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World Debt Has Reached a Staggering $158.8 Trillion!
How Rand Paul Threatens Left and Right
Vox’s Zack Beauchamp declared last week, “Rand Paul just gave one of the most important foreign policy speeches in decades.”BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray didn’t see what the big deal was, responding, “I’m confused by these takes on Paul’s speech as if the content was new. He’s been saying the same stuff for some time.”
She’s not wrong. But neither is Beauchamp. In many ways Paul’s foreign policy speech Thursday was nothing new for the senator.
That does not make it any less monumental.
Beauchamp found Paul’s call for a more restrained military approach important because “Paul is signaling that, when he runs for president in 2016, he isn’t going to move toward the Republican foreign policy consensus; he’s going to run at it, with a battering ram.”
Paul’s foreign policy vision is significantly different from every other rumored 2016 GOP presidential candidate. “If he wins,” Beauchamp emphasizes, “he could remake the Republican Party as we know it.”
The Kentucky senator has consistently challenged long-held GOP views on issues like the war on drugs and federal drug sentencing laws by taking positions that once would have been considered almost exclusively left. Paul has introduced legislation ending the practice of civil asset forfeitures—police taking and keeping someone’s property based on nothing more than suspicion—an issue that had previously received little attention in Washington. The libertarian-leaning senator’s well-received address at progressive Berkeley last year on the dangers of the surveillance state would have been unthinkable for almost any Republican during the George W. Bush era.
PUTIN just brought the ROTHSCHILD WORLD SYSTEM to their knees
Chicago Tribune: ‘David Duke’s Video Might Herald Transformation in American-Israeli Relations”
The newspaper’s commentary, titled “Israel, Gaza and the American perception” was written by William Pfaff, called the “dean” of American columnists and commentators. Pfaff also writes for The New York Review of Books, and has contributed to Foreign Affairs, World Policy Journal, The National Interest, and previously was a twenty year veteran political essayist for The New Yorker magazine. Pfaff then goes on to say that the “Israel Lobby” is losing the propaganda war. He then makes the startling admission that Dr. David Duke’s videos on the topic are circulating at an “unprecedented rate.” “”Also significant is that powerfully anti-Israel (“anti-Zionist”) polemical videos now are circulating as, in my experience, never before, including by the notorious David Duke,” Pfaff, says, making the obligatory reference to Dr. Duke’s long repudiated and youthful former political association. He then moves on the real point: “He [Dr. Duke] currently offers an undemagogic video clip that quietly identifies a score of communications industry executives, press and TV editors, personalities, and news commentators, Wall Street bankers, government officials (including all recent—and current—Federal Reserve Chairs), and foreign policy officials in both Republican and Democratic administrations, all of them identified as Zionists—with their net worth or current earnings listed,” Pfaff says. “I have twice received such videos in recent days, from totally unexpected sources. “It is potentially a powerful message. The message is that American Jews place their loyalty to Israel first. If Israel’s policies continue to send a message of unacceptable conduct, American-Israeli relations could suddenly become transformed,” the Chicago Tribune columnist concludes. Read the entire article
DEAD BANKSTERS & CHINA'S 30,000 TONS OF GOLD -- Alasdair Macleod
Citizenfour’s Escape to Freedom in Russia
In early September in Russia, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden told me about a documentary entitled Citizenfour, named after the alias he used when he asked filmmaker Laura Poitras to help him warn Americans about how deeply the NSA had carved away their freedoms.
When we spoke, Snowden seemed more accustomed to his current reality, i.e., still being alive albeit far from home, than he did in October 2013 when I met with him along with fellow whistleblowers Tom Drake, Coleen Rowley and Jesselyn Radack, as we presented him with the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.
A year ago, the four of us spent a long, relaxing evening with Snowden – and sensed his lingering wonderment at the irony-suffused skein of events that landed him in Russia, out of reach from the U.S. government’s long arm of “justice.”
Six days before we gave Snowden the award, former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden and House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers had openly expressed their view that Snowden deserved to be on the “list,” meaning the “capture or kill” list that could have made Snowden the target of a drone strike. When I asked him if he were aware of that recent indignity, he nodded yes – with a winsome wince of incredulity.
This September, there was no drone of Damocles hanging over the relaxed lunch that the two of us shared. There were, rather, happier things to discuss. For example, I asked if he were aware that one of his co-workers in Hawaii had volunteered to Andy Greenberg of Forbes Magazine that Snowden was admired by his peers as a man of principle, as well as a highly gifted geek.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Increased Patent Protection for Big Pharmaceutical Companies
The secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will increase patent protection for the benefit of big pharmaceutical companies, but are such policies really in the interests of global health?
Eradicating disease from the face of the Earth
There are many illnesses that I have never known in my life, but surely two of the most profound are smallpox and polio. Smallpox once killed 400,000 people annually in Europe alone, with as many as 500 million deaths worldwide attributed to the disease in the first 80 years of the 20th Century. Polio was once also endemic to most parts of the world. It killed, too, but also left sufferers – many of them children – with serious physical disabilities, including partial paralysis. Even in highly developed countries like the USA, tens of thousands of children contracted polio each year with scores forced into the dreaded “iron lung” just to keep breathing. Yet today polio exists in only a handful of countries.
These radical advances in global health are due to nothing more complicated than cheap medicine and extensive public health programs that owe more to the spirit of scientific discovery than mercantilism. Such advances often originate from unlikely sources.
In the late 18th century, Edward Jenner, a small-town English doctor, noticed that milkmaids rarely contracted smallpox. He soon came to the conclusion that this was because they were often infected with cowpox, a similar but less dangerous disease, as a result of their occupation, and that this immunized them against future infection. Jenner used this knowledge to develop a successful and safe vaccine against smallpox which he then refined and shared with others. The British government eventually awarded Jenner £30 000 to allow him to abandon his practice and focus on the vaccine. It was a generous gift, but could not have motivated the doctor – he had already made his discovery and shared his work before these awards were bestowed on him.
The history of polio is similar. A safe vaccine was developed against polio by research scientist Jonas Salk in 1955. Salk was funded by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now the March of Dimes) a group set-up by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to combat polio. When asked in an interview who owned the patent to his vaccine, Salk was taken aback, eventually responding, “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” Shortly thereafter Albert Sabin, co-operating with Russian scientists, came up with a cheaper oral polio vaccination that is now used in most of the developing world. He didn’t patent it, either.
Exposed! Ebola Czar Ron Klain Says "Overpopulation" Is Today's Biggest Problem!
FBI wants Congress to mandate backdoors in tech devices to facilitate surveillance
In response to announcements by Apple and Google that they would make the data customers store on their smartphones and computers more secure and safer from hacking by law enforcement, spies, and identity thieves, FBI director James Comey is asking Congress to order tech companies to build their devices with “backdoors,” making them more accessible to law enforcement agencies.Privacy advocates predict that few in Congress will support Comey’s quest for greater surveillance powers.
In response to announcements by Apple and Google that they would make the data customers store on their smartphones and computers more secure and safer from hacking by law enforcement, spies, and identity thieves, FBI director James Comey is asking Congress to order tech companies to build their devices with “backdoors,” making them more accessible to law enforcement agencies. Speaking at the Brookings Institution last Thursday, Comey said that police need new legislation to help them apprehend criminals who use encryption to hide incriminating evidence. “The FBI has a sworn duty to keep every American safe from crime and terrorism, and technology has become the tool of choice for some very dangerous people,” Comey said. “Unfortunately, the law hasn’t kept pace with technology, and this disconnect has created a significant public-safety problem.”
The 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) forces telephone companies to build surveillance technologies into their networks to allow law enforcement to install wiretaps. The law has not been updated and it does not apply to new technology including online forms of communication.
Privacy advocates predict that few in Congress will support Comey’s quest for greater surveillance powers. “I’d be surprised if more than a handful of members would support the idea of backdooring Americans’ personal property,” Senator Ron Wyden (D- Oregon) said.
Comey urged Congress to update CALEA to “create a level playing field” so new tech companies would have to provide police the same access to information that telephone providers like AT&T do. Comey’s proposal is already facing resistance from the tech industry, as many industry analysts point out that any backdoor for law enforcement could be exploited by hackers. Additionally, such a mandate would make American tech companies less competitive globally. “Who in Europe is going to buy these newly compromised cell phones if Congress insists that they be made with backdoors for U.S. law enforcement?” asked Greg Nojeim, a senior counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology. “It’s probably one of the worst job killers a member of Congress could propose.”
Ed Black, president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a group that represents top tech companies including Facebook and Google, said customers believe improving data security is a core function of technology companies, adding that the new encryptions are not marketing gimmicks. “It’s not like a new color on (the customer’s) phone,” he said. “It’s something that they think is essential to protecting their freedom, their lives, and their privacy.”
Comey said in his speech last Thursday that he understands the reasons for securing customer data, “but we have to find a way to help these companies understand what we need, why we need it, and how they can help, while still protecting privacy rights and providing network security and innovation. We need our private-sector partners to take a step back, to pause, and to consider changing course.”
In June, the House voted 293-123 to slash funds for National Security Agency projects that build vulnerabilities into security products, a sign that Congress is far from passing new legislation that makes U.S. tech products more vulnerable to hacking.
The ISIS rampage through Iraq and much of Syria, roiling Washington and other world capitals, gives rise to an interesting question: Who would win a contest to be named America’s most worthless Mideast ally? Competition is fierce, but three countries are clear frontrunners.
There is Saudi Arabia, whose princely emissaries to Washington have been confidants of presidents and fixtures on the Georgetown party circuit, a country whose rulers and princes possess seemingly unlimited amounts of discretionary income. They have used this wealth to subsidize worldwide the teaching of the most extremist and intolerant variants of Islam, but also to prop up the US defense industry by buying at every opportunity the most elaborate weapons systems we would sell them. It isn’t yet known whether Saudi pilots can actually effectively fly these advanced fighter aircraft under combat conditions. (There is sufficient evidence however that even relatively untrained Saudis can learn to steer a fully loaded 747 into a fixed ground target.)
What do the Saudis do with their shiny F-16′s and spanking new tanks? One might have hoped to see Saudi forces in action against ISIS—which really hasn’t had any success against a military formation that has been systematically trained and adequately armed. But this isn’t happening, probably because Saudi leaders realize that a great many Saudis (a majority?) actually agree with the ISIS ideology, and there is no guarantee they wouldn’t defect to ISIS if called upon to battle it. Among the best few sentences written since the onset of the crisis comes from veteran observer William Pfaff, who pointed to the stakes:
Moreover, is it fully appreciated in Washington that the “New Caliphate” has every intention of taking over the existing role in Islamic society of Saudi Arabia? It wants to conquer and occupy Mecca. If it succeeds, the Saudis themselves will be submitted to the ferocious discipline the ISIS practices. The Saudi ladies who now complain that they are not allowed to drive cars will find themselves in a new world indeed!
Then there is Turkey, an actual NATO member, a Muslim majority country which bridges Asia and Europe, a country with a considerable middle class and millions of educated and highly trained citizens. There are smart people in Washington and beyond who have held great hopes for Turkey: that it might solve the seemingly intractable riddle of how to combine Islam with modern democracy; that it might provide meaningful diplomatic support to the Palestinians; that it could both restrain America from disastrous blunders (as it tried to do in Iraq) and exert its growing influence on behalf of social and scientific progress in the region as a whole.
School children in the earliest grades knew the date and the names of the ships on which Columbus and his crew had sailed: the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria. They knew his voyage had been financed by Queen Isabella of Spain, after the Genoese Admiral of the Ocean Sea had been turned down by other monarchs of Europe.
Oct. 12, 1492, was considered a momentous and wonderful day in world history: the discovery of America–by men from Europe.
This year, Columbus Day passed almost without notice. And that Columbus Day has become an embarrassment to many and an issue of savage controversy to some reflects a receding belief in this country in the superiority of our civilization.
And, in truth, many explorers and conquerors like Columbus, Cortes, Magellan, Pizarro and the soldiers and sailors they led, engaged in acts we would call atrocities and war crimes.
Yet that is true of every great empire and great civilization. The ancient Greeks had slaves. Were the Romans not brutal conquerors? Ask the Carthaginians. The Spanish, British and French empires all have their own long chronicles of crimes against colonized peoples.