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Wed, 10 Feb 2016
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Snakes in Suits

A neurologist explains why it's hard to look at Ted Cruz's creepy 'unsettling' face

As he has risen in the polls, more attention is being paid to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's overall electability as a man who looks, as one fellow Princeton classmate described him: "about as telegenic as an undertaker."

The answer as to why so many people dislike the Texas Republican instinctively is one that intrigued Dr. Richard E. Cytowic, a professor of neurology at George Washington University.

Sheriff

Texas town sees FBI arrest nearly every elected official for corruption

© KENS 5
The FBI and local law enforcement agencies investigate officials in Crystal City Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016.
Only two of the elected officials in a remote Texas town were left unscathed after the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) arrested six members under a federal indictment that accuses them of taking bribes and helping an illegal gambling operator in exchange for favors, the Associated Press reported. Those arrested in Crystal City, Texas include the mayor, the city attorney who is also the city manager, two current councilmen, and a former councilman.

"The indictment alleges that these public officials and this businessman solicited and accepted bribes in exchange for official action, such as voting to award city contracts to, waive certain tax payments by, and conduct certain inspections to give unfair advantage to those paying bribes," Richard Durbin, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, said in a press release. One of the two remaining top officials was previously arrested on federal charges of smuggling immigrants across the southern U.S. border.

Card - VISA

American economy on the skids - a personal glimpse


Announcing the latest in financial engineering: The all-new short-term revolving-loan-financed margin trading account
Margin trading takes on a whole new dimension in the hand-to-mouth U.S. of A

A little break from Russia's economic crisis and adventures in Syria...

I called one of my credit cards for some routine matter. Before letting me go, the company's representative on the phone made a pitch, evidently reading from some kind of script or talking points.

It went as follows:

Phone rep: Thanks again so much for your business. I notice your available credit (amount one can spend on the card) is quite high. We're offering a special where you can get a cash transfer direct to your bank account, zero interest for 13 months. I know a lot of our customers have been calling in and using that to pay taxes or make investments.

Me: Oh yeah? What's the interest on that?

Phone rep: Well, it's zero interest for thirteen months. It's a really great offer we're able to make. Also there's a four percent transaction fee, minimum of ten dollars.

Me: OK, and after that?

Phone rep: Well that would be 14.35 percent annually. But you can pay if off within 13 months and not pay any interest. It's a great way that a lot of customers have been using to pay taxes or make investments.

Me: So basically, my investment that I'm funding with your money... If I want to pay you in full after 13 months plus let's say one year, paying just interest during that year... Given your transaction fee, I'd have to find something that returns 18.35 percent within 25 months just to break even. I dunno. Thanks anyway.

Comment: Wise words.


Clipboard

The rapture, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and 50 other reasons people use for not prepping

Have you ever come away discouraged after trying to talk about prepping with friends or family members that just don't seem to be interested? Over the years, I have heard countless excuses from people for why they aren't getting prepared for what is about to happen to America. Some of the excuses, like a lack of money, are definitely legitimate. But in many other instances, the objections don't seem to make a lot of sense. In America today, most people let others do most of their thinking for them. And in general, our political, religious and cultural leaders are telling Americans that there really is no reason to be overly concerned about the future. They assure us that they have everything under control, and that life is only going to get better in the years ahead. Bad beliefs lead to bad decisions which in turn lead to bad actions, and most Americans have chosen to believe what the elite are telling them at this point. As a result, only a small fraction of society is getting physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepared for the exceedingly hard times that are rapidly approaching. The following are 53 common excuses that people like to use for not prepping...

Comment: Did he miss any that you have?


Arrow Down

Cooking oil cans found 'reinforcing' concrete walls of high-rise building which collapsed in Taiwan quake

© Tyrone Siu/Reuters
Rescue personnel work at the site where a 17-storey apartment building collapsed, after an earthquake in Tainan, southern Taiwan February 7, 2016.
The only high-rise building to have collapsed in the Taiwanese city of Tainan following a major earthquake on Saturday seems to have had serious constructions flaws. The collapse has exposed cooking-oil cans embedded inside the building's concrete walls.

Witnesses at the scene have told Reuters that they saw large rectangular, commercial cans of cooking-oil packed inside the wall cavities of the 17-story Wei Guan Golden Dragon Building, apparently having been used as building material.


A BBC correspondent reported from the scene that the collapse has exposed blue-and-white cooking oil cans that "appear to have been used as filler inside some of the concrete beams."

Better Earth

The keystone of liberty is peace


Why Libertarians Should be Thoroughly Anti-War


The anti-war movement desperately needs libertarian leadership. And the libertarian movement urgently needs to be strongly anti-war. So in this essay I will offer some chief reasons for every libertarian to be 100% non-interventionist and actively engaged in the cause of peace.

Libertarianism embraces the individual's right to life, liberty, and property. The meaning of these rights have been intentionally distorted by some, but they originally meant the right not to be murdered (life), not to be enslaved (liberty), and not to be robbed (property). What distinguishes libertarians is that we apply these principles comprehensively, making no exception for the government. It is not okay for the government to steal and call it taxation, to enslave and call it incarceration, or to murder and call it war.

As private murder is a worse crime than private kidnapping and theft, so should war (mass murder by the government) be a paramount concern for libertarians, surpassing even many issues involving the police state and economic planning/redistribution.

Heart - Black

Abby who? US medical school loses track of cadaver identities

© PJL Laurens
George Washington University is unable to identify up to 50 cadavers donated to its medical school due to a lack of oversight of the program.

While reminiscent of a Mel Brooks comedy, university officials were dead serious about this error and launched an internal investigation, which found the remains of numerous donated bodies had been "mislabeled or not labeled at all" and they were unable to return ashes to some families who had requested them.

Comment: See also: Little shop of horrors: Michigan couple arrested for black market body-selling ring


Alarm Clock

Rape allegations linked to online dating in Britain increase 450% in 5 years

© Issac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images
More than nine million Britons have signed up to dating websites.
National Crime Agency (NCA) figures show 184 people made allegations they were raped by someone they met online in 2014

The number of rape allegations linked to online dating websites has increased sixfold in five years, according to Britain's leading crime-fighting body.

National Crime Agency (NCA) figures show 184 people made allegations they were raped by someone they met online in 2014 - up from 33 in 2009.

Rape tends to be under-reported and those attacked by people they meet online may be less likely to come forward, meaning the actual number of attacks could be 10 times higher, the NCA warned. Sean Sutton, head of the NCA's Serious Crimes Analysis Section, said: "Part of our campaign is to encourage people to come forward. Our message is the police will take them seriously and deal with them sympathetically."

"You can't see a stranger rapist coming; they are going to be charming potentially they are going to be persuasive," he said. "If you think you can see one from a distance or even up front, you can't - that's the issue."

More than nine million Britons have signed up to dating websites and the NCA is advising users to be more careful.

Some 85% of stranger rape victims are women of which 42% were aged between 20 and 29 and 24% between 40 and 49.

Comment: The best protection against sexual predators is knowing who they are and how they operate.Listen to the SOTT editors interview with Dr. Anna Salter, author of the best-selling book, Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders, Who They Are, How They Operate, and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children.

See also: Rape Culture in America - How the system protects the rapists and fails the victims


Pocket Knife

10-year-old missing Ukraine boy returns home with incredible tale of survival


Bogdan Furman, 10 , was feared kidnapped.
Little Bogdan Furman arrived at his doorstep to the shock of his parents - and police - who believed he was dead.

Despite a massive police search after his disappearance the little boy went under the radar for half a year after leaving the family home of his own accord. The youngster survived ice-cold temperatures by building a shack form cardboard boxes near the river Dnieper in Ukraine.

He explained how a mystery 24-year-old man took him under his wing and kept him alive while on the streets. Together they ate scraps from bins and collected junk to recycle for money, he told officials. "He was like a father to me, I was calling him my dad", said Bogdan.


Bogdan survived the snow in a tiny shack made of cardboard.

The 10-year-old survived extreme situations.
"He always asked me if I was hungry, was always worrying if I was cold. When I was living with my parents, every time I would be a little late from school my real father would beat me up."

Comment: That is one courageous kid. We hope his home life changes for the better.

See also: Third Man Factor: The hallucinatory effects of survival


Black Cat

Blowhard Trump gets booed, attacks debate crowd as 'filled with donors and special interests'

© David Goldman/Associated Press
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and businessman Donald Trump spar as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., listens.
Donald Trump got booed three times in rapid succession during an exchange with Jeb Bush over eminent domain — a wildly unpopular process in New Hampshire.

When asked to explain his support for the government's ability to take land from private citizens for projects like the Northern Pass in New Hampshire, the businessman and Republican frontrunner doubled down on his previous position.

"So many people have hit me with commercials and other things about eminent domain," Trump said at Saturday night's ABC News debate. "Eminent domain is an absolute necessity for a country, for our country. Without it you wouldn't have roads, you wouldn't have hospitals, you wouldn't have anything."

Trump said conservatives including many of his opponents say they're against eminent domain, but they support the projects that need eminent domain to exist.

"The Keystone Pipeline — without eminent domain, it wouldn't go 10 feet," Trump said. "You need eminent domain. And eminent domain is a good thing, not a bad thing."

Trump added that "when eminent domain is used on a person's property, they get a fortune. And if they're smart they'll get two or three times the value of their property."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush jumped in, arguing that there's a difference between using eminent domain for public purposes and for private purposes, and accused Trump of using eminent domain to his advantage to build a "limousine parking lot for his casinos" — not public use.

Comment: Trump's megalomania on display again.