February 29th, 2012
So, is this "electronic monitoring service" specific to Connecticut or is it rampant wihin any all states dominated by the Left?
And, does this not go against citizen's Constitutional rights to privacy, or are such rights simply a joke, these days, to the dizzy denizens of the Left, or perhaps the official in question was simply trying to intimidate a citizen who failed to agree?
We are hearing, increasingly, from terrified citizens about Connecticut's Liberal Authoritarian Governor Dannel Malloy's ongoing inquisition of Conservatives in that state.
Menacing calls, threats, firings, so what in the world is going on up there in Connecticut?
Sounds like it might be time for a recall of that state's Governor, if Malloy cannot treat his constituent citizens justly, regardless of political affiliation.
The Hartford Courant
Officials in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration said Tuesday night that they will investigate whether deputy state Energy and Environment Commissioner Jonathan Schrag made a menacing cellphone call last Thursday night to Cynthia David of Essex, the leader of a conservative women's group who had raised concerns about a state environmental initiative.
Schrag denied making the late-night call, which was reported Tuesday by Courant Columnist Kevin Rennie. But Schrag also offered a complicated explanation that leaves a number of questions unanswered — including how his voice got onto the voicemail.
This was the message that David, leader of a group called the Conservative Women's Forum, said she received on her voice mail last Thursday at 11:45 p.m. from Schrag's cellphone number: "We are calling from the Democratic Electronic Monitoring Service. We understand that you are an emailer with respect to Democratic candidates. We wish you to know that your emails are being observed. Thank you."
Schrag, in an interview with Rennie, theorized that someone recorded private remarks he had made in a social setting — although he would not say to whom, or when, or in what setting. Then, Schrag added, that recording of his remarks was played by some unknown method in the phone call to David last Thursday, and it somehow registered on the caller ID as coming from his cellphone.
Malloy administration officials were asked Tuesday night if they believed that explanation and whether they would investigate, by means including inspection of Schrag's cellphone's outgoing calls and billing records.
"We take any allegation of inappropriate behavior very seriously," said Dennis Schain, spokesman for Schrag's boss, Commissioner Daniel Esty of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. "And Commissioner Esty will ensure there is a complete internal review of the circumstances surrounding this matter. As part of this review, we will explore all information — including Mr. Schrag's personal phone records — that can help clarify the situation."
Schain added: "At this point, we have issues raised by a newspaper column and Mr. Schrag's word that he did not make the phone call in question. No one should rush to judgment. Instead, we must take a careful look at the situation to determine exactly what occurred, and Commissioner Esty is committed to doing just that."
Andrew Doba, Malloy's communications director, was asked the same questions as Schain — including whether Malloy believes the explanation, and what action he would take, if any — but he gave no response.
In an interview with Rennie Tuesday afternoon, Schrag acknowledged that it was his voice on the recording. But he said he didn't make the call, and didn't know who did, or how. "It's not clear to me how this happened. I'm concerned. I'm confused. I certainly don't mean anyone any ill intent," Schrag told Rennie. "I'm not a bad guy."
Rennie reported that Schrag's explanation changed during the day Tuesday. At first, Schain said in Schrag's behalf that the deputy commissioner had lost his personal and state cellphones last week, and had reported their disappearance.
However, by late afternoon, Schrag offered a more elaborate explanation, which Rennie described this way: "Someone recorded his private conversation, edited a snippet, made a call on a number that's the same as his cellphone — but it didn't come from him — and left the ugly thought on the answering machine of a stranger who happens to be a conservative activist."
The Conservative Women's Forum is an informal group of about 300 women who hold monthly lunches featuring a speaker. They send emails on issues of interest — including a coastal management bill now pending in the legislature that would give the state what David and others see as potentially extraordinary authority to take private property along the shoreline.
Rennie reported that David felt menaced by the late-night voicemail saying that her emails were being "observed." It "scares the ... out of me," David told Rennie.
In explaining the remark that he said he'd made in the social setting, Schrag told Rennie that he had been pointing out to his listener that "one way to push back on emails is to freak someone out." And, he continued, that was when he gave as an example what could be said to a political antagonist – the remark that ended up on David's voicemail. Again, it was: "We are calling from the Democratic Electronic Monitoring Service. We understand that you are an e-mailer with respect to Democratic candidates. We wish you to know that your e-mails are being observed. Thank you."
Related Authoritarian News
February 29th, 2012
Galileo's retraction of his theories and the excommunication of Martin Luther are among the closely guarded documents that the Vatican has put on display to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the establishment of its archives at its current location in Rome.
The Holy See on Wednesday opened an exhibition of 100 documents -- a tiny fraction of its archives -- in Rome’s Capitoline Museums. The exhibit is entitled “Lux in Arcana: The Vatican Secret Archives Reveals itself.” It is the first, and possibly the only time, the documents will be seen outside the Vatican walls, according to the exhibition’s website.
Britain’s Telegraph newspaper live-blogged the exhibit's opening on its website on Wednesday.
Some of the documents on display include:
- A letter from an English nobleman to Pope Clement VII in 1530 that demands that King Henry VIII be allowed to divorce Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn.
- An 1887 letter from a Native American chief written on a strip of bark that refers to the pope as the "Grand Master of Prayers."
- The astronomer Galileo’s retraction of his theories of the galaxy after his trial on heresy charges in 1633.
- Documents from the trials of the Knights Templar.
- The excommunication decree of reform leader Martin Luther.
- The abdication deed of Queen Christina of Sweden. Rumored to be a hermaphrodite, she gave up her throne in 1654 to convert to Catholicism and move to Rome.
The documents in the exhibition are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of documents in the pope’s archive, which also includes the popes' correspondence with such historical figures as Michelangelo, Voltaire, Mozart, Hitler and even Abraham Lincoln.
The Vatican archives are typically only seen by closely scrutinized researchers and scholars.
Business Insider contributed to this report.
More from msnbc.com and NBC News:
February 29th, 2012
San Francisco Chronicle / Kamaila Sanders
February 29th, 2012
Bloomberg / By John Walcott
Obama administration officials are escalating warnings that the U.S. could join Israel in attacking Iran if the Islamic republic doesn’t dispel concerns that its nuclear-research program is aimed at producing weapons.
Four days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to arrive in Washington, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz told reporters that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have prepared military options to strike Iranian nuclear sites in the event of a conflict.
“What we can do, you wouldn’t want to be in the area,” Schwartz told reporters in Washington today.
Pentagon officials said military options being prepared start with providing aerial refueling for Israeli planes and also include attacking the pillars of the clerical regime, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its elite Qods Force, regular Iranian military bases and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because Pentagon plans are classified.
“There’s no group in America more determined to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon than the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army General Martin Dempsey told the House Budget Committee today. “I can assure you of that.”
Separately, unnamed U.S. officials told The Washington Post (WPO) that U.S. military planners are increasingly confident that sustained attacks with the Air Force’s 30,000-pound “bunker- buster” bombs could put Iran’s deeply buried uranium enrichment plant at Fordo out of commission.
The latest American warnings of possible military action against Iran come after a series of meetings between top Israeli and Obama administration officials failed to resolve differences over when an attack would become necessary, according to officials of both countries who have participated in the discussions.
“Because there is uncertainty about the administration’s will to act in the Israelis’ minds, and more importantly in the Iranians’ minds, it’s very important that we don’t just say that all options are on the table, but also show that they are, by some overt means,” Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee and was one of the recent visitors to Israel, said in a telephone interview.
Other U.S. officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity because the discussions have been private and because the administration is trying to reassure Israel and its American supporters of its determination while also tamping down fears that are helping drive up oil prices.
Drawing the Line
The most significant difference between the U.S. and Israel, said American officials, is where to draw the line on Iran’s nuclear program.
Obama administration officials have suggested that the trigger for military action should be a decision by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to enrich uranium beyond a current level of 20 percent that supports nuclear power generation to a weapons-grade level 85 or 90 percent.
U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials said they agree, however, that such a decision would be hard to detect until some time after it had been made.
While their American counterparts are focused on enrichment, Israeli officials described Iran’s nuclear program as a three-legged stool that also includes efforts in different locations to develop a missile warhead capable of delivering a nuclear weapon, a trigger for nuclear explosions and other components of a nuclear device.
While Israeli officials told the Americans that their ability to strike Iran is greater than most people recognize, Iran’s enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo would be extremely difficult for the Israeli Air Force to destroy with its largest weapon, the 5,000-pound GBU-28.
However, Iran’s warhead and weaponization facilities at the military complexes at Parchin and Bidganeh and elsewhere are more vulnerable, at least for now, the Israeli officials said, according to Americans who met with them.
Iran barred inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency from the Parchin site in February, and a still- unexplained Nov. 14 explosion at the Bidganeh missile base killed an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general.
The Israelis said what worries them is that Iran could complete work on warheads, triggers, neutron reflectors and the other ingredients of a nuclear weapon or move that work to harder-to-hit facilities.
A recent U.S. intelligence analysis concluded that if Iran can get its centrifuges to produce weapons-grade uranium and assemble in different locations the 33-44 pounds (15-20 kilograms) of material needed for a weapon, a delivery system and other necessary components, it could build a nuclear weapon in two months, said two U.S. officials who’ve read the analysis.
Further underscoring the timing issue, both U.S. and Israeli officials have concluded that Iran might be content with a computer test of a new weapon rather than detonating one in the desert, thanks in part to confidence inspired by what they said is significant North Korean assistance. These officials also spoke only on the basis of anonymity because intelligence matters are classified.
The American officials said their Israeli counterparts are less inclined than the Obama administration is to give the toughening economic sanctions on Iran more time to work for a second reason: They’re skeptical that sanctions can ever persuade Iran to abandon its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
In different meetings with American counterparts in Washington, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Netanyahu, Barak and Tamir Pardo, the head of Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, argued that only Israeli military action prevented Iraq and Syria from going nuclear.
They also argued that witnessing the dictators of non- nuclear Iraq and Libya toppled by or with Western assistance, coupled with a deep sense that Shiite Muslim Persia is entitled to a weapon that Christians, Jews, Sunnis, Hindus, Russia and China all possess may reinforce Iran’s intentions of continuing to develop a weapon.
High-level visitors have included Barak, Pardo, Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director David Petraeus, Dempsey, U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, White House adviser Dennis Ross, Rogers and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
U.S. Resolve Questioned
These talks have failed to dispel Israeli doubts that President Barack Obama is willing to do whatever is necessary to keep nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands, the American officials said. Barak described a meeting with Panetta today only as “important and useful.”
Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, the U.S. officials reported, said they don’t think Iran is convinced of Obama’s determination, either. They said they base that on the administration’s continued emphasis on sanctions.
Responding to a question during a House appropriations subcommittee budget hearing today about concerns that Israel might attack Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded: “Let’s focus on economic sanctions that we have the world behind right now. We believe we’re making progress on the sanctions front.”
The Israeli officials, however, also have told their U.S. counterparts they think the Iranians see what they consider a pattern of irresolute administration behavior that includes abandoning former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, taking only a supporting role in the overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, indecision on how to deal with violence in Syria and a rush to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan in response to domestic political pressures.
Finally, the Israelis told some U.S. officials that the administration’s failure to retaliate against Iran for plotting to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. and its inability to get Egypt to free the son of Transportation secretary Ray LaHood, who’s one of 16 American pro-democracy activists charged with operating without government permission, has reinforced an image of American weakness.
Some Republicans share those doubts. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee from South Carolina, said the Obama administration needs to be “more clear” in its determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.
“The intelligence community is uncertain about Iranian intentions,” Graham told reporters at a news conference today. ”You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this out.”
To contact the reporter on this story: John Walcott in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at email@example.com
February 29th, 2012
See which major networks plan on covering Cold Case Posse results
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Poll after poll in recent months has indicated that Americans have a high level of concern over Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president, with one poll showing fully half of the nation wants Congress to investigate the question.
But reporters for the traditional media – networks, major newspapers, major news corporations and conglomerates – mostly have giggled when talk turns to the serious question of just what the U.S. Constitution requires of presidents.
Nevertheless, media organizations from all political persuasions are seeking admittance to a news conference to be held by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz.
The event is tomorrow at 1 p.m. Mountain Standard Time in Phoenix, 3 p.m. Eastern, and will be live-streamed by WND.
The topic of discussion will be an investigation by Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse into concerns about Obama’s eligibility. It’s the first time an official law enforcement report has addressed many of the allegations about the presumptive 2012 Democratic nominee for president.
The issues include Obama’s eligibility under the U.S. Constitution’s requirements, questions about his use of a Connecticut Social Security number and the image of his purported birth certificate from Hawaii.
In addition to the live-streaming, WND will make available to the public, the same day by email, the official report distributed to media by Arpaio’s investigators. Those interested in receiving the report can sign up for the free service.
Top national media organizations have indicated their plans to attend, and bookings for radio and television reports are in the works. Expected are reporters from the Associated Press, Reuters, Univision, the Washington Times and NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates, as well statewide radio networks, among many others.
Because of the circumstances, a decision was made to hold the press conference at the sheriff’s training center on the outskirts of Phoenix, rather than at the downtown office.
The event is expected to draw protesters who object to the sheriff’s office review of allegations that Obama may attempt to use a fraudulent document to have his name placed on the 2012 presidential election ballot in Arizona.
Without releasing any details, Arpaio has said the findings “could be a shock.”
He constituted a special five-member law enforcement posse last year to investigate allegations brought by members of the Surprise, Ariz., Tea Party that the Obama birth certificate released to the public by the White House on April 27 might be a forgery.
The posse is made up of three former law enforcement officers and two retired attorneys with law enforcement experience. Members have been examining evidence since September concerning Obama’s eligibility to be president under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, which requires a president to be a natural-born citizen.
Among other issues, there also have been allegations of Obama’s use of a Social Security number that corresponds to a Connecticut address, even though the president apparently had no links there.
WND earlier reported a private investigation found that the Social Security number being used by Obama does not pass a check with E-Verify, the electronic system the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has created to verify whether or not someone is authorized to work legally in the country.
Arpaio’s investigation is the first official law enforcement look at the allegations surrounding Obama’s eligibility. Many of the private investigators who have examined it contend there are too many questionable circumstances to believe that everything regarding Obama is above-board.
Arpaio previously told WND that when he launched his Cold Case Posse it was with the possibility that he would clear Obama.
He said it wasn’t an issue he could ignore, after 250 members of the tea party organization “came to me and asked their sheriff to investigate Obama and the birth certificate.”
The WND TV live-streaming coverage of the news conference Thursday is possible through the support of the Western Center for Journalism.
The decisions in dozens of court cases over the last few years questioning Obama’s eligibility were typified by a recent decision in Georgia in which several individuals filed challenges to Obama’s name on the 2012 ballot and provided evidence to a hearing officer.
Even though Obama and his lawyer deliberately snubbed the case – the lawyer wrote the judge a letter in advance telling him Obama would not attend – the judge threw out the evidence presented by several attorneys and ruled in favor of Obama.
Similar ballot challenges are being filed in a long list of other states already.
The Arpaio investigators were given the case following a meeting held in the sheriff’s office Aug. 17, 2011, with tea party representatives from Surprise, Ariz., who presented a petition signed by more than 250 Maricopa County residents. The petitioners expressed concern that their voting rights could be irreparably compromised if Obama uses a forged birth certificate to be placed on the 2012 presidential ballot in Arizona or otherwise is found to be ineligible.
The tea party letter formally stated the following charge: “The Surprise Tea Party is concerned that no law enforcement agency or other duly constituted government agency has conducted an investigation into the Obama birth certificate to determine if it is in fact an authentic copy of 1961 birth records on file for Barack Obama at the Hawaii Department of Health in Honolulu, or whether it, or they are forgeries.”
The posse was constituted as a 501(c)3 organization, designed to cost the people of Maricopa County nothing, while enabling people from around the country to contribute to its mission.
Those wishing to send a tax-deductible contribution directly to the Cold Case Posse may do so by mailing a check or money order to: MCSO Cold Case Posse, P.O. Box 74374, Phoenix, AZ 85087.
WND has reported that dozens of experts with varying ranges of competency who have looked at the situation believe the birth documentation image released by Obama last year is not genuine.
A flying-banner and billboard campaign to let people know about the questions regarding eligibility that was started by WND CEO and Editor Joseph Farah also has raised the public’s awareness of the situation.
Farah wrote recently that the underlying question to be determined is whether the U.S. Constitution remains the law of the land, or whether it has become “an archaic old document that needs to be amended.”
“At its core, it’s really quite simple: Does Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution dealing with who can serve as president of the United States simply mean that any citizen age 35 or older is eligible? If so, why did the founders use a different term altogether – ‘natural born citizen’? What is a ‘natural born citizen’? Is it anyone born in the United States? If so, why have candidates born outside the United States been deemed eligible? Do we owe it to America’s future to go back in history to determine what that term actually means?
“Until now, as hard as it may be to believe, no official vetting of Obama’s credentials has been done – not by the 50 secretaries of state who oversee elections, not by the Federal Elections Commission that administers the nation’s elections laws, not by the Electoral College, not by any judge in America, not by Congress, not by anyone,” he continued.
Even before the results become public, Farah said he’s confident there will be a significant impact.
“I strongly believe it could be a game-changer,” he said.
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