The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me; he has sent me to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken in heart, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; to declare the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompence; to comfort all that mourn; that there should be given to them that mourn in Sion glory instead of ashes, the oil of joy to the mourners, the garment of glory for the spirit of heaviness: and they shall be called generations of righteousness, the planting of the Lord for glory.”
(Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:18-19)
Comfort All That Mourn

How to Overcome a Shattered Past

April 1, 2016

By Kurt Bubna

We tend to see God through our shattered perspective, and that’s a big problem. With a severely damaged self-image, we generally have a broken God-image too. In fact, let’s be honest; some of us believe God is great and all-powerful, but we can’t imagine Him doing anything astonishing through our lives. We sing worship songs about His awesomeness, but we believe God is limited in what He can do with screw-ups like us.

A huge part of the dilemma is that we like to create gods in our own image. We make gods out of the rich and famous. We elevate leaders (including politicians and pastors) to godlike status. We put them on a pedestal somewhere prominent in our lives, but in the end it’s a puny little god we’ve made to worship rather than Almighty God. Here’s the problem: If our God is too tiny or too human (like us), then our faith and confidence in Him will be too small.

Deep down we want to believe that God can do anything, but we’re pretty sure He has limits when it comes to us. Time or space might not constrain God, but a craftsman is only as good as the material he has to work with, right? And we know what we are.

More mud than marble.

More sandstone than diamond.

More broken than whole.

I’m not a big fan of self-confidence. Despite what the positive thinking gurus have to say, I’m not okay (and neither are you). I can sit in a lotus position for hours chanting, “I am good. I am awesome. My life force in the universe matters.” But in my gut I know I’m not that good. In fact, I’m pretty messed up at times.

So what’s the alternative to emotional self-flogging? The substitute for self-confidence is God-confidence. (Stop and read that line again.) In other words, it’s not about me. So I put my confidence and hope in God and His ability to accomplish anything through a cracked pot like me.

The god I’ve created in my mind has limits.

The God of the universe does not.

I am broken.

He is not.

In fact, working with people who typically are relegated to the scratch-and-dent pile of life is God’s specialty.

Many of us feel we’ve gone too far and failed too miserably to ever get back on track. Even if God once had a great plan for our lives, we believe it’s too late now. But avoiding epic failure is not a prerequisite to experiencing an epic life.

Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer. Rahab was a prostitute. Peter was a betrayer. Saul (aka: Paul) persecuted and imprisoned Christians. Yet each of them lived amazingly epic lives when they followed God.

We’re all in trouble if the path to adventure in Christ requires perfection. We must learn to get past what we’ve done and get beyond our glaring inadequacies. God is bigger than our foolishness.

Perhaps you often drift in your mind to some horrendous past sin you’ve committed. Possibly you’re devoured by your failure and overwhelmed by your foolishness. Maybe the misery of yesterday and the emptiness of today have stolen from you any joy or hope for a better tomorrow.

If that’s you, please listen to these words: God knows where you’ve been, where you are, and where He will take you. He knows your past, present and future better than you do, but He sees a sunrise of hope on your horizon.

How do you overcome a shattered and sinful past?

You simply confess your sin and rest in God’s goodness and grace. You truly can be free and forgiven because of Jesus. Let go of the things you can’t change about your past, and trust God with your present and your future. He is able to redeem, restore, and renew any life that is fully surrendered to Him.

There’s a reason why they call it amazing grace.

Article by Kurt Bubna, from

Len Bilen blog

Sign of the times: Back to Baal worship.

News item: On April 19 reproductions of the arch that stood in front of the Temple of Baal are going to be erected in Times Square in New York City and in Trafalgar Square in London.  This is also the exact day when a very important occult festival related to the worship of Baal begins.

Let it sink in with a Limerick:

In New York: A Temple of Baal

It’s not surprising at all.

When it comes to abort

New York State swayed the court.

We must protect life, lest we fall.

April 19th is the first day of a 13 day period of time known as “the Blood Sacrifice to the Beast” that culminates on the high occult holy day of Beltane on May 1st.  In some parts of the world, Beltane is much better known as “May Day”, and it has been described as the “Illuminati’s second most sacred holiday”.

Maybe this is why the sailor’s universal distress call is “MayDay”?

Or is it because the Socialist International’s most holy day is May 1?

April 19th is also known as “the Feast of Moloch”.  If you are not familiar with “Moloch” or “Molech”, it is an ancient Canaanite god that is repeatedly denounced in the Old Testament.  Child sacrifice was a key feature of the worship of Moloch, and a giant statue of this pagan deity is set up at the Bohemian Grove in northern California every year.

The organization responsible for the “celebration” in London put the following on its website: On April 19, 2016, in cooperation with national and international cultural heritage preservation organizations, and in conjunction with World Heritage Week 2016, the Institute for Digital Archaeology will install a monumental scale reconstruction of Palmyra’s Triumphal Arch on Trafalgar Square.  Through this project — and others like it scheduled throughout 2016 in cities both inside and outside the Middle East — the IDA seeks to provide an optimistic and constructive response to the ongoing threats to history and heritage that have captured headlines over the past year.  Our aim is to highlight the potential for the triumph of human ingenuity over violence by offering innovative, technology-driven options for the stewardship of objects and architecture from our shared past.

Coincidence? I think not.

What we have here is a return to the old Baal worship, much condemned in the Bible. Elijah’s epic challenge at the mount of Carmel comes to mind. The Asherah poles (or groves) everywhere on prominent places in the middle East gives an illustration how widespread it was among the Canaanite’s and adopted by the Israelites.

A short excerpt from a sermon by pastor John Mabray of Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, Va. explains it like this:

“Ritualistic Baal worship looked like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity. Amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants – men and women alike – would engage in bisexual orgies. The ritual of convenience was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of “mother earth.”

The natural consequences of such behavior – pregnancy and childbirth – and the associated financial burdens of “unplanned parenthood” were easily offset. One could either choose to engage in homosexual conduct or – with child sacrifice available on demand – could simply take part in another fertility ceremony to “terminate” the unwanted child.”

So this is what modern progressives are reduced to. It is an old religion in new clothes, and it has incorporated the environmental movement, which among other things has at its roots to reduce the world population to less than 10% of its present size.


Christians Are Still Persecuted Around the World. Here's Where.

Last Sunday's Easter bombing in Pakistan targeting Christians should come as no surprise—Christians are persecuted around the globe.

Brandon G. Withrow

04.03.16 5:15 AM ET

A tragic Easter evening at a crowded park in Lahore, Pakistan, is the latest reminder that outside of the Western world, Christianity is increasingly a targeted minority.

The Taliban faction, Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack that killed more than 70 and wounded hundreds, mostly children. More than 5,000 militants were rounded up in Pakistan and all but approximately 200 were released during the government’s investigation.

Attacks against Christians are a pattern in Pakistan in recent years. In March of 2015, for example, 14 people were killed and more than 70 injured after suicide bombers targeted two churches in Lahore, and at least 80 were killed in a church bomb attack in 2013 in the city of Peshawar.

Human-rights organizations have an uphill battle when it comes to raising Western awareness of incidents like these. David Curry, CEO of Open Doors U.S.A., part of an international organization that tracks and brings awareness of Christian persecution, sees the Western focus on persecution in America and Europe as part of the problem.

“I don't believe most Americans have an accurate understanding of the real state of Christian persecution around the world,” says Curry. News coverage is selected according to consumer demand, he adds. “But for news consumers to clamor for such coverage, they need to be aware of the extent of the problem.”

Open Doors reports a significant increase in attacks against Christians during 2014-2015. Last year, more than 7,000 Christians were killed for their faith, which they note is “almost 3,000 more than the previous year.” The largest areas of growing Christian persecution occur in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. Those numbers are expected to scale upward.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI), an organization whose Campaign for Free Expression promotes the rights of religious and nonreligious individuals globally, has seen the same patterns. “We were the sole secular humanist organization to press the State Department to label ISIS’s crimes against Muslims and Christians as genocide,” says Paul Fidalgo, the communications director for CFI.

Open Doors agrees with the genocide assessment, noting that persecution in the Middle East and Africa, “increasingly takes the form of ethnic cleansing.”

In March, pressures from human-rights organizations finally succeeded in getting the U.S. State Department to apply this genocidal label to the Islamic State. Secretary of State John Kerry provided a laundry list of war crimes by IS that helped to secure that official condemnation, including the horrific beheading of 49 Egyptian and Ethiopian Coptic Christians in 2015.

The difficulty in addressing these human-rights violations is significantly stronger, however, when it comes to recognized states. In many countries, suppression of minority religious groups is codified in legal systems in the form of blasphemy laws. These laws serve as a means to justify and prosecute religious and nonreligious minorities. (The United States still has a few unenforceable blasphemy laws left on the books.)

A 2012 report from Pew Research shows that 22 percent of “the world’s countries and territories” have blasphemy laws, and 11 percent penalize apostasy. In many locations, punishments can result in fines, but in others, blasphemy is on par with treason and can result in death.

The safety of individuals in countries with blasphemy laws is difficult to secure by foreign advocates. Frequently, governments, like Saudi Arabia, whose human-rights record is repeatedly questioned by advocacy groups, see international pressure to improve human rights as a guise for challenging their sovereignty. (Saudi Arabia has a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council.)

State responses like these belie the significant individual human cost they dismiss. In a few individual cases, the end result is freedom. In Sudan, a 27-year-old Christian woman, Meriam Ibrahim, was sentenced to death for apostasy after converting and was turned in to the authorities by her brother. Groups like Open Doors and Center for Inquiry both called for her release, and she was eventually allowed to receive asylum in the United States.

Other individuals, like Pakistani Asia Bibi, a Christian accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, are still uncertain what the future holds. She’s been on death row since 2010. Her strongest advocate, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, was assassinated for his support in 2011. She is the subject of protests and threats while her case is appealed.

Even in countries that boast a form of official secularity and religious freedom—such as Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Bangladesh—the state unofficial intolerance religious groups, or failure to address social intolerance, only increases the suppression of religious groups. “Bangladesh is perhaps the clearest example,” notes Fidalgo, “where you have secular activists and Christians being murdered, more or less with impunity.”

For those who are aware of this global situation, calls for change are growing. Through official statements and social media, many Muslims have expressed their support and solidarity with those who are persecuted. For example, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the exiled world head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community—a group also persecuted in Pakistan for their belief in a prophet after Muhammad and which is constitutionally unrecognized by the state as Muslim—released a statement expressing his sympathies and condolences, condemning the Lahore attack. “Never can such attacks be justified in any shape or form,” he says, “and so all forms of terrorism and extremism must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”

Effective international solutions, however, are still a long way away and those engaged in human rights want to see actions with teeth. “Right now few leaders are offering more than condolences after major attacks on Christians,” says Curry, “They need to go to the countries, meet with its leaders and people to find bipartisan ways to protect Christians and promote religious freedom to all.”

We have to “look beyond our borders,” adds Fidalgo. We need to recognize that “people truly are suffering in unthinkable ways—being beaten by mobs, imprisoned, executed, flogged—for holding certain beliefs or questioning the majority.”

“And then we need to start bringing to bear our diplomatic and economic influence and making serious efforts to make change. Sometimes we are doing that, but not nearly often enough, nor forcefully enough.”

Brandon G. Withrow teaches religious studies at the University of Findlay, is the author of nine books, his most-recent (co-authored with Menachem Wecker) is Consider No Evil: Two Faith Traditions and the Problem of Academic Freedom in Religious Higher Education.



Col. Sigal Tidhar: Our goal this year is to get civilians to The IDF Home Front Command has begun its annual campaign to prepare the public for wartime emergencies.

04.06.2016 | 27 Adar II, 5776

Yet, unlike in the past, this year’s drive is geared toward getting civilians to take action, Col. Sigal Tidhar, head of the Population Department in the Home Front Command, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

“This is the change we made this year, telling civilians to go out and get emergency equipment. We are telling civilians to act, to do something and not merely increase awareness,” she said.

The campaign messages, which are being broadcast on a number of media platforms, instruct civilians to have ready radios with batteries, water bottles and portable electrical chargers, among other things. “These are small yet significant things civilians can do during peacetime to be better prepared,” Tidhar said. “They can visit our site [ en/Pakar.aspx] to see the full list.”

The public information drive also calls on civilians, during times of quiet, to hold discussions with family members and select a safe area in close proximity to their homes. “They should know what is in the safe area, and how long they have in terms of [rocket] alerts,” Tidhar said.

“Parents can speak to children and tell them where to go if something happens while they are at work,” she said.

Since 2008, the Home Front Command has held annual information campaigns in an effort to set up a continuous channel of communication with the general public.

“Sometimes we do so through the media, at other times through social media and our website. We are in touch with civilians throughout the year, and want to ensure that we know how to reach them and pass on messages,” she said.

This year’s campaign does not include any of the celebrities hired in previous years as part of an effort to “put the family at the center of our message,” Tidhar aid. “We are putting out the message that civilians have responsibility. There are many things civilians can do.”

Even if all members of the public do not respond to the campaign, “they will remember the messages and know where to go to get relevant information,” if there is an emergency, Tidhar added.

Although the messages are aimed at preparedness for wartime, she said “[it] is also right for earthquakes and any other emergency. As soon as you prepare for one emergency... you’ll probably be able to deal with other kinds, as well.”




'America is continuing its descent to judgment'

Published: April 6, 2016

America has been weighed on the scales and found wanting. And the days of the Republic may be at an end.

This from Franklin Graham, who has a biblical warning for the United States, that Americans could share the fate of the Babylonian empire.

In a recent post on his Facebook page, the son of the legendary evangelist Billy Graham told the story of how the Babylonian king Belshazzar was shown the writing on the wall from God’s hand, telling him his reign was over because he did not honor God.

Graham concluded:

“What’s the writing on the wall for America? As a nation we are found lacking because of sin and disobedience to God’s Holy Word. We have not honored Him. If we don’t turn back to God, I fear that our end will be near.”

Christian leaders and writers were quick to agree with Graham’s warning.

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, the bestselling author of “The Harbinger” and “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” said Graham is echoing some of the themes he has talked about for years.

“Sin leads to judgment,” said Cahn. “This law touches not only individuals, but nations and civilizations. To whom much is given, much is required. A nation that has been especially favored with God’s blessings and the revelation of the Word is much more accountable concerning judgment. This applies to America.”

Cahn claimed America was founded out of the pattern of ancient Israel.

“If America ever turns away from God and His ways, the blessings of God will be removed from the land and the judgments that came up on ancient Israel will come upon America,” he said. Cahn argues that is precisely what is happening with “continuing manifestations of judgment” appearing in our time.

“As I have always said, God is in charge of the timing, but as it is now, America is continuing decisively in its descent to judgment,” he concluded.

Mark Biltz, pastor of El Shaddai Ministries and author of “Blood Moons” and the upcoming “God’s Day Timer: The Believer’s Guide To Divine Appointments,” also argued God is ultimately in control of America’s fate.

“It is said that the one thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history!” he exclaimed. “The last 4,000 years of world history are full of the rise and fall of kingdoms.

“Many had their turns at the helm of history. But immorality, how they treated the Jewish people, or both were always the cause of their demise. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel will bring all the kingdoms of this world in subjection to His leadership. He will put an end not only to America’s dominance but an end to every kingdom as He sets up His rule.”

Several commentators said Christians must avoid the temptation of seeking redemption through secular politics.

Bill Cloud, author of “Esau Rising,” said Christians have a special responsibility to look to God rather than any political leader.

“I know we are in the heat of this political cycle and there are a lot of Christians who think that if we just get the right guy in office then somehow all of our problems will be solved,” said Cloud. “Well, I don’t think that any person, any party or philosophy is going to save the nation. Scripturally, it says that if the land is to be healed, what has to happen is that God’s people have to humble themselves, seek His face, pray, and turn from their wicked ways. And so initially it’s upon the Christians. The responsibility is upon the Christians to turn back to God in repentance and humility and to forsake our sins. Then we see these other things begin to fall in place. Then you’ll see a spiritual renewal take place throughout the nation.”

Last month, Graham made similar comments, saying he had zero hope in the Republican Party and saying he only had faith in God.

Carl Gallups, a pastor, talk show host and author of several books including “Be Thou Prepared,” said America has lost sight of its Christian foundation.

“From the earliest writings of many of our founding fathers to later declarations of presidents, the Supreme Court, and various national officials – the Christian heritage and foundation of our nation’s principles are indisputable,” he told WND. “It is precisely because of our Christian heritage that other religions of the world are free to lawfully exercise their faith – or even to hold no faith at all – without government penalty. It was a brilliant and godly plan. The institution of that plan brought the world the most unique and blessed nation the world has ever known since ancient Israel.

“We have turned so far from those founding principles. Unless America (beginning in its pulpits and pews and thus influencing the halls of government) repents and turns back to our foundation of Godly heritage – we will simply go the way of every other secular and godless empire of ages past.”

Cheryl Chumley, author of “The Devil in DC” and a WND staff writer, said temporal politics do matter. Ultimately, however, she agreed spiritual devotion is more important.

“It’s great that so much interest has been generated among the constituency over this current primary season,” she said. “And it’s great that Republican candidates are rousing conservatives, and particularly evangelicals, from their slumber of the past two presidential races, when many stayed home instead of voting. But we have to remember our nation, based on Judeo-Christian principles, isn’t one where government is the be-all and end-all of fixing what ails. America’s greatness is tied to the realization individual rights come from God, not government.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been mocking the one who’s granted us this great nation – we’ve been living in sin, fooling ourselves into believing things like abortion, adultery, gay marriage, and so forth, are simply changes with the times and those who oppose on religious or Christian grounds ought to just shut up and quit forcing out-of-date morals on the rest of society. Well, they’re not – they’re standards set by God. And the price for failing to uphold God’s standards is removal of His blessings and protections.”

However, though many of the writers and pastors asked agreed with Graham’s comments, Joel Richardson, bestselling author of the “The Islamic Antichrist” and director of the new film “Global Jesus Revolution,” had the most challenging response. He argued Christians need to brutally examine their own conduct, and that of their leaders.

“We are now increasingly hearing various American preachers claim that if the United States as a whole does not turn back to God, we are doomed as a nation,” said Richardson. “Such comments however, while having elements of truth, do little to help our current situation. First of all, every nation throughout the earth is going to face the judgment of the Lord. The universal Day of Reckoning is looming for every nation – and for every person. As Christians however, our primary duty is to first repent ourselves, and then to call other believers to obedience to Jesus.

“How can we expect unbelievers to repent of their sins and idols, when we ourselves are not even living in obedience to Jesus? How can we as the American church for example, ask unbelievers to forsake their idols when we as a community celebrate pastors who live in ten million dollar homes with three elevators?

“Do I think judgment is coming? Yes, absolutely. The Day of the Lord is inescapable. Who can stand on that day? But we must remember that as the Scriptures state, judgment begins in the house of God. Personally I am seeking to repent myself, and then to very solemnly call other believers to repent and get back to actually following Jesus as the early believers did. When we as a community truly do this, then revival will come to this nation.”



Mississippi gov. signs religious freedom bill despite LGBT pressure

Tue Apr 5, 2016 - 4:09 pm EST

JACKSON, Mississippi, April 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Defying the trend of Republican governors in other states, the governor of Mississippi has signed a law protecting people of conscience from being compelled to participate in same-sex ceremonies.

Gov. Phil Bryant signed the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” (H.B. 1523) yesterday, saying that the government may not compel religious organizations or individuals who have a sincere objection to take part in any homosexual couple's “wedding.”

“I am signing H.B. 1523 into law to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals, organizations, and private associations from discriminatory actions from state government or its political subdivisions,” Gov. Bryant said in a statement released this afternoon.

For instance, the state must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, individual state employees may ask for a recusal, provided someone else will do so and the “licensing of any legally valid marriage is not impeded or delayed.”

Gov. Bryant's decision comes just one week after business and entertainment companies lobbied Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to veto a similar bill. He ultimately hinted that the legislation did not align with the New Testament.

“Mississippians from all walks of life believe that the government shouldn’t punish someone because of their views on marriage. The people of Mississippi, from every demographic, support this commonsense ‘live and let live’ bill, which simply affirms the freedom of all people to peacefully live and work according to their deeply held beliefs without threat of punishment from their own government,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Kellie Fiedorek.

The Mississippi law codifies constitutional protections into state law. H.B. 1523 specifies that government officials cannot compel religious organizations to hire “an individual whose conduct or religious beliefs are inconsistent with those of the religious organization." Nor may state government force religious groups that facilitate adoption or foster care to place children with homosexual couples.

Schools and privately held businesses may, if they wish, restrict “access to restrooms, spas, baths, showers, dressing rooms, locker rooms, or other intimate facilities” to members of the same biological sex.

Individuals cannot be forced to rent their homes or other dwellings to homosexuals, if they believe sexual activity outside traditional marriage is immoral. They may also refuse to take part in performing gender reassignment services.

Gov. Bryant said the bill “is designed in the targeted manner possible to prevent government interference in the lives of the people from which all power to the state is derived.”

The bill specifies that the state cannot force individuals to furnish "photography, poetry, videography, disc-jockey services, wedding planning, printing, publishing or similar marriage-related goods or services, floral arrangements, dress making, cake or pastry artistry, assembly-hall or other wedding-venue rentals, limousine or other car-service rentals, jewelry sales and services, or similar marriage-related services, accommodations, facilities or goods."

Christians who believe marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman have faced legal retribution, including business-crushing fines, in states that lack such a law.

Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, said, “This bill flies in the face of the basic American principles of fairness, justice and equality,” and branded the bill a “badge of shame.”

But Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said Gov. Bryant deserves praise for safeguarding basic constitutional rights.

"Big Business and Hollywood have engaged in economic blackmail in Mississippi just like they have in Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas to try to force government discrimination of those who support natural marriage,” he said. “However, unlike Indiana and Georgia, leaders in Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas have chosen to defend the fundamental freedom of their citizens to believe and live according to those beliefs, rather than capitulate to the economic threats.”

"Long-term, political leaders who refuse to sacrifice fundamental freedoms under the threats of big government, Big Business, and big entertainment are rewarded with support of voters as their states find such policies promote stronger families, stronger communities, which lead to stronger economies,” he said.

The law's supporters say it is necessary to assure the free and robust expression of religion.

“You’re not free if your beliefs are confined to your mind,” Fiedorek said. “What makes America unique is our freedom to peacefully live out those beliefs, and the Constitution protects that freedom.”

The law takes effect in July.



Mississippi’s controversial ‘religious freedom’ bill signed into law

Published time: 5 Apr, 2016 20:30

Mississippi’s “religious freedom” bill has been signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant. The legislation creates a right to withhold services aiding same-sex marriage and extramarital sex, as well as from transgender people, based on religious objection.

Bryant signed House Bill 1523 into law on Tuesday, saying in a statement that the measure aims to "protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals, organizations and private associations from discriminatory action by state government or its political subdivisions" such as local governments and state universities. Bryant asserted that the law will not "limit any constitutionally protected rights or actions of any citizen of this state under federal or state laws."

“It gives protection to those in the state who cannot in a good conscience provide services for a same-sex marriage,” State Senator Jennifer Branning said on the floor of the Senate last week.

Opponents of the law say the measure allows government-sanctioned discrimination. They point out that even without the law, Mississippi, like many other states, allows for open discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in areas such as employment and housing. Yet the Mississippi law does add explicit protection for those who choose to discriminate based on their faith.

The law allows for denial of services, goods, employment, wedding products, and housing to LGBT people. The measure also protects those who refuse to provide medical treatment, counseling, or surgeries involving sex reassignment or gender identity.

The law shields those who hold that "sexual relations are properly reserved” to married couples of the opposite sex.

House Bill 1523 defines gender as “objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”

The law also defines a "person" to include a “sole proprietorship, or closely held company, partnership, association, organization, firm, corporation, cooperative, trust, society or other closely held entity.”

Individuals acting on the basis of their faith cannot be retaliated against by the state by way of fines, withholding loans, refusal to hire, or other potential acts.

For example, state employees who refuse to issue marriage licenses or religious organizations that discipline employees are protected by the law. Though in the case of marriage licenses, the bill’s sponsor says the measure has been misrepresented.

"It specifically says that is a case where a person has a religious conviction, they can decline, but they must provide somebody in their office to provide that service," said Republican Rep. Andy Gipson, according to Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Opponents say the law will likely involve significant legal fees as a result of court challenges.

“It’s void at the start, and it’s done strictly for pandering,” said Democratic Rep. Jay Hughes. “It’s going to cost us, at a time when our budget is so week, it’s going to cost us tens-of-thousands, hundreds-of-thousands, probably going to private attorneys instead of the attorney general to defend a law that was illegal from the time it was introduced.”

Similar laws have made their way through legislatures of conservative states this spring. Last month, North Carolina passed a law that bars local governments from enacting anti-discrimination ordinances and bans transgender people from restrooms consistent with their adopted gender identity. Top corporations like Apple and Bank of America have voiced disapproval of the law. PayPal has gone so far as to cancel plans to expand its operations in the state because of its opposition.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently rejected a similar measure in his state after much backlash from major organizations, such as the National Football League.

In Missouri, the legislature has approved a "religious freedom" amendment to the state constitution, which will appear on the ballot in November. The likes of Mastercard, Monsanto, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association have all voiced their opposition to the proposal.

Missouri's proposal is similar to Indiana's religious freedom restoration act, a religious exemption law that prompted boycotts and business protests in the state last year, costing Indiana as much as $60 million in economic benefits, according to a tourism group survey.



Fighting in Nagorno Karabakh: A Headache for Moscow

Russian diplomatic intervention in an area of strategic importance to Moscow is likely to prevent escalation.

Alexander Mercouris

April 3, 2016

News of a flare up in fighting in the Caucasian territory of Nagorno Karabakh will cause the Kremlin serious worry.

Nagorno Karabakh is a small territory which before 1988 was largely Armenian but which is now entirely so.

For complicated historical reasons, whilst the USSR was in existence, Nagorno Karabakh, despite being predominantly Armenian, instead of being incorporated in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (one of the 15 constituent republics of the USSR) was incorporated in the Azerbaijanian Soviet Socialist Republic instead.

There is much argument about the reasons for this, with the Azeris claiming that Nagorno Karabakh was always historically part of their territory, the Soviet authorities in Moscow saying it was done out for pragmatic reasons to develop a small and poor region by attaching it to the richer of the two Caucasian republics (Azerbaijan) rather than the poorer (Armenia), and some scholars saying it was the result of Stalin’s divide and rule policy.

I do not have the necessary knowledge of Caucasian history to say who is right. What I will say that what I have heard is that Nagorno Karabakh was incorporated in Azerbaijan rather than Armenia not by design but by accident - and I strongly suspect that is the truth.

The territory was apparently occupied by the Red Army and administered from Bolshevik controlled Baku (Azerbaijan’s capital) during the Russian Civil War before the Red Army conquered Armenia - which enjoyed a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution.

This arrangement was then left unchanged even after Armenia was forcibly incorporated into the USSR because of bureaucratic inertia. This was true even during the period of the Transcaucasus Soviet Socialist Republic when all these territories (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh and also Georgia) were supposedly administered jointly.

That is not to say that there were not other factors. Over time it became politically increasingly difficult to change the arrangement because of hardening Azeri opposition to any change. Apparently there were also objections to any increase in the USSR’s Armenian administered territory from Turkey’s leader, Mustafa Kemal Attaturk.

Kemal was one of Moscow’s few friends during the inter-war years and the Soviets were unwilling to offend him.

What I have also heard is that after the Second World War, following Armenian complaints, Stalin decided shortly before his death to revisit the whole issue, and was prepared to look into the possibility of having Nagorno Karabakh transferred to Armenia from Azerbaijan. Supposedly he appointed the powerful Central Committee Secretary Georgy Malenkov to carry out an inquiry to look into the question and to report back to him.

By this point relations between Russia and Turkey had all but broken down after Turkey joined NATO, so the need to appease Turkey no longer existed.

Stalin however died before a decision was made. This removed the one person with the power and authority to solve the whole problem by transferring Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan to Armenia at the stroke of a pen.

Following Stalin's death Malenkov’s inquiry was left to lapse. With the situation in the Caucasus firmly under control the Soviet leaders in Moscow were far too absorbed in their own power struggle to worry about a local dispute in the far off trans Caucasus.

Though Azerbaijan and Armenia for the remainder of the Soviet period remained constituent republics of the same country - the USSR - the Armenian inhabitants of Nagorno Karabakh continued to resent their rule from Baku and still hankered for union with Armenia.

Though the fact is sometimes denied, I have no doubt that the quarrel between Armenians and Azeris over Nagorno Karabakh has at least at some level also been coloured by the greater quarrel between the Armenian people and Turkey.

Azeris are a Turkic people speaking a language similar - though not identical - to the Turkish spoken in Turkey, though unlike the Turks of Turkey - who are Sunni - the Azeris are Shia.

Though the Azeris were not involved in the Armenian Genocide, Armenians in my experience tend to conflate them with Turks, and it is in fact the case that relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey have become very close since Azerbaijan achieved independence after the USSR dissolved in 1991.

Turkey has sided strongly with Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia and has imposed an economic blockade on Armenia to support Azerbaijan in the conflict.

The conflict exploded in 1988 when the local authorities in Nagorno Karabakh voted to secede from Azerbaijan and to join Armenia. The action triggered protests in both Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as in Nagorno Karabakh itself. It also led to the ugly murder of a large number of Armenians by an Azeri mob in the town of Sumgait in Azerbaijan.

As the protests in Azerbaijan became increasingly violent they triggered a mass exodus of Azerbaijan’s previously large Armenian population to Armenia and Russia. Most of the small Azeri population of Nagorno Karabakh in turn fled to Azerbaijan.

The protests eventually led to fighting and outright war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which Azerbaijan eventually lost.

Nagorno Karabakh has been under Armenian control ever since, though it is not formally incorporated in Armenia and Azerbaijan continues to claim it.

Though the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is now a largely forgotten part of the story of the USSR’s collapse, I will here state my own personal view, which is that Gorbachev’s failure to end it by reasserting Moscow’s control was a major cause for the collapse of his authority in Moscow.

The conflict has festered ever since with attempts by the Russians and other parties to broker a solution getting nowhere and with Azerbaijan investing much of its oil wealth in an arms build-up that has the Armenians understandably worried and which they see as intended to put Azerbaijan in a position where it can reverse the outcome of the war.

In the meantime relations between Russia and Armenia have grown steadily closer, with Armenia joining the Eurasian Union and positioning itself as Russia’s key ally in the Caucasus.

This builds on a very long history of intense cultural interaction and friendship between the Russian and Armenian peoples, with each traditionally harbouring strongly positive feelings towards the other.

Armenia is now also the host of an important Russian air base, which the Russians have recently reinforced with MiG29 fighters.

Azerbaijan for its part has been careful not to break its ties with Moscow completely.

Though the Azeris have on occasion tilted towards the US, and have flirted with the various gas and oil pipeline schemes intended to reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia (the subject of the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough), they have up to now shown a keen understanding of the local geopolitical realities, and realise that Russia is and will remain for the foreseeable future the dominant power in the Caucasus.

The steady build-up of Russian naval power in the Caspian Sea, and the network of Russian air bases in Armenia and in the northern Caucasus, have effectively sealed Russia’s overwhelming military advantage.

It is this overwhelming Russian power that in the end makes it unlikely the present fighting will escalate into all-out war.

With Armenia in firm alliance with Russia - which would come to Armenia’s aid in the event of an all-out war - Azerbaijan knows it would quickly lose such a war, and that is a powerful deterrent against Azerbaijan deciding to start one.

As for Armenia, it has no claim on Azerbaijan and merely seeks to preserve the status quo in Nagorno Karabakh and elsewhere. It therefore has no interest in starting a war.

Since neither side (probably) wants a war why is fighting taking place now?

Reports suggest the latest bout of fighting was started by Azerbaijan.

Most probably the Azeris want to remind the Russians that the Nagorno Karabakh conflict remains unresolved, though it is possible that the Azeri government - under severe domestic pressure because of the oil price fall - is using the fighting to strengthen its popularity in Azerbaijan.

There is also always a possibility in this sort of conflict that the fighting is the work of local commanders acting on their own initiative. The area is heavily mountainous, communications are poor and it is not impossible that the political leaderships have a less than complete control of the situation on the ground.

Lastly it is not impossible that Turkish meddling has played a part. With Turkey now under severe pressure from Moscow it is not inconceivable that the Turks have used their influence in Azerbaijan to stir up trouble for Moscow in its Caucasian backyard. It is important to say however that there is at present no evidence for this and any theorising to this effect remains for the moment pure speculation.

Though it is unlikely the fighting will escalate further, the fighting nonetheless serves as a pointed reminder to the Russians that the situation in the Caucasus remains fragile and that peace there cannot be taken for granted.

Though Russia’s alliance with Armenia is not in doubt, it is in Russia’s interests to retain at least a dialogue with Baku.

Russia does not want to lose Azerbaijan entirely, as it might do if matters were allowed to get so bad that Russia was obliged to come to Armenia’s rescue.

The Kremlin’s diplomats in the Caucasus will be working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.



'If You Don't Pay We'll Smash You': West Forcing Greece to Repay Debt

© AP Photo/ Yorgos Karahalis


Representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) believe that a possible Greek default may coincide with the referendum on Britain's withdrawal from the EU, a WikiLeaks report revealed on Saturday, referring to a recent teleconference recording, which took place on March 19 between two representatives of the fund.

According to the report, the IMF plans to declare its withdrawal from the "troika" of creditors if the fund and the European Commission cannot reach an agreement on the Greek debt.

According to Thomsen, the threat of an imminent financial disaster is necessary to force other parties make corresponding decisions. In particular, it is matter of reducing pensions of the Greek population and increasing taxes.

The IMF representatives believe that the referendum in the UK, scheduled for the end of June, may paralyze the decision-making process in Europe at a critical moment.

According to Thomsen, Greece is not even close to the adoption of European demands. Velculescu, for her turn, said all creditors should exert further pressure on the Greek government and force it to pay back.

"They want Greece to continue to pay. […] So it's a game of pushing, and pushing to screw the Greeks, to make them pay and to use these threats — and they are very very serious threats, basically: ‘If you don't pay we'll just smash you,'" professor of binary economics Rodney Shakespeare said in an interview with RT.

"The West and Germans, in particular, are going to reinsure that Greece becomes a debt peon and agrees to pay more and more forevermore. It's a nasty situation. And on top of that, they want to use Greece as a lesson for the UK, and to say if you dare pull out of Europe we will do to you what we are doing to Greece," Shakespeare said.

The problem for the IMF is that the European Commission wants to reach a compromise and takes a softer line on the issue. The main disagreement between them is whether to pressure the country to the end, until it is unable to pay and withdraws from the Eurozone, or stick to a more careful approach, pulling money out of Greece step by step.



Dispossessing the Sámi Peoples

by Justin Kenrick 30TH MARCH 2016

The ancient forest of Białowieża – the last remaining primeval forest in the European lowlands – straddles the Polish/ Belarus border, and is the last home of wild European bison. It is now under threat from a Polish government decision to log more than 180,000 cubic metres. Meanwhile, the Finnish Government has unexpectedly brought forward to today a vote in the Finnish Parliament on a new Forestry Act that will enable it to engage in an unprecedented land grab that threatens the last old growth forests of Finnish Lapland and the reindeer herding homeland of the indigenous Sámi Peoples.

While Finnish education may be the envy of the world, one aspect of it appears to leave mainstream Finnish foresters unable to contemplate any approach to forestry that does not involve turning the rich biodiversity of indigenous forests into commercial monocultures. This is an approach they are still exporting to the rest of the world with disastrous consequences for indigenous forests and indigenous peoples elsewhere. Now the same approach is being turned on their own last remaining old growth indigenous forests: the reindeer herding homeland of the indigenous Sámi Peoples.

Hannibal Rhoades and Tero Mustonen note that:

“This crisis arrives in a context in which the previous Finnish Government failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, leaving the Sámi vulnerable. Now the current government in Finland is moving fast to completely wreck the existing rights of the only Indigenous Peoples living in the European Union. . .

“The new Act would affect 2.2 million hectares of water systems and 360,000 hectares of land, mostly in the Sub-Arctic and North Boreal areas of Finland, the Sámi’s Home Area. This area constitutes the last preserved wilderness of Europe. The Act would transfer power over this region further into the hands of state authorities, opening up the Sámi Home Area and sub-Arctic ecosystems to railway construction, and with that, potential expansion of mining, forestry and other infrastructure projects.

“The new Forestry Act would no longer require Metsähallitus, the Finnish state-run enterprise which already controls 90% of the Sámi Home Area, to liase with the Sámi Parliament and the Skolt Sámi Village Council on issues of land management and their potential impacts on indigenous people’s lives. The preparation of this Act has not been conducted with the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the Sámi People.”

Indigenous Sami leaders and Arctic scientists are asking for help from the international community:

The President of the Finnish Section of the Saami Council, Jouni Lukkari, is calling for urgent help from the international community, saying that:

“Sámi reindeer herding and the Sámi way of life are in danger of disappearing if the new Forestry Act legislation passes in the Finnish Parliament. In this case we will have few opportunities to influence the decision making over our lands. Rather, our territories will be controlled by market economy values.”

Tero Mustonen informs us that:

“Despite fierce opposition from a large part of the Finnish public, all Sámi reindeer herding cooperatives, Snowchange and a large international coalition of peoples, the Forestry Act has passed one hour ago in the Finnish Parliament.

“108 MPs voted for the Act, 64 against, 3 voted nothing. Finnish parliament has 200 MPs. The law will take effect when the Finnish President will sign it, expected to be 15th April, 2016.

“It is a dark hour for Finland, for the Arctic and climate change, as the forests the law will now condemn to clear cuts act as crucial carbon sinks for the world, in addition to being the Sámi homeland. Additionally, 2,2 million hectares of waters will be the subject of potential commercial uses.

“We will be contemplating next steps with the Sámi Council and other Sámi actors over the coming days and will send information in due time about the ways to stop this land grab, one of the largest in European history, against Indigenous peoples and nature.”



Breaking: Mayor’s Office In Houston Shut Down Vaxxed

By John Rappoport

APRIL 7, 2016


The film Vaxxed, exposing criminal fraud at the CDC and the CDC’s concealment of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, was shut down in Houston. Locked out 2 days ago.

It was supposed to open at the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival, but Hunter Todd, the head of the Festival, admitted in writing that “high government officials” in Houston had threatened the Festival—so Vaxxed was axed.

Now I have confirmation that it was the Houston Mayor’s office that did the deed. The threat was about $$. The city government supports the Festival with grants. Show the film—no grants.

More censorship.

As you know, Vaxxed was also axed at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

But the Angelika Film Center in NY has been showing Vaxxed since last Friday, and attendance has swelled. There are now requests from many theaters around THE WORLD that want to show the film.

I’ve just been informed that the Village Voice newspaper in New York, which agreed to a package of ads from Vaxxed, has canceled the ads—and blasted out an email distancing itself from Vaxxed.

The censors are working overtime on all fronts….AND THEY’RE LOSING.

Here is the Vaxxed statement about the Village Voice shutting down their ad package:

“…yesterday, after a paid advertising email blast promoting the film was sent to the Village Voice’s Film list, the Editor sent out an unprecedented and factually incorrect retraction:

Village Voice Editor: “Earlier today we sent a promotional email that included advertising for the movie Vaxxed, causing some confusion about whether we support the film’s position that vaccinations can cause autism and other developmental problems in children. We want to be very clear that the Voice vehemently disagrees with that position, and believes it to be contrary to the vast majority of scientific information on the subject.”

Vaxxed Producers: “…After the print ad in the Village Voice was published (which hit newsstands yesterday) and the promotional e-blast was sent to subscribers then retracted, Cinema Libre Studio [Vaxxed’s distributor] was informed that the remaining part of the ad campaign, which included digital banner ads, was also cancelled.”


Stay tuned.



Village of 100-YEAR-OLDS: Rosemary holds secret to Italian community with 300 centenarians

SCIENTISTS are to study a village in which 300 residents have lived to the age of 100 to find the secret of a long and disease-free life.


PUBLISHED: 00:01, Thu, Mar 31, 2016 | UPDATED: 08:26, Thu, Mar 31, 2016

300 residents of Acciaroli in Italy have lived to the age of 100

Researchers were stunned to discover so many older people in peak physical and mental condition living in one place.

The elderly population of Acciaroli in Italy’s Campania region has low rates of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Experts are convinced a combination of the Mediterranean diet, daily exercise and extensive use of the herb rosemary has been responsible for extending lives almost two decades beyond the national average in Italy of 83.

A specialist team will now carry out rigorous tests on locals to discover their secret. The findings could radically change the way a host of age-related illnesses are treated worldwide.

Professor Alan Maisel, of the San Diego School of Medicine in the US, which is conducting the study with the Sapienza University of Rome, said: “The goal of this long-term study is to find out why this group of 300 is living so long by conducting a full genetic analysis.

“The results could be applied to patients worldwide.”

They hope to discover what is behind the remarkable endurance of those living in the world’s healthiest community, nestled between the ocean and mountains on southern Italy’s western coast.

The picturesque fishing community and its neighbouring hamlets have about 2,000 inhabitants. Novelist Ernest Hemingway extolled the virtues of life in Acciaroli during a visit in 1953.

The village of Acciaroli is on the south-east coast of Italy

It sits on the Tyrrhenian Sea which has gained international fame for the quality of its water. Due to its location locals have to walk long distances, often uphill.

But it is what they eat that interests researchers most. Mealtimes are based around the Mediterranean diet of fish, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and olive oil with herbs and spices used to flavour foods instead of salt.

Locals infuse everything with the herb rosemary, which many believe has healing properties. Native to the Mediterranean, rosemary is commonly used in cooking and is a good source of iron, calcium and vitamin B6.

Yet many eat it for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties believing it can boost the immune system, improve circulation and alleviate muscle pain.

The US-Italian research team is the fi rst in the world to be given permission to study the people. Over six months they will analyse blood samples and test for cognitive dysfunction and resilience to heart disease, dementia, kidney disease and cancer.

They will also examine lifestyle, especially diet and exercise.

Professor Salvatore Di Somma, of the Sapienza University of Rome, said: “This project will not only help unlock some of the secrets of healthy ageing, but will build closer ties with researchers globally, which will lead to improved clinical care in our ageing population.”

Professor Simon Capewell, of the UK Faculty of Public Health, said: “Poor diet causes a bigger burden of disease and death than smoking, alcohol and inactivity combined.

“This study may throw further light on why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy.”

Latest official figures for the UK show a boy could expect to live to 79.1 and a girl to 82.8.

Dr Ian Campbell, a family GP from Nottingham, said: “A Mediterranean diet and active lifestyle are well recognised health-promoting factors.

“While most British people can get their head around more fruit, vegetables and fish in their diet, they would struggle walking long distances and hiking through mountains on a daily basis.

“It’s important we learn from these isolated unique population groups, but any lessons learned have to be translated to a British way of life.”



6 Potent Superfoods to Detox Heavy Metals from Your Body and Mind

Anna Hunt, Staff

March 30, 2016

“Heavy metal toxicity—from metals such as mercury, aluminum, copper, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, and lead—represents one of the greatest threats to our health and well-being.” ~ Anthony William, author of Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal

Every person has been exposed to heavy metals throughout their lives, often on a daily basis, thus toxicity due to accumulation of heavy metals in the body has become a very common.

These accumulated metals that are burrowed deep inside the body’s tissues and pose a significant threat to your health. Their presence puts immense stress on the human body, slowly poisoning the body, damaging the body’s organs, and weakening the immune support system.

Fortunately, it is quite easy and inexpensive to cleanse your body of heavy metals through adding certain supplemental foods into your diet. Similar to chelation therapy, a medical procedure that involves the administration of often-synthetic chelating agents that will bond with heavy metals in the body and remove them, these foods also electrically attract and bond with metals, but not the beneficial nutrients, and help eliminate them out of the body.

The following are six simple foods that will likely reduce heavy metals toxicity in your body:

1. Spirulina is an edible blue-green algae. It is known for its distinctive green color and strong odor and delivers a strong dose of protein, all eight of the essential amino acids, iron, folic acid, B vitamins, selenium and manganese, resulting in strong therapeutic benefits. Spirulina can be effective in removing heavy metals from the nervous system and the liver.

2. Chlorella is a solid green-colored form of algae. Although it is a little harder to digest than spirulina, chlorella is known to be effective in removing heavy metals for just this reason. Chlorella’s cell walls are very tough and often cannot be fully digested, and it is these cell walls that bind to toxins in your body in order to eliminate them.

Organic Chlorella Powder (Cracked Cell Walls) from Starwest Botanicals

3. Atlantic dulse is edible seaweed that binds to metals such as aluminum (which is extremely prevalent in the food industry), mercury, lead, copper and nickel. This seaweed works in the digestive tract all the way through the colon to seek out and bind with toxic heavy metals, without releasing them back into the body.

4. Barley grass juice powder is not a very common food, but it does help address heavy metals toxicity in the various parts of the digestive system and the reproductive organs. If coupled with spirulina, barley grass juice powder can be even more effective.

5. Edible wild plants dandelion and milk thistle both cleanse the blood vessels and improve the functionality of the liver, which is an important organ when it comes to eliminating impurities from the body.

6. Ginger is one of the healthiest plants on Earth. In addition to improving digestion and reducing inflammation in the body, ginger root supports kidney function. The kidneys play an important role in the body’s elimination process and are often one of the first targets of heavy metals toxicity, so they need ginger’s extra power boost.

In ancient Chinese medicine, it is believed that Spring is one of the best times of the year to focus on clearing any impurities that have become embedded in the body, such as heavy metals. But you do not have to wait until Spring. With these six food supplements, cleansing the body of accumulated heavy metals has never been easier during any season.


Natural News

Tidal wave of food manufacturers switching to sunflower oil to avoid toxic GMO corn, soy and canola oils

Wednesday, April 06, 2016 by: Jennifer Lea Reynolds

In an effort to avoid the health-harming problems caused by GMO soy, corn and canola oils, food manufacturers are turning to the cleaner, non-GMO benefits of sunflower oil. Furthermore, sunflower oil is void of trans fats, another plus when it comes to maintaining good health.

Of course, by now we're all aware of the fact that GMOs wreak havoc on health. They've been proven to damage blood, destroy reproductive organs and create cellular damage in the body. At the same time, Monsanto, the company that incites frustration among many people for their involvement in GMOs, and worse, their refusal to admit that they're unhealthy, is a key player in the GMO field.

The greedy company maintains that GMOs are proven to be safe, are thoroughly tested, and are helpful in reducing agricultural chemical use. As just one example, Monsanto maintains that the protein in their high-lysine corn is safe because it's found in soil, suggesting that it's good to ingest, since consumption of soil on vegetables and fruits has been occurring in the human diet throughout history. Clearly, that kind of logic is only a warped attempt to try to pull the wool over our eyes. Health conscious people know better.

In addition to GMOs, trans fats also destroy health

As for trans fats, it's no secret that they should be avoided. They're used to boost food flavoring, maintain a product's appearance and increase shelf life, but they also contribute to weight gain and memory loss. For example, one study found that men aged 45 and younger who ate a junk food diet high in trans fats performed less effectively on word recall tests for every additional gram of trans fats they ate every day. "As I tell patients," says Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, and lead author of that study which was published in PLOS ONE, "while trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people."

Thankfully, as a health-conscious wave continues to sweep across America, food manufacturers are stepping up to meet the demand. Many restaurant chains and stores, for example, have taken measures to provide healthier options to consumers; even Whole Foods, which has been involved in deceptive GMO advertising practices, has announced that they'll be entirely GMO-free by 2018. And Chipotle, as most of us are aware, was one of the first restaurant chains to announce that their foods would contain only GMO-free ingredients.

Food manufacturers joining the health conscious wave in America

Rick Robbins, general manager at Colorado Mills Sunflower Oil, agrees that the trend towards health is booming, noting that companies such as Frito Lay and Kettle have started using sunflower oil in their products. "A lot of distributors for restaurants and bakeries and snack food manufacturers want a healthier, non-GMO oil," Robbins says. Regarding this need, he says there's a shift away from GMO soybean and canola oils. "Soybean and canola have been the predominant oils but there has been a major drop in those oils in the marketplace. It's being driven by the consumers; they are being more vocal about what they want."

John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association, has also noticed the healthier move, saying that small and large food manufacturers are switching to sunflower oil. "They are adding sunflower oil because it has an exceptional fat profile with less than 10% unhealthy saturated fat, no trans fat, and over 90% healthy unsaturated fat," he says. "As consumer demand for more natural and wholesome foods continues to grow, it's not surprising that food manufacturers are creating cleaner labels and healthier ingredient decks. For those who want to make the non-GMO claim and have a cleaner label, sunflower oil fits the bill."

Sources for this article include:


Until next week...keep on believing.
Almondtree Productions

Neither shall there be there any more a child that dies untimely, or an old man who shall not complete his time: for the youth shall be a hundred years old.”
(Isaiah 65:20)