One of the terms bandied about alternative media and conspiracy theory sites is “FALSE FLAG EVENT”.¬† What does this mean, exactly, and why is it important to understand it?
A¬† false flag event is an occurrence that is engineered to sway public opinion.¬† It’s usually an event that is blamed on whatever hapless country the United States wants to declare war upon.¬† Generally speaking, a false flag event is designed to inflict maximum fear on a group of people, causing them to rally around a specific cause. Learn more about historic military false flag events HERE.
The reason it is important to understand this is because if we cannot recognize these events for what they really are, we can easily be manipulated by those in power.¬† Many brave soldiers – ¬†our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, our friends and family, and courageous strangers unknown to us but fighting for us nonetheless¬†- have been, and will be, sacrificed on the altar of power and money.
The decisions made by the elite few in government, banking and the oil industry cost lives.¬† Those lives are not being sacrificed to protect our freedom.¬† Our real enemies are within our own gates, and they would do anything to distract us from this.
Currently, we are under threat of another false flag event.
The United States needs an enemy to keep her people from realizing that she is being overthrown from within.¬† The enemy flavor of the month is Iran.
Yukon Dan (http://yukondan.com), a key figure from the Canadian Gold Rush who is also an historian and workshop master in the classroom, joins Kitco News’ Daniela Cambone to provide us with a quick lesson on how to pan for gold. Yukon Dan has even been immortalized in the form of a cartoon (No Soap, Radio), which signs something along the lines of, “Yukon Dan was a mountain man, and he lived in the Northern Woods… but his hygiene wasn’t so good.” For those of you who don’t remember the cartoon, we’d like to introduce you to Yukon Dan.
An economic nightmare is descending on Europe.¬† With each passing month, the economic numbers across Europe get even worse.¬† At this point it is becoming extremely difficult for anyone to deny that Europe is plunging into a full-blown economic depression.¬† In fact, some parts of Europe are already there.
In Spain the overall unemployment rate is over 22 percent, and in Greece one out of every five retail establishments has already been closed down.¬† All over Europe, economic activity is rapidly slowing down, unemployment is skyrocketing and bad debts are unraveling.¬† It isn‚Äôt even going to take a default by a nation such as Greece or a collapse of the euro to push Europe into an economic depression.¬† All Europe has to do is to stay on the exact path that it is on right now and it will get there.¬† Normally, European governments would respond to an economic slowdown by increasing government spending.¬† But this time most of them are already drowning in debt.¬† Instead of increasing government spending, most governments in Europe are actually cutting back.¬† All over Europe, national governments are being encouraged to implement even more tax increases and even more budget cuts.¬† The hope is that all of this austerity will help solve the nightmarish sovereign debt crisis that Europe is facing.¬† But unfortunately, all of these tax increases and budget cuts are also going to involve a tremendous amount of economic pain.
The frightening thing is that we are just at the beginning of the process for most European nations.¬† If you want to see where nations such as Portugal, Italy and Spain are headed, just take a look at Greece.¬† Greece has been going down this road for several years, and there is¬†still no light at the end of the tunnel for them.
The tax increases and budget cuts that are being implemented right now in Europe will be felt for years to come.¬† The tremendous economic prosperity that was fueled by unprecedented amounts of debt will now give way to tremendous economic suffering.
The following are 20 signs that Europe is plunging into a full-blown economic depression‚Ä¶.
Another quiet revolution is afoot in the United States of America.¬† State by state, one by one, Obama is being stricken from the ballots as courtrooms declare him ineligible to be the President of the United States of America.
In Georgia, last week, on Thursday, January 26, ¬†a contempt order was issued when Barack Obama failed to appear in court after being subpoenaed.¬† There was so little respect for the law of that state that his attorney did not appear either.
Obama’s attorney, Michael Jablonski,¬†wrote the following¬†in a letter proclaiming¬†the defendant’s refusal¬†to appear in court:
….we will,of course, suspend further participation in these proceedings, including the hearing scheduled for January 26……
You can read the complete text of Jablonski’s response to Georgia’s Secretary of State HERE.
Surging Greek and Portuguese bond yields? Plunging Italian bank stocks? The projected GDP of the Eurozone? In the grand scheme of things, while certainly disturbing, none of these data points actually tell us much about the secular shift within European society, and certainly are nothing that couldn’t be fixed if the ECB were to gamble with hyperinflation and print an inordinate amount of fiat units diluting the capital base even further. No: the one chart that truly captures the latent fear behind the scenes in Europe is that showing youth unemployment in the continent’s troubled countries (and frankly everywhere else). Because the last thing Europe needs is a discontented, disenfranchised, and devoid of hope youth roving the streets with nothing to do, easily susceptible to extremist and xenophobic tendencies: after all, it must be “someone’s” fault that there are no job opportunities for anyone. Below we present the youth (16-24) unemployment in three select European countries (and the general Eurozone as a reference point).¬†Some may be surprised to learn that while Portugal, and Greece, are quite bad, at 30.7% and 46.6% respectively, it is Spain where the youth unemployment pain is most acute:¬†at 51.4%, more than half of the youth eligible for work does not have a job!Because the real question is if there is no hope for tomorrow, what is the opportunity cost of doing something stupid and quite irrational today?
Developed at MIT and manufactured in Europe, the new¬†Hiriko, promises to change how Europeans drive, spend energy and park. (Here in America, though, we can’t help but giggle)
A tiny revolutionary fold-up car designed in Spain’s Basque country as the answer to urban stress and pollution was unveiled Tuesday before hitting European cities in 2013.
The “Hiriko,” the Basque word for “urban,” is an¬†electric¬†two-seater with no doors whose motor is located in the wheels and which folds up like a child’s collapsible buggy, or stroller, for easy parking.
Dreamt up by Boston’s MIT-Media lab, the concept was developed by a consortium of seven small Basque firms under the name Hiriko Driving Mobility, with a prototype unveiled by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
Demonstrating for journalists, Barroso clambered in through the fold-up front windscreen of the 1.5-metre-long car.
Its makers are in talks with a number of European cities to assemble the tiny cars that can run 120 kilometers (75 miles) without a recharge and whose speed is electronically set to respect city limits.
They envision it as a city-owned vehicle, up for hire like the fleets of bicycles available in many European cities, or put up for sale privately at around 12,500 euros.
Evidence from the Fukushima Diachi disaster yields results that show a¬†‚ÄĚnatural weaponization‚ÄĚ¬†of nanno particles related to the inncodent, signifying the potential for a previously planned event.
A report from the¬†PNAS¬†entitled¬†Uranyl peroxide enhanced nuclear fuel corrosion in seawater¬†reads;
The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident brought together compromised irradiated fuel and large amounts of seawater in a high radiation field. Based on newly acquired thermochemical data for a series of uranyl peroxide compounds containing charge-balancing alkali cations, here we show that nanoscale cage clusters containing as many as 60 uranyl ions, bonded through peroxide and hydroxide bridges, are likely to form in solution or as precipitates under such conditions. These species will enhance the corrosion of the damaged fuel and, being thermodynamically stable and kinetically persistent in the absence of peroxide, they can potentially transport uranium over long distances.
This suggests that the uranium nano particles have been engineered by design or (thought out) to traverse long distances and effect certain parts of the body effectively due to the continual application of sea water into the reactors at the Fukushima Diachi nuclear power plant in Japan.
Much has been said about the Baltic Dry Index over the course of the last four years, especially in light of the credit crisis and the effects it has had on the frequency of global shipping.¬† Importing and exporting has never been quite the same since 2008, and this change is made most obvious through one of the few statistical measures left in the world that is not subject to direct manipulation by international corporate interests; the BDI.¬† Today, the BDI is on the verge of making headlines once again, being that is plummeting like a wingless 747 into the swampy mire of what I believe will soon be historical lows.
The problem with the BDI is that it is little understood and often dismissed by less thoughtful economic analysts as a ‚Äúvolatile index‚ÄĚ that is too ‚Äúsensitive‚ÄĚ to be used as a realistic indicator of future trends.¬† What these analysts consistently seem to ignore is that regardless of their narrow opinion, the BDI has been proven to lead economic derision in the market movements of the past.¬† That is to say, the BDI has been volatile exactly BECAUSE markets have been volatile and unstable, and is a far more accurate thermometer than those that most mainstream economists currently rely on.¬† If only they would look back at the numbers further than one year ago, they might see their own folly more clearly.
Introduced in 1985, the Baltic Dry Index first and foremost is a measure of the global shipping rates of dry bulk goods, mostly consisting of vital raw materials used in the creation of other products.¬† However, it is also a measure of demand for said materials in comparison to previous months and years.¬† This is where we get into the predictive nature of the BDI‚Ä¶
In late 1986, for instance, the BDI fell to its lowest level on record, then, began a slow crawl towards moderate recovery, just before the Black Monday crash of 1987.
Coincidence?¬† Not a chance.¬† From 2001 to 2002, a similar sharp collapse in the BDI preceded a progressive drop in the Dow of around 4000 points, ending in a highly suspect (Fed engineered) illegitimate recovery.¬† In 2008, the index fell to near record lows once again just before the derivatives and credit crisis hit stocks full force.¬† To imply that the BDI is not a useful measure of future economic trends seems like an astonishingly ignorant proposition when one examines its very predictable behavior just before major financial downturns.
This is not to suggest that the BDI can be used as a way to play the stock market from day to day, or often even month to month.¬† MSM analysts rarely look further than the next quarter when considering any financial issue, and that is why they don‚Äôt understand the BDI.¬† If an index cannot be used by daytraders to make a quick buck in a short afternoon, then why bother with it at all, right?¬† The BDI is not an accurate measure of the daily market gamble.¬† It is, though, an accurate measure of where markets are headed in the long run and under extreme circumstances.
Over the course of the past month, the BDI has fallen around 65% from above 1600 to 726.¬† Mainstream economists argue that the BDI‚Äôs fall in 2008 was a much higher percentage, and thus, a 65% drop is nothing to worry about.¬† They fail to mention that shipping rates never recovered from the 2008 collapse, and have hovered in a sickly manner near lows reached during the initial credit bubble burst.¬† By their logic, if the BDI was at 2, and fell to 1, this 50% drop should be shrugged off as inconsequential because it is not a substantial percentage of decline when compared to that which occurred in 2008, even though the index is standing at rock bottom.¬† Yes, the useful idiots strike again‚Ä¶
Looking at the rate and the speed of decline this past month, it‚Äôs hard to argue that the current 65% drop is meaningless:
Another subversive argument against the BDI is the suggestion that it is not the demand for raw materials that is in decline, but the number of shipping vessels out of use that is growing.¬† A smart person might suggest that these two problems are mutually connected.¬† An MSM pundit would not.
In 2008, many ships were left to wallow in port without cargo, but this was due in large part to two circumstances.¬† First, demand had fallen so much that too many ships were left to carry too little raw materials.¬† Second, credit markets had sunk so intensely that many ships could not find trade financing necessary to take on cargo.¬† In either case, the BDI still falls, and in either case, it still signals economic danger.¬† The only way that the BDI could signal a major decline in shipping demand artificially or inaccurately is if a considerable number of ships under construction were suddenly released onto the market while there is no demand for them.¬† There have been no mass increases or extreme changes in cargo fleets this past month, or at all since 2008, which means, the BDI‚Äôs decline has NOTHING to do with the number of ships in operation, and everything to do with decline in global demand.
What is the bottom line?¬† The stark decline in the BDI today should be taken very seriously.¬† Most similar declines have occurred right before or in tandem with economic instability and stock market upheaval.¬† All the average person need do is look around themselves, and they will find a European Union in the midst of detrimental credit downgrades and on the verge of dissolving.¬† They will find the U.S. on the brink of yet another national debt battle and hostage to a private Federal Reserve which has announced the possibility of a third QE stimulus package which will likely be the last before foreign creditors begin dumping our treasuries and our currency in protest.¬† They will find BRIC and ASEAN nations moving quietly into multiple bilateral trade agreements which cut out the use of the dollar as a world reserve completely.¬† Is it any wonder that the Baltic Dry Index is in such steep deterioration?
Along with this decline in global demand is tied another trend which many traditional deflationists and Keynesians find bewildering; inflation in commodities.¬† Ultimately, the BDI is valuable because it shows an extreme faltering in the demand for typical industrial materials and bulk items, which allows us to contrast the increase in the prices of necessities.¬† Global demand is waning, yet prices are holding at considerably high levels or are rising (a blatant sign of monetary devaluation).¬† Indeed, the most practical conclusion would be that the monster of stagflation has been brought to life through the dark alchemy of criminal debt creation and uncontrolled fiat stimulus.¬† Without the BDI, such disaster would be much more difficult to foresee, and far more shocking when its full weight finally falls upon us.¬† It must be watched with care and vigilance…
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This is done to acclimate you for the end of posse comitatus – troops on the streets and using the military against citizens.
Of course I’ve been talking about this for 16 years on air. Now it’s all admitted. Not just from leaked documents we got that the corporate prostitutes ignored. Now the NDAA, the John Warner Defense Authorization Act, Northcom, Brigade Homeland – it’s all admitted – the military traing to take over cities, to take over capital cities and states that don’t go along with these criminal orders.
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“Our policy is that there isn’t any privacy; everything is public.”
That would have taken far fewer words than the ones Google’s lawyers chose to mask the real meaning.
This is what created so many problems for Facebook in years past. And in a stupid effort to topple Facebook, Google has changed its focus from being an excellent provider of user services to a social networking tool that many never wanted or needed. Indeed, virtually none of my friends, family and acquaintances joined Google+ and probably never will. What they wanted was the ease of use that Google’s services provided.
In what will be seen as evidence of brinksmanship, Iran’s parliament postponed debate on a proposal immediately to halt oil deliveries to the EU, which accounts for 20 per cent of Tehran’s exports of crude.
Despite postponing the parliamentary debate, Rostam Qasemi, Iran’s energy minister, promised that exports to some countries, which he did not name, would be ended “soon”.
Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tehran on a three-day mission to investigate the suspected military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme to a flurry of anti-Western invective.
A damning report released by the body in November accused Iran of military-related atomic activities for the first time.
The visit comes when Iran’s relationship with the West is a fraught as at any time in recent years after the regime reacted with fury to a decision by the EU and the US this month to sanction the country’s central bank and oil sector.
With the sanctions carrying the potential to trigger a deep economic crisis in the country, Iran has responded with a mixture of belligerence and conciliation.
That the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s prime minister, has allowed the inspectors in at all has angered hardliners.
Demonstrator met the inspectors at Tehran’s airport carrying photographs of a nuclear scientist assassinated in the city earlier this month.
Ali Akhbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister who is seen as relatively moderate, spoke of his optimism about the IAEA’s visit, promising that all the inspectors’ questions would be answered.
“We have nothing to hide and Iran has no clandestine activities,” he said.
But the hawkish speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani, was more hostile, threatening that Iran would sever relations with the IAEA if it showed that it was a “tool” of the West.
The EU is phasing in its sanctions on importing Iranian oil over six months to allow economically troubled Greece, Italy and Spain, Tehran’s biggest European customers, to find alternative markets.
In 2008, the youth vote was overwhelmingly for Obama and helped elect him to the White House. Now, three years into his presidency and one year from the most important election of our lives, college students are thinking twice before voting for Obama again.
Activists say troops loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad committed a ‘terrible massacre’ in the city of Homs on Thursday, killing at least 30 people, including women and children.
Photos taken by activists on Thursday and obtained by the Associated Press purport to show the bloodied dead bodies of five small children wrapped in plastic bags, along with five women and a man piled up on beds. They were allegedly killed in an apartment building in the Homs neighborhood of Karm Al-Zaytoun.
Activists estimate that over¬†6,200 people¬†have died since the start of the protests in Syria in March 2011. A¬†UN report¬†released in November 2011 concluded that children in Syria have suffered serious violations and that security forces have shown “little or no recognition of the rights of children” in the actions taken to quell dissent.
In the image below, children are seen in plastic bags. The signs written in Arabic purport to show each child’s name.
Borrowers and lenders are starting to grapple with the billions of dollars in commercial real estate loans made during the boom year of 2007 that are coming due this year, in a greatly contracted economy.
Experts have warned of a rash of recapitalizations, refinancings and building sales. In¬†New York City¬†alone, nearly $70 billion worth of commercial mortgages that were bundled together and issued as collateral for bonds are maturing this year. Of those, $26 billion, or 37.4 percent, are five-year loans that were originated during the height of the real estate bubble, when underwriting standards were loosest, according to data from the research firm¬†Trepp LLC.
These include loans on prominent properties, including the Manhattan Mall, with $232 million maturing, and the Jumeirah Essex House, with a $180 million loan, according to Trepp.
European banks, reeling from the¬†debt crisis, have mostly stopped underwriting loans in the United States, while the market for commercial mortgage-backed securities remains relatively small, at roughly $30 billion in new issuance expected this year. And while insurance companies have increased their appetite for commercial mortgage loans, they are very conservative in their lending standards and selective in their deals.
‚ÄúThis means there may not be enough money available to refinance all of the debt that is coming due,‚ÄĚ said Lawrence J. Longua, a clinical associate professor at the Schack Institute of Real Estate at New York University.
The UN is home to its fair share of diplomatic tussles and international scandals, but this was a very different kind of intrigue: more than 35 pounds of cocaine¬†wound up in the mailroom¬†of the United Nations headquarters in New York, authorities say, sent probably by someone who figured the drug would elude detection because of how it was packaged.
New York Police spokesman Paul Browne said the powder, discovered January 16, was in two white bags meant to look like diplomatic pouches, stamped with a bogus U.N. logo and sent from Mexico City through a DHL shipping center in Cincinnati. But a real U.N. diplomatic pouch is blue, has a lock and features the authentic seal of the organization. By international law, those pouches are not normally inspected or opened.
Workers at the U.N.‚Äôs postal receiving center were screening the bag, which had no destination or return address, when the cocaine ‚ÄĒ which has a street value of $2 million ‚ÄĒ was found in hollowed-out notebooks. Browne said the bags likely wound up at the actual U.N. building by accident.
‚ÄúIt is my understanding that because there was no addressee, DHL just thought: ‚ÄėWell, that‚Äôs the UN symbol so we should ship it on to UN headquarters and let them figure out who it was supposed to go to,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Browne told reporters.
Are you storing food and water in preparation of a collapse or disaster? If you are among the many preppers out there you need to watch this video.
The time is now to learn survival skills and how to defend and protect yourself. When the s**t hits the fan there will be large and numerous groups of people that will want to take everything that you have.
Americans are still struggling to come to terms with the loss they felt as the wackier GOP candidates fell by the wayside. For pure entertainment value, the mendacity they offered on the campaign trail couldn’t be beat.
Who can forget Herman Cain worrying about how China, a member of the club for almost a half-century, is now “trying to develop nuclear capability”? How can one top the convincing specificity of Michele Bachmann’s claim that on ‚Äúpage 92‚ÄĚ of the healthcare reform bill, it says ‚Äúpeople can’t purchase private health insurance after a date certain, which means people will ultimately go into a single-payer plan‚ÄĚ? We have to admit that we’ll miss Rick Perry telling us wild tales of Obama’s totalitarianism extending to ‚Äútelling us what kind of light bulb we can use.”
Those kind of bizarre untruths were like a series of small gifts for political watchers and late-night comedy writers alike. But just because some of its more colorful wheels have come flying off, that doesn’t mean the GOP clown car isn’t still moving down the road toward the November elections.
We thought we’d take a look at some of the brazen falsehoods offered up by the candidates who remain standing today.
1. Mitt Romney: No Apologies
Mitt Romney wrote a book called No Apology, and has repeatedly said on the campaign trail that Obama took a world tour at the beginning of his presidency to issue mea culpas to dastardly foreigners everywhere. This lie is so brazen not only because it never happened, but also because Romney uses the talking-point in speech after speech.
Ironically, as James Taub noted in the New York Times, ‚ÄúIn a major speech in Cairo in 2005, Condoleezza Rice, then Mr. Bush‚Äôs secretary of state, said that ‘for 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East ‚ÄĒ and we achieved neither.’ What was she doing if not apologizing on behalf of the United States ‚ÄĒ and vowing to put an end to a pattern of misguided policy?‚ÄĚ
2. Newt Gingrich: Christmas Warrior
Why should the nutjobs at Fox News have all the fun? In Davenport, Iowa, on December 19, Gingrich revealed the results of something he said he’d ‚Äúbeen investigating … for the last three days.‚ÄĚ What was it?
Apparently if the president sends out Christmas cards, they are paid for the Democratic or Republican National Committees because no federal official at any level is currently allowed to say ‚ÄėMerry Christmas.‚Äô And the idea, I think, is that the government should be neutral. ‚Ä¶ I’m going to go back and find out how was this law written, when was it passed. We‚Äôve had this whole ‚ÄĒ in my mind ‚ÄĒ very destructive attitude in the last 50 years that we have to drive religion out of public life.
Guess what? Yup ‚Äď he just pulled that one out of… perhaps one of those mass emails your crazy right-wing uncle keeps forwarding you.
It’s difficult to understand why even Republicans would be in favor of laws that make it harder for police to arrest men who beat up their wives, girlfriends or other women, but apparently that is the case in New Hampshire where Republican legislators want to turn back the clock to make it impossible for police to arrest men at the scene of a domestic abuse incident even if there is probable cause that the man living there brutalized the woman he is living with, unless the officer actually witnessed the victim being battered. Instead the officer would have to leave the scene to get an arrest warrant leaving the battered woman alone with the man (husband, domestic partner, family member or stranger) who beat the crap out of her. They also want to pass a law to make it harder for female victims to enforce protection orders against their assailants. Sounds like something out of a Twilight Zone episode, but its all perfectly true.
Under current law the presumption is that an arrest will be made when police observe evidence of abuse. They have a large degree of discretion and don‚Äôt need to witness the assault firsthand or obtain a legal warrant before they can separate the alleged attacker from his victim.All that will change if Republicans get their way. The state‚Äôs GOP legislators are pushing two bills that will reverse a half century of progress …
Well, for some reason Republicans in New Hampshire think laws that protect battered women more than the men who beat them is unfair. Instead of protecting victims of abuse they want to turn back the clock to the days when women were routinely beaten by their husbands, fathers, boyfriends, etc.
House Bill 1581 would turn the clock back 40 years to an age when a police officer could not make an arrest in a domestic violence case without first getting a warrant unless he or she actually witnessed the crime.That’s an exceedingly dangerous change. Consider the following scenario, one outlined for lawmakers by retired Henniker police chief Tim Russell:An officer is called to a home where she sees clear evidence that an assault has occurred. The furniture is overturned, the children are sobbing, and the face of the woman of the house is bruised and bleeding. It’s obvious who the assailant was, but the officer arrived after the assault occurred. It’s a small department, and no one else on the force is available to keep the peace until the officer finds a judge or justice of the peace to issue a warrant. The officer leaves, and the abuser renews his attack with even more ferocity, punishing his victim for having called for help. [...]
It’s impossible to say how many lives the policy, in place since the 1970s, has saved or how many injuries it’s prevented. If they adopt House Bill 1581, lawmakers might find out, but the price paid could be extraordinarily high.
House Bill 1608 would also almost certainly cost lives. It removes judicial discretion by severely restricting when someone who has violated a domestic violence protective order can be arrested to three offenses: committing an act of abuse or an offense against the person named in the protective order, or engaging in prohibited contact.
The bill would also, law enforcement believes, remove a judge’s ability to order a defendant in a domestic violence case to relinquish weapons or prevent him or her from purchasing a gun. It would also eliminate law enforcement’s ability to arrest a defendant who threatens to use physical force against a victim or her children. All are changes that could have deadly consequences and make life more frightening for abuse victims and their families.
Alternative news websites seem to be dealing with a mysteriously increased number of technical issues lately.
Yesterday, the popular alternative site Dprogram.Net – Counteracting Propaganda¬†was out of service for most of the afternoon and early evening, with a message saying only “Account Suspended.”¬† According to the administrator of the site, that’s the third time this week they’ve been offline.
Coincidentally, during the same time Dprogram was offline, WhatReallyHappened¬†also suffered from technical concerns, although the outage was far briefer than that of Dprogram.
No one at the sites has cast any stones or suggested that this is all part of a greater conspiracy to silence the truth as alternative websites see it.¬† (That’s just my personal theory,) However, in conjunction with SOPA, ACTA, and the new Google/CIA commitment to collect and provide information about users, as well as direct traffic to more government-friendly websites, one has to begin wondering.
The big loser in the Pentagon‚Äôs new budget? Ordinary human beings.
About 80,000 Army soldiers and 20,000 Marines are getting downsized. Half of the Army‚Äôs conventional combat presence in Europe is packing up and ending its post-Cold War staycation. Replacing them, according to the $613 billion budget previewed by the Pentagon on Thursday: unconventional special-operations forces; new bombers; new spy tools; new missiles for subs; and a veritable Cylon army of drones.
This is the first of the Pentagon‚Äôs new, smaller ‚Äúausterity‚ÄĚ budgets: it‚Äôs asking Congress for $525 billion (plus $88.4 billion for the Afghanistan war), compared to a $553 billion request (plus $117 billion in war cash) last year. Only the Pentagon is¬†emphasizing¬†(.pdf) what the military is¬†keeping, not what it‚Äôs cutting. That‚Äôs because congressional Republicans don‚Äôt like swallowing these cuts ‚ÄĒ and¬†really¬†don‚Äôt want to acquiesce¬†to a currently-scheduled law that could tack on another $600 billion-plus to the already-scheduled, decade-long $487 billion in cuts. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is preempting the objections, promising a force that‚Äôs ‚Äúsmaller and leaner, but agile, flexible, ready and technologically advanced.‚ÄĚ
That means no changes to the U.S. fleet of 11 aircraft carriers and 10 air wings, all reflecting the Obama administration‚Äôs emphasis on the western Pacific. It means leaving the nuclear triad ‚ÄĒ the bombers, subs and missiles that can end all life on earth ‚ÄĒ alone. (With one exception: the military will delay replacing the Ohio-class submarine by two years.) It means electronic weapons to jam enemy defenses and attack online networks. It means elite commando forces like the ones who just¬†rescued two aid workers kidnapped in Somalia. And it means drones for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
The UK was staring down the barrel of another recession today after
the economy shrank more than expected at the end of last year.
Declines in the manufacturing and construction sectors drove a 0.2% fall in GDP in the final quarter of 2011, according to an initial estimate by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The performance was described by Prime Minister David Cameron as disappointing, while Chancellor George Osborne pledged to stick to the coalition government’s austerity programme, which has been attacked for choking off the recovery.
Mr Osborne insisted: “Britain has substantial debts. If we don’t deal with those debts, our problems will be worse.”
However, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber warned that unless the Government started focusing on jobs and growth, it could preside over a decade of economic stagnation.
He said: “The Chancellor’s economic strategy is going horribly wrong.
“The grand austerity plan is failing to tackle the deficit, causing unemployment to spiral out of control, and is now dragging the country back towards recession.”
With the eurozone weighing on global growth prospects, economists predict further GDP declines for the first half of 2012, raising the prospect of another recession – two successive quarters of contraction.
But most experts think the latest downturn will be mild compared with the slump of 2008/09, when output dropped by more than 7%.
Graeme Leach, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said: “We’ve taken one step towards a double-dip recession, and it’s now probably 50-50 as to whether we’ll take the second.
“But even if output does increase in the current quarter, we’ll continue to experience the feel-bad jobless recovery for some time yet.”
The figures marked the first contraction in the economy since the final quarter of 2010, when Arctic weather caused mayhem, and is also a drastic deterioration on the 0.6% growth seen in the previous quarter.
Over the course of 2011 as a whole, GDP increased by 0.9%, much slower than the 2.1% growth in 2010.
The fall in the final quarter, which was worse than City expectations of a decline of 0.1%, was partly caused by a 0.9% contraction in manufacturing as weak consumer spending depressed demand in the UK, while the eurozone debt crisis hit exports.
The sector’s reverse is a blow to Mr Osborne who had hoped it would spearhead the UK’s recovery by driving exports.
And a separate survey by business body CBI suggested the sector’s woes had continued into 2012 after both domestic and export orders fell in January.
Although a modest rise in export orders is expected in coming months, the industry remains “fragile”, it warned.
The construction sector also suffered a 0.5% fall in the wake of the Government’s austerity cuts, while mild winter weather contributed to a 4.1% fall in the gas and electricity sectors as households turned the heating down.
This past week has been a very turbulent time for Italy. ¬†And it wasn’t just the grounding of the Concordia cruise ship by a playboy captain; but the grounding of the country by Euro-technocrat usurper Darth Monti, trying to impress his Keynesian buddies with his latest attempts to ‚ÄėSave Italy‚Äô!
This week saw the launch of a popular uprising in Sicily, by a group known as the ‚ÄėMovimento dei Forconi‚Äô or ‚ÄėPitchfork Movement‚Äô. This is not an uprising of self absorbed youth who want more government handouts; but of producers who are being pushed into poverty by government taxes and regulation. The organizers are middle aged and older; this is significant, as most power and wealth is held by this generation and they have now drawn a line in the sand.
On the 16th of January these protesters began “Operazione Vespri Siciliani”, a blockade ¬†of the Island of Sicily. Within two days the transportation of all goods was stopped. Over the next week, nothing entered or exited Sicily. ¬†This was no mean feat given that Sicily is not a small Island; it has a population of over five million people and a surface area of 25,711 km2.
These are some of their demands:
The arrest of all corrupt politicians.
To reduce the number of parliamentarians
To remove the provincial bureaucracy, as most of these politicians have been there for over forty years.
To drastically cut the salaries and privileges of parliamentarians and senators
To restrict politicians two only two terms in office
Not one of Darth Monti‚Äôs ‚Äúausterity‚ÄĚ measures has touched the political caste; in fact in classic Italian style, the press has dug up some very dirty scandals concerning two of his fellow tax-feeders.
The trigger for these events was the vampire state sinking it‚Äôs fangs deeper into the already hampered Italian economy; a vicious tax was added to petrol, diesel and other energy sources in December.
Though agriculture contributes only 2.5% of GDP, in the southern regions of Basilicata, Calabria, and Molise, agriculture accounts for just over 20 percent of local employment. Many goods are transported by road, and as the cost of transport went through the roof within the time frame of just a few weeks, it destroyed the farmer’s tight margins. Why work when the state steals most of your profits?
To further understand the rage, despair and humiliation it is necessary to know some Sicilian history. As Jeff says, it‚Äôs all been done before.
Iran‚Äôs supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has held several secret meetings with his economic and military advisers in recent days to prepare for the possibility of war with the United States.
Sources report the preparations are to include the execution of those Iranians who oppose the regime.
Khamenei has been heard to say that the coming of the last Islamic Messiah, the Shiites‚Äô 12th Imam Mahdi, is near and that specific actions need to be taken to protect the Islamic regime for upcoming events.
Mahdi, according to Shiite belief, will reappear at the time of Armageddon.
Selected forces within the Revolutionary Guards and Basij reportedly have been trained under a task force called ‚ÄúSoldiers of Imam Mahdi‚ÄĚ and they will bear the responsibility of security and protecting the regime against uprisings. Many in the Guards and Basij have been told that the 12th Imam is on earth, facilitated the victory of Hezbollah over Israel in the 2006 war and soon will announce publicly his presence after the needed environment is created.
According to SepahOnline, sources within the Vali‚Äôeh Amr, the revolutionary forces in charge of the supreme leader‚Äôs protection, report that Khamenei held several meetings in recent days at which the leader instructed his advisers to tighten the grip on anyone who opposes or might oppose the regime in case of war.
These actions include investigations of every person or group that was pro-regime but now hold opinions contrary to regime policies. Also being created is a list, to be presented to Khamenei, to decide the fate of any opponents.
It also was decided that those political prisoners who will not repent will be executed, the sources said.
This action also was taken by the founder of the Islamic regime in 1988, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Many of us breathed a sigh of relief when an overwhelming amount of Americans banned together and voiced their opposition to Congress over both the Stop Online Piracy Act, and Protect Intellectual Property Act.
Sites that dimmed the screen for a day or two have gone back to normal — Facebook users have swapped their anti-SOPA images for their previous profile pictures.
We may have even believed that the postponement of the vote originally scheduled for January 24th was some sort of white flag of capitulation. But that is certainly not the MO of most lawmakers.
While the outcry did get the attention of Congress, they are simply returning unflinchingly back to the drawing board to wait out our attention spans. Articles whirled that SOPA was dead and the bill was pulled when the bill’s sponsor Lamar Smith said in a statement that there would be no further action¬†‚Äúuntil there is wider agreement on a solution.‚ÄĚ
Lamar isn’t really listening.¬†‚ÄúIt is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.‚ÄĚ
Actually, SOPA is set to be reformulated in February. PIPA will be revisited with possible amendments in the coming weeks. Case in point, all is still open and possible — nothing is dead, pulled, or cancelled. If that wasn’t enough to keep us on our toes, a new, similar bill has surfaced.
As an alternative to SOPA-PIPA, Representative Darrell Issa (CA-R), and 24 co-sponsors introduced the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) H.R. 3782 on Wednesday, during the Internet blackout.
OPEN would give oversight to the International Trade Commission (ITC) instead of the Justice Department, focuses on foreign-based websites, includes an appeals process, and would apply only to websites that “willfully” promote copyright violation.
The bill pretends to only target foreign websites, while keeping Americans free to surf and post, but the bill’s wording is wide open to pursue American sites. Just one example: when describing an infringing site, it starts with those “that are accessed through a non-domestic domain name,” but continues in section (8)(A)(ii) for any site that “conducts business directed to residents of the United States.”
It sounds like, “in general,” copyright holders will be the ones filing complaints to the Commission, but the writing leaves it open for any complainant to file. The ITC would still have the ability to coerce payment processors and ad networks to cease funding and linking the accused in question. Who could determine “willful” infringement?
Also, none of these bills had been decided before the U.S. Government took down New Zealand owned Megaupload.com¬†during the commotion. To which,¬†Anonymous responded by shutting down the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, Universal Music, Recording Industry Association of America, the U.S. Copyright Office, Broadcast Music Inc. and the Motion Picture Association of America.
According to a response sent from the President’s attorney Michael Jablonski, Mr. Obama will not be appearing at that hearing. The letter, sent to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian P. Kemp, says the hearing request was “improvidently issued,” and “no law gives the Secretary of State authority to determine the qualifications of someone named by a political party to be on the Presidential Preference Primary ballot.”
It ends with President Obama’s refusal to appear in court to settle the matter:
We await your taking the requested action, and as we do so, we will, of course, suspend further participation in these proceedings, including the hearing scheduled for January 26.
The full text of the letter is available below and his been made available by Chris Kitze, chief editor of Before It’s News, and was forwarded to us by BIN editor John Rolls:
This is to advise you of serious problems that have developed in the conduct of the hearings pending before the Office of State Administrative Hearings. At issue in these hearings are challenges that allege that President Obama is not eligible to hold or run for re-election to his office, on the now wholly discredited theory that he does not meet the citizenship requirements. As you know, such allegations have been the subject of numerous judicial proceedings around the country, all of which have concluded that they were baseless and, in some instances ‚Äď including in the State of Georgia – that those bringing the challenges have engaged in sanctionable abuse of our legal process.
Nonetheless, the Administrative Law Judge has exercised no control whatsoever over this proceeding, and it threatens to degenerate into a pure forum for political posturing to the detriment of the reputation of the State and your Office. Rather than bring this matter to a rapid conclusion, the ALJ has insisted on agreeing to a day of hearings, and on the full participation of the President in his capacity as a candidate. Only last week, he denied a Motion to Quash a subpoena he approved on the request of plaintiff‚Äôs counsel for the personal appearance of the President at the hearing, now scheduled for January 26.
For these reasons, and as discussed briefly below, you should bring an end to this baseless, costly and unproductive hearing by withdrawing the original hearing request as improvidently issued.
It is well established that there is no legitimate issue here‚ÄĒa conclusion validated time and again by courts around the country. The State of Hawaii produced official records documenting birth there; the President made documents available to the general public by placing them on his website. ‚ÄúUnder the United States Constitution, a public record of a state is required to be given ‚Äėfull faith and credit‚Äô by all other states in the country. Even if a state were to require its election officials for the first time ever to receive a ‚Äėbirth certificate‚Äô as a requirement for a federal candidate‚Äôs ballot placement, a document certified by another state, such as a ‚Äėshort form‚Äô birth certificate, or the certified long form, would be required to be accepted by all states under the ‚Äėfull faith and credit‚Äô clause of the United States Constitution.‚ÄĚ Maskell, ‚ÄúQualifications for President and the ‚ÄúNatural Born‚ÄĚ Citizenship Eligibility Requirement,‚ÄĚ Congressional Research Service (November 14, 2011), p.41.
Nonetheless, the ALJ has decided, for whatever reason, to lend assistance through his office‚ÄĒand by extension, yours‚ÄĒto the political and legally groundless tactics of the plaintiffs. One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs has downloaded form subpoenas which she tried to serve around the country. Plaintiff‚Äôs attorney sent subpoenas seeking to force attendance by an office machine salesman in Seattle; seeking to force the United States Attorney to bring an unnamed ‚ÄúCustodian of Records Department of Homeland Security‚ÄĚ to attend the hearing with immunization records; and asking the same U.S. Attorney to bring the same records allegedly possessed by ‚ÄúCustodian of Records of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.‚ÄĚ She served subpoenas attempting to compel the production of documents and the attendance of Susan Daniels and John Daniels, both apparently out of state witnesses, regarding Social Security records. She is seeking to compel the Director of Health for the State of Hawaii to bring to Atlanta the ‚Äúoriginal typewritten 1961 birth certificate #10641 for Barack Obama, II, issued 08.08.1961 by Dr. David Sinclair‚Ä¶,‚ÄĚ even though Hawaii courts had dismissed with prejudice the last attempt to force release of confidential records on November 9, 2011.¬†Taitz v. Fuddy, CA No. 11-1-1731-08 RAN.
In¬†Rhodes v. McDonald, 670 F. Supp. 2d 1363, 1365 (USDC MD GA, 2009), Judge Clay Land wrote this of plaintiff‚Äôs attorney:
When a lawyer files complaints and motions without a reasonable basis for believing that they are supported by existing law or a modification or extension of existing law, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law. When a lawyer uses the courts as a platform for political agenda disconnected from any legitimate legal cause of action, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law‚Ä¶.
As a national leader in the so-called ‚Äėbirther movement,‚Äô Plaintiff‚Äôs counsel has attempted to use litigation to provide the ‚Äėlegal foundation‚Äô for her political agenda. She seeks to use the Court‚Äôs power to compel discovery in her efforts force the President to produce a ‚Äėbirth certificate‚Äô that is satisfactory to herself and her followers.‚ÄĚ 670 F. Supp. 2d at 1366.
All issues were presented to your hearing officer‚ÄĒthe clear-cut decision to be on the merits, and the flagrantly unethical and unprofessional conduct of counsel‚ÄĒand he has allowed the plaintiffs‚Äô counsel to run amok. He has not even addressed these issues‚ÄĒchoosing to ignore them. Perhaps he is aware that there is no credible response; perhaps he appreciates that the very demand made of his office‚ÄĒthat it address constitutional issues‚ÄĒis by law not within its authority. See, for example,¬†Flint River Mills v. Henry, 234 Ga. 385, 216 S.E.2d 895 (1975); Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. r. 616-1-2-.22(3).
The Secretary of State should withdraw the hearing request as being improvidently issued. A referring agency may withdraw the request at any time. Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. r. 616-1-2-.17(1). Indeed, regardless of the collapse of proceedings before the ALJ, the original hearing request was defective as a matter of law.¬†Terry v. Handel, 08cv158774S (Superior Court Fulton County, 2008),¬†appeal dismissed, No. S09D0284 (Ga. Supreme Court),¬†reconsideration denied, No. S09A1373. (‚ÄúThe Secretary of State of Georgia is not given any authority that is discretionary nor any that is mandatory to refuse to allow someone to be listed as a candidate for President by a political party because she believes that the candidate might not be qualified.‚ÄĚ) Similarly, no law gives the Secretary of State authority to determine the qualifications of someone named by a political party to be on the Presidential Preference Primary ballot. Your duty is determined by the statutory requirement that the Executive Committee of a political party name presidential preference primary candidates. O.C.G.A. ¬ß 21-2-193. Consequently, the attempt to hold hearings on qualifications which you may not enforce is¬†ultra vires.
We await your taking the requested action, and as we do so, we will, of course, suspend further participation in these proceedings, including the hearing scheduled for January 26.
Jay Leno thought he was poking gentle fun at the lifestyles of rich and famous Republican presidential candidates ‚ÄĒ Mitt Romney in particular. But last Thursday when Leno‚Äôs slide show came to a location cited as Mitt Romney‚Äôs summer home ‚ÄĒ in reality an image of the Sikh holy shrine Golden Temple in Amritsar, India ‚ÄĒ it sparked a diplomatic incident. And now, a lawsuit charging Leno and NBC with libel.
Dr. Randeep Dhillon of Bakersfield filed the suit today in Los Angeles Superior¬†Court. On behalf of himself and Bol Punjabi All Regions Community Organization, the suit charges that the broadcast was libelous on its face and exposed Sikhs and their religion to hatred, contempt and ridicule because it portrayed the holiest place in the Sikh religion as a vacation resort owned by a non-Sikh. The suit charges that Leno‚Äôs use of the photo of the temple was intentional, deliberately false and ‚Äúhurt the sentiments of all Sikh people in addition to those of the plaintiff.‚ÄĚ The suit seeks general, special and punitive damages as well as court costs.¬†It appears that video of the segment in question has been removed from NBC‚Äôs website.
Separately, Sikh leader Dalbeg Singh said today community leaders would seek an apology from Leno. India‚Äôs foreign ministry said a formal complaint had been lodged with the State Department in Washington.
Every year, the State Department issues¬†reports on individual rights¬†in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.
Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own ‚ÄĒ the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was¬†the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?
While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don‚Äôt operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of ‚Äúfree,‚ÄĚ but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.
These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens ‚ÄĒ precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.
The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company.
On a hilltop in rural Elberton, Georgia stands an incongruous monument: 119 tons of imposing granite in five columns, six meters high, topped with a capstone. Not only are they geometrically arranged, they also offer three astronomical viewing ports marking the positions of the sun and stars, thus their nickname “America’s Stonehenge”. But unlike their English namesake, the Georgia Guidestones are not ancient; they are a recent emplacement. Their most significant trait is the controversial inscriptions, in eight languages. Some feel the messages in these inscription unite us, others feel they divide us. The monument refers to these ten mottos as the Guiding Thoughts, offered to the world by the anonymous builders of the monument. (source: Skeptoid)
Video Report: The Georgia Guidestones: America’s Most Mysterious Monument
As President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, A U.S. special operations team of Navy SEALs¬† rescued two aid workers in Somalia Tuesday night, including a U.S. woman who had been held hostage for three months by Somalian kidnappers and suffered from a life-threatening medical condition.