A non-profit news blog, focused on providing independent journalism.

Friday, 22 May 2015

To Israel with Love: Obama gifts $1.9 billion in new murderous weapons


© Pete Souza
Rumors of a deterioration in US-Israel relations are very much exaggerated.

The Obama administration approved a $1.9 billion arms sale to Israel in recent days as "compensation" for the US nuclear deal with Iran, which the Israeli regime staunchly opposes.

Among the tens of thousands of bombs included in the weapons package are 3,000 Hellfire missiles, 12,000 general purpose bombs and 750 bunker buster bombs that can penetrate up to twenty feet, or six meters, of reinforced concrete.

This generous weapons gift comes in the wake of Israel's most ferocious attack on the Gaza Strip to date, in which the Israeli army deliberately targeted civilians, including children, as a matter of policy.

The degree of firepower Israel unleashed on Gaza was so extreme that senior US military officials who participated in the illegal invasion and criminal destruction of Iraq were left stunned.

Even the Pentagon and State Department were forced to acknowledge that Israel did not do enough to avoid civilian deaths. But this did not prevent the Obama administration from rushing to provide Israel with the means to carry out more atrocities.

Bunker busters

Sadistically nicknamed the "Saddamizer," the bunker buster bomb was originally developed by the US military during the first Gulf war to penetrate Iraqi command centers buried deep underground.

In recent years, these earth-shattering explosives have been repeatedly deployed against besieged and largely defenseless Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip.

Israel pounded Gaza with US-supplied bunker buster bombs during Operation Cast Lead, the three-week assault in the winter of 2008-2009 that killed 1,400 Palestinians, including nearly 400 children.

Obama quietly transferred dozens more bunker buster bombs to Israel in 2009 in an effort to prevent it from obstructing negotiations with Iran.

The Obama administration replenished that stockpile after yet another Israeli attack on Gaza in 2012 with a $647 million arms package that included thousands of bunker buster bombs.

Israel used those bunker buster munitions to pummel Gaza's high rise towers and wipe out entire families as they sheltered in their homes during Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 Israeli assault that ultimately killed over 2,200 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including over 500 children.

If the past is any indication, Obama's weapons package will enable Israel to intensify its unspeakable atrocities against civilians in Gaza, and possibly Lebanon if Israel's saber-rattling about Hizballah is to be believed.

Asked whether the Pentagon is concerned that its weapons might be used to harm innocent people, a spokesperson, Roger Cabiness II, offered the following vague statement: "As with any security cooperation activity, the United States assesses requests from its partners on a case-by-case basis, taking into account political, military, economic, arms control and human rights conditions in making decisions on the provision of military equipment and the licensing of direct commercial sales to any country, in accordance with the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, the Arms Export Control Act and relevant international agreements."

Rewarding hate

© Unknown

Ever since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted an invitation by the Republican opposition to trash Obama's diplomatic maneuvering on Iran in a speech to Congress, analysts have warned of a growing rift in US-Israel relations, insisting that the so-called special relationship has reached its lowest point in recent memory.

Relations apparently deteriorated further following Netanyahu's election day campaigning, when, in a last ditch appeal to the worst inclinations of his rightwing base, he summoned the spirit of George Wallace, warning, "Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out."

In an interview with former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama insultingly equated the creation of a Jewish settler state in historic Palestine with the African American civil rights movement, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of "preserving" Israel's Jewish majority. He went on to criticize Netanyahu's anti-Arab electioneering, claiming to have enacted "foreign policy consequences" against Israel as a result.

Nevertheless, the pundits' handwringing over cracks in the special relationship has been largely unfounded.

In reality, the only penalty Obama has imposed on Israel is tepid disapproval of Netanyahu's overt racism, which is rendered meaningless by Obama's ongoing material support for Israel's crimes.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu has assembled the most racist government in Israel's history, with unabashed genocide enthusiasts occupying the most senior level positions.

Israel's new education minister is Naftali Bennett, leader of the religious ultra-nationalist Habeyit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party who famously bragged, "I've killed lots of Arabs in my life — and there's no problem with that." In response to international outrage at the Israeli massacre of four children playing soccer on the beach in Gaza last summer, Bennett accused Palestinian resistance fighters of "conducting massive self-genocide" to make Israel look bad.

Israel's new justice minister is Ayelet Shaked, the lawmaker who last June endorsed a call to genocide, which declared "the entire Palestinian people is the enemy" and demanded the slaughter of Palestinian mothers to prevent them from birthing "little snakes."

Israel's new culture minister is Miri Regev, who in 2012 helped incite a violent anti-African riot when she stood before a racist mob and labeled non-Jewish African asylum seekers a "cancer", a statement that 52 percent of Israeli Jews agreed with. Regev later apologized, not to Africans but to cancer survivors for likening them to Black people.

Israel's new deputy defense minister is Eli Ben-Dahan, who proudly proclaimed, "[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human," and, "A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual."

Citing a combination of religious text and the writings of far rightwing Israeli figures, Israel's new deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely asserted Jewish ownership over all of historic Palestine, declaring, "This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that."

Earlier this month, Moshe Yaalon, who will continue to serve as Israel's defense minister in Netanyahu's new governing coalition, threatened to nuke Iran and promised to kill civilians, including children, in any future conflict with Lebanon or Gaza.

Unlike Obama's hollow threats, this is not empty rhetoric. We saw this incitement play out last summer, from the burning of Muhammad Abu Khudair by Jewish extremists and "death to Arabs" mobs hunting Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem, to the sadistic conduct and eliminationist chauvinism exhibited by Israel's military in Gaza.

With Israeli Jewish society submerged in anti-Palestinian racism from the top down, the Obama administration has guaranteed Israel's capacity to carry out its most destructive ambitions.

Mystery of 9 brains found in US county village remains unsolved

© _DJ_/Flickr

Gouverneur, New York -- Nine brains inexplicably appeared earlier this week along a street in a St. Lawrence County village. How the brains got there and where they came from remains a mystery.

Residents discovered the brains on Beck with Street near railroad tracks and called the police.

Gouverneur police collected one of the brains and brought it to a local veterinarian for an examination, WWNY TV 7 reported. The veterinarian determined the brain had been professionally removed -- likely from a dog -- and preserved in formaldehyde.

The veterinarian told North Country Now that the brain was consistent with a beagle-sized brain and was in very good condition with no damage.

But a chemistry professor at Clarkson University told North Country Now the specimen was possibly from a sheep, not a dog.

Regardless, police told both news outlets there was little to fear. The nine brains are believed to have been part of a collection for educational or research purposes and no criminal activity, other than littering, is suspected, police said.

As unusual as it might seem, mishaps with preserved brains do happen. Last year the University of Texas in Austin said dozens of human brains stored in jars of formaldehyde and reported missing were actually destroyed in 2002. The brains had been donated for teaching and research.

Mystery noise in Cheyenne


The streets of Cheyenne are usually pretty quiet, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing paranormal, until late Saturday night.

"I was called by the dispatch center with a siren like noise about 11:30 at night," said Rob Cleveland, the director of the Laramie County Emergency Management Agency

A sound rang through the city that can best be described as a siren noise.

"I had them check the siren system that we control that the dispatch center uses to see if there were any alerts, and they showed no alerts," said Cleveland.

So we began an investigation, researching and making calls to the big organizations in town.

We reached out to FE Warren, the Air National Guard, Holly Frontier, and Emergency Management Services here in Cheyenne and got the same answer from everyone.

"It was not our system that made the noise," said Cleveland.

We then turned to Facebook and heard from more than 100 people who heard the noise. From the east side to the south side, and even downtown, it was heard throughout the city.

Union Pacific was our last local reach as many people believed it could have been train emergency breaks, but they responded with no recorded incidents that night. But the search didn't stop there. People all over the world have been hearing these noises and posting videos online

Suggesting everything from religious theories to geographical ones, and yet the head of the geology department a the University of Wyoming had no answer. So it's up for you to decide, is it just train brakes? Or could something more paranormal be in the skies above Cheyenne?

LAPD cop who kicked Alesia Thomas to death is now on trial

© NBC screenshot

The LAPD cop who kicked Alesia Thomas to death was recorded on dashcam saying: "I'm going to punt you in your p*ssy."

Those words of Officer Mary O'Callaghan were said as Thomas was handcuffed and her legs restrained.

The video clearly shows Thomas getting punched in the throat, as well as kicked in the groin over and over by Officer O'Callaghan, in the video that surfaced nearly three years ago.

Watch the full report in the video below...

In the video we can clearly see Officer O'Callaghan punching Thomas' throat.

Thomas is seen tied with a nylon restraint, saying "I can't" over and over.

The video showed O'Callaghan raise her boot and strike Thomas, whose body shook in response. A few minutes later, Thomas' eyes closed and her head fell backward, the video showed. The recording then cut off.

She died at the hospital that evening. The video of her being assaulted was just released for the first time in court and can be seen below.


Dragnet surveillance is about power and social control, not public safety

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says that USA Patriot Act dragnet spy powers must be extended or else the terrorists will get us.

Lynch said Friday the country would be “less safe” if Congress fails to renew surveillance programs included in the Patriot Act.

Lynch joined other top Obama administration officials, who are urging the Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act, which would reform the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk phone records collection program while renewing other key parts of the post-Sept. 11 law.

“Our biggest fear is that we will lose important eyes on people who have made it clear that their mission is to harm American people here and abroad,” Lynch told CBS News in her first interview since becoming attorney general.

If NSA’s phone metadata program expires completely, Lynch said the U.S. government would lose “important tools” to identify terror threats.

"I think that we run the risk of essentially being less safe," Lynch added. "I think that we lose the ability to intercept these communications, which have proven very important in cases that we have built in the past. And I am very concerned that the American people will be unprotected if this law expires."

Lynch didn't marshal any evidence to support her claims about the connection between dragnet spying and public safety. That's because there isn't one. Even the Department of Justice has acknowledged as much, writing in an Inspector General report that FBI agents interviewed couldn't identify "any major case developments" tied to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision the FBI claims enables dragnet spying.

Surveillance boosters have never been able to point to a circumstance—even one example—that proves dragnet surveillance is vital in stopping terrorism. Some insiders in the security state have observed that the bigger the haystack, the more difficult it is to successfully use intelligence information to identify and track threatening people. More information is not better. Better information is better, they say.

Loretta Lynch says she fears that if the Patriot Act isn't reauthorized, "we will lose important eyes on people who have made it clear that their mission is to harm American people here and abroad." That's total nonsense. Anyone who "makes it clear" that they want to kill Americans is someone a judge would authorize targeted surveillance against. The government should leave the rest of us out of it.

Just about every recent terrorist attack on US and European soil has been committed by someone known to law enforcement. That's true for the Garland, Texas shooter and for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who blew up the Boston Marathon in April 2013. The government doesn't need to spy on you and me in order to track people it already suspects of being up to no good.

You might be wondering: If dragnet spying doesn't stop terrorism, and most terrorists are known to law enforcement, why do the FBI and the new Attorney General insist on renewing the Patriot Act's worst provisions? It's an important question, with a depressing answer.

The reason Lynch's claims about dragnet spying don't add up is because they are based on a perversion of the true purpose served by society wide surveillance. While the Patriot Act doesn't stop terrorism, it's quite good at enabling social and political control, and finding people who are vulnerable and may be easily coerced into becoming FBI informants.

If surveillance boosters were honest about why they want these powers, you might hear them talking less about terrorism and more about power. Add your voice: take action now to tell congress to reject dragnet surveillance.

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.9 - 204km ESE of Kirakira, Solomon Islands

E-mails sent to Sott.net become the property of Quantum Future Group, Inc and may be published without notice.

Sherrif's department who flash-bombed baby blames infant for being in the room to avoid paying medical bills

Nearly a year has passed since a Habersham County SWAT team stormed into the Phonesavanh residence, and very nearly killed their 19 month old child. The no-knock raid was prompted by an anonymous tip which suggested there were drugs in the house. As the officers forced their way into the home, they lobbed a flash grenade which wound up landing in the crib where baby "bou-bou" was sleeping. As it erupted, the infant suffered severe burns and had to be taken to the hospital, and placed in a medically induced coma.

To any sane person, the sheriff's department would be responsible for the damage inflicted on this child. Not only were there no drugs in the house, but the suspect they were looking for was found elsewhere. And despite their claims that they had the house under surveillance for two days prior to the raid, somehow they had no idea that there were children who lived there.

Still, the family had to fight the county tooth and nail to have their $1 million in medical bills reimbursed. Last month they settled with the county, and received $964,000, half of which will be given to them now, and the rest will be given to baby after he turns 18. While it's great to hear that the family is getting something out of this, it's shocking to see how defiant the sheriff's department was, right to the very end. They never once admitted culpability for their gross negligence, and in a bizarre twist, their defense statement in court basically blamed the infant for his own injuries.

William Norman Grigg from the Pro Libertate blog read through the lengthy document, and sifted through the legalese for our benefit. It's almost unbelievable how far the sheriff's department was willing to go to avoid paying the family whose child they burned alive.

The act of sleeping in a room about to be breached by a SWAT team constituted "criminal" conduct on the part of the infant. At the very least, the infant was fully liable for the nearly fatal injuries inflicted on him when Habersham County Sheriff's Deputy Charles Long blindly heaved a flash-bang grenade - a "destructive device," as described by the ATF, that when detonated burns at 2,000-3,500 degrees Fahrenheit - into the crib.

Merely by being in that room, Bou-Bou had assumed the risk of coming under attack by a SWAT team. By impeding the trajectory of that grenade, rather than fleeing from his crib, Bou-Bou failed to "avoid the consequences" of that attack.

In any case, Bou-Bou, along with his parents and his siblings, are fully and exclusively to blame for the injuries that nearly killed the child and left the family with more than one million dollars in medical bills. The SWAT team that invaded the home in Cornelia, Georgia on the basis of a bogus anonymous tip that a $50 drug transaction had occurred there is legally blameless.

This is the defense presented by Haberham County Sheriff Joey Terrell and his comrades in their reply to a federal lawsuit filed last February on behalf of Bou-Bou Phonesavanh and his family.

Can you believe that? It gets much worse from here. When photographic evidence of the baby's horrific injuries were shown in court, the defendants denied that the photograph "accurately depicts the injuries allegedly sustained." The statement goes on to the blame the parents and the baby because the damages caused to the child were "directly and proximately caused by the contributory and comparative negligence of the plaintiffs and their failure to exercise ordinary care."

And as a last-ditch effort to avoid paying the bill, the sheriff's department invoked the principle of "laches," which in the legal world, is a kind of use it or lose it statement. It basically means that you don't have the right to sue, if you waited a long period of time in the hopes that future circumstances would favor your case. It doesn't apply in this case at all because the family almost immediately filed a notice with the court after the incident.

The origins and usage of that obscure and archaic legal term do offer some insight about the way Bou-Bou's would-be murderers see themselves, and their victim.

"Laches" is a term embodying the ancient legal maxim that "Equity favors the vigilant, and not those who have slumbered on their rights." Defendants who appeal to this oft-cited and little-applied concept are accusing plaintiffs of subjecting them to a form of "legal ambush."

What Sheriff Joey and his cornpone chekists are claiming, in effect, is that while he was sleeping, Baby Bou-Bou ambushed .

How low can one police department go?

Meteors makes sonic booms over New Zealand

© Screen Capture

A picture of two near earth meteors taken near Omanawa this week is being offered as an explanation for mysterious bangs heard in the sky over the lower Kaimai area.

Omanawa resident and EOL CEO Terry Coles heard what sounded like two large explosions last Saturday night. He wondered at the time if they were sonic booms from a meteor.

His suspicions were confirmed on Tuesday when he set up a camera on the balcony to take continuous exposures for a timelapse video he's working on about the night sky over the Kaimais.

"I left the camera running as I needed several thousand consecutive images and went inside where it was warm," says Terry.

"Just after 11pm I heard three more explosions in quick succession, louder this time as if they were close by."

Suspecting he had missed something special he sifted through hundreds of images from Tuesday night and found something in just one frame.

"Two beautiful meteors one behind the other with an amazing green tail. The timestamp on the image coincided with when I had heard the booms."

"A stroke of luck that I had the camera pointing at the right bit of sky, even if it was only a wide angle lens so not a close up view unfortunately."

The colour is caused by the super-heating of magnesium atoms.

"They glow when they get hot and come into contact with oxygen atoms. A bit like auroras do," says Terry.

It could be rock or metal. The tail could be dust fragments off the head of the meteor or smoke. He's got images of that as well. He made a little slow-mo time lapse of the next 22 frames which show a smoke trail twisting and twirling in the wind.

"It makes it look quite close," says Terry. "I wouldn't imagine the camera would have picked up the smoke trail if they were too far away. It's night, pitch black, and smoke doesn't glow.

"The lens was only a wide angle lens so they were a lot closer than they look in the photo. But without actually standing out there and seeing them it would be pretty hard to tell what size they were, and how far away they were."

The camera was pointing south.

Reputable internet sites say a meteor has to be larger than a football to produce a sonic boom, says Terry.

The larger the object the louder the boom. Larger objects make two distinct booms - two ahead, and one behind that is usually not heard from the ground. He heard three distinct booms in rapid succession.

"If you zoom in on the photo you can see the head of the meteor is split in two, that's probably when the sonic boom happened," says Terry. "There's a lot of theory on the internet about sonic booms and when it happens. It probably happened quite a while before, but took a while to get to us.

"It could have happened when it was quite elevated. It's hard to know really without actually seeing it, just looking at a photo."

The camera was facing south with an elevation of 45-50 degrees above the horizon. Each image is a ten second exposure.

"It's hard to know in that ten seconds when it was passing the frame. It could have been the last second or it could have been half, at five seconds which would have made the tail look longer than it was."

It may have struck earth south of Omanawa on the Kaimai range, or even in the Waikato

"Someone might find themselves a million dollar space rock if they look hard enough."

Mother consents to circumcision of 4-year-old son after being jailed for week


Heather Hironimus

A Florida mother consented on Friday to allowing her 4-year-old son to be circumcised, ending a legal battle with the child's father, according to media reports.

Heather Hironimus, 31, was jailed for a week after hiding out with the child for months after a protracted court fight to block the circumcision, the Sun Sentinel newspaper reported.

Crying in a state courtroom in Palm Beach County, Florida, she consented to the procedure shortly after a judge ordered her to remain jailed until signing off on it, the newspaper reported.

She still faces a charge of interference with child custody, according to the .

A lawyer for the child's father, Dennis Nubus, said a date for the circumcision had not been scheduled, the reported. The procedure may take place out of state, as Nubus has received death threats from anti-circumcision activists, the reported.

Circumcision is a medical procedure in which skin covering the tip of the penis is removed. While the procedure is part of some religious customs, religion did not motivate the parental dispute, according to the .

Courts have upheld a 2012 parenting agreement signed by Hironimus, 31, that allowed for the circumcision, the and reported.

An attorney for Hironimus could not immediately be reached for comment.

The US government told me Bin Laden read my book but what is it not telling us?


© AP

I already knew that Osama bin Laden read my book before the headlines this week - but I'm still angry that he gave only four-and-a-half stars on his Amazon review. Obviously, something in the book pissed him off, because he never friended me on Facebook.

It was actually quite embarrassing to learn that Bin Laden was reading my tome - and a few by my homie Noam Chomsky. It's embarrassing because it's clear that Bin Laden was more well-read than our president of the time (though, in George W Bush's defence, there's much to be learned from My Pet Goat).

I do hope Osama made it to page 229. I talk about a guy who worked at my office, Clinton Davis. Before I left to write for the and , my office was in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. Davis, a cop, was safe at ground level, but he ran upstairs to save others - and disappeared, forever. Did Bin Laden get a little laugh out of that one? At least he got to know his victim's name.

And what did Bin Laden think of my investigation of the 9/11 attack? While working at , a few weeks after the towers fell, a little birdie dropped off a 30-page memo marked "SECRET," "eyes only" and "1-99I WF", which is code for "national security document". The document suggested that FBI agents were blocked from investigating the Bin Laden family well before 11 September 2001. Calls to the Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA and FBI insiders authenticated this bombshell of a devastating intelligence failure.

No, the evidence did not show that President Bush knew about the 9/11 attack in advance. But here was something still quite damning: we learned that the Bush family connection to the Bin Laden family business might have been a shield against government probes. Did Bin Laden, reading that, make a note to himself to thank the Bushes for their unintended protection? I assumed the FBI would deny the authenticity of the document. Instead of denying that the Bin Laden investigation had been spiked, the FBI spokesman told these chilling words: "There are a lot of things the intelligence community knows and other people ought not to know."

Ought not to know? What else ought we not to know? What else is government hiding from us - and when will it kill us?

The US government has charged Edward Snowden with "willful communication of classified communications and intelligence information to an unauthorised person". CIA agent Jeffrey A Sterling has just received a three-year sentence for passing information to a reporter. This suggests that, today, releasing the FBI document would land me or my informants in the slammer.

Why? Is there really a fear that terrorists will read our information? Well, in my case at least, I know Bin Laden probably did in fact read secret national security documents - in my book. Did he learn some great state secret that would allow him to escape? Obviously not. Did Bin Laden learn the secret that our leaders are incompetent and craven and that our intelligence agencies are poisoned by commercial and political interests? I suspect he knew that already.

Finding that Bin Laden read my book, with its several chapters revealing state secrets, confirms for me that the new official war on whistleblowers and reporters is not about keeping information out of the hands of terrorists, but making sure that "the public ought not to know" where the fools at the helm are leading us.

Yemeni Cyber Army group hacks 3,000 Saudi govt computers revealing top secret docs


© Reuters / Ints Kalnins

Yemeni hackers have allegedly released thousands of top secret Saudi Arabia documents, including spies' identities, after gaining "full control" of over 3,000 computers and servers belonging to Riyadh's Foreign, Interior and Defense Ministries.

The Yemen Cyber Army group claims it not only has the addresses, phone numbers and emails of top Saudi diplomats, Foreign Ministry staff, secret agents and army personnel, but also got hold of classified files and correspondence of senior Riyadh officials with other countries and governments since early 1980s.

"We have gained access to the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) network and have full control over more than 3,000 computers and servers, and thousands of users. We also have access to the emails, personal and secret information of hundreds of thousands of their staff and diplomats in different missions around the world," the hackers informed in a statement cited by the Iranian semi-official news agency.

"We publish only few portions of the vital information we have, just to let them know that 'truly the flimsiest of houses is the spider's house'," the hackers' statement alleged.

The Yemen Cyber Army has pledged that "portions of the visa secret information, thousands of documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry automation system and secret emails will be published gradually so as to keep Saudi puppets always in fear of their identity disclosure.

The statement further vowed to automatically wipe the Saudi Foreign Ministry computer systems and servers at 12:00 Wednesday midnight.

"We have the same access to the Interior Ministry (MOI) and Defense Ministry (MOD) of which the details will be published in near future" the hacking group added. According to , the group has also warned that it would soon cause greater damage on the Riyadh government if it refrains from attacking "Muslims in Yemen," adding, "Do not blame anyone but yourself and expect greater harms."

Yemen Cyber Army first made headlines in mid-April when it hacked the website of a London-based daily newspaper al-Hayat in protest at Riyadh's 'invasion' of Yemen. According to a statement left on AlHayat's website, which also run a photo of the Lebanese Hezbollah leader Seyed Hassan Nasrallah, the hackers wanted "to support Yemen revolution."

In a bid "to warn all Pro-Saudi or pan-Arabs accept Yemen Revolution and join us against your dictators", the Yemeni group had also reportedly leaked the names of the paper's readers and subscribers.

Last week a Saudi Arabian-led coalition resumed airstrikes against Yemen's Houthi militia, shortly after the expiry of a five-day ceasefire which was introduced to allow delivery of food, fuel and medication to those caught in the conflict. The bombardment resumed despite UN calls to extend the humanitarian pause.

In September, Houthi rebels took control of the capital, Sanaa, ousting Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia.

According to UN humanitarian agency UNHCR, as of mid-May 1,849 people had been killed and 7,394 others injured in the Yemeni conflict, since the Saudi-led air campaign began in late March. The escalating humanitarian crisis has already left millions short of food and fuel.

Over 1,000 monasteries collapsed in Nepal earthquakes; over 200 deaths


© Anup Ojha
Jyachhen Ka-nying Lama Gumba in Duwachaur VDC, Sindhupalchok.

An estimated 200 Buddhist nuns and monks died after more than 1,000 monasteries collapsed in the 14 districts hit hardest by the earthquake s, according to the Buddhist Philosophy Promotion and Monastery Development Committee (BPPMDC).

The committee, under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, said that all 215 monasteries in Sindhupalchok district were flattened by the April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks. Six monks have been reported dead in the district so far.

A total of 150 Buddhist monasteries collapsed in Gorkha, 105 in Dhading, 60 in Rasuwa and 60 in Solukhumbu. There are reports of them destroyed in Nuwakot, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga, Makwanpur, Lamjung and Syangja as well. "What we have is a preliminary report of damages caused by the quake," said Bhadra Bahadur Golay, under-secretary at the BPPMDC.

The devastating earthquake has destroyed many well-known monasteries including Seto Gumba in Ramkot; Rato Gumba in Sitapaila; Khumchey Gumba in Gorkha; Chrighyang Gumba in Dolakha and Chirite Gumba in Sindhupalchok.

Karma Tsering Tashi Lama, president of the BPPMDC who recently visited many of the earthquake -affected areas in Sindhupalchok and Rasuwa with an inspection team, said he did not see a monastery that stands straight. "The monasteries we visited had either fallen or were on the verge of collapse," said Lama. "Of those that remain, there is eerie silence."

With the collapse of monasteries along with their houses in the area, most Buddhist disciples said they feel helpless. "If only the monastery had remained, people would have gone to pray for the departed souls," said Udar Man Tamang, 37, of Baskharka Village Development Committee. All the eight monasteries in the VDCs have been destroyed by the quake. "People here have nowhere to go," he said.

The Buddhist committee said it has deployed teams to the districts for a survey of themonasteries . The teams have been collecting the details of destruction in coordination with the local authorities.

"Since monasteries are often built on hilltops, landslide has cut off the way for rescue," said Lama.

A total of 2,200 monasteries have been registered with the committee but officials say there are about 5,000 in the country.

"The death toll could rise as we have been collecting data only from the registered monasteries," said Lama.

Fallen monasteries

- 150 in Gorkha, 105 in Dhading, 60 in Rasuwa and 60 in Solukhumbu.

- Seto Gumba in Ramkot, Rato Gumba in Sitapaila, Khumchey Gumba in Gorkha, Chrighyang Gumba in Dolakha and Chirite Gumba in Sindhupalchok now in ruins.

- Damages yet to be known in Nuwakot, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga, Makwanpur, Lamjung and Syangja.

- Since monasteries are often built on hilltops, landslide has cut off the way for rescue.

- 2,200 monasteries registered with the committee.

- Officials say there are about 5,000 in the country.

Healing cancer with organic foods


© awgadvertising.com

A major revolution in the western healthcare, pharmaceutical and cancer industries is occurring and the movement is reaching the critical mass point. More people now than ever are researching and learning for themselves how to use nutrition to regain and maintain optimal health. People are realizing that a synthetic pharmaceutical drug, as advocated by many in the western medical field, can biochemically never elicit true health. Questions are being asked and nature's beautiful cures are being rediscovered.

One man who is helping to spearhead this movement is Ty Bollinger, a best-selling author of seven books on natural health and the creator of a newly released documentary titled , which interviews twenty-eight medical doctors, eleven scientists and nine cancer survivors who break "the code of silence" and expose the truth about cancer as well as proven methods to treat and eliminate cancer through completely safe, natural and holistic methods.

Why then, are these natural methods not being more widely discussed and promoted by an industry that is claiming to want to help cure and eliminate cancer? The simple answer is money. As Dr. Sunil Pai, M.D. states;

"Follow the money. What is the biggest industry right now? It's the cancer care industry. So the average cancer care for a person from Stage I to Stage IV will range anywhere from $350,000- $1,400,000 by the end of stage IV."

The cancer industry has also created millions of jobs in the form of the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society, Food and Drug Administration, The Rockefeller Institute, The Carnegie Foundation and numerous jobs in medical schools teaching western medicine. Revealing the cost effectiveness and positive results of these holistic methods is not something the western medical establishment wants known as this would very quickly bring an end to many jobs, institutions and above all, profit. The dots are easily connected. The truth has been covered up in the name of greed.

However, it is one thing to know what the issue is and it is another to find and utilize the solutions. One of the best and easiest methods to beating cancer that has been promoted in the documentary as well as by countless doctors of naturopathic medicine, chiropractors, health and wellness advocates and now an ever-growing number of western medicine-trained doctors is the consumption of organically grown and harvested fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. A common follow-up question that can be asked is if conventionally grown produce, those with pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, can help to eliminate cancer as well. Scientists are finding that although the nutrient content in these foods are beneficial to cellular function, the chemicals found in and on the food itself, as well as in the soil, is very toxic and has been shown to induce and spread cancer throughout the body. These chemicals found in the food and soil are also destroying life-giving and health-promoting nutrients, namely ionic trace minerals.

In 1936, two-time Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling told the 74th Congress of the United States,"Every ailment, every sickness and every disease can be traced back to an organic mineral deficiency. " Ionic trace minerals are minerals in their nano or Angstrom form and have the ability to transport nutrients into the cell very easily due to their low molecular weight. They also have the ability to bring chemical balance and electrical potential back to the cell.

Through soil that is untouched by synthetic chemicals and left to compost in the natural rhythms of nature, beneficial microbes help to create bio available fulvic acid, humic acid, amino acids and trace minerals that assist the plant absorb these substances to then produce beautiful, healthy plants full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. When using synthetic chemicals though, the microbes are destroyed and the soil then becomes depleted of many beneficial nutrients and instead laced with harmful substances.

In fact, fulvic acid alone is being used by doctors and patients in the treatment and prevention of cancer as well as a supplement for overall better health. Dr. Daniel Nuzum of Idaho has treated nearly 8,000 patients with fulvic acid and has received only good results from every one of the cases. To date, fulvic acid is the most potent anti-oxidant known, as it has 14 tetra trillion electrons it can donate to neutralize free radicals. That is 14 with twenty-one zeros behind it. It is so small and powerful that it has the ability to work outside of the cell, inside of the cell, and on multiple components of the cell. Fulvic acid can also turn metabolic waste into nutrition, something that is beneficial on many different levels.

Another common question that has been asked is if organic dairy and animals products are safe and if they affect cancer cells to any certain degree. Though not consuming hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals is certainly good for a person's health, discernment in consuming meat and dairy should be used. In his well-known book, The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell stated that the 35 year study he and his team conducted showed casein, a protein found in animal meat and dairy, promoted every stage of the cancer growth process.

The return to organically grown food as nutrition is happening in our world today at an ever-increasing speed. Doctors are once again promoting the usage of organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices as medicine, scientists are separating truth from fiction, people are discovering what really heals and the light is shining down on the shady politics involved in cancer care and related industries. It is everyone's right to be healthy, happy and free. Its also everyone's right to have access to unbiased knowledge and information that can help create the health, happiness and freedom we are all seeking.

information regarding Fulvic Ionic Minerals, The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Douglas Graham, Herbal Medicine, Healing, Cancer by Donald Yance, the work of Dr. George Merkl as well as flower essence therapy, hydrochromotherapy and phototherapy.

Here are 5 reasons why anarchy would be an improvement in human governance


"Give a man a gun and he'll rob a bank. Give a man a bank and he'll rob the world." - Unknown

Give people just a little bit of knowledge and courage and they will track down those greedy-ass bankers and hold them accountable. All we need is just a little courageous anarchy. The problem, the crux, the fly in the ointment: most people are not courageous enough, and most people don't want to learn anything that attacks their all-too-precious worldview. Yes, the very worldview that is keeping people indebted to an immoral, unhealthy, unsustainable, unjust system of human governance, is precisely the worldview that the majority of people are clinging to. Indeed, most people, even though they would probably say otherwise, would rather be kissed with a lie than slapped with the truth. They would rather deny facts that tarnish their worldview than reject the deceit that upholds it. But as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."

Healthy human evolution requires authentic vigilance. It requires a consistent upheaval of the status quo. This requires proactive human beings who are willing to be authentically vigilant and consistently rebellious. It requires courageous interdependent individuals who dare to recondition the status-quo-junky original condition. It turns out that the wisdom gained from anarchy is precisely the ability to distinguish between sacrifice that is transformative and healthy from mere suffering caused by the state that we've allowed because we were too cowardly or too unimaginative to think of a healthier way to live. Like Stefan Molyneux said, "Never, ever underestimate the degree to which people will scatter themselves into a deep fog in order to avoid seeing the basic realities of their own cages. The strongest lock on the prison is always avoidance, not force."

Here are five reasons why anarchy will improve human governance and thereby cultivate a healthy human evolution.

1.) It Has Inherent Checks and Balances

"Failure shows us the way - by showing us what isn't the way." - Ryan Holiday

This one alone is reason enough to give anarchy a try again. The other four are just icing on the cake. I say "again" because human beings lived in hunter-gatherer groups that were characterized by what anthropologists call Fierce Egalitarian Anarchy. They not only shared things, they demanded that things be shared: meat, shelter, and protection... this was simply the best way to mitigate risk in a survival context in a world with limited resources.

Fierce egalitarianism and primal politics (tribal anarchy) worked exceptionally well for the human race for 95% of our existence on this planet. Indeed, it's one of the only reasons why we've survived as long as we have.

In an amazing game theory study by Duéñez-Guzmán-Sadedin on the topic of police corruption, they concluded that once a police system becomes entrenched, nothing can stop it from eventually becoming corrupt, with the result being a population of gullible sheep and hypocritical overlords. But they didn't stop the study there. They decided to tweak it ever so slightly. In the words of Suzanne Sadedin: "The results were startling. By making a few alterations to the composition of the justice system, corrupt societies could be made to transition to a state called 'righteousness'. In righteous societies, police were not a separate, elite order. They were everybody. When virtually all of society stood ready to defend the common good, corruption didn't pay. Similarly, as it turns out, social norms in hunter-gatherer societies are enforced by the whole group rather than any specially empowered individuals."

This is a critical aspect of anarchy: that everyone is free to be as moral, or as amoral, as they need to be in order to maintain a healthy cosmic, ecological, and social order. Freedom is primary. Health is secondary. Understanding how everything is connected is third. And immorality is not tolerated.

The monumental problem with our Statist society is that we are not taught to be as moral or as amoral as we need to be in order to maintain a healthy cosmic, ecological, and social order. In fact, statism purposefully forces whatever the state decrees to be healthy, as healthy, whether or not it is actually healthy according to cosmic law. This creates an exorbitant amount of problems.

2.) It Would Nullify Debt Slavery and Eliminate Poverty

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in a society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." - Frederic Bastiat

How does our legal system authorize plunder? It allows banks to create fiat money out of thin air and then charge interest on it, which keeps the poor wallowing in poverty, and entrenches the rich in corruptible power structures based upon immoderate wealth.

How does our moral code glorify plunder? It pushes militarization, creates profit prisons, creates "war heroes" out of violent psychopaths, and makes war itself a profitable endeavor. It puts profit over people, equity over equality, transforms elections into auctions, and creates a fundamentally unsustainable and unhealthy money first, human heart second, mentality. Like Naseem Nicholas Taleb said, "Those who do not think that employment is systematic slavery are either blind or employed."

How does anarchy flip the tables on the authorization and glorification of plunder? It prevents plunder from ever becoming possible because anarchy-based modes of governance are engineered in such a way that groups never get to the point of concentrated centers of power. The monopolization of power never gets to the point to where it becomes corrupt, because of controlled leveling mechanisms such as reverse dominance and wealth expiation. Like Jim Dodge said, "Anarchy doesn't mean out of control; it means out of their control." Whoever "they" may be: monopolizing corporations, overreaching governments, tyrants.

Self-aware critical thinker beware: political propaganda, especially in regards to war, money, government, and law, are designed to keep you conditioned and brainwashed into believing whoever is in power is being moral and just with their power. But as George Orwell warned, "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance to solidity to pure wind."

Have no illusions: within the current systems of human governance, poverty is a business. Profits are made on the labor of the poor, the consumption of the poor, and the debt of the poor. Anarchy is a system of human governance built to lift people out of poverty and into freedom. It gives people hope for a more balanced future of human prosperity. Like Raymond Williams advised, "To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing."

3.) It Would Be Eco-Morally and Ecologically Healthier and More Sustainable

"The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see." - Alexandra K.Trenfor

Authority tells you what to see, and therefore must be questioned. Authority is telling you that it's okay to live immoderate, over-indulgent, violent, ecocidal lifestyles. It's not okay, because it is fundamentally unhealthy and leads to unsustainable devolution. In a system of human governance that is systematically transforming livingry into weaponry, it is the supreme duty of all healthy, moral, compassionate, eco-conscious, indeed anarchist, people to question authority to the nth degree.

Such audacious questioning has the potential to create robust eco-centric communities based upon permaculture, wellness, creativity, and a sacred economy that takes the interconnectedness of all things into deep consideration. It incentivizes individuals who value human flourishing, environmental flourishing, permaculture, sustainable building, alternative education, and nature-based wellness.

The cornerstone of anarchist modes of human governance is the deep understanding of the interdependence of all living things. As Nikola Tesla proclaimed, "Every living being is an engine geared to the wheelwork of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surroundings, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance."

An anarchist society divorced from the oppressive Big Brother bitch-slap of Statism, reveals a society that is capable of preserving the moral Golden Mean and the middle-way, as opposed to the immoral, suffocating greed of state politics. It will uncover a society that exemplifies the Golden Ratio of nature, as opposed to the state's expropriation of nature and nature-based cultures.

4.) It Would Result in the Expiation of Power and Wealth Through an Ethics of Reciprocity

"A freedom that is interested only in denying freedom must be denied." - Simone De Beauvoir

The ultimate leveling mechanism inherent within anarchist modes of human governance is the ethics of reciprocity combined with the expiation of power.

Anthropologist Christopher Boehm has proposed a social theory that anarchist, egalitarian hunter-gatherers maintained equality through a leveling mechanism he calls Reverse Dominance: a social system of checks and balances that maintains egalitarian ethos while preventing a dominance hierarchy from forming. Reverse dominance hierarchies are broken down into four different leveling mechanisms: public opinion, ridicule, disobedience, and ostracism. These mechanisms work because human beings are social creatures and hugely influenced by peer pressure and social acceptance.

Anarchist modes of human governance are largely based upon shame as a regulatory method. Within such a society individuals are socially, morally, and ecologically compelled to expiate their power and reciprocate wealth because the alternative is the risk of shaming, ridicule, and/or ostracism. Like A.C. Grayling explained it, "The first task is to win something; the second, to banish the feeling that has been won; otherwise it is a burden." In order for power and wealth not to become a psychological burden within anarchist systems, the powerful and the wealthy must be able to expiate and reciprocate their power and wealth, lest people become oppressed, and entire systems become corrupt.

But this does NOT mean that skill, courage, intelligence and perseverance are not rewarded. Anarchy does not imply socialism. Ours is a cultural problem. We've been raised to believe in the false ideal of greed. We've been conditioned to own. Our culture has become ego-centric, as opposed to eco-centric. It has become ownership-based, as opposed to relationship-based.

But prestige and merit can still be highly strived for values within an anarchist society that practices expiation of wealth and the ethics of reciprocity.

As I wrote in Breaking out of a Broken System, "Eco-moralism tames capitalism through holistic checks and balances. Ego-moralism jumpstarts communism through proactive citizenry. What we're left with is a healthy anarchism with an egalitarian ethos which is less about capital and one-upmanship and more about respect for what is borrowed. It is less about ownership and more about relationships. It is ethical, spiritual, and diverse; as opposed to egotistical, religious, and homogenized by nationalism. Eco-moralism helps us pierce through the smoke and mirrors of hyper-reality and into the way reality actually is: interconnected and interdependent. Ego-moralism helps us become more motivated by revealing that our egos are actually tools towards leveraging a healthy balance between cosmos and psyche."

Anarchists are crazy enough to think they can change the world, which is precisely why they will.

5.) It Would Create Compassionate, Humble, but Courageous Leadership

"To really understand something is to be liberated from it. Dedicating one's self to a great cause, taking responsibility, and gaining self-knowledge is the essence of being human. A predatory capitalist's greatest enemy, and humanity's greatest ally, is the self-educated individual who has read, understood, delays their gratification, and walks around with their eyes wide open." - The Four Horsemen, documentary

Anarchist modes of human governance create precisely the type of self-educated, autodidactic individual that predatory capitalist's and pacifist socialist's fear. As Louis G. Herman wrote, "When individuals try to balance self-interest with a consideration of the bigger picture, they discover, as Socrates did, that deep self-interest actually includes concern for the good of the whole." An individual (ego) acting on the good of the whole (eco) is a force of nature first, a person second, which provides them the phenomenal power of standing on the shoulders of giants while also wearing a wide array of masks of self-mastery.

If we can combine fierce egalitarian primal politics along with the type of progressive self-interested people who are capable of considering the bigger interdependent picture, then we have a recipe for a healthy, prestigious anarchic leadership. We have a blueprint for authentically venerated and wise leadership that has the potential to transform the currently unlivable human world into a livable one. Like MLK Jr. said, "The hope of a secure livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood. The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and spiritual freedom have always been nonconformists. In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist."

Indeed, it is typically the nonconformist who is the one testing the outer limits of the human imagination: stretching comfort zones, shattering mental paradigms, and flattening status quo boxes that those hooked on conformity so desperately try to think outside of. As Henry David Thoreau said, in true anarchist leadership form, "I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest."

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://ift.tt/jcXqJW.

Mysterious 'UFO' with green light in the sky above Groningen


© Harry Perton

Harry Perton from Groningen, the Netherlands, likes to make pictures of nature. On Tuesday he set off in the Onlanden, the border between the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe.

Upon returning home, he looked up just and saw something weird. On one of his pictures of threatening skies is a green light phenomenon in the sky.

Perton "Suddenly saw something flashing," Harry wrote on his weblog. "I thought it was my device, but the flash was down.

There was not a drop on my lens. I decided it must have been the lightening of the sun. But at home I see something strange in one of the photos that I made at the end of the lane trees. "

Was it a UFO, a meteor or a special natural phenomenon?

All types of infections affect the brain and can impair mental capacity

New research shows that infections can impair your cognitive ability measured on an IQ scale.

According to Danish researchers, the study — the largest of its kind to date — shows a clear correlation between infection levels and impaired cognition.

"Our research shows a correlation between hospitalization due to infection and impaired cognition corresponding to an IQ score of 1.76 lower than the average," said Dr. Michael Eriksen Benrós, who is affiliated with the National Centre for Register-Based Research at Aarhus University School of Business and Social Sciences and the Mental Health Centre Copenhagen at the University of Copenhagen.

"People with five or more hospital contacts with infections had an IQ score of 9.44 lower than the average," he continued.

The study also found that an infection's effect on cognitive ability "increased with the temporal proximity of the last infection and with the severity of the infection," he said.

"Infections in the brain affected the cognitive ability the most, but many other types of infections severe enough to require hospitalization can also impair a patient's cognitive ability," he said.

"Moreover, it seems that the immune system itself can affect the brain to such an extent that the person's cognitive ability measured by an IQ test will also be impaired many years after the infection has been cured."

The nationwide study tracked 190,000 Danes born between 1974 and 1994, who had their IQ assessed between 2006 and 2012. According to the researcher, 35 percent of these individuals had a hospital contact with infections before the IQ testing was conducted.

"Infections can affect the brain directly, but also through peripheral inflammation, which affects the brain and our mental capacity," explained Benrós.

"Infections have previously been associated with both depression and schizophrenia, and it has also been proven to affect the cognitive ability of patients suffering from dementia. This is the first major study to suggest that infections can also affect the brain and the cognitive ability in healthy individuals."

He noted that the brain is affected by all types of infections.

"Therefore, it is important that more research is conducted into the mechanisms which lie behind the connection between a person's immune system and mental health," he said.

Experiments on animals have shown that the immune system can affect cognitive capabilities, and more recent studies in humans have also pointed in that direction, according to the researcher.

Normally, the brain is protected from the immune system, but with infections and inflammation the brain may be affected. Benrós says his research suggests that it may be the immune system that causes the cognitive impairment, not just the infection, because many different types of infections were associated with a decrease in cognitive abilities.

The researchers said they hope the study's findings will lead to further research on the possible involvement of the immune system in the development of psychiatric disorders.

The study was published in

The most underrated medicinal plants

There are thousands, if not millions, of plants which boast amazing medicinal uses for almost any ailment that you can think of. Before reaching out for that prescription drug or cream, do your body a favour and look into some of these amazing natural alternatives first!

The best part about healing in this natural way is that many plants and herbs can be grown yourself, or can be purchased in a higher potency essential oil form. There is also a much lower risk for potential side effects, provided you are not allergic to the plant in question. Here are the top 5 most underrated medicinal plants!

1. Ginger

Ginger is an amazing spice to cook with. Not only does it taste great (especially when paired with garlic), it has a whole bunch of amazing medicinal benefits. Ginger is very commonly known for its ability to quell nausea, but it also has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-parasitic properties, and is anti-inflammatory as well! These are just a few of the many amazing uses for ginger.

The anti-inflammatory effects make ginger an incredible supplement for joint pain, menstrual pain, migraines, and more. Ginger is also great for people who suffer from indigestion; it contains protein-digesting enzymes and assists with stimulating your stomach to empty its contents.

2. Peppermint

Peppermint has many benefits to the respiratory system, for coughs, colds asthma, allergies, and tuberculosis. Rubbing peppermint oil on the chest can assist with these things. Peppermint oil has also been known to work wonders on digestive health, especially those with IBS. Peppermint tea can ease abdominal pain associated with digestion and offers gas relief.

Peppermint leaves, tea, and oil are all very easy to find. It is also very easy to grow your own peppermint in your garden! An added bonus to this is that it smells lovely and helps to keep unwanted pests away.

3. Chamomile

Chamomile has long been admired for its ability to relieve stress and make you feel relaxed, but did you know that it has a wide array of other benefits as well? According to a government organization in Germany known as Commission E, chamomile has been approved for reducing swelling on the skin and fighting bacteria! It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and also has anti-bacterial, anti-allergenic, anti-spasmodic, and sedative properties. It has been used to treat various skin disorders such as: psoriasis, eczema, chickenpox, diaper rash, and many others.

4. Thyme

Thyme is not only great for cooking, providing a wonderful flavor and aroma to your savory dishes, but it contains many beneficial flavonoids for your health! Some of these flavonoids include: apigen, naringen, and leteolin, along with thymonin, which as been shown to protect and increase the percentage of healthy fats found in cell membranes.

Thyme also contains many nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, manganese, copper and dietary fiber.

Thyme oil also has a wide variety of topical uses including relief from problems of gout, bites, sores, arthritis, menstrual pain, nausea, fatigue, athletes foot and even hangovers! It is also a great oil for aromatherapy and can be used to strengthen memory and concentration, and calm the mind and nerves.

4. Lavender

I personally LOVE lavender! It has the most lovely, calming smell and it is my go-to oil for my bubble baths. Lavender oil has been used aroma-therapeutically to treat such conditions as: insomnia, depression, stress, and restlessness.

Lavender oil has been known to fight antifungal-resistant skin and nail infections. It can also be used to: relieve muscle and joint pain, treat skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, and eczema, soothe insect bites, kill lice and nits, boost hair growth, improve digestion, alleviate various respiratory disorders, and more.

Much Love


Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine

Spasmolytic effect of peppermint oil in barium during double-contrast barium enema compared with Buscopan.

Efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil in patients suffering from functional dyspepsia.

Thyme Health Benefits

Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita)

7 Underrated Medicinal Plants

Video: Small tornado strikes southern Netherlands


© YouTube
Small tornado in Asten

A small tornado struck southern Netherlands on Tuesday night. The Tornado was spotted in Asten and Liessel.

A portion of a chicken shed on Gevlochtsebaan in Heusden, Asten was blown away, reports. It is believed that the shed contained asbestos and the surrounding area has been closed down as a precaution.

According to Reinier van den Berg of Meteo Group, the trunk of the tornado touched the ground near Liessel. The weatherman said on Twitter that the thunderstorm that moved from Antwerp along Eindhoven had "supercell characteristics", the most serious type among thunderstorms. This type of storm is often accompanied by high winds, lightning and heavy rain.

[embedded content]

Recent poll of Americans' shows how wrong they are estimating homosexual population


© AP Photo/ Noah Berger

A recent Gallup poll has exposed that Americans' estimates of the proportion of homosexuals in the United States are "many times higher" than the actual percentage, indicating a distorted perception of this demographic group among the US population.

"The American public estimates on average that 23% of Americans are gay or lesbian, little changed from Americans' 25% estimate in 2011...These estimates are many times higher than the 3.8% of the adult population who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender," the Gallup Poll revealed.

Remarkably, the National health Interview Survey released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July, 2014 found that less than three percent of the American civilians labeled themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Only 1.6 percent of adults said they were homosexual, and 0.7 percent self-identified as bisexuals. The overwhelming majority - more than 96 percent - classified themselves as straight.

According to Gallup, all available estimates of the actual homosexual population in the United States are "far lower" than what Americans estimate.

The Gallup report also revealed that younger Americans give higher estimates than older US civilians, claiming that the actual percentage of homosexuals is about 28 percent of the US population.

According to the researchers, this phenomenon may be partly caused by Americans' lack of knowledge about statistics.

On the other hand, this overestimation may have its roots in a frequent media portrayal of gay characters on television, in movies and other media, as well as in "the high visibility of activists who have pushed gay causes, particularly legalizing same-sex marriage," the researchers elaborated.

Comment: Seems there are a couple reasons for this large discrepancy between perception and reality. First, the cultural proliferation of the gay rights movement. It's worth questioning whether the gay rights movement achieved anything on a personal discrimination level for individual homosexuals. It's difficult to objectively assess that, but apparently what can be said is that it has played a part in leading Americans to think that 25% of the population is gay when the actual figure is 3.8%. Then there is also the propagandizing figures given by Alfred Kinsey and his Kinsey scale which gave a high figure of homosexuality for years until it became "common knowledge". For instance, the study that the scale was based on reported:

10% of American males surveyed were "more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55

Clearly those numbers are total nonsense, but take the combination of the Kinsey gay propaganda and media saturation and we have just another subject which Americans are quite falsely informed.

Researchers find yeast sugars can bind to fungus and activate T-cells to make inflammatory proteins

© Wikimedia Commons
Healthy human T cell.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine have unraveled one of the mysteries of how a small group of immune cells work: That some inflammation-fighting immune cells may actually convert into cells that trigger disease.

Their findings, recently reported in the journal , could lead to advances in fighting diseases, said the project's lead researcher Pushpa Pandiyan, an assistant professor at the dental school.

The cells at work

A type of white blood cell, called T-cells, is one of the body's critical disease fighters. Regulatory immune cells, called "Tregs," direct T-cells and control unwanted immune reactions that cause inflammation. They are known to produce only anti-inflammatory proteins to keep inflammation caused by disease in check.

But using mouse models, the researchers studied how the body fights off a common oral fungus that causes thrush. They found that these harmful invaders activate a mechanism in Tregs that could transform the inflammation-fighting cells into cells that allow the disease to flourish.

The study

When the immune system functions normally, disease-fighting T-cells produce inflammatory secretions -- proteins that can cause symptoms, such as soreness or swelling at the infected site. This process is evident, for example, when a cut or glands swell from the infection's inflammatory reaction.

Once the invader is gone, the disease-fighting cells -- with help from Treg cells -- normally shut down those proteins to control long-term inflammation.

But the researchers found that, during oral thrush, yeast sugars on the surface of the disease-causing fungus act as a binding agent and can activate a small population of Treg cells to make inflammatory proteins themselves. (The researchers are calling this novel subset of malfunctioning cells Treg-17 cells).

"An excess of these malfunctioning cells can lead to the inflammatory disease process instead of stopping it," she said.

Other binding agents normally found in the body may create these cells and contribute to continued inflammation, the researchers concluded.

Other researchers have reported the presence of these cells in many human inflammation conditions, such as psoriasis, periodontitis and arthritis. Until now, however, the mechanisms of how these cells developed were not completely understood, Pandiyan said.

The implications

The findings will help researchers understand the origin of cells they suspect may keep the disease active or, at a minimum, don't battle inflammation. Pandiyan believes the knowledge could lead to new ways to fight diseases, such as:

  • Using the converting Tregs (Treg-17) to identify chronic inflammation, including oral inflammation.
  • Using the persistence of Treg-17 cells to indicate an excessive amount of the inflammatory proteins.
  • Using the presence of the binding agent that triggers the cell's conversion as a point to use medicines to block its connection to Tregs.
Future studies will investigate whether these cells are actually perpetrating inflammation.

Five ways oxytocin shapes our social interactions


© Psychology Today

New research is finding that oxytocin doesn't just bond us to mothers, lovers, and friends—it also seems to play a role in others from that bond.

It's been called the cuddle hormone, the holiday hormone, the moral molecule, and more—but new research suggests that oxytocin needs some new nicknames. Like maybe the conformity hormone, or perhaps the America-Number-One! molecule.

Where does this many-monikered neuropeptide come from? Scientists first found it in mothers, whose bodies flood with oxytocin during childbirth and breastfeeding—which presumably helps Mom somehow decide that it's better to care for a poopy, colicky infant than to chuck it out the nearest window. And, indeed, one study found a shot of oxytocin more rewarding to rat-mommies than a snort of cocaine. (Don't worry, Dads: You can get some of that oxytocin action, too.)

As time went on, researchers found oxytocin playing a role in all kinds of happy occasions, from social activities (recognizing faces at a party) to more intimate ones (achieving orgasm with someone you met at that party). Lab tests found that oxytocin made people more trusting, more generous, and more gregarious. Thus oxytocin seemed, for a little while, to deserve its glut of touchy-feely nicknames.

In the past few years, however, new research is finding that oxytocin doesn't just bond us to mothers, lovers, and friends—it also seems to play a role in excluding others from that bond. (And perhaps, as one scientist has argued, wanting what other people have.) This just makes oxytocin more interesting—and it points to a fundamental, constantly recurring fact about human beings: Many of the same biological and psychological mechanisms that bond us together can also tear us apart. It all depends on the social and emotional context.

The research is ongoing, and scientists are still debating how their findings fit together. But here's a round-up of recent discoveries about oxytocin, boiled down to five cuddly and not-so-cuddly ways it might shape your social life.

1. It keeps you loyal to your love—and leery of the rest.

Men are dogs, right? They just want one thing, huh? Well, not if they're jacked up on oxytocin. In fact, if they're already in a loving relationship, they can become downright unfriendly to the opposite sex, according to a 2012 study in the .

Fifty-seven hot-blooded, heterosexual German men sprayed either oxytocin or a placebo up their own noses—and were then sent, alone, into a small room with beautiful young woman holding a clipboard. The questions she asked were irrelevant; instead, these scientists were measuring how close the men stood to the temptress as the two talked. (Here's a tip: When you walk into a lab, never trust an experimental psychologist—those people are ).

It turned out that if an oxytocin-snorting guy was already in a relationship, boyfriend actually from his lovely interlocutor. Partnered guys who sniffed the placebo leaned in a little closer than their partners might have liked. The single guys, meanwhile, were probably too busy staring down her cleavage to hear the questions.

So oxytocin doesn't simply make you all lovey-dovey, suggests this study. It also keeps you faithful to your partner—and wary of her rivals.

2. It makes us poor winners and sore losers.

Let's say you're playing a nice friendly game of poker. You like the people you're playing with, you're enjoying yourself. Until you start losing. The bastard on the other side of the table shows four of a kind or a full house every single time, and you can't even get a pair. Damn him; he must be cheating. But then one hand later, you lay down a straight flush and take all his chips. Are you gracious? Hell, no. You light a cigar and gloat like a goat.

You might be surprised to hear that your posterior pituitary gland was probably secreting oxytocin through every step of that game, from the good feeling to the envy to the taunting. Quite a few studies have found that people dosed with oxytocin are more likely to spite their opponents when playing games of chance, which has led Andrew Kemp of the University of Sydney to argue that oxytocin plays a role in what psychologists call "approach-related" emotions—ones that have to do with wanting something from someone.

What about the friend who lost the game? You may have just lost that particular poker buddy—and again, oxytocin may play a role. If your friend is a mouse, anyway.

Researchers at Northwestern University put three groups of cute, gentle mice in a cage with another pack of crazy, aggressive ones. One of those three groups of mice had their oxytocin receptors removed. The other group had more receptors than usual. The third was normal.

All three groups were equally mauled by the psycho-mice, until the researchers rescued them. Their whiskers twitched, their pink noses happily wiggled—those mice thought they were safe.

But then, six hours later, scientists put the three groups with the psycho-mice. (Remember, folks: .) Guess what? The oxytocin-free mice didn't remember the mauling and didn't know to run away, poor little guys. The other two groups scattered in fear.

The study, published in July by , suggests that oxytocin strengthens social memories in the lateral septum, which has the highest oxytocin levels in the brains of both mice and humans. Yes, oxytocin is involved with attachment and social bonding, but that neural system can get tangled up in fear and anxiety—it gives us a visceral memory of those who have harmed us, as well as those who have cared for us.

The takeaway? If you beat the pants off your friends at poker and you want to play with them again, don't gloat—but if you do, be sure to first remove their oxytocin receptors.

3. It makes you cooperative with your group—sometimes a little too cooperative.

Now, say you're a single male chimpanzee. You enjoy sleeping in trees, attacking rival males, mating with random females, and eating the bugs you find in the fur of your friends.

Those bugs are tasty, but according to a study published in March, there's at least one more benefit from grooming your chimp buddies: an oxytocin boost. Research finds that this reduces any stress that may have accumulated during a busy day of vying for the alpha male position.

Humans generally engage in other kinds of affiliative behaviors. I like to see movies with my human friends—but, hey, if you like eating bugs off yours, I for one will not judge you. Because just like other primates, studies find that oxytocin plays a critical role in helping us become more relaxed, extroverted, generous, and cooperative in our groups.

Sounds utopian, doesn't it? Perhaps a little too utopian. Mirre Stallen and colleagues dosed Dutch study participants with either oxytocin or a placebo, and then divided them into groups of six. Each group watched a series of images and the individuals in the group voted for which ones they found most attractive. The results: The oxytocin-influenced participants tended to go with the flow of their group, while the placebo-dosed participants hewed to their own individualistic path.

The implication: Oxytocin is great when you're out with friends or solving a problem with coworkers. It might not be so great when you need to pick a leader or make some other big decision that requires independence, not conformity.

4. It makes you see your group as better than other groups (to a point).

So far, dear reader, I've cast you in the roles of a hot-blooded lover, a poker-playing sore loser, and a chimp. Now let's pretend you're Dutch.

If a group of researchers in the Netherlands dosed you with oxytocin, you might find yourself developing a sudden affection for windmills, tulips, totally legal soft drugs and prostitution, and tall, blonde, multilingual bankers. You might also decide that the life of a Dutch person is more valuable than that of, say, a Canadian.

That's exactly what Carsten De Dreu found in 2011. His study was sternly criticized for overstating its effects—and yet it's not the only one to find that oxytocin seems to make us really, really, really like our own groups, even at the expense of other groups.

But loving our own groups doesn't lead to hating other groups. Paul Zak's lab at Claremont Graduate University has taken blood samples from members of campus groups like ROTC cadets and dance troupes. Then the groups perform some typical ritual—the cadets march, the dancers learn new steps together—and Zak and his minions draw more blood.

Zak isn't a vampire. He's not even an experimental psychologist; he's actually an economist, so obviously you can trust (right?). Being an economist means that his experiments always come down to money. He had those cadets and dancers play a series of trust and sharing games that ultimately earned them an average of $56 in real money. At the end, they could donate money to their own group or to a random charity.

That's where things get nuanced. Yes, performing that ritual increased oxytocin counts by about 10 or 11 percent, but did cadets start favoring their team more than others? Across all 400 participants in his studies—this number of blood samples must make Zak the bloodiest economist in history—the increased oxytocin predict where they donated their money.

But there are some caveats. The more marginalized a group felt on campus, the more likely they were to circle their wagons and favor their own in-group (presumably, the band nerds weren't as generous as frat boys to other groups). The effects of oxytocin could also change depending on what else was happening in the body: If Zak's lab induced stress or acted to jack up testosterone, participants could, in fact, become more aggressive toward out-groups.

Which leads us to our final item...

5. It does make us trusting—but not gullible.

The research I've described so far probably sounds pretty great. . Or Don Draper—think about all the defective products you could sell by blowing oxytocin into the air.

Face it, we all want to rule the world sometimes, and I can certainly understand the desire to keep everyone else docile, compliant, and hostile to out-groups. The drug "soma" from Aldous Huxley's Brave New World probably contained some oxytocin. The two-minutes hate in Orwell's probably got the oxytocin pumping as well.

But before you start getting excited, you wanna-be dictator, there's one more bit of new research you should know about: Studies find that we can cognitively override oxytocin-driven impulses.

Several experiments suggest that while oxytocin makes us more generous and trusting, it does not make us more gullible. If we have evidence that someone is deceiving us, we can withdraw trust and resources no matter how high we are on oxytocin. If we think someone doesn't have our best interests at heart, we can end the relationship with a person or a group.

But the effects go beyond self-interest. We may like being part of a group so much that we're willing to hurt others just to stay in it. The desire to belong can compromise our ethical and empathic instincts. That's when the conscious mind needs to come online and put the brakes on the pleasures of social affliliation.

Your mom was right about keeping good company, says Paul Zak: "We do have to be in the right environment to be virtuous." That might be the bottom line with oxytocin—and, indeed, any neural system that bonds us to other people: The impulse to join and conform in a group is always very strong in human primates, and so the key lies in choosing the right group—and then not getting carried away.