When there’s a will…
When there’s a will…
Comment: I can’t resist pointing out that the Obomber looks like the Antichrist in the picture below, Baphomet sign and all.
With permission from
In a strange and subtle turn of events, the Obama administration came to the defense of legal marijuana by telling the U.S. Supreme Court that they should not even entertain a lawsuit raised by Oklahoma and Nebraska
Both state’s politicians seem to have strong hatred for nearby Colorado’s recreational marijuana trade. As such, they have tried to actually sue to bring an end to the legalized plant in Colorado.
U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., wrote a brief suggesting that the U.S. Supreme Court is not the proper venue for such a grievance.
“The motion for leave to file a bill of complaint should be denied because this is not an appropriate case for the exercise of this Court’s original jurisdiction,” Verrilli penned. “Entertaining the type of dispute at issue here — essentially that one State’s laws make it more likely that third parties will violate federal and state law in another State — would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this Court’s original jurisdiction.”
Colorado is fighting back too, demanding that the Supreme Court dismiss the case. This has prompted the justices to ask the federal government to give their thoughts before a decision is made.
On behalf of the Obama administration, Verrilli’s letter says that the U.S. Supreme Court should reject hearing this lawsuit.
“Nebraska and Oklahoma essentially contend that Colorado’s authorization of licensed intrastate marijuana production and distribution increases the likelihood that third parties will commit criminal offenses in Nebraska and Oklahoma by bringing marijuana purchased from licensed entities in Colorado into those states,” Verrelli explained. “But they do not allege that Colorado has directed or authorized any individual to transport marijuana into their territories in violation of their laws. Nor would any such allegation be plausible.”
The Justice Department’s opinion has been celebrated as a major victory.
“This is the right move by the Obama administration,” Tom Angell said. Angell is from the Marijuana Majority. He told the magazine High Times, that “Colorado and a growing number of states have decided to move away from decades of failed prohibition laws, and so far things seem to be working out as planned. Legalization generates tax revenue, creates jobs and takes the market out of the hands of drug cartels and gangs. New federal data released this week shows that as more legalization laws come online, we’re not seeing an increase in teen marijuana use, despite our opponents’ scare tactics. The Justice Department is correct here: This lawsuit is without merit and should be dismissed.”
The implications of the move by the Obama administration are that marijuana should be federally legalized – even for recreational use. The Justice Department’s rejection of the federal prohibition of the plant – at the request of the current administration – is not just a bold move, it is an outright rejection of the standing federal law, which would see marijuana in Colorado federally prosecuted, if this law was deemed anything but antiquated.
What do you think is next for marijuana legalization? Will it officially become federally legal soon?
“In any art you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better.”
Jan 17, 2016
“As a writer you should not judge. You should understand,” Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899–July 2, 1961) counseled in his 1935 Esquire compendium of writing advice, addressed to an archetypal young correspondent but based on a real-life encounter that had taken place a year earlier.
In 1934, a 22-year-old aspiring writer named Arnold Samuelson set out to meet his literary hero, hoping to steal a few moments with Hemingway to talk about writing. The son of Norwegian immigrant wheat farmers, he had just completed his coursework in journalism at the University of Minnesota, but had refused to pay the $5 diploma fee. Convinced that his literary education would be best served by apprenticing himself to Hemingway, however briefly, he hitchhiked atop a coal car from Minnesota to Key West. “It seemed a damn fool thing to do,” Samuelson later recalled, “but a twenty-two-year-old tramp during the Great Depression didn’t have to have much reason for what he did.” Unreasonable though the quest may have been, he ended up staying with Hemingway for almost an entire year, over the course of which he became the literary titan’s only true protégé.
Samuelson recorded the experience and its multitude of learnings in a manuscript that was only discovered by his daughter after his death in 1981. It was eventually published as With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba (public library) — the closest thing to a psychological profile of the great writer.
Shortly after the young man’s arrival in Key West, Hemingway got right down to granting him what he had traveled there seeking. In one of their first exchanges, he hands Samuelson a handwritten list and instructs him:
Here’s a list of books any writer should have read as a part of his education… If you haven’t read these, you just aren’t educated. They represent different types of writing. Some may bore you, others might inspire you and others are so beautifully written they’ll make you feel it’s hopeless for you to try to write.
This is the list of heartening and hopeless-making masterworks that Hemingway handed to young Samuelson:
Not on the handwritten list but offered in the conversation surrounding the exchange is what Hemingway considered “the best book an American ever wrote,” the one that “marks the beginning of American literature” — Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (public library).
Alongside these edifying essentials, Hemingway offered young Samuelson some concrete writing advice. Advocating for staying with what psychologists now call flow, he begins with the psychological discipline of the writing process:
The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time… Never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day. The main thing is to know when to stop. Don’t wait till you’ve written yourself out. When you’re still going good and you come to an interesting place and you know what’s going to happen next, that’s the time to stop. Then leave it alone and don’t think about it; let your subconscious mind do the work.
Then, echoing Lewis Carroll’s advice on overcoming creative block in problem-solving, Hemingway considers the practical tactics of this psychological strategy:
The next morning, when you’ve had a good sleep and you’re feeling fresh, rewrite what you wrote the day before. When you come to the interesting place and you know what is going to happen next, go on from there and stop at another high point of interest. That way, when you get through, your stuff is full of interesting places and when you write a novel you never get stuck and you make it interesting as you go along. Every day go back to the beginning and rewrite the whole thing and when it gets too long, read at least two or three chapters before you start to write and at least once a week go back to the start. That way you make it one piece. And when you go over it, cut out everything you can. The main thing is to know what to leave out. The way you tell whether you’re going good is by what you can throw away. If you can throw away stuff that would make a high point of interest in somebody else’s story, you know you’re going good.
He then returns to the psychological payoff of this trying practice:
Don’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing. There is, and you can’t get out of it. I rewrote A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times. You’ve got to work it over. The first draft of anything is shit. When you first start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none, but after you learn to work it’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he had read but something that happened to himself. That’s the true test of writing. When you can do that, the reader gets the kick and you don’t get any. You just get hard work and the better you write the harder it is because every story has to be better than the last one. It’s the hardest work there is. I like to do and can do many things better than I can write, but when I don’t write I feel like shit. I’ve got the talent and I feel that I’m wasting it.
When Samuelson asks how one can know whether one has any talent, Hemingway replies:
You can’t. Sometimes you can go on writing for years before it shows. If a man’s got it in him, it will come out sometime. The only thing I can advise you is to keep on writing but it’s a damned tough racket. The only reason I make any money at it is I’m a sort of literary pirate. Out of every ten stories I write, only one is any good and I throw the other nine away.
Hemingway tempers this with a word of advice on ambition, self-comparison, and originality:
Never compete with living writers. You don’t know whether they’re good or not. Compete with the dead ones you know are good. Then when you can pass them up you know you’re going good. You should have read all the good stuff so that you know what has been done, because if you have a story like one somebody else has written, yours isn’t any good unless you can write a better one. In any art you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better, but the tendency should always be upward instead of down. And don’t ever imitate anybody. All style is, is the awkwardness of a writer in stating a fact. If you have a way of your own, you are fortunate, but if you try to write like somebody else, you’ll have the awkwardness of the other writer as well as your own.
In a sentiment that calls to mind Neil Gaiman’s magnificent commencement address on the only adequate response to criticism, Hemingway cautions Samuelson about the petty jealousies that arise with success:
When you start to write everybody is wishing you luck, but when you’re going good, they try to kill you. The only way you can ever stay on top is by writing good stuff.
With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba brims with the celebrated writer’s wisdom on literature, life, and the creative experience. Complement it with Hemingway on knowledge and the dangers of ego and his short, spectacular Nobel Prize acceptance speech, then revisit the essential reading lists of Joan Didion, Leo Tolstoy, Susan Sontag, Alan Turing, Brian Eno, David Byrne, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Patti Smith.
“Why don’t we drug test all the members of Congress here,” McGovern asked. “Force everybody to go urinate in a cup or see whether or not anybody is on drugs? Maybe that will explain why some of these amendments are coming up or why some of the votes are turning out the way they are.”
Article by M.A. Hussein; M. David and Shante Wooten
Representative Trey Radel was a major proponent of Republican legislation to make food stamp recipients submit to drug tests before receiving assistance.
The proposal for those on food stamps to urinate in cups to prove they’re not on drugs received widespread praise from Republicans. But only a month after he backed the proposal, police busted the Florida Republican on a charge of cocaine possession.
“It’s really interesting it came on the heels of Republicans voting on everyone who had access to food stamps get drug tested,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said to BuzzFeed. “It’s like, what?”
The House approved an amendment by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), back in the summer of 2013, that allowed states to decide whether or not to test people on food stamps.
The amendment passed by voice vote. That means there was no record of who voted which way for the amendment.
But later, Radel voted for even further-reaching legislation that allowed for broader food stamps restrictions, including Hudson’s measure.
Hudson cited state legislatures around the country which had proposed similar things in recent years. But in time these efforts would prove ineffective – a waste of tax-payer money, that actually found virtually no one on food stamps using drugs.
“This is a clear and obvious problem in our communities as nearly 30 states have introduced legislation to drug test for welfare programs,” Hudson stated. “We have a moral obligation to equip the states with the tools they need to discourage the use of illegal drugs.”
Back in June of 2012, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) asked why recipients of crop insurance and other government benefits haven’t also been targeted for drug testing.
In fact, the majority of Americans support such a measure. They want to see politicians drug tested. After all, they are the ones passing so many of the drug laws in this country, and they are doing so on our dime. Isn’t it time that they step up to the plate and prove they aren’t using drugs like Rep. Radel was?
Obama went into office after the 2008 election owing $778,642,962 worth of favors. It may not be surprising, therefore, that since Goldman Sachs was Obama’s largest single contributor, it was never prosecuted for its part in the financial crash.
The 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution prevents the incumbent, President Barack Hussein Obama, from running for a third term. Some – including perhaps Donald Trump – might argue that Article Two of the same Constitution should have prevented him from running for a first term; and that being the case – why should he not now run for a third?
But it seems the baton is set to be passed to someone new, and the question – as pressing as ever for any American – comes down to this: what flavor of sweet, sickly, fizzy poison do you want to spend the next four years drinking: Coke or Pepsi?
To me, the entire left-right paradigm is a long-winded, blathering version of Punch and Judy where the populous gets to vote on which puppet is going to have a giant corporate hand no-one elected shoved up its rear-end while it reads words on teleprompters written by people who have a far better understanding of what the game-plan is than the politicians themselves.
Meanwhile, the seeming changeover will make no difference; the underlying narrative will not miss a beat: more countries with brown people in them will get blown up, more countries with white people in them will be run into the ground, and a small number of international banks will continue to live off the labor and suffering of both.
I see so-called elections as public festivals, choreographed charades where masquerade combines with burlesque in a meaningless – though well-attended – pageant. They are theater, WWE wrestling with a very short multiple-choice question at the end – one in which there is no real choice.
An election is a public relations stunt to keep people convinced that they have a real say in things, and it serves to train them like Pavlov’s dogs to begin salivating – yet again – at the prospect of things being different this time, when only an idiot doesn’t know that things will be exactly as they have been up to now – only worse.
The other great thing about elections – besides the spectacle and distraction they provide – is that they generate a lot of money.
In the 2012 elections, a total of $1,325.4 billion was received in contributions, with the Democrats sucking in $722.4 million and the Republicans $598.3 million.
To better understand exactly how much money that is, consider this: You could make the four most expensive Hollywood films of all time (the two costliest Pirates of the Caribbean, plus Avengers: Age of Ultron, and John Carter) and still have enough left over for a good slice of Tangled. All those films – with the exception of John Carter – went on to make a robust profit.
Presidents never make a profit. Currently, Obama is responsible for more debt in dollar terms than any previous president, adding $6.167 trillion to the deficit – a 53 percent increase. George W. Bush managed $5.849 trillion.
This is excellent news for the so-called Federal Reserve and the secret cabal which runs it since it creates this ‘money’ out of thin air and charges the US taxpayer interest on it.
But it is tragic for everyone else.
And rather than call time on the highly questionable Federal Reserve Act that allowed the creation of the so-called Federal Reserve under Woodrow Wilson, new presidents do nothing about the financial tyranny under which the people who think they elect them live.
Quite the reverse.
Marc Rich – a financial fraudster who was on the lam in the face of 300 years in prison was pardoned by Bill Clinton in the final hours of his presidency. Rich died in 2013 in Switzerland and is now buried in Israel. Obama went into office after the 2008 election owing $778,642,962 worth of favors. It may not be surprising, therefore, that since Goldman Sachs was Obama’s largest single contributor, it was never prosecuted for its part in the financial crash.
The fact is that by the time presidents get to sit their posteriors behind the desk in the Oval Office, that part of them is owned lock, stock and barrel.
One of the key actors in the charade this time round in the role of Judy – I mean the Democrats – is Hillary Clinton. Clinton would be a strong choice since she withdrew her candidacy in favor of Obama during the last charade – and that move will have come at a price. And since she has made it clear to the Council on Foreign Relations (which she admits tells her what to do) that she will continue to support the military industrial complex, Halliburton stock will do well on her watch.
So far as I can work out, the producers of the soap opera known as Party Politics both sides of the Atlantic have decided to chuck in an echo from the days when the US and the UK had people living in them with solid jobs and who made actual stuff.
The UK got Jeremy Corbyn – a man who looks like a geography teacher on a field trip the purpose of which he has forgotten – and the US got Bernie Sanders. These dramatis personae are supposed to appeal to those who are disillusioned with the more polished and glitzy parade of falsity and special interests, and to inject some street-level authenticity into the mix.
In the US, it seems Sanders has been given some time on the pitch in case anyone asks why it is that two key contenders – Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush – are close relatives of previous presidents.
As a key representative for Punch this time we have Donald Trump. Like the career politicians, he says what he thinks people want to hear. Unlike them, he doesn’t practice his lines in front of the mirror first.
Trump is considered a renegade. Something like Ross Perot back in 1992, he is self-made and not shy of telling it like he sees it. His lack of political polish is something that also plays well to the spin-weary masses.
Unlike most the competition, Trump is already mega-rich – he has around 4.5 billion dollars. The implication is supposed to be that because he is mega-rich, he is incorruptible. That’s a nice idea, except for the fact that 3.5 billion clearly wasn’t enough for him or he would have stopped there, so there’s little reason to believe 4.5 billion will do it for him, either.
But he’s not averse to sticking his neck out. Trump told Republican Jews that they wouldn’t support him because he “didn’t want their money” – a fact which given the traditional full-body prostrations by presidential hopefuls before the altar of AIPAC might lead one to conclude that he’s dead in the political waters. However, he can cite a wealth of pro-Israeli credentials, including a Jewish daughter and two Jewish grandchildren. The Times of Israel quotes him as saying: “We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1,000 percent. It will be there forever.”
It remains to be seen if such protestations of undying loyalty to this other country will be enough to save his bacon, so to speak.
As of now, the Republicans’ coffers have seen $269.5 million and those of the Democrats $122.2 million for this year’s show. The Supreme Court struck down any cap on overall contributions in a controversial move in 2014, so if you want a say in who reads the teleprompter, you’d better get writing those cheques.
The fact is: it doesn’t matter who wins. We all know what we are going to get. It will be more of what we already got: more brutal police activity, more false-flag ‘terrorism’ justifying the lock-down big government wants, more surveillance, diminishing rights, and the promotion of a ubiquitous bogeyman (one with suspiciously professional marketing materials and matching fleets of Toyota off-road vehicles), more lies, more corruption, more wars which do not benefit the US, and then even more lies.
So why do it to yourself? Why waste any more of your life falling for this nonsense? Go and find a really old person – the oldest person you can find – and ask them if voting ever made a difference. We all know the answer: of course it didn’t. The rich and the powerful ran roughshod over everyone else and the controlled media spouted a fantasy version of reality then just as it does now.
But the tax drones still think they live in a free country and if they just vote hard enough and long enough everything – one day – will be great.
You believe it if you want to. I don’t.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Source:Clowns Against Child Poverty
What about making a new law whereby any politician who signs decrees of war must send at least one of his children to the front line?
Analyzing brain scans of 105 children ages 7 to 12, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found that key structures in the brain are connected differently in poor children than in kids raised in more affluent settings. In particular, the brain’s hippocampus — a structure key to learning, memory and regulation of stress — and the amygdala — which is linked to stress and emotion — connect to other areas of the brain differently in poor children than in those whose families had higher incomes.
Many negative consequences are linked to growing up poor, and researchers at Washington University St. Louis have identified one more: altered brain connectivity.
Analyzing brain scans of 105 children ages 7 to 12, the researchers found that key structures in the brain are connected differently in poor children than in kids raised in more affluent settings. In particular, the brain’s hippocampus — a structure key to learning, memory and regulation of stress — and the amygdala — which is linked to stress and emotion — connect to other areas of the brain differently in poor children than in kids whose families had higher incomes.
Those connections, viewed using functional MRI scans, were weaker, depending on the degree of poverty to which a child was exposed. The poorer the family, the more likely the hippocampus and amygdala would connect to other brain structures in ways the researchers characterized as weaker. In addition, poorer preschoolers were much more likely to have symptoms of clinical depression when they reached school age.
The study is available online Friday, Jan. 15, in The American Journal of Psychiatry.
“Our past research has shown that the brain’s anatomy can look different in poor children, with the size of the hippocampus and amygdala frequently altered in kids raised in poverty,” said first author Deanna M. Barch, PhD, chair of Washington University’s Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences in Arts & Sciences, and the Gregory B. Couch Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine. “In this study, we found that the way those structures connect with the rest of the brain changes in ways we would consider to be less helpful in regulating emotion and stress.”
Those changes in connectivity also are related to a risk of clinical depression. Those in the study who were poor as preschoolers were more likely to be depressed at age 9 or 10.
(Source: AmericanNewsx) – Iceland just sentenced their 26th banker to prison for his part in the 2008 economic collapse. The charges ranged from breach of fiduciary duties to market manipulation to embezzlement.
When most people think of Iceland, they envision fire and ice. Major volcanoes and vast ice fields are abundant due to its position on the northern part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. (A hot July day in Reykjavik is around 55 degrees.) However, Iceland is also noted for being one of the Nordic Socialist countries, complete with universal health care, free education and a lot other Tea Potty nightmares. Therefore, as you might imagine, they tend to view and react to economic situations slightly differently than the U.S.
When the banking induced “Great Recession of ’08” struck, Iceland’s economic hit was among the hardest. However, instead of rewarding fraudulent banking procedures with tons of bailout money, they took a different path.
Prior to the recession, Iceland had one of the more thriving economies in the world, in spite of the fact that their total population (327,000) wouldn’t even fill a mid-sized American city. When the recession struck, they were among the earliest and hardest hit. However, instead of running to the vaults to shower the banks with money, they let the banks fail. They also resisted traveling down the European/Republican austerity road. Instead, they kept their social programs intact at a time when they were most needed.
And, they sent fraudulent bankers to jail.
When Iceland’s three major banks collapsed, it resulted in defaults totaling $114 billion in a country with agross domestic product (GDP) of only $19 billion. In October, 2008 the parliament passed emergency legislation to take over the domestic operations of the major banks and established new banks to handle them. They did not, however, take over any of the foreign assets or obligations. Those stayed with the original banks, right into bankruptcy.
They then brought charges against several banking executives for fraud and market manipulation, resulting in sentences ranging from four to five and a half years. As the special prosecutor said,
Why should we have a part of our society that is not being policed or without responsibility?
In the U.S., we simply tapped a few wrists with small fines, that ended up being paid by their respective banks.(Can you say “got off scot free?”)
Sending the bank executives off to play rock hockey for a few years didn’t solve the problem, but it did send a message not to do that again.
At its worst, Icelandic currency, the Icelandic krona (ISK) was trading at around 250 ISK per Euro. In order to qualify for an IMF (International Monetary Fund) loan, Iceland raised interest rates to 18%, which, of course, attracted bank deposits. Iceland also received a $2.5 billion loan from Europe’s Nordic countries.
To power its recovery, Iceland utilized its natural advantages such as its clean, cheap geothermal energy to attract the tech industry. Icelandic commercial fishing remained strong and as the general world economy picked up, the tourist industry bloomed. The deeply depreciated krona also helped make Iceland and Icelandic products very attractive, economically. On the banking front, they facilitated domestic debt restructuring and fiscal adjustments as conditions changed.
As to how it has all turned out, here’s what the International Monetary Fund Survey has to say about it:
Iceland has rebounded after the 2008/9 crisis and will soon surpass pre-crisis output levels with strong performance in tourism and fisheries. Debt ratios are on a downward path and balance sheets have broadly been restored. The financial sector is back on track though with some important items remaining on the docket.
As the above survey also states, Iceland is “the first 2008-10 crisis country in Europe to surpass its pre-crisis peak of economic output.”
Btw, they did all this while keeping their social welfare intact. (There goes another bagger day-dream.)
Iceland’s President, Olafur Ragnar Grimmson explained how the country managed to recover from the global financial disaster,
We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the poor, and we didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing in Europe.
When asked whether or not other countries, Europe in particular, would succeed with Iceland’s “let the banks fail” policy, President Grimmson gave his answer,
Why are the banks considered to be the holy churches of the modern economy? Why are private banks not like airlines and telecommunication companies and allowed to go bankrupt if they have been run in an irresponsible way? The theory that you have to bail out banks is a theory that you allow bankers enjoy for their own profit, their success, and then let ordinary people bear their failure through taxes and austerity. People in enlightened democracies are not going to accept that in the long run.
“We were gobsmacked at this image that looked like a string of colored pearls.”
Lee Speigel Reporter, The Huffington Post
Paul and Sylvia Mayo were leaving a gas station in Darwin, the capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory, in the early morning hours of June 12, 2015, when their car dash cam caught something streaking through the air.
“My wife and I both saw the object shoot across the sky, and the next day we looked at the video footage from our dash cam to see if it had recorded the object and were delighted to see that it had,” Paul Mayo told The Huffington Post in an email.
“We were puzzled at the time to explain what it was, but being the busy people we are, put it aside and didn’t think that much more about it, particularly since we’re both UFO skeptics.”
Mayo explained how, six months later, he watched the video footage again, still puzzled by it all.
“Being lifelong amateur astronomers and astrophotographers, we know what a shooting star looks like, what an aircraft looks like, how fast an aircraft moves, what a satellite looks like, what the International Space Station looks like, but the object on our footage didn’t fit any of these airborne objects.”
Mayo decided to take a screen grab from their video, zooming in on the image and increasing the contrast.
“We sat there gobsmacked, looking at this image of what looked like a string of colored pearls.”
Here’s the original video taken by the Mayos’ dash cam:
January 17, 2016
A German photographer’s two-year escapade delivered a series of stunning portraits of the last nomads and semi-nomads in Africa.
Capturing the existing nomadic tribes of Africa, then, became an important goal for German documentary photographer Mario Gerth.
Gerth, who has ventured to over eighty different countries in five continents for his work, traveled for two years across African regions to take photographs of the last nomadic tribes in Africa, reports The Plaid Zebra.
As he shares on his website, the portraits of the nomads residing in the remote regions reflect the epitome of African beauty and uniqueness. This was certainly presented in his artwork.
The artist’s photo essay brilliantly captures the beauty and diversity of Africa, as well as showcases each culture’s unique adornments from the surrounding environment.
Scroll through some of the ‘African Nomads’ collection below:
The notion that an economic and financial catastrophe of historic proportions is playing out right before our eyes is the fantasy of internet conspiracy fanatics.
January 16th, 2016
Forget for a moment that U.S. stock markets have seen their worst start to a new year since the Great Depression or that some $2.5 trillion in wealth has been evaporated in less than two weeks.
CNN says it’s hardly the time to panic:
Time to panic? Hardly.
There are plenty of reasons to relax, especially if you are a U.S investor. Here are the top two:
1. America’s economy is still in good shape.
2. Staying in stocks pays off. Since World War II, investors who remained in stocks for at least 15 years made money
Right now, the U.S. economy is growing. It’s not rock star growth, but 2% to 2.5% a year is good, and the Fed is being very cautious.
More importantly, businesses are still hiring. Over 2.3 million jobs were added last year (the latest data on hiring comes out Friday and it’s widely expected to show more jobs added).
Pay no attention to the fact that last week not a single cargo ship was transporting raw materials in the South China Sea, the first time in history that it has happened. The economy is is great shape and this is not proof that global commerce has literally stopped.
Worry not that Walmart, Macy’s and scores of other retailers had an abysmal holiday season and are now set to lay off tens of thousands of workers. Unemployment, when calculated using models that were used during the Great Depression and that were defined out of existence by the government in 1994 show that some 23% of Americans are out of work. But we don’t calculate like that anymore, so we actually have an employment rate of about 95% in America right now.
And though the economy is officially growing at 2.5% per year based on the government’s trustworthy data, we should absolutely not look at the inflation numbers, which according to Shadow Stats are running about 4% per year. If we did, however, go totally fringe and consider inflation within the context of the economy we might notice that this purported growth is actually negative 2% if not worse.
In fact, we’re doing so well that just 45 million of America’s population of 320 million people are on food stamps right now. By all accounts, a really good sign of not just economic growth, but more jobs and an increase in personal incomes.
And with oil trading at under $30 per barrel, we can see nothing but blue skies going forward because, hey, we’re all paying a dollar less for gas now. We’re sure this will have no effect on the domestic real estate market in places like Texas and North Dakota. Nor will this collapse in oil prices cause debt burdened domestic oil companies to close up shop, potentially leading to a domino affect across the entirety of the U.S. economy. Nor will it have any impact on periphery businesses that service those companies, including all of those restaurants that saw below-minimum wage job growth explode last year.
You have absolutely nothing to worry about. The notion that an economic and financial catastrophe of historic proportions is playing out right before our eyes is the fantasy of internet conspiracy fanatics.
At this point, we encourage our readers to take no action to prepare for the coming calamity, because there is no coming calamity.
Carry on. Everything is awesome. It really is different this time.
Rumors are rippling through the science world that physicists may have detected gravitational waves, a key element of Einstein’s theory which if confirmed would be one of the biggest discoveries of our time.
There has been no announcement, no peer review or publication of the findings—all typically important steps in the process of releasing reliable and verifiable scientific research.
Instead, a message on Twitter from an Arizona State University cosmologist, Lawrence Krauss, has sparked a firestorm of speculation and excitement.
Krauss does not work with the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, or LIGO, which is searching for ripples in the fabric of space and time.
But he tweeted on Monday about the apparent shoring up of rumor he’d heard some months ago, that LIGO scientists were writing up a paper on gravitational waves they had discovered using US-based detectors.
“My earlier rumor about LIGO has been confirmed by independent sources. Stay tuned! Gravitational waves may have been discovered!! Exciting,” Krauss tweeted.
Slightly more than seven decades ago, when the United Nations was officially founded in San Francisco, there was no question in the world about who was the Great Power, the World Hegemon. Today the situation has radically altered to the severe disadvantage of Washington and her ability to dictate terms to the rest of the world in economics, politics, and the greatly-misused expression “human rights and democracy-building.” That disadvantage may, ironically, be a blessing in disguise for us all.
In 1945, the United States Federal Reserve controlled the overwhelming majority of the world’s monetary gold. As war approached in Europe in 1939, European gold flooded into the United States for safety. In 1935 US official gold reserves were valued at just over $9 billion. By 1940 after the onset of war in Europe, it had leapt to $20 billion. As desperate European countries sought to finance their war effort, their gold went to the United States to purchase essential goods. By the time of the June 1944 international monetary conference at Bretton Woods, the United States Federal Reserve controlled fully 70% of world monetary gold, a staggering advantage in what was then a Bretton Woods Gold Exchange System with the US dollar at its heart. That wasn’t even calculating the captured gold of the defeated Axis powers of Germany or Japan, where exact facts and data are buried in layers of deception and rumor to this day.
To grasp the full dimension of the internal crisis and foreign policy dilemmas facing Washington today, it’s useful to go back to the nature of the immediate postwar “triumphalism” of US policy circles in the wake of their emergence from the war.
An ‘American Empire’ emerges
One influential geopolitical thinker of the postwar American Century, sometimes referred to as “the first Cold Warrior,” was James Burnham. During the war he had been one of Wild Bill Donovan’s US Government intelligence operatives in the pre-CIA intelligence operation called Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Burnham was one of many American Trotskyist Marxists recruited by the US intelligence. After the war, Burnham, swung from far left to far right, much as fellow former Trotskyist, Irving Kristol, the so-called Godfather of the neo-cons. Burnham together with William F. Buckley, Jr. founded the arch-conservative National Review to propagate Cold War anti-Soviet missives and pro-free market propaganda, invariably serving the foreign policy agenda of the CIA and State Department.
In 1947 Burnham wrote a major paean to America’s new world power titled The Struggle for the World. The book was adapted from a Top Secret OSS memo Burnham had prepared for the US Delegation to Yalta about the Soviet geopolitical strategy in 1944.
Burnham described in the most positive terms what he called, “an American Empire which will be, if not literally worldwide in formal boundaries, capable of exercising decisive world control.” This is what Time-Life magazine founder, Henry Luce in his 1941 essay termed, “The American Century.”
Burnham’s vision and recommendations for his American world control were stark and unequivocal:
The United States cannot within the allotted time win the leadership of a viable world political order merely by appeals to rational conviction…Power must be there, with the known readiness to use it, whether in the indirect form of paralyzing economic sanctions, or in the direct explosion of bombs. As the ultimate reserve in the power series there would be the monopoly control of atomic weapons.
The reference to “direct explosion of bombs” from Burnham’s 1944 draft was a presaging of the August 1945 decision by President Truman to drop the atomic bomb on Japan, not to secure Japanese surrender which was already clear, but, rather to show the Soviet Union, as well as Western Europe, which power would rule the postwar world. The American Century was to be a “no nonsense” enterprise. As Burnham put it, “Independence and freedom are, after all, abstractions.”
Within that American-controlled economic space, encompassing more than 560 million people, lay a vast potential market beyond even the enormous expanse of the prewar British Empire. The United States, a mere two years into its postwar ambitions, held extraordinary power over much of the world in an informal economic empire. It had done so by using the mechanisms of the Bretton Woods institutions of the IMF and World Bank, through its control of broad western European economic policy via the Marshall Plan and the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), through the role of the dollar as the world reserve currency, and the heart of world finance, and above all, through the major New York banks of the Wall Street money cartel and their allied civil servants in Washington at the Federal Reserve and US Treasury Department.
In 1948 George Kennan, architect of US Cold War Soviet “Containment” policy, noted in an internal US State Department memo the essence of the mentality of those special interests around the brothers Rockefeller and the New York Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), who were busy then defining that emerging American informal empire. Kennan’s memo outlined the postwar agenda of the US power establishment very succinctly:
…[W]e have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population…. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.
Kennan outlined the real nature of post-war US policies. Kennan was coldly honest and realistic about the true postwar goal of the US establishment. It was US domination of the world, or at least as much of it as it could seize and hold onto in 1948. That was the CFR’s proposed Grand Area.
Since 1945 the United States has formally been involved as combatant in twenty two wars, major and minor, from Korea to Vietnam, from Grenada and Panama to Syria and Libya, wars all to grab and hold that global empire.
Now, its domestic economy a hollowed-out shell, its transportation infrastructure in horrendous decline, its skilled labor force increasingly non-existent, its university engineering and science students mostly from abroad–mainly China and India–the United States of America is in the throes of a terminal decline, a decline caused by no one but her own people who tolerated the looting and destruction of a once-beautiful nation by a greedy, power-addicted cabal of bad people with names like Rockefeller, Gates, Russell, DuPont, Buffett and others whose names are hardly known to the broad public.
The crisis that the USA faces today as World Hegemon is the fact the nation has become bankrupt, morally, spiritually, intellectually and economically, in an eerie manner much as the British Empire after onset of their Great Depression of 1873.
A few basic indicators says volumes about the rapidly-growing limits to America’s global power projection and why Washington’s “bully” tactics are being increasingly scorned by the rest of the world.
USA Debt then and now
Today, unlike at the start of the 1930s Great Depression, the Federal Government in Washington must carry a staggering debt level to finance its ever-more impotent attempts to hold onto its global control. At the end of September, 2016 the total combined Federal, state and municipal US debt will likely pass the staggering amount of $ 22.4 trillion, with $19.3 trillion of it from the Federal government. If private corporate and household debt is added, today Americans owe a staggering total of $60 trillion. Forty years ago in 1974 total debt– the combination of government, business, mortgage, and consumer debt–was $2.2 trillion. About 50% of that Federal debt today is held by foreign countries, most by China and Japan, Russia and EU central banks.
This Federal Reserve graph of total USA debt, public and private shows clearly how and when the United States began its now precipitous decline as a Great Power
The only comparable time when US Federal debt as a share of GDP was anywhere near that of today was in 1946 at the end of the Second World War when Debt-to-GDP topped 119%. In 2014 total public state, federal and local US debt topped 120% of GDP.
The difference between 1946 and 2016 lies not in comparing the raw numbers. Then the US was the victor dictating terms to the vanquished. In 1946 Washington was at the center of global power. The US dollar was in demand everywhere, “as good as gold.” US industry was the world leader in innovation and technological efficiency. Detroit was the global symbol for making superb, affordable cars, and more of them than any other nation. US steel output was unexcelled. Research at US universities was unparalleled, aided by an influx of European and other war refugee scientists such as Albert Einstein. Most of the so-called “free world” rushed under the US nuclear umbrella known as NATO. They were to pay a hefty price for that umbrella.
Faking the numbers is no recovery…
Today, some 45 years after President Nixon unilaterally abrogated the Bretton Woods Treaty and declared the Federal Reserve would no longer buy US dollars held abroad for gold, the real US economy is a shambles. From time to time I’ve noted the absurd and politically-motivated lies that pass for “official US Government economic statistics.” It’s gotten successively worse since the first lying tricks ordered by President Lyndon Johnson to hide the soaring US debt during the Vietnam War era in the late 1960’s.
According to the widely-respected calculations by economist John Williams at the Shadow Government Statistics site, actual US unemployment in November 2015 was 22.9%, when we include the “long-term discouraged workers”–those who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That’s far from the Obama Labor Department fantasy level of 5% unemployed. One-fifth of the workforce jobless is a level previously reached over the past century only during the 1930’s Great Depression.
John Williams’ adjusted unemployment estimates explain the otherwise curious data released, without elaboration, by the same US Government, on the number of “working-age Americans not working.” Today, officially, more than 100 million Americans over the age of 16 are not working. That ain’t because they are sitting on the beach clipping coupons on their zero-interest-rate bonds. It’s because there are no jobs for them; there is no economic future for them in today’s America. Many young people even begin to look at fighting Washington’s wars as an option that at least gives a steady paycheck. This in fact is turning the United States into a Sparta, a war nation that thrives on blood. Not healthy.
Worst hit are the young just graduating college or high school, where last year of the new additions to the working age population, less than four in 10 found jobs. As one economist, Stephen Moore, noted, “for every three Americans added to the working age population age 16 and older, only one new job (1.07) has been created under Obama. At this pace, America will soon officially have a zero unemployment rate. But that will only be because no one will be looking for work.” Under Labor Department definitions those “not looking” because they have given up, do not exist. Veeeeery clever, Bureau of Labor Statistics!
America’s Homeless Crisis
Germany and Sweden have their refugee crisis, the direct result of a US-instigated series of wars going from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya and now to Syria. The United States, however, has a human crisis of a quite different nature–soaring numbers of homeless.
As the number of permanent unemployed rises across America, much as during the Great Depression, today the number of cities where homelessness has reached crisis proportions is exploding.
In the once-thriving California city, Los Angeles, a 50-block area of downtown nick-named Skid Row is described as “the worst man-made disaster in the US.” More recently, Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; and Seattle, Washington, as well as the entire state of Hawaii have become the latest to take drastic emergency measures to try to deal with spreading homeless populations.
In addition, the nation’s capital, Washington DC, as well as 22 other cities, are experiencing dramatic rises in homeless. In Washington, DC, the number of homeless rose by 28 percent and the number of homeless families went up by 60 percent in the past year. Chicago, Illinois; Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and San Francisco, California are as well suffering from the same problem.
Wrong National Priorities
The root of the crisis lies in a nation that is being led by corrupt Washington Presidents, Generals, Congressmen who prostitute themselves to a seemingly endless hog trough of corruption. None excels in this official corruption more than the US Pentagon and its incestuous role with the corrupt military industrial complex.
Russia’s recent military engagement in Syria has raised eyebrows the world over, including in Washington, at the level of precision and sophistication the newly-reorganized Russian military has demonstrated. Weapon after weapon the Russian air forces have deployed seem to outclass its US counterparts. In one area, however, the US has no equal. That is in military contracting corruption.
In 2014 the US Armed Forces paper, Stars and Stripes, reported that, “Nearly three decades after US taxpayers gasped over $640 toilet seats and other Cold War military waste, the Department of Defense remains the last federal department still unable to conduct a financial audit despite laws passed in the 1990s that require the accounting.”
They continued, “In other words, the US military has turned into a black hole, into which billions of taxpayer dollars have disappeared, without any clear evidence on how, when, and to whom the money went. The fact is that the US government now subcontracts almost everything out to private companies (who collectively spend billions lobbying Congress and funding political campaigns), and this is particularly true when it comes to the Pentagon.”
Austrian journalist, Einar Schlereth, in a recent analysis published by Sputnik News, comparing the Russian state military industry system to the private US one, notes that, “Russia’s system of military spending is the diametric opposite of America’s. While the United States has privatized their military industry, in Russia it is in state hands. All profits from arms sales go to the Russian government, not to the makers or the multinationals. The arms manufacturers are [effectively] part of the government.”
“Just like in the US, there is no financial accounting of their operations, but there are financial reports reviewed each year by the defense minister and, moreover, by the president and the prime minister –i.e. by people who are responsible to the electorate, and not only to the aristocracy of large shareholders.”
Recent estimates by the American Society of Civil Engineers put America’s national infrastructure deficit in excess of $3.6 trillions required for building or replacing antiquated water systems, electricity power lines, highways, rail lines, sewer systems. That includes more than 10% of all bridges defective, one third of national highways, airports and runways. In this situation, it would be interesting to see the voter reaction were Donald Trump or any US Presidential candidate to have the courage or sanity to suggest a shift in national economic priorities away from making wars with Russia, China, Syria and turning those over-budget Pentagon “swords” into plowshares. We should have done it in 1990 when the Soviet Union ceased to exist as an adversary.
Such are the travails of a bankrupt hegemon today.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2016/01/17/travails-of-a-bankrupt-hegemon/
When she was diagnosed, the consultant geneticist told mum Niki Trepak, 32, she had never seen the disorder before which allows the youngster to go THREE DAYS without sleeping.
Olivia’s mum knew her daughter was different from around nine months
Mum-of-five Ms Trepak, of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, said: “Doctors have called her the bionic girl, she’s made of steel. She’s got no sense of danger.
“She was dragged about 10 car lengths down the road. It was horrendous, I don’t think it’s something I will never get over.
“I was screaming and all my other children were screaming as she ran out.
“But Olivia was just like, ‘What’s going on?’. She just got up and started walking back to me.
“Because of the impact she should have had severe injuries. She had a tyre mark on her chest. But her only injuries were she had no skin on her toe or her hip.
“The doctors think what saved her from injury was she didn’t tense up.”
Note: Michael Snyder is a devout Christian. The Apocalypse is a real thing for him, and I believe that he prays for it to come.
With permission from
You may have noticed that things are starting to get crazy. Financial markets are imploding, violent crime rates are soaring in our major cities, and we have witnessed a truly unusual series of natural disasters in recent months. War in the Middle East continues to rage out of control, and Islamic terror continues to spread all over the globe. And many believe that 2016 is going to be a year of political shaking, civil unrest, governmental crackdowns and great economic chaos in the United States. All it is going to take to plunge our society into full-blown panic mode is a major “trigger event” of some sort. Another 9/11, a new “Lehman Brothers” moment, a massive EMP burst from the sun or a historic seismic event are all examples of what this “trigger event” could look like.
So are you ready for what is about to happen to America? In previous articles, I have urged my readers to focus on the five basics – food, water, shelter, energy and self-defense. If you focus on those five things, you will probably be in pretty good shape during any major disaster or emergency.
In this article, I want to dig a little deeper and give people some more specific tips regarding what they can do to prepare for the times that we are now entering. The following are 70 tips that will help you survive what is going to happen to America…
1. A lot of the “experts” out there are urging people to get rid of all of their cash. That is a huge mistake. You are going to need cash to pay your bills – especially during the initial phases of the coming crisis. Today, 63 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and millions of them will be severely hurting almost immediately once they lose their jobs or their businesses go under during this new economic downturn.
2. Get to know your neighbors. As the coming time of trouble unfolds, you are going to want to have people around you that you can trust and depend on.
3. Learn how to grow a garden. Food costs will continue to rise and our food distribution system is far more vulnerable than most people would dare to imagine. Any way that you can become more “food independent” would be a good thing.
4. At this point, you should already have several years of emergency food stored up for each member of your family. And don’t forget to store additional food for friends and family members that haven’t prepared and will need to come stay with you.
5. Make a “bug out plan” for your family, and make certain that every member of your family knows what the rally points are in case you all get separated.
6. Every member of your family should have a “bug out bag“. These should contain everything that they will need in the event of a major emergency.
7. If you are going to “strategically relocate” before things get really bad in this country, hopefully you have already done so by now. If not, you are working on borrowed time.
8. When civil unrest starts really spiraling out of control, it would be in your interest to avoid “America’s death zones” if possible.
9. Always have the gas tanks in your vehicles at least halfway full. You never know when you will need to hit the road in an emergency situation.
10. Put away some extra fuel for your generator while fuel costs are low.
11. Think ahead about what medicines and medical supplies you and your family will need during a major crisis.
12. Try to stock up on things that will make good barter items when the overall economy begins to totally break down.
13. There are non-electric versions of various appliances. Some examples include washing machines and coffee makers.
14. How are you going to cook your food when the power goes out for an extended period of time? You may want to consider a sun oven if you don’t have one already.
15. Don’t have all of your eggs in one basket. That includes not having all of your money in one location. If you have a bank account, consider spreading that money around to two or three different bank accounts.
16. You will want to keep at least some cash at home in case you are not able to access ATM machines during a major crisis.
17. If you can get out of debt without jeopardizing your other preparations, you should consider doing so. Those that are “lean and mean” financially will be in much better shape – especially during the initial stages of the coming crisis.
18. Physical gold and silver are good ways to protect your wealth over the long-term. As I have warned repeatedly, we will continue to see big ups and big downs for precious metals, so if you are going to invest you have got to be able to handle the ride.
19. Reduce your expenses and get accustomed to a more minimal standard of living. Now is not the time to be spending lots of money on fancy new toys.
20. If you have the time and energy, starting a side business may not be a bad idea. That way if you lose your job, you still have some income coming in.
21. You need to have a plan for fresh water in the event of a major emergency. Without water none of us can survive, and is imperative that you have a plan to provide clean drinking water for your family when disaster strikes.
22. If you can afford to get partially or totally “off the grid”, that would be a very good thing. Many preppers are discovering that they can do amazing things with wind, solar and water power.
23. Anyone that has spent more than a few hours without power knows how frustrating this can be. You need to have a plan for how you are going to provide power to your home that is independent of the power company.
24. Rotate your food supplies. Eat your oldest stuff first even though it may be tempting to dig into the stuff that you just purchased.
25. If you have a baby, don’t forget the special things that your baby will need during a major crisis.
26. Many preppers totally forget about their pets. You should store the food and supplies that they will need during an extended emergency.
27. This may sound trivial, but the truth is that our entertainment-addicted society would become very bored and very frustrated if the grid suddenly went down for an extended period of time. Card games and other basic forms of entertainment can make enduring a crisis much easier.
28. In the years ahead, being able to defend your home is going to become increasingly important. When the economy crashes, people are going to start to become very desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.
29. No plan ever unfolds perfectly. When your plan is disrupted, what will you do? It will be imperative for all of us to have a back-up plan and to be flexible during the years ahead.
30. Do not go around and tell everyone in the area where you live about your prepping. If you do, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with “visitors” when everything falls apart.
The following are items that are commonly recommended by survivalist experts that you may want to consider storing in case they are needed during a major crisis or emergency…
32. Warm Clothing
34. Extra Flashlights
35. First Aid Kits
38. Duct Tape
39. A Shovel
40. A Tent
42. Mylar Blankets
43. Body Armor
47. An Axe
48. A Can Opener
49. A Battery-Powered Radio
50. Extra Batteries
51. A Fire Extinguisher
52. A Sewing Kit
53. A Tool Kit
54. Comfortable Shoes Or Hiking Boots
55. A Map Of Your Area
56. A Compass
57. Sleeping Bags
59. A Camp Stove
60. An LED Headlamp
62. Heirloom Seeds
64. Wood Socks, Sweaters And Mittens
65. Personal Hygiene Items
66. Ziplock Bags
67. A Watch Or Some Other Way To Tell Time
68. Extra Copies Of Your Financial Records
69. Spare Glasses
70. Prescription Medications
Are there any additional tips that you would add to this list?
Can you believe this parasitic wind bag? He talks of ” Russian aggression and expansion”; excuse me, but can you name one instance of Russia’s aggression and expansion? I cannot believe people fall for this propaganda crap. This is from almost one year ago, but it reads like a blueprint for the future then. Look at the stock market this past week.
“We are confronted by a geopolitical situation perhaps as dangerous as any we have faced since World War II: chaos and extremism in the Middle East, Russian aggression and expansion, and a weakened Europe threatened by horrendous unemployment, in no small measure caused by a failure to tackle structural reforms in many of the countries which form part of the European Union,” wrote Jacob Rothschild, a British investment banker and a member of the prominent Rothschild family, in an annual Strategic Report of RIT Capital Partners plc (RIT).RIT is an investment trust that has been investing “in a widely diversified, international portfolio” delivering high returns to shareholders since 1988.
According to the company’s website, RIT has more than doubled its net asset value per share and share price over the past ten years.
Although Rothschild’s RIT can currently boast the highest level of its share price, not everything is rosy in the garden for the global economy, emphasized Lord Rothschild: “The world economy grew at a disappointing and uneven rate in 2014 after six years of monetary stimulus and extraordinarily low interest rates.”
Furthermore, the value of paper money has reduced substantially, as countries were trying to generate growth by lowering the value of their currencies, particularly the Euro and the Yen, which have lost over 12 percent against the US Dollar during the last year. The undesirable consequences of such monetary experiments are hard to predict, noted Lord Rothschild.It seems that Rothschild’s concerns are shared by the EU member states as well: at the end of 2014 several European countries demonstrated a revived interest in gold as a monetary policy instrument and focused on repatriating their bullion gold reserves from abroad, citing issues of economic stagnation and an unprecedented level of money printing in the world.
However, Jacob Rothschild underscored that the majority of companies are reporting profits exceeding forecasts together with steady earnings growth.
The banker believes that “the combination of a more competitive Euro and an aggressive program of quantitative easing and the yields available on equities, may well lead to even higher valuations.”
Saudi Arabia’s justice system is based on medieval religious texts interpreted by judges trained only in Islamic law. The result is a system of harsh punishments, bizarre prohibitions and wildly differing treatment of offenders depending on gender, citizenship and personal connections.
By Evan Dyer
Posted: Jan 16, 2016
In 2013, Ottawa’s Algonquin College opened a satellite campus in Jazan, Saudi Arabia. The school probably expected to draw heat at home for opening a male-only school, and it did. What it wasn’t bargaining on was having five headless bodies strung up across the road.
Saudi authorities had executed five Yemenis for murder, and put their corpses on display on a pole strung between two cranes as a warning to others. Standard practice in the desert kingdom.
Last year alone there were 151 executions in Saudi Arabia, the highest number in 20 years. About half died for non-violent offences, and about half were foreigners.
This year began on an even bloodier note, with 47 executions on Jan. 2, including that of a prominent Shia cleric who had spoken against the royal family.
“We’ve very clearly concluded that the situation has deteriorated significantly over the past year,” says Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.
In fact, Saudi Arabia puts fewer people to death than either China or Iran. But Saudi Arabia’s grim tally attracts attention for three main reasons.
One is that many of those put to death are foreigners (mostly poor migrant workers); another is that it executes people for “crimes” (like adultery or even sorcery) that are not considered offences in other countries; and the third is that its punishments — beheading, whipping, crucifying and stoning — are so shocking to Western sensibilities.
These actions make it difficult for Western allies to defend the kingdom, particularly because similar punishments are often cited as part of the justification for waging war on groups like ISIS and the Taliban.
And yet Saudi Arabia also appears uniquely impervious to outside pressure to change its ways, which are rooted in religion.
“Saudi Arabia has always been a very difficult country to push human rights change in,” says Neve. “It’s very resistant to external pressure, and it’s been ruthless in crushing internal reform efforts.”
One of the West’s leading experts on the country, Gregory Gause, the head of the international affairs department at Texas A&M University, agrees that the Saudis are not feeling the heat.
“The more power a country has in the international system, the less they have to worry about human rights reports,” he says. “And the Saudis have leverage because of oil.”
WHAT IS IT? It is now happening more frequently. Are we being warned? Unexplained Loud Booms shake houses too!
The future is here. They have already improved the original model of the drone to make it safe. Pretty cool.
The medicinal benefits of meditation and yoga are now firmly established in scientific literature. One of the latest studies to emerge on the matter comes from Harvard researchers working at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). They determined that meditation literally rebuilds the brain’s grey matter in just eight weeks. It’s the very first study to document that meditation produces changes over time in the brain’s grey matter. (1)
Another promising study has recently come out of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). These researchers conducted the very first study where the use of the “relaxation response”was examined in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and the first to investigate the genomic effects of the relaxation response in individuals with any disorder. The report was published in the journal PLOS-ONE. (source)
When it comes to ‘prayer’ or ‘distant healing’ — directing human attention on physical systems — significant results have been obtained that warrant further investigation. For a selected list of downloadable peer-reviewed journal articles reporting studies of psychic phenomena, mostly published in the 21st century, you can click HERE.
Scientists over at the HeartMath Institute have demonstrated that when a person is feeling really good, and is full of positive emotions like love, gratitude, and appreciation, their heart beats out a different message that’s encoded in its electromagnetic field, which in turn has positive health effects on their body overall. You can read more about that here.
Factors associated with human consciousness (thoughts, feelings, emotions, perception, intention) have long been studied to see how they affect and interact with our physical world. You can read more about that here.
Meditation, yoga, and prayer are all grouped into a category (in medical terms) called ‘relaxation-response techniques.’ These techniques have been subject to several studies which clearly show that regular practice directly affects physiologic factors such as heart rate, blood pressure, stress, anxiety, oxygen consumption, and more. It was first described over 40 years ago by Herbert Benson, Director Emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute and co-author of the paper presented in this article.
The new study, out of the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, from the Institute for Technology Assessment and the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) for Mind Body Medicine, found that people participating in the ‘relaxation-response program’ actually used fewer health care services in the year after their participation, compared to how many they used the previous year.
The Harvard gazette reports that relaxation response techniques, such as meditation, yoga, and prayer, could reduce the need for health care services by 43 percent.