It seems inconceivable, but people in America are going hungry en masse due to a famine caused by political authorities. Fresno, California is not yet a sister city of Kiev, Ukraine, but the two cities, capitals of rich agricultural regions, share a history of mass hunger caused by central governments indifferent to the suffering of their people, in the pursuit of ideological goals. Investor’s Business Daily explains:
Fresno is the agricultural capital of America. More food per acre in more variety can be grown in the fertile Central Valley surrounding this community than on any other land in America – perhaps in the world.
Yet far from being a paradise, Fresno is starting to resemble Zimbabwe or 1930s Ukraine, a victim of a famine machine that is entirely man-made, not by red communists this time, but by greens.
State and federal officials, driven by the agenda of environmental extremists, have made it extremely difficult for the valley’s farms, introducing costly environmental regulations and cutting off critical water supplies to save the Delta smelt, a bait fish. It’s all driving the economy to collapse.
In the southwest part of the Central Valley, water allotments as low as 10% of normal have created a visible dust bowl. The knock-on effect can be seen in cities like Fresno, where November’s unemployment among the packers, cannery workers and professional fields that make agriculture productive stands at 16.9%.
So bad is the economy, due to federal water restrictions, that almost a quarter of local families are going hungry in Fresno.
Joseph Proctor told his girlfriend he was popping out to the convenience store in the quiet Mexican beach town where the couple had just moved, intending to start a new life.
The next morning, the 32-year-old New York native was dead inside his crashed van on a road outside Acapulco. He had multiple bullet wounds. An AR-15 rifle lay in his hands.
His distraught girlfriend, Liliana Gil Vargas, was summoned to police headquarters, where she was told Proctor had died in a gunbattle with an army patrol. They claimed Proctor — whose green van had a for-sale sign and his cell phone number spray-painted on the windows — had attacked the troops. They showed her the gun.
His mother, Donna Proctor, devastated and incredulous, has been fighting through Mexico’s secretive military justice system ever since to learn what really happened on the night of Aug. 22.
It took weeks of pressuring U.S. diplomats and congressmen for help, but she finally got an answer, which she shared with The Associated Press.
Three soldiers have been charged with killing her son. Two have been charged with planting the assault rifle in his hands and claiming falsely that he fired first, according to a Mexican Defense Department document sent to her through the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
It is at least the third case this year in which soldiers, locked in a brutal battle with drug cartels, have been accused of killing innocent civilians and faking evidence in cover-ups.
Such scandals are driving calls for civilian investigators to take over cases that are almost exclusively handled by military prosecutors and judges who rarely convict one of their own.
“I hate the fact that he died alone and in pain an in such an unjust way,” Donna Proctor, a Queens court bailiff, said in a telephone interview with the AP. “I want him to be remembered as a hardworking person. He would never pick up a gun and shoot someone.”
President Felipe Calderon has proposed a bill that would require civilian investigations in all torture, disappearance and rape cases against the military. But other abuses, including homicides committed by on-duty soldiers, would mostly remain under military jurisdiction. That would include the Proctor case and two others this year in which soldiers were accused of even more elaborate cover-ups.
The first involved two university students killed in March during a gunbattle between soldiers and cartel suspects that spilled into their campus in the northern city of Monterrey. Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission said soldiers destroyed surveillance cameras, planted guns on the two young men and took away their backpacks in an attempt to claim they were gang members. The military admitted the two were students after university officials spoke out.
In that case, military and civilian federal prosecutors are conducting a joint investigation into the killings. The military, however, is in charge of the investigation into the allegation of crime-scene tampering.
In the second case, two brothers aged 5 and 9 were killed in April in their family’s car in the northern state of Tamaulipas. The rights commission said in a report that there was no gunbattle and that soldiers fired additional rounds into the family car and planted two vehicles at the scene to make it look like a crossfire incident. The Defense Department stands by its explanation and denies there was a cover-up.
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Israel’s foreign minister said Sunday a peace deal with the Palestinians is impossible under current conditions and that Israel should pursue a lesser deal instead — a concept the Palestinians swiftly rejected.
The latest diplomatic spat between the two sides came as violence along the Israel-Gaza border simmered. After days of accelerated Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel and Israeli airstrikes in response, Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinians on the border early Sunday.
Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, told a conference of Israeli diplomats that instead of a full peace deal, Israel should seek a long-term, interim agreement on security and economic matters. Palestinians have consistently rejected that approach.
“It’s not only that it is impossible” to reach an overall agreement, he said. “It is simply forbidden.”
Lieberman said the West Bank Palestinian Authority — with whom Israel has pledged to negotiate — is “not legitimate” because it has postponed elections. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas remains in office though his term expired almost a year ago, and there is no date for a new election.
Lieberman is known for expressing hard-line views that don’t always represent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who says he seeks a negotiated, final peace deal with the Palestinians but has declined to give specifics.
A statement from Netanyahu’s office said Lieberman’s comments reflect “his personal positions,” not those of the government.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority broke down in September after an Israeli freeze on settlement construction expired.
The Palestinians say they will not negotiate as long as Israel builds homes for Jews in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands the Palestinians claim for a future state.
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The White House is pushing back against a front-page New York Times story out Sunday that suggests end-of-life planning policies — or “death panels” as termed by critics — have been resurrected through Obama administration rule-making.
The new Medicare rule that takes effect on Jan. 1 will allow payment for doctors to provide counseling to help beneficiaries deal with end-of-life planning assistance. The “voluntary advance care planning” is included in a Medicare regulation issued Dec. 3 that covers annual checkups, known as wellness visits.
But the White House said Sunday the end-of-life planning provisions aren’t new to health care services provided by the government.
“The Times story is wrong. This benefit was signed into law under President Bush. The only thing new here is a regulation allowing the discussions –authorized in 2003 by the prescription drug benefit — to happen in the context of the new annual wellness visit created by the Affordable Care Act,” said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin.
When similar wording to the rule appeared in the health care bill debated earlier this year, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, complained loudly that the provision would “start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.”
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin dubbed the assistance “Obama’s death panels.”
Democrats said such criticism is unfair. Nonetheless, after angry reaction from the public, the language was removed from the bill that has since become law and the new regulation re-establishes its intent.
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Israel’s former premiere, Golda Meir of blessed memory, was once asked when peace would end the Israeli-Arab conflict. She quickly replied
“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” (Statement to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., 1957)
More than 50 years later, peace is not about to break out; the Arabs are still glorifying hate and war among themselves while passing on these toxic attitudes to their children.
In Gaza, official talk of resistance and rejection is standard. “I would rather die a martyr like my son than shake the hand of my enemy,” Yusef Mansi, the Hamas minister of public works and housing, said in an interview, responding to a question about reconciliation with Israel.
These are people who are not ready to make peace; they are people who are preparing for war to totally destroy their enemy as they publicly proclaim. And thus any sensible person such as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton would end “peace talks.” Apparently she is not sensible; with nothing to talk about, the hot air “peace talks” continue; the true cause of global warming.
“Apocalyptic pain” from an out-of-control debt could cause 18 percent unemployment and a massive contraction in the economy that would destroy the middle class, a leading Republican deficit hawk said in an interview that aired Sunday.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who recently issued a report on government waste, warned that the U.S. only has about three or four years to get its fiscal house in order or it could find itself facing austerity measures seen in Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and earlier in Japan.
“The history of republics is they average 200 years of life. And they all fail in the history over fiscal matters. They rot from within before they collapse or are attacked,” Coburn told “Fox News Sunday.”
“The problem that faces our country today, the last 30 years we have lived off the future, and the bill is coming due,” he added.
The senator, who was recently elected to a second — and he pledges — final term in Congress, said he’s not trying to scare anyone, but eliminating waste in the federal government’s ledgers is imperative not just to prevent default but a massive implosion that he defined in catastrophic terms.
“I think you’ll see a 15 to 18 percent unemployment rate. I think you will see an 8 to 9 percent decline in GDP. I think you’ll see the middle class just destroyed if we don’t do this. And the people that it will harm the most will be the poorest of the poor, because we’ll print money to try to debase our currency and get out of it and what you will see is hyperinflation,” Coburn said.
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As Margaret Thatcher reminded us in her eulogy to Ronald Reagan we have Reagan’s example to follow and help lead us into the future. As the centennial anniversary of Reagan’s birth dawns across America the 112th Congress will begin their first day at work by a full reading of the Constitution of the United States of America.
This will be a bold and long waited for action that should be the first order of business for every newly elected Congress. The Reagan example encourages us to hold true to our firm principles and act upon them. Allies once looked toward America for this firm leadership. America as a great force and spirit historically lifted the world.
This 112th Congress will seek out a new resolve to come together and meet the challenges that face America. New members of Congress must bring forth a Reagan candidness and tough approach toward establishing new relationships. Just as Reagan exclaimed in reaching out to Gorbachev, freshmen members of Congress should greet returning members with “Let me tell you why it is that we distrust you.”
The end of the year means a turnover of House control from Democratic to Republican and, with it, Congress’ approach to immigration.
In a matter of weeks, Congress will go from trying to help young, illegal immigrants become legal to debating whether children born to parents who are in the country illegally should continue to enjoy automatic U.S. citizenship.
Such a hardened approach — and the rhetoric certain to accompany it — should resonate with the GOP faithful who helped swing the House in Republicans’ favor. But it also could further hurt the GOP in its endeavor to grab a large enough share of the growing Latino vote to win the White House and the Senate majority in 2012.
Legislation to test interpretations of the 14th Amendment as granting citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants will emerge early next session. That is likely to be followed by attempts to force employers to use a still-developing web system, dubbed E-Verify, to check that all of their employees are in the U.S. legally.
There could be proposed curbs on federal spending in cities that don’t do enough to identify people who are in the country illegally and attempts to reduce the numbers of legal immigrants.
Democrats ended the year failing for a second time to win passage of the Dream Act, which would have given hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants a chance at legal status. House Republicans will try to fill the immigration reform vacuum left by Democrats with legislation designed to send illegal immigrants packing and deter others from trying to come to the U.S.
Democrats, who will still control the Senate, will be playing defense against harsh immigration enforcement measures, mindful of their need to keep on good footing with Hispanic voters. But a slimmer majority and an eye on 2012 may prevent Senate Democrats from bringing to the floor any sweeping immigration bill, or even a limited one that hints at providing legal status to people in the country illegally.
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