Puppet MastersS

Propaganda

Gingrich: Calling an AR-15 an assault weapon is 'lovely propaganda'

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Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says that AR-15 military-style rifles should not be banned and that it is just "lovely propaganda" to call them "assault weapons."

Following the introduction on Thursday of Sen. Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) bill to ban assault weapons, CNN host Piers Morgan reminded Gingrich that Aurora shooter James Holmes used an AR-15 that could fire 100 bullets in a minute and it was legal under current law.

"How many more bullets do you need to fire, Mr. Speaker, before that qualifies as a dangerous killing machine by your criteria?" Morgan wondered.

"Well, by my criteria, and this goes back to the question of what you respect, Piers," Gingrich asserted. "I think the Second Amendment really matters."

Newspaper

'Croc Hunter' daughter slams Hillary Clinton editors over essay

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© AFP Photo
Teenage conservationist Bindi Irwin, daughter of late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, has revealed her shock that an essay she penned for Hillary Clinton was edited so heavily that her words were "twisted".

Irwin, 14, was reportedly invited to write for US Secretary of State Clinton's e-journal about why she had chosen to work in wildlife conservation and wrote 1,000 words that largely focused on the issue of overpopulation.

But she told Sydney's Daily Telegraph that when the piece had been edited and returned to her for approval, it had been altered so much she felt she had to withdraw it from publication.

"When I got the essay back after they edited it, it was completely different," the newspaper cited her as saying.

Question

Missouri Republican proposes bill to require teaching of 'intelligent design'

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© Shutterstock
Legislation proposed in the Missouri House of Representatives on Wednesday would require schools to treat the theory of evolution and intelligent design equally.

The Missouri Standard Science Act states the theory of evolution must be taught side-by-side with intelligent design in public elementary and secondary schools. The bill also requires any textbook that discusses evolution to "give equal treatment to biological evolution and biological intelligent design."

Proponents of intelligent design, a variant of creationism, believe the complexity of life cannot be adequately explained by natural processes such as biological evolution.

The bill was introduced by State Rep. Rick Brattin, and cosponsored by State Reps. Andrew Koenig and Kurt Bahr. All three lawmakers are Republicans.

Megaphone

Antiwar protester heckles Kerry during confirmation hearing

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A protester interrupted Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) on Thursday during his confirmation hearings.

The woman shouted that the United States was killing thousands of people in the Middle East who were not a threat. Security officers quickly escorted her out of the room.

"When I first came to Washington and testified, I obviously was testifying as part a group of people who came here to have their voices heard, and that is, above all, what this place is about," Kerry, who has been nominated as Secretary of State, replied.

Megaphone

Five killed, 19 wounded as Iraqi army opens fire on anti-govt protest

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© Reuters / Mohanned FaisalA protester gestures in front of a burning vehicle, destroyed by protesters, during clashes with security forces in Falluja, 50 km (31 miles) west of Baghdad, January 25, 2013
Iraqi soldiers killed five people after opening fire on an anti-government protest in an attempt to disperse it, reports Al Jazeera. Troops clashed with thousands of Sunni Muslims in Falluja, protesting against Iraq's Shiite PM Nuri al-Maliki.

Sunni activists gathered in the western city of Falluja to call for the resignation of PM al-Maliki in a protest dubbed the "Friday of No Retreat." Security forces initially fired shots in the air to disperse the crowds when protesters pelted them with stones, but later troops fired on activists who set a military vehicle on fire, reported Reuters.

The Sunni-majority city of Falluja has been a hub for anti-government protests recently, with demonstrators decrying government marginalization of their minority group.

"We received three bodies with gunshot wounds in the abdomen, back and shoulder," a hospital source told Reuters.

Elsewhere in the country disgruntled Sunnis took to the streets to voice anger over a reform of anti-terror laws that they say persecute the Sunni minority. They also called for the release of 400 prisoners, some of whom were being held illegally.

Eye 2

Royal treatment: Bahraini princess & princes accused of torturing activists

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Bahraini princess Nora Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa
A Bahraini princess is in court for the torture of three pro-democracy activists in detention. The princess's case is the latest in a string of cases of torture and violence has seen the light in a report issued by Bahraini opposition.

Princess Nora Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa who serves in Bahrain's Drugs Control Unit, allegedly collaborated with another officer to torture three activists held in detention following a pro-democracy rally against the island kingdom's monarchy.

The princess categorically denies the charges of torture set against her.

Two of the princess's alleged victims were Doctors Ghassan Daif and Bassem Daif, who went to help the hundreds wounded when police opened fire with teargas and birdshot during protests in 2011. They were taken into custody in March of that year when it is thought that al-Khalifa tortured them.

Stop

Ten Chinese officials fired over sex scandal in former Bo Xilai fiefdom

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© Photograph: Jason Lee/ReutersBo Xilai, the disgraced former Chongqing party chief, whose trial is expected soon.
Developers secretly filmed men sleeping with women then used videos to extort construction deals.

Chinese authorities have fired 10 officials caught in a sex and blackmail scandal in Chongqing, the former fiefdom of the disgraced politician Bo Xilai, state media have reported.

Developers hired women to have sex with the men, then secretly filmed the meetings and used the videos to extort construction deals from the officials in the south-western city. The state news agency Xinhua said police had now broken up the criminal ring responsible.

But questions remain about how and why the videos emerged and the links between the case and Wang Lijun, the former police chief who sparked the downfall of Bo, previously his patron. It is the latest in a series of scandals over corruption and other abuses of power under Bo and Wang's watch to be aired in the Chinese media.

The Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported on Friday that Bo would go on trial in south-western Guiyang on Monday, but a Guiyang court official told Reuters: "The case has not yet even been put forward for prosecution".

Target

North Korea threatens to attack South Korea

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© Photograph: David Guttenfelder/APA North Korean tour guide speaks at an exhibition of posters, including those hailing the recent rocket launch.
Pyongyang says if Seoul joins new round of tightened UN sanctions over rocket launch it amounts to a 'declaration of war'.

North Korea has threatened to attack South Korea if Seoul joins a new round of tightened UN sanctions, as Washington unveils more of its own economic restrictions following Pyongyang's rocket launch last month.

In a third day of fiery rhetoric, North Korea directed its verbal onslaught at its neighbour on Friday, saying: "'Sanctions' mean a war and a declaration of war against us".

The reclusive country this week declared a boycott of all dialogue aimed at ending its nuclear programme and vowed to conduct more rocket and nuclear tests after the UN security council censured it for a long-range missile launch in December and expanded existing sanctions.

"If the puppet group of traitors takes a direct part in the UN 'sanctions', the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] will take strong physical counter-measures against it," North Korea's committee for the peaceful reunification of Korea said, referring to its neighbour.

The committee is Pyongyang's front for dealings with Seoul.

Sherlock

Sandy Hook Logistics: Mike Powers on The Power Hour

Joyce Riley interviewed former US special forces commando Mike Powers on January 16th on The Power Hour's 'Sandy Hook Special Investigation'.

With a lack of detail coming from the authorities concerning people's questions about the Sandy Hook Massacre, Mike Powers speaks from his extensive experience about the kinds of weapons, ammunition and tactical gear 20-year-old, 120-pound, autistic Adam Lanza would probably have needed to pull off his extraordinary feat on December 14th, 2012.


Comment: Police have since retracted the initial 'law enforcements reports' claiming that Lanza was dressed from head to toe in tactical gear. The official line now is that Lanza was wearing a "fishing-type vest/jacket with multiple pockets."


Star of David

SOTT Focus: Chutzpah, Hypocrisy, and Lies: A review of Norman Finkelstein's 'This Time We Went Too Far'

"[I]n a rational world the locution 'laws of war' would make as much sense as 'etiquette of cannibals.'" - Norman Finkelstein

too far book
Just over four years ago, in December of 2008, Israel invaded Gaza in an operation dubbed Operation Cast Lead, breaking the then-current ceasefire and killing 1400 Palestinians by the time all was said and done three weeks later. Most of the Palestinian dead were civilians, including 350 children; 13 Israelis died, 4 by friendly fire, including 3 civilians. That's a 100:1 ratio. The invasion, carried out by one of the most advanced militaries in the world against what was, by comparison, a defenseless 'enemy,' was overwhelmingly supported and defended by the Israeli populace.

Those are just the barest of facts included in Jewish-American activist and political scientist Norman Finkelstein's 2010 book 'This Time We Went Too Far': Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion. But even those facts were either disputed or spun by media pundits, government officials, and military personnel during and after the invasion, many going so far as to exonerate Israel of any wrongdoing whatsoever and fully defend its actions. Many justified the attacks because of the 'terror' under which Israelis were living from Hamas rocket attacks.

Keeping in mind the death statistics mentioned above, consider the fact that in any twenty-two-day period of 2008, an average of 148 Israelis died from diabetes. Even pneumonia killed more Israelis than died in the conflict: 60. (You can view the 2008 cause-of-death statistics for Israelis here.)

Finkelstein argues that the purpose of Operation Cast Lead (OCL) was both as a counter to the Palestinian 'peace offensive' and to re-establish Israel's 'deterrence capability', essentially a display of murderous 'strength' and ultraviolence, enough to instill fear into the hearts of Israel's 'enemies' and to deter the Palestinians from fighting back against the harsh oppression that hasn't let up for the last fifty-plus years, or from thinking they and other Arab states could get by simply without having to worry about Israeli interference in their affairs. As Ariel Sharon had put it, deterrence capability is "our [Israel's] main weapon - the fear of us" (p. 31). And as IDF Spokesperson Major Avital Leibowitz said, in reference to OCL: "It [should be] possible to destroy Gaza, so they will understand not to mess with us" (p. 35). Charming, huh?