Friday, December 12, 2014

U.S. Navy Allowed to Use Persian Gulf Laser for Defense


By: Sam LaGrone
Published: December 10, 2014 11:47 AM • Updated: December 10, 2014 12:14 P

PENTAGON — The U.S. Navy is has declared an experimental laser weapon on its Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) in the Persian Gulf an operational asset and U.S. Central Command has given permission for the commander of the ship to defend itself with the weapon, the head of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) told reporters on Wednesday.

The 30 kilowatt Laser Weapon System (LaWS) was installed aboard USS Ponce this summer as part of a $40 million research and development effort from ONR and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to test the viability of directed energy weapons in an operational environment, said ONR Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder.

“The captain of that ship has all of the authorities necessary if there was a threat inbound to that ship to protect our sailors and Marines [and] we would defend that ship with that laser system,” Klunder said.
“It would be [used] against those [unmanned aerial vehicles], slow moving helicopters, fast patrol craft.”


House passes full omnibus budget bill despite Democrat revolt – as it happened

Government Spending

Tom McCarthy and Alan Yuhas in New York 
Thursday 11 December 2014 22.10 EST

House Speaker John Boehner supported the omnibus bill. 


We’re going to end our coverage for the night with a summary of the key events in Congress.

The House passed the “cromnibus” bill to fund the federal government for the next fiscal year, avoiding a government shutdown despite a rebellion by Democrats. The final votes tallied to 219-206.

The Senate has until midnight Saturday to take up the bill, thanks to a short-term resolution passed by the House to give it time. Senator Harry Reid said the chamber could take up the bill as early as Friday.

Democrats spent hours in disarray and angry revolt over the inclusion of two riders added to the bill at the 11th hour, one on campaign contribution limits and the second on finance. Members of the party were particularly enraged by the latter, which would insure derivative trading on Wall Street.

The House voted by unusually emotional speeches from Democrats furious with each other, with representatives decrying big banks and exhausted by gridlock in Congress.

Speaker of the House John Boehner rallied Republicans after a minor spat broke out in his own party, as hard right conservatives argued to use the bill as leverage on immigration.

The White House breathed a sigh of relief as a bill it backed passed with bipartisan support, though division among Democrats portends problems for the remainder of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid has announced that the chamber will take up the omnibus bill tomorrow.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

If it’s not OK to spy on senators, is it still OK to spy on citizens?

By Ashe Schow  July 31, 2014

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan admitted Thursday that agency officials acted improperly when they hacked Senate computers, according to the Associated Press.

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the CIA, said, the officials “acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between [the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] and the CIA in 2009.”

Brennan is now apologizing to senators, including Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who accused the CIA earlier this year of possibly violating the Constitution.

“The director … apologized to them for such actions by CIA officers as described in the [Office of Inspector General] report,” Boyd added.

Brennan had initially denied the notion that the CIA was spying on members of Congress, telling NBC host Andrea Mitchell in March that “nothing could be further from the truth.”

At issue is the fact that in January, the CIA hacked into computers used by staffers on the Intelligence Committee to remove documents relating to the committee’s review of government torture policies under President George W. Bush.

The situation brings up another question for civil liberty-minded Americans: Why can’t innocent Americans get the same agreement with the CIA – or the National Security Agency – that the Intelligence Committee received?

More >>>

Sunday, July 20, 2014

China tells U.S. to stay out of South China Seas dispute


By Ben Blanchard 

(Reuters) – China told the United States on Tuesday to stay out of disputes over the South China Sea and leave countries in the region to resolve problems themselves, after Washington said it wanted a freeze on stoking tension.

Michael Fuchs, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Strategy and Multilateral Affairs, said no country was solely responsible for escalating tension in the region. But he reiterated the U.S. view that "provocative and unilateral" behaviour by China had raised questions about its willingness to abide by international law.

China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to contain oil and gas deposits and has rich fishery resources. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also lay claim to parts of the sea, where about $5 trillion of ship-borne trade passes every year.

China’s Foreign Ministry repeated that it had irrefutable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, where most of the competing claims overlap, and that China continued to demand the immediate withdrawal of personnel and equipment of countries which were "illegally occupying" China’s islands.

"What is regretful is that certain countries have in recent years have strengthened their illegal presence through construction and increased arms build up," the ministry said in a statement.

China would resolutely protect its sovereignty and maritime rights and had always upheld resolving the issue based on direct talks with the countries involved "on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law", it added.

More >>>

Sunday, July 6, 2014

After marijuana legalization: Colorado tax revenue skyrockets as crime falls

The State's legalization of marijuana was based mostly on the ability of the state to collect more taxes, and not the social and moral issues of legalization. They got what they wanted and to boot crime is down too. Of course I have never been one to want to throw some one in jail for the possession of a plant. There are much worse drugs society needs to worry about than marijuana. Look for more states to move in this direction as the true health of the nations economy becomes more apparent. - Gary    

Marijuana Tax

By Daniel Wallis

DENVER (Reuters) – At the Native Roots Apothecary, a discreet marijuana shop in a grand old building in Denver’s busy 16th street shopping mall, business is so brisk that customers are given a number before taking a seat to wait their turn.

There are young men in ball caps, nervous-looking professionals in suits, and the frail and elderly. Staff say customers have been flocking to their outlets since Colorado voted to allow recreational pot use for adults from January.

Six months on, Colorado’s marijuana shops are mushrooming, with support from local consumers, weed tourists and federal government taking a wait-and-see attitude. 
Tax dollars are pouring in, crime is down in Denver, and few of the early concerns about social breakdown have materialized – at least so far.

“The sky hasn't fallen, but we’re a long way from knowing the unintended consequences,” said Andrew Freeman, director of marijuana coordination for Colorado. “This is a huge social and economic question.” 
Denver, dubbed the “Mile High” city, now has about 340 recreational and medicinal pot shops. They tout the relaxing, powerful or introspective attributes of the crystal-encased buds with names like Jilly Bean, Sour Diesel and Silverback Kush.

The Negative

On the down side, sheriff's deputies in neighboring Nebraska say pot seizures near the Colorado border have shot up 400 percent in three years, while Wyoming and New Mexico report no significant increases.

More >>>

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Record amount of Americans now disapprove of President Obama.

Simon Black via Sovereign Man blog

According to a new Gallup pole, a record amount of Americans now disapprove of President Obama.
Now, this is nothing new. Presidential approval ratings go up and down, and Mr. Obama has had a long-term slide thanks to… oh, I don’t know… a total avalanche of foul-ups ranging from the Obamacare fiasco to the IRS targeting his enemies to the VA scandal to the intelligence community’s surveillance of the press, et cetera ad infinitum.
But here’s the interesting thing– this poll about the President’s approval rating. It’s about his image– who he is as a person. Do Americans think he’s a trustworthy person with strong character? Nope. Not even close.
In fact, a majority of Americans personally view Mr. Obama unfavorably. Less than half think that he is honest.
vt4ptbywe0ctlgf10m5ttq This pretty much sums it up...
It’s a pretty sad state of affairs, frankly, when the President of the United States cannot even be viewed as an honest person by the constituents that he governs. But more importantly, it signals an end to this system.
Everywhere you look there are signs that the game is resetting. In Europe, the establishment parties have been voted out and politicians are in a panic. In many other parts of the world, all-out revolution is ensuing.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Good Riddance To Rep. Eric Cantor: Bagman For Wall Street And The War Party