‘House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) did not mince words during their joint- appearance on “60 Minutes” Sunday night in berating President Obama’s strategy for defeating ISIS and other terrorist threats in the Middle East.
In a bruising assessment of Obama’s State of the Union address last Tuesday, Boehner complained to CBS’s Scott Pelley, “The president didn’t spend but a few seconds talking about the terrorist threat that we as Americans face. This problem is growing all over the world, and the president is trying to act like it’s not there. It’s going to be a threat to our homeland if we don’t address it in a bigger way,” he added, pointing to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere.’
‘French President François Hollande used an International Holocaust Memorial Day speech to confirm that his government plans to tighten its control over what people are allowed to say online.
The planned crackdown raises concern that French authorities will use their powers to further censor speech critical of Israel under the guise of combating anti-Semitism.
“Anti-Semitism has changed its face, but has not lost its age-old roots,” Hollande said at a Paris commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the Soviet Army’s liberation of Auschwitz.
Today, he said, “it is also nourished by hatred of Israel” and “imports the conflicts of the Middle East.”’
‘Greece’s new anti-austerity and anti-Western Oligarchy ruling party, Syriza, is coming under attack from an all too familiar angle. Keep in mind that this accusation came on the very first day Syriza took office.
According to CNN, “there may be some 200 people in the country with links to jihadist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the al Nusra Front“. Supposing this is true, should we not instead look to those who funded and created those groups; namely Western nations?’
‘Not long after the Berlin Wall fell a quarter of a century ago, the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States squandered its peace dividend in an attempt to maintain global dominance, and Europe quietly became more prosperous, more integrated, and more of a player in international affairs. Between 1989 and 2014, the European Union (EU) practically doubled its membership and catapulted into third place in population behind China and India.
It currently boasts the world’s largest economy and also heads the list of global trading powers. In 2012, the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize for transforming Europe “from a continent of war to a continent of peace.”
In the competition for “world’s true superpower,” China loses points for still having so many impoverished peasants in its rural hinterlands and a corrupt, illiberal bureaucracy in its cities; the United States, for its crumbling infrastructure and a hypertrophied military-industrial complex that threatens to bankrupt the economy. As the only equitably prosperous, politically sound, and rule-of-law-respecting superpower, Europe comes out on top, even if — or perhaps because — it doesn’t have the military muscle to play global policeman.’
‘At the World Economic Forum last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel let the cat out of the bag with her sly offer, or rather bribe, to Russia. The German leader told delegates in Davos that European Union sanctions on Russia would be lifted in exchange for a «peace deal» in Ukraine. She promised a «free trade pact from Lisbon to Vladivostok».
That’s a bit rich coming from the bankrupt EU, but nevertheless let’s accept the assumption that Frau Merkel is offering something very juicy. Why would she do that, and right at this time when civilians are being massacred in eastern Ukraine?
In other words, Merkel is saying if Moscow capitulates to Western objectives of ceding Ukraine to its full political, economic and military control, then Russia will be «paid off» with respite from Western sanctions and can look forward to a tantalizing free trade «happy ending» with the EU. How generous of Frau Merkel!’
‘The Ukrainian military employed barrier troops who fired at their fellow servicemen in order to prevent their retreat during a night battle in the country’s southeast, the Defense Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said.
“Ukrainian troops are demoralized, which is proven by an unprecedented incident that occurred last night,” DPR Defense Ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin said, as quoted by Donetsk News Agency.
An injured Ukrainian soldier who surrendered to the militias said during questioning that “anti-retreat units from territorial defense battalions were used against the Ukrainian troops,” Basurin said.’
‘On January 27th, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense headlined “Militants Continue to Suffer Losses,” and reported that four helicopters, and other weapons of the “militants,” were destroyed in battle, but no evidence was given to support the assertion.
Just two days prior, the (also pro-Government) Kiev Post had, in fact, bannered “Ukraine Hides Devastating Losses as Russia-Backed Fighters Surge Forward,” and reported “Ukraine’s worst-kept secret — that the Ukrainian army is drastically understating its casualties.”
After detailing, there, what seems to be outrageous unconcern by the Government, for the welfare of troops it’s sending into battle (even by jamming battlefield-injured soldiers into regular civilian hospitals, which aren’t equipped to handle their injuries), this report ends with a doctor saying, “It’s bad everywhere. Yes, the soldiers are still standing at their positions ready to fight. But we don’t see any help coming for them.”’
‘The UK government today announced a plan to remotely control vehicles on roads using wi-fi technology in order to reduce traffic and offset global warming, the latest manifestation of the ‘Internet of Things’ that will stir up concern amongst privacy advocates.
A report released today by Ofcom, the government-controlled body which regulates communications in the United Kingdom, lays out a blueprint that could be realized in as soon as 10 years where cars would communicate with each other to “reduce congestion”.
The proposals are being billed by some media outlets as a means of solving traffic jams and taking the stress out of finding a parking space, while also serving to reduce “greenhouse gases” and offset global warming.’
‘Prince Charles said the memory of the “Nazis’ diabolical enterprise” was relevant to today’s conflicts and should help people reflect on how to respond to recent horrors.
His poignant remarks, made at a national commemoration marking Holocaust Memorial Day, came as thousands of people gathered across country to remember the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
World leaders also joined around 300 Holocaust survivors at an event on a site at the former concentration camp.’
‘Tessa Munt, the MP for Wells, initially said she intended to stay on in her role as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) despite backing a rebel amendment calling for a moratorium on the controversial extraction technique.
But last night she said she had handed in her resignation.
Ms Munt said: “It is with regret that I today handed in my resignation after three enjoyable years working closely alongside Vince Cable as his PPS in the Business Department.’
‘Every airline passenger flying in and out of Europe will have personal data including their bank card details stored on a police database, under new anti-terror plans.
The move by the European Commission would mean all information collected during check-in would be made available to the security services.
Civil liberties campaigners said the move would invade the personal privacy of thousands of air travellers, and called for it to be blocked.’
‘Whitehall officials have spent more than £100million on taxis, business class flights and first class rail travel over the past four years, according to official figures.
Government departments have spent £60million on business class flights, £26million on taxis and £13million on first class rail travel.
In 2011 George Osborne barred civil servants from using first class rail travel unless there were exceptional circumstances.’
‘Energy firm EDF has announced a puny price cut of just 1.3per cent – less than 18p a week – in a devastating snub to customers.
The reduction on gas tariffs is worth a saving of just £9 on the average annual household energy bill and is tiny in the context of a sharp fall in wholesale energy prices.
Wholesale gas prices are down by around 28per cent in a year and electricity by 15per cent, which could deliver annual savings of £140 if they were passed on in full.
EDF, which is a subsidiary of a power company owned by the French government, is the last of the ‘big six’ suppliers to announce a cut in tariffs in the last two weeks.’
‘Democratic members of Congress apparently aren’t going to be satisfied until American citizens are completely and utterly defenseless.
Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) has introduced a bill for consideration of the new Congress which would prohibit the ownership of certain types of body armor for civilians.
H.R. 378 would make it a crime to own Type III body armor which would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Yeah, 10 years in prison.’
‘Gary Glitter has claimed he could not have abused two girls in his dressing room because he would have been too busy cleaning his wig.
The former rock singer said he rarely stayed backstage after shows because the sweaty hairpiece required an hour and a half’s maintenance after every performance.
Glitter, 70, faces 10 charges relating to a string of alleged child sex offences committed at the height of his fame in the 1970s and 1980s.’
‘The social media giant, Facebook, is currently censoring certain postings and comments by members in countries that object to certain content, the latest being Turkey. A Turkish high court ruled that members’ posts and comments on insult the Prophet Muhammad and are offensive to followers of Islam, according to news reports on Monday.
The Turkish court ruled that the owners and administers of Facebook and its advertisers must conduct their social media website in compliance with the court’s determination or Facebook will be banned in Turkey as it already is in other Muslim nations such as Pakistan. The Turkish court announced its decision on Sunday night, said the reports. “A person with knowledge of the matter confirmed that Facebook blocked content in Turkey following a valid legal request. That content remains visible, however, outside the country,” according to the New York Times.’
‘Many leading backers of the International Criminal Court will ignore Israel’s call for them to cut funding in response to an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, officials told Reuters.
The continued support from countries which provide more than a third of the court’s cash, including Germany, Britain and France, averts the risk of paralysis at the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal.
The already financially-stretched court in The Hague – set up to hold to account leaders responsible for crimes that go unpunished at home – could have been unable to pay salaries.’
‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
I’m sorry, but I’m sick of people trying to lie to you and assure you that your vote for ANYONE in the presidential bread and circuses dog and pony show coming up in 2016 is going to matter in the slightest itty bitty teensy weensy little bit. Both sides of the carpet are corrupt and the entire system is not just broken, but irrevocably so.
Nevertheless, we’ve heard people waxing all optimistic on the false choices you’ll be advertised — you know, freedom, The Constitution, and stuff — but this rosy picture requires NOT looking at the man behind the curtain pulling the same old levers on the rusty ass stage play we’re sold every four years in this country for decades now.’
‘ed note–the decision on the part of the Argentine government to make these details public is being done for 2 reasons–
1. To prepare the public mind for forthcoming information revealing Israel’s role in AMIA and in the murder of Nisman, and
2. As a warning to Israel, America and all others involved that Argentina has the goods on them and that they better not think of doing anything ‘dramatic’ in trying to sabotage the release of this damning information.’
‘Sunday’s Greek vote for anti-austerity left-wing Syriza shows the people’s eagerness to stop the current bailout scheme and renegotiate a deal that’s more favorable for the Greek economy. In the next several days and weeks, we’ll learn a lot more about the implication of the vote, and what new leader Alexis Tsipras is capable of accomplishing; but as Bloomberg Businessweek reports, perhaps this banner displayed produly at last night’s victory rally says it all…’
‘So now we know. Canadian special forces in Iraq have been “painting” Islamic State targets for our CF-18 fighter-bombers. They’re been operating so close to the front lines that they have come under fire. And they have been shooting back.
That’s not what Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised Parliament on Oct. 3 when he made the case for sending special forces. He insisted, four times, that they would have a “noncombat” role and that there would be “no ground combat mission.”
The Canadian forces would merely “advise and assist” Iraqi and Kurdish troops who are battling the jihadists, he said. Canadians were led to believe that our small force of under 70 “boots on the ground” would be restricted to a teaching role far behind the lines, well away from the fray.’
‘No one can begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a daughter unless one has a one or more little girls. I happen to be the blessed father of a daughter that is now a beautiful, intelligent, talented, vivacious young Christian woman who has already made an impact upon the world and has only just begun doing so.
While I can fathom the nightmare of losing a daughter so young to something so capricious and senseless as an influenza virus, the Driscolls are horrifyingly living it:
A five-year-old girl has died in hospital three days after developing a strain of the flu that she was vaccinated against – as a deadly outbreak of the virus continues to sweep across the country.’
‘US technology giant Apple has reported the biggest quarterly profit ever made by a public company.
Apple reported a net profit of $18bn (£11.8bn) in its fiscal first quarter, which tops the $15.9bn made by ExxonMobil in the second quarter of 2012, according to Standard and Poor’s.
Record sales of iPhones were behind the surge in profits.’
Roughly 1500 kids are tied up or locked down every day by school officials in the United States.
‘At least 500 students are locked up in some form of solitary confinement every day, whether it be a padded room, a closet or a duffel bag. In many cases, parents are rarely notified when such methods are used.
On any given day when school is in session, kids who “act up” in class are pinned facedown on the floor, locked in dark closets, tied up with straps, bungee cords and duct tape, handcuffed, leg shackled, tasered or otherwise restrained, immobilized or placed in solitary confinement in order to bring them under “control.”
In almost every case, these undeniably harsh methods are used to punish kids for simply failing to follow directions or throwing tantrums. Very rarely do the kids pose any credible danger to themselves or others.’
‘Leaded gasoline is a thing of the past for automobiles. But a recent government report explains that leaded “avgas,” as it is called for aircraft, is still being used to the tune of about 225 million gallons annually by piston-engine aircraft, which release nearly 1,000 tons of lead dust annually over homes, crop fields and bodies of water.
Situated at the 20,000-or-so airports across America are roughly 159,000 piston-engine aircraft that still use leaded avgas. Though current avgas formulations contain less lead than they used to — the 100-octane low-lead (LL) variety currently in use contains less than half the amount contained in the 115LL variety commonly used after WWII — lead pollution from this fuel is still a major problem.’
‘A luxury hotel has been stormed by gunmen in Libya’s capital Tripoli earlier today, killing at least nine people.
As reports are pouring in from the scene, we’ve been told that the shooting attack on the Corinthia Hotel, was accompanied by a car bombing and that the “Tripoli branch of ISIS” claimed responsibility, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
According to SITE, an offshoot new terror brand called ‘Tripoli Province‘ had claimed credit for the attacks.’
‘An Italian court has unearthed a formerly classified document that proves vaccines cause death, and that vaccine companies don’t want you to know this. As published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) website, a 1,271-page report by British drug firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) reveals that certain combination vaccines administered to children are known to cause sudden death, but the company chose to obscure and conceal this in official safety reports.
The document deals specifically with the Infanrix Hexa vaccine (combined diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, hepatitis B, inactivated poliomyelitis and haemophilus influenza type B) made by GSK, as well as the Prevenar 13 vaccine by Pfizer and several other vaccines. It explains that, contrary to the skewed data presented by GSK suggesting that dozens of sudden death cases following vaccination were not linked to Infanrix Hexa, the same data broken down by time of occurrence reveals that the vaccine was, in fact, directly linked to the deaths.’
‘The new king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the half-brother of King Abdullah, who died in his early 90s from complications from pneumonia, is expected to rule with a more Wahhabist-oriented religious bent and concentrate on limiting cautious political reforms started by Abdullah. Salman is also expected to devote his energies to increasing Saudi national security.
Salman’s devotion to Saudi security is hypocritical at best due to his past support for Al Qaeda, including some of the individuals implicated in the 9/11 attack on the United States. It is Salman’s involvement in allegedly financing 9/11 and other terrorists that will likely reinforce the Obama administration’s refusal to declassify 28 missing pages from the 2002 Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the intelligence failures surrounding the attack. As the then-governor of Riyadh, Salman’s name likely appears as a «big fish» in the redacted 28 pages from the Senate report.’
‘Canada has always been a part of U.S. imperial ambitions, in spite of our pretensions otherwise. Locked in as we are to the U.S. economy and our dollar only relevant in comparison to the US$, up until the Harper regime Canada was able to maintain that pretense. Our NATO political alignment, the NAFTA trade agreement, the North American Aerospace Defence Command – formerly NORAD – are a few big ticket acronyms that have kept us united and generally subordinated.
After achieving majority power in the last election, the Harper neoConservatives have been open advocates for causes that support U.S. imperial interests. That is not surprising when the history and roots of the Reform Party – Alliance Party – born again Conservative party – is examined. The strong attachments that the neoCons have to the U.S. Republican party has been well covered recently. The neoCons share the Republican’s fundamentalist, right wing ‘might is right’, less government, corporate power agenda – and the electoral methodologies used to gain and stay in power.’
‘World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan has reported that the numbers of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases are in rapid decline.
Nevertheless, the United Nations affiliated agency says that this is no reason for the world community to become complacent in the efforts to contain and eliminate the disease.
This claim and others published over the last month has given hope that the worse outbreak of the dreaded disease may be coming under control. The overwhelming majority of cases have occurred in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.’
‘The Israeli regime has launched attacks on Syrian army positions in the Golan Heights.
According to reports, the Israeli warplanes carried out three overnight raids on the Syrian army positions hours after the regime forces fired artillery rounds into the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
Tel Aviv claims the attacks were carried out in response to several rocket attacks that earlier targeted the Israeli-occupied part of the territory.’
‘Ivory Coast’s authorities say a majority of 21 children kidnapped in recent weeks have been found dead with their bodies mutilated, raising fears of a wave of ritual sacrifices ahead of elections.
Most of the children were found dead, mutilated, decapitated and without their genitals in various parts of Ivory Coast since December, police said.
“The phenomenon is real and unusual. Our services have registered 21 cases,” said police chief, Brindou M’Bia.’
‘The leader of Yemen’s Shia Houthi Ansarullah movement has accused some foreign powers of conspiring against Yemen and its nation amid the political tensions in the Arab country.
Addressing thousands of his supporters in the northern city of Sa’ada on Tuesday, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi censured political factions in cahoots with some regional states, noting that they want to ignite conflicts and create problems in Yemen.
He added that such factions try to wreak havoc in Yemen by ignoring the public interests of the nation.’
‘At least three people have been killed when United Nations peacekeepers used live rounds to disperse protesters in Mali’s conflict-ridden Gao.
On Tuesday, a huge crowd of angry youths gathered for a second day outside the headquarters of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in the city of Gao, located more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) southwest of the capital, Bamako.
Witnesses said violence broke out when protesters hurled stones and attempted to storm the building.
One witness said he saw a dead protester who had been shot in the face.’