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Sunday, 9 November 2014

The dis-ease of being busy

I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: "I'm so busy... I am so busy... have so much going on."

Almost immediately after, I ran into another friend and asked him how he was. Again, same tone, same response: "I'm just so busy... got so much to do."

The tone was exacerbated, tired, even overwhelmed.

And it's not just adults. When we moved to North Carolina about ten years ago, we were thrilled to be moving to a city with a great school system. We found a diverse neighborhood, filled with families. Everything felt good, felt right.

After we settled in, we went to one of the friendly neighbors, asking if their daughter and our daughter could get together and play. The mother, a really lovely person, reached for her phone and pulled out the calendar function. She scrolled... and scrolled... and scrolled. She finally said: "She has a 45-minute opening two and half weeks from now. The rest of the time it's gymnastics, piano, and voice lessons. She's just.... so busy."

Horribly destructive habits start early, really early.

How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?

Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy - just like us?

What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just... be?

Somewhere we read, "The unexamined life is not worth living... for a human." How are we supposed to live, to examine, to be, to become, to be fully human when we are so busy?

This disease of being "busy" (and let's call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.

Since the 1950s, we have had so many new technological innovations that we thought (or were promised) would make our lives easier, faster, simpler. Yet, we have no more "free" or leisurely time today than we did decades ago.

For some of us, the "privileged" ones, the lines between work and home have become blurred. We are on our devices. All. The. Freaking. Time.

Smart phones and laptops mean that there is no division between the office and home. When the kids are in bed, we are back online.

One of my own daily struggles is the avalanche of email. I often refer to it as my jihad against email. I am constantly buried under hundreds and hundreds of emails, and I have absolutely no idea how to make it stop. I've tried different techniques: only responding in the evenings, not responding over weekends, asking people to schedule more face-to-face time. They keep on coming, in volumes that are unfathomable: personal emails, business emails, hybrid emails. And people expect a response - right now. I, too, it turns out... am so busy.

The reality looks very different for others. For many, working two jobs in low-paying sectors is the only way to keep the family afloat. Twenty percent of our children are living in poverty, and too many of our parents are working minimum wage jobs just to put a roof over their head and something resembling food on the table. We are so busy.

The old models, including that of a nuclear family with one parent working outside the home (if it ever existed), have passed away for most of us. We now have a majority of families being single families, or where both parents are working outside the home. It is not working.

It doesn't have to be this way.

In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they're doing, you ask: in Arabic, or, in Persian, How is your ?

What is this that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one's heart. In reality, we ask, "How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?" When I ask, "How are you?" that is really what I want to know.

I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you're more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.

Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch.

I teach at a university where many students pride themselves on the "study hard, party hard" lifestyle. This might be a reflection of many of our lifestyles and our busy-ness - that even our means of relaxation is itself a reflection of that same world of overstimulation. Our relaxation often takes the form of action-filled (yet mindless) films, or violent and face-paced sports.

I don't have any magical solutions. All I know is that we are losing the ability to live a truly human life.

We need a different relationship to work, to technology. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. It's not just about "leaning in" or faster iPhones. We want to be truly human.

W. B. Yeats once wrote:

How exactly are we supposed to examine the dark corners of our soul when we are so busy? How are we supposed to live the examined life?

I am always a prisoner of hope, but I wonder if we are willing to have the structural conversation necessary about how to do that, how to live like that. Somehow we need a different model of organizing our lives, our societies, our families, our communities.

I want my kids to be dirty, messy, even bored - learning to become human. I want us to have a kind of existence where we can pause, look each other in the eye, touch one another, and inquire together: Here is how my heart is doing? I am taking the time to reflect on my own existence; I am in touch enough with my own heart and soul to know how I fare, and I know how to express the state of my heart.

How is the state of your heart today?

Let us insist on a type of human-to-human connection where when one of us responds by saying, "I am just so busy," we can follow up by saying, "I know, love. We all are. But I want to know how your heart is doing."

How to stop the psychopathic oil, gas companies - the Way of the Warrior

© Unistotencamp.com

With a newly elected Congress gearing up to pass Keystone, the inspiring story of the Unist'ot'en Camp, an indigenous resistance community established in northwest Canada to protect sovereign Wet'suwet'en territory and blockade up to 10 additional proposed pipelines aimed at expanding Alberta Tar Sands operations. The Uni'stot'en Clan, which has families living in cabins and traditional structures in the direct pathway of the Northern Gateway and Pacific Trails fracking lines, argues that "since time immemorial" they have governed Wet'suwet'en lands, which thus remain unceded and not subject to Canadian law "or other impositions of colonial occupation" - an argument that has been sustained in court cases, and bolstered by the camp's recent peaceable ejection of a drilling crew..

© Unistotencamp.com

Uni’stot’en Clan traditional living structure

Camp leaders note that delays caused by their and other grassroots blockades are said to be costing Kinder Morgan and other companies up to $88 million a month. Though the companies have filed multi-million suits against camp leaders, they argue that Wet'suwet'en law still applies to all unceded territories - where, in fact, indigenous people probably outnumber settler people" - thus requiring the consent of the traditional governments. "Our Chiefs have said no to these projects, and no means no," says Freda Huson, Unist'ot'en Clan member and camp spokesperson. "You can't continue to bulldoze over our people. Our lands. Our final say."

[embedded content]

Creeping conflict in Ukraine and Novorussia


© AP

Voentorg in action

There is an interesting word in Russian: вялотекущий. It can be translated as "creeping" or "sluggish". It is composed of the word which means "lethargically", or "torpidly" or "apathetic" and текущий which means to flow, to progress. This word comes to my mind when looking at the war in the Ukraine, it is progressing towards some kind of worsening, but it does so in a slouching, slowly creeping way.

Novorussian side

On the Novorussian side the recent elections did not solve the constant infighting between the various commanders. To my great regret, this nonsense is still going on. Bezler was removed from his command, Mozgovoi was told that his brigade had to be incorporated into the Novorussian Armed Forces (NAF), which he gladly accepted, and that this would be done by breaking up his brigade into various units of the NAF, which he categorically rejected. Then there was the news that Zakharchenko had decorated Strelkov and Borodai as with the Medal of "Hero of the Donetsk People's Republic". Strelkov denied that, adding that he would not take that medal from Zakharchenko anyway. The news was then "corrected" to say that this decision had been made about Bezler and Borodai. The blog of Colonel Cassad (http://ift.tt/1e6g0HN - the most honest Russian-language blog on Novorussia IMHO) goes into exquisite details about all this nonsense and the English version of this site apparently has resumed translating his blog. You can find the English version here: http://ift.tt/U9TxDs.

The good news is that while the Novorussians are fighting, the Russians are sending them huge amounts of weapons. The main difference with what Russia did in the past is that this time around the Voentorg is not done covertly at all and that these huge columns of trucks have been seen driving around the center of Donetsk, clearly in the hope that somebody would film or photograph them. The message to the Junta is clear - we are read and we will support Novorussia. It appears that so far this new "semi-overt" style of support has deterred the Junta Repression Forces (JRF) from any major attacks.

Question for everybody: I have heard reports that columns of T-80 tanks has been spotted in Novorussia. Can somebody confirm whether this is true or not? So far, all the "T-80s" have turned out to be modification of the Ukrainian T-72, but the appearance of Russian T-80s could be significant because while not modern by Russian standards, most Russian T-80s have been retrofitted with modern electronics and fire systems. In other words, a modernized Russian T-80 would have a huge advantage over a Ukrainian T-72, specially an unmodified one.

I personally do not really care who of the Novorussian leaders is in command as long as it is one person. All of them have shown that they are competent military commanders so the question is a political one. Zakharchenko is by far the most legitimate political leader since he won the election, and he seems to most willing to do what the Kremlin wants which I consider a good thing. But this is also the reason why a lot of the other field commanders don't like him, especially Strelkov. But then again, Strelkov himself is far from being unanimously endorsed either and, besides, he is now out of the Novorussian political game since he now lives in Russia. The fact is that Novorussia cannot exist without Russian support, so my totally politically incorrect preference for the command of the NAF would be for a Russian general to be put in charge, but that ain't happening. Next best, somebody who will listen to a Russian general. But for the political command of Novorussia what is needed is a good administrator, a local Novorussian and a civilian capable of effectively interfacing with the military commanders. I personally liked Borodoi, but any guy close to the security services would do.

Why the security services? Because no real "democracy" is possible in a combat zone. So the next best thing is a pretend democracy where the democratically elected leader has some personal legitimacy, but is willing and capable of working closely with the military commanders and with the Kremlin. Sort of Borodai v2 I suppose. Alas, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Ukieland aka Banderastan

The total chaos in continuing the Nazi-occupied Ukraine. While the junta did succeed in bringing a lot of military power (man and gear) to the line of contact, no real attack has materialized. Besides the already well-known terror shelling of civilians in Donetsk, the new and revamped JRF has not shown itself capable of anything yet. Could they do more?

Yes, definitely, they now have three things which they lacked before the Minsk agreement:

1) More firepower

2) More armor

3) Well defended sectors

These are good ingredients for a determined attack. The problem for them is, of course, that the NAF now also has more of these three categories. Finally, the NAF retains a very significant advantage in moral, tactical proficiency, local population support, knowledge of the terrain and reconnaissance. This, along with the reopening of the Voentorg spigot, might well explain the current Ukie lack of attack.

[Sidebar: I have seen a lot of nonsense about Uncle Frost, General Winter, Jack Frost, etc. This is utter nonsense. Both the Russians and the Ukrainians (as if they were different) have fought wars in the winter for over 1000 years and they can very much do that again. Even in the Arctic (in the case of Russians). The Russians train in Siberia, on permafrost, in the Caucasus and, of course, in Central Russia's brutal winters and while extreme weather conditions of the Winter or Spring (the thaw) make that harder, they don't make that impossible at all. A Winter offensive is definitely possible, if less likely]

On the political side, on the Ukie side the elections has also not settled anything and all the bigshots are busy fighting each other. Most of the "action" seems to take place around Kolomoiski, but there is plenty of hatred to go around for everybody.


The big news for Russia is clearly the drop in the prices of oil and the drop in the value of the Ruble. Are the two linked? Yes, of course. While the general economic downturn worldwide did probably negatively impact the price of oil, there is little doubt that the AngloZionist Empire is using its influence to prevent the OPEC countries from cutting down on production. Is this strategy effective? Yes, definitely, but it also is very pricey, especially for the US shale gas industry. Cheap oil is also very good for China, so while Russia is hurting, China is getting a much needed boost. Worse for the AngloZionists, Russia and China are signing even more multi-billion dollar contracts but instead of dollars, they make them in Rouble-Renminbi.

Still, the worst problems for Russia are, beyond any doubt, self-inflicted. There is a reason why Russia has been so dependent for years on gas and oil exports: it is because the Russian economy has not been able to provide alternative sources of revenue and the reason for that is that the entire economic system adopted by Russia after 1991 has been designed to lock Russia into an "African" style of economy: Russia was allowed to export her raw materials and was told to import all the rest. How was that achieved? By telling the Russians to keep interest rates high, their savings invested in US T Bonds and keeping their main corporations incorporated abroad. Of course, none of that would have been possible without a faithful local comprador class imposing that system by its power of corruption on the rest of the country. The bottom line is that these sanctions primarily hurt Russia there where Russia is weak anyway, so in a sense you could say that these sanctions are acting like cattle-prods forcing the Russian state to very reluctantly go to its own salvation.

This is now a race against time. Who, of the USA or Russia, will have to cave in first and who will have the staying power to hold on to its objectives. Can you guess on whom I am betting? :-)


The situation in Novorussia is bad but not catastrophic. Russia will help Novorussia through the winter months and, hopefully, the infighting amongst the field commanders will eventually stop.

The situation in Ukieland is terrible and only getting worse. The Ukraine is now somewhere between the 4th and 5th Orlov Stages of Collapse . The recent gas deal with the EU and Russia changes nothing to that fact. We can begin to think of rump-Ukraine aka Banderastan aka Ukieland as something like a 'frozen Libya': a very dangerous, poor, violent wasteland run by thugs.

The situation for Russia is difficult, especially in the short term. The good news is that Russia is immensely wealthy with huge reserves of gold, currencies, natural resources and human capital and that Russia is politically extremely stable. The deep strategic alliance between Russia and China is, for both countries, the "ticket" out of the dependence upon the dollar and the way to true decolonization from the Empire.

As long as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jiping hold the course - and I believe they will - the Empire will continue to slowly erode.

The Saker

Northern Rockies snowstorm to expand to Minneapolis, Great Lakes

The snowstorm unfolding across the northern Rockies will spread a swath of snow to Minneapolis and the upper Great Lakes through the first part of the week.

Before reaching the Great Lakes, the system is expected to deliver snow from the Rocky Mountains to the northern Plains with accumulating snowfall reaching as far south as Denver.

The snow will then begin to build into the northern Great Lakes, moving into the region on Monday and continuing into Tuesday night.

Due to the path of the storm, it appears as though some of the bigger cities around the Great Lakes, such as Chicago and Detroit, will miss out on the snow.

The heaviest snow is expected to focus on a zone stretching from northern Wisconsin to central Ontario. A foot or more of snow will fall over this area with localized pockets receiving as much as 2 feet of accumulation.

Gusty winds also accompanying this storm will result in blowing and drifting snow.

While blizzard conditions are not expected, winds gusting up to 30 mph can greatly reduce visibility, resulting in major travel disruptions.

This wind will also cause AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures to be held to the teens and single digits on Monday in places such as Minneapolis, making it dangerous for people to spend extended periods of time in the outdoors without wearing proper clothing.

Along the southern fringe of the snow, rain and/or sleet will mix in and hold down amounts.

A blast of frigid arctic air is set to dive southward into the Plains and the Midwest in the wake of the snowstorm, keeping temperatures as much as 30 degrees below normal.

This cold air blowing over the comparatively warm waters of the Great Lakes can cause lake-effect snow to develop downwind of the lakes, adding to snowfall totals Wednesday and Thursday.

Despite all of the negative impacts that this storm will bring, there will be some positives.

Ski resorts across the region will benefit from snow, allowing for some early season skiers to hit the slopes.

The cold air following the storm will also allow for ski resorts to utilize their snow-making machines, adding even more snow to the slopes for early season skiers.

Those planning to go skiing or snowboarding should check AccuWeather.com for the latest ski conditions forecast.

Siberian Express to bring an early -30 degrees F to Wyoming, Montana

Even though it's still early November, a January-like cold wave just entering Montana and the Dakotas on Sunday will bring 30 below zero temperatures to scattered locations in Montana and Wyoming by Wednesday morning.

The cold will fill the nation's midsection by mid-week, with no let up in sight. The coldest air to arrive in a series of reinforcing surges is still a week away.

Temperatures are forecast to run 15 to 30 deg. F below normal for at least 5 days over a large portion of the central U.S. starting late in the coming week.

On individual days the temperatures will be as much as 50 deg. F below normal for this time of year, which is quite exceptional. The air mass temperature (850 mb, ~5,000 ft. altitude) will be as much as 4.5 standard deviations below normal, which is less than 1 in 100,000 in probability terms.

First tobacco ban in U.S. proposed in Westminster, MA

© AP/Elise Amendola

Brian Vincent poses in front of a large display of tobacco products at Vincent's Country Store in Westminster, Mass., Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014. Local officials are contemplating what could be a first: a blanket ban on all forms of tobacco and e-cigarettes, leaving some shop owners fuming.

The cartons of Marlboros, cans of Skoal and packs of Swisher Sweets are hard to miss stacked near the entrance of Vincent's Country Store, but maybe not for much longer: All tobacco products could become contraband if local health officials get their way.

This sleepy central Massachusetts town of 7,700 has become an improbable battleground in America's tobacco wars. On Wednesday, the Board of Health will hear public comment on a proposed regulation that could make Westminster the first municipality in the United States to ban sales of all tobacco products within town lines.

"To my knowledge, it would be the first in the nation to enact a total ban," said Thomas Carr, director of national policy at the American Lung Association. "We commend the town for doing it."

Town health agent Elizabeth Swedberg said a ban seemed like a sensible solution to a vexing problem.

"The tobacco companies are really promoting products to hook young people," she said, pointing to 69-cent bubblegum-flavored cigars, electronic cigarettes and a new form of dissolvable smokeless tobacco that resembles Tic Tac candies. "The board was getting frustrated trying to keep up with this."

Citing a report from the U.S. surgeon general, Swedberg said that if tobacco use continues unabated, 5.6 million American children who are younger than 18 today will die prematurely because of smoking. Change, she said, "has to start somewhere."

Brian Vincent would rather it not start with his family-owned grocery on Main Street. Tobacco products, he said, make up more than 5 percent of sales.

A quarter of his customers purchase tobacco, Vincent said, and while they're there, they often pick up a gallon of milk or one of the fresh-baked maple-candied bacon chocolate chip cookies that are displayed by the check-out aisle.

"It's going to send business five minutes this way or five minutes that way - no one's going to quit," said Vincent, who admits to enjoying a cigar himself now and then.

Encouraged by the New England Convenience Store Association, Vincent has been asking customers to sign a petition against the proposal. He has gathered more than 800 signatures so far, and other merchants are on track to deliver hundreds more to town officials this week.

David Sutton, a spokesman for Richmond, Virginia-based Altria Group Inc., owner of the nation's biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, called the proposal a "bad policy" that will harm local employers.

"We believe businesses should be able to choose which products they carry," Sutton said. "If the ban were to be implemented, adult tobacco and e-vapor consumers could shift their purchases to neighboring stores. The proposed regulations, if enacted, would fundamentally alter these businesses and would likely cost Westminster jobs."

So many people have called Town Hall about the proposal, the Board of Health - whose meetings about septic system updates and mosquito control rarely attract an audience - will hold Wednesday's public hearing in an elementary school cafeteria rather than in its usual second-floor conference room.

Colleen Conner, who pops into Vincent's nearly every day to pick up a pack of American Spirits, is among those who signed the petition. Should the measure pass, she said, she'll drive 25 miles north to New Hampshire and buy her cigarettes there in bulk.

"When you're a smoker, you'll quit when you're ready, not because someone told you to," she said. "I think it's going to hurt the store - and I love the store."

Swedberg, the town health agent, said the Board of Health hopes that if it enacts the regulation, loyal customers will support local businesses by buying more nontobacco products. And she thinks stores could see another benefit: "For people who are trying to quit, it could be a better place for them to shop, because they wouldn't be confronted with tobacco."

Board members are keeping an open mind and will take public comment into account, Swedberg said. But she remains supportive of the ban and hopes more communities across the country will follow Westminster's example.

It's an admirable goal, said Westminster resident Claudia Kulik, who turned to a hypnotist to quit cigarettes 10 years ago.

Yet even she doubts that making it impossible to buy tobacco products in town would make a difference to a smoker seeking a fix. She once went out in an ice storm for cigarettes.

"I would have gone through hell or high water," she said.

Enjoy this period of false stability. We're on the brink of an economic collapse

confused person

The idea that the United States is on the brink of a horrifying economic crash is absolutely inconceivable to most Americans. After all, the economy has been relatively stable for quite a few years and the stock market continues to surge to new heights. On Friday, the Dow and the S&P 500 both closed at brand new all-time record highs. For the year, the S&P 500 is now up 9 percent and the Nasdaq is now up close to 11 percent. And American consumers are getting ready to spend more than 600 billion dollars this Christmas season. That is an amount of money that is larger than the entire economy of Sweden. So how in the world can anyone be talking about economic collapse? Yes, many will concede, we had a few bumps in the road back in 2008 but things have pretty much gotten back to normal since then. Why be concerned about economic collapse when there is so much stability all around us?

Unfortunately, this brief period of stability that we have been enjoying is just an illusion.

The fundamental problems that caused the financial crisis of 2008 have not been fixed. In fact, most of our long-term economic problems have gotten even worse.

But most Americans have such short attention spans these days. In a world where we are accustomed to getting everything instantly, news cycles only last for 48 hours and 2008 might as well be an eternity ago.

In the United States today, our entire economic system is based on debt.

Without debt, very little economic activity happens. We need mortgages to buy our homes, we need auto loans to buy our vehicles and we need our credit cards to do our shopping during the holiday season.

So where does all of that debt come from?

It comes from the banks.

In particular, the "too big to fail banks" are the heart of this debt-based system.

Do you have a mortgage, an auto loan or a credit card from one of these "too big to fail" institutions? A very large percentage of the people that will read this article do.

And a lot of people might not like to hear this, but without those banks we essentially do not have an economy.

When Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, it almost resulted in the meltdown of our entire system. The stock market collapsed and we experienced an absolutely wicked credit crunch.

Unfortunately, that was just a small preview of what is coming.

Even though a few prominent "experts" such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman have declared that the "too big to fail" problem is "over", the truth is that it is now a bigger crisis than ever before.

Compared to five years ago, the four largest banks in the country are now almost 40 percent larger. The following numbers come from a recent article in the Los Angeles Times...

Just before the financial crisis hit, Wells Fargo & Co. had $609 billion in assets. Now it has $1.4 trillion. Bank of America Corp. had $1.7 trillion in assets. That's up to $2.1 trillion.

And the assets of JPMorgan Chase & Co., the nation's biggest bank, have ballooned to $2.4 trillion from $1.8 trillion.

At the same time that those banks have been getting bigger, 1,400 smaller banks have completely disappeared from the banking industry.

That means that we are now more dependent on these gigantic banks than ever.

At this point, the five largest banks account for 42 percent of all loans in the United States, and the six largest banks account for 67 percent of all assets in our financial system.

If someone came along and zapped those banks out of existence, our economy would totally collapse overnight.

So the health of this handful of immensely powerful banking institutions is absolutely critical to our economy.

Unfortunately, these banks have become deeply addicted to gambling.

Have you ever known people that allowed their lives to be destroyed by addictions that they could never shake?

Well, that is what is happening to these banks. They have transformed Wall Street into the largest casino in the history of the world. Most of the time, their bets pay off and they make lots of money.

But as we saw back in 2008, when they miscalculate things can fall apart very rapidly.

The bets that I am most concerned about are known as "derivatives". In essence, they are bets about what will or will not happen in the future. The big banks use very sophisticated algorithms that are supposed to help them be on the winning side of these bets the vast majority of the time, but these algorithms are not perfect. The reason these algorithms are not perfect is because they are based on assumptions, and those assumptions come from people. They might be really smart people, but they are still just people.

If things stay fairly stable like they have the past few years, the algorithms tend to work very well.

But if there is a "black swan event" such as a major stock market crash, a collapse of European or Asian banks, a historic shift in interest rates, an Ebola pandemic, a horrific natural disaster or a massive EMP blast is unleashed by the sun, everything can be suddenly thrown out of balance.

Acrobat Nik Wallenda has been making headlines all over the world for crossing vast distances on a high-wire without a safety net. Well, that is essentially what our "too big to fail" banks are doing every single day. With each passing year, these banks have become even more reckless, and so far there have not been any serious consequences.

But without a doubt, someday there will be.

What would you say about a bookie that took $200,000 in bets but that only had $10,000 to cover those bets?

You would certainly call that bookie a fool.

But that is what our big banks are doing.

Right now, JPMorgan Chase has more than 67 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives but it only has 2.5 trillion dollars in assets.

Right now, Citibank has nearly 60 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives but it only has 1.9 trillion dollars in assets.

Right now, Goldman Sachs has more than 54 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives but it has less than a trillion dollars in assets.

Right now, Bank of America has more than 54 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives but it only has 2.2 trillion dollars in assets.

Right now, Morgan Stanley has more than 44 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives but it has less than a trillion dollars in assets.

Most people have absolutely no idea how incredibly vulnerable our financial system really is.

The truth is that these "too big to fail" banks could collapse at any time.

And when they fail, our economy will fail too.

So let us hope and pray that this brief period of false stability lasts for as long as possible.

Because when it ends, all hell is going to break loose.

Virus that 'makes humans more stupid' discovered

Stupid Virus

© The Independent, UK

A virus has been discovered that affects cognitive abilities in healthy people.

A virus that infects human brains and makes us more stupid has been discovered, according to scientists in the US.

The algae virus, never before observed in healthy people, was found to affect cognitive functions including visual processing and spatial awareness.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska stumbled upon the discovery when they were undertaking an unrelated study into throat microbes.

Surprisingly, the researchers found DNA in the throats of healthy individuals that matched the DNA of a virus known to infect green algae.

Dr Robert Yolken, a virologist who led the original study, said: "This is a striking example showing that the 'innocuous' microorganisms we carry can affect behaviour and cognition.

"Many physiological differences between person A and person B are encoded in the set of genes each inherits from parents, yet some of these differences are fuelled by the various microorganisms we harbour and the way they interact with our genes."

Of the 90 participants in the study, 40 tested positive for the algae virus. Those who tested positive performed worse on tests designed to measure the speed and accuracy of visual processing. They also achieved lower scores in tasks designed to measure attention.

Humans' bodies contain trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Most are harmless, but the findings of this research show that there some microbes can have a detrimental impact on cognitive functions, while leaving individuals healthy.

The study's findings were published in the

Palestinians mark Berlin Wall anniversary by breaking through West Bank barrier


Palestinian youths, one holding a national flag, appear through a hole they dug in the controversial Israeli separation wall in the West Bank village of Bir Nabala -between Jerusalem and Ramallah- on November 8, 2014 as celebrations today mark 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A group of Palestinian activists dug a hole through the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A small group of activists associated with resistance movements in villages around northwest Jerusalem hacked away at the barrier, known by Palestinians as the "Apartheid Wall," on Saturday as a symbolic gesture to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall and to draw attention to their plight.

"No matter how high walls are built, they will fall. Just as the Berlin Wall fell, the wall in Palestine will fall, along with the occupation," the activists' said in a statement Saturday.


Israel began constructing the expansive barrier, which divides the West Bank village of Bir Nabala, situated between Jerusalem and Ramallah, in 2002. Israelis argue that the wall serves a crucial defensive purpose, indicating a drop in attacks since its construction as proof of its efficacy.

The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Teselem) decries the wall as a source of suffering for the Palestinian people. "[The wall] cut social ties and isolated villages from their farmland and citizens from their livelihoods," the organization said.


In footage filmed by Palestinian TV, the protesters said that their aim was to stress that the 1967 Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem was illegitimate and demonstrate that nothing will stop them from reaching the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site and the former location of the Jewish holy Second Temple.

Just this Friday, Israel implemented new restrictions barring men under 35 from entering the sacred compound, following recent clashes stemming from allegations that Israeli troops stormed the compound.


Amid escalating tensions, the activists called upon fellow Palestinians to be ready to take part in the "Intifada of Jerusalem," saying it would be "the final, fateful intifada to liberate Palestine."

"The separation barrier exemplifies apartheid in modern times. We will continue with our activities against the expansion of settlements and the construction of the barrier until it is removed," a masked activist told Andalou agency.

Facing up to the capitalist within

As with the social changes that were necessary to end the African slave trade, a transformation of modern capitalism requires that we step outside of ourselves and examine our own roles within the system objectively.

John Newton (1725-1807) is best known for penning the hymn Amazing Grace in the later years of his life as a minister in the Church of England. In 1788 he published a pamphlet entitled Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade, in which he spoke out strongly against what he called "a disgraceful branch of commerce." But for much of his life Newton worked on slave ships, including four years as captain of his own vessel taking stolen African men and women to the American colonies.

Newton's transition from slaver to minister and activist was inspired by one particular event. On a return journey to Liverpool in 1748, a great storm had threatened to sink his ship, and the fear he was forced to face affected him profoundly, changing his views about the people who were imprisoned beneath his feet. He referred to this event as his "great deliverance," and afterwards gave up the slave trade to campaign against it from his new position in the church.

What had happened to Newton to cause such a change? Did he suddenly develop a new sense of empathy with others, or was it always there, suppressed by the social norms of the time - the collective stories that were told to justify the enslavement of a different race?

We live our lives through stories that reinforce certain values and beliefs. What's true or false, acceptable or not, are constructs that are held aloft like a scaffold in the collective psyche. But when a critical mass of individuals lets go of these stories, a tipping point is reached, and the scaffold collapses. So it was when the slave trade was abolished.

A cascade of individuals like Newton let go of the story that slavery was acceptable, and change rapidly accelerated. As the historian Adam Hochschild has written, "If you had proposed, in the London of early 1787, to change all of this, nine out of ten people would have laughed you off as a crackpot. Yet by 1807 the British Parliament had banned the slave trade."

Capitalism is a similarly constructed story, a collection of social perceptions that create a dominant world view. But that's all it is - a world view. It's easy to see capitalism as a system external to ourselves, but it's much harder to acknowledge the stories we carry inside of ourselves that create and reinforce the values that sustain it. Transforming capitalism requires that we step outside of ourselves and examine our own roles objectively. That's never easy, but it can help to look through someone else's eyes.

Viola Cordova was a philosopher who examined how Native Americans viewed Euro-Americans as self-centered, greedy, acquisitive, and unaware of the needs of others - or of the fact that they shared the world with other beings and with the living earth itself. Cordova critiqued the search for absolute, universal truths that characterizes Euro-American belief systems, and the notion that such knowledge will grant them control over their own destiny.

What could be offered in response to this critique? What is the story that how Euro-Americans are perceived?

Here's my interpretation. First, we view the self as separate, one from another, the individual from the environment that surrounds them. Our possessions are seen as extensions of that separate self, to be shared only with those we trust. But most people, we're told, cannot be trusted.

Second, individual success is paramount, and requires that we compete with each other in a winner-takes-all struggle to come out on top. To come second is a shameful burden. For those who win, there's a perception of great achievement; for those who lose, a life of suffering awaits.

Third, knowledge is valued above all else, but knowledge is external, something to be held and controlled by experts who demand our trust. Internal knowledge - inner knowing - is always to be suspected.

These beliefs produce a pervasive sense of powerlessness, and the story that's erected around them - the story of capitalism - inevitably becomes a narrative of fear and domination. This narrative has been used to create monetary systems and other financial institutions that are built on debt and insecurity; education systems that place people in competition with one another; and criminal justice systems which place blame solely on offenders, with no assessment of responsibilities in a wider context.

Trying to change these institutions without altering the stories that underpin them won't create the paradigm shift that's required to alter our self-destructive course. We might even replace one system with another that's just as ugly. Dr Gabor Maté, who grew up in communist Hungary, is fond of citing a common satirical observation from his youth to prove this point: 'What is capitalism? It is the exploitation of man by man. What is Communism? It is the opposite."

As a therapist I know that such perceptions can't be deconstructed by force. That reinforces the problem, especially when stories are founded on fear since people hold on tighter whenever they feel threatened. Successful deconstruction happens with compassion, love and acceptance, when a greater fear is thrust upon us - like the storm at sea in John Newton's case. At those moments people may be open to allowing a hand of grace to lead them in a radically different direction. Climate change could be that perfect storm.

In 2014 I enrolled on a 'Sustainable Leadership' course with the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability in Cumbria, UK. The first week residential took us through a myriad of learning experiences that were designed to develop our critical thinking, deconstruct our perceptions of social norms, reconnect ourselves with the planet, and understand the realities of climate change.

All of this together had a profound effect on me. In the weeks that followed, I journeyed through many emotions, from despair to grief and more, but ultimately - and to my surprise - I arrived at a new sense of liberation. A letting go had occurred. Some of my own 'inner capitalist' had been dissolved, especially around the notions of competition and success. I found my own 'hand of grace' in books by Cordova, Charles Eisenstein and others who are writing new stories to replace the old.

I believe that a tipping point to a new paradigm beyond capitalism will only be reached when enough individuals and communities rewrite their stories in this way. Change has to happen from the ground up. Groups that come together to face the difficult realities of climate change through mutual education, watching films, and hosting discussions and debates can strengthen their communities and break down the inner and outer underpinnings of the current economic system. Who are we? How much is enough, and what can we share?

Frameworks such as permaculture can inspire a different way of being that reconnects people with the earth as a living organism through agriculture that is modeled on natural ecosystems, with human beings as an integral component. Local currencies like the Brixton Pound and concepts like the gift economy inspire a way of sharing that goes far beyond debt-based central finance, shifting our perspectives from scarcity to abundance.

Grassroots movements like "incredible edible" (which grows food in urban spaces) reconnect people with what it means to work directly with the sun's energy in order to sustain life. Local food economies create greater self-reliance in communities, and help people to develop an internal locus of control that can free them from fear and the urge for domination, thus creating the new values and beliefs that can sustain a different economic system.

This revolution is a quiet one. Change seems slow to come at first, but I believe a cascade will eventually develop like the one that lead up to slavery's abolition in 1807. We can help by encouraging each other with new stories that describe a different sense of what it means to be human in the world. These stories will become our truth.

Remembrance day farce: Wear a black poppy instead

© Unknown

There were over 16,000 conscientious objectors in the First World War, many of whom, like these, were imprisoned.

On 6 November 2014, counter-militarism activists pasted 16,000 black poppies around the city of Glasgow to appeal to the public to consider what Remembrance Sunday means.

Each poppy represents one of the conscientious objectors, making up 16,000 war resistors who took a stand against their enlistment during the First World War.

The black poppies, which can currently be seen in clusters along streets, appeared in anticipation for the WW1 centenary Remembrance Day commemoration that will take place this Sunday to provide an alternative message to the remembrance industry which is choked on red glorifying poppies, nationalism and militarism.

The black poppy is a symbol which commemorates all those who have died, and are still dying, due to imperialist war and its legacy. It remembers dead soldiers, dead civilians, dead conscientious objectors. It remembers those who have fallen victim to invasion, occupation, gender-based violence, starvation and poverty. It remembers the maimed, the wounded, those made homeless or afflicted with physical and mental illnesses due to war.

The act was done to challenge the 'poppy mania' that has erupted in the last few weeks, as part of the £50 million celebrations marking 100 years since UK made a declaration of war in 1914. Apart from the Royal British Legion selling red poppies, this year there is a poppy selfie campaign, the city of London has seen dancing poppies in the street, a Poppy Lottery and a weekly raffle with cash prizes up to £20,000, or the chance to win a car. Revealingly, a Poppy Day song has been released in the charts, which uses the words of Eric Bogle's classic anti-war song The Green Fields of France, while ommitting the critical last stanza , which contains its anti-war message.

Millions of people have visited the Tower of London to witness the 888,246 ceramic poppies that flow from a window in the tower into the moat making up 'The Blood Swept Lands and Sea of Red' instillation, which has been criticised heavily for only remembering British and Commonwealth soldiers, as well as sanitising the memory of a brutal and futile war, which would perhaps be more aptly remembered by filling the moat with barbed wire and bones , as one commentator put it.

Honouring the sacrifice of soldiers in such militarist frameworks only serves to increase xenophobia and racism, as well as prop up false ideas of 'Britishness'. It does not honour the voices of WW1 veterans, such as Wilfred Owen's sardonic words when he wrote of 'The old Lie: It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country,' and Harry Patch, the last veteran of WW1 who died in 2009, who said "war is organised murder, and nothing else."

The familiar red poppy, fragile yet resilient flowers which grew out of the battlefields of Europe, have been used since 1921 to commemorate British and Commonwealth soldiers who have died in conflicts since World War One. The red poppy has become an increasingly politicised symbol in recent years since the UK declared their involvement in War on Terror. In 2012, a teenager was arrested for posting an image of a poppy being set alight on Facebook.

The white poppy, introduced by Britain's Co-operative Women's Guild in 1933 is worn as a symbol of peace. This Remembrance Sunday, Veterans For Peace will march in the Remembrance Day Parade in London with a wreath of white poppies, carrying a banner saying 'Never Again'. The black poppy extends remembrance to all soldiers and civilians who have died, and who continue to suffer from imperialist wars, and the impacts of colonialism.

In a speech Prime Minister David Cameron said that the WW1 commemorations would "capture our national spirit in every corner of the country" and "ensure that the lessons learnt live with us for ever", however, it is unclear what lessons these might be. One of the activists, Samantha Howard, 27, said, "How we remember today affects what happens tomorrow. I won't allow selfish politicians to exploit the dead for their own benefits. There are many lessons to learn from WW1 - firstly, that millions died not in the name of glory and heroism, but for a squabble over land which was in the interest of only the global elite . And we are still in the same situation 100 years later."

The red poppy has become a symbol which embodies a militarist manipulation, and has become a cultural component of the military-industrial-complex which seeks to glorify war to justify ongoing campaigns. That people are made to feel disgraced by not wearing a poppy is testament to the dangerously nationalistic space which they now occupy. The activists hope that the black poppy re-politicises the symbol of remembrance, but in a way that respects the dead while also respecting the living.

The British Armed Forces have got an ever impeding epidemic of Post-Traumatic Stress on their hands, with more soldiers and veterans killing themselves than being killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. This year, the Royal British Legion has vowed to raise £40 million, which will go towards caring for the Armed Forces community. However, who is responsible for the well-being of injured veterans? Perhaps the politicians who send soldiers to illegal wars should be accountable for their wounds, and not the public.

In George Square there is a Garden of Remembrance which claims 'to honour the dead and remember the living'. How best can we show respect for those who lost their lives in WW1, and conflicts since? How can we best care for veterans and future veterans who are wounded by war?

Erica Green, 30, another one of the activists commented 'WW1 has always represented the futility of war - something to be avoided at all costs. Why now is it being seen any differently? I come from a military family so I personally know the trauma of war, and its toxic effects. David Cameron comparing these commemorations to the Queens jubilee is a kick to the stomach, frankly.'

Not poppies, but navigating away from imperialist military projects will do a much better job of honouring the memory of the fallen, care for our veterans, and for all our futures.'

Our black poppy is inspired by many others who use it as a call against Imperialism. We say no to militarism. We say no to the sacrifice of soldiers and civilians to prop up a false idea of 'Britishness'. We stand against profiteering from war and the suffering and destruction it causes. Against militarism, which seeks to glorify war to justify ongoing campaigns which cause nothing but bloodshed for the many, and profit for a select few.

And we stand with whistleblowers and conscientious objectors who oppose them. During World War I, 250 conscientious objectors from all over the United Kingdom were placed in the Dyce work camp, near Aberdeen, subject to conditions so horrid, one of them died of pneumonia. Many others throughout the world who have opposed the despicable nature of war have been treated in this manner.

Resist Militarisam

The CDC stockpiles Ebola equipment while mainstream press has an Ebola news blackout

ebola united states

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ramping up its acquisition of protective gear for U.S. hospitals that may have to handle Ebola patients, following a "sudden increase" in demand on its current national stockpile.

The federal health agency said in a November 7 statement that it is ordering an additional $2.7 million in personal protective equipment that will eventually be fashioned into 50 kits that can be deployed rapidly to hospitals if or when needed.

As reported by :

Some U.S. orders of protective equipment have been backlogged amid growing domestic demand, as manufacturers prioritize a flood of requests from aid agencies trying to curb the outbreak in West Africa.

Last month, the CDC altered its guidelines for healthcare workers who are charged with taking care of Ebola patients, tightening procedures and adding requirements for fluid-resistant gowns, a head-covering hood, gloves, shoe coverings and a face mask. The updated guidance is located online here .

The press release stated:

Each kit can provide the PPE needed by clinical teams to manage the care of one Ebola patient for up to five days.

Gear being added to the 'Strategic National Stockpile'

The agency says the kits can be "rapidly delivered" to any hospital engaged in treating Ebola patients.

"We are making certain to not disrupt the orders submitted by states and hospitals, but we are building our stocks so that we can assist when needed," said Greg Burel, director of CDC's Division of Strategic National Stockpile, in the press release.

According to the agency, the increased protective equipment will be added to the CDC's Strategic National Stockpile, or SNS. The agency says there are "alternatives" to recommended equipment that can by utilized by hospital personnel in the event certain PPE (personal protective equipment) items are not available. Those alternatives are included in the agency's published guidance (see online link above).

CDC officials said they are continuing to coordinate the production of the additional equipment with manufacturers. Also, the agency is in touch with distributors and healthcare facilities to monitor the supplies of PPE that are already in the logistics chain.

"No products are being held by manufacturers or distributors specifically for SNS orders, and SNS orders are not being prioritized ahead of orders placed by hospitals," the press release said. The CDC added that hospitals ought to coordinate with appropriate state health agencies if they need to request PPE supplies from the agency to care for Ebola patients. "The state health department will follow the established protocol for submitting this request to CDC," the release concluded.

A medical doctor who returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa in October is the last person to have been diagnosed with the disease on American soil. The physician, Dr. Craig Spencer, is still being quarantined and monitored, reports said.

Triple the number of people being monitored in NYC than reported

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Big Apple, NBC 4 New York reports that health authorities are monitoring "triple" the number of people initially reported as being watched for the virus:

The vast majority of those being monitored arrived in New York City within the past 21 days from the three Ebola-affected countries, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation said in a statement.

Included in those being monitored -- understandably -- are all the healthcare staffers who are taking care of Spencer.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media has agreed not to report new suspected cases of Ebola infection, ostensibly in response to a government request. But that should surprise no one; the media is complicit in just about everything Big Government asks of it (if the right party is in the White House, of course).

Thus far, Ebola has killed nearly 5,000 people around the world; most of those deaths have occurred in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, some of the African continent's poorest countries. While the virus has not "officially" been declared airborne yet, it can be spread through the air via coughs and sneezes. Also, it is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids like blood, sweat, saliva and tears.

Learn all these details and more at the FREE online Pandemic Preparedness course at www.BioDefense.com






DOJ Grants $63 Million for Social Justice School Discipline Promoted by Bill Ayers

According to an October 1st statement from Attorney General Eric Holder, “This funding is being awarded as part of the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative – a large-scale, multi-agency research effort to build practical, and scientifically-sound, knowledge about effective ways to increase school safety nationwide.”

However, according to a review of past and current restorative justice initiatives in schools, the funding appears to be just another effort to expand whole-child social justice reforms touted by far-left progressive educators like William Ayers.

Believing that the American education system is inherently racist and oppressive and students of color only act out because they are victims of that system, Ayers began writing about restorative justice alternatives to school discipline many years ago. Examples are his 1998 book, A Kind and Just Parent, and 2001 book, Zero Tolerance: Resisting the Drive for Punishment in Our Schools.

Read more

Former basketball star Dennis Rodman claims he secured release of Kenneth Bae from North Korea

Dennis Rodman threatened to stop basketball trips to North Korea if the People’s Republic didn’t release Kenneth Bae, a letter dated in January and obtained by TMZ shows. Nearly a year later, Bae and Michael Miller are returning to the U.S. after being released from their labor camp sentence. Dennis Rodman is taking credit for the sudden release of imprisoned American citizen Kenneth Bae from a North Korean labor camp.

The former Chicago Bulls basketball player pleaded with Kim Jong Un to release the missionary in a groveling letter dated two weeks after Rodman returned to U.S. soil from his fourth trek to North Korea.

“I write to you saddened because as you know my trips to the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) have provided a lot of problems for me and for my career,” wrote Rodman in a letter obtained by TMZ. “I would like to come back ... to discuss the possible release of the American citizen, Kenneth Bae.”

The 53-year-old player visited Korea “for fun, not politics” in late 2013. He spent four days training the isolated country’s national basketball team and stayed at the Masikryong Ski Resort with the “most beautiful” slopes he’d ever seen, Rodman wrote in the Jan. 23 letter.

Creepy cockroaches could be used for search and rescue


© Thinkstock

Researchers from North Carolina State University (NCSU) have found a way to turn cockroaches into cyborgs and have them assist in search and rescue operations after major disasters.

By wearing special backpacks, the "biobots" can detect and locate sound, as well as differentiating between important and unimportant sounds.

The scientists came up with two innovations, both of which involve electronic backpacks which are equipped with microphones.

One has a single microphone that can capture relatively high-resolution sound from any direction which can then be wirelessly transmitted to first responders.

The other involves an array of three-directional microphones which can detect the direction of the sound. The team also developed algorithms that can analyze sound from the microphone array to focus the source and steer the biobot in the right direction.

The microphone array system worked successfully in laboratory testing, as shown in a video below.

[embedded content]

"In a collapsed building, sound is the best way to find survivors," said Dr. Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NCSU and senior author of two papers on the project.

"The goal is to use the biobots with high-resolution microphones to differentiate between sounds that matter - like people calling for help - from sounds that don't matter - like a leaking pipe," Bozkurt added. "Once we've identified sounds that matter, we can use the biobots equipped with microphone arrays to zero in on where those sounds are coming from."

The researchers also developed technology to create an "invisible fence" for the biobots, ensuring that they remain within the required area and do not wander off. Keeping the biobots within range of each other also means that they can be used as a reliable mobile wireless network, and the technology could additionally be used to recharge the miniature solar panels on their backs by directing them to light sources.

[embedded content]

As redOrbit reported last year, a startup project used similar technology in conjunction with smartphones and apps to educate people about brain stimuli, and how bodies respond to it. RedOrbit's Lee Rannals explained that by observing cockroaches fitted with the tech, "Users will be able to experience in real-time how the brain responds to sensory stimuli. They will also see how the brain is able to learn and adapt."

Rannals also reported that video game technology, in the form of Microsoft Kinect, could be used to control cockroach cyborgs, and was likewise being investigated by NCSU. Dr. Alper Bozkurt was quoted at the time as saying, "Our goal is to be able to guide these roaches as efficiently as possible, and our work with Kinect is helping us do that. We want to build on this program, incorporating mapping and radio frequency techniques that will allow us to use a small group of cockroaches to explore and map disaster sites."

The technology has been tinkered with, and the target of employing cockroaches in disaster situations is now moving closer. Much maligned as creatures, cockroaches could one day be seen as heroes.

redOrbit reported on another project from the NCSU team in August in which Dr. Bozkurt's team announced that they had developed a way to convert moths into miniature drones by electronically manipulating their flight muscles and monitoring the signals the insects use to control them. "In the big picture, we want to know whether we can control the movement of moths for use in applications such as search and rescue operations," said Dr. Bozkurt at the time.

No lost love there: A fiery phone call between Erdoğan and Putin ended in firing mutual threats

Erdogan and Putin

© Unknown

Putin did not comply with Caliph Erdogans wishes but told him instead to stop arming terrorists or else...

The pugnacious Turkish President made a rare telephone call to his Russian counterpart to discuss the latest regional developments, particularly Syria's raging conflict.

According to Moscow Times, a renowned Russian English-language daily newspaper, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who stepped up his customary belligerent rhetoric against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, told his Russian counterpart that Turkey has allegedly reached a threshold where it cannot remain indifferent toward the "human carnage" in the Arab war-torn country, but to Erdoğan's surprise, Putin was infuriated and vehemently warned Turkish President from further interfering in Syrian internal affairs otherwise Russia is ready to thwart Turkey from triggering a catastrophic war in the region.

The Turkish flabbergasted president then asked Putin whether his fiery remarks meant a direct threat against Turkey and Putin replied:" Mr. President, You may construe whatever interpretations you wish from my words."

The Russian president also reminded Erdoğan to the bitter fact that it is Turkey's erroneous and bellicose policies vis-à-vis the Syrian crisis which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent civilians and further urged the Turkish megalomaniac president to desist from supporting Jihadi terrorists whom set up training camps and safe havens inside the Turkish territories.

Dr. İsmet Bayraktar , a distinguished University professor ,specialized in the political and social history of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey believes that Erdoğan during his phone call, tried to somehow dissuade Putin from continuing Russia's considerable military and political support to embattled Syrian president but as it appears Moscow cannot find more loyal and trustworthy alternative to Assad's regime.

The two Black Sea neighboring countries differ extremely in regard to their approach to the Syrian conflict. Turkey is keen for a regime change in Syria, while Russia remains one of the staunchest supporters of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Winston Churchill wanted to wipe Kremlin off the map with atomic bomb, FBI memo reveals

© RIA Novosti

The Yalta (Crimea) Conference of Allied leaders (February 4-11, 1945). First row, sitting: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and U.S.S.R. Marshal Josef Stalin before a meeting.

A secret memo from the FBI's archives has revealed that Britain's Winston Churchill once urged the US to drop an atomic bomb to "wipe out" the Kremlin. He reportedly thought it was the only remedy against the spread of communism to the west.

Churchill, Britain's prime minister during World War II and again during the Cold War 1950s, made his views known to a visiting American politician in 1947, reported in a preview of a new book, by investigative journalist Thomas Maier. The book containing the secret FBI memo is to be published next month.

Britain and the Soviet Union had been allies during WW2. However, according to the memo written by an FBI agent, Churchill asked a Right-wing Republican senator, Styles Bridges, to help persuade then-President Harry Truman to launch a nuclear attack which would make the former USSR easy to deal with.

The FBI memo claims Churchill insisted that the "only salvation for the civilization of the world would be if the President of the United States would declare Russia to be imperiling world peace and attack Russia."

The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb in 1949, much to the surprise to the United States, which was apparently unaware that the Soviet Union possessed nuclear weapons.

Britain's wartime leader allegedly pledged that if an atomic bomb could be dropped on the Kremlin, "wiping it out," it would be "a very easy problem to handle the balance of Russia, which would be without direction."

Churchill, who served as British PM twice, from 1940-45 and 1951-55, warned that if this was not done, Russia would attack America within "the next two or three years, when she gets the atomic bomb and civilization will be wiped out or set back many years."

Winston Churchill wanted to nuke Kremlin ‘to win Cold War,’ FBI memo reveals

Source: RT

The Yalta (Crimea) Conference of Allied leaders (February 4-11, 1945). First row, sitting: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and U.S.S.R. Marshal Josef Stalin before a meeting. (RIA Novosti)

The Yalta (Crimea) Conference of Allied leaders (February 4-11, 1945). First row, sitting: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and U.S.S.R. Marshal Josef Stalin before a meeting. (RIA Novosti)

A secret memo from the FBI’s archives has revealed that Britain’s Winston Churchill once urged the US to drop an atomic bomb to “wipe out” the Kremlin. He reportedly thought it was the only remedy against the spread of communism to the west.

Churchill, Britain’s prime minister during World War II and again during the Cold War 1950s, made his views known to a visiting American politician in 1947, The Daily Mail reported in a preview of a new book, “When Lions Roar: The Churchills and The Kennedys” by investigative journalist Thomas Maier. The book containing the secret FBI memo is to be published next month.

Britain and the Soviet Union had been allies during WW2. However, according to the memo written by an FBI agent, Churchill asked a Right-wing Republican senator, Styles Bridges, to help persuade then-President Harry Truman to launch a nuclear attack which would make the former USSR easy to deal with.

The FBI memo claims Churchill insisted that the “only salvation for the civilization of the world would be if the President of the United States would declare Russia to be imperiling world peace and attack Russia.”

The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb in 1949, much to the surprise to the United States, which was apparently unaware that the Soviet Union possessed nuclear weapons.

Britain’s wartime leader allegedly pledged that if an atomic bomb could be dropped on the Kremlin, “wiping it out,” it would be “a very easy problem to handle the balance of Russia, which would be without direction.”

Churchill, who served as British PM twice, from 1940-45 and 1951-55, warned that if this was not done, Russia would attack America within “the next two or three years, when she gets the atomic bomb and civilization will be wiped out or set back many years.”

Giant armored dinosaurs breathed through "Krazy Straw" airways

© Leonello Calvetti / Shutterstock

Armored ankylosaurs

Carrying around an exoskeleton of bony armor is hard work. But armored ankylosaurs figured out a way to shoulder the load and stay cool. These Cretaceous dinosaurs had "Krazy Straw" nasal passages that helped them air-condition their brains, according to a new study.

"These heads are just covered with bone - they just look like rocks with eyes. And yet, when you look inside, they have these noses that go all over the place," said Jason Bourke, a doctoral student at Ohio University who is presenting his findings on ankylosaurus noses today (Nov. 8) at the annual meeting of the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology in Berlin.

Bourke and his colleagues were intrigued by the "roller-coaster" paths taken by the nasal passages of tank-like ankylosaurs, which become well-preserved fossils because they are so bizarrely bony. The convoluted airways are flanked by small tunnels where blood vessels would have run, suggesting that the setup may have had to do with heat exchange, Bourke told Live Science.

Ankylosaurs and other large dinosaurs had small brains, which were at risk of overheating easily, Bourke said. If cool air from the nose could cool the blood in the head, it might help prevent the brain from sweltering, he added.

© Witmer Lab

A virtual model of the skull of , a tanklike ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous. Air flowing through this dinosaur's convoluted nose would cool the blood headed to the brain.

Simulated dino breath

To test the idea, the researchers used CT scans of two armored dinos to create virtual models of their heads. The first was , a behemoth of nearly 2 tons that lived about 76 million years ago. The second was , an even bigger animal with spiky armor plates and a clublike tail.

he researchers used the virtual heads to simulate air flow in and out of the dinosaurs' nasal passages, and found that when cool air at a temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) passed through the blood-rich passages, the act of breathing warmed it to 95 F (35 C) before it left the throat. This process would have cooled the blood near the nasal passages by about 32 F (18 C), Bourke said. That cooled blood would have then bathed the brain, preventing overheating.

The dinosaurs were also able to cool their exhaled air, saving moisture and 50 to 70 percent of the energy used to heat the air in the first place, Bourke added.

, which had a more convoluted nasal passage, was more efficient at this process than , he said, probably because was a bigger animal and was thus at more risk of overheating.

An evolutionary solution

The airway discovery is interesting, Bourke said, because most modern mammals and birds have their own method for warming air headed to the lungs and for cooling exhaled air: They have respiratory turbinates, or blood-rich structures in the nasal cavity that warm and humidify the air coming in.

"This is the first time we've been able to show that an animal that doesn't have these turbinates found another way around heating the air up or cooling it down, just by making the airway superlong and then curling it around," Bourke said.

Duck-billed dinosaurs, or hadrosaurs, have similarly loopy noses, he said, which have been linked with helping the dinos create resonant bellows. It's very likely that, in both hadrosaurs and ankylosaurs, the structures served a dual purpose: warming and cooling air, and amplifying sounds, Bourke said.

"If they made sound, at least, it probably was going to be enhanced by having this crazier nose shape," he said.

Fireballs and shaking ground in central Texas

KXAN viewers from all over Central Texas reported seeing a meteor Saturday night that many described as "lighting up the sky." Reports indicate the meteor, likely a small rock or piece of space debris, entered the atmosphere about 8:45 p.m.

While KXAN cannot confirm the authenticity of the video below, viewers who have seen the clip say it appears to be the same meteor they saw Saturday night. The YouTube user who posted the video says it was captured using a dashcam while driving in San Antonio.

Some witnesses describe seeing two objects, and a greenish-blue tail - likely from the meteor breaking apart. Some say it appeared as bright as fireworks, briefly turning night into day.

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The sightings weren't limited to Central Texas. Reports of the meteor came from across the state. The Maverick Co. Sheriff's Department reported the ground shaking due to a meteor landing at about 8:45 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, however, no confirmed meteorite debris has been found, and the shaking may have been the effect of a sonic boom.

Putin signs new new mega gas deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping

© RIA Novosti/Mikhail Klimentiev

Russia's President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his China's counterpart Xi Jinping

President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have signed a memorandum of understanding on the so-called "western" gas supplies route to China. The agreement paves the way for a contract that would make China the biggest consumer of Russian gas.

Russia's so-called "western" or "Altay" route would supply 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year to China.

The new supply line comes in addition to the "eastern" route, through the "Power of Siberia" pipeline, which will annually deliver 38 bcm of gas to China. Work on that pipeline route has already begun after a $400 billion deal was clinched in May.

"After we have launched supplies via the "western route," the volume of gas deliveries to China can exceed the current volumes of export to Europe," Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller told reporters, commenting on the deal.

Speaking to journalists on the eve of his visit to Beijing, Putin was optimistic about prospects for the new gas deal with China.

"We have reached an understanding in principle concerning the opening of the western route," Putin said. "We have already agreed on many technical and commercial aspects of this project, laying a good basis for reaching final arrangements."

The "western" route deal is one of the 17 agreements signed at the Sunday meeting between Putin and Xi.

They also included a framework agreement between Gazprom and China's CNPC on gas deliveries and a memorandum of understanding between Gazprom and another Chinese energy giant, CNOOC.

Gazprom and CNPC have also signed a preliminary agreement for China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development to take a 10 percent stake in Russia's Vancorneft.

Among the business issues discussed by Putin and Xi at their fifth meeting this year was the possibility of payment in Chinese yuan, including for defense deals military, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying by RIA Novosti.

5.1 earthquake hits Greek island of Cephalonia

cephalonia quake

A strong 5.1-magnitude tremor has hit just west of the island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea, western Greece.

The quake, which hit at 1:15 a.m. local time (2315 GMT), had its epicenter 5 kilometres underwater, the Athens Geodynamic Institute reports.

There have been no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

A 4.7-magnitude quake hit the island Friday.

An 5.7-magnitude earthquake on January caused widespread damage in the island, leaving hundreds homeless for days as their homes suffered severe damage and more than a dozen people were injured.

Another fake Bin Laden story conjured up by U.S. government

fake story put out by the Pentagon to support the fantasy story that a SEAL team killed Osama bin Laden, who died a second time in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a decade after his first death from illness and disease.

This fake story together with the fake movie and the fake book by an alleged SEAL team member is the way the fake story of bin Laden's murder is perpetrated. Bin Laden's alleged demise at the hands of a SEAL team was a propaganda orchestration, the purpose of which was to give Obama a hero's laurels and deep six Democratic talk of challenging his nomination for a second term.

Osama bin Laden died in December 2001 of renal failure and other health problems, having denied in his last recorded video any responsibility for 9/11, instead directing Americans to look inside their own government. The FBI itself has stated that there is no evidence that Osama bin Laden is responsible for 9/11. Bin Laden's obituary appeared in numerous foreign and Arabic press, and also on Fox News. No one can survive renal failure for a decade, and no dialysis machine was found in the alleged Abbottabad compound of bin Laden, who allegedly was murdered by SEALs a decade after his obituary notices.

Additionally, no one among the crew of the ship from which the White House reported bin Laden was buried at sea saw any such burial, and the sailors sent messages home to that effect. Somehow a burial was held onboard a ship on which there are constant watches and crew on alert at all hours, and no one witnessed it.

Additionally, the White House story of the alleged murder of bin Laden changed twice within the first 24 hours. The claim that Obama and his government watched the action transmitted live from cameras on the SEALs' helmets was quickly abandoned, despite the release of a photo of the Obama regime intently focused on a TV set and alleged to be watching the live action. No video of the deed was ever released. To date there is no evidence whatsoever in behalf of the Obama regime's claim. Not one tiny scrap. Just unsubstantiated self-serving claims.

Additionally, as I have made available on my website, witnesses interviewed by Pakistan TV reported that only one helicopter landed in Abbottabad and that when the occupants of the helicopter returned from the alleged bin Laden compound, the helicopter exploded on takeoff and there were no survivors. In other words, there was no bin Laden corpse to deliver to the ship that did not witness a burial and no SEAL hero to return who allegedly murdered an unarmed bin Laden. Moreover, the BBC interviewed residents in Abbottabad, including those next door to the alleged "bin Laden compound," and all say that they knew the person who lived there and it was not bin Laden.

Any SEAL who was so totally stupid as to kill the unarmed "Terror Mastermind" would probably have been courtmartialed for incompetency. Look at the smiling face of the man Who Killed Bin Laden. He thinks that his claim that he murdered a man makes him a hero, a powerful comment on the moral degeneracy of Americans.

So what is this claim by Rob O'Neill about? He is presented as a "motivational speaker" in search of clients. What better ploy among gullible Americans than to claim "I am the one who shot bin Laden." Reminds me of the western movie: . What better way to give Rob O'Neill's claim validity than for the Pentagon to denounce his revelation for breaking obligation to remain silent. The Pentagon claims that O'Neill by claiming credit has painted a big target sign on our door asking ISIS to come get us.

What unbelievable nonsense. ISIS and anyone who believed Obama's claim to have done in bin Laden already knew, if they believed the lie, that the Obama regime claimed responsibility for murdering an unarmed bin Laden. The reason the SEAL team was prevented from talking is that no member of the team was on the alleged mission.

Just as the ship from which bin Laden was allegedly buried has no witnesses to the deed, the SEAL unit, whose members formed the team that allegedly dispatched an unarmed Terrorist Mastermind rather than to take him into custody for questioning, mysteriously died in a helicopter crash when they were loaded in violation of procedures in an unprotected 1960s vintage helicopter and sent into a combat zone in Afghanistan shortly after the alleged raid on "bin Laden's compound."

For awhile there were news reports that the families of these dead SEALS do not believe one word of the government's account. Moreover, the families reported receiving messages from the SEALs that suddenly they felt threatened and did not know why. The SEALs had been asking one another: "Were you on the bin Laden mission?" Apparently, none were. And to keep this a secret, the SEALs were sent to their deaths.

Anyone who believes anything the US government says is gullible beyond the meaning of the word.