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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Legal and illegal elections and The Mandate from Heaven

Mandate of Heaven

© Unknown

The legitimacy of the ruling class - whatever political form it may take - is based on the illusion that it can protect the people. whether from war, famine, economic hardship, or any other kind of disaster that disrupts the everyday routine of their lives and livelihood. The following excerpt illustrates this point:

I want this country to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion. I want every man, woman and child to understand how close we are to chaos. I want everyone to remember why they need us!

Excerpt from Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection)

The last quote above is from the Chancellors speech in V for Vendetta, but it could just as well have been from Obama, Harper or Cameron for that matter.

Empires all go through a rising period, a flowering period and a collapse. No empires have escaped this fate and the current empire with its allies is no different, despite Obamas claim of being exceptional. All empires in the end have become thoroughly ponerized to the point that every person in a position of power will be suffering from some kind of psychological defects. As Lobaczewski writes:

In a pathocracy, all leadership positions, (down to village headman and community cooperative managers, not to mention the directors of police units, and special services police personnel, and activists in the pathocratic party) must be filled by individuals with corresponding psychological deviations, which are inherited as a rule.

Our current empire of chaos is no exception. It is today ruled by a pathological elite, that is thoroughly corrupt, that promotes sick morals and values, that uses torture and violence to squash dissent, that engages in war without end, that demonizes large sections of the worlds populace due to color or religion, all the while claiming to protect democracy, freedom of speech and humanitarian ideals. These words spoken by the pathological elite are as vile and devoid of substance as a dead pig once the blowflies have done their job.

In order to maintain power all attempts by normal people to assert their will have to be suppressed, slandered, vilified so as to guarantee that no alternative of liviing together is going to present itself. Such an alternative would be a serious threat to the ruling elite and their grasp on power, as it would open the eyes of people currently living under pathocratic rule to the prison in which they are living. This brings us to the events that we are seeing today.

There have been numerous elections this year. There were presidential elections in Russia in March, Afghanistan in April, Ukraine in May, Syria in June, Brazil in October, leadership election in Donbass in November and also Crimean status referendum election March, parliamentary election in Iraq in April, independence elections in Scotland in September and parliamentary elections in Ukraine in October just to mention a few.

The reaction of the pathocracy was predictable: In short those elections where their allies won were declared democratic and free and those where opponents won were declared undemocratic, tyrannic, scandalous or just downright illegal.

What was interesting and a sign of the decline of the US empire, was the election in quite a number of countries of leaders antithetical to the US empire, such as Putin in Russia, Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, Bashar Assad in Syria, Zakharchenko in Donetsk and Plotnitsky in Lugansk. Brazil was the only election that the US didn't directly attack the validity of, but remained for the US fairly neutral. The most recent election the one in Donbass was simply declared illegal and a threat to peace in Ukraine with the threat of ever more sanctions to follow on Russia, despite practically no voter irregularities, very high voter turnout and no violence or deaths. An international observer from Canada remarked:

The Canadian representative said the elections of the mayor of Toronto did not even compare to the elections for the parliaments of Donetsk and Lugansk Republics, which will became the root of Novorossia. He was comparing Krasnodon and Alchevsk with Toronto, not to mention Donesk and Lugansk. There were lines one kilometer long with people eager to express their wishes in these elections.

Needless to say. This Canadian representative along with all other Western independent observers were declared persona non-grata in Ukraine.

Of the other elections the Scottish independence election might have been one of the most important for the empire, as a yes vote would have encouraged a lof of other independence seeking regions such as Catalania, Basque, Flemish regions, apart from causing problem with EU and NATO cohesiveness. For that reason the pathocrats had done their homework and made sure the results would swing their way. It helps when there is no oversight of postal votes and control of ballot boxes coming and going! For those interested here is list of articles of some of the elections covered by Sott:

In times of calm it is easy for the rulers to have the trust and the mandate of the people, but when things are getting tough with economic downturns, increased natural disasters and cometary impacts which have been evident, they the people get edgy and look to the leaders to fix things. They are after all the ones with the mandate to rule, originally the divine mandate to rule and intercede with the gods on behalf of humanity.

If the people were to realize that they are not really in control of anything, then revolt would break out and the ruling elite would be deposed. This is why we see such a desperate effort on behalf of the elite to cling to power. The planet is going down the gurgler and real fast and it is becoming obvious that not only is the elite powerless, but they are also deliberately hoarding wealth for themselves and caring nought for those they were entrusted to protect and look after. Thus the endless over the top lies of the elite. They need the people to believe their lies. They need people to believe in the pathocracy and their lies of evil Russians, of evil Muslim terrorists, of evil over their. But the pathocracy will inevitably run out of steam as it is not creative, but entropic. Thus we see the same lies repeated, the same model for regime change, the same rhetoric for deposing the latest evil dictator with alleged WMD etc.

The fall is inevitable and if we the people don't stand up to our leaders and the ongoing lies, then most likely the universe will step in and do the house cleaning! History is a testament to that, something that Pierre Lescaudron together with Laura Knight Jadczyk have demonstrated in the latest book called Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection..Judging from the earth changes taking place apart from cometary events that are rising exponentially, then it looks like it is already happening and it will be all over but the crying. Take a look at the monthly SOTT Summary of Fireballs, Extreme Weather, and Earth Changes and you will see things are heating up.

In the meantime, we the people CAN do something. It is all ok sitting in the armchair, sipping bear and eating pretzels while cheering the news about a win for Putin but that does very little. He can not do it alone. You have to activate yourself and stand up for truth where you see it being trampled. Stop believing the lies that are spread. Read, inform yourself, learn about ponerology and psychopathy for a revolution without knowledge will end in disaster as history is a testamente too. Find out what is closer to the truth of the narratives being presented. Do what the lie doesn't like: Expose it!

Don't look outwardly for a hero figure, that will take of all your sorrows. Take inspiration but be your own hero and support, share and network with other people who take a stand for the truth. The pathological elite do not represent humanity, WE DO and together we can make this a better place.

To highligth this point and especially given the mid-term elections just happened yesterday, here is a quote from Cindy Sheehan, someone who became her own hero after having given up on the elected leaders, said:

This Empire that we reside under is on the verge of collapse by institutional rot, fueled by avaricious greed. Removing ourselves from the diseased systems of the Robber Class is the only way we are going to survive the collapse.

Can it be any more obvious at this point that we cannot vote our way out of this mess? This system cannot be reformed to a place where it's healthy, clean and safe for us...


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Close-minded Vatican official denounces Brittany Maynard's decision to voluntarily end life

© REUTERS/thebrittanyfund.org

Brittany Maynard (L) is pictured with her husband Dan Diaz in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters November 3, 2014.

A Vatican bioethics official on Tuesday condemned the death by assisted suicide of American Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill 29-year-old who ended her life over the weekend, as an undignified "absurdity".

"This woman (took her own life) thinking she would die with dignity, but this is the error," Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told the Italian news agency Ansa.

"Suicide is not a good thing. It is a bad thing because it is saying no to life and to everything it means with respect to our mission in the world and towards those around us," the head of the Vatican think tank on life issues said in a report on the Ansa website.

He described assisted suicide as "an absurdity".

Maynard, who was diagnosed in January with a brain tumor and had announced plans to take medication to die when her pain became unbearable, had become the face of the right-to-die movement ahead of her death this weekend.

The group Compassion & Choices, an Oregon-based nonprofit that assisted the young woman through her end of life, said on Sunday that she had passed away surrounded by friends and family.

The Roman Catholic Church opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide, teaching that life starts at the moment of conception and should end at the moment of natural death.

Feeling down? Melancholy tunes can have beneficial emotional effects

Participants in the study revealed that most of the sad songs they listen to are slow in tempo and some of the most popular titles chosen, included: Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata, Ah Bing’s Moon Reflected in the Second Spring and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Mr Barber is pictured left and Beethoven is illustrated right.

Turn up those tearjerkers and dig out your Radiohead albums, because scientists claim that melancholy music can actually lift your spirits. A new study has revealed that listening to sad songs can improve a person's emotional well-being as well as make us feel at peace and nostalgic.

It found that most people experience more than three emotions when listening to sad songs, which provoke a more complex reaction than happy pop songs.

Music and brain researchers Liila Taruffi and Stefan Koelsch, of the Free University of Berlin, surveyed 722 people across the globe to understand how often they listen to miserable tracks and how they feel at the time. 'For many individuals, listening to sad music can actually lead to beneficial emotional effects,' they wrote in their study, which is published in the journal . 'Music-evoked sadness can be appreciated not only as an aesthetic, abstract reward, but [it] also plays a role in well-being, by providing consolation as well as regulating negative moods and emotions.'

The study says that sad music stirs up a mixture of complex and 'partially positive' emotions, including nostalgia, peacefulness, tenderness, transcendence, and wonder, reported. 'Results show four different rewards of music-evoked sadness: reward of imagination, emotion regulation, empathy, and no "real-life" implications,' the study says. Surprisingly, nostalgia rather than sadness is the most frequent emotion evoked by sad music. Nostalgia was the most common emotion experienced by listeners in Europe and the US, while people in Asia mostly reported feeling a peace.

'The average number of emotions that participants reported to have experienced in response to sad music was above three,' the researchers wrote in the study. 'This suggests that a multifaceted emotional experience elicited by sad music enhances its aesthetic appeal.' The study uncovered that most people choose to listen to sad songs when they are feeling lonely or distressed.

'For most of the people, the engagement with sad music in everyday life is correlated with its potential to regulate negative moods and emotions, as well as to provide consolation,' the researchers explained.They believe that listening to sad music improves people's well-being and helps people vent negative emotions when they are feeling distressed. The experts also say that sad music has pleasurable effects and can stimulate people to express their emotions. Participants in the study revealed that most of the sad songs they listen to are slow in tempo.

Some of the most popular titles chosen included Beethoven's Midnight Sonata, Ah Bing's Moon Reflected in the Second Spring and Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. 'Appreciation of sad music follows a mood-congruent fashion and is greater among individuals with high empathy and low emotional stability,' according to the study.

Man calls 911 for chest pains, sheriff deputy shows up and shoves him to the ground


Jerry Maynard

A West Virginia man says he was thrown to the ground by a sheriff's deputy after he called for help while experiencing a possible medical emergency.

Jerry Maynard said he was having chest pains Thursday after drinking some whiskey at his Delbarton home, reported WSAZ-TV , so he called 911.

An ambulance arrived a short time later, and emergency medical crews examined him and found his vital signs normal. But the pains flared up again, Maynard said, so he called 911 a second time.

Two Mingo County sheriff's deputies arrived this time with the ambulance, although the Mingo County sheriff declined to say why. Maynard said one of the deputies swore at him and threatened to kill him if he called 911 again.

Surveillance video from a neighbor's home shows one of the deputies approach Maynard and shove him hard in the chest, knocking him flat on his back.

"He hit me and knocked me down," Maynard said. "Well, when he did, everything went dark. I put my hand up. I didn't know if he was going to hit me with a light or what."

The sheriff said the deputy was placed on administrative leave while the incident was investigated by county prosecutors and internal affairs, but he defended the veteran.

"I've not heard nothing from him since I've been in office," said Sheriff James Smith. "I've not received nothing from him. I think he's been on the job 12-13 years now."

He declined to say whether shoving was acceptable behavior.

Maynard has previously been convicted of public intoxication, drunken driving, and obstructing an officer.


SpaceShipTwo's fatal crash not caused by rocket engine

crash SpaceShip2

© www.floridatoday.com

Crash site of SpaceShipTwo, Mojave, CA

It wasn't SpaceShipTwo's hybrid rocket motor -- which was flying on Friday with a new type of fuel -- that caused the fatal crash, the head of the accident investigation agency said late Sunday. The ship's fuel tanks and its engine were recovered intact, indicating there was no explosion.

"They showed no signs of burn-through, no signs of being breached," Christopher Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation and Safety Board, told reporters at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif. Instead, data and video relayed from the ship show its hallmark safety feature -- a foldable tail section designed for easy re-entry into the atmosphere from space -- was deployed early.

"The engine burn was normal up until the extension of the feathers," said Hart. Normally, the feather system wouldn't be unlocked until the rocket-powered spaceship is moving about Mach 1.4, or 1.4 times faster than the speed of sound.

Instead, the co-pilot moved the lever from locked to unlock when the spaceship was traveling at about Mach 1, Hart said. "I'm not stating that this is the cause of the mishap," he added. "We have months and months of investigation to determine what the cause was."

In addition to the possibility of pilot error, Hart said the NTSB is looking a variety of other issues that may have caused or contributed to the accident, including training, spacecraft design and the safety culture at Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites, which designed and manufactured the spaceship. "There is much more that we don't know and our investigation is far from over," Hart said.

The accident claimed the life of Scaled Composites test pilot Mike Alsbury, who was serving as the spaceship co-pilot, Scaled's website shows. Pilot Pete Siebold, who was able to parachute to the ground, survived with a serious shoulder injury.

SpaceShipTwo took off on Friday morning for what was expected to be its fourth powered test flight. It was released as planned from its carrier jet at an altitude of about 45,000 feet. Seconds later, the spaceship's hybrid motor, which was using a new plastic propellant, powered up.

About nine seconds later, the ship's feathering system was unlocked, said Hart. Two seconds after that, the ship's tail section moved toward the deployed position. "This was an uncommanded feather, which means the feather occurred without the feather lever being moved into the feather position," Hart told Discovery News. "Shortly after the feathering occurred, the telemetry data terminated and the video data terminated," he said.

Debris was scattered over a five-mile area north of the spaceport, indicating the spaceship broke apart in flight.

About 800 people already have paid or put down deposits to fly on SpaceShipTwo. Virgin Galactic hoped to begin passenger service next year. The company's second ship is about 65 percent complete.

Why is the rise of Celiac Disease still stumping scientists?

© popapajoe.com

Two new studies in the rocked the world of celiac research, both proving that scientists have a ways to go in their understanding of celiac disease, which affects about 1% of the population, whether they know it or not.

One Italian study wondered if the age at which gluten is introduced into the diet could affect a person's likelihood of developing the autoimmune disease - so they kept gluten away from newborns for a year. To the shock of the researchers, delaying exposure to gluten didn't make a difference in the long run. In some cases it delayed the of the disease, but it didn't stop people from developing the disease, for which there is no cure.

The second study, of almost 1,000 children, introduced small amounts of gluten into the diets of breastfeeding infants to see if that fostered a gluten tolerance later on in those who were genetically predisposed to celiac disease. No such luck for them, either. Though both studies were excellently designed and executed, says Joseph A. Murray, MD, professor of medicine and gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, each was "a spectacular failure."

What is it about gluten that causes so many people to double over in pain? How could the innocent, ancient act of breaking bread be so problematic for some?

It's a question researchers are actively trying to answer. "I think of celiac disease now as a public health issue," Murray says. He's been researching the bread protein for more than 20 years and has seen the incidence of celiac disease rise dramatically; celiac is more than four times as common as it was 50 years ago, according to his research, which was published in the journal . Even though awareness and testing methods have dramatically improved, they can't alone account for all of that increase, he says.

About 1% of Americans have celiac disease, and it's especially common among Caucasians. There's a strong genetic component, but it's still unclear why some people get it and other people don't. It seems to affect people of all ages, even if they've eaten wheat for decades. And you can't blame an increased consumption of the stuff; USDA data shows we're not eating more of it.

Something else in the environment must be culpable, and theories abound about possible factors, from Cesarean sections to the overuse of antibiotics and the hygiene hypothesis, which suggests that as our environment has become cleaner, our immune system has less to do and so turns on itself - and maybe particular foods like gluten - as a distraction.

Or maybe there's something different about gluten itself. The wheat seed hasn't changed all that much, but the way we process and prepare gluten products has, Murray says. "There have been some small studies looking at old forms of bread-making...that have suggested it's not as immunogenic, it doesn't drive the immune response as strongly as more modern grain or bread preparations," Murray says.

A small 2007 study found that sourdough bread, when fermented with bacteria, nearly eliminates gluten - but we need much more research before the truly allergic should be reaching for a slice of the stuff.

Dr. Alessio Fasano, MD, director of the Center for Celiac Research and chief of the division of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at Mass General Hospital for Children, was a co-author of that recent study about breast-feeding and timing of gluten introduction. He says he found the "major, unpredictable results shocking. The lesson learned from these studies is that there is something other than gluten in the environment that can eventually tilt these people from tolerant to the immune response in gluten to developing celiac disease," he says.

He suspects it may come down to how the modern, hyper-processed diet has influenced the makeup of our gut bacteria. "These bacteria eat whatever we eat," Fasano says. "We've been radically changing our lifestyle, particularly the way that we eat, too fast for our genes to adapt." Fasano hopes to explore the microbiome in his next study, in which he says he'll follow kids from birth and search for a signature in their microbiome that predicts the activation of their gluten-averse genes, which leads to a child developing celiac disease. The hope, then, is that a probiotic or prebiotic intervention will bring the troubled guts back from "belligerent to friendly."

"That would be the holy grail of preventive medicine," he says.

Former NSA head used position in government to profit, trading stocks in tech firm during tenure

© Reuters/Yuri Gripas

Former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander

As questions continue to be raised about the legality concerning the National Security Agency's vast surveillance apparatus, the NSA's ex spy chief is now coming under attack for ties he had to a tech company while in office.

A report published on Monday this week by Shane Harris at the Daily Beast revealed that Gen. Keith Alexander, the recently retired head of the NSA, bought and sold tens of thousands of dollars' worth of stock in a firm called Synchronoss Technologies Inc. while he ran the United States' intelligence gathering agency.

According to financial disclosure forms reviewed by the Beast, Alexander invested in Synchronoss in 2008 during his NSA tenure as that very company was selling technology to AT&T that allowed the telecom to activate and lock Apple iPhones onto its network.

"The carrier was then the exclusive voice and data service provider for the popular new iPhone, so Alexander stood to profit every time someone bought an iPhone and automatically became an AT&T customer," Harris wrote. "The NSA also had its own special relationship with AT&T," he added. "Under secret court orders, the agency was then hoovering up the phone records of AT&T's subscribers and pouring them into a database of who called whom in the United States, stretching back several years"

Since leaving the NSA earlier this year, Alexander has come under fire time and time again not just for the surveillance operations he authorized as the head of the spy office, but for the relationships that have already been developed during his post-government career. Questions have since been raised about Alexander's new private sector company, IronNet Cybersecurity, after the firm hired a current NSA exec to work concurrently with that group and the government, and Alexander's monthly consulting fee, upwards of $1 million per client, has caused concern as well.

"I question how Mr. Alexander can provide any of the services he is offering unless he discloses or misuses classified information, including extremely sensitive sources and methods," Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote earlier this year to the Security Industries and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) when it was revealed that they had retained the former spy chief. "Without the classified information that he acquired in his former position, he literally would have nothing to offer to you."

Now on the heels of Harris' report, Alexander is once again finding himself under fire.

"This isn't just a disturbing conflict of interest," Tom McKey wrote for News Mic this week. "The financial disclosures suggest that Alexander may have used his position at the center of America's intelligence apparatus for personal gain."

Alexander's contentious investments don't end there, however; according to Harris, the former NSA head had other unusual deals as well, including with the Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd., or Chinalco. Alexander traded shares in that company, again concurrently with his NSA job, but also in the midst of alleged cyber espionage conducted out of China.

"In other words, at the same time Alexander was selling off his stake in Chinalco, US intelligence was monitoring Chinalco and keeping tabs on other Chinese cyberspies," Harris wrote. "Indeed, just a few months after the hacking campaign against Alcoa began," an American company allegedly targeted by Chinese cyber spies, "the NSA's former inspector general gave an interview to National Journal, in which he blamed China for a massive campaign of cyberespionage against several U.S. companies, stealing trade secrets and proprietary information 'in volumes that are just staggering.'"

"Alexander was investing in a company that was in the crosshairs of his own agency's surveillance operations. If that had been known at the time, it would have raised questions about conflicts of interest and why the head of the NSA was taking personal stakes in a Chinese company," Harris insisted.

Meanwhile, the president of Synchronoss, Robert Garcia, recently relieved himself of some shares he had in that company. Coincidentally, Garcia sold 7,602 shares of his company's stock last week - a value of $367,936.80 - less than a week before Harris published details of Alexander's association with the tech firm.

Memo to Bill Gross: Shut-up and stick to your shuffleboard

© iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times

The once and former bond king has lost it. After a long lament about deflation and the failure of massive money printing to ignite growth, jobs and incomes in the real economy, his most recent missive comes up with a better idea. Bigger public deficits!

© J. Emilio Flores/Corbis

"The real economy needs money printing, yes, but money spending more so, and that must come from the fiscal side - from the dreaded government side - where deficits are anathema and balanced budgets are increasingly in vogue," he writes.

Let's see. In the case of the US, real economic growth has been faltering since the year 2000. During the last 14 years real GDP growth has averaged 1.8% per annum - the lowest rate of growth for an equivalent period in modern times. In fact, it is barely half the average growth rate during the second half of the 20th century.

Not only is there no correlation between fiscal deficits and economic growth over those 50 years, but the real evidence is more nearly the opposite. During the the golden era of sound money and fiscal rectitude between 1953 and 1963, for example, real economic growth averaged 4.0% per annum. And that was achieved during a period in which the budget deficit averaged only 1% of GDP - with Washington actually recording surpluses during much of the Eisenhower presidency.

It might also be noted that during this same period, the inflation rate averaged only 1.2% annually - far lower than today's phony 2% target peddled by the Fed. Except no one called it deflation. Nor did they wring their hands about impending economic doom because the dollar's purchasing power was not shrinking fast enough.

Instead, they called it sound money, and such price stability was especially welcomed by bond managers of the day The latter made their living by investing capital, not front-running the central banks of the world as do speculators like the bond king. Accordingly, bond managers during the golden era would have been utterly mystified by the babble that Gross unloaded in his call for moar deficit spending.

The manager of the Janus Unconstrained Bond Fund is concerned about deflation, in Japan, in the eurozone and in the U.S. Central bankers, he says, have tried to ward it off"They've made a damn fine attempt at it - have they not?"

So there you have it. The Fed has been on an utterly berserk spree of money printing and has inflated its balance sheet from $500 billion to nearly $4.5 trillion during the last 14 years when real GDP growth has tumbled into the sub-basement of historical results. And even that meager growth rate is probably exaggerated owing to the systematic under-reporting of inflation by the Washington statistical mills since 1990.

Yet Gross manages to argue that even the Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen money printing madness has not been enough. Nope. The Fed's financial repression now needs to be supplemented with more public spending and borrowing because the specter of "deflation" hovers over the economy.

Well, you do need a statistical microscope to spot any actual deflation during the entire 21st century to date. Except for a couple of months when red hot world oil prices took a tumble, the consumer price index has been in a steady upward climb. The embedded 14-year average in the chart below is actually 2.3% - or even more than the Fed's Keynesian doctors actually ordered.

The truth of the matter is there is no deflationary threat, and the recent slight abatement from the 25% hit to savers shown above is a welcome development, not a 12-alarm emergency. Indeed, this latest twist in the Keynesian blather from the likes of Gross and his legions of group think compatriots on Wall Street and in Washington amounts to the infliction of cruel and unusual economic punishment on main street Americans.

First, they crushed savers with 70 months of zero interest rates. Now they propose to drive returns from savings even deeper into negative territory by pounding their pans for more inflation - even though consumers are getting a slight break since the Fed's favorite indicator of inflation, the PCE, is up by 1.6% during the past year.

Finally comes the utterly unsupportable claim that growth and full time jobs have faltered because Washington has not manufactured enough "aggregate demand" by burying future taxpayers even deeper in debt. Needless to say, this economic ether does not exist in the real world; "aggregate demand" is merely a construct embedded in Keynesian economic models.

Gross calls for "more spending" to lift the US economy out of its alleged deflationary malaise, but here's the thing. Unlike the Keynesian ether of aggregate demand, actual current period "spending" by business, households and governments can only be obtained from current production and the incomes it generates or by leveraging balance sheets with claims on future incomes.

It is evident by now that the latter channel of "spending" growth is busted and done. The private sector has reached a condition of "peak debt". In fact, household leverage ratios have drifted lower since 2007 after three decades of relentless rise. Likewise, business has raised its aggregate debt from $11 trillion to $14 trillion since the eve of the Great Recession, but virtually all of the proceeds have gone into financial engineering maneuvers such as stock buybacks and M&A, not investment in productive assets.

In short, by Gross' own admission money printing has not helped the real economy. So the default option, apparently, is to repair to good old fashion Keynesian fiscal stimulus.

Really? The graph below suggests that insufficient government deficits have absolutely nothing to do with the growth malaise of the American economy during the last 14 years. The public debt has tripled during that period, while the median real household income has dropped by nearly 8% and the true measure of employment - labor hours supplied - has stagnated at 1999 levels.

For whatever reason, Gross' former colleagues recently invited him to repair to the shuffleboard courts. They were surely on to something.

Blistering report on flu vaccines: Revealed by John Hopkins Scientist

A Johns Hopkins scientist has issued a blistering report on influenza vaccines in the (BMJ). Peter Doshi, Ph.D., charges that although the vaccines are being pushed on the public in unprecedented numbers, they are less effective and cause more side effects than alleged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Further, says Doshi, the studies that underlie the CDC's policy of encouraging most people to get a yearly flu shot are often low quality studies that do not substantiate the official claims.

Promoting influenza vaccines is one of the most visible and aggressive public health policies in the United States, says Doshi of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Drug companies and public officials press for widespread vaccination each fall, offering vaccinations in drugstores and supermarkets. The results have been phenomenal. Only 20 years ago, 32 million doses of influenza vaccine were available in the United States on an annual basis. Today, the total has skyrocketed to 135 million doses.

"The vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and the threat of influenza seems to be overstated," Doshi says. Mandatory vaccination polices have been enacted, often in healthcare facilities, forcing some people to take the vaccine under threat of losing their jobs.

The main assertion of the CDC that fuels the push for flu vaccines each year is that influenza comes with a risk of serious complications which can cause death, especially in senior citizens and those suffering from chronic illnesses. That's not the case, said Doshi.

When read carefully, the CDC acknowledges that studies finding any perceived reduction in death rates may be due to the "healthy-user effect" - the tendency for healthier people to be vaccinated more than less-healthy people. The only randomized trial of influenza vaccine in older people found no decrease in deaths. "This means that influenza vaccines are approved for use in older people despite any clinical trials demonstrating a reduction in serious outcomes," says Doshi.

Even when the vaccine is closely matched to the type of influenza that's prevalent, which doesn't happen every year, randomized, controlled trials of healthy adults found that vaccinating between 33 and 100 people resulted in one less case of influenza. In addition, says Doshi, no evidence exists to show that this reduction in the risk of influenza for a specific population - here in the United States, among healthy adults, for example - extrapolates into any reduced risk of serious complications from influenza, such as hospitalizations or deaths, among seniors.

"For most people, and possibly most doctors, officials need only claim that vaccines save lives, and it is assumed there must be solid research behind it," says Doshi. Unfortunately, that's not the case, he says.

Although the CDC implies that flu vaccines are safe and there's no need to weigh benefits against risk, Doshi disagrees. He points to an Australian study that found one in every 110 children under the age of five had convulsions following vaccinations in 2009 for H1N1 influenza. Additional investigations found that the H1N1 vaccine was also associated with a spike in cases of narcolepsy among adolescents.

Doshi's concerns echo those of Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon and author of The Blaylock Wellness Report who has deep concerns over the safety and efficacy of the flu vaccine.

Not only is the vaccine not safe, Dr. Blaylock tells Newsmax Health, it doesn't even work. "The vaccine is completely worthless, and the government knows it," he says.

"There are three reasons the government tells the elderly why they should get flu shots: secondary pneumonia, hospitalization, and death. Yet a study by the Cochrane group studied hundreds of thousands of people and found it offered zero protection for those three things in the general community. It offered people in nursing homes some immunity against the flu - at best one-third - but that was only if they picked the right vaccine."

A study released in February found that the flu shot was only 9 percent effective in protecting seniors against the 2012-2013 season's most virulent influenza bug.

What's even worse is that small children who are given the flu vaccine get no protection from the disease. "The government also says that every baby over the age of six months should have a vaccine, and they know it contains a dose of mercury that is toxic to the brain," says Dr. Blaylock. "They also know the studies have shown that the flu vaccine has zero - zero - effectiveness in children under five."

For most people, says Dr. Blaylock, flu vaccines don't prevent the flu but actually increase the odds of getting it. The mercury contained in vaccines is such a strong immune depressant that a flu shot suppresses immunity for several weeks. "This makes people highly susceptible to catching the flu," he says. "They may even think the vaccine gave them the flu, but that's not true - it depressed their immune system and then they caught the flu."

Mercury overstimulates the brain for several years, says Dr. Blaylock, and that activation is the cause of Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases. One study found that those who get the flu vaccine for three to five years increase their risk of Alzheimer's disease 10-fold.

Doshi asserts that influenza is a case of "disease mongering" in an effort to expand markets. He points to the fact that deaths from flu declined sharply during the middle of the 20th century, long before the huge vaccine campaigns that kicked off the 21st century.

Why do drug companies push the flu vaccine? "It's all about money," says Dr. Blaylock. "Vaccines are a pharmaceutical company's dream. They have a product that both the government and the media will help them sell, and since vaccines are protected, they can't be sued if anyone has a complication."

Doshi's article "is a breath of fresh air," says Dr. Blaylock. "This article exposes in well-defined and articulate terms what has been known for a long time - the flu vaccine promotion is a fraud.

"Here's the bottom line," says Dr. Blaylock. "The vast number of people who get the flu vaccine aren't going to get any benefit, but they get all of the risks and complications."

Collapse in slow motion: The US Empire spends trillions on war while public health services crumble

© Unknown

Washington escalates its military interventions abroad, launching simultaneous air and ground attacks in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan; multiplying drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia; training, arming and financing proxy mercenaries in Jordan, the Gulf States and Iraq; and dispatching National Guard battalions to West Africa, ostensibly to combat the Ebola epidemic, though they lack the most elementary public health capabilities. All in all the US spent $3.5 trillion for military invasions over 6 years.

At the same time, the US domestic public health services have deteriorated. At the state and local level, like Dallas, Texas and at the national level, officials and major institutions demonstrate an inability to effectively detect and manage cases of Ebola infections among the general population in a timely manner. An infected Liberian immigrant was not diagnosed correctly when he presented to a major Dallas hospital emergency room. Instead he received irrelevant and unnecessary 'imaging studies' and was sent home with oral antibiotics. This confirmed the widespread belief that Emergency Room physicians and nurses are under pressure from their administration to order costly CT scans and MRI's on patients as a way to make money for the hospital and to cover-up their incompetence at basic patient history and physical examination. Despite the patient's informing hospital workers of his recent arrival from Liberia, an Ebola outbreak hot-spot, personnel did not put on basic protective gowns, gloves, hoods and masks and they allowed the febrile, vomiting, desperately sick man to contaminate large areas of the emergency department, waiting room and MRI suite. Quarantine was not even considered. . . .

The director of the Dallas hospital covered up for his organization's incompetence by a series of victim blaming - the patient, the computer system, the nurses... National health guidelines may have been inadequate at the time, but Ebola was clearly on the national radar and the CDC had provided basic guidelines and measures. All hospitals have infectious control committees, disaster preparedness committees and receive state and national alerts.

As the crisis and public panic deepened, President Obama engaged in vigorous political fund-raising. Meanwhile, Vice President Biden was preoccupied by his 40+ year-old son's expulsion from the Navy Reserve for cocaine use. The Defense Secretary was busy picking targets to bomb in Syria and Iraq...

The Cabinet met over 'National Security' issues like ISIS, expanding military interventions around the world, while US medical personnel, international travelers and their family members, as well as average American citizens felt more threatened by the apparent breakdown of the public health system, both at the local and national levels, in the face of a deadly viral infection.

The inadequacy, indeed breakdown, of the US public health system as it confronts the first cases of Ebola in the US and the simultaneous escalation of military intervention in Syria and Iraq typifies, in microcosm, the demise of the US republic accompanying the rise of the US military empire.

The Dallas hospital, which had at first turned a desperately sick Liberian immigrant away, was run as a for-profit enterprise, directed by business managers eager for high returns and dismissive of basic health procedures and even more of the advice of competent, experienced health workers: They had made their biggest investments in high technology and multi-million dollar equipment, irrelevant to the diagnosis and treatment of tropical and infectious diseases. The pressure to use the most expensive technology inappropriately and recoup the corporate investment, resulted in a deadly delay in diagnosis and contaminated at least a dozen health care workers. The corporate hospital director eventually apologized for their 'mistakes'. But the fault goes far beyond "bad decisions": The procedures and protocols are built into the 'for profit' model emphasizing the need show a healthy 'return' on multi-million dollar advanced technological investments. There is a stark contrast between the high tech advances in imaging and surgery in a modern American hospital and the regressive, socially backward ignorance of the socio-medico context in which critically ill, infectious patients are embedded. It is as if such patients are not supposed to enter the techno-medical world where only the most highly remunerative procedures and protocols are available for those... who can pay.

At the deeper level, the entire national public health system is increasingly dependent on the formulation of rules and flows of information, corrupted and distorted by 'market demands' and political priorities heavily weighted toward expanding the police state at home and militarism abroad. These political priorities in turn, are influenced by the massive shift in resources to support the permanent war policies of the Obama regime and the US Congress.

The proliferation and escalation of military interventions dominates the Obama Administration's real agenda. According to Assistant Secretary of State for Eastern European Affairs, Victoria Nuland, six billion dollars of public money was spent on subverting the elected government of the Ukraine - $6 billion shifted from US domestic sectors, like health care and real disaster preparedness. Meanwhile hundreds of hospitals have been closed in most major US cities and rural clinics abandoned for lack of personnel. The entire health care system, in its current 'for profit' corporate form is devoid of competent, effective leadership. On the other hand, the US military is seen as the solution to the world's (and increasingly domestic) problems, while the social roots of conflict and disaster are ignored with contempt.

The militarization of the minds of our political leaders has led to the most grotesque decisions: In the face of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the Obama regime has sent 2000 National Guard combatants to Africa. These are soldiers who lack the most elementary knowledge, skill, capability and training to deal with the complexities of a major public health crisis in a devastated, war torn part of the world. One must recall how Washington pressured the United Nations to send 'Peace-keepers' to Haiti after the earthquake - UN soldiers from Nepal, who brought not peace but an epidemic of cholera killing additional tens of thousands of Haitian civilians. The immediate question regarding US National Guard troops in West Africa is not whether they can build rural clinics or maintain camps of quarantined Africans, the real concern is whether these heavily armed 'health aides' can avoid being infected and bringing Ebola home. This concern has now led the Pentagon to impose mandatory quarantine on its own soldiers returning from West Africa - a knee-jerk reaction motivated more by fear-mongering than science.

In contrast, Cuba has sent hundreds of highly skilled health workers, who form teams with proven track records in confronting public health crises in the tropics and elsewhere. Cuban teams include skilled epidemiologists who develop effective local programs, based on real-time, on-the-ground fact-finding and assessment of available resources. The enormous differences between the Cuban and US responses to the Ebola crisis reflects the profound contrast in their social and health systems: Cuba has a free national health system and strong public health and civil defense structures using rigorous procedures and effective guidelines to set up clinics and camps appropriate to the objective conditions. They emphasize the social context of disease and are not invested in expensive high tech medical equipment and tests irrelevant to the challenges at hand. Their budget is not skewed toward promoting imperial wars: for the Cubans health and welfare is an integral political priority.

In contrast 'health care' in the US has become big business while military metaphysics dominate the minds and policies of the political and business elite. The deterioration of basic health care delivery in general and the public health sector in particular is not only a consequence of a failure of political leadership, it also reflects the recurring and deepening economic crises. Under the 'War on Terrorism' fear-mongering over bio-weapons, namely threatened Anthrax attacks, tens of billions of public money was diverted from public health at the national and state level and the corrupted, crippled system has never recovered.

The economic crisis, gripping the US, the European Union (EU) and beyond, is clearly manifested in the stagnation of the US economy. The private corporate elite, who form the ruling class, are unable to sustain growth without massive US Treasury subsidies ($4.5 trillion dollars, according to the Financial Times (10/14/14). The US has experienced extreme volatility in its stock market, together with the impoverishment of its working class and diminution of its middle class. Heightened social inequalities are everywhere, especially in access to decent, effective health care. In the EU, Germany's economy is plunging from zero to negative growth, while France, Italy and Holland are in deep recession. Greece, Spain and Portugal are in a prolonged depression, burdened by unpayable debts and unable to escape the downward social and economic spiral because of austerity programs imposed by Brussels.

Washington's war policies, the concentration of state resources on financing military invasions and subsidizing the grossly inflated financial sector, account for the fatal deterioration of health and welfare services in the US. Growing majorities feel the pain, and many more are alienated from the Presidential and Congressional elite - as well as from their own corrupt, incompetent local elected officials.

To safeguard the power of the military-financial elite, the political rulers have resorted to a series of "Horror Shows" - orchestrating vast propaganda spectacles designed to strike fear and loathing of 'external enemies' among the American public, in order to secure their submission and obedience to police state policies.

Recently, there was the lurid media shock of the Muslim terrorists in 'ISIS' beheading two American captives. The public 'horror' was manipulated to justify the large-scale US military re-entry in Iraq and the air war against Syria - policies largely opposed by the war-weary US citizenry.

Close on the heels of the 'beheading' atrocities, came the spectacle of a fearsome African "Ebola" epidemic, spreading to the US and threatening Americans with brutally painful deaths...This was used to justify Obama's sending of thousands of US National Guard to West Africa to act as "health workers".

The total collapse of the public health systems throughout Africa follows decades of civil wars, fomented by US and EU military policies, in order to plunder Africa's economies and rich natural resources - while marketing Western arms and mercenaries. Militarizing the problems of Africa and creating millions of refugees has naturally led to plagues - Ebola today, malariayesterday and other infectious diseases and miseries tomorrow.

The immensely complex and catastrophic health crisis in West Africa is the stark backdrop to years of western propaganda hailing the massive growth of foreign investment in Africa's extractive sectors - notably energy and mining. The business press (Financial Times, Economist, Wall Street Journal...) featured images of "", describing of emergence of wealthy mineral enclaves powered by large-scale foreign investments, creating vast private foreign and local fortunes while ignoring the sea of massive poverty, broken public health clinics, non-existent schools and devastating living conditions, as well as the war-lord ravaged masses of refugees fleeing the fights over mineral-rich lands. This created the 'perfect storm' for the emergence and spread of epidemics - like Ebola.

In Africa, under IMF and Western corporate dictates, entire budgets and foreign aid programs were channeled to finance infrastructure (roads, transport, ports, etc.) for extractive imperialism - while virtually nothing, in terms of public policy, was or is allocated to basic public health and preventative medicine. The 'focused' programs of the 'Gates Foundation' and others served to divert African health workers and resources to the 'NGO's, rather than national, priorities and encouraged the flight of African doctors and nurses to the West.

The recent cases of Ebola in the US highlight the deterioration of national and local public health systems - the result of deregulation, privatization and corporatization of the medicine. The 'profit ethos' permeates medical care in the US. Cutbacks in preventive medicine, divorcing medical care from the social context of illness, as well as the lack of accountability and transparency in the face of erroneous diagnoses and inappropriate or incompetent care are consequences of the larger failures in public policy. This also explains the emergence and rampant spread of multi-drug resistant bacterial infections within the hospitals and out in the communities. The preference for expensive, profitable techno-medicine (marketed as 'personalized' health care) over competent 'hands on', science-based medicine rooted in an understanding of objective social conditions, has fueled the crisis and spread mass confusion among the public.

When the government engages in long-term, large-scale wars abroad, when the Treasury allocates trillions of public dollars to Wall Street for the better part of a decade, when the government secures submission ("consent") via horror scenarios that replace public accountability with fear and loathing, we, the US public pay a steep price in public health under autocratic elite rule.

The recent 'police-state' response to an American nurse, Kaci Hickox, highlights the corrupt arrogance of US politicians and opinion leaders, long accustomed to control via fear-mongering and criminalizing dissent. The fact that Nurse 'Kaci' arrived at 'Liberty' International Airport in perfect health from her months of heroic work in West Africa where she set up clinics and hospitals to help stem the Ebola crisis at its sources, did not dissuade the thuggish governor of New Jersey from confining her, like an animal, in a clear plastic cage in the parking lot of a Newark hospital. Her successful fight for freedom against this arbitrary confinement exposed Governor Cristie and his side-kick, New York Governor Cuomo, as ignorant bellowing thugs, intent on making her 'an example'. Nurse Kaci Hickox' victory of science and civil rights over brutal scare-mongering may be temporary - as the tendency has long been to militarize crises and erode citizen rights.

The American public is beginning to understand the relationship between this policy of scaremongering, the bail-out of billionaires and rampant militarism with the daily erosion of their standard of living, health and security and civil rights. It will take more than a Nurse 'Kaci' to reverse the tide, but one tough competent nurse has set a glorious example.

People revolt in Burkina Faso, psychopathic power struggles ensue

© Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

Burkina Faso’s military backed Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida as head of state

Several political parties and movements that are seeking to reclaim the legacy of Sankara were very much in evidence during the unrest that reached a critical point on Oct. 30 when thousands stormed the parliament building and setting it alight. The legislative body was set to vote on a motion to extend the 27-year rule of Compaore, who although coming out of the military, ran for office repeatedly as a civilian candidate.

Compaore sought to reassert his authority by refusing to formally resign from the presidency until the evening of Oct. 31. Gen. Honore Traore announced after the rebellion on Oct. 30 that he was assuming power and dissolving parliament.

Immediately people within the various opposition parties began to object to the leadership of Traore. The following day Nov.1, yet another military leader emerged claiming to be in charge.

This time it was Lt. Col. Isaac Zida, the deputy commander of the elite presidential guard. Media reports emanating from Burkina Faso said that the military had endorsed the leadership of Zida.

After meeting with foreign diplomats on Nov. 3, Zida said that the military would hand over power to a civilian transitional authority which is acceptable to the people of the country. If the military leader does not move swiftly in this regard, there could be more violent unrest.

Masses Call for Return to Civilian Rule

On Nov.1, the opposition forces called for a major mobilization on Sun. (Nov. 2) to demand that Zida relinquish power. Thousands took to the streets and later gathered outside the national television station (RTB) in the capital of Ouagadougou.

Members of the crowd attempted to enter the television studios but were prevented in doing so by the army. The soldiers later fired shots and one person was killed.

Reports indicated that opposition leader Ms. Saran Sereme was at the television station saying that she and a leading general were prepared to head a transition team. Sereme later denied this claim and said she was brought to the location by force.

The army continued to emphasize on Nov. 3 that it does not want to maintain power but create the conditions for a smooth transition to civilian control. Nonetheless, the opposition forces were demanding a rapid turnover to non-military figures to lead the country.

An army spokesman said in the aftermath of the clashes on Nov. 2 that "The army does not want power. But the anarchy needs to stop. Any violation will be punished with the utmost energy," said Auguste Barry, in reference to the shooting at the television station.

Later on Nov. 2 after leaving the RTB studios, the crowds moved towards the Place de la Nation where disturbances on Oct. 30 resulted in the attacks on parliament. Military forces set up barricades to prevent demonstrators from getting close to the location that was damaged by fire.

Burkina Faso Emerges As Major Gold Producer in Africa

Historically the country of Burkina Faso, formerly known as Upper Volta, was known as an agricultural producing state. In recent years the production of gold and other mineral commodities such as granite, marble, phosphate rock, cement, dolomite and pumice have accelerated.

At present Burkina Faso is the fourth largest producer of gold in Africa. There are at least six major mines in operation.

However, the revenue generated from the export of gold and other minerals are not being shared with the majority of workers, farmers and youth. The official unemployment rate is 77 percent and the country ranks 183 out of 186 on the index of living standards for nations throughout the world.

Burkina Faso still maintains close ties with the former French colonial power. Paris has used the country as a rear-base for its operations against rebel fighters in northern Mali.

The close ties with the mining industry have not benefited the country's people at all. One of the major firms involved in the extraction is Orezone Gold Corporation based in Ottawa, Canada.

In a 2011 study by Orezone, it noted that Burkina Faso ranked sixth in the level of potential for mineral production, including gold. Orezone has been involved in the country since the late 1990s.

According to the mineral analysis conducted by Orezone in 2011, a section of the report says that:

"We recognized the enormous potential of Burkina Faso 15 years ago when we started exploring the area. Although we have discovered more than 10 million ounces of gold to date and we expect to put new gold mines into production over the next few years, we believe we have barely scratched the surface in terms of its true potential. The results of this survey demonstrate the on-going commitment of Burkina Faso to creating a favorable investment climate for companies like Orezone Gold and we are delighted to work in this country." (orezone.com, 2011)

The recent unrest inside the country has reportedly caused a suspension in gold production. Orezone issued a statement on Nov. 3 indicating that it is following the political situation closely in light of the economic interests it has in the country.

This statement posted to their website says that "Orezone Gold Corporation has temporarily halted its activities in Burkina Faso until the political situation in country has stabilized. All personnel are safe and accounted for." (orezone.com, Nov. 3)

The same statement goes on to say that:

"Although the area around Bomboré has been relatively calm during the recent events, minor vandalism occurred at the Bomboré camp over the weekend. Our staff and the local community at Bomboré, including the police and local representatives, have been very supportive with respect to the safety or our employees, camp security and our efforts to continue to develop the project; for that we are grateful."

Legacy of Sankara Still Relevant

During the tenure of Capt. Thomas Sankara (1983-1987), the Burkinabe leader advocated the cancellation of the international debt which African states were obligated to pay due to the legacy of colonialism and neo-colonialism. Sankara instituted policies which utilized local production of cotton and other commodities for internal consumption.

With Burkina Faso being a landlocked state, it is essential that it develops genuine trade links in partnership with neighboring African countries. Nonetheless, the imperatives of the transnational corporations based in the imperialist states is to exploit the natural resources and labor of the African states which does nothing for the improvement of the conditions for the majority of the populations within these countries.

Sankara attempted to build mass organizations and Marxist study groups throughout the country. His efforts were undermined by France and its major ally at the time in the region, Ivory Coast, then led by President Felix Houphouet- Boigny.

In recent months unrest and strikes among the working class have increased in West Africa. In Ghana, to the south of Burkina Faso, a general strike impacting oil workers, educators and other public sector employees has prompted legal actions by the government to force the employees back on the job.

Both Ghana and Burkina Faso have been lauded for their increasing rates of economic growth. Nevertheless, if these profits from the production of gold and other strategic minerals are not shared with the people, the working class and youth will continue to demonstrate and strike in opposition to neo-colonial rule.

To avoid sanctions, Burkina Faso's military alleges it will hand over power to civilians

© Unknown

Burkina Faso's military told religious leaders today that it plans to hand over power to civilians to avoid sanctions against the West African nation.

The heads of Catholic, evangelical Christian and Muslim faiths met with Lt. Col. Isaac Zida this morning, the Mogho Naaba, king of the Mossi ethnic group, said in an interview. The king was in the meeting. Zida was appointed as acting president after Blaise Compaore was ousted last week.

"They came to tell us that they intend to hand over power to civilians in order to avoid international sanctions on Burkina," the Mogho Naaba said. "We're asking political parties to agree among each other to end the protests. We're also asking youth to refrain from looting to save our country."

The U.S. and France have used Burkina Faso, a nation of 17 million people, as a hub to fight militants linked to al-Qaeda. The army started talks with the opposition, religious leaders and diplomats Nov. 2 after one person was killed in protests against military rule. Zida said yesterday the armed forces are not seeking to rule as the African Union set a two-week deadline for the army to step down or face sanctions.

Compaore had held power there for 27 years, before he resigned on Oct. 31 after four days of protests against a plan to extend his rule. Zida was named leader of a transitional administration.

Constitutional Rights

The military's promise to step down to religious leaders is a good first step, Benewende Stanislas Sankara, head of the Union for the Renaissance-Sankarist Movement, said by phone.

"This strengthens us in our conviction and takes away doubt," Sankara said. "Let us hope that things will go as they say."

Protests persisted after Compaore's departure, switching their target to the selection of an army officer as his successor. Army leaders met with foreign diplomats "to reassure them and say we're not here to usurp power, but we are here to find a way out of the situation we're in," Zida told reporters yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The African Union's Peace and Security Council said yesterday the army officers in charge have two weeks to hand over control to civilians. Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, who is acting chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, will arrive in Burkina Faso tomorrow to help mediate discussions, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, president of the Ecowas commission, told reporters late yesterday. Nigerian President Goodluck Johnathan and Senegal's Macky Sall will also attend.

Cotton and Gold

Burkina Faso is sub-Saharan Africa's second-largest cotton producer and fifth-largest gold miner. It ranks 181st out of 187 nations on the United Nations Human Development Index, and had an average income of about $650 in 2012. The economy depends heavily on remittances from an estimated 4 million migrant workers in neighboring Ivory Coast, according to the World Bank.

Compaore, a 63-year-old former army officer, seized power in a coup in 1987 and has won four elections since. His resignation followed street protests over a bill that would have allowed him another term in office. The opposition has called for Saran Sereme, head of the Party for Democracy and Change, to succeed him as president.

Bodies of 286 women raped and shot dead discovered, 400 listed missing in East Ukraine: Donetsk official

© AP Photo/ Dmitry Lovetsky

The bodies of 286 women who had been raped have been discovered in the city of Krasnoarmeisk where Ukrainian volunteer battalion was based.

The bodies of 286 women have recently been discovered in the eastern Ukrainian city of Krasnoarmeisk while almost 400 women between the ages of 18 and 25 are still listed as missing, Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said Friday.

"Around 400 women between the ages of 18 and 25 have gone missing in Krasnoarmeisk where [Ukrainian forces] Dnepr-1 was based. The bodies of 286 women around Krasnoarmeisk who had been raped have been discovered," Zakharchenko said at a meeting with students from Donetsk National Technical University.

The city of Krasnoarmeisk is located some 45 kilometers (28 miles) northwest of Donetsk, the capital of the self-proclaimed republic.

An armed conflict broke out in the southeastern regions of Ukraine in April, when Ukrainian forces launched a military operation against Donbas independence supporters who opposed the February coup in Kiev.

The two conflicting sides agreed to a ceasefire on September 5 during a meeting of the trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine in Minsk. A memorandum specifying the implementation of the ceasefire was adopted at another Contact Group meeting on September 19.

Both sides have subsequently accused each other of violating the truce. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) special monitoring mission in the conflict-torn regions continues to report instances of shelling.

New hope for 43 missing Mexican students as Iguala's fugitive mayor detained

student march

© www.telesurtv.net

Students strike and hold rally outside Attorney General headquarters, one of many actions taking place around the world.

The detention of the fugitive mayor and his wife, who are suspected of being behind the disappearance of 43 student teachers in the southern Mexican city of Iguala six weeks ago, in coordination with a local drug trafficking gang, has raised hopes that the missing will soon be found.

"This was the missing piece," said Felipe de la Cruz, the father of one of the missing students. "This arrest will help us find our kids. It was the government who took our kids."

Mayor Abarca

© www.veooz.com

Iguala Mayor Abarca

Abarca and his wife, María de los Angeles Piñeda, were detained in the early hours of Tuesday in Mexico City by the federal authorities. They were immediately taken to the office of the attorney general for questioning and medical tests.

The government is under enormous pressure to find the students as a first step towards quelling the outrage triggered by the events in Iguala, in the state of Guerrero.

The disappearance of the students has highlighted both the degree of collusion of some local authorities around Mexico with organised crime, as well as federal tolerance of this. There have been numerous large emotional demonstrations demanding more action to find the students, as well as a few violent attacks on government buildings. More protests are planned for this week.

Last month the attorney general, Jesús Murillo, said that Abarca ordered the municipal police to "confront the students" on the night of 26 September, when he learned they were in town commandeering busses. The students are from the radical Ayotzinapa teacher training college about two hours drive away, and regularly hijack busses to use in protests.

Murillo said Abarca's order stemmed from fears that the students were planning to disrupt an event centered around a speech his wife was giving, designed to promote her bid to replace him as mayor in the next elections in 2015.

Police first opened fire on the buses carrying the students in a series of attacks that left six people dead, including three students. Amid the chaos, dozens of students were arrested after which, Murillo said, they were handed over to members of a local drug gang called Guerreros Unidos.

In an interview the day after the events, Abarca had said he was not aware of the gravity of what was going on that night because he was dancing with his wife and then dining with his family.

The mayor and his wife went into hiding on 30 September, at the same time as reports began to surface of Abarca's meteoric rise from hat salesman to wealthy businessman, as well as allegations of the way, together with Piñeda, he had governed Iguala in close coordination with Guerreros Unidos since taking office as mayor in 2012.

The drug gang, said to control a significant amount of opium poppy production in the mountains around Iguala, reportedly set up checkpoints at the entrance to the city to keep out rival gangs.Guerreros Unidos is one of several offshoots of the once-powerful Beltrán-Leyva cartel that has fallen apart in recent years following the arrest or death of its top leaders. Two of Piñeda's brothers, said to be members of the Beltrán-Leyva cartel, were killed in 2009. A third brother was also allegedly high up in the gang.

It was not immediately clear how Abarca and Piñeda were eventually tracked down to the working-class district of Iztapalapa in Mexico City, where they were finally arrested on Tuesday.

Local media published photographs of the very modest house where they reportedly spent their last few days of freedom. One image shows eight small dogs in an almost unfurnished room.Neighbours, looking nervous as they were interviewed by TV journalists at the scene, said they had seen and heard nothing of the raid, which reportedly involved 30 federal agents.

Meanwhile, parents of the disappeared were reportedly heading to Mexico City in search of any information about the whereabouts of their children that might emerge from the couple's arrest.

Domino effect? Militias in other regions spreading while Ukrainian junta keeps shelling

Has the recent elections in Donbass encouraged more regions or have the cumulative effects of the repression by the Ukrainian punitive forces spurred other militias to form. Whatever the reason, facts are that the Junta forces are encountering resistance in some of the neighbouring regions to Donetsk and Lugansk. In Mariupol bordering the sea there is this bit of information:

Two UAF soldiers from Odessa were killed on November 2nd east of Mariupol when their car blew up at a checkpoint. The Security Service of Ukraine reported that Odessa National Guard in Mariupol is fighting with Odessa brigade of the militia under the command of Vadim Savenko aka Svat.

What is in interesting in the above info is the fact that the militia fighting here in the south of the Donetsk region is from Odessa, the region where the massacre happened in May at the Trade Union building.

Map of Blockpost 31 north of Lugansk

© Unknown

To the north of Lugansk (photo above), the militia is actively attacking Ukrainian positions:

Also radio intelligence of the militia reported that there is panic on-air at the 31-st checkpoint, asking to send reinforcements or to evacuate, because otherwise they will not survive this night.

As previously reported from Ukrainian sources: "The 31st checkpoint is on the brink. There remains only the 24th brigade of the armed forces. There are a few fighters left and they need immediate support! 30th checkpoint, and all the other checkpoints until the 25th are also under constant fire. High probability of encirclement".

[Comment from Kristina Rus, the translator and blogger]

In Kharkov region, which is neighbouring the Donetsk and Lugansk and with a population of almost 3 million, some resistance is starting to form. The website Fort Russ, which translates from Russian and Ukrainian sources has this information regarding Kharkov:

Fighters from Kharkov partisan detachment of I. Starinov reported that in the last 3 months they were actively engaged in anti-fascist activities on the territory of 'Kharkov Peoples Republic'. According to them, during that time, they liquidated more than 100 bandero-fascist invaders and incapacitated 17 armored vehicles of the enemy. To prove their words partisans showed passports and military IDs of liquidated punishers. The soldiers of the detachment promised to continue to "cleanse the earth from neo-fascist brown plague".

In the meantime, the punitive action by the Ukrainian punitive troops continued.

The shelling did not stop during the elections and have not abated since. As usual the targets are soft targets such as residential areas, schools and hospitals.

Bombed residential building in Lugansk

© TAR-TASS/Valery Matytsin/Archive

The Ukrainian army has been shelling inhabited localities of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) since Monday evening, acting LPR people's police commander Oleg Bugrov said Tuesday.

"It started yesterday evening. The Ukrainian armed forces delivered an artillery strike in violation of all agreements established by the Minsk memorandum. They delivered strikes with Grad and Uragan (multiple launch rocket systems) on Kirovsk, Frunze, Stakhanov. Civilians died," Bugrov said.

At the same time, he said the LPR people's police are ready for Ukrainian army attacks. "The Ukrainian army constantly violates the ceasefire regime," he said.

Shelling sounds were heard in downtown Luhansk during inauguration of Igor Plotnitsky as head of the LPR, a TASS correspondent reported.

One wonders how on earth they think that they will win hearts and minds among the local population when they deliberately target them with bombs. Sounds like something from the Iraq war of winning hearts and minds, but the scriptwriters aka sponsors are the same and psychopaths being not very creative opt for the same formula over and over. Knowing when to cut your losses and make peace is not one of the strength of the Ukrainian leadership or rather their US and EU masters.

Donetsk and Lugansk are both emboldened after their successful elections and other regions have without doubt taken heart at this victory against the oppressors in Kiev. A domino effect could take place and if not, peace will be a long way off.

17th Century Dutch warship discovered off coast of Tobago

wreck site Tobago

A diver measures a cannon found at the wreck site in Tobago's Rockley Bay.

The wreck of a 17th-century Dutch warship has been discovered off the coast of Tobago, a small island located in the southern Caribbean. Marine archaeologists believe the vessel is possibly the Huis de Kreuningen, which was lost during a bloody fight between Dutch and French colonists.

On March 3, 1677, the French Navy launched a fierce attack against the Dutch in Tobago's Rockley Bay. European settlers coveted Tobago for its strategic location; in fact, the island changed hands more than 30 times after Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World.

The abbreviated story of this particular battle is, "Everybody dies, and every ship sinks," according to Kroum Batchvarov, an assistant professor of maritime archaeology at the University of Connecticut. Indeed, about 2,000 people were killed and up to 14 ships went down during the skirmish. But until now, none of those sunken vessels had been recovered.

This past March, Batchvarov went searching for wrecks in Rockley Bay. Through remote sensing and historical accounts, his team identified a spot where shipwrecks from the battle might have settled on the bottom of the bay. One day, while the rest of his colleagues were sorting out an issue with their GPS systems, Batchvarov and another diver decided to explore under the surface.

"Quite literally, the first thing we saw at the bottom was a cannon," Batchvarov told a small audience here at the Explorers Club headquarters today (Nov. 3).

During that initial, 20-minute dive, the researchers found at least seven cast-iron cannons , some of them large, 18-pounder guns.

"This was one of the most interesting experiences of my life in archaeology, and I have been in this field for about 17 years," Batchvarov said.

None of the sunken ship's timbers have been uncovered yet from the jumbled wreckage, but divers did find relics from life aboard a military vessel, including 72 clay smoking pipes, an array of dining utensils and burned bricks from the ship's galley. They also found a beer jug with three engravings of military generals from antiquity: Joshua, David and Alexander the Great.

Several clues led the team to conclude they were dealing with a Dutch warship from the 17th century. For example, many of the pipes had the mark of a manufacturer that operated in Amsterdam from the 1650s to the 1680s, Batchvarov said.

Because of the size of the cannons found at the site, the archaeologists suspect the wreck could be the 130-foot-long (40 meters), 56-gun warship Huis de Kreuningen. Only one other Dutch vessel, the flagship Bescherming, could have supported such large guns, but it survived the battle, Batchvarov said.

The French boarded the Huis de Kreuningen during the Battle of Tobago. To avoid capture, the Dutch captain, Roemer Vlacq, blew up the ship. The blaze spread and destroyed the French flagship Glorieux. Despite their major losses, the Dutch, led by commodore Jacob Binckes, were ultimately successful in holding back the French. (Years earlier, Binckes had re-captured New York for the Dutch; the city was, however, returned to England shortly after.)

Without proper conservation facilities nearby, the artifacts Batchvarov and his colleagues discovered had to be reburied underwater. But the project has just been awarded a grant from the U.S. State Department's Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation so that the artifacts can be conserved and displayed in Trinidad and Tobago. Batchvarov and his colleagues plan to return to the site next year; their main goal is to establish the extent of the wreck.

Criminalizing kindness: 90-year old homeless advocate in Florida faces 60 days in jail for feeding human beings

Two ministers and a 90-year-old homeless advocate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for violating a city ordinance that effectively outlaws sharing food with homeless people in public.

Homeless advocate Arnold Abbott, head of the group Love Thy Neighbor, has been feeding the homeless for more than 20 years.

Abbott, along with pastors Dwayne Blackand and Mark Sims, were arrested on Sunday after distributing food to the needy on a public sidewalk.

"As contemplated on Sunday, I was arrested for feeding the homeless and received a citation to appear in court," Abbott explained on Facebook. "However, only 4 people were fed before an officer told me to, 'Drop that plate immediately!' As though it were a weapon I was holding, and to go with him to the police car. After a time I was allowed to get the food back on the van and we were able to find a small churches driveway, where we set up, and fed the people who followed us over."

The city commission voted Oct. 22 in favor of an ordinance that limits where outdoor feeding sites can be located, requires the permission of property owners and says the groups have to provide portable toilets, the reported. The law took effect last Friday.

The new ordinance is part of a broader effort to deal with homeless people. The city has also made it illegal to sleep in public places downtown and to beg for money at major intersections. Commissioner Dean Trantalis told WLRN he doesn't think the new laws are mean-spirited, citing services the city also provides.

"I think that once the full story is out and people see the entire spectrum of services and initiatives in which the city is currently engaged, I think people will have a better understanding of our role in trying to help the homeless in our community," he said.

The city had previously tried to stop Abbott from feeding the homeless on Fort Lauderdale Beach in 1999. But Abbott challenged the city in court and won.

He said on Facebook that he plans to continue fighting the city over the feeding of homeless people.

"On Wednesday at 5:30 we will feed on the beach. When confronted by the police, which I expect will happen, I will present them with a copy of the court order of 1999 which allowed us to feed on the beach, without interference from the city," Abbott wrote. "It is my hope that they will honor that agreement but it is possible that they won't, alluding to the new agreement which scrapped the old one, and I could be arrested again."

Jillian Pim, a volunteer with Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs, says she plans to start a hunger strike to protest the new ordinance.

"I choose to go on hunger strike until this law is repealed or enforcement of it is stopped. I call on the people of Fort Lauderdale and everywhere else to demand that the Mayor, City Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development Authority, and all other supporters of these homeless hate laws abandon the criminalization of poverty," she said.

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EU split: Hungarian law gives green light to South Stream in defiance of EU

South Stream pipeline

© RIA Novosti/Ramil Sitdikov

Shareholders and partners of Gazprom's project sign on the first pipe abut during the launching ceremony of South Stream gas pipeline construction.

The Hungarian parliament has approved a law on Monday which allows building the South Stream gas pipeline without approval of the European Union. The European Commission has already demanded an explanation from Hungarian authorities.

The European Commission's spokesperson said at a press briefing in Brussels on Tuesday that the EC was in contact with Hungarian authorities to get an explanation for their decision.

The law was passed with 132 votes in favor and 35 votes against, allowing a company to construct a gas pipeline even if it doesn't have the licenses needed to operate it. According to the new law the only requirement for a company which wants to take part in construction is approval from the Hungarian Energy Office.

Attila Holoda, an expert on energy regulation, said as cited by Bloomberg.

South Stream is "extraordinarily important" for Hungary because it enhances the security of gas supplies to the country, Janos Lazar, the Minister in Charge of the Prime Minister's Office, told reporters on October, 22.

The South Stream gas pipeline was projected to deliver gas to south and central Europe via the Black Sea and the Balkans, bypassing Ukraine. The project, with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of gas a year, is seen as critical for European energy security. Ukraine has been an unreliable transit country, and building a new pipeline is could result in avoiding numerous risks.

The South Stream would run across Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, and Slovenia before entering Italy and Greece. The crisis in Ukraine has made the South Stream project a political issue rather than a legal debate. The EU Commission has been pressuring member states to stop the building of the pipeline. Last year it started an investigation claiming the project contradicted the European Union's Third Energy Package regulations.

Bulgaria and Austria have temporarily suspended the project but are leaving it on the table.