The Defense Department
Republicans and a handful of Democrats in Congress
More than 150 financial institutions including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America invested $28bn in companies that produce cluster bombs despite an international ban, according to a new report by the Netherlands-based peace organization PAX.
The report includes a Hall of Shame, a list of 158 banks, pension funds and other financial institutions that have invested in cluster munitions producers since June 2012, according to the 2016 report, titled Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: A Shared Responsibility. The leading financial investors come from 14 countries including the United States, Canada and the UK, and include the investment firms China Everbright Group and T Rowe Price.
Cluster bombs are banned under international law by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a 2008 Oslo treaty which was signed by more than 100 countries. The convention was the result of a years-long campaign against the weapons, which kill indiscriminately.
A majority of the institutions on the list are from countries that have not signed the convention, including the United States, China and South Korea.
However, the report notes that several financial institutions are from signatory countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Germany.
The report calls for all of the financial institutions to sever all financial links with companies involved in cluster munitions productions and develop divestment policies that apply to all aspects of their business, including commercial banking, investment banking and asset management.
It is an absolute outrage that financial institutions are investing billions into companies that produce weapons which are banned under international law, Suzanne Oosterwijk, the author of the report, said in a statement. Canada has also banned these weapons. It is time for financial institutions to stop disregarding the international norm with these explosive investments into producers of illegal weapons that maim and kill civilians.
The new normal is that Donald Trump is a major figure, not just in American politics but in world politics. I don't need to launch into how weird that is, how unfit he is. We here all know that.
Humans are amazingly adaptable and amazingly persuadable. Millions of Americans have been persuaded or persuaded themselves to see Trump as the American Savior. Millions more have adapted to his actually being the Republican nominee. We may be appalled by it, but it's still become the new normal.
I have to keep reminding myself that there's nothing normal about this whole mess. There's nothing normal about Trump or the response to him by his supporters.
When hate and fear become the new normal, we're in deep shit. And that's true even though I don't think the vulgar talking yam stands much of a chance of winning.
I've been thinking a lot about this company so I did a little bit of research. They used to be known as Wackenhut which was around for a long time, before being taken over by G4S.
Nine years ago, the state of Florida received documentation from a security company vouching for the mental health of Omar Mateen, who launched a bloody attack this week on Orlando nightclub patrons.
But the psychologist whose name appears on the document in state records said on Friday that she never evaluated a man who now ranks as the worst mass killer in American history. In fact, she was not even living in Florida when the evaluation was supposedly completed.
The revelation on Friday became another source of scrutiny for the G4S security company, which was known as Wackenhut at the time. The psychological evaluation done for the company, which is required under state law, cleared Mateen to carry a firearm as a private security guard.
What I do know is that in September 2007, I was not living or working in Florida, I was not performing any work for Wackenhut, and I did not administer any type of examination to Omar Mateen, Dr Carol Nudelman, who now lives Colorado, said in a statement released through her attorneys to The Miami Herald and other papers who had published her name.
Here's a bit from an AlterNet piece about G4S:
Before Orlando, Omar Mateen Worked for Human Rights Abusers
More troubling still, Omar Mateen worked for a company that was perpetrating systemic violence against vulnerable people long before he took up arms against his LGBTQ neighbors. For nine years Mateen worked for G4S Security, a British-based corporation that contracts with the U.S. and Israeli governments for work that often violates human rights on a massive scale.
G4S, which brags about having 600 staffers on the southern border, has contracts with U.S. immigration authorities to detain and deport people back to Mexico, as well as to run private juvenile detention facilities. In Israel, meanwhile, G4S profits from providing equipment and services in Israeli prisons and interrogation centers where Palestinians are routinely tortured. Its also involved in running Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Incidentally, G4S is the company that trained Mateen to work as an armed security guard, which licensed him to carry and use weapons. And although his coworkers told supervisors that Mateen frequently made homophobic and racial comments, the company did nothing. It kept him on boardand kept him armed.
Should this company continue to profit from multi-million-dollar contracts with the U.S. government?
Since 2012, theres been a major campaign against G4S, resulting in decisions by major mainstream institutionslike the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Methodist Church, numerous European universities, important charities in South Africa and the Netherlands, UN agencies in the Middle East, and moreto divest from G4S holdings, or to cancel or not renew service contracts. G4S is profiting from exactly the kind of anti-Arab and anti-Latino racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia that are all on the rise in the U.S. right now.
A coalition of Republican delegates is mounting a last-ditch effort to block Donald Trump from obtaining the GOP nomination by pushing for a "conscience clause" that would allow delegates to vote against the presumptive nominee.
Kendal Unruh, a Colorado delegate, organized a call with dozens of other delegates Thursday night to discuss ways to block Trump at the convention. The group, Unruh says, marks the coalescing of disparate "pockets of resistance" -- including backers of Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich -- which had been opposing Trump with little success.
"This is a coalition of Kasich, Cruz and Rubio (supporters) and we are all agreeing on one goal, which is: Anybody but Trump," Unruh said Friday.
The Washington Post first reported the details of the phone call.
Any stop-Trump effort would be nearly impossible to pull off at this point in the election cycle. But moves such as Thursday's call demonstrate that Trump's opponents inside the GOP are trying to organize more effectively. And, perhaps more importantly, it reflects the mounting anxiety inside the party about Trump's candidacy amid polls that show him badly trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. His comments in the aftermath of the Orlando attacks -- and his earlier criticism of a judge because of his Mexican heritage -- have alarmed many in the GOP.
Trump dismissed the effort Friday, suggesting it would be "illegal" if the delegates tried to thwart the binding of the delegates.
A Pennsylvania couple is accused of child endangerment after police said they gave away their 14-year-old daughter to a man who helped them financially. The friend has been charged with sexually assaulting the teen, who had two children with him.
Officials acting on a tip Thursday found 51-year-old Lee Kaplan at his Feasterville home, along with 12 girls ranging in age from six months to 18 years.
According to an affidavit, the girl's father, Daniel Stoltzfus, told an officer he gave his daughter to Kaplan after he helped the family out of financial ruin. He told police he thought it was legal after he did some research online.
Kaplan faces a number of charges including statutory sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault. Daniel Stoltzfus is charged with conspiracy of statutory sexual assault and children endangerment. His wife, Savilla Stoltzfus, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
All three are being held on $1 million bail. No lawyer information was listed in court documents.
The girl, now 18, told police she and Kaplan have a 3-year-old and a six-month-old.
Disgusting. Despicable. Indefensible.
The House on Thursday narrowly defeated a measure that would have banned the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, but the closeness of the vote was an indication of growing congressional opposition to the conduct of the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing coalition in Yemen.
The vote was mostly along party lines, with 200 Republicans and only 16 Democrats heeding the Obama administrations urging to vote against the measure. The vote was 204-216.
The Department of Defense strongly opposes this amendment, said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Committee on Defense Appropriations, during floor debate. They advise us that it would stigmatize cluster munitions, which are legitimate weapons with clear military utility.
Cluster munitions are large shell casings that scatter hundreds or thousands of miniature explosives over large areas often the size of several football fields. Some of the bomblets fail to explode on impact, leaving mine-like explosives that kill civilians and destroy farmland decades after a conflict ends.
Cluster bombs are banned by an international treaty signed by 119 countries not including the United States. The United States opposed the treaty, and instead of signing it, adopted a policy that cluster bombs should never be used in concentrated, civilian areas.
Speaking in support of the amendment, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said Saudi Arabia has deliberately targeted civilians with cluster bombs. Earlier this year, the Saudi-led coalition dropped cluster bombs in Yemens capital of Sanaa, specifically targeting known civilian neighborhoods, he said. One of the buildings hit was the al Noor Center for Care and Rehabilitation for the Blind, which also has a school for blind children. The destruction of the school and the injuries sustained by the children was unbearably gruesome.
for $100. Mateen's wife, Noor, was one of the witnesses.
On April 5, Mateen signed a Quit Claim Deed transferring his ownership in a Port St. Lucie residence to his sister and brother-in-law, Mustafa and Sabrina Abasin. They paid him $100 for the home according to city records.
One of the individuals who signed off as a witness to this sudden transfer was Noor Salman, Mateen's wife. The other witness was Mateen's sister Miriam 'Mary' Seddique.
Three weeks after signing his deed over to his brother-in-law, Mateen took a trip to Walt Disney World to scout out possible sites for the attack according to law enforcement officials.
He also brought Salman with him for that trip.
The Port St. Lucie home that Mateen, 29, gave to the Abasins is worth approximately $165,000, and he owns a third of the property. So it is unclear why Mateen would be willing to sign it over so suddenly and for no money.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3647150/Omar-Mateen-s-brother-law-REFUSES-say-knew-terror-plot-revealed-gunman-sold-deed-165k-home-just-two-months-club-massacre-100.html#ixzz4BryrzVah
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News idiot, Brett Baier, you ask him if he's seen "Caddyshack", and if he plays golf.
From the NYT is this long, interesting piece:
In many ways, it is fitting that Germanys last trial of a former SS guard at Auschwitz played out far from the spotlight, in this pretty provincial town of 70,000 souls.
It was from places like these a rural corner of North Rhine-Westphalia, modern Germanys most populous state that the Nazis formed their bedrock, the millions of men and women who signed up to Hitlers apparently triumphant cause and with little questioning executed its murderous maxims.
They were people like Reinhold Hanning, 94, who on Friday was sentenced to five years as an accessory to at least 170,000 deaths during his time as an SS guard at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, from January 1943 to mid-1944.
After World War II, Mr. Hanning was in British custody, and he was released in 1948 to live out his life in his hometown, Lage, six miles from Detmold. He said he never spoke about Auschwitz to anyone, not even to his wife, two sons and grandchildren.
His four-month trial yielded a brief, carefully crafted apology of sorts from him for being a member of a criminal organization, which is responsible for the death of many innocent people, for the destruction of countless families, for misery, torture and sorrow on the side of the victims and their relatives.
A German court convicted a former SS guard at tje Auschwitz death camp of acting as an accessory to the murder of 170,000 people, said Anneli Neumann. spokesperson for Detmold district court, Friday.
Reinhold Hanning was convicted of having assisted in the deaths at the concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland between 1943-4.
"You spent nearly two and half years in Auschwitz and therefore you helped in the mass murder," said Judge Anke Grudda during sentencing, according to CNN Affiliate ARD.
The court then sentenced the 94-year-old man to five years in prison, or about one minute for every 15 lives.
Hanning denied being directly involved in the killings.
And no, I don't give a fuck that he's a very old man who will die in prison. Of the thousands of guards at Auschwitz, only 26 were ever prosecuted. That old man is directly responsible for this:
As far as I can see, the majority of HRC supporters here care more about taunting Sanders supporters than they do about uniting. There are some notable exceptions- auntpurl, Democrat since birth.... I'm sure there are others. And I thank them for being gracious winners. I can't think of too many others. I apologize for leaving out those folks.
Bernie Sanders has lost. He will not run as an independent. And yeah, it looks like Trump doesn't stand a chance. That might be true even without his supporters supporting her. But that's hardly an excuse for what's going on here now in GD-P.
There is no need to for the endless stream of taunting posts in GD-P.
I wrote well over a month ago that Bernie had lost and that I thought he should simply drop out endorse her. But he isn't hurting her. He isn't undermining her or attacking her. I stopped posting negative material about HRC at that time because there would have been no point to it other than pissing off her supporters, and that has never been my focus in opposing her throughout the primary.
I get that a lot of Hillary supporters passionately hate Bernie. I use that word prudently, but when it's obvious, it's impossible to ignore. At the same time, they insist that he's irrelevant. So the only reason to keep posting shit that demonizes and mocks him is to taunt and hurt his supporters as much as possible.
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