OSCE likely to inflame Ukraine situation: Analyst
Tue Apr 22, 2014
Press TV has conducted an interview with William Beeman, author and radio host, San Jose, about the OSCE mission heading to Ukraine in order to de-escalate eastern tensions.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Where is the situation in eastern Ukraine heading? How much do you think the Geneva deal could deescalate the situation there?
Beeman: I don’t think that the Geneva group, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), is actually not going to be able to do very much because they’re going into eastern Ukraine in an area that’s absolutely opposed to Europe and the European Union.
The people in eastern Ukraine want very much to reunite with Russia; they don’t feel that the Ukrainian-Russian border is a real border and that really their ethnicity trumps any kind of formal state organization.
Obviously we all hope that they’ll be able to calm things down or that they’ll do something to calm things down, but my fear is that the OSCE is likely to actually cause more violence and inflame the situation even worse.
Without cooperation from Moscow this situation is not going to get better.
If we had for instance the OSCE operating in conjunction with representatives from the Russian government that might have some effect, but the OSCE operating unilaterally is not going to work very well.
Press TV: How much would the row between the US and Russia over the crisis in Ukraine have an impact on other issues that include the two powers such as the Iranian nuclear talks?
Beeman: Well, the United States and Russia are in a very tense situation over the Ukraine. But I’ve got to tell you that I am completely unclear in my own mind about what sort of interest the United States has in Ukraine other than simply trying to assure that Ukraine will develop closer ties to Europe rather than to Russia.
… so the US has a very weak stand with regard to the Ukrainian situation.
Until the Ukrainian people are able to actually express their own desires in this regard I don’t think anything much is going to happen.
The people in western Ukraine don’t seem to be willing to mount any kind of a military defense or anything that would actually prohibit the eastern Ukrainians from moving closer and closer toward Russia.
Press TV: Correct me if I’m wrong, what you’re saying is Ukraine is not worth the US going to war with Russia?
Beeman: I would absolutely say that and I think most American people would also agree that the United States… I don’t even know how we would pursue such a conflict logistically. It doesn’t make any sense at all.
I suppose that the United States could come across the border from an eastern European state, but the people of the United States have no appetite for external conflicts at this point and this is something that is either going to be handled diplomatically or it’s not going to be handled at all.
The hand of the United States in this situation is very weak.
Meet the Press
The full Meet the Press exclusive interview with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Published April 20th 2014, 7:18 am
Published on Feb 18, 2013 – Uploaded by David Hilton
Tall White facilities possibly located, and evidence of underground construction in the area of the reported tall White underground base.
Jun 13, 2013 – Uploaded by David Hilton
Tall White facilities possibly located, and the US Government refusing to provide information.
Sep 14, 2013 – Uploaded by David Hilton
More research into the Tall White Aliens. This time covering the Indian Springs Project.
Ellwood City Ledger
Eastern Star meets
Monday, January 20, 2014 2:17 pm
ELLWOOD CITY — Members of Ellwood City Chapter 212 Order of the Eastern Star met in the Masonic Hall Jan.16. Cathy Ketterer, worthy matron, conducted the meeting. Sally Harley gave the secretary’s report, and Joan Evans gave the treasurer’s report. Various committee reports were given.
James Meehan, representative to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Oakland, gave a report on things donated by the chapter. He and his wife, Charmaine, will deliver the items to the hospital.
Darlene Patterson, a chapter representative for charity, made a Valentine-themed table runner, and it was won by Sandy Myers. The proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the Heart Association.
Sally Harley announced the tea to honor 50-year members will be at the Masonic hall on April 5.
A donation was made to Rainbow Assembly 1 in New Castle. This month was designated as Youth Project Month.
It was announced the Masonic Lodge will have a Flea Market on Feb. 22 at the Masonic Hall. It will feature crafts and baked goods, and food will be available. Orders for subs can be made by calling Ross Conrad. There is a charge for tables. More information can be obtained by calling Ross Conrad at 724-824-2222.
Joan Evans announced the past matrons of the Ellwood chapter will meet at the Wolverine Restaurant for a luncheon on Feb. 15. Hostesses will be Evans, Helen Bowers, Nancy Horton and Leann Ringle. Evans also announced the that Ellwood chapter will host a group called the 3’ms on March 11.
The charter was draped in memory of Vivienne Magee, a 50-year member of the chapter who passed away recently
Joan Evans, Sally Harley, Bonnie Thompson and Shirley Boariu were recognized for their February birthdays and received a gift from the Worthy matron.
Door prizes were won by Jean Hogue and Helen Bowers. Refreshments and supper were served before the meeting.
London Review of Books
The Red Line and the Rat Line
Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels
Seymour M. Hersh
In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.＊ Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.
Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.
For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’
The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)
Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.
The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.
A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’
In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.
The former intelligence official said that many in the US national security establishment had long been troubled by the president’s red line: ‘The joint chiefs asked the White House, “What does red line mean? How does that translate into military orders? Troops on the ground? Massive strike? Limited strike?” They tasked military intelligence to study how we could carry out the threat. They learned nothing more about the president’s reasoning.’
In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.
Britain and France were both to play a part. On 29 August, the day Parliament voted against Cameron’s bid to join the intervention, the Guardian reported that he had already ordered six RAF Typhoon fighter jets to be deployed to Cyprus, and had volunteered a submarine capable of launching Tomahawk missiles. The French air force – a crucial player in the 2011 strikes on Libya – was deeply committed, according to an account in Le Nouvel Observateur; François Hollande had ordered several Rafale fighter-bombers to join the American assault. Their targets were reported to be in western Syria.
By the last days of August the president had given the Joint Chiefs a fixed deadline for the launch. ‘H hour was to begin no later than Monday morning [2 September], a massive assault to neutralise Assad,’ the former intelligence official said. So it was a surprise to many when during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on 31 August Obama said that the attack would be put on hold, and he would turn to Congress and put it to a vote.
At this stage, Obama’s premise – that only the Syrian army was capable of deploying sarin – was unravelling. Within a few days of the 21 August attack, the former intelligence official told me, Russian military intelligence operatives had recovered samples of the chemical agent from Ghouta. They analysed it and passed it on to British military intelligence; this was the material sent to Porton Down. (A spokesperson for Porton Down said: ‘Many of the samples analysed in the UK tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.’ MI6 said that it doesn’t comment on intelligence matters.)
The former intelligence official said the Russian who delivered the sample to the UK was ‘a good source – someone with access, knowledge and a record of being trustworthy’. After the first reported uses of chemical weapons in Syria last year, American and allied intelligence agencies ‘made an effort to find the answer as to what if anything, was used – and its source’, the former intelligence official said. ‘We use data exchanged as part of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The DIA’s baseline consisted of knowing the composition of each batch of Soviet-manufactured chemical weapons. But we didn’t know which batches the Assad government currently had in its arsenal. Within days of the Damascus incident we asked a source in the Syrian government to give us a list of the batches the government currently had. This is why we could confirm the difference so quickly.’
Monday, March 03, 2014
From Print Edition
The Sochi Olympic Games are over and many in the west are gnashing their teeth because they weren’t an utter failure. How very annoying – how absolutely infuriating – for all the anti-Russian pundits in the US and Britain that there wasn’t a major disaster, a really juicy foul up, a majestically spectacular catastrophe that would have shown to their lip-smacking enjoyment that Russia is a terrible place run by a bungling dictator.
It is, in fact, a country that is trying to do better and whose political leader is pragmatic, dedicated and decisive. Eat your hearts out, Britain and America.
Many western media headlines and commentaries were disgracefully insulting about the Sochi Games, despite televised scenes indicating their outstanding success. I have to admit I find all this Olympics stuff mega-boring, but the world at large enjoyed the sight of athletes skating, skiing, sliding and slithering at enormous speeds, and who am I to disagree with such pleasure? But I do disagree with ultra-nationalistic disparagement of another country’s efforts and achievements.
Seventy years ago George Orwell wrote that “sport is an unfailing cause of ill-will” and as with so many of his statements he’s been proved absolutely correct. He observed that “international sporting contests lead to orgies of hatred”, and the recent icy jamboree at Sochi has been no exception. Orwell could barely believe that nations could “work themselves into furies over these absurd contests, and seriously believe – at any rate for short periods – that running, jumping and kicking a ball are tests of national virtue.” But, alas they do, in spades and grades. And the media are right behind them. The newspapers and TV stations don’t run or jump: they drum and pump. The beat the drums of national pride and pump the emotions of the impressionable masses.
Western nations’ attitudes to the vexing fact that Russia won most medals were intriguing. For example it was reported that “Russia’s athletes topped the Sochi medals table with a record 13 golds and 33 total, though even this was marred with allegations of cheating and unfair judging.” They just had to inject that note of nastiness – ‘they won, but they didn’t really deserve to’ was the refrain.
And print reporting of the closing ceremonies was woefully tiny and dismissive, although television stations had no option but to present the marvellous spectacle without critical comment – because there was nothing to criticise. A typical British newspaper report wrote it off as an “opulent show of ballet, circus performances and classical music.” But of course it was much more than that: it was magnificent and staggeringly outstanding, as anyone who saw it would have to agree.
Even Fox News had to concede that there were no problems, but the Washington Post chose to carry the headline, “Costly, Political, Successful”, over a shamefully downbeat report. One comment was that “Russia’s leader had reason to be pleased as the Olympics dubbed the “Putin Games” ended.” Just who was it who titled the Games “the Putin Games”?
This was the crux of the entire anti-Sochi campaign by the west, led by the US and Britain. They couldn’t bear the thought that Putin’s Russia can actually organise something. And the Post came clean about one underlying reason for rubbishing Russia when it reported that “Sochi competed for attention with violence in Ukraine, Russia’s neighbour and considered a vital sphere of influence by the Kremlin.”
The vicious inter-factional conflict in Ukraine was a very handy cudgel with which to beat the dreaded Russians, and it was flailed with relentless fervour. Were we to believe what has been, and continues to be, written in commentaries in the western media we would be convinced that the entire Ukrainian shambles is Russia’s fault.
There is no longer mention – not a whisper – about the dark meddling of the United States, whose Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland not only insulted the European Union in a telephone call to the US ambassador in Ukraine, which was intercepted and publicised by Russia, but made it clear that the US was dabbling with gusto and arrogance in the internal affairs of a country concerning which it has no direct national interests of any sort.
America’s concern is that Ukraine has a border with Russia, and Washington regards any country bordering Russia as a prime target to be encouraged to renounce ties with its geographical neighbour and move to military alliance with the US-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which ceased to be relevant after the Soviet Union collapsed and is desperately seeking another role.
Alas, the Cold War didn’t die with the end of communism in Russia. Of course the new Russia hoped that it had expired, and prepared to expand ties with the west, but when it did so – with potential economic success and with much benefit to countries of the European Union and in the wider world – its efforts were considered by Washington as threatening US influence. Moscow’s desire to establish a customs union with its neighbours, the former states of the Soviet Union, in order to maintain economic stability and expand cooperation was similarly regarded. What is important to America is establishment of military bases surrounding Russia.
The democratically elected leader of Ukraine was toppled by a bloody revolution which was endorsed by the US and the EU. There is no doubt that Yanukovych was a corrupt man, but elsewhere in the world there are many such horrible elected leaders who need not fear western support for their opponents. They, however, are not associated with Russia, a country that the west wishes to place under economic and political stress.
The new interim government of Ukraine has been selected by the ‘Maidan Council’, consisting of the protest groups and militants who overthrew Ukraine’s elected president and are without exception anti-Russian. Little wonder, as the Washington Post recorded with relish, that “Sochi competed for attention with violence in Ukraine.” But let’s see what the headlines are when the unwelcome success of Sochi is buried by the west, and Ukraine staggers into chaos.
The writer is a South Asian affairs analyst. Website: www.beecluff.com
Ukraine fiasco marks end of the EU’s imperial dream
The EU, dedicated to eliminating national identity, has finally run up against the rock of a national interest that will not give way
22 Mar 2014
By Christopher Booker
Normally when a country’s people give a referendum vote that the EU doesn’t like, they are just told to vote again to put it right. In the case of Crimea, however, where 96 per cent of the people voted to return to Russia, the EU was in no position to ask them to think again. Even if they did, considering that Crimea, where the tsars, Tolstoy and Chekhov used to spend their summers, has been part of Russia for most of the past 230 years, that 60 per cent of its people are ethnic Russians and that 82 per cent speak Russian at home, they would be unlikely to change their minds.
The hard fact is that, whatever we think of President Putin, this episode has been the most salutary fiasco the “European project” has ever brought upon itself in 60 years. It has always been driven by two paramount principles: one, that it can assume ever more power over the nations that belong to it; the other, that it can suck ever more of them into its embrace (echoed in David Cameron’s boast last year of how he saw the EU one day stretching “from the Atlantic to the Urals”). But with Ukraine, their fantasy of an ever-expanding empire has hit the buffers.
For years the EU has been wooing Ukraine with that “Association Agreement” as the next step towards making it a full member. But by pushing its “soft power” right up to the Russian border, this strange organisation dedicated to eliminating national identity has finally run up against the rock of a national interest that will not give way.
And to what a pitiful state this has reduced our own supposed “leaders” in the West. They haven’t a clue what to do. They blether about how Russia is “isolated”, and of those pathetic little “targeted” sanctions.
Chancellor Merkel talks wildly of how the G8, of which Russia is currently president, “no longer exists”. President Hollande calls on Britain to act against all those Russian oligarchs who have put £27 billion into London, when the UK knows it has £46 billion invested in Russia.
The EU’s leaders can scarcely afford to be too aggressive when it imports from Russia 30 per cent of its natural gas. They prattle instead about having to replace it with imports from the US, which, thanks to fracking, has now replaced Russia as the world’s biggest gas producer. But the US is only now building facilities to export some of it, and its preferred customer will not be Europe but Japan, desperate to make up for closing its nuclear power stations. Squawking around like chickens panicked by a fox, the EU’s politicians suddenly say, too late, that to end our dependence on Russia, we must get on with fracking for shale gas ourselves.
So the Ukrainians are trapped between a rock and a place that turns out to be too soft to help them, On Friday, when their acting prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, came to Brussels to sign that Association Agreement, the EU was so embarrassed that the ceremony had to take place behind closed doors, away from the eyes of the media. The poor man was not even allowed a microphone, but had to shout out his wish still to see Ukraine as an EU member.
The EU knows it is powerless to prevent Mr Putin in due course absorbing Ukraine’s Russian-speaking industrial heartland, leaving the EU to look after what remains of that bankrupt country, like a dismembered corpse. But there is no sign that those impotent nonentities who pose as our leaders have yet realised that their ambition to take over Ukraine must now rank alongside the euro as the two leading examples of how their collective act of make-believe is finally hitting the brick wall of reality.
Why Met Office gaffes are worse than a joke
We are, of course, only too familiar with the way the computer models relied on by our global-warming-besotted Met Office have so consistently in recent years got their seasonal weather forecasts 180 degrees wrong: how its “ barbecue summer” of 2009 was a washout; how its October 2010 forecast that December would be warmer than average preceded the coldest December ever; how its March 2012 prediction that we were in for a dry April was immediately followed by the wettest April on record; and so forth.
What makes this much more than a joke, however, is that the other branches of government are obliged to believe these predictions and to shape their response accordingly. I recently described how the Met Office’s forecast last November – that we were in for a drier than average winter – prompted the Environment Agency to allow flooding of a key part of the Somerset Levels, in the interests of keeping enough water for birds. When this was followed by the wettest January on record, the already flooded area owned by Natural England blocked the draining of so much land further east that disaster was inevitable.
Fortunately, it is reported that Somerset’s floodwater, last month covering 65 square miles, has now dropped by six feet. And it may be little consolation that forecasting gaffes long predate those of our Met Office. A splendid reader has sent me a CD full of weather-related items from 19th-century editions of Gardener’s Magazine. One, in 1879, recalled how, that spring, “a meteorologist of long experience” had predicted in the Times that the summer would be so abnormally dry that “the drought of 1879” would be a wonder to behold. As shown by the Met Office’s England and Wales data back to 1766, the months between June and August that year promptly saw the heaviest summer rainfall in all the past 250 years. But at least we didn’t then have a government obliged to base its policies on what the “experts” foretold.
I must thank the reader who queried my own gaffe in claiming on March 9 that this had been only “the 16th wettest winter” since 1766. Having looked more carefully at the data, what I should have said was that January was only the fifteenth wettest month in that time (and last winter only the fifth wettest three-month period). My apologies.
Former ‘Today’ Weatherman Willard Scott Marries at Age 80
April 02, 2014
Former Today show weatherman Willard Scott, 80, has married his longtime girlfriend, Paris Keena.
Today anchor Matt Lauer announced that Scott and Keena tied the knot in Fort Myers, Florida on Tuesday after being together for the past 11 years.
The two first met in 1977, when Paris and Scott worked for NBC’s Washington affiliate and they stayed in touch on and off over the years before reconnecting for good. As for any honeymoon plans, Paris told Today, “Our whole life has been a honeymoon.”
Scott — who has been a part of the Today show family for more than 30 years — turned over the daily weather duties to Al Roker in 1996. But he continues to appear on the show a few times a week via remote to keep up his tradition of sending happy birthday wishes to centenarians.
April 03, 2014
David Letterman announces 2015 retirement
“Late Show” host David Letterman announced his plans to retire “sometime next year,” he said Thursday.
The 66-year-old comedian, who began his late-night career in 1982 when he became the NBC “Late Night” franchise’s first host, made the announcement during a taping of Thursday night’s show.
“I just want to reiterate my thanks for the support from the network, all of the people who have worked here, all of the people in the theater, all the people on the staff, everybody at home, thank you very much,” Letterman said. “What this means now, is that Paul and I can be married.”
Letterman was referring to Paul Shaffer, who has been the bandleader for both of his shows since 1982.
In a statement, CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves thanked Letterman for his contributions to the network.
“For 21 years, David Letterman has graced our network’s air in late night with wit, gravitas and brilliance unique in the history of our medium,” Moonves said. “During that time, Dave has given television audiences thousands of hours of comedic entertainment, the sharpest interviews in late night, and brilliant moments of candor and perspective around national events.”
Letterman informed his audience that his departure will be “at least a year or so” from now when his current contract expires.
Letterman has the longest tenure of any late-night talk show host in U.S. television history, nearing 32 years.
Published on Oct 1, 2013
Charlie Rose sits down to speak with President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore for their first joint interview in years. The conversation took place during a CGI Conversation at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City.
(Cutsign Gesture @ 00:16 on lower jacket in this clip)
Published on Aug 25, 2013
The cast recaps the first two seasons of Homeland. »
Published on Sep 3, 2013
Mandy Patinkin discusses Saul’s relationship with Carrie and his job at the CIA. »
The Bilderberg Group Strikes Again — Or Why Does Britain Keep Drinking the Globalist Kool-Aid?
Eamonn Fingleton, Contributor
Three Freemasons: Canada Minister of Finance Bro. Jim Flaherty, Incoming Bank of Canada Governor Bro. Stephen Poloz, Outgoing Bank of Canada Governor/Incoming Bank of England Governor Bro. Mark Carney
Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. Although the aphorism is overused, it accurately describes the dog’s dinner that British leaders have made of their society in the last half century. A good example of what I mean is the news overnight that the British government has appointed Mark Carney the next governor of the Bank of England.
For anyone concerned for the British national interest, Carney has three strikes against him:
2. Goldman Sachs.
3. The Bilderberg group.
Let’s consider first his nationality: he carries a Canadian passport. Not a hanging offense, you might think, and the Canadian people, of course, fully deserve their reputation as more than averagely decent world citizens. The Canadian approach to financial regulation moreover has, as I have pointed out in a previous note, been a huge success. But here’s the thing: a clear majority of Britons want out of the European Union, and fundamental, quite tough and courageous decisions will have to be made in the next few years. More than ever, it is important that the loyalties of the governor of the central bank should not only be aligned with those of the British people but be unambiguously seen to be so. In the circumstances, a British passport would appear to be a minimal job requirement (as it always was in the bank’s previous history of more than three centuries).
Then there is Carney’s Goldman Sachs connection: he served the firm for 13 years in New York, London, Tokyo, and Toronto. Yes, things could be worse: he might have been a don in the Sicilian Mafia or a bagman for the Colombian drug cartel. But for anyone who knows how the world really works, a career of rising “success” in an outfit like the latter-day Goldman Sachs does not smell right. For nearly three decades now, Goldman Sachs has brazenly thumbed its nose at its previous reputation for probity: in plain language its ethos lately has been that anything goes, provided only you stay out of jail. Readers of the American and British press are aware of some of the problems. In the John Paulson affair, for instance, Goldman is on record as having defrauded its customers. Goldman Sachs’s flexible approach to ethics has also been central to the disasters that have befallen the citizens of Greece. To be fair, Carney has not been implicated in either the Paulson or Greek scandals. But, if Wikipedia is to be believed, he was on the scene in an earlier flap when in the late 1990s Goldman played a two-faced role in advising investors in Russian bonds. That said, what concerns me more than anything is Carney’s spell in Goldman Sachs’s Japanese branch. After 27 years of studying the Japanese financial system from a vantage point in Tokyo, I claim some expertise. Japan’s kyoiku mamas — education mothers — have long counseled their sons that gentleman do not take jobs in the Tokyo securities industry. Thus recruiters from firms like Nomura, Daiwa, and Sumitomo’s Nikko subsidiary have long scraped the bottom of the educational barrel. What is less well known is that foreign securities firms in Tokyo rank even further below the salt. They do the work that even the Japanese securities firms consider beneath them. Ethical Western investment bankers posted to Tokyo are often appalled by what they are expected to do and want to take the first plane out. Perhaps Carney was appalled too — but there is no record of this.
Then there is Carney’s Bilderberg connection. Founded in the Netherlands in the 1950s, the Bilderberg Group is ostensibly merely a top careerist’s mutual aid society –nothing more than the Freemasons on steroids. Carney is officially acknowledged to have attended the most recent Bilderberg meeting, which is interesting as the British finance minister George Osborne, who appointed him to the Bank of England job, is an avid Bilderberger.
For the British national interest, there is more here than mere mutual back-scratching. The Bilderberg group was founded by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, a German-born erstwhile Nazi noted throughout his life for his “everything is relative” approach to ethics. The group’s main aim in its early years seems to have been to rehabilitate Germany and to this day the group is viewed in Europe as a tool by which a crypto-mercantilist “Germany Inc” promotes the careers of those it smiles on. Basically you are received into the Bilderberg group if the powers that be in Berlin, Munich, and Stuttgart consider your views helpful to the German national interest. The trouble is that Germany’s advantage very often proves to be someone else’s disadvantage.
George Osborne seems to be no more than a Peter-principled naif. The question the British nation should consider is this: is Carney, with his Harvard education and his spell at the sharp end of the Japanese financial services industry, a similar babe in the woods?
Three Freemasons: Canada Minister of Finance Bro. Jim Flaherty, Incoming Bank of Canada Governor Bro. Stephen Poloz, Outgoing Bank of Canada Governor/Incoming Bank of England Governor Bro. Mark Carney
Guardian.co.uk: Is George Osborne the worst chancellor?
Dec 21, 2013
See the interactive version here!
We were lucky and excited to collaborate on our crossword doodle with Merl Reagle, one of the best and most well-known crossword constructors working today. Merl worked with Google engineer/crossword enthusiast, Tom Tabanao, to craft our puzzle grid and write all the clues. Merl’s knowledge of the puzzle world—and perspective on crosswords in particular—is considerable. We thoroughly enjoyed the wit and humor he brought to the whole endeavor. Here are Merl’s thoughts on the history of the crossword puzzle. -Ed.
First, it was a huge honor to be asked to do this. Many, many thanks to Tom Tabanao for pulling me in and shepherding the project through.
Second, it was a great opportunity to bring Arthur Wynne’s name into the public spotlight. He never made any money off the crossword, but he made tens of millions of puzzle fans around the world very happy. The fact that the first word across in the first-ever crossword was FUN is very appropriate, too. Crossword puzzles are indeed supposed to be fun—brainy fun, but fun nonetheless. The first puzzle also contained the word DOH, clued as “fiber of the gomuti palm”—but it’s also appropriate today, 100 years later, as something we would say when we don’t get a crossword clue right away. Maybe Arthur could see into the future! In any event, I am thrilled to have been a part of this centennial celebration.
Posted by Merl Reagle, Crossword Constructor
In a double-feature finale, Sleepy Hollow pulled out all the stops: big reunions, big plotcakes, big trouble, big reveals, big cliffhangers, zombie George Washington, and Victor Garber literally eating the scenery. What more can you ask for? (Nothing, there’s literally nothing left.)
Oh, Sleepy Hollow. The thirteen-hour B-movie that could has spent the season hurling every horror reference, fantasy stopgap, Masonic handwave, time-travel joke, and monster-flick trope it found. The finale goes for broke (which is saying something), screeching to a cliffhanger you just know everyone in the writers’ room cackled about, and leaves all the principal actors worried about their renewal clauses.
And wow, was this finale a trip. Its first half was the most National Treasure the show’s ever skewed, complete with an enormous tomb for George Washington (who’s dead in there despite taking a brief holiday from being dead so he could return as a zombie and draft a map to Purgatory, because of course), and a faceoff with Andy “Friendzone” Brooks during an escape from the alternate entrance from a thematic hidden tomb with its own rolling track whose vestibule contains a secret exit protocol, which is just about how I always imagined Masons spend their free time and extra money!
The second episode scoops everything the show’s been heading for into a blender and adds some new things, leading to a final confrontation that feels slightly like a food fight, except instead of a shoulderful of macaroni everybody’s miserable for eight months. (“Tune in next fall or else!” – Sleepy Hollow.)
Is it two hours of plotcakes? You bet. But it has its moments, and some great character beats. This show has always prioritized character continuity over plot continuity, and so that’s how we’re going to break this thing down.
The first returning face: Andy, the kind of guy who in life will offer to watch your house while you’re on vacation and copy your keys, and who in death will repeatedly show up and offer to save you by making you his plus-one in hell.
Abbie’s actual line: “We need to talk about boundaries.”
The rest of the conversation is conducted with Andy chained to a radiator, because Abbie did not get to the season finale just to take chances with her personal creeper. Andy begs for Washington’s Bible, because it leads to a map (of course) that leads to the gateway between our world and Purgatory.
Shockingly, she’s not into it, and back in the tunnels he’s so angry that he begs (with a darkly comic shriek of “Take me seriously!”) to be turned into an instrument of Moloch’s glory.
It’s probably a tactical error.
CBS Sunday Morning
Enter the secret world of the Freemasons
December 8, 2013, 9:42 AM | The Freemasons are the world’s most well-known secret society, and are the subject of countless parodies and conspiracy theories. But who are they exactly? Mo Rocca ventures inside Masonic Lodges to find out.