Puppet MastersS


Attention

Egypt's Islamists Win 75 Percent of Parliament

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© The Associated Press/Khalil HamraProtesters chant slogans at a rally honoring those killed in clashes with security forces in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, nearly a year after the 18-day uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Activists are now trying to energize the public to demand that the ruling military step down.
Final results on Saturday showed that Islamist parties won nearly three-quarters of the seats in parliament in Egypt's first elections since the ouster of authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak, according to election officials and political groups.

The Islamist domination of Egypt's parliament has worried liberals and even some conservatives about the religious tone of the new legislature, which will be tasked with forming a committee to write a new constitution. It remains unclear whether the constitution will be written while the generals who took power after Mubarak's fall are still in charge, or rather after presidential elections this summer.

In the vote for the lower house of parliament, a coalition led by the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood won 47 percent, or 235 seats in the 498-seat parliament. The ultraconservative Al-Nour Party was second with 25 percent, or 125 seats.

The Salafi Al-Nour, which was initially the biggest surprise of the vote, wants to impose strict Islamic law in Egypt, while the more moderate Brotherhood, the country's best-known and organized party, has said publicly that it does not seek to force its views about an appropriate Islamic lifestyle on Egyptians.

Vader

US: Obama signals State of Union a Campaign Rallying Call

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© Reuters/Kevin LamarqueU.S. President Barack Obama attends a campaign fund raiser at the Apollo Theater in New York January 19, 2012.
President Barack Obama, offering a glimpse of next week's State of the Union address, made clear on Saturday that he will deliver a starkly partisan election-year call for a "return to American values" of economic fairness.

"I'm going to lay out a blueprint for an American economy that's built to last," Obama said in a campaign video sent to supporters. "And most importantly, a return to American values of fairness for all, and responsibility from all."

A reference to values is usually political code for social and religious issues, a rallying cry for conservative Republicans who want to deny the Democratic president a second White House term in November.

But Obama, who delivers his annual State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night, is running for re-election on his claim of being a champion for the middle class, while trying to paint Republicans as the party for the rich.

"We can go in two directions. One is towards less opportunity and less fairness. Or we can fight for where I think we need to go: building an economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few," Obama said.

Bad Guys

US Military Chief Holds Talks in Israel on Iran

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© The Associated Press/Dan BaliltyU.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, left, shakes hands with Israeli President Shimon Peres during their meeting at the President's residence in Jerusalem, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012.
The U.S. military's top general conducted an intense string of closed-door talks with Israeli leaders Friday, amid apparent disagreements between the two countries over how to respond to Iran's disputed nuclear program.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, and Israeli leaders kept silent about the exact content of their discussions. Dempsey was expected to urge Israel not to rush to attack Iran at a time when the U.S. is trying to rally additional global support to pressure Tehran through sanctions to dial back its nuclear program.

Dempsey met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been warning about the dangers of the Iranian nuclear program for more than a decade.

Netanyahu told Dempsey the U.S. should ratchet up sanctions against Iran to ones that would target its central bank and oil exports, the Israeli news site YNet reported. It quoted Netanyahu as saying such measures must be imposed immediately.

Bad Guys

Best of the Web: Newspaper Editor: Israel Should Consider Assassinating Obama

Obama, Netanyahu
© Getty

Andrew Adler, the owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, a weekly newspaper serving Atlanta's Jewish community, devoted his January 13, 2012 column to the thorny problem of the U.S. and Israel's diverging views on the threat posed by Iran. Basically Israel has three options, he wrote: Strike Hezbollah and Hamas, strike Iran, or "order a hit" on Barack Obama. Either way, problem solved!

Here's how Adler laid out "option three" in his list of scenarios facing Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu (the column, which was forwarded to us by a tipster, isn't online, but you can read a copy here):
Three, give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States' policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.

Yes, you read "three" correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence. Think about it. If I have thought of this Tom Clancy-type scenario, don't you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel's most inner circles?

Another way of putting "three" in perspective goes something like this: How far would you go to save a nation comprised of seven million lives...Jews, Christians and Arabs alike?

You have got to believe, like I do, that all options are on the table.

Chess

Russia Says Will Stand Firm With China on Syria

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© Reuters/ Sana/HandoutPeople unfurl a giant flag as they attend a rally to show support for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus January 11, 2012.
Russia will offer Washington no explanation for arms deliveries to Syria and together with China will prevent the U.N. Security Council from approving any military intervention in the conflict-torn nation, its foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Using his annual news conference to draw lines in the sand on Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said veto-holding Security Council members Russia and China would stand firm against foreign intervention.

"We will insist - and we have an understanding with our Chinese colleagues that this is our common position - that these fundamental points be retained in any decision that may be taken by the U.N. Security Council," Lavrov said.

"If somebody intends to use force ... it will be on their conscience. They will not receive any authority from the Security Council," said Lavrov, who also emphasized that Russia and China oppose any sanctions against Syria.

Russia has been the most vocal supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a 10-month government crackdown that the United Nations says has killed more than 5,000 civilians, refusing to join calls for him to step down.

Dollar

The Global Elite Are Hiding 18 Trillion Dollars In Offshore Banks

beach @ sunset
© n/a
In recent days, the fact that Mitt Romney has millions of dollars parked down in the Cayman Islands has made headlines all over the world. But when it comes to offshore banking, what Mitt Romney is doing is small potatoes. The truth is that the global elite are hiding an almost unbelievable amount of money in offshore banks. According to shocking research done by the IMF, the global elite are holding a total of 18 trillion dollars in offshore banks. And that figure does not even count any money being held in Switzerland. That is a staggering amount of money. Keep in mind that U.S. GDP in 2010 was only 14.58 trillion dollars.

So why do the global elite go to such trouble to hide their money in offshore banks? Well, there are two main reasons. One is privacy and the other is low taxation. Privacy is a big issue for those that are involved in illegal enterprises such as drug running, but the biggest reason why people move money into offshore banks is in order to avoid taxes. Some set up bank accounts in foreign nations because they want to legally minimize their taxes and others set up bank accounts in foreign nations because they want to illegally avoid taxes. You would be absolutely amazed at what some large corporations and wealthy individuals do to get out of paying taxes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the rest of us don't have the resources or the knowledge to play these games, so we get taxed into oblivion.

So why do they call it "offshore banking"?

Well, the term originally developed because the banks on the Channel Islands were "offshore" from the United Kingdom. Most "offshore banks" are still located on islands today. The Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Isle of Man are examples of this. Other "offshore banking centers" such as Monaco are actually not "offshore" at all, but the term applies to them anyway.

Bad Guys

Are Multinational Corporations Psychopathic?

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© Unknown
The infamous decision of the NeoConservative, pro-corporate, anti-democratic members of the Supreme Court in their 2010 "Citizens United" decision granted personhood to corporations. The ruling, which allows unlimited and anonymous funding of political campaigns by inanimate paper corporations, has further emboldened the already too-powerful, greedy and easily corruptible multinationals and their conservative political lapdogs to tighten control, via their campaign contributions (aka "investments or bribes"), over both centrist and right-wing lawmakers and Republican governors in both state and national legislatures. It is estimated that big corporations, through their lavish use of campaign money bribery, control the vast majority of our "elected" national leaders, both Republican and Democrat.

The five Supreme Court justices that decided the 5-4 decision in favor of corporate personhood, made legal the absurd notion that non-human American corporations deserve the same constitutional rights as flesh and blood humans.

At the time of the decision, I recall being horrified, not just at the decision, but at the lack of outrage at this clearly outrageous Constitution-crippling decision. The objections that were expressed by the small number of progressive commentators that were allowed media time, was quickly shouted down by the talking heads and the right-wing politicians that appeared 24-7 on the corporate-controlled media.

And what should have elicited massive civil disobedience was quickly drowned out of the public consciousness by the orchestrated buzz about Toyota's recall of accelerator pedals - most of which had never caused any serious accidents, much less deaths. The massive media coverage of Toyota successfully drowned-out the Citizens United decision by a thousand to one margin.

Comment: For more information on psychopathy, see these Sott links:

Beware the Corporate Psychopath

Political Ponerology: A Science of Evil Applied for Political Purposes


Bad Guys

When Will Environmentalists Ever Wake Up? The Great Pipeline Scam

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© Guardian

In another ridiculous moment of political trickery, Obama managed to dupe a major chunk of the American environmental movement yesterday by refusing to authorize the construction of the Keystone Pipeline now. The keyword in that sentence which seems like it is being largely ignored by the enviros is now, because what Obama did do is leave open the possibility of authorizing the construction of a pipeline any time in the future, say just after the election? And not that it matters much, as pipeline or not Tar Sands are already being refined all across the United States in increasing amounts. This great victory being celebrated by 350.org, Bill Mckibben and the no carbon crusaders out there is a complete farce to manipulate voters as we head into the latest corporate sponsored election.

Why is it so hard for seemingly good and well intentioned people to see the reality in front of them? Climate change will not be reversed by temporarily stopping this pipeline and Tar Sands are still moving forward full steam ahead. The Petrolarchs will get their Tar Sands Oil to market anyway they can pipeline or not. As was widely reported in the mainstream media, the state department made sure to leave the door open for Trans Canada to go ahead with another proposal for the construction of the pipeline. Trans Canada says they are preparing to start construction on schedule, knowing full well that this is already a done deal. Is it Obama's nurturing language that fools them? "The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment," Obama said. How many times will these well intentioned people allow themselves to be fooled? It seems that many of these good folks often get swept away by the feel good headlines and rarely read beyond the first two paragraphs of an article. Obama should be thanking the idiot republicans for this one, as it was a good way to rally a part of his most gullible base.

Vader

US, Outlawing dissent: Rahm Emanuel's new regime

Rahm Emanuel
© Aude Guerrucci/POOL/EPAFormer White House chief of staff and now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
On the pretext of policing upcoming G8 and Nato summits, Chicago's mayor has awarded himself draconian new powers

It's almost as if Rahm Emanuel was lifting a page from Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine - as if he was reading her account of Milton Friedman's "Chicago Boys" as a cookbook recipe, rather than as the ominous episode that it was. In record time, Emanuel successfully exploited the fact that Chicago will host the upcoming G8 and Nato summit meetings to increase his police powers and extend police surveillance, to outsource city services and privatize financial gains, and to make permanent new limitations on political dissent. It all happened - very rapidly and without time for dissent - with the passage of rushed security and anti-protest measures adopted by the city council on 18 January 2012.

Sadly, we are all too familiar with the recipe by now: first, hype up and blow out of proportion a crisis (and if there isn't a real crisis, as in Chicago, then create one), call in the heavy artillery and rapidly seize the opportunity to expand executive power, to redistribute wealth for private gain and to suppress political dissent. As Friedman wrote in Capitalism and Freedom in 1982 - and as Klein so eloquently describes in her book:
"Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When the crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function ... until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable."

Eye 1

Britain Admits Moscow Spy Rock


Britain has for the first time admitted it was spying when Russia's state security service, the FSB, accused British diplomats of using a transceiver hidden inside a rock on a Moscow street.

Footage showing the alleged spies using the device was aired on Russian TV in January 2006. The FSB described it as "absolutely new spy technology."

The UK Foreign Office then denied the claims.

But in a BBC documentary due to be broadcast later today, Jonathan Powell, then Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief of staff, admitted the footage was genuine.