Puppet MastersS

Mr. Potato

Obama creates international incident with 'selfie' at Mandela service

Obama and friend
© Fox NewsDavid Cameron, Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Barack Obama
Call it the selfie seen 'round the world.

Among the enduring images from Nelson Mandela's massive memorial service in Johannesburg Tuesday will be one of a jovial President Obama taking a cell phone pic with his seat-mates, Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Britain's David Cameron.

As the three of them smile for the camera, a stern-looking Michelle Obama can be seen staring straight ahead, hands clasped. As if to remind anyone who sees this photo years from now that it was, after all, a memorial service for one of the great human rights leaders.

The tsk-tsk-ing could be heard across continents.

"What on earth is going on? Why do world leaders now behave like this?" The Daily Telegraph's Iain Martin wrote. "Perhaps it is just that the current generation -- my generation -- is so appallingly spoiled that basic notions of decorum have been shot to pieces."

Comment: Why you ask? Our trusted twisted leaders are likely psychopaths.


US media blacks out Seymour Hersh exposé of Washington's lies on sarin attack in Syria

Seymour Hersh
The American media has blacked out an account by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh demonstrating that President Barack Obama and the US government lied when they claimed to have proof that the Syrian government carried out a sarin gas attack last August on areas near Damascus held by US-backed "rebels."

Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and other top officials declared categorically that the August 21 attack on Eastern Ghouta, which reportedly killed hundreds of people, had been carried out by the Syrian military. They, along with the leaders of Britain and France, sought to use the gas attack to stampede public opinion behind their plans to attack Syria, cripple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and install a puppet government.

In the end, internal differences over the launching of direct military action combined with broad popular opposition to another unprovoked war in the Middle East led the administration to pull back and accept a Russian plan for the dismantling of Syrian chemical weapons. This was followed by the opening of talks with Iran, Syria's main ally in the region.

Hersh's article, entitled "Whose sarin?," was published Sunday by the London Review of Books. Based on information provided by current and former US intelligence and military officials, Hersh showed in great detail that Washington manipulated intelligence to create the impression that it had tracked the Syrian military preparing to launch a poison gas attack in the days leading up to the sarin strike on Eastern Ghouta. In fact, US intelligence had no advance warning of the attack.


Religious leaders propose 'dreaming' to escape poverty

Joel Osteen
© ABCnewsJoel Osteen

Buried on the fourth page of Lori Montgomery's recent piece in the Washington Post on Paul Ryan's alleged anti-poverty crusade is an incredibly disparaging quote from Bishop Shirley Holloway, a minor religious celebrity in D.C., who, after assuring us that "Paul wants people to dream again," omnisciently asserts that "you don't dream when you've got food stamps."

It's a bizarre sentiment that understandably provoked a snarky backlash from liberal bloggers. But it's also an unusually honest expression of how religious conservatives and allies of Paul Ryan view the lower classes. For many on the broadly defined Christian Right, what ails the poor is that they are not "dreaming" as they should be. This may be due to circumstance, or personal failing, or some combination of both. But the message is clear: for the millions of luckless souls who find themselves in abject poverty, there is a simple, straightforward path to tangible and dramatic socioeconomic improvement. Luckily, it doesn't require increased social spending by government, or taxes on the rich, or anything like that (in fact, it might require reduced social spending and lower taxes on the rich). As it turns out, "dreaming" is all that's needed.

Shirley Holloway is far from the only religious leader who proposes intensified dreaming as the key mechanism by which one can escape poverty. But, without question, the leading exponent of this school of thought is one Joel Osteen, celebrity pastor at Lakewood Church, the largest church in the United States. Osteen has built an extremely lucrative personal empire on the foundational message that, if his extended flock will simply agree to dream bigger and think more positively, God will grace them with previously unimaginable levels of wealth and success. Each week, when millions of people around the world tune in to see the perpetually smiling Osteen deliver his sermon to a reliably packed arena, they hear some variation of the promise that everyone is this close to "realizing their full potential" and experiencing a vague but boundless bliss.


'Muddling and meddling'? US, EU politicians plunge deeper into Kiev protest

Victoria Nuland in Kiev
© AFP Photo/Andrew KravchenkoA handout picture released on December 10, 2013 by Ukrainian Union Opposition press services hows US Assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) distributing cakes to protesters on the Independence Square in Kiev on December 10, 2013.
Pro-EU protests in Kiev have been marked by western politicians' regular visits to the protesters' camp, and their emotional condemnations of Ukraine's authorities. This is seen by some analysts as unprecedented meddling in a country's internal affairs.

US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, handed out snacks on Wednesday to protesters on Kiev's Independence Square (or 'Maidan' as it's nicknamed), making those who witnessed the scene wonder if a reciprocal gesture would be imaginable during something like an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York.

Nuland's act of philanthropy and meeting with President Viktor Yanukovich, where she reprimanded him for "absolutely impermissible" treatment of the protesters, came hours after John Kerry made a very strong statement on Ukraine.

"The United States expresses its disgust with the decision of Ukrainian authorities to meet the peaceful protests in Kiev's Maidan Square with riot police, bulldozers and batons," The US Secretary of State's statement read. The word "disgust" rarely if ever appears in diplomatic messages.

Tensions ran truly high in Kiev early on Wednesday, when police started to dismantle some of the barricades in the city center and scuffles broke out. However, as RT's correspondent on the ground saw it, the distribution of force was somewhat equal.

Comment: This looks very much like a rerun of the Western sponsored "Orange revolution" in Ukraine in 2004, where the West was VERY supportive of the opposition and totally against the government.

Comment: Where was the West in supporting the demonstrators in Turkey, Thailand, Greece and where was the understanding of the demonstrators in the Occupy Wall Street movement as the article mentions?

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Turkey police crack down on anti-government protests

Mr. Potato

Obama, Cameron and Danish PM make a disrespectful spectacle of themselves during Mandela memorial

Obama and Danish PM
© Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty US President Barack Obama (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a picture with Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt (C) next to US First Lady Michelle Obama (R) during the memorial service of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Johannesburg on December 10, 2013. Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century, died in Johannesburg on December 5 at age 95.
Barack Obama's selfie with Danish prime minister leaves Twitter a-tweet about Michelle Obama 'soap opera'

While world leaders gathered in celebration of the life of South Africa's Nelson Mandela, social media seemed more interested in a selfie and a soap opera in the stands.

U.S. President Barack Obama managed to upstage his own universally praised speech about Mandela Tuesday not once, but twice, with pictures taken in the stands at FNB stadium.


7/7 Ripple Effect: London Bombings documentary the British and Israeli governments want no one to see

...with a little help from the Mossad.
Regarding the 7/7/2005 terrorist attacks in London, let us look at the facts, and what we were told, and compare them. Then, using Ockham's Razor and common-sense, let us see what conclusions are to be drawn, so we can all understand what most likely really did happen that day.

Comment: See also: London Bombings - The Facts Speak For Themselves

Evil Rays

Sen. Lamar Alexander's Chief of Staff put on leave following child pornography allegations

© Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., sent out a release Wednesday morning announcing that his chief of staff, Ryan Loskarn, is being put on leave over allegations involving child pornography. "I am stunned, surprised and disappointed by what I have learned," the senator said in a statement.


Tom Stoppard: Our masters are in the grip of a delusionary nightmare

State surveillance of personal data: what is the society we wish to protect? One of the writers who signed a letter demanding an international bill of digital rights, says 'our masters are in the grip of a delusionary nightmare'
Playwright Tom Stoppard
© Felix ClayTom Stoppard: 'The world of surveillance operated by the people we pay to guard us exceeds the fevered dreams of the Stasi'
What in principle would justify the scope of the surveillance revealed by the Snowden leak? Would it be enough, for example, if it could be shown that a specific potential act of terrorism had been prevented by, and could only have been prevented by, the full breadth and depth of what we now have learned is the playing field of the security services?

We should hesitate before we stray off the touchline. The idea that public safety, the safety of the innocent, is an absolute which trumps every other consideration, is tacitly abandoned in the way we live.

Nobody would be killed on the roads if the speed limit were 10 miles an hour. Flying would be safer if airport security demanded body searches with no exceptions and the examination of every item in every piece of luggage. On the matter of surveillance in general we have, without much discussion, learned to live with almost blanket surveillance by CCTV in our towns and cities. As a result thousand of crimes, including murder, have been solved and perhaps many more prevented. But how many more would there have been if we doubled the number of cameras, or increased them tenfold, a hundredfold?

Wall Street

My life working for the real 'Wolf of Wall Street'

Shapiro 1
Josh Shapiro lived the high life during the 1990s and drove a red Porsche.
When most people his age were still figuring out what they wanted to do for a living, Josh Shapiro had a clear-cut plan - make as much money as possible. So he did.

In his early 20s, he was pulling down tens of thousands of dollars a month, working hard and partying harder at Stratton Oakmont, the notorious Long Island boiler room that sold investors the moon but delivered sawdust.

Shapiro idolized scheme masterminds Jordan Belfort and Danny Porush, who will be immortalized by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, out on Christmas.

"The lie becomes the truth," said Shapiro, 41, who eventually became disillusioned, traded in his Porsche for a Buick, and left finance entirely for a life devoted to helping people.

Here's his story, as told to The Post's Gary Buiso.


Response to the Snowden revelations: The future of privacy is on the line

end nsa surveillance
The questions of privacy, surveillance, accountability and proportionality raised can no longer be brushed aside by the traditional invocation of national security

Seven months ago, Edward Snowden was a Hawaii-based employee of a US defence contractor, living an everyday life unknown to the public. At that time, in the US as elsewhere, national security issues also lived in the political shadows, almost as if the cold war had never quite ended. Back then, mainstream politics still tiptoed respectfully around the agencies, such as America's NSA and Britain's GCHQ, in the national security field. This was partly because they felt this was the proper patriotic course, partly because, fearful of terrorism, citizens seemed willing to trust the agencies to protect them from harm, and partly because they simply didn't know much about what the agencies were actually up to. It was another world.