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: It is "BUDGETNAMO" Time....
The Modi Government in India is about to present its' first annual budget. The World awaits Finance Minister's Jaitley's speech in the Indian Parliament as it gears up. It is the advent of "Modinomics". The challenge of sprucing up growth while taming inflation are the key dual challenges. This is as the Spokesperson for Congress is calling the BJP to task on "mindless populism". But the engaging debate is ever so reminiscent of what happens in the United States. This is as the Finance Minister is carrying the "Briefcase" as in the tradition of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is just fascinating to be witness to history.


Meanwhile, the War between Israel and Palestine continues. Israel has positioned it as a battle of equals. Even though the reality is otherwise. What George W. Bush noted as the "reality on the ground" is already been recognized. . It was noteworthy that the UN Secretary General noted that the situation was a "knife's edge". Even though the UN Security Council is yet to convene a meeting on the subject.

One of the other areas of concerns is Afghanistan. Abdullah Abdullah says he won. Ashraf Ghani says he won. In the meantime, the Taliban continue their reign of terror as epitomized with a magnetic bomb blast and the capture of a District in the Ghor Region. As the Gaza onslaught continues, the killing fields of Syria & Iraq continue to haunt the World. Iraq just notified the UN that the rebels have captured nuclear material from the University in Mosul that was supposedly there for Research. This is as they also control a supposedly decommissioned Chemical Weapons Facility. There seems to be no end to bad news coming out of Iraq--this is the right in the United States is underscoring the fact that it was Obama who lost Iraq. The problem is that it was never the US to win or hold in the first place.


It would be great to remember the essential message of the #FIFA 2014 theme as Argentina and Germany gear up to battle it out:




Will the World listen?

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: Scary Times....
The past week has been quite a week in many ways. I was working on the latest "World Watch" for this week to focus on Turkey and Syria, the Scandal-Industrial Complex in the US and the IMF on Greece as it admitted its' mistakes on Greece. I have also been focused on the US Economy as there has been some troubling signs of a slowdown. The UCLA Anderson School came out with a very pessimistic forecast on employment and job growth. This is as Washington continues to be sweeped up in the Scandal-Industrial Complex. Barack Obama made a few audacious moves to nominate judges and to basically promote Susan Rice to be National Security Adviser. . I have had to preempt it with this breaking development that I find scary: The revelation of PRISM and the continued rise of "BIG BROTHER" Government in the United States.

The story, as reported by the Guardian and the Washington Post, has me frankly scared as I have worked on developing the "outsiders" site and other projects in the Virtual World. I have been assessing the reporting done by the Guardian of London and the Washington Post on a program called PRISM and the revelation about the turnover of data by Verizon to the US Government on cell phone data as mandated by the US Patriot Act. From the reporting I have reviewed, I understand that all Verizon Phone Records were turned over to the Government.

As I understand it (and I have noted the Guardian newspaper link), PRISM has been designed to allow the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor in real time all email and social media traffic by Americans. Based on the inteview that Glenn Greenwalrd of the Guardian just concluded with MSNBC's Lawrence O Donnell, apparently "Virtual" conversations between Americans in the United States is exempt from monitoring unless a warrant is actually issued by a FISA Court.

The PRISM program is quite worrisome. I have been quite concerned about the sweeping program what is worrisome is the PRISM program. The PRISM program was revealed to the folks at the Washington Post and the Guardian by an apparent National Security Agency (NSA) official who was appalled by the broad view of the program. What was also quite striking was that the program was authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Courts that have been authorized by the US Congress. What I also find even more striking was how key senior Senators (including Senator Feinstein of California). Senator Reid, the US Senate Majority Leader, noted that everyone had to take it easy.

Some elements of this program were "refined" from the initiatives launched during the Bush Administration. James Comey, the current nominee to be FBI Director, was Acting Attorney General during the Bush Administration when he expressed profound reservations about the program and had to face down the White House Chief of Staff and the Counsel at the time with a resignation threat unless the wireless warrant program was changed.
There are supposed "Checks and Balances" in the process based on Congressional Briefings and the supervision of the so-called FISA Courts. But the secret nature of it should give all a moment of pause.

I have always viewed that I need to insure that a sense of self-censorship had to be practiced. I view the work here as solemn and a responsibility. I will be curious to see where Glenn Greenwald goes with this reporting that he has done.
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: The President's Speech & Other Thoughts
As I write this, President Obama is speaking about his vision for the National Security Strategy he's envisionsed. As he worked to wind down his speech, he was heckled about GITMO by who apparently was Madea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink. I was shocked, for instance, as he noted how the United States spends 150 Million Dollars a year to house 156 prisoners. I understand that over 100 of them continue to be on hunger strike and the President directly addressed the hunger strikers.

As he wound down his speech, he reflected upon the resiliencey on how Americans are resilient and come back after setbacks. I am with him in underscoring that there needs to be a sense of politics & a strategy to reflect the sense of resiliency that I also seen every day. This is why I launched "outsiders" which I hope I could build upon. With the current political climate in Washington, I wonder if the President


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: Will We Learn?
As I write right now, I am watching the coverage of the inauguration of Pope Francis. I was struck by its' sense of simplicity and yet a sense of hope. He invoked the word "Esperanza" a number of times and reminded the whole World about having a sense of goodness and tenderness for all. There needs to be a sense of simplicity and a sense of forgiveness that needs to be the order of the day. There was a sense of not being afraid.

As I understand it, the Pope chose the day of the Feast day of St. Joseph for his inauguration. Despite the majesty of the moment, I was struck by how simple it all was. To me, this is critical as a new era begins for the Catholics around the World. Pope Francis does take over a church that has some profound challenges before it. I also understand that he's already made his first major decision not to permanently appoint the Senior Leadership of the Curia and allow the existing leadership to serve until he makes determinations. It shows that he intends to make profound changes in how the Church. He's now officially the 266th Pope


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: Will the World Learn?
I begin this weekly retrospective with the United States. The Congress of the United States is at recess as it deals with the so-called Sequestration. The Republicans have begun a Public Relations Push to tell the Country about their own views and to

I have been quite amused at the lineup of leading luminaries from the Republican Party coming out as they have. One of the most amusing ones has been Lindsey Graham, the Senator From South Carolina who has been on a quest to basically be against anything Barrack Obama is for. At the State of the Union, I saw the President reaching out to shake the hands of Lindsay Graham and his Best Friend For ever, John McCain as he worked his way up to the podium to present his report to the People of the United States and the World. What is so sad is how the Republicans have made a fool out of themselves as they blocked the Hagel Nomination. The absurdity of the debate was shown by Ted Cruz of Texas coming out and claiming that Chuck Hagel was on the take from the Government of Iran. Of all the nonsense I have seen coming out of the Republicans, this one topped it all


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: What now?
Israel has begun its' move to "punish" Palestine for the vote it won last week. Israel has announced plans to build 3,000 homes on settlements with an additional planning to begin the planning process in the so-called E1 area that would link existing settlements with East Jerusalem. This violates the Oslo Accords. What Israel has done has basically killed the remnants of a peace process that has been at best under life support. Beyond its' construction plans, it has said that it will not transfer 120 Million Dollars in Tax Revenue to the Palestine National Authority. It claims that the money will be used to pay the debt the Palestine National Authority owes to an Israeli Power Company.

Israel will not go down the path of negotiation without a fight. Because this symbolic win by Palestine allows it to leverage International Organizations as never before, it has caused fear in Israeli Government circles. The moves made by Israel to "respond" to the move is basically to tell the World that it is not interested in a two-state solution at all and that all the pronouncements about its' commitment to Peace are at best, hollow. It clearly shows that the Israeli Prime Minister believes that it can ride out the latest challenge while it looks to securing re-election to another term in January. The Israeli Prime Minister talked about Israel's Strategic Map. He went on to note that it rejected the International Community's Determination. What is startling is how they have basically told the World that they simply do not care. The question is whether their policy of going it alone and continuing to be "Fortress Israel" will serve them well


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: Views on the State of the Campaign
The Election season is in full swing. One headline making news was that Clint Eastwood endorsed Mitt Romney For President. I couldn't help but wonder why that was even covered.

Beyond the endorsements, there is of course the little issue of substance. The President has gone after Governor Romney for his Tax Plan. It has been deliberated extensively in the Media in the United States. The only thing I found amusing was that the Romney Campaign dismissed the same entity for its' before it actually embraced the same entity when it after one of its Chief rivals at the time, Rick Perry. I have released the link for reference


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Remembering & Reflecting

June 13th 2012 15:17
: Thank You!!!!
"Outsiders" Is Four Years Old This Month. It has been quite a journey. I am grateful for all the faithful readers and the support given. There has been disagreements at times and challenges. However, any project or initiative is bound to have continued challenges.

As I reflect upon the past 4 years, I'll be taking a 30 day sabbatical to assess how things are and contemplate the road ahead for the balance of the year. It is going to be a very second half indeed


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: Will anyone listen?
The latest polls in the US Presidential Election show that the race is absolute dead heat between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney. Although it is early, it gives an indication of where things are going to go.

Within the past week, Cross Roads GPS has started a 9.7 Million Dollar Ad to "...frame the national debate on jobs, the economy, taxes and government debt...". This is the organization that Karl Rove, George W. Bush's architect leads whose donors are secret and one would not know who they are by virtue of just visiting the website. There are many other Super PACS that have been quite active as they gear up to support Mr. Romney


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: Can't Possibly Be....
The Prevailing Wind in Washington Today: Courtesy of the Salt Lake Tribune


This past week saw the Federal Trade Commision settle out claims of False Advertising against the makers of Sketchers Sneakers. The makers of the Sneakers claimed that by wearing the $ 100 (US) sneakers, folks will emerge a lot healthier. It was wrong and they were fined 40 Million Dollars for being wrong about it. This is as JP Morgan Chase came out with the announcement that it lost 2 Billion Dollars in trades over the past few months


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: The Campaign Has Begun!!!!
As the new Quarter dawns, there are always glimmers of hope throughout our World. I have been assessing that during the brief "break" I took from further development of "outsiders" as I assessed the state of our world over the next few days.

As I assessed our World, I first thought about the state of affairs in America. The election is in full swing as the Republican Party in the United States is starting to unify behind Mitt Romney. This is as the Obama Campaign begins its' frontal assault on Mr. Romney. Mitt Romney will be the nominee. He will be a damaged nominee, though, going into the general election


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2011: The Year In Review (The Launch)

December 4th 2011 22:13
: A Year 4 the History Books
It has been quite a year!!!!

I have been trying to to catch my breath as I launch the "Year-In-Review" here and now. Between the Arab Spring, changes in Africa and Russia, the continued challenges of Climate Change, the US Political Scene, the continued economic calamity, The "occupy" Movement, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, Europe's Economic Meltdown, the Media and continued technological transformations--I view it as nothing less than Breathtaking


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: ..and now?
President Obama came out with his proposal to bring down the looming deficit on Monday:


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9/11

September 11th 2011 11:51
: How it Changed Us All
Today is Patroits Day in the United States. For many of us who remember that day, it is a day to again remember all who fell on that horrible day. It is also to remember all who served and continue to serve on the fronlines of defense to insure that such a terrible day does not happen again.

I remember where I was on 9/11. To this date, I could not believe how all those events unfolded as it did. The World will continue to be faced with profound headwinds as it navigates through some very challenging political and economic minefields. I thought about Epictetus' admonition when he noted


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