Friday, June 19, 2009

UK expenses scandal revs up after dumb info release.

The Telegraph did a tremendous job in releasing the unedited raw data which exposed how many MPs were using taxpayers money for personal gain. The government has now officially released their version of the UK expense report and they blacked out all the important information. That is just making people more angry.

MPs were shamed yesterday after the much vaunted opening of their expenses files produced a humiliating cover-up of the most serious abuses.

Parliament and its officials were accused of colluding in a £2 million operation to protect the greedy as the supposed new era of transparency was drowned in a sea of black ink.

More than a million pieces of paper — bills, receipts and claim forms — were posted on the House of Commons website shortly before 6am, but thousands of them were indecipherable. Much of the information was blacked out as the MPs, helped by the authorities, censored incriminating material, citing security and privacy.

The redactions included addresses, making it impossible to tell from the official version which MPs “flipped” their second homes to maximise returns from the taxpayer or changed the designation of their homes to avoid paying capital gains tax.

Even so, the exposure produced more dramatic developments in a saga that has shaken politics to the core.

It was slipped out last night that about 200 MPs had rushed to pay back nearly £500,000 because of public outrage over their claims.

White House response to Bush comments: 'We won'

There is the great communicator of the White House with childish rheotric taken from early in the year, I bet it got great laughs from the press corp.

Democrats bugging out over own health care plan.

CBO is such a party pooper.

The high cost of securing health insurance for all Americans, the top domestic priority of President Obama, has Congressional Democrats scrambling to scale back their proposals or find ways to trim tens of billions of dollars a year from existing health programs.

According to slides presented at a closed-door meeting this week, members of the Senate Finance Committee are debating several new ideas, including “an automatic mechanism” to reduce the growth of Medicare under an expedited procedure like the one used to close military bases.

The documents displayed in the slides show that the committee is also considering a proposal that would require some employers to contribute to the cost of Medicaid or private health insurance for low-wage workers. One purpose is to discourage employers from foisting the cost of employee health benefits onto the federal government, a maneuver that would push up the cost of revamping the health system.


More from the Wash Post.

Obama's got Inspector General problems

This all got started with the firing of Gerald Walpin who was investigating Americorps and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson who is nowcaught up in an FBI investigation of an official from a nonprofit he started. That dovetails into revelations that two other IGs are either being let go

Separately this week, the International Trade Commission told its acting inspector general, who is not subject to White House authority, that her contract would not be renewed.

Grassley had become concerned about her independence because of a report earlier in the year that an agency employee forcibly took documents from the acting inspector general.

"It is difficult to understand why the ITC would not have taken action to ensure that the ITC inspector general had the information necessary to do the job," Grassley wrote on Tuesday.

Less than three hours after the letter was e-mailed to the agency, the acting IG, Judith Gwynne, was told that her contract, which expires in early July, would not be renewed.


Or having their powers as IGs trying to be curtailed.

ABC News' Jake Tapper and Matt Jaffe report: Officials of the Treasury Department admitted late Thursday that they have asked the Justice Department to weigh in on how much power they have over the Special Inspector General for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as SIGTARP.

The push for a legal ruling on SIGTARP's independence came after Special Inspector General Neil Barofksy had asked Treasury Department officials to hand over documents regarding a TARP recipient, a request that was denied.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in a letter to Secretary Tim Geithner earlier this week, said that he understood the denial to have been based on "a specious claim of attorney-client privilege."


A Treasury Department challenge to the authority of government bailout watchdog Neil M. Barofsky came just as he had begun a sensitive investigation of the department's role in approving bonuses to executives of insurance giant AIG, sources said Thursday.

Department lawyers had sent a message to Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, suggesting that lawyer-client privilege could restrict some of his inquiries.

Within a day, Barofsky was assured there would be no impediment to his audits, and all requested documents were provided to his office.

But the proximity of the department's challenge to Barofsky's investigation has raised concerns about the timing of the two events.

And though the matter was resolved for the AIG inquiries, it leaves open the possibility of conflict in the future as audits of the massive program multiply.

Asked why Barofsky's legal authority was challenged by the department just as the AIG inquiry began, Treasury Department spokesman Andrew Williams said: "It is entirely a coincidence."


Walpin who called basically senile by the WHite House is not crawling away and fighting back hard. The explantion of Walpin's firing was plain goofy and was just being asked to dig deeper. As it stands now it looks like Obama is running interference for a supporter. The Treasury is acting guilty and looks to be trying to impede oversight.

But I don't expect the MSM to do any hard journalism about it.

Dan Froomkin finally gets fired for being of no use.

Liberal blogsphere is in an uproar because liberal Dan Froomkin got let go from his blog on the Washington Post.

POLITICO learned today that the Washington Post has terminated its relationship with liberal columnist/blogger Dan Froomkin. Froomkin authored the "White House Watch" blog and was told today that the blog had essentially run its course.

Washington Post Media Communications Director Kris Coratti tells POLITICO that "our editors and research teams are constantly reviewing our columns, blogs and other content to make sure we're giving readers the most value when they are on our site while balancing the need to make the most of our resources. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes features must be eliminated, and this time it was the blog that Dan Froomkin freelanced for washingtonpost.com."
Froomkin was none too happy with the decision, telling POLITICO that he's "terribly disappointed."

"I was told that it had been determined that my White House Watch blog wasn’t 'working' anymore," said Froomkin. "Personally, I thought it was still working very well, and based on reader feedback, a lot of readers thought so, too. I also felt White House Watch was a great fit with The Washington Post brand, and what its readers reasonably expect from the Post online. As I’ve written elsewhere, (http://www.niemanlab.org/category/themes/danfroomkin) I think that the future success of our business depends on journalists enthusiastically pursuing accountability and calling it like they see it. That’s what I tried to do every day. Now I guess I'll have to try to do it someplace else."


If you actually look at White House Watch he covered almost everything but the White House since Obama got into office. He should have gotten slapped down for this nonsense early in the year on how to cover Obama's White House. He went from self proclaimed watch dog to lap dog in a heartbeat. The column was basically a waste considering the news side, other columnists have made Obama cheerleadering a team sport. He was expendable because he brought nothing new to the White House Watch other than praise Obama and bash Obama's critics.

He won't be missed

Thursday, June 18, 2009

House gives $900 Million dollars to United Nations.

This is a definite Susan Rice UN lover pleaser push. $900 million and zero accountability or changes to the culture of criminality that the UN is known more for now.

The United States is closer to no longer being a United Nations deadbeat.
The House of Representatives passed a war-funding bill Tuesday that includes about $900 million for U.N. peacekeeping missions and related activities. That funding includes $175 million in arrears accrued since fiscal year 2005, according to the United Nations Foundation, a charitable group that promotes U.N. causes.

The United States is the United Nations' biggest donor, but Congress capped payments for peacekeeping and didn't pay its bill in full.

"This is a strong indication of the Obama administration's commitment to working with the U.N.," said U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas.

For years, Republican conservatives such as North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms urged withholding payments to prompt an overhaul of the way the bureaucratic United Nations does business. President Obama has said the United States would be in a stronger position to push for changes if it paid what it owes. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon once used the term "deadbeat" to refer to the United States in a meeting with members of Congress.

Obama throws Moussavi under the bus.

This was stupid.

As tens of thousands of Iranian protesters take to the streets in defiance of the government in Tehran, officials in Washington are debating whether President Obama’s response to Iran’s disputed election has been too muted.

Mr. Obama is coming under increased pressure from Republicans and other conservatives who say he should take a more visible stance in support of the protesters.

Even while supporting the president’s approach, senior members of the administration, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, would like to strike a stronger tone in support of the protesters, administration officials said.

Other White House officials have counseled a more cautious approach, saying harsh criticism of the government or endorsement of the protests could have the paradoxical effect of discrediting the protesters and making them seem as if they were led by Americans. So far, Mr. Obama has largely followed that script, criticizing violence against the protesters, but saying that he does not want to be seen as meddling in Iranian domestic politics.

....But Mr. Obama also drew criticism from politically neutral observers when he said in an interview on Tuesday with The New York Times and CNBC that from an American national security perspective, there was not much difference between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir Hussein Moussavi, his closest competitor in the election.

“Either way,” Mr. Obama said, the United States is “going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons.”

The remark struck critics as off key and dismissive toward Mr. Moussavi, when he has become a symbol of freedom and democracy in Iran. “Obama’s posture has been very equivocal, without a clear message,” said Representative Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican who is the House minority whip. “Now is the time for us to show our support with the Iranian people. I would like to see a strong statement from him that has moral clarity.”

I actually agree with him they may not be a huge difference between the two at least in terms of how they will deal with America and their nuke program, but this is not the time to say it especially when Obama has come off as Mr. Wimpy in calling out the events on the ground in Iran.

Stand up and show some leadership instead of this meandering course.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CBO becomes party killer for Health Care Reform.

Damn those numbers and scenarios.

This week, in the span of just 24 hours, the Congressional Budget Office issued three reports that effectively poured cold water on would-be reformers of the U.S. health insurance system.

On Monday, the non-partisan budget-estimating agency totaled the preliminary costs for a health care overhaul bill proposed by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., on behalf of the ailing Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

The CBO estimated that if the bill becomes a law, it would cause “a net increase in federal budget deficits of about $1.0 trillion” from 2010 to 2019. But according to the agency, the bill would still leave 37 million Americans uninsured by 2019.

Exiled Tamil Tigers to continue push for separate state

If you want to wear out your welcome in adopted homelands, this would be an excellent way of doing it in style.

Almost a month after their devastating defeat by the Sri Lankan Army, the Tamil Tigers’ last few surviving leaders have announced that the rebel group will be reborn as a separatist movement in exile.

In an e-mailed audio file that has flown around the Tamil diaspora, the rebels’ head of international relations, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, said that the group was reorganising to pursue its goal of a separate Tamil state from outside Sri Lanka. “The struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam has reached a new stage,” he said. “It is time now for us to move forward with our political vision towards our freedom.”

Mr Pathmanathan gave no indication that the group would renounce violence but announced the establishment of a “provisional transnational government of Tamil Eelam”, which would decide on a course of action “within democratic principles”. Tamil Eelam is the name given by the Tigers to the north and eastern areas of Sri Lanka to which they lay claim.

Mr Pathmanathan, who is wanted by Interpol in connection with his role as the Tigers’ main arms smuggler, is one of a handful of senior cadres who escaped annihilation last month because he is based overseas.

Orthodox Jewish couple sue neighbours over automatic hallway light

The UK has become a Monty Python skit.

A Jewish couple are suing their neighbours in a block of flats, saying an automatic security light is keeping them prisoner in their home because it forces them to break their Sabbath rules.

Dr Dena Coleman and husband Gordon claim they cannot leave their holiday flat on the Sabbath because when they do they automatically trigger the light in the communal hallway - contravening a religious ban on turning on electrical items from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday because it constitutes 'creating fire'.

They say their human rights are being breached and are now suing the flats' management company - their neighbours - for failing to accommodate their religion.
The other 35 owners of the seaside flats are liable to pay court costs if the claim is successful.

Dr Coleman, a 56-year-old headteacher at a Jewish orthodox school in London, has been visiting the £200,000 holiday flat in Bournemouth, Dorset, with her husband for six years.

The management company fitted the motion-sensing lights six months ago in a bid to save energy and money.

The Colemans have offered to pay for an override switch to disable the light sensors during the Sabbath.

But the Embassy Court Management Company - which represents all residents and whose three directors also live in the block - said this would set an 'unacceptable precedent'.

Muslim waitress wins nearly £3,000 for hurt feelings

One of the dumbest claims I have seen come out of the UK. The second she took the job she knew what the uniform was going to be which was a red dress. The suit in a sane society would be dismissed and this woman ridiculed.

Fata Lemes, 33, who claimed her upbringing meant she was "not used to wearing sexually attractive clothes", was handed the payout even though it later emerged pictures of her in a revealing top had appeared on Facebook, the social-networking site.

Miss Lemes later insisted that the photo was taken on a beach and was irrelevant to her claim that the dress she was asked to wear at the Rocket Bar in Mayfair made her "look like a prostitute".

The tribunal panel concluded that the Bosnian Muslim "holds views about modesty and decency which some might think unusual in Britain in the 21st century".

But it accepted that she genuinely believed that the short, low-cut dress was "disgusting" and made her look "like a prostitute".

The panel at Central London Employment Tribunal found that Miss Lemes "overstated" her trauma at being asked to wear the sleeveless dress that was open at the back.

It rejected Miss Lemes' claim that she was left with no choice but to walk out of her job after just eight days.

It branded her compensation claim of £20,000 including £17,500 for hurt feelings – as "manifestly absurd".

But it awarded her £2,919.95 for hurt feelings and loss of earnings.


Opportunists are taking advantage of the UK PC culture.

Protesters demand Bermuda premier's resignation

More people angry about the decision to just let the Uighurs into Bermuda.

Detroit's Monica Conyers caught by the Feds over bribes

Can we just send in OCP into Detroit already and just be done with that city?

DETROIT – City Council member Monica Conyers, the wife of a prominent congressman, sought political support from Baptist pastors and prayers from constituents Tuesday as her re-election bid collided with a corruption probe involving cash bribes handed over in fast-food parking lots.

A person told The Associated Press that Conyers is the "Council Member A" listed in a court document as receiving more than $6,000 for her fall 2007 vote on a multimillion-dollar sludge contract. She has not been charged. The information comes from a person with knowledge of the investigation who asked not to be named because the person was not authorized to speak publicly.

No suggestion has been made that Conyers' husband, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has any role in the investigation and it appears unlikely to dent his nearly 45-year political career. In Washington, he said he hadn't talked to his wife Tuesday and wasn't aware of any discussions with prosecutors.

Monica Conyers, meanwhile, asked for prayers during her weekly public access television show, without directly addressing the scandal that has the FBI investigating how Houston-based Synagro Technologies won a $47 million-a-year contract to recycle sludge from a wastewater treatment plant.

"All these things that are going on right now ... I believe in my heart that God will deliver me from them," said Conyers, 44. "And so I say to all of the people out there: If you're not praying for me, then you're just adding to the problem."


Who knew God was on her side? Defend her now or prepare to be smitted.

Federal prosecutors have offered Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers a plea deal as part of their wide-ranging investigation of City Hall corruption, but she has not accepted it, the Free Press learned today.

The development comes a day after the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed that two key figures in a sludge-disposal deal admitted paying Conyers thousands of dollars in bribes to secure her support for a $1.2-billion city contract with Synagro Technologies. Conyers, who initially opposed the 2007 deal, switched her position as the council voted 5-4 to let Synagro dispose of wastewater sludge.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Social Networks helping Iranian Defiance Online

The drive to be heard and counted in a fraud Iranian election will be twittered...among other things.

As the embattled government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appears to be trying to limit Internet access and communications in Iran, new kinds of social media are challenging those traditional levers of state media control and allowing Iranians to find novel ways around the restrictions.

Iranians are blogging, posting to Facebook and, most visibly, coordinating their protests on Twitter, the messaging service. Their activity has increased, not decreased, since the presidential election on Friday and ensuing attempts by the government to restrict or censor their online communications.

On Twitter, reports and links to photos from a peaceful mass march through Tehran on Monday, along with accounts of street fighting and casualties around the country, have become the most popular topic on the service worldwide, according to Twitter’s published statistics.

A couple of Twitter feeds have become virtual media offices for the supporters of the leading opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi. One feed, mousavi1388 (1388 is the year in the Persian calendar), is filled with news of protests and exhortations to keep up the fight, in Persian and in English. It has more than 7,000 followers.

Mr. Moussavi’s fan group on Facebook has swelled to over 50,000 members, a significant increase since election day.

Labeling such seemingly spontaneous antigovernment demonstrations a “Twitter Revolution” has already become something of a cliché. That title had been given to the protests in Moldova in April.

But Twitter is aware of the power of its service. Acknowledging its role on the global stage, the San Francisco-based company said Monday that it was delaying a planned shutdown for maintenance for a day, citing “the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran.”

Obama pressures doctors to back health care reform.

Obama went to the AMA and delivered his truth which in turn is nothing more than a veil threat to Doctors to push his health care which will bring on government runned health care. But don't call it a takeover.

President Barack Obama bluntly told doctors Monday he is against their highest legislative priority — limiting malpractice awards — and earned a smattering of boos from an audience he was here to court for his health care overhaul plans.

Pushing anew to reshape the nation's health care delivery system and extend coverage to the millions who don't have it, Obama went before the annual meeting of the American Medical Association and took on others who take issue with parts of his plan as well.

Calling them "naysayers," "fear-mongers" and peddlers of "Trojan horse" falsehoods, Obama warned interest groups, lobbyists and others against using "fear tactics to paint any effort to achieve reform as an attempt to socialize medicine."

"There are those who will try and scuttle this opportunity no matter what," Obama said.

....The president directly took on criticism from former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, though not by name. On Sunday, Romney, widely expected to consider another run at the White House in 2012, called Obama's support for public insurance a "Trojan horse" to create a single-payer system like Britain's.

"When you hear the naysayers claim that I'm trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They are not telling the truth," Obama said.

The president repeated that he is "open" to a mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance. But he said that any plan must address the rising costs of a system he called a "ticking time bomb" for the federal budget.


If you are not trying to bring about government runned health care what exactly does he think his plan is now? Of course its single payer government runned health care which is going to be used to stifle the private sector. Not putting the brakes on malpractice damages is the first indicator that he is not serious in helping the private runned sector.

The CBO meanwhile finds Obamacare lacking.

An analysis released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office raised the hurdles for draft legislation in the Senate just as its Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee planned to begin voting on Wednesday. The office concluded that a plan by the committee’s Democratic leaders, Senators Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, would reduce the number of uninsured only by a net 16 million people. Even if the bill became law, the budget office said, 36 million people would remain uninsured in 2017.

....The budget office estimated that 39 million people would get coverage through new “insurance exchanges.” But at the same time, it said, the number of people with employer-provided health insurance would decline by 15 million, or about 10 percent, and coverage from other sources would fall by 8 million.

In effect, the office said, millions of people would get a better deal if they bought insurance through an exchange because they could qualify for federal subsidies not available if they stayed in their employers’ health plans. Subsidies are expected to average $5,000 to $6,000 a person.


There is the trojan horse, slowly kill off the private care and have people run to taxpayer funded government care.

Video - Letterman says sorry about Palin joke.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Biden: Taxing health benefits is wrong, but won't rule it out.

This is what is known as the setup for the hammer being dropped later down the road.

Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday that the Obama administration opposes taxing the medical benefits employers provide workers to pay for health care reform, but he refused to rule it out entirely.

"We do not think that is the way to go; we think that is the wrong way to finance this legislation," Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program. Pressed on whether President Barack Obama would veto a bill from Congress containing such a mechanism, Biden said Obama would consider the measure in total before making a decision.

UK social workers keep kids from dying mother.

You have to wonder if common sense has ever took part in any decision of the UK social services.

A dying woman whose children are in foster care has been told that her contact with them will be cut to 90 minutes a fortnight because of her failing health.

The mother suffers from a brain disorder that means she may have only a few years to live. Her son and daughter were taken into care because of an allegation — dismissed after an investigation — that a friend had sexually abused one of them.

Kate Brown — not her real name, for legal reasons — had already been struggling to make the most of the seven hours’ access a fortnight she had to her children. Last month social services told her this would be cut.

She believes that the new restrictions will squander what time she has left with Louise, 12, and Bill, 10. “By the time they get here, it is already time for them to go,” she said.

Cheney's criticism of Obama means he hates America.

We reach another level of defense in criticism of Obama, if you do you are wishing for an attack on America. This is the sort of childlike nonsense I would hear from Keith Olbermann not the head of the CIA who should know better.

Former vice president Dick Cheney's criticism of the Obama administration's handling of security matters suggests he wants the United States to be attacked, CIA chief Leon Panetta said.

"I think he smells some blood in the water on the national security issue," Panetta told The New Yorker magazine for its June 22 edition.

"It's almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it's almost as if he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that's dangerous politics."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Japan's Gundam model is finished and AWESOME!

Via pinktentacle, the most awesome model that has come to almost life! This is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Gundam series.





Taliban civil war in Pakistan?

Bad News is this guy is still terrorist scum angry that the other Taliban leader is attacking his own country.

A new Islamic militia leader has emerged in Pakistan to openly challenge al Qaida -affiliated warlord Baitullah Mehsud for the first time from within his own tribe, marking the start of a bloody confrontation in the wild Waziristan region that could have profound consequences for both Pakistan and the West.

In his first interview with Western news reporters, Qari Zainuddin vowed this week to wipe out Mehsud and rescue Pakistan from a reign of terror that has pushed the nuclear-armed U.S. ally toward collapse.

Zainuddin charged that Mehsud, who is the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, had betrayed both his Muslim religion and the Mehsud tribe of his native South Waziristan , which borders Afghanistan .

"To fight our own country is wrong," said Zainuddin, in an interview given in a hideout on the edge of South Waziristan , surrounded by masked Kalashnikov-totting followers. "Islam doesn't give permission to fight against a Muslim country. This is where we differ. What we're seeing these days, these bombings in mosques, in markets, in hospitals; these are not allowed in Islam. We don't agree with them."

Al Qaeda fighters move into Horn of Africa

This front has been heating up for years and with more firepower being used in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a lawless area is a good thing for them.

Al Qaeda operatives are leaving the battle zones along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and heading for Somalia and Yemen, where they have set up training camps, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

The officials believe that al Qaeda may see the Horn of Africa as its new headquarters after dozens of attacks from U.S. drones along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The officials could not be named because of the sensitive nature of the information.

However, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the intelligence agency is keeping tabs the region as a possible destination for fleeing al Qaeda operatives.

Judge rules terrorist can sue

Here is your crimilization of terrorism in a nutshell, idiot Judge allows convicted terrorist to sue American citizens.

A convicted terrorist can sue a former Bush administration lawyer for drafting the legal theories that led to his alleged torture, ruled a federal judge has ruled who said he was trying to balance a clash between war and the defense of personal freedoms.

The order by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco is the first time a government lawyer has been held potentially liable for the abuse of detainees.

White refused to dismiss Jose Padilla's lawsuit against former senior Justice Department official John Yoo on Friday. Yoo wrote memos on interrogation, detention and presidential powers for the department's Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003.


Of course it would be a judge in San Francisco

Palau public angry at Uighurs in their country.

Who knew having Muslim extremists in their country would tick people off. The shock of it all.

The tiny Pacific nation of Palau's decision to allow 13 Muslims from China now at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp to resettle there has sparked anger among islanders who fear for the safety of the tranquil tourist haven.

The U.S. government determined last year that the detainees, Uighurs, were not enemy combatants and should be released from the U.S. military prison in Cuba. China has objected to their resettlement, calling the men "terrorist suspects" and demanding they be sent home.

The U.S. has said it fears the men would be executed if they were returned to China.

Palau President Johnson Toribiong explained his decision to grant the Uighurs entry as traditional hospitality, but public opinion has appeared overwhelmingly negative. Some complained Friday that the government failed to consult the people.

"I totally disagree" with allowing the Uighurs onto Palau, Natalia Baulis, a 30-year-old mother of two, told The Associated Press by telephone.

"It's good to be humanitarian and all, but still these people ... to me are scary," she said.