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Pro-Sanders, DNC Protesters Booking, Selling Out South Jersey Campgrounds

Cherry Hill, NJ
By TOM DAVIS (Patch Staff) - June 9, 2016 10:23 am ET

Hundreds of pro-Bernie Sanders protesters at the Philadelphia-based Democratic National Convention in July have locked up reservations at local South Jersey campgrounds.

Two campgrounds in South Jersey have already sold out their tent and RV sites, according to one of the lead organizers of a social media group called Occupy DNC Convention.

Timberlane Campground in Clarksboro and Old Cedar Campground in Monroeville are full, Laurie Cestnick, a Boston-area neuroscientist and a leading organizer of protests planned during the DNC week of July 24-28 was quoted as saying on NBC Philadelphia.

Also, South Jersey campground called Four Seasons is next on the list of sites for protesters' temporary tent cities, Cestnick said.

Four Seasons has about 400 camp plots, which makes it larger than the other two. Old Cedar and Timberlane are in Gloucester County. Old Cedar is roughly 25 miles from the Wells Fargo Center and Timberlane is about 16 miles from the sports complex, according to NBC Philadelphia.



US Cautions Israel Not To Escalate Tensions After Tel Aviv Attack

Source: Jerusalem Post

'We understand the Israeli government's desire to protect its citizens after this kind of terror attack, we just hope that any measures that Israel takes would be designed to not escalate tensions.'

By MICHAEL WILNER 06/09/2016

The State department underscored its condemnation of an attack on civilians at a Tel Aviv market on Thursday, but cautioned the Israeli government to "exercise restraint" as it vows to increase security control over the West Bank and its residents.

"We understand the Israeli government's desire to protect its citizens after this kind of terrorist attack," said Mark Toner, a spokesman for the State Department. "We would just hope that any measures that Israel takes would be designed to not escalate tensions any further, but we certainly respect their desire to express outrage and to protect the safety of their people."

Nine Israelis were shot on Wednesday night by at least three Palestinian men, in what has been characterized by the United Nations, the US and Israel as an act of terror. Four of the victims have died.

The decision by Israel not to return the bodies of dead Palestinian perpetrators to their families– a policy Israel considers a deterrent against future attacks– is "obviously an internal matter for Israel to debate," Toner remarked. But he made note of Israel's decision to constrict ease of travel for thousands of Palestinians in and out of the strip.

Read more: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/US-cautions-Israel-not-to-escalate-tensions-after-Tel-Aviv-attack-456386

Israel Seals Off West Bank and Gaza in Wake of Deadly Terror Attack in Tel Aviv

The Israeli army imposed a general closure on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip midnight on Thursday, in the wake of a deadly terror attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

The closure was scheduled to end midnight on Sunday, the Israeli army said in a statement, after the end of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

Passage into Israel will be allowed only for humanitarian and medical reasons, per the decision of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. Worshippers will be allowed into the Temple Mount compound for Friday prayer.



Poor U.S.-Russia Relations Increase Risk Of Dirty Bomb In Europe - Experts

By Toby Sterling

Tension between Russia and the West may be distracting them from cooperating to prevent an accidental nuclear confrontation or a dirty bomb attack by militants, nuclear policy experts said on Tuesday.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defence William Perry said he regretted the current lack of communication between the United States and Russia, which went into a deep freeze after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

"We are about to recreate the conditions that nearly brought us to the brink of nuclear war" during the Cold War, Perry said.

Anatoly Adamishin, a former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, argued that the U.S. has focused on a policy of "strangling Russia" and hoping for the departure of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has the effect of putting Russia at the forefront of a list of U.S. enemies.

"The U.S. simply has to rethink its own policy: what should be in focus is nuclear reductions," he said. "Russia and the U.S. are not inherent enemies."



Taliban Gains In Afghanistan Threaten Costly U.S. Reconstruction Effort

Source: Reuters

The United States has wasted billions of dollars in reconstruction aid to Afghanistan over the past decade, and now a renewed Taliban insurgency is threatening the gains that have been made, the U.S government’s top watchdog on Afghanistan said.

"The bottom line is too much has been wasted in Afghanistan. Too much money was spent in too small a country with too little oversight," John Sopko told Reuters. "And if the security situation continues to deteriorate, even areas where money was spent wisely and gains were made, could be jeopardized."

The nearly $113 billion Congress has appropriated for reconstruction since 2001, when U.S.-led forces invaded the country and toppled the Taliban regime, has long been plagued by corruption, waste and mismanagement, according to a series of reports from Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).Appointed by President Barack Obama, Sopko has led the watchdog agency for nearly four years. He said the planned drawdown of U.S. troops could compound the reconstruction effort's problems and add to the amount that already has been wasted, which he estimated is in the billions of dollars.

According to Sopko's latest report, issued in April, U.S. reconstruction funding for Afghanistan includes projects for programs to combat the drug trade, build electric power lines, develop new industries, improve the banking and legal systems and modernize agriculture, which the report says "employs more than 50 percent of the labor force".

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-afghanistan-reconstruction-idUSKCN0YV2DZ

Democrats Are Now the Aggressive War Party

Exclusive: For nearly a half century – since late in the Vietnam War – the Democrats have been the less warlike of the two parties, but that has flipped with the choice of war hawk Hillary Clinton, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The Democratic Party has moved from being what you might call a reluctant war party to an aggressive war party with its selection of Hillary Clinton as its presumptive presidential nominee. With minimal debate, this historic change brings full circle the arc of the party’s anti-war attitudes that began in 1968 and have now ended in 2016.

Since the Vietnam War, the Democrats have been viewed as the more peaceful of the two major parties, with the Republicans often attacking Democratic candidates as “soft” regarding use of military force.

But former Secretary of State Clinton has made it clear that she is eager to use military force to achieve “regime change” in countries that get in the way of U.S. desires. She abides by neoconservative strategies of violent interventions especially in the Middle East and she strikes a belligerent posture as well toward nuclear-armed Russia and, to a lesser extent, China.

Amid the celebrations about picking the first woman as a major party’s presumptive nominee, Democrats appear to have given little thought to the fact that they have abandoned a near half-century standing as the party more skeptical about the use of military force. Clinton is an unabashed war hawk who has shown no inclination to rethink her pro-war attitudes.

As a U.S. senator from New York, Clinton voted for and avidly supported the Iraq War, only cooling her enthusiasm in 2006 when it became clear that the Democratic base had turned decisively against the war and her hawkish position endangered her chances for the 2008 presidential nomination, which she lost to Barack Obama, an Iraq War opponent.



Household Worth in U.S. Rose by $837.4 Billion in First Quarter

Source: Bloomberg

Household wealth in the U.S. increased in the first quarter as rising real-estate values propped up Americans’ finances, figures from the Federal Reserve in Washington showed Thursday.

Key Points

Net worth for households and non-profit groups rose by $837.4 billion, or 1 percent, to $88.1 trillion in January through March from the previous three months, according to the Fed’s financial accounts report, previously known as the flow of funds survey

Value of financial assets, including stocks and pension fund holdings, increased by $299.5 billion

Household real-estate assets climbed by $477.5 billion; owner’s equity as a share of total real-estate holdings increased to 57.8 percent from 56.9 percent

Big Picture

With the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index up just 0.8 percent in the first quarter, household wealth was mostly supported by steadily increasing real-estate values as housing continues to recover from the financial crisis. However, a re-acceleration in job growth that also brings a significant pickup in wages will be needed to strengthen balance sheets further, especially for those without access to assets like stocks and homes



Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-09/household-worth-in-u-s-rose-by-837-4-billion-in-first-quarter

FBI Wants Access To Internet Browser History Without A Warrant In Terrorism And Spy Cases

Source: Washington Post

The Obama administration is seeking to amend surveillance law to give the FBI explicit authority to access a person’s Internet browser history and other electronic data without a warrant in terrorism and spy cases.

The administration made a similar effort six years ago but dropped it after concerns were raised by privacy advocates and the tech industry.

FBI Director James B. Comey has characterized the legislation as a fix to “a typo” in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which he says has led some tech firms to refuse to provide data that Congress intended them to provide.

But tech firms and privacy advocates say the bureau is seeking an expansion of surveillance powers that infringes on Americans’ privacy.

Read more: http://inhomelandsecurity.com/fbi-wants-access-to-internet-browser-history/

This Infuriating Story Shows How Debtors Prisons Are Still A Reality In America

Jailing people because they can’t pay off their debts has long been acknowledged as a terrible idea. However, that hasn’t stopped some cities or counties from using debtors’ prisons as ways to extract revenues from people.

The Los Angeles Times has a really infuriating report about debtors’ prisons in America that brings us the story of Jayne Fuentes, a Richland, Wash. resident who was recently offered the choice to either stay longer in jail or spend days on a work crew due to unpaid debt. Essentially, Fuentes couldn’t pay off court fees that she racked up after being convicted of theft and drug possession, and was given an ultimatum to pay up or stay in jail. Thankfully for her, a lawsuit she filed along with two other debtors and with the help of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union ended the practice of debtors’ prisons in her community.

All the same, the ACLU says that the practice of jailing people who can’t pay debts remains shockingly common throughout the country. In Fuentes’ own Benton County, an estimated 320 prisoners were jailed over a six-month period for not being able to pay off debts. What’s more, an ACLU lawsuit in Colorado Springs, Colo. revealed 800 cases of people who have been sent to prison for an inability to pay off fines related to minor violations.

The full Los Angeles Times report on debtors’ prisons is well worth your time and can be found at this link.



Bilderberg: Still Powerful But Perhaps A Bit More Anxious This Year

The spectre of Brexit looms large as the financial, industrial and high-tech establishment gathers in Dresden

Prime ministers, finance ministers, leading entrepreneurs and a former spy chief are among the attendees at this year’s influential Bilderberg conference, but one regular guest, George Osborne, will be absent.

The guest list for the conference, which begins on Thursday in Dresden, was released on Tuesday and includes a large number of senior politicians and policymakers, dozens of bank bosses and high-finance billionaires who will gather inside the newly erected security fence around the Hotel Taschenbergpalais.

Two prime ministers, four finance ministers, the head of the IMF and a vice-president of the European commission are all listed as attendees. With so many politicians present, including three members of the German cabinet, the German military has been drafted in to oversee security.

Army officers have been meeting conference staff, scouting the round the hotel and taking photos of the entrance. They’re working with corporate security from Airbus to make sure the politicians are kept safely away from the press for the entire three-day conference.

No one wants the Danish minister of justice or the deputy prime minister of Turkey to have to field awkward questions, such as: “Where do you stand on corporate lobbying?” Especially when they’re standing between the chairman of HSBC and the president of Siemens.



If DC Had To Evacuate, Would You Know What To Do? Homeland Security Says You Need A Plan

WASHINGTON - If there were a natural disaster or a terrorist attack in DC, how would you get out of the city? It’s a good question, and if you don’t already have an evacuation plan in place, DC Homeland Security officials say you should make one.

Just as Metro embarks on its year-long SafeTrack program and repairs that will impact service system-wide, emergency officials say an evacuation crisis could erupt if the city doesn’t adjust its current plans to move people safely out of harm’s way in the event of an emergency. The city feels that the plan they have in place is a good one, but they’re worried that residents and those who work in the city might not be considering the difference that Metro’s construction plan, complete with service interruptions and closures, could have on their plans to get out fast if necessary.

Since SafeTrack launched last Saturday, DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Command Center has been monitoring Metro and area roads. If a natural disaster or terrorist attack occurred in the city, evacuation routes would face a crush of vehicles, since Metro’s maintenance plan is underway.

DC Homeland Security officials said Monday they could evacuate the city if disaster struck. They are prepared to deploy more than 130 traffic control officers onto DC streets, and would use more than 10,000 security cameras to control traffic lights and move people out of the District.

They’re worried, though, that many people don’t even know where evacuation routes are in the city. DC Homeland Security is re-launching a free app that shows these routes, and helps drivers navigate to them. Director Christopher Geldart’s message to residents is this: Everyone needs to dust off their evacuation plans, understanding Metro isn’t a reliable option over the next year.


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