Virginia hospital in lockdown as gunshots fired during prisoner escape »»
An “armed and dangerous” prisoner is on the run after escaping from the custody in one of the largest hospitals in northern Virginia. Police has heavy presence in the area after gunshots were fired in the hospital. Read more...
US oil production growth at record 100-yr high in 2014 - EIA »»
US crude production increased to 1.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) to 8.7 mbpd in 2014, the largest volume rise since 1900, the date the US Energy Information Administration started keeping records. Read more...
Turkey struck by biggest power cut in 15 years, investigation underway (VIDEO) »»
The worst power outage in 15 years struck most of Turkey, grounding flights and crippling rail networks. The government scrambled efforts to investigate the power cut, before energy was partially restored in the afternoon. Read more...
‘Emergency alert’ sparks panic among TV viewers nationwide »»
The residents of about a dozen US states received a scare when an ominous message rolled across their TV screens announcing an ‘emergency alert’ with the names of their states – without any explanation or further information. Read more...
The ongoing negotiations between Iran and six major world powers over Tehran's controversial nuclear program have a high chance of producing a deal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. But the parties must not try to up the ante. Read more...
New Eastern Outlook
Truth Behind Israeli Spying on Iran Nuke Talks »»
Recent revelations of Israeli spying on the Iran nuclear talks are far more “spin” than story. Israel’s American spy network, elected members of the American senate, grown fat on cash from Afghan poppies and the whorehouses of Macao, are the real source of the leaks intended to sabotage talks and push the world to the […] Read more...
Poland: NATO’s Logistics Base »»
Foreign colleagues journalists often ask me why Poland and the Poles are so stupid and help sinking Ukraine with being a useful idiot for the United States. This question expresses a profound misunderstanding about what Ukraine is and what Poland is now. At present, in the current geopolitical game there only seemingly occurs the division […] Read more...
The role of the Dalai Lama in contemporary Sino-Indian relations »»
The activities of the world leader of Buddhism (an estimated one billion people today), who has been the Dalai Lama XIV for the last fifty years, winner of the Nobel Peace Price in 1989, is one of the pretexts that is at the origin of the mess that is the Sino-Indian political relations, two major […] Read more...
Pentagon Admits that Israel is a Nuclear Power »»
In early February, the Pentagon declassified reports on Israel’s nuclear weapons program which was carried out until 1987. According to these documents, Israeli scientists were capable of producing a hydrogen bomb by that time. Although these facts were largely ignored by the Western media, some analysts have noticed that the declassification of these secret reports suspiciously coincided […] Read more...
Yemen, Ukraine, and the Hypocrisy of ‘Aggression’ »»
The military intervention in Yemen by a US-backed coalition of Arab states will undoubtedly inflame the conflict both in Yemen, and throughout the region. It is likely to be a protracted war involving many actors, each of which is interested in furthering its own political and geopolitical agenda. However, it is the international reaction to […] Read more...
Why the House of Representatives Doesn't Represent the US Public »»
Speaker of the House John Boehner discusses President Obama's executive actions addressing immigration reform, at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 21, 2014. (Jabin Botsford/The New York Times)
One of the really weird ironies of politics these days is the huge divergence between what the US people actually want and what the radical right-wingers in Washington actually do.
You won't hear this on "Fox So-Called News," but right now the US people are as progressive as they ever have been.
The Progressive Change Institute recently asked likely 2016 voters about their views on a bunch of big issues, and it turns out that everyday citizens overwhelmingly support some of the most liberal policies around.
71 percent of the US public supports giving all students access to a debt-free college education.
70 percent support expanding Social Security.
71 percent support a massive infrastructure spending program aimed at rebuilding out broken roads and bridges and putting people back to work.
59 percent support raising taxes on the wealthy so that millionaires pay the same amount in taxes as they did during the Reagan administration.
77 percent support giving every US child free pre-K education.
And the list goes on.
58 percent of Americans support breaking up the big banks.
59 percent, meanwhile, support a basic guaranteed minimum income while a still higher percentage - 70 percent - support the creation of a "Green New Deal" that would see the government invest hundreds of millions of dollars in renewable energy.
Oh, and if that wasn't enough, support on Capitol Hill for the Congressional Progressive Caucus' (CPC) annual budget, which would put into place many of these very same liberal policies, is growing.
A full 40 percent of House Democrats supported the CPC budget in 2012, 43 percent supported it in 2013, 44 percent supported it in 2014 and more than half - 51.5 percent - support it this year.
In other words, progressive values aren't just popular with everyday citizens - they're also popular, and increasingly more popular, with one of our two major parties, the Democratic one.
But all this begs the question: If more than half of congressional Democrats and way more than half of all citizens support doing things like expanding Social Security and making college free for all, why aren't those policies becoming law?
Why, in our democracy, is the will of the people not being heard?
The answer is both simple and tragic - we no longer actually live in a democracy.
We live in an oligarchy.
Thanks to the Supreme Court's long war against campaign finance law, the billionaires and economic royalists now have more control over our political system than they have in almost a century.
This isn't opinion; it's objective and quantifiable fact.
A study released last year by political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, for example, found the following:
A proposed policy change with low support among the US economic elite (one-out-of-five in favor) is adopted only about 18 percent of the time while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favor) is adopted about 45 percent of the time.
It really is all about money in politics.
Since billionaires like Charles and David Koch can now pretty much buy their own politicians, along with billions in advertising and PR, it's their views that get heard in Congress, and it's their views that become law.
And because real progressive policies so often cut into the power of the rich, they only very rarely become law in this "Brave New World" of ours.
The United States has and always will be a progressive nation, but if we don't do something right now to reign in the corrupting influence of big money, it won't matter whether 70 percent or 30 percent of citizens want to break up the big banks.
So go to Move to Amend right now to get money out of politics once and for all.
Wyden Shows Connection Between Rigged Trade and Rigged Government »»
Participating in US politics, as a citizen activist, puts you face-to-face with corruption and the ugliness of money-politics.
At least I find it ugly that a senator would be negotiating fast track legislation through Congress for secret corporate rigged trade deals while raising money from big business interests that would profit immensely from those deals. Taking money while negotiating legislation that benefits the donor should be illegal. It should be considered bribery or a pay-off, but the deep corruption of US politics has legalized that kind of bribery and made it the norm.
While this was occurring Wikileaks published the text of the Investment Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This chapter allows corporations to sue governments in a tribunal that supersedes the US judicial system when a law passed in the public interest would undermine their profits. Corporations can sue for the profits they were expecting to make in rigged trade tribunals where corporate lawyers play the role of judges and there is no right to appeal or take the case to another court for review. Even the US Supreme Court cannot overrule the corporate judges.
A Week With Wyden
That is what we saw this week as we focused our attention on Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). Wyden is the key Democrat on the Finance Committee. If he co-sponsors fast track with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) then it will be harder to stop these crony capitalist rigged agreements. We'll see if the bribes he received on Wednesday from DC's big business lobbyists at his bribe-fest, err fundraiser, was enough for him to ignore what the people of Oregon have said they clearly oppose.
Polling shows that 73 percent of Oregonians oppose fast track and 63 percent oppose the TPP. Half of the voters in Oregon said they would be less likely to support Wyden if he works with Republicans to pass fast track. You would think in a representative democracy the elected official who represents that constituency would say 'no' to fast track rather than negotiate in secret with a Republican leader on how to get fast track through the Congress.
But, Senator Wyden is not listening to what the people of Oregon want. Maybe he has been in Washington, DC too long or maybe he is more comfortable in his $10 million home in New York City. Or, maybe it is just that he gets so much money in donations from big business interests that he represents them instead of the people.
From meeting with Wyden's staff, it is clear that the senator thinks the public is too dumb to vote against him because of this issue. They think trade doesn't matter to voters. But Wyden underestimates voters. In fact, because we now have the NAFTA experience, people understand how trade impacts their lives. And the TPP is much bigger than NAFTA. We know the results: lost jobs, lower incomes, a bigger wealth divide, higher trade deficits, undermining the environment and increased migration. People now know trade agreements have created terrible consequences for their lives.
We sat-in Wyden's office for a week doing a "toast-in" to make the point that Wyden's career is toast if he co-sponsors fast track. Democratic Party aligned groups are saying they will remove Wyden from office in 2016 if he supports fast track. The Hill reported how multiple groups are planning to oust him. It started with Howard Dean's Democracy For America when they saw the poll results showing how out-of-step Wyden is with Oregon voters and they urged a primary challenge. The call was then taken up by the Working Families Party in Oregon. And, just this week MoveOn members in Oregon voted with 79 percent saying they would support a primary challenger against Wyden. MoveOn has 88,000 members in Oregon. The AFL-CIO is withholding PAC contributions, not just to Wyden but to all members of Congress, and is running advertisements in Oregon criticizing fast track.
Balanced against the views of Oregon voters is the money donated to him by big business. As the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, a lot of big business money comes his way and passing fast track for the TPP and other agreements rigged for transnational corporations is a top priority. Only 3 percent of Wyden's personal contributions come from small donations, the rest come from large donations and PACs.
Open Secrets reports that over the past five years many of Wyden's industry donations come from big business interests who will benefit from the rigged corporate trade agreements that fast track would help to pass. This includes private investment firms ($824,460 in Wyden donations), the insurance industry ($379,950), pharmaceuticals and health products ($356,278), manufacturing and distribution ($203,720), business services ($165,050), finance ($147,815), oil and gas ($129,414) and chemical and related manufacturing ($101,850). That is more than $2 million – do those donations speak louder than voters?
This week Congressional Quarterly reported that Senator Wyden was holding a fundraiser at Bistro Bis, an upscale restaurant near Capitol Hill. The invitation said "Friends of all industries are welcome to attend." The day before the event, we called for a protest outside the event in order to highlight that Wyden was fundraising for industries that would profit from fast track. After our call for a protest, he moved the fundraiser to a still undisclosed location. It was interesting to see how quickly he moved to hide his actions at the big bribe-fest. He's being tight-lipped not only about where it was held but who attended and how much money was raised. What's he hiding?
It is common for politicians who are considering legislation that would benefit an industry or corporate interest to hold a fundraiser while doing so. What better time to stick people up for money than when you are holding the key to future profits? This is so common that it is the norm in Washington, DC. Of course, that does not make it right; indeed what it shows is that the norm in US politics is deep corruption, and Wyden exemplifies it.
TPP Secret Exposed
Wikileaks just published one of the most important secret sections of the TPP. Senator Wyden has been calling for transparency, but I don't think this level of transparency is what he has in mind. If it was, he would insist the text of the full agreement be made public before fast track is considered. He has not done this because he knows that if members of Congress and the people knew what was in this agreement, fast track would not even be considered; indeed the TPP would never become law. The only way for these rigged corporate trade agreements to become law is secrecy and speed, the latter so there is no time to even read them.
Secrecy is such a high priority that Wikileaks emphasized in its press release:
"The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations."
Imagine that, secret law multiplied. It is bad enough to negotiate a law in secret and pass it through Congress with no hearings but then to keep the law secret until four years after it becomes law. Imagine that, laws that will impact every aspect of our lives kept this secret. This sounds like a dystopian science fiction novel. Would anyone think that a country that passed laws with such secrecy was a democracy? A novel about a government like this would not be about a democracy – it would be about a dictatorship of corporations where the people are serfs to corporate power.
Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Program, said: "It is outrageous that we have to continue to rely on leaked texts to expose the details of this trade pact — and that every leak confirms the threats of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to clean air and water."
What does the text show? Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa writes "corporations could sue the U.S. or other countries included in the deal if they didn't like their laws. Such challenges would be handled by an unaccountable international arbitration forum. And taxpayers would end up paying the tab if the private sector wins."
"With the veil of secrecy ripped back, finally everyone can see for themselves that the TPP would give multinational corporations extraordinary new powers that would undermine our sovereignty, expose U.S. taxpayers to billions in new liability and privilege foreign firms operating here with special rights not available to U.S. firms under U.S. law," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
Food and Water Watch, which opposes fast track and the TPP because of its threat to food and water, summarized the leak saying it will prevent "commonsense public health, environmental and consumer safeguards" by providing "special rights for corporations at the expense of the public interest, letting foreign companies demand financial compensation"
Under the TPP only foreign corporations can sue governments (domestic corporations do not share in that power), while people have no recourse. If dangerous food is imported and people are poisoned, they cannot sue in the tribunal; if fracking or a burst pipeline destroys the water supply of a community, they cannot sue; if workers lose their jobs to low-paid foreign workers, the workers have no recourse; if websites are forced off the Internet because of violation of extremist copyright provisions, they cannot sue. On issue after issue, people will be harmed by the provisions of rigged corporate agreements but they will have no recourse, while corporations can sue thereby ensuring increased risks to all of us.
How can Senator Wyden say with a straight face that he supports transparency when he would consider co-sponsoring to fast track bill a secret agreement; a fast track bill that would not even give people enough time to read the multi-thousand page agreement?
Now is the key moment to tell Senator Wyden that you oppose fast track. His number in DC is (202) 224-5244. You can find numbers to his six Oregon offices and submit a written comment here. If you want to take more action visit www.StopFastTrack.com. The people have the power to defeat transnational corporations on these issues but we must take action in order to do so.
Senator Wyden and Senator Hatch hope to finish their negotiations this week and introduce a bill in mid-April. They actually wanted to do so in mid-February but have been stopped. We can stop them again, if we act now. But, no matter what Wyden does, we can defeat fast track. Momentum is on the side of the people, as are the facts. Fast track is not a done deal. The coalition to stop fast track is the largest ever built to oppose corporate trade. We represent tens of millions of people. We can win.
On Women Who Refused to Live in Silence and Be Consigned to Oblivion »»
The Shoe (January 15)
Statue of Juana Azurduy de Padilla, a Guerrilla fighter for the independence of Bolivia from Spanish rule. (Photo: Juana Azurduy via Shutterstock) In 1919 Rosa Luxemburg, the revolutionary, was murdered in Berlin.
Her killers bludgeoned her with rifle blows and tossed her into the waters of a canal.
Along the way, she lost a shoe.
Some hand picked it up, that shoe dropped in the mud.
Rosa longed for a world where justice would not be sacrificed in the name of freedom, nor freedom sacrificed in the name of justice.
Every day, some hand picks up that banner.
Dropped in the mud, like the shoe.
The Celebration That Was Not (February 17)
The peons on the farms of Argentina's Patagonia went out on strike against stunted wages and overgrown workdays, and the army took charge of restoring order.
Executions are grueling. On this night in 1922, soldiers exhausted from so much killing went to the bordello at the port of San Julián for their well-deserved reward.
But the five women who worked there closed the door in their faces and chased them away, screaming, "You murderers! Murderers, get out of here!"
Osvaldo Bayer recorded their names. They were Consuelo García, Ángela Fortunato, Amalia Rodríguez, María Juliache, and Maud Foster.
The whores. The virtuous.
Sacrilegious Women (June 9)
In the year 1901, Elisa Sánchez and Marcela Gracia got married in the church of Saint George in the Galician city of A Coruña.
Elisa and Marcela had loved in secret. To make things proper, complete with ceremony, priest, license and photograph, they had to invent a husband. Elisa became Mario: she cut her hair, dressed in men's clothing, and faked a deep voice.
When the story came out, newspapers all over Spain screamed to high heaven -- "this disgusting scandal, this shameless immorality" -- and made use of the lamentable occasion to sell papers hand over fist, while the Church, its trust deceived, denounced the sacrilege to the police.
And the chase began.
Elisa and Marcela fled to Portugal.
In Oporto they were caught and imprisoned.
But they escaped. They changed their names and took to the sea.
In the city of Buenos Aires the trail of the fugitives went cold.
The Right to Bravery (August 13)
In 1816 the government in Buenos Aires bestowed the rank of lieutenant colonel on Juana Azurduy "in virtue of her manly efforts."
She led the guerrillas who took Cerro Potosí from the Spaniards in the war of independence.
War was men's business and women were not allowed to horn in, yet male officers could not help but admire "the virile courage of this woman."
After many miles on horseback, when the war had already killed her husband and five of her six children, Juana also lost her life. She died in poverty, poor even among the poor, and was buried in a common grave.
Nearly two centuries later, the Argentine government, now led by a woman, promoted her to the rank of general, "in homage to her womanly bravery."
Mexico's Women Liberators (September 17)
The centenary celebrations were over and all that glowing garbage was swept away.
And the revolution began.
History remembers the revolutionary leaders Zapata, Villa, and other he-men. The women, who lived in silence, went on to oblivion.
A few women warriors refused to be erased:
Juana Ramona, "la Tigresa," who took several cities by assault;
Carmen Vélez, "la Generala," who commanded three hundred men;
Ángela Jiménez, master dynamiter, who called herself Angel Jiménez;
Encarnación Mares, who cut her braids and reached the rank of second lieutenant hiding under the brim of her big sombrero, "so they won't see my woman's eyes";
Amelia Robles, who had to become Amelio and who reached the rank of colonel;
Petra Ruiz, who became Pedro and did more shooting than anyone else to force open the gates of Mexico City;
Rosa Bobadilla, a woman who refused to be a man and in her own name fought more than a hundred battles;
and María Quinteras, who made a pact with the Devil and lost not a single battle. Men obeyed her orders. Among them, her husband.
The Mother of Female Journalists (November 14)
On this morning in 1889, Nellie Bly set off.
Jules Verne did not believe that this pretty little woman could circle the globe by herself in less than eighty days.
But Nellie put her arms around the world in seventy-two, all the while publishing article after article about what she heard and observed.
This was not the young reporter's first exploit, nor would it be the last.
To write about Mexico, she became so Mexican that the startled government of Mexico deported her.
To write about factories, she worked the assembly line.
To write about prisons, she got herself arrested for robbery.
To write about mental asylums, she feigned insanity so well that the doctors declared her certifiable. Then she went on to denounce the psychiatric treatments she endured, as reason enough for anyone to go crazy.
In Pittsburgh when Nellie was twenty, journalism was a man's thing.
That was when she committed the insolence of publishing her first articles.
Thirty years later, she published her last, dodging bullets on the front lines of World War I.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25)
In the jungle of the Upper Paraná, the prettiest butterflies survive by exhibiting themselves. They display their black wings enlivened by red or yellow spots, and they flit from flower to flower without the least worry. After thousands upon thousands of years, their enemies have learned that these butterflies are poisonous. Spiders, wasps, lizards, flies, and bats admire them from a prudent distance.
On this day in 1960 three activists against the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic were beaten and thrown off a cliff. They were the Mirabal sisters. They were the prettiest, and they were called Las Mariposas, "The Butterflies."
In memory of them, in memory of their inedible beauty, today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In other words, for the elimination of violence by the little Trujillos that rule in so many homes.
The Art of Living (December 9)
In 1986 the Nobel Prize for medicine went to Rita Levi-Montalcini.
In troubled times, during the dictatorship of Mussolini, Rita had secretly studied nerve fibers in a makeshift lab hidden in her home.
Years later, after a great deal of work, this tenacious detective of the mysteries of life discovered the protein that multiplies human cells, which won her the Nobel.
She was about eighty by then and she said, "My body is getting wrinkled, but not my brain. When I can no longer think, all I'll want is help to die with dignity."
On the News With Thom Hartmann: Senate Decides Social Policy Cuts, and More »»
In today's On the News segment: The US Senate holds a vote-a-thon to decide which proposals and policies will make it into the upper chamber's budget; US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein finally rules that we have a right to see the evidence of torturous acts; employers are moving away from actual paychecks to electronic payroll cards; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the best of the rest of Economic and Labor News...
You need to know this. If you thought the 2013 sequester was a disaster for our country, you should be pretty thankful that there's a Democrat in the White House. Last week, the United States Senate held a vote-a-thon to decide which proposals and policies would make it into the upper chamber's budget. Although the document is non-binding, it should cause some very real concern over what happens if Republicans win in 2016. According to the Senate Republicans, our nation should slash another $5 trillion in domestic spending, all while handing out more tax payer dollars to the military and lowering taxes on the rich. To put that number in perspective, consider that the 2013 sequester cut $1.5 trillion from our spending, and that was enough to slash the budgets of everything from the Centers for Disease Control to Border Security to Head Start. That massive cut cost our nation real jobs, and it slowed our economic growth. But, all that means little to Republicans who want to destroy our social safety net, all while giving the wealthy a tax cut, and boosting the paychecks of their buddies in the defense industry. $5 trillion in cuts is almost unimaginable, unless we consider a nation that stops protecting Americans from poverty and disease, and a nation that values war profiteers and billionaires over everything. That is not the nation that our parents and grandparents built, and we must never allow it to become reality. For the next two years, we have a president who can stop the worst of this legislation, but the time is now to make sure that we have another Democratic leader in 2016. If we don't stop the Republicans from destroying the social programs and agencies that make our country great, we may not get a chance to repair them before they're gone for good.
For the last decade, the ACLU has been fighting to expose the torture and abuse that has been committed in our name. Last week, US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein finally ruled that we have a right to see the evidence of those torturous acts. For the last 10 years, the ACLU has been locked in a legal battle over their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request, which asked the government to release photographs and records relating to the torture and even death of prisoners held by our nation around the world since 2003. The government denied that FOIA request, saying that the "disclosure would endanger Americans." But, Judge Hellerstein concluded that the government failed to prove how Americans would be in danger, and ordered that the photographs and records be released to the ACLU. That group's legal director, Jameel Jaffer, said, "Giving the government that kind of censorial power would have implications far beyond this specific context." As Americans, we have a right to know what has been done in our name, and this ruling is a victory for justice.
Quite a few employers have moved away from actual paychecks, to electronic payroll cards, and workers have been hit hard by fees and other problems. Finally, one state is stepping up to do something about this, and employees in Washington state may soon be better off as a result. Earlier this month, the Washington state legislature advanced a bill that would make sure all workers have an alternative to these predatory debit-like cards. In addition to federal legislation that may soon require all employers to disclose the fees and charges associated with these cards, workers should have real protection against the payroll card scheme. Those in favor of the cards claim that workers who don't have bank accounts can avoid check cashing fees and the ability to buy things online, but opponents point out that the cards charge exorbitant fees for cash withdrawals, balance inquires, and even calling customer service. No one should be subjected to these unjust fees because they want a job, and it's great news that at least one state is moving to protect workers.
Indiana is finding out that businesses aren't all in favor of discrimination. In the wake of Gov. Mike Pence singing a so-called "religious liberty" bill in his state, the list of companies standing up for LGBT rights just continues to grow. By last Friday, huge organizations like Apple, Yelp and even the NBA have come out against Pence's bill, saying that it legalizes discrimination. Over the weekend, the CEO of Angie's List put a stop to that company's expansion plans in Indiana, saying that they are looking for alternative locations for their headquarters in other states. Even religious groups like the Disciples of Christ denomination said that the bill is "distressing" and it is causing them "to reconsider their decision to hold their 2017 gathering in Indianapolis." Regardless of how lawmakers, including Gov. Mike Pence, try to spin this law as anything but LGBT discrimination, these businesses and the public who they serve won't be fooled. Good on these groups for refusing to discriminate against someone because of who they love.
And finally... Republican governors all around our country are slashing education to cover the cost of tax breaks for the rich. But, Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota wants to invest a portion of his state's budget surplus in universal pre-K. Rather than dishing out tax breaks, the Democratic governor actually raised taxes on the top two percent in his state, and it's turned in to quite a success. Republicans in Minnesota balked at the tax hike idea, saying that businesses would leave that state, but that hasn't happened. In fact, higher wages, stronger unions and better education systems have lured business to that state, and that's paying off in terms of more investment in the people of Minnesota. Universal Pre-K would ensure that every child starts school with stronger skills, and allow parents to work more hours instead of caring for kids. Families get the help they need to be stronger, and Minnesota gets a better educated workforce. This is what happens when progressive ideas are allowed to become real policy. Governor Dayton has proven that these ideas work for the state of Minnesota, so let's keep fighting to implement these policies nation-wide.
And that's the way it is - for the week of March 30, 2015 – I'm Thom Hartmann – on the Economic and Labor News.
Why is the assertion that “all markets are manipulated” generally greeted with scorn and derision? Because while manipulating any particular, single market is a relatively straightforward matter – using “tools” for financial crime honed through centuries of practice — rigging markets collectively has always been viewed as an endeavour infinitely more difficult than herding cats.
Markets diverge. It’s what they do. While overall economic fundamentals affect all markets, and all sectors. These fundamentals affect markets/sectors/companies unevenly. Coupled with that, every individual sector/market has its own, unique collection of economic fundamentals – almost entirely independent of the general fundamentals of the economy.
This absolute absence of homogeneity means that in (legitimate) markets we will always see most sectors (and individual companies) moving not only with varying degrees of magnitude, but frequently in opposite directions. This is what must happen in any/all legitimate markets, on most days. It is only at times where the general fundamentals are extreme (i.e. extremely bad or extremely good) where we will ever see markets exhibit herd-movement patterns.
What do we see in the Western-dominated markets of the 21st century? We see this herd movement not just occasionally, but virtually every hour of every trading day, something which is absolutely impossible. Suddenly our herd of cats is behaving – every hour of every day – like rats following a Pied Piper. Obviously when we see a herd of cats behaving like rats following a Pied Piper, this directly and necessarily implies the existence of a Pied Piper.
Enter so-called “high-frequency trading” (HFT): the Pied Piper. The disinformation which both the general public and the puppet-regulators have been fed is that this market-rigging apparatus is supposedly aimed at nothing other than bringing greater “speed and efficiency” to our markets. The reality is that this was never more than a minor consideration, and the One Bank’s “HFT” innovations were always aimed at totally-and-completely manipulating markets: its virtual Pied Piper.
This is very similar, in kind, to the lies fed to us by the bankers when they wanted to introduce “short selling” into our markets. It would induce “better price-discovery” in markets, and thus “make markets more efficient”, they told us. The reality is that (until the One Bank perfected its Pied Piper trading algorithm) massive, manipulative short-selling was the bankers’ most-important and most-often used weapon for distorting (and thus rigging) markets.
These two, campaigns of lies, used to “justify” two of the banksters’ most formidable weapons for market manipulation have several factors in common:
1) Both can/would only have a benign impact on markets if used in extreme moderation.
2) Both have obvious manipulative potential.
3) Neither have any legal/statutory limits as to the quantity of such trading which infests our markets.
4) Neither are subject to any meaningful degree of oversight by our blind/deaf/dumb “regulators”.
To call this a “recipe for disaster” is the ultimate of understatements. This is not merely allowing “the fox into the henhouse”. It’s allowing an unlimited/infinite number of foxes to enter the henhouse – all with unsupervised access. It is recklessness to an extreme which directly and necessarily implies corruption. No one can be this “blind”.
Yet, to this point, all of the evidence of a Master Trading Algorithm is theoretical, the process of necessary, logical deduction. We see a herd of cats behaving like mesmerized rats, ergo we know there is a Pied Piper. It is “circumstantial evidence”, and circumstantial evidence is the primary basis for the vast majority of all convictions in our criminal justice system. Strangely, however, the Average Person gives this evidence very little heed when encountered outside the courtroom, and then spends all his/her nights soaking-up this evidence as they watch their “crime dramas”.
For those readers however, we now have far more than (merely conclusive) circumstantial evidence to offer, and can now supplement inevitable logic with overwhelming empirical evidence. First there was theevidence offered in a lawsuit against the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, global focal point of commodities trading.
In that suit, the plaintiffs asserted they had evidence that half of all trades at the CME are “wash trades”, phony and illegal trading activity, which has no purpose other than to manipulate markets (in this case all the world’s commodity markets). Billions of phony/illegal trades every year. Half of all trading at the CME amounts to approximately 100 illegal trades per second – something utterly beyond human capacity. But not beyond the capacity of a computerized trading algorithm.
This is “old news” now, however. More recently, we have the first real attempt to study the obvious manipulative potential of so-called “HFT” trading. The findings are stunning (to most), and unequivocal. Researchers found vast quantities of what they euphemistically termed “quote-stuffing”, and then they went on to spend 50 pages dissecting the various ways in which this “quote-stuffing” distorted markets – and thus manipulated markets.
More damning was the endemic nature of this quote-stuffing. The data indicated that 74% of all U.S. equities (it was a U.S. study) showed significant evidence of quote-stuffing (i.e. market-rigging). Obviously when one speaks of “manipulating all markets”, on an individual basis it’s only necessary to manipulate important equities. Now we know what percentage of (U.S.) equities the One Bank considers “important”: 74%.
Note that this study proceeded with the assumption that there was no pattern to this quote-stuffing, i.e. no Invisible Hand which was engaging in this quote-stuffing on a systematic basis. Yet despite the assumption of a lack of such master control, the researchers also found:
“an abnormal correlation in message flow”
In other words, while the premise of this research was that such market manipulation was “micro” in nature, i.e. taking place separately, on an equity-by-equity basis, what they actually observed was a patternto this manipulative trading, a Pied Piper. Not only is market-manipulation via HFT-trading massive, it is alsosystemic.
At this point, it’s necessary to remind readers of more comprehensive research, which has been referred to in many, previous commentaries. Using a data sample of more than 10 million corporate and personal entities, a trio of Swiss researches concluded that a single “super entity” (a collection of more than 140 corporate fronts) controlled, by itself, 40% of the entire global economy. Furthermore, the researchers found that “3/4 of the core [i.e. super-entity] are financial intermediaries”. The Mega Monopoly discovered by Swiss researchers is primarily a banking monopoly – hence the name “the One Bank”.
Putting together the results of these two, very detailed studies along with the evidence introduced into the lawsuit against the CME brings us to this. We have empirical evidence of a single financial entity (the One Bank) manipulating all U.S. equity markets, and all U.S. commodity markets. Furthermore, this most recent study is conclusive that the majority of this market-rigging is perpetrated though the massive and systematic use of manipulative “HFT” trading: the Pied-Piper trading algorithm of the One Bank.
Markets cannot move in synch, every hour, every day. Our “markets” do move in synch, every hour of every day, ipso facto we do not have markets. Rather, we have a totally rigged casino, where a single Pied Piper controls all of the bets, and thus all of the bettors.
Theory tells us that nothing other than an endemic, computerized trading algorithm could transform a “herd of cats” (our markets) into a pack of docile, mesmerized rats, marching day after day in near-perfect synchronicity. Empirical evidence shows us how this is actually taking place. The prosecution rests.
Asian Markets Mixed: China Jump, Crude Dump, Japan Slump »»
The exuberance of illiterate Chinese citizens knows no bounds as Shanghai Composite surges once again to record-er highs (now up over 15% in March alone) with some modest give back off the highs of the day. Japanese stocks on the other hand have folded like a cheap lawn-chair, giving up all their US session gains and down over 200 points from the US cash close. A similar pattern is seen in crude oil which has retraced most of the idiotic NYMEX close ramp.
China Jump... (but giving some back intraday...)
After a 15%-plus surge in March (that is exponential even on a log-scaled chart)
China is the 2nd best performing equity index in the world (in USD terms) in March - after Venezuela!!!!
and then there's the China Enterprises Index (HK) - high beta mupetry... which is up 5.5% in the last 2 days - the biggest jump in 17 months... The last time it jumped as exuberantly as this it collapsed with a month...
I've been fiddling with some numbers in Excel and thought you'd find it interesting. It concerns the correlation of NYSE margin debt with the S&P 500.
Margin gives investors and traders the opportunity to borrow money in order to enhance their returns. NYSE margin debt concerns the aggregate value borrowed by all participants utilizing that particular exchange.
The figures shown will be in millions, so $400,000 is $400 billion; big moolah.
I became interested in margin debt after I had seen the following chart plastered on a few trading websites. Many of you may have seen it as well.
While the correlation is strong most of the time, the 2000 and 2007 tops stood out to me. Margin debt seemed to reach a peak, sell off hard, and then go nowhere as the S&Ps continued to make new closing highs.
Not being satisfied with just a chart, I collected data as far back as 1996 and threw it into a spreadsheet. NYSE margin debt data: (buuuut it’s easier to Google search “NYSE margin debt”) SPX close data provided by Yahoo! Finance (other sources are available).
First off, lets see how the correlation held during bull markets:
And how about those bear markets?
So what if I cherry pick the topping periods?
And here is a chart of the 12 month rolling window plotted against monthly SPX closes. Notice in the 2000 topping area how the warning came a little early; or could this be fallout from the 1998 correction? Happily, a second warning came just after the final high close. As the margin debt data does lag (it takes a month to get published), it helps to see candles with long tails (shooting stars and hanging men) to confirm.
In 2007 we see another dive in correlation as the last high close occurs and fades away. Now in 2014 – 2015 we are again seeing a violation of the sub-60 area.
While this indicator does lag, that does not mean it loses its usefulness. For instance, some may argue that if the first warning in late 1998 to early 1999 were respected, a long portfolio would miss the potential for another 200 S&P points. Is that really so much? How often does one buy bottoms or sell tops perfectly? It kept the portfolio out of harm’s way.
Likewise, the 2007 top happened more quickly than 2000, so the signal was late. Even if 200 S&P points had been lost there were still another 600 to go.
For the short-side, say a trader was bearish in mid 2013. If he/she had been patient and waited for the breakdown in correlation, they would have a much better price to short at and have endured much less pain to boot!
Disclaimer: This indicator is not the holy grail. If it confirms with divergences and oddities in other areas of the market, then maybe something really is happening here. By all means don’t mortgage the house (or reverse mortgage it).
But if the massive amount of borrowing to leverage returns is bothering you here, and you’re of the age where you can’t afford another bear market hit to your portfolio, maybe you’ll want to keep an eye on this.
Did Reuters Falsify The Testimony Of A MH-17 Crash Witness? »»
Even as the world's attention is gripped by the latest airline crash tragedy, in which the motivation of a Germanwings co-pilot to crash his plane with nearly 150 people on board will forever remain in the area of speculation, the most dramatic airplane incident of 2014, that of Malaysian flight MH-17 over east Ukraine, remains - and likely will remain forever 0 unsolved. That, however, does not prevent the media outlets on both sides of the ideological divide to insert their own narrative when the fancy strikes them.
Case in point is the "Exclusive" Reuters report by Anton Zverev from March 12, titled "From 'Red October' village, new evidence on downing of Malaysian plane over Ukraine" which featured what Reuters suggested was new evidence on the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane. In it Zverev quoted Pyotr Fedotov, a 58-year-old resident from the village of Chervonyi Zhovten "which was then, and is now, controlled by the rebels."
My mother and I were in the yard when it happened," said Pyotr Fedotov, a 58-year-old resident. "There was such a bang that we involuntarily sat down, in the yard, our legs gave way underneath us. Then we got curious and immediately went to the other side of the house to take a look." This is what Reuters said two weeks ago:
"The rocket was here, it wiggled around, then some kind of rocket stage separated, and then, somewhere toward Lutuhyne, Torez, I saw the plane fall apart in the air. It was only later that we found out it was a Boeing,” Fedotov said.
Missiles from a BUK battery can often zig-zag through the air for a few seconds after launch before their onboard radar locks on and steers the missile towards the target, according to video footage of test launches posted on the Internet.
Taken together, the accounts do not conclusively prove the missile launched from near Chervonyi Zhovten was the one that brought down the airliner, because none of the villagers saw it actually being launched.
Nor could they shed light on a contention of officials in Kiev and in Western states, that the BUK missile battery was brought in from Russia and was operated by a Russian crew. Moscow has denied its military is active in eastern Ukraine.
So far no smoking gun, or rocket, merely a retelling of what is largely known. And here Reuters reveals the punchline:
When interviewed by Reuters, Fedotov, the witness who described the 'wiggling' rocket, at first said on camera that it was fired from territory held by the Ukrainian army. Later, off camera, he said it was launched from a nearby rebel area. Asked why he had originally said the opposite, he said it was because he was afraid of the rebels.
Why he said the contradictory "missing link" in the narrative, and the one piece of the story that gives Reuters its "new evidence", off camera is not explained.
Today we may have an answer: in a follow up report by Russian RT, the same villager, Pytor Fedotov on camera said that the Reuters news agency falsified his testimony on the missile launch which brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
“When we talked about the Boeing on camera, I explained everything as I saw it. The things that I allegedly said off-camera, all this nonsense, was made up by the journalist himself. It's all lies, because off-camera, we never discussed the Boeing, and just spoke about life, about the current situation, so to speak.” Fedotov told RT.
The Lugansk resident added that Zverev later contacted him to ask if the he had gotten in trouble for speaking with the journalist.
"The first thing that he asked was whether I had gotten in trouble. I was really surprised. Why would I be in trouble if I told him about things as I saw them? And only when my friends called me up and told me that some channel was airing footage which noted that I said one thing on camera and the opposite without the camera did I understand why he was asking me this question."
Stating that the so-called off-camera testimony was merely conjecture, Fedotov stated that he doesn't understand why the journalist would fiddle with his testimony. "Maybe he was doing it for his own benefit…I really don't know what his aim was, but it looks to me like a provocation."
RT noted that its requests for comment from Reuters on the controversy have not been responded to.
Who is lying, and who is telling the truth? We probably won't know, just as there will never be conclusive proof of just who took down Malaysia flight MH-17 leading to the tragic death of over 200 innocent civilians. And while perhaps Reuters will address the charge that it purposefully fabricated a critical missing part of the story and reveal its own documented side of the story, we doubt it. After all, the narrative of the Ukraine civil war and its participants has long ago devolved beyond the facts and is now nothing more than propaganda.
A responsible financial institution would not extend a new loan of between 17 and 40 billion dollars to a borrower already struggling to pay back an existing multi-billion dollar loan. Yet that is just what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) did last month when it extended a new loan to the government of Ukraine. This new loan may not make much economic sense, but propping up the existing Ukrainian government serves the foreign policy agenda of the US government.
Would you lend these guys your money? (a 2600bps spread to Treasuries) Well you just did!
Since the IMF receives most of its funding from the United States, it is hardly surprising that it would tailor its actions to advance the US government’s foreign policy goals. The IMF also has a history of using the funds provided to it by the American taxpayer to prop up dictatorial regimes and support unsound economic policies.
Some may claim the IMF does promote free markets by requiring that countries receiving IMF loans implement some positive economic reforms, such as reducing government spending. However, other conditions imposed by the IMF, such as that the country receiving the loan deflate its currency and implement an industrial policy promoting exports, do not seem designed to promote a true free market, much less improve the people’s living standards by giving them greater economic opportunities.
The problem with the IMF cannot be fixed by changing the conditions attached to IMF loans. The fundamental problem with the IMF is that it is funded by resources taken forcibly from the private sector. By taking resources out of private hands and giving them to IMF bureaucrats, government distorts the marketplace, harming both American taxpayers and the citizens of the countries receiving the IMF loans. The idea that the IMF is somehow better able to allocate capital than are private investors is just as flawed as every other form of central planning. The IMF must be repealed, not reformed.
The IMF is not the only US institution that manipulates the global economy. Over the past several years, a mysterious buyer, identified only as “Belgium,” so named because the buyer acts through a Belgian-domiciled account, has become the third-largest holder of Treasury securities. Belgium's large purchases always occur at opportune times for the US government, such as when a foreign country sells a large amount of Treasuries. “Belgium” also made large purchases in the months just after the Fed launched the quantitative easing program. While there is no evidence this buyer is working directly with the US government, the timing of these purchases does raise suspicions.
It is not out of the realm of possibility that the Federal Reserve is involved in these purchases. The limited audit of the Federal Reserve’s actions during the financial crisis that was authorized by the Dodd-Frank Act revealed that the Fed actively intervenes in global markets.
What other deals with foreign governments is the Fed making? Is the Fed, like the IMF, working to bail out Greece and other EU countries? Is the Fed working secretly to aid US foreign policy as it did in the early 1980s, when it financed loans to then-US ally Saddam Hussein?The lack of transparency about the Fed’s dealings with overseas central banks and foreign governments is one more reason why Congress needs to pass the audit the fed bill.
By taking money from American taxpayers to support economically weak and oftentimes corrupt governments, the IMF distorts the market, enriches corrupt governments, and harms both the American taxpayer and the residents of the counties receiving IMF "aid." It is past time to end the IMF along with all instruments of American interventionist foreign policy.
Psychiatric Medications found in Home of Germanwings Pilot Andreas Lubitz, who underwent 18 Months of Psychiatric “Treatment” »»
Just as Natural News publicly predicted in a widely-circulated article entitled Germanwings jetliner catastrophe: The first antidepressant drug-induced mass murder of the skies?, psychiatric drugs have now been located and identified by law enforcement authorities searching the home of the… Read more...
Yemen’s Response to Saudi Aggression “Will Devastate the Arab Kingdom, Change the Map of the Region” »»
A senior member of the Yemeni Ansarullah movement warned that his country’s crushing response to the Saudi aggression will devastate the Arab kingdom and change the geopolitics of the region.
“The Yemeni nation will change the map of the region,”… Read more...
No Deal on Iran’s Nuclear Program – So Far »»
Reports of a deal reached over the weekend were way premature. As of Monday morning Lausanne time, key unresolved issues remain ahead of a March 31 deadline.
It could be extended days or weeks if all parties agree. Deadlines aren’t… Read more...
Britain Joins China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Despite “U.S. Concerns” »»
Despite concerns voiced by its close ally the United States, Britain, a conventional Atlantic force, will become the first major Western economy to join a China proposed financing mechanism, which will explore investment opportunities in, mainly, Asia.
Downing Street believes… Read more...
Propaganda is designed to promote paranoia by attributing barbarism to the enemy and righteousness to your cause.
The barbaric beheading videos purported by Western media to be part of “ISIS recruitment propaganda” have had quite the opposite effect.
The videos… Read more...
State’s Rights: The Battle We Can Win »»
Americans fight back against tyranny on the local level. Read more...
The Government Says It Has a Policy on Disclosing Zero-Days, But Where Are the Documents to Prove It? »»
National Geographic Film Highlights CIA’s Secret Human Experimentation »»
Agency secretly used humans as guinea pigs during Cold War experimentation focusing on mind control. Read more...
Drunken Cop Arrives at Work with Three Flat Tires, Attacks Supervisor »»
Officer recently reinstated despite being terminated for robbery, assault on girlfriend. Read more...
Armed Trannies Attack The NSA »»
Suspects in stolen SUV attempt to ram NSA gates. Read more...
The 4th Media
US THREATENED Germany Over Snowden »»
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (above) said this week in Homburg that the U.S. government threatened to cease sharing intelligence with Germany if Berlin offered asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or otherwise arranged for him to travel to that country. “They told us they would stop notifying us of plots and other intelligence matters,” Gabriel said. The vice chancellor delivered a speech in which he praised the journalists who worked on the Snowden archive, and then lamented the fact that Snowden was forced to seek refuge in “Vladimir Putin’s autocratic Russia” because no other nation was willing and able to protect him from threats of imprisonment by the U.S. government (I was present at the event to receive an award). Read more...
The New American Order: 1% Elections, The Privatization of the State, … »»
1% Elections, The Privatization of the State, a Fourth Branch of Government, and the Demobilization of “We the People” Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put what I do understand about it […] Read more...
This is the underlying reason for Washington’s concern over the creation of the AIIB: 1. Allowing the yuan to flourish will hit the international standing of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency of choice. 2. China, Russia and other BRICS countries are moving away from the dollar, preferring to trade among themselves in […] Read more...
The ISIS, Described by the US Media as a “Sunni Muslim Militia,” is “Made in USA” : It Has Nothing to Do with the Sunni Islam »»
As a lifetime student of classical mainline Islamic jurisprudential school of thought called “Sunni fiqh”, I feel saddened to note how the Western mainstream media succumbed to the Islamophobic propaganda of affixing the epithet “Sunni” to the militia of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). I can confidently say that ISIS is […] Read more...
Kiev Shifts Goalposts as Merkel Skews Wide »»
Kiev President Petro Poroshenko unveiled a new dimension of international sanctions against Russia this week, while being royally entertained by German leaders in Berlin. The oligarch-turned-politician now wants the Western allies of the Kiev regime to boycott the 2018 World Cup Finals to held in Russia. Such a ban on the world’s premier sporting event […] Read more...
21st Century Wire
Nevada Residents: ‘Public Land Belongs to the People, Not DC’ »»
Patrick Henningsen | A ray light appears that might help save Nevada's most endangered species - the 21st century cowboy. Read more...
Four Years of Syrian Resistance to a US-led Imperialist Takeover »»
Sara Flounders | Washington is determined to overthrow Syria's elected government - but they are destroying an entire country in the process. Read more...
Episode #78 – SUNDAY WIRE: ‘The Friendly Skies’, host Patrick Henningsen with guest Field McConnell »»
SUNDAY WIRE | Strap yourselves in and lower the blast shield - this is your brave new world... Read more...
FULL-SPECTRUM CYNICISM: Yemen and the Art of International Subterfuge »»
Daniel Spaulding | Can you feel the freedom yet? Read more...
MEDIA BLACK-OUT: US Proxy War in Yemen Underway, Saudi Stooges Do Initial Dirty Work »»
21WIRE + Zero Hedge | Hidden by the US and western media - Yemen is by far the biggest story so far this year. Read more...
Preliminary Nigerian Election Results: Buhari has significant lead over Jonathan »»
nsnbc : Preliminary results announced by Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) give the former military leader and APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari a significant lead over the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling PDP. On Monday the INEC accumulated the results from Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Kwara, Kaduna, Anambra, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Plateau and Imo, whereafter they were announced at the National […] Read more...
Finland is throwing away everything that made its schools the best in the world »»
Dennis Hayes (TC) : It easy to lampoon education reforms in Finland that aim to scrap the teaching of traditional subjects in favour of broader topics. The new initiative could see history, geography and languages replaced for periods by interdisciplinary “phenomenon-based” projects on topics such as the European Union. Instead of sitting in rows learning […] Read more...
Libyan government will request Arab League intervention: Libya PM »»
TCP : The Libyan government said that it would request the Arab League to interfere in Libya to “restore legitimacy,” MENA quoted Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni Sunday. In his statements, Al-Thinni praised Arab leaders’ stance regarding the situation in Yemen and said that the decisions taken at the Arab Summit are in favor of the […] Read more...
Tax paper shows bracket creep is stalking Australian taxpayers »»
Michelle Grattan (TC) : The government’s long-awaited tax discussion paper says Australia has a relatively low tax burden compared to other developed countries but its system faces “challenges from a changing world”. The paper, aimed at launching a national dialogue on re-thinking the tax system, says tax reform “offers one of the biggest opportunities” to […] Read more...
Tipping the Scales? School Sends Fat Letter to 54 Pound 2nd Grader »»
Susanne Posel (OC) : Officials at the Hillcrest Elementary School (HES) in Missouri sent out “fat letters” to students in an effort to warn parents of the dangers of obesity. One 7 year old girl’s mother was furious that the letter claimed her “tiny” daughter was overweight. Amanda Moss, mother of a 7 year old student at […] Read more...
Taking aim at Clinton, former Maryland Governor says presidency ‘not a crown’ »»
Lauren McCauley | Testing the waters for potential nomination bid, Martin O'Malley calls for a president willing to take on 'wealthy, special interests'
Prepping for Beginners: Where to Start Prepping »»
Where to begin prepping? I imagine a lot of people are like me when it comes to how you were introduced to the subject of prepping. In 2007, there was no Doomsday Preppers TV show that I could look to for ideas, perspective and some humor. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for […]
National Geographic Film Highlights CIA’s Secret Human Experimentation »»
Agency secretly used humans as guinea pigs during Cold War experimentation focusing on mind control A fascinating National Geographic documentary entitled “CIA Secret Experiments” from 2008 uncovers the CIA’s role in conducting domestic Cold War experiments, where human subjects were used to test the effects of brainwashing, mind control, hypnosis, electroshock therapy and various psychotropic […]
The Government Says It Has a Policy on Disclosing Zero-Days, But Where Are the Documents to Prove It? »»
Feds likely hiding dangerous vulnerabilities We have known for some time that the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement community looks to find and exploit vulnerabilities in commercial software for surveillance purposes. As part of its reluctant, fitful transparency efforts after the Snowden leaks, the government has even officially acknowledged that it sometimes uses so-called […]
Drunken Cop Arrives at Work with Three Flat Tires, Attacks Supervisor »»
Officer recently reinstated despite being terminated for robbery, assault on girlfriend A Philadelphia police officer assaulted his supervisor Saturday after arriving to work intoxicated. The officer, six-year veteran Darryl Cathey, was noticed by coworkers shortly after midnight when his patrol vehicle pulled up to the station with three flat tires. According to a Sergeant […]
Your Location has been Shared 5,398 Times in Last 14 Days »»
“Your location [data] has been shared 5,398 times with Facebook, GO Launcher EX, Groupon and seven other [applications] in the last 14 days” Do you realize how often your smartphone is sharing your location data with various companies? It is more than 5000 times in just two weeks. That is little Shocking but True! […]
University students extinguish fires with heavy bass »»
It's 2025, and a team of firefighters arrive on the scene of a massive conflagration. There's trucks and ladders, but also a team of drones tethered to a massive generator. As the drones swarm the flames, they blast a guttural roar that sounds like the unholy offspring of a bullfrog and a lawnmower. Firefighters follow up with hoses and foam, and within minutes, nothing but wisps of smoke are curling up from cooling embers.
That vision of the future could be possible thanks to a small, sound-powered fire extinguisher developed by two college seniors, Viet Tran and Seth Robertson, both at George Mason University in Virginia. Tran was searching for an idea for a class project when he stumbled upon an old DARPA project that used sound waves to put out a small fire. The device was rather large—a person certainly couldn't hold it. So he and Robertson set out to make it more practical.
Their extinguisher resembles an antique milk can connected to a well-ventilated amp. A bass speaker sits atop the barrel, which amplifies and directs the sound waves. Tom Jackman, reporting for the Washington Post, has more details:
They placed flaming rubbing alcohol next to a large subwoofer and found that it wasn't necessarily all about that bass, musically speaking, at least. "Music isn't really good," Robertson said, "because it doesn't stay consistent."
They tried ultra-high frequencies, such as 20,000 or 30,000 hertz, and could see the flames vibrating but not going out. They took it down low, and at the range of 30 to 60 hertz, the fires began to extinguish.
"I honestly didn't think it would work as well as it did," Tran said.
The extinguisher works by pulsing air across the base of the flame, the boundary layer at which the combusted material produces the flame itself. The deep sound produces successive blasts of air which disrupt the process of combustion. Eventually, the flame peters out. Read more...
12-year old arrested for throwing a book at a bully »»
A 12-year-old girl was recently arrested at school for the "crime" of throwing a book in class. Lacreshia Preston Garrett explains that her daughter was apprehended by the Dallas school district police for something that should have been dealt with by simply sending her to the principal's office. It all happened last fall at the Thomas Edison Middle School Garrett says. Little Zyria Grizelle was tired of the teasing coming from the class clown. He continuously slapped her arm. As a result, she lashed out and threw a book at him.
"I hit the computer, and the computer fell," she recounted.
Knocking over that computer apparently made all the difference in the world. While the class clown was permitted to assault her repeatedly, once she accidentally broke school property, she was treated like a hardened criminal.
"The officer came in the classroom, told her to come outside the class, and to put her hands behind her back," Zyria's mom, Lacreshia said.
Garrett follow the police cruiser with her daughter handcuffed in the back, all the way to the holding cell where she remained for some time, traumatized by the police state interaction.
"She was just crying," Garrett continued. "She said 'I just know the police come for bad people.' She was terrified." Read more...
Designers create a new world of exotic musical instruments »»
Next month, visitors to the Inside 3D Printing conference at the Javits Center in New York City will have the chance to see - and hear - one of the most radical musical instruments ever created. Or should that be 'printed'? The two-string Piezoelectric Violin is the brainchild of architects Eric Goldemberg and Veronica Zalcberg of Miami's MONAD studio, in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Scott F Hall, who has been dreaming up ways to fabricate exotic instruments since the 1990s.
"Our desire to create unusual instruments emerged when we realised the aesthetic and technical issues we were facing as architects did not differ much from those of musicians and composers," Goldemberg tells me. He and Zalcberg were interested to explore a "new conception for violin core functionality", and the instrument - which will be exhibited alongside other curious sonic specimens including their take on the cello, a 'hornucopia', and Hall's 'monobaribasitar' - is the result of "intense research on design and computation, leading to direct engagement with musicians, luthiers, composers and interactive artists of different kinds". Read more...
Study finds airborne matter from factory farms contains antibiotics, bacteria and antibiotic-resistant DNA »»
Airborne particulate matter wafting off American cattle yards contains antibiotics, bacteria, and antibiotic-resistant DNA, a new study finds. Environmental tests on the spread of antibiotics have been performed in the past, but this is the first time researchers have examined aerial dispersion. The work suggests airborne transmission may be contributing to an emerging global health problem, where doctors find it increasingly difficult to treat life-threatening infections.
For some time now, scientists have worried that we may be entering a "post-antibiotic era," when the drugs that once defeated potentially fatal infections are no longer effective. Simply put, the bacteria causing infections in many cases are now immune to (or "resisting") the drugs. Since antibiotic-resistant bacterial DNA, if imbibed in water or consumed in meat, can be transferred to humans, many researchers say misuse and overuse of veterinary pharmaceuticals may be responsible, in part, for this global health threat. Large, commercial food operations rely on veterinary drugs, including antibiotics, to promote bigger growth of the animals. However, after the animals excrete the drugs, these antibiotics enter the environment via runoff, leaching, and the spread of manure.
For this new study, then, environmental toxicology researchers at Texas Tech University decided to look at whether these drugs become airborne. Over a period of six months, they gathered airborne particulate matter from 10 commercial cattle yards each with a capacity of 20,000 to 50,000 head of cattle, within 200 miles of Lubbock, Texas. Read more...
Pro-GMO education enters the schoolroom »»
Isn't it interesting how an agenda is so often posed as a debate even though there is usually only one side? Or, when a synthesis of the two is the actual goal?
That's how things are presented to adults, usually on television. Or rather, "adult-children." So that it looks like they have an informed choice. Unfortunately, children in many public schools don't even have the semblance of a two-sided joust. They are expected to download beliefs. As you will see below, it doesn't even matter if they get the answers correct, as long as they assimilate the connotation. The feeling. The message. The gist. And they will (if no one shows them otherwise) - I remember.
A lot of buzz is currently swarming on Robyn O'Brien's Facebook page. She wrote The Unhealthy Truth... and is sometimes called the Erin Brockovich of food. Over the weekend, a father sent her his 6th grade child's homework from Science class. It asks (and then answers) the question: Are genetically modified foods safe to eat? Read more...
The Vigilant Citizen
CIA Secret Experiments (documentary) »»
This National Geographic documentary looks into the CIA’s secret experiments conducted during the Cold War. It mainly focuses on mind control and the brainwashing techniques attached to it : Hypnosis, electroshock therapy and drugs. CIA Secret Experiments explores a page of the book History that is often heavily redacted or completely shredded. It is about [...]
The Vigilant Citizen website got its first major revamp since its creation in 2008. Other than looking more modern, the new site improves several important elements Faster site load speed Easier to read Improved mobile site Works better on tablets Improved navigation Improved search engine Same great content! The revamp is all about serving the [...]
The Hidden Meaning of Taylor Swift’s Video “Style” »»
Taylor Swift’s Style is said to be about her ex-lover Harry Styles. Through symbolism, however, the video gives the song another meaning: It is about the having an alter persona, the ultimate result of Monarch mind control. Taylor Swift has for years been one of the biggest selling artist in the record industry. She is [...]
“Jibo the Family Robot” is the Creepiest Product of the Year (video) »»
Praised by CNN and the Wallstreet Journal, Jibo is the world’s first “family robot”. A cheesy, overly sentimental video selling this machine explains exactly how it will spy on your entire family … And it is extremely creepy. In the cautionary tale that was 1984, telescreens were used by the ruling Party to keep its [...]
Hello Barbie : The Creepy Doll That Spies on Kids … and their Parents »»
Mattel’s latest doll Hello Barbie dialogs with children, records their answers and sends the information back to a database via Wifi and Bluetooth. Hello Barbie is “the world’s first interactive Barbie doll” … and it is rather creepy. Equipped with a microphone and internet connectivity, the doll asks questions to children, records their answers and [...]
Bankers Avoid Jail Time in Tax-Evasion Case »»
Bill Black says two Credit Suisse bankers who made a deal to avoid jail time are minor players compared to executives who faced no punishment at all Read more...
Only Appropriate Public Event for Bush is War Crimes Trial »»
Institute for Policy Studies Fellow Phyllis Bennis speaks at the Conference on the George W. Bush Presidency about why the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan violated international law Read more...
The Fight for Fair Housing for Baltimore Renters »»
TRNN speaks to advocates fighting for Baltimore's tenants to have more power in rent court Read more...
The Global African: Ferguson, Iran, & Urban Development Pt. 2 »»
In this episode of teleSUR's The Global African, host Bill Fletcher Jr. explores the DOJ report on Ferguson and discusses Iran-U.S. negotiations Read more...
No End in Sight for America's Longest War »»
As President Obama slows US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, former State Department official Matthew Hoh says this will only intensify the violence and perpetuate the war Read more...
Homeland Funded Jade Helm Drill: Black Helicopters “Transport Dissidents to Black Sites” »»
The dissident is transported to a waiting helicopter where they are transported to a “black site re-education facility." Read more...
Watch: Hate Crime or Random Violence: Black Men Beat White Man Who Refused to Talk About Michael Brown »»
Would there be outrage if the seated victim were a black man being beaten by three white thugs? Read more...
Swiss Fund Manager Warns Unprecedented Fed Intervention Leaving “Markets More Distorted Than Ever” »»
Billionaire Swiss fund manager Felix Zulauf sounded off about the instability of the market as currencies go volatile and the impact of loose money takes hold. Read more...
A Green Beret’s Guide To Low-Budget Home-Defense Techniques 101: “Early-Warning Systems and Fortifications” »»
Training for each and every member of your household is vital; with this training will come good feelings of confidence that will help quell fear and panic if an emergency arises. Read more...
Experts Admit Conspiracy Theorists Right About Rigged Stock Market: “The Dirty Secret Is Out” »»
The stock market is rigged. But people scoffed. Some said a conspiracy theory. But that’s not happening anymore. The dirty secret is out. Read more...
Stop Making Sense
Cracked on the 19 Most Inexcusable Ways the Media Failed You »»
Cracked writes: ‘It’s commonplace nowadays to call media outlets out on their bullshit, and with good cause: Misinforming the public has happened so often that it’s almost become a staple of today’s information outlets. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, this is absolutely nothing new. We asked our readers to go back through the annals of news history […] Read more...
Jon Gold interviews Jonathan Kay, author of “Among the Truthers” »»
‘Jonathan Kay is a Canadian journalist. He is the editor-in-chief of The Walrus and former comment pages editor, columnist and blogger for the Toronto-based Canadian daily newspaper National Post. He is also a book author and editor, a public speaker, and a regular contributor to Commentary Magazine and the New York Post. His freelance articles […] Read more...
TSA Checklist Exposed: “Suspicious Signs” Include Throat Clearing, Whistling and “Exaggerated Yawning” »»
‘Next time you are at an airport, you may not want to gaze down at your feet. But also be careful not to stare at anyone with your eyes wide open. Both of these behaviors are listed on a “suspicious signs” checklist used by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. The Intercept obtained the confidential document […] Read more...
Saudi Ambassador To U.S. Won’t Rule Out Building Nukes »»
‘The Saudi Ambassador to the United States would not rule out the possibility of the Saudis creating their own nuclear bomb to counterbalance a nuclear-armed Iran in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. “This is not something we would discuss publicly,” Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir said on “The Situation Room.” Later, when pressed, he said, […] Read more...
Pakistan’s Long History of Fighting Saudi Arabia’s Wars »»
Ishaan Tharoor writes for The Washington Post: ‘Saudi Arabia’s campaign against Houthi rebel forces in Yemen, which began with waves of airstrikes overnight on Thursday, has laid down a new marker in the dangerously unstable Middle East. As WorldViews discussed earlier, the Saudis coordinated their action with a coalition of Sunni majority countries, sharpening the perception […] Read more...
The Economic Collapse Blog
5 Charts Which Show That The Next Economic Crash Is Dead Ahead »»
When an economic crisis is coming, there are usually certain indicators that appear in advance. For example, commodity prices usually start to plunge before a recession begins. And as you can see from the Bloomberg Commodity Index which you can find right here, this has already been happening. In addition, I have previously written about [...]
In Yemen, It’s The Bad Guys Vs. The Bad Guys »»
Saudi Arabia and Egypt stand poised to conduct a massive ground invasion of Yemen, and the western media will be full of tales about how “Operation Decisive Storm” is liberating that country from the evil Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. And without a doubt, the Houthis are bad guys and so are their Iranian benefactors. But don’t [...]
The Price Of Ground Beef Has DOUBLED Since The Last Financial Crisis »»
Since the depths of the last recession, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled. Has your paycheck doubled since then? Even though the Federal Reserve insists that we are in a “low inflation” environment, the government’s own numbers show that the price of ground beef has been on an unprecedented run [...]
33 Strange Facts About America That Most Americans Would Be Shocked To Learn »»
Did you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States? Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury? Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all [...]
They Are Slowly Making Cash Illegal »»
The move to a cashless society won’t happen overnight. Instead, it is being implemented very slowly and systematically in a series of incremental steps. All over the planet, governments are starting to place restrictions on the use of cash for security reasons. As citizens, we are being told that this is being done to thwart [...]
Manhunt! Prisoner escapes at Virginia hospital »»
Police warned Tuesday an “armed and dangerous” prisoner was roaming the Washington, D.C., area after he overpowered a private security guard, stole his gun and fled the scene.
The prisoner, Wossen Assaye, was being transferred from an Alexandria, Va., jail to Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., early Tuesday morning, WJLA reported. He’s a black male, [...] Read more...
Life lessons from the German air disaster »»
It is far easier for an individual to do great evil than to do great good.
That the world isn’t fair is known to every human being who thinks. It may be our first insight into life. What child who ever complained, “That’s not fair,” wasn’t told by some adult, “Life isn’t fair”?
One sad example of [...] Read more...
Ted Cruz channels Reagan: Media go bonkers, again »»
WASHINGTON – In the eyes of the political and media elite, presidential candidate Ted Cruz is far too extreme ideologically to win the nomination; doesn’t have enough support from party bigwigs; is hated by almost everyone and no one trusts him; uses distortive, misleading rhetoric; is venal and self-obsessed; says crazy things; is not actually [...] Read more...
'Help,' pleads white man beaten over Michael Brown question »»
David Autry, a white man savagely beaten on a St. Louis Metrolink train by three black teenagers for declining to speak about Michael Brown, is pleading with the public for help, so he no longer has to be exposed to such racial violence.
But he may have a long way to go, as analysts contend the [...] Read more...
John Kerry flashback: Give Iran nuclear fuel »»
NEW YORK – Secretary of State John Kerry, currently leading negotiations for the Obama administration regarding Iran’s nuclear program, argued as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 2004 that the U.S. should provide nuclear fuel to Iran, trusting, as President Jimmy Carter had done with North Korea, that the Iranians would not use it to [...] Read more...
Netanyahu’s Victory and Zionism Unmasked with Rania Khalek »»
This month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory after a close re-election race, cementing his right wing Likud party in power for another term. Right before the election, Netanyahu reinforced his rejection of Palestinian statehood, vowed to continue building settlements and doubled down on his decade long fear-mongering campaign against Iran. Since Netanyahu spoke at Congress, the media has … Read More Read more...
Independent Media and the Cultural Revolution at Zeitgeist Day »»
One human family living on one organism. Yet man is embroiled in a war against himself. Unfortunately this blatant truth hasn’t yet been realized by the vast majority of humans living on earth. The wars against ISIS, Russia, and now laughably Venezuela are dominating headlines in the latest front of the information war, but a far more deadly battle is being … Read More Read more...
Final Thoughts from Danny Schechter »»
Journalist, filmmaker, and activist, Danny Schechter, “The News Dissector,” died on March 19, 2015 at 72 years old. Schechter was a true pioneer of progressive independent journalism. He had a long career with ABC and CNN before unplugging from the mainstream to produce judicious films and write hard hitting books. He was a free press champion and fierce anti-apartheid activist … Read More Read more...
RT vs. MSM Propaganda in the New Cold War »»
US government officials are calling to overhaul the state funded media apparatus and focus on counter-propaganda against hostile nations, according to a report seen by Reuters. The study was written by two former Western state funded news employees, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) governor and Radio France Europe/Radio Liberty vice president, who declared the US is losing the information war … Read More Read more...
CIA Torture Whistleblower: Wake Up America, You’re Next »»
In light of the recently released torture report summary, we’re reminded that no government official ever went to jail for the years of systematic abuse – except for John Kiriakou, the CIA whistleblower who exposed the use of waterboarding. During his 23 months behind bars, Kiriakou was constantly threatened with diesel therapy (disorienting prisoners by frequently moving them to different locations) for writing letters describing … Read More Read more...
AMERICAN FREE PRESS’s own Olga Belinskaya, a native of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine, conducted a series of raw, unedited interviews with ordinary, peaceful people from Ukraine’s war zone, who told Olga what life was really like in the war-torn country. Over the course of this year, Olga will Read more...
AFP INTERVIEW: Black Days Coming for Whites »»
• White Christian Europe, America committing cultural suicide with immigration policies. By Victor Thorn — On the heels of recent reports stating that the number of non-white children under five years of age will surpass whites by 2020 and that whites will be a minority within the United Read more...
By Ronald L. Ray — The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CC) for primary and secondary education in public schools are the latest in a long line of bureaucratically imposed directives pushed by cultural communists and multinational corporations in order to establish a single, uniform educational system throughout Read more...
By Mark Anderson — Under the watchful eye of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) have introduced the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 (S. 269). The proposed legislation was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee Read more...
D.C. the Enemy to World Peace »»
On February 25 and 26, Paul Craig Roberts addressed the 70th Anniversary of the Yalta Conference, hosted by the Russian Academy of Sciences and Moscow State Institute of International Relations in Moscow. The following is his speech, which was given over the course of the two-day event. By Read more...
Strategic Culture Foundation
Hezbollah blasts Syria’s human rights report »»
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.
Today is the start of my last week as an employee of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I will be leaving after nearly 15 years as EFF’s President and Executive Director, having started as a Staff Attorney back in 1992. As I wrap up things here, I’ve been thinking a lot about where we’ve been and […] Read more...
MH17 probe looking for witnesses to back ‘Buk missile’ scenario »»
Published time: March 31, 2015 06:26 Local workers transport a piece of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 wreckage at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine November 20, 2014. (Reuters/Antonio Bronic) The international team of experts investigating the MH17 tragedy in eastern Ukraine have called […] Read more...
RT and Venezuela TeleSUR journalists unite to provide fresh perspective on news »»
Published time: March 30, 2015 21:02 RT’s Spanish channel and pan-Latin American network TeleSUR in Venezuela launched a new joint project on Monday, aimed at providing a different perspective to Western mainstream media. Titled “Venezuela and Russia. At gunpoint” (“Venezuela y Rusia en la mira” in Spanish), the project will feature a series of programs […] Read more...
Tens of thousands march against austerity in Brussels »»
Published time: March 30, 2015 06:08 Image from HART BOVEN HARD Facebook page Rainy weather in Brussels did not stop tens of thousands of people from protesting against austerity measures introduced by the new Belgian government. Attendance estimates from police and organizers differed sixfold. The rally saw somewhere between 17,000 and 20,000 people on Sunday, […] Read more...
Mega downer: Kim Dotcom loses $67mn of assets to US govt »»
Published time: March 29, 2015 14:01 Kim Dotcom (Reuters / Nigel Marple) Megaupload streaming service mogul Kim Dotcom has just been slapped with a civil penalty from the US government. The lawsuit will cost him $67 million worth of assets, including cars, property and luxury goods. The victory by the US court comes as he […] Read more...
Foreign Policy Journal
Obama Now Sides with Poroshenko and the EU to End Ukraine’s War »»
Poroshenko has Obama’s approval to get rid of Yatsenyuk — who had previously been Obama’s man.
Next time you are at an airport, you may not want to gaze down at your feet. But also be careful not to stare at anyone with your eyes wide open. Both of these behaviors are listed on a "suspicious signs" checklist used by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. The Intercept obtained the confidential document from a source concerned about the quality of the program. The document shows how the TSA identifies potential terrorists based on behaviors that it thinks indicate stress or deception, including "fidgeting," "whistling" and "throat clearing." The checklist is part of the TSA’s controversial program known as the "Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques.” It employs specially trained officers, known as behavior detection officers, to watch and interact with passengers going through screening. The TSA has trained and deployed thousands of these officers, spending more than $900 million on this program since its inception in 2007. However, the Government Accountability Office has found there is no evidence to back up the claim that "behavioral indicators … can be used to identify persons who may pose a risk to aviation security." We are joined by Cora Currier, staff reporter for The Intercept, whose new article co-written with Jana Winter, is "TSA’s Secret Behavior Checklist To Spot Terrorists." Read more...
Iran Nuclear Talks Near Deadline Amid "Air of Inevitability Combined with Tremendous Uncertainty" »»
Talks over a nuclear deal with Iran are in their final stages before Tuesday's self-imposed deadline. Progress has been reported on several issues, including limiting centrifuges at Iran's main nuclear facility to around 6,000. But Iran has reportedly backed off a key pledge to enrich its atomic fuel overseas. Iranian officials are said to have previously agreed to sending uranium stockpiles to Russia, but now want to keep the fuel inside the country. The demand could still be overcome by agreements on regular inspections and sufficiently diluting the fuel. If a preliminary deal is reached by Tuesday, a final agreement would follow by the end of June. From the Swiss city of Lausanne where the talks are underway, we are joined by Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council. Read more...
Ex-U.S. Official on Bowe Bergdahl Charges: Why Are We Vilifying an Ex-POW Tortured by Taliban? »»
With Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl facing charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, the case has revived controversy over how the Obama administration won his release in exchange for five Taliban detainees held at Guantánamo Bay. On Friday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee asked the White House for documents related to the swap. Others have raised different questions over the Bergdahl case, including whether he is being unfairly targeted while the military and political leaders who mishandled the Afghan war evade scrutiny. We speak with Matthew Hoh, a former Marine and State Department official who resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan over U.S. policy in September 2009. Read more...
Attorney for Bowe Bergdahl: Army Report Shows Ex-POW Left Base to Report Wrongdoing, Not Desert Unit »»
The U.S. Army says it plans to charge Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and the rare charge of misbehavior before the enemy after he was held and tortured in Taliban captivity for five years when he left his base in Afghanistan in 2009. He was freed in 2014 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held for years at Guantánamo Bay. Now Bergdahl's defense could center on an Army probe that found he walked off his post in an attempt to reach another U.S. base to report on wrongdoing in his unit. An earlier military report found Bergdahl likely walked away on his own free will, but stopped short of finding that he planned to permanently desert U.S. forces. We get the details from his lawyer, Eugene Fidell, a lecturer at Yale Law School and co-founder and former president of the National Institute of Military Justice. Read more...
Iran Talks Enter Final Hours; Tehran Reportedly Withdraws Pledge to Enrich Overseas, Saudi Arabia: No End to Yemen Attack Until Houthis Surrender, Arab League Agrees on Joint Military Force; Iraq Criticizes Yemen Strikes, 2014 Was Deadliest Year for Palestinians Since 1967, France to Advance Israel-Palestine Measure at U.N., Testing U.S. Veto, Al-Qaeda Affiliate Helps Capture Syrian City of Idlib, Tunisia Claims Death of Museum Attack Suspect as Tens of Thousands March, Millions Vote in Nigerian Elections Amid Violence, Amid Protest, Indiana Gov. Evades Questions on anti-LGBT Law, Schumer to Seek Democratic Senate Leadership to Replace Reid in 2016, Thousands Protest Cuomo Education Agenda in NYC Read more...
Hawks face big obstacle on defense spending: Obama »»
The White House signals it won't go along with billions in extra Pentagon funds without something in return. Read more...
Tech bigwigs help launch economic policy group »»
The first conversations about the group began at the end of 2012. Read more...
Cruz MIA at Armed Services hearings »»
Committee's outspoken hawk skipped 13 out of 16 oversight panels this year. Read more...
Iran deal a big test for Schumer »»
He could decide whether Congress has the votes to scuttle a nuclear agreement. Read more...
Privacy as we once knew it is dead. We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology—specifically the technology employed by the government against the American citizenry. As a result, warns John W. Whitehead in this week's vodcast, we are becoming a nation where even the most virtuous citizen risks becoming an outlaw.
Isn't it interesting how an agenda is so often posed as a debate even though there is usually only one side? Or, when a synthesis of the two is the actual goal?
That's how things are presented to adults, usually on television. Or rather, "adult-children." So that it looks like they have an informed choice. Unfortunately, children in many public schools don't even have the semblance of a two-sided joust. They are expected to download beliefs. As you will see below, it doesn't even matter if they get the answers correct, as long as they assimilate the connotation. The feeling. The message. The gist. And they will (if no one shows them otherwise) - I remember.
A lot of buzz is currently swarming on Robyn O'Brien's Facebook page. She wrote The Unhealthy Truth... and is sometimes called the Erin Brockovich of food. Over the weekend, a father sent her his 6th grade child's homework from Science class. It asks (and then answers) the question: Are genetically modified foods safe to eat?
This homework assignment first appeared on the Robyn O'Brien Facebook Page. Robyn asks: "Can you imagine if children were informed of the recent concern around the glyphosate sprayed on these crops? Or of the benefits of organic agriculture?" Indeed, talk about an extraction!:
The sheet pretends to ask if GMOs are safe to eat, but never offers any info contrary to the answer - yes. Whether the student's answers are right or wrong, the message is clear - GMO vaccine-foods are a healthy part of a complete breakfast. And for their other unquestionable benefits - minerals (says who?), vitamins, ability to absorb more of the company's pesticides, enhanced fragrance....
Adults are constantly probed, prodded, pressured and questioned repeatedly when they don't fall lock step with an agenda. It's easier for them to discern and show hesitancy because they can sense coercion. For instance, one study wanted to know what it would take for adults to swallow GMO and nanotech foods. Studies like that, serve mostly to influence the public, as if to suggest there is something wrong with you if you don't go along.
Older adults remember what life was like before the "peer-review pressure" of scientism. Back when brains and intuition took the place of mass worship, despite getting labeled a Luddite or anti-intellectual. Unfortunately, children face so many obstacles when expected to download or else fail - how can they foster that inner-mechanism or even question if there's more to the story?
Commenters claim that this homework sheet came from "A Bunch of Bears" lesson plan of Evan-Moor Educational Publishers. The post prompted people to suggest homeschooling as a solution. However, since it can be purchased from teacher supply shops, it's possible for the information to wind up in anyone's curriculum.
Homeschooled or public-schooled, here is a GMO primer to watch with children in mind that at the very least offers them more information about genetic engineering.
When an economic crisis is coming, there are usually certain indicators that appear in advance. For example, commodity prices usually start to plunge before a recession begins. And as you can see from the Bloomberg Commodity Index which you can find right here, this has already been happening. In addition, I have previously written about how the U.S. dollar went on a great run just before the financial collapse of 2008. This is something that has also been happening over the past few months.
Some people would have you believe that nobody can anticipate the next great economic downturn and that to try to do so is just an exercise in “guesswork”. But that is not the case at all. We can look back over history and see patterns that keep repeating. And a lot of the exact same patterns that happened just before previous stock market crashes are happening again right now.
For example, let’s talk about the price of oil. There are only two times in history when the price of oil has fallen by more than 50 dollars in a six-month time period. One was just before the financial crisis in 2008, and the other has just happened…
As a result of crashing oil prices, we are witnessing oil rigs shut down in the United States at a blistering pace. In fact, almost half of all oil rigs in the U.S. have already shut down. The following commentary and chart come from Wolf Richter…
In the latest week, drillers idled another 41 oil rigs, according to Baker Hughes. Only 825 rigs were still active, down 48.7% from October. In the 23 weeks since, drillers have idled 784 oil rigs, the steepest, deepest cliff-dive in the history of the data:
We are looking at a full-blown fracking bust, and this bust is already having a dramatic impact on the economies of states that are heavily dependent on the energy industry.
The crash in oil prices is hammering the Texas economy.
The latest manufacturing outlook index from the Dallas Fed plunged again in March, to -17.4 from -11.2 in February, indicating deteriorating business conditions in the state.
But this pain is going to be felt far beyond Texas. In recent years, Wall Street banks have made a massive amount of money packaging up energy industry loans, bonds, etc. and selling them off to investors.
If that sounds similar to the kind of behavior that preceded the subprime mortgage meltdown, that is because it is.
Now those loans, bonds, etc. are going bad as the fracking bust intensifies, and whoever is left holding all of this worthless paper at the end of the day is going to lose an extraordinary amount of money. Here is more from Wolf Richter…
It suited Wall Street just fine: according to Dealogic, banks extracted $31 billion in fees from the US oil and gas industry and its investors over the past five years by handling IPOs, spin-offs, “leveraged-loan” transactions, the sale of bonds and junk bonds, and M&A.
That’s $6 billion in fees per year! Over the last four years, these banks made over $4 billion in fees on just “leveraged loans.” These loans to over-indebted, junk-rated companies soared from about $40 billion in 2009 to $210 billion in 2014 before it came to a screeching halt.
For Wall Street it doesn’t matter what happens to these junk bonds and leveraged loans after they’ve been moved on to mutual funds where they can decompose sight-unseen.
And it doesn’t matter to Wall Street what happens to leverage loans after they’ve been repackaged into highly rated Collateralized Loan Obligations that are then sold to others.
At the same time, we are also witnessing a slowdown in global trade. This usually happens when economic conditions are about to turn sour, and that is why it is so alarming that the total volume of global trade in January was down 1.4 percent from December. According to Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge, that was the largest drop since 2011…
Presenting the latest data from the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, according to which in January world trade by volume dropped by a whopping 1.4% from December: the biggest drop since 2011!
We are seeing some troubling signs in the U.S. as well.
I shared the following chart in a previous article, but it bears repeating. It comes from Charles Hugh Smith, and it shows that new orders for consumer goods are falling at a rate not seen since the last recession…
Well, what about the stock market? It was up more than 200 points on Monday. Isn’t that good news?
Yes, but the euphoria on Wall Street will not last for long.
When corporate earnings per share either start flattening out or start to decline, that is a huge red flag. We saw this just prior to the stock market crash of 2008, and it is happening again right now. The following commentary and chart come from Phoenix Capital Research…
Take a look at the below chart showing current stock levels and changes in forward Earnings Per Share (EPS). Note, in particular how divergences between EPS and stocks tend to play out (hint look at 2007-2008).
We all know what came next.
And guess what?
According to CNBC, a lot of the “smart money” is pulling their money out of the stock market right now while the getting is good…
Recent market volatility has sent stock market investors rushing for the exits and into cash.
Outflows from equity-based funds in 2015 have reached their highest level since 2009, thanks to a seesaw market that has come under pressure from weak economic data, a stronger dollar and the the prospect of monetary tightening.
Funds that invest in stocks have seen $44 billion in outflows, or redemptions, year to date, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Equity funds have seen outflows in five of the last six weeks, including $6.1 billion in just the last week.
It doesn’t matter if you are a millionaire “on paper” today.
What matters is if the money is going to be there when you really need it.
At the moment, a whole lot of people have been lulled into a false sense of complacency by the soaring stock market and by the bubble of false economic stability that we have been enjoying.
But under the surface, there is a whole lot of turmoil going on.
Those that are looking for the signs are going to see the next crisis approaching well in advance.
Those that are not are going to get absolutely blindsided by what is coming.
Have readers noticed that recently U.S. government and White House “mouth pieces” have taken to rewriting history? Below is a perfect example where the U.S. State Department’s spokesperson is talking about a ‘long-standing’ policy regarding overthrowing foreign governments.
As a matter of long-standing policy, the United States does not support political transitions by nonconstitutional means. Political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful and legal. -- Spokesperson Jen Psaki
Did readers catch that numerous individuals, including government leaders, e.g., Russian, Venezuelan, Syrian, would dispute and challenge Psaki’s rather ‘vituperative’ remarks, plus those U.S. journalists who did just that, at that press conference?
Have readers noticed the snide tenor exercised toward journalists who are being ‘schooled’ by government employees and/or bureaucrats. After all, don’t bureaucrats work for us? Who pays their salaries? Our tax dollars! Shouldn’t we expect honesty, transparency, less putdown and, certainly, no rewrites of history, which obviously is happening on a daily basis by using controlled spin and the media?
To set the U.S. State Department’s record straight and not rewrite history, here are the overthrows, or attempts, that the U.S. government has been involved in since the 1950s according to William Blum, an official critic of U.S. foreign policy, historian and author. There are more than 50!
Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government)
China 1949 to early 1960s
East Germany 1950s
Iran 1953 *
Guatemala 1954 *
Costa Rica mid-1950s
British Guiana 1953-64 *
Iraq 1963 *
North Vietnam 1945-73
Cambodia 1955-70 *
Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *
Ecuador 1960-63 *
Congo 1960 *
Brazil 1962-64 *
Dominican Republic 1963 *
Cuba 1959 to present
Bolivia 1964 *
Indonesia 1965 *
Ghana 1966 *
Chile 1964-73 *
Greece 1967 *
Costa Rica 1970-71
Bolivia 1971 *
Australia 1973-75 *
Angola 1975, 1980s
Portugal 1974-76 *
Jamaica 1976-80 *
Chad 1981-82 *
Grenada 1983 *
South Yemen 1982-84
Fiji 1987 *
Nicaragua 1981-90 *
Panama 1989 *
Bulgaria 1990 *
Albania 1991 *
Afghanistan 1980s *
Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
Ecuador 2000 *
Afghanistan 2001 *
Venezuela 2002 *
Iraq 2003 *
Haiti 2004 *
Somalia 2007 to present
Will the U.S. State Department and Ms. Psaki please get their facts correct before you try to rewrite history via a press conference?
Catherine retired from researching and writing, but felt compelled to write this article.
Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.
After Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias backed by Iran were unable to liberate the Iraqi city of Tikrit from Western-backed ISIS forces in a swift manner, the US military establishment is now gloating in a rather obvious and even childish fashion that the Iraqi military has been forced to return like a battered wife to the arms of the abuser yet again.
According to the Military Times, nearly 20,000 Shiite militias withdrew from the Tikrit battleground after the Iraqi government agreed to pause its cooperation and coordination with the Iranian government. The Iraqi government agreed to take control of all the military operations from here on.
The United States imposed two conditions on the Iraqi government before it would agree to provide any assistance in the fight against ISIS that the Iraqi government end cooperation with Iran and that the Iraqi government assume command over forces on the ground.
Yet it could easily be seen that whatever successes were being witnessed on the ground were the result of the lack of US involvement, not the result of it. The Iraqi military/government and the United States had been in the planning stages of an assault against ISIS-held positions inside Iraq since January 2015. Yet, despite “assistance” coming from the most militarily advanced nation on the face of the earth, Iraqi officials had complained that preparations for military plans were moving much too slow or either not at all. It appeared, for all intents and purposes, that the US was not as interested in eliminating strategic (to the Iraqi government) strongholds of ISIS as it was pretending to be in its press conferences and international speeches.
What is interesting, however, is the fact that, months before any such operations were ever launched, U.S. General Lloyd Austin, head of the US military’s CENTCOM, told the Wall Street Journal that the US and Iraq were planning a summer offensive to retake Mosul and cut supply lines to the ISIS fighters that control it. In other words, US General Austin revealed the war plans long before the actual operation took place, thus tipping off the potential targets to the upcoming military assault and creating even greater odds for the weak Iraqi forces to surmount.
Although failing to retake Tikrit, the Iranian military provided tanks, personnel, arms, and artillery assistance to the Shiite militias fighting against ISIS.
However, as the bulk of the work in the fight against ISIS was done by Shiite militias, some Sunni militias, Iraqi forces with various forms of Iranian assistance, the United States stepped in and began to whine about its fears that Iraq was falling under the influence of Iran, a real fear of the US since the Shiite crescent and Iranian arc of influence is exactly what the US, NATO, and Israel have been fighting so hard against.
Thus, the US demanded that, if Iraq was going to continue to work with Iran, then America would take its ball and go home and leave Iraq to its own devices, at least on this particular battlefield. After the Iraqi government agreed to America’s terms, the US engaged in airstrikes over Tikrit that saw the destruction of a number of bridges and railroads as well as alleged ISIS checkpoints and facilities.
When Tikrit operations kicked off … we heard quite a bit from the Iraqis and some even from the Iranians, some fairly high-confidence statements about how rapidly the operation in Tikrit would go. Obviously they were incorrect.
I think it's important that the Iraqis understand that what would be most helpful to them is a reliable partner in this fight. Reliable, professional, advanced military capabilities are something that reside very clearly and very squarely with the [American-led] coalition.
General Lloyd Austin, the man who leaked the military assault plans before the Iraqi military was able to implement them and who is partly responsible for the difficulty experienced by the Iraqi-Iranian forces even if for no other reason than his untimely revelation, admitted that the Iranian forces have a vested interest in seeing the destruction of ISIS. He also repeated his and the US’ rejection of cooperation in that goal.
Austin pointed out that, only a few years ago, American soldiers were fighting these same Iraqi Shiite militias. “I’d just like to highlight sir, after three tours in Iraq commanding troops in Iraq who were brutalized by some of these Shia militias I will not and I hope we never coordinate or cooperate with the Shia militias,” he said.
Austin, of course made no mention of the motivation behind these Shiite militias who, along with Sunni fighters, were dealing defeat to the sophisticated US forces until David Petraeus and Robert Ford among others devised a plan to divide the Iraqi resistance. Indeed, the reason they were doing so was because the US illegally invaded their country, murdering their friends and family and destroying their infrastructure. Unfortunately, Americans, who have a history of this type of behavior across the entire globe, remain confused as to why they are not universally loved and greeted as heroes and liberators wherever they go.
For now, Austin and his imperialist commanders have gotten their wish. The militias have been halted yet again, Iran’s influence has been weakened in Iraq, and ISIS is now escaping what was its imminent destruction in Tikrit.
In the end, however, the recent nudging of Iranian influence in Iraq by the US is not only an example of the geopolitical struggle between Iran and the US, but also how the US consistently rides in on a white horse at the last minute to save ISIS from defeat in Iraq and Syria. This alone should cause many to question the true nature of the relationship between the United States and ISIS.