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Black Cat

Most 'transparent Administration ever' doctors and requires approval for quotes

Media outlets send snippets of interviews to White House officials, who tweak them before publication or prohibit their use entirely.

This is a story best told in quotes.

Here's newly sworn in President Obama, welcoming his senior staff to the White House in January of 2009:
I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness .... Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.
Heart

White Rose: Germans who tried to topple Hitler

Seventy years ago today, three German students were executed in Munich for leading a resistance movement against Hitler. Since then, the members of the White Rose group have become German national heroes - Lilo Furst-Ramdohr was one of them.

In 1943, World War II was at its height - but in Munich, the centre of Nazi power, a group of students had started a campaign of passive resistance.

Liselotte Furst-Ramdohr, already a widow at the age of 29 following her husband's death on the Russian front, was introduced to the White Rose group by her friend, Alexander Schmorell.

"I can still see Alex today as he told me about it," says Furst-Ramdohr, now a spry 99-year-old. "He never said the word 'resistance', he just said that the war was dreadful, with the battles and so many people dying, and that Hitler was a megalomaniac, and so they had to do something."
Cult

Pope Benedict XVI considers accelerating replacement process

pope ash wednesday
© Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI leads the Ash Wednesday service at the St. Peter's Basilica on Feb. 13.
Pope Benedict XVI is considering issuing a decree that would speed up the process of appointing his replacement.

By canon law, a papal conclave starts between 15 and 20 days after the papacy becomes vacant. But as The New York Times reports, that takes into account a papal funeral.

Benedict is stepping down. The Times reports Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Benedict is "taking into consideration" changing the rules by decree or Motu Proprio, the issuance of a personal document that has the ability to shift Church law.
Pistol

65 million guns bought since Obama took office, 91% more than Bush

sharks guns
According to data compiled by the FBI, the number of Americans purchasing guns has skyrocketed since Obama was elected. There have been 65,376,373 background checks completed for Americans purchasing firearms since February of 2009, the first full month of Barack Obama's presidency.

This totals 65,376,373 background checks completed since President Obama's first full month in office, or 44,748 background checks per day. By comparison, the number of background checks in Obama's first term is 91.1% higher than President George W. Bush's first-term total of 34,214,066.

Comment: Will those guns protect the freedoms of the American public? The answer lies in the following SOTT.net productions:

Liars, Gun Control and Money in a Culture of Violence
SOTT Talk Radio: Gun Control USA: Do Guns Protect Freedoms?

Stop

Texas bans shooting immigrants from helicopters

Officials in Texas announced on Thursday that State Troopers would no longer be allowed to open fire on suspects from helicopters after the recent killing of two immigrants.

While announcing the new policy, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw insisted that the ban on aerial shootings had nothing to do with the October 2012 death of two Guatemalan immigrants, who were gunned down by troopers in helicopter while they were hiding in the back of a speeding pickup truck near La Joya.
Snakes in Suits

'Snitch' filmmaker: Reagan-era drug laws keep prisons overflowing

Appearing Thursday night on Current TV's "The Young Turks," filmmaker Ric Roman Waugh, behind the new film "Snitch," explained that his movie is based on true events brought about in part by Reagan-era drug laws.

The film features Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the father of a young man facing jail time over a drug charge, unless he can give up one of his co-conspirators. Johnson instead proposes that in exchange for his son's freedom, he go undercover in gangland to root out a distributor, and prosecutors agree.

"They signed off on this, that actually happened," Waugh said. "I've seen the documents where the U.S. Attorney signed off on it."
Che Guevara

Locksmiths and firemen refuse to aid evictions in Spain

Locksmiths and firemen in Spain are rebelling against a wave of evictions in the economic crisis by refusing to help bailiffs open ruined homeowners' doors to throw them out.

"Families' lives were being ruined and we were acting as executioners," David Ormaechea, president of the Locksmiths Union, told AFP. "It was causing us tension and unease."

A wave of evictions of mortgage-holders ruined by the recession has prompted several suicides and sparked a protest movement that last week brought a motion to parliament for a law to end the procedure.

With the locksmiths refusing to take part, some authorities have been asking the fire service to step in and break open the doors of those resisting eviction.

On Tuesday in the northwestern city of A Coruna, firefighters were called to help evict an 85-year-old woman who had defaulted on her rent.
Fireball 2

The illusion of control: Meteorite explosion puts space on UN agenda

The UN released proposals for a response to the threat of objects from space impacting the Earth. DW looks at the implications of last week's meteorite explosion and what the UN could do for the space industry.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) released its recommendations for an international response to the threat of objects from space this week - five days after a large asteroid narrowly missed the Earth and a meteorite explosion caused significant damage in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The explosion of the 17-meter-long asteroid was 30 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to calculations by Peter Brown from Canada's University of Western Ontario.

Apart from identifying existing gaps in the work of identifying near-Earth objects (NEOs) that may pose a threat to the planet, the UNOOSA wants to form an International Asteroid Warning Network as well as a space missions planning advisory group.

© DPA
The meteorite that hit Chelyabinsk was unexpected - scientists did not have it on their radar
More UN involvement?

It is still too early to say whether the event in Chelyabinsk will increase international collaboration and lead to the formation of an organization to coordinate national space agencies. A meeting of the space agencies at Planetary Defense Conference in April will discuss the UN's proposals and make its own recommendations, according to Nicolas Bobrinsky, head of the European Space Agency's Space Situation Awareness (SSA) program.

"It would be extremely useful to have a forum where space agencies can meet under the forum and protection of the UN," he told DW.

Comment: Don't get us wrong, we are all for "raising the awareness of the [dangerousness] of the phenomena among the population and the politicians." The danger is real, and whatever happened in Chelyabinsk was just a small reminder of what may yet transpire. But, there are several factors that have to be considered. Factors that make us highly suspicious of the UN's and other politicians' intentions regarding the threat from space. As George Orwell's quote goes: "He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future." And there is enough evidence to indicate, that for quite a while the PTB's agenda was to keep the reality of cosmic threat under a tight lid in order to maintain the illusion of control.

Consider the following information:

Military Hush-Up: Incoming Space Rocks Now Classified

Objects apparently pass us by all the time and we don't notice them until they're here:

Bus-sized asteroid shaves Earth with one day's notice

Have you heard about Dark Comets? Imagine trying to track one of those!

We think what it comes down to is the fact there is no comprehensive, global, civilian Near Earth Object monitoring or tracking system. Lots of programs have been floated over the decades; some take off, but most flop, usually because of a lack of funding. The space threat just wasn't taken seriously enough. The renowned astrophysicist Victor Clube and others tried to warn them but our Dear Leaders didn't see any profit in it. Instead, the scientific funding, research and technology were all funneled into sustaining the Cold War, and when that ended, the War on Terror. Perhaps it will change, but we are not holding our breath.

Read the following articles and listen to our radio broadcast to learn more on the topic:

SOTT Talk Radio: Cosmic Catastrophe, Drones and Social Hysteria
Celestial Intentions: Comets and the Horns of Moses
Fireball explodes over Russian city: Widespread panic and structural damage, Thousand people injured
Russian meteor - Another shock to the system

Dollar

Activists press for additional $25 billion in fines against BP over Gulf oil spill

BP should be on the hook for an additional $25bn to restore environmental damage from the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, even if the company is hit with a record-breaking $17.6bn in fines at a civil trial next week, campaign groups said on Thursday.

BP will face the largest environmental fines in US history in a civil trial in New Orleans next week. The proceedings, which are expected to last until the fall, will apportion blame for the 2010 disaster between the oil company and its partners on the blown-out well, and assess fines based on how much crude oil actually flowed into the Gulf of Mexico.

John Kostyack, vice-president of wildlife conservation for the National Wildlife Federation, said BP should be held accountable for additional damage to the coast and waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

"If you look at about $25bn, that at least gets you in the right scale of payments," adding that he had based his calculations on the environmental damage assessments that followed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska and then scaled up, in terms of barrels of oil spilled and inflation, to apply his findings to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Courtney Taylor of the Environmental Defence Fund also called on the judge to impose the maximum fine on BP. "Any trial or resolution of this case needs to be at the high end," she said.
Newspaper

Shock CDC Study: Flu vaccine ineffective in 91% of seniors

A study released today by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows shockingly low rates of effectiveness for this year's flu vaccine.

According to the report, the flu vaccine was effective for only 9% of seniors over 65 years old. In other words, 91% of seniors in the study who were vaccinated still ended up getting the flu.

The CDC showed somewhat better results for younger persons. They claimed that the flu vaccine was effective for 58% of those aged 6 months-17 years, 46% for persons aged 18 - 49 years, and 50% for persons aged 50 - 64 years.

Overall, the CDC claimed this year's flu vaccine was "moderately effective" and made the unprovable claim that "influenza vaccination reduced the risk for medical visits resulting from influenza A and B by 56%."

But since young people generally have stronger immune systems than seniors it's unclear how many of the younger test subjects would not have gotten the flu whether they were vaccinated or not.
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