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Mon, 08 Feb 2016
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Bacon n Eggs

More than 1 million in US face food stamps cutoff

More than 1 million low-income people across the United States could soon lose their government food stamp benefits if they fail to meet work requirements. The threatened mass cutoff of the government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits constitutes a vindictive bipartisan attack on some of the nation's poorest and most vulnerable residents.

A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) report last month predicted 500,000 to 1 million people would be cut off of SNAP benefits in 2016 due to the return in many areas of a three-month limit on benefits for unemployed adults aged 18-49 who are not disabled or raising minor children.

The SNAP cutoffs loom as hunger and food insecurity continue to rise sharply. According to the most recent statistics from Feeding America, a food bank network, a staggering 48.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households in 2014, including 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children.

Heart - Black

Four NYPD cops beat pregnant woman causing her to miscarry; lawsuit filed

Accused of beating a pregnant woman in the stomach and causing her to miscarry, four NYPD officers have recently been sued for violating her constitutional rights, false arrest, and excessive force. Although the woman initially informed the cops that she was pregnant, the officers allegedly struck her before throwing her to the ground and stomping on her stomach.

According to the recently filed lawsuit, NYPD officers arrived at Emelda Fitzroy's house at 1:45 p.m. on November 2, 2014. Although the civil complaint does not mention why the police went to her home, Fitzroy asserts that she told the officers that she was pregnant before they "forcibly grabbed" her and arrested her "without any legal justification."

After striking her in the stomach, officers reportedly threw Fitzroy to the ground before stomping on her. Arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges of assault, misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, and lesser counts of harassment, Fitzroy was incarcerated for 26 hours and later miscarried her baby "as the result of the injuries she sustained" at the hands of the police.

Comment: No one is safe with these thugs on the streets.

Shopping Bag

Retail apocalypse: 2016 heralds empty shelves and store closings all across America

Major retailers in the United States are shutting down hundreds of stores, and shoppers are reporting alarmingly bare shelves in many retail locations that are still open all over the country. It appears that the retail apocalypse that made so many headlines in 2015 has gone to an entirely new level as we enter 2016.

As economic activity slows down and Internet retailers capture more of the market, brick and mortar retailers are cutting their losses. This is especially true in areas that are on the lower portion of the income scale. In impoverished urban centers all over the nation, it is not uncommon to find entire malls that have now been completely abandoned. It has been estimated that there is about a billion square feet of retail space sitting empty in this country, and this crisis is only going to get worse as the retail apocalypse accelerates.

Stock Down

America's economic freedom has tanked under Obama

© www.washingtontimes.com
Diminishment of Economic Freedom
Millions of people around the world are emerging from poverty thanks to rising economic freedom. But by sharp contrast, America's economic freedom has been on a declining path over the past decade.

According to the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual publication by The Heritage Foundation, America's economic freedom has tumbled. With losses of economic freedom in eight of the past nine years, the U.S. has tied its worst score ever, wiping out a decade of progress.

The U.S. has fallen from the 6th freest economy in the world, when President Barack Obama took office, to 11th place in 2016. America's declining score in the index is closely related to rapidly rising government spending, subsidies, and bailouts.

Since early 2009:
  • Government spending has exploded, amounting to $29,867 per household in 2015.
  • The national debt has risen to $125,000 for every tax-filing household in America—a total over $18 trillion.
  • The government takeover of health care is raising prices and disrupting markets.
  • Bailouts and new government regulations have increased uncertainty, stifling investment and job creation.
This is not something to take lightly. Economic freedom is the foundation of U.S. economic strength, and economic strength is the foundation of America's high living standards, military power, and status as a world leader. The perils of losing economic freedom are not fictional.

Comment: Other culprits: Wall Street, the banksters, corporate greed, the MIC, the Federal Reserve, Congress and the currency upheavals...to name just a few.

Comment: The Heritage Foundation is an ultra-conservative right wing think tank, that boasts its significant influence in the G.W.Bush administration financial fiasco. Heritage and the Wall Street Journal are intimately connected to Economic Freedom, an organization from which the bulk of research of the 2016 index data was derived, upon which this article is based and whose author was the source. Almost all the article links go back to the Heritage Foundation in some manner or form, including the multimedia news organization and web site The Daily Signal. The Fraser Institute (Canada's top think tank) also utilizes information/data from Economic Freedom and Wall Street Journal headlines but is listed as an independent and trustworthy resource (other scholars).

Economic Freedom...are we even clear what this meme means? The Charles Koch Institute has a page on this concept (in which it mentions The Fraser Institute and the Heritage Foundation...who woulda thought!). Even Investopedia refers this index concept to "the Heritage Foundation in conjunction with the Wall Street Journal." Can we just say Economic Freedom means unrestricted Big Business disguised in concern for the little guy?

There is a mutiplicity of factors to consider for accurate and objective financial analysis. We must look carefully for truth when the information sources are so calculatedly constricted to lead back to a fundamental bias and a particular political point of view under the guise of independent research, certifiable financials, and honest representation. If you create it and feed it, you can make it say whatever you want.

Blue Planet

Jewish man writes London radio station: 'Let's remember Muslims on Holocaust Memorial Day'

This guy drew an important parallel between Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany and Islamophobia in 2016.

A Jewish man who emailed a London radio show on Holocaust Memorial Day last week said we should honor the victims by making a stand against growing anti-Muslim feeling in the Western world. "Jews, more than anyone, need to stand up for the Muslim community", wrote Josh.

He made reference to the popularity of bigots like Donald Trump, pointing out that the fact we laugh at him instead of being horrified by his beliefs shows just how deep-rooted Islamophobia is right now. Josh wrote:
It feels like we're descending into a society that is happy to say 'No Muslims.' Just look at what is happening in the States with that lunatic Donald Trump. We simply cannot tolerate this. We need to remember that not long ago it was us [Jewish people] who were on the receiving end of this treatment, and we all know where that ended up."
Josh called for all Jewish people to stand up against what he called the "vile rubbish" against Muslims in the press, and asked people to "leave the Middle-East nonsense to one side for the moment."

Comment: A big thank you to Josh and to the author of this article, Sophie McAdam, for expressing so succinctly what we endeavor to continuously state here on SOTT. Needless to say, if more people understood this objective and conscience-filled point of view, many millions of people in the world would not be in the dire state that they are in.

Bad Guys

The rewards of attacking Russia: Turkish tourism nosediving as over 1,300 hotels are put up for sale

There's a lot of empty space in Turkish resorts these days
Well, Turkey's decision to shoot down a Russian plane, then demand Russia apologize for it is continuing to reap rewards for the Turkish tourist industry. The Turkish daily Today's Zaman reports:
As many as 1,318 hotels have been put up for sale along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts after Russian sanctions along with security concerns hit Turkey's tourism industry hard.

The Mediterranean resort of Antalya has the highest number of tourism facilities -- 410 -- that are listed for sale, followed by the provinces of Muğla, which has 349 for sale; İzmir, 203; Aydın, 162; Balıkesir, 139; Çanakkale, 35 and Denizli, which has 20 in total listed.
What a resounding success of Turkish foreign policy. The story continues:
Denizli Colossae Thermal Chairman Abdurrahman Karamanlıoğlu said a number of hotels in resort towns were left on the brink of bankruptcy after Russia imposed sanctions against Turkey after the latter downed a Russian warplane in November last year.

"We talk the realities but officials put a brave face on the issue. We have been heavily affected from the jet crisis. Especially the hotels in Antalya; being closed for the last four months, most of those are on the verge of bankruptcy," Karamanlıoğlu said.
The report further states that Turkey's tourism revenues fell 8.3 percent to $31.46 billion in 2015. Maybe not a good idea to attack the country that supplies the majortity of your tourists.

And all because Russia is bombing the Islamic terrorists Erdogan is buying oil from. Shame.

Comment: Turkey is reaping the fruits of being a stooge for the Empire.

Red Flag

Burger King finally admits it has been selling burgers with horsemeat

Burger King is currently shipping in tens of thousands of burgers from suppliers in Germany and Italy in order to meet demand at its UK outlets
Burger King has tonight admitted that it has been selling burgers and Whoppers containing horsemeat despite two weeks of denials. The fast food chain, which has more than 500 UK outlets, had earlier given a series of 'absolute assurances' that its products were not involved. However, new tests have revealed these guarantees were incorrect in a revelation that threatens to destroy the trust of customers.

It also raises serious questions about whether the food company, which sells around one million burgers a week in the UK, has any good idea about what goes into its products.

The contaminated burgers were made by the Irish-based processing company, Silvercrest, which is part the ABP Foods Group. The same company also made tainted burgers for Tesco, Asda and the Co-op, among others.

Burger King has faced allegations of orchestrating a cover-up of its links to the horsemeat scandal in order to give it time to find an alternative supplier. It is currently shipping in tens of thousands of burgers from suppliers in Germany and Italy in order to meet demand at its UK outlets.


People power: Greek footballers stage sit-in protest over EU and Turkish 'brutal indifference' to refugee deaths

© Osman Fantastic / YouTube
In a touching tribute to thousands of refugees who lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey into the EU, two Greek football teams orchestrated a sit-in at the start of the match to protest against the policies of "brutal indifference."

All 22 players on the pitch sat calmly on the grass, refusing to play in honor of those who perished crossing the sea from Turkey into Greece, after the referee blew the whistle to start the football match between AEL Larissa and Acharnaikos on Friday. Coaches and medical staff of the two teams, who play in the second-tier Greek league, as well as the match officials, also sat on the ground to the applause of the fans.

An announcement over the stadium loud speakers said that the gesture was "in memory of the hundreds of children who continue to lose their lives every day in the Aegean due to the brutal indifference of the EU and Turkey."

The two minute silence was an effort to "drive the authorities to mobilize all those who seem to have been desensitized to the heinous crimes that are being perpetrated in the Aegean," Friday's announcement added.

Comment: Ms. Schinas' comment is particularly rich, considering that the terrible state of the Greek economy is due to EU policy. Greece, itself reduced to abject poverty, has nevertheless welcomed those fleeing the Western-backed terrorists with what little it has. Schinas should be ashamed of herself, but she probably can't be. Her mindset is typical of those in power:

Greek Migration Minister: Belgium told us "Push migrants back to sea, we don't care if they drown"

Red Flag

Head of German Leipzig police: Pogrom atmosphere spreading with intensity across country

© Michaela Rehle / Reuters
Migrants wait after they arrived in the first registration camp of Erding near Munich, Germany.
At least five reported attacks on asylum seekers' homes in Saxony, eastern Germany, over the weekend has prompted the head of local police to voice fears of a "pogrom atmosphere spreading with dangerous intensity" across the country.

"I am really very worried," Leipzig police commissioner Bernd Merbitz told the Leipziger Volkszeitung daily. "We are moving toward a situation in which violent mood-makers intentionally use people's fear to whip up hysteria against asylum policy and to justify violence against refugees," he added.

Two of the affected homes are located in Leipzig, Saxony's largest city, with another in Chemnitz, in the northern foothills of the Ore Mountains.

One of the incidents reportedly took place in Holzhausen, in south-east Leipzig. An unknown person broke into a building housing asylum seekers and attempted to ignite flammable liquid, the investigators reported. The fire was extinguished before it spread across the building.

Stock Up

Tuning out: Legal marijuana industry blooms across US as sales grow 184%

© David McNew / Reuters
The legal pot trade is reportedly one of the fastest growing markets in the US as sales of marijuana for casual use grew 184 percent in 2015 alone. Overall, cannabis commerce across the country soared to $5.4 billion, according to a new study.

"You won't find another industry growing at that kind of clip," said Troy Dayton, chief executive of the ArcView Group, which issued its fourth edition of the State of Legal Marijuana Markets.

According to the group's market estimate, both medical and adult consumer sales grew from $4.6 billion in 2014 to $5.4 last year, marking 17 percent increase year over year. Adult use sales grew to $998 million from $351 million in 2014, representing 184 percent growth.

Part of the reason for such growth lies in expanding pot legalization. In July 2015, Oregon allowed legal pot sales, joining Colorado and Washington, where cannabis commerce has been legal since 2014.