Puppet Masters


Cairo massacre: 9/11 Dominos continue to fall. What Muslim will ever trust the ballot box again?

Cairo massacre
© AP
A supporter of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi
This marks a tragic turning point, from which it will take Egypt years to recover

The Egyptian crucible has broken. The "unity" of Egypt - that all-embracing, patriotic, essential glue that has bound the nation together since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952 and the rule of Nasser - has melted amid the massacres, gun battles and fury of yesterday's suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood. A hundred dead - 200, 300 "martyrs" - makes no difference to the outcome: for millions of Egyptians, the path of democracy has been torn up amid live fire and brutality. What Muslim seeking a state based on his or her religion will ever trust the ballot box again?

This is the real story of today's bloodbath. Who can be surprised that some Muslim Brotherhood supporters were wielding Kalashnikovs on the streets of Cairo? Or that supporters of the army and its "interim government" - in middle-class areas of the capital, no less - have seized their weapons or produced their own and started shooting back. This is not Brotherhood vs army, though that is how our Western statesmen will mendaciously try to portray this tragedy. Today's violence has created a cruel division within Egyptian society that will take years to heal; between leftists and secularists and Christian Copts and Sunni Muslim villagers, between people and police, between Brotherhood and army. That is why Mohamed el-Baradei resigned tonight. The burning of churches was an inevitable corollary of this terrible business.

Military deployed in Cairo to confront Muslim Brotherhood "Friday of anger," protest

Egyptian army soldiers
© (Hassan Ammar/AP)
Egyptian army soldiers take their positions on top and next to their armored vehicles while guarding an entrance to Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013.
Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters have taken to the streets in several Cairo neighbourhoods and elsewhere in Egypt in defiance of the military-imposed state of emergency.

The protesters poured out of the mosques after Friday prayers, responding to the group's call for protests following the deaths of hundreds of people Wednesday when riot police backed by armoured vehicles, snipers and bulldozers smashed the two sit-ins in Cairo where ousted President Mohammed Morsi's supporters had been camped out for six weeks to demand his reinstatement.

Comment: The nationwide civilian death toll rose Thursday to 578, 318 of them in Cairo and 260 in other parts of Egypt. 42 members of the security forces also were killed in the clashes.The bloodshed is likely to continue with additional reports that the Egypt's military-backed government authorized security forces to fire live ammunition against opponents.


Canadian Senate spending scandal widens: Top auditor to review investigation

Auditor General Michael Ferguson
© (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Auditor General Michael Ferguson is said to have made his plans to audit every senator clear while meeting with a Senate sub-committee on August 13, 2013.
Canada's Auditor-General is pushing forward with a review of the expenses of each senator, widening an investigation into the Senate spending controversy that has shaken the Prime Minister's Office.

Auditor-General Michael Ferguson, who was called in by the Senate two months ago, is expected to review all the office and travel expenses of each of Canada's 100 senators, according to Senate sources. However, his audit's timeline is unclear, as is how far back the audit will go.
Green Light

Canadian Pacific rejects order to pay for Lac-Mégantic rail disaster cleanup

Canadian Pacific Railway locomotives
© (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
Canadian Pacific Railway locomotives are shuffled around a marshalling yard in Calgary in 2012. The railway is rejecting a legal demand by the Quebec government that it help fund the cleanup of Lac-Mégantic.
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. says it holds no financial responsibility for the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster and has rejected a legal demand by the Quebec government that it help pay for the cleanup in the devastated town.

The railway announced Thursday that it will appeal the province's legal order.

The news came one day after the provincial government added CPR to a list of defendants it says are responsible for picking up the tab in Lac-Mégantic, where a train derailed on July 6 and dumped millions of litres of crude oil into the environment.
Bad Guys

Egypt vows lethal response ahead of nationwide 'March of anger'

egypt protest
© AFP Photo/Engy Imad
Egyptian riot police move in to disperse supporters of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi from a protest camp in Cairo's Al-Nahda square on August 14, 2013.
The bloodiest in decade's violence in Egypt has been condemned by the UN Security Council. Meanwhile Egyptian law enforcement has been ordered to use deadly force to prevent further riots as the Muslim Brotherhood is bracing for a "march of anger."

"The view of council members is that it is important to end violence in Egypt and that the parties exercise maximum restraint," Argentine UN Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval told reporters after an emergency closed session of the body. "There was a common desire on the need to stop violence and to advance national reconciliation."

Earlier US president Barack Obama cancelled joint military exercises with Egypt showing the displeasure with current situation, although not cutting off US military aid to the country.

"The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government and security forces," Obama said, prompting Egyptian government to fire back saying that his accusations were groundless.

"The presidency fears statements not based on facts may encourage violent armed groups," Egypt's interim office said in a statement. "Egypt is facing terrorist acts aimed at government institutions and vital installations."

'War zone': Scores killed in Egypt violence, month long state of emergency proclaimed

A state of emergency was declared on Wednesday after Egyptian security forces violently broke up sit-in camps of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo. Officials say at least 281 have been killed nationwide.

There are conflicting casualty reports. According to the Health Ministry, at least 281 people including 43 policemen have been killed and 2,001 injured in Wednesday's violence nationwide.

"The dead are both from police and civilians," said the ministry's spokesman, Hamdi Abdel Karim.

However, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad claimed that as many as 2,000 people had been killed and 10,000 injured in the police operation.

Both major protest camps in Cairo were taken control of by police, with the second one being seized about an hour after a curfew was announced.

The 7:00 pm-to-6:00 am curfew was imposed in major cities including Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. It will last for the next month, or until further notice.

Following the violence, a month-long state of emergency was announced in the country, with the Armed Forces authorized to support the Interior Ministry in imposing it.
Stock Down

Monsanto: A food stock with a bad aftertaste

As a growth investor with a long-term focus on stocks, it's just as important to know what stocks to avoid as it is to know which ones to invest in. Most growth trends don't last forever and you don't want to be stuck holding the bag when growth disappears or reverses. And perhaps even better, if you're willing to short sell stocks that you believe are negatively exposed to an industry change, you can add a margin of safety to your portfolio in the short term while potentially improving your long term returns.

Normally I write about traditional technology stocks and trends, but you may not realize that what we feed ourselves and our families has a lot of biotechnology baked into it. I'm a firm believer that the generally poor quality of the food we eat, as a population, is the root cause of the vast majority of illness. The food industry, like any other, is about scale and efficiency. But when it comes to food, the techniques used to produce it in higher quantities and at lower cost have plenty of people scared about a tradeoff in quality.

U.S., Russia, China all torture prisoners

The three most powerful nations all operate prison systems that are places of sadism, sickness, and madness unfit for human habitation, much less human reformation.

They also lead the world with astonishing rates of imprisonment far higher than in other industrialized nations. "The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people is the (world's) highest, followed by 611 in Russia," Reuters reports. Compare the above rates with the following nations: Spain, 149; Canada, 114; Australia, 103; The Netherlands, 82; Germany, 80; Norway, 71; Denmark, 68; Sweden, 67; Finland, 60; and Japan, 54.

America has 2.3 million souls behind bars; China ranks second with 1.5 million, and Russia places third with 870,000---a figure Deputy Justice Minister Yury Kalinin says actually is closer to 2 million. Whatever, all three inflict gruesome tortures on their prisoners.

To begin with, one permanent misery that equals torture is overcrowding. California is fighting a U.S. Supreme Court order to slash a prison population 46% over capacity: 119,000 human beings stuffed into 33 prisons. It's a story repeated over and again nationally---in Alabama, Illinois, ad nauseum.

Comment: See also:


New York Times takes down the Clinton Foundation: Could be devastating for Bill and Hillary

Clinton Foundations
© The Telegraph
An internal review of the Clinton Foundations' workings has proved troubling
Is the New York Times being guest edited by Rush Limbaugh? Today it runs with a fascinating takedown of the Clinton Foundation - that vast vanity project that conservatives are wary of criticising for being seen to attack a body that tries to do good. But the liberal NYT has no such scruples. The killer quote is this:
For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.
Over a year ago Bill Clinton met with some aides and lawyers to review the Foundation's progress and concluded that it was a mess. Well, many political start-ups can be, especially when their sole selling point is the big name of their founder (the queues are short at the Dan Quayle Vice Presidential Learning Center). But what complicated this review - what made its findings more politically devastating - is that the Clinton Foundation has become about more than just Bill. Now both daughter Chelsea and wife, and likely presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton have taken on major roles and, in the words of the NYT "efforts to insulate the foundation from potential conflicts have highlighted just how difficult it can be to disentangle the Clintons' charity work from Mr Clinton's moneymaking ventures and Mrs Clinton's political future." Oh, they're entangled alright.
Eye 1

Oliver Stone: Barack Obama is a "snake" for his role in NSA spying programs

Oliver Stone
© Getty Images
Film director Oliver Stone speaks before press in Tokyo on August 12, 2013.
Film director Oliver Stone - who has made no secret of his liberal political views - called President Barack Obama a "snake" for his role in National Security Agency spying programs that have become, he said, more about silencing protestors than finding terrorists.

"Obama is a snake," Stone told an audience in Tokyo on Monday. "He's a snake. And we have to turn on him."

"The Boston Marathon, they were so busy tracking down potential protestors...that they missed the bombers," Stone told the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. "It's never about terrorists, it always becomes about the way J. Edgar Hoover did it; he brought all the weight of government to bear against protestors. He didn't like protestors. He thought they were left-wing communists. He never could find the proof, but by the time the Vietnam War came around, as you know, 500,000 people were on the list, and they were being eavesdropped on. And where are we now? Same place."