Hamas committed war crimes, executed ‘collaborators’ in Gaza conflict – Amnesty UK »»
Hamas took advantage of the chaos created by last year’s Gaza conflict with Israel to settle political scores through summary executions and torture, an Amnesty UK report alleges. Read Full Article at RT.com Read more...
Creationism should ‘not be taught’ in science lessons – Scottish Parliament »»
After a lengthy battle by Scottish secularists, campaigners have welcomed what they call a ‘clear statement’ from a government minister that creationist theory will not be taught alongside sciences. Read Full Article at RT.com Read more...
Students release 72k ladybugs in school for senior prank, face criminal charges »»
Seven Maryland high school students are facing burglary and other charges for allegedly breaking into their high school and releasing thousands of ladybugs as part of a senior prank. Read Full Article at RT.com Read more...
Taco Bell, Pizza Hut to remove artificial colors, flavors from food »»
Fast-food titans Taco Bell and Pizza Hut have announced they will eliminate artificial coloring and flavoring from their food in the coming months and years. The chain restaurants are both owned by Yum Brands Inc. Read Full Article at RT.com Read more...
Talks on May 21 in Moscow with the Iraqi delegation headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi were dedicated to Military-technical co-operation, oil, bilateral cooperation and Syria. The first and fourth points are very important to Baghdad, which for almost a year has been in a cruel and unsuccessful struggle with the ISIS. They need weapons […] Read more...
Alexei Mozgovoi: Casualty of War or Contract Hit? »»
The recent addition of Alexei Mozgovoi of the “Prizrak”(Ghost) battalion to the body count in Ukraine was not a surprise. Some big gesture had to be made, as the Western and Kiev authorities have backed themselves into “a little dirty war” that could continue for years to come, having ignored all the lessons of both […] Read more...
Evacuation Plans of the Polish Government: What For? »»
For some unspecified reason, the Polish government recently performs many movements which suggest that it is preparing for something bigger. Of course, the media continue calming the whole society because as we know Poland is still protected by NATO and nothing will ever happen to us. Well, and if already something really happened, then you […] Read more...
Can an Osprey Jeopardize US-Japan Relations? »»
An Osprey is a unique-fish eating bird of prey. This very name is given to the convertiplane V-22, built by Boeing and Bell Helicopter, successfully reflects the uniqueness of this particular machine, which combines the attributes of both a helicopter and an aeroplane. Of the numerous projects for such devices, developed from the end of the […] Read more...
Damascus and Baghdad May Soon Fall Into the Hands of ISIL »»
While analysts were trying to guess who was the weak link in Syria, where renewed opposition forces are preparing a new attack on Damascus, or Iraq, where Islamic State militants have recently captured a strategically important city in the western part of the country some 70 miles from Baghdad, ISIL decided to test its luck […] Read more...
Military officers who wear their religion on their sleeve are a danger to our country at any time, but especially after the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001.
Whether it's US Army Lieutenant General William G. Boykin telling his audience that "My God is bigger than his" in the close aftermath of that tragedy, or the more recent example of US Air Force Major General Craig Olson saying in uniform and in public—and speaking in tones far more like a preacher than a military officer—"I am a redeemed believer in Christ", these are dangerous men, making dangerous displays of religion.
Moreover, such displays occur in an environment where they are strictly prohibited by secular rules. These rules—and in the case of the US Air Force, written regulations—are in place for a reason.
First, they protect the Constitutional separation of church and state. No government representative should be seen advocating for any religion, period. We officers, when we take the oath of office, surrender for the duration of our service the privilege of publicly professing our religion, of "wearing it on our sleeve".
Second, these rules protect the good order and discipline of the military. Many religions—and no religion at all—exist throughout the ranks. To profess a particular religion from a leadership position is detrimental to that order and discipline. How might, for example, a Jewish soldier feel when his lieutenant professes his belief in Jesus before his platoon? A Muslim soldier? An atheist?
In addition, a flag officer (a general or admiral) must be doubly careful because so many men and women are influenced by or fall under the sway and power of his or her every word and deed. Sometimes it might be thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, as was the case when I served then-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Colin Powell—who, incidentally, would never have worn his religion on his sleeve.
Third, and becoming increasingly relevant every day that passes, public professions of religion by military officers give groups such as al-Qaeda, ISIS, al-Nusra and other religious fanatics superb propaganda to use against our soldiers in the field and against us, as a nation. We, in effect, become no better than they, some sort of American taliban. As such we excite more recruits, more followers, more zealots to their banners. We also grievously undermine our own cause, just as we undermine our own Constitution.
What US Air Force Major General Craig Olson did was particularly egregious. Not only does he display by his remarks the naiveté of a twelve-year-old Boy Scout—and thus call into immediate, serious question the billions of dollars and hundreds of young lives entrusted to his care and leadership—he also repeatedly calls on a single religion, indeed seems almost entranced by that religion, in uniform, in public, and on, of all things, God TV, an international broadcast. As a soldier of 31 years myself, I found his exhortations discomfiting, dismaying, and dangerous. Frankly, I also found them flatly incredible: I had never heard such words uttered by a general officer in my life.
Should the USAF punish him? Clearly, he has violated law and regulation. There is no doubt about that. But should he be punished?
The USAF is understandably afraid of certain members of the US Congress, as are all the Services when it comes to presenting an overt challenge to what these members of Congress believe is "every Christian's right to profess his or her religion, no matter the circumstances."
Congress' constant dalliance with such pseudo-Christian organizations as James Dobson's Focus on the Family-–whose members most remind me of the people at the famous Scopes trial in Tennessee, who for the most part were hopelessly ignorant— exacerbates this fear.
It was Dobson's wife's organization that sponsored the event during which Olson made his stunningly impassioned remarks. The event was camouflaged under the aegis of one Alabama Republican's name—Congressman Robert Aderholt—but everyone with any insight into Washington knows that Dobson was behind the entire event.
Aderholt certainly knew it, as his opening remarks at the event conveyed: "Thank you, Shirley [Mrs. Dobson], for your kind introduction and for this invitation to be here this morning."
So, if the Air Force were to punish Olson it might have to pay the piper with regard to any angst it might generate in the Congress, the provider of its funds. Of course, another way to say this is that the leadership of the US Air Force has no guts. It writes rules and its officers disobey them with impunity.
In any event, if no action is taken it's a dangerous game, playing with fire this way. A game that will get Americans killed in future. A game that undermines the very law we fight to protect. A game that destroys our truest values.
But it is an understandable game in a Washington peopled by hypocrites, Luddites, science-deniers, cowards, rabble-rousers, greedy, self-serving politicians, warmongers and, oh yes, military officers who wear their religion on their sleeve.
Taking Responsibility for Drone Killings: Obama and the Fog of War »»
When President Barack Obama apologized on April 23 to the families of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, an American and an Italian, both hostages killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in January, he blamed their tragic deaths on the "fog of war."
"This operation was fully consistent with the guidelines under which we conduct counterterrorism efforts in the region," he said, and based on "hundreds of hours of surveillance, we believed that this (the building targeted and destroyed by drone launched missiles) was an al Qaeda compound; that no civilians were present." Even with the best of intentions and most stringent of safeguards, the president said, "it is a cruel and bitter truth that in the fog of war generally and our fight against terrorists specifically, mistakes — sometimes deadly mistakes — can occur."
The term "fog of war," Nebel des Krieges in German, was introduced by the Prussian military analyst Carl von Clausewitz in 1832, to describe the uncertainty experienced by commanders and soldiers on the battlefield. It is often used to explain or excuse "friendly fire" and other unintended deaths in the heat and confusion of combat. The term raises vivid images of chaos and ambiguity. Fog of war describes incredible noise and trauma, volleys of bullets and artillery shells, bone jarring explosions, screams of the wounded, orders shouted out and countermanded, vision limited and distorted by clouds of gas, smoke and debris.
War itself is a crime and war is hell, and in its fog soldiers can suffer from emotional, sensory and physical overload. In the fog of war, fatigued past the point of endurance and fearful both for their own lives and for those of their comrades, soldiers must often make split second decisions of life and death. In such deplorable conditions, it is unavoidable that "mistakes — sometimes deadly mistakes — can occur."
But Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto were not killed in the fog of war. They were not killed in war at all, not in any way war has been understood until now. They were killed in a country where the United States is not at war. No one was fighting at the compound where they died. The soldiers who fired the missiles that killed these two men were thousands of miles away in the United States and in no danger, even if anyone were firing back. These soldiers watched the compound go up in smoke under their missiles, but they did not hear the explosion nor the cries of the wounded, nor were they subjected to the concussion of its blast. That night, as the night before this attack, it can be assumed that they slept at home in their own beds.
The president attests that those missiles were fired only after "hundreds of hours of surveillance" were carefully studied by defense and intelligence analysts. The decision that lead to the deaths of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto was not reached in the crucible of combat but in the comfort and safety of offices and conference rooms. Their line of sight was not clouded by smoke and debris but was enhanced by the most advanced "Gorgon Stare" surveillance technology of the Reaper drones.
The same day as the president's announcement the White House Press Secretary also issued a release with this news: "We have concluded that Ahmed Farouq, an American who was an al-Qa'ida leader, was killed in the same operation that resulted in the deaths of Dr. Weinstein and Mr. Lo Porto. We have also concluded that Adam Gadahn, an American who became a prominent member of al-Qa'ida, was killed in January, likely in a separate U.S. Government counterterrorism operation. While both Farouq and Gadahn were al-Qa'ida members, neither was specifically targeted, and we did not have information indicating their presence at the sites of these operations." If the president's drone assassination program sometimes accidently kills hostages, it also sometimes accidently kills Americans alleged to be members of al-Qa'ida and apparently the White House expects us to take some consolation in this fact.
"Hundreds of hours of surveillance" notwithstanding, and despite being "fully consistent with the guidelines under which we conduct counterterrorism efforts," the order to attack the compound was given in the absence of any indication that Ahmed Farouq was there or that Warren Weinstein was not. Three months after the fact, the United States government admits that they blew up a building that they had been watching for days without the slightest idea who was in it.
The "cruel and bitter truth" is actually that Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto were not killed in a "counterterrorism effort" at all, but in an act of terrorism by the United States government. They died in a gangland style hit that went awry. Killed in a high-tech drive-by shooting, they are victims of negligent homicide at best, if not of outright murder.
Another "cruel and bitter truth" is that people who are executed by drones far from a battlefield for crimes they have not been tried for or convicted of, such as Ahmed Farouq and Adam Gadahn were, are not enemies lawfully killed in combat. They are victims of lynching by remote control.
"Predators and Reapers are useless in a contested environment," admitted General Mike Hostage, chief of the Air Force's Air Combat Command in a speech in September, 2013. Drones have proven useful, he said, at "hunting down" al Qa'ida but are no good in actual combat. Since al Qa'ida and other terrorist organizations have only flourished and multiplied since Obama's drone campaigns took off in 2009, one might take issue with the general's claim for their usefulness on any front, but it is a fact that the use of lethal force by a military unit outside of a contested environment, outside of a battlefield, is a war crime. It might follow that even the possession of a weapon that is useful only in an uncontested environment is a crime, as well.
The deaths of two western hostages, one an American citizen, are indeed tragic, but no more so than the deaths of thousands of Yemeni, Pakistani, Afghan, Somali and Libyan children, women and men murdered by these same drones. Both the president and his press secretary assure us that the events in Pakistan last January were "fully consistent with the guidelines under which we conduct counterterrorism efforts," business as usual in other words. It seems that in the president's view, death is only tragic when it is inconveniently discovered that western non-Muslim people are killed.
"As President and as Commander-in-Chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations, including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovanni," said President Obama on April 23. From the time President Ronald Reagan took full responsibility for the Iran-Contra arms deal to the present, it is clear that a presidential admission of responsibility means that no one will be held accountable and that nothing will change. The responsibility that President Obama accepts for only two of his victims is too paltry for consideration and, along with his partial apology, is an insult to their memories. In these days of governmental evasions and official cowardice, it is crucial that there are some who do take full responsibility for all of those killed and act to stop these acts of reckless and provocative violence.
Five days after the president's announcement of Weinstein's and Lo Porto's murders, on April 28, I was privileged to be in California with a dedicated community of activists outside of Beale Air Force Base, home of the Global Hawk surveillance drone. Sixteen of us were arrested blocking the entrance to the base, reciting the names of children who have also been killed in drone attacks but without a presidential apology or even, for that matter, any admission that they died at all. On May 17, I was with another group of anti-drone activists at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and in early March, in the Nevada desert with more than one hundred resisting drone murders from Creech Air Force Base. Responsible citizens are protesting at drone bases in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, New York at RAF Waddington in the United Kingdom, at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, at the White House and other scenes of these crimes against humanity.
In Yemen and in Pakistan, too, people are speaking out against the murders taking place in their own countries and at great risk to themselves. Lawyers from Reprieve and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights have filed suit in a German court, charging that the German government has violated its own constitution by allowing the U.S. to use a satellite relay station at Ramstein Air Base in Germany for drone murders in Yemen.
Perhaps one day President Obama will be held responsible for these murders. In the meantime, the responsibility that he and his administration shirks belongs to all of us. He cannot hide behind a fog of war and neither can we.
Germany's Asylum Seekers: You Can't Evict a Movement »»
Berlin - In a move to take their message of solidarity to refugees across the country and calling for their voices to be heard in Europe's ongoing debate on migration, Germany's asylum seekers have taken their nationwide protest movement for change on the road under the slogan: "You Can't Evict a Movement!".
Earlier this month, in a twist to conventional protest movements, refugees organised a Refugee Bus Tour across Germany, turning action into networking through mobile solidarity.
"We wanted to go out and bring a message of solidarity to all corners of Germany, to meet other refugees and tell them not to be afraid, to take life into their own hands and above all that you are not a criminal," Napuli Görlich told IPS, tired but relieved after a month of travelling.
On the morning of Apr. 1, Napuli had stood on this same spot, flanked by fellow campaigners Turgay Ulu, Kokou Teophil and Gambian journalist Muhammed Lamin Jadama, staring at the burnt-out refugee Info Point in Berlin, victim of one of a number of disturbing arson attacks this year, including one on a refugee home in Tröglitz, in the eastern state of Saxony.
Until the day before, the Info Point had functioned as a social solidarity base in the heart of Berlin's Oranienplatz square, known here as the O'Platz. The square holds a symbolic importance as the central stronghold of the nation-wide refugee movement.
"That was a very sad moment for us," said Napuli. "Such brutal attacks hit us where it hurts most, in our sense of vulnerability, precariousness, and invisibility," she continued, vowing that the Info Point, registered as an art installation in Berlin's Kreuzberg district, will be rebuilt.
One of the most vocal and resilient personalities of the German refugee movement, Napuli was born in Sudan and studied at the universities of Ahfad and Cavendish in Kampala. A human rights activist, she suffered torture and persecution for running an NGO and fled to Germany, where she has been with the refugee movement ever since.
From the start, she has also been associated with the O'Platz "protest camp", which became her home and that of 40 other refugees in October 2012. They had pitched their tents in the square after a 600 km march from what they termed a "lager" reception centre in Würzburg, Bavaria. The refugees stayed, on braving the elements, until the district council ordered bulldozers to tear it down in April last year.
"When they came to clear the camp I had nothing, absolutely nothing, only a blanket on my shoulders," Napuli recalled. For the next three days, she took her blanket, her protest and her rage at the lack of an agreement with the Berlin authorities up a nearby tree, literally.
Germany's refugee movement was sparked by the suicide of a young Iranian asylum-seeker Mohammad Rahsepar who hanged himself in his room at the Würzbug reception centre on Jan. 29, 2012. En route to the German capital the marchers stopped by other "lagers", starting to raise awareness about the inhumane conditions of isolation for asylum applicants, inviting them to leave their camps and join the march for freedom to Berlin.
Since then, the movement has been calling unequivocally for abolition of Germany's enforced residence policy, or "Residenzpflicht", a lager system which effectively denies asylum-seekers freedom of movement.
Other demands are an end to deportations, and rights to education, the possibility to work legally and access to emergency medical care, so far unavailable to asylum seekers.
After the O'Platz protest camp was razed to the ground, many of the prevalently African refugees occupied a vacant school building in Berlin, the Gerhardt-Hautmann-Schule in the Kreuzberg district's Ohlauerstrasse, where they ran social and cultural activities until June 2014.
The local authorities attempted to enforce an eviction order, flanked by a 900-strong federal police force, and barring all access to visitors, press, voluntary organisations and even Church groups were denied access to the school or delivery of food.
Refusing to leave the building, some of the refugees took to the school's rooftops for a nine-day hunger strike and standoff, waving a banner with the slogan "You can't evict a movement", which has now become the rallying cry of the refugees' movement.
Some, like Alnour, Adam Bahar and Turgay Ulu, continue to live here, still hopeful that the district will agree to a proposal to set up an international refugee centre here and that they may be able to receive visitors.
Angela Davis, the iconic U.S. civil and human rights activist, was denied access when she tried to visit them on the premises recently. "The refugee movement is the movement of the 21st century," said Davis, referring to the plight of migrants worldwide.
"The Polizei can come at any time of night and snatch us away; we are under constant threat of deportation. I am feeling very stressed, I cannot sleep very well," Alnour told IPS, explaining how they have had to make do with one, cold, defective shower for 40 people.
Undeterred on his return from the Refugee Bus Tour, Turgay Ulu, a Turkish journalist who was tortured and imprisoned as a dissident for 15 years, published the refugee movement's magazine and is an active network organizer, has a very busy "working" schedule.
"There is a lot to do, from organising sleeping places for the homeless, writing and producing video content, organising spontaneous demonstrations and occupations, musical events, theatre performances, and consciousness-raising on national and international refugee bus tours," Ulu told IPS.
"We have two choices, we either sit in the lagers and eat, sleep and eat again and go crazy, or we protest."
Germany's problem has been the exceedingly long waiting times necessary for processing asylum applications. The United Nations has reported that in 2014 the country had the highest number of asylum applications since the Bosnian War in 1992. There are reportedly 200,000 asylum applications still outstanding and it is being predicted that this will have risen to 300,000 this year.
Adam Bahar, a Sudanese blogger and one of the refugee movement's campaigners, told IPS that his dream of a better life of freedom and wealth evaporated when he reached Europe, where he soon realised that freedom and human rights are not for everyone to enjoy.
"In dictatorships, young people suffer systematic oppression for a mere criticism of the regime," he said. "Faced with joblessness and lack of freedom of expression, they will seek legal or illegal emigration following the lure of the foreign media's often empty slogans of justice and freedom."
Today, continued Bahar, who is in demand as a speaker and gives seminars at Berlin's Humboldt University, "colonialism, which was born in Berlin in 1884, is being implemented by starting wars and marketing weaponry."
As politicians busy themselves with strategies and programmes and allocating resources to more programmes to hold back refugees, they should be naming and shaming the real culprits instead, he said. "Change begins by uprooting dictators who are clandestinely colluding to misuse their nation's wealth and remain in power thanks to the support of the pseudo democracies of the first world."
Meanwhile, the refugee movement's unified front appears to be making some, albeit limited, headway. The forced residence system, for example, has been abolished in a number of federal states and the Berlin Senate has just announced plans to provide refugee shelter accommodation to be completed by 2017 in 36 locations for 7,200 asylum seekers spread out across Berlin's local districts at an overall cost of 150 million euros.
Germany is currently walking a tightrope between honouring its international humanitarian responsibilities, pursuing its international economic interests, including its remunerative arms sales contracts, and handling dangerous right-leaning swings in public opinion against immigrants.
At the same time, Germany is pursuing a risky carrot-and-stick immigration policy agenda which is sending out contradictory signals – a 10-year-old immigration law which placed Germany on the map as a land of "immigration" for highly skilled foreigners, while tightening restrictions for those who are not deemed to be candidates for economic integration.
At issue is the divisive policy which places refugees in "asylum-worthy" categories. "In Germany there are three categories of refugees," Asif Haji, a 30-year-old Pakistani asylum seeker, told IPS.
"The first are Syrians and other Middle East refugees who are awarded permits and education. Second come the Afghans and Pakistanis, who have to struggle a bit but are allowed language school and work permits. But then there are the Africans who are widely perceived as economic migrants leeching on the system and petty criminals dealing in drugs who are not particularly welcome anywhere."
"This is unfair," he said. "Human tragedy should not be classified."
As Mountaintop Mining Spreads, Lawmakers Oppose Rule to Protect Streams »»
Washington - Congressional Republicans are seeking to block an imminent rule protecting Appalachian streams from mountaintop removal mining, as opponents of the controversial practice say the mines are getting closer to communities and harming people's health.
The White House is expected to announce a stricter rule for the disposal of mountaintop-removal mining waste into streams. Some Republicans in Congress are describing the move as the latest campaign in the Obama administration's "war on coal."
The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, which has jurisdiction over mining, has been holding hearings and calling the rule a job killer. The chairman, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., backs a measure by West Virginia Republican Rep. Alex Mooney, which would block the Interior Department's Office of Surface Mining from implementing the rule, calling for a study within two years, then a year of review, before any new stream protections.
By that point there would be a new president in the White House and different leadership at the Office of Surface Mining that could be friendlier to the coal industry.
"Should this stream buffer rule come to pass it would have a tremendous impact on further reducing mining in Kentucky," Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, said in an interview.
Michael Hendryx, a health science professor at Indiana University, said in an interview that blocking the rule would force people living near the mines to keep suffering.
"They're going to continue to have higher rates of disease and premature death," said Hendryx. "There is plenty of solid evidence that mountaintop removal mining is done in a way that's not responsible for the environment or public health."
Hendryx, along with other scientists, has published more than two dozen peer-reviewed journal articles on the health impacts. Other research on the mining practice includes last year's U.S. Geological Survey findings that Appalachian streams impacted by mountaintop mining have less than half as many fish species and about a third as many fish as other streams.
"People who live in mountaintop removal communities compared to others have higher rates of lung disease, heart disease, cancer, birth defects and other types of health problems," Hendryx said.
Bissett of the Kentucky Coal Association called Hendryx biased and disputed his research. The coal company Alpha Natural Resources has asked the West Virginia Supreme Court for documents related to the preparation of Hendryx's papers when he was at West Virginia University and copies of any correspondence with environmental groups.
The group said it's hoping the new Obama administration rule will stop the widespread practice of states giving waivers to allow mining activity and waste dumping within 100 feet of streams.
"What we would like to see is a true buffer zone around all streams that cannot be infringed," said Thom Kay, legislative associate for Appalachian Voices.
Opponents of the upcoming Obama administration rule said the impact goes beyond the mountaintops, with West Virginia Rep. Mooney asserting at a congressional hearing last week that the "stream protection rule is intentionally designed to shut down all surface mining." The Kentucky Coal Association's Bissett said that, while federally designated mountaintop mining has diminished, other forms of surface coal mining still make up half the activity in Eastern Kentucky.
National Mining Association president Hal Quinn argued in testimony to Congress last week that the federal government has shown no need to act, and that even the Office of Surface Mining's own analysis of an earlier version of the rule said it would cost 7,000 jobs. Industry backers accuse the agency of manipulating job loss estimates and not consulting with the states.
The Obama administration is not providing details on the upcoming rule, which is expected to be released in June.
Office of Surface Mining Director Joseph Pizarchik recently told Congress that the rule would be a "wash" in terms of job loss, with only a couple hundred jobs gained or lost as a result.
Return Of "Greek Deal Pending" Rumor Sparks Stocks, Euro Surge »»
UPDATE: the "talking back" begins: *GREECE SAYS DISAGREEMENTS AMONG CREDITORS A PROBLEM: OFFICIAL
Another day, another rumor (not yet denied) of a report that Greece and its creditors are crafting a deal (well durr)... The result, vertical buying panic in US equities, USD dumped (on EUR strength), TSY yields spike 3bps, and Crude oil surges... what a "market"
The Bloomberg headlines...
*GREECE, CREDITORS STARTED CRAFTING STAFF LEVEL ACCORD: OFFICIAL
*GREEK BANK DEPOSITS ARE SAFE, GOVT OFFICIAL SAYS
*GREECE, CREDITORS STARTED CRAFTING STAFF LEVEL ACCORD: OFFICIAL
*GREEK DEAL TO ALSO INCLUDE LONG TERM SOLUTION ON DEBT: OFFICIAL
*GREECE TO CHANGE PENSION SYSTEM, WON'T CUT PENSIONS: OFFICIAL
As Bloomberg reports,
Brussels Group of Greek officials, representatives of creditor institutions to start drafting Staff Level Agreement today, a Greek govt official says in e-mail to reporters.
Agreement to envisage low primary budget surpluses, no recessionary measures, sales tax overhaul, medium-term agreement on Greek debt relief, growth package
Agreement will not include additional EU1.8b in measures
Agreement will also envisage pension system reform, limiting early retirement, unification of pension funds; no pension cuts included
Disagreement between creditor institutions remains a problem; if it wasn’t for the IMF, agreement would have been reached by now
Creditor institutions should assume historical responsibility toward Greece, common European vision
Greek PM Alexis Tsipras will be in constant contact with other leaders, to facilitate reaching agreement
Humiliated McDonalds To Stop Reporting Monthly Sales »»
What do you do when month after month you have nothing but bad data to report, such as in this case McDonalds with its weekly comparable store sales shown on the ugly charts below?
Simple: you have two choice - you either seasonally adjust the data (or in the case of US GDP, double-seasonally adjust it), or if that is not possible since unlike US GDP, your numbers are at least somewhat indicative of underlying reality, you stop reporting them altogether.
That's what McDonalds just did.
MCDONALD'S LAST REPORTING OF MONTHLY COMPS WILL BE FOR JUNE
MCDONALD'S SAYS JUNE SAME-STORE SALES WILL BE REPORTED WITH 2Q
McDonald’s Corp. plans to stop reporting monthly same-store sales results. The company will provide same-store sales for June with its second-quarter earnings report, then cease providing the data, Heidi Barker, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.
And to think the new boss - who we hope did not promise the board anything about "transparency and accountability" - could have avoided all of this if, as we suggested, he had worn at least 37 piece of flair.
A Global Debt Deleveraging It At Our Doorstep »»
The blogosphere is rife with talk of the “death of the US Dollar.”
The US Dollar will eventually die, as all fiat currencies do. But the fact remains that it is the reserve currency of the world. And everyone on the planet has been borrowing in US Dollars for decades, or leveraging up using Dollars.
When you borrow in US Dollars you are effectively shorting the US Dollar. So when leverage decreases through defaults or restructuring, the number of US Dollars outstanding diminishes.
And this strengthens the US Dollar.
With that in mind, it looks as though we are in the early stages of a massive, multi-year Dollar deleveraging cycle. Indeed, the greenback is now breaking out against EVERY major world currency.
Here’s the US Dollar/ Japanese Yen:
Here’s the US Dollar/ Euro:
Even the Swiss’s decision to break the peg to the Euro hasn’t stopped the US Dollar from breaking out of a long-term downtrend relative to the Franc:
The fact that we are getting major breakouts of multi-year if not multi-decade patterns against every major world currency indicates that this US Dollar bull market is the REAL DEAL, not just an anomaly.
With that in mind, I continue to believe the US Dollar is in the beginning of a multi-year bull market. And this will result in various crises along the way.
Globally there is over $9 trillion borrowed in US Dollars and invested in other assets/ projects. This global carry trade is now blowing up and will continue to do so as Central Banks turn on one another.
This will bring about a wave of deleveraging that will see the amount of US Dollars in the system shrink. This in turn will drive the US Dollar higher.
Indeed, consider that the US Dollar actually MATCHED the performance of stocks for the year of 2014.
Any entity or investor who is using aggressive leverage in US Dollars will be at risk of imploding. Globally that $9 trillion in US Dollar carry trades is equal in size to the economies of Germany and Japan combined.
Smart investors are preparing now.
If you've yet to take action to prepare for this, we offer a FREE investment report called the Financial Crisis "Round Two" Survival Guide that outlines simple, easy to follow strategies you can use to not only protect your portfolio from it, but actually produce profits.
We are making 1,000 copies available for FREE the general public.
Snapchat CEO Warns "Easy Money Policy" Has Created The Tech Bubble, "Matter Of Time Til It Bursts" »»
A month ago 24-year-old Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel gave global sheeple investors a glimpse at the reality in Silicon Valley's and how the second tech bubble will burst (via his comments from 2013). Overnight he stepped up the rhetoric, as ReCode reports - itself in the midst of a stock-only buyout by Vox - Spiegel warns we are currently living through a tech bubble and that it’s a matter of when, not if, the tech bubble will burst. "People are making riskier investments and... there will be a correction," he warned, placing tha blame squarely on The Fed's shoulders, explaining that the bubble is being fueled by an "easy money policy" and low interest rates - that may not last much longer.
Fed has created abnormal market conditions by printing money and keeping interest rates low. Investors are looking for growth anywhere they can find it and tech companies are good targets - at these values, however, all tech stocks are expensive - even looking at 5+ years of revenue growth down the road. This means that most value-driven investors have left the market and the remaining 5-10%+ increase in market value will be driven by momentum investors.
At some point there won't be any momentum investors left buying at higher prices, and the market begins to tumble. May be 10-20% correction or something more significant, especially in tech stocks.
More importantly, Spiegel brings up an absolutely critical point for the second tech bubble fueled by social-media stocks: there simply is not enough ad spending dollars in existence to support the gargantuan market caps.
Total internet advertising spend cannot justify outsized valuations of social media products that derive revenue from advertising. Feed-based advertising units will plummet in value (in the case of Twitter, advertising spend may not move beyond experimental dollars) similar to earlier devaluing of Internet display advertising.
Evan Spiegel isn’t afraid to say that we are currently living through a tech bubble, even if he and his Los Angeles-based company are taking advantage of it. The CEO of the popular messaging service said on Tuesday that it’s a matter of when, not if, the tech bubble will burst.
“I think that people are making riskier investments and … there will be a correction,” he said on the first night of the Code Conference in an interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg.
“[I]t’s definitely something we factor into our plans,” he added.
The full interview is enlightening - it appears 'they' know it's just a matter of time...
WTI Crude Crumbles Back To 6-Week Lows (Under $57.50) »»
WTI Crude's late-day bounce yesterday is gone... and then some. Front-month (July) futures prices are back below $57.50 - their lowest since April 23rd (before the inventory "draw"s began). With OPEC's June meeting looming every closer, one wonders if this downward pressure on price is helping to solidify anti-Saudi rhetoric among the cartel members...
And as a reminder, some context from the last OPEC meeting...
Collapsing Global Economy, Imploding Financial System: China Has Only One Option »»
The title is of course a little misleading because China has many options, none of which except one in my opinion will actually work. Options to what exactly you ask? Options to a collapsing global economy and an imploding financial… Read more...
Monsanto, Cocaine and Colombia’s “War on Drugs” »»
There’s a vicious war taking place in South America, and the weapon of choice is none other than Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide, the primary active ingredient in the company’s nefarious Roundup formula. Reports indicate that the Colombian government’s “war on drugs”,… Read more...
Israeli Soldiers Shoot Children in the Head with Rubber-Coated Bullets »»
Palestinian children gather rubber-coated steel bullets after they have been fired by Israeli soldiers. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler / ActiveStills)
A Palestinian child from occupied East Jerusalem has lost an eye after being shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel… Read more...
New York Times: ‘Too Generous’ Family Policies Cause Discrimination Against Women »»
The New York Times‘ vision of women in the workplace. (Anna Parini)
Familiar, frustrating construction from today’s New York Times (5/26/15):
It turns out that generous maternity leave and flexible rules on part-time work can make it harder for women… Read more...
China’s Military Strategy: We will “Counterattack” if Attacked »»
On May 26, China’s official press agency Xinhua headlined “China rolls out military roadmap of ‘active defense’ strategy,” saying:
An official white paper issued by the State Council Information Office titled “China’s Military Strategy” pledged “closer international security cooperation.”
It… Read more...
PacSun Pulls Upside Down Flag T-shirt Because It Hurt Someone’s Feelings »»
A veteran explains why displaying a US flag upside down is not disrespectful. Read more...
Secret Meeting in London to “End Cash” »»
Central banks aim to institute "governmental approval" for all purchases and sales. Read more...
NATO General Warns, Putin Is A “Dangerous Gambler… Willing To Use Nuclear Weapons” »»
"There is a real danger China will align itself with Russia politically and militarily." Read more...
Prepare Your Homes And Neighborhoods For The Violence That Is Going To Sweep America »»
The thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted on a daily basis is beginning to disappear. Read more...
Free Financial Markets Are A Hoax »»
There are no free financial markets in America, or for that matter anywhere in the Western word. Read more...
The 4th Media
There is no way out but victory. If they lose, it is the end of their civilizations. »»
In the meanwhile, George Soros warns of a possible war between the USA and China, and an influential Chinese newspaper agrees. ... whether the West likes it or not, Napoléon’s oriental sleeping lion is back in historical form. The West has two choices: come to the negotiating table with BRICS or take our Pale Blue Dot down in a fog of nuclear oblivion. Empire is so evil and corrupt, I’m leaning towards the latter scenario, to be honest. But I am also an eternal optimist. Here is to hoping that some superhero, American Vasili Arkhipov or Stanislav Petrov (they both defused potential nuclear war with the US, back in the day) can somehow short circuit the Joint Chiefs of Staff/CIA/Wall Street deep state, which has been ruling the United States since WWII, and bring humanity back from the brink. Either way world, welcome to the Xi Era – and the Putin Era – and with fingers crossed – the Modi Era too. Read more...
CHINA STATE PAPER WARNS OF WAR UNLESS US BACKS DOWN »»
BEIJING - A Chinese state-owned newspaper said on Monday that "war is inevitable" between China and the United States over the South China Sea unless Washington stops demanding Beijing halt the building of artificial islands in the disputed waterway. The Global Times, an influential nationalist tabloid owned by the ruling Communist Party's official newspaper the People's Daily, said in an editorial that China was determined to finish its construction work, calling it the country's "most important bottom line." The editorial comes amid rising tensions over China's land reclamation in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea. China last week said it was "strongly dissatisfied" after a US spy plane flew over areas near the reefs, with both sides accusing each other of stoking instability. Read more...
Is the US Planning a “Gulf of Tonkin” INCIDENT in the SOUTH CHINA SEA? »»
Following weeks of scaremongering by American officials over China’s activities in the South China Sea, US Secretary of State John Kerry used his visit to Beijing last weekend to issue an ultimatum to Chinese leaders to halt land reclamation on islets and shoals. His Chinese counterpart Wang Yi bluntly refused, insisting that China would safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity “as firm as a rock.” Washington is not going to take no for an answer. In what is already an explosive situation, the question has to be asked: Is the US preparing a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident as the pretext for direct military action against Chinese facilities and armed forces in the South China Sea? Such reckless brinkmanship would risk war between two nuclear armed powers. Read more...
Inherent Autonomy: The Patriot Act is now USA Freedom Act »»
“Maybe someone who reveals a secret program that multiple federal judges say is ILLEGAL is a whistleblower who deserves gratitude — not prison?” — Glenn Greenwald How many times has the mainstream media mentioned the USA Freedom Act? Well, if you did hear of this legislation, you must have been watching C-SPAN or a foreign press channel. […] Read more...
Full Speech by Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Syria, ISIS … »»
Full Speech by Hizbullah Secretary General, His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, during the Bint Jbeil Victory Festival on May 26, 2000 On the “Resistance and Liberation Day,” the day of the absolutely momentous victory, we meet at the heart of the region we’ve reclaimed, where we triumphed. Here, we mark the fortieth day after the […] Read more...
21st Century Wire
Patrick Henningsen on IN THE NOW: ‘US War on ISIS a Complete Failure’ »»
IN THE NOW | Are the great powers really aiding and abetting ISIS? Read more...
Henningsen: Saudi Arabia’s ‘Imperial Debut’ in Yemen a Disaster »»
Patrick Henningsen | The CIA and other clandestine agencies could be playing both sides of the conflict. Read more...
Federal Judge: CIA Torture Report Remains Secret, ‘Not FOIA Worthy’ »»
21WIRE + RT | Score another lynchpin in Washington's phony War on Terror. Read more...
Star Wars: DARPA’s Death Ray Begins Testing »»
21WIRE + RT | Science fiction is now science fact. Read more...
Iraqi ‘Conspiracy Theorists': America Supporting ISIS »»
Stuart J. Hooper + Foreign Policy | Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. Read more...
An Impact Assessment of a Great Earthquake in Nepal »»
Bishnu Pathak (nsnbc) : A devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015 disrupted the lives of nine million people – almost a third of the population. A second one of magnitude 7.3 on May 12 further complicated getting aid to survivors mainly in the central Nepal. Home Ministry data shows that there are 49 […] Read more...
Australia: Former diplomat to co-ordinate counter terrorism »»
Michelle Grattan (TC) : A former ambassador to Indonesia and Iran, Greg Moriarty, will become co-ordinator of national counter terrorism, leading a new office in the Prime Minister’s Department. The government says that as well as his expertise in the Middle East and South-East Asian regions, Moriarty brings to the role experience co-ordinating inter-agency and […] Read more...
Israeli Air Force strikes Targets in Gaza after Missile Attack »»
nsnbc : The Israeli Air Force launched several air strikes against targets in the Palestinian Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning. The air strikes came in response to the launch of a missile towards Israeli settlements. Non of the armed Palestinian groups that have a presence in the Gaza Strip has claimed responsibility for the launch of […] Read more...
Lopez not on Hunger Strike: Venezuelan Ombudsman »»
Rachel Boothroyd (VA) : Venezuela’s chief ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, has publicly refuted international media reports that imprisoned politician, Leopoldo Lopez, has gone on hunger strike. On Sunday, international journalists took to the web to announce Lopez’s “hunger strike” after he released a video on Saturday evening in which he claimed that he and fellow […] Read more...
Egypt addresses Qatar to extradite Yusuf al-Qaradawi »»
TCP : Egypt has addressed the Qatari authorities to extradite Egyptian Islamist preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who was sentenced to death by a criminal court May 16 over prison break charges committed in 2011, Assistant to the Minster of Justice Adel Fahmy told Youm 7 Tuesday. “The international cooperation bureau within the public prosecution prepared official […] Read more...
Bernie Sanders, a wolf in sheeps clothing »»
Andrew Pontbriand | There is hardly anybody in the House of Representatives or the United States Congress who is more vehemently opposed to large corporate profits, as Bernie Sanders
Creating an Evacuation Plan for Your Family »»
An evacuation plan is a must have for anyone in an emergency situation. Disasters often happen without warning so it is important that your family knows what to do. Communicating with your loved ones is critical for getting them safety through the emergency. Evacuation plans can be written down and discussed amongst your family members. […]
Simple wound-care questions like that have left even doctors debating the answers. So earlier this year, an article in American Family Physician, the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, offered some answers. For the article, three researchers from Thomas Jefferson University looked at a number of studies on wound care and formulated guidelines […]
Dual Sensor Smoke and Fire Alarm, and Why They Are The Best »»
(Don’t let this happen) Most so called smoke and fire alarms (smoke detectors) out there are NOT dual sensor. Most of them have a single “ionization” detector that detects flame. The thing is…it’s usually not the fire that will kill you, it’s the smoke and it’s deadly component carbon monoxide that will end your life. […]
Personal Solar Powered Air Conditioner »»
Step 1: The Thermos Any insulated cooler can be used. It should be portable and ideally have a pouring spout at the top to allow the copper tubes to go in an out without a lot of drilling. The same spout can be used to collect any condensation on the copper coil and add that […]
Hundreds of dead red crabs wash up on Tijuana beach, Mexico »»
A big stretch of Tijuana beach turned bright red today as hundreds of crustaceans washed up on the sand. The creatures are a kind of crab, better known as Langostino.
The scene Tuesday afternoon on Playas de Tijuana was surreal as hundreds of the small creatures dotted the sand, most of them dead. "I thought first of all it was like all that polluted water we have around here, especially in Tijuana, but then another theory they say is that they (were brought here) by the currents," said one woman on the beach.
"We have seen them in our samples in local waters," said Scripps Institution of Oceanography marine scientist Linsey Sala. Sala said seeing this many red crabs on the beach isn't all that unusual. "Been seeing them. We got reports as early as July 2014. This year my first report of people seeing them was on January first," she said.
But these little crustaceans aren't the only ones to have washed up on the beaches of Baja over the last several weeks. First there was a whale, then a seal and then dozens of blue jellyfish. Sala said she's not sure if all the incidents are related. "The seals and sea lions are local to these waters as are the blue and gray whales. The red crabs actually serve as a food source," she said. Read more...
Belgian airspace closed: Air traffic control failure grounds all flights as power outage causes chaos »»
An electrical failure at Belgium air traffic control forced the closure of airspace above Belgium on Wednesday morning, Eurocontrol said in a statement. The regional airspace will remain shut until at least 4 p.m. local time, the Brussels Airport authority and Eurocontrol both said.
Just over 60 flights were cancelled, and 21 were diverted, the airport said at about 11:40 a.m. There were 10,176 departures from the airport, and 10,193 landings last month. In 2013, the Brussels Airport authority estimated that 510,000 passengers based in the Netherlands use the capital city airport.
The electrical failure is causing significant delays, according to the airport authorities. "A number of flights are being diverted to airports in the neighbourhood," they stated.
The cause of the problem was not yet announced. Wednesday morning marked the beginning of a three-and-a-half month long project to renovate runway 25L at the airport.
Dutch air traffic control reports that some of the Belgian flights will land in the Netherlands. Flights that had to cross Brussels airspace on the way to the Netherlands can reroute via Germany or the North Sea. Read more...
Nearly 1,200 people dead in heatwave across India »»
A relentless heatwave sweeping large parts of India has killed nearly 1,200 people, with most deaths reported from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, even as forecasts warned that the intense weather conditions are expected to continued till the weekend.
The death toll in Andhra Pradesh rose to 852, with the scorching weather claiming 202 lives in Prakasam district alone, officials said. Another 266 deaths were reported in Telangana where Ramagundam city recorded a maximum temperature of 44.5°C.
A total of 67 deaths were reported in Odisha, according to ANI. Titlagarh recorded a temperature of 47.6°C, the season's highest for the state.
Officials reported seven deaths in Gujarat's capital Ahmedabad this month, with the civic body issuing an "orange alert", indicating a prolonged heatwave with temperatures expected to rise to 43°C to 45°C over the next week. Read more...
Large hailstones fall in Oman »»
Rain and hailstorm fell in Fanja, a village about 64 km away from Muscat, at around 2pm.
"It is heavily raining and wadis are overflowing. There was hailstorm too," said Bader Ali Al Baddaei, an administrator of www.rthmc.net, a local Web-based forum that discusses weather trends in Oman.
"Skies over Muscat are cloudy. Rain is expected," Bader added.
The Oman meteorological department had also predicted rain in eastern parts of Muscat and in Batinah. Read more...
Mass fish death in Siberian lake »»
Shocked locals have posted pictures of the dead fish amid suspicions they were killed by explosions as officials melted winter ice to prevent flooding.
The disturbing scene was at Lake Khatyng, in the Sakha Republic, the coldest region in Russia. The fish - believed to be carp and grouper - were seen dead en mass on 14 May.
Locals in Tulagino village blamed the dynamiting of local rivers to prevent ice causing dams on rivers, so leading to flooding of villages. But representatives of the Ministry of Emergencies in the republic, also known as Yakutia, denied being responsible for the dead fish.
A spokesperson said: 'On 13 May we did blow up the ice, but the work was near the village of Namtsy, almost 100 km from Tulagino. Even if we assume that fish died because of the explosion, it is unlikely that they were carried such a distance.' Read more...
The Vigilant Citizen
The New VC Forums are Online! »»
After receiving countless requests for the addition of a community feature on this site – where VCs can share and discuss with each others – I experimented with a few options. The conclusion was clear : A fully-featured discussion forum is the option that would best serve and showcase the amazing VC community. It is [...]
The National Intelligence recently released a list of books that were (apparently) retrieved from Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. He apparently enjoyed reading about the Illuminati, occultism, MKULTRA and even 9/11 conspiracy theories. Is mass media trying to associate the ‘truth movement’ with terrorism with a phony book list? Four years after the triumphant announcement [...]
Brooke Candy is an up-and-coming pop singer who is already deep in the elite’s Agenda. Her short video “A Study in Duality” manages to contain most of the imagery relating to Illuminati mind control and the occult mindset surrounding it. Although Brooke Candy is not yet considered to be a full-fledged pop star, all of the elements [...]
A video of the US National Anthem reportedly broadcast during the 1960s was found to contain creepy subliminal messages about “obeying the government”. Is the video authentic or is it a well-crafted hoax? Back in the good ol’ days, TV stations ended their broadcast day with a goodnight message and the national anthem, complete with [...]
Claiming to be descendants of the Knights Templar, the Masonic Fraternal Police Department vowed to “protect Masonic Grandmasters” across 33 states. Three California residents were arrested on April 30th on suspicion of impersonating a police officer and were released later that day. Claiming to be the “oldest police force in the world”, the Masonic Fraternal [...]
Not a Single House Has Been Rebuilt One Year After Israeli War on Gaza »»
Dan Cohen, Correspondent for Mondoweiss says Gaza looks the same as it did the day of the ceasefire and this is an intentional policy of de-development Read more...
Assad Has Lost Over Fifty Percent of Syria to ISIS »»
Larry Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, says that Syria could turn into another Afghanistan with US and Saudi policies creating significant blowback in the region Read more...
TRNN DEBATE: Should Bernie Sanders Run as an Independent? »»
Researcher Ashley Smith and People's Action Campaign spokesman Jacob Swenson-Lengyel debate whether Senator Bernie Sanders' decision to run as a Democrat is the best way to advance a progressive platform. Read more...
Advocates Say Black Women Left Out of Freddie Gray Conversation »»
More attention needed to black women in policing debate Read more...
"America Does Bad Things for Good Reasons": the Vietnam War and American Exceptionalism -
Christian Appy on RAI (1/5) »»
On Reality Asserts Itself, Mr. Appy, author of "American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity", discusses growing up with a broad faith that America is always an indispensable and invincible force for good in the world - and the seeds of his disillusionment with Americanism Read more...
Elite Bunker Down in “Secure, Safe Rooms Hidden in Plain Sight”… And You Can, Too »»
With growing riots, protests and grumblings on the ground level, elites, VIPs, military commandos and foreign dignitaries are preparing to hunker down. Read more...
Coming for Your Funds: Supremes “Justify Seizure of Pension Funds to PROTECT Pensioners” »»
Economic expert Martin Armstrong warns that the development is part of a wider move towards “economic totalitarianism.” Read more...
Investors Squeeze Trailer Park Renters: “The Economics Are Compelling… There’s a Lot More Poor People Than Rich” »»
Along with the decline of the middle class, come the rise of Wall Street mega-landlords and, indeed, mega-slumlords putting new rent pressures on the poor. Read more...
Report: Terrorist Nuke Attack May Be Carried Out Inside the United States in Next 12 Months »»
It’s just a quick hop through a smuggling tunnel from Mexico and hey presto, they’re mingling with another 12 million “illegal” aliens in America with a nuclear bomb in the trunk of their car... Read more...
Special Ops Armed with Rapid DNA Scanners: “Get Ready for Advanced Biometric Warfare” »»
The real goal is total information collection on entire populations – to sort out who is friend or foe, who is wanted for payments or authorized for access. Read more...
FIFA Officials Arrested on Corruption Charges; Blatter Isn’t Among Them »»
SEE ALSO: You can follow live updates throughout the day here. Matt Apuzzo, Michael S. Schmidt, William K. Rashbaum and Sam Borden report for The New York Times: ‘Swiss authorities conducted an extraordinary early-morning operation here Wednesday to arrest several top soccer officials and extradite them to the United States on federal corruption charges. As […] Read more...
Stop Feeding the Troll: The Case for an ISIS Propaganda Blackout »»
Adam Johnson reports for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR): ‘[…] This isn’t the first time the media has engaged in what I call the “Nancy Grace Factor” when it comes to ISIS. The Nancy Grace Factor, named after the perpetually indignant cable news host, is when a media outlet ostensibly condemns some terrible—yet titillating—menace […] Read more...
Amid the ruins of Syria, is Bashar al-Assad now finally facing the end? »»
Martin Chulov reports for The Guardian: ‘One evening at the end of March, a Syrian rebel leader returned from a meeting across the border in Turkey and called an urgent gathering of his commanders. The five men turned up at their boss’s house in Idlib province expecting to receive the same pleas for patience that they […] Read more...
Syria regime preparing for partition of the country »»
Sammy Ketz reports for The Times of Israel: ‘Weakened by years of war, Syria’s government appears ready for the country’s de facto partition, defending strategically important areas and leaving much of the country to rebels and jihadists, experts and diplomats say. The strategy was in evidence last week with the army’s retreat from the ancient […] Read more...
The Economic Collapse Blog
Stocks Began Falling Right At This Time Of The Year Just Prior To The Last Financial Crisis »»
Have you heard of the saying “sell in May and go away”? Traditionally, the period from May through October has been a time of weakness for stocks. In fact, on average stocks hit their lowest point of the year on October 27th. And most people don’t remember this, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average actually [...]
Is The 505 Trillion Dollar Interest Rate Derivatives Bubble In Imminent Jeopardy? »»
All over the planet, large banks are massively overexposed to derivatives contracts. Interest rate derivatives account for the biggest chunk of these derivatives contracts. According to the Bank for International Settlements, the notional value of all interest rate derivatives contracts outstanding around the globe is a staggering 505 trillion dollars. Considering the fact that the [...]
It Is Mathematically Impossible To Pay Off All Of Our Debt »»
Did you know that if you took every single penny away from everyone in the United States that it still would not be enough to pay off the national debt? Today, the debt of the federal government exceeds $145,000 per household, and it is getting worse with each passing year. Many believe that if we [...]
Greece Says That It Will Default On June 5th, And Moody’s Warns Of A ‘Deposit Freeze’ »»
The Greek government says that a “moment of truth” is coming on June 5th. Either their lenders agree to give them more money by that date, or Greece will default on a 300 million euro loan payment to the IMF. Of course it won’t technically be a “default” according to IMF rules for another 30 [...]
Are They About To Confiscate Money From Bank Accounts In Greece Just Like They Did In Cyprus? »»
Do you remember what happened when Cyprus decided to defy the EU? In the end, the entire banking system of the nation collapsed and money was confiscated from private bank accounts. Well, the nation of Greece is now approaching a similar endgame. At this point, the Greek government has not received any money from the [...]
Marine court martialed for Bible verse »»
A Marine who was court martialed for refusing to take down a biblical verse from her workplace computer is appealing, and Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry says she has a good chance of reversing the conviction.
“If the government can order a Marine not to display a Bible verse, they could try and order her not [...] Read more...
31 dead as storms ravage Texas, Oklahoma, Mexico »»
Officials have been inundated with 911 calls in Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico as flash floods and tornadoes have wreaked havoc, leaving at least 31 dead.
More are missing and the death toll is expected to rise, emergency responders said Wednesday.
Get the hottest, most important news stories on the Internet – delivered FREE to your inbox as [...] Read more...
Rick Santorum set to seek presidency »»
Former Sen. Rick Santorm is set to announce his run for the presidency Wednesday at a manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania.
Get the hottest, most important news stories on the Internet – delivered FREE to your inbox as soon as they break! Take just 30 seconds and sign up for WND’s Email News Alerts!
He joins an already [...] Read more...
Kenyan attorney Felix Kiprono told the Nairobian newspaper he wants to buy Malia Obama’s hand in marriage, and he’s planning to ask the president for permission in the coming weeks.
And his proposed price to facilitate the wedding?
Fifty cows, 70 sheep and 30 goats, Mediaite reported.
Get the hottest, most important news stories on the Internet – [...] Read more...
Bernie Sanders calls for 'revolution' »»
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist seeking the Democratic Party’s nod to the presidency in 2016, has called on campaign followers to start a “political revolution” to dramatically shift the tone and nature of the nation.
Get the hottest, most important news stories on the Internet – delivered FREE to your inbox as soon as they [...] Read more...
Earlier this year, a US drone strike killed two innocent hostages, one American and one Italian citizen near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The incident spurred outrage across the media, resulting in Obama having to apologize for the grave error. If only one could expect the same apology for the thousands of drone victims across the Muslim World since the advent of … Read More Read more...
Chelsea Manning & the Military Entertainment Industrial Complex »»
As the futures of whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange hang in the balance, the fate of another has been sealed for 35 years. Chelsea Manning sacrificed it all to leak classified information which exposed some of the most heinous US war crimes from Iraq and Afghanistan.Manning shattered paradigms yet again by coming out as transgender. In a recent interview from jail, she discusses her … Read More Read more...
Baltimore Uprising, Freddie Gray & the Police State »»
Despite bizarre allegations that Freddie Gray killed himself by those trying to justify abominable police brutality, a medical examiner’s report officially ruled Gray’s death a homicide. After more than two weeks of sitting idly while the city erupted into protest, Baltimore’s chief prosecutor charged six officers with crimes including murder and manslaughter. The arrests are likely due to enormous community pressure, as … Read More Read more...
Saudi Arabia’s Yemen War, Factory of Terror & American Bribery »»
Saudi Arabia’s American backed war in Yemen continues, yet it is massively failing to achieve its stated objectives. The Houthis continue to advance in the region, and the instability is causing Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to gain more ground.Bombing civilians in the poorest country in the Arab World is only exacerbating the crisis. Before the bombing campaign even … Read More Read more...
Washington, DC: The Emperor Wears No Clothes »»
Those that have been paying attention to the war hawks in DC know about the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a neocon think tank that rose out of the ashes of infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC). When Abby was placed in the crosshairs of war mongers last year during the Ukraine incursion, Media Roots was repelled by the … Read More Read more...
American Free Press
“It’s the White Man’s Fault!”: 56 Shot, 12 Dead, Over Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago »»
Chicago blacks celebrated Memorial Day Weekend 2015 by murdering a dozen of their fellow blacks and wounding 44 more, including a 4-year-old girl “who was shot in the head while sitting inside a car outside of a prom party Friday evening.” Violent, ignorant blacks also shot two other Read more...
Obama’s Immigration Scheme in Tatters After Judicial Ruling »»
It’s back to the drawing board for Barack Hussein Obama. The president’s long sought-after “lawless amnesty” immigration give-away suffered a stinging defeat Tuesday after the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans issued a 68-page ruling that nearly guaranteed the executive action’s failure. Read more...
“Jews Own Hollywood”: Actor Blackballed Since 2004 for Playing Jesus »»
If you’re still not convinced that Jews rule Hollywood with an iron fist, look no further than the career of devout Roman Catholic actor James Patrick “Jim” Caviezel. Caviezel was a rising star until his portrayal of Jesus in Mel Gibson’s blockbuster The Passion of the Christ, which Read more...
Liberalism: The Real Threat to Black America »»
• “Great Society” liberalism has nearly destroyed Afro-Americans. By Patrick J. Buchanan — Had Freddie Gray been robbed, beaten and left to die in the streets of his Baltimore neighborhood, no one would be mourning him today. No one would be marching for Freddie. No one would be Read more...
Hillary Double-Crosses U.S. in ‘Nuclear Stockpile for Cash’ Deal »»
By Victor Thorn — There are growing concerns, following news that a Russian state nuclear corporation named Rosatom now controls 20% of all American uranium deposits, that United States national security may have been compromised. Making matters worse, a great deal of evidence indicates that then-Secretary of State Read more...
Propaganda Accompanies Kiev’s Buildup for Escalated Aggression »»
(RINF) – Stephen Lendman Poroshenko vowed earlier to regain Donbass and Crimea by “any means” necessary. Kiev launched naked aggression on Donbass last April. It breached three ceasefire agreements straightaway – the latest Minsk II in February. Fighting never stopped. Junta forces attack Donbass multiple times daily – 43 shellings in the last 24 hours, according […] Read more...
Stop Calling the TPP A Trade Agreement – It Isn’t »»
This is a message to activists trying to fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Stop calling the TPP a “trade” agreement. TPP is a corporate/investor rights agreement, not a “trade” agreement. “Trade” is a good thing; TPP is not. Every time you use the word “trade” in association with the TPP, you are helping the other […] Read more...
The New Challenge to Monsanto »»
In a challenge delivered to Monsanto’s headquarters on May 20, 2015, US public interest attorney Steven Druker calls on that corporation to find any inaccurate statements of fact in his new book: “Altered Genes, Twisted Truth – How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public” The thoroughly documented and referenced book exposes the substantial […] Read more...
Free Financial Markets Are A Hoax — Paul Craig Roberts »»
Paul Craig Roberts (RINF) – There are no free financial markets in America, or for that matter anywhere in the Western word, and few, if any, free markets of any other kind. The financial markets are rigged by the big banks, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury in the interests of the profits of the […] Read more...
Food & Water Watch and Water Defense Call For Halt to Irrigating Food Crops with Oil Field Wastewater in Nation’s Produce Basket »»
Cawelo, CA – National advocacy organizations Food & Water Watch and Water Defense are calling on California Governor Jerry Brown to protect Americans who consume California produce by ending the practice of using toxic oil field wastewater for irrigation. Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times revealed that testing by Water Defense had found toxic […] Read more...
We Are Change
New Video: Oil Company Hires Security Guards To Block Press At Oil Spill »»
Broken windows is a broken policy in US »»
The deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and others at the hands of police demonstrate that the “broken windows” theory of policing doesn’t work and should be eliminated. The theory that targeting low-level crimes will reduce major ones has led to the deaths of unarmed blacks by police over petty crime, mistaken identity, toy guns, bungled raids, and rash judgments based on stereotypes.
Russia, China force US 'de-dollarization' »»
A recent agreement between Russia and China to switch to domestic currencies in bilateral trading will pave the way for the “de-dollarization” of the global economy, a Finnish political economist says.
5.6 Tokyo tremor shakes buildings in Japanese capital, halts subway »»
Published time: May 25, 2015 05:46 Image from earthquake.usgs.gov A 5.6 magnitude earthquake has struck Tokyo and nearby areas, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, setting off alarms and halting the city’s subway system. The earthquake struck at about 2:28pm local time at a depth of 50km, weather services reported. USGS, however, put the Japanese earthquake […] Read more...
GMO that kills: GM-cotton problems drive Indian farmers to suicide »»
Published time: May 24, 2015 21:05 Reuters / Amit Dave Hundreds of thousands of farmers have died in India, after having been allegedly forced to grow GM cotton instead of traditional crops. The seeds are so expensive and demand so much more maintenance that farmers often go bankrupt and kill themselves. “Nationally, in the last […] Read more...
World stands up against Monsanto: Over 400 cities protest GMOs »»
Published time: May 24, 2015 03:07 People participate in a protest march against Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, in Lima, Peru, May 23, 2015. (Reuters / Juanjo Fernandez) Thousands of people across the world have joined together in a global movement, protesting against American biotech giant Monsanto. Activists from over 400 cities are […] Read more...
‘Is this white enough for you?’ Dutch immigrant children rally against segregation »»
Published time: May 23, 2015 20:46 Pupils from a primary school in Amsterdam wear t-shirts that read “Is this white enough for you? ” on May 22, 2015, in Amsterdam.(AFP Photo / Remko DE Waal) Immigrant children and their parents in two Amsterdam neighborhoods took to the streets on Friday asking for families to enroll […] Read more...
The Clock is Still Running: Neither NSA Reform Nor Reauthorization Advances in Senate »»
Tonight, the US Senate failed to move ahead with the USA Freedom Act, an NSA reform bill that would address phone record surveillance and FISA Court transparency and fairness. It also was unable to muster votes for a temporary reauthorization of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the section of law used to justify the […] Read more...
Foreign Policy Journal
Surprising Progress in the U.S./GCC Summit »»
The US will pursue its own national interests with regional cooperation where helpful and possible, but without it if necessary.
As Julian Assange Faces Swedish Legal Setback, New Details Come to Light on U.S. Case Against Him »»
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spent nearly three years inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has political asylum. Assange faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States. A secret grand jury in Virginia is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as State Department cables. In Sweden, he's wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed. Earlier this month, Sweden's Supreme Court rejected his appeal to lift his arrest warrant. Swedish prosecutors are reportedly preparing to travel to London to interview Assange, after refusing to do so for years. Read more...
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange on Europe's Secret Plan for Military Force on Refugee Boats from Libya »»
WikiLeaks has just revealed secret details of a European Union plan to use military force to curb the influx of migrants from Libya. "The documents lay out a military operation against cross-Mediterranean refugee transport networks and infrastructure," WikiLeaks says. "It details plans to conduct military operations to destroy boats used for transporting migrants and refugees in Libyan territory, thereby preventing them from reaching Europe." WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the EU's plan from his place of refuge inside Ecuador's London embassy. Read more...
Julian Assange: British Nuclear Sub Whistleblower William McNeilly Revealed Major Security Lapses »»
A Royal Navy whistleblower who exposed security problems at Britain's Trident nuclear base in Scotland was arrested earlier this month after about a week on the run. In an 18-page report published by WikiLeaks, Able Seaman William McNeilly wrote: "We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public." McNeilly describes a fire on board a submarine, the use of a missile compartment as a gym, an alleged cover-up of a submarine collision and lax security which makes it "harder to get into most nightclubs" than into restricted areas of the nuclear base. In our exclusive interview from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, we speak to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about McNeilly and his leaks. Read more...
Julian Assange on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Secretive Deal Isn't About Trade, But Corporate Control »»
As negotiations continue, WikiLeaks has published leaked chapters of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership -- a global trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries. The TPP would cover 40 percent of the global economy, but details have been concealed from the public. A recently disclosed "Investment Chapter" highlights the intent of U.S.-led negotiators to create a tribunal where corporations can sue governments if their laws interfere with a company's claimed future profits. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange warns the plan could chill the adoption of health and environmental regulations. Read more...
Julian Assange: Despite Congressional Standoff, NSA Has Secret Authority to Continue Spying Unabated »»
The Obama administration's authority to collect Americans' phone records in bulk will likely expire next week after senators from both parties rejected attempts to extend it. First, the Republican-led Senate rejected a House-passed measure to curb bulk spying by keeping the records with phone companies instead of the government. The Senate then rejected a bid by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to extend the current bulk spying program for two months. The Senate adjourned and will reconvene May 31, the day before the program expires. In an exclusive interview from his place of refuge inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange weighs in on the NSA standoff. Read more...
House Dems urge Obama to end immigrant family detention »»
Democrats say the Obama administration "has not fully grasped the serious harm being inflicted upon mothers and children in custody." Read more...
Gen. McChrystal: Bergdahl walked off base intentionally »»
McChrystal says he is unsure whether Bergdahl left with the intent of being picked up by the Taliban. Read more...
Rand Paul blames 'hawks in our party' for Islamic State's rise »»
Paul said the group is "all over Libya" because the "same hawks in my party loved Clinton's war" in the country. Read more...
Chris Christie attacks Rand Paul for 'siding with' Edward Snowden »»
Christie touted his work as a federal prosecutor using the PATRIOT Act to pursue terrorists in New Jersey. Read more...
Rubio warns: Christianity could be labeled 'hate speech' »»
The next step, Rubio argued, is going after Christianity writ large. Read more...
Airlines Spraying Fliers With Pesticides Inside the Plane »»
Chemical pesticide exposure happens... If you live nearby a farm you know what it feels like. Spraying happens. If it's not aerosol spraying high up in the sky or wafts from crop dusting - it's being sprayed while inside a locked, pressurized tube? Is there no escape? What is a chemical sensitive or asthmatic person to do? Have you ever felt sick after a flight but couldn't pin it as a virus? Do you ever feel like a bug?
A few countries require pesticide spraying on flights, yet most countries have quietly reserved the right to do so with or without "need." Many spray for "passenger safety" from rodents and insects - however, bug sprays are among the worst chemicals for human exposure. Previously, flight attendants told Mother Jones that it had nothing to with safety but keeping up appearances - who would want to see pests in their plane? But, is it really necessary to spray you while you're on board? USA Today corrected "Science Babe" - who incorrectly told Food Babe that airline spraying didn't happen - by verifying that, yes, it does. USA Today claims that misting passengers typically happens on other global airlines but that US airlines usually wait to spray until passengers are gone.
For the most part, two methods are used to spray. The World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization have outlined two methods deemed “safe.” One involves spraying insecticides using aerosol cans while you’re onboard. In fact, inbound flights to Cuba, Ecuador, (only Galapagos and Interislands), Grenada, India, Kiribati, Madagascar, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay require this method of spraying.
The other method involves treating plane interior surfaces with insecticides when passengers are not onboard. This protects against malarial mosquitoes and bugs that cause Chagas disease for example. Cockroaches, fleas, ticks, biting mites, and other pests can also be controlled using this method, which is required on inbound flights to Australia, Barbados, Cook Islands, Fiji, Jamaica, New Zealand, and Panama.
Roger Wendell who runs a travel blog recorded this video of a flight attendant hosing down the cabin with an unidentified chemical.
Unfortunately I've traveled quite a bit and have had a lot of pesticide sprayed on me inside aircraft cabins. I've experienced this on flights into Africa and South America but have heard it's required by other countries around the globe as well. The World Health Organization says it's safe but the procedure still makes me cough and gag every time they do it...
Mother Jones recounts the exact chemicals used and reports that the practice is not new:
Exposing travelers on domestic flights to dangerous chemicals is not new. From 1944 until the late 1970s, airlines sprayed DDT on their planes, sometimes even while passengers were on board. And from 1986 to 1996, Northwest Airlines used Bolt, a pesticide that contains chlorpyrifos, a potential nervous system poison. In 1994, the Journal of Pesticide Reform reported that chlorpyrifos may cause symptoms ranging from nausea to convulsions, and may also produce birth defects and other genetic damage in humans.
The report goes on to show that the practice is dangerous and completely useless next to non-invasive, non-chemical methods that can first determine if there is even a need (bait station, caulking, sticky traps, gels etc...). And it can lead to pest resistance.
many experts point out that pesticide use on planes is not only dangerous, but useless. As far back as 1983, then Assistant Surgeon General Donald Hopkins said that "disinsection [spraying] of aircraft has never been shown to be highly effective in disease control and prevention."
Obviously, no one wants the spread of disease. But this is the problem with unfettered regulatory acceptance of chemical patent holders - innovative and safe alternatives never see the light of day. The EPA ushers in chemical approvals, often taking the word of the company. It does not play a role in inspection or checking up on human health effects. Some would say that kind of exposure of a threat was an assault and a crime. With safer alternatives already available, such chemical exposure appears senseless.
In 2015 - is this the best we can do? Well-intentioned or not, it is a sorry shame that you cannot even hop a plane to your vay-cay without being cooked and sprayed...
The Ministry of Defence has admitted thousands of civilian staff were irradiated in nuclear weapons tests during the Cold War. But it still denies that veterans of the nuclear tests, which began in 1952 when Britain exploded its first device, were harmed.
A newly uncovered government study details the death and cancer rates of 174,541 people who were exposed to radiation at nuclear facilities. Of those, 64,909 were employed by the MoD in non-military roles such as maintaining nuclear submarines and weapons.
This is more than three times as many people as were affected by Britain’s nuclear bomb tests on Christmas Island in the 1950s – veterans who are also subject to government studies, and have had their NHS records flagged by the MoD.
The study of civilians shows higher doses increased the risk of thyroid, lung and rectal cancers, leukaemia and heart disease. Yet while test veterans suffer the same cancers and have fathered children with 10 times the normal rate of birth defects, the Government spent millions fighting negligence claims.
This story doesn’t just perfectly illustrate how totally heartless a bureaucracy can be towards its populace.
This makes us realize, in no uncertain terms, that in denying responsibility for the treatment of their armed forces, the government regards those who protect their interests as property… just mere chattel to be used in their grisly experiments.
Henry Kissinger was attributed with saying that military men are “dumb, stupid animals to be used” as pawns for foreign policy.
And, again, if they would do this to people back then, who knows what they’re doing right now as you read this because, let’s be honest, it isn’t as if our governments have gotten less corrupt and learned what empathy is over the last half a century…
Remember when Bill Clinton apologized for the U.S. government essentially doing the same thing during the same time period?
Who knows what our president and other heads of state will be “apologizing” for 50 years down the road…
Melissa Dykes is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple, where this article first appeared, and a co-creator of Truthstream Media with Aaron Dykes, a site that offers teleprompter-free, unscripted analysis of The Matrix we find ourselves living in. Melissa also co-founded Nutritional Anarchy with Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, a site focused on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Wake the flock up!
Erik Voorhees, one of Bitcoin’s busiest entrepreneurs and biggest libertarian influences, took time to answers my questions about his political philosophy and latest startup ShapeShift.
Voorhees had early success with his Satoshi Dice phenomenon that was responsible for popularizing Bitcoin’s frictionless capacity to handle fair online gambling as well as private stock trading. After being fined by the SEC for not paying their protection-racket toll, he created a platform to send Bitcoin using SMS demonstrating how it could be used with dumbphones.
Each of these innovations continues to be disruptive to famously fraudulent industries with entrenched gatekeepers. Voorhees denies that his intent is to agitate anything. He says that he just wants to get rich creating useful services. Yet he does concede that authority disruption is endemic to Bitcoin itself.
Bitcoin doesn't need to violate privacy or block certain transactions to keep users or itself safe. It seems that the more capital controls governments impose, the more Bitcoin will disrupt it -- perhaps even displace it.
Voorhees thinks that Bitcoin will eventually out-compete national fiat currencies because he says it is fundamentally better money. Bitcoin has built-in encryption, a tamper-proof ledger, a fixed supply of currency and microscopic transfer fees. The Fed offers debt, corruption and violence. Voorhees may be right.
For now, his latest company empowers individuals and makes a mockery of arbitrary permission slips. Just another day at the office for Voorhees. ShapeShift.io is a new way to instantly exchange different cryptocurrencies without needing to login to a custodial account.
Check out this short video about how it works:
My email interview with Erik Voorhees begins below:
Q. How do you describe your political philosophy? Has discovering Bitcoin changed your politics?
My political philosophy is my application of my moral philosophy to the realm of politics. Morally, I believe people should leave each other alone - not hurt, steal, or defraud. From a political perspective, this means any government program which causes harm, theft, or fraud to occur is illegitimate. Since the government only seems to exist on the back of taxation, which is theft, the government is fundamentally illegitimate and should be curtailed and removed wherever possible. Bitcoin hasn't so much changed my opinion on this, as made me excited about the ability to now escape much of the government tyranny that is inescapable when one is tethered to fiat and central banks.
Q. All of your startups almost appear to be designed to agitate the State. Is that your deliberate intent, or is authority disruption just the most interesting promise of this technology?
I don't want to agitate anybody. I want to build services that people like and find useful, and through which I'll get rich doing so. I'm a capitalist, after all. "Authority disruption" is endemic to Bitcoin itself, so to the extent I'm building Bitcoin businesses, it's inevitable that such businesses will disrupt authority. Most honorable men who are remembered fondly disrupted authority in some way, so I'm in good company.
Q. Recently on Let's Talk Bitcoinyou said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Because of their hubris governments and central bankers don’t think Bitcoin poses an existential threat to their money, but they’re wrong.” Why are they wrong?
They're wrong because ultimately money is a good, and competes with other forms of money in the marketplace. Because Bitcoin is simply better money - it is fundamentally better - it will, over time, out-compete fiat. Gold is better money than fiat also, but was unable to displace it because it had to be centralized and digitized to be convenient, and any such system of digital gold can be shut down once it achieves enough success. Bitcoin cannot be shut down, so it is free to compete indefinitely. Our children will laugh that fiat was ever a thing.
Q. What do you think the fiat system will do once they realize cryptocurrency is a threat to them? Will it be too late by then? Is it already too late for them?
The "fiat system" is defended primarily by three groups: governments, banks, and mainstream economists. The first two will do everything they can to stop Bitcoin once they realize its potential, it will be messy. The best hope is that the population of society will be used to using Bitcoin by then (just as its used to using the Internet) and will protest/revolt if it is curtailed (just as we'd expect if the governments tried to cut off the Internet). Mainstream economists can write all the articles they want demonstrating why Bitcoin will fail. I'm not worried about them, they're welcome to have that opinion and they're not trying to use force/coercion to enforce such an opinion.
Q. You used to oppose altcoins. Why, and what changed your mind about them? Was there a specific altcoin that converted you?
I opposed altcoins because I felt they were sucking attention and talent away from Bitcoin, and were just basically clones with no real economic purpose. Ultimately, I changed my mind because I realized that if an altcoin actually does something distinctly useful that Bitcoin does not or cannot do, then it has a legitimate economic purpose for existence. Consider Nubits or bitUSD which track USD value, or Dash which provides far more privacy, or Dogecoin which brings a fun element of humor. These are all unique from Bitcoin and useful to a subset of people.
I do still think most altcoins are pretty useless and will go to zero, but there are enough interesting ones doing unique, economically-useful activities that we should expect a marketplace for such assets, and that is ShapeShift's reason for existence.
Q. What motivated you to start ShapeShift, and what are its most interesting features?
I was motivated because I wanted to buy an altcoin a year ago and it was going to take a couple hours to do so. This is not acceptable. Digital assets should be immediately available & immediately liquid. So I tried to figure out how to make an exchange that didn't have any of the time delay of a normal one. Turns out, you don't need accounts whatsoever to do exchange with cryptocurrency, so that's what we built. We realized, happily, that ShapeShift was actually the most secure/safest exchange as well, because nobody had to leave funds on deposit. This makes it much safer for users, and vastly reduces liability/risk for ShapeShift.
Q. So ShapeShift acts as an exchange and has a button that can be embedded on anyone’s blog or website, correct?
ShapeShift is an instant exchange for digital assets. It can be accessed by humans via the website (ShapeShift.io), or by machines via the API. The button to which you're referring, called the Shifty Button, is just one tool that makes it easy to accept altcoins and automatically convert them into Bitcoin (just as BitPay helps merchants accept Bitcoin and automatically convert into dollars easily). The button is just one way to use the service.
Q. You set up shop in Switzerland because they don’t regulate digital tokens like money. Why is this important?
Switzerland provided a favorable legal opinion regarding the activities of ShapeShift. Basically, because money is not involved, and because no funds are held on behalf of customers, it does not fall under their banking or money transmission laws. Plus, Switzerland has a better corporate tax rate than the USSA.
Q. It seems like ShapeShift could underpin or facilitate many other applications. What are some of the ways affiliates are using ShapeShift? What other ways do you envision it will be used?
Our favorite right now is the Coinomi Android wallet. It's a multicoin wallet, so you can hold a dozen different cryptocurrencies easily on your phone. Beautiful interface as well. Inside the app itself, there is an exchange function, which lets users convert between coins. This is done with the ShapeShift API and is a beautiful thing to see and experience. We also foresee it being used by anyone who accepts Bitcoin on their site, to automatically accept all other altcoins as well (it's no extra work for them, and opens up new markets of customers).
We also built CoinCap.io which lists altcoin market data in real time, and we have some fun plans for the future with that and ShapeShift :)
Q. What advice would you give to young activist entrepreneurs?
Find legally-defensible ground on which to take your stand. Don't make stupid mistakes. Don't try to break the law. Do something useful which pushes the envelope, and which, if shown to the world, the world would tend to view as legitimate/innovative/useful, and not evil.
Gary Null has been a popular, longtime radio host with the longest running health talk show which airs on Progressive Radio Network. He has authored and directed dozens upon dozens of books and documentaries.
A few weeks ago, he was asked as an honored guest on Bonnie Faulkner's show, Guns and Butter which talks about the politics of economics and airs on Pacifica KPFA public radio stations. In the spirit of truth, Bonnie wanted listeners to hear the other side of the vaccine talk, not the "case closed" version. What you're not being told about vaccines. And specifically SB277, the California bill to mandate vaccines for virtually all Californian school children. Who better to ask then Null, an alternative health expert, medical activist and Pacifica veteran?
When it came time to air, however, they were told they weren't allowed - or rather, they were outright censored and the show was cut - the first time for Guns and Butter in over 11 years. But Bonnie could not let this breach of truth rest...
Bonnie went on the Gary Null Show and they did a "reverse interview." Bonnie then interviewed Gary and they both shared the Sound Cloud file to their listeners. Listen to the banned talk with updated information on SB277 and the censorship here, while you read what happened next...
Over the years we’ve advanced the discussions and told the truth about historical moments of political impasse, racial tensions and economic inequality.
But not if it's politically incorrect or goes against what's popular, eh? Not very public radio-y of them... Listeners did not donate to have hard-hitting info yanked from their ears.
To make matters worse, KPFA Program Director, Laura Prives, publicly declared [bottom of page] her reasons for the cut and aired her ignorance as a result. It is clear that she must have done a lazy Google search as she is quoting directly from propagandist Website Quackwatch run by anti-alternative therapy psychiatrist Stephen Barrett - always somehow #1 on Google. Or maybe she found Null's Wikipedia entry which is only a harsh, heavily skewed rehash of...Quackwatch. Without knowing anything about Null's work, she declares he has no credentials, has unsound theories and his work is only a vehicle to hawk products.
She says the station has a "serious responsibility to provide its listeners with accurate, science-based information on public health, most especially on issues that could potentially cause harm to people." She says it's not censorship but "protecting the airwaves from mis-information and from people who stand to profit by offering dubious remedies to sick and vulnerable listeners." !!! Because pharmaceutical companies who have the media on a short leashnever do that...
Lewis Hill [founder] would have been appalled at the blatant censorship imposed upon Bonnie Faulkner and myself, especially in light of the California senate’s recent passage of a bill that destroys Californians’ freedom of health choices for their children. Had I been allowed the opportunity to present the independent science opposing Big Pharma’s spurious claims for vaccine efficacy and safety, there might have been enough support from KPFA listeners to have delayed or thwarted the bill’s sponsors from passing it.
In the spirit of uncensored info-sharing, Guns and Butter blog also shared the following resource links:
Top Bush Era CIA Official Just Confirmed the Iraq War Was Based On Lies »»
By Claire Bernish
Twelve years after George W Bush initiated the illegal invasion of Iraq, ostensibly under the premise of preemptive self-defense, a stark majority — as many as 75% in 2014 — feel the so-called war was a mistake. As evidence rapidly accumulates that Bush’s yearning to launch an aggressive attack was likelier due to a personal grudge than anything else, that number will surely swell.
This past Tuesday, the former president’s intelligence briefer lent yet more plausibility to that theory in an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball, making an admission that the Bush White House misrepresented intelligence reports to the public on key issues.
Michael Morell’s stint with the CIA included deputy and acting director, but during the time preceding the US invasion of Iraq, he helped prepare daily intelligence briefings for Bush. One of those briefings, from October 2002, is an infamous example in intelligence history as how not to compile a report. This National Intelligence Estimate, titled “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction”, was the ostensibly flawed intelligence cited continuously by Bush supporters as justification to pursue a war of aggression against Iraq. However, this claim is dubious at best, and serves more as a smokescreen to lend credence to a president who was otherwise hellbent on revenge against Saddam Hussein, as evidenced in his statement a month before the report, “After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad.”
In the Hardball interview, host Chris Matthews asked Morell about Cheney’s notorious statement in 2003: “We know he [Saddam Hussein] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” The following is the conversation that ensued:
MATTHEWS: Was that true?
MORELL: We were saying—
MATTHEWS: Can you answer that question? Was that true?
MORELL: That’s not true.
MATTHEWS: Well, why’d you let them get away with it?
MORELL: Look, my job Chris—
MATTHEWS: You’re the briefer for the president on intelligence, you’re the top person to go in and tell him what’s going on. You see Cheney make this charge he’s got a nuclear bomb and then they make subsequent charges he knew how to deliver it…and nobody raised their hand and said, “No that’s not what we told him.”
MORELL: Chris, Chris Chris, what’s my job, right? My job—
MATTHEWS: To tell the truth.
MORELL: My job—no, as the briefer? As the briefer?
MATTHEWS: Okay, go ahead.
MORELL: As the briefer, my job is to carry CIA’s best information and best analysis to the president of the United States and make sure he understands it. My job is to not watch what they’re saying on TV.
MATTHEWS: So you’re briefing the president on the reasons for war, they’re selling the war, using your stuff, saying you made that case when you didn’t. So they’re using your credibility to make the case for war dishonestly, as you just admitted.
MORELL: Look, I’m just telling you—
MATTHEWS: You just admitted it.
MORELL: I’m just telling you what we said—
MATTHEWS: They gave a false presentation of what you said to them.
MORELL: On some aspects. On some aspects.
And the host pushed just a little further:
MATTHEWS: That’s a big deal! Do you agree? If they claimed they had a [nuclear] weapon, when you know they didn’t.
MORELL: It’s a big deal. It’s a big deal.
He’s absolutely right, of course, and even further to that point, Morell made another admission of a direct misrepresentation: “What they were saying about the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda publicly was not what the intelligence community” had found. “I think they were trying to make a stronger case for the war.” Which the administration had to do, considering no such case existed. As a matter of fact, Cheney’s statement directly conflicts with what the NIE actually stated, which is that the intelligence community only found a “[lack of] persuasive evidence that Baghdad has launched a coherent effort to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program.” Which is in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency report that came to the same conclusion: “[W]e have to date found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons program.”
All of this solidifies what former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan resolutely stated about the US invasion of Iraq in 2004: “I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal.”
The question most deserving an answer, and increasingly posed by the populace at large: If George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and others in the administration, deliberately misled the public on false pretenses, directly contradicted intelligence information through misrepresentation, and ultimately initiated a wholly illegal invasion of Iraq that led to the deaths of well over 1 million civilian, non-combatants; WHY have they not been charged with war crimes?