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Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull Bailout Pay Cuts; Madoff Warnings Ignored? - QUESTION: That seems as if people that the president called shameless last week are being allowed to go on the honor system. I mean, what is the accountability? You said accountability. What is the teeth? I mean, what happens if these people violate it? Do we yank the money back? Do we bankrupt the firms? Do we fire the executives? ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I will get clarification from Treasury on that, but I don't -- I mean, first of all, the beginning and the end of these is not just putting something on a Web site. (CNN)
Obama preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool The role of the CIA's controversial prisoner-transfer program may expand, intelligence experts say. - Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States. (Los Angeles Times)
Martial Law, the Financial Bailout, and the Afghan and Iraq Wars The excuse for bypassing normal legislative procedures was the existence of an emergency. But one of the most reprehensible features of the legislation, that it allowed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to permit bailed-out institutions to use public money for exorbitant salaries and bonuses, was inserted by Paulson after the immediate crisis had passed. - It is worth noticing that, ever since the 1950s, dubious events--of the unpublic variety I have called deep events--have marked the last months before a change of party in the White House. These deep events have tended to a) constrain incoming presidents, if the incomer is a Democrat, or alternatively b) to pave the way for the incomer, if he is a Republican. (The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus)
FEMA for Kids "Terrorism is the use of threat or violence to scare governments into changing their policies. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, are examples of acts of terrorism." (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
NIST and the World Trade Center In response to the WTC tragedy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology conducted a 3-year building and fire safety investigation to study the factors contributing to the probable cause (or causes) of post-impact collapse of the WTC Towers (WTC 1 and 2) and WTC 7; expanded its research in areas of high-priority need such as prevention of progressive collapse, fire resistance design and retrofit of structures, and fire resistive coatings for structural steel; and is reaching out to the building and fire safety communities to pave the way for timely, expedited considerations of recommendations stemming from the investigation. (National Institute Of Standards And Technology)
Pentagon Plans To Keep 20,000 Troops Inside US To Bolster Domestic Security The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.
The long-planned shift in the Defense Department's role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said.
There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military's role in domestic law enforcement.
But the Bush administration and some in Congress have pushed for a heightened homeland military role since the middle of this decade, saying the greatest domestic threat is terrorists exploiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. (Washington Post)
U.S. stocks hammered after House rejects rescue Dow posts biggest point loss ever, topping plunge after Sept. 11, 2001 - Taking unprecedented steps, the Fed and other major central banks on Monday poured hundreds of billions of dollars of added liquidity into money markets left paralyzed by fears of further bank failures in the United States and Europe. (Wall Street Journal)
Watching the waistline--the thickening of the Canada-U.S. border: the difficulty of convincing the United States that Canada can September 11, 2001, was a seminal date in the young 21st century. The attacks on and collapse of the World Trade Centre in Manhattan was the seed from which grew America's preoccupation with the security of its homeland above all other national policy objectives. Canadians were justifiably proud of their immediate response to this crisis faced by their neighbour and closest ally. They opened their homes to thousands of air travels forced to land on Canadian soil and rallied in impressive numbers on Parliament Hill that same week to visibly demonstrate our nation's support. Within three months of the attacks, both countries issued the Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration, leading to the Canada-U.S. Smart Border Accord in 2002--aimed at improving security and border efficiency. In the aftermath of 9/11, however, Canada acquired a new imperative in its vitally important relationship with the United States--trust in a secure 49th parallel is a condition precedent for trade and further trade liberalization between both countries.
Almost seven years later, it is clear that the historical low-maintenance approach to managing the border is over. Security trumps trade for Canada's largest trading partner. This has contributed to what is commonly referred to as the "thickening" of the Canada-U.S. border, characterized by increased wait times, direct border crossing fees, additional and duplicative border programs, inconsistent regulations, and increased inspection times. (Entrepreneur)
9/11 third tower mystery 'solved' The National Institute of Standards and Technology is expected to conclude in its long-awaited report this month that ordinary fires caused the building to collapse - That would make it the first and only steel skyscraper in the world to collapse because of fire (BBC)
Logan will install body scanners TSA has adjusted device to ease privacy concerns - The Boston airport is often among the first to deploy innovative technologies, a lingering effect of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in which the two hijacked planes that brought down New York's World Trade Center departed from Logan. (Boston Globe)
Preparing the Battlefield The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran - Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources (The New Yorker)
Global Elite Gather in D.C. "John has always supported free trade, even while campaigning before union leaders," said one. "Hil and Barack are pretending to be unhappy about some things, but that's merely political posturing. They're solidly in support." (American Free Press)
NSA's Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data Five years ago, Congress killed an experimental Pentagon antiterrorism program meant to vacuum up electronic data about people in the U.S. to search for suspicious patterns. Opponents called it too broad an intrusion on Americans' privacy, even after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
But the data-sifting effort didn't disappear. The National Security Agency, once confined to foreign surveillance, has been building essentially the same system.
The central role the NSA has come to occupy in domestic intelligence gathering has never been publicly disclosed. But an inquiry reveals that its efforts have evolved to reach more broadly into data about people's communications, travel and finances in the U.S. than the domestic surveillance programs brought to light since the 2001 terrorist attacks. (Wall Street Journal)
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