West Nile Virus Spreads Rapidly in the United States

By ELIZABETH WEISE | USATODAY | AUGUST 15, 2012

West Nile virus is spreading faster than it has in years, and the pace of the mosquito-borne disease is getting worse, health officials report.

States are reporting more cases than usual, says Marc Fischer, a specialist in mosquito-borne diseases with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Fort Collins, Colo. “There’s been a lot of mosquito activity in most states” this year, Fischer says.

Texas is getting the worst of it.

Sixteen people have died of West Nile virus this summer in Texas. That’s out of 381 cases of the illness. “We’re on track to have the worst year ever,” says Christine Mann, spokeswoman for the Department of State Health Services in Austin.

Nationwide there have been at least 693 cases and 28 deaths, according to the CDC and state numbers released Tuesday. That’s up from 390 cases and eight deaths last week.

A mild winter and ample spring rains allowed the mosquito population to build up early. Heat and scant rainfall are creating stagnant water pools, which make great breeding grounds, says Michael Merchant, an entomologist at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas.

Thirty-two states have had cases of West Nile, the CDC says.

Louisiana has had six deaths in 68 cases, Oklahoma one death in 55 cases, and Mississippi one death in 59 cases. In Arizona, there’s been one death in seven cases.

California had 23 cases, one of which was fatal, and South Dakota had one fatality in 37 cases.

It’s going to get worse, says David Dausey, a professor of public health at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. He says climate change means warmer winters, milder springs and hotter summers, all of which “create a longer season for mosquitoes to breed and ideal conditions for them to survive.” That will mean more West Nile and, public health workers worry, other mosquito-borne diseases such as yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever, Dausey says.

Most people who are infected with the West Nile Virus, 70% to 80%, never know they have it. Twenty percent to 30% develop West Nile fever, with headaches, fever, joint pains, vomiting or diarrhea and rash.

Less than 1% of those infected with the virus develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease involving inflammation of the brain, spinal cord or the tissue surrounding the brain. About 10% of those will die, Fischer says. People over 50 and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop this form.

Obamacare: I’ve seen rabbits being pulled out of a Hat

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 28, 2012

As the Supreme Court of the United States reviews the legality of the so called Obamacare socialist healthcare legislation, the first accounts of the justices opinions about it seem to be negative to say the least. Meanwhile, Obama supporters like James Carville are trying to win the battle already for the Democrat side. Carville has said that a loss in the Supreme Court will help democrats.

CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin said that Obamacare is a train wreck and that expectations are low for the legislation to survive the justices’ review. As the hours go by, some opinions from their analysis have been leaked into the media, with Justice Kennedy saying that Obamacare fundamentally changes the relationship between the people and their government. Justice John Roberts has compared the mandate too make anyone and everyone buy government sponsored healthcare to having that same government mandating that people buy a cellphone. “Can government make you buy a cell phone?” asked Roberts. Meanwhile, Justice Anthony Scalia questioned the individual mandate by asking pro Obamacare folks why was the definition of “market” so broadly represented in the text of the legislation. “Could you define the market — everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli,” Scalia said. Does government make people buy broccoli?

Given this scenario, you would think that defenders of Obamacare would be absolutely sharp when speaking in favor of the legislation. But it wasn’t the case for Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who stumbled when trying to make the case for a legalized socialist healthcare system. Mr. Verrilli continuously coughed and stuttered while trying to speak about the wonders of Obamacare and justifying the government controlled healthcare scheme. But is this a doomsday sentence for Obamacare? It is also being reported that even Justice Sotomayor has expressed some doubts about some aspects of Obamacare. According to Reuters “the four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, all indicated that they believed the mandate valid under the U.S. Constitution. Two conservatives, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, were vocal in their skepticism about the requirement.”

I’ve seen rabbits being pulled out of hats before, so I would not hold my breath for a decision against Obamacare just yet. “Obamacare is in big trouble,” says Jeffrey Toobin, who has been in attendance during the review process. But just as Carville manage to paint a defeat as a victory, the main stream liberal media has orchestrated a campaign to prepare their audience for a possible loss, while at the same time lowering expectations in the minds of the rest of the public in order to take some pressure off a potential decision that upholds Obamacare as it stands. It is the typical “playing possum game”. They’ve done it before with the so-called kinetic action in Libya, the war in Iraq and a possible attack against Iran and Syria.

What are the chances that Obamacare will not pass, that it could be upheld? According to Mr. Toobin, there are 5 very solid votes to throw out this healthcare legislation out the window. But the idea that people should participate in this socialized way of delivering healthcare also has four very strong votes that support it in the four liberal Supreme Court justices. Mr. Toobin says the fifth vote, a conservative one, could decide whether or not Americans are indeed obligated — even if such obligation is unconstitutional — to purchase government healthcare. That vote comes from Justice John Roberts, who although has expressed reservations about Obamacare, has not shown a clear cut opinion about the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the law. “I think it just looks bad for this law,” says Toobin.

A popular talking point that has been circulating is that those who do not enter the government mandated healthcare system will make it that much more difficult for those who do pay for the services provided under such a system. This is a way to sort of hijack public opinion and to misguided the public to support and accept Obamacare because it is good for the ‘commonwealth’. It is the typical collectivist view that people must do what is better for the mass, as supposed to taking care of themselves first, to then help others.  Those who do not support Obamacare, as we have seen since the law was brought up and discussed in mainstream American, will be ostracized and called names for not complying.

If the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare as it is now, it would establish a dangerous precedent that the government can tell anyone to buy any product as supposed to people being able to choose whatever they think it’s better for them. Here is where the government telling people to buy broccoli comes in handy. What will be next? Government telling people what car to buy? What airline to fly or what supermarkets to go to purchase groceries? How about how much electricity, gas or water people should use? As explained by Mr. Toobin, who acts as a legal expert for CNN, Obamacare forces people to buy a product they may not want or that they may not need. The same is true for tax collection, for example. Although the Constitution is very clear about the ways in which government must operate, people are obligated to pay income tax. If Obamacare is thrown out due to its unconstitutional nature, couldn’t citizens also make a case for not paying income tax because of the unconstitutional way in which government forces people to pay it? How about challenges against the constitutional amendment and the way it was passed to allow the government to tax people’s income?

What happens if the individual mandate is deemed unconstitutional, but the rest of the law is not? Because Obamacare is directly dependent on the government’s ability to force citizens to buy insurance in order to finance Obamacare, it is hard to see how the rest of the program would be able to stand on its own feet. Government would have to kill Obamacare as a whole, restructure it in order to make it available without the monies collected from individuals who decide not to join the program, or raise taxes in order to finance it. It is now well-known that the actual cost of Obamacare goes way beyond the total provided by the Federal Government and that it would take more than a national consensus for everyone to join in order to keep it alive for as long as the government wants.

According to recent polls, at least 30 percent of the interviewed Americans do support a decision to declare Obamacare unconstitutional. As the system stands now, the healthcare system is 20,000 doctors short to help the number of patients who use Medicare and Medicaid. What will happen if Obamacare is upheld and many more millions of people decide to make an appointment to see their doctor? What good does it make to have free healthcare if there isn’t a doctor to visit?

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Luis Miranda is the founder and editor of The Real Agenda. For more of his stories, subscribe to our article feed. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Email article ideas and insights through the Contact page.

New Obama Executive Order Ensures Government Power Grab of Resources

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2012

Executive Order — National Defense Resources Preparedness

EXECUTIVE ORDER

NATIONAL DEFENSE RESOURCES PREPAREDNESS

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (50 U.S.C. App. 2061 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:

PART I  –  PURPOSE, POLICY, AND IMPLEMENTATION

Section 101Purpose.  This order delegates authorities and addresses national defense resource policies and programs under the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (the “Act”).

Sec. 102Policy.  The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency.  The domestic industrial and technological base is the foundation for national defense preparedness.  The authorities provided in the Act shall be used to strengthen this base and to ensure it is capable of responding to the national defense needs of the United States.

Sec. 103General Functions.  Executive departments and agencies (agencies) responsible for plans and programs relating to national defense (as defined in section 801(j) of this order), or for resources and services needed to support such plans and programs, shall:

(a)  identify requirements for the full spectrum of emergencies, including essential military and civilian demand;

(b)  assess on an ongoing basis the capability of the domestic industrial and technological base to satisfy requirements in peacetime and times of national emergency, specifically evaluating the availability of the most critical resource and production sources, including subcontractors and suppliers, materials, skilled labor, and professional and technical personnel;

(c)  be prepared, in the event of a potential threat to the security of the United States, to take actions necessary to ensure the availability of adequate resources and production capability, including services and critical technology, for national defense requirements;

(d)  improve the efficiency and responsiveness of the domestic industrial base to support national defense requirements; and

(e)  foster cooperation between the defense and commercial sectors for research and development and for acquisition of materials, services, components, and equipment to enhance industrial base efficiency and responsiveness.

Sec. 104Implementation.  (a)  The National Security Council and Homeland Security Council, in conjunction with the National Economic Council, shall serve as the integrated policymaking forum for consideration and formulation of national defense resource preparedness policy and shall make recommendations to the President on the use of authorities under the Act.

(b)  The Secretary of Homeland Security shall:

(1)  advise the President on issues of national defense resource preparedness and on the use of the authorities and functions delegated by this order;

(2)  provide for the central coordination of the plans and programs incident to authorities and functions delegated under this order, and provide guidance to agencies assigned functions under this order, developed in consultation with such agencies; and

(3)  report to the President periodically concerning all program activities conducted pursuant to this order.

(c)  The Defense Production Act Committee, described in section 701 of this order, shall:

(1)  in a manner consistent with section 2(b) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2062(b), advise the President through the Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy on the effective use of the authorities under the Act; and

(2)  prepare and coordinate an annual report to the Congress pursuant to section 722(d) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2171(d).

(d)  The Secretary of Commerce, in cooperation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and other agencies, shall:

(1)  analyze potential effects of national emergencies on actual production capability, taking into account the entire production system, including shortages of resources, and develop recommended preparedness measures to strengthen capabilities for production increases in national emergencies; and

(2)  perform industry analyses to assess capabilities of the industrial base to support the national defense, and develop policy recommendations to improve the international competitiveness of specific domestic industries and their abilities to meet national defense program needs.

PART II  –  PRIORITIES AND ALLOCATIONS

Sec. 201Priorities and Allocations Authorities.  (a)  The authority of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071, to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, is delegated to the following agency heads:

(1)  the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer;

(2)  the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;

(3)  the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;

(4)  the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;

(5)  the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and

(6)  the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.

(b)  The Secretary of each agency delegated authority under subsection (a) of this section (resource departments) shall plan for and issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources and establish standards and procedures by which the authority shall be used to promote the national defense, under both emergency and non-emergency conditions.  Each Secretary shall authorize the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, to place priority ratings on contracts and orders for materials, services, and facilities needed in support of programs approved under section 202 of this order.

(c)  Each resource department shall act, as necessary and appropriate, upon requests for special priorities assistance, as defined by section 801(l) of this order, in a time frame consistent with the urgency of the need at hand.  In situations where there are competing program requirements for limited resources, the resource department shall consult with the Secretary who made the required determination under section 202 of this order.  Such Secretary shall coordinate with and identify for the resource department which program requirements to prioritize on the basis of operational urgency.  In situations involving more than one Secretary making such a required determination under section 202 of this order, the Secretaries shall coordinate with and identify for the resource department which program requirements should receive priority on the basis of operational urgency.

(d)  If agreement cannot be reached between two such Secretaries, then the issue shall be referred to the President through the Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

(e)  The Secretary of each resource department, when necessary, shall make the finding required under section 101(b) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071(b).  This finding shall be submitted for the President’s approval through the Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.  Upon such approval, the Secretary of the resource department that made the finding may use the authority of section 101(a) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071(a), to control the general distribution of any material (including applicable services) in the civilian market.

Sec. 202Determinations.  Except as provided in section 201(e) of this order, the authority delegated by section 201 of this order may be used only to support programs that have been determined in writing as necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense:

(a)  by the Secretary of Defense with respect to military production and construction, military assistance to foreign nations, military use of civil transportation, stockpiles managed by the Department of Defense, space, and directly related activities;

(b)  by the Secretary of Energy with respect to energy production and construction, distribution and use, and directly related activities; and

(c)  by the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to all other national defense programs, including civil defense and continuity of Government.

Sec. 203Maximizing Domestic Energy Supplies.  The authorities of the President under section 101(c)(1) (2) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071(c)(1) (2), are delegated to the Secretary of Commerce, with the exception that the authority to make findings that materials (including equipment), services, and facilities are critical and essential, as described in section 101(c)(2)(A) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071(c)(2)(A), is delegated to the Secretary of Energy.

Sec. 204Chemical and Biological Warfare.  The authority of the President conferred by section 104(b) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2074(b), is delegated to the Secretary of Defense.  This authority may not be further delegated by the Secretary.

PART III  –  EXPANSION OF PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY AND SUPPLY

Sec. 301Loan Guarantees.  (a)  To reduce current or projected shortfalls of resources, critical technology items, or materials essential for the national defense, the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense, as defined in section 801(h) of this order, is authorized pursuant to section 301 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2091, to guarantee loans by private institutions.

(b)  Each guaranteeing agency is designated and authorized to:  (1) act as fiscal agent in the making of its own guarantee contracts and in otherwise carrying out the purposes of section 301 of the Act; and (2) contract with any Federal Reserve Bank to assist the agency in serving as fiscal agent.

(c)  Terms and conditions of guarantees under this authority shall be determined in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  The guaranteeing agency is authorized, following such consultation, to prescribe:  (1) either specifically or by maximum limits or otherwise, rates of interest, guarantee and commitment fees, and other charges which may be made in connection with such guarantee contracts; and (2) regulations governing the forms and procedures (which shall be uniform to the extent practicable) to be utilized in connection therewith.

Sec. 302Loans.  To reduce current or projected shortfalls of resources, critical technology items, or materials essential for the national defense, the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 302 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2092, to make loans thereunder.  Terms and conditions of loans under this authority shall be determined in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of OMB.

Sec. 303Additional Authorities.  (a)  To create, maintain, protect, expand, or restore domestic industrial base capabilities essential for the national defense, the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 303 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093, to make provision for purchases of, or commitments to purchase, an industrial resource or a critical technology item for Government use or resale, and to make provision for the development of production capabilities, and for the increased use of emerging technologies in security program applications, and to enable rapid transition of emerging technologies.

(b)  Materials acquired under section 303 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093, that exceed the needs of the programs under the Act may be transferred to the National Defense Stockpile, if, in the judgment of the Secretary of Defense as the National Defense Stockpile Manager, such transfers are in the public interest.

Sec. 304Subsidy Payments.  To ensure the supply of raw or nonprocessed materials from high cost sources, or to ensure maximum production or supply in any area at stable prices of any materials in light of a temporary increase in transportation cost, the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 303(c) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093(c), to make subsidy payments, after consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of OMB.

Sec. 305Determinations and Findings.  (a)  Pursuant to budget authority provided by an appropriations act in advance for credit assistance under section 301 or 302 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2091, 2092, and consistent with the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as amended (FCRA), 2 U.S.C. 661 et seq., the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority to make the determinations set forth in sections 301(a)(2) and 302(b)(2) of the Act, in consultation with the Secretary making the required determination under section 202 of this order; provided, that such determinations shall be made after due consideration of the provisions of OMB Circular A 129 and the credit subsidy score for the relevant loan or loan guarantee as approved by OMB pursuant to FCRA.

(b)  Other than any determination by the President under section 303(a)(7)(b) of the Act, the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority to make the required determinations, judgments, certifications, findings, and notifications defined under section 303 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093, in consultation with the Secretary making the required determination under section 202 of this order.

Sec. 306Strategic and Critical Materials.  The Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of the Interior in consultation with the Secretary of Defense as the National Defense Stockpile Manager, are each delegated the authority of the President under section 303(a)(1)(B) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093(a)(1)(B), to encourage the exploration, development, and mining of strategic and critical materials and other materials.

Sec. 307Substitutes.  The head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 303(g) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093(g), to make provision for the development of substitutes for strategic and critical materials, critical components, critical technology items, and other resources to aid the national defense.

Sec. 308Government-Owned Equipment.  The head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 303(e) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093(e), to:

(a)  procure and install additional equipment, facilities, processes, or improvements to plants, factories, and other industrial facilities owned by the Federal Government and to procure and install Government owned equipment in plants, factories, or other industrial facilities owned by private persons;

(b)  provide for the modification or expansion of privately owned facilities, including the modification or improvement of production processes, when taking actions under sections 301, 302, or 303 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2091, 2092, 2093; and

(c)  sell or otherwise transfer equipment owned by the Federal Government and installed under section 303(e) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093(e), to the owners of such plants, factories, or other industrial facilities.

Sec. 309Defense Production Act Fund.  The Secretary of Defense is designated the Defense Production Act Fund Manager, in accordance with section 304(f) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2094(f), and shall carry out the duties specified in section 304 of the Act, in consultation with the agency heads having approved, and appropriated funds for, projects under title III of the Act.

Sec. 310Critical Items.  The head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 107(b)(1) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2077(b)(1), to take appropriate action to ensure that critical components, critical technology items, essential materials, and industrial resources are available from reliable sources when needed to meet defense requirements during peacetime, graduated mobilization, and national emergency.  Appropriate action may include restricting contract solicitations to reliable sources, restricting contract solicitations to domestic sources (pursuant to statutory authority), stockpiling critical components, and developing substitutes for critical components or critical technology items.

Sec. 311Strengthening Domestic Capability.  The head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 107(a) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2077(a), to utilize the authority of title III of the Act or any other provision of law to provide appropriate incentives to develop, maintain, modernize, restore, and expand the productive capacities of domestic sources for critical components, critical technology items, materials, and industrial resources essential for the execution of the national security strategy of the United States.

Sec. 312Modernization of Equipment.  The head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense, in accordance with section 108(b) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2078(b), may utilize the authority of title III of the Act to guarantee the purchase or lease of advance manufacturing equipment, and any related services with respect to any such equipment for purposes of the Act.  In considering title III projects, the head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense shall provide a strong preference for proposals submitted by a small business supplier or subcontractor in accordance with section 108(b)(2) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2078(b)(2).

PART IV  –  VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS AND ADVISORY COMMITTEES

Sec. 401Delegations.  The authority of the President under sections 708(c) and (d) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2158(c), (d), is delegated to the heads of agencies otherwise delegated authority under this order.  The status of the use of such delegations shall be furnished to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Sec. 402Advisory Committees.  The authority of the President under section 708(d) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2158(d), and delegated in section 401 of this order (relating to establishment of advisory committees) shall be exercised only after consultation with, and in accordance with, guidelines and procedures established by the Administrator of General Services.

Sec. 403Regulations.  The Secretary of Homeland Security, after approval of the Attorney General, and after consultation by the Attorney General with the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, shall promulgate rules pursuant to section 708(e) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2158(e), incorporating standards and procedures by which voluntary agreements and plans of action may be developed and carried out.  Such rules may be adopted by other agencies to fulfill the rulemaking requirement of section 708(e) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2158(e).

PART V  –  EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONNEL

Sec. 501National Defense Executive Reserve.  (a) In accordance with section 710(e) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2160(e), there is established in the executive branch a National Defense Executive Reserve (NDER) composed of persons of recognized expertise from various segments of the private sector and from Government (except full time Federal employees) for training for employment in executive positions in the Federal Government in the event of a national defense emergency.

(b)  The Secretary of Homeland Security shall issue necessary guidance for the NDER program, including appropriate guidance for establishment, recruitment, training, monitoring, and activation of NDER units and shall be responsible for the overall coordination of the NDER program.  The authority of the President under section 710(e) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2160(e), to determine periods of national defense emergency is delegated to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(c)  The head of any agency may implement section 501(a) of this order with respect to NDER operations in such agency.

(d)  The head of each agency with an NDER unit may exercise the authority under section 703 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2153, to employ civilian personnel when activating all or a part of its NDER unit.  The exercise of this authority shall be subject to the provisions of sections 501(e) and (f) of this order and shall not be redelegated.

(e)  The head of an agency may activate an NDER unit, in whole or in part, upon the written determination of the Secretary of Homeland Security that an emergency affecting the national defense exists and that the activation of the unit is necessary to carry out the emergency program functions of the agency.

(f)  Prior to activating the NDER unit, the head of the agency shall notify, in writing, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism of the impending activation.

Sec. 502Consultants.  The head of each agency otherwise delegated functions under this order is delegated the authority of the President under sections 710(b) and (c) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2160(b), (c), to employ persons of outstanding experience and ability without compensation and to employ experts, consultants, or organizations.  The authority delegated by this section may not be redelegated.

PART VI  –  LABOR REQUIREMENTS

Sec. 601Secretary of Labor.  (a)  The Secretary of Labor, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and the heads of other agencies, as deemed appropriate by the Secretary of Labor, shall:

(1)  collect and maintain data necessary to make a continuing appraisal of the Nation’s workforce needs for purposes of national defense;

(2)  upon request by the Director of Selective Service, and in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, assist the Director of Selective Service in development of policies regulating the induction and deferment of persons for duty in the armed services;

(3)  upon request from the head of an agency with authority under this order, consult with that agency with respect to:  (i) the effect of contemplated actions on labor demand and utilization; (ii) the relation of labor demand to materials and facilities requirements; and (iii) such other matters as will assist in making the exercise of priority and allocations functions consistent with effective utilization and distribution of labor;

(4)  upon request from the head of an agency with authority under this order:  (i) formulate plans, programs, and policies for meeting the labor requirements of actions to be taken for national defense purposes; and (ii) estimate training needs to help address national defense requirements and promote necessary and appropriate training programs; and

(5)  develop and implement an effective labor management relations policy to support the activities and programs under this order, with the cooperation of other agencies as deemed appropriate by the Secretary of Labor, including the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the National Mediation Board, and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

(b)  All agencies shall cooperate with the Secretary of Labor, upon request, for the purposes of this section, to the extent permitted by law.

PART VII  –  DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT COMMITTEE

Sec. 701The Defense Production Act Committee.  (a)  The Defense Production Act Committee (Committee) shall be composed of the following members, in accordance with section 722(b) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2171(b):

(1)   The Secretary of State;

(2)   The Secretary of the Treasury;

(3)   The Secretary of Defense;

(4)   The Attorney General;

(5)   The Secretary of the Interior;

(6)   The Secretary of Agriculture;

(7)   The Secretary of Commerce;

(8)   The Secretary of Labor;

(9)   The Secretary of Health and Human Services;

(10)  The Secretary of Transportation;

(11)  The Secretary of Energy;

(12)  The Secretary of Homeland Security;

(13)  The Director of National Intelligence;

(14)  The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency;

(15)  The Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers;

(16)  The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and

(17)  The Administrator of General Services.

(b)  The Director of OMB and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall be invited to participate in all Committee meetings and activities in an advisory role.  The Chairperson, as designated by the President pursuant to section 722 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2171, may invite the heads of other agencies or offices to participate in Committee meetings and activities in an advisory role, as appropriate.

Sec. 702Offsets.  The Secretary of Commerce shall prepare and submit to the Congress the annual report required by section 723 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2172, in consultation with the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, Defense, and Labor, the United States Trade Representative, the Director of National Intelligence, and the heads of other agencies as appropriate.  The heads of agencies shall provide the Secretary of Commerce with such information as may be necessary for the effective performance of this function.

PART VIII  –  GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 801Definitions.  In addition to the definitions in section 702 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2152, the following definitions apply throughout this order:

(a)  “Civil transportation” includes movement of persons and property by all modes of transportation in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce within the United States, its territories and possessions, and the District of Columbia, and related public storage and warehousing, ports, services, equipment and facilities, such as transportation carrier shop and repair facilities.  “Civil transportation” also shall include direction, control, and coordination of civil transportation capacity regardless of ownership.  “Civil transportation” shall not include transportation owned or controlled by the Department of Defense, use of petroleum and gas pipelines, and coal slurry pipelines used only to supply energy production facilities directly.

(b)  “Energy” means all forms of energy including petroleum, gas (both natural and manufactured), electricity, solid fuels (including all forms of coal, coke, coal chemicals, coal liquification, and coal gasification), solar, wind, other types of renewable energy, atomic energy, and the production, conservation, use, control, and distribution (including pipelines) of all of these forms of energy.

(c)  “Farm equipment” means equipment, machinery, and repair parts manufactured for use on farms in connection with the production or preparation for market use of food resources.

(d)  “Fertilizer” means any product or combination of products that contain one or more of the elements nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for use as a plant nutrient.

(e)  “Food resources” means all commodities and products, (simple, mixed, or compound), or complements to such commodities or products, that are capable of being ingested by either human beings or animals, irrespective of other uses to which such commodities or products may be put, at all stages of processing from the raw commodity to the products thereof in vendible form for human or animal consumption.  “Food resources” also means potable water packaged in commercially marketable containers, all starches, sugars, vegetable and animal or marine fats and oils, seed, cotton, hemp, and flax fiber, but does not mean any such material after it loses its identity as an agricultural commodity or agricultural product.

(f)  “Food resource facilities” means plants, machinery, vehicles (including on farm), and other facilities required for the production, processing, distribution, and storage (including cold storage) of food resources, and for the domestic distribution of farm equipment and fertilizer (excluding transportation thereof).

(g)  “Functions” include powers, duties, authority, responsibilities, and discretion.

(h)  “Head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense” means the heads of the Departments of State, Justice, the Interior, and Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the General Services Administration, and all other agencies with authority delegated under section 201 of this order.

(i)  “Health resources” means drugs, biological products, medical devices, materials, facilities, health supplies, services and equipment required to diagnose, mitigate or prevent the impairment of, improve, treat, cure, or restore the physical or mental health conditions of the population.

(j)  “National defense” means programs for military and energy production or construction, military or critical infrastructure assistance to any foreign nation, homeland security, stockpiling, space, and any directly related activity.  Such term includes emergency preparedness activities conducted pursuant to title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5195 et seq., and critical infrastructure protection and restoration.

(k)  “Offsets” means compensation practices required as a condition of purchase in either government to government or commercial sales of defense articles and/or defense services as defined by the Arms Export Control Act, 22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq., and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, 22 C.F.R. 120.1 130.17.

(l)  “Special priorities assistance” means action by resource departments to assist with expediting deliveries, placing rated orders, locating suppliers, resolving production or delivery conflicts between various rated orders, addressing problems that arise in the fulfillment of a rated order or other action authorized by a delegated agency, and determining the validity of rated orders.

(m)  “Strategic and critical materials” means materials (including energy) that (1) would be needed to supply the military, industrial, and essential civilian needs of the United States during a national emergency, and (2) are not found or produced in the United States in sufficient quantities to meet such need and are vulnerable to the termination or reduction of the availability of the material.

(n)  “Water resources” means all usable water, from all sources, within the jurisdiction of the United States, that can be managed, controlled, and allocated to meet emergency requirements, except “water resources” does not include usable water that qualifies as “food resources.”

Sec. 802General.  (a)  Except as otherwise provided in section 802(c) of this order, the authorities vested in the President by title VII of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2151 et seq., are delegated to the head of each agency in carrying out the delegated authorities under the Act and this order, by the Secretary of Labor in carrying out part VI of this order, and by the Secretary of the Treasury in exercising the functions assigned in Executive Order 11858, as amended.

(b)  The authorities that may be exercised and performed pursuant to section 802(a) of this order shall include:

(1)  the power to redelegate authorities, and to authorize the successive redelegation of authorities to agencies, officers, and employees of the Government; and

(2)  the power of subpoena under section 705 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2155, with respect to (i) authorities delegated in parts II, III, and section 702 of this order, and (ii) the functions assigned to the Secretary of the Treasury in Executive Order 11858, as amended, provided that the subpoena power referenced in subsections (i) and (ii) shall be utilized only after the scope and purpose of the investigation, inspection, or inquiry to which the subpoena relates have been defined either by the appropriate officer identified in section 802(a) of this order or by such other person or persons as the officer shall designate.

(c)  Excluded from the authorities delegated by section 802(a) of this order are authorities delegated by parts IV and V of this order, authorities in section 721 and 722 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2170 2171, and the authority with respect to fixing compensation under section 703 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2153.

Sec. 803Authority.  (a)  Executive Order 12919 of June 3, 1994, and sections 401(3) (4) of Executive Order 12656 of November 18, 1988, are revoked.  All other previously issued orders, regulations, rulings, certificates, directives, and other actions relating to any function affected by this order shall remain in effect except as they are inconsistent with this order or are subsequently amended or revoked under proper authority.  Nothing in this order shall affect the validity or force of anything done under previous delegations or other assignment of authority under the Act.

(b)  Nothing in this order shall affect the authorities assigned under Executive Order 11858 of May 7, 1975, as amended, except as provided in section 802 of this order.

(c)  Nothing in this order shall affect the authorities assigned under Executive Order 12472 of April 3, 1984, as amended.

Sec. 804General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect functions of the Director of OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,

March 16, 2012.

US approves Monsanto’s massive biotech experiment

GMO corn variant threatens to infest the continental US and beyond with transgenic organisms

RT | MARCH 16, 2012

The US government has for the first time signed off on a large-scale experiment involving genetically modified crops, which will lead to biotech big shot Monsanto introducing an engineered corn seed across America from South Dakota to Texas.

The Monsanto Corporation has been given the go-ahead to test out a man-made corn variant that they claim can thrive in dry, unfavorable conditions. With much of the American south and southwest experiencing abnormally arid conditions, the freak-seed could revitalize a chunk of the nation’s agriculture.

More likely, however, is that a success will mean revitalization in terms of Monsanto’s profits and not much more.

The government has agreed to let Monsanto test out the biotech crop on farms owned by the company from the state of South Dakota down through Texas to see if the seed stands to be commercially viable; if so, it is expected to be made available for purchase in 2013. With America’s small-time agriculturists in danger — and already largely threatened by industry giant Monsanto — a success for the seed could see yet more farmers finding themselves unable to compete and forced to throw in the towel.

Monsanto has in recent years attracted criticism for questionable legal practices after it has introduced lawsuits against small-time farmers for the unauthorized use of genetically-modified crops patented by the corporation. In many instances, it is believed that the smaller farms in question only ended up with Monsanto seeds due to wind, rodents and other forces of nature bringing the crops across corporate farms and onto their own terrain. Unable to compete against Monsanto in court, however, the company has time-and-time-again bought out its competition and, as a result, made great strides as of late in terms of monopolizing the seed biz.

Last month Jim Gerritsen, president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, issued a statement saying he and others were serious about saving farms from being forced to close due to corporate muscling. “Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers stops here,” said Gerritsen. “Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now. Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace — to decide what kind of food they will feed their families — and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to choose.”

Around 300,000 organic farmers are currently awaiting a court decision to see if a US District Court will hear a lawsuit against Monsanto that, if successful, will keep the company from continuing to sue small-time agriculturists. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto tackled 144 organic farms with lawsuits and investigated roughly 500 plantations annually during that span with their so-called “seed police.” Gerritsen and others want to see to it that Monsanto can’t do that anymore, but if they are denied a day in court and the new corn crop prevails, it could soon be the final curtain call for many of America’s independent farmers.

Governmental approval of the modified crop marks the first time that the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has okayed a product that has been genetically engineered to resist a weather condition such as a drought, rather than a pest or herbicide. Acting on concerns that Washington has been overly encouraging to Monsanto as they force farms into foreclosure, US-based non-profit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility went after the White House recently for ignoring Freedom of Information Act requests. Members of PEER suspect that if they can come into possession of certain correspondence, they can link the Obama administration to key lobbyists for Monsanto.

Protesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement in the region Monsanto plans to test its new seed are holding a conference this weekend in St. Louis, dubbed Occupy Midwest. Members of the group say they intend on waging a demonstration against Monsanto, which has offices in the area.

Mossad, CIA and Blackwater operate in Syria

Russia Today
March 7, 2012

security operation in Homs reveals Mossad, CIA and Blackwater are involved in the military violence in this part of Syria, as over 700 Arab and Western gunmen and Israeli, American and European-made weapons were detained in Baba Amr district.

Members of the Free Syrian Army patrol an area in Qusayr, 15 kms (nine miles) from Homs.

­Syrian security forces got yet further proof of Western powers’ military involvement in Syria’s internal conflict, reports Al-Manar, a news agency, affiliated with Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based militant group and political party.

Around 700 gunmen were recently arrested in the former rebel stronghold of Babar Amr.

“The captured gunmen held Arab nationalities, including Gulf, Iraqi, and Lebanese. Among them were also Qatari intelligence agents and non-Arab fighters from Afghanistan, Turkey, and some European countries like France,” the agency quotes Syrian expert in strategic affairs Salim Harba as saying.

Harba also confirmed to the agency that “a coordination office was established in Qatar under American-Gulf sponsorship. The office includes American, French, and Gulf – specifically from Qatar and Saudi Arabia – intelligence agents, as well as CIA, Mossad, and Blackwater agents and members of the Syrian Transitional Council.”

The Syrian expert also added the security forces have also seized Israeli-, European- and American-made weapons.

“The Syrian army also uncovered tunnels and equipments there,” he told to the agency, “advanced Israeli, European, and American arms that have not yet been tested in the countries of manufacture, in addition to Israeli grenades, night binoculars, and communication systems were confiscated by the security forces.”

Salim Harba however said the Syrian authorities are not planning to reveal all the obtained information now, but assured all the evidence is of high value.

“The Syrian security forces have documents and confessions that could harm everyone who conspired against Syria, and could make a security and political change, not just on the internal Syrian level, but also on the regional level,” he said.

The recent Stratfor leak and hacked email of the company’s director of analysis also suggest undercover NATO troops are already on the ground in Syria.

There have been previous allegations of a Western presence on the side of the rebels as 13 French officers were reportedly captured by the loyalist forces earlier in March.

President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly claimed his regime is fighting not with peaceful protesters as claimed by the West, but with the military gangs supported by the West.

Western powers however have categorically denied any military involvement in Syrian internal conflict.