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Monday, 20 April 2015

The great plague of our times: Neocon 'Think Tank' proposes US proxy army to control Syria

© Unknown

The Atlantic Council is a hawkish right-wing think tank. It was founded in 1961 to support NATO's killing machine. It's one of many similar groups in America threatening world peace and stability. Its solution for ending Obama's war on Syria is escalated war. It proposes what it calls a Syrian National Stabilization Force (SNSF) - code language for US-controlled conquering and occupying army.

It believes the way for sustainable peace in Syria is through overwhelming military might - featuring "a robust, (US proxy) three-division stabilization force of 50,000 Syrians", [a private mercenary force] established to act on Washington's behalf.

It wants a Syrian Advisory Task Force (SATF) composed of pro-Western nationals willing to serve US interests.

It says "there is no political solution to the Syrian conflict unless there is a military component" waging no-holds-barred war.

Its Syrian solution applies to all US direct and proxy war theaters.

Washington and Western allies must lead the way, it urges - so America can gain another subservient client state while eliminating an Israeli rival at the same time.

It advocates US-led "cooperation, engagement, and a clear coherent discourse between Western, regional, and Syrian military and political actors - and the message of commitment projected by putting the train-and-equip program on steroids - can create new dynamics on the ground, build popular appeal to the SNSF's mission and goal, and set the stage for peace in Syria" by continuing to rape the country en route to plundering it and exploiting its people.

It wants President Bashar al-Assad overthrown. It wants Syrians having no say over who'll lead them.

It wants Washington alone deciding. It wants US-controlled stooge governance replacing Syrian sovereign independence.

Neocons think one way. They want unlimited wealth, power and privilege. They want unchallenged global dominance.

They want control over world resources and markets. They want populations exploited for profit.

They deplore peace. The support endless wars. They believe millions of corpses are a small price to pay for remaking the world in their own image.

They and likeminded lunatics in Washington risk the unthinkable - possible life-ending nuclear war.

A Final Comment

New York Times says US arms sales fuel Middle East wars. Saudis and other regional belligerents use American weapons and munitions.

They "stockpiled American military hardware..." They're now using it and want more.

In 2014, Saudi Arabia spent over $80 billion for weapons and munitions. It's the world's fourth largest defense market.

Other regional countries are spending billions of dollars for all sorts of advanced weapons.

The Middle East is awash with implements of death. The omits what's most important to explain.

It says nothing about US/Israeli responsibility for all regional conflicts - using local allies to wage proxy wars along with takfiri-recruited death squads.

The road to Middle East peace and stability is eliminating America's presence. It's holding Israel accountable for endless high crimes against Palestinians.

Despondent couple found dead in their Bellefontaine, Ohio home

© Columbus Dispatch
Charcoal grills taken from the bedroom of Randolph and Jodi Spiedel

Neighbors said they seldom noticed the couple in the little house at 225 W. High Ave. Yet the two were desperately reaching out for help.

In a listing on giveforward.com this year, Jodi Speidel wrote that both she and her husband, Randy, had chronic illnesses and had been living without gas heat all winter and without water for a week. With $33 in savings, she said, they were eating one meal a day and didn't have scraps left for their two cats.

"I have turned in every direction possible and don't know what else to do," she wrote. "If you can help, we will be forever grateful and will even pay you back once we get back on our feet."

No one responded on that website or a similar post on gofundme.com.

On Tuesday, the Speidels' landlord found a pink note on the front door of the one-bedroom house warning visitors about carbon monoxide inside.

The couple had taken two charcoal grills into their bedroom; locked the door; and, amid smoldering coals, died of carbon-monoxide poisoning. A suicide note indicates that both had agreed. She was 46 years old and he was 45. The deaths upset neighbors who said they could have offered help had they known.

"It's heartbreaking, like they didn't feel like they had anything," said Danielle Smith, 21, who lives across the street from the house where the Speidels died. "I wish I knew them better because I could have helped them."

One of their daughters, Kira Speidel, 20, in a post last month on gofundme.com, called her parents "the hardest-working people I know, and now that they literally cannot work anymore, they have nowhere to turn to."

People gathered at the W. High Avenue house on Wednesday. A man who said he was Kira Speidel's boyfriend said she was too upset to talk to a reporter.

Several cats prowled the yard; apparently the couple had put them outside before taking their own lives. A police officer confirmed that no animals were found inside.

Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley called the deaths "a planned event ... a choice they both had made."

Standley said the couple showed compassion by putting up the warning signs on both the front and back doors of the house. "What we're trying to get our minds wrapped around is what led up to this."

The chief said the couple likely could have benefited from community resources, including housing for the homeless.

In one of her posts, however, Mrs. Speidel said they had applied for some assistance and were waiting to hear back. She also said she'd used food banks, but had trouble cooking without water.

Contacted by phone on Wednesday, their landlord, Doug Elleman, didn't want to talk about the situation.

"It's clearly tragic ... that someone results in thinking there's nowhere else to turn," Standley said.

Clergy members in town also are struggling with the deaths.

The Rev. Aaron Francis, associate pastor at First United Methodist Church, said the couple's apparent "utter hopelessness" might have been overcome in a more tight-knit community.

"We have become such a disassociated and anti-social society that we don't even know our own neighbors," he said.

The lack of gentle platonic touch in men's lives is a killer

In preparing to write about the lack of gentle touch in men's lives, I right away thought, "I feel confident I can do platonic touch, but I don't necessarily trust other men to do it. Some guy will do something creepy. They always do." Quickly on the heels of that thought, I wondered "Wait a minute, why do I distrust men in particular?" The little voice in my head didn't say, "I don't necessarily trust to not be creepy", it said, "

In American culture, we believe that men can never be entirely trusted in the realm of the physical. We collectively suspect that, given the opportunity, men will collapse into the sexual at a moment's notice. That men don't know how to physically connect otherwise. That men can't control themselves. That men are dogs.

There is no corresponding narrative about women.

Accordingly, it has become every man's job to prove they can be trusted, in each and every interaction, day by day and case by case. In part, because so many men have behaved poorly. And so, we prove our trustworthiness by foregoing physical touch completely in any context in which even the slightest doubt about our intentions might arise. Which, sadly, is pretty much every context we encounter.

And where does this leave men? Physically and emotionally isolated. Cut off from the deeply human physical contact that is proven to reduce stress, encourage self esteem and create community. Instead, we walk in the vast crowds of our cities alone in a desert of disconnection. Starving for physical connection.

We crave touch. We are cut off from it. The result is

How often do men actually get the opportunity to express affection through long lasting platonic touch? How often does it happen between men? Or between men and women? Not a hand shake or a hug, but lasting physical contact between two people that is comforting and personal but not sexual. Between persons who are not lovers and never will be. Think, holding hands. Or leaning on each other. Sitting together. That sort of thing. Just the comfort of contact. And if you are a man, imagine a five minutes of contact with another man. How quickly does that idea raise the ugly specter of homophobia? And why?

While women are much freer to engage in physical contact with each other, men remain suspect when they touch others. There is only one space in our culture where long term platonic physical contact is condoned for men, and that is between fathers and their very young children.

I found this kind of physical connection when my son was born. As a stay at home dad, I spent years with my son. Day after day, he sat in the crook of my arm, his little arm across my shoulder, his hand on the back of my neck. As he surveyed the world from on high, I came to know a level of contentment and calm that had heretofore been missing in my life. The physical connection between us was so transformative that it changed my view of who I am and what my role is in the world. Yet it took having a child to bring this calming experience to me because so few other opportunities are possible to teach men the value and power of gentle loving touch.

As a young child and as a teenager, contact between myself and others simply didn't happen unless it came in the form of rough housing or unwelcome bullying. My mother backed off from contact with me very early on, in part, I think, due to her upbringing. I can only guess that in her parents' house physical touch was something for toddlers but not for children past a certain age. Add to that, the fact that my father was absent due to my parents' divorce and years of work overseas, and it meant I grew up without being held or touched

This left me with huge insecurities about human contact. I was well into my twenties before I could put my arm around a girl I was dating without first getting drunk. To this day, I remain uncertain about where and how to approach contact with people, even those I consider close friends. It's not that I can't do it, it's just that it remains awkward, odd. As if we all feel like we're doing something slightly... off?

Contact with male friends is always brief, a handshake, or a pat on the back. Hugs with men or women are a ballet of the awkward, a comedic choreography in which we turn our groins this way or that. Shoulders in, butts out, seeking to broadcast to anyone within line of sight that we are most certainly not having a sexual moment. We're working so hard to be seen as sexually neutral that we take no joy in these moments of physical connection.

Not only do we men distrust others in this muddled realm of physical touch, years of shaming and judgement have left us distrusting ourselves. This distrust leaves us uncertain about touching another human being unless we have established very clear rules of engagement. Often we give up and simply reduce those rules to being in a relationship. We allow ourselves long-lasting comforting touch with our girlfriends or boyfriends. The vast universe of platonic human touch is suddenly reduced to the exclusive domain of one person and is blended into the sexual. That's a lot of need to put on one person, however loving and generous they might be.

Which leads to the question, how do we teach our sons to understand how touch works? How to parse out the sexual from the platonic? Is the pleasure of human contact inherently sexual to some degree? I doubt its a question the average Italian man would ever ask himself. But here in America, generations of Puritanical sexual shaming have made it a central question. By putting the fear of the sexual first in all our interactions, we have thrown out the baby with the bathwater, avoiding all contact rather than risk even the hint of unwanted sexual touch.

Many parents step back from physical contact with boys when their sons approach puberty. The contact these boys seek is often deemed confusing or even sexually suspect. And, most unbelievable of all, all opportunity for potential physical touch is abruptly handed over to young boys' female peers, who are suddenly expected to act as gatekeepers to touch; young girls who are no more prepared to take on this responsibility than boys are to hand it over.

And so boys are cast adrift with two unspoken lessons:

  1. All touch is sexually suspect
  2. Find a girlfriend or give up human contact
A particularly damning message to boys who are gay.

American culture leaves boys few options. While aggression on the basketball court or bullying in the locker room often results in sporadic moments of human contact, gentleness likely does not. And young men, whose need for touch is channeled into physically rough interactions with other boys or fumbling sexual contact with girls, lose conscious awareness of the gentle, platonic contact of their own childhoods. Sometimes it's not until their children are born that they rediscover gentle platonic touch; the holding and caring contact that is free from the drumbeat of sex, sex, sex that pervades our culture even as we simultaneously condemn it.

Is it any wonder that sexual relationships in our culture are so loaded with anger and fear? Boys are dumped on a desert island of physical isolation, and the only way they can find any comfort is to enter the blended space of sexual contact to get the connection they need. Which makes sexual relations a vastly more high stakes experience than it already should be. We encourage aggressive physical contact as appropriate mode of contact for boys and turn a blind eye to bullying even as we then expect them to work out some gentler mode of sexual contact in their romantic lives.

If men could diffuse their need for physical connection across a much wider set of platonic relationships, it would do wonders for our sense of connection in the world. As it is, we can't even manage a proper hug because we can't model what was never modeled for us.

We have seniors in retirement homes who are visited by dogs they can hold and pet. This does wonders for their health and emotional state of mind. It is due to the power of contact between living creatures. Why are good hearted people driving around town, taking dogs to old folks homes? Because no one is touching these elderly people. They should have grandchildren in their laps every day, or a warm human hand to hold, not Pomeranians who come once a week. And yet, we put a dog in their laps instead of give them human touch, because we remain a culture that holds human contact highly suspect. We know the value of touch, even as we do everything we can to shield ourselves from it.

We American men, have a tragic laundry list of reasons why we are not comfortable with touch.

  1. We fear being labeled as sexually inappropriate by women.
  2. We live in a virulently homophobic culture so all contact between men is suspect.
  3. We don't want to risk any hint of being sexual toward children.
  4. We don't want to risk our status as macho or authoritative by being physically gentle.
  5. We don't ever want to deal with rejection when we reach out. (And in our touch averse culture that is the most likely outcome.)
But at the root of all these flawed rationalizations is the fact that most American men are never taught to do gentle non-sexual touch. We are not typically taught that we can touch and be touched as platonic expression of joyful human contact. Accordingly, the very inappropriate over-sexualized touch our society fears runs rampant, reinforcing our culture's self fulfilling prophecy against men and touch. Meanwhile, this inability to comfortably connect via touch has left men emotionally isolated contributing to rampant rates of alcoholism, depression and abuse.

And what if the lack of platonic touch is causing some men to be far too aggressive toward women, who, as the exclusive gatekeepers for gentle touch are carrying a burden they could never hope to fully manage? Women, who arguably are both victims of and, in partnership with men, enforcers of the prohibition against platonic touch in American culture? The impact of our collective touch phobia is felt across our society by every single man, woman and child.

Brené Brown, in her ground breaking TED Talk titled The power of vulnerability talks at length about the limitations men face when attempting to express vulnerability in our culture. She notes the degree to which men are boxed in by our culture's expectations about what a man is or is not allowed to do. I would suggest that the limitations placed on men extend to their physical expression though touch. And are just as damaging in that realm.

But here's the good news.

There are many reasons why full-time stay at home dads are proving to be such a transformative force in American culture. One powerful reason is the awakening of touch. As full time dads, we are presented with the absolute necessity to hold our own wonderful children. We are learning about touch in the most powerful and life affirming way. In ways that previous generations of men simply were not immersed in. Once you have held your sleeping child night after night or walked for years with their hand in yours, you are a changed person. You gain a fluency and confidence in touch that you will never loose. It is a gift to us men from our children that literally has the capacity to transform American culture.

Accordingly, now, when I am with a friend I do reach out. I do make contact. And I do so with confidence and joy. And I have my own clear path forward.

The patterns in my life may be somewhat set but I intend to do everything I can to remain in contact with my son in hopes that he will have a different view of touch in his life. I hug him and kiss him. We hold hands or I put my arm around him when we watch TV or walk on the street. I will not back off from him because someone somewhere might take issue with our physical connection. I will not back off because somehow there is an unspoken rule that I must cut him loose in the world to fend for himself. I hope we can hold hands even when he is a man. I hope we continue to hold hands till the day I die.

Ultimately, we will unlearn our fear of touch in the context of our personal lives and in our day to day interactions. Learning how to express platonic love and affection through touch is a vast and remarkable change that has to be lived. But it is so important that we do it. Because it is central to having a rich full life.

Touch life.

The Pentagon's "Operation Jade Helm 15″: The floodgate towards martial law and World War III?

© Capt. Thomas Cieslak/ U.S. Army
Green Berets assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) clear rooms inside a compound during a training mission held Feb. 20 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

First we learned that Operation Jade Helm 15 is coming this summer from mid-July through mid-September to a Southwest neighborhood near you stretching from Texas to California. Per government sources and their mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post, it's nothing more than a benign massive military drill designed to test how effectively US Special Operations forces can covertly and as seamlessly as possible embed themselves into the civilian populace as a mere security training exercise to keep us all safe in the future. The Washington Post March 31st headline - "Why Operation Jade Helm 15 is Freaking out the Internet and Why it Shouldn't Be" - then goes on to list several alternative news sites like InfoWars making the claim that martial law in America is coming soon.

According to last August's CNN poll, an all-time high of 87% of Americans simply do not trust their own government nor mainstream media as truthful or credible. More and more Americans are turning to alternative news sources in an attempt to find out what's really going on in their world.

But the rash of "sky is falling" headlines from the internet news sources have created a media firestorm. Millions of Americans could hardly be consoled by the Washington Post article encouraging them not to worry that our government once again is up to no good. Instead those distrusting MSM believe Jade Helm 15 is a training exercise that will pave the way for US martial law similar to how the Boston Marathon false flag was a litmus test for martial law imposed on a major US metropolitan city. Except this time Jade Helm's unprecedented size and scope covers a large expansive area taking up the southwestern quadrant of the United States.

The US military has designated certain states like Texas, Utah and part of Southern California during this operation as "hostile," adding that "New Mexico isn't much friendlier." That the one time reputable DC newspaper that broke Watergate in the 70's describes the Jade Helm operation in terms as if it were some kind of board game like Risk or Monopoly doesn't help its already dubious credibility. Millions of Americans have realized their own oligarchic government has betrayed them and their interests and simply can no longer be trusted. So in the eyes of the feds, that would automatically make them "hostile." The Post article also list several past covert military operations where states have been labeled as hostile territory for purposes of the training exercises. And of course that they went by unnoticed should give us solace the Jade's outcome will be no different.

Now that the fascist totalitarian oligarchy posing as our federal government has been busily expanding its military wars from the Middle East to American soil against its own law abiding citizens, the Post tells us we shouldn't worry. George W Bush once infamously proclaimed "you're either with us or against us."

The fact that police in America armed with the same heavy weaponry look identical to US combat troops fighting foreign wars are now murdering unarmed US citizens at an unprecedented rate, we shouldn't worry? The number of Americans civilians since 9/11 killed by militant police is closing in on the number of American soldiers killed in action fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (as of a year ago 6802). Though no actual records are conveniently kept of police killing Americans, a year and a half ago it was reported that estimates of over 5000 Americans were killed by police since 9/11. Tack on the mounting numbers of police killings that have increased exponentially in the last year and a half and it could well exceed the KIA's from foreign wars by now. That tells us the same counterinsurgency wars the US has been brutally waging on foreign soil is now being fought against us in the streets of America. As such, we stand to lose our life 55 times greater from our own police than any actual terrorists. And if you happen to be an African American male, that likelihood skyrockets.

As of the 2012 NDAA, military forces can enter our homes without warrants or charges and lock us up indefinitely without trial or legal representation. And according to that Washington Post article, apparently we should have no concerns about Special Forces showing up at our doorstep or roaming through our neighborhoods for several months over the summer. Our friendly state propagandist Washington Post says that when the elite wing of Big Brother's killing machine invades our local communities, we should actually feel safer. Military spokesman Army Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria's e-mail stated, "Training exercise Jade Helm is going to assist our Special Operations Soldiers and leadership in refining the skills needed against an ever changing foreign threat." And we should all believe this because the military has such a great track record of always telling us the truth.

From the Boston Marathon bombings to Sandy Hook, the government has been executing false flags for purposes of imposing absolute NWO control over its citizens. Ever since the neocons' inside 9/11 job the feds have used their "national security" card ad nauseam as their flimsy excuse to willfully betray our Constitution that they all swore oaths to uphold. And in its place treasonous governments in the West have systematically enacted draconian Orwellian laws of tyranny and oppression to conveniently vilify citizens bold enough to demand their civil liberties and privacy rights back. We dissidents who do not approve of our government's obliteration of our constitutional rights have become the feds' targeted enemy and deemed potential homegrown terrorists. Even homecoming veterans from US foreign wars are perceived as threats.

The international criminal cabal beholding to the Western oligarchs has infiltrated and hijacked the governments of Israel and the United States as well as Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan. We have a crime syndicate that has protected the international banksters who've been laundering drug money for multiple decades in its international drug trade. There's nothing new here as the Bush crime family has been running drugs from South and Central America since the 1970's. For years the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the State Department, the CIA, the FBI, the US military and their paramilitary private contractors have been flooding America and especially its inner cities with drugs - crack cocaine from Latin America and heroin from Afghanistan. High levels of the US government have partnered with drug cartels from Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Central America, and Dominican Republic to maintain their criminal activities. At the same time, ever since the late 1970's high levels within these same US rogue crime agencies have also been partnering with al Qaeda/ISIS to create their invented "war on terror."

And now if you believe many of the independent media sources, as of this summer all these sinister elements appear to be converging to soon cause catastrophic upheaval in the US Southwest, likely to change America forever. According to Judicial Watch earlier this week, the independent federal watchdog organization revealed that the US government is complicit with both the Mexican government and the Sinaloa drug cartel to be involved in joint training camp operations with ISIS a few miles from El Paso, Texas across the border in Mexico. Judicial Watch claims a Mexican military field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector are among its sources. The camp is said to be located just eight miles from the US border. Despite the US intelligence community being well aware of this claim that terrorists might be currently training a few miles from our border and apparently planning an alleged invasion of the United States, President Obama as commander-in-chief apparently is laying low with only the already announced plans of Jade Helm operations that neither include a false flag war involving ISIS nor World War III as much of the internet media is all abuzz.

Between the US State Department's Fast and Furious gun smuggling operation that was caught "inadvertently" arming drug cartels several years ago, and the feds' funding and secret backing of ISIS as their proxy mercenary allies, several independent media sites maintain that a covert operation involving ISIS' hybrid terrorists have been "slipping" across the border into the United States as provocateur forces designed to kill American citizens. Jade Helm and this latest ISIS piece converging on the states bordering Mexico are said to be the Obama excuse he's been planning to implement martial law, illegally arresting American dissidents after a false flag event where Americans are murdered by the feds' terrorist stooges.

© http://bit.ly/1IzxcDf
Surface to air missiles located 45 miles Southeast of Lubbock, Texas.

Even more alarming is The Common Sense Show's Dave Hodges most recent post including photos of surface to air missiles at a US Air Force base that literally appeared overnight near Lubbock, Texas. In the designated hostile state of Texas, Hodges believes more than just martial law will be initiated but an actual US invasion and World War III is planned.

These days it is becoming increasingly more difficult to ferret out the truth, be it mainstream or independent media sources. A major strategy the federal government commonly uses to discredit alternative media is planting disinformation within its ranks. Government moles have infiltrated the so called independent online media, intentionally muddying the waters so murky as to obscure the facts. When alternative sites cry out that the sky is falling and then it doesn't, it conditions consumers of independent media to no longer believe them either, thus rendering all independent news outlets "whacked out conspiracy theorists."

Through various PSYOPS the US intelligence community has targeted both social media as well as alternative news media as viably effective outlets to spread further disinformation and propaganda lies. Of course this malicious agenda of the US government purposely keeping Americans uninformed in the dark, too dumbed down and confused, not knowing who or what to believe or trust as the actual truth, is exactly where the feds want us.

After checking with their inside sources, Veterans Today editors Gordon Duff and Jim W. Dean have drawn the conclusion that the neocon feds have purposely used Jade Helm 15 to deceive and discredit independent news sources that are running with the ISIS invasion story.

This writer is uncertain of the coming events this summer. I'm unwilling to completely rule out the dire forecast of "an ISIS invasion" while simultaneously I'm unwilling to trust what the feds, the military or the Washington Post claim Jade Helm will bring as well. It bears in mind today to be skeptical in a healthy way toward any and all news outlets. Unfortunately it requires some vigilance and a willingness to do homework cross-checking sources to arrive at a more informed and accurate assessment of what may actually be transpiring in the world. By design the sub-standard educational system fails miserably in teaching discriminative, critical thinking amongst our population.

Many people of course don't have the luxury of time to invest in seeking out multiple sources to arrive at the truth in their fast paced, muddled, upside down world. Too many hidden agendas from both the right and the left carry misinformation and deception, whether intended or not. Ultimately the rule of thumb should minimally be to check the sources of whatever news information you utilize in order to draw your own conclusions.

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Putin warns Israel not to send lethal weapons to Ukraine


© AP

Russian president's warning comes week after he lifted ban on delivery of S-300 missile defense systems to Iran.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Israel on Saturday not to supply weapons to the Ukrainian government,saying that the move would be counterproductive to efforts to reach peace in east Ukraine.

"It's the Israeli leadership's choice. It's their right to do what they think is appropriate. If this is lethal weapon, I think it will be counterproductive. It will only lead to another round of conflicts, to a rise in the number of victims, and the outcome will be the same," Putin told the state-run channel.

Some 300 U.S. soldiers are now in Ukraine to train local troops, the government in Kiev confirmed Friday.The Russian Foreign Ministry late Friday warned that the planned training was a "first step" to possible delivery of weapons.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov criticized the operation, saying that the presence of American soldiers was not helpful. "This is likely to destabilize the situation," Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Last week, Putin signed a decree lifting a ban on the delivery of S-300 missile defense systems to Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that in light of the progress in the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, there was no longer a need for the embargo. "

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone with Putin for nearly an hour on Tuesday, and expressed Israel's disappointment with the latter's decision to rescind the ban on selling S-300 missile air defense systems to Iran.

"Regarding our [weapons] shipments to Iran, these are defensive weapons, that will in no way harm Israel's defensive capabilities."

Putin on Thursday defended his decision to resurrect a deal to sell missiles to Iran during his annual television call-in show, saying it increases security in light of the conflict in Yemen.

"Under the present conditions in the region, especially regarding events in Yemen, such arms supplies are a deterrent."

The head of the Iranian security council, Ali Shamkhani, on Tuesday said that Iran expects Russia to deliver the air defense systems by the end of the year. His Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, said delivery would take time. "It will depend on our manufacturers," he told the Interfax news agency. "I believe they will need at least six months to complete this work."

Floodplain executive order is latest Obama power grab

© www.youtube.com
Flooded streets of Key West 2013. It happens. Then it dries out.

Another ille­gal action unlikely to be chal­lenged in court?

Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans liv­ing and work­ing in flood­plains and other low-lying areas are at acute risk of being inun­dated - not by ris­ing water, but by a tidal wave of fed­eral reg­u­la­tions - cour­tesy of the Obama Administration.

With pub­lic atten­tion riv­eted on the chaotic devel­op­ments in the Mid­dle East and the severe cold weather that gripped much of the nation over the win­ter, the White House on Jan­u­ary 30 qui­etly issued Exec­u­tive Order (EO) 13690, "Estab­lish­ing a Fed­eral Flood Risk Man­age­ment Stan­dard and a Process for Fur­ther Solic­it­ing and Con­sid­er­ing Stake­holder Input." http://1.usa.gov/1HNuLP9 -

Vio­lat­ing exist­ing law

The exec­u­tive order is more than just a mouth­ful; it is the lat­est fed­eral intru­sion into what have tra­di­tion­ally been pre­dom­i­nantly self-governing com­mu­ni­ties. In defi­ance of exist­ing law, the EO rede­fines the term "flood­plain" to expand the area of the coun­try to be reg­u­lated as such. The Obama EO was issued of lan­guage Con­gress included in a FY 2015 appro­pri­a­tions bill that until it had solicited and con­sid­ered input from gov­er­nors, may­ors, and other affected parties.

In a March 30 "Dear Col­league" let­ter, Rep. John Rat­cliffe (R-TX) pointed out that, "To date, there has been no pub­lic dis­clo­sure on the basis of the alter­na­tives included in the EO, how they were devel­oped and decided upon, or a cost-benefit analy­sis of them." Rat­cliffe fur­ther noted that the EO calls for the National Water Coun­cil "to issue Guide­lines to pro­vide guid­ance to agen­cies on [the EO's] imple­men­ta­tion," even though the National Water Coun­cil hasn't received a cent of fed­eral fund­ing since 1982.

Fed­eral Flood Risk Man­age­ment Standard

© adjustersinternational.com

The cen­ter­piece of the Obama exec­u­tive order is some­thing called the Fed­eral Flood Risk Man­age­ment Stan­dard (FFRMS). Under the exec­u­tive order, the FFRMS applies to new con­struc­tion and sub­stan­tial improve­ments to exist­ing struc­tures in flood­plains and other low-lying areas. Speak­ing for the Admin­is­tra­tion, the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA) has claimed repeat­edly that the FFRMS will not affect pri­vate devel­op­ment. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

Indeed, the new fed­eral stan­dard will "in fact sub­stan­tially limit pri­vate devel­op­ment," says Rep. Rat­cliffe. "Because fed­eral agen­cies must avoid or min­i­mize actions that impact flood­plains when tak­ing 'fed­eral action' - includ­ing when they issue fed­eral per­mits, licenses, and approvals - the EO is expected to impede or dra­mat­i­cally increase the cost of con­struc­tion and labor in low-lying com­mu­ni­ties."

Fail­ure to adopt the new stan­dard could make com­mu­ni­ties inel­i­gi­ble for fed­eral pro­grams, includ­ing port devel­op­ment projects, haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion grants, flood con­trol projects, Brown­fields rede­vel­op­ment, Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment Block Grants, fed­er­ally backed mort­gages, and fed­eral trans­porta­tion projects.

While the EO is vague on the details of the FFRMS, it says that incor­po­rat­ing the new stan­dard "will ensure that [fed­eral] agen­cies expand man­age­ment from the cur­rent base flood level to a higher ver­ti­cal ele­va­tion and cor­re­spond­ing hor­i­zon­tal flood­plain to address cur­rent and future flood risk and ensure that projects funded with tax­payer dol­lars last as long as intended.
New reg­u­la­tory regime

© http://bit.ly/1HNuNqc
The FEMA Flood Elevation Certificate - another money-maker based on "liquidity."

Deter­min­ing what con­sti­tutes "future flood risk" is closely tied to, in the President's words, "a national pol­icy on resilience and risk reduc­tion con­sis­tent with my Cli­mate Action Plan." In other words, the administration's poli­cies to "com­bat cli­mate change" will serve to jus­tify the myr­iad rules, reg­u­la­tions, and stan­dards Wash­ing­ton will impose on com­mu­ni­ties through­out the coun­try in the name of pro­tect­ing them from flood­ing. A reg­u­la­tory regime is being put into place that will give Wash­ing­ton final say over what can and can­not be built and how struc­tures - res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial - are to be con­structed and where.

In tak­ing its micro­man­age­ment of Amer­i­can soci­ety down to the level of writ­ing local build­ing codes, the Obama Admin­is­tra­tion is bypass­ing both Con­gress and the fed­eral rule­mak­ing process. The goal is very sim­ple: Make the pop­u­lace, and the elected offi­cials who sup­pos­edly rep­re­sent them, sub­servient to Washington.

NATO Secretary General visits Iceland and warns of aggressive Russia

Iceland plays a "unique role" in keeping the Alliance's transatlantic link strong, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday (16 April) during a visit to Reykjavik. "Iceland makes important contributions to NATO and international security in many ways," he said.

Mr. Stoltenberg is in Iceland to discuss issues at the top of NATO's security agenda. He discussed Russia's continued aggressive actions in Ukraine and the rise of violent extremism in the Middle East and North Africa with Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson. Mr. Stoltenberg is also meeting Olof Nordal, the Interior Minister and senior members of Iceland's Parliament, including Einar K. Guofinnsson, the Speaker of the Althingi, and Birgir Armannsson, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Secretary General noted the need for every Ally to continue to play a full role to ensure NATO is able to meet current and future challenges. "In this global security environment, it is more important than ever to work together. This requires a NATO response and that's what we are doing," Mr Stoltenberg said. He said that Allies are more than doubling the size of the NATO Response Force and creating a new 5,000-strong quick reaction Spearhead Force.

The visit to Iceland started at the Keflavik Security Zone, where the Secretary General met Icelandic and NATO personnel involved in the air surveillance peacetime preparedness mission.

The Secretary General, together with the Prime Minister, also paid a visit to the Icelandic Coast Guard's multi-purpose vessel 'Thor'.

Saudi Arabia praises Russia's role in settling Yemen crisis


King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has praised Russia's efforts to settle the Yemen crisis in a telephone conversation with President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin press service said.

"The Saudi king gave high appraisal to the Russian side's efforts to normalize the difficult situation in Yemen and expressed his gratitude to Russia for its stance when the United Nations Security Council voted for resolution No. 2216 on April 14," the Kremlin stressed.

"Both leaders confirmed readiness to deepen coordination between Russia and Saudi Arabia on regional and international agenda. They also expressed their mutual determination to further build up mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in various spheres," the Kremlin press service reported.

Putin invited the Saudi king to visit Russia.

Nazism reemerges in Europe despite millions dying to defeat it during WW II

A thousand words...


Fascist lunatics in Washington installed overt Nazis to run their newest client state. They're taking full advantage.

They're waging naked aggression on Donbass - at present low-level ahead of renewing it full-blown.

Hundreds of US combat troops (trained killers) are working directly with Kiev's Nazi-infested National Guard and other extremist groups - teaching them the fine art of murder.

Kiev Nazis want all opposition elements eliminated - either killed, imprisoned, disappeared or deported.

They want unchallenged control. The Saker reports they created a database of "separatists (and) militants, etc."

It's called "(i)information for law enforcement authorities and special services about pro-Russian terrorists, separatists, mercenaries, war criminals, and murderers."

Anyone opposing fascist rule risks being eliminated one way or another.

Nazis under Hitler were notorious for radicalized torchlight parades - complete with chilling slogans and symbols.

In January, thousands of Ukrainian ultranationalists paraded in Kiev. They celebrated Nazi collabortor/mass murderer Stepan Bandera's 106th birthday.

At the time, Czech President Milos Zeman was horrified. "There is something wrong with Ukraine," he said.

"Yesterday evening I was browsing the Internet and discovered a video showing the demonstration on Kiev's Maidan on January 1."

"These demonstrators carried portraits of Stepan Bandera, which reminded me of Reinhard Heydrich" - Gestapo head and key holocaust architect.

"The parade itself was organized similar to Nazi torchlight parades, where participants shouted the slogan: 'Death to the Poles, Jews and communists without mercy,' " Zeman explained.

Ukrainian fascists consider Bandera a national hero. He was a vicious mass murderer.

Russia's Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights Konstantin Dolgov calls reemergent Nazism in Ukraine a European threat.

"Torchlit marches in Ukraine demonstrate that it is continuing to move along the path of the Nazis," he stressed - with full US support and encouragement.

They were at it again in Odessa. They marched to commemorate Maxim Chaika's death - ultranationalist Blood and Honor group leader. He died during a 2009 street fight.

Around 200 overt Nazis were involved - marching while shouting racist/anti-communist/anti-Russian/ultranationalist slogans.

"The White man is for the Great Ukraine," they chanted. "One race, one nation, one homeland."

"Glory to Ukraine - the glory of heroes!" "Hang the commies." Odessan police accompanied marchers to protect them.

Participants evoked memories of May 2, 2014 when Right Sector Nazi thugs murdered hundreds of Odessans in cold blood.

They remain unaccountable for appalling high crimes. So-called investigation into what happened whitewashed them.

State-sponsored mass murder in Ukraine is considered OK. Anyone wanting democratic freedoms is vulnerable.

Truth-telling journalists risk imprisonment or death. Nazi-infested fascist regimes tolerate no opposition.

Last week, Normandy Four foreign ministers called for ending fighting in Donbass.

Washington bears full responsibility. Its Ukrainian proxies share it. Germany and France have done nothing to halt it.

Russia alone continues going all-out to end it - impossible given Obama's rage for war.

Last Thursday, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said "(t)he United States and its allies have crossed all possible lines in their drive to bring Kiev into their orbit."

"That could not have failed to trigger our reaction. Aiming at complete dominance, Washington stopped taking into account the interests of other countries and respect for international law."

On April 16, addressing Moscow's fourth International Security Conference, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it's "impossible to resolve the conflict in Ukraine by military force."

"(T)here is no reasonable alternative to peacefully settling the domestic Ukrainian crisis (than) on the basis of full and unconditional compliance with" February 12 agreed on ceasefire terms.

He hopes Western officials will "force authorities in Kiev to scrap destructive policies aimed at glorifying the Nazis and persecuting those who saved Europe from" its scourge.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries has a lot to say about Aluminum in vaccines

Suzanne Humphries, a once sought-after nephrologist based out of Maine, has dedicated the last decade of her career to searching for the truth about vaccine safety.

Her most recent book, Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines and the Forgotten History, is a telling and thorough collection of historical documents and research that paints a different picture of vaccine safety and efficacy than is commonly presented by pro-vaccine advocates.

In a recent lecture, Humphries explains how aluminum, a widely used vaccine adjuvant, poses a greater risk to the health of the public than once previously thought, especially in regards to vaccines being given to pregnant women.

"Even if vaccines can prevent some infections, considering what's in them, there's no way they can improve overall health," Dr. Humphries says. "And now they want to give vaccines to pregnant women, which in addition to these animal cells and associated genetic material also have aluminum in them."

What We Know About Aluminum

Aluminum is a known neurotoxin, and scientific evidence shows that it can play a significant role in neurological diseases, including dementia, autism, and Parkinson's disease.

However, this is in contrast to what the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's (CHOP) vaccine education center had to say about aluminum back in 2013:

"Aluminum is considered to be an essential metal with quantities fluctuating naturally during normal cellular activity. It is found in all tissues and is also believed to play an important role in the development of a healthy fetus."

This statement was reviewed by CHOP's Chief of Infectious Diseases — the staunch vaccine advocate and vaccine patent holder Paul Offit, MD, who's also notorious for claiming that an infant can theoretically tolerate 10,000 vaccines at once.
Here is another statement from CHOP about aluminum:

"Given the quantities of aluminum we are exposed to on a daily basis, the quantity of aluminum in vaccines is miniscule. Aluminum-containing vaccines have been used for decades and have been given to over one billion people without problem."

But as Suzanne Humphries points out, eating and injecting aluminum are in no way the same things. When we ingest aluminum through various sources, we only absorb about 1 percent of it.

When injected intramuscularly, however, our bodies absorb close to 100% of the aluminum.

A 2010 study published in the found that breastfed infants receiving a full recommended schedule of immunizations showed an exceedingly high exposure of Al (225 to 1750 μg per dose) when compared with estimated levels absorbed from breast milk alone (2.0 μg).

A 2011 paper by Dr. Kawahara had the following to say about aluminum:

"Whilst being environmentally abundant, aluminum is not essential for life. On the contrary, aluminum is a widely recognized neurotoxin that inhibits more than 200 biologically important functions and causes various adverse effects in plants, animals and humans."

How Aluminum Affects Our Body

Humphries points out that aluminum has a number of side-effects inside the body, which include:

  • DNA alterations, abnormal regulation of gene function, and gene expression interference.
  • It damages cell membranes, and causes your myelin — the insulating layer around your nerves — to stiffen and become dysfunctional.
  • By binding to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), it affects your energy metabolism.
  • Increased vascular endothelial adhesiveness and increased cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Coagulation of proteins, which may alter their function.
  • Enhanced excitotoxicity in your brain, and increased brain inflammation.
As Dr. Humphries points out, molecular biologists have also clearly demonstrated that exposure to aluminum skews your immune system to the Th2, or antibody driven immune system, which drives allergic responses.

How Much Aluminum Are We Getting From Vaccines Today?

Like Dr. Mercola explains, mercury may be on its way out of vaccines, but the use of aluminum is on the rise.

"The number of aluminum-containing vaccines children receive today has quadrupled over the past 30 years. In the 1970s, children got only four aluminum-containing vaccines in their first 18 months of life, but now they typically receive 17."

Similarly, in her lecture Dr. Humphries reveals the startling amount of aluminum a US child receives today compared to only a few decades prior,

"By the age of 18 months, that infant has already received 4,925 micrograms (mcg) of aluminum, 100 percent of which is absorbed since it's given intramuscularly. In the 1980s the amount of aluminum you got when following the childhood vaccination schedule amounted to 1,120 mcg, and importantly, it was given in more mature babies, not newborns. Today, American children end up getting a grand total of 6,150 mcg of aluminum if they get all of their recommended vaccines."

Humphries also explains how an oft-cited study used to "prove" the safety of aluminum exposure was actually very misleading.

To assess whether or not diet and vaccines in combination might result in dangerously high aluminum levels, the researchers looked at studies on rodents who aluminum, and one study involving ONE healthy man with normal kidney function who received 0.7 mcg injected directly into his blood stream — a tiny of what babies get. Aluminum received intravenously is much more easily handled than aluminum received intramuscularly.

The aluminum he got was also a less toxic form than that used in vaccines. Several vaccines which are on the childhood vaccine schedule were also left out of Dr. Keith's theoretical risk calculation. Based on all this questionable data, it was concluded that between diet and vaccines, the aluminum burden children are exposed to is unlikely to do harm.

Another important and overlooked factor is that infants have reduced kidney function, and therefore cannot excrete heavy metals as efficiently as someone with more mature organs.

What Happens When Vaccine Adjuvants Meets Glyphosate

In a 2014 paper published in the journal , Dr. Stephanie Seneff addresses the toxic effects of aluminum and another common adjuvant, glutamate, on biological systems and their dangerous capacity to form "toxic complexes" with other chemicals.

"Glutamate is toxic to autistic kids, because they don't have enough manganese. So when that extra glutamate is injected in through the vaccine, it goes to the brain, because of the influence of glyphosate [the signature herbicide used by Monsanto]. Glyphosate actually opens up the barriers—the gut barrier and the brain barrier—to allow [toxins] to get in... The two are working synergistically... The glyphosate is depleting the manganese, which is causing the glutamate to be toxic, and the glyphosate is causing the glutamate to go into the brain..."

She also elaborates on the combination of aluminum and glyphosate,

"Glyphosate chelates aluminum, effectively 'hiding' the aluminum molecule inside the glyphosate molecule. When 'caged' within glyphosate in this way, the aluminum gets even easier access to sensitive areas because, as mentioned, glyphosate opens up your gut- and brain barriers."

Why Haven't The Dangers Of Aluminum Been Properly Addressed?

At the end of Dr. Humphries lecture, she addresses the big question: Why are we still using aluminum in vaccines if it is so dangerous?

Her response seems fitting,

"Assessment of the safety of aluminum in vaccines is important because replacement of aluminum compounds in currently licensed vaccines would necessitate the introduction of a completely new compound that would have to be investigated before licensing. No obvious candidates to replace aluminum are available, so withdrawal for safety reasons would severely affect the immunogenicity and protective effects of some currently licensed vaccines and threaten immunization programs worldwide."

Check out Dr. Humphries's informative lecture below.

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Atomic apocalypse more likely than ever say US, Russian retired generals


© Reuters

Modern technologies, coupled with Cold War-era nuclear doctrines and increasing tensions between the US and Russia make a nuclear war a real threat, say high-ranking retired officers from both countries.

The opinion column by former US Marine Corps General James E. Cartwright and retired Russian Major General Vladimir Dvorkin, both from the Global Zero Commission on Nuclear Risk Reduction, warns of the dangers of old nuclear strike doctrines, at a time when relations between the two superpowers are at such a low point. They call on Moscow and Washington prevent possible provocations.

It says there are three strategic options at the two countries' disposal, which are relic's of the Cold War: striking first, retaliation after an attack and launch on warning. The final option is seen as the one posing the most danger.

Under the launch-on-warning strategy, a country fires its nuclear missiles after it detects enemy rockets have been launched. It is aimed at being able to use the missiles before they are destroyed by the incoming attack.

Launch detection is carried out by satellites and ground-based radars, which give the target country a window of 10 to 30 minutes in which to decide whether to launch a nuclear strike of its own.

The two generals say this system is susceptible to provocations and malfunctions. With the advent of precise computer technologies, the chance of such an error occurring has been decreasing. However, at a time when cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common, the danger of someone deliberately triggering a false warning has jumped.

"This makes it all the more critical for Russia and the United States to talk, to relieve the pressures to 'use or lose' nuclear forces during a crisis and minimize the risk of a mistaken launch," their article reads.

The US and Russia have signed a joint nuclear arsenal reduction treaty called New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), in April 2010. It is aimed at drastically decreasing the number of nuclear weapons available to both nations.

Despite both Russia and the US complying with the treaty and reducing their arsenals to about 1,500 warheads each, they remain in possession of two of the world's largest atomic payloads.

Cooperation on the treaty remains "a silver lining" amid growing Russia-US tensions, Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose said on Thursday: "At such a hard time it is highly important to maintain transparency in the displacement and deployment of strategic nuclear weapons... The two sides have made significant progress over the restrictions presumed by the treaty by February 2018".

Monsanto's Roundup linked to cancer of the lymph system

About 30 years of research regarding non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer) and its correlation with occupational exposure to 80 agricultural pesticides and 21 chemical groups has linked glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, with cancer of the lymph tissue. In a paper published in the 44 papers representing studies in high-income countries found that there was a "striking increase" in the incidence of non-Hodgkin's type lymphomas in the last 30 years.

The paper explains that farmers have high cancer rates, overall, and agrochemical exposure is likely the culprit, even among a group that normally has low across-the board mortality rates. Among the pesticides studied, glyphosate exposure was found to be positively associated with a particular type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - called B cell lymphoma. This best-selling toxin distributed primarily by Monsanto is just the tip of the iceberg, as pointed out by Sayer Ji of GreenMedInfo.

The inactive ingredients in Roundup have also been found to be carcinogenic even in the parts per trillion range, so the study brings attention to a phenomenon which was already coming to light in the scientific community.

The fact is, human blood is not 'Roundup Ready.' As mentioned, the 'inactive' ingredients in Roundup are just as harmful, making 'RoundUp Ready' chemicals a toxic blood-venom none of us can ignore. The background context of one study are described:

"Today, the dissemination of glyphosate in the environment increases, and humans are permanently exposed to its action. Worst case scenario provides even ten-fold increase of using a glyphosate in the following years [32].

Considering the widespread and frequent use of glyphosate throughout in world, thus the current risk assessment is important because the exposure will concern not only the users of the preparations containing glyphosate, but also those who do not have direct contact with that herbicide."

As these chemicals are used in a slap-dash cocktail, understudied, and haphazardly applied to our crops, it is no wonder that different types of cancers are showing up in the populations most closely tied to their use - such as with farmers, their families, and even children who go to schools or playgrounds near fields that are sprayed.

Lymphomas are a special type of cancer that attack the immune system. It would only be logical that pesticides and herbicides which also attack a plant's immune system would be adverse to our own. That they are also creating organisms that are immune to the toxicity of these concoctions should be alarming. When cancer cells are stronger than our own healthy cells, perhaps the agencies allowing GM crops to exist will finally listen.

Sitting for too long can do harm to your body

With the continuous progress of technology, we need to put less and less effort to get the things done. And it's not only about jobs which are getting more and more computerized every day; it's about our lifestyle in general.

If in the recent past we had to wash the dishes and clean the floor ourselves, now there are people who have a dishwasher and a robotic vacuum cleaner which can do that for us. I'm not saying it's bad to take advantage of the privileges of technology (I'm a fan of technology myself), but the problem is that, as a result, there are those of us who sometimes tend to avoid physical activity and end up sitting for more hours a day than our parents and grandparents did.

Let's take a look at some statistics. Approximately 80% of the Americans use the Internet on a daily basis, and there is at least one computer in 90 % of the homes. Of course, it's not only about the Internet usage or home computers. Imagine how many Americans do office jobs that require sitting in a chair for at least eight hours a day.

The real problem is that even after a long working day, many people continue spending their free time in front of a screen, watching TV, playing video games, browsing the Internet or chatting with friends online.

So when it comes to health problems, the statistics show that 40% of people who suffer from back issues tend to spend long hours sitting at the computer. You may think that back problems are the only major consequence of a sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, it's not that simple, and recent research reveals that too much sitting is linked to a number of health problems, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Here is an infographic that explains the health problems associated with spending too much time in a chair. There are some recommendations on the proper sitting position and exercises too.


Comment: Additional information about the negative effects of sitting too long: Also check out this excellent article by Mark Sisson: 10 principles of primal living that are (finally) getting mainstream media coverage

Yes, Primal health principles and positions are getting mainstream recognition. Let's take a look at some of the major ones.

That sitting is bad and exercise might not be enough.

Everyone knows that being sedentary is a poor health choice. But most people figured the solution was to set aside regular times each week to exercise. Formal exercise was the answer, and movement was segregated from "normal" life. As long as you hit the gym every other day, you could do nothing for the remainder of your time and be perfectly healthy.

That's just intermittent sedentism, though, and it
doesn't work. Frequent low level movement throughout the day punctuated by intermittent bouts of intense exercise is what I've prescribed for years, and the mainstream is beginning to get the hint. Articles lamenting the prevalence of sitting, its scary effect on our health, and how exercising isn't enough to counter it come out on a regular basis now.

Going barefoot isn't insane.

Going barefoot is perhaps the most intuitive Primal lifestyle change. People can deny the meat-eating, fat-loving, sun-seeking behavior, they can claim that "sleep is for the weak" and "gluten-free is a fad" all they want, but they can't ignore the shoeless feet that humans have been born with for millions of years. The bare feet we wear to bed at night somehow use to walk without teetering over and falling or twisting an ankle on the way to the bathroom are also fairly competent vehicles for daily locomotion.

Ignoring the big push back from podiatrists (likely worried about losing patients and orthotics addicts), the mass media coverage of barefooting has been reasonable. They don't wholeheartedly endorse it, but then again, neither do we without caveats like "do it gradually" and "walk before you run." Harvard even has a guide to safe barefoot running. And the people who matter - the ones who decide to or decide not to go barefoot, as opposed to the experts urging them to reconsider - are embracing it; sales of shoes that emulate the unshod state have stabilized but remain high.

Former Chicago police commander Jon Burge convicted in connection to torturing suspects condemns victim reparations


© Flickr/ Thomas Hawk

Convicted former Police Commander Jon Burge has publically condemned a reparations fund that would support victims of police torture, whom he referred to as human vermin and "guilty, viscous criminals." He also believes he will be "vindicated."

For decades, Burge had been accused of running a "midnight crew" of Chicago Police officers who allegedly tortured African American suspects. In 2011, he was convicted of perjury for lying under oath in civil lawsuits connected to that torture.

This month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed to create a $5.5 million reparations fund to compensate victims of police torture.

Burge, who maintained his Fifth Amendment rights when questioned under oath about the alleged torture, criticized the compensation program in an interview with writer and Chicago Police officer Martin Preib, which was published on "The Conviction Project."

Burge directed his remarks at politicians, the media, and alleged torture victims Anthony Holmes and Darrell Cannon as well as the plantiffs' attorney Flint Taylor.

"These private attorneys grow rich because the city of Chicago is afraid to defend the lawsuits filed by these human vultures," Burge said in the interview. "Ask the mayor and City Council members how many relatives of the victims of these crimes they spoke with before deciding on their 'Reparations.' "

Taylor responded to Burge's words.

"He is clearly a serial human rights violator, who has committed racist crimes against humanity too numerous to count. And this attack on the men who have so bravely stood up to him — and who a jury and a federal judge relied upon to send him to the penitentiary — only underscores how disgraceful and cowardly his unsworn statements... slandering me, my fellow lawyers and these clients are.

"I stand ready to go anywhere, any time, any place to place him under oath and to ask him point-blank whether he tortured Anthony Holmes and whether he was responsible for the torture of Darrell Cannon and 115-to-120 other African-American men who have documented proof that he and his co-conspirators tortured them," Taylor said.

The plantiffs also responded to Burge's comments.

"The city is trying to help us because he put us in this position," Holmes said. "If he hadn't, we wouldn't need no help. All of us are mentally unstable. We're not ourselves.... He's trying to cover up for himself and saying he did everything right. He didn't do everything right. He tortured us. He's saying what he did to us was justified to get information. We can't stand torture. That's how he broke all of us.

"I was a gang-banger out on the street. True enough. But, I didn't deserve what he did to me. He did what he wanted to do and now, he's got to pay for it. But, he still won't admit that he did it."

However, Burge believes that he will eventually be vindicated.

He said "evidence is slowly emerging that clearly shows what happened to the dedicated Chicago Police detectives who fought, as best we could, the worst, most violent predators on the South Side."

Burge had been sentenced to four-and-a-half years for lying under oath, but got time off for good behavior. He was recently released from a halfway house in the Tampa, Fla. area.

Greece seeks strategic relationship with Iran despite EU sanctions


© Reuters/ Alkis Konstantinidis

Greece's new ambassador to Iran said that his country seeks friendship and strategic ties as the European Union continues its sanctions regime despite breakthroughs in nuclear negotiations.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani welcomed Greece's new ambassador to the country, who told the President that his country wants to develop a strategic partnership with Iran.

The move would be a first for any EU member state, as the organization previously pursued sanctions against Iran.

"Iran is a key country in the region and Athens is determined to be Tehran's friend and strategic partner," incoming Ambassador Georgio Aifantis said.

Rouhani commended Greece for its moderate stance on Iran and opposition on the use of sanctions.

"Tehran welcomes better relations with Athens, and we appreciate the country's moderate positions on Iran's nuclear program," Rouhani said.

Rouhani added the use of sanctions in the modern world is unacceptable and that the era of using sanctions to pressure countries is over.


Detroit police arrest 9-year-old boy, leave mother in panic searching for missing son

© Flickr/ Tony Webster

A Detroit mother called the police, panicked that her 9-year-old son hadn't returned home. However, it turns out he had been arrested and the police neglected to inform her.

Stephanie Horton's 9-year-old son went off to play with friends and, when he didn't return, Horton assumed the worst and reported him as missing. It wasn't until the next day that police bothered to inform her that Kamian wasn't missing — he was in police custody after being arrested for a home invasion.

Horton was further distressed to learn that her son had been arrested the day she reported him missing.

Officers said they did not have a way of contacting Horton, saying they didn't know her number and that they had gone to her house but she was out at the time. However, that doesn't explain why they didn't inform her when she called.

"I said how could I not be notified until 24 hours later. No explanation, no information, no anything," she told local media.

Turns out, the charges for the home invasion against the third-grader got dropped as well. However, Horton say she is still concerned about her son's activities because of the company he keeps.

"There are some older guys who come and take him and he does what they tell him to do," Horton said. "We have been having a problem with that, coinciding with an officer trying to keep them away from here, but to no avail."


Close passage of asteroid 2015 HD1 tonight

© Gianluca Masi
Newly found asteroid 2015 HD1 will pay a close visit to Earth overnight, zipping by at just 45,600 miles at 3:11 a.m. Tuesday morning April 21.

If you wake up in the middle of the night with weird dreams about flying asteroids, I wouldn't be surprised. Around 3 a.m. (CDT) tomorrow morning April 21, a 50-foot-wide asteroid will hurdle just 0.2 lunar distances or 45,600 miles over your bed.

The Mt. Lemmon Survey, based in Tucson, Arizona, snagged the space rock Saturday. 2015 HD1 is about as big as a full grown T-rex through not nearly as scary, since it will safely miss Earth ... but not by much.

Geostationary satellites, used for global communications, weather forecasting and satellite TV, are parked in orbits about 22,300 miles above the Earth. 2015 HD1 will zip by at just twice that distance, putting it in a more select group of extremely close-approaching objects. Yet given its small size, even if it were to collide with Earth, this dino-sized rock would probably break up into a shower of meteorites.

Lucky for all of us, astronomers conducting photographic surveys like the one at Mt. Lemmon rake the skies every clear night, turning up a dozen or more generally small, Earth-approaching asteroids every month. None yet has been found on a collision course with Earth, but many pass within a few lunar distances.

A common misunderstanding about approaching asteroids concerns Earth's gravity. While our planet has plenty of gravitational pull, it's no match for speedy asteroids. We can't "pull" them in like some tractor beam.

Because they're moving at miles per second velocities, they have lots of angular momentum (desire to keep moving in the direction they're headed). Only asteroids headed directly for us have any hope of striking our atmosphere and potentially leaving fragments behind as meteorites.

Still, both Earth and asteroid interact. Close-approaching asteroids often will have their orbits altered by Earth's gravity. They come in in one direction and leave on a slightly different one after Earth weighs in (literally!)

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Moving rapidly across the constellations Hydra, Antlia and Puppis tomorrow morning, 2015 HD1 is expected to reach climb briefly to magnitude +13.2. That's faint, but with a good map, amateur astronomers with 8-inch or larger telescopes will see it move in real time across the sky like a slow satellite. To create a map, you'll need sky-charting software like MegaStar, The Sky or Starry Night and these orbital elements.

Maximum brightness and visibility occurs between about 1 and 3 a.m CDT (6-8 UT) for observers in low northern or southern latitudes. From the West Coast, the asteroid will be low in the southwestern sky around 10 p.m. local time. Hawaiian skywatchers will get the brightest views with the asteroid highest in the sky around 9 p.m. local time. IF you live in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., it's either too far south or will have set by the time it's bright enough to see.

No worries. Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi will once again fire up his telescope to provide live views of 2015 HD1 on his Virtual Telescope Project website today April 20 starting at 4 p.m. CDT (21:00 UT). So if you like, you can get a gander after all.

Leopard kills boy after entering house in Junnar, India: 'Very abnormal activity'


The spot where the boy was found


Over 48 hours after a six-year-old boy lost his life following a leopard attack at Khamundi village in Junnar, forest officials are still clueless about the big cat.

Now, to speed up the hunt before the animal decides to hit human settlement again, the forest department is planning to set up a quick response team (QRT) consisting of local villagers in order to increase vigil in the area. "Forest department staff, along with local villagers, will be keeping vigil and carry search operations to find the hiding animal. So far, there is no clarity behind the purpose of the attack and till the animal is captured, the additional staff will remain in that area," said chief conservator of forests Sunil Limaye.

As the leopard did not eat any flesh of the boy, forest officials are ruling out the possibility of the leopard being a man-eater. Now, they are taking the help of conservation experts to understand the motive behind the attacks on children.

The case so far

Early on Friday morning, the leopard attacked two children in Khamundi village. When local people called the forest officials, a search operation was carried out and Pravin Devram Dhudh-wade's body was found nearly two kilometres from his house. Initially, the forest officials were suspecting that the leopard might have attacked the children out of hunger but the body was unmarked. "We are not sure if the leopard attacked out of hunger. Since there is a fear among locals, we have increased our vigil and placed cages to catch the animal," said divisional forest officer Vitthal Dhokate and added that the forest officials were planning to take the help of nature conservationists, who could explain the psychology of the leopard and if this is a case of human- leopard conflict. According to conservation experts, it might be a case of accidental killing and not incidental killing.

"The big cats generally kill prey to eat. However, it looks like a case of accidental killing as in such cases, the leopard or other animals from the cat family attack the humans, particularly small children when they are squatting or bending, thinking of them as their prey. However, after killing them, they realise that it is not their meal and therefore not eat it," conservation biologist Pooja Bhale told Mirror

However, according to her, it might also be a human-leopard conflict due to deforestation in the area. "Leopards are territorial animals and it searches for prey in the same territory. Due to the increasing deforestation, these animals are facing scarcity of food and since the human locality is now settling near jungles, they are attacking humans," she explained.

On the other hand, Vidya Athreya, wildlife biologist and research associate with the centre for wildlife studies and wildlife conservation society, said, "This attack is a very abnormal activity as it appears that the attack was not for a meal. I know many cases where a leopard has attacked cattle but when the farmer has gone to rescue them, the big cat has not attacked the farmer. It is strange that the leopard came near the humans, entered the house and dragged away the child but did not eat the flesh. Since the leopard is a secretive animal, it is really very difficult to study its behaviour. It is difficult to understand the purpose behind this attack without a proper study."