March 12th, 2012
Voters in Switzerland have rejected a proposal to give themselves more annual leave in a national referendum.
The plan would have given workers six weeks off a year, but business groups warned about the cost to the economy.
In other referendums, voters in Zurich agreed to the creation of "sex boxes" where prostitutes can work. In Geneva, residents voted to tighten restrictions on street protests.
Referendums are a key part of Switzerland's direct democracy system.
The Swiss frequently have their say on changes to laws, budgets, or any issue that 100,000 citizens say they feel strongly about.
Democracy in action
Two-thirds of voters reportedly rejected an increase in the country's minimum annual leave from four weeks to six, which would have brought it in line with most other West European countries.
But a proposal to construct what have locally been referred to as "sex boxes" for prostitutes got the green light from voters in Zurich.
The plan would see the creation of special parking spaces with walls between them where sex workers can ply their trade away from suburban areas in Switzerland's biggest city.
Residents in Geneva, meanwhile, voted for tighter restrictions on unauthorised demonstrations and tougher fines for violators.
The United Nations Human Rights Council, the International Committee of the Red Cross and numerous other major international organisations are based in the city, making it a focal point for protesters.
March 12th, 2012
BLS note: Remember, Berkley is a bastion of Liberal, Left-Wing think, which makes it even more remarkable that the Black Student's Union found the racist, divisive, anti-Semite message "inspiring." How many Liberals or black leaders of the left will we see come out and condemn the speech? Don't hold your breath.....
BERKELEY, Calif. —
Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan delivered a speech to hundreds at the University of California Berkeley Saturday and some students took issue with parts of his message.
Minister Louis Farrakhan opened the Afrikan Black Coalition Conference at UC Berkeley Saturday, bringing together black students from colleges across the state.
The 78-year-old minister urged the 600 or so students to depend on themselves for jobs and learn more about black history. He also pushed a controversial book that alleges Jews dominated the slave trade.
"(He said) that Jews control the government and that you need to be their friends in order to be successful, that Jews control the media. To me, that was just so hateful and horrible," said Noah Ickowitz, a UC Berkelely ASUC Senator.
"This is not hate, this is actual facts," Farrakhan said.
Outside Wheeler Hall, a few students passed out petitions expressing their discontent with minister Farrakhan's presence on campus.
"I believe the (Black Student Union) had every right to bring Farrakhan, but we are hurt by Farrakhan's words," Ickowitz said to students outside the auditorium.
The minister condemned the opposition and even discouraged dialogue between Jews and blacks.
"I personally don't care if I ever get along if I've got to hide the truth to win a friend," Farrakhan said to crowd.
UC President Mark Yudof decried Farrakhan as "provocative" and "divisive" following his speech at UC Berkeley.
"Louis Farrakhan is a provocative, divisive figure with a long history of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic speech," Yudof said. "It was distressing in the extreme that a student organization invited him to speak on the UC Berkeley campus."
"But, as I have said before, we cannot, as a society or as a university community, be provoked by hurtful speech to retreat from the cherished value of free speech," Yudof said.
But members of UC Berkeley's Black Student Union said the overall message was inspiring.
"What I got out of it was how we as black students can take our education and utilize it to build the black community back up," said Stephan Montouth. "We're looking at the minister's statements in terms of how to empower the black community not all of the other controversial things that he may have said in the past."
March 12th, 2012
By Newsmax Wires
Reports this weekend that as many as 98 major advertisers are asking not to air their ads on conservative radio shows are "totally bogus," a source close to Premiere Networks told Newsmax Sunday night.
Premiere Networks syndicates top-rated shows like those hosted by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck.
This past weekend, news reports on sites like Politico and the Huffington Post are suggesting that as many as 98 major brands and major businesses are asking that their ads not run on such conservative talk programs. The reports suggest the advertisers are taking the action in the wake of comments made by Rush Limbaugh about a female Georgetown law student.
"The fact is that these advertisers, with a few exceptions, have never been advertising on Premiere's conservative shows," the source said.
It is well known that major companies and brands often shun both conservative and liberal shows and outlets, as Madison Avenue advertising firms keep "do not buy" lists of programs they believe may upset their client's customers.
"Most of these 98 firms don't air on liberal MSNBC or radio shows like Ed Schultz's. There is nothing new here," the source said.
Why the controversy then?
Last Friday, Radio-info.com published an internal Premiere memo it said offered a list of 98 companies that did not want to air on conservative talk shows.
According to Radio-info, the list of advertisers include "carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm) and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway)."
"These companies for the most part never advertise on Rush, Hannity and other conservative talk shows," the source said, adding, "And they usually don't advertise on liberal shows either."
The Premiere memo being cited actually is just a reminder to stations of long-standing policy telling their ad traffic managers not to fill unsold ads in conservative talk radio programs with such brand advertisers.
"The media is trying to create the impression -- one being propagated by the liberal Media Matters -- that there is mass movement against conservative shows," the source said. "But it simply isn't true."
The source also told Newsmax that several major advertisers who have dropped Rush have already indicated to Premiere they plan to come back on his show, and other Premiere shows like Hannity and Levin have seen strong ad revenue growth.
An excerpt of the Premiere memo follows:
“To all Traffic Managers: The information below applies to your Premiere Radio Networks commercial inventory. More than 350 different advertisers sponsor the programs and services provided to your station on a barter basis. Like advertisers that purchase commercials on your radio station from your sales staff, our sponsors communicate specific rotations, daypart preferences and advertising environments they prefer… They’ve specifically asked that you schedule their commercials in dayparts or programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity). Those are defined as environments likely to stir negative sentiment from a very small percentage of the listening public.”
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March 11th, 2012
BLS note: We have received several questions on this of late, but when you read the lite version from Wiki, even here, there are problems:
Wiki: At the federal level, Article II of the United States Constitution (Section 4) states that "The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors." The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeaching, while the United States Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments. The removal of impeached officials is automatic upon conviction in the Senate. In Nixon v. United States (1993), the Supreme Court determined that the federal judiciary cannot review such proceedings.
So, in other words, even if Congress tries to act, which I sincerely doubt, the Senate would never allow this under Harry Reid, and a Senate dominated by Democrats, regardless...we'll see....
by Drew Zahn
Let the president be duly warned.
Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., R-N.C., has introduced a resolution declaring that should the president use offensive military force without authorization of an act of Congress, “it is the sense of Congress” that such an act would be “an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor.”
Specifically, Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution reserves for Congress alone the power to declare war, a restriction that has been sorely tested in recent years, including Obama’s authorization of military force in Libya.
In an exclusive WND column, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo claims that Jones introduced his House Concurrent Resolution 107 in response to startling recent comments from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
“This week it was Secretary of Defense Panetta’s declaration before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he and President Obama look not to the Congress for authorization to bomb Syria but to NATO and the United Nations,” Tancredo writes. “This led to Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., introducing an official resolution calling for impeachment should Obama take offensive action based on Panetta’s policy statement, because it would violate the Constitution.”
In response to questions from Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., over who determines the proper and legal use of the U.S. military, Panetta said, “Our goal would be to seek international permission and we would … come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress – I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.”
“Well, I’m almost breathless about that,” Sessions responded, “because what I heard you say is, ‘We’re going to seek international approval, and then we’ll come and tell the Congress what we might do, and we might seek congressional approval.’ And I just want to say to you that’s a big [deal].”
Asked again what was the legal basis for U.S. military force, Panetta suggested a NATO coalition or U.N. resolution.
Sessions was dumbfounded by the answer.
“Well, I’m all for having international support, but I’m really baffled by the idea that somehow an international assembly provides a legal basis for the United States military to be deployed in combat,” Sessions said. “They can provide no legal authority. The only legal authority that’s required to deploy the United States military is of the Congress and the president and the law and the Constitution.”
The exchange itself can be seen below:
The full wording of H. Con. Res. 107, which is currently referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, is as follows:
Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.
Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under Article I, Section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.
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March 11th, 2012
From Hakim Almasmari, For CNN
Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- U.S. airstrikes targeted militant hideouts and arms caches in separate attacks over three days in Yemen, killing at least 64 suspected al Qaeda insurgents before the strikes ended Sunday, senior Yemeni officials told CNN.
Officials at U.S. Central Command and the Defense Department contacted Sunday provided no information on the purported attacks.
U.S. officials rarely discuss the drone program, though privately they have said covert strikes using drones are legal and an effective tactic in the fight against extremists.
The latest strike involved at least five U.S. drones and took place in the Jabal Khanfar region of Jaar, located in southern Abyan province, two senior Yemeni security officials said. At least six suspected al Qaeda militants were killed, Yemeni officials said.
A member of the military committee -- Yemen's highest security authority -- confirmed that strike, and said the Yemeni government was given no advance warning of it.
"The United States did not inform us on the attacks. We only knew about this after the U.S. attacked," the committee member told CNN.
The strike was the third such attack on suspected al Qaeda targets in less than three days, according to Yemeni officials.
The United States was also involved in two other major attacks on Friday and Saturday, which killed at least 58 suspected al Qaeda insurgents, two senior Yemeni defense ministry officials said.
The Friday airstrikes occurred in the Yemen province of al-Baitha in areas used as launching pads for militant attacks. The second attack took place in the towns of Jaar and Zinjibar in Abyan province.
One of the ministry officials said the attacks happened late in the day, when Yemeni air forces are not capable and trained to conduct such operations.
Earlier, separate security officials had said Yemeni air forces were behind the first two airstrikes.
At least 34 suspected al-Qaeda militants, among them four senior leaders in the network, were killed in the al-Baitha attack, said Mohammed al-Ameri, governor of the province.
Smoke from the air raids covered the skies hours after the strike. Security forces also formed new checkpoints in nearby districts.
Residents said military aircraft roam the skies of the province around the clock.
Yemeni rights organizations condemned the alleged U.S. airstrikes, calling them illegal. HOOD, a prominent Sanaa-based rights organization, said that no one has the right to kill another person without first bringing that person to trial.
"This is illegal and dozens were killed without given a chance to prove their case. We are against any U.S. attack in Yemen," said Mohammed Nagi Allow, HOOD's president.
More than 200 Yemeni troops were killed recently in clashes against al Qaeda in Abyan.
Militants took over a military camp there, seizing large caches of weapons. They are still holding 72 troops hostage.
Yemen has been desperately trying to weaken terror militant groups after they succeeded in taking over large parts of Abyan province last year.
The United States has been backing Yemeni efforts against al Qaeda and has periodically struck targets inside Yemen, as occurred in September, when a drone strike killed American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.