Alarm Clock

Karzai suspects U.S. is behind Taliban attacks, Afghan officials say

An Afghan driver looks out from a broken windshield after a recent suicide bombing outside a Lebanese restaurant in Kabul that left 21 dead.
Kabul - President Hamid Karzai has frequently accused the U.S. military of causing civilian casualties in its raids. But behind the scenes, he has been building a far broader case against the Americans, suggesting that they may have aided or conducted shadowy insurgent-style attacks to undermine his government, according to senior Afghan officials.

Karzai has formalized his suspicions with a list of dozens of attacks that he believes the U.S. government may have been involved in, according to one palace official. The list even includes the recent bomb and gun assault on a Lebanese restaurant in Kabul, one of the bloodiest acts targeting the international community in Afghanistan, the official said. The attack, which left 21 people dead, including three Americans, was almost universally attributed to the Taliban.

Comment: "almost universally" meaning the Western mainstream media.

But Karzai believes it was one of many incidents that may have been planned by Americans to weaken him and foment instability in Afghanistan, according to the senior palace official, who is sympathetic to the president's view and spoke on the condition of anonymity. He acknowledged that his government had no concrete evidence of U.S. involvement and that the American role had not been formally confirmed.

Polar vortex and food stamp cuts create perfect storm of hunger

The freezing temperatures across the country mean higher heating costs for everyone. Many low-income families are struggling with this increase in prices. They are already under the strain of trying to afford food.

Last year 47 million hungry Americans lost food stamp benefits, and Congress may be bringing more cuts to the table. Needy families are placed in the awful situation of having to choose between heat or food.

The combination of this winter's "polar vortex" with the cuts in food stamps has created a perfect storm of increasing hunger in America.

Feeding America's CEO Bob Aiken says, "The high cost of heat this winter due to prolonged and brutal cold spells will strain many household budgets and send more people to food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency-food charities."

In a study released prior to the cold spell, Feeding America said about 46 percent of its clients "report choosing between paying for food and paying for heating fuel or other utilities." With the massive drop in temperatures this winter, this figure is likely much higher.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, temperatures have been in the single digits or below zero multiple days this month. Sarah Cook of the Freestore FoodBank says, "We are seeing more people right now because of utility issues. "

However, the Freestore and other food banks across the country face dwindling donations following the holidays, making it tougher to keep up with any increase in demand. In addition, with the cuts in food stamps, hungry Americans are turning to food banks for more support than ever. Food banks, even with the generosity of its donors, cannot make up the difference for major cuts in federal food aid.


America's real welfare queens

No only do Zombie Corporations and Zombie Banks not actually produce anything useful for the real economy, they just take and take and take from it...
When Republicans talk about "welfare queens," they're really talking about their buddies in big banks, Big Oil, and giant transnational corporations. It's time to cut off the corporate welfare pipeline, and use those billions of dollars to help our economy recover, and to help those Americans who need it the most.

Working age Americans are the majority of people on food stamps for the first time

Food Stamps

When people ask me to describe the state of the U.S. economy, what I always say is that it can best characterized as an ongoing state-sanctioned theft. This theft consists of the 0.01% oligarch class intentionally leveraging a corrupt monetary and political system in order to funnel all of the wealth of the non-oligarch rich and middle-class upward to them. The underclasses are kept quiet and in-line via food stamps and other forms of so-called "welfare."

In reality, I have frequently maintained that food stamps are actually corporate welfare and that the stock market represents food stamps for the 1%. The entire economy is a gigantic bait and switch in which a handful of people rape and pillage everyone else.

With unemployment and GDP statistics hopelessly manipulated, we must look at other data points in order to gain an understanding of how things really stand. Data related to food stamp rolls is one way to gain real insight into the true state of the U.S. economy.

In an excellent article from the Associate Press, we learn several things.
  • For the first time ever, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps.
  • Food stamp participation since 1980 has grown the fastest among workers with some college training.
  • By education, about 28 percent of food stamp households are headed by a person with at least some college training, up from 8 percent in 1980.
More from the Associated Press:

Cops Kill More Americans than have been killed in Iraq‏

Over 5,000 people have been killed in the US by police - more than the number of US soldiers that have fallen during the Iraq war over the last 10 years. The figure seems to reflect the increased militarization of police and, shockingly, means that you are 29 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist. We discuss the figures in this Buzzsaw news clip with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace.

Watch the full episode here.

Comment: The question and answer that inevitably surface bear repeating:
What might the end result be if the distinction between police and military ceases to exist? The answer is a police state - and certain segments of our society are already living in one.
Militarization of local police means that now cops kill 8 times more Americans than terrorists do
The Militarization of America
The dangerous militarization of our local police forces
Release Us - Mini film


Bulgaria is on the verge of collapse, and right-wing extremism is on the rise

On the evening of November 9, half a dozen heavily intoxicated Bulgarian skinheads set out for a house in the center of the capital, Sofia, where a group of Syrian refugees had found shelter. They broke its front door and windows, and when driven away by the frightened inhabitants they vented their rage on an ethnic Turkish Bulgarian who happened to be passing nearby - and whom they later said they mistook for a Syrian - sending him to the hospital with a badly fractured skull and multiple other injuries. A group of locals sitting at a nearby cafe called the police as they watched the victim's blood splash on the pavement, but according to local news only one bystander attempted, unsuccessfully, to intervene.

Xenophobic attacks such as this one have become an almost daily reality in Bulgaria, where political and economic turmoil have created a widespread crisis of confidence. With more than six months of continuous daily protests in front of the Parliament, students barricaded in Sofia's main university since October, and a rising tide of ultranationalism and intolerance, many fear that the European Union's poorest member will collapse.ary
Light Sabers

Violence in Ukraine: Rioters storm local admin building, beat police

Comment: For an issue that started with President Viktor Yanukovych refusing to sign an agreement with the EU and instead taking steps to move closer to Russia while getting cheap gas from them, it seems that the violence of the riots is over the top. People will not move to such extremes unless they have to endure unbearable life conditions - or are inspired by agents provocateurs. Therefore, either the support base of the opposition has grievances that have gone unreported, or the rioters are not really representing the people but have a different agenda.

Disturbing footage from Ukraine shows violence spiraling out of control during anti-government protests, with rioters attacking and capturing policemen standing their ground. The Interior Ministry has hinted at a tough response if the unrest continues.

Western media exploded with outrage at the abuse of a Ukrainian rioter who was stripped naked and mocked by the police for "particularly accurate" petrol bomb throwing. However, few outlets have highlighted the violence coming from those on the other side of the barricades.

On Saturday, protesters in the city of Vinnitsa occupied the city council building, breaking a feeble cordon of interior troops. A triumphant mob cheered and poured into the building as the doors flung open, only to find that more police were blocking the stairs to the upper floors.

Ukraine riots
© Reuters
Anti-government protesters hold flags on the balconies of the regional administration headquarters as they attempt to take over during a rally in the town of Vinnytsia, some 200 km (124 miles) southwest of Kiev January 25, 2014.

Comment: For some ideas and context, see:

'Revolution' in Ukraine - Cui bono? Warhawk John McCain addresses demonstrations

False flag attack unravelling? Ukraine opposition tied to reporter's attack says police

Ukraine's Prosecutor General warn protesters to halt "mass rioting", a crime against the state

Ukraine Violence Escalates: Kiev is a battlefield; Ultimatum issued to President

Fears of civil war as Ukraine protests turn radical and bloody


Is our Sun falling silent? Prepare for an impending Ice Age

"I've been a solar physicist for 30 years, and I've never seen anything quite like this," says Richard Harrison, head of space physics at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

He shows me recent footage captured by spacecraft that have their sights trained on our star. The Sun is revealed in exquisite detail, but its face is strangely featureless.

"If you want to go back to see when the Sun was this inactive... you've got to go back about 100 years," he says.

This solar lull is baffling scientists, because right now the Sun should be awash with activity.

Comment: Not complicated enough, if one is to spend time educating oneself on this topic.

Here's what is known to us so far: The surface of the planet was, for a period of time (as reported in numerous stories back some 5/6 years ago) actually warming. There were reports of many hot-spots in various places, in some cases, hot enough to ignite. This is now being countered by surface cooling due to other factors, like global dimming/induction of colder air, etc. This heating of the lithosphere is probably due to the slowing of rotation which generates internal heat between the lithosphere and the mantle, and leads to increased volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, sinkholes, etc, and is probably also responsible for many of the strange sounds.

It is the upper atmosphere - the stratosphere - that is cooling and that is the reason for sun pillars, rings around the sun, double/triple/quadruple images of the sun, contrails, etc.

Volcanic dust does not heat the upper atmosphere by "trapping heat" in the stratosphere. That the stratosphere is colder and has dropped lower has been reported by scientists, though that information gets sidelined. The AGW folks would LOVE people to believe that nonsense.

Then, there is the comet dust/smoke in the upper atmosphere that further contributes to the cooling as you can see from the dramatic increase in noctilucent clouds.

At the same time that is going on, the quiescent sun and the earth's weakened magnetic field allow more cosmic radiation to reach the troposphere where it forms cloud nuclei and increases precipitation from the increased evaporation from the oceans caused by the increasing heat within the earth caused by the slowing of rotation.

These are all the conditions for the initiation of an ICE AGE: heat at the lower levels, troposphere where "weather" takes place, extreme cold at the upper levels of the atmosphere, which can then create interesting effects including polar vortices.


Marijuana for the Masses: Legalized cannabis and why the government wants us to go to pot

"By this time the soma had begun to work. Eyes shone, cheeks were flushed,
the inner light of universal benevolence broke out on every face
Daily or almost daily marijuana use in the past year and past month among persons aged 12 or older: 2002-2012
in happy, friendly smiles." - Aldous Huxley's
Brave New World, 1932

On Jan. 1, Colorado legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. In 2012, Washington State legalized marijuana; the State will begin permitting pot shops this spring. Alaska may vote on a marijuana ballot measure in August, while advocates are working for legalized pot in Oregon, Arizona and Massachusetts.

A public announcement from Colorado should say: "Be calm. Feel free to become distracted. Do not focus on how miserable you are or the fact that for the first time in 70 years, middle-class job opportunities have seized up." Then they could ask: "Are you ready for some football?"
Stock Down

Actual U.S. unemployment is 37.2%, not "6.7%", record number of households on food stamps in 2013

girl pays for her mother's groceries using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) tokens
© Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFP
A girl pays for her mother's groceries using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) tokens, more commonly known as Food Stamps, at the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square on September 18, 2013 in New York City.
As the White House proclaims a recovery is occurring, and the stock market has a head of steam, millions of Americans and their dependents are being left out of the recovery, according to a set of economic indicators.

Perhaps the most worrying yet least reported aspect of the so-called US recovery involves the national labor picture. Although the official US unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, this figure obscures the reality, according to an influential Wall Street adviser.

In a leaked memo to clients, David John Marotta calculates the actual unemployment rate of Americans out of work at an astronomic 37.2 percent, as opposed to the 6.7 percent claimed by the Federal Reserve.

"The unemployment rate only describes people who are currently working or looking for work," he said.

"Unemployment in its truest definition, meaning the portion of people who do not have any job, is 37.2 percent. This number obviously includes some people who are not or never plan to seek employment. But it does describe how many people are not able to, do not want to or cannot find a way to work," he and colleague Megan Russell reveal in their client report, which was leaked to the Washington Examiner.