01.16.2018

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018

Mueller subpoenaes Bannon President Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon was reportedly subpoenaed last week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury. This is the first known instance of a grand jury subpoena being used on someone in Trump’s inner circle, and “could be a negotiating tactic,” The New York Times writes, noting that Mueller “is likely to allow Mr. Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators.” Bannon also testified behind closed doors Tuesday in front of the House Intelligence Committee which, like Mueller, is looking for evidence of Russian interference in the election. Source: The New York Times, The Week

Kushner was reportedly warned Wendi Deng Murdoch might be Chinese agent In early 2017, U.S. counterintelligence officials told President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner that Wendi Deng Murdoch, a friend of Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, could be using her relationship with the pair to push Beijing’s agenda, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. There was also concern she was lobbying for a Chinese garden at the National Arboretum, paid for by the Chinese government, which the intelligence community feared could be used for surveillance. Murdoch, the ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch, came to the U.S. from China in 1988, and is a U.S. citizen. Her spokesman said she “has no knowledge of any FBI concerns or other intelligence agency concerns relating to her or her associations.” Source: The Wall Street Journal

Police arrest California parents after 13 kids found shackled, malnourished Authorities in Perris, California, arrested a husband and wife who allegedly kept their 13 kids, ranging in age from 2 to 29, captive inside their home, with some shackled to their beds and all of them malnourished. Early Sunday, a 17-year-old girl was able to escape from the house with a cellphone and called 911. When police entered the home, they found “several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings,” the department said. David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were “unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner,” officials said, and were both arrested. Neighbors said they were “devastated” and had no idea what was happening inside the house. Source: The Press-Enterprise

Monday, Jan 15, 2018

Turkey threatens to “strangle” the United States-backed Syrian Border Security Force “before it’s even born”, while Syria vows to crush it and expel American military personnel from the country. Russia called the plans “a plot to dismember Syria”. (Reuters)

American actress Eliza Dushku says that a stuntman molested her when she was 12 years old. (The Guardian)

A 910 ct “D colour Type II A” diamond is dug up in the Letseng diamond mine, Lesotho. (MiningMX)

The mezzanine overlooking the main lobby of the Indonesia Stock Exchange in Jakarta, Indonesia, collapses, injuring at least 70 people. The Indonesian National Police ruled out terrorism as the cause. (The Australian)(Daily Express)

Nabil Shaath, the foreign affairs adviser of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, says that the Palestinian Central Council freezes its recognition of the state of Israel until Israel recognizes Palestine as a state. Palestine will freeze the Oslo accords. (Sputnik)

A knife fight between students breaks out in a school in Perm, Russia. Twelve injured are reported, with three of them in serious condition. (BBC)

Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, the nephew of the assassinated Egyptian president Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, announces that he will not run in March’s presidential election, blaming an environment of fear surrounding the vote. (The Guardian)

Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose resigns after losing the support of the Social Democratic Party (PSD). (Reuters)

Four Pakistani soldiers are killed in shelling by the Indian Army across the disputed Kashmir frontier. (Reuters)

Sunday, Jan 14, 2018

The U.S.-led coalition confirms reports that it will form a new 30,000-strong Syrian Border Security Force (BSF). Half of the forces will be Syrian Democratic Forces veterans. Another 15,000 will be recruited and trained in the near future. (Daily Sabah)

The Israel Defense Forces report the complete destruction of an underground tunnel dug by Hamas under the Kerem Shalom crossing. Israel shut down the crossing before its jets bombed the tunnel opening in Gaza Saturday night. The crossing remains closed. (Ynetnews)(CNN)

The National Iranian Tanker Company-operated MV Sanchi sinks, following its January 6 collision with a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship off Shanghai, China, leaving no survivors. (BBC)

President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas describes President of the United States Donald Trump’s Middle East peace efforts as the “slap of the century.” (Euronews)

The Tunisian government announces a wave of social and economic reforms after violent anti-austerity protests that have resulted in at least one death and the arrest of more than eight hundred people. (BBC)

A study in Biological Psychiatry asserts that increasing the activity of the habenula brain region leads to social problems in rodents, whereas decreasing activity of the region prevents social problems. (Brinkwire)

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12.26.2017

Friday,  Dec 29, 2017

http://www.dw.com/en/russia-warns-us-against-meddling-in-presidential-election/a-41942772

Trump: Russia investigation makes the U.S. look ‘very bad’ During a 30-minute impromptu interview with The New York Times on Thursday, President Trump said Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election “makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position. So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.” Trump said 16 times “no collusion” has been discovered, and declared he has the “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.” The interview was conducted at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. Source: The New York Times

Historic cold snap grips northern half of America Some 220 million Americans are experiencing dangerously cold Arctic air that has settled over the northern half of the country, and meteorologists warn relief likely won’t come for at least another week. “It felt like we’d been living in a war zone,” said Carole Van Duzer of Erie, Pennsylvania, which was buried this week under five feet of snow. New record lows include 23 below in National Mine, Michigan, and minus 36 in International Falls, Minnesota. With 110 mile per hour wind gusts at Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, the wind chill is registering at negative 89 degrees. At least two people have died in Chicago from the cold and in the Midwest, “temperature anomalies on Saturday could be as much as 30 to 35 degrees below normal,” NOAA reports. Source: The New York Times, NOAA

 

Thursday, Dec 28,  2017

A suicide bombing at a Shi‘ite cultural center and news agency in Kabul, Afghanistan, kills 41 people and injures 84 others. ISIL-affiliated Amaq News Agency says this group is responsible. (Reuters) (CNN)

The Libyan National Army declares full control of Benghazi, the country’s second largest city, after retaking the last district held by Islamist militants. (Reuters)

United States consular missions in Turkey and the Embassy of Turkey, Washington, D.C. announce they will resume visa services. (France 24)

In Mandaluyong, Philippines, law enforcers mistakenly fired at a Mitsubishi Adventure, which they thought carried suspects in a previous shooting incident, resulting in two people dead and two others injured. As a result, 10 police officers were relieved from the post. (GMA News)(Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The Oregon Court of Appeals upholds a $135,000 fine against the Sweet Cakes by Melissa Christian owners for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. A similar case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission has reached the Supreme Court of the United States with a decision expected in June 2018. (NBC News)

With 98 percent of the votes counted, Liberia’s National Elections Commission announces these unofficial results show Senator George Weah, a former Pro footballer, defeating vice president Joseph Boakai, 61.5 to 38.5 percent, in the runoff of October’s presidential election, to succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female Liberian president. (The New York Times)

 

Wednesday, Dec 27, 2017

Ukraine exchanges hundreds of prisoners with the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. (BBC)

A bomb goes off in a supermarket in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg, injuring at least 10 people. Police say they are treating the blast as an attempted terror attack. (Reuters)

Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz says that the new underground railroad terminal in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem (part of East Jerusalem) will be named in honor of U.S. President Donald Trump. (Jerusalem Post)

The Iranian Parliament votes 207–0 to declare Jerusalem the “everlasting capital” of Palestine. (The Times of Israel)

North Korea is building its first operational ballistic missile submarine on an “accelerated schedule,” according to the US-Korea Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. (The Christian Science Monitor)

 

 Tuesday, Dec 26, 2017

According to emergency services and the Houthi-owned Al Masirah, Saudi Arabian coalition air strikes kill 15 people and wound 60 at al-Shahra souq, a popular market in Taiz Governorate. (Al Jazeera) (Het Laatste Nieuws)

Seven Israeli chess players are denied travel visas to the Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Saudi Arabia as the two countries have no diplomatic relations. Players from Qatar and Iran are given last-minute visas, while Ukrainian champion Anna Muzychuk refuses to participate because she does not want to wear an abaya. (BBC)

Forty Syrian rebel and opposition groups reject Russia’s offer to attend peace talks in late January 2018. (Fox News)

Fifteen militants accused of carrying out attacks in 2013 during the Sinai Insurgency are hanged in Egypt. The last mass execution in the country took place in 2015, when six jihadists were executed. (BBC)

Thousands of Moroccans protest working conditions in Morocco’s coal pits. (France 24)

Grigory Rodchenkov, the person who exposed Russia’s systematic doping of Olympic athletes, is warned by U.S. officials that Russian agents may be inside the United States looking for him, and that new security measures must be taken to ensure his safety. (UPROXX) (BBC Sport)

Indecision over Russian disinformation leaves U.S. vulnerable in 2018 The Trump administration is reportedly poised to make the same mistake of inaction against Russia’s disinformation campaigns as many administrations before it, The Washington Post wrote Monday. “The miscalculations and bureaucratic inertia that left the United States vulnerable to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election trace back to decisions made at the end of the Cold War, when senior policymakers assumed Moscow would be a partner and largely pulled the United States out of information warfare,” the Postwrites. While Obama officials warned their Trump counterparts to draw up operations to combat Russian disinformation, “the Trump White House remains divided over whether to act,” the Post adds, with the president himself among those who “play down the effects of Russian interference.” Source: The Washington Post

China’s economy projected to surpass America’s by 2032 The Chinese economy is expected to be larger than the American economy for the first time in 2032, per a report from the Centre for Economics and Business (CEBR) Research in London. The CEBR also predicts significant economic growth for India over that period; India will have the third-largest economy by 2032, a decade after it replaces China as the world’s most populous country. The question of population is key to understanding what it means for Beijing to helm a larger economy than Washington. China’s population is currently about 1.38 billion, more than four times the United States’ 323 million. Even with a larger aggregate economy, per capita income and standard of living in China will remain significantly lower than in the U.S. for some time. Source: Bloomberg

Peruvians protest controversial pardon of jailed ex-leader Fujimori Protests erupted in Peru on Monday after President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pardoned ailing former President Alberto Fujimori, who was serving 25 years in prison for human rights abuses and corruption. Thousands of demonstrators marched in the capital city of Lima, many carrying posters calling Fujimori a “murderer” and a “thief.” Police responded with tear gas. Critics say Kuczynski pardoned Fujimori in exchange for abstentions by lawmakers in a party run by Fujimori’s children that allowed the president to survive an impeachment vote on Friday. The conservative party, Popular Force, controls Congress, and Keiko Fujimori — the former president’s daughter and Kuczynski’s rival in the 2016 presidential election — had pushed to impeach him over a scandal involving his financial ties to Brazilian construction behemoth Odebrecht. Source: BBC News,

Holiday sales rise at best pace in 6 years Holiday retail sales rose at their best pace since 2011, thanks to strong consumer confidence and a healthy job market, Mastercard SpendingPulse reported. “It started with a bang in the week leading up to Black Friday,” said Sarah Quinlan, a senior vice president of marketing insights at Mastercard, which tracks spending online and in stores. Retailers got help from the calendar, with shoppers getting a full weekend for last-minute buys because Christmas fell on a Monday. Sales, excluding automobiles, rose by 4.9 percent over the Nov. 1 to Christmas Eve season, up from a 3.7 percent gain last year. Online sales continued to be the driving force, increasing by 18.1 percent. Source: MarketWatch

Trump lashes out at ‘Crooked Hillary’ and ‘bogus’ Russia dossier President Trump tweeted Tuesday about “Crooked Hillary” and the “bogus” Russia dossier from Mar-a-Lago, where he is spending the Christmas holiday with his family. “WOW, @foxandfrlends ‘Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED,'” Trump tweeted, adding: “And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!” Although Trump insists he doesn’t watch much TV, Tuesday’s tweet directly cited Fox & Friends’ morning interview with Jason Chaffetz. As CNN’s Dan Merica observed: “People do what they love on vacation and the president clearly loves watching Fox and criticizing the FBI.” Source: Donald J. Trump, The Week

 

Christmas  2017

More than 70 civilians are believed killed in a two-day airstrike by the Saudi Arabian air force targeting Houthi rebels. (Al Jazeera)

A public transport bus crashes into Slavyansky Bulvar subway station entrance in Moscow, Russia, killing four and injuring eleven. (BBC)

The Russian Central Election Commission refuses to register opposition leader Alexei Navalny as a candidate in the presidential election due to a previous embezzlement conviction, which he claims is politicized. Navalny has called for his supporters to boycott the upcoming election in response. (BBC)

 

Sunday, Dec 24, 2017

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales says he will move his country’s Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (Reuters)

Tunisia’s Transport Ministry suspends Emirates Airlines flights to Tunis. (Deutsche Welle)

North Korea’s foreign ministry, in an official statement, says the latest United Nations sanctions are an act of war and are, in effect, a complete economic blockade. (Reuters)

The Turkish government dismisses 2,756 public servants for alleged links to organizations involved in the July 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt. (France 24)

China’s AVIC AG600, the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, makes its maiden flight. State-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has spent almost eight years developing the aircraft, which is designed to carry out marine rescues and battle wildfires. (BBC)

 

Saturday,  Dec 23, 2017

A fire breaks out at a café and shop at the London Zoo. An aardvark is killed and four meerkats are missing. (Sky) (Reuters)

The Thomas Fire becomes the largest in Californian state history. (BBC)

Previously secret documents from Alan Ewen Donald, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to China between 1988 and 1991, regarding the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, are released after being declassified in October, putting the death toll from the protests at 10,000 people. (BBC)

Former Peru president Alberto Fujimori is taken, from prison, to a local hospital for treatment for abnormally low blood pressure. (Reuters)

 

Friday,  Dec 22, 2017

After 1,000 days of civil war in Yemen, eight million people are at risk of starvation. (BBC)

Two Palestinians are shot dead and about 60 others are wounded by Israeli troops gunfire as thousands protest along the Gaza border fence, in all seven West Bank cities and in East Jerusalem, against the U.S. declaration. (Reuters)

The digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin loses a third of its value within 24 hours. (CNN)

CSX Corporation names chief operating officer Jim Foote its new chief executive officer, succeeding E. Hunter Harrison who died last week. Harrison had started a restructuring campaign less than a year ago. (Reuters)

Apple Inc. faces backlash and lawsuits after admitting to slowing down the speed on some of their older phones deliberately. (CNET)(Business Insider)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will not accept any U.S. plan for peace with Israel, because it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (BBC)

The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposes new sanctions on North Korea that caps refined petroleum product imports to 500,000 barrels a year, a 90 percent cut, and demands the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 24 months. (Reuters)

The U.S. agrees to supply Ukraine with more lethal weapons, now including Javelin anti-tank missiles. (AP via New York Daily News)

President Donald Trump signs the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 into law. (CNN)

Banana Sucking Pop-Star

 

I don’t know what to believe anymore. So I don’t believe any of it.

Exclusive: US troops and Syrian forces battle ISIS near key base

 

 

Banana-sucking pop singer jailed for video ‘harmful to Egyptian morality’

 

Thursday, Dec 14, 2017

China about to knock out petrodollar by trading oil in yuan


China’s launch of ‘petro-yuan’ in two months sounds death knell for dollar’s dominance

 

Disney agrees to buy much of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion On Thursday, the Walt Disney Co. agreed to buy a passel of 21st Century Fox’s movie and TV assets for $52.4 billion, giving Disney the 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight studios and Fox television studios, FX, and the National Geographic Channel. Disney CEO Robert Iger will stay on as head of the combined companies through 2021, Disney also announced. The acquisition will require Justice Department antitrust approval. Analysts say that Disney wanted 21 Century Fox’s content for its upcoming video-streaming services. The deal also gives Disney a 60 percent stake in Hulu. “It gives them a little more leverage to compete against new studios such as Netflix,” says Boston College law professor Dan Lyons. Source: USA Today

PBS suspends Tavis Smiley talk show over sexual misconduct allegations PBS announced Wednesday it has “indefinitely suspended distribution” of the late-night talk show Tavis Smiley after the host was accused of sexual misconduct. “PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley,” the public broadcaster said in a statement. “This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.” Variety reports PBS received several complaints of misconduct by Smiley, and its investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had sexual relationships with several subordinates, with many saying he also created a verbally abusive and threatening workplace environment. Source: Variety

 

Wednesday,  Dec 13, 2017

 The leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, calls for a new revolt or intifada. (Het Laatste Nieuws)

Militant Palestinians fire three rockets towards Israel from the Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces say that the Iron Dome system intercepted two missiles, while one rocket fell in a flat open area and nobody was hurt. (Het Laatste Nieuws)

Dublin City Councillors vote 59–2 to revoke the Freedom of the City of Dublin given to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi for her apparent failure to protect the Rohingya minority from violence. Singer Bob Geldof returned his Freedom one month ago, protesting that Suu Kyi also held the honour. (The Guardian)(The Guardian)

A 17-pound (8 kg) transport helicopter window lands on school grounds in Okinawa, Japan, marking the second time in less than a week that an American aircraft part has fallen on a school there. Today, a child sustains “minor injuries”. The United States Marine Corps apologizes. (ABC News)

Team Sky professional cyclist Chris Froome returns a non-negative result for asthma medication salbutamol, during the Vuelta a España in September. (Cyclingnews.com)

 

Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017

This year’s Arctic Report Card reveals that the plunge in sea ice extent as well as the amount of ocean surface warming is unprecedented in at least the last 1,500 years. (Mashable)

The Syrian opposition urges Russian president Vladimir Putin to put pressure on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in order to “rescue” the Geneva peace talks and begin face-to-face bilateral talks. (The Guardian)

Rwanda steps up pressure on France to admit alleged complicity in the 1994 genocide by publishing a report by law firm Cunningham Levy Muse(Financial Times)

 

 

Unibail-Rodamco agrees to purchase shopping mall owner Westfield Corporation for $15.7 billion. (Business Insider)

An explosion and fire at the Gas Connect Austria pipeline hub in Baumgarten an der March kills one person and injures 21. Service to Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy is suspended. Italy declares a state of emergency. (Reuters) (Deutsche Welle)

 

Mayor of San Francisco Ed Lee dies of an apparent heart attack. Supervisor London Breed becomes acting Mayor. (SFGate)

Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, and Heath Evans are suspended from the NFL Network due to allegations of sexual harassment. (The Washington Post)

Trump calls sexual misconduct claims made against him ‘fake news’ President Trump is once again denying allegations of sexual misconduct after several of his accusers came forward for “round two” on Monday and asked Congress to investigate their claims. “[T]he Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia — so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met,” Trump tweeted, adding: “FAKE NEWS!” Trump has consistently denied allegations against him, although he admitted to making comments on an Access Hollywood tape about forcing himself on women without their consent. Samantha Holvey, who claimed in October of last year that Trump inappropriately inspected women who participated in his beauty pageants, called it “heartbreaking” to have gone public with her story “and nobody cared.” Source: Donald J. Trump, The Week

Sessions touts merit-based immigration after 3 injured in New York subway blast Three people were injured Monday when a man detonated an explosive in a Midtown Manhattan subway station. The suspect, identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, was wearing “an improvised, low-tech explosive device” that he “intentionally detonated” around 7:20 a.m. ET in the subway station below the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Ullah, who is of Bangladeshi descent and lives in Brooklyn, was taken into custody after the blast; he sustained the most serious injuries, though none of the four wounded individuals faced life-threatening injuries. In response to the attack, Attorney General Jeff Sessions blamed America’s “failed immigration policies,” saying, “It is a failure of logic and sound policy not to adopt a merit-based immigration system.” Source: ABC News, CNN

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Unholy Hosts of Hell

What Now?

And over the weekend, news comes out that Peter Strzok, the top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of collusion between Russia and Trump officials, had been removed from the probe after exchanging anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages with his mistress, who was an FBI lawyer working for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. This information was concealed from the congressional oversight committee that had formally subpoenaed emails from the FBI all year long, only to be stonewalled by the agency. So, now the committee is threatening contempt citations against the current FBI Director, Christopher Fry and Rod Rosenstein, his deputy

Why should President Trump not fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller now? Mueller was James Comey’s mentor at the FBI when Mueller was director. Is there not a train of association and dishonesty that implicates criminal activity by the FBI itself. And if and when Trump does this, and pardons Mike Flynn for the non-crime of back channel negotiation, should a new special prosecutor be appointed by the Attorney General to investigate the activities of the FBI through 2016 and 2017?

Tuesday,   Dec 5, 2017

Supreme Court hears arguments in ‘gay wedding cake’ discrimination case The Supreme Court on Tuesday hears oral arguments in a case that could determine whether businesses can withhold services from gay couples, citing religious beliefs. The controversial case concerns Colorado baker Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakes, who declined to make a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Phillips’ lawyers say he “gladly serves people from all walks of life, including individuals of all races, faiths, and sexual orientations. But he cannot design custom cakes that express ideas or celebrate events at odds with his religious beliefs.” The couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, said Phillips violated a state law guaranteeing them “the same full and equal service” other customers get, and lower courts have sided with them. Source: ABC News

PBS to temporarily replace Charlie Rose with Christiane Amanpour program PBS announced Monday it will replace the now-canceled Charlie Rose with Amanpour on PBS, a global affairs interview program hosted by veteran journalist Christiane Amanpour. Rose’s show was canceled last month after several women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the host. Amanpour on PBS will start airing on New York PBS affiliate WNET Monday, and on PBS stations across the United States Dec. 11. PBS said it is also “finalizing plans” for an additional public affairs program to follow Amanpour on PBS at 11:30 p.m. Source: Variety

 

Monday,  Dec 4, 2017

For the second time in three days, Israel carries out a missile strike on military facilities near Damascus. (Daily Star UK)

The British government suspends payments to the so-called Free Syrian Police after a BBC Panorama investigation revealed that the cash has been diverted to the Salafist rebel groups of Nour al-Din al-Zenki and Jabhat al-Nusra, police officers being hand-picked by these groups, dead people appearing on the payroll and some police officers participating in summary executions. (BBC)

Hamas calls the U.S. government’s plan to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “a flagrant attack on the city by the American administration” and threatens to start a Third Intifada. (France 24)

Turkey’s deputy foreign minister Bekir Bozdağ warns of a “major catastrophe” if the U.S. moves its embassy to Jerusalem as planned in the Jerusalem Embassy Act. The last six-month presidential waiver delaying the move was signed on June 1. (Deutsche Welle)

A high-level United Nations delegation led by Department of Political Affairs head Jeffrey D. Feltman travels to North Korea for talks this week. It will be the first such diplomatic visit in six years. (The Guardian)

Malta arrests 10 people over the investigative journalist’s murder on October 16. (CNN)

U.S. President Donald Trump signs executive orders shrinking the Bears Ears National Monument area by 85% and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by half. (Fox News)

Yemen: Ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh killed

Just two days after this:

The former president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh suggests that he is open to talking to the Saudi-led coalition that his forces have been fighting for years. (BBC)

Coincidence?

U.S., South Korea begin air exercises amid growing North Korea tensions On Monday, about 230 U.S. and South Korean military aircraft began a five-day joint air force exercise in South Korea, just days after North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that can probably reach anywhere in the United States. The U.S. Seventh Air Force said the annual fall exercises were not a response to any incident or provocation from Pyongyang, but the U.S. sent an unusually large number of latest-generation stealth fighters: six F-22s and 18 F-35s. In all, 12,000 U.S. military personnel will be involved in the drill, called Vigilant Ace. North Korea said Sunday that this drill pushes the Korean Peninsula “to the brink of nuclear war” and Pyongyang will “seriously consider” countermeasures. Source: The Associated Press

Trump lawyer argues Trump can’t legally obstruct justice John Dowd, President Trump’s personal lawyer and the purported ghostwriter of a Trump tweet that suggests Trump obstructed justice in the federal investigation of his campaign’s ties to Russia, told Axios that the “president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.” Dowd also defended the tweet he says he wrote, insisting that it “did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion.” The House impeached Bill Clinton and was set to impeach Richard Nixon for obstruction of justice and other perceived “high crimes.” The Republican-led House hasn’t demonstrated any appetite to prosecute Trump. Source: Axios

CVS to buy Aetna for $69 billion CVS will buy Aetna, one of the country’s largest health insurers, for $69 billion, the companies announced Sunday. Aetna insures around 22 million people, while CVS runs more than 9,700 drugstores and 1,100 walk-in clinics. The deal, which must be approved by antitrust regulators, has CVS Health Corp. paying $207 in cash and stock for each share of Aetna Inc. The acquisition could lead to CVS turning its stores into places where customers can do more than just pick up their prescriptions and basic household items, like have their blood drawn or meet with a nurse practitioner. Source: The Associated Press

link_https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9dZQelULDk

Sunday, Dec 3, 2017

The Royal Saudi Air Force bombs Houthi positions in southern Sana’a in support of Ali Abdullah Saleh-headed General People’s Congress. (Reuters)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announces the creation of the Petro cryptocurrency in a bid to ease the country’s ongoing socioeconomic crisis. (BBC)

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping concludes a two-day “high-level dialogue” with party leaders from 120 countries. The program he announces includes the full funding by the Communist Party of China of 15,000 visits from foreign party leaders over the next five years “to deepen exchanges”. (The Australian)

In Tel Aviv, up to 20,000 people demonstrate in front of the home of the Attorney General of Israel, Avichai Mandelblit, against the slow pace of corruption investigations against Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. (Newsweek)

The lawyer of Ahmed Shafiq, a candidate for the spring 2018 presidential elections in Egypt, says she met him in a hotel room in Cairo following his arrest the day before in Dubai, U.A.E., after saying earlier today that his family didn’t know his whereabouts.  (BBC)

Several thousand opposition supporters demonstrate in central Kiev, calling for the parliament to adopt legislation on presidential impeachment. (RFE/RL)

The Pontiac Silverdome, former home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions and the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, was to be partially imploded as part of its planned demolition; however, approximately 10% of the explosives do not detonate, and the attempted implosion fails. (NBC)

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “Unholy Hosts of Hell”

A Double Deception

 

Israel’s Ploy Selling a Syrian Nuke Strike
by Gareth Porter Posted on November 20, 2017

 

There is No Such Thing As ‘Free Trade’
The media ignores how foreign protectionism is killing the American economy.
By EAMONN FINGLETON • November 20, 2017

The most obvious indicator of the problem is the balance-of-payments current account, which is the widest and most meaningful measure of a nation’s trade. It has remained in large deficit since the 1980s. The only previous great power ever to accumulate such a lengthy record of poor trade figures was the Ottoman Empire.

 

Saudi Arabia: The IPhone vs. the Ikhwan
ANATOLY KARLIN • NOVEMBER 16, 2017 • 1,600 WORDS

 

The US and Saudi Arabia Could Cause a War in the Middle East
PATRICK COCKBURN • NOVEMBER 18, 2017 • 1,200 WORDS

Shortly before the earthquake in Baghdad, I was making the above point about Iraq stabilising to a European diplomat. He said this might be true, but that real danger to peace “comes from a combination of three people: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner, and Bibi Netanyahu in Israel.”

Probably, the Saudis and the Americans exaggerate the willingness of Netanyahu and Israel to go to war. Netanyahu has always been strong on bellicose rhetoric, but cautious about real military conflict (except in Gaza, which was more massacre than war).

Israel’s military strength tends to be exaggerated and its army has not won a war outright since 1973. Previous engagements with Hezbollah have gone badly. Israeli generals know that the threat of military action can be more effective than its use in maximising Israeli political influence, but that actually going to war means losing control of the situation. They will know the saying of the 19th century German chief of staff, Helmuth Von Moltke, that “no plan survives contact with the enemy”.

But even if the Israelis do not intend to fight Hezbollah or Iran, this does not mean that they would not like somebody else to do so for them. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told me in an interview earlier this month that his greatest fear was a US-Iranian confrontation fought out in Iraq. This could happen directly or through proxies, but in either case would end the present fragile peace.

On the optimistic side, US policy in Iraq and Syria is largely run by the Pentagon and not the White House, and has not changed much since President Obama’s days. It has been successful in its aim of destroying Isis and the self-declared caliphate.

 

Monday,  Nov 20, 2017

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/what-now-2/

Charles Manson dies at 83  The cult leader and mastermind behind one of the 20th century’s most famous murder sprees, died Sunday. He was 83. Debra Tate, the sister of victim Sharon Tate, told TMZ he died at 8:13 p.m. local time, citing prison officials. He was taken to a hospital last week. Manson came to Los Angeles in the 1960s, hoping to become a musician, and soon attracted several followers, dubbed the Manson Family. On August 9 and 10, 1969, several of his followers murdered Tate and six others. Manson wanted their murders to start a race war, and for his role in the slayings, he was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. He received the death penalty, but after the state ruled it unconstitutional, he was given nine consecutive life sentences. Source: TMZ, The Associated Press

Report: Mueller’s team requests documents from Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has requested the Department of Justice hand over documents related to the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the investigation into President Trump’s campaign and any connections to Russian officials, a person familiar with the matter told ABC News Sunday. The special counsel is looking into whether Trump attempted to obstruct the federal investigation. The request for documents, sent within the past month, is the first sent by Mueller’s team to the Justice Department. ABC News reports the special counsel has asked for communications between DOJ officials and communications with their counterparts at the White House. Source: ABC News

Sunday,  Nov 19, 2017

Chinese delegates visiting the Burmese capital of Naypyidaw propose a three-phase plan to resolve the conflict in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh expressed support for the plan, which included repatriating refugees that have fled from violence in Rakhine State. (Reuters)

At least 15 people are killed in a human stampede over food in the village of Sidi Boualem, Morocco(BBC)

President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe is fired as the leader of ZANU–PF and replaced with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (The Guardian), (AP)

Charles Manson, the infamous former cult leader who ordered the murder of Sharon Tate and others, dies at age 83. (CNN)

 

Saturday,  Nov 18, 2017

AC/DC guitarist and co-founder Malcolm Young dies at the age of 64 in Sydney. (Rolling Stone)

The Argentine Navy continues searching in the South Atlantic for the ARA San Juan submarine, which went missing on 15 November 2017. (Reuters via US News and World Report)

Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri meets President of France Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace in Paris. (Arab News)

Thousands of people celebrate the expected downfall of Robert Mugabe in the streets of Harare. (BBC) (Reuters)

Gerry Adams, the long-term leader of Sinn Féin, announces that he will step down as party leader next year. (Reuters via News Limited)

Th Spanish Attorney General José Manuel Maza unexpectedly dies of an unspecified illness in Buenos Aires. The office is now vacant. (Deutsche Welle)

 

Friday,  Nov 17, 2017

The Iraqi Army captures the town of Rawa from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). It was the last town held by ISIL in Iraq. (AP)

Mungo Man, the oldest human remains in Australia, is returned to Lake Mungo in outback New South Wales, where he was originally buried. (AP)

The Navy of Argentina begins a search for one of its submarines, the San Juan, which has been out of contact for two days. (CNN)

 

Thursday, Nov 16,  2017

Rival factions within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement sign the “Declaration of Unification” in Cairo, Egypt. (Sudan Tribune)

Venezuela defaults on sovereign debt and bonds issued by state oil firm PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.). (Reuters)

A mistrial is declared in the 10-week corruption trial of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) who was accused of accepting private flights, campaign contributions, etc., from Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen in exchange for official favors. A juror told the media the panel was split 10–2 in favor of acquittal. (Reuters)

Trump administration to reverse ban on elephant trophies from Africa The Trump administration will reverse a 2014 ban on allowing American hunters to bring home trophies of elephants they killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official told ABC News on Wednesday. There is a provision in the Endangered Species Act that lets the government issue permits to import trophies if it can be shown that the hunting benefits the species, and the official claims there is evidence coming out of Zimbabwe and Zambia to support reversing the ban. The Great Elephant Census released in 2016 found that from 2007 to 2014, savanna elephant populations dropped 30 percent across 18 countries in Africa, and there are about 350,000 left in the wild. Source: ABC News

Long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for $450 million at auction After a 20-minute bidding war Wednesday night, Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Jesus Christ, “Salvator Mundi,” sold at Christie’s in New York City for $450 million, making it the most expensive piece of art to ever sell at auction. The painting was commissioned by France’s King Louis XII more than 500 years ago, and was presumed lost until early this century; in 2005, an art dealer purchased “Salvator Mundi” at an estate sale in the United States, and had it restored, authenticated, then unveiled at London’s National Gallery in 2011. The buyer has not yet been identified. Source: The Guardian

 

Wednesday,  Nov 15, 2017

Salvator Mundi, a long lost original painting by Leonardo da Vinci, is sold at auction Christie’s in New York City for $450.3 million setting a new record for the sale of an original work of art. (The Guardian)

Zimbabwe Defence Forces troops seize control of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation headquarters as explosions are heard in the capital Harare amid reports of a coup against President Robert Mugabe. (Reuters)

A high-ranking representative of the Zimbabwe National Army broadcasted a military statement calling on the various sectors of society to keep calm and support the country’s development. (The Guardian)

Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo is among those people detained overnight in Zimbabwe. (The Guardian)

The outcome of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey is announced with 61.6% voting yes to allow same-sex marriage with 79.5% of Australian voters participating. (Canberra Times)

LIGO announced it detected the gravitational waves GW170608. (LIGO Caltech)

Tuesday,  Nov 14, 2017

Police in Florida link a fourth unsolved murder to an unknown serial killer targeting the Seminole Heights area of Tampa, Florida. (CNN)

Soldiers directing traffic and at least six APCs have been spotted around Harare, a day after General Constantino Chiwenga intervened in attempt to prevent a purge within the ruling ZANU-PF party. The party accused the general of treason. (Reuters)

END

 

SHOULD YOU ALWAYS SCREW PEOPLE OVER?

SHOULD YOU ALWAYS SCREW PEOPLE OVER?

 

Legendary daredevil dies while attempting 22,000-foot base jump

Tuesday,   Nov 14, 2017

Sessions considering second special counsel to investigate Clinton Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a second special counsel after Republican lawmakers expressed concerns that Special Counsel Robert Mueller might not have a broad enough mandate to look into such issues as alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the actions of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has called for a second special counsel to investigate Democrats’ actions during last year’s election campaign. Brian Fallon, who was press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, called the news part of a Trump administration “fog machine to distract from the Mueller probe” into Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump associates. Source: The Washington Post

Under new guidelines, half of all U.S. adults have high blood pressure More than a dozen medical groups have agreed to change the guidelines for what constitutes high blood pressure in adults, based on the findings of a major study conducted two years ago. For decades, the upper threshold for high blood pressure has been a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom number of 90; the new guidelines, announced Monday at the American Heart Association’s conference in California, drop the numbers to 130 over 80. That means an additional 30 million Americans now have the condition, and it affects half of all adults in the United States. The study found that when people tried to keep their top number at 120, it lowered their risk of having heart problems. Source: The Associated Press

 

Monday,  Nov 13, 2017

A Korean People’s Army soldier defects to South Korea via the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). He was shot and injured by fellow North Korean soldiers as he crossed to the South Korean side at Panmunjom, and has been taken to hospital. (BBC)

The BBC reveals that a secret deal allowed hundreds of ISIL fighters and their families, including some of their “most notorious members”, escape from Raqqa in a convoy that was between 6 to 7 km long. The United States government confirms that the deal with ISIL was made and that the evacuations took place. (BBC) The deal was previously reported here on Wikipedia on October 14th. (Rudaw) (The Guardian)

Twenty-three European Union countries sign a defence integration pact known as the Permanent Structured Cooperation. NATO members Denmark, Portugal and the United Kingdom (withdrawal from EU underway), and non-NATO members Malta and Ireland opt out. (Reuters)

RT America registers with the U.S. Department of Justice as a foreign agent in the United States. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump selects Eli Lilly’s American division president and former HHS deputy secretary Alex Azar to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, replacing Tom Price who resigned on September 29. (ABC News)

Italy fails to qualify—for the first time since 1958—for 2018 FIFA World Cup after being defeated by Sweden in the UEFA Second Round. (Independent)

Mitch McConnell calls on Roy Moore to ‘step aside’ from Alabama Senate race Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday called for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to “step aside” from the race, following a Washington Post report last week that alleged Moore had initiated intimate relationships with teenaged women while he was in his 30s. Moore, who is the Republican candidate in Alabama’s Dec. 12 special Senate election, has mostly denied the allegations, telling a Christian Citizen Task Force forum that the Post had printed false allegations “for which they will be sued.” McConnell said Republicans are exploring whether a write-in candidate could be “an option” and said he found the allegations against Moore to be credible: “I believe the women, yes,” he said. Four polls since Thursday show a dead heat between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Source: Axios

Uber seals big investment by SoftBank Uber on Sunday approved SoftBank’s offer to invest billions in the ride-hailing company. The Japanese conglomerate will lead a consortium of investors to buy at least 14 percent of Uber. SoftBank reportedly plans to buy about $1 billion of fresh Uber stock at the ride-hailing service’s current valuation of about $68.5 billion, and purchase about $9 billion worth of existing shares from current Uber shareholders. The deal is expected to pave the way for sweeping governance changes at Uber, which has shaken up its leadership following complaints about sexual harassment and a toxic corporate culture, and a move to take the company public by 2019. Source: Bloomberg

 

Sunday, Nov 12, 2017

 Hundreds of sexual abuse survivors and their supporters march in Hollywood, California. (Los Angeles Times)

Boeing announces at the Dubai Airshow that the airline Emirates will purchase forty 787 Dreamliners with a list value of US$15 billion. (BBC)

 

Saturday, Nov 11, 2017

The Iraqi Armed Forces launch an offensive to recapture the last ISIL stronghold in Iraq, Rawa. (BBC)

Mass graves containing at least 400 bodies have been found near Hawija, an Iraqi city that was occupied by ISIL until last month. (BBC)

ISIL regains control of Abu Kamal. (NDTV)

Trade ministers from 11 countries announce that they have agreed on “core elements” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and plan to move forward with approving the trade agreement. (Bangkok Post)

An estimated 60,000 Polish citizens, including a few hundred nationalists, some with banners “White Europe” and “Pray for an Islamic Holocaust”, march through Warsaw under an umbrella slogan of “We want God”, on the annual Independence March during the celebrations of Poland’s National Independence Day. (Radio Poland) (Fox13)

22 police agents are wounded in Brussels when celebrations for Morocco’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification turn violent. (VRT)

 

Friday, Nov 10, 2017

France’s nuclear safety institute (IRSN) picks up traces of ruthenium-106, suggesting a nuclear accident took place in either Russia or Kazakhstan, in late September and early October. (The Telegraph)

Saudi Arabia, and subsequently the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, urge all citizens currently in Lebanon to leave the country immediately. Recently, Saudi Arabia declared that a missile attack on its airport from Yemen was “an act of war” by Lebanon. (Al-Jazeera)

French President Emmanuel Macron makes an unscheduled visit to Saudi Arabia amidst an escalating crisis between the kingdom and Lebanon. France is a close partner of Lebanon. (BBC)

Hezbollah declares the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri invalid. Hariri has been detained in Saudi Arabia (presumably in Riyadh) for several days. The Saudi government is accused of pressuring Hariri to resign in the first place. (Al-Jazeera)

Louis C.K. confesses to sexual misconduct On Friday, comedian Louis C.K. confirmed allegations by five women who said he masturbated in front of them. “These stories are true,” C.K. said in a statement. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay … [b]ut what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them.” C.K.’s new film, I Love You, Daddy, was canceled by its distributor on Friday following the reports of his sexual misconduct. “The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else,” C.K. said, adding: “I will now step back and take a long time to listen.” Source: The New York Times

Trump touts America-first policies at Asia summit President Trump said at a regional summit in Vietnam that the U.S. “will not tolerate” trade abuses, saying only countries that “follow the rules” will get U.S. business. Trump said that the U.S. had removed trade barriers to let foreign goods into the U.S., but many countries have not reciprocated by opening their markets. “We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore,” the president said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Danang. “I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.” Source: NPR

 

Thursday, Nov 9,  2017

A senior UN official warns that Yemen faces the world’s largest famine in decades “with millions of victims” if aid deliveries do not resume. (BBC)

Five anonymous women accuse comedian Louis C.K. of sexually inappropriate behavior. The production company for C.K.’s new film I Love You, Daddycancels its New York premiere. (The Guardian)

Saudi Arabia’s attorney general says at least $100bn (£76bn) has been misused through systemic corruption and embezzlement in recent decades. (BBC)

Four women accuse Roy Moore, a former Alabama judge and U.S. Senate candidate, of sexual misconduct during the 1970s and early 1980s when they were between the ages of 14 and 18 and he was in his 30s. (The Guardian)

END

 

You will have a dress of white
You will have a ring of gold
You will have a paper snow
We’ll fall
See the wall
The wall is black
We will have a heart attack
We will be alone and
We’ll fall we’ll fall we’ll fall
Fall in love like sailors do
Tell your lover you’ll be true
Sail upon the stupid sea
We’ll fall
You will have a sheet of red
Paint the trees, the trees are dead
We will be alone and
We’ll fall we’ll fall we’ll fall we’ll fall
Marry me and be my wife
You can have me all your life
Our love will never end
Parties for our stupid friends
Are the children really home?
We will lie upon the lawn
Needles on the beach at Goa
We will have another flower
We will be a part of structure
You will have a face of structure
We will make ourselves a scene
We will live our stupid dream
I am you and you are me
Tie me down i will be free
Our love will never end
Parties for our stupid friends
Marry me and be my wife
You can have me all your life
Our love will never end
Parties for our stupid friends
Are the children really home?
We will lie upon the lawn
Needles on the beach at Goa
We will have another flower
We will be a part of structure
You will have a face of structure
We will make ourselves a scene
We will live our stupid dream
I am you and you are me
Tie me down i will be free
Our love will have no end

 

Ксе́ния Анато́льевна Собча́к

Ксе́ния Анато́льевна Собча́к

 

Too soon?

 

Is Hillary Just the “Fall Guy” for the Intel Agencies and Their Moneybags Bosses?
MIKE WHITNEY • NOVEMBER 9, 2017 • 3,500 WORDS

 

The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate
October 29, 2017

 

More ‘Fake News,’ Alas, From the New York Times
Manafort isn’t the only villain in this establishment fairy tale.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • November 8, 2017

 

Trump Plays with Fire in Saudi Arabia

 

Thursday, Nov 9, 2017

Trump says he doesn’t ‘blame’ China for ‘unfair’ trade relationship In front of Chinese business leaders and President Xi Jinping, President Trump on Thursday described the U.S. trade relationship with China as being “one-sided and unfair,” but said he doesn’t fault China for the deals it has made. “Who can blame a country that is able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens,” Trump said. “I give China great credit.” Trump is in Beijing as part of his 12-day tour of Asia, and said he has “great chemistry” with Xi and thinks they will do “tremendous things” together. Source: The Washington Post

 

Trump administration announces new travel restrictions for Cuba The Trump administration announced a new list of travel restrictions and sanctions on Cuba on Wednesday. The new restrictions mean that American tourists will need to primarily book a trip with organized tour groups in order to visit the country, as well as follow a blacklist of 180 businesses, including 83 hotels and 10 Havana boutiques. U.S. government officials told The Associated Press that the restrictions aim to decrease American trade and commerce with businesses backed by the Cuban military. The blacklist will go into effect Thursday. Embassies in Havana and Washington will remain open. Source: The Associated Press

 

 Wednesday, Nov 8, 2017

The Syrian Army and its allies capture Abu Kamal from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (Deutsche Welle)

Former U.S. TV news anchor Heather Unruh accuses actor Kevin Spacey of sexually assaulting her son in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 2016, when her son was 18 years old. (CNN)

British politician Priti Patel resigns from her position as Secretary of State for International Development amid reports that she had had unauthorized meetings with senior Israeli officials. (The Guardian)

U.S. federal prosecutors subpoena Carl Icahn over his role as an adviser on biofuels in the Trump administration. (CNBC)

 

 

Tuesday, Nov 7, 2017

A blanket of thick grey smog covers the Indian capital, Delhi, with some areas 30 times more polluted than the World Health Organization’s recommended limit, one year after a similar smog. (BBC)

A North Korean defector claims children are being born with deformities near North Korea’s nuclear testing site. (Fox News)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman accuses Iran of an act of “direct military aggression” by supplying missiles to rebels in Yemen. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump visits South Korea amidst a crisis with North Korea. (CNN)

Syria signs the Paris Agreement. This will make the United States the only country not in the Paris Agreement, when they plan to leave on 4 November 2020. (The Guardian)

Former millionaire Chisako Kakehi (also known as Japan’s “Black Widow”) is sentenced to death for the murder of 3 men which included a husband. (AFP via MSN)(BBC)

Maine votes to expand Medicaid under Obamacare in the first ever referendum on the issue. (ABC News)

 

 

Tuesday, Nov 7, 2017

Trump urges North Korea to ‘come to the table’ President Trump started his visit to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday by calling for North Korea to “come to the table” and “make a deal” to curb its nuclear weapons program. The statement marked a shift from the tough stance reflected in other recent statements toward Pyongyang, including Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” on the North if it threatens the U.S. or its allies. “Ultimately, it’ll all work out,” Trump said, noting he had seen “a lot of progress” regarding North Korea lately. During Trump’s first day in South Korea, his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, said the two leaders had “agreed to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue in peaceful manner” to “bring permanent peace” to the peninsula. Source: The Associated Press

Harvey Weinstein reportedly hired investigators to spy on accusers Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein went to great lengths to keep allegations of sexual harassment and assault made against him under wraps, hiring private security firms to gather information on women and journalists who were attempting to write stories about the accusations, The New Yorker reports. Ronan Farrow read through dozens of pages of documents and spoke with seven people involved, who told him Weinstein started hiring firms in the fall of 2016, including Black Cube, which is run by former officers from Israeli intelligence agencies, to target people like actress Rose McGowan, who last month publicly accused Weinstein of rape. Journalists also interviewed women who made allegations against Weinstein, then reported back to the producer what they said, Farrow writes. A spokeswoman for Weinstein called the report “fiction.” Source: The New Yorker

 

Monday, Nov 6, 2017

Investors react poorly to the arrest of Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the world’s wealthiest men. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump visits Japan amidst the 2017 North Korea crisis. (CNN)

Saudi Arabia says Lebanon has declared war against it through acts of aggression. (Reuters)

Emmerson Mnangagwa is fired as Vice President by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. The public and the media widely perceives Mugabe’s wife Grace as his likely successor after his death with Mnangagwa having been seen as her rival. (The Guardian)

 

 

Sunday, Nov 5, 2017

Journalists start reporting on the contents of 13.4 million documents leaked from the offshore law firm Appleby, along with business registries in 19 tax jurisdictions that reveal offshore financial activities of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung had previously obtained the documents and shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. (BBC) (The New York Times)

The documents include names of individuals and companies such as that of United States businessman and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, United Kingdom monarch Elizabeth II, Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Russian-Uzbek business magnate Alisher Usmanov, the social media companies Twitter and Facebook, and pop stars Bono and Madonna. (Quartz)

A helicopter crashes near Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen, killing the son of former Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, and seven other Saudi officials. The cause of the crash is unknown. (NBC News)

A gunman opens fire at a Baptist church in the American town of Sutherland Springs, Texas in the San Antonio area, killing at least 26 people and injuring many others. The 26-year-old gunman is later found dead in his car from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (ABC News) (BBC) (CNN)

United States Senator Rand Paul is recovering from fractured ribs after being assaulted by a neighbor at his home. (NBC)

At least 260 people have been arrested while protesting against Vladimir Putin in Moscow while people in five other cities are also detained. The protests were organized by the Artpodgotovka movement founded by Vyacheslav Maltsev. (BBC)

Shalane Flanagan becomes the first American woman since 1977 to win the New York City Marathon. Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor wins the men’s marathon. (The New York Times)

 

Saturday, Nov 4, 2017

Houthi rebels in Yemen fire a ballistic missile at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The missile was shot down, according to Saudi officials, with no resulting injuries or damage.(BBC News) (The New York Times)

The United States will end the temporary protected status program (TPS) for more than 300,000 refugees from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Many of the refugees have already left for Canada, where it is easier to get asylum. (Newsweek) (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia announces the arrest of billionaire investor Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, plus at least 10 other princes, four government ministers and tens of former ministers by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s newly formed anti-corruption agency. (AFP via Yahoo!) (The New York Times)

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reports the discovery of several cases of fraud amounting to at least $6 million (£4.6 million) through overbilling and the “likely collusion” between a bank and former IFRC employees during the 2013–16 West African Ebola outbreak. (Voice of Africa) (The Guardian)

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigns, citing assassination threats. (BBC)

 

Friday, Nov 3, 2017

The Syrian Army (SAA) and allies announce the complete liberation of Deir ez-Zor from ISIL. (Sputnik International)

At least nine people are killed and another 23 are injured in Hader, Quneitra Governorate, after a Tahrir al-Sham-operated car bomb detonates inside the town. (Reuters)

The Iraqi Armed Forces enter the town of Al-Qa’im, close to the border with Syria. Al-Qa’im is one of the last towns in Iraq still held by ISIL. (Reuters)

The United States launches airstrikes against Islamic State in Somalia for the first time. The United States Africa Command says “several terrorists” were killed in the strikes, which took place in coordination with Somalia’s government. (The Independent)

Netflix announces that it will no longer be working with American actor Kevin Spacey who plays Frank Underwood on the U.S. version of House of Cards(News Limited)

United States soldier Bowe Bergdahl is convicted of desertion and dishonorably discharged, but is not imprisoned. (The New York Times)

Zimbabwe accuses American citizen Martha O’Donovan of trying to overthrow the regime of Robert Mugabe. (The Los Angeles Times)

 

 

Thursday, Nov 2, 2017

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the city of Deir ez-Zor has largely been cleared of ISIS fighters by the Syrian Armed Forces. Deir ez-Zor was the scene of a three-year-long siege until it was broken in September 2017. (The Guardian)

A Bethlehem art installation (by anonymous artist Banksy) satirizes the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. (The Guardian)

Donald Trump nominates Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the Chair of the Federal Reserve. (ABC News)

At least 22 people killed and 100 injured in boiler explosion at a coal-fired power plant in Uttar Pradesh state, India. (BBC)

Opposition leader Katrín Jakobsdóttir of the Left-Green Movement receives the mandate to form a government with its coalition partners: the Social Democratic Alliance, the Progressives and the Pirates. (Bloomberg)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s main social media account is suspended for 11 minutes. Twitter blames the incident on an employee and says it is “taking steps to prevent this from happening again.” (The Guardian)

The Tapanuli orangutan is identified as a new species of great ape. (The Guardian)

 

END

 

Warning

Some say it was a warning
Some say it was a sign
I was standing right there
When it came down from the sky
The way it spoke to us
You felt it from inside
Said it was up to us
Up to us to decide

You’ve become a virus
The keeper of this host
We’ve been watching you with all of our eyes
And what you seem to value most
“So much potential” or so we used to say
Your greed, self-importance and your arrogance
You piss it all away

We heard a cry
We’ve come to intervene
You will change your ways and you will make amends
Or we will wipe this place clean

Your time is tick-tick-ticking away

 

 

Spain agrees to extradite Russian programmer accused of hacking to the US
Oct. 3rd, 2017

 

Tesla is struggling to be 2 different car companies at the same time

As my colleague Danielle Muoio reported, the focus was rightly on a big miss for Model 3 deliveries: 220 official sales, with just 260 vehicles produced.

CEO Elon Musk had predicted total production of 1,500 for September.

On the other hand, the company delivered 26,150 of its Model S and Model X vehicles, putting it on track to deliver around 100,000 cars for 2017 without hitting Musk’s ambitious targets for the Model 3, which is supposed to ramp to a production target of 5,000 per week by the end of the year.

The markets seem to have priced this in, as Tesla’s stock hasn’t fallen off a cliff. In pre-market trading on Tuesday, shares were sliding, but only about 2%, to $333. Year-to-date, Tesla is up 55% and at times has pushed toward $400. The company’s market cap, at $57 billion, is neck-and-neck with General Motors.

 

Monday,  October 2nd, 2017

The death toll rises to at least 59 people with an additional 527 others injured. (The New York Times)

The attack is the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. (The Guardian)

Stephen Paddock’s former neighbors in Reno, Nevada, describe him as having a possible gambling problem. (Newsweek)

CBS fires Hayley Geftman-Gold, vice president and senior counsel of strategic transactions at CBS, for a social media post stating that she did not have sympathy for the shooting’s victims because “country music fans often are Republican gun toters”. (Fox News)

 

 

After suffering a cardiac arrest in his Malibu, California home, American singer and songwriter Tom Petty dies at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 66. (Rolling Stone)

The Nobel Prize committee awards Americans Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young the prize for their work on molecular mechanisms that control circadian systems. (The Guardian) (Nobel Prize.org)

Thirty-thousand North Korean rocket propelled grenades are seized off the coast of Egypt by American forces after being purchased by Egyptian business executives for $23 million (E£406 million/₩20 billion). (Haaretz)

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Trump says he wants to lower the U.S. trade deficit with Thailand. (Reuters)

Russian opposition leader and hopeful presidential candidate Alexei Navalny is sentenced in Moscow to 20 days detention for organizing unauthorized public meetings. This is Navalny’s third jail term this year. (Reuters) (RT)

Ecuador’s Supreme Court orders that Vice President Jorge Glas be jailed for his alleged acceptance of bribes from the Odebrecht construction company. Prior to this, Glas had been free but barred from leaving the country. (AP)

 

Catalonia votes in favor of independence The Catalan regional government announced early Monday that 90 percent of voters in Sunday’s referendum on independence from Spain voted in favor of a split. A spokesman said that there are 5.3 million voters in the region, with 2.26 million casting ballots. The Spanish central government views the vote as being illegal, and hundreds of people were injured when police raided polling stations and fired rubber bullets at voters. Catalonia is an autonomous region bordering France, and many of its residents believe because it has its own culture and history and its revenue pays to subsidize other areas of Spain, it must become independent. Source: The Guardian

 

Supreme Court returns with weighty cases The Supreme Court begins a new term Monday with a weighty list of cases on its docket. The high court is slated to review mandatory dues for public-sector unions; religious liberty and discrimination in the wedding cake business; gerrymandering; digital privacy rights; and the practice of purging inactive voters from voter rolls. “There’s only one prediction that’s entirely safe of the upcoming term, and that is it will be momentous,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With the seating of Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court has a full bench. Source:  Fox News

 

Sunday,  October 1st, 2017

Houthi forces claim to have shot down a S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Yemeni capital Sana’a. Footage released by Saba News Agency appears to show crowds gathering around the wreckage of an aircraft. (Reuters)

Soldiers in Bueaand Bamenda, Cameroon, shoot dead a total of at least eight people during various protests by Anglophone (Reuters)

The Islamic Stategroup seizes the Al-Qaryatain town in the central province of Homs in a surprise attack against Syrian government forces. (Firstpost)

A gunman opens fire in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino from the upper floors down upon a Jason Aldean outdoor concert, with at least 2 people dead and 26 others injuried. Authorities believe the lone gunman is dead. (The New York Times)

The United Kingdom‘s Monarch Airlines goes into financial bankruptcy administration, suspending all flights, cancelling 300 thousand bookings, and leaving 10’s of thousands of passengers stranded. (Reuters)

Nevada prison authorities release former NFL player  J. Simpson on parole after serving nine years for a 2007 Las Vegas armed robbery. Previously, a jury had acquitted Simpson of the 1995 murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. (CNN)

Spanish riot police clash with some protesters in Gironaand Barcelona, with 844 people and 33 police reported injured. (Sky News) (NBC News) (BBC) (The Independent)

The Mayor of BarcelonaAda Colau calls on Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to resign following the police crackdown on Catalan protestors which has left hundreds injured. (Euronews)

The government of Cataloniadeclares that the “yes”-to-independence-vote has won a landslide victory. (AP)

Some players throughout the National Football League hold demonstrations before or during the U.S. national anthem. These demonstrations include kneeling, raising fists, or praying, as a show of unity or protest of social inequality. (CNN)

SkanskaUSA implodes the Old Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City after 78 years of connecting Brooklyn and Queens. (NBC)

The rest of the week’s news below the fold

Continue reading “Warning”

The Little Duck Wants To Lie Down

Mrs. Dinh Nhu Ngo firing .38 pistol.

 

Chapter 11.
The Huxleyan Warning

There are two ways by which the spirit of a culture may be shriveled. In the first—the Orwellian—culture becomes a prison. In the second—the Huxleyan—culture becomes a burlesque.

No one needs to be reminded that our world is now marred by many prison-cultures whose structure Orwell described accurately in his parables. If one were to read both 1984 and Animal Farm, and then for good measure, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, one would have a fairly precise blueprint of the machinery of thought-control as it currently operates in scores of countries and on millions of people. Of course, Orwell was not the first to teach us about the spiritual devastations of tyranny. What is irreplaceable about his work is his insistence that it makes little difference if our wardens are inspired by right- or left-wing ideologies. The gates of the prison are equally impenetrable, surveillance equally rigorous, icon-worship equally pervasive.

What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

In America, Orwell’s prophecies are of small relevance, but Huxley’s are well under way toward being realized. For America is engaged in the world’s most ambitious experiment to accommodate itself to the technological distractions made possible by the electric plug. This is an experiment that began slowly and modestly in the mid-nineteenth century and has now, in the latter half of the twentieth, reached a perverse maturity in America’s consuming love-affair with television. As nowhere else in the world, Americans have moved far and fast in bringing to a close the age of the slow-moving printed word, and have granted to television sovereignty over all of their institutions. By ushering in the Age of Television, America has given the world the clearest available glimpse of the Huxleyan future.

Those who speak about this matter must often raise their voices to a near-hysterical pitch, inviting the charge that they are everything from wimps to public nuisances to Jeremiahs. But they do so because what they want others to see appears benign, when it is not invisible altogether. An Orwellian world is much easier to recognize, and to oppose, than a Huxleyan. Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us. We are not likely, for example, to be indifferent to the voices of the Sakharovs and the Timmermans and the Walesas. We take arms against such a sea of troubles, buttressed by the spirit of Milton, Bacon, Voltaire, Goethe and Jefferson. But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture’s being drained by laughter?

I fear that our philosophers have given us no guidance in this matter. Their warnings have customarily been directed against those consciously formulated ideologies that appeal to the worst tendencies in human nature. But what is happening in America is not the design of an articulated ideology. No Mein Kampf or Communist Manifesto announced its coming. It comes as the unintended consequence of a dramatic change in our modes of public conversation. But it is an ideology nonetheless, for it imposes a way of life, a set of relations among people and ideas, about which there has been no consensus, no discussion and no opposition. Only compliance. Public consciousness has not vet assimilated the point that technology is ideology. This, in spite of the fact that before our very eyes technology has altered every aspect of life in America during the past eighty years. For example, it would have been excusable in 1905 for us to be unprepared for the cultural changes the automobile would bring. Who could have suspected then that the automobile would tell us how we were to conduct our social and sexual lives? Would reorient our ideas about what to do with our forests and cities? Would create new ways of expressing our personal identity and social standing?

But it is much later in the game now, and ignorance of the score is inexcusable. To be unaware that a technology comes equipped with a program for social change, to maintain that technology is neutral, to make the assumption that technology is always a friend to culture is, at this late hour, stupidity plain and simple. Moreover, we have seen enough by now to know that technological changes in our modes of communication are even more ideology-laden than changes in our modes of transportation. Introduce the alphabet to a culture and you change its cognitive habits, its social relations, its notions of community, history and religion. Introduce the printing press with movable type, and you do the same. Introduce speed-of-light transmission of images and you make a cultural revolution. Without a vote. Without polemics. Without guerrilla resistance. Here is ideology, pure if not serene. Here is ideology without words, and all the more powerful for their absence. All that is required to make it stick is a population that devoutly believes in the inevitability of progress. And in this sense, all Americans are Marxists, for we believe nothing if not that history is moving us toward some preordained paradise and that technology is the force behind that movement…

– Neil Postman
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business Paperback (1985)

 

The Little Duck Wants To Lie Down

 

VIETNAM WAR: NEW KEN BURNS DOCUMENTARY DISMISSES THE ORIGINS OF THE FUTILE, DISASTROUS CONFLICT
BY JEFF STEIN
Sept. 17th, 2017

 

Anticipating the Forthcoming PBS Documentary, ‘The Vietnam War’
by Camillo Mac Bica
July 20, 2017

 

The CIA Runs Everything for You Know Who

Yes Congress, Afghanistan is Your Vietnam
Does any member have the courage and vision to take responsibility?
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • August 11, 2017

 

Bring Me the Head of Jeff Bezos

 

Absolutely hilarious. I can’t stop reading this guy. Is he serious? Some of what he says might actually be true. Which is, well…really disturbing.
Jeff Bezos looks like another CIA Front

 

…in case you are easily amused, like me, and want more…
http://mileswmathis.com/updates.html

 

 

You can always count on The Economist to keep you up-to-date with knowledge:

Electric cars
The death of the internal combustion engine
It had a good run. But the end is in sight for the machine that changed the world

 

Saudi Arabia Is Trying to Remake the Middle East In Its Image
No country has done more to spread radical Islam than Saudi Arabia.
By MICHAEL HORTON • August 8, 2017

In 1744, Muhammad ibn Saud made a Faustian bargain with Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab: al-Wahhab would back al-Saud in his battle for supremacy if he pledged allegiance to al-Wahhab’s puritanical vision of Islam. This interpretation of Islam, which differs little from the militant Salafi beliefs that inform the Islamic State’s and al-Qaeda’s understanding of Islam (the Islamic State uses Saudi produced textbooks in its schools), became known as Wahhabism.

The Saudis, who are not descended from the Prophet and have no particular claim to rule even in their territorial heartland of Najd, relied on the clerics of the al-Wahhab family for religious legitimacy. The bargain struck in 1744 held fast. In 1926, Ibn Saud took over the Hejaz and in 1932 the country of Saudi Arabia was created. Ibn Saud’s conquest of most of the Arabian Peninsula would not have happened without the support of the fanatical warriors (the Ikhwan) who, more than anything else, fought to purge the peninsula of what they deemed to be heretical beliefs and practices.

 

 

 

Wow. This is good. I like this guy. How can you not? Everything is a conspiracy. Everything. I bet his own mother is a CIA project. Definitely makes you think. Y’all are gonna wanna read this

The BRAVE NEW WORLD of Stephen Hawking
by Miles Mathis
November 21, 2011

“Controlling majorities has never helped these fascists, although they are obsessed with controlling majorities. No, the problem is they can’t control themselves, and they always overreach. As the last example, we can look at the Nazis, who had the war won but decided they needed to attack Russia as well. The German people didn’t restrain the Nazis, the Nazis destroyed themselves. The same could be said of Stalin and the later Communists. They overreached and collapsed. Like the Nazis, they wanted world domination and couldn’t manage it. And we see the same thing happening now. The rich here in the US were already raking it in in the 1990’s under Clinton, but that wasn’t enough. They already had a bloated CIA and military, the world was already dotted with our bases, but it wasn’t enough. The banks were already stealing freely from the people, but it wasn’t enough. The CIA had already been running the media since the 1950’s, but it wasn’t enough. The success just made them hungry for more. So they repealed Glass-Steagall and all other regulations, pulled 9/11, started wars in a dozen places, dismantled the Constitution, and installed the new police state. All I can say is, IS IT WORKING? Have they created a successful system of control and theft, one that is self-perpetuating so that their children can steal as easily as they have? No. They are killing the host. You can’t tax or steal from people that are huddling in concentration camps or living off welfare. You can’t loan money to people who are in jail.

So while their subsistence base diminishes, their appetite does not. They don’t know when to stop. Like junkies, they keep going until they hit the wall. What wall is that? I don’t know. Could be Russia or China or both, could be financial meltdown, could be a military coup, could be class warfare between the rich and superrich, could be Mother Earth biting back. All we know is that “the mighty will fall.” They always do. There are no masters of the universe in this part of the galaxy.”