Category Archives: USA

Colorado approves retroactive reversal of marijuana convictions

Colorado approves retroactive reversal of marijuana convictions Colorado approves retroactive reversal of marijuana convictions

The Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that residents there convicted of marijuana possession before recreational weed was legalized may be eligible to have those decisions overturned.
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As of January 1, 2014, adults from Colorado are legally allowed to buy up to one ounce of marijuana under the state Constitution’s recently passed Amendment 64. But with upwards of 9,000 marijuana possession cases being prosecuted each year before then, a huge chunk of the state’s population is now left wondering how the newly enacted law impacts previously decided court rulings.

Earlier this month on March 13, the three judges of the state’s appeals panel said that part of an earlier decision in a case against a Colorado woman sentenced in 2011 for marijuana possession should be vacated.

In making their decision, the appellate court wrote that there could be post-conviction relief if “there has been significant change in the law.”

“Amendment 64, by decriminalizing the personal use or possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, meets the statutory requirement for ‘a significant change in the law’ and eliminates and thus mitigates the penalties for persons convicted of engaging in such conduct,” the judges opined.

A spokesperson for Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has since told NPR that the office will likely appeal the court’s latest ruling, but if it stands then it will set the stage for a substantial number of residents to have their convictions reversed.

This month’s ruling doesn’t affect everyone, though. The appeals court weighed in particularly on the case of Brandi Jessica Russell, a Colorado woman who was sentenced in August 2011, to serve two concurrent four-year terms of supervised probation, 192 hours of community service and a suspended sentence of 90 days in jail after being convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana, marijuana concentrate and methamphetamine.

Attorneys for Russell filed an appeal shortly after, but it wasn’t heard by the court system until after Amendment 64 went into effect on December 10, 2012. Since then lawmakers have allowed for the first legal, recreational marijuana dispensaries in the United States to operate across Colorado, and the state is expected to reap millions of dollars in taxes from those sales by the end of the year. And because Russell’s case was still up in the air at that point, the appeals court said her conviction should be tossed.

“Defendant contends that Amendment 64 should be applied retroactively and that her convictions for possession of marijuana concentrate and possession of less than one ounce of marijuana should be vacated. We agree,” the court wrote.

Brian Emeson, an attorney for Russell, told the Denver Post that “It’s a decision that certainly represents the will of the citizens of this state.”

Brian Vicente, a pro-marijuana activist who helped write Amendment 64, told the Associated Press that the ruling was a “huge victory” that could affect hundreds of people who were sentenced to jail terms for petty marijuana offenses in recent years and sought appeal.

Critics of the decision fear that, if not fought, it could open the door for citizens to challenge other convictions unrelated to the drug.

“Well-established retroactivity law in Colorado indicates that statutory changes are prospective only unless the General Assembly or the voters clearly indicted an intent to require such retroactive application,” he said in a statement earlier this month.

Source: RT

FDA considers approval of genetically modified babies

gm baby FDA considers approval of genetically modified babies

As mainstream society inches increasingly further away from the natural order of things, some scientists are busy hatching new methods of human reproduction that employ the same gene-altering techniques used by biotechnology companies like Monsanto. And according to new reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is fully on board with this brave new agenda, having recently met to discuss the future of what the mainstream media is now referring to as genetically modified (GM) human beings.
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A chilling report by The New York Times (NYT) explains that a special FDA advisory committee recently met to discuss the approval of “radical biological procedures” that involve splicing and dicing the genetic blueprint of the human form. Referred to by the FDA as “mitochondrial manipulation technologies,” this disturbing concept, which is already being pushed as a viable fertility option, involves reprogramming the natural process of fetal development to supposedly create healthier babies with lower disease risk.

“The procedures involve removing the nuclear material either from the egg or embryo of a woman with inheritable mitochondrial disease and inserting it into a healthy egg or embryo of a donor whose own nuclear material has been discarded,” writes Marcy Darnovsky in a recent NYT editorial. “Any offspring would carry genetic material from three people — the nuclear DNA of the mother and father, and the mitochondrial DNA of the donor.”

Long-term viability of GM babies completely unknown

The script is essentially the same as it is for GM crops — natural organisms are inherently flawed, and in desperate need of tinkering by Frankenscientists with God complexes who think they have the capacity to improve upon nature. In this case, the goal is to mix and match the “best” eggs with hand-selected nuclear DNA to achieve the most desirable human beings.

But like GM crops and other GM organisms, nobody truly knows the long-term adverse effects of such tampering. As real science continues to peel back the layers of GMO deception, particularly at the crop level, exposing a wake of disease and death caused by human pride and arrogance, faux science continues to push forward with this massive global experiment in reshaping life at the genetic level.

“[T]hese procedures are deeply problematic in terms of their medical risks and societal implications,” adds Darnovsky. “Will the child be born healthy, or will the cellular disruptions created by this eggs-as-Lego-pieces approach lead to problems later on? What about subsequent generations? And how far will we go in our efforts to engineer humans?”

‘High-tech eugenics’ behind push to create ‘perfect’ human race

Despite how little is actually known about the immediate and long-term consequences of re-mapping the human genome, genetic scientists are busily working to achieve what maniacal dictators like Adolph Hitler only dreamed of accomplishing in their ethnic cleansing endeavors. Except, today, this agenda is disguised as “science” for the betterment of humanity.

“If we go down the road of deciding which genes are appropriate and which aren’t, that will never end,” writes one USA Today commenter about the issue. “One day, somebody who supposedly knows better than you will decide that a gene which tends toward a belief in the supernatural [for instance] is inappropriate.”

“In the hands of those who believe they know what is best for the world, they will use this as a way to eradicate such ‘dangerous’ beliefs.”

You can view an FDA announcement about the meeting, which includes contact information for those involved with the decision-making process on this issue, by visiting:
http://www.fda.gov.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.nytimes.com

http://www.fda.gov

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.usatoday.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

TSA spent $1 bln on ‘body language’ program

TSA spent 1 bln on body language program TSA spent $1 bln on body language program

After investing $1 billion in behavior detection techniques and training since 2007, the Transportation Security Administration has little to show for its efforts, the New York Times stated in a new report.
Continue reading «TSA spent http://esearchspot.com/WP/tsa-spent-1-bln-on-body-language-program/ bln on ‘body language’ program»

According to the newspaper, critics of the TSA’s attempt to read body language claim there’s no evidence to suggest the agency has been able to link chosen passengers to anything beyond carrying drugs or holding undeclared currency, much less a terrorist attack. In fact, a review of numerous studies seems to suggest that even those trained to look for various tics are no more capable of identifying liars than normal individuals.

“The common-sense notion that liars betray themselves through body language appears to be little more than a cultural fiction,” Maria Hartwig, a psychologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, told the Times.

The TSA’s body language program has also been critiqued by the Government Accountability Office, which found it to be ineffective and recommended cutting its funding going forward. As RT reported last year, its conclusion was that human ability to read body language was “the same as or slightly better than chance.”

“Available evidence does not support whether behavioral indicators, which are used in the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program, can be used to identify persons who may pose a risk to aviation security,” the GAO report read.

Through a review of various studies dating back over the last 60 years, researchers found that people were only able to pick out liars 47 percent of the time, while attempts to identify people who told the truth were more successful at 61 percent. With an average rate of 54 percent, however, the methods could not be considered effective, especially when accuracy rates fell further in cases where an individual had to rely only on body language – and could not, for example, hear someone speak.

The GAO also disputed the TSA’s claim that its procedures helped single out high-risk passengers more effectively than random screening. Out of more than 30,000 passengers highlighted every year by behavior detection methods, the GAO found that less than one percent were arrested. None of the arrests were in connection to terror plots.

According to Dr. Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago, people in general tend to overinflate their perceived ability to read another person’s body language.

“When you’re lying or cheating, you know it and feel guilty, and it feels to you as if your emotions must be leaking out through your body language,” he said to the Times. “You have an illusion that your emotions are more transparent than they actually are, and so you assume others are more transparent than they actually are, too.”

Source: RT

IP address does not constitute a person, judge rules in copyright suit

IP address does not constitute a person judge rules in copyright suit IP address does not constitute a person, judge rules in copyright suit

A Florida judge has ruled that a copyright holder may not sue a person because their computer was used to illegally download content. It’s the latest in a series of decisions making it more difficult for so-called copyright trolls to sue alleged pirates.
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When a copyright holder – whether it be Warner Bros., Interscope records, or another media company – tries to file suit against internet users who downloaded their content without paying, they generally identify that user with their computer’s IP address. That method of using an IP as the computer’s fingerprint has been a reliable legal method since piracy became commonplace over 10 years ago.

Yet judges have become more familiar with the intricacies of piracy as time has gone on, with a number of recent rulings deciding that an IP address alone is not enough to determine whether someone downloaded something illegally. Florida District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro has become the latest to fall on that side of the issue.

Malibu Media, a pornography distributor that filed more than 1,000 suits in 2013 alone, asked Ungaro to issue a subpoena against a suspected pirate known only by their IP address. The user, “174.61.81.171,” was accused of sharing Malibu Media content without the company’s permission. However, Ungaro pressed the company to explain how they gained the evidence against 174.61.81.171.

According to TorrentFreak, Malibu Media explained that its software was able to ascertain that the downloader was in a residential address and not a WiFi hotspot, meaning they had to be guilty of downloading the movie. Not so, according to Ungaro, who wrote that even if Malibu Media can prove that a specific internet connection was used, that does not prove who was sitting at the keyboard.

Plaintiff has shown that the geolocation software can provide a location for an infringing IP address; however, Plaintiff has not shown how this geolocation software can establish the identity of the Defendant,” she wrote. “There is nothing that links the IP address location to the identity of the person actually downloading and viewing Plaintiff’s videos, and establishing whether that person lives in this district.”

Thus Judge Urgano dismissed the case, marking what could be an important landmark for wrongly accused pirates who could find themselves on the hook for fines in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Even if this IP address is located within a residence, the geolocation software cannot identify who has access to that residence’s computer and who would actually be using it to infringe Plaintiff’s copyright,” she wrote, as quoted by TorrentFreak.

The ruling does not apply to all future cases, although it is the latest in a trend that no longer favors copyright holders. Late last year, Judge Stephanie Rose ruled that a copyright holder may not sue hundreds of suspected pirates in Iowa based only on their IP addresses. Plaintiffs have created such scenarios by asserting that if one person downloads a torrent link, they do so by linking to other users, thereby creating a conspiracy.

Although each plaintiff has alleged that the defendants in each case were in the same swarm based on the same hash value, participation in a specific swarm is too imprecise a factor absent additional information relating to the alleged copyright infringement to support joinder,” the judge wrote, adding that the idea of conspiracy is “implausible at best.”

While more judges seem to be becoming more sympathetic, scores of people will still be forced to reckon with companies like Malibu Media. The company, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, intimidates people into paying thousands of dollars, even if they’re innocent of copying or uploading movies illegally.

Among the titles on that list are many adult films with very embarrassing titles. The lawyers then send a copy of the court filing to the subscriber along with a demand for money,” the digital rights group explained. “The threat is obvious – either pay up, point a finger at a friend of family member, or be named in a public lawsuit as a habitual user of hardcore porn.”

Source: RT

NSA: House bill would lower standards for collecting individuals’ data

Draft bill would allow collection of electronic communications records based only on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion’

US phone data NSA: House bill would lower standards for collecting individuals data
The House intelligence committee is circulating a draft bill that would permit the government to acquire the phone or email records of an “individual or facility” inside the US for up to a year.
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The move by the House intelligence committee’s leadership – the Republican chairman Michael Rogers of Michigan and Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland – would significantly prohibit mass surveillance of all Americans’ phone data, a shift in position by two of the most stalwart congressional defenders of the practice. It comes as the New York Times reports that Barack Obama will propose ending bulk collection.

Obama’s self-imposed deadline on revamping the National Security Agency’s collection of bulk domestic phone data is set to expire on Friday.

The bill, titled the End Bulk Collection Act of 2014 and currently circulating on Capitol Hill, would prevent the government from acquiring “records of any electronic communication without the use of specific identifiers or selection terms,” some 10 months after the Guardian first exposed the bulk collection based on leaks by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

But the bill would allow the government to collect electronic communications records based on “reasonable articulable suspicion”, rather than probable cause or relevance to a terrorism investigation, from someone deemed to be an agent of a foreign power, associated with an agent of a foreign power, or “in contact with, or known to, a suspected agent of a foreign power.”

A draft of the bill acquired by the Guardian proposes the acquisition of such phone or email data for up to a year and would not necessarily require prior approval by a judge. Authorisation of the collection would come jointly from the US attorney general and director of national intelligence.

The NSA or the FBI would not be able to collect the content of those communications without probable cause.

Nor does the House intelligence committee’s draft bill require phone companies or any other private entity to store bulk phone records on behalf of the NSA – a proposal that has met with stiff opposition from the telecom companies. In essence, the draft bill gets rid of bulk collection, but makes it easier for government authorities to collect metadata on individuals inside the US suspected of involvement with a foreign power.

The House intelligence committee proposal represents competition to a different bill introduced last fall by privacy advocates in the Senate and House judiciary committees known as the USA Freedom Act.

That bill, which has 163 co-sponsors in both chambers, does not lower the legal standard for data collection on US persons, and would prohibit the NSA from searching for Americans’ identifying information in its foreign-oriented communications content databases, something the House intelligence bill would not.

A spokesperson for the House intelligence committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Rogers and Ruppersberger have scheduled a press conference on Tuesday morning to discuss what they described in a release as “Fisaimprovement legislation” – a reference to the seminal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which their bill would amend.

While a judge would not necessarily review the collection of a US individual’s phone or email records ahead of time, the House intelligence committee bill would require judicial review of the collection procedures and associated privacy protections to “reasonably limit the receipt, retention, use and disclosure of communications records associated with a specific person when such records are not necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess the importance of such information”.

A telecom or internet service provider could challenge the collection order before the secret Fisa court under the House intelligence committee proposal. The court would also have latitude to reject challenges “that are not warranted by existing law or consists of a frivolous argument for extending, modifying or reversing existing law or for establishing a new law”, and to impose contempt of court penalties for noncompliant companies.

The attorney general and the director of national intelligence would have to “assess compliance with the selection and the civil liberties and privacy protection procedures” associated with the collection every six months, and submit those assessments to the Fisa court and the intelligence and judiciary committees of the House and Senate.

Additionally, and in keeping with an October proposal from Senate intelligence committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California, the House intelligence committee proposal would permit the NSA to continue surveillance for 72 hours on a suspected foreigner’s communications content if that person enters the US.

The House intelligence committee proposal contains provisions embraced by critics of widespread NSA surveillance. It would create a privacy advocate before the Fisa çourt; mandate additional declassification of Fisa court rulings; require the Senate to confirm the NSA director and inspector general.

It also requires annual disclosure of the number of times “in which the contents of a communication of a United States person was acquired under this Act when the acquisition authorized by this Act that resulted in the collection of such contents could not reasonably have been anticipated to capture such contents.”

But in a sign of the continuing contentiousness on Capitol Hill over changes to NSA surveillance, James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican and co-author of the USA Freedom Act, preemptively rejected the House intelligence committee proposal, calling it “a convoluted bill that accepts the administration’s deliberate misinterpretations of the law.

“It limits, but does not end, bulk collection. Provisions included in the draft fall well short of the safeguards in the USA Freedom Act and do not strike the proper balance between privacy and security,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement late on Monday.

On Friday, the Obama administration and the intelligence agencies will face the expiration of a Fisa court order for bulk domestic phone records collection. That expiration represents a deadline imposed by Obama in January for his administration to come to reach consensus on the specific contours of post-NSA phone metadata collection.

According to a New York Times report late on Monday, Obama will propose ending bulk phone data collection and replacing it with individualised orders for telecom firms to provide phone records up to two “hops” – or degrees of separation – from a phone number suspected of wrongdoing. The effort goes further towards the position favoured by privacy advocates than Obama proposed in January. Obama will request the Fisa court bless the current bulk collection program for a final 90-day renewal as he attempts to implement the new plan, the Times reported.

The White House declined to comment on Monday about either the End Bulk Collection Act or the USA Freedom Act.

Source: TheGuardian

Tech giants to press Obama on NSA reform in private White House meeting

 Tech giants to press Obama on NSA reform in private White House meeting

Technology industry leaders were due to question Barack Obama about privacy issues and his progress towards ending the National Security Agency’s collection of bulk telephone data on Friday, in their second White House meeting over Silicon Valley’s surveillance concerns.
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Executives from Facebook, Google and Yahoo were invited by the administration to the private Oval Office discussion amid continued anger over revelations stemming from leaks last June by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Reform efforts in Washington have stalled somewhat since Obama called for the US government to stop collecting domestic phone data in January but suggested an unspecified third party might be able manage the database instead – leaving Congress and the intelligence community locked in a battle over how to proceed.

This has doubly complicated matters for the US technology industry, which fears public surveillance concerns are damaging its international business interests but which has little appetite for replacing the NSA’s role with a private sector database provider.

Friday’s meeting comes just days after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called Obama to express his displeasure with the latest round of NSA revelations. “Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true, full reform,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on 13 March.

Zuckerberg, who was expected to attend the Oval Office event with Google chairman Eric Schmidt, said he had been “confused and frustrated” by reports of the behaviour of the US government. “When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” he wrote.

“The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.”

This week, Rajesh De, the NSA’s general counsel, said all communications content and associated metadata harvested by the NSA under a 2008 surveillance law occurred with the knowledge of the companies – both for the internet collection program known as Prism and for the so-called “upstream” collection of communications moving across the internet.

Executives from Netflix and Palantir, the big data mining company, are also expected to attend the White House meeting, where a major topic of conversation is expected to be the imminent overhaul of how the US collects the phone records of millions of US mobile users.

Obama’s speech in January worried many in the tech and telecoms community, who are concerned that the burden of collecting and keeping that data will merely be passed on to them.

Following Obama’s announcement, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and others said the proposal represented “positive progress on key issues including transparency from the government and in what companies will be allowed to disclose, extending privacy protections to non-US citizens, and Fisa court reform.”

But they said crucial details remain to be addressed and additional steps were needed. Others were more critical. Alex Fowler, head of privacy and public policy at Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser, said Obama’s proposals did not represent meaningful change.

“Overall, the strategy seems to be to leave current intelligence processes largely intact and improve oversight to a degree. We’d hoped for, and the internet deserves, more. Without a meaningful change of course, the internet will continue on its path toward a world of balkanization and distrust – a grave departure from its origins of openness and opportunity,” he wrote in a blog post.

Silicon Valley executives have made clear that they want greater transparency over the government’s collection of their users data and more oversight. But talks seem to have foundered in recent months with tech executives becoming increasingly concerned that little will change.

Source: TheGuardian

Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law

Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law

In Connecticut, tens of thousands of gun owners are believed to be committing felonies by not registering their weapons in compliance with a new state law. Second Amendment advocates, however, say authorities “don’t have the balls” to enforce it.
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Legislation enacted after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT requires that gun owners registered military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines with state officials by the end of last year. But only a few weeks after that deadline came and went, journalist Dan Haar of The Hartford Courant newspaper wrote that as many as 350,000 assault weapons remained unregistered and that “Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals.”

Connecticut Carry, a non-profit organization devoted to protecting the United States Constitution’s right to bear arms, is now daring law enforcement officials to act. The group has previously tried to spread their pro-gun message by selling yard signs with slogans such as “Repeal the 2013 Gun Ban” and through a campaign that resolved around the mantra of “No Guns = No Money.” This week, the organization published a statement denouncing the new-fangled registration rules, while at the same time encouraging authorities to “shit or get off the pot.”

“The anti-gun legislators and officials are scared to implement their tyranny because they know that they did not have any sort of‘consent of the governed,’” reads part of the release.

“Now, State officials look down the barrel of the laws that they created, and it is very probably that they now tremble as they rethink the extremity of their folly. Connecticut Carry calls on every State official, every Senator, and every Representative, to make the singular decision: Either enforce the laws as they are written and let us fight it out in court, or else repeal the 2013 Gun Ban in its entirety.”

infant with gun Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law

When Harr wrote about the upwards of hundreds of thousands of newly-created criminals for the Courant last month, he reached out to State Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford), who acknowledged at the time that, “If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem.”

If Connecticut Carry’s dare can carry any clout, state officials are indeed in for a challenge. Prosecuting upwards of even a few thousand residents who may have been fully law-abiding up until last year is likely to take time and effort, and the maximum sentence of five years that could be imposed against anyone found in violation of the new registration rule would without a doubt leave no room for other criminals inside state prisons should every guilty party end up behind bars.

But more than a year after a lone gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook and killed over two dozen people, not everyone across the state seems to favor a return to more lax firearm laws. Just last week, a local gun dealer in Woodbridge, CT made headlines after the shop’s Facebook page posted an image of an infant child with her hands on a rifle double her own size. After the image began to go viral, the social media administrator for Woodbridge Firearms Trading Post removed the image.

“The fact is, the state does not have the balls to enforce these laws. The laws would not survive the public outcry and resistance that would occur,” Connecticut Carry Director Ed Peruta said in a statement this week.

Should the state chose to act, however, then the gun rights group says they’ve got no more than a few weeks. Connecticut Carry’s statement includes an ultimatum of source demanding that the state legislature “completely repeal these immoral edicts and let the residents of Connecticut return to their rightfully owned property and former exercise of constitutional rights and practices without any threat of State violence” by May 7.

If the laws are enforced, the statement ended, “Connecticut Carry stands ready to do whatever it takes and whatever it can do to represent and defend anyone impacted by the State’s violence.”

“As citizens of Connecticut, we have a right to bear arms. With that right comes responsibility,” added Rich Burgess, the president of the group. “The responsibility to stand in defense of ourselves and our fellow citizens is paramount.”

Source: RT

Rand Paul wants to run for US president and senator at the same time

Rand Paul wants to run for US president and senator at the same time Rand Paul wants to run for US president and senator at the same time

Hoping to fall back on Plan B should his presidential aspirations fizzle, US Senator Rand Paul is seeking legislation that would allow him to run for reelection and for president simultaneously.
Continue reading «Rand Paul wants to run for US president and senator at the same time»

According to the Washington Times, Paul (R-Ky.) has asked Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer to look into proposals that would ensure he can run for both offices at the same time.

“Yes, I am working on clarifying an ambiguous state law that Rand Paul believes is unconstitutional if it is interpreted to bar running for re-election to the Senate and for president at the same time,” Thayer said to the Times on Monday. “The purpose of the bill will be to make clear that Rand Paul or anyone in a similar situation in Kentucky can run for both offices in the same year.”

Paul has been floated as a possible Republican presidential candidate since the end of the 2012 election, and this news suggests the senator continues to explore the possibility of running. He has yet to commit himself to the idea, though just a few months ago he acknowledged he was “seriously thinking about it.”

“The thought has crossed my mind,” Paul said on “Fox News Sunday” in December. “I am seriously thinking about it, but I’m also very serious about family considerations … I’ll just keep doing the things I want to do and, I think, what the people of Kentucky elected me to do. I just am not ready to make a decision yet.”

A law permitting Paul to run for two seats at the same time wouldn’t be completely out of the ordinary. As noted by the Times, politicians in multiple states have done so before, including current Vice President Joe Biden, who was a Democratic senator from Delaware before being elected alongside President Barack Obama.

Still, there’s no guarantee such a proposal would actually pass with support from Democrats, who control the state House of Representatives. State House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) has reportedly said he would not allow such a measure to pass.

As for Paul, the first-term senator has made a name for himself since he first arrived on Capitol Hill as a Tea Party and libertarian favorite. A social and economic conservative, Paul as diverted from traditional Republican positions on defense and civil liberties, where he has criticized the use of drones overseas and the National Security Agency’s bulk surveillance program.

Source: RT

Navy cuts F-35 order nearly in half

Navy cuts F 35 order nearly in half Navy cuts F 35 order nearly in half

As the United States prepares plans to downsize its military, the Navy is set to order fewer Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets than previously expected over the next five years.
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Citing an unnamed defense official, Reuters reported that beginning in the 2015 fiscal year, the Navy will request the purchase of 36 F-35C fighter jets, which are designed to land on aircraft carriers. That’s nearly half as many as the 69 originally projected.

The Air Force, meanwhile, is postponing its own request for four F-35A jets for one year. Beginning in 2016, however, it remains on track to move forward with its purchases as planned, an arrangement that will see the Air Force purchase about 238 jets total.

The Marine Corps stands out as the sole player committed to its original plan, still expected to request 69 F-35B jets over five years. These are scheduled to be combat ready and in use by mid-2015.

According to Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale, the move to purchase fewer jets does not indicate that the military is underwhelmed with the jet’s performance capability, but rather it was based primarily on budgetary considerations. Defense officials told Reuters that the plan is still to purchase a total of 2,443 F-35s over the next few years.

As RT has reported in the past, however, the F-35 project has suffered from some significant obstacles, notably price. The fleet of 2,443 fighter jets is expected to cost $392 billion, a 68 percent increase over original projections from back in 2001. According to the Washington Post, this has led the military to cut back on the number of planes it first expected to purchase by more than 400. Additionally, the Post noted statements by the Pentagon’s chief tester, who in January said the jet “wasn’t sufficiently reliable in training flights last year.”

Other performance and manufacturing setbacks have also hobbled the program as it unfolded. Last year, a Pentagon report found issues with the jet’s internal software, while leaked budget review documents suggested some within the government would consider cancelling the project.

Still, the military has continued to reiterate its confidence in the program’s ultimate success.

“The basic design of the F-35 is sound, and test results underscore our confidence in the ultimate performance that the United States and its international partners and allies value so highly,” Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who heads the F-35 project, said last year. “Of course, we recognize risks still exist in the program, but they are understood and manageable.”

The decision to purchase fewer jets also comes amid reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is planning an overhaul of the US armed forces in order to fulfill President Obama’s goals of scaling back overseas military operations while remaining capable of waging war when necessary. Under Hagel’s proposal, US troop levels would fall somewhere between 440,000 and 450,000, the lowest level scene since World War II.

According to Reuters, the sequester could also come back to affect the F-35 project. Just last week, Hagel said that if Congress does not revoke or somehow deal with the automatic cuts scheduled for the 2016 fiscal year even fewer jets may be bought.

Source: RT

7 OBAMACARE NUMBERS THAT HAVE DEMOCRATS PANICKING

7 OBAMACARE NUMBERS THAT HAVE DEMOCRATS PANICKING 7 OBAMACARE NUMBERS THAT HAVE DEMOCRATS PANICKINGAs the seemingly endless deluge of negative Obamacare developments continue to mount up, the National Journal’s “Hotline” reported on Thursday that “disapproval of the health care law” has “put Democrats on the defensive” heading into the November midterm elections.

Continue reading «7 OBAMACARE NUMBERS THAT HAVE DEMOCRATS PANICKING»

Here are seven Obamacare figures that have Democratic insiders sweating.

1.  56% of uninsured Americans do not like Obamacare.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s recent polling data reveal that 56% of uninsured Americans–the very people whom Obamacare purports to help–do not like Obamacare.

 

2.  According to the Obama administration’s own figures, Obamacare will spike premiums on 11 million small business employees.

A new report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services concluded that two-thirds of small businesses that offer health insurance will pay higher premiums due to Obamacare. That, reports the Washington Post, means 11 million workers can expect their premiums to jump because of Obamacare. Worse for Democrats, because many employers renewed their pre-Obamacare health plans before the end of 2013, many of these rate spikes will be timed to hit beginning in the second part of 2014 right before the November 4 midterm elections.

 

3.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says Obamacare will kill 2.5 million jobs over the next 10 years.

By creating disincentives to work, the CBO says Obamacare will result in a “decline in the number of full-time equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.”

 

4.  Obamacare will cost taxpayers between $1.8 and $2.6 trillion over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that Obamacare will cost American taxpayers $1.798 trillion. The Senate GOP Budget Committee says those figures are based on overly optimistic economic assumptions and scores the real cost at $2.6 trillion.

 

5.  According to the New York Times, 800,000 Obamacare enrollees failed to pay their first premium.

Even as the Obama administration attempts to put a happy face on its low four million enrollees—a figure far removed from its seven million goal–the New York Times says at least 20% of all the people who applied for Obamacare never paid their first month’s premium, thereby rendering them still uninsured.

 

6.  Just 11% of Obamacare customers were previously uninsured.

The purported purpose of Obamacare was to increase health care coverage of uninsured Americans. However, as the Wall Street Journal reported, a McKinsey & Co. study last month found that “only 11% of consumers who bought new coverage under the law were previously uninsured.”

 

7.  Obama reassured Americans at least 36 times that if they liked their health care plan, they could keep their health care plan.

President Barack Obama’s now-infamous promise, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” was named Politifact’s “Lie of the Year.” Obama stated the claim at least 36 times, and several Democrats running in tight races parroted the president’s comments before millions of Americans saw their health insurance plans canceled due to Obamacare. Political ads have already begun hitting voters showcasing Democratic candidates repeating Obama’s ill-fated promise.

Source: Breitbart.com