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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Eight billion asteroids in the oort cloud?

1996 PW

© JPL/Horizons

When discovered, the object 1996 PW looked like an asteroid but had the elongated, 5,900-year-long orbit of an Oort Cloud comet.

When a telescope atop Hawaii's Haleakala swept up a fast-moving object in August 1996, astronomers didn't know what to make of it. Designated 1996 PW, the little interloper had the highly elongated orbit of a comet that had ventured inward from the Oort Cloud, at the solar system's outermost fringe.

But it had no tail or coma - visually and spectroscopically, it looked like an asteroid.

At the time, dynamicists Paul Weissman (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and Hal Levison (Southwest Research Institute) proposed that 1996 PW might actually be a rare hybrid: an asteroid from the Oort Cloud. Their suggestion ran completely counter to the consensus notion that only existed in that vast, distant reservoir. But Weissman and Levison had run the numbers: they calculated that, along with a trillion or so comets, roughly 8 billion asteroids could have been flung out into the Oort Cloud by close planetary encounters early in solar-system history.

When other researchers suggested that 1996 PW was probably just an "extinct" comet, having depleted the volatile ices that create a coma or tail, the notion of asteroids in the Oort Cloud got shelved - but not completely forgotten.

In the decades since, dynamicists have radically altered their views of the early system. Now it's widely believed that the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune must have moved around - , and maybe a lot. In one scenario, dubbed the "Grand Tack," Jupiter dove inward to about where Mars orbits today before retreating (thanks to a resonance with Saturn) to its current location.

In any case, this gravitational chaos must have flung small bodies everywhere - into each other, into planets or the Sun, and out of the solar system entirely. The ones that just fell short of escaping into interstellar space ended up in the Oort Cloud.

Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

© LSST Corp

An artist's concept of the 8.4-meter Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which should being scanning the sky from the summit of Cerro Pachón in Chile in 2019.

Now dynamcists led by Andrew Shannon (University of Cambridge) have taken a fresh look at what-went-where in the early solar system. Their computer simulations, published October 29th in confirm that lots of rocky bodies originally within 2½ of the Sun should be lurking among the Oort Cloud's half trillion comets. It's a tricky calculation, because astronomers can only guess the assorted sizes of those distant bodies. (Observers now have data on three of them: C/2013 A1, which skirted by Mars last month; C/2013 P2; and C/2014 S3.)

Shannon and his colleagues find that Oort Cloud asteroids are a minority, perhaps 4% of all the bodies out there. But that's still 8 billion objects (eerily matching the Weissman-Levison estimate), totaling perhaps a third of Earth's mass. "The Oort Cloud has more asteroids than the asteroid belt does!" they point out. In fact, it's even possible that chunks of debris from the postulated Moon-forming impact might have been hurled out there.

So how come interlopers like 1996 PW aren't more common? They're small, likely dark, and lack a typical comet's large, bright coma, so they're too faint to see. Even the powerful Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which might be ready by 2019, will be challenged to spot them. Shannon's team estimates that the LSST might sweep up a dozen Oort Cloud asteroids over a decade.

Meteor sighted passing over Georgia, Southeast US

At least five reports of a meteor going overhead were received from Georgia Tuesday evening - and up to 10 reports came from neighboring states according to the American Meteor Society. The reports came from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia between 6:45 and 7 p.m. Tuesday. According to the reports, the fireball appeared blue to white to orange in color as it passed overhead.

The meteor did not make a sound as it passed according to all of the reports received. The Georgia reports came from Blackshear, Ranger, Cumming, Morven and along Interstate 20 east of Atlanta. Other reports came from Greenville and Pawleys Island in South Carolina, from Garner, NC and Moneta, VA.

Two reported meteors were seen over Georgia's skies last week -- one on Monday and another on Thursday. Scientists say that meteors pass through the atmosphere with regularity. Two major observatories in north Georgia -- one at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega and a second one at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville -- are part of a network of six cameras across the Southeast and 15 such observatories across the nation that watch the skies for fireballs.

SouthEast meteor

© American Meteor Society

The American Meteor Society received at least 10 reports of a meteor over the Southeast on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.

Vengeful Israel destroys Jerusalem family's home for second time in two years

palestinian home destroyed twice

© Saeed Qaq / APA images

Khaled al-Zeer at the site of his destroyed home in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on 26 August 2013.

Israeli occupation forces have knocked down the home of Khaled al-Zeer and his family two times in as many years.

The latest demolition occurred on 29 October, when Israeli authorities sent bulldozers to the small flat that Khaled, his wife Areej and their six daughters shared in the al-Abbasiyeh quarter of Silwan, a neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.

Al-Zeer, 40, was alerted by a friend early that morning to the arrival of the demolition team working for the Jerusalem municipality and accompanied by armed police. He abruptly woke up his daughters and sent them to his parents' home.

"It took the girls several months to shake off the trauma caused by the demolition of our former home last year and I did not want them to witness another demolition," al-Zeer said.

That previous demolition had occurred in August 2013. The reason cited for the demolition was one with which Palestinians are all too familiar. Al-Zeer had built his home without getting permits from the Israeli occupation authorities, who routinely deny such permission to Palestinians in Jerusalem.


That demolition had occurred despite a court injunction which was supposed to put the demolition on hold. Following it, the family had to live temporarily in a cave.

"Life in the cave was unbearable," said Nagham, Khaled's ten-year-old daughter. "Rocks were falling on us all the time and there were a lot of insects. We couldn't study, eat or sleep properly. We particularly feared for my sister Nada, who was six months old back then."

palestinian home destroyed twice

© Saeed Qaq / APA images

Khaled al-Zeer with his children at the cave in which they sought shelter after their home was destroyed on 26 August 2013.

A metalworker by profession, al-Zeer tried to make the cave habitable. But the Jerusalem municipality obtained a court order forbidding him to undertake any work on the cave, claiming that it was a "historical site."

As winter approached, Khaled built a small home on the ruins of the previously demolished one. He also built a barn for the family's horse and shelter for their sheep. All were demolished on 29 October this year.

"They bulldozed everything," al-Zeer said. "They even uprooted the fifteen trees I had planted outside. They confiscated our furniture and my work equipment."

[embedded content]

The demolition was captured on the above video taken by the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, a Palestinian human rights organization based in Silwan. The video shows that vehicles made by three corporations - Volvo of Sweden, Hyundai of South Korea and Iveco of Italy - were used in the demolition.

As the bulldozers arrived, al-Zeer argued with Israeli police, who promptly arrested him, along with his brother. They are among 900 Jerusalemites to have been arrested by Israeli forces since July.

"They burned a cigarette on my hands"

"I was also beaten up in detention, electrocuted and they burned a cigarette on my hands before releasing me on the same day," Khaled al-Zeer said.

He then erected a protest tent across the street from his demolished home. He also set up a container for his animals. Both the tent and the container were removed by Israeli occupation forces on 3 November.

More than 48,000 homes have been destroyed by Israel in the West Bank - including East Jerusalem - and the Gaza Strip since 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Victims of these demolitions sometimes receive media attention when they occur. Yet hardly any attention is paid to the long-term consequences of being made homeless as a result of state violence. Statistics cannot describe the suffering involved.

This time around, Khaled al-Zeer and his family have moved into his parents' home. His daughters speak of the experience in a way that belies their youth.

"Obviously, I'm not really comfortable here," said Rasha, Khaled's eight-year-old daughter, referring to her grandparents' home. "I miss my home, my bed and my toys and we know that we cannot stay here forever."

"Grew up too fast"

As the girls' mother, Areej, said, "They have gone through so much trial and pain in the last year that they grew up too fast and barely had time to live their childhood."

Khaled al-Zeer refuses to leave Silwan. He argues that the Palestinian community in the neighborhood need greater support than they have received to date.

"My great grandparents lived here in Silwan," said al-Zeer. "This is our land and we will cling to it, even if we are forced to rebuild each time they demolish.

"But I feel that here in Silwan, we are left alone, fighting Israel on our own. Everyone pays lip service to Jerusalem, but on the ground, no one is really doing anything for us. And to tell you that my economic situation is rough is an understatement. Even my car was confiscated a few months ago because of unpaid taxes to the occupation municipality."

Dome of the Rock

© Muammar Awad / APA images

The Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque seen from the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on 3 November 2014.

The distinctive Dome of the Rock near the al-Aqsa Mosque - a site being targeted by right-wing Zionists - can be seen from the environs of al-Zeer's demolished home.

Israel is trying to force Palestinians out of Silwan so that they can be replaced with Jewish settlers. Israeli authorities threaten to demolish large numbers of Palestinian buildings to make way for the City of David, an archeological theme park honoring a king who is reputed to have spent time in the area several millennia ago.

More demolitions have occurred since al-Zeer's home was destroyed. One week later, two buildings belonging to the Abu Rajab and Abu Sbeih families were knocked down.

Several Palestinian buildings in Silwan were also taken over by Israeli settlers during September and October.

"We don't feel safe"

"Silwan has been transformed into a military zone," said Khaled al-Zeer. "The Israelis are using all possible methods to intimidate us and drive us away, including traffic stops and fines, the property taxes that we cannot pay and endless provocations by settlers."

One day after the al-Zeer family's home was destroyed, Israeli forces raided the home of Mutaz Hijazi, a former political prisoner from Silwan, and shot him dead. The young man was named by Israel as a suspect in the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick, an American-born settler who leads of a religious movement which seeks the destruction of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.

Khaled's daughter Nagham added: "The heavy presence of soldiers scares us. There are soldiers and police everywhere in the neighborhood. I have to hold my sisters' arms each time we go to school because we don't feel safe walking alone."

Some Zionist organizations such as Ateret Cohanim have been known to take advantage of the poverty which most Palestinians face by buying their homes so that they can be handed over to Jewish settlers.

As these groups often recruit Palestinian collaborators, their efforts can prove divisive. Many locals believe that the Israeli authorities and the Zionist groups working with them are trying to undermine the strong sense of community among Palestinians in Silwan.

Al-Zeer believes that the Palestinian Authority should not negotiate with Israel. Such negotiations are exploited by Israel to buy time so that it can further its plans to Judaize East Jerusalem through the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian neighborhoods.

"Silwan is facing an unprecedented attack," said al-Zeer. "But nothing justifies selling your home. We have no choice but to resist and stay on our land."

The UN has a global depopulation agenda


In some areas of the world, purposely cutting off someone's family line is considered to be one of the most wicked things that you can possibly do. But that appears to be precisely what the United Nations is doing. Two UN organizations, the WHO and UNICEF, have just been caught red-handed administering "tetanus vaccines" laced with sterilizing agents to girls and women in Kenya. And as you will see below, this is not the first time that this has happened. Apparently there is a well-coordinated international program to use vaccines to secretly sterilize women in poor countries all over the planet. The United States needs to immediately demand a full investigation of the UN vaccine program, but I wouldn't count on that ever happening under the Obama administration.

There have always been anecdotal stories of women all over the globe being unable to have children after receiving UN vaccines. But now we have scientific proof. Lab tests that were recently conducted found an antigen that causes miscarriages in the vaccines that were being given to girls and women in Kenya. A story that was posted on Life Site News about this caused shockwaves all over the Internet. The following is an excerpt from that report...

Kenya's Catholic bishops are charging two United Nations organizations with sterilizing millions of girls and women under cover of an anti-tetanus inoculation program sponsored by the Kenyan government.

According to a statement released Tuesday by the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, the organization has found an antigen that causes miscarriages in a vaccine being administered to 2.3 million girls and women by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Priests throughout Kenya reportedly are advising their congregations to refuse the vaccine.

"We sent six samples from around Kenya to laboratories in South Africa. They tested positive for the HCG antigen," Dr. Muhame Ngare of the Mercy Medical Centre in Nairobi told LifeSiteNews. "They were all laced with HCG."

So exactly what is HCG?

The following is how Natural News described what it does...

HCG is a chemical developed by the World Health Organization for sterilization purposes. When injected into the body of a young woman, it causes a pregnancy to be destroyed by the body's own antibody response to the HCG,resulting in a spontaneous abortion. Its effectiveness lasts for years, causing abortions in women up to three years after the injections.

This is an absolutely horrifying scandal, but the mainstream media is totally ignoring it.

Perhaps that is because they agree with what the United Nations is trying to do.

And should we actually be surprised at what the UN is doing? After all, the UN has publicly declared in writing that it intends to reduce population growth in Kenya...

The United Nations and its oftentimes barbaric population-control apparatus are under fire again after releasing a deeply controversial report claiming that the African population of Kenya is too large and growing too quickly. To deal with the supposed "challenge," as the UN and its "partners" in the national government put it, international bureaucrats are demanding stepped up efforts to brainwash Kenyan women into wanting fewer children. Also on the agenda: more taxpayer-funded "family-planning" and "reproductive-health" schemes to reduce the number of Africans to levels considered "desirable" by the UN.

Critics promptly lambasted the plot as undisguised eugenics, with some experts calling it a true example of the "war on women." Among other concerns, analysts outraged by the report noted that the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the establishment's fiendish efforts to slash human populations - especially those considered "undesirable" by self-appointed guardians of the gene pool - have a long and sordid history going back decades. Today, the agenda marches on, as illustrated in the latest UN report calling for drastically reduced numbers of Kenyans.

When very evil people tell you that they intend to do something, you should take them very seriously.

And without a doubt, the UN is evil. To use vaccines to secretly sterilize women against their will is almost too wicked to describe with words.

But the UN will keep doing this until we demand that they stop. Back in the 1990s, similar sterilization campaigns using tetanus vaccines were being conducted in Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines. The following comes from thinktwice.com...

Here are the known facts concerning the tetanus vaccination campaigns in Mexico and the Philippines:

* Only women are vaccinated, and only the women between the ages of 15 and 45. (In Nicaragua the age range was 12-49.) But aren't men at least as likely as young women to come into contact with tetanus? And what of the children? Why are they excluded?

* Human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) hormone has been found in the vaccines. It does not belong there - in the parlance of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, the vaccine has been "contaminated."

* The vaccination protocols call for multiple injections - three within three months and a total of five altogether. But, since tetanus vaccinations provide protection for ten years or more, why are multiple inoculations called for?(3)

* WHO has been actively involved for more than 20 years in the development of an anti-fertility vaccine utilizing hCG tied to tetanus toxoid as a carrier - the exact same coupling as has been found in the Mexican-Philippine-Nicaragua vaccines.(4)

And these are just the incidents that we know about.

I think that it would be safe to say that wherever the UN is vaccinating people for tetanus all over the world there are probably sterilizing agents in those vaccines.

Meanwhile, the UN continues to pour money into other global sterilization methods.

For example, the UN has dedicated massive amounts of resources to supporting the "one-child policy" in China.

And in India, UN money is often used to provide financial incentives to women to volunteer for sterilization.

At this point, approximately 37 percent of all married women in the nation of India have been sterilized. That is an absolutely astounding number. In fact, it is so astounding that I could hardly believe it when I first saw it.

But it is actually true.

And these procedures are often not conducted safely. In fact, one recent mass sterilization campaign resulted in the deaths of ten women ...

Ten women have died in India and dozens more are in hospital, many in a critical condition after a state-run mass sterilisation, a local official said Tuesday.

Many of the more than 80 women who underwent sterilisation at the free government-run camp in the central state of Chhattisgarh on Saturday fell ill shortly afterwards, the official told AFP.

Of course the United States is not exactly innocent in all of this. These UN organizations are absolutely showered with money by the Obama administration, and the U.S. government even has an "Office of Population Affairs " that is used to promote population control all across the planet.

Those involved in these efforts actually believe that they are doing the right thing. They are convinced that "climate change" is the number one problem that humanity is facing today and that the number one way to fight "climate change" is to reduce the number of people.

So they believe that they are actually "saving the world" by pushing a population control agenda.

For much, much more on all of this, please see the following articles...

-"The Population Control Agenda Is Being Relentlessly Pushed In American Public Schools"

-"From 7 Billion People To 500 Million People - The Sick Population Control Agenda Of The Global Elite"

-"Al Gore, Agenda 21 And Population Control"

-"Governments Around The World Are Eagerly Adopting The Strict Population Control Agenda Of The United Nations"

-"Yes, They Really Do Want To Reduce The Population - 22 Shocking Population Control Quotes From The Global Elite That Will Make You Want To Lose Your Lunch"

Now that the wicked actions of the UN in Kenya have been exposed, UN officials are going to closely watch how people respond.

If there is little outrage, they will just keep on secretly sterilizing women.

That is why it is absolutely imperative that we scream bloody murder about all of this. Great evil is being committed right in front of our eyes, and those with courage need to stand up and say that enough is enough.

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott demands apology from Russia on MH17

© AP

Tony Abbott and Vladimir Putin had a tense 15-minute meeting on the sidelines of the Apec summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday held a 15-minute private meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, at which the main issue was the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17. Without any conclusive evidence, Abbott has repeatedly accused Russia of being responsible for the tragedy.

The brief discussion, held on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in Beijing, was the first exchange between the two leaders since Abbott last month threatened to "shirtfront" Putin over MH17 at the upcoming G20 Leaders' Summit in Australia. "Shirtfront" is the term for a particularly violent tackle in Australian Rules football.

The official Australian government statement following the Abbott-Putin encounter underscores the highly provocative role being played by the Abbott government for the US in its confrontation with Russia over Ukraine. Within hours of the crash, Abbott began making the unsubstantiated claim that Russia bore responsibility for the deaths of 38 Australian citizens and residents on MH17.

The Australian statement reported: "The Prime Minister told Mr Putin that Australia was in possession of information suggesting that MH17 was destroyed by a missile from a launcher that had come out of Russia, was fired from inside eastern Ukraine and then returned to Russia."

Then, according to the statement, Abbott told Putin that Russia should accept responsibility for the crash as the US had done when it "inadvertently shot down" an Iranian airliner in 1988. Washington, Abbott claimed, had "duly apologized and made appropriate restitution" and Russia should follow that precedent.

Abbott's assertions can only be described as outrageous. No credible investigation has been completed into how and why MH17 was brought down. A preliminary report has found that the aircraft was likely destroyed by a high velocity projectile , but who fired it or even what the projectile was, is the subject of heated contention. Theories abound, but none has been substantiated. For Abbott to therefore demand that the Russian Federation apologize - in other words publicly admit guilt for the mass murder of civilians - is, among other things, a staggering breach of diplomatic norms.

Abbott's confrontational comments are in sharp contrast to those of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak when he met with Putin. Malaysia, which presumably possesses as much "information" as Canberra, lost 43 of its citizens in the crash. Nevertheless Najib declared yesterday in Beijing: "Malaysia has always taken a very objective position. Instead of finger pointing, we would rather wait for the final investigation report to conclude what has really happened to MH17."

Najib directed his criticisms to both the Ukrainian government and the Russian-speaking separatists in eastern Ukraine for ignoring calls for a cease fire to allow investigation teams secure access to the crash site.

As for Iran Air Flight 655, the circumstances of its downing are completely different from that of MH17. From the day of the incident on July 3, 1988, there was never any doubt that the Iranian aircraft, carrying 290 crew and passengers, was shot down as it flew over the Persian Gulf by missiles fired by the US warship . The plane was correctly transmitting codes identifying it as civilian and it was attacked while the American guided-missile cruiser was illegally in Iranian territorial waters.

The US government never formally apologized or admitted guilt for the atrocity, and treated the victims, their families and Iran with utter contempt. Its allies in the UN Security Council combined to block any condemnation of the US and instead blamed the disaster on the tensions produced by the Iran-Iraq war. In 1996 - eight years after the event - Washington refused in the International Court of Justice to accept legal liability and agreed only to a statement expressing its "deep regret over the loss of lives". It paid token ex gratia compensation of $61.8 million.

Abbott was certainly playing to a domestic audience, seeking to use claims he was "confronting" Russia over the death of Australian civilians to channel social tensions outward and garner support for his deeply unpopular government.

At the same time, Abbott's actions are entirely in line with the confrontational stance being taken against Russia by the Obama administration. During his brief meetings with Putin in Beijing, Obama reportedly issued demands that the Russian government stop supporting Ukrainian separatists as well as the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian regime.

© AP

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet at the 2014 Apec summit.

That Putin agreed to meet with Abbott and listen to his allegations indicates that Russia is on the defensive amid the impact of US- and European-dictated sanctions and diplomatic isolation. The official Kremlin response to the Abbott meeting was low key. It described the encounter as "proper" and stated that Putin had "stressed [that] from the very beginning Russia consistently demanded that the investigation be unbiased, quick and effective ".

The Dutch government, which is in charge of the international investigation into MH17, reported on November 11 that forensic teams have been able to return to the crash site in eastern Ukraine. With heavy fighting again flaring in the nearby Donetsk region between Ukrainian government forces and separatists, it is likely they will be quickly withdrawn, further delaying any progress in establishing the cause of the disaster.

Window washers rescued from a dangling scaffold at 1 World Trade Center

scaffold accident

© James Kievom/New York Daily News

Two trapped window washers dangled 68 floors above lower Manhattan on a scarily tilted 1 World Trade Center scaffold before a heroic sky-high Wednesday rescue.

The two men were stuck on the shaky scaffolding for about 90 minutes before the rescuers carved a 4-foot-by-8-foot hole through a thick double window at the new skyscraper and hoisted the pair to safety.

"Both people were rescued, taken to Bellevue Hospital, no injuries, mild hypothermia," said Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority.

The whole drama aired on live television and before a live audience of gawkers peering skyward at the amazing rescue from the precarious perch.

The FDNY cut two separate layers of glass away in sections in an operation that went "fairly smoothly," said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

The two rescued men - identified as Juan Lizama, 41, and Juan Lopez, 33 - were put in neck braces and placed on stretchers for the trip across Manhattan to Bellevue.

Both were seasoned window washers; Lizama had 14 years of experience and Lopez five.

"I just hope they get home safe," said Ray Struck, 57, a hardhat who was among those watching the rescue. "You don't want to see any deaths anywhere - but especially here."

FDNY WT 1 scaffold


Rescue workers cut through a window pane at 1 World Trade Center to pull the dangling window washers to safety.

The afternoon accident, with the scaffold hanging at a terrifying angle, forced the closing of sidewalks below as passersby stared at the tower.

Cops hustled to empty the adjoining Sept. 11 memorial park, where tourists and lunch-hour visitors were told to leave.

"It's awful," said Nicoka Gorman, who was visiting from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The terrifying incident began about 12:45 p.m. on the south side of the building when a cable on the scaffolding went slack as the two employees worked on the 1,776-foot skyscraper.

"Suddenly (the scaffold) went from horizontal to nearly vertical," said Nigro. "The cables did not break."

The men, already secured to the scaffolding by safety belts, were eventually given ropes sent down by the rescuers for additional security.

The rescuers also gave the men a portable radio to maintain contact during their ordeal.

Gerard McEneaney, director of the building's window washing division, told NY1 that "mechanical error" was seen as the likely cause.

The FDNY hustled to rescue the pair from high above the city street, breaking through the window while sending a second scaffold down in a double rescue effort.

The men were conscious the whole time and in contact with their FDNY rescuers.

NYPD terrorism czar John Miller spoke briefly about the window-washing incident before giving testimony at a City Council hearing.

"Ironically, as we sit here talking about the coordination between agencies and emergency management in the city of New York, at the World Trade Center on the 69th floor, two workers are dangling at a 65-degree angle after the scaffolding partially collapsed," said Miller.

He added that the NYPD, the Port Authority, FDNY and the Office of Emergency Management are "working together to resolve this issue with lives that are very literally and figuratively hanging in the balance."

The tower just opened last week in Lower Manhattan, and stands as the tallest structure in America. Condé Nast employees just moved into their new digs at 1 WTC earlier this month.

4.8 earthquake in Kansas shakes up residents across Oklahoma

M4.8 - 13km S of Conway Springs, Kansas

A large earthquake that originated in Kansas was felt by residents across Oklahoma, Wednesday afternoon.

The 4.8 magnitude temblor rumbled at 3:40 p.m., eight miles to the south of Conway Springs, Kansas, or about 124 miles north of the Oklahoma City metro, at a depth of three miles.

Several viewers called and wrote in to News 9 reporting to have felt the quake, some even as far south as Norman, Okla. So far there have been no reports of damage or injuries related to this earthquake.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 2.5 to 3.0 are generally the smallest ones felt by humans. Damage is more likely with earthquakes at magnitudes 4.0 and higher.

Georgia day care worker arrested for kicking 20-month old toddler


Georgia woman Alexis Wilson-Britten was arrested after she reportedly kicked a 20-month-toddler at a Clayton County day care, which can be seen in surveillance footage of the event.

Kids R Kids Day Care owner Robert Phelps said Wilson-Britten was scheduled to be terminated the day she reportedly kicked the toddler. Phelps noted that Wilson-Britten had taped a pacifier to a toddler's mouth to prevent her from crying in a previous incident.

Phelps first realized that something was amiss when one client, Kimberly Johnson, picked up her twin toddlers on Thursday. Although one of the toddlers appeared to be agitated, Wilson-Britten explained that the children had left the playground early that day and the child was probably upset about it. However, Johnson noticed her son holding his arm as if it was hurting and the twin's father brought him to the doctor, who reported that the child had a fractured arm.

Johnson later learned that the toddler had fallen on the playground, but that Wilson-Britten never reported the incident to administrators. When Johnson complained about the lack of communication, managers at the daycare began to watch Wilson-Britten's interaction with the toddlers via surveillance footage. To their surprise, they witnessed the 22-year-old teacher kick Johnson's son when he tried to bring her a toy.

On Friday, Clayton County police arrested Wilson-Britten, who does not have a previous criminal record. She was charged with simple battery.

Johnson noted that she plans to pursue legal action.

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Musicians with heart: Peter Gabriel joins Stewart Copeland and Rick Allen in new album to benefit Palestinian charities

© AP/Jeff Christensen

Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel, former The Police star Stewart Copeland and Def Leppard's Rick Allen are among the stars who have contributed to a new album to benefit Palestinian charities.

Gabriel and Copeland collaborated on Across The River for the 2 Unite project, which will raise funds to support the surgical and medical teams of the Palestine Children's Relief Fund, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and Project Peace On Earth.

Gabriel says, "We have watched the Palestinians subjected to more and more suffering for far too long, especially in Gaza. Meanwhile, their long-held land is repeatedly stolen by force for illegal settlements."

However, he insists his participation in the album does not mean he is anti-Israel, Palestine's longtime foe.

The human rights stalwart adds, "I am not, and never have been, anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic; I am anti-Israeli government policy, anti-injustice, anti-oppression and anti-occupation."

Copeland also teamed up with System Of A Down star Serj Tankian on the track Spinning Mysteries At The Sacred Grove.

The drummer adds, "Helping to rebuild the lives of Palestinians in Gaza is a necessary and noble worldwide humanitarian prerogative that we must not shy away from. It's the least we can do for a people that have suffered under an occupation, embargo and invasion."

BEST OF THE WEB: ISIS is the U.S.'s dream proxy army for fighting Assad


The corporate-financier funded and directed policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, has served as one of several prominent forums documenting and disseminating US foreign policy. It would host in part the architects of the so-called "surge" during the nearly decade-spanning US occupation of Iraq, as well as battle plans for waging a covert war against Iran now well under way.

Part of this covert war against Iran involved the arming and backing of listed terrorist groups, and in particular, the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) which has killed US servicemen, American civilians, as well as countless innocent Iranians over the decades. Among those signing their name to this plan found within Brookings' "Which Path to Persia?" report, was Kenneth Pollack. Now, in efforts to overthrow the government of Syria, also a stated and integral part of undermining, isolating, and destroying Iran, Pollack has revealed another element of the plan - to create a full-scale proxy military force outside of Syria, then subsequently invading and occupying Syria with it.

In the report titled, "Building a Better Syrian Opposition Army: How and Why," Pollack cites the so-called "Islamic State" or "ISIS" as the ultimate impetus for expanded US intervention. However, upon looking at Pollack's proposal, it merely looks as if the US is using ISIS as a pretext to more overtly intervene in order to overthrow the government of Syria - not in fact neutralize ISIS.

After a considerable preamble assuring readers that the aim of creating a "better Syrian opposition army" would exclude sectarian extremists and result in the same "success" the US had in training the Iraqi army, the document explains:

...building a new Syrian army is best not done in Syria itself. At least not at first. The program would need the time and sanctuary to perform the necessary training, reorganization, sorting and socialization into a new Syrian army without the distractions and pressures of Syria itself. The Saudi offer to provide facilities to train 10,000 Syrian opposition fighters is one of reasonable possibility, although one of Syria's neighbors would probably be preferable. Jordan already serves as training ground for America's current training program and it would be an ideal locale to build a real Syrian army. However, Turkey could also conceivably serve that purpose if the Turks were willing.

Clearly, not only is this already being done as admitted by Pollack himself, it is being done on a scale already eclipsing Pollack's alleged plan - the only difference is it is being done through the use of sectarian extremists - not the imaginary, nonexistent secular professionals Pollack uses as a marketing gimmick to sell this scheme.

More tellingly, Pollack's plan continues by stating (emphasis added):

In addition to being armed, trained and officered like a conventional military, a new Syrian army would also have to be equipped like one. That would mean not just small arms and crew-served weapons, such as the United States and its allies are already providing, but heavy weapons and logistical support. Like the Croats and Bosniaks, a new Syrian army will need the wherewithal to defeat both the regime and the Islamist extremists. That will require tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, surface-to-air missiles and the like to match the regime's own heavy weapons - and so eliminate the firepower imbalance that the regime's forces have employed to such advantage so far.

Surely, Pollack's plan will never materialize in any practical dimension - however it may be possible to use such a marketing ploy to pour more resources into both the ongoing proxy war against Syria and Iran in general, and more specifically into the terrorist battalions already being armed, funded, trained, equipped, and sent off from Jordan and Turkey into Syrian territory. Handing advanced weapon systems into the hands of front groups consisting of intentionally ineffectual, immensely corrupt, incompetent US proxies is as good as handing the weapons directly to ISIS - and of course - this is precisely how the US is building its actual "new opposition army" - namely, in the form of ISIS itself.

ISIS Has Tanks, Missiles, and Aircraft - Everything America's Dream "Opposition Army" Needs

Removing Pollack's rhetoric about secular professionals, and inserting "ISIS" reveals Pollack's paper as the actual already ongoing plan to overrun not only Syria, but pro-Iranian factions in Iraq, and perhaps even Iran itself. ISIS is a massive mercenary army trained and funded abroad by the US with its support laundered via Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey, staged along Syria's borders in both Jordan and Turkey, and acquiring an impressive arsenal just as what is required in Pollack's plan to enter into and overthrow the government of Syria - minus eradicating extremists of course.

Even a cursory look at ISIS' holdings across the region reveal ratlines leading into NATO-member Turkey's territory and all along the Turkish-Syrian border where news outlets like the and have reported for years the CIA had been operating - unloading billions in aid, gear, weapons, and even vehicles to militants fighting within Syria.

Headlines over the past 3-4 years including, "C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition," "First Syria rebels armed and trained by CIA 'on way to battlefield'," "Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.," and "Official says CIA-funded weapons have begun to reach Syrian rebels; rebels deny receipt," reveal precisely how ISIS acquired its vast resources.

ISIS is organized on a professional level precisely as described by Pollack, most likely the result of US military advisers and their counterparts in Saudi and Qatari special operations. ISIS is also heavily armed precisely as was required by Pollack's plan. They now possess an impressive and ever growing arsenal of weapons including tanks, missiles of all kinds, artillery, and even a small collection of aircraft including Russian warplanes and American helicopters.

The , after years of reporting on the CIA's delivery of weapon systems to "moderate" militants, now laments of ISIS' possession of advanced anti-air missiles. In its article, "Missiles of ISIS May Pose Peril for Aircrews in Iraq," it reports:

Syrian rebels have amassed multiple Manpad models since 2012, and the Islamic State has generally had little trouble acquiring any weapon used by Syrian rebels either through purchase or capture, military analysts say.

Unprepared Iraqi troops - the result of what Pollack claims as an American "success" - have also augmented ISIS with precisely the weapons needed for Pollack's dream "opposition army." No less than 30 M1 Abrams main battle tanks have fallen into ISIS' hands.

Prolific Neo-Conservative propagandist Michael Weiss in the attempts to downplay the implications of such weapons falling into ISIS' hands by stating in his op-ed titled, "Exploiting the ISIS Vulnerabilities in Iraq - The terrorists' heavy military equipment is hard to maintain, easy to target from the air," that:

Today, we estimate that ISIS has less than a total of 30 working M1 Abrams tanks and howitzers that are either self-propelled or towed behind trucks (based on our knowledge of how the Iraqi army is equipped and what divisions were in the north). These are the weapons that gave the Islamic State the advantage over the Peshmerga in recent firefights. Yet ISIS does not have the highly trained maintenance crews that are necessary to keep these weapons in good working order. The same problem exists for its armored Humvees and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected personnel carriers. Without maintenance, these captured U.S. vehicles and weapons will break down.

Only, ISIS' Saudi, Qatari, and Jordanian sponsors most definitely do possess the highly trained maintenance crews necessary to keep these weapons in good working order - since these despotic regimes each in turn possess a large number of exactly these weapon systems purchased from the United States itself. If the Saudis in particular, can fund, train, and arm ISIS with small arms and missiles, how difficult would it be to supply them with spare parts and properly trained maintenance crews? Turkey also maintains a number of US weapon systems, and possesses the ability to maintain modern battle tanks if not the M1 specifically - and is already harboring, supplying, and backing ISIS - another inconvenient truth challenging Weiss' attempts to mislead readers.

In fact, Pollack's "proposal" appears more like an after-action report. ISIS is the "better Syrian opposition army" the West has sought all along. That is probably why attempts by the US to "fight" ISIS appear half-hearted and why those the US is supposedly "saving" from ISIS see Western intervention as more of a threat than ISIS itself believing it is designed simply to prolong ISIS' existence in the face of growing and increasingly more formidable indigenous opposition.

Any provisions to build Pollack's "army" will undoubtedly end up only bolstering ISIS and its affiliates - just as military aid policymakers like Pollack at Brookings advocated for the arming of "moderates" resulted in the creation of ISIS in the first place. While the US desperately attempts to disown responsibility for ISIS' creation and perpetuation through an unconvincing propaganda campaign, false flag terror strikes against the "homeland," and a series of increasingly ludicrous, orchestrated strawman victories in Iraq and Syria - Damascus, Baghdad, and Tehran are leading the real fight against ISIS.

The US apparently plans on protecting ISIS for as long as possible under the guise of being the sole force "fighting it," while ISIS consolidates and moves on Western designated targets. In the process of "fighting" ISIS, the US is managing to destroy Syrian infrastructure and defenses. The US, however, has failed in attempts to exclude Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian forces from countering the ISIS threat and now the region is witnessing a race between ISIS' inevitable destruction and America's attempts to topple Damascus before ISIS vanishes from its geopolitical toolbox.

BEST OF THE WEB: Tying it all together: Oil market manipulation, bombings of Syria and of Southeastern Ukraine aimed at undermining Russia

© Unknown


Why is the Ukrainian Government, which the U.S. supports, bombing the pro-Russian residents who live in Ukraine's own southeast?

Why is the American Government, which aims to oust Syria's leader Bashar al-Assad, bombing his main enemy, ISIS?

This report will document that both bombings are different parts of the same Obama-initiated business-operation, in which the American aristocracy, Saudi aristocracy, and Qatari aristocracy, work together, to grab dominance over supplying energy to the world's biggest energy-market, Europe, away from Russia, which currently is by far Europe's largest energy-supplier.

Here are the actual percentage-figures on that: Russia supplies 38% of it, #2 Norway (the only European nation among the top 15) supplies 18%, and all other countries collectively supply a grand total of 44%. That's it; that's all -- in the world's largest energy-market, Russia is the lone giant. But U.S. President Obama's team are working hard to change that, to do a huge favor for the royals of Saudi Arabia and of Qatar, and yank that business for them. (Unfortunately, the residents in southeastern Ukraine are being bombed and driven out to become refugees in Russia, as an essential part of this operation to choke off Russia's gas-supply into Europe and transfer that business mainly to those royals. This objective against Russia and for those royals is considered to be far more important than its many thousands of victims are, and no one in the Obama Administration has provided any indication -- at least publicly -- that tears have been shed there for the residents in southeast Ukraine who have been mass-murdered and for the roughly million of them who have fled to refuge and safety in Russia to escape being bombed by the America's new client-state, the Ukrainian Government.)

Obama has initiated, and is leading, this international aristocratic team, consisting of the U.S. aristocracy and mainly two Sunni Moslem aristocracies -- the Saudi and the Qatari royal families -- to choke off Russia's economic lifeblood from those European energy sales, and to transfer lots of this business, via new oil and gas pipeline contracts and new international trade-deals, over to the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Those royals, in turn, are assisting Obama in the overthrow of the key Russia-allied leader of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, who has performed an indispensable role for Russia in blocking any such massive expansion of Saudi and Qatari energy-traffic into Europe, and who has thus been a vital protector of Russia's dominance in the European energy-market.

America's aristocracy would be benefited in many ways from this changeover to Europe's increasing dependence upon those Sunni Moslem nations, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have long been allied with U.S. oil companies, and away from the Shiite Moslem nation of Iran, and from Iran's key backer, Russia.

The most important way that America's aristocrats would benefit from the deal would be the continuance, for the indefinite future, of the U.S. dollar's role as the international reserve currency, in which energy and energy-futures are traded. The Sunni nations are committed to continued dominance of the dollar, and Wall Street depends on that continuance. It's also one of the reasons the U.S. Treasury's sales of U.S. Federal debt around the world have been as successful as they have been. This also provides essential support to the U.S. Federal Reserve, and especially to the six Wall Street banks that do virtually all of the derivatives trading.

Furthermore, Obama's effort to force the European Union to weaken their anti-global-warming standards so as to allow European imports of oil from the exceptionally carbon-gas-generating Athabasca Canada tar sands -- which are approximately 40% owned by America's Koch brothers, the rest owned by other U.S. and allied oil companies -- would likewise reduce Europe's current dependency upon Russian energy sources, at the same time as it would directly benefit U.S. energy-producers. Obama has been working hard for those oil companies to become enabled to sell such oil into Europe, turning the screws on Europe to weaken those standards.

And, finally, the extension of U.S. fracking technology into Ukraine, and perhaps ultimately even into some EU nations, where it has been strongly resisted by the residents, might likewise boost American oil firms and reduce the enormous flow of European cash into Russian Government coffers to pay for Russian gas (which doesn't even require fracking).

In other words, the wars in both Syria and Ukraine are being fought basically in order to grab the European energy market, away from Russia, somewhat in the same way (though far more violently) as Iran's share of that market was previously grabbed away by means of the U.S.-led sanctions against Iran. The current bombing campaigns in both Syria and Ukraine are directed specifically against Iran's chief ally, Russia.

First, will be discussed here the bombing-campaign against Iran's and Russia's ally Assad in Syria; then against the residents of the ethnic-Russian areas of Ukraine, where Western oil companies want to frack.


As the articles that are headlined below document, there has been proposed, in order to promote even more Russian gas flowing into Europe, an eastbound Iran-Iraq-Syria-Turkey-Europe gas pipeline (but sanctions against Iran already stopped that plan); and there was also proposed, in order to undercut the existing Russian gas flowing into Europe, a northbound Qatar-Saudi-Jordan-Syria-Turkey-Europe gas pipeline -- those being two different and competing new routes of supplying gas into Europe.

Russia's ally Syria is crucial to both proposed pipelines, which means that Assad has needed to be overthrown in order for the northbound pipeline from Qatar through Syria to be constructed and so to compete against Russia's existing gas-supplies to Europe.

There have also been some differences between the Saudi and Qatari royal families as regards their motives for removing the Shiite Assad from leading Syria. Qatar's royals (and also Turkey's aristocrats) want him to be replaced by an anti-Iranian, Sunni Moslem Brotherhood leader (the type of person that Obama euphemistically calls by such terms as 'moderate Moslems' though they were hardly that in Egypt once they gained power there). Qatar's royals have protected themselves from being overthrown by fundamentalist Moslems; they've done it especially by supporting the Moslem Brotherhood as a means of displaying their own loyalty to Moslem clerics. (The public trusts the clerics, but doesn't trust the aristocrats; and, like everywhere, aristocrats obtain their perceived 'legitimacy' from the local clergy, whom aristocrats buy-off with special favors.) The Moslem Brotherhood want to control Syria, and would love to approve a gas pipeline from Qatar through Syria to Europe, to reward their chief benefactor, Qatar's royals. As for the Saudi royals, they want Assad to be replaced by an anti-Iranian, Sunni ISIS leader, who will represent the Sauds' Wahhabist sect in Islam, which provides Saudi royals their 'legitimacy.' (Saudi royals say they don't like Al Qaeda and ISIS, but that's said mainly for public consumption in the West, chiefly in order to help American presidents sell such deals to their public. Almost all of the 9/11 hijackers were funded actually with Saudi money.) Right now, Saudi Arabia supplies less than 5% of Europe's energy, which is a mere one-eighth of what Russia does. So: each of these two royal families relies primarily upon a different category of Islamists. Obama prefers the 'moderate' Muslim Brotherhood to the extremist ISIS, but Saudi royals accept the American President's having that preference, because any way to weaken Iran and its backer Russia is fine with them, especially since it would open wide the enormous European market for their oil.

Other internal conflicts also exist within Obama's team. For example, an expert on these matters, Felix Imonti, explained to me in a personal communication, that, "Qatar ... abandoned the [pipeline] plan in 2010 for a very simple reason. Saudi Arabia will not permit a pipeline to be constructed across its territory. Qatar is interested along with Turkey in installing a MB [Muslim Brotherhood] government in Syria. ... The Saudi objective is to drive out the Iranians from Syria." The Saudis' "objective was to establish a Wahhabi based [fundamentalist Islamic] state that would include western Iraq with Syria," which, of course, is what ISIS is all about. Imonti also says: "Egypt [except for the brief time when it was controlled by the 'MB'] is a bought puppet of Saudi Arabia. The Egyptians are bombing Qatari groups in Libya." That Egyptian bombing is indirectly a Saudi attack against the Qatari royals' own support-base. These issues between the two royal families are like squabbles within a family: more is shared in common among them than splits them apart. The American President's decisions are often determinative on such matters.

So, America's aristocracy supports both the Saudi and the Qatari aristocracies, despite their disagreements, in order to defeat the aristocracies in Russia, China, and the other "BRIC" countries, and so to retain the American Empire as being an empire, not just a country; and, in fact, as being the only Empire.

Or, as President Obama's speech at West Point, on 28 May 2014, propagandized for this view on the part of America's aristocracy: "Russia's aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China's economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us." So, Obama made clear to the graduating West Point cadets that the BRIC countries are the enemy, from the standpoint of America's aristocracy, whom they serve. Ours want to crush the aristocrats in Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Though it's alright for those other countries to produce more, that's true only if American aristocrats control the local ones there, like in any other international empire -- not if the local nation's aristocrats do. Similarly, for example, the British Empire didn't wish for local aristocrats in India to be in control, but only for those client aristocrats to be of use. That's what it means to be a client nation. Obama in his speech added, placing a clear hyper-nationalistic coloration on his promotion of America's empire: "The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation." He promised to keep it that way: "That has been true for the century passed [sp.: past [[somebody at the White House didn't know the difference between 'past' and 'passed']] and it will be true for the century to come." (At least he wasn't predicting a Thousand-Year Reich.)

An important asset of the American aristocracy happens to be shale-gas-fracking technology, which is overwhelmingly owned by America's aristocrats. Though Qatar is a major gas-producer, it has no need for fracking, and so is merely a gas-competitor in that regard, but they do share America's pro-Sunni, anti-Assad goal, and also America's anti-Russian goal. Although Qatar ships most of its gas into Asia, they'd like to have some way to pipe it more nearby, into Europe, to undercut Russia's Gazprom, the major source of income to the Russian Government. (Gazprom is over 50% owned by the Russian Government.) And that's why the U.S. is working with Qatar to bump Assad from Syria.

The Saudis are actually doing the most of all to defeat Russia, by driving oil prices down so low as to upset Russia's economic-development plans, which have been based upon minimum $100/barrel projections. We're already around 10% below that. As Imonti writes, "The Saudis can sustain these lower prices for seven or eight years while drawing on their foreign reserves to cover the deficits. They could very well be trying to break the fracking business in the U.S. that has high production costs. [Of course, America's gas aristocrats won't like that, nor will they like the low gas and oil prices, but Obama has to balance multiple sub-constituencies, including Qatar's and Saudi royals.] They might also be directing the target towards Russia that supports Assad and Iran. They could be doing all of the above with one action." If the Sauds actually do keep this up "for seven or eight years," then Russia will be hit a lot harder by these low oil and gas prices than Russia is being hit, or is likely ever to be hit, by any economic sanctions.

Qatar has been the main funder of the overthrow-Assad movement, for the Moslem Brotherhood; and Saudi Arabia has been the main funder of the overthrow-Assad movement, for ISIS. Both are Sunni organizations. However, Qatar has also funded ISIS. Obama, when he decided to bomb ISIS, was acting on behalf of America's aristocrats, but Saudi and Qatari aristocrats might have felt differently about it. He possessed the freedom to do this, which those Arabic aristocrats don't have, because everyone in the Islamic world knows that Obama is no Moslem; everyone understands that America is in a permanent state of war against fundamentalist Islam of all sorts. Only Moslem aristocrats need the approval of Islamic fundamentalists. In America, aristocrats don't even need the approval of Christian fundamentalists, the type of fundamentalists that might be able to threaten their authority in the West (since the West is predominantly Christian, not Moslem). And the same is true regarding Jewish aristocrats in Israel: aristocrats fear only their local majority clergy. That's basic survival-knowledge for aristocrats, anywhere, in order to be able to get the public to accept the rightfulness of the aristocracy itself there. (A rising and recently much promoted ideology to extend this belief within America is libertarianism, which holds faith in the rightness of the market itself -- irrespective of any belief in God -- and which repudiates government, no matter how democratic it may be, the underlying assumption there being that an economy can exist without a government, and that the economy is not itself necessarily an extension of the very system of laws, and enforcement of those laws, which determine who owns what: it's just another aristocratic scam.)

So, ISIS gets money from the aristocracies of Saud, and of Qatar (and also, more recently, of Kuwait) -- whatever is needed, in order for those aristocrats to retain the loyalty of their local clerics, and thus their public. It's like aristocrats do in every country, getting "God's approval" of their wealth, by throwing a few coins to the preacher, the local mouthpiece for "God," thus relying upon the public's trust in clergy. Even Mafia aristocrats do it. That has been the way of conservatism for millennia; it's the way conservatism works. In the past few centuries, a modified version of that trick has grown up, as liberalism, in which the aristocrats' validation comes instead from scholars, and so aristocrats throw a few coins to them, instead of to clerics. But it's no different -- it's authoritarianism, equally in either case. It's purchased authority. Aristocrats don't really fear the clergy, nor the scholars (nor, certainly, the market): they actually fear the public, such as what happened during the French Revolution, and during the Russian Revolution. But that's another story altogether, going back millennia, actually; and aristocracies everywhere now seem to have those things under far more sophisticated control than before, via propaganda, which they get by owning the news-media and by selling access to it (by means of advertisements and otherwise) to other aristocrats, so as to control the public's mind.

The recent bombings in Syria, and in Ukraine, are a business-operation being carried out as a war (and also very profitable for U.S. armaments-makers, who likewise are controlled by America's aristocrats and so this is a double-whammy for America's aristocracy -- and U.S. arms-makers have consequently been soaring on the stock market). It's basically a grab by U.S. and Sunni aristocrats, from Russian and Shiite aristocrats, of the vast market to supply oil and gas into Europe. And it provides other advantages, too, for U.S. aristocrats.

Natural gas, especially of the non-fracked variety, is generally regarded as the bridge-fuel to get our planet to being able to survive long-term while fusion and renewable forms of energy come online as cost-competitive. Fracking is, as has been mentioned, an American technology, but it's widely resisted even within American-allied nations. The U.S. Government can impose it upon the American people, because they are trusting in 'free enterprise,' but other governments are having a hard time trying to impose it on theirs. That public resistance in Europe is giving protection to the gas-import markets there; and this has benefited Russia, their major existing gas-supplier.

Russia actually has the world's largest proven reserves of natural gas, and that's without their even needing to use fracking-techniques in order to get at it. #2 Iran has 69% as much gas, and is allied with Russia, and it also doesn't frack. But sanctions close them out of Europe. Then #3 Qatar, at 47% of Russia, is allied with U.S. oil companies, but has no need to frack. Then #4 Turkmenistan, 37%, is itself allied with Russia, and also doesn't frack. Then #5 U.S., 20%, is, of course, allied with U.S. oil companies, and only fracks. Then #6 Saudi Arabia, 17%, is also allied with U.S. oil companies, and it doesn't need to frack.

The European Union nations effectively ban fracking (and wanted the EU to ban it but America's lap-dog Britain vetoed that EU-wide ban), because they have environmentally-concerned publics. But U.S. and other Western corporate-owned oil companies want to frack gas in Europe, just as they do in America; and the new Ukrainian Government is desperate enough to want their own land to be fracked.


The main shale-gas (fracking) field in Ukraine is Yuzivska, right in the middle of the Donbass region, where the residents don't want fracking and don't want U.S. rule (which includes fracking). Furthermore, the people there reject the legitimacy of the Obama coup in Ukraine this year in February, and of its subsequent rulers of Ukraine, who have been bombing them, because 90% of the voters in that region had voted for the pro-Russian President whom Obama had overthrown, and because that new, anti-Russian, regime doesn't want those people to stay (or at least to stay alive) in Ukraine, because otherwise that post-coup regime would become ousted if any nationwide election would ever again be held throughout Ukraine. This tactic of killing unwanted voters is a more extreme form of what the Republican Party does in the U.S., simply trimming the voter-rolls in order to create a more-favorable "voting public." It's just being done in Ukraine by bombs and bullets, rather than by limiting or restricting ballots.

"The West," or the allies of Sunni aristocrats, are now bombing intensively, both in Ukraine and in Syria; and, in both instances, the argument for the bombings is to spread "democracy" there. It's giving a bad name to 'democracy,' for anyone who misbelieves that this is it.

Back, again, to Syria:

Below are the main sources that describe the Middle Eastern part of this Obama-Putin power-struggle, this being the part in Syria, instead of in Ukraine. It's is how international business is actually carried out -- it's a perfect libertarian world, since there is no international government; this market is unregulated to so extreme an extent that even ethnic cleansings and mass-murders go unpunished -- it's a pure free market, which is operating on an international scale (the only scale where libertarianism exists in even nearly this pure a form); this libertarianism is an exemplar of the conservative ideal: pure liberty for aristocrats, total lack of accountability . If anything, Barack Obama might actually be even more of a conservative than was George W. Bush: under Obama, the IRS specifically allows blatantly illegal tax-evasion by the mega-rich to go uninvestigated and unpunished, and concentrates virtually all its resources on pursuing two-bit tax-cheats. That's what 'democracy' has degenerated to in America. In America's client-states, such as in the Middle East and (since February) in Ukraine, it's even worse than that. After all, things do tend to be worse in the colonies than in the imperial center.

The first two of these articles explain in more detail why the price of oil has been plunging, and who has been behind the price-decline:

"The Secret Stupid Saudi-US Deal on Syria"


The Kerry-Abdullah Secret Deal & An Oil-Gas Pipeline War

"Why Oil Is Plunging: The Other Part Of The "Secret Deal" Between The US And Saudi Arabia"

Tyler Durden on 10/11/2014 18:19 -0400

[Excerpt:] Today's Brent closing price: $90. Russia's oil price budget for the period 2015-2017? $100. Which means much more "forced Brent liquidation" is in the cards in the coming weeks as America's suddenly once again very strategic ally, Saudi Arabia, does everything in its power to break Putin. [Note: The Russian Government's fiscal projections were based on $100/barrel, but the Saudi-forced-down price was now $89/barrel. How long would Saudis and Qataris keep this up? And how long would Assad hold off ISIS? Big bets are being made on both.]

"A Look Inside The Secret Deal With Saudi Arabia That Unleashed The Syrian Bombing"

Tyler Durden on 09/25/2014 10:17 -0400

[Excerpt:] Said otherwise, the pound of flesh demanded by Saudi Arabia to "bless" US airstrikes and make them appear as an act of some coalition, is the removal of the Assad regime. Why? So that, as we also explained last year, the holdings of the great Qatar natural gas fields can finally make their way onward to Europe, which incidentally is also America's desire -- what better way to punish Putin for his recent actions than by crushing the main leverage the Kremlin has over Europe?

"Meet Saudi Arabia's Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War"

Tyler Durden on 08/27/2013 15:21 -0400

[Excerpt:] Of course, there is Syria:

Regarding the Syrian issue, the Russian president responded to Bandar, saying, "Our stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters. During the Geneva I Conference, we agreed with the Americans on a package of understandings, and they agreed that the Syrian regime will be part of any settlement. Later on, they decided to renege on Geneva I. In all meetings of Russian and American experts, we reiterated our position. In his upcoming meeting with his American counterpart John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will stress the importance of making every possible effort to rapidly reach a political settlement to the Syrian crisis so as to prevent further bloodshed."

Alas, that has failed.

So what are some of the stunning disclosures by the Saudis?

Bandar told Putin, "There are many common values and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. ... As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory's direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria's political future."

"Putin Laughs At Saudi Offer To Betray Syria In Exchange For 'Huge' Arms Deal"

Tyler Durden on 08/08/2013 11:20 -0400

"Mystery Sponsor Of Weapons And Money To Syrian Mercenary 'Rebels' Revealed"

Tyler Durden on 05/16/2013 19:12 -0400

... [Excerpt:] So there you have it: Qatar doing everything it can to promote bloodshed, death and destruction by using not Syrian rebels, but mercenaries: professional citizens who are paid handsomely to fight and kill members of the elected regime (unpopular as it may be), for what? So that the unimaginably rich emirs of Qatar can get even richer. Although it is not as if Russia is blameless: all it wants is to preserve its own strategic leverage over Europe by being the biggest external provider of natgas to the continent through its own pipelines. Should Nabucco come into existence, Gazpromia would be very, very angry and make far less money!

The final source here will be posted in full, because it goes closest and deepest to the reason for our bombing Syria:

"Qatar: Rich and Dangerous"

17 September 2012, by Felix Imonti

The first concern of the Emir of Qatar is the prosperity and security of the tiny kingdom. To achieve that, he knows no limits.

Stuck between Iran and Saudi Arabia is Qatar with the third largest natural gas deposit in the world. The gas gives the nearly quarter of a million Qatari citizens the highest per capita income on the planet and provides 70 percent of government revenue.

How does an extremely wealthy midget with two potentially dangerous neighbors keep them from making an unwelcomed visit? Naturally, you have someone bigger and tougher to protect you.

Of course, nothing is free. The price has been to allow the United States to have two military bases in a strategic location. According to Wikileaks diplomatic cables, the Qataris are even paying sixty percent of the costs.

Having tanks and bunker busting bombs nearby will discourage military aggression, but it does nothing to curb the social tumult that has been bubbling for decades in the Middle Eastern societies. Eighty-four years ago, the Moslem Brotherhood arose in Egypt because of the presence of foreign domination by Great Britain and the discontent of millions of the teaming masses yearning to be free. Eighty-four years later, the teaming masses are still yearning.

Sixty-five percent of the people in the Middle East are under twenty-nine years of age. It is this desperate angry group that presents a danger that armies cannot stop. The cry for their dignity, "I am a man," is the sound that sends terror through governments. It is this overwhelming force that the Emir of Qatar has been able to deflect.

A year after he deposed his father in 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani established the Al-Jazeera television satellite news network. He invited some of the radical Salafi preachers that had been given sanctuary in Qatar to address the one and a half billion Moslems around the world. They had their electronic soapbox and the card to an ATM, but there was a price.

The price was silence. They could speak to the world and arouse the fury in Egypt or Libya, but they would have to leave their revolution outside of Qatar or the microphone would be switched off and the ATM would stop dispensing the good life.

The Moslem Brotherhood, that is a major force across the region, dissolved itself in Qatar in 1999. Jasim Sultan, a member of the former organization, explained that the kingdom was in compliance with Islamic law. He heads the state funded Awaken Project that publishes moderate political and philosophical literature.

How Qatar has benefited from networking with the Salafis is illustrated by the connections with Tunisia where Qatar is making a large investment in telecommunications. Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafiq Abdulsalaam was head of the Research and Studies Division in the Al Jazeera Centre in Doha. His father-in-law Al Ghanouchi is the head of the Tunisian Moslem Brotherhood party.

Over much of the time since he seized power, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani has followed the policy of personal networking, being proactive in business and neutral on the international stage. The Emir is generous with the grateful, the Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund bargains hard in the board room and the kingdom makes available Qatar's Good Offices to resolve disputes.

Qatar's foreign policy made an abrupt shift when the kingdom entered the war against Qaddafi. The kingdom sent aircraft to join NATO forces. On the ground, Qatari special forces armed, trained, and led Libyans against Qaddafi's troops.

The head of the National Transition Council Mustafa Abdul Jalil attributed much of the success of the revolution to the efforts of Qatar that he said had spent two billion dollars. He commented, "Nobody traveled to Qatar without being given a sum of money by the government."

Qatar had ten billion dollars in investments in Libya to protect. The Barwa Real Estate Company alone had two billion committed to the construction of a beach resort near Tripoli.

While the bullets were still flying, Qatar signed eight billion dollars in agreements with the NTC. Just in case things with the NTC didn't work out, they financed rivals Abdel Hakim Belhaj, leader of the February 17 Martyr's Brigade, and Sheik Ali Salabi, a radical cleric who had been exiled in Doha.

If Qatar's investments of ten billion dollars seem substantial, the future has far more to offer. Reconstruction costs are estimated at seven hundred billion dollars. The Chinese and Russians had left behind between them thirty billion in incomplete contracts and investments and all of it is there for the taking for those who aided the revolution.

No sooner had Qaddafi been caught and shot, Qatar approached Bashar Al-Assad to establish a transitional government with the Moslem Brotherhood. As you would expect, relinquishing power to the Brotherhood was an offer that he could refuse. It didn't take long before he heard his sentence pronounced in January 2012 on the CBS television program, 60 Minutes by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

The Emir declared that foreign troops should be sent into Syria. At the Friends of Syria conference in February, Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said, "We should do whatever necessary to help [the Syrian opposition], including giving them weapons to defend themselves."

Why would Qatar want to become involved in Syria where they have little invested? A map reveals that the kingdom is a geographic prisoner in a small enclave on the Persian Gulf coast.

It relies upon the export of LNG, because it is restricted by Saudi Arabia from building pipelines to distant markets. In 2009, the proposal of a pipeline to Europe through Saudi Arabia and Turkey to the Nabucco pipeline was considered, but Saudi Arabia that is angered by its smaller and much louder brother has blocked any overland expansion.

Already the largest LNG producer, Qatar will not increase the production of LNG. The market is becoming glutted with eight new facilities in Australia coming online between 2014 and 2020.

A saturated North American gas market and a far more competitive Asian market leaves only Europe. The discovery in 2009 of a new gas field near Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Syria opened new possibilities to bypass the Saudi Barrier and to secure a new source of income. Pipelines are in place already in Turkey to receive the gas. Only Al-Assad is in the way.

Qatar along with the Turks would like to remove Al-Assad and install the Syrian chapter of the Moslem Brotherhood. It is the best organized political movement in the chaotic society and can block Saudi Arabia's efforts to install a more fanatical Wahhabi based regime. Once the Brotherhood is in power, the Emir's broad connections with Brotherhood groups throughout the region should make it easy for him to find a friendly ear and an open hand in Damascus.

A control centre has been established in the Turkish city of Adana near the Syrian border to direct the rebels against Al-Assad. Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Saud asked to have the Turks establish a joint Turkish, Saudi, Qatari operations center. "The Turks liked the idea of having the base in Adana so that they could supervise its operations" a source in the Gulf told Reuters.

The fighting is likely to continue for many more months, but Qatar is in for the long term. At the end, there will be contracts for the massive reconstruction and there will be the development of the gas fields. In any case, Al-Assad must go. There is nothing personal; it is strictly business to preserve the future tranquility and well-being of Qatar.


I wish to express my appreciation to Mr. Imonti for his allowing me to publish here the entirety of that article.


Closing note from Eric Zuesse: The preceding article reconstructs U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy, on the basis of the linked and cited reliable news accounts of his Administration's actions, not of their mere words. This reconstruction is grounded in the linked-to news-sources, all of which I have investigated and verified -- and some of which I myself researched and wrote. The ones that I produced are themselves sourced to the links within those reports, all of which I likewise have personally checked and verified. Consequently, the chain of verifications back to this reconstruction's primary sources is available here to any online reader. Every reader is encouraged to track back to its ultimate source any allegation in this report that might appear to be at all questionable. Not only will this exercise be helpful to that reader concerning this given point at question in the report, but that tracking back to original sources will open the reader to an associated world of yet deeper discovery, which I hope that this news-report and analysis will end up doing for many readers, and which is the reason that I wrote it: so as to share with others what I and many other careful and cautious researchers have discovered, though some of it might be starkly at variance with what our Government, and most of the aristocratically controlled press, have been more commonly presenting as 'truth' about these matters. At least, this exercise will provide an alternative frame of reference regarding these issues, an alternative possibility to consider, and one which the present writer has verified, from every root to every branch, in this tree of historical reconstruction of the events here recounted.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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SOTT FOCUS: World snapshot: Comets, chaos, and society in decline

© AFP Photo / ESA

Rosetta's lander Philae (back view)

Launched in 2004, the Rosetta spacecraft mission to rendezvous comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has just succeeded in landing its Philae module on the surface of the comet. After a last-minute glitch that temporarily had the lander failing to respond to signals from the European Space Agency's controllers, Philae came online. With the mission a success so far, researchers hope to find the building blocks of life, testing the theory that comets spread life-bearing molecules throughout the cosmos.

It should come as no surprise to readers of SOTT.net that, so far, ice is nowhere to be found on the comet. Despite its 'surprisingly' dry surface, however, it is producing a large amount of water. Like so many 'comets' before, this one is like all the others: a big hunk of rock. So, on the one hand, a great day for scientific advancement; on the other, yet another example of people who should know better being 'totally surprised' at facts that should have been totally obvious. Comets are not dirty snowballs !

Unfortunately for humanity, scientific and technological progress have absolutely no correlation with moral progress. We can't help but find it ironic that as humanity makes this 'great step' towards understanding the secrets of space and life in the cosmos, our world is on the brink of societal, economic and moral collapse. Just today, we can find the following stories and headlines in the news.

Drugs and Money

Thanks to more than a decade of American freedom and democracy, not only is Afghanistan experiencing a revitalized Taliban insurgency, but opium production is also at an all-time high. The result? Five percent of Afghans are using heroin. (Compare that to less than half a percent in the U.S.) Prior to the American-led invasion in 2001, the Taliban - in coordination with the UN - had actually cut opium cultivation by 94%.

Speaking of criminal enterprises, six of the world's biggest banks - UBS, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland, and HSBC - are wincing from a light slap on the wrist, in the form of a $3.4-billion-dollar fine for criminal foreign currency exchange rate rigging. What are the chances any of the culprits will see jail time? Slim to none. The rich keep getting richer, and those who should be putting these people in jail are busy killing the very people they should be protecting.

Pedophiles in Power

  • Hollywood Sex Abuse Film Revealed: Explosive Claims, New Figures Named

A new documentary, set to debut on Friday, promises to name more powerful Hollywood bigwigs accused of molesting youths. This comes after allegations against director Bryan Singer, TV exec Garth Ancier, and former Disney exec David Neuman and producer Gary Goddard (Michael Egan III, who made the allegations, has since dropped his suits). Whether it's BBC or Hollywood, the entertainment industry is a den of vultures who prey on children.

At the same time, the pedophile scandal and investigation in the UK proceeds at a snail's pace:

The Wanless report concluded that "shambolic" record keeping at the Home Office meant a definite answer could not be given either way. More than 100 files concerning allegations of child abuse at the heart of Westminster were destroyed in the last few years, according to the report, although not by anyone directly connected to the allegations, it said.


Investigative journalist Don Hale told the BBC that the former Employment Secretary handed him a dossier containing sexual abuse allegations in the 1980s but that his home was later raided by Special Branch, who took the file away. Its whereabouts remain unknown. Ms May confirmed Scotland Yard will investigate Mr Hale's claim.


David Cameron said: "It's important [the report] says that there wasn't a cover-up... some of the people who've been looking for conspiracy theories will have to look elsewhere."

Peter Saunders, founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, rejected the Prime Minister's advice. He said: "Perpetrators are still protected at the highest levels and I think it's disgusting. It goes right to the top. It's just a sordid issue that everyone has tried to keep under the carpet because it's too big."

Media Wars

Meanwhile, CNN's ratings have hit a new record low. Could it be that people are no longer willing to buy the bullshit peddled daily by our corporate-controlled propaganda machine? Or are they just too apathetic to care? Just in case people are starting to shift in their seats a little and start seeing the lamestream media as the lapdogs they are, we have the story of the NYPD considering using weaponized drones to "combat terrorists". That's right, our law enforcement authorities want to militarize New York City's skyline to combat phantom threats created by our own very government! Well, you can't expect Obama and his cronies to do anything else: Standard Operating Procedure. The masses get restless, and the elites use the media to "scare" up another story about terrorists under our bed:

Officials are making the usual argument (Terror!) to justify this ridiculous and dangerous idea. Specifically, terrorists might arm a drone with a machine gun or a bomb and inflict mass damage, the cops warn.

Pathetic. There are doubtless people who see through these lies and obvious scare-mongering, but the truth is that the majority of the population in the U.S. and elsewhere are easily swayed by such empty proclamations and threats. There's also the section of the public that, mentioned above, is too apathetic to care about anything. The might as well be part of the majority, authoritarian followers, who accept what they are told regardless of its lack of logic and sense, if it's from an authority figure. Silence is obedience, after all.

Whatever the case, Russians seem to have a good idea of what's going on. In a poll conducted by the Levada Center last month, more than 80% percent of respondents agreed that the U.S. and Ukraine are conducting an information war against Russia. We at SOTT can't help but think that the Russians' ability to see reality as it is is, at least in part, due to its leader, Vladimir Putin, and his rational and clear form of leadership. He tells his people, and the world at large, the truth about what is happening in the world, so it should be no surprise that a majority of Russians see what the U.S. is doing in its propaganda war against Russia.

Blustering Bibi

As if we didn't need any more evidence that Israeli PM Benny Netanyahu is batshit crazy, he recently made a video statement to the Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly (and thereby, to the U.S.), in English, basically laying down the party line: "Iran is not a partner of America. It's an enemy of America." You got that, America? ISIS may be a problem (albeit one which Israel is happy to see run rampant in states it wants to see destroyed anyway), but teaming up with Iran would be beyond the pale. He continued (pardon the levity):

Iran is evil! ... blah blah blah ... nuclear weapons program! ... blah blah ... Iran is not part of the solution. It's a huge part of the problem ... nuclear ebola jihadis! ... Instead of holding firm and demanding that Iran dismantle its program, the international community is reportedly - and I hope these reports do not prove to be true - willing to leave Iran's nuclear program largely intact.

Nope, Bibi's not senile - just psychopathic. Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Unfortunately, leaders like Netanyahoo are the norm, and have been for decades (which makes the exception of Putin all the more striking). They usually tend to fall in at least one of the following categories: greedy, pedophiles, psychopaths.

The Incompetency of our Leaders

It's interesting to notice how much faith the general public puts into their beloved authority figures, especially when one comes across a few news items that show just how dumbed down and incompetent they really are. Take this story for example:

  • City of Los Angeles offering free rain barrels to beat drought

The city of Los Angeles has a unique way to beat the state's historic drought, and the concept revolves around recycling.

The city is giving away free rain barrels to 1,000 residents. The goal is to collect rain water to be used on lawns and gardens. The offer is limited to residents of Los Angeles.

The 55-gallon barrels are repurposed syrup containers from Coca-Cola Co., which is partnering with the city for this campaign.

Does everyone else not see the ridiculousness of this program? In case it needs to be spelled out, California is in a drought and the brilliant leaders of Los Angeles has decided that giving away rain barrels will "beat the drought". Earth to LA: It's not raining there! That's the whole problem. How do rain barrels help here? It's mind boggling.

Then there's the self-proclaimed "nobody", Rich Weinstein, who is single-handedly humiliating the Obama Administration by bringing to light the fact that the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare for short, was designed to dupe the American public:

"It's terrifying that the guy in his mom's basement is finding this stuff, and nobody else is," he says. "I really do find this disturbing."

One could make the argument that the reason nobody else is finding what he is, is not because of incompetency, but rather willing ignorance or even active participation. That may be true to some extent, but the simplest explanation is usually correct, and in this case what is likely is that someone in the Obama administration simply thought it could pull the wool over the eyes of the rest of the public and government. Since the US government lacks even the most basic level of competency, and the public is not exactly known for their attention to detail, that isn't too hard. But when all it takes is one man and an internet connection to humiliate the administration and potentially bring down the president's keystone legislation for his term, you know that we've got a bad situation on our hands. Will the public do anything about our incompetent leaders, though? Don't hold your breath, most of them are too busy watching war-porn on TV.

Weird Weather

Mother Nature sure does look to be paying attention to all of the above. Even if humanity ignores the signs and does nothing there will be a reaction. In the U.S. just over the last few days we've had a taste of what is in store for this winter:

  • South and East: Get ready for the icebox

Arctic air will plunge toward the South and East on Wednesday and Thursday, after as much as 2 feet of record-breaking snow buried portions of the upper Midwest.

Temperatures only made it into the single digits, teens and 20s Tuesday across much of the north-central U.S. - 20 to 40 degrees below average for many areas, the National Weather Service said.

Wind chills were as cold as minus 20 in parts of western Montana. By Wednesday morning, wind chills could drop to minus 35 in some spots - low enough to cause frostbite in 10 minutes.

There's also the almost 3 feet of snow that parts of Upper Michigan and Wisconsin were hit with over Tuesday into Wednesday:

Winter Storm Astro recap: Heavy snow in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota

The heaviest snow from Astro came in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where cold winds blowing across Lake Superior helped boost totals. An observer 7 miles north-northeast of Ishpeming, Michigan, reported 42.5 inches of snow as of 10 a.m. Wednesday. Some of this was from lake-effect snow in the wake of Astro, but this same site reported 36.5 inches of snow early Tuesday evening before the transition to pure lake-effect snow was complete. In either case, it's by far the heaviest total reported from this storm.

Heavy snow also fell on nearby areas of far northern Wisconsin. Several locations reported over 20 inches. The top reported total of 27.6 inches came from Saxon, near the western end of the Wisconsin-Michigan border.

Elsewhere, some of the heaviest totals in Minnesota came from Stearns County, which includes St. Cloud. The town of St. Augusta reported 16.5 inches of snow Monday afternoon. The official total in St. Cloud was 13.2 inches, breaking the all-time November calendar-day record of 12.0 inches set Nov. 21, 1898.

Remember, it's just November! It certainly appears as though the U.S. is in for a very cold and snowy winter, especially those folks in the Midwest and East, where the majority of the arctic air gets pushed down to during the "polar vortex season".


How fitting then, that, while our planet continues its steady, systematic decline, we are focused on studying the probable true agents of our periodic destruction: comets, traditional ill omens of famine, plague, and death from above. Seeing as how our near or total extinction will probably come at the hands of one of the suckers (or several of them), we might as well learn something about them!

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