Sunday, February 1, 2015
1/31/2015 January 31st 2015
THE 1% ELITE____________
The location and dates of the forthcoming 2015 gathering of secretive elites under the Bilderberg Group banner has been confirmed.
Local police have verified that the conference will take place at the opulent Interalpen Hotel, in the Austrian mountains near Telfs.
In a press release, the Austrian police revealed that security for the confab will be in operation from June 9th-14th. As is usually the custom with Bilderberg, the actual meeting of delegates will take place from the Thursday to the Sunday of that week, June 11th-14th.
The police press release notes that security at the Bilderberg meeting will be part of the same operation as security for the much more public G7 meeting, which is scheduled to take place at the beginning of the same week, 7th-8th June, at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany.
“The job of the police at the G7 and the Bilderberg conference is the protection of state guests, eminent persons and the general public,” the Minister of the Interior is quoted as saying. “The defense and prevention of attacks is a top priority. However, the police presence also ensures the protection of peaceful demonstrators, because freedom of assembly is one of the fundamental rights of our democracy.” the Minister is said to have added.
The statement also notes that in conjunction with German police, extra special police forces will be called in to operate security during the gatherings. Known as COBRA, the forces are Austria’s primary counter-terrorism special operations tactical unit. and are not part of the Austrian Federal Police but are directly under the control of the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior.
Major General Robert Strondl, Head of the Operations Department of the Interior Ministry noted that “For months we gather all the relevant information about both events and create risk assessments that are continuously updated and are the basis for all other plans.”
The statement also notes that police are considering “significant” traffic restrictions, and even a 30 mile no-fly zone around the Bilderberg meeting, to include paragliders and hang gliders.
Rumours over the venue for this year’s Bilderberg meeting, the Interalpen Hotel, were first touted back in August when enquiries to the hotel revealed that it was already fully booked on the first two weekends of June. The uncovering of Bilderberg came earlier than ever before, perhaps reflecting the intense scrutiny that the group has come under in recent years.
(Infowars, jan 30th)
After 10 years, few payoffs from Gates' 'Grand Challenges'
Despite $1 billion investment, no significant contribution to saving lives, improving health
When he took the stage this fall to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his signature global health research initiative, Bill Gates used the word “naive” — four times — to describe himself and his charitable foundation.
It was a surprising admission coming from the world’s richest man.
But the Microsoft co-founder seemed humbled that, despite an investment of $1 billion, none of the projects funded under the Gates Foundation’s “Grand Challenges” banner has yet made a significant contribution to saving lives and improving health in the developing world.
“I was pretty naive about how long that process would take,” Gates told a gathering of nearly 1,000 people in Seattle.
(seattle times, jan 21st)
JOE BIDEN CONFESSES________________
Biden: Democrats Have Made Tough Decisions That Are ‘Hard To Explain’
(CBS washington, jan 30th)
Biden: 'The Past Six Years Have Been Really, Really Hard For This Country'
(weekly standard, jan 30th)
NEW COLD WAR___________________
EU foreign ministers have decided to extend targeted sanctions against Russian officials and the militias in eastern Ukraine until September, according to Federica Mogherini, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs.
The first batch of sanctions, which was adopted last year and targeted specific individuals accused of fostering conflict in eastern Ukraine, was set to expire in March. The sanctions included travel bans and economic restrictions.
The EU Council has also requested that the European Commission expand the blacklist of individuals it blames for the escalation of the Ukraine conflict, Mogherini said after a meeting in Brussels on Thursday.
(Russia Today, jan 30th)
Washington disagrees with former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev that the United States is in another Cold war with Russia, which might turn into a “hot” one, spokesperson for the US Department of State Jen Psaki told journalists.
“We disagree,” Psaki said Thursday about Gorbachev’s comments, stressing that the United States continues to work with Russia on various issues including Iran, Syria, and Ukrainian conflict. “We have discussions about a range of issues, even the tensions on the ground in the Middle East. That’s continuing.”
The spokesperson noted that Washington’s intention is to “bring an end to illegal actions that are happening in Ukraine.”
“That’s why we continue to work with the Europeans to put in place more consequences,” she said.
(Sputnik, jan 30th)
The Chief of Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, General Viktor Muzhenko, is saying, in that news-report, which is dated on Thursday January 29th, that the only Russian citizens who are fighting in the contested region, are residents in that region, or of Ukraine, and also some Russian citizens (and this does not deny that perhaps some of other countries’ citizens are fighting there, inasmuch as American mercenaries have already been noted to have been participating on the Ukrainian Government’s side), who “are members of illegal armed groups,” meaning fighters who are not paid by any government, but instead are just “individual citizens” (as opposed to foreign-government-paid ones). General Muzhenko also says, emphatically, that the “Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian army.”
In other words: He is explicitly and clearly denying the very basis for the EU’s sanctions against Russia, and for the U.S.’s sanctions against Russia: all of the sanctions against Russia are based on the falsehood that Ukraine is fighting against “the regular units of the Russian army” — i.e., against the Russian-Government-controlled-and-trained fighting forces.
The allegation to the effect that Ukraine is instead fighting against “regular units of the Russian army” is the allegation that Vladimir Putin’s Russia has invaded Ukraine, and it is the entire basis for the economic sanctions that are in force against Russia.
(Infowars, jan 30th)
Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn’t been one to back down in response to sanctions against his country and attacks on his economy. Rather, he has stepped up not only his rhetoric, but his military activities as well.
His latest move is yet another show of force to let the West know Russia is prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect its interests.
The U.K.’s Royal Air Force scrambled fighter jets on Thursday after a pair of nuclear-capable Russian bombers flew across a busy civilian air traffic corridor above the English Channel. The bombers had their transponders turned off, British officials said, making them invisible to many air traffic control systems. The incident disrupted multiple flights – and ended with the U.K. government demanding the Russian ambassador appear at the Foreign Office to explain the actions.
This latest incident comes on the heels of similar flyovers by nuclear bombers along the west coast of the United States from Alaska all the way down to California. It has even been speculated that Russia may have tested a new weapon last year leading to a shut down of Los Angeles commercial air traffic control systems.
(Shtfplan, jan 30th)
Economically, what we are experiencing right now are birth pangs of the coming Great Depression. As we get closer to the crisis that is looming on the horizon, they will become even more powerful. This week, we learned that the Baltic Dry Index has fallen to the lowest level that we have seen in 29 years. The Baltic Dry Index also crashed during the financial collapse of 2008, but right now it is already lower than it was at any point during the last financial crisis. In addition, “Dr. Copper” and other industrial commodities continue to plunge. This almost always happens before we enter an economic downturn. Meanwhile, as I mentioned the other day, orders for durable goods are declining. This is also a traditional indicator that a recession is approaching. The warning signs are there – we just have to be open to what they are telling us.
And of course there are so many more parallels between past economic downturns and what is happening right now.
For example, volatility has returned to the markets in a big way. On Tuesday the Dow was down about 300 points, on Wednesday it was down another couple hundred points, and then on Thursday it was up a couple hundred points.
This is precisely how markets behave just before they crash. When markets are calm, they tend to go up. When markets get really choppy and start behaving erratically, that tells us that a big move down is usually coming.
At the same time, almost every major global currency is imploding. For much more on this, see the amazing charts in this article.
In particular, I am greatly concerned about the collapse of the euro. The Swiss would not have decoupled their currency from the euro if it was healthy. And political events in Greece are certainly not going to help things either. Economic conditions across Europe just continue to get worse, and the future of the eurozone itself is very much in doubt at this point. And if the eurozone does break up, a European economic depression is almost virtually assured – at least in the short term.
And I haven’t even mentioned the oil crash yet.
There is only one other time in all of history when the price of oil collapsed by more than 60 dollars, and that was just prior to the horrific financial crisis of 2008.
(Economic Collapse blog, jan 30th)
Government housing agencies seeking to entice more low-income homebuyers to purchase mortgages are engaged in a price war that could leave taxpayers on the hook if another housing meltdown occurs, according to experts.
Both the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, housing giants known as government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), have announced programs in recent weeks that reduce lending standards and mortgage costs to attract low-income buyers.
President Barack Obama touted the FHA’s plan, which lowers annual insurance premiums on government-backed mortgages, earlier this month. That program follows Fannie and Freddie’s resumption in December of low down payment mortgage loans for eligible first-time homebuyers.
The timing of the two measures is not a coincidence, some experts say. Edward Pinto, former chief credit officer of Fannie Mae and a co-director of the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) International Center on Housing Risk, wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the federal agencies also competed for homebuyers in the decades before the 2008 housing crisis.
“Fannie’s goal in 1994 and today is to take market share from the FHA, the main competitor for loans it and Freddie Mac need to meet mandates set by Congress since 1992 to increase loans to low- and moderate-income homeowners,” he said. “The weapons in this war are familiar—lower pricing and progressively looser credit as competing federal agencies fight over existing high-risk lending and seek to expand such lending.”
As the agencies reduce prices in a tit-for-tat fashion to lure homebuyers, more risky mortgage loans are injected into the housing market. Critics say the purchase of such loans by Fannie and Freddie, spurred by federal housing mandates, contributed significantly to the 2008 crisis. The GSEs required a taxpayer bailout of $188 billion to stay afloat after 2008.
Fannie and Freddie operate by buying mortgage loans from lenders, packaging them into securities, and then selling those securities to investors with backing from taxpayers. The FHA, by contrast, offers mortgage insurance on loans by certain approved lenders. In 2013, the agency drew $1.7 billion from the Treasury Department to cover losses on bad loans.
Fannie and Freddie, along with the FHA, underwrite a majority of loans in the housing market.
Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)—which oversees the GSEs—said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday that his agency would decide on the “guarantee fees” that Fannie and Freddie charge lenders by the end of March.
If the fees—which account for the risk Fannie and Freddie assume by buying the mortgage loans—are reduced, it could be another sign that the GSEs will lower prices further to compete with FHA and attract homebuyers.
Another concern about the brewing price war between Fannie and Freddie and the FHA is their lack of capital. Under a 2012 agreement with Treasury, Fannie and Freddie must hand over all of their profits to the government and cannot retain capital. The FHA will not reach its required minimum capital level of 2 percent until at least 2016. Both agencies could thus leave taxpayers exposed if their loans default, and there is no capital to absorb the losses.
(free beacon, jan 29th)
The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest in more than two decades in the fourth quarter as many would-be buyers stayed on the sidelines, giving the rental market a boost.
The share of Americans who own their homes was 64 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 64.4 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau said in a report. The rate was at the lowest since the second quarter of 1994, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Rising prices and a tight supply of lower-end listings have put homes out of reach for some entry-level buyers, who also face strict mortgage standards. The share of U.S. homebuyers making their first purchase dropped in 2014 to the lowest level in almost three decades, the National Association of Realtors reported last week.
(Bloomberg, jan 30th)
Nearly half of U.S. households — 47 percent — say they spend all of their income, go into debt or dip into savings to meet their annual expenses, according to an analysis of Fed survey data released Thursday by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
(Chicago tribune, jan 30th)
Rise of the robots at AOL lead to job cuts
(Usa today, jan 30th)
China draining global gold inventory
(WND, jan 31st)
PRIVACY AND THE SPY GRID_________________
This week’s report that U.S. government surveillance efforts have reached our roads appears to be just the latest troubling expansion of post-Sept. 11 domestic spying. Like so many of the online surveillance techniques that have been revealed in recent years, the newly uncovered Justice Department program — which scans license plates in order to track the movements of vehicles, creating a national database for law enforcement agencies — gathers huge amounts of data about the movements of innocent and guilty people alike. But, like the rise of government cybersurveillance, the rise of auto surveillance has happened so rapidly and completely that the public may only be waking up to it long after it has become an ineradicable fixture of modern American life.
According to the report, in addition to installing cameras on public roads, the Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration taps into a massive and growing network of license plate scanners operated by various local law enforcement agencies. These plate reading programs, helped by grants from the Department of Homeland Security, are now operated by as many as 70 percent of local police departments, which see them as a “force multiplier” for overworked beat cops. With the ability to automatically scan more than 100,000 vehicles per day at an ever-lower cost, police say the devices simply make officers more efficient at their jobs.
(bloomberg, jan 30th)
The Communications Security Establishment, CSA has joined the league of massive internet surveillance with its new program by the name Levitation. The new program is like the NSA surveillance system except that instead of looking at internet traffic it surveils downloads and uploads of pictures, videos and notes online.
(security gladiators, jan 29th)
Judge: Power Company Can Refuse Electricity to Family that Removed Smart Meter
A Detroit family that removed their home’s “Smart Meter” has been forced to rely on a generator after a local power company shut off their electricity.
(Infowars, jan 30th)
A Year After Reform Push, NSA Still Collects Bulk Domestic Data, Still Lacks Way to Assess Value
(first look, jan 29th)
A high-tech office in Sweden is implanting its workers with computer chips under the skin in order for them to access the building, a move which ‘biohackers’ says is preparation for a dystopian future when governments and corporations adopt the same technology.
The Epicenter building in Stockholm, which hosts start-up companies as well as the likes of Google and Microsoft, utilizes microchip technology to allow staff to open doors, interact with smartphones, as well as operate equipment.
BBC reporter Rory Cellan-Jones volunteered to be microchipped for the story and had a chip injected into his hand.
According to Hannes Sjoblad, chief ‘disruption officer’ at the office development, the chip will also eventually be used to pay for food in the canteen and replace passwords to access computers.
Sjoblad said people should welcome the chip because it would make their lives “easier,” while also warning that one day governments and corporations could mandate that people be microchipped.
“We want to be able to understand this technology before big corporates and big government come to us and say everyone should get chipped — the tax authority chip, the Google or Facebook chip,” he said.
In a separate profile piece, Sjoblad seems more welcoming of the idea of everybody being chipped, commenting, “Years ago there was fear over vaccinations and now it seems perfectly normal to have cells injected into us. That is an early example of bio-hacking.”
“We’ve been putting chips in animals for 20 years,” he added.
People being implanted with microchips as a “convenient” way of getting access to secure areas is by no means a new technology.
In 2004, a BBC News reporter also got microchipped for a story about a nightclub in Barcelona where customers use the chip to access VIP areas and pay for drinks.
Also in 2004, Mexico’s attorney general and at least 160 employees in his office were injected with rice grain-sized chips in order to access secure areas of the building.
In January last year, Former DARPA director and now Google executive Regina Dugan promoted the idea of an edible “authentication microchip,” while Google engineering director Scott Huffman says that within five years people will have microphones attached to their ceilings and microchips embedded in their brains in order to perform quicker internet searches.
A 2012 CNN article which speculated about the future of transhumanism predicted that within 75 years, everyone on the planet would have a brain chip implant that would allow their behavior to be controlled by a third party.
The release of Apple’s new ‘Apple Pay’ system last year, which utilizes biometric fingerprints to allow users to make purchases, also prompted fears about the ‘mark of the beast’, a bible verse in Revelations which predicts that “no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark,” which many Christians ascribe to biometric payment technology and implantable microchips.
According to inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, an icon for transhumanists, smartphones will be implanted in the brain within 20 years.
By 2019, Kurzweil forecasts that wearable smartphones will be all the rage and that by 2029, computers and cellphones will be implanted in people’s eyes and ears, creating a “human underclass” who refuse the chip that will be viewed by others as backwards and unproductive because they refuse to acquiesce to the singularity.
(Infowars, jan 30th)
FBI Lists Brother of US Citizen Challenging No Fly List as ‘Most Wanted Terrorist’ Day Before Major Hearing
In the Eastern District of Virginia, the Justice Department has been fighting a lawsuit brought by a US citizen, who claims his constitutional rights were violated when he was placed on the No Fly List.
The judge has not blindly accepted the government’s state secrets claims and left open the possibility that the government may fail to get the case thrown out. However, the day before a major hearing for summary judgment, the FBI put the US citizen’s brother on the Bureau’s list of “Most Wanted Terrorists.”
When Gulet Mohamed went to renew his Kuwaiti visitor’s visa on December 20, 2010, he was handcuffed and blindfolded by men in civilian clothes, who took him to a location approximately fifteen minutes from the airport [PDF]. He was kept in detention for over a week and suffered torture.
Interrogators transferred him to a deportation facility on December 28. As Kuwaiti officials tried to deport him, he found out he had been placed on a No Fly List. He remained in the deportation facility for a couple weeks and FBI agents visited him twice. Mohamed believes the agents did this to “pressure him to forgo his right to counsel, submit to invasive questioning and become an informant for the FBI upon returning to the United States.”
(Fire dog lake, jan 30th)
Missoula police are seeking a quarter of a million dollar Homeland Security grant to help them spy on “extremist” organization The Rainbow Family, a loosely affiliated hippy group which stresses non-violence, peace and love.
The mayor signed off this week on a proposal that if approved would net the Missoula Police Department $254,930 from the DHS to purchase a mobile command unit that would be used to spy on The Rainbow Family, which is listed as an “extremist” organization in the proposal. The unit will also be used by other first responders during emergencies and natural disasters.
The mobile command units, offered to police departments by the DHS after 9/11, are designed to deal with hostage situations, active shooter calls and mass-casualty incidents.
The Rainbow Family “describes itself as a nonviolent group spreading the message of peace and love.” The group has only met twice in Montana in the last fifteen years, once in 2000 and once in 2013. The extent of the “threat” posed by the group is that one of its gatherings was described by the U.S. Forest Service as “rowdy”.
According to a description of the group’s activity, “All Rainbow Gatherings are held with an open invitation to people of all walks of life, and of all beliefs, to share experiences, love, dance, music, food, and learning.” After a gathering in Richmond, Virginia in 2005, Mayor Bob Henry Baber stated, “I never saw one bit of any activity that required any Forest Service legal intervention.”
Missoula Police Lt. Scott Brodie said that during its 2013 event, the group “created a mess that (needed) to be cleaned up”.
Citing a non-violent hippy group which stresses peace and love in order to justify the purchase of a vehicle that would normally be used to combat dangerous criminals or even terrorists is patently absurd and a shocking indication of how far the police state has progressed in America.
While large gatherings such as those staged by The Rainbow Family, during which crimes will inevitably occur, undoubtedly need to be properly policed, to describe the group as “extremist” is complete overkill.
The proposal is even more ludicrous than a 2013 application by the police chief in Concord, New Hampshire, who attempted to justify a DHS grant to buy a BearCat armored vehicle by citing the threat posed by libertarians and Occupy activists in the region.
(Infowars, jan 30th)
Current and former federal air marshals allege that the Transportation Security Administration intentionally hid embarrassing information about supervisors’ misconduct and targeted employees who sought to expose the truth.
The allegations revolve around TSA management’s overuse of an agency-specific designation called Sensitive Security Information (SSI). Though it is not classified, information deemed SSI is supposed to be kept from the public because it would harm transportation security. The marshals claim that the TSA has repeatedly abused the SSI classification, even going so far as to use it on fictitious information, in an effort to keep the public in the dark.
(national review, jan 30th)
The Transportation Security Agency will be on high alert closely scrutinizing travelers passing through Phoenix Sky Harbor, searching for prohibited items like air horns, BBQ sauce and flasks of all shapes and sizes, while blithely ignoring concerns brought to light by a security consultant who proved in 2013 that an array of makeshift weapons could be constructed using gift shop items found beyond TSA checkpoints.
“TSA will deploy nearly 90 additional Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) and supervisors as well as four Passenger Screening Canine teams,” a DHS press release states, adding that VIPR teams (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) will also be monitoring other mass transit hubs around the city.
The US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies have the important task of protecting the NFL’s “intellectual property,” ostensibly “to ensure fans are getting official Super Bowl related memorabilia.”
The Secret Service, an agency which mainly works to protect national and visiting foreign leaders, will also get in on the act by scoping out your Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social media.
“The U.S. Secret Service will support open-source social media monitoring for situational awareness and has been assisting with cyber security vulnerability assessments and mitigation,” the press release states.
FEMA prepared staffers and first responders by using “role players” to carry out simulated “mass casualty events” “in which ‘injured’ role players were triaged, transported and treated in the midst of a chaotic situation that was still unfolding.”
The North American Aerospace Command (NORAD), outside of the purview of the DHS, has also announced it will be patrolling Phoenix airways ahead of and during the Super Bowl, unlike during 9/11 when it was ordered to stand down.
But the scores of federal employees apparently aren’t enough. DHS, following the 1984 playbook, is again enlisting citizen snitches to be wary of their fellow football lovers.
Predictably, the bloated agency has resurrected its tired “See Something, Say Something” campaign, encouraging game patrons to look upon each other with fear, distrust and suspicion.
Residents and football fans visiting Phoenix over the weekend will be inundated with “See Something, Say Something” messages “at hotels, on buses, billboards, magazines and visitor guides.”
And, “For the first time ever, individuals in Arizona who are using their smart phones to play games using the Game Day and NFL Experience mobile applications may see campaign messaging throughout Super Bowl Weekend.”
(Infowars, jan 30th)
After two hung juries, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has decided not to retry the police officer who killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones in a raid gone horribly wrong four years ago.
Detroit police office Joseph Weekley, 38, shot and killed the sleeping 7-year-old with an MP5 submachine gun as he led a SWAT-like team into her home in search of a murder suspect.
SEE ALSO: Former Prison Chaplain Awarded $4M After Cop Breaks His Leg In Attack
Weekley was indicted more than a year later and has been tried twice before in Stanley-Jones’ death, both times resulting in mistrials. Prosecutors maintain that the officer was negligent and reckless and didn’t follow proper protocol in the May 16, 2010 operation, reports The Detroit Free Press.
They maintain that Weekley, who is part of the “elite” special response team, broke protocol in shooting little Aiyana, and officers from his unit testified to this in court (apparently, your finger is not supposed to be on the trigger of your gun unless you have identified and intend to fire at your target.)
(news one, jan 28th)
The City of New York on Friday agreed to pay $3.9 million to the family of Ramarley Graham, a black Bronx teenager shot to death by a white police officer in 2012.
(CBS new york, jan 30th)
THE MEDIA AND FIRST AMENDMENT________________
Reporters covering the House Democrats’ retreat in Philadelphia this week are having a much different experience than when they’re on their home turf on Capitol Hill.
Reporters are being escorted to and from the restroom and lobby and are being barred from entering the hotel outside of scheduled events, even if they’ve been invited by a member of Congress.
During Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks at the retreat Friday, reporters were required to have a staff member, usually a junior member of the press team, escort them when going to the bathroom or to the lobby. The filing center for reporters was at a separate hotel from where the retreat was taking place, so access was limited to members of Congress specifically made available to the press.
(Politico, jan 30th)
Critics Push Back After Broadcasting Board of Governors Characterizes Alternative Media as Terror
(Infowars, jan 30th)
If Obama Gets His Way, Sharing This Story Will Soon Be a Felony
American bloggers and media companies would also be subject to felony cybercrime charges for disseminating hacked material. The statute would apply to normal Internet users too: If you, dear reader, saw the “bad passwords” article and passed it along to a friend over email, or posted the link to Reddit, or retweeted the article, or shared it on Facebook, then you too could face federal prosecution for “willfully” trafficking “in any password or similar information.”
Does that sound insane? Surely it does. Is it a real possibility? With Republicans and Democrats both backing the bill, it surely is.
(Policy mic, jan 30th)
Saudi Arabia postponed Friday for a third week in a row the flogging of a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam, his wife said.
(AFP, jan 30th)
Former CBS investigative correspondent testifies at the confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch
SHARYL ATTKISSON: In 2013, Reporters Without Borders downgraded America’s standing in the global free press rankings, rating the Obama administration as worse than Bush’s. It matters not that when caught the government promises to dial back or that [FOX News'] James Rosen gets an apology. The message has already been received. If you cross this administration with perfectly accurate reporting they don’t like, you will be attacked and punished. You and your sources may be subjected to the kind of surveillance devised for enemies of the state.
(real clear politics, jan 29th)
Nearly two months after it went offline following a police raid in Sweden, torrent-indexing site The Pirate Bay is back online.
The comeback is hardly surprising. Following a period of complete unavailability, the site was resurrected in December, with an image of a phoenix replacing its standard pirate-ship logo. The Pirate Bay was not immediately functional, but it featured a timer indicating that the site would resume operations some time around Feb. 1.
See also: The Pirate Bay cofounder: I don't care if the site stays down
The Pirate Bay's current owners have not yet made an official announcement about its return. However, a Saturday report from TorrentFreak said there may be some friction between former and current staff members, with some even planning to launch another version of the site.
Currently, The Pirate Bay is back, and appears to have the same functionality as before, though there are few torrents newer than Dec. 9, when the site was shut down.
(mashable, jan 31st)
WAR ON TERROR________________
Open Jihad Declared in Egypt Following State Dept. Meeting with Muslim Brotherhood-Aligned Leaders
The Muslim Brotherhood called for “a long, uncompromising jihad” in Egypt just days after a delegation of the Islamist group’s key leaders and allies met with the State Department, according to an official statement released this week.
Just days after a delegation that included two top Brotherhood leaders was hosted at the State Department, the organization released an official statement calling on its supporters to “prepare” for jihad, according to an independent translation of the statement first posted on Tuesday.
(free beacon, jan 30th)
Security fears after Qatar buys BA stake: Critics slam deal as Middle Eastern country has links with Hamas, IS and Al Qaeda
-Qatar has bought a £1.15billion share of IAG that owns BA and Iberia
-10 per cent stake has been purchased by sovereign owned Qatar Airways
-Critics say Qatar has links to terrorist groups Hamas, IS and Al Qaeda
-They say Qatar 'does not share our values' and it funds terrorism
-The state denies it supports terror organisations or funds them
(dailymail, jan 30th)
One thousand of the 36,000 illegal immigrant criminals the government released in 2013 have gone on to commit other crimes, including child sex abuse, hit-and-run and child cruelty, according to new data released Friday evening by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley.
The information, which the Homeland Security Department provided to Mr. Grassley, details all 1,000 convictions including dozens of drunk-driving convictions, drug offenses and weapons convictions. But the more serious crimes include domestic abuse, carjacking and aggravated assault.
(Washington times, jan 30th)
Some Motorists Wait Months For DMV Appointments After Immigrants Law Goes Into Effect
The Department of Motor Vehicles is so overwhelmed with requests for new driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations that it can take up to three months to get an appointment or a half-day wait in the lobby.
A DMV spokesman told KCAL9 Political Reporter Dave Bryan there has been a crush of applications for new licenses for undocumented immigrants, a program that began earlier this month. The spokesman said the DMV is working to address the problems, but some people are having to take a day off of work to handle a 15-minute transaction.
At the Hollywood DMV office, where they handle drivers license issues, the long lines outside and packed waiting areas inside are testimony to the long, grueling process that California drivers have to endure before getting service.
(CBS los angles, jan 29th)
And while interest groups and advocates wage war in state legislatures, on ballots and in Congress over what should be disclosed on product labels, products certified as containing no genetically modified organisms are proliferating on grocery shelves without any nationwide mandatory regulations.
Moreover, many manufacturers are nodding to the public debate, adding the phrase “non-G.M.O.” to their packaging without a verification process.
“We’ve put it on our labels because it was something our customers wanted to know,” said Hitesh Hajarnavis, chief executive of Popcorn Indiana, which sells ready-to-eat popcorn.
So if more companies elect to put labels on their products stating that they are G.M.O.-free, whether verified or not, does that make the fierce policy debate increasingly moot?
“It’s an interesting question,” said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, which lobbies for mandatory labeling.
(NYT, jan 31st)
Their children have been sent home from school. Their families are barred from birthday parties and neighborhood play dates. Online, people call them negligent and criminal. And as officials in 14 states grapple to contain a spreading measles outbreak that began near here at Disneyland, the parents at the heart of America’s anti-vaccine movement are being blamed for incubating an otherwise preventable public-health crisis.
But here in California, anti-vaccine parents whose children have endured bouts of whooping cough and chickenpox largely defended their choice to raise their children on natural foods, essential oils and no vaccinations.
“There is absolutely no reason to get the shot,” said Crystal McDonald, whose 16-year-old daughter was one of 66 students sent home from Palm Desert High School for the next two weeks because they did not have full measles immunizations.
After researching the issue and reading information from a national anti-vaccine group, Ms. McDonald said she and her husband, a chiropractor, decided to raise their four children without vaccines. She said they ate well and had never been to the doctor, and she insisted that her daughter was healthier than many classmates. But when the school sent her home with a letter, Ms. McDonald’s daughter was so concerned about missing two weeks of Advanced Placement classes that she suggested simply getting a measles inoculation.
“I said, ‘No, absolutely not,’ “ Ms. McDonald said. “I said, ‘I’d rather you miss an entire semester than you get the shot.’ “
(NYT, jan 31st)
Senate GOP demands Obama turn over all communications with IRS
Senate Republicans on Thursday asked President Obama to turn over all communications he and his aides have had with the IRS since 2010, hoping to find out whether the tax collection agency shared private taxpayer information with political operatives at the White House.
(Washington times, jan 29th)
Hillary Clinton’s ‘WMD’ moment: U.S. intelligence saw false narrative in Libya
The intelligence community gathered no specific evidence of an impending genocide in Libya in spring 2011, undercutting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s primary argument for using the U.S. military to remove Col. Moammar Gadhafi from power, an event that has left his country in chaos, according to officials with direct knowledge of the dispute.
(washington times, jan 29th)
Obama Commits to Fight Obesity in India
President Obama committed to helping the India fight obesity during his recent trip to the country. A UNICEF survey found that over 30 percent of Indian children under the age of 5 were underweight, CNS News reports.
Obama addressed the “issue of obesity” in India after it was brought up in a question posed by a listener.
The president did not address the United Nation’s World Food Program ranking of India as one of the hungriest countries in the world.
(free beacon, jan 28th)
Big-money donors push Romney out for Bush
'Mitt's a great guy, but winning is everything in this business'
Well-placed whispers. Emails sent to deep-pocket donors. A silent, but swift campaign behind the scenes to swing support from the old establishment darling to the new.
The net result: Mitt Romney is out, and Jeb Bush is in.
According to a report in the New York Times, a coalition of wealthy and powerful Republican donors reached the decision early that Romney had his shot at being elected president, and it was time for new blood.
“Donors who supported [Romney] last time refused to commit to his campaign,” the Times summarized. “Key operatives were signing up with former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida. The Republican establishment that lifted Mr. Romney to the nomination in 2012 in the face of scrappy opposition had moved on.”
(WND, jan 31st)
Pipeline not state-inspected before 3M-gallon saltwater leak
A pipeline that ruptured recently in North Dakota and spilled nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater produced during oil drilling wasn't inspected by the state before being installed, according to state regulators.
Alison Ritter, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota Industrial Commission, which oversees the state's oil and gas industry, said Wednesday that it's common for officials not to inspect such small gathering pipelines before they become operational.
North Dakota has struggled to find qualified installation inspectors because candidates are often drawn to lucrative jobs in the oil industry, Ritter said. Instead, the state has to rely on the word of companies, which are required to file an affidavit stating that they've followed state-mandated procedures when implementing the smaller pipelines, which typically run from one well pad to another.
(lancaster online, jan 28th)