“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wealthy Disparity “ If Americans want to live ‘The American Dream’, they best go to Denmark”

President Obama is keen to set the agenda for the remainder of his presidency
President Obama is to use Tuesday’s State of the Union speech to call for tax increases on the wealthy to help the middle class, officials say.

The proposals would raise $320 billion (£211 billion) over a decade, to fund benefits such as tax credits.

The speech is the centrepiece of the US political diary and may shape both Mr Obama’s legacy and the 2016 election.

But the president faces resistance to his proposals, with Republicans controlling both Houses of Congress.

With the US economy growing, President Obama will stress that it is time for ordinary US families to feel the benefits.

According to US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the plans include:
1 Closing a loophole allowing the wealthiest Americans to pass on certain assets tax free
2 Raising capital gains tax on the richest earners from 23.8% to 28% 
3 New fees on US financial firms with more than $50 billion (£33 billion) in assets

The revenues would raise more than enough to fund the proposed benefits for the middle class, according to the officials.

These include tripling child tax credits, help for families with two working spouses and extra incentives to save for retirement.

The speech is also set to include a plan to expanding free community college education and proposals on cyber-security.

The State of the Union speech will be President Obama’s first since the Republicans seized control of the two Houses of Congress at elections last November.

'Tax hike'
His proposals have already been dismissed by some in the party.

“Slapping American small businesses, savers, and investors with more tax hikes only negates the benefits of the tax policies that have been successful in helping to expand the economy, promote savings, and create jobs," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G Hatch said.

Administration officials hope to find some common ground with their opponents.
They also say the increase in capitals gains taxes, likely to be resisted by many Republicans, returns the rate to what it was under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. 

The New York Times said the decision to present the tax plan during Tuesday's speech marked the start of a debate over taxes and the economy that will shape both the president's legacy and the 2016 presidential campaign.


  1. Guerrero, Jalisco , Michoacán and Veracruz, these states have been " sown " with death.

    The majority of the victims found in the clandestine graves have not been identified , much less their killers have been captured. The discovery of these type of graves continues with fresh bodies found in Guerrero, even with the strong presence of the Federal Forces and the Military.

    During the first two years and one month of the administration of President Enrigque Pena Nieto, there have been discovered more than 125 clandestine graves, in which have been located more than 560 bodies and unquantifiable human remains.

  2. Those that are getting by looting the Federal treasury are on notice....
    The Republicans are large and in charge!

    Fed timber payments in Idaho drop from $28.3M to $2M

    WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is telling governors in 41 states how much money they are losing after Congress ended subsidies paid the past 20 years to counties that contain national forest land.

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday that the U.S. Forest Service is sending more than $50 million to 746 timber counties in February, with Oregon and other Western states the biggest recipients. That compares to about $300 million paid out last fiscal year under the Secure Rural Schools subsidy program.

    Forest Service payments to Oregon counties drop from $67.9 million to $5.9 million; California, from $35.6 million to $8.7 million; Idaho, from $28.3 million to $2 million; Washington, from $21.5 million to $2.1 million; and Montana, from $21.3 million to $2 million.

  3. Kobane Setback Puts Brakes on ISIS Syria Ambitions

    Kurdish fighters and US-led airstrikes are turning the tide on Islamic State terrorists in the northern Syrian city of Kobane.

    Once poised to overrun the Syrian town of Kobane, Islamic State (IS or ISIS) has suffered a damaging blow to its ambitions at the hands of Kurdish fighters and United States-led warplanes.

    The setback in the mainly Kurdish town on the Syria-Turkey border has knocked the momentum out of the terrorists' advance and dashed their hopes of a swift expansion of their territory, analysts say.

  4. Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian state energy giant Gazprom to cut supplies to and through Ukraine amid accusations, according to The Daily Mail, that its neighbor has been siphoning off and stealing Russian gas. Due to these “transit risks for European consumers in the territory of Ukraine,” Gazprom cut gas exports to Europe by 60%, plunging the continent into an energy crisis “within hours.” Perhaps explaining the explosion higher in NatGas prices (and oil) today, gas companies in Ukraine confirmed that Russia had cut off supply; and six countries reported a complete shut-off of Russian gas. The EU raged that the sudden cut-off to some of its member countries was “completely unacceptable,” but Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller later added that Russia plans to shift all its natural gas flows crossing Ukraine to a route via Turkey; and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stated unequivocally, “the decision has been made.”

    1. “There are no other options” except for the planned Turkish Stream link, he said.

      “We have informed our European partners, and now it is up to them to put in place the necessary infrastructure starting from the Turkish-Greek border,”

    2. “They [the Russians] have reduced deliveries to 92million cubic metres per 24 hours compared to the promised 221million cubic metres without explanation,” said Valentin Zemlyansky of the Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz.

      “We do not understand how we will deliver gas to Europe. This means that in a few hours problems with supplies to Europe will begin.”

  5. Deuce ☂Sat Jan 17, 08:39:00 AM EST
    Polite company must refer to Israeli firsters using their best euphemism. It must be like not daring to type god’s middle initial. G-d and the
    Z -- onists are very easily offended.

    We do not have a cool label for American traitors that support terrorists like Hamas or their sponsors..

    But we will see if we can give you a title that fits..

    1. It must be like not daring to type god’s middle initial. G-d and the
      Z -- onists are very easily offended.

      Your absence of dashes in your diatribes to mock the Jewish religion?

      Shows you for who you are...



  6. It’s a bitch being b-polar in your loyalties. Mine is to truth. Read it and squirm:

    All signs indicate that the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prepared to wage a protracted battle in the battered Gaza Strip as it seeks to crush the capabilities of the Islamist militant group Hamas. The ongoing conflict has already exacted a bloody toll, with the Palestinian death count approaching the total of Israel's 2008-2009 bombing campaign and ground offensive in Gaza, which led to the deaths of at least 1,383 Palestinians over three weeks.

    Netanyahu wants to wholly demilitarize the Palestinian enclave, beginning with the network of tunnels that allow Hamas's fighters to infiltrate into Israeli territory. But Hamas, a dogged outfit that thrives in wartime, is digging in its heels. On Tuesday, a Hamas spokesman said Netanyahu's "threats did not frighten Hamas or the Palestinian people."

    The current fighting — a clash between Israel's vastly superior armed forces and Hamas's insurgents — obscures the greater challenges facing Israelis and Palestinians, including the thorny question of how to accord equal rights to millions of Palestinians living under occupation in the event that a separate Palestinian state turns out not to be viable.

    It also obscures Hamas's curious history. To a certain degree, the Islamist organization whose militant wing has rained rockets on Israel the past few weeks has the Jewish state to thank for its existence. Hamas launched in 1988 in Gaza at the time of the first intifada, or uprising, with a charter now infamous for its anti-Semitism and its refusal to accept the existence of the Israeli state. But for more than a decade prior, Israeli authorities actively enabled its rise.

    At the time, Israel's main enemy was the late Yasser Arafat's Fatah party, which formed the heart of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Fatah was secular and cast in the mold of other revolutionary, leftist guerrilla movements waging insurgencies elsewhere in the world during the Cold War. The PLO carried out assassinations and kidnappings and, although recognized by neighboring Arab states, was considered a terrorist organization by Israel; PLO operatives in the occupied territories faced brutal repression at the hands of the Israeli security state.


    1. You don't seek truth, you Hate Israel, Jews and Judaism and seek their elimination from the planet.

    2. Deuce: which led to the deaths of at least 1,383 Palestinians over three weeks.

      And yet the Syrians, with the help from Hezbollah and Iran have butchered over 300 thousand syrians and others (including over 10 thousand palestinians) and made over 11 million into real refugees and you are silent...

      I guess when Iranians, Syrians and Hezbollah kill palestinians and arabs you don't care only when those dastardly Isr-elis do it?

  7. It’s a bitch being d-plicitous:

    {...} Meanwhile, the activities of Islamists affiliated with Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood were allowed in the open in Gaza — a radical departure from when the Strip was administered by the secular-nationalist Egyptian government of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Egypt lost control of Gaza to Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which saw Israel also seize the West Bank. In 1966, Nasser had executed Sayyid Qutb, one of the Brotherhood's leading intellectuals. The Israelis saw Qutb’s adherents in the Palestinian territories, including the wheelchair-bound Sheik Ahmed Yassin, as a useful counterweight to Arafat's PLO.

    "When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake," one Israeli official who had worked in Gaza in the 1980s said in a 2009 interview with the Wall Street Journal's Andrew Higgins. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.”

    Washington Post

  8. Israel strikes another blow for ISIS.

    Israel kills five with airstrike in Syria

    Quneitra has seen heavy fighting between forces loyal to Assad and rebels including fighters linked to al Qaeda.

    "An Israeli helicopter fired two missiles on Amal Farms in Quneitra," the Lebanese news channel said earlier ...

    1. Several Hizbullah fighters were killed Sunday in an Israeli airstrike on the Quneitra region in the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights.

      “The Israeli enemy's helicopters fired missiles at a group of Hizbullah's fighters who were inspecting the town of Mazraat al-Amal in the Syrian Quneitra region,” Hizbullah's media department announced in a statement.

      The strike “resulted in the martyrdom of a number of jihadist brothers, whose names will be announced later, after informing their honorable families,” the party added.

      A source close to Hizbullah told Agence France-Presse that the strike killed a military commander of the Lebanese group and five fighters.

      The dead included Mohammed Issa, a Hizbullah commander responsible for its Syrian and Iraqi operations, as well as Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a top Hizbullah operative killed in a 2008 car bombing in Syria which was blamed on Israel, the source told AFP.

      Lebanese and Arab media outlets identified the other four Hizbullah members killed in the raid as Mahdi al-Moussawi, Ali Fouad, Hussein Hassan and Abbas Hijazi.

      Al-Arabiya TV meanwhile said that “a prominent Hizbullah leader and 6 Iranians were killed in the Israeli airstrike on Golan.”

      Al-Jadeed television for its part said "Iranian commander Abu Ali al-Tabtabani was among the martyrs of the Israeli raid on Golan."

      Earlier on Sunday, an Israeli security source said an Israeli helicopter carried out a strike against "terrorists" in the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights.

      The source told AFP that the militants were preparing an attack on Israel and that the airstrike took place near Quneitra, close to the ceasefire line separating the Syrian part of the Golan Heights from the Israeli-occupied sector, confirming a report by Hizbullah's al-Manar television.

      Yep Iranians and Hezbollah on the Syrian border....

      Up to no good...

      Now those "headcutters" are dead...

  9. It’s a b-tch throwing in with the Z-onists - Raed on:

    Higgins's article is worth reading in full. He goes on to outline the type of assistance the Israelis initially gave Yassin, whom the PLO at one time deemed a "collaborator," and Gaza's other Islamists:

    Israel's military-led administration in Gaza looked favorably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza, which it now regards as a hotbed of militancy. The university was one of the first targets hit by Israeli warplanes in the [2008-9 Operation Cast Lead].

    Yassin's Mujama would become Hamas, which, it can be argued, was Israel's Taliban: an Islamist group whose antecedents had been laid down by the West in a battle against a leftist enemy. Israel jailed Yassin in 1984 on a 12-year sentence after the discovery of hidden arms caches, but he was released a year later. The Israelis must have been more worried about other enemies.

    Eventually, the tables turned. After the 1993 Oslo accords, Israel's formal recognition of the PLO and the start of what we now know as the peace process, Hamas was the Israelis' bete noire. Hamas refused to accept Israel or renounce violence and became perhaps the leading institution of Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, which, far beyond religious ideology, is the main reason for its continued popularity among Palestinians.

    Yassin was killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2004. In 2007, after a legitimate Hamas election victory that rankled both the West and Fatah, the Islamist group took over Gaza — a move that led to strict Israeli blockades and the grinding cycle of conflict that is once more repeating itself.

  10. So, as we find out it was the Z-onists that were there at the creation of the Hamas.

    1. Old news, but not so old it should be considered history, and forgotten.

    2. Well there is old news and invented news...

      You post invented news.

  11. From Defense One:

    While Moscow continues to be hammered by low oil prices and western-led sanctions, it is doubling down on hard-edged political and financial retribution: Russia is preparing to absorb a province of neighboring Georgia, and delivering an ultimatum to Europe that it could lose much of the Russian gas on which it relies.

    Ten months after annexing Crimea and igniting his current standoff with the west, Russian president Vladimir Putin will as early as this week take control of South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia, with which he has a long, sour relationship. He is to sign a little-publicized accord that will hand over foreign policy, border control, and security to Moscow.

    “Effective annexation is the word,” Tom De Waal, an expert on the Caucasus at the Carnegie Endowment, wrote in a comment on Facebook. As with Russia’s Crimean adventure, its South Ossetia movements appear permanent. De Waal went on, “Is there any way back? Never say never—if the border with Georgia opens again, it makes much more sense for South Ossetia to [again] be part of the economic space of Georgia.”

    By numerous measures, Russia is in trouble. Its economy is on track to contract by 5% this year. On Jan. 14, Fitch downgraded the bonds issued by the Russian gas giant Gazprom and 12 other major Russian companies a notch above junk status. As with the world’s other big petro states, Russia has been hurt by the 60% plunge in oil prices since June—the value of the ruble has plummeted by about 58% and it is having to spend down its cash reserves.

    The sanctions, imposed because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have exacerbated the economic crisis.

    Yet Putin has trundled on. In eastern Ukraine, 11 people were killed on a bus on Jan. 13 as Moscow-backed separatists continue to try to push Kiev forces from Donetsk Airport.

    Gazprom has lashed out at Ukraine, its favorite punching bag. The company is no longer accusing Ukraine of failing to pay for its gas supplies. Now, it’s upset that Ukraine isn’t buying enough gas. On Jan. 14, Gazprom said that last year, Ukraine bought less gas than it promised, a miscreancy that played a key role in a terrible export year for the gas company, which sold less supplies than it has in a decade. Russia relies on gas exports to support 5% to 10% of the state budget.

    Europe is another target of Moscow’s ire. On Jan. 14, Moscow informed the European Union that within two years, Russia will stop exporting gas to Europe via Ukraine, through which more than 25% of the EU’s gas supplies pass. Instead, it will be delivered via Turkey to Greece. From there, Europe will have to build adequate infrastructure to get the gas where EU customers want it. In an ultimatum, Gazprom’s CEO said that if Europe fails to build lines to coincide with the new Russian route, Gazprom will sell the gas to other customers.

    What’s going on? Rather than succumbing to outside persuasion—that of western-led governments in addition to the voice of oil prices—Putin has argued that the west is simply intent on ousting him and weakening Russia. Channeling Putin, Russian analysts say the US in particular isdeliberately provoking Moscow with diabolical plots such as the “Reverse Brzezinski,” an alleged Washington strategy to to draw Russia into losing battles.

    Faced with these perceived attempts to undercut him and his country, Putin suggests that he has no choice but to pull around the wagons and stick it out. This could go on a long time.

  12. Wonder what type of 'air support' the Coalition can offer these "Local Forces" moving against Boko Haram?

    Boko Haram Attacks Cameroon

    Boko Haram attacked a village in northern Cameroon early Sunday, killing three people and staging its largest kidnapping yet in the country, the information minister said, adding that some of the hostages were children.


    The Cameroon attack occurred in Mabass village, in the Far North region, Issa Tchiroma Bakary said. He said 80 houses were destroyed and "between 30 and 50" people were believed to have been abducted.

    "We are dealing with barbaric people, lawless people," Bakary said. "Nothing can prevent them from assassinating."

    The attacks in Nigeria and Cameroon highlight the growing regional threat posed by Boko Haram. The attacks occurred three days after Cameroon President Paul Biya announced Chad would send "an important contingent" to support Cameroon's army as it tries to repel the extremists' intensifying offensive.

    On Sunday, Chadian troops began arriving in Cameroon, heading straight to the north, Cameroon's information minister said.

    Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Chad's capital, N'Djamena, on Saturday to support the deployment, according to an article posted on the official website of Chad's presidency.

    Predator drones and loitering strategic bombers with JDAMs would fill the bill.

  13. The Nigerian Tribune has reported that Boko Haram receives funding from different groups from Saudi Arabia and the UK, specifically from the Al-Muntada Trust Fund, headquartered in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia’s Islamic World Society [8].

    During an interview conducted by Al-Jazeera with Abu Mousab Abdel Wadoud, the AQIM leader states that Algeria-based organizations have provided arms to Nigeria’s Boko Haram movement “to defend Muslims in Nigeria and stop the advance of a minority of Crusaders” [9].
    ... described in a 2005 report from The Center for Security Policy:
    Al-Muntada has, incidentally, been particularly active in promoting Wahhabi-style Islamism in Nigeria.
    As explained by a Sufi of Kano state,
    “before al-Muntada came to Kano there had been little or no inter-religious conflict…Now…we are almost on the verge of civil war.”

    Al-Muntada, he explains, pays for Nigerian clerics to be “brainwashed” in Saudi universities and imposed on Nigerian Muslims through its well-funded network of mosques and schools.

  14. The Lesson of Charlie Hebdo: The World Only Cares if You Kill White People
    In contrast to the recent attack, heads of states kill in the thousands but are still treated with respect.

  15. Your absence of dashes in your diatribes to mock the Jewish religion?

    Shows you for who you are...

    You take offense when someone makes a critical statement about “a religion” or your religion? It is really quite modest to what you have said about other’s religions.

    1. Which "Jewish" religion, the one based on the Torah or the one based in Babylon and the Talmud?

      They are not the same religions, not even similar, in their doctrines.

    2. Jack have you stopped beating your wife yet?

    3. Notice that "O"rdure will not respond to the question of which "Judaism" he prefers, the Torah based or the Talmudic.

      Which is the 'real' Judaism, the one based upon Moses, or the one prescribed in Babylon?

    4. Zionist Judaism is Talmudic or Babylonian in its roots, dismissing the Judaism of Moses and the Israelites of old.
      The dismissal of Leviticus by the modern Israeli is proof positive of the Babylonian roots of Zionism.


    5. Your so called question is a loaded question,

      we both KNOW you are not seeking truth but rather seeking to distort and lie.

      Your personal history of anti-semitism, anti-zionism and Israel trashing speak foulness towards ANYTHING Jewish,

      Some days you claim Israel is not a nation, some days you claim Jews are imposters, some days you claim Palestinians are the real Jews.

      Your so called question is crap.

      But I'll tell you what, you go travel to the Lebanon border and start shooting at the guys in the IDF uniform, those JEWS will put a bullet in your head

    6. No, "O"rdure, the question is totally relevant.

      Bibi demands that Israel be 'recognized' as a "Jewish" state, without ever defining what that means.

      You run from the question whenever it is asked.
      It will be asked, time and again.

    7. The answer is simple, go to the Lebanon southern border, do an act of violence, the guys in the IDF uniforms that will put a bullet in your head are Jews.

      That is my answer, sorry if you don't like it.

      But it's answer, no running away, I answered your query.

      Here is another answer, if and when you visit gaza and help launch a rocket at the folks on the other side of the border? They are Jews. And hopefully those Jews will drone strike your ass.

    8. Jack, btw, I do apologize since we all know you are on the terror watch list and cannot fly internationally.

    9. The Authority of the Talmud in Zionist Judaism

      The supremacy of the Talmud over the Bible may be seen in the case of the black Ethiopian Jews. Ethiopians are very knowledgeable of the Old Testament. However, their religion is so ancient that it pre-dates the Talmud, of which the Ethiopians have no knowledge.
      The New York Times wrote,

      "The problem is that Ethiopian Jewish tradition goes no further than the Bible or Torah; the later Talmud and other commentaries that form the basis of modern traditions never came their way."
      [N.Y. Times: Sept. 29, 1992, p.4]

      Because they are not versed in Talmudic tradition, the black Ethiopian Jews are discriminated against and have been forbidden to perform marriages, funerals and other services in the Israeli state.

      It is the natural consequence of Jewish belief of considering the Talmud superior to the Torah. The Talmud states,
      Erubin 21b (Soncino edition): "My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah."

    10. "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism," in response to a student who had attacked Zionism during a dinner event with Dr. King in 1968.

      In Jacks case?

      He's an all around Jew hater.

    11. The Torah is discounted, the Talmud is considered superior, the Ethiopians are the illustration that proves it.

      The Talmud is Babylonian, no doubt about that.

    12. Is this the best you can come up with JacK

      Gave up with the Isreal label? the Palisreal label? the abortion issue? the false flags? the Liberty? The Palestinians are Jews?

      Now you have a new flavor of the day....

      You really should get our of your basement once in a while.

    13. Those "Hot Pockets" and mountain dew are rotting what's let of your brain.

    14. And the Ashkenazi, they are many things, but descendents of Moses and those he led out of Egypt in the Exodus ...
      Not one of them.

    15. Here is headline that most likely will happen to Jack someday...

      Man dies in Taiwan after 3-day online gaming binge

    16. Jack HawkinsMon Jan 19, 09:32:00 AM EST
      And the Ashkenazi, they are many things, but descendents of Moses and those he led out of Egypt in the Exodus ...
      Not one of them.

      Your ignorance of Jews, Judaism and Israel continues to reach new lows.


    17. Menashe Zemro, the last remaining ques, or traditional spiritual leader of Ethiopian Jews, died on Wednesday in Qiryat Gat, the town where he settled after arriving in Israel in 1991. He was 92.

      His funeral yesterday in Qiryat Gat, in southern Israel, attracted thousands of mourners but Israel television reported that no representatives of the Orthodox rabbinate, Israel's governing religious body, were present. By the rabbinate's ruling, Ques Menashe and other Ethiopian Jewish leaders were not authorized to officiate at ceremonies like weddings and funerals, as they had done in Ethiopia, and were indeed not to be called rabbis.

      Pointedly ignoring this caution, Addisu Masala, a member of Parliament of Ethiopian origin who spoke at the funeral, called Ques Menashe ''the chief rabbi of the Ethiopian Jewish community in both Ethiopia and Israel.''

      Despite the rabbinate's ruling, until shortly before his death Ques Menashe counseled the steady stream of Ethiopian Jews who accepted his authority and sought his wisdom in his ground floor apartment and adjoining chapel.

      Shoshana Ben-Dor, an anthropologist in Jerusalem and the director in Israel for the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, said Ques Menashe was ''very unhappy that the traditional forms of Judaism that he had practiced were not being accepted by Israel authorities and were being allowed to disappear.''

      Menashe Zemro, 92, Dies; Led Ethiopian Jews
      Published: October 9, 1998

    18. "very unhappy that the traditional forms of Judaism that he had practiced were not being accepted by Israel authorities and were being allowed to disappear.''

      The Babylonians rule, in Zionist Palisrael.

    19. Jack, your ignorance is quite spectacular.

      thanks for providing a good laugh at those of us that see clearly the error of your fine analysis.

      Once again, you miss the obvious and it's comical to see how you jump like a mexican jumping bean without a clue.



      Wow Jack must have spent some time digging to come up with a story form 1998....


  16. Oh my, another universal standard falls by the wayside. A separate sauce for the gander please.


    At least 20 of up to 80 people taken hostage by Boko Haram militants in Cameroon at the weekend are reported to be free.

    Cameroon's defence ministry said the hostages were freed "as defence forces pursued the attackers who were heading back to Nigeria".

    Many of those kidnapped in the cross-border raid were said to be children.

    It was one of the biggest abductions by Boko Haram outside Nigeria and raised fears that it is expanding its attacks.
    On Friday, Ghana's President John Mahama said African leaders would discuss plans this week to "deal permanently" with Boko Haram, and suggested a multinational force may be considered.

    Niger and Cameroon have criticised Nigeria for failing to do more to stop Boko Haram's attacks.

    Correspondents say Nigerian politicians appear more focused on campaigning for elections next month than on security issues, and senior figures rarely comment on the insurgency in the north-east.

    1. The abductions in Cameroon came just days after the country's army said it had killed 143 Boko Haram militants who had attacked one of its bases at Kolofata near the Nigerian border.

      That was the first major attack on Cameroon since Boko Haram threatened the country's leader in a video posted online earlier this month.

      Reported Civilian Deaths by Boko Haram from Sept 2010 thru Jan 2015 (graph)

  18. .

    Why do wages lag?

    The debate concerns the so-called “natural rate of unemployment,” also known as the NAIRU. This is the unemployment rate at which increasing wage pressures spill over into higher price inflation. (NAIRU stands for the “non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment.”) The Congressional Budget Office puts the NAIRU at 5.7 percent; that’s a mainstream estimate.

    But many economists, on both left and right, think the NAIRU may have shifted down. “We’re nowhere near the NAIRU,” says Josh Bivens of the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute. Economist Michael Strain of the conservative American Enterprise Institute agrees. By itself, the unemployment rate no longer accurately reflects the state of the job market, he says.

    “We can add over 200,000 jobs a month and have the unemployment rate drop without being terribly concerned about inflation,” he argues.

    Despite its title, the “natural” rate of unemployment isn’t natural. It can shift to reflect different laws, economic conditions or working populations. If present estimates are outdated, it’s unclear what new estimates should be. As Bivens notes, predictions of the NAIRU have been notoriously unreliable. Economists can best identify it with hindsight, when the data show how the unemployment rate and inflation interact.

    Still, wages are the crux of the matter. Why are they lagging? Theories abound. Here are four.

    — Shadow unemployment: The recession and weak recovery caused ...

    — Job Insecurity: Workers tend to stick with their present jobs because...

    — Delayed pay cuts: Companies have skimped on annual pay increases because...

    — More competition and less protection: For years, liberal commentators have...

    No one knows whether all these theories are correct, or none of them. What seems true is that, one way or another, the mechanism connecting low unemployment to rising wages and higher inflation has weakened. We don’t know by how much or for how long. The NAIRU has probably dropped, but (again) we don’t know by how much or for how long.

    Given this vast ignorance, the Federal Reserve is proceeding cautiously...


    1. The 'Globalization' of the labor market, the addition of a hundred million workers to the labor pool, the largest contributor to the 'wage stagnation' in the US, and mentioned only in passing ...

      NAFTA has not been enough, now the 'Powers That Be' want to 'integrate' the Pacific, through the TPP.

      “Prosperity Undermined: Fast-Tracked Trade Agreements’ 20-Year Record of Massive U.S. Trade Deficits, American Job Loss and Wage Suppression.”

      “Over two decades, a series of trade agreements not only failed to meet their business sector and political backers’ glowing promises of job creation, but instead resulted in unprecedented and unsustainable trade deficits, the net loss of nearly 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs and more than 57,000 factories, 7 million higher-wage service sector jobs offshored, flat median wages despite significant productivity gains and the worst U.S. income inequality in the last century.

      And, even for U.S. agriculture, a sector that consistently has been promised gains from past trade pacts, U.S. food exports have stagnated while U.S. food imports have more than doubled in the past 20 years of NAFTA-style deals.”

      Read More at the Huffington Post

  19. .

    Report says richest 1% will control most wealth by 2016

    ZURICH —The world's richest 1% will soon amass wealth that represents more than the entirety of that owned by the rest of the people on our planet, a new report released Monday by the British anti-poverty charity Oxfam claims.

    The study, published ahead of this week's annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, suggests that by 2016 the gap between the world's rich and poor will widen to the extent that those at the top of the income pile will control over 50% of total global wealth. That percentage is up from 48% in 2014.

    In 2014, the 80 richest people had a collective wealth of $1.9 trillion — a rise of $600 billion, or 50% in four years, according to the report, Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More. The report used data taken from Forbes' billionaires list and also research conducted by Swiss financial services group Credit Suisse.

    The increasing disparity comes as dozens of heads of state and hundreds of chief executives gather in the Swiss Alps under pressure to find ways of reducing inequality. President Obama is also expected on Tuesday in his State of the Union address to unveil a series of proposals aimed at alleviating economic inequality in the United States...


  20. .

    Haaretz Editorial

    Israel must tell the truth about Iran oil arbitration

    Do Jerusalem's efforts to impose international sanctions on Tehran also stem from financial considerations?

    n 1968, Israel and Iran launched a project for selling Iranian oil to Europe via Israel. At the heart of the deal was the construction of the Trans-Israel Pipeline from Eilat to Ashkelon. The project was shrouded in a veil of secrecy, and Israel imposed censorship on any publication trying to write about the pipeline or its financing.

    After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran turned from being Israel’s ally to its enemy. Israel continued to operate the pipeline after nationalizing it de facto using a legal trick. Iran sued in international arbitration to receive its share of the fruits, estimated to be worth in the billions of dollars.

    This oil arbitration has been going on for years in Switzerland, and as Aluf Benn has reported in Haaretz, Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suffered legal defeats to the Iranians — after changing its strategy and claiming that its refusal to pay was designed to damage the Iranian nuclear program. Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court has rejected these claims and forced Israel to stick with the arbitration — and pay its debt in another case.

    The legal battle has kept the highest people in government very busy, but Israelis have been left in the dark. The censorship over the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company has remained in place since the time of the Shah, and the government has remained silent.

    All this raises troubling questions. Do Israel’s efforts to impose international sanctions on Iran also stem from financial considerations, not just security ones? Are Israel and Iran conducting a dialogue through their lawyers and arbitrators behind the public threats that have led Israel to the brink of war with Iran?

    The ecological disaster that a spill from the pipeline caused last month reignited the public’s interest in...


    1. It will fall into the black hole where all of Israel’s dirty little deeds are dumped.

    2. Dirty deeds?


      But once again thanks for showing your bias.

    3. Interesting issue on a number of fronts:

      Israel/Iran business dealings, international arbitration, Government cloaked private/public partnership...

      ... I had no idea

      Thanks for posting Quirk!

    4. WiO - "Dirty deeds?"

      In your business world scooping a partners interest in a joint venture with a Public/Private entity and refusing to honor payments and International/Swiss arbitration all the while hiding behind government censorship and an imposed monopoly is just 'fair play'?

    5. St-ndard Op-rating Pr-cedure

    6. Ash and Deuce, Iran is officially at war with Israel.

      they declared it.

      In my business world if your partner declares the war like intention to genocide you?

      Seizing assets is the least you can do.


      Go F--k you-self

    7. Deuce, since you now are an Ir-nian First-r, and a Tra-tor to the USA how do you take a pension with a clear conscious?


  21. CSIRO's 64-m Parkes radio telescope in eastern Australia has caught "fast radio burst" for the first time, according to a joint press release from The Royal Astronomical Society in the U.K. on behalf of CAASTRO and CAASTRO The Arc Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics. This is the first time a sharp radio flash from an unknown source has been caught live.

    The first radio burst was discovered in 2007 by astronomers working on the Parkes data archive. The first burst lasted only milliseconds. Since then, there have been six more flashes that scientists believe are coming from outside our galaxy.

    "These bursts were generally discovered weeks or months or even more than a decade after they happened! We're the first to catch one in real time," said Emily Petroff, a Ph.D. candidate co-supervised by CSIRO and by Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Swinburne is a member institution of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO).

    The burst was only radio - no optical, infrared, ultraviolet or X-ray follow up. "That in itself rules out some possible candidates, such as long gamma-ray bursts and nearby supernovae," said team member Mansi Kasliwal from the Carnegie Institution in Pasadena, Calif.

    Kasliwal said that low-energy gamma-ray bursts, imploding neutron stars and giant flares from distant magnetars ("most magnetic stars in the universe") can't be ruled out.

    By identifying the characteristics of the radio signals, scientists can determine how far away the origin of the burst is. The last bust was determined to be 5.5 billion light-years away. "That means it could have given off as much energy in a few milliseconds as the Sun does in a day," said team member Daniele Malesani of the University of Copenhagen, according to the press release.

    The real-time detection of the burst also left another clue - its polarization. The vibration from electromagnetic waves can be linear or circular. The radio burst caught by Petroff was more than 20 percent circularly polarized. That means there should be magnetic fields close to the source.

    "We've set the trap," said Petroff. "Now we just have to wait for another burst to fall into it."

    According to CAASTRO's website: "CAASTRO is a collaboration between Curtin University, The University of Western Australia, the University of Sydney, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Queensland. It is funded under the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence program and receives additional funding from the seven participating universities and the NSW State Government Science Leveraging Fund."


    U.S.-built Ebola treatment centers in Liberia are nearly empty as outbreak fades


    Iraq Pumps Crude at Record Level Amid Plummeting Prices

    Iraq is pumping crude at a record pace and will continue to boost exports this year amid a supply glut that’s pushed prices down, Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said.

    “The average for Iraqi crude output is 4 million barrels a day, which is a historical record,” Abdul Mahdi said at a news conference after meeting his Turkish counterpart, Taner Yildiz, in Baghdad.

    Exports from Iraq will rise to 3.3 million barrels a day this year, boosted by oil from the Kurdish region, Abdul Mahdi said.
    The whole country exported 2.94 million barrels a day in December, the most since the 1980s, Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said Jan. 2.

    Exports from northern Iraq through a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan will average 375,000 barrels a day in the coming months, rising to as much as 600,000 barrels a day by April, Abdul Mahdi said. About 500,000 to 600,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s production is consumed locally, he said.

    1. And the Russian NG shipments will be flowing thru Turkey, as well, if the Russians hold fast to their proposed energy embargo of Ukraine.

    2. getting the NG from Turkey to Europe seems a bit of a challenge.

  24. Once SodaStream broke that $20 floor, the bottom dropped out ...

    Sodastream International Ltd
    NASDAQ: SODA - Jan 16 4:14 PM ET
    $17.92 ... down .14 (.75%)

    1. still makes almost a 1/2 billion in sales, employees and pays the salaries of almost 3000 israelis, are in over 1000 stores world wide and makes a net profit of 42 million a year.

      Sounds sweet to me...

      And you don't lose if you still own the shares. :)

      Once again the shit scooper from AZ knows nothing about business and it shows.

    2. Management of SodaStream has lost $880 million in shareholder equity in the past 14 months.
      "O"rdure thinks that is sweet

      allen saw the economy as an exploitable existential threat to the future of Zionist Palisrael.

    3. SodaStream illustrates their vulnerability.

    4. As did the closing of the Ben-Gurion airport to international passenger traffic.

    5. Jack HawkinsMon Jan 19, 01:33:00 PM EST
      Management of SodaStream has lost $880 million in shareholder equity in the past 14 months.
      "O"rdure thinks that is sweet

      Amazing how you translate ups and downs in share prices as "losses"

      they are only a loss if you sold.

      Did you flunk econ 100?

      You have no clue about what you speak.

      almost 3000 real humans get a paycheck

      almost 1000 dealers across the lands sell them

      almost 1/2 billion in sales!

      42 million a year to a stable number of share holders year over year, infact, in the last 24 months? 35% increase in the numbers of folks BUYING sodastream shares.

      You aint much of a business guru...


    In addition to being a major market for energy supplies, Turkey's role as an energy transit hub is increasingly important.

    Turkey is a key part of oil and natural gas supplies movement from Russia, the Caspian region, and the Middle East to Europe.
    The country has been a major transit point for seaborne-traded oil and is becoming more important for pipeline-traded oil and natural gas.

    Growing volumes of Russian and Caspian oil are being sent by tanker via the Turkish Straits to Western markets, while a terminal on Turkey's Mediterranean coast at Ceyhan serves as an outlet for oil exports from northern Iraq and for both oil and natural gas exports from Azerbaijan.

    The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is a 1,768 kilometres (1,099 mi) long crude oil pipeline from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It connects Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan and Ceyhan, a port on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, via Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. It is the second-longest oil pipeline in the former Soviet Union, after the Druzhba pipeline. The first oil that was pumped from the Baku end of the pipeline on 10 May 2005 reached Ceyhan on 28 May 2006

  26. For the Free Traders and Protectionists in the house this Canada/US 'Buy America' tiff is interesting in my view:

    "Ottawa invokes rarely used law in Buy America row with U.S.

    OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
    Published Monday, Jan. 19 2015, 12:28 PM EST
    Last updated Monday, Jan. 19 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    Ottawa has invoked a rarely used anti-sanctions law after Alaska refused to void Buy America purchasing rules in the rebuilding of a B.C. ferry terminal.

    The Canadian government signed an order Monday under the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act, barring companies from complying with the requirement that only U.S. steel be used on the project in Prince Rupert, B.C., Trade Minister Ed Fast said.

    “We have been clear: the application of protectionist Buy America provisions on Canadian soil is unacceptable and an affront to Canadian sovereignty,” Mr. Fast said in a statement.

    Nonetheless, he added that Ottawa would continue to try to convince the U.S. government to waive the Buy America restrictions.

    “We are prepared to exercise this order to defend Canadian interests,” he added.

    “Buy America provisions deny both countries’ companies and communities the clear benefits that arise from our integrated supply chain and our commitment to freer and more open trade. We call upon our American friends to join with us to end the harm such policies are doing within our shared North American economy.”

    In spite of weeks of high-level talks to reach a compromise, Alaska Governor Bill Walker told Canadian officials over the weekend that he won’t seek a waiver of the purchasing rules. The state of Alaska, which runs the Alaska Marine Highway System, is now slated to close bids on the project Jan. 21 and then award a final contract.

    The Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act, a federal anti-sanctions law, has been used only once, in 1992, to counter the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba.

    The law gives the federal Attorney General the power to issue orders, making it illegal for bidders on the project to comply with the Buy America rules.

    Canadian officials, including Ambassador to Washington Gary Doer, had urged the U.S. and Alaska to waive the rules or delay the project. But those efforts proved fruitless.

    U.S.-only purchasing rules, mandated by Congress, continue to be politically seductive, and very difficult for U.S. politicians and officials to publicly oppose.

    The catch this time is that the Alaska ferry project, funded mainly by the U.S. government, seeks to apply those rules in Canada, on land owned by the Canadian government.

    The port of Prince Rupert, located nearly 800 kilometres north of Vancouver near the southern tip of the Alaska Panhandle, sits on Canadian Crown land. But it’s leased back to the local port authority, which recently sublet the ferry terminal to the Alaska Marine Highway System under a 50-year lease that expires in 2063.

    Bidding documents posted on the Alaska Department of Transportation website make clear that “all iron and steel products associated with this project are subject to the Buy America provisions.” The $10-million to $20-million (U.S.) terminal and wharf project, is slated to be completed in 2016."

  27. ISIS Losing Kobane: Islamic State Continues To Crumble As Kurds Retake Key Syrian City

    Despite dumping massive amounts of their military stockpile and manpower into taking over the key Syrian city of Kobane, ISIS (or the Islamic State) continues to be pushed out of the town by staunch Kurdish fighting forces and U.S.-led airstrikes.

    The ISIS/Islamic State group was once on the verge of sacking Kobane. That the Syrian town on the border with Turkey was destined to fall into the hands of ISIS seemed a foregone conclusion a few months ago.

    However, Kurdish fighters, and bombings of ISIS militants by U.S.-led warplanes, continue to take away the momentum ISIS had enjoyed, crippling their ambitions and inflicting severe damage to their ranks,

    1. An estimated 1,600 people have been killed in the fight for Kobane, 1,000 or more of those deaths being ISIS militants. But the ISIS/Islamic State group is not ready to throw in the towel as they continue to send in reinforcements, desperately clinging to some hope of somehow winning back the pivotal and symbolically significant town.

      “Kobane has become a huge symbol. Everyone knows Kobane, it’s where the Kurds stopped IS(IS),” said Mutlu Civiroglu, a Kurdish affairs analyst.

      “(ISIS) lost hundreds of fighters, millions of dollars of weapons, and the image that wherever ISIS (the Islamic State) goes no one can stop them.”

      While the gritty fighting of Kurdish forces has been the bane of ISIS forces in Kobane, U.S.-led airstrikes have been key in beating back the ISIS militants.

    2. “Seventy-five percent of all US strikes in Syria were on Kobane. You give any force on the ground that kind of aerial support and they will get the upper hand,” said Thomas Pierret, a University of Edinburgh expert on Syria.

      “(ISIS) would have taken over Kobane completely (without the US-led air support), because it has the means to bring more forces to the fight than the Kurds.”

      “(ISIS) did not expect such an intense aerial campaign,” said Mustefa Ebdi, a Kurdish activist from Kobane, citing the discovery of “dozens of bodies of jihadists in liberated districts” as evidence.

      The U.S.-led airstrikes have also taken out much of the ISIS heavy weaponry that essentially had the Kurds outgunned, while also limiting their ability to move their militant troops, the airstrikes literally blowing ISIS militants and equipment right off the Kobane battle fronts.

      The Rat Doctrine, combining local ground forces with US close air support, well illustrated.


    3. It's like shooting doves over a baited field. :)

    4. The field in Mosul is shooting back.

      According to a report by Iraqi News, American A-10 were shot at with four Strela missiles during the recent air strikes carried out by the Warthogs (as the Thunderbolts are referred to by the pilot community) on ISIS positions near Mosul, in Iraq.

      Based on reports by unnamed sources who witnessed the attack, the A-10s killed and wounded several terrorists but were also targeted by the ISIS militants who allegedly attempted to shoot down the U.S. planes fling at low altitude using 9K32 Strela-2 (NATO reporting name SA-7 Grail) man-portable, shoulder-fired, low-altitude, IR (infra-red) guided, surface-to-air missile systems.

      Even though the Warthogs were not hit by the surface-to-air missiles, the episode seems to confirm that, flying at medium and low altitude and loitering over the battlefield, the A-10s deployed to Kuwait face the threat of MANPADS known to be in possession of Islamic State forces.

      Still, the “Hog” is a tough plane, that has already shown its special ability to bring the pilot back to the homebase in spite of heavy damages by ground fire.

      Read more:

      Not Good - They could get lucky

  28. still makes almost a 1/2 billion in sales, employees and pays the salaries of almost 3000 israelis, are in over 1000 stores world wide and makes a net profit of 42 million a year.

    Sounds sweet to me...

    And you don't lose if you still own the shares. :)

    Once again the shit scooper from AZ knows nothing about business and it shows.

    Way to go soda stream!

    Still creating jobs and wealth for thousands.

    42 MILLION net profit... again

    that is sweet

    1. All while losing $880 million in shareholder equity.

      Sweet ... nah.

      Now the only question, did they lose the equity value because their business model is flawed, or because they were targeted by the BDS Movement?

      Maybe there is some other reason why the value of SoaStream has cratered, but it is not mentioned by any of the analysts that follow the company.

    2. What is "Occupation"Sat Jul 19, 10:54:00 PM EDT
      it's a great time to buy the stock (Sodastream) Herr Rodent..
      It's undervalued. ($29.11)
      you really just don't understand business..

      That was then ...
      This is now

      October 11, 2014 by Doug Henwood for Mondoweiss
      SodaStream: is BDS hitting where it hurts?

      SodaStream’s stock is now 70% off its all-time high set in July 2011 ($75.68)
      SodaStream was selling at $68 when the BDS Movement targeted the company.
      Sodastream price 16JAN2015 - $17.92

      A 73% collapse

      Coincidence ... or bad management?

      Now let us review ...
      "O"rdure recommends buying Sodastream on 19July 2014 at $29.11 telling us it was undervalued.
      On 16JAN2015 Sodastream closed at $17.92

      That is DOWN $11.19 or 38% since "O"rdure made his 'buy' recommendation.

    3. Still think it is undervalued.

      Play the % game all you wish, but price earnings ratios were good before are better now...

      Go back to shoveling horse manure Jack, that's your pay grade.

      Meanwhile, Sodastream has gotten rid of 500 palesitnians off the payroll and moved into a new location in Israel.

    4. Jack HawkinsMon Jan 19, 03:30:00 PM EST
      All while losing $880 million in shareholder equity.

      Cant count a loss if you didn't realize the gain.

      man you are stupid.

    5. Jack, you are getting more desperate by the day!

      stock prices go up and down, so goes it.

      But to claim losses with out any realized gains?

      simply moronic.

    6. You keep tellin' yourself that, "O"rdure.

      George Soros saw the light. He dumped the company.
      Took those 'real losses' rather than suffer any more 'paper' disasters.

      Bet that George can get a REFI, "O"Rdure?

  29. WiO

    Are Iran and Israel, officially, at war? Has Israel actually declared war on Iran, or Iran on Israel?