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Friday, 8 May 2015

40,000 year old bracelet made by extinct human species found

© Anatoly Derevyanko and Mikhail Shunkov, Vera Salnitskaya
The Denisovan bracelet made of chlorite.

In what is quite an amazing discovery, scientists have confirmed that a bracelet found in Siberia is 40,000 years old. This makes it the oldest piece of jewelry ever discovered, and archeologists have been taken aback by the level of its sophistication.

The bracelet was discovered in a site called the Denisova Cave in Siberia, close to Russia's border with China and Mongolia. It was found next to the bones of extinct animals, such as the wooly mammoth, and other artifacts dating back 125,000 years.

The cave is named after the Denisovan people — a mysterious species of from the , who are genetically different from both and Neanderthals.

We know that the Denisovans migrated out of Africa sometime after the first wave of and well before us,

The Denisovans were unique in many ways, having branched away from other humanoid ancestors some 1 million years ago. Indeed, the recent discovery of a female Denisovan finger bone and various teeth, shows that they had no morphological similarities to either Neanderthals or modern humans.

However, tens of thousands of years later, and prior to becoming extinct, they did coexist with us and the Neanderthals for a period, and skeletal remains of hybrids, and genetic studies confirm that they also mated with our forebears and the Neanderthals.

Strangely, however, DNA evidence also suggests that, at some point, the Denisovans must have interbred with an as yet unknown and undiscovered species of humans beings.

Skeletal remains show that the Denisovans were probably far more robust and powerful than modern humans, and were, until now, assumed to be a more primitive, archaic type of humans than us.

© Anatoly Derevyanko and Mikhail Shunkov, Vera Salnitskaya
The Denisovan cave in Siberia.

But, the discovery of the bracelet suggests this was far from true. Amazingly, the skill involved in making this adornment shows a level of technique at least 30,000 years ahead of its time.

Until now, scientists had believed that such skills had only evolved among humans in the Neolithic period, which began at about 10,000 BC. Indeed, originally, they believed that the bracelet had somehow become mixed up with materials dating from a later period.

However, experiments have now definitely ruled that out, and they confirm that it could not have been made by or Neanderthals. After 7 years of analysis, the scientists are confident that the piece was made 30,000 years before the beginning of the Stone Age.

© Anatoly Derevyanko and Mikhail Shunkov,
General reconstruction of the view of the bracelet and comparison with the modern bracelet.

The quotes the head of the Museum of History and Culture of the Peoples' of Siberia and the Far East in the city of Novosibirsk, Dr Anatoly Derevyanko, who said:

"The skills of its creator were perfect. Initially we thought that it was made by Neanderthals or modern humans, but it turned out that the master was Denisovan."

Mikhail Shunkov, deputy director of the the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk, part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, suggested that the find indicates that the Denisovans were more advanced than and Neanderthals. What is incredible is that the craftsman who made the adornment, seems to have used something similar to a modern drill.

© Anatoly Derevyanko and Mikhail Shunkov, Vera Salnitskaya
Drilling marks on Denisovan bracelet.

The Siberian Times quotes Dr Derevyanko, who wrote in the Russian magazine, that when they studied the diameters of the bracelet, they found that the rotational speed of the drill must have been quite high, and with minimal fluctuations.

"The ancient master" he said, "was skilled in techniques previously considered not characteristic for the Palaeolithic era, such as easel speed drilling, boring tool type rasp, grinding and polishing with a leather and skins of varying degrees of tanning."

Held in place by what they believe was a leather strap, the bracelet itself was made from a type of stone called chlorite, which could only have been imported from some 200km (125 miles) away.

The bracelet was very delicate and was probably worn at special occasions by some important person, such as a Denisovan princess. Shunkov explains;

"All jewellery had a magical meaning for ancient people. Bracelets and neck adornments were to protect people from evil spirits, for instance."

"But this item, given the complicated technology and "imported" material, obviously belonged to some high ranking person of that society."

© Anatoly Derevyanko and Mikhail Shunkov, Vera Salnitskaya
Denisovan bracelet on model arm.

Commenting on its beauty, Anatoly Derevyanko added;

"The bracelet is stunning. In bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green."

The archeologists are reported to have also found a ring made of marble, but they have not yet disclosed any findings about it.

US reacts to Russian-Indian military cooperation

© Alexey Danichev, RIA Novosti

Russo-Indian military collaboration has seemingly become a thorn in the United States' side as Washington has decided to bolster US-Indian defense ties.

It is expected that during his upcoming visit to India US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will offer New Delhi a new US tactical aircraft and sign a 10-year bilateral India-US Defense Framework Agreement, Franz-Stefan Gady, an expert in military affairs and cyber diplomacy, emphasized.

"We are looking to do more in terms of [military] exercises and joint training and interoperability with our Indian counterparts," said US Ambassador to India Richard Rahul Verma as quoted by the expert.

The US' move can be regarded as backlash against the increased military cooperation within the BRICS. Indeed, Moscow and New Delhi have been steadily strengthening their ties in the military and military-technical field over the past years.

The Kremlin has repeatedly stated that it values its "privileged strategic partnership" with India and expressed confidence that the countries will boost economic and political relations.

According to the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), in 2014, New Delhi was the largest buyer of Russian arms, receiving $4.7 billion worth weapons and military equipment from Russia.

Moreover, Russo-Indian joint military projects also include manufacturing of the fifth generation fighter aircrafts, T90 tanks, Smerch multiple launch rocket systems and the supersonic Brahmos missiles.

The BRICS cemented by Russia's military expertise and might is currently emerging as a self-sufficient global player, not just as an economic alliance.

Crispin Rovere, an Australian expert in Asia-Pacific affairs, even went so far as to suggest that

in the long-term, an anti-US coalition consisting of China, Russia and India cannot be discounted.

It seems that the increasing Russo-Indian military cooperation has become a thorn in Washington's side. On the other hand, by bolstering its defense ties with India, the United States apparently hopes to kill two birds with one stone: to downplay Moscow's diplomatic success in Asia and intensify contradictions between New Delhi and Beijing.

However, according to Crispin Rovere, such a strategy is doomed: although there are certain frictions between China and India, their competition is "certainly nothing like the strategic competition that exists between China and the US."

On the other hand, Russia remains India's "sole strategic partner," while all three countries - Russia, India and China - "have a strong preference for a multipolar world order and the dilution of American hegemony," the expert pointed out.

Rejoice with the 'new' House of Saud

© YouTube/CaspianReport
King Salman's palace coup and the Saudi royal politics.

It's fascinating to watch the vast, well-rewarded western army of Saudi lobbyists/stenographers singing the praises of a "traditional and conservative institution", a.k.a. the House of Saud, now embarking on a new, "assertive foreign policy."

As this concerns the ideological matrix of all Salafi-jihadi variations in the demented galaxy of Wahhabi extremism, I'd rather call it a Mob rule update. Not nearly as entertaining as Coppola's saga, but certainly more sinister.

Imagine the outrage, broadcasted to distant galaxies, if this was taking place in certified opponents of the Empire of Chaos such as Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador, Russia or China. But as the House of Saud are "our bastards", complete with a minister, Ali al-Naimi, capable of saying that Allah should set oil prices, they can get away with literally anything.

New House of Saud i, King Salman, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, must have been brushing up on his Al Pacino to learn how to be swift as a dagger. Lesson learned; with a single move, he achieved the following:

He got rid of his half-brother and sitting Crown Prince, Muqrin. Muqrin duly pledged allegiance to the new boss.

He promoted his nephew, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, from No. 3 to No. 2 in the House of Saud succession line.

He promoted his own son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to No. 3.

He got rid of the former, eternal, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, and placed a Washington darling, the non-royal Adel al-Jubeir, who as ambassador to the U.S. has been the voice, in English, not lost in translation, of the (illegal) Saudi war on Yemen.

He gave the entire military and security forces a bonus of one-month's pay.

He separated the Saudi Oil Ministry from ARAMCO, the state-owned oil company. Gotta try to balance the books — especially with the Saudi-instigated oil price war going nowhere; the ridiculously expensive war on Yemen; and all those huge bonuses to content the subjects; after all, virtually everyone in the oil hacienda works for the House of Saud. It was Salman's son, Mohammed bin Salman, who came up with the oil ministry/ARAMCO scheme.

Married to the Mob, remixed

Here's what the world needs to know about the Mob rule update.

Let's start with the "youthful" Prince Mohammed bin Salman (What's not to like? Fawning western hagiographers gleefully speculate over his age like he's a precious damsel in distress, not a black-bearded hunk. Anything goes, but not upwards of 35.)

The Royal Youthful "wields enormous power" and as defense minister has been prosecuting the (illegal) bombing/war/"kinetic operation" on Yemen. The king himself vaunted his "massive capabilities". Saudi sources tell me he's been a (incompetent) cross of Dr. Evil and Mini-Me, with no Austin Powers to save his day. Although he's a pop star and a TV celebrity inside the Mob hacienda, he's convinced absolutely no one - from Egypt to Pakistan - to send troops to "his" war.

For his new No. 3 role, according to the official spin, he gained "support from the vast majority of members of the Council of Allegiance." The operative word here is "vast majority." This implies Muqrin's people were a tad uncomfortable. The Council of Allegiance is a group of 35 descendants of the Mob founder, King Abdul Aziz bin Saud.

The Royal Youthful, according to his official biography, had a murky "professional career of 10 years" but then — miraculously — became a special adviser to his father, then governor of Riyadh. He was appointed defense minister and chief of the royal court the same day, Jan. 23, when Salman became king, after the death of former king Abdullah, whose entire family has been completely erased politically.

Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, the new crown prince, is very much loved in the Beltway as a sort of top Saudi cop and a counterterrorism tough guy. He allegedly defeated al-Qaeda inside Saudi Arabia just for it to regroup in Yemen and now, for all practical purposes, enjoy indirect Mob help, adding new meaning to the concept of married to the Mob. His father, the ultra-right winger late Crown Prince Nayef, was colorfully known as the Black Prince.

As the new number two, Nayef will be a busy fellow — as he remains head of the economic and development council, and was also named second deputy prime minister. For all practical purposes, he's the new go-to guy in the Mob.

As for al-Jubeir, he's being lauded by the usual suspects for his "expertise" in U.S. politics. Nonsense; al-Jubeir was directly appointed by Washington.

Within this ballet, it's Muqrin's silence that speaks volumes. He's the son of a Yemeni slave girl; was a key protégé of late King Abdullah; and is not exactly close to Salman's branch of the Mob, the Sudairis. Bets are off on when he'll finally spill the beans, if ever, about what walks and talks like a palace coup.

What's the strategy today?

Whatever the scope of the shake-up, the "new" House of Saud - with the Obama administration "leading from behind" — will keep selling the fiction that it's freeing Yemen from a bunch of terrorists, when it's actually empowering al-Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula (AQAP). It's AQAP's fierce enemies — the Houthis — which have been bombed under the orders of the Royal Youthful.

Not to mention the fact the revamped Mob — with a little help from Qatari and Turkish friends — is making sure the Nusra Front (al-Qaeda's Syrian spinoff) and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh (which originally split from al-Qaeda) are advancing on all fronts across "Syraq".

And beyond the scope of the shake-up, as wily Israelis have already identified it, the self-described "Don't Do Stupid Stuff" Obama administration will keep duly following convoluted Mob mantras. Sort of. As if there's any coherence in support for hardcore jihadis in Syria but bombing of hardcore jihadis in Iraq; support for hardcore jihadis in Yemen; support for hardcore jihadis in Libya and then repression of hardcore jihadis in Libya, and so it goes.

What makes it even more absurd is that the "new" House of Saud absolutely detests Washington's "strategy" in Iraq and doesn't believe for a second there's a "strategy" for Syria. As for its own convoluted war on Yemen, it's much less about Wahhabis hating "apostate" Shi'ites than Wahhabis impermeable to any whiff of Arab Spring near their borders.

Mob rule is in effect since 1902, enforced either by founder Ibn Saud Abdul-Aziz, or his sons. King Salman will be the last of his sons in power. The Royal Youthful is already sharpening his daggers. Expect western corporate media to make him more popular than Justin Bieber.

Forced engagement: Police force women to touch them then charge with sexual assault

Teaming up with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, police in Hawaii have caused controversy after arresting sixteen women at local massage parlors and relaxation spas for sexual assault after goading, and even forcing them to engage in sexual activity.

Until just a year ago, Hawaii police officers were legally allowed to have sex with prostitutes as part of investigations. After intense public pressure however, state lawmakers changed that law.

In order to have a successful prosecution, undercover officers must get sex-workers to agree on a sex act and a price. If no specific price is agreed on, no prostitution charges can be filed.

Sex-workers know this, and now in Hawaii, they also know police can't have sex with them so police are trying to get around that difficulty, an attorney representing several of the women charged, Myles Breiner said.

Hence the sexual assault charges. The women could not be charged with prostitution because they never verbally agreed.

Breiner says several of his clients were forced to touch the officers after refusing their solicitations for sex. In one instance, at a massage parlor called Orchid Relaxation on April 30, Breiner claims an officer disrobed, took the woman's hand and forcibly put it on his genitals.

"To charge [the women] with sex[ual] assault in the fourth degree is so ludicrous it's such an abuse of authority," Breiner said. "They're being compelled to engage in a crime they never engaged in. None of these women had any intention of sexually assaulting these undercover officers."

Honolulu police say the recent sting resulted from numerous complaints about prostitution activity and unlicensed cosmetology and massage businesses in the area and was aimed at helping the victims of sex trafficking.

Hawaii is the only state in the nation not to have sex trafficking laws on the books, something lawmakers hope to rectify this year.

"Sex trafficking is a very serious issue, and the HPD, FBI, and [Homeland Security] work closely to identify victims and to get them the services that they need," Honolulu police said in a statement.

Just a thought HPD: If the women are sex slaves, how is charging them with sexual assault helping them? To the contrary, sexual assault in the fourth degree carries a penalty of up to one year in prison. Also, the women would be required to register as sex offenders, something I'm sure would really advance their long-term prospects.

The tactics employed by the Honolulu Police Department are extremely unusual for a law enforcement agency, legal experts and sex-worker advocates say.

"It's not a sexual assault. It perverts what the whole statute is about. The sexual assault statute says you can't force me by compulsion to engage in some kind of sexual activity," University of Hawaii law professor Ken Lawson said. "For the sexual assault [charges], I think it does raise questions of entrapment."

The Honolulu Police Department maintains the officers were not having sex with the workers but have not commented more directly about the tactics utilized during the sting or the women's claims of forced engagement.

​Putin: Russia & China worst affected by WW II, reject rehabilitation of Nazism & militarism


© Reuters/Alexander Zemlianichenko
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 8, 2015.

Russia and China suffered the worst casualties during World War II and thus have the greatest reasons to oppose attempts to rehabilitate Nazism and militarism, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after meeting China's President Xi Jinping.

Xi arrived in Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart with an array of economic deals to sign. The Chinese leader will also take part in the V-Day celebration in Moscow on Saturday. A military parade demonstrating brand new Russian weapons is part of the festivities to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.

Putin said.

[embedded content]

He added that China and Russia paid the greatest price in loss of life from the war and that

Xi, who personally invited the Russian president to attend the September 3 commemoration in China, said the event is meant "to honor the memory of the lost heroes" and "not allow the tragic history of that war repeat again, to create world peace together.


© RIA Novosti/Konstantin Chalabov
Ceremonial unit soldiers at the final rehearsal of the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in the World War II

The hard lessons of the World War II say that coexistence of humanity is not ruled by the law of the jungle. The politics of peace is the exact opposite of the aggressive hegemonic politics of force. The path of human development does not lay in the principle 'the winner takes it all,' not in zero-sum games," he added.

China and Russia are strengthening cooperation amid a Washington-led effort to isolate Moscow over its position in the Ukrainian crisis. Russia sees China as a major importer of energy in decades to come. The two countries also want to develop ties in defense production, military training, fighting against extremism and international crime, cultural and scientific collaboration.

Taxing the rich: Minnesota has become a conservative's hellscape of high employment, improved social services, fair taxation & budget surpluses

© Jim Mone/Associated Press
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton smiles at a question as he addressed a news conference after state officials presented the upcoming 2016-17 Minnesota budget forecast, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, in St. Paul, Minn.

Since 2011, Minnesota has been doing quite well for itself. The state has created more than 170,000 jobs, according to the Huffington Post. Its unemployment rate stands at 3.6% — the fifth-lowest in the country, and far below the nationwide rate of 5.7% — and the state government boasts a budget surplus of $1 billion. Forbes considers Minnesota one of the top 10 in the country for business.

Given that Minnesota's governor is a well-connected millionaire whose family controls the Target fortune, one could be forgiven for thinking this was the result of embracing the corporate world. But in fact, over the past four years, the state has undergone a series of policy reforms that most of the corporate world decries: It has imposed higher taxes on the wealthy and raised the minimum wage.

When each of these progressive policies was initially proposed, Minnesota Republicans made dire predictions about their effects on the economy, and argued that bleeding-heart concerns about economic fairness would stifle growth. Despite all the warnings, Minnesota's economy hasn't tanked. Instead, it's sailing with greater force than it has in years.

How Minnesota did it

The progressive economic policies in the North Star State came into being after the election of Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. In 2010, Dayton surprised many political observers in Minnesota when he managed to win the governor's mansion, the first Democrat to seize it in more than two decades. His political career up until that point was mainly defined by failure, despite the fact that he was a billionaire heir with countless resources.

Dayton's margin of victory wasn't impressive, but he was eventually able to make a dramatic mark on the direction of the state's public policies. He instituted a wide variety of progressive policies that rendered him the "most liberal governor in the country in terms of his willingness to raise taxes and to spend," University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs told Mother Jones.

In the last few years, Minnesota took a number of measures to make its taxation and wages more progressive. Mother Jones reports that Dayton targeted the top 2% with a tax raise — "one of the largest hikes in state history." Corporate taxes increased. The state income tax on the highest earners increased to 9.85% in 2013, making it the fourth highest in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.

The state's minimum wage is set to increase to $9.50 by 2016, and last year Dayton signed a sweeping bill strengthening protections for women in the workplace and guaranteeing equal pay. Other progressive measures have included a tuition freeze at public universities and two-year colleges, increased spending on public education and increased unionization, according to Mother Jones.

The critics who feared Dayton's campaign to have the top 2% pay their fair share would ruin growth and cause business interests to flee appear to have been crying wolf. Minnesota's labor market is healthy. Minnesota was ranked one of the fastest-growing economies in the country by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2013. Gallup found economic confidence in the state to be the highest in the nation.

A tale of two states

© Joe Skipper/Associated Press
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the winter meeting of the free market Club for Growth winter economic conference at the Breakers Hotel Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Palm Beach, Fla.

As Minnesota has enjoyed economic success, observers have often compared the state's situation to that of its neighbor Wisconsin. Republican Scott Walker also won the governor's mansion in Wisconsin in 2010, but pursued a deeply conservative agenda for managing the economy. He made huge spending cuts to vital services ranging from education to health care. He reduced taxes on the wealthy, and got rid of tax credits for low-wage earners.

By a number of measures, Wisconsin hasn't fared as well as Minnesota. As the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reports, Wisconsin's job growth has been among the worst in the region, and income growth is one of the worst in the country. It has a higher unemployment rate than Minnesota. And the budget is in bad shape:

Our transportation budget has a $750 million hole in it, our health care budget is $760 million in the red, and that's all on top of a $1.8 billion general budget deficit. Add it up and Walker has essentially taken a balanced budget and turned it into a deficit nearly as large as the one created by the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.

Now, no political leader can take full credit or blame for the economic health of the state they oversee — the economy is shaped by a number of structural factors and historic trends that any one politician has little control over. Consider, for example, that Minnesota's economy was outperforming Wisconsin by a number of measures beginning earlier than the recession.

But here's what we can say: Dayton's progressive vision for Minnesota has not ruined the economy, and has likely helped it. Walker's conservative vision has clearly not ushered in the free market paradise he envisioned. And it's noteworthy that since the Great Recession and the implementation of their divergent philosophies, Minnesota's economy has pulled further ahead of Wisconsin in several areas.

What's next? While Walker spends time running for president and making ill-advised comparisons between fighting organized labor and battling the Islamic State group, Dayton is busy thinking about how to invest in the ordinary people who make up Minnesota's economy.

Dayton began his second term in January and is already gunning to take advantage of his budget surplus. His new budget plan aims to boost spending on education from kindergarten through college, and he's angling to invest in public transit, paid sick time for workers and child care tax credits for middle-class families, according to Mother Jones. History suggests the investments will pay off.

Correction: March 3, 2015
An earlier version of this article described Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton as a billionaire. In fact, while his family controls an estimated fortune of $1.4 billion, Dayton's personal net worth is estimated to be in the millions.

Zeeshan Aleem Zeeshan is a Politics staff writer at Mic. He has experience at The Huffington Post, Politico, The Atlantic Wire, and BBC News. He was educated at the Sidwell Friends School, Oxford University, George Washington, and the University of Chicago.

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BEST OF THE WEB: Chaos - not victory - is the Empire's 'name of the game'


This is precisely the point: The Washington / NATO strategy is not to 'win' a war or conflict, but to create ongoing - endless chaos. That's the way (i) to control people, nations and their resources; (ii) to assures the west a continuous need for military - troops and equipment - remember more than 50% of the US GDP depends on the military industrial complex, related industries and services; and (iii) finally, a country in disarray or chaos, is broke and needs money - money with hardship conditions, 'austerity' money from the notorious IMF, World Bank and other associated nefarious 'development institutions' and money lenders; money that equals enslavement, especially with corrupt leaders that do not care for their people.

That's the name of the game - in Yemen, in Ukraine, in Syria, in Iraq, in Sudan, in Central Africa, in Libya.... you name it. Who fights against whom is unimportant. ISIS / ISIL / IS / DAISH / DAESH / Al-Qaeda and whatever other names for the mercenary killer organizations you want to add to the list - are just tags to confuse. You might as well add Blackwater, Xe, Academi and all its other successive names chosen to escape easy recognition. They are prostitutes for the Zionist-Anglo-Saxon Empire, prostitutes of the lowest level. Then come elite prostitutes, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and other Gulf States, plus the UK and France, of course.

President Hollande has just signed a multi-billion euro contract with Qatar for the sale of 24 fighter jets. He is now heading to Riyadh for talks with the Saudi King Salman, and to sell more planes - it's good business and helps killing off the fabricated enemies; and also to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit on 5 May. Topics of discussions at the meeting are the 'crises' of the region including in Yemen, planted by the west on behalf of Washington (and its Zionist masters) and blamed on the 'rebels' who are seeking merely a more just government.

The west has invented a vocabulary so sick, it's like a virus ingrained in our brains - or what's left of it - that we don't even know anymore what the words really mean. We repeat them and believe them. After all, the MSM drills them into our intestines day-in and day-out. People who fight for their freedom, for survival against oppressive regimes, are 'terrorists', 'rebels'. - The refugees from Africa, from the Washington inflicted conflict-stricken countries, the refugees of whom more than 4,000 have already perished this year trying to cross the Mediterranean for a 'better life' - they have been conveniently renamed 'immigrants'. Often the term 'illegal' is added. Thus, the west's conscience is whitewashed from guilt. Immigrants are beggars. Illegal immigrants belong jailed. They have nothing to do with unrest and chaos planted by the west in the 'immigrants' home countries. - Shame on you, Brussels!

Back to chaos - Mr. Hollande knows very well that his jets are being used to serve the master and spread more havoc in the region, more death, more disaster, more misery, more slavehood - more refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea - more everlasting chaos, people at the edge of survival, people who can no longer fight for their country, for their resources, for their freedom - as they must just fight for their sheer survival, for the survival of their kids and families. That's empire.

Tell me - is someone who sells weapons, fighter planes - other types of killing machines, to countries, knowing quite well that these weapons are being used for killing people, for destroying countries - is such a person not a mass-murderer? A war criminal of the worst kind?

Mr. Hollande, in addition to being a war criminal, he is a perfect bigot who believes at the end of the day a few crumbs of the Big Loot will fall into his plate - and that he may swim with his masters in a lush sea of milk and honey. Does he think he has to save the economy of his grand country that produced the likes of Victor Hugo, Stendhal, Balzac, Dumas - by selling killing machines to other stooges of the empire? - Does he not care that 83% of his electorate despise him?

Spreading unrest, chaos, misery - that is what Washington and its vassals do best. They do not want to 'win' wars; they want eternal chaos, misery; people who can be subdued easily - , they call it

And since the US army and its big brother (or sister) NATO cannot be everywhere, doesn't want to be seen everywhere, they hire to kill. Washington invents and creates, then funds with its endless money stream, the ISILs, Daesh's, AlQaedas - and the repertoire grows as the masters please - to fight for them, to kill for them, to produce chaos and false flags - so that eventually they - NATO and the Pentagon bulldozer - can come in and make believe 'destroying' those mercenaries that they generated in the first place. But the mainstream media won't tell you the truth.

They have you believe that the Houtis, a secular humanitarian left-leaning group of Shias, and the Sunnis are fighting each other in Yemen for power; that the Saudis and their GCC cronies are just freeing Yemen from a bunch of terrorists; that the Houtis are supported by Iran (a predominant Shia country) - recently vehemently denied by a UN official - so, the Houtis have to be subdued. At the same time there is more reason for Washington to put yet another blame on Iran. Once the Houtis are dominated and killed off in sufficient numbers, a puppet president will be put in place, like the ex-President Saleh, or his successor Hadi, so that Washington can keep calling the shots - oppressing the country's population to maintain unlimited access to the strategic port of Aden - and to the Gulf.

Ukraine is the same: Are ISIS / ISIL/ Daesh, Al Qaeda, or whatever their names may be, in the Ukraine? - You bet they are, under the command of CIA and some 6,000 US troops, trainers of course. They train the Kiev troops how best and fastest to kill their brothers in the Donbass; they train them how to create lasting chaos. And if the soldiers refuse to be trained to kill their brothers, the Kiev Nazi regime will shoot them as traitors. Point blank. So easy. So that nobody will resist.

Not least, the US military 'advisors' and CIA with the help of their hired killers, the Kiev Nazis, the ISIS / Daesh / AlQaeda, are attempting to provoke President Putin into war - possibly a third World War. Yes, the third in less than hundred years, potentially devastating Europe, and possible the world. So far, the world has been spared this disaster, largely thanks to Mr. Putin's wise strategy of non-confrontation.

So - no question whether the ISIS / Daesh / AlQaeda are in the Ukraine. They are everywhere the empire orders them to be. That's what they are paid for. That's what prostitutes do. Especially created prostitutes; well-paid prostitutes. Ideology is just a fig leaf, conveniently used by the western media - so we all may believe that the Muslims are evil, some even more than others. The west must fight them, because they are a serious and present danger for our freedom, our liberty our democracies - and especially our neoliberal everything-goes free market values.

Because that is the ultimate goal: humans as a market commodity, dispensable, reducible to cannon fodder, to be killed off in masses by (poisoned) genetically modified food, by drones, by bombs, by artificially created famine, so that at the end the survivors are serfs to a small elite which controls the four corners of the globe and its resources, to maintain a lifestyle of exceptional people - yes, the exceptional nation, will be reduced to a bunch of exceptional people living in grand splendor.

Remember Henry Kissinger's infamous words, the vision of one of the most atrocious war criminals still alive today - another Nobel Laureate (sic) - spoken some fifty years ago:

These words ring truer every day. But only as long as we allow it; as long as We, the People, We the 99.999% of the globe's inhabitants, allow it.

Modern life depletes your gut microbes in a number of different ways

Your intestinal microflora—aka your microbiome—is an integral part of your immune system, and over the past several years, research has revealed that microbes of all kinds—bacteria, fungi, and even viruses—play instrumental roles in the functioning of your body.

For example, beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, have been shown to:

  • Counteract inflammation and control the growth of disease-causing bacteria
  • Produce vitamins, amino acids (protein precursors), absorb minerals, and eliminate toxins
  • Control asthma and reduce risk of allergies
  • Benefit your mood and mental health
  • Impact your weight, for better or worse
The composition of the microbiome varies from person to person based on factors such as diet, health history, antibiotic exposures, geographic location, and even ancestry, and it's readily influenced by diet, chemical exposures, hygiene, and other environmental factors.

In fact, it's become increasingly clear that destroying your gut flora with antibiotics and pharmaceutical drugs, harsh environmental chemicals, and toxic foods is a primary factor in rising disease rates.

For all of these reasons, and more, I recommend a diet rich in whole organic, unprocessed foods along with traditionally cultured or fermented foods and plenty of fiber.

A high-quality probiotic supplement can also be a helpful ally to restore a healthy balance to your gut flora—especially when taking antibiotics, and/or when eating processed foods, as both of these tend to decimate the colonies of beneficial microbes in your gut.

Modern Lifestyle Depletes Beneficial Microbes

A study1,2 comparing the microbiome of the Yanomami—an indigenous tribe living in remote areas of the Amazon jungle—against those of Americans; a group of Venezuelan Amazonian indigenous people called the Guahibo; and people in Malawi in southern Africa, reveals that the modern lifestyle has dramatically altered people's microbiome.

For all its conveniences, it takes a considerable toll on the microbes in your gut, which in turn can have far-reaching health consequences. For example, recent research3,4 suggests that repeated use of antibiotics may raise your risk for type 2 diabetes by altering the composition of your gut bacteria.

After analyzing health data from one million Britons, strong dose-dependent correlations were found between the use of certain antibiotics - penicillins, cephalosporins, quinolones, and/or macrolides specifically - and diabetes incidence. The correlation held even when other contributing factors were taken into account.

  • Two to five courses of penicillin increased diabetes risk by eight percent
  • More than five courses of penicillin increased the risk by 23 percent
  • Two to five courses of quinolones increased the diabetes risk by 15 percent
  • More than five courses of quinolones increased the risk by 37 percent
Interestingly, even the hunter-gatherer Yanomami tribe - which had never come in contact with outsiders prior to the researchers' arrival, and have never been exposed to antibiotics—were found to harbor microbes with antibiotic-resistant genes.

According to The Star:5

"This adds persuasive evidence that bacteria already have the ability to resist antibiotics, even prior to being attacked by pharmaceutical drugs — a finding that underscores the urgency of the antibiotic crisis, where pathogenic bacteria are developing strategies for defeating even the most powerful drugs on the market."

Americans Have Lost a Wide Variety of Health Protective Gut Microbes

In all, the Yanomami had about 50 percent greater microbial diversity than American subjects, and 30-40 percent more diversity than the Guahibo and the Malawians, the latter two of which have adopted some Western lifestyle components, such as living indoors and using antibiotics.

According to one of the authors:6

"As cultures around the world become more 'Western,' they lose bacteria species in their guts... At the same time, they start having higher incidences of chronic illnesses connected to the immune system, such as allergies, Crohn's disease, autoimmune disorders, and multiple sclerosis.

So the big question is: Are these two facts related? It's not clear if more diversity in the microbiome is healthier. But maybe we have lost species with important functions."

Sophisticated Sanitation May Be More Detrimental to Your Microbiome Than Previously Thought

While antibiotics are indeed potent adversaries when it comes to maintaining a healthy diversity of microbes in your gut, other factors also play a significant role.

Pesticides, processed food, Caesarean sections, and an over-reliance on antimicrobial products have also contributed to the dramatic decline in the range of microbes occupying people's guts.

In fact, another recent study7 suggests that sophisticated sanitation may be a greater factor than antibiotics when it comes to destroying microbial diversity.

Here, researchers looked at the microbiome of two indigenous populations in Papua New Guinea who, unlike the Yanomami tribe, regularly use antibiotics, yet still have significant microbial diversity in their guts. These two groups were found to have about 47 different species that Americans don't have.

The data collected in this study suggests that lack of sanitation may be the reason for the Papua New Guineans' microbial diversity. NPR reports:8

"Sophisticated sanitation and hygiene in Western society might be limiting the species that end up in our guts... Bacteria spread more easily from person to person in Papua New Guinea because the communities don't have sewage systems and clean drinking water. 'Clean drinking water is one of the most important achievements of Western culture,' [lead author Jens] Walter says. 'It prevents the spread of infections, but it also prevents the easy exchange of our microbiomes.'"

The Importance of Fiber for a Healthy Microbiome

One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your gut health is via your diet. Beneficial microbes tend to feed on foods that are known to benefit health and vice versa. Sugar, for example, is a preferred food source for fungi that produce yeast infections and sinusitis, whereas healthy probiotic-rich foods like fermented vegetables boost populations of health-promoting bacteria, thereby disallowing potentially pathogenic colonies from taking over.

Fiber is also important for a healthy microbiome. Some of the microbes in your gut specialize in fermenting soluble fiber found in legumes, fruits, and vegetables, and the byproducts of this fermenting activity help nourish the cells lining your colon. Some of these fermentation byproducts also help calibrate your immune system, thereby preventing inflammatory disorders such as asthma and Crohn's disease.9,10

As reported by Scientific American,11 recent research shows that simply eating more fiber can shift your microbial profile into one that is correlated with leanness. Fiber has long been considered a factor that promotes weight loss, and its impact on your gut bacteria appears to be one key mechanism responsible for this effect.

Other research has shown that microbes starved of fiber can begin feeding on the mucus lining of your gut, thereby triggering inflammation, which may promote or exacerbate any number of diseases, including ulcerative colitis.12 The study also found that in order to avoid this, you need to eat fiber every single day.

Research published a couple of years ago also showed that common bacterial metabolites—short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)—selectively expand regulatory T cells called Tregs, which are critical for regulating intestinal inflammation.13 According to one of these studies:14

"Treg cells suppress the responses of other immune cells, including those that promote inflammation. This finding provides a new link between bacterial products and a major anti-inflammatory pathway in the gut." Other research15,16 has linked Tregs—which are fed by dietary fiber—to the prevention and reversal of metabolic syndrome, in part by stimulating oxidative metabolism in your liver and adipose tissue. So, as you can see, fiber appears to nourish microbes that in turn provide a variety of health benefits via a number of different pathways.

Probiotics Again Found Beneficial for Symptoms of Depression

Beneficial microbes also play an important role in your mental health—some researchers have even proposed that probiotics might serve the same role as antidepressants. Most recently, Psychologists Laura Steenbergen and Lorenza Colzato from the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition published a paper17 showing that people who took a multi-strain probiotic for at least four weeks reported a lessening of rumination—recurring, persistent thoughts about something distressing that has or may happen.

As explained by Dr. Steenbergen:

"Rumination is one of the most predictive vulnerability markers of depression. Persistent ruminative thoughts often precede and predict episodes of depression."

According to Dr. Colzato:

"Even if preliminary, these results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. As such, our findings shed an interesting new light on the potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for depression."

Beware: Polysorbate 80 and Other Emulsifiers Can Have Adverse Effect on Your Gut Flora

A processed food diet is anathema to gut health for a number of reasons. First of all, processed foods tend to be loaded with genetically engineered ingredients of questionable safety, including corn-based fructose, which has been repeatedly shown to promote metabolic dysfunction to a greater degree than other sugars. Ingredients may also be contaminated with glyphosate (recently classified as a Class 2 A carcinogen), which can decimate gut health in a number of different ways.

Recent research published in the journal Nature18 also suggests that polysorbate 80, an emulsifier found in many processed foods (as well as vaccines) can alter your intestinal terrain, thereby promoting obesity and inflammatory health conditions. As reported by Prevent Disease:19

"The study used mice to test the effect of two common emulsifiers—carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80—on the microbiome make up and metabolism, finding that relatively low-level concentrations of the emulsifiers resulted in distinct alterations to the gut microbial ecosystem (microbiota) and led to low-grade inflammation and the onset of metabolic syndrome...

[T]he research team reported that the emulsifier-induced metabolic syndrome was associated with microbiota encroachment, altered species composition and increased pro-inflammatory potential. 'These results support the emerging concept that perturbed host-microbiota interactions resulting in low-grade inflammation can promote adiposity and its associated metabolic effects,' wrote the team.

Moreover, they suggest that the broad use of emulsifying agents might be contributing to an increased societal incidence of obesity/metabolic syndrome and other chronic inflammatory diseases."

Optimizing Your Microbiome May Be One of Your Most Important Disease Prevention Strategies

Optimizing your gut flora may be one of the most important things you can do for your health, and the good news is that this isn't very difficult. However, you do need to take proactive steps. To optimize your microbiome both inside and out, consider the following recommendations:

  • Eat plenty of fermented foods. Healthy choices include lassi, fermented grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, natto (fermented soy), and fermented vegetables. If you ferment your own, consider using a special starter culture that has been optimized with bacterial strains that produce high levels of vitamin K2. This is an inexpensive way to optimize your K2, which is particularly important if you're taking a vitamin D3 supplement.
  • Take a probiotic supplement. Although I'm not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics is an exception if you don't eat fermented foods on a regular basis
  • Boost your soluble and insoluble fiber intake, focusing on vegetables, nuts, and seeds, including sprouted seeds.
  • Get your hands dirty in the garden. Germ-free living may not be in your best interest, as the loss of healthy bacteria can have wide-ranging influence on your mental, emotional, and physical health. According to the hygiene hypothesis, exposure to bacteria and viruses can serve as "natural vaccines" that strengthen your immune system and provide long-lasting immunity against disease. Getting your hands dirty in the garden can help reacquaint your immune system with beneficial microorganisms on the plants and in the soil.
  • Open your windows. For the vast majority of human history the outside was always part of the inside, and at no moment during our day were we ever really separated from nature. Today, we spend 90 percent of our lives indoors. And, although keeping the outside out does have its advantages, it has also changed the microbiome of your home. Research23 shows that opening a window and increasing natural airflow can improve the diversity and health of the microbes in your home, which in turn benefit you.
  • Wash your dishes by hand instead of in the dishwasher. Recent research has shown that washing your dishes by hand leaves more bacteria on the dishes than dishwashers do, and that eating off these less-than-sterile dishes may actually decrease your risk of allergies by stimulating your immune system.
  • Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotic supplement). And while some researchers are looking into methods that might help ameliorate the destruction of beneficial bacteria by antibiotics,20,21 your best bet is likely always going to be reseeding your gut with probiotics from fermented and cultured foods and/or a high-quality probiotic supplement.
  • Conventionally-raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plus genetically engineered grains loaded with glyphosate, which is widely known to kill many bacteria.
  • Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water.Processed foods. Excessive sugars, along with otherwise "dead" nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria. Food emulsifiers such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan gum also appear to have an adverse effect on your gut flora.22 Unless 100% organic, they may also contain GMOs that tend to be heavily contaminated with pesticides such as glyphosate.
  • Agricultural chemicals, glyphosate (RoundUp) in particular.
  • Antibacterial soap, as they too kill off both good and bad bacteria, and contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistance.
Sources and References

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Fake cactii spy on Arizona town

The otherwise quiet Arizona town of Paradise Valley recently attained the kind of surveillance you would expect to find in the city, albeit with a design that is made to blend in with the desert. The townspeople have been shocked to find that the city has been installing cameras hidden in fake cacti along the roadways of the city limits. A local Fox affiliate was sent to investigate the cameras and found that the town leaders and police were initially reluctant to explain themselves.

None of the townspeople who were interviewed knew what the cameras were for. They were installed over the past few days without notice. Eventually, the news team received an answer from the town manager. The cameras are going to read license plate numbers, and so that they can alert the police to cars that are stolen or related to amber alerts.

What's so alarming about this case, is the complete lack of transparency. When the town manager was asked about the secrecy, he claimed that they were planning to announce the presence of these cameras after they had all been installed. In response to the concerns of residents, he said "It probably is fair, this is technology, we're always learning about it, and so every time you think you've got it covered someone brings up a new idea." This Fox affiliate reported on these cameras being installed in traffic lights in Paradise Valley last February, and were met with the same secrecy from public officials.

'Put on your raping shoes and find this b*tch': Abby Martin is the latest target of crazed Chris Kyle sycophants

© RT
Abby Martin on her RT show 'Breaking the Set' (Screenshot)

Fans of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle have threatened to rape and kill former RT anchor Abby Martin for criticizing the deceased Navy SEAL and creating a T-shirt they find offensive.

"Some psychotic Chris Kyle fan just doxxed me & my family's personal information on a bunch of sniper forums. If anything happens to me or them you know who to blame. These are the real f*cking terrorists," she wrote on her Facebook page.

Martin had criticized Kyle in the past for describing Iraqis as "savages" in his book. She also described the movie as "dangerous propaganda that sanitizes a mass murdering psycho." But it was her shirt that appears to have set off a campaign of harassment against her.

This week, conservative websites posted a picture of Martin wearing a "F*ck Chris Kyle" shirt. She had uploaded a photo of the shirt to her Instagram account last week. One website, which incorrectly identified her as a "liberal artist," called on readers to "publicly shame" her for her "treasonous actions."

Another such website complained: "Chris Kyle is an American hero who is an easy target because he is no longer alive. Abbey Martin [sic], is just a coward hiding behind the freedoms that our military has granted her when she was born on this great land that we call the United States of America."

The reaction on social media was even more visceral. Users of Twitter and Facebook have mentioned raping and beheading her, threatened to murder her, told her to kill herself, and bombarded her with misogynistic insults. Addicting Info reported that one person called on fans to "put on our raping shoes and find this b*tch."

"F*cking c*nt. How dare you disgrace his name like that. He gave his life so you can have yours. F*cking b*tch. Don't worry I know where you live thanks to your ip address. And don't worry I'm a Marine," said Jamie Lugo in a message shared by Martin. "So u won't see me coming. I'm going to cause you pain beyond your imagination." He later added: "Tic toc times running out."

Other journalists, including Rania Khalek and Max Blumenthal, have been subjected to death threats and online harassment for their criticism the film .

"Very telling that the #ChrisKyle fans who tell me he 'died for my freedom' to wear clothes are threatening to rape & kill me for free speech," Martin wrote on Twitter.

Did the media just buckle from biotech industry pressure?

How else to explain the extraordinary, coordinated attack on Chipotle for going GMO-free?

After announcing that Chipotle would make the switch to using exclusively non-GMO ingredients in their food, the restaurant chain was slammed hard by major news media outlets. Here's a sampling of some of the headlines: "Why Chipotle Mexican Grill Going GMO-Free is Terrible News" (); "Chipotle's GMO Gimmick Is Hard to Swallow" (); "Why We Can't Take Chipotle's GMO Announcement All That Seriously" (NPR).

We've come to expect a complete and utter lack of balanced reporting and journalistic integrity when it comes to some of the issues the natural health community cares about, but this sort of vindictive screed against a company for simply trying to satisfy its customers strikes us as particularly egregious and appalling.

The smear job does have one merit. It brings out into the open what GMO investigators have to deal with every day: constant intimidation and threat. Any scientist who dares take on GMO special interests will be told that his or her career will be ruined, and then ever more intense pressure will follow. Why? Because the biotech and Big Pharma companies involved have huge sums of money at their disposal—money that can make or break university research budgets, and money that is channeled to media advertising, which is keeping traditional media alive.

The most vehement denunciation of Chipotle's recent decision came from the editorial board of the , which wrote,

"Thus has a leading food company added its imprimatur to a global propaganda campaign that is not only contrary to the best scientific knowledge but also potentially harmful to vulnerable populations around the world." Apparently the editorial board feels qualified to decide unilaterally who the "best" scientists are—and this without even considering who is being paid by whom! The then laments the fact that "the anti-GMO lobby has scared people, and burritos can be sold by pandering to these fears."

To learn who is really scared—and for good reason—just speak to the scientists and doctors who dare raise questions about GMO safety. After Dr. Mehmet Oz covered the recent classification of glyphosate—the pesticide associated with many GMO crops—as a probable human carcinogen, a group of doctors sent a letter to Columbia University asking for Dr. Oz's removal as vice chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia's medical school.

Rather than adding anything meaningful to the debate, the major media outlets are sending a clear message to the restaurant industry: "If you follow in Chipotle's footsteps, we will make an example of you." It seems clear to us that such a frontal attack by major news outlets must have been instigated by the biotech industry's PR departments.

Despite the opinions of these media outlets, which are desperately chasing advertising dollars, 93 percent of Americans support labeling GMOs. Companies that respond positively to consumer demand should be applauded, not vilified. In what universe is it "pandering" to provide consumers with what they want?

Momentum is building behind the movement to label foods that contain GMOs. Last week, a federal court denied the Grocery Manufacturers Association's attempt to block Vermont's recent GMO labeling law. The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2016. However, the state's motion to dismiss the GMA's case was also denied, so the lawsuit against the legislation will likely continue.

This decision is crucial because it helps advance the Connecticut and Maine labeling laws, whose language Jonathan Emord of Emord & Associates and ANH-USA provided to legislators. After our language was accepted, trigger clauses were added to both bills, requiring four other states (in Connecticut's case) and five other states (in Maine's case) to pass similar bills before the legislation goes into effect.

Applauding the decision in Vermont, Emord told ANH-USA:

"the United States District Court for Vermont properly applied First Amendment precedent to strike down a summary challenge to Vermont's GMO labeling law. That decision bodes well for the substantially similar bills in Maine and Connecticut. The efforts of ANH have proven indispensable in bringing to pass this great outcome, which affirms truth in labeling against the advocates of deception."

Seeing the writing on the wall, the GMA and other special interests are not sitting still. Just one day after the Vermont decision, Big Food— working under the misleading name of the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food—sent a letter signed by 370 groups urging members to co-sponsor Rep. Pompeo's (R-KS) "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act." As we reported a few weeks ago, this bill would make the labeling of foods containing GMOs voluntary and would supersede mandatory labeling laws at the state level.
With companies like Chipotle going GMO-free and key advancements in states laws requiring the labeling of GMOs, there are reasons to be optimistic. But advocates and activists must send clear messages: one of encouragement to Chipotle for responding to the preferences of consumers, and one of admonishment to media outlets for caving into industry pressure and viciously attacking Chipotle on this issue.

Massive tornado hits town of Rhome

© KYTX19 Images
Tornado damage in Rhome, Texas (WFAA)

A trail of damage was left behind by tornadoes in Wise County. The town of Rhome was hit hard, with some residents waking up homeless.

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The EF-1 twister tore Greg and Nanette Pickenpaws' home apart, but they say they feel lucky to have their lives. Twisted metal, broken wood, even a refrigerator, were found toppled on the ground. Personal belongings were left out in the open, spread across the grass. The Pickenpaws say they've never experienced a storm like this in the 20 years they've lived in Rhome.

The community says it will now work to pick up the pieces.
"Where do we start, you know?" Greg Pickenpaw said. "Where do you start cleaning up at? You know... We'll figure it all out."

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The NWS sent out teams to Wise County, as well as Northwest Denton County, to survey the damage Friday morning.

Artificial Sweeteners: Avoid them at all costs for breast health


If you are on the natural healing path because of a breast cancer diagnosis or you are simply living a lifestyle that promotes Breast Cancer prevention, then you probably already know the drill when it comes to sugar. What is cancer's best friend? You guessed it- sugar.

"It's been known since 1923 that tumor cells use a lot more glucose than normal cells," says says Don Ayer, Ph.D., a Huntsman Cancer Institute investigator and professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah. And a recent study done at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center proved how easy it is to kill cancer cells: simply deprive them of glucose.

What in the world can you turn to instead, then, when the craving for something sweet strikes? There are healthy alternatives to sugar and other high-glucose products; Stevia certainly tops that list. Unfortunately, there are also substances that may say they are safe on the label, but are anything but.

Many Names, All Artificial

They go by many names: aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, neotame and sucralose as well as NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet'N Low and Splenda. They all have one thing in common, however. All of these substances are artificially-created chemical compounds that heavily contribute to the toxic load in your system, often in dire and dangerous ways.

Aspartame is perhaps the worse of the bunch. As major companies like Coca-Cola continue to pour it into their products and diabetes-sufferers continue to consume it en masse, the Center for Science in the Public Interest's (CSPI) Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson says:

"Aspartame has been found to cause cancer—leukemia, lymphoma, and other tumors—in laboratory animals, and it shouldn't be in the food supply."

Saccharin, although perhaps slightly less carcinogenic than aspartame, should also be avoided. Manufactured by the same company that produces aspartame, rat studies with saccharin as far back as the early 1970's found a link between this substance and bladder cancer. Today the controversy continues. In 2000, the substance was removed from the U.S. National Toxicology Program's Report on Carcinogens. However, the CSPI still places it on its "avoid" list. I would recommend doing the same.

Splenda: Don't Be Fooled

Splenda, the trade-marked name for the substance sucralose, is currently the best-selling artificial sweetener in the world. Since 2003, it has been touted as great for baking since, unlike other artificial sweeteners, it seemed to be nonreactive to heat. This claim turns out to be far from the truth, however. Recent studies discovered that when heated, Sucralose actually releases chloropropanols, which are a form of dioxin. Dioxin was a component of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and is considered to be one of the deadliest chemicals known to man.

Another study conducted by Duke University in 2008 also linked use of sucralose to the reduction of beneficial gut flora in rats and, in turn, to possible immune deficiencies. To date there has been no long-term human studies conducted to determine the safety of Splenda since FDA approval in 1998.

According to the University Of Columbia School Of Public health, "95% of all cancer is due to diet and the accumulation of toxins." Essential #2 of "The 7 Essentials System ™ " for healing and preventing Breast Cancer naturally is to reduce your toxic exposure. If you are going to make a conscious decision about your health, it is crucial for you to become aware of the hundreds of toxins that you are exposed to in your everyday life. Artificial sweeteners are definitely one of them and must be avoided at all costs for breast cancer healing and prevention.

About the author

Chinese war child recalls life in Soviet Union during WWII


© Sputnik/ Yulia Kozlova

Liu was sent to Ivanovo, about 300 kilometers northeast of Moscow, in 1939, in the midst of Japan's war of aggression against China, which began in 1937. Her mother, a revolutionary, had died earlier in a Kuomintang prison, and her father, an officer fighting in the Chinese Red Army against the Japanese, had no time to take care of her and her two brothers.

"One day he told us that on the northern border of China there is a very big country, and you will go there. And so my brother and I went to the Soviet Union. I was 12 years old. With us were three other kids," Liu recalled.

"We were on the road for three months, and came to Ivanovo shortly after the beginning of the winter holidays. I was worried that I would have to start my studies from the beginning. After all, I didn't understand anything in Russian...A year later my younger brother also came to Ivanovo. We were happy to be together, and I was very happy knowing that I had the opportunity to study. In China too I had wanted to learn, but there was no opportunity. The staff at the children's home was very good. Everyone was friends. Chinese or not, we did not discriminate. We were all the same, and we lived as a family."

The Beginning of the Great Patriotic War and the Defense of Moscow

"On June 22, 1941, we were told that the Hitlerites had attacked the Soviet Union. At that time I did not know who the 'Hitlerites' were, or why they had gone to war with the Soviet Union," Liu remembered.

"I knew that we too in China were fighting a war against the Japanese. I knew that war was a scary thing. But I did not know anything about the Nazis. The Hitlerites had occupied Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, and the other Baltic countries. Everyone was worried, because this happened so quickly and unexpectedly, and Moscow was in danger. We were then told that Germans were retreating from Moscow. The Soviet people and Soviet soldiers had proven to the world that the Soviet Union was a great and powerful country, capable of repelling the invaders."

First Lessons in Internationalism

Liu recalled that in the children's home, pupils were strictly forbidden from making aspersions on the basis of ethnicity:

"Together with us in the children's home there were children from Germany. The hatred for the fascists was not turned against them; they were on our side. Only once, a student said about the fascists: 'Damn these German bastards!' The teacher immediately reprimanded him and strictly forbade him from conflating Germans with Nazis. 'It does not happen that a whole nation is criminals,' he noted. And the German students were told by our teachers that 'you are here because your parents are also against the Hitler regime.' This was my first life lesson in internationalism."

Russia My Second Home

"Now I am 88 years old; I do not have the health and strength I did before," Liu continued. "Still, I accepted the invitation to visit Moscow for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory gladly and without any hesitation. I am always pleased in visiting Russia. I consider it my second home. During the war, we used to say that the Soviet Union was our country, our homeland. All my peers from Ivanovo said so, not just the Russian students. Soon after the start of the war the phrase 'For the Motherland! For Stalin! For World Peace!' appeared. In the Ivanovo child home for international students it was repeated in different languages - Chinese, Spanish, Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, German. To us these words were understandable to any pupil without any translation."

Obama wants US to write global economy rules to avoid China taking lead


© AP Photo/ Saul LOEB
I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down.

The United States needs to set the rules on trade while its economy is still strong before China does, US President Barack Obama said during a news conference to promote his Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal at the Nike headquarters in Oregon on Friday.

"We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy and we should do it today while our economy is in the position of global strength because if we do not write the rules for trade around the world, guess what, China will," Obama said.

Obama's remarks came at a time US Congress is deciding whether to pass what is poised to become the largest free trade deal to date.

The TPP would include some 12 countries from the Asia-Pacific region — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States — and is expected to cover at least 40 percent of the global economy.

The TTP negotiations, however, coincide with China's plans to start the $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with a view to financing infrastructure projects in Asia.

Obama warned that if China sets the rules in a way that would give "Chinese workers and Chinese businesses the upper hand," it could lock out United States-made goods.

In 2011, the TPP agreement was born out of Obama's Pacific Pivot strategy. Obama stressed then the need for closer security relationships in the region, as well as establishing economic ties with Asia Pacific partners.

Dam Bureaucrats!

© Wikimedia Commons

Henry P sends me this amusing piece of correspondence!

This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries regarding a pond on his property. It was sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality, State of Pennsylvania. This guy's response is hilarious, but read the State's letter before you get to the response letter, you won't stop once you start. WOW Love this man.

This is an actual letter:

State of Pennsylvania's letter to Mr. DeVries:

SUBJECT: DEQ ... File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr. DeVries:

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.

A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations.. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2015.

Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action..

We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.


David L. Price
District Representative and Water Management Division.

And Mr DeVries' reply?

Re: DEQ File No.. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr. Price,

Your certified letter dated 8/13/14 has been handed to me. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane , Trout Run, Pennsylvania ..

A couple of beavers are in the process of constructing and maintaining two wood 'debris' dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials 'debris.'

I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

These are the beavers/contractors you are seeking. As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.

My first dam question to you is:
(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or
(2) Do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?

If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. (Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.)

I have several dam concerns. My first dam concern is, aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation — so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer.

The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causing flooding, is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names.

If you want the damed stream 'restored' to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers — but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English.

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams).

So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2015? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice by then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality, health, problem in the area It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your dam step! The bears are not careful where they dump!

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.