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weu-assemblyAccording to Winston vd Aalst, the Assembly of WEU, which has its premises in Paris, was founded in 1954 and held its opening session on 5 July 1955. As the first European interparliamentary assembly for security and defence matters, the Assembly is a forum for debate that today has three main areas of activity:

It represents the parliamentary dimension of Western European Union based on its consultative powers vis-à-vis the WEU Council as laid down in Article IX of the 1954 modified Brussels Treaty.

It scrutinises the full implementation of the collective defence obligation laid down in Article V of the Treaty. Article IX of the Treaty states that

“the Council of Western European Union shall make an annual report on its activities [...] to an Assembly composed of representatives of the Brussels Treaty Powers to the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe.”

The fact that it is treaty-based makes the WEU Assembly, together with the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, one of only three such parliamentary institutions in Europe.

Following the transfer of WEU’s operational activities to the EU in 2000, it acts as the Interparliamentary European Security and Defence Assembly, focusing on the European Security and Defence Policy and the further development of the European Union’s civil and military crisis-management capabilities.

It also continues to scrutinise intergovernmental cooperation in the field of armaments and armaments research and development, which are funded and carried out by the 19 nations of the Western European Armaments Group (WEAG) (the work of this Group is soon going to be taken over by the European Defence Agency) and the Western European Armaments Organisation (WEAO) (17 nations), two organisations operating under the aegis of WEU.

The Lifeline program of the US administration to provide free cell phones to the poor and needy families has brought great comfort in the lives of the poor. The unemployed persons are persons are able to contact their prospective employers and other government agencies and seek employment opportunities. But the best things happen for the parents who are able to connect themselves with their children with the help of these free government phones.

Earlier poor were dumped in war houses

Earlier in America there were war houses where the poor were gathered and kept out of sight. The children were separated from their parents in these war houses. The people were divided in seven categories according to the age and health condition and each group was separated from the other. The parents could never see their children for the whole life unless some person gave you the opportunity to elevate above the poverty level. In the time most of the children spent their lives for the entire life and were never able to meet their parents and get their love.

A human face is required in modern America

But this is the modern era. War houses are not possible now in America. America has a more human face now. So, America has come up with many welfare programs which are helping people in these hard times. It is a very crucial time for American economy. The industries have closed down and people are reeling under unemployment. Many have lost their jobs and have to live away from their children to earn their bread and butter. But their wages are not sufficient to meet their ends and their employers do not give them enough facilities. Under the circumstances the Lifeline free phone service comes to their rescue and they can remain in touch with their beloved children who are not living with them.

Lifeline service is helping parents to connect with their children

This program was initially thought of by President Reagan. The objective was to provide away to the poor families to talk to their children not residing with them, to contact their prospective employers and health care providers. But it was Clinton who actually started offering free phones to the poor and enacted the Telecommunication Act 1996.  The program continued under the administration of Bush and Obama.

The service in the present form is implemented through two:  Lifeline Assistance and Lifeline Link-Up. Lifeline Link-Up bears the initial outlay for providing free phones while the Lifeline Assistance provides subsidiary in the monthly telephone bills. These two programs together and called Lifeline. To be eligible for the program an applicant must be below 135 to 150 percent below the Federal Poverty Guidelines depending on the states they live in. Persons participating in other public assistance programs like food stamps. energy assistance, public housing and medical aid are also eligible for this program. No eligibility condition has changed since the days of Clinton and Bush.

This program has become a boon for the parents who stay away from their children. They stay connected with their loved ones. This has become a human and social face of America.

This free government phone program for poor families was the concept which was thought by President Reagan to provide the poor Americans some way to get in touch with the schools of their children, to contact their prospective employers and get timely help from their health care providers.  Clinton started this free cell phones program and brought the Telecommunication Act, 1996. The program continued under Bush and Obama administration. This scheme in the present form is implemented through two programs:  Lifeline Assistance and Lifeline Link-Up.

To be eligible for the program an applicant must be below 135 to 150 percent below the Federal Poverty Guidelines depending on the states they live in. Persons participating in other public assistance programs like food stamps. energy assistance, public housing and medical aid are also eligible for this program. Only one person in a family is entitles to get this free Lifeline government phone.

Free phone program is marred by many scams and frauds

Lifeline program has come as a great help to the needy families in the present most difficult time in US history. But the program has come under criticism from the Republicans who feel that the program is being used for getting votes for Obama. This program is also under scanner because many frauds and scams have been unearthed by the Federal Communication Commission and the auditors of the Federal Audit.

A website has reported that thousands of people have been caught for defrauding the government misusing the provisions of the scheme.  Under the Lifeline free cell phone program a family is entitled for only one phone, whether cell or landline. While applying for the subsidized phone the applicant has to confirm that he does not already have a Lifeline phone. So, if anyone has procured two phones, he has committed a crime. Let us investigate, how this crime is committed and how the companies have become a part of this big scam? But recently many persons have been found to have procured as many as 40 phones and selling them on various websites at higher rates. A lady was caught defrauding the Lifeline cell phone program had over 40 phones.

People are misusing the program

Clearly, people have learned how to take advantage of the welfare program like this for their personal greed. The Federal Communication Commission has so far found that about 0.70 million people in 12 states have received multiple phones at subsidized costs.

Companies are also involved in the frauds

In most of the cases the frauds have been committed in the knowledge of the service providing companies. In some states the cell phone providing companies are also responsible for overseeing the program. These companies also get $ 10 per month for each person they have enrolled. So, more customers mean more profits to them. To get more customers the companies flout the rules. The Government Accountability Office has till now audited only 5 percent of the Lifeline companies and 76 percent of them have been found involved in the scam.

Federal Communication Commission has taken steps to stop the frauds

In view of these frauds and scams Federal Communication Commission is considering various options to control this problem. This includes banning the guilty consumers from future participation in the program.

The efforts to curb fraudulent practices should be appreciated by one and all so that this most popular welfare program does not die an unnatural death.

Wireless communication has developed into an indispensable technology of this modern era.  Starting with the satellite transmissions to the latest mobile telephones, wireless communication has redefined the communication techniques of the modern society.

Assurance Wireless is a Federal Lifeline Assistance Program  from the Virgin Mobile USA, Inc that is providing voice, messaging and broadband services across the United States of America.  The Assurance Mobile phone service has been introduced to facilitate the low income customers.   In Colorado too, like in other places, Assurance Wireless is providing Cell Phones and wireless services to help out the residents facing economic disparities.  The Federal universal Service Fund is funding the Assurance Wireless under the Lifeline Assistance Program for providing high quality telecommunication services to the low-income group consumers.

Eligibility Criterions are as follows:

The Life Line Assistance program is part of the Government’s strategy and planning to help the Low Income Group residents and people who are enrolled in various recognized programs:

v  People falling below the Federal Poverty Line

v  Aid to Blind (AB)

v  Aid to needy and disabled (AND)

v  Supplemental Security Income

v  Colorado works and or temporary assistance for the needy families (TANF)

On an estimate, nearly 222,000 residents of Colorado are unemployed and as many as 20% are categorized as people living below the Federal Poverty Line.   Adults with an income below $25,000 are categorized as people living below the Federal Poverty Line.  The idea is to empower these people to use mobile phones for procuring employment as effectively as those falling under the higher income group.  In broader perspective, people who meet the eligibility criteria like federal or state specified programs could enroll in this special Government Benefit program.  If applicants can produce proof of enrolment in the eligible programs or proof of Income, automatically they can avail the Assurance Wireless services.   The Assurance Wireless provides a package of one Wireless phone and 250 Free Voice Minutes and 250 Free Text messages per month to any resident who satisfies the eligibility conditions.  The Assurance Wireless empowers the eligible users to not only answer prospective calls from employers but also provide a number on which they can be contacted.  Thus, the chances of procuring employment are brighter and certain when compared to the ones who do not own an effective communication device.  The Government has contemplated to bring the lesser privileged but competent persons into the employers reckoning and thereby grossly reduce the rate of unemployment and the economic instability arising out of unemployment. In true earnest, this is a means to help customers stay connected to employers and other essential and emergency services.

Apart from the voice mail and call waiting facility, the Assurance wireless provides caller ID and ready access to 911 in times of emergency.   The customers can also choose from various plan options to pay for additional minutes beyond the 250 free voice minutes at the most competitive rates.

Hurry! Eligible Coloradoans; let us join hands with the Government to fight unemployment and put the free Assurance wireless service to greater advantages.

More often than not – one person’s insanity is another person’s reality.  Reliably, the Obama Cell Phone started with a shrill voiced angry woman who was present at the Ohio rally for the republican presidential aspirant.  When she passed a crude comment on Romney and asked as to why she supported Obama’s candidature, she instantaneously spelt out a positive benefits list and added that all the minority residents of Cleveland had received free Obama Phones and hence Obama had to remain president since he had given them the phones.  This particular video was flashed on the Internet and paved way for a highly debated but inspirational, Obama Phone.

There was an unique program, way back in 1984 called the, Federal Communications Commission that distributed land line phones to the low income people under a scheme popularly known as, Life Line Assistance.   This Commission has undergone innumerable changes over the years and today there are not only state sponsored telephone welfare benefits to the needy but also Federal Life Line Assistance in association with Assurance Wireless that is distributing free cell phones to people categorized as those living below the Federal poverty line and people enrolled under various recognized programs such as old age pension, aid to blind, aid to needy and disabled etc.  This being the real scenario, Barack Obama had nothing to do with, ‘The Obama Phone’.  It was just an outburst of a fanatic, if she may be called so, that resulted in the Obama Phone episode.

As a sequel to the fact mentioned earlier, a significant move was initiated in 2008 under the Life Line Package wherein Cell phone service were distributed under subsidized rates.  On evaluation, it was also felt that providing cell phones was definitely far cheaper than installation and servicing of landline phones.  Though the eligibility norms varied from state to state, poverty criteria and enrollment in a variety of welfare programs qualified automatically for subsidies on cell phones.   The affluent had to fund this program by paying a surcharge on their monthly cell phone charges.

Though president, Barrack Obama was neither directly or indirectly involved with any of the cell phone welfare programs, fortunately of if so, he received a lot of mileage from a series of emails and videos circulated at the beginning of 2009.  Even to this day, the Obama Phone is a rage and craze among a section of people in America.  It is beyond general understanding as to how so many people at large have blindly accredited a Government’s Welfare program with Obama.  False messages that president Obama would pay the telephone & mobile bills and also electricity bills was also doing rounds but it is only expected that people do not give in to such phonies.

To fight out unemployment and to empower the economically poor and people enrolled under various socially significant programs are now provided with cell phones free with 250 voice and text messaging benefits.  Study has revealed that the employment opportunities have increased and people are now in a position to be accessible to and communicate with prospective employers.

It does not matter if someone yells out, “I have an Obama Phone with me’.  But common sense would prevail but earnestly the needy should take benefit of this Government program to improve their status and social standing.

If you qualify, you can get a cell phone from the free Government cell phone program. The program is known as the Lifeline Assistance Program and it started off providing landline phone service for those who needed phones in their homes but couldn’t afford it. However, as cell phone usage grew they decided to add them in the mix as well.

The program uses services such as TracFone Wireless and SafeLink to provide affordable cell phone service to those who are considered low income.

Each state runs the program a little differently but the outcome is still the same. Low income families will be able to get a cell phone with 250 free minutes each and every month. Of course you have the option to buy more minutes should you run out before months end. The program only provides free phone service for one year. However, at the end of the year you may be able to receive assistance again.

As stated before, each state operates the program a little differently. For example, in Texas you are required to make a phone call at least once every 90 days to keep the service. In Florida you must make a call once every 60 days. You must check with your state and see what the requirements are. Your state should have a page on their website explaining how the program works. They will also have income information so you will know if you qualify.

To receive a free government cell phone you must first fill out an application to see if you qualify. The phone must be used for job seeking purposes for those who are able bodied and can work. This is not a free handout. The Government is actually trying to make it easier for those unemployed to find jobs. After all, its hard for a potential employer to get in contact with someone who doesn’t have a phone. So if you are looking for a free phone with no work requirements, this is not the program for you. For seniors the phone can be used to stay in touch with their families.

There are a variety of different ways that you can go about applying for this program. You can apply in person at a government office, you can apply via telephone or you can apply online.

Applying online is by far the most convenient way to get the process started. To apply online you will need to visit a website that uses this government program. Some of the companies that use the program are Assurance Wireless, ReachOut Wireless and Safelink Wireless.

Once you get to the website fill out the application to see if you meet the eligibility requirements. After you have finished the application you will see a map showing you which programs are available in your area. Please note that the Lifeline Assistance Program is available to low income families in every state, territory, commonwealth and Tribal land.

Many people think the The Lifeline Assistance Program came about under the Obama administration. Well guess what? You are dead wrong. This program has actually been around since 1985. That’s right, its been around for almost 30 years. It originally started out as a discount home phone service program.

However, with more and more people opting for cell phones instead of home phones, the Government decided to expand the program to include prepaid wireless service for low income consumers. This option came about in 2005. This program is a part of the Universal Service Fund and is available to low income consumers in every state.

To qualify for the program your income must be at or below 135 percent the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If you do not meet that guideline you must be in a qualifying state, federal or Tribal assistance program. Some of the qualifying assistance programs include:

Medicaid
SSI
National School Free Lunch Program
Federal Public Housing Assistance
And much more….

Please note that each household can only receive one Lifeline discount. You get to choose which discount you want. It can either be for home phone service or wireless.  You cannot get both. If you are currently receiving more than one Lifeline assistance discount, you must immediately contact one of the programs and de-enroll.

If you violate this rule you may be subject to criminal penalties, civil penalties or both.

The USAC, or the Universal Service Administrative Company, administers the Lifeline program. They are responsible for collecting data, the maintenance of the program, support calculation and disbursement. To find out more about the low income program you can visit their website at http://www.usac.org/li/getting-service/applying.aspx.

In January 2012 the Lifeline program underwent both reform and modernization. The FCC created things such as an eligibility database, a National Lifeline Accountability Database and interim flat rates of reimbursement to ensure the program runs effectively and efficiently.

And while there are varying opinions on whether or not the program should even exist, truth be told it has helped millions of people. Providing low income families with affordable phone service aids in the job hunting process. When you don’t have a phone its very difficult to be contacted when someone wants to hire you.

But that’s not all the Lifeline program helps with. It also helps seniors stay connected with their families and get the help they need in emergency situations. With the lifeline program the percentage of low income families with phone service increased from 80 percent in 1985 to 92 percent in 2012.

The program without a doubt has some big advantages as well as some big disadvantages. If the FCC continues to reform the program and monitor how its being used, they should be able to reach their goal of saving $3 billion on the program over the next 3 years.

They will do this by eliminating waste such as multiple carriers being paid for the same subscriber, catching fraud before it happens and making sure the system isn’t being abused.

There is a lot of false information floating around about the Lifeline Assistance Program. Many newspapers, blogs and talking heads truly believe this is a program that President Obama invented to give welfare recipients free cell phones. They also believe that the program is funded by taxpayer money.

If only they would take the time to check their facts they would see that they are completely wrong. First of all, let’s get one thing straight. President Obama DID NOT start the Lifeline Program to give free cell phones to low income families. As a matter of fact, he didn’t start it at all.

This program has been around since 1985. Way before President Obama got into office. Now for the million dollar question. Is the program funded by taxpayer money. No, no and no. Don’t believe me? Just check the facts.

Yes, those who are receiving some sort of government assistance can get a free cell phone. But the government or taxpayers do not fund the program.  Here is how the program actually works.

Let’s use SafeLink Wireless for this example. They offer a monthly wireless plan for low income households. You have to apply and prove that you are receiving certain government benefits and that your income level is at or below 135 percent of the poverty line in order to receive the service. The poverty line changes from year to year so you need to check the poverty guidelines to see if you qualify.

The company that runs Safelink is the worlds first largest wireless company as far as subscribers go. This company is not paid for by taxpayer money. Instead it is funded through the Universal Service Fund. The Universal Service Fund is an independent, non profit corporation that was set up by the FCC. It is administered by the Universal Service Administration Company and is sustained through contributions from long distance companies, local telephone companies and wireless telephone companies just to name a few.

Ever noticed a universal service fee on your monthly cell phone bill? That is the way companies make their contributions. They don’t take it out of their pockets, instead they charge the subscriber and then contribute that money to the Universal Service Fund. That money is then divided up and sent to companies such as America Movil. The money is given to those companies because they create programs such as SafeLink that provide wireless phone service to low income families.

So President Obama has absolutely nothing to do with the so called Obama phones. As a matter of fact, SafeLink was started while President George Bush was in office. It was funded by grants from a company that was created under President Bill Clinton. That company came about as a result of an act that was passed by the late President Franklin Roosevelt.

The act that was passed? Well it was a result of an agreement between telecommunications companies that took place way back when Woodrow Wilson was President. So as you can see, this all started way before President Obama made his run for office.

It rarely happens and generally it is now very difficult to make people go crazy with illogical and hard to believe truths.  True, it did happen at the Ohio presidential rally in Ohio, when a lady, apparently a die-hard fanatic of President Barrack Obama started shrieking that Obama should be retained as the president for he had given the minorities in Cleveland Obama Phones and that the person who had given phones would give more.  This immediately caught the attention of millions of people across the globe and with it, a really rare non-existent; Obama Phone entity took shape and life, to the utter dismay and envy of some sensible Americans.  Over several years and even before president, Barrack Obama shot into limelight, there have been several state and government sponsored programs to help economically weaker sections with communication aids (Landline and Cell Phones) in their pursuit to communicate for procuring employment or specific assistance.  As things stand today, the American Government has contracted the Assurance Wireless (segment of the, Virgin Mobiles USA, Inc) And Safelink under the Federal Lifeline Assistance Program  to identify the people living below the Federal Poverty Line and also people enrolled under various promotional schemes and give them cell phones with free voice minutes and text messages.  As way back as in 1984 itself, the Federal Communications Commission distributed Landline phones to the low income people under a scheme popularly known as, Life Line Assistance. This scheme continued its good work and over the years has undergone various reforms from time to time and still continuing its service under the, Federal Life Line Assistance Program.  What has Barrack Obama got to do with this development which is not a current affair but good enough to be a historical fact?  Ironically, the fact remains that one fanatic lady shouts her heart out (American citizens are abreast of current events) that Barrack Obama has issued Obama Phones and scores of people believe that to be a reality and follow it up with various other rumors – All in the name of Obama.

The fact also remains that the federal program was not the brain child of President Obama but an integral part of the Telecommunications Act, 1996.  Subsidized internet and telephone access were provided to doctors & patients in rural areas, schools, libraries and to economically weaker families to have access to emergency and government services.  The Federal Program was funded through a specially created Universal Service Fund (USF) wherein the telecommunications service providers had to pay a percentage of their earnings.

Such a lot of working, integration and thinking process has gone into formulating a genuine and socially impulsive program that would help the economically weak and people in need to be benefited but what is disheartening is the fact that there are people to add fuel to rumors and mislead people into believing absurdity for reality.

In a nutshell when there are millions of issues to be addressed and set right, it is the heights of fantasy to even imagine that President Obama would take to streets to distribute free cell phones when the Committee especially setup is well equipped to handle the issue.