Puppet MastersS


Obama, U.S. Lawmakers Strike Deal to Raise Debt Ceiling

A deal worked out among top congressional leaders and the White House would enable the U.S. government to keep borrowing money but may cost President Barack Obama critical support among liberal Democrats.

The agreement to immediately raise the government's debt ceiling, and enact already agreed-on spending cuts of about $1-trillion, would avert the financial turmoil that had been feared if Congress failed to raise the $14.3-trillion (U.S.) borrowing limit by Tuesday's deadline. The threat of a U.S. default has effectively been lifted.

And while the deal struck Sunday would spare the President from having to wage another protracted debt-ceiling battle as he campaigns for re-election in 2012, liberal Democrats are livid at him for giving in to Republicans on most other counts.

"Is this the deal I would have preferred? No," Mr. Obama conceded from the White House briefing room as he announced the agreement shortly before 9 p.m.. But he added it "would allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington has imposed on the rest of America."

The pact must first be approved by Congress and party leaders are still scrambling to cobble together enough votes in the Senate and House of Representatives. Congress could authorize a temporary measure allowing the government to pay its bills until final legislation passes both chambers.

Cowboy Hat

US: Bush to Be in New York City to Mark 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Obama, George W. Bush
© unknown
The ceremony at the World Trade Center site marking the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks will be a solemn but stately event that will include former President George W. Bush and a chance for victims' families to view the names of loved ones etched into the memorial, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

President Barack Obama and Bloomberg will be joined by the leaders in charge during the 2001 attacks, including Bush, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former New York Gov. George Pataki. Current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will also be there, he said.

Speaking on his weekly radio show Friday on WOR-AM, Bloomberg said the lawmakers will read short poems or quotes. No speeches will be given.

"This cannot be political," he said. "So that's why there's a poem or a quote or something that each of the readers will read. No speeches whatsoever. That's not an appropriate thing."

The mayor also revealed a few more details for the ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 11. It will be held on the highway to the west of the site, and only relatives will be allowed inside the memorial to look for the names of their loved ones, etched into the railings at two huge waterfalls built in the footprint of the World Trade Center. The falls descend from street level down into a void.

Bad Guys

BP 'Has Gained Stranglehold Over Iraq' After Oilfield Deal is Rewritten

Iraq's Rumaila oilfield
© Atef Hassan/ReutersIraq's Rumaila oilfield in 2009, the year BP and Chinese partner CNPC originally clinched a deal to develop the field.
New terms mean company will be paid even when production is disrupted, critics claim

BP has been accused of taking a "stranglehold" on the Iraqi economy after the Baghdad government agreed to pay the British firm even when oil is not being produced by the Rumaila field, confidential documents reveal.

The original deal for operating Iraq's largest field - half as big as the entire North Sea - has been rewritten so that BP will be immediately compensated for civil disruption or government decisions to cut production.

This potentially could influence the policy decisions made by Iraq in relation to the Opec oil cartel, and is a major step away from the original terms of an auction deal signed in the summer of 2009, critics claim.

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SOTT Focus: SOTT Podcast: Sott Perspectives on Cults

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In this new Sott Perspectives podcast, Laura, Anna, Juliana, and Gaby discuss cults, cult accusations, and interview two former membernIf you are the victim of a cult or any other form of psychological abuse, you can learn more about the Éiriú Eolas Stress Control, Healing & Rejuvenation Program at eiriu-eolas.org

Running Time: 01:14:25

Download: MP3

Bad Guys

Israel uprising: Beginning of an end

© UnknownIsraeli protesters have set up tents like protesters in Bahrain and Egypt.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood before the US Congress and said Israel -- a regime setup by stealing land and which survives off charity -- is "what's right about Middle East" and received 29 standing ovations from American lawmakers, he neglected the fact that the uprising against autocratic regimes were never meant to be restricted to the Arab world.

Since July 14, people have been gathering across Israel to protest against the rising costs of housing, with "tent cities" being erected in Tel Aviv, al-Quds (Jerusalem), Beersheba, Haifa and Kiryat Shemona.

They are also calling on the regime to curb the high costs of fuel, food and healthcare. The protests have exposed a deep middle-class frustration over the economy, presenting Netanyahu with his biggest domestic challenge yet.

Certain media outlets have tried to downplay the protests arguing that unlike the Islamic Awakening in Arab states, Israelis are not calling for "democracy" or an end to "state oppression" but rather they are protesting against the "high price of housing, food and other goods."


A Disturbing Trend: Many Innocent Americans Arrested for Legally Filming On-Duty Public Servants

police arrest
© unknown
An unsettling pattern in law enforcement interactions has emerged. American citizens, innocent of a crime, filming a public servant performing their duties in public, have been targeted and had their constitutionally protected rights destroyed.

The cases continue to pile up, some more disturbing and egregious than others. One of the most shocking examples is the case of the Las Vegas man, Mitchell Crooks, who was brutally assaulted by an on-duty police officer for filming the officer from his own property.

There is video of the event and while you cannot see the beating, the sound and pictures of Crooks after the fact are unsettling enough.

This represents one aspect of this disturbing trend: some of these innocent people film the police from their own property.

In another instance of individuals being arrested on their property, a young woman named Emily Good was forcibly removed from her property and arrested for filming Rochester, NY police performing a routine traffic stop.


US: Debt Visualization

US Debt_1
© USdebt.kleptocracy.usOne Hundred Dollars
$100 - Most counterfeited money denomination in the world.
Keeps the world moving.
US Debt_2
© USdebt.kleptocracy.usTen Thousand Dollars
$10,000 - Enough for a great vacation or to buy a used car.
Approximately one year of work for the average human on earth.
US Debt_3
© USdebt.kleptocracy.usOne Million Dollars
$1,000,000 - Not as big of a pile as you thought, huh?
Still this is 92 years of work for the average human on earth.
US Debt_4
© USdebt.kleptocracy.usOne Hundred Million Dollars
$100,000,000 - Plenty to go around for everyone.
Fits nicely on an ISO / Military standard sized pallet.
US Debt_5
© USdebt.kleptocracy.usOne Billion Dollars
$1,000,000,000 - You will need some help when robbing the bank.
Now we are getting serious!


No Joke: UK Anti-Satire Law Means Daily Show's Parliament Coverage Is Banned In England

One of the nice things about having a Bill of Rights is that it specifically lays out freedoms given to the people and the press. The U.S. Constitution declares that freedom of speech and freedom of the press can never be infringed upon. Unfortunately, if you live in a nation where this is not clearly stated, you can legally censor media outlets without fear or repercussion.

Like all good stories about political satire, this one involves none other than "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart. In England, if you want to watch the program, you can either catch it online or watch the televised "international edition." This edition of "The Daily Show" airs once a week, and is comprised of the best segments of the previous week's shows. So naturally, when segments were being chosen for this week's installment, one of the highlights was the show's coverage of Rupert Murdoch's testimony before Parliament last week on allegations of phone hacking taking place at News Corp. tabloids.


US: Obama's Whistleblower War Suffers Two Defeats

The Obama administration's unprecedented war on whistleblowers suffered two serious and well-deserved defeats. The first occurred in the prosecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who was accused of multiple acts of espionage, only for the DOJ to drop virtually all of the charges right before the trial was to begin and enter into a plea agreement for one minor misdemeanor. Today, The Washington Post -- under the headline "Judge blasts prosecution of alleged NSA leaker" -- reports that the federal judge presiding over the case "harshly criticized U.S. prosecutors' treatment of a former spy agency official accused of leaking classified material."

As the transcript of Drake's sentencing hearing published by Secrecy News reflects, Judge Richard Bennett of the U.S. District Court for Maryland was infuriated by two aspects of the DOJ's conduct: (1) after the Bush DOJ executed a search warrant of Drake's home in 2007, the Obama DOJ -- 2 1/2 years later -- finally indicted him, meaning he had to live with that cloud of criminal uncertainty over his head for that outrageously lengthy period of time; and (2) despite dropping all of the serious charges right before the trial was about to begin, the DOJ demanded that Drake be forced to pay a $50,000 fine as "a deterrent" (on top of the tens of thousands of dollars he spent in legal fees until he had no money left and had to use public defenders, as well as the fact that he was five years away from earning a federal pension when he was fired and ended up working at an Apple Computer store to support his family); to justify the requested fine, the prosecutor cited a $10,000 whistleblowing prize Drake was awarded earlier this year.

Star of David

Israeli settlers torch Palestinian trees

Israeli settlers set olive trees on fire in the village of Burin in West Bank, 29 July, 2011.
Israeli settlers have set olive trees in the West Bank village of Burin on fire, in another attempt to target a key product of the Palestinian economy.

On Friday, settlers torched the trees and later Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at the fire trucks attempting to reach the scene, witnesses said.

The Palestinian Authority affairs official Ghassan Doughlas explained that the fire raged throughout the day as firefighters were unable to arrive at the scene, Ma'an News Agency reported.

Witnesses further said that the clashes between Israelis and the villagers erupted as the Israeli soldiers began firing rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military said the soldiers had only used "regular riot dispersal means" to put an end to the clashes, stressing that they had not used live ammunition.