Wednesday, July 23, 2014

John Kerry subjected to security check in Egypt before meeting President, Egypt media cheers-BBC

7/23/14, "Egypt media applaud tough security check on John Kerry," BBC

"A highly unusual security check that US Secretary of State John Kerry and his senior aides were subjected to at the presidential palace in Cairo before meeting Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has made a splash in the local press. 

The top US diplomat is usually treated with every courtesy in Cairo, but the front-page coverage in both private and state-owned papers hovers between factual reports and applause, describing the check with a hand-held metal detector as a "surprise" and saying that Mr Kerry had had to "comply" with orders of the security officers.

A note of pride can also be detected in the headlines.

"Checking Kerry at the doors of 'al-Ittihadiyah'," announces private daily Al-Tahrir. The report mentions twice that "Kerry and his team complied" with the procedures.

Similarly, privately-owned daily Al-Dustur's headline proclaims in red letters: "A heavy surprise: John Kerry subject to strict inspection procedures before his meeting with Al-Sisi". 

The paper complements the report with a photo showing Kerry passing through the security scanner at the doors of Al-Ittihadiyah Palace.

And, again in red ink, private daily Al-Yawm al-Sabi adds to its headline: "Bravo Sisi." State-owned newspapers echo their private brethren: "Checking Kerry and his aides before meeting Al-Sisi", daily Al-Akhbar's headline says. 

'Spying country'
The news also galvanised social media users, most of whom cheered the incident, treating it as proof of national pride and a kick in the teeth for the USA.

Commenting on Al-Shuruq's official Facebook page, Said Hashim said that Egypt was the only country standing up to US-Israeli "plots". 

"Egypt is still the leader of the Arab countries," he wrote.

Pictures and a video showing the "frisking" have been widely circulated on Facebook and Twitter, provoking thousands of comments.
Most carry a general air of satisfaction with the snub to Mr Kerry, which is reflected in comic pictures created to reflect the unusual procedure.

Users have also taken the opportunity to air their distrust of the US as a "spying country".

"Kerry is sad he and his aides have been inspected, so what? You inspect entire countries for a lie that you say and believe. Let us use our right #Kerry_checked," wrote Twitter user Usama Awad (‏@Osamawad_4), who has more than 2,500 followers.

Egyptian twitter user Nadia @Belovedegy, who has more than 67,000 followers, commented: "#Kerry_checked is a message in itself to the USA that it is a spying country and, hence, we must be sure that its officials are not carrying spying devices."
And in the same vein, twitter user Amr A (‏@BIG_MR_A) wrote: "Checking Kerry is a message to the USA that there is a lack of trust between us #Kerry_checked.""

Images from BBC:

Top, "Egyptian CBC Extra TV showed John Kerry being checked by security at the palace."

Second: "Egyptian paper Al-Yawm al-Sabi's headline (top right) says 'Kerry checked in front of the president's office'." 


Sheriffs note National Guard on Texas border can't detain anyone, just as 1000 National Guard Obama sent to border in 2010 weren't allowed to pursue or detain immigrants, investigate crimes, make arrests, stop and search vehicles, or seize drugs-Yahoo News

7/22/14, "Border Sheriffs Perplexed by Rick Perry's Plan to Send 1,000 Troops to Stare at Mexico," Yahoo News, Arit John, The Wire

"Why would you spend millions of dollars sending troops to the border who can't actually detain anyone? That's what some Texas sheriffs of border towns are asking in the wake of Gov. Rick Perry's plan to send 1,000 National Guards members to the Texas/Mexico border in the next month, according to the Dallas Morning News. For them, it would be more useful to spend the money on hiring more deputies and police, aka people who are allowed to detain migrants. 

“I don’t know what good they can do,” Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio told the Dallas Morning News. You just can’t come out here and be a police officer.” Lucio and other sheriffs said they weren't consulted before Perry's announcement and, in Lucio's opinion, the police and Border Patrol agents were handling the small uptick in crime. "At this time, a lot of people do things for political reasons. I don’t know that it helps,” Lucio said.

This isn't the first time people have questioned the wisdom of sending National Guard troops to the border. In 2010, President Obama sent over 1,000 troops to the border. They weren't allowed to pursue or detain immigrants, "or investigate crimes, make arrests, stop and search vehicles, or seize drugs," The Washington Post reported in 2011. "Nor do they check Mexico-bound vehicles for bulk cash or smuggled weapons headed to the drug cartels." Basically, they keep watch and radio in any suspicious activity. Critics also argued that the National Guard's help cost an estimated $6,271 per person caught. 

But defenders of sending the guard argue they are a deterrent. In the upcoming deployment, guard officials said they would have some medical training and be supplied with water. Still, the most immediate reward is political, and as The New York Times noted, Perry stands the most to gain for being tough on the border.

In 2012, one of his major gaffes was calling people "heartless" for panning his plan to give undocumented students in-state tuition. This time around he won't make the same mistake. “Drug cartels, human traffickers and individual criminals are exploiting this tragedy for their own criminal opportunities,” Perry said Monday. “I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault, and little children from Central America are detained in squalor.”" via Free Rep.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hundreds of millions of US taxpayer dollars flow to those in the "unaccompanied alien minor" business, TV outlet discovers

7/22/14, "One Media Outlet Catching On To Massive Governmental Non-Profits Housing The Unaccompanied Alien Minors – “Southwest Key” Under Review," sundance, The Conservative Treehouse

"A Texas Media outlet (KEYE TV in Austin) has just caught on to something we discovered and have shared with you. Previously we identified the BIG THREE large non-profit corporations getting massive grants from DHS and HHS. These were the “faith based groups” President Obama met in Dallas 7/9/14.

They are, listed smallest to largest:

      • #3  Bronze –   U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and/or, U.S. Catholic Charities $70,000,000+
      • #2  Silver – Southwest Key Programs Inc  $122,000,000+
      • #1  Gold -  Baptist Child and Family Services Emergency Management Division (BCFS-EMD) $270,000,000+
Today we focus on one. Southwest Key Programs Inc” – KEYE TV in Austin Texas has just discovered the ruse and the tentacles of how these “private corporations”, ie. “non profit groups”, think ACORN, actually tie to their community and hide under the cover of funding from DHS/HHS Grants.  We found this specific Private Company nets 98.76% of earnings from government grants [2012 IRS form 990 pg 14].

When KEYE TV reporters go asking questions they discover the secrecy of HHS.  To quote Bruce Willis:  ..”welcome to the party pal“..

southwest key
KEYE TV – TEXAS, (July 18, 2014)- "More than $100 million of federal grant money this year has gone to an Austin based company that runs unaccompanied minor shelters across the country.

Its website says Southwest Key Programs is the largest provider of services to unaccompanied children in the United States. Their headquarters is in Austin, Texas.

A brief online description details the children they help, how they’re accepted and a short write up of the types of services provided.

A map provided by Southwest Key officials outlines their different locations and programs across the county. But if you have questions about the money it receives from the federal government for unaccompanied children officials with the non-profit aren’t talking.

While their corporate address is listed as right here in Austin when you try to ask about their child immigrant shelters you get directed to a federal agency — the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But they’re not talking either. In an email back to KEYE TV, government officials say they do not identify regular/permanent unaccompanied alien children program shelters for the safety and security of minors and staff at the facilities.

They did acknowledge more than $120 million in grant money had been awarded to the Austin based non-profit far this fiscal year." (read more with video report).

As part of our ongoing Treehouse research – We’ve been looking into this organization for over a week.
They are led by Dr. Juan Sanchez, President and CEO – 2012 salary $338,770.
With a total company payroll around $65,000,000 on 2012 taxpayer revenue of $85,000,000 (98.76% taxpayer funded).

Dr. Sanchez is proud to have built one of the most diverse nonprofits in the country, where 93 percent of Southwest Key’s 2,000 employees, including most top managers and board members, are people of color“.

We have much more on Southwest Key. Here are their 2014 HHS Grants for “Unaccompanied Alien Children” $122,285,100:"...



EU countries reliant on Russia for uranium, nuclear energy and natural gas aren't eager for sanctions-BBC

7/21/14, "The EU's nuclear links with Russia," BBC, Andrew Walker
"Following the loss of the Malaysian airliner last week, European leaders are once again wrestling with the question of how to respond to Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis. 

They are reluctant to get tough, much more so than the United States. 

The EU could easily end up doing itself a lot of economic harm, most obviously if Russia were to respond by turning down the gas. Russia is a very important oil exporter too, though that is a more liquid market - to coin a phrase - where it is not so hard to find alternatives if you fall out with one major supplier. 

But there is also a significant role in Europe's energy sector for Russian nuclear supplies and the potential for significant disruption in the EU. 

Nuclear energy is an important source of electricity in the EU. 

Some countries are planning to phase it out, notably Germany. But even so, projections last year from the European Union see more than a fifth of EU electricity coming from nuclear power plants up to the middle of the century. 

About half of EU states have some nuclear power - though there is a marked variation between countries.

In France, which is the world's biggest producer and user of nuclear power, 75% of total electricity generation is nuclear. In the UK, the figure is 18%, while Italy is the largest EU economy to have none. 
Russia comes into this picture at several points. First, it is an important supplier of the raw material for nuclear fuel, uranium.

There is an international market for uranium, so there are alternative sources, but Russia accounts for 18% of EU supplies (behind Kazakhstan and Canada), so switching is not that simple. 

Second, there is the business of enrichment to make the uranium suitable for power generation - and 30% of this work is done by Russian companies. There is another potential source of vulnerability, too. The EU has a significant number of older, Russian-designed nuclear reactors - 18 in all. 

This is a reflection of past political relations with the Soviet Union. 

Finland, which was never formally part of the Soviet bloc but did have a close relationship, has two - and all the reactors in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary are Russian-designed. Hungary also has an agreement for two more to be built. 
These reactors account for a significant part of many of these countries' electricity needs - more than 50% for Slovakia and over 45% for Hungary.

The fuel for a reactor also has to be supplied in a form - called a fuel assembly - that meets the specifications of the particular reactor, and for Russian-designed reactors the fuel comes from a Russian company, TVEL

So anything that disrupted the supply of the fuel assemblies needed for these countries' reactors would be a serious problem for them.
A recent document produced by the European Commission put it like this: "There is no diversification, nor back-up in case of supply problems (whether for technical or political reasons)."

The Commission went on to argue: "Ideally, diversification of fuel assembly manufacturing should also take place, but this would require some technological efforts because of the different reactor designs."

Other EU countries, including the UK, are not exposed to this specific risk.

There are some technical features of nuclear power that do ease any supply worries. A nuclear plant is only re-fuelled occasionally - typically every 12 to 24 months for modern designs. And if a scheduled re-fuelling is missed, the plant can continue to operate with declining output.

Compared with coal or gas it is also easier to store large amounts of fuel needs, as the volume of material is much smaller. 

There are plenty of reasons for EU countries to be wary about tighter sanctions against Russia. The need for nuclear supplies is only one of them.

The British group Open Europe has done some analysis of official statements about the issue, attempting to rank countries according to how hawkish or dovish they are on sanctions

Although it certainly does not prove anything about the respective governments' motives, it is striking that none of those with Russian-designed reactors are strongly hawkish

Apart from the Czech Republic, they are all at least slightly to the dovish end of the scale and one of them, Bulgaria, is the most dovish of all, according to Open Europe's measure. 

It is worth repeating one point. Gas is the big issue for commercial relations between Russia and the EU-but nuclear matters too."


Monday, July 21, 2014

American support for Israel has continued to grow per Pew Poll, 1978-2014, latest poll dates July 8-14, 2014

7/15/14, "As Mideast Violence Continues, a Wide Partisan Gap in Israel-Palestinian Sympathies," (Pew Research)

"As violence between Israel and Hamas shows no signs of abating, the sympathies of the American public continue to lie with Israel rather than the Palestinians. And dating back to the late 1970s, the partisan gap in Mideast sympathies has never been wider.

Currently, 51% of Americans say that in the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, they sympathize more with Israel. Just 14% sympathize more with the Palestinians, while 15% volunteer that they sympathize with neither side and 3% sympathize with both.

These views are little changed from April, before the recent outbreak of Mideast violence. However, the share of Republicans who sympathize more with Israel has risen from 68% to 73%; 44% of Democrats express more sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians, which is largely unchanged from April (46%). The share of independents siding more with Israel than the Palestinians has slipped from 51% to 45%.

Just 17% of Democrats, 17% of independents and 6% of Republicans sympathize more with the Palestinians than Israel. These numbers have changed little since April.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted July 8-14 among 1,805 adults, finds substantial age differences in opinions about the dispute in the Middle East. Majorities of those 65 and older (60%) and 50-64 (56%) say they sympathize more with Israel, compared with fewer than half of those 30-49 (47%) and under 30 (44%). Those under 50 also are more likely than older Americans to sympathize more with the Palestinians.

White evangelical Protestants remain more likely than members of other religious groups to sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians (70%). White evangelical Protestants make up nearly a third of Republicans (31% of all Republicans and Republican leaners), so this accounts for at least some of the partisan gap in sympathies. However, even among Republicans who are not white evangelicals, two-thirds (66%) sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians. This compares with 78% of white evangelical Republicans....

About the Survey

The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted July 8-14, 2014 among a national sample of 1,805 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (723 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 1,082 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 598 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see

The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity and region to parameters from the 2012 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the Decennial Census. The sample also is weighted to match current patterns of telephone status (landline only, cell phone only, or both landline and cell phone), based on extrapolations from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cell phones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size among respondents with a landline phone. Sampling errors and statistical tests of significance take into account the effect of weighting."...


Mexican officials release owner of group home that abused hundreds of children, say insufficient evidence to hold her despite years of complaints. Owner was "very well connected" among Mexico's political elite, presidents visited her-BBC

7/20/14, "Owner of Mexican children home freed without charge," BBC

"The owner of a children's home in the Mexican city of Zamora at the heart of an abuse scandal has been released by police

The attorney-general's office said there was insufficient evidence to hold 79-year-old Rosa del Carmen Verduzco.

Police raided the home on Tuesday after protests by parents that their children were being held against their will and abused. 

Officers had found around 450 children living in appalling conditions.

Rosa Verduzco was detained and questioned on suspicion of wilful deprivation of liberty and abuse. 

She had been hospitalized after the raid, suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes problems.

But she was released because statements from the victims suggested she wasn't involved in any mistreatment, said the attorney-general's office. The investigation is continuing, the spokesman added.
Ms Verduzco, also known as Mama Rosa, was seen by some as a saint-like figure. She raised thousands of children in the home.

She cultivated patrons among Mexico's political and intellectual elites, and was visited by presidents and renowned writers.

But victims had said she had left them exposed to years of deprivation and abuse where rape and beatings were a daily occurrence and children were forced to sleep and live in filthy, crowded conditions."

"Children at the Mexican children's home known as 'the big family'," EPA photo via BBC


Complaints had been ongoing for years but no action was taken:

7/16/14,  "'Abused children' rescued in Mexico," BBC

"A child welfare specialist consulted by the newspaper (El Universal) in 2010 said the allegations of mistreatment went back two decades but that Ms Verduzco was "politically well connected"....

Also rescued were 138 adults aged up to 40, the government said.

Reports say the residents were forced to live in terrible conditions.

"I'm in utter dismay because we weren't expecting the conditions we found at the group home," Michoacan Governor Salvador Jara said. 

The House of the Big Family has been operating for 40 years and was known locally as Mama Rosa's Home.

The authorities began to investigate the home after parents complained that they were denied access to their children. 

One woman, who grew up at the home herself, gave birth to two children who were registered in the name of Ms Verduzco. 

When the mother left the home, aged 31, she was not allowed to take her children with her, investigators said.

Mr Jara said the raid came after an official complaint was filed by the parents of five children who said they were being held at the home against their will.

He said the complaint was filed more than a year ago but did not specify why the authorities had not acted sooner.

Local media had reported on allegations made against the home as far back as 2010."...

Downtown LA is lush and green, pools are filled, lawns are watered. California cities get water, rural areas don't. Water use in LA actually increased in May 2014 vs May 2013-NPR

7/20/14, "Despite California's Drought, Taps Still Flowing In LA County," NPR Staff and Sam H. Sanders, via wdyi fm

"This January, after the driest calendar year in California history, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency. He called on residents to reduce their water intake by 20 percent. 

But downtown Los Angeles doesn't look like a city devastated by the state's worst drought in decades. The city is green with landscaping, and fountains are running. People still water their lawns, wash their cars and fill their pools. 

Earlier this week, Gov. Brown announced that, compared to last year, water use this May actually went up in some parts of the state — including in coastal Southern California, the region including LA, where water use rose 8 percent. The state has responded by voting to fine water-wasters up to $500....

And if some people don't feel a sense of urgency about the drought, there might be a reason for that. Peterson points out that since Gov. Brown announced the drought emergency, water agencies across the state have been emphasizing that they had enough water to last them through the year

"In January, when the governor said, 'We're going to have a drought,' [the agencies] said, 'Oh, don't worry, we've got this covered, we've got water in our reserves,'" (Molly) Peterson (an environment correspondent at member station KPCC) says.

The numbers on residential water use might also be misleading. "We only even have part of the data to tell us about the 8 percent going up," Peterson says, "because we only have voluntary responses." This week, the state released new rules to address the drought, including for data collection.

"[The water agencies are] going to have to start coughing up their data about how much water they're actually getting through the tap every month," Peterson says....

Peterson says it's also important to remember that the consequences of the drought are hitting some residents much harder than others

"California is a very, very diverse state economically, and so you have haves and have-nots," she says. 

"Cities are generally haves," Peterson says. "Even though there are poor people within them, the cities keep the water on."

"Have-nots, for water, are in El Dorado County," a rural area east of Sacramento: "They're taking bucket showers." 

Rural residents tend to rely on wells, some of which have dried up. Friday, the federal government announced $9.7 million in emergency drought aid for those areas."


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Houston, Texas protest against illegal immigration, Friday, 7/18/14

7/18/14, Houston protest against illegal immigration, Friday, humblegunner, Free Rep.

Pictures #1 and #4, millionaire and billionaire open borders advocates; #2 and #3, ordinary American advocates. photos from humblegunner,