Tuesday, March 3, 2015
ARE YOU READY FOR THIS DAILY USA PATRIOTS MONDAY EDITION OF 60 MIND BLOWING NEWS REPORTS? CAN YOU EVEN HANDLE THIS? I KNOW ITS HARD FOR ME. I KNOW IVE MISSED PROBABLY ANOTHER 20 OR 30 IMPORTANT NEWS REPORTS. IM GOING TO TRY EXTREMELY HARD TO MAKE TUESDAYS NEWS POST ALSO HAVE AT LEAST 60 NEWS ARTICLES ALSO.
SUPPORT ME, SPREAD THIS NEWS SITE IF YOU BELIEVE IN ME. IM ABOUT TO OFFICIALLY LAUNCH THE WEBSITE IN THE COMING WEEKS OR MAYBE MONTHS. DONT WORRY I WONT ANNOY YOU WITH VIDEO ADS AND POP-UPS, I PROMISE!!! ;-)
MONDAY MARCH 2ND 2015. ARE YOU READY?
(I originally said it was march 3rd, like an idiot lol. i have corrected it)
THE ELITE 1%_______________________
Record 290 newcomers join Forbes Billionaires list, total wealth of $7 trillion
With the global economy stuck in recession and falling oil prices eating into growth, there has been a record 290 newcomers added to the ranks of the world’s billionaires, mostly from China. Their total wealth is an unprecedented $7 trillion.
The total wealth of the world’s billionaires grew from $6.4 trillion in 2014, to $7 trillion according to the 2015 Forbes Billionaires List published Monday.
(Russia Today, march 2nd)
How Billionaires in London Use Secret Luxury Homes to Hide Assets
On London’s Billionaires Row in Hampstead, the seven-bedroom Carlton House with its 50-foot ballroom, underground swimming pool and 10-person Turkish bath is for sale for 14 million pounds ($21.5 million).
It’s being sold to repay BTA Bank after British courts seized assets from the Kazakh lender’s one-time chairman, billionaire Mukhtar Ablyazov. The lender accused him of embezzling about $6 billion from the bank, claims he says are false and politically motivated.
It took the U.K. High Court to establish that the home, with its marble bathrooms, crystal chandeliers and cherry-wood elevator, belongs to the 51-year-old, because the property was bought through a network of offshore companies that hid his identity. He argued it was his brother-in-law’s and he just rented it after his family moved to England in 2009.
Buying upscale homes in the U.K. through trust funds and overseas-based companies is popular among the rich as a way to minimize taxes and protect privacy. The practice also makes it difficult for law enforcement and the courts to establish whether their owners bought them legitimately. Hundreds of billions of pounds classified as the proceeds of crime are laundered here every year and London’s surging property market is one of the more attractive ways to do it, according to the U.K. National Crime Agency.
(Bloomberg, march 2nd)
Swiss Billionaire Warns Of Total Collapse End Game Scenario: ‘The Fed Has No Way Out… Your Money Will Be Worthless’
With currencies being rapidly devalued by their respective governments, the global economy in a slow-down, and tensions over resources heating up around the world, it’s time to start considering the endgame.
According to billionaire resource investor Carlo Civelli there is likely no way out for central banks which have spent the last several years printing money hand over fist. Over his decades’ long career Civelli has either managed or financed over 20 companies, many of which now have market capitalizations in the billions of dollars, so he knows a thing or two about investing during boom times, as well as busts.
In his most recent interview with Future Money Trends he warns of an endgame scenario that is nothing short of a total collapse. And here’s the scary part: Civelli says that even gold may not be a safe haven should the worst case scenario play out:
"If we all talk about the end game and a scenario of total collapse, I can see the governments telling everybody that your money is now worthless and the bonds you own are now worthless. You all have to take a haircut. But would they let the people that own gold get away with it? I don’t think so."
(SHTFplan, march 2nd)
“World-Leading Economist” And Advisor To Chancellor Osborne Busted For Smoking Crack
Chancellor's senior adviser on economic policy captured on video smoking crack cocaine in a drugs den
All those times when the general population asks if panglossian, clueless economists are smoking crack… apparently there was a reason for that.
When the UK and the rest of Europe proposed and implemented a change to the way GDP is calculated last year (a change which single-handedly pushed Britain above France as the world’s 5th largest economy) one which “estimated” the contribution of prostitution and illegal drugs to national economic output, little did we know that such “estimates” would be based on personal experience (also see “How Britain Calculates Its Hooker “GDP Boost”: 60,879 Prostitutes x 25 Clients Per Week x £67.16 Per Visit“).
Enter professor Douglas McWilliams, 63, head of the well-known Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) think tank and one of the most prominent modern economists, in fact in his own words “one of the world’s leading economists…best known for his work in forecasting” as well as advisor (and cheerleader) to none other than UK Chancellor George Osborne.
(zero hedge, march 2nd)
Jeb Bush distances himself from family
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush distanced himself from his family on Monday as he courted senior citizens in Nevada, the first stop in a national tour aimed at key states on the presidential primary calendar.
Taking questions in an early voting state for the first time this year, the leading Republican White House prospect declared that each of his family members is different and challenged a questioner who suggested otherwise. Bush is the son and brother of former presidents who were unpopular when they left office.
(AP, march 2nd)
Hillary Clinton Seen Launching Presidential Bid in April
Move would ease uncertainties in the Democratic Party and rev up front-runner’s fundraising
(WSJ, march 2nd)
Big Media Blacks Out the Clinton Foundation Foreign-Money Story
Among the many, many reasons why Americans hate and distrust the mainstream media, we’ve got the amazing spectacle of a major story directly impacting a likely presidential candidate — Hillary Clinton — completely blacked out in favor of obsessive coverage for llamas on the loose.
To mix animal metaphors, many liberal-media critics smell a rat every time the airwaves are filled with obsession over a frivolous story. NewsBusters clocked six minutes on the story of llamas running loose in Arizona, but only 32 seconds of coverage on one of the major networks (CBS) for the incredible tale of Hillary Clinton’s foundation raking in foreign and corporate cash both during and after her tenure as Secretary of State.
This is the same media that squeezed a solid week of shrieking, hysterical news coverage out of Rudy Giuliani, who isn’t even running for anything, expressing doubts about the depth of Barack Obama’s love for America. Even the casual news consumer realized the intensity of this coverage had little to do with its news-worthiness. It was, in part, a cynical attempt to use Giuliani’s remarks as a hydraulic piston to hammer the Republicans who probably are running for president, beginning with — but by no means limited to — Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, but mostly it was a sustained wail of anguish and outrage from media elites, who identify so strongly with their beloved Barack Obama that they took Giuliani’s s remarks as a personal slight against them.
There’s no question about the depth of Hillary Clinton’s love for money. As the Clinton Foundation story gets deeper, it’s increasingly difficult for the mainstream press to justify ignoring it. They’ll be even more reluctant to ask her about it, the way hordes of them followed Walker around and interrogated him about what he thinks Barack Obama is thinking. Hillary Clinton doesn’t get asked about anything. The media allows her to remain invisible for as long as she likes, and since her public appearances tend to become gaffe avalanches, she stays invisible quite a bit. It would be a certain sign that the media favoritism her nascent candidacy depends on was evaporating if they actually asked her about the Clinton Foundation stories.
The story we’ve been hearing so little about from the press came in two stages. First, the Wall Street Journal dished on the Clinton Foundation quietly dropping its “self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments” and collecting a rapidly increasing amount of foreign money. Second, the Washington Post discovered that “self-imposed ban” wasn’t exactly imposed with rigorous discipline to begin with:
The Clinton machine apparently thinks it can blow this off by insisting the Foundation is a charity. The American people are growing very sick of the aristocracy claiming that ethical standards, and even laws, shouldn’t apply to them because their intentions are so pure, even as the rest of us are strangled by the rapidly spreading weeds of bureaucracy without much thought given to our intentions when we trip across some technicality. There’s nothing confusing about the need to prevent something like the Clinton Foundation from becoming a covert political-access superstore for those who can’t find an above-board way to buy Hillary’s time. The public’s not likely to view this “grandfather clause” excuse about letting existing foreign donors continue to stuff money into the foundation after Hillary became Secretary of State with kindness, either.
(breitbart, feb 28th)
17 TOP NEWS STORIES OF THE DAY, including everything from corruption to global conflicts
Is the Media Trying to “Disappear” Rand Paul As Was Done to His Father?
The man who would go on to win the CPAC straw poll, Rand Paul, isn’t anywhere to be seen.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal ran a cover photo of the Republican hopefuls set to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland. The caption at the bottom of the picture read: At a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, an attendee holds photos of possible presidential candidates.
Notice anything bizarre about this photograph? Let’s see. There’s Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Rick Perry. Basically every insane hack and oligarch puppet imaginable is prominently featured. Yet, the man who would go on to win the CPAC straw poll, Rand Paul, isn’t anywhere to be seen.
Actually, upon further inspection, his curly locks appear to be protruding from behind Chris Christie’s gigantic skull, while his ear is softly caressing Rick Santorum’s right eyeball. The only other face that is entirely covered up seems to be the biggest laughing stock of them all, Donald Trump, who may actually be a good candidate considering his unique ability to repeatedly emerge from bankruptcy unscathed (yes, I’m joking).
While this is just one picture, and could indeed be a regrettable oversight, the reason I brought it up, is because the media shamelessly went out of its way to pretend his father, Ron Paul, didn’t exist back in 2012. It was so bad, that Jon Stewart made a classic clip exposing the entire spectacle. Watch below: (video in article)
(Liberty Blitzkrieg, march 1st)
Report: Iraqi Forces AGAIN Claim US is Supplying ISIS with Weapon Drops
Iraqi forces have once again sensationally charged that the US military is purposefully dropping weapons to terrorist militants in the western parts of the country, according to a report.
The Iranian Fars News Agency reports “A group of Iraqi popular forces known as Al-Hashad Al-Shabi shot down a US Army helicopter that was carrying weapons for the ISIL in the western parts of Al-Baqdadi region in Al-Anbar province” last week.
The report claims that the fighters posted a picture (see above) online of the downed chopper and the weapons that were recovered.
The claims comes on the heels of reports last week that the Iraq Army shot down two British planes also delivering weapons to the Islamic State.
“The Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee has access to the photos of both planes that are British and have crashed while they were carrying weapons for the ISIL,” Head of the committee Hakem al-Zameli said, according to the Arabic-language information center of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.
Hakem al-Zameli, a senior Iraqi legislator, added that the current government in Baghdad is receiving daily reports from security forces in al-Anbar province about flights airdropping weapons to ISIS.
The reason for the drops, according to the legislator, is to prolong a chaotic situation in Anbar Province.
Last week, video was also released claiming to show a US Chinook helicopter dropping two boxes full of weapons for ISIS by flying at a low altitude in an extremist controlled area south of Fallujah. The footage is said to have been filmed by the Iraq-based Hezbollah Brigades.
(Infowars, march 2nd)
Tikrit Battle Against ISIS: 30,000 Fighters Mount Anti-Islamic State Offensive In Iraq
Around 30,000 members of Iraq’s military and militias are participating in the offensive against Islamic State fighters in the militant group’s stronghold of Tikrit, Agence France-Presse reported. The force targeted jihadist positions in and around the Iraqi city Monday after launching the large-scale offensive to reclaim northern and western Iraq from the militant group.
“Security forces are advancing on three main fronts towards Tikrit, Ad-Dawr (to the south) and Al-Alam (to the north),” a senior army officer involved in the operation told AFP. “The attack is being carried out using fighter jets, helicopters and artillery targeting Tikrit to secure the advance and cut supply routes.”
The offensive was announced by Iraqi state television a day after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited troops stationed on Tikrit’s outskirts and made a speech in which he declared that the “zero hour” for Tikrit’s liberation was near, the New York Times reported. The prime minister also promised amnesty to local residents who had been forced to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, but said that they had a “last chance” to lay down their weapons and assist the government’s effort to stamp out the militant group from the area.
(IB times, march 2nd)
Tsarnaev attorney: Video of accused placing bomb down “does not exist”
After claiming video was "chilling," Governor Patrick disclosed that he had not seen the video
Defense attorney David Bruck today told a federal court that what authorities have described as a central piece of the prosecution’s evidence against his client “does not exist.”
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, public officials including the former Special Agent in Charge of the Boston FBI office Richard DesLauriers and the former governor of the state of Massachusetts told the public about a “chilling” video that all but proved the young Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s guilt. Speaking on NBC’s Face the Nation, Governor Deval Patrick said the video shows Tsarnaev placing a backpack down and walking away, just before it explodes.
“It does seem to be pretty clear that this suspect took the backpack off, put it down, did not react when the first explosion went off, and then moved away from the backpack in time for the second explosion,” the two-term Massachusetts governor said. “It’s pretty clear about his involvement and pretty chilling, frankly.”
Later Governor Patrick disclosed that he had not seen the video.
During jury selection in the Tsarnaev case, a potential juror told Judge O’Toole that she thought she could be fair and impartial, even though she couldn’t get the image of Tsarnaev putting the bomb down out of her head. “The image of him putting the backpack behind that little boy…I do have this image in my mind that I can’t deny, to be perfectly honest,” she told the court, describing what authorities have said is a video showing Tsarnaev leaving the backpack at the scene.
In a February federal appeals court hearing on a defense motion to move the trial out of Boston, both a federal judge and a DOJ prosecutor referenced the public airing of the video showing Tsarnaev placing the backpack on the ground.
The video has never been aired publicly.
Now Tsarnaev’s defense team has said in open court that it doesn’t exist.
(Privacysos.org, march 2nd)
Family of Tsarnaev associate killed by FBI to sue for $30 million
The family of Ibragim Todashev, an associate of Tamerlan Tsarnaev who was killed during an FBI interrogation, plans to sue the agency.
Todashev’s parents filed a “notice of claim” Monday, saying they plan to seek $30 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The claim argues the FBI has given “no viable justification” to account for shooting and killing Todashev during a 2013 interrogation in Todashev’s apartment in Orlando, Florida.
The interrogation occurred about a month after the Boston Marathon bombings and centered around another crime linked to bombing suspect Tsarnaev: a 2011 triple homicide in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Editor’s note: The widow of Ibragim Todashev, Reni Todashev, told Alex Jones on Sept. 12, 2013 that the FBI and the U.S. government have stonewalled attempts to find out what happened to her husband on May 22 of this year.
(Infowars and CNN, march 2nd)
Saudi Arabia gives top prize to cleric who says 9/11 was "inside job"
An Indian television preacher who has called the 9/11 attacks an “inside job” received one of Saudi Arabia’s most prestigious prizes on Sunday, for “service to Islam”.
Zakir Naik, president of the Islamic Research Foundation in India, was one of five recipients of the King Faisal international prize from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman during a ceremony at a luxury Riyadh hotel.
The annual prizes are a project of the King Faisal Foundation, established in 1976 by the children of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz who died in 1975.
Naik was honoured for being one of the most renowned non-Arabic speaking promoters of Islam. He founded the Peace TV channel, billed as the world’s only channel specialising in comparative religion.
(AFP, march 2nd)
US to Deploy Six National Guard Companies to Ukraine This Week
The United States will deploy personnel by the end of this week to train the Ukrainian national guard, US 173rd Airborne Brigade Commander Colonel Michael Foster said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on Monday.
“Before this week is up, we’ll be deploying a battalion minus… to the Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces for the fight that’s taking place,” Foster stated. “What we’ve got laid out is six United States companies that will be training six Ukrainian companies throughout the summer.”
(sputnik, march 2nd)
White House Claims Banning AR-15 Ammo Will “Save” Cops, But Rifle Murder Rate Only 2.3%
The White House is claiming the ATF’s AR-15 ammo ban will greatly save cops’ lives, despite AR-15s only accounting for less than 2.3% of recorded murders per the FBI.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday the ATF’s ban of M855 AR-15 ammunition is a “common-sense step.”
“We are looking at additional ways to protect our brave men and women in law enforcement, and believe that this process is valuable for that reason alone,” he said.
But of the 12,253 murders reported by the FBI in 2013 (the most recent data available,) only 285, or 2.3%, were committed using rifles, including long arms such as bolt-action and single-shot rifles, meaning that semi-automatic AR-15s would account for less than 2.3% of all murders.
In fact, shotguns, which Vice President Joe Biden famously suggested women should use instead of AR-15s, were used more often in murders than AR-15s.
Overall, the use of rifles in murders decreased since 2012, when long arms accounted for a still minuscule 2.5%.
The number of murders involving guns in general plunged from 8,855 in 2012 to 8,454 in 2013, following a steep decline in gun-related violent crimes since the mid-1990s.
Last week we reported the ATF was trying to ban M855 AR-15 ammunition popular with sport shooters by declaring it “armor piercing,” despite the ammo containing lead which exempts it from the classification according to law.
To be considered “armor piercing” under 18 U.S.C. 921 (a)(17)(B), a bullet must have an entirely metal core or have a jacket weighing more than 25% of its weight, which wouldn’t include M855 rounds because their bullets are partly lead.
“While M855 has carried the exemption from a 1986 prohibition on manufacture, importation and sale, (but not possession) of ‘armor piercing’ rounds, it’s clear from the definition that it should have never needed to be ‘exempted,’” Bryan Black of Itstactical.com wrote.
(infowars, march 2nd)
IRS defends paying refunds to illegals who never filed taxes
The IRS is defending its decision to let illegal immigrants claim up to three years’ refunds on income even if they never paid income taxes, telling Congress in a new letter last week that agency lawyers have concluded getting a Social Security number triggers the ability to go back and ask for previous refunds.
(washington times, march 2nd)
Obama hit for filling embassies with political allies, highest in 27 years
Career diplomats are finding that they can’t advance to top State Department posts such as ambassadorships because President Obama has stuffed political appointees into those jobs, the most ever in his second term.
“Yes, it’s a problem,” said Robert Silverman, president of the American Foreign Service Association. “This is an ongoing struggle. We need to maintain the ability for our top people to go straight to the top,” he said.
The issue is a big one: While the State Department has a good record for hiring a diverse workforce of diplomats and experts who often take hardship posts to move up the ladder, the Obama White House is keeping way too many of the best jobs for its political allies.
Just look at the Silverman’s group said that 40.6 percent of Obama’s second term ambassadorial positions, the top jobs, have gone to political hacks, with 59.4 to career foreign service careerists.
(washington examiner, march 2nd)
Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Breaking Rules
Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.
Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.
Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.
“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.
(NYT, march 2nd)
Red tape keeps some bad gov't workers from being fired
A CBS News investigation looks at how hard it is for the U.S. government to discipline or fire employees who behave badly. With examples ranging from extravagant to explicit, civil service rules meant to protect public workers from political pressure may be backfiring, and costing you big, reports CBS News correspondent Don Dahler.
At the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), red tape is preventing the removal of a top level employee accused of viewing porn two to six hours a day while at work, since 2010. Even though investigators found 7,000 pornographic files on his computer and even caught him watching porn, he remains on the payroll.
At a Congressional hearing, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy was asked why she hadn't fired the employee and said, "I actually have to work through the administrative process, as you know."
The administrative process meant to prevent against politically motivated firings is the civil servant protection system. The rules give employees the right to appeal a termination, a process that can take up two years.
"There is a big difference between trying to protect against that and what we have today," Partnership for Public Service president and CEO Max Stier said.
He said those rules make it nearly impossible to fire poor performers or problematic employees, even when they've committed egregious violations.
(CBS, march 2nd)
Two men arrested in separate White House breaches...just hours after new Secret Service director vowed to improve 'failing' security
(daily mail, march 2nd)
Electricity Price Index Hit Record—Again--in January
In contrast to the steep decline in the gasoline price index over the past year (which led to a decline in the overall Consumer Price Index), the seasonally adjusted electricity price index hit an all-time high in January, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In January, the seasonally adjusted price index for electricity was 212.290. That was up from 210.489 in December, which was the record up until then. Before that, the high had been the 209.341 recorded in March of last year.
The annual electricity price index set a record in 2014 of 208.020 up from 200.750 in 2013.
(CNS news, march 2nd)
U.S. millennials post ‘abysmal’ scores in tech skills test, lag behind foreign peers
There was this test. And it was daunting. It was like the SAT or ACT -- which many American millennials are no doubt familiar with, as they are on track to be the best educated generation in history -- except this test was not about getting into college. This exam, given in 23 countries, assessed the thinking abilities and workplace skills of adults. It focused on literacy, math and technological problem-solving. The goal was to figure out how prepared people are to work in a complex, modern society.
And U.S. millennials performed horribly.
That might even be an understatement, given the extent of the American shortcomings. No matter how you sliced the data – by class, by race, by education – young Americans were laggards compared to their international peers. In every subject, U.S. millennials ranked at the bottom or very close to it, according to a new study by testing company ETS.
“We were taken aback,” said ETS researcher Anita Sands. “We tend to think millennials are really savvy in this area. But that’s not what we are seeing.”
The test is called the PIAAC test. It was developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, better known as the OECD. The test was meant to assess adult skill levels. It was administered worldwide to people ages 16 to 65. The results came out two years ago and barely caused a ripple. But recently ETS went back and delved into the data to look at how millennials did as a group. After all, they’re the future – and, in America, they're poised to claim the title of largest generation from the baby boomers.
(washington post, march 2nd)
School Textbook: “There’s No Such Thing as Reverse Racism”
The passage, which appears to be taken from a “multicultural education series” book entitled Is Everyone Equal, states, “STOP: There is no such thing as reverse racism or reverse sexism (or the reverse of any form of oppression). While women can be just as prejudiced as men, women cannot be “just as sexist as men” because they do not hold political, economic and institutional power.”
In a sense, the text is correct, there is no such thing as reverse racism. Racism is racism, whether the target is white, black or brown.
However, that’s not the message being communicated. The book is teaching students that only white people can be racist and that only men can be sexist because….patriarchy!
(Infowars, march 2nd)
Facebook yanks account of boy who ripped Obama
On Friday, C.J. Pearson, a 12-year-old conservative from Georgia who posted a viral video supporting Rudy Giuliani, discovered that his personal Facebook page was locked. In an exclusive interview with Examiner.com on Saturday, Pearson said he received a message from someone about 6 a.m. Friday. That’s when he learned his account and page had been locked for “suspicious activity.”
He jumped through all of Facebook’s hoops, but wasn’t able to recover his account. So he created a new profile to take its place. His public page was not affected, he said, however, he can no longer administer the page. Fortunately, he said, a friend is helping post links to that page.
As is so often the case in these situations, Facebook did not respond to his requests for help. Nor would they tell him what the alleged suspicious activity was. We reached out to Facebook, but the social media giant has so far refused to respond to our request for comments.
(Examiner, march 2nd)
IRAN, ISRAEL & U.S.____________________
Netanyahu: Iran nuclear deal threatens Israel's security
(AP, march 2nd)
Bibi Lists Times Israel Defied U.S. to Act in Self Defense
Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a portion of his AIPAC speech today to list the times when Israel has defied U.S. warnings to act in its self defense.
(weekly standard, march 2nd)
Exclusive: Obama says Iran must halt key nuclear work for at least a decade
(Reuters, march 2nd)
Kerry cautions Israel not to undercut Iran diplomacy as talks resume
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry quietly cautioned Israel not to undercut nuclear negotiations with Iran that resumed on Monday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to make the case in Washington against the diplomacy.
Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met for about 90 minutes on the first of what could be three days of talks in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux on curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
The two men, along with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Iranian atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi, shook hands and then met for about 50 minutes on Monday afternoon, followed by a second session of about 40 minutes.
Both sides postured in advance and suggested the other would be to blame if the talks fail to meet an end-March deadline for a framework accord. Kerry said Iran must be prepared to compromise and Zarif called for the total lifting of sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic as part of any final deal.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva before the meeting, Kerry struck a balance between defending Israel before the U.N. Human Rights Council, which Washington has long accused of anti-Israel bias, and also suggesting the Israelis not undermine the talks.
"We are concerned by reports that suggest selective details of the ongoing negotiations will be discussed publicly in the coming days," he said, apparently alluding to Netanyahu's planned speech on Tuesday before the U.S. Congress.
"Doing so would make it more difficult to reach the goal that Israel and others say they share in order to get to a good deal," Kerry said. "Israel's security is absolutely at the forefront of all of our minds, but frankly so is the security of all of the other countries in the region. So is our security."
(Reuters, march 2nd)
Dozens of House Democrats are planning to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on March 3, and they’re hoping their absence will send a strong signal.
One of those Democrats is Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky.
Yarmuth, who is Jewish, told CQ Roll Call he was disturbed by the GOP leadership’s decision to invite the foreign leader to speak two weeks before the Israeli elections and in the midst of tense negotiations to disarm Iran, without consulting their Democratic counterparts — or the White House.
“I think, early on, none of us wanted to make a big deal out of it. Just, you know, if we didn’t go, we didn’t go. It wasn’t like we were going to organize a boycott,” Yarmuth said.”But it became clear that attendance would be taken, and you were either gonna be noticed or not by your absence. So I thought I’d get out in front of it.”
Watch a live stream of the speech Tuesday at RollCall.com
Yarmuth’s constituents will be aware of his decision, along with Jewish donors and pro-Israel advocates closely watching how staunch supporters of Israel reconcile their allegiance to the nation with their protest of the politics surrounding the invitation.
In fact, he said he has a meeting with delegates from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee scheduled for the same time as Netanyahu’s address, and Yarmuth said he figured he’d watch the address with those delegates in his Capitol Hill office.
But when the cameras cut away from Netanyahu at the dais and pan across the House floor, they aren’t likely to catch many empty seats, which would have been the starkest symbol of discontent.
It is a longstanding practice for congressional aides — even pages — to sit on the floor alongside lawmakers during any potentially ill-attended joint sessions of Congress to “make it look good for whoever’s speaking,” according to Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., another Jewish representative who said he would not “be a potted plant” for Netanyahu’s address.
“There are more Republican staffers than there are Democrats,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., a co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who won’t attend the address next week. “I’m sure they’ll fill the seats.”
There are also the guests of members of Congress who populate the visitors’ galleries that hover above the House floor. Yarmuth recalled traveling to Israel in 2011, shortly after the last Netanyahu address on Capitol Hill, where Israeli men and women he encountered were thoroughly bewildered by the wild applause for their relatively unpopular prime minister.
“I said, ‘Well, all the AIPAC people were all in the gallery,’ Yarmuth chuckled. “That’s the kind of circus that surrounds all this.”
(rollcall, feb 26th)
MUST WATCH 8 MIN VIDEO: Horrified! Locals Unaware of Chicago Torture Site
Infowars reporter Joe Biggs takes to the streets of Chicago and is shocked to find out that the majority of Chicagoans are completely unaware of the horrific torture site located right in their back yard. Chicago locals also sound off on the upcoming run off of the mayoral election and how Rahm Emanuel should not be re-elected if he had knowledge of this black site.
(Infowars, march 2nd)
Chicago Black Site Attorney Threatened into Silence?
Infowars reporter Joe Biggs is in Chicago at the black site where civilians have been detained, beaten, and even killed. At the last minute an attorney whose clients had been held at the black site cancelled a scheduled interview with Infowars because of a sudden illness.
(Infowars, march 2nd)
4 More Victims Come Forward From Chicago Secret Prison, Man Tortured Over Weed
Four more victims of incarceration at Chicago’s Guantanamo Bay style secret detention/torture center, known as Homan Square, have come out and spoken to The Guardian about their experience being essentially treated like cattle.
(antimedia, feb 28th)
StingRay Phone Tracker Knocks Out Cell Networks, FBI Reveals
StingRay is capable of disrupting cellular service for every phone within a given vicinity, according to a new court document obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union. The disclosure, the first that could explain the secrecy around the controversial police surveillance technology, comes as privacy advocates and the U.S. Department of Justice have continued to dispute StingRay’s legality.
A StingRay is a mobile, suitcase-sized piece of equipment that, by replicating a cell tower signal, makes it possible for law enforcement agencies across the country to vacuum up details of all kinds about cell phones in the area — everything from call metadata to text details and snippets of conversations. Metadata includes background information, such as call records and user location, that is stored on a device or in the cloud.
They’ve been in use for more than a decade, but anxious civil liberties advocates still have little understanding of exactly how StingRays are used because of a non-disclosure agreement police agencies must sign with the StingRay’s manufacturer, Florida-based Harris Corp., in order to obtain one.
(IB times, march 2nd)
Video Exonerates Man Set Up By Louisiana Cops And Prosecutors [VIDEO]
If not for cell phone video, 47-year-old disabled veteran Douglas Dendinger could be going to prison — because of an apparent coordinated effort by Washington Parish, La. cops and prosecutors who falsely accused him of battery and witness intimidation.
As New Orleans’ WWL reports, Dendinger’s two-year nightmare began on Aug. 20, 2012, when he was paid $50 to serve a court summons on behalf of his nephew against Bogalusa police officer Chad Cassard in a police brutality lawsuit.
Dendinger handed Cassard a white envelope containing the documents and says he went on his way. But 20 minutes later, police showed up to Dendinger’s house and arrested him. He was put in jail on charges of simple battery, obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness.
Two of those charges are felonies, and a prior cocaine conviction on Dendinger’s record threatened to land him in jail for a long time as a repeat offender.
(daily caller, march 1st)
Fresno Police Sued After Reportedly Stealing $101,000 in Coins
Fresno police stole more than $100,000 from two businessmen while serving a search warrant to investigate an alleged illegal gambling ring, the businessmen claim in court.
Micah Jessop and Brittan Ashjian, who own numerous ATMs in California’s Central Valley, sued the city of Fresno and 10 officers, including Derik Kumagai, a former detective who pleaded guilty last week to extorting money from a drug dealer.
Jessop and Ashjian say Fresno police had been conducting surveillance on them for six months and knew that they kept large sums of cash at their business and homes, to restock their ATMs.
On Sept. 10, 2013, the officers, led by Kumagai, raided the men’s homes and business with a search warrant alleging that Jessop and Ashjian were selling illegal coin-operated gambling devices, according to the complaint.
(courthouse news, march 2nd)
A WhiteHouse.gov petition calling for the prohibition of laws requiring mandatory vaccines was throttled by the White House, buried from public view and finally frozen for more than 36 hours to prevent it from achieving 100,000 signatures, according to NaturalNews.com, which recently broke the story.
Forced and mandatory vaccinations have been a topic of hot debate in the last few months. The petition, titled “Prohibit any laws mandating the force and requirement of vaccinations of any kind,” was posted Feb. 4. It was rapidly heading toward the minimum 100,000 required signatures needed to trigger a response from the White House. But on Feb. 27, it was frozen at 56,791 signatures, where it remained for more than 36 hours.
“The petition still allows people to sign it,” writes Natural News. “[I]t still sends a confirmation email that claims your signature counts. But the numbers on the petition website never change, no matter how many people sign it.” [Emphasis in original]
“In reality, your signature doesn’t count at all,” said Mike Adams of Natural News.
(WND, march 2nd)
The other night Jimmy Kimmel decided to blast parents who don’t vaccinate their children.
He emphasized the difference between what these parents know and what, ahem, doctors know.
In between wisecracks, Kimmel made it clear that (pro-vaccine) doctors are very smart and knowledgeable people—as if this obvious fact had escaped the dissident parents.
Kimmel then presented several doctors doing a comic rendition of a public service announcement for vaccination. How quaint.
First of all, Kimmel (and TV news anchors) personally know as much about vaccine science as an ant knows about spaceship navigation. Let’s get that straight.
Second, the doctors Kimmel presented, all of whom fervently believe vaccines are remarkably safe, don’t have a clue about the fact that the US system for reporting severe and dangerous vaccine adverse effects (VAERS) is broken. Irretrievably broken.
Why? Two reasons. Doctors who vaccinate patients aren’t required by law to report adverse reactions. And many parents don’t even know there is a system for reporting.
Therefore, in the real world, there is no way these doctors can say vaccines are safe. Of course they do say that. Therefore, they’re accidentally or intentionally clueless, and no intelligent person should buy what they’re peddling.
Here is one reasonable attempt to assess vaccine damage in America. It was done by Barbara Loe Fisher, who heads up the private National Vaccine Information Center.
The reference is “In the Wake of Vaccines,” published in the Sept./Oct. 2004 issue of Mothering Magazine.
“But how many children have [adverse] vaccine reactions every year? Is it really only one in 110,000 or one in a million who are left permanently disabled after vaccination? Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler observed in 1993 that less than 1 percent of doctors report adverse events following prescription drug use. [See DA Kessler, ‘Introducing MEDWatch,’ JAMA, June 2, 1993: 2765-2768]
“…The 1986 Vaccine Injury Act contained no legal sanctions for not reporting [via VAERS]; doctors can refuse to report and suffer no consequences.
“Even so, each year about 12,000 reports are made to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System [VAERS]; parents as well as doctors can make those reports. [See RT Chen, B. Hibbs, ‘Vaccine safety,’ Pediatric Annals, July 1998: 445-458]
“However, if that number represents only 10 percent of what is actually occurring, then the actual number may be 120,000 vaccine-adverse events. If doctors report vaccine reactions as infrequently as Dr. Kessler said they report prescription-drug reactions, and the number 12,000 is only 1 percent of the actual total, then the real number may be 1.2 million vaccine-adverse events annually.”
(jon rappoport, march 1st)
Pakistan arrests parents for refusing polio vaccine
Pakistani authorities have conducted their first-ever mass arrest of parents for refusing to allow their children to be vaccinated against polio.
Authorities in Peshawar, in the north-west of the country, detained 471 people and charged them with “endangering public security”.
The local government says they will only be freed once they have pledged in writing to vaccinate their children.
(BBC, march 2nd)
Dangerous Bacteria Mysteriously Escapes From Louisiana Monkey Lab
How a potentially deadly strain of bacteria escaped from a primate research lab infecting four monkeys is a mystery, government officials said, but they added the incident poses no threat to the public.
The bacterium in question, burkholderia pseudomallei, is widespread throughout Southeast Asia and northern Australia, infecting humans and animals via contaminated soil and water entering the blood stream through cuts in the skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The high-security laboratory at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana, which is studying the bacteria, reported that at least five rhesus macaques not used in studies were infected with the bug, possibly as early as November of last year, according to spokesman Michael Strecker.
How the bacteria made its way from the lab to animals not used in experiments is still an open question despite weeks of investigation by multiple federal and state agencies, including the CDC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The only connection among these four animals was their presence in the veterinary hospital during the same period of time,” Dr. Andrew A. Lackner, the director of the center, said in a statement last week, adding that more than 50 soil and water samples from the 500-acre compound have tested negative for the bacteria.
A federal investigator also tested positive for burkholderia, after visiting the center, Jason McDonald, a CDC spokesman, told ABC News. It isn't clear whether he was exposed to the bacteria at the primate center or during travel to an infected region, McDonald said.
However, Strecker said he did not believe the investigator came into contact with the germ at the center.
(ABC news, march 2nd)
Maybe the Food Network should change their name to the Poison Café – after all, they are helping Monsanto with their PR campaign by airing commercials with the same message as their Prop 37 No to GMO Labeling Campaign. The same Monsanto ads appear in their magazine. Its time to unsubscribe from a Network that tries to sell GE seed and glyphosate through slick ads from one of the most hated companies in the world.
Similar to the advertisement that Oprah published in her magazine for Monsanto, the Food Network is running an ad showing a happy family gathered around a table passing food with happy smiles, as well as other propaganda trying to dismiss their Round Up Ready chemicals. The TV campaign is called “Food is Love.”
Say it with me – Monsanto doesn’t make food! They make chemicals like Round Up and Bt toxins, but certainly not food. Monsanto has created chemicals like Round Up (an herbicide), Agent Orange (used as a part of the United States’ ‘herbicidal warfare program), DDT (banned in 1972, DDT has been linked to damaging the liver), Dioxin (more very toxic chemicals), and much more. All of these things are the antitheses of healthful, healing food.
If you’d like to express your displeasure with the Food Network, you can do it in several ways. You can post a message at their Facebook page, leave them a voicemail at 865.560.3663, write a review for their corporate office, or simply unsubscribe to the Food Network Magazine. Polls show that Americans rank GMOs as a top health issue in 2015, so don’t think that voicing your opinion to this issue is abnormal.
(Infowars, march 2nd)
Fishermen Slam TEPCO for Silence on Cesium-Water Dumped in Pacific
Tokyo Electric Power Co has already been seriously negligent, if not criminal, in reporting on the true severity of the Daiichi disaster. Now, fishermen from the Fukushima prefecture in Japan are shocked to find out that water containing cesium and other radioactive isotopes has been draining into the Pacific, while TEPCO sat silent and did nothing.
TEPCO apparently knew about the leak last since May. Fisheries are absolutely shocked. Masakazu Yabuki, chief of the Iwaki fisheries cooperative, said at a meeting with Tepco officials:
“I don’t understand why (Tepco) kept silent even though they knew about it.”
TEPCO had previously sought the approval of local fishermen to dump groundwater into the ocean before it became tainted as a means of reducing the volume of water stored in the tanks at the reactor site. But due to this latest development, TEPCO fears a second round of approvals will be hampered, and they will not be able to dump more water.
TEPCO admitted this past week that they did not disclose rainwater leaks containing radioactive substances that were found in a drainage ditch, thought to be contaminated after last Spring’s rains. They knew that the water likely contained high radiation levels (with radioactive particles like cesium), even before it was dumped. The ditch is in direct alignment with runoff from the roof of the reactor 2 building.
TEPCO admits it recorded 29,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter in water pooled on the rooftop.
The same water also contained 52,000 becquerels of beta-ray-emitting radioactive substances such as strontium-90. 1,050 becquerels of radioactive cesium. What’s more, 1,500 becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive materials per liter were detected, but purposefully drained through an outlet leading to the sea.
(Infowars, march 2nd)
Can Fracking Pollute Drinking Water? Don't Ask the EPA
The EPA has been unable to collect the data it needs from the multibillion dollar oil and gas sector, which has stymied a five-year federal study.
The Environmental Protection Agency embarked in 2010 on what was intended to be a definitive study to find out. The answer could prove critical to future U.S. regulation of the multibillion-dollar fossil fuel sector and to ensuring water safety for millions of Americans.
But after five years of fighting with the oil and gas industry, the agency may still be unable to provide a clear answer when a draft of the study is published this spring, based on internal EPA documents and interviews with people who have knowledge of the study.
"We won’t know anything more in terms of real data than we did five years ago," said Geoffrey Thyne, a geochemist and a member of the EPA's 2011 Science Advisory Board, a group of independent scientists who reviewed the draft plan of the study. "This was supposed to be the gold standard. But they went through a long bureaucratic process of trying to develop a study that is not going to produce a meaningful result."
More than a half-dozen former high-ranking EPA, administration and congressional staff members echoed Thyne's opinion, as did scientists and environmentalists. Nearly all the former government employees asked not to be identified because of ongoing dealings with government and industry. Two hundred pages of EPA emails and other documents about the study point to the same conclusions. The documents were acquired by Greenpeace under the Freedom of Information Act and shared with InsideClimate News.
(insideclimatenews, march 2nd)
Salon: GOP Gun Advocates Pushing ‘Bizarre, Lethal’ Response to Rape
On February 28, Salon focused on the growing GOP push for campus carry, calling it a “bizarre” attempt to impose a “lethal solution to the campus rape crisis.”
The good news: Salon admits there is a campus rape crisis on gun-free campuses across the country.
The bad news: Salon still fights against arming women to reduce this crisis.
According to Salon, GOP gun nuts fail to understand that “people aren’t raped because they aren’t carrying firearms. [Rather,] they are raped because someone rapes them.”
But the elephant in the room is gun control, and Salon fails to understand that the women being raped are unarmed, and therefore, largely defenseless. And just as gun-free zones have turned into a breeding ground for those intent on taking innocent life–the Aurora theater, Sandy Hook Elementary, the DC Navy Yard, Fort Hood, etc.–so too, gun-free campuses have emerged as a breeding ground for the “campus rape crisis.”
Salon ultimately claims opening campuses to concealed carry will actually make things more dangerous for women.
(breitbart, feb 28th)
Confirmed: Google plans its own U.S. mobile service
Google has confirmed for the first time that it plans to offer connectivity directly to mobile users in the U.S., but a senior executive downplayed the competition it would be to major U.S. cellular carriers.
Several reports have said the company is preparing a service that would be offered across an existing cellular network under a Google brand -- a so-called "mobile virtual network operator" or MVNO. But the reports hadn't been confirmed until Sundar Pichai, the company's senior vice president, spoke at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.
"You'll see us announce it in the coming months," said Pichai.
Pichai said it won't be a full-service mobile network in competition with existing carriers.
Instead, he said, it will give Google a platform through which it can experiment with new services for Android smartphones.
He likened it to the work Google does today in hardware, where it works with existing partners on its Nexus line of devices. The phones give Google experience in hardware and a platform to try out various services, but are not meant to be a major challenge to companies like Samsung and HTC.
"We've always tried to push the boundary of what's next in hardware and software, and we do that with the Nexus devices today," he said. "We want to be able to experiment along those lines."
Pichai said that he hopes cellular carriers will pick up some of the ideas and innovations it tries should they prove successful with users.
He didn't provide any details about what those may be.
(PC world, march 2nd)
China Monthly Box Office Tops U.S. for First Time Ever, Hollywood struggles to keep Americans entertained
Chinese box-office revenue edged ahead of the United States in February for the first time ever as a record Lunar New Year bonanza brought in $650 million in the second-largest movie market, according to data from research firm Entgroup.
The North American box office for February came in at $710 million, but once Canada was stripped out, the figure was $640 million, making China the biggest box-office market in the world for the month, the firm said.
The top movie in China for the month was Chow Yun-Fat starrer The Man From Macau II, which brought in $104 million, followed by historical action movie Dragon Blade, starring Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Adrien Brody, which accumulated $95 million during the month.
(Hollywood reporter, march 2nd)
Colorado pot sales hit $700M in first year of full legalization
Consumers in Colorado bought more than 17 tons of recreational marijuana during the first year of the state’s new retail market, but sales of medicinal pot still outstripped that at almost 50 tons, officials said on Friday.
In a national first, voters in Colorado and Washington state opted to legalize recreational marijuana use by adults in landmark twin ballots in 2012. The first retail stores opened in Colorado on Jan 1, 2014.
States such as Oregon and Alaska also have voted to legalize recreational pot, and others where lawmakers face proposals to do so, are watching the Colorado results closely.
State tax officials say sales hit nearly $700 million last year, with medical marijuana accounting for $386 million and recreational pot bringing in $313 million.
(dispatch, feb 28th)
RON PAUL: Department of Homeland Security, What is it Good For?
Despite the heated rhetoric from both sides, no one seriously believes that Congress will allow Homeland Security funding to lapse. Most in Congress believe that, without the Department of Homeland Security, Americans would be left unprotected from terrorists and natural disasters. As with most areas of bipartisan agreement, the truth is the exact opposite of the DC consensus. The American people would be much better off if Congress transferred the few constitutional functions performed by Homeland Security to other parts of the government and then shut down the rest of the department.
Many Americans associate Homeland Security with the color–coded terrorist warning system and the “if you see something, say something” public relations campaign. These programs were designed to inspire public confidence in the department, but instead they inspired public ridicule.
Ironically, the best case for shutting down this department is its most well-known component — the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). More terrorist attacks have been thwarted by airline passengers than by the TSA! The TSA may be ineffective at stopping terrorists, but it is very effective at harassing innocent Americans like Lucy Forck. Three-year-old Lucy, who uses a wheelchair, not only had to endure an intrusive screening from TSA agents, but the agents also took away her beloved stuffed animal.
Another agency within Homeland Security that the American people could do without is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Having spent fifteen years in Congress representing a coastal area subject to hurricanes and floods, I have seen first-hand how FEMA places adherence to bureaucratic rules ahead of aiding victims of a natural disaster. As a result, it is not uncommon for disaster victims to wait months or even years for assistance.
FEMA not only fails to provide effective relief to disaster victims, it also impedes private disaster relief efforts. FEMA even hinders disaster victims’ efforts to help themselves. While in Congress, I heard stories of individuals being threatened with fines or even jail time if they returned to their property without FEMA’s permission. One individual in my district was threatened with arrest if he removed a tarp that FEMA put on his house — even though FEMA was supposed to have put it on his neighbor’s house!
Ten years after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, it is clear that this department has failed to protect our security, but has infringed on liberty. If Congress really wanted to enhance our security and our liberty it would shut down this unnecessary, unconstitutional department.
(Ron Paul, infowars, march 2nd)
Isis threatens Twitter employees over blocked accounts
Terror group supporters threaten social network, as well as co-founder Jack Dorsey specifically
Isis supporters have threatened Twitter employees, including co-founder Jack Dorsey specifically, with death over the social network’s practice of blocking accounts associated with the group.
In an Arabic post uploaded to the image-sharing site JustPaste.it, the group told Twitter that “your virtual war on us will cause a real war on you”. It warned that Jack Dorsey and Twitter employees have “become a target for the soldiers of the Caliphate and supporters scattered among your midst!”
“You started this failed war … We told you from the beginning it’s not your war, but you didn’t get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back. But when our lions come and take your breath, you will never come back to life.”
Twitter’s terms of service explicitly ban “direct, specific threats of violence against others”, and the company has followed YouTube in proactively shutting down Isis-related Twitter accounts, with the aid of the UK’s counter-terrorism internet referral unit.
(guardian, march 2nd)
Democrats Apologize After Fundraising Off of Fake DHS Shutdown
Democrats were so convinced that there would be a Department of Homeland Security shutdown last night that they jumped the gun on their plans to raise money because of it.
An email sent by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee alerted donors that Republicans had shut down the Department of Homeland Security – even though Congress actually avoided doing so.
“Here’s the bad news: Republicans forced a shutdown of Homeland Security,” the email blared. “It started at MIDNIGHT last night. Now more than ever, we need to raise $200,000 to launch an effective Rapid Response campaign against obstructionist Republicans.”
The next morning, the DCCC emailed donors to apologize.
“We screwed up,” the email read. “According to our records, we sent you an email this morning that you weren’t supposed to receive. Homeland Security did NOT shut down last night. We’re sorry for the mistake (we hate when this happens).”
Undeterred by their mistake, however, they still take the opportunity to plead for more money.
“Republicans are STILL trying to use our first responders as a bargaining chip against President Obama,” the email read. “These next hours are critical. Please — can you chip in to our Republican Accountability Fund before tonight’s federal fundraising deadline?”
(breitbart, feb 28th)
The Internet Of Things: A Dystopian Nightmare Where Everyone And Everything Will Be Monitored On The Internet
Can you imagine a world where your home, your vehicles, your appliances and every single electronic device that you own is constantly connected to the Internet? This is not some grand vision that is being planned for some day in the future. This is something that is being systematically implemented right now. In 2015, we already have “smart homes”, vehicles that talk to one another, refrigeratorsthat are connected to the Internet, and televisions that spy on us. Our world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and that opens up some wonderful possibilities.
But there is also a downside. What if we rapidly reach a point where one must be connected to the Internet in order to function in society? Will there come a day when we can’t even do basic things such as buy, sell, get a job or open a bank account without it? And what about the potential for government abuse? Could an “Internet of Things” create a dystopian nightmare where everyone and everything will be constantly monitored and tracked by the government? That is something to think about.
Today, the Internet has become such an integral part of our lives that it is hard to remember how we ever survived without it. And with each passing year, the number of devices connected to the Internet continues to grow at an exponential rate.
(Econimic collapse, march 2nd)
These 'privacy glasses' make you invisible to facial recognition
You're going out with friends mid-week, and you don't want the boss/significant other/parole officer to find out. But it's a birthday celebration, and Facebook's auto-tagging the pictures your buddies upload like a dirty snitch. The first piece of advice: never "friend" your parole officer. The second? Maybe grab a pair of these "privacy" glasses from software security firm AVG. You, of course, can see my visage above, but AVG claims the technology in the specs means facial recognition software (like that of Facebook) will not.
How does it work? There are a couple of things going on here, but essentially AVG is using infrared LEDs to mess with the filter most cameras use when taking pictures. By futzing the light around your eyes and nose, there's enough damage to the image to prevent facial recognition from figuring out who you are. There's a reflective covering, too, that lights up when a flash is used for similar results.
This is very much a prototype, and our test shots with an iPhone, Nexus and a DSLR all yielded different results -- as you can see in the images above and below. AVG told us it's only experimenting with the idea right now. Dare I say it, they are having a bit of thought-provoking fun? This is all to say it probably won't become a product any time soon, so if you really are on parole, you're not out of luck. You just need to consider your options.
(EN gadget, march 1st)
TTIP : Transatlantic trade deal text leaked to BBC
A leaked draft of what the European Union wants excluded from a new trade deal with the United States has been obtained by the BBC.
The document describes itself as the EU’s "initial offer" in negotiations over the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP).
It includes the wording that UK ministers have said will protect the NHS from privatisation.
Anti-TTIP campaigners say a specific exemption for the NHS is still needed.
The 103-page document is headed "trade in services and investment : schedule of specific commitments and reservations".
(bilaterals, feb 26th) (sorry for being so late)
First came the frackers, then came the earthquakes
Oil boom means anti-extraction campaigners struggle for toe hold in small-town Oklahoma despite tremors and cracked concrete floors
Sometimes the dogs begin to bark a moment before the earthquake hits, sensing something that their owners cannot. Sometimes you can feel a change in air pressure on your face just as the shaking is about to begin.
But usually the earthquakes in Oklahoma - as many as three a day - arrive without warning.
"You never know when it's going to happen," said Ilke Crismon, a 75-year-old who grew up in Nuremberg under Allied bombing during the Second World War and now lives on a ranch outside the town of Glencoe. "We always had alarms before the bombers came. Here you just stand here and get it."
Chad Devereaux examines bricks that fell from three sides of his in-laws home in Sparks, Oklahoma, after two earthquakes hit the area in less than 24 hours (AP)
It wasn't always like this. Between 1978 and 2008, Oklahoma averaged fewer than two significant earthquakes per year. In 2014, that number had spiked to 585, including 19 that measured a powerful 4.0 magnitude or stronger.
As of February 20 of this year, 126 earthquakes had already been recorded by the US Geological Survey. Oklahoma, once a sedate seismic patch of the American heartland, now has more than twice as many sizeable earthquakes as California.
(telegraph, march 2nd)
Astronomers Find a Dusty Galaxy That Shouldn't Exist
Astronomers have spotted a surprisingly dusty little galaxy within the cluster Abell 1689, shown here in an image by the Hubble telescope.
The problem, the scientists report Monday in Nature, is that while the tiny galaxy dates from just 700 million years or so after the big bang, it's far more dusty than something this young and small has any right to be.
It's surprising, says Daniel Marrone, a University of Arizona expert on galaxy formation who wasn't involved in the research, because although dust is essential for the formation of planets and other solid material, the cosmos started out with no dust at all. In the aftermath of the big bang, the universe consisted only of hydrogen and helium gas (along with dark matter, but that's invisible).
The dusty galaxy is just one of the recent surprises astronomers have found. "Last week," says Marrone, "we learned of an incredibly massive black hole in the early universe. Now we have this average galaxy with significant amounts of dust. We've had this cartoon picture of the early universe, but it's clear that we really don't know what's going on."
(nat geo, march 2nd)
Spiritual leader 'manipulated 400 men into removing testicles so they could be closer to God'
(Indepdent, march 2nd)
Artist Claims He Included Lewinsky’s Blue Dress In Clinton Portrait
The artist who painted Bill Clinton’s portrait for the National Portrait Gallery claims that he slipped in a Monica Lewinsky reference into the painting.
Nelson Shanks told the Philadelphia Daily News that he “subtly” incorporated Lewinsky’s infamous blue dress into the 2006 portrait.
“The reality is he’s probably the most famous liar of all time. He and his administration did some very good things, of course, but I could never get this Monica thing completely out of my mind and it is subtly incorporated in the painting,” Shanks said.
He explained that he put a shadow of the blue dress into the painting.
“If you look at the left-hand side of it there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things,” Shanks told the Daily News. “It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.”
Shanks claims that that Clintons want the portrait removed from the gallery.
“And so the Clintons hate the portrait. They want it removed from the National Portrait gallery,” he told the Daily News. “They’re putting a lot of pressure on them.”
(CBS DC, march 2nd)
What the hail? Everything from rain to bright sun to possible water funnels hit O.C.
A cold snap early Monday led to hail pelting the city’s downtown, shocking locals and visitors alike and briefly making the beach look like a ski resort.
And that was just one version of the weather Monday in Orange County.
Lightning flashed too. So did rain. And sun. And, later in the day, more rain. There was even talk of water spouts along the coasts.
But the big talker was the hail, which started 10:15 am. in Huntington Beach and ended about 20 minutes later.
“Everyone is freaking out,” said Sumo Sato, a surfer who was in Huntington Surf and Sport and barefoot when the hail started to fall.
“Main and PCH are packed with snow.”
But the air was cold enough - about 40 degrees -- that the hail didn’t melt immediately. Within minutes, Huntington Beach Pier was covered in piles of hail, and cars and people downtown were slipping around in the streets.
“It’s just freaky,” Sato said.
The Internet soon was abuzz with photos and videos of the hail, and “snow in Huntington Beach” spent part of the day as a top trending phrase on Twitter.
That phrase was slightly off. Mike Watkins, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, said the pea-sized pellets that fell were actually hail, not snow. In all, he said, about a half-inch of hail fell, much of it sticking on the streets and beach for long enough for people to make ankle-high snowpeople.
Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lt. Mike Beuerlein could recall only three other times he’d seen the sand turn white in his 34 years of working in the department.
(OC register, march 2nd)
New round of snow could push Boston to season record
After cold and snow that set February records, southern New England is entering March with another round that could push Boston over its 20-year-old snowfall record.
With 102 inches, Boston needs 5.7 more to break the 1995-1996 record of 107.6.
Snowfall of 4 to 6 inches was expected by early Monday across the area, with up to 8 inches in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Less is expected in northern Massachusetts and New York state, and on Cape Cod.
"We have come this far, we might as well break the record," said William Babcock, National Weather Service meteorologist in the Taunton, Massachusetts office. "We have a couple of storms to push us over the record. Once that is done we won't complain if we don't get any more snow."
(AP, march 2nd)
Frigid February closes coldest since 1979 in Washington, D.C.
(washington post, march 2nd)
PRETTY INTENSE RIGHT? STAY TUNED FOR TUESDAYS NEWS POST - daily usa patriot
THE DAILY USA PATRIOT'S TOP FOUR NEWS STORIES FOR the weekend of 2/28/2015 Saturday february 28th 2015 and 3/1/2015 sunday march 1st 2015
WARNING: GOOGLE TO RANK WEBSITES IN SEARCH RESULTS BASED ON "KNOWLEDGE VAULT OF FACTS".... NOT ON REVELENCE OF THE SEARCH TERM COMBINED WITH PAGE VIEWS ANYMORE.
Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links
The trustworthiness of a web page might help it rise up Google's rankings if the search giant starts to measure quality by facts, not just links
THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free "news" stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix – rank websites according to their truthfulness.
Google's search engine currently uses the number of incoming links to a web page as a proxy for quality, determining where it appears in search results. So pages that many other sites link to are ranked higher. This system has brought us the search engine as we know it today, but the downside is that websites full of misinformation can rise up the rankings, if enough people link to them.
A Google research team is adapting that model to measure the trustworthiness of a page, rather than its reputation across the web. Instead of counting incoming links, the system – which is not yet live – counts the number of incorrect facts within a page. "A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy," says the team (arxiv.org/abs/1502.03519v1). The score they compute for each page is its Knowledge-Based Trust score.
The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.
There are already lots of apps that try to help internet users unearth the truth. LazyTruth is a browser extension that skims inboxes to weed out the fake or hoax emails that do the rounds. Emergent, a project from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, New York, pulls in rumours from trashy sites, then verifies or rebuts them by cross-referencing to other sources.
LazyTruth developer Matt Stempeck, now the director of civic media at Microsoft New York, wants to develop software that exports the knowledge found in fact-checking services such as Snopes, PolitiFact and FactCheck.org so that everyone has easy access to them. He says tools like LazyTruth are useful online, but challenging the erroneous beliefs underpinning that information is harder. "How do you correct people's misconceptions? People get very defensive," Stempeck says. "If they're searching for the answer on Google they might be in a much more receptive state."
(New scientist, march 1st)
AR-15 Bullet Sales Surge After ATF Ban Announcement
Customers are purchasing AR-15 ammo in volumes up to 20 times the normal rate in some gun stores across the country in reaction to the ATF’s plan to ban 5.56 mm steel-tipped bullets.
Earlier this week, the ATF announced its intention to ban sales of the ammunition, typically used by sports shooters, in the name of protecting law enforcement officers from “the threat posed by ammunition capable of penetrating a protective vest.”
The news prompted panic buying, with numerous gun stores reporting a rush of demand for the ammunition.
According to Travis Brunson, owner of Guns on 41 in Ft. Myers, Florida, he is getting calls from customers asking, “whether this ammunition is gonna be banned, how much can I get and what’s happening to the price.”
“We probably sold 2,000 rounds today, where normally we might sell 100, 200,” Brunson told Fox 4. The price of the bullets is also starting to rise.
It’s a similar story at Fowler Firearms, where manager Jon Dezendorf said he began receiving calls about the ammunition shortly after the ATF made its announcement.
Steve Ellis, owner of Top Guns in Terre Haute, Indiana, told WTHI that supplies were dwindling.
“Everyone is selling out of ammunition, distributors are out, manufacturers are out, most dealers are out,” said Ellis.
It was also reported that a Walmart in Anchorage, AK went from having plentiful supplies of the bullets to none whatsoever.
Meanwhile, Ryan Cook, manager of Eagle Armory in Springfield, said that suppliers were telling him “there was none available to order”.
(Infowars, feb 28th)
John Boehner allies fret coup attempt
Conservatives warn the speaker’s fate could be determined by how he handles the next seven days.
Close allies of Speaker John Boehner are worried that his conservative rivals could move to oust him as soon as next week.
Removing a sitting speaker is exceedingly difficult, and such an effort would almost certainly fall short. Yet growing speculation about the possibility of it – coming after Friday’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of conservatives and House Democrats on the homeland security battle — shows how vulnerable the speaker has become.
Five years into the job, he’s a leader consistently buffeted by forces beyond his control. The legislative calendar guarantees it won’t get any easier: in the coming weeks and months there will be battles over the debt ceiling, budget, taxes, and spending cuts.
The question is how many more of these episodes Boehner can withstand.
Frustration with the Ohio Republican is mounting after dozens of hardliners voted Friday against his three-week funding package for the Department of Homeland Security. Hours of frantic leadership meeting ensued. After some backroom maneuvering with Democrats, Boehner was able to push through a one-week bill to keep DHS open.
President Barack Obama signed the bill into law just 10 minutes before a shutdown of the massive federal agency.
The stinging rebuke of Boehner on the House floor infuriated his supporters, who accused opponents of handing Democrats a huge PR victory.
Yet is also left even Boehner backers wondering how viable he remains. They admit these repeated confrontations, in which Boehner can’t muster 218 Republican votes for his proposals and has to turn to Democrats for help, leave him looking weak and ineffective — and thus vulnerable to a conservative challenge.
(Politico, feb 28th)
Nina Pham claims the extent of her Ebola training was a printout of guidelines her supervisor found on the web. “The only thing I knew about Ebola, I learned in nursing school” six years earlier, Pham said.
The 26-year-old nurse says she has nightmares, body aches and insomnia as a result of contracting the disease from a patient she cared for last fall at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.
She says the hospital and its parent company, Texas Health Resources, failed her and her colleagues who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person in the United States diagnosed with Ebola.
“I wanted to believe that they would have my back and take care of me, but they just haven’t risen to the occasion,” Pham told The Dallas Morning News last week in an exclusive interview.
Pham says she will file a lawsuit Monday in Dallas County against Texas Health Resources alleging that while she became the American face of the fight against the disease, the hospital’s lack of training and proper equipment and violations of her privacy made her “a symbol of corporate neglect — a casualty of a hospital system’s failure to prepare for a known and impending medical crisis.”
She says that Texas Health Resources was negligent because it failed to develop policies and train its staff for treating Ebola patients. She says Texas Health Resources did not have proper protective gear for those who treated Duncan.
Pham wants unspecified damages for physical pain and mental anguish, medical expenses and loss of future earnings. But she said that she wants to “make hospitals and big corporations realize that nurses and health care workers, especially frontline people, are important. And we don’t want nurses to start turning into patients.”
In her 90-minute interview, Pham described working in chaotic surroundings at the hospital with ill-prepared nurses who received little guidance on how to treat Ebola and protect themselves. She talked about her life since her diagnosis and recovery, as well as her anxiety about the future.
(Dallas news, feb 28th)
JEB BUSH SHOULD NOT BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT
Sessions Vs. Jeb: Battle For The Soul Of The GOP
In a surprise speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) unloaded on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—systematically dismantling Bush’s push for amnesty and a massive increase in guest workers from around the world.
“Right now, there are two conferences—one of them in public where candidates are out there having to speak and defend and answer questions on their views and on their positions on important issues facing America,” Sessions said to open up his remarks to the Breitbart News-sponsored meet-and-greet with CPAC activists. “Many people at this conference here and watching it from abroad are evaluating them, judging them and asking themselves whether or not their visions, their ideas, their character will be used to advance the interests of the American people and this republic—and that’s the way it ought to be.”
However, Sessions cited a Washington Times article saying Mitt Romney’s former top fundraising aide Spencer Zwick, “praised Jeb Bush’s stance on immigration, saying the party should follow his lead if the party hopes to win back the White House.”
“If someone wants to be serious about running for president, they need to be in a similar place [to Bush],” Zwick said on a conference call with GOP donors organized by Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist—a key figure at CPAC since he is a board member of the American Conservative Union (ACU). The ACU hosts CPAC every year, but the organization under new chairman Matt Schlapp has seen a shift away from the establishment wing of the GOP it had under old chairman Al Cardenas.
“I’ll tell you one thing: It’s the people of this country that run this country,” Sessions responded, pushing back against the donor community’s push for other Republican candidates to abandon their constituents in support of Bush’s immigration position. “Contributions and supporters are always important in presidential elections and other elections too, but votes trumps money.”
The crowd in the room cheered for Sessions.
Bush, on the other hand, was booed by CPAC activists—many of whom walked out on his speech as he argued that Congress needs to grant amnesty to the millions of illegal aliens in America right now.
(breitbart, feb 27th)
Jeb Bush 'Will Not Sign Any Pledges' in 2016
Anti-taxman Grover Norquist recently told ABC News he believes Jeb Bush will likely sign his no-new-taxes pledge if and when he officially becomes a candidate for president.
Norquist may have had good reason to believe Bush would sign the Taxpayers Protection Pledge, where candidates vow to oppose "any and all efforts to increase taxes." After all, the vast majority of Republican candidates for national office and many for local and statewide office have been signing it ever since Norquist started Americans for Tax Reform in 1985.
Jeb Bush Answers Boos With Defense of Immigration and Common Core Positions...
...But Jeb Bush didn't sign Norquist's pledge (or any other pledge) in any of his three campaigns for governor of Florida and Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell says he is not going to start now.
"If Governor Bush decides to move forward, he will not sign any pledges circulated by lobbying groups," Campbell told ABC News.
(ABC news, march 1st)
Russia: US-Backed Opposition Leader Gunned Down in Moscow
Martyrdom on demand: if not of use alive, perhaps of use dead?
US-backed opposition groups in Russia have so far failed utterly to produce results. Their transparent subservience to Washington coupled with their distasteful brand of politics has left a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth of most Russians. Each attempt to spread the “virus” of color revolution to Moscow, as US Senator John McCain called it, has failed – and each attempt has fallen progressively flatter.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has never been more popular. His ability to weather serial provocations aimed at Russia by NATO has made him a champion against the perceived growing injustice exacted against the developing world by an increasingly militaristic and exploitative West.
So when US-backed opposition groups in Russia decided to gather again this coming March 1, Sunday, many wondered just exactly what they expected to accomplish.
Bloomberg just a day ago, would report in an article titled, “Anti-Putin Opposition Looks to Russian Spring for Revival,” that:
The opposition “hasn’t been this weak for many years,” Stefan Meister, an analyst at the German Council of Foreign Relations in Berlin, said by phone. “Even when we have a growing economic crisis in Russia, there’s still high support for Putin.”
Clearly to match the expectations the “spring” rally was meant to have, to infuse the “virus” US Senator McCain had claimed was intended for Moscow, something drastic would have to be done to change the current calculus.
The prospect of triggering sustainable unrest aimed at the Kremlin was beyond impossible – that is – until the leader of the planned protest was shot dead, practically on the steps of the Kremlin itself in the heart of Moscow.
Boris Nemtsov, was reportedly shot four times in the back on Friday night in a drive-by shooting. His body laid conveniently for media photographers to capture the Kremlin looming in the background.
Russia immediately condemned the killing, with President Putin noting it was an act of “pure provocation.”
Nemtsov’s Questionable Ties to US Agitators....
Nemtsov, A Convenient Martyr… Too Convenient....
A Message to America’s Proxies – Be Useful Alive, or Be Useful Dead....
....continued in article
(Land destroyer, feb 28th)
US State Department Admits Russia had Nothing to Gain from Killing Boris Nemtsov
Perhaps believing by virtue of having admitted the murder of Russian opposition member Boris Nemtsov in Russia’s capital of Moscow Friday evening in no way served the Russian government’s best interests, the US State Department believes it can deflect guilt from being shifted towards its direction.
Indeed, the US State Department through its Voice of America media network - chaired by the US Secretary of State himself - would state in an online article titled, “Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?,” that (emphasis added):
With the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, gunned down on a Moscow street, the fiercest critic of President Vladimir Putin has been removed from the political stage. But it remains to be seen whether, in death as in life, Nemtsov will remain a threat to Putin’s rule.
Already, city authorities have approved a mass march for up to 50,000 people in central Moscow on Sunday. The march, expected to be far larger than the scheduled protest rally it replaces, will provide a powerful platform for Kremlin critics who suspect a government hand in Nemtsov’s death.
Even officials in Putin’s government seem to sense the danger that the former first deputy prime minister’s martyrdom might pose, hinting darkly that Friday night’s drive-by shooting may have been an deliberate “provocation” ahead of the planned weekend rally.
While this logic has clearly not escaped the US State Department’s media network, it stops short of clearly implicating the Russian opposition and its foreign backers (the US State Department itself) as the chief suspects in Nemtsov’s murder – though the article clearly states only the opposition (and in turn, their foreign sponsors) stood to benefit from his death.
(land destroyer, march 1st)
Venezuela president claims to have captured U.S. pilot accused of 'recruiting citizens to stage a coup'
-'Pilot' with 'Latino roots' detained in Táchira, border with Colombia, in the last few days, President Nicolas Maduro claims
-5 other U.S. nationals and 4 missionaries have been detained recently
-All accused by Venezuelan government of 'espionage' and 'recruitment'
-Comes as tensions rise between the two nations, Maduro accused the U.S. of trying to overthrow him
-There has been a recent surge in anti-government protests in Caraca
(daily mail, feb 28th)
Venezuela to limit staff at U.S. Embassy and require $160 visa for American tourists
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro today announced his government is implementing a new $160 visa for all U.S. citizens who want to visit his country, and ordered his foreign ministry to “revise, reduce and adjust” the number of U.S. personnel working at the U.S. embassy in Caracas.
Maduro did not say how many U.S. embassy posts he wants eliminated, but said the U.S. currently has more than 100 employees in its diplomatic mission, while Venezuela has only 17 in Washington, D.C.
The president also ordered the U.S. embassy to notify his government about all meetings it has with members of Venezuela’s opposition.
Maduro said the new visa policy for all other U.S. citizens visiting Venezuela will be a quid pro quo for “the same price that they charge Venezuelans at the U.S. embassy,” according to Telesur. The U.S. charges Venezuelans $160 for non-immigrant visas.
Furthermore, the Venezuelan leader said, his government will deny entry to U.S. politicians who “violate human rights.” The Venezuelan president specifically named George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bob Menéndez, Marco Rubio, Ileana Ross-Lethinen, George Tenet and Mario Díaz Balart — none of whom have responded yet. Nicaragua recently issued a similar ban for certain U.S. politicians, journalists and NGO workers identified as unfriendly to the government.
(fusion.net, feb 28th)
Pentagon walks back plans for spring offensive against ISIS stronghold Mosul
Facing criticism, the Pentagon announced it has pushed back plans by Iraqis to mount a major attack to regain Mosul from the Islamic State
According to a new report by the Daily Beast, military officials said Friday it is more realistic for Iraqi and Kurdish troops to try and retake Mosul from the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) in the fall.
“I can’t put a date certain…nor say April is out,” said Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby to the website. “I don’t think we are there yet. There are gaps and seams that need to be closed.”
(Russia today, feb 28th)
Egyptian Court Declares Hamas a Terrorist Organization
An Egyptian court on Saturday declared the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement a terrorist organization, media report.
The news comes one month after a judge listed the group’s armed wing as a terrorist group.
While the January decision on Hamas targeted only the armed wing, Saturday’s broader ruling could further deteriorate relations between Cairo and Hamas which controls the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit alleging that Hamas was involved in attacks in Egypt in recent months.
(Sputnik, feb 28th)
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger whose punishment of 1,000 lashes has prompted international condemnation, may now face the death penalty.
Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told The Independent in a series of messages that judges in Saudi Arabia’s criminal court want him to undergo a re-trial for apostasy. If found guilty, he would face a death sentence.
She said the “dangerous information” had come from “official sources” inside the conservative kingdom, where Mr Badawi has already been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes – administered at a rate of 50 per week – for criticising the country’s clerics through his liberal blog. In 2013, a judge threw out the charge of apostasy against the 31-year-old blogger after he assured the court that he was a Muslim. The evidence against him had included the fact that he pressed the “Like” button on a Facebook page for Arab Christians.
The news that the charge may now be re-examined will come as a bitter blow to Mr Badawi’s family and supporters, who had hoped that the international pressure over his case would prompt Saudi Arabia to reduce his sentence.
Although he remains in prison, he has only been flogged once since his sentence was passed, with subsequent punishments being repeatedly postponed.
(Indepedent, march 1st)
HAS THE WORLD LOST ITS DAMN MIND ON TERRORISM?
London schoolgirls among 60 female Britons thought to have joined Isis
Top counter-terrorism official reveals figures as CCTV shows three teenagers feared to be heading to Syria at Istanbul bus station
Sixty British women and girls, including 18 teenagers, are believed to have travelled to Syria to join Islamic State (Isis) militants, the UK’s top counter-terrorism police officer has said.
Deputy assistant commissioner Helen Ball, senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism, revealed that about five of them are 15 – 16.
The figures came as fresh CCTV images emerged of three London schoolgirls who secretly caught a flight to Istanbul after slipping out of their homes last month.
Shamima Begum, 15, was pictured with Amira Abase, also 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, on the Turkish leg of their trip before they were feared to have crossed the border into Syria.
(the guardian, march 1st)
Teacher investigated for posting ‘terrorist list’ of students on classroom door
Pinellas school district officials are investigating a math teacher at St. Petersburg High who allegedly posted a “terrorist list” on his classroom door with students’ names.
District officials declined to name the teacher, citing the investigation.
Tyler Harris, 15, discovered the list Wednesday after arriving at his fourth period class. He was one of five students named. Under each name was an Arabic-sounding alias that mimicked the students’ actual names. Harris took a photo of the list and sent it to his parents.
“He was upset, very upset,” said Sandra Harris, his mother.
(Tampa Bay Times, feb 28th)
Crowd Kills Girl Suspected to Be Suicide Bomber in Nigeria
Girls aroused suspicion by refusing to be searched when they arrived at the gate to the vegetable market
A crowd beat to death a teenage girl accused of being a suicide bomber and then set her body ablaze Sunday, according to police and witnesses at a northeastern Nigerian market.
A second suspect, also a teenage girl, was arrested at Muda Lawal, the biggest market in Bauchi city.
A spate of suicide bombings has been blamed on Nigeria’s home-grown Boko Haram Islamic extremist group, which wants to enforce strict Islamic law across Nigeria. The group has threatened to disrupt Nigeria’s March 28 presidential and legislative elections, saying democracy is a corrupt Western concept.
(AP, march 1st)
Congress OKs stopgap DHS funding bill, lawmakers remain at impasse in immigration fight
After a dramatic and chaotic day of votes, Congress late Friday approved a stopgap bill to keep money flowing to the Homeland Security Department past a midnight deadline and avert a partial agency shutdown — though Congress is no closer to a long-term deal.
The House voted 357-60 for a mere one-week spending bill. With the Senate already having approved the measure. President Obama signed the bill into law late Friday night.
But that legislation was passed only after efforts to pass a slightly more substantial stopgap – a three-week funding bill – melted down on the House floor Friday afternoon. Though it had been expected to pass, 52 Republicans defected and joined Democrats in opposing the leadership-backed legislation.
This led to bad blood late Friday between House Republicans who joined Speaker John Boehner in supporting the bill, and those who peeled off. One senior House GOP source told Fox News that the nearly 200 Republicans who backed that bill were “super mad” at those who left them hanging.
(Fox news, feb 28th)'
FCC chief scheduled for marathon week of testimony on Internet rules
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler's March schedule is filling up fast.
Wheeler has agreed to cap off a marathon week of hearings next month with testimony in front of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology on March 19.
The hearing, announced by panel Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), will be his third of the week. He will also testify at the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Oversight Committee.
There is still another request for testimony outstanding from the House Judiciary Committee.
(the hill, feb 27th)
Big Brother 2.0: 160,000 Facebook pages are hacked a day
Company loosens up your privacy settings every time they update the terms of service...
WikiLeaks, the National Security Agency, data mining — we all know Big Brother is watching. But few of us realize to what extent.
Some things you might not know: Your smart TV is probably watching you watch it. Your office photocopier is recording everything you duplicate. Your smartphone can identify you by the way you walk, the way you hold it, and may also be recording you. The app you downloaded has now siphoned your name, e-mail address and place of residence and reported back to its parent company.
The insecurity of the individual, however, has nothing on the insecurity of nations, diseases, global finance, air and space travel, traffic and power grids, police and fire departments, medical data, news organizations. There are no firewalls that can’t be breached.
In his new book, “Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It” (Doubleday), global-security expert Marc Goodman explores our existing and impending vulnerabilities, all while exhorting us to be aware to the point of paranoia.
(NY Post, march 1st)
Gitmo2Chicago: Activists demand probe of ‘secret interrogation facility’ (PHOTOS)
Activists in Chicago are demanding a thorough investigation into Homan Square, a local detention facility which is being compared to a CIA black site. Several dozen protested on Saturday after police denied the accusations.
Organized by Anonymous, Occupy, and Black Lives Matter, as well as a number of other groups, the ‘Shut Down Homan Square’ protest gathered around 200 people outside the detention facility in the city’s West Side.
Braving Saturday’s below-zero temperatures, the activists held banners and chanted slogans such as “Shut it down” and “Freedom first,” as well as “Indict, convict, send the torturers to jail.” They demanded a probe and changes at the facility after a report in the Guardian claimed it is used by Chicago police as a “secret interrogation facility.”
“Hopefully with the presence we expect to have, that will put a little bit of pressure to say, ‘Hey, look – this isn’t going to go away,’” said Travis McDermott, one of the organizers of the protest, as quoted by the Guardian.
Later, dozens of protesters marched through nearby streets.
During Saturday’s demonstration, organizers called on people to come forward if their rights have ever been violated by police.
“We need you to come forth and tell us yes you have been a victim of abuse,” one organizer said, according to USA Today. “Please come forward and let the people know so we can take some action.”
Anonymous took to Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms with the hashtag #Gitmo2Chicago to draw attention to the so-called secret prison. “Torture soon coming to a city near you,” it stated.
“This will not stand,” the collective said in a video message posted on February 27.
(Russia Today, march 1st)
Private police carry guns and make arrests, and their ranks are swelling
Michael Youlen stopped a driver in a Manassas apartment complex on a recent night and wrote the man a ticket for driving on a suspended license. With a badge on his chest and a gun on his hip, Youlen gave the driver a stern warning to stay off the road.
The stop was routine police work, except for one fact: Youlen is not a Manassas officer. The citation came courtesy of the private force he created that, until recently, he called the “Manassas Junction Police Department.”
He is its chief and sole officer.
He is a force of one.
And he is not alone. Like more and more Virginians, Youlen gained his police powers using a little-known provision of state law that allows private citizens to petition the courts for the authority to carry a gun, display a badge and make arrests. The number of “special conservators of the peace” — or SCOPs, as they are known — has doubled in Virginia over the past decade to roughly 750, according to state records.
(washington post, march 1st)
LAPD fatal shooting of man caught on tape
Authorities said Sunday night that Los Angeles police fatally shot a man on skid row during a struggle over an officer's weapons.
Police officials offered a detailed account of what they say prompted the Sunday morning shooting, which was captured on video by a bystander.
Cmdr. Andrew Smith said officers assigned to the LAPD's Central Division and Safer Cities Initiative — a task force focused on skid row — responded to the location about noon Sunday after receiving a 911 call reporting a possible robbery.
People gather at Pershing Square on Sunday to protest the police shooting of a homeless man. The man was killed by LAPD officers during a confrontation downtown.
Smith said the officers approached the man and made contact with him, at which point he "began fighting and physically resisting the officers." The officers attempted to take him into custody and at one point, attempted to use a Taser that Smith said was "ineffective."
The man continued to resist police, Smith said, and the man and some of the officers fell to the ground.
"At some point in there, a struggle over one of the officer's weapons occurred," Smith said. "At that point an officer-involved shooting happened."
Two officers and a sergeant fired at the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene, Smith said. It was unclear how many times the officers fired, although at least five shots can be heard on the video recording that captured the shooting.
No other gun was recovered at the scene, Smith said. It was unclear if the man had any other weapons among his possessions — investigators were still combing the scene late Sunday night.
The man has been tentatively identified, but Smith said it was unclear if he was homeless.
Two officers were treated and released for injuries sustained in the struggle, Smith said. The extent of those injuries was unclear.
(LA times, march 1st)
Autopsy: Teen killed by Denver police had 4 gunshot wounds,
An autopsy shows a 17-year-old girl who was killed by Denver police officers while driving a stolen car was shot three times.
The coroner’s report states that Jessica Hernandez suffered four gunshot wounds, but two of the wounds were caused by one bullet. Two bullets were recovered from her body, one exited.
The Denver medical examiner’s office said Friday that Hernandez also had marijuana and a small amount of alcohol in her system during the Jan. 26 shooting that sparked protests and calls for an outside investigation.
(AP, feb 28th)
Miami Gardens Police Chief Stephen Johnson, hired last May to rein in a department reeling from accusations of racial profiling, was fired Friday night after being arrested on a charge of soliciting a prostitute in Dania Beach.
Michael Wright, a detective and police department spokesman, said Johnson was arrested at a Dania Beach motel during a sting operation conducted by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. He said Johnson was immediately fired by City Manager Cameron Benson and that Assistant Police Chief Antonio Brooklen would take the helm in the interim.
The city released a statement late Friday saying, “We recently learned Chief Stephen Johnson has been arrested for solicitation of a prostitute. As a result, Mr. Johnson’s employment with the city of Miami Gardens has been terminated, effective immediately.”
(Miami Herald, feb 28th)
VIDEO: Hidden camera records cop receiving illegal ‘massage’
This cop lied about the details of a marijuana arrest, failed to report how he tormented a suspect with his Taser, and claimed a three-hour lunch break lasted only one.
While his supervisors investigated his misdeeds, Coconut Creek Police Officer James Yacobellis kept drawing his nearly $90,000 annual salary. After 16 months of paid leave, they finally agreed to let him return to duty.
But within a year and a half, James Yacobellis was in trouble again.
It was a video-recorded massage — and its happy ending — that finally cost him his job.
(Sun-sentinel, feb 28th)
Widespread aggressive police coercion of civil activists in the United Kingdom demonstrates the British state is “afraid of its own citizens,” a senior United Nations official told Sputnik on Sunday.
“The practice of infiltrating civil society and protest groups is clearly not a thing of the past, and it’s more than a series of isolated incidents. There are patterns that strongly suggest an official policy,” Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, said.
Last week, police in Cambridge confirmed that two of its officers had been facing an internal investigation into allegations they had been using threats and intimidation in trying to persuade activists to spy for them.
One campaigner secretly filmed a police detective attempting to bribe him to spy on fellow Cambridge University students, anti-racism activists, environmentalists and those campaigning against government cuts to public services.
“Why is an established democracy such as Britain so afraid of its own citizens that it feels the need to spy on peaceful civic groups?” Kiai said.
The UN official called on a nationwide investigation, specifying that the police had been infiltrating Britain’s civic groups at least since 2003.
“Why do [the police] think they can keep getting away with it? This is pure, blatant intimidation, and it is suffocating the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the UK,” Kiai said.
At least two of the individuals who claim they were pressured into becoming police informants were students at Cambridge University, whose alumni include naturalist Charles Darwin, philosopher Bertrand Russell and physicist Stephen Hawking.
Helen Hoogewerf-McComb, president of Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU), refused several requests to be interviewed by Sputnik or deny whether she or other CUSU officials had been approached by police to inform on fellow students.
In 2013, a Freedom of Information request revealed that over a five-year period police forces in England and Wales had paid over 25 million pounds ($38 million) to “Covert Human Intelligence Sources,” a police designation of their informants.
(sputnik, march 1st)
Chicago nears fiscal free fall with latest downgrade
Chicago drew closer to a fiscal free fall on Friday with a rating downgrade from Moody's Investors Service that could trigger the immediate termination of four interest-rate swap agreements, costing the city about $58 million and raising the prospect of more broken swaps contracts.
The downgrade to Baa2, just two steps above junk, and a warning the rating could fall further still, means the third-biggest U.S. city could face even higher costs in the future if banks choose to terminate other interest-rate hedges against fluctuations in interest rates. All told, Chicago holds swaps contracts covering $2.67 billion in debt, according to a disclosure late last year.
"This is an unfortunate wake-up call for anyone still asleep over the fiscal cliff facing the city of Chicago," said Laurence Msall, president of the Chicago-based government finance watchdog, The Civic Federation.
Chicago's finances are already sagging under an unfunded pension liability Moody's has pegged at $32 billion and that is equal to eight times the city's operating revenue. The city has a $300 million structural deficit in its $3.53 billion operating budget and is required by an Illinois law to boost the 2016 contribution to its police and fire pension funds by $550 million.
(Reuters, feb 27th)
Wells Fargo, one of the largest subprime car lenders, is pulling back from that roaring market, a move that is being felt throughout the broader auto industry.
The giant San Francisco bank, known for its stagecoach logo and its steady profits, has been at the center of the boom in making loans to people with tarnished credit scores. Wall Street, meanwhile, has been bundling and selling such loans as securities to investors, reaping big profits while allowing millions of financially troubled borrowers to buy cars.
But now, amid signs that the market is overheating, Wells Fargo has imposed a cap for the first time on the amount of loans it will extend to subprime borrowers.
The bank is limiting the dollar volume of its subprime auto originations to 10 percent of its overall auto loan originations, which last year totaled $29.9 billion, bank executives said.
The decision, detailed in interviews with top Wells Fargo executives, along with other large auto lenders, is a sobering moment for the booming market. Other lenders may decide to take their cue from Wells Fargo, one of the nation’s largest lenders. After successfully sidestepping many of the catastrophic mortgage losses that hit its competitors during the financial crisis, the bank has developed a reputation for deftly managing risk.
John Stumpf is the chief executive of Wells Fargo. Last year, the bank made $29.9 billion in new auto loans to consumers
Over all, auto loans to subprime borrowers — typically people with credit scores at or below 640 — have more than doubled since the financial crisis, with one in four new auto loans going to subprime borrowers. In the second quarter of 2014, for example, total auto loan originations hovered at the highest level since before the financial crisis, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In that quarter, lenders originated $20.6 billion in subprime auto loans, nearly two times as much as in the same period of 2010.
Behind the surge are two major forces: Large banks, weathering a slowdown in other types of lending like mortgages, have increased their auto lending. And much as in the housing boom, investors in search of higher returns, like insurance companies and hedge funds, are buying billions of dollars of investments backed by subprime auto loans.
Such growth, though, has given rise to concerns, like those at Wells Fargo, that growing competition is fostering lax lending practices, including longer repayment periods and increased loan balances.
Federal and state authorities, meanwhile, are examining whether dealerships have been inflating borrowers’ income or falsifying employment information on loan applications to ensure that any borrower, even some who are unemployed and have virtually no source of income, can buy a car.
More broadly, many of the questionable lending practices, while not necessarily illegal, could eventually spell losses for banks and investors, credit analysts and regulators say. The size of the subprime auto loan market is a fraction of the subprime mortgage market at its peak, but its crash would still have wide-reaching effects for banks and borrowers, including some of the most vulnerable Americans
(NYT, march 1st)
Meta-Study On Genetically Modified Food: Virtually All Independent Scientists Are Concerned
Half of the Studies Find Cause For Concern … The Other Half Are Studies By the GMO Food Industry Itself
Tufts University’s Director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute (Timothy Wise) points out:
There is no … consensus on the safety of GM food. A peer-reviewed study of the research, from peer-reviewed journals, found that about half of the animal-feeding studies conducted in recent years found cause for concern. The other half didn’t, and as the researchers noted, “most of these studies have been conducted by biotechnology companies responsible of commercializing these GM plants.”
The only consensus that GM food is safe is among industry-funded researchers.
By way of background, genetically engineered foods have been linked to obesity, cancer, liver failure,infertility and all sorts of other diseases (brief, must-watch videos here and here).
And genetically-engineered meat isn’t even tested for human safety.
And a leading risk expert says that genetically modified foods could wipe out the global ecosystem.
But government agencies like the FDA go to great lengths to cover up the potential health damage from genetically modified foods, and to keep the consumer in the dark about what they’re really eating. (Indeed, the largest German newspaper – Süddeutsche Zeitung – alleges that the U.S. government helped Monsanto ATTACK THE COMPUTERS of activists opposed to genetically modified food.)
Indeed – as Tufts’ Timothy Wise notes – huge sums of money are being poured into shutting down all honest scientific debate about the risks from GMOs:
Biotechnology companies and their powerful advocates, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are succeeding in a well-planned campaign to get GM safety declared “settled science.”
An indicator was a quiet announcement in the press last summer that the Gates Foundation had awarded a US$5.6 million grant to Cornell University to “depolarize” the debate over GM foods. That’s their word. The grant founded a new institute, the Cornell Alliance for Science.
“Our goal is to depolarize the GMO debate and engage with potential partners who may share common values around poverty reduction and sustainable agriculture, but may not be well informed about the potential biotechnology has for solving major agricultural challenges,” said project leader Sarah Evanega, senior associate director of International Programs in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).
Got it? The Gates Foundation is paying biotech scientists and advocates at Cornell to help them convince the ignorant and brainwashed public, who “may not be well informed,” that they are ignorant and brainwashed.
“Improving agricultural biotechnology communications is a challenge that must be met if innovations developed in public sector institutions like Cornell are ever to reach farmers in their fields,” added Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS.
It’s kind of like depolarizing an armed conflict by giving one side more weapons.
(washingtons blog, march 1st)
Ikea turns furniture into wireless phone chargers
Global furniture giant Ikea announced on Sunday the launch of desks, tables and lamps that will wirelessly charge phones and other devices.
The new collection will use Qi wireless technology to charge devices that are placed on or near the furniture.
"Through research and home visits, we know that people hate cable mess. They worry about not finding the charger and running out of power," Ikea's business area manager of lighting and wireless charging, Jeanette Skjelmose, said in a statement.
"Our new innovative solutions, which integrate wireless charging into home furnishings, will make life at home simpler," she added.
The Home Spot range of desks, bedside tables and lamps will hit stores in Europe and North America in April, Ikea said, with a "global roll-out" in the works.
"This is (a) very early time in the furniture business to blend wireless technology," Jeff Kagan, a technology industry analyst, told AFP.
(AFP, march 1st)
Bill O’Reilly admits he did not see “Irish terrorists kill” in Northern Ireland
Fox News has now stated that host Bill O’Reilly’s claim that he saw action in Northern Ireland was based on seeing photographs of violence shown him by police, the Washington Post reports.
O’Reilly’s claims to have seen violence in Northern Ireland and elsewhere have come under withering fire from his opponents.
O’Reilly has stated that he reported from Northern Ireland and in his 2013 book “Keep it Pithy” he stated “I’ve seen....Irish terrorists kill and maim their fellow citizens in Belfast with bombs.”
However, the Washington Post points out he told syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt a different story: “We went on a raid in Divis Flats (Republican stronghold high rise flats ) with the police. And it was a pretty intense situation. There was stuff being thrown, arrests being made, all of that.”
“Were you in fear of physical harm?” Hewitt asked.
No, O’Reilly said.
Fox News clarified to the Washington Post that O’Reilly had been shown pictures of violent incidents and victims of bombings by police but had not actually seen any such incidents first hand himself.
That explanation is very similar to what they told critics about his time in El Salvador where he stepped back from comments about seeing nuns shot to seeing pictures of nuns who were shot.
(irish central, march 1st)
Montel Williams Got Called Out On Twitter For Endorsing Payday Loans—And He Didn’t Handle It Well
You may have heard of Montel Williams, actor, producer, and host of the long-running but now-defunct Montel Williams Show. You may also know that Williams is a spokesperson for Money Mutual, a lead generator for so-called payday lenders.
On Thursday, that side-business got a little awkward for the former host when an education activist named André-Tascha Lammé called out Williams on Twitter for “Support[ing] the *most* predatory of loans in existence, PayDay loans. Designed to prey on the poor.”
Williams denied the charge.
Montel is either being disingenuous—deliberately not addressing Lammé’s point—or he just doesn’t understand the real-world effect of payday lending. The truth is that a large portion of payday customers end up in dire financial straits because of these seemingly innocuous loans.
Here’s what happens. The average payday loan charges a fee of about $15 for every $100 borrowed. That might sound like an interest rate of 15%, but that’s the fee for a two-week loan. On an annualized basis—which is how most people think about interest rates, or should—that translates into a rate of 391%.
Montel apparently thinks it’s unfair to think about it this way, since borrowers are supposed to pay back their loan in two weeks.
But here’s the thing: Four out of five payday loan borrowers are not able to pay off their debt in such a short time period, so they go back to the payday loan shop and take out another loan to pay off the first one—for an additional fee, of course—and a cycle of debt begins.
In fact, according to the CFPB, the median payday customer is in debt for 199 days a year, taking out new payday loans along the way as they struggle to pay down the initial loan amount. That’s more than 14 times longer than the period Williams was talking about. As a result, more than half of payday loans are made to borrowers who end up paying more in interest than they borrowed in the first place. The median loan recipient ends up paying $458 in fees and an effective interest rate of 130%.
(time, feb 27th)
GLOBAL WARMING AKA CLIMATE CHANGE________
NOAA: 2185 cold records broken or tied in past week – 1913 Low Min Records Broken & 272 tied in 7 days
(Climate depot, feb 28th)
The unseasonable cold is expected to continue over much of the U.S., with some interruptions, and the latest GFS model forecast shows some snow for portions of all 50 states in the next seven days.
And, yes, I checked…even in Hawaii.
(dr. roy spencer, feb 27th)