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Fri, 08 Dec 2023
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US: Message to Department of Defense workforce on potential government shutdown

© US Army
The Department of Defense released this statement from Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III:

"The department remains hopeful that a government shutdown will be averted. The President has made it clear that he does not want a government shutdown, and the administration is working to find a solution with which all sides can agree. However, prudent management requires that we plan for an orderly shutdown should Congress be unable to pass a funding bill before our current funding expires on April 8.

"The President and the secretary know that the uncertainty of the current situation puts federal employees in a difficult position, and are very much aware that a shutdown would impose hardships on our military and civilian personnel as well as our military families. As we approach the expiration of the current continuing resolution, we will provide you with updated information as soon as it becomes available. For now, I want to provide you with information on how the potential shutdown - should it occur - will impact our military and civilian personnel.


Industry's War on Nature: 'What are the bees telling us?'

© foodfreedom.wordpress.com
While industries continue to pollute the planet with their toxic chemicals, toxic waste and toxic spills, Earth's pollinators sing a swan song that leaves no doubt as to the folly of modern civilization. Our ability to hear and appropriately respond to the crisis of declining pollinators will determine humanity's survival.

"In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist, philosopher and social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honeybees would collapse." Queen of the Sun

Steiner believed the industrialization of bees would lead to their demise. It looks like he was right. In the past two decades, the United States has lost 100-300 billion bees, and the problem has spread to Europe and beyond. While industrialized beekeeping operations do kill millions of bees each year, several other factors contribute to their massive die-off.


Study Suggests Feds Could Recoup Billions in Unpaid Taxes by Withholding Passports

© AP Photo/Israel Leal

Owe thousands in back taxes and need to get out of the country? No problem. Under current law, the State Department can't withhold a passport over unpaid taxes.

But that could change, if lawmakers decide to run with the findings of a new government report that suggests Uncle Sam could recoup billions by blocking delinquent Americans from getting passports until they settle their debts to the IRS.

The Government Accountability Office, at the request of Congress, released a study Monday examining how the government could leverage the passport process to recover unpaid taxes. The office found that in fiscal 2008, Americans who received passports owed a collective $5.8 billion to the IRS. The debt of the internationally traveling public, though, is likely far larger, considering that estimate only factored in a year's worth of recipients.

Bad Guys

25 Shocking Facts That Prove That The Entire U.S. Health Care Industry Has Become One Giant Money Making Scam

© The End of American Dream

What is the appropriate word to use when you find out that the top executive at the third largest health insurance company in America raked in 68.7 million dollars in 2010? How is one supposed to respond when one learns that more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies make over a billion dollars in profits each year? Is it okay to get angry when you discover that over 90 percent of all hospital bills contain "gross overcharges"? Once upon a time, going into the medical profession was seen as a "noble" thing to do. But now the health care industry in the United States has become one giant money making scam and it is completely dominated by health insurance companies, pharmaceutical corporations, lawyers and corporate fatcats. In America today, just one trip to the hospital can cost you tens of thousands of dollars even if you do not stay for a single night. The sad thing is that the vast majority of the money that you pay out for medical care does not even go to your doctor. In fact, large numbers of doctors across the United States are going broke. Rather, it is the "system" that is soaking up almost all of the profits. We have a health care industry in the United States that is fundamentally broken and it needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

But wasn't that what Obamacare was supposed to do? No, in fact Obamacare was largely written by representatives from the health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. Once it was signed into law the stocks of most health insurance companies went way up.

The truth is that Obamacare was one of the worst pieces of legislation in modern American history. It did nothing to fix our health care problems. Rather, it just made all of our health care problems much worse.


Egypt's prime minister imprisoned in anti-corruption crackdown

Egypt's former prime minister has been held for questioning in an anti-corruption crackdown targeting the inner circle of Hosni Mubarak, the country's ousted ruler, in an effort to placate a renewed surge of popular anger.
Mr Nazif
Mr Nazif is alleged by prosecutors to have benefited from the award of a multi-million contract to a German firm
Ahmed Nazif, who served as prime minister from 2004 until the Mubarak regime was swept away by protests earlier this year, is alleged by prosecutors to have benefited from the award of a multi-million contract to a German firm.

Mr Mubarak, who has been living in seclusion in the resort town Sharm el-Sheikh since he left office, has also been ordered to present himself by questioning by a justice ministry panel, along with his sons Alaa and Gamal.

Zakaria Amin, his former chief of staff, has been detained along with Mr Nazif.

Egypt's anti-corruption crackdown appeared to be a response to mounting protests against the military government which took power after Mr Mubarak was forced out of office.

Weekly protests demanding Mr Mubarak be tried for corruption and the use of lethal force against protesters have attracted tens of thousands of demonstrators.


Canada: Harper on defensive over ethics in key debate

© Reuters
Conservative Party leader and PM Harper, NDP leader Layton, and Liberal leader Ignatieff take part in the English leaders' debate in Ottawa
Canada's three opposition leaders accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of incompetence and deceit during an election debate on Tuesday as they sought to cut into the ruling Conservative Party's big poll lead.

Public opinion surveys strongly suggest the right-of-center Conservatives, who have been in power since early 2006, will win a third consecutive term in the May 2 election -- the fourth in less than seven years.

The opposition brought down the minority government in late March, saying it had hidden its spending plans from Parliament, was tainted with sleaze and had botched the job of helping the economy recover from the global crisis.

Harper, who was on the defensive for most of the debate but did not appear to suffer serious damage, said the opposition had provoked what he called an unnecessary election at a time when Canadians should be focusing on the economy.

The televised two-hour English-language exchange had been seen a crucial chance for Michael Ignatieff, leader of the main opposition Liberal Party, to improve his image. The Conservatives have run a series of attack ads portraying the former broadcaster and academic as an elitist.


Egypt: Mubarak sons detained amid corruption probe

© The Associated Press
Egyptians widely believed that Gamal Mubarak was being groomed to replace his father
The sons of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak have been detained amid investigations into corruption and state violence, police and media say.

The two sons, Alaa and Gamal, who had earlier been taken for questioning, are to be held for 15 days.

Gamal, the younger son, was once widely seen as a possible successor to his father as president.

Hosni Mubarak has also been questioned, but he was taken to hospital after reportedly suffering heart problems.

The former leader, 82, stood down on 11 February following an 18-day popular uprising against his rule.

State television said on Tuesday that he had suffered a heart attack, though other reports indicated that he was well enough to undergo further questioning.

Star of David

Truce to be followed by wide-scale confrontation, says Israeli military

© Reuters
IDF forces near Gaza
Military sources believe relative truce in south will be followed by wide-scale confrontation. 'Hamas has been busy rebuilding its forces for the past two years, and this can only mean we're facing an all-out clash,' says senior officer

One round of escalation may be over, but the IDF is already preparing for the next one - despite sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Sunday, military officials estimate that the relative lull will be followed by a large confrontation at the Strip.

Last month, after terror organizations fired Grad rockets at Beersheba and Ashdod for the first time since Operation Cast Lead, voices within the military echelons claimed Israel's reaction was too restrained. This time, however, the voices are different.

Comment: So Israeli military officials "estimate" there will be an "all-out confrontation" after the truce. To translate: Israeli military officials know for a fact that after the truce there will be an all-out military confrontation, because that was the plan all along. The truce was just for purposes of propaganda and preparation.

Interestingly, the original article carried the very misleading headline: "IDF estimates round of violence over". With news reporting like this, is it any wonder that the public is so ignorant about the truth of the matter?


Warmongering: France, Britain say NATO must step up Libya bombing

© Reuters/Youssef Boudlal
Rebel fighters fire a rocket at the frontline in Ajdabiyah April 11, 2011.
Tripoli - France and Britain, who first launched air attacks on Libya in coalition with the United States, Tuesday criticized NATO'S bombing campaign, saying it must do more to stop Muammar Gaddafi bombarding civilians.

NATO took over air operations from the three nations on March 31 but heavy government bombardment of the besieged western city of Misrata has continued unabated with hundreds of civilians reported killed.

The criticism by London and Paris followed new shelling of Misrata Monday and the collapse of an African Union peace initiative.

Echoing rebel complaints, Alain Juppe told France Info radio, "It's not enough."

He said NATO must stop Gaddafi shelling civilians and take out heavy weapons bombarding Misrata. In a barbed reference to the alliance command of the operation, Juppe added: "NATO must play its role fully. It wanted to take the lead in operations, we accepted that."


How Nuclear Apologists Mislead the World over Radiation

smiley nukes
© n/a
George Monbiot and others at best misinform and at worst distort evidence of the dangers of atomic energy

Soon after the Fukushima accident last month, I stated publicly that a nuclear event of this size and catastrophic potential could present a medical problem of very large dimensions. Events have proven this observation to be true despite the nuclear industry's campaign about the "minimal" health effects of so-called low-level radiation. That billions of its dollars are at stake if the Fukushima event causes the "nuclear renaissance" to slow down appears to be evident from the industry's attacks on its critics, even in the face of an unresolved and escalating disaster at the reactor complex at Fukushima.

Proponents of nuclear power - including George Monbiot, who has had a mysterious road-to-Damascus conversion to its supposedly benign effects - accuse me and others who call attention to the potential serious medical consequences of the accident of "cherry-picking" data and overstating the health effects of radiation from the radioactive fuel in the destroyed reactors and their cooling pools. Yet by reassuring the public that things aren't too bad, Monbiot and others at best misinform, and at worst misrepresent or distort, the scientific evidence of the harmful effects of radiation exposure - and they play a predictable shoot-the-messenger game in the process.