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Mon, 08 Feb 2016
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More taxes: US proposes $10 per barrel oil fee to fund clean transportation initiative

The White House proposed a $10 per barrel fee to be paid by oil companies in order to fund a new Clean Transportation initiative, according to a Thursday press release.

President Barack Obama's transportation proposal is intended to curb greenhouse gas emissions, combat climate change, and reduce the US dependency on oil. If the program goes into effect, the fee on oil companies would be phased in over the course of five years.

"So to meet our needs in the future, we have to make significant investments across all modes of transportation...That is why we are proposing to fund these investments through a new $10 per barrel fee on oil paid by oil companies," the White House said.

The United States consumed nearly 7 billion barrels of petroleum products in 2014, or approximately 19.11 million barrels per day, according to the US Energy Information Agency.

Comment: Of course this fee will be passed on to the people by raising the gasoline prices.


False promises: Trans Pacific Partnership 'benefits' are strictly for the corporations

Boosters of 'free trade' agreements - like the Trans Pacific Partnership that's being signed today - like to make big promises, writes Pete Dolack: trillions of dollars of economic gains, billions of dollars of investment, millions of new jobs. But there's only one certainty, and it's one they never mention: the permanent redistribution of power and income from working people to capital.

So-called 'free trade' agreements are continually advertised as creators of jobs, yet jobs are lost and wages decline once they go into effect.

As representatives of the 12 countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership gather today in New Zealand to sign the agreement, the usual unsubstantiated claims are being put forth.


Nestle's ties to the Michigan water crisis

© AP Photo/Al Goldis
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, center, meets with senior staff to begin his first morning as governor, his chief of staff Dennis Muchmore, right. is married to Nestle’s Michigan spokesperson Deb Muchmore. Jan. 3, 2011, in Lansing, Mich.
As celebrities, corporations and citizens alike donates thousands of gallons of bottled water to the lead-poisoned residents of Flint, Michigan, Nestle, one of the world's largest manufacturers of bottled water, has come under fire for its ties to the state's water woes.

The global food and drink giant teamed up with Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi to deliver up to 6.5 million bottles of water to 10,000 school students in Flint. Celebrities including Madonna and Jimmy Fallon have pledged tens of thousands of dollars toward relief efforts.

Although Nestle controls over 70 bottled water brands, some local activists are pushing back against the company's involvement in relief efforts. On Sunday, New Era Detroit published a warning: "On the behalf of New Era Detroit we ask that you not purchase Nestle's or Ice Mountain bottle (sic) water which is owned by Nestle."

Comment: Nestle is heavily invested in sucking the world dry. They won't be satisfied until the world is parched and they own the only spigot.

Snakes in Suits

Jeb Bush begs crowd to "please clap" after giving yawn-inducing speech

Jeb Bush speaks to supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire
Struggling Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was forced to politely ask a group of supporters to applaud for him on Wednesday after a rant about his ability to lead the country was met with complete silence.

Speaking at an event in Manchester, New Hampshire on Wednesday, Bush lashed out at GOP hopeful Donald Trump, and promised not to be a divisive president.

"My pledge to you, I will be a commander-in-chief that will have the back of the military," he said. "I won't trash talk, I won't be a divider-in-chief or an agitator-in-chief. I won't be out there blowharding, talking a big game without backing it up."

"I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter, but send a signal that we're prepared to act in the national security interest of this country," Bush added. "To get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world."

Bush paused, waiting for approval from the crowd. But instead, he was met with an awkward silence.

"Please clap," the candidate said, looking demoralized.

The crowd obliged.


Western aggression: US has its military force closer to Russia than it did during Cold War

The decision to quadruple its military presence in Europe puts the US at its highest risk of a nuclear war with Russia, since the Cuban missile crisis of the early 1960s, as during the entire history of the mutual relationship it has never placed its military forces so close to Russia, according to Professor Stephen F. Cohen.

Referring to the recently announced US plan to quadruple its military presence in Europe, political analyst Professor Stephen F. Cohen called it an unprecedented and very dangerous provocation.

"We have never put our military force so close to Russia in the history going back to the 18th century," he said during the John Batchelor Show.

"During the last Cold War our military presence ended in West Berlin. Now we are militarily right on Russia's borders, at a minimum, in the three Baltic countries, Romania and Poland."


Monolithic and Ruthless Conspiracy: The West's Obliteration of Yemen by Covert Means

© Unknown
In August, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, declared after visiting the country: "Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years."
Saudi Arabia's unilateral blockade of Yemen since late March 2015 has caused a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions in the Arabian peninsula. It is extremely difficult for journalists, aid workers and diplomats to access the country, but from the little information that does leak out, it is clear the situation there is dire. From a population of 25 million - about the same as Syria's pre-2011 - at least 16 million Yemenis are without clean water, there is a critical shortage of medicine, and 6.5 million civilians are at risk of starvation, including 1.7 million children presently at risk of malnutrition. Peter Maurer, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said after visiting the country last August: "Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years."

Widespread aerial bombardment by air forces of the Saudi and Gulf states - with significant direct and indirect military assistance from the US and UK - has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians. During a press briefing early this year, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that "the number of civilian casualties recorded between 26 March and 31 December, 2015 [is] 8,119 people, including 2,795 killed and 5,324 wounded." However, Dr. Judith Brown, who worked in Yemen for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, points out that the death toll resulting from this military intervention is probably much higher than reported.

Light Sabers

Pepe Escobar: Why Erdogan, the Sultan of Chaos, is freaking out

© Abdalrhman Ismail / Reuters
Residents inspect damage after airstrikes by pro-Syrian government forces in Anadan city, about 10 kilometers away from the towns of Nubul and Zahraa, Northern Aleppo countryside, Syria February 3, 2016
Picture sleepless nights at 'Sultan' Erdogan's palace in Ankara. Imagine him livid when he learns the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), backed by Russian air power, started a preemptive Battle of Aleppo - through the Bayirbucak region - cutting off Ankara's top weaponizing corridor and Jihadi highway.

Who controls this corridor will control the final outcome of the war in Syria.

Meanwhile, in Geneva, the remote-controlled Syrian opposition, a.k.a. High Negotiations Committee, graphically demonstrated they never wanted to meet with the Damascus delegation in the first place - "proximity" talks or otherwise, even after Washington and Moscow roughly agreed on a two-year transition plan leading to a theoretically secular, nonsectarian Syria.

The Saudi front wanted no less than Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam and all Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria, collaborators at the table in Geneva. So the Geneva charade, quicker than one can say "Road to Aleppo!" was exposed for what it is.


Telling it like it is: Top German broadcaster says news agencies take orders from government

A retired media boss at a major German state broadcaster has admitted his network and others take orders from the government on what — and what not — to report.

National public service broadcaster Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), which was recently forced into a humiliating apology for their silence on migrant violence and sex assault is being drawn into a fresh scandal after one of their former bureau chiefs admitted the company takes orders from the government on what it reports. He said journalists received instructions to write news that would be "to Ms. Merkel's liking".

Former head of ZDF Bonn Dr. Wolfgang Herles make the remarks during a radio event (from minute 27) in Berlin where journalists discussed the media landscape. Moving on to the freedom of the press, the panel chair asked Dr. Herles whether things in Germany had got "seriously out of whack". With an honesty perhaps unusual in Germany, Dr. Herles replied that ordinary Germans were totally losing faith in the media, something he called a "scandal". He said:
"We have the problem that - now I'm mainly talking about the public [state] media - we have a closeness to the government. Not only because commentary is mainly in line with the grand coalition (CSU, CDU, and SPD), with the spectrum of opinion, but also because we are completely taken in by the agenda laid down by the political class".

Comment: The propaganda exposed in the German media is illustrative of what poses for objective news in most of the Western mainstream press, which has always been controlled by those in power. They continue to get away with such egregious propaganda by continually exploiting fear and xenophobia, keeping people so distracted and stressed that they are unable or unwilling to see the man behind the curtain.

Eye 1

Fascist Turkey requests all civil servants to report insults against Erdogan and top officials to police

© Umit Bektas / Reuters
The governor's office in Isparta, southwestern Turkey, has reportedly sent a request to all state institutions in the province instructing staff to report cases of "insulting" President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other top officials straight to the police.

Insulting the president is considered a crime in Turkey and the punishment can be up to four years in jail.

"According to Articles 299 and 125 of the Turkish Penal Code [TCK], an action must be taken for the posts [on social media] including insults against our president and other senior government officials, which have increased lately in direct proportion to the increase in terror activities in our country," the notification, signed by Isparta Deputy Governor Fevzi Güneş on behalf of Isparta Governor Vahdettin Özkan, stated, Today's Zaman reported.

The government began its crackdown on Kurdish fighters from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), outlawed by Ankara, last July. Turkey's authorities maintain those killed during the security operation in the southeast were all PKK members. According to Turkish human rights groups, however, more than 160 civilians were killed during the government offensive.

President Erdogan has publicly vowed to continue the operation until the area is cleansed of Kurdish militants. Kurds have long been campaigning for the right to self-determination and greater autonomy in Turkey, where they are the largest ethnic minority.

Comment: Maybe the rest of the world can help the Turkish people by insulting the pusillanimous fascist Erdogan wherever they see fit. The guy is plainly a psychopath and should be tarred and feathered and tied to a flagpole in the center of town so people can throw rotten tomatoes at him.

Snakes in Suits

Turkey blocks Russian flight in violation of Open Skies Treaty

© Flickr/ Dmitry Terekhov
Ankara has violated the Open Skies Treaty by not allowing Russian inspectors to conduct a scheduled inspection flight over the Turkish territory, a move that Moscow will not leave without proper response, the Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

Russian inspectors were scheduled to perform an observation flight on board the An-30B plane over the Turkish territory within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty on February 1-5.

"The itinerary included the observation of areas adjacent to the Turkish border with Syria, as well as airfields that host NATO warplanes. However, after the arrival of the Russian mission to Turkey and the announcement of the desired itinerary, the Turkish military officials refused to allow the inspection flight citing an order from the Turkish Foreign Ministry," head of the ministry's National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Sergey Ryzhkov said in a statement.

Ryzhkov called the Turkish move "a dangerous precedent of uncontrolled military activity carried out by a member of the Open Skies Treaty. "We are not going to leave this violation of the treaty by Turkey without proper attention and adequate response," the official stressed.