Sub–2000, SU–16, and RFB; SIG AMT, SIG PE–57, Sig Sauer SG 550, and Sig Sauer SG 551; Springfield Armory SAR–48; Steyr AUG; Sturm, Ruger Mini-14 Tactical Rife M–14/20CF;
All Thompson rifles, including the following: Thompson M1SB, Thompson T1100D, Thompson T150D, Thompson T1B, Thompson T1B100D, Thompson T1B50D, Thompson T1BSB, Thompson T1–C, Thompson T1D, Thompson T1SB, Thompson T5, Thompson T5100D, Thompson TM1, Thompson TM1C; UMAREX UZI Rifle; UZI Mini Carbine, UZI Model A Carbine, and UZI Model B Carbine; Valmet M62S, M71S, and M78; Vector Arms UZI Type; Weaver Arms Nighthawk; Wilkinson Arms Linda Carbine.
Pistols: All AK–47 types, including the following: Centurion 39 AK pistol, Draco AK–47 pistol, HCR AK–47 pistol, IO Inc. Hellpup AK–47 pistol, Krinkov pistol, Mini Draco AK–47 pistol, Yugo Krebs Krink pistol; All AR–15 types, including the following: American Spirit AR–15 pistol, Bushmaster Carbon 15 pistol, DoubleStar Corporation AR pistol, DPMS AR–15 pistol, Olympic Arms AR–15 pistol, Rock River Arms LAR 15 pistol; Calico Liberty pistols; DSA SA58 PKP FAL pistol; Encom MP–9 and MP–45; Heckler & Koch model SP-89 pistol; Intratec AB–10, TEC–22 Scorpion, TEC–9, and TEC–DC9; Kel-Tec PLR 16 pistol; The following MAC types: MAC–10, MAC–11; Masterpiece Arms MPA A930 Mini Pistol, MPA460 Pistol, MPA Tactical Pistol, and MPA Mini Tactical Pistol; Military Armament Corp. Ingram M–11, Velocity Arms VMAC; Sig Sauer P556 pistol; Sites Spectre; All Thompson types, including the following: Thompson TA510D, Thompson TA5; All UZI types, including: Micro-UZI.
Shotguns: Franchi LAW–12 and SPAS 12; All IZHMASH Saiga 12 types, including the
following: IZHMASH Saiga 12, IZHMASH Saiga 12S, IZHMASH Saiga 12S EXP–01, IZHMASH Saiga 12K, IZHMASH Saiga 12K–030, IZHMASH Saiga 12K–040 Taktika; Streetsweeper; Striker 12.
Belt-fed semiautomatic firearms: All belt-fed semiautomatic firearms including TNW M2HB.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Democracy has advanced across Africa, most visibly in Somalia and South Sudan, during the past four years, according to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. Carson said that when President Obama took office in 2009, few people thought Somalia and South Sudan were on the cusp of a democratic transition.
U.S strategy for Somalia “has turned one of Africa’s most enduring, intractable and seemingly hopeless conflicts into a major success story and a potential model for the resolution of other conflicts,” Carson said at the Wilson Center’s “Africa Rising” program. The Wilson Center is a think tank in Washington.
Somalia fell into chaos in 1991, resulting in the deaths of more than 1 million people and the creation of a haven for terrorists who attacked the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in August 1998.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Carson traveled to Nairobi in early 2009 to meet with the then-president of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. After the meeting, Clinton gave Carson two instructions: “Don’t let the Transitional Federal Government fall and don’t let al-Shabaab win,” according to the assistant secretary.
The United States partnered with the African Union Mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM, to train African peacekeepers from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Sierra Leone to rebuild the Somali National Army and defeat al-Qaida in East Africa and al-Shabaab, Carson said. At the same time, the United States joined with East African partners to advance the political track in Somalia, where a popularly elected
government took office in Mogadishu in 2012.
“Now, for the first time in more than two decades, Somalia has a representative government with a new president, a new prime minister, a new parliament and a new constitution, and the Somali people have … an opportunity for a better future,” Carson said.
The methods used to stabilize and democratize Somalia are a model that the United States will use in other African conflict zones, such as in Mali, Carson said. “This effort was led by Africans, but it enjoyed significant U.S. support,” he said.
A second major accomplishment of the first Obama administration, according to Carson, was to see through a peace process that resulted in the creation of Africa’s newest state, South Sudan, and an end to the continent’s longest running civil war. With forceful U.S. backing, a referendum on South Sudan’s independence was held in 2011, and independence was celebrated in July that year.
In Carson’s assessment, the United States advanced the cause of democracy in less dramatic ways in Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, Guinea-Conakry, Niger, Mauritania and Côte d’Ivoire.
“Our message to those across Africa who have attempted to derail the democratic process has been very clear,” Carson said. “The United States will not stand on the sidelines when legitimately elected governments are threatened or democratic processes are manipulated.”
Carson said prosperity is accompanying democracy across the continent.
“Non-oil-related growth has averaged over 5 percent in Africa over the past five years, and over the next five years, Africa’s average growth rate is likely to surpass that of Asia,” he said. The U.S. government is encouraging U.S. companies to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that exist across Africa and assisting them in doing so, he added.
by Napp Nazworth
Newscast Media NEW YORK—Former President Bill Clinton warned a private gathering of Democratic donors Saturday that Democrats need to stop the condescension toward rural gun owners, and supporting President Barack Obama’s gun control efforts could lead to their defeat in the next election.
“Do not patronize the passionate supporters of your opponents by looking down your nose at them,” Clinton said, according to Politico.
The speech was a joint meeting of the Obama National Finance Committee and a group of business leaders. Though no press were invited to the private event, Politico obtained a transferable ticket by an invited member of the committee.
Rural gun owners, Clinton remarked, “live in a world very different from the world lived in by” those proposing gun control measures. “I know because I come from this world,” added Clinton, who grew up in Arkansas and was governor of that state before becoming president.
Later in his speech, though, Clinton himself made a statement that sounded condescending toward those who live in more rural areas.
“A lot of these people … all they’ve got is their hunting and their fishing. … Or they’re living in a place where they don’t have much police presence. Or they’ve been listening to this stuff for so long that they believe it all,” Clinton said.
An assault weapons ban was passed during Clinton’s first term as president. That law contributed to Democrats losing the House and Senate in the 1994 midterm elections, Clinton reminded the Democratic donors.
One of the mistakes he made, Clinton recalled, was not speaking to the Democratic House members who became vulnerable to defeat because of that law. That decision led to “many sleepless night in the many years since,” Clinton said.
Gun control measures have been renewed since last month’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. The state of New York recently passed some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws under Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. Plus, Obama last week announced a set of executive orders and proposed legislation as part of an effort to reduce gun violence. His proposals included renewing the assault weapons ban that Clinton said he regretted.
Clinton closed his remarks by warning Democrats that they could lose their next election if they go along with Obama’s gun control efforts.
“The only brave people are the people who are going to lose their jobs if they vote with you,” Clinton warned.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The inaugural festivities coincide with Martin Luther King Day celebrated on January 21. MLK Day is a federal holiday, as such banks, federal post offices and other federal agencies will be closed. In addition, the Stock Market will closed. Retail outlets and will conducting business as usual, although public schools will take the day off.
In honor or Martin Luther King, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was built in his honor in Washington, D.C. at the National Mall right opposite the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Memorial.
The King Memorial features a wall with utterances made by Dr. King that have resonated with his admirers even after his death.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Challenges lie ahead for President Obama, who was officially sworn in for his second term Sunday, but more so for Speaker John Boehner, who faces rebellious freshmen congressmen as the House deals with the debt ceiling, automatic spending cuts and government funding over the next few months.
If Congress fails to raise the federal government’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling by the end of next month, the nation will default. By March, action will be needed to avert deep spending cuts to military and domestic programs that were delayed by two months in the fiscal cliff deal. And the nation will face another threat of a government shutdown at the end of March.
As he deals with these challenges, Boehner faces a thinned majority given that Democrats won eight seats last November, and worse, 29 new Republicans can be expected to flout the leadership as they seek fiscal austerity.
Many House Republicans believe that bondholders can be paid off and Social Security checks can be filled even if the nation’s borrowing power runs out. For example, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) calls the default a “fake red herring,” according to The Washington Post. All the president needs to do is “prioritize spending,” he says.
When Boehner sought re-election earlier this month, four of the new Republicans refused to back him. Of a conference of 234 Republicans, 220 supported Boehner during the tension-filled vote on the House floor on Jan. 3. If just five more Republicans had refused to back him, there would have been a second ballot.
Conservatives within and outside Congress were unhappy with Boehner for his handling of the final “fiscal cliff” legislation.
However, some of the newcomers believe Boehner’s re-election despite their votes against him will lead the speaker to be tough with Obama. “Boehner has been too nice of a guy, frankly. The president has not been coming to the table. … He’s the one who’s out to lunch and John Boehner has been too nice,” Politico quoted Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) as saying. Broun feels the speaker will be “very tough” on the president in the coming months.
Besides, Boehner’s decision to have a vote this week on extending the debt limit for three months, with a requirement that both chambers pass a budget in that time or go without pay, will likely placate House conservatives.
“Before there is any long-term debt limit increase, a budget should be passed that cuts spending,” Boehner said in his closing remarks at the Republican Party’s three-day retreat in Williamsburg, Va., which ended Friday. The speaker warned that if a budget resolution is not passed by the two chambers, members of Congress will be prevented from being paid. “We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government’s spending problem,” he said. “The principle is simple: no budget, no pay.”
At the retreat, Boehner sought help from former GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to brief members about the forthcoming battles.
Ryan later told reporters that his party would try its best to ensure that the House goes in for strong deficit-reduction measures. However, the House Budget Committee chairman added, “We also have to recognize the realities of divided government that we have.”
Newscast Media ALGIERS—As French soldiers make advances toward the North in Islamist-held territory, both Russia and Canada have offered to support France’s military intervention in the Mali crisis.
“The deployment towards the north… which began 24 hours ago, is on course with troops inside the towns of Niono and Sevare,” French army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Dosseur told reporters.
Niono is about 350 kilometres north-east of the Malian capital and 60 kilometers south of Diabaly, which was seized nearly a week ago by Islamists and then heavily bombed by French planes.
“There is transportation that will be partly by the Africans themselves, partly by the Europeans and partly by the Canadians…and the Russians have proposed to provide means of transport for the French, so it’s fairly diverse,” Fabius told radio station Europe 1.
Only about 100 soldiers from a planned 5,800- strong African force have so far reached Mali, while France said it has 2,000 soldiers already on the ground.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working together to build a spacecraft that will take a human crew farther into space than ever before. The two agencies finalized an agreement for ESA to provide Orion, NASA’s spacecraft for human exploration, with a module performing critical functions such as propulsion, power generation and storage of crew supplies.
Officials from both agencies talked to reporters about the mission in a news conference January 16 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. NASA Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer said the mission will build on the cooperative multinational space activities that have taken place on the International Space Station.
“A lot of the same experts are working on both sides,” said Geyer. “We get to apply that to this great exploration mission.”
The Orion crew module, being built by NASA, is set for its first test flight in 2014. An uncrewed flight is planned beyond Earth orbit in 2017. The first crew is set to journey into space on Orion by 2021, according to the long-range plan prepared by the U.S. space agency.
Human space flight has not gone beyond low-Earth orbit since the end of the Apollo program, which put the first humans on the moon but ended in 1972. Thomas Reiter, ESA director of human spaceflight and operations, was also on the Houston panel. He said the collaboration between the two space agencies is no mere gesture of political convenience, but an opportunity “to exploit synergies that have been developed in the past and that can be beneficial for reaching common objectives.”
William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration, said the work ahead will be “difficult and complicated,” but also “inspiring.”
While engineers and technicians are working to build the hardware that will propel a crew into space and sustain it there, discussions are still under way about exactly where the crew may be going. Another visit to an unexplored part of the moon, a voyage to an asteroid and, eventually, a trip to Mars are all being considered. Gerstenmaier and the engineering staff are not troubled that the destination is still unclear.
“We’re building a system that will allow us to go explore [multiple destinations],” he said. “We want a system that can actually push human presence out into the solar system and allow us to go to these different destinations.”
From an engineering standpoint, Gerstenmaier said, scientists already know the demands that will be put on the Orion spacecraft and the capabilities that must be built into the craft: the load it can carry, the fuel it will need, and the supplies and resources that must be built into the mission to sustain a crew on a long-term mission.
As the NASA-ESA team works toward the 2017 flight deadline, progress is being made on a number of individual spacecraft components and systems. Geyer said several of these are set for completion in 2013 to be handed over to the team responsible for incorporating them into the launch vehicle.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The US government “strongly condemned” remarks reportedly made by President Mohamad Mursi, almost three years ago when he was a Muslim Brotherhood leader, over Jews, saying the Egyptian leader should repudiate his comments.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that the language Mursi used was “deeply offensive” and that U.S. officials had raised concerns with the Egyptian government on the matter.
According to a video obtained by the New York Times, Mursi urged Egyptians in the year of 2010 to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists.
In a television interview months later, he described Jews as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs,” the newspaper said.
“We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred,” Carney said when asked about Mursi’s comments at the White House daily briefing.
Carney called on Mursi, elected in June after a popular uprising that ousted Egypt’s longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, to “make clear that he respects people of all faiths and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt.”
He noted, however, that Mursi, as president, had worked with the Obama administration to help broker an Israeli-Hamas ceasefire in Gaza late last year and had promised to uphold Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters: “We’ll also judge him by what he says, and we think that these comments should be repudiated and they should be repudiated firmly.”
Source: Al Manar TV
by Jessica Rodriguez
Newscast Media PORTLAND—A laid-off man recently won $1 million after buying some lottery tickets on a whim against his wife’s wishes, in Southern Oregon. After receiving his winnings the man immediately gave a 10 percent tithe to his church. According to reports, Riley Gunn was traveling with his wife and three children to their one bedroom residence when he stopped to purchase some corndogs. It was a rare treat for his family, because after he had been laid off in May they had felt the squeeze on their finances.
So it was even more surprising that Gunn decided at that time to buy some lottery tickets as well. Even though he knew his wife would not approve of such a purchase with their limited cash, he couldn’t resist having a throw of the dice to see if lady luck was on his side.
And it proved lady luck was on his side; his $16 purchase of lottery tickets won him $1 million. He realized he had won as his wife slept, and he shook her awake to confirm he wasn’t imagining it. His skeptical wife told him, “You’d better not be kidding me,” according to The Associated Press.
When the win was confirmed, wife Misti Gunn, 32, couldn’t even bring herself to scream or celebrate, she just sat down staring into space allowing what had happened to sink in. The family’s finances were in such a bad way they even had to borrow money from a friend to drive to Oregon Lottery headquarters to pick up their winnings, according to AP.
After their drive they had to wait 10 minutes outside the HQ offices until it opened, and Gunn has said it was the longest 10 minutes of his life.
Gunn had been laid off in May by a telecommunications company in Reno, Nev. He recalled that when he purchased the winning ticket he and his family were in fact on their way back from registering for winter classes at Rogue Community College, as they were planning to gain degrees in Computer Programming, and Business Management in an attempt to get back into work.
After tax the family received $670,000, of which Gunn immediately gave a 10 percent tithe to his church. Gunn said, “You give back to God what he is giving to you.”
Foot note by Joseph Earnest:
I think the tithe should be 10% of $1,000,000 as opposed to the $670K. Just saying.
Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—This headline has been brought to my attention after the Drudge Report posted it on their Web site. It has to do with a new proposal called the Firearms Protection Act, being introduced by a Texas lawmaker. The Act makes any federal laws that may be passed by Congress or imposed by Presidential order which would ban or restrict ownership of semi-automatic firearms or limit the size of gun magazines, illegal in the State of Texas.
On January 14, Newscast Media presented a two-part argument based on a recent Supreme Court decision showing why banning any modern firearm would be a violation of the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
According to a January 15, article linked by the Drudge Report, Republican Rep. Steve Toth says his measure also calls for felony criminal charges to be filed against any federal official who tries to enforce any new gun restriction rule in the state.
“If a federal official comes into the state of Texas to enforce the federal executive order, that person is subject to criminal prosecution. The bill would make attempting to enforce a federal gun ban in Texas punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to five years in prison,” Toth said. The full article can be read here.
Newscast Media PARIS—As neighboring countries finalize arrangements to send troops into Mali, continued French air strikes have put the Islamist rebels on the defensive. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday said the situation in Mali is “evolving favorably,” and the Islamist rebels were blocked in eastern Mali but “extremely armed men made the west a difficult point for French forces.”
“Our goal is to go back to implementation of Resolution 2085 as quickly as possible so that the African forces and the Malian forces take care of the problem and that there is a political agreement,” France’s UN Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters on Monday as the UN Security Council began talks on the conflict.
Resolution 2085, adopted by the 15-member Security Council in December,authorizes an African-led international military intervention to support Mali in its fight against armed rebels that took control of the country’s north following a coup in March.
During a visit to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said French forces had kept up air strikes against rebels in Mali and pledged to send more troops to the conflict-torn country.
“We will continue the deployment of forces on the ground and in the air. We have 750 troops deployed at the moment and that will keep increasing so that as quickly as possible we can hand over responsibility to the Africans,” the president said.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The biggest debate going on is the debate on gun control that has escalated within the past few weeks. There is talk of Barack Obama using his executive powers to tackle the gun issue, while others wish to see restraint being exercised on this issue. Either way, the debate seems to be driven by emotion, rather than reason or critical thinking. Having waited for weeks without reviewing the ongoing debate, I will now present a judicial review on this subject that has already been settled in the United States Supreme Court.
It would be counterproductive for government to attempt to abrogate well-settled decisions and case law, and also to violate the Constitution’s Second Amendment that public officials swear to protect.
When Barack Obama took the oath of office four years ago, and when he does so again on January the 20th, the following are the utterances made:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Any Executive Order Obama issues that infringes upon the US Constitution’s Second Amendment, would not only be a violation of the oath he took publicly, but also a blasphemy upon the Constitution he swore to preserve, protect and defend.
The Supreme Court presented a very intellectual argument and ruling in 2008 and deconstructed the Second Amendment in regard to the selective banning of firearms in the United States Supreme Court, 554 U. S. ____ (2008)) decision. I will present highlights of the ruling, in simple terms, in a two-part series, using the words of the justices.
The Second Amendment provides: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State (prefatory clause), the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed (operative clause).”
The Second Amendment is naturally divided into two parts: its prefatory clause and its operative clause. The former does not limit the latter grammatically, but rather announces a purpose. The Amendment could be rephrased, “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” See J. Tiffany, A Treatise on Government and Constitutional Law §585,p. 394 (1867)
Logic demands that there be a link between the stated purpose and the command.
Breakdown of the Operative Clause:
(i) Right of the people —We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.
(ii) To keep and bear Arms —The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined “arms” as “weapons of offence, or armour of defence.” 1 Dictionary of the English Language 107 (4th ed.) (hereinafter Johnson).Timothy Cunningham’s important 1771 legal dictionary defined “arms” as “any thing that a man wears for his defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another.”
Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997), and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35–36 (2001), the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.
We turn to the phrases “keep arms” and “bear arms.” Johnson defined “keep” as, most relevantly, “[t]o retain; not to lose,” and “[t]o have in custody.” Johnson 1095. Webster defined it as “[t]o hold; to retain in one’s power or possession.” Thus, the most natural reading of “keep Arms” in the Second Amendment is to “have weapons.” “Keep arms” was simply a common way of referring to possessing arms, for militiamen and everyone else.
At the time of the founding, as now, to “bear” meant to “carry.” See Johnson 161; Webster; T. Sheridan, A Complete Dictionary of the English Language (1796); 2 Oxford English Dictionary 20 (2d ed. 1989) (hereinafter Oxford). When used with “arms,” however, the term has a meaning that refers to carrying for a particular purpose—confrontation. In Muscarello v. United States, 524 U. S.125 (1998).
From our review of founding-era sources, we conclude that this natural meaning was also the meaning that “bear arms” had in the 18th century. In numerous instances, “bear arms” was unambiguously used to refer to the carrying of weapons outside of an organized militia. The most prominent examples are those most relevant to the Second Amendment: Nine state constitutional provisions written in the 18th century or the first two decades of the 19th, which enshrined a right of citizens to “bear arms in defense of themselves and the state” or “bear arms in defense of himself and the state.” It is clear from those formulations that “bear arms” did not refer only to carrying a weapon in an organized military unit.
Meaning of the Operative Clause:
Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right.
*(What the Supreme Court is saying is, the pre-existing right, is the right to self defense).
The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed . . .”