Sony Pictures Entertainment should have touched base with the White House before deciding to cancel the release of a controversial movie, United States President Barack Obama said Friday.
Weighing in on the major Sony scandal only hours after federal investigators attributed the recent hack to North Korea, Pres. Obama said the Hollywood studio was wrong to pull “The Interview,” a satirical film containing a plot to kill North Korean Pres. Kim Jong Un that was scheduled to be released on Christmas Day.
At the same time, though, Obama said the attack should serve as a wake-up call to Congress and prompt lawmakers in Washington, DC to get serious about implementing cybersecurity legislation in the wake of what is only the latest hack to be endured by a major American company. Continue reading »
Now, a leaked internal CIA memo shows that the Agency told Obama that drone strikes might be counter-productive. The Sydney Morning Herald reports today:
According to a leaked document by the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence, “high value targeting” (HVT) involving air strikes and special forces operations against insurgent leaders can be effective, but can also have negative effects including increasing violence and greater popular support for extremist groups. Continue reading »
Once more, we have tasted salt. We have mourned our dead from the earthquake and the cholera epidemic. The collective depression, the temporary zombification has lifted. It is time to evict the occupier and pursue the traitors and enemies of our independence. No exception.
This is not the first time the United States has occupied Haiti and been evicted from it. The first occupation began during the administration of the questionable Nobel Peace Prize laureate President Woodrow Wilson in 1915. It was countered by an armed insurrection that grew to include over 40,000 Haitian fighters who regularly engaged the US marines. Although this insurrection was ultimately crushed, it was followed by numerous popular strikes in Haiti as well as calls in the US by women’s groups and Black Americans to end the occupation. The return to sovereignty was relatively simple: a committee was assembled to organize legislative and presidential elections. The occupation formally ended in 1934, near the start of the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who personally came for a flag-raising ceremony in Haiti to recognize its independence. Continue reading »
Western nations want to chain “the Russian bear,” pull out its teeth and ultimately have it stuffed, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned. He said anti-Russian sanctions are the cost of being an independent nation.
Putin used the vivid metaphor of a “chained bear” during his annual Q&A session with the media in Moscow in response to a question about whether he believed that the troubles of the Russian economy were payback for the reunification with Crimea.
“It’s not payback for Crimea. It’s the cost of our natural desire to preserve Russia as a nation, a civilization and a state,”Putin said.
The president said that even if “the Russian bear” started “sitting tight… and eating berries and honey,” this would not stop pressure being applied against the country.
“They won’t leave us alone. They will always seek to chain us. And once we are chain, they’ll rip out our teeth and claws. Our nuclear deterrence, speaking in present-day terms,” Putin said. Continue reading »
President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last week that lifted the threat of a government shutdown.
The legislation funds most government agencies through September 2015. The Department of Homeland Security will be treated differently, getting a funding extension only through Feb. 27, by which time Republicans will control both chambers of Congress.
Passage of the 1,603-page bill was a long struggle in the Senate and the House of Representatives marked by bitter disputes over changes to banking regulations and Obama’s recent executive order on immigration.
Believe it or not, Citigroup announced on Friday that it would move its headquarters from New York to the actual U.S. Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C., in early 2015. Yes! They might as well had since they got everything they wanted… Could you imagine. Continue reading »
Odd… during a week when President Obama prepares to launch new sanctions against Venezuela and Russia, The White House admits, “It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba.”
Diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba were severed in January 1961 after the rise of Fidel Castro and his Communist government. Mr. Obama has instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to immediately initiate discussions with Cuba about reestablishing diplomatic relations and to begin the process of removing Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism, which it has been on since 1982, the White House said.
President Obama will speak on the matter at 12:01ET….
“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.” - George Carlin
After the disgusting example of politicians of both spineless parties bowing down before Wall Street, the military industrial complex and corporate interests this weekend with the passage of a bloated pig of a spending bill totaling $1.1 trillion, how can anyone not on the payroll of the vested interests not admit there is only one party – and it serves only the needs of the wealthy business interests. Obama, champion of the common folk, signed this putrid example of political corruption and corporate capture of the American political system. For all the believers who voted for the red team in the November mid-terms, this is what you got – a bipartisanship screwing of the American people. Continue reading »
Just when you thought you had seen it all, Islamic State militants turn up the amplifier of terror to 11. As The Mirror reports, ISIS is launching bombs containing live scorpions as the latest terror weapon in Iraq. Canisters of the creatures are being blasted into towns and villages, according to a British military expert who has just returned from the country. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, ex-head of chemical and biological weapons for the Army and Nato, said: “it’s madness. IS have improvised devices to launch them.”The weapon harks back to the scorpions stuffed into pots and launched by Iraqis thousands of years ago – in 198 AD.
As we reported over the weekend, in the tumult surrounding Citigroup’s annexation of Congress with the passage of the theatrically dramatic $303 trillion derivative quid-pro-$1.1 trillion spending quo, what most missed is that Congress also unanimously passed the The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which not only expands Russian sanctions (read the details here) but far more impotantly, provides “lethal assistance to Ukraine’s military.” And as we explained, passage of this law is just the pretext some Russian legislators needed to push for a full-blown, preemptive military incursion in east-Ukraine. Continue reading »
Perhaps the most notable feature of the October Treasury International Capital report is that in October foreigners sold a whopping $27.2 billion in US equities, surpassing the dump just after the first Taper Tantrum, when they sold $27.1 billion in June of 2013 when they also sold $40.8 billion in Treasurys. This was the largest selling of US corporate stocks by foreign entities since the August 2007 quant flash crash, when some $40.6 billion in US stocks were sold by offshore accounts.
However, what this month’s TIC data will surely be best remember for, is that both China and Russia dumped US Treasurys in October, some $14 billion and $10 billion, respecitvely, in the process sending China’s total Treasury holdings to just $1,253 billion, the lowest since February 2013 and just $30 billion more than the TSYs held by America’s second largest (offshore) creditor, Japan. This happens even as Belgium which many have said is a proxy for Chinese bond purchases, also saw its total holdings decline by $5 billion to $348 billion. Continue reading »
“The truth is that ISIS was created in Iraq in 2006. It was the United States which occupied Iraq, not Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was in American prisons, not in Syrian prisons. So, who created ISIS, Syria or the United States?” – Bashar Assad
The above quote can be found in an interview with the Syrian president posted on a French website on November 28. What Assad voices here is a rather simple but profound truth, one that people the world over, but particularly Americans, would do well to reflect upon.
I recently returned from Syria, where I attended an International Conference on Terrorism and Religious Extremism sponsored by the Syrian Ministry of Justice (see my previous post on the event here), and where I had a chance to experience just a small taste of what life is like in a country under siege by a menace so evil it is the stuff of nightmares. Continue reading »
It should come as no surprise that Republicans would be willing to vote for a bill that seeks to indemnify Wall Street from future failure. After all, Wall Street’s proximity to the GOP, and vice versa, is hardly a contentious issue. And yet, it was “only” 162 republicans who voted for the Cromnibus – some 67 voted against. Which means that whipping the 57 democrats who also voted for the Bill to get the crucial 218 passing votes was far more critical to assure passage of the swaps push out provision. What exactly motivated those 57 Democrats to break ranks with the rest of their party – the 139 democrats voted against the spending bill – and to be not only on the receiving end of Elizabeth Warren’s ire, but also accountable for dumping a few hundred trillions of derivatives into the laps of US taxpayers. The answer, what else: money.
A former Fox journalist was found dead of an apparent suicide, after just leaving network on November 30th. Dominic Di-Natale also investigated the raid on the Bin Laden compound and obtained an exclusive interview with the Dr. behind the CIA funded vaccination program used to track Bin Laden.
When societies approach collapse, coercion shifts to outright theft: Stealing money right out of your bank account, for example, like we recently witnessed in Cyprus. Government also routinely target pension funds and even private retirement accounts, attempting to keep itself afloat by any means necessary.
Just like clockwork, that looting of pension plans is now about to commence. “Congress could soon allow the benefits of current retirees to be cut as part of an agreement to address the fiscal distress confronting some of the nation’s 1,400 multi-employer pension plans,” writes Michael Fletcher of the Washington Post.  The Post continues: Continue reading »
The campaign to rein in the surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA) has become even more difficult. Instead, Congress has used a set of provisions to expand the agency’s data-gathering power.
By way of two pieces of legislation, Congress maintained and expanded the NSA’s surveillance powers. In a bill now headed for President Barack Obama’s desk, Congress gave the agency what civil liberties advocates argue is an unprecedented authority to collect and store data belonging to American citizens. Continue reading »
A freight train carrying a whole column of American armored vehicles has been caught on camera in Latvia. Dalbe Railway Station, where the train was reportedly spotted several days ago, is less than 300km from the Russian border.
The train was carrying at least 38 vehicles and several semitrailers, including eight Bradley Fighting Vehicles, nine M113 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), four petrol tankers, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTTs), High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), an M88 Hercules Armory recovery vehicle, a couple of trucks, some tactical engineering and medical vehicles, at least four containers and a pair of railcars with ammunition.
Latvian authorities have confirmed to Delfi news portal that the train spotted on December 7 was loaded with the vehicles of the 1st Cavalry Division of the US and the train was heading to Lithuania. Continue reading »