is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring
lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the
treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the
There Is A Conspiracy
Greetings. We hope this past week has been a happy and healthy one for you. As the shadow of darkness continues to spread across the world we thought we would address a question in which several have expressed an interest. Is what is happening in the world an accident? Can the madness and deceit that is happening in so many parts of the world just be coincidental. The Bible says there will eventually come a time when there will be a famine for the truth. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. (Amos 8:11)
Concerning conspiracy theories it occurred to us that we had not seen the topic approached from a completely Biblical standpoint, although during the course of our reading etc. We have seen scripture used to support many different aspects by different writers in their efforts to expose the conspiracies.
We thought that something that was solely based on scripture could be useful in helping to convince some Christians, who are either unaware of different conspiracies or have a difficult time in believing such conspiracies exist or that key members of their government, business communities, etc. could be involved in such conspiracies.
All the way from Genesis to Revelation we find conspiracy and deceit as one of Satan's major modus operandi. After fear, it seems that conspiracy, deceit, lies, etc. is one of his most frequently used tactics in pursuit of His ultimate goal, to become a god and incur the worship of mankind and the human race.
Whatever name we refer to, the Conspiracy or parts of the Conspiracy, all the individuals and groups involved emanate from one and the same source and are working together, either knowingly or unknowingly for one and the same goal. (“By means such as these the extraordinary result was brought about that a multitude of men of divers beliefs were all working together for an object known only to a few of them” M. Reinhart Dozy.”)
The goal is the rise of Satan, whom the Bible calls “the god of this world”,(2 Corinthians 4:4), and his worship by multitudes in the form of a man the Bible refers to as the Beast, and more commonly known as the Anti-Christ along with his soon coming Mark of 666 described in the Book of Revelation, chapter 13, verses 16-18.
The Bible in the book of Ephesians, chapter 6, sums this up very concisely and simply by stating in verse 12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities (demon princes who reside over certain areas or territories) against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. (There was a book in the British Library in London called “The Key of Solomon” which lists the most important demon princes and their principalities or areas of dominion.)
The people and organizations involved in helping to bring about the rise of the antichrist are actually only the physical manifestation of where the conflict is really taking place, the spirit world, where Satan and his demons are working to complete their plan.
The Bible says in 2Timothy, Chapter 3, verse 1 and 13 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived”. (Longman New Generation Dictionary defines “deceive” as “to accept as true or good what is false or bad”.) Conspiracy is defined in various dictionaries as a “secret plan”, “plot”, “devise” “to plan together secretly” etc.
One of the actual signs of the “Last Days” is a growing and increasing amount of deceit in the world, or something appearing to be good and true when in fact it is false and bad. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, chapter 11, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent (Satan) beguiled (deceived – Longman New Generation Dictionary) Eve through his subtlety, (not immediately obvious, crafty) so your minds would be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. All the way back in Genesis, chapter 3, we see that Satan used deceit to actually cause the fall of man. He made something appear to be good which was actually bad, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He has used deceit from the very beginning.
Discernment is not be able to tell the difference between right and wrong , but being able to telling the difference between what is right and what appears to be right when it is actually wrong.
The true yard stick we have for measuring truth is the Bible, the Word of God. As the Bible says in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”. Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it”.
Revelation 13:13-14 states, “And he (the false prophet) doeth great wonders…and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth…that they should make an image to the beast”. Here we have the False Prophet and the Beast (Antichrist) conspiring together to get the peoples of the world to worship this image of the Beast or be killed.
Revelation 12:9 “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…”. Again deceit being one of Satan’s most powerful tools. Also remember Jesus said to the religious leaders of His day in John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. Jesus also said people could be so deceived in John 16:2 that “the time cometh that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doeth God service”. This is happening today
How could anyone be so deceived? It is because they reject the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 says, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”.
Can born again Christians be deceived? Yes. Paul in his letter to the church in Galatia wrote, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth” and “Ye did run well: who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Galatians 3:1 and 5:7) Look how many Christians do not believe the Church is going to go through the Great Tribulation when it is as clear as can be in numerous scriptures, Mathew 24:29 and 30 being just two examples. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days…shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
In virtually every book, newsletter, video, etc. it always gets around to explaining who these conspirators and deceivers are, it is explained that they are the wealthiest amongst us. Once again the Bible over 2500 years ago pin-pointed who these people are that Satan and his demons are using, and the Bible is in agreement that they are indeed the great and wealthy men of the earth. Hosea 12:7 says, “He is a merchant the balances of deceit are in his hand. Revelation 6:5-6 says, “..And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny and three measures of barley for a penny;…”. And Revelation 18:23 which says, “…for thy merchants were the great men of the earth: for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived”. And let’s not forget 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil”. And what does money buy? Money buys power, which some have described as “the ultimate aphrodisiac”. The dictionary describes aphrodisiac as “a medicine, drug, etc. causing sexual excitement”.
The only act of violence Jesus ever carried out that is recorded in the Bible was when he whipped the money changers out of the Temple. The international bankers of His day.
What could more accurately describe the world today than what King Solomon said three thousand years ago, “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
Is it any wonder then when Babylon, the Great Whore is destroyed the merchants or the earth weep. “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have made drunk with the wine of her fornication” Revelation 17:2 and “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies”. Revelations 18:3 “The merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her: for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver...and and slaves, and souls of men. Revelation 18:11-13. The Bible exposed all of this thousands of years ago.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other: or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other, Ye cannot serve God and mammon”.
Matthew 24, one of the most prophetic chapters in the Gospels, Jesus Himself warned us repeatedly against the dangers of being deceived. “Take heed that no man deceive you…For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many…for there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders: insomuch that, if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect”.
A few more verses to show how Satan uses conspiracy and deceit to further his goals. Daniel 11:23, “And after the league made with him (the Antichrist) he shall work deceitfully.” This is one of the chief ways the Antichrist comes to power, through deceit. Revelation 19:20, And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image…” In Revelation 20:7-8, “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”
In contrast, the Bible in Isaiah 53:9, in a prophetic description of the coming Messiah Jesus, describes one of his outstanding characteristics that “…neither was any deceit in his mouth”. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.
“And the Lord said to me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Juda, and among the dwellers in Jerusalem. 10 They are turned aside to the iniquities of their fathers that were of old, who would not hearken to my words: and, behold, they go after strange gods, to serve them: and the house of Israel and the house of Juda have broken my covenant, which I made with their fathers.” Jeremiah 11:9
May God bless us with the wisdom and discernment we will need in the days ahead.
First posted December 2008. Revised and updated November 2014
THE MICHELANGELO CODE: RESEARCHER UNLOCKS MYSTERY
Sees Shroud of Turn face embedded in Sistine Chapel fresco
Published: November 9, 2014
JEROME R. CORSI
NEW YORK – The “DaVinci Code” that formed the central mystery in Dan Brown’s mega-bestselling 2003 novel of the same name is built on the premise that Leonardo DaVinci hid a theological mystery in his famous 15th-century mural of the Last Supper
In a similar fashion, a theory has developed that Michelangelo embedded the face in the Shroud of Turin in his Last Judgment fresco on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
Former FBI forensic specialist Philip E. Dayvault first proposed the idea in a paper he published in 2012 while working in North Carolina as an investigative researcher.
What has become known as the “Dayvault Hypothesis” is the theory that the Last Judgment fresco and a portion of the ceiling fresco by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel contain the “hidden in plain view” image of the face of the man in the Shroud of Turin, traditionally revered by many Christians as the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
In October, the theory gained new energy with the publication on Academia.edu by Belgian theoretical chemist Jan Verhulst, Ph.D., of a paper titled “The Embedment of the Face on the Shroud of Turin in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment: A corroboration of the Dayvault hypothesis.”
The correspondence is seen by viewing the eyes – in Latin, the occuli – of the face of the man in the Shroud of Turin as formed by the two half-circle spaces that merge the top of the altar wall in the Sistine Chapel with the ceiling.
The core group of figures in Michelangelo’s painting – corresponding to the nose of the face of the man in the Shroud of Turin – are Christ and his mother, Saint Lawrence seen with the grill on which he was roasted to death, and Saint Bartholomew holding the skin that was removed from his body in the passion of his martyrdom.
Verhulst’s recently published paper and the accompanied note make the comparison:
Verhulst references Pietro Aretino, a contemporary biographer of Michelangelo, who observed, “Michelangelo has imitated those great philosophers who hid the mysteries of human and divine philosophy under a veil, that they might not be understood by the vulgar,” concluding Michelangelo embedded “secret content” in his artwork.
“The researcher is struck by a certain shape or gestalt that seems to be embedded in the painting,” Verhulst wrote, acknowledging that errors of wishful thinking and “a posteriori interpretation of the data” can easily mislead an investigator into seeing in a painting whatever image the investigator wants to see.
In an attempt to test scientifically the hypothesis that “Michelangelo’s Last Judgment could have been framed using as a template the face on the Turin Shroud,” Verhulst measured prominent features on the face. The features included pronounced injuries he was able to map precisely onto measurements of prominent features in the Michelangelo fresco.
Verhulst’s conclusion is that Michelangelo used the Shroud of Turin as a template for his Last Judgment.
“Michelangelo encoded in his painting a lot of elements derived from the Turin Stroud, from its image and from its fabric,” Verhulst wrote.
“There can be little doubt that Michelangelo considered the Shroud of Turin to be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. And clearly, he had access to very extensive knowledge of this object,” Verhulst said.
“The fact that Michelangelo used the Shroud of Turin as a template for the fresco, and as a hidden source for a great many pictorial details, constitutes an important example of the exoteric dimension in Christian art.”
Verhulst continued with an attempt to explain the hidden message he believes Michelangelo sought to convey.
“The decision to use the Shroud of Turin as a hidden source for structuring he fresco was not Michelangelo’s whim,” Verhulst argued.
“He used the shroud because of what he believed was the essence of the Last Judgment. In his view, at the Last Judgment, every human being will look back at the passion of Christ, so to say as seen through the eyes of Christ himself. And looking back in this way, every single human entity will become its own final judge.”
Verhulst concluded: “No doubt, Michelangelo considered the Shroud of Turin a striking remnant of this passion of Christ, that in his view will be at the heart of the Last Judgment. Therefore, it was logical for him to use the face on the Shroud as a template and as a source of inspiration for his painting.”
One difficulty with the theory is that there is no evidence in two contemporary biographies of Michelangelo or in the records of his personal letters that he had ever seen the shroud. It was, however, exhibited in his lifetime in northern Italy — in Turin, Milan, Vercelli and Nice.
Shroud expert Ian Wilson of Brisbane also wrote Dayvault, saying that “in all of [Michelangelo's] drawings and writings, there’s not a hint that I have ever come across of his interest in, or awareness of, the shroud.”
An issue that concerned Dayvault was that the features of the face of the man in the Turin Shroud were only seen in negative form until a photograph by Seconda Pia in 1898 gave a clearer rendition of the image.
Dayvault concluded Michelangelo encoded into the fresco the traditional image of Christ’s face used by artists since the first century, which he believes was derived ultimately from the shroud itself.
Thus, Dayvault concluded Michelangelo “unknowingly” painted the encoded image of the shroud in the structure of the Last Judgment fresco, because he had in mind the traditional image of Christ.
In 2002, when conducting ancient oil lamp research in museum depots in Turkey, Dayvault discovered an ancient mosaic that depicted the face of Christ in an image he traced through various Christological depictions. They included paintings, frescoes, mosaics and icons that he determined trace back to an early first century image of Christ’s face known as the “Image of Edessa,” or the Keramion, which bears a remarkable correspondence to the face of the man in the shroud.
In a 2011 paper titled “Face of the God-man: A Quest for Ancient Oil Lamps Leads to the Prototype of Sacred Art … and MORE!” Dayvault argued the ancient mosaic he found was further evidence the Shroud of Turin had been seen by religious artists very close to the time of Christ, providing what he interpreted as a reason to conclude the Shroud of Turin was not the creation of a medieval artist.
While Dayvault may have been the first to suggest the Shroud of Turin was embedded into Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, there is a tradition of art historians who see the fresco as built around the outline of a face.
“The vaulting of the chapel shapes the eyes and eyebrows,” wrote physiologist Sue Brinkley Tatem, Ph.D., in her 1997 book “Biological Clocks: Your Owner’s Manual.”
She explained her vision as follows: “The eyes, nose, and mouth regions are lapis lazuli blue, as if one were inside the skull looking out at the blue sky. If one imagines the Sistine Chapel as a sculpture of a skull, and I think that Michelangelo the sculptor did just that, then what he painted is the ‘pineal gland’ view (sometimes called the third eye) – people naked as jaybirds trumpeting in the hole that would be the mouth.”
More Jews Want to Pray on Temple Mount
By Julie Stahl and Chris Mitchell
CBN News Middle East Bureau
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Should Jews and other non-Muslims be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount? Palestinians, Jordanians and many Muslims say a resounding "No!"
Israel's High Court guarantees freedom of access to the holy plateau, including freedom of worship. But Israeli police prevent Jewish worship and prayer there out of fear of violating public order. Nonetheless, increasing numbers of Israelis are demanding those freedoms and that's leading Palestinians to take to the streets.
Muslims call it Haram al-Shariff, Arabic for Noble Sanctuary. Al-Aksa, which includes the mosque and the entire compound, is the third holiest site in Islam. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas recently appealed to Westerners not to refer to the area as the Temple Mount, but to call it al-Aksa instead. Muslims say they alone are allowed to pray there.
"Muslims, they have to pray, but others -- Christians and Jews -- they can visit, just visit, not to make prayer inside," Kaman, a Muslim resident of Jerusalem, told CBN News. "So it is specified for Muslims and just to visit but not to pray or to cut a piece of the area to pray for others, you know. This is not allowed by God."
For Jews, the Temple Mount is also very sacred. Two Jewish temples stood there in Bible times. Jesus visited, taught and worshipped at the Second Jewish Temple before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Yet Muslims deny it ever existed.
Linda Olmert with Haliba, the Initiative for Jewish Freedom on the Temple Mount says Jews feel closest to God there.
"Archaeology backs up the Bible, which says it's our holiest place. It's the center from the beginning of the Jewish people [and] many think from the beginning of the world. It's the center and that's why we feel closest to God [there]," Olmert told CBN News.
For years, rabbis said it was forbidden for Jews to even set foot on the Temple Mount, let alone pray, because it was the site of the Holy of Holies. Now for the first time, religious and non-religious Jews want their rights to this most holy place.
"We want freedom for everybody to pray on the Temple Mount. Isaiah says it will be a place for all nations," Olmert said.
Two weeks ago, a Palestinian terrorist attempted to assassinate Rabbi Yehuda Glick, Haliba's leader. Glick survived and Israeli security forces later shot and killed the gunman.
" We, as a government, we are against Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount simply because of reasons that have to do with the status quo," Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kupperwasser, director general of the Strategic Affairs ministry, told journalists in Jerusalem Sunday.
Since the 1967 Six-Day War, Jordan has kept religious control over the Temple Mount, while Israel maintains security. Only Muslims can pray there. The current tension at the site prompted Jordan to recall its ambassador from Israel last week.
"We believe that by committing ourselves to the status quo, we help keep the peace and security in Jerusalem," Kuperwasser saus.
But Olmert says it's all about civil rights.
"The only place I know, certainly in Israel, where there is a real violation of civil rights as we have come to expect them in the Western world, in free democratic countries, is against Jews on the Temple Mount," she said.
And Olmert says there's plenty of room there for everyone.
"I really believe that the Messiah will come and I believe that when the Messiah comes, he'll solve all the problems. Until then, I believe that there's a place for all nations on the Temple Mount," she said.
EUROPEAN UNION SET TO FORCE CREATION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE
NTEB News Desk | November 8, 2014
DURING GAZA VISIT, FEDERICA MOGHERINI SAYS ESTABLISHMENT OF STATE IS ‘ULTIMATE GOAL OF ALL THE EUROPEAN UNION’
The European Union’s new foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini on Saturday called for the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying the world “cannot afford” another war in Gaza
Hamas and Israel fought a 50-day war in July and August which resulted in the deaths of 2,140 Palestinians, at least half of them combatants according to Israel, and more than 70 Israelis, most of them soldiers.
Mogherini’s visit came against a backdrop of surging Israeli-Palestinian tensions in East Jerusalem where there have been near-daily clashes in flashpoint neighborhoods, and two terror attacks that killed four Israelis in two weeks.
She voiced hope that Gaza would avoid another major conflict. “It is not only the people of Gaza that can’t afford having a fourth war, all the world cannot afford this,” she said.
“We cannot just sit and wait. If we sit and wait it will go on for another 40 years. We have to have action now,” said Mogherini, a former Italian foreign minister who recently took over from Catherine Ashton as the top EU diplomat.
Earlier Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported that several European nations told US officials that they are seriously considering unilaterally recognizing Palestine as a state, as Sweden did last month, if peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians do not resume.
According to the report, these countries include some of the US’s closest allies. The report did not specify which, however.
“We’re not going to wait forever,” a senior European official said, according to the report. “Other European countries are poised to follow Sweden.”
On Friday, Mogherini said there was a real “urgency” to pick up and advance the moribund peace process. “The risk is that if we do not move forward on the political track, we will go back… again to violence,” she told reporters during her first official visit to Jerusalem.
“That’s why I see the urgency in moving forward,” she said, adding that Israel’s settlement activity was an “obstacle” to negotiations based on a two-state solution. The Palestinians, for their part, are set to submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council later this month calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Putin: ‘Love is the meaning of life’
Published time: November 07, 2014 20:21
Vladimir Putin is known for his sharp wit, but musings on love are a relative novelty. In an unexpected remark Friday, the Russian president spoke of the “meaning of life,” saying that for him “in general” it is love that matters.
Briefly digressing from politics, Putin ventured a philiosophical observation that “multifaceted” love is the basis of all actions and the essence of being.
"The meaning of our whole life and existence is love," Putin told his audience at the 15th Congress of the Russian Geographical Society. "It is love for the family, for the children, for the motherland. This is a multifaceted phenomenon; it lies at heart of any of our behaviors."
Putin, who chairs the board of trustees at the Russian Geographical Society, went on to express his hopes that “joint work” would help strengthen love for the motherland.
"It is exactly the top priority which all of us should go after, and I am absolutely sure that we will succeed," he added.
Putin has spoken at length about the necessity to attract more interest in geography among younger Russians, saying it “can and should be one of the most interesting subjects in school.”
The president also suggested launching a National Geographical Quiz for testing knowledge in this field.
‘Crimea cradle of Russian Christianity’: Key quotes from Putin’s meeting with historians
Published time: November 08, 2014 10:42
Among the many historic ties Russia has with the newly returned Crimea is the role it played in the adoption of Christianity, President Vladimir Putin told young historians.
The meeting in Moscow was dedicated to professional challenges faced by Russian historians and the role they play in consolidating Russian society. One of the suggestions discussed was to write a comprehensive book on the history of the disputed Crimean peninsula as a contingency against possible attempts to diminish Russia’s role in it.
Putin said that historically “there is not a single weakness for us there. Start with the fact that for Russians – and I mean the ethnically Russian part of our multinational people, the Christian Russian people – is a sacred place. In Crimea in Chersonesus Prince Vladimir [Sviatoslavich the Great] was baptized, and then he converted Russia. The original baptismal font of Russia is there.”
The role that historians play in shaping a country’s perception of itself and its image abroad was the focus of the discussion. They are the ones responsible for providing facts and reasoning, when somebody wants to put a spin on historical events for some political gains today, Putin said.
“Once we convince our people, the majority of the people, that our position is right, objective and just, that it helps the society, the nation and the people, we’ll have millions and millions of supporters,” he said.
As complex as historical science is, there is a natural trend for different parties to interpret facts of the past in favor of ideas or institutions they like. This is especially true for more recent events and painful events, like the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany and World War II that sealed the fate on his rule.
Putin argued that the dealings Moscow had with Hitler’s Berlin and its taking advantage of the rising tensions did not stand out against the background of other European nations’ actions.
“Those were the methods of international politics. The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. They say: that’s so bad. What’s bad if Soviet Union didn’t want to go to war?” he said.
“Knowing that the war was inevitable and expecting that it would happen, the Soviet Union absolutely needed time to modernize its army. Every month mattered. The number of ‘Katyusha’ multiple rocket launchers or T-34 tanks in the Soviet Army was measured in units, while it needed thousands of them,” he added.
From left to right: Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini and Ciano pictured before signing the Munich Agreement on September 28, 1938.
He added that Poland, which holds a grudge against Russia for sending troops simultaneously with Germany and partitioning Poland – a result of a secret protocol of the German-Soviet treaty that divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence – should recall how Warsaw previously profited from Nazi aggression.
“They accuse Soviet Union of dividing Poland. Well, what did Poland do when the Germans entered Czechoslovakia? It took part of Czechoslovakia. That’s what it did. And then they got a hockey puck in their own goal,” Putin said.
He also recalled the infamous comments by then-British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who promised “peace for our time” to Britons after signing the Munich Agreement, a deal under which Germany, Italy, France and Britain agreed that the Nazis would attack Czechoslovakia with impunity.
The historians and Putin also discussed the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the anniversary of which was marked Friday November 7 (October 25 under the old, Tsarist-era calendar), and the subsequent civil war in Russia. The Russian president said the Bolsheviks’ propaganda – part of an exhibition he visited prior to the meeting – was better than that of their rivals, but in fact they “conned society.”
“You know [the Bolshevik slogans] yourselves. Land to the peasants, factories to the workers, peace to the people. They didn’t bring peace, because the civil war started, and they took the factories and land, nationalized them, so it was a pure 100 percent con,” Putin said. “But at least they did it with elegance.”
What frightened the USS Donald Cook so much in the Black Sea?
This article was first published by Voltairenet in other languages in September 2014.
The State Department acknowledged that the crew of the destroyer USS Donald Cook has been gravely demoralized ever since their vessel was flown over in the Black Sea by a Russian Sukhoi-24 (Su-24) fighter jet which carried neither bombs nor missiles but only an electronic warfare device.
This video shows the USS Donald Cook sailing into the Black Sea to position itself near Russia’s territorial waters.
On 10 April 2014, the USS Donald Cook entered the waters of the Black Sea and on 12 April a Russian Su-24 tactical bomber flew over the vessel triggering an incident that, according to several media reports, completely demoralized its crew, so much so that the Pentagon issued a protest .
The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) is a 4th generation guided missile destroyer whose key weapons are Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, and capable of carrying nuclear explosives. This ship carries 56 Tomahawk missiles in standard mode, and 96 missiles in attack mode.
The US destroyer is equipped with the most recent Aegis Combat System. It is an integrated naval weapons systems which can link together the missile defense systems of all vessels embedded within the same network, so as to ensure the detection, tracking and destruction of hundreds of targets at the same time. In addition, the USS Donald Cook is equipped with 4 large radars, whose power is comparable to that of several stations. For protection, it carries more than fifty anti-aircraft missiles of various types.
Meanwhile, the Russian Su-24 that buzzed the USS Donald Cook carried neither bombs nor missiles but only a basket mounted under the fuselage, which, according to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta , contained a Russian electronic warfare device called Khibiny.
As the Russian jet approached the US vessel, the electronic device disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up - or about to be - with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down, as turning off the TV set with the remote control.
The Russian Su-24 then simulated a missile attack against the USS Donald Cook, which was left literally deaf and blind. As if carrying out a training exercise, the Russian aircraft - unarmed - repeated the same maneuver 12 times before flying away.
After that, the 4th generation destroyer immediately set sail towards a port in Romania.
Since that incident, which the Atlanticist media have carefully covered up despite the widespread reactions sparked among defense industry experts, no US ship has ever approached Russian territorial waters again.
According to some specialized media, 27 sailors from the USS Donald Cook requested to be relieved from active service.
Vladimir Balybine - director of the research center on electronic warfare and the evaluation of so-called "visibility reduction" techniques attached to the Russian Air Force Academy - made the following comment:
"The more a radio-electronic system is complex, the easier it is to disable it through the use of electronic warfare."
Chomsky to RT: US and its NATO intervention force may spark nuclear war
Published time: November 07, 2014 13:20
US linguist, philosopher and political activist, Noam Chomsky (AFP Photo DDP / Sascha Schuermann)
How dangerous is the current confrontation between Russia and the West? Noam Chomsky believes that NATO expansion and US quest for hegemony has put the world in a situation so unstable where any accidental interaction could result in a nuclear war.
‘New NATO aims to control the world’
The “new NATO” that emerged after the Soviet Union collapsed is basically a US-run intervention force, with a completely different mission as compared to the original, Chomsky tells RT’s Sophie&Co.
“In fact, one might ask why NATO even continued to exist,” he said. “The official justification for NATO was that its purpose was to defend Western Europe from Russian hordes who might attack Western Europe.”
With no more “Russian threat”, the natural conclusion in the 90s would be to disband the alliance, but instead the opposite happened – against all agreements NATO expanded all the way towards the Russian borders.
“Its mission changed. The official mission of NATO became to control the international, the global energy system, pipelines. That means, to control the world.”
‘World ominously close to nuclear war’
In the worst case scenario the current international instability, especially with tensions between US and Russia resembling a new cold war, could result in a nuclear war, in which all parties that initiate it would be eliminated.
“And it’s come ominously close several times in the past, dramatically close. And it could happen again, but not planned, but just by the accidental interactions that take place,” Chomsky said. “There have been many cases, not that serious, but pretty close, where human intervention with a few-minutes choice has prevented a nuclear war. You can’t guarantee that’s going to continue."
“It may not be a high probability each time, but when you play a game like that, with low probability risks of disaster over and over again, you’re going to lose. And now, especially in the crisis over Ukraine, and so-called missile-defense systems near the borders of Russia, it’s a threatening situation.”
‘West can’t isolate Russia, will drive it to the East’
With its efforts to isolate Russia through confrontation and sanctions, the West instead pushes Moscow closer to the East, towards closer relations with China.
“Current Western policies are driving Russia towards closer interaction with the Chinese-based system. In this interaction Russia is actually the weaker partner, so it’s making concessions, but the US is openly creating a system of power, which could significantly diminish US domination in the world.”
“There is a Trans-Pacific Partnership, so-called, a huge commercial treaty, designed to incorporate the Asian countries, not China, but the other Asian countries, crucially not China,” Chomsky said. “But that’s the plan and it’s the kind of economic counterpart to the military pivot to Asia, and the sanctions on Russia are helping to create a counter-course based on Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or an extension of it, which would include Russia, and may begin to move across Eurasia, the whole Eurasian region.”
The peak of American power in history was around 1945, Chomsky says, when the United States owned half of the world’s wealth and American leaders were designing and organizing a world system that would benefit the US corporate system.
“The origins of multi-national corporations began to develop at that time... And there were detailed plans for assigning to every part of the world, what was called, a function within the global system,” he says, although adding that plan began to collapse very quickly.
“In 1949 there was a serious blow to the US global hegemony – China’s independence,” he said. “There’s a name for that in US history and Western history. It is called ‘the loss of China’. Just think about this phrase for a minute. I can only lose what I own. And the assumption, the tacit assumption is – we own China, we own the world.”
‘US-led anti-ISIS coalition meaningless, apart from being illegal’
US actions in the Middle East region, including the invasion in Iraq, have created the circumstances, under which ISIS emerged, Chomsky believes. “What happened is the US basically hit Iraq with a kind of sledgehammer,” instituting a governmental structure, which was sectarian in nature.
“All of this came together to create sectarian conflicts, which had not existed before… That has since expanded, and now it’s tearing the whole region apart. Syria is one element of it.”
And to solve the mess, the US again decided to act against the international law, building an anti-ISIS coalition that is “meaningless, apart from being illegal.”
“A law-abiding state would go to the Security Council, ask for a declaration by the Security Council of a threat to peace, and request the Security Council to organize direct response to it. And that could be done. The US could then participate in it, but so could Iran,” which is a major military force and would probably wipe out ISIS in no time, if it was allowed to join the fight on the ground, Chomsky believes.
‘States are very resistant to interference with their powers’
The US is far and away the technologically most advanced country in the world, so the spying is “more extensive in the United States.” Although Edward Snowden made a major contribution by exposing NSA methods to the world, there’s a long way to go, Chomsky said.
“States are very resistant to interference with their powers… It hasn’t stopped, now in fact it’s expanding. It’s a real major attack on human rights,” he said. “But it’s duplicated in China, Britain, Russia, no doubt, other countries.”
“The major threat is if it becomes sort of passively accepted, because of the fact that it’s not stopped, this is just going to go on, go on to the point where there are literally tiny drones, fly-size drones, that can be on the ceiling of your living room, listening to what you’re saying and sending it back to the central government office. There are no limits to this.”
“There has to be a citizen reaction, which would put an end to this practice.”
'Did the gates of Hell open up in Moscow?' ask Russian noses
November 10, 2014 4:18 PM
Moscow (AFP) - A foul odour enveloped the Russian capital throughout the day on Monday, with concerned Muscovites flooding authorities with complaints and officials scrambling to locate the source of the stench.
Predictably, wits in Moscow had a field day, with many joking that the gates of Hell opened up in the city of some 12 million.
Residents of Moscow began complaining early Monday of the "unpleasant smell of sulphur, hydrogen sulfide and oil products in the air," MosEcoMonitoring, an environment watchdog in Moscow, said in a statement.
The concentration of hydrogen sulﬁde in the air briefly exceeded the norm while the sulphur dioxide was within limits, the watchdog said.
Authorities warned Russians against panic.
"The smell of hydrogen sulfide is not dangerous," the emergencies ministry spokesman told AFP.
Moscow's chief toxicologist Yury Ostapenko also sought to allay fears.
"The appearance of smell is more unpleasant than dangerous," he said, speaking on radio.
"This is unpleasant but it makes no sense to worry that we are going to get sick right now."
By Monday evening the stench eased but the mystery deepened when the authorities said a local oil refinery was to blame, but its owner denied any problems.
The emergencies ministry pointed the finger at faulty air filters at a refinery in southeastern Moscow, but Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of state gas giant Gazprom, which controls the refinery, denied the claim.
"The refinery is working in an ordinary mode," Gazprom Neft said in a statement on Monday evening, adding that its own labs did not register any spike in the concentration of hydrogen sulﬁde.
"Did the gates of Hell open up in Moscow?" one Russian, writing under the nickname Yurii Eagle, asked on Twitter. "What is this smell?"
"Let me remind you that 'Interstellar' also begins with the smell of smoke, dust and all of that," said another Twitter user, referring to a new science fiction film depicting an apocalyptic future on Earth.
In 2010, amid the worst heatwave in its history, noxious smoke enveloped Moscow as fires burned outside the Russian capital.
The smoke crept into apartments, offices, stores and even underground into the Moscow metro, forcing Russians to wear surgical masks or flee the debilitating combination of smog and high temperatures.
The Hagman & Hagman Report
Ebola – the Blood Serpent & a foreshadowing of the coming Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Monday, November 10, 2014 on The Hagmann & Hagmann Report: The corporate media has done a good job burying any news about the emergence and progression of Ebola in America with constant pre and post-election related coverage. Taking advantage of the short attention span of Americans, the government, in collusion with the media, has done remarkably well taking our focus away from the deadly Filovirus known as Ebola, and the potential hell on earth that this serpent-like virus can cause anyone in its merciless and unforgiving path.
As documented in meticulous detail in her soon-to-be released book Ebola and the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse, Sharon K. Gilbert, who earned a top-honors degree in biology with molecular emphasis from Indiana University, notes that the Ebola crisis just might be “a foreshadowing of the coming Horsemen” of the Apocalypse. Ms. Gilbert provides ample documentation that we might not have yet experienced the full effect of this virus, despite its current disappearance from the news cycles.
Sharon Gilbert provides us with great detail about the virus itself, its history and potential future as it gallops across the earth, perhaps hitching a ride with the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. She does so by combining her background in molecular biology with her extensive study of biblical prophecy. What emerges is a frightening yet compelling picture of a chapter ripped directly from the Book of Revelation.
Ms. Gilbert notes that the first patient to die from Ebola on U.S. soil, Thomas Eric Duncan, died on October 8, 2014, the same day as the second blood moon in the 2014-15 blood moon tetrad. We should note that God has provided the stars and the heavens for beauty, but also for discerning the signs and seasons, as written in Genesis. Might this be a harbinger of things yet to come?
Expanding on her ground-breaking presentation in July’s Pike’s Peak Prophecy Summit, Ms. Gilbert presents a compelling case that Thanatos, the Angel of Death who rides the fourth horse in Revelation 6 is given permission to use a biological weapon or therion when he begins his hellish ride. Her book offers an open but hopeful presentation of how Ebola emerged in 1976, how it infects humans, and how best to prepare now for what Gilbert calls ‘Braxton Hicks’ birth pangs like those described by Jesus in Matthew chapter 24.
POPE FRANCIS: 'PAGAN' CHRISTIANS 'IN NAME ONLY' ARE 'ENEMIES OF THE CROSS'
by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D. 7 Nov 2014 183
Not all those who claim to be Christians really are, said Pope Francis Friday morning. Some are Christians “in name only,” he said. “They bear the name of Christians but live a life of pagans.”
In his homily at Mass, the Pope that there have always been two types of Christian, those who truly followed Christ and those who only pretended to. At the time of Saint Paul, there were “worldly Christians, Christians in name only, with two or three Christian features, but nothing more.” The Pope called this sort of people “Pagan Christians,” whom St. Paul called “enemies of the cross of Christ.”
In Paul’s time, the Pope said, the two groups of Christians “were in church together, went to Mass on Sunday, praised the Lord, and were called Christians.” So what was the difference? He asked. The second were “enemies of the cross of Christ.”
The Pope went on to say that “even today there are many! We must be careful not to slip into the way of pagan Christians.” These are the ones, he said, who are “pagans painted over with two brush strokes of Christianity, so they look like Christians, but are really pagans.”
According to Francis, we all run the risk of becoming “Christians in appearance.” We are tempted, he said, to mediocrity, and when Christians become mediocre, “it is their ruin, because the heart cools and they become lukewarm.” Francis reminded his hearers that Jesus used strong language to describe this sort of Christians: “Because you are lukewarm, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” These, the Pope said, “are enemies of the cross of Christ. They take the name of Christian, but do not follow the requirements of the Christian life.”
The Pope suggested that there are questions we can ask ourselves to know what sort of Christians we are. He said that all of us—the Pope included—need to ask ourselves: “How much worldliness is in me? How much paganism?”
Even more specifically, the Pope asked: “Do I like to brag? Do I like money? Do I like my pride, my arrogance? Where are my roots, and where is my citizenship? In heaven or on earth?”
“If you love money and are attached to it, if you love vanity and pride, you are headed down a bad road,” he said. If, instead, he continued, “you try to love God and serve others, if you are gentle, if you are humble, if you are the servant of others, you are on the right path. Your citizenship is in heaven.”
'Witchmarks' to ward off evil spirits discovered at National Trust house
'Witchmarks' scratched in to hidden wooden beams to protect King James I from death have been found at Knole
17th century 'witch marks' hidden beneath floorboards of National Trust property Knole in Sevenoaks, Kent Photo: PA
By Hannah Furness, Arts Correspondent
7:00AM GMT 05 Nov 2014
Rudimentary scratchmarks etched into the beams of wood at a National Trust property intended to save the life of James I have been discovered.
The mysterious markings were carved into hidden floorboards at Knole, in Kent, in the 17th century, shortly before the king was supposed to visit the home in the wake of the Gunpowder Plot.
Archaeologists believe the "witchmarks" were intended to ward off evil spirits, protecting the monarch in an era of superstition and fear of assassination.
Experts believe the distinctive etchings were a sign of paranoia following the Gunpowder Plot, hailing it a “rare if not unique” discovery.
The witchmarks were discovered at Knole by archaeologists, who were investigating a room built to accommodate royalty as part of ongoing conservation work at the house.
After taking up floorboards, they found the criss-crossed lined gouged out of beams and joists, as well as on a fireplace.
Using dendrochronology, or tree ring dating, archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) have now dated the marks to early 1606 and the reign of King James I.
Experts believe that craftsmen working for the owner of Knole house, Thomas Sackville, carved the marks in anticipation of a visit from King James I with the intention of protecting him from evil spirits.
James Wright, MOLA buildings archaeologist, said: “King James I had a keen interest in witchcraft and passed a witchcraft law, making it an offence punishable by death and even wrote a book on the topic entitled Daemonologie.
“These marks illustrate how fear governed the everyday lives of people living through the tumultuous years of the early 17th century.
“To have precisely dated these apotropaic marks so closely to the time of the Gunpowder Plot, with the anticipated visit from the King, makes this a rare if not unique discovery.
“Using archaeology to better understand the latent fears of the common man that were heightened by the Plot is extremely exciting and adds huge significance to our research about Knole and what was happening at that time.”
After taking up floorboards, they found the criss-crossed lined gouged out of beams and joists, as well as on a fireplace. PHOTO: National Trust/Martin Havens
Nathalie Cohen, National Trust archaeologist, added: ““This is that once-in-a-lifetime chance to unravel the history of one of the largest houses in the country, from the rafters to the floorboards.
“This insight into the everyday folk beliefs of the past is just one chapter in the history of Knole’s 600 year past."
The house is known to have been renovated by Thomas Sackville, Lord Treasurer to King James I, between 1605 and 1608. It was intended as a “progress house” where James I could stay, with the rooms of the King’s Tower in the South Wing transformed to a suite of royal spaces. Shortly after the remodelling, Sackville died; meaning James did not visit Knole as planned.
It is part of investigative work that will continue throughout the house until 2018. The showrooms at Knole are currently closed to the public for winter conservation work but a series of guided tours of the marks will be conducted on November 20th and 21st.
Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
NOVEMBER 12, 2014, AT 6:10 AM
For as long as I've been reading about alien conspiracies, it's been an accepted article of faith among believers that the government was the enemy of the people and was conspiring with an alien race, or simply with other governments in our world, to keep evidence of a sentient extraterrestrial presence hidden.
In 2012, authors Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel became instant iconoclasts within the believer community when they published a book, After Disclosure, that laid out meticulously what the government should do to prepare the public for the "disclosure" of the conspiracy. The book leans in to the notion itself. The government conspirators, say these two, think that the conspiracy is untenable and that a full and open discussion of the fact of alien sentience is the best way to unite the world. Somehow.
This big secret will be revealed in 2015, if the chatter on shows like Coast-to-Coast AM is any indication. Why? Well, the "Grays" — the name given to the aliens who either conspire with the government to keep their presence hidden or are on the verge of attacking the Earth — have somehow given an ultimatum to their human co-conspirators. Maybe it's time to move humanity into the next phase of their existence. Maybe humans are battering the planet so badly that the Grays, who need the milk of the Earth to survive, are in peril. If humans fail to disclose the Grays' existence, then the Grays will make themselves known by, perhaps, a global television event that shows off their gravity-defying hardware.
One-third to half of Americans give real credence to the possibility that aliens exist and are living among us. That's 80 million to 100 million adults. They don't just think that alien DNA might have helped spark life on Earth, or that life exists elsewhere in the universe. They believe in the conspiracy. We treat them as ninnies with tin-foil hats and bumper stickers. But they are all of us!
I'm a skeptic of the Penn Jillette variety. I would not believe that a sentient alien life-form had visited the Earth even if I were to meet an alien face-to-face. I trust in my own eyes, in my own fallible, pattern-seeking brain, quite a bit less than I do the laws of science and the record of empiricism. However, humans believe in weird things for all sorts of reasons. Based on data points alone, it should be much easier to believe in the existence of ETs than it is to believe in creationism, and yet...
My interest in the UFO community is motivated by entertainment, yes, but also by professional curiosity.
The government is broadly unpopular. Americans see it lurch along, indifferent to their concerns, unable to figure out how to really enhance their lives, redistributing resources according to popular whims, too subservient to the interests that bankroll the politicians who run it. It is incapable of orchestrating major policy changes without significant hiccups. Whistle-blowers with incontrovertible evidence of government misdeed talk to The Washington Post, to Congress, or to Laura Poitras.
UFO believers hold two opposing beliefs. One is that the government we all know is but a projected shadow on the cave. The real government, the deep state, controls the world and remains hidden. The other is that this government, all powerful and capable of keeping an alien conspiracy from coming out, is not all powerful and not capable of keeping an alien conspiracy from coming out. They've got witnesses; 500 military, intelligence, credentialed witnesses who can testify to some part of the conspiracy. (Canada's former defense minister!)
The shift from paranoia to optimism within the UFO community might represent a new strategy to gain public acceptance. UFO sightings go viral and are debunked just as quickly; perhaps, the believers believe, it's time to use the same tactics that successful political campaigns use to get the real media to pay attention, and to begin to seriously pressure political leaders to come clean. (Whether the media is part of the conspiracy itself is...well, I can't tell you.) And look: The disclosure of alien life would truly change the world overnight. Big conflicts would seem irrelevant. It would be much easier to tackle global problems if humans were forced to think of themselves as members of a single planet.
The scientists who search for extraterrestrial intelligence do not believe that aliens have visited Earth. They think that we might pick up unambiguous evidence of the existence of another civilization someday. (See the movie Contact, which was based on a book by Carl Sagan.)
Two vastly different belief architectures both agree on this: "Disclosure" or discovery would change everything. I remain skeptical. But it's fun to think about.
The Telegraph (This sounds like an open door for demon possession. Ed)
X-Men mind control becomes a reality
Man plays video game using the hand of another gamer sat half a mile away
EEG signals being recorded from the "sender"
Photo: Public Library of Science One
By Richard Gray
9:44PM GMT 07 Nov 2014
Taking control of another person's body with your mind is something that has been long dreamed of in comic books and films like X Men, but now scientists have achieved it in real life.
Researchers used electromagnets and computers to transmit a person's brainwaves allowing them to control the hand of another sitting in a different building one mile away.
The technology recorded the brain signals from a computer gamer and then fired them into the brain of another volunteer, triggering the nerves that controlled their hand muscles.
This allowed the gamer, who had no physical computer controls themselves, to use the other person to play a computer game.
The technology makes it possible to control the body of another person with thoughts - something that Professor Xavier was able to do in the X Men.
The researchers behind the project believe it may eventually lead to new ways of helping rehabilitate stroke patients and those who have suffered brain damage.
It could also be used to pass information between people or allow skilled surgeons help others perform difficult operations from miles away or allow pilots to take control of a plane from the ground in an emergency.
Dr Rajesh Rao, a computer scientist and engineer at the University of Washington who led the work, said: "Our results show that information extracted from one brain can be transmitted to another brain, ultimately allowing two humans to cooperatively perform a task using only a direct brain-to-brain interface.
"Such devices, which have been long cherished by science fiction writers, have the potential to not only revolutionize how humans communicate and collaborate, but also open a new avenue for investigating brain function."
In the study, which is published in the journal Public Library of Science One , three pairs of volunteers played a rudimentary computer game where they had to fire a canon at passing pirate ships.
While one volunteer could see what was happening on the screen, the other in a different building could not see the screen but had their hand placed over a keypad needed to fire the canon.
The gamer who could see the screen was fitted with electroencephalograph, or EEG, to record the minute electrical signals that are given off by their brain.
With this they were able to transmit a distinctive signal to tap the keypad over the internet to a device that stimulated the brain of the second volunteer in the other room.
The signal was transmitted into the brain of the second volunteer through transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, which generates an electromagnetic pulse that triggers the neurons in their brain.
When positioned over the part of the brain that controls movement in the right hand, this caused the muscles in volunteer's hand to move and tap the keypad.
The researchers, whose study said the technology needed little training for the volunteers to use and it was possible to trigger movement in the receiving person's hand less than 650 milliseconds after the sender gave the command to fire.
They found that the accuracy varied between the pairs with one managing to accurately hit 83 per cent of the pirate ships. Most of the misses were due to person sending the thoughts failing to accurately execute the thought needed to send the "fire" command.
Early brain to computer communication devices required many hours of training and required surgical implants.
Scientists have already enabled paralysed patients to control robotic arms and play computer games.
However, Dr Rao and his team believe their technology can be used by people who have just walked into their lab and do not require any invasive implants.
Recently scientists in Spain and France were able to show that they could send words to colleagues in India using similar set ups.
Those researchers recorded electrical activity from the brain and converted the words "hola" and "ciao" into a digital signal before electromagnetic pulses transmitted them into the receivers brain so they saw flashes of light that formed a kind of morse code.
Dr Rao and his team have now been given a $1 million grant from the WM Keck Foundation to transmit more complex brain processes.
They believe it may be possible to transmit other information such as concepts, abstract thoughts and rules as well as physical movement and information.
Dr Andrea Stocco, a psychologist at the University of Washington who was also involved in the study, said: "We have envisioned many scenarios in which brain-to-brain technology could be useful.
"A skilled surgeon could remotely control an inexperienced assistant's hands to perform medical procedures even if not on the site, or a skilled pilot could remotely help a less experienced one control a plane during a difficult situation.
"It could help with neuro-rehabilitation. After brain damage, patients need to painfully and slowly re-learn simple motor actions, such as walking, grasping, or swallowing.
"We suspect that the re-learning phase could be greatly sped-up if we could provide the damaged brain with a "motor template", copied from a healthy person, or the healthy part of the patient's brain, of what the intended action should look like.
"It could also help with tutoring. Imagine that we could extract the teacher's richer representation of a difficult concept and deliver it to his or her students in terms of neural activity."
GENERATION WIFI WANTS BRAINS HOOKED TO INTERNET
'You will have a God-like feeling of how people are thinking and feeling'
Published: November 13.2014
According to a survey by tech giant Cisco Systems, about a fourth of professionals ages 18 to 50 would leap at the chance to get a surgical brain implant that allowed them to instantly link their thoughts to the Internet.
The study was conducted on 3,700 adults working in white-collar jobs in 15 countries.
“Assuming a company invented a brain implant that made the World Wide Web instantly accessible to their thoughts, roughly one-quarter would move forward with the operation,” the study found.
Generation Y professionals, those born in the 1980s through 2000, were only slightly more apt to say they would get the surgery, at 26 percent, versus 21 percent of Gen Xers or those born from the early 1960s through the early 1980s.
The study posed dozens of technology-related questions to professionals in 15 countries including the U.S., Japan, China, Russia and France.
“I really think it’s the cool factor. When they see something that’s cutting-edge, they really don’t stop to think about the implications,” said Liz McIntyre, a privacy expert and co-author of the book, “Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Purchase and Watch Your Every Move.”
“Especially people who work in technology but also just average people, I think they look at the cool factor and they don’t stop to look at the implications for themselves like their privacy and civil liberties, never mind the bigger picture for all of society,” McIntyre said. “It’s part of this whole wave now where the (tech) industry feels like they have an in, and they’re going to push it right through on the cool factor.”
She said many people have become “brainwashed by the industry” to the point where they think they can’t live without being connected to the Internet.
“Look at all the people carrying smartphones; those are tracking devices,” McIntyre said. “What’s the next step? We already have singularity. Having sensors implanted in people everywhere will be the next step.”
All commercial products have sensors, and some day all people could be implanted with brain chips, allowing the people to interact with the products and with each other in a whole new way. To many, that sounds like a brave new world that’s both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
“So you will have a God-like feeling of how people are thinking and feeling at all times. It will get to a point where you won’t have a choice. People will become more like machines,” McIntyre said. “There will be a central intelligence, and they will all act on it. You’re part of it. You talk about mind control? Everything will be known. Everything will be part of this collective, and if you don’t participate you won’t have a place in this civil society.
“I think it is very Orwellian.”
McIntyre said the tech industry is likely very close to being able to produce a brain implant, but industry insiders know they still have much work to do in terms of public acceptance for their radical ideas. That could be one of the reasons why Cisco conducted its study – to get a feel for how close the market is to accepting such a product.
“They’re not far, because we already have devices that can be implanted in the body,” McIntyre said. “I think the main barrier to that (brain implant) is public acceptance, and I question the study by Cisco because they have a vested interest. The more people they can portray as being accepting of this, the better it is for them.”
McIntyre, who speaks on technology and privacy issues around the world, said the people with whom she comes in contact are not so eager to be chipped with an RFID, let alone a brain implant that would connect their thoughts with cyberspace.
“You know, when I talk to real people every day, they don’t want implants,” she said. “Even tech people, privately they’re a little bit scared. I have people come up to me wherever I go saying, ‘You know I would have said something, but I work for this company or that company,’ and they have real concerns but are prevented by their job constraints from saying anything. It’s really not normal (to be so accepting).”
Katherine Albrecht, co-author of “Spychips” and founder/director of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, said she also has doubts about the credibility of Cisco’s study.
In 2005 she interviewed hundreds of people for her doctoral dissertation at Harvard University and asked them if they would be willing to take an RFID implant.
“Everybody I asked, they all said, ‘No way,’ and some said, ‘Over my dead body.’ Some said things like, ‘You’d have to get me over the barrel of my shotgun first.’”
But the number of people open to such an extreme fusion of technology with the human body could very well be growing.
Albrecht said many younger people have been brought up to think all technology is “cool,” and they’ve also become less sensitive to what she calls “body modifications.”
“We’ve got piercings. We’ve got tattoos. We’ve got implants, people putting silicon in their bodies, implanting weird things,” she said. “In Japan, there is a trend for putting a doughnut shape in your forehead, so the younger generation has been desensitized to this body modification.”
But she still doubts that 26 percent of Gen Y’ers are ready for brain implants, as the Cisco survey suggests.
“I would be very skeptical of the research methodology that was used because in my experience it certainly wasn’t one in four (for RFID chips),” she said “I surveyed several hundred and almost unanimously they were against it, so either this study is flawed or something drastic has changed in just the last nine years. If you think the Internet is invading your privacy just wait till we have implants.”
McIntyre said Cisco and other technology companies will continue to fight the public relations war with the goal of warming people up to the idea of brain implants. But RFID chips will likely come first. They’re already used widely for pets.
“I think right now it’s a public relations game trying to promote this technology and trying to convince us all so we readily line up,” she said. “That said, those of us who are thinking about this need to stand up and make our voices heard, because if we’re not heard with a different viewpoint, then people will think almost everyone in society thinks this is normal so I must accept it, too.”
The study also found that more than 40 percent of respondents would allow their carrier/provider to have access to all their data in exchange for a free smartphone with unlimited data plan. More than seven in 10 Japanese professionals said they would sacrifice having sex for a month if that’s what it would take for them to keep their smartphones.
McIntyre said Americans, generally, are more trusting of technology and technology companies than Europeans.
“And you can see that reflected in the privacy laws,” she said. “Europe’s privacy protection laws are much stronger. America is much more interested in making a profit. Not that that’s bad, but because of that and the competition and the way our society is set up, we tend to go with the way society is set up and how we’re going to make money. Whereas, if you look at those other countries, many of them know what it’s like to live under repressive regimes in Eastern Europe. They had a gulag. Their neighbors disappeared.”
Among the other findings of Cisco’s survey were:
When it comes to self-driven cars, the majority of Gen X and Gen Y professionals do not expect them to be available by the year 2020. About three in 10, though, do believe they will be available, allowing for an easier commute leaving them free to get work done.
Roughly eight in 10 Gen X and Gen Y professionals believe middle-income workers will have robots that can assist them with various activities – although most do not expect such robots to be available by the year 2020.
About one-quarter of Gen X and Gen Y professionals would be willing to move to Mars or another planet if their organization were to open a branch there.
Charlotte Iserbyt, former education adviser to President Ronald Reagan and author of the book, “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America,” took up the Cisco study this week in her blog, “ABCs of Dumb Down.”
When one-fourth of a couple of generations is willing to line up for brain implants, the implications are chilling, she wrote.
“The article describes an addiction of proportions in which substance addiction pales by comparison,” Iserbyt wrote. “Imagine what the statistics may be with current young generations whose lives are shaped by addiction to technology from infancy through formative years of schooling dominated by ever more intrusive cyber ‘learning.’
“Prediction being fulfilled and even going beyond the book, ’1984′ (but 30 years later) with willing humanity so controlled that people volunteer to subject themselves to physical implants to ensure connection to their slave masters?”
Founder Of Skeptic’s Society Rattled After Witnessing A Paranormal Event (Michael Shermer)
November 8, 2014 by Joe Martino.
Michael Shermer is a well respected man amongst his community. He is the founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, a regular contributor to Time.com, and Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. He is very skeptical and scientific by nature and until now had never had a supernatural or paranormal experience.
“I just witnessed an event so mysterious that it shook my skepticism.” Michael Shermer
A Shift In Perspective
In his 2006 TED talk, we see a very skeptical and almost condescending Shermer. Nonetheless his talk is certainly an interesting one and well worth watching. Although much of the time he pokes fun at “odd” theories, he makes some good points about how we choose to see and hear things and form beliefs as a result.
On an observational level it is still interesting to hear someone, who clearly has a bias towards certain subjects, call out others who have bias’ in an attempt to explain why we believe weird things. For example, he pokes fun at something like UFO’s and aliens stating “it’s very likely they are not real.” He does this in a manner that some skeptics do where they use words to divert from the evidence and call upon the more ridiculous claims in an attempt to debunk the entire phenomenon. Perhaps he hasn’t seen the abundant evidence that exists including declassified government documents on the subject?
Either way the point here is simply that from a standpoint of discovery, sticking true to the scientific method is important in all cases when we’re looking for external validation of an idea. Leaving bias or methodology to prove a point by finding the most obscene examples of a theory out of the equation is the best bet. Being skeptical is OK, but being a skeptic in true form does not mean being closed minded, it simply means being open to questioning and exploring new ideas without simply believing it.
From his talk I can see why so many skeptics are not humble in their beliefs and often feel superior to others who don’t share the same beliefs. It almost seems to be ‘skeptic culture.’ But given his latest experience, perhaps Michael will have an entirely different view towards some of the claims others have made during his career?
His Recent Supernatural Experience
Here’s his story as he wrote in an article entitled Infrequencies. It was also published in Scientific American.
“The event took place on June 25, 2014. On that day I married Jennifer Graf, from Köln, Germany. She had been raised by her mom; her grandfather, Walter, was the closest father figure she had growing up, but he died when she was 16. In shipping her belongings to my home before the wedding, most of the boxes were damaged and several precious heirlooms lost, including her grandfather’s binoculars. His 1978 Philips 070 transistor radio arrived safely, so I set out to bring it back to life after decades of muteness. I put in new batteries and opened it up to see if there were any loose connections to solder. I even tried “percussive maintenance,” said to work on such devices—smacking it sharply against a hard surface. Silence. We gave up and put it at the back of a desk drawer in our bedroom.
Three months later, after affixing the necessary signatures to our marriage license at the Beverly Hills courthouse, we returned home, and in the presence of my family said our vows and exchanged rings. Being 9,000 kilometers from family, friends and home, Jennifer was feeling amiss and lonely. She wished her grandfather were there to give her away. She whispered that she wanted to say something to me alone, so we excused ourselves to the back of the house where we could hear music playing in the bedroom. We don’t have a music system there, so we searched for laptops and iPhones and even opened the back door to check if the neighbors were playing music. We followed the sound to the printer on the desk, wondering—absurdly—if this combined printer/scanner/fax machine also included a radio. Nope.
At that moment Jennifer shot me a look I haven’t seen since the supernatural thriller The Exorcist startled audiences. “That can’t be what I think it is, can it?” she said. She opened the desk drawer and pulled out her grandfather’s transistor radio, out of which a romantic love song wafted. We sat in stunned silence for minutes. “My grandfather is here with us,” Jennifer said, tearfully. “I’m not alone.”
Shortly thereafter we returned to our guests with the radio playing as I recounted the backstory. My daughter, Devin, who came out of her bedroom just before the ceremony began, added, “I heard the music coming from your room just as you were about to start.” The odd thing is that we were there getting ready just minutes before that time, sans music.
Later that night we fell asleep to the sound of classical music emanating from Walter’s radio. Fittingly, it stopped working the next day and has remained silent ever since.”
How We Can Relate To Others
Given Michael can say he now has first hand experience of something supernatural that he cannot explain or simply set aside with some “logical” explanation, it’s quite possible he can now better relate to people who truly deeply and completely believe something unexplainable that they have experienced. Even in his latest 2010 TED talk, Michael still felt that believing in alien abductions was absurd, but what about those who claim to have experienced it? What would they say to that? Is it fair to say all who have claimed it are simply crazy?
It’s sometimes very easy for us to discredit, set aside or be skeptical of experiences we didn’t have yet others had. It’s almost become “cool” and “intelligent” to simply come up with a logical explanation even when it doesn’t truly explain what happened. Nonetheless, it’s OK to be skeptical, we simply need to keep our ego in check at the same time and keep an open mind to the fact that putting a logical explanation on something doesn’t prove it false or incorrect. When we do this we simply close off a lot of possibility vs truly exploring it.
I think it’s powerful that Michael has had this experience and I also feel it’s a timely one. I believe we are in the midst of something huge here on earth. I feel we are experiencing a shift in global consciousness that will transform the way we view many facets of our lives. Although this view has been somewhat perverted and misunderstood by belief systems and mismanaged movements (new-age), I feel it has a lot of validity and this can be seen both scientifically and through direct experience. I talk about this in my TEDx talk.
Interestingly, Shermer ended his piece off with something very important.
“The emotional interpretations of such anomalous events grant them significance regardless of their causal account. And if we are to take seriously the scientific credo to keep an open mind and remain agnostic when the evidence is indecisive or the riddle unsolved, we should not shut the doors of perception when they may be opened to us to marvel in the mysterious.”
Although it didn’t come with some backlash already form a commenter
I was embarrassed to read your concluding paragraph. What are we to keep an open mind about? That Jennifer’s dead grandfather maybe fixed the radio? Did he even know how to fix radios? Wouldn’t there be an easier way for the dead to communicate with the living? It would be mildly interesting to have an electronics expert determine exactly what is wrong with the radio.
Embarrassed? Because suddenly one of the biggest skeptics in the world is open to the possibility that there is more to life than just what we can measure?
NEW AMAZON DEVICE USES VOICE RECOGNITION TO TRACK USERS IN THEIR HOMES
"It's always on... voice recognition hears you from across the room"
(This is very similar to the “monitering” devices used in the book “1984”.)
by MIKAEL THALEN | INFOWARS.COM | NOVEMBER 7, 2014
Amazon unveiled its new digital assistant the “Echo” this week, a cloud-connected device that is “always on.”
Controlled by a user’s voice, Amazon boasts the device’s ability to answer questions, provide weather updates, and play music.
“Amazon Echo is designed around your voice. It’s always on—just ask for information, music, news, weather, and more,” Amazon states. “Echo begins working as soon as it hears you say the wake word, ‘Alexa.’ It’s also an expertly-tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive sound.”
Using “far-field voice recognition,” the Echo can detect and analyze voices even when other loud noises are prevalent.
“Tucked under Echo’s light ring is an array of seven microphones. These sensors use beam-forming technology to hear you from any direction. With enhanced noise cancellation, Echo can hear you ask a question even while it’s playing music.”
Echo’s constant connection to the cloud allows it to learn and adapt, slowly gathering the specifics of a user’s characteristics.
“Echo’s brain is in the cloud, running on Amazon Web Services so it continually learns and adds more functionality over time. The more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.”
While the Echo is always activated, Amazon assures its customers that “Alexa” will only listen when a user asks.
Given Amazon’s history of selling privacy-invading devices, such as the company’s “Fire Phone,” the safety of any collected personal information is in question, especially in light of recent news surrounding cloud security.
Unfortunately, the push towards cloud computing and “smart” tech has long ignored these important social and security implications.
During a 2012 speech, former CIA Director David Petraeus openly applauded the growing implementation of such technology due to its ability to give spy agencies unmitigated access to personal information.
“Transformational is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies, particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft,” Petraeus said. “Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.”
Earlier this month, Samsung announced the launch of its new line of “Smart TVs,” which will admittedly record a user’s personal conversations before transmitting them to third parties.
Nov 6, 2014
By Marin Katusa
Back on September 11 and 12, there was a summit meeting in a city that involved an organization that most Americans have never heard of. Mainstream media coverage was all but nonexistent.
The place was Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, a country few Westerners could correctly place on a map.
But you can bet your last ruble that Vladimir Putin knows exactly where Tajikistan is. Because the group that met there is the Russian president’s baby. It’s the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), consisting of six member states: Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
The SCO was founded in 2001, ostensibly to collectively oppose extremism and enhance border security. But its real reason for being is larger. Putin sees it in a broad context, as a counterweight to NATO (a position that the SCO doesn’t deny, by the way). Its official stance may be to pledge nonalignment, nonconfrontation, and noninterference in other countries’ affairs, but—pointedly—the members do conduct joint military exercises.
Why should we care about this meeting in the middle of nowhere? Well, obviously, anything that Russia and China propose to do together warrants our attention. But there’s a whole lot more to the story.
Since the SCO’s inception, Russia has been treading somewhat softly, not wanting the group to become a possible stalking horse for Chinese expansion into what it considers its own strategic backyard, Central Asia. But at the same time, Putin has been making new friends around the world as fast as he can. If he is to challenge US global hegemony—a proposition that I examine in detail in my new book, The Colder War—he will need as many alliances as he can forge.
Many observers had been predicting that the Dushanbe meeting would be historic. The expectation was that the organization would open up to new members. However, expansion was tabled in order to concentrate on the situation in Ukraine. Members predictably backed the Russian position and voiced support for continuing talks in the country. They hailed the Minsk cease-fire agreement and lauded the Russian president’s achievement of a peace initiative.
However, the idea of adding new members was hardly forgotten. There are other countries which have been actively seeking to join for years. Now, with the rotating chairmanship of the organization passing to Moscow—and with the next summit scheduled for July 2015 in Ufa, Russia—conditions could favor the organization’s expansion process truly taking shape by next summer, says Putin.
To that end, the participants in Dushanbe signed documents that addressed the relevant issues: a “Model Memorandum on the Obligations of Applicant States for Obtaining SCO Member State Status,” and “On the Procedure for Granting the Status of the SCO Member States.”
This is extremely important, both to Russia and the West, because two of the nations clamoring for inclusion loom large in geopolitics: India and Pakistan. And waiting in the wings is yet another major player—Iran.
In explaining the putting off of a vote on admittance for those countries, Putin’s presidential aide Yuri Ushakov was candid. He told Russian media that expansion at this moment is still premature, due to potential difficulties stemming from the well-known acrimony between India and China, and India and Pakistan, as well as the Western sanctions against Iran. These conflicts could serve to weaken the alliance, and that’s something Russia wants to avoid.
Bringing longtime antagonists to the same table is going to require some delicate diplomatic maneuvering, but that’s not something Putin has ever shied away from. (Who else has managed to maintain cordial relationships with both Iran and Israel?)
As always, Putin is not thinking small or short term here. Among the priorities he’s laid out for the Russian chairmanship are: beefing up the role of the SCO in providing regional security; launching major multilateral economic projects; enhancing cultural and humanitarian ties between member nations; and designing comprehensive approaches to current global problems. He is also preparing an SCO development strategy for the 2015-2025 period and believes it will be ready by the time of the next summit.
We should care what’s going on inside the SCO. Once India and Pakistan get in (and they will) and Iran follows shortly thereafter, it’ll be a geopolitical game changer.
Putin is taking a leadership role in the creation of an international alliance among four of the ten most populous countries on the planet—its combined population constitutes over 40% of the world’s total, just short of 3 billion people. It encompasses the two fastest-growing global economies. Adding Iran means its members would control over half of all natural gas reserves. Development of Asian pipeline networks would boost the nations of the region economically and tie them more closely together.
If Putin has his way, the SCO could not only rival NATO, it could fashion a new financial structure that directly competes with the IMF and World Bank. The New Development Bank (FKA the BRICS Bank), created this past summer in Brazil, was a first step in that direction. And that could lead to the dethroning of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency, with dire consequences for the American economy.
As I argue in The Colder War, I believe that this is Putin’s ultimate aim: to stage an assault on the dollar that brings the US down to the level of just one ordinary nation among many… and in the process, to elevate his motherland to the most exalted status possible.
What happened in Tajikistan this year and what will happen in Ufa next summer—these things matter. A lot.
Timing the Collapse: Ron Paul Says Watch the Petrodollar
by Nick Giambruno
"The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or euros. The sooner the better." (emphasis mine)
~ Ron Paul
What Ron Paul is referring to here is the petrodollar system. It's one of the main pillars that's been holding up the US dollar's status as the world's premier reserve currency since the breakdown of Bretton Woods.
Paul is essentially saying that, if we want to better understand the answer to the elusive question of "When will the fiat US dollar collapse?", we have to watch the petrodollar system and the factors affecting it.
At the recent Casey Research Summit, I had the chance to speak extensively with Dr. Paul on this subject, and he told me that he stands by his assessment.
I believe this is critically important, because once the dollar loses this coveted status, the window of opportunity to take preventative action will definitively shut for Americans.
At that moment, I believe the US government will become sufficiently desperate and implement the destructive measures that governments throughout the world and throughout history have all taken (overt capital controls, wealth confiscations, people controls, price and wage controls, pension nationalizations, etc.)
But it's not just the financial implications that need to be considered. The destruction of the dollar is going to wipe out the wealth of a lot people, and that will cause political and social consequences that will likely be worse than the financial consequences.
The three points to understand here are:
You absolutely must be internationalized before the US dollar loses its status as the premier reserve currency. Internationalization is your ultimate insurance policy.
The US dollar's status as the premier reserve currency is tied to the petrodollar system.
The sustainability of the petrodollar system is linked to Middle East geopolitics. Having lived and worked in the Middle East for a number of years, this is a topic I know a thing or two about.
From Bretton Woods to the Petrodollar
The dollar's role as the world's premier reserve currency was established in 1944 by the Allied powers in what was known as the Bretton Woods international monetary system.
Being victorious in WWII and possessing the overwhelmingly largest gold reserves in the world (around 20,000 tonnes) allowed the US to reconstruct the global monetary system with the dollar at its center.
Simply put, the Bretton Woods system was an arrangement whereby a country's currency was tied to the US dollar through a fixed exchange rate, and the US dollar itself was tied to gold at a fixed exchange rate.
Countries accumulated dollars in their reserves to engage in international trade or to exchange them with the US government at the official rate for gold ($35 an ounce).
By the late 1960s, exuberant spending from welfare and warfare, combined with the Federal Reserve monetizing the deficits, drastically increased the number of dollars in circulation in relation to the gold backing it.
Naturally, this caused countries to accelerate their exchange of dollars for gold at the official price.
The result was a serious drain in the US gold supply (20,000 tonnes at the end of WWII to around 8,100 tonnes in 1971, a figure supposedly held constant to this day).
Nixon officially ended convertibility of the dollar for gold to halt the gold outflow, thus ending the Bretton Woods system, on August 15, 1971.
The US had defaulted on its promise to back the dollar with gold.
The central justification that the gold–backed dollar had provided as to why countries held the dollar in their reserves and used it as a medium of international trade was now gone.
With the dollar no longer convertible into gold, demand for dollars by foreign nations was sure to fall and with it, its purchasing power.
OPEC passed numerous resolutions after the end of Bretton Woods, stating the need to retain the real value of its earnings (including discussions about accepting gold for oil), which resulted in the cartel significantly increasing the nominal dollar price of oil in the wake of August 15, 1971.
If the dollar was to sustain its status as the world's reserve currency, a new arrangement would have to be constructed to give foreign countries a compelling reason to hold and use dollars.
Nixon and Kissinger would end up succeeding in retaining the dollar's premier status by bridging the gap between the failed Bretton Woods system and the emerging petrodollar system.
The Petrodollar System
Between the years of 1972 to 1974 the US government completed a series of agreements with Saudi Arabia to create the petrodollar system.
Saudi Arabia was chosen because of its vast petroleum reserves, its dominant influence in OPEC, and the (correct) perception that the Saudi royal family was corruptible.
In essence, the petrodollar system was an agreement that, in exchange for the US guaranteeing the survival of the House of Saud regime by providing a total commitment to its political and security support, Saudi Arabia would:
Use its dominant influence in OPEC to ensure that all oil transactions would be conducted only in US dollars.
Invest a large amount of its dollars from oil revenue in US Treasury securities and use the interest payments from those securities to pay US companies to modernize the infrastructure of Saudi Arabia.
Guarantee the price of oil within limits acceptable to the US and act to prevent another oil embargo by other OPEC members.
The need to use dollars to transact in oil, the world's most traded and most strategic commodity, provides a very compelling reason for foreign countries to keep dollars in their reserves.
For example, if Italy wants to buy oil from Kuwait, it would have to first purchase US dollars on the foreign exchange market to pay for the oil, thus creating an artificial market for US dollars that would not have otherwise naturally existed.
This demand is artificial, since the US dollar is just a middleman in a transaction that has nothing to do with a US product or service. It ultimately translates into increased purchasing power and a deeper, more liquid market for the US dollar and Treasuries.
Additionally, the US has the unique privilege of not having to use foreign currency but rather using its own currency, which it can print, to purchase its imports, including oil.
The benefits of the petrodollar system to the US dollar are indeed difficult to overstate.
What to Watch For
The geopolitical sands of the Middle East have been rapidly shifting.
The faltering strategic regional position of Saudi Arabia, the rise of Iran (which is notablynot part of the petrodollar system), failed US interventions, and the emergence of the BRICS countries providing potential future alternative economic/security arrangements all affect the sustainability of the petrodollar system.
In particular, you should watch the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia, which has been deteriorating.
The Saudis are furious at what they perceive to be the US not holding up its part of the petrodollar deal. They believe that as part of the US commitment to keep the region safe for the monarchy, the US should have attacked their regional rivals, Syria and Iran, by now.
This would suggest that they may feel that they are no longer obliged to uphold their part of the deal, namely selling their oil only in US dollars.
The Saudis have even gone so far as to suggest a "major shift" is underway in their relations with the US. To date, though, they have yet to match actions to their words, which suggests it may just be a temper tantrum or a bluff. In any case, it is truly unprecedented language and merits further watching.
A turning point may really be reached when you start hearing US officials expounding on the need to transform the monarchy in Saudi Arabia into a "democracy." But don't count on that happening as long as their oil is flowing only for US dollars.
It was evident long before Nixon closed the gold window and ended the Bretton Woods system on August 15, 1971, that a paradigm shift in the global monetary system was inevitable.
Likewise today, a paradigm shift in the global monetary system also seems inevitable. By considering Ron Paul's words, we will know when the dollar collapse is imminent.
Greenspan's Stunning Admission: "Gold Is Currency; No Fiat Currency, Including the Dollar, Can Match It"
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/07/2014 23:28 -0500
For some reason, the Council of Foreign Relations, where ex-Fed-Chief Alan Greenspan spoke last week, decided the following discussion should be left out of the official transcript. We can perhaps understand why... as Gillian Tett concludes, "comments like that will be turning you into a rock star amongst the gold bug community."
TETT: Do you think that gold is currently a good investment?
GREENSPAN: Yes... Remember what we're looking at. Gold is a currency. It is still, by all evidence, a premier currency. No fiat currency, including the dollar, can macth it.
Which is missing from the official CFR transcript...
GREENSPAN: ...remember, we had that first tapering discussion, we got a very strong market response. And then we reassured everybody to have no -- remember, tapering is still (audio gap) of an agreement that the central banks have made -- European central banks, I believe -- about allocating their gold sales which occurred when gold prices were falling down (audio gap) has been renewed this year with a statement that gold serves a very important place in monetary reserves.
And the question is, why do central banks put money into an asset which has no rate of return, but cost of storage and insurance and everything else like that, why are they doing that? If you look at the data with a very few exceptions, all of the developed countries have gold reserves. Why?
TETT: I imagine right now, it's because of a question mark hanging over the value of fiat currency, the credibility going forward.
GREENSPAN: Well, that's what I'm getting at. Every time you get some really serious questions, the 50 percent of the gold price determination begins to move.
GREENSPAN: And I think it is fascinating and -- I don't know, is Benn Steil in the audience?
GREENSPAN: There he is, OK. Before you read my book, go read Benn's book. The reason is, you'll find it fascinating on exactly this issue, because here you have the ultimate test at the Mount Washington Hotel in 1944 of the real intellectual debate between the -- those who wanted to an international fiat currency which was embodied in John Maynard Keynes' construct of a banker, and he was there in 1944, holding forth with all of his prestige, but couldn't counter the fact that the United States dollar was convertible into gold and that was the major draw. Everyone wanted America's gold. And I think that Benn really described that in extraordinarily useful terms, as far as I can see. Anyway, thank you.
TETT: Right. Well, I'm sure with comments like that, that will be turning you into a rock star amongst the gold bug community.
FEDS AIM TO CONTROL VIRTUALLY 'ANY WET SPOT'
'Largest expansion of power ever proposed'
Published: November 12, 2014
A rule change to the Clean Water Act proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency apparently would put “any wet spot” under Washington control.
A low spot in a farmer’s field that occasionally holds rainwater, a subdivision ditch that drains storm runoff or a mountain road that directs snowmelt all could face new layers of federal requirements and bureaucracy.
The change to the definition of water and water bodies could impact millions of landowners, according to the Pacific Legal Foundation, which has won water-related disputes at the U.S. Supreme Court.
“On its face, the proposed rule covers virtually every water in the nation,” the team told the government in a comment procedure in advance of any final decision on the plan.
“Under this rule, a prudent legal practitioner would have to advise his client that the only waters not covered are those few that are expressly exempt.”
Exemptions would include a swimming pool or a decorative pond.
“If a water body isn’t a ‘traditional navigable water,’ it is a ‘tributary.’ If it isn’t a ‘tributary,’ it is an ‘adjacent water.’ If it isn’t an ‘adjacent water,’ it is an ‘other water.’ All of which are subject to onerous federal regulation,” Pacific Legal Foundation said.
“If it isn’t a water at all, it is still covered by the fine print in Footnote 3 of the proposed rule that states the terms ‘waters’ and ‘water bodies’ ‘do not refer solely to the water contained in these aquatic systems, but to the system as a whole including associated chemical, physical and biological features.’”
Pacific Legal said the “seemingly innocuous language is troubling because it can be interpreted to include runoff, dry land, man-made structures, and flora and fauna.”
“What isn’t a chemical, physical or biological feature of the aquatic system? Nothing!” they wrote.
The proposed redefinition of “waters of the United States” is an attempt by the federal agencies to expand their power, Pacific Legal said.
The rule is so broad “it could lead to practically unlimited expansion of federal control over property nationwide.”
M. Reed Hopper, a principal attorney for the foundation, said the rule’s vagueness means “virtually any natural pond or pothole, anywhere, could be labeled part of the ‘waters of the United States,’ bringing the property’s owner under the control of federal regulators.”
“Federal bureaucrats assert jurisdiction over ditches, drains, temporary seasonal ponds or streams, and even prairie puddles, along with the land adjoining them,” Hopper said. “Only minor features would be excluded, such as artificial pools or ponds, and only if they are in dry, upland areas.”
He called it the “largest expansion of power ever proposed by a federal agency.”
“It would stretch federal oversight beyond the limits of statutory and constitutional law and include small, rarely wet areas that have no significant effects on navigable waters such as rivers, lakes or the oceans,” said Hopper. “It would usurp state authority over local land and water resources. And property owners large and small, nationwide, could see their land and their lives come under the control of Washington, D.C.”
Hopper has described the rule as outlandish because the Clean Water Act is based on the Commerce Clause, which regulates whatever impacts interstate commerce.
Originally the “waters” were interpreted to mean “traditional navigable waters that could be used in interstate commerce.”
“But it didn’t take long before the agencies started pushing the envelope on federal jurisdiction claiming regulatory authority over wetlands and other nonnavigable waters that had nothing to do with commerce, let alone interstate commerce.”
Even a slapdown earlier from the U.S. Supreme Court in case over an expansion of the Clean Water Act’s authority didn’t change the direction of the agencies, Pacific Legal said.
In its comments to the government this week, the legal team pointed out that the new definition include any waters that can float a canoe in its definition of navigable waters that impact interstate commerce.
“The Corps and the EPA’s claim that all tributaries are subject to the Clean Water Act – no matter how remote or inconsequential – defies comprehension,” the legal team said. “This claim is based on the so-called Connectivity Report that suggests virtually all waters are interconnected and therefore subject to federal regulation.”
But PLF said that is what the Supreme Court rejected.
Further, the definition changes would “for the first time … expressly assert jurisdiction over dry land and shallow groundwater.” The agencies want to control “wetlands” even when they are dry.
“This alone is the largest land grab in the history of the nation, encompassing tens of thousands of miles of usually dry land and extending from the lower Mississippi Delta to the smallest streams,” the legal team.
PLF pointed out the scope of the definition leads to absurdities.
“Strangely, the Corps and EPA could not bring themselves to expressly exclude ‘puddles,’ claiming the term is too ambiguous.”
WND reported PFL was at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a Louisiana landowner who wanted to develop a landfill but was stopped by sudden changes in Army Corps of Engineers program definitions.
Furthermore, the company was told, there is no challenge allowed to the decision.
Its options were to “abandon” the property, “go through the pointless and costly permit process (averaging more than $270,000 and over two years)” or simply “proceed without a permit, risking immense fines of $37,500 a day and imprisonment,” the court was told.
The outline of the case is remarkably similar to the Sackett case that was decided by the Supreme Court in 2012. The Priest Lake, Idaho, couple bought a residential lot and started work on their dream home. Along came the Environmental Protection Agency with a determination that the parcel contained “wetlands” and the couple’s options were to abandon their land, seek a prohibitively expensive permit or face millions of dollars in fines.
The federal agency also contended the couple was not allowed to seek a judicial review of its decision.
But the Supreme Court ruled the EPA cannot issue a “drive-by” decision regarding wetlands and then prohibit the owner from using the property or challenging the decision.
The bullying of Hungary – the country that dared to disobey the US and EU
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster.
Published time: November 07, 2014 12:53
25 years ago, Hungary was being toasted in the West for opening its border with Austria to East Germans, in a move which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now the Western elites are not happy with Budapest which they consider far too independent.
The refusal of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his ruling Fidesz party to join the new US and EU Cold War against Russia, which has seen the Hungarian parliament approving a law to build the South Stream gas pipeline without the approval of the European Union, in addition to the populist economic policies Fidesz has adopted against the largely foreign owned banks and energy companies, has been met with an angry response from Washington and Brussels.
Hungarian officials have been banned from entering the US, while the European Commission has demanded that the Hungarians explain their decision to go ahead with South Stream. That’s on top of the European Commission launching legal action against the Hungarian government for its law restricting the rights of foreigners to buy agricultural land.
The bullying of Hungary hasn’t made many headlines because it’s so-called “democrats” from the West who have been doing the bullying.
Viktor Orban is not a communist, he is a nationally-minded conservative who was an anti-communist activist in the late 1980s, but the attacks on him and his government demonstrate that it doesn’t matter what label you go under - if you don’t do exactly what Uncle Sam and the Euro-elite tell you to do - your country will come under great pressure to conform. And all of course in the name of “freedom” and “democracy.”
Fidesz has been upsetting some powerful people in the West ever since returning to power in 2010. The previous “Socialist”-led administration was hugely popular in the West because it did everything Washington and Brussels and the international banking set wanted. It imposed austerity on ordinary people, it privatized large sections of the economy, and it took out an unnecessary IMF loan. Ironically, the conservative-minded Fidesz party has proved to be much better socialists in power than the big-business and banker friendly “Socialists” they replaced.
One of the first things that Fidesz and its coalition allies, the Christian Democratic People’s Party, (KDNP) did was to introduce an $855m bank tax - the highest such tax in Europe - a measure which had the financial elite foaming at the mouth.
Orban clashed with the IMF too, with his government rejecting new loan terms in 2012, and paying off early a loan taken out by the previous government, to reduce interest payments.
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban (Reuters / Bernadett Szabo)
In 2013, Orban took on the foreign-owned energy giants with his government imposing cuts of over 20% on bills. Neoliberals expressed their outrage at such “interventionist” policies, but under Orban, the economy has improved. Although it’s true that many still look back nostalgically to the days of “goulash communism” in the 1970s and 80s when there were jobs for all and food on the table for everyone. Unemployment fell to 7.4 percent in the third-quarter of this year; it was around 11 percent when Fidesz took power, while real wages rose by 2.9 percent in the year up to July.
The man his enemies called the “Viktator,” has shown that he will pursue whatever economic policies he believes are in his country’s national interest, regardless of the opinions of the western elite who want the Hungarian economy to be geared to their needs.
His refusal to scrap his country’s bank tax is one example; the closer commercial links with Russia are another. Russia is Hungary’s third biggest trading partner and ties between the two countries have strengthened in the last couple of years, to the consternation of western Russophobes. In April, a deal was struck for Moscow to loan Hungary €10 billion to help upgrade its nuclear plant at Paks.
Orban’s policy of improving trade and business links with Russia, while staying a member of the EU and NATO, has however been put under increasing strain by the new hostile policy towards Moscow from Washington and Brussels.
Orban again, has annoyed the West by sticking up for Hungary’s own interests. In May he faced attack when he had the temerity to speak up for the rights of the 200,000 strong Hungarian community living in Ukraine.”Ukraine can neither be stable, nor democratic, if it does not give its minorities, including Hungarians, their due. That is dual citizenship, collective rights and autonomy.” Hungary’s Ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Kiev. Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland, the US’s most obedient lapdog in Eastern Europe, called Orban’s comments “unfortunate and disturbing” as if it was anything to do with him or his country.
In August, Orban accurately described the sanctions policy of the West towards Russia as like “shooting oneself in the foot.”“The EU should not only compensate producers somehow, be they Polish, Slovak, Hungarian or Greek, who now have to suffer losses, but the entire sanctions policy should be reconsidered,” Orban said.
In October, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also questioned the sanctions on Russia, revealing that his country is losing 50 million forints a day due to the policy.
Hungary has made its position clear, but for daring to question EU and US policy, and for its rapprochement with Moscow, the country has been punished.
It’s democratically elected civilian government which enjoys high levels of public support, has ludicrously - and obscenely - been likened to military governments which have massacred their opponents. "From Hungary to Egypt, endless regulations and overt intimidation increasingly target civil society," declared US President Barack Obama in September.
Last month there was another salvo fired at Hungary - it was announced that the US had banned six unnamed Hungarian government officials from entering America, citing concerns over corruption- without the US providing any proof of the corruption.
"At a certain point, the situation, if it continues this way, will deteriorate to the extent where it is impossible to work together as an ally," warned the Charge D’Affaires of the US Embassy in Budapest, Andre Goodfriend. The decision and the failure to provide any evidence, understandably caused outrage in Hungary. “The government of Hungary is somewhat baffled at the events that have unfolded because this is not the way friends deal with issues," said Janos Lazar, Orban‘s chief of staff.
The timing of the ban has to be noted, coming after the Hungarian government had criticized the sanctions on Russia and just before the national Parliament was due to vote on the South Stream pipeline. The pipeline, which would allow gas to be transported from Russia via the Black Sea and the Balkans to south and central Europe without passing through Ukraine, is a project which Russophobes in the West want cancelled.
"I am inclined to think that it is a punishment for the fact that we talk to Russia," said Gabor Stier, the head foreign policy editor of the leading Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet.
"America thinks that we are corrupt, but we are a sovereign state, and it is our business. Many people in the United States do not like that Viktor Orban is very independent…..Corruption is just an excuse."
It’s hard to disagree with Stier’s conclusions. Of course, there is corruption in Hungary, as there is in every country, but it pales in comparison with some countries who are faithful US allies and who Washington never criticizes. The 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by Transparency International, reveals that Latvia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina are all below Hungary, as indeed is Italy. Yet it’s Hungarian officials that the US is banning.
True to form, the attacks on Orban and his government in the Western media have chimed with the political attacks. ‘Is Hungary, the EU’s only dictatorship?’ asked Bloomberg View in April. The BBC ran a hostile piece on Orban and Fidesz in October entitled Cracks Emerge in leading party, and which referred to “government corruption” and “the playboy lifestyle of numerous party officials.”
The piece looked forward to the end of Fidesz rule.
While earlier this week, the New York Times published an OpEd by Kati Marton, whose late husband Richard Holbrooke, was a leading US diplomat, entitled Hungary’s Authoritarian Descent. You’d never guess that the Hungarian government wasn’t the flavor of the month in the West would you?
The question which has to be asked is: will Hungary be the next country to be the target of a US/EU sponsored regime change?
We all know what happened to the last Viktor who refused to sever links with Russia. Will Orban suffer the same fate as Ukraine’s Yanukovich? There are good reasons for believing that he won’t.
Fidesz did make a mistake by announcing the introduction of a new internet tax last month, which brought thousands onto the streets to protest but they have since dropped the plans and the problem for the US and EU is that Orban and his government remain too popular. In October’s local elections Fidesz won 19 of Hungary’s 21 larger towns and cities, including the capital city Budapest, not bad for a party that‘s been in power since May 2010.
Orban’s brand of economic populism, combined with moderate nationalism, goes down well in a country where people remember just how awful things were when the neoliberal “Socialists” were in power. His style of leadership may be authoritarian, but Hungarians prefer having a leader who has cut fuel bills and reduced unemployment to one who mouths platitudes about “liberal democracy” but who imposed harsh austerity measures and leaves them unable to afford the daily essentials.
Moreover Hungary, is already a member of the EU and NATO unlike Ukraine under Yanukovich and isn't about to leave either soon. On a recent visit to America Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told the US TODAY newspaper “US is our friend, US is our closest ally.” The US clearly wants more from Hungary than just words, but while both Washington and Brussels would like to see a more obedient government in Budapest, the “liberal” and faux-left parties they support simply don't have enough popular support for the reasons outlined above. And things would be even worse for the West if the radical nationalist party Jobbik, the third largest party in Parliament, and which made gains in October’s local elections, came to power- or if there was a genuine socialist/communist revival in the country. The fact is that Orban is in a very strong position and he knows it. That’s why he feels able to face down the threats from abroad and maintain a level of independence even though total independence is impossible within the EU and NATO.
We can expect the attacks on Orban and his government to intensify but the more the West attacks, the more popular Orban, who is able to present himself as the defender of Hungary’s national interests, becomes.
Hungary gave the West everything it wanted in 1989, and, as I pointed out here, its “reform” communist leadership was richly rewarded. But in 2014 it’s a very different story. In the interests of democracy and small countries standing up to bullying by powerful elites, long may Hungary’s spirited defiance continue.
Hajra, magyarok! Hajra Magyarorszag!
Nearly 81% of Catalans say yes-yes to independence vote
Catalans queue at a polling station in Barcelona on November 9, 2014.
Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:1AM GMT
A vast majority of people in Catalonia have voted for secession in the region’s referendum for independence amid oppositions from the Spanish government.
Vice President Joana Ortega said early on Monday that with approximately all votes counted, 80.72 percent of the Catalans have said yes-yes to two questions about the region’s independence.
The two questions that eligible voters were to answer were: "Do you want Catalonia to become a state?" and "If so, do you want Catalonia to be an independent state?"
“We want a definitive vote. Today we have become stronger as a country. We have taken a huge step forward,” Catalan First Minister Artur Mas said during a press conference before the results, adding, “We have made it very clear that Catalonia wants to govern itself. We want to decide our political future and we have demonstrated that.”
Spain, on the other hand, dismissed the symbolic independence referendum as "fruitless and useless.”
"The government considers this to be a day of political propaganda organized by pro-independence forces and devoid of any kind of democratic validity," Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala said in a statement in the Spanish government’s first reaction to the polls.
The regional government had earlier said that 5.4 million Catalans and resident foreigners aged 16 and over were eligible to take part in the non-binding referendum.
Spain's Constitutional Court on November 4 suspended the vote on independence in Catalonia.
The “Yes” in the non-binding vote will not automatically lead to the secession of the region, but only gives the Catalan president the mandate to negotiate independence with the Spanish administration.
Catalonia moved towards greater autonomy in 2006 when it formally adopted a charter that assigned it the status of a “nation”. However, the nationhood claim was overruled by Spain’s Constitutional Court in 2010.
Many Catalans believe their economy would be more prosperous on its own, complaining that a high portion of their taxes goes to the central government in Madrid.
Catalan president to face charges
Catalonia's President Artur Mas
Thu Nov 13, 2014 12:42AM GMT
Catalonia’s president is to face prosecution for "disobedience and dishonesty" after defying a court injunction not to hold an independence vote from Spain.
Spanish sources said on Wednesday that prosecutors expect to press charges against Catalonian President Artur Mas within the next few days for going ahead with the symbolic referendum on independence from Spain on November 9.
The head of Catalonia’s People’s Party, Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, said that the charges, which include misuse of government funds, were almost completed.
Addressing the regional parliament, Mas said that he did not care about the charges that could block him from participating in regional elections.
“Can you imagine the image they would broadcast to the world if they acted against a government for putting out ballot boxes? It would be a dramatic image for Spain,” he said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy described Catalonia’s symbolic vote on independence as a “deep failure.”
Rajoy also reiterated that a real referendum cannot be held under Spain’s constitution.
On Tuesday, Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said the Catalan region cannot be granted the right to self-determination.
The regional Catalan government pushed forward with the vote despite Spain’s Constitutional Court ordering its suspension on November 4.
Eligible voters were asked to decide if their region should become a state of its own, and if so, whether it should be an independent state.
About 80 percent of voters, or 1.8 million, said they wanted Catalonia to be an independent state, while 10 percent said they wanted a separate state only.
Sleeping giant of public opinion has awoken and now water will wash away the Coalition
06/11/2014 | 02:30
Anti water meter protesters try to block Taoiseach Enda Kenny leaving Santry after he officially launched the Sports Surgery Clinic Research Foundation this evening. Photo:Mark Condren
Tick-tock. The meter is ticking now - not for those loathed water charges but to mark the Irish people's dwindling patience with this sinking Government, which is conspicuously out of step with its citizens.
Tick-tock. Enda Kenny is turning into a lame duck Taoiseach, deaf to the public clamour. He reached a nadir when he paused, in black tie en route to a party, and warned of a 4pc tax hike if water charges weren't paid. I half expected him to snap "off with their heads" as he turned away.
Tick-tock. Two days of mass marching, and another day lined up for December - the sleeping giant of public opinion has been awakened and protests are growing. What a mistake that's been for the Government.
Because this is about so much more than water charges now. This is a pent-up reaction gushing out against the double-dealing, greed, arrogance, cronyism and downright stupidity of an unfit-for-purpose political system.
A system which expects the working poor, as many of us have become after six years of austerity, to keep on making sacrifices. Even when there is nothing left on the bone.
This time, we are ordered to finance a super-quango with a bonus culture. No wonder people aren't inclined to stump up.
Tick-tock. Who truly believes the first lot of water taxes will be used to repair the network?
That's not credible when an over-staffed and over-compensated Irish Water has already soaked up €86m in consultancy and legal fees. If the network is really in such disarray, a halt should be called to installing water meters, with resources redirected towards infrastructure work instead.
Tick-tock. The awoken giant of public opinion is contemplating justice and fairness - and how both were sacrificed when Europe insisted Ireland meet all bank debts, so that German and French investors who took a gamble wouldn't lose out.
The giant is rubbing its eyes, wondering why its Government didn't fight harder in Europe to protect Irish citizens, and why senior politicians preferred the easier option of another new tax.
Did they think us too sunk in inertia to notice yet another deduction? Or too cowed to care?
Or too stupid to realise the conservation argument was a fig leaf for revenue generation?
The giant is on its feet now and has taken to the streets. "This is what democracy feels like. This is what democracy looks like. This is what democracy sounds like." That was the chant from 4,000 throats on the demonstration I marched in last Saturday.
Similar slogans were roared out around the country from some 150,000 protesters - and they were not the 'usual suspects', but ordinary people pushed to the brink. The march I attended was organised by Richard Boyd Barrett and People Before Profit, but it was an apolitical gathering. There were marchers from a variety of political persuasions and marchers with no affiliations.
Tick-tock. Some of the people on the streets were Fine Gael and Labour voters. TDs in marginal seats ought to be afraid. Very afraid. Even those in 'safe' seats can expect to feel a chill wind. Support for the Coalition is ebbing faster than those gallons of water we're told is lost through leaky pipes.
Enda, let me tell you how democracy in action felt. It felt good. It felt like active citizenship - people engaging with government and expressing a view on the way we are governed, rather than waiting for the blood sport of election day.
Tick-tock. There were marchers behind homemade banners who've never demonstrated before. Marchers who last went out to protest in the 1980s. Marchers with adult children back living with them in the family home because they can't afford one of their own. Marchers whose children have emigrated because they see no future in Ireland.
Marchers who say they've never failed to pay a bill before. But this one is a bill too far.
And what provoked those crowds to pour in, in their tens of thousands, some 150,000 in all, to those rallies last Saturday? Deep-seated disillusionment. A weariness with mainstream politics, now thoroughly discredited as being incapable of reform. To categorise this growing movement as founded in anti-austerity is to misunderstand it.
It was fascinating to observe the marchers as they arrived. To watch them find spaces for their cars where nobody would be blocked in, and take care to pay for parking. To see them strap their children into buggies to keep them safe. And produce rain wear, because heavy clouds weren't going to deter them. These were law-abiding, prudent people. They understood tough decisions had to be taken if Ireland was to regain its sovereignty.
But they expected some solidarity in return - not a disconnected elite.
Environment Minister Alan Kelly adds no reassurance when he says water bills will be modest and affordable. Charges, once introduced, have a habit of being ratcheted up.
Tick-tock. Labour is just as disconnected as Fine Gael. Really, Joan Burton, I'm surprised at you for forgetting what a struggle life has become for some of your constituents if you can casually refer to a €200 bill. This water charge is a regressive tax because it hits everyone the same irrespective of income - sacrificing the weak in society.
Politicians have a responsibility to the people, not the party. At least Labour's senators realised that when they voted against the Government yesterday, helping to pass a motion for a referendum to protect water from privatisation.
Tick-tock. "This is what democracy feels like," went the chant. It felt good, Enda. The last time it felt as good was when the Fianna Fail/Green coalition was shown the road in 2011.
The current regime has forgotten it governs solely by the will of the people.
As each day passes, with minister after minister defending water charges, some with soft words and some with big sticks, the people are growing more sullen.
Tick-tock. Something has to give. A few concessions won't stem the tide any more.
Io9 (Edited from longer article.)
Here's What Your Brain Is Doing When You Really, Really Hate Someone
Scientists have spotted the parts of the brain that light up when we actively hate someone. There's probably a reason why hate evolved in the first place — and it's similar to love.
The Hate Study
In 2008, two scientists decided to launch a study to investigate whether the emotion of hatred was rooted in some consistent biology. Their first problem, in framing this study, was narrowing down the vast menagerie of different kinds of hatred. They decided that they'd begin their study by asking one human to hate another human. Even then, they knew that their request wasn't all that specific. As the scientists, Semir Zeki and John Paul Romaya, wrote in the study itself, "Hatred against an individual may be seemingly irrational and rooted in remote anthropological instincts. Hate based on race or religion would probably fall under this heading. On the other hand, an individual may trace the hatred to a past injustice and hence find a justifiable source for it. There are no doubt many other ways in which the sentiment can be sub-categorized."
Still, they hoped that by confining the study of hatred to the hatred of an individual, they might see a consistent pattern. They asked subjects to stare first at the picture of a person the subjects had neutral feelings toward, and then at the picture of someone they hated. The subjects did this while hooked up to an MRI, allowing the researchers to see which parts of the brain were activated and deactivated. Doctors Zeki and Romaya were gratified to find that everyone in the study hated individuals the same way. The parts of the brain activated, the medial frontal gyrus, the right putamen, the medial insula, and the premotor cortex, have come to be known as the "hate circuit."
The premotor cortex is one part of the brain that springs into action when people have feelings of aggression. When we hate, at least part of us is preparing for a physical attack. The frontal gyrus deals with self-awareness, and is involved in go/no go decisions. This part of the brain seems to be in league, however tentatively with the premotor cortex. Haters using the "hate circuit," then, seem to always be wondering if it's the right time to move against the object of their hatred.
Hate, Love, and Judgement
The putamen and the insula make the hate circuit more interesting. Both of these areas light up on an MRI when the person being probed is experiencing feelings of romantic love. The researchers think this may be why people so often pair love and hatred, two seemingly antithetical emotions.
It may be more complicated than that. The putamen gets engaged when people are in love, but it also activates when people feel contempt or disgust. Damage to the putamen and the insula can make people incapable of recognizing disgust on other people's faces. The putamen also lights up when a person is planning aggressive acts. The putamen, then, might represent the dark side of love - the side that attacks a rival, or feels sick with jealousy at a loved one's behavior.
Hate is characterized not just by areas of brain activity but by areas of brain inactivity. The superior frontal gyrus is correlated with self-awareness and laughter, so it's not surprising that it's repressed when a person hates. The particular section that is deactivated, the researchers note, is near a section of the brain which, when repressed, seems to increase obsessive-compulsive behavior. When we hate, we fail to laugh, and we may get a bit obsessive.
Areas escaping deactivation include the areas of the brain that deal out judgment. This is one of the major ways that the hate circuit differs from the brain activity of a person in love. When we love someone, we shut off the part of our brain that judges - a trait that, we hope, has led to more happiness than sorrow. When we hate someone, we leave the judgment part of our brain a'blazing.
Spontaneous Remission of Disease in Over 3,500 Cases
November 9, 2014 By Soren Dreier
What if I told you that all manner of disease – from cancerous tumors the size of oranges to brain diseases, gastrointestinal disease, parasites, loss of sight, mental disorders, reproductive issues, muscular diseases and even viruses – could go away spontaneously?
You don’t have to take my word for it. The Institute of Noetic Sciences has a database of over 3,500 documented, verifiable cases of diseases, often life-threatening, that go away all on their own.
The people who had these diseases might have sought allopathic medical treatment that wasn’t working, or simply refused to get ‘treatment’ in the traditional sense at all, but there is one thing that makes all of these cases commonly remarkable. They involve what is called the placebo effect.
Whether they got ‘fake’ surgeries, a sugar pill, or believed that they would be healed because of a passionate spiritual belief, they got better without interference from drugs or radiation. They got better without chemo, or enormous medical bills that tend to linger on after someone does live from traditional treatments, often causing new layers of disease. And to be fair, they got better without natural medicine, too.
How Stress Fuels Disease more than Anything
Lissa Rankin, M.D. says that the placebo effect is seen as a ‘big problem’ for the medical industry. She goes on to explain that things like love, gratitude, and pleasure can heal our bodies. Namely, they create either a stress response, which tends to create disease, or a relaxation response, which treats disease.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have found that “chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. The research shows for the first time that the effects of psychological stress on the body’s ability to regulate inflammation can “promote the development and progression of disease.”
Hundreds of diseases are related to inflammation in the body. Stress, and its direct affect on our ability to reduce inflammation, can cause Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and infertility, among other health concerns.
Stress causes your fight or flight signals to go haywire. The autonomic nervous system is activated by signals from a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus. When the hypothalamus perceives a threat, real or imagined, it sends a message to the pituitary gland, which then secretes hormones that activate the adrenal glands.
The adrenals then secrete other hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that increase your heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory and muscular activity, and at the same time reduce the activity of your reproductive and digestive systems. It fires up for action, and when all of your body’s energy is being used to fight a perceived threat, it cannot work on healing you. Its energy reserves are depleted.
James Gordon, M.D., a professor at Georgetown Medical School and director of the Center for Mind-Body Studies, has said that:
“Science often ignores cases of spontaneous remission because it is busy looking for statistical averages. This is not good science, just convenient science. Even if they hardly ever happen, these ‘miracles’ are the kinds of exceptions to the ruling paradigm that inevitably create new areas of study.”
LA HEALTHY LIVING
Why the Amish Rarely Get Sick: Things You Can Learn From Them
Posted on 15 December, 2013 by Anya Vien
When we think of Amish people we think of a simple life, free of modern advancements. Most of us view them as foolish for not using the advantages of convenient technology and even look down on them for not conforming to the norms of mainstream society. But if we look at the statistics, the Amish are much healthier than the rest of America. They virtually have no cancer, no autism, and rarely get sick. What are they doing different from the rest of America? Let’s look at some of the things they are doing different.
Why the Amish Rarely Get Sick
The Amish have chosen the traditional wisdom of our ancestors over our “modern” way of living. They live by the practices of past generations.
1. The Amish Don’t Get Vaccinated.
Did you know that Amish people rarely have any learning disabilities or autism. There have been only 3 cases of autism among the amish in which the kids got vaccinated. Instead of crediting their lack of autism to the absence of vaccines, mainstream society credits it to a superior gene that the Amish possess. In spite of constant pressure from the government, the Amish still refuse to vaccinate.
2. The Amish Eat Organic, Locally Grown Food.
The Amish not only avoid prepackaged and processed food, they actually grow all of their food using organic farming methods. They raise their own animals; their food is natural and gmo free. It’s important to note that they eat seasonal food during the harvest months, and save the rest by canning and fermenting. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are nutritionally higher in value. They are filled with anti-oxidants that are of great benefit to our health. Anti-oxidants fight free radicals, which helps you stay healthy and young. Thus, the lack of ADHD, food allergies and asthma can be undeniably contributed to their diet.
3. The Amish Eat Plenty of Healthy Fats.
The Amish have a very low obesity rate despite their high fat diet. Their eating habits by all means are not low fat. They eat plenty of butter, meat, eggs, raw dairy. Foods like butter and raw grass fed dairy contains a lot of fat soluble vitamins such as A, E and K2. It’s important to note that Vitamin K2 is very insufficient in modern diets. All that low fat nonsense has depleted our bodies from these essential nutrients. Vitamin K2 is particularly important as it is involved in calcium metabolism. Vitamin K insufficiency leads to many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and even cancer.
4. The Amish People are Physically Active.
Compared to the overall 31 % obesity rate in America, the Amish only have a 3 percent obesity rate. Since they don’t use cars, or any modern technologies, their level of physical activity is very high: men averaged 18,000 steps a day and women 14,000. They walk a lot and are truly involved in physical labor which reflects in their extremely low rate of cardiovascular diseases. Accodring to David R. Bassett, Ph.D., FACSM, a professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, “The Amish were able to show us just how far we’ve fallen in the last 150 years or so in terms of the amount of physical activity we typically perform. Their lifestyle indicates that physical activity played a critical role in keeping our ancestors fit and healthy.”
5. The Amish Live Stress Free Lives
Stress is probably the number one culprit to our health problems. When you are stressed, your cortisol levels get elevated which is extremely dangerous for your health in the long run. Health problems associated with stress include heart disease, adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalances, high blood sugar levels, elevated cholesterol and obesity. The Amish live in a stress free community. They live slow paced, patient lifestyles. They don’t compete with each other; they created a egalitarian community for themselves where their lifestyles are based on equality, cooperation and harmony. The Amish live the same way they lived 300 years ago and we can definitely can learn some lessons from them. They live toxic, free self sustainable lives. They are not plagued with various diseases and they are much healthier than the rest of America.
next week...keep on believing
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they
are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
(1 Corinthians 2:14)