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Canada's Anti-Prostitution Laws Struck Down By Supreme Court - AP/HuffPo

Canada's Anti-Prostitution Laws Struck Down By Supreme Court
12/20/13 10:11 AM ET EST


OTTAWA (AP) — Canada's highest court has struck down the country's prostitution laws in their entirety in a unanimous 9-0 ruling.

The high court on Friday struck down all three prostitution-related laws: against keeping a brothel, living on the avails of prostitution, and street soliciting.

The ruling is a victory for sex workers seeking safer working conditions because it found that the laws violated the charter guarantee to life, liberty and security of the person.

But the Supreme Court of Canada decision also gives Parliament a one-year reprieve to respond with new legislation.

Ontario's Appeal Court previously struck down the ban on brothels on the grounds it exposed women to more danger.


Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/20/canada-anti-prostitution-law_n_4480105.html

N.S.A. Dragnet Included Allies, Aid Groups and Business Elite - NYT

N.S.A. Dragnet Included Allies, Aid Groups and Business Elite
Published: December 20, 2013


Secret documents reveal more than 1,000 targets of American and British surveillance in recent years, including the office of an Israeli prime minister, heads of international aid organizations, foreign energy companies and a European Union official involved in antitrust battles with American technology businesses.

While the names of some political and diplomatic leaders have previously emerged as targets, the newly disclosed intelligence documents provide a much fuller portrait of the spies’ sweeping interests in more than 60 countries.

Britain’s General Communications Headquarters, working closely with the National Security Agency, monitored the communications of senior European Union officials, foreign leaders including African heads of state and sometimes their family members, directors of United Nations and other relief programs, and officials overseeing oil and finance ministries, according to the documents. In addition to Israel, some targets involve close allies like France and Germany, where tensions have already erupted over recent revelations about spying by the N.S.A.

Details of the surveillance are described in documents from the N.S.A. and Britain’s eavesdropping agency, known as GCHQ, dating from 2008 to 2011. The target lists appear in a set of GCHQ reports that sometimes identify which agency requested the surveillance, but more often do not. The documents were leaked by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden and shared by The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel.

The reports are spare, technical bulletins produced as the spies, typically working out of British intelligence sites, systematically tapped one international communications link after another, focusing especially on satellite transmissions. The value of each link is gauged, in part, by the number of surveillance targets found to be using it for emails, text messages or phone calls. More than 1,000 targets, which also include suspected terrorists or militants, are in the reports.

It is unclear...


More: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/21/world/nsa-dragnet-included-allies-aid-groups-and-business-elite.html

Janis Saw It Early...

Ladies And Gentlemen... The Dixie Chicks, 'Not Ready To Make Nice' - And I TOTALLY AGREE !!!

Fuck... Another Hero Down The Tubes... Must Want His Chops Back...

Hours after a White House-selected expert panel presented President Barack Obama with strongly-worded recommendations to rein in the National Security Agency, a member of the panel told ABC News that he still believes the man who exposed the NSA’s vast surveillance operations is guilty of “high crimes.”

“What Mr. [Edward] Snowden did is treason, was high crimes, and there is nothing in what we say that justifies what he did,” said Richard Clarke, a former White House counter-terrorism advisor and current ABC News contributor. “Whether or not this panel would have been created anyway, I don’t know, but I don’t think anything that I’ve learned justifies the treasonous acts of Mr. Snowden.”

Clarke was part of a five-person panel that spent months studying top secret information about the NSA’s foreign and domestic surveillance operations before Wednesday giving Obama 46 recommendations
to change the way the secretive agency monitors the world. Perhaps the most drastic among them, the panel said the NSA should stop its years-long practice of vacuuming up so-called telephony meta-data on the phone calls of millions of Americans.

The panel determined that practice was “not essential to preventing [terrorist] attacks” and presented a “lurking danger of abuse.”

Link: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/white-house-nsa-panel-member-snowdens-leaks-treasonous/story?id=21277856

File This Under: So What Else Is New? - Pentagon Waste, Fraud, And Abuse...

Army general’s report defends decision to build $36 million headquarters in Afghanistan
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran - WaPo
Published: December 3, 2013

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) - The exterior of the Regional Command-Southwest (RC-SW) Command and Control Facility, which was meant to serve as a command headquarters at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand, Afghanistan.


This past summer, the Army began investigating why the military spent nearly $36 million to construct a well-appointed 64,000-square-foot headquarters in southwestern Afghanistan that commanders in the area did not want and has never been used.

The two-star Army general in Kabul who conducted the inquiry has determined that the decision to commission the building was appropriate — and recommended that U.S. troops move in, after more work is done on the facility. The finding has left some other senior military officers aghast.

“The Army built us an enormous white elephant, and now, to save face, we’re being told to waste more money and time to move into it,” said a senior Marine officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment on the investigation. “We don’t need it. We’re packing up there.” The Marine general in charge of the southwest said earlier this year that he wanted to stay out of the giant facility to “end the money drain.”

Although the building — which contains spacious offices, a briefing theater and an operations center with tiered seating — can accommodate 1,500 people, only about 400 headquarters-level staff members are on the base today.



His request to cancel the large building and construct a smaller one was supported by his superiors in Kabul. But when it was forwarded to the Army’s Central Command headquarters, the deputy commander at the time, then-Maj. Gen. Peter M. Vangjel, denied the request, according to the investigation report.

Vangjel, the report stated, “relied upon the CENTCOM strategic vision of Camp Leatherneck and its criticality as an enduring strategic base.”

Vangjel has since been promoted to a three-star general. He is now the Army’s top inspector general, responsible for identifying waste, fraud and abuse in the service.


More: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/army-generals-report-defends-decision-to-build-36-million-headquarters-in-afghanistan/2013/12/03/5ed883e4-5c51-11e3-bc56-c6ca94801fac_story.html

Danger Will Robinson, Danger !!! - Security State, Costs Security State MONEY !!!

Did NSA Spying Cost Boeing a $4.5B Contract?
"Boeing was very close, but then the NSA booted them out of the air."

By BRADLEY BROOKS, Associated Press/CBSNews
December 19, 2013 6:33 AM


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Brazil’s government said Wednesday that Sweden’s Saab won a long-delayed fighter jet contract initially worth $4.5 billion that will supply at least 36 planes to Latin America’s biggest nation. The decision to buy the Saab jet over Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet or France’s Dassault Rafale came as a surprise to many. Some analysts said Boeing’s bid was hurt by reports that the U.S. conducted extensive spying in Brazil, including a direct targeting of President Dilma Rousseff’s own communications.

Brazil wants the jets to ramp up its defense capabilities to patrol a porous land border that’s more than 9,300 miles (15,000 kilometers) long, much of it covered by jungle, over which arms and drugs easily flow. Brazil also seeks better protection for offshore oil fields it has discovered in recent years.

Defense Minister Celso Amorim said the choice after some 15 years of debate was made following “careful study and consideration, taking into account performance, transfer of technology and cost, not just of acquisition but of maintenance.” Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt went on Twitter to call the decision “a tribute to Swedish technology and competitiveness.”

Many had expected the choice to be between the Boeing and French planes. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had favored the Dassault Rafale, while Rousseff was said to favor the F-18.

Revelations six months ago that the U.S. National Security Agency’s mammoth espionage program...


More: http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/12/19/did-nsa-spying-cost-boeing-a-4-5b-contract/

The Return Of Liberal Populism In America And Britain - NationalJournal

The Return of Liberal Populism in America and Britain
Obama and Miliband signal a shift to class-conscious politics for the left.

By Ronald Brownstein - NationalJournal
December 19, 2013


LONDON – During the 1990s, Democrats in the United States and the Labor Party in the United Kingdom pursued parallel transformations. Behind the leadership of President Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair, each party recast its traditional liberalism into a "Third Way" centrism that balanced government activism with reform and tilted its emphasis from economic "fairness" toward growth. Now the two parties are moving along matching tracks again, but toward a more confrontational approach that reflects each country's shifting economic and political landscape.

President Obama and Ed Miliband, the leader of the British Labor Party, signaled the change this fall with milestone speeches in which each pledged to focus on the interlocked issues of widening income inequality, declining upward mobility, and stagnant living standards for average families. Addressing the Labor Party conference last September, Miliband made clear he wants to force those issues to the center of the May 2015 election when the party hopes to unseat Prime Minister David Cameron's ruling coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats (a centrist third party). The link between overall economic growth and gains for average families, Miliband insisted, has "broken." Economic recovery, he charged, now "just seems to lift the yachts" while leaving most families confronting a "cost-of-living crisis" in which prices are rising faster than wages.

Obama, in his speech to the liberal Center for American Progress this month, struck the same notes. "[A] dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility … has jeopardized middle-class America's basic bargain that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead," he insisted. "I believe this is the defining challenge of our time." These sharp words mark an unmistakable shift in tone and emphasis for Democrats and Labor since the Clinton and Blair era. Neither man ignored inequality or completely muted economic populism. Clinton raised taxes on the rich, at great political cost, in his 1993 budget and significantly expanded tax credits for low-wage workers; Blair passed Britain's first national minimum wage.

But the "New Democrats" around Clinton and Blair's "New Labor" mostly stressed ideas (such as free trade, targeted deregulation, and public investment moderated by fiscal restraint) meant to accelerate overall economic growth. Each was less interested in lashing the rich as a political foil than in winning more upper-middle-class and even affluent voters (which each, for a time, did with considerable success). Blair even pledged not to raise income-tax rates during his first term. Obama and Miliband haven't abandoned those themes (or upper-income voters, who often identify with their parties on social issues). But...


More: http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/the-return-of-liberal-populism-in-america-and-britain-20131219

Whoa... 'Memo to Hillary Clinton: 'You're the Problem' ' - National Journal

Memo to Hillary Clinton: 'You're the Problem'
Best bet for a third Clinton term is if she runs as the "Real Hillary"—warm, open, and honest.

By Ron Fournier - National Journal
December 19, 2013


To: Hillary

From: A Few of Us

Subject: Anti-Hillary

The last we spoke as a group, you made it clear your mind wasn't made up about 2016. We get it: You're tired, and it's too soon. And you're right: By this time next year, you'll know for certain whether you've got the fire in your belly, and we'll be better able to judge voters' attitudes toward a "third Clinton term." (Sorry, we know you hate that phrase, but it makes a point.) Everybody on the team agrees you deserve some space.

But a few of us felt compelled to jot down some "unofficial" thoughts for you to digest during the holidays. We're a bit worried about the nature of the team's discussions so far. What bothers us is this: The talks are almost exclusively tactical, traditional, and safe—based on a consensus that your brand is smartly positioned for 2016 and that you would be the prohibitive favorite. A few of us think differently. We think:

Buffeted by jarring social change, the American public is disillusioned with:

Washington, especially the gridlock.

Politics in general, especially the phoniness.

Institutions, especially the ineffectiveness.

As the 2016 election fast approaches, most Americans intellectually understand the importance of your experience as first lady, senator, and secretary of State. Your personal approval ratings are higher than those of President Obama. You should be proud. But, as you've heard us say, Americans make most of their decisions—from buying homes and cars to deciding where to shop and how to vote—not with their heads, but with their guts. By that measure, we've seen results of psycho-social surveys and of focus groups that raise red flags.

Most Americans, including many of your supporters, consider you to be:

A creature of Washington.

Intensely political (think of words like "calculating" and "ambitious".

An institution (and not just because of your age. The Clinton family itself is an institution, one freighted with baggage).

And so your biggest hurdle isn't your age, the president's record, your husband, or even Benghazi/Whitewater, etc. It's you, Hillary. You're the problem—that is, if you once again present yourself as an institution of Washington awaiting a political coronation. To win, you must be the anti-Hillary. You need to blast the public's caricature of you to smithereens and replace it with what we know as the Real Hillary.

In 2015-16, you must be...


More: http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/memo-to-hillary-clinton-you-re-the-problem-20131219

Well... Democracy And Representative Government... It Was Nice Knowing Ya...

Senators clash with Justice Department lawyer over CIA intelligence memos
CIA nominee Caroline Krass angers intelligence committee by claiming legal opinions on torture are beyond its scope

Spencer Ackerman in Washington - theguardian.com
Tuesday 17 December 2013 19.52 EST


An argument about a secret congressional committee's ability to review the US intelligence agencies exploded into rare public view on Tuesday as angry senators demanded legal memos from a nominee to run the CIA's legal office.

Caroline Krass, a top justice department lawyer, sparked the ire of several Senate intelligence committee members by claiming that crucial legal opinions about intelligence matters were beyond the scope of the committee.

Asked directly and repeatedly if the Senate panel was entitled to the memos, which several senators claimed were crucial for performing their oversight functions, Krass replied: "I do not think so, as a general matter."

Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the committee, suggested that Krass placed her nomination as CIA general counsel in jeopardy. "You are going to encounter some heat in that regard," Feinstein said.

The Senate intelligence committee, whose public hearings are increasingly rare, is usually a bastion of support for the CIA and its sister intelligence agencies. The exception is the committee's prolonged fight with the CIA over a 6,300-page report on the agency's torture of terrorism detainees in its custody since 9/11.

The committee has prepared its report for...


More: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/18/senators-clash-with-justice-department-lawyer-over-cia-intelligence-memos

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