New York Times
Saudi Arabia - that Western-backed bastion of human rights - executed 47 people on Saturday, including a top Shiite cleric whose death sparked protests in Eastern Province and inflamed sectarian tensions across the region.
According to a piece published earlier this month by Spiegel, ISIS obtains the satellite technology it needs to disseminate its propaganda in Antakya. In addition to reinforcing the link between the group and Turkey, this also raises an interesting question: why are the satellite service providers not doing anything to stop the group from spreading its message?
In 2015, the iron fist of power clamped down on humanity, from warfare to terrorism to surveillance, police brutality, and corporate hegemony. The environment was repeatedly decimated, the health of citizens was constantly put at risk, and the justice system and media alike were perverted to serve the interests of the powers that be. However, while 2015 was discouraging for more reasons than most of us can count, many of the year’s most underreported stories evidence not only a widespread pattern that explicitly reveals the nature of power, but pushback from human beings worldwide on a path toward a better world.
“The tanks fire all day and we have nowhere left to hide,”...
On the heels of a “close call” in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday, Washington is preparing new sanctions against a handful of companies and individuals tied to Tehran’s ballistic-missile program. "We've been looking for some time at options for additional actions related to Iran's ballistic missile program based on our continued concerns about its activities,” an unnamed US official says. Iran calls the new actions "illegal."
Operating largely out of public view - in tax court, through arcane legislative provisions and in private negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service - the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans. This is precisely what Obama will be remembered for by history, bailing out and protecting the 0.01%, at the expense of everyone else.
Is America DIRECTLY Supporting ISIS?
The $1.15 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last Friday and quickly signed by President Obama is just the latest triumph in the plutocratic management of politics that has accelerated since 9/11...proof that Washington can work. Mainstream media didn’t stop to ask: “Yes, but work for whom?” Instead, the anchors acted as amplifiers for official spin - repeating the mantra-of-the-hour that while this is not “a perfect bill,” it does a lot of good things. “But for whom? At what price?” went unasked. Secrecy today. Secrecy tomorrow. Secrecy forever. They are determined that we not know who owns them.
My overriding theme and the central drama for the coming year is that unexpected events can take on greater importance as the Federal Reserve ends its near-decade-long Zero Interest Rate Policy. Consensus premises and forecasts will likely fall flat, in a rather spectacular manner. The low-conviction and directionless market that we saw in 2015 could become a no-conviction and very-much-directed market (i.e. one that's directed lower) in 2016. There will be no peace on earth in 2016, and our markets could lose a cushion of protection as valuations contract. (Just as "malinvestment" represented a key theme this year, we expect a compression of price-to-earnings ratios to serve as a big market driver in 2016.) In other words, we don't think 2016 will be fun.
Apparently, China has finally gotten wise to what the West has known since at least 9/11: namely that you can always justify the state's nasty habits by claiming authorities require new powers to fight "terror." The NPC passed new legislation on Sunday that, in addition to granting Beijing new surveillance powers, also legalizes the PLA's deployment overseas to conduct anti-terror ops.
“For sure it will cause a big delay and it may kill the whole process. Whoever committed this crime is pushing for a military solution, not a political process solution.”
We apologize, but 2015 had so many negatives that we’re having trouble seeing the positives. It’s like we’re on the Titanic, and it’s tilting at an 85-degree angle with its propellers way up in the air, and we’re dangling over the cold Atlantic trying to tell ourselves: “At least there’s no waiting for the shuffleboard courts!” Are we saying that 2015 was the worst year ever? Are we saying it was worse than, for example, 1347, the year when the Bubonic Plague killed a large part of humanity? Yes, we are saying that.
"The longer you wait to try to catch up on funding, the worse the situation gets."
"Unfortunately, an institution that was created to serve all Americans has been hijacked by the very bankers it regulates.” 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders said in an op-ed on Wednesday that a full independent audit of the Federal Reserve is necessary “to reign in Wall Street."