Why the Continued Delay in Appointing a NEW US Ambassador for Georgia? | New Eastern Outlook


11-05-19 09:02:00,


It is all about Iran and holding in abeyance the appointment of a new Ambassador. Until recently absent from the news, this is however an issue that should have received much more attention. As one Georgian journalist asked me a few months ago, “why did Trump recall US Ambassador Ian Kelley from Georgia—and what will be Trump’s policy towards Georgia?”

Let’s first take a walk back, a bit of history. Firstly, one only needs to look at the CV of Richard Miles and how he was in Serbia before being posted to Georgia prior to the 2003 Rose Revolution. Another US Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, for instance, had proved to be no friend of Georgia.

At such time as an Ambassador is appointed, especially a high-profile name, the writing will be on the wall. It will be apparent as to what the next moves shall be. Earlier candidates proved their too close for comfort relations with the previous regime of Mikheil Saakashvili.

Basically the pool of untrained State Department career diplomats is limited. Ian Kelly was personally chosen by Obama and thus understandably he had no political future with Trump. Personal matters apart, Trump also knows of the cozy relations various US Ambassadors to Georgia have with former FBI Director Robert Muller.

Muller was also a part of a clear up team that visited Georgia several times during Saakashvili’s tenure, and that was even before that 2008 Georgian-Russian war. Many of the prepositioned weapons that the US had stored in Georgia for use against Iran had disappeared, even before the conflict started. Naturally the Georgian government at the time claimed that the weapons had been taken as spoils of war by the Russians.

Incidentally some of the FBI directors visits were about the diversion of weapons for profit and using the war over South Ossetia to cover a multitude of sins, and to help dearly departed John McCain in his 2008 failed presidential race.

It is unfortunate that Robert Mueller continues to support what is left of the United National Movement UNM, the former party of former president Mikheil Saakashvili and the propagate the agenda of the Obama and crooked Hillary administration.

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Fed Launches “Rate-Peg-Instead-Of-QE” Trial Balloon For Next Crisis


10-05-19 03:06:00,

Authored by Wolf Richter via WolfStreet.com,

Wall Street hype artists and assorted QE mongers would be deeply disappointed.

This came packaged into the middle of a speech by Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard, on “How Does Monetary Policy Affect Your Community?” It was under the subheading, “Some Issues to Explore.” And it would be a huge shift in how the next crisis will be handled.

During the next crisis when short-term interest rates are already at zero – for the Fed, that is still the lower bound – the Fed might not do the type of QE it did during and after the Financial Crisis when it set a target to buy a fixed amount of securities every month.

Instead, during the next crisis, when 0% short-term interest rates are no longer enough to stimulate the economy, the Fed might announce a target for slightly longer-dated interest rates, such as one-year rates, Brainard said. And it would buy just enough securities with those maturities, to bring the one-year yield down to the target range. And if more stimulus is needed, it might target two-year rates, she said:

Under this policy, the Federal Reserve would stand ready to use its balance sheet to hit the targeted interest rate, but unlike the asset purchases that were undertaken in the recent recession, there would be no specific commitments with regard to purchases of Treasury securities.

“Such an approach could help communicate publicly how long the Federal Reserve is planning to keep rates low,” she added.

It’s an “interest-rate peg”: been there, done that.

The Fed would announce that it wants the one-year yield to be at 1%, for example, and if the Fed is credible in its announcement, it might not have to buy many securities to get the one-year yield to target.

This was just one of the “ideas,” Brainard said, and “there may be other good ideas, and part of the process we are engaged in involves looking around for other ideas.” Nevertheless, the trial balloon is floating.

The Fed already implemented a rate peg before – to help provide cheap financing for the US war effort during World War II. The Fed recounts that episode:

The interest-rate peg became effective in July 1942 and lasted through June 1947.

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FLASHBACK: John Young on Wikileaks and Whistleblowing (2010) : The Corbett Report


10-05-19 03:02:00,

The Corbett Report

Podcast: Play in new window | Download | Embed

Watch this video on BitChute / DTube / YouTube

In this 2010 flashback from The Corbett Report archives, John Young of Cryptome.org talks about the then-new Wikileaks.org phenomenon, including the ways that information leaks can themselves be manipulated. We also discuss corporate complicity in government surveillance of the internet.

CLICK HERE for mp3 audio

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Boondoggle, Inc.: Making Sense of the $1.25 Trillion National Security State Budget – Global Research


10-05-19 07:59:00,

In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking for a near-record $750 billion for the Pentagon and related defense activities, an astonishing figure by any measure. If passed by Congress, it will, in fact, be one of the largest military budgets in American history, topping peak levels reached during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. And keep one thing in mind: that $750 billion represents only part of the actual annual cost of our national security state.

There are at least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars, preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the consequences of wars already fought. So the next time a president, a general, a secretary of defense, or a hawkish member of Congress insists that the U.S. military is woefully underfunded, think twice. A careful look at U.S. defense expenditures offers a healthy corrective to such wildly inaccurate claims.

Now, let’s take a brief dollar-by-dollar tour of the U.S. national security state of 2019, tallying the sums up as we go, and see just where we finally land (or perhaps the word should be “soar”), financially speaking.

The Pentagon’s “Base” Budget: The Pentagon’s regular, or “base,” budget is slated to be $544.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2020, a healthy sum but only a modest down payment on total military spending.

As you might imagine, that base budget provides basic operating funds for the Department of Defense, much of which will actually be squandered on preparations for ongoing wars never authorized by Congress, overpriced weapons systems that aren’t actually needed, or outright waste, an expansive category that includes everything from cost overruns to unnecessary bureaucracy. That $544.5 billion is the amount publicly reported by the Pentagon for its essential expenses and includes as well $9.6 billion in mandatory spending that goes toward items like military retirement.

Among those basic expenses, let’s start with waste, a category even the biggest boosters of Pentagon spending can’t defend. The Pentagon’s own Defense Business Board found that cutting unnecessary overhead, including a bloated bureaucracy and a startlingly large shadow workforce of private contractors, would save $125 billion over five years.

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‘Education is only numbers’: French Alps school enrolls SHEEP as pupils to save class (PHOTOS)


09-05-19 02:43:00,

The small French Alps village of Crets en Belledonne is counting sheep, but not to cure insomnia. Instead, they’re enrolling them in school to make up for low attendance.

Yes, you read that right: the Jules Ferry elementary school registered some 15 sheep as pupils on Tuesday in order to fulfill French regulations which set quotas for the number of students required at a school.

“National education is unfortunately only numbers,” said Gaelle Laval, one of the parents behind the odd initiative. “So now, with this surge in numbers, we are good.”

The elementary school risked losing state funding for one of its eleven classes when its enrollment figure fell below the required threshold, prompting residents to symbolically register the animals to ensure the quota was met.

Human students at Jules Ferry were elated by the arrival of their new classmates.

“To have sheep in the school, it is super!” said one eight-year-old student. “I’m ready to take one or two in my class. I’m sure they will work well.”

The effort was organized by three parents, but the town’s mayor, Jean-Louis Maret, has come out in support, officially recognizing the animals as students at the school.

The sheep were provided by a local farmer named Michel Girerd, one of just 4,000 residents in the small town.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

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Analysis: Public Overwhelmingly Wants EPA Ban on Wildlife-killing ‘Cyanide Bombs’ – Global Research


09-05-19 01:26:00,

More than 99.9 percent of people commenting on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal to reauthorize sodium cyanide in wildlife-killing devices called M-44s support a ban on these “cyanide bombs,” according to an analysis released today.

Cyanide bombs inhumanely and indiscriminately kill thousands of animals every year. The analysis of public comments was done by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Western Environmental Law Center.

Earlier this year, the EPA issued a proposed interim decision renewing sodium cyanide registration for use in M-44s and opened a public comment period. More than 22,400 people submitted comments.

Of those, just 10 submissions asked the EPA to renew its registration of M-44s.

“Cyanide traps are indiscriminate killers that can’t be used safely by anyone, anywhere,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re fighting for a permanent nationwide ban, which is the only way to protect people, pets and imperiled wildlife from this poison.”

EPA’s registration authorizes use of the deadly devices by Wildlife Services — a secretive wildlife-killing program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — as well as by state agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas.

The devices spray deadly sodium cyanide into the mouths of unsuspecting coyotes, foxes and other carnivores lured by smelly bait. Anything or anyone that pulls on the baited M-44 device can be killed or severely injured by the deadly spray.

M-44s temporarily blinded a child and killed three family dogs in two incidents in Idaho and Wyoming in 2017. A wolf was also accidentally killed by an M-44 set in Oregon that year. In response, Idaho instituted an ongoing moratorium on M-44 use on public lands, and Oregon this week passed legislation banning them in the state.

“It is far past time to eliminate these cruel killing devices altogether,” said Kelly Nokes, Shared Earth wildlife attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center. “M-44s are an inhumane relic of the past and an unnecessary safety risk that have no place on our public landscape in 2019. We call on EPA to revoke its registration of this poison and protect the American public from these barbaric sodium cyanide bombs once and for all.”

According to Wildlife Services’ own data,

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No to mind control! Norway minister who trusts adults to decide if they drink fighting bigger battle


08-05-19 04:21:00,

Westerners are now so used to being nannied by the state that when an official tells us it’s our choice how much to drink and smoke, we are shocked – and many are outraged. But maybe it’s time to push back against all the nudging.

This is what the new Norwegian Health Minister Sylvi Listhaug said that led to calls for her immediate resignation for “setting public welfare back decades.”

“People should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat as much as they want,” Listhaug said on national radio.

“I do not plan to be the moral police, and will not tell people how to live their lives, but I intend to help people get information that forms the basis for making choices.”

Note, Listhaug, who has enough enemies as it is for her anti-immigrant views, did not say “Drink more akvavit, it’s great!” nor that smoking or obesity do not cause cancer, nor did she promise that she was going to do nothing to help public health – on the contrary, she announced a new anti-smoking strategy. She merely reaffirmed adults’ rights to consume substances that are perfectly legal, adding that “people know pretty much what is healthy and what is not healthy” and expressed a trust in most citizens to act responsibly towards their own health.

Yet her words are anathema to how public policy is conducted.

“Nudging” has existed as a term since 2008, but some of the underlying theories date back to the mid-20th century, and are aimed at manipulating you into being a better citizen. There are thousands of different ways to nudge – from placing that HPV poster in a prominent spot, to reframing a lung cancer statistic to sound scarier (three times the risk!) to asking an NHS doctor to bring up an unrelated subject during your next routine appointment, to lowering the “acceptable” amount of units of alcohol to be consumed on the basis of little scientific evidence, to making cigarette packaging unattractive and ostracizing smokers in little enclosures that make them feel like social lepers, something Listhaug mentioned specifically.

Nudge explained by Richard H. Thaler, the man who made it mainstream:

The democratic social contract with the state has never been as simple as “you pay your taxes and follow the laws,

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Israel Damaged over 800 Gaza Homes in Three Days – Global Research


08-05-19 02:23:00,

25 civilians were killed in the Israeli attack, including a pregnant woman and a two year old baby. At least 154 were also wounded in the attack.


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If Truth Be Told About The SV-40 Cancer Virus In The Original Polio Vaccines Given To Millions Of American Children


08-05-19 12:56:00,

By Catherine J. Frompovich

The current “police state” actions being implemented regarding vaccination dissenters is due to the public’s mistrust of the CDC/FDA/Big Pharma consensus science regarding vaccines unknown viruses and neurotoxic ingredients causing adverse effects in children’s health, which has an historical, plus congressional hearing validation, anyone who values good health and well children must consider seriously.

Merck’s premiere vaccine inventor, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, was astute enough to realize something was amiss with the production of vaccines, which he documents in the video below.

The Polio Vaccine Has Cancer Virus, SV40, According to Dr. Maurice Hilleman
10:37 minutes


When he spoke about bringing the monkeys over from Africa, which they used to manufacture the polio vaccine, he had this to say, “I brought African greens in. I didn’t know we were importing AIDS virus at the time.”[1]

Dr. Hilleman stated, “Yellow fever vaccine had leukemia virus in it. This was in the day of very crude science. [1]

If you think the above was something “of a fluke” or a “figment of conspiracy theorists imaginations,” then you absolutely ought to read the U.S. Government Printing Office online published report of the September 10, 2003 Hearing of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness of the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives of the 108th Congress wherein Congressman Dan Burton is on public record saying:

There is no dispute that millions of Americans received polio vaccines that were contaminated with the virus called Simian Virus 40, or SV-40. There also is no dispute that SV-40 is capable of causing cancer, but there is a major dispute as to how many Americans may have received the contaminated vaccine, with estimates ranging from 4 million to 100 million people. There is also a major dispute as to when the polio vaccine supply got cleaned up. In addition, nobody knows how many people got sick or died because of the contaminated vaccines.

However, Dr.

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People Who Publicly Fret About Assange Rape Allegations Are Lying


08-05-19 08:49:00,

A few hours ago I stumbled across a tweet by Huffington Post UK editor Basia Cummings which made my blood boil. Actress and activist Pamela Anderson had just spoken to the press with WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson about their visit with Assange at Belmarsh prison, decrying the WikiLeaks founder’s cruel treatment and unjust prosecution. Basia Cummings took this opportunity to call her social media followers in to make fun of Anderson’s clothing.

“Pamela Anderson arrives at Belmarsh to visit Julian Assange wearing… a bespoke cape/blanket referencing ‘Cromwell’ and free speech’. It’s a look,” Cummings said.

But what really got me were the comments the tweet elicited.

“Is it possible to unwank over someone?” asked one user.

“Pamela Anderson arrives at Belmarsh to visit Julian Assange to supply him with some material for his cell wank bank,” said another.

“Cum blanket,” said another.

“She banged Kid Rock. Enough said,” said another.

This is just a small sampling from a quick skim. There are many, many others. I won’t quote them all.

Read the appallingly sexist comments on this tweet. All of the values mainstream liberals claim to stand for always go straight out the window the second they pose an obstacle to vicious partisan sniping. @pamfoundation is a much, much better person than any of them will ever be. https://t.co/bbRarHQGZp

— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) May 7, 2019

I found this so deeply illustrative of the way mainstream liberals throw every value they claim to stand for right in the garbage as soon as it becomes an obstacle to their petty partisan attacks. They all warned that Trump was campaigning on a platform of xenophobia, homophobia and demagoguery, but as soon as he was elected they began launching phony Russiagate attacks which themselves were rife with xenophobia, homophobia and demagoguery. Liberal pundits who rightly criticized Bush for his unforgivable invasion of Iraq now attack Trump for being insufficiently hawkish toward Russia and its allies. These mindless automatons don’t actually stand for anything beyond blind partisan loyalty.

In the same way that they will happily wipe their asses with any of their pretend values the second it becomes politically convenient to do so,

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Pence lifts US sanctions from Venezuela’s defector general, hopes to inspire more turncoats


08-05-19 08:48:00,

The US has lifted sanctions from a former Venezuelan spy chief, who recently defected from President Nicolas Maduro’s side. US Vice President Mike Pence hopes this incentive will prompt others to defect as well.

Pence announced the decision to remove all sanctions from General Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, the former director general of Venezuela’s National Intelligence Service, at a conference in Washington on Tuesday.

Also on rt.com
Venezuelan ex-spy chief who defected to Guaido arrested on US drug trafficking warrant in Spain

Figuera broke ranks with Maduro in the wake of the failed coup attempt, which was orchestrated by a small group of soldiers last week. In a letter that had circulated on social media, the high-ranking general said he switched sides in order to “rebuild the country,” citing rampant corruption as one of the most glaring faults of the Maduro presidency.

READ MORE: Venezuela to prosecute turncoat lawmakers following failed coup – court

Pence says he hopes that Figuera’s exoneration will trigger an exodus from the Venezuelan army ranks.

“As President Guaido builds a brighter future for Venezuela, we hope the action that our nation is taking today will encourage others to follow the example of General Cristopher Figuera and members of the military who’ve also stepped forward and taken a stand for the Bolivarian constitution and libertad,” he said.

Read more

After Venezuela coup failure, officials & mainstream media desperately spinning explanations

The US Treasury Department has confirmed the move. In a statement issued on Tuesday, it said that the US shows its goodwill by removing sanctions from designated persons “who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order” and “speak out against abuses committed by the ‘illegitimate’ Maduro regime.”

After the failed coup attempt, Washington seems to have reinvigorated its efforts to entice high-ranking officials to side with self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Guaido, after he blamed the plotters’ defeat on a lack of manpower and allies at high levels of the Venezuelan government.

“We still need more soldiers, and maybe we need more officials of the regime to be willing to support it,” Guaido said,

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The European Union, in the moment and in the long run , by Thierry Meyssan


08-05-19 08:26:00,

The citizens of the European Union, who are supposed to elect their parliament on 25 and 26 May, are getting ready to make the wrong choice. By concentrating on their immediate problems, they are hesitating between several different priorities. But on the contrary, if they were to analyse their history over a long period, they would discover the origins of their social, economic and political problems, and without any doubt, would decide differently.

JPEG - 17.6 kb

After the Second World War, in 1947, ambassador George Kennan created the policy of containment [1] and President Harry Truman constituted the apparatus of national security (CIA, Joint Committee of the Chiefs of Staff, National Security Council) [2].

Washington and London then turned against Moscow, which had only recently been their ally. They were planning to create a common Anglo-Saxon nationality, and decided to include Western Europe in this group by creating the « United States of Europe », under their control.

It was important for them to stabilise the part of Western Europe that they occupied, faced with the Soviets in Eastern Europe. They enjoyed the support of the bourgeoisies, in particular those who had collaborated with the Nazi Axis, and who were now frightened by the new legitimacy of the Communist parties, the main victorious forces alongside the Soviet Union.

They based their work on the dream of a French senior civil servant, Louis Loucheur , to join the management of coal and steel necessary for the German and French armament industries in such a way as to prevent them from ever making war on one another again [3]. This idea was the ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community), the ancestor of the European Union.

In the context of the Korean War, North against South, Washington decided to rearm West Germany against East Germany. The Western European Union (WEU) was created in order for the developing United States of Europe to manage a common army under Anglo-Saxon control, but which would not attempt to transform itself into an independent force. The WEU would be responsible for foreign policy and common defence.

Relations between London and Washington became strained during the Suez crisis in 1956.

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Chemical Torture – LewRockwell LewRockwell.com


07-05-19 03:47:00,

There is great evil being perpetrated by Washington D.C. here and around the world.

A persistent terrible hate for life, liberty and humanity arrived on little cat feet and has taken over our country.  This did not begin with Trump, but sadly it also is not going to end with him either.

Trump promised to drain the swamp, implying change, transparency and accountability.

Instead he brought in neoconservative king-makers and warmongers, and allowed their influence to grow disproportionately, while his co-dependents in the other party facilitate the agenda of death.

The criminal pursuit and indictment of Wikileak founder, Julian Assange is the proof in the pudding.   The 40 page criminal complaint contains a lot of detail but not much crime.  In fact, the “crimes” are more like descriptions of how journalism is done in the information age, if it is true that the job of journalism is to tell the stories, name the names, and state the facts that governments don’t want told, named or stated.  

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In a normal world, none of this is worth much energy or attention.  There is very little legally here to work with, and success so far on the part of the US Government has been solely via a reliable judge in the Eastern District Court of Virginia, and other people’s money and other people’s governments, beholden or paid by the US.

But in the world that exists today, we see these overblown aggressive tactics and we can feel the excitement, the goosebumps and the hot necks of the FBI and CIA suits as they make their bones.

Chelsea Manning is back in prison, ordered back into solitary.  She is not the person she was after years of torture, isolation and chemical interrogation.  Ironically, her cognitive function as a result of her previous treatment is likely to render any future interrogation useless in court, legally and practically.  She received the Jose Padilla treatment, albeit refined by some years of USG practice. 

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Italy, the Aircraft Carrier on the War Front – Global Research


07-05-19 01:33:00,

The Following text is Section 11 of

The 70 Years of NATO: From War to War,

by the Italian Committee No War No NATO


Documentation presented at the International Conference on the 70th Anniversary of NATO, Florence, April 7, 2019

In the course of the next two weeks, Global Research will publish the 16 sections of this important document, which will also be available as an E-book.


1. NATO is born from the Bomb

2. In the post-Cold War, NATO is renewed

3. NATO demolishes the Yugoslav state

4. NATO expands eastward to Russia

5. US and NATO attack Afghanistan and Iraq

6. NATO demolishes the Libyan state

7. The US/NATO war to demolish Syria

8. Israel and the Emirates in NATO

9. The US/NATO orchestration of the coup in Ukraine

10. US/NATO escalation in Europe

11.  Italy, the aircraft carrier on the war front

12. US and NATO reject the UN treaty and deploy new nuclear weapons in Europe

13. US and NATO sink the INF Treaty

14. The Western American Empire plays the war card

15. The US/NATO planetary war system

16. Exiting the war system of NATO


1. The U.S. Armed Forces have in Italy (according to the official report of the Pentagon Base Structure Report) more than 1,500 buildings, with a total surface area of over 1 million m², and they rent or have been granted permission to use a further 800 buildings, with a surface of approximately 900,000 m². In total, there are over 2,300 buildings with an area of approximately 2 million m² scattered over fifty sites. But this is only part of the U.S. military presence in Italy.

2. The U.S. military bases are joined by the bases of NATO under U.S. command and the Italian bases available to U.S./NATO forces. It is estimated that, in total, there are over 100 bases. The entire network of military bases in Italy is,

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Are You Ready for a Worse Dystopia than 1984 ? – PaulCraigRoberts.org


07-05-19 01:26:00,

Are You Ready for a Worse Dystopia than 1984 ?

Paul Craig Roberts

I have been lonely in my concern with the dire economic implications of robotics, but now Clarity Press has provided me with some company by publishing The Artificial Intelligence Contagion by David Barnhizer and Daniel Barnhizer.  It is telling as to the irrelevance of the economics profession that the coauthors are lawyers. 

The concerns about robots and artificial intelligence have come from scientists who express worries about killer robots with super intelligence taking over from dumber humans with less capabilities.  Possibly, but it is more likely that these kind of concerns stem from an incorrect model or understanding of mind, consciousness, and creativity.  I do wish that Michael Polanyi were still with us to give us his take on our proclivity to attribute intelligence to machines.

The coauthors briefly mention these threats as well as the very real and already present  threats from governments armed with the intrusive surveillence and control that the digital revolution and artificial intelligence make possible.  Warnings from Stephen Hawking, Nick Bostrom, and Elon Musk of an immortal godlike superintelligence, amoral at best and immoral at worse, that will determine our fate are speculative, but the adverse economic impact of robotics are already upon us. Thus, the main focus  of the coauthors is on the massive economic dislocation that will result from making people superfluous. 

Recently, I read about a smart machine that displaces warehouse workers and also the workers at the plants that make the mechanical forklift machines that warehouse workers use to move and stack the crates and boxes. As the smart machines themselves are made by robots, the forklift production workers are also displaced.

According to the latest job report, there are 1,192,000 people employed in warehouses. Unlike the forklift, the new smart machine does not contribute to increasing the productivity of labor. Instead the smart machine displaces labor by eliminating the need for people to do the work.  Every dollar that would have been paid in wages goes instead into the profits of the warehouse owners. This is the great difference between earlier innovations that increased human productivity and living standards and the AI robotic innovation that eliminates the need for humans and makes them redundant. 

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US Targets Iran, Presumes Dominion Over Global Trade | New Eastern Outlook


07-05-19 09:25:00,


If Iran was truly a threat to global peace and security, why would nations like China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey be trading with it? Why would the European Union seek to trade with it? Why would the United States struggle and eventually resort to global-scale coercion to convince the majority of the planet to cut ties existing or desired with Tehran?

 The New York Times in its article, “U.S. Moves to Stop All Nations From Buying Iranian Oil, but China Is Defiant,” all but admits US efforts have very little to do at all with global peace and security and more to do with Washington’s desire to undercut Iranian influence in the Middle East where Iran is actually located, and thousands of miles and oceans away from Washington.

The NYT would admit:

In tightening sanctions on Iran, the Trump administration moved on Monday to isolate Tehran economically and undercut its power across the Middle East. But the clampdown has complicated relations with China at a particularly sensitive moment.

The article would also report:

The decision to stop five of Iran’s biggest customers from buying its oil was an audacious strike at Tehran’s lifeline — one million barrels of oil exports daily, fully half of which go to China. The order was also aimed at India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, all countries that trade robustly with the United States.

The NYT cites the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the US unilaterally withdrew from based on unsubstantiated claims that Iran had violated it.

The US has more recently withdrawn unilaterally from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia based on similarly unsubstantiated claims that Moscow was violating it.

If it wasn’t clear, there is a pattern emerging where the US is compensating for its diminished ability to compete economically and politically, with increasingly aggressive accusations (of treaty violations, for example) followed up by equally aggressive sanctions and military encirclement.

As other researchers have pointed out the US-proposed Iran nuclear deal and the inevitable US withdrawal from it was planned as early as 2009 and was never intended to be a serious effort to resolve US-Iranian difference, but rather to create a pretext to widen them further in pursuit of long-sought after war with Iran.

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Facebook and Google Must Answer to the Market


07-05-19 09:23:00,

Giant technology companies like Facebook and Google get that way because their size is a crucial part of their value. Facebook’s network effects and Google’s search algorithm, finely tuned by its own big data, are a large part of what makes the companies dominant in their respective markets.

But size also gives tech giants tremendous power that, just like that of big government, not only can but will be abused. 2018 saw Facebook and Google embroiled in seemingly endless scandals and controversies about what they do with their enormous caches of data.

The standard antitrust approach would consider breaking the companies up, but that would greatly reduce the value their component parts bring to the market. Seemingly less draconian measures would likely devolve into a complex web of rules that might even serve as barriers to entry to potential competitors down the road.

Can the market provide sufficient discipline to prevent future abuses by giants like Facebook and Google? Those who favor less antitrust enforcement often point to consumers voting with their feet or dollars as both more potent and less intrusive. Consider this a test.

Voting With Their Feet

For our purposes, “market discipline” means a firm either losing market share because of perceived abuses of power, or being preempted from bad actions by the credible threat of losing market share. Consumers may take their business elsewhere because the bad actions directly impact the value they receive (such as a higher risk of one’s own data being compromised) or because they don’t like the firm’s broader impact on society (such as spreading “fake news”).

In theory, perceptions of a firm’s impact on society are a disciplining force in every market. If I found out the chef at my favorite restaurant was a prominent neo-Nazi, I would stop going. But the most successful firms always have some wiggle room because of the superiority of their product or costs of switching away from it.

Market discipline doesn’t happen overnight — consumers first have to be alerted to the firm’s negative actions. In the case of Facebook and Google, we see this messy yet effective process unfolding in different ways.

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‘You’re called fake news’: Lavrov shoots down CNN’s ‘fake question’ on Venezuela


07-05-19 08:41:00,

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov joked that CNN was “fake news” and described the network quizzing him about Moscow’s hypothetical response to a possible US intervention in Venezuela as a “fake question.”

Lavrov had a brief press conference following his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the sidelines of the Arctic Council in Rovaniemi, Finland on Monday. One of the few questions came from CNN, asking what “leverage or opportunities” Russia had to stop a US military intervention in Venezuela.

“Some call your company CNN ‘fake news,’ and now you are asking a fake question,” Lavrov replied.

Joking aside, the Russian top diplomat continued, Russia is categorically against any military intervention anywhere without UN Security Council authorization.

“From my contacts with American, European and Latin American counterparts, I do not see supporters of a reckless military solution. I hope that this understanding, which everyone has, will be turned into a practical policy, that there will be no military solution, because it would be catastrophic,” Lavrov said.

Asked if American diplomats shared this understanding, Lavrov replied, “Yes.”

#Lavrov & presser w/ @SecPompeo tells a @CNN reporter who asked what would #Russia do if #US decided to launch a military operation in #Venezuela: “Many call you media fake news, and you are now asking a fake question.”

— Maxim A. Suchkov (@MSuchkov_ALM) May 6, 2019

While CNN will no doubt seize upon Lavrov’s use of President Donald Trump’s phrasing as proof of “Trump-Russia collusion” they have promoted for years, this is not the first time the foreign minister has chided CNN in this fashion for their coverage of US-Russian relations.

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Embassy Protection Collective: We’re Still Here and We’re Staying – Global Research


07-05-19 08:15:00,

The Embassy Protection Collective formed on April 10, the day after the Trump administration manipulated the Organization of American States (OAS) to change the rules so they could recognize their puppet, Juan Guaido, as president of Venezuela. The OAS could not get the required two-thirds vote to recognize a government so they changed the rules to a mere majority and barely got that. By then, the US had allowed their Guaido coup forces to take the Venezuelan military attaché building in Washington, DC and three diplomatic offices in New York City.

The Trump administration is allowing extreme violent right-wing Guaido supporters to blockade the embassy. Despite a standoff in the last week, we had a series of victories over those forces and remain steadfast protectors of the embassy.

We adopted a theme song for the Embassy Protection Collective, “We’re Still Here” by Holly Neer. The chorus begins with:

We’re Still Here

Choosing Love Over Fear

When the Lines Are All Drawn

We’re Still Here

Challenges and Victories

We woke up on April 30 to the news that Juan Guaido was going to attempt a coup again, which made us wonder why he needs to conduct a coup if he is the “president.” We were alerted by our Venezuelan allies that this second coup attempt would be easily defeated, which it was, but to expect coup-supporters in the US to protest at the embassy.

In fact, the extremist Venezuelan coup supporters showed up that morning and tried to take over the steps in front of the building. A team of embassy protectors took a stand on the steps and stopped them from taking over the entry. More violent extremists showed up throughout the day, causing police to erect a barricade between us in front of the embassy. We sang almost non-stop to keep ourselves from engaging with them while they blew sirens and other loud noises and insulted and threatened us shouting racist and misogynist comments and using lewd gestures. Police refused to pass food and water to us or to allow our allies into the space in front of the embassy.

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The Occupation is a Crime of Aggression: Gazans React After 25 Palestinians, 4 Israelis Die


06-05-19 06:12:00,

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

Leaders in Israel and Gaza have reportedly reached a ceasefire agreement after an intense three days of fighting that left 25 Palestinians and four Israelis dead. Palestinian authorities said the dead in Gaza included two pregnant women, a 14-month-old girl, and a 12-year-old boy. The latest round of violence began on Friday. According to The Washington Post, Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian protesters taking part in the weekly Great March of Return, which began 13 months ago. Palestinians then reportedly shot and wounded two Israeli soldiers near the border.

In response, Israel carried out an airstrike on a refugee camp, killing two Palestinian militants. The heaviest combat took place Saturday and Sunday as militants in Gaza fired about 700 rockets into Israel while Israel launched airstrikes on over 350 targets inside Gaza. The weekend has been described as the heaviest combat in the region since the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza. Residents there fear the ceasefire will not last.

MAHMOUD AL-WEHDI: [translated] This truce will be the same as the previous ones. Each time, there is a truce for a week or two, and then they are back to fighting again. This is how it has been throughout the history of the Palestinian people. We are suffering from the fight—airstrikes that target civilians, they strike residential buildings, and we are left with our clothes we are wearing. There was no time to take personal stuff.

AMY GOODMAN: The violence comes at a time when Israel is facing accusations it has reneged on an agreement to ease the devastating 12-year blockade on Gaza. In late March, Israel and Hamas agreed to a deal brokered by Egypt for Israel to expand the fishing zone for Palestinians off the coast of Gaza, but Israel shrank the fishing zone last week. The Israeli rights group Gisha described the move as an act of collective punishment.

To talk about the crisis in Gaza, we go to Gaza City where we are joined by Raji Sourani, an award-winning human rights lawyer. He is the director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza and a member of the executive board of the International Federation for Human Rights.

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The Yellow Vest Salpêtrière Hospital hoax: I reported live from there as it happened | The Vineyard of the Saker


06-05-19 12:23:00,

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The French government has been forced to shamefully admit that they made totally false accusations that May Day Yellow Vest anti-government protesters tried to break into the Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital in order to “attack”, “assault” and “steal”. Countless mainstream media are just as covered in ignominy for having repeated these untrue claims.

I was right there when it happened, covering it for PressTV, so I witnessed exactly what transpired.

In fact, I even gave a live interview at the exact time of the incident, just after 4pm. I don’t have a copy of that for now, but I hope to get one soon: certainly, I can explain what happened and why.

Why it happened: A new rule permitting even worse police brutality against Yellow Vests

May 1st was the debut of a new policing tactic: cops can initiate violence against peaceful protesters.

It is just that objectively simple, openly discussed, and easy to explain:

Cops are now using the age-old method of “divide and conquer”… on peaceful protesters. On May 1st a line of riot cops repeatedly charged the demonstrators in order to sever them into two, more manageable sections. One section of the protest is forced to advance, while the other section is forced to wait behind.

Of course, police are not watching their elbows and politely saying, “Excuse me” – the only way to stop peaceful demonstrators from moving is to violently get in their way and then violently bar them from advancing one more step. That is “initiating violence”, and they didn’t used to do that with the regularity we saw on May 1.

The cops did this at the start of the demonstration at 2pm, and to achieve their goal of cutting the demo into two sides they gassed about 5-8,000 people. I was doing a live interview at that time as well (I don’t have a copy of that one, but I do have others from that day, read on for the link!). It was so violent and so shocking – tear gas forcing thousands of people to flee – that I had to talk (yell) for 20+ minutes live,

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How The ‘Real’ America Is In Harmony With China’s Belt And Road Initiative


06-05-19 12:22:00,

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The new rules proposed by Xi Jinping and expressed by the BRI’s political economic practices are exactly what the best American patriots fought for…

Since Donald Trump’s 2016 election, waves of strange paradoxes have presented themselves to the world. With the blatant collaboration of nominally “American” forces from the CIA, FBI, NSA, the Pentagon, and MSM who conspired directly with international agencies such as the Five Eyes and MI6 to overthrow Trump, it has become evident that there isn’t one single America, but rather two opposing forces within America acting against each other. So what really is the “real” America? When Donald Trump calls for US-China-Russia collaboration, is that just an anomaly or is something truly American being expressed?

In reviewing some history, you might be shocked to discover that the Belt and Road Initiative is more American than the America which the world has come to know over the past 50 years.

The American Revolution as an International Struggle

The fact that the American Revolution was an international affair is made evident by the fact that without the collaboration of the leadership of Russia, France, as well as many powerful forces in Poland, Spain, Germany the revolution could never have succeeded. Catherine the Great led the League of Armed Neutrality ensuring arms and funding to the rebelling colonies while the great Polish general Kosciusko working with German and French military officers were organized to help train and lead the American farmers during this battle.

American support was not limited to Europe however, as the South Indian Mysore rebellion against the British East India Company was organized by pro-American Muslim leader Hyder Ali which tied up British troops from being deployed to America. Ali was so admired that American poems were written about him and in 1780 a sixteen gun war ship was set from Philadelphia to do battle with the British Navy named the Haidar Ali. In Africa, under Emperor Sidi Mohammed’s direction, Morocco was the first nation to recognize American independence in 1777. The nation also harbored American ships,

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Complete internet blackout: Half of Russians wouldn’t panic without web – poll


06-05-19 10:42:00,

More than 51 percent of Russians are sure that there is life without internet and their lives won’t change significantly if it stops existing, a recent poll revealed.

If the internet completely shuts down, as many as 24 percent of Russians say it won’t affect them, while 27 per cent believe their lives would be affected just slightly, a new survey by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) showed.

However, 48 per cent are really worried about a possible global shutdown of the world wide web. Some 37 percent of Russians said their lives would change significantly, but they would be able to adapt to living offline. Meanwhile 11 percent can’t imagine functioning without the internet, most of them being residents of Moscow, St. Petersburg and other big Russian cities.

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Russia ready for global internet shutdown, can sustain its own web – MPs

Currently, some 84 percent of Russians are internet users, while 69 per cent use it daily. Surveys show that most Russians use the internet for social media and reading news as well as for bank transactions and online shopping.

Though a complete shutdown of the internet sounds unlikely, the Russian government has already introduced measures to prevent this from happening. In April, President Vladimir Putin signed a bill designed to ensure the sustainable, autonomous operation of Runet – the Russian segment of internet – in case of a global shutdown or a deliberate cut-off by the US which could take place if the relations deteriorate further, according to the MPs who proposed the bill.

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UK Government Trying to Relaunch Skripal ‘Propaganda Campaign’ – Political Analyst – Global Research


06-05-19 10:32:00,

UK ministers are expected to change House of Lords rules to stem the flow of “red money” from Russia and China, the Sunday Times reported. The move is designed to make MPs fully disclose their assets associated with Russia and China and to introduce an espionage law to identify foreign spies working for banks and other British companies.

Marcus Godwyn, a British political analyst, has discussed in an interview with Sputnik the reasons and timing for the proposed legislation.


Sputnik: The UK government is in favour of adopting legislation, according to which, members of the House of Lords would have to declare financial receipts from abroad. In your view, what is the British government trying to accomplish with this?

Marcus Godwyn: Rather than the claimed desire for further transparency I believe that there are two main reasons for this bill and the considerable publicity given to it by the British MSM. One is the purging from British public life of the few remaining independent voices on issues concerning Russia and China. The second is the all important need to keep the anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda campaigns active and noisy in the public limelight. Let’s deal with the first.

The House of Lords is Britain’s second chamber. It does not have very much power to prevent bills being passed if a government really wants them to be passed but it can delay them and suggest changes to to them and all this causes publicity. We find among its members people appointed from many different backgrounds including the last generation (After Tony Blair’s “reforms”) of hereditary peers. Hence there are still some independent voices unlike the House of Commons which, as the debate immediately following the launching of the Skripal affair showed, is now almost entirely and across party lines, populated by anti-Russian propagandists and stooges. Even the much vilified by the MSM opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was clearly afraid for his political future and contented himself with whimpering that maybe any action should wait until evidence of Russia’s involvement had been proved.

It is in the nature of propaganda that it cannot remain silent. Indeed silence can be said to be the most deadly enemy of all propaganda and the false ideologies and lies that it serves.

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RussiaGate 2.0 and The Plan to Impeach President Trump – Global Research


05-05-19 09:38:00,

In the wake of RussiaGate 1.0, will there be a shift in US foreign policy involving a decisive change in US-Russia relations?

Is the Witch-hunt over? 

Or is RussiaGate 2.0 in the making? 


On March 3, Trump and Putin held a telephone conversation. They spoke for an hour and a half. The discussions were described by Trump as “positive”.

“Getting along with Russia and China, getting along with all of them is a very good thing, not a bad thing, it a good thing, it’s a positive thing,” (to reporters on May 3)

Trump confirmed that he was open to negotiations on reducing the stock of nuclear weapons with both Moscow and Beijing in the context of a trilateral deal (US-Russia-China). Indelibly, such an agreement could potentially destabilize Trump’s 1.2 trillion dollar nuclear weapons program. It could also have an impact on the movement of Aerospace and Defense (A & D) stocks, which experienced in 2018 a market bonanza.

The lifting of sanctions on North Korea, Ukraine and the crisis in Venezuela were also discussed.

The Trump-Putin telephone initiative was taken without prior consultation with John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, who have systematically blocked the restoration of normal dialogue and diplomatic exchange with Moscow.

Is this part of an unfolding internal battle between Trump and his national security advisers, not to mention Vice President Mike Pence? (image right).

Trump and Putin also discussed the “Russian Hoax”.

President Trump’s overture to the Kremlin visibly contradicts both Bolton and Pompeo who are threatening president Maduro,  pressuring him to leave Venezuela and hand over the presidency to Guaido.  According to Trump:

“He [Putin] is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela,”

Will Trump’s dialogue with Putin have a bearing on the Bolton-Pompeo threats directed against the Maduro government?

The presumption of the mainstream media is that Donald Trump should have sought the green-light from Bolton-Pompeo:

The conversation, which Trump went on to describe as “very positive,” appeared to be yet another example of Trump taking Putin’s claims at face value despite contrary evidence from his own government.

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Israeli tweet of ‘Hamas children’ playing with TOY guns BACKFIRES


05-05-19 09:20:00,

At the height of the Israeli-Gazan cross-border flare-up, the IDF tweeted pictures of children playing with toy guns who, it claimed, attended a Hamas-run pre-school. The blunt propaganda wasn’t well received on social media.

“Hamas is robbing the children of Gaza of their future, and attempts to rob the children of Israel of theirs. We won’t let them. No country would,” the IDF said, releasing images of young Palestinians in green bandanas receiving what appears to be military training.

While children in Israel ran for shelter from incoming rocket fire from Gaza, these children in Gaza graduated from kindergarten.

Hamas is robbing the children of Gaza of their future, and attempts to rob the children of Israel of theirs. We won’t let them. No country would. pic.twitter.com/mS2etmf1KE

— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 5, 2019

“While children in Israel ran for shelter from incoming rocket fire from Gaza, these children in Gaza graduated from kindergarten,” the tweet added.

Maby they wouldn’t need to do this if you stopped launching rockets at them 😧

— Cesar Sanchez (@CesarSan1998) May 5, 2019

The message, sent out as tensions spilled into Sunday after a weekend of heavy cross-border fire, immediately sparked controversy online, with many twitterattis reminding the IDF that Israel is just as guilty of indoctrinating its youth. “Maybe they wouldn’t need to do this if you stopped launching rockets at them,” one user said, while others began posting pictures of young Israelis being briefed on how to use guns.

Nurturing patriotism from a very early age seems important to both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, against the background of the unrelenting mutual animosity that has dragged on for the last seven decades.

Palestinians, who believe they are being oppressed by ‘Israeli occupation,’ believe it is necessary to train their youth to claim their right to the land which they believe they lost when the state of Israel was created in 1948. Hamas, which since 2007 has been the ruler in the Gaza Strip, regularly organized summer camps where teens undergo training in military drills.

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Sirens ring out &

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Authorities Board Scientology Ship Quarantined After Measles Outbreak


04-05-19 09:09:00,

As we reported yesterday, a cruise ship belonging to the Church of Scientology, which had been quarantined on the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia earlier n the week after a case of measles turned up on board, was boarded by authorities in Curacao, a nearby Dutch Caribbean island, who have started vaccinating people to prevent a full-blown measles outbreak.

Back in the US, more than 700 cases of measles have been reported this year already, marking the worst outbreak since the early 1990s, and the worst since Measles was declared ‘eradicated’ in 2000.

Health officials said only those who already have been vaccinated, or who have already had measles, would be allowed to leave the 440-foot Freewinds.


Curacao epidemiologist Dr. Izzy Gerstenbluth told the AP that a small team will be responsible for examining the more than 300 people aboard the ship.

“We will go on board and do our job,” he said, adding that authorities have an international obligation to avoid spreading the disease. “If we allow that to happen, measles spreads in places where the risk of severe complications is much bigger, especially when we’re talking about poor countries where people have a lower level of resistance.”

Gerstenbluth warned that spreading the disease would be easy give that it is a small ship. Symptoms include a runny nose, fever and a red-spotted rash. Most people recover, but measles can lead to pneumonia, brain swelling and even death in roughly 2 of every 1000 cases.

“This is what happens when we don’t vaccinate,” he said.

Authorities are worried that people aboard the ship might have been exposed after a female crew member was diagnosed with measles after returning from Europe. Gerstenbluth said she arrived in Curacao on April 17 and visited a doctor April 22 complaining of cold symptoms. A blood sample was taken and sent to nearby Aruba, where officials confirmed it was measles on April 29, a day after the ship had already departed for St. Lucia. Curacao health officials then alerted authorities in St. Lucia.

In the US, the outbreak has spanned more than 20 states and has largely been centered in Orthodox Jewish communities in New York.

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Green Revolution: Washington State To Allow Composting Of Human Beings


04-05-19 08:55:00,

Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,

Each Friday we highlight a number of important, and often bizarre stories from around the world that my team and I are closely following:

1. Washington State will allow human body composting

It doesn’t get much greener than this.

Staking his presidential run on climate change, the Governor of Washington is set to sign a bill legalizing composting of deceased humans.

An especially high percentage of the deceased in Washington are cremated, so this alternative will cut down on carbon emissions.

Instead, family members can pay around $5,500 to turn their loved ones into compost, and use the composted-remains to plant a tree.

Hell, why not throw it right into the vegetable garden. Then your loved ones become a part of you.

Friendly reminder though, soylent green is people.

Click here to read the full story.

2. Satanic Temple gets tax-exempt status

Surely a sign that the end times are nigh, the Satanic Temple has successfully gained tax exempt status like any other religion.

The thing is, they aren’t really all about worshipping Satan.

The church was founded as a bit of a joke. The group is meant to protest the meddling of government and religion.

For instance, if government functions start with a prayer, they want to open with a prayer to Satan. And if a courthouse lawn has a ten commandments statue, they want Lucifer spreading his wings right there beside it.

And now they have forced the government to recognize them as a religion, with all the tax exemptions that come with it.

Click here to read the full story.

3. Laying the groundwork for conscientious objection to taxes

Speaking of interesting tactics to avoid taxes…

Last year a man who refused to pay taxes since 1997 had his case dismissed by a federal court.

He refused to pay because some tax dollars fund abortions which he morally objects to.

But the reason his case got dismissed had nothing to do with that.

The government couldn’t prove he evaded taxes,

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Blithering Idiots Express Fear That Putin Will Rig 2020 Election For Trump


04-05-19 08:55:00,

“Putin” is the number one USA trend on Twitter as of this writing, which is always a reliable sign that something very stupid is happening in American media.

“Putin” is once again the hysterical shrieking buzzword of the day because Donald Trump openly boasted at a press conference of having had an hour-long phone call with the Russian president, in which he claims the two leaders discussed nuclear de-escalation, Venezuela, North Korea, and the discredited “collusion” narrative. When asked whether he’d told Putin not to meddle in the 2020 US elections, Trump replied, “We didn’t discuss that.”

“Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia,” the president tweeted. “As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing. We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the ‘Russian Hoax.’ Very productive talk!”

Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia. As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2019

So of course everyone is now in garment-rending apocalyptic DEFCON 1 catastrophe mode.

“It bears repeating: We have been given no indication that Trump or his re-election campaign will hesitate to take advantage of Russian help again in 2020, in whatever form it might take,” warned the Wall Street Journal’s Dustin Volz.

“President Trump today continues to belittle Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as continued election interference,” CNN’s Jake Tapper solemnly warned today. “The president went on to tell reporters later that he did not tell Putin to stop engaging in election interference which remains, according to Trump’s own top national security officials, a continuing threat to the United States. Based on the president’s public statements, and apparently his private one with Vladimir Putin, the man who led and continues to lead cyber-attacks on the United States, the president’s more concerned with underlining that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unable to find sufficient evidence that any member of his team was involved in criminal conspiracy with Russia.”

“The simple fact is this: Trump remains — despite all available evidence — a skeptic about both Russia’s past attempts at interference in the 2016 election and,

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‘Miscarriage of justice’: Cuba slams lawsuits against state-owned firms


04-05-19 08:47:00,

Cuba vowed to protect its property and international business ties just as ExxonMobil began suing two Cuban companies for $280 million over assets seized after the revolution.

“Cuba will protect Cubans and foreign entities operating in the country and will render void any claim filed under this law which is a miscarriage of justice,” Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez tweeted after the American oil giant became the first US company to take legal action against Havana.

The Helms-Burton Act is illegal. It violates International Law; it is inapplicable and has no juridical value or effect. #Cuba will protect Cubans and foreign entities operating in the country and will render void any claim filed under this law which is a miscarriage of justice.

— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) May 3, 2019

Cimex Corporation SA, a Cuban state-owned business group, and the Cuba-Petroleum Union (Cupet) are being sued over their use of an oil refinery, gasoline stations, and other properties that once belonged to the American multinational.

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Trump threatens Cuba with ‘full embargo and highest-level sanctions’ over Venezuela

The lawsuits, which seek $280 million in damages, were filed after Washington started enforcing a provision of a 1996 law known as the Helms-Burton Act that allows so-called victims of the “Castro regime” to sue companies that have used their previously held property on the island.

“The Helms-Burton Act is illegal” and in violation of international law, Rodríguez noted, stressing that “it is inapplicable and has no juridical value or effect” for Cuba.

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‘Contrary to intl law’: Mogherini slams US ‘full activation’ of Cuba embargo law, vows counter steps

This week, Canada and the EU agreed with Havana’s assessment, claiming that the Helms-Burton Act has no jurisdiction over them and vowing to take up the issue with the World Trade Organization.

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Europe living in peace thanks to Turkey hosting millions of refugees – Erdogan


04-05-19 08:43:00,

Europe would not enjoy the same level of peace and security that it does today if it weren’t for Turkey’s willingness to host waves of refugees pouring in from numerous countries, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed.

“If European countries are living in peace today, it is thanks to Turkey for hosting 4 million refugees,” Erdogan said on Friday, as quoted by Anadolu.

In 2015, the EU agreed to pay Turkey €3 billion ($3.3 billion) in exchange for housing refugees and preventing them from entering the bloc. A year later, a formal deal was reached between Ankara and Brussels, stipulating that all migrants arriving illegally on European shores would be returned to transit country Turkey.

In exchange, the EU promised to speed up deliberations over Turkey’s bid to join the bloc. As part of the deal, Ankara requested an additional €3bn to help cope with the humanitarian crisis.

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Saudi Arabia, Qatar & UAE owe their existence to Iran – Rouhani

The two sides have squabbled over exactly how many refugees Turkey hosts – and how much money Ankara needs to care for them. For example, last year the EU claimed that Turkey was holding less than 2 million refugees, while the Turkish government insisted the number was closer to 4 million.

Despite Turkey’s best efforts, in the last few years Europe has been rocked by a series of terrorist attacks, with some attributed to extremists who entered the bloc posing as asylum seekers. 

While Ankara and Brussels have locked horns over issues ranging from visa-free travel to press freedoms, some European states have expressed gratitude to Turkey for its role in containing the influx of refugees trying to enter the bloc.

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Macron suggests shrinking Schengen zone because EU migration policies ‘do not work’

“Europe’s security today begins in Turkey,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto acknowledged at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday.

More than 1 million migrants poured into Europe in 2015. Although the influx has slowed considerably,

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Pompeo Lies, Cheats and Steals (But He’s Still a Good Christian) – Global Research


03-05-19 04:25:00,

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently recounted to an audience at Texas A&M University that when he was head of the Central Intelligence Agency he was responsible for “lying, cheating and stealing” to benefit the United States. “Like we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

The Secretary made the comment with a grin, noting that when he was a cadet at West Point he subscribed to the Academy honor code, which stated that “You will not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do.” The largely student audience clearly appreciated the irony and laughed and applauded, though it is not clear what they made of the “glory of the American experiment.” The normally humorless Pompeo was suggesting ironically that yesterday’s Pompeo would be required to turn today’s Pompeo into the appropriate authorities for lying and also conniving at high crimes and misdemeanors while at the Agency.

Certainly, some might find Pompeo’s admission a bit lame though perhaps understandable as he arrived at the CIA without any experience in intelligence. Someone should have whispered in his ear, “That is what spy agencies do Mike.” And if he found the moral ambiguities vexing, he should have turned down the job. Equally lame has been the international media coverage of the comments (it was not reported in any major national news outlet in the US) which reflected both shock and vindication at finding a top-level official who would admit that Washington does all that sort of nasty stuff.

And Pompeo is not alone in his doing what would have hitherto been unthinkable as many senior figures in the Trump Administration who have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution now find themselves conniving at starting various wars without the constitutionally required declaration of war from Congress. Pompeo has personally assured both the Venezuelans and Iranians that “all options are on the table,” while also arming the Ukrainians and warning the Russians to get out of Caracas or else face the consequences. And it is a good thing that he has now learned how to lie as he does so when he keeps insisting that the Iranians are the leading state sponsors of terrorism or that the Saudis are fighting a just war in Yemen.

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