Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 08 Mar 2021
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters
Map

Radar

US Rabbis warn Rupert Murdoch: Fox News and Glenn Beck 'using' Holocaust

Image
© Lucas Jackson/Reuters
The Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, who uses frequent references to the Holocaust and Nazis
Open letter signed by 400 rabbis tells media magnate his news channel uses Holocaust to discredit people it disagrees with

Four hundred rabbis, including the leaders of all the main branches of Judaism in the US, have signed an open letter calling on Rupert Murdoch to sanction the head of Fox News and one of the channel's most famous hosts for frequent inappropriate references to the Nazis and the Holocaust.

The rabbis chose a poignant place to make their protest: they took out an advert costing at least $100,000 in one of Murdoch's own newspapers, the Wall Street Journal. The advert was printed today - the UN-designated Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Briefcase

Hogwash, Mr. President

Image
© White House / Chuck Kennedy
What is the state of the union? You certainly couldn't tell from that platitudinous hogwash that the president dished out Tuesday evening. I had expected Barack Obama to be his eloquent self, appealing to our better nature, but instead he was mealy-mouthed in avoiding the tough choices that a leader should delineate in a time of trouble. He embraced clean air and a faster Internet while ignoring the depth of our economic pain and the Wall Street scoundrels who were responsible - understandably so, since they so prominently populate the highest reaches of his administration. He had the effrontery to condemn "a parade of lobbyists" for rigging government after he appointed the top Washington representative of JPMorgan Chase to be his new chief of staff.

The speech was a distraction from what seriously ails us: an unabated mortgage crisis, stubbornly high unemployment and a debt that spiraled out of control while the government wasted trillions making the bankers whole. Instead the president conveyed the insular optimism of his fat-cat associates: "We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again." How convenient to ignore the fact that this bubble of prosperity, which has failed the tens of millions losing their homes and jobs, was floated by enormous government indebtedness now forcing deep cuts in social services including state financial aid for those better-educated students the president claims to be so concerned about.

Sherlock

US Ambassador's Bid to Get Falk Sacked from UN Opens a Can of Worms

Richard Falk
© unknown
Oral presentation made by Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestine Territories to the United Nations General Assembly on 20 October 2010
Mention Richard Falk and you think of an honourable man who cares deeply about injustice, particularly the trampled rights of Palestinians under the evil jackboot.

The BBC reported in December 2008: "During her stint in the Clinton White House, she was described as 'brilliant' but also 'authoritarian' and 'brash'. According to the New York Times, she acknowledges 'a certain impatience at times'."

She is also said to be "unwilling to consider opinions that differ from her own".

Ambassador Rice has just demanded that Falk, the UN Human Rights Council's special rapporteur in the Palestinian territories, step down from his UN position. "In my view, Mr. Falk's latest commentary [an entry in his blog about the media and 9/11] is so noxious that it should finally be plain to all that he should no longer continue in his position on behalf of the UN."

Vader

With 36,000 Troops Set to Deploy in 2011, Is Permanent War on the Horizon?

As the US war in Afghanistan spreads toward Pakistan and the strategy drifts to Counter Terrorism (CT), there is no deescalation in sight. In fact, it is increasingly clear that the White House has little intention to significantly draw down troops in July of this year, as promised in President Obama's West Point speech.

Approximately 36,000 troops will be deployed to Afghanistan in 2011; 28,900 -80%- of those will deploy before July-the first month of President Obama's promised transition and draw down phases. The deployments are part of the regular troop rotations, but what might this mean for the July 2011 draw down?

Here is a list of deployments compiled by my fellow anti-war organizer and writer Ryan Harvey:

Dollar

US investigates Deutsche Bank in foreclosure case

  • Allegations Deutsche Bank filed false documents
  • Inquiry could affect foreclosures across United States
  • Testimony demanded from Deutsche Bank officials
New York- A branch of the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) filed false documents and attempted to mislead a bankruptcy judge in a foreclosure action.

Although the investigation involves the case of only one homeowner in Connecticut, a court document filed on Jan. 26 by the United States Trustee's Office said it wants to elicit information about Deutsche Bank's practices in general in foreclosure cases.

The inquiry involves Deutsche Bank National Trust Co, the Deutsche Bank unit that acts as trustee for thousands of trusts that invested in mortgage-backed securities. The U.S. Trustees' Office is a division of the Department of Justice responsible for overseeing administration of bankruptcy cases.

Light Sabers

Davos panel sees huge Iranian response to attack

Image
© Associated Press
President of the Council on Foreign Relations, USA, Richard Haass speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Davos, Switzerland - A diverse panel of decision-makers and experts from the United States, Europe and the Middle East found common ground on just one thing when it comes to dealing with the Iranian nuclear program Friday: A military strike could well spark a devastating counterattack.

In the debate at the World Economic Forum, former top U.S. diplomat Richard Haass said there were no good options should diplomacy fail, but stood apart from the others in advocating force as a viable option. He sparred repeatedly with Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki al-Faisal, who urged the United States to instead pressure Israel to quit its own reported nuclear weapons as a way of coaxing Iran to drop its suspected weapons program as well.

Haass replied that there was no time for this because of the speed of Iran's program - and rejected the assertion by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan that the program might be civilian, as Tehran has repeatedly claimed.

The Davos panel thus reflected the basic disagreement that divides world powers and bedevils diplomatic efforts: All seem to oppose Iran producing a nuclear weapon, but there are disagreements over whether to believe its protestations. And down the road lies the open question of whether war is worse than acquiescence.

Smoking

Anti-Smoking Campaign: Monk First To Be Charged Under Bhutan Anti-Smoking Law

Image
© iStockphoto
A Buddhist monk could face five years in prison after becoming the first casualty of a stringent anti-smoking law in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, which vows to become the first smoke-free nation.

The monk has been charged with consuming and smuggling contraband tobacco under a law that came into force this month, the newspaper Kuensel reported Friday, having been caught in possession of 72 packets of chewing tobacco.

Bhutan, where smoking is considered bad for one's karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. But with a thriving smuggling operation from neighboring India, the ban failed to make much of an impact.

The new law has granted police powers to enter homes, threatening jail for shopkeepers selling tobacco and smokers who fail to provide customs receipts for imported cigarettes.

"He can be charged with smuggling of controlled substances, which is a fourth degree felony," a police official from the Narcotic Drug and Law enforcement Unit of Bhutan, who did not want to be identified, told the Bhutan Today newspaper.

Gear

Wishful thinking? Israel predicts Egypt regime will survive

Image
© unk
Voices from a different generation
Wave of demonstrations throughout Israel's southern neighbour raised speculation about whether Mubarak forced from office, how protest movement affect ties with Cairo.

Israel expects the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will survive democracy protests that have shaken the country over the past three days, government officials and analysts said.

The wave of demonstrations throughout Israel's southern neighbour have raised speculation about whether Mubarak will be forced from office, and how the protest movement will affect ties with Cairo.

Egypt is one of only two Arab nations, along with Jordan, to have signed a peace treaty with Israel, and is considered a key strategic partner for the Jewish state in the Middle East.

Heart - Black

National BP Oil Spill Commission Report "Shredded" By Industry Expert

"First Dispersant Study Funded by Feds: COREXIT "did NOT degrade"... "It didn't go away" - May not have even broken up the oil" - Florida Oil Spill Law

BP Knowingly Drilled Macondo MC 252 in High Risk Geohazard Area

The recently published National Commission Report to the President of the United States of America (11th January 2011) and BP's own earlier Accident Investigation Report dated 8th September 2010 have focused almost entirely on the failings of equipment and processes on the drilldeck of the Deepwater Horizon, on the seafloor BOP and associated equipment and on the errors and mistakes made in drilling and cementing up of the close to completed well.

Green Light

Egyptian army chief was visiting Pentagon before protests erupted

Image
© Reuters
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Egypt calling on President Mubarak to step down
Senior official apparently cutting short defence talks as unrest sweeps his country.

The Pentagon has said that Lieutenant General Sami Enan, the Egyptian army's chief of staff, has departed Washington, cutting short a planned week-long visit as unrest sweeps his country.

The previously scheduled annual defence talks had been adjourned after "the Egyptian delegation was called home by its government," Colonel Dave Lapan, the Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement on Friday.

Sandy Vershbow, the assistant secretary of defence, led the US side for the talks and reiterated the Washington's appeal for restraint in dealing with widespread unrest, Lapan said.

"The current situation in Egypt arose very quickly, but Ambassador Vershbow did have the opportunity to urge restraint to his Egyptian counterpart during the Wednesday and Thursday meetings here in the Pentagon," he said.

Egypt receives about $1.3bn a year in US military aid and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic assistance - second only to Israel.

The country's armed forces - the world's 10th biggest with more than 468,000 members - have been at the heart of power since army officers staged an overthrow of the monarchy in 1952.