Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Approaching The Tribulation (VI). Middle East Updates

Once again, the pertinent news stories are undeniably focused on paving the road towards the Tribulation.

According to a report from MSN, the bill passed in a 28-2 vote, and will require those schools interested in RFID tracking to notify students, parents and the state Board of Education prior to implementing the technology.
RFIDs, or Radio Frequency Identification Devices, have previously seen use in the tracking of cattle and other consumer products but the tracking of American students is a relatively new use case for the technology.
The RFID devices can be embedded within student ID cards or attached to the student’s clothing and could be used to monitor students’ exact location on campus as well as assist in attendance functions.

Though already passed, no schools in Oregon have implemented RFID tracking yet. There are, however, schools in Texas and California that have.

The Defense Department is instructing its employees and contractors not to seek out or download classified material from the public domain that was leaked last week to the Guardian and Washington Post  — material detailing a massive, covert and government-run surveillance program.
According to a Friday memorandum from Timothy A. Davis, DOD security director:
Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites, disclosed to the media, or otherwise in the public domain remains classified and must be treated as such until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. government authority. It is the responsibility of every DoD employee and contractor to protect classified information and to follow established procedures for accessing classified information only through authorized means. Leadership must establish a vigilant command climate that underscores the critical importance of safeguarding classified material against compromise.
Accordingly, we request all DoD components send prompt notification to your employees and contractors reminding them of these obligations. Procedures for responding to classified information found in the public domain are attached. These procedures will be promulgated in future DoD issuances.
A similar edict came down in 2010, when the President Barack Obama administration cautioned federal employees from reading or downloading classified  U.S. diplomatic cables WikiLeaks had disclosed.

Off-duty cops in two counties in Alabama spent the weekend collecting saliva and blood samples from drivers at roadblocks.

According to Lt. Freddie Turrentine with the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, drivers were asked to voluntarily offer samples of their saliva and blood for a study being conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.
The drivers were compensated for their samples.

Turrentine said that St. Clair County had five roadblocks from Friday afternoon through the early morning hours of Sunday. He added that Bibb County also had roadblocks of this kind.
Turrentine said that Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs asked the county to participate and that the funding for the study is coming from the National Highway Safety Administration.
“They are trying to get 75,000 participants with anonymous donations of blood — and they don’t know whose blood or whose swab it is — and they are trying to say, ‘OK, after this hour at night, out of these 75,000 people 10 percent of them had alcohol in their blood or 12 percent of them had some kind of narcotic in their blood. fact, there's a common theme in all of these scandals: Abuse of power. And, what's more, that abuse-of-power theme is what makes the NSA snooping story bigger than it otherwise would be. It all comes down to trust.
The justification for giving the government a lot of snooping power hangs on two key arguments: That snooping will make us safer and that the snooping power won't be abused.

Has it made us safer? Anonymous government sources quoted in news reports say yes, but we know that all that snooping didn't catch the Tsarnaev brothers before they bombed the Boston Marathon -- even though they made extensive use of email and the Internet, and even though Russian security officials had warned us that they were a threat. The snooping didn't catch Major Nidal Hasan before he perpetrated the Fort Hood Massacre, though he should have been spotted easily enough. It didn't, apparently, warn us of the Benghazi attacks -- though perhaps it explains how administration flacks were able to find and scapegoat a YouTube filmmaker so quickly . But in terms of keeping us safe, the snooping doesn't look so great.
As for abuse, well, is it plausible to believe that a government that would abuse the powers of the IRS to attack political enemies, go after journalists who publish unflattering material or scapegoat a filmmaker in the hopes of providing political cover to an election-season claim that al-Qaeda was finished would have any qualms about misusing the massive power of government-run snooping and Big Data? What we've seen here is a pattern of abuse. There's little reason to think that pattern will change, absent a change of administration -- and, quite possibly, not even then. Sooner or later, power granted tends to become power abused. Then there's the risk that information gathered might leak, of course, as recent events demonstrate.

Most Americans generally think that politicians are untrustworthy. So why trust them with so much power? The evidence to date strongly suggests that they aren't worthy of it.

[This one is worth reading in full. Below are just a few random quotes]

It’s starting to seem that with every news cycle, a new Obama scandal is unearthed and brought to the light of day. Any one of the many scandals that have been revealed would be disturbing to anybody with any sense of fair play or desire for good government.
All of them together are making it apparent to the American people that our government is no longer merely corrupt, unethical, and of questionable constitutionality, but has crossed the line into blatant lawlessness, a frank disregard for the rule of law and open contempt for our organic and foundational law.

That’s why we have the 4th amendment. It is specifically there to prevent the government from imposing itself into your private arena, your res privata, and exposing them or using them against you at some later date, without having a very good reason for doing so. The mere suspicion that “somebody, somewhere” might be up to something, so we have to keep fishing until we find it is not enough. It’s what this amendment is designed to protect against. In short, it’s meant to keep the government from treating you and me like criminal suspects when it has no actual evidence that would justify this.

And it’s shameful the way we have let the government get away with reducing what qualifies as “privacy” until it encompasses nothing more than the four walls of your home and the inside of your car. Even if you have a conversation in a public place with another person that both of you intend to be private (whispering, sitting at a private table, etc.), it doesn’t count as private. If you buy something at a store, your transaction is not considered private. If you drive anywhere, you can have a GPS stuck to your car without knowing it, because that’s not “private.” Privacy cannot simply be negated by “being in a public place.” This is ludicrous. Privacy is a function of the inherent right of a person not to have their affairs aired to everyone else, and especially to the government—not of what physical location they happen to be at the moment. Just because someone is at a public place like a restaurant or a city park should not mean that they are considered to be in “the public sphere” and therefore waive their 4th amendment rights simply by being there.

It’s a shame that more Americans are not bothered by the rampant intrusions against our 4th amendment liberties—and these go far beyond the NSA spying we’ve only just learned about. Have we reached a point where the Constitution is optional, not just in the eyes of the government (which has held that view for decades), but also the average American? I sincerely hope not.

Middle East Updates:

 Iran’s supporters and foes alike are mulling a new reality: that the regional balance of power appears to be tilting in favor of Tehran, with potentially profound implications for a Middle East still grappling with the upheaval wrought by the Arab Spring revolts.

“This is an Iranian fight. It is no longer a Syrian one,” said Mustafa Alani, director of security and defense at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Council. “The issue is hegemony in the region.”

An Iran emboldened by the unchecked exertion of its influence in Syria would also be emboldened in other arenas, Alani said, including the negotiations over its nuclear program, as well as its ambitions in Iraq, Lebanon and beyond.
“If Iran wins this conflict and the Syrian regime survives, Iran’s interventionist policy will become wider and its credibility will be enhanced,” he added.

From Iran’s point of view, sustaining Assad’s regime also affirms Iran’s control over a corridor of influence stretching from Tehran through Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut to Maroun al-Ras, a hilltop town on Lebanon’s southern border that offers a commanding view of northern Israel, according to Mohammad Obaid, a Lebanese politicalanalyst with close ties to Hezbollah.

The photocopies of the manual lay in heaps on the floor, in stacks that scaled one wall, like Xeroxed, stapled handouts for a class.
Except that the students in this case were al-Qaeda fighters in Mali. And the manual was a detailed guide, with diagrams and photographs, on how to use a weapon that particularly concerns the United States: A surface-to-air missile capable of taking down a commercial airplane.

The 26-page document in Arabic, recovered by The Associated Press in a building that had been occupied by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu, strongly suggests the group now possesses the SA-7 surface-to-air missile, known to the Pentagon as the Grail, according to terrorism specialists. And it confirms that the al-Qaeda cell is actively training its fighters to use these weapons, also called man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS, which likely came from the arms depots of ex-Libyan strongman Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Pressure is mounting on United States President Barack Obama to begin supplying lethal arms to Syria’s opposition, Arab media reports on Wednesday. Experts warn that failure to do so would spell certain victory for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi writes that the French government is also holding serious deliberations about funding the Free Syrian Army out of fear that the Syrian civil war “may have reached a tipping point.” In recent weeks, Assad’s military has received reinforcements of over 5,000 troops from Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, and unknown numbers of soldiers from the elite Iranian Al-Quds force. These additional forces, combined with expected missile shipments from Russia, could put the Assad government on firm footing in its quest for survival.

According to the Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, Russian President Vladimir Putin regrets that Assad has not instituted political reforms, but cannot see how his fall from power would do anything but throw Syria into further catastrophe.
“The West does not have a clear policy toward the (Syrian) rebel front,” Putin said. “They are affiliated with Al-Qaeda and their rise would bring chaos to the region.”


Caver said...

Me gets the feeling that we're either getting ready to "Vacate" very soon or life is getting to change drastically for those of us in the US.

Hoping for the former, but kind of expecting the latter.

ChristineInCleveland said...

Yea me too Caver... its like there's strong sense something 'catastophic' to the U.S. will happen before summer is over... and Fall is all downhill from there. Only question is, how long will we be sticking around? Hmmm.

Stephen said...

MUB is starting to FALL apart. If
that continues, there WILL be a stock crash. dow down 126 at the bell.

MUB needs to be watched VERY CLOSELY indeed.

It is supplying a MASSIVE number
of new lows to the nyse count.


Stephen >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Caver said...

Stephen, what is MUB? I thought I was a pretty astute investor but that one has me stumped.:duh

Stephen said...

that is the MUNI BOND INDEX....
and IT is in BIG TROUBLE >>>>>>>>>


also, oh oh....


6 13 13

AC revealed ??

who knows ??

Stephen >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Unknown said...

I could not believe this when I read it. To me it just seems to scream that we are getting really close now. One of things tjat has to is the people will return to Isreal, the Holy Land, correct? I remember that well there is an article on it here!
I could not believe it. Am I wrong on this? Please tell me if I am

Scott said...


We are in the last days of the last days. No doubt whatsoever.