Under Intense Pressure to Silence Wikileaks, Hillary Proposed Drone Strike on Julian Assange

“‘Can’t we just #drone this guy?” #Clinton openly inquired, offering a simple remedy to silence Julian Assange and smother Wikileaks via a planned military #dronestrike, according to State Department sources. The statement drew laughter from the room which quickly died off when the Secretary kept talking in a terse manner, sources said. Clinton said #Assange, after all, was a relatively soft target, “walking around” freely and thumbing his nose without any fear of reprisals from the United States.’”

Continue reading: Under Intense Pressure to Silence Wikileaks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Proposed Drone Strike on Julian Assange

The top 50 hospitals that gouge patients the most

“These are the 50 hospitals in the United States with the highest markup of prices over their actual costs. That means that they are charging out-of-network patients and the uninsured, as well as auto and workers’ compensation insurers, more than 10 times the costs allowed by Medicare, according to new research published Monday.”

Continue reading: 50 hospitals charge uninsured more than 10 times cost of care, study finds

Secret Service faces questions about child sex abuse

New revelations about child abuse prompt attorneys who specialize in federal employment law to question the agency’s willingness to hold agents accountable for such serious crimes. This comes at a time when the agency is struggling to overcome scandals, including one in which agents hired prostitutes during a presidential trip to Colombia.

Director of the Secret Service, Joseph Clancy

“From a reading of what is publicly available to me, it appears that the U.S. Secret Service does not wish to be held accountable for how it treats its employees accused of serious crimes against children involving sexual misconduct and/or drugs,” stated Cheri Cannon, a partner at federal employment law firm Tully Rinckey

Continue reading: Secret Service faces questions about child sex abuse

Dead Officer Signed Red Light Citations

Baltimore police and transportation officials are trying to correct a problem with about 2,000 red light camera citations that may bear the signature of a police officer who is dead.

The problem concerns the sworn statement that appears on the citations confirming a police officer has reviewed the camera images to verify a violation has occurred.

On the citations in question, that signature belongs to Baltimore Officer James Fowler, who was killed in a car accident in Pennsylvania on Sept. 27, I-Team lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller said.

The I-Team was shown one citation that cited the driver of a van for running a red light in the middle of the day in northeast Baltimore. The date of the violation was Jan. 12, 2011.

A retired city officer who didn’t want to be identified told 11 News he’s an acquaintance of the driver who got the violation. He said he recognized Fowler’s name, who he worked with before he retired, and realized Fowler couldn’t have been the one to review the ticket.

A city police representative blamed the problem on a computer glitch, which is the fault of the company that operates the camera system, and he said the problem has been rectified. Letters are being sent to people who got the violation notice.

The Police Department said it does not blanket approve citations, and only the violators got the erroneous copies. A department representative said internal copies show the name of the officer who actually reviewed the violations.

Legal experts said any citations issued after that date bearing Fowler’s signature may be difficult to enforce.

The city’s red light cameras are a reliable revenue source. In January alone, about 9,300 red light citations were mailed to drivers trying to beat the lights, Miller reported.

The citations cost violators about $75.

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Egypt protests reveal hypocrisy of bipartisan foreign policy consensus

The response of the US political establishment to the popular uprising in Egypt reveals the hypocrisy of a long-standing bipartisan foreign policy consensus.  Unlike Democrats and Republicans, Greens and Libertarians are united in their support for the people of Egypt in their fight to topple its oppressive regime.

The protest movement that erupted in Egypt over two weeks ago aiming to topple the nation’s authoritarian regime, headed by Hosni Mubarak, immediately captured the attention of the global media and heightened an acute contradiction in the decades-old foreign policy consensus of the US political establishment.  Rhetorically, the bipartisan Democratic-Republican party consensus stands for the expansion of freedom and democracy across the world.  In actuality, however, Democratic and Republican administrations alike have consistently supported repressive and tyrannical governments with massive amounts of foreign aid.

Hosni Mubarak assumed the presidency of Egypt in 1981 following the assassination of Anwar El Sadat.  The government of Egypt has imposed “emergency rule” on its people more or less continuously since 1967.  Under this law, the country’s president has free reign to restrict the freedom of assembly and speech, police are empowered to search and seize any individual at will, and the government has the authority to arrest and imprison citizens indefinitely without trial.  Among the primary demands of the protest movement in Egypt are the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, the repeal of the emergency law, and the implementation of legitimate constitutional reforms.

The United States has provided between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in military and economic aid to Egypt every year since 1979.  The untoward uses to which such aid is put became apparent when the state’s police forces sought to quell the January 25th uprising and launched all out attacks on protesters.  As ABC News reported on January 28th:

“Egyptian riot police are firing tear gas canisters bearing the label “Made in U.S.A” against street demonstrations in Cairo.”  The article continues, “the protesters see U.S. aid as the key that allowed President Hosni Mubarak to hold power for almost thirty years.”

The contradiction between the rhetoric of the US political establishment regarding the promotion of freedom and democracy abroad, and the reality of the bipartisan Democratic-Republican foreign policy consensus in support of dictatorial regimes, has been apparent for quite some time.  As George W. Bush stated in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in 2004, “For too long, many nations, including my own, tolerated, even excused, oppression in the Middle East in the name of stability.”  The disconnect persists, however, and is obvious in the confused response of the Obama administration to the events unfolding in Egypt.  Administration officials and emissaries continue to express support for both Mubarak and the protest movement that seeks to topple his government.  On the other side of the duopoly divide, Republicans are equally conflicted about the popular uprising half a world away.

Unlike the Democrats and Republicans, the Green and Libertarian parties have both taken an unambiguous stance in support of the Egyptian people and against the bipartisan Democratic-Republican policy in favor of foreign entanglements with corrupt and repressive regimes.

Green Party leaders declared their support for non-violent protesters in North Africa and throughout the Middle East in a statement issued late last month.

“The Green Party of the United States supports democracy, here, and throughout the world. We hope that the protesters in Egypt succeed in deposing President Mubarak, and we’re thrilled to see so many young people stand up against dictators,” said Dr. Anthony Gronowicz, a former Green candidate for Congress and a member of the party’s International Committee.

“We condemn the brutal responses to the protests, including police violence and the shutdown of the Internet,” he continued.

David Doonan, the mayor of Greenwich New York and a Green Party member, criticized the US policy of supporting dictators such as Hosni Mubarak.

“The US continues to send the Egyptian government billions of dollars in military aid, some of it now being used by security forces to beat and teargas protesters,” he said, adding, “For true stability in the region, North African and Middle Eastern governments must serve the interests of their own people instead of the demands of the US State Department and western business.”

This sentiment was echoed in a statement released by Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle.  Hinkle declares his support for the Egyptian democracy movement on the basis of the Declaration of Independence.

“My sympathies are with the Egyptian protesters. Our very own Declaration of Independence said that government exists to secure people’s rights, and ‘whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government,” he wrote.  Hinkle then calls on the US government to cease “foreign meddling.”

“In almost every case, U.S. intervention has made American taxpayers poorer, and it has usually served to entrench corrupt authoritarian rulers,” he stated, calling for an end to such “aid.” “Libertarians call for the U.S. government to stop interfering in the Egyptian crisis, and to end foreign aid to all nations, including Egypt.”

Those who continue to advocate US intervention and aid in every corner of the globe in the supposed interest of promoting freedom and democracy abroad might consider revisiting George Washington’s farewell address and reflect on the state of freedom and democracy at home:

“The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.”

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