Puppet MastersS


Schwarzenegger intends to challenge law and run for president

© Agence France-PresseAustrian-born actor and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in Rome.

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is working to change the law so he can mount a 2016 presidential run, according to a New York Post report.

The newspaper quotes unnamed sources who say the actor, who's in New York City to promote his latest movie, "has been talking openly about working on getting the constitutional rules changed."

The source said the 66-year-old Schwarzenegger, a Republican, intends to file the necessary paperwork to challenge the rules.

The U.S. Constitution forbids foreign-born citizens from holding the chief executive position, but some legal experts have said it's not completely clear that courts would enforce the law instead of letting voters decide.

Constitutional amendments require two-thirds majority approval in both the House and the Senate and then must be ratified by at least 38 of the 50 states.

Bad Guys

'Our' weaponized Wahhabi bastards

House of Saud
© Carlos Latuffe
Life is good if you're a member of the Gulf Counter-revolution Club, officially known as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). You can crush the Arab Spring at will. You can hire goons all across dar-al-Islam to advance a sectarian Sunni-Shi'ite divide. You can be deeply implicated in the destruction of Syria. You can treat a significant part of your own population as third-class citizens.

Not only you get away with it; you get rewarded with expensive toys. And in one particular case - Saudi Arabia - even with a two-year seat at the UN Security Council.

Not to mention that the House of Saud expertly gets away with manipulating Islam as the pillar of its "legitimacy". The House of Saud controls the Hajj - which took place this week; an enormous logistical operation that "legitimizes" its role as leader of Sunni Islam, and automatically, the whole Islamic world. Well-informed Muslims though are very much aware of the fallacy - as much as they're aware of how the House of Saud is fast transforming Mecca into a Vegas-style pay-per-prayer luxury resort. Who's profiting? Certainly not the pilgrims.

This week, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced it had notified congress about selling more state-of-the-art heavy metal for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). That breaks down into "various munitions and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support" to Riyadh for US$6.8 billion and to Abu Dhabi for $4 billion.

Eye 1

Crew of US ship arrested after it entered Indian waters carrying a 'huge cache of weapons on board'

  • The ship, owned by U.S security firm AdvanFort, was stopped on Saturday
  • 33 crew men including six Britons, have been detained by Indian police
  • They claim that a weapons haul onboard was not properly declared
  • But AdvanFort say that the ship was part of an anti-piracy operation
The crew of a U.S-owned ship have been arrested by Indian police accused of entering Indian waters illegally with a stockpile of weapons on board.

The Indian coast guard stopped the ship, which belongs to security firm AdvanFort, on Saturday and detained 33 crew members.

AdvanFort claims that the ship has been supporting an anti-piracy initiative in Asia but Indian authorities say that they found weapons that had not been properly declared.

Arrests: The crew of the Sierra-Leone registered MV Seaman Guard Ohio, pictured, have been detained by Indian police

Eye 1

Britain: Online surveillance challenged

Three British organizations said Thursday that they had filed a legal challenge in the European Court of Human Rights to the online surveillance programs of the British spy agency the Government Communications Headquarters. The groups are seeking to have the court declare the collection of metadata, including e-mails and social media messages, in secret programs revealed by the American intelligence analyst Edward J. Snowden to be an illegal breach of the right to privacy.


80% of voters think U.S. is on wrong track

Five-year Low: 13% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

The number of U.S. voters who feel the country is heading in the right direction has fallen to the lowest level of the Obama presidency.

Just 13% of Likely U.S. Voters now say the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the week ending October 13. That's down from 17% the week before and the lowest finding since the week of October 20-26, 2008, when George W. Bush was still president.

Confidence in the country's direction has fallen 15 points since the government shutdown began two weeks ago and is down from a high of 43% the week before Election Day last fall.

After President Obama assumed office in January 2009, the number of voters who felt the country was heading in the right direction rose to 40% in early May of that year. In 2010 and 2011, confidence fell to the narrow range of 14% to 19%, levels similar to those measured in the final months of the Bush administration. Optimism began easing up again in mid-December 2011.


French court upholds Scientology fraud conviction

© L. Ron Hubbard Library/Associated PressChurch of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
France's top appeals court on Wednesday upheld a fraud conviction and hundreds of thousands of euros in fines against the Church of Scientology for taking advantage of vulnerable followers.

The Cour de Cassation rejected the organization's request that a 2009 conviction for "organized fraud" be overturned on the grounds it violated religious freedoms.

The group has previously indicated that it will appeal the conviction to the European Court of Human Rights.

The conviction saw Scientology's Celebrity Centre and its bookshop in Paris, the two branches of its French operations, ordered to pay 600,000 euros ($838,452) in fines for preying financially on several followers in the 1990s.

Snakes in Suits

Budget deal allows for January federal pay raise

The budget measure that ended the partial government shutdown allows for a 1 percent raise for federal employees in January in addition to providing back pay for those furloughed, according to two Democratic Maryland senators.

"The promise of a modest pay raise and back pay for furloughed government employees are good first steps in recognizing the value of federal workers," said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in a joint statement with Sen. Ben Cardin.

"I'm proud we were able to fulfill our promise to make them whole again with back pay and finally break through the pay freeze with a modest adjustment for next year," said Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Federal employee salary rates have not been increased since January 2010. Some employees have had their pay frozen that entire time while some have received raises due to promotion, performance, or on advancing up the steps of their pay grades.

Arrow Down

Chicago marathon featured warrantless bag searches along 26-mile track, unprecedented security

Chicago Marathon_1
© Nancy Stone, Chicago TribuneAnti-terrorism agents tout rifles in front of the disarmed public at the 2013 Chicago Marathon.
Chicago, Illinois - Continuing the trend of mass-suspension of the 4th amendment at every possible event, police searched the bags of anyone they chose along the 26-mile track of the annual Chicago Marathon. More disturbing than the predictable push to eliminate privacy rights is the public's utter acquiescence in the face of the growing police state.

At the annual race on Sunday, October 13th, a legion of police officers lined the streets. Chicago Police sent more than 1,000 officers to the race; some wearing conspicuous yellow vests, others infiltrating the crowd in plain clothes. FBI agents wearing military fatigues held a visible presence throughout the track, along with federal ATF agents and U.S. Marshals carrying rifles. DHS agents littered the scene performing searches with dogs.

Department of Homeland Security designated the marathon a "Level Two" event, justifying the massive presence of federal agents at the race. Near the intersection of Michigan and Jackson, a giant Emergency Alert System banner read "EAS: Alert Level Low."

"Everywhere you look there's about 20 officers at the corner, about 14 helicopters in the air," said Amie Byrne.
Chicago Marathon_4
© AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh1,000+ CPD officers staffed checkpoints and performed random bag searches.
Grant Park was locked down with checkpoints and suspicionless bag searches. To add to the security theater, the race banned costumes for participants and only allowed runners to carry clear plastic baggies.

Barriers and fencing were erected in many places, a notable difference from years past. "(Now) you can't run out and say, 'Hi,'" commented one onlooker. Unlike in the past, when police have looked the other way, no one was allowed to help a marathoner finish the run in the last mile or two.


Flashback Travel plans? You're not going anywhere if you owe the IRS

crowded airport
A new bill making its way through Congress could allow the federal government to prevent Americans who owe back taxes from leaving the country.

The provision is part of Senate Bill 1813, which was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in November and passed by the Senate on March 14 "to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes."

Those "other purposes" have come to include a little-known amendment recently introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that would allow the State Department to revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the Internal Revenue Service certifies as having "a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000."

While the provision does make exceptions if the debt "is being paid in a timely manner" or "in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons," it doesn't require that a person be charged with tax evasion before having their passport revoked -- only that the IRS has filed a notice of lien or levy against them.

Constitutional Attorney Angel Reyes says that's a violation of due process and is unconstitutional.

"It takes away your right to enter or exit the country based upon a non-judicial IRS determination that you owe taxes," Reyes told FOX Business. "It's a scary thought that our congressional representatives want to give the IRS the power to detain US citizens over taxes, which could very well be in dispute."

Heart - Black

North Carolina becomes first state to cut welfare

A view of the skyline of Charlotte, North Carolina
© AFP/ Mladen AntonovA view of the skyline of Charlotte, North Carolina
The government shutdown cannot end soon enough for poor residents of North Carolina, as the state has become the first in the country to cut off welfare benefits due to the gridlock in Washington.

The decision came from North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which ordered its local offices on October 10 to stop processing applications for November until the federal government is back up and running.

The state's welfare program, called "Work First," services more than 20,000 people, primarily children, and requires participants to reapply for benefits every month. Work First is funded entirely by the federal government, and helps poor residents purchase food and other supplies necessary for day-to-day life.

But Work First isn't the only North Carolina service hampered by the government shutdown. According to Reuters, other programs will also be affected - including one that provides childcare subsidies covering more than 70,000 children. In various parts of the state, the delivery of those subsidies has already come to a halt.

"I would say this is an emergency," Alexandra Sirota, director of the low-income advocacy group North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, told Reuters. "They're cutting off a lifeline for thousands of North Carolina families who have experienced significant hardships."