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Sunday, February 8, 2015

NEWS FOR 2/7/2015 february 7th 2015 and 2/8/2015 february 8th 2015

U.S. GOVERNMENTS (feds and states)____________________

On Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast Barack Obama attacked Christians equating the barbaric actions of ISIS to Christianity.

The President used his warped and adolescent version of the Crusades and Inquisition to bash Christians.
He also blamed slavery and Jim Crow laws on Christians?

    “Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place. Remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. And our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

But truth be told, Barack Obama’s drone bombings have killed more people in six years than the 300 year-long Spanish Inquisition.

Patrick Poole at PJ Media reported:

    On Monday of this week the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published their annual study of deaths from U.S. drone strikes, and reported the following:

        At least 2,464 people have now been killed by US drone strikes outside the country’s declared war zones since President Barack Obama’s inauguration six years ago, the Bureau’s latest monthly report reveals.

        Of the total killed since Obama took his oath of office on January 20 2009, at least 314 have been civilians, while the number of confirmed strikes under his administration now stands at 456.

        Research by the Bureau also shows there have now been nearly nine times more strikes under Obama in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than there were under his predecessor, George W Bush.

According to Wikipedia there were 1303 executions during the 300 year Spanish Inquisition. Another study put the execution total at around 2000 deaths.

(gateway pundit, feb 8th)

Obama Attends Prayer Breakfast With Sudanese Official Accused of Genocide

Concerns raised that Washington could soon normalize relations with Sudan’s rulers

Human rights activists are assailing the Obama administration for the president’s appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday with the foreign minister of Sudan, a country whose government is accused of genocide.

Activists also say the presence of the foreign minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, at the breakfast as well as reports of meetings with administration officials could signal that Washington is considering normalizing relations with Sudan. The International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan in 2009 for war crimes and genocide in the southern region of Darfur, where the United Nations says government forces have killed as many as 300,000 people in non-Arab rebel tribes.

The National Prayer Breakfast is organized by the Fellowship Foundation on behalf of U.S. lawmakers, and is traditionally attended by the president. Sudanese and American activists promoted an online petition against Karti’s invitation and protested Thursday morning outside of the breakfast at the Washington Hilton.

(free beacon, feb 5th)

The Obama administration is considering whether to declassify still-secret sections of a congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks which examined Saudi Arabian support for Islamist militants, the White House said on Thursday.

Interest in the 28-page section of the report was raised after an imprisoned former al Qaeda operative, Zacarias Moussaoui, said in deposition transcripts filed this week that more than a dozen prominent Saudi figures donated to his group in the late 1990s. Saudi officials have denied this.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that following a congressional request last year the intelligence community was undertaking a review of the decision to classify the secret section. He did not say when it might be completed.

(Reuters, feb 6th)

Memo Reveals Plan of U.S.-Funded Groups to Influence the Israeli Elections

A coalition of U.S.-funded progressive groups has planned a massive get-out-the-vote effort to influence the Israeli elections, targeting communities that are most likely to vote against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-leaning Likud Party, according to a confidential strategy memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The U.S.-based 501(c)(3) group Ameinu sent out the fundraising proposal for the campaign to American donors on Dec. 17, 2014.

The $3 million initiative is described in the document as “a massive, non-partisan Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign targeting selected demographic and geographic segments of Israeli society.”

The targeted groups listed in the memo—young secular Israelis, low-income secular Jews, and Arab Israelis—are communities that traditionally oppose right-leaning parties such as Likud.

(free beacon, feb 5th)

The Obama White House has finally released the names of the fourteen Muslim “leaders” who met with the President this past week. Among the group — which included a comedian, along with a hijab-wearing basketball player and a handful of left wing activists — were a select few individuals with disturbingly close ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood.

(breitbart, feb 7th)

As tax day approaches, here’s an enraging story; so many federal workers—especially at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—blow off paying taxes that legislation has been crafted to ban the offenders from receiving millions of dollars in bonus pay, which of course comes from public funds.

Federal employees were delinquent on $3.4 billion in taxes, according to a federal audit released last year yet Uncle Sam rewarded the violators with millions in bonus pay. At the IRS alone, staff members with violations received close to $3 million in awards on top of their regular salary. Some got the extra cash despite being cited for using drugs, making violent threats, fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits and misusing government credit cards, reveals the U.S. Senator, Pat Roberts of Kansas, who introduced the new law to stop the madness.

“This cannot be tolerated,” said Roberts, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance, in a statement. So the lawmaker recently introduced a measure (Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act) to stop the costly fraud, which has long been the norm in government. The law would require federal employees to be current on their income taxes—like the rest of us—and prevent those who are delinquent in paying federal tax liability from receiving a bonus or cash award. It’s pathetic that this culture is so flagrant that a law must be passed to correct it. The respective agencies should simply end this corrupt practice on their own.

Although tax-evading IRS employees aren’t the only ones benefiting from this fraud-infested system, the agency is the biggest offender. In fact, the previously cited federal audit, conducted by the IRS Inspector General, reveals that nearly 70% of IRS employees receive some sort of performance reward. This is especially enraging because the agency is perpetually embroiled in scandal, including a huge one uncovered by Judicial Watch; the IRS illegally colluded with other federal agencies to crack down on conservative nonprofit groups during the 2012 election cycle. In the last year JW has obtained droves of IRS records that expose the depth of the disgraceful scandal.

(Judicial watch, feb 7th)

Whistleblower: AG nominee in $1 billion Obama cover-up

New revelations are emerging that could implicate Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s attorney general nominee, in the world’s largest banking scandal.

As WND reported, Lynch, as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, oversaw the investigation in 2012 of drug-related international money laundering allegations against London-based HSBC Holdings LLC.

As a result of HSBC agreeing to a settlement requiring the international bank holding company to pay the U.S. government more than $1.2 billion in fines for money laundering, Lynch’s office agreed in return not to press criminal charges against any bank employee of the U.S.-based HSBC subsidiary.

The federal government’s unwillingness to prosecute HSBC was exposed by a former HSBC vice president and relationship manager in New York, John Cruz, who called the bank a “criminal enterprise.” Cruz was ignored by law enforcement authorities until he brought to WND 1,000 pages of customer account records that document his claims.

HSBC also used its power to temporarily shut down as the news site was breaking a series of stories on the mega-bank’s money-laundering practices.

In a telephone interview with WND, Cruz said the Obama administration “is continuing to cover up its role in the HSBC money laundering scandal.”

“The U.S. government never responded to the evidence I provided of money-laundering activity that I fully documented with records copied directly from HSBC accounts,” Cruz explained to WND after learning court papers were filed Wednesday objecting to the Justice Department stonewalling a FOIA request for the release of documents that could implicate Lynch in a massive cover-up of Obama administration involvement in international money-laundering of Mexican cartel drug money.

Lynch has never explained why the New York U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2012 chose to ignore the 1,000 pages of customer account records Cruz pulled from the HSBC computer system before he was fired by HSBC senior management uninterested in investigating his claim to have discovered illegal money-laundering activity at the bank.

“The official response of the IRS Whistleblower Office doesn’t say there was no fraud or tax evasion committed by HSBC in the money-laundering case,” Cruz explained. “The IRS simply says, ‘In this case, the information you provided did not result in the collection of any proceeds.’”

Cruz began working at HSBC on Jan. 14, 2008, and was terminated for “poor job performance” on Feb. 17, 2010.

(WND, feb 8th)

Massive Utah cyberattacks — up to 300 million per day — may be aimed at NSA facility

Five years ago, Utah government computer systems faced 25,000 to 30,000 attempted cyberattacks every day.

At the time, Utah Public Safety Commissioner Keith Squires thought that was massive. "But this last year we have had spikes of over 300 million attacks against the state databases" each day: a 10,000-fold increase.

Why? Squires says it is probably because Utah is home to the new, secretive National Security Agency computer center, and hackers believe they can somehow get to it through state computer systems.

(Salt lake tribune, feb 3rd)

Virginia Latest State to Consider Taking More DNA Samples

Virginia is considering expanding the number of misdemeanor convictions that would require an offender to submit a DNA sample to a state databank

DNA collection in criminal cases is growing, with most states now taking it in at least some misdemeanors. New York became the first state to expand its databank to include all misdemeanors in 2012.

(AP, feb 7th)

Pentagon Spent $504,816 on Viagra Last Year

Analysis: 80,770 hours of sexual enhancement

he Department of Defense (DoD) spent more than a half a million dollars on the male enhancement drug Viagra last year, according to government contracts.

Last year DoD also ordered $3,505 worth of Levitra, and $14,540 of Cialis, other popular erectile dysfunction drugs.

The contracts were filed under “Troop Support.”

(free beacon, feb 6th)

One pill, 10 years: Ky. high court reviews vet's sentence

An injured Gulf War veteran with no prior felony record, Kidd was convicted of drug trafficking in a controlled substance in 2009 for selling a single pill and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

His sentence was probated on the condition that he leave Kentucky for five years. But when he returned to visit his ailing mother in 2012, a circuit judge in Lee County revoked his probation and ordered him to serve the 10 years, the maximum allowed by law.

To Public Advocate Ed Monahan, locking up offenders like Kidd is why Kentucky is wasting millions of dollars a year on corrections even as crime rates fall.

"We should not be imprisoning a wounded veteran for 10 years at an average year's cost of $21,906 … because he was technically in violation of his conditions of probation," Monahan said in e-mail.

(usa today, feb 8th)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced their plan to save salmon and steelhead populations in Oregon- that is to kill at least 11,000 double-crested cormorants for the next few years.

According to the statement released by the Army Corps for the final Environment Impact Statement (EIS), they can save the salmon and steelhead populations in Oregon if they will reduce the population of cormorants in the East Sand Island.

To kill the birds, the plan is to pour oil to their nests to stop the hatching process. This will be done once the plan gets approved.

According to Diana Fredlund, spokesperson for the Army Corps, the decision to kill the said bird species is hard but it is better than killing 18,000 cormorants by 2018.

(smn weekly, feb 8th)

According to a report from the Associated Press, a provision in Colorado’s state constitution actually limits the amount of tax revenue that the state itself can bring in before it has to redistribute it to taxpayers. That means that instead of having all of the $50 million or so that Colorado collected over the course of 2014 going toward education and construction projects, like many expected, the state might need to send out checks to taxpayers. The AP reports that this has only happened six times in the state’s history, with disbursements equaling $3.3 billion. Even for those who were on the fence about marijuana legalization, it’s hard to be upset with free money, right?

For most people, this is probably fantastic news. For others, including the state’s lawmakers, it’s more of an annoyance. State lawmakers are hesitant to return the money to their constituents, the AP says, and it may result in another ballot measure to determine whether marijuana can be exempted from the state’s tax revenue limitation requirement. The reason lawmakers don’t want to redistribute the funds? Basically, they feel that the proceeds from the marijuana market should go toward offsetting the costs imposed by the marijuana market, or at least to the budgets that voters agreed upon when they cast their ballots in favor of legalization in 2012.

In all, if funds are redistributed, it would only amount to about $7.63 per adult, so it’s not exactly a windfall for the taxpayers. That’s around $30.5 million. Even though Colorado state officials were off on their initial estimates as to how much revenue the state would bring in during the first year, the redistribution of tax revenues does seem to indicate that the legalization experiment in Colorado has been a success.

(Wall st cheat sheet, feb 7th)


The Homeland Security Department has set up hotlines for illegal immigrants who believe their rights under President Obama’s amnesty policy have been violated.

In a memo announcing the customer complaint line, U.S. Customs and Border Protection asked illegal immigrants to “please tell us about your experience” if they believe they were treated “contrary to the new DHS enforcement priorities.”

(Washington times, feb 8th)

Cameron County [Texas] Sheriff Omar Lucio said people should avoid crossing into Mexico as the threat of gun battles continue between rival criminal organizations in Matamoros and Reynosa.

Dr. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera said the situation an ongoing fight between criminal organizations that control Reynosa and those that control Matamoros.

“The leaders of these organizations have been arrested or killed, and now we have a different type of violence performed by factions of these organizations that are still armed, and would like to continue existing,” said Correa-Cabrera, chair of the department of government at the University of Texas at Brownsville.

The professor said the situation has only gotten worse throughout the years and the violence is prompting alerts for American citizens traveling into Mexico.

(Valley central, feb 6th)

Nebraska, Oklahoma in border war with Colorado over marijuana

(LA times, feb 7th)

Pope Francis: Apply Rule of Law When Dealing with Immigrants

In an address before prefects of a number of Italian cities Saturday, Pope Francis chose to dwell on the topic of immigration, and reaffirmed the need to follow an orderly procedure when dealing with immigrants, in accord with the dictates of the law.

Francis made reference to the “particular impact” of immigration into Italy, “linked to the increase in the world of violent conflict with its tragic consequences on people and on the economies of many countries.” The Pope said that particular skills are needed to deal with the large number of potential immigrants seeking asylum or simply a better life.

These skills include the ability to determine “the correct application of the rules” in the daily management of situations, which will guarantee “fidelity to the dictates of the law and other regulations,” as well as “the scrupulous respect of fundamental rights of every human person.”

The Pope also expressed his gratitude for the efforts made in coordinating the reception of thousands of men, women, and children arriving to the Italian coasts.

“Obedience to the law and the criteria of humanity that underlie it and loyalty to institutions constitute the indispensable framework in which you carry out your function,” he said.

This is not the first time that the Pope has pronounced on the question of immigration. [continued in article]

(breitbart, feb 7th)

U.S. AND WORLD ECONOMY_____________________

US government faces pressure after biggest leak in banking history

Questions for Department of Justice and IRS after disclosure of leak revealing HSBC’s private Swiss bank helped clients to conceal undeclared ‘black’ accounts

The US government will come under intense pressure this week to explain what action it took after receiving a massive cache of leaked data that revealed how the Swiss banking arm of HSBC, the world’s second-largest bank, helped wealthy customers conceal billions of dollars of assets.

The leaked files, which reveal how HSBC advised some clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities, were obtained through an international collaboration of news outlets, including the Guardian, the French daily Le Monde, CBS 60 Minutes and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The files reveal how HSBC’s Swiss private bank colluded with some clients to conceal undeclared “black” accounts from domestic tax authorities across the world and provided services to international criminals and other high-risk individuals.

The disclosure amounts to one of the biggest banking leaks in history shedding light on some 30,000 accounts holding almost $120bn (£78bn) of assets. Of those, around 2,900 clients were connected to the US, providing the IRS with a trail of evidence of potential American taxpayers who may have been hiding assets in Geneva.

The data was leaked by a computer expert turned whistleblower working in HSBC’s Geneva office

(guardian, feb 8th)

Ecuador becomes the first country to roll out its own digital cash

 Ecuador's Sistema de Dinero Electrónico (electronic money system) kicked off in December by allowing qualifying users to set up accounts, and it will begin acting as a real means of transaction this month.

Once the government flips the switch, the South American nation of 16 million will host the first-ever state-run electronic payment system. (Other countries, such as Sweden, use digital currencies widely, but they're not state-sponsored.) But the Ecuadorean government says the scheme is designed to support its dollar-based monetary system, not replace it.

(CNBC, feb 7th)

Having recently exposed the mainstream media’s lack of objectivity in “slanted and distorted” interviews, Rand Paul has turned his focus to another staple of the status quo – his father’s arch-nemesis, The Fed. As WSJ reports, Sen. Rand Paul unleashed a blistering attack on the Federal Reserve in Iowa on Fridasy evening, calling for an audit of the institution’s books and blaming it for fueling income inequality. “Once upon a time, your dollar was as good as gold,” he explained, adding “then for many decades, they said your dollar was backed by the full faith and credit of government.” Do you know what it’s backed by now? “Used car loans, bad home loans, distressed assets and derivatives.”

(zero hedge, feb 8th)

The Obama administration’s student loan program had a shortfall of nearly $22 billion in 2014 – the largest of any government credit program in history

(free beacon, feb 6th)

The 'Real Unemployment Rate' Ticked Higher in January

A number of economists look past the "main" unemployment rate to a different figure the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls "U-6," which it defines as "total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers."

In other words, the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged—a rate that still remains high. The U-6 rate rose in January to 11.3 percent, the first time in six months that it ticked higher. The trend in U-6 has been somewhat more volatile than in the main unemployment rate as well.

(NBC news, feb 6th)

$1,200-a-Day Union Workers Force Shut-Down of 29 West Coast Ports

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) announced that loading and unloading operations at all 29 West Coast ports would temporarily be suspended this weekend in response to union slowdowns that brought freight movements at the ports to a near standstill.

PMA members stated that they cannot afford the almost $1,200 per day cost to employ International Longshore and Warehouse Union members to do little work.

After Breitbart broke the story on Thursday that union members of the ILWU planned to “walk out within the week,” the PMA employer group announced they can no longer continue to pay workers the premium pay for diminished productivity.

With ILWU members continuing to withhold the needed crane operators and slow crane movements, shippers and their customers estimated they were losing $1 billion a day. But a complete shut-down is expected to raise the U.S. economic pain to $2 billion a day.

(breitbart, feb 7th)

Flights to Iceland are about to cost less than most domestic flights in the States. Icelandic airline WOW air will start its long anticipated mega deal, offering nonstop service from Washington area BWI Airport to Reykjavik’s Keflavik Airport for $99. Better yet, the service will begin a month earlier than planned, May 8.

The $99 flight includes a seat, up to an 11-pound carry-on and even the taxes—makes you wonder where the money goes on some of those Delta flights. Like many airlines, extra legroom, extra luggage and pre-selecting seats will cost extra.

Be warned, the airline lacks any in-flight entertainment, so you’ll have to keep yourself busy. Also, there are no free meals—which may be a good thing—but you can easily purchase some duty-free munchies in the air.

(paste magazine, feb 4th)

UKRAINE CRISIS________________

The leaders of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France are aiming to meet in Belarus to continue to work to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.

Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Sunday that preparations are underway for her to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and French President Francois Hollande in the Belarusian capital Minsk on Wednesday.

Seibert said the decision follows an “extensive” phone call among the four leaders Sunday morning, during which further measures for a peace plan were discussed.

(USA today, feb 8th)

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said on Friday that supplying weapons to Ukraine, an option under consideration in Washington, would escalate the ongoing conflict.

In an interview during the Munich Security Conference, Fallon told Reuters he fully supported a new effort by the leaders of Germany and France to try to halt the Ukraine conflict.

However, the Defence Secretary said territory taken by rebels since the Minsk agreement in September should “absolutely not” be recognized in any new ceasefire.

French President Francoise Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel flew to Moscow on Friday to discuss the escalating crisis in Ukraine, reportedly without informingthe US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is currently in Ukraine discussing Kiev’s plea for weapons.

The two leaders, who are part of the so-called ‘Normandy Four’ group along with Moscow and Kiev, agreed on the trip on Wednesday night, an unnamed French government official told AP.

(Russia Today, feb 8th)

Germany’s rejection of supplying weapons to Ukrainian forces fighting pro-Russian rebels may heighten the domestic pressure on a reluctant U.S. President Barack Obama to deliver the arms.

Increasing numbers of senior military and State Department officials are joining Republican lawmakers in a push to arm Ukraine — an option the commander-in-chief personally opposes, according to three people familiar with the dynamics in the Obama administration. They asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who pleaded against shipping lethal military support in a Saturday speech at the Munich Security Conference, will brief Obama in Washington on Monday on the issue and the German-French push for a peace deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Secretary of State John Kerry said he’s confident Obama will make his decision “soon” after the meeting.

(Bloomberg, feb 8th)

Russia is reportedly getting military bases in an EU state

 Cyprus has offered Russia to have air and navy bases on its territory.

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades announced that the country is ready to host Russian aviation and naval bases.  The official agreement on military cooperation between the two nations is expected be signed on February 25, 2015,  according to .

(Business insider, feb 8th)

WAR ON TERROR_______________

The U.S. ambassador to Lebanon said Sunday that $25 million worth of weapons and ammunition have arrived in Beirut, the latest American assistance to Lebanon's army as it fights Islamic extremists along the border with Syria.

Ambassador David Hale said the equipment includes more than 70 M198 howitzers and over 26 million rounds of ammunition and artillery "of all shapes and sizes, including heavy artillery."

Islamic extremists have launched several attacks on Lebanese troops over the past months in areas near the Syrian border, killing and wounding scores of troops. The most serious attack occurred in August, when members of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the Islamic State group captured two dozen Lebanese soldiers. They have killed four of them and still hold the rest.

(AP, feb 8th)

While the world unified in the name of defending free speech against violent extremism in the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris last month, British police were investigating people who purchased copies of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

That shocking revelation is contained in a letter to the Guardian from a woman who bought a copy of the magazine from her local newsagents in Corsham, Wiltshire, and was subsequently told that police had visited the store to obtain the names and addresses of four customers who had purchased the satirical weekly publication.

“To my surprise, a copy arrived last Wednesday week and although the standard of content in no way matches that of the Guardian I will cherish it. However, two days later a member of Her Majesty’s police service visited said newsagent, requesting the names of the four customers who had purchased Charlie Hebdo. So beware, your badges may attract police interest in your customers.”

(Infowars, feb 8th)

The EU agency for judicial cooperation says the bloc needs to develop a common approach to lawfully intercept services like Skype and Viber, to help keep track of European militants arriving back home from the Middle East.

The measures were outlined in a Eurojust report, which was discussed by a committee of the European Parliament on Thursday, said Reuters after they saw the report.

Following deadly terror attacks in Paris last month, EU nations are worried about the danger of radicalized and trained Islamists returning from the Middle East. Militants have often used social networks to spread ideas, jihadist propaganda and recruit new members.

“The use of the internet for terrorist purposes creates an additional burden for investigations and prosecutions of foreign fighters,” the Eurojust report said.

The report touched on the fact that “the interception of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications (e.g. Skype, Viber, etc.) is problematic and seriously hinders relevant investigations.” It believes that “a harmonized approach at EU level may be necessary to address technical difficulties and legal challenges in the gathering and admissibility of e-evidence.”

Eurojust highlights the problem in securing convictions in suspected terrorist cases by pointing out that evidence tracked online may not be accepted in some courts due to national laws. The report urges cooperation between judicial authorities within the bloc.

“Eurojust recommends exchange of experience, including the collection and dissemination of best practice and challenges encountered by national judicial authorities in using information extracted from the internet as evidence in terrorism cases,” the report said.

In the wake of heightened security concerns, the European Commission has already announced it will require passengers flying to and from Europe to submit 42 pieces of personal data.

Some of the fields would not cause too many eyebrows to be raised, such as nationality or frequent flyer information. Others, such as meal preference or the number of one-way tickets bought are slightly more puzzling, according to the Guardian.

In December, the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, Nils Muiznieks said there was a need for increased transparency from intelligence agencies concerning their surveillance techniques.

Muiznieks insisted human rights violations relating to such mass surveillance could not be justified “by the fight against terrorism” or other “threats to national security.”

(Russia Today, feb 7th)

Baghdad's decade-old nightly curfew ended after midnight Sunday, hours after bombs exploded in and around the Iraqi capital, killing at least 40 people in a stark warning of the dangers still ahead in this country under attack by the Islamic State group.

The deadliest of Saturday's bombings happened in the capital's New Baghdad neighborhood, where a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a street filled with hardware stores and a restaurant, killing 22 people, police said.

"The restaurant was full of young people, children and women when the suicide bomber blew himself up," witness Mohamed Saeed said. "Many got killed."

The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the bomber targeted Shiites, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based terrorism monitor. The Sunni extremists now hold a third of both Iraq and neighboring Syria in their self-declared caliphate.

A second attack happened in central Baghdad's popular Shorja market, where two bombs some 25 meters (yards) apart exploded, killing at least 11 people, police said. Another bombing at the Abu Cheer outdoor market in southwestern Baghdad killed at least four people, police said.

In Tarmiya, a Sunni town 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Baghdad, a bomb blast killed at least three soldiers in a passing convoy, authorities said.

(AP, feb 8th)

As ISIS spreads its influence and rule not only in its caliphate of portions of Syria and Iraq but also in non-contiguous areas of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, the FBI is opening up cases of suspects who may be tied to ISIS in 49 states of the United States.

(WND, feb 8th)

MAINSTREAM MEDIA___________________

There are five reasons that the mainstream media and the largest alternative media websites are always pro-war.

1. Self-Censorship by Journalists

2. Censorship by Higher-Ups

3. Drumming Up Support for War

4. Access

5. Censorship by the Government


(Washingtons blog, feb 8th)

Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a “propagandist,” an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.

Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.

Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.

Dr. Ulfkotte is the author of a book currently available only in German, “Bought Journalists” (Kopp 2014.) Aged 55, he was also once an advisor to the government of German Chancellor Helmet Kohl.

The book has become a bestseller in Germany but, in a bizarre twist which Ulfkotte says characterizes the disconnect caused by CIA control of the western media, the book cannot be reported on.

Ulfkotte says:

    “No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book. Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.”

(Global Research, feb 7th)

Long before Brian Williams was caught lying about his chopper coming under fire in Iraq, he claimed he’d stared down the barrel of a bandit’s gun as a teenager in sleepy Red Bank, NJ.

In a 2005 interview with Esquire magazine, Williams said a thief drew on him in the 1970s — leaving him “looking up at a thug’s snub-nosed .38 while selling Christmas trees out of the back of a truck.”

He told the tough-to-believe story at least four times, claiming he was trying to help a local church when the thief snatched his money on West Front Street and Riverside Avenue.

But longtime Red Bank residents think it’s a tall tale.

“I would highly doubt he’s telling the truth,” said Danny Murphy, who in the ’70s ran Danny’s restaurant , which was a few blocks from the alleged crime scene. “I find it hard to believe anyone was held up in this area in the ’70s. It was very safe.”

Les Carbone, 85, felt much the same way.

“Don’t listen to Brian Williams,” he said. “He’s going to tell you a lot of things. I doubt he was robbed at gunpoint. I was born in Red Bank, there were no crimes like that. Tell Brian Williams to stop lying.”

It was so safe, kids walked around alone at night back then, other residents said.

“It was never dangerous here,” said Yolanda DeMaria, 93. “It was a very peaceful town, a lovely town. It was a small town with a dress shop and a five-and-dime. No one locked their cars.”

(Page six, feb 8th)



"Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition."

The Samsung example is just the latest privacy-related concern involving smart TVs — many of which routinely require users to agree to having their viewing data sent back to the TV maker and shared by them with advertisers and others simply in order for them to gain access to the service. But the clarity of wording in Samsung’s privacy policy is impressive — given it amounts to a warning not to talk about private stuff in front of your telescreen because multiple unknown entities can listen in.

Creepy, tech-fueled privacy intrusions are rarely detailed as clearly as that. So full marks to Samsung for clarity. Albeit, as per usual, these warnings are contained within the most overlooked type of document on the Internet so will easily go unnoticed by the average user.

If the SmartTV owner does realize how ridiculous this is, Samsung does at least allow them to disable the eavesdropping voice recognition ‘feature’, and instead use a more limited set of predefined ‘voice commands’ — and in that instance says it does not harvest their spoken words.

However it will still gather usage info and any other text-based inputs for data mining purposes, as it also notes further down in the policy. So an entire opt-out of being tracked is not part of this very expensive package.

(tech crunch, feb 8th)

CLIMATE CHANGE_____________________

The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever

When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.

Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.

This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record.

Following my last article, Homewood checked a swathe of other South American weather stations around the original three. In each case he found the same suspicious one-way “adjustments.”

(telegraph, feb 7th)

FLASHBACK: Meteorologist Anthony Watts on ‘adjusted’ U.S. temperature data: ‘In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data’

(climate depot, jan 10th 2013, updated feb 8th 2015)

Death toll soars as cold snap hits UK

Official figures reveal that the death rate related to cold snaps in England and Wales is over 30% higher than normal for this time of year.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) some 28,800 people died in the fortnight ending January 23.

ONS said the flu virus and the cold snap are the main reasons behind the recent spike in winter deaths.

More than 25,000 people aged over 65 lost their lives due to the cold snap. 11,102 men and 14,129 women lost their lives in the fortnight to 23 January. The death toll among the elderly was 18,154 in the same period last year.

(Press tv, feb 4th)

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