THE 1% ELITE______________
Earlier this week Jeb Bush tried to distance himself from his father and brother, stating “I’m my own man.” Now he is being compared to Ronald Reagan.
Jeb Bush is not is own man. His foreign policy team includes the same old neocons and “hawks,” polite-speak for warmongers, that advised his brother, his father and, yes, that paragon of the conservative movement, Ronald Reagan.
At the top of the list is the architect of the invasion of Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, who served as deputy secretary of defense under Donald Rumsfeld in the first George W. Bush administration. A seasoned globalist, Wolfowitz was the president of the World Bank. His work at the Pentagon and State Department spanned party lines. He remains intimately connected to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, the neocon think tank that advocated the invasion of Iraq and harbored other notorious neocons, including John Bolton, Richard Perle and John Yoo.
Another crossover from the Reagan and Bush years is Stephen Hadley, who became lead national security adviser when Condoleezza Rice became secretary of state. Hadley, under the sway of VP Dick Cheney and the neocon “Vulcans,” was responsible of “mishandling” bogus intelligence that proved crucial in the propaganda campaign ahead of the Iraq invasion.
Other neocons and insiders include Robert Zoellick, James Baker, George Schultz (the legacy of deep insiders Baker and Schultz include Nixon, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George Bush) and a constellation of lesser figures, including Michael Hayden (CIA, NSA), Tom Ridge (DHS), Michael Chertoff (DHS), and Porter Goss (CIA).
The Washington Post, noting these connections, says “it’s important to remember that the foreign policy team of any Republican president probably would draw heavily from the experience of the past three Republican administrations — each of which had a Bush at or near the top,” and adds that Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney included a number of the above names in his transition team.
“Each president learns from those who came before — their principles… their adjustments,” Jeb Bush said in a speech delivered in Chicago. “One thing we know is this: Every president inherits a changing world… and changing circumstances.”
In fact, every president inherits the agenda of the global elite and represents the “principles” of “those who came before,” predecessors handpicked by the financial elite and its political class.
Zero Hedge summarized on Thursday:
It may be hard to believe, but either one of the two status quo choices for U.S. President currently being force-fed down the American public’s throat will be almost unquestionably more imperial and warlike than Barack Obama. The reason is simple. Any society that apathetically stands by as one President after the other tramples on the Constitution will be subject to a litany of increasingly tyrannical, and even insane, leaders. This is why the oligarchy isn’t even pretending that we live in a Republic or a Democracy anymore. They are shoving our pathetic servitude right in our face by putting up these two preposterous and dangerous candidates.
If you still had any doubt, today we learn that Jeb Bush is actively surrounding himself with the exact same people who under the George W. Bush administration, masterminded the terrible tragedy known as the Iraq war.
The script calls for more terrible tragedies, including a possible catastrophic confrontation with Russia, an adversary bristling with nuclear weapons, and a wholly manufactured war with a wholly manufactured enemy, the Islamic State.
This agenda will go forward regardless of what candidate ultimately ends up in the White House.
During the 2008 election, Hillary Clinton gathered around her a coterie of insiders to advise her on foreign policy. The Council on Foreign Relations, the globalist group Clinton enthusiastically received “advice” from, put Clinton’s husband at the top of the list along with Madeleine K. Albright, Richard C. Holbrooke (now deceased), Lee Feinstein (senior CFR fellow), and Martin S. Indyk (former ambassador to Israel).
Recall it was Albright who said the engineered murder of 500,000 Iraqi children was a price worth paying. She also said, prior to the invasion of Iraq, that “if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us.”
There was, of course, no danger to the American people from Saddam Hussein and Iraq. All such dangers were lies and fabrications invented by the people who may be placed in Jeb Bush’s inner circle.
The danger was to the hegemony of the United States government controlled by a small financial class of overlords and its outpost client in the Middle East, Israel.
(Infowars, feb 20th)
Hilary Clinton Exposed Part 1 – How She Aggressively Lobbied for Mega Corporations as Secretary of State
With another Bush and another Clinton likely on the ballot, there’s basically only one candidate running
That approach, which Mrs. Clinton called “economic statecraft,” emerged in discussions with Robert Hormats, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker who has worked in Democratic and Republican administrations and became an undersecretary of state. “One of the very first items was, how do we strengthen the role of the State Department in economic policy?” he says.
Early in Mrs. Clinton’s tenure, according to Mr. Hormats, Microsoft’s then Chief Research Officer Craig Mundie asked the State Department to send a ranking official to a fourth annual meeting of U.S. software executives and Chinese government officials about piracy and Internet freedom. Mr. Hormats joined the December 2009 meeting in Beijing.
Mr. Hormats says there was no relation between Microsoft’s donations and the State Department’s participation in the China conference.
Before every overseas trip, says Mr. Hormats, the former undersecretary of state, he helped prepare a list of U.S. corporate interests for Mrs. Clinton to advocate while abroad.
– From the Wall Street Journal article: Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties
If you can’t beat em, mock em. That’s essentially my motto going into the imperial spectacle known as the 2016 American Presidential election. With another Bush and another Clinton likely on the ballot, there’s basically only one candidate running, and I plan on proving this in no uncertain terms over the next couple of years.
Recently, I started a series known as “Jeb Bush Exposed” (read part 1and part 2), so it’s only fair that I create a similar category for Hilary. Going forward, I plan on naming all future exposes on these two cronies in that manner, so all the stories are easily accessible as we head into next year’s charade.
(Liberty blitzkreig, feb 20th)
The making of Hillary 5.0: Marketing wizards help re-imagine Clinton brand
As she readies her second presidential campaign, Clinton has recruited consumer marketing specialists onto her team of trusted political advisers. Their job is to help imagine Hillary 5.0 — the rebranding of a first lady turned senator turned failed presidential candidate turned secretary of state turned likely 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
Clinton and her image-makers are sketching ways to refresh the well-established brand for tomorrow’s marketplace. In their mission to present voters with a winning picture of the likely candidate, no detail is too big or too small — from her economic opportunity agenda to the design of the “H” in her future campaign logo.
“It’s exactly the same as selling an iPhone or a soft drink or a cereal,” said Peter Sealey, a longtime corporate marketing strategist. “She needs to use everything a brand has: a dominant color, a logo, a symbol. . . . The symbol of a Mercedes is a three-pointed star. The symbol of Coca-Cola is the contour bottle. The symbol of McDonald’s is the golden arches. What is Clinton’s symbol?”
Clinton’s challenge is unique. Unlike potential Republican challengers of relatively middling fame who are introducing themselves to a national audience for the first time, Clinton is almost universally recognized. Love her or loathe her, potential voters know who she is after more than two decades in public life.
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s brand has evolved considerably since she campaigned with Bill Clinton in 1992. Here, the two appear on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” (AP)
Or they think they know.
As Clinton and her advisers conceptualize her 2016 image, her own history shows the potential for peril.
In politics, authenticity can be a powerful trait, and it is one that sometimes has escaped Clinton. In her 2008 presidential campaign, despite some raw displays of emotion, she often came across as overly programmed.
In 2016, a challenge for Clinton will be adapting to the political moment with a fresh image while remaining true to her settled identity. “Look at Budweiser,” said a former campaign adviser to President Obama, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly. “That’s what Hillary Clinton is. She’s not a microbrew. She’s one of the biggest, most powerful brands ever in the country, and recognizing that is important.”
Ahead of her campaign launch, Clinton has tapped some of the Democratic Party’s star strategists as well as two of corporate America’s branding wizards: Wendy Clark, who specializes in marketing age-old brands such as Coca-Cola to younger and more diverse customers; and Roy Spence, a decades-long Clinton friend who dreamed up the “Don’t Mess With Texas” anti-littering slogan as well as flashy ad campaigns for Southwest Airlines and Wal-Mart.
Clark took an unpaid leave in January from Coca-Cola, where she is president of brands and strategic marketing for carbonated beverages in North America, to help Clinton in what Clark called “a passion project.” Spence is co-founder and chairman of GSD&M, an Austin-based corporate ad firm, and has experience in politics, including with Clinton’s 2008 campaign.
Clinton’s words suggest that her 2016 campaign will stress economic fairness — the level playing field for the middle class implied by her Twitter message last month praising Obama’s State of the Union address. “Now we need to step up & deliver for the middle class. #FairShot #FairShare,” Clinton wrote.
But the plans for Clinton’s rebranding are not yet clear, nor are the influences of the Madison Avenue sensibility Clark and Spence bring to her operation.
(washington post, feb 21st)
Greece and the Endgame of the Neocolonial Model of Exploitation
With the bankruptcy of Greece now undeniable, we’ve finally reached the endgame of the Neocolonial-Financialization Model.
We all know how old-fashioned colonialism worked: the imperial power takes physical control of previously independent lands and declares its ownership of the region as a newly minted colony.
What’s the benefit of controlling colonies?In the traditional colonial model, there are two primary benefits:
1. The imperial power (the core) extracts valuable commodities and low-cost labor from its colony (the periphery)
2. The imperial power sells its own high-margin manufactured goods to the captured-market of its colony.
This buy low, sell high dynamic is the heart of colonialism, which can be understood as one example of the The Core-Periphery Model (June 11, 2013).
The book Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History is an excellent history of how this model worked for Great Britain.
The tensions this model generated in the colonial elites of America are brought to life inTobacco Culture: The Mentality of the Great Tidewater Planters on the Eve of Revolution.
This traditional model of colonialism was forcibly dismantled in the 1940s-1960s.Former colonies established their political independence, a process that diminished the wealth and global reach of former colonial powers.
In response, global financial powers sought financial control rather than political control. This is one dynamic of what I call the Neocolonial-Financialization Model (May 24, 2012), which substitutes the economic power of financialization (debt, leverage and speculation) for the raw power of political conquest and control.
The main strategy of financialization is: extend cheap credit to those with limited access to capital. Those with limited access to capital will swallow the bait of cheap credit whole, and willingly agree to penalties, high interest rates, etc.
Then, when the credit expansion reaches levels that cannot be supported, the lenders demand collateral and/or favorable trade and financial concessions.
These tactics have been well-documented in books such as The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
But the economic pillaging of former colonies has limits, and as a consequence the global financial powers developed the Neocolonial Model, which turns these same techniques on one’s home region.
Thus Greece and other capital-poor European nations were recognized as the periphery that could be exploited by the core, and the euro was the ideal tool to financialize the economies of nations which could never have generated credit/housing bubbles without the wide-open spigots of cheap credit flooding their economies.
In Neocolonialism, the forces of financialization are used to indenture the local Elites and populace to the financial core: the peripheral “colonials” borrow money to buy the finished goods manufactured in the core economies, enriching the Imperial Elites with A) the profits made selling goods to the debtors B) interest on credit extended to the peripheral colonies to buy the core economies’ goods and “live large”, and C) the transactional skim of financializing peripheral assets such as real estate and State debt.
In essence, the core banks of the EU colonized the peripheral nations via the financializing euro, which enabled a massive expansion of debt and consumption in the periphery. The banks and exporters of the core extracted enormous profits from this expansion of debt and consumption.
Now that the financialization scheme of the euro has run its course, the periphery’s neocolonial standing is starkly revealed: the assets and income of the periphery are flowing to the core as interest on the private and sovereign debts that are owed to the core’s central bank and its money-center private banks.
Note how little of the Greek “bailout” actually went to the citizenry of Greece and how much was interest paid to the financial powers.
This is not just the perfection of neocolonialism but of neofeudalism as well. The peripheral nations of the EU are effectively neocolonial debtors of the core, and the taxpayers of the core nations are now feudal serfs whose labor is devoted to making good on any loans to the periphery that go bad.
Neocolonialism benefits both the core’s financial Aristocracy and national oligarchies/ kleptocracies. This is ably demonstrated in the recent essay Misrule of the Few: How the Oligarchs Ruined Greece.
With the bankruptcy of Greece now undeniable, we’ve finally reached the endgame of the Neocolonial-Financialization Model. There are no more markets to exploit with financialization, and the fact that the mountains of debt are unpayable can no longer be masked.
At this point, the financial Aristocracy has an unsolvable dilemma: writing off defaulted debt also writes off assets and income streams, for every debt is somebody else’s asset and income stream. When all those phantom assets are recognized as worthless, the system implodes.
(washingtons blog, feb 20th)
Whistleblower believes HSBC still money-laundering
As the Senate Judiciary Committee investigates attorney-general nominee Loretta Lynch’s role in deferring prosecution of HSBC for laundering money for drug cartels and terrorists, the key whistleblower in the case is telling WND he believes the banking giant’s crimes haven’t stopped.
“I’m confident HSBC never quit money-laundering despite the Department of Justice settlement in December 2012,” Cruz told WND.
Cruz – whose trove of original evidence was reported first by WND and has led to a delay in Lynch’s nomination vote as Senate staff investigate his allegations – said he’s been in contact with former HSBC colleagues.
“About six months ago, I called some of my friends at the bank and found out the same bank employees that were involved in the money laundering before I was fired are still there,” he said.
“We checked, and bank managers refused to close the accounts they were using for money laundering.”
(WND, feb 22nd)
UKRAINE CRISIS, THE NEW COLD WAR, & POSSIBLE BUILD UP TO WW3
The U.S.-Backed Government In Ukraine Is Starting To Lose The Civil War
The mainstream media in the U.S. is being very quiet about this, but the truth is that the U.S.-backed government in Kiev is starting to lose the civil war
(End of the american dream, feb 20th)
The “Exceptional” U.S. Suffers Crushing Defeat in Debaltsevo
Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered major casualties ranging between 3,000 to 3,500
In less than a year, the United States has toppled the democratically-elected government of Ukraine, installed a Washington-backed stooge in Kiev, launched a bloody and costly war of annihilation on Russian-speaking people in the East, thrust the economy into a downward death spiral, and reduced the nation to an anarchic, failed state destined to endure a vicious fratricidal civil war for as far as the eye can see.
Last week, Washington suffered its greatest military defeat in more than a decade when Ukraine’s US-backed army was soundly routed in the major railway hub of Debaltsevo. Roughly, 8,000 Ukrainian regulars along with untold numbers of tanks and armored units were surrounded in what-came-to-be-known-as “the cauldron.” The army of the Donetsk Peoples Republic led by DPR commander Alexander Zakharchenko, encircled the invading army and gradually tightened the cordon, eventually killing or capturing most of the troops within the pocket. The Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered major casualties ranging between 3,000 to 3,500 while a vast amount of lethal military hardware was left behind.
According to Zakharchenko, “The amount of equipment Ukrainian units have lost here is beyond description.”
Additionally, the US-backed proxy-army saw many of its crack troops and top-notch units destroyed in the fighting leaving Kiev unable to continue the war without assistance from allies in the US or Europe. The full impact of the defeat will not be known until angry troops returning from the front amass on the streets of the Capital and demand Petro Poroshenko’s resignation. The Ukrainian President is responsible for the massacre at Debaltsevo. He was fully aware that his army faced encirclement but ordered them to remain in order to satisfy powerful right-wing elements in his government. The disaster is even more terrible due to the fact that it was entirely avoidable and achieved no strategic purpose at all. Extreme hubris frequently impacts outcomes on the battlefield. This was the case at Debaltsevo.
The debacle ensures that the bumbling president’s days are numbered. It’s nearly certain that he will either be replaced or hanged sometime in weeks ahead. He has already flown his family to safety out of the country, and there’s growing speculation that both Washington and the far-right nationalists who occupy the Security Services will insist on his removal. That paves the way for a second Ukrainian coup in less than a year, a grim reminder of the tragic failings of US policy in Ukraine.
(Counterpunch, feb 20th)
“Prepare for Full-Scale War” says Ukraine Deputy Foreign Minister
Today we see this headline from Colonel Cassad: Ukraine Deputy Foreign Minister Vadim Pristayko Says Ukraine Prepared for “Full-Scale War.”
According to Pristayko, Kiev “Ukraine is no longer afraid to come into conflict with a nuclear power“.
Don’t like Cassad? OK I have Canadian source. CBC News says Ukraine preparing for ‘full-scale war,’ says former envoy to Canada.
An envoy to Canada is one thing, and a Deputy Foreign Minister is another. Vadym Prystaiko is now Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister. And he is begging Canada for weapons for obvious reasons.
Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister says he is preparing for “full-scale war” against Russia and wants Canada to help by supplying lethal weapons and the training to use them.
In an interview with CBC Radio’s The House airing Saturday, Prystaiko says the ceasefire brokered by Germany and France was not holding.
(global economic analysis, feb 21st)
At least three people have been killed in an explosion in the center of Kharkov, Ukraine, during a peace march, local media report. Around 500 people had gathered in the center of the Kiev-controlled city for a rally.
Those marching in the front were hurt, with Tass reporting from the scene that at least 10 people sustained injuries and three others were killed. Other outlets speak of four and eight casualties.
The march in Kharkov was organized in commemoration of the 2014 Maidan events, which brought about regime change in Ukraine.
Kharkov, in northeastern Ukraine, is the country’s second largest city in terms of population. The Kharkov region is under Kiev control and is close to the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
(Russia today, feb 21st)
Putin says Russia's military strength unmatchable
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday other countries should not have the illusion that they can attain military superiority over Russia, Interfax reported.
"No one should have the illusion that they can gain military superiority over Russia, put any kind of pressure on it. We will always have an adequate answer for any such adventures," he was quoted as saying in an address dedicated to the Defenders' of the Fatherland Day holiday next week.
(Reuters, feb 20th)
Dollar Dump Begins: Russia Unloads 20% Of Its Total U.S. Holdings In ONE Month
It’s a known fact that the Russians and Chinese have already begun divesting themselves of dollar dependency by implementing trade agreements that completely sidestep the world’s reserve currency, but there has been no overt sign of a sell-off that might be indicative of a coming attack on our currency.
Until now, that is.
According to a report from Zero Hedge the Russians have already started unloading their dollar reserves. In the month of December alone they sold a record $22 billion in U.S. Treasurys. While this may not seem like a big number, it is over 20% of their total US dollar holdings.
But here’s the kicker: They’re not the only ones getting rid of their dollars in what appears to be a fairly uncommon sell-off over the course of the last 60 days.
Back in December, Socgen spread a rumor that Russia has begun selling its gold. Subsequent IMF data showed that not only was this not correct, Russia in fact added to its gold holdings. But there was one thing it was selling: some $22 billion in US Treasurys, a record 20% of its total holdings, bringing its US paper inventory to just $86 billion in December - the lowest since June 2008.
It wasn’t just Russia: the country that has ever more frequently been said to be in the same camp as Russia – and against the US – namely China, also sold another $6 billion in Treasurys in the last month of 2014, which would have made its US treasury holdings equal with those of Japan, if only Tokyo hadn’t also sold over $10 billion in the same month.
And while we know that Russia used at least some of the proceeds to buy gold, the bigger question is: just what is China buying with all these stealthy USD-denominated liquidations, and how much gold does the PBOC really have as of this moment.
(SHTFplan, feb 21st)
It appears President Obama’s “costs” imposed on Russia have boomerang’d just too much for Europe to take. As Reuters reports, The EU is seeking to create a single energy market, based on cross-border connections to improve security of supply and reduce dependence on Russia, which supplies roughly one third of EU energy. The headline pivot away from Putin, likely misses the fact that there is very little a stagnating Europe can do, even in the medium term, to ‘reduce’ dependence on Washington’s nemesis.
As Reuters reports,
The European Union will consider “reframing” energy relations based on market conditions with Russia when the time is right and for now is focusing on building a strategic gas partnership with Ukraine, a draft document shows.
The European Commission, the EU executive, is seeking to create a single energy market, based on cross-border connections to improve security of supply and reduce dependence on Russia, which supplies roughly one third of EU energy.
Next week, the Commission is expected to publish formally its strategy on an energy union.
“When the conditions are right, the EU will consider reframing the energy relationship with Russia based on a level playing field in terms of market opening, fair competition, environmental protection and safety, for the mutual benefit of both sides,” a draft of the Energy Union Package seen by Reuters says.
For now, it says particular attention will be paid to upgrading “the strategic partnership on energy” with Ukraine.
It says it will address Ukraine’s importance as a transit country, as well as improving infrastructure and Ukraine’s energy efficiency to reduce its dependence on imports.
Russia’s long-standing gas relations with the EU and Ukraine, the main transit route for Russian gas to the EU, have deteriorated since Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region last year.
(Zero hedge, feb 20th)
General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Commander of NATO, told CNN that the Islamic Emirate (“Daesh”) had been “created by our friends and allies to defeat Hezbollah.”
General Clark thus clearly put into question the responsibility of Israel.
Since 2001, General Clark has been the spokesman for a group of senior officers opposed to Israeli influence on the foreign policy of the United States, its aggressive imperialist developments and the remodeling of the “Greater Middle East”. He had opposed the deployment of troops in Iraq, and wars against Libya and against Syria.
(Voltairenet.org, feb 21st)
Feds: Anti-Government Groups a Bigger Threat Than ISIS
While Islamic State brags about sleeper cells within U.S., DHS frets about right-wingers
As President Barack Obama continues to receive criticism for his refusal to use the term “Islamic extremism,” some federal authorities and law enforcement groups in the United States assert that anti-government groups pose a bigger threat than ISIS.
The Department of Homeland Security circulated an intelligence assessment earlier this month which focuses on right-wing sovereign citizens and other domestic extremists.
“Some federal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to — and in some cases greater than — the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS, that garner more public attention,” reports CNN.
(Infowars, feb 20th)
Obama’s recently confirmed Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, a former Goldman Sachs adviser and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, says the U.S. is “rethinking” its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Carter rendezvoused with U.S. commanders, military and civilian leaders in Kabul on Saturday. The meeting was unannounced.
“We’re looking for success in Afghanistan that is lasting,” he said ahead of a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who says he wants the troop withdrawal slowed.
“How to do that, what the best way to do that is, is precisely what I’m here to assess,” Carter added.
“Our priority now is to make sure this progress sticks. That is why President Obama is considering a number of options to reinforce our support for President Ghani’s security strategy, including possible changes to the time line for our drawdown of U.S. troops,” Obama’s defense secretary said Saturday.
“That could mean taking another look at the timing and sequencing of base closures to ensure we have the right array of coalition capabilities to support our Afghan partners,” Carter said.
The United States announced in December it would end its mission in Afghanistan and withdraw 10,000 remaining troops by the end of 2016.
A previous agreement would have withdrawn the remaining troops by December of last year. Ghani, however, signed a security agreement allowing U.S. troops to stay longer.
“Deadlines concentrate the mind. But deadlines should not be dogmas,” Ghani said during an interview with 60 Minutes in January.
“If both parties or, in this case, multiple partners, have done their best to achieve the objectives and progress is very real, then there should be willingness to re-examine a deadline,” he said.
The new agreement changed the rules of engagement and expanded the scope of military operations, including air strikes on Taliban positions by aircraft from carriers in the Arabian Sea.
In September, the outgoing Afghan president Hamid Karzai said the U.S. is not interested in peace and invaded his country “because of its own interests.”
Karzai said he was troubled by the number of civilian casualties during the occupation. He criticized the U.S. for not targeting Taliban sanctuaries in neighboring Pakistan.
“Afghans died in a war that’s not ours,” he said during an interview last March.
(Infowars, feb 21st)
Feds: America Should Adopt ‘Plant-Based’ Diet
Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee calls for taxing dessert, also the ‘electronic tracking’ of time spent watching TV
(free beacon, feb 20th)
Congressional Republicans are demanding to know how much the White House influenced the Federal Communications Commission while the agency crafted net neutrality rules.
The FCC has until Monday afternoon to produce unredacted email messages, focused on net neutrality rules, between FCC staff and officials with the Obama administration, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz said in a letter to the FCC Friday. The Utah Republican is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Chaffetz's committee is "investigating the potential involvement of the White House" in the creation of proposed net neutrality rules that the FCC is scheduled to vote on next Thursday, he said in the letter. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will propose regulations that would reclassify broadband as a regulated telecommunications service instead of a lightly regulated information service.
(Computer world, feb 20th)
White House that promised transparency refuses to cooperate with IRS probe
Obama administration refuses to assist Congress in email search
The White House told Congress last week it refused to dig into its computers for emails that could shed light on what kinds of private taxpayer information the IRS shares with President Obama’s top aides, assuring Congress that the IRS will address the issue — eventually.
The tax agency has already said it doesn’t have the capability to dig out the emails in question, but the White House’s chief counsel, W. Neil Eggleston, insisted in a letter last week to House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan that the IRS would try again once it finishes with the tea party-targeting scandal.
(washington times, feb 22nd)
While a federal judge’s injunction has halted the implementation of President Obama’s sweeping executive actions from November, it appears U.S. Customs and Border Protection never got the news.
According to CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, the relaxed border enforcement guidelines that accompanied Obama’s executive actions should continue apace, unaffected by the judge’s ruling.
In an email sent to CBP agents on Wednesday and later obtained by NRO, Kerlikowske conceded that the federal judge’s action meant agents “should not consider” Obama’s new and expanded deferred action guidelines when processing illegal immigrants.
But border protection and enforcement are apparently a different matter. Kerlikowske’s email expressed the belief that the judge’s decision has no impact on the border enforcement and protection directives issued at the same time as Obama’s executive actions by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and that those directives remain in force.
(national review, feb 20th)
Obama hustling 'full-throttle' to set up amnesty contracts
The Obama administration is hustling to move quickly on contracts for the president’s executive-memo-driven amnesty program, even though a federal judge has ordered Washington bureaucrats to stop in their tracks, according to Judicial Watch.
The Washington watchdog organization said Friday it has a source inside the industry of government contracts who said there is “no indication that the court order has impacted, slowed down or modified the procurement in any way.”
“They’re really rushing into it,” the source said.
Judicial Watch cited a government solicitation for companies to provide services for Obama’s plans to process illegal aliens and give them many of the privileges of citizenship.
The deal is immense, Judicial Watch said, with an estimated need for between 200 and 600 contractors.
Obama to seek emergency order restarting immigration programs
The Obama administration will seek an emergency court order to move forward with President Obama’s executive action on immigration.
Officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) plan to seek what is known as an emergency stay that would essentially undo a Texas-based federal judge’s injunction from earlier this week. If the stay is granted, the government could restart a pair of executive programs that will shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said DOJ will file for the stay by “Monday at the latest.”
The emergency stay had been sought by immigrant rights advocates, who want to get the programs up and running as soon as possible while the appeals process plays out.
(The hill, feb 21st)
According to a Texas border television station, when about 2,000 illegal aliens engage in a mass riot, yelling, overturning tents, and setting fires, it is only a “demonstration.”
“Approximately 2,000 federal inmates were involved in a demonstration at a prison facility in Willacy County,” begins the report by television station KGBT.
The riot took place on Friday at a private prison facility in the city of Raymondville, about 40 miles north of the Texas border with Mexico, as Breitbart Texas reported. The private facility is under contract with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and holds primarily illegal aliens, as well as other inmates facing federal charges. The facility can hold a total of around 2,900 detainees.
In their reporting of the riot, KGBT gave a detailed report about the massive mobilization needed to quell the rioters and mentioned that three local schools had been placed on lockdown as a response to the “demonstration.”
“Multiple agencies, including federal and state authorities, were called to secure the perimeter of the Willacy County Correctional Center, a privately owned prison contracted through the federal government,” KGBT staff reported.
The station then provided a detailed account of the rioting.
“Some inmates broke out of the housing area and made their way into the recreational yard prompting a lockdown of the prison. Some inmates were seen shaking the fence. Tear gas was used in an attempt to break up the disturbance…Small fires broke out in three of the units, and the Raymondville Fire Department is on scene for precautionary measures,” KGBT reported.
While the story is a chilling account of events, KGBT chose to minimize the seriousness of the situation by calling it a “demonstration,” rather than a prison riot by illegal aliens.
(breitbart, feb 21st)
Hundreds of Muslims 'protect' Jewish synagogue
'We must kill the prejudices'
A group of young Muslims embraced the Jewish synagogue in Oslo in a “ring of peace” Saturday, protesting anti-Semitism and denouncing violence after terrorist attacks targeting Jews in neighboring Denmark and in France, in what Jewish leaders described as a unique and heartwarming event.
“I feel gratitude and hope,” said Ervin Kohn, head of the Jewish congregation in Oslo. “This sends a strong signal to our little congregation, that we’re not alone.”
About a thousand people showed up at the event, which was heavily protected by police. The symbolic human chain around the synagogue was formed by mostly younger Muslims, holding hands and expressing their support of Jews in speeches, and the crowd applauded and cheered the initiative.
(WSJ, feb 22nd)
‘Flagrant aggression:’ Damascus livid after Turkey’s incursion onto Syrian soil
The Syrian government has said a Turkish incursion into the north of the country was an act of “flagrant aggression.” Damascus said it would hold Ankara responsible after they went into Syria to evacuate personnel and relics from a holy tomb.
Syria said the Turkish government had informed the Syrian consulate in Istanbul about its plans regarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah in northern Syria. Shah was the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.
However, Turkey didn’t wait for permission from Damascus and mounted a rescue operation to the tomb, to salvage its relics and evacuate 40 Turkish soldiers who had been guarding it.
Damascus says the maneuver was in violation of an agreement signed in 1921. Syria also stated that Anakara would be responsible for any repercussions that could take place as a result of the incursion.
The military operation launched to rescue the holy place was coordinated with the Kurds. The only casualty was a Turkish soldier.
The task force of approximately 100 military vehicles, including 39 tanks, crossed the Syrian border to a territory controlled by Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) fighters and passed through the city of Kobani, recaptured by the YPG from the Islamic State in January.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held a media briefing in the capital, Ankara, reporting that 38 soldiers had been brought back safely to Turkey.
Syria accuses Turkey of supporting insurgent groups that have seized control of wide areas of northern and eastern Syria, including the Islamic State militant group.
The Syrian government statement said the fact that the Islamic State had not attacked the tomb “confirmed the depth of the ties between the Turkish government and this terrorist organization,” according to Reuters.
(Russia today, feb 22nd)
Iranian VP: CIA Behind Islamic State
Masoumeh Ebtekar, the first female vice president of Iran, has singled out the United States and the CIA as the progenitor of ISIS or IS, the Islamic State.
“Well, I think there’s a lot of skepticism about the role of the United States in dealing with ISIS, because the support they initially provided for ISIS in Syria strengthened this group at that time, and then also other reasons to believe this is not a genuine group, it somehow instigated or created by, I don’t know, a certain intelligence agency,” Ebtekar said when asked about IS during an interview conducted by ABC News.
In October the former Iranian minister of intelligence, Heydar Moslehi, was more direct. He said ISIS was created by “the triangle of Mossad, MI6, and the CIA.”
Moslehi said that “dollars from Saudi Arabia and some of the Gulf countries” are responsible for funding the terrorist army.
“The coalition certainly does not want to destroy IS because it needs to use IS for most of its Satanic goals,” he added.
His remarks followed those of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who said ISIS and al-Qaeda are the work of “the wicked government of Britain.”
In June it was revealed that the U.S. military had trained ISIS members at a secret base in Jordan.
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, it was reported a number of the purported hijackers were “trained in strategy and tactics” at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, and the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama, according to Newsweek.
The U.S. had admitted its allies fund IS. In September the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, told the Senate Armed Services Committee: “I know major Arab allies who fund them.”
In January said to be a Pakistani commander of IS, Yousaf al Salafi, confessed to law enforcement agencies in Pakistan to getting funds via the United States.
“The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organizations, which is being routed through the US. The US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests and that is why it launched offensive against the organization in Iraq but not in Syria,” a source told the Urdu-language Daily Express.
(Infowars, feb 20th)
Turkish parliament in second brawl this week over controversial anti-protest bill (VIDEOES)
Fisticuffs broke out in the Turkish parliament on Thursday night between members of the ruling party and Kurdish opposition deputies. The altercation was over a bill they say will turn the country into an “authoritarian state.”
The fight broke out after an increasingly fraught three-hour discussion of the mooted Homeland Security Reform, advocated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP party, which enjoys a recently renewed majority in the country’s legislative assembly.
According to the local Hurriyet newspaper, tensions spilled over in Ankara when AKP’s deputy speaker Sadık Yakut began, seemingly on purpose, to mispronounce the name of Adil Zozani, a member of the Kurdish-dominated Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Kurds say they will be the main casualties of the reform, which has been introduced ostensibly in response to violent pro-Kurdish protests last October.
In response, Zozani accused Yakut of being too “incapacitated” to perform his duties, setting off a mass slanging match, in which deputies alternately accused each other of “playing doctor” and being “mentally ill.”
One of the AKP deputies then bull-rushed a member of the CHP, enraging the entire group, who threw punches, and tried to separate and protect their own party members. One CHP deputy was injured after falling down an internal staircase, but refused to leave the scene of the brawl to be attended to by a doctor, loudly vowing to “continue the fight. The entire incident lasted around 10 minutes.
Unlike the previous scuffle between the same parties on Tuesday, in which five people were injured after a ceremonial gavel and a chair were wielded as offensive weapons, no props came to hand in Thursday’s mass brawl.
The proposed legislation expands police powers, while reducing the need for judicial approval of a whole host of actions against protesters.
If passed, potential dissenters could have their homes searched by the police without an order, and be detained for up to 48 hours without a court decision, at the behest of a regional governor. Opposition activists say this will allow the ruling politicians to sabotage any political protests by ordering arrests of key leaders.
During any actual demonstration, police would be entitled to fire live weapons against demonstrators, while anyone in the crowd wearing a mask, a common tactic to avoid criminal charges, could face up to four years in jail.
(Russia Today, feb 20th)
Thousands of Polish farmers protest in Warsaw
ICPPC – International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, 19 February
6000 farmers marched in Warsaw to protest the Polish government’s failure to address their long-standing demands. After failed talks between Union leaders and the prime minister during the afternoon, farmers built an occupation camp outside the prime minister’s palace and have vowed to remain until their demands are met.
Protests have been taking place across the country over the last three weeks with a range of organisations from community groups and local protest committees to regional and national unions blockading roads and government ministries in hundreds of locations. At the national level the protests are being coordinated by the farmers’ branch of the Solidarity union. The Warsaw protest was joined by unions representing bee-keepers, coal miners, and nurses who are also on strike.
The key demands of the Solidarity Union are for robust legislation to address four main concerns:
* Land rights – implement regulation to prevent land-grabs by Western companies and to protect family farmers rights to land – (NB. From 2016 foreign buyers will be legally able to buy Polish land).
* Legalize direct sales of farm produce – the government must take action to improve farmers’ position in the market, including the adoption of a law to facilitate direct sales of processed and unprocessed farm products (NB. Poland has the most exclusionary policies in Europe around on-farm processing of food products and direct sales, which make it impossible for family farmers to compete with bigger food companies).
* Ban the cultivation and sale of Genetically Modified Organisms in Poland.
* Implement regulation to ensure farmers are compensated for losses caused by the government’s and the EU’s negligent policies towards quotas, control of wild animals and trade embargoes.
(GM watch, feb 20th)
'Self-censoring' scandal at newspaper roils UK press landscape
One of Britain's most storied newspapers has been accused of self-censoring for commercial gain, raising awkward questions about a centuries-old press culture which has prided itself on its no-holds-barred approach to truth telling. The 160-year-old Daily Telegraph strongly denied accusations in a resignation letter by one of its best known writers, who said the paper had soft-pedalled coverage of a banking scandal to curry favor with an advertiser.
(Reuters, feb 20th)
The abrupt arrest of the mayor of Caracas on accusations that he had plotted an American-backed overthrow of the government threatened to plunge Venezuela into new political convulsions on Friday, as his supporters rallied in the capital and pockets of protest erupted elsewhere.
The arrest of the mayor, Antonio Ledezma, on Thursday evening by intelligence agents who fired weapons in the air, was viewed by the opposition as the kidnapping of a political rival to President Nicolás Maduro.
Mr. Ledezma’s backers called it another assault on democracy in Venezuela, the oil-endowed nation that has been reeling from a severe economic decline under the watch of an increasingly unpopular president.
(NYT, feb 20th)
Palestinians threaten to end security ties with Israel
The Palestinian president has threatened to stop security coordination with Israel if the country continues to withhold millions of dollars of Palestinian tax revenue, a senior Palestinian official said Sunday.
(AP, feb 22nd)
Israel to buy 14 F-35 stealth fighters from US
The $2.82 billion deal, which includes other technological and training elements, was signed at the weekend after being approved by a ministerial committee in November. It includes the purchase of 14 stealth fighters as well as the option to buy another 17.
(AFP, feb 22nd)
Methamphetamine production and the use of “hard drugs” are “skyrocketing” in Iran despite police raids and the potential of facing execution for certain drug crimes.
It is estimated that “2.2 million of Iran’s 80 million citizens already are addicted to illegal drugs, including 1.3 million on registered treatment programs.”
According to the Associated Press, drug use “numbers keep rising annually even though use of the death penalty against convicted smugglers has increased too.” Executions resulting from drug conviction now represent “more than nine out of 10 executions” in Iran.
Narcotics officer Parviz Afshar said two meth labs appear for every one they shut down. And Majid Mirzaei, who manages a drug addict shelter in Tehran, argues that drug addition cannot be eliminated, but says it can be managed.
(breitbart, feb 22nd)
'Citizenfour,' the Edward Snowden documentary, wins an Oscar
Citizenfour, the Laura Poitras documentary that closely chronicled whistleblower Edward Snowden's journey across the world and into the worldwide zeitgeist, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary tonight.
(daily dot, feb 22nd)
Students object to online courses recording facial features, knuckles, voice
Software tracks students’ monitor, browser, webcam and microphone activity
Students at Rutgers University are balking at a new biometric software used in online classes that requires them to record their facial features, knuckles and photo ID.
ProctorTrack, implemented for online courses this year, requires students to record their face, knuckle and personal identification details to verify their identity. The software then tracks students’ monitor, browser, webcam and microphone activity during the session to prevent cheating on exams, according to The Daily Targum – Rutgers’ student newspaper.
The software and its implementation – which went largely unnoticed because the university did not notify students of the change until after the add-drop period ended – are now raising serious privacy concerns among some students. Others started a Change.org petition to stop the use of ProctorTrack over a $32 activation fee imposed on unwitting students taking classes online.
“Emails about mandating the use of ProctorTrack were sent out during the THIRD WEEK of classes,” School of Arts and Sciences senior Betsy Chao wrote on the Change.org petition. “It was already too late to drop classes and so, students essentially have NO choice but to pay the fee.”
That failure to notify student could be a violation of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, according to media reports.
The biggest concerns, however, seem to center on apparent privacy and security risks.
According to The Daily Targum, “many students are unsure if the ProctorTrack system efficiently secures recorded student data.
“The system’s security measures are not particularly clear. Combined with ProctorTrack’s young age — the system was literally patented several weeks ago — potential security vulnerabilities within the ProctorTrack system remain an open question.
“Rutgers also seems unaware that visually recording personal identification over the Internet is a major risk. Even if ProctorTrack is completely protected, there is no way to guarantee that a student’s computer was not compromised by webcam monitoring exploitation software, such as Remote Access Tools, prior to ProctorTrack’s use. Exposing personal identification over online webcam for verification purposes may have dangerously unintended consequences.”
Students also do not like the idea that instructors can use ProctorTrack to restrict how they use their computers during sessions. The software can lock out keyboard controls, or prevent certain programs from opening during an exam, for example.
(EAG NEWS, feb 20th)
A new investigation by The Intercept reveals the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the GCHQ, 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.
The secret operation targeted the Dutch company Gemalto. Its clients include AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and some 450 wireless network providers around the world. It produces two billion SIM cards a year. According to The Intercept, the stolen encryption keys give intelligence agencies the ability to monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. According to The Intercept, agents from the NSA and GCHQ formed the Mobile Handset Exploitation Team in 2010 to specifically target vulnerabilities in cellphones. The Intercept’s report was written by Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley. It was based on documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
(Democracy now, feb 20th)
Android Malware Can Spy On You Even When Your Mobile Is Off
"The malware can make outgoing calls, take pictures and perform many other tasks without notifying the user"
Security researchers have unearthed a new Android Trojan that tricks victims into believing they have switched their device off while it continues “spying” on the users’ activities in the background. So, next time be very sure while you turn off your Android smartphones.
The new Android malware threat, dubbed PowerOffHijack, has been spotted and analyzed by the researchers at the security firm AVG. PowerOffHijack because the nasty malware has a very unique feature – it hijacks the shutdown process of user’s mobile phone.
When users presses the power button on their device, a fake dialog box is shown. The malware mimics the shutdown animation and the device appears to be off, but actually remains on, giving the malicious program freedom to move around on the device and steal data.
(The hacker news, feb 20th)
A couple of weeks ago, we reported on a small but important defeat for the UK government when the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled that intelligence sharing between the NSA and GCHQ was unlawful. Now, in a sign that the cracks in the UK’s impenetrable silence on its surveillance activities are beginning to spread, the Guardian reports on the following surprising development:
The regime under which UK intelligence agencies, including MI5 and MI6, have been monitoring conversations between lawyers and their clients for the past five years is unlawful, the British government has admitted.
Here’s why the UK government has suddenly started owning up to these misdeeds:
The admission that the regime surrounding state snooping on legally privileged communications has also failed to comply with the European convention on human rights comes in advance of a legal challenge, to be heard early next month, in which the security services are alleged to have unlawfully intercepted conversations between lawyers and their clients to provide the government with an advantage in court.
Remarkably, the confession has brought with it an unprecedented explanatory statement:
“In view of recent IPT judgments, we acknowledge that the policies adopted since [January] 2010 have not fully met the requirements of the ECHR, specifically article 8 (right to privacy). This includes a requirement that safeguards are made sufficiently public.
“It does not mean that there was any deliberate wrongdoing on their part of the security and intelligence agencies, which have always taken their obligations to protect legally privileged material extremely seriously. Nor does it mean that any of the agencies’ activities have prejudiced or in any way resulted in an abuse of process in any civil or criminal proceedings.”
This surprise admission shows once again the value of taking legal action against government surveillance, even when the odds of succeeding seem slim. Twice now the UK has revealed details purely as a result of challenges. Perhaps even more importantly, twice now the UK government’s standard response to leaks — that it wouldn’t confirm or deny anything, but the British public could rest assured that whatever may have happened was completely legal — has been shown to be false.
(techdirt, feb 20th)
THREE MINUTE LONG VIDEO:
Buyer Beware: Talking Barbie Records Kids Conversations
(Infowars, feb 20th)
SSL-busting code that threatened Lenovo users found in a dozen more apps
The list of software known to use the same HTTPS-breaking technology recently found preinstalled on Lenovo laptops has risen dramatically with the discovery of at least 12 new titles, including one that's categorized as a malicious trojan by a major antivirus provider.
(ARS technica, feb 22nd)
Worst Spying In World History – Worse Than Any Dystopian Novel – Is Occurring RIGHT NOW
Spying by the NSA is worse than in Nazi Germany
We noted in 2012 that Americans are the most spied upon people in world history.
Top NSA officials previously said that we’ve got a “police state” … like J. Edgar Hoover – or the Stasi – on “super steroids”.
Spying by the NSA is also worse than in Nazi Germany:
The tyrants in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Stasi Eastern Europe would have liked to easedrop on every communication and every transaction of every citizen. But in the world before the internet, smart phones, electronic medical records and digital credit card transactions, much of what happened behind closed doors remained private.
Indeed, a former lieutenant colonel for the East German Stasi said the NSA’s spy capabilities would have been “a dream come true” for the Stasi.
NSA contractor Edward Snowden said in 2013 that NSA spying was worse than in Orwell’s book 1984. (See update below).
We noted at the time that the NSA is spying on us through our computers, phones, cars, buses, streetlights, at airports and on the street, via mobile scanners and drones, through our smart meters, and in many other ways.
And we learned that same year that the NSA is laughing at all of us for carrying powerful spying devices around in our pockets. And see this.
A security expert said the same year:
We have to assume that the NSA has EVERYONE who uses electronic communications under CONSTANT surveillance.
What’s happened since these statements were made? Spying has only gotten worse. The government is doing everything it can to completely destroy privacy.
Postscript: Nothing has changed … and it will keep on getting worse and worse unless we the people stand up for our rights against those who want to take our freedom away.
Update: Bill Binney is the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information. A 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, Binney was the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of NSA employees.
Binney tells Washington’s Blog:
While the spying programs that we have heard about so far deal with the “who and what” and on occasion the “why” of what people on the planet are doing, Treasuremap is the NSA/GCHQ/etc. program to acquire and follow the movements of people (objective is to follow 4 billion folks) simultaneously in near real time. So, Treasuremap gives them the “when and where” aspects of individual lives.
All in all, this gives the participating governments (primarily the Five Eyes countries) unrestricted knowledge of individual lives.
Current surveillance is far beyond an Orwellian state.
Although on a much smaller scale, we need to remember that these type of activities were some of the primary “articles of impeachment” of president Nixon.
(Zero hedge, feb 21st)
A five year Air Force veteran is suing two Orlando police officers and the city after video emerged of one of the officers viciously beating him, while the other turned away to avoid capturing footage on a body cam he was wearing.
(Infowars, feb 21st)
VIDEO: Truck driver films argument with highway patrol officer who fined him after ‘estimating’ his speed was over the limit
Chris Smith was driving a B-Double on the Newell Highway on Saturday when was pulled over by a Highway Patrol officer as part of Operation Drink Drive at about 5.10pm.
Mr Smith began filming his interaction with the officer who told the driver he hadn’t been caught on the patrol car’s radar but had been estimated by the officer to be speeding.
The video, which was posted to the man’s Facebook page, has been viewed more than 1.2 million times since being uploaded less than half an hour after being handed the fine.
(daily telegraph, feb 22nd)
Police seized more than $24 million in assets from Michiganders in 2013, under asset forfeiture laws. In many cases the citizens were never charged with a crime but lost their property anyway.
(freep, feb 22nd)
Fresh leak of highly radioactive water detected at Fukushima nuclear power plant
Sensors at the Fukushima nuclear plant have detected a fresh leak of highly radioactive water into the sea.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said the sensors, which were rigged to a gutter that pours rain and ground water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant to a nearby bay, detected contamination levels up to 70 times greater than the already-high radioactive status seen at the plant campus.
(ABC Australia, feb 22nd)
It’s Official, McDonald’s and Monsanto Are Both ‘Losing Money Fast’
In a series of headlines that would pass as virtually unbelievable several years ago, mainstream economists are sounding the alarm over the financial decline of both fast food giant McDonald’s and biotech juggernaut Monsanto.
CNN asks, ‘Is McDonald’s doomed?’ Business Insider declares that ‘McDonald’s Is Losing America’ as the company fires its own CEO. What’s happening? As it turns out, the world is starting to ask what they’re truly eating in their food — and the new conglomerate of natural grocers and restaurants are trailblazing the way into an entirely new economic environment. In other words: people are simply tired of shoveling garbage into their bodies, and they’re not going to put up with it anymore.
(Natural society, feb 22nd)
THREE-PARENT babies could risk the future of the human race by “modifying genetic heritage in an irreversible way”, warned 55 Italian MPs.
The group of Italian politicians have called on the House of Lords to reject a law to allow so-called three-parent babies – stating the notion “cannot possibly be contained within the confines of the United Kingdom”.
The stern warning comes after MPs in Britain voted overwhelmingly in favour of the controversial technique of mitochondrial donation – which would allow children to be conceived with genetic material from a trio of individuals.
In a strongly worded letter to The Times, the Italian Mps wrote that the legalisation of such a technique “could have uncontrollable and unforeseeable consequences, affecting future generations and modifying genetic heritage in an irreversible way, inevitably affecting the human species as a whole”.
(daily express, feb 22nd)
CLIMATE CHANGE... OR GLOBAL WARMING? __________
Republicans To Investigate Climate Data Tampering By NASA
Are government climate agencies tampering with climate data to show warming? Some Republicans think so. California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher says to expect congressional hearings on climate data tampering.
Rohrabacher serves as the vice chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, which has jurisdiction over NASA and other agencies that monitor the Earth’s climate.
Rohrabacher has long been critical of the theory of man-made global warming. Lately, the California Republican has criticizing NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for allegedly tampering with temperature data to create an artificial warming trend. Such data is then used to justify regulations aimed at curbing fossil fuel use and other industrial activities.
(daily caller, feb 20th)
Great Lakes “likely to have the most ice since records began,” says meteorologist
“Great Lakes ice is now running ahead of last year and ice will increase with more brutal cold coming,” says meteorologist Joe d’Aleo. “We are likely to have the most ice since records began.”
“By the end of February the entire country east of the Rockies will have averaged below normal,” says d’Aleo. “Boston will have either the coldest or second coldest month in their history. It is nearly 13F below normal in Cleveland and all points east for February. Boston has the second most snow for the season and is very likely to be the snowiest ever by the end of the winter. They blew away the all time monthly snow record by 18 inches and could end up with 6 feet if models are right in 1 month. Ice has clogged Delaware Bay and New York and Boston Harbors.”
“Ice is seen as far south as off the New Jersey Coast and will likely clog Boston and New York Harbor in the brutal cold of the next 10 days. Freezing spray warnings are in effect in the waters around NYC this morning.”
(ice age now, feb 19th)
Siberian Express Gripped Midwest, Northeast, South; Four Cities Set All-Time Record Lows
Hundreds of daily record lows and at least three all-time record lows were set as a frigid air mass with a connection to Siberia gripped the central and eastern United States with dangerously cold conditions. Friday morning brought the most widespread and intense cold of the winter to many areas, sending temperatures into the 30s below zero as far south as Kentucky.
(weather, feb 21st)
120-year-old record low broken in D.C., one of many today and in the past week
We talk about record highs a lot in Washington, but the recently unfathomable was accomplished this morning. We broke a record low.
A temperature of 5 degrees was enough to smash a 120-year-old record for the date — a moment worthy of meteorological reflection.
When the city — often the warmest location in the region — is breaking record lows, you know it’s a cold one. Much of the area saw one of the most truly frigid nights in recent memory last night, made more amazing because of how late in the season it happened.
-Two out of three of our climate sites — National and Baltimore-Washington airports — broke record lows this morning. This comes after record low maximums at Dulles and BWI on Thursday, and other records earlier in the week.
-Yesterday’s 21 degree maximum tied for the coldest high recorded at National Airport (since the 1940s) so late in the season.
-In some ways, this late-season cold is nearly unprecedented. Four days with highs 22 or less in mid-February and beyond would break a record dating to the 1800s.
(washington post, feb 20th)