United Nations Declaration (Articles 1 - 30):

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts

Incoming UN chief names three women to top posts
Nigerian Minister of the Environment Amina Mohammed, seen in 2015, will be the UN's number two official (AFP Photo/Mireya ACIERTO)
Sustainable Development
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Timing of the Great Shift" – Mar 21, 2009 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Text version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013. They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


The Declaration of Human Freedom

Archangel Michael (Via Steve Beckow), Feb. 19, 2011

Every being is a divine and eternal soul living in a temporal body. Every being was alive before birth and will live after death.

Every soul enters into physical life for the purpose of experience and education, that it may, in the course of many lifetimes, learn its true identity as a fragment of the Divine.

Life itself is a constant process of spiritual evolution and unfoldment, based on free choice, that continues until such time as we realize our true nature and return to the Divine from which we came.

No soul enters life to serve another, except by choice, but to serve its own purpose and that of the Divine from which it came.

All life is governed by natural and universal laws which precede and outweigh the laws of humanity. These laws, such as the law of karma, the law of attraction, and the law of free will, are decreed by God to order existence and assist each person to achieve life’s purpose.

No government can or should survive that derives its existence from the enforced submission of its people or that denies its people their basic rights and freedoms.

Life is a movement from one existence to another, in varied venues throughout the universe and in other universes and dimensions of existence. We are not alone in the universe but share it with other civilizations, most of them peace-loving, many of whom are more advanced than we are, some of whom can be seen with our eyes and some of whom cannot.

The evidence of our five senses is not the final arbiter of existence. Humans are spiritual as well as physical entities and the spiritual side of life transcends the physical. God is a Spirit and the final touchstone of God’s Truth is not physical but spiritual. The Truth is to be found within.

God is one and, because of this, souls are one. They form a unity. They are meant to live in peace and harmony together in a “common unity” or community. The use of force to settle affairs runs contrary to natural law. Every person should have the right to conduct his or her own affairs without force, as long as his or her choices do not harm another.

No person shall be forced into marriage against his or her will. No woman shall be forced to bear or not bear children, against her will. No person shall be forced to hold or not hold views or worship in a manner contrary to his or her choice. Nothing vital to existence shall be withheld from another if it is within the community’s power to give.

Every person shall retain the ability to think, speak, and act as they choose, as long as they not harm another. Every person has the right to choose, study and practice the education and career of their choice without interference, provided they not harm another.

No one has the right to kill another. No one has the right to steal from another. No one has the right to force himself or herself upon another in any way.

Any government that harms its citizens, deprives them of their property or rights without their consent, or makes offensive war upon its neighbors, no matter how it misrepresents the situation, has lost its legitimacy. No government may govern without the consent of its people. All governments are tasked with seeing to the wellbeing of their citizens. Any government which forces its citizens to see to its own wellbeing without attending to theirs has lost its legitimacy.

Men and women are meant to live fulfilling lives, free of want, wherever they wish and under the conditions they desire, providing their choices do not harm another and are humanly attainable.

Children are meant to live lives under the beneficent protection of all, free of exploitation, with unhindered access to the necessities of life, education, and health care.

All forms of exploitation, oppression, and persecution run counter to universal and natural law. All disagreements are meant to be resolved amicably.

Any human law that runs counter to natural and universal law is invalid and should not survive. The enactment or enforcement of human law that runs counter to natural and universal law brings consequences that cannot be escaped, in this life or another. While one may escape temporal justice, one does not escape divine justice.

All outcomes are to the greater glory of God and to God do we look for the fulfillment of our needs and for love, peace, and wisdom. So let it be. Aum/Amen.



Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit

Pope Francis arrives for historic first US visit
Pope Francis laughs alongside US President Barack Obama upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, on September 22, 2015, on the start of a 3-day trip to Washington (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)


Today's doodle in the U.S. celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech on its 50th anniversary (28 Aug 2013)

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'

'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America'
The White House released this image, of the building colored like the rainbow flag, on Facebook following the supreme court’s ruling. Photograph: Facebook

Same-sex marriage around the world

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'

Merkel says Turkey media crackdown 'highly alarming'
Reporters Without Borders labels Erdogan as 'enemy of press freedom'

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

UFO Over Olympics Opening Ceremony: A Classic Flying Saucer [VIDEO]

Huffington Post, by Lee Speigel, 07/29/2012

This unusual disc-shaped UFO was captured on video above the
London Olympics opening ceremony.

Talk about an uninvited guest at the Olympics.

Friday night's spectacular pyrotechnics display of the most watched opening ceremony in summer Olympics history attracted more than the eyes of over 40 million people. A clearly seen unidentified flying object was videotaped making its way over London's Olympic stadium, reports Examiner.com.

Watch as the UFO approaches London's Olympic stadium.


The disc-shaped object is first seen entering the upper left portion of the video as the fireworks erupt over the stadium. The UFO -- which appears to have a dome or bulge rising from its center -- moves slowly across the sky as if deliberately observing the light-show spectacle below it.

While NBC Olympics -- a division of NBC Sports -- has chosen Goodyear blimps for all of its 2012 Olympics aerial coverage, the strange-looking object that appeared over the opening ceremonies doesn't appear to be a blimp.

On an evening that included an apparent Queen Elizabeth and 007 agent James Bond parachuting out of a helicopter into the Olympics stadium, most people probably wouldn't have been surprised if a staged UFO was also on the entertainment menu, just two weeks after the U.K. released its most recent batch of UFO documents.

Last month, former Ministry of Defense UFO desk officer Nick Pope suggested that a huge event like the London Olympic Games, could present itself as a prime target for otherworldly craft to show themselves to a gigantic viewing audience.

"With the summer of mass events, we are all on high alert for terrorism. But we must also cast our eyes further afield and be prepared for even the most seemingly unfathomable," Pope said, according to PressTV.

Pope wrote earlier this year of a conspiracy theory rumor that suggested a fake alien attack would be staged at the London Olympics.

"A combination of special effects and holographic technology will be used to create the illusion of an alien invasion, the rumor claims," Pope wrote on TruTV.com.

"If aliens have studied our psychology, they may choose to appear in our skies on a significant date -- the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games is one date being widely circulated by conspiracy groups," PressTV quoted Pope.

Maybe Friday night's UFO appearance was a dress rehearsal.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Romney: US has moral duty to block Iran nuclear plans

BBC News, 29 July 2012

US Presidential Election 2012 

Mr Romney is hoping the visit
will boost his pro-Israel credentials
 with US voters
US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said his country has a "moral imperative" to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Mr Romney, speaking during a visit to Jerusalem, said Iran was the most destabilising country in the world.

He said the US recognised Israel's right to defend itself and that it was right for the US to stand with Israel.

US President Barack Obama has focused on using sanctions to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In his speech in front of Jerusalem's Old City, Mr Romney said Iran's leading ayatollahs were "testing our moral defences".

"They want to know who will object and who will look the other way. We will not look away nor will our country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel."

He said Iran was "the most destabilising nation in the world" and that the US had "a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran's leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions".

'All measures'

Earlier, one of Mr Romney's top advisers, Dan Senor, had said the presidential candidate would respect any decision by Israel to use military force against Iran.

While not directly addressing this, Mr Romney said the US should "employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course."

"It is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so. In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded."

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Romney held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.

He told Mr Peres he shared Israel's concern about the development of Iran's nuclear capabilities, saying: "The threat it would pose to Israel, the region and the world is incomparable and unacceptable."

After his meetings with Israeli officials, he went to Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of Judaism's holy sites.

Mr Romney will be hoping that burnishing his pro-Israel credentials will help him among key constituencies in a tight race with Mr Obama, analysts say.

Mr Romney says Mr Obama has undermined Israel and supported its enemies.

The Republican presidential hopeful also met Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, though not Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

'Islamist winter' fears

While not explicitly ruling out military intervention, President Barack Obama's policy has emphasised non-military means of putting pressure on Iran.

The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell says Mr Romney is highly critical of the international talks taking place which might lead to Iran being allowed to enrich some uranium. Mr Romney wants zero enrichment.

The first leg of Mr Romney's trip, in London, was marred by controversy.

After talking of "disconcerting" signs in London's preparations for the Olympic Games, Mr Romney backtracked and predicted a "very successful" Olympics.

In a photo opportunity before his talks with Mr Fayyad, Mr Romney said the opening ceremony had been "spectacular" and praised the face that for the first time, every country has sent women to compete.




9. It can be no other way—simply, this is the physics that governs life in this universe. As Earth continues apace into successively higher planes, nothing with low vibrations in any form—physical bodies, subversive plans, theft, dishonesty, unjust laws and imprisonment, bigotry, cruel customs and deeds—can survive.

10. Moving on, no, it will not be quite like religions being “totally discarded and replaced by universal laws in the Golden Age.” When the truths come forth that science and spirit are one and the same and that religious dogmas were originated by early leaders of church and state to control the masses, people whose consciousness has risen beyond the constraints of third density will adhere to the spiritual aspects of their respective religions and the devised, controlling aspects will fall by the wayside.

11. One of the truths to come forth is that Zionism, which by dark intent has been made synonymous with Judaism, actually is a bellicose political movement within the Illuminati, and its aim for more than six decades has been to create conflict and instability in the entire Middle East. Zionists, who have wielded powerful influence within and behind major governments and their military forces, do NOT represent the Jewish peoples in Israel or anywhere else. And, like all other Illuminati factions, they have been committed to that cabal’s goal of global domination.

12. Although Semites are of diverse national origins and religions, the Zionists have been successful in convincing many that “anti-Semitic” is exclusively prejudice against the Jewish peoples and opposition to Israel’s right to defend itself from its “enemies.” By means of that blatant distortion, they obtained not only world sympathy, but also massive defense funding from Israel’s allies, most especially the United States, all of which served to increase the Illuminati’s vast profits from their industrial-military machine.

13. In addition to controlling the masses through dogmatic teachings, religions have served the dark purpose of divisiveness to such an extent that it resulted in centuries of trauma and bloodshed. Witness the Crusades, wars between Catholics and Protestants, pogroms against Jews, executions of “blasphemous” individuals who refused to “recant.”  (Read More …)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Libor Fraud Was Happening In 1991, Trader Says, 17 Years Before Timothy Geithner Claims He Knew

The Huffington Post, Mark Gongloff, Chief financial writer, Jul 27, 2012 

Tim Geithner claims he learned of Libor manipulation when the rest of us commoners did, in 2008. New evidence keeps coming out suggesting he should have known much, much earlier.

The latest example -- which puts the earliest time-stamp on Libor manipulation we've seen yet -- is a Financial Times op-ed by former Morgan Stanley trader Douglas Keenan. He claims that Libor, a key short-term bank lending rate that affects mortgages and other interest rates throughout the economy, was being jerked around for fun and profit as long ago as 1991.

Let that sink in for just a minute: Libor was being manipulated 17 years before the financial crisis and Geithner's babe-in-the-woods discovery of it, according to Keenan. Geithner wasn't in charge of the New York Fed at the time, but if this was widespread knowledge years before his arrival, it makes you wonder how he could not have heard about it for so long.

Now here's another Keenan allegation that will blow your mind. He notes that the guy running Morgan Stanley's rate-trading desk back then was none other than Bob Diamond. Yes, the same Bob Diamond that ended up becoming Barclays CEO, only to step down because his bank manipulated Libor like most people change socks.

Keenan doesn't say he has any evidence that Diamond was some sort of Libor-manipulatin' Ninja back in 1991. But Keenan does say that it was widespread knowledge even then that banks lied habitually about Libor.

He found this out when, in his early days on the trading desk, he noticed that Libor fixings -- set by a panel of banks, who declare, on a hilarious honor system, what their borrowing costs are -- were noticeably different from what financial markets predicted they should be:

Futures contracts on three-month Libor were -- and are -- traded on the London International Financial Futures Exchange (Liffe, now part of NYSE Euronext). There was a standard contract for the month of September. That contract had its rate settled on the third Wednesday of the month, at 11 o'clock.
In 1991, I had live trading screens that showed the Libor rates. In September of that year, on the third Wednesday, at 11 o'clock, I watched those screens to see where the futures contract should settle. Shortly afterwards, Liffe announced the contract settlement rate. Its rate was different from what had been shown on my screens, by a few hundredths of a per cent.

That few hundredths of a percentage point doesn't sound like a very big deal, but it adds up, day after day after day, on hundreds of trillions of dollars' worth of loans and derivatives contracts. Keenan says it was costing him money on his trades, and he complained to Liffe about it, getting nowhere.

Then he complained about it to his new buddies on the trading desk, who all laughed and laughed at him (emphasis mine):

I talked with some of my more experienced colleagues about this. They told me banks misreported the Libor rates in a way that would generally bring them profits. I had been unaware of that, as I was relatively new to financial trading. My naivety seemed to be humorous to my colleagues.

Imagine how hilarious Tim Geithner's naivete must seem to them! He had, after all, been in charge of the New York Federal Reserve since 2003. That organization runs point in the financial markets for the Fed and thus has intimate knowledge of and involvement in interest rates, including Libor. New York Fed officials talk all the time to people in the market. Somewhere along the way you might think they'd have heard about Libor manipulation.

In fact, they definitely heard about it at least once, in 1998, from Fed analyst Jeremy Berkowitz, who wrote a paper raising alarms about the accuracy of Libor and the ease with which it could be manipulated. Anecdotes in his paper dated back to 1996.

As Business Insider's Simone Foxman wrote, the report "suggests that the Fed was already ... concerned about the effects of inaccurate reporting by banks about their lending practices ten years before the financial crisis. Further, acknowledgments that a very small contingent of banks potentially could manipulate rates suggests that the Fed may very well have seen this coming."

And yet somehow Geithner only found out about Libor manipulation in 2008, a decade later.

This is an extraordinary missed opportunity, if it's true. Although it's hard to imagine what Geithner would have done about Libor manipulation had he learned earlier, considering his "actions" after his late discovery of it. He apparently didn't tell British regulators that the New York Fed had direct evidence that Barclays had admitted to not submitting an "honest" Libor. He didn't raise alarm bells in the market about the possibility that Libor was not accurate. He didn't tell U.S. banks to cool it with the Libor fraud.

What's more, he allowed Libor to be used in loans to banks under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility and to American International Group, rubber-stamping Libor's legitimacy and potentially costing taxpayers millions, if not billions, of dollars.

Geithner's response raises questions about just how cozy he and other regulators have been with the banks they're supposed to be regulating -- and makes it even harder to believe his claim of utter cluelessness about Libor manipulation before 2008.




Saturday, July 28, 2012

CNN president resigns amid worst ratings in decades

RT.com, 27 July, 2012

Jim Walton, president of the CNN News Group of Turner
Broadcasting System, Inc. (Reuters/Fred Prouser)

CNN President Jim Walton revealed on Friday that he will leave the network after three decades effective the end of this year, an unexpected departure that follows an announcement that the station is seeing its worst ratings since the early 90s.

Walton will walk away from CNN after spending 30 years building the business up. He’s overseen their operations as president for the last decade, but announced in an email to his staff this week that both CNN and himself need to start working towards something new.

`I've been doing this job I'm in now for 10 years and I'm ready for a change,” Walton writes. “CNN needs new thinking. That starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through. And I’m ready for a change. I have interests to explore and I want to give myself time to do it.”

Walton’s announcement made headlines immediately after he broke the news, but although his decision was unexpected, isn’t an unusual maneuver given the network’s waning ratings. CNN’s US channel experienced its worst ratings ever for a second quarter recently, with some of its shows seeing viewership drop by as much as 41 percent. The network was extensively revamped their shows during the last year, installing Piers Morgan as a prime-time host and shuffling two of its hallmark anchors, Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer, into new time slots and shows, and recruiting CNBC TV personality Erin Burnett after more than five years at one of CNN’s top competitors.

In a statement responding to the negative polling, CNN issued a press release last month saying, “As a news organization our ratings reflect the news environment much more so than the other networks. That said, we always want higher ratings but not at the expense of nonpartisan, quality journalism.”

On his decision to leave, Walton says that “There's always pressure” and acknowledges the network’s failures as of late.

"I've been doing this a long time and CNN has had its ups and downs, like all companies have had ups and downs. I feel really strongly about a number of parts of this company. We're having a really strong year internationally and in mobile. It's clear there's a lot of spotlight on CNN's U.S. performance and it's reasonable that there is that spotlight."


"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.)

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.)

Amazon's Jeff Bezos backs US gay marriage law

BBC News, 27 July 2012

Related Stories 

Same-sex marriage laws are attracting
 wealthy supporters on both sides of
the political spectrum
The founder of Amazon.com and his wife are donating $2.5m (£1.6m) to defend a gay marriage law passed in the US state of Washington.

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are the latest wealthy backers, joining Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and co-founder Bill Gates, who each gave $100,000.

Washington is one of four states facing a November referendum on gay marriage.

The law, due to come into effect on 7 June, was put on hold after a petition to vote on Referendum 74 succeeded.

Opponents gathered more than 240,000 signatures in a bid to overturn the law signed in February by Governor Chris Gregoire.

Same-sex marriage is legal in eight US states and the District of Columbia.

The laws are being challenged in Washington and Maryland. The state of Maine is voting to reinstate gay marriage laws that were passed but later overturned, and Minnesota is considering a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Previous gay marriage laws or constitutional amendments have been defeated in 32 state elections across the US.

But President Obama lent his support earlier this year, saying he was now in favour of same-sex weddings.

'Tipping point'

A campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage called the Bezos donation a "game-changer" in their fight to keep the law in place.

"They understand what's at stake for Washington families and what's at stake for the country," Zach Silk told the Associated Press.

"We're at a tipping point, and they really understand this is an historic moment, and they want to be on the right side of history and want to make history."

The law is opposed by Preserve Marriage Washington, a group which says on its website that "marriage is a unique institution that is profoundly in the common good", their website says.

Washington voters will be asked to vote "yes" to uphold the law or "not" to overturn it.

Mr Bezos, 48, is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 15th wealthiest person in the US, with a personal fortune of $18.4bn as of March 2012.

Meanwhile, a group of pro-Republican hedge fund managers have also given money to the campaigns supporting same-sex laws in the four states that are to vote in November, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Among them are Dan Loeb, a major shareholder of Yahoo; and Paul Singer, founder of Elliott Management and a notable Republican Party donor. They are reported to have supported Freedom to Marry, a group in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, the newspaper says.

They are also said to have contributed to American Unity, a political committee founded by Mr Singer, that gives financial backing to Republicans running for Congress who support same-sex marriage.



Newsweek cover: Obama 'first gay president' - The accompanying story
is by Andrew Sullivan, a conservative writer who is gay, who recounts how
he was moved to tears when Obama endorsed gay marriage in an interview
last week with ABC News. (USA Today, May 14, 2012))

Friday, July 27, 2012

Carl Lewis on Mitt Romney: 'some Americans shouldn't leave the country'

US Olympic legend criticises Republican presidential hopeful for questioning whether London is ready for Games

guardian.co.uk, Nicholas Watt, Friday 27 July 2012

Carl Lewis, who won nine Olympic gold medals, countered Mitt Romney's
 remarks by saying: 'Of course London is ready.' Photograph: Can Nguyen/
Rex Features

Mitt Romney has been rebuked by the US Olympic legend Carl Lewis after the presumptive Republican presidential nominee questioned whether London was fully prepared for the Olympic Games.

As Romney was mocked on US television and by the London mayor, Boris Johnson, in front of a crowd of 60,000 people, Lewis called on him to return home.

"Seriously, some Americans just shouldn't leave the country," the nine-times Olympic gold medal winner told the Independent.

Asked whether London was ready to stage the Games, Lewis said: "Of course London is ready."

Romney stumbled into a diplomatic disaster on the first stage of his first official overseas visit as the presumptive Republican nominee when he told NBC there were "disconcerting" signs that London was ill-prepared for the Olympics.

An irritated David Cameron slapped Romney down by saying that Britain was staging the Games in a "bustling" city and not "in the middle of nowhere". This was intended as a light-hearted reference to the Salt LakeWinter Olympic Games, which were famously rescued by Romney in 2002. Some in Whitehall said his performance on the diplomatic stage was more woeful than Sarah Palin's four years ago.

Romney tried frantically to row back on Thursday as he said the Games would be a great success. But the damage had been done.

Romney was teased remorselessly on US television. The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC ran the story as #romneyshambles – a reference to the phrase omnishambles from political comedy The Thick of It. The stand-in presenter opened the show saying: "Let's just be honest here. Today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day to be Mitt Romney. Even if you consider yourself the staunchest Mitt Romney supporter out there, you probably have to admit that today did not go exactly according to plan. The kick-off of Mitt Romney's big overseas trip has kind of been a disaster."

On Friday morning, the UK culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, referred to Romney's gaffes when he was asked about London's readiness for the Games. Hunt told the ITV show Daybreak: "The person I care about more is Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, who said London was the best-prepared city he had ever seen.

"When we have the opening ceremony tonight and we tell the world that eight of the world's top 10 sports were either invented or codified in Britain – and only two in America – I hope Mr Romney is watching."

And Boris Johnson, the London mayor, joined in when he mocked Romney at a rally in Hyde Park on Thursday evening. "There are some people who are coming from around the world who don't yet know about all the preparations we've done to get London ready over the last seven years. I hear there is a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we are ready."

Johnson then asked whether London was ready. As the crowd cheered, the mayor declared: "Yes we are. The venues are ready, the stadium is ready, the aquatic centre is ready, the velodrome is ready, the security is ready, the police are ready, the transport is ready and our Team GB athletes are ready.

"There will be more gold, silver, bronze medals than you need to bail out Greece and Spain together."

As Johnson piled the pressure on Romney, the Republican was at the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park for a fundraiser in central London on Thursday night. The dinner was estimated to have raised at least $2m for his campaign, according to the New York Times.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

House passes Ron Paul's 'Audit the Fed’ bill

RT.com, 25 July, 2012

Ron Paul (T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images / AFP)

A bill introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to audit America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, passed the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly Wednesday afternoon by a 327-98 vote.

Paul’s ongoing efforts to call for increased transparency in the Federal Reserve have become a hallmark of his tenure in Congress and of his current campaign for the presidency.

Rep. Paul is still vying for the GOP nomination and intends to speak at the Republican National Convention in Florida next month. And although Paul has as recently as this week refused to endorse presumptive party nominee Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor has supported the congressman’s proposal to audit the Fed.

"Ron Paul's 'Audit The Fed' bill is a reminder of his tireless efforts to promote sound money and a more transparent Federal Reserve," Romney writes on his official Twitter page.

During the Wednesday afternoon vote in Washington, D.C., Paul received backing from all House Republicans but one, as well as support from 89 congressional Democrats.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), was among those on the opposing party of Paul’s that still saw reason to support the bill. "The Fed creates trillions of dollars out of nothing and gives it to banks,” Rep. Kucinich said before Wednesday’s vote. “Congress is in the dark. The Fed sets the stage for the subprime meltdown. Congress is in the dark. The Fed takes a dive on LIBOR. Congress is in the dark. The Fed doesn’t tell regulators what is going on. Congress is in the dark.”

"It is time for us to bring the Fed into the sunshine of accountability," the democratic congressman continued.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) was one of those opposed to the bill, saying that passing it “increases the likelihood that the Fed will make decisions based on political rather than economic considerations, and that is not a recipe for sound monetary policy.”

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve has said that, although the Fed is “quite transparent and accountable on monetary policy,” there was room for improvement. Speaking to the House Financial Service Committee last week, Bernanke said the agency still “needs to be transparent and it needs to be accountable,” even though he believes that his quarterly projections and press conferences already allow the central bank to be relatively open with Americans.

Although Wednesday’s vote was a success for the congressman’s efforts to bring added transparency to the Fed, his fight for an audit doesn’t end here. Next the bill will be brought to the Senate for a vote, where it is not expected to pass. If it does clear both sides of Congress, however, it will then be sent to the desk of President Barack Obama to sign into law.


Chicago Politician Will Ban Chick-fil-A From Opening Restaurant After Anti-Gay Comments

ABC News, by Alyssa Newcomb, July 25, 2012

Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno has blocked a Chick-Fil-A restaurant
 from opening in his ward following anti-gay marriage remarks by the
restaurant's president, Dan Cathy. (SIPA/Newscom)

A Chicago politician said he will block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in his ward, following anti-gay marriage remarks by the fast food chain's president.

Alderman Joe Moreno, who represents Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood, plans to use his aldermanic privilege, a Chicago tradition in which City Council members defer to aldermen on local matters, to block the restaurant's permit.

"It's a very diverse ward-- economically, racially, and diverse in sexual orientation," Moreno told ABCNews.com. "We've got thriving businesses and we want more but at the very least don't discriminate against our LGBTQ folks."

Moreno is not alone in standing up to the fast food restaurant, whose president Dan Cathy came under scrutiny after he told the Baptist Press he was "guilty as charged" when it came to supporting "the biblical definition of the family unit."

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino sent Cathy a letter informing him "There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it."

The Jim Henson Company also severed ties with the establishment and have donated their earnings from making toys for the chain's kids' meals to the gay support organization GLAAD.

But the businessman's comments have become a rallying point for conservative politicians who see them differently.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee organized a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" for Aug. 1.

"The goal is simple: Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1," Huckabee wrote on Facebook.

As of this afternoon, more than 117,000 people had indicated they'd participate in the event.

Sen. Rick Santorum said on Twitter today that he was eating lunch at Chick-fil-A with five of his children.

"Enjoying chick-in-strips and an awesome peach shake at Chick-fil-A. See you here next Wednesday!" he tweeted.

In Chicago, residents in Moreno's ward have expressed mixed opinions that the fast food restaurant won't be coming to their neighborhood. Moreno does have the support of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.

"Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty," Emmanuel said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune.

Moreno said he had been working with "Chick-fil-A" for nine months to address traffic issues the restaurant could create. During that time, he said he also worked "behind the scenes" to address the company's alleged support of anti-gay organizations and brought in the Civil Rights Agenda, an LGBTQ group, to help create a dialogue.

"We were making, I thought, some progress, until [Dan Cathy] comes out swinging. That basically sunk our discussions," he said.

Chick-fil-A did not respond to ABCNews.com's request for an interview. The chain does have a store in Chicago and numerous outlets in its suburbs.

Moreno said if the fast food chain wants to open a location in his ward, than they're going to have to make amends.

"They should be in the business of selling chicken, not promoting a political philosophy," he said. "If they want to come out with an anti-discrimination policy, put it in their employee handbook, post it in their restaurants…then we can have a discussion."

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A does about $4 billion in annual sales, according to its website, which states that the purpose of the chain is to "glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

US officers tell Congress that general blocked probe of hospital in Kabulaf

House hears of abuses that went uninvestigated because commanding officer allegedly feared 'bad news' getting out

guardian.co.uk, Karen McVeigh in New York, Tuesday 24 July 2012

One complainant said Lieutenant General William Caldwell had partisan
motives  in postponing any investigation until after the 2010 election.
Photograph: US navy/Reuters

The American general who led a Nato training mission in Afghanistan opposed an investigation into corruption and "Auschwitz-like" conditions at a US-funded hospital in Kabul for political reasons, US military officers told Congress on Tuesday.

One active-duty officer testified that the three-star general, Lieutenant General William Caldwell, who headed the training mission in Afghanistan, forced him to retract a request for an inspector general's investigation into the Dawood national military hospital.

Colonel Mark Fassl, said he was shocked when Caldwell brought up the 2010 congressional elections and said: "How could we do this or make this request with an election coming? He calls me Bill." Fassl, who was inspector general for the compound, said he believed it was a reference to President Barack Obama.

Two retired colonels who worked with training command also told the House oversight and government reform committee that Caldwell did not want an inspector general's report of the hospital. In testimony submitted ahead of the hearing, retired Colonel Gerald Carozza, who served as adviser to the US campaign in Afghanistan, said: "The evidence is clear to me that General Caldwell had the request for a probe [into the hospital] withdrawn and postponed until after the election and then, after the election, tried to intimidate his subordinates into a consensus that it need to move forward at all."

He went on: "The general did not want bad news to leave his command before the election or after the election."

At the hearing, officers described the extent of human suffering at the hospital, where the lack of care forced families of soldiers to empty "vats of blood draining from their wounds". When asked to describe the scene at the hospital, Fassl said it lacked basic facilities. Hygiene was poor and the hospital lacked soap, heat and the means to boil water, he said.

"There were open vats of blood draining out of soldiers' wounds, there was faeces on the floor. There were many family members taking care of their loved ones. The family members were emptying these vats of blood to help their patients out."

Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Afghan soldiers often died from neglect or lack of food as some Afghan doctors and nurses demanded bribes for food. Fassl said he had expected Caldwell to insist on going to the hospital to find out what was going on.

Fassl said: "When I think about what we were trying to do in Afghanistan, which is build the army and police corps, how could we allow this type of suffering to go on when we should be showing the Afghan citizens that their soldiers matter?"

Caldwell is now head of the US army north command and senior commander of Fort Sam Houston in Texas. Colonel Wayne Shanks, spokeman for the command, said: "I am sure that Lieutenant General Caldwell would welcome the opportunity to respond to any inquiry, and I'm confident that once the facts are presented and examined, all allegations will be proven false."

'A dog and pony show'

At the hearing, the military officers spoke of the lack of discipline and rule of law that informed corruption in Afghanistan on a grand scale which prevented them from realising their mission. One committee member described as "the most honest and unvarnished assessment of Afghanistan that Congress has ever heard".

A memo written by another committee witness, retired air force colonel Schuyler Geller, a command surgeon attached to the training mission, confirmed poor treatment and corruption and that Caldwell did not want an inspector general's investigation.

Geller told the hearing that when military officials came to visit the hospital they got a "dog and pony show" that covered up the abuse.

Caldwell eventually agreed to request a limited investigation, but Carozza said it "would not mention the Auschwitz-like conditions at the national military hospital".

Committee officials said the inspector general has now opened two investigations in response to complaints over the response of Caldwell and a deputy, now Major General Gary Patton.

One concerns the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, which stops commanders from restricting subordinates' communication with the inspector general. The second involves allegations of reprisal from a complainant who alleged that Caldwell and Patton cited partisan reasons for requesting postponement of an investigation until after the 2010 elections.

Carozza said the committee should be considering a broader issue than conditions at the hospital. "What this hearing should about are attempts to over-control the message," he said in his testimony. "It is about some leadership that puts the best foot forward and relies on the hard built reputation earned by the military to soften any belief that there is a need to see the other foot."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Washington AIDS summit heralds 'turning point'

Deutsche Welle, 22 July 2012



As researchers say they have reached a turning point in the battle against the virus, more than 21,000 attendees were expected at an International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. starting this week.

It's a calling card that many have come to expect. Ahead of this year's International AIDS Conference in Washington, scientists believe they have truly arrived at a turning point.

Not only does this 19th gathering of experts in the field of HIV/AIDS research come soon after the American approval to allow the use of an HIV treatment drug as a prophylactic - but it also comes as some say they can see the first glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel.

"For the first time, I have a feeling that we're at the end of the AIDS epidemic," says Dr Diane Havlir, a doctor at San Francisco General Hospital and a co-chair of the XIX International AIDS Conference.

Turning the tide

Starting Sunday, researchers and other interested parties were gathering for a week of meetings and presentations.

"Turning the Tide Together" is the motto of this year's conference - it's a motto that reflects Havlir's own efforts in the battle against AIDS.

Havlir has researched and worked with HIV-infected patients since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

She says she has good reason for her new found hope.

"Over the past three years, there has been a series of breakthroughs in HIV research that will help us significantly reduce the number of new infections and deaths from AIDS," says Havlir.

The world's top HIV/AIDS researchers are gathering in the US capital,
Washington

Drugs can now prolong life for longer and some can even prevent infection - up to a point. The US Food and Drug Administration this week approved the drug Truvada for preventative use. In tests, the drug reduced the risk of infection by up to 75 percent.

Protection against infection will be a major focus for the 25,000 participants at this year's conference.

New medicines, tests and treatments, as well as the ongoing search for a vaccine - and ultimately, a cure - will be discussed in workshops and panels consisting of researchers, doctors, policymakers and those living with the virus.

As financial crises continue around the world, participants will also debate new ways to finance HIV/AIDS research.

"It's necessary to have continuous investments in times when the US and other countries face major financial challenges," says Chris Collins, vice president of amfAR, a US foundation for AIDS research.

Still an upward battle

Some fear the issue has lost its urgency in public debate.

"AIDS has largely disappeared from the radar in the US and abroad," says Havlir. "We are aware of this problem but it currently doesn't receive the attention for us to take the necessary measures."

About 30 million people have died from AIDS worldwide.

Currently, 34 million people are known to be HIV-positive, but only 6 million are being treated - it's a number that Havlir hopes will soon double.

Meanwhile, Deborah von Zinkernagel, coordinator of the US AIDS Imitative in the US State Department praises the collaboration with African states.

"One example is South Africa where the government and civil society are very committed because they realize what impact the epidemic has on their country, but we also observe this in other countries such as Namibia and Botswana," says von Zinkernagel.

The so-called war on AIDS is also a war for human rights around the world.

In 2009, US President Barack Obama lifted a travel ban which had stopped HIV-infected people from entering the country. This, in part, has allowed the bi-annual conference to return to the US after an absence of 22 years.

Author: Christina Bergmann / jrb
Editor: Zulfikar Abbany