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Memorial Day 2012
U.S. markets closed Monday for holiday
Franchitti wins 3rd Indianapolis 500
By Steve Gelsi, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Dario Franchitti won his third Indianapolis 500 race on Sunday in a contest in 90-degree heat that produced a record 35 lead changes.
Franchitti, who started the day in the 16th slot, gained ground on the competition and held off a challenge in the final lap from Takuma Sato, who spun out as he tried to take the lead, to win the race under a yellow caution flag.
Franchitti also won under yellow flags at Indianapolis in 2007 and 2010.
The meaning behind Rolling Thunder
Rolling Thunder isn't a biker gang or a club. It's an organization that supports POW/MIA families while embracing the service that veterans and active duty military have provided to the country. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Rolling Thunder movement.
Rolling Thunder XXV - May 27, 2012
USAA 2012 Memorial Day Ceremony - Courage to Persevere
The USAA's 2012 Memorial Day program starts with a a moving scene with Marine veteran SSgt Tim Chambers at attention in his dress blues, saluting during the "Rolling Thunder" parade in Washington D.C. for the tenth year . . . and doing so voluntarily. Highlights also include inspiring performances of patriotic songs by Angie Johnson, a contestant on The Voice and former Tops in Blue performer; and, country music artist Russ Murphy.
Eisenhower Farewell Address (Full)
President Dwight Eisenhower's Farewell Address
to the nation January 17, 1961
By Paul Craig Roberts - PaulCraigRoberts.org
he US government is the second worst human rights abuser on the planet and the sole enabler of the worst–Israel. But this doesn't hamper Washington from pointing the finger elsewhere.
The US State Department's "human rights report" focuses its ire on Iran and Syria, two countries whose real sin is their independence from Washington, and on the bogyman- in-the-making–China, the country selected for the role of Washington's new Cold War enemy.
Hillary Clinton, another in a long line of unqualified Secretaries of State, informed "governments around the world: we are watching, and we are holding you accountable," only we are not holding ourselves accountable or Washington's allies like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the NATO puppets.
WAR PIGS – THE FALL OF A GLOBAL EMPIRE
By James Quinn - TheBurningPlatform.com
"We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security." -Dwight D. Eisenhower
"How far can you go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?" -Dwight D. Eisenhower
Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of deaths construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds, oh lord yeah!
Black Sabbath – War Pigs
As Americans mindlessly celebrate another Memorial Day with cookouts, beer and burgers, the U.S. war machine keeps churning. As we brutally enforce our will on foreign countries, we create more people that hate us. They don't hate us for our freedom. They hate us because we have invaded and occupied their countries. They hate us because we kill innocent people with predator drones. They hate us for our hypocrisy regarding democracy and freedom. Just when we had the opportunity to make a sensible decision by leaving Iraq and exiting the Middle East quagmire, Obama made the abysmal choice to casually sacrifice more troops in the Afghan shithole. We have thrown over $1.3 trillion down Middle East rat holes over the last 11 years with no discernible benefit to the citizens of the United States. George Bush and Barack Obama did this to prove they were true statesmen. The Soviet Union killed over 1 million Afghans, while driving another 5 million out of the country and retreated as a bankrupted and defeated shell after ten years. Young Americans continue to die, for whom and for what? Our foreign policy during the last eleven years can be summed up in one military term, SNAFU – Situation Normal All F--ked Up. These endless foreign interventions under the guise of a War on Terror are a smoke screen for what is really going on in this country. When a government has unsolvable domestic problems, they try to distract the willfully ignorant masses by proactively creating foreign conflicts based upon false pretenses. General Douglas MacArthur understood this danger to our liberty.
How did we come to be such idiots?
By Walter Allen Thompson
"Why does he act like such an idiot?"
How many times do we ask that question about other people—even about ourselves? There is no shortage of idiots and they are the primary reason it is so difficult (if not impossible) to live on Earth in peace and truth.
....Most governments have failed because they were run by idiots with no regard for God's commandments.
Religions of the world with doctrines other than that which God has promulgated are not valid and will suffer the same fate as failed governments and for the same reasons.
Our problems today arise from people calling upon idols or false gods for answers. We turn to our enemies as if they are our friends. We look to idiots as if they are wise. We treat idiots with honor and treat the wise with contempt. We turn to darkness and live as if it were light. We call upon ruthless idiots to do good when we should know they are incapable of it. The idiots have the authority on earth because we, the idiots, gave it to them.
Right and left are both fighting
to restrict our freedom of movement
By Shikha Dalmia - TheDaily.com
If there was ever any doubt that the totalitarian temptation identified by economist and Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek in his brilliant tract, "The Road to Serfdom," is alive and well (even in the sweet land of liberty), two current crusades of the left and the right ought to put it to rest.
The restrictionist right is deploying ever more draconian methods to chase prospective Americans out of the country, including imposing what some call a "business death penalty." And the tax-and-spend left is devising ever more punitive ways to prevent existing Americans from leaving the country, including imposing a rather ominous exit tax.
Chris Hedges "Brace Yourself!
The American Empire Is Over &
The Descent Is Going To Be Horrifying
January 01, 2012 C-SPAN
Calling Out the CFTC On Silver Market Manipulation
By Theodore Butler - SilverSeek.com
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has been negligent in failing to terminate the obvious manipulation ongoing in silver. Furthermore, the agency may be complicit in this manipulation. Worse, it has lied to the public and elected officials. This all goes back to the time when Bear Stearns was taken over by JPMorgan in March of 2008. It is well known that Bear Stearns went under as a result of a sudden loss of liquidity amidst a run by creditors and customers. What is not well known is that those problems were greatly exacerbated by a $2 billion margin call on silver and gold short positions from the end of December 2007 to March 2008. I believe the silver and gold margin calls were at the heart of Bear Stearns' failure.
Welcome to the Currency War, Part 1:
Iceland and the Tragedy of the Commons
By: John Rubino - SafeHaven.com
Think of devaluation as the monetary equivalent of the "tragedy of the commons". In a nutshell, if everyone owns something, it is in each individual's interest to grab what they can as quickly as possible, which soon depletes the resource.
With currency exchange rates, as with fisheries and sheep pastures, there's an advantage for those who move first and pain for those who dither. Consider Iceland's nearly-instantaneous recovery from its epic banking crash:
Europe's Maquina Infernal has crippled Spain
Spain is spiralling into the vortex of debt-deflation. This has nothing to do with Greece. It is not the result of fiscal extravagance over the past decade, or other such Wagnerian myths.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
The country's collapse is the mathematically certain - and widely predicted - result of ferocious monetary and fiscal contraction on an economy struggling to deal with a housing bust.
Monetary tightening by the European Central Bank caused Spanish real M1 deposits to fall at an 8pc rate in mid-to-late 2011, guaranteeing the crash into double-dip recession that we now see.
For the eurozone, the worst is yet to come
This euro crisis is now getting extremely serious. Events are happening quickly, closing-in on policy-makers and threatening to engulf us.
By Liam Halligan - Telegraph.co.uk
Across the single currency zone, fears are rising and, even in the most moderate nations, populations are becoming more restive. History is locked on fast-forward.
Some say that seemingly arcane economic policy debate doesn't matter. In the UK, in particular, but across much of the rest of Western Europe too, the political and media classes have long displayed a tendency to roll their eyes whenever anybody with even a smattering of economic insight has had the audacity to show it.
Germany to the Euro: Drop Dead
By Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
Fixing the euro crisis isn't that difficult -- at least in theory. In the long run, Europe needs a common treasury to make the common currency work. And in the short run, Europe needs Germany to start paying its workers more.
But neither of these is politically possible. So round and round we go.
Let's back up for a minute. Why do German workers need a raise? The chart below, via Business Insider, shows unit labor costs across Europe since the euro was introduced. It's been a lost decade for German workers.
What Would Greek Exit Mean for the US Economy?
By Reuters via CNBC.com
Uncertainty over the fate of the euro currency is already dampening U.S. economic growth and any significant worsening of the crisis would deal a blow to a recovery that is gradually gathering steam.
Economists estimate that volatile markets and business uncertainty over the fate of Greece and the policy course in Europe is already shaving anywhere from one tenth to one half a percentage point from U.S. 2012 gross domestic product growth.
Ireland's Moment of Fiscal Decision
By Lucinda Creighton - Project-Syndicate.org
DUBLIN – "The construction of Europe is an art," former French President Jacques Chirac once said. "It is the art of the possible." If so, then Europe's deconstruction – or, worse, its collapse – would be a shockingly fearful and painful business.
That was the situation faced by European leaders last autumn. The euro was in serious trouble, buffeted by rumors of imminent banking collapses. Bond yields in southern Europe were rising, and a pervasive sense of apprehension and fear cloaked governments in European capitals. But political leadership was sorely lacking.
Regulators Close Two Banks;
US Bank Closures Reach 15 In 2012
(RTTNews.com) - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. or FDIC, announced Friday the shuttering of two small banks, one each in the states of Georgia and Illinois, taking the count of U.S. bankclosures in 2012 to 15, after 92 in 2011 and the 157 bank closures in 2010. The closures are the fourth in the state of Georgia and the third in Illinois.
Fed's Plosser warns on discretionary policy decisions
By Eva Kuehnen
(Reuters) - The debate over how the Federal Reserve can best articulate its policy actions grew on Friday as a top Fed official warned against discretionary decisions, and asked whether a more systematic approach was desirable.
Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said the financial crisis has tied the hands of many central banks, including the Fed, creating a "conundrum" of near-zero interest rates and a search for new and untested ways to boost economies.
Breaking up Chase: Good for shareholders and taxpayers
Jamie Dimon needs to take a cue from J.P. Morgan's trading debacle and divide the banking giant into manageable pieces.
By Sheila Bair - Fortune.com
FORTUNE – When I was a child, my sister and I loved watching the goings-on at a chicken farm near my grandmother's house in rural Kansas. Chickens are interesting social animals, resembling, somewhat, the way we in Washington interact with one another. They were always on the lookout for one vulnerable bird that they would corner in the coop and then peck relentlessly on its head.
Jamie Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM), is getting his head pecked these days. To be sure, he set himself up for it by very publicly leading the industry chorus of criticism against key financial reforms. He has made many good decisions for his bank, but Chase's recent serious missteps have provided reform advocates with loads of ammunition. I mean, really. Losing $2 billion (and counting) by "hedging" a bond portfolio against losses? What were he and his minions thinking? If Dimon wants to regain his place in the pecking order, he should take the initiative and shrink Chase to a manageable size.
Wall Street Wants Congress
To Roll Back Financial Derivatives Regulations
Nine bills are before lawmakers to undo reforms passed after the financial crash of 2008.
By Taylor Lincoln - AlterNet.org
Revisiting the lessons from deregulating derivatives is particularly important right now because Congress seems to have forgotten them. A report we just issued provides a road map of how derivatives wrecked the economy in 2008 and could do so again if Wall Street gets its way.
Nine bills that would roll back the derivatives reforms created in the wake of the financial crisis are moving in Congress. These proposals, most of which have already passed in committee, have been put forth in the name of furthering the competitiveness of U.S. companies and creating jobs for Main Street. These are quite brazen claims, since deregulating derivatives arguably did more to harm economic competitiveness and job creation than anything Congress has done for a very long time.
How Boaz Weinstein and Hedge Funds Outsmarted JPMorgan
By Azam Ajmed - CNBC.com
Boaz Weinstein didn't know it, but he had just hooked the London Whale.
It was last November, and Mr. Weinstein, a wunderkind of the New York hedge fund world, had spied something strange across the Atlantic. In an obscure corner of the financial markets, prices seemed out of whack. It didn't make sense.
Mr. Weinstein pounced.
As the financial world now knows, what was out of whack was JPMorgan Chase & Company. One its traders, Bruno Iksil, the man later nicknamed the London Whale for his outsize trades, was about to blow a multibillion-dollar hole in the mighty House of Morgan.
JPMorgan's debacle, and its parallels to AIG
By Barry Ritholtz - Ritholtz.com
Last week, the once-future Treasury secretary and current JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon revealed a $2 billion loss. This previously undisclosed derivative trade should be a wake-up call for those claiming that finance has been "reined in" and no longer presents a threat to the global economy.
As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.
Finance has become a low-margin, high-leverage business. This is not surprising in an environment in which trading volumes are exceedingly low and interest rates even lower. In any other industry, a slowdown in economic activity sends management scurrying to cut costs, develop new products, become more productive. In short, to innovate. Companies can throw money at new products, marketing campaigns or discounted pricing, but a slowing economy brings down demand. What we have today is a deleveraging economy, and that is even more challenging — limiting the options that CEOs can take to increase their company revenue.
IPO stands for 'it's probably overpriced'
One big lesson from Facebook: Don't buy new stocks
By Chuck Jaffe, MarketWatch
BOSTON (MarketWatch)—In the past few days, thanks to the initial public offering of Facebook, investors have learned what the letters IPO really stand for: "It's probably overpriced."
Truthfully, the initial public offering process is built and managed to give a predictable pop on opening day, which results in an equally predictable fallback later, which is why chasing after any initial public offering is the Stupid Investment of the Week.
What the Facebook Fiasco
Tells Us About Our Rigged Stock Market
How long will we keep getting Zuckered?
By Lynn Parramore - AlterNet.org
In the wake of the JP Morgan blow-up and the Facebook debacle, Americans are contemplating the stock market with a mixture of alarm and disgust. Both are justified. In world of high-speed trading and other manipulations, the ordinary investor who wants to make money over the long haul can easily get screwed by those playing a short-term game.
On May 18, Facebook went public to relentless mainstream media cheers. As of Thursday, May 24, the stock was down 15 percent of the initial offering of $38 per share. The Internet bubble of 1998-2000 gave us a brutal lesson in what happens when investors shell out gigantic sums for unproven companies. But never mind. Those "rational" creatures neoliberal economists are always going on about -- you know, the kind that operate on "perfect information" -- did what actual humans tend to do. They got overly excited, followed the herd and found out that their information was far from perfect.
Wall Street gets behind the Olympic games
are stepping in to support future Olympians.
By Katie Benner - Fortune.CNN.com
FORTUNE -- The U.S. Olympic Committee needed a better way to raise money. Until recently, direct mail -- the USOC's primary source of private donations -- yields on average a $20 gift from those who donated. "We were raising less in private contributions than the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs," says Patrick Sandusky, a spokesman for the USOC.
To bring in major gifts, the kind of six and seven figure checks that are the lifeblood of most non-profit organizations, the USOC created a contribution-based board of trustees in 2010. Trustees commit $300,000 over a four-year term, as well as the time and energy necessary to host events and raise money. High profile Wall Streeters including Dan Loeb of Third Point and Rick Rieder of BlackRock have volunteered. "The Olympics is about national pride and, at the same time, global unity," says Kevin White, the founder of Spring Hill Capital and one of the USOC's original trustees. "Never in my adult life, have I seen the nation or the world so polarized. But the world will put that aside during the games, and that's a remarkable feat."
Postal Service Offers Buyouts to 45,000 Mail Handlers
By RON NIXON - NYTimes.com
The United States Postal Service said late Friday that it was offering buyouts to about 45,000 mail handlers, part of the financially troubled agency's efforts to cut its staff and reduce its operating costs.
The mail handlers, who work in processing centers, will be offered $15,000 each. The Postal Service has said it will close 48 of the centers starting this summer, reducing the need for staff.
Full-time mail handlers wanting to sign up for the buyouts must do so by July 2 and agree to leave or retire by Aug. 31, according to the agreement reached between the Postal Service and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union. Part-time handlers have until July 16 to make a decision.
The Terrible Truth About Facebook
Think you have any privacy when it comes to a social networking site? Think again. Just take a look at who has invested in the site and open your eyes.
The next Japanese nuclear accident
(it's inevitable) will be even worse
By Robert Cringely - Cringely.com
This is my sixth column about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident that started last year in Japan following the tsunami. But unlike those previous columns (1,2,3,4,5), this one looks forward to the next Japanese nuclear accident, which will probably take place at the same location. That accident, involving nuclear fuel rods, is virtually inevitable, most likely preventable, and the fact that it won't be prevented comes down solely to Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) incompetence and stupidity. Japanese citizens will probably die unnecessarily because the way things are done at the top in Japan is completely screwed up.
Understand that I have some cred in this space having worked three decades ago as an investigator for the Presidential Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island and later wrote a book about that accident. I also ran for 20 years a technology consulting business in Japan.
Michio Kaku warning for 2012-2013
Sun spot intensity warning, peaking in 2012; possible massive disruptions in communications
A Liberal Squeeze Play
By George Will - PatriotPost.us
WASHINGTON -- In one of his characteristic conniptions about people who frustrated him, Theodore Roosevelt, progressivism's first president, said of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, "I could carve out of a banana a judge with more backbone than that." TR was as mistaken about Holmes' spine as are various progressives today about Chief Justice John Roberts'.
They are waging an embarrassingly obvious campaign, hoping he will buckle beneath the pressure of their disapproval and declare Obamacare constitutional. The crucial question is whether Congress exceeded its enumerated power to regulate interstate commerce when it mandated that individuals engage in commerce by purchasing health insurance.
Turn Out The Lights -
The Largest U.S. Cities Are Becoming Cesspools
Of Filth, Decay And Wretchedness
Once upon a time, the largest U.S. cities were the envy of the entire world. Sadly, that is no longer the case. Sure, there are areas of New York City, Boston, Washington and Los Angeles that are still absolutely beautiful but for the most part our major cities are rapidly rotting and decaying. Cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, Memphis, New Orleans, St. Louis and Oakland were all once places where middle class American workers thrived and raised their families. Today, all of those cities are rapidly being transformed into cesspools of filth, decay and wretchedness. Millions of good jobs have left our major cities in recent decades and poverty has absolutely exploded. Basically, you can turn out the lights because the party is over. In fact, some major U.S. cities are literally turning out the lights. In Detroit, about 40 percent of the streetlights are already broken and the city cannot afford to repair them. So Mayor Bing has come up with a plan to cut the number of operating streetlights almost in half and leave vast sections of the city totally in the dark at night. I wonder what that will do to the crime rate in the city. But don't look down on Detroit too much, because what is happening in Detroit will be happening where you live soon enough.
Farmers hit the jackpot in Kansas oil boom
Farmer power forces Big Oil bidding war
By Blake Ellis @CNNMoney
HARPER COUNTY, Kan. (CNNMoney) -- Farmers in Kansas are hitting the jackpot.
But instead of holding the winning lottery numbers, it's all about owning the right piece of land.
In Harper County, Kan., and the surrounding areas along the south central border of the state, oil companies are pinpointing plots of land they think will become drilling hotspots and offering farmers up to $1,250 an acre for the mineral rights that allow them to drill there.
Only a year ago, these same rights were worth about $25 an acre, said Gordon Stull, a lawyer in the town of Pratt, who helps clients negotiate mineral right leases.
Mortgage Delinquencies Rise Slightly in April
The monthly mortgage report for April was released today by Freddie Mac. The report notes a rise of just 0.01% in delinquent mortgage payments for single-family homes and a rise of 0.03% on mortgages for multi-family homes. The April delinquency rate for single-family homes is 2.81%. For multi-family homes the rate is 3.51%.
America's middle-class tax morality
If you listen closely to people's 'tax talk', what you hear is not Tea Party extremism but legitimate anxiety from the squeezed centre
By Jeffrey Kidder - Guardian.co.uk
Years ago, I spent a summer working in a bicycle shop in Tampa, Florida. I had fully paid healthcare and got a weekly bonus for commuting to work by bicycle. These seemingly liberal policies aside, the shop was a hotbed of virulent conservative rhetoric. What surprised me most at the time was how all sorts of rightwing proclamations were prefaced and postscripted with a reference to taxation.
The plight of those without healthcare was trumped by an appeal to keeping taxes low. The need for tighter security at the US-Mexican border was also justified as a fiscal matter. From bike shop workers and customers alike, I repeatedly heard narratives that implied a failure to pay taxes should disentitle someone to public education or even emergency hospital care. In one particularly hyperbolic outburst, one person in the shop rationalized the hypothetical murdering of a household of migrant workers with the comment, "What's it matter? They don't pay taxes."
Heard in More US States: See You in Tax Court!
By Reuters via CNBC.com
Georgia State Representative Allen Peake owns 20 restaurants and this year he took his frustrations with his tax bills to the state capitol, where he helped push through legislation creating a new state tax court.
"I've had several sales tax audits done and disputed them, and never felt I had a fair shake," said Peake, echoing the views of other business owners.
Before Peake's bill passed, Georgia taxpayers challenging state tax authorities had to pay disputed taxes before appealing them. Their appeals would be heard by the same Department of Revenue that levied the tax in the first place. And further appeals could be overruled by the revenue commissioner or heard by a judge without tax expertise.
House to Consider Handing Over
Internet Regulation to United Nations
By Kurt Nimmo - Infowars.com
China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members are backing a proposal to hand over regulation of the internet to the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The House of Representatives will vote on the measure this week. It is reported that the legislation faces an uphill battle.
The proposal would give the United Nations control over cybersecurity, data privacy, technical standards and the web address system. The present system is operated by a "multi-stakeholder" approach that gives control to nonprofits instead of governments.
Larry Strickling, who heads up the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, told The Hill the measure would impose "top-down regulation where it's really the governments that are at the table, but the rest of the stakeholders aren't."
"China, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan jointly submit
Int'l Code of Conduct for Information Security to UN"
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Permanent Representatives of China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to the United Nations jointly sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon here Monday, requesting him to circulate the International Code of Conduct for Information Security as a formal UN document of the 66th session of the General Assembly.
The four ambassadors called on in the letter all countries to conduct further discussions on the Code, drafted by the four countries, under the UN framework in a bid to reach consensus on international norms and rules that regulate states' conduct for information and cyber activities at an early date.
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The Internet is the LAST BASTION OF FREE SPEECH. Don't let Russia and China take it away from Americans, with UN treaty.
H.RES.628 NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT
FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE
Latest Title: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should preserve, enhance, and increase access to an open, global Internet.
Sponsor: Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] (introduced 4/19/2012) Cosponsors (1)
Related Bills: H.CON.RES.114
Buying a Piece of America:
Why Chinese Shoppers Love U.S. Brands
Products from Nike to Apple to Lady Gaga offer a safe way to taste the forbidden fruit of American individualism.
By Tom Doctoroff - TheAtlantic.com
Americans can often carry a somewhat simplistic view of China and the Chinese people. Although apprehensive about the rise of this economic juggernaut and its impact on the American way of life, the images China casts are rooted in the past: dusty, robotic, gray, and ultra conformist.
The Chinese, on the other hand, are fascinated by America, although often perplexed by its inherent contradictions. The United States is both free and unfair, creative and fashion challenged (some Chinese describe blue button-down shirts and khaki pants as our uniform), sporty and grossly overweight, institutionally robust and politically dysfunctional, individualistic and self-deluded (they love to laugh at narcissistic, talent-free American Idol contestants). They are amazed that a nation of 300 million self-starters does not come apart at the seams.
FYI - In case you are unaware of this global agenda...
The Georgia Guidestones:
America's Most Mysterious Monument
Author Raymond Wiley delves into the mystery of the Georgia Guidestones, a massive granite monument located in northeastern Georgia. Marked by engravings written in twelve languages, the Guidestones are the creation of one R.C. Christian, an individual whose real identity remains unknown. Join Raymond for a tour of the Guidestones and a look at the controversy and strangeness surrounding the monument and its (some say) apocalyptic messages to humanity.
U.N. Security Council meets on Syria
Report: Obama to ask Russia to support leadership transition
By Steve Gelsi, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The United Nations Security Council met Sunday to discuss the situation in Syria, where the death toll from an alleged weekend government attack in the town of Houla climbed to at least 109 people, including children, according to reports.
Outrage mounted Sunday and drew finger-pointing from both sides as a six-week-old cease-fire, brokered by the U.N. and the Arab League, came to a bloody end in recent days. .
Syria on Sunday denied blame for killing 32 children and at least 60 adults.
Houla massacre leaves UN plan in tatters
By Roula Khalaf in London and Abigail Fielding-Smith in Beirut - FT.com
The UN-backed peace plan for Syria was in disarray on Sunday after armed rebels said they would no longer abide by a ceasefire and a local network of protesters demanded the departure of UN observers.
The calls came as the UN Security Council unanimously condemned Friday's massacre in Houla near the city of Homs, which left at least 108 people dead, including 49 children and 34 women. The council said civilians had been shot "at close range" and suffered "severe physical abuse".
It was one of the worst atrocities in the regime's campaign to crush a 14-month revolt against Bashar al-Assad's regime.
US condemns Syria massacre
and looks for Russian help to oust Assad
Hillary Clinton harshly condemns Syrian president as Obama reportedly plans to urge Putin to back a transition of power
By Matt Williams in New York - Guardian.co.uk
Secretary of state Hillary Clinton has said the perpetrators of the Houla massacre must be held to account, as she vowed greater international pressure to hound Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from power.
In a strongly worded statement condemning the attack – which left more 90 dead including 32 children – Clinton accused Assad and his cronies of ruling by "murder and fear" adding that the regime must "come to an end".
Joe Biden talks war...
Joe Biden: withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan
allows military to refocus
Speaking to graduates at West Point, Biden lists Obama administration's achievements and rejects criticism from Romney
By Matt Williams and Agencies - Guardian.co.uk
Troop drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan has allowed the US to focus on new global challenges after a decade of war, Joe Biden, the vice-president, said on Saturday.
Speaking to graduates at West Point military academy, Biden countered Republican claims that the administration had been weak on foreign policy, citing the hit on Osama bin Laden and the scaling down of conflicts overseas.
Panetta Says U.S. Now Ready to Attack Iran
By Kurt Nimmo - InfoWars.com
On Sunday U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the United States is "ready from a military perspective'' to attack Iran under the guise of preventing it from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Panetta's comments arrive after the U.S. and members of the United Nations Security Council held talks in Baghdad on Iran's supposed nuclear threat.
"I think it was a complete failure, in terms of content," anIranian diplomat told McClatchy on Friday. "The more they talk, the worse it gets."
Iran has enough uranium for 5 bombs
By Fredrik Dahl
(Reuters) - Iran has significantly stepped up its output of low-enriched uranium and total production in the last five years would be enough for at least five nuclear weapons if refined much further, a U.S. security institute said.
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a think-tank which tracks Iran's nuclear program closely, based the analysis on data in the latest report by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which was issued on Friday.
China-Peru military ties growing stronger
By Kelly Hearn - Special to The Washington Times
LIMA, Peru — Trade between China and Peru, a key U.S. ally in the regional drug war, is at an all-time high. Now the Chinese security apparatus is getting in on the action.
Military officials from Beijing increasingly are making high-level visits, pushing initiatives to protect Chinese nationals and companies here, and, in some cases, undermining U.S. arms deals in order to sell their own weapons to this resource-rich Andean nation.
Last month, for example, the Peruvian Defense Ministry canceled a $114 million contract with a consortium that included U.S. defense manufacturer Northrop Grumman after a Chinese company convinced officials the project did not meet technical specifications.
Russia turns up the nuclear rhetoric
By Charles Clover in Moscow and Geoff Dyer in Chicago
Before Dmitry Medvedev's valedictory speech earlier this month, the outgoing president awarded medals to dozens of Russians, including a theatre director, a policewoman and the chairman of the Russian hockey federation. Then, taking the podium in a glittering Kremlin ballroom, Mr Medvedev declared that Russia's younger generation needed positive role models to inspire them towards "success in literature, art, education, and" – he paused wistfully – "nuclear weapons".
"They may still come in handy," he said, apropos, seemingly, of nothing. "We're not going to use them, but let's still keep them around, because we have a big country, a complex country. We must value it and protect it."
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