by Paul Stanley
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Just in case you were wondering, the Internal Revenue Service tax code dwarfs the Bible in terms of the number of words used and a U.S. Congressman is picking up where others have left off in trying to simplify the rules that tell taxpayers how much they own Uncle Sam each year.
“This report confirms that the code is 10 times the size of the Bible with none of the good news,” said Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House and Ways and Means Committee. “Our broken tax code has become a nightmare of loopholes and special interest provisions that create added complexities and costs for hardworking taxpayers and small businesses.”
“Comprehensive tax reform will make sure everyone is playing by the same rules and help businesses create more jobs and invest in their workers,” Camp said. Depending on the version used there are approximately 774,746 words in the (King James) Bible. However, there are over 4 million words in the tax code that tax lawyers, accountants and taxpayers refer to when they prepare their annual tax return.
To make matters a little more complicated, Congress has made almost 5,000 changes since 2001, or an average of more than one per day since. Although Camp was a little off in his estimate, taxpayers do have a professional advocate whose job it is to make filing their return a little easier.
Nina Olson of the Taxpayer Advocate Service, a nationwide organization of about 2,000 taxpayer advocates, is responsible for submitting two annual reports to Congress and she agrees the code can overwhelm even the more ardent tax professional.
Part of Olson’s job is to assist taxpayers file accurate returns and wade through the volume of rules and regulations.
“If tax compliance were an industry, it would be one of the largest in the United States,” Olson wrote in one of her reports.
“On one hand, taxpayers who honestly seek to comply with the law often make inadvertent errors, causing them to either overpay their tax or become subject to IRS enforcement action for mistaken underpayments,” she said. “On the other hand, sophisticated taxpayers often find loopholes that enable them to reduce or eliminate their tax liabilities.”
And while Camp says he is determined to reform the tax code in 2013, the last time any major changes were made was 1986.
Both Democrats and Republicans consistently talk about tax reform and the more common subjects include eliminating or reducing mortgage and charitable deductions. According to congressional estimates, the most common deductions save taxpayers around $450 billion per year.
The problem, says Olson, is one person’s loophole actually benefits another and that if you eliminate one or more common deductions, it most likely won’t raise enough revenue to make the change worthwhile.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to say to taxpayers, that the special interests are us. It’s not just oil and gas or whatever you want to point your finger at,” she told The Associated Press. “That’s not where the money is.”
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Due to the extended conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo caused by M23 rebels, the US is now ready to send drones to the Great Lakes region of Africa to help UN peace-keeping forces maintain stability. This of course is making leaders of the countries within the region nervous because the unmanned aerial vehicles will also be equipped with surveillance capabilities.
The US wants to take a pragmatic approach by sending in drones which may not be limited to just Congo, but also used in other neighboring countries.
“It is not wise to use a device on which we don’t have enough information,” Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s deputy U.N. ambassador, told Reuters. “Africa shall not become a laboratory for intelligence devices from overseas.”
However, Brieuc Pont, who represents the French government disagrees, and in a tweet he was supportive of sending drones to DR Congo as shown below:
This is news DR Congo’s Joseph Kabila will welcome, because the drones will deter invaders from encroaching on his mineral-rich nation. Yet Rwanda’s opposition to the drone idea is a sign that the Rwandan government feels it might be a target since it has been accused of supporting and arming the M23 rebels according to an article written by The Australian.
Newscast Media CARACAS—The Venezuela Supreme Court has ruled that Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez doesn’t have to attend the inauguration ceremony and can suspend it indefinitely, as he recovers from cancer.
Chavismo opponents argued that the president had lost legitimacy because of his inability to govern the country. However, the seven-member court rejected the argument in a ruling that said, “The oath-taking of the re-elected president can be carried out at a time after January 10 before the Supreme Court, if it is not done on the said day before the National Assembly,” the ruling said.
On Tuesday, Chavez’s deputy and appointed successor told parliament that the president would not be sworn in for a fourth term as planned Thursday, but would take the oath at a later date in the Supreme Court.
Court president Louisa Estella Morales said while reading the ruling that “we know and accept that the swearing-in of the head of state is necessary and will be carried out, but for the moment we do not know when, or where, or how it will be done.”
Morales also rejected opposition calls for a medical team to assess Chavez’s health, saying “there were no merits to convening a medical board at this time.”
Meanwhile, the government is planning a rally outside the presidential Miraflores Palace in Caracas in support of Chavez.
So far, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Uruagayan President Jose Mujica, Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, and the Foreign Ministers Hector Timerman of Argentina and Ricardo Patino of Ecuador have confirmed that they will attend the rally.
Newscast Media SAN FRANCISCO—None of them saw it coming, as Al Gore who has been peddling the “carbon footprints” solution to the green movement, pocketed an estimated $100 million after selling Current TV to Arabian network Al Jazeera. Still reeling from the news, employees at Current TV are in the dark about what will happen to them, now that management has changed hands.
Gore has made fortunes off of the global warming scare. He acquired cult status among liberals who sincerely believed Gore was their champion. He even won a Nobel. While he recommended green energy, he traveled in jet planes known for polluting the environment and the Tennessee Center for Policy Research claimed Al Gore’s mansion uses 20 times more energy than the average American home.
At a speech at National Sierra Club Convention in September 2005, Gore said, “The good news is we know what to do. The good news is, we have everything we need to respond to the challenge of global warming. We have all the technologies we need, more are being developed, and as they become available and become more affordable when produced in scale, they will make it easier to respond. But we should not wait, we cannot wait, and we must not wait.”
Gore sure did not wait for the tax hike to affect his bottom line, so he decided to sell his channel to the Qatari government. Al Jazeera has been struggling to get into American homes, due to licensing issues that make it impossible for the network to broadcast across America. Even after purchasing Current, Time Warner immediately dropped Current TV and said it would not be carrying their programming, dealing a big blow to the currently-state-owned network.
According to the New York Post, Current TV employees say Gore lost all credibility in regard to clean energy, because he sold his company to big oil Qatar. What is interesting is, these are the same liberals who peddle the “pro choice” message.
Doesn’t Gore have the right to sell his company to whomever he wishes? Is it his fault that people foolishly took his word as the gospel truth because they were too slothful to do their own research and see they were being duped? I skipped most of the article and particularly found the comments section interesting.
I tell my readers to question everything, even when I present my content to them, because it is my way of encouraging them to be proactive. Yet some people will digest and assimilate whatever message is being sold to them, and then later complain that they’ve been had. Whose fault? Just ask Gore and his reaction will be identical to the picture above.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C—Navy Medicine announced the launch of a new informational video and poster regarding the health risks and dangers of the synthetic amphetamine known as “bath salts” and other designer drugs. The new media products focus on the dangers of bath salts and are part of the long-term awareness and deterrence campaign Navy Medicine launched last year on synthetic and designer drugs.
According to Navy Medicine psychiatry resident Lt. George Loeffler at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, the adverse health effects from bath salt use can range from lack of appetite to kidney failure, muscle spasms, severe paranoid delusions, and psychosis. Several cases of long-term inpatient hospitalization and suicide have been reported and Loeffler has firsthand experience treating service members at Navy military treatment facilities with these symptoms.
“I would say not just as the naval officer, but as your doctor, bath salts will not only jack up your family and your career, it will jack up your mind and body too,” said Loeffler in the PSA below:
The Bath Salts campaign’s slogan, “Bath salts: It’s not a fad…It’s a nightmare,” reflects the hallucinogenic effect of bath salts, which are a non-regulated designer drug comprised of a synthetic cathinone, or amphetamine, that can have a dangerous or debilitating effect on the user.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of more than 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
Newscast Media CHARLOTTE, N.C—Bank of America Corp has announced a settlement deal with Fannie Mae of $11.6 billion for bad mortgages of nearly a decade’s worth of home loans, as a result of Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. five years ago.
The agreement is also separate from an $8.5 billion foreclosure-abuse settlement between regulators and 10 banks, including Bank of America, additionally announced Monday. That pact is in addition to another settlement reached last February, where five large banks, including Bank of America, agreed to a $25 billion settlement with the Obama administration and 49 state attorneys general.
Under the deal announced Monday, the bank will pay $3.6 billion to Fannie Mae and buy back $6.75 billion in loans that the North Carolina-based bank and its Countrywide banking unit sold to the government agency from Jan. 1, 2000 through Dec. 31, 2008, according to the Washington Post.
In layman’s terms here’s what happened:
(i) Mortgages that were generated over the last decade were bundled together into Mortgage-Backed Securities, and placed into a pool.
(ii) The pools are then placed into a trust called a Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit Trust (REMIC) and a Trustee is appointed to oversee the trust.
(iii) The trustee then hires a servicer whose duty is to collect money on behalf of the REMIC trust, and the servicer is paid a small fee for collecting these monies from homeowners.
(iv) Meanwhile, the Mortgage-Backed Securities are sold on the secondary market as derivatives, which are insured with Credit Default Swaps in case the trust goes under.
(v) The mortgage changes hands as it is bought and sold multiple times on the secondary market throughout the world, making it virtually impossible to identify who owns the loan, due to the use of MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) on the deed of trust. The lack of transparency of MERS prevents anyone from knowing the true and actual owner of the mortgage.
*It is the reason why when you send a “Qualified Written Request” to a servicer asking for the trust documents and the real owner of the loan, in 100 percent of the cases, the servicers cannot provide such information because the loan changed hands multiple times when bought and sold as a Mortgage Backed Security. This practice has clouded the titles of securitized mortgages from 2003-2010.
What went wrong
(vi) The problem with Bank of America and other banks that were sued is that all these mortgages were fraudulent, because the Notes were not transferred into the REMIC trusts. The trusts were empty!
(vii) To prevent the financial collapse, the banks declared the mortgages “toxic assets” and requested bailout money from the government under the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP), to halt a financial collapse. $16 trillion was extended.
According to an audit of the Federal Reserve by GAO (Government Accountability Office) below is some of the money the banks received:
Citigroup: $2.5 trillion ($2,500,000,000,000)
Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)
Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)
Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ($1,344,000,000,000)
Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion ($868,000,000,000)
Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,000,000)
Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ($814,000,000,000)
Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion ($541,000,000,000)
JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,000,000)
Deutsche Bank (Germany): $354 billion ($354,000,000,000)
UBS (Switzerland): $287 billion ($287,000,000,000)
Credit Suisse (Switzerland): $262 billion ($262,000,000,000)
Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ($183,000,000,000)
Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion ($181,000,000,000)
BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ($175,000,000,000)
(viii) The banks receive trillions of dollars, and instead of correcting the defects, they sit on the money, and use some of it to buy up smaller failing banks.
(ix) Investors find out that the Mortgage-Backed Securities weren’t in fact mortgage-backed—they were useless pieces of paper. Lawsuits are filed. Banks settle.
(x) Government teams up with homeowners and whistleblowers reaching a multi-billion dollar settlement with the banks for foreclosure abuse.
The latest settlement between Bank of America and Fannie Mae falls within the sequence of events just described above.
Categories: News Tags: Bank of America class action lawsuit, bank of america foreclosure fraud, bank of america mortgage fraud, bank of america settlement fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, mortgage foreclosure, mortgage fraud, securities and exchange commission, securities fraud
Newscast Media ROME—Pope Benedict XVI has made an urgent appeal to civil and political authorities to work for peace. The Pope’s heartfelt cry came on Monday during his annual address to Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See.
Speaking to representatives of the 179 States that currently have full diplomatic relations with the Vatican, as well as members of numerous international organizations such as the EU, the Order of Malta and the PLO, Pope Benedict emphasized that world leaders have a grave responsibility to work for peace. They are the first – he said – called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family.
The Pope went on to list urgent areas of concern starting with Syria which he described as being “torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population”.
“I renew my appeal for a ceasefire” – the Pope said – “and for the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins”.
Staying with the peacemaking theme, the Holy Father had strong words of preoccupation for the Holy Land where – he said – Israelis and Palestinians must “commit themselves to peaceful coexistence within the framework of two sovereign states”.
Benedict went on to mention Iraq, Lebanon, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the DRC, Mali, the Central African Republic and Nigeria which – he observed – is regularly the scene of terrorist attacks which reap victims above all among the Christian faithful
gathered in prayer.
The Pope also condemned “religious fanaticism” which he said is a falsification of religion itself since religion aims at reconciling men and women with God.
Looking also at signs of promise around the globe, the Pope said that peace building always comes about by the protection of human beings and their fundamental rights. Foremost among these – he stressed – “is respect for human life at every stage”, and in this regard he expressed gratification for a Council of Europe resolution calling for the prohibition of euthanasia.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas—One of the most valuable qualities a person can possess is the ability to understand and get along with people. Regardless what one’s profession may be, one will always have to interact with other people either privately of publicly, yet few people invest in acquiring skills that will enable them to effectively engage in fruitful interactions with others.
I was reading an article this morning that claimed to teach people how to be genuine. It is impossible to teach someone how to be genuine. Either people are genuine, or they are not. There is no in-between —just like a woman cannot be a little bit pregnant. Either she is, or she’s not.
Dale Carnegie said, “Everybody in the world is seeking happiness—and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions. It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy.
It is what you think about it. For example, two people may be in the same place, doing the same thing; both may have about an equal amount of money and prestige —and yet one may be miserable and the other happy. Why? Because of a different mental attitude.”
In a sense Carnegie is talking about the authentic self. It also has to do with putting purpose behind one’s actions and having the right motive for doing something. It is the purity of intention that makes people genuine because the actions do not seem contrived.
Authenticity is sub-communicated. The hallmark of authenticity is being honest with a person’s self. This means deeply examining and taking an inventory of ourselves—something that’s too uncomfortable for many. When we dislike who we are at the core, it is impossible to examine ourselves out of fear of shattering our false personae. We are then forced to wear masks and masquerade through life hiding from
the true selves we are unwilling to confront. We find the truth about ourselves to be nauseating, because of the deeply-seated insecurities that plague our beings. Yet behind all the facade is the desire to feel worthwhile or important, and to a small extent to be likeable.
Some might use social status, material wealth or other superficial means to be validated by others, but this generates an unhealthy outlook within the one seeking acceptance or the need to fit in. It is dependent upon what others think about you instead of how you view yourself.
When I was eight years old in third grade, after our mid-terms we received our grades in science class. I was new at the school, and most of the kids were bright. The teacher always had a habit of calling out our names, and reading the grades in front of the class. When my turn came, he called my name and read my grade, which was an average grade. He then said to me, “Why can’t you be intelligent like your father?”
He then rudely handed me my paper and I went back and took my seat. At the end of the semester, the teacher gave my parents the report card and said, “You have a clever son…but you need to scare him a little to make him more talkative.”
The teacher was surprised that I and two other pupils had tied with the highest grade. I did not let him define me, because at an early age I knew who I was. I also did not raise my hand in class so he assumed I did not know the answers—but when I got the highest grade, he rationalized by once again assuming I was quiet, and needed to be more talkative. Most people who are not good at certain subjects are the way they are because perhaps they believed a teacher or parent who told them they would never be good at that subject. They allowed someone else to define them, and those are the types of people, who as adults, tend to seek validation and the to be accepted. They are afraid to blaze their own trails and instead run with the crowd.
We are all endowed with unique abilities. You are never as good as people say you are, but at the same time, you are never as bad as people would like you to believe. The unique quality I discovered about myself at the age of eight was the ability to recall things in detail. I am still greatly benefiting from this as an adult, especially in recalling specific dates and events. I discovered I could quote entire lectures or paragraphs from textbooks after reading them once or twice. I still took notes so as not to offend my teachers.
True authenticity does not need validation, status or fancy material things. One does not need to learn how to be popular or likeable. Authentic people do things with the right intention, rather than with good intentions. They add value to other people’s lives, instead of being takers. They are whole because they’ve learned to embrace who they truly are, and are in harmony with their very essence and the underlying reason they exist.
Newscast Media ANKARA—A group of 27 US troops has arrived in Turkey to operate NATO Patriot surface-to-air (SAM) missile batteries. At least six of those will be deployed along the country’s border with Syria.
The troops arrived in the southeastern province of Gaziantep on Thursday and were taken to a local hotel by Turkish security forces, local media outlets reported.
Their first task will be to survey the sites where the Patriot missiles are to be deployed, after they are fully delivered.
The US, Germany and the Netherlands agreed to supply the SAM systems after Turkey made the request to its NATO allies. Ankara claimed it needed the weapons to protect itself from a possible attack from neighboring Syria.
The six Patriot batteries are to be deployed near the cities of Adana, Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in December. The batteries will be operated by troops of their respective countries: The US and Germany are sending about 400 troops each, while the Netherlands will have around 360 soldiers manning their Patriot SAMs.
The batteries, consisting of a command post, one radar and up to eight launchers, are expected to arrive in Turkey in late January.
Turkey’s southern neighbor is engulfed in an almost two-year-long armed conflict, as rebels seek to destabilize the security in Syria. Ankara, once an ally of the Arab country, has turned into a supporter of the militant opposition groups.
Source: Al Manar TV News
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Of all the stories that Newscast Media covers, we especially put an emphasis on stories that involve human trafficking, and have been leading the fight to expose this grotesques practice. On January 3, we also front-paged the article, “ICE busts sexual exploitation ring open with 120 victims involved.”
Our mission at Newscast Media is to speak out against oppressed innocence and we are glad the president has also thrown his weight behind this fight and promises to “combat this scourge”, by dismantling trafficking networks and strengthening sanctions on governments that allow human trafficking to occur.
The White House released Barack Obama’s proclamation of January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and as always, Newscast Media gives credit where credit is due. We therefore wish to commend the president for his bold and pragmatic approach in his condemnation of human trafficking, and for the January 2013 proclamation month.
“As Americans, we have long rejected such cruelty. We have recognized it as a debasement of our common humanity and an affront to the principles we cherish. And for more than a century, we have made it a national mission to bring slavery and human trafficking to an end,” Obama said.
“Our commitment to stopping human trafficking does not end at our borders. As a leader in the global movement to combat this scourge, the United States has renewed sanctions on governments that harbor the worst offenders. We have partnered with groups around the world to help men, women, and children escape their abusers…We have aided others in addressing modern slavery’s root causes, and encouraged
nations across the globe to pass comprehensive anti-trafficking laws, enforce them rigorously, and care for survivors,” Obama added.
*Click here to read Obama’s full proclamation from the White House.
Despite the mainstream media’s unwillingness to cover human trafficking stories because they cannot be sensationalized, we are pleased that the policy-makers are paying regular attention to this Web site, and are responding accordingly.
Below are some of the highlights of stories Newscast Media has covered, to expose human trafficking — from the earliest to most recent stories:
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents during an international operation aimed at rescuing victims and targeting individuals who own, trade and produce images of child pornography, identified over 120 victims of child sexual exploitation.
Of that number, 44 children were directly rescued from their abusers and 79 were identified as either being exploited by others outside of their home or are now adults who were victimized as children.
HSI launched Operation Sunflower in November 2012 to commemorate the one-year anniversary in which the identification of a sunflower-shaped highway road sign led to the rescue of an 11-year-old girl in Kansas. Operation Sunflower was executed through the first week of December 2012, but victim identification and rescue efforts continue under HSI’s Operation Predator.
“The sexual abuse of young children, often at the hands of people they trust, is a particular wrong,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Whenever our investigations reveal the production and distribution of new child pornography online, we will do everything we can to rescue the victim and prosecute the abuser even if takes us years or around the world to do it. A relentless fight against child exploitation is the only answer.”
HSI and partner law enforcement agencies arrested 245 individuals during the operation, which took place Nov. 1 to Dec. 7. Of the 123 victims, 110 were identified in 19 U.S. states.
Of the 123 victims identified during Operation Sunflower: five were under the age of 3, nine were ages 4 to 6; 21 were ages 7 to 9; 11 were ages 10 to 12; 38 were ages 13 to 15; and 15 were ages 16 to 17. Twenty-four of the victims identified are now adults who were victimized as children. Seventy were female and 53 were male.
Now, the public’s help is being sought with any leads that can help provide clues in several cases and rescue more victims.
“We applaud our partners at ICE for their worldwide work in identifying these victims of child sexual exploitation and for helping to remove these children from extremely dangerous situations,” said NCMEC CEO John Ryan. “We know that there’s more work to be done. Anyone could know these victims, not knowing that they’re being harmed. They could be your neighbors’ children, your child’s classmate, or even your own child. We thank Director Morton and everyone at ICE for their strong commitment to rescuing the most vulnerable of victims.”
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—After a narrow re-election win for the speakership, John Boehner will serve a second term as House speaker, with a final vote count of 220, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi got 192 votes. Boehner faced opposition from fellow Republicans, some of whom were displeased with the fiscal cliff deal which Boehner voted for.
As he addressed the opening session of the 113th Congress, Boehner said:
“We meet again at democracy’s great port of call. Every two years, at this hour, the Constitution brings a new order to this House. It is an interlude for reflection, a glimpse of old truths.
“Public service was never meant to be an easy living. Extraordinary challenges demand extraordinary leadership. So if you have come here to see your name in lights or to pass off political victory as accomplishment, you have come to the wrong place. The door is behind you.”
Boehner concluded his address by saying: “There is a time to every purpose under Heaven. For the 113th Congress, it is a time to rise. When the day is over, and the verdict is read, may it be said that we well and faithfully did our duty to ensure freedom will endure and prevail. So help us God.”
Newscast Media MOSCOW—The US Senate has unanimously approved a resolution condemning a new Russian law banning US citizens from adopting Russian children and calling on President Vladimir Putin and the Russian leadership to reconsider the measure on humanitarian grounds.
In its resolution, approved in a vote late Tuesday, the Senate affirmed that all children deserve to live in a permanent, protective family and said it valued a “long tradition” of the US and Russian governments working together to find homes for children who have been deprived of their parents.
The Senate also said it “disapproves of the Russia law ending inter-country adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens because it primarily harms vulnerable and voiceless children” and “strongly urges the Russia Government to reconsider the law on humanitarian grounds, in consideration of the well-being of parentless Russian children awaiting a loving and permanent family.”
The Senate resolution noted that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates there are 740,000 children living in Russia without parental care. It also cited data from the Russian Ministry of Science and Education affirming that 110,000 children live in state institutions in Russia.
“Whatever issues our two governments may be facing, there is no political reason to put vulnerable children in the middle of political posturing,” said US Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who authored the resolution and serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about foster care and international adoption issues.
“Children should be raised by parents, not in orphanages, institutions or alone on the street,” she said.
The Russian ban on adoptions by US citizens was signed in response to the Magnitsky Act, an American law signed by President Obama in December which calls for sanctions on individual Russian citizens deemed by the United States to have violated human rights.
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—According to UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, at least 60,000 people have died in Syria since the start of the 21-month civil war in March 2011. Pillay said the figure was “truly shocking.”
Five months of analysis have led UN-backed researchers at Benetech, a non-profit technology firm, to conclude that 59,648 individuals have been killed in Syria between the start of the rebellion on March 15, 2011, and November 30, 2012.
“Given there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013,” Pillay said. “The number of casualties is much higher than we expected and is truly shocking.”
This is the first estimate from the United Nations since May, when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the death toll stood at around 10,000.
The study also reflected an increase in the monthly death tolls, which had averaged about 1,000 per month in the summer of 2011 and soared to more than 5,000 per month, on average, since July 2012.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Tea Party Leaders are expressing outrage and disappointment over the House passing a bill late New Year’s Day that allows President Obama and Congressional Democrats to raise taxes on wealthy Americans with no guarantee of future spending cuts.
“Sadly, our New Year’s predictions have all come true,” said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots. “Congress and the president had all year to do their jobs and be fiscally responsible – and, just like we said they would, they waited until the last possible moment to fail their nation miserably with a ‘fiscal cliff’ scheme to raise taxes and keep overspending.
The issue for those who believe the nation has a spending problem and not a revenue problem suddenly became a nightmare when 85 Republicans in the House joined 172 of their Democrat colleagues in supporting the measure that was sent over in the wee hours of the morning on New Year’s Day.
For the past 17 months the fiscal game of chicken rarely changed. Obama and liberal Democrats demanded higher taxes on families making over $250,000 annually and Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner with some assistance by presidential candidate Mitt Romney, wanted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and reduce spending, especially on the big entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare.
But in the end it was Obama and his team that got Boehner to go off the road as opposed to risk getting blamed for raising taxes on most every American taxpayer.
The final version that President Obama is expected to sign will extend the tax cuts for some taxpayers but individuals making over $400,000 and families over $450,000 will owe Uncle Sam more money in 2013 and beyond. Additionally, estate and capital gains taxes will go up for the same group. The bill also extends jobless benefits for one-year and cuts Medicare reimbursements for doctors.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will add almost $4 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years.
Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation is even more outraged that some Republicans – including Boehner – voted in favor of the bill.
“The Republican Party has now cast itself as the Official Tax Collector for the Great Obamacare State,” Phillips wrote in an email to The Christian Post early Wednesday morning.
“Once again Republicans have surrendered their position of strength and given in to everything the Democrats wanted. This bill punishes Americans with new taxes that go not to reducing the deficit but for even more government spending. Today the Republicans stand under John Boehner’s freshly laundered white flag of surrender and America loses.”
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann was one of those elected in the GOP tidal wave of 2010 that voted against the bill.
“Months ago, the House passed bills that extended tax cuts for all Americans and responsibly dealt with sequestration. Unfortunately, the Senate waited until the final days of the year to look at any solutions. What they produced does nothing more than kick the can down the road on the most serious issue facing our nation.
“As I have long said, we have a spending problem not a revenue problem. The bill sent back to the House not only allowed taxes to increase but increased spending by $330 billion. It was simply something I could not support.”
Although Boehner voted in favor of the bill, his top lieutenants, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California joined Fleischmann and other House Republicans in voting against the measure. House Budget Chairman and 2012 vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin also joined Boehner in voting for the bill.
Martin also applauded members of the House and Senate who voted against the bill and chastised those who voted in favor of the measure, calling on them to step aside.
“The conservatives who stood firm for the principles they were elected to uphold are to be applauded, but those who negotiated this deal and those who went along with it should be ashamed and should consider stepping down. The American people deserve representatives who will do the right thing, even in a crisis.”