But first, a few world news updates that should be mentioned…
We knew that the call for Assad to step down has been coming, well today the US is leading that global call for Assad to leave Syria. Secretary Clinton: For the Sake of Syrian People, the Time Has Come for President Asad To Step Aside | U.S. Department of State Blog
Today, President Obama called for the President of Syria, Bashar al-Asad, to step aside and took the strongest financial action against the Syrian regime thus far. Following the President’s statement, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed the situation in Syria.Secretary Clinton said, “For months, the world has borne witness to the Asad regime’s contempt for its own people. In peaceful demonstrations across the nation, Syrians are demanding their universal human rights. The regime has answered their demands with empty promises and horrific violence, torturing opposition leaders, laying siege to cities, slaughtering thousands of unarmed civilians, including children.”The Asad government has now been condemned by countries in all parts of the world and can look only to Iran for support for its brutal and unjust crackdown.”This morning, President Obama called on Asad to step aside and announced the strongest set of sanctions to date targeting the Syrian Government. These sanctions include the energy sector to increase pressure on the regime. The transition to democracy in Syria has begun, and it’s time for Asad to get out of the way.”As President Obama said this morning, no outside power can or should impose on this transition. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders in a democratic system based on the rule of law and dedicated to protecting the rights of all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sect, or gender.[…]In closing, Secretary Clinton said, “…The people of Syria deserve a government that respects their dignity, protects their rights, and lives up to their aspirations. Asad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for him to step aside and leave this transition to the Syrians themselves, and that is what we will continue to work to achieve.”You can read a complete transcript of the Secretary’s remarks here.
Other leaders in the European Union have joined Obama’s call for Assad to step down. Syria: Assad must resign, says Obama | World news | The Guardian
The US president was joined by David Cameron of Britain, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Angela Merkel of Germany, as well as the European Union in demanding Assad immediately resign.
David Cameron issued a joint statement with and Merkel that noted Assad had ignored appeals from other Middle East states, the Arab League and the United Nations security council to end the violent crackdown.
“Our three countries believe that President Assad, who is resorting to brutal military force against his own people and who is responsible for the situation, has lost all legitimacy and can no longer claim to lead the country. We call on him to face the reality of the complete rejection of his regime by the Syrian people and to step aside in the best interests of Syria and the unity of its people.”
The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said there had been a “complete loss of Bashar Assad’s legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people”.
I guess the President and other leaders were waiting on a UN report that was just released, as sort of a back up for Assad to step down.
The call from western capitals came as it was revealed that UN human rights investigators have listed the names of 50 regime figures who could be prosecuted by the international criminal court (ICC) for crimes committed against civilians during the violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
The list is believed to contain officials from the president’s inner circle and security agencies. It marks the first time that government insiders have faced the prospect of criminal charges since the five-month uprising began.
A decision on whether to refer the names to the ICC is likely to be made on Thursday.
The UN report accuses officials of torture, summary executions and abuse of children – allegations that could amount to crimes against humanity. It accuses security forces of indiscriminately firing at demonstrators, sometimes from helicopters, and says injured protesters have been killed inside hospitals, sometimes being locked alive in mortuary freezers. It says Syrian officials confirmed that around 1,900 demonstrators had been killed by mid-July, and states that hundreds more have been killed since then.
“Children have not only been targeted by security forces, but they have been repeatedly subject to the same human rights and criminal violations as adults, including torture,” the report said.
The report’s authors were denied access to Syria and spent four months interviewing defectors and demonstrators who had fled the country.
In US Political news…It looks like more and more professional pundits are seeing the light, just wish they would have listened to us a few years ago…George W. Obama? – CBS News
The Republicans that compose New Hampshire’s five-member executive council voted 3-2 to reject funding for Planned Parenthood’s six clinics in the state on June 22.
The council, a vestige of the state’s colonial government that is independent of the governor, must approve all state contracts greater than $10,000.
“I am opposed to abortion,” said Raymond Wieczorek, a council member who voted against the contract. “I am opposed to providing condoms to someone. If you want to have a party, have a party but don’t ask me to pay for it.”
Wieczorek is the second man from the right behind the Governor.
Under federal law, Planned Parenthood cannot use government funds to provide abortion, and Frizzell said it the group is subject to regular audits to ensure that only private money is used to pay for abortions.
You can read about the duties and powers of the NH Executive Council on their website here.
It sounds like the NH governor is a rather weak executive, but I don’t know that much about it.
From the Concord (NH) Monitor:
The six Planned Parenthood centers in New Hampshire stopped dispensing contraception last week after the Executive Council rejected a new contract with the organization.
Planned Parenthood had operated under a limited retail pharmacy license that was contingent on having a state contract, said Steve Trombley, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. Two weeks ago, the all-Republican Executive Council voted 3-2 against a new contract that would have provided the organization $1.8 million in state and federal money for the two years starting this month.
This will really hurt low income women in New Hampshire.
The Planned Parenthood contract, which accounts for about 20 percent of its annual New Hampshire budget, would have paid for education, distributing contraception, and the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. The organization’s abortion practice is paid for by private donations, Trombley said, with audits ensuring no public money is used.
Last year, Planned Parenthood provided contraception for 13,242 patients in New Hampshire, Trombley said. The organization also provided 6,112 breast exams, 5,548 screenings for cervical cancer and 18,858 tests for sexually transmitted infections. If the contract is not renewed, Planned Parenthood will drastically reduce its services, Trombley said. The organization employs 80 people in New Hampshire.
NH Planned Parenthood charges clients on a sliding scale based on yearly income. Seventy percent of clients pay nothing or a very small amount because they are under the state’s poverty line of $10,890 for an individual and $22,350 for a family.
The War on Women by the PLUBs continues unabated.