Al Jazeera – People were paid to demonstrate against Qatar in a “fake protest” outside the UN headquarters in New York City, according to a report by the Independent newspaper.
The Guardian – Official statement will close off possibility of reopening talks, in blow to Theresa May’s plans
The EU is preparing to issue an immediate rebuff to Theresa May by publishing a statement rejecting any renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement in the event of the so-called Brady amendment being passed by parliament.
MPs were corralled by the prime minister on Tuesday to back a proposal under which the Commons would commit to supporting the withdrawal agreement should the Irish backstop contained within it be “replaced”.
Daily Mail – Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world, Denmark the least, while America’s falling score is a ‘red flag’, according to a global corruption watchdog.
Transparency International highlighted Hungary and the United States in their Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018, with America being knocked from the top 20 ‘cleanest’ list.
Trump’s America lost four points and dropped out of the top 20 least corrupt nations for the first time since 2011, while Hungary’s politics has taken on more autocratic overtones, according to the researchers.
‘A four point drop in the CPI score is a red flag and comes at a time when the US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balance, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power,’ the Berlin-based organization said.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
Daily Caller – Former Trump campaign strategist Roger Stone claimed Monday that the ultimate goal of the Mueller investigation could be to charge President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence with “some hoked up frame of Russian collusion” in order to gain the president of their choosing.
“That way they can make Nancy Pelosi president,” Stone said. “She can make Hillary Clinton vice president and then step aside.”
Appearing in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday night, the day before his official indictment, Stone claimed that the reason he’s being targeted is because “they want to silence” him and “criminalize free speech.”
Campus Reform – The Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees President says the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag is “steeped in expressions of nativism and white nationalism.”
In emails obtained exclusively by Campus Reform, the president of the SBCC Board of Trustees, Robert Miller, stated that he decided to “discontinue use of the Pledge of Allegiance” at board meetings because of its history.
“…steeped in expressions of nativism and white nationalism”
Live stream videos of the board’s past several meetings show that the last time members recited the Pledge of Allegiance during a board meeting was Dec. 13. During the Jan. 10 live-streamed meeting, Miller noted at the beginning that it was his first meeting as president of the board. It was also the first meeting since a similar circumstance in summer 2018 that members did not recite the pledge.
“I decided to discontinue use of the Pledge of Allegiance for reasons related to its history and symbolism,” Miller said in an email to Celeste Barber, a former adjunct instructor at SBCC. “I have discovered that the Pledge of Allegiance has a history steeped in expressions of nativism and white nationalism.”
In addition to these reasons, Miller stated that he’d rather pledge his allegiance to the Constitution “instead of a physical object.”
“I also object to the phrase ‘one nation under God,’” Miller said. “The First Amendment not only protects freedom of speech and religion [but] it also expressly prohibits laws that establish a religion. The U.S. Supreme Court has expressly extended those rights to those who express no belief in God. Thus, I disagree with the 1955 act of Congress to add this phrase to the Pledge of Allegiance.”
In a Jan. 24 SBCC Board of Trustees meeting, Barber explained her opposition to Miller removing the Pledge of Allegiance from all board meetings during public comment.
It’s not the first time that Barber has gone head-to-head with the board of trustees over the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
In a statement to Campus Reform, Barber said that while speaking during a board meeting in spring 2018, she noticed that members did not recite the pledge then, either. She voiced her concerns to the president of the board at the time and the pledge was subsequently reinstated.
“You are an elected body at a public institution at a public institution serving a community college,” Barber said while protesters shouted in the Jan. 24 meeting. “When you recite the Pledge of Allegiance, you are recommitting your oath to uphold and defend this country’s constitution.”
Barber gave a few personal reasons regarding why she cherishes the Pledge of Allegiance, with one being her experience living behind the wall in East Berlin, stating, “that bit of cloth represented home in a faraway place.”
Christian Science Monitor – New Mexico’s Democrat-led Legislature and governor are pushing to increase background checks and other regulations in a state known for its culture of gun ownership. If the measures pass, the state could become the first to enact major gun control reforms since the midterms.
Free Thought Project – As TFTP has previously reported, billionaire heiress Clare Bronfman was indicted on racketeering charges in federal court in July. The indictment was connected to her involvement as Operations Director for the NXIVM sex cult which ensnared Smallville star Allison Mack as well. Now, prosecutors have come forward saying that this billionaire heir is protecting her fellow cronies with a massive amount of money in the form of a defense trust fund.
A federal judge in Brooklyn said he is planning on bringing all of the members of the alleged cult into court because he’s found “issues” with this defense fund set up by Bronfman.
As the NY Post reports,
Prosecutors have said Bronfman set up the irrevocable trust to keep her fellow cultists in line as they head to trial by paying for top-notch defense attorneys.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis held an initial hearing on the issue last month, where he ruled that documentation related to everyone contributing to the trust must be turned over.
The judge’s order noted that all defendants in the case must attend a court meeting “to address issues [the court] has identified in its review of the Trust’s indenture and the declaration that Defendants submitted,” according to the report.
For those who don’t recall, Bronfman is the heir to the multi-billion dollar liquor fortune of Edgar Bronfman Sr, the billionaire philanthropist who was formerly head of Seagram.
The Bronfman family has very close ties to the Rothschild banking dynasty as well, with members of both families belonging to many of the same companies, including their joint financial firm, Bronfman & Rothschild.
Additionally, at least three high-ranking members of the organization, including Nancy Salzman and both Bronfman sisters, are members of Bill Clinton’s foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, which requires an annual $15,000 membership fee.
Salzman, her daughter Lauren and NXIVM bookkeeper Kathy Russell were also accused of a racketeering conspiracy in the superseding indictment in the case.
After her court appearance in July, Bronfman walked free after agreeing to wear an ankle monitor and posting $100 million in bail—illustrating just how deep her pockets go.
Although Bronfman is not accused of sex trafficking like the group’s leaders Keith Raniere and Allison Mack, Frank Parlato, a former NXIVM publicist-turned-whistleblower told the New York Post that Bronfman is among the harshest leaders in the organization.
“She’s the enforcer—the brutal one. Clare’s running the [operation] now, and she’s the most ruthless of them. I’m issuing an absolute warning now. Clare Bronfman is a true fanatic, and if there’s a Jim Jones situation, everyone will commit suicide but her.” Parlato said last year.
The Daily Mail reported that “Bronfman has hired Susan R. Necheles, one of the top white-collar attorneys in the country, to handle her case.”
Global Research – A large number of prisoners, all of them senior members of Daesh (also ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group, broke out of a Taliban prison in northwest Afghanistan after US troops helped them escape through a covert operation.
According to Tasnim dispatches, American forces operating in Afghanistan carried out a secret military operation in the northwestern province of Badghis two weeks ago and helped the Daesh inmates escape the prison.
The report added that 40 Daesh ringleaders, all of them foreigners, were transferred by helicopters after American troops raided the prison and killed all its security guards.
The informed sources say Aminullah made contact with Americans immediately after escaping from the prison, let them know about the exact location of the jail, and helped them plan a rescue operation.
Thereafter, the US forces analyzed the geographical position of the ‘Panjboz’ village and the Taliban prison and decided to carry out an aerial and heliborne operation to release the Daesh inmates, considering the number of the Taliban fighters and that the region was inaccessible by road.
Finally, the US launched an attack on January 13 by bombing the areas around the prison and killing a number of the Taliban forces. Afterwards, the American helicopters were dispatched to the operation zone and disembarked troops who killed the prison guards, released the Daesh forces and took them away on board the choppers.
Taliban forces had earlier captured the Daesh forces in Panjboz village after heavy clashes with Daesh terrorists.
Newsmax – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday postponed a vote on President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee, William Barr, as Democrats expressed concern that he might not make public a final report on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Newsmax – Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris vowed to eliminate all private health care insurance if she is elected to the White House in a CNN town hall in Des Moines on Monday night.
Economy & Business
The Economic Collapse Blog – lizabeth Warren is making it exceedingly clear that she is a socialist, and that is quite frightening considering the fact that she could potentially become our next president. Unless some really big name unexpectedly enters the race, there is a decent chance that Elizabeth Warren could win the Democratic nomination in 2020. And if she ultimately won the general election, the Democrats would likely have control of both the House and the Senate during her first two years in the White House as well. So that means that the proposal that you are about to read about could actually become law in the not too distant future.
After AOC’s proposal to raise the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent received so much favorable attention, it was just a matter of time before Democratic presidential candidates started jumping on the “soak the rich” bandwagon, and the first one to strike was Elizabeth Warren.
When she announced her new proposal on Twitter, she dubbed it the “Ultra-Millionaire Tax”…
We need structural change. That’s why I’m proposing something brand new – an annual tax on the wealth of the richest Americans. I’m calling it the “Ultra-Millionaire Tax” & it applies to that tippy top 0.1% – those with a net worth of over $50M.
It would be bad enough if this was just a one-time tax on wealth.
But it isn’t.
Please note the use of the word “annual” in Warren’s tweet. That means that the rich would keep getting hit with this tax year after year after year.
Those with more than 50 million dollars in assets would pay a 2 percent tax each year, and those with more than a billion dollars in assets would pay 3 percent each year…
The Post reported that Warren has been advised by Saez and Gabriel Zucman, left-leaning economists affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley, on a deal that would levy a 2 percent wealth tax on Americans with $50 million-plus in assets. For Americans with assets above $1 billion, that tax rate would increase to 3 percent.
The newspaper, citing a person familiar with the plan, reported that Warren’s plan would try to counter tax evasion by boosting funding for the IRS, and by levying a one-time tax penalty on people with more than $50 million who try to renounce their U.S. citizenship. It would also require that a certain number of people who pay the wealth tax be subject to annual audits, the Post reported.
3 percent may not sound like a lot to many of you. But over the course of a couple of decades many families could have their fortunes almost completely wiped out by this wealth confiscation tax.
Energy & Environment
BBC – The US will shiver this week in a once-in-a-generation deep freeze, forecasters warn.
The most extreme arctic blasts, caused by a spinning pool of cold air known as the polar vortex, could bring temperatures as low as -53C (-64F).
Weather officials in the state of Iowa have warned people to “avoid taking deep breaths, and to minimise talking” if they go outside.
At least 55 million people are forecast to experience sub-zero temperatures.
A state of emergency has been declared in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois as well as in the normally more clement southern states of Alabama and Mississippi.
John Gagan, a National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist, said: “The intensity of this cold air, I would say, is once in a generation.”
The NWS is warning that frostbite is possible within just 10 minutes of being outside in such extreme temperatures.
Science & Technology
The Guardian – Firm disables Group FaceTime over serious glitch which can also turn on video without people’s knowledge.
Apple has made the group functionality on its FaceTime application temporarily unavailable as it rushes to fix a glitch that allowed users to listen in on the people they were calling when they did not pick up the call. Under certain circumstances, the glitch also allowed callers to see video of the person they were calling before they picked up.
The Guardian confirmed the existence of the bug, which was first reported by 9to5Mac. It turned the phone of the recipient of a FaceTime call into a microphone while the call was still ringing. If the recipient of the call pressed the power button on the side of the iPhone – an action typically used to silence or ignore an incoming call – their phone would begin broadcasting video to the initial caller.
Newsmax – When Danny Reagan was 13, he began exhibiting signs of what doctors usually associate with drug addiction. He became agitated, secretive and withdrew from friends. He had quit baseball and Boy Scouts, and he stopped doing homework and showering.
But he was not using drugs. He was hooked on YouTube and video games, to the point where he could do nothing else. As doctors would confirm, he was addicted to his electronics.
“After I got my console, I kind of fell in love with it,” Danny, now 16 and a junior in a Cincinnati high school, said. “I liked being able to kind of shut everything out and just relax.”
Danny was different from typical plugged-in American teenagers. Psychiatrists say internet addiction, characterized by a loss of control over internet use and disregard for the consequences of it, affects up to 8 percent of Americans and is becoming more common around the world.
“We’re all mildly addicted. I think that’s obvious to see in our behavior,” said psychiatrist Kimberly Young, who has led the field of research since founding the Center for Internet Addiction in 1995. “It becomes a public health concern obviously as health is influenced by the behavior.”
Psychiatrists such as Young who have studied compulsive internet behavior for decades are now seeing more cases, prompting a wave of new treatment programs to open across the United States. Mental health centers in Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and other states are adding inpatient internet addiction treatment to their line of services.
Benefits of Marjoram for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Care2 – Given the role that oxidant free radicals are thought to play in aging and disease, one reason fruits and vegetables may be so good for us is that they contain antioxidant compounds. As you can see at 0:20 in my video below, different vegetables and herbs have different antioxidant content. When making a salad, for example, spinach, arugula, or red leaf lettuce may provide twice the antioxidants as butterhead lettuce, and choosing purple cabbage over green, or red onions over white can also boost the salad’s antioxidant power. Fresh herbs are so powerful that even a small amount may double or even quadruple the antioxidant power of the entire meal. For instance, the total antioxidants in a simple salad of lettuce and tomato goes up by adding just a tablespoon of lemon balm leaves or half a tablespoon of oregano or mint. Adding marjoram, thyme or sage not only adds great flavor to the salad, but effectively quadruples the antioxidant content at the same time, and adding a little fresh garlic or ginger to the dressing ups the antioxidant power even more.
Common Sense Home – It used to be that I only took a cold shower if something was wrong with the water heater. Now, I generally end every shower with a cold rinse, James Bond style. The Scottish shower – warm/hot shower followed by a minute or more of cold rinse – doesn’t just wake you up in the morning. It also has a host of other benefits. Cold showers are endorsed by Mike Sisson as part of the Primal Blueprint lifestyle, too. (After all, hot running water is a fairly recent invention.)
6 Benefits of Cold Showers:
Note: You should not use cold water therapy if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, Raynaud’s disease, or vascular disease.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant to prescribe. As always, consult with your health care practitioner if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffer from any medical conditions.
1. Boost Your Immune System
2. Stimulate Brown Fat Growth, Which May Aid Weight Loss and Improve Energy Levels
3. Get Healthier Hair and Better Skin.
4. Improve the Circulation of the Blood and Lymphatic Systems
5. Improve Focus and Mental Clarity
6. Relieve Depression
Daily Mail – Will we have a cure for cancer within a year? Israeli scientists claim they’ve found the Holy Grail – but critics warn their findings are thin and we will probably NEVER have one single cure