This Week in the World Affairs Brief:

OBAMA’S MISTAKE RIDDEN RESPONSE TO EBOLA

The Ebola crisis has already blackened Obama’s declining reputation, and it certainly won’t help Democrats in the mid-term elections desperately trying to hold onto their majority in the Senate. The administration’s response to the Ebola pandemic in West Africa is typical of all that is wrong with an overconfident government filled with crony appointees at the highest levels. The nation is fed up with corruption at the IRS, Eric Holder’s Justice Department, and now in the CDC which is plagued with insider connections with the big pharmaceutical companies. The CDC promotes dangerous drugs and vaccines as the sole solution. The current crisis is a combination of incompetence, bureaucratic slowness, and decades of our own government experimenting with and developing bio-warfare viral strains like Ebola—and the genie is now out of the bottle. All of this may not have been as accidental as it seems, and the government will surely use the current crisis to dramatically increase it’s power to restrict personal liberties. You can request a one-time free sample of the briefs by sending an email to editor@worldaffairsbrief.com.

Also:

  • ISIS Strategy Not Working
  • Saudis Putting Downward Pressure on Oil and Russia
  • Russian Violation of Ukraine Truce Downplayed
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Daily News

Polish ex-minister quoted saying Putin offered to divide Ukraine with Poland

posted by askousen - Monday, October 20 2014
"He wanted us to become participants in this partition of Ukraine ... This was one of the first things that Putin said to my prime minister, Donald Tusk, when he visited Moscow," he was quoted as saying in the interview dated Oct. 19. "He (Putin) went on to say Ukraine is an artificial country and that Lwow is a Polish city and why don't we just sort it out together," Sikorski was quoted as saying. — Reuters

Swedish navy hunting for mystery sub, asks all civilian vessels to leave area south of Stockholm

posted by askousen - Monday, October 20 2014
...Swedish military officials say there have been three sightings of the elusive craft since Friday, just 40 kilometres west of Stockholm amid the myriad of islands and skerries that stretch from the capital into the Baltic Sea. — National Post

Yes, It's Legal To Film The Cops -- And What's Been Filmed In Recent Months Is Appalling

posted by askousen - Monday, October 20 2014
...Although police might intimidate bystanders into thinking otherwise, it's perfectly legal to film the cops -- not only in New York, but everywhere in the U.S. -- as long as you don't get in their way. Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, encourages people to keep using their phones to film troubling police incidents. The more people who post these videos online, she said, the more likely it is that other people will reach for their own phones when they see cops doing something questionable. — Huffington Post

City Threatens to Arrest Ministers Who Refuse to Perform Same-Sex Weddings

posted by askousen - Monday, October 20 2014
Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to $1,000 in fines, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, two ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d'Alene. "Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted," attorney Jeremy Tedesco told me. "The threat of enforcement is more than just credible." — Fox News Radio

Supreme Court Destroys Trial by Jury

posted by askousen - Monday, October 20 2014
...So now the question is no longer hanging. People were punished for behavior of which a jury specifically found them to not be guilty, and the Supreme Court is going to let the conviction stand. You can read Scalia's dissent at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog. I can't believe that either Alito or Roberts would not join Scalia and Thomas. Right now, the judge can not only include crimes of which you have never been convicted in sentencing you, but he can include crimes that a jury has denied you are guilty of. That is a mockery of justice. — Political Outcast

Exclusive: Obama Administration Quietly Prepares 'Surge' Of Millions Of New Immigrant IDs

posted by askousen - Monday, October 20 2014
Despite no official action from the president ahead of the election, the Obama administration has quietly begun preparing to issue millions of work authorization permits, suggesting the implementation of a large-scale executive amnesty may have already begun. — Breitbart

Doctors "Hit Breaking-Point" As Ebola Death Toll Tops 4500; Nigeria 'Clear' But Harvard Issues Trave

posted by askousen - Monday, October 20 2014
The WHO is coming under increasing scrutiny over its response to the the deadly epidemic. As The BBC reports, after stating that the death toll has hit 4,555 worldwide, a leaked internal document shows "nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall." There are a few tidbits of good news this weekend: the Spanish patient's test returned negative, 48 "at-risk" people in Dallas have been cleared, and Nigeria has been declared "ebola-free". Sadly, the bad news keeps coming: the virus has spread to new regions of Guinea (affecting mining operations), Moodys warns the economic legacy will linger, IMF slashes growth forecasts for Africa, and most critically, MSF doctors are at their breaking point: "The epidemic is still getting worse... I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel." Lastly, Harvard has imposed a travel ban from Ebola-affected nations. — ZeroHedge

Obama's New Ebola 'Czar' Does Not Have Medical, Health Care Background

posted by askousen - Monday, October 20 2014
...Facing renewed criticism of his handling of the Ebola risk, Obama will make Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, his point man on fighting Ebola at home and in West Africa. Klain will report to national security adviser Susan Rice and to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, the White House said. Klain does not have a medical or a health care background. — CBS News

Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, people leave early

posted by askousen - Monday, October 20 2014
President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity. — Reuters

U.S. Humanitarian Aid Going to ISIS

posted by askousen - Monday, October 20 2014
Not only are foodstuffs, medical supplies-even clinics-going to ISIS, the distribution networks are paying ISIS 'taxes' and putting ISIS people on their payrolls. — The Daily Beast

White House Ebola Czar Was 'Key Player' In Solyndra Scandal

posted by askousen - Saturday, October 18 2014
Ron Klain, the newly appointed White House Ebola response coordinator, was one of the senior White House officials who advised that President Obama should visit solar power company Solyndra in 2011, despite an auditor raising red flags about the company's finances. — Daily Caller

Ted Cruz Tells Brody File: "Real Risk" Of Pastors Being Jailed For Preaching Against Homosexuality

posted by askousen - Saturday, October 18 2014
In an exclusive interview with The Brody File, Senator Ted Cruz says pastors being hauled off to jail by the government for preaching against homosexuality is a "real risk" in the future. "I think that is a real risk," Cruz tells me. "Some in the media ridicule that threat saying there is no danger of the government coming after pastors. That is the usual response." But he adds: "The specter of government trying to determine if what pastors preach from the pulpit meets with the policy views or political correctness of the governing authorities, that prospect is real and happening now." — The Brody File

Local jails refusing to hold illegal immigrant offenders, forcing feds to track them down

posted by askousen - Saturday, October 18 2014
...In all, some 275 counties in 42 states now refuse to honor ICE "holds" even for the most serious criminals. According to ICE data, 62 percent of the 8,811 criminal aliens released this year had been previously charged or convicted of a crime, in most cases a felony. The sharpest drop in transfers to ICE custody came from northern California, down 53 percent. They came down 15 percent in Los Angeles, where immigrant advocates claim ICE holds can be triggered by as little as a traffic stop and needlessly rip apart families. Colorado and California have laws prohibiting local agencies from cooperating with ICE, and several courts ruled agencies are under no obligation to comply with holds because they do not meet constitutional standards of probable cause. — Fox News

DHS Opens Door to New Immigrants from Haiti, Extends Special Protections For Honduran, Nicaraguan Im

posted by askousen - Saturday, October 18 2014
The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that is will be extending Temporary Protected Status to nationals from Honduras and Nicaragua for an additional 18 months and instituting a new program to bring thousands of Haitian immigrants to U.S. — Breitbart

Pentagon withheld information about decades-old chemical weapons during Iraq War, report claims

posted by askousen - Wednesday, October 15 2014
American troops were exposed to chemical weapons multiple times in the years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, while the Pentagon kept their discoveries of the expired or degraded weapons secret from investigators, fellow soldiers, and military doctors, according to a published report. The New York Times reported late Tuesday that American troops reported finding approximately 5,000 chemical warheads, shells, or aviation bombs in the years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. On at least six occasions, soldiers were wounded by those weapons, which had been manufactured before 1991. In all, the paper reported that 17 U.S. soldiers and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to chemical agents during the war. The U.S. government said its number was slightly higher, but did not release a specific figure. — Fox News

Lockheed Martin Claims Fusion Breakthrough That Could Change World Forever

posted by askousen - Wednesday, October 15 2014
Lockheed Martin, the industrial conglomerate based in Bethesda, MD with close ties to the U.S. Department of Defense, is claiming to have made a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion, which could lead to development of reactors small enough to fit on the back of a truck within a decade. — Forbes

CDC Scrambles to Fix Ebola Procedures After Second Dallas Hospital Infection

posted by askousen - Wednesday, October 15 2014
A second Dallas health-care worker has now tested positive for Ebola, and a medical worker in Madrid was diagnosed with the virus after treating patients there. Outside the hardest-hit countries in West Africa, where hospital staffs have been decimated by Ebola-as well as some cases in Nigeria, where medical staff caught the virus—health workers have safely treated patients without further transmission in Senegal and at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. What went wrong in Dallas and Madrid? — Bloomberg

Appeals Court Reinstates Texas Voter ID Law

posted by askousen - Wednesday, October 15 2014
A federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily reinstated Texas' tough voter ID law, which the U.S. Justice Department had condemned as the state's latest means of suppressing minority voter turnout. The ruling by a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allows the law to be used in the November election, despite a lower judge's ruling that the law is unconstitutional. The 5th Circuit did not rule on the law's merits; instead, it determined it's too late to change the rules for the election. — ABC News

Texas Abortion Clinics Can Remain Open Thanks to Supreme Court Intervention

posted by askousen - Wednesday, October 15 2014
...The high court's ruling, which was five sentences long and offered no explanation, blocked the requirement that abortion clinics meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. A provision that required doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital was also blocked, but only for clinics in McAllen and El Paso. — New York Magazine

Hong Kong tensions rise as police use pepper spray on protesters, arrest 45

posted by askousen - Wednesday, October 15 2014
...Several protesters were wrestled to the ground and taken away. Scores of other officers then entered the tunnel in the Admiralty district near government headquarters and cleared away makeshift walls formed from concrete slabs, reopening the tunnel to traffic. Local media said 45 people had been arrested overnight. Footage aired by Hong Kong television broadcaster TVB showed police kicking and beating one protester for several minutes. Police could not immediately be reached for comment. — Reuters

Exclusive: Top 10 Flashlight Apps Are Stealing Your Data, Even Pics Off Your Phone

posted by askousen - Tuesday, October 14 2014
The makers of some of the most widely used flashlight apps for smart phones are doing more than just helping you find your lost car keys, they are geo-locating you and stealing your data. At least, that is the claim being made by Snoopwall LLC. Snoopwall is the world's first "counterveillance" company and according the founder, Gary Miliefsky in a web exclusive interview with Benswann.com, the top ten flashlight apps are stealing you data. — Ben Swann

Islamic State may have used chemical weapons on Kurds, Israeli experts say

posted by askousen - Tuesday, October 14 2014
... Nisan Ahmed, the Kurdish authority health minister in Kobani, appointed a medical team to examine fighters' bodies, the report said. They found no bullet wounds, but rather "burns and white spots" on the dead fighters' bodies that indicated the use of chemical weapons MERIA gained exclusive access to the photos and Israeli experts who have seen them believe they point to "the use of some form of chemical agent, probably mustard [gas]," the report said. However, the experts said, that is impossible to confirm without further investigation. Over the summer, Islamic State fighters took control of a vast former chemical weapons facility northwest of Baghdad, where remnants of 2,500 degraded chemical rockets filled decades ago with the deadly nerve agent sarin were stored along with other chemical warfare agents, Iraq said at the time. — Haaretz

Syrian Kurds feel abandoned as Kobani battle rages

posted by askousen - Tuesday, October 14 2014
...But both Turkish and Syrian Kurds say the United States and Turkey - and the international community in general - should be doing more to help save Kobani from the fanatical Islamic State militants who have massacred and beheaded their enemies across Syria and Iraq. They are angry Turkey isn't allowing Kurdish fighters into Syria and at the West for not arming them. — Washington Post

Ebola screening: passengers surprised at 'optional' Ebola checks

posted by askousen - Tuesday, October 14 2014
... Clive Patterson, a documentary maker who hasd just returned from filming in Liberia, said that he was asked whether he would like to go for screening. "I did find it slightly odd that it is optional measure. I would have thought if you're coming from a country like Liberia that you just have to be screened. It just makes more sense." Journalist Sorious Samura said he was surprised travellers were given a choice about screening and said that most people did not take part. — Telegraph

Ebola screening at Heathrow airport blasted as 'a complete joke' on first day as Department of Healt

posted by askousen - Tuesday, October 14 2014
...He also warned Britain should expect up to ten cases by Christmas as screening of passengers from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where 4,000 have died from Ebola, started at Heathrow. But travellers at Terminal One this morning said the system is a 'complete joke' because they were either not checked at all, told it was optional or had to seek out medical staff themselves. — Daily Mail

OPEC to Put Shale to the Test by Maintaining Output: IEA

posted by askousen - Tuesday, October 14 2014
OPEC nations supplying 40 percent of the world's oil will increasingly test the price at which North America's surging crude output is profitable by maintaining production as demand slumps, the International Energy Agency said. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries boosted output by the most in 13 months in September, even as prices plunged into a bear market and demand growth weakens to a five-year low, the Paris-based adviser to governments said in a report today. Both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the largest and third-largest members of OPEC, have indicated the price slump doesn't warrant immediate production cuts, the IEA said. — Bloomberg

Facing new oil glut, Saudis avoid past mistakes to halt price slide

posted by askousen - Tuesday, October 14 2014
..."The big mistake was that they continued to cut production to try to prop the prices and the price fell anyway," said analyst Yasser Elguindi of Medley Global Advisors. Instead they should have fought for market share, allowing "higher cost producers to shut in as the price fell - which is what they are doing now." Last week, Saudi officials briefed oil market participants in New York on the kingdom's shift in policy, making clear for the first time that Saudi is prepared to tolerate a period of lower prices - perhaps as low as $80 a barrel - in order to retain market share, Reuters reported on Monday. — Reuters

Islamic State Militants Advance Despite Airstrikes

posted by askousen - Tuesday, October 14 2014
...In Syria, fighters from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, have taken large sections of the city of Kobani in recent days, said Ismet Sheikh Hasan, the defense minister of the city's Kurdish administration. "Most of the eastern and southern parts of the city have fallen under the ISIS control," he said. "The situation is getting worse." This comes despite a week of heavy airstrikes around the city to help local Syrian Kurdish fighters keep Islamic State forces from the city center. — WSJ

No-bid contracts at California health exchange

posted by askousen - Tuesday, October 14 2014
Contracts with state and government agencies, such as the California Department of Health Care Services, tallied nearly $370 million, and did not require competitive bids. The non-government contracts that were not competitively bid are listed below, along with the time period the contract was in effect and a description of the work to be done, as provided by Covered California. — SeattlePi

The True Cost of the AIG Bailout

posted by askousen - Friday, October 10 2014
"If it's too good to be true, it probably is." This old adage came to mind on December 11, 2012 when the U.S. Treasury made the announcement, reiterated unthinkingly by the press, that the AIG bailout was coming to an end with American taxpayers making a tidy profit on the deal. In an effort to capitalize on the news, AIG has spent millions of dollars on a primetime ad campaign thanking America for the bailout, highlighting its success: "We've repaid every dollar America lent us. Everything, plus a profit of more than 22 billion." Unfortunately, this cleverly designed public relations maneuver deceives the taxpayer by distorting the perception of what has been a contentious use of government funds. — Barry Reitholtz