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Friday, February 20, 2015

NEWS FOR 2/19/2015 Thursday February 19th 2015


Ron Paul: US didn’t really want to catch Osama bin Laden

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) says he thinks the United States used Osama bin Laden as an excuse to build up its military and invade other countries.

“They knew where Bin Laden was. I don’t think they really wanted to catch him because he was used as the excuse for us, you know, invading various countries and building up the military,” Paul said in a radio interview with Scott Horton that BuzzFeed published Wednesday.

Paul was explaining his Marque and Reprisal Act following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and suggested Congress take up a similar measure against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) instead of passing President Obama’s broader authorization for use of military force.

Paul’s bill would have authorized the president to issue letters to private individuals or groups to find and capture bin Laden and others responsible for the 9/11 attack, as well as provide a monetary bounty for their capture or information that may lead to their arrest.

Paul argued that “it’s pretty hard to declare war against ISIS” because it’s not a government.

(the hill, feb 19th)

Ron Paul: “Good News” That Secession Is Happening

Paul said secession would not be legislated by Congress, but would be de facto, predicting “when conditions break down…there’s gonna be an alternative.”

“And it’s not gonna be because there will be enough people in the U.S. Congress to legislate it. It won’t happen. It will be de facto. You know, you’ll have a gold standard when the paper standard fails, and we’re getting awfully close to that. And people will have to resort to taking care of themselves. So when conditions break down, you know, there’s gonna be an alternative. And I think that’s what we’re witnessing.”

Later, Paul said the Federal Reserve would end and the states would stop listening to federal laws they didn’t agree with.

“The Fed is gonna end. There is going to be a de facto secession movement going on. The states are going to refuse to listen to some of the laws. We’ve seen tremendous success already with states saying to the federal government, ‘We’re not gonna listen to you anymore about the drug laws.’ And they’re getting out of it, and I think the American people are waking up to that, and as far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier.”

(Buzzfeed, feb 19th)

ISLAM AND ISIS_____________

Pentagon tips off ISIS on plan to take back Mosul

The United States has laid out a battle plan to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul in an April-to-May time frame, using some 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi troops who currently are being trained, a highly unusual disclosure that one intelligence source told WND is “pure lunacy.”

The disclosure surprised many on the call who wondered why details would be released months ahead of the planned offensive.

An intelligence source who spoke to WND also on condition that his identity not be revealed called the disclosure “pure lunacy.”

The source referred to previous disclosures in advance of an attack that gave enemy forces in Iraq time to set up improvised explosive devices.

(WND, feb 19th)

We hear a lot about the United States' Judeo-Christian heritage, but according to President Obama, "Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding."

That's what the president told a White House conference on "countering violent extremism" on Wednesday.

Obama has said similar things in the past:

"I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story,” Obama said in a June 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt. "Islam has always been part of America," he said in a 2010 statement marking the start of Ramadan. And in a 2014 statement marking Eid, Obama said the holiday "also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy."

In his speech on Wednesday, Obama was making the point that Western nations must show that they "welcome people of all faiths," at a time when "extremists" are saying that Western nations are "hostile to Muslims."

"Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding. Generations -- (applause) -- Generations of Muslim immigrants came here and went to work as farmers and merchants and factory workers, helped to lay railroads and to build up America.

"The first Islamic center in New York City was founded in the 1890s. America's first mosque, this was an interesting fact, was in North Dakota." (It was established in 1929).

Both of those milestones happened well after America's founding, however. In fact, the new nation's first dealings with Islam were tense and unpleasant.

According to a Heritage Foundation paper, shortly after America's founding, the United States "was dragged into the affairs of the Islamic world by an escalating series of unprovoked attacks on Americans by Muslim pirates, the terrorists of the era," who looted American ships and captured American sailors, holding them for ransom or selling them as slaves.

The paper notes that America's struggle with Muslim pirates from the Barbary States (modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya) began soon after the 13 colonies declared their independence from Britain in 1776 and continued for roughly four decades.

In his remarks on Wednesday, President Obama said Muslim Americans now serve as police officers, firefighters, soldiers, "and in our intelligence communities and in homeland security."

He said Muslim American heroes are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, "having given their lives in defense of all of us."

"And, of course, that's the story extremists and terrorists don't want the world to know -- Muslims succeeding and thriving in America. Because when that truth is known, it exposes their propaganda as the lie that it is.

"It's also a story that every American must never forget, because it reminds us all that hatred and bigotry and prejudice have no place in our country. It is not just counterproductive. It doesn't just aid terrorists. It's wrong. It's contrary to who we are."

So-called hate crimes against Muslims escalated in this country after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 -- attacks perpetrated by Islamic radicals -- but they have never reached the level of hate crimes against Jews, according to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reporting statistics.

In 2013, for example, 62.4 percent of hate crime victims were attacked because of anti-Jewish bias, while 11.6 percent were victims of anti-Islamic bias.

Compare that with the year before the 2001 terror attacks: In 2000, of the 1,699 victims of anti-religious hate crime, 74.6 percent were victims of an offender's anti-Jewish bias; and only 2.1 percent were victims of an offender's anti-Islamic bias.

(CNS news, feb 19th)

Shock reaction to Obama's 'poverty causes terror' meme

After first dismissing ISIS as al-Qaida’s “JV” team, President Obama has now described the group that beheads Christians and burns them alive as a “non-Islamic” group whose recruitment of radicals is fueled by poverty and hopelessness.

“We’re not at war against Islam,” he said during this week’s White House summit on “countering violent extremism,” adding, “We are at war with those who pervert Islam.”

Radicalized Muslims are the product of ingrained poverty, Obama said, echoing the statement from his State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, who said earlier in the week that the barbarism displayed by ISIS could be cured with a jobs program.

Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at the summit, compared the troubling rise in Islamic terror attacks to right-wing extremists and militias who commit violence “in the name of the Bible.”

(WND, feb 19th)

New ISIS Video Shows Jihadists Parading Captured Police Cars in Libya

(Breitbart, feb 19th)

Feminists Mute on Muslim Rape Epidemic Sweeping Europe

Sexual assaults skyrocket after countries open their doors to "multiculturalism"

After years of screaming bloody murder about a rape epidemic on college campuses in the United States that didn’t exist, feminists remain mute on the real rape epidemic sweeping Europe – that being perpetrated primarily by Muslim men.

Feminist groups have campaigned tirelessly to draw attention to their claim that one in five women on college campuses are victims of sexual assault. This figure was completely debunked by a December 2014 U.S. Department of Justice report which found that non-students are 25% more likely to be victims of sexual assault than students.

In fact, the actual rate of female college students becoming sexual assault victims is 6.1 per 1,000 students, compared to 7.6 per 1,000 people for non-students. That means that just 0.03-in-5 female students, not one in five, are victims of sexual assault.

The myth of the college campus rape epidemic was prominently illustrated in November last year when it emerged that the Rolling Stone’s lurid University of Virginia gang-rape story was almost certainly fabricated. This was just one of numerous college rape scandals that turned out to be completely contrived.

“The truth is that there’s no epidemic outbreak of college rape,” writes Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor. “In fact, rape on college campuses is — like rape everywhere else in America — plummeting in frequency. And that 1-in-5 college rape number you keep hearing in the press? It’s thoroughly bogus, too. (Even the authors of that study say that “We don’t think one in five is a nationally representative statistic,” because it sampled only two schools.)”

While feminists are quick to condemn the ‘white male patriarchy’ for non-existent rape scandals in America, their attitude to actual rape epidemics being carried out by Muslim men across Europe has been noticeably more reserved.


In 2012, it emerged that over a thousand mostly white young girls in the northern England town of Rotherham were systematically groomed, trafficked, beaten and sexually abused by rape gangs consisting of mainly Pakistani Muslim men. A report released earlier this month confirmed that the local Labour government council and the police covered up this horror because they were afraid of being characterized as racist or politically incorrect.

For over 15 years, criminal rape gangs were protected by the authorities because of their foreign ethnicity. Meanwhile, young girls were being beaten and raped, then ignored, labeled liars and left defenseless because they were white.

The reaction from feminists to this outrage, even after an initial 2013 report confirmed the depth of the scandal, was either complete silence or even tacit agreement with how the Labour government dealt with the issue.

The shocking escalation of sexual assaults against women attributed to growing immigrant Muslim populations in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden and Norway has also been almost universally ignored by feminist groups.


(infowars, feb 19th)


HSBC whistleblower spills Lynch evidence to Senate

Massive drug, terrorism scandal ropes in Obama's AG nominee

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday conducted a two-hour session with HSBC whistleblower John Cruz in its investigation of attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s role in the Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute the banking giant for laundering funds for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists, WND sources have confirmed.

WND was first to report in a series of articles beginning in 2012 charges by Cruz, a former HSBC vice president and relationship manager, based on his more than 1,000 pages of evidence and secret audio recordings.

(WND, feb 19th)

Clintons’ foundation has raised nearly $2 billion — and some key questions

Since its creation in 2001, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has raised close to $2 billion from a vast global network that includes corporate titans, political donors, foreign governments and other wealthy interests, according to a Washington Post review of public records and newly released contribution data.

The total, representing cash and pledges reported in tax filings, includes $262 million that was raised in 2013 — the year Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped down as secretary of state and began to devote her energies to the foundation and to a likely second run for president.

(washington post, feb 19th)

AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.

The company targeted by the intelligence agencies, Gemalto, is a multinational firm incorporated in the Netherlands that makes the chips used in mobile phones and next-generation credit cards. Among its clients are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and some 450 wireless network providers around the world. The company operates in 85 countries and has more than 40 manufacturing facilities. One of its three global headquarters is in Austin, Texas and it has a large factory in Pennsylvania.

In all, Gemalto produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year. Its motto is “Security to be Free.”

With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.

(firstlook, feb 19th)

Hacker Claims Feds Hit Him With 44 Felonies When He Refused to Be an FBI Spy

A year ago, the Department of Justice threatened to put Fidel Salinas in prison for the rest of his life for hacking crimes. But before the federal government brought those charges against him, Salinas now says, it tried a different tactic: recruiting him.

A Southern District of Texas judge sentenced Salinas earlier this month to six months in prison and a $10,600 fine after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of computer fraud and abuse. The charge stemmed from his repeatedly scanning the local Hidalgo County website for vulnerabilities in early 2012. But just months before he took that plea, the 28-year-old with ties to the hacktivist group Anonymous instead faced 44 felony hacking and cyberstalking charges, all of which were later dismissed. And now that his case is over, Salinas is willing to say why he believes he faced that overwhelming list of empty charges. As he tells it, two FBI agents asked him to hack targets on the bureau’s behalf, and he refused.

(Wired, feb 19th)

States Consider Increasing Taxes for the Poor and Cutting Them for the Affluent

A number of Republican-led states are considering tax changes that in many cases would have the effect of cutting taxes on the rich and raising them on the poor.

Conservatives are known for hating taxes but particularly hate income taxes, which they say have a greater dampening effect on growth. Of the 10 or so Republican governors who have proposed tax increases, nearly all have called for increases in consumption taxes, which hit the poor and middle class harder than the rich.

Favorite targets for the new taxes include gas, e-cigarettes, and goods and services in general.

(NYT, feb 13th) (6 days ago, sorry for being late)

U.S. Army officers often resort to "evasion and deception," and everyone at the Pentagon knows it, according to a new study conducted by the U.S. Army War College.

"In other words, in the routine performance of their duties as leaders and commanders, U.S. Army officers lie," reads the study, which was conducted by the War College's Strategic Studies Institute.

The 33-page report, compiled following interviews with officers across the Army, concluded that the Army's culture is rife with "dishonesty and deception" at all levels of the institution -- from the most junior members to senior Army officials.

The study's results come after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel -- who officially left his post Tuesday -- had raised concerns over ethics in the military. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon's press secretary, said two weeks ago that Hagel was "deeply troubled" over a spate of ethics investigations in the military.

"I think he's generally concerned that there could be at least at some level a breakdown in ethical behavior and in the demonstration of moral courage," Kirby said of Hagel.

And last week, days before Defense Secretary Ash Carter succeeded him, Hagel wrote a memo to the U.S. military's most senior leaders emphasizing the need for increased accountability and a higher standard for ethical behavior -- including among the military's senior leaders.

"The vast majority of our senior leaders are men and women who have earned the special trust and confidence afforded them by the American people. However, when senior leaders forfeit this trust through unprofessional, unethical or morally questionable behavior, their actions have an enormously negative effect on the profession," Hagel wrote.

Hagel urged the military leaders to "strengthen your cultures" and "assess gaps and close them."

(CNN, feb 19th)

California Provides 59,000 Immigrants With Driver’s Licenses in First Month of 2015

Overall, a total of about 236,000 immigrants in the country illegally began the application process during January, the state Department of Motor Vehicles said in a statement.

California expects to issue 1.4 million licenses during the next three years under the program to license drivers regardless of their immigration status.

(AP, feb 19th)

U.S. AND WORLD ECONOMY_____________

Worried depositors rush to pull cash out of Greek banks

In the midst of the dramatic showdown in Brussels between the new Greek government and its European creditors, many Greek depositors—spooked by the prospect of a Greek default or, worse, an exit from the euro zone and a possible return to the drachma—have been pulling euros out of the nation's banks in record amounts over the last few days.

The Bank of Greece and the European Central Bank won't report official cash outflows for January until the end of the month. But sources in the Greek banking sector have told Greek newspapers that as much as 25 billion euros (US $28.4 billion) have left Greek banks since the end of December. According to the same sources, an estimated 900 million euros flowed out of Greek banks on Tuesday alone, the day after the talks broke up in Brussels, sparking fears that measures will be taken to stem the outflow. On Thursday, by mid-afternoon, deposits had shrunk by about 680 million euros (US $773 million).

"If outflows reach 1 billion euros, capital controls might need to be imposed," said Thanasis Koukakis, a financial editor for Estia a conservative daily, and To Vima, an influential Sunday newspaper.

On Thursday, Germany rejected Greece's application to extend its loan agreement for four months and renegotiate the terms of its bailout, raising the threat of Athens' running out of money in the coming weeks. Under the current program, the country has received 240 billion euros, or $272 billion, in exchange for pursuing various overhauls.

(CNBC, feb 19th)

Trade War: China Dumped $77B in US Bonds to Devalue Yuan

Federal Reserve data published late on February 18 reveals China dumped about $75 billion in US bonds in the last six months of 2014. The action explains why interest rates on US Treasury bonds jumped by 23 percent since January, and economic indicators show the US economy growth is slowing and worldwide deflation is accelerating.

Breitbart broke the story last week that China’s real economic growth had crashed to 1.7% in the fourth quarter of 2014. We also warned last August that China appeared ready dump part of its $1.32 trillion holdings of US bonds in a scheme to drive American interest rates up; thereby strengthening the dollar and devaluing the Chinese currency.

(Breitbart, feb 19th)

Russians Feel the Pinch of Rising Food Prices as Inflation Bites

Prices for these products rose 40 percent, 67 percent, and 24 percent, respectively, since January last year

Most Russians say they have noticed an increase in the cost of basic foods in the last two months, according to a poll released Thursday, as the ruble’s meltdown and a wide-ranging ban on many Western food imports pushed overall inflation past 16 percent in January.

Among respondents to the poll conducted by the state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), 91 percent said they had seen a rise in fruit and vegetable prices, 90 percent had noticed a rise in sugar prices and 89 percent said meat had become more expensive.

Prices for these products rose 40 percent, 67 percent, and 24 percent, respectively, since January last year, according to state statistics service Rosstat.

Inflation on food items has accelerated since August, when Russia introduced a one-year ban on food imports from countries that had sanctioned Moscow over its role in the Ukraine crisis, including European Union nations and the United States. The ruble’s collapse of over 40 percent to the U.S. dollar since last summer, spurred by the falling oil price and tough Western sanctions, has also boosted inflation on food.

Of those polled, 87 percent said dairy product prices had risen, and 85 percent said bread prices had increased.

Those goods have seen respective price rises of 15 and 11 percent year-on-year, according to Rosstat.

Asked if they had begun to economize in response to rising inflation, 20 percent said they had started buying cheaper goods in the past month and 23 percent said they had bought less food or stopped buying certain items.

Some Russians may even be crisis hoarding: 17 percent said they had been stockpiling food since September, shortly after the food import ban was introduced.

(moscow times, feb 19th)

Janet Yellen Spent More Time Meeting With Foreign Officials Than Members Of The White House, including 19 meetings with various bankers including Blankfein and Dimon

Why Yellen’s obsession with all things international? The answer may lie in Yellen’s 2014 calendar, which the WSJ has parsed and found that of her 950 meetings from February to December (one wonders just when does the Fed chair actually do work outside of meeting rooms of course), the Fed chair spent more time conversing with foreign officials (68 meetings) than with members of the White House (51 meetings).

(zero hedge, feb 19th)

The outsourcing companies involved in the Southern California Edison (SCE) scandal I wrote about last week—where U.S. workers were replaced with H-1B guestworkers—are Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. These two India-based IT firms specialize in outsourcing and offshoring, are major publicly traded companies with a combined market value of about $115 billion, and are the top two H-1B employers in the United States. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, Infosys ranked first with 6,269 H-1B petitions approved by the government, and Tata ranked second with 6,193. As with the SCE scandal, these leading offshore outsourcing firms use the H-1B program to replace American workers and to facilitate the offshoring of American jobs. Because of this, it’s likely that Americans lost more than 12,000 jobs to H-1B workers in just one year. FY13 H-1B data I’ve analyzed, acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveals new details about how firms like Infosys and Tata are using the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program.
Spoiler alert: they don’t use the H-1B visa as a way to alleviate a shortage of STEM-educated U.S. workers; they use it primarily to cut labor costs. But the other main arguments proffered to support an expansion of the H-1B program are easily debunked with even a cursory look at the H-1B data.

(, feb 19th)

Rand Paul eyes debt-ceiling fight in Audit the Fed push

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is mulling attaching his Audit the Fed legislation to a vote to raise the debt ceiling, Paul spokesman Brian Darling told The Hill.

Darling said that Paul, who is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, fully expects to get a vote on the measure in the Senate this year and that "there are numerous options to get a bill passed by itself or combined with other legislation."

"The strategy going forward will be to use regular order," Darling told The Hill. "If regular order does not work, Audit the Fed would be a great amendment to a debt-limit increase or any other piece of must pass legislation that hits the Senate floor."

The move is a clear signal of how serious Paul is about getting a vote on the legislation that has garnered political blowback from top Fed officials. The proposal allows for increased congressional oversight at the central bank.

(the hill, feb 19th)

Sen. Bernie Sanders lashed out Wednesday at widespread use of offshore tax havens by U.S. companies, and the liberal independent targeted a group that represents CEOs of big corporations and wants corporate taxes lowered.

Sanders, top opposition member on the Senate Budget Committee, released a report decrying what he called “legalized tax fraud.” It showed that 111 of the 201 member companies of the Business Roundtable are sheltering more than $1 trillion in profits overseas, where they are not subject to U.S. taxes.

Using the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other tax havens, these companies have saved more than $280 billion in tax liabilities, Sanders concluded in the report.

The senator from Vermont delivered his broadside a day before a media event the Business Roundtable scheduled at its Washington office. The group was expected to call again for a rewrite of the tax code including a lower corporate income tax rate.

(Reuters, feb 19th)

For the head of the Federal Reserve Board Janet Yellen — and most economists — the key to economic growth is a strengthening in the labor market.

The strength of the labor market is the key behind the strength of the economy. Or so it is held. If this is the case then it is valid to conclude that changes in unemployment are an important causative factor of real economic growth.

This way of thinking is based on the view that a reduction in the number of unemployed persons means that more people can now afford to boost their expenditures. As a result, economic growth follows suit.

The main driver of economic growth is an expanding pool of real wealth, gained through deferred consumption and increases in worker productivity. Fixing unemployment without addressing the issue of wealth is not going to lift economic growth as such.

It is the pool of real wealth that funds the enhancement and the expansion of the infrastructure, i.e., an expansion in capital goods per individual. An enhanced and expanded infrastructure permits an expansion in the production of the final goods and services required to maintain and promote individuals’ lives and well-being.

If unemployment were the key driving force of economic growth then it would have made a lot of sense to eradicate unemployment as soon as possible by generating all sorts of employment.

It is not important to have people employed as such, but to have them employed in wealth-generating activities. For instance, policy makers could follow the advice of Keynes and his followers and employ people in digging ditches, or various other government-sponsored activities. Note that the aim here is just to employ as many people as possible.

A simple commonsense analysis however quickly establishes that such a policy would amount to depletion in the pool of real wealth. Remember that every activity, whether productive or non-productive, must be funded. When the Fed or the federal government attempt to increase employment through various types of stimulus, this can result in the expansion of capital goods for non-wealth generating projects which leads to capital consumption instead of growth.

Hence employing individuals in various useless non-wealth generating activities simply leads to a transfer of real wealth from wealth generating activities and this undermines the real wealth-generating process.

Unemployment as such can be relatively easily fixed if the labor market were to be free of tampering by the government. In an unhampered labor market, any individual that wants to work will be able to find a job at a going wage for his particular skills.

Obviously if an individual demands a non-market related salary and is not prepared to move to other locations there is no guarantee that he will find a job.

Ultimately, what matters for the well-being of individuals is not that they are employed as such, but their purchasing power in terms of the goods and services that they earn.

It is not going to be of much help to individuals if what they are earning will not allow them to support their life and well-being.

Individuals’ purchasing power is conditional upon the economic infrastructure within which they operate. The better the infrastructure the more output an individual can generate.

A higher output means that a worker can now command higher wages in terms of purchasing power.

(Mises, feb 19th)

(Good combination, no?)

Spies Can Track You Just by Watching Your Phone’s Power Use

Smartphone users might balk at letting a random app like Candy Crush or Shazam track their every move via GPS. But researchers have found that Android phones reveal information about your location to every app on your device through a different, unlikely data leak: the phone’s power consumption.

Researchers at Stanford University and Israel’s defense research group Rafael have created a technique they call PowerSpy, which they say can gather information about an Android phone’s geolocation merely by tracking its power use over time. That data, unlike GPS or Wi-Fi location tracking, is freely available to any installed app without a requirement to ask the user’s permission. That means it could represent a new method of stealthily determining a user’s movements with as much as 90 percent accuracy—though for now the method only really works when trying to differentiate between a certain number of pre-measured routes.

Spies might trick a surveillance target into downloading a specific app that uses the PowerSpy technique, or less malicious app makers could use its location tracking for advertising purposes, says Yan Michalevski, one of the Stanford researchers. “You could install an application like Angry Birds that communicates over the network but doesn’t ask for any location permissions,” says Michalevski.  “It gathers information and sends it back to me to track you in real time, to understand what routes you’ve taken when you drove your car or to know exactly where you are on the route. And it does it all just by reading power consumption.

(Wired, feb 19th)

Google says it acknowledges some people want ‘right to be forgotten’

Google has acknowledged it needs to “try and see things from a more European perspective” as it acknowledges criticism over its handling of the​ “right to be forgotten” case.

Now known as ​”the right to delist​”, the case saw Google lose to a Spanish lawyer who objected to out-of-date and potentially harmful information about him appearing high up on Google’s search results for his name. The European Court of Justice found in favour of the lawyer, Mario Costeja Gonzalez, in May 2014.

Google now acknowledges that the reaction to the ruling ​– Google has received 182,000 requests to remove information ​– showed significant, pent-up demand from citizens requesting the removal of outdated, inaccurate or irrelevant search results on their name.

“Google has been working hard to strike the right balance,” said Peter Barron, Google’s European communications director, speaking at a debate in London on 17 February where he said Google would not speak against the right to be delisted. “We certainly accept that there is an issue to be addressed. For us, the whole process has been an exercise in learning and listening and, as Larry Page has said, to try to see things from a more European perspective.”

(Guardian, feb 19th)

Lenovo Shipping PCs with Pre-Installed ‘Superfish Malware’ that Kills HTTPS

Company defends deplorable malware

One of the most popular computer manufacturers Lenovo is being criticized for selling laptops pre-installed with invasive marketing software, or malware that, experts say, opens up a door for hackers and cyber crooks.

The software, dubbed ‘Superfish Malware’, analyzes users’ Internet habits and injects third-party advertising into websites on browsers such as Google Chrome and Internet Explorer based on that activities without the user’s permission.

Security researchers recently discovered Superfish Malware presents onto new consumer-grade Lenovo computers sold before January of 2015. When taken out of the box for the first time, the adware gets activated and because it comes pre-installed, Lenovo customers might end up using it inadvertently.

(the hacker news, feb 19th)

Attorney General Holder raised some eyebrows yesterday when answering a question about his Justice Department’s notorious crackdown on leaks, and by extension the press, most notably saying this about its notorious pursuit of New York Times reporter James Risen, while claiming the DOJ did nothing wrong:

    If you look at the last case involving Mr. Risen, the way in which that case was handled after the new policies were put in place [is] an example of how the Justice Department can proceed.

The District Sentinel aptly took apart most of Holder’s comments, and they also provoked a stinging rebuke from Risen himself last night on Twitter. However, I think the facts of Risen’s case deserve a closer look to see just how unbelievable Holder’s statement is.

Let’s recap: since the very start of the Obama administration (read: for SIX years), the Justice Department was trying to subpoena James Risen. It fought for him to testify at a grand jury of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, which he refused to do, and when they were rejected by the court, it fought to have him testify in Sterling’s trial. They fought Risen on this all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Also, keep in mind, while the “new” media/leak guidelines that Holder bragged about are certainly a step forward, the old guidelines that applied to Risen’s case should have protected him just the same from the start—if they were actually enforced. He doesn’t get to pretend the preceding five and a half years didn’t happen just because he stregthened the Justice Department’s rules after public protest.

The case cost Risen and his publisher an untold fortune in legal fees, dominated his life, took away from time he could’ve spent reporting, and likely cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.

Along the way, we found out that the government had spied on virtually every aspect of James Risen’s digital life from phone calls, to emails, to credit card statements, bank records and more. (By the way, we still have no idea how they got this information. That’s secret.)

The Justice Department argued in court that not only was there no reporter’s privilege whatsoever—either embedded in the First Amendment or in Fourth Circuit common law— but also that journalists protecting sources was analogous to protecting drug dealers from prosecution.

As a result, the Justice Department got an appeals court to destroy the previously established reporter’s privilege in the Fourth Circuit. So now all journalists in the Fourth Circuit—which covers Virginia and Maryland where the vast majority of national security sources live and work—will have no protection if they government comes after them in future cases.

After all this (along with a large public outcry), the government decided to drop its pursuit of James Risen. And of course were able to easily convict Jeffrey Sterling anyways, using evidence gleaned from digital surveillance.

(Freedom of the press, feb 18th)

Why Can't the Public See Obama's Proposed Internet Regulations?

Republican senators Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, and Rand Paul have all been high profile opponents of the Obama administrations current plan to regulate the internet -- in particular, Lee has called the regulation a government "takeover" of the internet and says it amounts to a "a massive tax increase on the middle class, being passed in the dead of night without the American public really being made aware of what is going on.”

And when Lee says that the American public isn't aware of what's going on, that is in no way hyperbole. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has emerged as a hero for those opposed to the regulation because Pai has been taking to the airwaves decrying the fact that the public is not allowed to see 332 pages of proposed internet regulation before they are potentially passed. Pai's crusade to make the proposed regulations public is the theme of the the latest ad from Protect Internet Freedom:

(weekly standard, feb 18th)

The Internet isn’t broken. Obama doesn’t need to ‘fix’ it.

FCC and FTC members' give the president some sharp advice: Leave the Internet alone

If you like your wireless plan, you should be able to keep it. But new federal regulations may take away your freedom to choose the best broadband plan for you. It’s all part of the federal government’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet like a public utility — a plan President Barack Obama asked the Federal Communications Commission to implement in November and that is coming up for a vote Feb. 26.

While the plan contains no shortage of regulations, the most problematic may be the new “Internet conduct” rule. It’s a vague rule that gives the FCC almost unfettered discretion to micromanage virtually every aspect of the Internet, including the choices that consumers have for accessing it. If a company doesn’t want to offer an expensive, unlimited data plan, it could find itself in the FCC’s cross hairs.

But restricting service plan options is inherently anti-competitive and anti-consumer. The inevitable results will be higher prices and less service for consumers along with an especially adverse impact on small providers and upstart competitors trying to differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

(Chicago tribune, feb 19th)

Can states 'nullify' First Amendment?

A state order mandating that counselors dealing with patients on issues of sexuality must promote same-sex relationships violates the First Amendment and the fundamental principle of mental health counseling, charges a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.

(WND, feb 19th)


NATO Prepares for War with Russia in Europe

Russian General: We are at war

Stars and Stripes reports that NATO’s Allied Land Command is using techniques used against the Taliban in Afghanistan to prepare its ground forces for a war with Russia in Europe.

iting “Russian aggression in Ukraine and concerns along NATO’s southern flank.” Stars and Stripes says the alliance is enacting “improvements to readiness and responsiveness” and dispatching combat evaluators.

“The political guidance has lined up. The military structure is lined up, and the focus and energy is all lined up,” Lt. Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander Allied Land Command, told the newspaper. “These threats to the stability of the world around us, especially to the east and the south, have clearly energized the political and military leadership of the alliance to enact these improvements to readiness and responsiveness of the alliance.”

Roll Call, a newspaper covering legislative and political developments on Capitol Hill, reports that “security in Europe requires a bold new plan: accelerating NATO force modernization initiatives in Eastern Europe and immediately delivering its surplus Cold War equipment to Ukraine.”

(infowars, feb 19th)

British Planes Intercept Russian Bombers

 The Royal Air Force scrambled warplanes to intercept two Russian bombers off the coast of Cornwall in southwest England, the Defense Ministry said Thursday, as a government minister sounded alarms about the Kremlin’s intentions elsewhere in Europe.

The episode magnified concerns about the possibility of further moves by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that could draw in the NATO alliance after advances by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Typhoon warplanes took off from an air base in eastern England and escorted the two Russian airplanes in international airspace “until they were out of the U.K. area of interest,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement. The encounter happened on Wednesday.

“At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into U.K. sovereign airspace,” the statement said. During the Cold War, Russian bombers routinely tested Western defenses by flying toward the coast, and there have been reports that the practice has been resumed as tensions have mounted over the conflict in Ukraine.

The number of intercepts of Russian military aircraft approaching Western airspace has tripled compared with 2013, British researchers said in November, citing NATO officials.

(NYT, feb 19th)

POLICE STATE_______________

Woman Calls Cops For Help Against Intruders, Cops Show Up And Shoot Her Dead

As reported by WCC Charlotte, Betty Sexton, 43, called 911 and asked police to come and remove two unwanted guests who she said were no longer welcome in her home, but would not leave.

The audio from the 911 call indicates that Sexton likely knew the two intruders, who were connected to her boyfriend, who also lives in the property.

When police arrived on the scene they found Sexton holding an old musket gun, in an attempt to protect herself.

According to Sexton’s sister, her boyfriend told police that the gun was not loaded or functioning, and when the cops ordered her to put the weapon down, she cooperated.

However, Officer LaDoniqua Neely for some reason decided Sexton was a deadly threat and shot her. Sexton was rushed to hospital, but died on arrival.

“My sister would not hurt anyone. That officer still shot my sister dead in the chest,” said Debra Kennedy.

Kennedy described the gun her sister was holding as “An old musket gun. It has powder that goes down in it, and you got to use a rod down in it. Even pellets have to put down in it.”

Officer Neely has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted by the State Bureau of Investigations, at the request of the Gastonia Police Department.

Gastonia Police have already shot and killed three people so far this year.

“We haven’t had this many officer-involved shootings this close together since I started working here in 1994,” a spokeswoman with the Department told reporters.

(Infowars, feb 19th)

Man acquitted after 24 years in prison sues NYC, police

A man who spent 24 years in prison before being retried and acquitted in a 1989 New York City killing is suing police, saying detectives mishandled the investigation.

Derrick Deacon is seeking unspecified damages in a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the city. The city Law Department had no immediate comment.

Deacon was convicted in the 1989 shooting death of a teenager during a robbery in a Flatbush apartment complex. He was granted a new trial in 2012 after one witness recanted and an FBI cooperator identified a different man as the shooter.

It took a jury nine minutes to acquit Deacon in 2013.

(yahoo news, feb 19th)

How Chicago police condemned the innocent: a trail of coerced confessions

A Guardian investigation into Zuley’s police record and thousands of court documents – forgotten paperwork from old cases in Chicago, a new civil-rights lawsuit in federal court and the detective’s interrogation work for the US military at Guantánamo Bay – has found that Boyd was far from alone in facing brutality and manipulated justice. If anything, he is alone in going free.

During his 30 years as a detective on Chicago’s north side and his time inside the wartime prison at Guantánamo, Zuley wanted confessions. Whether they were true or not is less definitive.

In conversations with the Guardian from jail, three other people Zuley sent to prison – people who insist upon their innocence – describe being shackled through eyebolts for hours on end to precinct walls, giving Zuley’s police work in Chicago echoes of his interrogation work at Guantánamo. Zuley pursued murder suspects, often poor and black, who were flimsily linked to crime. With Lathierial Boyd, he appears to have hidden disconfirming evidence. With another man, Lee Harris, he turned on his own informant.

Allegations stemming from interviews and court documents suggest a kind of beta test in the ugly history of Chicago police abuse – which has robbed black and poor Americans of their health and freedom and still costs taxpayers millions in civil-rights payouts – for both the worst excesses of torture in the war on terrorism and a trail of convictions based on dubious confessions born of brutality.

It is unclear how many cases Zuley investigated. Rob Warden, who founded Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, said he had never heard of Zuley. But based on patterns from other Chicago police investigators, he said, the number of people Zuley put in prison likely “runs well into the double digits, perhaps the triple digits”.

Chicago police have yet to fulfill a freedom-of-information request on Zuley’s personnel file, and detailed lists of questions from the Guardian to Zuley’s attorney and a Chicago police department spokesperson went unresponded. Zuley, through a spokeswoman at his current job at the Chicago department of aviation, declined to participate in this and stories published by the Guardian on Wednesday, despite repeated attempts.

Yet greater transparency may be on the horizon. The Cook County state’s attorney’s convictions-integrity unit is now examining another case involving Zuley, and is seeking his complaint file from a Chicago police-review board.

Zuley may be unique, Warden said, in being a police officer who “graduated from Chicago to Guantánamo”. As a top Guantánamo torture investigator, retired Army major general Mark Furlow, told the Guardian: “Zuley was one of those individuals in such a unique situation that our processes, system of checks and balances at that time were unable to provide clear guidance.”

But Chicago has a longstanding history of police abuse, much of it racialized.

“There have been a number of really bad apples in the Chicago police department who unquestionably have railroaded unknown numbers of innocent people into prison,” Warden said.


Limited airborne transmission of Ebola 'very likely'

'Almost a rush to ensure the public that we knew a lot more than we did'

A team of prominent researchers suggested Thursday that limited airborne transmission of the Ebola virus is “very likely,” a hypothesis that could reignite the debate that started last fall after one of the scientists offered the same opinion.

“It is very likely that at least some degree of Ebola virus transmission currently occurs via infectious aerosols generated from the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract, or medical procedures, although this has been difficult to definitively demonstrate or rule out, since those exposed to infectious aerosols also are most likely to be in close proximity to, and in direct contact with, an infected case,” the scientists wrote. Their peer-reviewed analysis was published in mBio, a journal of the American Society of Microbiology.

(washington post, feb 19th)

New evidence from an Interpol investigation reveals that many ‘brand-name’ food items may actually be comprised of some very different ingredients than advertised. All in all, the food investigators seized a whopping 2,500 tons of fake food from wthin the food supply.

The reports are hitting the media from the UK to Thailand, which are two of the nations included in new operations through which government officials are cracking down on entire factories churning out phony food items. In the U.K., for example, there exists a major issue in which producers were selling fake ‘brand-name vodka’ in antifreeze containers that had been chemically treated to remove the repulsive smell. Unsurprisingly, alcohol was actually the most highly counterfeited substance of them all.

Others included:

    Mineral water
    Dietary supplements
    Pharmaceutical drugs
    Dried fruit
    Cooking oil

And that’s just a partial list of items seized from over 47 different countries by a joint operation conducted by Interpol and Europol over a two month period. And according to Time magazine’s take on the results, we are still dealing with several thousand tons of fake items on the market — ranging from common grocery items to extravagant imports.

(Natural society, feb 19th)

In today’s terrifying health news, the LA Times reports that two medical scopes used at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been contaminated with the potentially deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacteria Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Two patients have died from complications that may be connected to the bacteria, and authorities believe that 179 more patients have been exposed.

Most healthy people aren’t at risk of catching a CRE infection, but in hospitals this bacteria can be quite dangerous: CRE kills as many as half of all people in whom the infection has spread to the bloodstream. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working with the CA Department of Public Health to investigate the situation, which is expected to result in more infections.

The problem isn’t just in Los Angeles, though. Last month USA Today reported that hospitals around the country struggle with transmissions of bacteria on these scopes—medical devices commonly used to treat digestive-system problems—and there have been several other under-the-radar outbreaks of CRE.

This is pretty scary stuff, considering that in the antibiotics arms race against bacteria, we are starting to fall behind. Due in large part to unnecessary medical prescriptions and overuse of antibiotics in our food supply, these superbugs are on the rise. In a study published last year that focused specifically on hospitals in the Southeastern United States, researchers reported that CRE cases had increased fivefold between 2008 and 2012.

(Mother jones, feb 19th)

MISC. NEWS__________________

The Establishment’s Most Shocking Crimes: Criminal elite caught in outrageous crimes against humanity

Although the American public is unfortunately becoming more desensitized to the establishment’s outright criminality, some scandals remain so brazen that they continue to shock the system years later.

While scandals such as global NSA spying are clearly the most grand in their scope, others less talked about represent the most evil inclinations of the power elite.


-U.S. Military Contractor Caught Running Sex Slavery Ring

-Bayer Pharmaceuticals Knowingly Sells HIV-Tainted Medicine

-Government Hides Nazi War Criminals Inside United States

(Infowars, feb 19th)

Harvard University has awarded $800,000 in grants to combat “global warming” after canceling three days of classes due to severe snowfall.

Harvard announced this morning it was funding seven of its affiliates for their “projects focusing on climate change” while also encouraging students to “prioritize academics over extracurricular commitments” after the school cancelled three days of classes in the past three weeks because of snow.

“Harvard has the capacity and responsibility to address the challenge of climate change boldly and with conviction,” a university statement said. “Shaping a more sustainable future, both on and off our campus, will depend on the insights of our scientists and engineers, as well as our experts across a wide range of disciplines.”

But in contrast, Harvard is also concerned the unprecedented number of snow days so far this semester is making it “difficult for students to stay focused on their academics.”

“With the snow days it’s going to be harder than ever,” Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman told the Harvard Crimson. “I think it’s a helpful reminder that developing some flexibility around organization meetings in order to get the extra class time in is helpful.”

“I think all of us can get very busy and forget really why we’re primarily here.”

The arctic weather affecting Harvard and the Northeast U.S. was the coldest the region has seen in decades, and some daily lows in the mid-Atlantic may even break records set in the late 19th century, according to Accuweather.

“This current push of arctic air is delivering air that is just as cold, or even colder than the air that brought subzero lows to the Midwest and Northeast during last weekend,” Brian Lada of Accuweather reported. “Millions will shiver from Chicago to New York City as record lows are challenged during this bitter blast.”

“Records may also fall across parts of the South where temperatures manage to fall into the teens and single digits.”

This hasn’t stopped climate change advocates from pushing their agenda to expand the size and scope of government to supposedly combat “global warming.”

“The single most important thing we face globally is the fact that we are heating the planet to a level that is never before been tried, while also trying to have human civilization,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said on a Feb. 17 broadcast while the temperature outside his studio was in the low 20s.

(Infowars, feb 19th)

Researcher Reaffirms: At Least 760,000 Defensive Gun Uses a Year

For any uninitiated readers, Kleck’s work on DGUs entered into the public dialogue in 1993 with the publication of the National Self-Defense Survey (NSDS). He conducted this survey with his colleague Marc Gertz, finding a minimum of 760,000 DGUs annually.

He and Gertz then refuted criticism of these findings in 1997, 1998, and 2001.

On January 14, 2015, new criticisms against Kleck’s DGU findings were published Politico Magazine. The critics–investment counselors Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes–described “defensive gun ownership” as a “myth” and part of an “utterly false” scenario in which armed Americans actually believe they will use their guns to save lives instead of take them.

DeFlippis and Hughes then set about using arguments from 1997 to argue anew against Kleck’s work on DGUs.

On February 17 Politico Magazine published Kleck’s response to DeFlippis and Hughes; a response in which Kleck makes clear that he’s not only heard these same criticisms before but has also refuted them. He shows that DeFlippis and Hughes’ lack of training in survey methods is betrayed by the fact that “they believe that it’s perfectly plausible that surveys generate enormous over-estimates of crime-related experiences.”

In reality, Kleck explains that just the opposite is true–“survey respondents underreport crime victimization experiences.”

Kleck showed how this was especially evident in the work he did in the early 1990s where respondents who used a gun defensively not only had to admit using the gun but, in most cases, had to also admit a degree of criminal behavior inasmuch as they had the gun with them in a public place before concealed carry was as widespread as it is in 2015. In other words, a lawful use of a firearm was likely carried out by someone who possessed the firearm in a manner for which there was not legal sanction–therefore, even people who used a gun for self-defense rather than crime were likely to keep quiet about doing so.

(Breitbart, feb 19th)

Utah Court Allows Woman To Sue Herself For Wrongful Death Of Her Husband

 A Utah woman has been granted the ability to sue herself for negligence in the case of a deadly accident that killed her husband in 2011.

The Utah Court of Appeals has ruled that Barbara Bagley will be allowed to proceed with a wrongful-death lawsuit against herself for alleged negligence in the Dec. 27, 2011 accident east of Battle Mountain, Nev., that killed her husband, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports. Court documents show that Bagley will be suing the driver of the vehicle, Bagley, for an unspecified amount of money stemming from losses in medical, funeral costs and mental anguish.

Bagley lost control of a Range Rover while driving in the desert when she hit a sagebrush which caused the vehicle to flip over. Her husband, 55-year-old Bradley Vom Baur, was thrown from the vehicle and suffered severe injuries that ultimately led to his Jan. 6, 2012 death.

Bagley made news after the crash when the family’s dog went missing but then showed up a month later for a surprise reunion.

Court documents show that Bagley claims she was negligent for failing to maintain proper control of her vehicle and for not keeping a proper lookout as she was driving.

The case was dismissed by Third District Judge Paul Maughan in 2014 but the Utah Appeals Court last week reinstated the suit in a 3-0 ruling that state law doesn’t ban Bagley from suing herself for damages.

Attorneys for Bagley say the widow is pursuing legal action for the benefit of the estate, and not just herself. Creditors will be paid prior to Bagley receiving the money she’d receive as her husband’s sole heir.

Lawyers defending Bagley – as the driver – are representatives from her insurance carrier. These attorneys say the wrongful-death suit should follow other state rulings in which cases involving people suing themselves for damages have been declared unjust.

Much of the case centers around each side’s view of the phrase “of another” to determine which heirs or personal representatives of an estate can sue for damages.

“If this suit is allowed to continue, a jury would be asked to determine whether Barbara Bagley’s fault caused Barbara Bagley’s own harm,” attorneys Peter Christensen and Kathryn Tunacik Smith said in a motion to dismiss the suit. “The jury would be asked to determine how much money will fairly compensate Barbara Bagley for the harm she caused herself. The jury will be highly confused — it cannot order a person to compensate herself.”

Insurance company attorneys for Bagley – the driver – told the Tribune Tuesday that no decision has been made on whether to appeal the ruling with the Utah Supreme Court.

(CBS las vegas, feb 19th)

More U.S. cities ban sledding

A recent sledding accident in Columbia, Missouri could prompt local officials to consider a ban on the wintertime activity, a step taken by an increasing number of U.S. cities and municipalities.

The tragic event could prompt discussions by local officials over the safety of sledding, a conversation that has led more and more areas to ban the wintertime activity on public property.

Jefferson City Parks and Recreation director Bill Lockwood said sledding safety is often a topic broached after a serious injury, though city officials haven’t yet moved to ban sleds.

“Unfortunately, we can’t protect people from themselves all the time,” he said.

Parents who spoke with ABC 17 at Jefferson City’s McKay Park don’t like the idea of a sledding ban, and believe it’s a relatively safe experience for youngsters with proper supervision.

“I make sure they’re safe going down,” parent Loretta Wilhelm said. “I mean if they fall or something I make sure to check them. Otherwise, they’re out there having fun.”

Young sledders on the hill were also opposed to the idea.

“If they banned sledding here I mean it would be a huge disappointment to … us and all the other kids in the area,” Christia Knatcal said.

The sledding accident and subsequent discussion on safety comes about a month after the Associated Press reported on a trend of U.S. cities banning sledding over fear of injury-related litigation.

Most recently, Dubuque, Iowa banned sledding in 48 of the city’s 50 parks.

(EAG news, feb 19th)

Tens of thousands of people demanding justice marched Wednesday despite pouring rain in Buenos Aires to mark a month since the suspicious death of a prosecutor who was ready to accuse the Argentine president of a massive cover-up.

“I am here because I want to see justice done for someone who gave his life for the truth,” said teacher Marta Canepa, 65, among those traipsing the 1.7 kilometres (just over a mile) under the banner “Homage for Prosecutor Alberto Nisman.”

Drenched in driving rain and led by prosecutors and opposition figures, the rally is the first major public show of defiance in a murky case that has ignited a political firestorm in Argentina and piled the pressure on President Cristina Kirchner, 61, in her last year in office. Nisman was found in his Buenos Aires apartment with a bullet through his head on January 18, the day before he was to go before a congressional hearing to air his finding that Kirchner and her foreign minister plotted to shield Iranian officials implicated in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish-Argentine charity federation.

(AFP, feb 19th)

Hong Kong’s unpopular chief executive has infuriated pro-democracy campaigners by using a Chinese New Year message to urge the former colony’s citizens to act more “like sheep”.

“In the coming year, I hope that all people in Hong Kong will take inspiration from the sheep’s character and pull together in an accommodating manner to work for Hong Kong’s future.”

In case his message had been missed, Mr Leung noted that the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac had 12 individual “character types”. “Sheep are widely seen to be mild and gentle animals living peacefully in groups,” he said.

(liberty blitzkreig, feb 19th)

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