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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 02:59 PM
Number of posts: 61,622

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"Jesus turned no one away."

In response to “Calvary cuts ties with boy scouts” (Oct. 27):

Scouts are welcome at St. Mark’s; we embrace all

The writer is senior pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Charlotte:

I am always a bit disturbed by “Christian” churches that claim to be authentic followers of Jesus and then turn people away for whatever reason. Jesus turned no one away. After reading about a local congregation’s dismissal of a Boy Scout troop the Scripture that comes to mind is John 11:35, “And Jesus wept.”

Let it be known that any Cub Scout or Boy Scout troop that has been dismissed from a church is welcome at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Charlotte. Not only will you be welcome, but you will be embraced. Call us.

Peter Brown


Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/10/28/4422639/observer-forum-letters-to-the.html#.Um_49XDBPHR#storylink=cpy

Elizabeth Warren Destroys Financial Crisis Myth: "I think it’s time to drop that red herring."

Elizabeth Warren Destroys Financial Crisis Myth
The Huffington Post | By Luke Johnson
Posted: 10/29/2013 12:58 pm EDT

Speaking five years after the financial crisis began, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) rejected that affordable housing mandates for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the financial crisis.

"While the crisis was massive and painful -- and its impact continues to weigh on middle-class families to this day -- its underlying cause was fairly clear," she said, in remarks to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s 100th Annual Convention & Expo in Washington. "The GSEs (government-sponsored enterprises) made significant mistakes -- mistakes that cost taxpayers dearly -- but those mistakes were not the underlying cause of the crisis."

"Although Fannie and Freddie purchased securities backed by subprime loans, and some of those purchases helped fulfill their affordable housing goals, the St. Louis Fed economists found that the housing goals had no impact -- no impact -- on either the number of subprime loans originated or the price of those loans in the private-label market," she said. "Affordable housing goals have been scapegoated by those who have been itching to get rid of the goals for a long time, but I think it’s time to drop that red herring."

Warren blamed Fannie and Freddie's mistakes -- they have cost taxpayers $187 billion since being taken under government conservatorship in 2008 -- on trying to make increased profits to please shareholders.


WSJ stunner: "Phone records in European outcry collected by European intelligence services, Not NSA"

Whoops: Phone records in European outcry collected by European intelligence services, not NSA, U.S. officials say

HERE: so tiny, you can barely see it:


By Adam Entous, Siobhan Gorman

WASHINGTON—Widespread electronic spying that ignited a political firestorm in France and Spain recently was carried out by their own intelligence services and not by the National Security Agency, U.S. officials say.

The phone records collected by the Europeans—in war zones and other areas outside their borders—then were shared with the NSA, U.S. officials said, as part of efforts to help protect American and allied troops and civilians.

The new disclosure upends the version of events as reported in Europe in recent days, and puts a spotlight on the role of European intelligence services that work closely with the NSA, suggesting a greater level of European involvement in global surveillance.


Climate change pact signed by California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia

Source: Mercury News

Climate change pact signed by California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia
By Paul Rogers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Saying that the West Coast must lead the way in battling climate change, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington, along with the premier of British Columbia, signed an agreement Monday committing the Canadian province and the three states to coordinate global-warming policies.

Each state and the Canadian province promised to take roughly a dozen actions, including streamlining permits for solar and wind projects, better integrating the electric power grid, supporting more research on ocean acidification and expanding government purchases of electric vehicles.

"You are witnessing a historic small-but-powerful first step," California Gov. Jerry Brown said during the event, held at Cisco's San Francisco campus.

"It's only the beginning. You just watch," Brown said. "Next year and the year after and the year after that, this will spread until finally we get a real handle and grasp on what is the world's greatest existential challenge -- the stability of our climate, on which we all depend."

Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_24406734/california-oregon-washington-and-british-columbia-sign-climate

NIXON '74: 'Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his/her talents/opportunities'

From The American Presidency Project, University of California at Santa Barbara

To the Congress of the United States:

One of the most cherished goals of our democracy is to assure every American an equal opportunity to lead a full and productive life.

In the last quarter century, we have made remarkable progress toward that goal, opening the doors to millions of our fellow countrymen who were seeking equal opportunities in education, jobs and voting.

Now it is time that we move forward again in still another critical area: health care.

Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his or her talents and opportunities. It is thus just as important that economic, racial and social barriers not stand in the way of good health care as it is to eliminate those barriers to a good education and a good job.





Paul Ryan: Budget negotiations are for cutting federal pensions, not corporate tax loopholes

TUE OCT 29, 2013 AT 07:13 AM PDT
Paul Ryan: Budget negotiations are for cutting federal pensions, not corporate tax loopholes
by Laura Clawson


With budget negotiations coming up in Congress, Democrats are looking to end sequestration by getting new revenue through sources like closing corporate tax loopholes. However:

“If this conference is used as an excuse to raise taxes, then I fear we will not be successful,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said last week. “We’ll take the spending cuts we have if that’s all it’s going to be.”

Because heaven forbid giant, hugely profitable corporations have to be spared the agony of paying as much in taxes as they pay their CEOs. Ryan does have one idea for who Congress could make pay, though:

As for the future, Ryan has proposed a 2014 budget that would require federal employees to pay more toward their retirement benefits while eliminating special supplemental payments to certain federal employees who retire before age 62. The savings under that plan would be an estimated $132 billion over 10 years


Republicans are suggesting what amounts to a significant pay cut for these workers—just, heaven forbid, not a tax increase for those who can most easily afford it, be they billionaires or banks.


No Possibility-Zero-None:That Obama, Cameron, Hollande & Merkel Did NOT Know & Participate In Spying

“The magnitude of the eavesdropping is what shocked us,” former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a radio interview. “Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don’t have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous.”


Echelon, Frenchelon, the Technische Aufklärung, etc.

There is no possibility – zero -none, that Barack Obama, David Cameron, Hollande and Merkel did not know of the collection activities of their countries’ services.

A close inspection of the material in these Wikipedia articles will reveal that not only do "Gentlemen read others' mail" but they do it in international cooperative groups and often for decades at a time, many decades.


Note that all these governments are full participants in Echelon.” No one coerced them into cooperation. They joined this SIGINT collection alliance because they believed that to do so would be advantageous to their country. Note the presence of the Netherlands in this group.

The “Technische Aufklarung” (German SIGINT) is subordinated directly to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office. It is reported that signal intercept operations by this branch of the BND has increased markedly since she has been in office.

“Frenchelon,” the gallic equivalent of “Echelon” is particuarly large and robust.

In the case of the US/UK relationship the two services are so closely linked that might as well be one.


Rand Paul Plagiarized Speech From Wikipedia (Rachel Maddow)


Fukushima: “Usual suspects in Japan are getting richer… at the expense of public safety”

After the tsunami, and the resulting shutdown (meltdown) of the plant, the widely respected technology writer Robert X. Cringely made TEPCO, the Tokyo power company that still controls the site, a water-treatment technology that was known to work. They rejected it for a technology costing 20 times more (that’s two orders of magnitude) that failed in less than one day.


Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Japanese government have done a spectacularly bad job of managing this accident. In large part they haven’t managed it. Rather they’ve extended the Japanese patronage system to benefit from the disaster at the expense of public health, public safety, and the Japanese economy. As a result, the usual suspects in Japan are getting richer than ever while the real problems not only haven’t been fixed, for the most part they haven’t even been addressed. …

Let me tell you how I know this. For the past couple of years I have been advising an environmental remediation startup that has excellent water treatment technology. Yes, I own three percent of the company.

Understand that I did business in Japan on almost a daily basis for more than 20 years. I have deep contacts there and know how business is done. Why is it that a guy like me can’t even get a reply?

Because Japanese industry is too busy making money at the country’s expense.

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