Daily Archives: December 8, 2008

ABC to debut new ‘Homeland Security USA’ reality series Jan 6

“I love investigative journalism, but that’s not what we’re doing. This show is heartening. It makes you feel good.” – executive producer, Arnold Shapiro

ABC Schedules a ‘Homeland Security’ Series

The project elicited complaints from some Internet users, who labeled it “propaganda.”

NY Times | Dec 4, 2008

By Brian Stelter

Homeland Security USA,” a reality show produced with the full cooperation of several agencies of the Department of Homeland Security, will have its premiere on Jan. 6 on ABC.

“They protect us from harm, and defend our freedom. ABC presents a new series…about the heros who keep us safe at home.”

In an announcement Thursday, ABC said the production “has been given unprecedented access to the agencies,” including Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration and the Coast Guard.

The show will spotlight the work of border patrol officials who work on land, sea and air to keep the United States secure. ABC has ordered 13 episodes of the series; they will be shown on Tuesdays at 8 p.m., opposite “American Idol” on Fox. While reality shows about harrowing jobs have prospered on cable — think of “Deadliest Catch” and “Ice Road Truckers” — they have yet to find an audience on broadcast TV.

When news of the series emerged in May, the show was named “Border Security USA.” Although the name has evolved, the show will still focus on the border patrol mission. Here’s the description of the first episode from ABC:

The premiere episode, “This is Your Car on Drugs,” takes viewers inside some of the busiest international entry points to the U.S. At Los Angeles International Airport, a voluptuous 20-year-old woman arrives from Switzerland with no working papers but a suitcase full of titillating surprises! In the Pacific Northwest, at the Blaine, Washington border crossing, smugglers attempt to foil DHS canines by packing narcotics in baby diapers. Along the border between the U.S. and Mexico in the scorching heat of the desert outside of Tucson, Border Patrol agents race the clock to find six undocumented immigrants lost in the barren wilderness. In one of the most dramatic stories at the San Ysidro, California border crossing, a fake license plate tips a border officer off to a life-threatening situation. Meanwhile, there are some unusual illegal items intercepted at the International Mail Center in Carson, California, including a “delicacy” officers are shocked to discover is actually barbecued bats.

In May, The Hollywood Reporter said the show was “billed as the first multi-episode television series to be shot in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.” The project elicited complaints from some Internet users, who labeled it “propaganda.”

The executive producer, Arnold Shapiro, acknowledged at the time that the show was meant to portray Homeland Security in a good light.

“I love investigative journalism, but that’s not what we’re doing,” he told The Reporter in May. “This show is heartening. It makes you feel good about these people who are doing their best to protect us.”

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ABC to debut new ‘Homeland Security USA’ reality series on January 6

Supreme Court turns down case challenging Obama’s citizenship

New Jersey man claimed Obama was not a ‘natural born citizen’ and could not be president

Baltimore Sun | Dec 8, 2008

By David G. Savage

The Supreme Court today turned down an emergency appeal asking the justices to consider whether President-elect Barack Obama is a “natural born citizen,” and thereby, eligible to become president.

In a one-line order, the court denied the request from Leo Donofrio, a New Jersey man, who claimed that Obama could not be president because his father was from Kenya. Several other lawsuits have asserted that Obama was not born in Hawaii, despite his birth certificate showing he was born there on August 4, 1961.

None of these lawsuits have gained traction in the courts.

One such appeal is still pending at the Supreme Court, although it is likely to be turned down in a few weeks.

Virtually anyone who loses in a lower court can file an appeal at the Supreme Court if he or she pays the filing fee.

The Constitution says that “no person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the Office of the President.” That clause excludes naturalized citizens, such as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, from becoming president. He was born in Austria.

Bush awarded International Medal of PEACE

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U.S. President George W. Bush (2nd R) is presented with the International Medal of Peace Award by Paster Rick Warren (2nd L) as first lady Laura Bush (R) and Warren’s wife Kay (L) watch, during the Saddleback Civil Forum of Global Health on World AIDS day in Washington December 1, 2008. Reuters

Raw Story | Dec 2, 2008

By David Edwards

Pastor Rick Warren awarded President George W. Bush the International Medal of P.E.A.C.E. for his AIDS relief program. The PEACE acronym stands for promotion of reconciliation, equipping servant leaders, assisting the poor, caring for the sick and educating the next generation.

The Bush program to fight the world AIDS pandemic is known as The President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). PEPFAR has spent $18 million to fight AIDS across the world. Another $48 million has been authorized by Congress.

Ezra Klein of The American Prospect found it somewhat odd to award a “PEACE” medal to a president who presided over two wars.

“There’s no argument that Bush has done some genuine good in pushing America’s HIV/AIDS policy forward, but giving Bush the International Medal of PEACE is like giving the Dalai Lama the International Medal of WAR. You can find a rationale, but it demonstrates a genuinely insufficient sensitivity to irony,” wrote Klein.

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Nepal Maoists: “US-India, Pakistan-China alliance visible after Mumbai”

IANS | Dec 8, 2008

The ruling Maoist party of Nepal has warned that the Mumbai terror attacks would escalate greater tensions in South Asia pitting a strengthening India-US alliance against Pakistan, the alleged home of the terrorists, and its ally China.”After the Mumbai attack and tensions escalating between India and Pakistan, the South Asian region is again becoming a hotspot in world politics,” warned the Maoist-affiliated Red Star fortnightly that hit the stands this week.

The Maoist paper says that the visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to India soon after the attacks in Mumbai that killed 172 people “is likely to widen the rift between India and Pakistan”.

According to the Maoist perspective, China, Nepal’s northern neighbour that has stepped up overtures to the Maoist-led government with several high-level visits, is on the way to becoming a super economic power with two digit economic growth while the US is passing through its worth economic meltdown since the 1930s.

“China has good relations with Pakistan and is helping Pakistan in many aspects,” the fortnightly said. “Slowly the US-India and China-Pakistan alliance is becoming more visible.”

Blaming “serious negligence and incompetence of the Indian security sector” for the three-day attack that brought Mumbai to a standstill, the Maoist mouthpiece indicates it will give the US an excuse to consolidate its presence in South Asia.

According to the report, US president-elect Barack Obama has pledged that he would concentrate on Afghanistan and that Washington “may attack the Al-Qaeda and Taliban who are hiding in Pakistan without the consent of the Pakistani government”.

The US, the paper says, has also created a “heavy presence” in Nepal and has the “long-term plan to encircle China”. It predicts that as soon as Obama assumes office, the US will focus on South Asia as part of its plan to check the growth of China.

“The US presence in South Asia means a worsening India-Pakistan relation,” the paper says.

“The US plays one against the other for its interest, just as the British did in the past. China and Russia will obviously feel a security threat with the US presence in South Asia. Rice’s hasty visit to India shows that US want to ‘fish in the troubled waters’ after the Mumbai attack.

“Will South Asia be a playground of superpowers in the near future? Can the leaders of South Asia do nothing more than act as good servants of the Western powers?”

Though Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda has pledged to foster friendly relations with all foreign governments, the party however is rankled by the fact that Washington has yet not lifted the terror tag it slapped on them following the start of the guerrilla ‘People’s War’ in 1996.

The Maoists had fought a 10-year underground battle against the state inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong but laid down arms two years ago to sweep the last election.

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher was scheduled to visit Kathmandu this week, which would have been the first-ever visit by an American official to Nepal following the Maoists coming to power. However, the visit was postponed at the last moment.

China, on the other hand, has stepped up overtures to the Prachanda government, sending its foriegn minister and two high-level military delegations in quick succession.

Croatian Knights Templar Attain International Recognition

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With the Scottish flag of St. Andrew in the background, Croatian Templar knights received international recognition from the Scottish Military Order Knights Knights of Christ of Temple of Jerusalem. Photo: Gorana Banjeglav

The ceremony of declaring Croatian prioship took place at the Blessed Kazotic Church in Zagreb on Saturday.

JAVNO | Dec 7, 2008

Croatian Templars Attain International Recognition

By Amalija Šašek

Centuries of gory prosecution and robbing of property have passed, while Croatian Templar knights received international recognition from the Scottish Military Order Knights of Christ of Temple of Jerusalem. The ceremony of declaring Croatian prioship took place at the Blessed Kazotic Church in Zagreb on Saturday. New knights were initiated on this occasion as well.

Croatian priorship was declared by the grand prior of the Scottish order H.H. James P. McGrath, chief mondial (head of all the Templars in the world), who was accompanied by the Portuguese prior H.S.E. Luis Roseira, prince regent and the sword keeper from Scotland.

“We came to Croatia as friends and we are a strictly non-Mason ecumenical Christian order,” grand prior of Scotland H.H. James P. McGrath told us.

Help to those who need it most

When asked what today`s main assignment of Templars was, the prior replied it was promoting Christian values and help to those who need it most.

“Our task is to be a good example for others, to support the Christian church, to help the poor, helpless and dying all across the world,” prior H.H. James P. McGrath told us.

Furthermore, McGrath pointed out that it was important to establish religious freedom throughout the world, which all nations would accept as the basic human right.

Military Order Knights of Christ of Temple of Jerusalem protects its charity world all over the world, thus helping the hungry and sick in Africa.

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Coat of arms of Croatian Templars

“We are obliged to provide medical help and aid to children on an international level,” the prior said.

Templars arrived in Croatia in the 12 th century

The Scottish order also runs a charity establishment for children called Little Stars Children’s Charity Luxor, which includes several charities in Africa. Members of the order are active in these institutions, spending several years among the poor people of Africa.

This work is not paid, but ordered members volunteer.

Templar knights arrived in Croatia in the 12 th century, and one of their headquarters was in Vrana, where they received a convent from Pope Gregory. They had branches and large estates in Zagreb, Senj, Nasice, Glogocvnica and many other places.

The order was established in 1118, after the First Crusade to help the Kingdom of Jerusalem and protect many pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem after it was conquered by Muslims.

Organisation

The Templars are organised as a convent order, following the rules of Saint Bernard, founder of Cistercit, and they soon became a powerful organisation. This was a problem for French king Philip who ordered their arrests in 1307, followed by torture and gory prosecution.

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Secret documents from Chinon found in the Vatican. Photo: Reuters

In 1913, Pope Clement officially annulled the Templar order with a decree. At the time, Jacques de Molay was the grand prior. Order members who managed to avoid execution fled to Scotland and Portugal.

Seven years ago, documents were found at the Vatican archives, showing that Pope Clement secretly forgave the Templars in 1314.

Croatian Knights Templar Initiate Five New Members

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The Templar Knights of Croatia, Saint Bernard and Mary Magdalene

The new members were given a Templar cloak, cross and a ring, which they are not allowed to take off.

JAVNO | Dec 6, 2008

Croatian Templars Receive Five New Members

By Gorana Banjeglav

ZAGREB, CROATIA – The Templar Knights of Croatia, Saint Bernard and Mary Magdalene have accepted five new members. In a ceremony which lasted several hours, Teo Ljubic, Franjo Svob, Vlatko Filipovic, Slavko Vizir Kovacic and Kreso, who did not wish to reveal his surname, vowed to be the order`s loyal members.

Thus, they renounced all sin, jealousy, hostility, drunkenness, anger and theft, embracing the symbols of the Templar Order, cross and the circle of 12 apostles. They took an oath to obey the most important rules of Templars, i.e. honour the temple and service, cherish love for meditation, fight like knights and maintain the fraternity.

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Templar Order initiation ceremony

Taking their oaths, the new members chose their names. Teo Ljubic chose the name of Richard, Franjo Svob chose Gabrijel, Vlatko Filipovic chose Aurelije, Slavko Vizir Kovacevic chose Valentin, while Kreso chose the name of Ivan-

Every new member was given their cloak and cross, as well as a ring, which must never be taken off. The grand prior for Croatia, Krunoslav Matijevic Klobucar slightly slapped every new member on the cheek with a glove.

Bread, wine and salt which symbolise the passion of Christ

“With this act I do not punish thee, but I do this so that you do not forget the oath you gave to yourself here on this holy soil”,  Matijevic Klobucar said. Two older members covered the new members with cloaks and each new member kissed he grand prior`s sword.

Upon the ceremony`s end, the new members were given bread, wine and salt, which symbolise the passion of Christ. They did not hide their delight with being accepted into the order.

“I feel great, never better. I have been studying various orders for years and studied theology. I decided to do this because I want to help people, the society and religion”, Teo Ljubic told us.

Initiations of new members occur when the need arises, when the candidates are ready, grand prior Krunoslav Matijevic Klobucar explained. According to him, after the great amount of energy and excitement they sense during the initiation ceremony, the candidates are changed.

“This is a good feeling, to constantly give benediction. A part of what you give remains with you”, Matijevic Klobucar says, who was evidently bit fatigued after the long ceremony.