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Member since: Tue Dec 30, 2014, 06:11 PM
Number of posts: 5,902

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Bill O'Reilly Has His Own Brian Williams Problem

Source: Mother Jones

By David Corn and Daniel Schulman.

The Fox News host has said he was in a "war zone" that apparently no American correspondent reached.

After NBC News suspended anchor Brian Williams for erroneously claiming that he was nearly shot down in a helicopter while covering the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly went on a tear. On his television show, the top-rated cable news anchor declared that the American press isn't "half as responsible as the men who forged the nation." He bemoaned the supposed culture of deception within the liberal media, and he proclaimed that the Williams controversy should prompt questioning of other "distortions" by left-leaning outlets. Yet for years, O'Reilly has recounted dramatic stories about his own war reporting that don't withstand scrutiny—even claiming he acted heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in.

O'Reilly has repeatedly told his audience that he was a war correspondent during the Falklands War and that he experienced combat during that 1982 conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina. He has often invoked this experience to emphasize that he understands war as only someone who has witnessed it could. As he once put it, "I've been there. That's really what separates me from most of these other bloviators. I bloviate, but I bloviate about stuff I've seen. They bloviate about stuff that they haven't."

Yet his own account of his time in Argentina in his 2001 book, The No Spin Zone, contains no references to O'Reilly experiencing or covering any combat during the Falklands War. In the book, which in part chronicles his troubled stint as a CBS News reporter, O'Reilly reports that he arrived in Buenos Aires soon before the Argentine junta surrendered to the British, ending the 10-week war over control of two territories far off the coast of Argentina. There is nothing in this memoir indicating that O'Reilly witnessed the fighting between British and Argentine military forces—or that he got anywhere close to the Falkland Islands, which are 300 miles off Argentina's shore and about 1,200 miles south of Buenos Aires.

Read more: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/bill-oreilly-brian-williams-falklands-war

For those unfamiliar with the subject, the Falklands War (April-June 1982) took place entirely in the Falkland Islands themselves and the South Atlantic. He would have had to sail to the South Atlantic to have witnessed any hostilities (which of course he never did). Contrary to his assertions, moreover, no one was killed in the Buenos Aires protests that followed the June 14 surrender.

Argentina: Number of foreign tourists up 13 percent

The number of foreign tourists visiting Argentina in 2014 rose 13.1% to 5.9 million people; but their spending decreased 0.9% to US$2.6 billion, the INDEC statistics bureau reported yesterday. Meanwhile, the number of Argentines who travelled abroad dropped 3.4% last year to 6.5 million people, and their total spending consequently declined to US$3.075 billion.

The higher number of foreign tourists in Argentina is in line with the world tourism figures as the number of international tourists travelling the globe increased 4.7% last year to 1.1 billion people, according to the latest UN World Tourism Barometer. The Americas registered the highest increase in tourism with a 7% increase.

Domestic summer tourism grows

So far this summer, 16.8 million have traveled domestically, an increase of 7.6% when compared to the same period last year, according to a report by the Tourism Ministry released yesterday. Out of the 16.8 million, 11.2 million correspond to January, 6% higher than the same month last year.

“We are exceeding our goals set at the beginning of the season and thanks to the advertising campaign done throughout the year we achieved a high number of tourists travelling across the country,” Tourism Minister Enrique Meyer said.

Most chose to visit the Buenos Aires Province sea-side cities, Córdoba, and the Patagonia region. Mar del Plata welcomed 827,671 tourists, 7.7% more, during the second half of January and had a hotel occupancy rate of 85.6%, while Pinamar received 801,626 tourists, 8.3% higher than last year and had a hotel occupancy rate of 93%. A total 62,183 tourists traveled to Córdoba, which saw a 64.3% hotel occupancy rate. Villa Carlos Paz and Villa General Belgrano were the main tourist destinations in that province.

Villa La Angostura was one of the most visited cities of Patagonia during the second half of January with 19,857 arrivals, 7.5% more, and a hotel occupancy rate of 92.3%. Bariloche, Las Grutas, El Calafate, Esquel and Puerto Madryn were also on top of the list. In the North, Salta was the most visited province; and in Cuyo, Mendoza was the most chosen destination.

At: http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/181401/number-of-foreign-tourists-up-13-percent


I first visited Argentina in 1999 while still in school, and I try to go back every three to four years. I recommend it if you haven't already; it's inexpensive, safe as foreign travel goes, and probably has the most diverse geography in the region.

The British judiciary ordered the release of Argentine funds held by Griesa

Source: Télam

Published February 13, 2015

British judge Guy Newery ordered the release of 226 million euros of Argentine debts under European law, withheld by New York judge Thomas Griesa.

The ruling accepted the request made by George Soros and Perry Capital.

The 226 million euros were deposited in June last year by the Argentine Government in the Bank of New York Mellon, that following Griesa's order, withheld the payment.

Read more: http://www.telam.com.ar/english/notas/201502/4337-the-british-judiciary-ordered-the-release-of-funds-held-by-griesa.html

Good news for Argentina and its bondholders: vulture funds can now only hold bondholders' payments hostage in lawless (bribed?) Wall Street courts.

Argentina's been paying its bondholders religiously for 10 years; no one has a right to intercept their payments. Least of all vulture funds, many of which are Caribbean laundries that should have no access to U.S. courts - but plenty of access to U.S. jails.

They are also - no surprise - huge contributors to GOP slush funds.

Oil slump triggers North Sea crisis

By Steve James
5 February 2015

Demand for OPEC oil in 2015 is anticipated to be about 28.8 million barrels per day (bpd), compared with a production figure of 30 million bpd. As a result, there is a growing surplus of oil on the world market and prices are collapsing. Oil is selling for well under $50 a barrel, less than half the price six months ago.

One of the most exposed regions is the British sector of the North Sea. Production, which began in the 1970s, has been in decline since 1999, with a sharp slump following 2010. New discoveries tend, year by year, to be smaller, in deeper water, with more complex extraction. While new techniques have raised the percentage of recoverable oil, this is ever more costly. With oil at over $100 a barrel, advanced methods still allow huge profits to be recouped. At below $50, few North Sea fields, currently the most expensive offshore locations in the world, are profitable. By contrast, production in Saudi Arabia costs less than $10 a barrel.

An extended price slump poses an existential threat to much of the British North Sea-based industry, as exploration of smaller, deeper fields becomes unviable and existing fields run dry. In December, Robin Allan of the oil industry explorers’ association Brindex, told the BBC that North Sea exploration was “close to collapse.” Allan, a director of Premier Oil, complained that even at $60 a barrel, exploration was unprofitable.

Labour’s new leader in Scotland, Jim Murphy, agreed, warning, “The oil crisis is the biggest threat to jobs in Scotland since Ravenscraig.” The 1992 closure of the Ravenscraig steelworks indirectly cost up to 10,000 jobs. In Aberdeen, 13 percent of all jobs are oil-related and the northeast of England hosts a number of production sites, but oil-related jobs are scattered across the UK. In total, estimates of oil-related jobs in the UK run as high as 450,000. Of these, 35,000 are said to be imperiled, including 16,000 in Scotland.

At: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/02/05/scot-f05.html


Thatcher's legacy lives on. The irony of it is that the Iron Lady owed the boomlet of the late 1980s largely to North Sea largesse - which resolved Britain's longstanding balance-of-payments difficulties. But BP overextracted, without regasifying, and exported most of the oil when prices were in the $20-a-barrel range, leaving the U.K. dependent on imports in this era of expensive oil (the recent slump notwithstanding). After peaking at 2.7 million barrels per day in 1985 (the year BP was privatised), British oil output today is merely one fourth of that - and falling.

Proposed Defense Budget For Fiscal 2016 Brings Cheer To Lockheed

Source: Forbes

Published February 6, 2015

President Obama has proposed a significant hike in the country’s defense budget for the fiscal year 2016, bringing cheer to major defense contractors such as Lockheed and Boeing. Over the past few years, as the government slashed its defense spending due to spending limits mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, overall contract volume fell for most defense contractors including Lockheed.

The budget proposes an increase in the overall defense budget by about 4% to $585.2 billion in fiscal 2016, from $560.3 billion in the current fiscal year. However, the base defense budget in this overall budget has been proposed to grow at a much higher rate, as the allocation for overseas contingency operations has been proposed to decline to $50.9 billion, from $64.2 billion. The decline in OCO was expected, as troops continue to withdraw from Afghanistan. After accounting for this decline in OCO, the base defense budget, which includes military personnel and procurement costs, has been proposed to grow by a whopping $38 billion or 7.7% in the fiscal year 2016.

If this budget is approved by Congress, the increase in weapons procurement will benefit Lockheed, which is the largest defense contractor of the U.S. government. Specifically, the defense budget for fiscal year 2016 proposes spending $10.6 billion on purchasing 57 F-35s. Lockheed is the main contractor developing this fighter jet. The company produced and delivered 36 F-35s in 2014.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2015/02/06/proposed-defense-budget-for-fiscal-2016-brings-cheer-to-lockheed/

The article mentions 57 new F-35s - a product already shown to be the worst boondoggle in military aircraft history.

My thanks to NobodyHere, who first brought this article to my attention in an earlier post.

The dark side of Winston Churchill’s legacy no one should forget

Washington Post
Published February 3, 2015
By Ishaan Tharoor

The dark side of Winston Churchill’s legacy no one should forget

There’s no Western statesmen — at least in the English-speaking world — more routinely lionized than Winston Churchill. Last week marked a half century since his funeral, an occasion that itself led to numerous commemorations and paeans to the British Bulldog, whose moral courage and patriotism helped steer his nation through World War II.

The power of his name is so great that it launches a thousand quotations, many of which are apocryphal. At its core, Churchill’s myth serves as a ready-made metaphor for boldness and leadership, no matter how vacuous the context in which said metaphor is deployed.

But there’s another side to Churchill’s politics and career that should not be forgotten amid the endless parade of eulogies. To many outside the West, he remains an unvarnished racist and a stubborn imperialist, forever on the wrong side of history. Churchill’s detractors point to his well-documented bigotry, articulated often with shocking callousness and contempt. “I hate Indians,” he once trumpeted. “They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.” He referred to Palestinians as “barbaric hordes who ate little but camel dung.” When quashing insurgents in Sudan in the earlier days of his imperial career, Churchill boasted of killing three “savages.” Contemplating restive populations in northwest Asia, he infamously lamented the “squeamishness” of his colleagues, who were not in “favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes.”

Churchill’s racism was wrapped up in his Tory zeal for empire, one which irked his wartime ally, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As a junior member of Parliament, Churchill had cheered on Britain’s plan for more conquests, insisting that its “Aryan stock is bound to triumph.”

India, Britain’s most important colonial possession, most animated Churchill. He despised the Indian independence movement and its spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi, whom he described as “half-naked, seditious fakir.” Most notoriously, Churchill presided over the hideous 1943 famine in Bengal, where some 3 million Indians perished, largely as a result of British imperial mismanagement. Churchill was both indifferent to the Indian plight and even mocked the millions suffering, chuckling over the culling of a population that bred “like rabbits.”

Leopold Amery, Churchill’s own Secretary of State for India, likened his boss’ understanding of India’s problems to King George III’s apathy for the Americas. Amery vented in his private diaries, writing “on the subject of India, Winston is not quite sane” and that he didn’t “see much difference between (Churchill’s) outlook and Hitler’s.”

At: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/02/03/the-dark-side-of-winston-churchills-legacy-no-one-should-forget/

Argentine president ends China trip with 22 cooperation deals

Buenos Aires Herald
Published February 5, 2015

CFK ends China trip with 22 cooperation deals

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner ended her official trip to China and is travelling back to the country after signing 22 new bilateral agreements to boost the strategic alliance, that dealt with communications, culture, nuclear energy and aerospace technology.

During her three-days visit the head of State met with top Chinese businessmen and with China’s President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Zhang Dejiang.

Li expressed to the Argentine president his “satisfaction for the fruitful agreements reached” that “will boost” the relations between the two countries. Ms. Kirchner in turn pointed out that the bilateral relation is “a high priority” of her administration.

Source: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/181254/cfk-ends-china-trip-with-22-cooperation-deals-

U.S. economy cools in fourth quarter, but consumer spending shines

Source: Reuters

U.S. economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter as weak business spending and a wider trade deficit offset the fastest pace of consumer spending since 2006. The slowdown followed two back-to-back quarters of bullish growth and is likely to be short-lived given the enormous tailwind from lower gasoline prices. Other data on Friday showed consumer sentiment jumped to an 11-year high in January.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.6% annual pace after the third quarter's 5%, the Commerce Department said in its first snapshot of fourth-quarter GDP. A gauge of underlying demand, which excludes trade, inventories and government, increased at a 3.9% pace. That compared to the third quarter's 4.1% rate. Analysts said the data indicated domestic fundamentals were strong enough to cushion the blow on growth from weakening overseas economies.

For all of 2014 the economy grew 2.4%, compared to 2.2% in 2013. The report came two days after the Federal Reserve said the economy was growing at a "solid pace," an upgraded assessment that keeps it on track to start raising interest rates this year.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/30/us-usa-economy-idUSKBN0L30BC20150130

It should be noted as well that since President Obama took office, GDP has grown by an average of 2.2% - compared to 1.6% during the Bush administration.

Argentine government moves to dissolve domestic intelligence agency

The Guardian
Published January 26, 2015
By Jonathan Watts

Argentine government moves to dissolve domestic intelligence agency

Argentina’s president announced a major shakeup of her country’s intelligence network on Monday in her most combative step yet to address the fallout from the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

In her first televised address since the prosecutor’s body was found at his apartment on 18 January, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said she would support a bill to dissolve the existing structure – which employs more than 2,000 people – and replace it with a new federal intelligence agency.

It follows a protracted struggle with the intelligence agency that has come to light after the suspicious death of Nisman, which the president blames on rogue spies who are trying to undermine her.

Government officials have pointed the finger of blame at spies whom they say were working with Nisman and feeding him wiretap information.

Chief among them is Antonio Stiusso, who until last month was the general director of operations and eavesdropped on the president’s political opponents. He was fired when Fernández discovered he was working with Nisman to build a case against her. He is believed to be in the U.S.


Nisman case: Argentina’s Jews are (unwittingly) serving the far right

Published January 27, 2015
by Dr. Meir Margalit

Argentina’s Jews are serving the far right’s silent revolution
I ask myself how these wise and good-hearted people could have fallen into a trap and wound up on the same side as the country’s fascists.

It has been proved once again that in Argentina truth is stranger than fiction. What appeared to be a conspiracy theory has taken on real form. Dark forces from the past are returning, keen to reap vengeance on the Kirchner family because late Argentine President Néstor Kirchner, the husband of his successor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, put them on trial for crimes against humanity.

About a week ago I wrote in Haaretz’s Hebrew edition that the murder of prosecutor Alberto Nisman reeked of a well-timed right-wing conspiracy, in cahoots with former police and army officials, to overthrow the government and destroy Argentina’s democracy, still weak after 30 years.

And the (Jewish) community doesn’t notice that the far right is latching onto the legitimate protest and building the revolution's foundations based on its criticism. Not only does this attempt not serve the Jews, but you don’t have to be a historian to know that it will target them sooner or later.

So Argentina’s Jews, whose pain is real, have become pawns in the hands of foreign interests who have nothing to do with them. Worse, they are serving a historical process that has been timed by forces that not only care nothing about the Jews, but will settle accounts with them the first chance they get.

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