For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.”
(Psalm 33:9)
He Spake

***

CT

A Theology Lesson from Quantum Physics

What beaming a proton to space has to do with salvation.

SHAYNE LOOPER OCTOBER 18, 2017

When news broke this summer that Chinese scientists had engineered the successful “teleportation” of a photon over a distance greater than 300 miles, Star Trek fans around the globe rejoiced. It was, however, a belated celebration: Teleportation has been around as a serious theory for 25 years and has been a reality in the lab for 20.

On the other hand, one might argue the celebration was premature. If one defines teleportation as the transfer of an object from one place to another without crossing intervening space (what Scotty does when Jim Kirk is in trouble), then what the Chinese performed was not teleportation. The object, a photon, was not transferred, but information about the object—its quantum footprint, so to speak—was.

While Star Trek fans might be disappointed, scientists, technology companies, and the intelligence community are thrilled. Because teleportation, or “telephresis” as some scientists prefer to call it, happens instantaneously and without crossing intervening space, it may have the potential of providing hacker-proof communications security and next-generation cryptography.

This kind of teleportation is possible because of the strange interaction of subatomic particles, which physicists refer to as “entanglement.” According to Randy Isaac, a solid-state physicist and executive director emeritus of the American Scientific Affiliation, a particle can be entangled with another particle in such a way that their quantum properties, such as position, speed, and spin, are linked. An action performed on the first particle instantaneously affects its partner particle, regardless of the distance between them in space or, as Einstein taught us to say, spacetime.

Entanglement is weird, and though scientists have come to accept and exploit it, they do not pretend to understand it. Einstein himself refused to believe it, deriding it as “spooky action at a distance,” but it has turned out to be true. There is a connectedness in the universe that defies explanation. A change in a subatomic particle on this side of the galaxy will instantaneously make a difference in an entangled particle on the other side. This is not science fiction. It is science fact.

Subatomic particles are not the only things that are entangled in our universe. So are we. We are entangled with one another and even with creation—something we are only now discovering but which Paul asserted to be true in Romans 8. God designed humanity this way from the beginning. It is part of what makes us great. We are entangled with people we do not know, from places we have never been, at times we have not existed, in the deep past and in the unknown future.

The entire human race can be conceived as one large, interconnected thing, stretching across space and time. If we could see what God sees when he looks at humanity, we would not only see a hundred billion or so disconnected individuals but a human race that is more like a massive body with a hundred billion parts.

Human entanglement and the “spooky action at a distance” it makes possible are responsible both for the damaged state in which humanity now finds itself and the glorious future which awaits it. It made the consequences of the first Adam’s sin impossible for us to avoid, but it also makes the consequences of the second Adam’s obedience possible for us to share.

Theologians are just as hard-pressed to explain the mystery of humanity’s entangled relationship with Adam as physicists are to explain quanta’s entangled relationships with each other. While physicists talk about quantum field theory and supersymmetry and employ equations like Schrodinger’s Wave Function, theologians talk about federal headship theory and natural headship theory and employ concepts like covenant and imputation.

In both cases, the theories are useful without being complete. This is one reason an analogy like this—and it is only an analogy, not a source of evidence—is helpful. It reminds us that theories can be useful, even when we know them to be incomplete. The theories help us explore and explain other data both in the physical sciences (like wave/particle duality) and theology (like the necessity of the incarnation).

Because of the God-designed capacity for human entanglement, the choices of two men—the two Adams—has affected all humanity. The first Adam tripped and we fell. The second Adam died and we live. The first Adam’s trespass brought condemnation. The second Adam’s obedience brought justification.

The chief complaint against theological explanations of entanglement has always been its unfairness: Adam sins, and I’m condemned? He trips, and I fall? How is that fair? Clearly, it is not. Fairness is: “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezek. 18:4). That is fair but it’s hardly better, since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Thankfully, God is more than fair, as the apostle Paul points out in Romans 5:15: “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”

This analogy, like all analogies, has its limits. Quantum entanglement is, according to Isaac, fleeting and hard to sustain. In contrast, Adam entanglement is stable and, as we inevitably discover, hard to break. But entanglement with Christ is eternal and provides a stronger bond than the forces of nature can establish.

The capacity for entanglement was not a design flaw, even though it left us tangled up in Adam’s fall. Through it, the Creator planned to reverse the fall by uniting himself to Adam’s race in the incarnation, and by uniting Adam’s race to himself in what theologians call glorification. Whatever wonders quantum entanglement brings will not compare to the eternal weight of that glory.

***

All News Pipeline

Is This Former CIA Official's Statement A Harbinger Of Things To Come? 'It's Just Mystery After Mystery After Mystery'

- From Biblical Wars To The Building Of Colossal Ancient Monuments And Structures, Will Long-Hidden Knowledge Soon Be Revealed With 'Sound' Now Being Used As A Weapon?

By MT Taylor - All News Pipeline
October 25, 2017

What’s been going on in Cuba? Dizziness, balance problems, visual difficulties, headaches, and even brain injuries—Are we seeing the beginnings of fallout from sound weaponry?
Wait a minute, you may say. Sound isn’t really a weapon—at least, it wasn’t before American diplomats in Havana were attacked a few months back by what officials called “an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound.”
And now an American tourist from South Carolina claims he was hit by the same mysterious unseen weapon on a trip to Cuba years before the diplomats were targeted. The tourist, Chris Allen, suffered from a numbness in his limbs that lasted for months, mystifying several neurologists who treated him.
Just what really happened? We may not get to know much more, since the ongoing investigation has been termed “sensitive” by Associated Press news reports.
A recent article by Stefan Stanford of All News Pipeline cited AP reports stating that investigators suspect some sort of “sophisticated sonic weapon” was being used against U.S. diplomats. They call the instigators “a malicious party,” while not openly blaming Cuba for the attacks.
In other words, the weaponry, the motive, and the identity of the Havana attackers are unknown. “None of this has a reasonable explanation,” Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official was quoted as saying in September. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”

And why not? The fact is, we don’t know that much about sound in the first place--what it can and can’t do; whether it is always a friend or sometimes an enemy.
Wikipedia tells us that sound is a form of energy associated with the vibration of matter. Einstein stated that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. It makes sense that if sound is indestructible, it is not only physical, but it is in some way eternal.
Mystery or not, we know that sound as energy has force. The highest sung notes can shatter glass, and the sound of a mighty explosion far away can shake the ground we walk on. Think Jericho, when the Israelites shouted and the walls of the city came tumbling down.
“When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city.” Joshua 6:20

This is the Bible passage quoted by Charlton Heston when he narrated the 1993 documentary, “The Mystery of the Sphinx,” about the massive Egyptian monument in the desert near three great pyramids. Heston alluded to the air of mystery surrounding the structures, particularly about the method of construction.
Who or what lifted the multi-ton rocks used in building these colossal sites, he asked, pointing out that no technology existed at the time for raising and transporting them.
This is where sound comes into the picture. One possible explanation, according to some Egyptologists and scientific researchers, is the use of acoustic levitation, sometimes referred to as anti-gravity.
Many Eastern seers such as the late Abd’el Hakim Awyan are aware that the possible capabilities of sound have intrigued mankind for thousands of years. Hakim, of the Awyani Tribe of Egypt, was one who observed that ancient technology using sound far outpaced today’s modern building methods that use cranes and other weight-hauling machines..
Proof, they say, are the pyramids and other ancient mega-structures found all over the world that were made with stones weighing more than 200 tons. In most cases they were built by primitive peoples who had no visible means to lift, transport, or cut and shape the stones.
Consider the Phoenician city Baalbek in Lebanon and its ancient temple Heliopolis, built with giant blocks weighing more than a thousand tons. Other sites with mysterious megalithic monuments include Pima Punka and Tiahhuanaco in Bolivia, Sacsayhuaman and Machu Pichu in Peru, and Stonehenge in England, as well as the great pyramids of Egypt.
The question is, who made these mega-structures, and how did they do it? Could the force of sound be a factor?
Even though we don’t think of the sounds around us as having a physical presence, some scientists today are working to discover the secrets of sound vibrations. They are experimenting with acoustic levitation to find out how objects can be lifted using sound, or “hoverboard tech.”
The website Sonic Levitation.com asks, “Did Tibetan Monks use sonic levitation to lift stones?” It is believed that priests of the far East were able to lift heavy boulders up high mountains with the help of sounds from musical drums and trumpets.
The site relates eye-witness accounts of sound waves being generated by a group of 200 men using only their voices and musical instruments. The sounds were directed in such a way that an anti-gravitational effect was created and rocks were lifted over 250 feet up a mountain.
Monks believed that each individual singer accessed energy that originated from the heavens and that the power of sound increased with the number of participants singing or playing their instruments.
This same kind of power is described in II Chronicles when God told King Jehoshaphat not to be afraid of fighting against invading armies that were threatening Judah. “The battle is not yours, but God’s,” he assured the king.
“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him… as they went out at the head of the army. As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” II Chronicles 20:21, 22.
Using sound to build colossal monuments and to fight Biblical wars may be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to harnessing sonic power and using it for good. The prenatal health community benefits from Ultrasound, which uses sonic vibrations, allowing doctors to view the fetus while still inside the womb.
Other positive effects occur with certain friendly frequencies that have helped develop the tool of Sound Frequency Healing. At the same time, unnatural tones and sound patterns are said to stifle creativity and release fear and negative emotions—even the more serious kinds of symptoms experienced by American diplomats in Havana.
In his recent article, Stanford asked the question, “Is a mass programming or covert attack underway with dangerous sounds manipulating minds?” He speculated that using high-powered sound to confuse and weaken subjects could be a form of psychological warfare.
Certainly those who have experienced sonic attacks would agree that sounds can be piercing to the point that they cross the threshold of pain. Then sound, heard or unheard, has become a weapon.
Author and artist Jill Mattison has written articles about using the power of sound successfully in anti-gravity experiments that mystify conventional wisdom. Although verging on the fantastical, these seeming miracles may be harbingers of things to come in the world of technology.
In her post, Secrets of Sonic Levitation, Mattison delves into the unfolding wonders of sound: “We haven’t scratched the surface of what this energy source can do if properly harnessed,” she declared. “The future science of sound and vibrational energy will rock our world.

(God spoke the world into existance.)

***

***

CBN NEWS

Little Richard Rejects Homosexuality: 'I Want to Be Holy Like Jesus'

10/25/2017

Iconic musician Little Richard is renouncing his past life of sexual immorality, saying he believes same-sex relationships are "unnatural affections."

In previous interviews, the famous singer referred to himself as "omnisexual," revealing in an interview with GQ five years ago that he lived a life of perversion, including orgies.

But in an extensive interview with Three Angels Broadcasting Network,an Illinois-based Christian and health-oriented television and radio network, Little Richard says he has repented and turned to Jesus Christ for salvation.

"When I first came in show business they wanted you to look like everybody but yourself," he recalled.

"And, anybody that comes in show business they gonna say you gay or straight," he said. "God made men, men and women, women. You've got to live the way God wants you to live…he can save you," the 84-year-old singer told the Christian broadcaster.

The singer admits he fell to the temptations of the entertainment industry.

In Charles White's biography, The Life And Times Of Little Richard, Richard, who's given name is Richard Wayne Penniman, revealed that his marriage to Ernestine Campbell fell apart due to his sexuality and being neglectful.

"You know, all these things. So much unnatural affection," the singer told the network. "So much of people just doing everything and don't think about God. Don't want no parts of Him."

"I was talking to Michael Jackson's mother Katherine and she said she believed in the Resurrection. I said I believed in the Resurrection too. But I believe you've got to live right now in Jesus. He's a real Savior and the Prince of Life," he added.

"Regardless of whatever you are, He loves you. I don't care what you are. He loves you and He can save you. All you've got to do is say, 'Lord, take me as I am. I'm a sinner.' But we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The only holy, righteous person is Jesus and He wants us to be just like Him because, in order to go to Heaven, we've got to look like Him," Richard continued.

Richard said he asked God to save him and the Lord spoke to him saying, "Richard, you're singing Tutti Fruity. You're singing Good Golly Miss Molly. You're singing Long Tall Sally. You're singing The Girl Can't Help It and She's Got It and all of these things."

And Richard asked, "Lord, can I do this and still be saved?" And according to the singer, the Lord replied, "Richard, no man can serve two masters."

Richard said he had to release everything after that, so he retired from performing and recording.

He related a recent incident where a producer came to him, offering millions of dollars for a new television series titled "Little Richard."

The producer told him if he would allow the series to go forward, he would be the hottest thing on the planet.

"And I said, 'I don't want to be hot in the fire. I don't want to be hot in the flames," he told the producer. "I want to do what God wants me to do."

Richard confessed the offer was tempting.

"I don't want to sing rock and roll no more. …I want to be holy like Jesus," he said.

***

The Earth Chronicles of Live

In China, found the skeleton of the 18-meter dragon

BY SPACE · OCTOBER 19, 2017

In the Chinese province, they found the skeleton of a huge 18-meter dragon. A stunning finding was filmed on a video camera. Video with the skeleton of the dragon for a short period of time viewed more than 10 million people.

The skeleton of the fairy-tale monster was found near the city of Zhangjiakou. In this case, the remains of the dragon look as if not so long ago they still had muscle mass and skin.

He has front and hind legs, but no wings. But, despite this, people are still convinced that they really discovered the bones of this legendary dragon.

(“And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, [shall be] grass with reeds and rushes.” Isaiah 35:7)


***

BBC

Catalan parliament declares independence from Spain

October 27, 2017
The Catalan regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, just as the Spanish government appears set to impose direct rule.

The move was backed 70-10 in a ballot boycotted by opposition MPs.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy earlier told senators direct rule was needed to return "law, democracy and stability" to Catalonia.

The crisis began when Catalans backed independence in a disputed vote earlier this month.

The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favour of independence. But Spain's Constitutional Court had ruled the vote illegal.

In all, the motion declaring independence was approved with 70 in favour, 10 against and two abstentions in the 135-seat chamber.

Immediately afterwards, Mr Rajoy called for all Spaniards to remain calm, promising to "restore legality" to Catalonia.

Spain's Senate is still to vote on whether for the first time to enact Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which empowers the government to take "all measures necessary to compel" a region in case of a crisis.

It would enable Madrid to fire Catalan leaders, and take control of the region's finances, police and public media.


RT

Spanish Senate approves direct rule in Catalonia

27 October 2017

The Spanish Senate has approved invoking Constitutional Article 155, imposing direct Madrid rule on Catalonia. The move came minutes after the region’s parliament declared independence from Spain.

The move will allow Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his cabinet to adopt measures to rule Catalonia directly. The measures might include dissolving the Catalan government, assuming direct control of the rogue region’s police force and other steps to limit Barcelona’s autonomy.

Never before used by Madrid, the controversial Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution is effectively the political “nuclear option” for Spain’s central government.

***

RT

Madrid can only act by force’: Spain & Catalonia on a collision course

27 October 2017

Edited: 28 October 2017

People celebrate in front of the Catalan regional government headquarters after the regional parliament declared independence from Spain in Barcelona, Spain, October 27, 2017 © Jon Nazca / Reuters

The Catalan crisis is nearing its culmination as Madrid and Barcelona make bold moves against each other, increasing the possibility of a violent conflict and “tanks on the streets” of Catalonia, politicians and analysts warn.

Friday’s events in Spain represents the rubicon – with the Catalan Parliament unilaterally declaring independence and Madrid triggering constitutional Article 155, stripping Barcelona of its autonomy.

While the weeks of political uncertainty which followed the October 1 Catalan independence referendum – deemed illegal and void by Madrid – have apparently ended, recent developments raises even more questions over what lies ahead.

Spanish authorities won’t be able to fix the situation by only invoking Article 155, as Catalonia has already become an independent republic, Enric Folch, Secretary of the International section of the separatist Catalan Solidarity for Independence movement told RT.

“In Spain they want to remove the autonomy of Catalonia by Article 155, but actually there’s no autonomy in Catalonia, because Catalonia decided not to be inside of Spain,” Folch said.

“They can say that they void the autonomy of Catalonia but it doesn’t matter for us, because we will follow our own law, our own institutions our own Catalan Republic.”
Such a stance sets Barcelona on a collision course with Madrid, which can now only use force to keep the want-away region within Spain, Folch stated. He added that the time for dialogue has passed as Madrid has rejected all offers for talks.

“The only one thing they could do is to act by force, not by law as they’ve been acting before. They repelled absolutely all the law and all the Catalan petitions,” the separatist activist told RT.

While there are people within Catalonia who oppose independence, they have missed their chance to be heard by not participating in the October 1 referendum, Folch said, as only a fraction of those who made it to the ballot boxes, amid the massive Spanish police crackdown, voted against the move.

Such an attitude, however, bears a fleur of “adventurism,” political commentator and journalist John Wight believes, as it effectively deprived the opponents of independence of their rights. The anti-independence crowd boycotted the referendum in compliance with Spanish laws, Wight told RT.

“They [the Catalan Government] are denying the democratic rights of opponents of Catalan independence within Catalonia of which we know there’re many, denying them their voice in this process,” Wight said.

“The referendum that was organized, supervised and held by the Catalan regional government. The independence leadership of Catalonia was boycotted by opponents of Catalan independence, abiding by the decision of the Spanish constitutional court that this referendum was illegal.”

The leaders of Catalonia’s separatist movement are following a dangerous path, ultimately playing into the hands of Madrid, which has already showed its resolve to “unleash violence against unarmed civilians,” Wight pointed out. Madrid’s approach is equally treacherous, he added.

“The Spanish constitution is invaluable, but when this Constitution is used just as a justification for unleashing body-armored Kevlar-helmeted riot police against unarmed civilians, the Constitution is not worth the paper it is written on,” Wight stated, referring to the violent crackdown on the October 1 referendum.

Spain and Catalonia are clearly heading for conflict now, and unless one, or both, takes considerable steps back, “tanks on the streets of Barcelona” seem to be a distinct possibility, Wight warned.

The European Union also bears responsibility for any potential violence, as it showed unanimous support to the Spanish government’s actions, Wight noted. “That has effectively given license to Mr. Rajoy to deploy these coercive methods and measures against the Catalan independence movement,” he said.

***

RT

Saudi Arabia will ‘return to moderate, open Islam’ – Crown Prince

24 October 2017

Aerial view of Kaaba at the Grand mosque in Mecca © Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman has vowed to restore “moderate” Islam that is open to all religions in the world. Saudi Arabia is known for its ultraconservative rule.

“We are returning to what we were before – a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world,” he said at an economic forum in Riyadh, as quoted by AFP. “We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today,” he added. “We will end extremism very soon.”

Riyadh is known for its adherence to ultra-conservative norms of Islam and strict segregation of men and women. It has long been the only state where women are officially forbidden to drive.

Earlier this year, the crown prince accused Tehran of promoting an “extremist ideology” and having ambitions to “control the Islamic world.” Asked if there is any room for dialogue with Iran, the 31-year-old prince replied: “How can I come to an understanding with someone, or a regime, that has an anchoring belief built on an extremist ideology?”

He said that the primary objective of the “Iranian regime is to reach the focal point of Muslims [Mecca] and we will not wait until the fight is inside Saudi Arabia and we will work so that the battle is on their side, inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia.”

The Saudi government enforces a strict, conservative version of Sunni Islam. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ruled by a Sunni monarchy known as the House of Saud, while the Islamic Republic of Iran is overwhelmingly Shia. The divisions between the Sunnis and the Shia are based on a long-running religious conflict that started as a dispute over the Prophet Mohammed’s successor. While Shia Muslims believe the prophet’s cousin should have filled the role, Sunnis support the selection of Muhammad’s close friend and adviser, Abu Bakr, as the first caliph of the Islamic nation.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries were severed in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, following the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister responded by accusing Iran of setting up “terrorist cells” inside the kingdom. Iran then issued a warning that “divine vengeance” would come to Saudi Arabia as a punishment for Nimr’s execution as well as for Riyadh’s bombing in Yemen and support for the Bahraini government. In February of this year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while on a visit to Saudi ally Kuwait, said that Tehran would like to restore relations and improve ties with all its Gulf Arab neighbors.

***

RT

Giving up on moral & ethical values ‘more dangerous than nuclear bomb’ – Putin

21 October 2017

October 21, 2017. Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the panel discussion 'Youth 2030: The Image of the Future' at the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students. © Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik

Humanity is entering a new stage in its development when abandoning moral and ethical values may cause a larger catastrophe than a nuclear war, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the guests of the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi.

The moral and ethical component is an “important circumstance” for any type of activity in modern society, Putin told the young scientists at the festival.

In the nearest future, humanity may enter and will, most likely, enter a very difficult and important period in its development and existence,” he said, referring to recent scientific breakthroughs.

What I’ve said now may be more dangerous than a nuclear bomb. Therefore, no matter what we’re doing, we must never forget about the moral and ethical basis of our business,” the president reiterated.

Everything that we’ll be doing must benefit the people and empower humanity, not destroy it,” he said.

Putin used genetic engineering as an example to illustrate his words, saying that this discipline can bring both positive and negative results.

It’s great” that it can provide the possibility to change the genetic code of people suffering from serious diseases,” he said.

But there’s another component to this process. Humanity also receives an opportunity to meddle with the genetic code, which was created either by nature or, as people with religious views say, God,” the president added.

The possibility of “creating a human with predesigned characteristics” is already around the corner, he said.

It may be a genius mathematician or musician, but also a soldier, who will fight without fear, compassion and regret, without pain,” Putin warned.

The head of state expressed hope that the young scientists who were presenting their projects in Sochi would take his words to heart in their future work.

The 19th World Festival of Youth and Students runs until Sunday at the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Earlier, President Putin said that the 2017 event was expected to bring 30,000 people together, becoming the most representative in history.

The festival, organized by the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) along with the International Union of Students since 1947, is being held in Russia for the third time after being staged in Moscow in 1957 and 1985.

Information Clearing House

Britain Moves To Criminalize Reading Extremist Material On The Internet

By Jonathan Turley

October 06, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - For years, civil libertarians have warned that Great Britain has been in a free fall from the criminalization of speech to the expansion of the surveillance state. Now the government is pursuing a law that would make the repeated viewing of extremist Internet sites a crime punishable to up to 15 years in prison. It appears that the government is not satiated by their ever-expanding criminalization of speech. They now want to criminalize even viewing sites on the Internet. As always, officials are basically telling the public to “trust us, we’re the government.” UK home secretary Amber Rudd is pushing the criminalization of reading as part of her anti-radicalization campaign . . . which turns out to be an anti-civil liberties campaign.
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Even the Home Secretary has been accused of hate speech for criticizing immigrant workers.
Prime Minister Theresa May has previously called for greater government control of the Internet. Now, the government not only would make reading material on the Internet a crime, but would not necessarily tell you what sites will be deemed the ultimate click bait. Rudd told a Conservative Party conference that she wants to crackdown on people “who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions.” So sites deemed “far-right propaganda” (but not far-left propaganda) could lead to your arrest — leaving the government with a sweeping and ambiguous mandate.
The law would move from criminalizing the downloading of information to simply reading it. The move confirms the long criticism of civil libertarians that the earlier criminalization would just be the start of an ever-expanding government regulation of sites and speech. Rudd admits that she wants to arrest those who just read material but do not actually download the material.
In the past, the government assumed near total discretion in determining who had a “reasonable excuse” for downloading information.

Britain has long relied on the presumed benevolence of the government in giving its sweeping authority in the surveillance and regulation of speech, including the media. This move however is a quantum shift in government controls over speech and information. Indeed, this comes the closest to criminalization not just speech but thought. It is a dangerous concept and should be viewed as disqualifying for anyone who want to hold (or retain) high office.
What is particularly striking is that this new law seeks to create a new normal in a society already desensitized to government controls and speech crimes. Thee is no pretense left in this campaign — just a smiling face rallying people to the cause of thought control.
Sound familiar?

We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

George Orwell, 1984

MailOnline

The autumn of Europe's discontent: With an anti-immigration Eurosceptic billionaire set to be the new Czech PM, MARK ALMOND explains why voters across the EU are in revolt

By MARK ALMOND FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 00:42, 23 October 2017 | UPDATED: 20:39, 23 October 2017

Now is the autumn of Europe’s discontent. With the shockwaves of recent election results in Germany and Austria, which have seen a surge in support for far-Right nationalist and Eurosceptic parties, still reverberating, it is the turn of the tiny Czech Republic to trigger yet more angst in Brussels.

The pro-Europe political Czech establishment has been upended by a 63-year-old Eurosceptic, anti-immigration, pro-Russian billionaire who is being hailed as the ‘Czech Donald Trump’.

Andrej Babis, whose party is the bluntly named Action for Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO), won 29.6 per cent of the vote at the weekend, or 78 out of 200 seats in the lower house, firmly shifting his nation to the Right.

Andrej Babis, whose party is the bluntly named Action for Dissatisfied Citizens, with wife Monika

The Czech Republic’s second-richest man, with a fortune estimated at £3.5 billion, he founded the ANO just two years ago ‘to fight corruption and other ills in the country’s political system’.

He was seen by voters as a maverick with the business know-how to shake up the system.

The fact that Babis had served as finance minister in the previous government and resigned after allegations of fraud — which he insisted were politically motivated — seemed to have had no impact on him cornering the populist vote.

However, opponents of Babis, who was accompanied during the campaign by his glamorous second wife, Monika, view him as a danger to democracy because of his authoritarian leadership style, as well as his business interests, which could lead to a conflict of interest.

His media business includes two newspapers and a radio station and this has prompted comparisons with another billionaire media-magnate-turned-politician, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi.

As the next Czech prime minister, Babis must now build partnerships with members of the eight factions to form a coalition — a challenge given the anti-establishment stance of his party.

His critics most fear an alliance with the Right-wing, anti-immigration Freedom and Direct Democracy party, which wants to quit the EU and stop the ‘Islamisation of the Czech Republic’, which won just less than 10.7 per cent of the vote.

Its Czech-Japanese leader, Tomio Okamura, caused outrage at allegations that he urged Czechs to walk pigs near mosques and to stop eating kebabs.

So, another potential headache for the EU as yet another member state sees an outpouring of support for parties at odds with the Brussels way of doing things.

It seems the EU’s principles, as well as its economic and monetary policies, are now under relentless attack from ordinary voters at every point of the compass.

So what is going on? Brexit was supposed to be a dire warning to any Europeans tempted to challenge the consensus at the heart of the EU.

But the deadlock in negotiations and the eye-popping ‘divorce’ bills with which the UK is being threatened haven’t prompted member states to rally around the Euro-flag.

Instead, much of the discontent — over immigration, sovereignty, border control, bailouts and a smug Euro-elite out of touch with the people they represent — which coalesced here into the Leave vote, is becoming a key issue for other EU member states.

And some of these states have their own, particular gripes. Instead of the Brits being dismissed as offshore eccentrics, dissent is growing in the most unlikely places.

In the spring, it seemed Brussels was winning the war for hearts and minds. The EU’s lavish PR machine went into overdrive to warn Europeans about the dangers of populism.

Donald Trump’s election seemed a godsend since his brand of raucous, ‘America First’ politics would surely strike no chords here.

In March, Dutch voters backed away from electing flamboyant, anti-Islam Eurosceptic Geert Wilders as their prime minister. Phew — but the respectable winner, Mark Rutte, sailed close to the wind in adopting many of Wilders’s policies without his harsh rhetoric.

Wilders came second — and now has a parliamentary launch pad for next time, if the economy falters and community relations sour further.

Then, in May, the photogenic Europhile Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France, but the National Front, Europe’s strongest and oldest hard-Right party, got as far as the second round and attracted almost a third of the vote, with a groundswell of support from the young.

Still, France seemed to lead a return to the Euro norm, and the Brexit vote was still dismissed as a hiccup on the road to ever greater European unification.

But as autumn leaves began to fall, the EU Commission’s rose-tinted view of where Europe was headed turned ashen-grey.

What looms may mean darker times for us all. Increasingly, Macron’s defeat of the National Front’s Marine Le Pen looks like the last hurrah of the EU Old Guard.

In September, Germany’s Angela Merkel emerged weakened from a general election which put a far-Right, nationalist party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), into the Bundestag for the first time.

Frustration with the euro — low interest rates for a nation of savers and bailouts for spendthrifts such as Greece — was compounded by the migration issue and terrorism.

Today, Mrs Merkel is still struggling to form a coalition.

After last weekend’s election in Austria, new Chancellor and arch Euro-critic Sebastian Kurz of the Austrian People’s Party (OVP) is poised to form a coalition with the second-placed, far-Right nationalist party, the Freedom Party (FPO), some of whose members campaigned wearing the insignia of a blue cornflower, a secret symbol associated with the Nazi Party in Austria in the Thirties.

Analysts argue that Kurz’s success was down to adopting some of the FPO’s anti-immigration policies. Now Czech voters have joined the Austrians in raising the voices of smaller member states which feel that their interests have been ignored.

At the same time, the dismissive reaction of Brussels to Catalan nationalists’ demands has played badly with those small nations.

Right or wrong, the EU Commission’s siding with the Spanish government over Catalonia’s independence referendum has given the impression that Brussels is on the side of the big boys.

Ethnic minorities and disgruntled regions no longer see the EU as an ally against the state which dominates them.

East European EU members hoped that escaping from communism after 1989 meant freedom to choose what policies they wanted. But the European Commission is being seen as a new Politburo.

Instead of communist apparatchiks in Moscow, warning Poles against their religious practices, now Brussels bureaucrats lecture them on their backward attitudes informed by their Catholicism.

Like Hungary, Poland has elected arch-conservatives, strong on family values and dead set against mass immigration by non-Christians as well as non-Europeans.

In a multi-cultural Britain where many British Asians also voted Leave because they shared Eurosceptic irritation with Brussels’s high-handedness, we may not sympathise with more blinkered nationalisms in Eastern Europe, but no one should doubt their popular base.

In Hungary, the PM, Viktor Orban, put up a new iron curtain, this time his barbed-wire fence was designed to stop Middle Eastern migrants getting in rather than to keep Hungarians from getting out.

Brussels fumed about bigotry, but the voters seem to like it.

This was not supposed to happen. The benefits of economic and monetary integration were supposed to trump the lure of such emotional ties as nationalism and patriotism despised by Brussels.

But increasingly the way the single market, and especially the single currency, functions has aroused a multitude of discontent.

Instead of uniting Europe, the euro has antagonised Left and Right, squeezing the centre. Germans are unhappy with funding bailouts for Southern Europe, while people in those nations think the euro’s rules are the cause of their woes. The consensus in favour of the euro as it is now is shrinking.

And add to that unfettered migration and there should be no surprise at recent events. If you feel your domestic economic pie is small, then bringing in new people to share it stirs up trouble.

The EU’s way of handling mass immigration from the Middle East raised hackles. Poles, Hungarians, Serbs, Czechs and Austrians argue that Merkel invited a million migrants to Germany in 2016 without consulting the neighbours and is now pulling strings in Brussels to disperse the burden and save her own political skin.

Dismissed as narrow-minded and provincial by the EU, this is the key reason voters are rallying to Eurosceptic and anti-immigrant parties.

Fear of the sort of terrorism which hit Britain, France and Germany is growing in countries with limited immigration so far.

The road to Brexit seems calm and rational compared with the seething anger and harsh rhetoric surfacing in much of the EU. Brussels seems nonplussed by the rising tide of rejection.

Simply reiterating that the Euro-elite is right and its critics are bigots or stupid is not the way to swing doubters into line.

One size no longer fits all. Everyone can see that. But is there any plausible range of Euro-sizes which can keep everyone snug in the club? And what about Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, stirring up minorities and threatening yet more refugees heading west? Or Vladimir Putin, an ominous and looming presence on the north-eastern reaches of the Continent?

The EU seems beset by insoluble interlocking problems. Sadly, things can (probably) only get worse.

***

CAMPUSREFORM

Prof: Algebra, geometry perpetuate white privilege

Toni Airaksinen

October 23, 2017

  • Gutierrez worries that algebra and geometry perpetuate privilege because "emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi" give the impression that math "was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans."

  • She also worries that evaluations of math skills can perpetuate discrimination against minorities, especially if they do worse than their white counterparts.

A math education professor at the University of Illinois argued in a newly published book that algebraic and geometry skills perpetuate “unearned privilege” among whites.

Rochelle Gutierrez, a professor at the University of Illinois, made the claim in a new anthology for math teachers, arguing that teachers must be aware of the “politics that mathematics brings” in society.

“On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness. Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White,” Gutierrez argued.

Gutierrez also worries that algebra and geometry perpetuate privilege, fretting that “curricula emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans."

Math also helps actively perpetuate white privilege too, since the way our economy places a premium on math skills gives math a form of “unearned privilege” for math professors, who are disproportionately white.

“Are we really that smart just because we do mathematics?” she asks, further wondering why math professors get more research grants than “social studies or English” professors.

Further, she also worries that evaluations of math skills can perpetuate discrimination against minorities, especially if they do worse than their white counterparts.

“If one is not viewed as mathematical, there will always be a sense of inferiority that can be summoned,” she says, adding that there are so many minorities who “have experienced microaggressions from participating in math classrooms… [where people are] judged by whether they can reason abstractly.”

To fight this, Gutierrez encourages aspiring math teachers to develop a sense of “political conocimiento,” a Spanish phrase for “political knowledge for teaching.”

Gutierrez stresses that all knowledge is “relational,” asserting that “Things cannot be known objectively; they must be known subjectively."

Campus Reform reached out to Gutierrez for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

(Another attack on an absolute. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Romans 1:22 [He] that turneth wise [men] backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish”. Isaiah 44:25)

***

ZeroHedge

All Hail: Xi Jinping Confirmed As "Most Powerful Chinese Leader Since Mao"

by Tyler Durden

The phrase “Socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era” is hardly catchy, but wields immense power. Xi Jinping became the first incumbent leader since Mao to have his name and thought added to the Party’ guiding principles, symbolising a major elevation in his power.

Bloomberg reports “China’s ruling Communist Party approved a revised charter that enshrined President Xi Jinping’s name under its guiding principles, elevating him to a status that eluded his two immediate predecessors. The amended constitution voted on by the Communist Party in Beijing listed ‘Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era’ alongside the theories of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. While presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao also secured contributions to the document, neither was featured by name. The revisions confirmed Xi’s rapid consolidation of power and will reinforce speculation that he might seek to stay on after his second term ends in 2022.

No Chinese leader since Mao has managed to put his stamp on the party’s prevailing ideology in its foundational document before stepping down. ‘Enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the Constitution will ensure that Xi Jinping is considered one of the great transformative leaders’ of China, said Elizabeth Economy, director of Asia Studies at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.

The move ‘again puts him on par with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.”

Chinese media and state officials had been signalling Xi’s elevation since his opening speech at the 19th Party Congress, as the BBC explains "The unanimous vote to write in ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ took place at the end of the Communist Party congress." The congress began last week with a three-hour speech by Mr Xi where he first introduced his philosophy called ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era’. Top officials and state media then began repeatedly mentioning this ideology, calling it ‘Xi Jinping Thought’, in a sign that Mr Xi had cemented his influence over the Party. The BBC's China editor Carrie Gracie says enshrining ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ in the party constitution means rivals cannot now challenge China's strongman without threatening Communist Party rule. Previous Chinese Communist Party leaders have had their ideologies incorporated into the party's constitution or thinking, but none, besides founder Mao Zedong, have had their philosophy described as "thought", which is at the top of the ideological hierarchy.

Leading party bosses have been positively gushing in their praise of Xi during the congress. The party chief of Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo described Xi’s teachings as “intellectually incisive, visionary and magnificent”. Mr Bayangolu, who heads up Jilin province fawned “General Secretary Xi Jinping is the party’s helmsman”, using a term often used to describe Mao. The Guardian reports that Xi gave a short and glowingly optimistic address to delegates.

“Our party shows strong, firm and vibrant leadership,’ Xi said in a brief address to more than 2,200 delegates. ‘Our socialist system demonstrates great strength and vitality. The Chinese people and the Chinese nation embrace brilliant prospects. Today we, more than 1.3bn China’s people, live in jubilation and dignity. Our land … radiates with enormous dynamism. Our Chinese civilisation… shines with lasting splendour and glamour.”

The question now is whether this increased power is also a stepping stone to extending his reign beyond 2022. The Guardian delves into this question “Bill Bishop, the publisher of the Sinocism newsletter on Chinese politics, said the birth of ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ confirmed the rare levels of power and prestige enjoyed by its creator. ‘It means Xi is effectively unassailable … If you challenge Xi, you are challenging the party – and you never want to be against the party’. Jude Blanchette, an expert in Chinese politics from New York’s Conference Board research group, said: ‘This is about amassing power and credibility and legitimacy and authority within the system to drive through more effectively what he sees as the right path for China. If you tower above the party, then it is very difficult for anyone below you to decide they don’t want to implement your commands.’ Writing in the Financial Times, Australia’s former prime minister Kevin Rudd said the fanfare around China’s leader suggested Xi, who took power in 2012 and had been expected to step down in 2022, would in fact rule well into the next decade. ‘Five years ago I said he would be China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping. I was wrong. He is now China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong,’ Rudd wrote.

Some commentators are reserving judgement on Xi’s leadership ambitions until the announcement of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee. It currently consists of seven people and meets weekly to set policy. “Susan Shirk, the head of the 21st Century China Centre at the University of California, San Diego, disputed the portrayal of Xi as an almighty Mao-like figure. ‘He’s ruling differently, for sure, and people are intimidated by him because of the anti-corruption campaign.’ But Shirk said she was reserving judgment on whether Xi was attempting ‘a real dictatorial play’ until the new line-up of China’s top ruling council, the politburo standing committee, was announced on Wednesday. If that committee included at least one of three possible successors – Hu Chunhua, Chen Min’er or Zhang Qingwei – that would signal Xi’s intention to step down in 2022, she said. If no clear successor emerged, however, it would fuel fears that Xi was ‘going for broke, all-out to be a dictator’ and planned to remain in power indefinitely. ‘I’m prepared to call him a dictator after that. But I am waiting to see,’ said Shirk, US deputy assistant secretary of state under Bill Clinton.”

China's Path to Political Power

***

Fort Russ

Putin: "Russia will not allow Donbass to be massacred"

October 20, 2017 - Fort Russ -

By Eduard Popov, translated by J. Arnoldski -

On October 19th, at a session of the Valdai discussion club, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a number of important and even programmatic statements concerning not only current issues, but also the conceptual foundations of relations between Russia and the West. While these statements deserve a separate, larger article altogether, here we will limit ourselves to analyzing President Putin’s statements on the situation in and around Donbass.

According to Putin, Ukraine must grant the Donbass republics a special status and adopt an amnesty law in order to resolve the conflict in East Ukraine. If this is not done, he argued, then any seizure of the border between Russia and the unrecognized republics would lead only to a tragedy comparable to the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “There would be a massacre. But we will not allow this,” Putin said.

The Russian leader also reiterated that the current situation in Ukraine is the none other than the result of the unconstitutional, armed seizure of power in Kiev which was supported by the West.

On October 20th, Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, clarified Putin’s statements. The presence of international observers on the border between Russia and Ukraine, Peskov emphasized, would not save the inhabitants of Donbass from the fatal threat posed to them by Kiev. “It is obvious that these observers could be followed by Ukraine’s armed forces, and not only them, but also groups of extremists who are well known for their inhumane actions,” Peskov said. The Russian President’s press secretary most likely had in mind the Ukrainian “volunteer battalions”, some of whom, such as Tornado, Donbas, and Aidar, are infamous for mass kidnappings, torture, and the murder of civilians. These groups’ ranks include criminals (Aidar, Donbas) and ideologically-motivated Nazis (Azov) from Ukraine, Russia, and Western European countries.

Putin also called on Russia’s Western partners to return to the principles and modalities of the Minsk Agreements. Thus, Moscow obviously no longer sees the Kiev regime as a serious and independent party in negotiations. Peskov in particular drew attention to this, reiterating that restoring Ukrainian control over the border is “one of the last points [of the Minsk Agreements].” Indeed, the agreement signed on February 12th, 2015 clearly emphasizes the need for a clear and consistent realization of agreements before any border control can be handled. Only following a complete ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons, complete amnesty, the release of all prisoners of war and political prisoners, and the holding of local elections does the ninth point of the document provide for the transfer of the border controlled by the DPR and LPR to Ukrainian border guards.

As is well known, Ukraine has not fulfilled a single point of the Minsk Agreements, yet it still demands that control over the border be handed over. On this note, Vladimir Putin has very clearly presented for the international community an idea of what would happen if Ukraine were to be given control over the border prematurely and contrary to the provisions of the Minsk Agreements. To this end, he employed an analogy to the events in Srebrenica, the Serbian prisoner of war camp.

I think that this comparison was not made coincidentally. Putin could have brought up the death camps organized by Bosnian Muslims or Croats, but he mentioned none other than Srebrenica. Thus, he sent the boomerang back in the West’s direction. After all, it was Western, and mainly American and German media that created and spread the myth of a genocide waged by Bosnian Serbs. This myth was later applied to Kosovo and Metohija as a pretext for the declaration and recognition of independence for the criminal and terrorist “state” of Kosovo. Those familiar with the circumstances of the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina know fully well that ethnic cleansing was carried out by all sides of the conflict. The “Srebrenica massacre” is a well known product for consumers of Western media and memes, hence why Putin used it.

Yet there is one inaccuracy in this comparison, which I think President Putin deliberately made. In ethnic and religious-confessional terms, the people of Donbass who are threatened with massacre are no different from the residents of the neighboring regions of Ukraine. Indeed, people fighting in the UAF and Nazi paramilitary groups have Russian names and the DPR is headed by an ethnic Ukrainian, Alexander Zakharchenko. In late June 2014, I even saw a volunteer in the DPR militia from Western Ukraine.

Thus, God forbid, if Ukrainian troops enter Donbass, the ensuing massacre will not be merely ethnic and religious. It will be a genocide against the anti-fascist population as a whole. In my opinion, it would thus be more correct to draw an analogy with the civil war in Spain which led to enormous casualties and even the exodus of part of the population in the face of the atrocities of General Franco’s regime. Of course, Russian Donbass is quite different from the Basque country or Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, but this analogy has some conventionality.

Back in June when I visited frontline cities in the LPR, I heard one local businessman say words which reflect the general opinion of the population of the Lugansk region: “If Ukrainian troops come here, they will massacre everyone.” This includes those who have actively supported, founded, and defended the LPR, as well as those who simply couldn’t leave their homes to flee the war.

President Putin is perfectly aware of the potential threat of a Ukrainian genocide against Donbass. Therefore, his message was aimed not only at the West, which is lobbying for border control to be handed over to Ukraine in violation of the Minsk Agreements, but also t0 Ukraine itself. Russia, as Putin said, will not allow the population of Donbass to be massacred. Poroshenko will be remembered as a Ukrainian Pinochet, not a Ukrainian Franco.

***

PRESSTV

US has wiped Raqqah off the face of earth: Russia

October 22, 2017

A member of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands amidst the ruins of buildings near the Clock Square in Raqqah, Syria, October 18, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia says the US has wiped the Syrian city of Raqqah "off the face of the earth" with carpet bombing in the same way the United States and Britain bombed Germany's Dresden in 1945.

In a statement released on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry accused the West of having rushed to provide aid to Raqqah to cover up its own crimes.

"Raqqah has inherited the fate of Dresden in 1945, wiped off the face of the earth by Anglo-American bombardments," said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenko.

Recently, Daesh terrorists left Raqqah, their former “capital” in Syria, as part of a deal with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US-led coalition. Thus, the US-backed Kurdish-dominated SDF announced full control over the city.

Konashenkov complained that the West had turned down Russia's requests for humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians.

"What is behind the rush by Western capitals to provide targeted financial help only to Raqqah?" he asked. "There's only one explanation - the desire to cover up evidence of the barbaric bombardments by the US air force and the coalition as fast as possible and to bury the thousands of civilians 'liberated' from Daesh in the ruins."

The Russian official also accused the US of overplaying the significance of the fall of Raqqah.

"The bravura statements by official representatives of the US administration about the 'outstanding victory' over Daesh in Raqqah prompt bafflement," he said.

Konashenkov estimated that some 200,000 people had lived in Raqqah before the crisis erupted in Syria in 2011, but now not more than 45,000 people remained there.

The US and its allies have been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The airstrikes, however, have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism.

***

INDEPENDENT

Catalonia says it will defy orders from Spanish government when it imposes direct rule

Leaders of the secessionist campaign said the referendum gave them a mandate to claim independence

  • Julien Toyer, Paul Day Madrid

23 October 2017

People pass in front of graffiti reading "Freedom for Catalonia" in Barcelona AP

Catalonia will defy attempts by Madrid to enforce direct rule on the region in a dispute that is raising fears of unrest among Spain's European allies.

The Spanish government has invoked special constitutional powers to fire the regional government and force elections to counter an independence drive. A vote in the national Senate to implement direct rule is due on Friday.

But leaders of the secessionist campaign said a referendum on 1 October, in which 43 per cent of the electorate voted, gave them a mandate to claim independence from the rest of Spain.

"It's not that we will refuse [orders]. It is not a personal decision. It is a seven million-person decision," Catalonia's foreign affairs chief Raul Romeva told BBC News.

Mr Romeva was asked whether he believed all institutions, including the police, would follow orders from Catalan institutions rather than obey the Spanish government.

"And from that perspective, I have no doubt that all civil servants in Catalonia will keep following the instructions provided by the elected and legitimate institutions that we have right now in place [in Catalonia]," he said.

Catalan authorities said about 90 per cent of those who took part in the referendum voted for independence. But only 43 per cent of the electorate and 1 in 3 Catalans participated, with most opponents of secession staying at home.

The crisis over the wealthy Catalan region has raised fears among European countries of a spillover to other parts of the continent.

Two wealthy regions of northern Italy voted overwhelmingly on Sunday for greater autonomy, although those referendums were held in line with the constitution and were not binding on Rome. Separatists are active in Belgium's Flanders region, and France's Corsica has long been home to a secessionist movement.

At a European Union summit last week, leaders sought to minimise Spain's crisis with Catalonia and described the secession bid as a domestic issue.

Civil disobedience was also backed by the far-left party CUP, a key support for Catalonia's pro-independence minority government in the regional parliament, which has called Madrid's actions an aggression against all Catalans.

"An aggression which will be met with massive civil disobedience," the CUP said in a statement.

Several hundred Catalan municipalities said they were against direct rule from Madrid and asked the Catalan parliament to vote on a motion rejecting it.

Some teachers and firemen also said they would not recognise Spain's authority.

"We will not recognise as valid interlocutors those people who are not representatives of popular legitimacy," the teachers' union USTEC said in a statement.

"We will be where we should be in this moment: with the Catalan institutions and with democracy as it fights for its survival."

Spain has said it would fire top Catalan officials if they did not comply with orders but it has remained vague on how it plans to implement direct rule if lower ranking civil servants decide not to follow instructions.

Foreign minister Alfonso Dastis said the central government was not planning any arrests.

Around 4,000 national police who had been shipped in for the referendum have remained in Catalonia. This comes on top of 5,000 state police already based in the region.

They usually act as a back-up to Catalonia's own 17,000-strong police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, although they have also been seen reinforcing security at some official buildings in Catalonia's capital Barcelona.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has called the Catalan parliament to meet this week to agree on a response to Madrid, something many observers said could pave the way for a formal declaration of independence.

The assembly will meet on Thursday to agree a response to direct rule.

Mr Puigdemont was also considering appearing before the Spanish Senate to explain his position.

The Cercle d'Economia, an influential Catalan business association, called on Mr Puigdemont to resolve the crisis by calling a snap election before direct rule becomes effective.

Catalonia risked heading into prolonged and uncontrolled insecurity and civil unrest, it said.

"Its consequences are unpredictable but, in any case, dramatic in terms of self-government, coexistence, economic growth and employment," it said in a statement.

More than 1,300 companies have decided to transfer their legal headquarters out of Catalonia due to the current uncertainty, according to the national companies registry.

However, Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull said calling a snap election was not an option.

An opinion poll published by El Periodico on Sunday showed a snap election would probably have results similar to the last ballot, in 2015, when a coalition of pro-independence parties formed a minority government.

Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Mr Puigdemont would be out of a job once direct rule was enforced and Madrid would install its own representative. The Spanish government has said it would call a regional election within six months.

"They are president of the regional government and senior figures in that government because of the constitution," she said during a radio interview.

"They are not entrusted with that role by any divine authority," she said.

***

PRESSTV

Kurds freeze independence vote, call for ceasefire

October 24, 2017

Displaced Iraqi Kurdish people fleeing violence in the northern Kirkuk province sit an unfinished housing project where they are taking shelter in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on October 19, 2017. (AFP)

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has said that it will freeze the results of a recent vote for independence from Iraq.

Based on a statement released by the KRG on Tuesday, they also called for an immediate ceasefire and a cessation to all military operations in the northern region.

It also proposed open dialog with Baghdad based on the Iraqi constitution.

The announcement came shortly after the parliament in the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan announced that legislative and presidential elections that were delayed due the ongoing political stand-off with Baghdad would be held in eight months.

The development may end weeks of simmering tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government over the September 25 referendum, held in open defiance of the central government in Baghdad.

Iraq, along with neighbors Iran and Turkey, opposed the vote, warning that the referendum would further complicate the security situation in the Arab country that has been grappling with foreign-backed militancy in its north and west for the past three years.

Following the vote, the central government in Baghdad shut down flights in and out of the region and ordered a halt to its independent crude oil sales.

The Kurdish region further slipped into political uncertainty after Iraqi forces captured the disputed city of Kirkuk last week. The city and its surroundings, rich in oil and populated by Kurds, Arabs and Christians, have been at the heart of a long-running row between Erbil and Baghdad.

Gorran, the main opposition party to Barzani, issued a statement on Sunday, calling for the resignation of the Kurdish leader, who has held the region’s presidency since 2005. The opposition party said Barzani was responsible for the turmoil that followed the referendum.

Last week, Iraq’s judiciary also issued arrest warrants for three senior Kurdish officials, who were allegedly behind the contentious plebiscite, which also faced strong opposition from regional countries, including Iran and Turkey. Iraq's Supreme Court has already ruled the referendum unconstitutional.

***

RT

'Wolf of Wall Street' calls initial coin offerings 'biggest scam ever'

23 October 2017

Notorious financier Jordan Belfort, once known as the “Wolf of Wall Street,” is warning initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a scam that will blow up in people's faces.

Belfort was played on screen by Leonardo DiCaprio in the Oscar-nominated movie The Wolf of Wall Street, said promoters of ICOs were “perpetuating a massive scam of the highest order on everyone.”

It is the biggest scam ever, such a huge gigantic scam that's going to blow up in so many people's faces. It's far worse than anything I was ever doing,” Belfort said in an interview with the Financial Times.

The former penny-stock broker, who spent 22 months in prison for securities fraud and money laundering, admitted that probably 85 percent of proposers did not have bad intentions with ICOs. However, if five or ten percent are trying to scam the others, it would become a “disaster,” according to Belfort.

Everyone and their grandmother wants to jump in right now. I’m not saying there’s something wrong with the idea of cryptocurrencies, or even tulip bulbs. It’s the people who will then get involved and bastardize the idea,” he said as quoted by the media.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort © Paramount Pictures / Global Look Press

ICOs, used as a primary means of fundraising for projects built on blockchain technology, have become enormously popular in the last year. More than 200 ICOs have raised a combined $3 billion during 2017 according to data compiled by CoinSchedule.

Financial sector experts, as well as state regulators, have repeatedly expressed grave concerns over ICOs, warning of the potential for money laundering and fraudulent activities.

Last month, Chinese regulators outlawed ICO funding due to concerns they may involve financial scams.

***

***

Until next week...keep on believing.
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