Sunday, 26 June 2016

9/11 couldn’t have been an inside job

9/11 couldn’t have been an inside job



9/11 couldn’t have been an inside job

4 REASONS THE TWIN TOWERS COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BROUGHT DOWN WITH EXPLOSIVES ON 9/11 Preface: We’ve previously shown that…

Thursday, 23 June 2016

War On Cannabis Will MONSANTO Be The Winner ?

War On Cannabis Will MONSANTO Be The Winner ?



War On Cannabis Will MONSANTO Be The Winner ?

THE WAR ON WEED IS WINDING DOWN – BUT WILL MONSANTO BE THE WINNER? SOURCE: ELLEN BROWN The war on…

Civil Liberties Being Destroyed By These Senators

Civil Liberties Being Destroyed By These Senators



Civil Liberties Being Destroyed By These Senators

MEET THE SENATORS WHO VOTED TO DESTROY YOUR CIVIL LIBERTIES SOURCE: MICHAEL KRIEGER, LIBERTY BLITZKRIEG   Yesterday, I published a…

What These Doctors Were Doing Is Just Shocking

What These Doctors Were Doing Is Just Shocking



What These Doctors Were Doing Is Just Shocking

HUNDREDS OF DOCTORS AND NURSES ACROSS U.S. CHARGED IN $900-MILLION MEDICARE FRAUD SWEEP SOURCE: ALL GOV. More than 300 people…

Robots To Pay Social Security ? WTF

Robots To Pay Social Security ? WTF



Robots To Pay Social Security ? WTF

ROBOTS TO PAY “SOCIAL SECURITY” UNDER EU TAX PROPOSAL SOURCE: MICHAEL SHEDLOCK Although the proposal is deemed “too early” to…
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You Wont Believe What FEDS Were Hiding About Orlando Shooter

You Wont Believe What FEDS Were Hiding About Orlando Shooter



You Wont Believe What FEDS Were Hiding About Orlando Shooter

SOURCE: MATT AGORIST The deranged psychopath responsible for the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history may have been on…

FBI Internet Warentless Access Rejected By Senate

FBI Internet Warentless Access Rejected By Senate



FBI Internet Warentless Access Rejected By Senate

SENATE REJECTS FBI BID FOR WARRANTLESS ACCESS TO INTERNET BROWSING HISTORIES SOURCE: ZD NET An amendment designed to allow the…
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Blocking Someone On Disqus



Blocking Someone On Disqus



Blocking Someone On Disqus

SITE NEWS: YOU CAN NOW BLOCK ANNOYING JERKS IN DISQUS COMMENTS SOURCE: DISQUS Why would you block someone? 

Hillary Clinton And Israel Want WAR

Hillary Clinton And Israel Want WAR



Hillary Clinton And Israel Want WAR

LEAKED EMAIL REVEALS HILLARY CLINTON WANTED WAR IN SYRIA TO BENEFIT ISRAEL BY JEFF SANCHEZ And as always, this one…

Google Now The Biggest Censor Blocking Millions Of Websites

Google Now The Biggest Censor Blocking Millions Of Websites



Google Now The Biggest Censor Blocking Millions Of Websites

HOW DID GOOGLE BECOME THE INTERNET’S CENSOR AND MASTER MANIPULATOR, BLOCKING ACCESS TO MILLIONS OF WEBSITES? SOURCE: US NEWS Google,…

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Clinton — a loyal oligarch and a handpicked president

John Myers: Clinton — a loyal oligarch and a handpicked president

“Look, the average Democrat voter is just plain stupid. They’re easy to manipulate. That’s the easy part.” — Hillary Clinton, as told in “Rewriting History.” Clinton could have added that voters have a short memory. Her former boss, President Obama has overseen the worst economic recovery in the Post World War II era.
Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia

We’re Going To War – Syria

We’re Going To War – Syria



We’re Going To War – Syria

IS THE SYRIAN WAR ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE A MAJOR ESCALATION? SOURCE: MICHAEL KRIEGER, LIBERTY BLITZKRIEG We’re going to war —…

Friday, 17 June 2016

FBI HomeGrown Terrorist Battle

FBI HomeGrown Terrorist Battle



The New York Times is taking a look at the FBI’s battle against terrorism (not the first time it’s done this) — namely, its near-total reliance on sting operations to round up would-be terrorists. As the Times’ Eric Lichtblau points out, stings used to be a last-resort tactic. Now, it’s standard operating procedure. Two out of every three terrorism prosecutions begin with undercover agents nudging citizens and immigrants toward acts of violence and “material support.” In some cases, the FBI agents are doing all the work themselves.
The FBI, of course, maintains that these terrorists would have acted on their own without the agency’s intercession — even though it seems to be placing a rather heavy finger on the scale.

FEDS QUIETLY CONSIDER REVIVING EPA’S HUMAN TESTING PROGRAM



SOURCE: DAILY CALLER

 
NAS is examining the findings of a 2014 EPA inspector general reporting, which found the agency had exposed human test subjects to ostensibly deadly air pollutants without disclosing the risk of death or the total amounts of pollutants subjects would have to inhale.
But the lack of public participation in the study has Steve Milloy worried EPA could be trying to revive its “potentially illegal” testing regime, which has exposed children, asthmatics and people with heart disease to concentrated doses of pollutants.
“I am concerned that absent informed public input, the Committee’s work will suffer and ultimately possibly serve as an inadvertent whitewash of egregious if not illegal conduct by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” Milloy wrote to NAS regarding the EPA hearings.
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Friday, 10 June 2016

Bill Says re Hillary Clinton

Bill says: "Hillary spent a year after graduation working on a children's rights project for poor kids." The facts are: Hillary interned with Bob Truehaft, the head of the California Communist Party. 

She met Bob when he represented the Panthers and traveled all the way to San Francisco to take an internship with him. 

Bill says: "Hillary could have written her own job ticket, but she turned down all the lucrative job offers." The facts are: She flunked the D.C. bar exam. Yes, FLUNKED.

 It is a matter of record, and she only barely passed the Arkansas bar. She had no job offers in Arkansas, NONE; and only got hired by the University of Arkansas Law School at Fayetteville because Bill was already teaching there. 

She did not join the prestigious Rose Law Firm until Bill became Arkansas Attorney General and was made a partner only after he was elected Arkansas Governor. 

Here is what bothers me more than anything else about Hillary Clinton: She has done everything possible to weaken the President and our country (that's you and me!) when it comes to the war on terror. 

She wants to close GITMO and move the combatants to the U.S., where they would have access to our legal system. 

She wants to eliminate the monitoring of suspected Al Qaeda phone calls to/from the U.S. 

 She wants to grant constitutional rights to enemy combatants captured on the battlefield.

 She wants to eliminate the monitoring of money transfers between suspected Al Qaeda cells and supporters in the U.S. 

 She wants to eliminate the type of interrogation tactics used by the military & CIA where coercion might be used when questioning known terrorists, even though such tactics might save American lives. 

She completely ignores the fact that the U.N., the Geneva Convention, and The Hague have clearly established rules governing the treatment and prosecution of prisoners of war; none of which have been violated by the U.S. Armed Forces

Islamic Radicalism and Terrorism

TERRORISM AS PRETEXT FOR INTERVENTION IN MIDDLE EAST

In order to understand the hype surrounding the phenomena of Islamic radicalism and terrorism, we need to understand the prevailing global economic order and its prognosis. What the pragmatic economists have forecasted about the free market capitalism has turned out to be true; whether we like it or not. A kind of global economic entropy has set into motion. The money is flowing from the area of high monetary density to the area of low monetary density.
 
The rise of the BRICS countries in the 21st century is the proof of this tendency. BRICS are growing economically because the labor in developing economies is cheap; labor laws and rights are virtually nonexistent; expenses on creating a safe and healthy work environment are minimal; regulatory framework is lax; expenses on environmental protection are negligible; taxes are low; and in the nutshell, windfalls for the multinational corporations are huge.
 
Thus, BRICS are threatening the global economic monopoly of the Western capitalist bloc: that is, North America and Western Europe. Here we need to understand the difference between the manufacturing sector and the services sector. The manufacturing sector is the backbone of the economy; one cannot create a manufacturing base overnight. It is based on hard assets: we need raw materials; production equipment; transport and power infrastructure; and last but not the least, a technically-educated labor force. It takes decades to build and sustain a manufacturing base. But the services sector, like the Western financial institutions, can be built and dismantled in a relatively short period of time.
 
If we take a cursory look at the economy of the Western capitalist bloc, it has still retained some of its high-tech manufacturing base, but it is losing fast to the cheaper and equally robust manufacturing base of the developing BRICS nations. Everything is made in China these days, except for hi-tech microprocessors, softwares, a few internet giants, some pharmaceutical products, the Big Oil and the all-important military hardware and the defense production industry.
 
Apart from that, the entire economy of the Western capitalist bloc is based on financial institutions: the behemoth investment banks, like JP Morgan chase, total assets $2359 billion (market capitalization: 187 billion); Citigroup, total assets $1865 billion (Market Capitalization: 141 billion); Bank of America, total assets $2210 billion (Market Capitalization: 133 billion); Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas and Axa Group (France), Deutsche Bank and Allianz Group (Germany), Barclays and HSBC (UK).
 
After establishing the fact that the Western economy is mostly based on its financial services sector, we need to understand its implications. Like I said earlier, that it takes time to build a manufacturing base, but it is relatively easy to build and dismantle an economy based on financial services. What if Tamim bin Hammad Al Thani (the ruler of Qatar) decides tomorrow to withdraw his shares from Barclays and put them in some Organization of Islamic Conference-sponsored bank, in accordance with Sharia?
 
What if all the sheikhs of Gulf countries withdraw their petro-dollars from the Western financial institutions; can the fragile financial services based Western economies sustain such a loss of investments? In April this year the Saudi finance minister threatened that the Saudi kingdom would sell up to $750 billion in Treasury securities and other assets if Congress passed a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible for any role in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. And $750 billion is only the Saudi investment in the US, if we add its investment in Western Europe, and the investments of UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in the Western economies, the sum total would amount to trillions of dollars of Gulf’s investment in the US and Western Europe.
 
Notwithstanding, we need to look for comparative advantages and disadvantages here. If the vulnerable economy is their biggest weakness, what are the biggest strengths of the Western powers? The biggest strength of the Western capitalist bloc is its military might. We have to give credit to the Western hawks they did which nobody else in the world had the courage to do: that is, they privatized their defense production industry. And as we know, that privately-owned enterprises are more innovative, efficient and in this particular case, lethal. But having power is one thing, and using that power to achieve certain desirable goals is another.
 
The Western liberal democracies are not autocracies; they are answerable to their electorates for their deeds and misdeeds. And much to the dismay of pragmatic, Machiavellian ruling elites, the ordinary citizens just can’t get over their antediluvian moral prejudices. In order to overcome this ethical dilemma, the Western political establishments wanted a moral pretext to do what they wanted to do on pragmatic, economic grounds. That’s when 9/11 took place: a blessing in disguise for the Western political establishments, because the pretext of “war on terror” gave them carte blanche powers to invade and occupy any oil-rich country in the Middle East and North Africa region.
 
No wonder then that the first casualty of “war on terror” after Afghanistan had been Iraq; and what did the corporate media tell us about invading Iraq back in 2003? Saddam's weapons of mass “deception” and his purported links with al Qaeda? It is only a coincidence that Iraq holds 140 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves and produces more than 3 million barrels per day of crude oil.
 
Then again what did the Western mainstream media tell us about the Libyan so-called "humanitarian intervention" in 2011? Peaceful and democratic protests by the supposedly "moderate and secular" Libyans against the Qaddafi regime and the Western responsibility to protect the supposedly democratic revolutions and civilian lives? Once again it is only a coincidence that Libya holds 48 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and produces 1.6 million barrels per day of most easily extractable crude.
 
Fact of the matter is that monopoly capitalism and global neo-colonial economic and political order are the real issues, while Islamic radicalism and terrorism are the secondary issues and itself a byproduct of the former. That's how the mainstream media constructs artificial narratives and dupes its audience into believing them: during the Cold War it created “the Red Scare” and told its audience that communism is an existential threat to the free world and the Western way of life; the mainstream media’s na├»ve audience bought this narrative.
 
Then the Western powers and their Saudi and Pakistani collaborators financed, trained, armed and internationally legitimized the Afghan "freedom fighters" and used them as proxies against the Soviet Union.
 
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union they declared the former "freedom fighters" to be terrorists and another existential threat to the free world and the Western way of life. The audience of the corporate media again bought this narrative.
 
Then again, during the Libyan and Syrian civil wars the former “terrorists” once again became freedom fighters - albeit in a more nuanced manner, this time around the corporate media sells them as "moderate rebels." How on earth could you label a militant holding a gun in his hands as "moderate and peaceful?"
 
The way I see it, Islamic State, like its predecessor, al Qaeda, is also a hobgoblin to create an atmosphere of fear in order to justify an interventionist policy in the energy-rich Middle East. Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is quite different from its so-called affiliates in remote and disparate regions such as Libya and Sinai.
 
Only thing that differentiates Islamic State from other ragtag jihadist outfits is its sophisticated weapons arsenal that has been provided to it by NATO and bankrolled by the Gulf Arab states during the Syrian proxy war; another factor that gives a comparative advantage to Islamic State over other jihadist outfits is its top and mid-tier command structure, which is comprised of professional, ex-Baathist military and intelligence officers from Saddam era.
 
Any militant outfit that lacks Islamic State’s weapons arsenal and its professional command structure cannot claim to be affiliated with it merely on the basis of ideological affinity without any organizational and operational link. Moreover, Islamic State is not a terror outfit like al Qaeda; it has overrun one-third of Syria and Iraq, therefore, it’s an insurgent organization.
 
In order to sustain their crumbling “war on terror” narrative, the Western powers now make a distinction between “the green, yellow and red terrorists” – green militants, like the Free Syria Army, whom the NATO overtly supports; yellow jihadists, such as the Army of Conquest that includes the Saudi-supported, hardline Islamists like Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaeda-affiliate al-Nusra Front, whom the NATO covertly supports; and the red terrorists like the Islamic State which is a by-product of the hypocritical Western policy in Syria and Iraq.
 
In the last 15 years of the so-called "war on terror" the Western powers have toppled only a single Islamist regime of Taliban in Afghanistan and three Arab nationalist regimes -- Saddam's Baathist regime in Iraq, Qaddafi's Afro-Arab nationalist regime in Libya and they are now desperately trying to oust another anti-Zionist, Baathist regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
 
Some of the high-ranking American and British security officials, like Dennis Blair of NSA, Eliza Manningham-Buller of MI-5 and Alastair Crooke of MI-6, have conceded on the record that bringing down the possibility of incidents of terrorism to a zero-level in a highly militarized world is simply not an option.
 
Terrorism is only a crime, a heinous crime but a crime, nevertheless; it is not an act of war. Those who treat it like an act of war have ulterior motives. It is the job of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent and minimize such incidents from taking place, however, as the above mentioned security specialists have stated in their reports that just like any other crime the incidents of terrorism can be brought down significantly by implementing prudent and long-term security and foreign policies, but complete elimination of terrorism is simply not a possibility.
 
Crimes like murders, thefts, robberies and rapes do occur in all societies; in the ideal, prosperous and peaceful societies the rate of such crimes is low, while in the impoverished and conflict-ridden societies the rate of such crimes is high. But there will always be criminals like Anders Breivik and Seung-Hui Cho of Virginia Tech massacre-fame who would unleash a reign of terror in any given society.
 
Notwithstanding, the phenomena of militancy and insurgency has less to do with religious extremism, as such, and more with the weak writ of the state in the rural and tribal areas of the developing countries, which has further been exacerbated by the deliberate weaponization of certain militant groups by the regional and global players.
 
The Maoist insurgency in India, for instance, has claimed 2,866 fatalities since 2010; and they are Hindus, not Muslims. Whether it’s Islamist or Maoist radicals, such insurgencies are only the reactions to wealth disparity and uneven development that has mostly been limited to the urban centers while the rural hinterland languishes in abject poverty, and the law enforcement and the state’s security apparatus does not has a presence in the insurgency-prone areas.
 
The professed ideology of the militants only plays a secondary role compared to the primary role that has been played by the weak central control of the developing states on their remote regions, especially if the latter have also been ethno-linguistically or culturally different and marginalized.
 
In order to prove my point that militancy has less to do with the professed ideology or religion and more with geo-political factors, here is a list of some of the recent non-Muslim insurgencies that I can recall off the top of my head:
 
1- Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka who also invented suicide-bombing as a tactic of war were Hindus.
 
2- Myriads of Maoist, Naxalite, Naga and Bodo insurgencies in the India’s north-east have also been Hindus.
 
3- The insurgency of the FARC rebels in Colombia that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives are Christians.
 
4- Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army that operated in Uganda had been Christians and animists.
 
5- South Sudan’s current president and former leader of the rebellion against Sudan, Salva Kiir and his militant group, are Christians.
 
6- Then again, Riek Machar, who led a Nuer rebellion against Salva Kiir’s Dinka tribal group since December 2013, had been Christians.
 
7- The Hutu-Tutsi conflict in Rwanda that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives was a conflict between the non-Muslims.
 
8- All the belligerents of the Second Congo War that claimed millions of fatalities had been Christians.
 
9- The anti-balaka militias that committed numerous massacres against the minority Muslims in the Central African Republic since 2013 had been non-Muslims.
 
10- Finally, the Ukrainian crisis and the ensuing rebellion that claimed thousands of lives had also been Christians.
 
Keeping all this evidence in mind, it becomes amply clear that Islam as a religion is only just as peaceful or “violent” as Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism; and taking a cursory look at the list, it also becomes obvious that the common denominator among all these disparate insurgencies has not been religion.
 
Since most of these insurgencies have affected the impoverished and underdeveloped regions of Asia and Africa; thus, the only legitimate conclusion that can be drawn is that militarization and weak writ of the developing states has primarily been responsible for breeding an assortment of militants and insurgents in their remote rural and tribal hinterlands. That’s the only common denominator among these otherwise unrelated list of insurgencies.
 
The root factors that have primarily been responsible for spawning militancy and insurgency anywhere in the world is not religion but socio-economics, ethnic diversity, marginalization of the disenfranchised ethno-linguistic and ethno-religious groups and the ensuing conflicts; socio-cultural backwardness of the affected regions, and the weak central control of the impoverished developing states over their territory.
 
After invading and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq, and when the American “nation-building” projects failed in those hapless countries, the US’ policy-makers immediately realized that they were facing large-scale and popularly-rooted insurgencies against the foreign occupation, consequently, the occupying military altered its CT (counter-terrorism) doctrines in the favor of a COIN (counter-insurgency) strategy. A COIN strategy is essentially different from a CT approach and it also involves dialogue, negotiations and political settlements, alongside the coercive tactics of law enforcement and military and paramilitary operations on a limited scale.
 
All the regional militant groups like the Taliban, Islamic State, al Shabaab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria; and even some of the ideological affiliates of al Qaeda and Islamic State, like AQAP, AQIM, Islamic State in Afghanistan, Yemen and Libya, which have no organizational and operational association with al Qaeda Central or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, respectively, are not terror groups, as such, but Islamist insurgents whose cherished goal is the enforcement of Shari’a in the areas of their influence, like their progenitor, the Salafist State of Saudi Arabia.
 
Finally, I fail to see the reason that why do the Western powers have been blowing the Islamist insurgencies in the Middle East out of proportions, which have been anything but the consequence of their own ill-conceived wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria? What is it that the insurgents want and the so-called “liberal interventionists” cannot accept as a matter of principle? Is it the enforcement of Shari’a, or the barbaric Hudood-style executions that have earned the Taliban, Islamic State, al Shabaab and Boko Haram the odium of the international community? If that is the case, then why do the Western powers overlook the excesses committed by Saudi Arabia where Shari’a is the law of the land and Hudood-style executions are an everyday occurrence?
 
This contradiction speaks volumes about the sheer hypocrisy and double standards of the Western powers: that, when it comes to securing 265 billion barrels of Saudi oil reserves and 100 billion barrels, each, of UAE and Kuwait that together constitutes 465 billion barrels, i.e. one-third of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, they are willing to overlook the excesses that have been committed by such Medieval regimes but when it comes to negotiating with the Islamist insurgents to reach political settlements and to let up on all the violence and spilling of blood in the region, they stand firm against the so-called “terrorists” as a matter of principle.
 
About the author:
Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and MENA regions, neocolonialism and energy politics. He blogs at Petroimperialism:http://petroimperialism.blogspot.com
 
Kind regards,
Nauman Sadiq,
Islamabad, Pakistan.

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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Medical Marijuana Is Now Legal In Ohio

OHIO BECOMES LATEST STATE TO LEGALIZE MEDICAL MARIJUANA

SOURCE: ABC NEWS

 
Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a bill Wednesday legalizing medical marijuana in Ohio, though patients shouldn't expect to get it from dispensaries here anytime soon.
The bill lays out a number of steps that must happen first to set up the state's medical marijuana program, which is expected to be fully operational in about two years. The law would allow patients to use marijuana in vapor form for certain chronic health conditions, but bar them from smoking it or growing it at home.
Kasich's signature made Ohio the 25th state to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program, according to a count by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Some questions and answers about the legislation:

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Social Media Critics Jailed For Hate Speech

RUSSIA IMPRISONING DOZENS OF SOCIAL MEDIA CRITICS FOR 'HATE SPEECH'

 

SOURCE: TECHDIRT

 
We just wrote about the big social media companies agreeing to quickly take down content for "hate speech" in the EU, and warned about how problematic this was. The definition of "hate speech" matters quite a bit, and we've pointed out in the past how "hate speech" laws frequently morph into a tool for government censorship. So perhaps it should be no surprise at all that just around the same time that Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft agreed to start censoring "hate speech" in the EU, we get another story from the Associated Press about how Russia is using its own hate speech laws to imprison dozens of critics who mocked the government on social media.
As the Kremlin claims unequivocal support among Russians for its policies both at home and abroad, a crackdown is underway against ordinary social media users who post things that run against the official narrative. Here the Kremlin's interests coincide with those of investigators, who are anxious to report high conviction rates for extremism. The Kremlin didn't immediately comment on the issue.

At least 54 people were sent to prison for hate speech last year, most of them for sharing and posting things online, which is almost five times as many as five years ago, according to the Moscow-based Sova group, which studies human rights, nationalism and xenophobia in Russia. The overall number of convictions for hate speech in Russia increased to 233 last year from 92 in 2010.
So what kind of "hate speech" on social media is now leading to Russians being sent to prison? Apparently anyone criticizing Russia's involvement in Ukraine:
Several months after his arrest, Bubeyev pleaded guilty to inciting hatred toward Russians and was sentenced to a year in prison. His offense was sharing articles, photos and videos from Ukrainian nationalist groups, including those of the volunteer Azov battalion fighting Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Among them was an article about the graves of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine and a video describing Russia as a "fascist aggressor" and showing Russian tanks purportedly crossing into Ukraine.

Less than two weeks after the verdict, Bubeyev was charged again. This time, he was accused of calling for "acts of extremism" and "actions undermining Russia's territorial integrity." He had shared the picture of a toothpaste tube and also an article under the headline "Crimea is Ukraine" by a controversial blogger, who is in jail now, calling for military aggression against Russia.
And it's not like this guy was a widely known individual. The article quotes his wife saying: "His page wasn't popular — he only had 12 friends."

So for folks who think it's a good idea for platforms to become the police over "hate speech," take a moment and think about what your worst enemy would do if he or she were able to define what "hate speech" meant.

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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Poland Starting NATO War Games

ENORMOUS, “SERIOUSLY DESTABILIZING” NATO WAR GAMES BEGIN IN POLAND

SOURCE: COMMON DREAMS

 
Drawing Russian rebuke, NATO members and partners on Monday launched what is being called the largest war game in decades—a 10-day exercise involving 31,000 troops and thousands of vehicles from 24 countries, none more committed than the United States.
The exercise, dubbed “Anakonda-16,” is taking place in Poland ahead of next month’s NATO summit in Warsaw that will likely approve more troops to be stationed in eastern Europe. The United States is providing around 14,000 troops for the exercise, more than any other participating nation.
According to Stars and Stripes:
Thousands of troops have arrived in Poland to begin the 10-day series of engagements, including air-ground assaults and electronic warfare scenarios. Airborne units, infantrymen, medics, military police and aviation units will operate jointly throughout the exercise, which culminates in a massive live-fire event led by the U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.
A separate international naval exercise, Baltops-16, also involving NATO forces, began Monday in Finland, which is not a member of the global alliance.
The activity comes, as journalist Lucian Kim noted in an analysis published by Reuters, “just weeks after the United States inaugurated the first of two controversial missile-defense installations in Eastern Europe. Next year, the Pentagon plans to quadruple military spending in Europe to $3.4 billion and begin rotating an armored brigade through Eastern Europe—in addition to extra NATO forces to be deployed to Poland and the Baltics.”
Indeed, in mid-May Moscow called the U.S.’s newly activated missile defense site in Romania a “direct threat” to security and part of “the start of a new arms race.” Earlier this year, it was revealed that the U.S. was ramping up the deployment of heavy weapons and armored vehicles to NATO member countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
And last month, work began on a separate missile interception base at Redzikowo, a village in northern Poland—”turning the country,” analyst Gilbert Doctorow wrote on Friday, “into a U.S. bastion and potential launch platform against Russia in possible violation of existing agreements governing intermediate-range nuclear weapons.”
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the uptick in activity near Russia’s borders.
“We do not hide that we have a negative attitude toward the NATO line of moving its military infrastructure to our borders, drawing other countries into military unit activities,” he said. “This will activate the Russian sovereign right to provide its own safety with methods that are adequate for today’s risks.”
Meanwhile, speaking of the Polish war games as well as the ongoing “SaberStrike” operation in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told journalists that the exercises “carry a serious destabilizing component” and that their “main goal is to continue the aggravation of tensions.”
At RT, author and journalist Robert Bridge offered a tongue-in-cheek thought experiment highlighting the ratcheting tensions:
For those who still aren’t convinced that Russia has some serious grounds for concern as the US-led war machine grinds ever closer, let’s put the situation into its proper perspective. Let’s imagine that the geopolitical chessboard were suddenly flipped and it is Russia that is now busy hatching a 28-member military alliance near America’s border, for example, in Latin America (and after Moscow had pledged not to increase the membership of the military bloc following the collapse of the Soviet Union).
But why stop there? Let’s roll the dice and see what Washington’s reaction would be if Russia had just dispatched three TU-160 Blackjack bombers to South America to participate in war games with the likes of Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil, for example, just weeks after Moscow dropped a missile defense system – which could go offensive with the flick of a switch – in, say, Colombia. Yikes! I dare say there’s not a straitjacket in the world that could restrain the writhing neocon convulsions that would break out across the Beltway.
A report issued last summer said ever-growing war games conducted by Russian and NATO forces feed a “climate of mistrust.”

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I'M CONSIDERING FILING BANKRUPTCY


 

SOURCE: ZERO HEDGE

 
"Subprime lending is a calculated risk - we know that some of the customers won't pay, we just don't know which at the time the loan is made. With higher default rates come higher expenses, and higher interest rates are necessitated to remain solvent." That's a quote made in a statement by Midwest Acceptance corporation, who specializes in high interest car loans for subprime borrowers in the St. Louis area.
Stories like the one involving William Lesinski are becoming all too common in the St. Louis region. Lesinski's story begins with taking out a ridiculously high interest rate loan for a car to be given as a graduation present for his son, and ends with his wages being garnished - beyond the amount of the court judgement.
Wanting to buy his son a car as a high school graduation gift, Lesinski put $1,750 down and drove off the lot in a 2003 Ford Mustang. The loan for the car was $11,367, and it carried 29 percent annual interest over nearly four years. His son would make the payments, but the loan was in Lesinski’s name.
After paying the balance down to a little more than $10,000, his son, who had stopped making insurance payments, wrecked the car, Lesinski said. In 2011, after more than $4,000 in interest had accrued, Car Credit City’s in-house finance arm, General Credit Acceptance, sued Lesinski. Factoring in attorney fees, the court judgment came to more than $15,000.
After Lesinski fell behind on a payment plan later that year, General Credit Acceptance began garnishing a portion of his check from a Fenton painting company. It hasn’t stopped since.
As of Friday, the company has taken $22,600 of Lesinski’s wages. Because Missouri court judgments can carry the interest from the initial contract, little of that money has gone toward principal. Lesinski assumed the balance was near zero. In fact, he still owes almost $13,000.
In order to get a better understanding of the subprime auto lending activity in the region, the St. Louis Post-Dispatchanalyzed court data from suits involving three area auto finance companies. Since 2010, those firms alone have filed more than 15,300 lawsuits against borrowers in local courts, and the vast majority of cases resulted in a judgement against the defendant, after which the lender often sought to garnish wages from the borrower.
The Post-Dispatch found that contracts involved in the suits typically have an interest rate between 24% and 29.75% over terms ranging from three to five years. The Post-Dispatch followed up with interviews of borrowers, many of whom had rates of nearly 30%. Some said they knew the interest was high, but signed papers because they couldn't get to work without a car. Others said they didn't understand the terms until they fell behind.
"I wasn't very good on paperwork" said Lesinski - that's an understatement.
Although Lesinski isn't alone in claiming ignorance...
"My clients aren't sophisticated enough to know that they should negotiate the price or interest rate. They just think this is the interest rate they deserve. They think they deserve a 30 percent interest on a car loan." said Rob Swearingen, an attorney who represents borrowers being sued by subprime lenders. "This is the way people get poor or stay poor in this country. This is the biggest purchase most low-income consumers will ever make. They don't buy houses. They buy cars. And if they get ripped off at a young age, you get a judgement against you, and you start off behind the eight ball immediately." Swearingen added.
Acording to the National Alliance of Buy Here Pay Here Dealers, those that focused on buyers with poor credit histories had a default rate of 31% in 2014. But even in that niche, loans carrying a 29% interest rate are too high said Ken Shilson, who heads the group. "When you load that kind of interest on a car they can't afford anyway, it's destined to fail. If you set someone up to fail, they're going to fail on their own. They don't need any extra help." Shilson said.
According to research firm Experian Automotive, the average subprime borrower received interest rates ranging from 15.3% to 18.5%.
Because many people sued over debts don't show up in court, debt collection dockets are often a parade of default judgements against borrowers. For those that do go to court, many were put on payment plans through consent judgements, but when they fall behind, the contract interest and the original unpaid balance applied, and lenders frequently resort to garnishing wages at that point.
Christopher McGraugh, now a family court judge has presided over countless debt collection suits and says that "In many of these instances, you can never get out from underneath these judgements because the interest rates are so high."
Cerissa Robinson said she is considering filing for bankrupcy in order to get out from underneath a mountain of debt. Robinson took out a 26.75% interest loan, and yet another to cover the down payment, which had an interest rate of 62%. Cerissa lost a job and had to take one at lower pay - "I'm considering filing bankruptcy"
David Chapnick, president of Modern Finance said that he makes extensive efforts to contact borrowers before resorting to lawsuits: "I don't want to sue anybody, but I've got to pay postage. I'm paying rent. I've got to run a business here."
At the end of the day, Lesinski says "Maybe I wasn't very smart. Shame on me. But damn, shame on them."
* * *
As we have pointed out numerous times, student loans and auto loans are the next two credit bubbles waiting to erupt and cause chaos in the markets, and St. Louis is a harbinger of what is to come. While we don't condone taking advantage of anyone's situation, we are stunned to see these decisions be downplayed by individuals as just chalking it up to "I wasn't very good at paperwork" and lawyers telling everyone that clients aren't "sophisticated enough". Then again, the fact that Bernie Sanders receives a large portion of his campaign funds from the government, we shouldn't be surprised at all.


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Sunday, 5 June 2016

TruthSeeker


Let's make one thing crystal clear, no member of the US military contributes in any way whatsoever to protecting the freedoms of the American people. As a matter of fact, they are more likely to turn their weapons on you than they are to defend your Constitutional rights. The only people on this planet Earth who can affect your freedom are members of Congress, local legislators and the members of enforcement institutions who will blindly follow the rulers who sign their paychecks. And, while your beloved troops are murdering people around the globe, yes, I said murdering, your Congress and local legislators are eliminating your freedoms, en masse, without any intervention by our so-called protectors in the armed forces.

TruthSeeker


War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses. I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

TruthSeeker


So if you want to thank people for protecting your freedom...thank journalists...real ones, not establishment hacks, who try to inform you about what is taking place while you are distracted by nonsense. Thank civil liberty lawyers and staff who don't use their education to make it rich charging criminally high fees for their services. Thank whistle blowers. Thank people who risk a backlash of threats and worse to finally speak the truth to people who simply don't want to know there is a truth beyond the myths that have comforted them throughout their lives. And while you do this I'll thank you for at least listening to these uncomfortable words. Reality is not pretty, but if we all open our eyes to reality maybe we can stop those who make it so ugly. I don't know about you, but I want to be proud of my country for real reasons, not mythical ones.

TruthSeeker


America is not yet a totalitarian dictatorship, but it is clearly on the way to becoming one. And our beloved troops are doing nothing at all to stop this. What is worse is that some day they may actually be the ones to stop you from doing anything about it. They are already practicing to do so.

TruthSeeker


We are not free to know about or have any say about secret activities in which our rulers partake. For example what terrible weapons they create, what biological or chemical programs that may accidentally or purposely destroy us all, how they set up and instigate wars and conflict as well as events that justify actions for which they want to take but have no legitimate justifications.

TruthSeeker


You are not free to feed homeless people and if you are homeless you are not free to be fed by your fellow citizens.

TruthSeeker


You are not free to exchange goods and services on your own terms. You must use Federal Reserve Notes, which is NOT U.S. CURRENCY. It is a system of money created and maintained, unconstitutionally, by a cadre of private banks.

TruthSeeker


During the Bush/Cheney administration you had no right to free speech. Special zones called “free speech” zones were created and kept far from Bush and Cheney where those who wanted to speak as free Americans could gather.

TruthSeeker


You have no right to raise your child without injecting toxins and dangerous chemicals directly into their blood streams.

TruthSeeker


You have no right to stop corporations from poisoning your air and water.

TruthSeeker


You don't have the right to collect rain water or grow your own vegetables to feed your family.

TruthSeeker


You don't have the right to stop your food supply from being contaminated and genetically manipulated, leaving you with no alternative.

TruthSeeker


You are not allowed to drink raw milk, no matter how healthy it is, because under certain rare conditions may cause health issues), but you do have the right to smoke chemically addicting cigarettes that when used as directed WILL KILL YOU!

TruthSeeker


You have no right to treat your ailments naturally because your government has declared that the only way to become healthy is by medications and treatments that will produce big profits for corporations. Healthy food can not benefit your health and if it does the FDA will classify it as a drug.

Friday, 3 June 2016

SHOULD AI BE GIVEN HUMAN RIGHTS? THIS OXFORD PROFESSOR SAYS "YES"


SOURCE: FUTURISM

 
Advancements in AI:
Perhaps the Terminator/Skynet concept of world domination isn’t as far-fetched as one might assume. Today, robots are doing everything from service industry jobs to writing and almost winning literary prizes. The formidable advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have prompted not just experts, but the public, to start wondering how we can protect ourselves from robots taking over.
But what about the other side of the situation? Wouldn’t robots, with their ever-advancing technology that moves closer and closer to near-human intelligence and consciousness, soon need protection from humans too?
Marcus du Sautoy Weighs In:
This is a question that mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, from the University of Oxford, is asking. As we move closer to a reality of robots equipped with advanced AI, shouldn’t they be given moral and legal protection that has, until now, been granted freely to humans?
“It’s getting to a point where we might be able to say this thing has a sense of itself, and maybe there is a threshold moment where suddenly this consciousness emerges,” du Sautoy said.
“And if we understand these things are having a level of consciousness, we might well have to introduce rights. It’s an exciting time.”
It’s a conversation that he believes is necessary, given the progress of robotics and neuroscience. He believes that our current understanding of consciousness is prompting people to figure out how we can continue respecting everyone, regardless of form—organic or synthetic.
“But we’re in a golden age. It’s a bit like Galileo with a telescope. We now have a telescope into the brain and it’s given us an opportunity to see things that we’ve never been able to see before.”
More of his commentary is included below:
In babies there is something called the mirror self-recognition test, a moment where a child recognises the image in the mirror is themselves and has a sense of self.
I think there is something in the brain development which might be like a boiling point. It may be a threshold moment.
Philosophers will say that doesn’t guarantee that that thing is really feeling anything and really has a sense of self. It might be just saying all the things that make us think it’s alive. But then even in humans we can’t know that what a person is saying is real.
Consciousness is like a box that we all have and inside this box we all have something called a beetle. We all call it a beetle, but we don’t know if the thing in your box is actually like the thing in mine. How can I ever see what’s in your box?”

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