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House GOP Fails to Advance 3-Week DHS Funding Bill

House Republicans fell short of votes to advance a three-week bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security Friday evening, 203-224. Just hours before the agency is set to shut down, GOP leaders must now decide whether to risk a revolt in their ranks and put the Senate-passed, six-month spending bill on the floor that does not include language to block President Barack Obama’s immigration executive orders.
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State Dept Dan Rosen’s Arrest: Cheat Sheet for Journos

When Senator Lamar Alexander’s (R TN) Chief of Staff, Ryan Loskarn, was arrested, last year, for trading in the rape and torture of children, aka child pornography, not one journalist provided context to the story. The media reported Loskarn’s arrest, and subsequent suicide pending trial, as if it were a one-off event. As if, no other high-level government employees were being arrested on child porn charges.
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In "Paranormal" Europe, Banks Will Pay You To Borrow, And Charge You To Save

In short, this is what Europe has become: savers - those who diligently put away the fruits of their labor - are now forced to pay, using banks as an intermediary, and subsidize the the debtor: spenders, who live beyond their means, and who in increasingly more frequent situations are now paid to take out even more debt! Call it monetary socialism. Which is probably why with a one month delay, none other than the NYT decided to cover precisely this topic with "In Europe, Bond Yields and Interest Rates Go Through the Looking Glass"
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The Forgotten War – Understanding The Incredible Debacle Left Behind By NATO In Libya

In retrospect, Obama’s intervention in Libya was an abject failure, judged even by its own standards. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths and other human rights abuses have increased severalfold. Rather than helping the United States combat terrorism, as Qaddafi did during his last decade in power, Libya now serves as a safe haven for militias affiliated with both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Libya intervention has harmed other U.S. interests as well: undermining nuclear nonproliferation, chilling Russian cooperation at the UN, and fueling Syria’s civil war.?
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Quiet Change Expands ATF Power to Seize Property

A quick glance at the Federal Register (Vol. 80, No. 37, p. 9987-88) today reveals that Attorney General Eric Holder, who earned cautious praise last month for a small reform to the federal equitable sharing program, has now delegated authority to the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to seize and “administratively forfeit” property involved in suspected drug offenses. Holder temporarily delegated this authority to the ATF on a trial basis in 2013, and today made the delegation permanent while lauding the ATF for seizing more than $19.3 million from Americans during the trial period.
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‘Jihadi John’ and the Future of the Biometrics Terror Hunt

The future of the biometrics dragnets that identified an Islamic State executioner is on a hilltop in West Virginia. On Thursday, the Washington Post and BBC publicly identified Mohammed Emwazi, a British-educated, Kuwaiti-born man in his mid 20s, as “Jihadi John,” the Islamic State frontman who executed several hostages on camera, to the world’s horror.
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Turkey's Invasion Of Syria Shows Turkish Connection To ISIS; NATO Agenda

Turkey has now officially proven that Israel and the United States are not the only nations that can brazenly violate the sovereignty of other countries, Syria in particular, without fear of reprisal due to NATO support and a blatant culture of aggression. The Turkish invasion of Syrian soil on February 22 under the guise of protecting and securing the tomb of Sulayman Shah is case in point.
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AND IT BEGINS: Moody's Downgrades Chicago

Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Chicago's debt rating, citing its overwhelming pension burden. Moody's dropped the city's rating to Baa2. A rating of Baa2 is eight notches below the highest debt rating of Aaa.
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Samsung is still lying about the encryption on its Smart TVs

When news broke that Samsung’s Smart TV’s listened to conversations and sent them to a third-party server company, the Korean manufacturer countered by claiming that all data transmissions to and from its televisions were encrypted. When testing demonstrated that the data in question wasn’t encrypted (despite being sent via Port 443, which is typically used for HTTPS traffic), Samsung modified its stance, claiming that new TVs were encrypted properly but older sets were not. This, too, has now been proven false.
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IRS watchdog reveals Lois Lerner missing emails now subject of criminal investigation

The IRS’s inspector general confirmed Thursday it is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois G. Lerner’s emails disappeared, saying it took only two weeks for investigators to find hundreds of tapes the agency’s chief had told Congress were irretrievably destroyed.
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Perception Managers: 35,000 individuals have reportedly signed up to join Ukraine’s ‘information army’

Russia’s vast state media sector has been embroiled in what has been referred to as an “information war” with Kiev and Western outlets since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, offering differing interpretations of the Ukrainian revolution and subsequent war in the east of the country. The new initiative, which seeks to mobilise Ukrainian bloggers to post their accounts of the war online, was made live earlier this month in a bid to counter Russian propaganda coverage of the conflict.
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Man gets life in prison for selling $20 worth of weed to undercover cop

A homeless and hungry man agreed to purchase $20 worth of weed for a stranger in exchange for a $5 finder's fee. After the man received his $5 (marked by the police) he was arrested and jailed. "Six months later, a jury found him guilty of distribution of a schedule I substance (marijuana). Three months after that, a judge sentenced him to life imprisonment with hard labor, without the benefit of parole."
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Virginia to Compensate Forced Sterilization Victims

Legislators in the U.S. state of Virginia voted Thursday to allow compensation for victims of forced sterilization, though few survivors are alive today. “I think it’s a recognition when we do something wrong we need to fix it as a government,” said Democrat delegate Patrick Hope. “Now we can close this final chapter and healing can begin.”
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CIA’S NEW BIG DATA HUB WILL BE HOSTED IN THE CLOUD

The CIA is preparing to take the next step in its quest to shake up the status quo of siloed agencies within the intelligence community. CIA Chief Information Officer Doug Wolfe confirmed Wednesday the intelligence agency will start using Cloudera’s Enterprise Data Hub platform by April, a move he expects “to extend the innovation and push the envelope on a whole range of different solutions” for all 17 IC agencies.
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Kim Dotcom’s Mega is dropped by PayPal over end-to-end encryption, may adopt Bitcoin instead

Mega, the end-to-end encrypted cloud storage platform founded by mercurial entrepreneur and occasional outlaw Kim Dotcom, is back in the news. This time, the company’s primary adversary is PayPal, which earlier this week cancelled its payments processing contract.
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Russia may accept Chinese control of oil and gas fields

Russia may consider allowing Chinese investors more than 50 percent stakes in its strategic oil and gas fields, an official said on Friday, an about-face by Moscow that underlines its need for foreign help to develop energy reserves.
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Macedonia reels over evidence of Orwellian surveillance

A large group of journalists gathered this week at the headquarters of the biggest opposition party in Macedonian capital Skopje. They were personally invited to pick up folders and documents - filled with transcripts of their telephone conversations over the past couple of years.
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Ron Paul: Internet, RIP?

Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a non-elected federal government agency, voted three-to-two to reclassify broadband Internet as a common carrier service under Title II of the Communications Act. This means that – without the vote of Congress, the peoples’ branch of government – a federal agency now claims the power to regulate the Internet. I am surprised that even among civil liberties groups, some claim the federal government increasing regulation of the Internet somehow increases our freedom and liberty.
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Under Proposed Law, Teachers Could Face 6 Months In Jail For Teaching “Offensive” Material

A newly proposed bill in the Kansas State Legislature would threaten teachers with time in jail if they happened to teach anything that could be considered “harmful” for children. The bill was inspired by a recent outrage that was caused by the material in a sex education class.
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World’s first talking drone ‘can communicate with air traffic like a normal pilot’

In a world-first, the drone uses automated voice technology to issue and receive calls to and from air traffic control. It speaks in English – in a male or a female voice and various accents – and uses the International Civil Aviation Organization standard phraseology for pilots.
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