OAS: A HISTORY OF CRIMES AGAINST LATIN AMERICA

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

United States: Truth, Knowledge And History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

United States

Introduction Britain’s American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation’s history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world’s most powerful nation state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.
History The indigenous peoples of the U.S. mainland, including Alaska Natives, migrated from Asia. They began arriving at least 12,000 and as many as 40,000 years ago. Some, such as the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, developed advanced agriculture, grand architecture, and state-level societies. After Europeans began settling the Americas, many millions of indigenous Americans died from epidemics of imported diseases such as smallpox.

In 1492, Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus, under contract to the Spanish crown, reached several Caribbean islands, making first contact with the indigenous people. On April 2, 1513, Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León landed on what he called “La Florida”—the first documented European arrival on what would become the U.S. mainland. Of Spain’s settlements in the region, only St. Augustine, founded in 1565, remains. Later Spanish settlements in the present-day southwestern United States drew thousands through Mexico. French fur traders established outposts of New France around the Great Lakes; France eventually claimed much of the North American interior, down to the Gulf of Mexico. The first successful English settlements were the Virginia Colony in Jamestown in 1607 and the Pilgrims’ Plymouth Colony in 1620. The 1628 chartering of the Massachusetts Bay Colony resulted in a wave of migration; by 1634, New England had been settled by some 10,000 Puritans. Between the late 1610s and the American Revolution, about 50,000 convicts were shipped to Britain’s American colonies. Beginning in 1614, the Dutch settled along the lower Hudson River, including New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island.

In 1674, the Dutch ceded their American territory to England; the province of New Netherland was renamed New York. Many new immigrants, especially to the South, were indentured servants—some two-thirds of all Virginia immigrants between 1630 and 1680. By the turn of the century, African slaves were becoming the primary source of bonded labor. With the 1729 division of the Carolinas and the 1732 colonization of Georgia, the thirteen British colonies that would become the United States of America were established. All had local governments with elections open to most free men, with a growing devotion to the ancient rights of Englishmen and a sense of self-government stimulating support for republicanism. All legalized the African slave trade. With high birth rates, low death rates, and steady immigration, the colonial population grew rapidly. The Christian revivalist movement of the 1730s and 1740s known as the Great Awakening fueled interest in both religion and religious liberty. In the French and Indian War, British forces seized Canada from the French, but the francophone population remained politically isolated from the southern colonies. Excluding the Native Americans (popularly known as “American Indians”), who were being displaced, those thirteen colonies had a population of 2.6 million in 1770, about one-third that of Britain; nearly one in five Americans were black slaves. Though subject to British taxation, the American colonials had no representation in the Parliament of Great Britain.

Independence and expansion

Tensions between American colonials and the British during the revolutionary period of the 1760s and early 1770s led to the American Revolutionary War, fought from 1775 through 1781. On June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress, convening in Philadelphia, established a Continental Army under the command of George Washington. Proclaiming that “all men are created equal” and endowed with “certain unalienable Rights,” the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted largely by Thomas Jefferson, on July 4, 1776. That date is now celebrated annually as America’s Independence Day. In 1777, the Articles of Confederation established a weak federal government that operated until 1789.

After the British defeat by American forces who were assisted by the French, Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States and the states’ sovereignty over American territory west to the Mississippi River. A constitutional convention was organized in 1787 by those wishing to establish a strong national government, with powers of taxation. The United States Constitution was ratified in 1788, and the new republic’s first Senate, House of Representatives, and president—George Washington—took office in 1789. The Bill of Rights, forbidding federal restriction of personal freedoms and guaranteeing a range of legal protections, was adopted in 1791.

Attitudes toward slavery were shifting; a clause in the Constitution protected the African slave trade only until 1808. The Northern states abolished slavery between 1780 and 1804, leaving the slave states of the South as defenders of the “peculiar institution.” The Second Great Awakening, beginning about 1800, made evangelicalism a force behind various social reform movements, including abolitionism.

Territorial acquisitions by date

Americans’ eagerness to expand westward prompted a long series of Indian Wars and an Indian removal policy that stripped the native peoples of their land. The Louisiana Purchase of French-claimed territory under President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 almost doubled the nation’s size. The War of 1812, declared against Britain over various grievances and fought to a draw, strengthened U.S. nationalism. A series of U.S. military incursions into Florida led Spain to cede it and other Gulf Coast territory in 1819. The U.S. annexed the Republic of Texas in 1845. The concept of Manifest Destiny was popularized during this time. The 1846 Oregon Treaty with Britain led to U.S. control of the present-day American Northwest. The U.S. victory in the Mexican-American War resulted in the 1848 cession of California and much of the present-day American Southwest. The California Gold Rush of 1848–49 further spurred western migration. New railways made relocation easier for settlers and increased conflicts with Native Americans. Over a half-century, up to 40 million American bison, or buffalo, were slaughtered for skins and meat and to ease the railways’ spread. The loss of the buffalo, a primary resource for the plains Indians, was an existential blow to many native cultures.

Civil War and industrialization

Tensions between slave and free states mounted with arguments over the relationship between the state and federal governments, as well as violent conflicts over the spread of slavery into new states. Abraham Lincoln, candidate of the largely antislavery Republican Party, was elected president in 1860. Before he took office, seven slave states declared their secession—which the federal government maintained was illegal—and formed the Confederate States of America. With the Confederate attack upon Fort Sumter, the American Civil War began and four more slave states joined the Confederacy. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation committed the Union to ending slavery. Following the Union victory in 1865, three amendments to the U.S. Constitution ensured freedom for the nearly four million African Americans who had been slaves, made them citizens, and gave them voting rights. The war and its resolution led to a substantial increase in federal power.

After the war, the assassination of Lincoln radicalized Republican Reconstruction policies aimed at reintegrating and rebuilding the Southern states while ensuring the rights of the newly freed slaves. The resolution of the disputed 1876 presidential election by the Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction; Jim Crow laws soon disenfranchised many African Americans. In the North, urbanization and an unprecedented influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe hastened the country’s industrialization. The wave of immigration, lasting until 1929, provided labor and transformed American culture. High tariff protections, national infrastructure building, and new banking regulations encouraged growth. The 1867 Alaska purchase from Russia completed the country’s mainland expansion. The Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 was the last major armed conflict of the Indian Wars. In 1893, the indigenous monarchy of the Pacific Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in a coup led by American residents; the U.S. annexed the archipelago in 1898. Victory in the Spanish-American War the same year demonstrated that the U.S. was a world power and led to the annexation of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. The Philippines gained independence a half-century later; Puerto Rico and Guam remain U.S. territories.

World War I, Great Depression, and World War II

At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the United States remained neutral. Most Americans sympathized with the British and French, although many opposed intervention. In 1917, the U.S. joined the Allies, turning the tide against the Central Powers. After the war, the Senate did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles, which established the League of Nations. The country pursued a policy of unilateralism, verging on isolationism. In 1920, the women’s rights movement won passage of a constitutional amendment granting women’s suffrage. The prosperity of the Roaring Twenties ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 that triggered the Great Depression. After his election as president in 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt responded with the New Deal, a range of policies increasing government intervention in the economy. The Dust Bowl of the mid-1930s impoverished many farming communities and spurred a new wave of western migration.

The U.S., effectively neutral during World War II’s early stages after Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939, began supplying materiel to the Allies in March 1941 through the Lend-Lease program. On December 7, 1941, the U.S. joined the Allies against the Axis powers after a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan. World War II cost far more money than any other war in American history, but it boosted the economy by providing capital investment and jobs. Among the major combatants, the U.S. was the only nation to become richer—indeed, far richer—instead of poorer because of the war. Allied conferences at Bretton Woods and Yalta outlined a new system of international organizations that placed the U.S. and Soviet Union at the center of world affairs. As victory was won in Europe, a 1945 international conference held in San Francisco produced the United Nations Charter, which became active after the war. The U.S., having developed the first nuclear weapons, used them on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August. Japan surrendered on September 2, ending the war.

Cold War and civil rights

The United States and Soviet Union jockeyed for power after World War II during the Cold War, dominating the military affairs of Europe through NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The U.S. promoted liberal democracy and capitalism, while the Soviet Union promoted communism and a centrally planned economy. Both supported dictatorships and engaged in proxy wars. American troops fought Communist Chinese forces in the Korean War of 1950–53. The House Un-American Activities Committee pursued a series of investigations into suspected leftist subversion, while Senator Joseph McCarthy became the figurehead of anticommunist sentiment.

The 1961 Soviet launch of the first manned spaceflight prompted President John F. Kennedy’s call for the U.S. to be first to land “a man on the moon,” achieved in 1969. Kennedy also faced a tense nuclear showdown with Soviet forces in Cuba. Meanwhile, the U.S. experienced sustained economic expansion. A growing civil rights movement, led by African Americans such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., fought segregation and discrimination. Following Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson and his successor, Richard Nixon, expanded a proxy war in Southeast Asia into the unsuccessful Vietnam War. A widespread countercultural movement grew, fueled by opposition to the war, black nationalism, and the sexual revolution. Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and others led a new wave of feminism that sought political, social, and economic equality for women.

As a result of the Watergate scandal, in 1974 Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign, rather than be impeached on charges including obstruction of justice and abuse of power; he was succeeded by Vice President Gerald Ford. The Jimmy Carter administration of the late 1970s was marked by stagflation and the Iran hostage crisis. The election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980 heralded a significant rightward shift in American politics, reflected in major changes in taxation and spending priorities. His second term in office brought both the Iran-Contra scandal and significant diplomatic progress with the Soviet Union. The subsequent Soviet collapse ended the Cold War.

Contemporary era

The leadership role taken by the United States and its allies in the UN–sanctioned Gulf War, under President George H. W. Bush, and the Yugoslav wars, under President Bill Clinton, helped to preserve its position as a superpower. The longest economic expansion in modern U.S. history—from March 1991 to March 2001—encompassed the Clinton administration and the dot-com bubble. A civil lawsuit and sexual scandal led to Clinton’s impeachment in 1998, but he remained in office. The 2000 presidential election, one of the closest in U.S. history, was resolved by a U.S. Supreme Court decision—George W. Bush, son of George H. W. Bush, became president.

On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists struck the World Trade Center in New York City and The Pentagon near Washington, D.C., killing nearly three thousand people. In response, President Bush launched the War on Terrorism. In late 2001, U.S. forces led an invasion of Afghanistan, removing the Taliban government and al-Qaeda training camps. Taliban insurgents continue to fight a guerrilla war. In 2002, the Bush administration began to press for regime change in Iraq on controversial grounds. Lacking the support of NATO or an explicit UN mandate for military intervention, Bush organized a Coalition of the Willing; coalition forces preemptively invaded Iraq in 2003, removing President Saddam Hussein. The Iraq War, now opposed by most Americans, continues. Amnesty International has criticized the U.S. for human rights violations in its pursuit of the War on Terrorism and the Iraq War. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused severe destruction along much of the Gulf Coast, devastating New Orleans. On November 4, 2008, amid a major economic crisis, the country elected Barack Obama as president. When he is inaugurated on January 20, 2009, he will become the first African American to hold the office.

Geography Location: North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico
Geographic coordinates: 38 00 N, 97 00 W
Map references: North America
Area: total: 9,826,630 sq km
land: 9,161,923 sq km
water: 664,707 sq km
note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia
Area – comparative: about half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China; more than twice the size of the European Union
Land boundaries: total: 12,034 km
border countries: Canada 8,893 km (including 2,477 km with Alaska), Mexico 3,141 km
note: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is leased by the US and is part of Cuba; the base boundary is 28 km
Coastline: 19,924 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climate: mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains
Terrain: vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Death Valley -86 m
highest point: Mount McKinley 6,198 m
Natural resources: coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber
note: the US has the world’s largest coal reserves with 491 billion short tons accounting for 27% of the world’s total
Land use: arable land: 18.01%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 81.78% (2005)
Irrigated land: 223,850 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 3,069 cu km (1985)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 477 cu km/yr (13%/46%/41%)
per capita: 1,600 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts; tornadoes in the midwest and southeast; mud slides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska, a major impediment to development
Environment – current issues: air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification
Environment – international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Wastes
Geography – note: world’s third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India); Mt. McKinley is highest point in North America and Death Valley the lowest point on the continent
Politics The United States has operated under a two-party system for most of its history. For elective offices at all levels, state-administered primary elections choose the major party nominees for subsequent general elections. Since the general election of 1856, the major parties have been the Democratic Party, founded in 1824, and the Republican Party, founded in 1854. Since the Civil War, only one third-party presidential candidate—former president Theodore Roosevelt, running as a Progressive in 1912—has won as much as 20% of the popular vote.

Within American political culture, the Republican Party is considered “center-right” or conservative and the Democratic Party is considered “center-left” or liberal. The states of the Northeast and West Coast and some of the Great Lakes states, known as “blue states”, are relatively liberal. The “red states” of the South and much of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains are relatively conservative. A plurality of Americans identify as Democrats, yet significantly more Americans identify as conservative than liberal.

The incumbent president, Republican George W. Bush, is the 43rd U.S. president. All presidents to date have been men of European descent. After winning the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama will be the first president of mixed European and African descent. The 2008 elections also saw the Democratic Party strengthen its control of both the House and the Senate. Every member of the U.S. Congress is a Democrat or a Republican except two independent members of the Senate. An overwhelming majority of state and local officials are also Democrats or Republicans.

People Population: 303,824,640 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.1% (male 31,257,108/female 29,889,645)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 101,825,901/female 102,161,823)
65 years and over: 12.7% (male 16,263,255/female 22,426,914) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 36.7 years
male: 35.4 years
female: 38.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.883% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 14.18 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 8.27 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 2.92 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 6.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.95 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.14 years
male: 75.29 years
female: 81.13 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.1 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.6% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 950,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 17,011 (2005 est.)
Nationality: noun: American(s)
adjective: American
Ethnic groups: white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)
note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean a person of Latin American descent (including persons of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin) living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); about 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic
Religions: Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)
Languages: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)
note: Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 5.3% of GDP (2005)
Government Country name: conventional long form: United States of America
conventional short form: United States
abbreviation: US or USA
Government type: Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition
Capital: name: Washington, DC
geographic coordinates: 38 53 N, 77 02 W
time difference: UTC-5 (during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
note: the 50 United States cover six time zones
Administrative divisions: 50 states and 1 district*; Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia*, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Dependent areas: American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Wake Island
note: from 18 July 1947 until 1 October 1994, the US administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands; it entered into a political relationship with all four political units: the Northern Mariana Islands is a commonwealth in political union with the US (effective 3 November 1986); the Republic of the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 21 October 1986); the Federated States of Micronesia signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 3 November 1986); Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 1 October 1994)
Independence: 4 July 1776 (from Great Britain)
National holiday: Independence Day, 4 July (1776)
Constitution: 17 September 1787, effective 4 March 1789
Legal system: federal court system based on English common law; each state has its own unique legal system, of which all but one (Louisiana, which is still influenced by the Napoleonic Code) is based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President George W. BUSH (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President George W. BUSH (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with Senate approval
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by a college of representatives who are elected directly from each state; president and vice president serve four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 4 November 2008 (next to be held on 6 November 2012)
election results: Barack H. OBAMA elected president; percent of popular vote – Barack H. OBAMA 52.4%, John MCCAIN 46.3%, other 1.3%; note – OBAMA is expected to assume office on 20 January 2008
Legislative branch: bicameral Congress consists of the Senate (100 seats, 2 members are elected from each state by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third are elected every two years) and the House of Representatives (435 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
elections: Senate – last held 7 November 2006 (next to be held November 2008); House of Representatives – last held 7 November 2006 (next to be held November 2008)
election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Democratic Party 49, Republican Party 49, independent 2; House of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Democratic Party 233, Republican Party 202
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (nine justices; nominated by the president and confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate; appointed to serve for life); United States Courts of Appeal; United States District Courts; State and County Courts
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party [Howard DEAN]; Green Party; Libertarian Party [William (Bill) REDPATH]; Republican Party [Robert M. (Mike) DUNCAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders: environmentalists; business groups; labor unions; churches; ethnic groups; political action committees or PAC; health groups; education groups; cuvuc griyos; youth groups; transportation groups; agricultural groups; veterans groups; women’s groups; reform lobbies
International organization participation: ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), ANZUS, APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CE (observer), CERN (observer), CP, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, NAFTA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SECI (observer), SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag description: 13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars; the 50 stars represent the 50 states, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies; known as Old Glory; the design and colors have been the basis for a number of other flags, including Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico
Culture The United States is a multicultural nation, home to a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values. There is no “American” ethnicity; aside from the now small Native American and Native Hawaiian populations, nearly all Americans or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries. The culture held in common by most Americans is referred to as mainstream American culture, a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of Western European migrants, beginning with the early English and Dutch settlers. German, Irish, and Scottish cultures have also been very influential. Certain cultural attributes of Mandé and Wolof slaves from West Africa were adopted by the American mainstream; based more on the traditions of Central African Bantu slaves, a distinct African American culture developed that would also deeply affect the mainstream. Westward expansion integrated the Creoles and Cajuns of Louisiana and the Hispanos of the Southwest and brought close contact with the culture of Mexico. Large-scale immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries from Southern and Eastern Europe introduced many new cultural elements. More recent immigration from Asia and especially Latin America has had broad impact. The resulting cultural mix may be described as a homogeneous melting pot, or as a pluralistic salad bowl in which immigrants and their descendants retain distinctive cultural characteristics.

While the mainstream culture holds that the U.S. is a classless society, scholars identify significant differences between the country’s social classes, affecting socialization, language, and values. The American middle and professional class has initiated many contemporary social trends such as modern feminism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism. Americans’ self-images, social viewpoints, and cultural expectations are associated with their occupations to an unusually close degree. While Americans tend greatly to value socioeconomic achievement, being ordinary or average is generally seen as a positive attribute. Though the American Dream, or the perception that Americans enjoy high social mobility, plays a key role in attracting immigrants, some analysts find that the U.S. has less social mobility than Western Europe and Canada.

Women now mostly work outside the home and receive a majority of bachelor’s degrees. In 2005, 28% of households were married childless couples, the most common arrangement. The extension of marital rights to homosexuals is contentious—several states permit civil unions in lieu of marriage. Between 2003 and 2008, the supreme courts of Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut ruled those states’ bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The California ruling was superseded by a state constitutional amendment, approved by voters in November 2008, that defines marriage as between a man and woman. Between 2004 and 2008, voters in 13 other states approved similar constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.

Economy Economy – overview: The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $46,000. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to enter their rivals’ home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets. US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment; their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a “two-tier labor market” in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. The response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 showed the remarkable resilience of the economy. The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, and the subsequent occupation of Iraq, required major shifts in national resources to the military. The rise in GDP in 2004-07 was undergirded by substantial gains in labor productivity. Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage in the Gulf Coast region in August 2005, but had a small impact on overall GDP growth for the year. Soaring oil prices in 2005-2007 threatened inflation and unemployment, yet the economy continued to grow through year-end 2007. Imported oil accounts for about two-thirds of US consumption. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups. The merchandise trade deficit reached a record $847 billion in 2007. Together, these problems caused a marked reduction in the value and status of the dollar worldwide in 2007.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $13.78 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $13.84 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 2% (2007 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $45,800 (2007 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 1.2%
industry: 19.8%
services: 79% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 153.1 million (includes unemployed) (2007 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: farming, forestry, and fishing 0.6%, manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts 22.6%, managerial, professional, and technical 35.5%, sales and office 24.8%, other services 16.5%
note: figures exclude the unemployed (2007)
Unemployment rate: 4.6% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 12% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 30% (2007 est.)
Distribution of family income – Gini index: 45 (2007)
Investment (gross fixed): 15.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $2.568 trillion
expenditures: $2.73 trillion (2007 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 October – 30 September
Public debt: 60.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.9% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 4.83% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 8.05% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $1.374 trillion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $10.1 trillion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $14.15 trillion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture – products: wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish; forest products
Industries: leading industrial power in the world, highly diversified and technologically advanced; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining
Industrial production growth rate: -1.7% (2007 est.)
Electricity – production: 4.062 trillion kWh (2005)
Electricity – consumption: 3.816 trillion kWh (2005)
Electricity – exports: 19.8 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity – imports: 44.53 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 71.4%
hydro: 5.6%
nuclear: 20.7%
other: 2.3% (2001)
Oil – production: 7.46 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – consumption: 20.8 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil – exports: 1.048 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil – imports: 13.15 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil – proved reserves: 21.76 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas – production: 490.8 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 604 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 19.8 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 117.9 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 5.551 trillion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$731.2 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $1.148 trillion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports – commodities: agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn) 9.2%, industrial supplies (organic chemicals) 26.8%, capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment) 49.0%, consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) 15.0% (2003)
Exports – partners: Canada 21.4%, Mexico 11.7%, China 5.6%, Japan 5.4%, UK 4.3%, Germany 4.3% (2007)
Imports: $1.968 trillion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports – commodities: agricultural products 4.9%, industrial supplies 32.9% (crude oil 8.2%), capital goods 30.4% (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery), consumer goods 31.8% (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys) (2003)
Imports – partners: China 16.9%, Canada 15.7%, Mexico 10.6%, Japan 7.4%, Germany 4.8% (2007)
Economic aid – donor: ODA, $23.53 billion (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $70.57 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt – external: $12.25 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment – at home: $2.093 trillion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad: $2.791 trillion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $17 trillion (2005)
Currency (code): US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Exchange rates: British pounds per US dollar: 0.4993 (2007), 0.5418 (2006), 0.5493 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003)
Canadian dollars per US dollar: 1.0724 (2007), 1.1334 (2006), 1.2118 (2005), 1.3010 (2004), 1.4011 (2003)
Japanese yen per US dollar: 117.99 (2007), 116.18 (2006) 110.22 (2005), 108.19 (2004), 115.93 (2003)
euros per US dollar: 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.8860 (2003)
Chinese yuan per US dollar: 7.61 (2007), 7.97 (2006), 8.1943 (2005), 8.2768 (2004), 8.2770 (2003)
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 163.2 million (2007)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 255 million (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: a large, technologically advanced, multipurpose communications system
domestic: a large system of fiber-optic cable, microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and domestic satellites carries every form of telephone traffic; a rapidly growing cellular system carries mobile telephone traffic throughout the country
international: country code – 1; multiple ocean cable systems provide international connectivity; satellite earth stations – 61 Intelsat (45 Atlantic Ocean and 16 Pacific Ocean), 5 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 4 Inmarsat (Pacific and Atlantic Ocean regions) (2000)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 4,789, FM 8,961, shortwave 19 (2006)
Radios: 575 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 2,218 (2006)
Televisions: 219 million (1997)
Internet country code: .us
Internet hosts: 316 million (2008); note – the US Internet total host count includes the following top level domain host addresses: .us, .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .net, and .org
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 7,000 (2002 est.)
Internet users: 223 million (2008)
Transportation Airports: 14,947 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 5,143
over 3,047 m: 191
2,438 to 3,047 m: 224
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1,452
914 to 1,523 m: 2,323
under 914 m: 953 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 9,804
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 153
914 to 1,523 m: 1,732
under 914 m: 7,912 (2007)
Heliports: 146 (2007)
Pipelines: petroleum products 244,620 km; natural gas 548,665 km (2006)
Railways: total: 226,612 km
standard gauge: 226,612 km 1.435-m gauge (2005)
Roadways: total: 6,465,799 km
paved: 4,209,835 km (includes 75,040 km of expressways)
unpaved: 2,255,964 km (2007)
Waterways: 41,009 km (19,312 km used for commerce)
note: Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, shared with Canada (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 422
by type: barge carrier 6, bulk carrier 61, cargo 69, carrier 2, chemical tanker 22, container 81, passenger 19, passenger/cargo 59, petroleum tanker 53, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 25, vehicle carrier 22
foreign-owned: 74 (Australia 1, Denmark 31, Germany 5, Japan 7, Malaysia 2, Netherlands 1, Norway 9, Singapore 12, Sweden 5, UK 1)
registered in other countries: 732 (Antigua and Barbuda 8, Australia 2, Bahamas 106, Bermuda 23, Cambodia 6, Canada 10, Cayman Islands 42, Comoros 2, Cyprus 5, Ecuador 1, Greece 8, Hong Kong 29, Ireland 2, Isle of Man 4, Italy 17, South Korea 7, Liberia 98, Luxembourg 4, Malta 23, Marshall Islands 123, Netherlands 14, Netherlands Antilles 1, Norway 1, Norway 7, Panama 126, Portugal 1, Puerto Rico 3, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 18, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 22, Trinidad and Tobago 1, Tuvalu 1, UK 12, Vanuatu 1, unknown 2) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Corpus Christi, Duluth, Hampton Roads, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Tampa, Texas City
Military Military branches: US Army, US Navy (includes Marine Corps), US Air Force, US Coast Guard; note – Coast Guard administered in peacetime by the Department of Homeland Security, but in wartime reports to the Department of the Navy (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for male and female voluntary service; maximum enlistment age 42 (Army), 27 (Air Force), 34 (Navy), 28 (Marines); service obligation 8 years, including 2-5 years active duty (Army), 2 years active (Navy), 4 years active (Air Force, Marines) (2008)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 72,715,332
females age 16-49: 71,638,785 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 59,413,358
females age 16-49: 59,187,183 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 2,186,440
female: 2,079,688 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 4.06% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: the U.S. has intensified domestic security measures and is collaborating closely with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, to monitor and control legal and illegal personnel, transport, and commodities across the international borders; abundant rainfall in recent years along much of the Mexico-US border region has ameliorated periodically strained water-sharing arrangements; 1990 Maritime Boundary Agreement in the Bering Sea still awaits Russian Duma ratification; managed maritime boundary disputes with Canada at Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and around the disputed Machias Seal Island and North Rock; The Bahamas and US have not been able to agree on a maritime boundary; US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased from Cuba and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the area can terminate the lease; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island; US has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other states; Marshall Islands claims Wake Island; Tokelau included American Samoa’s Swains Island among the islands listed in its 2006 draft constitution
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): the US admitted 62,643 refugees during FY04/05 including; 10,586 (Somalia); 8,549 (Laos); 6,666 (Russia); 6,479 (Cuba); 3,100 (Haiti); 2,136 (Iran) (2006)
Illicit drugs: world’s largest consumer of cocaine (shipped from Colombia through Mexico and the Caribbean), Colombian heroin, and Mexican heroin and marijuana; major consumer of ecstasy and Mexican methamphetamine; minor consumer of high-quality Southeast Asian heroin; illicit producer of cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine; money-laundering center

The People Of Russia, China And U.S. Aren’t Enemy’s: Only Our Leaders Are That Stupid

The People Of Russia, China And U.S. Aren’t Enemy’s: Only Our Leaders Are That Stupid

The people of the great country’s of Russia and America have no interest in killing each other. Both of our nations people want the same things, peace, prosperity and security for ourselves and our families. We the people of almost all nations do not want warfare, only Generals, people in the ‘security agencies’, and people who make the war machines want armed conflicts with each other. It is only they and a few ignorant morons in the Kremlin and in the West Wing at the White House who would ever wish such ignorance to exist. The people of Russia and the people of the United States know that there is over a billion people on this planet who hate all of us, but it is not each other! The average citizen of both country’s want a good roof over their heads, enough food for our families, transportation, heat and air conditioning, lights, and the trash to get picked up off our streets at least once a week. It is the job of our governments to provide these things in exchange for their salaries and benefit packages. It is not their jobs to try to cause wars with other nations people for the end results of such stupidity is always the same, a lot of dead innocent civilians.

 

I knew that from the time the Berlin wall fell in November of 1989 up until the time that President Putin first took office in 1999 that the American politicians and Hollywood movies painting all of Russia, their leaders, and their military as a bunch of incompetent clowns, that they were making a huge mistake. Russia’s former Communist military leaders, and KGB leaders did what all such people do, they threw incompetence and graft destroy their own country’s and imprison their own people. Those who dare disagree with them or point their evil out to the public or their shortfalls end up dead or in prison. Hollywood, our political leaders, and our military leaders just kept stepping all over the pride of the people of the great country of Russia and quite frankly they were doing this same thing toward China. These idiots kept saying that America was the ‘ last remaining super power’ while stomping all over the national pride of these great nations.

 

Russia, America, and China all have one common enemy and only fools pit us against each other when we all have an enemy that wants everyone in all three of these nations to die as quickly as possible. What appears obvious to me is that none of our top leaders seem to understand the level of the danger they are putting their own people in by dividing their attention away from our real enemy. All three of these nations leaders are making huge mistakes by working against each other when we should all be striving to be working on economic and security partnerships. This common enemy of all the nations on Earth is the religion of Islam. China, Russia, and the United States have all lost thousands of our innocent men, women and children to this religion that is based in pure hate. The President of the great people of China, Mr. XI seems far more interested in expanding his military reach to the east and south when he should know damn well that their real enemy lies at their west and southwest.

 

This article today though is mostly about the leaders of Russia and America. I am directly speaking about President Putin and President Trump. This paragraph is going to be about President Trump thus saving the end of the article to talk to President Putin. Those of you who follow this blog know that I have followed the career of Mr. Trump since he became the face of greed and hypocrisy. As I have stated several times the opinion that I formed of him ten years or more ago has not changed in that everything he has done as the President has only strengthened that opinion of him. This opinion is that he is and has always been a person of no faith system as his religion, what he worships is himself and he is no friend to any of our three nations. The world suffered through eight years of the war criminal George W Bush now we get a President who is nothing short of a traitor (my opinion/belief).

 

I would like to finish this article talking about President Putin of Russia. When President Putin first took office in 1999 I understood the Russian people voting in “a strong man”, a man of guts and a strong will. President Putin was able to help the nation to regain its pride and swagger and that is a very good thing but his efforts to spread his ‘military wings’ has been at the expense of the lives and lively hood of the Russian people. If Mr. Putin had retired after those first ten years in office his people would be in much better shape financially than they are today. From the outside looking in it appears that Mr. Putin has been doing his best to revert the country back to having a Communist Dictator, himself. President Putin, just like President Trump, have been working with and cutting deals in the Middle-East. President Putin seems set on backing the Countries of Shiite Islamic Nations and kicking sand in the face of the Sunni Nations. President Trump on the other hand seems to have aligned our policies with the Sunni Islamic Nations. The people of these Islamic believing nations hate the guts of all the Russian and American people. There is no such thing as having any of them as ‘a friend or ally’. I totally understood President Putin’s stance on backing President al-Assad of Syria (Shiite) being that he allowed Russia to have a Naval Base located there. It obviously didn’t hurt that Syria for an Islamic country was quite secular in its makeup. But now that Syria is in this horrible civil war President Putin has become cozier with the Shiite governments of Iraq and of Iran which makes all the Sunni nations like Saudi Arabia very upset.

 

The leaders of these big three nations had better wake up very soon and decide to come together to combat the terminal cancer which is Islam itself. If the leaders of Russia, China, and America do not wise up and stop trying to show each other who has the biggest cannon they will all three drown in the blood of their own people. The people of Russia, China, and America are not each others enemy, we have no interest in these ‘military games’. From this side of the ocean it appears that President Putin has gone rogue on his own people and is steeling all of Russia’s wealth for himself and his associates. That sounds just like the Republicans and the Democrats here in America. These three leaders, these three governments must work together as trading partners and friends otherwise it is the people of the world, not just our three country’s that will go up in black flag induced smoke.

Ohio Family Of 8 Are Dead Because Of Ignorant/Evil Marijuana Laws?

Ohio Family Of 8 Are Dead Because Of Ignorant/Evil Marijuana Laws?

(I WROTE THIS ARTICLE IN APRIL OF 2016 AND VERY LITTLE HAS CHANGES, EXCEPT FOR THE WORSE)

Most everyone in the whole world that has ever heard of the United States has heard of and or felt the pure evil of the American governments ‘WAR ON DRUGS”. Here in the States when the federal government decided to “crack down” on the American people’s use of “pot” they created criminal organizations that has cost the lives of thousands of people not just here in the States but throughout the ‘Americas’, North and South. Before this evil that the Federal Government has forced upon the populace’s here in America far more people smoked pot, but drank a lot less alcohol. Many people who I know who used to smoke pot did not drink at all or at most just an occasional beer. Once companies started being ordered to do pre-hire drug test and random drug tests of their employees people quit smoking God’s given gift to the human race. You see pot stays in a person’s body for about 30 days so people not wanting to lose their jobs, homes, vehicles, and children turned to drinking a lot of alcohol which just turns people violent. Plus, there is the fact that pain pills, cocaine, crack and acid only stay in a person’s system about three days. So this war on pot has directly caused a major increase in the use of these much harder drugs. This has given criminal gangs a bigger market for their narcotics that would not exist if not for ignorant American politicians. When people smoke pot, they don’t want to fight or kill, the same is the opposite when people drink too much  booze. Think of the Indian tribes of old, do you remember them smoking ‘peace pipes’ with the Generals of the Pony Soldiers? You smoke pot, you don’t then go do violence. Pot mellows people, it does not jack people up and make them want to be violent. Even in the Old Testament a flower called Mandrake was condoned by the founding fathers of Israel for personal use and Mandrake is a stronger version of pot. Those whom want to out law pot are either doing so out of ignorance, stupidity, hypocrisy, or, because they are making a lot of money condoning other things and don’t want the competition.

 

There is also the absolute fact that thousands would be alive now in Mexico if the American politicians had never made pot illegal. In Mexico the American government created a venue for the creation of these murderous gangs. Mexico used to have a horrible economy, it is getting some better now, but in a sense our government created jobs for some of the people in Mexico and South America, just not the kind of jobs our politicians envisioned, because of their lack of vision. I have spoken with many people who have moved to the United States because of the violence and lack of jobs in their home land. We want to talk about our porous southern border yet it is our policies that cause many thousands to need to come here for work and for safety as they are trying to get away from the violence and poverty of their homelands. Most all of these transplanted people who I have spoken with have told me they would much rather be in their own country but their families are starving and they are trying to escape the violence, this is why they have brought their families here. The American police agencies also know very well that there are now many thousands of gang members from Mexico and other Southern Nations that are now here in America pushing drugs and violence. We helped create these monsters with our nations ignorant drug policies. If pot were made legal as if it were alcohol we would be bankrupting many of these violent gangs both here in the States and in Mexico and other southern Nations.

 

I am a service connected disabled veteran who has a lot of nerve pain from a lightning strike. I have been taking the highest levels of Gabapentin that the law allows for the nerve pain for many years now. If I miss a couple of doses I soon know that I missed them by the increase in the pain. It is not a narcotic, I used to be given Morphine 2 times a day and Hydrocodone 4x a day for pain. Problem is narcotics do not help with nerve pain but if you have pot in your system at all the VA doctors will cold turkey a person off of all their pain meds which can easily kill people but the VA obviously does not care about that issue. I, just like millions of other vets know that pot short circuits the pain signals from the injured areas to the brain, this gives relief that narcotics can’t do. I stopped the narcotics years ago telling the VA I was going to use pot instead because of the simple fact that although the narcotics does help with all the other injuries the fact still remains that the nerve pain hurts more than the other physical pains. I am a heart patient with a very bad heart and when you are living in a lot of pain everyday the pain causes a lot of unnecessary strain on the heart but the Federal Government does not give a damn. This is the kind of issues that makes the Federal Government the enemy of millions of injured vets. The Feds know that pot is an excellent God-given herb for pain and relaxation but what does facts have to do with Government policies and of course there is the issue of the many millions of dollars that huge pharmaceutical companies give to politicians to keep their pain pills flowing and to keep marijuana illegal. Now days, in this past year the VA has made gabapentin a class one drug so if you have pot in your system they will cold turkey you off of your nerve pain medication too.  Literally this would most likely kill me so I have to make sure not to even be around people who are smoking marijuana.

 

Now I will quit my rambling and get back to the point of the title of this post, the senseless murders of those eight family members in the state of Ohio. These people had a pot growing operation going on at three of those four locations and it is believed that is why they were all murdered. Whichever reason the shooters had for what they did whether they were rivals who didn’t want the competition or they just wanted to steal their product, if pot were legal and treated like beer or wine for tax purposes, these eight people would still be alive today. So, I guess it is fair to say that the Federal Government is co-murderers of these and thousands of other people every year. If pot were legal in Ohio (Governor John Kasich) where people could grow their own for their own use, none of this would have happened. So, is Governor Kasich guilty of murder? Is President Obama guilty of these murders also? There is a strong case to say yes on both of these issues. Pot does not cure nerve pain or any other type of pain but neither does any of the narcotics, they only block pain receptors from getting to the brain. Pot, just like other God-given medications do not kill people, but the pain pills kill people everyday. Yet it is the government that pushes narcotics that are man-made upon people causing addictions and thousands of over doses every year. Also, when bad folks find out that you as a disabled veteran that is getting pain meds through the mail every month that makes these same veterans a target for being robbed and or murdered. These eight people in Ohio are just like thousands of other people nation wide and world-wide, they would be alive today if it were not for the hypocrisy of the American politicians.

 

 

No Palestinian State Can Be Established Without Gaza, Jerusalem As Capital

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Abbas’ Adviser Says No Palestinian State Can Be Established Without Gaza, Jerusalem As Capital

Wednesday, 28 February, 2018 – 12:30
Nabil Shaath. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN – REUTERS)
Ramallah- Kifah Zboun

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor for International Affairs Nabil Shaath said that the Palestinian Authority has fully engaged in a confrontation with the United States, in the wake of its decision to consider Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Speaking during a gathering at the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo, Shaath said: “President Mahmoud Abbas is in a position of full confrontation with the United States and Israel in the wake of the Israeli government’s intransigence and the recent US Administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transfer its embassy to it.”

“We will not establish our state but on our national soil. No state in Gaza, no state without Gaza, no state without Jerusalem as the capital, not a capital in Jerusalem, but Jerusalem is the capital,” Shaath stressed.

He criticized the absence of a unified Arab position to protect the Palestinian project, but said the world would change.

The Palestinian president’s advisor went on to say that within three years, “the world ruled by the United States will end and a multilateral leadership will be established.”

“We will be part of this new world,” he said.

Shaath’s remarks came in response to the United States, which announced earlier this month that it was about to offer the “deal of the century”, disregarding a plan by Abbas to hold an international peace conference to set up a multilateral mechanism for the peace process.

The Palestinians refuse to deal with the United States as the sole sponsor of the negotiations, saying they are ready to accept the US as part of a multilateral mechanism within an international quartet that would also include European and Arab states.

The relationship between the PA and Washington severely deteriorated after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and decided to move the US embassy to it.

Mexico’s Ex-President Just Brutally Mocked Trump By Making His Own ‘MAGA’ Hats

(I GOT THIS SENT TO ME FROM A FRIEND ON FACEBOOK, IF THIS DOESN’T MAKE YOU SMILE YOU MUST ALREADY BE DEAD)

(MAKE SURE TO WATCH THE FIVE MINUTE VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM)

Home  Uncategorized  Mexico’s Ex-President Just Brutally Mocked Trump By Making His Own ‘MAGA’ Hats

Mexico’s Ex-President Just Brutally Mocked Trump By Making His Own ‘MAGA’ Hats

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Showcasing an array of mock “MAGA” hats, former Mexican President Vincente Fox just doubled down on his attacks toward Trump in a hilarious new video.

Background:

This just in, folks: Vincente Fox is running for President of the United States.

Well, probably not. But Fox brought his Trump jabs to new heights in a video posted yesterday where he satirized the announcement of his candidacy.

Since Trump’s nomination, Fox has been a vocal critic of the orange goblin. In September 2016, Fox took swings at a Trump piñata at a taco truck during a visit to LA-based Spanish talk show El Show de Piolín.

“Empty, totally empty,” Fox said, reaching his hand inside the smashed Trumpian bust. “He doesn’t have a brain.”

Following the general election, Fox released a series of videos criticizing the conman-in-chief. Most of the originals shared a common theme: Mexico won’t pay for the wall.

While the message was little more than common sense for sane voters, Trump loyalists were appalled to learn that — gasp — they’d be forced to personally shell out the cash for border wall funding.

But given Trump’s unmatched ability to routinely make an ass of himself, Fox has no shortage of raw material. His most recent uploads poke fun at Trump’s hot temper, loud mouth, and lack of empathy following the president’s recent DACA decision.

“Donald, do you want to be a hero?” he asked in a June 2017 video. “Because you can. All you have to do is quit.”

Honestly, we’d be lucky if Fox pursued a presidential bid. But given the unlikelihood of such a scenario, we’ll remain content with his comedic approach to sensibility.

What’s Happening Now:

Seated at a desk in a mock-up presidential suite, Fox looked composed and confident as he eyed the camera — a refreshing contrast to Trump’s cringeworthy persona.

“It’s me, Vincente Fox,” he began, “with another message for last year’s rotting Halloween pumpkin.”

From there, Fox proudly announced his candidacy as a goat was escorted onstage, bearing the message “Vincente for Presidente!” The goat turned, displaying another message: “A taco truck on every corner!”

The amusing sign pays homage to bizarre comments made last year by “Latinos for Trump” founder Marco Gutierrez on MSNBC.

“My culture is a very dominant culture, and it’s imposing and it’s causing problems,” said Gutierrez. “If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.”

Trump, of course, wouldn’t take issue with that. After all, he loves Latinos. Really. Believe me.

Ah, yes, overpriced Manhattan meals. Now that’s authentic Spanish cuisine.

Fox, who was born in Mexico City, hysterically addressed concerns about his eligibility for presidency.

“If that worn-out baseball glove tightly gripping a turd can be president, then, amigos, anyone can!” he said of Trump.

He went on to bash the criminal-in-chief’s gross exaggeration of the 2017 inaugural crowd, ill-chosen cabinet picks, and unjustifiable support for alt-right neo-Nazi extremists.

“Donald, what the f*** is wrong with you?” he screamed.

Ridiculing conservative desires to build a wall, Fox promised to meet their demands, wielding a picture of a bricked-in Trump Tower.

“Believe me, Mexico will be happy to pay for this one,” he said.

But the real hilarity ensued at the video’s conclusion, when Fox displayed an assortment of MAGA-inspired hats.

“Always ask before grabbing a pussy,” he remarked, reading the ballcap’s text with a smirk as he placed it on his head.

The other hats, which included jabs like “65 million is more than 62 million,” “Putin is not my papi,” and “Not afraid of stairs” poked fun at a just a few of Trump’s many public gaffes.

Twitter users responded in kind.

If you haven’t seen the Vincente Fox video yet, you really should. https://twitter.com/therickydavila/status/906176561480687617 

I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. This is ninja-level Trump trolling by @VicenteFoxQue

The full video is worth the watch — words truly don’t do it justice.

And while you’re at it, watch the others, too. I laughed so hard my sides hurt.

“Russia Has Never Denied Israels Rights To Jerusalem, The Temple Mount Or The Western Wall”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JERUSALEM POST)    (THIS IS A RE-POST FROM 11-06-2016 HAS ANYTHING REALLY CHANGED)

Moscow has never denied Israel’s rights to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall, Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev said in advance of his visit to the Jewish state later this week.

“These rights are clear and it would be absurd to deny them,” he told Channel 2 anchorwoman Yonit Levy.

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He spoke warmly of Russia’s ties with Israel, despite Moscow’s votes against the Jewish state at the United Nations and its delivery of the S-300 missiles to Iran.


Benjamin Netanyahu Dimitry Medvedev. (Photo credit: RIA NOVOSTI / REUTERS)

Levy quizzed him about those controversial issues as well as his support for Syrian President Basher Assad and charges that his country had intervened in the US elections.

How does Russia explain its support of the UNESCO vote “to disregard the historic connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” Levy asked Medvedev.

The issue had been blown out of proportion, he responded speaking in Russian, with a Hebrew translation by Channel 2.

There have been some ten votes by UNESCO Boards and Committees on such Jerusalem resolutions, Medvedev said.

“There is nothing new here,” he said, as he dismissed the significance of UNESCO texts that refer to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Al Haram Al Sharif.

“Our country has never denied the rights of Israel or the Jewish people to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall,” Medvedev said.

“Therefore there is no need to politicize this decision,” Medvedev said, adding that such resolutions, were “not directed against Israel.”

Similarly, he said, there was nothing contradictory in Russia’s sale and shipment of the advanced S-300 advanced surface to air missile defense system to Iran.

Israel had opposed such sales because they significantly upgrade Iran’s ability to defend its nuclear sites against any attacks. It is particularly concerned because it does not believe that the Iran deal, put in place in 2015, will limit Tehran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons.

Medvedev told Channel 2 that prior to the Iran deal, Russia respected the sanctions against Tehran and refrained from delivering the S-300. Now that the deal is in place and the sanctions were lifted, there was no reason not to complete the sale, he said.

Moving over to Syria, he referred to President Bashar Assad as the country’s only legitimate leader and added that Israel’s leadership preferred his rule to the prospect of a divided country under terrorist leadership.

“I know him (Assad) personally. There are those who love him and those who don’t. At present Assad is the only legitimate authority operating in Syria. Any regime change would have to occur legitimately,” Medvedev said.

“I remember that during my meetings with Israeli leaders, they told me they were not completely for Assad, but that there has to be someone in charge of the situation, rather than an uncontrolled break up of the country into enclaves ruled by terrorists,” Medvedev said.

Middle East terrorism, he said, is threatening his country from within.

“There are thousands of Russians fighting on behalf of ISIS and other Islamic Jihadist groups,” Medvedev said. “When they return they are experienced murders and terrorists. After their time fighting in Syria we don’t want them to organize something similar [within Russia],” he said.

Levy asked how the presence of the Russian air force in Syria impacted Israel’s ability to prevent the flow of weapons to Hezbollah.

Medvedev said that it was operating from the assumption that “all sides would not take steps to aggravate the conflict.”

With regard to the United States, he charged that it had not kept its commitments in Syria and that the relationship between Washington and Moscow was at a very low point.

Medvedev chuckled when Levy asked him if Russia had interfered with the US elections.

He quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin, when he stated that “the United States is not a banana republic.”

The US, he said, was a large and strong country and could not be influenced in that way. “It doesn’t matter who will be elected, but what policy they will execute,” he said.

“Its clear [that either candidate] will act in the best national interest of the US,” Medvedev said.

He called Republican candidate Donald Trump brilliant and said he had never met him. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, he said, was professional and known to him from the times he met with her when she was US Secretary of State from 2009-2012.

Russia expects to have a “normal” and “productive” relationship with whichever of the two candidates wins the White House, Medvedev said.

With regard to the Russian initiative to hold a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Presdient Mahmoud Abbas, Medvedev said that Moscow was not looking to replace the United States or anyone else when it comes to the peace process.

On the other hand, he said, there are very discouraging signs with regard to that conflict and there have been no advancements to speak of on the Israeli-Palestinian track over the last few years.

“It’s very sad,” he said.

The Three Way Relationship Between Mainland China, The Nation Of Taiwan And The U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS ONE I FOUND ON GOOGLE PLUS FROM WIKIMEDIA COMMONS THE INDEPENDENT JOURNAL REVIEW AND FROM ANDY TAI’S BLOGSITE)

Office of the President, Republic of China (Taiwan)/Wikimedia Commons

The narrow Taiwan Strait separates the socialist mainland China and the democratic island of Taiwan, both physically and politically.

But the cross-strait relations have never been simply about these two actors. The U.S. has been an intrinsic part of this unresolved diplomatic dilemma since 1949.

However, all three players in this triangular relationship are going through leadership adjustments, which started last year when Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen as its president, followed by Donald Trump becoming president of the U.S. in January.

But what about China? The ruling Communist Party will hold its 19th National Congress later this year, possibly in September or October. The Communist Party is expected to elect new central committee members, which forms the country’s top leadership. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, is expected to remain president.

In light of these leadership changes, it is time to examine what they might mean for cross-strait relations.

The National Chengchi University in Taiwan and the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies — an American think tank — recently held a daylong event called “Cross-Strait Relations Re-examined: Toward a New Normal?” to discuss the new situations affecting the triangular relations. Participants included officials who represent the U.S. in Taiwan, Taiwan’s representatives in the U.S., and Taiwan government officials, as well as scholars and researchers.

The History of the China-Taiwan Conflict

Taiwan has been virtually independent since 1949, when the Nationalist government of China was defeated by Chinese Communist forces led by Mao Zedong in the Chinese civil war, which was fought between 1945 to 1949.

At the conclusion of the civil war, the Nationalist forces, led by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to the island of Taiwan and established its Republic of China government there, still claiming to be the legitimate government of all of China, including the mainland.

The Communist forces, in control of mainland China, established the People’s Republic of China, which also claimed to be the legitimate government of China, including the island of Taiwan.

Over the latter half of the 20th century, Taiwan’s economy and democracy saw tremendous development. Robust exports of electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery have contributed to Taiwan’s dynamic economy.

In the “Freedom in the World 2017 Report” by Freedom House, Taiwan scored 91 (even higher than U.S., which rated an 89) for being one of the areas with the most political rights and civil liberties.

But the island has been facing growing isolation from the international community, especially since the United Nations expelled Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China, and gave its seat in the U.N. to mainland China in 1971. Currently, only 20 countries still retain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The U.S. has official diplomatic relations with mainland China, but it keeps robust unofficial ties with the government in Taiwan. Such triangular relations were made possible because of a series of agreements and communiqués U.S. has made with both sides since 1979.

The U.S. acknowledged the People’s Republic of China as the “sole legal government of China,” instead of the Republic of China government in Taiwan, in order to establish official diplomatic relations with the mainland.

But at the same time, the U.S. also ensured the “continuation of commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan” through the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.

For China, “there’s only one China” is a precondition for the U.S.-China diplomatic relationship. But there are significant differences between China version and the U.S. version of its relationship.

It is because of this deliberate ambiguity, the two largest economies in the world were able to move forward from this historical, unsettled dilemma concerning Taiwan.

For the island, the U.S. is its most important protector as well as a vital trade partner. The U.S. has been selling arms to Taiwan so it can modernize and upgrade its defensive power.

Also, the U.S. and Taiwan have become each other’s 10th- and second-largest trading partners, according to James Moriarty, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan. The institute serves as the U.S.’s de facto embassy in Taiwan.

“The United States and Taiwan have built a comprehensive, durable, and mutually beneficial partnership, grounded in our shared interests and values. We maintain close economic, security, and people-to-people ties, and share a mutual respect for democracy and human rights. It should be no surprise, then, that the United States considers Taiwan a vital and reliable partner in Asia,” ambassador Moriarty said.

What Is Happening Now

The Trump administration seems to be taking a more-positive approach to its island partner.

Last December, then President-elect Trump placed a phone call to the president of Taiwan. This marked the first known direct contact between the presidents of U.S. and Taiwan since 1979 when the U.S. cut official ties to Taiwan and established relations with China.

Last month, at the risk of damage to the U.S.-China relationship, Trump green-lighted the sale of a $1.4 billion arms package to Taiwan, which was the first U.S. arms sale to the island under the new administration. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also reaffirmed that the U.S. is “completely committed” to the Taiwan Relations Act and to “fulfilling all of our commitments to Taiwan” under the act.

“I think the most recent decision by the U.S. government for the major arms sale package is necessary and on merit, not some kind of leverages or bargaining chips,” said Stanley Kao, Taiwan’s representative in the U.S. “That’s another powerful testimony to this long-lasting friendship and partnership between the U.S. and Taiwan.”

“Over the decades, we were able to negotiate because U.S. provides oxygen. The oxygen is giving Taiwan a sense of confidence and security,” said Joanne Chang, a research fellow at Academia Sinica — the national academy of Taiwan, and a panelist at the recent CSIS event. “So we continue and appreciate that U.S. provides oxygen — the Taiwan Relations Act and also continuing to support Taiwan diplomatically and its participation in important international organizations.”

But on the Taiwan side, the past year has been a difficult time for the newly elected President Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party, which defeated the long-ruling Nationalist party, the Kuomintang, in the island’s 2016 elections.

Tsai and her party have taken a strong position against Beijing. And although Tsai has repeatedly voiced her intention to keep the status quo of the cross-strait relations after she swore into office, China has been accused of using its international power to punish Taiwan and limit its international participation.

Lin Cheng-yi, deputy minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, said in his remark at CSIS:

“With the zero-sum thinking of a world power and an approach of marginalizing and belittling Taiwan, mainland China has viewed the functioning of democracy and pluralistic lifestyles, systems, and values in Taiwan with negative thinking and politicized interpretations. This displays a superficial understanding of pluralism and democracy in Taiwan.

Representative Kao also responded to these obstructions in his remark:

“I think our government will continue to run a steady, a steadfast non-proactive cause and our commitment. And our goodwill remains unchanged. But making no mistake, Taiwan is a full-phase democracy with strong public opinion. We will not bow to pressure and, of course, to be taken for granted.

“At the same time, we are so very proud to see this robust U.S.-Taiwan relation continue to move strong and onward.”

Looking Ahead

Although much remains unknown about what will happen with China’s leadership later this year, many experts attending the CSIS conference recommend Taiwan and U.S. remain mutual partners and find ways to strengthen the partnership.

“The U.S. obviously has a responsibility, in my view, to maintain a robust trade dialogue with Taiwan,” said Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, which is a nonprofit organization that fosters trade and business relations between the two countries.

Hammond-Chambers also urges the Trump administration to consider Taiwan as an important partner when tailoring his so-called “fair trade agreements.”

“Taiwan should be on top of the list,” he said.

While Trump’s trade representative has reportedly voiced the intention to forge stronger ties with Taiwan, Trump has also been quite outspoken himself about making the future U.S. trade agreements balanced, fair as well as free, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

Taiwan’s restrictions on the importation of U.S. beef and pork are long-standing issues on the bargaining table.

For the Taiwan government, Hammond-Chambers also provided suggestions, one of which is to buy more U.S. energy:

“Taiwan purchases oil from Qatar, a leading sponsor of global terror. It purchases its coal from China. This to me is a mistake. I would suggest President Tsai and her government to consider switching those vendors to the United States, a reliable strategic partner, a reliable strategic source of energy and more importantly, it would address the political issues they are wrestling with the Trump’s administration, which is the trade imbalance.”

Echoing Hammond-Chambers, Scott Kennedy, the deputy director of the Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS, suggested that Taiwan itself should be more proactive in controlling its own economic fate, with or without furthering trade deals with the U.S.

“Don’t wait for Washington to be ready. Washington has a lot on its plate,” Kennedy said.

Amid Historically Low Turnout, Puerto Ricans Vote for Statehood

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

JUN 11 2017, 6:00 PM ET

Amid Historically Low Turnout, Puerto Ricans Vote for Statehood

Amid historically low turnout, residents of Puerto Rico voted Sunday for statehood in a non-binding vote, but almost eight out of ten voters did not participate.

Puerto Rican resident Maria Quinones votes during the fifth referendum on the island’s status, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sunday, June 11, 2017. Carlos Giusti / AP

As of 5:30pET, the island’s election commission (CEE in Spanish) had reported that about 23 percent of the island’s eligible voters had cast ballots, about 500,000 votes. About 97 percent of the votes were for statehood.

The island’s’ governor, Ricardo Rosselló from the New Progressive Party (PNP in Spanish) and his government had been pushing for a “yes” for statehood as the best way to grapple with Puerto Rico’s crippling $73 billion debt.

But the island’s other two main political parties had pushed for a boycott of the plebiscite, and it showed in the numbers. About 1.3 percent voted for the current commonwealth status and about 1.5 percent voted for independence.

The president of the Popular Democratic Party, (PPD in Spanish), which favors the current commonwealth status, said after the vote that “statehooders shot themselves in the foot.”

“Eight out of ten voters went to the beach, went to the river, went to go eat, went to go hang out, went to church, but they sure didn’t go out to vote,” said PPD president Héctor Ferrer at a San Juan press conference. “Governor Rossello is now going to go to Washington and say this (statehood) is what people wanted. But we’re going too to say no, that’s not true and the numbers speak for themselves.”

In this Oct. 2, 2012 photo, U.S. And Puerto Rico’s flags fly as tourists walk along the dock where a cruise ship anchors in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. AP

Puerto Rico historically has had high turnout in most elections. This one was unusually low. In the last plebiscite held in 2012, more than 1.9 million voted, and 800,000 chose statehood. In 1993, nearly 2 million Puerto Ricans voted.

But following the results, Gov. Roselló said “An overwhelming majority voted for statehood. Today we are sending a strong and clear message for equal rights as American citizens. This was a democratic process and statehood got a historic 97 percent of the vote. The federal government cannot ignore the results of this plebiscite and the will of our people,” said the governor. “It would be quite ironic to demand democracy in other parts of the world but not in their own backyard. This is our home.”

RELATED: Puerto Rico Holds Vote Sunday on Statehood Amid Criticism Over Timing, Costs

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico does not elect members of Congress. But the island’s representative in Congress, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, is pro-statehood, and she said Sunday in San Juan that she is creating a “Friends of Puerto Rico Caucus” in Washington to advocate for statehood and push the process along once the results are certified.

“As Resident Commissioner I will take this to Congress and defend it,” said González. “I am taking it not just to Congress but to other forums, such as the Organization of American States,” she told reporters.

Ultimately, it is up to the U.S. Congress to decide whether to take up the issue of Puerto Rico’s status.

Emilio Martínez, a retiree and statehood supporter, told NBC Latino that he was glad that he was able to vote. “If you don’t vote, you don’t participate and you don’t have a say. There weren’t too many people voting when I went this morning, but I live in a town outside of San Juan controlled by one of the opposition parties and they had urged people to boycott the plebiscite, so many people stayed away. But that doesn’t matter to me. Voting is our right and I am exercising my right,” said Martínez.

“And this is just the beginning of a process to tell the United States how we feel and that we want to be a part of the States,” Martínez said. “We deserve to be treated equally like any other U.S. citizen. But nothing happens overnight. This is just the beginning.”

Federico de Jesús, with FDJ Solutions in Washington is a former Obama and Puerto Rico government official who says the plebiscite was unnecessary and costly.

Image: Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello greets supporters at a polling station
Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello, center, greets supporters at a polling station, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, on Sunday, June 11, 2017. Thais Llorca / EPA

“This vote was a waste or precious resources at a time of severe fiscal constraints. Congress laid out a process through a provision in a 2014 law that said that if Puerto Rico wanted the federal government to pay attention to another status referendum, it had to follow certain rules. The current government of the Island entered the process and when it took longer than they wanted they decided to ignore the U.S. Justice Department’s plea for more time to evaluate the validity of the ballot language – which had already been rejected once before by DOJ. This begs the question: why would Congress act upon the results of a referendum that ignored the rules it required in federal law to address this issue? Sadly, today’s vote will thus go down in history as yet another non-binding glorified poll with no real effect on resolving Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States.”

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Iran’s Supreme ‘Liar’ Ali Khamenei Criticizes Officials’ Fears from ‘Enemy Warnings’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

World

Khamenei Criticizes Officials’ Fears from ‘Enemy Warnings’

London- Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei indirectly criticized some political parties for reiterating slogans to distance the country from war.

Khamenei addressed a gathering of top military and army staff, telling them a country would be in its worst situation if its officials fear the slightest of enemy’s threats.

“If they fear them, they have actually opened up a way for the enemy’s invasion and aggression.”

Khamenei went on to note, “if one wishes to be scared, it is alright, as long as the fear is not extended to be on behalf of the nation, because the Iranian people are courageously standing against all threats.”

“Tasks should be done with wisdom, logic and prudence — there is no doubt about that — but they should also be done courageously,” Khamenei said.

“Fearing or worrying, or becoming affected by the threats, frowns, and mistreatment that arise from the world’s superpowers, is just the beginning of a country’s misery.”

“Those who follow western media see how the enemies are trying to disrupt the elections in some way, but the Iranian nation will remain vigilant and wise to these hostile moves and the election will hopefully be held with a high turnout in a secure, passionate and lively atmosphere,” he said.

Khamenei further stressed that an election held with such parameters in mind will bring great immunity to the country.

“I place stress on the people’s living conditions; I put stress on the living conditions of the employees of various sectors; and the living conditions of the staff belonging to the armed forces: These issues should seriously be followed up. This is a duty of the officials,” he said.

He also warned that Iran’s adversaries target weak points of the Iranian economy and stressed the need to strengthen the country’s “resistance economy.”

Khamenei further stated: “The enemies–whether the United States or greater than the United States–cannot do a single thing against the Iranian regime that is linked to its people, a regime that has admiration for its people and the people admire it back.”

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