Puppet MastersS


Gift

Shootout at the APEC free-trade corral

Happy Birthday Putin
© Abror Rizki / Agence France-PresseChinese President Xi Jinping joins APEC leaders to say "happy birthday" to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Monday, with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono playing Happy Birthday to You on a guitar.
What a photo - yet another instance of Bali working its magic. Chinese President Xi Jinping leads a "Happy Birthday" for Russian President Vladimir Putin, with Indonesian President Susilo Yudhoyono on acoustic guitar. You know who is not in the picture - he's in shutdown containment mode. US Think Tankland protestations notwithstanding, there could not be a more graphic reminder of the emerging multipolar order.

And right on cue, the Creditor, somewhat alarmed, pointedly reminded the massive Debtor, via Chinese vice-finance minister Zhu Guangyao:
"As the world's largest economy and the issuer of the major reserve currency in the world, it is important for the US to maintain the creditworthiness of its Treasury bonds." [1]
Translation; just as Asia-Pacific gathered to discuss the messier points of economic cooperation at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali, what everybody was worried about is the scary possibility of the US government defaulting on its colossal debts next week. All this interfered with by a sideshow - the Return of the Extraordinary Rendition in Libya and Navy SEALS getting their butts kicked by a bunch of al-Shabaab jihadis in Somalia, more than enough to bury any coverage of the APEC summit by US corporate media.

Bullseye

The slow and painful death of freedom in Canada

Canadian Flag
© Huffington Post
Less than a generation ago, Canada was a world leader when it came to the fundamental democratic freedoms of assembly, speech and information.

In 1982, Canada adopted the Access to Information Act -- making it one of the first countries to pass legislation recognizing the right of citizens to access information held by government, and as recently as 2002, Canada ranked among the top 5 most open and transparent countries when it came to respect for freedom of the press.

Fast-forward a decade, and we've become a true north suppressed and disparate -- where unregistered civic demonstrations are inhibited and repressed, rebellious Internet activities are scrutinised and supervised, government scientists are hushed and muzzled, and public information is stalled and mired by bureaucratic firewalls.

In the 2013 World Press Freedom Index -- an evaluation done by Reporters Without Borders on the autonomy of a country's media environment, Canada came in at a paltry 20th, putting us behind liberal-democratic powerhouses such as Namibia, Costa Rica, and the Western Hemisphere's new champion of free media -- Jamaica.

So what the devil is going on?

People

The Killing of Tony Blair - Video by George Galloway

"Some people make a living, others make a killing" - an exclusive new documentary on Tony Blair which will break unexplored ground
An update from George Galloway MP

Thank you for all the pledges so far!

Your contributions so far have been overwhelmingly generous. Given the great enthusiasm we have received so far, we have raised our ambitions to making a feature length documentary for global cinema release in order to reach the widest audience possible and to making this the best and most thorough documentary it can be. Therefore we need to keep raising funds. Please keep circulating the link and keep telling your friends and family to continue to donate. Tony Blair knows we are after him, let's let him know we mean business!

Stock Down

Smoke and mirrors: the real crisis is not the government shutdown

wto job off-shoring
The inability of the media and politicians to focus on the real issues never ceases to amaze.

The real crisis is not the "debt ceiling crisis." The government shutdown is merely a result of the Republicans using the debt limit ceiling to attempt to block the implementation of Obamacare. If the shutdown persists and becomes a problem, Obama has enough power under the various "war on terror" rulings to declare a national emergency and raise the debt ceiling by executive order. An executive branch that has the power to inter citizens indefinitely and to murder them without due process of law, can certainly set aside a ceiling on debt that jeopardizes the government.

The real crisis is that jobs offshoring by US corporations has permanently lowered US tax revenues by shifting what would have been consumer income, US GDP, and tax base to China, India, and other countries where wages and the cost of living are relatively low. On the spending side, twelve years of wars have inflated annual expenditures. The consequence is a wide deficit gap between revenues and expenditures.

Under the present circumstances, the deficit is too large to be closed. The Federal Reserve covers the deficit by printing $1,000 billion annually with which to purchase Treasury debt and mortgage-backed financial instruments. The use of the printing press on such a large scale undermines the US dollar's role as reserve currency, the basis for US power. Raising the debt limit simply allows the real crisis to continue. More money will be printed with which to purchase more new debt issues needed to close the gap between revenues and expenditures.

The supply of dollars or dollar denominated assets in foreign hands is vast. (The Social Security system's large surplus accumulated over a quarter century was borrowed by the Treasury and spent. In its place are non-marketable Treasury IOUs. Consequently, Social Security is one of the largest creditors to the US government.)

Eye 1

Intel union: Spy agency heads won't roll with US and UK allied

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© AFP Photo / Mark Wilson / Justin TallisJames Clapper (left) and Malcolm Rifkind
The disparity in response to Edward Snowden's disclosures within the USA and the UK is astonishing.

The disparity in response to Edward Snowden's disclosures within the USA and the UK is astonishing. In the face of righteous public wrath, the US administration is contorting itself to ensure that it does not lose its treasured data-mining capabilities: congressional hearings are held, the media is on the warpath, and senior securocrats are being forced to admit that they have lied about the efficacy of endemic surveillance in preventing terrorism.

Just this week General Alexander, the head of the NSA with a long track record of misleading lying to government, was forced to admit that the endemic surveillance programmes have only helped to foil a couple of terrorist plots. This is a big difference from the previous number of 54 that he was touting around.

Cue calls for the surveillance to be reined in, at least against Americans. In future such surveillance should be restricted to targeted individuals who are being actively investigated. Which is all well and good, but would still leave the rest of the global population living their lives under the baleful stare of the US panopticon. And if the capability continues to exist to watch the rest of the world, how can Americans be sure that the NSA et al won't stealthily go back to watching them once the scandal has died down - or just ask their best buddies in GCHQ to do their dirty work for them?

Red Flag

'Obama has lost ability to govern'

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US President Barack Obama appears to have "lost his ability to govern" as the fight is going on between Congressional Democrats and Republicans over budget, says Bill Jones from Executive Intelligence Review.

The US government was partially closed down as of Monday midnight after the two houses of Congress failed to agree on the spending bill.

Jones told Press TV that if the Republican majority in the House of Representatives holds together opposing the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, anything that the Democrats would put forward will not pass the chamber.

Vader

NSA chief's admission of misleading numbers adds to Obama administration blunders

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© Evan VucciNational Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, before the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The Obama administration's credibility on intelligence suffered another blow Wednesday as the chief of the National Security Agency admitted that officials put out numbers that vastly overstated the counterterrorism successes of the government's warrantless bulk collection of all Americans' phone records.

Pressed by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing, Gen. Keith B. Alexander admitted that the number of terrorist plots foiled by the NSA's huge database of every phone call made in or to America was only one or perhaps two - far smaller than the 54 originally claimed by the administration.

Gen. Alexander and other intelligence chiefs have pleaded with lawmakers not to shut down the bulk collection of U.S. phone records despite growing unease about government overreach in the program, which was revealed in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

"There is no evidence that [bulk] phone records collection helped to thwart dozens or even several terrorist plots," Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and committee chairman, told Gen. Alexander of the 54 cases that administration officials - including the general himself - have cited as the fruit of the NSA's domestic snooping.

"These weren't all plots and they weren't all foiled," he said.

TV

SOTT Focus: BBC and doctors in Syria: shilling for Western Psychopaths in Power?

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Dr. Rola. What about the babies in incubators?
Two BBC news stories, one published on August 29th, the other on September 30th, contain video of an alleged Syrian government "napalm" attack on a "Syrian school playground" during the last week of August 2013. The September 30th video refers back to the original story, one month previously.

Both videos are from the same 'Panorama' investigative reporting program that aired on August 30th, the same day that the UK parliament rejected Prime Minister David Cameron's attempt to sanction the NATO bombing of Syria.

Both videos contain the testimony of an English doctor allegedly working with the supposedly humanitarian 'NGO' 'Hand in Hand for Syria'.

The doctor in question may be 'Doctor Rola Hallam', who appears to be a British ex-pat or 'exiled' Syrian woman or, perhaps, the daughter of Syrian 'exiles'.

Doctor Hallam appeared on BBC's Newsnight program on August 31st, one day after the UK parliament vote, to complain about the fact that Cameron's move to attack Syria had been rejected by the UK parliament.

Dollars

Obamacare Facebook erupts with citizen price shock

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On Thursday, the government's official Obamacare Facebook page was riddled with people expressing sticker shock over the government's high cost premiums after struggling for hours to wade through the technical failures vexing Obamacare exchanges all across the country.

"I am so disappointed," wrote one woman. "These prices are outrageous and there are huge deductibles. No one can afford this!" The comment received 169 "likes."

"There is NO WAY I can afford it," said one commenter after using the Kaiser Subsidy Calculator. "Heck right now I couldn't afford an extra 10$ [sic] a month...and oh apparently I make to [sic] much at 8.55/hour to get subsidies."

Another person shared a link found on the federal government's main Obamacare page listing premium estimates for small business employers:
The information is not very complete as I don't see anything about deductible or other detailed info, but it does given an actual price as to the "Premium." It is VERY SCARY!! For example, my insurance plan right now for my spouse and I costs $545 a month with 100% coverage after my $2500 deductible. We are both 32 years old. When I looked at this site for 80% coverage it says it will be $954.78 a month!!!! So compare my old Plan: 100% coverage for $545 a month To New Plan: 80% Coverage for $945 a month. This is only only an estimate but it is VERY Scary for me to see this kind of increase in rates and reduction in benefits!

Stock Down

Martial law and the economy: Is Homeland Security preparing for the next Wall Street collapse?

US default
© Unknown
Reports are that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is engaged in a massive, covert military buildup.An article in the Associated Press in February confirmed an open purchase order by DHS for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. According to an op-ed in Forbes, that's enough to sustain an Iraq-sized war for over twenty years. DHS has also acquired heavily armored tanks, which have been seen roaming the streets. Evidently somebody in government is expecting some serious civil unrest. The question is, why?

Recently revealed statements by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the height of the banking crisis in October 2008 could give some insights into that question. An article on BBC News on September 21, 2013, drew from an explosive autobiography called Power Trip by Brown's spin doctor Damian McBride, who said the prime minister was worried that law and order could collapse during the financial crisis. McBride quoted Brown as saying:
If the banks are shutting their doors, and the cash points aren't working, and people go to Tesco [a grocery chain] and their cards aren't being accepted, the whole thing will just explode.

If you can't buy food or petrol or medicine for your kids, people will just start breaking the windows and helping themselves.

And as soon as people see that on TV, that's the end, because everyone will think that's OK now, that's just what we all have to do. It'll be anarchy. That's what could happen tomorrow.
How to deal with that threat? Brown said, "We'd have to think: do we have curfews, do we put the Army on the streets, how do we get order back?"