Analytics firms agree on August resurgence for Microsoft IE

StatCounter showed IE reversing many months of declines in browser usage in August.

StatCounter showed IE reversing many months of declines in browser usage in August.


(Credit:
Data from StatCounter; chart by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

StatCounter and Net Applications disagree about the best way to measure browser usage, but for August, they agreed on one thing: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer had something of a resurgence.

The two firms use different methodology to measure browser usage — for example, StatCounter measures all page views to its network of Web sites while Net Applications only counts one per day to try to measure users more than usage. As a result, StatCounter names Google’s five-year-old Chrome as the top browser, but Net Applications gives the honor to IE.

For August, though, IE looked better off in both companies’ eyes according to statistics released Sunday. Net Applications showed IE reversing its fortunes in January 2012, gradually reclaiming some of the market share it lost to rival browsers in the wake of Microsoft’s decision to largely cease browser development a decade ago.

StatCounter showed Microsoft’s browser continuing its decline, though — until August, when IE climbed to 25.6 percent of usage from 24.5 percent in July. In its view, Chrome dipped from 43.1 percent to 42.8 percent, and
Firefox dropped more, from 20.1 percent to 19.3 percent.

Net Applications' August 2013 browser data for personal computers shows a Chrome decline.

Net Applications’ August 2013 browser data for personal computers shows a Chrome decline.


(Credit:
Net Applications)

Net Applications shows IE growing from 56.6 percent in July to 56.7 percent in August, with No. 2 Firefox growing 18.3 percent to 18.9 percent. These gains came at Chrome’s expense, it said, with Google’s browser taking a big monthly drop from 17.8 percent to 16.0 percent.

The gains have to be welcome news at Microsoft, which lit a fire under its IE team to produce IE9, IE10, and, with
Windows 8.1, IE11. Each has become more competitive than its predecessor, improving performance and embracing Web standards rather than running roughshod over them.

It’ll take a lot longer to win back the technophiles who were alienated by Microsoft’s earlier neglect, though. And it remains to see if the IE usage recovery StatCounter detected will persist.

The statistics reflect the ups and downs of a major competition: which company will the gateway to the Web, where an increasing fraction of people’s computing lives takes place. Native applications written for
Android and iOS mobile devices are very important, but on personal computers, the browser has assumed major prominence with cloud-computing tools such as Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google Docs and with online personal services such as Facebook and YouTube.

Google's two mobile browsers made gains in Net Applications' August 2013 rankings.

Google’s two mobile browsers made gains in Net Applications’ August 2013 rankings.


(Credit:
Net Applications)

Net Applications, which also breaks out its statistics for mobile devices, had bad news for Microsoft: IE dropped off the top-five list as BlackBerry’s browser won its place back.

In mobile — tallied for smartphones and tablets — the dominant Safari dropped a notch from 58.8 percent in July to 55.5 percent in August. Google’s unbranded browser rose from 20.6 to 22.2 percent, Opera Mini dipped from 9.4 to 9.0 percent, Google Chrome rose from 4.4 percent to 5.6 percent, and BlackBerry stayed level at 2.3 percent.

Net Applications also monitors the split between mobile and PC browsing. In August, mobile browsing reached its all-time highest share, 13.4 percent of usage, compared to 85.9 percent for personal computers.

Mobile browsing reached its highest ever level in August 2013 compared to PC browsing, according to Net Applications.

Mobile browsing reached its highest ever level in August 2013 compared to PC browsing, according to Net Applications.


(Credit:
Net Applications)

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Candy Crush: You play, you’re hooked. Now what?

Life-size renditions of candies from King’s Candy Crush Saga.


(Credit:
Chester Ng/Facebook)

Odds are that someone you know has a love or hate relationship with Candy Crush Saga, the seemingly never-ending game that’s become the fixation of people everywhere.

The game is the undisputed leader in the casual-gaming sector, witnessing more than 600 million active game sessions each day from mobile devices alone.

The runaway craze in Facebook gaming was released on the social network in April 2012 and became the fourth most popular Facebook game before it landed on iOS and
Android in late November of last year. The mobile releases opened the game up to people who wanted to play without connecting through Facebook.

Those who play are hooked. When asked to pick one word to describe how she feels about Candy Crush Saga, my brother’s girlfriend, Aubrey, who is on level 379, said “addicting” without hesitation.

Like more than 132 million other people each month, Aubrey plays the puzzle game developed by King, a gaming studio poised for an eventual public offering. She picked up her new hobby, which she describes as more productive than watching television, in December of last year and now plays between 30 minutes to one hour each day. She has no plans to stop playing — unless she comes across a level she can’t beat.


Candy Crush Saga Level 181. Task: Bring down all the ingredients. Click to enlarge.


(Credit:
Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove/CNET)

For the uninitiated, Candy Crush Saga is a match-three game, like Bejeweled, where players match candies to score points and complete a level. Each level is part of an episode and comes with its own particular challenge like: clear all the jelly or bring down all the ingredients (Candy Crush-speak that only makes sense to those that play). Players can combine regular candies to make special striped candy, wrapped candy, and rainbow candy for amplified movements. Lose a level, and you’ll lose a life. You only get five lives at a time, so you’ll have to wait up to 30 minutes for another life should you exhaust all of yours — unless you buy more or a Facebook friend steps in to grant you more.

Seemingly simple in nature, the game has an indescribable quality about it that compels people to keep on playing, especially if they’re having a hard time beating a level. For some, this reporter included, a challenging level can get under the skin and drive them to pay to purchase additional moves or lives. Craftier, die-hard types will fudge with the date and time on their smartphone or
tablet to get around the time constraint and fool the game into granting them more lives free of charge.

The game is so popular that fans post game-themed art to Instagram, bake elaborate character and candy-inspired cakes for birthdays and weddings, and, in some of the most extreme instances, add strangers as Facebook friends for help.

“In Hong Kong the game is extremely popular. We’ve heard reports of people talking to strangers in the subway and asking them to become friends on Facebook just to give them lives,” Tommy Palm, King’s “game guru,” told me. “It’s really changed how people interact.”

Popular with people of all ages, Candy Crush Saga is more popular with women than it is with men. It was designed to be so.

“The focus of many of the traditional games has been to younger male audiences and the competition there is fierce,” Palm said. “So when it comes to females…they haven’t traditionally had so many games made for them, and many are now finding how fun and entertaining games can be.”

King uses a target audience of females ages 25 to 55 to test its games before release. If these women respond well to a game, King has found that the game will go on to be a smash hit with all audiences. With Candy Crush, King knew it had a sensation on its hand before it ever released the game on Facebook. And at this point, the studio, which has been around since 2003, has established a recipe that often leads to success, as it did previously with Bubble Witch Saga.

But Candy Crush seems to be in a league of its own.

“Candy Crush Saga is designed to be a habit, not a game,” Jamie Madigan, who chronicles the intersection of psychology and video games and holds a Ph.D. in psychology, said. “We know from studying how habits are made that they are often born out of routine…So if you pick the game up over your morning coffee every day, or play on your lunch break, or play as part of your getting ready for bed routine, it will become a habit.”

A habit is a kind way of putting it. For some, the candy-crushing habit has evolved into a life-wrecking compulsion.

Earlier this year, UK Rehab, an addiction treatment provider, launched a dedicated residential rehab program specifically designed for Candy Crush addicts. The program, which costs a minimum of $5,000, was created after the center fielded a number of calls from worried parents and spouses. Lee Bandoni, a spokesperson for UK Rehab, said that center receives as many as 100 inquiries per month and that three to five people go in for Candy Crush Saga rehab every month.

“The youngest problem we’ve seen is [a kid] about 12-years-old who was skipping school…and the oldest is late 60s. It’s a very new problem, but it’s growing at an alarming rate,” Bandoni said.

A Candy Crush addict, as loosely defined by Bandoni, is someone who spends four to five hours a day playing the game, lets the game override personal relationships, makes excuses to avoid social situations, and locks him or herself away in order to play. Essentially, it’s a form of video game addiction, a debated condition in the mental health community.

These extreme cases are indicative of the game’s hold, innocent or otherwise, over more than 100 million people who seemingly can’t stop playing Candy Crush Saga. AppData, which measures the number of people who use games and apps connected through Facebook, had to adjust its counting process for Candy Crush after running into a bizarre problem.

“The growth of Candy Crush Saga was so great that our algorithm was not accurately reporting this top app,” Scott Bialous, a general manager for AppData, told CNET.

AppData did some readjusting and found that Candy Crush Saga has 132.45 million monthly Facebook-connected users, which is nearly three times as high as the previously stated number of 46 million people and more than a tenth of Facebook’s 1.15 billion monthly active users.

If you count yourself a Candy Crush holdout, you’ve probably been warned by friends not to start playing, because once you do, you won’t be able to stop. Or you’ve long passed the tolerance threshold for Candy Crush stories in your News Feed.

Despite suggestions to the contrary, King did not consult psychologists to produce a habit or addiction-forming game. Instead, a small team focuses on making sure that the challenge gets progressively harder without getting too hard, Palm said. And at level 455 and counting, Candy Crush could go on forever, as the team works actively to release new episodes on a weekly basis.

Perhaps it’s this never-ending quality that partially explains its hold over a growing number of people. Or maybe Facebook is to blame. Candy Crush Saga, when played with a Facebook account, encourages members to turn to their friends for help when they’ve run out of lives, and inspires competition through level leaderboards.

Whatever the reason behind our fascination with Candy Crush, the odds seem stacked against the game being anything more than a flash in the pan. History shows us that Web and mobile games peak and then fade away. Take Farmville or Draw Something, for instance, two games that road a tidal wave of Facebook attention to fame — and some fortune — before taking a backseat to newer releases.

It’s a reality that Palm and King are ready to face.

“All games have a lifespan,” he said. “We continue working on other products, and keep working on our recipe to innovate and come up with…concepts that will appeal to the same audience that loves Candy Crush Saga.”

With King rumored to be preparing for an IPO, the positive outlook is a must, even if the strategy bears striking resemblance to Zynga’s less-than-successful strategy. Zynga, once the “It” social game developer on Facebook’s block, is now hemorrhaging players, losing money, and trading at more than 70 percent off its initial offering price.

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Stick a candle on it: Chrome turns 5

Chrome cupcakes from a Google event in 2010.


(Credit:
Photo by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Not long after Google delivered its Chrome browser to an unsuspecting world, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer downplayed the significance.

“Open source is interesting,” he said at a Microsoft conference in Australia, describing WebKit, the rendering engine that Chrome was founded on.

It turned out to be a lot more than merely “interesting.” Google celebrates Chrome’s five-year anniversary this week, while Ballmer just announced that he will be departing the hot seat at Microsoft within a year.

“After the first couple of weeks, people were writing us off as dead,” said Erik Kay, a software engineer manager who’s been on the Chrome team since before the browser launched.

To his credit, Ballmer wasn’t alone in failing to recognize the significance of a product that seriously shook up a somnolent Web browser market. At the time of Chrome’s launch, Microsoft’s much-derided but dominant Internet Explorer commanded around 72 percent of the market, with Mozilla’s
Firefox holding close to 20 percent,
Safari taking just under 7 percent, and Opera and other browsers making up the remainder.

Why the Web?
Before Chrome, Google had one of the most successful, most recognized Web apps around: Google Search. But except for a toolbar and paying companies like Mozilla to make Google the default search in their browsers, it didn’t have a product of its own to promote the Web with.

Chrome changed that, and is now one of Google’s most profitable products.

“When users have been using Chrome, it tends to drive Web usage up, so it’s display ads too, not just search ads. And it’s a driver of Google Apps,” said Sundar Pichai, the senior vice president in charge of Chrome, in a 2012 interview. Although Pichai wouldn’t confirm it at the time, it’s likely that Google’s Traffic Acquisition Costs, the amount of revenue it must share with partners, goes down as more people use Chrome.

Grabbing market share and headlines
While Firefox had spent years slowly chipping away at IE’s dominance, few people outside of Google expected Chrome to be a viable competitor. Chrome rocketed to more than 1 percent of the market just a day after its release, according to some reports. People were excited, and ready for something new in the browser world. Google said that Chrome’s focus was on speed and simplicity, and it worked.

“We realized that for us to really drive applications, you need a great platform underneath, and in some cases deep integration with the hardware underneath,” said Pichai. “For us the underlying platform was the browser, and having a say there was very important.”

Chrome’s big selling point was its speed, but that wasn’t enough to sell it initially. It shed nearly two-thirds of its initial market share before the end of 2008. Fast and simple were good selling points, but people also wanted a browser that wasn’t going to crash on them, and that could be at least somewhat extensible.

A few months later, with Chrome out of beta the browser began a rise that could be charitably described as “meteoric.” Five years on, its market share still increasing on the desktop but much more slowly, and the browser is now used by nearly as many people who use Firefox. On the other side of the coin, Internet Explorer now sits around 56 percent of the market. It’s doubtful that Chrome’s gains are fully attributable to IE’s losses, but many of them probably are.

Use a little-known shortcut to remove URLs from Chrome’s omnibar predictions.


(Credit:
Photo by Josh Miller/CNET)

Beyond speed
The market share shift came about because Google was able to develop a browser that lived up to its hype. Chrome’s initial emphasis on speed and simplicity rarely wavered, and was soon joined by a focus on stability and security. Google wound up challenging assumptions in all four of those areas, and in the process built a browser with phenomenal reach.

One feature that proved to be a game-changer was the six-week rapid-release cycle. Browsers had been receiving major updates annually at best before Chrome. When Chrome launched, it was on a quarterly schedule, but doubling that meant that the browser updated security and stability fixes twice as fast.

In mimicking a mobile app’s seamless updates that just occurred without the user having to go download the new version, Chrome was able to accomplish several goals at once. Not only did it become less noticeable when Google shipped those pesky but important security and stability fixes, but fans got accustomed to regular updates, and Chrome’s own engineers were able to focus on introducing new features like the private browsing “Incognito” mode, automatic page translation, sandboxing, Native Client, and supporting the messy and unfinished alphabet soup of next-generation Web technologies like HTML5, CSS3, newer JavaScript APIs, WebGL, and WebRTC with relative ease.

As it stands today, Chrome is a leader in pushing for future-tech Web technologies, and thanks to Chrome OS, which runs the browser as the operating system and the Web is the only platform available, Google has become even more heavily invested in developing the Web to compete with the native code that powers proprietary OSes.

The Web as platform — no, really
While developers have said for years that the Web is the platform, Google took that literally and in 2009 transformed Chrome into an operating system. Suddenly, the Web was the only platform that the computer could run, or needed to run.

This Web-centric approach also became the first time that Google took an aggressive hand in co-developing hardware, with the prototype Chrome OS laptop Cr-48. It was a step heavily cribbed from Apple’s designs, but that wouldn’t matter over time as Google expanded its Chromebook partner base to include Acer, HP, and Samsung, and designing internally the high-end Pixel.

This year, Chromebooks have defied PC sales trends by grabbing 20 to 25 percent of the sub-$300 laptop market in the US.

Occasional tarnish on Chrome
One of the most remarkable things about Chrome is that Google rarely has Google made any missteps with the browser, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

The most notorious blemish on Chrome’s record was its sponsored post campaign, which actually violated at least one of Google’s own search engine rules.

Marketing shenanigans aside, the browser’s development has been tight. One unforced error is Google’s decision to restrict Chrome to
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and above. Android’s heavily-critiqued fragmentation and the lack of Chrome by default will slow the browser’s mobile adoption since many Android users still have pre-Ice Cream Sandwich handsets.

Another issue that could blow up in the years to come is that new technologies developed by Chrome have rarely received a warm welcome outside of Google. Chrome’s Native Client for faster and safer porting of native code to the Web is still used only by Chrome. The new Dart programming language isn’t even well received by the Google faithful themselves.

Smaller mistakes include support for Google Gears, which was eventually phased out in favor of HTML5. To its credit, Gears — for getting Web apps to work offline — went public a year before Chrome debuted.

Google was notoriously slow to adopt Do Not Track, which is growing in importance for Web privacy advocates but hardly a major feature. It also makes some people uncomfortable that Google Search in the “Omnibox” combined search-and-URL bar sends your search result data to Google by default.

Shiny future for Chrome
Five years on, Chrome is a cross-device Google gateway, the only major browser available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The iOS version, which doesn’t contain the full browser stack and so is a more limited version of the browser, nevertheless gives Google services a shot at making some inroads with Apple’s baby.

Google’s recent decision to end its co-development of Webkit with Apple and others ended recently when Google decided to fork WebKit to create its own rendering engine, Blink. This could go a long way towards staving off the fear that some people had of developers coding for Webkit, instead of the Web, as they used to have to do with Internet Explorer’s Trident engine.

The Chromecast streams the Web to your TV.


(Credit:
Photo by Dan Graziano/CNET)

Google also just introduced an unexpected major hit, the $35 Chromecast HDMI dongle for streaming content from the Web to your TV. This could include Web pages, as evidenced by a recent build of Chrome on its Beta channel.

But as HTML5 standards solidify and the implementation of that technology proceeds, the big thing to watch Chrome for will be its push of the Web-as-platform. Chrome Packaged Apps, which allow the Web to run as an app independently of the browser, were introduced to Chrome’s developer’s channel earlier this year. They follow the Native Client apps that you can get from the Chrome Web Store. And Google will be interested in flipping those “stock Android browser” users over to Chrome as it brings the mobile versions of the browser closer to parity with the desktop versions.

For many people, though, the final verdict simply comes down to: which browser do you use as your default?

“We would’ve been satisfied if we had introduced enough competition to make all the other browsers better,” said the longtime Chrome team member Erik Kay.

Comparing Web browsers from five years ago to those of today, 2008 to 2013, it’s obvious that Chrome has radically altered the Web. The next five years could well be about Chrome radically altering your desktop.

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Acer Liquid S2 and an Android desktop among Acer’s IFA tech

Acer is shouting to the world about a host of new gadgets, including the Liquid S2, a smart phone that shoots in a 4K resolution.

The 6-inch, 1080p Liquid S2 has a 13-megapixel snapper and a 2.2GHz Qualcomm processor, which Acer boasts will equip the phone with the power to shoot video in a massively high resolution. A huge quantity of pixels is one thing, but when we go hands-on we’ll be interested to see whether the actual quality of the video is any good.

Elsewhere, Acer’s Aspire R7 laptop has been given a revamp, adding fourth-generation Intel processors and a new Active Pen stylus, which works in the notebook’s ‘Ezel’ mode, ideal for doodling. Not too shabby.

There are desktops in the offing, too. The new 24-inch DA421HL (snappy name, eh?) will be the first of Acer’s Aio desktops to run
Android, coming with 4.2 Jelly Bean and a Tegra 3 processor.

If an Android desktop isn’t your thing, Acer has also lifted the lid on the Aspire U5-610, the Z3-105 and the Z3-610, all of which have 23-inch touchscreen displays.

Finally there’s a new monitor, the 27-inch T272HUL, which packs a stonking 2,560×1,440 pixels and — you guessed it — touchscreen tech. Just watch out for fingerprints.

Are you intrigued by anything Acer has on offer? Or are you holding out for Samsung, Sony and rest to show off their own wares? Let me know in the comments.

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Can TMG become to Toyota what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz?

The heart and soul of Toyota motorsports has been in Germany since the early 70’s in the form of TMG and it has provided the Japanese manufacturer with a foothold in everything from WRC to Formula 1. However, after Toyota’s departure from Formula 1 the future of TMG has been uncertain. Without a regular series to compete in, what would become of TMG?

One option would be for TMG to become to Toyota what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. Take a stock car, and turn it into a much more exciting, faster and more dynamic version. The M Division of Toyota if you will.

To begin to see this is as a viable direction, TMG has knocked together an example of what a TMG tuned car could be. It’s called the TMG TS-650. That 650 refers to the output of the engine, 650ps (641bhp) which is a 68% boost over the power of the Lexus LS 460 on which it’s based.

The impressive stats don’t end there: torque goes up 54% to 569 lb. ft., the top speed touches on 200mph and over a second has been shaved off the LS 460’s 0-60mph time.

I took the TS-650 out on the track to see what it was like and all that kept going through my head was that it didn’t feel like a Lexus, it felt like something more. If you were to drive it blindfolded, something we don’t recommend at XCAR, you could be forgiven for never guessing you behind the wheel of a two tonne executive saloon. The brakes come straight out of the LFA supercar and the only way of stopping quicker would be to put it into a wall. The handling was impressive for a car of its size and it left me with a genuinely altered image of Lexus. 

Since the LFA blew the minds of petrolheads across the world, the question of whether or not it was a one off or whether we would forever have to reconsider our opinions of Lexus has lingered. Take the fact that Toyota, Leuxs’ parent company, is taking the sports car market seriously again (hello, GT 86), the proposition of a hardcore tuning division looks all the more likely. If the TS-650 is anything to go by it could mean a new, exciting chapter for Lexus and maybe even Toyota as well.

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American Hypocrisy on Chemical Weapons. BOMB Syria but APPLAUD and Protect Israel


American Hypocrisy on Chemical Weapons. BOMB Syria but APPLAUD and Protect Israel

syria

By Mohamed Khodr

 

“You can’t make war in the Middle East without Egypt and you can’t make peace without Syria”…Henry A. Kissinger

 

“I will never apologize for the United States of America — I don’t care what the facts are.”…President George H. W. Bush (the father)

_____________________

 

EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS: Please share this article with your Senators, Representatives, Local or National Media, and Friends.

 

In a REPORT in the Mini Press News, part of the A.P, written by Dale Gaviak and Yahya ababney; August 29, 2012, one finds this headline and excerpt:

 

EXCLUSIVE:  Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack.

 

Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.

Excerpt:

“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack”.

Why did no other Media report this?  It’s Jewish owned and thus supports all wars for Israel.

America’s sole focus on military solutions to regional conflicts or potential threats around the world to the total exclusion of diplomatic dialogue and negotiations has turned this nation into a true military-industrial-media complex.  Bombs, not words, is America’s current value system.

For Syria, as well as for Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah, the U.S. is forbidden by Israel to start a any backdoor diplomatic dialogue or negotiations despite the fact that all have called for talks with the U.S.

Israel, AIPAC, and the Jewish owned media have so indoctrinated and brainwashed the Congress and the American people that they’re unable to envisage any possible negotiations with these nations and groups.   Yet we are beginning negotiations with the Taliban, the most extreme group with much American blood on their hands.  We negotiated with the North Vietnamese despite the deaths of over 55,000 Americans.  We negotiated with the I.R.A., another terrorist group.  Why are we able to negotiate with such parties but not anyone in the Middle East?  Because Israel has no interest in these countries but when it comes to the Middle East the U.S. can’t twitch a muscle without Israel’s pre-approval.

That’s why when it comes to Syria  the U.S. is forbidden from considering economic sanctions, a no fly zone, travel restrictions for Syrian officials, freezing Syrian assets in western banks, a total arms embargo that Russia and China may support, even referring Syrian officials to the International Criminal Court, while simultaneously pushing for peace talks that so far it’s been the Rebels, the U.S. allies, have refused to consider.

Saudi Arabia is pushing the Arab League to approve a military attack now on Syria and not await any U.N. investigation report.   It’s more bloodthirsty for a Syrian genocide than either Israel or the U.S.  It truly is the most evil nation on the planet.

Saudi arabia it itching for an Israeli American war on Iran at any cost that it’s more than wiling to fund.

Israel, the U.S., and Saudi Arabia want to destroy Syria to prevent it from being a conduit for Iranian arms to Hezbollah.  Israel wants to eliminate all opposition to its murderous terrorist brutality against the Palestinians and its willing to “sup with the devil” as David Ben Gurion once said, by using Saudi money and the U.S. military to pay and die for its interests.

President Obama who is willing to massacre Syrian children to punish President Assad’s alleged massacre of Syrian children through the use of chemical weapons.

Obama, the man who never had any credibility since he took office, today decided to have it both ways.  On one hand he said he’s made the decision for military action against Syria, but on the other hand he’s changed his mind and now wants to abide by the Constitution which gives the power to declare war to Congress, not the President.

He and his aides found a face saving measure to avoid the decision to take immediate actin to attack Syria given the strong opposition by members of Congress and the American people.  The fact that Britain withdrew from the “coalition of the killing” also impacted his decision forcing him to seek Congressional approval.

Internationally he was perceived to be a Bushie in his mad rush for war without U.N. authorization and not even awaiting the results of the U.N. Investigation team that went to Syria to determine if chemical weapons were used, and if so to identify the chemicals, but not who is responsible for the attack.  The U.S. insured that such was not in their mandate..

His travel next week to the G20 Summit, in Russia of all places, Obama did not want the issue of Syria to hang over the Summit and give Putin the opportunity to badger and embarrass the U.S. on the world state.

Let’s not forget the influence Michelle Obama has on the President and she could’ve brought some sanity to his rush to bomb another Arab/Muslim nation

Obama if and when he attacks will be solely responsible for all the unintended consequences of such an ill conceived attack given the volatile situation i the Arab world, the potential for a wider war that may involve Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Lebanon, an increased recruitment of terrorists against the U.S. and the “moderate” tyrants of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States who are now “exporting democracy” to Syria, potential blowback against the U.S. homeland and abroad, an increase in oil prices that may drive the fragile U.S. E.U., Chinese, Indian, and Japanese economies into a deeper recession, a strained relationship with Russia and China that could impact other hot spots and U.N. involvement in other regions, as well as a further loss of respect and credibility for the U.S. around the world.

Mr. President if you attack Syria you would once again prove that western imperialism which is based on “might is right”.

No President has ever entered office with the love, allegiance, high hopes and expectations of the American people, in fact the world, than you Mr. Obama.   Yet, no President has dropped so quickly in popularity or credibility around the world as you have.   Sir, you’ve squandered a unique historical moment and opportunity to fight for what is right, not for who is wealthy and powerful.  During your campaigns you railed against the special interests yet you ended up their prize hostage.

Early on your credibility was shot to hell when Netanyahu came to the Oval Office and publicly dressed you down on your demand for a “settlement freeze”.   You were a wimp unable to contradict him, in fact, you complimented him and the Israeli people.  To show you who’s in control of America and its foreign policy he went to the Israeli occupied Congress where he gave a speech denying the Palestinian territories were “occupied”.

In the most humiliating spectacle the entire 535 members of Congress in the “greatest nation”, the most powerful nation, the nation that seeks freedom for all people; these paid and bought kosher cowards gave him 29 standing ovations along with more billions of dollars, ovations never accorded any President or any other foreign leader such as Nelson Mandela.

You sent Vice President Biden and later Secretary of State John Kerry to Israel to negotiate some kind of a settlement freeze only for both to be slapped in the face as they arrived and left Israel with Israel announcing even more illegal settlements.

In defeat and humiliation you’ve abandoned the peace process with the knowledge that you’re up against a greater power than the American people and their interest.  JEWISH/ISRAELI POWER.

Kerry’s arranged farce of a peace process has hardly begun yet in the meantime Israel continues to build illegal settlements.   By the time Israel finally accepts a peace accord there would not be one centimeter left of Palestine for the the Palestinian people

Israel even took the liberty to expel the U.S. delegation from the peace talks.  Another slap, another silence from the President of the greatest nation.

Shockingly, you won the “Nobel Peace Prize” soon after taking office, although for what no one knows.  In your acceptance speech of the honor you said this about wars cognizant of the image of Bush’s America.

“I don’t oppose all wars.  What I am opposed to is a dumb war.  What I am opposed to is a rash war”

Yet Mr. President in the eyes of the world you’ve become a Bush like warmonger especially in your illegal use of Drones to massacre innocent families, destroy entire villages, and assassinate American citizens.

You’ve failed to close Guantanamo, expanded the Patriot Act, and ordered the NSA to launch a massive spying campaign on all communications of American citizens.  You’ve failed to prosecute even one top official in the Wall Street scandalous fleecing of Americans.   Trillions of tax dollars was used to save your banking friends that has resulted in higher bank profits and soaring  CEO’s pay all the while Americans are desperate for jobs, food, shelter, medicines, loss of schools and teachers, loss of police and fire protection, not even the federal lunch school program that often provides the sole meal for poor children was spared from cuts.

BUT, as for Israel, never worry for Congress and Obama are sending you more and more billions, for you, boss, there is never a budget deficit or sequestration cuts.

 

A TALE OF TWO WORLDS IN AMERICAN POLICY::  Israel versus the World

 

Sadly the world has long accepted that there are two Americas; one that is beholden and hijacked by Israel and one that deals with the rest of the world.  One nation under Israel, one nation dominating the world.

The only people who are unaware of this are the disconnected, uninformed, and disinterested American people. For the most part they adopt whatever brainwashing messages that come out of the Government or the media.

Here, Israel according to the U.N., Amnesty International, Human Rights Wathc, and other, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, again wiht IMPUNITY.  In fact, Mr. Obama you prevented the UN Report, the Goldstone Report, from being even discussed at the U.N. Security Council.  You, Sir, protected Israel’s use of Chemical Weapons.

The historical and current war crimes committed by the U.S. and Israel mirror each other.  Both flaunt their power against weaker populations and commit the most heinous atrocities with total IMPUNITY.

Both have no compunction to lie and falsify intelligence and enlist a compliant Jewish owned media to stir the fear and surrender of the people to serve their warmongering.

Examples:

Israel’s lie in 2008 that Hamas broke the truce between them when in fact it was them who deliberately broke the truce by killing Hamas leader to launch a war.

In Iraq, the world now knows that Bush, Blair, and the Jewish Neocons manufactured deliberate lies to mislead the world toward an Iraq invasion in 2003.

cats

 

 

Imperialism means killing the innocent, the poor, the weak, and the dark race with IMPUNITY.

President Obama on August 31 spoke in the Rose Garden of the White House about his decision to authorize military action against Syria’s alleged chemical attack on civilians pending Congressional approval.   That’s called “the buck stops there”.

He said:

“In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted….What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?….

The world in one voice asks Obama with a united cry:  WHAT ABOUT THE PALESTINIANS who have endured decades of Israeli bombings with every weapons imaginable incuding Chemical Weapons.

The Video below shows Israel using White Phosphorus Bombs on civilian targets, a chemical weapon, but in this case Obama and the world are silent.  Where is Israel’s accountability President Obama?

President Obama after viewing the above video which is only ONE attack upon the Palestinians out of hundreds of such attack, not to mention the daily brutality against them, do you understand the politically and financially motivated disconnect between your words and actions?  Do you understand that the world views you as a hypocrite with no credibility where Israel is concerned?

Summary of U.S. Policy:  LOVE Israel when it bombs, BOMB Arabs/Muslims even if innocent.(Iraq)

Here’s your hypocrisy and loss of credibility on punishing nations that use chemical weapons:

“But we are the United States of America, and we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus  (?Gaza?).  Out of the ashes of world war, we built an international order and enforced the rules that gave it meaning. And we did so because we believe that the rights of individuals to live in peace and dignity depends on the responsibilities of nations” (except Palestinians)

President Obama, August 31, 2013 at the White House Rose Garden..

Eerily another Secretary of State presented the case for bombing an Arab.  Even using the phrase “we know”, a great deal of circumstantial evidence, no sourcing for some of the information released such as the number dead, demonizing the Arab leader as a thug and murderer who kills his own people, even to the alleged recording of military officers discussing an attack.  The only thing missing is the use of “cartoons” to illustrate the mobile units that manufacture the chemical weapons.

Secretary John Kerry, a surprising hawk for an anti Vietnam war veteran, Friday, August 30,  at the State Department made the case for war with Syria by allegedly revealing unclassified intelligence/

Kerry used contradictory statements regarding the Intel report on the attack.   He first said there is “no doubt” (same phrase Cheney used Pre-Iraq War);then he characterized the Intel as “our government’s unclassified estimate of what took place in Syria “.

Which is it?  no doubt, or estimate.

He characterized the Intel agencies as having “high confidence” on their assessment which is way short of a conclusive evidence and contradicts his repeated phrase of “WE KNOW”. A government official was quoted in the media as saying the Intel is “no slam dunk” referencing the CIA’s “slam dunk” evidence on Iraq’s WMD’s..

Shockingly, Kerry said. “WE KNOW that for three days before the attack, the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons personnel were on the ground in the area, making preparations”.

If the U.S. had a three day notice why did it not inform anyone to prevent this catastrophe?  Why didn’t it warn Syria not to launch an attack or face serious consequences; or inform the United Nations Security Council of the matter, or inform Russia to tell Bashar Al Assad not to do it, or inform Congress, or the aid agencies working in the area, or tell the media and allow Syrian civilians to flee from the area?

Did the U.S. want this attack to occur so as to attack Syria for Israel?  Were  innocent children sacrificed for a military objective?

Then he said:  “WE KNOW where the rockets were launched from, and at what time. We know where they landed, and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods”.

This attack occurred nine days prior to Kerry’s speech.  So what took the U.S. so long to share this “exact” knowledge at the time with the entire world?   There would have been no need for a U.N. weapons inspectors team to go investigate the attack while being forbidden in their mandate from investigating who launched the attack?

If the U.S. Government KNEW these exact details then why did the Intel agencies only say they’re  only “highly confident” in their assessment?  Much like Iraq the Intel agencies are saying one thing and the administration is sayong another.  Highly confident vs. WE KNOW.

The ony rational conclusion from all of this is that the Syrian regime did not fire this rocket, but rather it could’ve been fired by the rebels (see Exclusive report above), or Israel, or the U.S. itself to justify an attack on another Arab nation to protect Israel.

Obviously, the U.S. media accepted Kerry’s explanation at face value without any Intelligence on their part or a willingness to investigate.

Perhaps that’s why Obama threw the ball into Congress’ court so that their refusal may save his non existent “credibility”

Kerry presented a deliberately false and high number of casualties of the chemical attack that has not been corroborated by any NGO or Aid agency on the ground.  In fact Doctors Without Borders who are in Syria and visited the hospitals say there were 355 total deaths, a much lower number than Kerry’s fabrication.   He did not reveal the source for his numbers but one can safely assume that it came from the Rebels and/or the CIA to horrify the attack even further.

Unfortunately Secretary Kerry used a false photo of dead children ascribing their deaths to the Syrian Government’s chemical weapons attack when in fact those dead children were killed by the U.S. in the Iraq War.

Secretary Kerr unlike your fabricated photo and manufactured number of dead children in Syria due to a chemical attack, please Watch these photos of Palestinian children massacred by your ally Israel that for 70 years has been getting away with murder, even murder of American sailors and citizens.  BUT neither you nor President Obama dare say one word to this rogue terrorist nation.

Secretary Kerry –  this is what IMPUNITY looks like:

 

Gaza

President Obama August 31, 2013
“I’ve told you what I believe, that our security and our values demand that we cannot turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons”..

 

Gaza

Below is a comparison of Kerry’s fabricated data of total dead and children killed in the Syrian attack to the reality in Gaza in the aftermath of Israel’s deliberate unprovoked attack on Gaza 2008-2009.

Date for Palestinian dead from several sources including the Palestinian Ministry of Health

The world now waits for Congress to convene and vote on Obama’s wish to bomb Syria despite the length of time President Assad has had to maneuver his weapons and arsenals.

What will Obama do if the Congress votes NO?

Why wait every single one of us should contact the White House and Congress and demand NO MORE WARS, we neither have fool proof evidence, nor the money, nor the thinly stretched war weary military, nor the stomach to received dead and injured soldiers.

This article was originally published at Veterans Today

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Mohamed Khodr is an American Muslim born in the Middle East. He is political activist who frequently writes on the plight of Palestinians living under the brutal occupation of Israel, U.S. Foreign Policy, Islam, and Arab politics.

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